Liverpool to stay at Anfield with £150m redevelopment
Streets around stadium to be demolished as part of plan to increase capacity to 60,000
LIVERPOOL have finally abandoned plans to move to a new stadium and instead will embark on a £150m redevelopment of Anfield, which will increase the old stadium's capacity to 60,000.
Work could begin in 2014 and will involve demolishing several streets around the ground. The expansion of the club's traditional home will form part of a council-led regeneration of the area.
Liverpool have been based at Anfield since 1892, but the ground's capacity of 45,000 was seen as too small to compete with the likes of Manchester United and Arsenal, and plans to move to a new home in Stanley Park were put forward ten years ago.
But the news that the Reds will now be staying at Anfield has gone down well in Liverpool. "The stadium dilemma has been a millstone about the club's neck for the past decade but with today’s announcement of the £152million redevelopment of Anfield a solution is finally in sight," reports the Liverpool Echo.
"Liverpool are staying put. Their strong bond with the iconic surroundings which have been home since the club's formation in 1892 won't be broken. The forlorn hope of trying to move the Kop and recreate those spine-tingling atmospheres elsewhere won't need to be attempted."
The club's previous owners, Americans Tom Hicks and George Gillett, wanted to build a new ground but, according to The Daily Telegraph, "[current] principal owner John W Henry has always wanted to repeat at Anfield what he achieved at Fenway Park in Boston [home of the Red Sox baseball team], giving a facelift to his club's spiritual home".
"The plans, set to be unveiled by the club's owners, will include increasing the capacity of Anfield from just over 45,000 to around 60,000, and perhaps crucially for the financial well-being of the club, will also feature an upgrade of the stadium's corporate entertainment facilities," says Football365.
"This has been a long-running saga and the club's most recent financial results, which were released in May, revealed Liverpool had written off a staggering £49.6million during their failure to relocate," reveals the Daily Mail.
But The Guardian warns that it is not a done deal. "Redevelopment is likely to see major improvements to, and extensions of, the Main Stand and the Anfield Road end, although that is all subject to planning permission.
"However, redevelopment is entirely dependent on being able to get the necessary permissions to carry out the work the club want - which means a new-build on Stanley Park cannot be conclusively ruled out until those have been secured."