Liverpool will not be rushed over stadium plans says Ian Ayre
Tuesday 12 July 2011
Liverpool's managing director Ian Ayre has stressed the club will not be pressured into a rushed decision over their stadium plans.
Ayre revealed on Sunday it was "increasingly unlikely" the club would be able to move forward with a redevelopment of Anfield and instead a move to a new stadium at nearby Stanley Park seemed a more realistic option.
But, speaking to the club's official website during Liverpool's pre-season tour of China, Ayre today refused to rule out either possibility.
He said: "No amount of pressure will force Liverpool Football Club to make a decision quickly for the wrong reasons.
"We've all seen and felt and discovered how the wheels can come off if you make the wrong decisions at a football club, particularly this one. So we'll make the right decision at the right time, whatever that is and whenever that is.
"With regards the refurbishment, the type of work that's been going on (in the last nine months) has been developing plans and drawings that look at what is possible with Anfield, and that has incorporated a study into the extension of the main stand and a study into the extension of the Anfield Road End.
"Both of these, if successful, could deliver an 60,000-plus seater, which would be great, but it comes with whole other challenges and whole other areas we have to investigate."
The club have long been looking at ways to increase capacity in order to better compete with the matchday revenues of Manchester United and Arsenal, with Ayre saying earlier this month that the failure of previous owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett's to deliver on their promise of a new stadium had "set the club back several years".
And Ayre defended Liverpool's new owners, the Fenway Sports Group, for not making an instant decision.
He added: "They are their own people and so they should be. They'll do what they think is right for Liverpool Football Club. While a lot of people, particularly residents, feel a little bit aggrieved that it's been a long process, and we understand that, for these people who are now trying to make this happen, it's been a very short."
Ayre also revealed any potential move to a new stadium would also throw up a number of issues, including the naming rights to a new home for the five-time European Cup winners.
"On the new stadium it's been about finding the right economic model," he added. "I know a lot of our fans and other people have said to me personally 'why can't we just build it'? We get lots of people who are desperate to come and watch Liverpool, but what people don't think of a lot of the time is that we don't get 60,000 new seats when we build a stadium - we only get the difference between Anfield currently and whatever we build.
"Many, many people are working on it (stadium naming rights) but it's not just about finding a partner, it's about finding the right partner - somebody who fits with the football club, as our other partners do. While our business development has been strong, we've been very selective, and that would also be the case with naming rights. It just takes time. It's a big world, there are a lot of brands - we just have to find the right one."
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