Liverpool likely to stay at Anfield
It looks increasingly likely that Liverpool will stay at Anfield and not move to a new stadium to be built at Stanley Park. Liverpool 's principalowner John W Henry has always been sceptical about the Stanley Park solution, preferring to re-develop Anfield to provide extra capacity and corporate facilities. He has also questioned how far more stadium capacity is the key to re-building the club.
An important consideration is getting the most cost effective solution in today's difficult economic climate. A new stadium at Stanley Park would cost £350m. John W Henry does not believe that Liverpool supporters would accept higher ticket prices to fund a new stadium. The club's spending power in the transfer market could be constrained.
It is believed that re-developing the Main Stand and Anfield Road stand would cost about £150m, £200m less, and would boost capacity from 45,000 to 60,000. Liverpool also propose to build a hotel, although the location is not ideal away from match days when a premium price could be charged.
Liverpool City Council is expected to announce compulsory purchase orders for houses around the ground on Monday. They have always constrained expansion as the ground is surrounded by tightly packed Victorian housing.
The Council will announce later today a £175m regeneration project with a revamped Anfield at its heart. Fenway Sports Group has complained in the past that the council has been unhelpful, but the ball has now passed to the club.
Quite how many houses would be affected by compulsory purchase orders is unclear. Indeed, any proposals will have to go through a process of consultation and are likely to face objections given that some owners have refused to sell up. It could be some considerable time before any construction work can start. Even if it is phased, as seems probable, it is bound to lead to some disruption and possible temporary reductions in capacity. It is likely that the Main Stand would be rebuilt first.
As a football fan, I welcome this decision as Anfield has always been one of the most atmospheric grounds to visit and there is so much to see and do in Liverpool these days that one can easily make a weekend of it.