Liverpool future heads for courtroom

The boardroom battle at Liverpool is set to be decided in court after owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett challenged the validity of the £300million sale to New England Sports Ventures after failing in a boardroom coup.

With two bids on the table the Americans yesterday attempted to wrest back control by trying to sack managing director Christian Purslow and commercial director Ian Ayre.

They intended to replace them with Mack Hicks, Tom's son, and Lori McCutcheon, financial controller at Hicks Holdings, in order to reclaim the power to stop any sale minutes before a meeting was due to be held to discuss the deal.

Chairman Martin Broughton described it as an "astonishing move" but rejected the proposal after claiming they had "flagrantly abused" undertakings to major creditors Royal Bank of Scotland which outlined Broughton was the only man with the ability to change the composition of the board.

The club are pressing ahead with the sale to NESV, owners of the Boston Red Sox baseball franchise, but the outcome will be decided by a legal hearing after a challenge from Hicks and Gillett.

"In trying to remove Christian Purslow and Ian Ayre they made an astonishing move," said Broughton, who was parachuted in to the Liverpool board when the Americans announced their intention to sell in April.

"I say that because, as part of my appointment, they gave specific undertakings to the Royal Bank of Scotland that said Martin Broughton was the only person authorised to make any board changes.

"They basically flagrantly abused those two undertakings to RBS and removed Christian and Ian from the board and sent us details just before the board meeting saying they had been removed and appointing two others.

"We took legal advice and I determined that the action was invalid. So I went back to Tom Hicks and George Gillett, reconvened the board meeting and said 'Look, your action is invalid.'

"I told them I was continuing to hold the meeting with Christian Purslow and Ian Ayre present. They objected, called for an adjournment - which I declined - and offered them the opportunity to take part.

"They chose not to, although George Gillett's lawyer was there."

Broughton said the club would now apply for a court judgement, which he hoped would come in the next week, to resolve the issue.

"No one likes being in court - someone comes out winning and someone comes out losing," he told the Liverpool Echo.

"We need to go to the court to get a declaratory judgement, which is for the court to declare that we did act validly in completing the sale agreement, and then the buyers can complete the sale.

"We have to get Premier League approval and I'm certain that's not going to be an issue. There are one or two minor things like that but the key issue is the court, which should meet I would think next week sometime.

"That is the most likely time, in short order. There is an appeal process but that is also very fast.

"If they (Hicks and Gillett) win the court case they can block the sale but then we may have one or two other thoughts in mind as well.

"I am confident. I wouldn't have taken the board through that process yesterday if I hadn't been confident.

"I wouldn't have exposed everybody to that risk if I hadn't been confident, but you can never be certain. These things are legal judgements. We have been properly advised and I am confident.

"If there is any justice we will win."

The Premier League said this afternoon they were ready to give the sale the go-ahead as early as Friday.

"The board of the Premier League has been kept fully informed of developments regarding the potential sale of Liverpool FC by the chairman and senior executives of the club and has, accordingly, been made aware of a number of potential prospective owners in recent weeks," said a statement.

"We can confirm that Liverpool FC has formally notified the Premier League of an intended change of control and that the board has undertaken to complete all the necessary processes by Friday, October 8 so that the sale of the club can proceed."

News
The Banksy image in Folkestone before it was vandalised
people
Life and Style
tech

Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts

Sport
Louis van Gaal at the Hawthorns prior to Manchester United's game against West Brom
football

Follow the latest updates from the Monday night Premier League fixture

News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Bloom Time: Mira Sorvino
tvMira Sorvino on leaving movie roles for 'The Intruders'
News
Brian Harvey turned up at Downing Street today demanding to speak to the Prime Minister
news

Met Police confirm there was a 'minor disturbance' and that no-one was arrested

Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010
films

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

Voices
Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary: 'There are pressures which we are facing but there is not a crisis'
voices

Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?

Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

News
Blackpool is expected to become one of the first places to introduce the Government’s controversial new Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs)
news

Concerns raised phenomenon is threatening resort's image as a family destination

Life and Style
gaming

I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album
Hugh Bonneville & Peter James: 'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'

How We Met: Hugh Bonneville & Peter James

'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's heavenly crab dishes don't need hours of preparation

Bill Granger's heavenly crab recipes

Scared off by the strain of shelling a crab? Let a fishmonger do the hard work so you can focus on getting the flavours right
Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

After a remarkable conversion from reckless defender to prolific striker, Monaco's ace says he wants to make his loan deal at Old Trafford permanent
Terry Venables: Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England

Terry Venables column

Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England
The Inside Word: Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past

Michael Calvin's Inside Word

Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past