Storied football (aka soccer) franchise and Fenway Sports Group investment project Liverpool FC was in Boston’s Fenway Park to play an exhibition match against AS Roma last night. The two European clubs both have Beantown connections, with Kevin Garnett owning a small percentage of Roma, and of course the Red Sox ownership group operating the interests of Liverpool.
The Boston Globe had some good images of the event, including the odd photo of Fenway’s infield covered with grass to make room for a soccer field. But what came immediatedly to my mind was the open letter style video from the fans of Liverpool FC to their beloved club’s previous owner (also American), former Texas Rangers owner Tom Hicks.
The relationship between Liverpool’s fandom and Hicks had eventually grown so bad that Mike Jefferies, Liverpool native, die-hard club supporter, and Hollywood writer and director (you can thank him for the Goal! trilogy), released his “Dear Mr. Hicks” video on behalf of himself, and the supporters of the club.
Various messages for Mr. Hicks include: “You have no soul. You’ve put the last nail in the coffin. Why are you doing this? Greed.” And: “It’s about money, and about profits, and about greed.” And: “Your lying, corrupt and deceitful ways are a blight on our club.” Though to really appreciate the fandom venom, you must hear the commentary spoken.
I’ve been critical of John Henry and his Fenway Sports Group before, suggesting that, while the arrangement has been good for both fans and owners, maybe the relationship has run its course. So it’s interesting to consider the likewise rabid fanbase of Liverpool FC, and how they have previously reacted to their club’s ownership being run amok.
Will Mr. Henry fare (no pun intended) better than Mr. Hicks? Will “Friendly Fenway” ever get so hostile that Red Sox Nation creates its own open letter video to the Fenway Sports Group? We shall see. But after the events of last September (and then the October fallout), it seems “anything is possible,” as Kevin Garnett famously noted.