Ayre: Liverpool Will Not Be Pressed on Stadium Decision

July 13, 2011

Managing director Ian Ayre Liverpool will not be pressured into making a premature call on whether to redevelop Anfield or move to a new stadium.

Ayre revealed on Sunday it was “increasingly unlikely” that the club would be able to redevelop the 45,000-capicity Anfield ground and instead suggested a move to a new stadium at nearby Stanley Park could be a more realistic option. However, speaking to the Barclays Premier League club’s official website during Liverpool’s pre-season tour of China, Ayre insisted that nothing had been ruled out.

He said: “No amount of pressure will force Liverpool Football Club to make a decision quickly for the wrong reasons. With regards the refurbishment, the type of work that’s been going on (in the last nine months) has been developing plans and drawings that look at what is possible with Anfield, and that has incorporated a study into the extension of the main stand and a study into the extension of the Anfield Road End. Both of these, if successful, could deliver a 60,000-plus seater, which would be great, but it comes with whole other challenges and whole other areas we have to investigate.”

The Liverpool managing director also said that naming rights would be crucial in “finding the right economic model” for a new 60,000-seat stadium.

He said: “What people don’t think of a lot of the time is that we don’t get 60,000 new seats when we build a stadium – we only get the difference between Anfield currently and whatever we build. The economics of that difference don’t really stack up in the medium term for a return for Liverpool. It would be a huge investment with very little financial gain.”

Ayre added: “On its own that doesn’t look like a viable proposition, so what we have to explore an opportunity for naming rights. Naming rights is something that’s been in the media recently for a number of reasons and it’s something we’re very actively looking at but it just takes time. Our deal with Standard Chartered, which was a groundbreaking deal, took over a year to put together, and other similar types of deals we’ve been involved in have taken time. The pressure is there with people wanting an answer, but it’s not an answer we can give right now.”