Sunday, October 17, 2010

Henry: Tough Job Starts Now

Liverpool can look forward to a virtually debt-free future after New England Sports Ventures yesterday completed the £300million takeover of the club to conclude a frenetic week. New owner John W Henry said he was "proud and humbled" by the responsibility of taking on the club, and stressed a priority would be to develop a winning team. The shadow of former owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett still hangs over the club despite their defeat in a legal battle to stop the takeover- and they are promising to sue for more than £1billion. For most Liverpool supporters, just the confirmation that the hugely unpopular three-and-a- half-year reign at the club is over is cause to pop the champagne corks. NESV, also owners of Boston Red Sox, said the club 's debt servicing costs — Hicks and Gillett had owed £280million to the Royal Bank of Scotland — would drop from £30million a year to £2million to £3million. Henry, the principal owner of NESV, said: "On behalf of the entire NESV partnership, I want to express how incredibly proud and humbled we are to be confirmed as the new owners of Liverpool FC. "We regard our role as that of stewards for the club with a primary focus on returning the club to greatness on and off the field for the long-term. " He added: "We are committed first and foremost to winning. We have a history of winning, and today we want LFC supporters to know that this approach is what we intend to bring to this great club. " Henry will not attend tomorrow's Merseyside derby away to Everton, and said: "I think it's better for our first experience with the supporters to be at home. " That leaves the October 24 match against Blackburn as his likely first appearance at an English Premier League match, by which time he will have begun getting to grips with his new responsibilities. He did confirm the takeover was not leveraged on debt, but said it was too early to talk about plans for a new stadium.

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