Anfield stadium development underway

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Construction work is starting on the Main Stand at Anfield. Pic by Craig Robertson © JMU Journalism

Construction work is starting on the Main Stand at Anfield. Pic by Craig Robertson © JMU Journalism

Work on the redevelopment of Anfield has started today, with Liverpool FC’s new 21,000-seater Main Stand finally under reconstruction after years of uncertainty about whether the club would stay at its famous home.

The project, which is set cost over £100 million, will be completed by construction giants Carillon, who are also building the Royal Liverpool Hospital. The new stand will be open in time for the 2016/17 season.

The redevelopment will not only include an 8,500 increase in stadium capacity from 45,000 up to around 54,000, almost 5,000 more seats are set to follow when the Anfield Road end is rebuilt in the second phase of the ambitious project.

The Main Stand rebuilding will also include a sensitive relocation of the Hillsborough memorial and Shankly Gates.

Liverpool’s Chief Executive Ian Ayre said that this was an exciting day for the club and that the new structure will be visible from the city centre.

He told the Liverpool Echo: “The journey’s been a difficult one and not without its twists and turns. But in a relatively short time we’ve achieved an enormous amount. So today is huge of course for Liverpool Football Club.

“But I wouldn’t say it is a restart for the club. If anything, I think that came four years ago when we changed our ownership. These owners and this management team at the club have worked to get the club back where it belongs.”

Proposed design of the new Main Stand as part of the redeveloped Anfield © Liverpool FC

Proposed design of the new Main Stand as part of the redeveloped Anfield © Liverpool FC

The new structure will be built behind the current Main Stand for the next two seasons and eventually grow to envelop the old stand by the time it is due to be finished in the summer of 2016.

Liverpool FC have partnered with Liverpool City Council and Your Housing Group to bring about a £260 million scheme to regenerate the Anfield area which includes housing, new public spaces, a range of new community facilities and the new stand.

Mr Ayre also said that ticket prices would not be raised to pay for the new development, in the wake of protests staged by supporters groups during matches and further demonstrations potentially planned for the future.

He said: “We’re very fortunate in that we get fantastic uptake for tickets for our games across the board and we have a huge demand and a huge over-demand currently.

“It is about that collaboration; about getting the pricing right and the capacity right and therefore getting the atmosphere and the full rate right.”

About Adam Jones, JMU Journalism