I couldnt go to sleep tonight without first putting fingers to keyboard following a quite extraordinary statement released by Liverpool tonight.
In short, it is now all out war in the boardroom after 2 new bids were received by the club to buy control, something we knew was happening. One is from a US tycoon (owner of Bston Red Sox) and the other an Asian party.
This all seems simple enough so far and is where it starts to get interesting. Accounts are that the three full time staff on the board, Martin Broughton, Christian Purslow and Ian Ayre, were in favour of accepting one of the bids. Unfortunately the two American owners and bain of LFC supporters lives, dont want to accept either as they will not make a profit from their investment.
This appears to be the stumbling block with all the bids so far. The bidders are basing their price on how much the club is worth, the new stadium, transfer funds and the debt. Hicks and Gillette want to ensure they maximise their profit (or at least make one) before the disappear across the Atlantic again, never to be seen again on these shores (or certainly Liverpool anyway).
To take this a step further, and to an even more ridiculous level if that was really possible, The Liverpool FC statement states that Hicks and Gillette sought to remove Purslow and Ayre shortly before the board meeting was scheduled to start. Presumably so they could bring in their own people, Mack Hicks and Lori Kay McCutcheon, thus ensuring a winning majority in accepting the deal that suits their pockets.
Here is the official statement in full….
“The Board of Directors have received two excellent financial offers to buy the Club that would repay all its long-term debt. A Board meeting was called today to review these bids and approve a sale. Shortly prior to the meeting, the owners – Tom Hicks and George Gillett – sought to remove Managing Director Christian Purslow and Commercial Director Ian Ayre from the Board, seeking to replace them with Mack Hicks and Lori Kay McCutcheon.
This matter is now subject to legal review and a further announcement will be made in due course.
Meanwhile Martin Broughton, Christian Purslow and Ian Ayre continue to explore every possible route to achieving a sale of the Club at the earliest opportunity.”
Author: Liverpool Football Club
I think we can take it that the statement came on on bequest of Purslow and Ayre to ensure they were not dispensed with easily. Liverpool fans will be even more incensed and with a key game for the Reds against Everton in the Merseyside derby this weekend, it is not going to help the management or players in their preparation.
The Americans seem intent on killing one of English footballs greatest ever teams (and yes, this is coming from a United fan) for the sake of profit. The statement is a gamble by the board members who seem to want the owners out as much as the fans do, but one that could ultimately hasten the exit of the most unwanted characters the English footballing boardroom has ever seen.
[UPDATE] In the few short hours from my going to sleep and getting back up again there appears to have been another twist to the story, but this time a happy one for LFC fans.
It appears that the 3 members of the board mentioned before have accepted the bid from New England Sports Ventures (NESV). This still appears to be against the wishes of the owners and a messy legal battle could ensue. Could it be all over or is just the start of it hitting the fan?
If you wanted to know more about the financial side of the American owners time at Anfield. Tom Markham, a football finance expert, wrote a great indepth piece called ‘The definitive guide to the Hicks and Gillette era at Anfield’
Will you be glad to see the backs of Hicks and Gillette? Will this affect the team the longer it drags on? Leave your comments below…..