Money and time wasted on new Anfield.
Liverpool’s decision to revert to their original plans for a new stadium does not mean the club have dismissed the prospect of remaining at a redeveloped Anfield, Press Association Sport understands.
Owners Fenway Sports Group (FSG) have ditched designs by Dallas-based architects HKS, commissioned by former co-owner Tom Hicks, in favour of the earlier proposals of Manchester company AFL, which were granted planning permission in 2004.
However, it is believed the decision does not mean FSG have totally abandoned hopes of staying at Anfield.
But the futuristic HKS stadium plans, with an estimated cost of £400million – £100million more than those proposed by AFL – have now been consigned to the waste bin.
As nearly nine years have passed since AFL drew up their plans there is some scope for modification, but building a new 60,000-seater stadium in Stanley Park is dependent on the club securing naming rights.
Liverpool have been carrying out a year-long worldwide search to assess the viability of finding sponsorship that will bring in about £150million.
Managing director Ian Ayre has admitted previously that building a new stadium with a capacity only 15,000 more than Anfield makes no financial sense without huge external investment.
SOURCE: Press Association
The longer Liverpool go without any progress on the stadium front, the further they fall behind the likes of Manchester United, Arsenal and Manchester City in match-day revenue.
It is the lack of progress that irks so much.
Admittedly whether to build a new stadium or expand Anfield is a huge decision to make, but the fact that nine years have passed without so much as a decision having been made seems insane.
Liverpool have had changes in ownership in that period, and so the current owners Fenway Sports Group cannot be blamed entirely, but Liverpool fans have been given plenty of false hope along the years.
That’s the trouble – after so long, the disappointments aren’t even a surprise.
Remember in January 2007 when George Gillett said, “The shovel needs to be in the ground in the next 60 days, and we would intend to follow that.”
We’re still waiting.