Would you pay 5,000 pounds for a share in Liverpool?
From the cold-blooded capitalism of the leveraged buy-out to a socialist utopia of a club owned by its fans in one fell swoop.
That will be the result if a group of influential Liverpool supporters succeed in getting 100,000 fans of the club to raise 500 million pounds in a “Barcelona style” member share scheme.
England is abuzz with reports that the Share Liverpool FC Group plan to buy out American owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks, who recently completed a 350 million pounds re-financing of the deal that brought them ownership of the club last year.
Whether the group stands a chance of raising the money, and whether the Americans would have the slightest interest in selling up, are questions that will take a while to get answered.
As Tom Dunmore notes at the always excellent Pitchinvasion.net, the people behind the bid are “serious and knowledgeable”. They include Rogan Taylor, a well known Liverpool academic and founder of the Football Supporters’ Association.
The idea is nothing new. Barcelona, Real Madrid and other clubs in Spain have always run on this model, with members electing the president every few years and owning a stake in the club. Fan-owned clubs are also common in Germany. Still, many will wonder why such a scheme was not launched before Hicks and Gillett bought the club.
We’d like your views on whether this would be a good idea for Liverpool. Are fans just being overly optimistic if they think they can buy out the Americans? Isn’t 5,000 pounds too risky an investment for fans to get into? Or is it time a big English club showed there’s another way to go?
I’ve got a feeling Bill Shankly might have been attracted to the idea anyway.
“The socialism I believe in is everyone working for each other, everyone having a share of the rewards,” he once famously said. “It’s the way I see football, the way I see life.”
UPDATE: The Web site supposdly has more details at http://www.shareliverpoolfc.co.uk/ but, interestingly, it seems to have collapsed under the strain.