Anfield ready for Plan B?
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Liverpool co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett are set to oppose the sale of the club in the High Court because they value the Anfield outfit at double NESV’s bid.
Proceedings are likely to take place on Tuesday with the American pair’s Kop Holdings company owing £280m to Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) which must be payed by 15 October.
As the court date nears, the experienced barrister Lord Grabiner QC has been working with Liverpool’s solicitors, Slaughter and May, with a settlement before then understood to be unlikely.
If Hicks and Gillett – who are outvoted on the club’s board – are successful in blocking the proposed sale, or if it is delayed beyond next Friday, RBS might place Kop Holdings into administration to release the money owed to them.
Because the club is the only asset of Kop Holdings, the Premier League would then be likely to deduct nine points from the Merseysiders.
That would leave the Reds, who are already in the relegation zone after a dismal start to the season, on minus three points and bottom of the table.
It has been suggested that a deduction could dissuade NESV from going through with their plan to buy the club – and a source from the group told BBC sports news correspondent Dan Roan the penalty could be “a deal breaker”.
“It seems like there was a genuine change of position on their behalf over the weekend,” he added. “NESV briefed us over the weekend that they were very unhappy with the Premier League’s u-turn.
“West Ham didn’t take a nine-point hit when their holding company was put into administration and this prospect seems to have spooked NESV. Maybe it is bargaining and they want a discount.
“If they do walk away it will be a disaster for Liverpool as they were seen as the bright hope.”
BBC Sport has also learned that if the deal with the Americans falls through, then the Asian consortium that has also tabled a bid for Liverpool could decide to proceed with an attempt to buy the Reds. (BBC Sport)
It would be understandable if the New England Sporting Ventures offer was withdrawn following any potential nine point deduction and this would all be down to the continued efforts by Tom Hicks to block any sale as he attempts to extract as much as he can before beating a hasty retreat.
This source suggests that the second offer, from an Asian consortium, is ready to pounce should NESV decide to back out. Perhaps this would be a better offer for the club? It seems this story has a little further to go before things get cleared up.
Anyone who thought that Hicks would go quietly into the night may well have guessed that the man who helped laden the club with mountains of debt was always likely to continue to fight to the end, knowing full well that doing so further plunges the club into crisis.