Former Liverpool chairman Sir Martin Broughton has revealed how a trip to Emirates Stadium saw Reds owner John W. Henry scrap a proposed move away from Anfield.
The latter bought the club from Tom Hicks and George Gillett, who had begun making plans to build a new state-of-the-art stadium in nearby Stanley Park.
However, they were delayed by the 2008 financial crisis, with Henry and Fenway Sports Group purchasing Liverpool in a £300m deal two years later.
In 2012, the Americans announced they would redevelop Anfield instead of uprooting the club. They have since completed plans for the Main Stand, though work is still ongoing as Liverpool look to take the stadium capacity to 61,000.
Speaking to the Telegraph, Broughton explained how Henry came to his decision, saying: “[Redevelopment] was the most important decision – to do that rather than go for an Emirates-style stadium in Stanley Park.
“We organised a trip for John to the Emirates for a game, and the feedback was always how everyone loved the stadium, except the Arsenal fans. They could instantly see, why would you throw away ‘This is Anfield’?”
Since Arsenal left Highbury in 2006, Gunners supporters have frequently criticised the soulless atmosphere at their new home. The Liverpool fan-base, on the other hand, have become notorious for turning the tightly-packed Anfield into a cauldron, intimidating visiting players.
Broughton added: “The Emirates in Stanley Park just did not feel right. If he had had to build another stadium he would have, but his determination was to do everything to stay at Anfield, which was important.
“Fenway had proven they could do it with the Red Sox, as previous owners had bought land next door to build a new arena. Fenway said: ‘Why would you throw away all the tradition of the Green Monster?’
“The similarities were clear. They got it through and returned it to former glories. Now they have done the same at Anfield.”
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