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Page last updated at 18:24 GMT, Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Crisis threat for Merseyside duo

Bill Kenwright & Tom Hicks and George Gillett face an uncertain future
Bill Kenwright, Tom Hicks and George Gillett face differing financial problems

Keith Harris, chairman of investment bank Seymour Pierce, believes Liverpool and Everton face an uncertain future in the current global financial crisis.

Harris believes Liverpool co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett could face serious problems if they cannot pay back their 350m debt by January 2009.

And he has revealed Everton are no closer to being bought out, despite a lengthy search for new investors.

"It has never been more difficult to find buyers," he said.

Toffees chairman Bill Kenwright indicated he is willing to sell the club as far back as August and has asked Harris to help conduct the search.

But Harris said: "There has been no progress at all (with finding a buyer for Everton).

"It's no longer a question of price negotiation, it's should we? People are wondering if now is the time to spend.

"The demographics of Liverpool as an area are not hugely compelling."

And Harris insists the future may be just as bleak for Everton's Merseyside rivals Liverpool.

"Liverpool's debt is due in January, with maybe a six-month extension," he said.

"The two banks which are the principal lenders, Royal Bank of Scotland and Wachovia, are two of those that have suffered.

"Whether they want to lend it again or not, they may not be able to."

However, Harris did add: "If they cannot find equity, well, it's a brave banker that would repossess Liverpool Football Club."

Harris, who was addressing a meeting of football financiers in Zurich, has masterminded deals at Chelsea, Aston Villa, Hull, West Ham, Manchester City, and has been charged with organising Mike Ashley's sale of Newcastle United.

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see also
Harris hopeful over Everton sale
14 Oct 08 |  Everton
Newcastle sale 'progressing well'
13 Oct 08 |  Newcastle
Everton 'need billionaire owner'
03 Sep 08 |  Everton
Kenwright open to 'right' offers
06 Aug 08 |  Everton

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