London braced as Liverpool fans plan High Court protest

ANGRY Liverpool supporters are planning to descend on central London in their hundreds this week when the club’s ownership is decided in the High Court.

Reds fans intend to travel to the capital by the coach-load in order to vent their disgust at unpopular owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett outside the Royal Courts of Justice.

Hicks and Gillett have infuriated the Anfield faithful further by attempting to block the club’s £300m sale to fellow Americans New England Sports Ventures (NESV), which the board says it has agreed.

Prominent Liverpool supporters’ group Spirit of Shankly (SOS) has already drawn up plans to transport fans to the court, which lies on the fringes of the City, at the request of fans eager to make the trip.

James McKenna, spokesman for SOS, told City A.M. last night: “There has been plenty of talk. We’ve had emails and calls asking about going down to London. We’re looking at potential coach travel.

“I think given enough notice it’s potentially a large turnout. I think you’re talking at least hundreds of people.

“I’m sure supporters will be there to make their feelings known. As well as people coming from Liverpool there are plenty of people in London who are literally waiting for the call.”

Some 9,000 supporters took part in the most recent SOS protest against Hicks and Gillett after last month’s home fixture against Sunderland. Another rally in Liverpool city centre in July drew around 2,000 people.

The club’s board, led by chairman Martin Broughton, last week struck a deal with NESV, owners of baseball’s Boston Red Sox, and say they have a right to do so.

Hicks and Gillett immediately launched a legal challenge, expected to be heard this week, as they still hope to sell the iconic Premier League club for a higher price.

Time is running out for the pair, who must repay a loan of £237m plus fees to the Royal Bank of Scotland by Friday, or risk being put into administration.

That scenario could see Liverpool docked nine points, and NESV have let it be known that they could walk away from the deal if that happened.

Reds chief executive Christian Purslow yesterday emphasised that he was “not even contemplating” administration and urged Hicks and Gillett to go quietly.

“Right now they have an opportunity with one simple short correspondence to allow a sale to complete and that would clear the club of all the acquisition debt and give us a massive lift before the Everton game [on Sunday]; a fresh start and real hope for our fans and players that we can get back to the top.

“That’s in their gift and would enable them to leave with some dignity and some peace rather than precipitating a messy dispute. I hope they’ll think about that.”

An Asian potential buyer also made a bid for the club, who currently sit third from bottom, and could revive their interest if NESV walk away.