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Liverpool FC Fans Boast a Sunday Protest Kept Tom Hicks From Attending Arsenal Match

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Randy Galloway, Evan Grant and I received an e-mail at 4:20 this morning from Spirit of Shankly organizer Paul Gardner, in which he writes that a fans' protest before Liverpool FC's Sunday-afternoon match against Arsenal kept the owners out of Anfield: "Tom Hicks was turned away a few hundred yards away from the ground and was not allowed to enter the ground." Gardner's among those featured in the protest recap that follows, scored to John Lennon's "Power to the People."

I've asked Hicks's publicist, Lisa LeMaster, via e-mail whether he was actually planning on attending the match; I'll update accordingly when she responds. Either way, Hicks and George Gillett weren't in the stands. (Update at 9:47 a.m.: LeMaster responds, "??? All I know is that Tom was here all weekend and in a lot of meetings Saturday and Sunday as well as spending time with his family.") And now comes word that the cash-strapped owner of Liverpool FC, Your Texas Rangers and Your Dallas Stars may be looking to the United Arab Emerates for an assist. Meanwhile, The Daily Mail wonders today what Liverpool's legendary manager Bill Shankly, for whom the supporters' union is named, would think of the mess Hicks has gotten the team into. (Semi-unrelated note: I'm probably the only film critic in America who put The Damned United on a ten-best list.)

And speaking of Hicks and his debt, T.R. Sullivan, now writing for MLB.com, says that Houston freight-train Jim Crane's the newly emerged front-runner in the Rangers sweepstakes after he submitted a new bid that tops his rivals' offers. Baseball Time in Arlington offers the pros and cons on that breaking news, but concludes that anyone's better than Hicks: "That's a pattern of financial irresponsibility across multiple professional sports franchises that should prompt his eternal banishment from the local sports scene." I smell a protest!

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