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Questions for the Three Wise Men of Everton

By Colin Fitz :  15/08/2007 :  Comments (29) :

First of all I?d like to thank everyone who took time to read the recent ?Fortune Favours the Brave? article and secondly I?d like to thank Toffeeweb for their pursuit of balance and fairness in constantly giving the opportunity to all parties to air their views. A few of you have pointed out several typos for which I apologise, but by way of explanation I had meant to send the article at the beginning of last week but the file became corrupted so what you see is a hastily reconstructed version, which also explains, as observed by several astute commentators, the rushed appearance of the final summing up.


The replies confirm, to me, the level of importance that the fans are attaching to the issue of a ground move.  Reading through these replies, I was astonished by the lucidity and intellect demonstrated by fellow Evertonians? on reflection, should I really be astonished?  I?m sorry that I don?t have the time at the moment to answer the many questions specifically asked but I?d like to thank people like Art Greeth, for an astoundingly rapid and professional critique, Graeme Morrison, Les Smith and Bruce Wayne (!)  


Perhaps the most poignant reply was that from John Taylor who reflected with some regret on his Yes vote.  The whole reason for putting the article in the public domain was to provide a balanced view and analysis of the information supplied to date.  Unfortunately I didn?t have nine months and the combined resources of EFC, Tesco, KBC and the local press, so to those people who accuse me of producing a flawed and subjective argument, they are in fact hoisted by their own petard.  Of course the article is flawed and subjective, it?s based on the very information that has been given to the fans and that they themselves have used to make a Yes decision!  However, no matter what they?re confronted with, they?re right ? they always are!  The more open-minded of you have correctly identified that the article lends credence to both sides of the argument.


Some people have asked if I had the benefit of reading Sir Terry Leahy?s Open Letter to the fans before I submitted my article; no I didn?t.  And some have referred to his letter as a source for clarification after the initial confused statements from Everton?s CEO and Tesco, specifically the statement on the £50M contribution.  The letter in question has been well published in the local press, the official club site and the many unofficial sites; the complete article can be seen here:


The main paragraph on the financial issue is paragraph four which I reproduce here:


?If Everton built a new stadium alone, rather than as part of an overall development, the cost would be huge.  In the case of the Kirkby proposal, if you allocated a share of the traffic, infrastructure and land costs to the stadium, a very conservative figure would be £25 million.  The construction of the stadium itself would cost around £110 million.  Barr Construction have an integrated design, steel manufacture and construction operation which makes huge savings on that figure.  Tesco as the developer is forgoing the normal development profit on the construction of around £15 million, in addition to the contribution it is making directly.  So if you went out to buy this stadium it would cost you £150 million.?


Frankly, in light of the previous figures presented by Everton, if this were submitted to the plain English society they?d have had a field day.  There?s no specific mention of the Tesco £50M contribution that was previously part of the ?Deal of the Century? scenario.  Now we have, in sequence, a land and infrastructure cost of £25M coupled to a waiving of a £15M cost (Tesco?s margin as a developer).  A revelation that the stadium cost alone this has now increased by 10% to £110M, followed by a somewhat vague and unsupported reference to the construction company, Barr, being able to offer ?huge? savings, this from a construction company who measure their profits in single million figures and operates in an industry with acknowledged tight profit margins.  If the saving was specific, the £10M increase for instance, and was added to the other figures mentioned, £25M and £15M, you indeed come up with the magical £50M contribution that perhaps, embarrassingly for Mr Wyness, is the ?value derived from the project? mentioned in Tesco?s clarification statement to Radio Merseyside.  I?m still a bit lost on where the other £100M is coming from, save for the sale of Goodison and the prospective naming rights deal.


Conversely if the statement was written in plain English and said:


?The total cost of delivering a world class stadium is £150M.  Tesco, in addition to waiving their developers? profit margin, are absorbing the land and infrastructure costs into the project as a whole.  The total contribution from Tesco will therefore be £50M.  By taking advantage of Tesco?s immense purchasing power and contacts within the construction industry Everton will benefit from a negotiated £50M discount on the construction cost, the remaining cost, £50M, being covered by the £15M sale of their current ground, a £25M naming rights deal with a partner willing to pay the 10-year fee up front, and the balance being funded by some long-term debt amounting to no more than £10m.? 


If the statement was as clear as that, I?d be partially on board, save the commercial issue of being in a town over a major city.  Whilst the above statement makes sense you?re unlikely to hear it from Sir Terry, as it?s clearly ridiculous to expect a discount of that magnitude or funding from Everton at those levels.  So what is the true cost? Well I don?t know, plenty of fans appear not to know and it also appears that Everton / Tesco, after nine months of working on this, don?t know either.  If they did I?m certain they?d tell you in a crystal-clear precise manner.


Everyone seems to be terrified about debt. Many people have intimated that the prospect of Everton acquiring a £150M asset for little additional debt will improve the balance sheet, which is admittedly exceptionally light, and thereby attract potential buyers with potential investment for the team.  Unfortunately these same people are conveniently ignoring another potential, potential debt.  Liverpool and Manchester Utd have both incurred massive debts, structured differently, upon their takeovers, as will no doubt Arsenal next year.  In both these cases the concept of ?why use your own money when you can borrow and get the club to service the debt? prevailed. 


When a company is set-up to be sold or is made an offer it can?t logically refuse then the shareholders are the beneficiaries, unless you have a scenario like the recent Wolves sale when the club was sold for £10 by a quintessential philanthropist.  And why shouldn?t the shareholders benefit? They?ve invested their time and money and the main shareholders on the board will have steered the ship, had the sleepless nights and taken all the flak.  I personally have no problem with this whatsoever, in fact I?d love to have 5,000 shares in Everton right now, it looks to me like an excellent prospect.  Everton are the 21st richest club in football, and they are currently top of the richest football league on the planet: .       If you look at the Forbes list you will realise that indebtedness is no deterrent to investors ? look at Manchester City, one of the Premierships most indebted clubs. But look at who came in for them and there lies another problem: better the devil you know, as the saying goes? 


In answer to those who have accused me of being just another NO propagandist, what I actually said in relation to Kirkby was that my vote is No; I never said that I?d voted No.  I, like many other people, have waited to hear all sides of the argument; I was expecting further clarification from Everton with regard to the apparent holes in the financial statements and exploitation of commercial activities but all that seems to have been done is an excellent public relations campaign ? perhaps all style and no substance would be a fair assessment. Also, I must admit that I?m disappointed once again in LCC and Bestway not providing more information with regard to the their proposal.  Maybe, in regard to this, Mr Wyness is perhaps justified in his apparent frustration in dealing with LCC; who knows what the truth is?


So, in the end, I?m still confused: the simple reality is if you want my vote Everton then answer these questions:


  1. Based on an assumed project cost for the stadium of £150M, and in plain English, what specific individual and itemised monetary contributions are being made by:


a)    Tesco


b) Knowsley Council


  1. Taking into account the discount to the stated £110M construction cost of the stadium, what will be, in one simple figure, the net cost of the stadium?


  1. In relation to the £150M project cost, are there any other sources of project funding available?


  1. Subtracting the above contributions from the total £150M cost will leave the figure that Everton will have to fund; with regard to this figure please list Everton?s itemised sources for finance?


  1. The 2006 accounts list Goodison Park as having a value of £ 13,097,550 ? what is the value of the land?


  1. What would be the direct monetary contribution to the club in the first year of a £20M stadium naming rights agreement? 


  1. Regarding the complete Kirkby construction project are there any Compulsory Purchase Orders required to secure any of the land?


  1. Do the residents of Kirkby have the right under local government regulations to demand a referendum on the redevelopment of their town centre?


  1. What, if any, are the regulations specifying compliance that large developments contain specific sports and leisure facilities?


  1. Have LCC / Bestway been in touch with any updated proposals on alternative developments?


  1. Have Everton conducted or commissioned a study on the impact of moving the club from a city to a town in relation to the clubs prospective commercial activities?


  1. If so what are the findings and what strategies are to be adopted, if no, why?



Let?s not have ?Jimmy from the County Crew? or anyone else attempting to answer these questions, only Messer?s Kenwright, Wyness and Leahy know the answers, let?s hear them.


Colin Fitz

Reader Comments

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Gavin Ramejkis
1   Posted 16/08/2007 at 09:22:43

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Well said again Colin
2   Posted 16/08/2007 at 09:14:33

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Very interesting Colin. I would definitely like to hear answers to some of those questions.

However, I am reading a lot of posts and articles that pick detailed holes in the Kirkby plan then expect me to take all the same things for granted on the Bestway crap.

Whilst there may be many reasons to question the Kirkby project, I find it easier to believe that we can deliver the project in partnership with a borough council and a very large and successfull British company than on our own on tiny sites not fit for purpose.

You have asked some good questions and I respect that. Up until now, it’s been the same from both sides of the argument, Yes and No. Plenty of effort spent rubbishing the other arguments and not enough effort spent proving their own claims.

I don’t like having no alternatives, but experience has led me to believe that alternatives are not going to surface. How long can we wait for another partnership to make an offer like this (whatever the finer points of the deal are)? Goodison cannot be redeveloped and the other sites suggested so far are laughable.

I don’t want EFC to leave GP. I don’t want EFC to move outside the city boundary. I don’t want a "cheap" stadium either, but I am running out of patience and optimism when it comes to this debate and I don’t know how much longer I can keep telling myself that something better is round the corner.

At least we’re moving forward on the pitch!!

Jason Hagarthy
3   Posted 16/08/2007 at 09:36:45

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Not sure KW, BK, TL read TW. Have you contacted:

Keith Wyness
Chief Executive Officer
Everton Football Club
Goodison Park
L4 4EL

Direct Line: 0151 330 2345 Fax: 0151 286 9114

4   Posted 16/08/2007 at 10:06:02

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Thanks Mckinney,
When you place a stick in water it appears to bend, some people think that it does bend and some think it?s an illusion, only when the laws of refraction are explained to you do you fully understand what your eyes are being presented with.

I know you agree with this as one of your posts in response "Fortune favors the Brave" was:

"It seems to me that there are too many people reading these articles looking to justify a decision that they have already reached, rather than to inform them so as to make an educated decision."

I think, in this respect, we are of one mind and I thank you for your response.
5   Posted 16/08/2007 at 10:50:15

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Very Philosophical response.

Yes, we are agreed. The problem has always been lack of accurate information and abundance of propaganda.

I prefer to see articles such as yours, that at least try to ask the the important questions and gain more information.

Here’s hoping that, whichever way the vote goes, EFC prosper instead of suffer.
6   Posted 16/08/2007 at 11:58:05

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Have you seen the latest on the Bestway site. I must admit they are only drawings but so are the Tesco Stadium.Reputable company though.
7   Posted 16/08/2007 at 12:07:49

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I was talking about the architects above, not Tesco or Bestway.
8   Posted 16/08/2007 at 12:30:09

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No I haven’t actually, I will check them out.

However, I’m not even bothering myself with the other sites at the moment because I don’t have any facts to look at. At the moment, in my opinion, the decision is simply Yes or No to Kirkby. If I had a vote and voted No to Kirkby it would be because I felt the Kirkby project is not right or will not take EFC forward, not because I think the Loop is a better option. Let’s face it, we’re happily pulling holes in the Kirkby figures but at least there are some figures to rubbish!!!

I agree with Mr Leahy on one of his points, and that is that any stadium project would need to be partnered with retail/residential or corporate developments in order for us to finance it, and the other sites being thrown into the pot are all so small they would barely get a stadium on them, never mind shops, offices, flats etc.

Anyway, I will endeavour to sneak a peek at the new drawings but I would be more interested in some answers to Colin’s questions.

Cheers Rob COYB
T ony Marsh
9   Posted 16/08/2007 at 12:33:41

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Fantastic report Colin and as many of us have said for a while now this kirkby deal is full of holes and half truths.You point out so well the discrepencies in>what the club,Tesco and Wyness are putting out to the fans.As for using Barr construction to build the ground they have years of expetise in building supermarkets for Tescos apparently
but how many stadiums have they built?Hope the likes of Claringbold,Barks and Eileen Roberts read this and stop to think for a moment.The likes of these characters will sell us down the East Lancs with out a second thought.How can any so called Everton supporter vote yes on the dubious information being presented to us by all concerned.
Its a joke.
10   Posted 16/08/2007 at 12:59:20

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Give us a break fella! Even people who have the same stance on the stadium issue as you grow weary of your constant questioning of peoples loyalties or love of EFC.

This is an open debate and people are trying to make an important decision.

You muppet
11   Posted 16/08/2007 at 12:56:56

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Colin I thought your first article was really a propaganda article supporting the no campain and making it large on purpose so to make people think it was genuinely thought out and not biased.
This effort I think is much better. I think questions 1-5 are important questions which it would be intersting to here the answers to.
6 how can you put a figure on this at the moment? All they have given is a possible indication value. Until negotions start and the situation regarding club position and overall economics on the world stage is known in a few years time nobody really has any idea how much stadium naming rights might be. It could be a lot of money however it might not be!!

I think a lot of 7-12 is just silly and yet again you have taken you obvious anti-kirkby stance into your questioning. Afterall your answers to most of these questions are going to be exactly the same no matter where a proposed ground might be.
Colin as I said more balanced than your last article but still clearly an anti-Kirkby article.
Tony Marsh
12   Posted 16/08/2007 at 13:10:15

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I just thought I would like to tell everyone that I wear leather keks. They are boss.

Vote NO to Kirkby and wear leather keks like me.
colin fitz
13   Posted 16/08/2007 at 13:08:06

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No dgf, it’s just an article that doesn’t correspond with your view that anyone questioning the clubs information and intentions should keep quiet as they haven’t got a clue what they’re talking about. Mr. Wyness in his latest desperate bid to pour water on the "loop" site brought up the prospect of CPO’s delaying such a development by up to 12 months, I’m simply asking the same question, Mr. Wyness also indicates that he was uncertain that such a site, the loop, could sustain a 50,000 stadium, I on the other hand would like to wait to see a construction engineer or architect offer an expert opinion. You feel that some of the questions are silly because the answers could possibly make your stance untenable, I refer you to my earlier response to McKinney and his gracious reply appreciating my healthy scepticism on this whole matter.
John Nelson
14   Posted 16/08/2007 at 13:17:47

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Tony "I am the resurrection" Marsh;

You say the Kirkby option is "a joke" - erm have you seen the ideas for Goodison and The Loop? Apart from the obvious reason of us staying in the city, do you honestly believe them proposals are better than the Kirkby one on offer? Personally I think they are embarassing and make complete and utter cunts out of us as Evertonians to actually think they are suitable.

You are a fucking halfwit you mate. Get a grip.

Come on you blues.
T ony Marsh
15   Posted 16/08/2007 at 14:01:58

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John Nelson you call me a half wit and mention Goodison and the loop.I have never once put forward either of those as viable options.Tell me this dumb arse would so many of you Kirkby zealots be so quick to go to Knowsley if Terry Leahy wasnt an Evertonian but was a Liverpool season ticket holder?How easily fooled you lot are.Just ignore Colins Fitzs well put together research and vote yes because Terry Tesco supports Everton.We are getting shafted .Why cant you see it.Do you honestly believe Terry Tesco is willing to sacrafice his own reputation and that of Tescos who are one of the most slippery of corporations to deal with just to give Everton a bunk up?And you call me a half wit.Just ask the farmers what a trust worthy honest bunch Tescos are to deal with.And as for you Mckinney stop poncing around and cast your yes vote like you intend to do.Trying to convince people you are torn with the yes or no vote is laughable.Just do it vote yes and stop trying to cover your back if it goes tits up.
16   Posted 16/08/2007 at 14:31:12

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Tony you ask how many stadiums Barr have built. Now I accept some of these stadium are far from impressive. However I suspect they have just a little bit more experience than building Tesco stores.

Boroughmuir R.F.C.
Bournemouth F.C.
Celtic F.C.
Cheltenham Town F.C.
Dundee F.C.
Dunfermline Athletic F.C.
Fulham F.C.
Hibernian F.C.
Kidderminster Harriers F.C.
Kilmarnock F.C.
Leyton Orient F.C.
Livingston F.C.
Northampton Saints R.F.C.
Perth Racecourse
Plymouth Argyle F.C.
Raith Rovers F.C.
Southampton F.C.
Saint Mirren F.C.
Warrington Wolves R.L.F.C.
Steve Claringbold
17   Posted 16/08/2007 at 14:44:11

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Tony, just to clarify, you don’t want to go to Kirkby, but then the Loop and Goodison aren’t options either?
John Nelson
18   Posted 16/08/2007 at 14:34:06

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Tony Marsh;

What are you going on about? Where has this come from about if Terry Leahy supported the RS?

Also you say that you have never considered the other options viable - fair enough, so what alternatives is there than to move to Kirkby? Fact is mate we need a new ground ASAP - Goodison at it’s present state cannot go on that long. It’s a bit of a laughing stock as it is but in 10 years time when we are somewhere in the lower divisions... I can’t even bear the thought of it.

PS and another thing, fuck the stadium debate for a moment, how come you are so negative and slag Everton for what they do on the pitch at every chance you get? Why do you try and always bring us down?

Come on you blues.
19   Posted 16/08/2007 at 14:36:02

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I do not have a vote, But that doesn’t mean I don’t have an opinion. I just don’t feel it necessary to aggressively ram it down peoples throats like you do. I have read reasoned arguments from both sides which is something I am yet to see from you.

Also note that despite supposedly having made up my mind already, I refrain from calling into question the loyalty of those fans who disagree with my supposed opinion.

You suggest that there is no debate and that there is only one answer. Well, maybe there is only one answer to the Kirkby vote but there is still plenty to debate regarding the bigger picture of the stadium. So just be comfortable that you have been able to cast a vote and leave the rest of us to have a discussion.

I will leave it there and await your childish response.
Tony Marsh
20   Posted 16/08/2007 at 15:20:43

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DGF You need to do better research mate Fulham FC ?????????/>if thats a new ground built by Barr God help us.
21   Posted 16/08/2007 at 16:07:57

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Tony please look at the page they will advise you of their involvemnt in each ground

Personally I suspect they know a bit more about stadium than you Tony but if you want to get your lego bricks out please have a go.
robert carney
22   Posted 16/08/2007 at 16:09:55

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dgf, nelson;

how long it is going to take you two to realise that at the heart of your problem, you are basically yes men with brown noses.

The concerned among us at least try and think individually and with clarity before sounding off.

As said on many occasions we do not know what is available out in the market place, not being a public company Bill and Bully keep it to themselves.

Remember the deal of exclusivity, how many times does it have to be said before you understand.

The Bestway / loop site today have released pictures by an oustanding design architectural company.

Will Everton spend a couple of months looking into the financial side of things? Probably not because the so called deal of the century will probably benefit a couple of investors (who by the way could still clean up later)in the short term and fuck the rest of us.

Tell me , as a commercial company which we are, were would you expect to make the most return. In Kirkby or the centre of Liverpool?

The only way to find out is to VOTE NO. What is a few months when the future of EVERTON is the big concern.
brown nose
23   Posted 16/08/2007 at 16:52:30

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We have been trying to move or develop the ground for many years, the exclusivity agreement was in place for less than a year!

A few months won’t hurt? Very optimistic as I feel it would be more like 5 years.
24   Posted 16/08/2007 at 22:29:17

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Mr Carney..+ "marshy"

I will say this only once:

EVERYBODY knows that TESCO are building this development to make
MONEY££££££..thats the secret plan.

The only way that they are able to use the SQ acerage that they want if they include another development..other than there retail
In come EVERTON FC....
Tesco and Knowsley council help fund the stadium..

Tesco gets its land and makes lots of money...

Kirkby gets its city centre redeveloped and gets lots of jobs..

AND...(drum roll) EVERTON get a brand new 50,000 seater modern facilities and all stadium..for buttons , and they make ..accord to that nice Mr Wyness..and..the equally nice chaps who have posted here..about 10 mill clear profit each year..

This is known as a WIN..WIN situation...this means it is GOOD.

One more thing , glad to see you have manged to come and talk shite since our great performance at Spurs ..but still aint acknowledged it.....shame on you

Still..Im just a fool and a traitor..what do I know
25   Posted 17/08/2007 at 09:37:24

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Ive looked on the barr website and god help us if they’re building the stadium. Every one of them looks like a corregated scaffolded, basic, same piece of shite. Nothing special about them at all, no stand out features no soul. But hey. thats what you get on the cheap, isnt that what Tesco specialise in?
There are so many unanswered question with Kirkby as pointed out in the article but the YES voters seem to ignore these and instead ask the same questions of the ’loop’ and redevelopment ’option’ (i use the term loosely). Yes we’re skint so we cant fund a build on our own. Colin points out WHERE ARE WE GETTING THE MONEY FOR KIRKBY????? We’re skint and the numbers dont add up.
Secondly, we’ve only seen artists impressions of Kirkby, no plans, no arial shots, nothing.
Wake up, Kirkby is a massive problem waiting to happen, too many unanswered questions and scheming behind the scenes going on. FFS even Kenwright is staying out of this one...Stop being blinded by the propaganda coming out of the club. It’ll be the darkest day in our history if we move to that souless, cheap cowshed.
Tim Lloyd
26   Posted 17/08/2007 at 10:10:57

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How much longer do you ’No’ people want to delay moving to a new ground. The financial position is the same, we have no chance whatsoever of funding a new ground on our own, LCC would not be able to provide any and there seem to be no fairy Godmothers / fathers waiting in the wings. Shall we just stay where we are and stagnate. Colin Fitz has regaled us with a wonderful screed which appears to suggest we wait. What for? How much longer do you think Tesco’s will want to delay their super store while suspicious Evertonians try to pick holes in what has been arranged. I’m sure Tesco’s aren’t assisting Everton with the building of a new Stadium for any altruistic reasons but I cannot believe Terry Leahy has other than Everton’s best interests at heart.

Furthermore, why do people think Kenrick and Wyness would be party to something which could endanger the best interests of the club. It just doesn’t make sense.To me, without a vote, Kirkby seems to be the best move option we are likely to have, forget LCC , they’ve done nothing for so long, I just cannot see how they can do anything in the next few months.

People now criticise the computer generated pictures of the proposed new stadium, making snide comments about the design, almost certainly the very same people who had insisted that we needed the old 4 sided design of their beloved Goodison Park. Its so true, its impossible to please everybody but the concept would get my vote, if only I had one.
27   Posted 17/08/2007 at 11:34:20

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The point is Tim is that Everton are promoting the unique selling point of Kirkby as being cheap in comparison to what every other club who have or is planning to move. Kirkby as a prospective home for a major premiership club has many problems but if it only incurred £15M extra debt then I agree that I can see the benefit, what if it’s £100M. Mantras are repeated often, we’re skint is probably the most common closely followed by the Manchester not playing in Manchester explanation. Have you not realised what an asset we have with the fan base, media and merit payments, this is what Hicks, Gillett and Glazer have identified and are exploiting to the benefit of their fans.It will be this asset that will be exploited in the future, all some people are asking is why not be truthful?
ben storey
28   Posted 17/08/2007 at 13:19:36

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colin, as much as i appreciate the work you have gone to in fully scrutinising the deal to make some sense of it, i cant help thinking that this proposed move is playing a massive factor in the playing staff at everton.

i have voted yes although i have been as torn as anyone and have spent hours reading articles and the debates via different medium.

basically what my decision was based on was our current position. here we are, with the best first team in 20 years and with so mcuh cause for optimism. we are on the brink of unveiling manny and i just feel that if we are to progress NOW we need to move ground asap. i really think the club is selling the new ground and training complex to possible new signings and it seems to be working.

moyes has spent 5 years building the team and i just feel if we want to achieve the success we deserve it will involve ’moving with the times’. basically i voted for the move because it is on the table right now. i fear if we stand still at this moment in time the same appeal will not be there to the players and the team could break up.

to clarify i would love us to stay in the city, but the club as said they have searched for sites and have not found one that is deliverable. i maybe a fool but i trust the board and am hopeful this deal they have put forward will move us forward and to the top of the english game once more.
Neil Colquhoun
29   Posted 17/08/2007 at 14:15:46

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I don’t get what the massive problem is with Kirkby?

It’s less than 4 miles from Goodison & on major routes in and out of the city.

I had season tickets for years before moving to Melbourne and, from my viewpoint, moving 4 miles to benefit the club and help secure our long term future at a time when we genuinely have a good team full of young internationals with a top class manager, makes more than enough sense.

There are no other viable options.

Terry Marsbar makes the best point above: Tesco have to make sure that the Kirkby Town Centre development is a mixed-use development to get the rights to develop the WHOLE site and they will meet this stipulation by providing a stadium within the development.

I am a civil engineer and most major new construction developments on this scale will have similar requirements.

We quite simply need to see this for what it is - an absolute chance of a lifetime for our club and if we miss it we will still be bitching and moaning about where we are going to move to in another 10 years time.

It must be 10 years since I voted yes as a season ticket holder to move to Kings Dock.........

Lets get on with it and get the bloody thing built.

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