Robert Kraft (above) has admitted that his discussions with the Liverpool chief executive Rick Parry left him with “positive feelings” about the Premiership club and further talks are expected to explore the feasibility of a partnership between the US businessman’s Super Bowl champions, the New England Patriots, and the European Cup holders.
Parry travelled to the US last week as a guest of the Kraft family, who own the Patriots and the Major League Soccer side, the New England Revolution, nominally to observe the match-day operation of the Gillette Stadium in Foxborough. Liverpool are currently exploring ways of financing the construction of their own new stadium on Stanley Park, although Parry is also keen to encourage a partnership between the Premiership club and the Kraft sports empire.
While the likelihood of the Americans striking a deal to invest in Liverpool remains remote, with the chairman David Moores reluctant to dilute his 51% controlling stake in the club, Kraft did make encouraging noises over the prospect of the two organisations collaborating at some points in the future. “Liverpool has always been a great brand and we have positive feelings about the principles of the company, and Rick Parry looks to be an excellent executive,” said Kraft after seeing his Revolution side lose the MLS Cup game to Los Angeles Galaxy.
Since trading the Patriots season-tickets he had held since 1971 for the owner’s suite in 1994, Kraft has transformed the fortunes of an anonymous NFL team and also those of the Revolution. Three Super Bowl trophies in four years and two MLS Cup appearances during the same period have enshrined the Kraft family as one of the most popular owners in US sport.
Certainly, Kraft’s experience in solving stadium issues, such as those that have prevented Liverpool from committing to building at Stanley Park, could benefit both parties. I think people rate [the Gillette Stadium] as the No1 stadium in America,”” added Kraft.
Indeed, the combined histories of Chavez Ravine, Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, Lambeau Field and Yankee Stadium pale in comparison to the rich legacy of Gillette.
If Drew Bledsoe doesn’t get knocked out by the Jets’ Mo Lewis in September 2001 how many international newspapers hail Kraft as “one of the most popular owners in US sport”?