In light of Liverpool’s woe, is it dangerous to have owners who are tied up elsewhere?

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers

There’s nothing wrong with owners having interests away from their football clubs and in other sports. In fact, who are we to question what wealthy owners do with their money in matters that don’t directly affect the running of a football club. The problem is, the interests of owners always seem to indirectly affect the running of a football club, and Liverpool may be one of the clubs to experience a level of frustration with their American owners.

It would be unfair to greatly criticise John W. Henry. I see little wrong with what he’s done compared to the last regime consisting of Tom Hicks and George Gillett. But maybe there’s a feeling that the Liverpool ship is being captained by someone who is not around as much as the fans would want. Moreover, how do the Boston Red Sox come to play a hand in the frustrations of Liverpool going forward?

The club have done well to pick a new manager and effectively map out the next few seasons, with very little pressure coming from in-house on Brendan Rodgers. But it shouldn’t be too difficult to understand that any new manager will want funds to shape his team. At the end of the day, it’s Rodgers’ neck that’s on the line if he doesn’t succeed in the league, so surely the owners should give the manager enough resources to fulfil the club’s ambitions.

I raise the point about foreign owners and American owners in particular because their ownership of sports franchises in the U.S could potentially result in a few messy affairs in England.

Tom Hicks was the owner of the Dallas Stars and Texas Rangers, and while he did well with them in some stages, he effectively ran both the NHL and MLB teams into the ground. To sum up, all the financial difficulty he had in America clearly spilled over into the Premier League with Liverpool. Likewise with Gillett, where his NHL team the Montreal Canadiens also experienced some trouble under his ownership.

With Fenway Sports Group, however, we should maybe take a look the recent blockbuster trade between the Boston Red Sox and LA Dodgers—one which saw an enormous chunk of the wage bill sent over to Los Angeles.

It goes without saying that the Boston Red Sox are a big deal. In fact, it’s easy to compare the stature of the Red Sox with Liverpool. What is also equally comparable is the way both teams have begun a massive nosedive in recent times. Key figures have departed the Red Sox franchise, while current manager Bobby Valentine is certainly a, well, lets just call him a colourful character.

The key talking point from that trade with the Dodgers was the need to shift two players who were owed over $100 million in wages each. In return, the Red Sox received a lot of potential, rather than anything substantial for the now.

In all, does that suggest that there might not be much in the of funds for Rodgers? With John W. Henry needing to balance two massive sports clubs evenly, how will it affect Liverpool’s ambitions going forward?

I certainly understand the need to curb their spending this summer due to Kenny Dalglish’s less than impressive buys last season and Uefa’s Financial Fair Play. But now the owners have only given Rodgers a reason to defend himself during poor phases in the season through a lack of serious funding.

 


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