Liverpool Clear To Be Sold to Boston Red Sox Owner

Jon FeatonbyCorrespondent IOctober 13, 2010

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 13:  Liverpool Football Club Chairman Martin Broughton (CL) and Managing Director Christian Purslow (C), leave the High Court on October 13, 2010 in London, England. The court has ruled that the owners of the club, Tom Hicks and George Gillett,  have no power to stop the sale of Liverpool FC.  (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Tom Hicks and George Gillett have failed in their attempt to block the proposed sale of Liverpool to New England Sports Ventures (NESV).

In a statement on the club's official website, Liverpool chairman Martin Broughton said he and fellow board members Christian Purslow and Ian Ayre "are delighted with the result."

"We feel justice has been done. That's what we came for and that's what we got. We are delighted."

Hicks and Gillett had tried to oust managing director Purslow and commercial director Ayre, both of whom had backed the acceptance of the NESV offer.

The American pair were trying to replace the duo with Hicks' son, Mac, and Lori McCutcheon, vice-president of Hicks Holdings, in a move that would have given them control of the board and hence the power to veto any attempted sale.

Hicks and Gillett had tried to claim that the bid undervalued the club and to accept it would be to act against the best interests of the club.

This second line of argument was particularly hard for fans to swallow, as during their reign they have rarely taken any steps that would improve Liverpool Football Club, unless those steps were also in their own personal interests.

But Mr Justice Floyd dismissed their claims, saying that: "I am not prepared to grant any relief. If I did, it would risk stopping the sale and purchase agreement going ahead."

He also refused to give Hicks and Gillett the right to appeal and so the Americans must now apply to the Court of Appeal if they wish to take the legal case forward.

John W. Henry, the principle man behind NESV, has expressed his delight at the decision via twitter:

"Well done Martin, Christian & Ian. Well done RBS. Well done supporters!"

NESV, part of whose portfolio includes the Boston Red Sox, are offering in the region of £300 million. This will clear the £240 million debt owed to the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), as well as the outstanding charges.

NESV, in a statement following the High Court judgment: "NESV welcomes today's High Court judgment, which is a huge step forward for Liverpool FC.

"NESV has a binding agreement in place with the board of Liverpool FC and we are looking forward to concluding the deal.

"We are ready to move quickly and help create the stability and certainty which the club needs at this time. It is time to return the focus to the club itself and performances on the pitch."

When asked whether NESV would own the club by tomorrow evening, Broughton answered: "There's a board meeting this evening, hopefully to determine whether or not that is the case."

The news of the decision was to the delight of many Liverpool fans, over 100 of whom were outside the court.

Baring anymore setbacks, Liverpool football will hopefully be in the hands of new owners in the very near future.