Liverpool owners close to securing cash for new stadium

Tom Hicks and George Gillett have moved closer to securing a bank deal that will allow them to press ahead with their ambitious plans for a 70,000-seat new stadium for Liverpool, reports The Sunday Times.

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The Americans, who for several months have been locked in talks with Royal Bank of Scotland and Wachovia over a £350m refinancing loan, are now optimistic an agreement can be struck by the end of the month - and possibly as early as next week. The injection from the banks is necessary to cover the £270m of loans Hicks and Gillett took out to purchase Liverpool last February and help fund their new ground.

The Americans spent nine hours in New York on Tuesday with Rick Parry, Liverpool's chief executive, discussing two rival architectural designs for 'New Anfield' and will make a decision on which option to take as soon as the package from the banks comes through.

The Dallas-based company HKS produced a revised version of their original plans which were scrapped last month as the project became simply too expensive to proceed with, while Manchester-based AFL came up with their own proposals as the two firms went head to head.

Parry says he was impressed by what he saw, but Liverpool are not yet willing to put their own deadline on when a decision will be made. Parry maintains, however, that whichever plan gets the nod it will produce an "excellent result".

"We had two very detailed and very informative presentations which were very thorough and extremely professional," he said. "It has been another big step forward to finding the best possible solution."

Despite the snags over the new ground, and continued doubt over the future of team manager Rafa Benitez, Hicks and Gillett are adamant that they do not intend to sell the club and cut their losses, despite continuing speculation to the contrary.

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