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Scousers ready to take over Bordeaux

Liverpool FC owner FSG is in talks to buy Bordeaux football club. Could the move help introduce a new generation of Liverpudlians to the French region’s wines?

The Matmut Atlantic Stadium, home to Girondins de Bordeaux FC

Fenway Sports Group (FSG) has revealed it is in talks to buy French club Bordeaux, with a plan for a majority stake sale already submitted to the Direction Nationale du Contrôle de Gestion (DNCG), which monitors the finances of French clubs, on 9 July.

“Fenway Sports Group has expressed interest in the potential acquisition of French football club Girondins de Bordeaux and is in the early stages of dialogue and engagement,” the Bordeaux club said in a statement.

“We are working, hand in hand with them [DNCG), as part of the continuation of negotiations and due diligence.”

The ailing French side is currently appealing a decision that would see it relegated to the third tier, though the club has previously seen immense success, winning the Ligue 1 title six times (most recently in 2009).

A potential buy-out could help restore them to the second tier as the decision to demote the club was largely due to the poor state of its finances.

While FSG is an American-owned company, with teams such as baseball’s Boston Red Sox and hockey’s Pittsburgh Penguins under its umbrella, the fact that Premier League team Liverpool FC is also under its wing means the acquisition could present an opportunity for UK football fans to stand behind the French region’s team, and its wines.

Longstanding relationship

Liverpool has a longstanding relationship with Bordeaux as the two cities are ‘twinned’. Bordeaux, along with Rio de Janeiro, Shanghai and Cologne, is considered to be a twin city of Liverpool. A shared love of wine also exists between the two locations, with Liverpool announced as a ‘guest city’ for Fête Le Vin 2024, which took place in Bordeaux earlier this year, with food, drink and music from Liverpool all featured as part of the celebration of wine.

“Our relationship with Bordeaux goes back to 2016 when we were granted the ‘UK Host City of Bordeaux Fête le Vin’ which progressed into us launching ‘Taste Liverpool. Drink Bordeaux’ in 2022, a food & drink festival showcasing Liverpool’s amazing food and drink offer,” said Susan Finnegan, commercial director at Marketing Liverpool. “Bordeaux is in our heritage.”

But how do Liverpool’s wine merchants feel about their football team’s pending acquisition?

According to Devin Stewart, owner of R&H Fine Wines in South Liverpool, Bordeaux would not necessarily be top of his list when picking a wine region for his football team’s custodians to partner with.

“As a Liverpool FC season ticket holder I’d be as glad to know they [FSG] weren’t spreading themselves too thin,” he tells db of the pending acquisition.

“As a wine merchant I’d probably be happier if they were interested in Tours FC, Deportivo La Caruna or Palmermo – but if it has to be Bordeaux, I’d be delighted to share what we know with young and old – be they new or loyal customers. And maybe we could all just try and sneak in a glass of Champagne to toast the last 10 years we’ve enjoyed so much and to wish them well for the next 10.”

R&H Fine Wines has previously sold Bordeaux bottles such as Château La Grave Figeac Saint Emilion Grand Cru 2016 and the organic and biodynamic Château Pey-Bonhomme Les-Tours 2020.

Liverpool FC’s wine connections

The club has already shown it is open to drinks partnerships through several previous collaborations.

In 2015 it teamed up with Claymore Wines to produce three club-branded wines: YNWA ‘The Boot Room’ Shiraz; You’ll Never Walk Alone Grenache/Shiraz/Mataro blend; and You’ll Never Walk Alone Sauvignon Blanc. All three wines were made in Australia’s Clare Valley.

Then in 2017 Liverpool signed a three-year partnership with local drinks distributor Halewood Wine & Spirits to serve its products in Anfield’s hospitality lounges, its Boot Room Sports Cafe and at conferences and events.

In May 2024 db reported that Carlsberg was releasing a special Jürgen Klopp beer to celebrate his reign as Liverpool FC manager. The Believers Brew bottles were made available through specialist sports memorabilia auctioneer Graham Budd, with all proceeds going towards the club’s charity, the LFC Foundation, to support local causes.


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