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Jan 15, 2014

Liverpool 'reminds Henry of Boston'

John W Henry has suggested the similarities in the culture of Boston and Liverpool was one of the primary reasons why he decided to invest into Premier League football.

Speaking to an audience at the Boston Chamber of Commerce, Henry claimed the sporting passion at Anfield is comparable to the devotion shown by Boston Red Sox fans during his tenure as owner of the reigning kings of baseball.

Henry and his Fenway Sports Group acquired Liverpool FC in 2010 following a troubled spell in charge of the Reds for unpopular American owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett, with the man now in charge of the five-time European champions speaking with huge passion about the club he has grown to love.

He said: "What the hell is the connection between Liverpool and Boston, between baseball and soccer?

"The larger part of the story that struck us when we were considering buying Liverpool out of a bankruptcy situation created by Americans was the similarities of the two cities, the two teams, the two histories, the two stadia.

"Liverpool has a large Irish Catholic population, it’s a seaport on a famous river, both cities are about 45 square miles in size, both have around 600,000 people, both are college towns.

"Boston had the first public library, Liverpool had the first lending library. Both cities have pioneered medical advancements during the decades and both have the largest economic powers in the world exactly 213 miles to the south by car.

"They play in the most historical cathedrals of sport. Anfield has 7,000 more seats than Fenway [the Red Sox’s stadium] but actually you might say it’s a bit cosier than Fenway.

"When we play our rival Manchester United the audience on television is about a billion people. That’s about nine times the size of the audience for the Super Bowl. This is very similar to the relationship between the Yankees and the Red Sox."

Henry went on to suggest the soccer fans in England were starting to throw their support behind the Red Sox after initial scepticism in Liverpool.

"When the Red Sox spent $300 million on Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford [in 2011], Liverpool fans were irate [because they wanted us to spend money on soccer players]," added Henry.

"When Liverpool spent $200 million on soccer players [Jordan Henderson, Stewart Downing, Andy Carroll, Luis Suarez and others] in the same year, not including their salaries, Red Sox fans were irate.

"Now I feel some Liverpool fans were getting behind the Red Sox and when we won the World Series last year, there was some jubilation over there.

"Likewise, when Liverpool went into first place [in the Premier League] over the Christmas period, some Red Sox fans began to cheer. Hopefully there can be a connection there some day."

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