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By Chris Rowland.
Cast your mind back two years. To a court case in London, dramatically unfolding on Twitter. To new names like Lord Grabiner, Justice Floyd and John W Henry, as well as established ones like Martin Broughton, Christian Purslow, Tom Hicks and George Gillett.
The new owners faced two dominant issues; the immediate one of rescuing the club from the financial and managerial dysfunction created by the predecessors’ inadequacy and incompetence; and the other one that now seems to have taken a decisive step towards resolution; the small matter of where Liverpool play their home matches (for those who accuse FSG of dragging their feet, is two years really too long for that process?)
In that time they’ve examined the possibilities of a new stadium, and seemingly come out against them, and contrasted with the Fenway Park option of doing the old place up a bit, and seem to have landed on the latter side of the debate.
As has been said, by JW Henry last year and by Ian Ayre today, you don’t get 60,000 new seats in a new stadium, you get 15,000. Spending north of £300 million on Stanley Park may help raise matchday revenues from the current level of £41 million per season and reduce (though by no means close) the gap to Utd (£109m) and Arsenal (£93m), but in itself it is wholly insufficient to have us competing overnight with shekels and roubles. It seems matchday revenue’s not the game changer we thought it might be.
Incidentally, Chelsea (£68m) and even Spurs (£43m) surpass our matchday takings despite lower attendances, reflecting the difference in the London and Merseyside constituencies.
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