27 January 2008

Looks like the Americans are going to stay a little bit longer... hmmm

But whether today's news is enough to placate the fans is another matter entirely.
John Mackin of supporters group Reclaim The Kop said: "Unless the owners come out and say they are giving Rafa Benitez a new deal, they are going to support him extensively in the transfer market, and that none of the money to fund that will put the club in debt, they have got no chance of winning us over.
"Such is the level of disquiet among the fans that a meeting is to be held next week when we will discuss the next phase in our ongoing protests against the owners.
"We have seen pretty pictures of stadium designs before and we're still waiting for a single spade to go into the ground at Stanley Park, something Hicks and Gillett promised would happen within 60 days of takeover, so it'll take a lot more than a new picture and a major PR offensive for us to be won over."
Despite being aware of the ongoing fans’ rebellion, Hicks is hoping the release of the new stadium plans will at least begin a process which will result in them being placated.
He said: "HKS has developed a more efficient design that, at the same time, is just as stunning as its original design.
"Liverpool supporters should have high expectations for the future: a premier sporting experience at their new stadium at Stanley Park and a winning club on the pitch for years to come".
Interestingly, George Gillett's name is conspicuous only by its absence on the press release which was issued to the ECHO by London PR firm Financial Dynamics today.
The new design incorporates the 18,500 capacity stand-alone Kop which Hicks had insisted was crucial to his plans, and KUD International has been selected as project manager for the stadium.
Laing O'Rourke, which is currently working with developer Grosvenor on The Paradise Project in Liverpool, has also joined the project development team.
Despite speculation that today's developments might signal the end of Dubai International's pursuit of Liverpool Football Club, the ECHO believes the opposite is true and that DIC has not given up hope of buying the club.
Hicks had been hopeful that he would be in a position to come up with a double whammy of a new stadium design and a completed financial package with details of both to be released at exactly the same time.
The loan on the table from RBS and Wachovia will enable Hicks and Gillett to repay the £298m they have borrowed over the past 12 months to buy the club, absorb existing debts of £44.8m, sign players and finance work on the new stadium.
The additional funds will repay interest and enable work on the stadium project to start.
Of the £350m refinancing package £105m will be saddled on Liverpool, with £185m secured on Hicks and Gillett's holding company Kop Investment.
The Americans are believed to have increased their personal guarantees from £30m each to about £55m.
In another sweetener, Rafa Benitez has been informed by Hicks that he intends to tie up the proposed £17m transfer of fans’ favourite Javier Mascherano at the earliest possible opportunity.

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