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Fans plan Liverpool buyout

A group of Liverpool supporters plan to buy their beloved club from its American owners - Tom Hicks and George Gillet.

sports Updated: Jan 31, 2008 11:50 IST

A group of Liverpool supporters are trying to succeed where the financial might of Dubai International Capital (DIC) has so far failed and buy their beloved club from its American owners.

Tom Hicks and George Gillett may have, for the time being at least, seen off the threat to their Anfield reign from DIC, an international investment company, and recently completed a 350 million pounds re-financing deal that left Liverpool with interest payments of some 30 million pounds per year.

Manager Rafael Benitez has been promised the arrangements won't affect his ability to sign new players at the end of the current season but financially, as well as in footballing terms, much depends upon Liverpool's ability to keep playing in the lucrative European Champions League.

A 1-0 domestic defeat away to West Ham on Wednesday left Liverpool seventh in a Premier League where only the top four at the end of the season qualify for European football's most prestigious club competition.

To make matters worse for Liverpool fans it is their city rivals Everton who currently occupy the all-important fourth position in the table.

But, regardless of the club's on-field form, the boardroom set-up at Anfield remains a concern for a new organisation called 'Share Liverpool FC' which has now announced plans for a supporters co-operative to buy the club.

The plan is to produce a members-share scheme similar to the one already in existence at Spanish giants Barcelona, effectively owned by its fans, and raise 500 million pounds to buy the club and build a new stadium in Stanley Park, close to Liverpool's existing Anfield home ground.

Rogan Taylor, one of the figures behind 'Share Liverpool FC' and a lifelong fan of the north-west club, said: "The time is right to offer a different solution to the rising concerns that football fans have about the patterns of ownership developing at our major football clubs.

"Thousands of Liverpool fans have already demonstrated their dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs.

"Large amounts of debt often devolves onto clubs newly purchased, but the fans know that, in the end, it will be they themselves who will have to pay it off through increased ticket prices and other schemes.

"In such a case, why not simply buy the club yourselves?," Taylor, director of the football industry group at Liverpool University, asked.

"What many don't realise is that there are other ways of financing and taking ownership of big clubs. In Germany and Spain, most top level football clubs are simply not for sale.

"They are owned by many thousands of 'member fans'," Taylor explained. "The Champions League has been won on six occasions in the last 15 years by clubs owned and run in such a way."