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But Hodgson needs to leave says Liverpool legend Whelan

RONNIE Whelan is urging Liverpool fans to take a step back before they crack open the bubbly and wave goodbye to Tom Hicks and Geroge Gillett. But if the prospective new owners, the New England Sports Ventures (NESV) group, want to do things right, they should reinstate the "Bootroom" immediately and look to the past for the way forward.

The NESV consortium which currently owns the Boston Red Sox has tabled a debt-clearing bid for Liverpool which has been accepted by the Anfield Board but not by Hicks and Gillett, who intend to go to court to protect their investment.

"I am delighted that we have been able to successfully conclude the sale process which has been thorough and extensive," said Anfield Chairman Martin Broughton.

"I am only disappointed that the owners have tried everything to prevent the deal from happening and that we need to go through legal proceedings in order to complete the sale."

Against that background, former Liverpool legend and Evening Herald columnist Whelan is not counting his chickens yet.

"On the face of it, it looks like the deal which Liverpool fans have been waiting for but let's wait and see what NESV are bringing to the table before making any judgements," said Whelan.

Whelan is convinced that no matter what happens, the new owners need to clear the decks and that means an early exit for Roy Hodgson.

"This needs a clean slate and I'm sure that's what these people will think. I've got nothing against Hodgson. He's just in the wrong place at the wrong time," added Whelan.

Already, bookies have made Martin O'Neill (right) and Kenny Dalglish (left) the top picks for the Anfield job but there is a Liverpool connection with Boston, the home of the new owners.

Stevie Nicol is now in his second successful stint as the head coach at the New England Revolution, a club owned by billionaire Robert Kraft who expressed an interest in investing in Liverpool five years ago.