Liverpool report £50m losses

FSG write off £35million related to Stanley Park project

Liverpool's proposed new stadium has cost the club £35million

Ian Ayre: Insists new owners are cleaning up problems left by the previous administration

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Liverpool have reported a loss of almost £50million for the last financial year as the scale of the club's stadium folly becomes clear.

Owners Fenway Sports Group wiped out debts of £200m when they purchased the club in October 2010.

But they were also forced to write off a further £35million related to the abandoned HKS-designed Stanley Park project of predecessors Tom Hicks and George Gillett.

The accounts also reveal a further £8.4million was spent on contract terminations, including pay-offs to former boss Roy Hodgson and former managing director Christian Purslow.

And current managing director Ian Ayre believes when exceptional items such as this are factored in, the report shows Liverpool are now on the right track despite the alarming numbers involved.

"I guess people will focus on the loss of £49.4m and there's no business - or people running any business - who are going to be pleased with any loss," Ayre told the Liverpool Echo.

"But I think the important indicator here is this £59m charge for exceptional items and as a business that's been in a transition, it's about moving from where we were to where we want to be.

"We have written off a huge amount on the stadium project. A big chunk of that £50m loss relates to the HKS project - which is now defunct - and associated costs around that."

Ian Ayre

Quotes of the week

"We have written off a huge amount on the stadium project. A big chunk of that £50m loss relates to the HKS project - which is now defunct - and associated costs around that."

Following their takeover in 2007, Hicks halted the established plans for a new ground in Stanley Park and chose to engage Dallas-based architects HKS instead.

Ambitious

They came up with an ambitious glass and steel design, but this was scrapped by FSG soon after taking over.

But there were residual costs associated with the project - such as legal, planning and design fees - that still required settling.

Ayre added: "With new ownership that was kind of milling around within the club's accounts and there was a very definite need to move that out.

"It is a huge loss but that goes with a lot of other things that nobody was really happy with in that period.

"So rather than dwell on it, we've very smartly made the decision to remove it from the club's accounts.

"It is a big write-off but it means that it's gone forever now and we can move forward now without that around our neck.

"And it also means that we are in pretty good shape in being a sustainable business. It's a positive step forward."

Ayre insisted the money spent on contract terminations was less unusual.

"It's nothing untypical of anything in football. Contracts are typically fixed term," said Ayre.

"When you make a decision to terminate somebody, the right and proper thing to do is honour the pay-out of that contract."

Ian Ayre

Quotes of the week

"When you make a decision to terminate somebody, the right and proper thing to do is honour the pay-out of that contract.

"This relates to Roy and to some of his backroom staff and also to Christian Purslow leaving. It's standard across football.

"It's unfortunate to have to have them - nobody wants to see anybody go - but in certain circumstances it's right to make a change and that's what that relates to."

The accounts do not include the kit deal signed with American company Warrior Sports, which is worth at least £25million a year.

Clean up

And Ayre believes the true story of these figures is the comprehensive action FSG have taken the clean up the mess left by the previous regime.

He added: "If we had not written off these extraordinary costs, we would have been looking at breaking even."

"We have reduced interest charges from £18m to about £3m. That puts us in a much stronger position to utilise our revenues more effectively on the team.

"These figures in many ways represent the commitment of the owners, in paying down the acquisition debts and in other areas.

"What is reflected in these accounts was going on around the time they actually came into the club.

"It's not where we are today. It's a year on, so it was a big commitment at an early stage

"The owners have continued to make changes and commitments.

"They have made some great investment at the start; they cleaned up a lot of what was a problem at Liverpool and they have invested in both the team on and off the pitch.

"They continue to do that and look at what's right - and what works and what doesn't work."