The new main stand looks fantastic. It really does. Extra seats means extra revenue. How could that possibly be a bad thing? An extra £20m-£25m in revenue per season that can be banked along with the other millions from the new TV deal and the multiple commercial deals that Fenway Sports Group (FSG) have secured.
I’m sorry to be a party pooper though but it means absolutely nothing to me. I care only about squad improvements and silverware. If the main stand enables that, then great! Until then, I remain pessimistic.
John W. Henry and Co. are very clever people when it comes to business. They’ve improved every aspect of ‘the business’ but not every aspect of why the club is supposed to exist in the first place i.e ‘the silverware’.
Everything that will benefit the owners has been prioritised. Everything that benefits the fans, hasn’t.
You could of course say that they carried out the expansion for the benefit of the fans, I think differently. Generating additional revenue is welcomed by me but I’m yet to see anyone come out and say “We couldn’t have signed Ragnar Klavan if it wasn’t for the link-up with Dunkin’ Donuts”. As I keep telling you, I’m not anti-FSG, I just don’t like them very much. I genuinely appreciate them balancing the books and I don’t have a problem with them making hundreds of millions of pounds when they sell up. They put their money in, that’s their business. But I’m no mug. You can’t bullshit a bullshitter, as my late mother used to tell me when I tried it on as a teenager!
As I type up this drivel, Linda Pizzuti has already started. She’s tweeting pics and posting Periscope videos from Anfield today, not that there’s any crime against that. When things are positive, up they pop. When thing aren’t working, they’re nowhere to be seen. To be fair to FSG’s First Lady though, at least she mentions us from time to time. Yes she gets on my tits when she wears that red coat and waves her handkerchief from the directors’ box but at least she comes across as having an interest and even if it is fake, at least she puts in some effort compared to her husband and the other partners. You’ll think I’m mental with this suggestion but I’d actually welcome her being given an active role at Anfield and no, I don’t mean making cups of tea or knocking up sandwiches. I just get that feeling that unlike Tom Werner, she’d actually put in some effort to attend a few games. She bothers to interact with the fans including the morons who abuse her on Twitter. She’s got some spine has that girl. But, as nice as Linda may be, I’m personally more interested in what Amanda Staveley is up to this weekend.
Obviously the owners are in the UK to open the new stand but the rest of their schedule is of more interest to me. While the local media and a section of wet supporters spend the day salivating over the extra seats, I’ll be sat here sticking pins in my eyes, constantly refreshing my inbox waiting for news from elsewhere with regards China’s attempts to buy the club. (For the latest feedback on that, you should pay our Executive Lounge forum a visit).
Anfield’s new capacity after adding 8,000 new seats is now 54,074. Old Trafford is 75,653 but new regulations relating to increased space for disabled supporters from next year means that United’s overall capacity will [I think] be reduced by around 3,000. Subsequently they are looking at how to expand their stadium further with 7,500 new seats are already planned above their main stand, with the media also reporting that they could eventually increase their capacity to 88,000. Arsenal have a capacity of 60,260 at their new stadium, West Ham have 60,000 at their new stadium and Man City 55,097 at theirs. City may have a new stadium but they’re already planning to increase that to in excess of 60,000. Tottenham are building a new 61,000 stadium while Chelsea want to build a new 60,000 capacity stadium on their existing Stamford Bridge site. Even Everton are working on delivering a new stadium.
Liverpool Football Club, despite its decline, is still a major pull. No player in the world will make the switch to Anfield because of a new stand and we can’t parade the extra seats on an open top bus at the end of the season. However, we can fill it easily. I’m led to believe that we have that many fans on the season ticket waiting list that we could fill it a couple of times again at least. The demand is there but the previously planned 73,000-capacity new stadium isn’t. For now we will stay at 54,074 which means tens of thousands of supporters with money burning in their pockets will be buried before receiving an offer of a season ticket. That hurts me.
Further expansion of the stadium is possible and it wouldn’t surprise me if FSG make a formal statement about that soon. I haven’t heard any warm, positive news from them for a while so something is due. Anfield Road can be expanded and hopefully it will be, as we’re obviously staying where we are. But let’s not kid ourselves with this new stand. All we’ve done is play catch-up and in the time that’s actually taken, which isn’t FSG’s fault, others have developed further. I welcome FSG’s expansion and hope they’ll continue to make Anfield better if they’re going to dig in but I can’t but help feel that we needed a bigger stadium elsewhere.
When I see progress on the pitch, I’ll be the first person to thank them. Until then, it’ll take more than a pile of steel, as great as it looks (depending on where you’re sat), to see me express any enthusiasm. Thanks for
adding value to your asset improving the stadium, John.
The new main stand is plastered in reminders of our glorious history, the days when Liverpool Football Club existed to make the people happy and not just a select few.
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