Liverpool unveil Anfield plans
Liverpool have unveiled their plans for the redevelopment of Anfield which would take capacity close to 60,000 in the next few years.
Managing director Ian Ayre described the proposals to add 8,500 to a revamped Main Stand and about 4,800 to the Anfield Road end as "ambitious".
The club's detailed proposals will be available for public consultation this week alongside exhibitions on what the future holds for the ground and the surrounding Anfield area.
Liverpool are asking residents, fans and local businesses to give their views as part of its planning application which the club expects to submit in the summer.
"As part of our proposed stadium redevelopment project we have unveiled the detail of our ambitious plans for an expanded Main Stand and Anfield Road stand and are embarking on a consultation process which will shape and inform our planning application," said Ayre.
"In order to move forward with our expansion plans we need to have certainty that we can navigate the complex planning process and secure the support of the community, local home owners, businesses and other key stakeholders.
"This consultation exercise is an important part of this process.
"We started this journey just over 18 months ago and a lot of work has already been done, there is still an incredible amount to do, but good progress has been made so far and we are proud to be able to unveil our plans."
Redevelopment of the Main Stand will take its capacity to 21,000 and if planning approval is granted work could start early next year and be completed in time for the 2016-17 season.
Incorporating the iconic club crest into the proposed Main Stand's exterior elevation, the scheme will also include a two-storey podium and a carefully designed cloister which will become the new home for the Hillsborough Memorial.
The Main Stand will open onto a wide public concourse which will link the stadium into the wider Anfield area.
Liverpool City Council has confirmed negotiations with the remaining few property owners in the area surrounding the ground are progressing well and all parties are close to agreement but there are still details to be finalised.
"This is another important step in our ambitions to transform the Anfield area, bringing new jobs, investment and housing," said Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson.
"The overall regeneration of Anfield will see £260million invested in the local community and will deliver hundreds of jobs - Liverpool Football Club's proposals for the stadium are a key part of this.
"We are all committed to delivering a brighter future for Anfield and the club's exhibition is a clear signal that real progress is being made with all our plans."
While steps are being made off the pitch, giant strides have been made on it, and manager Brendan Rodgers claims owners Fenway Sports Group are delighted with the progress.
Principal owner John W Henry and chairman Tom Werner were both in attendance for the crucial victory over Manchester City 10 days ago which strengthened the Reds' grip at the top of the Premier League.
Rivals Chelsea visit this Sunday in what could be the pivotal game in the title race but with Champions League qualification already assured, FSG are set to reward Rodgers with a significant summer transfer kitty in order to strengthen his squad with the likelihood a new contract will also follow.
"I think they saw the development of the club and of the team and they were very complimentary," the Reds boss told the Liverpool Echo.
"It's important for them to see that progress across the football club.
"They are absolutely delighted with what they've seen over the past 20 months and we talked about how we can keep the club moving forward because that's vitally important.
"It's been an ongoing process since I arrived here. We don't want it to be just for this season, we want to sustain it over a longer period.
"That's something that was pretty clear for us all in the discussions we had when I came in.
"We wanted to establish something that would be in place for a long time."
Additional finances guaranteed from next season's Champions League have been bolstered by the signing of another multi-year commercial deal - this time with sandwich restaurant chain Subway.