Liverpool For Sale? Be Careful What You Wish For…
The breaking story
David Ornstein broke the story a few hours ago. “Liverpool FC have been put up for sale by Fenway Sports Group. Sale deck has been produced for interested parties. Goldman Sachs + Morgan Stanley assisting evaluation process. Unclear if deal gets done but FSG inviting offers.”
The FSG statement
His story was accompanied by an FSG statement that said both everything and nothing. My interpretation is that they are pretty keen on making it known they will sell – but don’t want to say as much in case the water isn’t warm enough. (They might also be quite advanced in the process). I admit I am nervous about this, and we need to be very careful in the coming days to avoid falling for misinformation, for false promises. The new Supporters’ Board may well have a key role in assessing the suitability of any new owner – I hope they do.
The internet was of course soon flooded with comment, speculation on the names (or states) who might be able to afford us. Which players we might now be able to afford. It’s obviously not that simple. Who could afford us is a pretty narrow field, and very few would pass the acceptability test.
One line of comment, generally from those with “FSG OUT” in their profiles, caught my interest. “They can hardly be worse than FSG”.
We do indeed have short memories: before FSG came Hicks and Gillette who took Liverpool within a few days of administration. We can see the damage created by the Glazers over at Man United, who bought the club with debt and take tens of millions out each year as a dividend. We can see how some clubs are being used by nation states to wash their dirty linen.
FSG are not bad owners by any means. While they haven’t really “invested” anything (and do stand to gain a huge return on their initial investment) they haven’t taken anything out either. They have made mistakes which are well documented. They have had some successes – but haven’t fully unlocked our potential, and probably are not capable of doing so.
But, it could be so much worse (see above).
It could also be better. We might find some sort of benign investor who hasn’t done truly terrible things to make his or her fortune, isn’t representing a nation state, isn’t using Liverpool FC to divert eyeballs away from human rights abuses, or worse. We might find someone whose interests align with ours on and off the pitch (they succeed if we succeed). We might even find someone who genuinely only cares about our success and acts accordingly.
This person or persons may not exist. This may move very quickly in the coming days. Or it may not. If there is a sale I think it will happen quite soon. And I very much hope the grass is, after all, greener on the other side.