Liverpool chairman admits regret over plan to furloughing club staff
Chairman Tom Werner has admitted Liverpool made a mistake when they announced plans to furlough staff, but hopes the quick U-turn shows their commitment to the club.
Fenway Sports Group, the Liverpool owners, faced fierce criticism at the beginning of April when they revealed they would take advantage of the Government scheme paying 80 per cent of wages up to £2,500 a month.
The furious backlash from fans and former players led FSG to reverse their decision within 48 hours, reminiscent of when they changed their stance on raising ticket prices to as much as £77 — which led to a mass walkout at Anfield in February 2016.
‘It’s better to admit a mistake than to dig your heels in,’ Werner said.
‘Hopefully people will know that all we really care about is trying to support the fans and support our players and our club in a way that is sustainable.’
Werner, who is one of the key figures at FSG alongside John W Henry and Mike Gordon, is approaching 10 years in charge of Liverpool and these unprecedented times have him yearning for football to resume.
‘It’s a terrible situation we’re all in,’ he said. ‘Someday, hopefully, there will be a vaccine and we can return to the joy of being in a stadium and watching the elegant play of great football players.
‘The most important thing is safety and the Premier League are working on protocols. But there’s a hole in so many people’s lives. Football is central to their dreams and their hopes.
‘Certainly, as regards to Liverpool, we are playing magnificent football and we are just a couple of matches away from winning the trophy. But I do put it in perspective.’
Liverpool were on the brink of administration when FSG won the battle to buy the club from Tom Hicks and George Gillett.
The last three years have been their most successful, with Jurgen Klopp’s side winning the Club World Cup, the European Super Cup and, best of all, the Champions League.
‘The 4-0 win over Barcelona (in the semi-final) was the single greatest sporting event I’ve ever seen,’ Werner said. ‘The reaction our supporters had in the stadium that day and around the world is something that I’ll remember for the rest of my life.
‘I thought I could never imagine experiencing anything like (the parade that followed the 2-0 win over Tottenham in the final).
‘Then somebody said, “Well if we win the Premier League, this parade will be dwarfed”. I’m looking forward to a parade when we can all congregate again.’