No Stanley Park, but more of the same. Liverpool, a club that lives on its past more than its present, will remain seated at its legendary stadium, Anfield, with its capacity to be extended from 45,276 to 60,000.
Plans to move the team to a new stadium, suggested at Stanley Park, have been around since 2002. The new ownership realized that too many obstacles stood in the way of reaching a new ground, possibly shared with Everton, eventually deciding that staying at the home ground that’s been the Liverpool stadium since 1892 was better. Financially of couse. The brand seems to be better attached to historic relics.
The stadium will cost £150 million to expand, with the club promising to build a hotel to go along with the renovations. The city’s council has secured a £25m grant to regenerate the wider area.
Ian Ayre, Liverpool managing director: This is step one as there is land to acquire, plans to be approved. But this is a significant moment. Today represents a huge step forward for the Anfield area.
Plans have yet to be submmited, and according to speculations, work won’t begin before 2014, at the earliet. The public application will only be submitted next summer and full plans need to be brought up before a public consultation. Redevelopment is likely to see extensions to the Main Stand and the Anfield Road end.
There are concerns from current residents in the area, as many don’t know exactly how many houses will be affected by the expansion plans. The plan will see a number of streets close to Anfield cleared, such as Lothair Road, Alroy Road and Sybil Road, with hundreds of properties in four areas of the Liverpool suburb renovated. A number of terraced streets will be reshaped, while scores of residents in the areas affected could be relocated to newly upgraded properties nearby.
This is very similar to a problem the Liverpool owners faced with their Boston Red Sox, eventually opting to stay in Fenway Park and renovate the 100-year old stadium.
To be a major contender in Europe and be able to compete financially with other big clubs in the Premier League, Liverpool need to find themselves in a bigger stadium than the 45,000 seater. The American owners are hard at work to make the club a self sustaining and profitable one, with the Arsenal model coming in mind, but a lot of those profits come from selling their best players. Becoming great has to be about spending money as well, but without a new 60,000 stadium, there’s not much hope of reliving the great days.
The timeline of the story of leaving/expandin Anfield
- 2002: Plans announced to build a 55,000-seater stadium on Stanley Park
- 2004: Planning permission approved for Stanley Park
- 2005: Groundshare ideas with Everton rejected
- 2006: Council give go-ahead to proceed with new stadium
- 2006: European Regional Development Fund awards grant towards Stanley Park improvements
- 2007: Redevelopment statement issued that new stadium work will begin in May
- 2007: New Reds owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks order stadium redesign
- 2007: Reds reveal plans for 60,000-seater stadium on Stanley Park
- 2008: Liverpool confirm building of new stadium will be subject to a delay
- 2009: Liverpool announce new stadium plans could start in April 2010
- 2010: More groundshare ideas with Everton discussed
- 2011: News that planning obstacles could affect redevelopment of Anfield
- 2012: Liverpool announce plans to continue with new stadium at Stanley Park
- 2012: Discussions over redeveloping Anfield announced
- 2012: Liverpool City Council set to announce new plans for the area