Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson reveals relief at takeover
Relieved Hodgson welcomes new owners
Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson has welcomed the takeover of the club by New England Sports Ventures.
NESV will take control at Anfield after American duo Tom Hicks and George Gillett were defeated in their legal fight to prevent the buy-out.
"It's a very good day for the club," Hodgson said just before the deal was confirmed. "It's a relief...it's been a very difficult couple of weeks.
"There's no doubt a cloud has been lifted from the football club today."
On Friday, Hicks and Gillett removed the restraining order blocking any sale of the club, thus enabling NESV - the preferred buyer of the club's board - to complete their £300m purchase.
I think debt is maybe going to become quite unfashionable. I think the media have pushed people to spend a lot of money and I think that is now changing
Everton manager David Moyes
Although Hicks and Gillett say they intend to pursue £1bn damages over what they perceive as an "illegal" deal, it finally provides Hodgson with cause for optimism, after a two-and-a-half-month reign at the club dominated by uncertainty.
"For this long drawn-out court battle to take place and Liverpool's name to be on the television screens and in the newspapers every day for anything other than positive reasons has been a bad time," admitted Hodgson.
"We've had to live through that bad time but hopefully now, if NESV are going to take over, that would be very good news for us going into the important match at the weekend."
Hodgson revealed that he had spoken to John W Henry, the head of NESV, who also own the Boston Red Sox baseball team, but said there had been no discussion about his position at the club or what potential transfer funds may be available to spend.
"There hasn't been any talk about my position at the club," stated Hodgson.
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"He called me and his message was that he was hoping the deal would go through, he was very much looking forward to becoming the new owner and he was looking forward to working with me and the people who were here but we didn't talk about investment."
Hodgson did say he was optimistic NESV could bring a more stable environment to Anfield than that of Hicks and Gillett, who have faced discontent from supporters over their regime, in particular the level of debt they incurred in purchasing the club for £174m in 2007.
"All people and clubs need stability, all managers and players need stability and it is becoming a very hard thing to find," added Hodgson.
"We live in a world where you are either on top or at the bottom and the middle line is not appreciated by the mass media.
"I am hoping the new owners coming in will stabilise the situation and give us a chance to concentrate on the football and, most importantly of all, will wipe out debts.
"That will mean in future we can invest in players in a different way to what has happened in the last transfer window when money was in short supply and we weren't even certain there would be any money to spend or even if the club would be there.
"The mere fact the club will be taken over and the debts wiped off immediately puts us into a different financial position to the one we have been in."
The news was also met with relief by James McKenna, of the Spirit of Shankly supporters group that had campaigned against the previous owners.
Speaking to BBC Radio Merseyside, he said: "Many supporters have battled to get to this point and we've now achieved our goal of getting rid of them.
"There is outright jubilation that they have gone, but a bit of caution about what these new owners NESV are like... I think supporters are feeling a lot more optimistic about this football club than they were 12 hours ago."
"It's important we do get back to talking about football and hopefully as supporters that's what we can do.
"I'll be enjoying a celebratory drink or two this evening."
And Dr Rogan Taylor, a University of Liverpool academic who founded Share Liverpool FC to raise cash for a fan-led buyout at Anfield, was also cautiously optimistic, saying: "Incoming owners always make noises about how they're going to be nice to the fans and work alongside them, but it's all in the doing and not in the speaking.
"I have no doubt that they'll be aware that there is a couple of "bad Americans" leaving - but they're new Americans, and they are going to need some sort of clear way of indicating that they are not the old Americans.
"I've only seen John Henry briefly, but it seems he has a sense of humour so I'm delighted about that."
Houllier pleased by Liverpool's 'happy ending'
Liverpool will be hoping that stability in the boardroom will bring an upturn in fortunes on the pitch.
The team are currently in the relegation zone, having taken only six points from seven Premier League matches.
On Sunday they face a trip to local rivals Everton, who are one place above them in the table courtesy only of a better goal difference.
Everton boss David Moyes has refused to comment on the takeover at Liverpool but voiced his belief that clubs must take greater responsibility for their finances.
"If you look at our debt, it is probably roughly somewhere between £60-£70m," said Moyes. "I think it is well documented what Liverpool's debt is.
Moyes downplays significance of derby
"I think debt is maybe going to become quite unfashionable. I think the media have pushed people to spend a lot of money and I think that is now changing."
However, Moyes does not believe the issues that have dominated the build-up to Sunday's game will have much of an impact on the action on the pitch and is targeting the encounter as one to kick-start his side's climb up the table.
"What other matters have the players had to concern themselves with? I think you just get on with the game," said Moyes. "Football players are professional, you go onto the pitch and it is 11 v 11.
"I don't think anyone would expect Liverpool to be in this position come the end of the season, just like I don't think anyone expects Everton to be in this position.
"We are because we have not played well enough and not won the opening games. We have to try to do better."
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