Hicks won’t back down in Liverpool sale fight

EMBATTLED Liverpool owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett have fought back in the bitter internal power struggle over the club’s future ownership.

Hicks insisted yesterday that Liverpool’s board had not been entitled to accept a £300m bid from New England Sports Ventures, in defiance of his and Gillett’s wishes, because two of the directors had been sacked.

The saga is now set to be settled in the High Court next week, when it will be decided who has the right to sell the Premier League outfit.

Liverpool chairman Martin Broughton believes Hicks and Gillett signed an agreement that he alone could reconstitute the board and identify a suitable buyer.

Hicks, however, argues that, minutes before Tuesday’s board meeting conducted by conference call to discuss NESV’s bid, he had sacked managing director Christian Purslow and commercial director Ian Ayre, replacing them with his son Mack and employee Lori McCutcheon, who both oppose the sale.

“There were no such undertakings given to Broughton, the board has been legally reconstituted, and the new board does not approve of this proposed transaction,” a spokesman for Hicks said yesterday.

Hicks and Gillett have until the end of next week to find a buyer suitable to them or refinance their £237m borrowings from Royal Bank of Scotland. If the club is sold for £300m the Americans would lose around £140m.