Hicks-Gillett rift at Liverpool
‘had roots in differences over Benitez’
As the Spirit of Shankly group of Liverpool fans confirmed
today that they will meet with Premier League officials on
Friday to discuss ownership and governance issues at their
club, sportingintelligence can reveal the historic rift
between Tom Hicks and George Gillett was fueled by their
contrasting views on Rafa Benitez.
Sources with intimate knowledge of the Hicks-Gillett
relationship during the Americans’ time at Anfield tell us
it was Hicks who “made all the running” in sounding out
Jurgen Klinsmann as an “insurance policy” management option
at the end of 2007.
Liverpool fans 'union' set to meet
Premier League chief Richard Scudamore
Richard Scudamore, the Premier League chief executive, will
meet with Liverpool supporters’ group, Spirit of Shankly, on
Friday to discuss their concerns over the club under their
American owners, Tom Hicks and George Gillett.
Figures released last week revealed that the club’s debt
stands at £350 million after losses of £55 million during
the last financial year.
With Liverpool’s failure to qualify for next season’s
Champions League likely to hit the club’s financial
situation further, the future appears uncertain, with Hicks
and Gillett wanting to sell the club.
Scudamore and fellow Premier League officials will now meet
Spirit of Shankly representatives following an email
campaign aimed at pressuring the league’s senior figures.
David Martin joins MK Dons
Karl Robinson has made Liverpool goalkeeper David Martin his
first signing as MK Dons manager.
The 24-year-old, who began his career with the Dons, will
return when his Anfield contract ends on 1 July.
Martin, who had loan spells with Tranmere, Leeds and Derby
this season, has agreed a three-year contract.
Robinson said: "He left the club as a boy but he's come back
a man and I think he has all the qualities to be a future
Martin made 25 appearances for the Dons before joining
in December 2006.
He said: "It's a dream come true to be back here and I'm
grateful to the manager and chairman for giving me the
(BBC Sport Online)
Agent: Aquilani will
stay at Liverpool
Alberto Aquilani will not be joining Juventus from Liverpool
as his agent slams tabloid reports linking him with a cheap
move back to Serie A.
The Sun claimed Aquilani would be sold as part of a summer
clear-out at Anfield, with Juventus being his suitors in a
cut-price €11.7 million deal. The Daily Mirror then added
that Fiorentina were ready to bid for him.
But agent Franco Zavaglia has bitten back. He is certain the
Italian midfielder, who joined Liverpool from Roma last
summer, will be staying on Merseyside.
"I think this is just more big talk from the English
tabloids," Zavaglia told Tuttomercatoweb.com.
"I don't know anything, because Alberto will be staying at
"I hear about Juventus and Fiorentina, but I think both
those clubs need to organise their own structure at club
level before they can think about the market.
"In addition, Alberto has recovered from his ankle injury
and so I don't think Liverpool will want to sell him."
Fowler: Time for Benitez to leave
Liverpool icon Robbie Fowler believes could be time for Rafa
Benitez to step down at Anfield.
Fowler - who was brought back to Anfield by Benitez four
years ago - thinks the time may be right for him to move on.
"With Rafa, what you see is what you get. I think he's quite
shrewd and keeps everything to himself," Fowler said.
"I was always grateful to him for bringing me back, so I
always have a bit of a soft spot for him, but at the end of
the day it's a big club and no one is bigger
than the club.
"First and foremost we want to be winning trophies and to be
the top dogs. It's a tricky situation. I don't want to be
sat here saying he has got to go, everyone is entitled to
"I just want Liverpool to do well, whether it's Rafa there
or someone else there I don't really mind. First and
foremost Liverpool is Liverpool and I think we deserve to be
top of the table every year.
"Whoever is in charge has a big job on their hands."
Torres fighting hard to get fit
Fernando Torres remains a major doubt for Spain's World Cup
opener against Switzerland - but is putting in the hours in
a bid to be fit.
The 26-year-old Liverpool striker underwent an operation on
his right knee last month and is now working six hours a day
in a bid to face the Swiss on June 16.
"Right now, we cannot say whether Fernando will be ready in
time for the first match against Switzerland," said Spain
team doctor Juan Jose Garcia Cota.
"He has started to work outside and is still doing gym work
to improve the muscle tone around the knee.
"It takes a long time but the process we are following is
still very good. We cannot say for sure but we are
"There are still many days and the injury evolves day to
Torres, who netted the winning goal for his country in the
Euro 2008 final against Germany, has been named in Vicente
del Bosque's preliminary 30-man squad.
Chinese tycoon quiet on Reds
Chinese internet gaming tycoon Zhu Jun has refused to deny
claims he is interested in buying Liverpool.
Reports have claimed that Zhu, chairman of Nasdaq-listed
online game company The9 Limited, has held provisional talks
the Premier League club.
Zhu, who already owns Chinese Super League club Shanghai
Shenhua, is said to have met with Barclays Capital, the
investment bank hired to handle the sale of the Reds, in
Hong Kong in late April and more recently in Shanghai.
Officials at Shanghai-based The9 would not confirm the talks
had taken place, with company spokeswoman Phyllis Sai
saying: "So far we have no
comment on this."
Seven more Reds in World Cup plans
Seven more Liverpool players can make provisional plans for
a summer in South Africa after being named in their World
Following confirmation that Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher
and Glen Johnson are in the 30-man England squad and that
Pepe Reina and Fernando Torres are South Africa bound with
Spain, several more Reds' stars have now made it into their
nations plans for the competition.
Argentina coach Diego Maradona has called on both Javier
Mascherano and Maxi Rodriguez in his provisional squad,
which will have to be trimmed to 23 names
by June 1.
Dutch duo Dirk Kuyt and Ryan Babel have been called up by
coach Bert Van Marwijk while Daniel Agger is in a
provisional 26-man Danish squad.
Greek defender Sotirios Kyrgiakos has been named in the
Greek squad and fellow defender Martin Skrtel, despite not
playing since February, is in Slovakia's provisional 29-man
(LFC Official Website)
Inter deny Benitez talks
Inter Milan have rubbished reports
they have approached Rafa Benitez or any other coach in view
of Jose Mourinho's possible departure.
Mourinho has yet to confirm whether he will remain at the
helm of Inter next season, with the Portuguese coach a
reported target of Real Madrid.
Reports in the Italian media on Tuesday claimed Inter had
joined Juventus in the race to tempt Liverpool boss Benitez
to Serie A this summer.
But Inter have denied the rumours, stressing that Mourinho
is under contract for a further two years.
The club said in a statement: "With regards to what has been
reported today by several Italian media, FC Internazionale
underlines that absolutely no contact has been made with
coaches - of other clubs or national teams - given that the
club has a contract with Jose Mourinho until 2012, and that
everybody is focused exclusively on the team's important
Mourinho later echoed those sentiments in a statement posted
on the club's official website which dismissed speculation
that he had been in contact with another other club.
"I have never spoken with any club, and like all the
Interisti I am only thinking about the matches with Siena
and Bayern Munich," Mourinho stated.
Inter must win their final Serie A game of the season
against Siena at the weekend to be sure of clinching the
league title, before attention switches to the UEFA
Champions League final against Bayern Munich in Madrid on
Carra explains return
Jamie Carragher has revealed Liverpool's failure to qualify
for the Champions League persuaded him to come out of
Liverpool defender Carragher has been named in Fabio
Capello's provisional 30-man squad for the World Cup three
years after retiring from international duty.
Carragher is widely expected to make the final 23-man
selection for the trip to South Africa and the 32-year-old
is keen to work under Capello.
"The FA got in touch a few weeks ago and asked if I would
have a rethink, due to injury problems. I said I would make
myself available," said Carragher.
"The World Cup and Champions League are the highest levels
"I'm not getting any younger, we have no Champions League
football next season and I am keen to work under Fabio
Reds in Spain squad
Fernando Torres and Pepe Reina have been named in Spain's
pre-World Cup squad.
The Liverpool duo are in Vicente Del Bosque's initial 30 man
squad and are highly likely to make the cut to the 23 man
World Cup squad on June 1st. Albert Riera is, unsuprisingly,
omitted from the squad.
Former Reds Xabi Alonso and Alvaro Arbeloa are also in the
Chinese tycoon in talks to buy
A chinese multi-millionaire internet gaming tycoon from
Shanghai has held provisional talks about buying Liverpool.
No offer has been tabled yet but Zhu Jun (44) the founder,
chairman and chief executive of The9 Ltd -- one of China's
leading online gaming firms -- is described by local sources
as "sincerely interested" in the club.
When Zhu's gaming firm floated on America's Nasdaq stock
exchange in 2004, Zhu pocketed around £60m and his personal
fortune has expanded considerably since. Zhu has a long-term
active interest in football and is the chairman and majority
owner of Shanghai Shenhua of the Chinese Super League.
An informed source in Shanghai says Zhu has already had two
exploratory meetings about buying Liverpool with Barclays
Capital (BarCap), the global investment bank.
Reina pleads for quick sale of
Jose Reina has said it is “vital” that Liverpool’s
co-owners, Tom Hicks and George Gillett, sell the club this
summer in order to remove the uncertainty around Anfield and
enable Rafael Benitez to commence necessary rebuilding of
Liverpool’s goalkeeper and the forward Dirk Kuyt have become
the latest senior players to voice their concern over the
direction of a club laden with debt and where the absence of
Champions League football next season has cast doubt over
the futures of Fernando Torres and club captain Steven
While the new chairman, Martin Broughton, has said it is “a
matter of months” before he completes the club’s sale, Hicks
has given conflicting messages.
The Americans have also agreed a six-month extension to the
refinancing deal with Royal Bank of Scotland and Wachovia,
that was due to expire in July.
Reina said: “It is vital . It would be simple as it would
mean we could start planning for next season earlier. All
that I ask is that if it is going to happen, then it happens
as soon as possible to help the club.
“We (the players) worry. It is a concern and we need to sort
out these kind of things, like the sale of the club and the
thing with the owners. Once we settle all this then we can
begin to look forward and improve the squad.”
(The Irish Times)
Rafa wants chance
to set record straight
Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez believes he should be given
the time and resources to correct the mistakes of this
A goalless draw at Hull just about summed up the Reds’
campaign as they missed an opportunity to capitalise on
Aston Villa’s defeat to Blackburn and move up a place in the
Barclays Premier League table.
The resulting seventh spot represented Liverpool’s worst
league performance since 1999.
Although Benitez has been linked with Juventus and now Inter
Milan the prospects of him leaving Anfield seem to be more
remote than they were a couple of months ago.
The Spaniard stressed in his post-match press conference at
the KC Stadium that he was inclined to stay if the club were
able to meet certain conditions.
Kuyt admits Anfield uncertainty
Liverpool forward Dirk Kuyt admits he does not know which of
his team-mates will still be around for the start of next
"In football you can never be sure what is happening and at
this time we know the club looks very bad," said Kuyt.
"We are looking for new owners and you don't know which
players are going to stay or go.
"But Liverpool is a club with a great history and great
supporters and we have to stay close together and fight
"Every player is interested in what is going on but, if I am
honest, I can't blame that side of things for some of our
"For me the most important thing is keeping the main
players. Hopefully we can then buy a few more key players
and start winning trophies."
The future of Benitez may still be undecided but Kuyt
expects the Spaniard to remain in charge at Anfield.
"The manager has four years left on his contract so I don't
expect him to leave unless something else happens," added
the Holland international.
(Press Association Sport)
Reds face early start
Liverpool will have an early start to the 2010/11 season.
The new season will begin in July for the Reds as they have
to negotiate a Europa League qualifier after finishing
seventh in the Premiership.
This could have been avoided if they'd beaten a relegated
Hull side who were playing a bunch of kids yesterday but yet
another non-existant attacking 'performance' takes Liverpool
into a qualifier.
"We were working hard and had the pre-season more or less
sorted. But now we have to analyse the schedule and see if
we can organise the fixtures properly," said Rafael Benitez.
"It was the same last year, we had too many players away
with the Confederations Cup. The teams are suffering with
these tournaments, but it's not easy, we will try to
Reina wins award
Pepe Reina has won the Golden Gloves award again.
Reina shares the award, for most Premiership clean sheets,
with Chelsea's Petr Cech, which is his fourth in five
seasons with the Reds. The performances of the goalkeeper
have been the only real highlight in a dismal season for
Liverpool and it is a well deserved award for Reina.
Scudamore admits concern
over Liverpool debts
Premier League chief Richard Scudamore has admitted concern
with Liverpool's growing debt.
Liverpool this week revealed that Kop Holdings, the company
set up by co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett to buy the
club in 2007, made a loss before tax of £54.9million for the
year ending July 31 2009.
Scudamore admitted that level of debt is simply not
sustainable if the Reds are to compete on the biggest stage.
He said: "What is absolutely true is Liverpool, season on
season, without additional funding or without benefactor
funding, cannot go on losing £55million a year, which is
why, in Liverpool's case, they have got to build a new
"They have got to get themselves, if they want to compete at
the highest level of European football again and win things,
they have got to do what other clubs have done, like
Manchester United, like Arsenal, they have got to invest in
a new stadium to make the economics of being a top level
club add up.
"That's fairly self-evident. Clearly, it's obvious you can't
go on making those losses year in, year out."
New Siamese stadium plan for
and Everton football clubs unveiled
A local business consortium today unveiled a “Siamese
stadium” to house both Liverpool and Everton football clubs.
The proposals show two grounds standing side by side in
Stanley Park sharing one “central spine” wall.
The Mersey Stadia-Connex group, which is behind the idea,
believes the “Siamese-style” blueprint could save the clubs
between £180m and £220m.
They argue it would allow both Liverpool and Everton to
maintain separate stadiums – but the unique design will
hugely reduce overall costs.
Images reveal a two-sided, ten-level central hub, with a
60,000 ground capacity for Liverpool and 50,000 for Everton.
Both stadia, the consortium say, could be extended to
accommodate an extra 10,000 fans with work completed by
(Liverpool Daily Post)
Liverpool leaking fuel and
braced for crash-landing
So Liverpool FC is now, officially, the prime basket case of
the One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest League. The figures are
quite startling. Every day they open for business, another
uninsured Porsche 911 is gone missing from the car park. Or,
if you like, they're down £110,000 to interest payments on
the company debt.
Interest on a debt is, essentially, oil leaking from a pipe.
I'm sure the likes of Seanie Fitz or Fingers could summon a
more positive analogy. But, in a league riddled with
accountancy practices that a Greek Finance Minister would
blanche at, Liverpool take the biscuit.
Actually, as the tents fold up for summer, English football
itself teeters on the edge of a very big hole that looks set
to leave any club without a billionaire sugar daddy to call
upon queuing up for benefit.
And that covers just about everybody, of course, outside of
Chelsea and Manchester City.
I watched that nice, confident gentleman, Martin Broughton,
give his happy-clappy Anfield sales pitch on the club's
website last Friday and it was like hearing a pilot
announce, 30,000 feet above the Atlantic, that those flames
spilling from engine one would not necessarily spread to
(Vincent Hogan - Irish Independent)