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Last Updated: Friday, 3 December, 2004, 12:01 GMT
Morgan waits for Liverpool prize
By Phil McNulty
Chief football writer

Building tycoon Steve Morgan's long and painful battle to buy control at Liverpool turned personal at a turbulent annual general meeting earlier this month.

Morgan, with a fourth offer of 70m on the table, was still being defied by an Anfield board he has criticised.

The lifelong Liverpool fan made a personal fortune estimated to be in excess of 300m as the founder of the Redrow Homes empire.

But he has not been able to get his hands on the prize he covets most.

And now, just a few weeks after that meeting descended into angry scenes when his wife Didy unexpectedly took the microphone, Morgan has withdrawn that latest 70m offer.

At the AGM, his wife had claimed chairman David Moores and the club's directors would prefer to do a deal with "the devil himself" rather than her husband.

And the feeling is growing in the Morgan camp that Liverpool will have explored every possible avenue before they accept his money.

Morgan is a self-made millionaire who built Redrow into a company that made him one of the north-west's most successful entrepeneurs.

He started the company with a 5,000 loan from his father and Redrow was floated on the Stock Market in 2000.

Morgan quit the company in 2000, but he remains their biggest shareholder.

He has invested in property in the United States, North Wales and Jersey and has between 300m and 400m worth of developments in progress.

Along with Welsh partners he has developed Festival Parks, Majorca's biggest entertainment complex, which attracts 3m visitors a year.

He had a 68m stake in De Vere, owners of the Belfry Golf Club and Brighton's world famous Grand Hotel.

They bought his 192-bedroom Carden Park Hotel near Chester and St David's Hotel in North Wales in 1992.

Rick Parry and David Moores
Parry and Moores must make a crucial choice

This has all strengthened Morgan's hand as he embarked on a concerted campaign to buy into Liverpool.

Morgan has long been a harsh critic of Liverpool's boardroom regime.

And, despite Liverpool holding talks with the Thai government, rumours of an American consortium, and a mystery fourth bidder, he simply refused to walk away.

Possibly he now has.

Morgan has long been linked with major investment in Liverpool.

Chairman Moores hinted at 2003's AGM that it was time to "bury the hatchet" with his long-time critic.

But after no progress and moves from the Thai government, Morgan went on the attack in May as he looked to be losing his battle.

He staged an early morning news conference to go public, delivering his bid in a red van with an LIV FC number plate, a tug on the Kop's heartstrings.

Morgan may have left Anfield frustrated again on Thursday, but one tell-tale sign may give him renewed hope.

And it is that finally Moores, an outstanding chairman and benefactor in the past, hinted he may be finally tiring of the in-fighting.

He said: "I love the club but I cannot compete with Mr Morgan's millions."

Moores is a notoriously private man who steers well clear of any spotlight, and he will hate the circus currently surrounding the club's future.

Morgan, in contrast, has the wealth and the time to devote to Liverpool and may one day see the winning post after all.

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