Liverpool chief bemoans the previous regime
John W Henry has spoken openly about the huge financial challenge he’s been facing at Liverpool, admitting that Fenway Sports Group is still trying to repair the damage caused by the club’s previous owners, reports the Daily Mail.
It is just under two years ago that FSG took ownership of Liverpool, taking control after a disastrous reign in charge from Tom Hicks and George Gillette, who took the club to a high court battle and the brink of administration.
In that time, Henry and Liverpool chairman Tom Werner have done well to stabilise the club, and have injected large amounts of money for transfers. Now Henry has gone on record, explaining just how bad the situation was when FSG took over, and how much work there is still left to do.
“The best analogy is that you can’t turn an ocean liner around like you can turn a speedboat,” Henry explained.
“You could say it was a bigger challenge than [when we bought] the Boston Red Sox.
“When you look back from this vantage point: the rivalry between Liverpool and Manchester United – Liverpool isn’t holding up its side of the rivalry.
‘That is the way it was with the Red Sox and the Yankees. The Yankees were just completely dominant when we arrived here 11 years ago. We knew we could never be on an equal footing financially with The Yankees.
“But we had to do everything in our power to get on a level footing with them on the playing field. That was a tremendous challenge. As we started to close the gap, they built a new stadium. That was a quantum leap forward. This is an even bigger challenge.”
FSG has shown its shrewd business sense off the pitch in little under two years in the Premier League, and recently secured a £25 million-a-year kit deal with American brand Warrior. However, Henry admits this is just another step on the road to recovery after the damage caused by their American predecessors.
“Looking back at the very first day, I was trying to make a point then about how much of a challenge it was going to be because of the issues we inherited.
“We had a lack of depth in the squad and some really high payrolls. We also had issues with the age of the players and so forth. We knew it was going to be very difficult. Tom and I went for a long walk and we had to make the decision ‘are we going to buy Liverpool?’
“We had to decide whether we really wanted to take this on, as we knew this was a huge challenge. A much larger challenge than any supporter could know. We had done due diligence and looked at how the situation was financially, with the player contracts and the youth system.
“The further we went into it, the more sobered we were.”