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'The idea we sit around and vote on every player we sign couldn't be further from the truth' - Ian Ayre

The Liverpool CEO says the manager always has the final say.

Ian Ayre was speaking at today's Web Summit.
Ian Ayre was speaking at today's Web Summit.
Image: Peter Byrne

DURING BRENDAN RODGERS reign as Liverpool boss, the Anfield outfit signed 32 players for more than €400 million, though it was often suggested the 42-year old did not have the final say in every transfer.

But does the infamous transfer committee exist or was it just a convenient narrative for Rodgers to fall back on when things were not going his way?

According to Liverpool CEO Ian Ayre, the answer is both yes and no.

Yes, an advisory group does exist to help the manager evaluate players but no, they don’t take the final decision, Ayre’s told this year’s Web Summit.

“The word (sic) transfer committee was used once and became this idea that we all sit around the table and have a vote on every player we sign, and that couldn’t be further from the truth,” Ayre said.

“There’s only one person who has the final say on players at Liverpool FC and right now that’s Jürgen Klopp.

“That’s always been the case. Certainly all the time I’ve been at the club. Brendan had the final say on all the players we signed.”

Ayre, who has held the position of CEO with Liverpool for nearly a decade added that the idea behind the committee — whatever it’s actually called — is to assist a manager who has to prepare for a game every three or four days over the course of a season.

“The point that’s being made when we say committee, and I don’t think we’re doing anything differently to most football clubs, the manger will say ‘I want to look for somebody in this position’.

“We have a bunch of different people — a mix of traditional scouting that everyone’s aware of, and more recently, more analytical and more digital-based information — we bring all of that together and we’ll look at best three or four players in that position.

“We’ll show it to the manager, who’ll either go watch or will have the scouts go watch those players, then we’ll narrow it down and I’ll become more involved, talking to clubs, agents and players on the negotiation basis of the deal, and then the manager will choose.

“That’s never changed.

“I’ve been at the club eight years, and the committee is the collaboration of all those people who contribute to allowing the manger making that decision, and actually I think that’s very smart.”

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Soccer - Jurgen Klopp Press Conference - Anfield Ayre with new Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp. Source: Peter Byrne/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Ayre also spoke about the impact of illegal streaming on football revenues and future TV deals but suggested that, by not just reinvesting media money into players, clubs can build a sustainable business that sits underneath the football.

Part of building that business is using social media to communicate with fans or ‘customers’ as Ayre refers to them.

“It’s about using it as a barometer, it’s a good tool to get a sense of what the feeling is out there.”

But they won’t be signing Marco Reus just because you ask them on Twitter to do so.

“If we did everything that was said on social media, we wouldn’t get any work done.”

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About the author:

Steve O'Rourke

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