THE SIMILARITIES BETWEEN Liverpool football club and the Boston Red Sox are uncanny.
Both are historically successful clubs who have fallen on hard times, both are coached by outspoken yet tactically flawed individuals and both are owned by John Henry.
Now, as yet another Liverpool campaign ends in mid-table mediocrity and the Boston Red Sox start their MLB season in the same erratic form that cost them a playoff place last year, Henry must be wondering where it all went wrong.
He shouldn’t mull over that for very long though as he is clearly the villain at the centre of this tragedy.
Three years ago, the Red Sox were in desperate need of a big hitter and Henry authorised the signing of John Lackey, a pitcher who turned out to be an $80 million dollar bust.
In 2010, following Lackey’s failure with the ball, they needed to shore up their pitching staff but instead they opted to sign Carl Crawford to a $142 million contract despite the fact his batting average was little more than ordinary.
Of course, that kind of frivolous and poorly targeted spending will ring home to many football fans who watched on with a mixture of horror/glee – delete as appropriate to your own club affiliation – as the club splashed £35 million on the signing of Andy Carroll when everyone could see they needed a decent defender or midfielder.
And if you think Henry’s choice of players is terrible, his choice of coaching staff is beginning to look even worse.
Bobby Valentine, the man Henry appointed to the Boston Red Sox after seeing his team win just seven of 20 games in September 2011, last managed in the major leagues over a decade ago and is better known for being opinionated and tetchy than he is for his for his coaching prowess.
That sentence could just as easily refer to Kenny Dalglish who – despite his hero status in the Kop – has proven to be out of his depth as a Premier League manager in 2012.
When John W. Henry ‘saved’ Liverpool from George Gillett and Tom Hicks, Reds fans around the world celebrated the dawning of a new era in the history of their club.
Little did they realise their story would so closely resemble that of the Boston Red Sox with both clubs now representing little more than a lesson in mediocrity.