IAN Ayre has admitted that the Anfield Road end wouldn’t have the benefit of hospitality and as such would not be a “smart investment for the business”.
Redeveloping the Anfield Road end was initially outlined as phase two of the plans to redevelop Anfield, of which the soon-to-be completed Main Stand was phase one.
However the owners have been coy on how likely the developments will be, with owner John Henry recently claiming that ticket prices may “foreclose further expansion”.
The issue of the redevelopment was raised at the latest Supporters’ Committee meeting, with Ayre insisting that the club were careful not to make any promises on the Anfield Road end.
In the minutes published from the meeting, Ayre said: “The planning application does not dictate when any redevelopment of Anfield Road would start. The club’s objective was always to build and open the main stand. From the outset, the club did not want to set deadlines or promises it failed to keep.
“The club now needs a period of time to ensure that what it has put in place works, and in tandem continue with plans for Anfield Road. However, as with the Main Stand, the club has to find the right economic model, and only then will it be the right time to move forward.”
A lot of fans believed that the lack of potential for corporate facilities in the Anfield Road end was one of the reasons that plans seemed to be stalling, a belief which Ayre confirmed to be true while revealing how much the stand would cost to repay in terms of general admission tickets.
Liverpool’s chief executive added: “A stand behind a goal doesn’t have the benefit of hospitality that would go a long way to meet the redevelopment costs. If you consider the redevelopment of Anfield Road from a purely general admission perspective, building, say, 6,000 extra seats to take the capacity up to 60,000 would cost somewhere between £60million and £70m.
“At £12,000 to £13,000 per seat, it would take approximately 15 years to pay back, which is not a smart investment for the business. Therefore the club needs to find a rounded solution that’s in the best interests of the football club.”
The suggestion was put to Ayre, who is set to leave the club next summer, that the repayment targets put forward don’t seem too far-fetched and that the fans would be happy to fund the development.
Ayre responded to this suggestion saying: “We should have that conversation.”
He admitted that he was not in a position to speak for the owners or their plans but insisted: “it’s an interesting proposition and one worth looking at.”