John W. Henry has apologised for his focal role in the Super League plans, and his attempt to “rebuild trust” with supporters has been met with a mixed reception so far.
Henry, as co-founder of Fenway Sports Group, is the principal owner of Liverpool, and in this week’s laughably poor attempts to form a new Super League, he sparked the ire of the fans, the players and likely the manager.
With the club joining Man City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham and Man United in pulling out of the breakaway league on Tuesday night, the 71-year-old finally addressed the situation the following morning.
He apologised for causing “disruption,” and claimed “the project put forward was never going to stand without the support of the fans,” despite not consulting them – or even his employees – beforehand.
FSG are not planning to sell the club, as many hoped, with the emphasis on working to “rebuild trust” as he told supporters they are “trying to work in your club’s best interests.”
The two-and-a-half-minute video has seen a varied reaction so far, though many have seen their trust irrevocably damaged by Henry’s actions.
For the majority, the apology “doesn’t wash”…
It’s always easier to ask for forgiveness than permission.
— Chris Williams (@Chris78Williams) April 21, 2021
Every time there’s an apology, only to follow-up with another tone-deaf initiative. They don’t get it and never will. https://t.co/xQkpaKw2z1
— Tom McMahon (@tomjpmac) April 21, 2021
The coming weeks and months will be an important conversation for all at #LFC on what is in the clubs future best interests. That’s what matters most. The club has to operate in the ugly world of modern football whoever owns us. That can’t be ignored. https://t.co/XI66lymqpi
— Si Steers (@sisteers) April 21, 2021
There's only so many times you can apologize for making the same mistakes, before that apology becomes hollow and meaningless.
If John Henry is once again shocked by the fans reaction, then he needs to get to know us a whole lot better.
— Mo Stewart (@The_Mighty_Mojo) April 21, 2021
“If there’s one thing this horrible pandemic has clearly shown is how crucial fans are to our sport and every sport.”
Clearly not the case is it, John?
Or do you mean global fans? Coz we’re just legacy ones? https://t.co/LvMAdNWkXT
— The Redmen TV (@TheRedmenTV) April 21, 2021
Sorry, this doesn’t wash. They were quite happy to go ahead with the plans without even stopping to think about the thoughts of supporters, players and the manager. Only backtracked because of extreme outrage. Again. https://t.co/I9VSPYlB5m
— Joel Rabinowitz (@joel_archie) April 21, 2021
How hard is it for owners to communicate with supporters groups before making any decision that would impact fans?
I understand business is business and football is a business too, but football is nothing without fans. Such a simple rule and yet the same mistakes are made
— Dinesh Kumar (@DHardayal) April 21, 2021
Fair play for fronting up and apologising but I just don’t buy it. By dragging the club, manager & players through the mud plus, massively misjudging the fans sentiment again, they have done a lot of damage. https://t.co/G4vPkVxytC
— Jamie Holme (@JamieHolme) April 21, 2021
John W Henry live from Anfield this morning ??? pic.twitter.com/CQaSs5zFCT
— FourFourTwo (@FourFourTwo) April 21, 2021
But others have taken a more open view…
Feels sincere, but you have to question if they have the best interests of the club at heart, why they’d do all of this behind the supporters, players and managers back in the first place? https://t.co/TADfleN1eS
— Rory Greenfield (@RoryGreenfield) April 21, 2021
Have they fucked up? Yes. Have they fucked up enough for calls to sell up? Probably. But not enough discussion of what positives they have brought and, if they do sell, which owners are taking over. Owners are all money-grabbers, are we just going to trade one for another?.
— LFCZA ?? (@LFCZA) April 21, 2021
Know many will not agree with me but, as things go, this is a necessary first step in the right direction. https://t.co/eYSbNYp7HH
— Paul Grech (@paul_grech) April 21, 2021
I don’t want FSG to put #LFC up for sale because I don’t trust the next guy to be any better.
We now need to campaign for legislation to put the decision making power at these clubs back in the hands of their communities.
— Stephen McGarty (@stephenmcgarty) April 21, 2021
Perhaps the most important part of JWH's apology is in being clear that he bears sole responsibility for #lfc's part in the Super League.
I hope it also gives pause to anyone seeking to develop initiatives in secret which will fundamentally alter the football landscape.
— Dave Phillips (@lovefutebol) April 21, 2021
While some even used the opportunity to jokingly demand signings…
I, for one, respect this. Someone who can sit there, publicly apologise and admit sole blame is miles ahead of someone who hides behind excuses.
I’m a proud so-called ‘legacy’ fan and I’m willing to move on and up.
— Martín Campione (@kloppalicious) April 21, 2021
Thanks for your apology @John_W_Henry give Mo and Gini what they want, sign Mbappe and Bellingham and we'll call it quits
— Dan Holland (@danhollandlfc) April 21, 2021
Imagine John Henry said “sorry, however however say Bonjour to our new signing” and Mbappe walked into the shot ?
— – (@AnfieldRd96) April 21, 2021
First owner to actually show face and apologise for the huge error in judgment……. fair play to John Henry but this will sit with the fans for a while or untill we get mbappe or haaland ?
— KLOPP OF TEA (@Gavlarr87) April 21, 2021
Even in jest, what the latter says about modern football fandom is a matter for another day – as for now, FSG should continue to be held accountable for a devastating attempt at a coup.
If Henry and Co. are to remain as owners, it will take more than big-money signings to “rebuild trust.”