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The four key promises FSG made when they took over Liverpool have finally come true



Today marks nine years to the day that FSG – then under the guise of New England Sports Ventures – took over at Liverpool.

It is no secret that they faced a mammoth task to take the Reds from a team that were soundly beaten 2-0 at Goodison Park in their first match in charge to the outfit they have today which could challenge any side in the world.

To complete NESV's £ 300million takeover, principal owner John Henry faced a long legal battle to end the reign of Tom Hicks and George Gillett.

Since then there have been four different managers in charge at Anfield, five cup finals, hundreds of millions of pounds spent on players, now infamous television documentary, hirings, firings, fallings out and one trophy.

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And, of course, four promises made.

Here the ECHO takes a look at what those promises were and analyzes how far the owners have come in keeping to them.

Attracting the best players (by first writing off the debt)

At the time of the NESV takeover promised to "eliminate all of the acquisition debt placed on LFC by its previous owners, reducing the club's debt servicing obligations from £ 25m- £ 30m a year to £ 2m- £ 3m" – which they duly and swiftly did.

They also said they were "committed to creating a long-term, financially strong foundation for the club and dedicated to ensuring the club has the financial resources to be successful again and attracting the best players."

FSG had inherited a mess both on and off the pitch. The financial results for 2011 – published in May 2012 – showed that the Reds made an annual loss of nearly £ 50millon before tax.

Total club revenue had fallen by just under a million pounds to £ 183.6million as Liverpool adjusted to life outside the Champions League and Fenway Sports Group had just written off £ 35million.

That revenue figure of £ 183.6million now stands at £ 364million. That £ 49.3million loss before tax is now at £ 39million profit after tax. Those figures, from the 2016/17 season are all the more impressive considering that was a season without European football.

There has been sustained growth across the board which is being re-invested both into Klopp's playing squad and the infrastructure of the club with the new training ground complex.

Virgil van Dijk and Alisson Becker of Liverpool FC

The owners have attracted some of the best players to Anfield – Alisson Becker, Virgil van Dijk and Mohamed Salah to name a few current stars – as well as Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho, who were later sold for a massive profit.

FSG have spent over £ 800m on new signings, recouping around £ 550m in the process.

Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho both left Liverpool

In February of this year FSG announced stunning financial results for 2018 and with a Champions League victory in the bag, 2019's promise to be even better as Liverpool continue to grow.

Turning losses into wins

On the day of the takeover, John Henry sent out a press release outlining the details of their deal.

At the time Mr Henry said: "I want to express how incredibly proud and humbled we are to be confirmed as the new owners of Liverpool FC.

"We regard our role as that of stewards for the club with a primary focus on returning the club to greatness on and off the field for the long-term.

"We are committed first and foremost to winning. We have a history of winning, and today we want LFC supporters to know that this approach is what we intend to bring to this great club."

Liverpool owner John W Henry looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Liverpool at Goodison Park on October 17, 2010 in Liverpool, England.
Liverpool owner John W Henry looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Liverpool at Goodison Park on October 17, 2010 in Liverpool, England.

Have FSG turned Liverpool's losses into wins then?

On average, the Reds won 20 games a season between 2000-01-2009 / 10 before FSG took control.

The early noughties were significantly more fruitful in terms of bringing silverware to Anfield but league performances never really lived up to the hype as two second place finishes were achieved in 2001/02 and 2008/09.

Liverpool also missed out on the Champions League places three times during this period while averaging eight losses per season.

It took FSG a while, and the appointment of Jurgen Klopp as manager, but losses have now been turned into wins.

So much so that Liverpool lost just once in the Premier League last season, finishing the runners-up with a record 97 points, and have won eight out of eight so far this term.

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And Liverpool's status as current European Champions is the FSG prize have won for their savvy decisions off the pitch.

Competing for trophies

Mr Henry and Mr Werner added on the day of the takeover: "We are eager to commence with our plan, spend time with the organization, its leadership, its supporters, and the local communities.

"We will take these steps alongside the club's executives with a shared objective of stabilizing the club and eventually returning Liverpool FC to its rightful place in English and European football, successful and competing for trophies."

The plan was to compete for trophies – and that seems to be coming to fruition.

The Champions League trophy

Jurgen Klopp's men reached the Champions League final in 2018 and went one better last season, winning the competition with a 2-0 victory over Tottenham in Madrid.

And the performance in the Premier League underlined Liverpool's status as huge challengers for the title.

Finally it appears as though FSG have delivered on that key promise.

Creating a culture of winning

Mr Henry appeared with the club's chairman, Martin Broughton, in the foyer of their lawyers, Slaughter & May, on the afternoon of the takeover.

"I'm proud and humbled," Henry said. "We have a lot of work to do, and I can't tell you how happy I am that [the deal] has been completed. We're here to win. We have a tradition of winning. We'll do whatever we need to do. "

Tom Werner and Jurgen Klopp
Tom Werner and Jurgen Klopp

NESV chairman Thomas Werner added: "We recognize that Liverpool Football Club is a historic institution ultimately grounded in the community and the fans.

"Our first step as new owners will be to listen. We want to hear from the manager and the players and those who are part of the daily operation of the club.

"We will be visible at Anfield and will embrace and listen to those who have stood by this club and who are the rock on which their future success will be built.

"We want to hear from the fans, local leaders and the local community. We want to hear from those who know LFC best, who have made it the best and share our desire to return to a culture of winning."

Liverpool MD Billy Hogan

Liverpool's managing director Billy Hogan sat down for an exclusive interview with the ECHO in August last year and spoke about the change in culture at the club since FSG's arrival.

Mr Hogan said: "It's very different six years on.

"We have moved the club forward quite a bit in that time. Clearly, from a commercial standpoint, which has been my area of ​​responsibility, that's grown significantly.

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"But more importantly and I think what everyone is most proud of is the strategy we've had since FSG took ownership – how we built the club in a sustainable way over the long-term to be successful on the pitch. That's finally what this is all about – everyone here wants to win.

"Across the whole team of staff off the pitch there's a huge desire to return the club to where we believe it belongs to the top of the world football. We can't do that by kicking a ball but we can do that by helping to drive the business forward.

"This is about making our fans proud of the club. Sitting here today, the club is in a tremendously positive place. The football is terrific, the team is playing great and we're all excited about the future.

"If you go back to when FSG first started looking at Liverpool as an opportunity, people were referring to the club as a sleeping giant. I think that's something that has been coming to be true."

The first XI to the current XI

A look back at the beaten side by Everton during FSG's first game in charge only serves to underline how far the Reds have come in eight years.

Starting that day were; Pepe Reigns (GK), Jamie Carragher (RB), Martin Skrtel (CB), Sotirios Kyrgiakos (CB), Paul Konchesky (LB), Raul Meireles (CM), Steven Gerrard (CM), Lucas Leiva (CM), Maxi Rodriguez (RW), Joe Cole (LW), Fernando Towers (ST).

Now the squad looks significantly improved with Alisson (GK), Trent Alexander-Arnold (RB), Virgil van Dijk (CB), Dejan Lovren / Joe Gomez /Joel Matip (CB), Andy Robertson (LB), Gini Wijnaldum (CM), Henderson (CM), Fabinho (CM), Mohamed Salah (RW), Sound Mane (LW), Roberto Firmino (ST).

Liverpool ahead of the friendly against Napoli
Liverpool ahead of the friendly against Napoli

Mistakes have been made along the way, but Liverpool now boast a team – and manager – to compete with any side in the world.

Hopefully that in itself is enough to help them deliver fully on the promises made nine years ago.


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