July 25, 1979
Television will be on Liverpool next season. The League champions have decided to wear shirt advertising and the sponsor will be Japanese TV and electronics giant Hitachi. That’s the name Anfield old-boy Kevin Keegan wears on his Hamburg shirt in Germany,
And the shock behind this pioneering move by Liverpool – most successful club in the League – is that they claim they are doing it to stay alive.
“We are fighting for our existence,” was yesterday’s staggering comment from chairman John Smith, as he announced a one-year, £50,000 deal with Hitachi.
The money may not seem a lot at this stage, but Liverpool are hoping it will be a trail-blazer. The aim to challenge regulations which ban shirt advertising in televised matches, FA Cup ties and European games.
Quoting figures that emphasise the grim financial position in football, Smith revealed:
“From a turnover of £2-4 million last year, Liverpool’s profit at the end of the day was a meagre £71,000 … this for one of the leading clubs in Europe.
“It shows the paucity of money in British football. Our neighbours, Everton, for instance, made a profit of £2,000 last year and the year before their figures was just £184. And only a handful of clubs make a profit at all.
“The days are gone when a club like ours could control their destiny on the money coming through the turnstiles. It is absolutely essential to generate income from other sources.
“We have agreed to this deal to help safeguard the long-term financial interest of the club.”
Liverpool expect to get League and F.A. permission for their Hitachi emblems within the next few days.
(Source: Daily Express: July 25, 1979)
Phil Thompson and model Teri Byrne parading the new shirt sponsor at Anfield in the summer of 1979