Tom Hicks and George Gillett are reported to be infuriated by the intervention of Keith Harris, one of English football’s main power brokers, who has expressed his concern over the financial situation at the club.
“Keith has an agenda here and is making mischief – the truth is our debt is lower than people think and manageable given the club’s profitability,” a source close to Liverpool’s owners told The Daily Telegraph.
“All the top clubs have debt, and Liverpool’s is in fact lower than Arsenal and Manchester United.”
The Americans are also adamant that the actual serviceable level of debt to the Royal Bank of Scotland and Wachovia is closer to £200 million rather than the £350 million loan figure that is regularly reported and was used by Harris.
Harris was in Zurich with other leading figures in football at the International Football Arena on Tuesday.
“The one that worries me is Liverpool,” he said. “The banks are two of those that have suffered, so whether they want to lend it again or not, they may not be able to. What normally happens in business is, if the banks won’t finance, you have to raise equity.”
Sources close to the Americans, however, defended their business plan. They put the actual drawn debt at £265 million, with the remaining balance of the loan made up of an available overdraft facility of £50 million and an undrawn figure of £30 million that will go towards the new stadium.
Hicks and Gillett also had £60 million of cash collateralisation pledged towards the banks, leaving a net debt figure of £205 million.
The Americans financed their initial purchase of the club with a £298 million loan that was replaced in January by a £350.5 million facility with the same banks. They also remain confident that a six-month extension to their loan is available.