New Liverpool owner ready for steep challenge

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Liverpool owner John Henry is under no illusions about the task which awaits him and investment group New England Sports Ventures after their £300million takeover.

The American, who as part of the NESV group of 17 investors is owner of the Boston Red Sox baseball franchise, was at Goodison Park no Sunday to watch his club's 2-0 Merseyside derby defeat.

Having replaced the unpopular Tom Hicks and George Gillett at Anfield after a protracted buy-out which was dragged through the courts, Henry is keen to start making an impact as soon as possible.

"What am I thinking? How much work this is going to be. How steep the learning curve is going to be. This is not going to be easy," Henry told the Liverpool Echo.

"We realise the challenge that lies ahead if we are going to go toe to toe with the other big clubs. We are not asking for a long honeymoon. This is a contact sport we are in and the going can get rough sometimes. We realise that. We are not going to make any promises but we are going to listen and consider."

NESV, Liverpool and their major creditors Royal Bank of Scotland were accused of an "epic swindle" by Hicks, claiming the club had been severely undervalued.

Henry, whose history with the Red Sox suggests there will be significant investment to come over the coming months, denied that was the case.

And although he may not be the wealthiest new owner in the world, he is basing the business plan going forward on making money and not wasting it on interest payments as the previous owners did.

"There were big financial issues but in the end we made a decision we really wanted to compete at this level," Henry added.

"I know some people are saying this was a cheap price. There is no way we look at this as a cheap price for this club. I don't have 'Sheikh' in front of my name but we look at revenues in sports as being the ability to send out a strong team on the field.

"When we arrived at the Red Sox, the New York Yankees were a juggernaut and it wasn't that much of rivalry. I believe we turned it into a rivalry where we have gone toe to toe with the Yankees even though they have got a much higher revenue."

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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