By James McManus
Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre has revealed principal owner John W. Henry and chairman Tom Werner have approached both Manchester United and Arsenal in the past for advice on how best to run the club.
The 63-year-old American businessman took control of the club in October 2010, when Fenway Sports Group bought out Tom Hicks and George Gillett.
And Ayre has admitted that, although Henry and Werner have experience in sport with basbeball side Boston Red Sox, they are still learning about football and have sought guidance from rival clubs as a result.
“He and Tom are both very open in their approach,” Ayre told reporters. “They’ll contact David [Gill] at United and Ivan [Gazidis] at Arsenal – ‘What do you think?’ That’s healthy. Let’s get a rounded view of the sport and how we should be doing things.
“It’s better to have an owner who is taking a genuine interest and is well-informed, rather than someone who says, ‘I was successful in baseball, so I can do that in soccer.’ They both put a lot of time into the team and into the game. That bodes well for Liverpool.”
Henry has been criticised by some Liverpool fans for, as yet, not attending a game this season – although he was present at the Hillsborough memorial service on Monday – but Ayre believes the work that goes on behind the scenes is testament to his commitment.
He added: “As is always the case, the media then spun that into John Henry hasn’t been to a game and is losing interest. That’s nonsense. Tom’s been to quite a few and that’s part of them sharing that responsibility. It’s about them finding that balance. We don’t have to have John there for it to be a success.
“We speak every week. We have a management call. We talk through issues. John and Tom are very involved in that. That’s the way it should be. Of course, fans don’t see that. They just think he hasn’t been to Liverpool. But Tom has been to Liverpool.”