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The Stadium Debate: Saying the Unsayable

By Rob Paterson :  09/08/2007 :  Comments (18) :
Having read, and in some cases re-read some of the excellent contributions to this website, I have decided to vote ?Yes? to Kirkby. So what ? Well, only this really. It might be of interest and it might be that others think the same way. I have been persuaded not by the club ?propaganda? or even the strongly reasoned arguments which have appeared on this and other sites, urging a ?Yes? vote. No, at the end of the day, it has been the arguments of some of the ?No? voters which has persuaded me, ironically, to vote ?yes?.

And that, I make plain, is not in any way intended as an insult to the well-written and (in some cases) extremely well researched analysis of the competing arguments which has characterised much of the ?No? contributions. Neither is it intended to deflate the passion and the emotion which has caused some to write so powerfully and so movingly. How could it in any case ? No, it is about me and something that the debate has made me realise, albeit somewhat sadly. I don?t actually care whether we play within the City boundary or within shouting distance of St. Domingo?s. And, ( and this is the hard thing to say) I don?t really care about Goodison any more. There I?ve said it. The unsayable. I don?t like Goodison anymore.

Of course I did like it. No, I loved it. In the sixties it oozed class. Stands on all sides of the ground. A lower and an upper stand. Old Trafford didn?t even have a cover at one end ! Singing all the new songs behind the Street End goal. (Which unsung poet laureate wrote the lyrics to ?We hate Bill Shankly and we hate St. John ??) We emerged from the game hot and hoarse, and sometimes bruised. And there was Bally?s first derby match in 1966, the West Brom game in 1970, the Championships of 85 and 87, Bayern Munich and of course, a certain young lad from Croxteth coming on as a sub against Arsenal.

But there have been bad times also. I hated the elation which greeted our weird escape from relegation in 1994, and again four years later. The funereal atmosphere in which many games are played now and the lack of any invention in the chants and the songs. The pillars and the posts which block your view and the allocation of restricted view space ( a small corner of Bullens Road) to away supporters ? some of whom may be supporters of grand old European teams- are no longer acceptable. And then there?s the bloke who sits a couple of rows behind me who will find fault in anything and can never pronounce a foreign player?s name.

And in certain respects Kirkby will of course be no better. I don?t expect that moving will bring with it an upsurge of song writing talent to write and perform songs of love and hate to fill the ground- or indeed enliven the atmosphere to a wedding rather than a funeral. And with my luck the guy from two rows back will still be there.

But it is bound to be a better place to see the game, to raise revenue and to watch in comfort. We will get used to it- as we have got used to all the other changes in the way we live. Sitting in front of a computer and using mobile phones for example. And before we know it, Goodison will be a memory.

Which is what it should be. A glorious, history-laden memory. A treasure chest of first game memories, a World Cup venue for the visiting Champions. For that is what it was. And because of what it was, I don?t like seeing it as it is. Out of touch and out of time. We need to leave it behind and soon. Do not delay with alternative schemes and plans. Let?s do it ? let?s fall in love. With Kirkby.

Reader Comments

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Mark Manns
1   Posted 09/08/2007 at 19:33:39

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Rob you have put into words exactly what my sentiments are on the whole affair. I am an avid Evertonian like all on here but have frequently not enjoyed the experience of being at Goodison for all of the reasons you mentioned.

Add to this the fact that the businesses around the ground (with the exception of some of the excellent chippies and the Church) are more dated than Goodison herself and I’m ready to move.

2   Posted 09/08/2007 at 20:36:19

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This is the best article on the site, why doesn’t it make it to the featured acticle section?

I’m also in the camp of now finding goodison to be aged and quite frankly embarrassing. I took two friends from the US to the game last season and walking up to the ground dodging dog turd and going into the off-licence with bullet-proof screens and more security than than the bank of england, and then the morgue atmosphere in the ground are hardly something to attract more revenue to the club
Les Smith
3   Posted 09/08/2007 at 19:47:26

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Rob, I am sorry but most of what you state in justification for voting yes to Kirkby seemed irrelivant to me ? except for the comments about the obstructing columns which are placed at stratigic points throughout the ground making spectating so interesting at Goodison.

The fact is it doesn?t matter where we move to if we don?t have a consistently succesful team that will attract a full house for each home game and a list of people demanding season tickets above and beyond those available - and on both counts we presently fail ? then we have to accept that we are and will only ever be a moderately successful club.

It seems to me that constructing a ground to accommodate 55,000 spectators when we only get 35,000 for most games (possibly only 27,500 to 30,000 as the recent the toffeeweb ?Stadium Survey? indicates - if we move to Kirkby) will not produce one of the main income steams that Keith Wyness claims. Quite the reverse. Under those circumstances it could be the beginning of the end for our club and support will dwindle further.

Just imagine 30,000 supporters rattling around in a stadium built for 55,000 ? some atmosphere that would engender. We really would need some new chants then possibly death chants.

Clearly something has to be done about improving/ replacing our football ground but we have to have a really succeful team first.
4   Posted 09/08/2007 at 20:32:57

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An excellent piece Rob - this decision is about the club moving forward and securing its top flight status for future generations. I have no doubt a clear majority of evertonians will back the move for that very reason.

The debate has been distorted by the city boundary argument.For those opposed to the move I reckon it’s been a counter productive stance. It’s a hollow argument. The ’our city’ of the No campaign is not ’our city’ for most evertonians or liverpudlians for that matter.Yes the Liverpool area, Merseyside for that matter, is our local identity. But there’s no wall around the Liverpool council area. Thousands of evertonians can and do walk to the match from places like Bootle and Litherland barely a mile or two from the ground. What’s the big deal! A minority of Hillsborough victims were from the ’city’. But the vast majority lived within 15 miles of Anfield. Such is the nature of social development. Like elsewhere in Britain, as the ’city’ population has declined, the Liverpool suburbs have grown. We’re the same people - share the same culture, accents, way of life etc. The bogus argument that Kirkby is somehow a separate and inferior entity is a disgrace. The local people originate mainly from the north end inner city and the local environment is indistinguishable from Walton. This is not sectarian Belfast. We are not Yorkshire Cricket Club of times gone by.

I never thought I’d see the day when fellow evertonians became infected by a losers mentality typical of Man City - falling victims to delusions about municpal exceptionalism in football when in life itself such considerations are immaterial.

Long Live EFC - Forward to Kirkby.
steve flynn
5   Posted 09/08/2007 at 21:07:47

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you will be one of the first to fall out of love with kirkby 20,000 in a cheap desperate stadium
Gerard Madden
6   Posted 09/08/2007 at 21:33:42

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First class article that shows no malice to the opposing view - well done Rob.
7   Posted 09/08/2007 at 21:48:35

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I sincerly hope the fella who now sits a couple of rows back buys a season ticket right behind you, you sound like you deserve each other
John Charles
8   Posted 09/08/2007 at 22:24:35

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Dan : because Toffeeweb is an anti-wyness, anti-kenwright website.

They can’t win.. they’re damned if they do and damned if they don’t.
Mike B
9   Posted 09/08/2007 at 23:36:52

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Toffee Rapper - KEIOC dont stand for keeping Everton close to their ’boozers, betting shops and chippies’ nor are they ’selfish ****s!’

KEIOC stand for what the name suggests, Keeping Everton In Our City, and believe it or not this is quite a large city. So, if they get their way they could still be moved miles away from the pubs and whatnot around Goodison.

Although, admittedly they did get one of their kids to try and pursuade Bill and Keith to stay at Goodison with that rather breathtaking design.

But still, try using your brain cell, which you have proved you have on occassion, for your next post!
toffee rapper
10   Posted 10/08/2007 at 02:41:58

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Mike B

Point taken.

It should have been aimed at the anti-kirkby people who have stated the need to maintain their ’match-going routine’ at the expense of all other considerations.

Apologies to those caught up in the cross-fire!
Mike Dolan
11   Posted 10/08/2007 at 04:03:20

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Sometimes the negetivity just gets a hold of you. We were such a poverty stricken club about four years ago. Now in Baines, Yobo, Arteta, Jags. Add Fernandes and Everton have a better midfield than Liverpool
12   Posted 10/08/2007 at 10:51:51

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My main concern about a ’no’ vote for Kirkby is Liverpool City Council thinking their job is done. If the fans vote to stay in the city, then Liverpool City Council can fuck us off and pay lip service to finding us a site for a new ground for the next 20 years, safe in the knowledge that we’re going nowhere else.

I’d vote for Kirkby just so Liverpool have to offer a viable alternative. Staying at Goodison is not really an option. It’s do-able in theory, but in practice, how would it be achieved? Can you see the residents in Gwladys St, and the houses behind being happy with a new stand, taller than the old one, blocking out what little light they have?

Who is going to fund a new stadium within the city? How are they going to do it?
Phil Smith
13   Posted 10/08/2007 at 14:04:21

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Very well put but you are allowing yourself to be convinced by club’s arms twisted up our backs style propaganda that Kirkby is the best, indeed the only option available. We’ve put up with Goodison for this long why not take a little longer to explore other options. Options that are potentially far more attractive commercially in terms of producing positive revenue streams than Kirby is and ever can be. By forcing this vote now with no other option on the ballot the club deserve nothing more than a resounding NO vote.
14   Posted 10/08/2007 at 15:25:43

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Excellent article. It’s the head versus the heart isn’t it. And I think the head is winning. Sorry guys . See you all tomorrow 3pm. Stand up if you love the blues.
John T
15   Posted 10/08/2007 at 16:25:31

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Sad story for a tired lady time to leave......

Dan, not on the main post because it is pro-Kirkby sorry to say
Gareth Humphreys
16   Posted 10/08/2007 at 17:13:21

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Really like the article Rob, I’m in the no boat but for one simple reason. The new ground looks very very average. Everton aren’t meant to be average and the moment we start accepting it is the moment we are akin to Man City, West Ham, Newcastle E.t.c. If the Kirkby proposal was for a stadium that surpassed anything in the country there wouldn’t be that much argument even if it was based in my neck of the woods - dare I say it Formby (am i still welcomed at Goodison not being from inside the city?). My vote was cast after reading all the pros and cons but basically the new stadium in Kirkby looks crap and I don’t want Everton playing there.
tommy gibbons
17   Posted 10/08/2007 at 22:09:01

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Yeah well. of course it wouldn’t be classed as an Article on toffeeNOseweb because they obviously have their own anti everton agenda..Can I explain I can’t, maybe they can.. Back to the article, have you noticed that the NO brigade have no reasoned argument, not one, other than its Kirkby!, they haven’t offered a single viable alternative (and they’ve known we’ve been looking to move/redevelop for years), how long are we to wait then?.. btw, the poor soul who states he’s voting No because the stadium looks crap in the photos’s!, its just a mock up, same as the KEIOC mock up for GP or the Loop..You won’t be able to make a decision on it until its built!..and just a word about Tesco, the NO brigade would find fault with ANY investor who dared to offer a stadium to us for a quarter of its I’ve said before.they are luddites but without a noble cause..selfish in the extreme, and positively (or should that read negatively) naive in their belief we have a god given right to a site anywhere when we plainly can’t afford it!
Oh yeah..theres a game tomorra if anybodys interested!!
nick harris
18   Posted 10/08/2007 at 22:52:56

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i must be dreaming , is robs article an oasis.

no its real ! an article about the move which covers the reason why , the saddness of moving and the future glory of where efc play football.....kirkby.

rob you are a top man . i really needed to read an opinion like yours.

in your honour , a chant to rub the ’no’ brigade up the wrong way....

we are on are way to kirkby ,
packed are bags and leaving goodison ,
a grand old team to play for with a lot of history ,
we are the future , we are kirkby’s everton.


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