Fenway Sports Group have now owned Liverpool Football Club for seven years. In that time, FSG have undoubtedly taken the club forward and out of the disastrous financial situation left by former owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett. However, it is fair to say that the likes of John W. Henry, Tom Werner, and Mike Gordon have divided opinion amongst those that follow the Reds.
In this time, there have been major steps forward, including the redevelopment of the Main Stand at Anfield. However, the fact is that during their tenure as owners, Liverpool have only won one trophy – the League Cup back in 2012. With questions over their commitment and financial backing, our writers give their thoughts on FSG as owners, and where the club goes from here.
Evaluating Fenway Sports Group as Liverpool Owners
Seven years isn’t a long time in charge of a club. Yet, it has been enough for many supporters to forget where Liverpool FC was prior to FSG. Liverpool was on the brink of becoming the next Leeds. Looking at where the Reds are now, a lot of credit must be given for what FSG have achieved. Liverpool is now a very well-run business. However, it’s not a business, it’s a football club. FSG need to decide if they want success in their bank balance or on the pitch. A bigger financial investment is needed if they want to win trophies at Anfield.
Mark Mason – @MMason00
Overall, I can’t help but feel that FSG has been unfairly vilified by Liverpool fans and turned into the scapegoat when things go wrong. FSG took over from far worse owners in Hicks and Gillett, put money into the first team, oversaw the expansion of Anfield and made efforts to keep hold of our best players, most notably Philippe Coutinho this summer. One criticism may be the commercialization of the club. However, if fans want Liverpool to be competitive at home and in Europe, the extra funds are necessary. FSG is one of the better club owners in the Premier League.
Conor Ketley – @conorketley
Fenway Sports Group as Liverpool FC owners has certainly divided the fan base, regarding their contribution to the club. It’s by no means easy to judge fairly on the matter. On one hand, they are not like those owning the likes of Manchester City or Paris Sent-Germain. It’s very hard to see them spending as recklessly. Paying £130 million on three full-backs or £200 million on a world class talent will never be on their agenda. They will always be aiming to keep the club financially self-sustaining.
On the other hand, they have redesigned Anfield’s Main Stand, they have obviously changed their policy on selling key players, and they have given Jurgen Klopp plenty of support since the German was hired. Even though the club hasn’t spent as much as some would like in the summer, their continued pursuit of Virgil van Dijk and the deal done with RB Leipzig over Naby Keita prove the owners aren’t really afraid to spend, but rather save their money for the right players. Plans for further stadium upgrades tell us that their spending on the club’s progress isn’t about to stop just yet. Yes, they have made mistakes, the decision to sack Kenny Dalglish in 2012 was certainly a strange one, but it’s no reason to demand they sell up just yet.
Vesko Trajkovic – @VeskoTrajkovic
I’m not completely supportive of FSG, but I’m certainly far from wanting them out. For starters, the Roy Hodgson era is one we’d really like to forget about. From an early season relegation level scrap to losing at Goodison Park, it was one of the lower points in the club’s history. What would later frustrate me about them was the post 2013/14 season. When Brendan Rodgers spoke about the transfer committee and how they affected, that very much made me question them and how they do business. Lastly, Virgil van Dijk, a defender who could’ve potentially been crucial to this season, was not signed due to a situation unprofessionally handled.
On the other hand, they’ve gone from the Hodgson period to a world-class manager in Klopp. Their stand on the Coutinho situation was positive, even though some will argue he maybe should’ve been sold. FSG have been good for the club, with improvements made over the years. My only question would be if they have the finances to make us compete against the best.
Marwan Abhar – @marwanabhar
FSG have somewhat helped Liverpool recover from the mess left by Hicks and Gillett. As well as this, bringing in Jürgen Klopp and investing £120 million into the Main Stand redevelopment has had a major impact. The key potential issue lies with spending and fully backing Klopp in the current transfer market. It’s just a simple fact that they cannot give the same support as the likes of Sheikh Mansour at Manchester City and Roman Abramovich at Chelsea.
On a supporter’s level, notable positive involvements include hiring the popular Tony Barrett as Head of Club and Supporter Liaison, covering fans’ visa costs for long distance Champions League away games, and working with groups such as the Owen McVeigh Foundation. The owners also reversed controversial ticket pricing changes back in February 2016, after listening to fan-opinion and accepted their mistakes – something that should be commended. Liverpool is in a much better position now than they were seven years ago. FSG have steadied the ship, but the question is whether they are strong enough to push the club to the next level on the field in particular.
Aidan Semple – @LWOSAidan
Main Photo: LEICESTER, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 23: Jordan Henderson of Liverpool Scores the third Goal and Celebrates during the Premier League match between Leicester City and Liverpool at The King Power Stadium on September 23, 2017 in Leicester, England. (Photo by John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)