It’s hard not to get a touch cynical when anyone talks about Liverpool’s stadium situation, but primary Liverpool owner John W. Henry is saying that the financial backing is in place for the proposed re-development of Anfield and that the project will move forward once the few remaining privately owned properties around the ground are purchased.
Although a design has yet to be unveiled, the project is believed to involve a new main stand and Anfield Road end which would up the current capacity to accommodate 60,000 people; though we’ve heard all this before. The failed stadium plans of the Tom Hicks and George Gillett era have left many fans with a sour and distrustful disposition when it comes to ownership – something which has unfortunately carried over to the present day. Despite Fenway Sport Groups refusal to make the kind of grandiose empty promises that became the hallmark of the previous administration, until a planning application is submitted, large sections of the Reds support will refuse to see it as anything but.
Despite the skepticism, Henry, who oversaw a very similar project when historic Fenway Park in Boston was refurbished, remains upbeat and insists that, unlike Hicks and Gillett, FSG already has the financial backing in place to move forward. As the club and city council work towards purchasing the remaining privately owned properties that surround the stadium, Henry spoke of the “good progress” being made. “The obstacles are not completely out of the way but we seem to be moving in that direction. The obstacles are being overcome. We don’t have all the houses but we are making progress.”
“Again, we just need certainty with regards to these properties and the number of the properties that are in question keeps getting reduced. The City Council is doing everything they can and that is all we can ask” said Henry. Compulsory purchase orders remain an available option, but it’s believed that the current, more diplomatic route is the one preferred by the club. Until there’s a “spade in the ground” words are all we have to cling to, but the signs that this painfully slow process will one day bear fruit are there as more and more buildings are snapped up and proceedings continue to move at a snail’s pace.