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Ayre: Fans want to stay at Anfield
Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre is confident the club have made the right decision in choosing to redevelop Anfield ahead of building a new stadium.
While a new ground in Stanley Park would provide the required 60,000-seat capacity as well as increased hospitality opportunities and state-of-the-art facilities, its cost - estimated at over £300million - is prohibitive.
"The right solution is one that is sustainable and is in the long-term interests of Liverpool Football Club," Ayre said. "It's great that it is hopefully Anfield because I think that's what the majority of our fans want. There are still some steps to take, but we're confident they're the right ones."
With news that Liverpool City Council have secured funding to regenerate the Anfield area, the football club now plan to proceed with plans to expand and improve their home for the last 120 years.
It was always the preferred option of principal owner John Henry, whose Fenway Sports Group did a similar thing with their baseball team Boston Red Sox's Fenway Park.
"I was the person who showed John around Anfield the first time they ever came to Liverpool," Ayre said.
"We were in the tunnel area at Anfield and I remember him saying to me, 'Why would we want to build a new stadium? This is like Fenway. This is the home of Liverpool Football Club'."
The club still needs to secure the necessary planning permissions to radically alter the Main Stand and Anfield Road end, at an estimated cost of £150million, as well as the land surrounding the ground - where some streets still have occupied houses.
"It's not as if we haven't considered what we can build on that site, what we can do to expand and there are various different solutions to that," Ayre added on liverpoolfc.com. "But it would be wrong and extremely presumptuous of us to assume that somebody's home can be acquired until the proper process is gone through."
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard said: "I'm really pleased. I've had some special occasions at Anfield and so have the club. If they are going to spend all that money on Anfield and improve it then fantastic."
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