Andy Hughes, Liverpool’s new chief financial officer, could be the best appointment the club makes in any capacity this summer.
Hughes has been drafted in to over see Liverpool’s financial plans all over the world, including the redevelopment of Anfield which will increase the current capacity of the stadium up to around the 60,000 mark.
Hughes starts his role next month and he faces one of the biggest challenges in Liverpool’s history considering the unique atmosphere and tradition which currently surrounds Anfield.
It’s a job he’s well equipped for because he comes from a solid background of managing, developing and financing hotels for the Hilton Hotel brand all over the world.
“I am very proud to join Liverpool Football Club – a brand that is recognised all over the world. It’s an exciting time to be joining and there is real opportunity to further develop the club’s financial operations,” said Hughes on his appointment.
Not only can he oversee and enhance the development of Anfield, he is well placed to commercialise it, which will help the club in the long run as they are bound to incur debts in the redevelopment process.
He will also be crucial in the sponsorship and advertising processes which apply to the club all over the world and eventually with the redeveloped stadium.
That can only increase the chance the club has to reach the John Henry goal of being self-sustainable in a financial capacity, securing the short and long term future of the football club.
It’s also possible that Hughes could play a key role in the development of a hotel inside the redevelopment of the stadium, something which has been successfully completed by several other football clubs.
At the moment the redevelopment stage seems to be stalled by the fact Liverpool need to buy certain properties surrounding Anfield in order to be able to put together legitimate plans for expansion.
That’s something which the club’s managing director Ian Ayre has said remains on track and it’s something which allows the redevelopment process to begin as soon as every property has been purchased.
“Our goal is to extend Anfield but we need certainty and that comes with the acquisition of properties. Real progress has been made in acquiring them. Once they have all been acquired we will go through the planning process,” said Ayre earlier this month.
Buy the properties, get the plans approved and then the work can begin. It’s going to be a longer process overall but it’s something Liverpool fans will gladly put up with as it means they don’t have to relocate to another stadium.
The bigger stadium is something that Hughes and Ayre can encourage the club to use to increase their support base in the United Kingdom.
That not only increases the amount of money they club makes through gate receipts, it also improves the club as a brand, which makes Liverpool more appealing to sponsors all over the world.
There is naturally the chance that the new or redeveloped stadium could be sponsored in the same way it is with Manchester City and Arsenal but the fact it stays in the same place means no need for the fans to change their common association with Anfield.
Changing Anfield is without doubt one of the biggest challenges the club has ever faced but they have brought in an experienced and knowledgeable person to pull it off.
How do you think a redeveloped Anfield help Liverpool?