Friday, October 08, 2010

NESV must look to the Football Quarter when deciding on the future home of LFC

According to Liverpool Football Club’s last annual accounts, in excess of £50 million has been spent on the proposed new stadium, yet Stanley Park – the site for the 60,000 seat ground- is almost identical to what it was when the plans were released. 

Under the ownership of Tom Hicks and George Gillett Liverpool have suffered incredibly financially, which has meant the development of the new stadium has come to a complete standstill.

Even if the American duo had found the capital to begin the project, the mortgage for the new stadium would reportedly have needed a deposit of £100 million – an outlay, in total, of £150 million before a spade is in the ground.

Now, with the club looking likely to be under new ownership by the end of the month, Liverpool have the chance to push on with plans for a new stadium.

First, though, I’d implore New England Sports Ventures to look at present day Anfield. I’d like them to think about the clubs history and what has gone on at this stadium, one of the great venues in the history of football.

I’d also like John Henry and co to take a look around the local area, to see what damage the club have done.

Building a self-serving stadium in the middle of Stanley Park, in my opinion, isn’t the best option for Liverpool Football Club or the city itself, despite what the local council may seem to think. NESV should instead look toward redeveloping Anfield under the strategy laid out in the plans for the Football Quarter.

The Football Quarter is the brainchild of two Merseyside fan groups, Keep Everton in our City and Spirit of Shankly – the Liverpool Supporters Union. The plans see the redevelopment of both Anfield and Goodison, with the addition of centres for sports excellence in the local area.

Should the plans be put in to practice then around 14,000 jobs will be created, with and additional £2bn coming in to the city through tourism revenue.

It’s the ideal solution, both clubs have stadiums tailored to their needs, the city further builds upon the excellent work done during the Capital of Culture celebrations in 2008 and the local area will be greatly improved after years of neglect.

A ground share may seem like an affordable option, but it’s not a long-term option. Both clubs have very different needs and very different identities. Arguments would no doubt ensue over who would need to pay how much for the stadium, with Liverpool expected to front the bill.

If John W Henry wants to make a good first impression he needs to take a long, hard look at what the Football Quarter proposal has to offer not just the club but the local community and the long-term prosperity of the city.

For more information on the Football Quarter click here 

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