Desperate Hicks makes desperate claims

Tom Hicks has gone off on one again, or so it seems. Gone off into one of those wild fantasy worlds where he vehemently denies something or other to do with his ownership of Liverpool Football Club. All around him are great big pointers to whatever he’s denying being actually true, yet he stands there and says it isn’t. It’s funny when it’s a child denying having eaten the chocolate cake despite having his face covered in it. It was funny when the Iraqi information minister was denying the presence of opposition troops when they were practically standing behind him. But we can’t laugh at the various Hicks denials.

One day we might laugh, maybe, if these dark days ever end. One day we’ll probably laugh at him, as we come to terms with whatever was left behind when he does finally leave. It seems doubtful we’ll ever laugh with him. For now his attitude causes anger and the kind of resentment that meant his son Tommy was unable to sit in an English pub near Anfield and talk to fans.

Somewhere near the end of an article about Hicks’ baseball team, the Texas Rangers, and their pre-season stay in a place called Surprise in Arizona was the quote from Hicks about Liverpool. When he’s not denying something that’s obviously true, he’s claiming something that is obviously false. As you read this article you can picture him bristling angrily, blurting out his response quickly, without really thinking about what he’s saying, without really considering how his words will be received across the Atlantic. Does he care how his words are received?

“I’m not selling,” he insisted of his stake in LFC, then broke into what sounds like a rant: “Not only am I not going to sell, my partner (Gillett) cannot sell without my approval. So I kind of have the ability to determine the outcome of what is going to happen and I am right in the middle of that… For a lot of reasons I can’t discuss, I haven’t been able to fix it yet, but I am preparing to be in a position to fix it.”

Now there’s a claim. “My partner cannot sell without my approval.” Is that really true Mr Hicks? Actually don’t answer that. We think we know the answer already. We often do when we hear a claim from Tom Hicks.

He blamed the newspapers for making up stories that Rafa was going to be sacked. Then he later admitted that in fact he had not only been planning to replace Rafa, he’d lined up a replacement and offered him the job.

That admission itself was qualified with more claims that were clearly inaccurate. He said the replacement was lined up partly because of poor results, and – ironically given his insistence that supporters should ignore newspaper reports – partly because of newspaper reports Rafa was going to join Real Madrid. Jimmy Melia revealed yesterday that in fact the real reason was because he’d fallen out with Rafa.

He also denied having been in talks with DIC about selling his share of the club before Christmas. He later admitted that he had in fact been speaking to them about them buying a minority share. The list goes on.

“My partner cannot sell without my approval,” he claims. The truth is that because of pre-emption rights Gillett will be obliged to let Tom Hicks try and match any offer he gets for his shares before he can accept it. Gillett will also need to give Hicks a reasonable period of time in which to match that offer. If Hicks can match the offer, he can have the shares. If he can’t, then he can’t legally stop Gillett from selling. In some cases a company will be set up in a way where the shareholders have restrictions on what type of person shares can be sold to, but this is usually in family-run companies where the family want to try and ensure the company remains in family hands. Each owner’s legal teams, involved in drawing up the original agreement, will not have set an agreement up that left their client in a position where they couldn’t sell their shares at all.

A reasonable period of time could be a month. It’s not a figure set down in law anywhere, but has to be reasonable for all three parties involved. Gillett can’t demand £200m by noon the following day, just as Hicks can’t demand six months to stump up the cash, and anything much more than a month could put an offer at the risk of being withdrawn. Martin Lipton of the Mirror wrote a story on Valentine’s Day in which he claimed a takeover would be done by the middle of next month. That part of his story at least ties in with a lot of other information coming out. We keep hearing “two weeks”, we keep hearing “middle of next month”. It all points to a deadline having been set by Gillett for Hicks to match the offer or step aside. And it’s easy to imagine a look of satisfaction on Gillett’s face as he hands his foe the ultimatum.

The statement starts with, “Not only am I not going to sell,” and that at least is in Hicks’ control, for now at least. But If DIC did succeed in buying Gillett’s half, Hicks might find he is unable to get the club to pay the interest on the loans that are “at holding company level” and secured on his assets. If Gillett and Hicks remained in control they’d happily authorise the club to pay dividends to cover the interest payments on that £245m portion of the loan. It would be in both their interests. But DIC wouldn’t be in that position, they could easily argue that the club can’t afford to make that payment and block the funds from going out. That must represent a nightmare scenario for Hicks.

It’s obviously not easy for Hicks to find help in his attempts to buy Gillett out – if it was then Gillett would have sold up before signing for the refinancing package. Why struggle to scrape together the assets needed for security if an offer’s on the table. Hicks’ friends have perhaps turned out not be quite as friendly as he thought. But he won’t give up easily. He looked like losing out on getting the finance deal authorised, but managed it in the end, right at the last minute. If he’s not bringing a new partner in to replace Gillett, his only other option is to sell something – and something big.

Whatever he’s got lined up, he can’t quite get it to work out: “For a lot of reasons I can’t discuss, I haven’t been able to fix it yet, but I am preparing to be in a position to fix it.”

When he says, “So I kind of have the ability to determine the outcome of what is going to happen and I am right in the middle of that,” he is of course right, just as long as he can raise the figure needed to buy Gillett out. And with that small detail still in doubt, perhaps the emphasis should be on “kind of”. He only has the ability if he has the money.

Sometimes Hicks seems to speak too quickly, tripping himself up and leaving himself open to criticism. To anyone who actually believed him, the Hicks statement must have been devastating. There are many reasons why Hicks is quite literally despised by fans, but this whole outburst served as a reminder. Even if what he said had been true, it smacked of a bully stamping his feet and forcing his will on anyone else without a care for the consequences. He seems unable to see outside his own world or beyond his own needs. His son Tommy seems to be a different kind of person altogether, and seems to be trying hard to find out how the grass-roots supporters feel. It could be argued that it’s all a part of some PR exercise, but his efforts had been received much better than would have been predicted, despite the spitting and beer throwing incident. How well he’s able to stand up to his father is impossible to tell, and he may well be another victim of bullying, but he isn’t his dad.

Putting aside the worries that the Hicks family can’t actually afford to take Liverpool forward, the difference between father and son is that one of them actually seems willing to listen, and perhaps really does care. The other seems unable to listen, and incapable of caring.

Tom Hicks’ words today said, in effect, that if he can’t buy Gillett out then nobody will! Apart from it being false, it also showed how he puts his own ego ahead of the needs of the club. If he’s genuinely trying to raise the funds to buy Gillett out, then fair play to him. But if he can’t, he needs to stop fantasising and accept that even billionaires (in dollars) can’t have everything they want. The club needs to be owned by people who actually show some interest in it. Gillett has no interest in the club now, he wants to go and play cars at Gillett Evernham, his NASCAR team and his latest toy. Sooner or later, two weeks from now probably, Hicks has to either put up or shut up. If he knows he can’t put up, he should shut up now and let DIC take that stake in the club they are so desperate for.

And we need honesty. The circumstantial evidence always draws attention to the flaws in what he says as soon as he says it. A little more time passes and the evidence proves the lie. Why did Hicks spend most of last week in Dubai and London, talking to representatives of DIC? DIC are paying good money for the best advisors in their pursuit of a stake in LFC. Where they haven’t already got the best people in-house, they hire the best people: for legal advice, media relations advice, financial advice and so on. Their takeover attempt is costing them money. Why would they spend all that money and waste so much time if they knew Hicks was able to so easily block their attempts to buy out Gillett?

An honest statement from Hicks today could have done him a little bit of good. Silence would have done him no harm. This statement has confirmed his first instinct isn’t for the truth, and strengthens his image as a bully.

Article from Fort Worth Star-Telegram: Nolan, JD give Hicks the total package

23 thoughts on “Desperate Hicks makes desperate claims”

  1. another interesting post, it’s presidential election year this year the closer it gets the more hicks will be involved so maybe thats his achilles heal, maybe his right wing republican friends can make him see sense

  2. If DIC were to buy Gillett’s share a 50% holding would not allow them to stop Hicks from claiming his share of the profit stream to pay the interest on his loan.

    Secondly Hicks could play really silly biggers and refuse any spending on the stadium or player transfers – even contract renogotiations.

    He is in a position of real power. But the current finances of Liverpool are insufficient for Hicks to find a credible partner or to raise the additional funds to buy the club. If you want to make a quick buck out of English football but Newcastle. Not Liverpool.

  3. I remain amazed that DIC have not walked way. If Hicks really id the catankarous old fool his press statements mke him seem then he would be a very difficult man to do business with. Perhaps impossible in his current state of mind.

    DIC should walk away. The fact they haven’t, apparently, suggests the deal is getting closer.

  4. St.Michel

    If you are indeed the same person that regularly posted on RW (ruggaworld) plse feel email me at wesley at redwooddesign dot co dot za


  5. Great article Jim

    Shame is that Hicks is probably negotiating with the banks for them to finance his part of the purchase of Gillet’s share – guess who will take on the repayment obligation.

    Unless the banks fear for Champions League involvement and start hearing the words “Leeds United” they will continue to lend to the club.

    What a mess!

  6. Mick, my mind doesn’t want to go there as it raises the issue of whether a sustained blip on the field (Failure to qualify for the CL), would actually serve our long term best interests. What will this loose cannon (Hicks) say next?

  7. Normal service has been resumed.

    Great article

    I do belive that Hicks has lost the plot. More frightening tho is the fact that we have a lunatic in charge of our club.

    I fear that this idiot will do just about anything to get his own way but at no expense to himself. Dark days my friends, dark days.

    Will DIC be any better. Time will tell if they do buy. But this supporter would rather have a company renowned worldwide for their business acumen running the club than this spoilt brat. (this wasn’t the worst name I could call him by the way)

  8. Good man Jim, right on the point as usual.

    You’d wonder what in the name of God inspired Moores and Parry to sell to those chumps. It appears that Gillet may have been bona fide but this Hicks man comes across as a complete idiot.

  9. We just need to pray Hicks doesnt work out how to match DIC’s offer and therefore gain total control of the club – which he seemingly is attempting to do.

    Why cant the prat just give up and concentrate on sorting his own teams in the US?

  10. And remember failure to qualify for the CL does not threaten Hicks’ ability to meet his debt payments – he simply has to sell Torres and Gerrard and he’s covered. And he’d have no issues selling both to MU.

  11. Red Robbie. good link. reds fans quick to put the matter straight though, great read. It shows how little research is done by such commentators. The involvement of Kraft was widely discussed recently by reds fans after an interview in which Kraft didn’t rule out an investment in the Premier League. Reds were almost overwhelmingly in Krafts favour which could easily have been established by a modicum of on-line research.

  12. boycott all home games then we will get mr bull-shiters attention .because he will have to repay the loans no lfc.

  13. 1 before G/ H was on the scene what happened to all the millions parry said LFC for first stadium.
    2 Advertising money champions leage money advertising money etc.


  14. Hicks: More Misery Looms

    Reading the US press tells you that Hicks is on a mission to secure a long term and 100% interest in the club. How my heart sank.

    Who would have thought that the secondary partner in their Liverpool deal would have gazumped Gillett, the one who was rabid for a UK footballing interest – Liverpool, Aston Villa etc!

    This story – click on the link below – explains why Parry is still lauding his boss – the Hick man – saying how committed they are to the club by their signing of Mascherano!

    Hicks is clearly showing a total disregard for the club and the fans. It is all about money with him that he is now looking at raising private equity to buy Gillett’s stake.

    I hope, and expect, the call on his resources and the state of the global financial market makes this an unrealistic option. But it shows that Hicks is certainly talking serious about his long-term ownership of the club when he talks about ‘fixing’ Gillett and DIC.

    I guess we’re now seeing the jigsaw puzzle fall into place:

    He appoints a public relations company – known for handling financial cases.

    He goes on radio talking about his love for Liverpool and ‘Raffer’

    He drives Gillett underground

    He puts his son into the fore

    He lets it be known that he has first option/refusal on the Gillett shares. (Does anyone know/have an idea when this runs out? Otherwise it makes a liverpool supporters club buy-out without a practical and timely goal.)

    And now – either – he’s looking to take 100% control because he believes the new stadium will reap rewards other investors will be interested in OR he believes by taking this stance DIC will have to bid higher.

    In either case it shows that Hicks is ruthless, is only concerned with his own financial interest (hence loading the club with the debt regardless of promises) and not at all concerned about the fans because we are now ‘customers’.

    It’s time to really ratchet up the campaign against Hicks – and not get sidetracked by the team on the pitch at the moment. (Yes, I know the toffees are on our tail but this is much bigger than one season’s pride!)

    Hicks must go. His finances have to be our target. We must get our club back.

    Liverpool co-owner seeks control

  15. Midlands-red. agree and if he were to get 100% control the next refinancing deal will be on his terms ie no personal guarantees. The club will be exposed like never before.

  16. Thanks to everyone who gets this evidence against the evil Hicks. This situation is obviously very serious and goes way beyond anything seen at any other club, only Leeds spring to mind except that was done becauseRidsdale was a fan and was desperate for success – if a little naive, this monster is raping our club and he must be stopped. I cant get to games but it is the duty of any supporter worthy of the name to stay behind after every game & join the protests. GET HIM OUT!

Comments are closed.