Robert Elstone has provided some of the most substantive insights to date into Everton's proposed new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock in a podcast interview with Nick Mernock, Chair of the Everton Fans Forum.
The club's Chief Executive touched on many of the salient issues around what promises to be a major chapter in Everton's history, one that could see the Blues kicking off in their new home in August 2021 if an aggressive timeline can be met.
"Proximity and steepness"
Elstone explained how the design team at Meis Studio have been asked to push the limits of what is possible for the Blues' new ground, within the parameters, Fifa- and Uefa-imposed safety guidelines so as to optimise the matchday atmosphere inside.
“The [criteria for creating] atmosphere will be around proximity and steepness; they're the two things. The designers have been challenged to bring the first seat as close as possible [to the pitch] and to make the last seat as steep and as close as we possibly can.
“They've already done some experimenting around cross-sections and they've done some really compelling [ones] where they're comparing them to existing stadia and our seats are all nearer, the seats at the back are all nearer.
“There's a really strong business case for that because probably the most important revenue stream that the new stadium will deliver is 35,000 to 40,000 season ticket holders who are going to come back year after year and who can't wait to renew their season ticket.
“If we can create something that is atmospheric and intense, I think that's really going to help with season ticket retention.
“The other business case is the need to create a fortress. What I've said to the design team is, if you ask me for one single design brief it would be to start every game with a goal advantage. Now I know that's a bit cliched in a way but if you start every game “with a goal advantage”… the biggest stream of revenue that we have is TV revenue and a big slug of that is a merit reward based on where you finish in the table.
“Every one of those places are worth about two million quid. If you create a stadium where opponents don't want to come and play and our players grow another 12 inches, we've created an environment where we're more likely to win games. There's a very strong commercial reason for doing that so we can get those merit payments.
Home end and capacity
The CEO also expressed his desire to avoid what he feels was an oversight at stadia like the Emirates and the Etihad by ensuring that there is a clear home section at Bramley-Moore Dock. In doing so, he tacitly indicated that the new structure would not be in the form of a traditional bowl or uniform rectangle.
“I think we'd like to try and create a very obvious and compelling home end and to do that, there will be a degree of asymmetry in the stadium. The home end could well be bigger and I think that is something that would work for us.
“We are still not absolutely decided on capacity and part of the consultation process [with fans] will help shape that. We're much more confident of being bold and ambitious on capacity than we were two or three years ago. We have got a genuine waiting list both in terms of general admission and premium seats.
“And we are flexing our muscles [in the transfer market] and showing genuine ambition on the pitch which will help.
“Ultimately, where we get to on capacity isn't decided yet but I think we'll be ambitious and I think the number will be a big one.
“The other aspect of this is Bramley-Moore Dock is an amazing location but it will be a tight fit so there will be an economically viable limit to what we can do. The design teams are looking at what might be achievable and we're looking at the incremental cost of adding those one, two, three, four thousand seats beyond where we currently are to see if it's economically viable.
“We won't be shy of ambition. The size of your stadium is a big statement of intent and ambition and as a club that's pushing for Champions League and wants to win trophies, we want a stadium that reflects that ambition.”
Mernock asked Elstone if he could allay Evertonian concerns over potential compromises to the stadium's design and construction or simple disruption that might be caused by Liverpool hosting the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
The city is in the running to win a bid to host the athletics event and Mayor Joe Anderson has been trumpeting Everton's Bramley-Moore Dock development as being central to that bid.
The CEO explained, however, that the club's philosophy around accommodating the event would be just like any other non-football occasion and that for seven days, the stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock would host athletics but afterwards it would appear as though nothing had happened.
“If [Liverpool] is awarded the Commonwealth Games, Everton will undoubtedly benefit from a lot of the related development of infrastructure and building adjacent to Bramley-Moore Dock. That would be a big advantage to the football club.
“We have, however, said that we would be delighted to accommodate athletics in our new stadium so long as it doesn't compromise design and so long as it doesn't compromise timetable.
“So, we are pushing on to get in the stadium as soon as we can. We're still aiming for August 2021. That will be very difficult to achieve but we still believe that if things fall into place and we push on hard, it is still potentially achievable.
“If the Commonwealth Games do come in in 2022, a running track will be installed without disruption to the infrastructure of the stadium, it will be pulled out without disruption to the core of the stadium, and it will be ready for us to kick off [again] in August 2022.”
Naming rights and heritage
On the topic of naming rights for the new ground, Elstone admitted that the location of Bramley-Moore Dock makes for an especially attractive partnership for potential sponsors and that Everton would have to be careful about “diluting the check” by trying to incorporate a more romantic name to the new development.
Instead, he says that Dan Meis' love for Goodison Park means that plenty of the club's traditions are likely to be carried over to the new design, words that will come as music to the ears of many fans.
“In terms of reflecting tradition, heritage, and bringing some of the features of Goodison with us, Dan has fallen in love with Goodison and Everton and he is constantly looking at ways of reflecting… whether it's Archibald Leitch signature architecture or the seats in the Gwladys Street or different views or the flavour of the concourses, he is looking to bring that with us.
“The most important thing we can do is make sure that this new stadium is adopted quickly; comes that new home quickly. That will be about design, atmosphere but it will also have an element of familiarity. Dan is really committed to that and we'll make sure he will.
“We want to hear fans' views. We are very conscious of creating a destination where fans feel comfortable and can get there early, meet friends and family, to mix and socialise in a very natural environment.
“There will be messaging about ways to get involved put out through the club's communication channels so fans should look out for the best way to do that."
You can register to be part of the consultation process at this page on evertonfc.com.
Reader Comments (62)
Note: the following content is not moderated or vetted by the site owners at the time of submission. Comments are the responsibility of the poster. Disclaimer
1 Posted 26/07/2017 at 19:37:18
To enter the footballing elite, we must have a ground that's capable of holding a minimum of 60,000 and one that could be a venue for European finals etc.
Would we fill it every home game? Why not? A modern stadium with superb facilities, a fabulous location and excellent rail links is a start. Let's not forget, too, the ambition that gave us Goodison Park with a capacity of 78,000.
Even if the ground wasn't sold out every week, modern technology would enable seats to be released in a way that wouldn't leave the sort of gaps you see at Man City.
Bring it on!
2 Posted 26/07/2017 at 19:39:13
3 Posted 26/07/2017 at 19:42:16
Treat away fans respectfully, allocate good viewing locations, but stick them out of the way. Reduce any advantage to the opposition.
4 Posted 26/07/2017 at 19:47:47
"We're looking at the incremental cost of adding those one, two, three, four thousand seats beyond where we currently are to see if it's economically viable".
I read that as not one, two, three, four thousand above Goodison Park capacity, but beyond current draft designs. Hope I'm right. Gotta be, hasn't it?!
5 Posted 26/07/2017 at 19:54:17
I would love to see the Leitch criss-cross around a tier. Perhaps the running track could be installed level with the 2nd tier?
6 Posted 26/07/2017 at 19:56:37
I'm staggered that he's still in situ in the brave new world of Farhad Moshiri and under the daily gaze of Sasha Ryazantsev. Surely bullshit doesn't truly baffle brains!
7 Posted 26/07/2017 at 20:03:49
8 Posted 26/07/2017 at 20:08:39
Expect a larger capacity too, I will stick my neck out and say 60,000.
This stadium will be iconic and easy to get too on match days and will attract so many more to the area. Also, do not under estimate any slack space not being taken up by tourists visiting Liverpool. What better ways to spread the gospel across the world when as a tourist you can go and watch a Premier League game (if not already a sell-out).
We are in for something very special but a lot of the faithful are unbelievers... watch that space, down at Bramley-Moore Dock!
9 Posted 26/07/2017 at 20:09:02
Going to be a long 4 years to wait, but it should be worth it.
10 Posted 26/07/2017 at 20:27:55
In & out as easily and quickly as possible.
Massive pumps that pour 34 pints of quality beer at a time.
Boss pies & grub.
Cheap season tickets.
Hundreds of bogs everywhere.
Plenty of staff to sell more stuff.
No kopites even on derby days.
Quality vodka offering.
A team not allergic to anything silver.
No kopite pundits.
11 Posted 26/07/2017 at 20:40:40
12 Posted 26/07/2017 at 20:51:29
13 Posted 26/07/2017 at 21:17:12
14 Posted 26/07/2017 at 21:32:07
What we've always needed, and didn't have under Kenwright, was someone genuinely in control of the running of the club. Bill always seemed (a) to not want to let go of the reins, but (b) to not be prepared to make running Everton his full time job.
He's tarred with the criticisms of the past, but I can't honestly identify much that Elstone has done particularly wrong. And, pretty clearly here, everything Elstone has spoken about in terms of the new stadium has been positive.
15 Posted 26/07/2017 at 21:33:13
16 Posted 26/07/2017 at 21:40:48
17 Posted 26/07/2017 at 21:57:54
18 Posted 26/07/2017 at 21:59:14
19 Posted 26/07/2017 at 22:02:10
20 Posted 26/07/2017 at 22:11:12
He mouthed Kenwright's line all those years. Now he mouths Moshiri's. That's his job.
The way he talks, though, seems to imply Moshiri has secured the financial backing for construction, once the design plan is what he wants.
26 Posted 26/07/2017 at 22:41:32
Okay. Not shy of ambition. Statement of intent. I'm all ears. Saying the right things. For me, when you're talking about capacity and talking about statement of intent and ambition, you have to make it bigger than all the others. With the exception of Old Trafford. 65,000 for me.
Like the idea of a larger home end, the new stadium doesn't have to be symmetrical Goodison Park never was. I'm a big fan of the Lucas Oil Stadium which is also not symmetrical for different reasons. This stadium has many attributes we would enjoy including a retractable roof and it is also below ground level which is useful considering we'd be infilling a dock.
I'm not bothered about naming rights as long as we Christen the ground such as Bramley-Moore Dock Stadium or something like that.
28 Posted 26/07/2017 at 23:37:53
I assume a "bog" is a bathroom?
Yep, you'd definitely need hundreds of them if you have 34-pint pumps going.
29 Posted 26/07/2017 at 00:01:46
30 Posted 26/07/2017 at 00:06:13
These business men mean business and if Elstone was the idiot some make him out to be he would be gone by now! I for one welcome your words, Bobby boy. COYB.
31 Posted 27/07/2017 at 00:36:40
32 Posted 27/07/2017 at 00:51:43
Atmosphere was severely blunted when standing room ceased to be. I have been in Goodison three times with well over 70,000 fans attending and the atmosphere was electric. Being seated has definitely lowered the atmosphere and the noise from the crowd.
Lets hope that whatever accoustics are planned will help to bring back that Goodison roar. I would hate it to be as quiet as some of the other new stadiums.
The main priority is attracting the best players.
33 Posted 27/07/2017 at 02:22:35
Dan Davies (#30) has got it right in my opinion.
Alisher to Farhad (over a glass of wine somewhere very private) "How is the Megafon stadium plan going?"
Farhad to Alisher "It's coming together nicely."
Alisher to Farhad "Is Elstone up to it?"
Farhad to Alisher "Sasha reckons he is, but we'll keep an eye on him"
After listening to the podcast and the answers given by Elstone, I am more convinced than ever that Everton Football Club is heading back to the top because we have some heavyweights pulling the strings.
Elstone, Koeman, and Walsh have been given the reigns on a huge project they will have to deliver on all fronts.
One last point from me. If the club delivers on the plans for the community at Goodison, every Evertonian's chest should burst with pride.
It's a Grand Old Team to Play for It's a Grand Old Team to Support.
34 Posted 27/07/2017 at 02:52:03
35 Posted 27/07/2017 at 04:35:40
There will be a new generation of blue fans, how about a new boys pen named after Billy Boy?
36 Posted 27/07/2017 at 04:57:13
37 Posted 27/07/2017 at 05:03:20
Having been fortunate to experience the dying days of the Moores era and the football riches of the 1980s, I have never felt more positive about the great institution that is Everton Football Club. The thought of a second opportunity on the waterfront, and the surrounding development I can't wait to see plans/images.
Also good to see Bobby being enthused about taking the club forward, supported by his fellow Directors, without defending the impossible with his hands tied behind his back.
I can't wait to see the game tonight and enjoy Goodison's deserved final few seasons before an appropriate send off. Raise the roof fellow toffees, we're definitely in the ascendancy! COYB.
38 Posted 27/07/2017 at 06:09:38
The status of clubs like Sunderland, West Ham, Stoke, Southampton, Bolton, Derby, Middlesborough, Blackburn, Rangers (at the time) and Arsenal all improve as a result of having new stadiums. Some of these have since been overshadowed, in particular some of them are too small and for others the location has been too out of town.
It looks like Moshiri gets that the stadium is a massive statement and an integral part of the New Everton Brand essential for getting good players and good sponsorship and its not just about getting the most amount of seats for the least amount of money.
We must have a better ground than Anfield and it looks like we'll get it.
39 Posted 27/07/2017 at 06:27:06
Call it William Ralph Dean Stadium. Dean Stadium for short.
40 Posted 27/07/2017 at 06:27:49
41 Posted 27/07/2017 at 07:42:58
This article is music to my ears, close proximity to the pitch, steep sides, fetching features of Goodison with us. I would also add, safe standing areas and very cheap tickets for children to lay foundations for our future support. Oh and a special viewing platform so we can see their 'conservatory '...
42 Posted 27/07/2017 at 07:51:13
There is no doubt that the temporary incorporation of a running track will markedly impact the final design of the stadium, in terms of the view we get.
"Pressure is often put on stadium developers to increase the field size or include a running track. Occasionally, such requirements are unavoidable. Unfortunately, this will result in a much less successful facility than a football stadium that is specifically built around the football field's dimensions.
"Various attempts to provide a running track without destroying the football stadium's ambience have been proposed and built, including retractable seating along the sidelines, an example of which can be found in the Stad de France in Paris. Most are very expensive to build and operate and/or have resulted in compromised sight lines for one or both sports, even when the rake or angle of the seating has been made as steep as possible."
Quoted from FIFA Football Stadiums - Technical recommendation and requirements 5th edition.
We could really do without this running track...
46 Posted 27/07/2017 at 08:40:30
47 Posted 27/07/2017 at 10:54:31
They have found a way of doing this.
David (#26) I am also a fan of the Lucas Oil Stadium but Dan Meiss has more or less ruled that out.
48 Posted 27/07/2017 at 10:55:29
49 Posted 27/07/2017 at 11:04:54
The proof now will be in the pudding, and if this comes off the way it sounds, wow. Just wow. It will truly be awesome being an Evertonian once again.
50 Posted 27/07/2017 at 11:13:12
But is there anything to say that the away fans can't be placed in a side corner just as they are at Goodison? I don't think so.
The last thing I want is to be facing the "away end" containing a shower of Norwegian and Japanese tourists with the odd scouser who doesn't require a song sheet, jumping up and down when the ref awards them the usual dodgy pen in the 7th minute of 5 minutes of added time so that they can get a lucky draw against 8-men Everton, the other three having been sent off for either: (a) Wearing a blue shirt; (b) Being too handsome; or (c) Making an attempt on goal.
51 Posted 27/07/2017 at 11:19:06
As far as I know, it only affects Newcastle and would have affected Sunderland but they got relegated. All other grounds already comply, I think.
52 Posted 27/07/2017 at 11:39:56
53 Posted 27/07/2017 at 11:46:14
54 Posted 27/07/2017 at 11:51:10
55 Posted 27/07/2017 at 13:36:51
I do think Elstone's tone about the ambitious nature of the stadium has changed from earlier soundbites. He even intimated it himself. I felt overall the club were underestimating how big our fan base was but maybe they are now getting it.
56 Posted 27/07/2017 at 14:34:49
Our new design will includes drop trap doors in the away end, the doors are voice activated and open with any bollocks or certain song spoken, the trap door will be activated and will ferry them below and at an angle, slide them into the Mersey water.
57 Posted 27/07/2017 at 15:55:27
I've not yet listened to the podcast but remain unconvinced. Nothing has been defined. As certain of the dimensions and geometry are inescapable, I already know what it would require anyway and the cost would be prohibitive.
We simply will not get the same layout as Goodison if the track remains part of the plan. That closeness of seating at Goodison is a major part of the atmosphere and much would be lost without it, I feel. It could be replicated with no track involved.
I'm a fan of the Lucas Oil Stadium myself for many reasons. Still not as intimate as The Old lady, though!
58 Posted 27/07/2017 at 18:28:10
Conversely they could design the acoustics to muffle the away fans.
59 Posted 27/07/2017 at 19:03:09
Even the small stadium at Castleford where I am also a STH provides real ale, bacon rolls, pulled pork sarnies and espresso coffee. The club needs to visit any major league stadium in the USA to find out how to look after the fans.
All these outlets make profits for themselves and the club. Let's jump straight from the 1970s to the 2020s.
60 Posted 27/07/2017 at 22:26:12
61 Posted 27/07/2017 at 22:31:45
Muffling the away support? Yeah, why not!
62 Posted 28/07/2017 at 08:27:22
It is a fable that economic reasons dictate stadiums should have a capacity of 50 to 60k. Hell, even FC Köln, who just have qualified for Europe for the first time in 25 years, are looking to expand or build new towards 75 to 80k. I really think we will regret building anything smaller than 65k.
Iconic location, team going places, this is the moment to push on and claim our place amongst the big ones, where we belong historically.
63 Posted 28/07/2017 at 15:12:57
64 Posted 28/07/2017 at 00:07:53
If they put a 3-metre safety zone around the temporary track, they will require a temporary podium footprint of 164 meters long and 80 metres wide.
Quite a challenge and one that fascinates me but I remain convinced that they have a solution.
65 Posted 29/07/2017 at 00:12:15
If each row averages a height of two foot, you're further away than if they average one foot.
You can tighten the legroom, but you can tighten the legroom on a less steep stand too. Do all stands want tighter legroom or just behind the goals?
Also, spot on Erik Dols they should be looking to expand, is there room though I wonder with him saying its a tight fit?
Is this tight fit the reason for the disappointing single home end and not two?
66 Posted 29/07/2017 at 00:36:25
These situations come around once in a lifetime. I mean really, 1 player for 1 good stand that will last for 50 years??
67 Posted 30/07/2017 at 00:35:20
Laurie, you're right. Some tracks have had less outer zone at the end and more along the straights. "Recommendations" often state more than 3 metres, too.
"Challenge" is a good word for it!
68 Posted 30/07/2017 at 16:49:57
69 Posted 01/08/2017 at 06:10:08
How would such a scheme work? My preference would be a strictly controlled number of standing spaces, perhaps limited by season ticket sales, with good safety barriers, not the old style gut-squashers, who doesn't have a horror story about those abominations? Decent terraces, not the crumbling messes I remember.
There can be no doubt that we lost atmosphere when all-seater stadiums were introduced. For me, football is best watched standing, it is a game of passion and emotion and it is hard to get worked up while sitting.
I don't want a return to the days when you couldn't move cos your arms were pinned by your side and there was always a danger of a serious crush. But safe standing areas, strictly monitored and with stringent safeguards in place? Yes, please.
70 Posted 01/08/2017 at 07:23:40
72 Posted 12/08/2017 at 09:59:45
Add Your Comments
In order to post a comment, you need to be logged in as a registered user of the site.
Or Sign up as a ToffeeWeb Member — it's free, takes just a few minutes and will allow you to post your comments on articles and Talking Points submissions across the site.