GETTING SHIRTY: This is Liverpool’s 24th kit in eight seasons and they are about to sign another new deal. — Photo AFP
By Paul Kennedy
Liverpool Football Club are about to sign the kit deal of all kit deals which by all accounts will be the most lucrative ever signed by a Premier League club.
Nike’s famous ‘swoosh’ logo will soon be appearing alongside the Liver Bird crest on LFC shirts in the not so distant future and new kits galore will be sold across the world.
The deal is reportedly worth more than $91m a season. That will make it the third largest kit deal in the world behind only Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Since Liverpool were taken over by their American owners Fenway Sports Group eight years ago, the team has produced 24 different kits. That’s three each season.
The current home shirt, shorts and socks for an adult will set you back £115 (VND3.2m) so it wouldn’t be wrong of me to suggest selling replica kits is a nice little earner for Liverpool Football Club.
Meanwhile 68 kilometres north of Liverpool is Bury.
For those of you not familiar with the north western mill town it’s particularly famous for its open-air market, it was the birth place of former UK Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel and the traditional local food is black pudding which is made from pig’s blood and fat.
It also used to have a team in the English Football League.
Founded in 1885, Bury FC is one of the oldest professional football clubs in England.
In the early hours of Wednesday morning Vietnamese time, cash-strapped Bury FC’s 125 year membership with the English Football League came to an end.
A last-gasp plea by politicians to extend the deadline to save the club fell on deaf ears.
Not that far from Bury is another north west mill town called Bolton. Comedian Peter Kay is from Bolton and so is Nat Lofthouse, one of the greatest English footballers of his generation.
Like Bury, Bolton too are in serious financial dire straits and were placed into administration back in May.
And like Bury, they could too end up being booted out of the EFL having been given a 14-day deadline to find a new owner.
Bolton, and Bury before them, could have done with a new kit deal, like Liverpool, to survive. Actually, that’s not true. What Bolton and Bury need to survive is a tiny fraction of the money Nike will pay to Liverpool just to have their logo on the kits.
Now I’m not for one minute suggesting Liverpool FC are doing anything wrong. At the end of the day, they are a business, and looking at some of the deals they have made in recent times, a very shrewd one.
But surely with all the money in football at the highest level, there has to be a way clubs can do something to help out.
I don’t know exactly what went on at Bolton and Bury for them to land in the mire, and any money owed by individuals through mismanagement or wrongdoings should not be paid simply to line their pockets and get them personally out of debt.
But Bury and Bolton have thousands and thousands of loyal supporters who right now have either lost or are about to lose the clubs they love.
Both towns are in Greater Manchester, as are Manchester United and Manchester City. At those clubs, there are individual players who make enough money in just a few weeks that would ensure the survival of their neighbours for years to come.
The gulf between those four Manchester clubs, and indeed the top and bottom of professional football is gargantuan.
If every single Premier League player decided to give a slice of their salaries, let’s say a single week’s wage, to help Bolton and Bury, none of them would even notice the money missing from their bank accounts.
This of course is a simple way of putting it, but surely there has to be a way for the rich to help the poor? — VNS