Monday’s confirmation that Liverpool are now seeking to remain at Anfield is a stark contrast to the lavish plans put forward for a new stadium in Stanley Park by the club’s previous owners.
Fenway Sports Group purchased Liverpool two years ago, with the promise to provide a 60,000 seater stadium. Until now they had not committed as to whether that would be via redeveloping Anfield or building a new home. Instead they have gone about things intelligently and without rushing.
There have been no “spade in the ground” style comments like George Gillett so acrimoniously stated upon the purchase of Liverpool. There have been no extravagant plans drawn up at huge costs by owners seeking to stroke their own ego and line the pockets of their friendly architects from Texas, ala Tom Hicks.
Speaking at Monday’s announcement, Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson said:
“We can blame previous leadership of the club, or even the past three owners. But dealing with the administration of the club now and trying to deal with the previous owners is like chalk and cheese. There is trust, respect and collaboration.”
The mistakes of previous regimes cannot be held against FSG, for their part they have been honest and considered in their plans. Quite early on they stated their desire to explore all possibilites but a preference for redeveloping Anfield made sense to them for economic and historic reasons.
While some supporters may be frustrated by what they perceive as FSG’s reluctance to commit to outlining their exact plans, it is more a case of not making the mistakes of previous regimes by making promises that may not be possible.
Anfield redevelopment has always been my personal preference, and the majority of supporters too. It was David Moores’ preference too but FSG are now hoping to achieve what he, and many others, believed was impossible.
The irony is that Moores ultimately sold Liverpool because he could not fund a new stadium, and Anfield expansion had hit a brick wall. That led to the calamitous Gillett and Hicks era that has set the club back so far.
FSG are now seeking to remove that brick wall and Liverpool City Council are finally prepared to assist in doing so. If only the two parties could have worked together 10, 15 years ago we would already be sitting a redeveloped Anfield.