The new owners of Liverpool have just reminded us what that old school of team ownership looks like, as they managed an extraordinary transfer period in which they part with the most expensive striker in England, and acquired two of the best in the world, while spending absolutely nothing.
Much has been made of the sagas of Fernando Torres and his move to Chelsea, whether its an act of treachery or not matters little in the end. Whats important in all transfers is if the players departure leaves the club better, or worse off. In this case, thanks to the careful management of Liverpool’s new owners, Liverpool are the stronger side for losing Torres. Liverpool has been plagued by many problems over the last five years, but the largest of these has to be the debt that was incurred by successive owners and stupid signings buy feckless managers.
With the purchase of the club by FSG, and Kenny Dalglish in charge, the demons have finally been dispelled. The transfer of Torres being used as a means to finance the signings of Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez is a true stroke of genius, both in terms of players acquired, and financial value. John Henry’s insistence that the club live within its means, not depend on continual cash injections from owners is a breath of fresh air in a Premiership dominated by the power of Russian mob money (Cheslea), a poultry empire (Blackburn), and money from God knows which bank at this point (Manchester United). A desire to develop a strong youth system has been lacking for years at top clubs, and the cash injection in the arm of these clubs has only made the problem worse. He even took a direct swipe at Chelsea, and the UEFA fat cats who have allowed the game to be corrupted for so many years.
“I was surprised Monday morning to receive an offer [from Chelsea for Fernando Torres] in that amount [£50m] at the same time they were announcing such large losses [£71m for 2009-10],” Henry said. “The big question is just how effective the financial fair-play rules are going to be. Perhaps some clubs support the concept in order to limit the spending of other clubs, while implementing activities specifically designed to evade the rules they publicly support. We can only hope that Uefa has the ability and determination to enforce what they have proposed.”
Henry’s desire to plan for the long term and generate real money, not debt, will assure that the Reds will be near or on the top of the table for a long time to come, we need only be patient.
Written by: Matthew Wall, editor, soccerprose.com
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