John Henry and Tom Werner Have a Liverpool Problem


A gate outside of Liverpool’s stadium displaying the team slogan, which in the context of this story, rings conveniently ironic.

You think John Henry and Tom Werner have problems here? Well, yeah, they do, but at least we’ve reached a temporary calm, with the Red Sox winning five in a row and Mr. Fried Chicken McGolf, Josh Beckett, hurling seven shutout innings en route to a win last night. Meanwhile, over in England, where Henry and Werner own the storied soccer team, Liverpool FC, all chaos has broken loose.

It seems that for all the money Henry and Werner have poured into Liverpool — they’ve spent $165 million in player transfers since buying the team in late 2010 — not all their big money players have performed (stop me if this sounds familiar). Liverpool just finished a disappointing English Premier League season, coming in eighth place. Now the status of the manager, Kenny Dalglish, a Liverpool legend back in his playing days, is up in the air. The Guardian reported that, with rumors swirling about his job security, Dalglish requested a meeting with Henry and Werner to clear things up. The Fenway Sports Group owners said, Ok, but on one condition: you have to fly to Boston to talk to us.

Let’s pause a minute here: Can you imagine if, at the end of last season, Terry Francona requested an audience with Henry and Werner and they made him get on a plane to England? We would have flipped out. Hell, we would flip out if Bruins owner (and upstate New York dweller) Jeremy Jacobs made Claude Julien go to Buffalo for a meeting. So, on the upside, if nothing else, at least we still know that Henry and Werner care more about the Sox than the soccer team over in England. That’s good, I guess.

But back to Dalglish: after Henry and Werner met with him on Monday, they sent him home without an answer. (While his assistant stuck around to catch the Sox game with Henry and Werner on Monday, Dalglish booked it straight outta town.) Rumors were flying that he’s quit, but apparently not so. Now Dalglish, who was neither fired nor received Henry and Werner’s support, just has to wait. The Guardian writes:

But as Dalglish prepares to go on holiday on Wednesday, it is in the knowledge that the meeting with Henry and Werner, his explanation for Liverpool’s lowest league finish for 18 years and insistence that a major summer overhaul is unnecessary has not resolved the critical issue of whether he will remain as manager next season. FSG has refused to give assurances on Dalglish’s future since the FA Cup final and the lack of them during direct talks with the Liverpool manager demonstrates the extent of the owners’ reservations over the progress of his squad.

Meanwhile, the Mirror is reporting that there should be a resolution in the next day or two. When I traveled to Liverpool last year, nearly all the fans I talked to were fairly smitten with their new owners, Henry and Werner, but it looks like things have soured since. The Mirror added that there is “widespread anger among fans that their hero” — Dalglish — “has been treated in this manner.” But hey, take heart Liverpool faithful, things could be worse. You’ll only be in real trouble when anonymous sources start blaming the team’s poor performance on Dalglish’s marital problems and prescription drug use.

UPDATE: Dalglish has been, as the British say, sacked. Now the real fun begins, especially since we all know how good Henry and Werner are at running orderly manager searches.