Wednesday, May 9 – 1990
Liverpool’s new chairman Noel White began his Anfield reign last night vowing to the Kop: “I’ll fight to keep John Barnes here. He is the hottest property in world football – and we will give full consideration to whatever demands he wishes.”
The simple declaration of faith by White will be welcomed by Liverpool’s fans, and is a clear signal to envious European clubs that only a world record transfer fee of more than £6 million would tempt the champions to sell now.
The dazzling England winger has a year of his contract to run and Liverpool hope a new four-year deal worth £1m will persuade him to stay long-term. White acknowledged that holding on to Barnes will be Liverpool’s most important task this summer, and pledged: “We are making every effort to keep him. We will go a long way to try to do it.”
White, 59, has taken over as chairman from Sir John Smith, who has stepped down after 17 years in charge. The new chairman added: “If we go back into European competition that could help in keeping Barnes.
“But in the situation at the moment we’ve just got to keep an open mind on when we will be back in European football.”
White also made it quickly clear that Liverpool intend to keep a long-term grip on the managerial skills of Kenny Dalglish. He said: “I see Kenny as the manager for all seasons. I have the greatest respect for his ability.
“His five years as manager have proved it was an inspired choice. It’s the Liverpool knack of making the right decisions … I hope that knack has continued this week!”
Liverpool’s appreciation of Dalglish’s talents will be reflected in a new deal probably worth around £250,000 a year now that his original five-years agreement has ended.
(Daily Express, May 10 – 1990)