Opinion

FSG at Liverpool: Why we should want them to stay

Reports last week, coming from The New York Post, suggested that John W. Henry and Tom Werner would entertain offers for the club in the region of £2 billion. On the same day these reports came out, a spokesperson at the club rubbished these reports and stood firmly on the side that the club wasn’t for sale. With reports like these popping up in the media on a few occasions here is why we should want them to stay.

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WHO ARE FENWAY SPORTS GROUP?

Fenway Sports Group, FSG for short, are an American business who own multiple sports teams spearheaded by the owners of the business John W Henry and Tom Werner. They own the current Baseball World Series Champions Boston Red Sox and obviously Liverpool FC, as well as a NASCAR racing team called Roush Fenway Racing. The pair bought the club in October of 2010 for a fee of £300 million to save the club from administration at the hands of Hicks and Gillett.

HOW FSG AND THE KING SAVED LIVERPOOL

When FSG completed the takeover of Liverpool FC, the club sat in the bottom 3 after a terrible start to the season. The club had Roy Hodgson as manager and endured a terrible transfer window in the summer before FSG came in which saw the arrivals of some horrific transfers like Danny Wilson, Joe Cole and Milan Jovanovic amongst others. After saving the club from administration they also saved us from the horrific manager that’s Roy Hodgson as in January of 2011 they decided they’d had enough and sent Roy packing. Henry and Werner decided club legend Sir Kenny Dalglish was the best man for the job.

In their first transfer window as owners, they had to endure the inevitable and oversaw fan favourite Fernando Torres join rivals Chelsea for a fee of £50 million. However, it wasn’t all bad as the money was reinvested back into the squad leading to the arrival of  prolific Uruguayan stiker, Luis Suarez for a fee of £23 million from Dutch side Ajax. The appointment of King Kenny was a successful one as The Reds managed to go from what looked like being a relegation battle to finishing in 6th, still above rivals Everton.

The 2011/12 summer transfer window saw the arrival of current club captain Jordan Henderson and the departures of the horrific Hodgson signings from the previous summer. The league season wasn’t the best under Kenny and The Reds finished in a fairly disappointing 8th. However, Dalglish made up for this with the 2012 League Cup win on penalties against Cardiff. The first two years were successful for FSG as they brought silverware to Merseyside and took the club out of the horror show that was created by Roy Hodgson.

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RODGERS’ TENURE

In May of 2012, Sir Kenny Dalglish departed the club on good terms with the owners with him now being a board member and having a stand named after him at Anfield after his departure. Kenny was replaced with current Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers. Rodgers was backed in his first transfer window which saw the arrivals of Phillipe Coutinho for a fee of £8 million and Daniel Sturridge for £15 million. The first season wasn’t the best but saw an improvement on the year before finishing 7th place.

There were no notable arrivals in the summer of 2013 for Liverpool with the biggest acquisition being current Crystal Palace centre-back Mamadou Sakho. However, this summer transfer window didn’t prevent The Reds having a good season. Liverpool became a free-flowing attacking side under Rodgers with Suarez and Sturridge scoring 52 goals between the two of them that season. This attacking game that Rodgers’ side was playing made it look like Liverpool would win the league. Unfortunately, the Reds were beaten by City to the title by 2 points. However, this was a massive turn around under FSG’s ownership from a relegation battle to becoming title challengers and qualifying for Europe’s premier competition.

Rodgers saw the departure of Luis Suarez at the start of the 2014/15 season and guided Liverpool to a 6th placed finish in the league that season. In the 2015/16 Rodgers then oversaw the departure of Sterling to City for £50 million before being sacked 2 months later, after a poor start to the season.

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FSG, KLOPP AND THE PRESENT DAY

After Rodgers’ sacking, The board and FSG pulled off a coup for the club by appointing 2 times Bundesliga winner and former Borussia Dortmund manager Jürgen Klopp. The league wasn’t the main focus for Klopp when he arrived at Anfield, with his attention being focused on the Europa League and the League Cup. After great European nights against his old side Dortmund and rivals Manchester United, Klopp guided Liverpool to their first European final in 9 years only to be pipped to the crown by Unai Emery’s Sevilla in the final. Earlier in the year, the German also guided Liverpool to the English League Cup final to again be beaten, by City on penalties. Klopp’s Liverpool finished 8th in the league that season.

Klopp was backed by FSG, like his predecessors, in the summer of 2016 signing Sadio Mane and Gini Wijnaldum for combined fees of £60 million. These two signings contributed to a successful season for the Reds which saw the creation of the front three of Mane, Firmino and Coutinho. Klopp led Liverpool back into the competition they had won 5 times after a promising 4th place finish.

In the 2017/18 season, Klopp pulled off the signing of the summer by signing Mo Salah, he ended up scoring 44 goals in all competitions whilst winning PFA player of the year and The Golden Boot among a host of other individual awards. With Liverpool going strong in the Premier League and Champions Leauge in the January transfer window, Klopp broke the world record fee for a defender by signing the highly-in-demand centre-back Virgil Van Dijk for £75 million from Southampton. These two astute signings contributed to the amazing run to Kiev, creating more memorable CL nights against Roma and Manchester City among other great nights. However, Real Madrid came out on top in the Champions League Final in Kiev.

This season, Klopp has been backed once again in the transfer window, by FSG, with Liverpool being the highest spenders in the summer of 2018 after the signings of Xherdan Shaqiri, Fabinho, Alisson and Naby Keita equating to transfer fees near £180 million. These signings and the prior strength of the squad before these signings have propelled Liverpool to an unbeaten start to the Premier League season and looking like real contenders to City’s crown.

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WHY WE SHOULD WANT FSG TO STAY

FSG’s time at Liverpool has been eventful, to say the least with title challenges, European finals and a League Cup victory. We have come so close to glory under FSG on a few occasions and have fallen at the last hurdle. However, FSG have shown signs of intent that they want to win by backing every manager that has been in charge, under their ownership, and they have shown that they are not afraid to make the big decisions.

The transfer committee that used to exist now looks to be gone with Michael Edwards working with Klopp and the board to bring in some of the best players around Europe to the club. Together, they have built a squad that’s easily one of the best in Europe and looks as though it could go on to win major honours within in the next few years. Hopefully, starting this year with the Premier League, Champions League or FA Cup.

 

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