By Daniel Mark Carr
“You’ll Never Walk Alone”; unless your name’s Kenny Huang that is. Yes, amid speculation and rumours earlier this week, Kenny Huang has now officially announced that he has withdrawn from the bidding for Liverpool Football Club.
The Chinese businessman was one of several bidders who submitted an offer ahead of last Friday’s deadline. It is believed, however, that Huang began to become impatient with the ‘due diligence’ being carried out by the LFC board. Huang was eager to complete the deal ahead of the August 31st transfer window closing in order to allow for squad improvements.
Current American owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett (or Tom and Jerry as some fans have nicknamed them) have a, let’s say, ‘fractured’ relationship with fans who have been keen for a quick sale. Hicks and Gillett purchased the club for £219 million including debt in February 2007. The club now owes £351 million; a debt which Huang had promised to clear whilst providing manager, Roy Hodgson, with a rather cool £150 million shopping budget.
Huang’s offer was favoured by fans as his bid gave Hicks and Gillett minimal profit. Huang’s annoyance at the lack of progress in negotiations came to a head when on Friday he released this statement:
“After due consideration, Kenny Huang and QSL Sports is withdrawing from the ongoing sales process with respect to Liverpool FC. Mr Huang has formally notified the Chairman of the Liverpool FC Board.
Over the past few months we learned firsthand that Liverpool has a very special place in the hearts of millions of fans around the world. We concluded that a plan that properly capitalises the business and provides funds for a new stadium and player related costs would allow Liverpool FC to provide its great fans with the success they deserve. Our strategy and unique ability to expand the fan base in Asia would also have been of benefit to all. We regret that we will not have the opportunity to implement this strategy.
We thank the many Liverpool fans who expressed support for our efforts and wish the club great success in the years to come. I am now considering my future options and will be making no further comment at this time.”
Although Huang has not elaborated on his reasons for withdrawing his bid; some believe that this is merely a ‘poker face’, a strategy he is using within his negotiations.
Some fans on SKY Sports and two of the largest Liverpool supporters forums describe this latest news as ‘catastrophic’, whilst describing the current owners as ‘money grabbing idiots’ who are not interested in the club. Others, however, have described Huang’s withdrawal as ‘a lucky escape’, saying that Huang was not the right man for the job if he can’t wait. One miffed fan even began to question Huang’s business ability. Hmmm, we’re not sure anyone should be questioning the ability of a former Wall Street Broker and someone who was prepared to front £351million!