Monday, June 09, 2008

Liverpool Owners Claimed £1.4m In Expenses

The cost of Tom Hicks and George Gillett's takeover of Liverpool is becoming clear after the club published their first set of accounts since the Americans arrived last year.

Kop Football (Holdings), the company set up by the Americans to buy Liverpool, made a loss of £33million in the year ending July 2007, quite the achievement when one considers the pair only took over the club in the February of that year.

Given that the Americans transferred the debt they took on to buy Liverpool to the club, it is not surprising to learn that interest of £64million on those loans must be paid to Kop Football Ltd, the club's immediate parent company.

However, while those figures were largely expected and anticipated, Liverpool fans may not be best pleased to learn that Hicks and Gillett claimed more that £1.4million in expenses in the period covered by the accounts, and given that they have paid plenty more visits to Britain since, that won't be the end of things.

The Time reports that the owners wrote off another £10.3million when they scrapped the existing plans for a new stadium when they took over. The pair brought in their own design, a design that they have been forced to scale back in recent months because of the constraints of the global credit crunch.

A number of Liverpool fans held a demonstration at Anfield on Sunday, demanding 'repossession' of the club and posting eviction notices for Hicks and Gillett.

Bolton Eager To Hold Onto Liverpool Prospect

Bolton boss Gary Megson has confirmed that he is keen to sign Danny Guthrie to a permanent deal following his strong showing while on loan from Liverpool last season.

Indeed, the 21-year-old midfielder enjoyed an impressive campaign at the Reebok, becoming an important factor in their survival in the Barclays Premier League.

Guthrie made 25 Premier League appearances and also featured 7 times in the UEFA Cup last season and has himself stated that he is happy to stay at the Reebok Stadium having thoroughly enjoyed his loan spell at the club.

Megson said: "Nothing's hard and fast. Danny did well for us. I don't think he'd been involved too much before I arrived and in his time since then I know there were times when he was disappointed when I picked a team to get a certain result. But he's got some good qualities."

"Danny is only a young player and is one we might look at as the summer goes on," he added.

"We have some things at the moment that need to be sorted. Other things can take a little longer."

With Liverpool already strong in central-midfield with the likes of Javier Mascherano and Xabi Alonso, along with Aston Villa captain Gareth Barry still being heavily linked with the club, a future on Merseyside looks unlikely for the youngster.

Lucas Is A Step Closer To Olympics With Brazil

The possibility of Liverpool being without Lucas for the start of the season moved a step closer after he was called up for an Olympics warm-up game.

The Brazilian’s absence has been on the cards since he was named in an initial preliminary squad of 74 and his latest call-up for a friendly on June 22 only heightens his chances of making the final cut.

The tournament coincides with the start of the Premier League season and could keep players away from their clubs for more than two weeks – which leaves Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez with a midfield dilemma. He is confident of landing Gareth Barry once a fee has been agreed for the England man with Aston Villa – but losing Lucas, Javier Mascherano and Ryan Babel at once could leave him short of reinforcements.

Especially as Xabi Alonso has admitted his interest in a move to Juventus days after his agent declared the clubs were close to agreeing on their valuation of the player.

Benitez still hopes that Mascherano doesn’t feel obliged to answer any call from Argentina and will discuss the issue with him when he returns for pre-season next month. Mascherano, who was 24 yesterday, is wanted as an over-age player as he looks to repeat the gold medal victory he enjoyed in Athens in 2004. But clubs are powerless to prevent players who qualify directly for the under-23s going on international duty. In the case of Babel, while he is wanted by Holland, Benitez will be keen to ensure he has fully recovered from the ankle ligament damage that is keeping him out of Euro 2008, before releasing him for any competitive action.

Lucas has, however, already signalled his determination to join up with Brazil in Beijing.

“Hopefully I will be picked,” he said. “That would mean I would start the pre-season here with Liverpool and then later on I would go to the Olympics. I need to wait for the squad to be picked but hopefully I will go.

“I know that would mean me missing some games for Liverpool and that is not good, but when you talk about your country you always want to play for them.

“And for Brazil the Olympics is like the World Cup because Brazil has never won the gold medal.

“It is also important for my future as an international player because the World Cup qualifiers are coming up and obviously I would like to be in the squad for those.

“So now I need to think about the Olympics and I will speak with Rafa about this.”

Manchester United’s Anderson is also among 12 overseas-based players named by Dunga to play in the warm-up game.

Brazil are yet to announce an opponent or venue, but that did not stop Dunga releasing an initial squad following Friday night’s shock 2-0 loss to Venezuela in Foxborough in the USA.

O'Neill Fancies Finnan - Report

Liverpool defender Steve Finnan could be set for a ₤2million summer switch to Aston Villa, according to reports.

Villa boss Martin O’Neill is desperate to sign a new right-sided defender following the departure of Swedish international Olof Mellberg for Juventus.

And reports from England indicate the Ulsterman has targeted Irish full-back Finnan to replace the former Racing Santander man in the Villa back-line.

Finnan, who moved to Anfield from Fulham in 2003, struggled for starts last season due to consistent injury problems and a general loss of form.

The former Notts County man is only likely to fall further down the pecking order following the arrival of Swiss international Philipp Degen from Borussia Dortmund, and may be keen on making the move to Villa Park.

The 32-year-old has two years remaining on his deal with the Merseyside giants, while Villa are prepared to offer the ex-Birmingham defender man a three-year deal.

Reds boss Rafa Benitez may be keen to use Finnan as bait in his attempts to prise Gareth Barry away from Villa, having had previous offers involving John Arne Riise and Jermaine Pennant rejected.

Reds In Shock Bid For Gunners Ace - Report

Liverpool are reportedly planning a sneaky ₤6million bid for Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner.

Reds boss Rafa Benitez is keen to add depth to his forward line over the summer, and reports from England claim he is considering a shock swoop for the Danish youngster.

The 20-year-old has received limited opportunities with the Gunners due to the emergence of Togolese striker Emmanuel Adebayor, with whom the Dane has had a rather drastic falling out.

Bendtner has generally struggled to live up to his billing as one of the most promising young strikers in Europe, although late last season he exhibited glimpses of his significant potential.

Wenger will be reluctant to sell given the respective injury issues of Robin van Persie and Eduardo da Silva, not to mention the growing uncertainly surrounding Adebayor’s future at the Emirates.

But Benitez will almost certainly have to replace the unsettled Peter Crouch, and is willing to offer ₤6million for a player Wenger snatched virtually free of charge from Copenhagen outfit KjĂžbenhavns Boldklub.

The deal would prove something of a coup if it went through, given that almost all Premier League clubs flat-out refuse to trade with their rivals these days – as evidenced by Benitez’s failure to secure defender Gabrielle Heinze from Manchester United last summer.

Financial Figures Pile Pressure On Reds Owners

Liverpool co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett Jr. will no doubt be forced to endure increased animosity from supporters following the publication of the club’s accounts.

More than 300 disgruntled Reds fans congregated yesterday to post eviction notices all around Anfield, continuing their push to oust the Merseyside giants’ warring possessors.

And the pressure on the bickering Americans will only continue to mount after the release of their first set of financial figures since they took control of the club in February 2007.

The Times reports that, according to accounts submitted to Companies House last week, one of Liverpool’s parent companies Kop Football (Holdings) Ltd endured a ₤33million loss as of July 31, 2007.

The club’s ₤350million in loans must be refinanced by January, while they will also have to pay interest on a ₤64million borrowing from Kop Football.

The accounts also revealed that Hicks and Gillett wrote off some ₤10.3million when ditching designs for Liverpool’s new stadium, while claiming in excess of ₤1.4million for personal expenses – figures which will do nothing to improve their standing with Reds fans.