Technically, they’re waiting for the owners of both clubs (Hicks & Gillett at Liverpool and Ashley at Newcastle) to be forced by the financial credit crunch to reduce their asking price and get out or risk defaulting on the debts the clubs have accrued.
Today DIC came out with a statement saying that:
“DIC is not involved in any negotiations to buy Liverpool and is not planning a fresh bid for LFC or any other club.”
DIC’s past with Liverpool is well-documented – they wanted to buy the club and were close to finalising the deal (in fact the DIC execs were about to book their flights for a press conference announcing the deal) before Moores did an about-face and sold to Hicks and Gillett on a deal that netted him more money from selling his shares.
Sameer Al Ansari is on record as saying that they (DIC) didn’t want something like this to tarnish their reputation, and after dealing with Hicks and Gillett once in the past I’m 100% certain they won’t come back to the negotiating table unless the owners agree to the offer made by DIC in the first place.
Liverpool cannot currently finance the new stadium – the loans were too risky – and if the credit crunch worsens then serious questions will be asked about Liverpool’s ability to pay off current debts, let alone build a brand new stadium. And when that happens, and when/if Hicks and Gillett are unable to take out more loans to pay off the interest for previous loans, they will more likely than not bail out.
But not before they push it to the brink in an attempt to get things right and get the stadium built.
So Liverpool is out – where does that leave Newcastle?
As Ashley has pointed out, he’s ploughed 200m+ in the club and there are still payments to be paid for players bought before he purchased the club. The fans have ridiculously high expectations, yes, but they would have lived with Keegan even if he didn’t win them trophies for a few years. Keegan’s gone now, and since Shearer isn’t ready for management there’s no one left who holds authority over the Geordie faithful, and this means intense pressure on whoever comes in next.
Financially and politically Newcastle are much better off than before but perhaps not in a state where a backer like DIC would be interested in coming in and sorting things out. There’s too much work to be done to take Newcastle to Liverpool’s level (Champions League regulars) – possibly another 200m to be spent on players – and DIC would wait for a bigger opportunity to come along before thinking of Newcastle. Then again, with the reaction of the fans to Ashley (who has been reticent about sharing his view for the club until it was too late), DIC might just keep away to avoid the ridiculous expectations.
That is, unless Newcastle is put up for sale at a cut-price deal that allows DIC to come in and rebuild without putting too much capital up front.
Newcastle and Liverpool fans will need to look elsewhere – with Liverpool needing an investor who is willing to pay Hicks & Gillett an inflated price and Newcastle looking for an investor who can put up with the fans long enough to guide the club towards the promised land of success.