2412: Stanley Park delay concerns sponsor
1611: Benitez: Liverpool Everton
          shared stadium would be wrong

1310: Liverpool FC slam stadium stories
0510: Reds stadium delayed by credit crisis
0110: Gillett and Hicks deny stadium claim
3009: Liverpool FC and Everton won't
          share a stadium, warns Rick Parry

0509: Minister: We’ll back talks on shared
          Everton and Liverpool stadium

2908: Fans vent fury over stadium plans
2908: Liverpool FC announce new stadium delays
2908: ECHO comment: Liverpool fans deserve truth
0107: New blow for LFC stadium
          as NWDA witholds £9m

2406: Enabling works start on new LFC stadium
2306: Liverpool FC owners' £100m credit crunch
1505: New doubt over Liverpool stadium
0605: Liverpool FC's new stadium approved
2504: Third time lucky for new Liverpool FC stadium?
1603: Club looks for quick decision
2501: Reds appoint American architects
0801: No inquiry for Reds' new stadium



Click for more images

Stanley Park delay
concerns sponsor

By Tim Rich - The irish Times

Carlsberg, Liverpool's biggest sponsor, has criticised the club's owners, Tom Hicks and George Gillett, for delays in building their new stadium and said it is an open secret the club is still up for sale.

Keld Strudahl, Carlsberg's international marketing director, said: "While we have a good relationship with Tom Hicks, we are naturally unhappy that the planned new stadium has been postponed. That cannot be good for Liverpool as a long-term business."

Work on a new stadium at Stanley Park, which began in June, has been put on hold because of the spiralling cost of finance. The club has denied reports that it is considering redeveloping Anfield or sharing the new ground with Everton and Hicks argues that while investment in the stadium has been postponed, he and Gillett have funded the purchase of both the €28 million Fernando Torres and €21.5 million Robbie Keane.

Carlsberg who have sponsored Liverpool for 16 years, said it would be happy doing business with Dubai International Capital - the investment arm of the Dubai government - should it still be interested in a takeover. "We want the owners to say whether they intend to keep the club," he added.

Strudahl said because of the credit crunch only an organisation such as DIC could afford to buy a Premier League club. Its attempts to buy out Hicks and Gillett were thwarted by the former's reluctance to countenance any sale, although Gillett is willing to sell his 50 per cent stake in the club.

"If DIC become the new owners, I cannot foresee any problems working with them," he added. "We had a good dialogue with them before Hicks and Gillett. As the main sponsor, we saw their business plan and it looked good.

"DIC is as big a player in a potential Liverpool takeover as previously believed. You shouldn't underestimate the impact the credit crunch has had on clubs. At the moment there are not a whole lot of investors interested in buying Premier League clubs."

Strudahl feels Hicks and Gillett might be interested in selling Liverpool if the offer is right. "That Liverpool is for sale is a badly kept secret but nobody has the money to invest right now. The only people who can invest are those not interested in making a profit."

However Carlsberg said they will renegotiate their shirt sponsorship deal with Liverpool, worth €7.7 million a season, which expires in 2010, in the summer.

Benitez: Liverpool Everton
shared stadium would be wrong

Liverpool Daily Post

Rafa Benitez has dismissed claims that a shared stadium could work.

Deal maker Keith Harris has backed calls for Liverpool and Everton to share a ground this week but the Reds boss believes it would not be right for either club or their fans.

Those in favour of sharing often cite the fact Milan giants AC and Inter share the San Siro but Benitez is adamant replicating that on Merseyside is not the answer.

“I don’t think it would work,” he said.

“If you think of the pitch, you could not have three or four games on the same pitch in a little over one week.

“Often we play two games a week, so if that happened and Everton had two games as well it would be a massive problem.

“I think both sets of fans would prefer to have their own stadiums.

“For me it is not working in Milan anyway.

“We do not have all the details but if you think of us playing in the Champions League on a Tuesday or a Wednesday and then Everton playing in the UEFA Cup on Thursday, like has happened this season, and then there is a league game in the same ground at the weekend – it would be too much.”

Benitez insists both clubs are big enough to have their own stadium rather than bring more than 100 years of separate identities to an end.

“It would be better to have our own stadium,” he added.

Liverpool FC slam stadium stories

By Tony Barrett - Liverpool Echo

Liverpool today slammed speculation suggesting they are considering ditching plans to build a new stadium.

A Sunday newspaper report claimed the club has hired architects to look at the possibility of redeveloping Anfield instead of going ahead with their proposals to construct a new ground on nearby Stanley Park.

But senior club officials dismissed the story out of hand, insisting it is without any foundation.

A club spokesman told the ECHO: “The story is completely wrong.

“No-one has been asked to look at increasing the capacity of Anfield with a view to us staying at the present ground.

“Global market conditions may have delayed the project, but the club remains committed to building a new world class LFC stadium on the site in Stanley Park.”

Tom Hicks and George Gillett recently announced that the Stanley Park plans have been delayed for another year because of the credit crunch, leaving many Liverpool fans deeply unhappy at what they see as another broken promise by the club’s American owners.

But the club remains adamant that the Stanley Park option is the only one being pursued, despite the fact that economic conditions are likely to worsen as the effects of the credit crunch intensify on both sides of the Atlantic.

Reds stadium delayed by credit crisis


Chief executive Rick Parry insists the Liverpool's new stadium will still be built - but only after the current financial turmoil stabilises.

Parry also made it clear that the club's opposition to ground sharing with Everton has not changed.

And he revealed that attempts to buy the club have "gone very quiet".

Work on the Stanley Park project has come to a halt following a decision to delay the building, maybe for a year, because of the credit squeeze.

Parry told BBC Five Live's Sportsweek: "Ground share is not being considered. With the financial markets in the turmoil as they are, any major construction project at this time is difficult, it is risky.

"It is a case of a delay while things settle down, it is still a very, very good long term project. The economics of it still make underlying sense.

"I do not see any change in direction or any change in plans, and ground share is not back on the agenda.

"The point is, at this moment it is not the most sensible time to be borrowing huge amounts of money with the markets in turmoil. That will settle down and availability of money will increase.

"The project makes long term sense, it is the supply of money that is an issue, that will correct itself in time."

The ownership of the club is also unlikely to change at present, said Parry.

He said: "It has gone quiet and everyone is delighted. The focus at Liverpool should only ever be on football.

"All is relatively stable, I am not aware of anything that is happening regarding the sale of the club at this moment. My focus is on day-to-day things and making sure we deliver.

"I am not sure of anything going on, it is a question best directed to the owners. As far as I am concerned we are focusing on things that we can control.

"We are trying to do the very best to produce a team that performs on the pitch."

Gillett and Hicks
deny stadium claim

By David Prentice - Liverpool Echo

Liverpool's American owners today denied claims that the company contracted to the club's new stadium has been stood down.

But fears persist that the project may now be held up for more than year.

Rumours surfaced yesterday that builders Laing O'Rourke and other companies involved in the building of the Reds new stadium had been ordered to down tools.

But Jonathan Brill, London-based spokesman for Kop Football Ltd which represents Liverpool owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett, insisted this is not the case.

He said: "Laing O'Rourke are still very much part of the team here.

"Obviously because of the delay in the stadium there may not be as much work at present.

“But we can categorically say they have not been stood down and are still part of our team."

The start of basic ‘enabling works’ on the new stadium were announced with a loud fanfare this summer, and began on June 23.

But only last month the club confirmed a "short term" delay in the project.

The problem was believed to be a lack of funds due in part to the American economic downturn and credit crunch climate.

Hicks and Gillett have until January to seek and secure a refinancing package on the £350m they took out, but until then appear to have run out funds to continue work on the stadium.

Laing O'Rourke chiefs have come to believe construction of the £350m stadium will not start until the end of 2009 at the earliest.

A source said to be close to the project was quoted earlier this month in the building trade magazine Contract Journal, saying: "The earliest date the contractors are looking at starting on the stadium is late next year - if it happens at all.

"The bottom line is that the club has no money.”

Liverpool FC and Everton won't
share a stadium, warns Rick Parry

Liverpool Daily Post
Rick Parry today rejected claims from council leader Warren Bradley that Liverpool's attitude towards a shared stadium is "softening".

In an interview with a Sunday newspaper at the weekend, Cllr Bradley spoke of his hope that the two clubs will eventually come together and build "a Wembley of the North".

Citing the failure of both Liverpool and Everton to realise their ambitions to build much longed-for new stadiums of their own and the ongoing effects of the credit crunch, Cllr Bradley insisted the time has come to stop "dancing around the elephant in the room" and consider sharing.

But Reds chief executive Parry insists there has been no softening of Liverpool's official stance and remains adamant that only if the fans want it would a shared stadium even be considered.

He said: "There has been no change in attitude in any way, shape or form because there has been no change in our supporters' attitude.

"This is the nub of the argument – that this is not what the fans want."

Cllr Bradley argued: "Everton and Liverpool are both playing in stadia a hundred years on. It is time to move forward.

"The best thing is for each club to have their own ground and remain in the city. But if that isn't feasible because of the credit crunch, something must happen.

"We all dance around the elephant in the room and if neither club has a new stadia in 15 years time, people will ask why.

"That is what I've said to both clubs and they are softening to the views now. It's not a case of who is going to have what in a new stadium.

You could have a Liverpool village where Anfield is now, an Everton village where Goodison is and a stadium that is the Wembley of the north.

"We have the Olympics coming up in London in 2012 and a World Cup bid for 2018. It is common sense that Liverpool as a city could be at the heart of it."

Liverpool's owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett have both gone on the record about their opposition to sharing a stadium and it would take a U-turn of monumental proportions for the American duo even to consider it.

Their focus at present is more likely to be on the ongoing crisis in the US and global banking system which shows no sign of letting up.

Yesterday, the banking operation American investment corporation Wachovia – which allowed Hicks and Gillett to borrow the cash down payment they needed to secure a refinancing package with the Royal Bank of Scotland last February – was bought out by Citigroup.

Wachovia had been on the brink of collapse but their liabilities and assets will now pass into the hands of Citigroup, which paid $2.2bn dollars to complete the deal.

RBS itself suffered stock market losses yesterday with shares down 12.7% at close of trading as the credit crunch continued to effect some of the world's biggest financial institutions.

Minister: We’ll back talks on shared
Everton and Liverpool stadium

By Kevin Core - Liverpool Echo

The government has offered to broker talks between Liverpool FC and Everton FC about building a shared stadium.

Sport secretary Andy Burnham MP, a lifelong Evertonian, made the pledge to mediate discussions while visiting young footballers in the city yesterday.

He spoke out after Liverpool’s announcement of a significant delay in its stadium plans for Stanley Park and the decision to hold a time-consuming public inquiry into Everton’s relocation to Kirkby.

Both Liverpool and Everton say a shared stadium is not on their agenda.

Mr Burnham said: “Obviously the situation has changed for both clubs, but it is for them to decide what represents the best way forward.

“Whatever they decide, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport would be available to help facilitate discussions and help the clubs explore the various routes.

“Obviously it is a continually moving situation and it is not right for me to express my preference either way.”

The Leigh MP, who is originally from Newton-le-Willows and went to school in St Helens, also reiterated his strong support of Share Liverpool’s plan for Reds fans to unite and buy the Anfield club.

He said: “It is a challenge, but the long-term goal of fans who want to buy clubs is to make them democratic and not for sale.

“In my view, that is what a football club should be and I would definitely lend my support to that principle.”

Speaking at Anfield sport and community centre, Breckside Park, he praised the two clubs for becoming the first Premier League sides to collaborate in supporting the Kickz initiative.

The project gives young people in deprived areas the chance to attend three nights of sport a week at 25 specially-designated sites.

Mr Burnham added: “Two clubs of this size working together in the community is something you do not see every day.

“In the first year of Kickz, many players have been picked up by clubs and . . . that is a tangible result.”

Fans vent fury over stadium plans


Liverpool fans' groups have launched a savage attack on the club's US owners after yet another delay to the building of their new stadium.

Co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett have announced that the £400million arena will be delayed because of the global cash crisis.

Now it has emerged the delay could be for up to a year, while there is even more worrying suggestions that the Dubai investors who want to buy the club may be losing interest in the whole saga.

Liverpool fans are angry and stunned by further delays to the 60,000 stadium, which Hicks and Gillett promised would be well under construction by now when they took over the club 18 months ago.

Dr Rogan Taylor, founder of the fans' group ShareLiverpoolFC, who want to take the club into community ownership, hit out saying: "This has not come as a surprise. The Americans did not have any money for the stadium.

"We have been saying this for a long time. These guys are a broken record, they are the soap opera of Anfield Road. This just goes on and on and is just an excuse for not starting the stadium.

"The money goes up every time. Three years ago it was £150million, now it is £350-£400million. And now they are talking about "re-visiting" the capacity issue.

"But that was the original reason for the delay 18 months ago, these guys are not in a position to make a long-term investment of the kind required for a stadium.

"If there is no funding in place by spring, then European and NW development grants will be lost indefinitely for the re-generation of the area.

"This is about the owners breaking our trust over and over again. They do not have the confidence of anybody in the city, or the wherewithal.

"A new stadium is essential to the business structure of a modern, great club.

"Just compare the matchday 'take' at Arsenal's new Emirates Stadium or the money taken by Manchester United at Old Trafford. They pull in around three times what Liverpool manage for each match.

"If you add that up, 20 games a season, and those clubs are getting £50million more than us each season simply by playing in a bigger stadium.

"You cannot keep up with them in these circumstances. The problem is the debt our owners carry, there is not really a significant problem in raising money to build a stadium if they did not have a major debt on their backs.

"If they did not have that, raising this money is not a problem. You can get half of that up front with naming rights for the stadium and executive boxes for 10 years.

"I am embarrassed by what is going on at my club, certainly since the Americans' takeover.

"There are about a dozen clubs worldwide who have this genuine combination of local and global strength. But it is a dangerous situation.

"This club is more vulnerable now than it has been in my entire 47 years of watching the club. It is a house of cards and a puff of wind can blow it over.

"Liverpool is a sub-prime loan by the Royal Bank of Scotland, and if we do not do something about this everything can go away."

The Spirit of Shankly fans group, dedicated to removing the Americans from the club, are also angry.

Spokesman Jay McKenna said: "It is our firm belief that the owners have neither the resources nor the intention to deliver this project, and are using the current economic climate as a subterfuge while they attempt to drive the potential sale value of the football club up.

"The owners have no money, no credibility and no dignity, and are not fit custodians of the club.

"We demand their immediate resignation and the sale of the club to fit and proper owners."

Waiting in the wings are a Dubai consortium led by the oil state's ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

They maintain they still have the money to buy out the Americans and that a deal is still on the table.

But sources suggest that their patience will not last forever. They have the money to build a stadium, but the spiralling cost has become an annoyance as the ownership saga has dragged on all year.

Liverpool have not signed the lease for Stanley Park with Liverpool City Council but deny this is anything more than a legal issue.

A spokesman said: "The contract will be signed when the planning requirements have been met."

A club statement read: "Our commitment to building a new world-class Liverpool Football Club stadium is undiminished.

"Like many other major development projects in the UK and overseas we are affected by global market conditions and, as such, work on the project will be delayed in the short term.

"We will use this period productively and revisit the plans for the stadium to increase its capacity to 73,000 seats."

Liverpool FC announce
new stadium delays

Daily Post

Liverpool FC have announced plans for a new stadium have been delayed again.

The club made a statement on their website this morning.

The new ground in Stanley Park is expected to coast around £400m.

Today's news comes as little surprise to some as their has been talk the club is struggling to raise cash.

The credit crunch is being blamed for the delay even though work has started.

The club statement said: "Our commitment to building a new world-class LFC stadium is undiminished. Like many other major development projects in the UK and overseas we are affected by global market conditions and as such work on the project will be delayed in the short term.

"We will use this period productively and revisit the plans for the stadium to increase its capacity to 73,000 seats."

Only yesterday it was revealed that EU grants to fund re-generation of the Anfield area had been withdrawn.

The cash, around £5million, is not a huge amount of the great scheme of things at Anfield, but it was a significant blow to the credibility of the Americans’ plans.

The money had been earmarked by the European Regional Development Fund for a community partnership centre as part of the new stadium.

But the timescale involved meant the money had to be re-allocated last November and the stadium centre will now have to be fully funded by Liverpool FC.

The £5million will now be spent on four community centres in north Liverpool.

It is also believed that the club have yet to officially sign the lease from the council for the Stanley Park site, and contractors have also yet to sign formal agreements.

It is now possible that north-west regional development grants may not be paid to the club. Meetings with Liverpool City Council recently also failed to confirm when building work would start.

Today’s announcement will only add fuel to the claims that Liverpool’s owners are unable to fund the work, and re-ignite suggestions they may have to sell the club.

ECHO comment:
Liverpool fans deserve truth

Liverpool Echo

Today’s news that plans for the new Liverpool FC stadium are to go on hold is just the latest in a series of hammer blows for Reds fans.

Unsurprisingly, it is claimed it is just a ‘short-term’ delay.

But many supporters, and even experienced analysts, will suspect it is, in truth, a clear indication that controversial American owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett simply don’t have the financial clout to build it at all.

They have already piled their own personal debts – including a crushing £30m annual interest bill – onto the club and, in turn, its supporters.

Today’s news is bound to lead to renewed calls for them to go.

Particularly if they do not have the money or the methods to take one of the world’s greatest football clubs forward.

Who can blame the overwhelming majority of fans for wanting rid of them? And fast.

It’s well known Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum of Dubai, the world’s fifth-richest man, remains keen to buy the club from them.

Everyone who has Liverpool FC’s best interest at heart surely now feels that is the best option.

This week, ordinary fans joined Liverpool legends Phil Thompson, John Barnes and John Aldridge and academic expert Dr Rogan Taylor at a public meeting called by Share Liverpool FC and the Spirit of Shankly group to demand the Americans leave.

Liverpool has had enough.

If today’s news really does mean the owners can’t give Kopites the stadium they deserve and dream of, then why not just admit it?

Then the club – and all concerned with it – can move on.

New blow for LFC stadium
as NWDA witholds £9m

By David Bartlett - Liverpool Daily Post

The Northwest Development Agency has refused to hand over a £9m grant for Liverpool FC’s new stadium project until the club proves it has got the money for the £350m scheme.

Steve Broomhead, chief executive of the NWDA, spoke to Kop Holdings – the owners of LFC – yesterday over the funding of the stadium.

The agency had previously agreed to provide a £9m grant for the scheme which includes regenerating the park and a community partnership centre.

While Mr Broomhead made clear the money is still available, the agency will not hand it over until “detailed evidence” that funding is in place to complete the project.

The revelation came as it emerged LFC co-owner Tom Hicks had agreed an unrelated $3.2bn (£1.6bn) deal with a plastic container company in the USA.

The Texan is understood to be keen for Liverpool fans to see that he still has the clout to pull off big financial packages, despite the credit crunch.

Last week, the club started preparatory enabling works on its 60,000-capacity stadium on Stanley Park.

The stadium will incorporate a club shop, conference and banqueting facilities, and parking for almost 1,000 vehicles.

Its design is ultimately capable of accommodating up to 73,000 spectators subject to further planning permission.

In January, the club’s owners refinanced the debt they took on when buying the club in 2007 in a £350m deal. It is understood that, included in that deal, was £60m to get work started on the stadium.

The Daily Post also understands that sum would be enough to cover costs of the build until around the end of the current year.

Last night, a club source said: “We are not planning on having the long term funding in place until the end of this year.

“We have sufficient funds currently to take us through the early stages of the project.”

Mr Broomhead said: “The NWDA is engaged in positive, on-going discussions with Liverpool Football Club regarding our investment in the regeneration aspects of the new Anfield development. The NWDA’s grant has always been dependent upon the club demonstrating that funding for the new stadium has been fully secured and we are currently awaiting detailed evidence that this is in place.

“Until this time, the agency will retain its £9m investment towards the project, but we remain optimistic about the outcome and are committed to working closely with Liverpool FC and other partners to bring the development and the regeneration of North Liverpool forward.”

Enabling works start on new LFC stadium

LFC Official Website

Liverpool City Council granted full planning permission on
June 19 to Liverpool Football Club to build a 60,000 seater stadium and outline planning permission for a mixed use development on the existing Anfield stadium site.

The stadium will incorporate a club shop, conference and banqueting facilities, parking for almost 1,000 vehicles and a Community Partnership centre. Its design is ultimately capable of accommodating up to 73,000 people subject to further planning permission.

LFC has instructed Laing O'Rourke to commence enabling works under a licence issued by the Liverpool City Council. Works started on June 23.

Co-chairman George Gillett said: "This is a significant milestone for the club and I am delighted that the design received full planning consent and that we are now on site.

"We have been working very hard over the last six months to move the details of the design along but this is the first tangible evidence for fans that a New LFC Stadium will be built.

"The stadium design is unique and will be recognised across the world as the Liverpool FC Stadium. It incorporates a Kop stand that will hold 18,000 fans and we hope that the stadium will be as noisy and atmospheric on a matchday as Anfield."

Co-chairman Tom Hicks added: "We recognise the importance of a new LFC Stadium as part of the wider regeneration of the local area.

"We have watched the council transform Stanley Park over the last six months and the ongoing refurbishment of houses in the Anfield/ Breckfield area. I am pleased that now the club has received full planning permission it can join the regeneration process with the commencement of enabling works."

The stadium is on programme to open for the beginning of the 2011-12 season.

Liverpool FC owners' £100m credit crunch

By David Prentice - Liverpool Echo

Liverpool’s American owners are facing a major credit crunch backlash over stalled plans to build a new stadium for the Reds.

Tom Hicks and George Gillett may need to put in as much as £100m of their own money if they want to borrow a further £200m.

And that casts massive doubt over their ability to go ahead with the ambition of building the 70,000 seat-plus super stadium, designed by Dallas based architects HKS and rolled out amid a fanfare of publicity last year.

Given the global credit crunch, banks are no longer prepared to allow 100 per cent borrowings and are currently asking for at least one third of the amount needed for major projects to be put up front by would-be borrowers.

Hicks and Gillett bought Liverpool for £220m in February last year - most of it with borrowed cash - and have since refinanced their original loans with a further £350m loan deal, which leaves the club responsible for annual interest payments of around £39m a year.

The Americans, who have become estranged and embittered over recent months, are now on speaking terms again following Gillett’s admission on Friday that they needed to set aside their communications differences for the sake of the club.

But the worldwide clampdown on lending means they would still face huge problems raising the deposit now needed for what is effectively a mortgage to build a new Anfield.

The Dubaian government, headed by Sheik Mohammed al Rashid bin Maktoum, remain keen to buy out the Americans. And, as a sovereign wealth fund, it is claimed that unlike the Americans would to some degree be protected from the interest rates and pressures exerted by banks over private investors.

MAY 15
New doubt over Liverpool stadium

By Paul Walker - PA Sport

Fresh doubts have been raised over Liverpool co-owner Tom Hicks' ability to fund the club's proposed new home in Stanley Park following a shock decision to delay the building of
a stadium in Texas.

Hicks has admitted he has been unable to secure financing for the Glorypark mixed-use development in Arlington, Texas that was scheduled to open in March 2010.

The $500million venture has been put on hold because of the credit squeeze and troubled retail market.

Hicks said in an interview with the Dallas Morning News: "We are in the most difficult credit crunch I have seen the last 20 years."

That revelation will give more hope to prospective buyers of Liverpool, Dubai International Capital, who have long believed Hicks - and his estranged co-owner George Gillett - have found it virtually impossible to raise further loans to facilitate the move from Anfield.

It is believed Hicks must find funding over the next few months to build the club's new £350million stadium.

But if his Hicks Holdings group have been unable to find the cash in the current market for their Arlington plans, critics in the UK will wonder how the money for the move will be raised in the current financial climate.

Hicks' announcement over the Arlington stadium comes a week after a Dallas hotel project in which he is also involved was delayed.

Construction was scheduled to start this spring on the Glorypark project adjacent to the Texas Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, and close to the Dallas Cowboys new 1.1 billion dollar stadium.

Hicks owns the Rangers baseball club as well as the Dallas Stars ice hockey team.

The completion of Glorypark, which would have included restaurants, retail, residential and office space, had been delayed at least twice previously.

Last week, Liverpool gained their third planning permission for the revised Stanley Park scheme.

Hicks said at the weekend: "Site work will start in September and actual construction in late October/early November, with completion in time for the season starting in August 2011."

Some money, around £60million, was set aside from the January re-financing of Hicks and Gillett's loans to buy Liverpool, to allow the stadium work to start.

But it is believed Hicks has been unsuccessful in raising further loans from the London and US financial markets in recent weeks.

DIC believe the financial pressures on Hicks will eventually lead to his return to the negotiating table after he pulled the plug on a planned buyout earlier in the year.

The impasse with Gillett is no nearer a solution.

But Gillett, having made it clear he will not sell his 50% stake in the club to his partner, significantly flew to London last week for informal talks with DIC.

It has emerged that are unlikely to test the validity in court of Hicks' veto over any move by Gillett to sell his stake. Problems over certain clauses in the original contracts have arisen which make such a move difficult.

However, few observers now expect the troubled ownership of Liverpool to be resolved this summer, with the saga likely to drag on into the autumn.

Under the current proposals, the stadium work should have started by then.

Liverpool FC's new stadium approved

By David Bartlett - Liverpool Daily Post

Liverpool FC’s third stadium plan was approved today.

Councillors gave the go-ahead to the £350m proposal for a 60,000-seater ground in Stanley Park at Liverpool town hall.

It is the third time in five years the council has backed a stadium scheme from the Reds, but it is still unclear when work will start.

The club’s American owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett ordered a massive redesign of the original proposal when they took over last year and their plan was approved last summer.

But it was shelved and redrawn a second time by Dallas-based architects HKS earlier this year when the tycoons decided it was too expensive.

Today, the council’s planning committee backed a scheme showing a number of crucial changes, notably a smaller underground car park beneath the stadium and a reduced height.

Third time lucky for
new Liverpool FC stadium?

By Nick Coligan - Liverpool Echo

Liverpool FC’s third stadium plan is set to get the go-ahead
next week.

City planners have recommended the £350m proposal for a 60,000-seater ground is approved by councillors..

However, progress on the stadium is likely to remain in doubt as long as the ownership stand-off continues.

Liverpool’s original building plan for Stanley Park was backed by the council as far back as 2004.

American owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett ordered a massive redesign when they took over the club last year and their plan was approved last summer.

But it was shelved and redrawn a second time by Dallas-based architects HKS earlier this year when the tycoons decided it was too expensive.

Liverpool FC stadium:
Club looks for quick decision

Liverpool Daily Post

Liverpool FC’s third stadium design is now being scrutinised
by town hall planners.

The proposal, revealed by the Liverpool Daily Post in January, was drawn up by Dallas-based architects HKS after the club’s American owners decided the previous idea was too expensive.

Because of a technicality, the Reds were allowed to submit an amended version of their second planning application, which was approved by councillors late last year.

In theory, it should take council officials less time to assess than an entirely new document, speeding up the planning process.

But no date has yet been set for the planning committee to meet and discuss the proposal for a 60,000-seater stadium at Stanley Park.

Liverpool are confident the scheme will be backed by councillors, as the previous two ideas were both given the green light.

A council spokesman said: “An amended application has been submitted because the decision notice from the previous one had not been formalised.”

Community leaders today called on city bosses to demand Liverpool draw up a full planning application.

Liberal councillor Steve Radford, who has campaigned for years against the principle of letting the club build on Stanley Park, said: “I believe it is unacceptable that this scheme is treated as an amended application.

“I am concerned we will not see the same level of consultation as we did previously.”

But the council today insisted more than 11,500 households would be asked for their views on the stadium proposal over a three-week period.

A spokesman also said objections raised when the previous plan was approved by councillors would be passed onto the planning committee again when it eventually meets.

The new design incorporates the 18,500-capacity stand-alone Kop, which Mr Hicks had insisted was crucial to his plans.

There is also room for extra seats to be added at a later date, although this would need council approval.

Reds appoint American architects


Liverpool have announced that Dallas-based architects HKS have won the battle to build the club's new £300million Stanley Park stadium.

HKS produced the original designs for the 71,000-capacity arena which were rejected by co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett late last year when they ran £50million over budget, but after revising those plans - and beating off Manchester-based AFL's rival bid - the American company will get the contract for the new ground.

Hicks told www.liverpoolfc.tv: "HKS has developed a more efficient design that, at the same time, is just as stunning as its original design."

He added: "Liverpool supporters should have high expectations for the future: a premier sporting experience at their new stadium at Stanley Park and a winning club on the pitch for years to come."

Hicks, Gillett and chief executive Rick Parry met in New York earlier this month to study both new designs.

AFL produced the plans originally agreed before the American duo took over the club. They were dropped by Hicks and Gillett and they have again found their revised scheme rejected.

The announcement on Friday over the stadium's future comes ahead of confirmation that the refinancing of the club owners' loan deal has also been agreed.

The refinancing will mean the American duo have a firm stranglehold on the club, despite opposition from fans' groups, and they are likely to sanction the permanent transfer of on-loan Javier Mascherano as soon as the £9million transfer of Mohamed Sissoko to Juventus has been agreed.

Hicks and Gillett are trying to re-establish their fractured relationship with the Anfield support and, by allowing manager Rafael Benitez the funds to buy £17million-rated Mascherano they are also intimating the Spaniard has a long-term future at the club.

However, that situation will not be clear until the summer when this season's performance will be assessed. A top-four position is crucial, plus a decent FA Cup run.

No inquiry for Reds' new stadium

BBC Sport Online

Liverpool Football Club's proposed new stadium has moved a step closer with a government announcement that there will not be an inquiry into the plans.

The secretary of state Hazel Blears has decided after considering the £400m plans and objections to Stanley Park stadium, there is no need to intervene.

She said she was satisfied that the final decision should be made on a local basis.

This means that the club will wait for permission from city council planners.

Some local residents and councillors objected, calling it a "monstrous" development that was too big for the area.

The new £400m stadium will house 114 executive boxes, twice the number in the original design, and is planned to regenerate public land which stands between Anfield and Everton's ground, Goodison Park.

The latest plans for the 60,000-seater stadium include improved leisure and retail facilities.

The Reds' current home will be redeveloped as a car park, sports centre and hotel.

Thor Zakariassen ©