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| Sports |

Thousands Gather Today to Protest Tom Hicks -- In England, Alas.

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Poor Tom Hicks. Guy's hated overseas. At least he is today. And has been for a while, by fans of the football club he owns -- Liverpool FC. Today, before the club's Champions League group match with FC Porto, some 2,000 Liverpool fans rallied in support of the team's manager, Rafa Benitez, who's at odds with Hicks and co-owner George Gillett Jr. over the signing of free agents, or transfer players, which ain't done in the U.K. like it's done in the U.S. Benitez is unhappy with how little Hicks is willing to spend on new players -- which doesn't sound familiar at all.

The club's fan site has been calling for Hicks and Gillett to keep Benitez, after they've publicly chastised the manager for focusing on "off-the-pitch" matters. There's a petition being virtually circulated as well, to which some 32,000 Liverpool fans have signed their virtual names. And here's yet another open letter to Hicks, which says his "treatment and lack of backing for Rafa has been wholly unacceptable."

In related news, I am currently crafting an online petition calling for Tom Hicks to sell the Texas Rangers, preferably to Rafa Benitez. Will you please sign it? --Robert Wilonsky

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