Liverpool, one of the most storied English Premier League franchises (that’s soccer), is on the verge of being sold to John Henry’s New England Sports Ventures, the company that owns the Boston Red Sox. Current owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett will lose almost $230 million on the sale, but they don’t have a choice since the Royal Bank of Scotland essentially forced the loathed American duo to sell when it shifted the debt with which they purchased the club into the “bad debts” division. (Hicks and Gillett took out more than $375 million in loans to purchase the club in 2007.)
Since taking over the squad, the two American owners have engendered nothing but hate for both their handling of the club’s finances and their treatment of its loyal fans. There’s even a video (after the jump). Steve McGrath explains in The Wall Street Journal:
Their tenure has seen the club go from winning trophies to languishing in the bottom three of England’s top football league for the first time since the early 1960’s. They’ve failed to build a promised new stadium that would befit such a successful and historical club. And they’ve behaved unlike any other Liverpool owners before them, their arguments sent out through the media for the whole world to see, affecting the performance of the team and management. But, most importantly, they’ve misunderstood Liverpool football club and its family of fans. They’ve broken promise after promise, shown not one ounce of care for the tradition of the club, damaged its reputation, and their continued unwillingness to sell the club has left it on the edge of administration.
It’s so bad that Liverpool fans mobbed Hicks when he went to a bank in Manhattan. Here’s hoping the reign of Henry turns out better.