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'We have been royally screwed for three years'

There was a markedly cautious reaction among Liverpool supporters yesterday as news of the deal broke, with one high-profile fan saying he feared the club had jumped out of the "frying pan into the frying pan".

Rogan Taylor, who created the "Share Liverpool FC" group, a body looking to raise funds to buy a portion of the club, was relieved the ill-starred Hicks/Gillett era was coming to an end but had some concerns over the prospective new owners.

"I would imagine that there is deep concern among Liverpool fans," said Taylor. "The fundamental issue is that these guys may have been very clever in running an American sports franchise, but Liverpool is not an American sports franchise. Anybody who comes along is going to be forensically interrogated. If new American owners take control, they will have to demarcate themselves from their American predecessors.

"We have been right royally screwed for the last three years but there is a concern it will not stop. We don't know anything about how the deal is structured. There is one possible motivation (for people like this) to own a football club -- to make money at some point."

The Spirit of Shankly group, who organised a series of protests -- the last ahead of Sunday's defeat by Blackpool -- echoed Taylor's sentiments.

"New owners are not walking into a club of supporters with open arms," the group said in a statement.

"There will be one gently outstretched hand of welcome while the other hand contains a list of questions that will need honest and open answers before any welcome becomes more warm."

Other Liverpool fans were more open in their fears for the takeover: "Another American who does not have the resources to properly undertake such a large task . . . We have been through this 'buy out with borrowed money and screw the club for all its worth' approach before. If this US fellow gets the club we can expect more of the same. The nightmare continues," said one internet poster on the 'Liverpool Echo' website.

Irish Independent