Liverpool forced into rethink over stadium plans

10 July 2011 08:00

Liverpool are being forced into a rethink over their future stadium plans after it became apparent that redeveloping Anfield may not be a realistic option after all.

The club's managing director Ian Ayre admitted that increasing the capacity of Anfield to 60,000 would be considerably cheaper than building a new stadium in nearby Stanley Park, which is the Reds' other option.

However, Ayre told the club's official website that numerous issues are preventing them from making any progress in terms of redevelopment.

"In the nine months since the new ownership, an enormous amount of work has been undertaken in conjunction . to explore the building of a new stadium as well as exploring a refurbishment solution that could deliver the necessary growth in capacity, whilst maintaining the heritage and atmosphere that make Anfield uniquely Liverpool FC.

"However, with land/property acquisition, environmental and statutory issues creating barriers to our ambition, it looks increasingly unlikely there is any way we can move forward on a refurbishment of Anfield unless there are significant changes in those areas."

Liverpool have spent several years now looking at ways to increase capacity in order to compete more closely with the matchday revenues of rivals such as Manchester United and Arsenal.

Earlier this month, Ayre slammed previous owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett, saying that their failure to deliver on their promise of a new stadium had "set the club back several years".

In contrast, the new owners appear determined not to make promises that cannot be kept, and they know that it could be a while yet before a decision on whether to stay put or start work at a new site in Stanley Park is made.

"We are mindful that supporters have been promised a solution in the past and have been disappointed, and also that local residents would like to know what direction we are headed in," Ayre continued in his statement.

"However, just like any other business, we can only proceed as and when we are clear on all elements and we will not be forced to make a decision that is not in the best long-term interests of our club and we will not make any promises to our fans that we cannot keep."

Source: AFP