Dallas court gets taste of Liverpool passion

DALLAS - A district courtroom in Dallas is not a place you expect to find Liverpool fans but on Friday red and white clad followers of the English football team were present for the latest chapter in the club's ownership saga.

Liverpool's former American co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett withdrew a restraining order in the Dallas Court paving the way for the Premier League club to finally be sold to New England Sports Ventures (NESV), owners of the Boston Red Sox.

In the Dallas court, Judge Jim Jordan signed off on the dissolution of the order in front of a number of jubilant expatriate Liverpool supporters.

English football fans have a boisterous reputation and a hefty sheriff of the court approached the Liverpool contingent before the proceedings began.

"The judge told me to tell you in advance no shouting or protesting or anything like that," he said.

The supporters of England's most successful football team followed his advice to the letter as they sat listening closely to Texas lawyers discussing the affairs of the Merseyside club.

After the brief early morning proceedings, the Liverpool fans were visibly relieved that the Hicks and Gillett era was nigh and jubilant at the prospect of new owners.

"Hicks and Gillett, they have no concern for the club. They just want to make a quick buck," said Philip Courthurst, 42, a native of Bootle in Liverpool, speaking outside the courtroom.


He had driven 450 miles (700 km) from a building site where he was working in Clovis, New Mexico, to witness the proceedings.

Courthurst added that he thought new owner John W Henry would do great things for the team, given his track record with Major League Baseball's Red Sox.

"The Red Sox, Liverpool are two great clubs with lots of history. This new guy wants to take the team forward and just look what he's done for the Red Sox," he said.

NESV took over the Red Sox in 2002 and two years later the Boston team won their first World Series since 1918 and secured the title again in 2007.

"Maybe Liverpool fans will also become Red Sox fans, like sister clubs," said Courthurst.

Liverpool fans had campaigned to have Hicks and Gillett ousted, blaming them for the demise of their storied club and the bitterness was evident.

"We want Hicks out. This club was formed in 1892 and the last three years of their tenure has been a disaster," said Liverpool fan Rob Ashfield, wearing a Liverpool scarf.

Hicks and Gillett had bitterly opposed the takeover and lawyers for the pair threatened further legal action on Friday with a claim for $1.6 billion in damages.

Outside the Dallas court, one Liverpool supporter said his brother had just informed him of that news in a text message. His response was not suitable for publication.