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Dave D

FSG are not shit

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Hell of a 12 months for them. They currently own the World Series winners AND the Champions of Europe.


Now keep investing in the club and the team so this season is just the start of a new period of trophy collecting, not a culmination.

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Saw a snippet of an interview of his the other day and he said they’re going to invest this summer to win the league. Not happy with second place. That’s what we like to see 

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They got sooooo much criticism & abuse.  Some of the criticism was justified.  Most of it wasn't.


They have been brave, the have been incredibly clever & the reason why we are thriving now is because of FSG.


They hired Klopp, Edwards, the analytics team that have been incredible with the recruitment, they expanded Anfield - improved every aspect of the club - massively.


They deserve all the praise in the world because they're the reason why we're back at the top.


Wouldn't swap them for any of owners! 

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Liverpool under FSG: How learning from Fulham and Man Utd off the pitch helped bring glory back to Anfield


As the city of Madrid turned into a speck on the horizon for the passengers of a flight chartered to bring the newly crowned champions of Europe back to Liverpool, John W Henry had plenty of time to consider everything that had led him to that moment.


In the aftermath of such momentous successes, the details of the journey to the summit tend to take on greater significance.


Had supporters been tasked with identifying the key moments, then perhaps Jurgen Klopp’s appointment, Alisson Becker’s save against Napoli, or Divock Origi’s heroics against Barcelona would have been those that sprung to mind on their trip home.


For Henry though, it likely led him back to the very start. To Fulham.


But this is not the story of how a previously undisclosed Roy Hodgsonlegacy helped bring in silverware eight years after his departure, nor of Reds captain Jordan Henderson’s refusal to move to Craven Cottage in 2012.


Liverpool victory bus greets thousands of fans in city centre

Rather, it is a retracing of the steps that brought Fenway Sports Group to Anfield, and then on to the pinnacle of a sport they once knew very little about. 


The beginning

In early 2010, Fulham were in the midst of what could be considered the greatest era of the club’s 140-year history.


With Hodgson at the helm, he had produced Fulham’s highest ever top-flight finish of seventh and secured European qualification. That lead to the unimaginable run to the Europa League Final with wins over the likes of Juventus, Hamburg and Shakhtar Donetsk was currently in progress.


In the boardroom, a desire to capitalise on these heady days existed, and the imminent expiry of a three-year shirt sponsorship agreement with South Korean electronics company LG represented an opportunity to do so.


With the Premier League’s commercial pacesetters Manchester United having partnered with AIG and then AON for their last two shirt deals, it seemed only logical for Fulham to try and exploit the US market.


There was just one hitch: a lack of connections in the American offices of multinational companies. 


Enter Steve Gans, a Boston-based lawyer whose counsel had previously been sought by a number English clubs, as well as the league’s executive chairman Richard Scudamore. 


Gans’ extensive list of contacts had recently been bolstered by the addition of Fenway Sports Management, the marketing arm of FSG, who were keen to expand their portfolio into the world’s most popular sport after successes in baseball and NASCAR.


FSG owned MLB side, the Boston Red Sox Photo: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

And so, after brief negotiations, a mutually beneficial agreement that saw FSM tasked with finding Fulham’s next shirt sponsor was reached.


Unfortunately, what appeared to be a match made in heaven did not quite live up to expectations.


The club’s owners rejected a number of potential bids presented by FSM in the belief that better value existed elsewhere.

But that decision appeared misplaced as the effects of the global financial crisis began to squeeze. It was confirmed as such when the Cottagers eventually signed a deal with FXPro believed to be worth less than those offered up by FSM.


But Fulham’s loss simply proved to be Liverpool’s gain.


Liverpool fans demonstrate outside the High Court in 2010 as RBS seek high court order to prevent the American co-owners, Tom Hicks and George GillettJr, from removing the chairman Martin Broughtonand another board member Photo: Oli Scarff/Getty Images

Just a few months later, that brief flirtation with football was enough to convince FSG that they should act when Tom Hicks and George Gillett’s Anfield reign completely unravelled - and so they did.


Teething problems

Nobody said it would be easy; the £237million worth of bank loans that needed to be wiped out upon buying the club certainly offered a big clue.


But it was the publication of the first set of accounts since FSG’s takeover - delivered in May 2011 - that truly underlined the size of the task at hand.


Losses of £19.9m from the previous financial year were certainly cause for concern, though it was a turnover of just £184.9m that truly set alarm bells ringing.


That is because this figure placed Liverpool behind Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea in the Deloitte Money League, with the additional complication of Manchester City having recently gained unrivalled spending power.


As such, the quandary facing the Reds and their new owners was clear: they somehow needed to get back into the top four with the fifth-most money. 


FSG’s approach to solving this issue was laid out in one particularly instructive section of that first set of accounts. It read: 


The three key elements of the company’s strategy are to..

Improve football performance through a positive playing style, excellent football infrastructure, and investment in young, talented players.

Improve the fan experience and interaction with the club, and

Leverage the club’s global following to increase revenue growth


Eight years on, the sporting element of this mission statement can certainly be considered fulfilled after a young and talented squad claimed the biggest prize in European football off the back of a world-class football infrastructure and brand of positive football.


But it should not be understated just how much this success owes to points two and three having also been ticked off since FSG arrived.


A commercial revolution

As the Premier League era dawned in 1992, it seemed that no club was better placed than Liverpool to exploit the new riches flooding into English football courtesy of Sky Sports.


The Reds had relinquished their customary grip on the league title in the two seasons prior, but their status as the country’s dominant force had yet to dwindle.


However, a complete failure to capitalise on that position commercially characterised the years that followed - an error compounded by Man Utd’s forward-thinking hierarchy taking the complete opposite approach.


And so, when FSG gained control at Anfield, they inherited a fallen giant that had punched well below its weight for almost two decades.


The first step towards correcting that failure saw Henry and his team lean on their experience with Fulham, appointing the west London club’s head of commercial operations, Olly Dale, to the role of senior vice president at FSM.


By 2014, Dale had taken up the role of commercial director at Liverpool and with it a responsibility - alongside chief commercial officer Billy Hogan and their staff - for helping the club finally realise its financial potential.


The list of 30 partners now featured on the Reds’ official website shows just how that gap has been bridged in the intervening period, as do commercial revenues of £154.3m according to the latest accounts - up from just £62.1m in 2011.


Along with Champions League qualification, it is growth such as this, separated completely from league-wide television money inflation, that has been vital to Liverpool’s improved financial health.


And, with the latest turnover figures of £455.1m now placing the club behind only United and Man City in the Premier League, the conundrum of getting into the top four with weaker financial muscle no longer exists.


Of course, significant investment has been required to create this world-class operation, a fact reflected by the club’s full-time staff roster having increased from 477 to 837 during FSG’s tenure.


That said, much of the work leading to this influx of partnerships would be of little consequence without an engaged audience to harness. 


Just four days after their takeover was ratified, and 24 hours after a dispiriting 2-0 defeat at Everton, Henry and Tom Werner sat down with the people who had done so much to dislodge their predecessors.


In the Joe Fagan meeting room of Liverpool’s city centre offices on Chapel Street, the two Americans met with members of the influential supporters union Spirit of Shankly to lay out their bold vision for a club that a week before had been on the brink of bankruptcy.


Those present left the building impressed with what they heard, but a promising start soon descended into frostiness as offers of further collaboration were ignored.


The relationship between owners and fans would go to reach its nadir in February 2016, when plans to introduce a £77 ticket to the club’s general admission offering prompted a mass walkout at Anfield in the latter stages of a Premier League meeting with Sunderland.


But that PR nightmare only prompted an eagerness to learn from mistakes that has been a hallmark of FSG’s time in charge - and they have not looked back since.


The brave appointment of Tony Barrett, a former Times journalist and vocal critic of past missteps, to the role of head of club and supporter liaison is just one element of the recent transformation in terms of fan engagement.


The decision to embrace ‘Boss Night’, the remarkably popular Jamie Webster-led singalongs that have soundtracked the last two European campaigns, is another.


Now, FSG provide the tools to hone an already impressive fan culture, and in return they receive further demonstrations of Liverpool’s biggest selling point - its truly unique fanbase.


The benefits to this healthy relationship could not be clearer for both parties.

Liverpool fans go wild on the streets of Madrid after Champions League victory

Evidence of this virtuous cycle in action could be seen in the glorious images of the Reds’ end of the Estadio Metropolitano two weeks ago, as fan group Spion Kop 1906 brought a piece of Anfield to Madrid.


That would not have been possible without the support of key figures at the club, who not only ensured those iconic Kop-end flags could be taken into the ground without trouble, but also helped transport them to and from Madrid.


And the sincerity that underpins such gestures was exemplified by the sight of the club’s fan experience manager, Yonit Sharabi, helping supporters take down those flags in the immediate aftermath of a sixth European Cup success.


The disharmony of the Hicks and Gillett era is truly a thing of the past.


Of course, FSG have no intention of stopping here. As manager Jurgen Klopp promised in Madrid: “This is only the start.”


The on-pitch priority remains obvious heading into a 30th year without a league title, but there is plenty to think about off it also. 


Talk of expanding the Anfield Road end of the club’s home ground has resurfaced, with initial plans for a 4,000-seat increase now likely to be shelved in favour of taking the stadium’s capacity beyond 60,000.


Meanwhile, the upcoming expiry of the Reds’ kit deal with New Balance will offer a fresh insight into just how much progress has been made since Adidas cited an absence of value as their reason for not renewing in 2012.


Club chiefs are looking to secure a £75m-per-season agreement that would put them on a par with United.


But negotiations are sure to be more straightforward than seven years ago with a sixth European Cup having recently been added to the trophy cabinet.

This is the stratosphere Liverpool occupy in 2019; for FSG, those initial forays with Fulham must feel like a long time ago.

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2 minutes ago, Captain Turdseye said:

£25m a year for the sleeve sponsorship. What are they smoking over there at Western Union?

There is no way we'll ever receive that money.

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Like all relationships, it remains a work in progress and something that should never stop else resentment grows again. To those who will never accept the ownership, primarily because of their country of citizenship, there's little point attempting to convince them otherwise of what an improvement FSG have made to the club; It's like trying to convince a Moon Landing Denier or flat Earther that yes, they did land men on the moon (also 6 times co incidentally!) and the Earth really is an oblate spheroid.


In the scheme of things, Im not that bothered how much the club is worth or where it features in the 'rich list' beyond the fact it shows the club can stand on it's own feet and not cheat the system like city, psg and chelsea to name the most prominent. We can sign and pay wages to all but the most stellar of world class players and even then, might be able to if we really wanted to push the boat out.


There's been obvious mistakes along the way but the fact lessons appear to have been learnt should be the point of that debate.


Do I like paying nearly 900 quid a season just to see 19 PL home games on top of my every increasing Sky and BT Sport fees? Hell no, but, you arent going to drive around in a Rolls Royce for peanuts either. Id like PL clubs to bring in an initiative and reduce ticket prices given the raft of money coming in from all tv rights and sponsorship deals. But I dont expect Liverpool FC to be the only one to do that.



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On 15/07/2019 at 16:32, Doctor Troy said:

No more Range Rovers,Renaults or Alfa-Romeos.

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