England: Could Liverpool have done better? Abandoned spectacular plans

source: StadiumDB.com; author: Paulina Skóra

England: Could Liverpool have done better? Abandoned spectacular plans The end of Anfield's renovation is slowly approaching. Work is still underway to increase capacity to 61,000 spectators. However, memories in Liverpool are reverting back to events from 17 years ago...


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Different than allm

In February 2007, the club owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett unveiled a futuristic project for Liverpool's stadium. The £300 million investment involved relocating from Anfield to a stadium accommodating 60,000 seated places in the nearby Stanley Park. Rick Parry, the former chief executive, was thrilled with the plans for the new stadium. It's very exciting, and I think the designs are fantastic, he said in media interviews at the time.

The designs developed by architects from HKS in Dallas were undoubtedly unique. All four stands were intentionally designed to differ from the uniform bowl approach used in other new stadiums at that time. The centerpiece of the facility was to be the expansive, single-tier The Kop stand, accommodating nearly 20,000 people. The entire stadium will be spectacular, but The Kop will be exceptionally so, said Tom Hicks. Meanwhile, George Gillett declared that the first shovel must hit the ground within 60 days. But it didn't...

Design of Stanley Park© www.liverpoolfc.tv

60,000? More!

At that time, since 2003, there was a project created by architects from Manchester. It envisaged a more traditional facility for 60,000 seats also located in Stanley Park. This investment was supposed to be completed by 2006 but was halted due to the inability to gather the required £215 million. Years later, Hicks and Gillett demanded a reassessment of the project, and a decision was made to reject it because they wanted something bigger.

Construction of the futuristic version of Stanley Park was supposed to be completed by 2010. Hicks and Gillett were not afraid to think boldly, and within three years of construction, they wanted to find a way to increase seating capacity to 70,000 or even 80,000. But like most of what Americans promised during their reign in Liverpool, all of this was more fantasy than reality. The plan was doomed to fail, although Hicks and Gillett did not have full control over it.

Design of Stanley Park© www.liverpoolfc.tv

End of dreams of the amazing Stanley Park

The global crisis of 2007 led to a sharp increase in costs to £400 million. Nevertheless, permission for construction was issued in June 2008, leading to the start of site preparation work. Unfortunately, within four months, Rick Parry announced that work had been suspended due to difficult economic conditions. After several weeks, the club's director announced that it wasn't as bad as anticipated and the stadium would be built no earlier than 2011.

However, growing financial troubles for Hicks and Gillett, along with internal struggles within the club threatening the downfall of The Reds, meant the stadium was pushed to the back burner. In January 2012, Liverpool was taken over by FSG. The new owners announced they were abandoning the complex Stanley Park project and seeking other solutions. Financial reports from 2012 showed that the entire failed venture cost the club almost £50 million. By the end of that year, FSG decided to permanently abandon plans for a new stadium and instead focus on modernization of Anfield.

Liverpool will reach the point predicted by Hicks and Gillett 17 years ago next month, with an audience capacity of 60,000. Considering the expected outcome, few people now remember the promises made in 2007. This is Anfield – and so it shall remain.

Construction of Anfield© Mister Drone UK