"This is Anfield" a sign famously growls at you as you descend down stairs to walk onto the Liverpool Football Club pitch. The original idea was for it to say "Welcome to Anfield", but Bill Shankly vetoed it, saying that visitors weren't there to have a good time.
The other Premiership football club in Liverpool (Liverpool) are spending the money they received for the sale of Jordan Henderson to Al-Ettifaq to improve their Anfield Road stand. Well, in truth they only received a seventh of the £80 million cost of the new stand in the sale of 33-year old 'Hendo', which is probably the fraction of the stand that will be completed before their first home game of the 2023/24 season against Bournemouth tomorrow. The club were notified yesterday (Thursday 18 August) that Buckingham Group, the main contractors on the delayed project, has applied to enter Administration.
Buckingham Group Contracting is a £700 million turnover employee-owned business which encountered a main board shake-up just two weeks ago after group managing director Ian McSeveney tendered his resignation for long term health reasons after 17 years. with the business filed the notice yesterday giving it 10 days to keep creditors at bay. One of their specialities is losing lots of money on improving football stadia, and in last reported accounts for 2021, the company suffered a near £11 million pre-tax loss after taking a big hit on a major stadium job, believed to be Fulham FC’s Craven Cottage Riverside stand.
Buckingham employs 600 staff who will now be on tenterhooks as the notice of intention to appoint Administrators, we hardly need to tell you, gives the company ten days respite. The NTI newsroom has been told that the football club expect Buckingham to continue work on the planned phased opening of the stand, which will increase the capacity to 61,000, but it remains to be seen whether the contractor can meet the rearranged schedule completion date of October.
(In actual fact we were told to "Bog off ..." when we called Anfield for a comment, but that doesn't look anything like as impressive as the above.) A club spokesperson told everyone other than us: “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."
They then said something about a "phased opening", which made us giggle behind our hands.