Former Liverpool chauffeur David Sloan has begun giving evidence against Ray Haughan, the club’s player liaison officer, claiming the Anfield employee sold expensive tickets on the black market.
Sloan has taken Liverpool to an employment tribunal since, suggesting he was unfairly dismissed after revealing Haughan’s alleged actions last October.
As reported by Chris Wheeler of the Daily Mail, Sloan also accused Reds chief Ian Ayre of drumming up evidence against him with other senior officials:
The former police officer, who has chauffeured owner John Henry and senior players and executives since starting work in July 2009, claims that he was provoked by Haughan before accusing him in front of Ayre and other guests of ‘robbing the club blind’.
However, Sloan claims that Ayre conspired with other executives and security staff to bring evidence against him.
Sloan heard tales of black-market ticket trading from the club’s security staff and witnessed Haughan’s bank account quickly rise by £40,000—per Wheeler's article—after being tasked with going to the cash point for his superior.
Although fearing punishment of publicly revealing his accusations, Sloan indicates he had the fans’ interest at heart, per Wheeler’s report:
I had suspicions that ticket touting was going on.
I was worried about the repercussions but there were fans not getting tickets and someone inside the club making money out of it and that was wrong.
Sloan went on to suggest he was treated unfairly in light of the allegations.
As reported by Jonathan Brown of The Independent, the former chauffeur initially carried out important jobs such as opening bank accounts, finding homes for new players and fuelling the team's cars. These were quickly exchanged for simple tasks after Sloan was accused of upsetting Andy Carroll during a trip to Ibiza.
Per Wheeler, Sloan claims his schedule was also tampered with in order for him to carry out "menial" duties.
Most days I was sat at Melwood doing nothing twiddling my thumbs then told to go home only to be called back 15 minutes later to do things like adjust a wall clock.
Tensions overflowed during a Christmas party at the Hope Street Hotel on Dec. 16, 2012. Sloan reportedly approached club executives in an angry tirade, as described by Ayre during a witness statement, per Wheeler’s report:
He went ballistic, gesticulating and getting in my face, getting angrier and angrier. He started to lash out and security guards saw fit to physically restrain and remove him.
Ayre is said to have written an email to club officials after the party and Sloan was suspended the next morning.
Sloan is a lifelong Liverpool fan who was present at the Hillsborough tragedy, as confirmed in Brown's report.
The hearing continues to produce difficult press for a club that has rarely been away from the news in recent years. Alongside Liverpool's inspirational fight to land justice for the 96 victims of Hillsborough, former communications director Jen Chang was sacked for making a string of threats toward fake Twitter user "Duncan Jenkins."
Sloan's decision to make his claims public will be an unwanted development for the Reds, but as the hearing continues it is yet to produce a definitive verdict in a situation that could seriously harm the reputation of Liverpool's senior officials.