Liverpool FC has expressed disappointment and frustration as they confirm the delay in completing the new upper tier of the Anfield Road Stand by the end of 2023. The setback, attributed to the main contractor, the Buckingham Group, going into administration in August, has impacted the construction timeline significantly.
The announcement, made nine days before the Merseyside derby at Anfield, nullifies the target for the first game with 61,000 supporters in attendance. The club, recognizing the trio of crucial home games around Christmas against Manchester United, Arsenal, and Newcastle, has made the challenging decision to clarify the situation, confirming that there will be no increase in capacity this year.
LFC CEO Billy Hogan expressed regret, stating, “We’re going to have to maintain the status quo for the remainder of the calendar year, essentially meaning capacity at Anfield will remain the same as for the previous home games that we’ve seen this season.”
Anfield’s current attendance, averaging around 48,000 for the five home games so far, falls short by 13,000 of the stadium’s eventual capacity. Hogan acknowledged the disappointment among supporters, particularly with significant fixtures approaching, including the derby.
The delay not only impacts fan experience but also poses financial challenges for the club. Hogan emphasized the complexity of the situation and the team’s dedication to expedite the project. Before the new upper tier can host fans in 2024, a test event is necessary to obtain a safety certificate from Liverpool City Council, following a similar process undertaken for the lower tier.
The prolonged wait results in revenue losses, with estimates indicating that Liverpool is missing out on £750,000 per match. With at least 14 matches at Anfield this season set to be played without the upper tier, the cumulative impact on matchday revenue is estimated to be at least £10.5 million.