John Henry gives further indication of Anfield redevelopment
Comments by Liverpool owner John W. Henry this week have given further indication that the club are set to remain at Anfield, rather than moving to a new stadium in Stanley Park.
After over a decade of planning for a new stadium, three different designs and over £50m in costs, a decision is expected soon to announce that Liverpool will instead look to redevelop their famous stadium.
In an email sent to LFC fans’ website The Anfield Wrap, Henry discussed what he described as “a long-term myth” about the financial impact of a new stadium.
When Henry’s Fenway Sports Group, formerly New England Sports Ventures, bought Liverpool in October 2010, then-chairman Martin Broughton explained that they would deliver a 60,000 capacity stadium, but that no decision had yet been made on whether it would at Anfield or Stanley Park.
“They haven’t committed to what that is yet but we will have a stadium of more than 60,000 whether it is the new stadium as designed. There is a short-time table for that,” said Broughton.
Since then there have been strong indications that FSG’s preferred option is to remain at Anfield, as they did with the Boston Red Sox. Recently though, Liverpool supporters have grown frustrated at the lack of an announcement one way or another – 20 months after FSG purchased the club.
Reports recently have claimed that Liverpool City Council have given LFC until the end of June to make a decision.
Henry told The Anfield Wrap “No one has ever addressed whether or not a new stadium is rational.”
Managing director Ian Ayre has explained multiple times how Liverpool have been exploring both options, with a new stadium only viable if a naming rights partner can be found. Henry said;
“Liverpool FC has an advantage in being a global club and a naming rights deal could make a new stadium a reality. It is something we are working on. There has been interest.
Perhaps most worryingly, Henry ended his email by claiming increasing match-day revenue is “just one component of LFC long-term fortunes”. Fans will be hoping that does not mean no decision is made regarding the stadium issue.
Further improvements to the corporate hospitality areas of Anfield are being made throughout this summer. Last year the boxes on the Centenary stand were altered, this year the Main Stand area is being improved.