SBD/October 19, 2010/Franchises

Henry Discusses Range Of Liverpool Issues With Politicians, Fans

Henry Held Meetings With Fans, Pols To Discusses Issues Facing Liverpool
Red Sox and Liverpool Owner John Henry, during a day of meetings yesterday with "local politicians and fans at Liverpool's city centre offices," sought input on a "range of issues, including the possibility of supporter representation on the board and the debate over whether the redevelopment of Anfield would be a better option than the proposed new stadium in Stanley Park," according to Tony Barrett of the LONDON TIMES. Henry "may have to begin rebuilding the club without the help" of Liverpool Chair Martin Broughton, who is "reported to be ready to step down to take a job involving investment in sport-related businesses." But Henry was "doing just fine yesterday," when he was "pressed for answers about his plans for the club." Member of Parliament Steve Rotheram: "I was quite impressed with the way they (the co-owners) conducted themselves. I met with four other MPs from the local area and we all fired questions about what the future of the club will be and they were open and honest." Barrett writes what "would have pleased fans most" was Henry's assertion that the Spirit of Shankly Liverpool Supporters' Union "helped to bring down" former co-Owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett (LONDON TIMES, 10/19).

FOREIGN INFLUX: In London, Simon Briggs notes Henry's Liverpool purchase "maintains the number of foreign-owned clubs in the Premier League at nine out of 20." It is "not quite a majority shareholding just yet," but those nine clubs "include the cream of the crop: all of the so-called 'Big Four,' plus Manchester City and Aston Villa." Briggs writes, "The interesting question is why, at a time when margins are being squeezed and attendances are flatlining, do the foreign investors keep piling in with their wallets akimbo? The answer is almost frightening: they believe that the Premier League can get even bigger, even more corporate, even more aggressively expansionist" (London TELEGRAPH, 10/19).

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