Soccer

English Premier Talk: Liverpool Buyout Almost Done

| by World Soccer Reader

George Gillett and Tom Hicks are not the most popular figures at Anfield at the moment.

Liverpool fans may finally be rid of the team’s scorned owners after the club board approved a £300 million bid for the famed franchise. NESV, which owns the Boston Red Sox of Major League Baseball, plans to clear all acquisition debt from the club accumulated from the takeover of George Gillett and Tom Hicks and add a 60,000-seat stadium, either by expanding Anfield or moving to a new site.

Hicks claims he will fight the sale in the High Court of England, though Liverpool chairman Martin Broughton has stated that the owners do not have the power to overturn the board’s decision. In response, Hicks and Gillett have removed two members of the board and replaced them with Hicks’ son Mack and Lori McCutcheon, the vice president of Hicks Holdings. The moves gives the co-owners enough power on the board to potentially halt the sale.

However, the owners face the dilemma of the Royal Bank of Scotland calling in £280 million in loans and fees on October 15th, which could force the sale through.

Liverpool supporters, though possibly wary of another group of American owners, will surely be glad to see the backs of Gillett and Hicks, who have driven the club into debt and the bottom three of the Premier League table with seven matches played. NESV have had recent success with the Boston Red Sox, however, having won the World Series in 2004 and 2007, which may allay some concerns on Merseyside. If the group can indeed fulfill their promises, unlike their compatriots before them, Liverpool’s future will not be as dark as fans may fear.

Around the League

Manchester City shot up second place in the league last weekend, but tensions were still reportedly high between manager Roberto Mancini and captain Carlos Tevez. Several English newspapers reported that the pair had a heated exchange during the half time interval against Newcastle, after Tevez expressed his frustration at the negative tactics employed by Mancini. Some reports even suggested that the argument was close to getting physical, although none have yet been confirmed by the club. This isn’t the first time that the pair have feuded; last season Tevez openly questioned and criticized Mancini’s training regime. However, the Argentinean did enough to get the captain’s armband, suggesting that the friction had ended, but City fans will be hoping that the duo hash out the disagreement before the club’s trip to Blackpool on October 16th. Local rivals Manchester United are just one point behind them in the Premier League standings while Arsenal are three back.

Chelsea midfielder Yossi Benayoun will be out of action for much longer than initially expected after suffering an injury during the club’s Carling Cup defeat to Newcastle on September 22nd. The injury was originally diagnosed as a torn calf muscle, and the Israeli international was expected to be out for about three weeks. However, after joining up with his national team, doctors discovered Benayoun had actually suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon, meaning that he will be out for months rather than weeks.

Newcastle’s Hatem Ben Arfa is unlikely to see the pitch again this season after suffering a broken leg during the club’s match against Manchester City last weekend. City midfielder Nigel De Jong caught Ben Arfa in a tackle that broke the Frenchman’s tibia and fibula. The incident caused an uproar from Newcastle, who are demanding that the FA punish the midfielder. De Jong has already been dropped from the Dutch national team as a result of the tackle.