13 October 2010

So, it's been an uneventful international break...

Update (11:25am ET Friday):

Deal was finally confirmed around 11am ET, but I had to wait for the official Liverpool FC statement. It's the most beautiful artwork I've ever seen in my life. As was watching Broughton and Henry make a statement on BBC News.

Finally. There will be time to hold the new owners feet to the fire, to make sure nothing like these past two years happen again. Hicks and Gillett initially made the right noises as well. But NESV has a far better resumé. And today is cause for celebration.

Preview for the Merseyside Derby up later this afternoon, after soaking in this wonderful, wonderful news.

Update (4:30pm ET Thursday): Don't feel like starting a new post, but do feel as if I should keep this somewhat current. This'll be an exceptionally short round-up of today's shenanigans.

After appearances in court on both sides of the ocean, we're in a holding pattern for one more day. The day began back in the UK High Court, where the "home team" were again victorious, winning an anti-suit injunction. We then traveled to Texas, where the District Court Judge basically gave Hicks until 7am tomorrow (Dallas time) to pull £300m or so from his cavernous ass. I'm struggling for other reasons why the judge recused today's hearing at 2:30pm (again, Dallas time) if not to give Hicks one more night to wreak nonsense. Maybe because he's never had to read two UK High Court rulings before.

As in the previous updates, the Guardian live blog and the Dallas Observer paint as full as a picture as we're going to get until tomorrow morning. I don't see how Hicks could miraculously find funding overnight, nor do I see the Texas judge ignoring two High Court rulings from the country where the club's located, but who knows what could happen after what we've seen over the last 48 hours.

Being a Liverpool fan is never boring. Unless we're watching this season's team play, that is.

Update (6:30pm ET): It ain't over until they're tarred, feathered, tied to a donkey, and ridden out of town.

Hicks has gotten a temporary restraining order preventing the sale to NESV in Dallas District Court.

• Here's the LFC.tv statement
Here's the Dallas Observer story, with the full text of the TRO
Here's another link to the Guardian's live blog, as in the earlier part of this post.
And here's a link to my real-time Twitter comments over the past two hours, because I don't have the stomach to summarize them.

Long story short, Hicks was granted jurisdiction because RBS and NESV do business in Texas, as does Broughton in his capacity as British Airways chairman. Hicks may reside in Dallas, but the various Kop Holdings are incorporated in Delaware and the Cayman Islands.

It's not going away yet – as if it's be as easy as a single High Court case (silly us) – but I'm not giving up hope that we'll get resolution before this Texas hearing on October 25th – which is a cheeky delaying tactic – or that LFC can avoid administration to end this sad, sorry saga.

I'm hesitant to post anything until tonight's board meeting, which will take place at 8pm UK time, but it feels wrong to let today's historic – and I don't use that word lightly – events go unmentioned for even a short while.

It actually appears Liverpool's long off-field nightmare is drawing to a close.

Not only did the UK High Court rule in favor of RBS/Broughton, Purslow and Ayre, but Justice Floyd imposed injunctions reconstituting the board and allowing the sale, refused to grant an appeal in his court, and ruled that Hicks and Gillett are liable for court costs. Here's the Guardian's live blog of today's proceedings. Here's Broughton's most-recent tight-lipped interview. All in all, both read as a complete and total win.

New owners aren't confirmed; the board has to reconvene to discuss proposals, which will most likely include Peter Lim, who publicly (and somewhat distastefully) upped his bid during the hearing yesterday, but John W Henry tweeted a celebratory message congratulating Broughton, Purslow, Ayre, RBS, and the fans soon after the verdict. While Hicks and Gillett can't appeal to the High Court, they still have the right to take a case to the Court of Appeal, but that restarts a whole new process, and while I'm clearly no legal expert, it appears that they'd only be able to claim compensatory damages, not prevent the imminent sale of the club because of the aforementioned injunctions (although a couple of lawyers quoted in the Guardian's live blog think it could lead to further delays). There's no explaining Tweedledee and Tweedledum's thought processes, but after today's firm smackdown, including somewhere between a quarter of a million and half a million pounds in court costs according to the Guardian, it'd make little sense. But much of the havoc they've wreaked makes little sense, and they stand to lose a hell of a lot more than £500,000 if the sale goes through as previously announced.

Today's events truly are cause for celebration. As many have delightfully pointed out on Twitter, it's especially karmic that Scousers and miners (well done, Chile) are celebrating on Maggie Thatcher's 85th birthday. But it's obviously not the end of the hard work that so many, such as Spirit of Shankly and Save Liverpool FC (among countless others), have put in. I'd still encourage people to join SoS; just because the tumors seem to be excised doesn't mean that the new owners/board/etc won't need to be held accountable. And, truth be told, they've haven't fully been excised yet, no matter how heartening today's affairs have been.

But it's nice, and somewhat unfamiliar, to have good news for a change. I'll echo John Henry in saying 'well done Broughton, Purslow, and Ayre,' and I'm even tempted to not include a sarcastic 'for once' or 'about time' (no such luck). Broughton especially appears to deserve a lot of credit for his maneuverings, and RBS played a blinder by appointing him. If this is seen to fruition, he'll go down in club history. Seriously. And deservedly.

Let's hope the good news keeps coming, and let's hope it starts translating to good news on the pitch. There is the small matter of the Merseyside Derby this Sunday.


Dickon said...

But no mention of Drik being out til 2011?? That's some quite bad news...

Dickon said...

Drik = Dirk, obviously.

nate said...

I thought about it, seeing as even this news can't abate my anger over his injury, but this was turning out to be such a 'happy post.'

I'll assuredly mention it when writing the derby preview on Friday. By then, we should have confirmation on about how long he'll be out for.

Abhiram said...

The bastards..... they just don't go...
just when i thought the court hearing made my day....

Joel said...


not to plug for other sites, but I made some comments over on TLO regarding the TRO that might help sort things out. Long story short- I'd be fairly certain this will be lifted as soon as a hearing is held, which could be any time between tomorrow and Oct. 25, according to the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure.

lfcfan said...

Sale. Tomorrow. Fina-fucking-lly.

nate said...

Wouldn't pop the champagne just yet.

Today's verdict in the UK High Court was a good one – like yesterday's – but there's still no accounting for Texas.

Basically, at this point, I'm waiting until John Henry's walking around the Anfield pitch with a scarf above his head.

drew said...

There are few human beings within my living memory whom I have hated as much as Tom Hicks, and I think it's safe to say that all of those are responsible for many thousands of deaths.

On a very basic level, he doesn't seem to understand the mechanics of capitalism that have made his vast fortune possible--simply this: investment involves risk. No matter what you think you're onto, you have no guarantee that even a single penny of your investment will come back to you, much less with profit. Maybe it's just the decades of having it his way, but he seems genuinely incapable of dealing with the fact that he's lost this investment (as he did with the Rangers last year).

I'm honestly left to wonder if he's dragging this out because he thinks he has any chance of making more money than the none he stands to get, or if he's just spending that little extra as a "fuck you" to Liverpool for the offense of having been bought by him. Either way I honestly wouldn't wish him on anyone else, including the Mancs. They have their own problems and pretty serious ones, but at least Glazer has the sense not to fuck around like this.

Abhiram said...

Whats happening? Why is Henry not holding the LFC flag aloft at Anfield? Until that happens, there won't be peace...

Jeff said...

Hey Hicks! Martin Broughton just kicked your ass!

Jason said...

So now that the sale is done, that means the club is officially debt free?

nate said...

Not quite, Jason. The NESV statement says LFC will have debt obligations of £2-3m per year, compared to the £25-30m H&G were paying. Which, as far as I know, is about normal.

We'll see if that changes when/if stadium plans (new or renovation) are developed, but Arsenal's debt is a model for how that can be managed,

Abhiram said...

aaahhh... finally... peace...

This Henry guy sure looks a much better prospect. Atleast he won't be as bad as H&G.

Jason said...

Yeah 2-3 mil a year is fine. Having some debt is good because it lowers your tax obligation.

And debt from building a stadium is ok because at least you're getting a return on that debt. You're building the value of the club and increasing your revenue stream.