Bordeaux is perfect club for Liverpool multi-club model as FSG walks moral tightrope

A supporter of Bordeaux reacts after the French L2 football match between FC Girondins de Bordeaux and Rodez was abandoned by the referee, at Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux in Bordeaux, on June 2, 2023.
-Credit: (Image: THIBAUD MORITZ/AFP via Getty Images)

Liverpool appears to have taken a step closer to executing its plan to implement a multi-club model. FSG are in talks over acquiring a controlling stake in Girondins de Bordeaux.

The Liverpool owners have confirmed to the ECHO that these talks are taking place, with Michael Edwards having been bullish on adding another club to the roster when he returned to the fold. For fans, this has been met with a degree of trepidation, given the potential moral concerns surrounding ownership of multiple clubs at once.

Of course, FSG have long since owned other sports teams alongside Liverpool. But there are legitimate questions over what can happen when two or more football teams have a common owner, with Manchester City providing something of a cautionary tale.

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Last season, there were protests at ESTAC Troyes, which is part of the City Football Group. Like Bordeaux, it spent the last campaign in Ligue 2, and it was only spared from relegation due to Ajaccio's administrative relegation.

It is difficult to avoid subjugating one club's interest to those of another when two or more co-exist within the same ecosystem. While Manchester City won yet another Premier League title, and Girona thrived in La Liga, Troyes was left floundering.

Savio is technically a Troyes player. But while his parent club escaped relegation on a technicality, he was posting nine goals and 10 assists across for Girona in the Spanish top flight.

This is the worst of the multi-club model. Liverpool, with its proud fanbase and unshakeable sense of identity, would not wish to see another side effectively lose its independence and become subservient to the interests of the Anfield hierarchy.

Savio of Girona celebrates scoring the 3rd team goal during the LaLiga EA Sports match between Girona FC and Rayo Vallecano at Montilivi Stadium on February 26, 2024 in Girona, Spain.
Savio is on the books at ESTAC Troyes, but is yet to play a single game for the French side, sent elsewhere in the City Football Group. -Credit:David Ramos/Getty Images

But at least with Bordeaux, FSG can claim to be genuinely offering a better alternative to the current state of affairs. The fate of Ajaccio demonstrates the financial crisis within the French football pyramid, and Les Girondins face a similar predicament without rapid investment.

This is a six-time Ligue 1 winner. But administrative relegation would send it into obscurity.

There are parallels to when FSG arrived at Liverpool. The situation at Anfield was not so extreme, but the club was certainly a distressed asset to a certain extent, heading towards administration under the disastrous reign of Hicks and Gillet.

That has always left a residual gratitude. FSG have still been held to account where necessary, and Liverpool is not in thrall to a savior complex, but it inevitably colors the assessment of their reign as owners.

It's disappointing that the game is heading in the direction of multi-club models being necessary to compete, but Edwards has rightly spotted the trend. If Liverpool is to hop on board, at least taking over at Bordeaux would be in the immediate best interests of supporters — but it would be up to Reds fans to hold the owners to account and make sure fans are always put first.