Bad news for Everton (no buyers), Liverpool (growing debts) & Manchester United (Hargreaves is out)

Comment & analysis round-up

Quote of the day: “The one that worries me is Liverpool. Royal Bank of Scotland and Wachovia are two of those that have suffered. Whether they want to lend it [the money] again or not, they may not be able to. If the banks won’t finance, you have to raise equity. If they can’t find it, it’s a brave banker that would repossess Liverpool Football Club… There is no progress at all [on Everton]. The demographics of Liverpool as an area are not hugely compelling. It is not a very wealthy city and Everton share the city with another club which has been in the vanguard for the last decade. They both have a stadium to build, so the economics need a lot of looking at, whereas Newcastle is a one-club city with a fabulous stadium. – Keith Harris.

Runner-up: “I came here and the club had a plan. Right now I do not know what that plan is. Every day you think, ‘What is going to happen today?’ You can read in the newspaper every day that the club has some financial problem. I don’t know if it’s the truth or not.” – Sylvain Distin.

Today’s overview: The bad news is flowing this Wednesday, with negative stories circling around Goodison Park, Anfield and Old Trafford.

Bad news is served to Everton fans, with David Conn quoting merchant banker Keith Harris that “he is making ‘no progress at all’ with finding a buyer for Everton, because the club are not an attractive enough financial investment.” Manchester United fans are also waking up to downbeat headlines, Daniel Taylor reporting that “Owen Hargreaves’ future as a professional footballer is in jeopardy after he was ruled out for the rest of the season because of his persistent problems with tendinitis.”

Oliver Kay gets excited about Liverpool, writing “now that Albert Riera and Robbie Keane are beginning to look comfortable in their surroundings, now that Fernando Torres is back from injury, now that Javier Mascherano and Ryan Babel are approaching full fitness, having had their start to the season punctuated by the Olympics, it could be a case of full steam ahead.”

However, Liverpool’s financial problems are of far greater concern, with Ian Herbert and Andrew Warshaw reporting how the Americans “stand two months away from the expiry date of loans which could force them to sell up [at] the most financially vulnerable club in the land.” Andrew Warshaw went on the report in the Daily Express that “Tom Hicks and George Gillett face having to offload a string of key players if they cannot find fresh investment by next summer at the latest.”

But the sun is shining at the Emirates this morning, Arsenal’s next generation of players did not just beat Wigan, they humiliated them thanks to eye-catching performances from a host of youngsters who are destined to become stars.” Jason Burt pointed out that there were “seven English players in the Arsenal squad” last night.

Responding to the new drug-testing methods introduced into the world of football, and consulting with the PFA’s Gordon Taylor, Owen Slot predicts “a leading England footballer would soon find himself serving a suspension from the game for a doping offence, even though he is innocent of taking performance-enhancing drugs.” Henry Winter picks far bigger holes in the new measures, arguing “cocaine ruins relationships, divides families and triggers heart attacks yet under anti-doping laws a professional footballer can pump his veins full of the stuff the day before a game, snort enough to blow his nasal septum away, and still not fail a drugs test because he is ‘out of competition.'”

Jamie Jackson picks up on the argument of the chief of FC United, saying that British football will lose its soul if it doesn’t act immediately to re-engage with fans.

On global football, Shaka Hislop reviews the final four in the MLS playoffs, on the Bundesliga Rafael Honigstein writes about how “three-quarters of the league [are] legitimately fighting for some sort of success, the league’s never been more competitive, at least in quantitative terms,” Jonathan Franklin enters the wonderful world of the Church of Maradona, while Marcela Mora y Araujo finds herself explaining how Diego Simeone walked out on River Plate, leaving the Argentinean powerhouse “in the midst of the worst campaign in their history.”