American parent company Fenway Sports Group's Billy Hogan has been appointed as Liverpool FC’s new commercial director.
Hogan will be making the switch to Merseyside from his current Boston-based role as managing director of Fenway Sports Management, the marketing arm of John Henry’s organisation.
The 37-year-old sports marketing executive will replace Graham Bartlett who parted company with the Reds in March after less than a year in the job.
Hogan has already worked on a number of Liverpool projects, including the record-breaking £25million per year kit deal with Warrior Sports. He has also been part of the team putting together Liverpool’s pre-season tour of North America.
The Reds declined to comment but it’s understood his appointment will be officially confirmed over the next week and the move is seen as a move to strengthen the management team at Anfield as a new stadium is now a major priority.
Meanwhile Liverpool Managing Director Ian Ayre says the Reds are continuing to explore both options open to them – building a new ground in Stanley Park or redeveloping Anfield.
The fact there has been no solution some 19 months after Fenway Sports Group’s takeover is a source of frustration for supporters.
Publication of the club’s accounts earlier this month highlighted that the failure to relocate to a new stadium during the previous regime of Tom Hicks and George Gillett had left Liverpool with a bill for £49.6million.
Hicks and Gillett had vowed to have ‘a spade in the ground within 60 days’ following their arrival in February 2007 but it never happened and their expensive plans have since been scrapped.
Planning permission still exists to build the stadium designed by Manchester architects AFL but obtaining a lucrative naming rights deal is crucial to subsidising the £300million project.
Ayre says talks with interested major companies are ongoing, while Liverpool are also continuing to assess whether refurbishing Anfield and increasing the capacity from 45,000 to around 60,000 is financially viable.
Redeveloping their current home has always been owner John W Henry’s preferred option but there are planning issues as well as problems buying up houses nearby.
“There is progress and we are still in dialogue on both fronts,” told the Liverpool Echo.