Belfast Telegraph

Biting Back: Liverpool go back to the future with Anfield plan

Telegraph Sport: where the debate really gets started

With John Laverty

They were describing it as a “huge step forward” for Liverpool Football Club.

When you strip away all the PR guff, however, the club’s decision to stay at Anfield is actually a step back in time — to 1999.

Indeed, you could have used the same press release from 13 years ago; ie, “we’re going to expand the main and Anfield Road stands to produce a 60,000-capacity stadium and thus compete with the likes of Manchester United and Arsenal...”

They changed their minds shortly after that 1999 statement of intent; vacillation, enriched but unused architects, changes of ownership and even a flirtation with financial meltdown ensued.

But now that the ‘share with Everton’ and ‘completely new stadium’ ideas have gone, Liverpool’s American owners FSG are expected to move the bulldozers in as quickly as possible

They will, however, face opposition from some residents who will be far from enamoured at the offer of ‘current market value’ for their little two up, two downs.

Indeed, many of the about-to-be displaced fear they will end up in debt as a result of Liverpool’s ambitious £154m (that’s borrowed money, by the way) plan.

Meanwhile, there does appear to be one significant difference between the club’s 1999 and 2012 plans.

Thirteen years ago, a proposed by-product of the new, bigger Anfield was cheaper seats for the hard-up Scouse fans.

It won’t surprise anyone to find out that such altruism is not part of Liverpool’s masterplan this time round.

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