Liverpool’s owners have been staunch backers and admirers of Ian Ayre since they purchased the club, promoting him to CEO and consistently singing his praises in the media.
Now upon Ayre’s departure, the Americans have happily admitted that they did everything in their power to convince him to stay but were not able to do so.
The CEO is leaving on the expiration of his contract in 2017, which has drawn a mixed reaction from Liverpool supporters everywhere.
“Ian advised us of his intention to step down a few months ago,” read a statement on behalf of John W. Henry, Tom Werner and Mike Gordon, cited in the Telegraph.
“We asked him on several occasions to take time to reconsider his decision but have been unable to convince him to remain beyond May, 2017.
“We will at some point in the near future begin identifying and recruiting a worthy successor to build on the outstanding foundations laid by Ian.
“Under his leadership we have seen Liverpool transform from a club on the brink of bankruptcy to one which enjoys strong financial health.
“It is typical of the person he is that, once again, Ian is putting the club ahead of his own interest in wanting to announce his decision 15 months before he steps down.”
It’s almost fashionable for Liverpool fans to mock and ridicule Ayre, but it’s often without knowledge of his actual role at the club.
Ayre was previously criticised for not sealing deals quickly enough and losing out to our rivals in the transfer market, but when we apparently changed tact in summer 2014 – he was branded reckless and a money waster. It’s important to recognise that Ayre’s role in drawing up the transfer list would have been minimal – and instead he was charged with negotiations. He often fulfilled his end of the bargain in signing the players. The players, and perhaps the management, often did not.
There’s been some bad deals and some good – but it’s Ayre’s role in our recent commercial success which his legacy should be defined by. Finance blog the Swiss Ramble confirmed yesterday that Liverpool’s £60m profit last season was the highest of any side in the Premier League.
Fans will remember that under our previous owners stocked Liverpool with debt and there were genuine suggestions of a winding up order. FSG and Ayre haven’t been perfect by any stretch, but the club is in a better place for their work.