How long left? Ownership battle drags on.

The battle for control of Liverpool Football Club seems to be gathering more momentum in the media than it is in reality, with no real sign yet of any change in position from any of those involved. To summarise, Hicks says he won’t sell and wants to buy; Gillett says he wants to sell but not to Hicks; Dubai say they are going to buy the club soon.

Last week saw Rafa speak of a positive meeting with Tom Hicks over transfers, and although the Spaniard did point out that co-owner George Gillett and CEO Rick Parry were aware of what was said, he made it clear they didn’t attend the talks. Further hints from Rafa suggested the transfer budget would be minimal, but despite that he spoke of being happy he could get the targets he wanted. Time will tell if he’s happy it can make a difference to a league challenge, or just happy that when the names are revealed, nobody will expect a league challenge.

Any chance of increasing that budget depends on the resolution of the ownership situation. Only a takeover leaving one party with a controlling interest would see the transfer budget boosted.

No change.
This is where the club still finds itself – in a position of no change. Although some aspects of the club’s operations can continue during this stand-off, it’s still not able to operate as it could under the control of one entity.

Tom Hicks insists he can find a way of taking control, either by raising the finance to buy George Gillett out himself, or more likely by getting investment to allow him to become majority shareholder with another – or more than one other – investor or investment company. He refuses to sanction any 50:50 ownership deal, and claims he can block any attempt by Gillett to sell his half to anyone else. It is believed that with Gillett still not having formally accepted an offer from Dubai, nothing has yet been tested anyway.

George Gillett has given various reasons for his stated refusal to sell to Hicks. He admitted himself in a Canadian radio interview that he had been previously willing to sell to Hicks, but this was no longer the case. He mentioned having given Hicks time to come up with the goods to buy him out, but having run out of time. He mentioned death threats warning him not to sell any part of his share to Hicks, or else face the consequences. He claimed having almost 2000 emails a day from supporters who didn’t want him to sell to Hicks. Most recently he said he wouldn’t sell to his partner, and that “we need to find a way forward that is properly funded and truly in the best interests of Liverpool Football Club.”

In broad terms DIC haven’t changed their stance either, which is basically that they won’t pay any more than the price they’ve offered, and that they feel sooner or later Gillett and Hicks will have to concede defeat. Very little of what is attributed as coming from DIC is ever from direct quotes, and some contradictions are heard from time to time. Whether this is down to a misunderstanding on the part of those being spoken to, or a case of DIC’s people telling each different person whatever it is they want to hear isn’t too clear. But with no direct quotes it’s unlikely they will ever explain it anyway.

One piece of information that has recently started to filter out of the Dubai camp sounded very much like a piece of information said purely to placate those listening to it.

DIC the investment company.
Even back when DIC were losing their first attempt to buy the club it was often pointed out that DIC are an investment company looking to make a profit. The fact that they were under the wing of the wealthy Dubai Government and that their CEO was a Liverpool fan was nice to hear, but not nice enough to accept them with open arms and no worries. Their website changed its description of their dealings to hide the phrase so often used to attack Tom Hicks, “leveraged buy-outs”, but still showed they’d bought Tussauds for £800m and sold 80% of it two years later for £1bn, a quick-and-easy £200m profit without actually selling their whole stake. They admitted themselves on their own website that it was a leveraged deal, the kind of deal Hicks and Gillett struck to buy LFC.

DIC has only existed as an entity since 2004, so its good track record in terms of making money is only based on a relatively short period of time. The infamous leaked “Project Oslo” document was alleged to have shown a DIC plan to sell up after seven years at Anfield, and it’s worth noting that they’ve not yet had seven years ownership of any of their investments so far.

There are then still unanswered questions, despite many theories, as to why they were prepared to let the club slip out of their hands in 2007 for around half what they will have to pay now. Also worries from some that their reliance on this perception that Tom Hicks is in a precarious financial position sees them fail to make an offer that Hicks would even consider changing his stance for. But with DIC being an investment company, there is a ceiling at which they would feel the investment is either too risky or just not profitable enough, so they wouldn’t raise their price much higher anyway.

The focus has been on how bad Tom Hicks is, but few have stopped to look at DIC’s potential pitfalls. That said, there are more voices starting to raise concerns, more people starting to ask questions.

It has to be remembered that finding fault with DIC, or to be more accurate potential faults, doesn’t make Tom Hicks any better or worse. If a Tom Hicks fault is also one that it turns out DIC have, then it doesn’t mean it’s suddenly not a fault. It’s just a fault both candidates have, and we should be more interested in what they might do to rectify it.

Managers.
One such fault is the approach to the hiring and firing of managers.

One day we’ll read an autobiography or two and find out exactly what went on in the lead-up to Jurgen Klinsmann being asked if he fancied Rafa’s job. It doesn’t matter how you interpret the events or how you apportion the blame, what matters is that any of those involved who do remain at the club know their own part in what happened, and they should recognise where they were at fault. If they remain at the club in the long term they need to ensure they don’t allow such a situation to develop again.

Over the weekend, timed impeccably just days ahead of a clash with Jose Mourinho’s former club Chelsea, came a story that Mourinho had been lined up by DIC to take over the manager’s job if DIC got control. A carefully-worded denial was swiftly issued, with “sources at DIC” denying that they had ever “offered the job to Mourinho, or met him to discuss it”.

Although the timing raises obvious suspicions that it’s an attempt to unsettle Rafa and his boys for Wednesday night, it isn’t the first time such claims have been heard. It remains about as strong a rumour as the Klinsmann approach was before German officials spoke about it and Tom Hicks admitted it; the rumour was little more than gossip until then. DIC obviously can’t offer Mourinho a job that isn’t theirs to offer, but could well have indicated at one stage that he was in line for it should they win their battle. And they can do this without meeting him – by phone or through his agent.  The denial doesn’t cover that kind of approach, and with DIC still remaining pretty much unwilling to speak in public their intentions remain clouded in mystery.

And although a majority of fans are still supportive of DIC, this mystery is starting to have a negative impact on a small but growing number of supporters. It’s not a case of sharing points out between Hicks and DIC, taking a point from DIC doesn’t necessarily boost the points total of Tom Hicks. Added to the mystery is the clear evidence that DIC is still an investment company, still looking to make a profit, still not trying to buy the club just to make people happy. It does start to reduce the gap for some supporters, or more accurately, it moves DIC closer to the point where their presence becomes a serious worry.  But they started from such a strong position that there is quite some way to go yet before worries are strong enough to protest against them.

Still, it does now seem to have been recognised by the powers-that-be at DIC that some fans are worried about how this deal would work.

First of all, let’s make it clear: DIC have been the entity looking to buy Liverpool FC since this latest saga began. It’s never been about the Sheikh of Dubai buying the club to put alongside his horseracing hobby. After all, much has been made of how Sameer Al-Ansari is a big Liverpool fan and how his presence would ensure Liverpool weren’t messed about again. Sameer is the CEO of DIC. All along these talks have been between DIC and the current owners. Amanda Staveley of PCP Capital Partners has been negotiating on behalf of DIC. The leaked email from Tom Hicks that appeared in the Telegraph last month was to Al-Ansari, in his role as DIC CEO, to his office at DIC’s HQ. And that’s where the meeting was held, between Hicks representatives and DIC representatives. It could of course just be a coincidence, but a Liverpool-supporting DIC executive was sacked just after that failed meeting. Al-Ansari has been rarely quoted on this issue, but he has been quoted.

DIC not to buy LFC?
But now it’s changed. The FT has reported what has been getting rumoured quietly for the last week or two. DIC aren’t buying LFC. It’s the Sheikh himself, or at least it’s coming out of his own money!

The report says that “Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai, is playing an active role in negotiations over Liverpool Football Club.” It adds that this could see LFC “wholly owned and guaranteed … by a sovereign state.”

The FT says that although DIC have been the company the talks have “been channelled through”, their information is that this is no longer the case. As ever, there are no names mentioned in terms of the source of the information, but “people close to the situation say… Sheikh Mohammed has taken a close personal interest.  He receives personal regular updates on developments by PCP Capital Partners”.

PCP are of course the partnership whose representative Amanda Staveley has been involved in talks on behalf of DIC with the club’s current owners. She met representatives of SoS last week, before attending the Chelsea game with Al-Ansari.

The FT report also speculates that “the club’s future may become clearer tomorrow night if the team fails to win the second leg of its Champions League semi-final at Chelsea.” This may of course be true, but based on last year’s figures a place in the final was worth an extra £3.2m, which is hardly the kind of money to be a deal-changer in a transaction worth anything from £400m to £500m. Even winning the competition would bring £5.5m, again not a significant figure in a deal of this size. That said, an article in the Express today speculates on why the end of Liverpool’s CL run could be significant.

The FT also make a claim about the Sheikh’s own support of LFC. The “boyhood Red” claims of a few months back are now changed to “Sheikh Mohammed is a Liverpool supporter dating back to the early 1980s.” The boyhood Red claim always seemed a touch unrealistic, given that he was 15 by the time Shanks won his first Division 1 title with the club in 1964. Shortly after this he did spend some time studying in the UK, but even this 1980s claim has been played down privately by “those close to the deal”.

Sheikh's other son in Man U shirtBut at least his son is a fan, says the FT article: “Hamdan bin Mohammed, his 25-year-old son, who in February was named crown prince, is a fanatical supporter.” There’s no easily-found evidence of Hamdan being a supporter of any team in particular, but his older brother is happier to show his colours. Sheikh Rashid bin Mohammed Al Maktoum was pictured in a Manchester United shirt last month.

With 17 children it must be tough for their father to keep them all happy, so Rashid is less likely to get his dad to buy him a football team!

The FT goes on to say that LFC would now not be owned by DIC after all, and tying in with other information coming from the PCP camp it would be owned by “a vehicle of the Dubai government – partly via PCP”.

This of course, if true, does make some of the fears about Dubai ownership a little less pressing. There’s hardly been any doubt that the state of Dubai’s finances are in good condition, or that DIC wouldn’t have the amount of money to put in from their plans. The worry was their plans, as an investment company, would not have “fans with smiling faces and a full trophy room” even on the first page, let alone as a main priority.  More needs to be explained by Dubai, or PCP, and not from behind the safety of anonymity, but for the first time, since even before the first DIC bid, there is a possibility of investment being made in the club without profit as the top priority.

Questions still need to be raised as to why this has only just become the case. Why were DIC the original interested party, and why has it only now been taken out of their hands? There are endless possible reasons for why, including the fact that by owning up to the funding coming in effect from the Sheik’s own wallet that the two current owners would be able to try and hold out for more.  Instead of being fobbed of by a DIC business plan showing a return over seven years leading to an exit from the club, the owners would see that LFC were being bought without such restrictions in mind.

Step up the attack?
Some people are already asking why, if the Sheikh is personally involved and determined to become the owner of LFC for reasons other than profit, he’s not dipped a little deeper into his personal fortune with his bid. The most-commonly quoted figure of £400m suggests a profit of £25m each for Hicks and Gillett, which does not compare favourably with the amount of money to be made each year by LFC on fulfilling its potential commercially. Rather than let the club be dragged through a mess that all parties have helped ensure was played out embarrassingly and in public, a higher bid might just have tests Hicks’ resolve not to sell.

DIC, or Dubai, have believed for some time that Tom Hicks is about to run out of time in terms of not only getting the money to buy the rest of LFC, but also to keep his other sports interests afloat. Their strategy has certainly been based in part on that assumption.

Today’s Express carries a story that has been heard before. No, not a Diana story.  Harry Harris: Bankers tell Hicks to sell talks of how US firm JP Morgan has “told Tom Hicks ‘time is up’ on his huge loans and are calling on the Texan to sell his 50 per cent stake in Liverpool.”

Another Hicks-on-the-brink story.
Harris writes that Morgans are “getting jittery at Hicks’ failure to raise the required capital to buy out co-owner George Gillett, who has agreed to sell his share of the club to Dubai International Capital.”

The story that his US loans are due to be called in has been doing the rounds for some time, although it’s not getting much coverage in the US for some reason. Harris it seems has also been speaking to Dubai’s people, saying “Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum (is) taking a personal interest in the end game of their proposed Anfield takeover.”

He also says he believes Hicks’ visits to Melwood and Anfield last week were “a facade – that Hicks is playing hardball, merely trying to hang on for a bigger offer before selling out.”

Again using figures that were bandied about a few weeks back, around the time of the Arsenal away leg in the Champions League, he writes: “He values the Hicks Sports Group… at £1billion, with the Premier League club making up 75 per cent of that figure.” And before anyone points out that he didn’t use JP Morgan to get his half of that £350m finance package in January, Harris says: “it is JP Morgan who bankroll the group.”

The reason for their worry, according to Harris, is “they see a buyer and worry it may fall through”.

And he says he’s getting the information from a “well-connected City source” who tells him that “Hicks is being so heavily squeezed by JP Morgan he may be forced to sell sooner rather than later.”

Then comes the explanation of why tomorrow night’s result matters: “They are sensitive to Liverpool’s bid to reach the Champions League final and will not pull the plug on Hicks’ loans until that campaign ends – tomorrow or after the final in Moscow on May 21.”

Hicks may well have issues with his US finances, it’s been rumoured often enough, but that last statement is difficult to believe. As was mentioned above, winning tomorrow night would only guarantee LFC an extra £3.2m, possibly £5.5m if they went on to win outright in Moscow. At most Tom Hicks gets an extra £2.75m if the Reds go all the way, or £1.6m if they are runners up.

Those Harris figures seem odd too. According to what he’s written, Tom Hicks’ half of LFC is worth 75% of £1bn. This of course would be £750m just for 50% of LFC, making the club worth a total of £1.5bn. Where does this figure come from? And why would a possible £1.6m make a significant difference?

It would be good if a source in the US financial arena could comment, but Harris says his man from the city had this explanation: “Hicks’ bankers are getting very nervous about his ability to finance his debt. They can see a buyer for his Liverpool shares, and as there is only one out there, they are worried it might fall through. They cannot allow that to happen. He owes the banks, and they want him to sell up. Hicks has had his chances to raise money, but in the current markets he has been unable to do that.”

If Hicks has agreements in place for finance, and is keeping to the agreements, for example making any regular payments, then it’s difficult to see how the banks would interfere. There might be a credit crunch going on, but the last thing they need to do is turn away somebody who is actually paying them money to help keep them afloat.

The “well placed source” admitted that he had been told Hicks’ existing finance had two years to run: “Hicks’ camp continue to suggest he doesn’t need to refinance until 2010, but that doesn’t add up with Hicks trying as hard as he has been for some time now to find other partners.” Yet it does add up with Hicks trying to get control of Liverpool FC, with the help of third parties.

The club currently has £60m sitting in wait to start work on the new stadium. This is part of the £105m finance that was put onto the club’s books in January. It’s widely believed that LFC would have no problems raising the remainder of the finance for the stadium, as and when required during the life of the construction project. Not according to the “well-placed source”, who claims: “If Hicks can hold out until 2010, then he hasn’t got the personal resources to either add anything to the transfer budget or raise more loans to build the stadium. That again applies even greater pressure to his personal financial situation.”

Another missed deadline.
Harris is hardly the most favourite of journalists for Liverpool fans, but there’s a danger that many fans will believe what he says on this story – because they just want it to be true. There’s no harm in wanting it to be true, to wish for an end to the mess, but it’s dangerous to take such stories at face value.  Harris wrote in February that “Liverpool will be Arab-owned within a month” before going on to explain how he had written the story after he had “seen confidential financial analysis of Liverpool’s predicament, commissioned by DIC”. And that would be impartial analysis too no doubt.

Cynics will dismiss it, but back in the US Hicks has seen a link between winning things and selling tickets. Past quotes from Hicks have suggested he felt winning wasn’t important, fans would turn up no matter what, but the latest quotes suggest he realised this isn’t the case. His Dallas Stars hockey team are progressing well in the Stanley Cup playoffs, which is the big prize for those in the NHL. They currently lead 2-0 in a best of seven matches “Conference Semi Final”, and if they can win two of those next five games would be into the “Conference Finals”. That itself can lead to the “Stanley Cup Finals”. There’s still some way to go, but Hicks says the success so far is attracting supporters to commit themselves: “We’re getting our season-ticket base back, and that’s what it is all about. Dallas is a city that loves winners. Whether it’s the Stars or the Mavs or the Cowboys – and hopefully someday it’s going to be the Rangers again – there’s a lot more interest when they feel like you’re going to win.”

But who’s going to win the battle for control of Anfield? Are those in the running actually trying hard enough? Is Hicks trying hard but still having a run like Dirk Kuyt’s hard-working low-scoring mid-season spell? Are DIC just sitting back complacently thinking the game’s already won, risking an unexpected own goal just as it looked to be over?

It’s like listening to the last part of a match on the radio, with no clear idea of how long there is left to go in the match, trusting others to describe what’s happening and nobody telling you the score “if you’ve just got in”. Listening and listening for a clue to what the score might be, to how long is left, hoping the commentators going to use words like “Liverpool trying to extend their lead” rather than “Liverpool nearly getting themselves an undeserved point”.

Dubai have now brought their sub on, or their secret weapon, the player with a reputation in other games that says he’s got the potential of having what it takes to put this one beyond doubt. But potential on its own isn’t enough, neither is reputation, and if this Dubai star can’t put the ball in the net soon then the less-fancied guy for the other side might just sneak a winner. And if that less-fancied guy thinks he’s capable of sneaking a winner, he needs to start shouting for the ball.

143 thoughts on “How long left? Ownership battle drags on.”

  1. I can’t wait for this all to just end.

    I honestly do not know who I want to takeover anymore. I know I don’t want Hicks to takeover, definitely, but if people actually listened to what Jim is saying instead of lambasting him all the time they might learn something, which brings me to my next point…

    The unintelligent deal in absolutes. There are no absolutely right or absolutely wrong potential owners vying for our club. All Jim has written has attempted to bring some balance and objectivity to the table. Because everyone (including myself) is pro-dic, anti-hicks, it seems like Jim must be the opposite, but if you actually read what he writes it’s not “Hicks Propaganda” at all.

    People are deluded and for the record, fucking idiots, if they are prepared to make the same mistake that was made with Hicks and Gillett. But the attitude that eminates repeatedly from certain bloggers is eluding to doing just that.

    Hicks has made a complete mess and he’s not fit to own our club imo, but if people aren’t prepared to even accept that there’s a possiblity that DIC are potentially worse, thats right worse, owners than H&G then they have no right to comment on here in the future if DIC takeover and it goes pear shaped.

    Instead of a simple minded knee jerke reaction to any DIC criticism, have a think back to how you felt after the Amercians 1st press conference. And then think how you feel now…

    btw Adam Shiraz – Pot calling the kettle black, literally. You’re a disgrace.

    Rant over.

  2. Jim thanks for your reply. I think you need to step back a bit and have a good look at Liverpool FC. You are blinded by Hicks and DIC’s PR. So much so that you can’t the wood from the trees. This is about the future of our club – the fact that i could put that list together off the top of my head says that the club is in shit and its Hicks/Gilletts club – not Parry or Moores.

    1) Whats this £298m rubbish. Simple fact Debt = £350m

    2) He owns our club and you can’t be bothered to look into Corithians. Why what are you afraid to find??
    Corinihians 2000 World Club Champions
    Corinthians 2008 Serie B in Brazil

    3) Record is based on improving the club – isn’t that what we are looking for someone with a proven track record in improving clubs?

    4) If banks come looking for money then they will force us to sell assets. Its what they do. They bought us not Hicks.

    5) Banks are not lending and we need at least £290m. At every day we delay it becomes more. At this stage £350m is a very conservative figure – cost over runs are completely normal in these type of projects.

    6) Hicks claimed this on his Sky PR piece

    7) Again 15 months and no results and a commercial manager who is interview shy. If I took 15 months to do nothing in my job except hire someone after 9 months who also has done nothing i’d doubt I still have my job or my hired help.

    8) We’ll wait and see. As usual with Hicks its all talk, talk talk.

    9) Again are you happy that after 15 months we don’t ever have a potential backer of out new stadium!! This could easily be set up prior to work on it. I know in ireland we’ve had naming rights on new stadiums agreed well before any construction. It gives the company a couple of years of free advertising while we build the ‘Coca Cola’ stadium.

    10) I’m not asking about claims I asking about facts. What – £20M?? (Mascherano’s deal was over the course of his contract). I’m glad moores sold so that we have less than our champions league revenue to spend on transfers – nice.

    11) Rafa knows he is being used but has the good grace to put the club first.

    12) He is Parrys boss and he blames him for Klinsmann meeting Hicks in his own home!!! Some boss.

    Wake up Jim – Hicks is a cancer.

    Yank parasites out.

  3. @Stephen: Jim, once again you seem to be ignoring my posts!!

    On Hicks’ financial problems – evidence?

    Let’s try then….

    1) The man went cap in hand around the city a couple of weeks ago and came back with nothing, Evidence? I’m not saying it’s false, but what is your evidence exactly?
    2) He needs numerous investors to help purchase 1/2 a club – which he has been running around the US looking for. A theory I heard was that he was capable of getting a loan for the lot, but didn’t want to. That’s not come from his camp by the way. He was looking at different options, working out what was best for him / the club – again that’s not come from his camp. But it’s as possible and backed by as much evidence as the other theories. Or have you got some evidence?

    3) He doesn’t have the finances to start a stadium.
    There’s evidence he and Gillett have £60m to start the work. There’s no evidence one way or the other to say the club can’t get the rest. Unless you have some?

    4) He didn’t have the money to buy the club at the start?
    He bought the club with a loan. He told the club he was buying the club with a loan. He didn’t hear an objection. He didn’t get told he had to part-fund it any other way. Your issue is with the old board and shareholders. You or I have no way of knowing if he could have funded it another way.

    5) He hasn’t provided the money to back Rafa.
    It’s “they” rather than “he” and the only person I’ve heard say much about it is GG, who maintains Rafa got what he asked for.

    6) He refuses to answer questions about finance.
    He refused on one Five Live interview AFAIK. Has anyone else said he’s refused to answer questions on it? I understand your point, but it doesn’t necessarily mean he’s hiding something sinister, more likely he’s avoiding giving anyone a chance to interfere.

    I’ll keep it easy for – answer one question. Answer can only be yes or no.

    Do you support they way Hicks has run the club?

    Yes or No. Simple

    Hicks hasn’t run the club. Hicks and Gillett with the help/hindrance of Parry have run the club. That’s been an awful time. I feel it would be run better by Hicks alone than by the current trio – whether that would be good enough or not we won’t know unless it happens.

    I’m not his spokesman – why not try and contact him and ask him these questions yourself?

  4. Jim thanks for the reply.

    I guess my question is

    Do you support the way the club has been run under Hicks’ co-ownership?

    Yes or No.

    Don’t forget every fan on this site has Liverpool’s well being at heart.

  5. Stephen,

    I think the whole notion of Hicks not backing Rafa is absolutely preposterous ! How much money did the current ownership spend last summer? How much money had LFC spent on transfers before the Americans took over? I think that is called “investing in the club”. Also, stadiums are financed in a specific way – you securitize your naming rights etc… You don’t fund the stadium out of pocket! DIC would not fund the stadium out of pocket! No investor ever has! You are not being rational. Hicks / Gillett already have $120mm for the stadium TO DATE! I find it difficult to read your posts because they are so negative and baised. Where is YOUR evidence to everything you have said above? You asked this of Jim but where do you get this from?

    Let’s go through them:
    1) The man went cap in hand around the city a couple of weeks ago and came back with nothing,
    HOW DO YOU KNOW THAT? HOW DO YOU KNOW WHETHER HE WAS SUCCESSFUL OR NOT ETC?
    2) He needs numerous investors to help purchase 1/2 a club – which he has been running around the US looking for.
    HICKS HAS ALREADY PUBLICALLY STATED THAT HE WOULD BE WILLING TO PARTNER WITH ANOTHER INVESTOR TO BUY OUT GG SO LONG AS THAT PERSON WOULD BE WILLING TO BE A MINORITY INVESTOR (IE 49%) – HE ONLY SAID THAT HE IS NOT WILLING TO “RULE BY COMMITTEE” LIKE THEY HAVE CURRENTLY… YOU CANNOT HAVE TWO EQUAL PARTNERS IN ANY DEAL. SOMETHING HAS TO OVERRULE SO THE PARTNERSHIP CAN ACT.
    3) He doesn’t have the finances to start a stadium.
    AS I MENTIONED ABOVE, HE HAS $120MM FOR THE STADIUM IN ESCROW – STADIUMS ARE FINANCED LIKE THIS ALL THE TIME! YOU SELL NAMING RIGHTS / SPONSORSHIPS / USE LEVERAGE AND FUND WHAT YOU HAVE TO IN EQUITY. IT IS JUST HOW STADIUMS GET BUILT. DIC WOULD DO IT THE SAME WAY. ALSO, HAVE YOU EVER THOUGHT ABOUT HOW MUCH MONEY GG AND HICKS HAVE SPENT WORKING WITH ARCHETECTS FOR THE NEW STADIUM SO LFC WOULDN’T PLAY IN THE “PARRYBOWL?”
    4) He didn’t have the money to buy the club at the start?
    OK THAT MAKES SENSE – HOW DID HE BUY IT THEN? MAGIC? THE GUY OWNS TWO OTHER SPORTS FRANCHISES AND HAS FOR A DECADE… HE ALSO HAS HAD A PRETTY SUCCESSFUL LIFE AS AN INVESTOR. THIS JUST MAKES NO SENSE WHATSOEVER. HOW DO YOU THINK HICKS AND GG BOUGHT THE TEAM IF THEY DIDN’T HAVE THE MONEY? THAT JUST DOESN’T MAKE ANY SENSE.
    5) He hasn’t provided the money to back Rafa.
    WHAT DO YOU CALL LAST SUMMER? HOW CAN YOU DENY THAT HICKS AND GG DIDN’T SUPPORT RAFA LAST SUMMER? THEY SPENT MORE THAN MOORES EVER DID! I THINK THEY SPENT MORE THAN $100MM IN ONE SUMMER! SINCE THEN THEY HAVE SIGNED MASCHERANO AND SKRTL – THAT IS A LOT OF $$$ TO INVEST!
    6) He refuses to answer questions about finance.
    WHEN DID HE GET ASKED ABOUT HIS FINANCIAL SITUATION? DIRECTLY? ALSO, MOST PEOPLE DON’T LIKE TO DISCLOSE THEIR FINANCIALS. HICKS HAS MAINTAINED THAT HE HAS THE FINANCIAL CAPACITY FOR LIVERPOOL SO I DON’T UNDERSTAND WHERE YOU ARE GETTING THIS.

    Stephen, most everything you post is just irresponsible and just plain fiction. Unless I have you pegged wrong and you can back up some of this stuff. You asked Jim for evidence – I ask you!

  6. @Cory: Thanks for your views – I’ve had no promises about being a fan’s voice (it’s not like I exactly am a voice of much more than me!), and if I was bothered about that kind of thing I’d probably go along with DIC like everybody else, for an easier life. It’s 50-50 to me who’ll win this battle, by the time you take into account everything being said on and off the record. But people have to stop assuming this is all about taking sides.

    I’ve not followed the US elections to be honest so I’d best be careful not to read too much into what you’re saying, but I think I get the idea.

    The “press deconstruction” is generally reaction to something. This FT story confirmed some things I was told recently, and gave me the opportunity finally to discuss it. The Harry Harris one kind of goes along with other stuff I’d heard, but is overplayed very heavily. Both stories were taken unconditionally as gospel by a lot of supporters and I found it worrying. The FT one could hardly have come from a better source for that side of the story, but it is only that side of the story.

    I’m tired of showing what I see to be plus points about Hicks, or pointing out where negativity aimed at him actually refers to an act of Gillett’s, because I get nothing but angry replies.

    For example – “I think Tom Hicks alone is better than GG alone or GG+TH.” It’s a view, it doesn’t say if Tom Hicks is good enough, or where he is next to DIC. But people find that information themselves somehow!

    I see you mentioned you’d skip some bits of articles – the one above points out that DIC are possibly no better in terms of intentions than Hicks. Money in (from wherever) – wait five years doing the minimum – money back out with profit. The evidence of that is based on it being the kind of investment both parties do. In fact I’m not sure Hicks does still do that kind of investing these days, I’d need to check. But on top of that we know nothing. DIC don’t have sports teams to compare us to. Hicks has two and it’s a mattter of differing opinions how he’s treated them. A lot of people will not read that as concerns about DIC, but as support of Hicks.

    After that I pointed out that DIC may be an investment co, but if the Sheikh is going to do this then this is potentially far better, and far more in keeping with what we’d like. DIC are not much better than Hicks, but “Dubai the Royal Family’s Hobby Funds” are.

    This is the bit nobody spotted.

  7. @Cory: I understand what you’re saying about confidential information, I try not to mention it all, but sometimes it’s hard not to. I’d probably be best not getting drawn into questions like Steven’s, because I can’t fully answer them as I’d like for those reasons.

  8. schvilic – Yeah but we would benefit from a battle between the egos of two oil barrons. The Sheikh is not going to be out done by a Ruskie oil barron who is only worth 11 billion. The sheikh is a man of honor, he buys and sells Abromovic before dinner. He will show the infidel Abromovic who is the boy about town. Chavski scum, paupers to the sheikh, all hail the sheikh and his 30 billion for the betterment of LFC.

  9. Schivilic, I agree with a quite a lot of what you just wrote but the money for transfers thing…

    They spent 20 million net – a figure that Liverpool would’ve expected to spend using the clubs money alone, actually more than that considering our euro cup run, Skrtyl was purchased using the proceeds from the Sissoko deal, and Mascherano’s deal is in fact not that expensive as the 18 million fee includes something like 4 years worthof wages.

    They have really underspent during their time in the club.

  10. @Stephen: I’m not going to go through all those, it’s just an argument that’s not worth having. Your first answer dismisses what I said out of hand, without any suggestion you considered what I said! It’s no wonder, a lot of people do the same, but it’s hardly encouraging to me to spend loads of time trying to answer. I know your view of Hicks, you share it with a lot of others, and you wouldn’t change your mind if he saved your life.

    You need to lose some of that anger!

  11. Jim – Do you not think that the Sheikh’d ego will be a good thing for LFC? Can you see the Sheikh having Abromovic steal his thunder. I think it can only be a good thing for Liverpool, think he will throw money at the club.

  12. Shivilic: “i thought all the club’s money was used to pay interest? hmmmm”

    Care to elaborate Shivilic?!

    Do you think £20 million net is a commendable figure? Or are we going to get another wistfully brilliant one-liner?

  13. Off topic briefly!

    Could there be a greater incentive to beat Chelsea
    tomorrow?

    UNITED in the final!

  14. Not a better incentive in the world. Only we LFC the true red army can stop the Mancs from doing the double in our ‘RED’square. Their landmarks are even named after us.

  15. Edward, was having this conversation earlier with a fellow red and I agree it needs to be seen as an opportunity rather than a hindrance.

    If someone gave you a pen and paper and asked you to write your perfect euro cup victory it would probably include beating arseanl, chelsea, and united in the final.

    Probably 4-0 down to united at half time only for torres to score a second half hat trick and gerrard a brace in injury time…

  16. Just a slight intervention to the debate this evening…

    1. Some of the posts/comments this evening & recently are downright rude and unwarranted.

    2. I previously criticised Jim for the lack of balance and still stand by this to an extent. However for those desperate to read anti-hick posts please refer to the archives around November-February. Read as a whole, I think there is overall balance if you are the skim-reading sort.

    Must say Martin @10.36 – great post! with you on this one mate!

    P.S. Has anyone noticed the un-canny resemblance of Mr. Hicks to a character out of The League of Gentleman…I wonder if he has any long lost siblings in Royston Vasey?

  17. Thanks Raju.

    Hahaha, never thought of that before but you’re right there is a definite resemblance!

  18. schvilic – we’ve had to put up with some drivel on this site before but you take the biscuit.

    Transfer spending
    2007 – £20.7 m
    2006 – £18.3 m
    2005 – £16.5 m

    Factor in inflation and huge increases in premiership tv money and champions league money hardly outrageous.

    http://www.paultomkins.com/blog_spending_detail.html

    By the way in 2007 we received the following in prize money

    Premiership £28.44m
    Champions league £26.0m
    Cup £0.27m
    Total 54.71m

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/main.jhtml?xml=/sport/2007/05/14/ufncas14.xml

    Record TV deal means we can expect to earn £25m each year in prize money

    http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/premier-league/tv-bonanza-and-tradition-make-the-premier-league-irresistible-427518.html

    He bought the club 100% with loans. Fact

    £60m will not build a stadium. Fact

    Garry Richardson on Radio 5 Live publicly stated that Hicks wouldn’t procede with an interview if he was asked how he was going to finance the club. Fact

    In England they dont use dollars they use sterling.

    No need to shout either.

  19. Is there a reason why my comments are no longer been posted. Anger?? I thinks its called passion!!

  20. Martin, that’s exactly the way I see it!

    Without Mourinho it’s been difficult to get fired
    up about Chelsea. Sure Chelsea have quality but
    putting one over on Fergie (He’s desperate!),
    Ferdinand, Neville and Ronaldo takes
    it on to a completely different level.

    There’s also that little bit of unfinished business
    concerning Old Trafford earlier in the season!

  21. ” I don’t think there’s anything new in that report, as you say ”

    Jim – It says that there is more smoke. There has got to be somthing in the fact that these storys keep springing up. Theres no smoke without fire.

  22. Jim – Do you not think that the Sheikh’s ego will be a good thing for LFC? Can you see the Sheikh having Abromovic steal his thunder. I think it can only be a good thing for Liverpool, think he will throw money at the club.

  23. Guys, guys, guys, I love Jim and his articles – whether I agree with him or not – but can i make a suggestion: why don’t we lay off the gas for a while and savour the fact that tonight, yet again, we’re in the semi-final of the Champions League with a real chance of making it to Moscow?!

    Then after that, whatever the result we can go into: Did Rafa get it right? Was the team the right balance? How great is Torres? Will Crouch stay? ……….and of course the most disconcerting issue of all: when is/should Hicks go? Should DIC put up or shut up? etc…….

    So, Jim, post one of your great articles re. past Chelsea Liverpool rivalry, how the dynamics have changed post Mourinhuo, whether (why) drogba falls over so easily? how the ‘ghost goal’ followed a penalty/sending off denial? how we could win? why beating the mancs in moscow would be the greatest thing ever?????

    Go on, lift the dark clouds and let’s start thinking about the game!

  24. It no secret in City circles in London that Hicks and his banking team have done the rounds for financing and failed miserably. There is no immediate liquidity issue for Hicks but its very clear that he failed to raise the money to secure overall control of LFC. The best on offer was short term financing at just under 15% on a fully SECURED basis and far less than £100m+ target. The valuation of other assets in the marketing material was unrealistic! LFC was valued at 7x revenue!

    DIC have made an offer to Gillette which is now subject to the 90 day lock-up. A quick look at the memo and arts of association shows that the Board have the mandate to issue new shares before seeking shareholder approval.

    I am convinced that there will be a rapid conclusion prior to the summer holidays.

  25. I read the article and didn’t find anything interesting, the board is useless, the decisions are made by g&h, yeah your right, its usually found in the articles of operations.

    I personally have no problem with a investment company taking over because they won’t come in and strip liverpool and sell its divisions, for example stadium to boro and youth academy to everton. LOL

    See, for them to earn a profit on liverpool they will have to invest in it and make it profitable. Leverage or using debt is a part of every business, debt is cheaper. Hicks has taken debt, so will DIC.

    The problem I have with hicks is he hasn’t shown a plan, if he has shown it, it has been all talk and he has later withdrawn from it. The second problem is, why is he messing with the managers head and disturbing the work environment. I honestly see Hicks playing hardball for more money.

  26. @Anthony Fakir: Using your analogy, it’s just photographs of the smoke we’ve already seen. It’s not fresh smoke from closer into the action, or from the other side of the building.

    As for the Sheikh’s ego – I don’t know anything in great detail about his ego, but the anecdotal bits I do know are mixed to say the least.

    I doubt he considers himself to be cut from the same cloth as Abramovich in any way shape or form.

  27. why do so many ppl get on here just to slaughter Jim for his articles. If you dont like it stop redaing the fukin thing. Its not like he is saying this is an official site, or that even what he is saying is what you have to believe. he is very informative and always goes into great detail, and i for one would be a lot less educated on the goings on of our club without him, keep up the good work jim

  28. ” New players will cost at least $100 million initially. ”

    ” Possible acquisitions that the new owners might be tempted to make include England international Gareth Barry, who is reckoned to be worth around $30 million, while Argentine player Sergio Aguero, who plays for Atlético Madrid could cost at least $60 million, and his compatriot Maxi Rodriguez could cost somewhere in the region of $40 million. ”

    I said last week the deal was being closed with DIC attending the game against Chavski, and I also said that DIC would soon start saying what their plans are for the club. Above I think is proof that the game is over and now its just a matter of time before DIC are in full control of our club. If Hick’s is still in control the only one of the above players we will get is Barry, the rest we get will be substandard squad players. Jim you seem to miss the point that DIC are in constant talks with SOS, so DIC are not going to get the club and then give it to SOS up the backside are they. Jim you must admit that DIC saying how much they are going to give Rafa is a bold statement of intent. How much do you think Hick’s has given Rafa? About 25 million? I do not see how Hicks can still be the owner of the club after these claims have been made by DIC.
    Long live the Sheikh and his 30 billion for the betterment of LFC.

  29. @midlands-red: I want to do something on tonight’s game, time permitting, I’ve spent 30 minutes this morning re-writing the first para. I too would rather forget about the board room for today. (Or longer!)

    To summarise the basic content I have in mind is.

    So what if we’ve not scored there for years?
    When was the last time they knocked us out in a semi-final?
    We have Torres now.
    We can do this.
    Ha ha – I can’t believe they have to put free flags on each seat for their fans to wave.
    Ha ha – I can’t believe they’ve banned ours from taking larger banners.
    One goal from us and it’s game on.

    You get the idea!

  30. ” Using your analogy, it’s just photographs of the smoke we’ve already seen. ”

    Jim – Yes but its still coming out, this time DIC have started talking money to the sum of 50 million quid, the story yesterday no money was mentioned. Its not just this story its all the storys, when you get these storys in the press they are not just ficticious tales that are whisked out of thin air.

    ” As for the Sheikh’s ego – I don’t know anything in great detail about his ego, but the anecdotal bits I do know are mixed to say the least.

    I doubt he considers himself to be cut from the same cloth as Abramovich in any way shape or form. ”

    The fact that he doesn’t see himself to be cut from the same cloth as Abramovic is a good thing, he will see himself as better than the Ruskie infidel and he will not have LFC out done by Chavski. By the way you know the way we call Chavski, Chavski because of Abramovic what do you think we will be called if DIC take over.

  31. Its the law of averages mate, the haven’t been beat in a couple of years at home and LFC have not scored their in a few years tonight is our night.

  32. @Adam Tomkin: If you’ve got access to genuine documents and so on that you can verify haven’t passed through the hands of DIC then I’d say that’s interesting.

    Even if they have passed through the hands of DIC (and it’s good of them to pass them around to all and sundry if so) then it’s still interesting!

    The information you mention was originally claimed to have come in an email sent around willy-nilly to various finance offices in the city.

    It was a short time after the report of this email that Hicks was said to be sitting in the offices of various companies showing his figures and projections off and so forth. I seem to remember a gap between the email and the meetings, so is it possible someone else has done business with him without broadcasting the interest rates they would offer?

    It’s a serious question, does what you say come from trustworthy information or gossip? Also is 7x revenue based on current revenue, project future revenue – with or without the stadium, etc?

    The memo and articles of association you mention – is that for the new LFC Ltd co or the old PLC? From what I’m told the board members don’t all have voting rights. Their influence in blocking the earlier finance wasn’t done through a vote (if it was then GG and TH could have overruled them 4-2 anyway, if it has to be unanimous then future votes won’t be unanimous either).

    You’d hope we’d have a conclusion by the summer. DIC/Dubai insist there will be.

  33. This is the funniest thing that I have seen in a while. I thinks its very rich of ‘Oh no I’ve been shot and I’m in agony’ Drogba to come out and say that he has lost respect for Rafa. No-one has got the respect for Drogba to give a shit about how he feels about Rafa. Drogba is an embarresment, he’s a big guy goes over like a sack of shit. Rafa said it like it was and now Drogba’s cards are marked for tonight’s game.

    Here’s the link:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/europe/7374204.stm

  34. Here’s the post but without the BBC link.

    This is the funniest thing that I have seen for a while. Drogba has got the nerve to critisise Rafa for complaining about his diving. I think its the pot calling the kettle black when Drogba says he’s got no respect for Rafa. Drogba is a cheat, as simple as that. No-ones got any respect for him.
    Here’s the link

  35. Schvilic – my response to you.

    1) The man went cap in hand around the city a couple of weeks ago and came back with nothing,
    HOW DO YOU KNOW THAT? HOW DO YOU KNOW WHETHER HE WAS SUCCESSFUL OR NOT ETC?
    His letter to the banks looking for investment was leaked to the press. Numerous people in the City have stated he went away empty handed.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/columnists/columnists.html?in_article_id=557351&in_page_id=1951&in_author_id=345

    A leaked email attempting to drum up business in London shows how desperate Liverpool co-owner Tom Hicks has become in his attempts to find new financial backers.
    The Hicks team, who originally demanded 16 seats for the Champions League game against Arsenal, have been on a road show in the City this week at the worst possible time in the credit crunch climate after failing to attract any interest in the United States.

    The email from Hicks’s people to potential London investors, which has more than a hint of desperation about it, offers three ways to participate with the Hicks Sports Group in Liverpool and promotes Hicks as ‘the master of purchasing and growing professional sports teams’.
    The options are buying a share of the Hicks Sports Group, whose half-share of Liverpool amounts to 75 per cent of the value of the group; purchasing warring co-owner George Gillett’s stake for £100million or joining a Hicks refinancing scheme that promises investors a 16 per cent profit over two years.
    It also trumpets Hicks as a ‘master’ at selling luxury boxes and clubs seats, and his intention to concentrate on the Chinese market with its ‘hundreds of thousands of Liverpool football fanatics’

    2) He needs numerous investors to help purchase 1/2 a club – which he has been running around the US looking for.
    HICKS HAS ALREADY PUBLICALLY STATED THAT HE WOULD BE WILLING TO PARTNER WITH ANOTHER INVESTOR TO BUY OUT GG SO LONG AS THAT PERSON WOULD BE WILLING TO BE A MINORITY INVESTOR (IE 49%) – HE ONLY SAID THAT HE IS NOT WILLING TO “RULE BY COMMITTEE” LIKE THEY HAVE CURRENTLY… YOU CANNOT HAVE TWO EQUAL PARTNERS IN ANY DEAL. SOMETHING HAS TO OVERRULE SO THE PARTNERSHIP CAN ACT.

    You cannot have two equal partners? That’s exactly the situation Hicks was very happy to enter into 15 months ago.

    Quote from Hicks – “I know there are people, institutions and individual investors who would like to be a minority investor with me and Liverpool”.

    3) He doesn’t have the finances to start a stadium.
    AS I MENTIONED ABOVE, HE HAS $120MM FOR THE STADIUM IN ESCROW – STADIUMS ARE FINANCED LIKE THIS ALL THE TIME! YOU SELL NAMING RIGHTS / SPONSORSHIPS / USE LEVERAGE AND FUND WHAT YOU HAVE TO IN EQUITY. IT IS JUST HOW STADIUMS GET BUILT. DIC WOULD DO IT THE SAME WAY. ALSO, HAVE YOU EVER THOUGHT ABOUT HOW MUCH MONEY GG AND HICKS HAVE SPENT WORKING WITH ARCHETECTS FOR THE NEW STADIUM SO LFC WOULDN’T PLAY IN THE “PARRYBOWL?”

    The money to pay for architects came out of the clubs pockets not Hicks and Gillett.

    The Parry bowl was scrapped years ago. There was always going to be a redesign. I actually really like the proposed designs. The first stadium was class but the downgraded stadium is still top notch. However, I don’t see any financing being put in place to build it and all we have are pictures. I judge on actions not words.

    4) He didn’t have the money to buy the club at the start?
    OK THAT MAKES SENSE – HOW DID HE BUY IT THEN? MAGIC? THE GUY OWNS TWO OTHER SPORTS FRANCHISES AND HAS FOR A DECADE… HE ALSO HAS HAD A PRETTY SUCCESSFUL LIFE AS AN INVESTOR. THIS JUST MAKES NO SENSE WHATSOEVER. HOW DO YOU THINK HICKS AND GG BOUGHT THE TEAM IF THEY DIDN’T HAVE THE MONEY? THAT JUST DOESN’T MAKE ANY SENSE.

    I don’t have the money to buy a house. But if I go to a bank they buy the house for me and provide me with a mortgage. If I stop paying the bank they take their house back. It’s quite simple. The same applies to Hicks and Gillett.

    5) He hasn’t provided the money to back Rafa.
    WHAT DO YOU CALL LAST SUMMER? HOW CAN YOU DENY THAT HICKS AND GG DIDN’T SUPPORT RAFA LAST SUMMER? THEY SPENT MORE THAN MOORES EVER DID! I THINK THEY SPENT MORE THAN $100MM IN ONE SUMMER! SINCE THEN THEY HAVE SIGNED MASCHERANO AND SKRTL – THAT IS A LOT OF $$$ TO INVEST!

    Addressed in earlier post– I’ll ask you to back up the more than $100m claim.

    They spent £2million more than Moores ever did with loaned money despite a record of £54 million in prize money alone coming into the club.

    6) He refuses to answer questions about finance.
    WHEN DID HE GET ASKED ABOUT HIS FINANCIAL SITUATION? DIRECTLY? ALSO, MOST PEOPLE DON’T LIKE TO DISCLOSE THEIR FINANCIALS. HICKS HAS MAINTAINED THAT HE HAS THE FINANCIAL CAPACITY FOR LIVERPOOL SO I DON’T UNDERSTAND WHERE YOU ARE GETTING THIS.

    Addressed in earlier post.

    Jim I will happily change my opinion of Hicks when he starts doing right for this club. But I have yet to see it.

    By right I mean – running the club with dignity, treating the fans with respect, treating employees of the club with respect, increasing our advertising and commercial revenues, removing the burden of purchase debt from the club (stadium debt is fine), not using Rafa in a PR battle, addressing the fans concerns directly not via Sky TV, replacing actions with words, building a new stadium, providing stability to the club etc, etc. Respect begets respect. These are things this club deserves and anyone who says otherwise doesn’t have the club at heart.

    I agree with Midlands Red lets concentrate on the football. 2-1 tonight – Torres and Babel

  36. can we please move the discussion onto thing we have some chance of influencing, lik ethe game tonight. the chavs fans are a joka and anyone who will be at the game needs to show why we are the best fans in the world. the fact that they are not allowing our banners is further confirmation of the affect we have on them and we need to make that apparent tonight more than ever. we are more than capable of winning tonight, this is one of the biggest nights in the clubs recent history, we could be playing the mancs in the final, that should be what we are concerned with not the bordroom drama that seems to be going on as long as eastenders with about double the drama and messed up twists. this is a time to unite not to argue over the ownership and who is best for the club

    COME ON THE POOL!!!!!!!!

    YNWA

  37. Just heard a live link on City Talk the staff at Chavski are not preparing the pitch they are putting the plastic flags on the seats for the fans. Chavski Scum.

  38. Chavski are the overwhelming favourites to go through, that will does us nicely.

    COME ON YOU REDS!

    CHAVSKI SCUM!

    LONG LIVE THE SHEIKH AND HIS 30 BILLION FOR THE BETTERMENT OF LFC!

  39. I struggled in vain to get a ticket for tonight’s away game – much to my disappointment. So I’ll be singing the lads on from mine or someone else’s armchair.

    I just hope Riise has a chance to make up for his error and somehow, from somewhere, rifles his shot into the top corner of their net and not the stands.

    I hope we’ve got the impact players on the bench to make things happen – should we need one goal.

    And above all, I hope we can strangle Essien – the footballing monster – and get Stevie G to be at his best marauding all over the pitch to good effect.

    Walk on, walk on, with hope in your hearts lads………and no matter what happens, marvel at the improving squad we have which should make us an even better team next year.

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