Liverpool fans give John Henry letter a mixed response
American owner pens open letter to fans after club's worst start to a new season for 50 years
AFTER Liverpool FC's worst start to a season for 50 years, American owner John W Henry has written an open letter to fans defending the club's transfer policy, even though it has left them chronically short of strikers.
Henry said the new business model at Anfield was designed to bring long-term success. However, he did admit to mistakes during the two years since Fenway Sports Group bought Liverpool and said his time in charge had proved to be a "harsh education".
Liverpool are bereft of attackers after loaning Andy Carroll to West Ham last week and then failing to replace him before the transfer window closed on Friday. It was thought that Clint Dempsey would arrive from Fulham, but he ended up joining Spurs because Liverpool were unable to negotiate the deal in time and reportedly failed to meet the £6m asking price.
The Daily Telegraph says Henry's statement reflects "a sense of despair” at Liverpool, with the club winning only one point from three games so far this season. The letter to fans was "an attempt to appease growing unrest after manager Brendan Rodgers was left with a thin squad”.
The Times says that having rescued the club from the brink of administration Henry is determined that the financial model he's brought in "will put Liverpool on a more stable footing for years to come while also meeting the Europe-wide restrictions soon to be implemented."
In his letter Henry insisted: "The transfer policy was not about cutting costs. It was - and will be in the future - about getting maximum value for what is spent so that we can build quality and depth."
But he also hinted that the club's finances were still ailing. "We have been successful in improving the commercial side of the club and the monies generated going forward will give us greater spending power in the coming years," he said. "We are still in the process of reversing the errors of previous regimes. It will not happen overnight."
The reaction on Twitter was broadly positive with many welcoming Henry's willingness to communicate with the fans.
Times reporter Rory Smith said the letter was "undeniably impressive" and even the Manchester Evening News football writer Rob Dawson said he was struck by Henry's move. "He's noted discontent at Liverpool and tried to tackle it," he tweeted. "The Glazers [who own Manchester United] could learn something from that."
However, the letter drew a sceptical response from readers of the Liverpool Echo, many of who accused Henry of using rhetoric to cover up his own mistakes. Many said that unless there was some serious spending in January the Anfield faithful would turn against the Americans.
As one commenter put it: "You have lost the good will of the crowd. Words are easy, your actions are what you are judged on."