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By ESPN Staff
Feb 6, 2007

Hicks and Gillett pledge to protect Kop traditions

Liverpool chief executive Rick Parry has welcomed George Gillett and Tom Hicks to the club, insisting the American businessmen have a 'strong understanding of the traditions' of the club.

Parry, speaking at a press conference at Anfield just hours after the board approved the bid to the club's shareholders, said: 'I am delighted to welcome George and Tom to Anfield.

'It is a great deal for Liverpool, our supporters and the shareholders and it is the beginning of a new era for the club.

'The partnership created by George and Tom is a very special one. They're bringing to the table tremendous and relevant experience, a passion for the sport, real resources and a strong commitment and understanding of the traditions of Liverpool.'

Parry also confirmed that he expected the pair to be involved with the Merseyside club for a long time as they look to build a new stadium.

'We know George and Tom want a long-term relationship with Liverpool. They've shown this in our talks on the future and in the focus that they've brought to the takeover process.

'They've made their intentions clear to move quickly on our new stadium in Stanley Park and also to support investment in the playing staff.'

Hicks said: 'I want to thank George Gillett for inviting my family and me to consider partnering him.

'George and I have known each other for years. We are friends and have done business together in the past.

'In the National Hockey League we are both business partners and business competitors. I hope to play him in the Stanley Cup some time.

'I would like to thank David Moores for having the confidence in our two families as proper custodians of this storied football club.

'It was not a question of money, it was a question of are we the proper custodians and I believe we are.

'I have been in sports for 12 years in hockey and eight in baseball. I knew nothing of hockey when I bought the stars and we won the Stanley Cup.

'You have to have good business management and we were attracted to his oportunity as it has the stability.

'Rick will continue to run the club. We spoke to Rafa today and we are totally confident we have that in place.

'We assure fans we know what you want - we want to win.'

Gillett was also keen to establish his full support for those currently running the club - from Parry at boardroom level, to manager Rafael Benitez.

'This is a very well-run club. It is not a club that has a lot of obvious problems.

'With Rick and with Rafael Benitez as the manager they have been very successful on the pitch.'

That means there are no plans to make immediate or radical changes at the club.

'There's no urgency to do something short-term or foolish.

'If there's ways we can supplement the management who are already here, we'll do it.'

Hicks confirmed that the he and Gillett would share responsibilities equally, with day-to-day involvement from Parry, and expects that arrangement to bring success to the club.

'We're going to be co-chairmen, equal partners in every sense of the word. We'll each have one of our sons on the board too.

'Both of our styles are to be successful in the sports industry by depending on the people running the business. In this instance Rick Parry will be running the business.'