Liverpool Football Club today officially opened its redeveloped Main Stand – just 643 days since work started on the project.
The Club’s owners, chief executive, manager, directors and former players were joined by Anfield Project partners Liverpool City Council and Your Housing Group together with representatives from other organisations involved in the Main Stand redevelopment for the event.
The opening comes ahead of Liverpool FC’s first home game of the season against Leicester City on 10th September.
Construction of the Main Stand began in December 2014 and adds a further 8,500 seats to the stadium, taking Anfield’s capacity to 54,000. Anfield’s Main Stand is now one of the largest all-seater single stands in European football.
The stand comprises 1.8 million bricks and blocks, in excess of 5000 tonnes of steel, enough concrete to fill three Olympic-sized swimming pools and 6000 light fittings; all of which has created a structure allowing a combined interior floor space that is five times larger than the pitch itself.
Tom Werner, Chairman, Liverpool Football Club, said: “Redeveloping the Main Stand has been about improving our home rather than having to abandon it in the name of progress. We want what all Liverpool supporters want – future success on the pitch.
“Anfield isn’t just where we play matches. Anfield is home and it’s as much part of the identity of this Club as the Liver Bird on the crest of the shirt.
“A crucial factor for us, as ownership, was to ensure that the Club listened to key constituencies during this project. Listening and acting on what we heard has been a big part of our personal involvement.
“We listened to our supporters , the local community, former players and managers and the Shankly and Paisley families. All these groups joined us on this journey and played their part in helping to create what we see before us today.
“We joined forces with Liverpool City Council and Your Housing Group over two years ago as part of the wider Anfield regeneration project and they have been fantastic partners. Their vision to regenerate the Anfield area to make it a better place to live, work and visit is to be commended.
“Tomorrow marks a new chapter for this great club. We look to the future while respecting our past and, most importantly, we continue our journey at Anfield.”
The stadium expansion is part of an ambitious £260m regeneration plan for the Anfield area which was announced in 2013 and includes new and refurbished homes, a hotel, new office space and new public space. Proposals to entirely redevelop the main high street next to the stadium were unveiled two weeks ago. The regeneration is being driven by a partnership of LFC with Liverpool City Council and Your Housing Group.
The redevelopment also becomes the new home to the Hillsborough Memorial as well as creating public realm space for fans to gather, and enhance the experience of those visiting the stadium on match days and non-match days.
Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson said: “When we announced our regeneration plans in 2013 our ambition was to make Anfield a better place to live, to work and to visit. The opening of the new Main Stand is a critical piece in that regeneration jigsaw and represents a milestone not just for north Liverpool but for the whole city.
“The football club is a major employer and, in many ways, the economic anchor for the wider community. Its renewed commitment to Anfield has brought certainty and has enabled us, as a partnership, to bring forward wider improvements which are genuinely transforming the local area and delivering new opportunities for residents and businesses.”
Your Housing Group Chair Kathy Cowell said: “Three years of partnership working have already gone a long way towards creating a more vibrant and successful community. There is much still to be done but the opening of the Main Stand is an important achievement as we realise our ambitions to create a brighter Anfield for everyone.
“In the last three years, some 398 new homes in the area have been built, over 300 homes refurbished and 238 substandard and derelict properties demolished. There are more improvements to come and we look forward to working with LFC and the city council to ensure our vision is delivered.”