Barnes: Fans need to give FSG time
Tuesday 22nd May 2012 Teamtalk UK
John Barnes believes Liverpool fans need to give the club's owners time to put together a coherent strategy for the club's long-term future.
Principal owner John Henry and Tom Werner head Fenway Sports Group's quest to find a successor to Kenny Dalglish, sacked as manager last week.
However, they are also undertaking a re-structuring at Anfield which will see a technical director, among others, put in place to ensure a long-term strategy is developed and adhered to.
One fans' group the Spirit of Shankly, who led the protests against the despised former regime of Tom Hicks and George Gillett, have written to Henry and Werner asking for clear direction and communication to dispel a growing perception the club is "in disarray".
Barnes insists if FSG's decision-making is to set up Liverpool for their next chapter in history they have to get it right.
"If the club believes in a new philosophy then they need to stick with it, regardless of how well or badly we do in the short-term," he said.
"If it takes two, three or four years to fulfil the plan then we need to give the club time to realise it and make it happen.
"But it won't take as long as Liverpool fans have been waiting to see the team win the Premier League.
"Maybe if a system was put in place 20 years ago we wouldn't still be waiting to win our first title since 1990.
"If we keep changing the manager, the players or the system every one, two, three or four years, we could be waiting another 20 years to win the title too."
Liverpool are continuing to narrow down a list of potential candidates with a view to short-listing the key group for next week.
While this has always been FSG's plan their approach is causing consternation in some quarters as it appears to the outside world that the selection process is drifting, allowing continued media speculation.
Spirit of Shankly tried to address the matter in their letter, which said: "From the outside it looks like a football club in disarray.
"Confusion and chaos seems to reign and no one is coming out of this with much credit, particularly the football club's image and brand.
"We need clear and pro-active communication, a confident message about the club's plans that breeds confidence amongst supporters that we are moving in the right direction.
"Instead, we have silence and a lack of information or understanding on decisions being made.
"As supporters we have seen all too clearly what a lack of communication from absentee owners leads to.
"We find ourselves experiencing deja vu, where boardroom decisions lead to more questions than they answer."
Barnes, however, urged fans to give FSG time to put together a coherent strategy.
"It's time to support the owners because they want to return Liverpool to a team that competes for the biggest trophies," he told liverpoolfc.tv.
"It's not necessary for fans to know the inner workings of any football club because we don't know the inner workings of any business.
"I'm sure in the next week or two or three, it will become more apparent how we intend to move forward when a new manager is unveiled.
"I understand fans frustrations but if everyone is giving 100% then you need to be patient."
Barnes believes a new far-reaching strategy is the key to Liverpool competing against vastly-richer and more successful clubs in the future.
"I don't think Liverpool have had a philosophy of how we want to play," he added.
"They've seen which players have done well at other clubs and then gone out and bought them and hoped that it works and a lot of the time it hasn't.
"With your own philosophy you don't need to necessarily look at the best players in the world - players Liverpool might not be able to afford.
"Rather you can go out and buy a player who will do a better job in your team than they do in their current side but it may not cost you a lot of money.
"Now Liverpool are at a stage where they can't get all the best players in the world so what do you do?
"You come up with a system and a vision of how you want your team to play.
"They may not be able to get [Lionel] Messi but they can get very good players and with a proper system, which I'm sure the new manager will introduce, they can be successful."