Home is where the heart is. This saying rings never truer than at Anfield where a period of transition for Liverpool is in full swing. With Brendan Rodgers now in control, the club who were in danger of steering off course have now revitalised its backroom staff and by the end of the summer a fresh looking organisation will be raring to get back on track. With the new owners seeking to improve the clubs stature in various departments, a plan to scrap ideas for the long awaited new Stadium at Stanley Park is in discussion, with the club opting to stay where the fans feel most at home, Anfield.
With varying plans on the table to expand the stadiums current capacity having been announced, it seems that the Kop will still be thriving for a while yet. However, with so many clubs of Liverpool’s stature plying their trade in far more capacious stadiums, and with plans afoot for the likes of Tottenham and West Ham to move to pastures new, is staying at Anfield financially the right move in terms of generating revenue? Can the stadium modernise itself aptly in order to compete with the homes of their Premier League rivals?
The proposed move to Stanley Park has been hanging over Liverpool for almost 10 years. With constant delays and alterations to the designs, no progress has been made. The futuristic looking plans of the new stadium that circulated certainly excited fans. However, with new owners come new rules and the FSG have stepped away from the uncertainty that is Stanley Park and have proposed to increase the clubs current home, just as they did with the Boston Red Sox. Although an increase in capacity will not reach the quoted 72,000 that was expected from the Stanley Park project, building extra tiers in the Main and Anfield Road stands will certainly provide an imposing arena for opposing teams to play in. The stands will also undoubtedly become modernised, providing the most updated of facilities for fans while still remaining true to the history of the stadium.
Ultimately, staying at Anfield will be the economically wise option for the club. With a new stadium costing around £400 million, the club can now spend a portion of this in renovating Anfield whilst freeing up the rest of the funds to be used in the transfer market. Lessons can be learned from Arsenal’s financially draining move to the Emirates and their inability to spend lavishly in the subsequent transfer windows. With the club set to have an increased spending budget as well as a stadium where the fans and players feel at home, the plans to stay at their current base may be the most successful idea for the Reds.
Anfield and Liverpool Football Club have become so entwined; it seems ridiculous that the team could play anywhere else. The ground is a symbol of the club; it is the beating heart of the entire organisation. To move anywhere else may remove the club from its origins and philosophies. With so much alteration occurring at the club, FSG may have made the most impeccably timed decision to halt any stadium move. If the changes that have been made by the owners do not pay off, criticism is bound to be endless. If at the same time, Henry and Co have removed the club from their spiritual home, the fans will have lost all connection with the history and traditions that Liverpool are so coveted for.
It is rare that you will find a football stadium in the world that has a more impressive atmosphere then Anfield, despite its relatively small capacity in relation to the clubs stature internationally. The stadium has the unintentional ability to drive the team to success. With fans close to the action, the world famous Kop which rises high above the Anfield pitch and noise levels that could break decibel records there is no immediate reason as to why Liverpool would want to move homes. In light of proposed expansion and freed up funds in the pipeline, it is hard to see where FSG have faltered in their future planning for a club, who for the considerable future will be playing at their first and only home, Anfield.