LONDON, Jan 31 (Reuters) - Liverpool fans are to launch a plan to buy out American owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks amid growing concerns over the running of the club, the BBC reported on Thursday.
The Share Liverpool FC Group is hoping to get 100,000 fans of the club from around the world to raise 500 million pounds ($993.4 million) in a “Barcelona style” member share scheme.
Tycoons Gillett and Hicks bought the club last year but poor results on the pitch, doubts over the financing of the proposed new stadium and the uncertain future of manager Rafael Benitez have cast a cloud over the season.
One of the main people involved in the proposed fans’ buy-out, football business lecturer and Liverpool fan Rogan Taylor, said it was about time clubs were controlled by fans as they often are in Spain and Germany.
“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,” Taylor, who is director of the Football Industry Group at the University of Liverpool, told the BBC.
“Thousands of Liverpool fans have already demonstrated their dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs.
“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.”
Hicks and Gillett completed a 350 million pounds re-financing deal last Friday and said they had no plans to sell the club to Dubai International Capital (DIC).
“That was never a serious possibility and certainly isn’t today. I can’t think of a price that I would think of having any interest in selling at all,” Hicks, who also owns NHL team the Dallas Stars and the Texas Rangers baseball club, said last week.
“There is no question in my mind that I will still be an owner of Liverpool Football Club in five years.” (Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Ed Osmond)