Reds promise £15m to redevelop Anfield
Friday 18 December 2009
Liverpool have insisted they are willing to invest the estimated £15m it would take to upgrade Anfield to a World Cup venue for 2018 or 2022 should the club not get their proposed new stadium off the ground in time.
The Football Association asked the city's bid team to include Anfield as a back-up option in case the proposed new stadium at Stanley Park does not materialise.
There have been doubts in some quarters in the city about the club's willingness to commit to the overhaul of car parking, corporate facilities and seating needed, when only a brand new stadium would enable the club to earn as much match-day revenue as Manchester United and Arsenal. But a senior Liverpool source said the investment would be made if necessary.
The FA said that the city's bid included undertakings committing Liverpool financially to such work on Anfield if the stadium were called upon.
Liverpool are anticipating having the new stadium in place, though. The key to that is the pursuit of investors which has been under way for several months with the aim of raising at least £100m by selling a 25 per cent share of the club to one or a number of equity holders.
The idea of having a number rather than just a single investor – a model resembling the institutional shareholders of a public company who are consulted at an AGM but are otherwise at arm's length to let the business develop under its management – has its attractions.
On the football front, Javier Mascherano, whose contribution in the 2-1 win over Wigan Athletic underlined his emergence back into form, has admitted that Liverpool's season is heavily dependent on the fitness of Fernando Torres. "It is so important for us that Fernando stays fit," he said. "We know that we can win games when he is not playing but, equally, when he is on the pitch you can see the respect that other teams give him."
The Argentine said he and manager Rafael Benitez had discussed Argentina's ultimately successful battle to qualify for the World Cup as a way of approaching Liverpool's struggle. "We have spoken a lot about that situation," he said. "The pressure with Argentina to put them in the World Cup was worse; not because it is my country and Liverpool is my club. Here you have a little bit more time to do the right things."
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