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Wyness Replies

By Steve Flanagan :  01/08/2007 :  Comments (15) :
The programme from the Werder Bremen friendly included four pages of questions submitted by users of the official site, which were answered by Keith Wyness. For those of you who didn't go (or did go but didn't buy a programme), here are the questions and answers in full.

Please note that the questioner was named in the programme (but I haven't repeated that here).

Q: I have had a season ticket for nearly 30 years and my seat in the upper Gwladys Street is a good seat with my friends and family. How are you going to give priority of choice for the new stadium? This is very important to us before we vote.
A: It's very early days yet in terms of outlining that sort of process. It would be fair to say we would try and accomodate existing season ticket holders in the same sort of part of the ground and they would have first choice on seats. But it is still early days to look at the detail.

Q: Can you not codename the stadium like Arsenal did by calling it Ashburton Grove? Many Arsenal fans refer to the stadium as this rather than the Emirates, it's easier to stomach for certain fans.
A: The key thing is that we want to consider the possibilities for a naming rights partner. We don't want any name to attach itself to a stadia. I think people understand that it is the Knowsley or Kirkby project at present.

Q: Can you change the design of one of the stands behind the goal and have one stand rather than two tiers? Borussia Dortmund have this and it's incedible.
A: We looked at that in the design process but we believe this is the best use of the space for many reasons.

Q: The initial capacity of the stadium appears to be around 50,000. How easy would it be to increase capacity in the future?
A: The possibility remains to fill in the corners at some stage in the future, that could take us up to 60,000. A lot will depend on the regulations in place at the time but we are planning for that possibility in the design of the stadium.

Q: How long will it take to build the new stadium?
A: If everything went well in terms of the planning process, we would hope to take possession of the stadium around May 2010, which would allow us to do test events during the summer and commence playing there from season 2010-11. I must stress this is dependent on planning. The building process itself will take between 18 months and two years.

Q: What other facilities will the new stadium building have? Conference facilities? Hotels? Restaurants? Casinos?
A: There will be no casinos or hotels but certainly the lounge facilities have been designed to maximise the non-matchday business for meetings and conferences. Given the location of the site we believe that will be a very prfitable revenue stream for the club.

Q: Will the stands be named after former players or will we sell the naming rights for the stands as well? Or will the club use a different naming policy?
A: I would anticipate that would be looked at during the process. I think there is a good chance we would name the stands after former players. It would be the overall naming of the stadium that would be covered by the naming rights. Again, it's very early in the process to make those decisions.

Q: Please give details of what provisions are being made re public transport to the stadium? Also, what are the car parking arrangements?
A: The transportation consultants who have looked at the stadium say it will have the best transportation network of any stadium in the North-West. We are working with Merseytravel in terms of the bus situation but there are already plans to redevelop the train link at the Kirkby station, which will be a major link to Lime Street and other parts of Liverpool. The M57 is right on the doorstep and there is still the possibility of the Merseytram project coming back to life. In terms of car parking, the government demands any new stadia are built with a green transport plan, which means there are a limited number of car parking spaces available on site. However, we have already identified park-and-walk and park-and-ride schemes that will make it a very easy stadium to access.

Q: Will we see an increase in season ticket prices or matchday tickets?
A: There will be no changes to Everton's policy - we will remain very competitive in terms of pricing, which we always have been. I would expect to see prices in line with the quality of the facilities in the corporate areas, which would be among the best in the Premier League. There is no reason why there should be any difference in the competitiveness of the average ticket.

Q: Why are the board sticking at a 50,000 capacity when Liverpool's is going to be 60,000?
A: We beliueve that is the correct level for the new stadium. We can increase that capacity but, at present, all the forecasts we have show that is the right level.

Q: What will you do if the majority of fans vote "no" to the proposal?
A: We've said quite clearly that if there is a no vote then we will not be taking the negotiations any further.

Q: How much will this move cost Everton FC? I've seen the number £10m. Is that accurate?
A: It's still too early to say. The club's total contribution will be around £50m. Out of that £15m there will be the proceeds from the sale of Goodison and the stadium naming rights. Dependent on how successful we are in those areas, we would top up to that £50m figure.

Q: I was wondering if there have been any thoughts on the matter of ashes being on Goodison's hallowed turf as my father and grandfather are there?
A: Yes, it's something we are very sensitive to. We have a plan at the ground for those ashes that are actually buried. For those who are scattered they obviously can't be moved. We will have discussions with Harry Ross at St Luke's church and the memorial garden that's already there could play a role in that. We will listen to the families for how this can be handled in as sensitive way as possible.

Q (from a carer of an EDSA member): Fantastic stadium but what are the plans to improve disabled facilites? A: It's been designed with fantastic sight-lines and access which is the very best for disabled facilities. This is up there with anything.

Q: What are the chances of a retractable roof being added?
A: Zero. That is not part of the project.

Q: A lot of new stadiums have experienced problems with the pitch. What are you doing to guard against that?
A: The main issue has been the light getting into the stadia. For next season we will have ground-level lighting rigs, which will be very close to the pitch. Lighting rigs are the way forward. Within the stadium design itself, there is a lot of ventilation. The pitch is very crucial in the new stadiumand we have been very careful in the planning to make sure it will be top quality, as good as Goodison.

Q: Once the stadium in Kirkby is complete, will the club own it or will it be leased?
A: It will be on a 999-year lease, which is effectively freehold ownership, with a peppercorn rent.

Q: Keith, how do you manage to come up with the projections of higher attendances that we get now if we move, yet lower if we stay?
A: Having to increase the width of concourses and gangways would erode the capacity of Goodison, which in turn would lead to a lower attendance. In a new stadium there is an uplift effect that normally lasts for three years and after that time you may see a drop off in crowds if the team isn't doing well. We'll hopefully be able to sustain a quality product on the pitch, which will keep the attendances high. We're also entering a catchment area of 4 million people, as opposed to 1.3 million here at Goodison.

Q: Will you go to a public forum over design? Why only 40 commercial boxes? Can we expand that number in the future?
A: There is room to expand the box numbers in the future, it's something we are paying very close attention to right now. We will look to speak to fan groups with regards to potential changes within the present design but there will be no major changes.

Q: I read on the BBC website about football and the environment in relation to global warming. What renewable energy elements are going to be implemented into the new stadium design?
A: We are working with a couple of groups on sustainability and recycling ability within the stadium. We are incorporatig many green ideas and I think we would be up there with any of the other stadia. We are paying a lot of attention to this because we know it's going to become a bigger issue in the future. At present there are no plans for a wind turbine but every other element of new green-friendly stadia is being incorporated.

Q: What will happen with the box office? Would we have to go all the way to Kirkby for away game tickets?
A: The internet is becoming a major source of ticketing but we would be looking at selling from a city centre location.

Reader Comments

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Erik Dols
1   Posted 01/08/2007 at 15:36:38

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Did you take the trouble to type that over? thanks anyway!
Art Greeth
2   Posted 01/08/2007 at 15:43:33

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Thanks for going to all the trouble and re-duplicating KW’s here, Steve. Much appreciated by an ex-pat blue.
Dave Thompson
3   Posted 01/08/2007 at 16:01:24

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So now at least it is confirmed that there will be very little on-site parking.

One of the main things I have seen cited by people who are favour is the easy road links and parking. How many will be happy with park-and-walk and park-and-ride? I wonder what the mix will be, and just how far away from the ground will thay be?
Alistair Ford
4   Posted 01/08/2007 at 15:44:54

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This is all fine, but why hasn’t he answered this question: "The stadium is dull and looks like St mary’s, Pride Park etc. Will there be anything iconic added to the design?"

As an example, we all know the Cologne stadium its based on has four towers in the corners. Our Badge meanwhile, has a tower on it. Surely there must be a way of integrating this into the design of the stadium to give it some kind of unique Everton FC identity?
Simon Hughes
5   Posted 01/08/2007 at 16:36:47

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I am disappointed but not surprised that my question wasn’t included. I asked him whether, and to what extent, he would benefit financially from the proposed move to Kirkby. Should I be reading anything into his silence.
Dan Mckie
6   Posted 01/08/2007 at 16:45:15

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Wayhay my question got put up (the one about projected higher/lower attendences),not sure what he means about having to widen gangways - why?
Steve Flanagan
7   Posted 01/08/2007 at 17:07:17

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Just a further clarification for everyone with regards to the rumours that under-18’s will not be allowed to vote in the ballot.

I’ve just had a look on the official website, and they state that whilst all season ticket holders will get a vote, only adult Evertonia members will - which may be where the confusion is.
Peter Newall
8   Posted 01/08/2007 at 17:34:36

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I think Wyness is being very optimistic with his dates.Everton are attempting to take over Kirkby and as a local I can assure you there are plenty queing up to frustrate the plan.I think it will meet so much opposition locally that the Government will have no alternative but ’to call it in’.
A ’yes’ vote is only a notice of intent,I guarantee!
albert velthuijsen
9   Posted 01/08/2007 at 20:18:10

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everton have to come up with 50 million first so here is our answer for the tranfersaga at the moment, or did you say keith the money for the stadium has nothing to do with the tranferkitty...SURE !!.
Nick Entwistle
10   Posted 01/08/2007 at 22:05:10

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The questions are very much cherry picked and give the impression of its all going ahead.
And with presumably a number of searching questions submitted it’s a joke that the retractable roof question was added.
Though with all the propaganda issued to the club, hats off to them for chosing the majority vote.
john boy
11   Posted 01/08/2007 at 22:31:53

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he answers too many questions with the words "its too early to say" and they are all the important questions that he should be able to answer no matter how early things are, all it tells me is that he doesn’t seem to think very far ahead! all he knows for sure is that everton will be moving, but thats something else he aint saying.
Ann Adlington
12   Posted 01/08/2007 at 22:47:36

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What a banal response from one of the highest paid chief executives in the premiership. At least he’s given some thought to green issues but personally, I’m disappointed that at present there are no plans for a wind turbine.

One thing is does do though is kill the myth that we’re getting a free stadium. Now we’re getting somewhere - we have to contribute £50 million pounds - almost double the amount we couldn’t find for Kings Dock at a time when our debts were much lower. Where is this going to come from at a time when we can’t afford to sign Baines?

I agree with Peter Newall - this proposal will be called in, delaying the matter for a couple of years at least. In the meantime, Everton’s present contribution will probably double.
It’s a pity that EFC didn’t do a bit more homework before jumping into bed with Tesco. The majority of their proposed developments are met with huge local opposition. They have the luxury of being able to land bank and sit around for a few years. Can Everton afford to do this?
Dan Mckie
13   Posted 02/08/2007 at 09:52:09

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I dont think there will be too much opposition to this development locally because it offers something which the area doesnt currently have! Most Tesco opposition comes from other businesses and authorites due to competition and the monopoly debate! Its not like there flatening an orphanage to build there! Vote ’YES’ to Kirkby :)
14   Posted 02/08/2007 at 10:54:21

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KW have said all along that the project is estimated to cost EFC 50 million, and that they hope to raise most of that through the sale of goodison and naming rights of the new stadium. Its annoying when people, who havent researched this very important subject, immediately assume that KW and the EFC board are being secretive. GET YOUR FACTS RIGHT!
Ann Adlington
15   Posted 03/08/2007 at 01:02:58

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KW said that the new stadium would leave the club relatively debt free. "Deal of the century" I believed it was called. The spin, initially, was that the stadium would cost £50,000 and that would effectively be met by Tesco. The "yes" voters rejoiced "let’s all go to Kirkby, we’re getting a free stadium." EFC would be reponsible, they claimed, simply for fitting out costs which would amount to about £15 million. This would be funded by the sale of GP and naming rights they said. How are they going to bridge this £35 million gap?

Tesco moved quickly to deny that they would be subsidizing the stadium to the tune of £50 million.

I have certainly researched the subject and have a comprehensive record of the shifting sand upon which Keith and Bill stand. So too have the national media.

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