George Gillett claims firm interest from a potential buyer – but all, as ever, is not as it seems.
As the clock ticks ever closer to the end of another deflating transfer window for Liverpool Football Club, Anfield Road has learned that George Gillett has informed Royal Bank of Scotland and chairman Martin Broughton that he has found a serious investor who is interested in buying the club.
Time to rejoice?
Anfield Road understands that George Gillett and LFC’s mystery saviour is ex-Syrian international footballer and millionaire businessman Yahya Kirdi.
First linked with the club shortly after Martin Broughton’s appointment back in April it was intimated that the Syrian, who was using ex-Celtic player Andy Lynch as a spokesperson for the bid, had the support of “mystery billionaire backers from the Middle East”, a line which should send a shiver down the spine of anyone who’s kept an eye on either Portsmouth or Notts County under the stewardship of Sulaiman Al Fahim and Qadbak/Munto Finance respectively over the last 18 months.
Notwithstanding the Notts County and Portsmouth situation, it is understood that even the most rudimentary checks carried out on Mr Kirdi at the time of the initial interest showed his interest and capacity to put together a deal to be fanciful at best.
Needless to say, nothing ever came of the supposed interest, but it begs the question: if Yahya Kirdi has neither the inclination nor, more importantly, the means to complete a deal for LFC, why bother putting his name in the firing line in the first place, and to what benefit is it to Gillett for him to do so?
That is the question that we at Anfield Road have been trying to find an answer to for the last few days.
Exactly what Mr Kirdi has to gain from any involvement is still unclear, it may very well be nothing more than a favour to long-time friend Foster Gillett to help his father out of what is an increasingly tight spot. He does not appear to have anything like the desire for publicity as Prince Faisal bin Fahad bin Abdullah, Mr Gillett’s previous stalking horse, whose appetite for a photo-op was only matched by the vulgarity of his sunglasses.
And to what end does it benefit Gillett?
It is believed that Gillett was panicked into submitting this new bid for the club under pressure from RBS, and by doing such, delayed any potential forced sale to any other potential buyer as RBS are legally required to listen, as current incumbents, to any such bid brought by either George Gillett or Tom Hicks.
The reasons for Gillett stalling the deal are fairly simple; it is clear that the interest anticipated by both himself and Tom Hicks hasn’t materialised and they are facing the reality of walking away with nowhere near the figure they had in mind when they appointed Martin Broughton to oversee the sale process.
By forcing an extension it gives Gillett time to, yet again, board a flight to the Middle East, replete with his begging bowl, in an attempt to force an auction for the club with scant regard, as ever, for the club or its supporters which in reality only serves to deter interested observers as they are understandably reluctant to be ripped off by this particular snake-oil seller.
It is worth bearing in mind that whilst it is Martin Broughton’s duty to sell the club to the best possible candidate (not necessarily the highest bidder), Gillett is only interested in getting the highest possible price for his stake in the club.
There is more than a hint of irony in all of this as it was only last month Gillett was letting it be known to certain members of the press that he was desperate to sell, but it was the greed of Tom Hicks that was holding up a sale.
Not that we should be surprised by this; Gillett has always been the “cute” one of the arrangement, Tom Hick’s inability to keep his foot out of his mouth and his name out of the papers allowed Gillett to keep a relatively low profile, two incidents apart when he was caught lying on record by both SOS and a fan who had the nous to record a conversation in which it was a struggle to pick out a single truth.
That aside, and ultimately more importantly at the minute, is that what isn’t clear is just how much extra time RBS are legally obliged to grant this proven liar to play his silly games and how much time they are affording him out of courtesy or misguided loyalty. By affording Gillett such grace, RBS are playing a dangerous game with the future of one of the most important football clubs in the world.
Anfield Road is aware that an absolutely serious party is ready and willing to move in right now. Further delay will be disastrous for the club and unless the bankers at RBS finally come to terms with the reality of the situation they risk facing a disaster of their own with the money they have tied up in the club.
It may take further pressure from supporters, SOS and ultimately Martin Broughton to force RBS to bring an end to this sorry charade, kicking Gillett and Hicks out and allowing suitable, capable and committed ownership in.