Nicol: JH can turns Reds around
Former Liverpool defender Steve Nicol is convinced new principal owner John Henry is the right man to bring the glory days back to the club. For the past 10 years Nicol has watched his old club from across the Atlantic as coach of the New England Revolution. Yet his Boston base gives the 49-year-old a unique insight into the world of Henry, renowned in the city for his successful ownership of the world famous Red Sox baseball franchise. Although Nicol has never worked for Henry, he likes what he sees. And the man who lifted five league titles during a 14-year Liverpool career is confident Henry can bring the good times back after far too long in the doldrums, providing he can trigger a culture change. "The guy obviously didn't grow up as a Liverpool fan," said Nicol. "But he has shown what he can do with a franchise like the Red Sox and there is no reason why he can't build the same thing at Liverpool. "There is a similar mentality between the two clubs. "The Red Sox are expected to win every time they step on the field. If they don't, the crowd get right on top of them. "He is used to that. When they don't win, he has to do something about it. "That is where Liverpool are. There is a whole generation who got used to winning, there is another generation who do not know what that is like. "One of his jobs is to turn that situation round again." Henry is enjoying an extended honeymoon period. For a start he is not George Gillett or Tim Hicks, the discredited duo who breezed into Liverpool promising so much but left having failed to match their aspirations with hard cash. Bringing back Nicol's old mate Kenny Dalglish has been a masterstroke too. Yet, when Henry talks, Nicol does not believe he is playing to an audience. "He has learned a lot from the last owners but I don't think you are seeing someone who is reacting to what they did," said Nicol. "This is someone who knows who he is and how to go about things. "He certainly doesn't talk out of both sides of his mouth. He is a straight shooter. "He doesn't jump in and come out with rash statements. He goes through things. He plans them and then executes them. "He is just the kind of owner you want." Just the kind of owner Nicol hopes will put Liverpool back on the perch from which Sir Alex Ferguson's Manchester United knocked them off with their record 19th league title last summer. "I can't understand how it has changed so dramatically," said Nicol of Liverpool's fall from grace. "All coaches will tell you, the bottom line is you need good players. "If you have consistently got good players and bring in players with similar ability and mental strength, which is basically what Liverpool did for 30 years and what Sir Alex has been doing for 26, you won't go far wrong. "It is a case of getting that team and making sure you build on it to sustain success. That is what successful teams have done and quite obviously, Liverpool have not had that." As with any former Liverpool player engaged in the management game, there is part of Nicol who likes the idea of returning to Anfield to put his own stamp on things. Whether it ever happens in reality is much more doubtful. "It is not something I think about," he said. "I can't say I am not enjoying myself. I have been here 10 years now and my family love it in Boston. "But you never know. Football is a strange game and funny things happen. "I never thought I would be here in the first place so there is no reason why I might not end up back home at some stage. "But there have been no offers yet, as if I would tell you anyway," he added.
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