Liverpool FC owner John Henry sets out his vision for the Reds
OWNER John W Henry has urged Liverpool’s players to give everything to help lead the club up the Premier League table.
The American, who also revealed that his sports investment company New England Sports Ventures (NESV) will change its name to Fenway Sports Group, reiterated his promise to restore the Reds to their former glory.
But he insists success will only come if everyone is pulling in the same direction.
Speaking to the independent Liverpool FC website Red and White Kop (click on the link for the full Q and A), he said: "“The club has gone through a very difficult period and the period has not ended.
“It’s up to us to build a winner going forward. It’s up to them (the players) to determine to win now. We saw a certain team on the field against Chelsea last week that showed what they can do.
“We also know how competitive the EPL is this year. There are no guaranteed matches any longer for any club. This club can be better.
“Blaming the manager or any one particular player is simply wrong. This club needs to play up to their potential every match. If they don’t, they won’t win.”
Looking further into the future, Henry vowed to invest in the playing squad but believes the club will conduct most of its business next summer rather than in January.
“We have work to do and must invest in this club to improve it on the field,” he added. “Can that be successfully done in January? A number of people I’ve talked with doubt it.
“Most people seem to think it will be the summer before we can really begin to improve. So the players – all 11 each week – have to be on the same page every match and have to live up to the history and respect this club has engendered – no matter what.
“I’ve met with a number of our players and had private discussions with some of them. I’ve been greatly impressed by them personally. They are all exceptionally bright and they all want to be here.
“The question they have had, rightfully so, is whether or not the club is going to go in the right direction. They all want to see that. I have been very forthright about our philosophy and about what we are going to try to achieve.
“Some would prefer a quick fix. Others prefer to focus on the long-term and that is very difficult for most players.
“But this club needs everyone on the same page every day. We need everyone focused on what needs to be done in the next match facing us and during that match.
“The club should not have to settle for less. As one insightful player told me, “The spirit of the side needs to be there like a family – as one.”
Responding to fans’ fears about a lack of football expertise and experience at senior management and board level, Henry pointed to the recent appointment of Damien Comolli as director of football strategy.
He said: “Damien has a philosophy that is similar to ours and what has made us successful in Boston. But he is just our first appointment.
“We don’t know English football, but we do know the sports business and what it takes to be successful.
“You must first of all have the right people in place and you must be able to give them the resources they need to be successful. With the new Financial Fair Play Rules coming into effect next year, we know that we need to emphasize revenue growth. That is an area we feel we are very strong.
“The best way to market Liverpool FC globally is to win because the fanbase is already so large globally. If we build the right team on the field, everything off the field will take care of itself.”
Henry said chairman Tim Werner and himself will be frequent visitors to Anfield.
He said: “We will be in London and Liverpool with regularity. There is a lot to be done. We speak about the Sox and LFC daily – seven days a week.
“We are working on teleconferencing as well as spending time in Liverpool. In the digital world of today one can say almost nothing is local. It has never been easier to work from a distance.
“But like Fenway, Anfield will be hard to stay away from. We’ve really enjoyed our time in Liverpool thus far.”
Asked what Liverpool’s new owners can give to Liverpool in terms of a personal vision and philosophy, Henry said: “We will have to be bold, thoughtful and aggressive in order to do the right thing for the community, for the supporters and for the club long-term.
“Liverpool values are well known. What makes Anfield so special beyond the history of the ground are the people who populate Anfield each match. They value the club first and foremost.
“That is what we have to ensure every person who wears a kit or works for the club at any level has in the their minds first and foremost – the club comes first.
“In Boston every player who puts on a Boston Red Sox uniform knows what it means to wear that uniform. It’s something very special. Wearing that uniform has a great deal of meaning.
“We have a Red Sox way that is discussed in spring training each year. It is a privilege to work for the Boston Red Sox at any level. We have Red Sox Ambassadors who spend their days ensuring that people outside of the organisation know how much all of us inside the organisation appreciate our fans and visitors to Fenway Park.
“The values that we have to strive for within the club at Liverpool emanate from the supporters. We cannot have anyone at the club who when they walk into the Academy, Melwood or Anfield, aren’t aware of club values and that the club comes first and foremost.
“We have to have everyone from top to bottom on the same page – exactly the same page. And we will.
“We will make mistakes and it will be up to us to correct them. With the level of support this club has, if we are all on the same page, we will be incredibly successful.”
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