On his 500th day as Liverpool owner, American sports tycoon John Henry watched the club he rescued from the brink of bankruptcy win its first trophy in six years by beating Cardiff City in the Carling League Cup final Sunday at Wembley Stadium.
Liverpool, trophy-less since the 2006 FA Cup, won 3-2 on penalty kicks after the teams finished regulation and overtime tied, 2-2. The victory brightened the image of the club soiled this season by an eight-match suspension handed to Luis Suarez for racially abusingPatrice Evra of Manchester United, and which only recently emerged from a bitter court battle over control of the club.
A cross-Atlantic court battle conducted by Fenway Sports Group forced Hicks and Gillett to relinquish control after those two had squabbled internally regarding the future of the club. FSG took control in a $476 million takeover in October, 2010, with Henry and partner Tom Werner designated as FSG's representative owners. Henry and Werner pleased the fans by bringing back Kenny Dalglish as coach last year, but the Suarez incident and the club's failure to keep pace with the Premier League leaders had increased criticism of all concerned.
"We are just so happy for the supporters, they are so happy and we are so proud,'' Henry said. "They have been through so much, so many things off the field that to win silverware for the first time in six years - and they are used to a certain kind of excellence - to see that start to emerge again ... is just great."