As soon as the news broke that Jurgen Klopp had signed a new 6 year contract with the club, my mind started racing. My immediate reaction was probably similar to many other fans, a mixture of happiness and relief. Relief that a manager who only 12 months previously I wouldn’t have even dared to dream would be our gaffer, was here for the long term. The more I thought about it though, the more curious I became about the reasoning behind it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not for one second complaining here, that couldn’t be further from the truth. It just seemed unusual to me that the owners wanted to extend the managers contact after only a few months in charge.
It’s no secret that there’s a split in our fanbase regarding FSG and their ownership of the club. Let me lay my cards on the table and say that I think they’ve been good custodians of the club. They’ve made their fair share of errors and PR faux pas, but overall I think they’ve improved the club as a whole. They’ve redeveloped the main stand and surrounding area, secured lucrative sponsorship and partnership deals, but above all else they gave us Jurgen Klopp. Whatever your thoughts on FSG, I’ve yet to speak to a fan who isn’t delighted with having Klopp in charge. It seems our owners are no different and quickly moved to secure the managers services until 2022.
What seems different this time around however, is the level of freedom and control that the manager appears to have. He brought in Andreas Kornmayer and Mona Nemmer from Bayern Munich as the clubs head of fitness and head of nutrition.Pepijn Lijnders was added as first team development coach and to act as the link for players between the academy and the first team. This is something the manager seems very passionate about, and has even hinted at the possibility of a combined training facility in the future. There’s even been far less talk of the much maligned transfer committee, with Klopp seemingly having a greater say in who comes in. This all leads me to believe that FSG are betting big on the fact that Klopp will be a success and turn the clubs on field fortunes around.
If Klopp can bring the success we all crave, then the value of the club is only going one way, and that’s up. Behind all the PR and bravado, FSG are an investment group and bought the club because it was an underperforming business. They seen there was a chance to buy the club, increase its value and sell it down the line for a profit. Is this the way I as a fan would ideally like to see the club run? of course not. Like most others I’d like a passionate owner that genuinely loves the club, and is determined to get us back to our place at the top of European football. That isn’t how FSG were ever going to do things though.
My firm belief is that the owners have an exit strategy in place, and are attempting to raise the clubs value as much as possible in the meantime. I think giving the manager as much control as they have, is their last roll of the dice to make the club a success on the pitch. When they bought the club, they believed FFP was being brought in and was going to be enforced. This never really happened though and the owners needed to find another way to try bring success back to the club. You all know what happened over the subsequent years so I won’t drag it all up again, but the success never came. In Klopp, the owners know they have a fantastic asset capable of attracting both quality players and sponsors alike.
I strongly believe the sale of the club is coming within the next 12 months. Everything is coming together on the commercial side for the owners. I expect a high profile sponsor for the main stand to come along soon, possibly with a percentage of the club included in any deal. Success on the pitch is the last obvious area for an increase in the clubs value. If Jurgen Klopp can deliver the club the holy grail of a league title, or at the very least Champions League football, then our value increases again. If things don’t work out as we all hope this season, then FSG will be left with a decision to make. Sell the club for less than they hoped, or keep looking for a buyer willing to pay what they’re asking.
Either way, I’m of the opinion that FSG opted to roll the dice one last time in the hope of hitting a seven. If they do sell the club for a big profit, then so be it. They will have left the club in a far better position than when they arrived, and don’t all investors do so in the hope of making a tidy profit. Personally, I’ll be more concerned with who they decide to sell the club to. That worries me far more than the current owners making a profit.