Ayre upbeat over spending power

  • Last Updated: October 15 2012, 17:54 BST

Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre insists a multi-million redevelopment of Anfield will enhance the club's transfer market spending power and not diminish it.

Ian Ayre: Redevelopment will boost spending power

On the second anniversary of Fenway Sports Group's purchase of the Reds, Ayre formally confirmed their intention to remain at their current home and not pursue a new build project in Stanley Park.

That decision was made on the back of Liverpool City Council announcing extensive plans for a regeneration of the Anfield area with a housing association set to also invest heavily.

Redevelopment of the Main Stand and Anfield Road end is likely to cost an estimated £150million and while nothing has been forthcoming as yet on how this money will be procured Ayre said it would not impact on football matters.

"As we've said, the right solution is the right economic solution," Ayre told liverpoolfc.com.

"More so from it detracting from our spending in the transfer market, the whole point of doing this is to actually increase our revenues.

"If we look at our biggest competitors with a bigger capacity, like Manchester United, Arsenal, their matchday revenues are significantly ahead of ours.

"This whole initiative is designed to generate additional revenues so the ultimate solution has to be one that increases the overall output through the process rather than decreasing it.

"We'll find the right financing solution, the right return on investment to deliver the right amount of additional revenue to support the long-term future of the football club."

Match-day revenues will be significantly increased by bigger crowds and the financial reality was that it could be achieved more cheaply on the current site - Liverpool's home since 1892.

"We need a much-increased capacity and it has to be one that is right for the club going forward," Ayre told the Liverpool Echo.

"We could have achieved that in a new stadium but the cost of doing so would have been at least double what we expect to spend by staying put.

"We would have been making very big payments - servicing the loans involved in building a brand new stadium - for very many years into the future.

"That would have hampered our ability to spend money where we, and the supporters, want to see it spent: in buying and developing top players to allow us to continue to compete successfully at the very highest levels in Britain and Europe.

"This option gives us much more chance of generating the revenues we need in a sensible and practical way - and of course of accommodating many more fans who want to come and watch us play."

Remaining at Anfield and not building a new ground, costing upwards of £300million, was always the owners preferred option.

FSG have a history of updating historic old stadiums as they did a similar thing at Fenway Park, home to baseball's Boston Red Sox, and they will now look to do the same on Merseyside.

Redevelopment, made possible by the regeneration plans to clear some streets close to the ground, is subject to planning permission and the support of homeowners and the community - which means plans for a new-build stadium cannot be conclusively consigned to the wastebin until those have been secured.

But planning applications to raise capacity to 60,000 are likely to be submitted next year with building potentially beginning in 2014.

"LFC celebrated its 120th year in 2012 at Anfield and there is no doubt Anfield is the spiritual home of the club - our preference was always to remain at Anfield," added Ayre.

"But today is just the start really and there are so many other issues still to discuss and resolve, so many consultations and processes to go through, that we are not absolutely guaranteeing things. We can't.

"Certainly we are not setting unrealistic deadlines or talking about overambitious or fanciful timescales.

"Neither is the club taking anything or anyone for granted - especially the residents of Anfield - and we certainly don't want our fans to be misled or misinformed."

Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard has given his backing to the club's decision to redevelop Anfield.

Gerrard took time out from preparing for England's World Cup qualifier in Poland on Tuesday night to give his verdict on the news.

He said: "I'm really pleased. I've had some special occasions at Anfield and so have the club.

"If they are going to spend all that money on Anfield and improve it then fantastic. I'm very happy at that news.

"It is major news for the club. It has been on everyone's lips for a number of years now, would we move away from Anfield or reinvent Anfield?

"I've been like everyone, waiting for the verdict on that, and it looks like it is going to be Anfield which is great.

"A lot of history and important things have happened at Anfield and I think it is fantastic Liverpool are staying there."

We take a look at some of the key moments in the 120-year-old ground's history:

1884 - Anfield is opened and rented to Everton by owner John Orrell.

1891 - Everton quit after disagreement over rent.

1892 - Liverpool FC are formed.

1893 - Liverpool beat Lincoln 4-0 in first Anfield league match.

1895 - New 3,000-seater grandstand built.

1903 - Stand at Anfield Road end constructed.

1906 - Kop built.

1928 - Kop redesigned with a roof to hold 30,000.

1963 - New stand built on Kemlyn Road.

1965 - Anfield Road stand rebuilt and given a roof.

1973 - Main stand remodelled.

1992 - Kemlyn Road stand rebuilt to become Centenary Stand.

1994 - All-seater Kop built.

1998 - Second tier added to Anfield Road end.

June 2000 - Plans announced to build 60,000-seater stadium on Stanley Park.

March 2003 - Planning application submitted for new ground.

September 2006 - Club secures 999-year lease on part of Stanley Park.

February 2007 - New American owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett promise a "spade will be in the ground within 60 days" on new stadium project.

January 2012: Liverpool, having been taken over by Fenway Sports Group in October 2010, scrap Hicks and Gillett stadium plans in favour of original designs.

October 2012: Managing director Ian Ayre confirms club's intention to redevelop Anfield on the back of council regeneration of the area.


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