Global credit crunch

Banks could force sale of 'vulnerable' Liverpool

November 12, 2008
By Soccernet staff

Premier League takeover broker Keith Harris believes Liverpool could go into financial meltdown in January and might be forced to sell up.

EmpicsThe replacement or refurbishment of Anfield is a key issue in any takeover.

Harris, who has masterminded deals for Chelsea, Aston Villa, Hull City, West Ham United and Manchester City and is currently seeking buyers for Newcastle United and Everton, claims that the Reds could be severely affected by the global credit crunch.

Bickering Liverpool owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett have two months to pay back a reported £350million worth of debt and with refinancing packages and new financial stakeholders getting harder and harder to find the Merseyside club might have to offload star players to pay off the debt.

The worse case scenario would be for the banks to consider repossessing the club if the payments cannot be met.

"The one that worries me is Liverpool," said Harris. "Liverpool's debt is due in January, with maybe a six-month extension."

"The two banks which are the principal lenders - the Royal Bank of Scotland and Wachovia - are two of those that have suffered. Whether they want to lend it again or not, they may not be able to."

Harris, chairman of Seymour Pierce investment bank and a former Football League chairman, has also admitted that Everton and Newcastle are no closer to finding a buyer.

"It has never been more difficult to find buyers," explained Harris.

"It's no longer a question of price negotiation - it's should we? People are wondering if now is the time to spend."

Los Angeles Galaxy owner Philip Anschutz was linked by a number of newspapers with a possible bid for Newcastle as part of a US consortia but the owner of AEG denied the reports on Wednesday.

"Neither AEG nor anyone affiliated with the organisation are in negotiations or are contemplating the purchase of Newcastle United Football Club," the billionaire said in a statement.