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Benitez, Hicks and Gillet – Power Struggle at Liverpool?

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It is ominous times for Liverpool after yesterday’s press conference in which Rafael Benitez hinted at dissatisfaction with the owners of LFC, Tom Hicks and George Gillet. The main issues revolves around how much investment will be made into squad development, that is to say the playing staff and player recruitment.

As reported in the press, Benitez is seeking to tie up Javier Mascherano on a long-term deal, while Ezequiel Garay is the priority centre-back. The manager feels that any delay in pushing forward with moves for these two players would result in other clubs, such as Barcelona and Real Madrid, stepping in and snatching them away. The statement released by the american owners on Liverpool’s official website is somewhat disconcerting. In particular, the point about making “significant investment” is in truth questionable to say the very least. £50 million outlay on transfer imports during the summer sheds positive light on the americans, yet on closer inspection, it merely serves as a smokescreen. In fact, approximately £24million net was spent in the close season, yet this goes unnoticed amongst neutrals and casual observers alike.

Relative to Manchester United and Tottenham, this figure seems nominal. How much of their own money the owners have invested is therefore vague and perhaps those who view Hicks and Gillet as the saviours of Liverpool are surely mistaken. A £500 million refinance package secured against the club and its assests is alarming enough, but these latest developments may well see Benitez walk away, or more likely, sacked. A reported £6million pay-off written in his contract would not, one feels, be enough of a deterrent for the owners to wield the axe. Their impatience with Benitez’ demands is tangible.

In essence, the total wealth of Hicks and Gillet coupled with their other sporting interests mean the money required to challenge the top is not available. In fact, in terms pound sterling, individually both Americans are not even billionaires. Furthermore, there has been growing discontent between the owners themselves, with key issues surrounding the refinance particular sticking points between the two. What this all means for where Liverpool Football Club end up over the next few years remains very much up in the air.

How do you feel about this situation and in general where Liverpool are going?

Comments (29)

  1. you do realise we are building a new stadium? which is the reason Liverpool are blabbing about money. soon after the stadium is built it will be expanded to 70,000 (still not as big as old trafford)

  2. we have Torres Gerrard Carragher Soon Mascherano Agger Reina and Alonso on long term contracts thats what i see in the future of Liverpool

  3. once one more quality striker and a centre back is signed. Thats all the reds need. maybe a few young talents. But the reds are short of two more world class players

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  5. All Benitez needs to do at the moment, as he said (23 times!) in his press conference on Friday after the rebuff by Gillett, is: “Focus, and concentrate on coaching and managing his team”.

    He did this to good effect against Newcastle, thrashing them 0-3 (it would have been 0-6, if Torres had his shooting boots on). Liverpool’s squad as it is, is good enough to win the Premier Leaague this season.

    Benitez should concentrate on better use of the players he already has. Even so, tonight (24.11.07) Liverpool are just three points behind Man Utd (with a game in hand), six points behind Arsenal, and remain undefeated in the Premier League. Torres and Gerrard are the key players and irreplaceable in the squad: it is essential for Liverpool’s title challenge that they remain fit.

  6. what we need to do is get some new owners who will invest all their money into the club and who are passionate in the the club and will buy the players we need to be the best team in europe at the moment were not even even the best team in england let alone and europe and i dont reckon we need a new manager but evey where i read these days it says that we do but who are the possible candidates… morinhou anybody…

  7. I’m trying to think back to how much controversy & uncertainty there was when Arsenal were building & moving into their new stadium, but i don’t think the situations are comparable.

    Although Liverpool have made many positive strides since the start of this season with the acquisition of players such as Torres, Benayoun & Babel i don’t see them winning the league just yet with their current crop. Unluckily, they’ve been riddled with injuries (all the top clubs can claim that to some degree of severity) so if they want to win they’ll need more back-up.

    Reading this article i wish every major or minor shareholder (that is not a fat Uzbek) would read it too & realise how silly it would be if Arsenal went under such an ownership situation too. Liverpool may have needed it but Arsenal certainly don’t.

  8. This article is really badly written no offence but if i heard a football pundit talking like that i would be really suprised. Again people making a big deal out of nothing. I wish a serious Liverpool article would pop up on this site again.

  9. Why is Rafa addrssing the owners of Liverpool through the media? He started it after the CL final saying that he needs money to buy new players which they put at his disposal. Now he has started again. Why do they have meetings between the board and the manager if they can talk to each other through the press? Dont get me wrong, Rafa is a good manager but this public crying is really puerile…….

  10. What does this mean?
    “A £500 million refinance package secured against the club and its assests is alarming enough”

    Does this mean that Liverpool is also in debt? (like United)?

  11. Yes Karl, they’re in debt.

    Come on, I thought you knew? Pay attention mate :)

  12. I honestly didn’t know. This must surely be the best news ever (on a Monday morning after such a woeful weekend).

    No wonder the buggers have been quiet about our debt for quite a while now?

    U-S-A !!!!!!!! :-)

  13. Are they worse off than Man Utd that their ticket prices might go through the roof soon?

  14. No they arent worse than united because we have long term investments. The United situation is much worse. I already said this like 12 times

  15. In fact i’d go as far to say that if you take any notice to this its a complete and utter waste of time another stupid story made out of nothing.

  16. Liverpool_Fan, what do you mean by long term investments?

    How does this differ from United?

  17. Badly written article Liverpoo_Fan??? You try and do better. According to you this isn’t a serious article…..???? Well i’ll be damned! If this isn’t the right here right now situation with LFC then I and other Lpool fans would like to know what is? Maybe your not telling us something. Only you will know you plonker.

  18. Karl as you probably already know a new stadium is beginning to be built and Liverpool arent the only thing George Gillet and Tom Hicks own so they are making income from more than Liverpool. George Gillet already looked to buy aston villa and roma does that sound a man in crisis?

    Arvin you write well but you went too technical and didnt exactly explain the full situation. Just in this Article. It aint serious because by 2012 Liverpool and Barca are expected to make the most income a year. This is why you havent heard about the debt Karl because it is a stupid nothing situation.

  19. Liverpool_Fan, how is that different from United?
    The way I see it:
    United’s have a debt of £680m
    Liverpool have a debt of £500m

    Just like (“…George Gillet already looked to buy aston villa and roma does that sound a man in crisis?),
    the Glazers own First Allied Corporation and Tampa Bay Buccanneers.
    Oh, btw, by law you cannot own 2 Premier League clubs…in fact, if I’m not mistaken, then you cannot own 2 Uefa registered clubs.
    Besides, just for the record, Malcolm Glazer was Never “a man in crisis”. Manchester United “is”…kinda…know what I mean?

    You need funds for a new stadium – 70 000. United already have a 76 000 stadium.

    From the sound of things, Liverpool is in the exact same situation as United. United have a bit of an edge due to it being a better global marketing brand. Therefore, I cannot see how Liverpool is not worse of than United.
    If you’re not run like Chelsea, where the owner pumps his own money into the club as opposed to taking out loans on the clubs assets? Then believe me, you are surely worse off than United.

    Maybe there’s something I’m missing, or don’t know. If so, please enlighten me?

  20. [11. Ahmed Bilal]
    Since I became obsessed with OFM, I lost track of what’s happening in the real football world. Now that the addiction is not so bad anymore, I’m trying to catch up.

    You still playing OFM? How about starting a Soccerlens league?

  21. Karl it is not me who tried to buy aston villa or roma it was george gillet get on his back about the rules im simply reporting.

    Tom Hicks and George Gillet are using their own money it is different assets that are setting them in debt if you read into it you realise Tom Hicks and George Gillet have given Liverpool a massive amount of money for the next five years which is a slight risk but not that risky.

    I dont know how Liverpools 70 000 will differ from old trafford again the stats were shown on sky sports so im only reporting.

    Karl i was only answering ur question i wasnt arguing with you.

  22. It is the money they gave to Liverpool that is setting them in debt not the money they spent buying Liverpool all their money is investment they had enough to buy Liverpool.

  23. Liverpool are 48 million in debt though

  24. Liverpool_Fan, why are yupi taking this so personal? I’m not trying to argue with you. I’m just trying to make sense out of this whole ordeal. This is the first time I hear about a £500m LFC debt and just want to know what it is all about. You being defensive about it and saying that the United situation is much worse does not help my understanding at all. All it did was raise my curiosity a bit more in trying to figure out how it is different from the MUFC situation. Unfortunately, from the points you raised so far, it seems exactly the same to me. (that was what I tried to point out).

    Therefore I ask you again – not for the sake of argument – 1. How is exactly is LFC debt different from MUFC debt?
    2. You mention £48, the article mentions £500. What’s up with this?
    3. My point with the Gillet/Villa/Roma statement was actually that it MUST have been just a rumour. My understanding of the rules are that Gillet cannot even consider buying Villa or Roma (and he should know this). Therefore that argument cannot really be used to support the fact that he has money to buy another club (even though that argument is irrelevant because it has nothing to do with the club debt – therefore my statement about Glazer not being in crisis does not change MUFC being in crisis).

    If you don’t understand what I mean, or what I am asking, then let me know and I will try to explain it a bit differently. Just don’t get defensive because I’m not trying to pick an argument.

  25. Oh, btw, fyi, long story short:

    In principle, Glazer also had “enough” money to buy MUFC.
    After he bought the club, he took out a loan – against the club’s assets – to recover the money he used to buy the club. Therefore, his debt sits at £0m and MUFC debt sit at £680m.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure that this is what Gillet/Hicks did. If not, then they cannot be very good businessmen.
    Abramovich in this sense is not it it primarily for the money/business. He likes to play fantasy football. (I wish we had an owner like him :-( ).

  26. I did something I hate to do…search Liverpool sites.

    I came upon this blog article:
    http://www.myanfield.net/2007/09/liverpool-fc-proposed-debt-of-500.html

    Seems like it is EXACTLY the same as what the Glazers did.

  27. its 48 million search look it up this 500 million is just tom hicks not Liverpool

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