Premier League - Article slams 'shameful truth' of Liverpool's policy for Anfield redevelopment

Liverpool are coming under increased scrutiny after it was revealed by the Guardian that the football club's policy of buying up houses around Anfield is leaving the local area in "dreadful decline".

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Aerial view of Anfield (Reuters)

The club have reportedly been systematically buying up homes in the streets surrounding the ground, leaving them empty, so they can be demolished to enable the Main Stand to be expanded to fit in with their redevelopment plans.

It all comes six months after the club scrapped their original plan to build a new stadium on a site at Stanley Park, opting instead to expand their existing Anfield ground, albeit at the expense of the local area.

As a result of the club’s policy, the area has been "ruined" with families having to leave their homes, according to an article by reporter David Conn in the paper.

"Residents' bitterness derives from when the club started buying houses in Lothair Road, without saying they were doing so or making their intentions clear," the piece read. "The club used an agency to approach some residents, while some houses were bought by third parties then sold on quickly to the club. That left residents with the belief, which has endured ever since, that Liverpool were buying up houses by stealth, to keep prices low.

"The club have never publicly explained in detail what they did, and declined to answer the Guardian's questions about their historic behaviour and current plans. Neighbours, many of whom have lived in Anfield for decades, remembering a vibrant, flourishing area, believe Liverpool bought and left houses empty to deliberately blight the area, intending it would prompt people to leave and drive house prices down."

Conn added: "Their resentment is compounded by the fact that they are being forced to move so that Liverpool, and their relatively new US owner, Fenway Sports Group, can make more money."

Howard Macpherson, 52, was quoted in the piece: "Anfield was a good area, all the houses occupied, nothing like it is today," says Macpherson, who runs a garage, Aintree Motors. "The area started to decline in the early 1990s with the city's economic problems. But Liverpool football club accelerated the decline, by leaving good houses empty and boarded up. It wasn't a natural decline; it was engineered."

Another local Bill Higham also made his views very clear: "I find it disgraceful," he says. "After the way the area has been run down, I'm being forced out and they want the properties for a song. They could pay everybody up, properly, for less than one Liverpool player's wage."

Conn ended his report by saying: "Liverpool's remaining neighbours, suffering some of Britain's worst living conditions, are grappling with hardball offers, to have their houses knocked down and make way for it all. In the Premier League of the 21st century, this is Anfield."

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