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!