LONDON, February 27 – Liverpool chief executive Rick Parry is to leave his post at the end of the season, clearing the way for manager Rafael Benitez to sign a new contract, the Premier League club confirmed on Friday.
Parry’s departure, the latest twist in the boardroom unrest at Liverpool, is the result of the breakdown in his relationship with Benitez, who has been unhappy with the chief executive’s failure to sign players targeted by the Spaniard.
Benitez has been refusing to sign a new contract because he wants more control over the club’s transfer policy instead of Parry, who had been responsible for negotiating with clubs and players.
Rumours swept Merseyside ahead of Wednesday’s 1-0 Champions League win at Real Madrid that Benitez was set to quit.
But Benitez, who won the Champions League with Liverpool in 2005, appears to have won the power struggle and is likely to agree a new deal in the near future, ending reports that he may join Real Madrid.
A statement from Tom Hicks, joint owner of the club with George Gillett, on the Liverpool website read: "Rick’s commitment to Liverpool Football Club is epitomised by his desire to ensure that this transitional period is managed efficiently and we are grateful to him for his help. He will always remain a friend of the football club."
In November, Parry pledged to stay at Anfield after he was linked with a senior job in the English Football Association’s 2018 World Cup bid.
Now the former chief executive of the Premier League, who joined Liverpool in 1998, will be looking for a new job after falling victim to Benitez’s desire for total control at Anfield.
Hicks tried to force out Parry last April and used commercial director Ian Ayre and finance director Steve Nash, who operates out of a city centre office away from Anfield, to marginalise the 54-year-old.
Parry refused to criticise the club and insisted he could leave Liverpool with his head held high.
"I have had 12 very exciting years at Liverpool and am extremely proud of what has been achieved by the club over that period," Parry said.
"The victory in Madrid was a wonderful reminder of the many high points we have experienced and adds to the moments that make Liverpool and its magnificent fans so special."
"It has been a privilege to serve the club and as a lifelong supporter I wish the owners, Rafa (Benitez), the players and the wonderful staff all the very best for the future."
"I will be leaving at the end of the season knowing that the club remains strong and with a set of supporters who deserve success in all that Liverpool does."