Tom Hicks, the former owner of Liverpool FC, has been granted a chance to sue NESV, the Royal Bank of Scotland, and Martin Broughton over the sale of the club. As many of you already know Liverpool was sold to New England Sports Venture by RBS in order to stave off a default on the clubs loans. In the end, this saved the club, and since then it has enjoyed a relative resurgence under new ownership and management.
Hicks, however, believes the sale of the club was done in such a way that he was swindled out of the 140,000 pounds he “invested” into the venture. At the core of his argument is the fact the club was basically sold without his consent, and that he was left holding the bill for his bad decisions following the intervention of RBS. For my part, I think the entire premise of Hicks’ argument is absurd, and here’s why.
First of all, Hicks seems to be under the illusion that if he made an investment in the Liverpool jersey, which he bought using money he borrowed from RBS, he is somehow the owner of the club. Now had he provided a greater proportion of the funds required to but the club as compared to RBS, I could see his point, but the fact is he didn’t.
Furthermore, once he had bought the club he made some very poor decisions, like sticking with Rafa Benitez for too long, and appointing Roy Hodgson as manager. They also did little to invest in the club putting a new stadium on hold, and not providing funding for transfer and new signings at a level necessary to maintain competitive. For all these reasons, the clubs value plummeted just as quickly as their standing in the table, and when it came time to pay back part of the loan from RBS, Hicks couldn’t pay, and had to agree to let the bank takeover part of the operations. Basically, if you buy a pair of Puma soccer shoes and wear them out, you can;t expect them to hold their value. This included finding a new buyer.
The real problem here, is that Hicks doesn’t see it that way, he feels he should receive his money back, as he was cut out of the process of selling the club. Now for you or me, if we buy a house with a loan, and can;t pay it back, the bank takes the house and tries to sell it on again to recoup some or all of their losses. Hicks was basically in the same position as someone who can’t at their mortgage, and as result lost control of the club, remaining as only a figurehead. Now I know we live in an age where a bank can back bad investments and expect us to pay for it, but surely Hicks doesn’t fall into that category, and deserves no compensation for his own stupidity.
Time to draw a line, and tell Hicks to get to walking home.
Written by: Matthew Wall, editor, soccerprose.com
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