Hicks eases stadium fears

17 September 2009 09:34
// A bit of a hack but it works// The article snippet is wrapped onto a second line, even when #article-sub is emptyif( $("div#article-sub").children().length == 0 ) {$("div#article-sub").remove();} Liverpool co-owner Tom Hicks insists the club's hierarchy have not performed a U-turn over plans to construct a new stadium in Stanley Park.

Reds managing director Christian Purslow announced at the start of September that the Premier League club had put the reported £490million project on hold.

The worldwide recession was cited as a reason for the delay in replacing Anfield, and there was speculation that Liverpool were considering abandoning planning permission documents which had already been obtained.

But Hicks, who co-owns the Reds with George Gillett, maintains that a new stadium will be built when the credit crunch reaches a conclusion.

"When we get to the point where the global market settles down and we bring pieces together to finance the stadium (then we can again start building)," he said.

"It's certainly not anything we have changed our mind on. I don't know about the dates because of the global financial markets, but I know the markets will settle down and get better.

"I'm an optimist. I've been through lots of cycles, although none as severe as this in my lifetime. It's a dynamic world."

Big opportunityHe continued: "We have spent a lot of money and we have a fully designed stadium. We have every permit in place, all the city councils' approvals, the judicial reviews on a national basis - everything is done.

"That's a great asset to have just to wait for the markets to open up and be able to do anything. Certainly it will happen."

Hicks also believes that, alongside a recently-agreed sponsorship deal with Standard Chartered bank, a new stadium will help Liverpool compete against Manchester United.

"We think that the stadium is one of the biggest opportunities for Liverpool to be truly one of the top clubs in the world," he said.

"Liverpool was a famous club around many parts of the world before Manchester United became strong in the last 20 years, and that's a heritage we want to build on and try to get to be as strong as possible. The club's in the best shape in many, many years.

"Rafa (Benitez) has put together an outstanding group of players over the last two or three years. We can always have more, but I think we're doing very well and I think we will have great success on the pitch this year.

"Transactions like this week's new sponsorship agreement can only help to give us the resources to compete right there with the other big guys in the world."

Source: SKY_Sports