Henry: Reluctant Reds may move

The issue of whether to leave their home of over 100 years has been

a thorny one since it became apparent the new stadium in Stanley

Park promised by former owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett was

never going to materialise. When Fenway Sports Group took control

of the club last October they set about reassessing whether

Liverpool could remain at a redeveloped Anfield – as their baseball

franchise the Boston Red Sox had done at their historical home of

Fenway Park. But Henry has accepted there are a number of

difficulties, from financial, logistical and geographical points of

view, associated with revamping Anfield into a 60,000-plus capacity

arena. “Anfield would certainly be our first choice. But realities

may dictate otherwise. So many obstacles…” he wrote on Twitter.

However, the club have distanced themselves from reports which

suggested they were already resigned to building a new ground. “The

club’s position on the stadium issue remains unaltered and no

decision has been made,” said a spokesman. “We are continuing to

examine both the options – the refurbishment of Anfield and the new

stadium in Stanley Park. “A huge amount of work on that is ongoing

and an announcement will be made in due course.” Moving to Stanley

Park would overcome many of the restrictions the club currently

have to work with at Anfield as a new purpose-built stadium could

provide the increased seating and hospitality opportunities

required to boost matchday revenue. And, having seen Manchester

City follow the likes of Arsenal in securing a multi-million pound

naming rights deal for their ground, a similar route for the Reds

would help offset some of the estimated £300million building

costs. However, it has been reported that a decision from the Reds

will have to be made swiftly, with Liverpool City Council’s offer

of a 999-year lease on the area earmarked only extended until

September. A move away from Anfield would certainly cause

consternation among some supporters, but for the Reds to compete at

the highest level at home and abroad they need to increase income

from gate receipts, which is currently restricted by their 45,000

capacity.