Hicks Jr, son of Reds’ co-owner Tom Hicks, was left with little room for manoeuvre after the contents of the email found their way into the public domain. The supporter on the receiving end had contacted him directly about the state of the club and their finances.
The email was leapt upon by fans’ group Spirit of Shankly, fiercely opposed to Hicks Sr and George Gillett’s ownership of the club, who immediately called for Hicks Jr to resign.
He duly did yesterday morning – offering “sincere apologies” – but his departure will have no significance in relation to the positions of his father and Gillett, who although keen to attract outside investment are steadfastly holding on to control at Anfield.
Hicks Jr, who reportedly called the fan an “idiot” and in a subsequent e-mail said: “Blow me f*** face. Go to Hell. I’m sick of you”, said: “I apologise for my mistake and I am very sorry for my harmful words.
“I do not want my actions to take away from the club’s future, therefore I am resigning from the board.’’
Despite having had a key balancing role on the Liverpool board, Hicks Jr’s resignation will not weaken his father’s position as it was immediately announced his successor was Casey Coffman, executive vice-president of Hicks Holdings.
Liverpool’s chief financial officer Philip Nash and the club’s commercial director Ian Ayre have also been elected to the board of both companies.
A short, straightforward statement from the club confirmed the changes.
“Liverpool Football Club announce Thomas Hicks Jr has resigned as a director of both the club and its parent company Kop Holdings,” said the statement.
“Three new directors have been elected to the boards of both companies.
“These are Philip Nash, LFC chief financial officer, Ian Ayre, LFC commercial director and Casey Coffman, executive vice-president of Hicks Holdings.”
Liverpool’s board now consists of Hicks Sr, George Gillett and his son Foster, managing director Christian Purslow and new members Coffman, Nash and Ayre.
Purslow, Nash and Ayre have played increasingly important roles in the last few months as they work towards putting the club on a healthier financial footing.
That has already led to the signing of a new shirt sponsorship deal with Standard Chartered Bank worth around €80 million (€94m).
One of Purslow’s priorities since taking over from Rick Parry in June last year has been to find new investment as Liverpool seek to get the funding in place to build a new stadium and talks continue to find someone willing to buy a minority share in the club.
However, his role in the boardroom is equally pivotal to the future success of the club as he has the support of both co-owners, between who there exists an uneasy relationship. Hicks Jr had no real input into decision-making at the club on a daily basis and so his exit will not affect ongoing plans.