Gillett admits failings to fans as Anfield owners remain divided

George Gillett met the Liverpool supporters' union Spirit of Shankly (SOS) before Saturday's win over Manchester United and admitted that the club remains riven by a failure of communication between him and co-owner Tom Hicks, as well as others who are running it.

Gillett left the city in little doubt about fans' views of him, having scuttled out of at least one pub to avoid confrontation on Friday night and faced a 4,000-strong protest of fans on Saturday demanding that both he and Hicks leave Anfield. But the co-owner, who requested the meeting with SOS, seems as far away as ever from selling out to Dubai's Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Gillett, who is believed to be preparing to attend Liverpool's opening Champions League groups stage match in Marseilles tomorrow, claimed that the club was financially sound, and in no worse a situation than any other football club and, according to SOS, is blaming the banks and the credit crunch for the failure of he and Hicks to deliver the cash needed to the new stadium at Stanley Park – which is key to the club's future. "He made a number of claims during the meeting," SOS said last night. "However, he gave no indication as to what his or Tom Hicks' future plans for the club were."

Approached within the stadium, Gillett said that the idea of an Arab takeover is not the panacea for success that it seems. He appeared to have no contact with the Hicks entourage who sunned themselves and photographed each other in the front row of the Anfield directors' box during the game.

Benitez, who last met Gillett when United last visited Anfield in December amid the storm of controversy surrounding Hicks's approach to Jürgen Klinsmann about the manager's job, said he had met Gillett before Saturday's game: "I don't know his plan but yesterday we were talking about this important game. It was a positive meeting."

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