It's finally here. As part of the public consultation phase of the Anfield redevelopment, Liverpool released the official artist renderings of what the proposed changes to the exterior of the stadium will look like once the Main Stand has been refurbished and the surrounding area is landscaped.
PHOTO: An artist's impression of Liverpool FC's proposed stadium expansion pic.twitter.com/gLRnBGgpy8— Liverpool FC (@LFC) April 23, 2014
The full and lengthy details of what the redevelopment will entail plus all the sound bites from Ian Ayre and other local representatives can be found on the club's website, but there are a few key things to note:
- The overall capacity of the stadium will increase to approximately 58,800 seats, with 8,500 added to the Main Stand and 4,800 added to the Anfield Road end.
- The Hillsborough Memorial will be relocated to a specially designed "cloister" in the north west end of the Main Stand. The Shankly and Paisley Gates will be relocated as well, although a final location hasn't yet been revealed.
- The club store will be relocated from beneath the Kop to a larger space beneath the Main Stand.
- Lots of improvements are on order inside the stadium, including modernised concourses, expanded food and drink options, and improved access and seating for people with disabilities.
- The exterior public spaces will dramatically increase in size due to the demolition of the houses on the neighbouring streets that the club have been buying up for years.
The change that matters most to large portion of Liverpool's fan base is the stadium's increased capacity, as this will help keep the club on par with other top clubs whose stadiums are already in the 60,000-75,000 seat range. While the club won't quite hit the magic 60,000 seats that have been discussed in most of the redevelopment discussion up until this point, an additional 14,000 seats is nothing to sneeze at.
The construction plan itself is rather aggressive, given that Liverpool hope to complete the Main Stand by August 2016 if their planning application to the City of Liverpool goes ahead as planned this coming summer. No further details were provided as to how construction might impact ticket availability or stadium access should it take place during the next two seasons.
If you've been to Anfield, how do you feel about the changes as compared to what you've experienced at Anfield at the past? If you haven't been, which parts are you most looking forward to — besides the match, of course — once you make your inevitable pilgrimage?