Take your cameras with you to the pub tonight if you’re one of those lucky enough to be enjoying a pre- or post-match pint either side of the game.
George Gillett is rumoured to be planning a visit to the Albert.
It seems to be all part of an orchestrated campaign to recover his reputation with fans.
We all heard his claims recently that after months of being a willing seller of his half of the club to Tom Hicks he’d now changed his mind after receiving death threats. He took the death threats seriously enough that in fear of the lives of his wife and family he was going to go back on multi-million-pound business deal.
So now he’s off to the pub to mix with the very people that might have been making those death threats he spoke of.
The only two reasons he gave for now refusing to sell to Hicks were the death threats, and that Hicks had run out of time.
Yet it’s hardly a secret that when he finally found the means with which to convince the banks to allow him to sign for his half of the £350m club debt he did so at the absolute limit of his financial means. He was already said to be pushing himself close when he took out his half of the original £298m borrowed for the original takeover, but pre-credit-crunch he still had some room to manoeuvre. By the time the duo were speaking to the banks about the renewal of that deal, he was getting short shrift. His assets weren’t even close to the value they had been listed at when that first loan was agreed.
So why, now, is he suddenly able to talk about buying the club himself? It would cost more to buy it now than it did to refinance it in January, so where’s he suddenly found the money from? And considering Hicks has resisted all the advances DIC have tried to make, we’re not talking about a small amount of money. Hicks has no intention of selling, he isn’t holding out for a pre-conceived figure, he wants to stay around for the long term.
Some say that Hicks will struggle to find the money to buy Gillett out anyway. If this is true, what chance has Gillett – the poorer partner of the two – got of raising the money? In reality it looks like Gillett has no chance whatsoever. And he’s not had a chance whatsoever – really – since that first hint from the bank last autumn that they didn’t think his assets were up to scratch.
So if Hicks raises the money, would death threats still stop Gillett from selling to him? Like-for-like, two equal offers from Hicks and DIC, one of which could be done pretty instantly and the other which would depend on Hicks selling his half at the same time, would Gillett turn Hicks down?
We’ll see, of course, if that scenario does eventually arise. DIC made it clear last month that a joint-ownership situation wasn’t a real possibility to them, and their lack for so long of an actual offer for the club that could trigger the supposed legal action against a Hicks veto suggests that they are waiting until both owners are willing to sell.
None of their tactics have worked so far. So are they now joining forces with Gillett?
Why has Gillett now come out and decided to announce he won’t sell to Hicks. If those death threats, no matter how serious, were going to stop him, a visit to the Albert with Foster wouldn’t even be joked about. Would he have even visited Anfield?
Has he had help in securing this visit to the Albert? He’s played as big a part in the mess as Tom Hicks, arguably more, and his answer to resolving the mess was to sit quietly and wait for someone to buy him out.
And what’s changed? Really, what’s made him find his voice again?
Gillett still seems to hold a grudge against Rafa, and although Hicks was there when the talks with Klinsmann were taking place, Hicks is now backing Rafa, and that seems to be more than just spin, for once. Gillett can list numerous reasons why he doesn’t think Rafa is the person the fans think he is. Rafa has been criticised for reportedly backing Hicks, but he knows Gillett isn’t keen on him, so what else is he supposed to do? He can’t exactly speak officially with DIC, to see what their plans are if they do succeed in taking over, although if they share Gillett’s ideas on a coach’s place he wouldn’t have a future.
Another question is just who is helping Gillett with his new-found interest in a club he deserted three months ago? Why has Foster returned to England after clearing his desk three months ago? If someone inside the club is helping Gillett, what’s in it for them? Are they thinking of the club, or thinking of themselves?
Gillett’s reported aim of turning up in the Albert seems designed as part of some plan, based on the invitation he claimed to have received when he was talking about death threats from Liverpool fans. By appearing at the Albert, photographer at the ready, having a pint of good old English beer (can you get a good pint in the Albert these days?) and smiling alongside fans, it seems he’s trying to prove a point. The point being that he really is that well-loved guy from Canada (as many still think he is), here to do nothing but good for the club. He’s nothing of the sort. He lives in Colorado and he’s here to make himself rich.
He’s here to make money, as much as possible, and every penny over the odds he asks for is a penny that could have gone towards helping the club. That’s his right, and if that’s what he wants to do there’s little to stop him. But let’s not hear any more about how he’s doing it for the club or the fans. Or from anyone else for that matter.