Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

Liverpool owner’s comments echo in Cleveland fans’ ears

This all sounds vaguely familiar.

John W. Henry, principal owner of Liverpool, wrote an open letter to the club’s supporters defending the club’s dismal performance in the recent transfer period. It is an interesting strategy, one that you don’t see every day. It is also a move that speaks to how strong the angst is among the club’s supporters.

For fans of Cleveland’s pro sports team, who know from angst, some of the elements will have a familiar ring to them. In fact, they could have easily come from the Indians, Browns or Cavs themselves.

In the letter, Henry wrote that:

I am as disappointed as anyone connected with Liverpool Football Club that we were unable to add further to our strike force in this summer transfer window, but that was not through any lack of desire or effort on the part of all of those involved. … Spending is not merely about buying talent. Our ambitions do not lie in cementing a mid-table place with expensive, short-term quick fixes that will only contribute for a couple of years.

Somewhere in the bowels of Progressive Field, the Dolans are shaking their heads in agreement and taking notes.

No one should doubt our commitment to the club. In Brendan Rodgers we have a talented young manager and we have valued highly his judgement about the make-up of the squad. This is a work in progress. It will take time for Brendan to instill his philosophy into the squad and build exactly what he needs for the long term. … We are still in the process of reversing the errors of previous regimes. It will not happen overnight. It has been compounded by our own mistakes in a difficult first two years of ownership. It has been a harsh education, but make no mistake, the club is healthier today than when we took over.

Somewhere in an office in Berea, Mike Holmgren is nodding in agreement and taking notes.

We will build and grow from within, buy prudently and cleverly and never again waste resources on inflated transfer fees and unrealistic wages. We have no fear of spending and competing with the very best but we will not overpay for players.

Somewhere high above the Horseshoe Casino floor, Dan Gilbert approves this message.

Finally, I can say with authority that our ownership is not about profit. Contrary to popular opinion, owners rarely get involved in sports in order to generate cash. They generally get involved with a club in order to compete and work for the benefit of their club. It’s often difficult. In our case we work every day in order to generate revenues to improve the club. We have only one driving ambition at Liverpool and that is the quest to win the Premier League playing the kind of football our supporters want to see. That will only occur if we do absolutely the right things to build the club in a way that makes sense for supporters, for us and for those who will follow us. We will deliver what every long-term supporter of Liverpool Football Club aches for.

And Cleveland fans everywhere wonder when they will be delivered from what aches them.

(Photo by Getty Images)

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