Parry's reign 'a disaster' says Hicks

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The Independent Football

Tom Hicks today branded Rick Parry's leadership as Liverpool chief executive "a disaster" and warned co-owner George Gillett that the stalemate over the club's future will continue until he agrees to sell his stake.

Hicks has demanded Parry's resignation and vowed that his top priority if Gillett were to sell to him would be to offer Reds manager Rafael Benitez a one-year extension to his current deal.

The Texan also revealed that he plans to rid the club of all debt by heading up a group of financial backers willing to invest in the club.

Hicks blamed Parry for Liverpool's failure to compete commercially with their Premier League rivals in a Sky Sports News interview.

"Look at what's happened under Rick's leadership. It has been a disaster," claimed Hicks. "We have fallen so far behind the other leading clubs.

"We should have the stadium built three or four years ago. We have two or three major sponsors when we should have 12 or 15.

"We are not doing anything in Asia, the way that Manchester United and Barcelona are, and we have a tremendous number of fans in Asia.

"We have still got the top brand in the world of football but that's no good if you don't know how to commercialise it.

"Rick needs to resign from Liverpool FC. He has put his heart into it but it is time for a change.

"You have to be able to work with the manager and Rick has proved he can't do that. At the first meeting we had with Rafa he talked of the number of players he had missed out on because he (Parry) was too slow. Too many times nothing happens."

Turning to his relationship with Benitez, Hicks said: "If I were to buy George out the first thing I would do is offer Rafa a one-year extension to make sure he is going to be here up to when we get the stadium.

"Hopefully we could have some success and then extend him again.

"I think we will continue to have success. I think Rafa has unique skills, he motivates the team and we have some great players who are learning how to play with each other."

Hicks and Gillett took over the club in February 2007 but Hicks admitted their relationship has now completely broken down.

"At this point it is unworkable," he added. "We started this as friends but 50-50 is a difficult business proposition because you cannot do anything without your partner's approval.

"If George doesn't sell - because I am not going to sell - I guess we stay in this position that we are in.

"I am planning to make him a very attractive offer. If I had a majority on it (ownership of Liverpool) I could put more capital in.

"My goal is take all the debt off the club except the working capital needed and get the permanent financing totally in place for the stadium.

"I want the finances of the club to be secure. I want to be the majority owner of a group that buys the club and I have got a 25-year track record of being a very successful investor around the world.

"The fans don't like the fact that we borrowed a lot of money to buy the club but I will fix that."

Hicks ruled out any chance of Dubai International Capital (DIC) taking over but admitted he had held meetings with them in the past.

"DIC has no seat at the table. They are masters of the British tabloid spin. They want to stir the pot of Liverpool to create dissension," he said.

"I did talk to Dubai about being a 49% partner but it just didn't work out. They didn't share the same vision I have and I didn't think they could become minority partners. I am not going to have any more 50-50 partners."

On the infamous meeting in New York last year about Klinsmann becoming manager which undermined Benitez, Hicks added: "George became good friends with him (Klinsmann) a year ago.

"I get this call from George out of the blue in which he says 'have your people do their research on Klinsmann'. He and Rick set up the meeting in New York. I did go to the meeting along with my son Tom.

"Rick Parry had already met with Jurgen alone for a couple of hours when we arrived. We all then spoke to him for another four hours.

"Afterwards I told the truth to a reporter who asked the question and suddenly it is 'Tom Hicks tried to get Jurgen Klinsmann'. George initiated it but we all participated."

Hicks admitted it was frustrating that his unpopularity with Liverpool fans has prevented him from bringing his whole family to Anfield to watch matches.

"My family loves Liverpool. The sad thing is that right now we can't go there as a family until we get this thing sorted out," he added.

Gillett has offered his support to Parry and revealed last week that any attempt to remove him would need the approval of the full board.

And Parry said in an interview on Radio Four's Today programme: "It's for the board to ask me to resign and they haven't. I'm accountable to the board and this is not something the board has discussed with me.

"I have a duty at the moment to try and keep things on an even keel when there's turmoil off the pitch. I just want to do my best for the club.

"I'm focusing on the day to day. We have a Champions League semi-final coming up. There are a lot of important things to be done at the club and that's the focus."

Parry again expressed his disappointment that the club's "dirty linen" was being washed in public, adding: "There's a Liverpool way, which I think I understand and will stick to, and there is clearly a different way."