1410: Anfield club's future to be
          decided in Dallas court on Friday

1410: High Court rules against Reds owners
1410: Lim withdraws Reds offer
1410: Hicks quashes Mill Financial
          'takeover deal' rumours

1410: Keep the faith, roars Broughton
1410: Reds respond to injunction
1310: Hicks and Gillett claim
          injunction to halt Liverpool sale

1310: Experts say Lim bid too late for Liverpool
1310: NESV claim agreement reached
1310: Purslow declares LFC “back to business”
1310: Reds uncertainties remain on the pitch
1310: Reds board to discuss bids
1310: High Court rules against Hicks and Gillett
1210: Liverpool and RBS wait on high-court
          decision after day of drama

1210: Broughton expects court victory
1210: Peter Lim submits increased
          £360m offer to buy Liverpool FC

1110: Liverpool to receive new bid
          from Singapore billionaire

1110: Bank blocks Reds board changes -
          Hicks can't sack Broughton, Purslow & Ayre

1110: Liverpool in court - what next?
1110: High Court defeat monumentally damaging
          – but there is a plan B

1010: Purslow expects Liverpool
          takeover to succeed

0910: Liverpool takeover: Nine-point
           deduction may scupper £300m deal

0910: Broughton admits admin fears
0810: Premier League back Liverpool take-over
0810: Liverpool could face points deduction
0810: Broughton eyes profitable future


John W. Henry
- Liverpool FC's
new owner


Anfield club's future to be
decided in Dallas court on Friday

By Paul Kelso - Telegraph.co.uk

New England Sports Ventures’ prospects of taking control at Anfield before Sunday’s Merseyside derby rest on the verdict of a Texan judge expected to reveal whether the much-delayed deal can proceed after 1pm UK time on Friday.

Representatives of NESV and RBS, whose loans of £245 million to Liverpool become due at the close of business on Friday, petitioned the Dallas District Court on Thursday night in the hope that the court would hear an application to remove the order.

Liverpool’s current owners, Tom Hicks and George Gillett, who was said to be in London on Thursday night consulting his lawyers, secured the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) late on Wednesday night to frustrate NESV’s efforts to take control.

Should the last-ditch efforts in Dallas succeed, a deal could be sealed on Friday, but were they to fail or be delayed Liverpool’s fate is likely to remain uncertain over the weekend, when they face Everton in the Merseyside derby.

If the Dallas proceedings founder a delay until Monday is likely, despite Hicks and Gillett suffering a second High Court defeat in 24 hours on Thursday afternoon.

A day after dismissing the Americans’ request for an injunction to halt the sale, Mr Justice Floyd ordered Hicks and Gillett to withdraw the TRO. Describing Hicks and Gillett’s conduct as “unconscionable” and arguing that Liverpool’s fate had “nothing to do with Texas”, the judge granted RBS’s request for a rare ante-suit injunction requiring the Americans to remove the TRO.

The ruling was potentially undermined, however, by the judge’s decision to grant Hicks and Gillett until 4pm BST today to comply with the order, too late for the sale to be completed before the weekend. NESV’s counsel, David Chivers QC, told the court the sale could only be completed today if an order to transfer funds was given before 3pm.

With Hicks and Gillett not represented in court, there is little expectation that they will comply with the order, and even if they do it is predicted to be at the last minute.

Given those circumstances, the club would remain in limbo through the weekend, overshadowing a game that already has season-defining potential for both clubs.

Should the deal not go through RBS will finally face the decision that it has spent the last three days in court trying to avoid: what to do if the loans are not repaid on time.

Having pressed so hard to secure the NESV deal in the last two weeks, the bank is not expected to tip Liverpool’s holding company into administration if the deal is not done, though it spent a considerable portion of Thursday’s hearing arguing that the TRO should be lifted so it had the power to do so.

If the loans are left hanging though, it will increase the sense of anxiety around the club. Were Hicks and Gillett to find a way of paying off the RBS debt, Liverpool chairman Martin Broughton would no longer have the power to choose the club’s next owner. Other buyers including Mill Financial, the US hedge fund that now controls Gillett’s 50 per cent stake, are said to be interested.

While RBS remains the major lender, it would only be able to reverse into the club if Broughton approved the sale of Hicks’s stake.

The High Court hearing underlined the desperate and cynical nature of Hicks and Gillett’s attempts to remain in control, and ended in another resounding defeat.

The court heard that for the second time in eight days the sale of the club was approved to NESV at the board meeting on Wednesday night and attended by John W Henry. For the second time, however, the sale was frustrated.

Chivers told the court that NESV now considered itself “the Owner, capital O”, adding: “The owners from beyond the grave are seeking to exercise with their dead hand a continuing grip on this company.”

Counsel for RBS, Liverpool’s English directors and NESV took turns to attack the TRO and the accusations contained in the 28-page petition that accompanied it.

In it Hicks and Gillett made a series of lurid allegations, accusing the English directors of plotting against them, frustrating their attempts to refinance the club, briefing confidential information to the media and seeking to sell the club for less than its value while negotiating personal bonuses of more than £250,000 each.

They also made the very serious allegation that RBS had abused its position as “a world banking leader” by writing to potential investors telling them that no offer that gave Hicks and Gillett a return on their equity would be entertained.

Richard Snowden, QC for RBS, described this as “poppycock”, while Lord Grabiner, for the club, described the owners as “abusive, vexatious, oppressive and incorrigible”.

The hearing was also told that, as it sat, Hicks and Gillett had sought an order in Texas for contempt of court against Broughton and his fellow English directors.

“It apparently demands that they be jailed until they clear themselves of their contempt,” Lord Grabiner said. Last night that case was understood to have been adjourned.

One complication was eased, when Peter Lim said he was withdrawing, having had a £325 million offer for the club rejected on Wednesday.

Wednesday, London

RBS v Hicks and others
High Court finds in favour of RBS, Broughton and NESV, orders Hicks and Gillett to restore the holding company board in order to allow sale. Justice Floyd also rejects injunction from Hicks and Gillett seeking to block sale

Wednesday night, Dallas
Hicks and Gillett v NESV, RBS and the “English directors”
Judge Jim Jordan issues temporary restraining order preventing sale of club and suing for £1bn in damages. Trial date set for Oct 25.

Thursday, London
RBS v Hicks and Gillett II
The bank, supported by Liverpool’s independent directors and NESV, seeks an “ante-suit injunction” requiring the Americans to withdraw the Texan court order. Mr Justice Floyd grants it.

Thursday afternoon, Dallas
Hicks and Gillet v NESV, RBS and the “English directors” II
The American’s counter alleging that Wednesday night’s board meeting to ratify the NESV deal, which they attended by phone, was a contempt of court and arguing those attending could be jailed.

Thursday night, Dallas
NESV and RBS and the English directors v Hicks and Gillett
The owners-in-waiting seek to overturn the restraining order. Case adjourned until 1pm BST, 7am in Dallas.

Oct 21, London
NESV and LFC have agreed to seek a declaratory judgment approving the sale if all else fails.

High Court rules
against Reds owners


Liverpool again moved to the brink of new ownership after a High Court judge dismissed an injunction preventing the sale of the club.

Mr Justice Floyd criticised Tom Hicks and George Gillett as he granted anti-suit injunctions in a bid to nullify decisions taken in the court in Dallas.

The judge said he had given a ruling in London on Wednesday that meant the English directors of Liverpool could agree a £300million takeover by John W Henry's New England Sporting Ventures (NESV).

But before the board could make any decision, Tom Hicks, one of the American owners, secured a temporary restraining order from the Texas court.

Mr Justice Floyd said that, on the face of it, that amounted to "unconscionable conduct on the part of Mr Hicks and Mr Gillett".

Mr Justice Floyd said his mandatory orders were not aimed at the Texas court but Hicks and Gillett to stop them taking further action there and to nullify any orders obtained in Dallas.

David Chivers QC, who told the judge that his clients, NESV, already considered themselves the new owners of Liverpool, asked the judge for a speedy serving of his orders on Hicks and Gillett so the deal with NESV can be completed and money transferred from the US.

He said if the deal was not completed on Friday, then Hicks and Gillett had succeeded in stopping the sale of Liverpool before repayment of the debt to RBS became due.

The judge gave Hicks and Gillett until 4pm on Friday to comply with his orders.

"The owners' behaviour conclusively demonstrates just how incorrigible they are.

"They are absolutely determined to stop this transaction in its tracks and they have no lawful justification for behaving in this way."

He added: "This is unconscionable behaviour of the worst possible kind and they are probably sitting there giggling."

Mr Chivers told the judge that NESV "are the owners of Liverpool now".

He described Hicks and Gillett as "the owners from beyond the grave who are seeking to exercise with their dead hand a continuing grip on this company.

"That is simply not acceptable."

Liverpool issued a statement on behalf of Broughton, Purslow and Ayre.

"The independent directors of Liverpool Football Club are delighted with the verdict of Mr Justice Floyd in the High Court this afternoon which now requires Mr Hicks and Mr Gillett to withdraw their Texas restraining order by 4pm tomorrow," it said.

"We are glad to have taken another important step towards completing the sale process."

Lim withdraws Reds offer

Sky Sports

Singapore billionaire Peter Lim has withdrawn his interest in gaining control of Liverpool.

Lim made his bid for the Liverpool public this week just as the club were entering a High Court Case against current owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett.

Liverpool agreed a sale with prospective buyers New England Sports Ventures, but Lim trumped their £300million offer by tabling £320million with an extra £40million on top for Roy Hodgson to spend on players in the January transfer window.

The ownership of Liverpool is up in the air with the proposed £300million deal with NESV delayed on Wednesday after Hicks and Gillett gained an injunction in a Texas court to stop the sale of the Anfield outfit.

Hicks and Gillett won the restraining order after the High Court in London ruled the American duo could not prevent a change of ownership.

No response
Lim has now left the path clear for NESV to secure control of Liverpool if they overturn the injunction after revealing Liverpool's board and RBS bank have "chosen not to respond or to discuss" his offer for the club.

"It has become clear to me that the Board is intent on selling the club to New England Sports Ventures (NESV) to the exclusion of all other parties, regardless of the merits of their bids," Lim said in a statement.

"In these circumstances, I am not able to proceed with my intention to acquire the club."

Hicks quashes Mill Financial
'takeover deal' rumours

By Luke Traynor - Liverpool Echo

Liverpool co-owner Tom Hicks has not sold his shares to Mill Financial, the American's spokesman claimed today.

He insisted the Texan remained in control of his 50% stake in the club, as the future of the Reds remained mired in confusion.

Mill Financial, an arm of US hedge fund Springfield Financial Company, based in Virginia, has reportedly done a deal with Mr Hicks to buy his shares at Anfield.

But in the last 15 minutes, a spokesman claimed there was no truth to those reports, although he would not expand further on Mr Hicks' or Mill Financial's position.

The Virginia company already have an interest in Liverpool after co-owner George Gillett defaulted on his £75m loan with the same company two months ago.

It comes as the continuing saga of the ownership of the Reds was heard before the High Court this morning.

The English-based Anfield directors, along with the Royal Bank of Scotland and prospective buyers of the club New England Sports Ventures, were hit by a massive $1.6b law suit by Tom Hicks and George Gillett late last night.

The sale, agreed with the Boston consortium last night, was put on hold pending legal clarification of the temporary restraining roder.

This morning, the Judiciary confirmed to the ECHO the club's challenge against that court order, made in Texas, was heard briefly at the Royal Courts of Justice.

A further hearing will take place from 2pm today when Mr Justice Floyd will hear the application to overturn the lawsuit in full.

Keep the faith, roars Broughton


Martin Broughton remains confident the takeover of Liverpool will go through despite Tom Hicks and George Gillett's bid to block the sale.

The proposed £300million deal with New England Sports Ventures (NESV) was delayed on Wednesday after the club's current owners Hicks and Gillett gained an injunction in a Texas court to stop the sale of the Anfield outfit.

Earlier on Wednesday a takeover looked to be on the horizon after the High Court in London ruled Hicks and Gillett could not prevent a change of ownership.

The whole process took another step closer on Wednesday evening when NESV supremo John W Henry, who also controls the Boston Red Sox, then arrived in London for talks with Liverpool's board

However, Hicks and Gillett have challenged the sale by obtaining a temporary restraining order to prevent the deal going through.

The Americans have described the prospective deal with NESV as an 'epic swindle' and are seeking $1.6billion (more than £1billion) damages against The Royal Bank of Scotland, Liverpool board members and NESV.

Despite the latest twist in the saga, Broughton is optimistic that the sale will go through after accusing Hicks and Gillett of 'trying every trick in the book'.

"They are trying every trick in the book, but keep the faith," Broughton told Sky Sports News HD.

"We will keep trying. I haven't heard anything [this morning] I haven't had time."

Asked if he remained confident of doing the deal with NESV, Broughton added: "I always remain confident."

Liverpool are looking to remove the restraining order obtained by Hicks and Gillett and they intend to complete the sale to NESV, with Henry believed to be prepared to wait for the order to be lifted to conclude the takeover.

Reds respond to injunction

Sky Sports

The temporary restraining order obtained by Liverpool co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett in an attempt to stop a takeover deal has been described as 'unwarranted and damaging' by the club's directors.

The injunction was granted late on Wednesday night at a time when the Premier League side's board, headed by chairman Martin Broughton, was discussing a 'resolved' sale with John Henry's New England Sports Ventures in London.

Hicks and Gillett lost a High Court case against the Liverpool hierarchy and major creditors Royal Bank of Scotland on Wednesday morning, but they say they have been granted the restraining order by a Texas court.

The Anfield board are unimpressed by the actions of the American duo, who are also claiming more than £1billion in damages and have branded the proposed sale to Henry as an 'epic swindle', with a hearing date set for 25th October.

Liverpool said in a statement on their official website on Wednesday night: "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."

It was hoped by all associated with Liverpool that Henry's takeover would be concluded on Wednesday in order to give ample time to meet Friday's deadline to repay a debt in the region of £230million owed to RBS, which could push the club into administration.

Liverpool confirmed on 5th October that they had accepted a bid from NESV and that the sale would clear all acquisition debt, but the agreement was subject to the High Court challenge from Hicks and Gillett and Premier League approval.

Three days later RBS secured a temporary injunction preventing Hicks or Gillett making any changes to the board after the co-owners attempted to sack managing director Christian Purslow and commercial director Ian Ayre.

With Premier League approval having been granted, Hicks and Gillett attempted to challenge the sale and RBS's repayment deadline in the High Court, claiming that Broughton, Purslow and Ayre had not considered all offers.

Singapore businessman Peter Lim added to the uncertainty by submitting an improved £320m bid, while Mill Financial, the then owners of Gillett's 50% share after he defaulted on a loan, also expressed an interest.

But on Wednesday morning Mr Justice Floyd granted a High Court injunction that opened the way for the prompt sale of the club and led to the meeting at One Bunhill Row in London, with NESV also claiming they had a binding agreement.

Hicks and Gillett claim
injunction to halt Liverpool sale


Liverpool's American owners, Tom Hicks and George Gillett, have tonight claimed that a Texas court has granted a temporary restraining order stopping the proposed sale of the club to the owners of the Boston Red Sox, calling the attempt to sell the club an "epic swindle".

Hicks and Gillett claim they will sue the three Liverpool board members, the bank controlling the club's debt and prospective buyer New England Sports Ventures for a total of $1.6bn (£1bn) in damages. The pair said that NESV's offer to buy Liverpool was "hundreds of millions of dollars below true market value".

The statement came while NESV's John W Henry was meeting the three English board members in central London to ratify the sale.

Earlier today a high court judge definitively ruled against Hicks and Gillett in a move that was expected to precipitate the sale of the club as early as tomorrow.

Experts say Lim bid
too late for Liverpool


Experts are convinced Liverpool will sell to NESV.

Financial expert David Buik of BGC partners believes there is no way Liverpool will not be sold to NESV.

Yesterday's improved bid from Peter Lim had raised some uncertainly over whether the takeover process was as cut and dried as it seemed.

But Buik believes Friday's upcoming deadline for the repayment of the RBS loan means time is of the essence and there is no time to carry out due diligence on another offer.

Buik told Sky Sports News: "It is done and dusted. Martin Broughton has played a blinder, he was an inspired appointment by Barclays Capital to look after their interest and RBS' interests.

"There has been plenty of time for another predator to put their money on the table. The club was going cheap and he (Lim) has put his money down slightly better but it is far too late.

"They have to deal with this matter. Liverpool cannot afford to go into administration. This deal has to be done, it has been clean and the sooner it is done the better.

"If there is anyone that could realistically show an improved amount of money, time is not on their side. To do due diligence and for everyone to be satisfied with October 15 on the horizon there is no chance (of any else completing a takeover).

"There was only one winner of this thing and that was RBS. They are 83% government-owned, they are not in a position to allow a loan of that magnitude to default. They can foreclose on Liverpool but there is no chance of that as they understand the culture of the Liverpool people and what they need is stability."

NESV claim agreement reached

By Chris Burton - Sky Sports

New England Sports Ventures (NESV) claim to have a binding agreement to buy Liverpool Football Club.

The American company, who own the Boston Red Sox baseball team, have seen a £300million takeover bid accepted by the Anfield board.

They have, however, had to wait on the outcome of a High Court ruling before being able to take that interest further.

An announcement on Wednesday that Liverpool have been cleared to push through a takeover, against the wishes of current co-owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks, has now opened the door to new investors.

NESV, who are fronted by John W Henry, are widely accepted to be leading the chase but a rival bid from Singapore billionaire Peter Lim has cast that deal into doubt.

Step forward
The Asian tycoon is promising to pay more for the club, while he has also outlined his plans for the January transfer window - with £40million to be made available for new players.

The Liverpool board are set to discuss both bids at a meeting on Wednesday evening, with chairman Martin Broughton revealing as he left court that no approach had yet been rubber-stamped.

NESV, however, claim to have already reached an agreement and were waiting on the result of the courts case before finalising a deal.

"NESV welcomes today's High Court judgment, which is a huge step forward for Liverpool FC," said a statement from the Boston-based limited liability company.

"NESV has a binding agreement in place with the board of Liverpool FC and we are looking forward to concluding the deal.

"We are ready to move quickly and help create the stability and certainty which the club needs at this time. It is time to return the focus to the club itself and performances on the pitch."

Best option
While NESV consider themselves to have one foot in the Anfield boardroom, Lim has urged the Liverpool hierarchy to give due consideration to his offer, as he remains keen to lead the club into an exciting new era.

He said in a statement: "I welcome the decision of the court.

"I hope that when the board is reconstituted tonight that it will not simply ratify a sale to NESV but will consider all the offers before them.

"I am asking the board to run a full and fair process that enables all of the offers to be considered on their merits before the future of the club is decided.

"I have delivered my offer to the board and believe that my ownership represents the best option for the future of the club and its supporters."

Purslow declares LFC
“back to business”

This is Anfield

Liverpool Managing Director Christian Purslow says it is “back to business” after today’s court judgement ruled in favour of the club and the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Current owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett were told they did not have the power to remove Purslow and Commecial Director Ian Ayre from the club’s board, and so the board may sell the club to who they wish.

Purslow said after the hearing at London’s high court, “RBS were granted a mandatory injunction which effectively means that the removal of Ian Ayre and myself was not valid and the board is exactly what it was before the Owners sought to do that.

“We are absolutely delighted at this result. We can now get back to the business, as a board, of looking after our football club and that’s what we are going to do.

“We will consult with our legal teams and will make further announcements in due course. But it’s back to business. ”

The board are expected to meet early this evening to make a decision on which bid for the club to accept.

New England Sports Ventures is expected to be named the new owner of the club within days.

Reds uncertainties
remain on the pitch


TEAMtalk warns Liverpool supporters that they still face a "long and winding road" back to the top despite Wednesday's High Court verdict.

The unpopular pairing of Tom Hicks and George Gillett may not be the only losers from the changes now being proposed at Liverpool.

The cheers from fans outside the High Court in London when they learned that Mr Justice Floyd had cleared the way for the sale of the club, spoke volumes for their support.

But while they may have finally rid themselves of the duo, they have no guarantees that the incoming owners will provide them with the real salvation they crave and deserve.

The High Court imposed injunctions on the club's owners that allows the £300million takeover by New England Sports Ventures (NESV), owners of the Boston Red Sox baseball team, to be completed.

However, while the financial future is potentially brighter for the club, there is still much work to be done where it matters - on the pitch.

It is a matter of some conjecture whether the proposed change of ownership will have been met with much cheer by the club's current manager Roy Hodgson.

Hodgson is just three months into his reign at Anfield and is already under fire following a dismal start to the season.

The club sit in Barclays Premier League relegation zone and were bundled out of the Carling Cup by Northampton.

The new owners, if reports are to be believed, could exercise a compensation clause worth around £3million, and replace Hodgson with their own man.

Hodgson is clearly a talented manager, given his success at Fulham, but he already looks out of his depth on Merseyside.

Although chairman Martin Broughton insists that the new owners are committed to Hodgson, how long will that remain so if the team continues to show no sign of upward progress?

NESV must act cautiously but back their words with actions because much of Liverpool's full recovery will depend on the building of a new 60,000-seater stadium.

Hicks and Gillett lost the trust of the fans when they failed to "put a spade in the ground" within 60 days of their takeover.

Anfield's stadium development or the building of an entirely new one has been a major issue during discussions with NESV and the success of Liverpool's future will depend on what happens in that area.

A debt-reduced Liverpool will only become a major power again with a new stadium and under UEFA's financial fair-play ruling due to commence in two years, when clubs must break even over a rolling three-year period to qualify for European competition, the need for stability has suddenly become even more acute.

RBS may have emerged triumphant from today's High Court hearing and Liverpool fans may have won their biggest victory of the season so far, but there are many more battles to come.

Some of these may not be as easy to sweep aside and the new owners will need to show they are not just here to boost their own bank balances.

That means undertaking stadium development, giving the manager the spending power he requires and making ends meet.

Hicks and Gillett may have lost the club and their money, but there will be more at stake in the future. It is indeed going to be a long and winding road for the fans.

Reds board to discuss bids

By Chris Burton - Sky Sports

Martin Broughton has revealed that the Liverpool board will meet to discuss all bids for the club on Wednesday evening.

The Reds chairman was speaking as he left the High Court following a ruling which has paved the way for a takeover of the club to be put in place.

Current co-owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks had hoped to block a move for control at Anfield, with the offers on the table falling short of their valuation.

However, with the club's creditors, the Royal Bank of Scotland, looking to recoup a £237million loan by a deadline set for 15th October, Mr Justice Floyd has sided in favour of Liverpool and RBS.

Discussions with interested parties can now begin in earnest, with the Reds keen to get new owners in place as soon as possible, allowing them to clear their debts and focus their attention on matters on the field.

It was believed that a £300million bid from John W Henry's New England Sports Ventures was the preferred choice of the Liverpool board, with that offer having already been accepted.

However, a rival bid from Singapore billionaire Peter Lim has left the Reds facing a quandary.

Lim has promised £320m in cash and a £40m transfer kitty for the January transfer window.

Chairman Broughton has confirmed that there is no guarantee that NESV will be successful in their efforts, with the Liverpool board yet to sit down and discuss the latest developments.

Excellent outcome
"The board will be properly reconstituted by eight o'clock this evening, that was the judge's order, and proceed with the sale process," he told Sky Sports News.

"This will clear the way for a sale, but I'm not going to prejudge the board meeting. It would be inappropriate to prejudge what the board is going to say.

"But the club's going to have a great future. We will re-establish the right basis for the club.

"The acquisition debt that has been plaguing us will be gone, we have a great future. We will get the right owners for the fans."

While keen to steer clear of takeover talk for now, Broughton is delighted with Wednesday's ruling which has given the board power to negotiate a sale.

He said: "It was an excellent outcome. We have been confident all along. We think we have done the right thing. When you go to court, though, you can never pre-judge it."

Broughton admits he is disappointed that Gillett and Hicks felt the need to take proceedings as far as they did, but is pleased that progress can now be made.

He added: "I am disappointed that they have acted in this way, to try and breach the undertakings they gave me. But up until then they have supported the process."

High Court rules
against Hicks and Gillett


A High Court judge has ruled against Liverpool co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett, paving the way for a takeover of the club by NESV.

Hicks and Gillett asked a judge to delay the hearing of an application by creditors Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) for mandatory orders paving the way for a possible sale this week.

But the plea was rejected by Mr Justice Floyd, sitting at the High Court in London.

At RBS's request, the judge imposed injunctions on the two men requiring them to restore the original constitutions of the companies and managing directors.

This removes the final stumbling block to a £300million takeover by New England Sports Ventures (NESV), which will see the RBS recoup its original £237million loan to Mr Hicks and Mr Gillett when they bought the club in March 2007.

Mr Justice Floyd rejected applications by the owners for an injunction to halt the sale negotiations until they had attended a board meeting and there be further discussions over any sale agreement.

"I am not prepared to grant any relief," he said. "If I did it would risk stopping the sale and purchase agreement going ahead."

He said this would result in potential serious damage to the club and RBS.

Yesterday the judge heard Hicks had tried to block the NESV deal last week by removing managing director Christian Purslow and Ian Ayre from the board of the Liverpool Football Club companies.

He had then installed his son, Mack, and business associate Lori McCutcheon so that he had control of voting on the board before a meeting to decide on which bid to accept for the sale of the club.

But this was in breach of agreements the Americans signed with the bank when RBS extended it credit facilities.

The RBS loan facility ends on Friday and the bank had applied to the court for the injunction to allow the sale to go ahead and recoup its money.

The owners were refused permission to appeal.

The judge said it would be "inappropriate in the circumstances" for him to grant leave, and they would have to apply to the appeal court for permission.

Keith Oliver, a senior partner with solicitors Peters & Peters, who are acting for Mr Hicks and Mr Gillett, said an appeal was not being ruled out.

Mr Oliver said: "We are obviously disappointed with the judge's decision.

"Mr Hicks and Mr Gillett will now be considering their next steps, and that will include whether to make an application to the court of appeal."

There were chaotic scenes outside the Royal Courts of Justice in the Strand when more than 100 Liverpool fans mobbed club chairman Martin Broughton, singing: "We love you, Martin, oh yes we do."

Security guards tried and failed to move the crowd blocking the entrance as they broke into the Liverpool anthem You'll Never Walk Alone.

Lord Grabiner QC, who represented the companies controlling the club, put the costs of the action at between £250,000 and £500,000.

Broughton described himself as "elated" with the result but stopped short of saying that the club will definitely be sold to John Henry's New England Sports Ventures.

Broughton said nothing is guaranteed ahead of a meeting that will be held tonight with a reconstituted board.

Singapore business tycoon Peter Lim tabled an improved £320million bid yesterday and Broughton, who was appointed in April to oversee the sale of the Anfield club, will wait to see what the outcome of tonight's meeting is before endorsing either bid.

He told Sky Sports News: "I am absolutely elated, it's a very important day for our club.

"This will clear the way for the sale, we will have a board meeting this evening and proceed with the sale.

"It has been an anxious time but we have been confident. But when you go to court you can never be sure."

Regarding the sale to NESV, Broughton added: "The board has to be reconstituted and I can't prejudge what the board is going to say. It would be inappropriate to prejudge what the board may say.

"I want to thank the fans for their support through a difficult time. We hope to have the board meeting this evening. We will get the right owners for the fans.

"It was an excellent outcome and I will be very pleased when the process we came in to do is completed."

A statement on the club website said: "We are delighted that the court has clarified the issue of board composition and has removed the uncertainty around the sale process.

"We will now be consulting with our lawyers and planning for a board meeting tonight. A further statement will be made in due course."

LFC fans protest outside the High Court. (Photo: Reuters)

Liverpool and RBS wait on high-court
decision after day of drama

By Owen Gibson - guardian.co.uk

Liverpool's fate will be decided by a high- court judge tomorrow morning after a dramatic day of evidence on which two rival offers emerged to the one that has been accepted by the club's board.

As lawyers for the current co-owners, Tom Hicks and George Gillett, argued against those representing the club and its principal lender, the Royal Bank of Scotland, inside court and fans demonstrated outside, it also emerged that:

• The Singaporean billionaire Peter Lim had made an improved offer that was instantly relayed to the court. It is worth £320m in cash, plus £40m for transfers.

• Mill Financial, the US hedge fund understood to have assumed control of Gillett's stake in the club after he defaulted on a loan, was also said to be interested in buying the club and was said to have offered to clear Liverpool's debts and commit up to £100m to building a new stadium.

• Hicks and Gillett had launched a counter-claim against the Liverpool board and RBS in an attempt to slow down the process and postpone the club's proposed £300m sale to New England Sports Ventures, the owners of the Boston Red Sox.

After a full day of sometimes spiky exchanges and dense legal argument Mr Justice Floyd told a packed courtroom that he would return tomorrow morning to deliver his verdict.

RBS and Liverpool's independent chairman, Martin Broughton, who was brought in by the bank to oversee the sale of the club, are confident that their claim for breach of contract will succeed. The bank is seeking a ruling that Hicks and Gillett breached a contract that was signed when they refinanced in April, giving Broughton the power to appoint the board and effective control of the sale process.

In giving evidence Hicks admitted for the first time that the undertakings given to RBS were breached when he and Gillett attempted to dissolve the board and reconstitute it with directors favourable to their cause. However his QC, Paul Girolami, argued that they had no choice because they had been frozen out of the sale process by Broughton, the chief executive, Christian Purslow, and the commercial director, Ian Ayre.

Richard Snowden QC, representing RBS, accused Hicks of "breathtaking arrogance" and said that it was "as clear a breach of contract as you will ever see".

He repeatedly tried to return to the nub of the claim – RBS's insistence that the breach of contract should be reversed and the club's board reconstituted, to allow the sale to proceed. Hicks, in his evidence, suggested that the "English directors", who he said secretly referred to themselves as the "home team", had kept information from Gillett and himself and rushed through a sale to NESV when other parties would pay more.

He said: "What has happened is that the English directors have gone forward with the NESV bid without properly considering alternatives when those alternatives at least appear to give better prospects."

The suggestion that Hicks and Gillett were frozen out was rubbished by Lord Grabiner QC, acting for the club, and Snowden. The "home team" reference was merely shorthand for the board in sale negotiations, they said.

Philip Marshall QC, acting for the club on company law issues, said the board had narrowed down a field of 130 inquiries – from which 27 firm expressions of interest had arisen – with the advice of Barclays Capital and had accepted the best offer.

Mill Financial is said to have £400m in liquid equity and to have offered to clear the club's debts, inject working capital and invest in a new stadium. But lawyers for the club said its interest had gone no further once it knew it could not enter into exclusive negotiations.

Lim's public release of a letter sent to the Liverpool board, as court proceedings began, could be seen to aid the argument of Hicks and Gillett. "I believe that, if its massive debt burden can be removed, the club would be able to focus on improving its performance on the pitch," said Lim. "If the board accepts this offer, the monies are available immediately thereby removing the threat of administration."

It was also confirmed for the first time that RBS is owed 75% of the outstanding £237m loan and the rest is owed to Wells Fargo. There is also at least £40m in fees outstanding. RBS argued that a speedy judgment was crucial because the loans are due to be repaid on Friday. Girolami argued that the threat of administration was an empty one because the bank had other instruments at its disposal.

NESV has until 1 November to complete its deal. RBS said it wanted a return on its loan and it was up to Liverpool whether it reactivated the auction process. Lawyers for NESV said in court it would seek damages if the deal fell apart.

The club is seeking its own declaratory judgment to allow the sale to proceed, which it launched last night. This could become superfluous if the decision goes the way of RBS tomorrow.

"The next 72 hours are crucial. Whichever side Mr Justice Floyd comes down on, the matter will not end with his decision. There are a number of subplots that still need to be played out before Friday, and beyond. Indeed, should the court rule that the board are entitled to sell, then it will have to give due consideration to Mr Lim's bid, should the due diligence prove it to be viable," said Andrew Nixon, a partner at Thomas Eggar LLP Sports Group.

"The apparently pre-agreed deal with NESV, and NESV's rights to enforce any agreement, could then come under the spotlight. Further, in the event that the sale proceeds, and Hicks and Gillett remain of the view that the Club has been sold at undervalue, they may consider bringing a claim for damages against the board."

Broughton expects court victory

Sky Sports

Liverpool's independent chairman Martin Broughton remains confident of winning the High Court battle regarding the ownership of the club despite the judgement being delayed until Wednesday morning.

A ruling on the case was expected on Tuesday afternoon, as current co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett attempt to block a proposed sale to New England Sports Ventures, who have seen a £300million offer accepted by the club's board.

Hicks and Gillett's lawyers are also disputing Friday's deadline for the repayment to major creditor Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) of a £237m debt.

As a result, Mr Justice Floyd has decided to make his judgment at 10.30am on Wednesday, which leaves Liverpool fans anxiously awaiting the decision on the future of the Premier League club.

But Broughton, who agreed the sale against the wishes of Hicks and Gillett, is optimistic.

He told Sky Sports News when leaving court on Tuesday evening: "Judgement reserved, I'm not allowed to say anything. But we remain confident.

"For everybody it is nerve-wracking. But we will find out at 10.30 tomorrow."

Peter Lim submits increased
£360m offer to buy Liverpool FC

By David Bartlett - Liverpool Echo

Singapore billionaire Peter Lim has submitted an increased offer for Liverpool Football Club for £360m.

Mr Lim’s offer has been sent to chairman Martin Broughton today as a court is deciding whether he has the legal powers to force through a sale to New England Sports Venture. Liverpool FC has already stated it will honour the deal struck with New England Sports Ventures.

The proposal values the club at £320m.

In a statement today, Mr Lim - who narrowly lost out to NESV - said the new offer is entirely in cash and will remove the entire acquisition debt of £200m taken on by the existing owners that has cast uncertainty over the club’s future.

The new offer includes a cash investment of £120m – £40m for new players in the January transfer window and £80m to pay off all the club’s bank debt, the fees and interest accruing on the bank debt, and provide additional working capital for the club.

The offer also assumes that Mr Lim would take on £40m of liabilities, making the total offer worth £360m.

Mr Lim said he is not obtaining any financing for the offer and the funding comes from his own cash resources.

Today Mr Lim said: “I respect and admire Liverpool Football Club, which is steeped in tradition and history.

“I am committed to rebuild the club so that it can soon regain its position at the pinnacle of English and European football, where it truly belongs. This is why I have stepped forward with this offer.

“I believe that if its massive debt burden can be removed, the Club would be able to focus on improving its performance on the pitch.

“My offer pays off the existing owners’ bank acquisition debt and also frees the club of its own bank debt. If the board accepts this offer, the monies are available immediately thereby removing the threat of administration.

“The club needs to strengthen its existing squad. As part of this offer, I will be injecting £40m in cash into the Club for Roy Hodgson to bring in new players during the upcoming transfer window. Liverpool needs to start winning again!

“My offer provides a firm financial platform from which the club can rebuild. Given the manner in which the sale process has been handled, I feel Martin and the Board owe it to me, to the Club, and to the supporters, to consider my offer."

Liverpool to receive new bid
from Singapore billionaire

By Robert Peston, Business editor - BBC News

The bidding contest for Liverpool FC may not be over, the BBC can reveal.

The runner-up in the contest, Peter Lim, a Singapore billionaire, is to approach Liverpool's board with a view to making a higher offer for the club.

According to sources close to Mr Lim, he was the club's preferred bidder in the closing stages of the auction.

He had talks with Liverpool's chairman about how to announce his takeover, such was the apparent confidence that he would win the contest.

Mr Lim learned he was not the victor only a few hours before the club's chairman, Martin Broughton, announced on 6 October that Liverpool would be sold to John Henry's New England Sport Ventures for £300m.

Mr Lim, who is being advised by the British firm of lawyers Macfarlanes and by the Wong Partnership of Singapore, still does not know why Mr Broughton went with New England Sports Ventures, owners of the Boston Red Sox.

He believes that in purely monetary terms, his offer was at least as attractive as Mr Henry's.

Mr Lim, too, was offering to repay all of Royal Bank of Scotland's and Wachovia's £200m of long-term debt, to take on £60m of other debt and to inject £40m of working capital.

What's more - and Mr Lim regards this as crucial - all the money being provided by him would come from his own cash resources. He is not planning to borrow any of it.

I understand he is also offering to provide tens of millions of pounds to Liverpool's manager, Roy Hodgson, to allow him to buy players when the transfer window opens in January.

According to executives close to Mr Lim, he was told by Mr Broughton that his ability to fund the takeover for cash, and the size of his cash resources, meant he was a more attractive owner than New England Sports Ventures.

Mr Lim was told that Liverpool's board was concerned that New England Sports Ventures would have to borrow to finance the takeover - raising questions about whether Liverpool really would break free from the financial shackles perceived to have been imposed by the current owners, George Gillett and Tom Hicks.

In the event, New England Sports Ventures have insisted it will not load up Liverpool FC with debt.

But there are no guarantees that there will not be significant debt further up the corporate ownership structure of New England Sports Ventures - which could limit how much money Mr Henry and his colleagues can inject into Liverpool in the future.

Mr Lim is keeping a close eye on the court case, which starts on Tuesday.

The case is supposed to rule on whether Mr Broughton can sell Liverpool to New England Sports Ventures against the wishes of Mr Hicks and Mr Gillett.

The Singapore billionaire believes the judgement in that case may give him an opportunity to bid again, whatever Mr Broughton may wish.

Mr Lim is also prepared to buy Liverpool, should it ultimately collapse into administration under UK insolvency procedures.

According to sources close to him, he feels that he may have been shut out because New England made an offer to Royal Bank of Scotland to pay some of the £40m penalty fees the banks have demanded.

If that is the case, he believes Royal Bank may have done a poor deal, because he would be prepared to pay RBS and Wachovia more than the £10m or so which New England Sports Ventures is said to have put on the table.

"He never had a chance to negotiate directly with Royal Bank [of Scotland]," said a source. "He was expecting to do so, after agreeing the takeover with the board."

Mr Lim has an estimated net worth of $1.6bn (£1bn), according to Forbes Magazine.

He made his fortune in fashion, logistics and agri-business.

His interest in English football stems from his ownership of several Manchester United themed bars in Asia - which have persuaded him that there is huge global potential for making money from top-flight English football.

Meanwhile, Royal Bank of Scotland announced on Monday afternoon that it had obtained an injuction to prevent Liverpool owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett from sacking Martin Broughton or any other of the club's board members ahead of Tuesday's court case.

Bank blocks Reds board changes -
Hicks can't sack Broughton, Purslow & Ayre

Sky Sports

The Royal Bank of Scotland have won an interim injunction preventing Liverpool co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett from firing chairman Martin Broughton and two other board members.

As the ownership row at Anfield prepares to go to the High Court on Tuesday RBS have revealed they have won an injunction that prevents the American owners from sacking independent chairman Broughton, managing director Christian Purslow and commercial director Ian Ayre.

Hicks tried to remove Purslow and Ayre from Liverpool's board last week after the duo along with Broughton agreed the club's club to New England Sports Ventures

The deal is being opposed by Hicks and Gillett who have brought the case to the High Court to try and prevent the sale to NESV.

RBS, which holds the bulk of Liverpool's debt is claiming "breach of contract" and says it obtained an interim injunction ahead of a further hearing on Tuesday at London's High Court.

RBS said in a statement: "RBS in its capacity as lender to the Kop group of companies received the benefit of various contractual undertakings from Mr Hicks and Mr Gillett in relation to the corporate governance arrangements that Mr Hicks and Mr Gillett agreed would apply to the Kop group of companies with effect from April 2010.

"Those undertakings provided for the appointment of Mr Broughton as chairman of the board and the appointment of the chief executive and commercial director of LFC to the Kop boards.

"As is well known Mr Hicks and Mr Gillett purported to make changes to those corporate governance arrangements on 4 October. This was in breach of those contractual undertakings.

"In light of that purported breach of contract RBS sought and obtained on Friday 8 October 2010 an interim injunction against Mr Hicks and Mr Gillett until a further hearing scheduled for tomorrow.

"Among other things, that interim injunction prevents Mr Hicks or Mr Gillett taking any steps to remove or replace Mr Broughton from his position as chairman of the board of the Kop companies or from taking any other steps to appoint or remove any directors from the board of the Kop companies."

Broughton insists he had the right to sell the club to NESV as Hicks and Gillett had signed agreements not to oppose the sale when they received an extension to their refinancing deal with Royal Bank of Scotland earlier this year.

The Premier League is understood to be ready to approve the sale and, if the NESV deal goes through, Hicks and Gillett stand to lose a total of £144million.

It is feared, however, if Hicks and Gillett win the High Court battle, that Liverpool could be placed into administration and docked nine points if RBS decide to call in the £237m acquisition debt owed, due for payment in full on Friday 15th October.

Liverpool in court - what next?


With Liverpool facing a crucial week in their history, TEAMtalk looks at what the outcome of the High Court case could mean for the club.

With Friday's deadline for owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett to repay their £237million loan to Royal Bank of Scotland looming should the club lose their legal battle there is a risk the bank could call in their debt, resulting in administration.

That would run the real risk of a nine-point deduction being imposed by the Premier League, leaving the Reds on minus three points heading into Sunday's Merseyside derby.

Here TEAMtalk looks at what the outcome of the court case could mean for the club.

- Should the High Court side with chairman Martin Broughton's view that he and the England-based members of the board have acted in the best interests of the club in agreeing a £300million deal with New England Sports Ventures then, assuming an appeal is also unsuccessful, the sale will go ahead and Liverpool will avoid any points deduction.

- Were Hicks and Gillett to triumph, an outcome which most observers believe is unlikely, it would trigger a number of side issues.

a) RBS - The bank would have to make a decision on whether to call in their loan on Liverpool's parent company Kop Holdings when it is due on Friday or extend the deadline. If they opt for the former and the owners do not have the finance to repay - which apparently they do not despite attempts to try to raise cash through deals elsewhere - the Premier League would then be required to rule on whether the club itself was in administration. Although RBS are keen to recover their money they could hold off going down the route of administration as if there was a nine-point deduction it would lessen the value of the asset in which their cash is tied up.

b) Premier League - Guidelines state insolvency at a holding company will incur a points deduction unless the club themselves are solvent and can demonstrate the insolvency is not caused by matters "relating to the management of the football club". However, as the holding company was set up by Hicks and Gillett solely to buy the club it may be difficult to argue insolvency is not related to football matters. To highlight the different situations, West Ham escaped punishment as their holding company's insolvency was caused by the Icelandic financial crisis but Southampton were docked points by the Football League as their holding company had the club - which was insolvent - as its only asset.

c) NESV - Sources close to the potential new owners suggested over the weekend a nine-point deduction would be a deal-breaker but it remains to be seen whether that would be the case or whether they would try to renegotiate a deal on better terms.

d) Other bids - Although NESV are the preferred option Broughton has admitted there is another interested party based in Asia, believed to be Singapore, who could be prepared to take advantage of any withdrawal from the American group.

e) Hicks, who is now the major opponent to Broughton's boardroom decision-making with Gillett having reportedly already defaulted on a loan, could continue to pursue avenues for refinancing but this would be even more difficult if there is a nine-point deduction to contend with. His hope of finding a bidder willing to pay an asking price which will prevent him and Gillett losing £144million in the NESV deal seems even more fanciful.

High Court defeat monumentally damaging
– but there is a plan B

This is Anfield

The prospect of Liverpool Football Club losing its high court case against current owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett this week could plunge the club into a monumental struggle on and off the pitch.

Should Hicks and Gillett win the case, not allowing a £300million sale of the club to New England Sports Ventures to go through, Liverpool’s holding company Kop Holdings is likely to be put into administration shortly after Friday’s deadline to repay £280million of loans to the Royal Bank of Scotland.

The RBS would see administration as the only way to force a change in power at the club, with victory for Hicks and Gillett in court meaning they would have the power to change the Board of Directors.

Although the club itself would not technically be in administration, the Premier League would likely impose a nine point deduction penalty. This would leave Roy Hodgson’s men bottom of the table, on -3 points, with an uphill battle to face.

And it gets worse…

Owen Gibson Guardian
“Sources close to the negotiations indicated that the position of John W Henry and the rest of the NESV board has hardened further since yesterday, when the Guardian revealed that they may walk away. The news will dismay Liverpool fans, who hoped the ownership of Tom Hicks and George Gillett was nearing an end. RBS is seriously considering administration if a £237m loan to the club is not refinanced by Friday, after its legal advisers warned it could leave itself open to a challenge if it does not do so.”

Paul Kelso Telegraph
“NESV’s change in position comes after the Premier League told the club board that a nine-point deduction was a “significant risk” even if the administration occurred at Liverpool’s holding company Kop Football (Holdings) Ltd.

“Royal Bank of Scotland, whose £237 million loans to Hicks and Gillett via Kop Holdings becomes due on Friday, has indicated that if the court rules against Broughton it might be forced put the company into administration to effect a change of control. NESV’s threat to walk away came as a surprise to RBS and the club board, and was interpreted by several sources close to the negotiations as a positioning exercise. It is also evidence of a marked deterioration in relations between John W Henry’s group, the club board and RBS.”

However, there is a plan B…

Nick Harris The Independent
“But in all likelihood, the club won’t get anywhere close to administration. One reason is that Broughton has what are being described as “fallback” options (“a Plan B and Plan C”, says a source), which he believes can force through a sale to NESV without administration. The details of these are not known but would involve convoluted legal mechanisms, with Royal Bank of Scotland probably extending its nominal 15 October deadline while they were being played out. These would only come into play if Broughton loses.

“In any case, given that RBS would ultimately trigger administration, and that there is no logical benefit to RBS of Liverpool going into administration, it is hard to see that Liverpool will end up there.

“Why? Because, with Liverpool in administration, RBS would no longer be guaranteed to get all its money back; it would lose control of the situation. Theoretically, it could end up with 20p in the pound or similar.”

This is one of the biggest weeks in the club’s history, and certainly, the biggest week in it’s future.

Purslow expects Liverpool
takeover to succeed


Liverpool chief executive Christian Purslow is confident the proposed £300 million sale of the club to New England Sports Ventures will go through.

Purslow maintained the Reds board had "done their homework" on the American investment group, which owns the Boston Red Sox baseball team, and said that the club's £237m debt would be wiped out if the takeover, which is subject to a High Court challenge from current owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett, goes through next week.

He also insisted manager Roy Hodgson's job was safe and that the Liverpool fans would be given a voice should the new owners be able to complete their takeover.

Hicks and Gillett borrowed money from the Royal Bank of Scotland to complete their purchase of Liverpool in 2007, a debt which Purslow insists would be wiped out by an NESV buy-out.

Purslow said: "My total priority has been to try to remove the debt which has been put on this club and which has been a cloud since February 2007.

"It is wrong that we should have so much of the money that comes through the turnstiles or through our commercial activity go to pay interest on loans."

He added: "A bidder who has been willing with cash to rid of us of all this long-term debt is by far the largest and most important priority in evaluating bids.

"We have done our homework and NESV are buying this business with cash and clearing our debt which transforms our financial position overnight."

Hicks and Gillett have launched a legal challenge to the takeover, describing it as invalid and insisting that the offer by NESV under-valued the club. The High Court case is set to begin on Tuesday.

If the court rules in favour of Hicks and Gillett, RBS could call in their debt as early as Friday, when repayment is due in full, and force Kop Holdings into administration.

That would almost certainly result in a nine-point penalty being imposed on the club by the Premier League, which would leave them bottom of the table on minus three points.

However, Purslow said: "I'm not even contemplating administration."

Liverpool takeover: Nine-point
deduction may scupper £300m deal

Telegraph co.uk

Liverpool's prospective owners New England Sports Ventures [NESV] may pull out of the proposed £300 million takeover if next week's court case rules that the club must enter administration.

Liverpool’s proposed sale to NESV could break down because the American company fears the club will be placed in administration and suffer a nine-point penalty.

It has been reported that NESV is alarmed by the idea, having been given assurances that it was an extremely unlikely scenario when the company agreed a deal to buy the club.

Why would anyone want to buy Liverpool? It has also emerged that NESV has consulted Rick Parry, the club’s former chief executive who supported the takeover of Tom Hicks and George Gillett, over its bid.

John W Henry and Tom Werner, the principal figures behind NESV, met with Parry in his capacity both as an expert on Liverpool and the Premier League. The 55 year-old spent six years as the League’s inaugural chief executive before working at Anfield and helped negotiate a then-record £700m deal for TV rights with Sky.

Parry backed the Hicks-Gillett bid for Liverpool and is believed to have received a bonus of about £500,000 for helping complete the sale. He left the club in May last year.

A nine-point penalty, which could be imposed next Friday, would add further pressure on Roy Hodgson's team, which remains fourth from bottom, giving the club a total of minus three points, eight points behind the two clubs above, West Ham United and Wolves.

Broughton admits admin fears

Sky Sports

Liverpool chairman Martin Broughton admits the club could end up in administration next week.

The Reds' future will be decided in the High Court on Tuesday, as Broughton battles with the club's owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks over the proposed sale of the club to New England Sports Ventures.

Broughton was hired by Hicks and Gillett earlier this year as club chairman, with his main job being to find a new owner.

He has now set up a £300million sale to NESV, but Hicks and Gillett are not happy with the price and are now taking the issue to court.

If Hicks and Gillett win their case, then Broughton says the club could very well go into administration as the club's main financial backers, Royal Bank of Scotland, are due to call in their debt of £280million on 15th October.

Should RBS call in their debts, then that would see Liverpool enter administration which would also see a nine-point deduction in the Premier League.

"It [administration] could happen, yes," Broughton told the Daily Telegraph.

"This is all part of why it is important that we made the decision on Tuesday to accept one or the other of the two very acceptable bids. Heading for administration was a very likely outcome if we didn't.

"Even now with the court case looming, administration cannot be ruled out. It is not inevitable, and I am not going to start giving percentages of how much it is possible. That is why we are going to court to clarify our position on the sale of the club, and we have to win in court, and we will win in court."

Broughton admits the consequences of administration would be 'catastrophic'

"Going into administration needs to be avoided at all costs, as the negative impact would be catastrophic," he said.

"Setting aside the nine-point deduction, it would have an impact on Liverpool's value and be wide open to predators, whereas we have what we believe is the right new owners to take the club forward."

Should Hicks and Gillett fail, NESVs takeover could be completed shortly afterwards as their proposed directors, John W Henry and Tim Werner, have been cleared by the Premier League to take control of the club under its Owners and Directors test.

Premier League back
Liverpool take-over


The Premier League have given the go-ahead to New England Sports Ventures (NESV)'s takeover of Liverpool.

The green light to the takeover by the American company, owners of the Boston Red Sox, means that only the High Court action by current owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett stands in the way of the £300m deal going through.

The league said in a statement: 'The Premier League has met with the owners and directors of NESV regarding their proposed takeover of Liverpool FC and has received details, in accordance with Premier League rules, of the proposed company and ownership structure as well as the make-up of the new board.

'The Premier League is satisfied, with the information provided, that the individuals NESV intend to put in place in the event they complete their takeover of Liverpool FC meet the criteria set out in our owners' and directors' test.

'The board of the Premier League will continue working with Liverpool FC in regard to this process, however, we are aware that the formal completion of this takeover is yet to be resolved and it is therefore inappropriate for us to offer any further comment at this time.'

If the takeover is not completed by next Friday then the Royal Bank of Scotland could put Kop Holdings, the company owned by Hicks and Gillett, into administration over their unpaid £280million debt.

If that happens, Liverpool would be at risk of a nine-point deduction.

Initially it had been thought the Premier League would not penalise the club for Kop Holdings becoming insolvent, but now the threat of a points deduction has become a serious one.

Under Premier League rules, the fact that the holding company is solely concerned with the ownership of Liverpool and football-related matters could trigger the nine-point penalty.

West Ham had been used as an example of why the Reds might escape in deduction if administration goes ahead when it was owned by Icelandic bank Straumur.

The Hammers, however, were a solvent part of a whole portfolio of different companies while Kop Holdings is solely concerned with Liverpool.

Liverpool could
face points deduction

By Dan Roan - BBC sports news correspondent

Liverpool are likely to face a nine-point deduction if its parent company Kop Holdings goes into administration next week, BBC Sport understands.

League rules say a points deduction can be used if a parent company insolvency is caused by the club's management.

Sources suggest owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett would struggle to argue that the running of the football club had not affected the holding company.

Liverpool could enter administration if a sale is not agreed by 15 October.

If Hicks and Gillett manage to block a £300m takeover of the club by New England Sports Ventures (NESV), owners of the Boston Red Sox baseball team, their holding company could be put into administration by the Royal Bank of Scotland over their £280m debts.

The Premier League board of chief executive Richard Scudmore, chairman Sir Dave Richards and secretary Mike Foster would then decide whether to dock points.

Liverpool are already in the bottom three of the Premier League after a dismal start to the season with just six points from their opening seven games.

Initially it was thought that the club would avoid a sporting penalty, but the club now faces the very real possibility of a deduction if a sale to NESV is delayed.

And it is now thought that Hicks and Gillett could find it hard to argue that the football club had not had a negative impact on Kop Holdings, especially when the club is the parent company's sole asset.

Liverpool's fate rests on the outcome of a declaratory judgement in the High Court on a date yet to be decided next week over whether the club can be sold to NESV despite the objection of the club's owners.

An appeal is likely regardless of the result, with no outcome likely before the 15 October refinancing deadline set by RBS, the club's major creditor. RBS will have the choice to waive their demand for repayment until the legal dispute is finalised, or call in the debt and place the parent company into administration.

Portsmouth became the first Premier League club to enter administration earlier this year and automatically received a nine point reduction, condemning it to relegation.

Liverpool is solvent and has been used to service Kop Holdings' debts, while in a similar case, West Ham avoided a penalty when its holding company went into administration last year. However, the club was just one of several interests in the portfolio of by Straumur, the Icelandic bank.

Meanwhile, John Henry and the other directors of NESV are expected to pass the league's new 'owners and directors' test, making official approval of the takeover a formality.

Broughton eyes
profitable future

Sky Sports

Liverpool chairman Martin Broughton has aimed a swipe at Manchester City, saying his club's prospective new owners will provide a profitable future at Anfield.

The Reds have agreed in principle to sell the club to New England Sports Ventures, but co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett are trying to block the deal.

The takeover battle is set to be resolved in the High Court next week with Liverpool hopeful a deal with NESV, who also own the Boston Red Sox, will be pushed through.

Broughton believes prospective new owner John Henry will provide 'rational' leadership at Liverpool and that the club will be in position for the new Uefa fair play regulations, which are set to come into effect in 2012.

"A hugely important aspect for Liverpool is [Uefa's] financial fair play rules. They come into effect pretty damn soon, and will have a massive effect on many, many clubs," Broughton said.

"Taking a rational, commercial approach to success is absolutely the right way forward, and that is what New England will do. They have demonstrated that already in their model at Boston.

Wage bill
"I couldn't help notice that Manchester City's wage bill for last year was exceeding its revenue. That is going to be very difficult under financial fair play. They might be able to sort it out before then but we were not looking for someone who was going to put us in that position.

"We were looking for somebody who was going to see this as a commercial business that can be commercially successful. That is what they have already demonstrated. They have made a profit by investing heavily in players and stadium development and they have delivered a winning team."

Broughton insists NESV's approach is the right one for the future and that funds will be made available to bolster the playing ranks.

Broughton added: "We weren't looking for an Abramovich or Sheikh Mansour, because we understand a rational commercial approach is the way forward in football now.

"New England's bid of around £300m will include £200m in equity to write down the acquisition debt, as we call it, the legacy of Hicks and Gillett, and there is £40m of cash to pay off various other liabilities.

"The balance is what we call assuming the ongoing working capital debt and the new stadium financing debt, and it means there will be no debt on the club, and Liverpool will actually be equity rich. The aim was always zero debt.

"Why? Because that will allow trading without debt, and vast profits coming available again to invest in the business instead of servicing loans. New England are fully committed to that, they are committed to investing heavily in players and infrastructure to boost future profits."


Thor Zakariassen ©