£150m Reds stadium plan gets thumbs up

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The Independent Football

Ambitious plans by Merseyside giants Liverpool to build the biggest league stadium in England have been backed by a fans' chief.

Ambitious plans by Merseyside giants Liverpool to build the biggest league stadium in England have been backed by a fans' chief.

The amazing scheme, which could house 70,000 fans in a stadium next door to their current Anfield home is expected to cost around £150million and be built on land and a car park at nearby Stanley Park. The plan will be discussed tonight at a meeting between the club, Liverpool City Council and residents.

It has also emerged that Everton were approached to become involved in the plans, but the idea of both Mersey giants sharing one massive stadium has seemingly fallen by the wayside despite Liverpool's apparent willingness to consider the move.

Everton are actively reviewing whether to rebuild nearby Goodison Park or move to a new stadium of their own on the city outskirts.

But the Stanley Park venture has met with approval from Liverpool fans, with supporters' club chairman Richard Pedder welcoming the ideal.

He said: "We have to move with the times - Manchester United are getting a capacity of up to 67,000 and we have got to move on.

"The club have spent millions already on upgrading Anfield, but I don't think they can extend the ground any more than it is now.

"I think they see that a new site which is about 200 yards from the current ground, using the Stanley park car park, would be a better site than what they have got now.

"I would obviously welcome the new idea. I believe it is a step in the right direction for the future."

The scheme could, if negotiations with the council and residents go well, be ready in about three years.

Liverpool's chief executive Rick Parry said today: "There is a lot of work to do on the detail.

"Clearly our aspiration is to do it as soon as we can. We have made it very clear in recent months that we need to expand as quick as possible. But realistically it will be a minimum of three years."

Parry added: "We are talking about 100 yards away, we will still be in Anfield, scarcely leaving our roots.

"We can get a brand new purpose-designed 70,000-seat venue which would be the biggest league ground in the country - that would be very exciting."

The plans would involve major regeneration of the whole area, with Anfield being razed to the ground and the land used for the community, with parks and sports centres.

There will also be an underground car park and the upgrading of an old railway line into a park-and-ride scheme.

Pedder added: "I am very excited about the proposals because at the moment we only have around 45,000 able to get into the ground and there are a lot more people than that wanting to watch Liverpool."

But he warned: "People must not forget that this is a residential area and there have been meetings going on for the last 12 to 18 months about plans that Liverpool will be putting forward.

"So the residents must be told what is going on so they can cope with it."

Liverpool have become aware that their original idea to rebuild Anfield's main stand would create planning problems and major demolition of local houses, all of which would hinder a quick solution to their desperate need for a bigger ground and greater revenue.

Parry, who takes over complete control of Liverpool from retiring executive vice-chairman Peter Robinson at the end of the month, added: "All we are doing at this stage is looking at a different idea, which is to have a look at Stanley Park.

"We have been engaged in a very positive consultation process with the council and local residents.

"It's no more than an idea but we have undertaken that we will do things transparently and openly with local residents.

"We do not know if it's feasible or fundable but we are simply putting the idea on the table to explore with the community if it's going to be a runner and we aren't going to know that for some months."