• Premier League

Liverpool stay at Anfield, plan renovation

ESPN staff
October 15, 2012
Liverpool plan to improve the capacity at Anfield © PA Photos

Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre has confirmed that the club intend to redevelop Anfield rather than building a new stadium in Stanley Park.

Ayre made the announcement at Liverpool Town Hall, with the city's local authority revealing plans to regenerate the area around the stadium.

Liverpool City Council has secured a £25 million grant from the government for the Anfield Village project, with the Your Housing housing association also set to invest.

The council plans to demolish a number of homes near Anfield as part of the development, using compulsory purchase orders where necessary, which will create space for the expansion of the stadium.

"Today represents a huge step forward for the Anfield area. Everyone at the football club knows the importance of today," managing director Ian Ayre said at Liverpool Town Hall.

"LFC celebrated its 120th year in 2012 at Anfield and there is no doubt Anfield is the spiritual home of the club - our preference was always to remain at Anfield.

"This is a major step forward for the football club but more importantly the residents. This is step one as there is land to acquire, plans to be approved etc, but this is a significant moment.

"Questions about capacity and cost are not for today - not until we have certainty."

Ayre, who also indicated that the blueprint for redeveloping the ground was likely to include extending the Anfield Road and main stands, made the announcement on the second anniversary of Fenway Sports Group's takeover of Liverpool.

The cost of redeveloping Anfield has been estimated at around £150 million, roughly half what it would have cost to build on Stanley Park. Ayre has always maintained that, even with a naming rights deal, moving did not make financial sense, which is why Henry has always preferred the idea of staying put.

"If you build a new stadium, one of the big challenges is that you don't get 60,000 new seats in a new stadium, you only get the difference [with the existing capacity]," Ayre told the club's official website.

"That makes it very difficult to make it viable because the cost of building such a big new stadium doesn't work economically, particularly in this market. So one of the things we had to look at was the balance between that solution and a staying-at-Anfield-type solution.

"The work we've done on that showed us that as long as we could find the right solution to stay at Anfield, and get through the barriers and hurdles that we needed, we would have to find the best long-term solution for the club that had sustainability and worked economically.

"Added to that is the fact that I'd say it was very much the preference for our fans, the majority of our fans, and certainly for all of us. We've had some of the greatest triumphs in our history here, so it makes sense if there's a right solution that this is the place we should continue to play our football."

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