John W Henry on the stadium issue!

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The Liverpool FC website recently published an interview that John W Henry gave to the Telegraph. I have taken some excerpts from it with regards to the stadium issue. The Boss made some very interesting and intriguing statements and I have take the liberty to add some comments to them:

‘I had spent the previous day in Munich studying the Allianz Arena – a truly magnificent accomplishment by Bayern Munich.’
-Definitely John. But then again the building of the Allianz Arena not only had naming rights financial backing, it was meant to be shared by the two Munich clubs. This stadium has areas where the seats have a folding mechanism which boosts capacity to a total of 69,901. That’s 25,400 more seats than we have presently at Anfield, plus 106 executive boxes! How about that for extra revenue John?

‘I’ve seen a lot of talk recently about ground-sharing, but our position hasn’t changed. There’s no doubt that if a new stadium were to be built in Liverpool from a financial perspective – which is the major issue – a ground-share would be helpful for both clubs. But there doesn’t seem to be any support for that from Red or Blue fans – at all. So how could that ever happen?’
-It happen in Deutschland, but this will not happen on Merseyside. Money can build you the stadium but it cannot buy you love (four fab Liverpublians once wrote!). Don’t worry John, if the money isn’t there, we’ll stay at Anfield thank you very much!

‘We would love to expand Anfield, but there are enough local and regulatory issues to keep that avenue stalled for years with no assurances that once begun it would bear any fruit. If Anfield cannot be expanded a new stadium is a wonderful choice. But the fact is we already have 45,000 seats. If a new stadium is constructed with 60,000 seats you’ve spent an incredible sum of money to add just 15,000 seats. If the cost is £300m for an extra 15,000 seats, that doesn’t make any sense at all.’
-You’ve just been to Munich right. They spent around Euro 340 million on their stadium (in 2005) plus the State and City spent a further Euro 210 in redevelopment of the area and infrastructure. Now here is where the different culture kicks in: the Germans went for a ground-sharing solution (at the time), worked together and got the State and City to dig into their pockets as well. Spending Stg 300 million for 15,000 extra seats definitely does not make any sense: spending that mother-load of cash for 25,000 extra seats and 106 executive boxes perhaps does. The question is, would a 70,000 capacity stadium be too much for Liverpool?

‘Liverpool isn’t London; you can’t charge £1 million for a long-term club seat. And concession revenues per seat aren’t that much different at Emirates from Anfield. That’s why the search is on currently for a naming-rights partner. And that could very well happen.’
-LFC is a world-wide brand and finding a naming rights partner, for people with your connections, should not be an issue, even in the current economic trend. Such a deal would take at least a third off the financial burden of building a new stadium and those extra 25,000 seats (plus exec boxes) would not only allow more fans to see the Reds playing at home, but will boost our finances and ensure the financial stability for our club for years to come.

Don’t know about you guys, but I have a gut feeling the decision might sway towards a new stadium, at least that is the message I am getting from John W Henry!


  1. Agree on the extra 25,000 seats! Why build a new 60000 seater when you can build 70000? We deffo can fill it every home game!

  2. Ur info seems a bit old, bayern don’t share their stadium anymore, 1820 (think that’s who shared it) go relegated nd couldnt afford the payments so went to a cheaper place, that’s wot I read anyways

    1. Could be Rick. But when it was build and both were in the Bundesliga, the shared the stadium. I will verify to see what happened though.

  3. The groundshare didn’t work in Munich. The smaller of the two clubs involved went bankrupt because they couldn’t handle the financial burden of building it and covering maintenance costs. In the end they sold their share in the stadium for next to nothing to Bayern.

    And your point about naming rights is not very conclusive. The club could decide to stay at the current Anfield stadium and sell the naming rights for it anyway and invest that money into the squad or the owner’s pockets.

    1. Thanks for the clarification on Munich and I agree that FSG could opt to go the naming rights way even for a revamped Anfield.

    2. I also need to clarify that in no circumstance am I suggesting or condoning a share stadium, on the contrary. John W Henry might have used the interview to send out messages.

  4. Shared stadium is not going to happen, end of story.

    Naming rights but keep Anfield? Nope, that won’t happen either for the simple reason that the name is too well established. If you are a multi-national conglomerate paying many millions for naming rights, you expect the stadium to then becalled by their name at every opportunity. Anfield will always be called Anfield by fans and the media alike. New name requires new stadium, no question at all.

    Yes, of course Liverpool FC can support a 70,000 seater stadium. What a daft question. Have you seen the list of people waiting for season tickets who have been on the list for over a decade? Do you know how many ticket applications fail for half the matches at home? We outsell Anfield for most games and could easily sell over 60,000 for the majority. We’d still sell-out for games against both Mancs, Gunners, Chelski and probably even Spurs.

    Putting nostalgia aside (I love Anfield have been an active supporter for close to 50 years), the only way forward with regards bringing in the vital revenue stream we need on a long-term basis is to build a beautiful new stadium that holds between 60 and 70,000 people.

    There is no way an 80,000 seater stadium can happen in that area so forget it. There are strict rules about speed of evacuation in an emergency and the local area simply couldn’t handle 80,000 people fleeing in panic in under 120 seconds so regulations will forbid it.

    1. ‘Yes, of course Liverpool FC can support a 70,000 seater stadium. What a daft question.’ It was just a question to raise discussion. Don’t see anything daft in it Mr Know-it-All!

    2. “There is no way an 80,000 seater stadium can happen in that area so forget it.”

      Maybe, but it could happen in Speke. Still in Liverpool and much better transport links etc.

      1. A bit sharp with your reply to Red Barron, eh Tonio? He raised some sensible points to your good article.

        1. I was. But he had absolutely no reason to call my question daft. It was just a question which provoked debate!

  5. Until now there has been one reason why we can’t plan a stadium with more than about 60,000 seats.

    It’s nothing to do with building costs or the will or ambition of the owners.

    It is simply down to a Government planning requirement.

    Anfield is a primarily residential area and the transport infrastructure simply will not support a stadium with a capacity greater than 60,000.

    To go significantly beyond this figure, extensive investment would be required in the surrounding transport – trains, buses, trams, etc.

    1. Hey Nik. According to the Red Barron a 70,000 stadium decision is a no brainer. You are saying different. He claims the 80,000 is the limit that will make us hit the panic button!

  6. Why not go the whole hog and go for 99999 seats with a running track and a veladrome? Oh hang on only Manchester gets things like that all we get is Capital of Culture big deal.

    1. Any reason why we can’t build a stadium big enough for 80,000 but only use 60,000 of the seats until the transport infrastructure issues are sorted out? Surely cheaper in the long run!

  7. 85000 seats 300 executive boxes and catering facilities including a merchendicing super store would be ideal for everybody…
    For the fans, the sponsors, and the management. including bragging rights….

  8. An extra 15000 seats just isnt worthwhile so regardless of the time issue it seems to me that a turned round Anfield is the way forward unless of course new planning permission is sought and granted for a bigger Stanley Park. With regard to the transport issue as far as I know the local Bus and train companies are only too willing to to pick up the extra work and with regard to parking, for those that want to pay – a season ticket arrangement in the local car parks could be arranged with the right encouragement, making it not wothwhile to drive in unless you have one.

  9. I don’t find much sense in planning and spending in only a 60000 seater after all this planning is for future benefits so why not go for 70000+ seater, I am sure that seats won’t go empty in a big stadium the LFC fan base will only increase in the years to come.

  10. it looks that you all forgot the poor duo ( hicks& gillette ) planned to build a 80000 seat stadium. why shouldnt we expect that from henry ?

  11. Another good post Tonio, I feel we can fill 70k most games an sell out to the top 4 and lesser 2 an Derby’s would be a no brainer. The main point is Henry an Warner are not soft look what arsenal done with highbury it took a while but each apartment sold after re development an was a massive financial gain I think the ground will live on in a different guise. They will build a new stadium as I feel they are real long term an want to put there stamp on this part of there portfolio, money will drive their decision an both of them are worth a bit so I reckon were in safe hands and I don’t look at it as a problem I have been to Anfield on the best of nights an the worst, but a new stadium will be another chapter in our history an I’m lookin forward to it. BTW made up with Seb or ‘co-waa-tes’ or just Coates, signing real talent an really young too great future with LFC. YNWA

  12. I think what we see from John Henry’s interview is another sign that the owners listen first and way up all of the options. Only then will a desicion be made.
    His answers were clear and it seems in the best interest of the club. He ruled out sharing. No one wants that. He clearly stated the problems of both the renovation of Anfield and of building a new stadium but not ruled any of them out.
    All in all it is a well timed no nonsense communication to the fans to let us know that everything is being considered but nothing has been decided. Speculation kept to a minimum.
    Thank goodness they bought the club and are treating us fairly.

  13. hi guys n gals
    if everyone is honest with themselves NO-ONE WANTS to leave anfield but the club has simply outgrown the ground and the time is right to start afresh ,new owners , new manager , new players ,new outlook , new ideas and a new stadium ,if were gonna do it lets go the whole hog cos if were ever gonna get back to where we rightly belong and dominate english football again we need the income from anfield while the new stadium is built and the the sales for anything built on the plot after moving , the only thing that i would like to stay would be the kop which could be turned into a seating area for people who want to sit and look at the kop half of the pitch which should be turned into a memorial garden for The Hillsborough Families and also as a centre piece for future builds on the plotwith The Shankly Gates as an entrance ,what do you lot think? hope you like my ideas

  14. We need to trust the owners. Look what happened to the Gunners, according to Nasir and Cesc they missed the atmosphere of Highbury (hope I got the spelling right) ans also after moving into the New Stadium, the money to buy new Quality players was less and they ended up in their current situation. So I guess our owners are trying to have a balanced approach to this so that we don’t make similar mistakes to others…YNWA

  15. I agree with G_mann however, surely the fans can carry the spirit of Ainfield where ever we go no??
    Stadium share is also out of the question. I have never been to merseyside and I am not English but I loathe the blues with every bone in my body I can not imagine having to share a stadium with them. There is a reason it didnt work over a hundred years ago when the club was been established.
    As regards stadium capacity just one sit more than Man U have will do it for me too :)..

  16. Since there is a planning consent for 60k, build a new future proofed stadium which can be expanded easily to 70k plus when the transit and traffic issues are sorted at a later date. A new stadium need not necessarily be one seat more than OT, but should be close to that capacity. For far too long Anfield has been considerably short of matching OT, and ManU have taken advantage of that huge additional capacity.

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