Friday 15 December 2017


FORMER Liverpool manager Roy Evans knows the club "cannot afford to jump out of the frying pan into the fire" with their sale to New England Sports Ventures.

Although the prospective new owners have built up a good reputation in charge of the Boston Red Sox baseball team, it is difficult to predict how their approach to American sports will transfer to somewhere like Anfield.

Some people are cautious about the arrival of NESV, considering the problems experienced with current owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett.

"We can't afford to jump out of the frying pan and into the fire," said Evans.

"We need someone to come to this club who will take us forward.

"It has to be the right people to make sure the club runs smoothly and goes back to the days we all loved when we were successful."

Former midfielder Ronnie Whelan is more upbeat about the sale.

"I would be delighted if someone new took over," he said. "You wipe away the debt and you can get players in. Until that happens, Liverpool are struggling. We all know they're struggling -- third from bottom with seven games gone.


"They need something to boost the football club and somebody taking over and putting a lot of money in would be great for Liverpool."

Liverpool's ownership issue is set to be decided in the High Court early next week after the owners, with Hicks leading the way, launched a legal challenge.

The Texan denies ceding control of the club to chairman Martin Broughton, who insists he has acted legitimately.

Hicks believes the deal to sell the club to NESV for £300million is invalid as, minutes before the meeting to discuss the offer on Tuesday, he changed the make-up of the board -- removing managing director Christian Purslow and commercial director Ian Ayre and replacing them with his son Mack and Lori McCutcheon, who works for Hicks Holdings.

However, Broughton said Hicks had "flagrantly abused" undertakings, given to major creditors Royal Bank of Scotland when the sale process began, which outlined Broughton as the only man with the ability to change the composition of the board.

"There were no such undertakings given to Broughton, the board has been legally reconstituted, and the new board does not approve of this proposed transaction," said Hicks' spokesman Mark Semer.

The ownership of the club is likely to be decided one way or another by next Friday as that is the date for repayment of the £237million RBS loan.

Should Liverpool lose in the High Court to Hicks and Gillett, and judging by Broughton's comments they feel that is highly unlikely, there is still the option of the bank -- as the major creditors -- calling in their debt and forcing the sale through to any party they feel meets their requirements.

Realistically that means NESV would still end up as the new owners, just by a slightly different process.

"NESV has been in serious discussion with us for some weeks," Broughton added. "RBS has played a big role in this, working alongside us.

"I am confident we will prevail, but you can never be 100% when you go to court."

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