John Henry shelved plans for a new stadium after Emirates visit
Liverpool recently announced plans to redevelop the Anfield Road End. This will be the second phase of FSG’s Anfield rebuild following the rebuilt main stand.
Things could have been so different had former Liverpool chairman Sir Martin Broughton not arranged for John Henry to visit the Emirates. It was this trip to Arsenal’s home that convinced the FSG honcho to remain in the club’s spiritual home rather than building a new stadium. (h/t Liverpool Echo)
Under the previous ownership of Tom Hicks and George Gillett, the plan was to move the Reds to a brand new 60,000 capacity ground in Stanley Park.
The Emirates has struggled to replicate the atmosphere Arsenal enjoyed at Highbury. The lack of atmosphere at times have led to the ground gaining the moniker of ‘the library’.
“We organised a trip for John to the Emirates for a game and the feedback was always how everyone loved the stadium except the Arsenal fans.”
Broughton wanted Henry to witness this himself and then make an informed decision regarding FSG’s plans. It is safe to say that the Liverpool owner chose well.
The former Reds chairman went on to add that the plan was always to stay at Anfield with a move to Stanley Park just not seeming ‘right’.
More than stadium?
Anfield is a name steeped in footballing folklore and it is difficult to imagine Liverpool play at another arena. The phrase ‘This is Anfield’ is generally used by media and fans to refer to the intimidating atmosphere the stadium generates for opponents.
Anfield is an arena where dreams are possible and where legends are made. To use a Liverpool line ‘ This means more’.
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It is heartening to see FSG respect the club’s ethos and traditions and build upon the principles that Liverpool fans hold dear.
The second phase of the redevelopment will take the stadium’s capacity to around 61000. The construction is expected to be completed in time for the 2022-23 season. (h/t Liverpool Echo)