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Wenger: Peak form not far away

Arsenal about an hour ago
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 By Mike Whalley
Apr 24, 2014

Liverpool 'on verge of collapse in 2010'

Premier League leaders Liverpool were on the brink of financial collapse when Boston-based Fenway Sports Group bought the club in 2010, according to managing director Ian Ayre.

Liverpool were on the verge of collapse before John W Henry bought the club.

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The club were on the verge of going into administration after being laden with debt under the regime of Tom Hicks and George Gillett, he added.

Ayre compared Liverpool's plight at the time of the takeover to the American TV documentary series "Seconds From Disaster".

Fenway, led by John W Henry and Tom Werner, were able to take control at Anfield in October 2010, after a ruling by London's High Court forced Hicks and Gillett to sell.

Ayre believes that Liverpool, who have secured Champions League football for next season and lead the Premier League by five points, are in a much better state now, despite recording an annual loss of 49.8 million pounds in their most recent accounts, published in March.

The managing director told British national newspapers: "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.

"I do not think there was a Liverpool fan in the city or anywhere who was not worried we would not get to this position we are in now, for many reasons.

"People sometimes forget how bad it was. I speak to people now and they have really short memories. When you think about that day when we tipped it over the edge and finally pulled it back, we have come such a long way."

Ayre believes that both the reduction of club debts and the income from playing in next season's Champions League -- allied to money that is set to come in from a number of new sponsorship deals, will lead to better financial results when the next set of accounts are released, which is likely to happen in spring 2015.

He also feels that the club will benefit from a planned expansion of their Anfield stadium, extensive details of which were released on Wednesday.

Ayre argues that Liverpool are in a better position to make money than they were when he arrived at the club -- an argument borne out by the fact that the club recorded their highest-ever annual turnover of 206.1 million pounds in their last accounts.

He said: "One of the things we have done in a similar way to how we have gone about plans for the stadium, is to give us strength in the commercial department.

"When I came here seven or eight years ago, there were all these stories of the club shop being closed the day after the [2005] Champions League final [win over AC Milan], and only having a couple of sponsors and stuff like that.

"So, over a long period of time, we have been trying to lay the foundations and build the infrastructure that services a great club like Liverpool.

"You'll have good years and bad, but a club of this size, with this level of fan-base, you have to be set up to service that demand and that wasn't the case."

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