|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 Ł30m 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
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
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
"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
Club deputy chairman Bill Kenwright pointed out that any ground
option Everton chose to follow, including staying at Goodison, would
"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