LIVERPOOL’S American custodians John Henry, Tom Werner and their partners at Fenway Sports Group have a strategy. One summed up by an early quote from the former: “We are not going to be successful by merely filling short-term needs at LFC.”
We need to realise that we are at the birth of a new era and when new philosophies and structures are being brought in there is no quick fix, no magic wand to elevate us to the promised land of sustained Premier League and Champions League success which we could smell and almost taste under Benitez.
This topsy-turvy season has saw abject league performances and results, coupled with the failure of our big money signings to make the instant impact their hefty fees demand. But on the other end of the scale we have had two if not three trips to Wembley including an all Merseyside semi-final on the eve of the 23rd anniversary of Hillsborough. This year’s events have been caused divide amongst devotees not unlike the turbulent last few months of Rafa’s reign were there was civil war in the boardroom and in the stands.
FSG could not have started their internship into the bosom of the club in a stronger position having emerged as the new owners after the dark clouds which were surrounding this great club were finally lifting during a seriously worrying time for the Reds when the Texan mob were attempting to reduce this institution to ashes with claims that they were forced out of the club. The new guard came out with the right noises promising investment and using their American models Boston Red Sox and the newly crowned Daytona Race 500 champions Roush Fenway Racing Nascar team as a template for the successful long term plan. Bringing Kenny back to the forefront, albeit on short term trial basis was the populist choice, a decision which gave the club, players and fans the jolt in the arm which woke us from our slumber.
Mistakes have been made which have led to Adidas pulling the plug on the cashflow coming our way due to underperformance on the pitch and the stigma of racism attached to the club following the Suarez affair which led to a drop in share prices. Privately this would have incensed the owners resulting in a telling off and perhaps a longterm blot on the Uruguayan and Kenny after his widely condemned decision to back him to the hilt. This may not have immediate repercussions for the pair but for long term strategists if results don’t improve their pragmatic nature may over-rule their current populist one showing them the door. Their distaste for Suarez’ actions were subtly in evidence as the players received warm embraces from Henry and Werner after collecting their medals at Wembley while the Liverpool forward was left with a cold handshake.
“We’re trying to leverage the collective power and appeal of these brands to drive revenues. These revenues are being reinvested on the field or the track, whether it’s in new players for the Red Sox or Liverpool or our [Nascar] drivers.”
This tells us that our recent spending won’t be the last and plans are being made to invest in the future.
Patience is certainly the by-word for success according to Werner: “We want to make steady progress…but we have a way to go before we can catch Manchester United on the pitch or in commercial revenues,” as it shows FSG are in it for the long-haul. There may or may not be many comings and goings at the club over the next few years in the mean time before they find that winning formula which of course will not happen overnight. We all have opinions on: Whether Kenny is the man for this mission? Who should play each week? Should we invest more interest in the youth set up? What tactics should be played? Is Comolli doing a good job? The message is clear though, we are building something here and time will be offered and chances will be given unless progress is being scuppered, then changes will be made and pragmatism will replace sentiment.
Live4Liverpool is recruiting columnists. For further info contact the site editor at email@example.com