Henry ‘humbled’ as NESV seal Reds deal

The owners of the Boston Red Sox have taken control of the club

after Tom Hicks and George Gillett were defeated in their legal

battle to stop the takeover. Hicks and Gillett are promising to sue

for more than £1billion but their hugely unpopular

three-and-a-half-year rein at the club is over. NESV said the

club’s debt servicing costs would drop from £30million a year

to £2million-£3million. Henry, the principal owner of

NESV, said: “On behalf of the entire NESV partnership, I want to

express how incredibly proud and humbled we are to be confirmed as

the new owners of Liverpool FC. “We regard our role as that of

stewards for the club with a primary focus on returning the club to

greatness on and off the field for the long-term. “We are committed

first and foremost to winning. We have a history of winning, and

today we want LFC supporters to know that this approach is what we

intend to bring to this great club.” Liverpool’s independent

chairman Martin Broughton added: “I am delighted that we have been

able to successfully conclude the sale process which has been

thorough and extensive. “The board decided to accept NESV’s offer

on the basis that it best met the criteria we set out originally

for a new owner. NESV is buying Liverpool in order to put it on an

excellent financial footing and continue to develop it

internationally. “This is a good deal which comprehensively

resolves the pressing issue of the club’s debt and should give

staff, players and fans great confidence regarding the future of

Liverpool FC.” Henry will not attend Sunday’s Merseyside derby away

to Everton, and said: “I think it’s better for our first experience

with the supporters to be at home.” That leaves the October 24

match against Blackburn as his likely first appearance at a Premier

League match, by which time he will have begun getting to grips

with his new responsibilities. However, Henry told reporters: “It’s

too early to say what we’re going to do but we’re here to win, we

have a tradition of winning – we (the Boston Red Sox) are the

second-highest spending club in Major League Baseball and we’re

here to win, we will do whatever is necessary. “We’re not going to

have a lot to say, our actions will hopefully speak for us.”

Reflecting on a dramatic week in and out of court, Broughton added:

“As every Liverpool fan knows, the most nerve-wracking way to win a

match is on a penalty shoot-out. “But in the end, as long as you

get the right result, it’s worth the wait. We got the right result.

“It’s been pretty stressful but I think we’ve been confident all

the way through that we would get there. We’ve always known we were

doing the right things, that we would get justice, and I think

exactly what we got in the end was justice.” Broughton also

confirmed he would stay on in “a transitional role” for the early

stages of Henry’s stewardship of the club. Spirit of Shankly, the

fans’ group who have been among the biggest critics of Hicks and

Gillett, welcomed Henry’s reign with cautious optimism. James

McKenna, a spokesman for the group, told Sky Sports News:

“Hopefully this is the start of a bright future. We certainly

welcome the new owners but they’ve got to come in and prove they

can do the job. “We hope the board have done their job in ensuring

they bring in the right people. “Liverpool FC have needed stability

ever since Hicks and Gillett came in with their broken promises and

lies. We need a period of stability and to get back to our old

ways. “Liverpool FC doesn’t need a Sheikh Mansour or a Roman

Abramovich to compete in the transfer market, we generate enough

money that has, for the last three years, been used to pay debt.”

Liverpool managing director Christian Purslow, who Hicks and

Gillett unsuccessfully attempted to oust from the board in a bid to

block the NESV deal, was content with the day’s work. Although he

said he was unsure about his own future at the Anfield club, he

said: “We’ve sorted out our financial issues once and for all and

we can now get back to football. “It was incredibly civilised and

it’s just a pleasure to work with people like Martin Broughton. We

have the best lawyers in London… it was tranquility.” Purslow

also said fans need not be concerned by the fact that Henry comes

from the same American sporting background as the outgoing owners.

“Where your passport comes from isn’t a priority,” he stressed.

“The club now has virtually no debt and a lot of our competitors

would love to say that.” RBS said in a statement: “RBS is pleased

the sale of LFC to NESV has been completed and are confident this

will provide the foundation for the Club and its fans to enjoy

renewed success on and off the pitch. “RBS is aware of reports that

Mr Hicks and Mr Gillett may intend to pursue further litigation in

relation to the sale of Liverpool F.C. “The English Courts have

described claims made to date as “not realistic and abusive”. Any

further claims against RBS will be vigorously opposed.”