Anfield Stadium, the temple of Liverpool, as a guarantee to the creditor banks. There is a first degree mortgage that weighs on the real estate but also on a very substantial part of the assets of the Reds, including trademarks registered around the world and a long series of current accounts at the Royal Bank of Scotland (now Natwest). Also foreclosed the actions of the team of Salah and Firmino, coached by Jurgen Klopp. Just Natwest – according to documents consulted by Courier service – the leader of the creditors and presumably also the principal.
The club’s balance sheet, recently filed with unusual delay, does not mention the guarantees weighing on the assets (no news can be found in the British press) but describes in a few lines a loan of 200 million pounds. Probably just to protect this loan that the banks, as usual and as happened with previous transactions, have entered pledges and mortgages. Another corporate filing document, on Shearman & Sterling law firm headed paper, details all the commitments made by the American property with creditors.
Anfield has hosted Liverpool home games since 1892 and a kind of sacred place for fans. The hymn of the Reds, You’ll never walk alone, sung by the whole stadium in 2019 resounds again in the stands at the end of the legendary comeback against Barcelona (0-3 in Spain 4-0 at Anfield) in the Champions League semifinal ( then won over Tottenham). Liverpool owned by Fenway Sports Group, the US group headed by John Henry and which also has LeBron James, the American basketball champion, among its members.
74 contract pages
In the 74 pages of the loan agreement, the assets finished as collateral are indicated one by one: in addition to the Anfield and numerous other real estate properties on which there is a first degree mortgage, the club’s shares, 23 bank accounts have also been foreclosed to the Royal Bank of Scotland, and intellectual property (trademarks) in half the world, from Argentina to Vietnam. Liverpool, the last of the big players in Europe, approved and announced the balance sheet as at 31 May 2020 only in April 2021, almost a year later. Quite incomprehensible for a leading club in world football, especially with the pandemic that has radically changed strategies and perspectives.
Solid financial position
Of the 2019-2020 accounts we know from the press release: 39 million pounds of loss and revenues dropped to 490 million from 563. We were in a solid financial position before the pandemic – said Andy Huges, managing director of Liverpool Football Club, presenting the budget two months ago – and then we continued to manage our costs effectively even in an unprecedented period.
The origin of the new guarantees
It is therefore necessary to browse the pages of the financial statements of Uksv Holdings, the leading company of sports activities (including Liverpool) which aggregates all the accounts, to know that a credit line of 49 million has been refinanced (at the nominal rate of 1.96 %) maturing in September 2020. The amount increased to 200 million maturing in 2025 and interest rate at 1.21%. The guarantees were thus contracted again and filed with Companies House, the British company register. Meanwhile, the news on June 15, the club has received the green light from Liverpool City Council to redevelop the stands and increase the capacity of the stadium from 54,000 to 61,000. And the restructuring should be financed with the money obtained on loan from Natwest which then the new name of Royal Bank of Scotland, the bank that for over 15 years, that is, from the previous controlling shareholders, also American ones, the number one creditor of Liverpool . Natwest-Rbs, nationalized by London after the 2008 disaster, is still a public bank.