The sale of Liverpool from the grips of Hicks and Gillett was always going to be a messy one but no one could have foreseen the events that took place in the last few days of this sale. The excellent Guardian web site and Official Liverpool web site kept supporters up to date with the latest developments but it still proved difficult to make sense of what was happening. Here is an attempt to briefly summarize the major events leading up to the sale.
- Hicks and Gillett buy the club in early 2007 and are subject to some fan protests within the first two years of ownership.
- In April of this year, Martin Broughton is appointed the chairman of Liverpool. His responsibility is to find a buyer for the club.
- After a few rumored buyers and failed attempts, the Liverpool board meets with N.E.S.V. and agrees a sale. However, Hicks and Gillett believe the sale greatly devalues the club and attempt to remove members of the board with allies that are against the sale.
- The Liverpool board are forced to make the attempted sale public and take their case to the London courts. After the judge sides with the board, they are granted approval to go forward with the sale.
- Hicks and Gillett file a restraining order against the board in a Dallas court. They also file to sue the board for damages.
- The Liverpool board once again convene in a London court to decide if the Dallas court and restraining order has any legal authority in the case. They court, once again, sides with the Liverpool board and Hicks and Gillett are asked to throw out the restraining order or face legal trouble in Britain.
- Rumors circulate that Hicks is attempting to sell his shares to Mill Financial in an attempt to make them the primary owners of Liverpool FC. Mill Financial already took over Gillett’s shares after defaulting on loans.
- Hicks and Gillett withdraw their restraining order against the board after a delayed court hearing in Dallas.
- N.E.S.V. buy the club for what is thought to be around £300 million with about twenty minutes left until the Royal Bank of Scotland would declare the club in administration. Liverpool are left with no debt and a new owner that appears to not be the ultra-rich money splasher of other big clubs like Manchester City and Chelsea but a smart businessman that has proven his ability to take a historic club back to winning ways.
- N.E.S.V. and Liverpool supporters decide to develop Anfield in place of building a new stadium and are able to greatly increase their revenue almost right away at a reduced cost to the club. Liverpool then go on to win the remainder of their games and are able to quality for the Champion’s League.
Well, maybe that last bit was a little wishful thinking.
The events leading up to this sale were difficult to make sense of. Please feel free to leave me a comment if you feel I left something out or have a detail wrong.