Liverpool chief says further Anfield expansion ‘not a smart investment’

Liverpool chief says further Anfield expansion ‘not a smart investment’

The cost of redeveloping the Anfield Road end of Liverpool’s stadium “is not a smart investment”, says chief executive Ian Ayre.

Liverpool opened the redeveloped Main Stand last month, raising capacity to 54,074, and have planning permission to extend Anfield Road by a further 4,800.

But Ayre said: “A stand behind a goal doesn’t have the benefit of hospitality that would go a long way to meet the redevelopment costs.”

The upgrade would cost about £60-70m.

Club owner John Henry has previously played down the prospect of the work going ahead on the basis ticket prices would have to rise to cover the cost.

Ayre told a meeting of the Liverpool Supporters’ Committee (LSC) that the club needed to find “the right economic model” and a “rounded solution” before moving forward with any Anfield Road plans.

Liverpool are worried how fans would react after thousands of protested against plans to charge £77 for some tickets in the club’s new Main Stand back in February.

The £100m expansion of the Main Stand is expected to be paid off in six years because of the lucrative income generated by hospitality seating – but that is not the case with the Anfield Road end.

“From a purely general admission perspective, building, say, 6,000 extra seats to take the capacity up to 60,000 would cost somewhere between £60m and £70m,” said Ayre.

“At £12,000 to £13,000 per seat, it would take approximately 15 years to pay back, which is not a smart investment for the business.”

Ayre told the meeting the club was open to fan investment to help fund further redevelopment of the ground and said conversations should take place.