Injuries, Ownership, and football too

When the international break arrived earlier this month, two things were pretty much expected to happen before Liverpool next played. Key injuries and lots of gossip about the club’s ownership situation.

Torres is about as key an injury as Liverpool can get, and although he got to watch Saturday’s comeback against Wigan from the Main Stand, he’ll be watching on TV when his current team-mates travel to face his former team-mates in Madrid. Liverpool are holding out some hope he’ll be fit to face Chelsea on Sunday, but it looks more likely he’ll miss the Stamford Bridge league clash for the second season in a row.

The absence of Torres for that match, out injured, was perhaps all that kept Liverpool from taking 3 points from what ended a 0-0 draw. It came at a sensitive time at the club – the ownership battle was in full rage, with Rafa’s future still fairly uncertain. And one Chelsea fan decided to use his position as a national newspaper reporter to put out a story that exploited this uncertainty, perhaps in the hope it would unsettle Rafa and his team.

As well as the uncertainties surrounding Rafa because of the overall ownership situation, and what was then still a fairly recent admission of an approach to Jurgen Klinsmann (more on him in a moment), results hadn’t been going too well. Fans were getting restless.

Liverpool’s previous league game had ended in a 3-0 win at home to Sunderland, but the scoreline flattered Liverpool, all the goals coming in the second half of a game that saw Jamie Carragher played at right-back. That win had followed dropped points in five successive league games, stretching back into December, that Liverpool had been expected to win:  draws against Manchester City, Wigan, Middlesbrough and Aston Villa leading into a defeat against West Ham. Eleven points dropped in five games – the same amount of points Liverpool would end the season away from top spot.

These were dark days, and included some FA Cup performances that no Liverpool player will look back on with pride, elimination against Barnsley coming the week after this Chelsea game.

Beasley

The Chelsea fan who seemed intent on unsettling Rafa and the team was Rob Beasley of the News of the World. He ran a story that it later transpired had come from an interview Rafa had given to a Spanish publication, El Mundo. Beasley introduced the quotes with words that would give most readers a different impression of what the quotes really said, and there seemed to be some extra quotes tacked onto the end. Then the News of the World’s editors and sub-editors added their bit – an “Exclusive” tag and a shockingly misleading headline: “It’s your fault – Benitez in new blast at owners.”

The story jumped out of the page as being fishy straight away, if for no other reason than the suggestion Rafa would give an exclusive to Beasley. Not long before this article Beasley had said on national television that Rafa “behaves at times like a petulant spoilt brat,” amongst other things.

We discussed this here before the game (see Perfect excuse or just a worried Chelsea fan?) but then so did Rafa, in his pre-match interview on Setanta. He stated that Beasley was lying, and compared the News of the World to its sister paper – boycotted since 1989 – saying: “It’s no surprise. Everybody in Liverpool knows that there are two newspapers that you cannot trust, this is one of them. He talks of it being an exclusive; but the journalist is lying. I was talking with the Spanish press – he was manipulating everything. So he’s lying.”

It was a passionate defence from Rafa, and he took it seriously enough that he appointed a solicitor soon after.

The issue seemed to fade away after that, Beasley confident that Rafa would be unable to touch him. Liverpool’s form improved, FA Cup exit apart, in fact the Reds have only lost one league since then, the farcical Steve Bennett v Mascherano game at Old Trafford.  But it seems that Rafa’s lawyer continued to pursue the matter, and got a result, of sorts, this weekend.

The News of the World had to apologise to Rafa.

It was hardly easy to find, but newspaper apologies rarely are. Under the headline “RAFA BENÍTEZ”, it simply said:

“ON February 10 we said Rafa Benitez had again blamed the club’s owners for ruining Liverpool’s title hopes last season.

“This report was based upon an interview Rafa gave to El Mundo, a Spanish newspaper, which was incorrectly translated.

“We accept that he neither blamed nor was disloyal to the owners and apologise to him for suggesting otherwise.”

Rafa is also believed to have received a certain amount of compensation.

It seems odd that the apology should appear one week before this season’s fixture. Will Beasley consider the matter is now closed, or is this going to turn into a battle? No doubt he’ll run any article by the paper’s lawyers first.

Dubai and Kraft

Also in Sunday’s paper was a story about the takeover at Anfield. The article began with a statement that Dubai’s Sheikh had “pulled out of a potential takeover deal.”

This was then qualified slightly, as “representatives from Dubai are ready to pull the plug on negotiations with Tom Hicks and George Gillett Jr.”

Monday’s Liverpool Echo disagreed: “Meanwhile, sources in the Middle East today indicated that Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s interest in Liverpool is unwavering. An offer remains on the table for the Reds but the ruler of Dubai is unwilling to pay any more than he believes the club is worth.”

Dubai, not DIC, made an offer to buy the club before the end of last season. How much the offer was actually for is hard to get a definitive answer to. It seems to be regularly referred to as a figure that would give Hicks and Gillett a profit of £50m each, with Hicks then said to be holding for twice that amount of profit. With debt totalling £350m currently owed to RBS, and the owners putting over £20m in each in cash to get that last lump of finance, any bid would need to be for £395m just to allow the owners to break even. That would represent an offer of £495m from Dubai, and a valuation of £595m from Hicks

However, with £105m of debt actually on the club itself, sometimes the figures seem to only include the debt from the holding companies upwards. Calculated that way a bid of £390m would represent a £50m profit each for Hicks and Gillett.

The story in the News of the World quoted £400m, but the fact it varies so much isn’t helped by their being not one single official quote from the current “Dubai” on their interest in Liverpool FC. The article also speaks of the new stadium as a £500m project, in fact the last price quoted for the stadium is £300m, and that was before recent falls in the price of steel and other construction costs. This was for the second US version of the stadium, the original version from the Texan architects being scrapped as being too expensive at £400m.

Dubai, or people speaking on their behalf, have been trying to spread the word for a couple of weeks now that their interest was coming to an end. Their offer was made five months ago and whatever its actual value it was not high enough to persuade Hicks to sell. Since the offer was made Hicks decided to postpone plans for a retail development in Texas, and then of course the new stadium in Stanley Park was postponed indefinitely, which suggested to some that Dubai’s predictions would soon come true.

As DIC, and later as a more generic “Dubai”, the Arabs have consistently and confidently predicted Hicks would be forced to sell the club. Their valuation of the club is the highest they feel they can pay and still be able to make a profit from it; they seem to believe that Hicks’ own valuation would eventually match theirs as his own financial desperation increased in the face of the world’s market’s turmoil.

But what seems to have often been forgotten is that as embarrassing it is for Hicks to shelve plans like the new stadium for a while, that’s still quite a few large steps away from the prediction of him being forced to sell the club to avoid ruin.

The claim in the paper that Dubai were about to throw the towel in, and the rumours claiming the same for the past few weeks, didn’t tie in with the fact that those people working for Dubai since this bid began are still working for Dubai. And not everyone who is getting information from that direction is being told they’re calling it a day. So is it something they’re spreading to see if it makes Hicks panic?

The same, in reverse, could be said about another rumour that has been around for a similar amount of time, which also got some press coverage on Sunday. Robert Kraft’s name has been getting whispered anew – along with another name – for the past couple of weeks, and it’s been a surprise it’s taken this long for the link to see light of day in black and white. The rumour has been suitably vague in terms of how much of a stake this interest would represent. Theories start out at a small share which would see £100m injected into the club as cash, passing through the idea of it being a 49% or 50% share which would end George Gillett’s time at the club, before hitting the idea of it being a full takeover.

They remain theories, because any truth to the story is being kept extremely close to the chests of those who know about it.

Piecing various hints and snippets together, Kraft would not be taking the club over alone, so if both Hicks and Gillett were to leave it would be a new consortium taking control.

The weekend story, in the Danish media initially, mentioned due diligence had begun.

Kraft spoke about buying into Liverpool in January, around the time when Hicks and Gillett were about to sign up for the refinance package. He said: “We haven’t ruled it out completely, but I’m worried a little bit. I want to be able to win whatever we do. But there are no rules in terms of spending on players.

“We would never want to be in a business where we couldn’t compete and right now some of the structure doesn’t allow you to compete on a level playing field.”

He recalled time he’d spent previously looking at buying into Liverpool FC: “I spent a lot of time with Mr Moores and his group in Liverpool and we know something about building an opportunity. The fan base in Liverpool is a lot like the fan base of the Patriots when we bought them. They are dedicated fans if you give them a quality product and they know you are doing their best to win.”

Further developments at the club today (Monday) suggest something really is about to happen – but whether the “something” will happen soon if at all really is open to debate.

And of course it’s perfectly plausible that this information is being leaked to see if it persuades Dubai to up their offer.

Klinsmann

With various people involved in the various attempts to change the ownership of the club in some way, it’s no surprise we’re getting different versions on what is happening.

The same applies in many ways when we talk about what the events were that would eventually lead to Jurgen Klinsmann being offered the job at Anfield should Rafa leave.

Whatever the circumstances, Liverpool fans were stunned to hear Klinsmann had been seriously considered for the job. He had no club managerial experience at all. His only job as a manager was a stint as manager of his national side. But that was a national side who’d qualified as hosts for the World Cup, playing every game at home, and not making it to the final. To most fans it was almost as ludicrous as hearing Howard Kendall’s name linked to the job at Anfield.

One extra worry is that although the owners can try and excuse their ignorance because they’re new to the game, Rick Parry and David Moores aren’t new to the game and don’t seem to have flagged up the obvious – to us – problems. George Gillett had the idea (he’d met Klinsmann prior to coming to Anfield), Tom Hicks went along with it (he says he double-checked his credentials on the net), but what were Moores and Parry thinking?

A few small voices suggested we’d been hard on Klinsmann, that he wasn’t as bad as we made out. To be fair we were speculating how bad he would be; we didn’t know for sure. Well the need to speculate is over now – he’s started his new job at Bayern, so how is he doing?

So far Bayern have had an awful start to the season.

They are currently lying 11th in the table, a weekend win over Karlsruhe their first in the league since mid-September.

They’ve got just 12 points from 8 games, compared to 20 points from 8 games at the same stage last season, before Klinsmann came along.

Klinsmann inherited a side that had just won the German League and Cup double a side that went to the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup, going out to the eventual tournament winners.

It’s not at all a comforting thought to imagine where Liverpool would be now had Klinsmann been given the job.

DIC, or Dubai, are said to have spoken to the manager universally despised by Liverpool fans, Jose Mourinho. This was during the bad spell Liverpool went through, and how far it would have gone is unlikely to ever be known. But the former Chelsea boss is already talking about coming back to England in a couple of years: “I have to win first. I like difficult things. After Inter I will return to England, but I want to win here first. I have a contract with Inter, but when that finishes I will definitely return to the Premier League, I like it a lot.” Is that the sound of seeds being sewn for a Sunday morning article next weekend?

On the field

Facts are so hard to come by when talking about the off-the-field happenings that it’s far better for the health to concentrate on what’s happening on the field. And what’s happening on the field is not exactly good for the health of anyone with a heart condition.

3-2 wins, after being 2-0 or 2-1 down, are great viewing for the neutral, or from the safety of an end-of-season DVD.  But during the game itself they make for worrying viewing, and Rafa will be doing all he can to try and make sure Liverpool don’t have to fight to come back from behind.

But that sounds like criticism, and with the start Liverpool have had to the season that seems unfair.

Luck is usually something that deserts us, but not always, as Istanbul showed. But luck alone doesn’t win games, and again like in Istanbul it’s hard to stop a team that are determined to win.

Why the determination isn’t there at 0-0 is something Rafa needs to work on, but after falling behind there’s no real way to fault Liverpool. Daniel Agger’s part in the first two goals on Saturday says a lot about the club this season. He made a mistake, he was perhaps being far too complacent, and Liverpool were behind. Then came the determination to get back into it, and to see a central defender set a goal up in that fashion was quite special. Sami Hyypia’s back on the bench breathing down his neck, so Agger knows he’s got to be on his game to keep his place now, let alone when Martin Skrtel comes back.

Competition for places is strong, and it seems that most of those facing that competition are prepared to wait for their chance rather than go around grumbling about it. Daniel Agger was reported to have had a little grumble about not being in the team, but seems to have been keeping his options open by not signing a new contract rather than getting his agent to offer him to other clubs.

If Liverpool can get a point against Atlético in midweek then they only need to win one of the last three games in the group to progress, and Rafa may choose to pick a team for Spain with one eye on London.

Chelsea and Liverpool are neck and neck on points; Chelsea’s rapidly expanding goal difference is all that’s keeping them above the Reds. Sunday’s game is big – a win for Liverpool would send confidence through the roof – but it’s not a title decider. By Sunday it’ll be billed as such, but it’s important for fans and players alike to not treat it like the winners will be champions. A defeat shouldn’t be the start of a run of poor form feeding on the depression from losing a game billed as even bigger than it was. But a win shouldn’t lead to a run of draws that had their roots in over-confidence from winning a game hyped up as the be-all and end-all of the season.

The clocks change next weekend, British “Summer” Time ends, and that’s when football usually starts to get really serious. Let’s hope Liverpool take the first points of winter.

30 thoughts on “Injuries, Ownership, and football too”

  1. A GREAT ARTICLE, ONCE AGAIN. I`M GLAD KLINSMAN DID NOT COME TO ANFIELD OTHERWISE WE COULD HAVE BEEN STRUGGLING LIKE SPURS? RAFA IN MY OPINION IS DOING A GREAT JOB. HE`S RIGHT THIS IS A TOUGH LEAGUE, TO WIN THE LEAGUE YOU HAVE TO TACKLE THE LIKES OF MAN UTD AND CHELSEA WHICH IS NOT EASY. I HOPE DUBAI DO COME IN, AS REPORTS SUGGEST THEY MIGHT BE INTRESTED IN EVERTON INSTEAD NOW? HOPE THAT AINT THE CASE! CLEARLY HICKS AND GILLET ARE UNCAPABLE OF HELPING THIS CLUB ANY FURTHER, SO THEY SHOULD DO THE BEST THING AND LEAVE.

  2. Hi Jim.

    Great article.

    But to the key sentence:

    “Further developments at the club today (Monday) suggest something really is about to happen – but whether the “something” will happen soon if at all really is open to debate.”

    Can you explain what these further developments are?

    Perhaps srutiny over the clubs books?

  3. we don’t want kraft we want dubai hicks you are nothing but a fat redneck we don’t want you we don’t want gillett and we definatly don’t want kraft sell to dubai and get the hell out off our club

  4. I agree with the health problems associated with being a Liverpool supporter this season.

    There were once again many positives to take from the Wigan game, including Rafas substitutions IMHO.

    But let’s not kid ourselves, this sort of wobbliness can’t continue much longer and I hope Rafa is busy rooting out whatever is the cause of it.

    My biggest problem is that we should be winning games in the first half. Otherwise, at this rate there’ll be nothing left in the tank come April.

    It’s just NOT a very smart way of doing things!

  5. A good read Jim, thanks.

    Interesting. There’s been too much propaganda and hearsay to believe anything will happen until the moment it has, but I remain hopeful that something might happen in the near future.

    On the ptich it has been a great start, long may it continue!

  6. Also interesting to see whether this has any founding…

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/football/premier_league/liverpool/article4988378.ece

    “Owners launch bid to find buyer for Liverpool Tony Evans and Helen Power
    Tom Hicks and George Gillett Jr, the Liverpool owners, have signalled that they are ready to sell their stake at Anfield after engaging Merrill Lynch, the investment bank, to find a buyer for the club.

    The Americans need to restructure their £350million loan with the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), which expires on January 25. However, the bank, at present under public ownership because of the credit crunch, has adopted a policy of restructuring loans only in extremely favourable conditions. While discussions with Gillett and Hicks have not yet opened, their circumstances are not believed to fall into this category. The owners have always denied that the club were available for sale but the latest move signals an acceptance that the American duo’s future control is unsustainable.

    Although the Liverpool owners denied yesterday that Merrill Lynch has been engaged, The Times understands that auditors looked at Liverpool’s books last week with a view to finding a buyer. So far, the search appears to be unsuccessful.

    Sheikh Mohammed, the Crown Prince of Dubai, has maintained a longstanding interest in acquiring Liverpool but has balked at the price tag set by the American pair, which is upwards of £550 million.

    The owners admitted last month that plans for a new stadium in Stanley Park have been put on hold indefinitely. RBS is bracing itself for a campaign of protest by the Spirit of Shankly, a Liverpool supporters’ union.

    An offer from Dubai of £500million has been on the table for many months, but there has been minimal contact between the Sheikh’s representative, Amanda Staveley, and the American camp over the past few months.

    Rumours of interest from Robert Kraft have swirled around Anfield in the past few weeks but it is not believed that the owner of the New England Patriots American football team is a viable bidder for Liverpool.

  7. Interesting article by the Times:

    Owners launch bid to find buyer for Liverpool Tony Evans and Helen Power
    Tom Hicks and George Gillett Jr, the Liverpool owners, have signalled that they are ready to sell their stake at Anfield after engaging Merrill Lynch, the investment bank, to find a buyer for the club.

    The Americans need to restructure their £350million loan with the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), which expires on January 25. However, the bank, at present under public ownership because of the credit crunch, has adopted a policy of restructuring loans only in extremely favourable conditions. While discussions with Gillett and Hicks have not yet opened, their circumstances are not believed to fall into this category. The owners have always denied that the club were available for sale but the latest move signals an acceptance that the American duo’s future control is unsustainable.

    Although the Liverpool owners denied yesterday that Merrill Lynch has been engaged, The Times understands that auditors looked at Liverpool’s books last week with a view to finding a buyer. So far, the search appears to be unsuccessful.

    Sheikh Mohammed, the Crown Prince of Dubai, has maintained a longstanding interest in acquiring Liverpool but has balked at the price tag set by the American pair, which is upwards of £550 million.

    The owners admitted last month that plans for a new stadium in Stanley Park have been put on hold indefinitely. RBS is bracing itself for a campaign of protest by the Spirit of Shankly, a Liverpool supporters’ union.

    An offer from Dubai of £500million has been on the table for many months, but there has been minimal contact between the Sheikh’s representative, Amanda Staveley, and the American camp over the past few months.

    Rumours of interest from Robert Kraft have swirled around Anfield in the past few weeks but it is not believed that the owner of the New England Patriots American football team is a viable bidder for Liverpool.

  8. “Tom Hicks and George Gillett Jr, the Liverpool owners, have signalled that they are ready to sell their stake at Anfield”

    This is not the beginning of the end but it may just be the end of the beginning. But, and this is a big but, I’ve seen talk of this before in the Times so I’ll take it with a pinch of salt until it’s confirmed by the club.

  9. Apparently Ray, Tony Evans is chief sports writer I heard on the forum, maybe that adds more credence to the claims. Then again, maybe not!

  10. I’m considering launching a lawsuit against Liverpool Football Club to cover medical expenses as a result ot the strokes they’ve caused me over the last two matches. Maybe I should time it so that H&G have to pay me out of all the money they’ll earn from (could it finally be?) the sale of the club.

    A question for Jim and anyone else with financial nous who can jump in on this… If the Times article is correct (oh, please, let Christmas come early this year), who gets to decide the winning bid if there are multiple contenders? H&G or Merrill Lynch? Is it a case of who comes up with the most money, or could (for example) ML say that buyer X has made a perfectly reasonable offer and call off the search? Or do H&G have the privilege of sitting back in their chairs, feet up on the Anfield boardroom table, and wait around until they get whatever overinflated number they deem suitable?

  11. The Telegraph is running a story this morning that G&H are using club profits to service the loan debt.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/leagues/premierleague/liverpool/3236509/Liverpool-owners-Tom-Hicks-and-George-Gillett-to-raid-profits-to-pay-interest-on-loans-Football.html

    Is there a connection to the activity at Anfield Jim has reported and these two stories from respected newspapers?

    Are G&H simply asset stripping to pay their loans off prior to a sale? Let’s face it – the morality of these two is lower than a skunk in a sewer so it wouldn’t surprise me.

  12. If this story is true (which on balance I beleive it is) why do H&G have to engage Merrill Lynch to find a buyer when they have had an offer on the the table for months which will enable them to walk away with £50m profit each ? Could it be that they don’t want to sell to Dubai because they’ve upset them (aarh) and there are no other prospective buyers ?
    These 2 shysters don’t give a toss about LFC but we’re not rid of them yet and this saga could drag on, why should they worry ?
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/leagues/premierleague/liverpool/3236509/Liverpool-owners-Tom-Hicks-and-George-Gillett-to-raid-profits-to-pay-interest-on-loans-Football.html

  13. Martin,
    I disagree, it’s been a good start and maybe this year we’ll get to March before the title challenge implodes in disarray and recriminations.

    Fact is, being 2-1 down to Wigan at home and needing to get a man sent off before coming back to win it is almost embarrassing.

    I think that there are plenty of positives but like I said there’s something not right with the team currently and that needs to be addressed pronto.

  14. @Edward. I do agree with you actually in that something isn’t completely right, but at the end of the day we keep getting 3 points and we are joint top of the league, beat United, beat Everton, so it has been a great start. Whether that great start implodes on itself is a valid question because the the method of victories seem unsustainable in the long term. Nevertheless I think we have more quality than I can remember in the team in a long time and that must be a positive surely?

    Rafa does need to fine tune things because you’re quite right, things are not at an optimum.

  15. Also Edward, using the Wigan example, how many times have our defenders gifted a goal to the opposition in recent memory and how many ‘goals of the season’ are scored every game? The fact that we won in spite of this is very positive.

  16. 1st Point. I watched the Madrid game and became frustrated that LFC did not put the game out of the reach of the Madrid side before half time. The Manager calls for the team to be ruthless but, instead they played around and paid the price for it.
    2nd Point. I have never been a fan of Keane but, I keep hoping for him to prove me wrong. I see him like a chicken with his head cut off, he runs around a lot but does’t achieve anything, tries some fancy stuff and lets the team and the fans down. I dearly hope that I am proved wrong but for now he looks a very expensive flop as compared to Torres who cost LFC in the same region of money.

    3rd Point. I fully endorse the MPS’s who want the RBS to deny the American Con Men the opportunity to have a 6 month extension to their loan and make the club pay for the interest. The MP’s are correc t, they are not only spoiling LFC they are affecting the regeneration of the Anfield area. It would be nice to see some justice in this sorry saga.

  17. Martin,

    Well The Times report seems to have fizzled out. And that’s from their Chief Sports Editor!

    How can such senior journalists get things so wrong? Do they research their sources properly or just make educated guesses? This isn’t the first time The Times has got things completely wrong. :-(

    Maybe Jim can throw some light on how these stories start???

  18. Ken,

    Keane’s running around like a headless chicken as you so eloquently put it was one of the reasons we beat Man Utd!

    It’s called putting pressure on your opponents when they have the ball. Without his efforts we would probably have lost that game.

  19. @Martin Agree with ALL of that.

    Being honest, on current form, I just don’t know what to expect from us for the Chelsea game. Which kinda frightens me a little because 0-0 is fine IMHO.

  20. Ray, yeah it has fizzled out a bit. The thing that concerns me is that no other papers really reported it either, in fact the opposite they focussed on them staying. Tony Evans was actually on Talksport the morning after saying the club would be sold within 8 weeks!! I’ll believe it when I see it.

  21. Yeah I agree Edward, a draw would be a good result. Especially so seeing how we could be without players, not least Torres. Would be incredible if we could win it though. I knwo Rafa won’t do it, but i’d love it if we wen’t there to win, even if we lost if you know what I mean.

  22. I was lucky enough to be at Anfield in January 2007 when Liverpool beat Chelski 2-0. It can be done, with or without our magical Number Nine. Not wanting to encourage anyone towards reckless betting behaviour, but I’m clutching that 2007 matchday ticket in my hand right now and a scoreboard that reads “Chelsea 1, Liverpool 2” is dancing in my head…

  23. Ray,

    I would have thought it was every players job to put pressure on the oposing team. I would expect that Keane as a striker would have had more end product to his game, didn’t we buy him to replace Crouch as a more skilful and 2nd striker to assist Torres?

  24. Ken,

    Yes it is every player’s responsibility to put pressure on the opposition when they have the ball. But you singled out Keane saying he emulated a headless chicken which I think was unfair.

    Keane does have a lot more to his game and he is making good contributions. It takes time to adapt to a different system but his goal on Wednesday shows he’s getting there.

    How many games did Crouch go before his first goal? I’m not having a go at Crouchie as I liked him a lot. It’s always difficult when you’ve been at one club a long time to adapt to a new system but I have every faith in Robbie.

  25. Martin,

    I think that’s the last time I’ll believe anything the Times has to say about Liverpool. I just wish these journos were a bit more accountable for what they report.

    The news that several MPs are putting pressure on the Govt over the RBS loan to G&H might produce results. The area around Anfield is very run down and in need of renovation. Under G&H’s ownership that’s going nowhere and it’s not inconceivable that RBS will call on them to put some of their own money up instead of just extending the loan. If they’re prepared to do that – fine otherwise they may have to sell.

  26. It’s such a relief to have a guy like Sami Hyypia in the squad. I reckon that even when he’s not playing, he adds so much to the dressing room.

    “We drew 0-0 last season and while that would be a good result on Sunday, we are going there looking to win. We have to remember Chelsea are flying as well. They’re scoring lots of goals and not conceding many so their confidence will be high. It’s going to be a tough game but we have to be ready to match them physically and look to play our own game.”

  27. DIC / AL-ANSARI / SOURCE / STAVELEY

    5.12.2006 AL-ANSARI:
    ”DIC are serious people with serious resources. This is not a transaction that will need to be debt-financed”.
    ”DIC has a strong track record as a very serious investor with considerable resources at it’s disposal. Liverpool’s investment requirements have been publicised and we hope we can agree a deal that will provide the club with the funds it needs”.

    27.1.2007 AL-ANSARI:
    ”i understand he (Gillett) offered 5000 pounds per share while we offered 4,500per share. We are very confident the club will not consider the other offer. We understand what the club needs. We are keen to build the new stadium”.

    January 2007 AL-ANSARI:
    ”we have worked very hard over along period with Liverpool to come up with the best possible offer for shareholders and for the long term of the club. Our deal is not just about buying shares; it is about financing the stadium, getting the stadium built and making money available for players”.

    31.1.2007 AL-ANSARI:
    ”we werw prepared to offer shareholders a significant premium at the market price. However we will not overpay for assets”.

    February 2007 AL-ANSARI:
    ”Liverpool is the most succesful football club in english footbaall history. It exists to win things to it’s supporters. It deserves to be in the hands of people who support it who understands it’s history and legend” ”I’m sure i will be back at anfield with my family soon to support my team, as i have done so in the last 30plus years. In the meantime, i wish the manager, it’s players and everyone connected with the club the best of fortune for challenges ahead and will make sure that i am there the day they lift the premiership trophy”.

    2.2.2007 The highly placed Dubai source:
    ”the Makhtoums had a verbal agreement and a handshake from Mr Moores and they thought they had a deal. The decision to pull out came from the very top”.
    ”negotiations with Mr Moores had been conducted by Sameer Al-Ansari, who is a long standing Liverpool fan. By comparison, Gillett would not know Liverpool from a hole in the ground. The deal was originally brokered by a Liverpool fan. Because of that he conducted his bosses that it would be a good investment. But if Liverpool came back to the table now, they would have to convince not only Al-Ansari but his bosses and their bosses, the royal family, and that won’t happen. The Makhtoums are the same in all business dealings, if they don’t like it, they don’t do it”.

    February 2007 AL-ANSARI:
    ”there was no ultimatum given, but we did make it clear we needed to know quigly if the press conference was going ahead on monday becaude DIC officials needed to know if they should book their flights”.

    February 2007 Source close to DIC:
    ”Liverpool hadve been looking for years and years for an investor, going through numerous suitors. They came to the conclusion DIC were the best people. We have been working closely with advisors for the last six to eight weeks and spent a lot of time preparing a deal. We heard from the press that George Gillett had made another bid. No one from Liverpool told us this, and when we asked what was happening they said they didn’t know why a bid was made other than to muddy the waters. Then we read a formal statement from Liverpool announcing Gillett’s bid. Again DIC were informed by a journalist”.
    ”we expected the board meeting to accept our proposals. Instead we found out the board was discussing George Gillett’s offer, once again through the press. We could get no answers from Mr Moores and Parry. The people back in Dubai thought they weren’t being told what’s going on. Once word got back in Dubai that there were no answers from Liverpool, the word from on high was this is bad for our reputation and it all stops right now”.

    4.11.2007 AL-ANSARI:
    ”it took me two weeks to get over that. But it didn’t dent my passion, i still went to every match when i was here”

    17.1.2008 AL-ANSARI:
    ”even with the so called credit crunch and turmoil in credit markets we are in a very strong positions to do transactions at reasonable valuations and get debt for those transactions. We haven’t felt the impact”.

    4.3.2008 AL-ANSARI:
    ”It’s no secret we have been in discussions with the current owners”
    ”It’s not easy because the owners are in dreamland” ”One of them had come out of dreamland”

    4.3.2008 Spokesperson Jehad Saleh:
    ”no timeline has been set on the talks”
    ”No figures have benn mentioned and talks are ongoing”

    7.3.2008 Sources from the DIC:
    ”DIC will not rest until they own 100% of the club, but accept that might take some time”.

    8.3.2008 Source close to DIC:
    ”DIC wants to see the club put into a frim financial foot and for the emphasis to shaft from the boardroom to the pitch”.

    9.3.2008 STAVELEY:
    ”Tom Hicks knows that in the long run we will be 100% owners of the club, but we are prepared to play a waiting game. We will be able to pay the price for the financing of the club and construction of a new stadium”.

    10.3.2008 STAVELEY:
    ”subject to renegotiation of a partnership agreement and subject to the stringest minority shareholder protection rights we would be prepared to accept a 49 percent shareholding in Liverpool FC”.
    ”this agreement provides the best possible solution to the situation and would be in the best interest of the clu and their loyal fans”.

    10.3.2008 A source close to DIC:
    ”this letter has not been leaked by DIC or any other of our negotiation team to media. We do not expect any problems with the meetings next week and we expect the deal to buy George Gillett’s stake to go through”.

    10.4.2008 AL-ANSARI:
    ”you have two partners who do not see eye to eye. And we decided we pull out completely. Let them sort out their problems.”
    ”we will continue to be interested and would love to own the club but we are not going to put ourselves in a difficult situation where we make the investment but we have no control over the destiny of the club and we cannot influencethe succes of the club. Unfortunately the terms that have been put on the table do not allow us to do that”.

    11.8.2008 A source close to the DIC directors:
    ”just because it has been a quiet summed does not mean DIC have lost interest. They are happy that things have now become low key and they are awaiting developments”.

    25.8.2008 A source close to DIC:
    ”DIC are not interested in getting involved in Man City, their interest is only in Liverpool football club”.

    15.9.2008 DIC:
    ”Following inaccurate speculation regarding DIC and Liverpool FC, DIC can confirm that it is not involved in any negotiations to buy and can confirm that it is not planning any fresh bid for LFC or any other football club. Nor is DIC or any other Dubai-based party aware of any consortium or vehicle involved in a bid”.

    And one more interesting piece what i found when searching DIC articles:

    3.6.2008 Article name: Zabeel eyes $25M in US assets
    ”Zabeel investments and DIC were at the centre of a deal last year to buy the English premier league football club Liverpool. However, as Zabeel was preparing to buy 20 percent of the club, the Liverpool board sold to two US investors, George Gillett and Tom Hicks. Mr Hicks has since unsuccesfully tried to sell his 50 percent stake”.

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