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Controversy at Liverpool FC

Just as Liverpool fans imagined the situation their club find themselves in could not become worse the unlikely scenario happens. The whole saga takes a turn for the worse. A couple of days ago Martin Broughton, the club chairman appointed to the role by Tom Hicks and George Gillett, announced the club was to be bought by New England Sports Ventures (NESV). NESV is a North American venture so the scenario would mean that the current set of American owners would be selling onto another American group.

New England Sports Ventures had proposed a deal suggesting they would clear the club debt and return the money which Tom Hicks and George Gillett invested in the club, so it would be akin to a clean slate for the club and the current owners. Both sides, Gillett / Hicks and Liverpool, would be able to start again without facing any growing losses. The Liverpool fans, ideally, would want a rich benefactor to takeover the club in a manner similar to that which happened at the Eastland’s Stadium when an Arab billionaire took over Manchester City and proceeded to invest hundreds of millions in the club without, seemingly, asking for or even expecting a return. Such a dream appears unlikely although Liverpool fans will welcome the opportunity for the club to clear its debt and begin reinvesting in players, which they hope will lead to the club working its way up the table and eventually challenging for honours again.

Controversy has since ensued, however, because the current owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett are challenging the legal right of the chairman, Martin Broughton, to sell the club which they own without their agreement. It had appeared Broughton was appointed to the board as chairman when Gillett and Hicks found themselves under pressure from the banks to which they owed money. The banks, apparently, were willing to delay the scheduled repayment of the loans expected from Gillett and Hicks so long as the American pair provided clear proof that they were doing their utmost to sell the club as quickly as possible. Broughton’s appointment was seen as a step of appeasement and an indication that the pair were looking for a quick sell. Now that Broughton has found a buyer and accepted a bid on the club’s behalf the American pair of Hicks and Gillett wish to challenge his legal authority to authorise the deal. Apparently Hicks and Gillett are holding out for more money per share, in the hope of securing some type of profit courtesy of their involvement in the club. Liverpool fans will find this idea abhorrent as they do not believe Hicks and Gillett are due a profit following their takeover and poor running of the club. Hicks and Gillett, similarly, will point out that they are worthy of some profit on their shares because they have increased turnover and announced a record sponsorship deal during their tenure.

The entire saga appears as though it will continue for a while longer and nobody, at this stage, is quite sure about what the outcome is likely to be. The proposed new takeover by NESV, announced a couple of days ago, is now delayed.