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Away support shows the way

By Brian Baker :  20/09/2007 :  Comments (13) :
I have read with interest the differing opinions on how a move to Kirkkby will effect our attendance, both short term and long term.

There are the doom merchants who forcast that Blues will turncoat in their droves, changing allegence to support the only remaining club in the city. I am convinced this view is a knee-jerk reaction, fueled by a desparate few who will do anything to keep Everton under the indiffrent wing of Liverpool City Council.

All the time I have been an Everton supporter, since 1969, there has been always been a fickle few who have changed to support the Reds because they are more successful. But there have been an equal number who have come the other way during our years of success during the 80s. I am a firm believer that true football fans will never change their allegance and will support their club though good times and bad times. That I feel is not the issue in moving to Kirkby. The real issue is how the move will affect our home attendence?

If our attendence at Kirkby was to increase, then that would assume that Goodison Park is not servicing the popular appeal of the club. Is this assumption correct? If so, how do you measure a clubs popular appeal?

I beleive a good measure of a club's popular appeal is how well it is supported away from home. If you look at the away support for clubs visiting GP, you can soon see which clubs are well supported and which ones are not. It's no coincidence that clubs filling up our away end consistently have wide popular appeal.

If you look at away attendences at Portsmouth or Newcastle, both miles apart, Everton are one of the few clubs who consistently sell-out their away ticket allocation for these games. I don't need to tell regular attendees at GP which clubs will never sell out our away end.

So what will this all mean to attendences at Kirkby and GP? What is stopping long distance supporters from travelling to GP at the momment for home games? I'll tell you what: No secure off-street parking, poor obscured veiws, cramped stadium conditions, no direct rail link, poor catering facilities and toilets.

Having somewhere secure to park my car, with good motorway links, will give me one less reason not to drive 200 miles to watch my beloved Everton. Unfortunatly for middle England the car is king, so making it easier for the car user to travel to games will be a big plus.

Away attendances show that Everton do have wide popular appeal outside of Liverpool as well as inside. I can see our average attendances climbing well into the 40 thousands long after our honeymoon in a new ground is over. Our away support is showing us the way.

Reader Comments

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Steve Wolfe
1   Posted 20/09/2007 at 14:17:21

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It's amazimg anybody went to the game in thr last 100 yrs if thats whats is keeping them away now !!!try lack of success, that is what is keeping them away
Brian Baker
2   Posted 20/09/2007 at 14:34:42

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Steve, most of the good seats at GP do in fact sell out, as our average home attendance of nearly 36,000 suggests. A bigger stadium with better road links and safer parking, with our existing wider appeal, will increase that average I am absolutely sure.
Shaun Brennan
3   Posted 20/09/2007 at 14:45:10

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It’s easier getting to goodison than it is to kirkby.

Main route into liverpool lime street isn’t too far away!

Saying that parking facilities are there for the coaches.

So how many travelby car?

more than the supporters who comevia coach and train.

somehow i think not.
Seamus Murphy
4   Posted 20/09/2007 at 14:52:22

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Brian - What is the reason for believing that a measure of how popular a club is is how many away fans they have?? I would belive it just means we have a hardcore of fans - it doesnt mean we have more all over the country who dont go because of obstructed views.
We only had 33k at the Blackburn game - 3k perfectly good UNobstructed view seats not sold.

My opinion is that it is the quality of football and lack of sucess that affects crowds.
shaun Brennan
5   Posted 20/09/2007 at 15:04:53

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Oh yeah almost forgot. Liverpool are building a 70,000 seater down the road. whats the difference with parking facilities there? No change, or are they building a car park aswell?

Do you think away fans will stop going to watch the their teams play against the RS?
As for obstructed views its never stopped evertonians going away games? whats the difference there?

Saying that some of the stewards are able to put you going away, or leaving your house...
Steve Lyth
6   Posted 20/09/2007 at 16:35:07

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Ha ha, as many reds defected to us during the eighties ? What prey tell do you base that information on ? I go to the aways on a regular basis, I have not decided if I will go to Kirkby, if it comes off. Its nothing to do with fickleness Brian I can assure you and it aint just a few with the type of view that I have got.
7   Posted 20/09/2007 at 16:54:48

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We can’t even fill Goodison never mind that idiotic idead they’ve come up with in Kirkby!!!!
david kiely
8   Posted 20/09/2007 at 17:04:17

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Muddle headed analysis there. We get decent away support ergo: we’ll get average gates of what, 45,000 at Kirkby?

Better parking? It’s park and ride, mate....unless you’re one of the blue eyed boys with a parking permit for the 1000 places available.
karl masters
9   Posted 20/09/2007 at 17:48:34

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Currently, those of us that come by car from a long way away use the Stanley Park car park ( I can’t take the risk of returning to find my car broken into or missing when I have a 250 mile drive to do immediately )

I don’t know how many cars that car park holds, but it’s a lot and then other people park in streets etc near the Stadium. the new stadium is supposed to have a Car Park for 1000 cars. So I can’t really see any improvement there.

It’s no use being able to get to the Stadium vicinity via a motorway if you can’t actually leave your car anywhere. I forecast it will be like Reading where I had to use a muddy field by the nearby Speedway stadium and got fleeced a tenner for the privelege. Any owners of muddy fields or similar near Cherryfield Drive will be rubbing their hands I’m sure!

One other point. How congested will that slip road off the M57 be with all those cars arriving on a Saturday, not just for EFC, but the largest Tesco in the solar system? Can’t say I’m looking forward to it and the public transport alternatives don’t look too hot either. Guess that’s waht will put off some people going in the years ahead...
10   Posted 20/09/2007 at 17:52:03

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Whatever design of ground we end up with (if the move to Kirkby ever comes off) we won’t fill a 55k stadium. End of. It will fill up when we play the RS or the Mancs but that’ll be THEIR support, not ours. There is NO WAY that a new stadium in Kirkby will increase our level of support. A move will make us just another small town club, our history will count for nothing. But don’t let this get into a stadium move type of thread.
11   Posted 20/09/2007 at 17:58:46

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Karl, to make matters worse I’ve been told that the Runcorn Bridge is to have another lane added to it which will make the journey (for those who need to travel that way, from south Cheshire or North Wales)a nightmare. We will probably have to go through the tunnel as usual. Which is what I’m going to do now to get to tonights game.See you.
steven pugh
12   Posted 20/09/2007 at 23:02:51

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why do us long distance fans prefer away games, simple we can see the game, bolton 5* view wigan 5* view etc. we go to goodison and get the ticket dreggs (as should be for one off fans )normally at the very back of the gladys street stand, excellent at the end of season games but otherwise not worth up to £100 in cost to me,
a new ground is essential if we are to compete
where its built?,who pays?
i cant see much option at this moment,even if it is technically wrong being just over the council boundary,
if any body saw the sunderland programme with peter reid ,
all you heard was im not leaving roker park, i wont re new my season ticket, six months after opening of the stadium of light
they are all back on the waiting body likes change but we def need a 50,000 stadium and i think we will fill it if we have a team we believe in.
Tom hughes
13   Posted 21/09/2007 at 00:22:35

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I haven’t heard anyone say No-voters will defect to the darkside following a move to Kirkby. What I have heard said is that future generations of footy fans will be more inclined to support the central/locally based side than the out-of-town team. This seems a fair assumption given the nature of footy support being both tribal and therefore territorial. There are lots of reasons to believe that a Kirkby move will lead to reduction in attendances in the longer term. Kirkby can only ever be more inconvenient for the bulk of our support by virtue of it being on the edge of the main Evertonian catchment area. There is something like ten times more public transport seats available at GP than there are for Kirkby also by virtue of its relative centrality, this isn’t a small shortfall, it’s massive. There are next to no direct bus services serving Kirkby from the majority of Liverpool/wirral districts. There are also only a couple of dual carriageways leading directly to the site from the main conurbation, with the vast majority having to arrive and leave in/from the same directions, as opposed to people dispersing in all directions from Walton. It has gridlock written all over it. Therefore in brief, if you find that you struggle at GP sometimes, you’ll need to multiply that several times over for Kirkby..... unless you live there of course. This added inconvenience, and live matches in every pub in the city will eventually chip away at our match going support. This can become an epidemic (as it did in the early 80’s and 90’s) When the gaps start to appear in the stands, and the atmosphere vanishes even more may give it up. Then you’ll need real success to get them back!

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