SBD/June 6, 2014/Facilities

Werner Says Anfield Renovations Will Be FSG's Defining Moment With Liverpool

Liverpool hopes to eventually take Anfield's capacity to 58,000
EPL club Liverpool Chair Tom Werner said that the planned $168M (all figures U.S.) renovation of Anfield "will be the defining moment" of Fenway Sports Group’s ownership tenure, according to Chris Bascombe of the London TELEGRAPH. Agreements "have been signed with all homeowners in the surrounding area and a planning application for the new Main Stand -- extending Anfield to an initial 53,250 capacity -- was put in place this week." FSG "will start building as soon as they have the green light from city planners." Liverpool hopes to "eventually take the capacity to 58,000 with a second phase expansion of the Anfield Road and there is no underestimating how significant progress is to safeguard the club's future after so many false dawns." Werner: "This will be our legacy at Liverpool, resolving the stadium issue. I am as proud of protecting and preserving Fenway Park in Boston as I am the three World Series we have won and will feel exactly the same way about repeating this at Anfield. It will be the most exciting day at Anfield in 2016 when we can welcome the additional supporters to the stadium." FSG "abandoned previous plans to build a stadium on Stanley Park because the financial risk was too great." Werner said, "A question we had to ask was could Liverpool sustain a 65,000 seater stadium on Stanley Park? It was an issue in itself. If you can guarantee Champions League football every season [then] absolutely, the answer is yes, but I’m not sure anyone can be certain of that. That makes our approach much more sensible, allowing for further expansion of the Anfield Road." A stadium sponsor "would have solved many financial issues." But Werner said that the board "understood the view of the supporters who would not welcome a change of stadium name" (London TELEGRAPH, 6/6).
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