Here’s a question for you…
What does the ‘W’ stand for in John W Henry?
Based on social media this morning, it’s either ‘Wise’ or ‘W*nker’. Which is odd. I mean, football fans on social media never differ widely on something….right?
In case you’re wondering what I’m blathering on about, Liverpool FC owner John W Henry gave an interview in New York last night (as his Red Sox were getting pumped 5-3 by the Yankees), where he said that he’s not sure if the planned Anfield Road expansion would go ahead due to ‘issues with ticket prices in England’. No sooner had his words hit the wires/internet/carrier-pigeons, then the ‘fallout’ started. A veritable nuclear winter of tweets are still raining down upon us as the LFC fan base bellow their reaction to his comments. So now it’s my turn to bring some reasoned thinking (stop giggling) to proceedings…
Let’s look at what he actually said, which is a good place to start. He said that the redevelopment of Anfield road ‘may not proceed’ due to ‘the issue with ticket prices in England’, but ‘we’ll have to see’.
In the one corner we have the paranoid mouth-foamers who think he said ‘It ain’t happening, la, coz all you numpties walked out last February against da Mackems’
Now I like to live my life according to some basic principles, one of which is ‘Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean that everyone is not trying to get you’. It helps me be wary of most people, because most people you should be wary of. So that’s my default position, and you should bear that in mind when I say…STOP BEING F*CKING PARANOID.
John W Henry said ‘there is a ticket price issue in England’. He didn’t blame LFC fans, mention LFC fans or reprimand LFC fans. There IS a ticket price issue in England, not just Anfield, and I am glad that the owner of LFC is aware of it, rather than just knowing snippets about his own club in Liverpool. It shows he’s educated on matters relating to football outside of LFC, and that’s a good thing.
John W Henry said ‘The Anfield Road development MAY NOT proceed, we’ll have to see’. Therefore no decision has been made yet. He has constantly stated that FSG like to under-promise and over-deliver…If you need me to join the dots for you from here, you should probably move back down to preschool and try and get the basics right before attempting ‘reasoned thinking’.
Why would John W Henry expand the Anfield Road end? Let’s list a number of reasons why he would spend millions of quid (be it his own or loans against his asset):
- To ensure YOU have a seat because you deserve it
- To ensure YOUR MATE has a seat becasue he deserves it
- To ensure there are so many seats that everyone who wants to can get in because we all deserve it
- To ensure that there are so many seats that they won’t all sell out and some will be available really cheaply, and maybe even FREE
- To ensure that he gets more fans in, makes more profit than he does now and has a healthy asset on his books for the future.
If your answer was any/all of 1-4 above, go and sit in the corner and have a good long think about what you’ve done, what you think FSG are, and how you think John W Henry has made as much money as he has made….
FSG run businesses. They don’t own the Red Sox because it’s ‘cool’. They don’t own Liverpool Football Club because they love the club as much as you do (even though they might, I don’t know). All I do know is that they run the club as a business because that’s what it is. If you think it’s possible to run Liverpool FC in a different way, in the cut-throat Premier League with the BILLIONS sloshing about (in Sam Allardyce’s jeans, allegedly), then you are deluded.
FSG will only expand the Anfield Road stand if and when it makes sense, AS A BUSINESS, to do so. Let’s do some sums, shall we…
The Main Stand cost about £120 million. So let’s guess the Annie Road expansion will cost £50 million.
Now let’s say FSG price each new seat at £40 each (remember, there’s an issue with ticket prices in England!). There would be 4,500 new seats, and that brings in £180,000 extra per match at Anfield.
Now let’s assume they are only basing the income on the 19 guaranteed home matches per season (they could be REALLY unlucky and get drawn away from home in every cup match, and may NEVER be in Europe again…don’t blame me, this is how banks
work should work). That’s £180,000 x 19 = £ 3,420,000 per season extra income. WOW, WE’RE LOADED, right? Well…
Remember that FSG borrowed £50,000,000 to build the new 4,500 seats, so assuming they got one of those cracking 0% APR offers you get with some new sofas, then they pay that loan back in exactly…14.6 years. Or 2031 if they started RIGHT NOW. Of course in reality the loan will have interest on it, so it’s safe to say that the loan won’t be paid back for yonks…and how long do you think FSG are going to own LFC for?
This brings us onto the elephant in the room…are FSG looking to sell the club? Well, setting aside the fact that they can, but they’ve said that they’re not, they must ensure that if they ever change their mind and want to sell it, things like a loan to pay for the Anfield Road redevelopment which could take decades to pay for itself would kind of be frowned upon by potential new owners…even those from the Middle East who snort the ashes of burnt £50 notes through $100 notes, just for a laugh.
So therefore I have to come to the conclusion that what John W Henry said was….well, nothing, really. He said what anybody with half a brain could have worked out for themselves before he even said it.
To those saying that John W Henry has ‘harshed the buzz’ around Anfield, I invite you to take a long, hot soak in a bath of sulphuric acid, and relax. You’re being ridiculous, over-sensitive and quite hysterical.