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Fans make Liverpool takeover move


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Liverpool supporters are to launch an ambitious plan to buy the football club from its current American owners.



US tycoons George Gillett and Tom Hicks recently finalised a £350m refinancing of the club which they bought in 2007.


But the Share Liverpool FC Group is to reveal plans for a buy-out of the club by 100,000 Reds fans around the world.


The model proposed will be a Barcelona style, "member-share" scheme, aimed at raising £500m to purchase the club from its US owners and build a new stadium.



As well as UK-based fans, a website will be launched to attract interest from Liverpool's supporter base around the world, particularly in East Asia.



Club refinancing


Those behind the move are football business lecturer and Liverpool fan Rogan Taylor, former director of communications at the Premier League Phil French, and lawyer Kevin Jacquiss - an expert in launching co-operatives.


"The time is right to offer a different solution to the rising concerns that football fans have about the patterns of ownership developing at our major football clubs," said Mr Taylor, who is director of the Football Industry Group at the University of Liverpool.


Full details of how the fans' group hopes to buy the club will be revealed later on Thursday, although the initial figures seem to suggest an investment per supporter of £5,000 each.


Many Liverpool supporters have been unhappy at the recent uncertainty surrounding the refinancing of the club.


After much delay, and reports that either one or both of the owners was willing to sell a stake to Dubai's DIC, a refinancing deal was signed last week with the Royal Bank of Scotland and US bank Wachovia.


Tom Hicks confirmed to the BBC last week that of the £350m refinancing package, £105m of that will be debt tied to the club.


Of that total, £45m will be used for future player transfers and to meet the club's working capital needs, and the remaining £60m is thought to be free for start-up money for a new Liverpool stadium.


However, some supporters are unhappy about debt being placed on to the club, and there is also a perception that the owners' support for manager Rafa Benitez has not been as strong as it might.



Debt burden


"Thousands of Liverpool fans have already demonstrated their dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs," said Mr Taylor.


"Large amounts of debt often devolves onto clubs newly purchased, but the fans know that in the end, it will be they themselves who will have to pay it off through increased ticket prices and other schemes.


"In such a case, why not simply buy the club yourselves?"


He said that many fans were unaware that there were other ways of financing and taking ownership of big clubs.


Mr Taylor said that in Germany and Spain most top-level football clubs were not for sale as they were owned by many thousands of "member fans".


"The Champions League has been won on six occasions in the last 15 years by clubs owned and run in such a way," he said.


Barcelona, which won the Champions League in 2006, is owned by its 100,000 fan-members.



Stadium plan


Earlier this month a survey carried out by the Liverpool Supporters' network showed that 76% of 2,000 fans questioned said they would "seriously consider reducing their financial commitment to the club" if the current owners stayed in charge.


When asked to choose between the owners and the manager as to who had the best interest of the club at heart, 99% backed Benitez.


However, Tom Hicks and George Gillett have insisted that they are fully behind manager Rafael Benitez.


They also say the club plans to build the 71,000-seat venue close to Anfield in Stanley Park in time for the 2011-12 season.



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Never going to happen.


Not unless the new stadium is a 100,000 seater.


Who the fuck is going to fork over £5,000 when they can't even get a ticket.


exactly, i know that if i was part owner of a club id at least want into the stadium. And anyways Gillett and hicks(legends) wont sell there money pit

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