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Oct 9, 2010

Broughton 'scoured the world' for sugar daddy

Liverpool chairman Martin Broughton has revealed that he "scoured the world" in search of a sugar daddy owner in the mould of Roman Abramovich and Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan but failed to find one.

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Board sets out investment plan

While a section of Liverpool fans are concerned it will be a case of out of the frying pan into the fire by swapping one set of American owners with another, Broughton attempts to ease their worries in an exclusive interview with ESPNsoccernet while away in the States.

Instead of a billionaire, Liverpool will have a few multi-millionaires, and in the financially-competitive Premier League there is some scepticism about the men who own Boston Red Sox, New England Sports Ventures.

From his Washington hotel, Broughton told ESPNsoccernet that it might turn out to be better in the long run.

Broughton explained: "We searched the world looking for another owner like the ones at Chelsea and Manchester City. With all of Liverpool's traditions, heritage, history and powerful global brand, I must admit I thought it would be possible to find one.

"We hoped for someone who wanted a 'trophy asset', but having scoured the world without finding one, the conclusion is that there are no more Romans out there.

"Yes, of course, it is disappointing that even a name like Liverpool failed to attract one, so I cannot imagine other club having much luck."

I suggested to Broughton that it is very optimistic to believe that there are sugar daddies queueing up to buy Premier League clubs, when in reality that is not the case. The majority of Premier League clubs would leap at the chance of a takeover, and Liverpool at last have one, while many are still waiting in hope to clear their debts.

Broughton said: "Yes, everyone is aware of how many Premier League clubs there are for sale, but Liverpool is different, at least it should have been different, as it is a global brand compared to some of the other clubs, and for that reason you would have thought it would have appealed to a sugar daddy.

"But the truth is that there is only one Roman Abramovich, there is only one Sheikh Mansour, because we couldn't find another one."

Chelsea cost their Russian owner less than £70 million, taking control with a £17 million buyout of Ken Bates, although he invested half a billion from that point. It was the same at Manchester City, where there wasn't a premium price tag.

Broughton added: "With Liverpool, whatever the price to buy it, came a heavy obligation to spend something like £300 million on a new stadium, and £350 million of debt or an obligation to turn that into equity. Liverpool came with some heavy numbers, whereas Abramovich paid very little to gain control of Chelsea.

"So no matter how far and wide we looked there was no evidence of a sugar daddy type around.

"Perhaps it will end up being to our advantage, when the financial fair play rules apply in 2013, we will have the ideal owners in a way, owners who understand the commercial realities of a running a club and running a sporting team, and how to invest in the team, and produce a winning team.

"More reality will come in to football, and it is important that our supporters take this aspect on board. Put Manchester City to one side, and how many big money transfers were there this summer? Not that many. Reality is setting in across the board."

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