Liverpool Chief Executive Rick Parry has spoken out about the reports Liverpool are looking to make changes to their stadium plans in the new era under American ownership.
The plans for the new stadium to replace Anfield have all been passed and approved and preparatory work on the building site had already begun. However when Mr Gillett and Mr Hicks took over they expressed a desire to review the plans to see if any improvements could be made, including an increase to the planned 60,000 capacity.
Some reports have claimed an increase in capacity as high as 80,000, but Parry said this figure had been “plucked out of the air”.
As we said earlier, the review of the stadium got underway almost as soon as the new owners took over, but Parry confirmed that the review is taking into consideration all of the restrictions that are in place over any potential changes: “A review is in progress, but the new owners are very aware of the current planning approval and it's link with the regeneration of the surrounding area.”
As for the 80,000-seater idea: “I have no idea where that idea has come from, seemingly plucked out of the air,” said Parry.
Wherever the figure has come from, a lot of fans would dearly love to see the club with a stadium of that size because far too many people find it difficult to get to see a game for one reason or another. If it can’t be increased to be that size from the beginning, there is a genuine need to have flexibility to redevelop to that size in the future.
The plans that have been approved don’t allow for an future expansion, but to move away too far from those plans would cause inevitable delays, and Parry says the club just don’t want that: “We are planning that the stadium would be completed within two or three years, and we do not want to alter those plans. There is no desire to start the whole planning process again.”
The review has clearly got to a stage now where the desired alterations have been drawn up and according to some reports the council have been shown these potential changes. They are said to have found no reasons to oppose the changes at this stage, but of course informal decisions will count for nothing by the time the council are told officially of the changes.