Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Liverpool Fearing Split As Gillett And Hicks Tussle

A tussle between owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks is threatening to derail Liverpool's development plans.

According to the News of the World, the difference in opinion seems to have stemmed from plans for the club's new stadium.

Tom Hicks wants to go for a grander and bigger new stadium at Stanley Park, shelving the existing plan which has already been approved.

That, in turn, will burden the club with a debt in excess of £500m, which is where George Gillett is concerned, having promised fans that the takeover would not mirror that of the Glazers, who heaped a lot of debt on Manchester United to finance their buy-out.

The loan would be secured against the club's assets, and any failure on the pitch could leave the club at the mercy of the banks.

While Gillett - the realist - is concerned, Hicks - thinking big, literally - has gone ahead and started securing money from investors in the US.

Insiders at Liverpool are uncertain over how this will be resolved, and wary that a power struggle could cast a huge shadow over the club's development.

One option is to go ahead with the existing plans for the stadium, which would keep the debt at manageable levels.

However, there is more to the situation. There is also some resentment in the Gillett camp that Hicks has increasingly become the public face, leaving the former in the background, and is becoming autocratic in pulling the strings at Anfield.

A crisis looms at Anfield, unless the two top men can sort it out and present a unified vision.

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