On Thursday morning, new Liverpool owners, NESV (New England Sports Ventures) accepted the resignation of managing director Christian Purslow. Along with Christain Purslow, Ian Ayre also offered his resignation but the new owners have told him he has a future with the club
Christian Purslow’s impact on the club was called into question on Tuesday by ex boss, Rafael Benitez. Even if Benitez’s comments were to deflect responsibility away from himself, it shows the real lack of harmony at the top during Christian Purslow’s time at the club. Where Purslow has been credited with dragging the club into the modern would with record club sponsorship and endorsements, Ian Ayre, considered one of the unqualified successes of the Gillett and Hicks regime had a great hand in these deals.
In March 2009, Ayre confirmed a new sponsorship deal with the Bank of America. Ayre capitalised on the deal with the Bank of America, by immediately touring South East Asia for further investment and marketing opportunities. In 2009, Liverpool were the seventh richest club in the world, a large proportion of this wealth came from the Bank of America sponsorship dea as well as other marketing opportunities in Europe and Asia – set up by Ian Ayre.
During the turmoil of the last months, Liverpool should not forget that they have one of the most lucrative shirt sponsorship deals in English footballing history. Ayre signed the deal with Standard Chartered Bank – a £20m-a-year sponsorship. The marketing expert that even with the troubles of the mounting debt on the club and the takeover situation, Liverpool still had a strong attraction globally.
Of the deal Ayre said, It’s valuable in itself, but it says so much more about the set-up we now have.’
It is also widely accepted by football finance experts that Liverpool are an attractive long-term proposition financially, with the vital waiver of funding provision being available for a new 60,000-plus seat stadium. It is a credit to Ayre that Liverpool have remained so relatively strong in recent times, financially, despite still being housed at Anfield. Match day revenues are some £60m lower at Liverpool each season than at Manchester United and Arsenal, immediately putting the Reds at a disadvantage to their major domestic rivals.
Christian Purslow deserves a great deal of respect for his part in the sale of Liverpool FC. Ian Ayre is the mastermind behind marketing and sponsorship deals. A man that chooses to stay out of the spotlight is not a man who does nothing. NESV have decided to keep Ayre on, but have agreed to allow Christian Purslow to leave. A clear indication that they feel they can find a better managing director but would be hard pushed to find a marketing specialist of the standard of Ian Ayre.
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