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Hicks refuses to give up the fight

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David Bond | 08:20 UK time, Thursday, 14 October 2010

Liverpool chairman Martin Broughton might have hoped that Wednesday, 13 October would mark the end of his seven-month quest to sell the Premier League club.

Having defeated the attempts of Tom Hicks and George Gillett to wrest back control of the club by securing an emphatic victory at the High Court in London, Broughton was given the go-ahead to call a board meeting for 2030 BST that was intended to rubber-stamp the deal to sell the Reds to Boston Red Sox owner John W Henry.

But then at 2025 BST - as we all waited for a statement outside the offices of the club's lawyers in central London - came the latest delaying tactic from Hicks and Gillett, a quite extraordinary petition to a district court in the former's home state of Texas that resulted in a temporary restraining order blocking the sale.

Included in the petition are some truly remarkable claims against Broughton and his three fellow Liverpool directors - Christian Purslow, Ian Ayre and Phillip Nash.

broughtongetty595.jpgBroughton faces the media outside the High Court - but there was a further twist to come. Photo: Getty

The general thrust of the argument is the same as the counter claim rejected by High Court judge Mr Justice Floyd on Wednesday. In short, the owners say that:
- Liverpool are worth far more than £300m (the deal agreed with Henry);
- better offers have not been considered;
- and that the board's English directors (the home team, as they would have it) shut them out of negotiations.

All this was part of a "grand conspiracy", they say, with Royal Bank of Scotland, who are owed £238m by Hicks and Gillett after funding their doomed takeover in 2007 and various refinancings since.

But the 28-page petition also includes new, truly astonishing allegations.

For example, Hicks and Gillett say the directors undermined a possible £170m financing deal with GSO partners, a subsidiary of financial giant Blackstone, which would have written off a large chunk of the RBS debt.

The owners claim that by the time a meeting scheduled for 1 September in Dallas between GSO and Broughton had been arranged a plot had been hatched to block their attempts to raise new investment or sell the club.

Hicks and Gillett said that, in doing so, the directors breached their "fiduciary duties". They go on to claim that all this was happening at the same time as Purslow, Nash and Ayre were trying to renegotiate year-end bonuses of between £250,000 and £300,000.

They describe this, and what they claim is connivance with RBS to force them to default on the loan, as an "epic swindle" and say they are entitled to £1bn in damages. This is made up of about £330.4m - the full economic value of their shares in Liverpool - plus a further £660m. Hicks and Gillett claim Broughton, Purslow, Ayres and Nash acted with malice - something that entitles them to three times what they say is the club's value.

Despite all the emotive language and talk of plots, conspiracies and swindles, the central legal question here is this: Did Hicks and Gillett sign binding agreements with Broughton when he was appointed chairman in April that gave him the right to conduct the full sale of Liverpool Football Club as he saw fit?

Just to be clear on this, here is what Hicks and Gillett said in an official statement upon Broughton's appointment in April: "We are delighted that Martin Broughton has agreed to take the position of chairman, working alongside the club's excellent senior management team. Martin is a distinguished business leader of excellent judgment and with a great reputation. He is a genuine football supporter and will seek to oversee the sales process in the best interests of the club and its supporters."

Hicks actually denied any suggestion that Broughton's appointment had been forced upon the owners by RBS and Broughton told me in an interview back in April he was the owners' appointment.

So whatever Hicks and Gillett now say is, as Wednesday's High Court ruling showed, irrelevant bluster.

But that is not to say Broughton will not have to treat the order seriously. While he and the directors may not be bound by the Texas court order, Henry would be unwise to disregard a ruling from an American court, as would a global bank like RBS.

The real problem for Broughton is not the credibility of these claims from Hicks and Gillett but the length of time they may take to unravel.

What Hicks and Gillett are doing is rolling the dice one last time and hoping Henry - who flew to London to attend Wednesday's board meeting and sign off the deal - will become frustrated by the delays and simply walk away.

Comments

Page 1 of 5

  • Comment number 1.

    High Court ruling against them, 140 million out of pocket, oh dear! There is justice in the world, there is natural justice in the world. YNWA.

  • Comment number 2.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 3.

    All joking and rivalry aside, I wouldnt wish this on any club.

  • Comment number 4.

    There's a nice link on the bbc explaining the position and its likely outcome and what's more you only have to listen!
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/606/A75536076

  • Comment number 5.

    I hope this soap opera never ends!

    Still wanna manage Liverpool, aye Roy???

  • Comment number 6.

    Am i the only person who is really starting to get fed up with all this liverpool takeover shambles. They are struggling in the league because they are quite simply not good enough,they have torres who is looking less interested in being there by the day,gerrard who also looks fed up and frustrated and reina whos performances are still good so far but is not getting the proper protection from the defence so i suspect he is fed up also. Liverpool fans think they will sell the club and be eack at the top again,but it dont work like that, Hicks and Gillet dont pick the team,or play so they cannot be blamed for poor results. Liverpool fans think they have a god given right to win the league because of their history,but it doesnt work like that either,you win trophies with a decent squad and a manager who knows how to win.The players cant hide behind the excuse of the board room unrest is affecting us because they are on 40-50-60+thousand pounds a week wages and they are upset by some people arguing?? Pathetic excuse from a deluded club who is 20 years past its sell by date. I hope the fans wake up soon,you are no longer a big club get used to it and lower your ridiculous standards and step into the real world,blackpool came and got a win at anfield that should have made you take a look at who is wearing your shirt with pride and who isnt rather than get a load of d list celebrity has beens to do a get out of our club video on youtube. Wake up!!!!!

  • Comment number 7.

  • Comment number 8.

    How on earth is a Texas court order of any relevance (legally) to a business and debt held in the UK????

    If things were reversed, you can bet the USA would pay no attention whatsoever to a British court!

  • Comment number 9.

    Not really surprised that the chap has appealled, he is afterall going to be £160m out of pocket... and even £20m down on the other offers on the table.. Still i think we all agree that he deserves it!!! Now for the Glazers.

  • Comment number 10.

    Hopefully as soon as the judge hears liverpools side he'll revoke the order and the sale can go through. I don't understand how Hicks thinks that the directors acting in "malice" would entitle him to receive triple the value of the club though.

  • Comment number 11.

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  • Comment number 12.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 13.

    David - assuming that the boad of LFC have to take this order seriously and they have to delay a sale to fight it, what are the timelines? Can it be successfull fought in court before 1st Nov long stop deadling for completing a deal?

    Or are RBS now better off just putting the club into administration (and taking the 9-point hit, since it's unlikely to cause Liverpool to be relegated and it's equally unlikey that even without the deduction that Liverpool will get into the top 4 from the position they are in now). Effectively they and the new owners write off this seasons league and aim for the cups while sorting out the club and playing squad for a new assault next season, in the meantime Hicks and Gilette are powerless and gone and the sale goes through as agreed.

  • Comment number 14.

    Within five minutes of the High Court ruling, Liverpool fans were already rubbing their rivals' noses in the fact they would potentially be debt free and have new owners. Poetic justice in my opinion.

  • Comment number 15.

    Will this injunction take Liverpool past the deadline for going into administration or can they go on living in limbo indefinately? Have RBS been hog-tied by this ruling? If Lims offer was the preferred option anyway, why wasn't it taken up by all parties...questions...questions...

  • Comment number 16.

    Says it all really and rather typical of Hicks & Gillets tenure. More interested in the money than the football. Rather than accept defeat, Hicks & Gillet get an injunction to prevent the sale, meaning LFC are quite likely to go into administration and then there's the £1bn claim for damages. If this were any normal business then the business would be asset stripped to help pay the bill...if this happens then LFC will cease to exist. As an Evertonian I should feel happy but actually I think it's all very sad and I hope this serves as a warning to all English clubs!!

  • Comment number 17.

    #12.

    What are you going on about. Hicks & Gillet breached there contract to extend there repayments. Its no ones fault but there own that there in this mess. if they wanted to be the ones that sold the club they shouldnt have got into so much debt that they couldnt make there repayments. you say were all been anti-american which doesnt make any sense since were accepting an offer from another AMERICAN company in NESV. so how about you go away and do your research before you start sayin britian is a disgrace.

  • Comment number 18.

    Truly the dregs at the bottom of an apple barrel - Hicks/Gillette. The sooner these 2 hill billies are history the better.

  • Comment number 19.

    So what does this mean for in terms of the debt being paid back to RBS by Friday (tomorrow)? Is it still possible that liverpool could go into administration? And if so would that not get rid of H&G for definite regardless of this action?

  • Comment number 20.

    Has YNWA now come to mean 'You'll Never Walk Away'.

  • Comment number 21.

    16

    It is sad, but fans should always be wary about new "sugar daddies" that turn up out of the blue wanting to buy clubs. Effectively due diligence has to be carried out on prospective buyers. Going forward LFC need to instigate partial football fan ownership of the club.

  • Comment number 22.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 23.

    People are wondering why the injunction in Dallas would affect a matter already decided in London! .... RBS is a global company with vast interests in US. The same applies to new American buyers, so if judgement is entered without them responding to the US courts, their American operations would have to pay up ... 1billion plus.. te he!

    I think RBS has hit a dead end on this one ... proceed with the sale and have a one billion damages bill having over your head, or put the club in administration and the value goes down... still with the possibility of losing the one-billion-plus-case in the US ... te he .. te he!!!

  • Comment number 24.

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  • Comment number 25.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 26.

    #8 & #25

    Technically the sale could go ahead, as the legal durastriction of the Texas restraining order does not extend here. Problem is that RBS have significant interests in America and NESV is obviously an American company. The feeling appears to be that this is simply a delaying tactic that will soon be resolved and it it wouldn't be politically or financially sensible for RBS or NESV to proceed until this obstacle has been removed.

    All a bit sad really.

  • Comment number 27.

    #12

    Do you happen to be American? Short memory, remember BP..and the anti British rhetoric that followed....sheer hypocrisy. No-one here has an anti yank agenda..it's simply two people who've bitten off more than they can chew and are having to live with the consequences.

    As free market capitalists they should realise that the club is worth what they can get get someone to pay for it, and not a penny more. They've had their fingers burnt...deal with it.

  • Comment number 28.

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  • Comment number 29.

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  • Comment number 30.

    Its also worth pointing out that the message that the board put on the official website, without the owners consent, justifies dismissal for gross misconduct under UK law. Interesting no one seems to mention that

    "Following the successful conclusion of High Court proceedings today, the boards of directors of Kop Football and Kop Holdings met tonight and resolved to complete the sale of Liverpool FC to New England Sports Ventures.

    "Regrettably, Thomas Hicks and George Gillett have tonight obtained a Temporary Restraining Order from a Texas District Court against the independent directors, Royal Bank of Scotland PLC and NESV to prevent the transaction being completed.

    "The independent directors consider the restraining order to be unwarranted and damaging and will move as swiftly as possible to seek to have it removed.

    "A further statement will be made in due course."

  • Comment number 31.

    a quick scan through the comments.

    I am with poster @6

    It beggers belief just what have our own football administrators have been doing as well? not a lot it seems to allow such a fiasco to develop in the 1st place. It is an utter shambles i suspect it will drag on even after the sale and the truth will out.

    its a disgrace that a club is allowed to carry on functioning oweing such huge sums to banks. soory you scousers and no offence but a clear warning has to be sent out to others! your team should be docked points as a lesson for others looking on thinking they can manage and finance a club in such a fashion.

  • Comment number 32.



    Good point, simple_truth!

    More pertinently, when is the Prime Minister going to announce that an emergency operation is now underway to rescue the 33 squad players buried deep in the doo-doo at LFC?

    I think he should make a statement to The House.

  • Comment number 33.

    Now that is funny Mersey

  • Comment number 34.

    No surprise at all that H & G are trying every possible avenue to make money out of LFC. Their sole purpose in buying Liverpool was to make a huge profit and their latest and hopefully last move is showing just that.

    But a big part of the blame for the current situation lies with those two people who did sell out to H & G back in 2007.

  • Comment number 35.

    hicks & gillett are behaving in a purely malicious way that will further damage any remaining reputation they have.

    Whatever happens the club will be sold and they will lose money. The damage they do to themselves will affect their business dealings - and that of their children for years to come.

    It was easy enough for them to launch this suit. They leave $15K with the court as surety and the judge accepts their word for it without prejudice. Just as was shown in London, any court case would show hicks & gillett up for the charlatons they have been. They didnt appeal in London as they knew they couldnt win. Surely they arent suggesting British justice isnt as fair as Texas justice. Not even a hillbilly would suggest British law is anything but impartial.

    Case law precedent in Texas means it will be thrown out and where will they hide their faces then?

    hicks has already had to delay his new business venture as it was under subscribed. Showing that hedge funds and entrepreneurs alike dont like his smell.

  • Comment number 36.

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  • Comment number 37.

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  • Comment number 38.

    THe US court ruling may not be valid enough to overthrow the High Court ruling in UK.....BUT the new bidders for LFC are US citizens and thus are bound by US court decisions if they ignore it they are in contempt. This could have consequences on their other business dealings with Boston Red Sox and other holdings in future.
    Thus the 14 day injunction will be taken seriously.
    RBS on the other hand are not bound by the decision...but..they would not want to incur the wrath of a US court as a lot of their dealings are based in the US.

  • Comment number 39.

    Why is the media full of all this Liverpool talk?
    It is not even a sports story but dominates the sport pages. It is even listed as 'Breaking News'.
    Most people do not care who owns a football club in Liverpool.



  • Comment number 40.

    i'm not anti-american but if 2 americans could agree with eachother during their LFC ownership, then what is the chances of 17 Americans (NESV) agreeing??

    I personally think the club should be run by the fans as they are more loyal than any owner from a different country could be! They understand the club, what the club means and the football would always be their best interest!! not making money or having more power than somebody else!

  • Comment number 41.

    It beggars belief to be honest. It's highlight two things for me; firstly, what an arse the legal system is in most countries (its just a vehicle for printing money by people who are good at finding loopholes). Secondly, the sheer ordacity of Hicks and his vulture squad. I mean, here's a man who through his own stupidity in business dealings, has been publicly out-manoevred and belittled. I'm sure he's pulled of this same move on a few of his previous opponents in the past, but he clearly doesn't like it happening to him (especially in front of the world's press). Hence his erratic, and frankly desperate appeal in a Texan court.

  • Comment number 42.

    I see my point number 12 has been moderated. Its funny how you tell the truth and it gets moderated. God forbid we point out the blogs enthocentric behavior.

    Fact is David Bond posted something himself that should be moderated and its not. That is a fact

  • Comment number 43.

    Part of me finds this whole saga sad, the other finds it extremely exciting, and am I the only one who thinks it will make a thrilling film once it reaches its conclusion? "Warner Brothers proudly present 'WALK ALONE', the corporate thriller of the year, featuring Pierce Brosnan as Martin Broughton, supported by Colin Firth and Jason Statham as Christian Purslow and Ian Ayre. Together they battle the twisted evil of Tom Hicks and George Gillet, played by Ned Beatty and Steve Buscemi, as they seek to force a sporting institution into oblivion." Stephen Fry would be great as Justice Floyd, delivering his put-downs and quips to a packed courtroom. There would of course need to be a high speed car sequence as John W Henry, played with charisma by George Clooney, rushes to the airport to fly over to the UK to save Liverpool FC. All the while, inter-cut are sequences of Liverpool losing games against Northampton and Blackpool, with Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher, playing themselves, frowning, sweating, straining every sinew, as they battle to win back some pride. But what will the outcome be? Is there a final twist? I'm fascinated, worried, excited, and steadily becoming quite emotionally drained. I just hope that one day soon Liverpool are free of the unwarranted debt and able to be seen as a football club, not the latest media topic of derision.

  • Comment number 44.

    Here's a question for all of you Legal Eagles out there...

    I've just sat down with a cup of tea and read through the wording of the injunction. There's a spelling mistake on the second page that hasn't been corrected and initialled - Gillett's surname has been misspelt "GillettE".

    Does that make the injunction unenforceable?

  • Comment number 45.

    Simple-truth, are you really privy to every contractual agreement and discussion had within the LFC boardroom? I suspect not!

    Plain and simple truth, Hicks and Gillett entered into a business venture wanting to make money. They borrowed heavily, gambling with money they could not afford to loose, and got burnt. They clearly did not understand the nature of the business they got into. The bank wants it's money back, again tough! If you can not afford to loose the money do not go to the casino...

  • Comment number 46.

    "What are you going on about. Hicks & Gillet breached there contract to extend there repayments. Its no ones fault but there own that there in this mess."

    There is a 142 page document, 19 seperate phone records, 4 physical letters and a lot of testimony that would beg to differ with that opinion. All evidence that should have been heard in the court rooms of London but was not permitted.

  • Comment number 47.

    You really can't make this up. To all the people in/know finance out there, are Liverpool now certainties for administration?

  • Comment number 48.

    "Technically the sale could go ahead, as the legal durastriction of the Texas restraining order does not extend here."

    100% completely false. Texas jurastiction most definitely does extend to the UK in matters of an American citizen and his American business operating within the UK. Not to mention the obvious fact this is a sale of an American business from one American to another American. In fact the only British part of it is the physical location of Anfield.

    "The feeling appears to be that this is simply a delaying tactic that will soon be resolved and it it wouldn't be politically or financially sensible for RBS or NESV to proceed until this obstacle has been removed."

    It is definitely a delay tatic and RBS have no obligation to act until the time has passed. But it does prove who the real scammers are in this deal.



  • Comment number 49.

    Simple truth, H&G through their barrister in the high court admitted that they breached the terms of their contract against RBS. Now I accept that they argued that because the directors had already breached the contract it was null and void but Mr Justice Floyd came to the conclusion that the other directors had in fact not breached the contract.

    Therefore, H&G's breach was the primary breach and hence why he ruled against them.

    H&G's argument seems to be that because this is not the highest monetary value bid on the table it is inherently not the best offer but Broughton, like any sensible director conducting a sale, looked at other factors, which in this sale include whether the potential buyer would meet the PL's ownership tests, whether they have the cash they claim to and the merits of their business plan for LFC in the short to medium term.

    From the information available in the public domain it would seem to me that the NESV bid has strong merits and therefore Broughton was well within his rights, as set out in the contracts between RBS and the various companies associated with H&G, to reccommend it to his fellow directors, who presumably were aware of at least the basics of the other offers on the table.

    The fact H&G rejected this offer is simply because it leaves them with no money, which suggests rather than Broughton et al acting with alterior motives to the best interests of Liverpool FC it is H&G who are.

  • Comment number 50.

    Oh dear, what is going on at LFC?. let me just get this straight, Liverpool sell the the club to a pair of American's, who basically, are in it for the money. America have no interest in football, their sport is Baseball or Basketball.
    The two American's dont deliver and push LFC into vast debt. (LFC fans sad)
    The two American's are forced to sell the club (LFC fans happy)
    Eventually, a buyer is found (LFC fans VERY happy )
    The new potential buyers are.......Americans! (LFC fans confused?)
    Red Sox or Red Faces?

  • Comment number 51.

    The sale may be aborted and RBS could be chucked away read the following:


    There is a fear though, that the Texan has something else up his sleeve. He has been in talks with Dwight Schar, the owner of Mill Financial who now have a stake in Liverpool after Gillett had defaulted on loans to them.

    The worry is that Hicks will borrow money from Mill Financial to repay the more than £200million loans to RBS that are due to be repaid on Friday. If the bank recalls those loans then Hicks, with help from Schar – the co-owner of Washington Redskins - can repay them and reclaim jurisdiction over the club.


    That means That really H$G hold the aces.

  • Comment number 52.

    What annoys me about this whole thing is the amount of coverage it has got & people saying it's all so terrible.

    I don't remember Portsmouth or Southampton getting any sympathy or extensive press coverage.

    Typical Liverpool attitude. You all think you deserve to live off your glory days of decades gone by when the truth is you have no more right then anyone else.

  • Comment number 53.

    "Do you happen to be American? Short memory, remember BP..and the anti British rhetoric that followed....sheer hypocrisy. No-one here has an anti yank agenda..it's simply two people who've bitten off more than they can chew and are having to live with the consequences."

    I happen to be both, but most definitely live in the UK. Not hypocrisy and that is a completely different matter. The anti-British reaction was because a British company was destroying the envirnoment and physically harming the people of New Orleans and throughout Texas and the British courts, again I should point out, ruled in favor of the British company despite the obvious fact. That is when the Americans reacted - not before and it actually enforces my comment.

    If there is no anti-American agenda then why always mention the fact they are American? Explain that if you can. We don't mention the fact that the board members are British now do we? The word American is intentional used to denotate a negative in these articles.

    "As free market capitalists they should realise that the club is worth what they can get get someone to pay for it, and not a penny more. They've had their fingers burnt...deal with it."

    I think its obvious they do realise that which is why they do not want to sale - something they have every legal right to decide no matter any "condition" put in a contract. Something all you seem to ignore is a contract has to abide by law not create it - if this contract attempted to establish a precendent that the board have powers that supercede the owners then that would violate UK, EU and International law. Guess what that invalidates the contract and the gives the owners not only the right to remove the board but stop the sale.

    It really is basic law

  • Comment number 54.

    "RBS on the other hand are not bound by the decision...but..they would not want to incur the wrath of a US court as a lot of their dealings are based in the US."

    False. They are bound by the legal agreements of every single country that their shares are traded on, and on a case by case basis of every single business involvment they enter based on the nationalities involved. Domestic law does not supercede international law in contract and business law

  • Comment number 55.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 56.

    simple_truth is owning this. hats off to you sir

  • Comment number 57.

    "I've just sat down with a cup of tea and read through the wording of the injunction. There's a spelling mistake on the second page that hasn't been corrected and initialled - Gillett's surname has been misspelt "GillettE"."

    I think that is intentional and not a mistake but it would not be relevant if it were a mistake. Its just an injuction, and in the US, alias can be formed in legal documentation. That is where the AKA comes from that is popular in American culture

  • Comment number 58.

    yes its all gone shambles and to be honest Moores should take part blame in this whole saga. I have a feeling he knew these cowboys would go down kicking and screaming hence he sent that letter to the Times.

  • Comment number 59.

    @ #51

    I'd heard some mention of this to, not sure how credible but it wouldn't surprise me in the slightest.

    I really hope this gets sorted, being a United fan, our season would be far less interesting without a minimum of 2 matches against our great rivals.

    It also makes me think that for all the Glazers faults, they're nowhere near as bad as H & G. They're marketing strategies and commercial nouse has increased the money coming in to the club. It's just a shame that that extra money is funding the debt they borrowed to buy the club in the first place.

  • Comment number 60.

    Simple_Truth - it doesn't take too much guessing that you are American and maybe even a relative of Hicks or Gilette!

    Stop trying to change it into a them vs US argument. You may notice that the board of directors are proposing that the new ownership is with NESV, which is a US Company.

    Read the article with unbiased eyes, if you are capable of it!

    At the end of the day, all it will come down to is who has the biggest balls? (and I don't mean footballs). And if I was a betting man, I think RBS and the independent directors of Liverpool Football Club may win that one.

    The simple fact is that RBS advanced monies to Hicks and Gillette and would now like it repaying.

    If they are capable of doing that by Friday 15th October, they can remain as owners of LFC. Otherwise take defeat graciously.

    H&G could have sold Liverpool Football Club to Dubai International Capital, but greed drove them to wanting more. They are victims of their own greed. Live with it!



  • Comment number 61.

    "You really can't make this up. To all the people in/know finance out there, are Liverpool now certainties for administration?"

    Definitely not. Its very unlikely RBS will demand the payment now that the shoe is on the other foot so to speak.

    The only thing we stand to learn tomorrow is if Hicks is telling the truth - if RBS do not call the loan Hicks was in the right the entire time. If they do, well it could just be true that they are innocent of any wrong doing

  • Comment number 62.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 63.

    In the BBC's picture link to this blog, I can't work out whether Hicks looks more like Davros or Baron Harkonnen.

  • Comment number 64.

    simple-truth

    It may be time for you to do some work. I would be very unhappy to know that our hard earned tax payers (and RBS) money is going to finance your unemployment benefit. If you do have a job, try giving it as much love and attention as you do as a cyber warrior.

  • Comment number 65.

    C Payne your post is well put but it does not acknowledge the fundamental issue which H&G are debating which is the allege the board acted in against them, without their knowledge, long before any bid came in. They are complaining a conspiracy if you will

    If that allegation proves true this could become a criminal matter. The ruling by the High Court was a dodge to appeal to public appeal, surely you can see that

  • Comment number 66.

    Hi folks - first time on a BBC blog.

    This is a real mire - I don't think any of us know the full truth of what has been going on behind the scenes. One thing is clear - Hicks has obviously got some pretty slippery lawyers.

    I am not a Liverpool fan, so I am trying to see both sides of the argument. H & G maybe many things, but I think they have a point about the sale price. Broughton hasn't agreed to sell LFC to NESV - he has agreed to give it away - seriosly undervaluing the business and H & G's shareholding in it. If you accept that the sale price is too low then Broughton has played right into the American's hands.

    P.S. Don't like the them & us stuff i.e US v UK

  • Comment number 67.

    Thank you simple truth, one last q, does that mean RBS can charge the late fee's on the club since they will not be getting their money or will they leave it because of the impending sale?

  • Comment number 68.

    @6 and 31

    I can't believe some people are using this story as an excuse to have a go at the team again. This has nothing to do with the team! It's pathetic.

    And why should we be docked points? How does that punish the people who caused this. We didn't do what many club's in this situation have done and over spend. It is purely down to the fact we were lied to by the owners who bought us with money they didn't have. This whole system of docking points has always been ridiculous, clubs and fans are being punished for the fact that boardrooms have been poorly run. I dont care if people say "but it's a business", it's not that simple!

    You two make me sick.

  • Comment number 69.

    It seems to be generally accepted that the Texan court has no jurisdiction in relation to this particular dispute. Hicks / Gillet will have known this, and their application in the wake of the High Court's ruling therefore falls in my view into the category of "vexatious" litigation or abuse of process. If the case does go to appeal, H & G should be hammered in costs for this behaviour. It's disappointing that the Texan court even entertained it, but difficult to say any more without knowing the details.

    Also, it's a fact of life that not all companies are equal, or(to coin a phrase) some are more equal than others. There are companies in which the public interest is so overwhelming that decision making bodies should take it into account when making decisions, insofar as their discretion allows them to do so. I don't know to what extent, if at all, the public interest question was an issue for the court in this particular case, but to that extent (and to that extent only) I don't accept that football clubs should be treated in exactly the same way as any other business.

  • Comment number 70.

    Also, if as Mr Hick claims, that Mill Financial have submitted a credible offer for Liverpool Football Club, they should have the money available to pay off the RBS loans and fees.

    As they effectively own 50% of the Football Club (due to Gillett defaulting on other loans), you would think this would be the simplest course of action for them.

    They obviously don't have the equity to pay off RBS so they need to raise further debt finance which will take time (time that they have already had and have not managed to raise the finance).

    This is therefore not a credible offer, and has been the independent directors have determined this.


  • Comment number 71.

    "It may be time for you to do some work. I would be very unhappy to know that our hard earned tax payers (and RBS) money is going to finance your unemployment benefit. If you do have a job, try giving it as much love and attention as you do as a cyber warrior."

    I do have a job and I do in fact need to get to it shortly

    Does the truth upset you that much though?

  • Comment number 72.

    "Thank you simple truth, one last q, does that mean RBS can charge the late fee's on the club since they will not be getting their money or will they leave it because of the impending sale?"

    That actually works out to be a complicated question. The simple answer is yes they could but they probably will not. A lot depends on how long it goes on, but I expect that will not be very long

  • Comment number 73.

    One thing i am struck with is the people chanting MArtin Broughton's name after the high court ruling, hailing him as a champion of the people.

    IF he is hired by RBS to get a return on the asset (LFC) then he really doesnt care much for the fans at all and will get a deal which is best for RBS not LFC. Therefore i would be extremely wary! I actually think it would be best for Liverpool to go into administration, as this would put the club into the hands of the banks, unless H&G can come up with the money? At that point they lose all their rights to what bid should be accepted or not, don't they?

    Post 40's argument that the club should be owned by the fans is all well and good, but a trifle emotive if you don't mind me saying. Assuming the sale price is £300m, you would need 40,000 Reds fans to stump up £8k each to take ownership of the club. Then,you would probably need to stump up another £8k each in order to get a new stadium built. Then what about hiring in the world class players that you need to compete with the likes of the Big 4 (Man Utd, Chelsea, Arsenal and Man City)?

    You have to face facts, football is big business, and is getting further detached from its working class roots by the day.

  • Comment number 74.

    what is with the Americans?? some district court judge thinks his judgement over-rides the judgement of High Court in London. The club/the creditor RBS are based in UK. Can't the judge see it is a frivolous lawsuit?? don't be surprised if the judge has been bought for and will do his best to delay the deal. I have actually had a lot of sympathy for Hicks in this matter but this is just ridiculous.

    Also what is up with sticking with NESV only?? one would think they would at least look at the Singapore offer

  • Comment number 75.

    Mikey 1986, you idiot, no honest liverpool fan would blame the owners for whats going on out on pitch, the media would though so maybe you should stop reading papers, or you could just stop posting your pathetic digs at liverpool on here, this is about the owners not the team, idiot, as for everyone else, this is constantly in thr media because of one thing, liverpool are a BIG club, do you not think this would be the same if it was manchester united? Of course it would, and im not picking them out because of the rivalry but they are the only other truly big club in the league. So instead of acting like you are being forced to read it, just turn your computers off or when you see the headline, dont read the full blog then comment. Sound easy enough? Il see if i can get a post in crayons for you.

  • Comment number 76.

    Forget the Royal Bank of Scousers... why are Wachovia so silent all of a sudden?

    They might themselves apply for administration tomorrow to get their money back, plus their share of the £60 million in fines that are also due to be levied before the close of play Friday.

  • Comment number 77.

    I think all journos in this saga have failed to call out the liverpool fans' for their part. They are just hacks like Mr Bond here. And any one that tells trhe truth like simple truth are attacked and I'm not an American!!! The fact is why should H & G agree to take a hit of £140m? Why??? The british directors have a duty 1st and foremost to owners - H & G. This not exactly Man u where the Glazers were fully leveraged to buy. H & G borrowed to buy Rafa players and Rafa bought rubbish. Yet all the blame is being put on H & G because they refused to borrow more to buy rubbish.

  • Comment number 78.

    Call me naive,but I am not sure what crime Hicks and Gillett have committed.I am no fan of them, however it seems that the amount of debt they have racked up was about the same amount that was provided to Rafa to fund transfers during his five year reign. I don't remember any Liverpool fans protesting when all these signings were made by Rafa tnat they were being funded by borrowed money. I can't see how such an amount of debt could be racked up in such a short space of time other than to fund transfers.Is it any wonder H+G are saying to themselves, we provided the money to the manager for new signings, it is not our fault they did not perform,yet we are being asked to write off all that money.

  • Comment number 79.

    Geoff B

    As if you could read my mind. I'm no fan of H&G either.

  • Comment number 80.

    47. At 10:30am on 14 Oct 2010, The_Chief_Architect wrote:
    You really can't make this up. To all the people in/know finance out there, are Liverpool now certainties for administration?
    ---

    Administration depends totally on RBS, even the Texas judge would not be able to penalize RBS if they call in their loan as per the terms agreed. At this stage it makes little sense for RBS to put Liverpool into administration as that would shave another 100million off the value of the asset. I think Hicks has something in mind, he wants time to raise the 230 odd million to pay off RBS and reclaim the club. Doesn't make sense to delay the inevitable sale unless he feels he can regain his losses by selling to a buyer of his choice.

    Btw why are these directors giving themselves 300-400k bonuses??

  • Comment number 81.

    "And why should we be docked points? How does that punish the people who caused this. We didn't do what many club's in this situation have done and over spend. It is purely down to the fact we were lied to by the owners who bought us with money they didn't have. This whole system of docking points has always been ridiculous, clubs and fans are being punished for the fact that boardrooms have been poorly run. I dont care if people say "but it's a business", it's not that simple!"

    First of all, you can disagree all you want but it is a business, that is fact. If you want to watch a sports team that is not a business then follow an amatuer one.

    Now about the docking of points - I don't know what to make of it really. Its just opinion but in my perspective it does punish the people responsible - the entire club. The board represents them and if that board fails the club fails. What I am not sure about is the motives behind the point docking rule to begin with but that is another matter. It is ironic that rules was probably created to make sure "smaller" teams could not compete with the like of Man UTD and LFC

    "It seems to be generally accepted that the Texan court has no jurisdiction in relation to this particular dispute. Hicks / Gillet will have known this, and their application in the wake of the High Court's ruling therefore falls in my view into the category of "vexatious" litigation or abuse of process. If the case does go to appeal, H & G should be hammered in costs for this behaviour. It's disappointing that the Texan court even entertained it, but difficult to say any more without knowing the details."

    Accepted by who? Certainly not people who work in the legal field. The Texas court most definitely does have jurisdiction. You have to remember this is just an injuction.

    "Also, it's a fact of life that not all companies are equal, or(to coin a phrase) some are more equal than others. There are companies in which the public interest is so overwhelming that decision making bodies should take it into account when making decisions, insofar as their discretion allows them to do so. I don't know to what extent, if at all, the public interest question was an issue for the court in this particular case, but to that extent (and to that extent only) I don't accept that football clubs should be treated in exactly the same way as any other business."

    Well, for starters that entire point is an opinion and while I agree with the idea of it LFC certainly should not fall into that group. They provide no public service, provide very few "needed" jobs and there exist plenty of other business that could meet their purpose. It simply does not hold. So your opinion is that football clubs should not be treated like any other business - if that is your stance then surely you must also agree they should not be allowed to trade in international markets. That is after all the complication in this case.

    "what is with the Americans?? some district court judge thinks his judgement over-rides the judgement of High Court in London. The club/the creditor RBS are based in UK. Can't the judge see it is a frivolous lawsuit?? don't be surprised if the judge has been bought for and will do his best to delay the deal. I have actually had a lot of sympathy for Hicks in this matter but this is just ridiculous."

    What is your actual question about Americans? What are you implying? No some district judge does not think "his" judgement over-rides the High Court of London. He did not make any legal reply to that decision. He simply issued an injunction which is perfectly legal and legit. There is nothing ridiculous about Hick's asking for the injuction because the High Court of London left him no other option.

    "Also what is up with sticking with NESV only?? one would think they would at least look at the Singapore offer"

    Funny you should ask since the Singapore offer came in first, that is after all what this entire case is about....

  • Comment number 82.

    Rafas net spend was just over £80 million, abd since the debts are 3 times that id say you are wrong.

  • Comment number 83.

    simple_truth - in your opinion, what's the most likely outcome here? Will the NESV sale still happen, and H&G sent packing with a £160M loss?

    Seem's to me H&G do have a point, if there are higher offers on the table, then taking the lowest _is_ undervaluing the club, surely? To me it doesn't appear Broughton is doing what's best for the club, he's just doing what he can to oust H&G?

  • Comment number 84.

    Geoff B -
    "I don't remember any Liverpool fans protesting when all these signings were made by Rafa tnat they were being funded by borrowed money."

    that... is a great point.

  • Comment number 85.

    I have been reading through all these comments some are interesting and some are just out right childish. As a neutral in this case i would like to say it is never nice for any club to go through this I had the pleasure with Swansea City a few years ago I wouldn't even wish this on Cardiff City. If you have nothing interesting to say then don't say it at all.

  • Comment number 86.

    This blog has been frustrating reading! Firstly David's unfortunate mis-information and simple_truth (who is all knowing), Tjan and Geoff B.

    Listen guys! If you don't know the facts please keep your opinions to yourselves! I'm no Liverpool fan but have looked at their financial status for the last few years and H & G have invested £144M of their own money. That wasn't to fund transfers!! The selling culture the club has developed these last few years has meant they have only spent around £6M on transfres once you weigh up the sales with purchases of Rafa... do some research please!!! Or But Football Manager and do the maths if your lazy!

    And Tjan... Please! "The british directors have a duty 1st and foremost to owners - H & G" NO! Have you ever wondered why H & G defaulted on the Loan with RBS? DIdnt that ever cross your mind! When that happened there first and foremost duty was to COVER THE DEBT!

    My two pence is that H & G get what they deserve. They wont be the first or last entrepreneurs to make a bad investment. Deal with it! Jeeeez!

  • Comment number 87.

    Simple_truth:

    The effect of the injunction is not to prevent the sale under English law, but to deter it by virtue of RBS's consideration of it's American interests. It's no more than a tactical device in that respect. That's what I meant. Also, the claim that seems to be waiting in the wings here - the £1bn claim for damages - would presumably have to be heard in the English courts. If the injunction is referrable to that anticipated claim, then I am still not clear as to how or why it was possible to obtain an injunction in a Texan court.

    Also re football clubs not being treated like other companies - I meant in only one respect, which is that a very large number of people have a massive, non-economic vested interest in them. In Liverpool's case, that extends across the world.

  • Comment number 88.

    With all the rhetoric about anti-American or anti-British sentiment, one really important fact is being glossed over by many.

    Since the banking collapse, RBS is part-owned by the British Public, therefore by extension, the debt to RBS by MULTI-MILLIONAIRE owners H&G is a debt to the British Public.

    The banking system here is barely back on it's feet, so that £250m isn't small potatoes. I for one would like to see that money paid back on time.

    In this country (and in America) if you borrow money and don't pay it back, you get spanked for it.

    In business, some ventures are successful, and some fail, there will always be winners, and always be losers, that is the nature of the business world. Don't cry when you lose this one, rich guys.

  • Comment number 89.

    Can someone get a lawyer to give a proper explanation of this development..The author of this blog's identification of the central issue seems to be rather silly (to put it mildly). As far as i know,a director of a company needs to be responsible to the company and needs to work in the best interest of the company. I would assume Liverpool Football Club is a part of the entire business and they cannot do what is best for the club but let the rest of the business/company suffer a loss. It is true that LFC is integral to the business but they are the employees of Hicks and Gillette and they cannot force through a sale that loses them money..It seems absurd. I think the attempt to separate the football club from the entire financial setup is not possible.

    Further, will the board not have to respect the American Court. I mean if they have passed an injunction on the sale (am not really sure) but since both parties to the proposed sale are American, the matter falls squarely within American Jurisdiction? At the very least the proposed sale to the Boston Red Sox owner cannot go through for he is bound by the American Courts injunction. The question of ignoring the injunction is simply untenable.

  • Comment number 90.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • Comment number 91.

    'Club back in High Court after American owners used the US courts to prevent the sale'

    London is ready to kick Texas' behind. Come on, London. Destroy them.

  • Comment number 92.



    Come on, Cameron!

    We need a statement in The House, NOW, about the emergency plan to rescue the 33 squad players deep in the doo-doo at the Merseyside Red Sox franchise!

    Grrr...

  • Comment number 93.

    Geoff B is bang on.

    And the finger of blame will continue to point in all directions until this is resolved. Then when LFC finish in a worse position than last year the blame will probably shift elsewhere. It'll be Hodgson's fault then or maybe even NESV.

    Fans of LFC are just put out because you're 16th in the table. I guarantee if you had been winning & were in the top 4 right now then these financial shananigans would have gone by almost unnoticed. Who cares who owns the club as long as you're winning? But you're not, so the anomosity has to be directed somewhere.

  • Comment number 94.

    While no-one comes out of this well, neither the board, the owners, the club nor the league, in purely legal terms it's clear that Hicks and Gillett do have a case. I believe the High Court decision was partial and taken in the interests of Liverpool and RBS. It doesn't surprise me that Hicks and Gillett have asked for an injunction from an American court. Two good thing must come from this: A reform of club structures and a reform of the league in the interest of football at large. If you go down the sharks route, purely for short-term self-interest, don't be surprised when they double back and bite you.

  • Comment number 95.

    #81: The Singapore offer was only increased to £320m after Lfc had accepted the offer made by NESV. I don't know for sure but there may have been a deadline imposed for submitting final offers (given the impending RBS re-payment deadline). If so, both bids were treated sersiously based on the offers on the table at the time and Lfc opted for NESV based on their offer price and sporting credentials.

    The rest is just noise and once it dies down and the Lfc board are cleared to proceed with a sale, if there was indeed a deadline for final offers, surely the NESV bid would proceed on that basis.


    #84 - as #82 points out, Benitez's overall net spend was not even £100m and he generated approx £100m from his CL record. It's not a black and white argument.

  • Comment number 96.

    "simple_truth - in your opinion, what's the most likely outcome here? Will the NESV sale still happen, and H&G sent packing with a £160M loss?"

    My opinion is the RBS of will doing, they will delay the demanded payment and differ the fees to be placed upon the sale of the club. I suspect the sale to NESV will not happen unless Hicks approves it and that would require a bigger bid I suspect.

    It appears to me, Hicks believes he can pay the loan deal and then remove the parties that are causing him the trouble. The board made a very foolish mistake making a post in a public forum (LFC official website) and now have opened themselves up for fair and proper dismissal under gross misconduct.

    So, I think this will drag on for about 10 days and in the end LFC with have one of the two
    1) A new owner of Hick's choosing
    2) Hicks still owning them and very unhappy with the his ownership

    "Seem's to me H&G do have a point, if there are higher offers on the table, then taking the lowest _is_ undervaluing the club, surely? To me it doesn't appear Broughton is doing what's best for the club, he's just doing what he can to oust H&G?"

    They definitely have a point and Broughton was almost certainly not acting in the best interest of LFC. The only thing that can be said of Broughton's decision is that the New England people have a good sporting record.


  • Comment number 97.

    Sorry for my grammar above - was on the phone.

    Forgot to add - lets not forget Hicks recently sold the Texas Rangers Baseball team so he has money that people are not accounting for.

  • Comment number 98.

    simple truth
    What is your actual question about Americans? What are you implying? No some district judge does not think "his" judgement over-rides the High Court of London. He did not make any legal reply to that decision. He simply issued an injunction which is perfectly legal and legit. There is nothing ridiculous about Hick's asking for the injuction because the High Court of London left him no other option.

    ----

    I am implying that the American courts have breath taking arrogance, the injunction was issued without even hearing from the other 2 parties. The injunction basically means that the court feels Mr Hicks freedom is being impeached upon by the High Court judgement despite his lawyers open admission of being in breach of contract with RBS. They have blocked RBS from recovering their 237million loan based on a 15000$ security deposit. Basically any district judge can block the judgement of a superior court in a foreign land provided the matter involves an american.

    Btw I am sympathetic to H&G as they lost a lot of money and taken a lot of abuse. But even the Singapore offer would not have paid them anything. I would agree with them if they could find a higher offer that values the club fairly. Hell if they could raise the money to pay off RBS the club would be theirs and no High Court would say a thing. What exactly is their plan right now?? to force RBS to call in its loans??

  • Comment number 99.

    Right first thing I'll declare is that I have no objectivity with this one at all!

    Hmmm. Interesting ideas from simple truth...however it doesn't change the fact that the tenure of hicks and Gillette, has been a disaster, that they broke promises by foisting the acquisition debt on the club, and their personal finances are in such a state that they are unable to effectively meet their loan deadlines, let alone fund a new stadium and come up with an effective busines model that allows liverpool fc to be run effectively, efficiently and generate success on the field.

    and thats not saying Liverpool have a god given right to be successful, it just reflects a comparison of the club, as a product, when they acquired it compared to its current state.

    They have always shown that they have no integrity, no plan and no idea about football. Now with this last act of vandalism they are scrabbling for every penny (cent) they can get without a thought for how this will impact on the club that they are supposed still, to be responsible owners of. At least the glazers are honest and upfront about what they are doing. These two are just clueless, useless wastes of space

    that was really ggod to get out of my system!

  • Comment number 100.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

 

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