Liverpool owner John W. Henry said the club has the finances to fund redeveloping the club's home, but there is much more at stake than the club's coffers.
It has been one of the most drawn out sagas in the history of Liverpool Football Club. Nothing to do with transfers, in fact, it has nothing to do with players.
This is about the future of where the club will play its football. Since the turn of the millennium there have been plans for Liverpool to play in a bigger stadium, several plans have been submitted but nothing has materialised.
What we have had in the past two years is two proposals for a move to Stanley Park, one of those plans looking like a soulless bowl, and the other resembling a very ambitious and futuristic design that you would have been forgiven for thinking it should have been in one of the Star Trek series.
There have been broken promises along the way, notably from previous owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett who said they would have a spade in the ground in within 60 days at their press conference immediately after securing ownership of the club.
During all this time, whilst people have bemoaned the plight of the club and not being able to compete commercially because they don’t receive the same sort of matchday revenue as Arsenal and Manchester United do, a whole area of north Liverpool has been neglected.
Whilst it is nice to hear that Liverpool’s future of playing football at Anfield is good to hear from the perspective of a football with emotional attachments to the club and the ground, it is also good news for those that live in the area surrounding the ground, that after many years of neglect their area might actually be attended to, so long as John W Henry, along with Liverpool City Council finally keep the promise that work will be done.
The cynics will say they have yet to see any new stadium plans put forward by the club’s current owners, with the Anfield Road End and Main Stand thought to be the parts of the ground earmarked for redevelopment.
Maybe it is an acknowledgement that they don’t want to get people’s hopes up and they will release the plans when they’re submitted. Let’s hope so.
There are many people who will think this progress is something they have heard before, and won’t be holding their breath. The amount of scepticism, the people that will say ‘I’ll believe when I see it’ will perhaps be higher now than ever before. But this time, it has to be different and someone has to deliver.
image: © Vincent Teeuwen