• The junta of Broughton, Purslow, and Ayre seized control of the website yesterday, putting out a hilarious statement after Hicks and Gillett attempted to sack Purslow and Ayre. Unsurprisingly, the offers that the three wanted to accept weren't big enough for George and Tommy. Maybe Broughton and Purslow weren't as evil as we thought, at least when it comes to off-the-pitch matters.
• Those three outvoted Hicks and Gillett, accepting the takeover proposal from New England Sports Ventures.
• There will be a legal challenge, but given the terms of Hicks and Gillett's most recent refinance, the UK board members are apparently on solid ground, and Broughton's already giving self-satisfied interviews. (LFC.tv Q&A, BBC News video)
Two American owners ran the club into the ground, and now we're getting an American consortium instead. Some understandably see it as out of the frying pan and into the fire, while others are simply happy that the long nightmare seems to be coming to a close. And as an American, it puts me in a strange place. It's not often I feel the need to (or want to, for that matter) defend my countrymen.
Surprisingly, Broughton summed it up well in his Sky Sports interview.
"First of all, there’s nothing wrong with being American. Ask Sunderland, Ellis Short is a great owner there. There’s nothing wrong with being American. Leverage is a problem in a football club."Spirit of Shankly thankfully said similar:
"The identity and nationality of any owners of Liverpool Football Club is irrelevant. How they act as custodians is the most important thing and we have seen previously that initial announcements and promises made by new owners and the checks and due diligence made by those entrusted with that role on our behalf have all been left wanting."'Once bitten, twice shy' is a good maxim. NESV will be held to their statements, and the fans are far more clued up than they were three years ago. But holding the prospective new owners' accountable cannot descend into out-and-out anti-Americanism, as is already happening in various corners of the internet. Thankfully, it's been a minority so far.
Didn't we blame xenophobia for some of Rafa's treatment by the British press? How is this different? Why is nationality important? In this case, past does not necessarily equal precedent, and Americans aren't all alike. Again, thankfully.
Deep-pocketed "philanthropists" weren't lining up to put in offers, whether from China, Hong Kong, or the Middle East. A similar situation to what Manchester City fell into was never on the cards or it would have manifested by now. And because of UEFA's impending financial fair play regulations, the days of free spending City and Chelsea are soon coming to a close.
Any new owners need to clear the debt and either build a new stadium or renovate Anfield. Broughton's already claiming that's been agreed. Because of commercial revenue, if the club's put on a solid financial footing, it can be run in the vein of Arsenal: making a small profit while reinvesting in the team as need be. That's the goal. Not being beholden to a Sheikh Mansour or Abramovich.
As I wrote in the comments yesterday, I'm not familiar with the intricacies of the Red Sox. Baseball is fucking boring. I've read opinions from a fair few Boston LFC fans that Henry/NESV are excellent owners (keeping an eye on LFC Boston's twitter account may not be a bad idea), and for balance, later today I hope to have a summary of Henry's tenure from a friend who's a Yankees fan that lived in Boston during the Red Sox's World Series seasons. But what I do know is that the ownership group provided a platform to "reverse the curse" (God, I hate that phrase) and walked a tightrope in renovating Fenway Park (a new stadium was even less feasible than on Merseyside because of sentimental attachments to that ballpark's history) while maximizing revenue.
No owner's coming in as a charity case. They will expect to make money off of Liverpool. That's football these days; sport is business. If the on-field product is good, something's done about the stadium, and Liverpool's debt is manageable, they'll make their profit and the club will be sustainable into the future. Whether that will actually be the case still remains to be seen.
By all means, be skeptical. But judge any new owners on their business plan, not their nationality. Anything else is irrational, reactionary, unfair, and unhelpful.