A decade on from FSG’s takeover, Anfield is finally getting its second expansion, allowing for a number of supporters more befitting the club’s status to be able to attend home games. The construction, which is expected to cost an estimated £60m, is slated to be finished during the summer of 2023, and should recover its costs over the course of the subsequent 3-4 seasons.
In a move that is certain to generate discussion, the club announced that they will be installing rail seating on some 7,000 seats this summer, in preparation of a 12-month trial that will extend through next season.
“The safety of our supporters when they come to Anfield is our absolute priority and we are fully committed to working with the SGSA on the trial of these new seats at Anfield,“ said Liverpool’s managing director, Andy Hughes.
“It is critical that we listen to the experts and deliver their recommendations to address this safety issue. We have informed key stakeholders and thank all fans for their input and support during this trial.
“We will complete a full review of the trial in 12 months at the end of next season.”
The club has been explicit in pointing out that rail seating is not the same as safe standing, although both solutions have been implemented in Germany, and the latter is unlikely to get any traction with the ruling bodies in England any time soon.
The purpose of the solution — which consists of integrated waist-high safety rails behind regular seats — is to allow fans to stand at times throughout a game, without the risk of excessive migration of people leading to a collapse or crush. Wolverhampton introduced them at the Molineux in 2019.
Given their history, perhaps no club is more concerned than Liverpool with providing safety for their fans while retaining the iconic atmosphere at Anfield, and it is to be expected that they would be at the forefront of initiatives that allow for that to happen. Hopefully, this solution succeeds on both fronts.