Friday, February 02, 2007

New US tycoon linked to Liverpool takeover...

Liverpool supporters are rightly concerned about the proposed takeover by George Gillett as he was made bankrupt in 1992. However, it has now emerged that another US tycoon will hold a 50% stake in the club the new name in the frame is Tom Hicks, owner of the NHL franchise Dallas Stars as well as the Texas Rangers baseball team.

This is a stunning development and it reinforces what I posted yesterday about my reservations about Gillett being able to finance this deal on his own. I still believe the takeover will be a heavily leveraged buy-out.

News of the DIC deal falling through angered many Liverpool supporters, with some feeling that the club have to a degree been prostituted around to the highest bidder. You can understand that point of view as Gillett's first offer to buy the club was knocked initially, but the arrival of Hicks has apparently swung it for the US consortium.

As ever the feelings of the fans haven't been taken into consideration, but LFC fans have been given assurances by the clubs CEO, Rick Parry, that whatever the club decides it will be the best decision for the future of the club, quite where this fits in with Gillett being a discharged bankrupt is difficult to square.

From the outside looking in it might be easy to come to conclude that followers of Liverpool and Manchester United are to a degree xenophobic when it comes to foreign ownership of these huge clubs. That view is completely wrong, because judging by the reaction of many Liverpool fans yesterday while monitoring message boards, many were angry that the Arabs had pulled out due to discussions with the US tycoon George Gillett - so much for the special relationship and of course Anglo - Arab relations aren't exactly brilliant at present with Middle-East tensions.

The point is fans of these clubs couldn't give a toss where these people come from, they could be any nationality, as long as the would be owners have the where-with-all to take the club forward and at the same time to look after the fans interests by making tickets affordable for fans of all ages and income brackets.

So what can LFC fans look forward to? Even with Hicks on-board, Liverpool supporters can look forward to huge price rises for tickets over the next few years, but sure they'll get the new stadium and there will be investment in the team and some fans will be happy as long as the team are winning trophies, and if the US tycoons can bring back the title on a regular basis, then perhaps then and only then will the club supporters fully trust the new regime.

The irony of the Liverpool situation is that many fans of the Merseyside club were gloating when Malcolm Glazer took over Manchester United, they were among the first to come up with cheap digs at United. With the American backed takeover looking almost certain it appears that both sets of supporters having something in common and we wont be hearing "USA, USA, USA" next time United visit Anfield.

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