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FSG discussion thread

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keyop:
There’s no doubt we’re in a tough place at the moment, and this hasn’t been the season we were all hoping for, especially after almost winning the quadruple last year.

However, it seems in recent years that all too often all the discussions are circular in their nature, and all roads regularly lead to FSG. I’ve started this thread as a rational (yes, I know…) place to properly debate our owners, and to praise, vent, agree, disagree, or post whatever might be your views or ideas. It’s also to try and prevent all of the other threads leading down the same dead-end route, which often curtails discussions and leaves posters exhausted or indifferent about the topic being discussed - which isn’t really what a discussion forum should be in my view.

Personally, I’m not for or against our owners. However, I’m a realist and an optimist, and can see all the good things they’ve done as well as the mistakes they’ve made. However, when you go into many threads - whether its pre-match, post-match, player threads, the injury thread, the Jurgen thread, the Klopp Template thread (and too many others to mention), the narrative can quickly descend into the reductionist argument of ‘we should spend more’ (or ‘spend as much as everyone else’). We all know it’s not as simple as that, but it doesn’t seem to prevent the same discussions and arguments being repeated, and (certainly lately) - a lot of arguing, name calling, and personal insults being thrown around. The two often polarising viewpoints usually end in a stalemate - until they simply crop up again in a different thread and the cycle starts again. One side wants to blame every bad result, performance, individual mistake, or injury on the club or the owners. The other side thinks it’s more complex than that, and that everyone associated with the club must share some of the responsibility, and that (on balance) FSG have done a good job. There are a few people in between, but most seem to fall into the two different camps. Examples of how the discussions go are:

* A player gets injured, and it could simply be bad luck or a bad tackle – but others might argue that we ‘always buy injury prone players’, or ‘should’ve sold them years ago’.
* We lose to a team like Forest (but can beat City), and some say we need to find consistency, whereas others suggest a ‘total rebuild’ or ‘the players are all in decline’, or ‘we need to spend at least £300m’.
* A player is off form or makes a mistake, and some of us feel that it can happen occasionally, whereas others suggest they've been 'flogged for 5 seasons', or that 'this was inevitable with older players' or 'we should've sold them when we had a chance'
* We don’t sign the player we were hoping for, and some of us think there could be a multitude of reasons why, but others suggest ‘the club is negligent’ or that ‘our recruitment team are hopeless’, or ‘Jurgen isn’t being allowed to buy the players he wants’.
* Keita and Ox are still regularly injured and will both leave on a free next summer, and some of us simply think that no club wanted to buy players who are crocked so often, on decent wages, and often can’t even get in the team when fit. Whereas others claim ‘we should’ve sold them both by now’, and that it’s ‘incompetence’ and ‘bad planning’ to still have them on our books after almost 5 years.Sometimes there is simply no blame required, or one individual that has screwed up. As history shows, football is a game of chance and risk both on and off the pitch, and whilst all clubs should always maximise the chances of success (and try to limit the number of variables that are out of their control), sometimes we will simply find that ‘shit just happens’.

I’m all for debate, but the singular arguments so often being made can make it difficult to have meaningful discussion, when seemingly the only narrative being offered is that ultimately it’s all John Henry’s fault (and is purely about money). Yes, John Henry owns a yacht and he bought the club at a bargain price, and now has an asset worth over £3billion. But when you remember where we were when he took over (and what has happened since), it’s all about perspective, and also realising that that £3billion isn’t cash in a bank account they can spend how they like – it’s just a valuation that won’t materialise until they sell. There is clearly no doubt that Jurgen has been the difference maker for us under FSG’s tenure, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he is responsible everything good, and that the owners are responsible for everything bad.

To reduce everything down to Jurgen’s personality (and ability) overlooks the fact that FSG were new to football, were finding their feet, and ultimately learned from their mistakes between 2010 and 2015. Those 5 years were not the pre-Jurgen dystopia that many make it out to be - we almost won the league, we won the league cup, reached the FA cup final, started work on the main stand, and we bought players like Suarez, Sturridge, Sterling, Coutinho, Henderson, Bobby, Gomez, Origi and Milner – several of whom have been key players in our recent success. We arguably might have also done better after 2013/14 had we not blown all the Suarez money mostly on duds. The often tacit narrative of ‘everything was shit under FSG until Jurgen arrived’ is patently false in my view.

I know we (rightly) have a natural distrust of our owners (and people in suits in general), but it can often reach levels approaching paranoia on here sometimes. Other clubs make mistakes all the time and we laugh at them, whilst often expecting us to be perfect (and being surprised when we’re not). Other clubs make mistakes in the transfer market, or buy players that don’t succeed (or get injured), or waste hundreds of millions on transfers only to go backwards. Our arch enemies up the road are an example that throwing hundreds of millions at a project isn’t a guarantee of success, and that blaming the owners is too simplistic. Other clubs have in-fighting at board level, or sack their managers every other season, or have to be bailed out with loans, or have stadiums in disrepair, or are forced to sell their best players. Yet for some reason we are held to entirely different standards, despite what we’ve seen unfolding at other clubs in the Premier League and in Europe. Some might say we should ‘quite rightly’ hold ourselves to higher standards, and I’d largely agree. But the process to achieve those standards is not linear, and there will inevitably be some bumps in the road along the way – as there have been for every top football club throughout history.

I’ll start things off with my personal view on what our owners have done well, and what they could’ve done better.

Things FSG have done well:

•   Pay competitive wages to attract and keep the best players
•   Get a top class manager in that can help transform the club from top to bottom
•   Increase the stadium capacity
•   Stop losing all our best players to other clubs
•   Find a workable solution for the Anfield Road stand
•   Tie down our best players to longer contracts for their peak years
•   Build a proper recruitment team, aligned with the manager's philosophy
•   Invest in the Academy and facilities
•   Compete commercially with other big clubs and grow our revenues
•   Get back to the European glory days again
•   Put a footballing structure in place to help us regularly compete for the title
•   Don’t leverage the club with unmanageable debt, or ever put the future of the club at risk

Things FSG could’ve done better:

•   Invested more into the playing squad (at least more consistently across the last 5-6 years)
•   Taken more advantage of our position of strength between 2018 and 2020
•   Handled the ticket price situation better
•   Consulted fans and the community on the ESL plans

On balance I feel they’ve done more things right than wrong, and whilst we’re all frustrated at our near misses and our struggles this season (and in 2020/21), it’s always worth remembering that we’ve ultimately only ever been competing with City since Jurgen’s been here. Up until the last two months, we’ve been head and shoulders above everyone else – even finishing 3rd in 2020/21 when half our team were out injured. Without City’s cheating and our terrible luck with injuries, we’d have at least another 3 titles by now and I highly doubt the owners would be under as much scrutiny.

On a final point – it’s worth noting that those of us defending FSG are not ‘pro-FSG’. In fact, I imagine most on here couldn't care less if it’s John Henry/FSG or any another organisation running the club – provided they do three things:

1.   Continually improve us as a competitive club both on and off the pitch
2.   Run the club with integrity through honest means, and protect the future of the club via a sustainable business model
3.   Listen to the fans and community and learn from their mistakes

Hopefully most will agree that we don’t want so many threads descending into repetitive owner bashing/defending. Hopefully this thread can become somewhere where views, ideas and discussions can presented and curated, without all the arguing, mud-slinging, and continuous references back to the owners and money - when in reality our recent struggles are far more complex than that.

After all, aren't we all on the same team here?

JackWard33:
I'm not inteding to participate in this thread a lot as ownership discussions on here just don't go well

But the one thing I would say in response to your OP is that its backwards looking... its an assessment of whats happened so far
And that's a legit discussion but its not as interesting to me as what happens next.

I have serious concerns about how we stay competitive over the next 5 years and I'm not convinced that either ownership or the footballing side of the club have an idea as to how that happens. It seems pretty clear to me that the recruitment 'edge' that got us to where we are has now reduced massively and may not even really exist at all any more
So my questions are around what happens next and how do we stay competitive with this ownership - I'm much more interested in that than the 8000th raking over the coals of the last decade

Mozology:
They got extremely lucky on two occasions, firstly getting Klopp to become our manager, he could've easily said no. Secondly, getting over 140 million for Coutinho, without that insanity from Barca we don't get Becker and Virg

The news about Edwards going to Utd is depressing as fuck. The best behind the scenes man in world football and he's going to them c*nts.

keyop:

--- Quote from: JackWard33 on October 25, 2022, 12:08:04 pm ---I'm not inteding to participate in this thread a lot as ownership discussions on here just don't go well

But the one thing I would say in response to your OP is that its backwards looking... its an assessment of whats happened so far
And that's a legit discussion but its not as interesting to me as what happens next.

I have serious concerns about how we stay competitive over the next 5 years and I'm not convinced that either ownership or the footballing side of the club have an idea as to how that happens. It seems pretty clear to me that the recruitment 'edge' that got us to where we are has now reduced massively and may not even really exist at all any more
So my questions are around what happens next and how do we stay competitive with this ownership - I'm much more interested in that than the 8000th raking over the coals of the last decade

--- End quote ---
I agree Jack - we have to look forwards. But as with anything in life - it's important to know where we've come from and to learn from what went well and what we could do better. The detail above is merely to set that context and think about how we move forward.

It's also worth noting that City have been a thorn in our side for over 6 years now, and even without them apparently 'pushing us to be better', we'd have likely won 4 PL titles under Jurgen given his influence on all aspects of the club since 2015.

-Willo-:
This is my opinion;

I think everything we have won over the last few years is in spite of FSG. They struck gold with Klopp, and then struck gold with Coutinho to Barcelona.


If you look at an FSG owned LFC pre-Klopp it was underwhelming. They came in and wanted to adopt the moneyball philosophy which for me, immediately showed their ambition was more on making money instead of challenging at the top, because buying players for cheap to increase their value to sell on is not getting you to compete with the big boys.

What I will give them credit for is the team they have recruited to make perfection a possibility, they all seem top class from Hogan to Klopp, but perfection is a possibility for a short amount of time with the money we have at our disposal, and when you revert back to being good, this is where we need a bit of ambition. I don't believe they have the ambition to truly be the best, as long as we hit the top 4 they are happy... That used to be fine a few years ago because we were on a journey to the top, but we have hit the pinnacle and for us to stay on top they simply need to be spending more on the team.

Brilliant businessmen, but average owners from a football fan perspective, also I will never 'thank' them for 'saving' us, someone was always buying Liverpool FC at a cut price deal, one which was only possible due to our incredible fans. If anything they should be thanking the fans who protested and forced H&G out.

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