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New owner John W Henry determined to revive Liverpool

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Henry 'extremely happy' with Liverpool buy

Liverpool's new owner John W Henry has pledged to tackle the club's problems both on and off the field "head-on".

NESV, which Henry heads, completed its takeover of Liverpool on Friday after a bitter battle in the UK and US courts.

Henry said he was "proud and humbled" and "here to win" but added: "We're going to have to work very hard.

"There's a lot of work to be done to get this club to where it needs to be in the grand scheme of things but we're going to be attacking this head-on."

NESV finally wrested control of Liverpool from previous owner Tom Hicks and US hedge fund Mill Financial on Friday with a £300m takeover which also drastically reduced its debts.

Hicks is threatening legal action over the sale, which he claims massively undervalued the club, but for now Henry is more concerned with reviving Liverpool's fortunes on the pitch and addressing its pressing need for a new stadium or major development of Anfield.

JOHN W HENRY PROFILE
Finlo Rohrer, BBC News, Washington

"We really, through all the work we've done over the last two months, saw the challenges and problems which exist and we've got to work to address those," said Henry, who also owns US baseball team the Boston Red Sox.

"There is a great nucleus here off the field and on the field and we think we can build from that, but it's not going to be easy.

"We've got real challenges but we've got a very strong organisation, financially and otherwise, we have some terrific strategic thinkers."

Henry said the dilemma over whether to build a new stadium or upgrade Anfield's current 45,000 capacity was similar to the one confronting NESV when they acquired the Red Sox and their Fenway Park home in 2002.

"The stadium issue was a big issue in Boston. We went in there not knowing what we should do - build a new ballpark or refurbish, and we have the same issue here," he told Liverpool's website.

Liverpool have long been planning to build a 60,000-seater stadium at Stanley Park, near their current Anfield home, but work has yet to begin because of problems with funding.

606: DEBATE

Henry added: "We have to listen, learn, talk to the community, talk to the council, talk with the supporters. But the biggest issue of all is really what makes the most sense for Liverpool, long term."

Liverpool play Everton in the Merseyside derby on Sunday and Toffees manager David Moyes said on Friday he would be interested if the opportunity arose for a groundshare with the Reds.

That may be one option Henry looks at as he sets about the "real challenges" in trying to restore Liverpool to former glories, as he did with the Red Sox.

The Red Sox have won the World Series twice since Henry bought the club, having not previously been winners since 1918, while Liverpool are English football's most decorated club but have not won a league title since 1990.

Graphic of Stanley Park exterior
The proposed new stadium would seat 60,000 fans

Henry admitted, though, that there were times this week when he thought his acquisition of the Merseyside giants, with 18 league titles and five European Cup wins to their name, was going to be thwarted.

"There were many days where I was wondering whether or not we would be going home," said Henry, who surprisingly turned up when Liverpool held a board meeting on Wednesday evening in London.

"In fact, even on Friday I wasn't 100% confident. There were days where I was confident but there were a lot of twists and turns here. I'm just happy it ended successfully."



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see also
Hicks fury at Liverpool 'swindle'
15 Oct 10 |  Liverpool
NESV completes Liverpool takeover
15 Oct 10 |  Liverpool
Moyes interested in groundshare
15 Oct 10 |  Everton
Liverpool ground start 'in April'
30 Dec 09 |  Liverpool
Liverpool stadium 'will be built'
17 Sep 09 |  Liverpool
Liverpool stadium plans approved
06 May 08 |  Merseyside


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