Is Huang The Savior Of Liverpool?

An England flag flies outside a pub in front of Liverpool's Anfield stadium in Liverpool, northern England August 2, 2010. Chinese businessman Kenny Huang has launched a bid to acquire control of Premier League club Liverpool from its unpopular American owners, a source close to the deal said on Monday. REUTERS/Phil Noble (BRITAIN - Tags: SPORT SOCCER BUSINESS)
Reports out of the British media indicate that Chinese billionaire Kenny Huang is planning a hostile takeover of Liverpool FC. Current owners Tom Hicks and George Gillette put the club up for sale during the spring but are against Huang’s takeover because they would not see a profit from the sale of the club.

If the Royal Bank of Scotland accepts Huang’s bid to purchase Liverpool’s £237 million in debt the Chinese billionaire would have “a ridiculously large amount of leverage” to oust the American duo, a source told the Press Association.

Huang is no stranger to professional sports. He began his foray into American athletics when he became the first Chinese graduate to land a job at the high-profile New York Stock Exchange. He has been the driving force behind basketball’s saturation in the widely untapped Chinese market, utilizing native-hero Yao Ming’s popularity to arrange off-season tours of the NBA’s biggest teams and stars. Huang is also a large shareholder in the New York Yankees. Baseball, more than any other sport, is similar to European soccer with the trade windows and lack of a salary cap.

But his most valuable weapon is the numerous wealthy backers who make up QSL, Huang’s Hong-Kong based sports company. Unlike Chelsea’s Roman Abramovic, Huang will not rely exclusively on his personal wealth to finance the team. Instead, he will act as a spokesman for these investors, making deals and signing players will be a shared venture, therefore decreasing the risk.

So let’s, for a second, assume that the American duo that the Liverpool faithful despise are ousted and Huang takes control of the club. Will it be enough to return Liverpool, who haven’t won a Premier League title since the EPL split from the Football Association and finished a woeful seventh last season, to their former glory? Yes, but not immediately.

Even if the deal gets done within the next week and Huang gives manager Roy Hodgson a sizable budget to sign new players, the summer transfer window closes in less than a month and many of the high-profile players looking for new clubs have already been snatched up. But it should serve to reassure Steven Gerrard, Fernando Torres, and the Liverpool fans that help is on the way and the power to fight off any bids for their current stars.

It also means that Liverpool could become the face of the EPL in China. Next summer Liverpool will probably spend their preseason tour in the far east in much the same way both clubs from Manchester toured the United States over the past month. These additional fans means additional merchandise and TV sales which means more money for the club.

And by far the simplest and most important reason, the club will no longer be in debt. Huang is buying Liverpool’s debt rather than buying the club outright from Hicks and Gillette. The elimination of the debt means the elimination of the threat of administration, which would be catastrophic for the club and could mean a Leeds United-esque fall from grace.

So yes, a successful bid by Huang would be in the best interest for Liverpool and its fans but don’t expect Liverpool to return to the Champions League next season. The current owners and Rafa Benitez have done a great deal of damage to the club and no amount of cash will fix that immediately. This is a long-term venture that will pay huge dividends if given the needed time.

Is he the savior? Not really but he will stop the descent of Liverpool and be the first step in their journey back into the Premier League elite.

12 thoughts on “Is Huang The Savior Of Liverpool?”

  1. What a load of bullshit!

    “The current owners and Rafa Benitez have done a great deal of damage to the club”

    If not for Rafa, the club will be fighting relegation regularly with the shit owners. In fact, Rafa steadied the club under the evil force of H&G. Under the current leadership, especially with an “English” theme, will be able to win anything.

    However, the injection of fund from the Asia power will be most welcome and I agree with that it will takes several years to win the league after Roy is replaced with better manager.

  2. i really don’t see big name signings happening this season.. may be next season.. not sure Liverpool will gain top 4 any time soon.

    1. People forget this club isn’t all that different from the one that got 90-something points a couple of years ago and almost won the league.

      A couple of smart signings to fortify the back line and this team could certainly challenge for the top four again – especially if Gerrard and Torres can stay healthy and be on the pitch together 20+ times this year.

  3. “Instead, he will act as a spokesman for these investors, making deals and signing players will be a shared venture, therefore decreasing the risk”

    Ummm……what? A group of businessmen sharing transfer decisions reduces risk?

    Enlighten us, please.

  4. great, thats all we need is more billionares to ruin football. we don’t need anymore of these 50-60-70-80 million euro transfer fees. this is what is ruining the game!! can’t you see?

  5. Seems to me that Huang may be putting Hicks and Gillett in a difficult position. It read that the bank can call in the debt and ruin the club’s finances. It has already restructured teh debt at least once. If the it has to be paid off, then H&G may have a fiduciary duty to the minority shareholders (are there any SHs besides the two of them? Not sure) to support Huang buying the debt. Seems like a power play by Huang.

    Clearly they don’t want to sell less than all of their interests, whereas Huang seems to buy a key chunk only. Similar to The Rhone Group’s offer last spring which was rejected.

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