After scrapping the idea of moving to a new stadium, it seems that Liverpool are moving full throttle with their plan of expanding Anfield to a 60,000-seat stadium, now waiting for the housing issues around it to be solved while the money from the ownership group is simply waiting to be spent.
The stadium renovation and expansion is part of a wider regeneration plan for the neighborhood, in cooperation with the city council and social housing provider Your Housing.
According to John Henry, the former owners (Hicks and Gillett), did secure planning permissions for the renovations, but failed to generate the funding necessary for it. The current regime, the Fenway Sports Group, seems to be quite ready to spend over £150 million while bringing Liverpool up to speed with some of their rivals in terms of generating money from their fans.
What’s holding them back? The housing issue, as the future of the project depends on the further acquisition of housing around the stadium in order to enable to project to kick off. The club will submit its plans to expand the Main Stand and Anfield Road End only once Liverpool City Council completed the business of purchasing the remaining houses adjoining the stadium. According to Henry, they’re making good progress.
The bigger issue for Liverpool fans might be the spending coming at the expense of the club itself. Liverpool weren’t the biggest players on the market this summer, but have spent just over £50 million on new players (Mamadou Sakho, Luis Alberto, Iago Aspas, Tiago Ilori & Simon Mignolet). According to Henry, the money that’s coming to finance the stadium’s upgrading won’t be coming from the transfer budget.
In order to become a self-financing club as the ownership envisions Liverpool being while also competing with the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea for titles as well as for the best players on the market, securing the housing deals and submitting the plans becomes a top priority, maybe even more than reaching the Champions League this season.