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Friday 22 August 2014

Henry's revised exit strategy proves to be a stroke of real genius for Reds

Colm Parkinson

Published 23/04/2014 | 02:30

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LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 15:  John W. Henry , the owner of New England Sports Ventures, arrives at the offices of the law firm Slaughter and May on October 15, 2010 in London, England. The future ownership of the famous football club has been subject to legal injunctions in the UK and USA after an attempt by the clubs owners, George Gillett and Tom Hicks, to prevent the sale to the American sports company NESV.   (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)
Liverpool owner John Henry

John Henry was just over a year as Liverpool owner when he faced his first major challenge. His star striker and fans' favourite Fernando Torres wanted out of the club.

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Liverpool's decision to sell two other world-class midfielders, Xabi Alonso and Javier Mascherano, in the previous two seasons had a big bearing on the Spaniard's decision to leave. Was Liverpool becoming a selling club? Regarding the Torres sale, Henry said: "Frankly, we don't want players at the club who don't want to be at the club." It's an attitude shared by many managers and owners. Players become disruptive and get their transfer.

This season Luis Suarez wanted out. "I am 26, I need to be playing in the Champions League. I feel I have done enough to be playing in the Champions League at this stage of my career. Now there is an option for me to do that and I want very much to take it."

A clause in Suarez's contract was leaked to Arsenal who made a £40m and one pound offer for the Uruguayan. Henry's attitude, three years on from the Torres sale, had changed. "What we've found is that contracts don't seem to mean a lot," he said when asked about the release clause.

Despite his protestations and bad attitude in training, Suarez was not for sale. Thirty league goals later and Liverpool are on course for their first league title in 25 years.

The Player of the Year shortlist was announced last week, and if there was an owner equivalent, John Henry would surely be a shoo-in.

Irish Independent

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