On the day that Liverpool was named European Capital of Culture for 2008, Liverpoolfc.tv spoke exclusively to the Reds' Chief Executive Rick Parry
On the day that Liverpool was named European Capital of Culture for 2008, Liverpoolfc.tv spoke exclusively to the Reds' Chief Executive Rick Parry about how the triumph will see huge rewards for both the city and Liverpool Football Club.
Were you surprised that Liverpool won the European Capital of Culture for 2008?
"No, delighted. I think it's great news. I think I always felt Liverpool had a very good chance and had a very good case but equally, so did the other cities. So it's one of those where it's not a surprise, but equally it wouldn't have been a surprise had we not got it."
The campaign that the team launched has been running for about two-and-a-half years, have you had any involvement?
"We've had some involvement in it. It would have been highly inappropriate to claim that we played a major part. Bob Scott and I go back a long way as we worked together on the Manchester Olympic bid and as a leader of initiative, there is nobody better than Bob. I've got the greatest respect for him and I'm absolutely delighted for him and for everybody else who is involved.
"We tried to do our bit in supporting the bid, but it's been very much a lesser role and it's not for us to be claiming any of the credit. We've tried to respond whenever we've been asked and we've always been right behind it."
What are the positives that Liverpool Football club can expect to see from this? There should be a lot more investment and business in the city and one would assume LFC would reap the benefits of those.
"You're absolutely right. I think that we obviously draw business to the city in our own right anyway, and that will be further enhanced now. I think successful cities and successful teams can go together. If you look at the success of Manchester United in the 90s - that certainly went hand in hand with the resurgence and the regeneration of Manchester as a city.
"I think that in the regeneration of cities and the success of football clubs, there is one common theme - confidence and self-belief. This will do a huge amount for the self-belief of Liverpool, which is terrific news.
"Again, if you look back to Liverpool's resurgence under Shankly in the 60s, it coincided with a phase when the city was buzzing anyway. The fact that the city is now on the up is something that we can not only benefit from but be a part of because sport has obviously been recognised as an integral past of the culture of Liverpool.
"Liverpool's sporting heritage clearly fitted within the framework of the bid and featured prominently. The obvious and direct benefit and contribution we can make building up to 2008 is the landmark of a new world-class stadium. The discussion on the stadium and the regeneration of north Liverpool is bound to be given a lift as well."
There will be a few extra people that would like to fit into that stadium as well now?
"Hopefully. In terms of giving confidence and further reassurance that it's right to be expanding capacity and planning for success, then yes, that has got to be good news too."
It's got to be a plus point when people go away from the city thinking great things about not only the city but also the football club. This could give birth to a new generation of supporters around the world.
"I think that's right. One of the cities which always excites me is Barcelona. I love it as a city. I admire the club. In term of the contribution that a new stadium can make for Liverpool, one of the points we've been making to the city for a while is that the Nou Camp alone attracts around one-and-a-quarter million visitors a year. That is an overwhelming statistic.
"If more visitors are coming to the city, as they inevitably will, then in terms of Anfield being a destination from a tourist point of view let alone being a destination for the matches, there's bound to be an upside to that. The hotel industry will get a lift and the whole city will get a lift. Providing we continue to be successful, we'll be right up there - hopefully contributing to the Capital of Culture and befitting from it.