The history of Liverpool Football Club is certainly not a stable for the rich.
For much of the club’s 128-year history, it has functioned as one of the sports elites. Two decades of dominance in the 70s and 80s in particular put the Reds on the road to becoming the football superpower that has been for some time in this country and across the European landscape.
His high reputation has survived since then, even during barren periods in the field when silverware had not been readily added to Anfield’s trophy cabinet as before.
But ten years ago, despite Liverpool’s status as one of the world’s largest football clubs, the Reds were on their knees. On the brink of administration, a troubled team was drowning under the poisonous grip of owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett.
The Royal Bank of Scotland had lent Hicks and Gillett £ 300 million to buy the 18 times England champions in 2007 and wanted the sizable sum to be returned.
Game staff stripping was already well underway and was most likely in the pipeline before the Americans were forcibly removed as New England Sports Ventures completed an acquisition.
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In dramatic scenes in London’s High Court, the NESV took control of Liverpool while Hicks and Gillett were expelled on October 15, 2010.
A sleeping giant with unused potential, Hicks would later mark the purchase as an “epic scam” and while nothing of the sort was true given the club’s independent assessment, NESV – who would later become Fenway Sports Group – knew he had made a deal.
Almost 10 years later, the FSG has transformed Liverpool into the best football team in the world. Under Jurgen Klopp, the reigning world and European champions are only 12 points from the first title in 30 years.
Not content with a Champions League triumph and a 97-point lead in the last term’s Premier League, Liverpool have amassed another 79 already this time, leaving only two for the whole season on the way to what could be the biggest counting in a top flight campaign.
The side is full of world-class qualities and in Klopp, the Reds have a charismatic world-class leader who is ready to lead them to heights never climbed in the Premier League era.
Sports director Michael Edwards is the owner of one of the game’s most respected reputations for his work in helping to bring a host of high-level talent to Anfield’s staff and Liverpool have all seen their rankings rise in the eyes of the fans during the four-year reign of Klopp.
Put simply, Liverpool have the right people in the right roles in every aspect of the football team. It’s a key reason why everything was rosy in Anfield’s garden at the beginning of the decade.
The latest financial results are further evidence of a club in bloom.
A record year in Anfield saw the club record £ 553 million in total, with all three revenue streams experiencing significant growth.
Game revenues, media revenue and the commercial department are all thriving to ensure that the Reds are consolidating their boom period both on and off the pitch.
This is why the club was able to flaunt close to £ 250 million in 2018, binding virtually all of their larger and brighter long-term contracts. This includes Klopp and his staff, who all put the pen on paper in December to stay in Merseyside until 2024.
“The message should be what you see here is the result of a really strong and consistent strategy for many years,” Liverpool general manager Andy Hughes told ECHO this week.
“That strategy remains unchanged and we will continue with that plan and hope it continues to improve.”
Given the name of Liverpool in the sports world, a £ 300 million purchase – even 10 years ago – was relatively modest and are now valued at £ 1.7 billion by the influential American financial publication Forbes.
It was a dramatic turn in Anfield to bring them to that position enjoyed today as pending British champions.
However, it was not an overnight success. This is evidenced by the fact that FSG will celebrate their tenth anniversary later this year. There were bumps along the way and not all decisions were universally accepted by the Kop faithful.
Heartache and quasi-miss have never been too far from the pages of this ongoing story, even with the agony of the 2014 Premier League still raw alongside the final defeats in the League Cup, Europa League and Champions League under Klopp.
In the end, however, the future is blinding for this football team. A brand new state-of-the-art training complex will open the doors to the stars of the first team in the summer, with Liverpool confident that the £ 50 million construction will compete with any other across the continent.
The club also remains cautiously optimistic that work will begin on Anfield’s proposed 7,000-seat expansion before the end of the year, to bring the capacity of one of the world’s most iconic football cathedrals to over 60,000.
“For the past nine years, we’ve known that every morning when we get up, what we do has an impact on the lives of millions of people,” Liverpool’s principal owner, John W Henry once said.
He was talking about his management of the Boston Red Sox when he started the first day in his current role at Anfield. He could easily say the same for Liverpool here and now.
And whatever the way you might want to look at it, it’s hard to refute that FSG is going well.