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Page last updated at 17:24 GMT, Monday, 18 October 2010 18:24 UK

New Liverpool owner John Henry & NESV to spend 'wisely'


New Liverpool owner learns from fans

Liverpool's new owner John Henry has warned he will not throw money at the club in a bid to solve their problems.

Henry, whose NESV group sealed a £300m takeover on Friday, watched the Reds slip to 19th in the Premier League with Sunday's 2-0 defeat at Everton.

"I don't have 'Sheikh' in front of my name," said the American, referring to Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour.

"When we spend a dollar, it has to be wisely. We can't afford contracts that do not make long-term sense."

He added: "We have to be smart, bold, aggressive."

The takeover of Liverpool by Henry's New England Sports Ventures (NESV) eliminated the acquisition debt placed on the club by previous owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett.


But on-field troubles persist and the derby loss at Goodison Park leaves Roy Hodgson's side second-bottom of the English top flight with only six points from their opening eight games and a goal difference of minus six.

Key players such as Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres have struggled for form, while summer signings Joe Cole, Christian Poulsen, Raul Meireles and Paul Konchesky have yet to make an impact.

Off the pitch, meanwhile, funding issues have delayed the start of work on Liverpool's proposed 60,000-seater stadium in Stanley Park.

But despite the club's current plight, Henry has refused to give assurances over transfer budgets or plans for the new stadium.

"What am I thinking? How much work this is going to be. How steep the learning curve is going to be. This is not going to be easy," said the 61-year-old, whose company NESV also owns the Boston Red Sox baseball franchise.

"We realise the challenge that lies ahead if we are going to go toe-to-toe with the other big clubs. We are not asking for a long honeymoon. This is a contact sport we are in and the going can get rough sometimes. We realise that.

"We are not going to make any promises but we are going to listen and consider."

I don't think any thinking individual buys an English football club to make money - it's about competing at the highest level in the world's largest sport for us that's why we are here

John Henry

NESV, Liverpool and their major creditors Royal Bank of Scotland were accused of an "epic swindle" by Hicks, claiming the club had been severely undervalued.

Henry, whose history with the Red Sox suggests there will be significant investment to come over the coming months, denied that was the case.

And although he may not have access to the same level of funds as City's owners, the Abu Dhabi United Group , he plans to make money and not waste it on interest payments as the previous owners did.

"There were big financial issues but in the end we made a decision we really wanted to compete at this level," Henry told the Liverpool Echo.

"I know some people are saying this was a cheap price. There is no way we look at this as a cheap price for this club.

"When we arrived at the Red Sox, the New York Yankees were a juggernaut and it wasn't that much of a rivalry. I believe we turned it into a rivalry where we have gone toe-to-toe with the Yankees even though they have got a much higher revenue. They keep going up but we have gone up faster.

It was great to finally get to work. We met with supporters' group. No, we didn't give any assurances. We are here to listen and to learn from them and we learned a lot today

John Henry

"When we looked at Liverpool, the first thing that struck us was there are opportunities here to really build a winner.

"The revenue potentials around the world - it is a global football club - and especially with the financial fair play rules, it is really going to be revenue that drives how good your club can be in the future.

"That is one thing that we think we are good at."

NESV is backed by 17 investors and Henry stated: "I don't think any thinking individual buys a sports franchise these days - or an English football club - to make money.

"Maybe a few, but they should have their head examined. It's about competing at the highest level in the world's largest sport for us, that's why we are here."

On Monday, Henry and fellow co-owner Tom Werner met with local MPs and supporters' groups to discuss their plans for the club.

"It was great to finally get to work," said Henry. "We met with supporters' group. No, we didn't give any assurances. We are here to listen and to learn from them and we learned a lot today.

"I think the biggest issue was a sense of disenfranchisement and their sense of not being part of their own and that is what we discussed. This was a big first step today."

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see also
Everton 2-0 Liverpool
17 Oct 10 |  Premier League
Hodgson backed by new owners NESV
17 Oct 10 |  Liverpool
Henry pledges to revive Liverpool
16 Oct 10 |  Liverpool
Hicks fury at Liverpool 'swindle'
15 Oct 10 |  Liverpool
Who is Liverpool's new owner?
15 Oct 10 |  US & Canada
NESV completes Liverpool takeover
15 Oct 10 |  Liverpool
Liverpool ground start 'in April'
30 Dec 09 |  Liverpool

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