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Page last updated at 15:49 GMT, Thursday, 19 March 2009

Hicks never doubted Benitez deal

Tom Hicks
Hicks took control of Liverpool with Gillett in 2007

Liverpool co-owner Tom Hicks has told BBC Sport he never doubted manager Rafa Benitez would sign a new contract.

Benitez ended speculation about his future by signing a new deal on Wednesday that keeps him at the club until 2014.

"I was never worried because I know Rafa really wanted to stay at Liverpool and we wanted him to stay," Hicks told 5 Live Sport.

"We agreed the economics some time ago and I'm glad we finally got it done."

There had been speculation as to whether Benitez would remain with the Reds after what was a protracted period of negotiations over the new contract.

One of the rumoured stumbling blocks holding up the deal was the suggestion that Benitez wanted greater control over the club's transfer dealings and was unhappy with the time chief executive Rick Parry took to conclude deals.

However, Hicks refuted the suggestions that the club's transfer dealings were a cause of concern for Benitez.

"Rafa was never wanting control of the transfer policy, he just wanted to make sure we had better decision-making capability and that we moved quicker than we had in the past," said Hicks.

"Rafa will make the recommendations but in English football it's very important that the chief executive should make the financial decisions not the manager."

The club recently announced that Parry would be leaving his post at the end of the season and Hicks stated that finding the right man for the job was of paramount importance.

I was never worried because I know Rafa really wanted to stay at Liverpool and we wanted him to stay

Tom Hicks

"Rick had been with us 12 years, his heart was in the right place and he done a good job but it was time for a change and we need to make sure we get the right chief executive.

"Were starting the search. [Co-owner George Gillett] interviewed some headhunting firms in London this week and I'm going to interview some as well.

"We're going to take our time. It's the most important decision we can take on behalf of the club. In the meantime we have a great team"

Another issue that was rumoured to be holding up Benitez putting pen to paper was the fractured relationship between Hicks and his fellow owner George Gillett.

Hicks claims that any such problems between the two Americans has now been resolved and they are united in their forward-looking vision for the club.

John Barnes' Tummy

"Me and George have been getting on well for some time. I don't know how we got off course but it was stupid on both our parts and I think we've learnt that.

"We've been here for two years now and we've learnt so much about how the unique world of English football works and one of the thing we both feel is we need a proper board that sees over the day-to-day running of the club.

"We've brought in some good young players and you have to be able to develop your own young talent as well.

"To compete in the Premier League you need depth and we need to get stronger that way."

Hicks' reiterated the long-term aim of the club to build a new stadium and that once the global financial situation improves the club will press ahead with the project.

Whilst Benitez himself says he never considered leaving the club, he has suggested that he was concerned by the speculation regarding his future and length of time taken to conclude the deal.

"Because of the uncertainty it was a difficult time," he told the Liverpool Echo. "The conversations went on for a long time and because of that I was a bit worried.

"But it took a bit longer for everything to be concluded because there were certain issues that we needed to be clarified."

The Spaniard also praised the Liverpool fans and said that it was because of them that he signed his contract.

"My message to the fans is very clear - it is because of them that I am signing this contract. This is a fantastic club with fantastic fans - it is as simple as that."

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see also
Benitez signs long-term Reds deal
18 Mar 09 |  Liverpool
Alan Hansen's column
18 Mar 09 |  Liverpool
Benitez targets faultless run-in
16 Mar 09 |  Premier League
Benitez calms Anfield exit talk
26 Feb 09 |  Europe
Parry to leave post at Liverpool
27 Feb 09 |  Liverpool
Liverpool admit Klinsmann talks
15 Jan 08 |  Liverpool
Platini offers Hillsborough hope
16 Mar 09 |  Liverpool
Gerrard makes Hillsborough plea
15 Mar 09 |  Liverpool

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