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An Expert's Opinion

By Tom Hughes :  23/07/2007 :  Comments (32) :
Simon Inglis is a world renowned expert on Stadium Architecture History and Design. He has decades of experience and has written many well known publications on the subject, with the history and development of Goodison Park featuring strongly in several of his books. He is also editor for the current edition of the "Green Guide" (Guide to safety at sports grounds).

When asked today to give his opinion regarding Everton FC's proposed move to Kirkby, despite an extremely busy workload he felt strongly enough to give this response:

"By leaving the city of Liverpool, the directors of Everton FC will forever break the duopoly that has characterised professional football in Liverpool since 1892. This will not only permanently alter the character of Everton, but also of the city as a whole.

"The proximity of Goodison and Anfield is a defining part of the city's heritage, and a symbol of how allegiances to both clubs are rooted in cultural factors rather than geographical ones. If I were an Everton fan, before signing up to the Kirkby proposals I would want to see clearly defined evidence that Goodison Park is no longer viable, and that all possible alternative sites within the city have been studied.

"If such evidence is not made publicly available then no supporter can hope to make a properly informed judgement. Many clubs that have relocated in recent years, such as Bolton, Derby, Southampton and Sunderland, have not suffered from an acute loss of local identity, simply because they have no immediate neighbours.

"The case of Manchester City cannot be compared with Everton because City's new stadium was publicly funded. Similarly, Arsenal's new stadium is within the same London borough, and involved a move of less than one mile.

"It is my belief that by relocating to Kirkby, the character and constituency of Everton would undoubtedly be forever changed. Everton fans must decide whether that is an eventuality that they embrace, or one they dread.

"Put it like this, if a similar proposal were put forward for my club, Aston Villa, I would be extremely worried."
Simon Inglis, 23/07/2007

Anyone who has ever read his work will know that he chooses his words carefully. The written word and stadia are his bread and butter. With this in mind I hope the full gravity of all his comments and particularly his final sentence is felt by all discerning Evertonians. He has no axe to grind and no ulterior motives... just a completely independent opinion based on vast experience in this subject area.

Reader Comments

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Nick Entwistle
1   Posted 23/07/2007 at 18:36:44

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What’s the source?
John Breen
2   Posted 23/07/2007 at 19:09:46

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This is a great article Tom I think we should take heed of this. The comments made by Simon really do strike a chord with me certainly ,
Barry
3   Posted 23/07/2007 at 19:30:45

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Perhaps you can get him to give us an example of such an occurance from his vast experience of a club that moved location and went into terminal decline. Why is City’s case different because there stadium was publicly funded? That statement makes no sense.

He may be an expert on stadia but that doesn’t make him an expert on our situation especially if there are no comparisons for him to base his theories on.
Just sounds like more negative spin to me.
John Holmes
4   Posted 23/07/2007 at 19:38:22

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"to both clubs are rooted in cultural factors rather than geographical ones".

He may be a good scholar but that doesn’t mean he’s immune from contradicting himself when he then goes on to argue that geography matters.
Vin Bleu
5   Posted 23/07/2007 at 20:56:48

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Exactly, apart from his expertise on stadia design, his comments are worth no more than anyone elses. His contradiction completely undermines his arguement.
Mike
6   Posted 23/07/2007 at 21:09:15

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The man has given an opinion. It’s objective. He clearly has some knowledge of football. Could we say the same about Wyness?

Hopefully, the Scotland Road proposition will prove to be a goer and perhaps then we can all settle down to note the crap funding situation for transfers.

Barry
7   Posted 23/07/2007 at 21:37:00

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There is an interesting interview with Wyness on Bluekipper at the moment. Some enlightening facts about several issues relating to the stadium and well worth a read.

Most interesting to note that of Boro, City, Bolton, Southampton, Coventry and Sunderland the average gate increase at their new stadiums was 55% in the first year. Non of the subsequent attendance figures fell below the last year at old ground levels. Even at Sunderland and Southhampton who were relegated.

Also there are 4m population within 45 min drive of Kirkby as opposed to 1.5m within 45 min drive of GP. Have a look. It is worth a read.
mark obrien
8   Posted 23/07/2007 at 21:56:42

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its starting to become the classic you cant please all the people all the time.
football is now a business, how many businesses hang on the every word of the man on the street?
the directors and executives have clearly looked at all the angles, come on blues, we’re hardly a worthwile investment at the moment are we, with a decrepit old stadium, £30m in debt and mid table mediocrity in the shadow of red champions league success are we?
The sooner some people stop wishing for a fairy godmother to grant 3 wishes the better.
Live with our means.
Grow onwards and upwards.
We will succeed.
Come on you blue boys
Brian Waring
9   Posted 23/07/2007 at 23:17:00

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Tom,whats your take on the site being proposed by Bestway?In you opinion Could a stadium be built there?
Adam
10   Posted 23/07/2007 at 23:23:31

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I would like to hear Keith Wyness’ opinion on the Bestway site, and whether he is aware of it or is just ignoring the fact to avoid losing face after devoting all of his time and effort to the Kirkby project.

It seems fairly obvious to me that Tesco have decided the location of ’our’ new stadium and therefore overlooked other feasible sites which may be more beneficial to us. They have instead favoured a site which will be suitable for them with regard to exclusivity in the area i.e being miles from the nearest big supermarket.
Brian Towers
11   Posted 23/07/2007 at 23:48:21

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The romance of supporting a football club lies in its historic class,cultural, and geographical roots. Supporters of small, unsuccessful clubs know this instinctively. See also the case of the breakaway, Manchester United Club, now doing well on small, enthusiastic gates. My support for Everton is not rational. It is a statement about myself and where I was born and brought up (old Scotland Road) and it is also closely linked with the continued existence of Liverpool FC, the black sheep of the Merseyside ’family’.
Art Greeth
12   Posted 24/07/2007 at 05:10:46

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Tom, I have great respect for your opinion, backed up by your redevelopment plans you have previously submitted for GP, but these comments by Simon in no way lend support to the ’no vote’.

His opening observation that "leaving the city of Liverpool, the directors of Everton FC will forever break the duopoly that has characterised professional football in Liverpool" is just that - an unsubstantiated opinion made without supporting, empirical evidence.

Equally, his statement that "The proximity of Goodison and Anfield is a defining part of the city’s heritage, and a symbol of how allegiances to both clubs are rooted in cultural factors rather than geographical ones" is open to question. It may be a feature of the city - it does not necesarily define it. And as for the second clause in the above quote, as this and other Everton forums demonstrate, allegiance to the football club extends well beyond postcode L4... how does that square with club alegiance being rooted in cultural rather than geographical factors?

Furthermore, I believe there has been sufficient evidence that demonstrates the limitations of extending Goodison Park’s footprint. King’s Dock was a missed opportunity, of that I have no doubt, but other TRULY VIABLE possible alternative sites within the city have not and are not easily found. Simon’s statement in itself is too open-ended... we could wait for eternity before eliminating every crook and cranny in the city boundary. At times in life, an opportunity offers itself which has to be taken. Relocation to Kirkby may just be that opportunity for EFC.

As others point out, his example Manchester City cannot be compared to Everton’s situation because City’s new stadium was publicly funded is a non sequiter.

I totally accept his statement
that by relocating to Kirkby, the character and constituency of Everton will undoubtedly be forever changed, but... does that imply that it will be a change for the better, or the worse? I lean towards the former.

So to summarize, whilst Simon Ingles may well be an expert in his field Stadium Architecture History and Design, that does not make him an expert on the current EFC stadium debate. His opinion, in MY opinion, has no less or greater weight than any one else’s that I have read on these pages.
Tony Towers
13   Posted 24/07/2007 at 10:16:42

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There are many arguments for and against the move to Kirkby. The only way for this to either be accepted or rejected is to vote.
KW in his interview has given some very good information although some areas are very vague. I don’t think we will get anything new before the vote though.
He has said the vote is binding so you can’t say fairer than that.
Peter Jones
14   Posted 24/07/2007 at 10:20:12

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Art’s comments mislead. Simon Inglis statement on the breakup of the duopoly if Everton leave the city is a fact not an opinion. Liverpool FC will have a monopoly of professional football in Liverpool and hence the duopoly will have gone - fact. Whether that has a a bad impact on future support for Everton in Liverpool or whether there will be a compensatory upswing from the move to Kirkby is an opinion. My opinion is that Everton FC will suffer as a club from the move hence I will vote against it. If I agreed with Mark’s opinion that Everton would move forward and benefit from the move I should vote for it. Unfortunately or fortunately Everton FC is not just a business. If it were then evrything would be a lot simpler.
Rupert Sullivan
15   Posted 24/07/2007 at 10:55:41

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The important part of his comments are surely "... If I were an Everton fan, before signing up to the Kirkby proposals I would want to see clearly defined evidence that Goodison Park is no longer viable, and that all possible alternative sites within the city have been studied.

If such evidence is not made publicly available then no supporter can hope to make a properly informed judgement."

This lack of any evidence at all - including the interview with KW of BlueKipper is the problem. The problem is not what the EFC Board are doing so much as the way they are doing it. If they haven’t looked at alternatives in the same depth then then they have not done their jobs properly.
Art Greeth
16   Posted 24/07/2007 at 13:43:51

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Peter Jones, I have to challenge what you and Simon Ingles present as fact that I continue to consider opinion with regard to the duopoly of professional football in Liverpool.

Link it to the cultural and geographic factors Simon alludes to if you will. I am not convinced by the tenuous arguments I see in the stadium debate that a move to Kirkby IS a surrender of the city or our influence in it to the dark side. The allegiance as generated by following a football club is not confined to arbitrary lines drawn on an ordnance survey map.
Lee Mandaracas
17   Posted 24/07/2007 at 14:26:40

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Sorry Art, you are clearly wrong. Peter Jones makes a perfectly valid and accurate point if you read the detail of his text. If it was all about who the populus support every major city in the South of England would belong to Manchester United! It is a blatant fact that the footballing duality in Liverpool would be lost as it would become triadic in Merseyside instead.

Quite simply, Liverpool FC took ownership of the City when they had the infuriatingly genius idea of naming their team after it. I believe the emotional question many Evertonians are struggling with most of all to be; "Should we surrender the City entirely?"

Incidentally, Barry’s point regarding populations of 1.5m within a 45 minute drive of GP and 4m within 45 minutes of Kirkby is weak as within 45 mins of Kirkby you have Blackburn, Bolton, Wigan, Manchester City & Manchester United. That 4m suddenly looks a bit more diluted, especially when you think whether you would like to become the next Wigan, Bolton, Blackburn or Manchester City. I mean them no disrespect but simply consider us to be bigger than that.
A
18   Posted 24/07/2007 at 15:22:57

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Sorry Lee, but YOU are clearly wrong. I have read Peter Jones’ text carefully. You say he makes a perfectly valid and ACCURATE point. I - very politely - challenge his OPINION and offer reasons why I do so, as I did in my original post in this thread.

The professional football club known as Everton has NEVER E-X-L-U-S-I-V-E-L-Y drawn either its playing staff or its support from ONLY within the boundaries of the city of Liverpool.

THAT, my friend, IS an indisputable FACT.

Not sure what you are trying to say about Liverpool FC taking ownership of the City when they had the infuriatingly genius idea of naming their team after it... considering Everton was the first club in the city and had first "bagsy" of the city name, the fact that the founding members DIDN’T chose to call the club Liverpool is significant in itself, don’t you think...?

As to your final question: "Should we surrender the City entirely?" I - and many others - don’t believe by possibly moving to Kirkby that we are.

Nick Whitham
19   Posted 25/07/2007 at 12:28:18

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I will probably get attacked for this but I’ve just been on the Shite’s website to have a look at what there new stadium looks like (the new design revealed today). From the outside it looks like an airport terminal, from the inside it looks pretty much like the design for ours.

Forgetting about ground location for one moment I think overall we have the better design.
Tom Hughes
20   Posted 26/07/2007 at 20:44:37

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I don’t understand where people are coming from here. I simply enlisted the view of an independent expert who has written and lectured on such issues as new stadia development and their location etc. Shouldn’t we be seeking these opinions? It would appear some people would also question Simon Inglis’ Knowledge of our club, and even his expertise in this field. I can say almost without fear of contradiction that he probably knows more about Goodison Park than all of us. Our stadium features heavily in several of his books. Of course his knowledge extends far beyond that. His expertise was respected enough for him to be the editor and major contributor in formulating the "Green guide" which is the post-Taylor report guide to safety in the design and operation of stadia and Football grounds. Some people listen to KW’s every word even when he misquotes this publication to back his arguments.

He has written papers and delivers lectures on all aspects of stadia/planning design and history, and his studies are not confined to British stadia but worldwide. In a nutshell, there is probably no bigger authority in this country. The manchester city point is valid for several reasons..... not least the fact that the city of Manchester stadium is not on the city’s outskirts but within walking distance of the city centre. Therefore it too cannot be compared to Kirkby. Incidentally KW’s points regarding increasing the catchments by moving to Kirkby and the "new stadium" effect are laughable to be honest. The points Simon Inglis made about not being given the full details about other options including staying at GP are also surely valid. Remember, the club was adamant until very recently that it was not possible to put 50,000 seats on GP. They have since retracted this after they knew they were about to be proven wrong, but why would they not have known this all along if they had done all the feasibilty studies they claim to have done, in the process that has got us to the verge of a one option move to Kirkby? They either lied or didn’t know, both equally worrying if they are driving this process. This business about 1 off opportunities at Kirkby etc, how come we appear to have had 3 in the last 9 years if they are so much a 1 off. Fact is, we are the biggest club not to have been sold. Investors are hovering around clubs like flies around the proverbial. Combine this with the potential to redevelop the site of the first purpose built footy stadium in the world (perhaps incorporating the only pair of Archie Leitch stands left at one ground) or any other type of redevelopment on the existing site, as there is a very flexible planning permission package available for GP. Or conversely enable Bestway, their partners and LCC to broker a similar deal to convert a very exciting site in a vastly superior location on top of Europe’s biggest city-centre redevelopment. Fact is, it is increasingly obvious EFC haven’t done their jobs right, or have been operating with ulterior motives, otherwise we would know all the details of the decision process that has pushed us to where we are now.
Art Greeth
21   Posted 27/07/2007 at 09:19:21

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As I said in my original post in this thread Tom, I greatly respect your opinion and the work you have done trying to show how GP could be redeveloped, but your follow up post is... disappointing.

Whilst you say you don?t understand where people are coming from here in taking Simon Inglis’ words to task, I think I do understand where you are coming from in offering his views. Quite simply, you are using every tactic you can to sway people to a ’no’ vote, as demonstrated by the title you chose for your piece ’An Expert’s Opinion’.

As others besides myself have pointed out in this thread, Simon may well be an expert in his field - I don’t know his work so I can’t validate that - but even if he is, his comments as reported by you, do NOT have greater gravitas than anyone else in this debate by dint of him being an expert on football stadia. A key word in your own title is "opinion". And that all his comments are - an opinion. And some of his opinions, which you try to defend again in your own follow up post, have quite rightly been challenged and nothing I have read in this thread has come back and effectively undermined and countered those challenges.

Simon’s views are interesting - they are not defining.

As for the rest of your message, quite frankly it becomes too gargled and far removed from what I believe was your original intention in bringing Simon Ingles’s opinion into the debate - a mixture of smudged facts, speculation and opinion. Pretty much on par with the vast bulk of the comments from both sides of the debate to date, I’m sad to say. We should be elevating this issue to a higher level of debate, but it just ain’t happening...
Tom Hughes
22   Posted 27/07/2007 at 10:45:54

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Art Greeth (nom de plume?):


You’re right, it is his only "his opinion", (but you could at least try to get his name right in your posts.)
That said, If I want a medical opinion I wouldn’t ask anyone on the street, I’d probably go to a doctor. If I want an opinion on footy stadia I, like the government and the FA/FL would probably go to someone like Simon Inglis. His opinion HAS been defining actually (Green guide), and his various publications have been considered such also. There are people who have questioned his opinion without being familiar with his work/credentials, and that makes no sense at all. If it hurts people’s feelings or ego’s that he does not agree with their opinions then that quite frankly is their problem, not mine or Simon Inglis’. As far as quality of the debate goes....I saw nothing of substance on this thread to counter his "opinion". One he put together in a few minutes I might add. If I have missed a point that needs a response please tell me, and I will forward it to him. By the way, you have not seen my redevelopment plans so how can you comment on them or respect them, or is this a common theme? (Thanks anyway, respect for nowt is very much appreciated, if undeserved)
Art Greeth
23   Posted 27/07/2007 at 21:02:16

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Oh dear, Tom. I really did expect better of you. I did credit you with being someone with whom it was possible to have a reasoned discussion, but all you do here is demean yourself in attempting to belittle me and totally fail to engage in the points raised.

So I (once...?) made a typo and spelt Ingles, rather than Inglis in the three or four posts I have made in this thread? THAT really is important in the great scheme of things, isn’t it...? I can’t be excused on the grounds that I live in Portugal, speak Portuguese and that is how you spell English -Inglês. Truly, shame on me.



Totally legitimate to consult with Simon on many issues related to football stadia, but his quoted message that YOU chose to post to kick off this thread is, by your own admission, something that he put together in a few minutes. It is not profound. Some parts of it are questionable and highly speculative and as such it has been challenged and taken apart in a few minutes by various posters.

I don’t see anyone on here questioning his work or his credentials. I only see people very effectively undermining the quote you offered us from Simon.

And the only person on here whose feelings or ego appears hurt is... YOU, Tom, by your sniffy, indignant follow up posts.

Now why is that? Because the responses your post attracted failed to conform with the reception you expected for it? And that, my friend, is possibly YOUR problem.

In a genuine debate Tom you need to be prepared to be challenged on the issues you raise and to answer them effectively. And in my eyes, rather than engage and counter the legitimate observations people have made in this thread, you choose to pretend that you have nothing to respond to. So be it.

And if my twice paid compliments to you offend you so much, I will happily withdraw them. And if the stadium rebuild sketches and multi-stage delivery plan that I credited you with - plans that I have seen both on TW and on KEIOC site which (from memory, I admit) I truly believed originated from your good self - are indeed NOT yours... well - good for you for admitting it. I humbly and unreservedly withdraw any credit I believed you were due.
Tom Hughes
24   Posted 27/07/2007 at 23:30:22

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Art, I am sorry if you misunderstood my responses and/or missed the whole point of Simon Inglis’ comments......and perhaps more importantly his motive for feeling strongly enough to comment at all.

"but all you do here is demean yourself in attempting to belittle me and totally fail to engage in the points raised."

Demean myself? Belittle you? Where? Jeez, I respond to these in a matter of minutes, do I have to put emotions or stress into each sentence?

"So I (once...?) made a typo and spelt Ingles,"

You gave me the impression that you were talking about the opinion of a well known expert who’s work you were familair with, but repeatedly got his name wrong suggesting the opposite, just an observation, I can’t spell for toffee..... but people’s names? ;)

"Totally legitimate to consult with Simon on many issues related to football stadia, but his quoted message that YOU chose to post to kick off this thread is, by your own admission, something that he put together in a few minutes. It is not profound."

He’s not seeking to be profound, he is just stating his opinion (his personal opinion, professional opinion? take your pick), and whatever way people wish to discect every sentence, his bottom line and his points regarding people knowing all the details and options is quite unambiguous. That in MY opinion should register at least a bit more concern than the "his opinion is no better than mine" attitude some are touting. Without him having to produce book loads of "empirical evidence" for a simple statement, I think it is suffice to say that he doesn’t think it is a good idea for Everton to move outside the border in this two team city. Enough alarm bells ring for him to make his statement..... and he qualifies that with reference to his personal position as a supporter of a team in another 2 team city

"Some parts of it are questionable and highly speculative and as such it has been challenged and taken apart in a few minutes by various posters."

Taken apart? Where? Art, I honestly can’t see it. Give me an example that I haven’t already responded to, and I’ll apologise now if I have missed something, my excuse being that my wife is Spanish, and I was trying to hear what she was saying about me to the "ma in law"

"And the only person on here whose feelings or ego appears hurt is... YOU, Tom, by your sniffy, indignant follow up posts."

Why should I be hurt? I didn’t say it! I am not being contradicted by the expert

"Because the responses your post attracted failed to conform with the reception you expected for it? And that, my friend, is possibly YOUR problem."

That’s strange, I can assure you I’ve received far more positive responses from the various sites than the few negative ones on this thread..... by some margin too


"And if my twice paid compliments to you offend you so much, I will happily withdraw them. And if the stadium rebuild sketches and multi-stage delivery plan that I credited you with - plans that I have seen both on TW and on KEIOC site which (from memory, I admit) I truly believed originated from your good self - are indeed NOT yours... well - good for you for admitting it. I humbly and unreservedly withdraw any credit I believed you were due."

That probably is my stuff that you’re talking about, but it’s not a design plan...... just a few sketched ideas with notes, so I did not wish to receive praise mistakenly if you like. But cheers anyhow (I suppose). The actual preliminary concept design, as I said, you cannot possibly have seen yet.
Art Greeth
25   Posted 28/07/2007 at 09:23:52

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OK Tom, let me reply to you in the same vein, quoting you:

?Art, I am sorry if you misunderstood my responses and/or missed the whole point of Simon Inglis? comments......and perhaps more importantly his motive for feeling strongly enough to comment at all.?

Erhm? telepathy is not a talent I profess to have. I and others have responded to the written word you offered. Once a text enters the public domain, the original author effectively loses control of it. There is NEVER a single interpretation of any text. You cannot now say, retrospectively, that you or Simon only meant one thing by your words and that other interpretations of them are wrong. Language simply doesn?t work like that. If I and others have truly ?misunderstood? you or Simon?s message that you wished to relay, then as the authors YOU have to take the blame for putting across your points so badly. In truth, you and Simon?s comments have NOT been misunderstood. They have been challenged and not blindly accepted by some respondents. And you appear to resent that.

?Demean myself? Belittle you? Where? Jeez??

You opened your previous response by using the ad hominem strategy of attacking me, rather than my arguments, as an impoverished means to discredit me and thus, indirectly, undermine the points I am making. What significance is my own name or the misspelling of Simon?s name to THE issue under debate? None at all, so why allude to it? Your bad grace in rejecting the respect I twice paid you and refuting the idea that I had possibly seen your redevelopment plans also feeds into that and, in my opinion, demeans you, all the more so that in your follow up you now admit that the plans I originally referred to DID emanate from you.

?Taken apart? Where? Art, I honestly can?t see it. Give me an example that I haven?t already responded to, and I?ll apologise now??

? Why is City?s case different because there stadium was publicly funded? That statement makes no sense ? Barry
? "both clubs are rooted in cultural factors rather than geographical ones". He may be a good scholar but that doesn?t mean he?s immune from contradicting himself when he then goes on to argue that geography matters ? John Holmes
? "The proximity of Goodison and Anfield is a defining part of the city?s heritage, and a symbol of how allegiances to both clubs are rooted in cultural factors rather than geographical ones" ? Simon Inglis. It may be a feature of the city - it does not necessarily define it ? Art Greeth.

And in relation to Simon?s comments about the presumed breaking of the duopoly of professional football in Liverpool:
? The professional football club known as Everton has NEVER E-X-L-U-S-I-V-E-L-Y drawn either its playing staff or its support from ONLY within the boundaries of the city of Liverpool. Link it to the cultural and geographic factors Simon alludes to if you will. I am not convinced by the tenuous arguments I see in the stadium debate that a move to Kirkby IS a surrender of the city or our influence in it to the dark side. The allegiance as generated by following a football club is not confined to arbitrary lines drawn on an ordnance survey map? by relocating to Kirkby, the character and constituency of Everton will undoubtedly be forever changed, but... does that imply that it will be a change for the better, or the worse? I lean towards the former ? Art Greeth.

Have you offered counter arguments to those who challenged your original post and quotes from Simon? No, you haven?t. You offer this: ?As far as quality of the debate goes....I saw nothing of substance on this thread to counter his opinion" which is the equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears and singing ?LA-LA-LA? at the top of your voice to block out dissenting opinions.

?I can assure you I?ve received far more positive responses from the various sites than the few negative ones on this thread..... by some margin too?.

Well bully for you. I?ll take your word for it, but that is of absolutely no relevance to this thread or this particular discussion here on TW.
Tom Hughes
26   Posted 28/07/2007 at 12:38:53

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Art..... honest to god, you’ve lost me!

I don’t know about you mate but I’m mad busy drawing up a footy ground, in between looking after 3 littluns and a full-time job (or almost), not to mention keeping the wife off my back for not finishing the house.....But, for some daft reason I’ll attempt to respond because I honestly don’t think you’re winding me up here.

City’s case is different for several reasons, they were not beholdent to any company or organisation other than the council who should not (as a local organisation)have any ulterior motives in relocating you, but more importantly they were not forced to relocate to the periphery of their traditional catchment area but to the centre of it (the complete opposite of our scenario). That said, I also believe they are a good example of the influence of a stadium’s design on how well it it receieved etc but that is an aside. (It is essentially a converted athletics stadium with some viewing distance anomalies to prove it. The result..... a sizeable proportion would prefer the hardly inspiring maine road.)

""both clubs are rooted in cultural factors rather than geographical ones". He may be a good scholar but that doesn?t mean he?s immune from contradicting himself when he then goes on to argue that geography matters ? John Holmes"

MY interpretation of this is that both clubs have entirely different cultures that have evolved not out of us belonging to distinct different areas but partially and precisely out of being from the same area, so much so that they are on top of each other, yet distintly different in character and history, even families are split etc. However, this is then qualified by the fact that football tribalism is often territorial, and that by relinquishing the centre ground our place in greater scouseness is somehow diminished which is the strong tribal link we share. This view already demonstrated by the jibes (Banner at the derby)of "one city one club" from the other lot. Incidentally, this appeared instantaneously following the original announcements thus stressing the importance and leverage felt by this in local bragging right terms. This of course then has the potential to grow legs, and becomes the common perception of our club...... The outsiders, the Whoolybacks, Kirkby Town or whatever. This has potential to influence a good proportion of new youngsters coming through..... not everyone follows their dads, peer pressure and all that. In the future (if we go) they will not only be the more successfull club, they will be the local club.
? "The proximity of Goodison and Anfield is a defining part of the city?s heritage, and a symbol of how allegiances to both clubs are rooted in cultural factors rather than geographical ones" ? Simon Inglis. It may be a feature of the city - it does not necessarily define it ? Art Greeth.
He said it defines PART of the city’s heritage.... and I agree as I am sure most would. This city is known all over the world for this. The clubs identities feed off this fact, and are greater than the sum of the parts as a result.

"The professional football club known as Everton has NEVER E-X-L-U-S-I-V-E-L-Y drawn either its playing staff or its support from ONLY within the boundaries of the city of Liverpool."
Where did he say this? But as MY response I’d say Everton have a strong localised support, there are stats showing we have one of the largest local and walk-up supports in the whole league.... We have according to the club around 800,000 fans worldwide. If Merseyside has a population of 1.5m I think we can safely assume approx half our support comes from the metropolitan area (only c.37% of the pop is conservative in my view.) If the rest are flung all over the world like you, should we really want to displace ourselves from the centre of the biggest concentration of our support, especially when there is competition for the hearts and souls of future generations. For those who doubt the authors knowledge regarding this city and the supporters etc: Simon Inglis has written and edited articles and books precisely about the relationship between our clubs.... one of which has been released quite recently.
Tom Hughes
27   Posted 28/07/2007 at 18:09:28

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oops, of course I meant 27%, just over a quarter of the local population being blues. I’ve a feeling there are more than that.
Art Greeth
28   Posted 28/07/2007 at 17:34:24

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Now THIS is an improvement, Tom. You are engaging in the issues, rather than having a sly pop at people or totally ignoring counter points of view. To respond:

In this thread until now, I have been responding to the original comments by Simon you quoted and subsequent posts that people have made. With regard to the comments about Manchester City, here verbatim is Simon?s ONLY quoted observation: "The case of Manchester City cannot be compared with Everton because City’s new stadium was publicly funded?. Simon?s (and your?) point being? As I and others pointed it, it is a non-sequiter.

Now, in your latest post, you attempt to clarify and expand on the meaning behind those words. Thank you. However, I ask again, what is the point of your observation? Whether it is public funding or private funding, it is clear from the financial state that EFC is in that the club DOES need such a partner to fund (perhaps from your side of the debate) a redevelopment of GP, or (from t?other side) relocation to a new stadium.

Now we can be sidetracked into debating just why the club has arrived at such a state, but what counts is the here and now. BK and KW have been roundly abused for not finding investment for the club. Now they have, they continue to be abused. I can understand the passions aroused. Leaving GP is not something that should be treated casually. However, I cannot subscribe to some of the frankly hysterical emotions and justifications many in the ?no? camp are offering for not moving to Kirkby. You yourself allude to such an attitude in your latest post, talking about being ?forced to relocate to the periphery of (our) traditional catchment area?. Nice sound bite, Tom, but do you have statistical data that backs up such a claim? Does it naturally follow, as you imply, that the bedrock of ? be it actual match attending, or non-attending ? Evertonians are concentrated in Walton or postcode L4?? A census might just prove otherwise.

Don?t get me wrong, I would LOVE to stay at GP? in a stadium that reflects the club?s status and that meets the standards of the modern day, football-going public AND one that generates cash for the club on a daily basis. King?s Dock was a missed opportunity. Like others, a genuinely viable Liverpool city site would be a second best choice. At present, there IS nothing else on offer. And don?t ask what about the Bestway Loop proposal. Too little, too late. It may be a word used by KW detested by many, but it is a valid one in the circumstances we find ourselves in: deliverability. To sit tight and continue to wait for that elusive shining white financial knight when none have ridden over the horizon until now is to potentially condemn Everton to a periphery even more remote than Kirkby: total obscurity.

Now to your comments ?by relinquishing the centre ground our place in greater scouseness is somehow diminished? the common perception of our club (will be) the outsiders, the Woolybacks, Kirkby Town or whatever. This has potential to influence a good proportion of new youngsters coming through..... In the future (if we go) they will not only be the more successful club, they will be the local club?.

Everton Football Club is an entity in its own right. Yet you and many others seem willing to define us (at least in this debate) in relation to our murky neighbours. This smacks of an inferiority complex to me. Can we take off the blind folds? LFC IS ? in the modern era ? a more successful club both on and off the pitch. Make no mistake. We are behind them in both aspects. The question is, do we meekly continue to let that be the case, or should we be pro-active in trying to catch them up and surpassing them once again? You talk of some mythical ?greater scouseness?. Well, the wit of the Scousers I?m familiar with would quickly and readily have a sharp riposte for any insults the red side may hurl at us should we relocate the four miles to Kirkby. You say such a move has the potential to lose us young supporters. I take the counter-view. By re-energising this club, by improving our finances, by having a successful football team on the pitch we will not be diminishing or narrowing our support ? we will be expanding it.

Now we appear to have a diametrically opposed opinion on the pros and cons of a move and the impact on our support. Can either of us categorically say without fear of contradiction that we are right?? I know I can?t, so why should your crystal ball gazing predictions have any greater validity than my own??

As for this comment: "The professional football club known as Everton has NEVER E-X-L-U-S-I-V-E-L-Y drawn either its playing staff or its support from ONLY within the boundaries of the city of Liverpool." This was a comment by me in reply to another poster, which itself referred to Simon?s comment: "By leaving the city of Liverpool, the directors of Everton FC will forever break the duopoly that has characterised professional football in Liverpool since 1892. This will not only permanently alter the character of Everton, but also of the city as a whole?. If you are interested, read the thread again. My reply was a valid one, as was this comment I made acknowledging Simon?s comments above: ?I totally accept his statement that by relocating to Kirkby, the character and constituency of Everton will undoubtedly be forever changed, but... does that imply that it will be a change for the better, or the worse? I lean towards the former?. Again, why is my positive belief any less valid than your negative belief that it will?

So, thank you for (finally) engaging with me, but you have said or done nothing that dissuades me from thinking that the offer from Tesco for Kirkby is just too good to turn down if as a supporter you genuinely want Everton to be competitive in both playing and financial terms within as short a time span as possible.
Tom Hughes
29   Posted 28/07/2007 at 19:30:36

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"The case of Manchester City cannot be compared with Everton because City?s new stadium was publicly funded?.

Where the funds come from may be an issue.... public money is different than the supposed gift from a profit making organisation, don’t they have their shareholders to answer to for a start? But that stuff really isn’t my bag I’m afraid (I’m an engineer), that said I’d stand by my other assertions as regards City. By the way, I have no real side on this issue other than I am against an out-of-town stadium, as I believe this is backward thinking..... especially when the trend of the past 15 years worldwide has more usually been relocating downtown, where the move has greatly revitalised the clubs, and acted as a catalyst for redevelopment of inner core areas (which is in line with the requirements of the Bestway site,and the redevelopment of the city-centre ingeneral), and has benefitted from mass transit public transport hubs and networks. This can never be the case for Kirkby.


"but what counts is the here and now."

Surely the here and now, and more importantly the future!


"BK and KW have been roundly abused for not finding investment for the club. Now they have, they continue to be abused."

I think Terry Leahy may have had more to do with it than our heirarchy. They hardly have a good track record for delivering do they? Check out how many clubs have been invested in since we had the 24/7 comments..... several years ago! Liverpool have even had people come in when they are in twice as much debt as us with the cost of a massive stadium to build too.


"?forced to relocate to the periphery of (our) traditional catchment area?. Nice sound bite, Tom, but do you have statistical data that backs up such a claim?"


I think you’ll find that the football research unit and various other bodies do have the data that backs it, and in fact EFC made much of it when asserting the "people’s club" motto, by publishing it.

"Does it naturally follow, as you imply, that the bedrock of ? be it actual match attending, or non-attending ? Evertonians are concentrated in Walton or postcode L4?? A census might just prove otherwise."

Not L4, just Liverpool/ merseyside, not Lancashire, not Cheshire etc. Like I said, I think you will find we have one of the highest turnouts from within 5 miles radius of our ground in the league. The club made a big issue of that, and the Kopites hated it when it was compared to their stats which were quite the opposite.

"And don?t ask what about the Bestway Loop proposal. Too little, too late."

Why is it too late? Is there really a deadline in deciding what’s best? Do you really not want to look at this opportunity. The city planners and Bestway are currently working full-time to generate a package for a vastly superior site, and you say too little too late? I’m sorry, but that makes no sense at all. GP is not falling down so why the urgency? We are the biggest club not to have been sold/taken over in a climate where they are dropping like flies. We need to explore every avenue. I have seen parts of the bestway plan, and it wipes the floor with Kirkby in every category, and it is at the epi-centre of our support.

"deliverability."

Is that the same deliverability that has resulted in practically every club (many in worse state/debt than our own) having redeveloped/relocated under their own steam or found investors to assist in doing so. (incidentally with the vast majority choosing to redevelop). This moving malarckey has been sold to us on the basis of being the only option, the last chance saloon, a 1 off. Well, it will be our third "1 off" in the past 9 years!! Go fathom that gem.


"The question is, do we meekly continue to let that be the case, or should we be pro-active in trying to catch them up and surpassing them once again?"

Or do we meekly run to country and pretend they’ve gone away. I’ve said before: Stay close to your friends (the hard core who have filled GP for generations).... closer still to your enemies (the other lot).

"You talk of some mythical ?greater scouseness?."

What is mythical about the scouse identity? I think you greatly undervalue the strength of territorial awareness as regards this. Where you brought up in Liverpool? As for a riposte, what argument can there be.....? we’ll be from out of town.... end of! Will we sing in your Liverpool slums or like the tranmere fans sing "we’re not scousers we’re from...."?


"Now we appear to have a diametrically opposed opinion on the pros and cons of a move and the impact on our support."

Where have I said I’m against a move? I’m not at all. But, as someone who worked in Kirkby for over 6 years and was involved in transport planning issues there, I’m more than familiar with the increase in inconvenience this will cause for the vast majority of our match-going support, which as I have said comes from the metropolitan area.

"I know I can?t, so why should your crystal ball gazing predictions have any greater validity than my own??"

Listen, I am just giving my opinion, I also presented the opinion of an expert who has given lectures and written books on this subject and even on the history of our city’s clubs, and whom I would agree with. I note you failed to comment on his major point about us not knowing all the details concerning redeveloping GP, nor the viability of other sites. Why haven’t the club released a report on all sites with the issues outlined. How can we be sure they have done their job right? It is in my opinion unbelievable that ordinary supporters have had to put plans together to prove that GP can hold 50,000+ (how could they not know this?), or that the council have to put plans together, and that a club gives us just one option in a vote with no supporting data but a few glossy images.

?I totally accept his statement that by relocating to Kirkby, the character and constituency of Everton will undoubtedly be forever changed, but... does that imply that it will be a change for the better, or the worse? I lean towards the former?."

I’m sorry mate, but how can you really improve the character of EFC? It’s surely already immaculate in Evertonian eyes.


"but you have said or done nothing that dissuades me from thinking that the offer from Tesco for Kirkby is just too good to turn down"

And this is the crux....You mentioned blind folds..... what is that offer exactly....? Do you really know? How does it compare to redeveloping GP? Do you have the figures to compare? How does this compare to the cost/benefits of a more central site like Bestway? Of course you don’t know.... so how can you be so receptive to Kirkby without this info? and how can anyone else be expected to vote from an informed stance without the same? Which is precisely the point Simon Inglis made in the first place.
Art Greeth
30   Posted 29/07/2007 at 10:34:12

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I knew there was a good debater in you somewhere, Tom ;-)

Now let?s see if we can reach some kind of consensus between us and where we disagree, and why.

Drop Simon?s Manchester City quote completely. We have now expanded on that between us. Can we agree that EFC from its own resources cannot possibly fund either a GP redevelopment, or a stadium relocation project? I hope I am not being presumptuous in saying we both accept that. Can we also agree that a 21st century stadium for EFC is a must if we wish to secure the club?s future as a TOP club for the NEXT 129 years of the club?s existence?

If those are a given, then funding must come from the public or private sector. King?s Dock and even the proposed stadium share with the dark side was a combination of both ? public and private funding. Currently, there is NO public funding option on the table for the club. The only concrete deal we have is with one of UK?s leading retailers, Tesco.

Now money is NOT free Tom. I am sure you and I both know that from our own humble financial dealings. And I agree with you that the whole debate could be better served by greater transparency and a simple, but detailed, breakdown of the true financial costs ? let?s put aside for the moment the emotional costs.

However, I think you ? and others in this debate ? are unjust in doubting the intentions of BK and KW as you do. People blandly quote things like the King?s Dock/FFS/ntl debacles as if they are knock-down arguments demonstrating BK?s and KW?s incompetence. Two of those occurred NOT on KW?s watch; the ntl sponsorship collapse was NOT of BK?s making ? it had more to do with the dramatic collapse of the stock market and the bursting of the dot com bubble at the time; and with regard to the FFS deal I have seen NOTHING concrete to suggest that any deception to that failing lay not at the feet of BK, but rather, with the elusive Mr Samuelson. So ? sorry ? here I have to disagree with you. I do not buy into the simplistic statement that ?They hardly have a good track record for delivering do they??

Nor does your statement that ?I think Terry Leahy may have had more to do with it than our hierarchy? (in reference to the Kirkby proposal) stands up to close inspection. It is ludicrous to believe that the EFC board are passive signatories to the project. Quite clearly, given the months of exclusivity between the club, Knowsley Council and Tesco, negotiations between all parties have been ongoing for quite some time. That is KW?s remit as CEO. That is what he has achieved. I just find it contradictory for people to beat up on BK and KW about the 24/7 comment when this potential deal shows they HAVE sought ? and found ? a willing investor on favourable terms to the club. Again, I accept your point about the finer detail, but what we know at the moment the club has attracted considerable investment WITHOUT relinquishing overall control to a foreign or outside investor (not that I?m hostile to that necessarily, either?). That?s a pretty neat deal.

As for the Bestway Loop proposal... come on, Tom. How pat is all this in the week Warren Bradley made the disgraceful statements he did about the Kirkby stadium? That only now ? retrospectively ? LCC is trotting out once again possible city sites which ? in the main ? have already been explored? For me, this smacks of little more than a spoiler, as a damage limitation exercise by Bradley and LCC so they can say (falsely) that ?well? we tried to keep Everton in the city, but the fans and the board chose to leave?.

For argument?s sake, let?s say the loop is some kind of ?goer?. We still return to the original question: finance. Who is going to finance it? How long will this (new) viability study take? Will at the end of the process it GUARANTEE us the desired new stadium, of an acceptable standard, at an affordable cost? In the meantime, the sands of time continue to run away and for a dodgy ?maybe? proposal we lose the option currently available with Tesco in Kirkby. Is THAT responsible?

You say you have seen PARTS of the Bestway plan. Which PARTS and d?ya wanna share them with us? Because you can?t have the best of both arguments, Tom? on the one hand you say we shouldn?t accept the Kirkby proposal without more info, yet we should put it on hold (not an option, matey, as far as I can see? Tesco ain?t gonna wait for us) because of the Bestway plan. WHAT frigging plan? There is NOTHING for us to compare the advanced Kirkby plan to the vague, vaporous even, Bestway plan.

And this is what I meant by my comment "but what counts is the here and now." The one, genuine, concrete offer we have at the moment is the Kirkby plan. It is a properly financed plan. It is a plan that is deliverable. It is a plan that could see us in a new stadium in three years. It is a plan that alleviates current financial restraints. It is a plan that offers greater prospects for our future than anything else in the HERE AND NOW!

As for the emotional issues, you continue to seemingly measure EFC against LFC. What the frig does it matter WHAT verbal insults they hurl at us? What?s new there? We?ve been doing it to them forever ? they?ve been doing it to us. Yet for too many in this debate, THAT is the biggest determining factor. Sorry Tom ? and this is not directed at you personally ? but that sort of mentality belongs in the playground. There are greater issues at stake then the risk of being called a Woolyback by our lovable neighbours.

And to pick up on the stats you offer about local support for EFC. You say 27%, just over a quarter of the local population are blues, that this covers just Liverpool and Merseyside, and that we have one of the highest turnouts from within 5 miles radius of our ground in the league. Excellent! An acknowledgement by you that our support is not drawn exclusively from the city of Liverpool, but also from Greater Merseyside. So a four mile move to Kirkby will simply relocate that centre and still retain that bedrock support within the same radius. Indeed, it is possible to argue (because we don?t have the breakdown of the figures) that such a re-location may be moving us CLOSER to the vast bulk of match attending (or dormant??) blues.

On this, I?m a contrarian, Tom. I think it is remarkable, given the dearth of success at EFC over the past 20 years in comparison to the ?bours, that our support has held up as well as it has. The Kirkby proposal offers us the opportunity to not only consolidate that support, but to expand it. I DO believe our finances will improve as a result. I DO believe this will help fund our core industry, the football team itself. I DO believe that a better quality of player and a better quality of team will result. I DO believe that such success WILL attract more support, both locally and ? very importantly in this media-driven era ? from further afield. A continuing parochial attitude as to what EFC should represent is possibly very damaging to the club?s long term future.

So, in conclusion, where does this leave the two of us? I think:

? We agree EFC requires a new stadium
? We agree financing is a major issue
? We agree any solution should be in the best long-term interest of the club and its supporters

? We disagree that the location should ONLY be within the city boundaries of Liverpool
? We disagree that by locating to Kirkby we will by default alienate and lose present and future fans in the city of Liverpool
? We disagree that the Kirkby proposal should continue to be put on hold until other alternatives have been explored

Not a million miles apart, is it? And as I said in my earlier posts, I believe the points on which we disagree constitute a great unknown for both sides of the debate. All I know is this? that throughout history humankind has, out of necessity, out of curiosity, always, always, ALWAYS gone forth to explore and encounter new worlds and new possibilities. To do otherwise is to live with the known, live with the comfortable? and to effectively wither and die.

I do not wish for Everton Football Club to wither and die.
Tom Hughes
31   Posted 29/07/2007 at 21:45:10

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Jeez, are you writing your thesis here?

"an we agree that EFC from its own resources cannot possibly fund either a GP redevelopment, or a stadium relocation project?"

Erm, not really no!
How has practically every other league club managed to do this, yet you simply accept that we can’t? Even mighty Burnley have just anounced an expensive expansion, and they have already built 3 new stands to our one. There exists an opportunity to fund a complete redevelopment of the Parkend that would bring our capacity upto 50,000. Later phases could add further to this, and the funds currently earmarked as contribution to kirkby could fund them..... not to mention outside investment which is hardly a rarity these days. People are talking about redevelopment as if it was unheard of when nearly every club has or is achieving it, and not making a fuss or saying its undeliverable.


"People blandly quote things like the King?s Dock/FFS/ntl debacles as if they are knock-down arguments demonstrating BK?s and KW?s incompetence."

They hardly cover them in glory do they. You could accept one debacle (your word)..... but 3!


"as for the Bestway Loop proposal... come on, Tom."

I can assure you this site is getting the full treatment as I speak. Some of the main people involved in the city-centre’s massive redevelopment are now involved in developing this site.

"so they can say (falsely) that ?well? we tried to keep Everton in the city, but the fans and the board chose to leave?."

Be a dangerous tactic, what if the vote is a "NO"

"Who is going to finance it? How Will at the end of the process it GUARANTEE us the desired new stadium, of an acceptable standard, at an affordable cost? In the meantime, the sands of time continue to run away and for a dodgy ?maybe? proposal we lose the option currently available with Tesco in Kirkby."

Honestly, we’ve had this sands of time business sinceJohnson tried to push us to Kirkby. Are we any worse/better off now? Did we die off? Didn’t Arsenal compete with Man Utd in a smaller ground than ours? According to the city planners, there is every opportunity to release enough land around the bestway site to realise enough funds to finance the stadium. It would also suffice to say that naming rights at a far more prestigious and central site would be more substantialthan that for the kirkby option. Liverpool’s city centre development is an international affair and is very high profile. The next phase will be too expand these developments into the Everton Scotland road/vauxhall corridors to bridge gaps between downtown and the proposed Project Jenifer. This is not speculation this is happaening now, and furthermore the city planners are very excited at the prospect of having a major stadium as a catalyst and building block in their north Liverpool Scheme, as this approach has been used to great effect in the US. Quite frankly, this would dwarf anything proposed at Kirkby. So, would it really be "responsible" to simply ignore this possibility, even if it is only that right now.


"The one, genuine, concrete offer we have at the moment is the Kirkby plan."


The one genuine concrete option is the one we live in. It already exists.

" a properly financed plan. It is a plan that is deliverable."

But, you do not know how much it cost so how can you compare it to any other plan?

"It is a plan that could see us in a new stadium in three years."

GP could be brought upto 50,000 seats in one close season, and the city planners and architects agree.

"It is a plan that alleviates current financial restraints."

Any additional capacity will do that, so why not do it at GP?



It is a plan that offers greater prospects for our future than anything else in the HERE AND NOW!

That’s your opinion, why would that be more so than at GP, or in town? Would you have voted for Kirkby ahead of Kings Dock? If not,why not? I believe Kirkby would get less than 5% in that vote...... so why should we settle for that now?

"Sorry Tom ? and this is not directed at you personally ? but that sort of mentality belongs in the playground. There are greater issues at stake then the risk of being called a Woolyback by our lovable neighbours."

Let’s be serious here, most of the stuff we do in connection to footy started in the playground, it defies most logic. Personally, I’m proud of where I come from, and I support Everton,the oldest club in Liverpool. Identity is everything, it has been all we have had to hold onto at times. Dilute it or change it, and yes location is a major part of it and you may snap off more than you should have.

"You say 27%, just over a quarter of the local population are blues, that this covers just Liverpool and Merseyside, and that we have one of the highest turnouts from within 5 miles radius of our ground in the league. Excellent! An acknowledgement by you that our support is not drawn exclusively from the city of Liverpool, but also from Greater Merseyside.

Obviously I was being conservative in that estimate. I don’t for one minute think that we only represent 1/4 of the local population, in which case showing that the metropolitan areas contribution to are support will be greater than 400,000, which means less for everywhere else, and therefore the added importance of staying closer to centre of that main concentration, not at its edge in Kirkby, that’s just basic logistics, just like the Philharmonic and the Empire and CBD and the city centre will not ever be relocating to kirkby because there’s a motorway passing it, or because it opens a wider catchment. They will all stay close to there regional centre for the same obvious reasons we should.


"That such a re-location may be moving us CLOSER to the vast bulk of match attending (or dormant??) blues."

Art, That’s nonsense! One of the highest localised supports, and you think we will be closer to the vast Bulk when that’s statistically impossible, especially in zero density countryside.


"throughout history humankind has, out of necessity, out of curiosity, always, always, ALWAYS gone forth to explore and encounter new worlds and new possibilities. To do otherwise is to live with the known, live with the comfortable? and to effectively wither and die.

I do not wish for Everton Football Club to wither and die.
"

Bit dramatic for me, but in what way do you think we are exploring the possibilities in this one option race?
Art Greeth
32   Posted 30/07/2007 at 01:24:35

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?Jeez, are you writing your thesis here??

So you are allowed long fulsome replies, but I?m not?? Give the sly digs a rest please Tom.

So Tom, you are saying that EFC can finance a GP redevelopment or a stadium relocation project from its own resources? And you say that ?practically every other league club managed to do this?. Tom, for EFC at the moment this is neither plausible in the first instance (given the current level of debt), nor true in the second. Indeed, I believe the reverse is true ? that most ground redevelopments or relocations in the last 10-15 years have, in the main, been funded by private funds, be it by means of selling off the old stadium space and rebuilding retail outlets on it, as part of the new stadium (hotel chains, for example), or on naming rights. That, I think you will find, is the case with the Burnley example you offer.

I don?t know if I dare refer again to ?your? redevelopment plans of GP, given your earlier reaction to such boldness on my part, but whilst that (or other??) plans have shown how GP may just about extend its capacity to the levels you mention within the existing footprint, a redevelopment plan for GP remains limited because it is so land-locked and unable to offer the day-to-day facilities that another ?expert? I read says a modern sports stadium should be ? that is, a cash-making machine. Possibly an offensive phrase to the traditionalist, but a very pragmatic one if we sincerely wish EFC to be competitive on all fronts, both on and off the pitch. And it is too glib of you to say ?People are talking about redevelopment as if it was unheard of when nearly every club has or is achieving it, and not making a fuss or saying its undeliverable?. I haven?t seen much, if any evidence, of that in the debate. I certainly haven?t said as much. And besides, EFC and GP is not like ?nearly every club?. Each location, each case is different and must be considered on its own merits.

As for yet another dig at BK and KW ? ?They hardly cover them in glory do they. You could accept one debacle (your word)..... but 3!? I notice you don?t dispute my reading of those events. And only after posting did I recognise that ?debacle? would have been best used in inverted commas. I was using the terminology of other, because the events surrounding them, as I said, I don?t lay at the feet of BK or KW.

What you NOW say about the Bestway Loop proposal is intriguing, but nevertheless I am a tad sceptical given recent proclamations by LCC and Mr Bradley in particular. Surely if it was a real goer as your words suggest then Warren and his chums would be beating the drum big time such is his clearly stated anxiety to keep EFC within the city boundaries? And nobody IS shouting about this possibility from the roof tops, so just how realistic or remote is this as a solution?

As for time scales and the Johnson era ? no, we haven?t died off, but nor are we pushing on Tom. We are merely treading water and you can only do that for so long before you tire and sink below the waves. We cannot continue to do nothing. Too bad if my previous closing statement was too dramatic for you, but I do believe that is what is at stake here: something changes, or EFC withers and dies, a throwback to an idealised, nostalgic era of football, housed in a decaying museum with only fading memories and long-dead heroes which future generations can no longer relate to.

And then we WILL lose support, wherever we are located.

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