Liverpool’s decision to remain at Anfield is one that makes economic sense according to the club’s managing director, Ian Ayre, with the club deciding to increase the capacity of their own ground instead of moving to a new stadium.
He claims that moving to a new stadium would cost £300million, a cost which would not justify building a brand new stadium with only 15,000 more seats than Anfield.
It will come as relief to the club’s long-suffering fans that the club now has a clear direction for the future; and that extra money will be raised for potential new signings to take the club back into contention for major honours.
Many of the club’s supporters struggled with the concept of leaving their traditional home; a move which was supported by Hicks and Gillett in their turbulent tenure at the club.
The unpopular pair wasted £50million into planning of a new stadium, money which the new owners, FSG, have been forced to write off
Liverpool’s £150 million investment in Anfield will please the traditionalists, considering the ground is the only which the club has ever had; however there are still a number of drawbacks in remaining at the site.
The economic benefits of staying have been well-publicised, but the club needs to address the on-going housing situation around the ground if it wants to increase the capacity.
The club still needs to purchase houses around the stadium and consequently demolish them in order to take the ground’s capacity to 60,000; with reports claiming that Ian Ayre would be happy to fork out more than market value for the properties.
In addition, staying at Anfield means the club cannot walk away from the long-standing logistical problems which include; poor parking, poor public transport and traffic chaos on match days.
Staying at the site and not moving to Stanley Park also makes it more difficult for the club’s out of town fans to bring money to the club; with a brand new stadium possibly making the club more commercially viable in appealing to the global market.
Despite Ayre’s announcement, there is still a large degree of uncertainty surrounding the stadium expansion; as the planning application is not due to be submitted until next summer and consultations with residents have yet to begin.
Staying at Anfield may be a money-saver in the short-term, but it remains to be seen whether the decision will be thought of as a shrewd move or a missed opportunity.
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