Yesterday, everything was bathed in golden hues as far as everyone with a concerted interest in the short-term welfare of Liverpool Football Club was concerned – but that was a whole 24 hours ago, and proceedings have undergone another dramatic (if not entirely unexpected) sea change since then.
First came the news this morning that current co-owner Tom Hicks, playing the part of the bolshy Texan business man with ruthless aplomb, took out a restraining order in his home state to effectively put a temporary kibosh on the £300 million sale of Liverpool to the New England Sports Ventures (NESV) consortium, after losing their legal right to block the deal from this end in the High Court yesterday morning.
Just as NSEV owner John W Henry was meeting with the three (and therefore, the majority) English members of the Liverpool board in London to comb over the last few salient details of the long-protracted purchase, Hicks and Gillett took out their injunction in a Dallas courtroom – on the basis that they are owed nearly $1.6 billion in damages, a claim that the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) have branded as ‘scurrilous, outrageous and inappropriate’.
All this means is that the Liverpool board (chairman Martin Broughton, chief executive Christian Purslow and commercial director Ian Ayre) have had to return to the High Court once more in order to fight yet another baseless appeal, as Hicks desperately tries to resuscitate his ailing tenure at the club despite having his last rights read on multiple occasions now.
However, a statement posted on Liverpool’s official website a matter of minutes ago seems to imply that Broughton et al have again spurned the actions of the errant owners.
The brief message reads thusly;
“The independent directors of Liverpool Football Club are delighted with the verdict of Mr Justice Floyd (the presiding judge) in the High Court this afternoon, which now requires Mr Hicks and Mr Gillett to withdraw their Texas restraining order by 4pm tomorrow. We are glad to have taken another important step towards completing the sale process.”
In Layman’s terms, Mr Justice Floyd has given Hicks and Gillett until 1600 BST on Friday afternoon to withdraw their legal action in America, or face charges of contempt of court.
However, reports are now surfacing that the American owners are now seeking a further injunction from the Dallas court (the hearing began at 1900 BST this evening) to, in essence, render the block imposed on them by the High Court invalid – so who knows what the outcome will be.
As a mere simple-minded plebeian, I would assume that the British ruling must take primacy as Liverpool are a British football club, but that would be the obvious answer – a notion that seems to hold very little sway at Anfield of late, and it would seem that the transatlantic to-ing and fro-ing is now doomed to become stuck in endless loop of futile repetition.
With things as they stand, the received wisdom is that Hicks and Gillett’s counter-strike stalling tactics will be thrown out as soon as the Dallas hearing reaches it’s logical conclusion, with NSEV then finally left clear to finalise their long-overdue takeover either later tonight or first thing tomorrow.
What could possibly go wrong?