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Liverpool fans plan protest

The protest has been orchestrated by Liverpool fans angry about Hicks and Gillett's plans for the club and whether they intend to sell it.

sports Updated: Jan 21, 2008 18:41 IST

Liverpool fans are planning a huge protest against the club's American owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett when their side take on Aston Villa in the Premier League at Anfield on Monday.

The protest has been orchestrated by Liverpool fans angry about Hicks and Gillett's plans for the club and whether they intend to sell it to Dubai International Capital, the investment arm of the Dubai Government.

Hicks and Gillett, who bought the club 11 months ago for 220.0 million pounds ($428.8 million), are currently trying to organise a 300 million pound refinancing deal with banks.

That would allow them to refinance their original deal, repay loans taken out to buy players last year and to commence work on a new stadium.

If the debt is not re-financed within the next three weeks, the interest repayments on it would rocket to around 30.0 million pounds a year.

DIC, who were outbid when Hicks and Gillett bought the club a year ago, are now widely reported by the British media to be considering a renewed bid.

Hicks angered Liverpool's fans last week and undermined manager Rafa Benitez when he revealed the club had spoken to former Germany coach Juergen Klinsmann about possibly taking over as coach.

DISCUSSIONS DENIED

In a statement issued on Sunday he said he remained "fully committed" in his role as co-owner.

He also denied he has been involved in discussions with DIC about a potential bid of up to 500 million pounds.

Hicks said in a statement: "I have not received any offer to purchase the club from the DIC or anyone else, much less accepted any such offer.

"Nor do I have any intention of doing so. Whoever is behind this false report, the facts are that I and my family have always been, and remain, fully committed to co-owning the club; that no-one in my family has ever indicated any intention or desire to sell our stake in the club; and that we expect and intend to be co-owners of the club, and to actively and enthusiastically support the club's manager, players and fans for many years to come."

The statement was issued through financial consultancy Financial Dynamics.

If Hicks and Gillett were to sell the club for 350 million pounds now, city analysts estimate they would each make about 30 million pounds profit from the deal.

The situation also turns some of the spotlight onto Spanish manager Benitez, who has taken the club to two Champions League finals, winning one of them.

His relationship with the American owners was strained at the end of last year over transfer policy but has since eased.

British media reported that DIC are considering a bid of around 350 million pounds, and analysts say they will not want to pay more if they are purchasing a club in debt and with a new stadium still to finance.