So it's been a decently busy twenty-four hours.
In about five years we can probably watch it all unfold on the BBC or A&E---a plump Gene Hackman as Tom Hicks, the tiny Nazi guy from Indiana Jones as George Gillett, Tim Matheson as Christian Purslow, and Sir Ian McKellen as Martin Broughton. Like all good things, though, we must wait.
Lucky (or unlucky) for us, there's plenty of drama left to be played out in the public eye. And, as we've become accustomed to, we can expect a smashing performance in the role of Tom Hicks by one Thomas Ollis Hicks, Sr. Yes, it's been a two-man roller coaster ride straight to the bottom. Yes, it's a 50-50 share in theory. And yes, we probably can expect some sort of murmur from George Gillett at some point before the crying's over.
But it's Hicks who has made himself the star of this show, and it's likely Hicks that we'll all end up following. I'm not quite sure how he became the major player---no doubt there's plenty that went on behind the scenes, but for all intents and purposes, he's the one who's pulling the strings.
It would follow, then, that he's the one who's drawn most of the ire. George Gillett's name was nowhere to be found in the title of Mike Jeffries' viral protest video that was released yesterday. It's been "Yanks Out" all along, but the work to end the reign of the current owners has seen Tom Hicks become the problem.
Noel and I have covered it at various points and in various ways over the past few days, but I thought it might be useful to condense the crazy. Couple of notes before I give the rundown:
---I recognize he's not gone yet, and there's plenty left to get through legally, financially, and otherwise. That's not lost on me.
---This isn't an invitation for folks to list their displeasure with the North American continent or US citizens in particular. That's just being lazy.
---The assumption is that everyone's already seen most of these. If you haven't, hopefully it's a helpful reminder. If you have, deal with it.
**Greg Jeffries' "Dear Mr. Hicks" video hits the internet and spreads like wildfire. Like the bastard that he is, Tom Hicks doesn't respond to a direct salutation. Has he no manners? The nerve.
**Late Tuesday evening, LFC.tv decided to try their hand at some web-based guerrilla warfare. Hicks was quick to respond to the news about the two bids, albeit not in any official club capacity. His response:
“In April we confirmed our joint agreement to sell LFC and apppointed a new chairman and advisors to oversee the process. At that time, we and Martin Broughton stated our commitment to finding the right buyer for LFC, one that could support and sustain the club in the future. We remain committed to that goal.
"The board has been presented with offers that we believe dramatically undervalue the club. To be clear, there is no change in our commitment to finding a buyer for LFC at a fair price that reflects the very significant investment we have made. We will however resist any attempt to sell the club without due process or agreement by the owners."
**Yes, he thinks we're that stupid. Stupid enough to believe that he's got any vested interest in anything other than his own personal gain. Stupid enough to believe that he's committed to finding a buyer that would benefit the club more than it would benefit him. And stupid enough that he's actually going to pay attention to Liverpool Football Club after he walks away from the ashes.
**In the wee hours of the morning stateside and around sunrise in Liverpool, Hicks and the board were engaged in a "full-on civil war." Various reports have the deal as being in the ballpark of £300m, which would see my brilliant countrymen lose £144m. We hear nothing from Hicks for most of the day.
**As usual, nothing good can last. Mid-day we get a renewal of news that Ian Ayre and Christian Purslow have been removed from the board, and Mack Hicks and Lori Kay McCutcheon have taken their place. Martin Broughton, quickly rising to cult hero status, has apparently not been given the power to veto any potential board shake-ups. From Noel's earlier post:
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]
A later comment from Hicks Holdings spokesman Mark Semer:
“There were no such undertakings given to Broughton, the board has been legally reconstituted and the new board does not approve of this proposed transaction.”
**Today starts with little new information, and no public response from Hicks. To whom will we turn for our Tom Hicks-related farce of the day? Why, Harry Redknapp of course:
"You must have a screw loose if you buy a club. The whole Liverpool debate centres around a team of top-level players that is not performing at its best - a temporary problem. The only issue is a lack of confidence among the squad - but it will soon turn around.
"And in all of this, I have utmost sympathy for the Reds’ owners, George Gillett and Tom Hicks. All they seem to have done is plough a fortune into the place and they stand to lose a fortune when they sell it."
**I'm sorry, what? I quite enjoyed the first sentence about "having a screw loose." What a jokester. But I get a little lost after that---did he, in fact, talk about them ploughing a fortune into the squad? Has he seen the past few transfer windows come and go? The ones where the club made money? No?
And here we are, left to wait, cautiously optimistic that things work out as Martin Broughton has assured us they will. We're certainly not done hearing from Tom Hicks---the takeover deal is set for high court next week, and no doubt Hicks will have plenty to say in the lead-in. Odds are it won't be smart, or true, but it'll be something.
No clue what the next few days will bring, but for me the hope is that it's only a matter of time before we start to look forward rather than lamenting the recent past.
And don't look now, but internationals kick back in today, with Lucas in the squad for a friendly against Iran. Look for a post with a full Liverpool rundown in the next day or so. But by all means, don't let that get in the way of continuing poking your two-headed owner voodoo doll. Just don't let Harry Redknapp see you.