BBC BLOGS - David Bond

Archives for October 2010

Hicks will not go quietly

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David Bond | 08:36 UK time, Friday, 15 October 2010

It seems there is another dramatic twist in the extraordinary battle to buy Liverpool.

With club chairman Martin Broughton and the independent board of directors expecting a Dallas judge to lift the restraining order blocking the sale of the club to New England Sports Ventures, it looked like they were winning the fight for control of the Reds.

But the real reason for the Texas court action - described by one lawyer in the High Court on Thursday as so fanciful it read like a novel - was to buy Liverpool co-owner Tom Hicks enough time to do a last gasp deal with Mill Financial.

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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.

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How did it get this bad for Liverpool?

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David Bond | 06:49 UK time, Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Whatever judgment Mr Justice Floyd delivers this morning, Liverpool's day in the High Court yesterday exposed in painstaking detail the complete breakdown in trust between the club's owners, their bankers and the men brought in to try to rescue the sorry mess.

After almost five hours of submissions by a series of lawyers whose weekly wage packets might make Fernando Torres blush, many questions were left unanswered.

But as barrister after barrister took it in turns to debate the finer points of corporate governance side letters, mandatory interlocutory injunctions and holdings company board sub-committees, there was one question above all others which kept nagging away at the back of the mind. How was it allowed to get so bad?

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Liverpool saga heads to High Court

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David Bond | 06:48 UK time, Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Not since Terry Venables and Lord Sugar took their battle for control of Spurs to the High Court has the Strand witnessed such a key moment in the history of one of England's most illustrious clubs.

Back in 1993, Lord Sugar, or Baron Sugar of Clapton to use his full title, was just plain old Alan and Venables was a footballing folk hero with the prospect of managing England at Euro 96 all to come. How innocent football seemed then.

It wasn't, of course. And it was Sugar, remember, whose satellite dishes made Sky's revolution of the Premier League possible.

But the courtroom tussle for control of Liverpool that begins on Tuesday demonstrates, perhaps even better than Portsmouth's financial collapse, the end of an era of rampant commercialism first ushered in 18 years ago by men like Lord Sugar.

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Crunching the numbers at Old Trafford

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David Bond | 16:59 UK time, Friday, 8 October 2010

On the face of it, Manchester United's annual financial results look terrible.

A club-record loss of £83.6m, a slowing in revenue growth due to a disappointing season on the pitch and a whole raft of expensive and complicated debt costs.

But look beyond the headline figures and United remain the strongest financial performers in the Premier League.

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How to repair the damage of match fixing

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David Bond | 18:47 UK time, Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Delhi. Cricket is an obsession here - a way of life. Unfortunately for administrators and politicians anxious to tackle the problem of match fixing, so is illegal betting on it.

The case against the three Pakistan players accused of bowling deliberate no-balls in the fourth Test against England is still under investigation. But what is beyond doubt is that the affair has its roots in the illegal, shady world of Indian betting.

Over the last few days I have been looking into the problem, trying to get an idea of just how widespread it is and why money being wagered in Delhi could possibly influence the outcome of matches played many thousands of miles from here.

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What is the point of the Commonwealth Games?

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David Bond | 12:58 UK time, Friday, 1 October 2010

With all the big names shunning Delhi 2010, chaotic organisation and the Ryder Cup stealing the limelight this weekend the next few days could be even more uncomfortable for the Commonwealth Games than the build-up has been.

Mind you after last week's publicity, organisers might appreciate staying below the radar.

Even local people have been reluctant to turn out for a Games which was supposed to confirm modern India's emergence as a global super power.

Verifying the numbers is tricky but the country's tourism minister claimed on Thursday that only 50-60% of the 1.7 million tickets for the Games have been sold. Another report on Friday morning suggested the actual number of tickets sold was nearer 200,000 and tickets remain available for the showpiece event - Sunday's opening ceremony.

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