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Gillett quiet on Liverpool sale reports

SoccerNews in English Premier League 30 Oct 2008

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George Gillett has refused to comment on speculation that he and Liverpool co-owner Tom Hicks have put the club up for sale.

Reports have suggested Gillett and Hicks were set to sell their stake at Anfield with the investment bank Merrill Lynch believed to have been contacted to find a buyer for the club.

The two tycoons need to restructure their 350 million pound (442m euros) loan with the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), which expires in January.

But the bank, at present under public ownership because of the global credit crunch, has adopted a policy of restructuring loans only in extremely favourable conditions which prompted talk of the pair looking to sell.

Asked directly about the rumours Gillett said on Thursday: “The stories feed on themselves and some are made up.

“With regard to what we’re doing we would not have any comment on that – there has already been enough speculation on that.”

Gillett is confident Liverpool – and Premier League clubs overall – are in a good financial position despite large debts they have to survive in testing economic times.

“I don’t know all of the facts. What I read is not in the newspapers because it is an unreliable source – what I am looking at are other financial filings which I think are more reliable,” Gillett said.

“There are certain sports which have felt the impact. It’s a good time to be cautious but it’s a bit early to write the obituary of professional sports.”

Gillett also admitted that plans for a new stadium have not been shelved permanently and revealed his relationship with the fans has improved.

“There are some of things which have happened which have upset the fans and got them mad at Tom and myself,” Gillett told Toronto Sport’s Radio.

“At this point, based on the media that we are seeing and an awful lot of the fan communication, I think they are at a point now where they are allowing the boys to demonstrate their skill.

“And also to allow Rafael Benitez – who is one of the great coaches – to do his thing and we just want to leave it that way and we will operate behind the scenes and let the club do the talking.”

On the stadium Gillet added: “We put it off on a temporary basis and we continued to invest substantial money every month in both engineering, architecture, planning, approving and zoning.

“All of the various measures you go through so there is still a substantial effort going on but the current situation in the financial world has made it prudent to delay it for an immediate period of time until the money market eases up.

“Tom and I talking and we are working together. They seem to have a measure over in England as to how well you getting along as friends by whether use first names to each or other or not.

“And the answer to that is that we are talking to each other on a first-name basis.

“Things are good. Tom is a great guy and he is smart as hell. We got off on the wrong basis and I think we are a little embarrassed by that.”

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