The Business On... Martin Broughton, Chairman, Liverpool FC

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The Independent Online

How is he coping with being stuck in the middle of so much wrangling at a club he loves?

Pretty well, not least because the club Mr Broughton loves is not the one he chairs. He's supported Chelsea for more than 50 years.

Are you sure? Why would Liverpool hire a Chelsea fan?

Because they thought his business pedigree made him the best man for the job. He ran British American Tobacco for many years and has been chairman of British Airways since 2004. He's also a past president of the CBI. At the airline he's been helping negotiate with the cabin crew unions, so the spat with Liverpool's owners won't throw him.

Still, a businessman isn't going to have much of a feel for fans on the terrace, is he?

Don't be so sure. At Chelsea, Mr Broughton's season ticket is in the stand rather than in a box. And his background is humble. He complains about having missed Chelsea's 1965 League Cup win because his parents didn't own a television.

Does he know much about sport?

Well, he's a lifelong horse-racing fan, which should give him something to talk to the players about. As well as owning horses – and betting on them – he used to chair the British Horseracing Board.

Is he tough enough to stand up to Tom Hicks and George Gillett?

He's never been afraid to speak his mind. He once annoyed colleagues at BAT by admitting publicly he didn't want his kids to smoke. As president of the CBI, he accused Labour of"economic vandalism" when it introduced the 50p top rate of income tax.

Any secret weapons?

A sense of humour. Earlier this year, the Speechwriters' Guild made him its "business communicator of the year". The judges said: "He can craft a phrase, select a great quotation and crack a good joke, which is extremely rare among top British executives."

Has he heard the one about the club 'built by Shanks and sold to Yanks'?

Don't push your luck.