Sameer Al Ansari's full statement this afternoon expressed a real sense of sorrow that his consortium felt they had been forced to pull out of the move to buy Liverpool FC. Ansari is executive chairman and chief executive officer of DIC and he is well known to be a Liverpool supporter. He said this afternoon: "We are very disappointed to be making this announcement. DIC is a serious investor with considerable resources at its disposal. At the same time, we are supporters – of the game and of the club. Liverpool's investment requirements have been well publicised and, after a huge amount of work, we proposed a deal that would provide the club with the funds it needs, both on and off the pitch."
Ansari went on: "We were also prepared to offer shareholders a significant premium on the market price of the shares. However, we will not overpay for assets. Liverpool is the most successful football club in English football history. It exists to win things for its supporters. It deserves to be in the hands of people who support it, who understand its history and legend and who share the enthusiasm and passion of its fans."
He continued: "As businessmen, we move on. As fans, we hope that the new owners would share the same vision as we had for LFC and, of course, in realising the new stadium that is so badly needed to ensure the club can continue to compete at the highest level in the Premiership and Europe. I am sure I will be back at Anfield with my family soon to support my team, as I have done so in the last 30-plus years. In the meantime, I wish the manager, the players and everyone connected with the club the best of fortune for the challenges ahead and will make sure that I am there the day they lift the Premiership trophy."
As ever in these situations rumours are spreading like wildfire, but it seems that DIC's actual offer, after going through due diligence, was actually slightly lower than the offer they had originally indicated they would be making. The Liverpool books showed there to be some assets valued more highly by Liverpool than by DIC. That's where Ansari's comment seems to come from where he says, "We will not overpay for assets".
Moores has been painted, certainly by the local press, as only being concerned about the good of the club, the extra £8million he'd get from Gillett's offer being unimportant to him. There are now hints though that Moores wasn't quite the person he is being made out to be, and he'd actually gone to DIC demanding more money or the deal was off. When Gillett came in with his bigger offer, suddenly Moores was more interested in that than in the deal that seemed – on the face of it – much better for the club.
The local press are used by the club to leak information when needed, and it seemed odd today that Chris Bascombe, the usual journalist dealing with Liverpool matters, wasn't the one with the "exclusive" on the Liverpool board's decision to take the Gillett deal seriously. Dave Prentice wrote the article instead, and he's the Echo's Everton correspondent. Bascombe had not been writing any articles for the paper for the past few days, but had returned to write an article relating to the transfer window activities going on today. Was Bascombe disappointed in the news and refusing to leak something Liverpool had asked him to leak? Of course it could all be a coincidence, but it seems unlikely that Bascombe would be going home from work early on transfer deadline day.
It does seem though that the LFC press office have gone home from work early though. This takeover deal is quite possibly the biggest piece of news regarding the club since Everton decided to move out of Anfield back in 1892. Yet one-and-a-half hours after the news of the pull-out was broken on Sky there’s still no word from Anfield. It’s not the fault of the press office, as they will be desperate to release a statement I’m sure, which points the responsibility back towards the chairman again.
The club are certain to release a statement soon, in fact under stock-market regulations they may well be legally obliged to do so, but it does feel like the supporters are being let down by their club today, being forced to find information out from rumours and unofficial sources. It may well turn out that Moores has got the club's best interests at heart and as his top priority, but as things stand, that does seem to be quite doubtful at the moment.