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Like a giant waking up from its slumber, Liverpool FC now stand on the cusp of proclaiming the long eluded trophy of the English Premier League and that too for the very first time in their storied history.
When engaging with Liverpool supporters these days about when, not if, their beloved club would be lifting the coveted trophy this season, the fans speak with such humility and reverence never before seen in previous years. Gone are the years of proclamation by many players and fans alike, “This is our year!”
This humility and reverence displayed by their ardent supporters is out of respect for their manager and their beloved team which had annihilated almost all those who stood before them last season, resulting in them lifting the Champions League last season. However, the one trophy which Liverpool craves above everything else has eluded them, until this season. Picking up from where they had left off last season, Liverpool have swept all before them and the only thing that could deny them this holy grail would be a disaster of global proportions.
Most fans can’t help but look across in envy at a club which has built their success not only around a manager and a few talented players, but around a philosophy that is visible throughout the entire football club; right from the boardroom down to the manager.
Liverpool FC’s road to the pinnacle of footballing success is not without its trials and tribulations. In fact, it has taken them 10 years since the then New England Sports Venture’s (NESV) £300m take over from Tom Hicks and George Gillett for the football club to deliver.
Days after their successful take over, NESV made four bold promises to the club’s supporters:
– Eliminate all acquisition debt placed on the club by its previous owners-
– Focus on returning the club to greatness on and off the field
– Returning Liverpool FC to its rightful place in English and European football; successful and competing for trophies
– Share their desire to return to a culture of winning
In NESV’s first match, Liverpool FC lost 2-0 at Goodison Park during the 2010/2011 season, which ended with them finishing sixth. Since then, they have finished eighth, seventh, second, sixth, eighth, fourth, fourth and second, picking up a Champions League, a Club World Cup, a Super Cup, 2 League Cup, Women’s League Cup and a FA Youth Cup along the way.*1
Ownership was transferred from NESV to Fenway Sports Group (FSG) in 2011, as the club racked up a combined loss of £140m from 2011 to 2013. A section of delusional fans, not understanding the fundamental plans that were being put in place to ensure the club did not fall back to old days, began calls of “FSG Out”.*2 All the hard work started to bear fruit though, when Liverpool went from servicing debt obligations of £25m-£30m a year to pre-tax profit of £125m. In 2018/2019, they recorded the largest single-season profit ever recorded in world soccer.*2
Perhaps, Liverpool’s on-field success should not come as a surprise as we only have to look back at FSG’s history in MLB. FSG took over Boston Red Sox in 2002, at which point the club had not won a championship title in 84 years. Fast forward to 2004, the Boston Red Sox ended their 86-year wait for a title and has continued to be one of the most successful MLB clubs since.*3
As Liverpool continue their march towards winning their first English Premier League title and end their 30-year wait for their 19th League title, other clubs, not only in England but around the world, should take heed that this is just the beginning of what promises to be a historical period in the club’s legacy, a legacy that would be entered into their history books as their renaissance. This could quite possibly be Liverpool’s decade of dominance, similar to their own in the 70’s and 80’s and that of Manchester United’s in 90’s and 2000’s.
By Narendran Jayaraman