The Delightful Duo: Meeting John and Linda Henry

By Sam Mathius

After a fantastic weekend in The Hamptons, I could only have one complaint on Tuesday: I didn’t run into Diddy or Jay-Z. So I did what anyone would do: I went to my favorite wine shop to buy some Rosé. I figured that would make up for it and it did. In the wake of enjoying said Rosé at a local BYOB Italian eatery in the North End of Boston, I had a slight buzz and a belly full of Basque wine. (Yes, I picked it because the number of Xs in the name invoked Xabi Alonso nostalgia.)

I debated going home or heading back to The Wine Bottega to hang out with some friends. I chose the latter. I have to say, it was a good call.

So there I am with my buddy Marko, and the ever-knowledgeable Ryan who is the only one that works at the shop. Does that stop Marko and me from manning the register? Of course not. After all, it’s fun to pretend like we actually know something about wine. It often makes for a funny scene. People come in and ask us questions and we say, “yeah, we don’t actually work here.” It’s fun for us, probably slightly bewildering for the customers.

Anyway, I glance out the window and catch sight of a couple walking by the ever-busy Hannover Street. “Uh,” I thought, “that guy kind of looks like John Henry.” He turns away. His spouse, however, glances back in our direction. “Uh,” that looks like Linda Pizzuti.” They both turn around: “Marko! Marko! That’s John Henry and Linda Pizzuti!” He didn’t believe me. I can’t blame him, I’m always the boy who cried wolf. I finally get him to turn around and he gasps as if he’s seen a ghost. They start walking back in our direction, looking at the door. And they walk in.

Silence. What do we say? We can’t be idiots. We have to be smooth with this. In walks a family. They asks us a question. “We don’t actually work here,” we say. And out the window goes the chance of us not looking like idiots. Ryan helps them out and they grab a few bottles and check out.

So it’s back to Ryan, John W Henry, Linda Pizzuti, and the two register goons in the tiny shop. It’s important to note that Marko is very useful. Besides making good food and being down to party, he’s great with icebreakers. If anyone can redeem us, he can. After a few minutes go by he pulls a gem out from his Serbian brain, fitting on Nikola Tesla’s birthday.

“Mr. Henry we just want to say we are very much looking forward to the match on the 25th as well as the match in Baltimore on the 28th.”

Well done, Marko. Classy and sophisticated, much better than the dribble that would have come out of my mouth.* Then he mentions that I write for LFC Boston’s blog and one of them enquire about my writing. Oh, god, I have to try and create words now?! I manage to finally mention something about the column I wrote last week, “The Fenwayification of Anfield.” Before I can even finish the title, Linda smiles and says she’s read it. He asks what the name of the blog was and I tell him. He notes it in his phone.

Marko, John Henry, and Sam at a wine shop in the North End of Boston.

After Mr. Henry takes a quick picture** with Marko and I, they ask Ryan about some good whites for a party they are holding. Brilliantly, they are quick to note they are specifically for partygoers. They prefer reds. That’s too perfect. They agree on a particular bottle and Ryan begins assisting Mr. Henry with choosing a nice red. I thought our little encounter with them was over and I was completely satisfied with that. Then Linda comes up to me: “What do you think about the new mascot, Mighty Red?” Really? Linda Pizzuti is asking my opinion on club related business? I have to admit, that relatively innocent question flattered the heck out of me. Without skipping a beat John pops over to clarify that it’s not exactly a mascot. “He won’t be on the pitch,” he jokes and we all laugh a bit. An equally as innocent remark but one that spoke volumes. They get it. It’s a different sporting culture. An on-field mascot wouldn’t, and hasn’t, been accepted by fans in the English sporting culture for the most part.

“He won’t be like Wally,” she said referring to the loveable Red Sox mascot. It’s something for the kids she says, noting they want to make the club and Anfield more family friendly. Very young kids can often relate better to an iconic character like that than to an athlete. She went on and on, in an incredibly informed manner that made my jaw drop. She knew her stuff and I was very impressed. There I was having an impromptu conversation with the first lady of Liverpool Football Club about Anfield and Mighty Red. It was delightful. Mr. Henry even had to tap her on the shoulder and remind her that they had to catch a dinner reservation.

They check out, chat for another minute or two and head out the door. Then, just as he’s leaving, he leans back into the shop not unlike John Wayne and says, “It looks like we got the striker from Roma.” We were stunned. John Henry just let us in on a bit of transfer news. I asked about the Dempsey rumors and he obliged me with an actual response instead of a stock line like “we’ll see what happens.” I won’t go into detail about what he said but it was a moment that made my day.

The door closes and we wait a few moments just to make sure they are out of sight and ear shot. Then we all look at each other and jump around and make noises not too dissimilar to that of a 12 year-old girl at a Justin Bieber concert.

I’m glad I decided to prolong my Tuesday night a little longer. Diddy and Jay-Z got nothing on John W. Henry and Linda Pizzuti.

*Last time I was this star struck I met Darren Sharper after my hometown New Orleans Saints won the Super Bowl. I knew I was meeting him too and had planned out a cool comment about him signing a new contract and rehabbing his knee. I was going to be so suave. I wasn’t. I tried to say words but couldn’t. I got a picture taken with him then had to take a picture of him and my sister. I was in such a childlike awe I took a terrible picture. My sister isn’t happy about it to this day. 

** I’m the incredibly non-photogenic dude on the right.

Follow Sam Mathius on Twitter @theThirdkit

Post edited by Tim Treacy, Community Manager of LFC Boston and Editor of LFC Boston’s ‘The Red Letter.’ Follow Tim on Twitter @timtreacy
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24 thoughts on “The Delightful Duo: Meeting John and Linda Henry

  1. What an awesome experience for you Sam! When I met JWH, an intruding journalist made him bang his shoulder on a fire extinguisher at the Phoenix Landing as JWH tried to escape their cameras. I think that was just about a day or two before he officially become owner of LFC. All I got to say was hello. Then he banged his shoulder. Then he left. Your experience is WAY better!

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  2. Sam, a very entertaining blog, thanks for writing it. Would like to meet JWH & mussus, but more chance of bumping into him while I’m drinking Guinness than buying wine in the North End.

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  3. pay out for better players end of. other wsie another league season will be a write off!

    borini, dempsey, joke of a summer that, it needs much more to even get into top 10, never mind top 4!!!!

    pay out or we are done for, and we all know it to.

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    • I think BR has some pretty specific targets in mind. Won’t be able to drop the sort of money we did last summer but we can definitely bring in some talented players. I think the name of the game has to be depth. Bit us in the tail last season, particularly up top. I think we need role players, super subs more so than bonafide starters. Versatility needs to be introduced, something we lacked last year. One dimensional in too many aspects. But yes, hopefully more than just two players will be brought in. We shall see. YNWA

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    • What rubbish,give them a chance,Borini is clearly a shrewd investment&Dempsey proven quality in this league so would also make a welcome addition,we won’t be able to attract the likes of Hazard and RVP if that’s what you were hoping for given our current status.Few more players would be essential but don’t overreact eh?Plenty of time before the season starts.What hasn’t helped was wasting huge cash on garbage over the previous year-that will have a bearing,understandably so,got to work on clearing that mess up too

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  4. Hi Sam
    Great article. Not surprising that Linda is so knowledgable about the club and is our best singer on match days:)
    Good news about Borini, but you can’t keep us danglin’ about the Dempsey comment

    Cheers
    Steve

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    • I’ve seen speculation on other blogs that it means his transfer is imminent, that’s why it “made my day.” Not exactly spot on. Interest is obviously there, absolutely, but I was more pleased with the proof of his research, not by a “yea or nay” comment. Hope that makes sense.

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  5. those X have not been far from my mind since last week Xabi Alonso was sighted at the John Lennon Airport in Liverpool. his children had picked up the liverpool accent. Sould dreams come true

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  6. Can we stop fawning over the rich owners, merely because they are rich ? Are we done with that now, good.
    Can I ask what was said about Dempsey ?
    It looks like Brendan Rodgers was lied to about his transfer budget, was given every indication that he would have the ammunition to buy a replacement for Carroll and then was denied over a measly one or two million.
    It’s looking like these owners will be selling the club in the short term, they will have to as they can’t compete with these limited resources and with mismanagement.

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