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The announcement we knew was coming arrived earlier this morning, with Managing Director Ian Ayre confirming that the club will look to stay at Anfield and expand rather than starting anew elsewhere.
Talk is talk, and right now that's all this is, but there's at least something resembling intent behind Ian Ayre's words this morning as he made public the club's hopes of expanding Anfield and building upon what's one of the more iconic stadiums in English football. He preached caution as the process moves along, with a number of different parties and interests involved, but also a guarded optimism about how this time it can and will be different:
I know a proposition of staying at Anfield has been looked at before, but fundamentally the difference is that for the first time ever all of the relevant parties are coming together for a common initiative and that common initiative is not for the needs of the football club but actually the needs of the community. The regeneration of Anfield is something that many residents and many people throughout the city have talked about and we all recognise the football club is an employer, a business, and a resident, to some extent, in this area. We all know and we all appreciate how much investment and regeneration is needed in the area so bringing together all of that plan and the vision of Mayor Anderson and Liverpool City Council and some of the other stakeholders, putting that vision into reality is what's helped us be a part of that. Liverpool's part in that is not just the consideration of staying at Anfield and the expansion, it's a whole bunch of other initiatives that we'll work together with the other stakeholders on, so it's that coming together on the bigger initiative that's allowed us to get to today.
The timeline leaves much of the work to be done at least a couple years into the future, and as we noted on Saturday, there's bound to be disagreement about what's best for the club moving forward--the ability to be competitive on the pitch is the ultimate goal, and there's a fair bit of disagreement as to how redevelopment versus a brand-new stadium will influence that.
Discussion of the potential differences or opinions is great at this time, but the key word is potential--there's not really anything in Ayre's words or what appears to be going on right now to indicate that anything's actually happening. They have an idea of what they want to do, that idea needs to be agreed upon by multiple parties, and there's likely to be an endless number of hoops that everyone will have to jump through in order to for ideas to become realities. It's exciting, no doubt, but I'll be saving the majority of the emotion for when we see the project get underway, and all the necessary hurdles cleared.