Liverpool co-owner Tom Hicks is determined to fight to hang on to control of the club after refusing to recognise chairman Martin Broughton's authority.
Broughton, appointed in April to oversee the sale, revealed on Wednesday that Hicks attempted to sack managing director Christian Purslow and commercial director Ian Ayre and install his own people in order to block a £300million deal with New England Sports Ventures (NESV).
That was blocked by Broughton, who insists Hicks signed agreements not to oppose the sale when they received an extension to their refinancing deal with Royal Bank of Scotland earlier this year. Hicks and co-owner George Gillett stand to lose a total of £144million if the NESV deal goes through.
Hicks' New York-based spokesman Mark Semer said that Broughton's claim was disputed by the Americans.
"There were no such undertakings given to Broughton, the board has been legally reconstituted, and the new board does not approve of this proposed transaction," Semer told Bloomberg News.
After rejecting the attemped coup, which would have seen Hicks' son Mack and Lori McCuthcheon, of Hicks Holdings replace Purslow and Ayre, Broughton continued with the conference call board meeting even though Hicks had put the phone down.
The chairman is confident he and the other two England-based members of the board have acted appropriately but they will not be able to have that confirmed until the issue is thrashed out in court next week.