Shy Henry has record to please Liverpool fans

DETROIT - John W Henry keeps a low profile but the owner of the Boston Red Sox baseball team has an attention-grabbing track record to warm the hearts of concerned Liverpool football fans.

His New England Sports Ventures (NESV) finally took control of Liverpool for 300 million pounds on Friday after the deal was held up by a legal challenge from the club's former owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett.

Fans can finally turn their thoughts to what changes the media-shy Henry and his group can bring to improve the fortunes of the Premier League team off to its worst start to a season in more than 50 years.

Henry, 61, largely limited his public utterances to the 140-character limit of Twitter while the ownership saga was ongoing and while he was more eloquent immediately after the deal he made clear he was a man of action rather than words.

"I'm proud and humbled," he told the media throng. "There was a lot of work to do but I can't tell you how happy I am.

"I let my actions speak. We are not going to say a lot. We are here to win, we have a tradition of winning. We have the second highest spending club in Major League Baseball and we will do what is necessary."

'LOVED BASEBALL'

Born in Quincy, Illinois, Henry, who built his fortune as a futures trader, has loved baseball since childhood, crunching stats for his boyhood favourite St. Louis Cardinals because he could not wait for the Sunday paper, said John Damgard, president of the Futures Industry Association and a guest at Henry's wedding.

"His love of numbers came from his fascination with baseball," said Damgard, who believes Henry will turn Liverpool into the toast of English soccer within three years.

He may not relish talking to the media but Henry is not slow to interact with the fans.

"I love to listen to and interact with fans," Henry said in a rare comment in Red Sox's media guide. "Perhaps not every fan can identify with me but I think I can identify with most of them."

Henry held a minority stake in the New York Yankees and owned the Florida Marlins before leading a group that purchased the Red Sox in 2002 for a then league-record $700 million.

Two years later, the Sox won their first title in 86 years, breaking a storied curse fans said had haunted the team due to its sale of baseball great Babe Ruth to the rival Yankees after a World Series title in 1918. They also won the title in 2007.

That kind of success will carry across the Atlantic, Robert Reynolds, chief executive of Putnam Investments, said at an event in Boston to announce a sports sponsorship.

"The skill set you need to run a professional sports franchise, whether it's soccer... or baseball, is the same," he said.

Henry came by his skills early. After a stint trying to outsmart the Las Vegas casinos at the blackjack tables, he became interested in analysing futures markets when he inherited the family farm at age 26.

He developed his firm's trends-following algorithms and rode them to great success.

NESV not only owns the Red Sox, but its historic home field of Fenway Park, an 80 percent stake in a successful regional sports TV network, a 50 percent stake in NASCA