Liverpool are not for sale, which is also bad news for paying for a plane to fly over Anfield ahead of Sunday’s Premier League match against Manchester United, carrying a protest banner : “FSG out – Klopp in – Enough is enough.”
The timing of the stunt probably couldn’t have been worse. The subsequent 7–0 thrashing of United, Liverpool’s biggest rivals, made the air protest seem like the wrong idea at the wrong time.
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Earlier this week Liverpool principal owner John W Henry told the Liverpool Echo that his commitment to Fenway Sports Group (FSG) was “stronger than ever” despite an ongoing search for outside investment in the club. But, for some fans, FSG is holding Liverpool back and the time has come for new owners. This raises the question of who, or what, is now considered by their supporters to be the rightful owner of the football clubs.
FSG have certainly made mistakes since taking charge at Anfield in October 2010 – supporting the European Super League project and attempting to raise ticket prices without consulting fans have been two of their biggest errors – but they have made football One of the biggest mistakes of the film has also been adapted and revived. The historic club through smart management and by recruiting the best people to fulfill its vision.
Liverpool were on the verge of bankruptcy and possibly liquidation when FSG, under the guise of New England Sports Ventures, bought the club from previous owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett for £300 million. At the time, Liverpool had gone 20 years without a league title, and although the club had won the Champions League in 2005, they finished behind Manchester United, Chelsea and a resurgent Manchester City.
There were some early missteps after taking charge at Anfield, such as the £35 million club-record signing of Andy Carroll in his first transfer window at the helm, but since then FSG have appointed Jurgen Klopp as manager in October 2015. They were appointed as such, so that they could work together. With sporting director Michael Edwards, the vision to run a major football club in a sustainable but successful manner was born.
Liverpool have spent big, but also wisely. Before making Virgil van Dijk (£75 million) and Alisson (£56 million) the world’s most expensive defender and goalkeeper at the time respectively in 2018, FSG supported Edwards’ decision, with head of recruitment Dave Fallows and the club’s data Analytics team built in between. Investment limits on Mohamed Salah (£34m from AS Roma), Georginio Wijnaldum (£25m, Newcastle United), Sadio Mane (£30m, Southampton) and Andy Robertson (£8m, Hull City).
Yet the numbers show that, since its first transfer window in January 2011, only six clubs in Europe (Chelsea, Man City, Barcelona, Man United, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain) have signed more players under FSG than Liverpool. Spent more. Liverpool have spent £1.17 billion – around £800m less than City and £900m less than Chelsea. In addition to the outlay on players, FSG has invested £220m in upgrading Anfield with two new stands and building a new training ground.
The return on spending has been Liverpool’s most successful period in more than 30 years; Success in every competition in the Europa League, including a first domestic league title since 1990, and a win in three Champions League finals between 2018 and 2022. Nevertheless, a minority of Liverpool supporters believe the club needs new owners to take them to the next level.
But here’s the inconvenient truth about football club owners: there is no such thing as perfect.
Manchester City fans might argue that Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan is the definition of an ideal owner, having invested over £3 billion in the club since September 2008. But if Abu Dhabi’s hierarchy is found guilty of some, or all, of the 115 allegations of financial impropriety recently leveled against them by the Premier League, which City denies, the consequences for the club could be dire. If this happens, will it be worth it to tarnish the club’s name?
United fans across Manchester have attempted to oust the Glazers as owners since the American family left the club more than £500 million in debt when they bought the team in May 2005. A number of poor decisions and appointments since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement as manager sent United into a downward spiral in 2013 and, at the same time, a lack of investment in Old Trafford left the club with an aging and tired stadium. Abandoned which still has a leaking roof.
Tottenham Hotspur fans have a great stadium to watch their team play in, but they want new owners because of repeated failures on the pitch, the most recent being Wednesday’s lame Champions League exit from AC Milan. Just down the road, Arsenal fans regularly complain about owner Stan Kroenke failing to inject the funds needed to make the club competitive against the top teams in the transfer market.
Perhaps some Liverpool fans wish the club was owned by a wealth fund linked to an oil-rich state such as Man City, Newcastle (Saudi Arabia) or PSG (Qatar), but all of those clubs have been under scrutiny for financial reasons. and human rights issues in the countries of their respective owners.
Yet while FSG are ultimately a group of investors seeking returns, they have been able to balance investing in the club with increasing the club’s value with success on the pitch. He has built a team and rebuilt a stadium that has connected with fans’ groups better than most owners of top clubs, and has been able to keep pace with City when others have failed to do so. have been able.
Perhaps it’s still not enough for some, but if FSG are bad owners in the eyes of supporters, it begs the question of what fans really want from their clubs in the modern game.