Liverpool Football Club, more so than any of the other top sides in England, have arguably the strongest foundation and the brightest future. Less than halfway through Galactico manager, Jürgen Klopp’s contracted tenure at Anfield (long may he reign), a healthy balance sheet that has seen them post a record year of profit for a football club and a core of key players in the likes of Virgil Van Dijk, Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Alisson Becker all under the age of 27 and challenging both domestically and in Europe, the Reds, at the moment, are the envy of football supporters the world over.
It’s a far cry from the dark days of the George Gillet and Tom Hicks era from whom Fenway Sports Group bought the club in 2010. Paul Konchesky. ‘Nuff said.
After some growing pains, however, FSG have managed to cultivate a virtuous cycle, investing in the squad and on-pitch performances—the capture of the sought-after Klopp, the appointment of Sporting Director, Michael Edwards and record outlays for the likes of Van Dijk and Alisson—and plowing the financial proceeds from those actions back into the club in the form of improved facilities and the completion of the new Main Stand at Anfield.
While much attention has been on his side’s exploits on the pitch, with a thrilling title chase with a record-breaking Manchester City side in the offing, club CEO, Peter Moore has pointed to the FSG’s less heralded efforts in the form of infrastructural improvements, including the new Main Stand as well as plans to turn the Liverpool academy into a world class facility, as playing a massive part in increasing the club’s standing in the game.
“[The new Main Stand] brings more people in,” Moore stated in a recent interview with the Evening Standard. “In the first year it brought an extra £12m to the bottom line, but more importantly it brought a different experience to the visitors.
“You bring in a consumer—if you want to call it that—that wants to enjoy sports in a different way.
“We have things we did not have before. I used to come to the old directors’ box when invited by a friend. The experience in the old Main Stand was nice, but it was quaint.
“This new Main Stand is iconic, it sets up apart and it keeps us up with the other football clubs. Tottenham, for example, are building a new stadium.”
“When you travel the world you know what a football club like this should have. We saw when we went to PSG what they have generated for a football-going experience.
“John Henry famously said when he came in here—if you remember at that time there were still plans to build a new stadium on Stanley Park—why would we move?
“There is so much history. He did what he did with Fenway Park. You invest on the spot and find ways to continue to improve the stadium.
“He found ways to keep up with New York Yankees and set about doing the same here.”
While calls for the club owners to turn their focus to a planned expansion of the Anfield Road end have resurfaced recently, Moore has insisted that the move to relocate and consolidate all of the Liverpool academy into one world class facility at Kirkby will take precedence.
“Yes, long-term we know what needs to happen, but we are absorbed with Kirkby,” he continued.
“There is £50 million there and FSG have written the cheque to move away from Melwood and get all our teams playing in the same facility. We are also building community pitches for the kids in Kirkby and Knowsley.
“One bite at a time. Then we will figure out what to do with regards expansion of the stadium itself.”