Kop may take points deduction to oust Hicks and Gillett
Published 23:00 08/10/10 By David Anderson
Liverpool could be put into administration to get rid of hated owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett.
The Reds are considering this worst-case scenario to facilitate New England Sports Ventures’ £300million takeover, even though they would be hit with a nine-point deduction.
Anfield insiders say the odds are against administration and they hope Hicks and Gillett will accept the board’s decision to sell to Boston Red Sox owner John W Henry and his NESV company.
The pressure on Hicks and Gillett to go increased last night when the Premier League revealed they had met the American and he had passed their fit-and-proper-person test.
However, Hicks is not prepared to go quietly and will play his final card next week in the High Court when he will argue that chairman Martin Broughton did not have a mandate to agree a deal with Henry.
Even if Broughton and the board win the case, Hicks could appeal, which would leave Liverpool’s future still unresolved.
Liverpool’s bankers RBS could then force the two Americans out by calling in their loan, which makes up the bulk of the club’s £280million debts before Friday’s refinancing deadline.
With Hicks and Gillett unable to raise this much money in so short a space of time, their parent company Kop Holdings, which owns Liverpool, would be forced into administration.
Hicks and Gillett would finally be out of the picture and the administrator could then sell Liverpool to Henry as the best option to take the club forward.
The downside is that the Premier League would hit Liverpool with a nine-point penalty, which would leave them bottom of the table with minus three points.
Inititally it had been thought Liverpool might avoid a points deduction as West Ham went unpunished when their Icelandic parent company went into administration in 2009.
The Hammers got off because the League decided the club was just one of several interests owned by the Icelandic bank, Straumur.
In Liverpool’s case, the club is the only business in Kop Holdings’ portfolio and the company’s debts are directly down to Hicks and Gillett.
The League refused to comment on a possible points deduction in their statement giving their approval to Henry’s takeover.
“The Premier League is satisfied, with the information provided, that the individuals NESV intend to put in place in the event they complete their takeover of Liverpool FC meet the criteria set out in our owners’ and directors’ test,” said the statement.
Former Red Steve Nicol knows Henry, having spent the last decade coaching Boston’s New England Revolution, and claims he is the right man to erase the painful memory of Hicks and Gillett.
“My understanding of this group is that they have protected and nurtured the history and tradition of one of America’s beloved teams in the Boston Red Sox, while bringing championships to the franchise,” said the Scot.
“As a former player and now supporter of Liverpool Football Club, this is the type of owner Liverpool should be looking at to take the club back to where it rightfully belongs.”