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Oct 7, 2010

Redknapp: Hicks and Gillett have done nothing wrong

Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp has launched a staunch defence of the conduct of Liverpool co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett, who will find out in the coming days whether an attempt to prevent a takeover and cling onto the club has proved successful.

• Hodgson's contract has release clause
Liverpool set for High Court
Board sets out investment plan
• Brewin: Out of the frying pan
• In profile: John W Henry
• Forum: In favour of the takeover?

Liverpool announced on Wednesday morning that three members of the board - chairman Martin Broughton, managing director Christian Purslow and commercial director Ian Ayre - had agreed to sell the club to the owners of the Boston Red Sox, New England Sports Ventures.

However, Hicks and Gillett claimed they changed the board, removing Ayre and Purslow, and have mounted a legal challenge to block the sale of the club for £300 million - a fee they feel undervalues the club and will leave them with losses of around £144 million should the sale go through.

Hicks and Gillett are reviled figures on Merseyside having placed huge debts on the club following their leveraged buyout in 2007, failed to fulfil promises regarding the building of a new stadium and undermined previous manager Rafael Benitez by publicly admitting they had held talks with Jurgen Klinsmann in January 2008.

However, despite their toxic reputation amongst Liverpool fans, Redknapp says the two Americans should not be blamed for the current crisis at Anfield and that the players should take responsibility for the club being in the Premier League relegation zone.

"It's not often you'll hear a manager stick up for a chairman or chairmen but I'd love to know what the two Americans have done that is so wrong," Redknapp wrote in The Sun.

He continued: "The whole Liverpool debate raging at present basically centres around a team of top-level players that is not performing at its best - a temporary problem. It's as if the world is caving in at Anfield right now when, really, the only issue is a lack of confidence among the squad - but it will soon turn around.

"In all of this, I have utmost sympathy for the Reds' owners, George Gillett and Tom Hicks.

"All they seem to have done is plough a fortune into the place and they stand to lose a fortune when they sell it. But, for all that, all they get is grief week-in, week-out.

"It's not their fault the expensive players who have been brought in are not performing as they should be. The Liverpool team is full of world-class talent and some costly flops.

"Hicks and Gillett wrote cheques for star striker Fernando Torres and Dirk Kuyt, a member of Holland's World Cup final squad. Alberto Aquilani cost £20 million and has been a disaster - but is that the owners' fault?"

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