Anyone would think a big game was coming up

How that great mind must have ticked over all day and all night as the day grew closer to Chelsea’s latest semi-final with Liverpool.

The two sides have been drawn together in Champions League semi-finals for three out of the four seasons Rafa Benítez has been in charge. In the other season they met at the group stage instead, and also had an FA Cup semi-final.

But the Champions League semi-finals have been particularly heartbreaking for Chelsea. In 2005 Luis Garcia scored a goal that to this day haunts the then manager Jose Mourinho. He mentioned it just about every time they played Liverpool, claiming it was never goal. He said it hadn’t crossed the line, and even though no replay exists to show if it had or hadn’t, he kept insisting it had been kept out. He kept quiet about the other option the referee had – had he not awarded the goal he’d have sent off goalkeeper Petr Cech and awarded a penalty.

In 2007 it went to penalties, and Liverpool went through.

So now, with two days to go, it was time to try and unsettle the Liverpool squad, manager, and fans. After all, we’ve nothing else on our minds.

And what a masterstroke it was. Surely nobody would see through it. The job fell to Joe Lovejoy, of The Sunday Times, ably assisted by the headline writer.

The headline was a masterstroke: “Chelsea line up summer bid to snatch Steven Gerrard from Liverpool.”

Already the smiles from Saturday’s win were starting to fade. Surely not?

The article began: “Chelsea will make a third attempt to sign Steven Gerrard from Liverpool if, as expected, Frank Lampard leaves at the end of the season.”

Oh no! Here we are about to play Chelsea, and now we find our captain’s off to join them in the summer again. He had a bit more: “Jose Mourinho, Chelsea’s former manager, was twice out of luck when he tried to buy the Liverpool captain. However, fortune may well smile on his successor, Avram Grant.”

Maybe there’s something in it though. Look at how much his value goes up per year: “Gerrard almost joined Chelsea in June 2004 for £20m, and again 12 months later, for £32m, after the Anfield captain reacted to the interest by submitting a transfer request.” So, we’re talking about his value going up by £12m a year, so the £72m is going to come in handy.

Hang on, can we stop him leaving? Joe has a clue for us: “He only changed his mind after his family received death threats and a fan burned his replica shirt live on Sky TV.”

And actually, Joe says, Avram Grant might not even be manager by then anyway: “Now Grant will try to make it third time lucky, if he survives in the job beyond the end of the season and, as seems likely, Lampard leaves to take on a fresh challenge.” Oh, and it depends on the departure of the slender Lampard too.

Lovejoy actually quoted Grant, talking about Gerrard: “Gerrard is a great player and a great person. For me, he is the player of the year in England, and maybe in Europe, because of the influence he has on the team. I like him very much as a player and I know him. He is a nice guy and an example to others. He plays against me, but he’s still my favourite player.” That’s it then. Never has a sign been so clear.

But just in case, Lovejoy had a bit more to add: “Grant added that he greatly admired the England midfielder’s versatility, pointing to his success in a new role, playing off Fernando Torres, Liverpool’s main striker. He said: ‘I’m not surprised; he has the quality to play in any position. In the one he is in now he probably feels more free.'”

As we speak, fans are digging out last year’s Gerrard’s shirts and a box of matches in readiness for the Sky Sports News cameras arriving at Anfield.

Lovejoy wanted to make sure they’d have some fans outside Melwood too, just in case the Sky cameras went there instead: “Reminded that Mourinho had tried to sign him twice, Grant said: “If you can bring him to me, I will be happy.”‘

We’ve already done the transfer fee Joe: “In terms of market value, Gerrard has the edge, if only because he is still only 27. Lampard will turn 30 in June.”

And the turmoil off the Anfield pitch is as good a way as any to add credibility to an incredible story: “Rebuffed twice, Chelsea believe they could get their man this time because Gerrard is known to be unhappy about Liverpool’s continued failure in the Premier League, and is appalled by the boardroom feud at Anfield and what the chief executive, Rick Parry, has called the washing of dirty linen in public.”

But just in case someone thought they’d take the shirt along to Anfield without matches, hoping someone from Sky had a lighter, Joe thought some out of context and old quotes would help matters: “It has also been noted at Stamford Bridge that in his autobiography, Gerrard admits to ‘looking long, and jealously, at Chelsea’. Grant’s comments are sure to add extra spice to Tuesday’s clash at Anfield.”

You can read more of Joe’s work here – http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/football/article732476.ece

In fact the story in the Sunday Times appeared on the web version of the paper on the same day Rick Parry blasted a story in the daily version. Showing some of the drive that he’s been accused of lacking he refuted quite clearly the claim that the club would have to sell Fernando Torres and Ryan Babel to pay debts.

The story appeared on Thursday night in the internet, Friday morning in print, and Parry issued a statement on the official website about it. He said: “The story in Friday’s Times newspaper was garbage.

“I want to make it clear in the simplest and most straightforward terms that the purchases of Fernando and Ryan were funded in the same way as every other transfer.

“The scope for any other interpretation is nil.”

Whether he’s been put up to it by one or other of the club’s management committee – co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett – or if he’s decided to act under his own steam isn’t clear. It’s a difficult act when it comes to finding a balance when denying stories in the media. As we’ve seen before, deny one story and a lack of a denial to the next one often suggests there is some truth. Often this is not the case of course, but it does raise suspicion.

And how he denied it. Perhaps he was wary of leaving anything open, like when he made the stadium downgrading “denial” in December. Not this time: “The scope for any other interpretation is nil”.

It would make an excellent slogan for a t-shirt in the club’s stores. But probably best we gloss over the stock in the club’s shops.

The story in the Times had said: “Liverpool must repay £31.5 million to banking institutions in little more than a year or risk having to sell Fernando Torres and Ryan Babel.

“The Times has learnt that Liverpool borrowed the money to sign Torres, the Spain forward who has scored 30 goals this season and has already become a firm favourite on the Kop, from Atlético Madrid last summer. The club then refinanced that debt on January 25, at the same time as they secured a £350 million refinancing package.

“Liverpool entered into an 18-month loan agreement with interest of 9 per cent – £2.8 million a year – with a letter of credit to pay back the £31.5 million at the end of the period.”

It went on to say that this would be an issue should the club be unable to either pay back or refinance the loan because, the banks “could” force them to sell Torres and Babel.

It had all the hallmarks of a muddled version of a story that has been being spun for a while now.

The figure of £31.5m happened to be exactly 9% of £350m. It seems some wires were crossed in communication.

The Torres fee was £18m, rising to something like £23m depending on various factors, and is complicated by the inclusion of Luis Garcia in the figures. He certainly didn’t cost £26.5m, a myth that still shows up in many reports, and probably started when someone saw the £18m fee quoted in Euros and assumed it was sterling. Babel cost around £11.5m.

The day this story was written was the day that many Liverpool fans’ anger had gone off the scale in the wake of a Tom Hicks piece on Sky Sports, He drank from a very new-looking LFC mug, in front of an open fire, with yawning children watching the Blackburn game with him, after which he commented on how Liverpool’s victory would upset Everton. It was seen by the majority of supporters – still opposed to Hicks – as nothing more than a stunt. Anger already simmering under the surface came out almost uncontrollably for many.

And it was in that atmosphere of renewed anger and mistrust that the article, headlined: “Fernando Torres future under threat as banks keep watchful eye on Liverpool“, written by Gary Jacobs and Oliver Kay, appeared.

It also claimed that it was “unusual for Barclays Premier League clubs to buy players in this way. Deals are normally funded using television income.” This seemed an odd claim to make, as clubs have numerous revenue streams that all go into the pot to pay out for whatever has to be paid out for. Whether that’s for star players or for shortfalls in souvenir mug takings, clubs will spend based on what comes in altogether.

The figure of £30m a year for the interest payments on the £350m loan first started to be aired back in December, when the Telegraph’s David Bond wrote an article which appeared under the headline of “Liverpool face funding crisis“. He certainly seems to have been well informed on the amount borrowed, because of course £350m is the exact figure that was eventually loaned out. He reported: “…they are now looking to borrow £350m to pay off a two-year loan with RBS worth around £270m, inject £60m of working capital for the ground and cover £25m of credit notes used to finance the summer purchases of Fernando Torres and Ryan Babel, again provided by RBS.”

That £60m figure for the stadium work also turned out to match what was official announced five weeks later, but the other figures did not. The RBS loan had already been stated quite publicly 9 months or so earlier as being for £298m, not £270m, and a figure of £45m was given for working capital and transfers in the statement Hicks made at the end of January this year.

But for this £30m annual interest amount to be true, LFC would need to be paying over 8.5% interest.

The original loan, of £298m, was payable at 1.5% above inter-bank base rates, and around the time of the takeover this was worked out as being 7.24%, an annual cost of £21.5m.

Using the same rate, the interest on £350m is £25.3m per year.

Back to the Times, and it said: “There was no official comment from the club last night.” There is now.

The PR people working for DIC have been claiming for a while now that there’s a deadline in place for Hicks to buy Gillett, or he loses his chance to block Hicks. While it’s possible proof has been seen, it remains the case that the only source for this claim seems to be the “source” working for DIC. The Times report commented on the Hicks interview that was so heavily attacked by masses of Liverpool fans the world over, and casually threw in the ‘fact’ that Hicks is running out of time: “The revelations came on a day when the turmoil at Anfield reached a nadir after Tom Hicks attempted to strengthen his grip on the club during an interview in which he demonised his enemies inside and outside Anfield. However, the Liverpool co-owner has only six weeks to raise the funds he needs if he is to achieve his goal of buying the club outright.”

Gillett had said amongst other things in response to Hick’s interview claims: “Tom needs to understand that I will not sell my shares to him.”

There was a slight acknowledgement of how Hicks is aiming to fund Gillett’s exit from Anfield: “Hicks was typically bullish about his prospects of raising the money – or, perhaps more realistically, finding the financial backing – but while he continues to explore his options with Merrill Lynch, his latest financial adviser, the clock is ticking.” The Texan’s aim is not so much borrowing the money to make himself 100% owner, but finding other investors to become minority shareholders. This seems to be the way Hicks intends to eventually take the debt off the club, a “goal” he spoke of on Thursday.

The same types of sources maintain that Hicks is due to hit troubles, with loans on his US sporting interests due for renewal, but this seems to be yet more of an attempt to raise the hopes, falsely, of those who want Hicks gone: “Hicks has denied rumours in the City that he is under pressure to refinance his Hicks Sports Group, which holds his stakes in various sports franchises in the United States, but a deadline is looming to buy Gillett’s stake, which is the subject of a rival bid from Dubai International Capital, the private-equity investment arm of the Dubai Government.”

It’s interesting to note that in the year between their abandoned first bid for LFC and the start of this latest attempt that the “private-equity investment arm” have had a website facelift. But at the same time, no doubt purely as a coincidence, they’ve rewritten the way they talk about themselves.

It’s not a good idea to have the fear-bringing words and abbreviations like “Leveraged Buy Out” or “LBO” in any description of a company who want the fans of the sport outfit they are trying to buy to like them.

DIC website January 2007 (from archive.org):

“Direct Private Equity Investments

Dubai International Capital selectively leads or co-leads Mid/Large Cap private equity transactions.

With a preference for Leveraged Buy Outs in Europe and North America , DIC focuses on opportunities where it can add value to the deal, and subsequently, the business. DIC has a particular interest in working as co-lead with or buying from top tier private equity managers.

Our first such investment was Tussauds Group, which we acquired in a £800 million secondary LBO in May 2005…

DIC website April 2008:

Private Equity

Dubai International Capital Private Equity is focused on secondary buy-outs and acquisitions of market leading companies in Europe and North America with a proven strategy and a robust management team.

Some of this division’s major investments include:

* The acquisition of Tussauds Group for £800 million, a leading operator of visitor attraction and theme parks, which was later merged with Blackstone’s Merlin Entertainments Group in 2007. Dubai International Capital retains a 20 percent shareholding in the combined Tussauds-Merlin Group…

So, where has that awful “LBO” term gone?

As for their acquisition for Tussauds, they bought it in 2005, as it says on their site for £800m. Two years later they sold it, in fact they just sold 80% of it, for £1028m. That’s a massive profit in two years on what many see as quite a significant name in the UK. £228m profit in two years. And, that’s on just 80% of it. They’ve still got 20%.

DIC are an investment company, who include Leveraged Buy-outs as part of one of their ways of doing business. They took Tussauds and made massive profit from it.

That doesn’t mean they’ll be looking to buy LFC for £400m purely with the aim of selling for much bigger money in a couple of years. But basing hopes they see LFC as more than just another money-making investment on an unproven claim that Sheikh Mohammed is a boyhood Red is dangerous. Assuming that known Red Sameer al-Ansari will be allowed to veer too far away from DIC’s rules on how they treat investments is again dangerous. DIC is not a hobby for the Dubai ruler. DIC don’t own his prestigious Godolphin racehorse operation, which is pretty much like a hobby for him.

There isn’t even any evidence he likes football, never mind LFC.

The Times also reported something about the pre-emption agreement that is said to have enabled Tom Hicks to block a sale by Gillett to DIC, but which would also be expected to have some kind of deadline. It said the “option is understood to expire 90 days after he [Hicks] was informed of DIC’s £200 million offer to Gillett, which was made on February 27. That period would expire on May 27, six days after the Champions League final in Moscow.”

It’s a claim that is repeated with regularity, and a massive amount of supporters are pinning hopes on it being true. It has come from DIC’s PR team, which doesn’t mean it’s false, but puts it into the category of claims that need to be taken with a pinch of salt. What goes against it being true is the way Gillett spoke of Hicks having merely “threatened to” invoke his veto. He said that in March, after the supposed February 27th offer. Time will tell. If Hicks hasn’t managed to get sole ownership by May 27th we’ll surely see signs of DIC taking Gillett’s half immediately. But if Hicks has the means to buy Gillett out as claimed then DIC could either already be gone, or facing a legal battle with Hicks to override any pre-emption clauses they feel they can fight.

So it remains to be seen just who the task of stopping Gerrard moving to Chelsea will fall to. Unless of course the whole story was designed purely to unsettle everyone ahead of Tuesday.

Surely not.

82 thoughts on “Anyone would think a big game was coming up”

  1. When I read this ridiculous story in the Times about Chelsea lining up a bid for Stevie, I right away posted an angry reply yesterday night. That piece of non-information is so blatantly spin that one wonders how ‘quality newspapers’ can allow publication of it at all. Is the Times somehow pro-Chelsea and anti-Liverpool?

  2. Ridiculous it maybe but its not as ridiculous as the recent stories in more newspapers than The Times concerning Tom Hicks having the money to be able to buy out George Gillett.
    And for that matter George Gillett being willing to sell to him.

  3. Agree with you, Jofrad. Jim focuses a lot on DIC’s PR distortion of facts, but it is now crystal-clear that Gillett will not sell to the Texan bully, and so the only option left (hopefully before the summer) is DIC’s getting the sole ownership of our club.

  4. DIC are still there!! Look at the PR Battle now with Hicks, it has suited him to be Quiet for a long period, and now all this, all of a sudden Hicks is alive. He will not stop untill he has 100% of the club, I just hope that Gillett does sell his shares to DIC, and then we will see a strict plan put in place with time deadlines, because i dont see any for the foreseeable future whilst these two fight it out in the Media!!

  5. I was thinking about posting a reply, but believe that Jim covered it all with some sarcasm as well. The more I hear into all their nonsense which is growing up by every passing day, the more I believe that we are more stronger than ever for them to post such stupid idias everynow and then, trying hoplessly to stir the waters around us!

    YNWA

  6. Hello Jim.

    Personaly I believe that this is all a ploy used by both Hicks and Gillette to leave with some dignity. What I mean is Gillette is giving Hicks some time to be able to come up with the money, so if he eventualy can’t buy the club then he will not lose too much face. If Hicks had the money he would have already bought the club or at least would have put an offer on the table and a date to come up with the goods, but the fact that he hasn’t is ample proof that come June DIC will own 100% of our club. It is all talk and very little action comming from the yank, he seems to enjoy making these claims that ‘he will own 100% of the club’ in the future. I personaly think that he does it because he knows it gets up our nose, like we get up his nose the way we don’t give him the respect he thinks he deserves, and the way we wont play his games with him. Actions speak louder than words. Even I can say that I have the money to buy the club and make a lot of bold claims about what I will do to the club but until I put my money in my pocket it will only ever be talk.

  7. Pierre and Jofrad, I’m against Hicks every bit as much as you guys but if indeed Gillett did give Hicks a 90 day notice (based on a bid by DIC) and then Hicks came up with the money to match DIC’s bid within the allowed time then I can’t see how Gillett could avoid selling to Hicks at that price even if he wanted not to.

    This is just based on my general understanding of pre-emption rights rather than any specific knowledge of the partnership agreement between Hicks and Gillett so I stand to be corrected if anyone has inside knowledge. Like most people I’m sceptical of Hicks’s ability to match a bid of £200 million for Gillett’s shares but the possibility can’t be ruled out no matter how much we hate the sight of Hicks. One of the problems for Hicks is that any investors would likely expect a large degree of control and Hicks is clearly unwilling to allow this. I think in this respect his (apparently well deserved) reputation for arrogance must work against him.

    If Hicks did pull this off somehow it certainly wouldn’t be the end of his worries though because its virtually impossible to imagine how he could service this further borrowing on top of our existing debts never mind the further, further borrowing of approximately £350 million needed for the stadium construction. There also comes a point of course when the Banks start expecting principal to be repaid as well.

    When you analyse the financial mechanics of Hicks’s situation it seems difficult to justify his belligerence as anything other than excessive ego and ambition. I wonder if this combination is not causing him to dismiss obvious risks in a way that will later seem foolish even if he does somehow obtain sole ownership as a result.

    This is part of the reason why the issue of ongoing squad investment is such a concern for me. Numerous other premiership Clubs (eg. Man City, Tottenham, Newcastle) seem to be geared up for massive expenditure in order to take our coveted “top 4” place. One of the problems with Hicks (there are plenty of others) is that compared with other owners like DIC or Shinawatra he has relatively shallow pockets. Therefore, if the whole debt situation of the Club becomes unmanageable (and this prospect seems very hard to ignore under Hicks) he would not have anything like the same ability as DIC to inject funds into the Club to stop it going to the wall. Anyway these are just some rambling thoughts.

  8. Leanne
    Here’s an interesting link that addresses all the scenarios you are referring to (this is fresh meat for hungry, but worried, red palates):
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/football/premier_league/liverpool/article3779943.ece
    Regarding your assumption that, should the tall one manage to get the money to buy out the small guy, the latter will be forced to sell, I have read so many arguments and counter-arguments (especially from Jim and John) suggesting one thing and its opposite that my head swirls. Anyhow, GG clearly cannot be forced to sell to TH, and an outbidding would always be possible from DIC. The only thing that seems to be certain to me is that GG will not sell to the Texan and will find a way to thwart the obnoxious Texan’s schemes. Very temporarily and only in this instance, in GG I trust!

  9. Jim,

    After spending all day yesterday going to the Fulham game, i’ve only just had time to read your response to me from my last post on the previous “Hicks on Gillett, Klinsmann, Parry, Rafa and finance” article.

    I have (unsurprisingly) some more questions and comments to through back at you, including some related to this latest article.

    I have to say that although my appreciation for your efforts has not diminished at all and I do think you are speaking out of what you believe are the best interests of LFC, I find your stance perplexing. I’m sorry, but whether it’s intentional or not, the sub-text clearly reads ‘give Hicks a chance’. That’s not necessarily a criticism, I just find it perplexing, and it gets my brain in overdrive… If there’s someone who has the best interests of LFC at heart, who is privy to information that cannot always be revealed, and has changed their mind or apparent stance in favour of a figure that nearly everyone else is opposing, then why? It makes me wonder whether you are actually right and we should ‘give Hicks a chance’? You might disagree with my interpretation of the sub-text but in your last response to me you said,

    “What’s important is we listen to what’s said. He’s said things we can hold him to now. Even the use of words like “We intend” our “it’s our goal” won’t get him off the hook.”

    The majority of Liverpool supporters aren’t even prepared to afford him the chance to prove himself anymore Jim, but seemingly, you are. Maybe it is not our choice anymore; maybe Hicks taking over or not isn’t affected by us. You’ve certainly said before that what we say won’t affect his decision. If this rings true – what point is there holding him accountable in the future?? By then he will be in an even stronger position than he is now! Is Hicks really going to give a flying proverbial at a later date when he has complete control? To me, it does appear that we matter, at least to the smallest of significant degrees, if not then why did Hicks go to the effort to make that video last week if we do not have our part to play? And if we all can concur that we are more influential now than we will be at a time when Hicks has no obstacles in his path in terms of ownership, then the most pertinent of all questions is, can we afford to ‘Give Hicks a chance’?

    You’ll know my opinion expressed before in this regard is ‘No, absolutely not’. And I have based this on past precedent, i.e. that we were promised certain things that did not materialise. Perhaps the most significant of these was the debt issue. I have to say Jim that I am slightly disappointed with you regarding this. I’ll explain why in a moment but for the time being here is what you said…

    “One thing I’ve been doing is looking up old articles trying to find various bits and pieces, but I’ve been trying to find what has actually been said about the debt. We keep hearing that Hicks “promised” there would be no debt on the club. If anyone can find the quotes, or even a story from back then that indicates he’d said something of that nature to the reporter without being quoted could they post it here? All I can find is this, in various places:
    ‘We have purchased the club with no debt on the club so, in that regard, it is different [to the Glazers]. We believe in the future of the club, the future of the league, the new TV contracts are outstanding and we are proud to be a part of it.
    ‘If you look at the Premier League today, it is a strong revenue-generating body for the leading teams. I believe it has the chance to be a growing industry over time and we need all the revenues we can possibly find to compete with Manchester and Chelsea.’
    Not a promise there would be no debt on the club. Just a statement that they bought the club with no debt on the club. And as you can see here, it was actually said by Gillett”

    Now Jim, the reason that I am disappointed is that I know for a fact that you have the ability to see things more objectively than the argument you are making here. Are you really going to let Hicks and Gillett off on a (pretty huge) technicality?!

    I can imagine a meeting before the press conference between Gillett and Hicks, and perhaps even Parry. The meeting would’ve discussed what questions were likely to be raised by journalists and what the appropriate responses to those questions should be. Now, given the obvious relevance to the fact that they are American, and that the Glazers are too, and that a fear of the Liverpool faithful was that they would replicate the Glazer deal, I’m sure that the response to the question of whether it would be a Glazer-esque style takeover would’ve been discussed. This is classic politics. Is that any different to David Cameron saying “Immediately following the election, if elected, we will not raise income tax”, then 6 months later raising income tax to 50% for all salary bands?

    The fundamental issue here is not whether they ‘technically’ said they would load debt onto the club or not, but the fact that eventually they did! And I would expect you to know that. In fact, I’m sure you do know the difference which makes it even more startling that you choose to defend that statement and de-signify the importance of it with your comments, especially when you effectively demand that someone finds a quote that effectively says ‘we are going to do a glazer’ when you know full well that they wouldn’t have been as stupid as to say that at any point! …and that failure to find such a quote is justification for the argument that they didn’t promise anything.

    You also said: “And as you can see here, it was actually said by Gillett” – Jim, I would like to point out that by saying that you are, seemingly, implying it is Gillett’s fault, or more Gillett’s fault, and you cannot realistically make comments like that and not expect to hear people say that you are defending Hicks, because that’s what it sounds like, even if all you were doing is actually saying is ‘it’s ALSO Gillett’s fault, not just Hicks’ if you see what I mean. For the record, they both took over and decided what they did, and for that I hold them jointly culpable.

    You also said in this article:

    “I’m not getting caught up in this too much, but we’re “only” £52m more in debt than at takeover, and Parry knew about the debt and must have checked how it would be serviced a year ago. Yes, some of it’s now on the club, but consensus has been for some time that this was down to Gillett’s poor financial state.
    Parry knows if Hicks is capable of taking the debt back off the club. If he is, to even just put it back to the way it was before but with the extra £52m, Parry has some explaining to do for this stance he has.
    What worries me is that it’s actually got personal. Would Parry put the club secondary to the chance to get one over on Hicks?
    Whether it’s the right thing to do or not, Parry needs to get word out as to why he’s concerned now when the current situation is so close to the takeover situation

    The original loan, of £298m, was payable at 1.5% above inter-bank base rates, and around the time of the takeover this was worked out as being 7.24%, an annual cost of £21.5m.

    Using the same rate, the interest on £350m is £25.3m per year”

    Jim, the fact remains that (minus our previous working debt) we have £350 million pounds worth of loans we didn’t have just before takeover. If I remember rightly, wasn’t the reason we looked for investors so that we had someone with the financial clout to fund the purchase of a stadium and still allow us to purchase players in the interim before the stadium is built and is profitable? In fact, buy us better players than before in the interim. And isn’t it true that the situation we are in now, i.e interest payments, and another £300 million or so required to complete the stadium, is inhibitive and completely contrary to what was sought by Moores and Parry? I mean, if they knew that the club would end up paying for the right to own itself in addition to the stadium, wouldn’t Moores of just taken out a ruddy loan himself to buy the stadium? Apart from the fact it would’ve looked like the Emirates I can’t see how this wouldn’t have been better than the state we are in now.

    You also blame Gillett again for this being on the club, are you saying Hicks wouldn’t have used a loan to buy the club or would have found funding so that no loan was in place?

    And how does Hicks realistically expect to reduce the debt to Nil? Was his speech not propaganda? Does he have the capability? Again, I’m actually asking.

    Jim, I don’t want it to seem like I’m having a go, I wouldn’t have written over 1600 words if I was, I’m just being open minded and forming my own opinion in riposte to your own, and hopefully we’ll all learn something new. I think it’s a bit sad really that 90% of all comments now seem to be questioning you line of thought rather than tackling what we can do about the current situation, but like others, and despite as I said, being appreciative, most of us just can’t understand why you aren’t following the opinion of the populous in spite of the justifications you purport. Maybe there are reasons for your opinion that you cannot divulge?

    Thanks Jim.

  10. Edward, being in the prem’s top 4 means we get regular access to Champions League which is what those Clubs crave both for prestige and financial reasons.

    Pierre. I too feel reassured by GG’s stance but I stand by my comments above as a matter of law. Pre-emption rights are based on the assumption that the partners may fall out so the fact GG & Hicks have fallen out would be irrelevant if Hicks could match DIC’s offer.

    It appears from the papers that GG’s proposed sale of 50% to DIC would be subject to some (probably fairly weak) legal challenge Hicks could make. It also appears that (being unable to raise £200 million) Hicks’s strategy may be to make a lower (and therefore non-binding) offer to GG in the hope that GG will accept less when he doesn’t have to in order to make a quick getaway. GG’s stance appears to rule out this option which leaves Hicks with the rather big ask of somehow coming up with a further £200 million before the end of May. As I say the possibility of this seems remote but as fans we can play our part in scaring off any potential investors Hicks may want to impress by giving him an extremely embarrassing and public humiliation at Anfield on Tuesday night. After all its quite possible that Hicks’s current campaign of trying to win over the supporters is really aimed more indirectly at potential investors by showing them that he can control the fans.

  11. Thanks Leanne,

    for a moment I thought you meant that we coveted 4th position!

    personally I think ‘those clubs’ should focus on the Carling, F.A. and UEFA cups.

  12. (I wrote the following before I’d seen any comments following on from Leanne’s 3.41pm post. )

    Leanne has touched there on something I think is very important.

    No matter how much you want something, it’s actually only in Disney movies that wishing extra hard actually brings you it.

    That works as much for a fan who wants Hicks drummed out of the club with his tail between his legs as it does for a Hicks who wants money from the banks to get the other half of the club.

    You might get your way, but it won’t come just because you really cross your fingers as tight as you can.

    Even if DIC have, as they once claimed, relaxed their investment criteria a little for this deal, they are still nothing more than an investment group. Who used to admit they used “LBO” methods on their website until recently.

    Buying the club at whatever figure Gillett wants must be attractive to them in monetary terms. I don’t buy this claim the Sheikh’s a boyhood Red. al-Ansari’s got to justify the deal to the Sheikh. And so the biggest part of that justification had to come in financial terms. Let’s face it, if the Sheikh really wanted the club without regard for financial issues he’d have bought it by now.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/7242490.stm

    We’re £102m behind Real Madrid, £78m behind Man U, in terms of revenues – PER YEAR!

    Some of the differences are down to the stadium, but not all. TV money is still on an upward trend for now, and popular or not the Premier League are still exploring other ways of boosting the income for the clubs. How much was our Carlsberg deal compared to United’s AIG? How much did Nike pay them compared to what Adidas paid us? What’s our equivalent of their Audi? Did we even really need investors in the first place? Anyway, that’s another point.

    Logically speaking, there must be other investors out there who see what DIC see. And in this credit-crunched world, is putting money into LFC safer than putting it into mortgages? We can list all kinds of reasons why those investors might still not be interested, including this perceived reluctance to work with Hicks, but it only takes one investor to see the potential and if he can agree terms with Hicks then the Texan has the means to buy Gillett out.

    Which then gets us back to the pre-emption agreement.

    Anything can be written into a pre-emption agreement, but in a deal like the one Hicks and Gillett went into I can’t see it containing anything too unreasonable. A right to first refusal on any sale is pretty certain to be in there, but time limits surely must be included.

    I can’t think of a likely way out of it for Gillett if Hicks gives him the money.

    This 90-day limit, if its accurate, if it’s actually ticking down, isn’t there for decorative reasons. It’s there to give one partner a reasonable time to match an offer and so avoid being in business with someone he doesn’t like or doesn’t feel is right.

    There’s probably even a clause that says an offer made to one partner must equally be made to both partners, although DIC wouldn’t exactly be being forced to do that in this case.

    It’s even crossed my mind that Gillett thought Hicks would never find the money, was waiting for the time to tick down, then got a tip-off it was all in place and needing just the dotting and crossing off ‘i’s and ‘t’s, hence the Canadian radio interview and the re-emergence from effective exile.

    Talk of DIC and Gillett using legal loopholes to counter any veto were doing the rounds before this 90-day period was even supposed to have begun. One theory was DIC making an offer with stupid clauses in it, clauses that Hicks couldn’t reasonably match, not even for money reasons. If DIC’s offer is £200m + three rounds of golf with the Sheikh of Dubai I can’t seem Hicks matching that! And I actually couldn’t see it standing up in court either, if they chose to go down that road.

    What happens if Hicks does make an offer matching the DIC one? Is Gillett allowed to turn both offers down rather than accept the Hicks one? We don’t know, surely you’d think the invitation to buy would be binding on Gillett. But this is the only way I can see him being able to reject a Hicks offer – to also reject the DIC offer. Which leaves us back where we are.

    I think (I could be wrong) it’s universally accepted that a stand-off between Gillett and Hicks on who would crack first due to financial pressures would see Hicks the winner.

    I really don’t think Hicks is (planning on) borrowing the extra money. I think he’s talking to RBS to restructure the bits he already he has with them, maybe to add a touch more to cover the small percentage to take him over the 50% mark.

    If DIC would have accepted 49% ownership based on 49% control I think we’d already have a solution. Whether we liked it or not is another matter.

    But as Leanne says, how much control or say would you want for an investment of in the region of £200m? Hicks wants to call all the shots from what we can see, but his new partners would want certain safeguards of course.

    As I see it we’ve got two deals at least here to be put in place.

    The first one is for Hicks to set up a deal to share ownership of a group that will eventually (if it works out for him) own 100% of “Kop” which owns LFC. It may also own 100% of the Rangers and the Stars, or it may be purely LFC. For argument’s sake, let’s call it Hick-Kop and not laugh at the way it sounds.

    At this point Hick-Kop has assets of 50% of “Kop” and £200m cash, set against whatever the debt is for Hicks’ half, give or take any reshuffling that’s been done.

    Hick-Kop wants to use the £200m to try and buy out Gillett.

    That amount of deal-making is surely quite complex legally. Protections need to be in place to safeguard the £200m in case Gillett does somehow resist. Lawyers will make a lot of cash and take a lot of time.

    But until that kind of detailed agreement is in place I suppose Hicks can’t actually go to Gillett with the cheque.

    And that’s the second deal, which may or may not have to include an agreement to pay Gillett a profit later, and who knows what other conditions.

    Whatever the mechanics of it are, I genuinely think the loans will be something we don’t hear much about again if Hicks wins. It doesn’t mean they’ll not be there, we just won’t hear about them.

  13. Pierre – thanks for the link, I’ve just read it very quickly indeed. It’s an interesting take. But I still can’t see any way that Gillett could sell to DIC if Hicks was willing to match an offer. There are so many ifs and buts. One of them being Hicks getting the finance.

  14. Cracking article this!

    http://www.independent.ie/sport/soccer/liverpools-grand-old-duke-promises-the-soon-moon-and-stars-1353435.html

    Liverpool’s grand old Duke promises the soon, moon and stars

    If Tom Hicks wanted to ensure his audacious leap from Liverpool’s villain to folk hero was successful, he could have added one more offence to the list of Rick Parry’s failings he circulated last week.

    “Rick says I stand on my record,” Hicks said in his breathtaking Sky Sports interview, before going on to demolish that record with some precision. But he could have sealed his position as a man of the people by pointing out that the greatest of Parry’s many blunders during his time as Liverpool’s chief executive was to bring Tom Hicks to the club.

    Hicks could have mentioned his old pal George Gillett too, just to sound a little less preposterous, but the essential argument would have been the same: Tom Hicks wants to fire Rick Parry for incompetence and the trump card in this argument is Tom Hicks himself.

    He was going for broke anyway, so it would have been worth a try. Hicks was dealing in the big lies, the ones that seem like the truth. His words were the truth as bulls*** which is the only kind of truth Tom Hicks appears to understand.

    Last week’s performances were the displays of a master and he may now only be regretting that he didn’t go further. In some ways, of course, he did, coming out against the idea of co-ownership even though he remains merely a co-owner alongside Gillett, the pair increasingly resembling the Duke and the Dauphin from Huckleberry Finn.

    For a long time, it has been said that Liverpool needed to change, but this was probably not what they had in mind. Last weekend, the former chairman David Moores went public in a baffling display of self-pity in which he failed to explain why he had been persuaded to sell to the Duke and Dauphin in the first place, except for a plaintive cry.

    “I believed these fellas,” he said, sounding like a fella himself watching his savings float away down the riverbank. “I believed everything they said to me and they said it all again to the fans via the media and you can judge for yourselves whether they kept their promises.” Except Moores walked away with £80m and would presumably have been given a few more details than the Liverpool supporter turning on the main evening bulletin on Sky Sports News for his information.

    But now Moores is distressed and Liverpool prepare for a Champions League semi-final against Chelsea with the club making the occasional power struggle at Stamford Bridge look like The Waltons.

    It’s hard to know where to start when pointing out what was wrong with Hicks’ plans to reform Liverpool for the simple reason that there is nowhere to start. It is a brilliant plan, perfect in every aspect and, in highlighting the weakness of Parry, it places on the record the areas in which Liverpool have failed over the past ten years. It is a sensational plan but there is only one thing wrong with Tom Hicks’ plan, apart from Tom Hicks: he doesn’t have the money to implement it.

    Seen through this rather important prism, every word of fact he uttered last week was not the whole truth. When Hicks talked about buying out George Gillett and said he hoped to be in a position to do this “soon” he veered dangerously close to the truth. Soon. There is a lot of soon with Hicks, a lot of things that will happen one day on the Big Rock Candy Mountain. Liverpool, he points out, should have built a stadium by now and he’s right. But Hicks and Gillett should have started building one too. So far they can only offer an end date for the stadium but can’t say when it will start which if you’re searching for a definition of bulls*** may be as close to it as you’re going to get. Because you can’t know when something is going to be finished unless you know when it’s going to start, unless you are not dealing in reality, but in illusion and sophistry.

    Soon, soon. Soon Tom will be rolling out his “mighty purty pictures” of a stunning steel construction and asking fans to get excited about a stadium he can’t afford to build. Soon, Tom will be talking about the players he wants Benitez to buy, forgetting that he wanted to fire him this time last year when the manager criticised the transfer policy. “We talk and talk and never finish.”

    Benitez was talking about a problem that had begun under Parry but which has been taken to new levels under Hicks. Liverpool talk about everything now and Hicks is as free to talk as he has ever been because he has no money to implement these sparkling plans. He has been from Tucson to Tucumcari, Tehachapi to Tonopah and while he’s still willing, Dallas Tom can’t find the funds for his beautiful dreams.

    So it is just a seduction, part of the game and this is where Tom Hicks has taken Liverpool, this is how far they have sunk: when Rick Parry says it is no longer just his job to remain at Liverpool, but his duty, he is right. Parry, a man who has done more damage to Liverpool’s interests over a long period of time than any other employee, with the possible exception of Emile Heskey, understands what is at stake.

    Benitez will probably walk away in the summer after a season which can only be viewed as a triumph given how he has been systematically undermined.

    The Duke and the Dauphin are drifting down the Mersey instead of the Mississippi, slugging it out as they provide a personal masterclass on how American corporate governance has pushed the world into a recession.

    Hicks is right to say Parry hasn’t done his job. He is right to say that the club would benefit commercially if Parry were to leave and he is right to point out Parry’s failure to sign the players Benitez needed. But Liverpool need Parry right now. He is Liverpool’s past and that is a lot better than a Tom Hicks future.

    dionfanning@gmail.com

  15. leanne, raju and other legal minds here:
    From what you know of ownership agreements in general and any specifics you may have gleaned from media reports and speculation on the one between G&H in particular…

    (a) if Hicks knocks on Gillett’s door to buy his shares before the end of May, is he obliged to offer for the full 50% or does he have the right to purchase a lesser amount (surely an unattractive option for Gillett as he would be hard-pressed to find a buyer for the remaining shares, given that the buyer would be subjugated to the majority shareholder, Hicks)?

    (b) to invoke the to-be-verified 90-day first-right-of-refusal clause, would Gillett be obliged to disclose to Hicks how much DIC offered for his shares and then abide by that amount, even if Hicks met it and DIC were willing to increase their offer after that?

    and (c) are there any precedents in this type of scenario where partner A refused to sell their shares to partner B, and partner B was able to drag out court challenges to this refusal into the courts for a prolonged period of time? In other words, could Hicks conceivably delay the limbo through the summer or even longer if he wanted to further challenge Gillett’s decision at the end of May to sell to DIC?

  16. Jim, a fair bit of what you say seems to make sense (to me anyway) but not all of it. For example I don’t think a slight restructuring of Hicks’s loans with RBS to give him enough to nudge above 50% is really an option unless the Kop Holdings pre-emption clause has some very unusual wording in it. My belief is that Gillett would have every right to insist that Hicks match DIC’s offer for the full 50% within the allowed time and if not then Gillett can sell the full 50% to DIC when that time expires. If Hicks can’t match DIC’s offer within 3 months he can’t really have any complaints legally about Gillett selling the full 50% to DIC at that price and would be entitled to insist on (say) one share being sold to him so that DIC only got 49%.

    It seems hard to avoid the conclusion (by any rational legal analysis) that Hicks has to put an awful lot of money where his mouth is in the near future to avoid this outcome. I’m not sure I follow your logic as to how Hicks can raise that kind of money just by forming a Group. There are basically two obvious options. One is to bring in a new equity partner or partners to take over GG’s role but this would involve those partners investing £200 million in total for 50% control which Hicks won’t allow. If they invest close to £200 million for slightly less than 50% control then they are paying a huge amount of money to be subservient to Hicks and so would have to have enormous faith in his ability to generate returns despite all the existing debt and further debt to be incurred. The business case for this looks dubious to say the least. I’m not sure that Hicks’s recent conduct is any great advertisement for him as a 50% partner much less a majority partner. I think any businessman would have to be out of his mind to accept this proposal but unless someone does then surely it does have to be a scenario where Hicks borrows the money and this seems equally improbable as a business case.

    You mentioned also about simply crossing our fingers and wishing a certain outcome being of no effect in securing that outcome. Thats fair enough but I don’t subscribe to the theory that the fans have no power in this dispute. Hicks is going to all this trouble to win us over precisely because he knows that at this point public perception and impression may be decisive in his attempts to secure financial backing. Therefore we do have the chance to play a role in the outcome of this dispute and I intend to make maximum use of it. I won’t be crossing my fingers but I will be down at Anfield on Tuesday night with a banner and set of lungs to make sure it is an embarrassing public rejection of Mr Hicks in front of the watching World.

  17. Stephen – that article was like a long, clear glass of pure cool water on a horrible, hot, dusty day.

  18. I still think that the Elephant in the room is the Glazers hostile takeover of United and Hicks is just as aggressive.

  19. Sorry Guys, that crucial last sentence in my first paragraph is missing a rather important “not” as in “would not be entitled”.

    Stephen, I posted that last post before reading your questions but quite by chance I think I’ve already answered your question (a) as best I can.

    I think the answer to your question (b) is a fairly unqualified yes. Gillett would have to disclose this figure and then stick to it (I know this is not what you want to hear but I’m pretty sure about it).

    In answer to your para (c) I think if Hicks can legitimately match Gillett’s offer within the allowed period Gillett would have to sell and would scarcely have a leg to stand on if he didn’t. However, as I say, this would be dependant on Hicks finding some sap with more money than sense in the current economic climate. Gillett would certainly not be obliged to sell to Hicks for a lesser sum that did not match DIC and this may be the best Hicks can realistically manage given his apparent lack of means. This is just an outsider’s opinion but I hope it helps.

  20. Sorry Julie, those were your questions I was answering not Stephen’s. I really should go and have a lie down !!!

    Stephen – awesome post mate. A great reminder of why the order in the departure lounge should read (1) Hicks (2) Gillett and (3) Parry. For now though Parry should stay.

  21. I’m sure I’m not the first to spot the fact that our benign co-owner Mr Thomas O Hicks intends to attend Tuesday CL semi final at Anfield, but if anyone missed it here here is the heartening news that I’m sure will truly inspire our beloved team.
    Lets all give him a good old fashioned Scouse welcome – one he’ll remember for the rest of his life.

  22. ST. Chris, the Sheik in that is interested in Roma is Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum not Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

    Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum (born 1958) is the chairman of Emirates Airline.

    He is also International Life Vice President of Chelsea Football Club (Chelsea F.C.).

    He is the son of former Emir (Ruler) of Dubai Sheikh Saeed bin Maktoum Al Maktoum, the brother of former Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum and uncle of the current Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. He is a graduate of the University of Denver.

    Story from Gazzetta dello Sport -20 April 2008 –

    Raffreddato, apparently, the interest of George Soros, continue to overlap items on interessamenti, real or alleged, the majority shareholder of Rome. The royal family of Dubai, through the Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum know ago from Beijing, where the Sheikh himself has been involved in race skeet the first test of the World Cup shooting in flight, which is concerned giallorossa acquisition of the company. “I do not follow much football – says Saeed Al Maktoum, fourth at the World Cup, in a note distributed by the Italian Federation archery flight – but I know that my family wants to treat the Roma, and there have been contacts: will say that Italy will come more often than do already. ” The Gentlemen of the United Arab Emirates would have stepped forward, as reported by Ansa, through their fund investments after the failure of negotiations carried out for the purchase of Liverpool. The great passions of Al Maktoum, the UAE sheikhs are horses and plates. Amano and attend the Italy, Umbria in particular for installations shooting and equestrian paths endurance.
    AL MAKTOUM SPEAKS – In recent days, also in Beijing, was asked Ahmed, owner of Emirates airlines for sponsors and then, if it was true that his family, the Al Maktoum, was concerned the purchase of Rome. He replied with a clever smile: “I like football, the love Italy”. Today Saeed was clearer. “You know that my sport is archery flight (it qualified for the Games, editor’s note), but my nephew Mohamed loves football and was very interested in Rome. Family is always united if there is a great thing to achieve like this. come often in Italy, it would be one more reason, then in Rome there are plants archery excellent flight. My friend Luciano Rossi is the chairman of the Italian Federation of Tyre to Flight and is a fan of football, only Juventus cattail that: I can not get close to the stage when Rome will be played against Juve. “

  23. Jofrad – Oh really? I can’t WAIT to see what reception he gets. My God, it comes to something when I will be tuning in to the (usually hideous) TV “build up” just to see how that goes….

    Once the whistle goes I won’t be concerned with the fat one (Hicks, not Lampard). But let’s hope Tom is in no doubt about his pathetic efforts to be everyone’s favourite Li-vur-poool supporter by then.

  24. Rafa sure as hell won’t like Hicks showing up. This sort of b*llshit is going to drive Rafa out no matter how much he supposedly gets on with Hicks.

    For all his hard work this season to be undermined by a big Ego?

  25. You have to wonder what Sky’s agenda is here. Big picture of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and inserting his uncle’s quotes about not following football as if spoken by Mohammed.

    It’s extremely clear from the Gazzetta dello Sport article they quote that its not him.

  26. Stephen: as someone who is in Dubai and speaks Italian, I can confirm what you just replied to ST. Chris. This is shoddy work and a lazy and deviously misleading headline (at best) from Sky. If you wanted to go further, you could easily suspect Sky of having an agenda…

  27. Sometimes I read these posts and see – quite clearly – there are several people out there who are SO much more talented, insightful and skilled in terms of marketing, journalistic analysis, business, language and legal acumen than the people we currently have in charge.

    Obviously by no means not everyone on this site(me for instance!) but…Makes you think eh?

  28. Martin – I’m a bit pushed for time so I can’t spend as long as I’d like replying, but I’ll try to. If I miss an important point kick me and I’ll try to answer.

    The “give Hicks a chance” idea is probably more a case of “if Hicks gets control then we can either carry on attacking him and do the club undoubted damage, or give Hicks a chance.”

    I keep asking people what they’d do if Hicks won, and as I’ve said above I still believe the chance of him “winning” is very realistic, or very plausible. Personally I think we’d have to listen to what he said, bite our tongues and see if it adds up, before waiting to see if the actions match the words. I really don’t see what good it would do our club if we went into the summer (theoretically) with Rafa happy with his new-found powers and him willing to work happily with whatever budget he is given but in the background the protests continue, without anyone willing to listen. Listen, then see what you believe, but listen. Give him a chance, if you like what you here, but keep a close eye of course. A very close eye. That’s what I’m trying to say here.

    And if DIC take over then it’s got to be a similar approach. I think it’s safe to say that the majority (not all) of those who want Hicks out trust DIC to do the best. Well we’ve still got to ask, still got to listen carefully. Give them a chance, but not without keeping a close eye on them.

    I know a lot of Reds aren’t keen on this. If you deeply despise someone you are always going to find it hard to deal with them, course you are.

    I don’t think protests will make him stop buying the club. I still believe he’ll do that regardless, it’s the other issues that will stop him. But even if it really is just a load of false and empty promises, he does seem to be listening. He’s talking about taking the debt off the club. It might just be an exercise in paper shuffling and make little difference, it might not even happen, but he’s heard what has been said. Don’t misunderstand what I’m saying there, because I’m not saying I believe all the stuff said the other day. I’m just prepared to say, in the event he wins, “Ok, I’ll give you benefit of the doubt, now show me…”

    As you say, that exercise with Sky was an attempt to win fans over, no matter how badly people thought it was done or how false it all seemed. I really don’t think anyone can say he doesn’t realise what people think of him! He knows, and how he knows. But if that was going to make him leave then he’d have gone already.

    So does our voice not matter in the future? I think it does. I think it’s different to trying to force him out.

    At the moment he’s not just up against 99% of fans or whatever the figure would be, he’s up against Parry, Gillett, DIC and Sepp Blatter. If he takes control he can ignore Blatter the way we all would normally, Parry, Gillett and DIC will be gone and he can concentrate on the fans.

    I think the exercise the other day was more part of a long-term aim than something he thought would influence the actual takeover attempt.

    It’s in his best interests to get the fans back on side one way or other if he does take over. I think the most recent shows of anger from fans are more down to the fear he’s actually getting close to winning his fight than against anything new he’s done. The Parry letter would have been cheered from the rooftops had it happened two days after Athens, and had it got GG’s name on it too. The brand-new mug and bodywarmer would have been laughed at like “Man Ham” had it happened last June. Although the use of an open fire in Texas in June may have stretched things too far.

    The Parry letter backfired. The SSN slot backfired. Tom Jnr’s Sandon trip backfired. All can possibly be said to have been done with fans’ voices ringing in ears. Especially the last one.

    If you allow for a moment to imagine that he does hear what fans say, that he does at least listen, can you see the difference between demanding he sells something that is legally his at what he sees as below its true value, and asking him to try and at least run this possession with us in mind?

    Giving him a chance, if he takes over, isn’t the same as forgiving him for what’s been done. It’s literally a case of accepting that we’ve then got a choice of carrying the turmoil on for what could be years or seeing if he’s able to deliver anything at all that we want. What good does it do us to help ensure he can’t deliver anything we want?

    Re the debt. I agree with what you are saying – it was classic evasive answering of a question. Whoever asked it should have been sharp enough to press him further, but they didn’t for some reason. But it was Gillett who said it, not Hicks. You could argue Hicks should have stepped in and clarified but I don’t know if that’s something reasonable to expect. Gillett should have been honest and open from the off. It might even have been a pre-prepared answer, agreed with both of them. But Rick Parry and David Moores should have been asking that question first anyway.

    Wasn’t it Hicks who first admitted the club would have to pay the interest? Not that it’s much of a bullet point to stick under “good points”.

    This whole “Hicks promised there would be no debt on the club” is made up of a number of issues. The first is that it was a promise, when it wasn’t, the second is that Hicks said it, when he didn’t. The third is as you say that they did put debt on the club.

    In terms of defending Hicks. Well by definition I suppose anyone who points out that an attack on someone is inaccurate is defending that person. This all falls into the camp of anything said against Hicks is fair game, we’re to ignore for now the issues with the others because it distracts from the aim of getting Hicks out, and we’ll ask DIC questions later, after they get in.

    I can’t believe as Liverpool fans we’re actually prepared to use what we know are false accusations to add weight to what might or might not already be weighty enough on its own. Why do we need to use the stuff that isn’t true against him? Is it because we’re not quite sure our case holds up? Guilty by association is another way of looking at it, and again we know that this is wrong.

    It’s the sort of thing that the tabloids do.

    To be honest, I don’t fault most people for doing it. Because you hear an influential voice telling you this, it fits in with your existing anger, you don’t think to check it, and it sticks. But if someone later on points out it’s not quite true, I don’t see how we can say it’s OK to carry on using it.

    This might give you an idea of why I think it’s wrong (the bit about the ambulance) – http://www.ttwar.net/articles/story.php?id=90

    We can’t complain in future when we get treated that way, if we’re happy to do it ourselves for our own ends.

    And I find it frustrating how many people we normally respect and would normally expect not to use these tactics are happily using them now.

    What you say about the debt next boils down to one simple fact in my view. Parry and Moores, with their expensive advisors, could see quite clearly what the situation was. Two men, borrowing £300m, to buy a club, and with no plans to pay the interest on it themselves out of the goodness of their hearts. And yes, it’s a good question, why didn’t Moores borrow the money? The point is, we are constantly throwing this debt issue at the owners as if they deceived us all when in fact it was pretty much all there in black and white.

    We shouldn’t have let them in, those of us who were able to choose. Not just Moores and Parry either, but every shareholder, including Steve Morgan. ITV were probably the only people it didn’t matter to, their only concern was the share price.

    “You also blame Gillett again for this being on the club, are you saying Hicks wouldn’t have used a loan to buy the club or would have found funding so that no loan was in place?” – Two issues there. One, the loan, two, where it was held. I don’t think there was ever any other idea in mind than to take out a loan – but as I said, this was the case from day one and never hidden. As for where it was held, I was led to believe a good while ago that the main reason for the issues over refinancing was down to Gillett being unable to get the securities in place. The impression I got was that Gillett was hoping the whole debt could go onto the club so he didn’t have to find so much security. What he did find took him until the end of January to get in place. Was it always the secret plan to load debt onto the club’s books or was it brought in as an idea because of the credit crunch’s impact on Gillett? The impression is that Gillett had to try and get some of the debt off his own back and onto the club’s. Hicks wasn’t in that position.

    Hicks reducing the debt to nil? Did he say that? I agree, how can he? Over 30 years maybe. If the bit he gets from Gillett is bought by investors without them using loans then we’re in half the debt of now. But that’s an “if” again. And they aren’t putting the money in just so they can get their name listed in the match programme. But to be honest if anyone expected money to go into the club without some having to go back out at some point then, well…

    I don’t think you’re having a go mate, and I hope it doesn’t sound like I’m having one back! I appreciate the thought and time you’ve put into writing all that.

    It’s far too easy to condemn someone for the wrong reasons, just because you want to make sure they suffer for whatever else it was they did. I think that is actually one thing that is very much against the “ Liverpool Way”. There’s plenty of ammo to use against Hicks, and probably plenty more to come.

    To be honest though, overall, I think we’re all shouting and arguing for nothing at the moment. As I say, Hicks will get in if he can get the money, and DIC will get in if he can’t. The other option is things staying as they are which in my view is by far the worst one.

  29. Everyone is saying Hicks is strapped for cash!! Which he is, But there is nothing to say that someone hasn´t come up with the Money and given it to him, He “Donates” to His buddy Bush, whats to say someone will return him the favour and “Donate” to him, and that after the takeover they would get a percentage of the club…Hicks is saying that he HAS the money and he will make “Goerge, a Generous offer, one he can´t refuse”, Alarm bells should be ringing…What happens when he “Offers” Gillett the money and Gillett refuses, does that restart the 90 day agreement again

  30. I heard a rumour on BBC radio Merseyside. Ben the Red who does the football fans football phone in on a Monday said that he heard that David Moores had accepted DIC’s bid for the club, but as shareholders ITV had a right to look at the other bid on the table. So it was not actually David Moores who ballsed up the original bid.

  31. Jim, you’re argument still doesn’t account for why Moores, Gillett & Parry appear to dislike Hicks so much? Why because Hicks wants the best for the club and…..??

  32. Jim I agree with you. One owner no matter who, is a million times better than it is now. I am getting sick and frustrated by all this nonsense. The one positive from all this is the added value we get for our support? What I mean is, not only do we have the joy of watching our beloved club but we also get the entertainment of this ongoing drama which unfolds each day with a new and intriguing twists, and also keeps us glued to LFC live to see if what new sound bites have been leaked to the press.

  33. Jofrad: please tell me this is a wind-up! Where did you read/hear the mind-numbingly disgusting news that the tall one is planning to atttend Tuesday’s match? Is his head wedged so firmly up his own backside that he can’t see how detrimental this could be to the focus on the team and also that it will do zero (less than zero…negative a billion less than zero, in fact) for his I’m-a-good-guy campaign?

  34. Julie, i believe it was said on Sky Sports this morning on the Sunday Supplement. But I really would have my doubts!! Surely he’s not stupid enough to undermine the team’s build up in that fashion.

  35. Quick question Leanne – do you know who actually owns the various “Kop” holding companies?

    Is it Messrs Gillett and Hicks, or is it their companies, for example Hicks Holdings?

    Assuming there’s this long chain of companies between LFC and Hicks’ own wallet, if Hicks sells a big enough stake in one of those companies sitting above the “Kop” companies, the company that sits immediately above “Kop” can then one way or other exercise its rights under the pre-emption agreement.

    RBS were mentioned by him the other day, which everyone assumed meant more loans, but I just wondered if it was more a case of paying off the £245m “Kop” owes now and replacing it with a smaller loan, representing the Hicks half. The original loan was with RBS (and Wachovia) so I wondered if that was where this was coming from.

    I see what you mean about how improbable all this is. But it’s also part of it that there’s the improbability of him holding out so long when he knows he has no chance of success, purely in the hope of upping a bid by DIC. It might be misplaced on his part, but it seems he is very, very confident he can get the finance. Are we assuming he’s too arrogant to realise he can’t get the finance?

    What was it, two months ago, not sure, but the club bought the other half of the offal for £15m or whatever it was? Other than it being part of an elaborate bluff, it doesn’t seem like the act of someone looking to clear off as soon as possible for profit. Maybe it’s not a relevant point, maybe it makes no difference because it’s still £15m on the club’s books whether it’s pounds or kilobytes, but it’s something to consider.

    I see what mean about the confidence someone would have in joining with him in an investment of that type. This is where I wondered what kinds of safeguards could be put in place.

    That you’ve said about trying to win us over, I see your point. I can understand him trying with the SSN interview, but to come to the game on Tuesday he knows he’ll get a negative reception. He’d have to be totally stupid (cue obvious replies) to come to the game if his reception would impact his hopes of raising money. Maybe it’s a sign that he already knows he’s got the finance that he’s now willing to come to a game!

    _______________

    ST. Chris – I hadn’t seen that. Why’s it always Roma when our owners or potential owners are linked with buying other clubs?
    It was, as Stephen said, not the DIC Sheikh but his relative. Using babelfish type translations is never something we should rely on, but he is talking about the DIC Sheikh when he mentions his “nephew Mohamed” loving football. It does say “was” interested in Roma, not “is” too.

    ______________

    Just noticed Charles A’s contribution – thanks for that!

    _____________

    Right, I really must get something done!

  36. Stephen: how I would dearly love to believe you’re right, but if we gauge our skepticism according to the tall one’s beligerent stupidity to the impact of his actions on our club, we’re in deep deep trouble.

    (ps – sounds like Sky is really working overtime to whack the club behind the knees – RED CARD for Sky!)

  37. (So much for getting something done!)
    Anthony – I’ve heard that said before, for some time, that ITV insisted on looking at the other offer. In fact ITV get special mentions in the offer document about time limits on being able to accept other bids and so on. But DIC actually had exclusivity for a while, I believe, and so could have pretty much made their bid without opposition. I admit not to fully understanding the rules there, because I also thought that once exclusivity ended another bid couldn’t be made for 6 months by the same people.

    Edward – I don’t think I’ve said Hicks wants what’s best for the club. I don’t also think that means he deliberately wants to hurt the club. But, I don’t know why they hate Hicks so much. It’s a question I keep asking. I don’t feel that there have been significant changes between takeover and now to warrant such levels of hatred! Moores probably trusts Parry, so I suppose it’s Parry we should ask. I would like to hear him justify the £298m debt at the outset. Gillett, well he was a party to it all so I can only guess his dislike of Hicks is down to a grudge, or a bigger profit from DIC.

    Anthony – I still think this might have to be decided by some centre-circle wrestling or a game of poker.
    And thanks for the link to lfclive (it should already be listed on here actually).

    Julie – Hicks’ appearance at Anfield was mentioned in the NOTW, don’t know if it was mentioned anywhere else.

  38. Cheers Jim,
    I phrased it poorly, I didn’t mean that you’d said it yourself, I was just trying to flush out that a division of some sort had occurred and would it not be very easy for Moores and Parry to jump to Hicks side and push Gillett out.

    But they don’t.

    Hicks says extra revenue from China we all agree.
    Hicks says new stadium we all agree.
    Hicks says no debt we all agree.

    In particular why would David Moores not support this.

  39. Jim – We would probably be better of going in for a medival jousting tournament, like the ones they used to do to prove their worthiness for the maiden’s hand. You put on a number of events designed to test the contestants:-
    1 – Love for the club.
    2 – Their courage (we don’t want any cowards now do we)
    3 – Ability to keep problems in the boardroom and not splashed all over the press on a daily basis.
    4 – A test of their honesty and integrity (no more pork pies).
    Whoever passes these tests would be right for LFC. The current owners fail at least three of these.
    We do the tests infront of the fans at Anfield so they can cheer and boo the contestants, as this will also be a test to see if the potential owners have the humility to own our one true love, LFC.

  40. I don’t want to start slagging Moores off now, but well, if I say too much about him I’ll be slagging him off! And it’s pretty much only my opinion anyway…

    I will maintain my view that Moores will always stand by Parry, and take Parry’s advice with little questioning.

    So, for Moores, read Parry really.

    (And that’s not slagging him off!)

    I’d like to hear Moores step out of Parry’s shadow and explain why they now seem to be so clearly 100% behind the moves to help DIC buy Gillett out.

  41. Jim,

    Thanks for taking the time to reply. In fact, yes, you did find time to reply.. I think your reply was about as long as the one I had written!

    anyway,

    Yes, i do agree that if he does get in charge, perhaps secretly, I would have to allow him his 2nd opportunity in his time at Anfield to actually carry out what he has promised. I have to say though that this would only be because we wouldn’t have any other choice! – As you say, what good does it do in the short term not to give him the chance and damage ourselves before seeing whether he is in fact capable. As i say though, the thing that worries me is past experience and our susceptibility if does get complete control. I just think that there would be little that could be done that wouldn’t damage the club too. For instance, if he took over, carried out zero of his promises and made a mess of it, probably the only tangible way to hurt him would be to boycott merchadise, etc. Like we discussed months ago, this would have to be very carefully organised and i am not sure its even feasible.

    I concur that in reality with the purchase costs of the stadium we should’ve perhaps realised what was going to happen. And the point you make about Moores and Parry is extremely signifcant. I have made the point on this blog before – how could they not have known that G&H would have to put debt onto the club in this way? The stupid thing is, and it is stupid in hindsight, not that many people had this realisation. I can clearly remember being at work the day that the DIC deal fell through and Gillett and Hicks were purportedly going to take over. I remember googling their names and reading about them on Wikipedia and thinking that they were financially inadequate compared to DIC. I remember wondering how 2 men whose combined fortune around 1 billion pounds, could be prepared to relinquish so much of it. But all the negative fears went away. Parry trumpeted their arrival, the press assault was initiated – THAT press conference where they implied that no debt would be put on the club and lets be honest, many people were impressed by that press conference. We were led to believe I guess that this was going to be an Anfield miracle to match the comeback in Instanbul. It makes me cringe when i think how gullible I have been!

    With this building of perception in mind, is it really any wonder that Hicks is opposed so much? Its because he absolutely shattered that dream with his revelations. And it s why for many, including myself, it will be very, very hard, if not impossible to win back our affection, because the difference between those implied promises and reality has been so great. Maybe Hicks has taken more stick than he should, or at least maybeGillett shouldve taken the same amount, because generally it was Hicks blowing the whistle.

    Anyway, whatever way you look at it, it has been a mess. I doubt that it would’ve been this bad under DIC. Maybe not the dream we all hope for, but could it be worse?! And by that logic i wish for a DIC takeover. You are right though one way or another the split has to end and a sole owner in place. Just hope it isn’t Hicks! lol.

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