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All aboard for Lo-Cost Land

By Greg O'Callaghan :  18/07/2007 :  Comments (4) :
It?s effectively official. We?re moving to Kirkby unless the following happens: the so-called Everton ?no Plan B and not binding anyway? ballot unearths an opposition from fans in the order of 90-10 (even 80-20 would, I believe, still see the Club brass-neck their way through). To my mind, that?s the only scenario to stop the bulldozers that already have the key in the ignition. Even a mass protest from Kirkby residents won?t halt it (it would have to be something akin to a Bastille storm for Knowsley council to listen).

So, as I simply cannot see the fanbase turning-up anything approaching 70-30, never mind 90-10, then that?s it. Debate over. Everton are moving to Kirkby.

As a committed anti-Kirkbyite (who has thought with his head not his heart; question - why do the pro-Kirkbyites always assume the anti-crew can only think with their hearts, ergo I?m inferior?), I am utterly, utterly gutted. And I know exactly what Iain McWilliam means, on another TW article (No More Z-cars), when he says he feels he?s just learned that a relative has been diagnosed with a terminal illness and there?s nothing he can do to help.

Pro-Kirkbyites just don?t understand this. Never will. Because it?s ?emotive?. And therefore the process of poor thinking. Fair enough. I?m past caring what the Pro lobby believe. Anyway, they?ve won. The only thing to discuss now is the reality about what Everton (I could say we) will be getting.

Unless I?ve misread it (and how many fans have said the same thing about various aspects of what Wyness has said this week?) this stadium is going to cost circa £75M. And we?re led to believe that it?s largely based on the Rhein Energie Stadion in Cologne. Yeah? Which cost E119M, roughly £80M. Now okay, many will say I?m about to split hairs here. I don?t think so. The Cologne stadium did cost £80M. But that was £80m that was spent between 2004 and the 2006 World Cup for which it was built. The £75M that?s reckoned for the Kirkby stadium, with the Robert Earl - reserved naming rights (Hollywood Park North - replete with bowling alley, Planet Hollywood restaurant and, did I hear someone whisper, a mini Casino?) is being spent sometime between now and 2010, providing the Government doesn?t ?call it in? (and if so, watch Everton still stick to the £75m cost and then alter, i.e. cost-cut, the fit-out specifications).

Whichever way you look at it, then, we?re already going to be served (large Sir?) an inferior product than the one in Cologne which is generally reckoned to be whatever the German is for ?allright, like, but I've seen better? (10 minutes trawling Google will tell you this). Fine, I really didn?t expect us to be in the same spending league as Liverpool @ £280M reputedly, Arsenal @ £357M, and the money lashed on Wembley. But I must say that the £75M figure that Wyness quoted has stunned me. Well, actually, no, it hasn?t. But that?s me being cynical - and there?s no room for that amongst us ?go ahead? 2007 Evertonians.

But I did expect that the new stadium (state of the art, don?t forget) would cost more than Coventry City?s ?Ricoh Arena?. But if I?m reading it right, the Ricoh Arena with its ?Dom King? lounge cost £113M (with a nice sting in the tail for Coventry City Council Tax payers, by the way...but hey, when you?re a ?one club city? surely everyone pulls together to make it happen, as will the residents of Kirkby, I?m sure, thanks to their newly found status as a ?one club city?, sorry, ?one club small town?.)

And again, unless I?ve got it wrong, there?s been an implicit admission from all involved at the Ricoh Arena that the only way the Coventry joint venture will make a profit (still too early to tell) will be thanks to the revenue pump that the essential casino will provide. Basically, all juries are still out on the true economic performance of the Ricoh Arena but given that the CEO of the whole project, one Paul Fletcher, rather naughtily cited that casino-less developments like the Reebok Stadium and the McAlpine Stadium have produced a constant loss, it does make you wonder how Wyness already knows that an extra £10M (per season?) will find its way ?straight to the manager?. So vote yes.

Anyway, I?ve already mentioned the swearword: the Reebok. Ah yes, the Horwich Palace. Well I suppose the pro-Kirkbyites can win the day on this one because, prior to the Reebok, Bolton (ironically with a super market in the middle of the away end at Burnden) were going nowhere fast and although they continued to yo-yo for a bit after they moved in, they have at least been a Prem regular now since 2001. Now, how much of that can be attributed to that loss-making super stadium atmosphere of theirs, as opposed to Big Sam?s sausage-grinder approach to un-total football, remains to be seen. It?s interesting to note, though, that the 29,000 seater Reebok, which opened exactly 10 years ago, cost £40M to build between 1995 and 97. A decade later and Everton are hoping to move into a stadium costing just £35M more (get your inflation calculators out kids) for double the capacity.

Even Manchester City spent £30M on their fit-out, after the initial costs for the Commonwealth Stadium came in at £90M. Portsmouth, meanwhile, are hoping to spend £125M on their new Tattoo Park. And of course, there?s loads of other figures that you could take an inflationary chart to (but I?m really past caring), namely the £30m Sunderland spent almost 10 years ago, the £50m-plus that Reading spent five years ago and the £37m that Leicester spent prior to the Walkers opening in 2002. But you probably get my drift by now and you?re either convinced or your not. Again, I?m past caring.

Oh, and as for all this ?four separate stands? guff that we?re supposed to be so relieved about (nod to traditionalists ?that?ll keep em happy?). What, like the JJB you mean (opened in 1999 at a cost of £30M)? I could go on. I won?t. Read into that last statement what you will.

Reader Comments

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Marc R
1   Posted 18/07/2007 at 20:23:35

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Yep, that sounds about right to me.. must have been the yank’s idea ’hey let’s stick a big casino in one of the most economically deprived areas of Liverpool [and the country] - a sure fire money tree that will bleed the locals dry’. What it measn for Kirkby, I don’t know it may well lead to increased crime and drug use, but - don’t worry as this will all go to fund our £10million a year for new players.
This club of ours, a historical club of tradition, gentlemen, and morality are selling it’s soul to bleed the poor people of the city dry. While we’re here let’s set up a few Ramboburger shops and a (high-security!) supermarket to make sure the bastards have short, miserable lives and spend all their dole trying to win at the (1% chance of winning) casino.
In fact why bother with the football at all?

Anyone for Bowling?
Steve Williams
2   Posted 18/07/2007 at 21:16:39

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Greg I’m on your side regarding Kirkby not being the right move and whist your figures are right for Arsenal and Liverpool, they are total project costs, not the construction costs of the Stadium.
Arsenals actual Stadium cost 125million before fitment costs. Liverpools is believed to be 120 million (reduced now as using less steel) but could rise with any changes to the current plans. The figures released for our proposed Stadium are 75 million which is just the stadium construction cost, the bare shell and seats if you like. Arsenals additional costs where the additonal infrastructure needed surrounding the stadium including amenities, and purchase of the brownfield site. They are now hoping that the houses built on Highbury will make enough of a profit to reduce the 260 million debt which they have been paying off since construction. To have something akin to Kings Dock might possibly put us in need of looking for 150mil to 200mil of loans to fund such a project. Arsenals turnover is circa 170million too (was 110million at Highbury)so they already have the finances to back up such a bold investment and debt burden. That is the scale of the task for Everton. Tesco are well covered within the city of Liverpool so without their support, Everton would be looking for private investment funding for between 150mil to 200mil pounds or more to fund an alternative without the support of LCC. The council might still get off their backsides, but it does seem Liverpool are the golden boys and have also swallowed up a number of regeneration grants which is funding a large part of their project costs. They have struck lucky, we have had nothing but hinderance from Liverpool council in all honesty.

ps Cologne stadium cost 24million euros for just the Stadium itself- total project cost 80million as you stated. Hopefully that puts a better perspective on things without it being an argument for moving as per me being anti-Kirkby anyway.

Also remember the club have got to sell the seats at the new stadium, if they provide an embarassing cheap looking stadium and if football fans are so fickle they just won’t turn up in enough numbers on a regular basis. The Reebok and the Walkers Stadium are cheap stadiums which worked out at under £1500 per seat total project cost. On a projected 150million taking into account stadium construction, outside stadium and ammenities infrastructure and cost of the land, the figure for the Kirkby Stadium comes in some where near £3000 based on 50,000 seats. Liverpools stadium would currently work out to £3550 per seat based on a reported 80000 capacity. So its not a cheap deal even if its not the right one.
matt kay
3   Posted 18/07/2007 at 22:32:24

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yeah agreed but all that aside, our vote counts for fuck all, i’ve got three season tickets in my name, three different opinions but only one vote. all total bollocks but hey! what do we count for? we only go every week and pay??
BK and Billy Bullshit FALL ON YOUR SWORD
mike mclean
4   Posted 21/07/2007 at 08:34:51

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Given the lack of real information and the shovel loads of disinformation, is the reality that it’s a last ditch attempt for Kenwright to keep hold of the club?

Life has to be made very difficult indeed for BK next season if the club is to move forwards with confidence ... whether to Kirby or Timbucktu.

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