Liverpool Chief Executive Rick Parry has asked Liverpool fans not to worry about the turmoil surrounding the club’s hopes of investment.
Speaking to the Liverpool Echo’s Chris Bascombe, Parry said: “The overriding message is – ‘don’t worry’. Whatever decision is finally taken will be done so in the best interests of Liverpool Football Club. When we have more to say, we are sure it will be good news and the right news.”
No doubt many versions of the events of the past 48 hours will emerge over time, but Parry wanted to get across his version after receiving a lot of criticism for yesterday’s near silence on the issue: “We had a duty as directors to consider a very interesting bid from George Gillett. The price is not a factor in David Moores’s mind. He is not after cash for himself, absolutely not. But he felt compelled to consider the rival bid. The DIC response to this was to give the club 12 hours to make a decision, but the chairman was not prepared to have Liverpool Football Club bullied like that.”
If true it puts the DIC bid into a whole new light. If DIC, as they claimed, really did care about the club, why could they not wait a few days for a decision?
Parry also faces accusations now that the club have missed out on the better deal, and are now going to have to settle for the back-up plan. He says this isn’t the case at all: “We would also stress this is not a question of going for the second choice. David has always given George Gillett serious consideration while at the same time we didn’t want to rush into any decision, and we were aware DIC might walk away.”
There were rumours circulating from the start of the DIC period of due diligence that Gillett’s plans included a ground-share with Everton, something that was guaranteed to put Liverpool fans off any move by Gillett. Parry again denied this: “George Gillett has made it absolutely clear to us he will not be in favour of a ground-share. There will be funding for the new stadium and a proper commitment to investment in the team.”
Parry denied that the DIC withdrawal had left Liverpool in the lurch: “We have not been left high and dry but the focus is on George Gillett. There are other expressions of interest but we hope to conclude a deal going forward with George Gillett.”
Different parties all need to leak different stories to get themselves seen in the better light. Perhaps Gillett did want ground-share originally; perhaps the story was leaked by those favouring a DIC deal. Some stories coming from Anfield are claiming that Moores decided against the DIC deal not because of Gillett’s higher bid, but because DIC had lowered their bid. Other stories are blaming it all on Moores wanting the extra cash he’d get from Gillett. This flies in the face of common belief about Moores, who has always been seen as someone with only the club’s best interests at heart. According to Parry, Moores isn’t putting his personal finances ahead of Liverpool’s best interests: “Be assured the only thing David Moores is concerned about is the club being in the right hands for the future. You can be certain he has done his homework carefully and will make a decision in the best interests of the club. The fans have trusted David to do the right thing in the past and can be sure that’s what he’s doing now. If they thought the Dubai bid was good, rest assured he is now considering a different course for the right reasons.”
If anything the move to be taken over by DIC wasn’t so much welcomed by fans as reluctantly accepted. They resigned themselves to it, as something that was inevitable. There was a lot of trust from the fans, but a lot of questions are still to be answered if that trust is to remain. Liverpool need investment to move forward, and there are no extremely-well-to-do Liverpool fans on the scene ready to throw such sums of money around. Parry hints at the Gillett deal suddenly being much, much better than the one put on the table by DIC, and says that the price-per-share isn’t an important factor in why that deal now seems better. We need some explanations, legislation permitting.
Just to add more confusion to the situation, the Echo says that Northern Ireland entrepreneur John Miskelly has re-entered the arena. Miskelly owns an executive box at the club, and had a bid of £220m turned down in November. This figure was made up of £140m for his valuation of the club, £50m towards the new stadium and £30m as a transfer fund. The Echo says he went to the club accountants to remind them that his offer is still open.
Continuing with the spirit of leaks, a “source close to Miskelly” told the paper that, “John has put a real offer on the table. He is a staunch fan with a hugely successful background who wants to be taken seriously as someone who can take the club forward. He has stayed in the background so far, and as a fan was happy with the DIC bid.”
The source had an interesting observation about how Miskelly was looking at Gillett’s offer: “What’s confusing to him now is why anyone would pay £5,000 a share for Liverpool when the next offer is £4,000 a share? Surely it would make more sense to make a lower bid and invest the rest in the club and the team? Those who’ve seen the books know this is an overvaluation of the club, which is why we’d question the motives and like to be considered as a viable alternative.”
Expect more and more claims and counter-claims in the next few days as all concerned parties use the media to get their own points across, directly or indirectly.