SBD/September 11, 2013/Facilities

Liverpool's John Henry Vows To Secure Financing For Stadium Expansion

Henry says he will not make the same financing mistakes as previous owners
EPL club Liverpool Owner John Henry has "pledged that finance" for the club's proposed expansion to its Anfield stadium "will be in place when the final logistical hurdles to the development are overcome," according to Ian Herbert of the London INDEPENDENT. Lucrative naming rights are a "non-starter for a stadium to be expanded from 45,000 to 60,000." But Henry said that the money "would be found and that the mistakes of the previous era, when planning went ahead without the cash in place, would not be repeated." Henry said former Liverpool co-Owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett "were talking about going out and borrowing an enormous amount of money for an enormous facility." Herbert notes Liverpool has "cleared virtually all the obstacles to the expansion, with the city council having bought all but eight of the 30 privately-owned houses needed to undertake a wholesale demolition and clear the way for the enlarged stadium, which the club has said is its preferred way of expanding capacity." The city council will "compulsorily purchase them if necessary ahead of a planning application going in -- possibly by February" (London INDEPENDENT, 9/11). The GUARDIAN's Andy Hunter reports Liverpool Chair Tom Werner last week "held further talks with council officials" and the club hopes "a breakthrough is close in the long-running, controversial stadium saga." While renovation plans have not been revealed, they are "understood to involve a new main stand and Anfield Road end being built behind the existing structures to minimise the impact on revenue." Henry said, "We are making good progress. We have a lot of different groups working very well together and having everybody on the same page is the key to a big project like this happening and pretty much everyone is on the same page" (GUARDIAN, 9/11).
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