Friday, April 16, 2010

Finally some good news for Liverpool

Liverpool owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett have confirmed that they are looking to sell the club after appointing British Airways chief Martin Broughton as chairman on Friday.

Hicks and Gillett have been at the club since their 2007 takeover but have come under plenty of scrutiny throughout that time, notably from fans disappointed by their apparent reluctance to invest heavily in the squad. They also promised to move the club into a brand new ground in Stanley Park as part of their purchase three years ago, but a lack of funding meant the building work never began.

With Rafael Benitez's side unlikely to qualify for the Champions League next season, Hicks and Gillett have decided to officially put the club up for sale, though the loss of potential revenue from not participating in Europe's premier club competition could make the club a less attractive proposition to potential buyers.

A statement on Liverpool's official website from Gillett and Hicks read: "Owning Liverpool Football Club over these past three years has been a rewarding and exciting experience for us and our families.

"Having grown the Club this far we have now decided together to look to sell the Club to owners committed to take the Club through its next level of growth and development.

"We are delighted that Martin Broughton has agreed to take the position of Chairman, working alongside the club's excellent senior management team.

"Martin is a distinguished business leader of excellent judgment and with a great reputation. He is a genuine football supporter and will seek to oversee the sales process in the best interests of the Club and its supporters."

Barclays Capital have been engaged by Liverpool to advise on the sale process and Broughton, who is currently chairman of British Airways PLC, will oversee the club's operation as the new chairman, alongside existing managing director Christian Purslow.

"I am excited and honoured to be taking up this position. Liverpool is a great club with a fantastic history," Broughton said. "I will run this sale process in the right way, for the benefit of the Club and its fans.

"Liverpool is one of the world's greatest clubs and my aim is to try and ensure that we find new owners who are able to build on the Club's recent improved financial performance in order to help deliver sporting success."

Prospective buyers of the club - reported to be valued at around £500 million by Hicks and Gillett - are expected to wait until the end of the season to begin negotiations and it is thought that any new owners will continue with plans to move to a new stadium.

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