John Henry, owner of the Boston Red Sox owner and Liverpool, is shown at Fenway Park in 2020. Henry apologized to Liverpool fans after pulling out of the proposed 12-team Super League. Elise Amendola/Associated Press

LONDON — After the aborted attempt to form a European Super League, Liverpool owner John Henry attempted to regain the trust of fans with an apology video on Wednesday.

The same public contrition was yet to come from all six of the Premier League clubs who faced two days of fury from their supporters for deciding – briefly – to abandon the UEFA system to join a largely closed breakaway European competition.

On a frenzied night of statements, Liverpool withdrew on Tuesday from the 12-team project along with the other five English rebel clubs, imploding the planned split from the existing Champions League.

“Over these 48 hours you were very clear that it would not stand,” Henry told supporters. “No one ever thought differently in England. We heard you. I heard you.”

Henry, who also owns the Boston Red Sox, accepted he had to “rebuild trust” after letting down the fans.

The mutineers, who also included Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham, didn’t just fail to consult their supporters. Even players and coaching staff at the Premier League champions were left in the dark before the announcement on Sunday that they were quitting UEFA’s Champions League structure to form the Super League.


Liverpool players publicly voiced their opposition in a wave of coordinated tweets on Tuesday night to intensify the pressure on Henry to keep the six-time European Cup winners within the long-standing, open competition. Henry directly apologized to Manager Jürgen Klopp and the staff.

“They were the most disrupted and unfairly so,” Henry said. “This is what hurts most.”

The attempt at damage limitation was familiar from Liverpool since the Fenway Sports Group bought the club in October 2010. Under Henry, the club has apologized for backing then-striker Luis Suarez in a racism case, for hiking ticket prices and for trying to use state aid to pay staff during the pandemic.

“I’m sorry, and I alone am responsible for the unnecessary negativity brought forward over the past couple of days,” he said. “It’s something I won’t forget and shows the power the fans have today and will rightly continue to have.”

Outside Anfield, supporters felt Henry and his Fenway Sports Group need to do a lot more to get them back onside.

“I don’t think it’s a meaningful apology,” fan Hannah Ray said. “Had the fans not spoken up, the players not spoken up, they 100% would have gone along with it. It’s not something they regret doing at all, I think.”


Fans of Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City and Tottenham did not receive a similar apology from their owners for the fleeting attempt to join the Super League.

United, City and Chelsea only gave brief statements announcing they were deserting the Super League with no details.

Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy said officials “regret the anxiety and upset” while explaining the finances on offer were too good to turn down initially.

Being ignored is something Manchester United fans have grown used to in the 16 years that the Glazer family has owned the club. That made the open letter from Joel Glazer rare, acknowledging the deep wounds caused.

“In seeking to create a more stable foundation for the game, we failed to show enough respect for its deep-rooted traditions – promotion, relegation, the pyramid – and for that we are sorry,” he wrote about 10 hours after Henry’s video message was posted. “This is the world’s greatest football club and we apologize unreservedly for the unrest caused during these past few days.”

The Glazers, the owners of the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, have faced plenty of anger from United fans before. Their leveraged takeover was forced through amid street protests after it saddled the club with debt that stands at 455.5 million pounds ($635 million).


“Like most United fans I do hope that the Glazers pack up and move on because most of us feel like they haven’t been good for the club at all,” United fan Mark Stembridge said outside Old Trafford, a stadium that is becoming dated due to a lack of investment. “Certainly all this with the Super League just underlines how they don’t really care at all about the club or its fans.”

There were calls from Arsenal fans for their American owner to also sell. Club great Ian Wright backed the calls to oust Stan Kroenke, who also owns the Los Angeles Rams. Arsenal posted a club statement on Tuesday apologizing for distressing supporters, but Kroenke has remained silent.

“He’s an investor, a franchise holder,” said Tim Payton, who heads the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust. “He’s not fit to be the owner.”

Payton and members of other fan groups and English football authorities met virtually on Tuesday with Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who had threatened to introduce laws to stop the Super League and protect clubs as community assets.

There had even been an intervention against the Super League on Monday by Prince William, who is president of the Football Association.

“I’m glad the united voice of football fans has been heard and listened to,” the second-in-line to the British throne said. “It is now really important that we use this moment to secure the future health of the game at all levels.”

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