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Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson understands fans' protest

Fans protest at Anfield after Liverpool's draw with Sunderland
Fans displayed banners demanding a change of ownership

Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson said he "cannot criticise" the fans who staged a protest against the club's owners after the 2-2 draw with Sunderland.

"I don't think anybody at the club wants anything but a solution to the ownership problem," he said.

"The fans want to see the club moving forward and not sort of stuck with owners trying to sell the club."

Around 10,000 fans remained in Anfield after the match to urge co-owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks to sell.

The Royal Bank of Scotland, which is owed £237.4m of the club's £282m debts, is due to make a decision on recalling its loan in October.


The bank, which is 84% state-owned, could opt to take control of Kop Holdings, the company used by Hick and Gillett to purchase Liverpool in February 2007.

Managing director Christian Purslow has stated his determination to secure the club's future by finding new owners , saying that he wants a sale "more than anybody in the world."

Purslow, along with chairman Martin Broughton and commercial director Ian Ayre, form a majority on the board and could approve a sale without the American owners' agreement.

However, BBC business editor Robert Peston has suggested the club is likely to end up under bank ownership at least temporarily, with suitors potentially saving up to £320m if they buy from the bank rather than the club's current owners.

Hicks and Gillett, who took control of the club in February 2007, are believed to want £600m for the club, while a figure of £420m would effectively see them leave without having made a profit.

However, if the club was to fall into bank ownership it could be available for about £280m, a figure that includes £40m of penalty fees.

Meanwhile, Hodgson is left trying to turn round a club that finished seventh in the Premier League last season.

They have won only one of six league matches this campaign and were knocked out of the Carling Cup at home by League Two Northampton Town last Wednesday.

Before the draw against Sunderland Hodgson stated that the protest would not help the club's stability, but has now suggested that the issue has united the staff and supporters on Merseyside.

"The fans here are very passionate and care an awful lot about this football club," he added.

"You cannot criticise them for showing their displeasure about the situation."

Captain Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher applauded the fans who had remained in the ground as they returned to the pitch to warm down after the match.

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see also
Liverpool 2-2 Sunderland
25 Sep 10 |  Premier League
Liverpool chief calms money fears
22 Sep 10 |  Liverpool
Hicks to target Liverpool buyout
17 Sep 10 |  Liverpool
Liverpool close to bank debt deal
23 Jun 09 |  Business
US pair agree Liverpool takeover
06 Feb 07 |  Liverpool

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