LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – Liverpool chairman Tom Werner admitted he and John Henry were sold on a £20-million ($31-million) move for England midfielder Stewart Downing after being duped by a fake YouTube video of the player.
The men, who form two thirds of the Boston Red Sox's ownership group along with Larry Lucchino, confessed to being novices on the beautiful game when they aquired the English Premier League giant in October 2010.
Which may explain why Werner and Henry, the Reds' principal owner, could be fooled by Downing's practically impossible stunt, filmed when he was with his former club Aston Villa.
The video, created by Villa's media and marketing team, sees the winger effortlessly land five soccer balls into five garbage cans, in sequence, from long range.
The stunt was made all the more unbelievable with each can's lid dropping closed with every direct hit.
But Werner confessed he and Henry fell victim to the hoax, although they learned it was a fake before doing the deal.
"There was some footage of Stewart where he was, from 30 yards [27 meters] away, kicking a ball into five different trash cans and it was brilliant," Werner told the club's official channel LFC TV. "John and I said, 'Oh my God, this player is brilliant, we've got to figure out a way to make a deal with him.'"
Few pundits mocked Liverpool's signing of the English player last summer, although eyebrows were raised by the pricetag, suggesting Villa may have banked a larger price for the player thanks to its creative video editing.
Downing has only made the deal look sweeter for his old club this season after flopping so far at Anfield, with him still awaiting his first league goal in a Liverpool jersey after netting seven times for Villa last season.