Anfield finance fears grow as credit crunch hits Hicks

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The Independent Online

Concerns among those in day-to-day control at Liverpool about the club's American co-owners' ability to deliver a new stadium were compounded yesterday when Tom Hicks announced that plans for a multi-million dollar stadium development in Dallas were being ditched because of the credit crunch.

Hicks quickly moved to state that the abandonment of his £500m "Glorypark" development in Dallas, which had been due to open in March 2010, had no relevance to Liverpool's Stanley Park stadium development. He said the Dallas decision was also taken because of the developer's inability to anchor retail clients on the development – a significant part of the finance. But with still no evidence of the finance which Hicks has been attempting to raise through merchant bankers in London and New York, his reference to the crunch was a source of concern on Merseyside, where the stadium is key to Liverpool's development plan and of considerably more concern to Anfield's non-American hierarchy than funds for players.

Hicks said the credit crunch was "the most difficult... I've seen in the last 20 years" and that the development adjacent to the Texas Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, and close to the Dallas Cowboys' new £500m stadium, had been put on hold because of "extreme conditions" in the country's financial and retail markets. Hicks owns the Rangers baseball club. The revelation comes just a week after a Dallas hotel project in which he is also involved was delayed and will give more hope to prospective buyers of Liverpool, Dubai International Capital, who have long believed that Hicks and George Gillett do not have the means to develop the club.

Several sources suggest that Hicks' pursuit of finance in London and New york has been set back yet further by his public falling out with co-owner Gillett. Hicks said yesterday: "The stadium plans for Liverpool remain on track for completion in time for the 2011 season.

"Site work starts in September and the actual construction by late October/ early November. We remain confident re our funding arrangements for the stadium."

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