George Gillett: A Closer Look into His Claims Over Liverpool's Spending

Marc FosterContributor IOctober 10, 2009

LIVERPOOL, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 06:   New Liverpool owner George Gillett laughs prior to the start of the UEFA Champions League round of sixteen, second leg match between Liverpool and Barcelona at Anfield on March 6, 2007 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

"We have invested more money than our competitors, in keeping with the history of the club."

"In the last 18 months, we have invested £128m on top of what has come in."

These are two quotes by George Gillett and could well be in the simplest terms, called lies. However, I don't feel that Mr. Gillett is meaning to outright lie to Liverpool supporters, but more to deceive them and have a little pop at Benitez at the same time. This theory is also supported by the quote below:

"Now if it's not getting better, it's not Gillett and Hicks, it's the manager."

It has been well documented that Benitez is not Mr. Gillett's favourite choice as Liverpool manager, after all it was him who arranged a meeting with former Bayern Munich manager Jurgen Klinsmann to allegedly speak discuss becoming the new Liverpool manager.

Let's look at the first quote where Mr. Gillett states that Liverpool have invested more than its competitors since his and Tom Hicks' arrival at Anfield. Since the duo took control at Anfield, Manchester United have spent big money on players such as Nani, Anderson, Valencia and Owen Hargreaves, as well as mega money on Dimitar Berbatov. 

This is in addition to their previous mega expenditures on Ferdinand, Carrick and Rooney.

Chelsea and Arsenal have both spent less than Liverpool and Man Utd over the past few seasons, but have both still splashed the cash when necessary. Chelsea have brought in Anelka, Bosingwa and Zhirkov for decent money.

Arsenal have also spent on players such as Nasri, Vermaelen and Arshavin. Peripheral teams such as free spending Tottenham, and mega spenders Man City have also both spent big money over the past few seasons.

Now, this may seem to back up Mr. Gillett's theory of Liverpool spending more than its competitors since his and Mr Hicks' arrival, however, whenever Mr. Gillett talks about figures relating to team matters he is never just talking about transfers in and out.

He is also taking into account wages and contract re-negotiations and over the past two seasons Liverpool's wage bill has been the 4th highest in the premier league.


2007/09 Total wage costs (£'000s)
Percentage increase
Man United
Premier League average

These wage figures are an average over the 2007/2008 season and the 2008/2009 season, and show that Liverpool's wage bill is considerably less than nearest competitor Arsenal's, and almost half of Chelsea's. This does put a big question mark over Mr. Gillett's claim that Liverpool have been spending more than their rivals.

Now, the more interesting quote where Mr. Gillett states that Liverpool have spent £128m on top of what has come in. Well i have got my calculator out and have worked out that since Gillett and Hicks assumed control, Liverpool have spent £150.02m on players and have recouped £107m.

This would give the duo a net spend of £43.02m, an average of £14.34m a season which, for a club whose profits are around triple that figure, is not a great investment season on season.

If you do the same calculations for the three seasons Benitez was in charge of Liverpool prior to the duo's arrival, it reads that the average net spend per season was £17.01m, £2.67m more. Another factor to take into account when analyzing these figures is that when Gillett and Hicks bought Liverpool its debt was around £40m.

Despite the duo stating that they would not plunge the club into massive debt this figure now stands at around £245m, a massive £205m increase!

So when you you look at that bold statement that Liverpool have spent £128m on top of what has come in, you have to look at the £107m that has come in from player sales, and the extra £205m of debt. This means that Mr. Gillett is implying that since he and his partner have arrived they have spent a massive £440m...on what?!?!

The new stadium they promised the club has not even been started and does not look like getting started anytime soon. The net expenditure on players is only £43.02m and our wage bill is within our budget so where has this extra £396.98m gone?

It does appear that Mr Gillett's time at Liverpool is almost up with him looking to sell his 50 percent stake, but before he leaves he still seems determined to make himself, and consequently Liverpool football club look foolish.


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