"The(y missed their) last chance to leave Anfield with their heads held high. It's a pity they've chosen to go down this road."
-Martin Broughton, via the BBC
I take back my previous hesitations. No matter how this all turns out, long term, I might owe the man a drink if I were to ever meet him, because with things running down to the wire and everything on the table Broughton is really letting it all hang out. Steven Colbert would approve.
On the events of yesterday, 5live has run a clip where a reporter managed a short conversation with Tom Hicks.
Hicks: "We legally reconstituted the board and we do not accept the transaction"
5Live: How can you do that?"
Hicks: "We have removed the board."
This was followed by a clarification from Broughton, recalling the end of the conversation thusly:
Broughton: "I'm told that you can't do that and the Liverpool board structure will remain the same."
Hicks: "I've just done it." [slams phone]
Classy to the end, that Hicks. On the suggestion that he didn't have the legal right to disband the board, he later texted Dan Roan of the BBC the delightful quote, "That's why there are courts." You lovable scamp, you. Losing £144M really couldn't happen to a nicer guy.
That's about the extent of the behind the scenes Hicks fireworks, but Broughton also touched on two points that will be of interest moving forward for Liverpool supporters. First, that the new ownership group will look to give Hodgson time, which I--and I suspect many of you--may have some reservations about. Talk of Dalglish returning, or of the Kop chanting Pelligrini, Pelligirini, Olé Olé Olé! some time soon, may be a bridge too far. But still, a January transfer apocalypse is a worry for the future, and there's plenty to concern ourselves with at present.
Second, he mentioned there is a commitment not necessarily to a new stadium, but certainly to a 60,000+ capacity stadium. That could either be in the shape of a new venue, or it could mean a major retrofitting of Anfield similar to what happened in Boston with Fenway Park. For those worried about this meaning more dithering, it is important to note that in Boston the retrofitting option was one supported by most of the fans and took place while there was heavy civic resistance to building a new park. It also cost nearly as much as a new stadium would have, so there's no sign there at least of cutting corners to save a buck, and if their experts think that Anfield could be modernized and expanded effectively without losing its history I at least have no problems with that option being considered.
Here's hoping, then, that Broughton's legal advice is better than Hicks'.