Liverpool shares Anfield Road update
“We are doing everything we can”, assured the football club’s chief executive, Billy Hogan, a week after the contractor behind its new stand filed an administration notice.
Buckingham Group Contracting is the main contractor for Liverpool Football Club’s Anfield Road Stand, which was to bring an extra 7,000 seats to the stadium. This would increase Anfield Stadium’s capacity to 61,000.
Hogan confirmed that the club still plans to work through a phased opening of the Anfield Road Stand, however it does not want to set any false expectations.
“Just to speak plainly, we are in a bit of a holding pattern right now based on the news that we got on Thursday and that needs to reach its conclusion before we can truly start to take the next steps”, he said.
“But if Buckingham does enter into administration then we’ll need to address any delays that may arise from completing the new stand as a result of that.
“Obviously, we will of course work with Buckingham and any other contractors who may be appointed in the future to retain as many of the existing jobs and expertise that have been a part of the project all along.”
Buckingham Group has stressed that it is not currently in administration. The filing of the notice was to “protect the business whilst we explore a sale of all or part of the business in a very short period (days/weeks)”, the company said.
The firm began work on the stand in 2021. At that time, the project was due to complete in time for the 2023-2024 season. That deadline has since been missed, although Saturday did see the return of the season with the lower section of the Anfield Road Stand cleared for operational use and open for the first time.
In terms of the future, Hogan recognised that is hard to set a schedule based on what is happening immediately however has hinted that the club is still working towards an October deadline to have the stand fully complete.
“As I said, [there is] an unbelievable amount of work going on in the background, literally since we were made aware of Buckingham’s intentions, to make sure that we have as little impact on that timeline as possible”, he said.
“So, again, I don’t want to set false expectations but we do have to have, obviously, a schedule that we need to work towards.
“It’s hard to set that schedule based on what is happening immediately, but we are working through it having digested the announcement on Thursday and working over the course of the last several days, and then any subsequent administration of Buckingham and what that means with regards to our contract with them and then the strategy and programme that we put forward.”
Buckingham Group is also the main contractor for the £80m Headbolt Lane Station in Kirkby and began work on the Merseyrail project last year. Liverpool City Region Mayor Steve Rotheram has said that the probable administration will not impact the delivery of the station.