Monday, August 2, 2010

More drama on Merseyside

Another chapter in the ownership battle for Liverpool FC was written today, as they announced up to 6 bids to buy the club from the American duo of Tom Hicks and George Gillette have been recieved. The only confirmed bidder for the club is Kenny Huang a multi billionaire businessman based out of Shanghai, the rest are thought to be multi national consortiums. It is little secret that the current ownership regime at Anfield have had a very rocky relationship with the supporters and former manager Rafa Benitez. Things started well in the first year with a Champions league title, but as more debt was taken out on the club things began to sour.

The recession hit Hicks and Gillette hard both at the club and with their other businesses in North America. Supporters at the club turned against the ownership and held mass rallies against the owners, these flames were especially fanned by Benitez who pitted himself as the supporters manager fighting against inept owners. It is clear now that the supporters will be getting their way with the Americans leaving and a English manager Roy Hodgson in charge.

However the supporters should be careful before they begin the rejoice at the Kop, new owners always come to a club with their own agenda and Kenny Huang would be no different. Over the past few summers Liverpool have been aggressively pushing the Merseyside brand in Asia and Huang has made it clear he would try to knock Manchester United off as the biggest football brand in the far east. So the question for Liverpool supporters would be, are you willing to lose some of the English authenticity of the club in order to be debt free? The reason this would be a major question for the club is that this has been the long time argument for Liverpool, they have stayed to a certain extent "English". This of course was in the context of the big four as during Benitez's turn the players took on more of a Spanish feel.

Liverpool will not be alone in this ever growing popularity in foreign interests buying English clubs, Arsenal quietly have had a tug of war in regards to ownership shares in the club; and although the latest attempts to buy Manchester United have been from the so called "Red Knights" who are led by Englishmen, you would have to think that that only foreign money could buy out the over 700 million pounds debt.

So we'll wait and see what the decision is from RBS (Royal Bank of Scotland) as they are the main debtors and will facilitate the sale, as it is understood this will be a quick decision and may be done by next week...Assuming the new owners pass the fit and proper persons test.


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