Yesterday, after 13 years of waiting, Liverpool‘s managing director Ian Ayre finally broke the news that all reds fans had been so patiently waiting for ever since George Gillette first promised a spade in the ground back in 2007.
Fenway Sports Group, in conjunction with Liverpool City Council, have unveiled plans for a £260 million regeneration of the entire Anfield area, including the spiritual home of Liverpool FC, Anfield itself.
This is huge news for Liverpool supporters as it would appear that the project is now beginning to move forward after so many false starts, and the regeneration will hopefully attract potential investors to the area, something FSG will be keen on in order to allow Liverpool to progress as a a club.
The most important thing for Liverpool as a club is that they are back in the Champions League within the next two years and they are competing for trophies on all fronts, just like Chelsea and Manchester United. The regeneration of Anfield can assist Liverpool’s ambitions in terms of global appeal, however, the real boost is going to come from the forthcoming stadium expansion, which will increase Anfield to 60,000 seats, placing them squarely at the top table in terms of match-day revenue.
The plan has already been instigated and 296 recently-acquired homes will be demolished to make way for the stadium expansion, as well as a new business park and an Anfield Village. The Anfield Road Stand and the Main Stand will be expanded to encompass a further 15,000 seats and, with work looking to start as early as February next year, the stadium could be ready to seat 60,000 fans in early 2016.
A larger stadium means larger revenues, and FSG are keen to increase the number of corporate boxes at the ground to rival that of Manchester United and Arsenal, who receive much of their match-day revenue from corporate sources. More revenue means more funds available to bring in players of a higher caliber, and will ultimately ensure Liverpool return to being a competitive force in the Premier League.
The important thing to remember for Liverpool fans is that this is a long-term project and they may still have to endure a few barren years before they may reap the rewards.