Review 2010: The Opinion Engine: 14/31: Will the sale of Liverpool Football Club to new owners in America be beneficial to the city of Liverpool as well as the team itself ? (suggested by Jacques Baptiste)

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Sport Fighting against the cultural stereotypes of my home city is something I’ve become very adept at over the past thirty-odd years, but it was all for nought during the days or weeks of uncertainty surrounding the ownership of Liverpool Football Club. It’s in these moments, sometimes of success or as on this occasion crisis that I really understand the extent to which team sport seeps into the culture of a city, as it becomes the single topic of conversation in streets and pubs, spilling out of the local radio stations and across the front pages of the newspapers.

In the days leading up to the purchase of the club by John Henry it was as though the buildings themselves held their breath, awaiting combustion should LFC enter administration instead. When the agreement was inked, after the battles in the high court, the streets sighed. This was an event that touched not just Liverpool supporters but us Evertonians too, the interconnectedness of support for the clubs, a kind of collective spiritual and historical responsibility, deep enough for all of us to be on tenterhooks. Could Everton survive without the other large club to fight against?

If nothing else, then, the new ownership cooled the emotional temperature of the city after years of insecurity, fans watching as their beloved was essentially asset stripped and left for dead. With background profiles in the media hyping the positive effect he’s had on Baseball, vox pops with fans on the streets of Boston talked up his accomplishments. Unlike the previous owners too, he’s been especially cautious, dispassionate even, in making outrageous promises, humbly talking about assessing what needs to be fixed in the club, that nothing can be changed overnight.

As for the team: I’m the last person to ask. But glancing through the fan assessments on Just Liverpool Blogs, the away performance that was eluding them the last time I was asked a football question in 2006 still doesn’t seem to have been fixed, or for all I know was repaired but has broken again. The advice offered by these fans is roughly the same. Play better. They all have their own ideas on how that advice should be carried out, but oddly none of them are calling for the loss of the manager, presumably because Roy Hodgson hasn’t been in the job that long. Does John Henry have magic hands?

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