Red Dawn: 5 Things NESV Must Do at Liverpool FC
After much legal wrangling, NESV, headed by John W. Henry, have taken control of Liverpool Football Club.
NESV have worked wonders at the Boston Red Sox, taking them from a perennial “almost” team who hadn't touched a championship in 86 years, to two time champions and the second biggest payroll in the AL.
But Liverpool fans a weary and skeptical bunch of the reign of Tom Hick and George Gillett. It will take much more than big promises for NESV to endear themselves to supporters.
They've gotten off to a fairly good start, staying more or less quite and choosing to let their actions do the talking.
Here's five things they must do to come through on their pledge to “under promise and over achieve”.
Sign a Marquee Striker
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Sure, there are positions all over the pitch that need to be worked on. But the most pressing and well documented is Liverpool's need for a solid backup/partner for Fernando Torres.
Liverpool have scored only seven goals in their eight league games so far this term, and for a club the size of Liverpool there is no question that is unacceptable.
While David N'Gog has been in fine form in Europe, he has yet to prove himself in the league, leaving a large gap up front.
Signing a striker in the form of a Karim Benzema or a Luis Suarez will go a long way in easing the minds of fans. And wouldn't hurt in making sure there is actually a Fernando Torres around next season to be partnered.
Keep Debt Minimal
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Being one of the largest football clubs in the world, it's inevitable that some debts will be incurred.
But as long as the debt is kept minimal and manageable, NESV will stay in good standing.
The last thing the club needs, or the supporters want to see is a repeat of Hicks and Gillett, or a bill run up the size of the Glazers at Manchester United. When 30M is being used just to service debt, it puts a large dent in what can be spent on improving the squad and results on the pitch.
After the nightmare that was owing 280M to the Royal Bank of Scotland, NESV will do well to avoid anything that may see them owing that kind of money to anyone, for anything.
Start Work on a New Stadium
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Or renovate Anfield.
Either way, it's been obvious for a long time that something needs to be done if Liverpool are to keep up with the Manchester United's and Arsenal's of the game.
Anfield currently tops out around 45,000 making it the sixth largest in the league. However the gulf in capacity between Anfield and their north-west rivals at Old Trafford is something like 30,000 seats (take Anfield, and put Birmingham's St. Andrews on top of it, for perspective).
NESV haven't committed either way, stating that they would look at all options before making a move.
Be it finding ways to squeeze seats into the icon that is Anfield, or finally making the move to Stanley Park, if Liverpool is to match the gate sales of their rivals near the top, seats absolutely needed to be added somewhere.
Be Decisive about the Manager
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Sure, NESV should give Roy Hodgson some time, but not too much time.
Expecting anyone to come in and turn around Liverpool's woes in a matter of weeks was asking them to turn a dime into a dollar. But taking into considerations Liverpool's first eight games of the season, NESV must be swift in deciding if Roy is the right man for the job, or making a move.
If fortunes haven't changed by the away trip to Stoke City on November 13th, I think John W. and his boys must be swift in “mutually agreeing” to part ways with the boss, giving any replacement ample time to take stock of the squad before the January transfer window opens.
Respect the Fans
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Do all of the above but fail here, and NESV will be failures as a whole.
Perhaps the most telling insight into the reign of Hicks and Gillett was Tom Jr. responding to a fans email with a simple “blow me, f*ck face”. Even Hicks Sr. himself has admitted that his communication with the fans left something to be desired (to put it lightly).
If NESV are to be viewed kindly by the red half of Merseyside, keeping and ear to the Kop will be vital to that success.
Liverpool fans are ready to accept John W. Henry and NESV as part of what is unarguably a very tight family. But NESV must understand that they have a very tight rope to walk with fans left weary from years of mismanagement.
If past performance at the Boston Red Sox is an accurate barometer for what NESV intend to do, then the company and fans of Liverpool FC are in for a very close and successful relationship.