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Thanks for “saving” us FSG but I’ve had enough

John Henry

With immediate effect, I withdraw what little support I had of Fenway Sport Group (FSG). I have completely given up any hope that they would one day come good. I have been critical of them and I have defended them, but from this day onwards, I oppose their ownership.

John Henry will now be stubbing out that cigar in utter panic, I know. But I’ve said it. I’ve finally come out.

I am stepping back from engaging in regurgitated debates with those who believe they “saved” us. If someone believes that Liverpool Football Club would have gone under, then they are clearly not bright enough to speak to in the first place. These people need to educate themselves about what administration actually means and what the penalties are. We’ve dropped far more points under FSG than we would have ever have done had we gone into administration. Too many people care about Liverpool Football Club to see it fold. To suggest that one of the world’s biggest and most famous clubs would no longer exist without these chancers “saving” us is absolutely incomprehensible.

When John Henry declared in a private email which was later made public via official court documentation that buying Liverpool Football Club “could be a steal”, I didn’t see any talk of him or his shareholders wanting to make us great again.  It wasn’t a slip of the tongue either. He repeated it again when he said: “I don’t want to say this beyond this small group, but if we could acquire this (Liverpool Football Club) for the debt, I really feel like we would be stealing this franchise.”

And steal it they did.

They told us they had the resources to compete with anyone, although in fairness they never said they’d actually spend a cent of it! Instead they secured multiple new partnerships for the club and delivered thousands of new seats for people with more money than sense. Commercial approvements have to be welcomed but I’m yet to see a single statement from anyone at the club that our latest £30m signing wouldn’t have been possible without the extra revenue streams created under their tenure. When I hear that, I’ll think differently.

David MooresTo me, Liverpool Football Club is no further forward than it was under former Liverpool supremo David Moores. A man that was rightly chastised for selling the club to the wrong people in the first place. He sold up because he knew he couldn’t take the club any further forward with his limited resources. His heart was definitely in the right place though. He was the last owner to actually care about the club and for the right reasons. He was the last chairman to actually attend games week in, week out. He didn’t like the focus and attention but come wind, rain or shine, he was there with a red tie or a red scarf that hadn’t just been grabbed from the club shop prior to kick-off to give him some authenticity. Like under FSG’s reign, mistakes were made, but the difference was, he was one of us.

When the transfer window slammed shut last summer, the following day I wrote about the club’s new main stand and a new bus route that the official club website had announced. Today I could write about a new bus that the club has unveiled. Are these people deliberately taking this piss, now? A new bus! I mean, yeah, it looks very nice and all that, although it looks like something the Under 11’s would travel in. A bus is a bus though and we should be taking to the streets to celebrate about it. I guess the millions banked from Sakho’s loan move will pay for it and that will still mean the club made a profit during the last window.

I’m reminded that our main rivals didn’t spend during the January transfer window. Firstly, I couldn’t care less what they did or didn’t do and secondly, did last night’s opponents, Chelsea, for example, really need to add more strength to their squad? We know that the January transfer window is a difficult window to negotiate but it’s not impossible. We apparently offered premiums to try and land a player or two. Money talks of course but our version of a ‘premium’ was clearly different to the premiums wanted by clubs who were willing to do business. This means that the owners were unable to deliver the players that the manager thought he needed for the second half of the season. No sulking from the boss, though, but it’s worth pointing out that he was denied no matter how you want to look at it.

Liverpool Football Club only has Champions League qualification to play for now, this despite not having European football. Is our entire season’s failure this season really all because of the African Nations Cup? If we fail to secure Champions League qualification, the shit’s going to hit the fan and Jürgen Klopp will be the man who is held responsible. Klopp, the only senior figure at Liverpool Football Club who actually gives a toss about the supporters and bizarrely some so called supporters have written him off already. Hodgson out. Dalglish out. Rodgers out. Klopp out. You can keep replacing the manager but the policies that they have to work under are not going to change under FSG.

Eddie The EagleMichael Edwards, a former Peterborough United youngster, who is not to be confused with Eddie “The Eagle” who goes by the same name, was confirmed as the club’s new sporting director last year. He’s not directly replacing the outgoing Ian Ayre, but he is responsible for supporting Jurgen Klopp with player identification and recruitment. A member of the infamous transfer committee, the appointment of this ‘laptop guru’ last year was seen as a significant one. It was reported in November that he would have “full responsibility for transfer and contract negotiations with immediate effect”. He’s clearly not had to do much since then but with a bit of luck we will see him step into action in the summer and hopefully he will be more effective than his loveable namesake was at the 1988 Winter Olympics.

With Ian Ayre heading off to Germany, this is a real opportunity for FSG to appoint a proper football CEO. The Echo’s James Pearce has commented that the “global search” is ongoing. Well, I can’t wait to see who is promoted from within the Melwood canteen to this position. This could be their biggest appointment yet. Their appointment of Jürgen Klopp was finally a good one. Some may even say that it was a major coup. To some extent, it was, when you consider they initially appointed a pretender who they hoped would over-achieve. Fans of our main rivals would, of course, have been happy had they landed Klopp but they wouldn’t have been as giddy as our lot as we’re not used to appointing class ‘as standard’ anymore. After years of mistakes, FSG finally got something right but if they think he’ll hang around at Anfield for years without their full and unconditional backing, they’re in for a big shock.

John Henry & Tom WernerFSG have provided their managers with substantial transfers funds. Absolutely. But they’ve also sold some of the club’s greatest players in recent years to fund that investment. What mug is going to stay at Liverpool and aim for 4th year in, year out? Next to be sold will, of course, be Philippe Coutinho. A contract isn’t worth the paper it’s written on and when the time is right, I would imagine it will be next year, the player will tear it up and wipe his arse on it.

When all the owners want is to finish in the top 4, when the manager’s main focus is finishing in the top 4 and when the club’s own supporters accept finishing in the top 4 is all we are capable of, this is proof that Liverpool Football Club has plateaued. The local hacks will continue to toe-the-line while the most influential supporters’ groups will remain content for as long as they’re being looked after.

The only group of supporters that are taking on FSG are Fenway We Come Not To Pay. Other groups seem to become more vocal when they feel they’re personally being badly done to but FWCNTP are challenging FSG on a daily basis. Their hearts are definitely in the right place. They think about the club in general and not just themselves. By this, I mean that they don’t just spring into action when they think they might have to pay a bit more for a match-day ticket. They’re mocked by some of the other groups and they’re not taken seriously by the ‘online clique’ because of the way they bite when challenged but they are the only fans I see that are actually not falling for the well-timed, well-driven bullshit that FSG keep feeding the fans. With a bit of guidance and support, FWCNTP could really apply some pressure in the direction of FSG. FWCNTP’s only crime is that they are raw football fans with passion. They deserve a lot more respect than what they actually receive. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: in the future, people will look back at FWCNTP and say “As crazy as they appeared back then, they were bloody right!” while others will step in at the last minute and try and claim the credit for putting FSG under pressure all along.

FSG should stop patronising the fans and they should put the club up for sale immediately. I have absolutely no problem with them walking away with a huge profit. They put their money in. They took the risks. They turned us around (in terms of marketing, sponsorship etc). For that, they should be respected and maybe even congratulated. They could walk away as well respected businessmen whose only crime was loving their real passion, baseball, over football. No biggie. If they don’t, and if Liverpool Football Club continues to plateau, it will get messy and the supporters will finally rise and say ‘Enough is enough’. At the moment, only a few fans associated to FWCNTP are giving them both barrels. That’s manageable for FSG though. They can handle that. Only when Linda goes quiet on Twitter do you know when FSG are receiving a virtual coshing because sadly, she’s the only one that interacts with the fans while the men hide away like cowards. By the way, she has a red scarf too just like David Moores had … I know which scarf I’d rather be sniffing after a late night board room meeting at Anfield. David’s! Obvs! No amount of PR could tempt me 😉

Liverpool Football Club deserves owners who care. For every day that goes by that you accept this managed bullshit, the longer it will continue. In the summer we will forget the failed title bid. We will be presented with some hope when Jürgen Klopp signs a couple of promising stars for big money from Germany. FSG’s slate of bullshit will be wiped clear once again. A new start. We go again yada yada #shootme. But the reality is, that for as long as they are the owners of this once formidable club, we will go nowhere.

FSG have ruined my support. They give me no hope whatsoever and if you think that opinion is based on a January transfer window in which I expected us to achieve nothing, then you are as deluded as Brendan.

Will KopTalk become anti-FSG like FWCNTP? No. I respect the views of our members and everyone who contributes to KopTalk. It is up to you guys to reach your own opinions. My opinion means nothing in the grand scheme of things but it means something to me. I have no agenda. I want Liverpool Football Club to be successful. I just want our amazing fans to wake up to the reality. It’s time to stop the excuses and it’s time to stop turning a blind eye to the powerful resources and dedicated, football-loving owners that our rivals have.

The only thing we have going for us at the moment is Jürgen Klopp. He is the only one I see displaying passion at Anfield. If everyone isn’t on the same page, it will simply not work. Why am I having to write shitty, negative editorials about our owners year in, year out? Because, clearly, nothing has changed. They’ll give with one hand but take back discreetly with another. We need owners that will meet us half way. That will give when they can and take back nothing other than satisfaction.

Your average Liverpool fan won’t follow FSG’s moves in the States. I read everything. I read and watch every interview that Henry, Werner and Co. give. The enthusiasm and passion they show for baseball is AMAZING! They really do love that shit. That’s their gig. I get it. But I want to see that at Anfield. Should someone who doesn’t care about the club’s destiny for the right reasons even be in charge of our great club? Why do you allow it? Why? It’s like these people protesting on the streets of London about U.S. foreign policies while millions of people in the UK live in poverty. I just don’t get it.

We do have a choice. We don’t have to accept this part-time ownership any more. Yes, we are stable. Yes, we could be a lot worse off. But when fans are managed into accepting 4th and when fans say the FA Cup is no biggie, what’s the point in competing in anything? We have to be realists but we don’t have to be defeatists.

I wish FSG had never “saved us”. I wish FSG would just leave. It’s not that they can’t compete, they just won’t compete and have no need to do so. I don’t crave some billionaire owner that would be reckless with money. If anything, it’s not money or the lack of it that annoys me. It’s the fact that so many people can’t see the managed bullshit. I just want us all pulling in the same direction.

When I started KopTalk I was in my twenties. Today I’m a grandad. I’ve seen it all. I’ve heard it all. I’ve made mistakes. I’ve lost and I’ve achieved. I’m still here because I love interacting with the fans who have been supportive to me personally over the years. The only thing I care about today is them. They deserve better. They deserve much more than this patronising ownership. Liverpool could win the league and I’d still want these people out of our club. My mind is set. I’m not going along with it anymore.

They have succeeded in turning a once proud and ambitious club into a franchise that operates purely for that big fat pay cheque that awaits them. Until then, Liverpool Football Club will plod along like some middle-aged man in a mundane relationship who is content to take the odd hand job off his miserable munter of a Mrs while watching on in envy at the rest of his mates celebrating and discussing their conquests with the younger talent that’s out there.

Duncan Oldham
KopTalk Editor

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