In 2002, Liverpool announced plans to build a new 55,000 seater stadium on Stanley Park, sparking a hot debate that has raged on from day one. Some demanded Liverpool stay and redevelop Anfield, the spiritual home of the Merseysiders. But others disagreed, saying Liverpool needed to move to Stanley Park to increase revenue from higher ticket sales.
Editor’s Note: Over the coming weeks, Mitch Cray will bring you all the options for the Reds including the two above as well as the controversial idea of a stadium share with bitter rivals, Everton. Here’s Part 1:
The Renovation Of Anfield
Is there a stadium more magical than Anfield? Is there a place where You’ll Never Walk Alone is sung by fans with such passion?
Ever since the Reds were formed way back in 1892, Anfield has been the home of Liverpool, being the location for almost every famous European Cup night and League success. And for everyone on Merseyside, Anfield is an integral part of the community. Anfield is rated as one of the world’s colosseum’s of football and has truly withstood the test of time, having been a home to the Reds for over 100 years.
And no doubt, I and most followers of football would love for it to last another 100 years.
Here’s what Barcelona midfielder, Xavi had to say about Anfield:
“All the players who go to England to play come back saying wonderful things about it (Anfield), the fans, the people. I think I would have liked it.”
However magical Anfield and the Kop is, for Liverpool to survive, they need a bigger stadium, for not only general ticket sales but also corporate ticket sales. And of course, there’s only one way to have both the history of Anfield, as well as more seating. That is; redeveloping Anfield. Some of you may be thinking, “There you go, there’s the answer! What has all this fuss been about?”
But for those who are having those thoughts, it’s not quite that simple.
First, if Liverpool redevelop Anfield, they’re going to need more space to not only fit more seats but also, give fans more space to walk around the stadium and make car parks, bus stops and other forms of transport more suitable and accessible for around 60,000 people on match day. And to do that surrounding homes will need to be demolished and residents forced out of their homes, an act which will not be easy, especially as Liverpool is ‘the people’s club’ and any feud between the club and residents would be a PR disaster.
However, the Reds can use their existing property in Stanley Park to build new apartments for those who are forced out of their homes to make way for renovations. And also, build a smaller training facility closer to Anfield for match day.
But now that problem is solved, another question needs to be asked. If Liverpool redevelop Anfield to fit 60,000 people, will it be sustainable? Will Liverpool need to upgrade to a larger stadium in the future?
We’ll discuss that and more topics in the future. In the meantime, share your opinion in the comments section below whether you believe that Liverpool should stay at Anfield and redevelop the ground. Or if they should move to Stanley Park.
Follow Mitch Cray on Twitter @mitchy__mitch