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Takeover set for High Court next week

Liverpool have confirmed that they have failed in their bid to have their High Court hearing on Friday and that the civil war with owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett is now scheduled for "early next week".

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ESPNsoccernet understands that Liverpool applied for the the case to be fast-tracked through the High Court, but now are resigned to the matter being heard by as early as Tuesday as Liverpool's lawyers, Slaughter and May, seek to derail the American duo's attempts to block the £300 million sale to the owners of the Boston Red Sox.

Hicks and Gillett are plotting their own sale of the club to give them back their £144 million investment, and want the courts to block the takeover, which has been agreed by Martin Broughton over their heads.

One of the most fascinating civil wars in football history needs to be aired ahead of the October 15 deadline when the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) have the power to call in their £237 million debt.

Broughton is confident that Hicks and Gillett will not be successful in blocking the sale due to the written undertakings they made when handing over control of the club. Broughton says he was given the power to change the composition of the board and that efforts by the Americans to remove Ian Ayre and Christian Purslow, prior to the sale being announced, were not legitimate.

"I am confident we will prevail, but you can never be 100% when you go to court," Broughton said. "We will be seeking a judgment that we acted within our rights. They tried to remove Ian and Christian, and after taking legal advice I told them that was invalid.

"I think we'll get there, but I can't make a promise. If the case goes against us, we do have a fallback position, but we're not prepared to discuss this at present."

Hicks' New York-based spokesman, Mark Semer, has said that Broughton's claim that the sale cannot be blocked is false.

"There were no such undertakings given to Broughton. The board has been legally reconstituted, and the new board does not approve of this proposed transaction,'' Semer told Bloomberg News.

An attempted coup, which would have seen Hicks' son Mack and Lori McCuthcheon, of Hicks Holdings, replace Purslow and Ayre, was rejected.

Broughton is confident he and the other two England-based members of the board have acted appropriately but they will not be able to have that confirmed until the issue is thrashed out in court.

The Premier League is also expected to approve the takeover by New England Sports Ventures (NESV) that will see John W Henry's company purchase Liverpool for £300 million - which will wipe out most of the club's debt - on Friday.

It is thought the deal will be fully completed by the time Liverpool cross Stanley Park for the Merseyside derby against Everton on October 17 and it is reported that, even if Hicks and Gillett win the court case, RBS will call in the debt and immediately sell the club to Henry.


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