Bloomberg's sports columnist Jonathan Mahler writes that a few years ago, he was considered the smartest owner in baseball. He had not only delivered the Boston Red Sox their first World Series victory since 1918. He presided over a magical sports kingdom, Red Sox Nation, whose proud, giddy citizens felt blessed for the opportunity to pay full freight for an “obstructed view” ticket, which is to say a hard seat behind a giant metal pole.
In the flush of his Red Sox success, Henry bought another storied sports franchise that was down on its luck: the Liverpool Football Club. He was hailed there as a savior, too, and not just because of the miracle he had worked in Boston. The team’s previous owner, the Texas billionaire Tom Hicks, was about as popular in the U.K. as King Richard III or Mitt Romney.
The parallels between the two franchises are striking. Both inhabit historic venues: Fenway and Anfield. Both share a sense of inadequacy, of forever playing in the shadow of their bigger, richer rival (in Boston, of course, that is the New York Yankees; in Liverpool, it is Manchester United). Liverpool fans might not have been as desperate for a trophy as Boston fans when Henry arrived, but a similar angst prevailed.
Henry had dealt with just such a situation before. He could do it again.
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