Henry points finger at previous owners

Henry points finger at previous owners

Published Aug. 16, 2012 1:00 a.m. ET

Liverpool is still struggling financially to compete with its rivals because of issues inherited from previous American owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett Jr., according to current owner John Henry.

Henry, who bought Liverpool through his investment company Fenway Sports Group, cautioned fans that it will take longer to rebuild the storied football club than it did with the Boston Red Sox, which is owned by the same group.

''The best analogy is that you can't turn an ocean liner around like you can turn a speedboat,'' Henry told the Liverpool Echo. ''When you look at the rivalry between Liverpool and Manchester United, Liverpool isn't holding up its side of the rivalry. That is the way it was with the Red Sox and the (New York) Yankees. The Yankees were just completely dominant when we arrived.''

Liverpool is coming off a disappointing Premier League campaign and is facing its third straight season away from the lucrative Champions League.


While most Liverpool fans were happy to see Hicks and Gillett leave the club, the current owners have also been criticized for spending 35 million pounds on striker Andy Carroll last year, along with what many viewed as inflated prices for players like Stewart Downing, Charlie Adam and Jordan Henderson.

FSG is intent on implementing a more frugal spending method and wage structure from now on.

''Looking back at the day we bought Liverpool, I was trying to make a point then about how much of a challenge it was going to be because of the issues we inherited,'' Henry said. ''We had a lack of depth in the squad and some really high payrolls. We also had issues with the age of the players.''

FSG has made financial gains off the pitch since taking control, signing a six-year deal with American athletic apparel company Warrior to produce Liverpool jerseys reportedly worth 25 million pounds ($39 million) a year.

''The stronger we are commercially, the stronger this club can be. I think we have made great strides,'' club chairman Tom Werner said.

Liverpool's season begins Saturday with an away game against West Bromwich Albion.