06 May 2010 – 17:17:00
iverpool co-owner Tom Hicks is angry at the publication of comments from him which suggested it will take another two years to sell the club.
Reports on Thursday quoted the Texan as saying he and fellow American George Gillett had been owners for three years but would not be in charge for a total of five.
That was interpreted as him claiming it would take two years to sell the club he and Gillett bought back in 2007.
However, it is understood Hicks has reacted angrily to the publication of the remarks, which he does not deny making but which were part of an interview with American magazine Sports Business Journal in late March.
The Texan has pointed out the comments were made before he and Gillett officially put the club up for sale last month.
He also clarified a quote in which he said he had paid a “terrible price” for ownership of the club – he claims that referred to his American-based sports interests in the form of Texas Rangers baseball team and Dallas Stars ice hockey franchise.
His request for balance and perspective is, however, unlikely to cut much ice with the majority of supporters who are keen to see the Americans’ reign come to a swift end.
That still seems some way off with the sale ongoing, with newly-appointed chairman Martin Broughton overseeing the process.
Manager Rafael Benitez was hoping to get a better idea about what the future holds both for the club and himself personally at his meeting with Broughton.
The Spaniard is hoping to be given an idea of what transfer budget is likely to await him in the summer, although it is unlikely Broughton – as a non-executive director – has the authority to give definite assurances.
Unless a buyer is found it seems improbable Hicks and Gillett will invest any more money, which leaves Benitez with a dilemma.
He has been linked with Juventus since January but the Italian club’s failure to qualify for the Champions League – similar to Liverpool – and their apparent waning interest in appointing the Spaniard makes leaving a difficult option.
But staying and having to work on a limited budget – especially when Benitez believes he needs four of five players to at least get the squad back into top-four contention – also presents difficulties.
The feeling of uncertainty has not been helped by veteran defender Jamie Carragher’s admission that he will not begin discussions on a new contract until the start of next season.
Carragher, 32, has dismissed suggestions he would leave Anfield if he did not get the right offer and insisted he wanted to see out his career at the club he joined as a boy.
“I’ve spoken to the manager about it and we both agreed that it would be better if we talked about it at the start of next season,” said Carragher, who has acknowledged his playing days are nearing an end after organising a testimonial against boyhood favourites and near-neighbours Everton on September 4.
“I don’t want to retire yet. I understand at my age you can only make decisions season by season but I want to finish my career at Liverpool.
“I don’t want to play for anyone else.”