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Atherden Fuller Lang 'loses Liverpool stadium job to US firm'

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Atherden Fuller Leng's (AFL's) grip on the new Liverpool Football Club stadium project is looking increasingly tenuous following recent newspaper reports.

The Manchester-based practice has been working on the lucrative Stanley Park scheme since its inception, more than six years ago, but following the arrival of Liverpool FC's new American owners, the job appears to have been handed to US firm HKS.

According to the Liverpool Echo, the stadium plans have been 'completely redrawn' by the Texan practice, after Liverpool FC's new co-owner, Tom Hicks, deemed AFL's to be unsatisfactory.

AFL would be forgiven for thinking the high-profile job was still in the bag, as planning permission had been granted by Liverpool council, and the ground had already begun to be turned.

However, Hicks and his fellow owner George Gillett were said to be unhappy with the original proposals for the site, claiming Liverpool should cash in on the large fan base.

It is widely believed that the new stadium was one of the main factors behind Hicks' move for Britain's most successful football club.

It is understood the HKS scheme is proposing a 68,000-capacity stadium, in comparison to AFL's 50,000-seat design, and it is unlikely to be completed until the start of the 2010 season.

Hicks said: 'It's spectacular, and I can't wait for everybody to see it. I think our fans will love it, it's very creative architecture, very contemporary but also unique to Liverpool. It is all centred around the Kop.'

by Richard Vaughan

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