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Hicks Jr's emails spark quit calls

TOM Hicks Jr was today under mounting pressure to resign from the Liverpool board.

Hicks sent offensive emails to a supporter and triggered a row that has led to a fans' group accusing the club of "a conspiracy of silence".

Hicks -- the son of Tom Hicks, the Liverpool co-owner -- sparked outrage at the weekend when he responded to an email from Stephen Horner, a supporter, with consecutive abusive replies. The first simply said "idiot", but the second said: "Blow me, f**k face. Go to hell, I'm sick of you."

He has since apologised, but the Texan's contrition has failed to quell growing calls for him to quit the club.

The Spirit of Shankly (SOS), a fans' campaign group committed to the removal of Hicks Sr and George Gillett Jr, released a statement demanding the immediate resignation of Hicks Jr.

It was also heavily critical of the Liverpool hierarchy for remaining silent on the matter. On several occasions yesterday the London Times sought a reaction from Liverpool, but to no avail. Freud Communications, the London-based PR firm employed by the Hicks family, also failed to offer any comment on the matter.

"It is a great surprise and an even greater disappointment that Liverpool Football Club have thus far failed to make any comment on what we feel is a very serious matter," James McKenna, a spokesman for SOS, said.

"Is this what the club has come to, that a board member can speak in such derogatory terms to a supporter but can go without censure or any public criticism?

"The conspiracy of silence which has followed this unsavoury incident is totally unbecoming of a club which has always prided itself on its relationship with the fans. Are we to presume that the Liverpool hierarchy condones the comments made by Tom Hicks Jr or is it simply a case that the deeply flawed regime of Hicks and Gillett has left the entire club in a state of paralysis?

"Surely the very least the Liverpool supporters deserve is an open and honest explanation from the club, an indication on their feelings about the objectionable behaviour of such a senior member of the board and a commitment that such an incident will not happen again."

Horner had sought comments from Hicks about a weekend article in a local newspaper, following up revelations in the London Times last Tuesday about Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez not being allowed to reinvest the proceeds from the planned sales of four players during the transfer window.



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Hicks's subsequent admission at least ended any debate about whether he had actually sent the offensive email, but it has done little to negate the growing sense of outrage on Merseyside. Hicks told Horner: "I apologise for losing my temper and using bad language with you. It was a kneejerk reaction."

Horner said: "The damage has been done by Hicks's initial two email messages that he sent me on Saturday morning and the apology received later in the day is hollow and probably a PR exercise.

"Hicks Jr should resign with immediate effect, and it is time that Gillett and Hicks sold up and handed the reins over to people who understand the Liverpool way. They are not welcome at Anfield and should name their price and begin negotiations with more suitable investors who can take this great club forward."

© The Times, London


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