Tom Hicks and George Gillett, who lost their legal action today in London to stop the sale of Liverpool to New England Sports Ventures, have now taken legal action in Texas to attempt to block the sale.
Accusing Liverpool’s “independent” board members (ie: the three English members), as well as RBS bank, of an ‘epic swindle’ (and the court documents are linked here) Hicks and Gillett have, for now, prevented the completion of sale to NESV.
That was meant to be rubber stamped at a board meeting in London this evening. Instead, Liverpool are trying to find a way get the Texan-issued, Hicks-Gillett-ordered restraining order on the sale lifted. Hicks and Gillett are also claiming $1.6bn in damages, a farcical twist to a saga that was expected to end when the High Court ruled they had breached their agreement with RBS.
Liverpool have released a statement saying:
“Following the successful conclusion of High Court proceedings today, the Boards of Directors of Kop Football and Kop Holdings met tonight and resolved to complete the sale of Liverpool FC to New England Sports Ventures.
“Regrettably, Thomas Hicks and George Gillett have tonight obtained a Temporary Restraining Order from a Texas District Court against the independent directors, Royal Bank of Scotland PLC and NESV to prevent the transaction being completed.
“The independent directors consider the restraining order to be unwarranted and damaging and will move as swiftly as possible to seek to have it removed.
A further statement will be made in due course.”
Liverpool, RBS and NESV will now attempt to have the restraining order dismissed; and a sale to NESV would then go ahead. While the deadline for RBS’s loans to be repaid is looming (Friday), it must be reiterated that there is no legal reason that obliges RBS to call in their loans that day, plunging the club into administration and risking a nine-point penalty. It is a moveable feast to some extent, and administration is far from a foregone conclusion if Hicks and Gillett’s latest roll of the dice proves as futile as their others.