Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group have admitted that they ‘underestimated how poor’ the quality of the squad was when taking over in 2010.
As part of a long-running legal dispute between Mill Financial, the Royal Bank of Scotland and the club’s former co-owner George Gillett, FSG’s former counsel Edward Weiss was forced to testify. And his words show how unprepared FSG was to take over the club.
Speaking at the hearing, Weiss said:
‘Like trying to catch a knife falling off the table, you’re not sure where before it’s hit the ground you’ve caught it.
‘You know, I think we underestimated how poor the playing quality of the squad was, and frankly, we underestimated how difficult it was going to be to stabilise the asset.
‘We were overconfident in assuming that many of the things that we had done in Boston at Fenway would translate naturally to the Premier League and they just didn’t all translate.’
At the time of their takeover, Liverpool had the likes of Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher and Dirk Kuyt all starring for five time European champions.
Remarkably, Weiss admitted that FSG had only watched one Liverpool match before buying the club and that a number of the club’s leading names were all beyond their prime and singled out Spanish pair Torres and Reina for criticism.
‘We obviously did some due diligence on the playing squad during this process before we closed on the transaction in the middle of October of 2010,’ he added.
‘What we came to know was that the playing squad was poor.
‘While we had a few top players like Steven Gerrard, other players like Fernando Torres and Pepe Reina were probably beyond their primes, and Javier Mascherano was not even on the team.’
Reading between the lines it is clear that Fenway Sports Group thought that they were buying a team that was better than it was. The Torres criticism is interesting as FSG bought Liverpool on October 6, 2010 and Torres was sold to Chelsea during the following January transfer window.
Weiss’s comments about how FSG did not understand the differences between running a baseball team and a football club are interesting. The recent PR disaster around ticket prices for next season will leave many Reds fans to say that they still don’t understand what it is like to run a football club!