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New future for Anfield hailed as LFC stay put

Despite the fanfare, Larry Neild is still none the wiser

Written by . Published on October 15th 2012.


New future for Anfield hailed as LFC stay put

For too many years, perhaps decades, Liverpool FC has been the tail wagging the dog - ie the city council - as far as the district of Anfield is concerned. 

It has led to years of blight, dereliction, abandonment and misery for a large area of north Liverpool.

Today Liverpool FC’s MD, Ian Ayre, said sorry for what had gone on in the past. 

Would, for instance, the ground have to be partially closed while the work, whatever work that is, goes on? So many questions, so few answers?

More importantly, fingers crossed, the roles have been reversed and it is now Mayor Joe Anderson taking the lead. And, as even Mayor Joe will admit, he’s more of a British bulldog than a French poodle. 

So today a media army converged on Liverpool Town Hall to hear details of a new dawn for Anfield. 

In a nutshell, Anfield is to be given it’s biggest ever makeover with over 500 homes refurbished and many more new homes built, with a new look for shops and gateways into the area. 

At the heart of it all, Liverpool FC, who announced it will STAY at its current stadium, saying goodbye to any notion of Stanley Park being turned into a building site. 

Overseeing this dream project will be an Anfield Development Board, chaired by Mayor Joe. Its other members will include the American owner of Liverpool FC and the Chair of Manchester-based social housing operation Your Housing Group. 

The press announcement at Liverpool Town HallThe press announcement at Liverpool Town Hall

Your Housing is clear on its proposals, backed seemingly by 75pc of local people. 

Mayor Joe is clear on his mission – to see this job done as quickly as possible. 

But yet again Liverpool FC instills its usual vagueness into the equation. Ian Ayre was unwilling to talk about stadium capacity though, pressed by me, he admitted it would be around 60,000. He couldn’t discuss timescales or how things would pan out. Would, for instance, the ground have to be partially closed while the work, whatever work that is, goes on? 

So many questions, so few answers. 

Mayor Joe said he expects a planning application (from the club) to be submitted by early summer of 2013. Planning officers will almost certainly spend some months examining the details before it is submitted to the council’s planning committee. So we are already 12 months into the future and not a brick has been laid. If the committee approved the plan, and they would be daft not too, the club would then be given a legal three years to commence work. 

So in theory there would be no need for work to start until the end of 2016, and, as it would be done in phases, it could take some years before a “Welcome to the Completed New Anfield” sign is unveiled. 

Hopefully that is a pessimistic view and Mayor Joe will be laying down the law to the club and telling them the ball is in his court – as it were - especially as the Mayor is a staunch Evertonian. 

Joe Anderson has just returned from Boston, where he met the owners of Liverpool FC, and came away with a deep impression it is all systems go for Anfield. 

To help things along, he insisted on fairness for occupiers of homes standing in the way of the plans. He will resist home owners sitting tight and demanding four times the value of their properties. 

Hot news for MondayHot news for Monday

Ian Ayre spoke of the need of the club to remain competitive where its Premiership rivals are concerned. That seemed to be the driving force behind the club’s intentions, with, some may say, the needs and hopes of Anfield people being secondary. 

In the real world, Liverpool FC remains the kingpin of Anfield, putting the city on the world map, creating wealth for Liverpool. And the stadium, opened well over a century ago, was there before even the oldest residents of the L4 community.

At least there is a thread of realism in this new enterprise, Mayor Joe is determined to drive things through, recognising the economic climate, and the club – if its apology is truly meant – finally willing to play ball with its neighbours.

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AnonymousOctober 15th 2012.

Liverpool FC is not owned and does not belong to the fans. Such a notion is a flight of fancy. It is a hard-nosed American owned business and its aim is to make a profit for its owners. Nowt wrong with that, as such. But if the club wants to expand its ground capacity and necessitates them buying property from householders they should meet the full cost of those occupiers moving, by agreement, to alternative homes at nil cost to the householder. Players screw the clubs for every penny, or rather pound they can get out of them. Why shouldn't houseowners allow themselves to drive a hard bargain. Instead the council and this Manchester housing association will do the club's grubby work for them.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Barry WilkinsonNovember 1st 2012.

'Manchester' housing group..what the Eckerslike goes on here ??

Nina Edge shared this on Facebook on October 16th 2012.
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