Having watched Chelsea and Man Utd succumb to respective Russian and American investors, hardcore supporters were not initially appeased by the spectre of Arab suitors on the Anfield doorstep. Now the self-same Arabs have indignantly removed themselves from the bid, the fans are now asking questions as to how such a wonderful deal could have soured.
The £450m bid by Dubai International Capital for Liverpool FC, was a long way down the road to being completed and the snub delivered by the Liverpool board — perceived or otherwise — to the Maktoum family was simply too much to bear for the dignified and proud ruler of Dubai.
Dubai International Capital launched a scathing attack on Liverpool’s conduct, saying chairman David Moores had made a bewildering and shocking decision.
A spokesman said: “If the fans want to know what’s happened, David Moores suffered what I can only describe as a mental aberration, just when the agreement was about to be reached.
“We are genuine supporters who not only wanted to invest in the club, but to do so by keeping Mr Moores and Rick Parry in place. The announcement was going to be made this Monday.
“Then, 10 days ago, we heard from the press George Gillett had made another bid. No-one from Liverpool told us this.
“Then we read a formal statement from Liverpool announcing Gillett’s bid last Friday. Again, DIC were informed by a journalist. This lack of communication made our guys tense.”
The fans can now only hope that the promises being made by the current board and those wishing to replace them, ring true.
Most worrying for those supporters is the fact that Dubai International Capital is far from the image of the shady backroom outfit peopled by insensitive money-grabbers keen only to line their own pockets at the expense of a glorious soccer legacy.
Rather, it is one of the most powerful investment companies in the world backed up by people whose record in domestic government, as well as international sporting, tourism, shipping and financial arenas, is as impressive as it is forward-thinking.
Sheikh Mohammed himself is the eldest son of one of Arabia’s acclaimed visionaries, Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, a man largely responsible for the establishment of a globally influential power from a disparate collection of Emirates at the southern end of the Persian Gulf.
His vision transformed Abu Dhabi and Dubai (his own power base) into the United Arab Emirates and his eldest son Sheikh Mohammed has accelerated that legacy and transformed further what was once bleak desert into a modern, vibrant and wealthy international economic force.
If the Glazer family were accused of taking over Man Utd so they can asset-strip it and Roman Abramovich was to become a hate figure in some quarters for alleged maniacal zeal in turning Chelsea into a European soccer force, then none of those allegations can be ascribed to the Maktoums.
The bottom line figures involved in the aborted take-over of Liverpool are thus: £170m for a controlling stake; £80m to guarantee debts and £200m towards building the club’s proposed new stadium in Stanley Park. The deal valued the club’s shares at £4,500 each. George Gillett this week upped the ante to £5,000 a share and club chairman David Moores stands to make £8m more personally as a result.
Gillett, like DIC, is not unaware that Premiership clubs will next year share a pot of £562m from television rights, as well as another £170m from selling the TV rights abroad. This is a very decent carrot for investors, but the Dubai contingent have been infuriated by the fact they believed Moores to have accepted a deal in principle.
Liverpool fans must now appreciate that while the board appears to have accepted a better offer than that put forward by DIC, they may have made a powerful, proud and very wealthy enemy.