Amidst the transfer deadline day countdown and the post Bolton celebrations, you may have missed an interview with Liverpool owner John W. Henry in The Telegraph newsaper this weekend.
As we approach the first anniversary of FSG purchasing the club from Tom Hicks and George Gillett, Henry was asked about various issues relating to his first year in tenure; from the European transfer system, financial fair play, the ‘British premium’ on players and the future plans for the club.
Perhaps, most interestingly was the admission that a naming rights partner “could well happen”.
Henry also explained how he, along with club chairman Tom Werner and chief executive Ian Ayre, had visited Bayern Munich’s Allianz Arena last weekend.
On the stadium, Henry was asked – Has there been any progress on the prospects of a new stadium? Is building a new stadium a viable option in the current climate? Your group has indicated in the past that a ground-share with Everton is off the agenda — is this still the case?
“I’ve seen a lot of talk recently about ground-sharing, but our position hasn’t changed. There’s no doubt that if a new stadium were to be built in Liverpool from a financial perspective – which is the major issue – a ground-share would be helpful for both clubs. But there doesn’t seem to be any support for that from Red or Blue fans – at all. So how could that ever happen?”
“We would love to expand Anfield, but there are enough local and regulatory issues to keep that avenue stalled for years with no assurances that once begun it would bear any fruit.”
“If Anfield cannot be expanded a new stadium is wonderful choice. But the fact is we already have 45,000 seats. If a new stadium is constructed with 60,000 seats you’ve spent an incredible sum of money to add just 15,000 seats.”
“If the cost is £300m for an extra 15,000 seats, that doesn’t make any sense at all. Liverpool isn’t London, you can’t charge £1 million for a long-term club seat. And concession revenues per seat aren’t that much different at Emirates from Anfield.”
“That’s why the search is on currently for a naming-rights partner. And that could very well happen.”