Liverpool have announced their new chairman will
be Tom Werner, who holds a similar position with club owners New
England Sports Ventures.
In a widely expected move Werner will officially start on December
1, although previous chairman Martin Broughton effectively ended his
involvement after last weekend's victory over West Ham.
"I want to pay tribute to Martin Broughton and the magnificent job
he has done for Liverpool FC," said NESV principal owner John Henry.
Henry, who obviously has a very close working relationship with
Werner, added: "He was appointed in difficult circumstances and
faced challenging times yet he always focused on doing what was in
the best long-term interests of the club.
"It has been a pleasure for us to work with Martin and we wish him
well in all that he does in the future.
"I am delighted that Tom has agreed to take over as chairman. It is
a crucial role as we move forward and no one is better placed than
Tom to take up the reins and help provide leadership and vision in
the coming years."
Werner expressed his optimism that, under NESV's ownership, the club
could revisit former glories.
"It is a great honour to be taking over from Martin as chairman of
this great club," he said.
"We have a tremendous foundation to build on for this season and the
"Our goal is to work tirelessly for our supporters and deliver the
best conditions for a winning team and silverware in the trophy
Broughton always intended to stand down once the sale process, for
which he was specifically appointed, was complete.
Now NESV have started to find their feet after their October
purchase of Liverpool he has no qualms about stepping down.
"I'm happy that Liverpool FC is now in good hands. Everyone
associated with the club can look forward to an exciting future with
the right owners and the club on a secure financial footing," he
"I've been impressed with the way that NESV have already approached
the job ahead and both John and Tom are winners who want to see the
club competing again at the top of European football."
And the self-confessed Chelsea fan added: "I also want to say a big
thank you to the Liverpool fans for all their support during the
past seven months.
"This is a very special place with fantastic supporters and through
a difficult time they always kept faith in what we were trying to
"I've grown to love the club and it's been a privilege for me to
have been here."
overhaul in January
John W Henry has suggested Liverpool will wait
until the summer before any significant squad overhaul.
Henry was speaking after another defeat for Liverpool put more
pressure on manager Roy Hodgson, with some fans chanting for Kenny
Dalglish as they lost 2-0 at Stoke.
But the club's new American owners insist that they are not about to
part company with Hodgson - who was only appointed in the summer by
the club's previous regime.
"This club can be better and blaming the manager or any one
particular player is simply wrong," Henry said.
"This club needs to play up to their potential every match. If they
don't, they won't win."
Co-owner Henry also dropped a hint that the club will not be looking
to invest heavily in the squad when the transfer market reopens in
"We have work to do and must invest in this club to improve it on
the field. Can that be successfully done in January?" continued
"A number of people I've talked with doubt it. Most seem to think it
will be the summer before we can really begin to improve.
"So all the players have to be on the same page and have to live up
to the history and respect this club has engendered.
"The club has gone through a very difficult period and that period
has not ended.
"We've dealt with baseball players and racing drivers at the highest
level. Liverpool also have players at the highest level and they all
want the same things. They want to win."
Henry says he has met with Liverpool's big stars, after the likes of
Jose Reina and Fernando Torres were linked with moves away from the
"I've met a number of our players and I've been greatly impressed by
"The question they have asked, rightfully so, is whether or not the
club is going in the right direction. They all want that.
"I have been very forthright about our philosophy and about what we
are going to try to achieve."
The New England Sports Ventures chief has also indicated his belief
that home-grown investment is the way forward for the club and he
has instructed Academy technical manager Jose Segura and Under 18
coach Rodolfo Borrell to work hard on bringing through new talent.
"I've been to the academy three times and met them both," he said.
"They are key people for the future of Liverpool. They know their
work is now a major priority for us, and I have made a personal
commitment to them. We intend giving them the resources to build LFC
for the future.
"We need "top four" young players. They will not produce a quick
fix, but our philosophy in football will be based on the long term.
That is what has made Arsenal and Manchester United so strong.
"They understand something we understand in Boston - to be
consistently strong on the field, you must have a consistent flow of
young talent that has been nurtured and developed the right way."
Liverpool's transfer strategy
New Liverpool director of football strategy Damien
Comolli insists that he will be working closely with Roy Hodgson to
bring new faces to Anfield in the coming transfer windows and
stressed that his position will not undermine the manager.
Comolli joined Liverpool from Saint Etienne two weeks ago, and it
has been suggested that the club's new owners appointed him as a
result of doubts about Hodgson's transfer record since taking
arriving at Anfield.
Hodgson has brought Joe Cole, Paul Konchesky, Christian Poulsen and
Raul Meireles to the club, but all have flattered to deceive thus
far, and it is thought that John Henry sought out Comolli in a bid
to improve the quality of new recruits.
But Comolli has moved quickly to play down reports that he will have
final say in any future transfers, insisting that he and Hodgson
will work together to target new players.
"I think it was just a feeling between the owners and Roy as well
that they wanted someone to be in there and come and help on a daily
basis, support Roy in terms of making sure there is the best
structure around all the club in all the areas which are football
related," Comolli told Liverpool's official website.
"In the short term, in my position you always think of the next
window or the next two windows and I think everybody has got this in
mind. As I've just joined, we've got only a few weeks to prepare for
the window but we are also looking at the summer transfer window.
"That's what I would call short term but then long term we are
already looking at things like the pre-season tour for next season,
we are already looking at the academy to see what we can improve,
what the targets are there in England, young players who we could
bring in, the same thing about Europe, to identify players around
Europe that we'll be trying to bring in. It's a mix of short term
and long term which I think is one of the beauties of this job."
Comolli has built a strong reputation for spotting talent during
spells at Monaco, Arsenal - where he helped unearth Gael Clichy and
Kolo Toure - and Tottenham. Comolli was responsible for bringing the
likes of Gareth Bale and Luka Modric to the White Hart Lane, though
he also facilitated the signings of the significantly less
successful Adel Taarabt and David Bentley.
After clashing with then-Spurs manager Martin Jol, who complained
several players had been signed without his permission, Comolli was
later sacked along with Jol's successor Juande Ramos.
But the 37-year-old Frenchman is confident that a strong
relationship with Hodgson will help bring the Reds success.
"We've been talking at length since I joined, several times a day on
different issues and different matters, not only related to the
transfer window or to scouting, we talk about everything. I think
this relationship is going to grow in a positive way, that's for
sure. We see things the same way. So far everything we have
discussed we totally agree and have the same vision. I expect that's
going to go on.
"When you see the clubs he has managed and the national teams he has
managed, what he's done at Fulham, what he's done at Blackburn and
obviously being in charge here. Obviously, when you have managed
Inter Milan as well and all the pressure there is there at one of
the biggest clubs in the world, you have to have respect for what
"I think sometimes it becomes controversial and it should not be. As
John Henry said, it will be a consensus among us. That's the way
John sees it, that's the way I see it and that's the way Roy sees
it. The manager's decision and the manager's opinion on a player is
his vision for the Reds
By James Pearce - Liverpool Daily Post
Owner John W Henry has urged Liverpool’s players
to give everything to help lead the club up the Premier League
The American, who also revealed that his sports investment company
New England Sports Ventures (NESV) will change its name to Fenway
Sports Group, reiterated his promise to restore the Reds to their
But he insists success will only come if everyone is pulling in the
Speaking to the independent Liverpool FC website Red and White Kop, he said:
“The club has
gone through a very difficult period and the period has not ended.
“It’s up to us to build a winner going forward. It’s up to them (the
players) to determine to win now. We saw a certain team on the field
against Chelsea last week that showed what they can do.
“We also know how competitive the EPL is this year. There are no
guaranteed matches any longer for any club. This club can be better.
“Blaming the manager or any one particular player is simply wrong.
This club needs to play up to their potential every match. If they
don’t, they won’t win.”
Looking further into the future, Henry vowed to invest in the
playing squad but believes the club will conduct most of its
business next summer rather than in January.
“We have work to do and must invest in this club to improve it on
the field,” he added. “Can that be successfully done in January? A
number of people I’ve talked with doubt it.
“Most people seem to think it will be the summer before we can
really begin to improve. So the players – all 11 each week – have to
be on the same page every match and have to live up to the history
and respect this club has engendered – no matter what.
“I’ve met with a number of our players and had private discussions
with some of them. I’ve been greatly impressed by them personally.
They are all exceptionally bright and they all want to be here.
“The question they have had, rightfully so, is whether or not the
club is going to go in the right direction. They all want to see
that. I have been very forthright about our philosophy and about
what we are going to try to achieve.
“Some would prefer a quick fix. Others prefer to focus on the
long-term and that is very difficult for most players.
“But this club needs everyone on the same page every day. We need
everyone focused on what needs to be done in the next match facing
us and during that match.
“The club should not have to settle for less. As one insightful
player told me, “The spirit of the side needs to be there like a
family – as one.”
Responding to fans’ fears about a lack of football expertise and
experience at senior management and board level, Henry pointed to
the recent appointment of Damien Comolli as director of football
He said: “Damien has a philosophy that is similar to ours and what
has made us successful in Boston. But he is just our first
“We don’t know English football, but we do know the sports business
and what it takes to be successful.
“You must first of all have the right people in place and you must
be able to give them the resources they need to be successful. With
the new Financial Fair Play Rules coming into effect next year, we
know that we need to emphasize revenue growth. That is an area we
feel we are very strong.
“The best way to market Liverpool FC globally is to win because the
fanbase is already so large globally. If we build the right team on
the field, everything off the field will take care of itself.”
Henry said chairman Tim Werner and himself will be frequent visitors
He said: “We will be in London and Liverpool with regularity. There
is a lot to be done. We speak about the Sox and LFC daily – seven
days a week.
“We are working on teleconferencing as well as spending time in
Liverpool. In the digital world of today one can say almost nothing
is local. It has never been easier to work from a distance.
“But like Fenway, Anfield will be hard to stay away from. We’ve
really enjoyed our time in Liverpool thus far.”
Asked what Liverpool’s new owners can give to Liverpool in terms of
a personal vision and philosophy, Henry said: “We will have to be
bold, thoughtful and aggressive in order to do the right thing for
the community, for the supporters and for the club long-term.
“Liverpool values are well known. What makes Anfield so special
beyond the history of the ground are the people who populate Anfield
each match. They value the club first and foremost.
“That is what we have to ensure every person who wears a kit or
works for the club at any level has in the their minds first and
foremost – the club comes first.
“In Boston every player who puts on a Boston Red Sox uniform knows
what it means to wear that uniform. It’s something very special.
Wearing that uniform has a great deal of meaning.
“We have a Red Sox way that is discussed in spring training each
year. It is a privilege to work for the Boston Red Sox at any level.
We have Red Sox Ambassadors who spend their days ensuring that
people outside of the organisation know how much all of us inside
the organisation appreciate our fans and visitors to Fenway Park.
“The values that we have to strive for within the club at Liverpool
emanate from the supporters. We cannot have anyone at the club who
when they walk into the Academy, Melwood or Anfield, aren’t aware of
club values and that the club comes first and foremost.
“We have to have everyone from top to bottom on the same page –
exactly the same page. And we will.
“We will make mistakes and it will be up to us to correct them. With
the level of support this club has, if we are all on the same page,
we will be incredibly successful.”
Hodgson ‘more than
impressed’ by NESV
This is Anfield
Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson says he has been “more
than impressed” by initial meetings with the club’s new owners, New
England Sports Ventures.
NESV completed their £300million takeover of the club last month
with co-owner John Henry on Merseyside this week to unveil Damien
Comolli as the club’s new Director of Football Strategy and watch
the Napoli game at Anfield tonight (8.05pm).
Hodgson said, “The owners are very interesting people and every
discussion you have with them is a pleasurable one because they have
good questions and clear ideas and they listen to what you have to
say,” Hodgson said. “I have been more than impressed. Sometimes
people buy clubs and you don’t see or hear them but it has been
quite the opposite.
“John and Tom have taken an enormous interest, spending a lot of
time with the club and it is something which can only be to our
benefit because we need people to look into this club. It is a great
club and will be a great club in the future but it needs people like
John and Tom to look into it and see where we have been going wrong
and where they can step in and help us improve and that is what they
are going to do.
“I regard that as positive and what I have to do as team manager is
ensure we win as many games as possible so their improvements take
place in a positive atmosphere rather than in a negative atmosphere.
“As far as they are concerned they understand that you don’t wave
magic wands in sport, if things need putting right it is going to
take some time. But they are determined to get things right and the
quicker the better but they are realistic that what needs to be done
needs to be done.
“In the meantime we have to be making the best efforts we can to
keep the club as high in the table as possible and the more we can
do in that respect the easier their job will become.”
signals clever start
Comment by Ian Watson - TEAMtalk
Comolli (pictured) is Liverpool's new director of football strategy
and TEAMtalk's Ian Watson believes the Frenchman will prove a wise
John W. Henry's vow to under-promise and over-deliver gave some
insight when NESV eventually completed their takeover of Liverpool
as to how the new American owners would be different from the old
ones. Their first signing epitomises that strategy and signals a
leap in the right direction for the Reds.
Damian Comolli was confirmed as the club's new director of football
strategy on Wednesday, and while many Liverpool fans may not be
familiar with his work, the mere fact that his position was created
at all should act as a source of encouragement to the Anfield
Comolli brings with him a wealth of knowledge and experience, having
operated in similar roles - despite slightly differing titles - at
Spurs and St Etienne after a spell working under Arsene Wenger for
Arsenal as European scout. His main responsibility at Anfield
appears to be the identification and recruitment of new talent, but
his influence will no doubt be also felt in other areas of the club.
The director of football title is often sneered at by many in the
British game, including some managers who naively see the role as a
threat to their authority. Roy Hodgson, however, has spoken of his
happiness over Comolli's arrival and though I doubt he had any say
in the appointment of the man who will eventually decide his fate,
the under-pressure Reds boss could have much to gain from
co-operating with the newcomer.
Hodgson has been a man on the edge for the last few weeks and
despite assurances from the new owners, the manager has carried a
beleaguered look with him since long before Henry and co strolled
Comolli's arrival means Hodgson can focus very much on the now,
while the Frenchman takes care of the future - one that looks
unlikely to involve Hodgson unless the manager can use the reduction
in his responsibilities to inspire a vast improvement in his team's
performances between now and May.
Comolli's appointment signals a welcome shift away from the
short-sightedness that engulfed Anfield during the final year or two
of Hicks and Gillett's reign. Liverpool's transfer business - and
even the appointment of Hodgson - was all about the here and now,
with new arrivals and rumoured targets offering a short-term fix but
little in the way of longevity or scope for development.
Henry alluded to a change in attitude on that particular front when
NESV took over, and Comolli's track record suggests Liverpool will
seek to be much savvier in the transfer market, with talent,
potential and value more attractive than reputation.
As has been repeated over and over this afternoon, Comolli was
indeed the man who brought Gareth Bale to White Hart Lane, though
the former Southampton youngster was hardly an unknown. Comolli's
key contribution to the Bale deal was not discovering the Welshman,
but persuading him to choose Spurs over Manchester United or other
'bigger' clubs, just as he did in the case of a number of exciting
talents, including John Bostock and Danny Rose. Comolli also ensured
Tottenham got to Dimitar Berbatov ahead of United, who had to pay
Spurs an extra £20million just two years later to finally get their
Comolli also played a huge role in bringing to White Hart Lane many
of the players who make up Spurs' current best side. Indeed, seven
of last night's XI were bought under Comolli's watch (including
Kaboul who was originally purchased by Comolli before being sold to
Portsmouth and then bought back again), as were regular goalkeeper
Heurelho Gomes and goalscoring substitute Roman Pavlyuchenko.
Comolli had his share of bad buys, of course, but his overall
transfer record would compare favourably with the vast majority of
managers, including Hodgson.
When NESV arrived, many questioned their track-record in football -
or lack thereof - and asked how they expected to restore Liverpool
to former glories with little or no experience of how the game
works. The fact that NESV and Henry are happy to put their egos
aside and bow to those with greater knowledge also serves as another
positive aspect of Comolli's Anfield arrival.
Many claim taking overall responsibility away from the manager does
not work in the English game but there is no reason the new
arrangement cannot be a success on Merseyside. You only have to look
at Sunday's opponents, Chelsea, for proof of the rewards it can
Carlo Ancelotti has been working under a Football Board that has
been in place since well before the Italian's appointment. The
six-man board, featuring Frank Arnesen as it's headline name, work
alongside the PLC board but oversee all football matters, including
Just like any organisation or team, getting the right individuals
within the group is key, but Chelsea have shown how successful the
set-up can be in England and with Henry clearly willing to learn
from the success of others, a similar restructuring may well be on
the cards at Anfield.
Henry has asked for patience as he and NESV get to work, and after
the trials and tribulations of the last 18 months, the indications
are that they will get it. Despite Comolli's signing hardly
rivalling that of Fernando Torres or Joe Cole in the excitement
stakes, he could prove to be one of the most crucial and symbolic
arrivals of the new regime.
Comolli joins Liverpool
This is Anfield
Former Tottenham director of football and Arsenal
scout Damien Comolli has joined Liverpool as “Director of Football
The Frenchman is expected to take up a similar role at Anfield to
that which saw him recruit several of Tottenham’s now flourishing
Comolli was responsible for taking Gareth Bale, Luka Modric, Tom
Huddlestone, Michael Dawson and Dimitar Berbatov, among others.
At Arsenal, where Comolli was European scout for 7 years, he helped
Arsene Wenger sign the likes of Thierry Henry and Robert Pires. He
was also responsible for discovering Kolo Touré and Gaël Clichy.
Most recently he was sporting director at St. Etienne, but left the
post this week in order to take up the new job at Anfield.
It is believed Comolli was recommended to new owner John W. Henry by
Billy Beane – a close friend of Comolli’s and a man whom Henry
attempted to hire as general manager of the Boston Red Sox. Beane is
general manager at a baseball side in the US and revolutionised the
way players were recruited.
Beane was the subject of a book called Moneyball, which is about
“sabermetrics” — basing decisions on statistical analysis. Comolli
shares the similar belief and now looks set to challenge whether it
can be transferred from baseball to football.
Henry is on Merseyside this week and is expected to attend the Reds
two home games with Napoli and Chelsea. He met with manager Roy
Hodgson on Tuesday and has visited the training ground at Melwood.
There could be more news on off-field appointments to follow.
It is believed Hodgson has been told by Henry and NESV to
concentrate purely on coaching the team and that Comolli and Kenny
Dalglish have been put in charge of recruiting players.
What will this mean for Liverpool?
Foremost a dilution in the absolute power of the manager. When it
comes to transfers, Hodgson can expect to be a key part of the team
that decides who is signed, but only a member.
NESV have said they will be investing substantially in scouting and
that will be what makes or breaks their approach. Too many English
clubs rely on agents to do their scouting for them and even the best
agents operate with vested interests. With proper scouting, strong
collection and analysis of data, Liverpool could go into the new
world of Financial Fair Play with a really competitive model. Just
don’t expect the football world to embrace it with an open mind.
Quotes (From LFC.tv)
NESV Principal Owner John Henry: “Damien has a proven track-record
of identifying exciting young footballing talent and we are
delighted that he has agreed to join Liverpool. Working closely with
Roy Hodgson and the coaching staff, I know he will make a valuable
contribution to strengthening the Club and the squad as we move
“Today’s announcement is just the first step in creating a
leadership group and structure designed to develop, enhance and
implement our long-term philosophy of scouting, recruitment, player
development and all of the other aspects necessary to build and
sustain a club able to consistently compete at the highest level in
“We intend to be bold and innovative. We will not rest until we have
restored Liverpool Football Club to the greatness Liverpool fans
Roy Hodgson: “I am looking forward to working with Damien whom I
have known for many years. We are engaged in an exciting project
here and he will bring a lot to the table. We all want to see moves
to strengthen the squad and support player development over the next
few years. John Henry and I are totally united in delivering on that
Damien Comolli: “I am delighted to be joining Liverpool and look
forward to working with John and Roy. I think we all realise there
is a big job ahead, but we all share the vision that John has for
rebuilding the club and bringing back the success that the
JW Henry’s title dream
New Liverpool owner JW Henry has admitted he wakes
up every day “thinking about what we can do to improve our chances
of winning a championship.”
In a question and answer session with a supporters’ website the Reds
owner said: “We are focused on getting the club positioned to win
trophies within the Financial Fair Play rules that are being imposed
“That means off the field we are intent on increasing LFC revenues
“On the field we have to be smarter.
“Arsenal and Man U have depth that is young and capable.
"We do not.
"We have a lot of work to do there.
"A lot of work.
"And we will, but we have to be smart about it. We are here for the
“Everything we do is for the long term.
"Our biggest responsibility is to bring in the right people to the
club on and off the field.”
Henry added: “We are an organisation filled with people who are
driven to compete at the highest level.
“There certainly are better investments than sports clubs, but we
know that everything we do has meaning to large numbers of people –
and what we do has meaning for us.
“It’s incredibly interesting.”
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