Sunday, October 17, 2010

Hicks Plays The Victim In Interview

The protracted takeover saga at Liverpool has taken another twist, with former co-owner Tom Hicks vowing to fight his corner. In an exclusive interview with Sky Sports News, the American businessman has made it clear that he does not consider the matter to be over, with further legal proceedings set to take place. Hicks, who took charge at Anfield in 2007 alongside George Gillett, was stripped of power on Merseyside on Friday as New England Sports Ventures (NESV) completed their purchase of the club. That deal went against Hicks and Gillett's wishes, as the £300million on the table fell considerably short of their valuation of the club. However, with a High Court ruling siding in favour of their creditors, the Royal Bank of Scotland, the American pair were forced to begrudgingly walk away. Upon returning to their homeland, they lodged a $ 1.6billion damages claim - although that has since been dropped. Hicks and Gillett are not prepared to let the issue lie, though, and are fully prepared to take the fight back to Liverpool and the High Court. Devastated Hicks feels the manner in which the Reds board have acted throughout the takeover wrangle has been unprofessional, claiming he has been 'swindled', while he has also revealed that he attempted to clear the club's debts on Friday but was prevented from doing so. RBS had set a 15th October deadline for their £237million loan, which allowed Hicks and Gillett to buy Liverpool, to be repaid in full or face the consequences - with a nine-point penalty threatened should the club's holding company, Kop Holdings, enter administration. A disappointed Hicks told Sky Sports News: "I'm shocked, devastated, frustrated. We are being very careful to make sure we follow the High Court rules but I'm very disappointed. It's hurt my family tremendously. This very valuable asset has been swindled away from me in an epic swindle. I'm very angry about it. "I have been working very hard to solve the issue. We know there are better owners around the world who should own Liverpool Football Club than the Boston Red Sox group (NESV). We knew who they were and were frustrated every time we had conversations with them. "Our desire was to have Liverpool in the hands of the right and proper next owner who could build the stadium and make Liverpool the top club in the world that it deserves to be." Hicks claims he was fully prepared to part with the club and believes a witch-hunt against himself and Gillett was responsible for creating a media and fan frenzy which made the situation virtually impossible to handle. "I accepted the club was going to be sold back in April, the question was when," he added. "The Royal Bank of Scotland wanted it done the day after and there was no reason for that. Liverpool were a very healthy financial performing club. There was a bit too much debt, no question, but we were going to fix that. "We were frustrated by others. I think the right owner would have paid Gillett and Hicks a fair price and would have had the resources to spend on players and the stadium." Funds On the issue of repaying RBS, Hicks claims he was prevented from doing so by a 'conspiracy' which included high ranking officials at Anfield, including club chairman Martin Broughton. He said: "We did have the funds available to pay off RBS in its entirety. But between RBS and the chairman and the employees that conspired against us, we could not pay off the debt. "I know exactly why that was, they had the ability to. This was an organised conspiracy and it went on for months. It consisted of the Royal Bank of Scotland, Martin Broughton - who wanted a good PR event in his life because he's a Chelsea fan, he's not even a Liverpool fan - he wanted to be seen as the guy who got rid of the Americans." Hicks feels he and Gillett have been cast in an unfair light and have been wronged throughout the takeover ordeal. He is now keen for the real story to be told and is fully prepared to go back to court in order for his side to be heard. "I just want the truth to come out in the courts," he said.

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