The end of year accounts for Kop Holdings, the company formed by Hicks and Gillett so they could purchase the club, were released yesterday and, as expected, it made grisly reading.
Along with Liverpool FC and two other companies, Kop Holdings is part of hierarchical structure of companies that is topped by Kop Investments Plc, the umbrella or parent company.
The accounts reveal that there has been a loss of £33m for the year ending July 2007. However, the figures that are likely to attract most attention are that Hicks and Gillett had £1.5m in personal expenses travel costs and legal fees. Although some of these amounts remain unpaid, effectively this amounts to the cost of the take over and their continued presence at Anfield. That amounts to around 14k a week for their “services” not much compared to a top footballers wages but money well spent?
Perhaps less newsworthy but more disturbing are signs that the owners, as suspected have foisted the interest payments on the club. The accounts reveal that Kop Holdings lent Liverpool FC £64m over three years. Is this to service the interest payments that will be incurred as part of refinancing that took place earlier this year? Worse still all the dillying and dallying over the new stadium appears to have cost the club £10.3m. This is the cost of ditching the original “pre take over” plans so that Hicks could bring in his own men. Presumably they feel that, in terms of cost and the projected revenue the new design brings, the £10.3m is money well wasted?
All in all pretty depressing stuff but not a surprise given the way they, particularly Hicks, have conducted themselves over the last nine months or so. The papers say Rafa’s transfer budget is safe but these figures make it clear why he is going to have to sell to buy and it is hardly news that is going to win over the fans as witnessed by the latest protest outside Anfield earlier this week.
Furthermore things could get worse. Against the increasingly ominous background of the credit crunch more backers will have to be found as loans need refinanced next season. The fact that the two owners remain estranged and are trying to buy each other out is an added distraction and potentially another financial burden that will be shifted onto the club.
Strangely enough, and for probably the first time since he stepped foot on Anfield land, Hicks hasn’t been available for comment!
To Euro 2008 and Fernando Torres and Xabi Alonso took their bows for Spain against Russia last night. Xabi Alonso was given fifthteen minutes or so at the end but Torres, despite being substituted in the second half, showed enough along with David Villa as to why Spain might go a lot further in this competition than they normally do. Both strikers gave the Russian defence a torrid time and although Villa scored three, and added a few more million to his price, Torres’ contribution was significant using his pace and awareness and displaying unselfishness to set up Villa’s first.
Torres’ substitution, for Fabregas, was tactical, Spain reverting back to playing with one striker, however, he didn’t look too pleased at being replaced. Significantly when Villa scored his third he made a b line for Torres showing solidarity with his partner. Will these two make the difference for Spain this time? It is early days but the signs look good mind you, they have in the past!
Going back to Monday’s games and it was good to see Dirk Kuyt getting a run out for Holland against Italy the other night and playing well. Life on the wing seems to suit him more and more and he played a key part in The Dutch tactics of hitting the Italians on the counter attack supplying crosses for two of their goals. In fact according to The Metro’s “Stats of the day” he was his team’s “fastest player” at 29.8 km per hour which is even more surprising as Dirk isn’t exactly renown for his pace!
The Dutch and The Spaniards must now be favourites to go through to the knock out stages but I still wouldn’t rule out the Italians who, despite the score, did enough to suggest they can overcome Romania and then, if their performance in their first game is anything to go by, a rather anaemic France. The Russians also showed enough to suggest that might pull it around against a dreadfully negative Greece and then Sweden.
Finally back to Dirk who has become something of a cult figure with my two sons, aged 4 and 6. Firstly because they thought his name was funny and now because any young man they spot with blond hair is automatically labelled as his look alike. This provokes memorable lines such as “Mummy that man in Tesco’s looked like Dirk Kuyt” cue phone call to work from rugby loving other half “Darling who is this “Kirk Pout” the boys keep going on about?”.
Will Gerrard or Torres ever achieve such notoriety?