So, next year's new away kits are officially out. That's one of them, right there on the left looking all dark-charcoal-grey-whatever with silver pinstripes and red trim and another largely single colour club badge, something most will agree is an improvement over the multi-coloured monstrosity that replaced the simple and clean liverbird years back since the club couldn't enforce a copyright on the generic image.
And according to Dirk Kuyt they're just super awesome and he already pre-ordered them for his kids when that option became available on LFCtv a few weeks ago. Because on top of being able to score goals, he's also Liverpool's hardest worker when it comes to corporate shillery.
I kid. I kid. I'm mostly just jealous the club hasn't seen fit to involve The Liverpool Offside in the kit's official release, with goodies and giveaways for all of you and free stuff for all of me. In any case, it seems solid to me, but you can always tell me what an idiot I am in the comments once we're done with today's news and notes...
* With recent news of Lebron James getting himself one half of one percent of the club--or some other similarly meaningless crumb--Liverpool's ownership situation has become a talking point again of late. Now, The New York Times has been revealed as the second largest "individual" owner behind John Henry, as Premier League rules require anybody with more than a ten percent stake in a club to be publicly disclosed.
In the past it had been said that John Henry had by far the largest stake in the club, and that he and Tom Werner combined had an over 50% ownership stake and full voting control. With John Henry and The New York times being the only names listed in this Premier League enforced release, that leaves John Henry controlling a solid plurality of at least 40% (plus two) of FSG's voting stock, the Boston Red Sox, Liverpool, and all the rest of the consortium's interests, while Tom Werner has an up to a 10% (minus one) stake in the club, enough to push he and Henry's combined voting stock to at least 50% (plus one). That likely leaves the New York Times somewhere in the teens, while the rest of the largely unnamed other members of the consortium (plus Thomas Di Benedetto, who was revealed as a minority partner in FSG when he went looking to buy Roma) fall in the single digits, and then everybody's favourite basketball playing turncoat and/or savior is back there bringing up the rear.
Mostly this tells us simply that John Henry has a solid grip at the top of the FSG collective, while it's entirely possible that only the Times or Tom Werner own enough stock in the company to bump Henry's plurality over 50% by themselves. In any case, after the last set of owners Liverpool fans may be more interested than most to at least keep an eye on what's going on behind the scenes. So that's what's going on behind the scenes.
* Elsewhere, The Liverpool Echo asks which of Liverpool's current squad scored the best first goal for the club, which is less interesting perhaps for the question itself than for them putting the first goals of Carroll, Suarez, Gerrard, Meireles, Lucas, and Aurelio together in one place. Not quite the entire current squad, then, but it's an impressive collection of firsts in any case, particularly the Lucas and Gerrard efforts, the first to make you wonder why he doesn't shoot more often and the second to make you long for the days when the captain's groin wasn't made out string-cheese.
* Meanwhile, Paisley Gates reminds everybody they might want to take a step back on anointing John Flanagan the Kop's newest savior:
Everyone loves a winner and unfortunately I think Liverpool supporters can get wrapped up in basking in the glory after a win. Had Flanagan put in the same performance with the score line reversed, it is unlikely that many would be so optimistic about the youth. We would likely have seen simple words such as “solid debut.” It was a solid debut and I truly hope that John Flanagan plays fantastically and consistently for many years, but he is not there yet. It is too early to start calling him a Kop idol and very unfair to be putting that expectation on him. One performance does not a career make.
Those who remember my cautionary tale for Martin Kelly and the subsequent hornets' nest it stirred up will likely know I'm nodding right along with that sentiment, even if his debut against Manchester City was hugely impressive and he's likely Liverpool's best option to start against Arsenal on the weekend.
Well, that about does it for today's news and notes, but a bit later in the day I'll be back with a pre-match conversation with Martin from The Arsenal Offside, so don't wander too far. And in the meantime, when you're done lamenting the fragility of one Liverpool star who scored a great first goal, have another fragile Liverpool star who scored an even more impressive first goal to help pass the time...