Liverpool fans' feelings about FSG

nattysez

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Sep 30, 2010
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This article from the Liverpool Echo is pretty remarkable. If you replaced "Liverpool" with "Red Sox" and "Jurgen Klopp" with "Alex Cora" you'd think the Globe had published this.

The criticism of Fenway Sports Group and their perceived lack of investment in the Liverpool squad at crucial times isn't new.

While the earlier years of the ownership, where the club had been acquired from the near ruinous regime of Tom Hicks and George Gillett, where the club was still more than two decades on from being champions of England again and where the fanbase were being continually starved of those memorable European nights, meant that FSG had some space and time to establish a strategy and recruitment model to bring them back in the mix with the new powers of football, recent years have been less forgiving.

Champions League winners in 2019, Premier League winners in 2020, a whisker from the quadruple last season and an established presence among Europe's finest year in, year out, with three Champions League final appearances in five years has raised the profile, the revenues, the opportunities, the expectation and the pressure to deliver.
In recent years, though, the success of Liverpool has been seen by some as something achieved in spite of FSG, triumphs delivered through the sheer brilliance of Klopp and his ability to pull levels out of players that were never expected. The role that Klopp has played at the football club has been nothing short of remarkable, worthy of adding his name alongside the greats to have sat in the Anfield dugout.
As business owners they have delivered. A stadium that has improved beyond recognition from what existed when they took over, a balance sheet that allows them to fund the club sustainably against a backdrop of a new wave of owners in football with an open wallet policy and some deeply questionable motives. All that is to their credit and are things that can't be denied, at least by those who are open to having a meaningful conversation around what football club ownership should look like.

But for all the commercial revenue streams increasing, for all the joy that occurred on the pitch through the last few seasons, there has been an underlying worry that the lack of risk taken in some transfer windows and a perceived reliance on what is now seen as the 'Liverpool model' of sell to buy, has meant that it has all seemed a little more impermanent than the success that Manchester City have been enjoying, albeit success that has largely been domestic.
But I'm glad Sox fans aren't at this point yet:

Would ownership from groups that have been heavily criticised, such as Newcastle United's owners, the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund, and Manchester City's Abu Dhabi-based City Football Group be welcomed with open arms despite the geopolitical issues that surround them and their accusations of reputation laundering and sports washing? Is it all ok if you are signing big players in the transfer window?
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Jul 2, 2006
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That Liverpool Echo article contains an incredible amount of entitled whining. Its more equivalent to Red Sox fans calling for FSG to sell the team circa May 2010 because the season hadn't started well, they hadn't won the PL title World Series for an entire two years running, star signing Darwin Nunez John Lackey didn't look so good, and they were still being outspent by Manchester City the Yankees.
 

Kliq

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Mar 31, 2013
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Baseball and soccer, since they don't have any real salary caps, have similar contentious relationships between fans and ownerships, mainly under the idea that fans are perpetually frustrated that ownership isn't spending enough to compete with the very-highest spending teams. The only fanbase I think would be truly happy with their current ownership is Man City, or maybe Newcastle. Perhaps one of the smaller clubs like Brighton enjoying a relatively glory period of years at the top flight.
 

JM3

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Dec 14, 2019
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Hating on Liverpool for selling to buy is a bit silly when used to compare the club to Man City - Liverpool is 9th in net spend over the past 5 years (£-216.61m)...but Man City is 10th (£-213.8m). Man United is 1st...£-545.8m

Knowing when to sell good players before they die to restock with good younger players is a huge part of sustainable success. Selling Sadio Mané for £35m when he's 30 & replacing him with a £65m 23-year-old (Darwin Nunez), makes sense...assuming you're spending it on the right guy.
 

Jimbodandy

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Jan 31, 2006
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Met a few Liverpool fans at my daughter's wedding in September, and they were pleased as punch about John Henry.

Of course four titles in twenty years hasn't prevented folks here from calling him cheap either. Probably depends on who you ask.
 

Mighty Joe Young

The North remembers
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Sep 14, 2002
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Another RedSox friend of mine complains that FSG are spending all their money on Liverpool, (Mookie Betts!). And a lot of of LFC fans complain that FSG is spending all their money on the Red Sox. ( Why no Mbappe???? )

As a fan of both I think Henry &Co have done a tremendous job with both teams. The financial models are pretty different. MLB pretty much controls the max spend of their teams. There is no financial penalty for bad ownership as revenue sharing has a huge affect on team building (or lack thereof). The EPL has nothing like that. FFP is a joke and bad ownership is rewarded with being relegated. Not being funded by a state means FSG has to live within their means ( which, admittedly are pretty massive compared to other global footie powers)

Complaining about FSG‘ stewardship of their empire is pretty stupid IMO. The grass is always greener I guess.
 

shaggydog2000

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Apr 5, 2007
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Baseball and soccer, since they don't have any real salary caps, have similar contentious relationships between fans and ownerships, mainly under the idea that fans are perpetually frustrated that ownership isn't spending enough to compete with the very-highest spending teams. The only fanbase I think would be truly happy with their current ownership is Man City, or maybe Newcastle. Perhaps one of the smaller clubs like Brighton enjoying a relatively glory period of years at the top flight.
Some Man City fans complain that even though they keep winning the League, they haven't won the Champions League and that is what really matters.
 

OCST

Sunny von Bulow
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Jan 10, 2004
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As a fan of the club from across the park I can confirm that a certain generation of Liverpool fans come across as entitled. These are the ones who aren't old enough to know, or would be shocked to find out, that the club spent most of the 50's in the second tier, only coming back up in 1962, and had more than a few mid-table finishes sprinkled in among the league titles and cup wins since then.

They're the Yankee fans whose awareness begins at Jeter and Pettite, or the Patriots fans who wouldn't know a Steve Grogan from a Tony Eason.

There is a structural problem. There are 4 CL spots and 6 (maybe now 7) "Big" teams and 4 doesn't go into 6 or 7 without leaving some "big" teams with their nose pressed against the glass. LFC seemed permanently among the 4, but not anymore.

(more later, have to walk the dog)
 

InstaFace

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Sep 27, 2016
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No reasonable Liverpool fan could complain about how FSG has run the team. They're not pouring loss-leading money into it like Chelsea under Abramovitch, but they're not taking money out of the club like the Glazers, either. As the article points out, they have made wise decisions in both CapEx (stadium) and OpEx (team salaries, spending on the right players). Salah is one of the great EPL steals of the last decade, and I know several Southampton fans who rue that they had to give up Van Dyke.

No reasonable fan. Of course, though, there's Adlai Stevenson's quip to a supporter who told him he'd have the vote of "every thinking person in America": "I'm afraid that won't do - I need a majority". One doesn't have to shake the internet-sports-fan tree very hard to find plenty of the other kind. Whether you see those and let them color your impression, or you see the above editorial as a broadly positive portrayal of the grudging respect FSG has won with most Liverpool fans, and particularly the ones that matter, comes down to one's inclinations going in.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

All Hail King Boron
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May 20, 2003
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I've always thought that in the EPL there's always something the fans think they should win, whether it's the FA Cup, the league, or the Champions' League. At some level, for the top teams, only a quadruple will do in fans' minds as to it being a successful season. Winning the Champions League but not topping the EPL table might be considered short of a success by some fans.

It's set up to be a constant disappointment at some level.
 

Mighty Joe Young

The North remembers
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Sep 14, 2002
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I've always thought that in the EPL there's always something the fans think they should win, whether it's the FA Cup, the league, or the Champions' League. At some level, for the top teams, only a quadruple will do in fans' minds as to it being a successful season. Winning the Champions League but not topping the EPL table might be considered short of a success by some fans.

It's set up to be a constant disappointment at some level.
On the other hand there’s always some competition to focus on. I don’t think not winning the quadruple is seen as a disappointing season. It’s never been done. Liverpool won two (the lesser two) of the four and it was mildly disappointing - mainly due to how close they came. For me winning the League or the CL are the goals. Doesn’t mean its a disappointment if they don’t. The Cup competitions are weird. The top clubs don’t take them seriously until at least the quarter finals - maybe even the semis. And it’s understandable from a practical sense. I think by beating Napoli in a meaningless dead rubber CL game today Liverpool made more money than winning the FA Cup.