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Notes on the 2002 Annual General Meeting of Everton Football Club Co Ltd


We haven't got the money we need yet
1 November 2002

By Bill Gleeson, Business Editor, Daily Post

EVERTON FC shareholders were told last night that the club had not yet secured the money it needed to pay for its move to a new stadium at Kings Dock.

It also emerged that the club would offer fans a fresh referendum before adopting new proposals that could see Everton being replaced as a shareholder in the waterfront project.

A packed annual general meeting, attended by hundreds of Blues shareholders, heard confirmation that coowner Paul Gregg had presented a new plan to the club's board earlier in the day.

Although details of Mr Gregg's plans were not revealed, it is under-stood that he proposes that new investors take control of what was originally meant to be Everton's 50pc stake in the 55,000-seat combined stadium and arena planned for Liverpool's Kings Dock.

Everton would have the right to buy the stadium back from the new investors over what might be ten years.

The need for the new plan has arisen because the club has failed to raise the £30m it needs from conventional sources such as banks.

Club chairman Sir Philip Carter said the board had decided to continue looking at Mr Gregg's new plan and it was still committed to the Kings Dock project.

In a prepared statement Sir Philip said: "The board of directors has continued its discussions about Kings Waterfront. Proposals for an alternative source of funding were tendered. We agreed in principle that we would continue, subject to further discussions by the board, to look at it.

"We are still fully committed to this particular project."

However, in what were at times heated exchanges, one shareholder described the statement as "bland".

In response to further questions demanding to know who would be investing, Sir Philip added: "We have not reached that position. We don't know who they will be. We are not at that stage." Another shareholder asked: "What in principle have you agreed to then?"

Sir Philip replied: "We have agreed to examine the proposal for the Kings Dock which also embraces private investors as opposed to 100pc investment by the club.

"We have agreed to further consideration of what would be the rent, what would be the length of the agree-ment, what will be the percentage of our actual control of the Kings Dock. We have not identified the individuals or the organisations that will be involved."

The club chairman said he hoped the issues would be resolved in time for a planning application to be submitted by March.

Another shareholder attacked Mr Gregg for claiming that without Kings Dock, the club would die. The shareholder was applauded when he said: "I don't need to be told about commercial reality by you Mr Gregg.

"This club will not die without Kings Dock. This club has managed for 120 years without Kings Dock. This club does not exist to serve the developers of Kings Dock, but Kings Dock exists to support Everton.

"It's not about one or two people on the board. The Kings Dock is about helping us to be great, not helping a property development on the waterfront."

Others suggested that the club should remain at Goodison Park rather than take part in a stadium scheme it could not afford to own.

Club deputy chairman Bill Kenwright pointed out that any ground option Everton chose to follow, including staying at Goodison, would cost money.

"We will have an option to get the stadium back. Paul's feeling is it will take 10 years; it may be shorter.

"Paul put this to me three months ago. We have always said it has to be transparent."

Sir Philip offered assurances that Everton fans would be given the chance to vote again on the ground move if the new plan meant Everton would not own the stadium. He said: "The simple answer is yes. We came to you before and you gave us a strong mandate, and it's only fair that we come back to you if things have changed."

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