This morning it has been reported that Liverpool Football Club are close to submitting plans for a $230 million upgrade to their historic Anfield Stadium.
Owner John Henry and his directors have wanted to expand the iconic venue for quite some time, and it seems as though Liverpool will be able to push ahead with their plans to expand Anfield to a capacity of over 60,000.
According to sources, all but ‘a handful’ of the 90 houses needed to be demolished to start the project have been bought by the club, after years of debate on expansion or building a new stadium in Stanley Park.
So at over 60,000, that would make Liverpool’s ground the second biggest in the English Premier League behind Manchester United’s Old Trafford which holds 76,000. Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium holds 60,000 and Manchester City have recently released plans to expand the Etihad to 54,000.
It seems as if the Reds don’t want to be left behind as the EPL becomes more lucrative by the season.
The plans will include both the Main Stand and the Anfield Road Stand being expanded to increase the capacity from 45,000 to 60,000. Liverpool have been toying with upgrading Anfield since 2000, when plans to move to Stanley Park into a new stadium were first released. The whole saga has rumbled on ever since, with only small upgrades being made here and there.
Liverpool desperately need the increased levels of revenue, as they aim to close the gap on the current top four and return to the lucrative Champions League. One way to do that would be increasing the capacity, and now with almost all the residents on board with the plans, applications can be sent in over the summer so work can begin in earnest.
Here is a link to Liverpool’s Managing Director Ian Ayre’s comments from a few weeks ago, as he talks about the stadium plans and why the club decided to remain at Anfield.
Would 60,000 be enough though? Such is the prestige and worldwide popularity of Liverpool FC, they could probably sell out 70,000 for most games. But 60,000 does seem like a fair number to start with anyway. Once they begin this expansion of Anfield, you may find that more development will follow.
So after all the noise about building a new stadium in Stanley Park for so many years, Liverpool will stay put in their spiritual home for the foreseeable future. Lovely stuff.