Judge rules against owners in Liverpool dispute

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“This will pave the way to a sale,” Broughton said outside the court after Wednesday’s ruling. “We will have a board meeting this evening and proceed with the sale process.

“I’m not going to prejudge the board meeting. It would be inappropriate to prejudge what the board is going to say. But the club’s going to have a great future. … We will get the right owners for the fans.”

The ruling was a victory for Broughton, who was hired to oversee the sale process in April, managing director Christian Purslow and commercial director Ian Ayre.

“Well done Martin, Christian & Ian,” John Henry posted on his Twitter account after the announcement. “Well done RBS. Well done supporters!”

Hicks and Gillett claim the NESV offer undervalues the club and their legal team argued in court that other bids should be reconsidered.

The judge, who heard five hours of court arguments in the case Tuesday, ruled that Hicks and Gillett have “no absolute right to veto a sale” and said he didn’t want to issue a ruling that could “damage” the Boston bid.

“In these circumstances, it would be entirely wrong to grant the owners “an injunction to stop the sale,” he said.

The judge said it would be “inappropriate” for Hicks and Gillett to appeal. The owners will have to pay legal costs.

Keith Oliver, a lawyer representing the duo, said he was consulting with Hicks and Gillett on their next steps.

Outside the court, dozens of Liverpool fans _ many wearing team shirts and waving banners and club scarves _ cheered, chanted slogans against Hicks and Gillett and serenaded the three board members with the Liverpool anthem “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”

Had the sale been blocked, Liverpool could have fallen into financial administration, a form of bankruptcy protection that would have incurred a nine-point penalty for the club from the Premier League.

“The work off the pitch has been done,” 25-year-old fan Kam Dhinsey outside the court. “Now the players need to work harder and get the right results on the pitch, because this must have been playing on their minds.”

It was also revealed Tuesday that American hedge fund Mill Financial has put in a bid that also pledges to wipe out the club’s debts and would provide up to $158 million to fund a new stadium.

Mill Financial technically controls Gillett’s 50 percent stake after he defaulted on the loan used by Gillett to fund his part of the leveraged takeover in 2007.


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