It was a good day yesterday. Chilean miners rescued, my mothers birthday, listening to a return to form from the Manic Street Preachers and of course the goings on the High Courts.
I was very tempted to feel like the miners and celebrate a change of circumstances that were for the better. However, suspicion still meant I couldn’t bring myself to do that fully even though those outside the court, fans and board alike, were smiling. Even though Hicks and Gillett were accused of “breathtaking arrogance” and being “slippery”.
Since this morning’s news things have moved quickly. John W Henry turned up at yesterday evening’s board meeting was about to start suggesting that talks concerning an NESV takeover were at an advanced stage and that the other bids, from Lim and Mill, were basically not in the picture. However, after that we have the news that Statler and Waldorf and have done the usual American thing and claimed for damages via a Texas Court. This could, temporarily at least, prevent the NESV deal going through. It certainly prevented it going through last night.
The damages claim, against NESV, RBS and certain Liverpool board members, is for around £1billion. This is clearly out of proportion to the amount Hicks and Gillett would have lost. Presumably it is meant to reflect lost future earnings, which is also a laugh given the last sets of club accounts? I guess this is just the sort of distorted, shock opening gambit that you always seem to get with these American lawsuits? Woman sues McDonalds for $40 billion as she burns her mouth on one of their apple pies but eventually settles for $1,000 and lifetime’s supply of Happy Meals!
One of The Star Spangled Duo’s beefs is that higher bids have not been considered and the sale to NESV represents, with a probably unintentional nod to Malcolm McLaren, an “epic swindle”. It’s certainly “epic” in terms of the money Hicks and Gillett could lose. The also maintain that RBS would only ratify deals that would see Hicks and Gillett lose money. As far as I can see all the deals, those that have been publicised at least, would probably have seen The Star Spangled Duo out of pocket and none matched their idea of the true market value of the club?
I guess the question is will the Texas injunction stand up? Does it have any clout in the light of today’s decision from the English High Court? As I write the Liverpool board have described it as “unwarranted and damaging” and that they will seek to have it removed ASAP however, it has held up the sale. I’m no lawyer but at the High Court Justice Floyd (no relation to this blogger) told the Star Spangled Duo that it would be “inappropriate” to appeal against the decision. The obvious counter to this is that presumably Hicks and Gillett wouldn’t have done what they’ve done if they didn’t feel they had a chance of at least recouping all or part of their investment. On the other hand perhaps they are just desperate, clutching at an ever diminishing bundle of straws? From the highest court in the land to some two bit outfit in Texas suggests so and if this was going to win then why didn’t they go down the damages route in the first place? I guess the small consolation is that if they are seeking damages then they have probably given up on owning the club?
So this promises to run and run and I wonder if, when it’s all over, there’s a Hollywood film in it? Given Tinsel Town’s penchant for “bending” true life stories to make their films more marketable perhaps it will see Hicks and Gillett (played by Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise) win the battle and then go on to win over the fans by having one of them score the winner in next season’s Champions League Final!
It’s a fanciful yarn and lets hope today’s events eventually mean that the real “good guys” win?