Hicks claims Liverpool 'swindle'

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Football News

Former Liverpool co-owner Tom Hicks said he was "devastated" about the sale of the club and added it was "swindled away from me in an epic swindle".

New England Sports Ventures completed the £300million takeover of the club on Friday following a frenetic week that had seen the matter go before the High Court in London, however, Hicks has warned that the already protracted saga is not over.

Asked how he felt about the sale, Hicks told Sky Sports News: "(I'm) Shocked. Devastated. Frustrated. I'm very disappointed. It's hurt my family tremendously. This is a very valuable asset that was swindled away from me in an epic swindle. I'm very angry about it."

Hicks hit out at club chairman Martin Broughton and creditors Royal Bank of Scotland, claiming they had breached his trust.

"This has been an organised conspiracy over many months," he added. "[Liverpool independent chairman] Martin Broughton wanted a good PR event in his life and be seen as the guy that got rid of those Americans - and he sold to another group of Americans.

"I can't go into the details but I can confirm the funds were available to pay off Royal Bank of Scotland entirely but between Royal Bank of Scotland, the chairman and the employees that conspired against us, they would not let us. They were people I thought were our friends, people I thought were loyal, and I was wrong."

Former manager Rafael Benitez also came under fire as Hicks defended himself and fellow owner George Gillett against claims that they had not provided the necessary financial support.

"We spent £300million on players, £150million net - I think it's the second or third highest in the English Premier League," he said. "You never read about that in the media. I read a very interesting article in which Alex Ferguson said 'Rafa had more money to spend than the rest of us, he just bought bad players'.

"Rafa lost the club. We didn't finish at the top - that's not the fault of the owners, we spent good money. Rafa has to take accountability for his own results. When we finished second the year before, people weren't nearly as angry. Liverpool fans are just unbelievably strong supporters and they want to win.

"I'm not a novice, I've been in sport for almost 15 years. Whether it's hockey or baseball in the US or soccer fans in Liverpool, people want to win."

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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