Liverpool players met their new owner yesterday as attention turned from the long and bitter boardroom battle for control of the club to the fortunes of the relegation-threatened team on the pitch.
John Henry was in Liverpool a day after fellow Americans Tom Hicks and George Gillett gave up their legal fight to hang on to the club, which was sold against their wishes to Henry's New England Sports Ventures, which also owns baseball's Boston Red Sox. The new owners arrive without the promises of their predecessors, but they have been largely welcomed by the club's fans, who are relieved to be rid of the massive debts which Hicks and Gillett saddled the club with.
The new era begins today with the team making the short trip to Everton for the Merseyside derby when Roy Hodgson's side will be trying to record just their second Premier League win of the season. After training yesterday, Henry met the players at the club's Melwood complex.
"[It] was a short but good meeting," winger Ryan Babel posted on his Twitter feed. "He is humble and proud to be part of LFC."
Henry has already cautioned: "One thing I'm going to try not to do is to create a lot of expectations."
Henry made no promises about a spending spree on players in the January transfer window.
"There's a lot of work to be done to get this club to where it needs to be," Henry said.
"There is a great nucleus here off the field and on the field and we think we can build from that, but it's not going to be easy. We've got real challenges but we've got a very strong organisation, financially and otherwise, we have some terrific strategic thinkers and we're going to be attacking this head on."
* Associated Press