Home » Sport

John Henry owns up to striker crisis at Liverpool

Tuesday, 4 September 2012 - 2:27pm IST | Agency: The Daily Telegraph
American blames it on 'errors of previous regimes' and promises to restore club to its 'proper status'.

Liverpool's principal owner John Henry blamed "the errors of previous regimes" for the new era of prudent spending at Anfield which has left Brendan Rodgers short of strikers until January.

In an open letter to supporters, Henry defended the transfer policy of Fenway Sports Group and pointed the finger at the legacy of Tom Hicks and George Gillett Jr. He also acknowledged his organisation's errors during its two-year tenure.

Henry said his board would "never again" sanction the absurd transfer fees and wages that were granted under Kenny Dalglish and former director of football Damien Comolli.

Rodgers, who has abandoned any plan to re-sign Michael Owen, was unable to replace Andy Carroll with a deadline-day bid for Clint Dempsey.

Henry suggested this was due to a more strategic use of funds rather than lack of cash. "We are still in the process of reversing the errors of previous regimes," he wrote. "It will not happen overnight. It has been compounded by our own mistakes in a difficult first two years of ownership. It has been a harsh education, but make no mistake, the club is healthier today than when we took over.

"We will build and grow from within, buy prudently and cleverly and never again waste resources on inflated transfer fees and unrealistic wages. We have no fear of spending and competing with the very best but we will not overpay for players.

"I am as disappointed as anyone connected with Liverpool FC that we were unable to add further to our strike force in this summer transfer window, but that was not through any lack of desire or effort on the part of all of those involved. They pushed hard in the final days of the transfer window on a number of forward targets and it is unfortunate that on this occasion we were unable to conclude acceptable deals to bring those targets in. But a summer window which brought in three young, but significantly talented starters in Joe Allen, Nuri Sahin and Fabio Borini as well as two exciting young potential stars of the future - Samed Yesil and Oussama Assaidi - could hardly be deemed a failure as we build for the future."

Henry rejected suggestions FSG was wage-cutting, insisting the club were simply avoiding deals considered an expensive 'quick fix'.

"The transfer policy was not about cutting costs," said Henry. "It was - and will be in the future - about getting maximum value for what is spent so that we can build quality and depth. We are avowed proponents of Uefa's Financial Fair Play agenda. We must comply with FFP guidelines that ensure spending is tied to income.

"Spending is not merely about buying talent. Our ambitions do not lie in cementing a mid-table place with expensive, short-term quick fixes that will only contribute for a couple of years. Our emphasis will be on developing our own players. Much thought and investment already has gone into developing a self-sustaining pool of youngsters imbued in the club's traditions.

"No one should doubt our commitment to the club. In Brendan Rodgers we have a talented young manager and we have valued highly his judgment about the make-up of the squad. This is a work in progress. It will take time for Brendan to instill his philosophy into the squad and build exactly what he needs for the long term."

Henry reminded fans of the perilous state of the club when FSG completed their takeover in October 2010. "That ethos is to win. We will invest to succeed. But we will not mortgage the future with risky spending," he said. "We'll never place this club in the precarious position that we found it in when we took over. This club should never again run up debts that threaten its existence.

"After almost two years at Anfield, we are close to having the system we need in place. The transfer window may not have been perfect but we are not just looking at the next 16 weeks until we can buy again: we are looking at the next 16 years and beyond. These are the first steps in restoring one of the world's great clubs to its proper status. It will not be easy, it will not be perfect, but there is a clear vision at work."


Jump to comments

Around the web