Main Stand will be his legacy but ticketing fiasco left sour taste
- 11:00, 3 FEB 2017
Ian Ayre’s 10-year association with Liverpool Football Club will be over at the end of this month.
The club’s CEO, whose contract with the club expires in the summer, will depart early ahead of his move as managing director of German club 1860 Munich.
He will depart Anfield with supporters in disagreement over his service to the club. For some, it has been a job well done – both as commercial director, then in the more senior roles of managing director and CEO.
To others, his time on Merseyside has been a disappointment, with the Reds needing something more in that department.
Here are the highs and lows of his time at the club.
His role in the takeover
2010 seems a long while ago, but it was only seven years ago when Ayre played a significant part in the removal of Hicks and Gillett – and the subsequent arrival of New England Sports Ventures (now FSG).
A combination of legal, financial and fan power ousted the cash-strapped American duo, compelling them to sell their shares in the club to FSG.
Commercial director at the time, Ayre combined with Christian Purslow and Martin Broughton to help oust Hicks and Gillett from the boardroom.
“People sometimes forget how bad it was,” Ayre said four years later, in April 2014. “I speak to people now and they have really short memories.
“When you think about that day when we tipped it over the edge and finally pulled it back, we have come such a long way.”
Apart from Jordan Henderson, every starter in Liverpool’s draw with Chelsea was signed under the guidance of Ayre.
His influence and input varies, but the list of incomings he has helped oversee contain some decent names. Roberto Firmino, Gini Wijnaldum, Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana have all lived up to their transfer fees, while James Milner and Joel Matip have proven astute Bosman signings.
It was Ayre, after all, who flew to Chile during the 2015 Copa America in order to seal the deal with Firmino – as proven with the picture of the duo after the move had been completed.
When Liverpool decided to part company with Brendan Rodgers, it was Ayre who was among the delegation sent to meet Jurgen Klopp.
Days later, the German boss would be confirmed as Liverpool manager – a sizeable coup for the club given Klopp’s status in world football.
After securing his signature, Ayre would reveal the process behind bringing the former Borussia Dortmund man to Anfield.
“We met as a group – the owners and myself – and talked about the attributes we would want in the next Liverpool manager and all of the ambition and things we want to achieve as a club,” he said.
“His name rose to the top in terms of the attributes he has and what we believe he can bring, and the sort of person he is.
“Having got all of those boxes ticked, it was then about getting Jurgen and I’m pleased to say we achieved that.”