Appointing From Within The Anfield Walls
Last week, we were again given evidence that the old Liverpool Way is back. John Henry and Tom Werner, after spending six months searching the globe, decided that the man they wanted for the Chief Executive post was already at Liverpool Football Club. This man was Ian Ayre who had for all intents and purposes already taken on the role. He was the man on this side of the Atlantic that John and Tom appointed on a temporary basis to oversee anything that if in the country they would have dealt with.
One of his earliest duties was to introduce the new temporary manager, Kenny Dalglish to the press and the public and hopefully changing that contract from temporary to permanent will be the first major duty in his tenure as Chief Executive
Ian is Liverpool born and bred so has supported the club from a very early age and I am sure like most of us that belong to the older generation can remember how the club was under the stewardship of T V Williams and Peter Robinson, who both led a very tight ship. There was none of the commercialism that surrounds the club today and they were there simply to sign the cheques for players and pay the bills.
Today the role of Chief Executive/Managing Director is totally different. In fact in the words of Ian himself, it will for the moment encompass both his former and his new role. As you all know, Ian joined the club four years ago after being recruited by Tom Hicks and George Gillett, who for once got something right, when they said that the commercial side of the club needed to expand into a worldwide venture.
The club of course did well in its shirt, scarf and souvenir sales, but the product range needed to be expanded here and introduced to the hordes of Liverpool Supporters abroad. Ian, who had spent several years working in the Far East, was seen as the ideal man for this and he began his task with a great deal of enthusiasm.
It worked of course and even though the club was going through a hellish period, Ian pulled off a master stroke by bringing Standard Chartered on board as our main sponsor. There have been many deals since, including one with Jack Wolfeskin and I am sure many more will surface in the future. He was also instrumental in the setting up of LFC TV which is still evolving and I am sure one day we will see the finished project.
In his own words, this how he see his new role.
"The best way to look at it is kind of pulling all the different constituent parts of the club together and making sure they operate as one. That's something that has perhaps been an issue in the past few years particularly, so it's great to have the opportunity to create that unity between the different parts of the club. It's a big challenge and a big responsibility, but one I think we can do well".
He will also continue to play a very big part in the commercial side of the club, although he sees his old role being redefined before a new recruit is brought in to become part of Liverpool Football Club. On the Chief Executive/Managing Director side, he will also as I have said taken on the tasks that John and Tom will normally have done, if in residence over here. These will of course no longer involve the buying and selling of players as a Director of Football has been put into place to hopefully ensure that this side of the business is run smoothly.
Ian was asked if during his childhood, he ever had the dream of managing the club he worshipped. Below is his answer.
"No, it still hasn't sunk in really. I spoke to my dad and my mum, who both still live in Liverpool, and my kids and it feels like they're more excited than me but I think that's just because it hasn't really sunk in. But as I said, for my family and for myself, it's such a proud moment and I think what is great, and I said this to John when we spoke, the great thing is for them is that there is a massive insurance policy there because I wouldn't just be letting them down if I didn't do the best I could do in this job, but I'd be letting my family and friends down and they're more important than anything in life. It's a great challenge but I'm very honoured to have it."
He was also instrumental in helping to get rid of Tom Hicks and George Gillett, which ensured that today we have new owners and a Liverpudlian back in charge of the club, which is how it should be.