Tom Hicks and George Gillett are on the precipice of losing ownership of Liverpool Football Club at a marked loss on their initial investment after club director Martin Broughton successfully out-maneuvered the club's owners to gain approval of the Reds' sale to New England Sports Ventures.
At least, that's how Broughton described this events which started Tuesday, when Hicks and Gillett attempted to regain control of the club's board of directors by replacing two-fifths of the panel with pro-ownership members.
The Independent outlines the plot beautifully, a story which starts moments before a board meeting called to consider two proposals to purchase the club.
Shortly before that meeting, Broughton (per his telling) received notice that board members Christian Purslow (Managing Director) and Ian Arye (Commercial Director) had been removed from their places and replaced by Mack Hicks (Tom Hicks' son) and Lori McCutcheon, a financier at Hicks Holdings.
Under the impression that he held the sole power to undertake chances to the board, Broughton - who became director in April as part of a plan to appease Hicks and Gillett's creditors - sought legal advise, trying to assess whether the club's owners were empowered to make such changes. Advised that the duo did not, Broughton informed Hicks and Gillett that the action was rejected, and although the owners asked for the meeting to be adjourned, Broughton persisted with the process.
The owners then left the meeting, leaving George Gillett's lawyer behind. The sale of Liverpool to New England Sport Ventures was then approved, leaving the club to pursue a court to validate its actions as legal.
Though Broughton speaks of the legal proceedings as perfunctory, the failed coup, the walk-out in protest, and the decision with only three-fifths of the board present could provide a remarkable ending to one of the more melancholy ownership tenures in recent spots history.
Still, what strikes me about the Independent's piece is the forthright-ness with which Broughton speaks. He is the director of a club whose sale (and corresponding legal proceedings) is still pending, yet he has no qualms with providing surprising detail to the behind-doors happenings at Anfield. His frank nature speaks to the degree to which bridges are burned, the contempt Hicks and Gillett have accumulated, and the need to garner a public trust around the reclamation of Liverpool.
While it seems strange that an ownership group is being pushing-out against their wishes, within the context of the last year at Anfield, it somehow makes perfect sense.