So could it be really true that the two most unpopular men in Anfield are looking to sell a 50% stake in the club to the Saudi Arabian Prince Faisal bin Fahd Abdullah al-Saud? The story started to leak late last night in the UK, which was quickly denied, (rather foolishly it now seems) but as today has progressed more news about the potential investor has come to light.
Now this story seems to have originated in the Saudi newspaper Al Riyadh yesterday in an interview given by the Prince. An eye watering amount of between £200-£350 million seems to be floating around on the news wires, a massive jump in Liverpool’s value since the Hicks and Gillett bought the club back in 2007 for £174 million. Quite what they’ve done to at least double the value of the club is beyond me but there you have it.
Now Prince Faisal bin Fahd Abdullah al-Saud was at Saturday’s demolition of Hull City, as he was finalising the deal that will see Liverpool opening four football academies in North Africa and Saudi Arabia. The Saudi’s love of football is well known and this is another major coup for the duo after the new shirt sponsorship deal was announced two weeks ago. An alleged £20 million per annum 4 year deal see’s Liverpool’s revenue jump up massively. So much for the global downturn!
The key point here is just how much of the club will the Prince be buying? The prospectus that was being touted around for investment earlier this year was chasing amounts of around £50 million for a minimal stake in Liverpool. It seems that by casting their fishing line out for clown fish, Hicks and Gillett may have accidentally and rather fortunately hooked a shark instead.
I have to say that those two have surprised me in the last couple of weeks, especially if this story is true. The levels of idiocy, infighting, the incredible amounts of money they’ve paid themselves through the club and the general destabilising effect these “owners” have had made me think that they’d lose at a game of texas hold em against a blind raccoon. It seems that for the moment, they can’t do wrong for doing right, which makes a pleasant change.
Most Liverpool fans, quite rightly have not been impressed with the new owners for quite a while and the list of issues has been covered plenty of times, so we’ll leave that well alone. Collectively, most Liverpool fans will be breathing a sigh of relief as they’ve gone from begging at RBS and Wachovia to refinance the loans used to buy the club to now being able to bathe in money.It also gets the dynamic duo one step closer to the exit door at Anfield, which cannot be a bad thing for all concerned.
I doubt the Prince will be looking to make this a long term partnership and Liverpool, regardless of your feelings towards them, are easily one of two clubs in English football that people from all over the world will have heard about. Owning Liverpool F.C. should be a license to print money, not lose it in the way Hicks & Gillett have managed!
By getting his foot in the door and probably buying half of each partners stake, the Prince raises his power immediately. When you’re faced with two men who clearly have fallen out, buying a football club off them should be a piece of cake or will it cause even more problems as 3 owners from completely different cultures try to come to a consensus when running the club?A buy out may the best for all concerned I think.
No doubt, it will bring a little more stability for Liverpool and their fans, but how long until Hicks or Gillett puts their foot in it again??