Revealed: how new Liverpool owner's wife pestered her husband to buy

Henry's team looking to increase revenues by being both smart and efficient rather than spendthrift

The big, fat ring John W Henry wore on the fourth finger of his right hand at Anfield on Saturday was the only sign of ostentation in an individual whose arrival – which began with a solitary, reflective walk on the hallowed turf just after sunrise – was so much more understated that that of his American predecessors.

This was no ordinary adornment, though. It was one of two World Series baseball rings Liverpool's new owner has collected as proprietor of the Boston Red Sox and it was an emblem of what clearly motivates him most. "Competing" as he put it.

Last night Henry left Goodison Park after Liverpool's demoralising 2-0 defeat acutely aware of the job on his hands. But he had to search his soul in the first place for the belief that he and his partner, Tom Werner, really can bloody the nose of Manchester United and Chelsea in the same way that they have the Yankees back home.

Henry's wife, Linda Pizzuti, has played a significant role in pushing him towards the Anfield gates, and it was she who pestered him to walk up to Tom Hicks and ask him if he was selling Liverpool, at a baseballowners' meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, in January.

"My wife kept bumping at me [at the meeting] and saying 'why don't you go ask Tom Hicks if he is selling Liverpool,'" Henry revealed. He admits that he was uncertain he wanted the challenge - "'Oh, man, it's a long way away..." he says he told Ms Pizzuti. But she persisted, "so finally I went over and tried to approach Tom but he was in conversation so I approached Tom Hicks Jnr and I asked him." Hicks jnr apparently replied with a flat "no" .

Henry is not sure why his wife was "more serious than I was" in Liverpool, but her enthusiasm was fateful since the club has kept coming across Henry's horizon over the past few years.

Two years ago Henry was on a flight with Mike Dee, the chief executive of Miami Dolphins, when Dee handed him the sales prospectus for the club. "I thought 'oh, oh we have enough headaches'. This seemed like a lot of work and I just didn't think about it again until the owners' meeting."

But one of Henry's commercial executives at New England Sports Ventures, Joe Januszewki, emailed him to say he thought the club's appeal has certainly increased since it became clear that Uefa's Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules will prevent clubs sustaining huge losses under wealthy benefactors to spend on players' wages.

"I don't have 'Sheikh' in front of my name," Henry said from a seat in the Anfield boardroom on Saturday. But, he added, that does not matter if there's a level playing field. Henry was incredulous when it is put to him that Manchester City, Real Madrid or anyone else will find a way around those rules.

"You're cynical," Henry said. "If the FFP rules were ridiculous or not that strong, why was the transfer window down 25 percent last year? The clubs have to comply." His interest in Liverpool "would be less" if that regime were not imminent.

In the new landscape Henry and Werner are looking to apply the Red Sox model of driving up revenues through judicious spending because it has been demonstrated that less may not mean more where investment levels and trophies are concerned. They see the big-spending Yankees as the equivalent of Manchester United. "You have to be smart about it," Henry said. "We will never have the revenues of the Yankees. They always out-spend us, about 50 percent a year, so we have to be smart. We have to be more efficient. We cannot afford player contracts that do not make long term sense.

"When we arrived at the Red Sox, the New York Yankees were a juggernaut and it wasn't that much of rivalry. I believe we turned it into a rivalry where we have gone toe-to-toe. The [Yankees' revenues] keep going up but we have gone up faster and we have got to the point where if you look at our wins and losses against them over the last nine years, we are almost dead even."

Though there is an open mind on the refurbish-or-rebuild stadium debate for Liverpool , it is hard to avoid the impression that refurbish appeals – even though the club can now draw on the experience of the Red Sox chief executive, Larry Luccino, who built Camden Yards, the fine Baltimore Orioles ballpark. They are encouraged by fans' polls which show a sentiment for staying put and improving revenues at Anfield.

A Liverpool board meeting today will also include discussion of January's transfer window spending, though the Americans know that you do not find good value in that window.

In line with the Red Sox model of prudent investment, it is a developed scouting system which appeals to them. So the new owners are patient then? Not exactly, well not completely. "You can destroy teams competitively in a short period, but it takes a long time to build a strong foundation," Henry concluded on Saturday. "We're very patient but aggressive. Impatient and patient."

Voices
'Irritatingly Disneyfied': fashion vlogger Zoella
voices

News
people

Actress sees off speculation about her appearance in an amazing way

Arts and Entertainment
The last great picture - Winner 'Black and White' and overall 'Wildlife Photographer of the Year'
art
News
Carl Bernstein (left) and Bob Woodward (right) with former 'Washington Post' executive editor Ben Bradlee
people

The Washington Post editor helped Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein bring down President Nixon

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

News
There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law
news

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Sport
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London