After some mid week European action, the Premier League was back in action and as usual there’s plenty to talk about.
I am certain I am opening myself up to loads of criticism and flack, but I am one of those Liverpool fans who believes Fenway Sports Group have done us a world of good and helped Liverpool progress over the last 12 years.
Yes, they do not spend millions on transfers every window, but there is more to being owners of a football club than providing a transfer kitty every six months.
Here is why they have done well as owners of Liverpool Football Club.
They’ve paid off club debt
During the deal to buy the team in 2010 they paid up £44.8 million (A$81.6 million) to cover the club’s debts. When they purchased the club Liverpool was in tatters. They helped get rid of the massive debt and then started to rebuild. Yes, this is the first thing any new owner would have done, but take a second and think of the state of the club that they were buying.
Two words to remind you: Paul Konchesky.
They’ve improved the club’s value
Over a period of time they have steadily increase the club’s value from £532 million (A$969 million) in 2010 to £2.8 billion (A$5.1 billion). They made smart commercial deals and made smart purchases and sales of players that helped the value of the club go up. Over these 12 years Liverpool have once again become an attractive proposition for some of the best football talent in the world.
Two words to remind you: Charlie Adam.
They’ve expanded the stadium
They loaned the club £260 million (A$473.6 million) interest-free to expand stadium capacity and make overall improvements wherever necessary. This was done in two phases, the first phase of £100 million (A$182 million) to take the capacity up by 10,000 fans and the second of £50 million (A$161 million) to help increase it by another 5000. Under this project Anfield has gone from a stadium that holds 45,276 people to one that boasts a capacity of approximately 60,000.
Klopp’s one word to remind you how good this is: impressive.
The Kirkby training ground
FSG helped us move into a new £50 million (A$161 million) training ground. Klopp is a manager who believes in training the players you have rather than jumping to buy a player to plug a gap or improve something. That is why the owners thought purchasing a new state-of-the-art training facility would be something very useful.
These might not be the amounts of money that some of the rivals have spent, but it is still a significant amount of money, just not spent in the transfer window.
Yes, Klopp is the reason that we won the Premier League, UEFA Champions League, Super League and Club World Cup as well as played in two European finals before that. But whatever people say, the fact is the owners have reinvested whatever money they’ve pulled out of the club. Yes, they have not pumped in much of their own money in the transfer window, but they have spent £200 million-plus (A$364 million) of other activities. These activities helped us expand our brand, and if the brand makes more money, they reinvest that money too.
Their aim is to help us grow, albeit a little slowly. For those who are in the digital field, their strategy is more of a slow but sure SEO marketing effort rather than a paid campaign for instant results.
I am surely not one of the fans that want #FSGOUT. Yes, they made a couple of huge mistakes, the first one being the furlough incident during the start of the pandemic, which they retracted immediately.
The second and more severe one was trying to be part of a breakaway European Super League. This was a huge mistake for which they apologised. There is a flip side to the story. These guys are money hungry businessmen. The idea of being able to generate more money appeals to them, hence the entire European Super League fiasco.
The way it was done was wrong and seemed cowardly, but the fact that they accepted it, uploaded an apology video, spoke to fans and retracted their decision while expecting to pay heavy fines is something we can’t ignore.
Should they be fined for this? Absolutely yes – they need to pay for something that they deemed worthy enough despite never speaking to the most important stakeholders of our club, the fans.
However, to sum it all up, I look at the entire situation a little differently, and I am ready to agree with those who disagree.