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Anfield development drags on

Liverpool's stadium redevelopment headache seems set to continue after managing director Ian Ayre admitted building a new ground would produce "very little financial gain".

City Council leader Joe Anderson pointed out any potential work would possibly take three years to begin, making the likelihood of a swift conclusion remote.

The preferred option of owners Fenway Sports Group would be to rebuild the Main Stand and the Anfield Road end. Unfortunately for the club, because of the proximity of housing, redevelopment of the Main Stand will be problematic.

A new-build on Stanley Park would cost upwards of £300millon, which is why the club are searching for a naming-rights partner, but it would only increase capacity by around 15,000 - similar to what the Anfield plan would do.

Ayre admits it is a problem which could take some solving.

"We've looked at both options. Refurbishment could deliver an 60,000-plus seater, which would be great, but it comes with whole other challenges," said the managing director, who stressed the club were committed to regeneration of the surrounding area.

"There has been a lot of frustration around that because there are lots of other people who have to come together or be a part of the process in order for us to deliver.

"That's been very challenging, particularly property acquisition and other areas of red tape, as most people would call it.

"On the new stadium it's been about finding the right economic model. What people don't think of a lot of the time is that we don't get 60,000 new seats when we build a stadium - we only get the difference between Anfield currently and whatever we build.

"The economics of that difference don't really stack up in the medium term for a return for Liverpool.

"It would be a huge investment with very little financial gain. On its own that doesn't look like a viable proposition, so what we're having to do is explore an opportunity for naming rights.

"The pressure is there with people wanting an answer, but it's not an answer we can give right now. No amount of pressure will force Liverpool Football Club to make a decision quickly for the wrong reasons.

"We've all seen and felt and discovered how the wheels can come off if you make the wrong decisions at a football club, particularly this one. So we'll make the right decision at the right time, whatever that is and whenever that is"'

The complicated logistics of redeveloping Anfield have been known for some time. Due to its situation in a residential area there are certain physical barriers which present difficulties.

"You can't build something right next to someone's house that blocks daylight, whether Liverpool FC like it or not. That is something that exists,'' Anderson told the Liverpool Echo.

"It existed 10 years ago when they were talking about it then, and it exists today.

"We will do everything we can to assist Liverpool FC and help them. There is a cost in re-developing Anfield, they may have to wait three years before they can start.

"Even if it gets planning permission, that does not mean that people can't appeal. People have rights. They have to be able to object and there has to be a strong regeneration argument."

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