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 Posted by ESPN Staff
May 15, 2008

Fresh doubts over Liverpool's new stadium

Fresh doubts have been raised over Liverpool co-owner Tom Hicks' ability to fund the club's proposed new home in Stanley Park following a shock decision to delay the building of a stadium in Texas.

Hicks has admitted he has been unable to secure financing for the Glorypark mixed-use development in Arlington, Texas that was scheduled to open in March 2010.

The $500million venture has been put on hold because of the credit squeeze and troubled retail market.

Hicks said in an interview with the Dallas Morning News: 'We are in the most difficult credit crunch I have seen the last 20 years.'

That revelation will give more hope to prospective buyers of Liverpool, Dubai International Capital, who have long believed Hicks - and his estranged co-owner George Gillett - have found it virtually impossible to raise further loans to facilitate the move from Anfield.

It is believed Hicks must find funding over the next few months to build the club's new £350million stadium.

But if his Hicks Holdings group have been unable to find the cash in the current market for their Arlington plans, critics in the UK will wonder how the money for the move will be raised in the current financial climate.

Hicks' announcement over the Arlington stadium comes a week after a Dallas hotel project in which he is also involved was delayed.

Construction was scheduled to start this spring on the Glorypark project adjacent to the Texas Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, and close to the Dallas Cowboys new 1.1 billion dollar stadium.

Hicks owns the Rangers baseball club as well as the Dallas Stars ice hockey team.

The completion of Glorypark, which would have included restaurants, retail, residential and office space, had been delayed at least twice previously.

Last week, Liverpool gained their third planning permission for the revised Stanley Park scheme.

Hicks said at the weekend: 'Site work will start in September and actual construction in late October/early November, with completion in time for the season starting in August 2011.'

Some money, around £60million, was set aside from the January re-financing of Hicks and Gillett's loans to buy Liverpool, to allow the stadium work to start.

But it is believed Hicks has been unsuccessful in raising further loans from the London and US financial markets in recent weeks.

DIC believe the financial pressures on Hicks will eventually lead to his return to the negotiating table after he pulled the plug on a planned buyout earlier in the year.

The impasse with Gillett is no nearer a solution.

But Gillett, having made it clear he will not sell his 50% stake in the club to his partner, significantly flew to London last week for informal talks with DIC.

It has emerged that are unlikely to test the validity in court of Hicks' veto over any move by Gillett to sell his stake. Problems over certain clauses in the original contracts have arisen which make such a move difficult.

However, few observers now expect the troubled ownership of Liverpool to be resolved this summer, with the saga likely to drag on into the autumn.

Under the current proposals, the stadium work should have started by then.

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