Jordan Henderson is under no doubt that Liverpool’s owners will continue to do “good things” for the club despite their latest own goal in the form of the fallen Super League.
The captain was at the heart of the Reds’ unified response to the breakaway league on Tuesday hours before its collapse which said in no uncertain terms how the players viewed the move.
Henderson had even organised a meeting of the league’s captains to address the situation in another show of fine leadership.
The same cannot be said of FSG who have come under significant fire since Sunday, but Henderson’s belief in the owners is unwavering as he acknowledged their failings in his official programme notes for Newcastle’s visit on Saturday.
“It has been an extraordinary week for football and for our club in particular,” Henderson penned. “This might be the strangest column I ever write in this programme, as being critical of my own employers isn’t something I do easily.
“Particularly as I am privileged to know the people involved on a personal level as well as a professional one.
“They have done good things for our club and I believe they will continue to do so. It’s important for me to state this at the beginning, even if it isn’t popular. It would be dishonest of me to say anything else.
“The best relationships you have in life are those that are built on honesty, so I cannot comment on this issue without saying what I think.
“It was a concept I didn’t like, didn’t support and didn’t want to see happen. I think it would have been bad for football. There has to be risk and reward in sport, otherwise what’s the point?
“There has to be jeopardy. You should earn your success. It was my biggest issue with the proposal and why as a player I was firmly against it.
“Again, in keeping with the need for honesty, as players we weren’t consulted beforehand and that was a mistake. As was the failure to engage with supporters. I understand and share the disappointment of our own fans and the wider football community for this failing.
“I’ve been brought up with the values that you try to fix these things from within where possible – the old cliché of not ‘airing dirty laundry in public’ – and as players that’s how we approached it when the news broke. The owners asked for our honest view and they got it.
“It’s why as players we spoke with a collective voice on Tuesday night. This wasn’t an act of defiance – it was just us being honest and our ownership respected that.”
An apology did arrive through John Henry for the fans, Klopp and his players and like his manager, it was enough for Henderson who respects others may view FSG’s reign in a different light.
“It is good that Liverpool withdrew and the concept has collapsed,” Henderson continued. “That’s good for football. It’s also good that our owners, via John Henry, have apologised unreservedly.
“People can disagree with me saying this, but my opinion is that our owners have been good for Liverpool. If you have a problem with me saying that, fair enough and I respect that.
“But my opinion is built on my own first-hand experiences, from the enormously privileged position of being a player and captain of this football club.”
* You can order a copy of the Liverpool vs. Newcastle programme or subscribe here.