What was Gillett playing at? Or playing for?

George Gillett’s decision to accuse Liverpool fans of issuing death threats against him, his wife, his son and his daughter-in-law, ones he took so seriously that he decided to back out of a potential sale of his half of Liverpool FC, couldn’t have come at a worse time.

The claims were made on Canadian radio on Thursday night, when Gillett was interviewed on The Fan 590, a sports channel based in Toronto. The show was Prime Time Sports with Bob McCown, with both Bob and Stephen Brunt speaking to Gillett.

It’s pretty clear that Gillett had planned this interview, planned what he would say, and it says a lot about him that he chose to use Canadian radio to speak for the first time about his part in acts that have put Liverpool’s future potentially in doubt.

One point he wanted fans to believe as he worked towards his claims of those death threats was that he hasn’t had any abuse directed purely at him. He claimed he received up to 2000 emails a week, only 100 of which would contain abuse to both owners. The rest, another 1900 per week, were completely aimed at his partner Tom Hicks. It seems far-fetched to say the least. Not far-fetched that he would get emails demanding both owners leave the club, not far-fetched that he would get another chunk of emails complaining to him purely about Tom Hicks, but extremely far-fetched that he would not get one single email containing abuse aimed purely at him.

Also far-fetched is that he has had emails as recently as Thursday from fans (plural) from “important blog sites” (plural) inviting him to the “famous pubs” to “see how they sing their songs or get ready to sing the songs. And there’s none of the hostility or animosity that is felt or seems to have been directed at others in the ownership group.”

He admits that the 2000-a-week figure has dropped somewhat, down to just 25 on Thursday, but even so it’s extremely unlikely he’s getting no hostility. He certainly got one on Friday morning that contained a long line of angry questions.

After months of spin and leaks from people understood to be connected to DIC, Hicks, Parry, Moores and even Rafa, it was unexpected for Gillett to come out of hiding like this. There had been a lot of speculation about why Gillett had disappeared from the scene, even recalling his son from his Melwood office. Even before that he’d largely decided to stay out of the limelight. He even got praise for keeping quiet from some, especially when certain figures inside the club were letting it be known that he was somewhat the victim of Tom Hicks’ bullying.

Without absolving Tom Hicks of all his “sins”, George Gillett has far from been an angel.

It seems that one of the biggest reasons Gillett has been so quiet has been for tactical reasons. Tom Hicks spoke to the press, made statements, got Rick Parry to make statements and over time dug himself some holes. George Gillett sat back with his feet on his Colorado desk and watched the show. Hicks became the only true villain of the piece, the bad cop. Gillett got away with it, even now he’s getting praise from supporters who seem willing to forgive him and gloss over his part in a disastrous first year of American ownership.

In the interview it was clear he was desperate to get his allegations against Liverpool fans in. He’d had these death threats, and he was so sure they were real he’d now changed his mind about selling to Hicks. “I must say however that the most difficult part for us… the thing that angers fans the most is the prospect I might sell even one share of my stock to my partner. They do not want him to have a controlling interest in this club – they don’t even want him to have any ownership in the club. So as a result of that – and it’s been very difficult for my wife with the amount that I travel – we receive many phone calls in the middle of the night threatening us our lives – death threats. They’ve come to the office, a number of them have come into the office and Foster and Lauren, my son and daughter-in-law, have received a number of them themselves.”

Pause for a moment. That’s a serious allegation. It suggests a sustained and organised attack on him and his family.

If it’s true, and these threats were serious, not kids playing pranks, then it’s gone too far. Way too far. It’s only football, no matter how much it means to us. As we know ourselves only too well, it is not worth a life.

Do we believe Gillett? Is he seriously and genuinely in fear of his and his family’s lives?

Well there’s an easy way to prove that. I asked Mr Gillett to provide details of his reports to police of those threats. Obviously anyone in Gillett’s position getting death threats that are considered to be even remotely plausible would go to the police. It’s a serious crime, and is probably something that could see the perpetrator charged with a list of offences. Despite the likelihood that the calls were transatlantic, technology is improving all the time and with the co-operation of US and UK police forces there is every likelihood those responsible can be traced, especially if steps were taken before the next death threat was made.

I’ve not had the details of any reports yet, or even confirmation that the offences have been reported, but no doubt Mr Gillett will be willing to provide either this, or an explanation for making these allegations when he didn’t even think they were worth telling the police about.

I know that certain posters on certain websites were posting details of switchboard and fax numbers for the offices of Hicks and Gillett, all of which are available on hundreds of US business-listings websites. It seems Gillett’s home number is also publicly listed, which may be par for the course in the US but seems an odd approach to have. I can’t imagine Richard Branson or Alan Sugar’s numbers showing up on a search of directory enquiries. Gillett said he was even getting calls to his mobile phone, which again is odd. He said “a number of the blog sites” had these private numbers on them, although I assume he means “forum” sites in the main. If the numbers are indeed private and otherwise unavailable on the net then they shouldn’t really be reproduced on any other sites, but if they have been taken from public phone book websites then Gillett really has no room for complaint to the sites that listed those numbers.

He said: “We’re very private people but my number is in the phone book.. I’m not shy and if I make a mistake I’m prepared to take the hit for it. It’s interesting the calls are not against my wife or myself or my son or my daughter in law, as much as they are against us selling to our partner and so, er, we’re rethinking that. Frankly I don’t think it’s fair for me to put my family in that kind of danger. So instead of thinking about selling maybe we’ll think about buying.”

He really did say that. He believed those death threats to the extent that he is now “rethinking” selling to his partner. And maybe, he claims, he’s even going to “think about buying.”

Putting the death threats to one side, it’s the first admission in public that Gillett has been willing to sell to Hicks. Behind the scenes it’s been known for some time that Gillett wanted to sell, it was never in any doubt, but this is the first time it has been admitted in public. The DIC announcement three weeks ago where they were willing to buy 49% made it quite obvious that Gillett was ready to sell 1% to Hicks, but that wasn’t actually confirmed.

The claims he’s thinking of buying sound hollow. It’s been made clear for some time now that he was stretched to his financial limit with the recent refinancing deal, in fact he was one of the main reasons the duo had tried so hard to put more debt onto the club. The loan of February 2007 for £298m was fully in the names of Gillett and Hicks, but by January 2008 they could only put £245m against their own assets, putting the other £105m onto the club. Their assets had dropped in value over the course of the year and so both partners had to use more assets to guarantee the loan. Gillett was just about at his limit. That was in January, and the markets have dropped yet further since then, so quite how he’s going to find the kind of money that would persuade Hicks to sell is difficult to imagine.

Claims that Hicks and Gillett had fallen out first surfaced in November, quickly dismissed by Rick Parry: “In fact it’s absolute nonsense,” he insisted. Hicks later admitted there had been disagreements between the pair, but insisted nothing more than any other partners might have. But eventually there was no longer any point pretending otherwise. Gillett said their relationship was now unworkable: “Oh it has been for some time, yes.” Not that any of it is his fault of course: “But not because of us – we have tried to be co-operative, we have tried to be supportive but when your public persona is more important than the facts, that makes it very difficult to have a rational relationship.”

We have all seen Tom Hicks seem to lose his temper after some story hits the press, responding off the cuff and in turn backing himself into a corner. But what was Gillett referring to specifically?

Was it the “Snoogy Doogy” interview with the wads of cash being waved around? If looks could kill Hicks would have done there and then what Gillett claims Liverpool fans have threatened to. Gillett was promising more than was eventually delivered. Assuming they’d already decided not to fund Rafa as promised, it seems in that instance Gillett was putting his public persona – Mr Generous Nice Guy – ahead of the facts that transfer funding would be much the same as past seasons.

Was it the first attempts at revealing the new stadium under the US ownership? The announcement in July made the pair look like heroes, but was later dumped because of cost. Was Hicks too busy making himself look good to consider getting it priced up properly.

Was it the admission that they had spoke to Klinsmann? That has been rumoured as a major factor in their split already. Klinsmann was Gillett’s business associate, and it was Gillett who is understood to have recommended him to Hicks as next boss. Some sources have claimed Gillett had pushed for Rafa to be sacked and replaced by Klinsmann, and have said this was why Gillett was at the Marseille game days before the December meeting between Rafa and the board. If the team had lost in France, Rafa would be sacked. But eventually the sacking didn’t go through, Klinsmann didn’t want the job – especially with Rafa still in it – and by the time the meeting had been admitted to – in January – Gillett was fuming. He didn’t want Hicks to reveal what they’d done, up until then they’d managed to keep this false image of it being all a misunderstanding and a storm in a tea-cup, but now Hicks was admitting it was much more of a plan than that. In that case Gillett was putting his public persona (Mr Nice Guy and Rafa’s Mate) ahead of the facts (allegedly Mr Hatchet Man and Rafa’s Enemy).

The other big claim of being a cause of a split was the refinancing situation. And that in itself is full of claims and counter-claims over who said what. Gillett allowed it to be leaked that he was trying to block Hicks from putting all the debt on the club. Other claims said it was Parry and Moores trying to stop any of the debt going onto the club. In fact it seems most likely that it was Parry and Moores, with the help of the banks, blocking moves to put 100% of the £350m onto the club. Hicks has never denied that he wanted to try and do this, but of the two owners he was almost certainly the one most able to take more of the burden on his own assets. Gillett could barely afford the deal that finally went through, so quite why or how he would be blocking this move is difficult to work out. Gillett was said to be angry when Hicks made an official statement detailing the terms of the new finance package. Hicks put the facts in the open, Gillett didn’t like it – again was this his personal public persona being more important than the facts?

Talking of facts, Gillett was asked how this possibility of him buying more of the club would work, was it feasible or was it a dream? Sounds like a dream: “It’s really hard to say until you literally put something in writing and you put the money in the bank that’s a speculative answer, any answer I give you, but what I would say is this: We were very fair. We gave our partner a long period of time to try and make the arrangements to buy us out we didn’t put pressure on him we could not have been a better partner and he ultimately didn’t get to the finish line.”

What a quick change of subject – diverting from the question of whether he could afford to buy Hicks’ share into an attack on Hicks for failing to find the means to buy his half. Gillett can’t afford to buy Hicks out. Strange also that Gillett claims not to have put pressure on Hicks, when it’s  been in the public domain, albeit in a cloak-and-dagger off-the-record kind of way, for some time now that he’s been in bed with DIC looking to sell to them for a profit quoted in some instances of as much as £80m. Just before the Dubai meeting between DIC and Hicks it was rumoured that Gillet was still turning down that level of profit for selling 49% to DIC.

Gillett insists that he won’t be selling to Hicks because of the alleged death threats: “In the meantime, because of  things that he said, the fans’ reaction has been so negative towards him – and towards us if we sold to him – that that has now made that an untenable alternative for us.”

So what options does Gillett have? He can stay, and face the same worries Hicks will face in summer 2009 when this finance option comes to an end. He can’t buy Hicks out on his own, so unless he has a secret partner lined up then that’s nothing more than a dream. And if his dream comes true, he’s then got to make Hicks and offer he can’t refuse. He can’t sell to DIC unless Hicks agrees to it, or until he finds a way of getting around the veto Hicks says he will use to block any sale to DIC.

Hicks hasn’t yet blocked any offer from DIC – it seems DIC haven’t actually made one yet. Asked about Hicks blocking the deal Gillett was reluctant to answer but eventually coughed up: “Well that’s another one of the points (laughs, hoping that he isn’t pressed). (When pressed) He threatened to.” Obviously DIC can make an indicative offer, but with making an actual offer then there is nothing for Hicks to veto.

Playing to the crowd, Gillett used the fans again to attack Hicks. Despite implying already that DIC hadn’t actually made an official offer, he made out it was Hicks who had blocked moves from DIC to buy into the club. No admission of having turned down repeated unofficial offers of a massive profit himself, he pinned all the blame on Hicks for DIC having been unable to buy the club: “I think that was certainly one of the things that made the fans upset. Lord knows they had the money and with oil prices going up every day, that’s not an issue. They certainly have the history and they’re fans and I think they’d have been very responsible owners so I guess not making that possible or making that difficult again didn’t endear people to the fans.” DIC have actually not yet left the building, despite the implication here it was now a lost cause. They still believe they’ll have won the battle within a month.

Gillett’s failure to stick to his promises, including the implied promises, has messed the club up and put its future at risk. He’s no less guilty than Hicks for that. But he continues to work the fans with his well-worn sincere face and over-used phrases: “So as you all are saying there’s an awful lot going on here, much too complicated for me to try and handicap but what I know is that, er, the fans and the great fabled history of this club deserves better – and, er, we’re going to do everything we can to provide that in whatever role we play.” Jim Royle has a saying for moments like this.

To defend Gillett for a moment, although he’s being far from honest, a pattern we’ve grown used to, the claims he’d held out until offered £80m, that he’d forced Klinsmann onto Hicks and almost onto the club and that he’d been the main reason for the attempts to refinance the loans using the club for 100% of the debt could all be denied by him, all of those claims are from unnamed sources.

Hicks did not respond directly, instead taking a refreshing approach of avoiding making things worse by issuing official statements or giving interviews. There was however a brief statement from “a source close to the Texan,” which said: “It is not very helpful to talk about this situation, given the importance of the next two or three weeks coming up in the fixture list. These bits and pieces in the media are not beneficial to the overall performance of the club and that’s what we want people to concentrate on at this stage. With games against Everton and the Arsenal coming up, football has to come first.”

The mess looks like never ending, but sooner or later hands will be forced. Ignore Gillett’s claims he can buy Hicks out – he can barely afford to hang onto what he’s got. But as more and more time goes by the claim from Hicks that he can buy Gillett out is looking increasingly hollow. And so DIC wait in the wings for something to give. Eventually something has to. Hicks might have to admit defeat if his US fortunes are hit hard enough by the financial chaos in the US. He may well have somebody lined up, but perhaps is being led down the garden path. Gillett might hit the point of being forced into a sale before Hicks though, but with Hicks and DIC unwilling to share power he might not get anything like the profit he wanted.

It would be far better for the club if the public spats came to an end, especially when, like Gillett’s attempts on Thursday, they feed the opposition with more ammunition to aim at us.

Full transcript of questions relating to LFC.

Asked what was happening at Anfield now: “Oh boy! I think we’re at that point where there are things going on- there are pieces on the chess board being moved or being contemplated to be moved but I think it would not be helpful for us, or the club, to comment.

“Suffice it to say however, that our goal from the beginning was to try and be supportive and add to the lustre of this magnificent storied franchise and what’s happened this year has not done that.

“We certainly haven’t done it on the pitch yet, although we’re playing well in the Champions League, but we’ve had a marginally good year in the Premiership [Premier League], our loss to Man U on Sunday 3-0 was a heartbreaker because you know we played them 11 on 10. We had Mascherano thrown off for what’s unclear as to what happened but clearly they sent a referee with a no tolerance program and we happened to make the wrong comment to the new tough referee at the wrong time. You just can’t play Man U. It’s tough enough playing them 11 on 11.

“So I think we’re at a point now where we want to finish the season out, play well in the Champions League-  Foster and I are going to be going over to the Arsenal game next week and we’ve just decided this is an extraordinary time and we’re going to enjoy it and we’re going to be there and by God we’re going to try and be a positive influence on this process.

“You know, we get, or we’ve gotten, as many as 2,000 emails a week here. And I would say that ninety-five percent of them have been directed at some of the comments made by my partner and five per cent have been (laughs) frankly aimed at both of us saying, you know, ‘Go Home Americans!’

“But for the most part, and you know as recently as today, we’ve gotten 25 emails, I’ve had several conversations with fans who represent important blog sites and so forth and they are inviting me to come in and come to the famous pubs, be their guests, see how they sing their songs or get ready to sing the songs. And there’s none of the hostility or animosity that is felt or seems to have been directed at others in the ownership group.

“I must say however that the most difficult part for us has been that because of the things that have been said that have upset and angered the fans as much toward one or both of us the fact is that the thing that angers fans the most is the prospect I might sell even one share of my stock to my partner. They do not want him to have a controlling interest in this club – they don’t even want him to have any ownership in the club. Based on what they’re saying and sending to me.”

“So as a result of that – and it’s been very difficult for my wife with the amount that I travel – we receive many phone calls in the middle of the night threatening us our lives – death threats. They’ve come to the office, a number of them have come into the office and Foster and Lauren, my son and daughter-in-law, have received a number of them themselves.

“A number of the blog sites have, you know we’re not, we’re not, we’re very private people but my number is in the phone book and you I, you know, I’m not shy and if I make a mistake I’m prepared to take the hit for it, but the private phone numbers the cell phone numbers and so forth are apparently on some blog sites and we’ve received a number of calls and again it’s interesting the calls are not against my wife or myself or my son or my daughter in law, as much as they are against us selling to our partner and so, er, we’re  rethinking that. Frankly I don’t think it’s fair for me to put my family in that kind of danger. So instead of thinking about selling maybe we’ll think about buying.

(Asked if the partnership with Hicks was unworkable) – “Oh it has been for some time, yes. But not because of us – we have tried to be co-operative, we have tried to be supportive but when your public persona is more important than the facts, that makes it very difficult to have a rational relationship.

(Asked what the exit or entry strategy was a phone conveniently rang which Gillett decided he had to answer. The presenter went to a break and on their return the question was changed to one about whether buying out Hicks was feasible or more of a wish). –  “It’s really hard to say until you literally put something in writing and you put the money in the bank that’s a speculative answer, any answer I give you, but what I would say is this: We were very fair. We gave our partner a long period of time to try and make the arrangements to buy us out we didn’t put pressure on him we could not have been a better partner and he ultimately didn’t get to the finish line.

“In the meantime, because of  things that he said, the fans’ reaction has been so negative towards him – and towards us if we sold to him – that that has now made that an untenable alternative for us.

(Regarding Hicks claiming he would block Gillett from selling to Dubai). – “Well that’s another one of the points (laughs, hoping that he isn’t pressed).”

(When pressed). – “He threatened to (block the deal).”

(Regarding DIC, the interviewer asked a question in the past tense, did Gillett think the deal would have and could have gone ahead?) – “I think that was certainly one of the things that made the fans upset. Lord knows they had the money and with oil prices going up every day, that’s not an issue. They certainly have the history and they’re fans and I think they’d have been very responsible owners so I guess not making that possible or making that difficult again didn’t endear people to the fans.

“So as you all are saying there’s an awful lot going on here, much too complicated for me to try and handicap but what I know is that, er, the fans and the great fabled history of this club deserves better – and, er, we’re going to do everything we can to provide that in whatever role we play.”

Hicks did not respond directly, however “a source close to the Texan” said: “It is not very helpful to talk about this situation, given the importance of the next two or three weeks coming up in the fixture list.

“These bits and pieces in the media are not beneficial to the overall performance of the club and that’s what we want people to concentrate on at this stage.

“With games against Everton and the Arsenal coming up, football has to come first.”

65 thoughts on “What was Gillett playing at? Or playing for?”

  1. Jim, you say "without absolving Tom Hicks for all his sins.."  Why would you, or any liverpool fan want to absolve Hicks for any of his sins.  I certainly don’t consider Gillett an angel and I’m sure we’re all well aware of that by now but at least what he wants to do now is what nearly all of the fans consider best for the Club.  I couldn’t care less if Gillett makes a profit or what he’s done in the past as long as the sale to DIC is whats best for the Club looking forward.  For me and most fans this is a very simple but extremely important distinction between Gillett (an arsehole) and Hicks (who is a tens time bigger arsehole). 
    I might also add one other thing.  You imply continuously that Gillett and DIC use spin a lot but the reality is that Hicks is far more skillful at playing the spin game in the media than either DIC or Gillett (who are both quite poor at it).  The main (and really the only) reason Hicks hasn’t sold up already is because  his enormous pride won’t let him.  Like his mentor Bush he can’t quite believe that there might exist a situation that won’t allow him to spin his way out of trouble.  Having to sell his shares would be too much like admitting what everyone else knows (ie. that because he’s so obviously a vain, scheming, manipulative, arrogant, abrasive prick the Liverpool fans will never trust him or accept him no matter what he says). 

  2. Jim,I think you are wasting time weighing the relative crimes of hicks v gillett. they are both con men. they had a plan to use debt placed on the club to make money for themselves virtually risk-free. if the do make a lot of shekels out of selling the club to DIC, at least they have been exposed for the shysters they are. i think mihir bose was the most prescient on how this was going to turn out. weve still got a few months to suffer. Thanks for the good work, but dont take it too personally. its out of our hands. 

  3. Talk about dragging it out, I dont mean the takeover I mean you Jim, 10 words or less will do.

  4. That article is a crock of shizzen.

    Death threats too far – its only football?

    I personally think making death threas is a touch much, but I fully understand why some would.

    These two American half wits are not messing with one of there crappy companies – this is Liverpool FC we are speaking about.

    It will be around years after all who read this pass on –

    Its an institution that cannot be messed with by 2 mad money men who’s sole aim is the fcuking Dollar.

    These two half wits need to be gone & it is now at whatever cost. 

    I dont condone death threats, but in this case I do turn a blind eye.

  5. I hate Gillett, I hate Hicks.

    At the absolute least Gillett has publicly said 2 important things: Firstly, that he won’t sell a % of his shares to Hicks. Or at least he wont now – it is significant that he said that Hicks ‘didnt get to the finish line’ when Gillett gave him the chance. Does that mean the race is over?? or is that more Gillett bullproverbial?

    It is important that he has backed DIC, although that is probably more an admission of his desire to sell his stake to the people who are the only current takers at the moment.

    Without doubt this speech was designed to put pressure on Hicks and to help force a sale through.

    Congratulations George – you’ve just done your first good thing for the club.

    I have to say that when i read the following by a ‘source’ close to Hicks I almost spat my morning tea out on my keyboard: "It is not very helpful to talk about this situation, given the importance of the next two or three weeks coming up in the fixture list. These bits and pieces in the media are not beneficial to the overall performance of the club."

    Well theres a contradiction if ever there was one. What a load of shit! Perhaps Hicks could’ve taken that line the time he publicly accused Rafa of ‘Pouting’. I still can’t f’ing believe he said that. All this rubbish on Hicks and Rafa now being buddies – Rafa’s not an idiot and i don’t see how a man who’s as single minded and astute as him would be able to forgive someone who undermined him so badly and compared him to a moaning woman.

    Finally, if ‘the pieces on the chessboard are moving’, lets hope that instead of getting Amanda Staveley on board, DIC hire Garry bloomin’ Kasparov, and check mate the bastards!

  6. Anfielder » There’s a section of supporters who seem to believe quite firmly that Hicks is just about the only guilty party. It’s ok to criticise David Moores and Rick Parry, but criticise Gillett or DIC and you are defending Hicks! What I’m trying to say is that it is possible to point out faults in one of the players in this mad game without that somehow being a defence of one of the others.

    There’s probably an old saying that puts that more clearly.

    Interesting you say Hicks is better at spin – I thought personally his attempts at using the press failed more often than not, certainly in that period from November to January. It often seemed the statements were thrown out on impulse, without stepping back for a second and being more considered. As a result they were easy to punch holes into.

    Interesting point you put across about why Hicks hasn’t yet sold, that it could be pride – it’s a possibility that crossed my mind more than once in recent times. In saying that though pride doesn’t pay the bills and surely there has to be a point where sense kicks back in?

    Pride v £25m-£80m profit? I started to think that pride would easily be served by taking the money, sticking two fingers up to the Kop and DIC, and then putting some of that profit towards some sexy signings for the Stars or the Rangers, earning some adulation back home in the process.

  7. pete » My tune probably does change with every story – because there are so many lies, half-truths and exaggerations being told. Sometime in the past that included claims it was a done deal, but that was over-confidence on the part of those speaking for DIC if I’m not mistaken. I don’t think I’ve said it’s a done deal for some time now.

  8. Well there are pure facts in here, being a businessman you have to look at the money and nothing else. Gillett might say he’s only interested in the benefit of the club "which I’m more than sure he doesn’t think the slightest of it" and Hicks "surprise" came out heartned by the fact that those allegations came at a bad time where we have to play "Everton and the Arsenal!"… DIC did not make any statement if I’m more sure, all the statements that came about were made by the PRs in UK only, nothing was said here… I tried checkign the DIC website here, some of the most trust-worthy newspapers in the city "Al Khaleej Times and Gulf Newspaper" and all they said was claims from the UK press !!!

    The good point here is simple, every day that passes by brings us closer to the end of this, I hardly can see Gillett and Hicks here after 5 years from now, not even 3 years. I hope I’m proven right, considering the amount of debt they had on themselves and the club, they need profit, and if a single defeat comes along it might put their assets at risk, beside for Hicks, it’s only a matter of time, he’s waiting for the best time to sell, so does Gillett, I my self won’t be surprised if one day after a long spell of silence from all shores, some announcement would come with the sale immenent between the 2 twats and DIC.

  9. I think too that there is too much sterile speculation in Jim’s long analysis of the recent GG developments. There could be an excessive tendency there to keep balancing the relative evils of the two fellas. The only thing that really matters at this stage is GG’s openly saying that, for the good of the club, it’s time the two of them arseholes retreated to their blessed land and left LFC alone. Quite how the dispute is going to be resolved is unclear now, but I cannot imagine DIC not being in charge by the summer and not funding the purchase of Bentley, Glen Johnson, David Villa and Quaresma! Plus some others…

  10. Jim.
    I am convinced that each of these two has redeeming qualities. Neither of them are fit or proper owners od our club.

    Of the two I reckon Gillett has a feel for the Sport in sports businesses – Hicks has a feel for only the business in sports businesses.

    Given access to unlimited funds and/or finance Hicks would still condemn us to seasons of mediocrity as he capitalised on the profits and asset generation possibilities. Gillett would have an eye on sporting excellence.

    Evidence for the above lies in the attitude of the fans of these two in their home sports.

    Gillett is not fabricating these threats as the overnight flight from their newly furnished home by Foster Gillett and his wife sems to testify. Gillett is of course leveraging this and possibily exggerating the matter for his own purposes.

    His own purposes are as you hint to try and repair his reputation with LFC, but of more importance, within the wider football world. He wants to obtain an MLS franchise yet has noted that even Blah Blah Blatter has come out in support of our efforts to oust him. He also has a score to settle with Hicks and has come out with macho statements to indicate that he is occupying the strategic high ground.

    From this high ground he is telling us that he gave Hicks an opportunity to buy him out within a time frame but Hicks was unable to come up with an offer by the time of the finish line. There has been a lot of speculation on the time allowance in any pre-emption provision in their partnership arrangement. But now the emphasis shifts from that to the fact that those rights work both ways and here is Gillett warning Hicks that he can block any sale by Hicks to DIC or anyone else.

    Back to the death threats, which are of course odious. The forum in the centre of this is I think RAWK where I remember several unmoderated calls for email campaigns. One of their posters claimed to have received a reply from the Hicks camp!

    I am still persuaded that Gillett backed the anti-Rafa horse early on based upon fedback from Foster and from within the club. That faction grossly under estimated Rafa’s capability at machiavellian politics and have lost considerable ground. Hicks on his own is not capable of such deep intellectual moves and has shot from the hip on occasions and missed widely. At the moment he is listening to wiser counsel. Rafa was concerned about keeping his job, maintaining a challenge for some tangible success and staying in control of his squad. To this end he has gone with the Hicks flow and will do so until Hicks goes or the end of the season. After that who knows.

    Jim these two have to go, end of story and I can understand the frustration of fans who look to our journalistic champions to do their utmost to effect this and not be diverted into arguing the motives behind their various utterences or facets of their personalities. Help us get rid of them, we will take our chances with any new owners. We have all learned from this mess and will apply much more searching criteria to the newcomers before they gain fans acceptance.

  11. Just heard about Rick Parry’s "Something’s got to give interview on 5Live. Two Furlongs from home, the Gillett/DIC horse is 20 lengths in front so Rick places his bet!!!

  12. I’m not buying much into Rick’s statement, I already have said that either one or both of them is leaving, they are waiting for the correct timing in where the pounds is at it’s high compared to the doller, which will only help fill in their felthy pockets.

  13. If we assume for a moment that the article in the Independent last week was true (that DIC are within three or four weeks of closing the deal)…and we look at the timing of Gillett’s first public revelation that his relationship with Hicks is untenable…and we look at the official follow-up from Rick Parry today about the ownership stagnation having an adverse affect on the club…they all very neatly dovetail together.

    If you’re in the pro-Hicks camp (a lonely place, to be sure) then you’d interpret this as a ganging-up on Hicks. If you’re in the either the pro-Gillett/pro-DIC/pro-anybody-but-who’ve-we-got-now camp then you’d interpret this as a ganging up on Hicks, too…and possibly with a positive result.

    I suspect all three statements have been coordinated in this "chess match" (to borrow from Gillett) to force Hicks’s hand, one way or the other. If proud and greedy Hicks is holding out for a multi-million pound payoff (bearing in mind it will be years before the stadium is built and reap the big financial rewards) his exit strategy has just been handed to him on a silver platter: DIC want it (Independent), Gillett wants out (radio interview), Parry waves the club’s flag (statement today). None of it is new news, but it all has timed together to put Hicks’s king in check. If he’s been backed into a corner, then he needs to accede that it’s a mate and walk away from the chessboard.

  14. I agree with Martin above.  Long, detailed and highly speculative analysis of whether Hicks or Gillett is the bigger scumbag doesn’t really seem to advance matters.  Regardless of Gillett’s motives I believe 95% of what he says is basically spot on in terms of looking forward.  I also believe what  he wants to do is supported by 99.9% if not 100% of the fans.  The main relevant difference with Hicks right now is that Hicks (for reasons of pure vanity) is effectively saying "stuff the fans and stuff the Club and stuff everyone.  My pride is the most important thing." For this reason Hicks totally deserves to be treated as public enemy no. 1 and will be until he sells.

  15. There is probably more than Hicks’s pride at stake. I think he is holding on to us like a limpet because at the moment his business affairs in the US are not at the point at which he needs to generate quick cash. If his situation deteriorates there will be a tipping point at which his investment in LFC must be realised to shore up his home base of investments. For now it seems he is parleying the future value of our club.I do think Julie is right to point out the coincidence of these latest developments and I would include the statement by Rafa that he has his summer targets (3 of them anyway) signed up. This sound to me like an I’m in control message to prospective new owners. He is also indicating that he can carry on building the squad without costing  squillions!

  16. Give me help someone…Hicks Gillett, its like tennis, with LFC getting batted about, and it makes me sick to the bottom of my stomock, all they are doing is using this for their own ends, and all i want to hear is that they have sold their shares, but we are not likely to here that, instead this Merry-go-Round doesn´t seem to stop. The Americans seem to think that they are good at Global Domination and Fucking things up, our LFC seems to be a product of this!! Jim, i respect what you say, and look forward to your Articles and then the Forum Comments that spring up. Nothing beats a good forum debate. Keep up the pressure on these American Assholes

  17. John Steel I don’t think there can be much doubt that Gillett and DIC are co-operating on this matter and using whatever tactics are available to them to try and bring matters to a head…..but so what ??  Isn’t this what we want ??  Its certainly what I want. 

    As for Rafa’s comments…………if he decides to assist Hicks (for whatever reason) then he is playing a very dangerous game.  The only valid way for Rafa to protect himself is on the field by either winning the title or at least making a real challenge to the scum for it instead of always talking about what he intends to do next season.  It shouldn’t go unnoticed by any Liverpool fan that this is now Rafa’s 4th full season at the Club and we have never even once challenged for the title in all that time.  Despite our recent upturn in form we are still 14 points behind Man U who now look virtual certainties to close to within one title of our all time record of 18.  Alex Ferguson is methodically building a team of young superstars who look set to dominate the rest of the football world (including us) for the next 10 years while we have a manager who still has inexhaustible faith in the likes of Dirk Kuyt.   DIC’s resources would give us the ability to go toe to toe with Ferguson’s team in the long term either with Rafa or without him.  If Rafa’s comments about having signed 3 new players provide even indirect support for Hicks then my firm advice to Rafa would be to keep his mouth shout and focus on reigning in the scum on the field.       

  18. The tectonics plates are certainly moving and it’s got to be better than what we’ve got….surely?!

    I heard Parry on the radio this morning and believed that he was speaking more in support of Gillett than Hicks. For starters, there’s no way Hicks would have authourised Parry going on the Radio and speaking in the way he did.

    I read Rafa’s comments about signing 3 players. In know way was that a signal of support for Hicks (and definitely not for Gillett). I did wonder where he’d get the money money to spend or is this based on players going out? But, as you all know he brings in more money from players than he spends on them – Kuyt besides until, I hope, he recovers from the loss of his father and being asked to play in an unusual position. Another reason of course, is that he wants to send a signal to the big players he might try and bring in that the Club is still in business despite the obvious public disquiet.

    By the way, I don’t agree with the Rafa bashing. He’s done more for us than Fergie achieved for United in the same amount of time – and look at the money they’ve spent since.

    What I’ve failed to see is any firm intervention words of wisdom from Hicks or DIC.

    I’ve believed for a while that DIC were acting in cahoots with Gillett – which is why they’ve been playing the recent public game they have. But it’s pretty hard to work out whether this actually means the club will be in any better position, given the way Gillett’s handled his involvement in the Club up until now.

    But the clear sign is something’s afoot. It’s got to at least be no-worse than what Hicks and Gillett have achieved (or not!). Whatever the change, I want it to happen quickly so that we can all regain our hope for 2008/9 without still singing about getting those cowboys out of our club.

    PS Today’s victory tasted good but I’ll feel alot better when Everton, and Moyes in particular, slip back further and hopefully end up like Nancy Dell’Olio, below Sven.

  19. Anfielder, I think Rafa has done a reasonable job, in particular with the production line from reserves and academy. If we can’t buy the club ourselves in the near future I want DIC to succeed and it is only reasonable to accept that they would carry out a root and branch examination of all aspects of club operations (inc. Rafa’s role). If a change of manager is the price to be paid for a more secure future for the club then so be it. Hopefully DIC will not try to fix the bits that ain’t broke and Rafa will be allowed the time and resources to fulfil his vision for our club. If ever a 1-0 win could be called comprehensive it was today’s victory. MoM for me was Skirtel. I thought he and Sami had to deal with the consequences of a barely average performance from both the holding midfielders.

  20. Hicks and Gillett have done enormous damage to the prestige of the club and much of it may be irrecoverable but as has been said before, the real culprits are Moores and Parry. When all is done and dusted I hope they both have the good grace to apologise to the fans. Overall Moores’ chairmanship has been distinctly average, no businessman he.
    Roll on DIC and perhaps the stadium can at long last.

  21. Forgive me for posting off subject but the internal squabbles at board level appear to be affecting this site too.

    Simple question.  Torres picked his 5th yellow on Sunday, when does he serve his 1 match ban?

  22. Simple answer. No ban applies as it is too late in the season. Torres gets a written warning.

  23. Read Rafa’s interview conducted by Guillem Balague in The Times.

    I can’t see how anyone would want any other manager than Rafa in these trying times.

    Ok – we’re not going to win the league but I have no doubt that the the guy loves the club, is a proven winner and can do better things for the club.

    The spine of the team Reina (plus Carson) – two from four Agger, Carragher, Skirtel or Hyppia – two from three holding players Alsono, Masch, Lucas- two from 4/5 attacking players Torres, Gerrard, Babel, Crouch and Kuyt (if he can get himself together)  is looking better.

    Now Rafa’s beginning to get his system sorted with one or two additions everything’s possible.

    Just got to get Hicks and Gillett out.

  24. FrostyJack » Torres should be OK, because there’s an amnesty on yellow cards every season. I think on the 1st of March the count goes back to zero, but I’m not fully sure this is how it works. So he’s on at least two.

    Thanks to all for the rest of the comments. I got struck down by a stomach bug and a disgusting headache and so didn’t even get to see the game properly. The headache’s still there, but is that because of the bug or the situation with the club?

    I don’t think we’ll see a resolution this week, but it’s possible. Despite some claims that DIC are meeting with Gillett and/or Hicks this week, I heard that all of DIC’s people involved in this deal are in Dubai all this week. Plans can change, but it sounds like wishful thinking.

    I don’t think Gillett cares who he sells to, he’d sell to anyone if the offer was right. He does care that it’s dragging on though, because he’s got assets tied into the financing deal, and a potential £25m-£80m coming his way.

    I think it’s important to show to people just how much of a villain Gillett has been, because I don’t think it’s fair for anyone to make their minds up based on false information.

    Only a few know the details of the possible pre-emption agreements, and in turn how easy it will be for DIC to overrule any veto, or Hicks to hang on. I can’t help but think that had all the criteria been met that Gillett would have kept quiet a little longer to allow DIC to buy his half. Maybe DIC don’t want his half alone – it’s all or nothing. Even if Hicks couldn’t block the sale, would DIC really (forget the claims), really want to half-share the club? Hicks doesn’t want to share with them – do DIC want to share with him when push comes to shove?

    No ifs or buts about it, DIC know they’ve got the money in place to buy the club for whatever price it is they decided on. But I really don’t think they will make a binding offer for one half only. And if Hicks keeps refusing to sell, there will be no offer.

    If Hicks can get the money in place – or to be more precise the investors – then he can buy Gillett out. Gillett won’t turn him down, especially if his only other option is to stay as joint owner with Hicks.

    It’s time to stop assuming Hicks is here now just for a quick profit. It’s not logical. OK, if the financial markets continue to tumble then he’ll have to rethink but won’t he have to rethink across the board? If he was just holding out for a bigger profit then enough has happened since January that would have seen him take DIC’s money and run. If he wanted £100m profit in January, and his assets have taken the hit many people say they have, how much profit would he need now? DIC have already reportedly offered £80m to Gillett according to some reports, so surely by now Hicks would be back around the table with DIC.

    DIC weren’t going to 100% fund their purchase with cash. There’s talk now of other Dubai companies being included too. Chances are more than half of the purchase would be made with loans. Nobody knows the balance of loan-v-equity, despite what they might claim.

    Hicks was reported in the US press recently as looking to get private investment into his whole sports group. And that, if done the way I’ve seen suggested, wouldn’t be a loan, so wouldn’t attract interest. The investors would be looking to see their investment grow by it being worth more in a set period of time, plus a share of any profits. If you want an (almost) guaranteed return, you stick your money in a bank. But you can take a chance on more by investing in one type of company or other.

    In fact, isn’t that pretty much what DIC are going to do? They invest in companies, they hope to get a good return, they have some investments that work out better than others. Putting to one side the professed love of LFC, if they are convinced that the club is a safe investment, wouldn’t other investment companies have similar views?

  25. Julie, according to Jim’s response the Telegraph proposed meeting between the triumvarate – Hicks, Gillett and DIC – won’t happen as DIC are not going to be in the UK. But it’s possible that they’d line up a video call. Who knows!

    Also, I thought The Telegraph’s David Bond was the expert on all things Liverpool. Who’s this ‘new’ Telegraph journo?!?

    More uncertainty looms. But let’s hope Hicks gets the message, if not this Wednesday next Tuesday when I’ll be at the ground singing for him to go!

  26. Why would DIC need to be at the Emirates? They have delegated negotiations to Amanda Staveley who might have authority to conclude a deal within specified parameters. Will David Dein be in the vicinity? Will we avoid an awkward boardroom confrontation at Anfield between the warring parties at the Return leg? Curiouser and curiouser!

  27. midlands-red: Please sing loud and hard for all of us next Tuesday and if you have any shred of lungs left, remind Hicks that LFC is not his version of Iraq. I did a search on the Telegraph website on Jeremy Wilson, the author of the article on Wednesday’s meeting – he seems to cover a broad range of topics on football, so maybe David Bond is on holiday?

    John: I agree that all DIC representatives would not need to be at Wednesday’s meeting for it to be conducted. Surely after all the protracted wranglings thus far, everything won’t be decided in just one meeting. Especially if this is the first time Gillett and Hicks have been in the same room for four-or-so months.

    Jim: I don’t agree that Gillett will sell his stake to just anyone. There’s way too much animosity between him and Hicks, and it would be a case of money overcoming both pride and honour (having just given his word in the radio interview that he wouldn’t do it…I know, I know, once a liar, always a liar…).

  28. Not sure who Jeremy Wilson is, I’ve seen his name quite a bit before though, and he does report on LFC matters.

    David Bond clearly gets most of his info on this saga from the DIC camp. He always seems to have a little bit more than the other papers, and was the one whose report had the leaked email from Hicks to al-Ansari. Maybe he’s just on holiday! Just worth remembering that if he’s reporting stuff from DIC, he’s reporting what DIC want us to hear. DIC may not be totally honest with him.

    This thing about the meeting: I heard that all of the major players involved in this deal from DIC, including the people they have working on their behalf from other companies, are in Dubai this week. That includes those who would be negotiating on their behalf. Plans can change of course, so it’s possible, but it wasn’t the case prior to GG’s outburst. Maybe Amanda Staveley will be London – but that would be a change of plan.

    We’ve had board meetings in London before, so this meeting wouldn’t be a surprise. The West Ham game last season saw us have a board meeting that triggered DIC backing out of the deal – they were expecting the board to give them the green light for the deal, or so they said at the time, instead of finding the board were discussing the deal with the eventual owners.

  29. "There is a need for a degree of urgency but it is urgent to get it right, not urgent to come up with the wrong solution" Rick Parry

    Did he say that with a straight face?

  30. I seriously don’t believe GG has changed his mind because a) he got death threats or b) he was concerned about the fans’ views.

    As far as honour’s concerned, GG cares about his public persona as much as (if not more than) he claims Hicks does. But he’ll just claim he sold to Hicks because of legal conditions.

    I don’t think GG set out to cause the trouble he has, I think he seriously failed to understand how it all works over here. But he’s the one who promised more for transfers than we could have, the one who upset Rafa, the one who it seems tried to get rid of him.

    He lost his temper, when Hicks revealed the Klinsmann approach, but that was because it had an impact on his public image. He’s willing to do whatever suits him best, and hoped in that case that it wouldn’t ever be admitted to. He’ll find a way of coming out of this smelling of roses.

    Another way of looking at it too – if DIC believe him in that he won’t sell to Hicks, expect their suggested offer amount to drop. They’ve come up with a price they think will make it hard for Hicks to match, no point if they know GG won’t sell to him anyway.

  31. I think that the "DIC will also borrow" issue is a bit of a red herring. In effect they are buying from a completely tax free environment into one that is quite heavily taxed. It makes good business sense from both a tax and a currency matching point of view to borrow in the taxed area. Such transfer costing is common practice when accounts of multinationals are consolidated.

  32. John Steele » Good point John, but one that’s raised its head before in the way that the current holding companies are based offshore (or one of them is at least). Of course that’s just the company, not the people behind it, so ultimately they want the profits to leave that holding company.

    On paper at least we’d have to assume that anything Hicks could do DIC could do cheaper (sounds like a song) but that in itself doesn’t mean Hicks is unable to do it at all.

    Only time will tell.

  33. Jim I look at it simply. There is a buyer and a seller. Anything in between these two is leveraging the situation for commission and usually to the detriment of the other two. In the DIC scenario, they are in effect the buyer as the money they will use is ultimately in house whatever tax efficient method they use to get it to the seller. Their security is solid gold…………………………………………With Hicks it is different. he is a conduit for other people’s money, a margins player. The chain of companies reaching back to Delaware is not set up imo solely to effect tax efficiency but also to base the beneficial ownership somewhere more protective of those wanting to lessen the transparency of both the actual bona fides of the "buyers’ and the real value of the security they pledged to get the funds.

  34. isnt it strange that every time Hicks or Gillett have made announcements and statements it has always been around the important fixtures. its almost like Hicks is desperate for Liverpool to fail to get into the Champions League next season so he can use the old "we arent in the Champions League so i wont be giving you any money to spend on big players."thats how it seems to me anyways.

  35. I still think its just a matter of time.  DIC have offered something like 400M, Hicks originally wanted something like 1B.  DIC won’t overpay, Hicks is a hard businessman.  We’ll see what he settles for in the end.

    The only other scenario that remotely makes sense is Hicks genuinely believes the club is worth way more than 400M and hence would rather keep it – with all the pain – than sell to DIC.

  36. I think Hicks understands brands – which is why he was looking to market the Liverpool FC brand across Asia and beyond.

    Remaining with a brand that doesn’t want him does not make business sense.

    The sooner he goes, the better for him, us and football in general.

  37. Jim, I find myself in the unusual position of disagreeing with almost everything you say above.  I think Hicks’s pride is a huge factor in all of this.  DIC know Hicks is stretched to the limit but DIC mishandled matters by acting with such public bravado in dealing with an abrasive character like Hicks who always has to feel (or be made to feel) like he’s making the decisions and not being forced into it by others or by circumstances (even if this is clearly true).  

    You seem to genuinely believe that Hicks has  some prospective partners who might be as good as DIC.  I, on the other hand don’t believe Hicks has any genuine prospective buyers  and  certainly don’t believe he has any who could rival DIC’s resources or long term ability to progress the Club.  If you check out DIC’s track record (look at their horseracing stable for example) you’ll see that they invest heavily to be the best in whatever they do.  They  don’t settle for being also rans.  Hicks in contrast is just a small time chump with pretensions of  being a bigtime player.  Such a person (with such a personality as his) is the last thing we need at this Club and extremely unstable in so many ways.   

    Also you seem very quick to conclude that DIC are no better than Hicks in terms of having genuine  passion for the Club.  Again I passionately disagree and think the evidence suggests otherwise.  Are you really going to tell us that for you a lifelong fan like Al Ansari is in just the same bracket as someone like Hicks who up until just over a year ago had never even heard of Liverpool Football Club.  Despite DIC’s mishandling of some matters with Hicks I still have huge confidence that DIC are the right people for this Club.  I have never felt that way for so much as a nanosecond with Hicks.  If we can get rid of Hicks we don’t have to give Gillett another thought and this is why Hicks (and not Gillett) should be the focus of our energies.  I understand Hicks will be attending tomorrow nights game and perhaps also the  return leg next week.  This is an ideal opportunity for us to let this deluded and utterly loathsome Texan know what we think of him.  Lets not miss that opportunity.     

  38. Well done Anfielder I echo every word. If DIC want to progress in buying out Hicks they’re going to have to keep mum in the process. The time for speaking out will be after they succeed. Hicks is obsessed with his image and the mirage of his authority, when he’s gone DIC and the club in general can say what they want. I also hope that Moores and Parry apologise to the fans for causing this utter disaster. Lets hope the end is in sight……..but I’ve thought that many times before.

  39. Jim, i agree with anfielder about your recent writings.  I’m still amazed how you continue to defend hicks almost all the time starting about one month ago. (it certainly seems like that) and now slate only gillett. Its not fair to suggest gillett cares more or as much as hicks about his public persona, after all its Hicks who’s been  shouting in the media the past three months. You said gillett was the one who upset rafa?? we all know perfectly well it was mainly hicks, remember the `pouting´ lines and other comments hicks himself told to media.  They both seriously failed to understand  how it works, not  just gillett.  How can you say gillett was the one to promise funds for players..??its a fact they both promised more transfers, not just gillett, check past articles..I´m so suprised you even think of a future with Hicks as majority owner..No offence but you really need to read your own past articles to remind you what’s really been said since december 07 and before that. I would really appreciate you to write article about the last six months about hicks, gillet, dic, to remind as all.  You say Dic are like hicks and his holding companys, they invest and try to get profit, DIC have invested and some have worked some not..what? what are you meaning..They are a success, a real deal do some research and you find major success, how can you think better owners for liverpool than them..along with ansari in the board..
    I said some time ago, that as long as DIC  officially announce that deal is off, we have hope.  It’s been silence from them and i sence that as a good sign..
    thanks.

  40. Sorry but I can’t believe anything you say Mr.Boarman.George Gillette is going to get back to you is he?Do you think he will be able to pay for the long distance call from his big desk and chair from Colorado.Why would he give you any info when you say he is having trouble holding on to his business"s.How do you know this,a friend at the bank told you so.Sorry but you sound like a woman gossiping about how much money your neighbour makes and LFC fans want facts not senseless meanderings about how many e-mails Gillette got some time ago.Try again your article couldn’t get any worse.

  41. I’m going to try and reply to these comments as best I can.

    First of all, attacking Gillett does not make Hicks innocent. Pointing out DIC have not been entirely honest doesn’t make Hicks honest. I find it disappointing that too many people feel everything has to be black and white. Sometimes it is, but often it’s not.

    If I point out that Hicks is adamant he can get the money to buy Gillett out, I get called for defending him. Likely or unlikely, possible or impossible, Hicks is still saying that he can get the money to buy Gillett out. Now if that’s based on him having 20 options on the table from eager investors, or him having a list of 20 banks to knock on the doors of cap-in-hand, he still says he can do it. My pointing that out is not defending him.

    We’ve been told since January that Hicks is on the edge of ruin. He survives. Then the markets collapse a bit more, and he’s on the edge of ruin. He survives. Then the story comes out his other loans are due, he’s on the edge of ruin. He survives. Maybe he’s not on the edge of ruin? Pointing it out isn’t defending him, it’s pointing out that DIC need to be sure he’s on the edge of ruin before using that as the basis of their strategy. If they’re sure, then fair enough, he’ll give in before too long and they’ll get their club. But how long will they wait? If he sticks the cheque in front of Gillett tomorrow what will they do?

    Everyone’s guessing at Hicks’ motives for not selling so far despite all of this pressure. He’s getting more negative attention in the US than he’s had in a while, yet he’s hanging on. If pride was such a major role, I’d have expected him to have ended that negative stuff now and flash his £25m-£80m profit at a Rangers or Stars game before buying them something nice. I really don’t believe pride is playing a part in it.

    If the new stadium comes off and is filled most games with good corporate sales, alongside naming rights, bigger tv money, improved exploitation of “the brand” overseas and the rest, it’s going to bring some stupid money in. Forget the chance the stadium might not be full, might not get good corporates sales, tv money could be impacted by some legislation somewhere and so on – if you look at the best case scenario we could be making £100m a season more than now, a good chunk of which could go to Hicks if he’s in charge still. What (assuming the stadium gets built and we don’t go bust in the meantime) is the worst case scenario?

    I’m not saying that’s what will happen, I’m saying that’s almost certainly a main driving force for Hicks. And if he’s worked out that keeping the fans ecstatic rather than happy is something you can do at a bigger profit then that’s going to help too. If we won the league every two years, would we sell more shirts in Asia than we do now? I’ve no idea, at all, but I bet Hicks has done some working out of figures to see if it’s worth trying for.

    Gillett has managed through his silence to not be the man who lied. Seriously, if he’d made himself available for interview in December before the Man U match, could he have answered questions on Rafa without lying? Silence means he didn’t have to lie. “The Liverpool way” is all well and good, but silence doesn’t make him honest.

    I can’t say much more, but Gillett knows his part in the Rafa potential sacking was at least as big as Hicks’. Whatever Hicks thought of Rafa in November, he would not sack Rafa now if he got control. How long Rafa would get is another matter, and how much money Rafa would get is another matter, but he would get more time if he wanted it. To be honest, Rafa has to decide in summer if he’s happy with his budget or not, and if not he should hand his notice in – that’s my view. I’d like to see him sitting next to the owner, whoever it is, when he says he’s happy with it. Gillett’s leaving either way, but Rafa wouldn’t be here in the summer if he was staying.

    In my view Rafa’s got to stay if at all possible. I know people can give good arguments against that, but my own view is he needs to stay for at least 12 more months. He needs to put his demands forward, and if his minimum requirements aren’t met he has to have the guts to say he isn’t getting enough support and walk out. Not an ultimatum or a negotiation – if he puts his requirements in the owner has to meet them if they can. If that includes getting an assistant, £30m budget and a better razor allowance after his boycott of Gillette then either he gets it or goes. In return the owner can state what they expect from that commitment. If Rafa feels the expectations are too high, he can walk. Let’s not have any doubt going into the next season what all our expectations should be.

    I think if Rafa does go we’ll be risking having to start all over again. There are very few managers with experience of winning the Premier League, and only one I’d personally even think about having on board, and he was a winner a long time ago in a different era. Anyone else is untried in the Premiership and so we have no idea whatsoever if they could win it. How many years could we allow them to have to get it right? DIC have made no promises or indications what they’d do with Rafa if they took over.

    Anfielder – I am not saying I believe Hicks has partners lined up. I’m saying that Hicks says, insists, he has partners lined up. It seems more likely it would be an investment consortium rather than an individual, but that’s not guaranteed, and it could be a mix of both. I’ve no idea how far it’s got, if it’s got off the ground at all or if they’re yet to make their first pitch to prospective investors. They could turn up tomorrow night at the Emirates with some of their 16 tickets used up by their new partners, who by then are already joint owners of Hicks Sports Group. They could have had their potential new partners lined up to go with them to Emirates as part of talks, only to cancel now that Gillett’s going to be there to interfere! They might have given up already. My own guess is that they’ve not given up, and are still genuinely hopeful, but only they know this.

    It doesn’t matter how great we all think DIC might be, if Hicks really has got the money and the power of veto he can buy the club. End of story. Well, end of chapter, we don’t know what might happen after that.

    In terms of how passionate DIC are over LFC, well there’s little dispute that al-Ansari has been a fan for years. Actually no dispute. As for the Sheikh, well he’s supposedly a fan too, and if I’m being honest although I don’t dismiss that I do take it with a huge pinch of salt. Of course al-Ansari is only an employee, and with another high-profile LFC fan leaving DIC recently, we can’t be sure al-Ansari will always be there to put his passion into decisions. Don’t take that as a slagging off of DIC. Their financial clout and their desire to be seen to be prestigious means we probably don’t need that bit of supporter passion for them to be willing to invest in a way that we’d like.

    Jussi – Rafa was upset when he found out he was on the verge of being sacked. That was before the pouting comments were made, which wasn’t until after the Man U game. That was disrespectful and smug, in my view, and it tied in with the claim Rafa wasn’t going to be sacked, the papers had just made it all up. That was a lie, and can’t be changed, but the initial incident was not down to Tom Hicks alone. There are various versions of the story going around, sharing the blame in different ways. The version that Gillett comes out of the best has him as at least equally to blame. He certainly was not the one bullied into the situation. I personally believe he was determined to see Rafa out of his job, and has still not changed that opinion, but isn’t expecting to be around to have to make any decision on the matter. I personally think his anger – and it is anger – at Hicks revealing there had been a meeting with Klinsmann and so on is because it proved to the world that he really had played a part in trying to oust Rafa.

    People will argue for and against Rafa’s abilities, but even the most justifiable version of the reasons given for trying to oust him does not compare well to the eventual outcome of the uncertainty from November until Hicks finally convinced Rafa he was behind him.

    Jussi what I was saying also is that DIC are an investment company, they put money into business that they believe will give them a good return. Business is unpredictable to an extent, and without having checked all their investments I’d be surprised if every single one of their investments was as successful as they’d hoped. I didn’t say that about Hicks, or didn’t intend to at least. I said that it was possible an investment company like DIC would be used to help Hicks get hold of LFC. This investment company would put money into either LFC or according to some reports in the US into his sports group. They are not likely to do it in return for a guaranteed amount each year, like a bank would with a loan. They’ll look at the figures and work out what they feel is the likelihood of it making them as much money as other options they have open to them. In that respect, overall, Hicks plan is very similar to DIC’s.

    So, again, Gillett is no angel, far from it, but he does not have the means to buy Tom Hicks out. Let’s face it, if DIC can’t (or won’t) afford to buy him out, how can Gillett? So if he’s on his way, why keep pointing out his faults? Because I personally think it’s only fair to at least try and show some balance. Unfortunately because people are so polarised against Hicks it ends up looking like I’m defending him.

    Surely we should make our minds up based on as much of the truth as we can get our hands on?

    As I keep saying though, actions speak louder than words and unless Hicks comes up with the money or DIC make an official offer we’re going to be in limbo, and this limbo is worse than any of the options out there.

    James Ross – I don’t quite understand what you mean. I’ll try and respond but sorry if I’ve got the wrong end of the stick on what you said. Gillett’s financial situation was being spoken about as completely stretched in terms of how he got the security for that loan. That doesn’t mean he can’t pay his phone bill, it means he can’t afford to fund anything else of note. This came some time back and from more than one place. I think you can guess what Gillett’s response to this would be. And you’re right, only the banks and similar that deal with Gillett know the true story, which is also likely to be the case with claims about Hicks’ financial situation. Sorry you didn’t like the article.

    Just to sign off this stupidly long comment, it’s hard to tell what is going to happen, because nobody really knows. All I’m trying to do is find things out, and when I do most of it can’t be put on here anyway. All I’ll say is that there seems to be a genuine opinion from those involved that we will have a resolution by the end of the season at the absolute latest, probably sooner, quite likely this month, but that’s about the only thing that is being said consistently.

  42. Just want to say Jim, everyone appreciates the work you do, even if not everyone agrees with your comments all of the time (and I have no doubts you are sensible enough to accept that).

    Thanks.

  43. Jim, I would echo Hop’s thanks for all the work you do on the site. It affords the opportunity for an intelligent and open discussion  about what’s happening with the club, and it is my dearest wish that someday soon the most tramautic topic we’ll be tackling is whether or not Torres should be crowned king of the universe.

    I feel the need to clarify my reference to Hicks’s pride. Bear in mind, the state motto of Texas is, "everything is bigger in Texas," and I think this informs to an extent Hicks’s approach to his business dealings. Texan pride means not losing, Texan pride means shooting down the challenger before he shoots you, Texan pride means doing it your own way and take what you want because if you don’t the challenger will.  It’s not just a cliche – it is informed by the mentality that settled the American west and is still prevalent today. Just look at what the American president has been up to for the past six years.

    That being said, I think it’s essential for Hicks’s to come out of this with a bulging wallet and the smug sense that he’s won – that will be his pride. He may want to give the impression that he’s bringing up to 15 potential investors to the Emirites on Wednesday – what’s more important to him is that he got more tickets than anyone else. That’s Texan pride.

  44. I am a bit befuddled by the (fascinating) psychodrama evolving on a daily basis on this site. The attacks on Jim’s assumed ‘siding with Hicks against GG’ has been so bitter at times that Julie and Hop have now even thought fit to assure Jim of their appreciation for the quality of the site. I want to join them, wholeheartedly. Having said that, I think the rancour against Jim in some comments seems to stem from one aspect of his recent comments. I may be wrong, but there is increasingly on the part of Jim a sense of inevitability that Thicks (unlike GG) is in the club for the long term and that therefore we should be more sensible as Liverpool fans and adjust to, well, the inevitable. I don’t want to go into long digressions about this, but I agree with Jim (if this is his view) that the Texan seems to take it that he will not budge from the LFC boardroom for several years. Whether this is wishful thinking on Thicks’s part or a rational appraisal of the situation is unclear to me, but this prospect apparently makes most fans mad. I do not know where this leaves DIC and their money profusion…

  45. I love the banter on here – whether for or against Hicks or Gillett or For Jim’s stance or against. When we fall out on here, i view it like brothers/sisters falling in and out about something they love. And because blood is thicker than water, and we avoid the personal stuff, we’re always be friends.

    For me, without Jim, (and I don’t always agree with him) I don’t know where I’d go on the blogosphere.

    Anyway, our love-in wobblies aside, I just read Martin Samuels article on Liverpool/Benitez/Hicks and Gillett. He has me pulling my hair out often and struggle to understand why he wins so many awards sometimes BUT because he’s written what I like (:-)) I liked todays.

    Have a read:
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/columnists/martin_samuel/article3662932.ece

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