THREE years ago this month, Martin Broughton, Chelsea season ticket holder and then chairman of Liverpool Football Club, was reportedly assessing six bidders’ credentials to take over from Tom Hicks and George Gillett, the carpetbaggers who in just three years as owners plunged the club into unmanageable debt.

Christian Purslow had signed Joe Cole on a four-year deal with a six-figure salary. Paul Tyrrell was managing a dossier on supporters. Roy Hodgson presided over team affairs and was joined by Mike Kelly. Javier Mascherano was about to leave for Barcelona and Christian Poulsen was on his way in.

Steven Gerrard spoke of his desire to get Liverpool back in the Champions League and Broughton was going on the record too: “Seventh [where the club had finished in the Premier League the previous season] is not their rightful position, and neither is administration.

“We are out there to find someone wealthy. But it’s important that they can win popular support.”

You know the rest: New England Sports Ventures completed a takeover and John W Henry told the world: “We’re here to win. We have a tradition of winning. We’ll do whatever we need to do.”

August 2013 and Steven Gerrard is still speaking of his desire to get Liverpool back in the Champions League, a competition Liverpool last graced with a 2-1 home defeat to Fiorentina on Wednesday, December 9, 2009.

No European football of any description will be played at Anfield in the forthcoming campaign following last season’s seventh-place finish and what Broughton argued was not Liverpool’s rightful place is now near enough a four-season trend after finishes of seventh, sixth, eighth and seventh.

Off the field, Liverpool is in a healthier state than in 2010 – It would be hard for it to be anything other. On it, things appear to be much the same – the club is on the outside looking in; missing out on Champions League money, struggling to attract players of sufficient quality to get back there and facing bids for its best players from rival clubs.

What is now known as Fenway Sports Group inherited a lot of mistakes – Roy Hodgson top of the list closely followed by poor players, big wages and long contracts. But by Henry’s own admission they have since made a fair few of their own. The worry is they continue to do so.

FSG walked into an unfortunate set of circumstances, with a resurgent Spurs ready to pounce on Liverpool’s weakness and Manchester City joining Chelsea in being financially doped by a foreign billionaire.

Alongside what is now looking like misplaced faith in the Financial Fair Play rules, they are the caveats to criticism of FSG: restoring Liverpool to past glories represented a major challenge for any owner after Hicks and Gillett.

But as the clock ticks ever closer to the kick off of a new season – and the third anniversary of Henry and Co’s reign – the concern is that FSG’s approach is hindering Liverpool. Sadly, no one but the deluded would expect a title challenge but, even living within the club’s means, could progress be quicker? Could Liverpool be more competitive than they appear to be? Could a bolder approach reap rewards?

Policies of financial prudence, of gaining perceived value from the wage bill and of lowering the age of the playing staff are clearly being pursued. A young manager rather than the best manager available was sought when Kenny Dalglish was sacked. Positive football, attacking football, entertaining football – all have been referenced by owner and coach when all Liverpool has ever wanted is winning football.

It all adds up to an approach that appears idealistic – and the question is whether that idealism is now resulting in a struggle to tread water rather than a swim against the tide.

Simon Mignolet, Luis Alberto, Iago Aspas and Kolo Toure have signed. Andy Carroll, Stewart Downing, Jay Spearing and Jonjo Shelvey have been sold. Jamie Carragher has retired and Pepe Reina, Suso and Jack Robinson have been sent on loan.

In terms of quality and numbers – particularly with the ongoing Luis Suarez issue – Liverpool look short and potentially over reliant on players with limited experience.

By Brendan Rodgers’ own admission he is still looking for players that will improve the first 11. In July he said: “What we’ve done in the early part of the summer is to improve the squad. That’s something I feel we’ve done with the players we’ve brought in.

“Now what’s important over the next three to five weeks is improving the team. That’s something the club is working very hard at.”

Five weeks on, nothing has changed.

Rightly, the point is raised that Liverpool aren’t the pull they were. Fingers are pointed at Spurs’ £45million outlay on Roberto Soldado, Nacer Chadli and Paulinho. Rightly, the counter point is made that they have finished fourth, fifth, fourth, fifth in recent years – they have Europe, they missed out on Champions League football by two points, there’s the draw of London to foreign players and so on.

The bottom line is, they appear to be ambitious and they are ready to challenge for honours.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan opted for Champions League finalists Borussia Dortmund over Liverpool while Diego Costa decided to stay with Atletico Madrid – unsurprising after a third place finish in La Liga guaranteed a seat at Europe’s top table for the Spaniards.

The transfer window closes on September 3 so of course there is still time for Liverpool to recruit players and improve the perception of the summer’s work. But if the current situation prevails it begs a few questions – first, the age profiling of players – doesn’t this simply limit the number of potential targets? Second, is the obsession with ‘value’ stifling attempts to recruit players?

First and foremost, Liverpool must be competitive on the football pitch. It should go without saying. It’s a football club before it’s a brand. A team before it’s a business. If that means paying a little over the odds for a desired target shouldn’t the club do just that, particularly as every passing season out of the Champions League makes the club a harder sell to potential recruits?

Revisiting John Henry’s open letter to supporters following last August’s baffling business that left Liverpool a striker short it seems highly unlikely he would agree.

Henry wrote: “[The club] pushed hard in the final days of the transfer window on a number of forward targets and it is unfortunate that on this occasion we were unable to conclude acceptable deals to bring those targets in.

“The transfer policy was not about cutting costs. It was – and will be in the future – about getting maximum value for what is spent so that we can build quality and depth.”

“We will invest to succeed. But we will not mortgage the future with risky spending.

“We will build and grow from within, buy prudently and cleverly and never again waste resources on inflated transfer fees and unrealistic wages. We have no fear of spending and competing with the very best but we will not overpay for players.”

‘Acceptable deals’, ‘maximum value’, ‘risky spending’, ‘inflated transfer fees’ and ‘unrealistic wages’ sound like highly subjective terms. What price – for example – a marquee signing that improves the side, lifts morale among the squad and supporters (many of whom will be paying increased ticket prices this season) and sends out a message that Liverpool means business?

Slow and sensible is all well and good but rival clubs aren’t standing still waiting for Liverpool to get their act together and a previously undiscovered back door to success is unlikely to open soon – the maxim remains that those that pay out the most win the most.

Manchester City continue to buy while simultaneously building an impressive academy, Manchester United is, as much as it turns the stomach to say it, still the ‘brand’ to beat revenue-wise, Chelsea have Jose Mourinho and Roman Abramovich and Spurs are seemingly throwing caution to the wind in the transfer market, albeit that they have the cloud of Gareth Bale’s future hanging over them.

Henry was rightly praised for his stance on selling Suarez to Arsenal, the line about it being dictated by ‘football reasons’ was particularly heartening. But perhaps now those same ‘football reasons’ should dictate a loosening of fingers on the club purse.

And if there’s any doubt over Henry’s involvement in the buying and selling – despite the increasingly rare Anfield appearances – a line from a 2011 interview with The Telegraph should be considered: “I want to know why we are doing what we are doing on the pitch and with regard to player acquisition. I wouldn’t be doing my job in allocating resources if I wasn’t able to make sense of the individual steps we are taking within the context of our overall philosophy.”

It’s hard to accept that there isn’t a player or two at a club in Europe below the level that Liverpool are currently at that would improve the side and would be tempted by the challenge of an Anfield career.

This isn’t a call for a Leeds-style spending spree to endanger the future of the club, more a slackening of a stance that could be doing more harm than good; a declaration of ambition or as Rodgers put it, “that little bit of quality that could really set us up for an exciting season.”

Henry said FSG will do whatever they need to do to win. Now is the time for them to do just that.


  1. Oh come on! We all have ideals but the reality is that you sign players and some of them come up to scratch.

    Look at Downing.Last season no goals no assists.Look at Couthino;what a player! I’d never heard of him.I’d never heard of Lucas before before he signed.

    It’s a roll of the dice nowadays.And I think it’s a bit unfair to blame FSG just now .Sure we’d all like to sign 20 year old world beaters but I think that there’s a real world here.

    They have backed Rodgers at the moment and I would go along with that.He looked like a prat on “Being Liverpool” but he is making improvements.

    So let’s see this season.I feel confident about it.And more than I have for a few seasons now.#

  2. Just a few facts, as Rafa would spur:

    “Acceptable deals’, ‘maximum value’, ‘risky spending’, ‘inflated transfer fees’ and ‘unrealistic wages’ sound like highly subjective terms.”
    In the context of what Henry said, it seems perfectly clear that he was referring to the deals Dalglish made. Over £110m spent with an average per player of £12.6 million, and of the players Dalglish bought who have since been sold, they have been at an average of £5.1 million. They were unacceptable deals with little value (excluding Suarez, Enrique and potentially Henderson), were to a large extent risky purchases, and undoubtedly at inflated values being paid wages which didn’t match performance.

    “Spurs are seemingly throwing caution to the wind in the transfer market.”
    Spurs are one of the most financially sound clubs in the Premier League. They made a loss of £4.3 million for 2011-12, and made profits in every single financial year from 2006-2011, with the exception of another small loss in 2010. They can throw ‘caution to the wind’ to a certain extent, because of their financial situation.

    “A team before it’s a business”.
    Whether you/we like it or not, it’s not a team before a business. They are no longer one without the other. The Premier League’s rules on wage constraint and FFP – which are still an issue despite not currently being in Europe owing to the need to adhere to them should we qualify – are pretty clear in that regard.

    “Manchester United is, as much as it turns the stomach to say it, still the ‘brand’ to beat revenue-wise”
    Which wasn’t an overnight process. It also took expanding a stadium while not being successful football-wise, dramatically overhauling and improving commercial operations, investing heavily in youth (and having some luck in the process) and hiring a manager who was given the time to build his team. It sounds a little familiar, that.

    “And if there’s any doubt over Henry’s involvement in the buying and selling – despite the increasingly rare Anfield appearances – a line from a 2011 interview with The Telegraph should be considered: “I want to know why we are doing what we are doing on the pitch and with regard to player acquisition. I wouldn’t be doing my job in allocating resources if I wasn’t able to make sense of the individual steps we are taking within the context of our overall philosophy.””
    Again, you can’t pick quotes from an article without referring to the context to which it applied. Henry was talking about it being his first year and trying to be involved as he possibly could be in the process, to “learn as much as possible in a short period of time”. Frankly, I’d be concerned if that was the sort of thing a new owner wasn’t doing, and there were doubtless be complaints if we had owners who didn’t understand how transfer worked (like Hicks and Gillett, with the repeated references to a draft). With the recruitment team now in place it’s perfectly possible than Henry has taken less of a hands-on approach and left it to the team to get on with business within the context of an overall budget.

    “If that means paying a little over the odds for a desired target shouldn’t the club do just that?”
    Mkhitaryan would have cost in excess of £20m. He went to BVB. Diego Costa would have cost in excess of £20m. He stayed at Atletico. Willian is almost certain to be uninterested in coming to Anfield, even with an offer of £20m. It’s fairly likely we aren’t an attraction for players who are established and of a particular age. And, “a little over the odds”, that sounds like a highly subjective term, doesn’t it?

    • Spot on Dave.

      Spurs have been a very well run club and business over a number of years. Liverpool on the other hand have been living beyond their means with huge salary costs.

      If Liverpool splurge on marquee signings and award huge contracts to land them, they run the risk of re-starting the whole cycle which could lead to the need to slash and burn in the future in order to reduce costs and avoid debt.

      Too many fans clamour for another roll of big money transfer dice (using debt funding) in order to get Liverpool back into CL contention. The problem is that with five powerful teams ahead of us, that might not pay off and we will be left with a higher cost base but no increased revenue.

      If Levy was running Liverpool, what do we think he would do. Something very like what FSG are doing now I suspect.

  3. Not sure what you want here Gareth.

    More investment but not so much that it puts the club at risk? Buy lads from a level below us or invest in marquee signings ’cause it’ll make us all feel better?

    What’s the evidence that the current recruitment stance is damaging? That we haven’t spent £40m on a couple of lads? Unless our attempts to sign Mhktaryan and Costa were a press conspiracy of bollocks, surely they indicate the club is willing to spend on quality, but perhaps more worryingly; the quality doesn’t really want to come.

    Personally I’m fine with our spending right now. If by the end of the window there’s not another couple of lads added in key positions, I’ll be a little more concerned, but I still doubt I’ll be in a position to agree with the sentiment in this article.

  4. The deals ‘Dalglish made’ also require context in that Director of Football Strategy Damien Comolli (later promoted to Director of Football) would probably have had some involvement.

  5. I’m not seeking validation or agreement, it’s my opinion. And in my opinion it feels like there is an idealistic financial approach, as I’ve detailed.

  6. “The deals ‘Dalglish made’ also require context in that Director of Football Strategy Damien Comolli (later promoted to Director of Football) would probably have had some involvement.”

    Indeed, and both were fired. But as Comolli said himself:

    “I have always said, if Kenny is not happy with a player we think could make the team better, or if he thinks it is not the right timing, it will always be down to the manager to say he is not happy.” I can’t ever imagine Charlie Adam was a Comolli recommendation, and both said they wanted Henderson over Götze (according to Rory Smith, IIRC).

  7. robin crimes

    Very timely piece and a good case put forward. For most LFC fans last week was all about Suarez. Post Celtic match it’s all about our lack of a proven signing. I think a lot of people got that realisation that we’re still short on quality after Saturdays game.

    Let’s just hope we don’t draw with Stoke. That would have us questioning things. It’s hard to disagree with you when you read your article but I’m leaning towards a different interpretation. I don’t want to appear ‘blinkered’ as the reality is I’m still unsure what to make of it all.

    The point I want to make is, you mention the ambition of Spurs and certainly insinuate the purse strings are being tightened at Anfield. Both statements feel correct but if we ignore this window for now as it’s not closed yet and look at the past 2 seasons, you’ll see LFC have spent a net of £75m and Spurs £-28m. Yes, this window Spurs have spent £45m and us £3m but it’s not closed. I’ll bet Spurs will be back to £-30m net in a few weeks and LFC rise to at least £20m net.
    Ok, it’s not representative of the full picture but it’s got a place in the debate.

    My feeling is, we genuinely wanted both Mkhitaryan and Costa for over £20m. I think we’re struggling to find the right players. You know your self these things need thinking through. We don’t wanna spend £20m and get what Downing gave us. I feel they will make 1 big signing before the window shuts with a back up defender.

    The other issue I have is – although i completely agree we need a quality signing – what position are you hoping to replace? Let’s imagine Suarez stays and plays on the left (after the ban). Out of Lucas, Gerrard, Allen, Courtinho, Sturridge and Suarez, which position would you strengthen? I suppose Allen is the obvious one but I expect a lot more from him this season.

  8. a horrible wool

    Of course, this all ignores how FSG have repeatedly said they would run the club: live within their means, spend what they make. In that context, FSG believe they generate enough revenue to be competitive with anyone in the transfer market. It’s certainly fair to disagree with such a notion. Your cherry-picking of quotes, however, is less than noble.

    What you’ve written, though, Gareth, simply reeks of the now typical Morass of Negativity surrounding the club. It is the result from a confluence of the 80’s crowd (you know who you are), the worst aspects of the SOS-istas, and those dreaming of sugar daddies swooping down from a cloud above. And it stinks.

    It’s low-level anger and, generally, contributes in no small way to what has made being a Liverpool supporter so dreadful these days. Well, at least on the internet.

    • I’ll cherry pick some more quotes for you, horrible wool:

      “Sadly, no one but the deluded would expect a title challenge but, even living within the club’s means, could progress be quicker?”

      “This isn’t a call for a Leeds-style spending spree to endanger the future of the club…”

      So I’m ignoring what? I don’t want a Sugar Daddy, nor am I advocating one.
      Not very noble of you to suggest otherwise.

    • Quite mr Wool. People are forgetting last summer and january already, where waiting for the right players, at the right price, worked very well.
      Its easy to allow personal frustrations do the talking, but lets wait and see before coming up with this typically negative response.

      • who did we sign last summer that was of any use? i’ll give you Jan window was excellent. Last summer transfer funds were wasted… again.

      • Eh?!!!?

        How did last summer’s transfer window “work very well”?

        We let Carroll go because we had a replacement lined up, and he didn’t end up at the club.

        We had a very poor first half of the season due to that poor transfer window, and would have probably finished higher if we done business properly in that window.

  9. robin crimes

    Apologies, hadn’t refreshed my browser and seen similar points made above. Anyway, for the record (in case anyone is interested) i look at net spends on this site. I’ve no idea how correct it is but it seems to be correct give or take the odd million here and there.

    Scroll down when link opens.

    • The problem there is that we spent tons of money of players worth nowhere near that.

      £35m on a play worth around £12m

      £20m on Downing, who was worth around £10m

      £16m on Henderson, who was worth around £6m

      Would anyone have a problem if we had instead spent that same amount on players who were actually worth that (or close to that)?

  10. My worry, as I’ve tried to get across, is that there too many rules being applied from within – age, ‘value’ etc Every year we’re out of the Champions League it gets harder to catch up. If, for instance, there was a couple of million between our valuation and a club’s for a player that the transfer committee/Rodgers thought could improve the first XI, I’d like to see us pay it. I’m not sure the club would because of the infatuation with value. If I’m wrong, great, I look forward to the club being more competitive – it’s what we all want ultimately. As for the very public targets, how realistic do people think they were? Costa’s set to play in the Champions League next season, why would he come to Liverpool? I’d expect the transfer committee to have a string of targets to work through yet so far it feels hopes were pinned on one or two. Again, would be delighted to be proved wrong. Here’s hoping.

    • robin crimes

      I suppose we don’t know really know where this seasons targets fell down. I’d guess it was more down to the players choice. One thing that does spring to mind though is this time last year when we were seething over the refusal to pay £6m for Dempsey. Was it stupidity or smart? If they felt Dempsey wasn’t a long term solution, maybe it would have been better to wait till January to buy Courtinho for £8m rather than Dempsey for £6m.

      • Rob Barron

        I think the answer to whether we were right not buy Dempsey is there for all to see: he achieved very little at Spurs and they got rid of him after one season to the retirement home of professional football, America (where he came from in the first place.)

        The issue wasnt so much no Dempsey as no striker. We were left with effectively just Suarez until January which ruined our season. Had we bought Sturridge in summer, I think we would have been close to the top four and certainly in the top six.

        I believe BR when he says we are working furiously behind the scenes to make a couple of other buys but then he was being totally honest last season when he told us we’d get another striker. In short, it was over his head that was to blame that it didn’t happen.

        Mind you, if they pull off the rumoured Willian signing then all will be absolutely forgiven, the guy is top quality!

        • The question is, would we have finished 7th if we had started the season with Dempsey?

          £6m isn’t a lot and I think it would have been worth a punt to find out, as long as it didn’t prevent us from signing Coutinho and Sturridge in the next window.

    • i just dont understand how this committee is working, we still seem to be fixating on one player and if that deal falls through, there doesn’t seem to be a player B, C or D to follow up on.

      these guys are supposed to be the best in the land, so are they just all scouting one player at a time? we never seem to have back ups.

  11. I like LFC’s “transfer policy” of targeting value signings and offloading underperforming veterans on high wages. However, I agree with Gareth that we need better balance with moves that promote winning in the near term. The “value” signings/sales should create “room” to do deals like Soldado and Paulinho. I don’t think the sky is falling but I also don’t think you can honestly say that Liverpool are competing for the top 4 when you look at Spurs’ activity.

  12. The previous owners didn’t help but it was primarily Dalglish that locked us out of the top end of the market, no one wants to say or acknowledge it but that’s what happened.

    Combine Carolpocalypse with the increase in doper clubs forcing legitimate sides out of the market (even arsenal and the mancs are having problems spending money this summer) getting a bid accepted and getting a player to sign are now two very different things for this club. We might have £30m to spend but we can’t get a £30m player so the owners and very possibly the manager see there being no point – a viewpoint I’m not particularly unsympathetic to.

    So now we’re at the mercy of the market and we have to wait for it to drop gifts into our lap – Sturridge, Coutinho, Alberto and possibly the likes of Willian, Sakho and Papadopolous, highly feted players who found themselves at clubs that could either afford to act irrationally or had to sell out of financial necessity.

    There is also an element of game theory to the market post ffp and those who don’t temper expenditure with revenue will find themselves getting fisted up to the gall bladder by other clubs.

  13. It may mean waiting until January again, and if that means we bring in top quality players at reasonable fee’s, then so be it.
    This new approach is not going to develop over night. it takes longer to find the right targets, and those who want to join, but surely that’s better than being fool’s who rush in(again)

  14. James Edey

    The first thing to do is to realise that we have NO european football to offer targets this year, never mind Champions League. So, what do we have to offer? The LFC brand (yuk) which, whilst still having some lustre, is in need of the Brasso. A young manager with a project….or as a lot of players may think….an unproven manager with pie in the sky ideals?

    So, while we may like to think we are a big draw, the reality is somewhat different.

    The club is in a re-build phase and I think the owners will only open up the purse strings as their confidence in Rodgers and the recruitment team builds. Without a sugar daddy this is what we have got to endure.

    What really concerns me is the tortoise speed progress on the re-development of Anfield. But that’s another story.

  15. @tigertracey

    I agree with Garath. This is a great piece that most definatly speeks for me. It’s common sense that lfc need to pay more if they have any realistic chance of getting top players to the club. Every business takes chances, you have to. The point that a lot of you make regarding spurs being In a better state than lfc is ridiculous to me. Outside of ENG they wouldn’t have 1/3 of the fan base we have, revenue or sponser ship. How is it possible for them to be in a better financial place than lfc? Idealistic is exactly the way FSG look at things and now so to do a lot of lfc support. That will get us nowhere fast. This side is nowhere near 4th for this season or next. FSG like Rodgers are sound bite experts. Talk is cheep. “Put your money where your mouth is” to right!

  16. “When all Liverpool has ever wanted is winning football” simply isn’t true. Liverpool fans have demanded football that is “positive”, “attacking”, and “entertaining” since forever. Look at Benitez who was castigated by some (a lot) of his own fans for being too negative whilst racking up the club’s highest points tally in modern times!

    The whole ethos of the club is based on idealistic values, why should the supporting finanical approach be any different?

    • Plenty of successful Liverpool teams prided themselves on controlling games, not playing positive, attacking or entertaining football. Kings of the pass back before that rule was changed. Think most fans will accept winning to be honest.

  17. We don’t have a sugar-daddy, you need to revise your expectations.

    • No shit. Revise them to what? My expectations are improvement and a realistic challenge for a top four place. I’m hardly calling for a shot at the title.

    • He’s not asking for a sugar daddy, did you not read the article properly?

      So far, we have spent nothing in the transfer window and we are currently around £5m better off. Even Aston Villa has spent £18m more than us in this transfer window, and they finished 15th last season.

      You do realize that the club makes money, right? Plus the club is making more money a year from the improved tv rights deal every PL is now on (£40m, I do believe), so I think it’s fair to expect the owners to put that money back into the club to help get us back where we belong.

  18. Gavin Mitchell

    I do wonder if clubs like Liverpool and Arsenal plan to sue if UEFA don’t follow through on their own FFP rules properly.

    We’ve already heard that the billionaire-back clubs will probably sue on grounds that FFP is illegal, so it seems certain it will end in the courts one way or another.

  19. I can understand the fear that drives this article but I’m not sure I agree with the conclusion.

    Is there any evidence that we’ve baulked at paying top prices for players or that there are hard and fast rules which instantly rule out players who’d make a difference?

    Of the signings we’ve made this summer we’ve brought in a 32 year old, a 26 year old, a keeper for 9m and we’ve spent 7m(!) on a promising young player. How does that match a specific profile? (especially if we add the 27 year old Siquera as seems to be the current expectation) We’ve also bid big money on Mkhitaryan, Costa and seemingly are about to do so for Willian. Those last three are either PR stunts or a real show of ambition. At this stage I’d still like to believe that they were genuine attempts.

    People go over the top with some of the comments Henry makes – in another time it would have just been called common sense – i.e. if someone isn’t worth what’s being asked for them, don’t pay it. I’m absolutely certain the tune amongst supporters would change if we spent crazy money on a couple of journeymen first team players in the hope this is the stop in their journey where they realise that potential. I based that belief on the fact we’ve been there, numerous times, over the past decade.

  20. Shanks would be disgusted, by F S G’s pollution of OUR CLUB.. ……The route cause is that in 2007 we (the supporters and fans) allowed Hicks in and Henry &co, to fool u twice!!, F S G know no more than the previous about how to manage a UNIQUE club culture as LIVERPOOL.

    some blame Kenny , BUT Rafa should never have been removed, Kenny didnt come in because he needed the job, we had to recover from Purlsow and Hodgson, who are not on the fannies blame list.. we had a ridiculous chelski chairman and directors like Ayre who failed to support Rafa or Kenny

    with 6 years of “americanism” we have gone from Champions league final calibre (2007 Athens) to a standard where fans get excited by winning a few pre-season friendlies, Kenny at least competed in all competitions WON a trophy for the first time in 6 years and qualified for europe,

    Comolli was appointed by F S G as was Kenny, and betrayed by them too…The F S G -comolli policy was to “buy British” so Kenny obliged.. selling players off cheap is NOT Kenny’s fault..

    pre-season was typical for a club dominated in its policy by USA’s “media methods” a BIG tour , lots of “commercial opportunites” against mostly weak opposition make the team look better than it is

    … offloading 14 (FOURTEEN!) players so far, selling 3 new kits EVERY summer, increased TV revenue and advance cash for tickets…american sponsors, and the dubious ones that exist, anyone who has a global business knowledge know how these people work..

    the “accountants disease” …the cutting …of people and departments that “maximises” profit (for THEM) is the aim, anyone who has been through this negative “downsizing ” knows that the victim is often the creativity & alliegence of the body of staff, who then react by protecting themselves instead of the “company” (or Team) as they see colleagues dissected and discarded without feeling..

    the hypocrisy surrounding Luis, compared with the way F S G
    & BR “dumped” Pepe , a GREAT guy, with 8 years at our club, who “dared” to consider an offer from his “home” Barcelona…is just sickening..

    “dignity” my a*rse.. the club has had no “dignity” since many a year, certainly the day Hicks was allowed in , was, I thought, a low point, that declined further..

    I coach, …and saw the Celts “B” bhoys had fire in their guts .. how can we motivate kids, inside or outside of football. when we allow the CLUb that has been in all our lives to be infested by “hedge-funders” who “legally cheat” to get the money, and rip off anyone who gets in their way.?

    “you live by the sword, and you die by the sword..”

    and whether U like it or not, Number ONE on your BLAME list should be fickle Lfc fannies.. who failed to oppose Rafas removal, he had a 10 year plan and brought so many good young players to us..

    there will be bad karma, until, the wrongs are righted, and that means IMO a club run Like bayern and owned by True supporters not business sharks, from any country.. managed by Professionals, not cheats!

    p.s. all the “experts” and english media RATED Andy (the “ammunition” aimed @ Kenny) at the time Lfc bought him, and F S G wanted to sell “englishj number 9” shirts after Torres left..

    • robin crimes

      Mate, it was pointed out to me last week that FSG’s tenure is ‘open to interpretation’. I think that’s a good point because, as yet, we can’t say for sure whether the points you make or the points the ‘fannies’ make (as you so eloquently put it) are correct. It could go either way (in the same way Gareth’s point in this article could i.e. if we buy 2 £20m players or buy no one else then they’ll be a clear winner). Either way, it’s only speculation based on our interpretation at the minute.

      Anyway, the reason for replying was to ask you a question that I’m having trouble working out for myself. I don’t like being a corporate business (though i believe that’s what LFC have to do) and I don’t want a sugar daddy with a team of Harlem Globetrotters and the club’s foundations based on a house of cards) . So, what model does yours follow? Where does the cash come from to buy the players? Do you think rich business men should just give us cash because we’re Liverpool? I feel that LFC didn’t just go down hill with H&G. We’ve not been run well for over 20 years and it’s shown in the league positions. The only difference now it’s others are doing better whether by hook or by crook. So come on mate, you’ve strong opinions – let’s hear your solutions of how it could be better. Of how we can get into the CL. The League Cup meant ‘shit’ to me. Good day out but that’s about it. We have to be in the top 4 and I’m intrigued how you think we can do that.

  21. Gareth’s argument is spot-on, ie the top four are pulling further and further away whilst we’re not just spending a lot less than them to close the gap, but are also making rods for our own back viz-a-viz ridiculous constraints about not signing players of a certain profile.

    For example, Eto’o (32) is available for £5m now and probably another £5m a year in wages for a few years so £15m in total to have a proven world class player for two seasons but due to our own in-house rules on transfers, we won’t be even considering this deal. Instead, FSG’s strategy is to spend a similar amount on an unproven novice like a Borini (£10m fee plus wages) simply because we MIGHT make a return on him in a few years. So if the young player doesn’t work out the team suffers from having poor-to-average players but nevermind, we might still get a few quid for him in a few years. Meanwhile the team regresses and floats further away from the lucrative Champions League. It’s a self-defeating policy.

    The current prudent strategy means we’re effectively trying to catch up on the race leaders by slowing down. So FSG should either redouble their efforts to catch the race leaders (extend themselves financially) or drop out of the race altogether (sell the club.)

  22. stephen martin

    Gareth interesting article. Don’t fully agree like, but interesting read.

    And, it’s good to have an author reply to comments raised.


  23. My biggest concern is that the club does not seem to have any pull. We can’t attract quality players. Never mind FSG putting their money where their mouths are. Since they bought the club we have the hghest spend in Europe that is either not in the CL or doesn’t have a sugar daddy. Also didnt the last set of accounts show that FSG invested £45m as an interest free loan?

    The club is still making a loss year on year, is not in Europe and the fans want marquee signings but yet don’t want a sugar daddy and don’t want to pay higher ticket prices. I’m assuming fans don’t want to see the club in more debt. So what fans want is an owner that isn’t rich enough to be a sugar daddy, pull tens of miilions out of the air to invest in marquee transfer fees and wages.

    Before this transfer window we’d spent £25m-£30m net every season under FSG. That’s more than Dortmund, Milan, Inter, Arsenal, Spurs and a whole host of CL clubs. Problem is a lot of the money was wasted on shite.

    What I blame FSG for is the slapdash way they have structured the football operation and the poor appointments of key positions. They promised we’d have the best football operation in the world. That hasn’t yet materialised.

  24. Who are these people? I simply don’t recognise our fans these days, we now have a large group of people that will look to see the good in a group of hedge fund managers over what is best for this club.

    I wish you’d all go away and watch the nasdaq or ftse and leave my club alone.

  25. Jonathan Fitch

    The ironic thing is we could spend 25-30 million on a ‘marquee signing’ an Aspas and Alberto outshine them. Although a proven youngster like Munian or Erikson could be a lift to the whole team like you say.

    I’m also really looking forward to a full season with Sturridge (if he can stay fit) and Coutinho.

    As I have been saying to all I know. Based on the league from January onwards we would be challenging for the league, let alone Champions League, that’s the closest we have to a form guide for last 4 months of the season!

  26. To me the constant aspect of FSG ownership is naivety.
    First, a belief that a level playing field will exist with FFP – it won’t, never was going to, and when they bought in to LFC an expression that it was part of the attraction that FFP was coming showed that whoever was (still is?) advising FSG is either naive, trusting, or deluded. I give you Real Madrid, Monaco, PSG, and Man City. FFP bollox…
    Secondly, naivety in believing that financial prudence, value for money, or buying young (to make a future profit??) will bring success at the CL, Top 4 level – it won’t. Buying the hest, being prepared ti dig deep on a priven goalscorer, will. I give you the best recent example – RVP.
    Finally, believing that an inexperienced manager, an inexperienced MD, and an ownership learning about the PL from afar, can achieve progress while far greater experienced owners (all top 5 except Man City) stand still (they won’t!), is also naive.
    I just want European football back, I recognise that Top 4 is way off with the current squad – desperately hoping I’m wrong.
    I fully expect FSG to exit and sell in the next 12 months….

  27. This game is now a game of chance.FSG are now trying to limit risk.

    We find Couthino and we sign Downing? We get Shelvey and we play Spearing?

    It’s just a throw of the dice nowadays.We used to sign players who had some history of winning things.Ray Kennedy won things everywhere.John Toshack had success in a number of sports.Hansen was an accomplished golfer.

    In those days the mentality of the player was the most important thing..A mentality of winning:whatever it took.

    Not about showboating or fancy-footing.Just an in-built desire to win!

    Sadly we only have one man with that attitude nowadays.Can you guess who it is?

    Despite this I still think that we’ll make a good show this season.But I think it’s going to be more down to Rodgers getting the best out of them rather than having a squad of players who would kick their own grandmothers to score a goal!

  28. Gareth you seem to have ignored that , top players are also pulled by working under a top class high profile manager, which we do not have also Rodgers has been backed through out his tenure.

    The problem we have now is that we are less critical of wasted £11 million flops such as Borini and £15 Million average signings like Joe Allen, where previously we use to blast £1.5 Million 19 year olds Like Ngog, and £500k left backs such as Insua !!!

    The problem is not FSG but the managers they have chosen to manage.

    Its all a shambles with us fans hanging onto lack of progress with the words ” we are on track” ” reducing wages” “rodgers style” or the favourite one ” philosophy”…its all a farce and a top class manager even with this squad can make a fight for the CL positions and be more competitive… only 4 seasons back we were favourites for the Premier League, and 3rd favourites for the Champions League…but now we are happy as long as fanalysts can spin positives on a blog !!!

  29. I don’t think there’s much to be concerned about at this moment in time. The club clearly has resources available or we wouldn’t have made bids of £20m+ for Costa and Mhikitarian (even meeting the buy out clause for Costa which would have been paying over the odds). The fact they both chose not to sign for us is frustrating but understandable given we don’t have European football. Ultimately we’re going to be challenging Arsenal and Tottenham for 4th and 5th this season and I honestly think we have enough to go toe-to-toe with them, yes we might finish 6th but I believe it’s going to be much closer than previous years . Now for the naughty bit. I’m going to put my money where my mouth is and say I expect us to finish in a champions league place if Rodgers makes the two or three signings he’s spoken of. As an example… Willian, Siqueira, and Papadopolous (other brands of footballer are available) would see us favourites for 4th in my opinion. That would make our starting eleven look filthy! And as our bench is already looking stronger this year with the likes of Sterling, Ibe, Henderson and Alberto all having good pre-seasons I think there’s a lot to look forward too. At the end of the day lads it’s a game and I think we’re going to have a right laugh this year. Let’s just go out and smash the bottom 14 teams, do our best against the teams above us and try to win a cup along the way. Rebuilding is a slow process but we are making progress. YNWA

  30. Troutbeck Red

    FSG have no love of football or Liverpool but they recognise a bargain when they see one. In 2010 their was a credit crisis and nobody wanted LFC because they had no liquid cash. Also there was a new stadium to build, so the cost of LFC requiered an open chèque book that nobody had.

    Everyone says that the CL money is the promised land. It is not. You can stay out of top 4 with young players on low wages and become a feeder club and LFC are the perfect feeder club. Big ground and local matches, perfect for préparation for players to go on to Barca and Madrid. Alonso, masc, arbeloa, have gone Pepe, Agger, Suarez, coutinho, Lucas could follow; Torres went to Chelsea. Thanks to Rafa all these players if sold at their peak have/will rake in over 200 million the Price FSG paid for the club

    To get back into the CL places requiers player investment of 4 – 5 World class players plus wages. Why bother, Anfield sells out, Lfc are still a World club and Will always be on TV. Reduce the costs increase profits and employ à young manager that gets an easy ride because it suits all the London press for Lfc to be 6-7.

    FSG moan about not being able to attract players but in the end they have sorted the books, ditched the stadium and are now waiting for the world économie to turn, which it is slowly, and they are going through the motions until à buyer comes along with 600 million + for the club. They Will Pochet the profit and let the New owners get into the CL. At the end of the day LFC are still the most undervalued club in World football and FSG are happy with that to continue. They make enough on transfers and the TV deal, shirt and team sponsorship. Why bother doing more?

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