The question on most Liverpool fans lips at the minute is ‘who the hell is Yayha Kirdi?’
Today, The Daily Mirror is reporting that Kirdi, a former Syrian international is bidding for the club and that one of the richest UAE families is behind it. Also, it states talks are at an advanced stage. Hicks and Gillett are denying any such talks are happening. There are also reports of a Chinese consortium who are interested in the club so long as Benitez stays as manager (interesting how Benitez's agent comes out with this when Benitez is asking for more transfer money and may be mulling over a move to Juventus!)
Well I’ve done a tiny bit of research into Kirdi and I couldn’t find him on any rich list. I did come across an article on the 100 richest Syrians but maddeningly; the article in question wasn’t linked.
I did find out some things about Kirdi however, he’s an international representative of UNICEF Canada for instance. It doesn’t seem that he runs a business, he’s actually the manager of UAE club Ittihad Kalba Club and whilst I don’t know if he has other business interests, he doesn’t seem to have the money required for a takeover. It seems to me then, Kirdi is a figurehead for the unnamed UAE family mentioned in the article, maybe in a similar situation to Carson Yeung at Birmingham City.
Further evidence of this comes from an article in September 2009 where LFC announce links with the Middle East and Kirdi seems to be their go-to-guy in the UAE, as he knows both George and Foster Gillett. “We look forward to playing a role in growing the sport in this important part of the Middle East. We are very glad that Mr. Kirdi will consult to Liverpool FC” said Mr. Gillett.
To be honest I smell a bit of a rat here. If talks were really this advanced, why would Hicks and Gillett, who have announced that the club is for sale deny it? Also, if a sale is imminent, why appoint a Chairman today who’s remit is to sell the club? Doesn’t make much sense to me.
It may be that Kirdi is merely what the article suggests; someone to facilitate Liverpool’s desire to make themselves more visible in the Middle East and far from a takeover, he may be merely opening some commercial avenues.
What is true is that, as I mentioned, Liverpool have finally appointed a new chairman. Martin Broughton, who is also chairman of British Airways, has been appointed and will serve as a non-executive chairman, leaving the day-to-day running of the club to the people who already do so, Christian Purslow, Ian Ayre and Philip Nash.
Liverpool have also appointed Barclays Captial to help sell the club, the third financial institution after Merril Lynch and Rothschilds hadn’t been able to find the investment the club needs.
The good news is that the Royal Bank of Scotland are believed to have relaxed their deadline for repayment of some of the money owed to them because they accept that placing a time limit on when a takeover can happen will scare some potential buyers off.
With respect to finding new investors/buyers, Broughton says he’s going to play his cards close to his chest in the upcoming months; "Over the next few months I'm going to make no statements about who and how anything is progressing. I'm sure there will be lots of press coverage as the media try to find out, but there will be no statements from me.
"We are putting in a structured process with Barclays Capital. Liverpool Football Club has not been 100 per cent for sale before and I expect there will be quite a few players interested.”
Broughton, who is a season ticket-holding Chelsea fan, also addressed the suspicions Liverpool fans might inevitably have about him, saying: "I am a lifelong Chelsea fan, but most of all I'm a sports fan and a football fan.
"Liverpool FC is a wonderful football institution and the Premier League is a wonderful institution. My role is to make sure Liverpool is successful in the future.
"It is now very important that we find the right owner – not just a new owner."
Broughton also said that plans to build a new, increased capacity stadium for the Reds remained a realistic goal, saying: "I think taking the stadium plan forward has to be in everyone's interests. I think when you look at the financial logic, it has to happen. It's inescapable that any new owner would not go ahead with the new project."
When asked what his message to Liverpool fans was, Broughton added: "I ask for patience from the fans.
"They want to get what I want to get – not just the highest bidder but the best bidder in the long term.
Asked about the club’s debt burden and how that might change, he said: "It has to be the right owners and also the right financial structure - no more than a reasonable amount of debt that you would expect in any organisation of this size.
"My message to the fans is this: have a little bit of patience and in a little bit of time I'll deliver."
With so many false dawns in the past couple of years I think I’ll believe a takeover when I see it, but I am more optimistic today that the takeover will happen and more importantly, the stadium gets built!