COS contributor Niall Sullivan ponders potential regime change at Anfield.
After three years of backlash from fans and a number of disagreements involving the management at the club, the time has finally come for owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett to sell Liverpool FC and in the process marking the start of a potentially uncertain period for the club.
Off the pitch, the instability has been there for all to see since the Americans took over. They have plunged the club into £237 million worth of debt and with part repayment due in the summer, the pair have decided to sell up now in order to get the biggest profit possible.
This was confirmed by Hicks himself, who has boasted that he is set to make four times his money by selling the club.
While the future on the face of it looks a lot brighter for Liverpool fans, it may not be all that it seems. The owners are reported to be demanding £600 million for any potential buyers. This price seems much too high for a club with high level of debt and the added promise that whoever buys the club stumps up the money for the prospective new stadium at Stanley Park.
Any potential owner may also have reservations about spending so much money, on a team which looks set to miss out on a Champions League place for the first time in 5 years. Without the substantial money received from playing in the tournament, (as well as the prestige,) this may leave the club on the market for longer than expected.
The managerial situation has also been a source of irritation to the fans. Rafael Benitez’s has always enjoyed a good rapport with the Liverpool supporters with the success he has brought to the club. However Tom Hicks did the unthinkable and sought out the unpopular Jurgen Klinsmann to possibly replace the Spaniard.
Although the relationship between manager and owner has improved the end of the season could prove crucial. Benitez has been heavily linked with Real Madrid and Juventus, which could lead to the exodus of some of the Reds’ top players.
If a buyer isn’t found the key players at the club could be sold. A huge offer for top scorer Fernando Torres or captain Steven Gerrard could see the owners receive money to pay the £100 million which RBS are looking to retrieve.
Martin Broughton, the British Airways chairman who is trying to find a buyer for the club, has promised that players will not be sold and that he expects the club to find a buyer within six months.
After seemingly winning the battle with the Amercian owners, the Liverpool fans will be looking for a buyer which can take them on to the next level and help them compete regularly with the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United.
However, patience will be the key. Unless there are Arab sheiks that are hiding in the woodwork, the Kop could be waiting for some time before their club is out of the grip of their American owners.