Unfortunately for Parry, the game was being watched by some Reds fans on TV, and when the US director decided to feature the Patriots’ owner Bob Kraft sitting in the stands, the eagled-eyed fans couldn’t help but notice a certain member of the Liverpool board sitting just behind.
Parry is a life-long fan of Liverpool, but has never revealed whether or not he has a passion for the American game that shares part of its name (but little else) with the English game. Kraft is however one of the names constantly linked with efforts to put some money into Liverpool FC.
The obvious conclusion to jump to is that Parry and Kraft were meeting up ahead of a move by Kraft to take over the reins at Anfield, but that could yet be way off the mark. Kraft has experience of moving the Patriots to a new stadium, and also of turning their fortunes around on the field. It’s no secret that Parry has been searching for suitable investors in the club. There has also been a delay to the clubs AGM for this year, originally scheduled for December 1st it has now been postponed, with a new date yet to be announced.
If Kraft does eventually invest in the most successful English club ever, there are bound to comparisons between Kraft and the relatively new owners of two other English clubs. The Glazer family took over Manchester United earlier this year, much to the distress of a vocal number of United fans. The worries of those fans about the true intentions of the Glazers are still there, which mainly involve the fear that United have been bought by foreigners who don’t understand the game. The January transfer window will reveal a lot to United fans about how the Glazers will respond to difficulties on the field, which is the most important aspect for the fans.
Down in London the super-rich Russian Roman Abramovich bought Chelsea and saved them from trouble. Not only that, but he spent a good few quid buying players and after a couple of years of ownership he had managed to buy the Premiership title. Before the inevitable rush of emails from Chelsea fans, we are being a little tongue-in-cheek here, so don’t get too upset. The worry for Chelsea fans at the outset of Abramovich’s takeover was that his purchase of Chelsea was just a rich man’s version of a fantasy football game. Instead of winning a few quid from fellow office workers, Abramovich was playing with real money and real players, and would soon tire of the game and move on to something else. And when he moved on, he’d take his money with him. That fear is heard less now by Chelsea fans, but no doubt there’s still a little worry in the back of their minds that as quickly as the money came in, it could yet be taken away.
Robert Kraft seems to be a little different to both of those personalities though. He’s held a season ticket at the Patriots since 1971, showing that at least in American Football terms he’s a fan first, making money out of the team is a bonus for him. He didn’t just buy any old team, he bought the team he’d always supported, and paid over-the-odds for it according to many at the time. There’s no doubt much more to come in this tale, but for now here are a couple of snippets of information on Mr Kraft…
The game attended by Rick Parry on Monday was the 200th game played by the Patriots since the Kraft family took over. They unfortunately lost 40-21, so let’s hope any talks were held before the game rather than after. The Patriots have won 123 of those 200 games, which is the third best record in the NFL in that time span. According the official Patriots website, www.patriots.com, since Kraft bought the team, “the Patriots have won more Super Bowls (3), more conference championships (4), and more playoff games (12) than any other NFL team.”
According to Wikepedia, (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Kraft) Kraft has been a Patriots fan for 34 years. He bought their then stadium, Sullivan Stadium, in 1988 for $25 million. It was renamed Foxboro Stadium two years later. Kraft bought the Patriots themselves in 1994 to avoid them being moved to St Louis. It cost him $175 million which was the highest price ever paid at the time for a professional team. And at the time the Patriots were one of the least-valued teams in the NFL.