Saturday 10 December 2016

Is the deal a good one for Liverpool?

Tony Barrett

Published 16/10/2010 | 05:00

By the mere fact that it ousts Tom Hicks and George Gillett Jr as co-owners, the takeover by New England Sports Ventures (NESV) is positive news for the club.

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But the men behind NESV will be as aware as anyone that the jubilation that has greeted their arrival is because of who they are not, rather than who they are.

John W Henry II has asked to be judged on what he does instead of what he says and, having had their fingers burnt by buying into the unfulfilled promises made by Hicks and Gillett, that is exactly what the Liverpool supporters will do.

Dramatically reducing the debts that were crippling the club is an obvious step in the right direction, but there is a great deal more work to be done, with stadium redevelopment and squad replenishment at the top of a lengthy list.

WILL NESV MAKE MONEY AVAILABLE FOR TRANSFERS?

According to the terms of the sale document circulated to interested parties by Inner Circle Sports, the US-based investment bank, NESV has been asked to commit to an initial £25m for transfers.

That Liverpool's debts have been reduced by more than £200m means that their transfer kitty could also be swelled by the redirection of funds that would otherwise have been used for interest payments.

A sizeable squad-rebuilding job is required to turn Liverpool back into top-four contenders, however, and every single available penny will be required to make such a revival a genuine possibility.

IS ROY HODGSON'S JOB SAFE?

In the short term, the answer is undoubtedly yes.

The manager has already received assurances from Henry that he is not looking to make immediate changes and sources close to NESV insist there is no appetite for replacing Hodgson.

NESV is looking for success, though, and should Liverpool's form not improve then the pressure on Hodgson will inevitably increase.

That would be the case whether the owners were NESV, Hicks and Gillett or David Moores, the former chairman. It is results, rather than the identity of his employer, that will determine Hodgson's fate.

WHAT WILL LIVERPOOL'S TOP STARS MAKE OF THE TAKEOVER?

We know that Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher are happy about the regime change because they have said so. Having publicly campaigned for Hicks and Gillett to be replaced with better owners, Fernando Torres and Pepe Reina will also be delighted to see the back of the unpopular pair.

But the Spanish duo will require reassurances, if not firm commitments, that NESV can help Liverpool to match their ambitions.

They have become the most prized assets in the Liverpool squad and a number of rival clubs continue to monitor their situation. If either of them feel that the takeover will not yield instant results on the pitch, then the chances of them remaining at Anfield beyond this season will be minimal. In fact, Ladbrokes reacted to the takeover by cutting the odds on Torres leaving in January to 5/4.

WHAT NEXT FOR MARTIN BROUGHTON, CHRISTIAN PURSLOW AND IAN AYRE, THE DIRECTORS?

First and foremost, the trio can bask in the richly deserved glow of bringing down the Hicks and Gillett regime. Broughton has been the undoubted star of the past fortnight, outmanoeuvring the American duo inside and outside court and being the catalyst to their downfall.

The roles played by Purslow and Ayre should not be underestimated as the pair used their positions within the club to undermine the co-owners, putting themselves at personal risk, as evidenced by Hicks's determination to pursue them for damages.

Broughton will remain as chairman until Henry has had the opportunity to appoint a replacement. Neither Purslow nor Ayre have received any promises that they will remain in position, but having played such a key role in unseating Hicks and Gillet, their stock will be extremely high and their retention at Anfield is a distinct possibility. (© The Times, London)

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