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Duncan Oldham: A year to the day

John Henry & Tom Werner

It’s been a year to the day since I last posted some form of editorial on KopTalk. It is my intention to churn out a lot more of my thoughts now that we’re entering a period where the club’s owners are considering selling the club. The fact I haven’t said much in a year should tell you how turned off I’ve been with it all.

If you follow my content, you will know that in the summer I started suggesting that something was off upstairs. I didn’t say there was a drama or any bust-ups and I pointed out that maybe it wasn’t a biggie, but it did sound like not everyone in senior management (the ownership) was not on the same page. My hunch, I think, has turned out to be right.

On the members’ website we collectively came to the opinion that the different partners had different ideas about the short and long term future of the club. We decided – even though we didn’t know for sure – that some of the investors thought it was time to sell while some thought they should maybe do nothing.

I wasn’t surprised when the news broke that Fenway Sports Group were willing to entertain offers. They’ve always said the club wasn’t for sale yet they’ve sat down several times with potential suitors to see what they had in mind when they’ve made informal approaches. Everyone and everything has a price. The denials that the club wasn’t for sale were absolute nonsense. The club was for sale from day one. Every prediction I made about the future glossy ‘for sale’ brochure has come true. It took them time, but everything I thought they’d do, they did.

Well placed sources say the owners would prefer to sell to familiar faces in America but they cannot ignore offers from the East if they come in. They think that by admitting that they are willing to consider offers for an outright sale will buy them time with the fans. They will exploit that time if left to get on with this process as there is no urgency for them to sell right now. It is important that the fans realise this. There will be no major investment in the squad while they are inviting offers. That’s nothing new, right? True! However, I feel it will be even worse now. They’ve run out of star players to sell to fund new and exciting acquisitions. Do you really think they’ll finance a £100million move for Jude Bellingham when they’re looking at a possible exit? I just can’t see it. Their net spend is £27million per year since they came in. That definitely isn’t going to change if they can pull of an outright sale as they obviously want to maximise their profits. If the had any sense, they’d deliver a Bellingham or two and factor that into any potential deal and then they could leave under a high, but do they really care what you and I think of them? Of course not. They only care about bad publicity while current custodians.

With FSG going public with this situation, I assume that someone has already made an approach but that it wasn’t attractive enough so now they want to drum up some interest and also play that potential interested party.

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With the squad desperately needing significant investment, they know that the fan base will grow even more frustrated with them. Putting the club up for sale buys them time and I think they’d sit out 2023 if they can get away with doing so.

I am yet to see any journalist report anything credible about interested parties but with senior club employees being warned that they face instant dismissal if they discuss any interest with the club with anyone, especially on their own private social media accounts and Whatsapp group chats and the like, this to me suggests they know there’s something that could leak out that they don’t want out. What could that be?

I can only offer my opinions based on what I hear from the people I trust and my opinion is that they will do everything to keep approaches out of the media until serious ones come in from America. There isn’t a connected hack out there that has the balls to write what they really think and what they really know for fear of losing their access. When I say ‘connected’, I mean hacks who report only about Liverpool FC, the ones who attend weekly press conferences for example. My advice would be to look for claims coming from outside the UK in relation to possible interest in the club.

FSG need to manage the mood of the fan base and they may get away with it in January if they do nothing. We shall have to wait and see. According to club insiders, the club is doing nothing in the market at the present time in terms of January recruitment. A get together and sit down with the manager would usually happen in early November but as yet that hasn’t happened.

Listen out for claims from overseas media outlets, pay little attention to the hacks that we all know and be prepared for a miserable couple of transfer windows if nothing materialises.

One final thing. I don’t hate FSG. They haven’t been bad owners but they haven’t been great either. We became so used to mediocrity off the pitch that we now celebrate things that we once took for granted. Had we been blessed with owners similar to those at City for example – which we would have had, had my former friends at L4 struck a deal to buy the club before Hicks and Gillett took control – can you imagine what Jürgen Klopp would have delivered? To have one of the greatest managers in the world and to have to watch him work with one hand tied behind his back has been hard to watch. The suits didn’t want to sell to the West back then and that mistake mustn’t happen again. East or West, I don’t care, but you’re real football nuts tend to come from the East and although they may not look like us and may have different ideas about what’s right and what’s wrong in society, they certainly love their football and that matters to me.

Jürgen Klopp might hang around long enough to still be able to deliver the silverware that we have been denied because of a lack of proper investment from the owners, but any possible sale must happen sooner rather than later for us to experience that. We mustn’t sit back while FSG cherry pick what suits their pockets.


Duncan Oldham
KopTalk Editor