October 6, 2010
Posted: 1123 GMT
News that the sale of Liverpool football club - one of the world's most successful and famous teams - had been agreed, in principle at least, was greeted with a sense of optimism by many of the legions of Reds' fans around the world.
As one supporter from India stated on the team's official Facebook page: "It is excellent news after a lot of problems ... this new buyer can help us get back the glory after two decades!"
Such reaction was no surprise. Any sniff of change from the doom-and-gloom which currently surrounds the once mighty team was always going to provide hope to followers of the Anfield outfit, as the tenure of current owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett has been an unmitigated disaster in the eyes of supporters.
In taking over the reins in 2007, the Americans put the club in nearly $550m of debt in an instant. Subsequent unfulfilled promises of the building of a new stadium, disappointment in the transfer market and most recently a poor start to the season which sees Liverpool currently in the relegation zone means there is little love for Hicks and Gillett who have been blamed for the recent demise.
Liverpool's quest for their first English league title since 1990 has seemingly no end in sight. The question remains, however, whether the New England Sports Venture (NESV) - another American-owned company who are behind the recently accepted bid - will provide any better direction? Could it be a case of out of the frying pan and into the fire?
The NESV - which is fronted by multimillionaire John W Henry - has pedigree in sport ownership and an impressive portfolio which includes the Boston Red Sox, Rousch Fenway Racing, the New England Sports Network (which carries the NHL's Boston Bruins) and the Fenway Sports Group.
Henry can take much credit for the success Red Sox have enjoyed under his leadership. Since 2002, and after much investment, the Boston side ended a 86-year wait for the World Series title by becoming champions in both 2004 and 2007.
Liverpool-born millionaire and former Atlanta Hawks owner Bernie Mullin told British broadcaster Sky Sports: "I don't think Liverpool have any other options. When you look at it from the John Henry and Boston Red Sox perspective, it's a fantastic investment. If they get it for a price below market value - as expected - it may mean they have more to spend on players. But I think it has been a lesson for American owners moving into the UK market, you have to build a bridge between the fans for it to work."
"With the Red Sox he took over an iconic franchise and made it successful. He'll need to not saddle the club with debt and run it for long-term financial sustainability, that's what will be best for [Liverpool's] fans," Mullin added.
The proposed bid for Liverpool would see the debt weighing on the club removed, and the timing of the deal would hopefully mean that funds could be made available for beleaguered manager Roy Hodgson to reinforce his squad in the European transfer window that runs throughout January.
A new stadium is desperately needed for the Reds to compete with fellow Premier League big-boys Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal and reigning champions Chelsea. Hicks and Gillett promised a new arena but none materialized. It will be the task of Henry and the NESV to rebuild the trust between ticket-paying fnas and owners from the other side of the Atlantic.
Liverpool's CEO, Michael Broughton, hailed the proposed move on Liverpool's official website. "By removing the burden of acquisition debt this offer allows us to focus on investment in the team," he said. Many fans will have their fingers crossed that if the deal goes through the new era will prove as successful as he hopes.