Ian Ayre Admits Liverpool Were Seconds from Disaster Under Previous Owners

Nick AkermanFeatured ColumnistApril 25, 2014

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 22:  Liverpool Managing Director Ian Ayre looks on prior to  the UEFA Europa League Group A match between Liverpool FC and BSC Young Boys at Anfield on November 22, 2012 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images)
Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

Ian Ayre, current managing director of Liverpool, claims the club were moments away from financial disaster under the regime of Tom Hicks and George Gillett.

Currently sat atop the Premier League and seven points away from their first title in 24 years, Liverpool's prospects could have been completely different—or non-existent—had a change in ownership not been made.

Now excelling under John W. Henry's Fenway Sports Group, Ayre suggests supporters must keep such moments in their consciousness, as reported by Dominic King of the Daily Mail:

It is no secret, it’s like that TV programme "Seconds from Disaster" — we were sort of in that vein. It was horrific to see the football club in that state. People sometimes forget how bad it was. I speak to people now and they have really short memories.

Sang Tan

Ayre claimed that, although many fans' sense of entitlement endured through the bad times, success shouldn't be taken for granted. "Just because you are Liverpool FC it does not mean you have a right" to qualify for the Champions League and challenge for titles, he suggested, indicating "plenty of teams" can slip under the guidance of new owners.

Liverpool announced revenue has increased by 9 percent to £206.1 million and external debt has been reduced 29 percent to £45.1 million in March's financial results. Although the club lost £50 million in total, as reported by David Conn of the Guardian, King notes Ayre believes "the club is in a fantastically sustainable position now."

The proof certainly seems to be in Liverpool's future plans. Brendan Rodgers will be given £70 million to improve his squad across the summer, per David Maddock of the Mirror, and plans to increase Anfield's capacity were also revealed by the club's Twitter account on Wednesday:

Liverpool's return to the Champions League will see their finances receive a major boost. Clubs received around £30 million for making it to the round of 16 in 2012-13, while winning the competition can yield up to £70 million, according to ESPN.

Rodgers has already built an exciting squad with limited funds. Smart signings such as Daniel Sturridge, Philippe Coutinho and Mamadou Sakho have seen the manager pluck individuals from difficult situations before improving their game.

His emphasis on youth has also come to the fore. Rodgers isn't afraid to provide young players with major responsibility, as highlighted by excellent seasons for Coutinho, Raheem Sterling and Jon Flanagan. Rodgers' battling character is embodied in his midfield, while his ambition is flaunted through the attacking dominance of his strikers.

CARDIFF, WALES - MARCH 22:  Brendan Rodgers (R) the manager of Liverpool chats with Raheem Sterling after his side's 6-3 victory during the Barclays Premier League match between Cardiff City and Liverpool at the Cardiff City Stadium on March 22, 2014 in C
Michael Steele/Getty Images

Henry suggests this kind of output is coming "ahead of schedule," per BBC Sport.

Liverpool's newly found financial stability is important beyond the realms of Merseyside. The club remains one of England's most important sporting institutions, and on a competitive level, they add to the excitement of the Premier League when able to compete with other title challengers.

While the likes of Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham have all failed to maintain a bid for this year's prize, Liverpool's recent on-pitch dominance ensures the domestic division's title race is becoming even more unpredictable as the years roll on.

Now that financial stability is confirmed, Ayre and the rest of the club will aim to ensure this year's potential triumph doesn't remain a one-off.