Liverpool move closer to Anfield expansion
Liverpool have moved a step closer to redeveloping Anfield after formally confirming their preference is to remain at their existing home and not build a new stadium in Stanley Park.
Symbolically, on the day of Fenway Sports Group's two-year anniversary of buying the club, a definitive way forward in relation to the long-running ground issue was identified by managing director Ian Ayre. Liverpool City Council have announced extensive plans for a regeneration of the Anfield area having secured a £25m grant with a housing association set to also invest heavily.
On the back of that the club plan to push ahead with proposals to extend and improve their only home since 1892. "Today represents a huge step forward for the Anfield area. Everyone at the football club knows the importance of today," Ayre told reporters at a press conference at Liverpool Town Hall.
"We welcome the opportunity to be part of this partnership - we want to thank Joe Anderson (mayor of Liverpool) and the council for the time and the support they've given us to help make the right decision. LFC celebrated its 120th year in 2012 at Anfield and there is no doubt Anfield is the spiritual home of the club - our preference was always to remain at Anfield.
"This is a major step forward for the football club but more importantly the residents. This is step one as there is land to acquire, plans to be approved etc, but this is a significant moment. Questions about capacity and cost are not for today - not until we have certainty."
Redevelopment is likely to see major improvements to, and extensions of, the main stand and the Anfield Road end although that is all subject to planning permission, which has been made possible by the regeneration plans to clear some streets close to the ground, and the support of homeowners and the community.
However, redevelopment is entirely dependent on being able to get the necessary permissions to carry out the work the club want - which means a new-build on Stanley Park cannot be conclusively consigned to the wastebin until those have been secured.