Liverpool are hoping to start work on the Stanley Park stadium in May (with the actual construction starting in July) of this year – estimates suggest that it will take 3 years for the stadium to be finished.
If Liverpool want to compete with Manchester United, that’s not good enough.
The simple fact is that currently, the 60,000 capacity proposed for Stanley Park is at par wit Arsenal’s Emirates but 16,000 behind that of Manchester United. Already, there are rumours that Manchester United are discussing plans to further extend that capacity so that Old Trafford holds 90,000 by 2009.
Gillett and Hicks are hoping to either increase the proposed capacity or leave room for expansion when the stadium construction starts, but is it really feasible to plan for a stadium of 60,000 in 2010 when your league rivals can fit in 30,000 more fans by that time?
It’s one thing to pack a 40,000 stadium full of fans, it’s quite another to pack one that seats 70,000.
Update: I meant to say here that financially it’s a world of a difference to have 70k fans at your home games.
Personally I have no doubt that Liverpool can seat that many fans at Stanley Park as well.
My only concern is that 60k will not be enough for Liverpool in 2010.
And if Manchester United do have such expansion plans, there is little doubt that they can fill the seats for all league home games. That’s a lot of extra cash, and extra cash not only helps service the debt but increases the club’s value, attracts investors and generally helps the owners to bring more money into the club.
Gillett and Hicks are smart businessmen – their PR blitz has proven it. Now it’s up to them to secure Liverpool’s future by giving the fans the biggest possible stadium.
Can Stanley Park match Old Trafford?