The construction company working on Liverpool’s redevelopment of the Anfield Road stand has filed a notice of intention to appoint administrators.
Liverpool have said the news will not affect plans to reopen part of the stand for their first home Premier League game of the season against Bournemouth on Saturday, but that fans will be notified of arrangements for future games — specifically the match against Aston Villa on September 3.
It had already been announced that delays in the work undertaken by the contractor, Buckingham Group, would mean that only the lower tier would be open against Bournemouth, giving a reduced capacity of around 51,000.
A Liverpool spokesperson said in a statement on Thursday: “Buckingham Group has made us aware that it has filed for a notice of intention to appoint administrators. This filing does not impact the planned opening of the new Anfield Road Stand’s lower tier on Saturday for the match against Bournemouth.
“Following the successful test events earlier this week, Liverpool City Council’s building control team issued a safety certificate to operate the lower tier of the Anfield Road Stand and we look forward to welcoming supporters to Anfield for our first Premier League home game of the season against Bournemouth.
“We will work with Buckingham Group on the planned phased opening of the remainder of the new stand and will continue to keep supporters updated on arrangements for future games. Specifically, our intention is to update all supporters who have a ticket for the Aston Villa match at the earliest opportunity.”
The £80million project is due to add 7,000 extra seats and increase capacity to 61,000.
The Buckingham Group has also been behind the redevelopment of Fulham’s Riverside stand at Craven Cottage, where season tickets cost up to £3,000. Work on the Riverside stand began in 2019 but has been delayed several times and will now not fully open until 2024.
Speaking to The Athletic on the redevelopment earlier this month, Liverpool CEO Billy Hogan said: “We started this project in the middle of the pandemic. It was widely discussed then about supply-chain issues and resource issues.
“I think the fact we’re pretty close to opening is a good thing.
“Anyone who has been through any type of construction project knows these things are fluid. We will work with Buckingham and Liverpool City Council to make sure it opens incrementally and appropriately. It will be similar to how the Main Stand opened in stages in 2016. Back then, we had to move our second game, so we opened that season with three away games. We haven’t had to do that this time.
“We would have hoped to be fully open by Bournemouth, but it’s been a complex project. It should be fully completed by October and off we go.”
Buckingham said in a statement: “It is with immeasurable regret that the Buckingham board has to announce that rapidly escalating contract losses and a sharp reduction in liquidity, together mean the company is unable to continue trading at this current time.
“We emphasise the company is currently not in administration. Our main aim at present is to seek to protect jobs, and to preserve as much of the business as possible.
(Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)