Liverpool have decided to stay at Anfield – with a huge £150million plan to extend their current home to 60,000.
The club and the city council have revealed their plans for the regeneration of the area after they opted against building a new stadium. A large number of houses around the stadium will be demolished.
The decision, which comes two years to the day since the Fenway Sports Group took charge at the club, is set to end the long wait of Liverpool fans over the future of their ground.
Staying put: Liverpool look set to remain at Anfield
Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre admitted the club were against moving to a new super stadium at Stanley Park, which divided fans and would have cost £400m.
Ayre said: ‘If you build a new stadium, for example, one of the big challenges is that, depending on the capacity, you build 15,000 or 16,000 new seats – you don’t get 60,000 new seats in a new stadium, you only get the difference.
‘That makes it very difficult to make it viable because the cost of building such a big new stadium doesn’t work economically, particularly in this market, so one of the things we had to look at was the balance between that solution and a staying at Anfield type solution, and the work we’ve done on that showed us that as long as we could find the right solution to stay at Anfield and get through the barriers and hurdles that we needed, we would have to find the best long-term solution for the club that had sustainability and worked economically.
‘Added to that is the fact that I’d say it was very much the preference for our fans, the majority of our fans, and certainly for all of us. I think this is the spiritual home of Liverpool Football Club.
Plans in place: Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre speaks on Monday morning’s unveiling
‘Football fans, both Liverpool fans and fans of other clubs, will have had some of the most amazing memories of their time supporting the club and coming to Anfield at this stadium. We’ve had some of the greatest triumphs in our history here, so it makes sense if there’s a right solution that this is the place we should continue to play our football.’
Ayre also admitted Liverpool need to push on with the project as they attempt to keep track with the Barclays Premier League giants.
He added: ‘The right solution is the right economic solution. More so from it detracting from our spending in the transfer market, the whole point of doing this is to actually increase our revenues.
‘If we look at our biggest competitors with a bigger capacity, like Manchester United, Arsenal, if you look at their matchday revenues it is significantly ahead of ours.
Changes: Sybil Road is one of the streets that will be affected by the redevelopment
Demolished: Lothair Road, behind the Main Stand, will be cleared
‘This whole initiative is designed to generate additional revenues so the ultimate solution has to be one that increases the overall output through the process rather than decreasing it, and we’ll find the right financing solution, the right return on investment to deliver the right amount of additional revenue to support the long-term future of the football club.’
Fenway Sports Group, Liverpool’s owners, have been wrestling with the idea of moving to a new site on Stanley Park or redeveloping Anfield, which has been the club’s home since 1892.
The City Council, though, are expected to announce plans for a new ‘Anfield Village’ at a press conference and it is expected that Liverpool will pursue the a redevelopment and expansion of their current stadium.
Moving to Stanley Park was heavily dependent on FSG obtaining a naming rights deal to ease the cost but the finance involved in modernising Anfield will also be significant.
Plans: John Henry (right) had considered moving the club
It is expected that a number of streets behind the Main Stand will be demolished to allow for expansion with the Anfield club set to spend around £150m on the rebuild. Under the plans, Lothair Road, Alroy Road and Sybil Road will be cleared. Residents affected will be rehoused.