Liverpool Say Anfield Development is Unlikely

July 11, 2011

English Premier League soccer club Liverpool have admitted that has admitted it is looking increasingly unrealistic that the Reds will be able to redevelop Anfield, chief executive Ian Ayre said.

The club had hoped to increase capacity at the ground to 60,000 from 45,000.

But Ayre said in a statement: “Land/property acquisition, environmental and statutory issues are creating barriers to our ambition.

“It looks increasingly unlikely there is any way we can move forward on a refurbishment of Anfield.”

On Thursday, Reds owner John W Henry said on Twitter that there were “so many obstacles” preventing the refurbishment of Liverpool’s home of the past 119 years.

Previous owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett had hoped to build a new stadium in Stanley Park but Henry, whose Fenway Sports Group successfully redeveloped Boston Red Sox’s Fenway Park stadium, favours an upgrade of Anfield.

Ayre continued: “In the nine months since the new ownership, an enormous amount of work has been undertaken to explore the building of a new stadium as well as exploring a refurbishment solution.

“In terms of a Stanley Park stadium versus redevelopment, there is absolutely no question that a refurbishment of Anfield would come at a significantly lower cost than a new build.

“It’s disappointing that based on where we are at the moment, we seem to be unable to press on with the more viable economic option of a refurbishment, but we remain committed to finding the best possible long-term solution.”

Liverpool City Council leader Joe Anderson added: “We fully appreciate that the new owners have made real progress over the past nine months since they took over, and we will continue to support what they are trying to deliver.

“However, it is unfortunately the reality that the debate and discussions over a new stadium have gone on for many years, causing a great deal of frustration and uncertainty within the local community.

“Although we are fully supportive of the club, we can’t ignore the fact that the clock is and has been ticking, and people need certainty about the development.

“We will be pressing for a decision as soon as is practically possible that will benefit Liverpool FC and deliver the much needed regeneration that the area so badly needs.”