Jamie Carragher was “angry” and “embarrassed” after Liverpool’s initial decision to furlough non-playing staff, and believes the club have done the right thing in reversing the move.
On Saturday, the club said they would be applying to the government’s job-retention scheme in order to get through the coronavirus crisis, despite making a profit of £42m last season from revenues of £533m.
But after a fierce backlash from the football world, including many of their own fans, Liverpool rowed back on that decision on Monday, revealing they would find “another way” to cover the shortfall from the suspension of football.
“My hope was that there was enough time to reverse this decision,” Carragher told Sky Sports. “I was angry. At this moment Liverpool are top of the league, world champions, they tick so many boxes. People look at them as some sort of model.
“To get something to badly wrong, I couldn’t believe it. I was embarrassed as a Liverpool fan. Tottenham and Newcastle have already done it, I expected it, and the football world expected it from Daniel Levy and Mike Ashley. But not from Liverpool, who built themselves up under their owners as ‘this means more’.
“I’m delighted they’ve changed their mind.”
Many others in football praised Liverpool’s U-turn. Ian Wright tweeted: “Never too late to do the right thing.”
In a letter to supporters, the club’s chief executive Peter Moore wrote: “Allowing for perspective in these unprecedented and harrowing times, it is important to address an issue we, as an organisation, have been involved in since the weekend.
“We have consulted with a range of key stakeholders as part of a process aimed at achieving the best possible outcome for all concerned.
“A range of possible scenarios were considered, including but not restricted to: applying to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme which pays 80% of salary and guaranteeing the 20% payment; applying to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme with a guarantee to reimburse monies received at a later date and, thirdly, finding an alternative means to cover our furlough costs.
“It is as a direct result of this extensive consultation – and our own internal deliberations at various levels throughout the Club – that we have opted to find alternative means despite our eligibility to apply for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
“We believe we came to the wrong conclusion last week to announce that we intended to apply to the Coronavirus Retention Scheme and furlough staff due to the suspension of the Premier League football calendar and are truly sorry for that.”