Today sees Liverpool entering a week that will almost certainly go down in history as a turning point.
This isn’t the classic football turning point, the last minute goal awarded despite it looking offside that brings to an end a run of defeats. Nor is the other type of turning point the world of football often discusses, the bad signing that somehow turned a team making progress into a team going backwards.
This week should see Liverpool’s boardroom change, and with it the ownership of the club. If it doesn’t happen this week, the events that make it happen will have already got well underway.
Tom Hicks tried to change one of the boards last week – it’s not clear if that was the Liverpool board or its holding company boards – in an attempt to block the same of the club to NESV. The existing board, the majority of it at least, insist they are still in place and the sale was valid.
Tomorrow the High Court will hear all about it as it asked to make a decision that will be key to Liverpool’s future. However it is believed that tomorrow’s case is one of two that will decide the club’s fate.
Continue reading Hicks moves closer to final Anfield exit
Last Friday Anfield Road ran a poll asking Liverpool supporters to answer a question about the future of the club.
We asked: “With the Broughton/BarCap sale process failing and c£300m RBS debt almost due, LFC and its fans are faced with two distinct possibilities. What’s your preference?”
There were two choices for an answer:
“1) Hicks and Gillett retain control via refinance or RBS extension.”
“2) RBS take temporary control of the club on the proviso the club is passed on, as soon as practicable, to a responsible owner (this carries with it the possibility of LFC being placed into administration and a 9pt penalty being imposed by the Premier League).”
Continue reading Fans would risk 9-point loss in return for new Reds owners
Liverpool fans are not exactly having a good time of it right now, with results not going the way we’d like and the future ownership of the club remaining unclear. The following poll has just two choices for you to vote on and there isn’t a “none of the above” option. But please vote anyway.
With the Broughton/BarCap sale process failing and c£300m RBS debt almost due, LFC and its fans are faced with two distinct possibilities. What’s your preference?
1) Hicks and Gillett retain control via refinance or RBS extension
2) RBS take temporary control of the club on the proviso the club is passed on, as soon as practicable, to a responsible owner (this carries with it the possibility of LFC being placed into administration and a 9pt penalty being imposed by the Premier League).
Continue reading Liverpool FC – Ownership Poll
Liverpool are in a transitional period, new manager Roy Hodgson needs to be given more time to settle into the job, players were late back from the World Cup and either aren’t fully fit are haven’t been to enough training sessions for Roy to really know them yet.
They are just some of the reasons put forward to try and explain an awful start to Liverpool’s league season; those reasons are rapidly becoming excuses.
When the manager himself uses them it seems all the more worrying, but that is how Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson spoke after today’s 3-2 defeat at Old Trafford against one the club’s old enemies. Dimitar Berbatov’s hat-trick meant Steven Gerrard’s brace counted for nothing, although it at least kept the club’s goal-difference at ‘just’ -3 from the opening five games.
Hodgson said: “We are certainly in a transitional period. I don’t think it needs to be negative; sometimes they can be very good for a club. Certainly the task has been complicated by the fact I didn’t get a chance to work with the players because of the World Cup and with the Europa qualifiers starting so early, we were thrown into the deep end of competitive football.”
He also spoke of what was to come, what the targets were: “Our aim is to get better. Our aim is still to try and get to the Champions League, maybe that’s where I need to have my focus. If we are good enough to get into the top four, who knows, maybe we can get closer to the number one position. I won’t say we can’t do it, nor will I say we can do it.”
In reality nobody expects a title challenge from Liverpool this season. This season there is an air that survival is the target. Not league survival, but survival as a team that might one day be able to challenge for the title again. Survival in the sense of not letting the gap between this club and Chelsea grow any wider than it already is. Hodgson will be well aware of this.
Continue reading Reds face bigger threat than today’s old enemies
George Gillett and Tom Hicks were given the clearest sign yet that the Royal Bank of Scotland has run out patience with them after the bank moved their debts to its Global Restructuring Group.
With less than a month to go until the deadline for the massive debt to be refinanced or paid off the decision is seen as evidence that from RBS’s point of view refinance is not an option. The club’s current owners need to find hundreds of millions of pounds in less than four weeks or they face losing the club.
It was also claimed tonight that RBS CEO Stephen Hester was personally overseeing the high-profile account.
The RBS website describes the unit as playing “an important part in managing major corporate clients across the globe who find themselves in financial distress.”
Liverpool fans have been in agreement for some time that their club is in financial distress, now RBS are reported to have made this official. The restructuring group also has responsibility for “the management of any problem lending portfolios” and “returning those accounts to the originating Group Business Unit / Subsidiary in a satisfactory condition.”
With the group also responsible for “maximising debt recoveries” and “obtaining levels of reward proportionate with risks undertaken” (and that means reward for the bank, not the current owners) it seems more unlikely that Hicks and Gillett will still be Liverpool owners by the time next month’s Goodison derby kicks off.
Continue reading RBS ready to call time on Hicks and Gillett
After a period away from the public eye Christian Purslow put himself right back into focus this morning by speaking to the BBC about the speculation surrounding the club. According to the Liverpool managing director the board are now carrying out checks on those behind written bids for the club after which they intend to see the club sold “as soon as possible”.
There has been a refreshing silence from the boardroom since the appointment of Roy Hodgson as manager. The club have left the football people to do the talking about the football; the senior management scaling back their contact with the media and a noticeable decline in the amount of “off record” briefings filtering their way onto the back pages, at least from the club. Actual interviews had all but dried up.
Quite why Purslow decided to speak out today is a bit of a mystery. The club issued a statement on Friday night saying that as far as the sales process was concerned, “we will not comment on rumour and speculation.” Purslow himself today said: “It wouldn’t be for me to comment on the football side.” So what was left for him to comment on? As it was he spoke at length about both “the football side” and the sales process.
His opinion on the football side should be of no importance right now, what matters far more is the part of his job he actually has the experience and qualifications to work on. Along with chairman Martin Broughton and commercial director Ian Ayre the Liverpool MD is about to be an important part of what will be one of the most crucial decisions in Liverpool’s history.
Continue reading Purslow: LFC bidders being checked then sale as soon as possible
George Gillett claims firm interest from a potential buyer – but all, as ever, is not as it seems.
As the clock ticks ever closer to the end of another deflating transfer window for Liverpool Football Club, Anfield Road has learned that George Gillett has informed Royal Bank of Scotland and chairman Martin Broughton that he has found a serious investor who is interested in buying the club.
Time to rejoice?
Anfield Road understands that George Gillett and LFC’s mystery saviour is ex-Syrian international footballer and millionaire businessman Yahya Kirdi.
First linked with the club shortly after Martin Broughton’s appointment back in April it was intimated that the Syrian, who was using ex-Celtic player Andy Lynch as a spokesperson for the bid, had the support of “mystery billionaire backers from the Middle East”, a line which should send a shiver down the spine of anyone who’s kept an eye on either Portsmouth or Notts County under the stewardship of Sulaiman Al Fahim and Qadbak/Munto Finance respectively over the last 18 months.
Continue reading You cannot be Syrias?
Fresh quotes this morning blaming Liverpool’s on-field mess on the owners’ off-field meddling have been attributed to Rafa Benitez, in an “exclusive” by Rob Beasley. But can we believe them?
Rob Beasley is a journalist working in London for the News of the World. If you’ve ever been unfortunate enough to have seen him speak on the Sky discussion show “The Sunday Supplement” you’ll probably take much of what he says about Liverpool with a pinch of salt. Especially if what he’s talking about somehow relates to Chelsea, who happen to be the Reds’ opponents today.
Beasley is the one who claimed he had been kept informed of Jose Mourinho’s intentions with regards the England job, right up until the moment he was told that Mourinho wasn’t going to take the job because he’d got a better offer from a club side somewhere. He claimed he got regular texts off Mourinho.
Beasley is also the one who knew about Ashley Cole’s dodgy discussions with Chelsea when still an Arsenal player, he knew about this tapping-up incident before either Arsenal or the authorities did. Considering that the only people who would have known about it then were the player, his agent and Chelsea, it narrows down the possibilities of who tipped him off, and of who wanted to make it harder for Arsenal to hold onto their player.
Reading most of his articles, listening to most of his comments, his apparent love of Frank Lampard and Chelsea jumps out of the page at you, his comments often seeming clouded as a result. The only time he seems to have had a pop at Chelsea was when he claimed – exclusively – that Avram Grant would be gone by Christmas, Steve Clarke within two weeks. That was at the end of September, after a run of four (he put it in caps) games without a win. Both are still there of course. Beasley got it wrong. Did he make it up? Continue reading Perfect excuse? Or just a worried Chelsea fan?