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Monday, 11 October 2010

Liverpool: New Americans should bring success back to Anfield

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Liverpool fans could well see the back of Tom Hicks and George Gillett this week if the New England Sports Ventures purchase of the club is given the go-ahead. The sale is subject to a court battle brought by the current maligned owners who stand to lose about £140 million from the deal. That’s an awful lot of money, but the Liverpool fans don’t care. The Americans have broken every promise they have ever made concerning the Anfield giants and there will be no tears shed at their departure.


However, replacing them could be more Americans led by Boston Red Sox chief John W Henry. Some fans fear this could be jumping out of the frying pan into the fire, but our American Fulham correspondent and Boston Red Sox supporter Russell Goldman from insists Liverpool have nothing to fear from Mr Henry.


“I want to mention that I certainly understand why Liverpool fans would be sceptical. What makes Henry and the rest of the Red Sox ownership different are several ways. Firstly, they have been very successful owners with the Boston Red Sox. Since 2001 when this ownership took over the Red Sox have won the World Series twice and the Sox are usually in contention every season for the play-offs. The Red Sox had not won the World Series in 86 years prior to Heny taking over.


“Secondly, everything that this ownership had as its goals when taking over have come true. Their intention to bring a championship to Boston has happened twice in less than 10 years. They intended to refurbish and modernize Fenway Park which they have done. They wanted to build up the Red Sox farm system which they have also succeeded in doing. The farm system would be similar to the academy of a football team. 


“Thirdly, the ownership has spent money on new players to keep the Red Sox as competitive as possible.


“Finally, the Red Sox ownership I believe has the money to properly run Liverpool and get it back to where they want to be. John Henry is not the only owner of the Red Sox. He has a group of very wealthy partners. Henry is just the principal owner.”


That is a glowing endorsement of the new owners from somebody who has seen his baseball team transformed by Henry’s money and Russell shares the view by the Liverpool fans that Hicks and Gillett are to blame for the club’s current situation.


 “Let me just say that I thought how Benitez was treated by the ownership was shameful in the end. A manager in general I think deserves some of the heat when a team does not perform to expectations. However, the ownership ultimately deserves more of the blame for Liverpool. The financial situation probably did have have a negative effect on the club. It is difficult for a team to function with such financial uncertainty hanging over the club. These owners did not follow through on their promises. The buck stops at the top. Hicks and Gillette are much more responsible for the current situation at Liverpool.”


And Russell just can’t speak highly enough of John Henry.

“On a scale of one to 10 I would give Henry a perfect 10. Red Sox fans were very sceptical about this ownership group coming in. They were not local and that rubbed Bostonians the wrong way. However, the team changed dramatically very quickly.


“They turned it around in several ways. They spent money on very good players and upgraded the current roster at that time. They also built up their farm system which ultimately led to many homegrown players for the team. As I stated before they redeveloped Fenway Park by modernizing it and adding many more seats. They also are tremendous businessmen, and figured out how to maximize the marketing and sponsorship opportunities for the club.


“Everything that Henry and his group have put into the club, the fans have received back with two World Series championships and every other year being in the hunt for the title.”


This will be a worrying few days for Liverpool fans as the uncertainty surrounding the club is affecting everyone from the top down. The threat of administration and a points deduction still looms over the club and the fans are praying that Gillett and Hicks are booted out of the club. If everything goes the way of New England Sports Ventures then Russell believes Liverpool will be true title contenders within two seasons.


“I really believe that,” he said. “Henry and his partners do not waste time. I think they will start right away trying to upgrade the club.”

This could be the dawn of a new era at Liverpool. One that brings success back to the club and one that shows that not all Americans are as bad as Hicks and Gillett.


Calling all Liverpool fans. What do you think of the prospective new owners? How confident are you that they can transform your fortunes in the Premier League? What do you think of their track record at the Boston Red Sox? How much would it mean to have Hicks and Gillett out of the club? Whatever your view I’d love to hear from you.

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Colin Illingworth



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