Fortress Anfield: Where’s “Phase Two”?

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As Jurgen Klopp builds and strengthens Liverpool FC on the pitch, and his staff toil away, quietly and almost thanklessly in the background, it’s about time we brought attention back to Anfield and its development. The Main Stand has been a delightful addition to ‘Fortress Anfield’, but word on the expected ‘Phase Two’ of Anfield’s redevelopment has been surprisingly quiet.

Had I not have been searching hopelessly for returned tickets for Premier League home fixtures, late into the night, I probably, like many Liverpool fans, would have simply forgotten about the expectation, borne several years ago, of an Anfield of a 60,000 capacity than can match the demand for tickets. As I was looking at the virtual seating arrangement, it struck me again, that Liverpool’s stadium size does not match its ambitions, nor does it do Liverpool FC service or justice, especially when compared to Manchester United’s 80,000 capacity Old Trafford, Manchester City and Arsenal’s respective 60,000 Eithad and Emirates stadiums, whilst neither does it hold up well to the new White Heart Lane, and Chelsea’s freshly approved renovation of Stamford Bridge.

The reason for Liverpool needing to expand the stadium further is not just that Liverpool should have a stadium comparable to its rivals; it encompasses the long-term increased revenue that a larger stand would bring, the wider availability of tickets, for fans that really do struggle to secure seats without a season ticket, and the capacity for Anfield to earn an ‘elite’ UEFA Stadium rating, allowing Liverpool to bid to host finals for competitions such as the Champions League, but also for Anfield to be used in alternate ways – hosting Super League semi-finals and finals, or concerts etc., and for further redevelopment of the rather dilapidated Anfield area; all of which brings in more revenue for the club, which can be reinvested in the long-term. Reinvestment into the club is essential for safeguarding and ensuring a prosperous future for LFC, whether it be through building a new training ground that can accommodate for both the academy and first team, as Klopp desires, or redeveloping either the Kirby or Melwood facilities; perhaps these potential profits could be used to subsidise tickets, or purchase new players – but all of this is at the discretion of the board. A board, who would do well to recognise that, with the value of the pound expected to drop very sharply quite soon, following the triggering of Article 50, anticipated to be in March, and eventually Britain’s exit from the EU, reinvestment sooner than later is a much more cost-effective option, and one that would help build an advantage over rivals in an immensely competitive league that only promises to be even more competitive in the coming years.

The difference the Main Stand has made to Anfield is evident both physically and sonically. The new Main Stand is genuinely imposing, and when Anfield is bouncing, the sound difference it makes is staggering; but the Anfield Road end is small in comparison; however, rather unattractively for the owners, expanding the Anfield Road end would not include expanding the stadium’s capacity for corporate seats – where the biggest profit margins are made. Yet, when we look at the immense demand for Liverpool FC tickets, a demand level that only Manchester United and Arsenal are competing with, an expansion makes total monetary sense: admittedly, whilst the Main Stand is expected to cover its costs within 5 years, the Anfield Road end would much likely take longer to do so – but if the owners are truly committed to Liverpool and the supporters in the long-term, it’s hard to see why this would be an obstacle.

The Liverpool supporters, and fans across the globe should be rewarded for their faith and support too; much is made about ‘tourists’ at Anfield, but firstly, these ‘tourists’ bring extremely important revenue to the club, without which the club would not be at the level that it is, and they also represent a global fanbase, comprised of fans that only dream of managing to see Liverpool live, rather than having to wake up in the early hours of the morning, to stream the game in poor quality online. Secondly though, is that many young fans are being priced out of getting tickets to see their team play, depriving young fans of the opportunity to see their heroes. Additionally, as Liverpool currently has such a limited capacity, the prices are extremely rigid; however, if we take Old Trafford for example, in some big games, Manchester United can stick prices up to their very maximum, and still sell all available tickets, yet, for games against smaller sides, or cup matches, there are often spare seats available, that Manchester Utd can sell, at a lower price, at no extra cost to the club, as their just utilising the space capacity available. Therefore, expanding and doing this at Liverpool makes sound financial sense in he long-term.

The demand for tickets at Liverpool FC is monumental, and the owners are missing out on enormous long-term increases in revenue and profits; we have surplus demand that needs to be met, otherwise Liverpool are squandering an opportunity, that rival clubs are not so short-sighted to be remiss about.

Ultimately though, Anfield should not be left as it is; rebuilding the Main Stand was a move in the right direction by the owners, and they should be credited and hailed for that, but it was a move that needs to be followed up – otherwise the redevelopment programme was largely a waste, as the aims of redevelopment have not fully been met. It’s now time to apply pressure onto the owners, reopen the discussion about further redevelopment to Anfield (especially the Anfield Road end) and definitively bring the stadium and the club into the 21st century, allowing Liverpool to compete in monetary terms, but also giving Anfield and Liverpool FC the respect it deserves.

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  1. The time has passed. They had an option untill end of last year to apply for new design on stand. This was submitted with first plan but time has passed. They may apply again soon but i think their plan is to have most of stand paid off which makes sense.. Dont forget they also bought the land and houses around anfield at considerable cost.. FSG have brought lfc back from the edge of bankruptcy to their healthiest state in their history.

  2. Phase II is to enhance Fortress Anfield by adding a state-of-the-art BIG-TOP right in the heart of the Merseyside club. To give it an air of nostalgia, favourites from the past will be exhibited as major attractions. On display would be the world’s costliest donkey (Carroll) and a pair of useless-yet-expensive mules (Adam & Downing). These exotic creatures would be amply complemented by what used to be a pair of ever-present jackasses (Carragher & Lucas). Of course, no circus would be complete without a ring master – who happens to be none other than the king-turned-jester, Kenny Dalglish, the man solely responsible for spending a fortune in acquiring the fauna for the city of Liverpool.

  3. This is a business that has closed its waiting list to buy it’s product (waiting list to get a season ticket). They have said they don’t see the expansion as financially viable as they obviously do not understand that the club core product isn’t the team but the fans and the atmosphere they generate along with most recognised anthem in football. Short sited I would like to see the Kop size doubled and the prices brought in line with the rest of the stadium and would pay up front for 5 years of season tickets for myself and my wife. And we sing unlike some of the fans this season in the Kop which has been dreadful

  4. If all this was true, why do people walk out? Hypocritical to say there aren’t enough tickets when holders walk out. Someone is not honest here. How do the people who can’t get in feel when those who got in walkout angry.

  5. Surly any investment into the club, i.e. Redevelopment, would raise the value of the club, as well as allow fans to purchase season tickets or match day tickets.
    Would also improve atmosphere, allow Liverpool to lease stadium for European finals , concerts etc, seems a no brainer to me. The owners fsg have done a great job until now , but, is it time to look for someone bigger to put us in the big time again, so we can add to our 5 European cups, 3 europa cups and 18 league titles, as well as other cups we’ve won.
    Why are clubs such as Arsenal, Chelsea, Man City, above our status, doesn’t seem right. Man Utd buy a player for £89 million pound, but we won’t build a stand worth that much money, something wrong there. INVEST IN OUR CLUB.


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