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Thursday, December 2, 2004

Moore ponders future after stormy AGM

LIVERPOOL, England, Dec 2 (Reuters) - Liverpool chairman David Moores, who has a controlling stake in the club, says he is considering his position because of the strain of takeover talks.

Liverpool chairman: David Moores (BarryCoombs/Empics)

'This last 12 months has not been easy. It's been unbearable. I haven't slept and my family - it's difficult for them,' Moores told the club's annual general meeting on Thursday.

'I have to consider my options. I love the club, but clearly that's not enough. I can't compete with Mr Morgan's millions,' he added.

Moores, who owns a 51 percent stake in Liverpool, was referring to businessman Steve Morgan, who told the meeting that he had made a fourth bid to invest ?0million in the club.

'There is an offer on the table,' said Morgan. 'And the money can be in the bank by Christmas.'

A consortium, led by U.S.-based film producer Mike Jefferies and lawyer Stuart Ford, said on Thursday that they may make a takeover bid and had approached the club's financial advisers.

That was later denied by Liverpool chief executive Rick Parry who said no talks had taken place.

'We are not in discussions with them, I can confirm that,' he said.

Another controversial bid from the Thai government, later taken on by Thai media tycoon Paiboon Damrongchaitham, stalled earlier in the year.

Moores's comments came after Morgan's wife Didy complained of Liverpool's reluctance to deal with her husband and said he had spent more than ?00,000 in fees in his attempt to put money into the club.

'It's as if a deal would be done with the devil rather than my husband,' she said.

Moores said the latest offer from Morgan was being considered but the club were also bound to investigate the approach from L4.

The AGM also heard that the cost of a proposed switch from Anfield to a new 60,000 seater stadium at Stanley Park had risen from an estimated ?0million to ?15million.

Parry said the club was looking for a grant from the North West Development Agency but the chairman of the NWDA wanted a groundshare with city rivals Everton and a government ruling was expected by the end of the month.

Parry also revealed that the club decided to sell Michael Owen to Real Madrid for eight million pounds when the England striker refused to sign a new contract.

'It is telling that there were no other bidders for Michael Owen,' said Parry. 'We did test the water and there was no interest.'

soccernet
 

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RICK PARRY'S AGM SPEECH IN FULL
Paul Rogers 02 December 2004
Rick Parry spoke at Anfield on Thursday night to the Club's shareholders at the AGM and here is the full transcript of his business review of the last 12 months.
"It has certainly been an eventful twelve months.

In the spring the Board appointed Hawkpoint to advise on funding options.

Subsequently a number of parties have expressed interest in investing in the Club, including one that has approached us very recently (not, I hasten to add, via the Financial Times).

The Board is continuing to evaluate the proposals and is putting a great deal of time and care into this process. You can be sure we are fully committed to doing what we consider to be in the best long-term interest of the Club and its shareholders. The key is to find the right long term solution and not to be deflected by short-term considerations. As soon as we have an appropriate recommendation it will be put before you. Obviously there are significant confidentiality issues and commercial sensitivities and I'm sure you'll understand we are unable to say more at this stage.

Last year I told you we had invested in the squad to secure, at the very least, a return to the Champions League. I said that the key financial objective for the year was to control our net debt and we have done so.

Despite securing Champions League qualification, as you are all aware, the Board decided in May to part company with Gerard Houllier. A 30-point gap between us and Arsenal was too big and it was not acceptable to be out of the title race so early. We could not see how the necessary improvement would come without making a change but we did our best to handle Gerard's departure with dignity, recognising that we had some very good times during his 6-year tenure.

Appointing a new manager is always a challenge, especially for clubs where expectations are as high as they rightly are here.

We needed to find someone capable of taking us to the league title. There was never a debate about English or foreign - it was about ability. Our two key criteria as we began our selection process were:

i) a track record of success in one of Europe's top four leagues;

ii) anambition and hunger that matched our own. This pointed to someone young.

We were delighted that that Rafael Benitez wanted to join us. Having won the Spanish league not once but twice, he met the criteria perfectly. Le me also re-iterate that he was our number one choice. We got the man we wanted and we were not turned down by anyone.

Having had Rafa on board for 6 months, we are sure that we made the right decision.

There have been two great victories this week. Those of us that were at White Hart Lane last night were particularly proud to see us finish the game with seven Academy players on the pitch. And that's not a one-off as the youngsters had already done ever so well to take us through tricky ties against Millwall and Middlesbrough. It's an old adage that you don't know whether they'll be good enough unless you give them the chance to play.

The third major "event" of the summer, which delighted us all, was Steven Gerrard's decision to stay. To Steven's great credit this was never a financial issue - money was never mentioned. He simply wanted to be sure the Club was going in the right direction.

You will all be aware that we finally received planning permission for the new stadium in the summer. This was a culmination of years of effort on the part of the Club and the local community.

I told you last year that the ground share debate had been raised by the North West Development Agency. I explained that the project needs a substantial amount of public funding, not simply for the stadium, but for the refurbishment of Stanley Park, the cemetery and the surrounding environment. We submitted an application for funding of the Agency, along with the City Council, a year ago and unfortunately the position has still not been resolved. The Agency has, through its Chairman, adopted the position that it would prefer to see a shared stadium.

We have rejected a number of proposals and repeatedly statedthat the vast majority of our supporters are opposed to the idea. Now the Minister for Sport has become involved in an effort to resolve the position once and for all within an agreed timetable.

At the moment we are still pressing for our grant application to be considered. It is not possible to say what the outcome will be and the delays are frustrating. It cannot be denied that the public funding is a very important component but beyond that there is little to be gained by speculating on the ifs, buts and maybes."
I will add thoughts later got to get ready to go out in a minute
 

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my contacts tell me the L4 group bid is likely to succeed.

-p
 

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rusko said:
my contacts tell me the L4 group bid is likely to succeed.

-p
I echo that... from the look of it, Morgan is never gonna get it
 

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The L4 bid that hasn't even been made?

L4 are only just entering into talks with Hawkspoint, while the possibility is they will get something together the excitement at board level seems to come more from this mystery bid.
 

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CardiffRed said:
The L4 bid that hasn't even been made?

L4 are only just entering into talks with Hawkspoint, while the possibility is they will get something together the excitement at board level seems to come more from this mystery bid.
the mystery bid is likely to be L4. if you read carefully, you will note that the excitement stems from talks with an undisclosed entity which may lead to an exciting bid. dunk thinks it's L4 and i tend to agree based on the info i've seen.

morgan won't succeed because his bid basically consists of buying up lfc shares on the cheap. the thais would be accepted before him imo.

-p
 

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Rafa's full speech from the AGM

From the official Liverpool Site:

For the first time since arriving at Anfield manager Rafael Benitez addressed the club's shareholders during last night's AGM. Here's his speech in its entirety.

"Good evening ladies and gentlemen. Although I've been in Liverpool now for nearly six months, this is my first opportunity to speak to the shareholders. To start with, I want to thank you for the way you have made me, my family and staff feel so welcome since we arrived in England.

"Liverpool is one of the great names of European football and I saw how special Anfield was during my visits here with Valencia. But to actually stand on the touchline as Liverpool manager and hear the fans behind your team is a fantastic experience. I'm proud and privileged to be working here and want to say a few words on why I came to Liverpool and my plans for the future.

"I enjoyed some great successes with Valencia over the past three years and have many happy memories. But Liverpool is a huge club with fantastic support and I was excited by the challenge of bringing back honours to Anfield. I was aware of the reputation of the club, but that was an inspiration, not a burden to me.

Great things have been achieved here in the past and I'm hungry to repeat that in the future. I feel confident we can, because the stable structure of the club allows me to focus on football.

"When I was first able to sit down with David Moores and Rick Parry to discuss the job, I understood these were responsible people undertaking a serious project. We spoke honestly about the size of the challenge we faced and the resources at our disposal. Both the strength of the squad and the financial realities we would be operating under.

"But what has struck me as a Spanish manager operating in England is how everyone at the club respects you and supports you. They always want the best for you and the team. The kind of people I am now working with at Liverpool - from the Chairman and Board of Directors down - give me total confidence in this new project I have undertaken.This club exists to win trophies. It's what the great managers here have done before me and I'm determined to do the same. The target is obviously the Premier League title, but I am not going to make promises about timescales.

"My idea is to prepare the squad to win trophies and play good football. That means instilling a winning mentality. That will be the foundation stone for the future progress we make. It is easy when you win, but we need to be as strong when we lose. We are fighting against clubs with greater resources than us, so we need everyone - the Board, the staff, the players and the supporters to be fighting together.

"Our target is always to win the next game and worry about the League table at the end of the season. We know what we have to do and how we intend to do it and I am confident we will achieve success.

"But success does not just come from spending huge amounts of money. Hard work, proper planning and good coaching are very important. The players need to understand that they must always play as a team for the good of the team.

"We also need to ensure that good young players are being developed and brought through the ranks and I'm pleased so many of them have had the chance to show what they can do in the Carling Cup this season. I was proud of them last night at Spurs. We will continue to work closely with Steve Heighway and his staff at the Academy to make sure the young players have the best possible chance to succeed.

"Always we want to do things in the right way. The performance against Arsenal in the first half was a reference point and the atmosphere in the ground incredible. When you do things right, then everyone connected to the club - those who work here and the supporters everywhere are happy.

"I understand the level of expectation here and fully accept it. I wouldn't want it any other way, which is why I am here for the long term. It will take time and patience will be needed, but I believe we have already made progress this season. However, our work has only just begun.

"Thank you for your support."
 

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rusko said:
the mystery bid is likely to be L4. if you read carefully, you will note that the excitement stems from talks with an undisclosed entity which may lead to an exciting bid. dunk thinks it's L4 and i tend to agree based on the info i've seen.

morgan won't succeed because his bid basically consists of buying up lfc shares on the cheap. the thais would be accepted before him imo.

-p

Rick Parry has already said the mystery bid isn't L4.
 

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CardiffRed said:
Rick Parry has already said the mystery bid isn't L4.
that's because he's likely to be dealing with kraft directly. play on words, imo.

-p
 

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You can't deal with a consortium by dealing one member of it personally, there is also no evidence to suggest that that Kraft is involved, it's currently all rumour, we only know that Jefferies has a consortium in place.

Until L4 make a formal bid there is nothing for Parry to discuss.

That said I think it may succeed.
 

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of course everything is a rumour at this point. with that said, reasonably credible inside info points to kraft. given that, it follows that they are the financial power behind the bid and it is perfectly reasonable for parry to establish a separate channel of communication with the entity that is going to be writing the actual check.

as a business owner myself, i can tell you that i always try to talk to the 'decision maker' within any group, even if the deal was brought to me by their advisors/consultants. it does not always come off (advisors are hired for a reason), but not trying is stupid. i've saved many deals which would have otherwise crumbled this way.

-p
 
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