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The start of the end of FSG’s ownership of Liverpool FC

John Henry - Tom Werner

I believe we are seeing the start of the end of Fenway Sports Group (FSG’s) ownership of Liverpool Football Club. Whether you oppose their ownership or whether you think they’re doing a great job, the mood in the fanbase is changing. But before you crack that can of Carlsberg open, I don’t see anything happening imminently, unless the fans continue to rise and do so a little faster.

I’m now seeing previously pro-FSG fans switching camps. I’m also seeing so called ‘FSG OUT’ fan groups uniting and putting their differences to one side to show a more unified front.

With almost 20 years experience of covering Liverpool FC matters online, I can see when things start to change. It’s happening.

Let’s be honest here. A quick browse of Twitter or Facebook and you’ll soon see that a lot of fans, although having the best intentions, are loons. I’m not talking just about the snowflakes, they have a right to burn their candles in the hope of FSG suddenly giving a **** about the club and no matter how deluded they may be, they are entitled to whatever opinions they have. I don’t consider everyone who supports FSG as a snowflake BTW, not at all. Snowflakes are the ones who message Linda Pizzuti Henry on Twitter at full time to congratulate her on her choice of dress after she attended the odd game and those who message her husband to thank him for “saving” us. The loons are even worse. They’re the ones who for example send transfer demands to the likes of Peter Moore and Linda or demand that Jürgen Klopp is sacked and replaced by Carlo Ancelotti (like he’d work for this lot). They’re rightly dismissed and ignored by those associated to the club. Nobody, including the owners, care about the loons. It’s the fans with a bit about them that they watch.

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I neither consider myself pro-FSG or anti-FSG. I have continually stated that while I do not think they are bad owners, I don’t feel that they are the right owners. They cannot compete with the successful clubs and their heart is not in it. Their ownership feels very patronising, every word that is uttered from anyone of importance at the club sounds like words coming from the mouth of a politician. It’s so cheesy.

While I support the overall message of the fan groups that want FSG to leave, I cannot associate myself to those who want to “attack” Henry, Moore, Linda etc on Twitter. I don’t like the use of that word that I have seen bandied about. I think those who post abusive messages are doing more harm than good and must stop doing so immediately if they want to be taken seriously. I would also argue that you should leave Linda alone unless you are replying to a LFC-related tweet that she’s put out. Keep it clean. Be respectful. You shouldn’t need to be told this.

I posted an editorial in support of Peter Moore a few months back with the way he was providing assistance to some fans who contacted him on Twitter. I also thought it was good to see him providing insight about the club, even if it is just the odd photo from Anfield or from within the comforts of his office. However, I have noticed that he also appears to like to belittle fans who contact him negatively. I’ve seen this many times. Of course he has to endure a lot of vitriol which must be hard to have to deal with on a daily basis but not everyone that has a negative point or question is abusive. I often see perfectly worded, albeit negative concerns, that have been sent to him  ‘retweeted’ to his followers which results in that person then receiving an onslaught of abuse from those who think the club is being run just fine. This isn’t the kind of behaviour that I want a CEO to participate in and he knows what he’s doing. A direct @ reply (not a retweet) saying: “Sorry you feel that way. We are doing our best!” is what I would consider a professional response. Yes it can be funny to see idiots put in their place but not everyone who has a negative opinion or suggestion conducts themselves in a manner that deserves them having a pack of internet warriors set on them. At the same time I do feel for the bloke having to be subjected to the loons but he’s not daft, he knows why this negativity is being aired and what would change it. But they’re his employers, they handed him a dream job so he’s not really going to see a bad word said about them no matter how justified.

(If you’re a DKB.TV subscriber, I will be discussing a message that Peter Moore sent to me recently, in today’s video. I’ll deal with that once this editorial has been posted!)

FSG’s ownership has completely sucked 37 years of enjoyment out of me from supporting Liverpool FC. I’ve been a season ticket holder, a shareholder (until we were forced to sell to Hicks and Gillett) and I even got married at the Anfield Stadium in July 1999 to my childhood sweetheart. The LFC tattoo on my left arm that has been there since I was 17 has faded away along with the enthusiasm I once had. This website, which I started as a hobby back in the 90s, is now as depressing as Tom Werner’s attendance record as LFC chairman. Why? Because Liverpool are no longer successful? Not at all. They weren’t successful when I started it. It’s because it pains me to see my fellow supporters arguing every single day about the owners and their lack of ambition.

Liverpool Football Club has been my life yet now I often see myself as a former Liverpool FC supporter. What exactly is the club? Who and what am I supporting? I’ll support the manager, I’ll support a handful of players that I think are actually bothered and I’ll support the fans. What I won’t do is blindly support anything or anyone. When the owners offer no enthusiasm, where am I supposed to find it? Why should I support them? Why should I support a club that is patronising the fan base and managing their expectations? What you gonna do? Call me a plastic fan or state that I’m not a real fan? Yeh. That’ll make me lose a lot of sleep tonight. I miss what Liverpool Football Club used to be about. I still love her, I just can’t blindly support a cause that I disagree with. Some won’t understand this but I do know that some will as I have seen similar feelings expressed.

I don’t need to see us win silverware every season, I don’t need to see us spend billions, I just want us to genuinely try. The owners are hidden away over the pond leaving a couple of executives hunched over laptops and their iPhones to patronise us about how the club is in such a greater state than it was. Personally I’d rather have seen us go into administration because I actually understand what it would have meant. I don’t see any progress on the pitch since David Moores was chairman despite all the millions that have been spent. At least he realised he couldn’t take the club any further and he tried to do the right thing. What I’d give to have him or someone like him sat in that director’s box sharing the highs and the lows with the ordinary fans scattered around the stadium.

Rafa summed it up for me recently when he said:

“In the days when David Moores and Rick Parry were in charge it was really, really good. They were people who really understood football. It was like a family, very close. Then the club had to be sold and everything changed, they changed directors and the new owners ran it more as a business.”

Most people will concentrate on the word ‘business’. Not me. Business is part of today’s game whether we like it or not. Corporate fans are important for example. Just because they’re on a corporate ticket doesn’t mean they don’t bleed LFC. That kind of anti-corporate vibe is usually from those further down the ladder that want to claim that they’re ‘working class’ yet can easily splurge £100 on a match-day ticket and a few beers. Instead let’s concentrate on the words: ‘understood football’, ‘family’, ‘very close’, ‘everything changed’.


FSG are not committed to Liverpool Football Club. All they are committed to is the lucrative exit that lies ahead for them.

Jürgen Klopp wants us to believe. Well I know I’m more likely to believe when the people at the top give me reasons to believe.

Liverpool Football Club is nothing more than a side-chick to Henry and Co. Their real love is in Boston. The Red Sox is the one they will spend Christmas with while Liverpool Football Club will be the one left alone wondering how she ended but being their bit of fun, their bit on the side, when it suits them. Well, our bird deserves more. Whoever is lucky to have her doesn’t need to shower her with impressive gifts, no. I just want to see her cherished and made to feel special. Stop leading her on. Stop coming for the odd leg over when you feel like it. Either love her or let her go. Let her find happiness with someone who will spend as much time with her as possible, who will truly try to make her feel special again.

Right now Amanda Staveley is in the market for a Premier League football club for her investors. This intelligent, determined and ambitious woman has tried to buy Liverpool Football Club on-and-off for more than a decade. While she may be flirting with others that’s not through choice. It is no secret that she wants Liverpool and as a Liverpool fan herself, it’s pretty obvious as to why. I don’t just want the billions that are behind her, I want people who actually love football and who give a shit.

I would pay little attention to the report that came out over the weekend. There’s nothing new there. She’s wanted us for years and we all know what FSG value the club at. Don’t get your hopes up. But don’t dismiss her interest. She cant wait forever though for a possible opening at Anfield. Her attendance at the recent Newcastle United-Liverpool fixture was a clever move by her. She knew what she doing. She knew what would happen following her attendance.

It’s now or never in terms of her introducing serious investors to FSG. I believe FSG will only truly consider leaving the club when the fans start to rise and that’s what I believe is slowly happening. They won’t dig in if they feel trouble is brewing. There has been ‘FSG OUT’ movements and dissatisfaction aimed at the owners for years but I honestly believe it’s now starting to gain ground. The recent coming together of the various groups who feel let down by major fan groups who claim to represent them, is a telling development. Fans who have argued with each other and who would never sit side-by-side are now united in getting the message out to FSG that enough is enough. Again, it’s not just a lack of silverware that’s a concern to them, it’s the patronising, part-time ownership and overall lack of leadership and ambition. All they want is to see someone in charge that cares, not someone who will just recklessly splash the cash.

With talk of protests being taken to FSG’s homeland with their sponsors and corporate partners about to be targeted, this I feel will put the fear of life into the owners. FSG hate negative publicity and if it’s taken to their doorstep, I can see this becoming a major problem for them and this is why I feel it’s the start of the end of their time at Anfield.

FSG can leave with a hefty profit and the right to claim that they steadied the ship and left an improved stadium behind, albeit not the new one that our previous executives wanted. They can still leave with a smile on their faces and their pride intact. But if they don’t get round the table with people who genuinely want to take the club further, then I see it getting ugly. Although I support a change of ownership, I am not directly involved with any group myself so that’s not a threat from me, it’s just what I think is going to happen as an observer who just wants to watch football, especially if Staveley oversees the purchase of a club like Newcastle. Imagine yet another club becoming more powerful than the once ‘Mighty Reds’? Who would ever have imagined Chelsea or Manchester City being more determined and ambitious than Liverpool? Imagine a Newcastle becoming a more serious player than ourselves? It’s unthinkable but it could happen.

Tom Werner once said FSG had the resources to compete with anyone in football. That clearly hasn’t been the case. When the very best players are linked with a move to the Premier League, the first thing a Liverpool fan thinks is: “We have no chance. He’ll end up at City, Chelsea, United etc.” This is so wrong and so defeatist on so many levels yet we have been managed to accept this. Our owners can not compete therefore this makes them the wrong owners.

Not only are they absent but they are silent. They say nothing to give us hope. Sometimes you just want to hear a few words of encouragement. Give us a reason to believe. But there’s nothing. We just plod along and hope that what manager is in place can overachieve.

The loons are already calling for our present manager to be sacked. Admittedly he’s had money and he’s made mistakes but Klopp, Rodgers and Dalglish can’t all be bad managers. FSG’s overall policies and strategies and the people they have appointed (and then sacked) is just as crucial to the success of the club as to who’s in the managerial hot-seat. Of course it’s related. It filters down from the top.

Give me an owner that cares. That’s all I ask for. As much as I’d love billions to be spent on players, the single most important thing for me is to at least feel like the people running the club actually care like I do. Secondly I want to see a unified and settled fanbase. I can’t endure any more discussions and fights about the owners. The fact that these debates rumble on proves there’s a problem.

Now more so than ever is your time to speak up. You do not need to be a part of any supporters’ union to do this. A collective voice is a powerful voice but trust me, your lone comments on social media and of course what you spend on official club products are things that are being monitored all of the time. There has been a change in the overall vibe towards the owners. More and more people who previously supported them are starting to come round to the idea that they’re not going to take us any further forward. It’s noticeable and with Staveley’s well-timed appearance coinciding with this, now is the time to speak out. If you don’t, you can’t moan later.

While I personally have no faith in our absent chairman and owners in general, I do not want KopTalk to be considered as anti-FSG. We have members for example who don’t see FSG as a problem. That is their right and they should be able to hold those opinions and express them without feeling bullied and without having their support questioned. It is equally as important that they too speak up in support of the owners.

My complaint isn’t just about the lack of investment by the owners. They are who they are. My complaint is the lack of determination and the quite clear lack of desire. In my opinion, they do not care about the club, they certainly show nothing to dispel or discredit my opinion.

Peter Moore and Linda will continue doing their thing online while Henry and Werner hide away. Maybe if Henry stepped up and stopped leaving his wife to be FSG’s only unofficial voice and representation on Twitter, he would command more respect. 140 characters isn’t much to ask. He can find the time to talk about his beloved Red Sox and to belittle the odd football-related claim here and there so how about it John? Could you at least offer some words of support and encouragement? Jesus Christ. We just all want to feel like one i.e. the fans, the owners, the manager, the players, the execs all on the same page. You couldn’t ask for a more understanding, loyal and realistic fan base. Why on earth would you not want to exploit that in a positive way? People will always fail to agree on certain topics and Peter Moore and Co. will never please everyone as he stated himself last week. But when the majority of topics and debates are about the owners and not the actual football, you know there’s a very serious underlying problem.

I want to be writing about our success. I want to be writing positive, feel-good articles. I don’t think I will ever truly enjoy any of it again until there’s someone in place that gives me hope. I want to write nice things about FSG but I genuinely struggle to do so. They’re not bad owners, they’re just not the right owners. We’ll battle on. We always do but nothing will change while they remain at the club. I hope I’m wrong but I’ve been including these disclaimers at the end of my editorials for years.

To sum up, I believe we are now entering the start of the end of their ownership of Liverpool Football Club. It’s not just wishful thinking on my part, I truly believe it’s coming but it will only come to fruition if supporters voice their feelings sensibly and they need to do so now.

There are people willing to try and take this club further forward, back to where she belongs. People who would oversee the club in a full-time capacity and who won’t just try and fly the flag on social media to the gullible.

Duncan Oldham
KopTalk Editor

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