John Henry giving rare interview could show what comes next for Liverpool and FSG

By Andrew Beasley

The owners of the world’s great sporting institutions are entitled to comment upon their teams as little or as often as they like.

For some Liverpool supporters, it can be disheartening that they only tend to hear from John W Henry when he is apologising for the latest Fenway Sports Group gaffe, such as when the Reds were part of the ill-conceived European Super League last April.

Other fans wouldn’t care in the least if they never heard from Henry again, so long as he ran the club in a manner which aligned with their own ideals.

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Nonetheless, as Liverpool’s principal owner gives interviews so infrequently, it’s always interesting to give his comments a quick review on the rare occasions when he does speak in public.

Henry spoke briefly with reporters in Boston on Monday evening as he celebrated another notable success for his Red Sox baseball team.

While he was talking about a different sport entirely, you could easily substitute a few names and his comments would make perfect sense with regards to Liverpool too.

The Red Sox had just beaten Tampa Bay Rays to secure their place in the American League Championship series, where they will face either Houston Astros or Chicago White Sox.

Emerge triumphant from that best-of-seven encounter and they’ll reach their fifth World Series on Henry’s watch, the most of any team in that period (though San Francisco Giants may yet reach their fifth since 2002 too).

Very few people thought the Red Sox would do so well this year. FiveThirtyEight predicted they would finish fourth in their division with 80 wins, yet they accumulated 92 to be runners up instead.

Boston were given a one percent chance of winning the World Series before a ball was pitched this year but now their odds are roughly one in seven.

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Smart work at the transfer deadline greatly improved their chances of success, and things have come together more swiftly than anyone might have hoped.

“We sort of felt all year we were ahead of schedule,” Henry said to MassLive, and he was quick to praise his chief baseball officer and manager.

Where the Red Sox have Chaim Bloom and Alex Cora in those respective positions, so Liverpool have Michael Edwards and Jurgen Klopp in their own key roles.

The appointment of Cora has not been without controversy, as the 45-year-old was a member of the coaching staff with the Astros in 2017, a year in which they won the World Series but were later found to have cheated to do so.

However, when it was put to Henry on Monday that his decision to hire Cora was criticised, he responded by saying the Red Sox’ ownership group “doesn’t listen” to outside noise.

This echoes the comments a Liverpool source gave to the Echo back in August, when the Reds’ relative lack of transfer activity was being scrutinised.

“We know it’s not popular on social media, but we won’t buy just to satisfy people’s irrational lust for a transfer,” they said.

And the same will no doubt be true when it comes to contract extensions too, with Mohamed Salah’s future at the forefront of Kopites’ minds at present.

FSG will have a salary package in mind for the Egyptian and fans fuming on Twitter won’t have the slightest impact upon it.

This is not to say that Henry disregards the value of supporters, far from it.

He was keen to note the Boston faithful’s contribution to the Red Sox’ run to the post-season, saying “from the point that we started getting the fans back for October, it just made all the difference."

Liverpool know this all too well. The Reds lost six successive league games at Anfield for the first time in their history last season when forced to play behind closed doors (whilst also struggling through an injury crisis).

Their home league record across the last four-and-a-half years when they have the backing of their supporters? Fifty wins, 13 draws and no defeats.

FSG ended the Red Sox’ 86-year wait to win the World Series and halted Liverpool’s three decade stretch without being champions of England too.

Boston last won the top prize in baseball only seven months before the Reds claimed the Champions League in Madrid, so it’s apparent the two sides can succeed simultaneously.

With both esteemed institutions run in a similar fashion to earn their success, it’s no surprise that a rare interview with Henry contains comments which could easily apply on either side of the Atlantic.

If the Red Sox do manage to win the World Series, keep an eye on Liverpool next May.


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