The takeover roller coaster that has Liverpool supporters firmly strapped in continued this week after a court order took the club’s ownership from Merseyside villains George Gillett and Tom Hicks…until another court order gave it back to them…and then the first court took it away again.
The American duo went to the High Court in London to fight the sale of the club, but the court threw out the case, seemingly paving the way for the New England Sports Ventures group to step in and take control. In response, Hicks and Gillett petitioned for and received a temporary restraining order from a Texas court that halted the sale. However, on Thursday the High Court ruled that the restraining order was ineffective in England, again leaving the club open to a buyout (and who says law is confusing?).
The Liverpool board were looking to quickly resolve the ownership dilemma before the October 15th deadline at which time the Royal Bank of Scotland will recall £240 million in loans that the club owes. If new owners are not found before the deadline, the bank has threatened to put Liverpool into administration, which would come with a hefty 9-point deduction in the Premier League table, putting the team in negative points as it currently stands. Hicks and Gillett look poised to fight every step of the way, though, claiming that the NESV bid is “hundreds of millions” below their evaluation of the club.
Around the League
Liverpool’s circumstances on the pitch took a hit this week after midfielder Dirk Kuyt suffered an ankle injury while playing for the Netherlands on Tuesday. The injury will rule him out for about a month, meaning he will not take part in the Merseyside derby this weekend – a notable fixture under normal circumstances, but even more important given the fact that both Everton and Liverpool are both currently hovering around the relegation zone with 6 points from 7 matches played. However, there was some good news on the injury front for the Anfield faithful after star striker Fernando Torres was declared fit and ready for the showdown on Sunday.
In nearby Manchester, Owen Hargreaves is ready to make a return to first-team football for Manchester United, at least according to his knee surgeon. Famed specialist Dr. Richard Steadman, who performed the midfielder’s double knee surgery, told BBC Sport that Hargreaves “should play some part on Saturday” against West Brom. United fans probably rolled their eyes at the statement, given the number of times Hargreaves has neared a return, but had a setback. The supporters will likely take Steadman’s comment with a grain bucket of salt, and manager Sir Alex Ferguson has yet to comment on the matter.
Meanwhile, the eruption of outrage over Nigel De Jong’s tackle on Newcastle’s Hatem Ben Arfa last weekend has not simmered down during the international break, and Marseille claim they will take legal action taken against the Manchester City midfielder. Ben Arfa is on a season-long loan from the French club, and the team’s president Jean Claude-Dassier has said the legal claim will be filed in order to get “rid of this type of individual from European grounds”. The tackle resulted in a broken leg for Ben Arfa, and he will likely be out of action for the rest of the season.