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Page last updated at 10:41 GMT, Sunday, 17 October 2010 11:41 UK

Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson backed by new owners NESV

Left to right: John W Henry, Joe Januszewski, Thomas Werner and Roy Hodgson
Roy Hodgson (right) meets Liverpool's new owners, including Werner (centre)

Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson received the backing of the club's new owners, New England Sports Ventures, ahead of Sunday's Merseyside derby.

Hodgson's future had been the subject of speculation after the change of ownership and with the Reds struggling in the Premier League's bottom three.

"We have confidence in Roy," co-owner Tom Werner told BBC's Sportsweek.

"Nobody will be pleased with the start of the season but the club ought to gel and Roy needs to be given time."

Speaking ahead of Liverpool's 2-0 loss to Everton, Werner added: "I think the one prescription for disaster is to lurch to the left and lurch to the right and we see no reason why Roy can't be our coach this year and in the future."

After replacing Rafael Benitez in the Anfield hot-seat in the summer, Hodgson passed the first tests of his tenure by retaining the services of star Spanish striker Fernando Torres and England midfielder Steven Gerrard, and persuading England international and former Chelsea midfielder Joe Cole to join his squad.

However, shackled by debts of about £350m from the ownership of Tom Hicks and George Gillett, Hodgson was forced to wait on the sale of Javier Mascherano to Inter Milan to go through before he could splash out £10.75m on Porto's Raul Meireles - days before the transfer window closed on 31 August.

Still, despite Liverpool's precarious financial situation, supporters could not have envisaged only one win in seven league matches this season which, compounded by the widespread disdain for Hicks and Gillett, had seen the gloom that characterised the final months of Benitez's six-year reign return to Anfield.

Werner and NESV co-owner John Henry - who also own the Boston Red Sox baseball team - met with Hodgson on Friday and the American said that they intend to provide funds for the manager to strengthen the side.

"The size of the pay roll should increase," Werner admitted. "I don't want to make any promises about when and how but we realise there is a strong correlation between success in the Premier League and wages.

"I have certainly signed cheques in the past for the long term. With the Red Sox we made an arrangement with a Japanese player and between the transfer fee and the wages it was about $100m (£63m)."

However, Werner feels that financial outlay on players is just one part of a prudent cyclical process to improve the fortunes of the club both on and off the pitch.

"Our first priority would be to listen - were don't want to come in like a bull in a china shop - and then to create stability before finally creating revenue," he said. "We increased the revenues in Boston in order to strengthen the pay-roll of the team.

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"Everything resolves around winning and will fall into place when you have a competitive squad. If we win the brand grows stronger in foreign markets.

"Our style is to under-promise and over-deliver."

NESV finally succeeded in buying Liverpool for £300m on Friday after former American co-owners Hicks and Gillett removed a temporary restraining order blocking the sale.

Hicks and Gillett were unpopular with Liverpool supporters for their style of ownership, which included saddling the club with debt following their take-over in 2007.

However, Werner assured supporters that NESV's approach would be markedly different.

"We are not short-term thinkers or investors," said Werner. "We have now owned the Red Sox for nearly a decade and as long as we think we're up to it and doing a good job that will be enough.

"For the last two years we have been voted the best owners in baseball. We are thoughtful and I think our track record speaks for itself.

"Supporters are the bed-rock of any club's success and we want to repair any bridges that might be a little but broken.

"The first thing we have done is removed the acquisition debt, which was a big issue. Tom and George were about leverage but John and myself are about winning.

"We don't expect a long honeymoon here and we are not asking for one. I would like the fans to understand that we are seasoned. There is a lot of work to be done and we are going to roll up our sleeves.

"All of us have a desire to win. Winning is extremely satisfying and to have played a part in something and created so much enjoyment for fans is a very special feeling.

Henry 'extremely happy' with Liverpool buy

"I have had a great deal of success in my life but when the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004 so many people came and thanked me for helping to do this and hopefully we can do this at Liverpool."

Another issue that Werner is keen to tackle is the long-standing plans to move away from Anfield and into a new purpose-built stadium.

"We would ask our fans to allow us to study the various options about a new stadium and we'll come up with a plan somewhat soon, but I don't want to predict when," said Werner. "It's on everybody's mind because we want to improve the revenues on match day but we are also focused on how to improve the commercial revenues globally."

The Red Sox ended their 86-year wait to win the World Series title two years after NESV acquired the club. They regained the crown in 2007.

Werner feels the experience he and Henry have gained from their time in charge of the baseball outfit puts them in good stead to return Liverpool - who have won 18 league titles, the last in 1990 - to their former glory.

"We felt there was a lot of similarities between our experience in Boston and what we could bring to this great club," said Werner.

"In 2001 when we took over the Red Sox, we came into a situation where there was a very special club that had not won a World Series in 86 years but we had good management and faith in a long-term strategy.

"We are in a competitive league here, but our message to the players was that whilst it has been a choppy sea lately we want to stabilise things. They are optimistic and in good spirits and we look forward to the rest of the season here.

"We are aware of some of the challenges the team and fans have gone through in recent years. We have a senior executive in Boston who I think cares more about Liverpool than the Red Sox and anytime you go into his office you see all the memorabilia.

"People have said to me about the Red Sox that owning them must be fun but I wouldn't suggest that was the case.

"It is a challenge and we take the responsibility seriously and hope we can do for the fans here what we have done in Boston."



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see also
Everton 2-0 Liverpool
17 Oct 10 |  Premier League
Henry pledges to revive Liverpool
16 Oct 10 |  Liverpool
Hicks fury at Liverpool 'swindle'
15 Oct 10 |  Liverpool
NESV completes Liverpool takeover
15 Oct 10 |  Liverpool
When baseball meets football
15 Oct 10 |  Liverpool
Who is Liverpool's new owner?
15 Oct 10 |  US & Canada
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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