Happy Birthday, Margaret Thatcher! Let's see what else is in the news today...
Well, I suppose there's a bit in there about how one Tom Hicks just finished up with the most profitable investment he's ever made. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, losing £140M couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.
So yeah, four hours since the judgement, and four hours until the board meets again. For the five people out there who haven't already heard, Hicks and Gillett don't have the right to dissolve the board. However, all the talk has been of "reconstituting" it, and based on that wording the court views that he did dissolve the board but had no legal ground to do so, leading to a court-ordered reinstatement of its members this morning. This leads to the view that the NESV deal may not in fact be binding, as though he had no right to do so the board nonetheless did not include Ayres and Purslow at the time and so no deal could have been finalized.
As for making an appeal:
"[The judge] added that it would be "inappropriate in the circumstances" for him to grant Hicks and Gillett the right to appeal and they would have to apply to the Court of Appeal for permission."
So it's not quite settled that they can't appeal, either, though that's a fairly clear hint by the judge that if Hicks did decide to attempt one it would be looked on negatively by the courts and denied. We all know Hicks can be Hicks, though, and long ago gave up on the idea of leaving with his head held high, so you would expect him to at least try.
That all leads us around to a meeting which has been called by the now reconstituted board for 8PM GMT to push ahead with the sale--though possibly, depending on the legal advice he gets, Broughton may feel the board needs to consider Manc-fan Lim's new offer alongside the previously existing agreement from NESV. So we've still got a good four hours minimum to know for sure--or sort of know for sure, depending on any last minute shenanigans by Hicks, such as possibly deciding to still sue the existing board if they sell against his wishes.
Based on the confidence of all involved on the LFC side of things, though, it's hard to feel too worried about anything like that even if it might still happen. The confidence of Broughton especially was shown to be entirely justified this morning, and as odd as it would have felt to say a couple of weeks ago, if he's confident I'm not especially worried. I'm worried about the displays on the pitch and how long new ownership will take to judge Hodgson and whether my liver will survive tonight, but I'm not worried about Broughton's ability to kick Hicks around the park for ninety minutes if it comes to that.
From the NESV side of things:
"NESV has a binding agreement in place with the Board of Liverpool FC and we are looking forward to concluding the deal. We are ready to move quickly and help create the stability and certainty which the Club needs at this time. It is time to return the focus to the Club itself and performances on the pitch."
Maybe they'll drop another £30M on the table, maybe they're confident that their sports experience will keep them on top, maybe they've been assured in private that they'll be at the top of the pile at the end of tonight's board meeting, or maybe it's just spin. I think at this point, even if we're all still waiting for proof before jumping on the "We love NESV and they're the best owners in the history of ever" apple cart, the general consensus is that they have a genuine and commendable track record that our former owners didn't, and that their apparent closest competing bidder doesn't have. So fingers crossed, though they're putting out vibes like they don't think they need it.
|One more cup of coffee for the road...|
Also worth a note is John Henry's latest tweet: "Well done Martin, Christian & Ian. Well done RBS. Well done supporters!"
I think we can all get on board with that. Broughton played a blinder, Pruslow acquitted himself well even if I have niggling reservations because of the Rafa situation, and the supporters who have been fighting for this for a long time really do deserve everybody's thanks.
So, um, yeah: thanks, everybody. Really.
Around here, then, a big ol' tip of the hat to Grubb for the near-liveblog he pulled in the last post's comment section, and a reiteration of Ed's absolutely spot on comment that this doesn't solve all our problems. But it sure as hell feels like a weight being lifted off the club.