Liverpool’s new Chief Executive has hit the ground running by promising the funds to back Jurgen Klopp’s Anfield revolution.
But Peter Moore – who starts this morning after joining from American giants EA Sports, a $5bn silicon valley superpower – has insisted he WON’T be tempted to get into an arms race with the likes of big-spending Manchester City, just because he’s a lifelong Koppite.
Moore was born in Liverpool, but has worked mostly in the States with massive companies such as EA, Microsoft and Reebok, and he brings an impressive business CV along with his passion for the club that has survived his 40 year exile.
But even though he cheerfully admits that “as a fan…I have been hanging on every rumour and signing”, he will not be involved in any football decisions – and will refuse to be threatened by the hundreds of millions City will spend this summer.
Speaking about his plans to back Klopp, when asked if there would be significant funds he said: “Yes, correct. You can expect us to strengthen the team.
“You are exactly right when you say there is money to back the manager and the sporting director.”
Moore is not your typical executive who professes a passion for the new club, but then can’t name the left back.
He can name just about every left back going back to Gerry Byrne, and even hosted a massive party at Microsoft to try and convert workers there to Liverpool, during the dramatic Champions’ League Final of 2005.
He has spent thousands travelling back from the States for a regular Anfield pilgrimage, but even though he will spend much more as the man to sanction the Reds’ summer spending on at least five players – with two targets in Virgil van Dijk and Naby Keita who would cost £100m combined – he explained why it would be stupid to try and match City.
“Look, I have been involved in a company that if you go back it is a matter of public record has acquired other companies for $1b and it hasn’t quit worked out,” Moore said.
“I have lived through what is known as M and A activity – Mergers and Acquisitions – and what I have learned over the years is that it is not how much you pay but what you get.
“And so you have a kid called Philippe Coutinho playing out there who cost £8m and then you have other guys who cost four or five times that around the league.
“That is not about, ‘we have spent a lot of money so we are good’ that is about we have bought the right players at the right price. And that is my business background. Everyone wants to see massive money, but what I want to see is talent for the right price. And I might be naïve in that but that seems good business.”
City’s business plan is very different, with the club determined to spend huge amounts of cash to try to return to the top of the Premier League, but Moore warns that way lies ruin.
“It’s not about saying “they spent a dollar, so we’ll spend a dollar”. It’s not “they’ve spent £100m, so we will spend £100m”. It’s about we have strengthened our squad in these positions and it has cost us this,” he added.
“I maybe naive but I’m not looking at my competitor – let’s call City a competitor – spending this, therefore I need to spend that regardless of the quality of the players? That makes no business sense to me.
“I’m yet to see the process of how it works but i hear nothing but good things the way we do it and in particular about (Sporting Director) Michael Edwards and his process of this. But the theory that because Man City spends £100m we need to spend £100m? Listen, we may spend £100m. Who knows? But it won’t be because they spend £100m.”
In recruiting Moore, Liverpool have moved into the big league in terms business experience, but he is clear that his role will be centred on growing income – with no involvement in the football side of the operation.
And that, he suggested, is how he likes it. “I have been the CEO of a five billion dollar company with 8,500 employees and a company that’s done phenomenally well over the last few years.
“People might say, what does he know about it? He’s a video game guy or a shoe guy at Reebok. But, it’s business – it’s understanding what drives a business and what leadership qualities the CEO needs to motivate people.
“It’s very clear to me what the role needed is what I bring: values, experience and integrity. My Liverpool background is a major plus but it’s not key to what I bring.
“I’m not disappointed that I’m not involved in the transfer business. The expression that I use is horses for courses. What we have to do as a single team is provide the team down there on the pitch with every resource they need to be successful. And that is the challenge of modern football.
“The three of us together (with Klopp and Edwards) all rolling up into Fenway Sports Group I think makes a very powerful and potent group.”
He also revealed that his first aim is to ensure Liverpool don’t fall out of the elite group of English clubs. “We see clubs that just cant keep up with things and it is always said for me to see clubs that I grew up with as a boy that were powerhouses that fall off the pace.
“It is very difficult then, and I have seen this in the world of Silicon Valley, once you drop off the pace – catching back up again, being relevant, attracting talent becomes very very difficult.
“But I think we are in a position that we are well-placed. I come in and I look at where we are today.
“You look (and say) what is the platform that you currently have: this stadium, what we are planning to do to improve our training facilities in both Melwood and Kirkby.
“We have a world class manager that any club in the world would want and we are so fortunate to have him, and in Michael we have a sporting director who really has his finger on the pulse on what is going on around the world. So I look at it that way. The key ingredients are in place.”