Anfield4Ever issue statement
Feature by Alan Edge
Updated Friday, 17th May 2002
Anfield4Ever, the supporters' group set up by Alan Edge and Will Melia to raise issues about the proposed new stadium move, have issued the following statement.
Very shortly there will be a statement issued by Liverpool City Council, endorsed by Liverpool Football Club, that will render very very sad those of us at Anfield4Ever - together with any like-minded souls. The statement will recommend that a new stadium of around 55,000 capacity be constructed on Stanley Park by, they hope, 2005.
The decision is the outcome of exhaustive feasibility studies carried out by both Liverpool FC and the City Council to determine what they consider to be the optimum way forward for LFC, the Anfield area and the city as a whole.
Taking due consideration of all the criteria involved – which are considerable and extremely precariously balanced – they narrowed their feasibility study to two alternatives which were an expanded Anfield or a new Stanley Park arena, both with around 55,000 capacity.
The bitter reality of the feasibility designs was that the expanded Anfield, whilst certainly achievable as a possible solution, was quite manifestly NOT the most viable solution. Despite strong desires within many of those involved in the decision making at Anfield, there was unanimous concensus that the new stadium was the only way forward.
Whilst we at A4E are bitterly disappointed, we respect the decision that has been made. Above anything else we are pragmatists. We sincerely believed when we embarked on our campaign that an expanded Anfield would work given an exhaustive effort to make it work. Clearly, that effort has been made but has been found not to be adequate having regard to all the criteria required to be fulfilled.
Twelve months ago we presented our formal submission to the powers that be at Anfield which set out the reasons why we believed the club should stay at their present home and expand it to suit their increased capacity needs. The Anfield hierarchy met with us and received our submission with grace and a great deal of respect. We in turn promised them that we would cease any further efforts to publicise our opposition. This promise we honoured to the letter. Since that time they have taken on board several of the detailed points we made and have incorporated them within their feasibility exercises.
In the intervening period we have had further dialogue with David Moores and Rick Parry who have courteously kept us informed of the way matters were developing. It is this mutual respect that leads us to believe that it is only the relative impracticability of the expanded Anfield scheme when compared to the new stadium scheme that has brought them to the conclusion that the club has to move.
Our immediate feelings on the matter is that we now have little alternative but to retire from the fray with, we hope, dignity. We still, of course, maintain the stance that some things in this life are worth retaining at virtually any cost. We feel Anfield comes into this category. That said, we feel we have done all we could do to represent this view to the people in the position of determining the crucial executive decision in this regard. That we have failed to convince them our stance is the right one is no slight on ourselves but a bow to the current vogue of how progress has to be seen to be made. It does not mean that we were wrong or that the LFC hierarchy were right.
We have been asked by Rick Parry to participate in some of the fringe design considerations affecting supporters and club heritage. Tim Kelly, Will Melia and myself shall reflect on this humanitarian offer over a few beers and make a decision in this connection. One thing I have already been assured of. The name of the new stadium will be ANFIELD. That, at least gives us some modicum of comfort while we weep and lick our wounds.