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Liverpool stadium faces new delay

Graphic of Stanley Park exterior
Liverpool's stadium plans have been hit by a new setback

Liverpool have revealed their plans for a new 350m stadium in Stanley Park will be delayed "in the short term".

Reports had suggested Liverpool's American co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett were struggling to raise funds for the next stage of the project.

A Liverpool spokesman said: "Our commitment to building a new world class LFC stadium is undiminished.

"Like many other major development projects in the UK and overseas we are affected by global market conditions."

The spokesman revealed: "We will use this period productively and revisit the plans for the stadium to increase its capacity to 73,000 seats."

But fan groups have reacted angrily to the news of further delays.

Dr Rogan Taylor, founder 'ShareLiverpoolFC', who want to take the club into community ownership, said: "This has not come as a surprise. The Americans did not have any money for the stadium.

"The problem is the debt our owners carry, there is not really a significant problem in raising money to build a stadium if they did not have a major debt on their backs.


"I am embarrassed by what is going on at my club.

"There are about a dozen clubs worldwide who have this genuine combination of local and global strength. But it is a dangerous situation.

"This club is more vulnerable now than it has been in my entire 47 years of watching them. It is a house of cards and a puff of wind can blow it over."

Liverpool's plans for their new home, which was expected to have a 60,000 capacity, were approved by the city council in May, but it now remains to be seen if and when serious work will begin on the stadium which was expected to be finished by August 2011.

When the Americans took over 18 months ago they immediately redesigned previous plans and had to allow for new planning permission.

The current credit crunch is being blamed for the latest delay, even though enabling work has already started in and around Stanley Park.

The 'Spirit of Shankly' fans group, dedicated to removing the Americans from the club, have also attacked the club's latest statement.

Spokesman Jay McKenna said: "It is our firm belief that the owners have neither the resources nor the intention to deliver this project, and are using the current economic climate as a subterfuge while they attempt to drive the potential sale value of the football club up.

"The owners have no money, no credibility and no dignity, and are not fit custodians of the club.

"We demand their immediate resignation and the sale of the club to fit and proper owners."

Liverpool have not signed the lease for Stanley Park with Liverpool City Council but deny this is anything more than a legal issue.

It was revealed on Thursday that European Union grants to fund regeneration of the Anfield area had been withdrawn, which was another blow to the Americans even though it was only around 5m. The money had been earmarked by the European Regional Development Fund for a community partnership centre as part of the new stadium.

But the timescale involved meant the money had to be re-allocated last November and the stadium centre will now have to be fully funded by Liverpool.

The 5m will now be spent on four community centres in north Liverpool.

see also
Liverpool stadium plans approved
06 May 08 |  Merseyside
No inquiry for Reds' new stadium
08 Jan 08 |  Merseyside
Liverpool's stadium move granted
06 Nov 07 |  Merseyside

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