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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Mar 16, 2012

Stadium conundrum remains

Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre insists the club have to be responsible in their financial approach to solving stadium issues.

Liverpool are looking to add 20,000 seats to their match-day capacity but Ayre said fans would start questioning their logic if multi-million-pound sums were invested in achieving that at the expense of the team.

Redevelopment of Anfield and a new-build in Stanley Park are the two options open to Liverpool, but Ayre has already stated the latter would require a marquee naming rights deal for it to make financial sense.

"It is about finding the right solution that keeps the great heritage experience and atmosphere and finding the right thing for the future. It's not so easy a challenge,'' he said.

"We have to have the right economic model. Our sweet spot is around 60,000 to 65,000 because we don't want empty seats. We already have 46,000 seats and those extra 20,000 seats are not going to generate hundreds of millions.

"People are more interested in what happens on the pitch [but] it's not to say that the other things are not important. If it meant we were writing cheques for that rather than the team, people will ask why.''

Ayre, speaking at the Global Entrepreneurship Congress being held in the city, is quoted in the Liverpool Echo as saying Liverpool must act "in a responsible way''.

Across Stanley Park, Everton have stadium issues of their own, with plans to relocate for a new-build being frustrated on a couple of occasions, most recently when a joint proposal with Tesco for a site at Kirkby was rejected.

Everton chief executive Robert Elstone insists redevelopment of Goodison Park is unrealistic.

He said: "We have to look for a new site and use the Kirkby funding model which involved 40% to 45% of the capital cost coming from retail uplift subsidy. I don't think there are a shortage of sites, I believe there is a shortage of funding.''

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