In an interesting revelation made by the Liverpool Echo, it would seem as though there is a possibility for fans to fund the expansion of the Anfield Road end.
Liverpool’s first home game of the season was meant to be played against Burnley in August, however, due to the to redevelopment of Anfield’s Main Stand during the summer, the game was moved to Turf Moor and the Reds played their first game in front of the behemoth of a Main Stand in September against Leicester City.
While the game was a superb watch and the extra 8,500 fans bolstered the home support’s voice, Liverpool’s fans aren’t known for being content with their lot and have since made noises about the expansion of the Anfield Road end.
Last month, Liverpool owner John W. Henry came in for a lot of slack for what seemed to be a dig at supporters regarding last season’s ticket price protest.
Speaking to AP in New York, taken from the Liverpool Echo, he said, “I don’t know if there is a next step because ticket prices are an issue in England. That may foreclose further expansion. We’ll have to see.”
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Ian Ayre, Liverpool’s CEO, spoke to the Liverpool Echo regarding the cost of further expansion and why it might not be viable.
“A stand behind a goal doesn’t have the benefit of hospitality that would go a long way to meet the redevelopment costs,” Ayre said.
“If you consider the redevelopment of Anfield Road from a purely General Admission perspective, building, say, 6,000 extra seats to take the capacity up to 60,000 would cost somewhere between £60m and £70m.
“At £12,000 to £13,000 per seat, it would take approximately 15 years to pay back, which is not a smart investment for the business. Therefore the Club needs to find a rounded solution that’s in the best interests of the football club.”
While John W. Henry’s position with fans may be somewhat tenuous, supporters are willing to cut out the middle man. Graham Smith, “a representative for Merseyside based supporters on the committee” discussed the possibility of fans funding stadium expansion – and he doesn’t mean a few bake sales.
Smith said, “There are people who would think a 15-year return would make sense, and that’s the supporters. The supporters would fund such a development upfront if the Club made an appeal for financial support.”
Ayre said that while he isn’t in a position to reflect the thinking of the owners, that he believes that the idea of fans becoming involved in their own club’s future is admirable.
“We should have that conversation,” Ayre added.
Liverpool is very much a stirring giant. With Jurgen Klopp slowly but surely restoring the club to its former domestic glory and with Anfield being renovated, big things can be expected of the Merseyside club in the next five years.
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