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Liverpool sold to Red Sox owners

sports Updated: Oct 16, 2010 00:36 IST

Liverpool was sold to the owners of the Boston Red Sox on Friday after a bitter trans-Atlantic court fight over the storied English club with the previous American owners. The 300 million pound ($476 million) deal with New England Sports Ventures ends the turbulent three-year ownership by Tom Hicks and George Gillett Jr.

The sale finally went through after Hicks and Gillett withdrew the temporary restraining order blocking the sale they had obtained in a Texas court. But they vowed to pursue a claim for $1.6 billion in damages.

The deal came on the day set as the deadline for repayment of the club's debts to the Royal Bank of Scotland and Wells Fargo, which have risen to around 285 million pounds.

"We are committed first and foremost to winning," said John Henry, the financier who heads NESV. "We have a history of winning, and today we want LFC supporters to know that this approach is what we intend to bring to this great club."

Amid the takeover turmoil, Liverpool is mired in the relegation zone after its worst start to a league season since 1953. Broughton said the deal “comprehensively resolves the pressing issue of the club's debt and should give staff, players and fans great confidence regarding the future of Liverpool FC.” Liverpool went to the High Court in London twice this week to win approval for the sale over the objections of Hicks and Gillett, who claim the price undervalues the 18-time English champions. “It's been pretty stressful but we've been confident all the way through that we'd get there,” Broughton said.

Broughton said he would stay on as chairman in a transitional role, while Henry decides how he wants to run the club. Henry reached out to Liverpool fans in a bid to break with the deeply unpopular Hicks and Gillett.

Henry said it was too early to decide on specific plans, but noted the Red Sox are the second-highest spending club in baseball.

Liverpool, under manager Roy Hodgson, is hoping to sign new players in the next transfer period in January.

Henry wouldn't say whether NESV would build a new stadium for Liverpool or refurbish its existing Anfield ground. Liverpool plays cross-city rival Everton on Sunday at Goodison Park. Henry indicated he won't attend that away game.

Liverpool's next home game is against Blackburn on October 24.