Ayre accuses government in Liverpool stadium row

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The Independent Football

Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre has angrily responded to housing minister Grant Shapps after he criticised the amount of time it is taking the club to decide on its stadium future.

Liverpool recently had a public disagreement with Liverpool City Council about the delay in deciding whether to remain at Anfield or move to a new stadium in nearby Stanley Park.

Although Liverpool City Council and the government fell out last February over the "Big Society" idea as council leader Joe Anderson jettisoned David Cameron's hopes of turning Liverpool into a "pilot" area for the scheme, it would appear the council and Whitehall are unanimous in their disapproval of the club's impasse over its stadia intentions.

"In the interests of the wider community, the club needs to make a swift decision on whether they plan to build a new stadium or stay where they are – either way the residents around Anfield deserve to know," Shapps said.

"The delay is causing unnecessary uncertain for the community. Local residents are living in limbo.

"The council has already asked for extra time for the lease on Stanley Park by six months to allow the club time to explore all options, but the quicker Liverpool FC makes a decision, the more options they have."

Yet Ayre cast any notions of diplomacy aside in his startling riposte, accusing the government of being complicit in the lack of investment in the Anfield region. "It is extremely disappointing Mr Shapps should publicly point the finger at Liverpool FC and claim they alone are delaying the regeneration of the local area, when he is fully aware of the impact of central government cutbacks on the whole city," Ayre wrote.

"If Mr Shapps had taken the time to learn anything about our City, our football club and our community, he would know that we all work together and pull together and we only try to score points on the football pitch, not in the media."