It has long been Liverpool’s ambition to renovate their home of 122 years, rather than build a new stadium, and according to the announcement they aim to be in a position to submit a planning application during the summer.
Liverpool had been forced to wait as the City Council were in negotiations with two private property owners for four houses that needed to be bought to allow the redevelopment begin but deals have now nearly been struck.
A modernised Main Stand would boost Liverpool’s capacity to 53,500 from just over 45,000 now and they have also made plans to redevelop the Anfield Road stand, which would provide a further 4,800 seats. This would take the capacity to over 60,000.
The project for the Main Stand, which will cost more than £100million, would be completed by the summer of 2016, provided construction is given the green light to begin early in 2015. Anfield would not have to close during the redevelopment.
The plans show where the Hillsborough Memorial would be repositioned and the aim is to name the space behind the Main Stand ‘96 Avenue’ but the iconic Shankly Gates do not feature as Liverpool are still working out where to locate them.
Ian Ayre, Liverpool’s Managing Director, said: ‘It’s absolutely a significant step forward. With the club stepping forward on the pitch this season it’s fitting and great that we’re able to feel that we’re making progress on the stadium.
‘We’ve said all the way along that we’ll have to have certainty and we’re careering towards certainty on the properties.
‘We are going into a consultation process on planning and then the next level of certainty for us, post the properties, is the planning stage and we can’t just presume that we’ll get planning but again we’d like to be optimistic about that.
‘It would be fantastic for the football club and the fans if we can continue our progress on the pitch and with the stadium because hand in hand they support each other.
‘We set out a very clear set of objectives and timescales to achieve what we want to achieve on the stadium and it’s very much on track. It is very pleasing that we have made progress in keeping with the plan we set out.’ The new Main Stand would allow Liverpool to significantly improve their match day revenue, as they would have between 34-36 new corporate boxes.
Liverpool have been in talks with several companies over the possibility of sponsoring the new stand but they are not looking to sell the naming rights of Anfield.
Ayre said: ‘We’ll always take our time to find the right solution and I’ve never been in doubt that we’d find a solution under this group and I think staying at Anfield and finding such a great solution is fantastic for everyone.’