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Merseyside?

By Gary Sedgwick :  21/11/2007 :  Comments (28) :
Miami Dolphins moved from the city boundaries. They are now located in Hialeah, for UK residents, a suburb of the Greater Miami (a la Merseyside) area. They still attract almost capacity crowds despite a 100% loss record this year. JRB stadium is no stand out - now. It was constructed mid 1980?s. Compare this stadium to newer facilties within the NFL and it is a no-brainer. JRB/PPS compares with our current GP - except for the history - but according to the website, Stadiums of the NFL, ranks as one of the best. It is only 20 +/- years young.

Some may say the Dolphins are the only NFL team in the area, they do not have a neighbouring NFL team. I totally agree. What they do have are other sports to compete with; NBA, NHL and MLB. Everton do not. We only (realistically) compete with one team not three others. If a team with such competition from other sports can move away from its origins and continue to be supported then why can?t we? If a stadium can continue to attract support from the Greater Miami area, including downtown Miami, why can?t we? Downtown where the Orange Bowl, Miami?s original home, is situated is way more than four miles away for those that ask. I lived there, it is a good ten miles away. Liken this to Liverpool and Merseyside.

Am I for or against the move you may ask? Living in the US since 1993 I cannot answer. I have too many memories of GP. Most are unforgettable. 5-0 v. MUFC; 1-1 v. MUFC, Wakenshaw scored (my first game); UCD what a nerve wracker; Fortuna Sittard ECWC - still remember Reidy?s "starsplash" by the corner flag; Ipswich Town, 2-1 down with minutes to play in the FA cup quarters and many, many more.

If the club do relocate our history will not be forgotten by those of us who were there to witness those tremendous occassions and those sorrowful ones as well, however long those memories are. The Dolphins moved home as we are likely to do. Get behind EVERTON. Who knows in twenty plus years the new stadium will be lauded as much as JRB/PPS and now the newly named "Dolphin?s Stadium"

Reader Comments

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Lyndon Lloyd
Editorial Team
1   Posted 21/11/2007 at 06:42:51

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There?s a number of things to bear in mind here, Gary. Firstly, the NFL season being as short as it is, there?s not much overlap between that and the seasons of those other sports you mention, particularly baseball. Furthermore, local fans often support two or more of their city?s teams so the only real competition is for people?s money.

Secondly, most NFL franchises make a LOT of money, attract massive sponsorship and can command far more money for naming rights, etc, than can Everton. And that?s where one of the most contentious issues arises, namely the kind of stadium that is on offer in Kirkby. It feels like a double body-blow to be leaving the City, moving 6 miles further away from the biggest urban regeneration project currently underway in Europe, for a "repli-kit" stadium in a Tesco car park.

Thirdly, with Americans so accustomed to driving everywhere, the distance of a stadium from the city isn?t really that big an issue ? indeed, it?s a boon for the tailgating culture. (I realise that that doesn?t fit with the paradox that there is now a shift towards inner-city stadia now across the Pond, though!)

Eric Myles
2   Posted 21/11/2007 at 07:41:57

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But isn’t it true that American Football enjoys a far greater level of support all round than ’Soccer’ in UK?

For example I went to a Fresno State Bulldogs game back in 1990, basically a bunch of schoolboy amateurs that played in front of a sell out crowd of 60,000 people.?

Also isn’t the point of having a stadium out of town in the US is to accomodate all the cars and the tailgate parties in the carpark?

Can’t see Tesco allowing that in Kirkby.
Tom Hughes
3   Posted 21/11/2007 at 07:44:55

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Gary, you omit to mention the more numerous relocations to downtown areas of these new american footy and baseball clubs in the past 15 years(even in the home of auto-culture), and the demolition of many of these out-of-town stadia. How many other teams are there in the miami district, and its outlying areas....? have they any local competition? There are also instances of these franchises moving state, and getting good crowds, are there not ? So I’m not sure the analogy holds too much water in that respect.... Are you saying we could move anywhere and fill it? if Everton moved to the midlands, do you think we would fill villa park with new Evertonians? There comes a point where the logistics just don’t work, where lack of convenience will kick in and the less dedicated will fall away, we haven’t got stacks of surplus support as shown by the non-existant waiting list for season tickets. It’s becoming increasingly obvious that Kirkby cannot provide similar accessibility to the more central GP, and nothing like that for the Loop, regardless of the much vaunted motorway, there are no bus stops on M57.
Andrew Sherry
4   Posted 21/11/2007 at 07:56:12

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The other point you’re missing is that it is quite acceptable and not unusual for US Sports fans to follow football, baseball, basket ball and hockey teams, so they aren’t really competing.

Also, the seasons for each sport tend to be a lot shorter so there is only a small overlap - football is an autumn sport, hockey is for the winter and baseball in the summer (no idea about basketball).
Tom hughes
5   Posted 21/11/2007 at 08:18:18

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Andrew, just a quick aside.... have you a brother named colin (from fazak originally)?
Tommy Jones
6   Posted 21/11/2007 at 08:12:41

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Gary you make some good points but listen mate if these get a sniff of support for the ground move you are doomed mate, your opinion will be torn to shreads. You are wrong they are right end of story. Mention Kirkby and you might aswell say I support the RS, that is how narrow minded these people are, they are the true blues (so they believe) and if you do not agree you are a traitor and cant be a true blue. It will divide this club mark my words there are to many militants who are now on a crusade to discredit anyone who voted yes and supports the move. Shame though because I happen to know one of these KEIOC and he hardly goes the match, his Mrs wont let him go true Blue my arse.
Andrew Sherry
7   Posted 21/11/2007 at 08:22:56

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Tom - sorry, not guilty of having that brother.
Lee Spargo
8   Posted 21/11/2007 at 08:52:26

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Both the New York Giants and the New York Jets play in neighbouring New Jersey, not in New York City.

Over 80,000 fans every week.
Tom Hughes
9   Posted 21/11/2007 at 09:12:48

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Lee,
NJ population..... 8 million+, Kirkby..... 40,000, just a bit bigger than accrington. Haven’t one of these or both been trying to relocate to Manhatten? What’s the combined population of NY/NJ/Maryland? Probably more than the entire North of England. Lee check out stadium World or stadium guide, and see how many new stadia have been built in downtown areas in the US. I think the proposed new Jets stadium is in there somewhere. If you can shoe horn one into Manhatten you can do it anywhere.
Shaun Brennan
10   Posted 21/11/2007 at 09:55:45

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Please do not compare that franchise sport to ours.
James Elworthy
11   Posted 21/11/2007 at 10:01:51

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American sport cannot be compared to ours.
High School American Football games attract a full house of about 5000 on Friday night.
University teams attract a full house of about 60,000 on a Saturday afternoon.
NFL teams attract a full house of 70,000 on a Sunday afternoon.
It is a family day out, BBQ in the carpark, they travel hundreds of miles to see their old college team.
Distance is no object in a country 3000 miles wide.
British people have a totally different mentality with sport to an American.
Tom Tibb
12   Posted 21/11/2007 at 10:30:37

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This is a pointless article with no comparison with UK geography.

All NFL teams are franchises with no distinguished local area to base from. The LA raiders moved 60 miles to be the Oakland Raiders. The Houston Oilers moved out of Houston to a different part of Texas altogether.
They also have a far greater population.
The 49ers are planning to move 30 miles out of San Francisco (much to the disgust of fans).
We cant compare Everton moving out of Liverpool (where the heart of the club is) to an American Franchise which moves every decade to pillage whatever potential market area it can see.
Paul Ramsey
13   Posted 21/11/2007 at 11:49:15

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Agree with Tom, pointless article. Miami fill there stadium each week even while there losing because everyone has a season ticket that theyve paid a fortune for. Perhaps uve highlighed what will happen to us...new stadium, pricey season tickets and loosing everyweek but with no choice but to attend the mockery of the tescodrome!
Damian Scott
14   Posted 21/11/2007 at 11:56:08

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As one of the posts above mentioned, the american sports are seasonal. Football is a winter sport as is basketball and an overlap of hockey. Baseball is the summer sport. There are ’sports fans’ in america who follow all the localities various sports teams, but a lot of people only follow one or two, i.e. football in winter, baseball in summer etc etc..

Comparing american sporting habits and that of europe is like comparing chalk and cheese.

A lot of NFL teams have recently moved back to their core fanbase and inner city stadium locations...

The main pain points that out of town stadiums gave to fans were things like traffic, distance, time spent in queues etc, etc. The novelty or ’experiment’ of out-of-town stadiums on green-field sites pretty much failed...

Some examples in soccer... Juventus. Miles away from Turin. Stadium was always empty. They are now reducing the capacity.... Bolton. Traffic problems, never full. Reading... fans have to leave 10 mins before the game or else they are stuck in traffic for hours...

IT DOESN’T WORK!!! WAKE UP BIILY BOY!!!!
Tony Marsh
15   Posted 21/11/2007 at 12:05:34

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Jesus wept.WTF are you on about lad.How can you even begin to compare Gridiron and English football???.
American football teams move to other states and still draw in the crowds.Its a franchise buisness and is a totally different set up to the way people follow football clubs in Britain.I cant put up with any more of you dumb yes voters trying to justify your pathetic reasons for voting
yes.Go to Kirkby with BK AND KW and watch the club die but please stop trying to convince the more sane Evertonians that its the right thing to do because its a load of bollocks.
Lee Spargo
16   Posted 21/11/2007 at 12:20:33

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Tom Hughes:

I’m a Giant’s fan. The new stadium, which will be shared with the Jets, is right next to the existing one. It’s on a big space of open land outside the city. Nowhere near Manhatten.

I’m well aware of the difference in population between Kirkby and New Jersey. I was just pointing out that it’s not uncommon for teams to play on the periphery, or just outside of their recognised home ’city’. No identity has been lost. Nobody would assume or suggest that the Giants or the Jets are not ’New York’ teams. And I think you’ll find the vast majority of game-going Giants fans are from the City.
Sam List
17   Posted 21/11/2007 at 12:42:27

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Our major football stadium here in Adelaide (Austraalaiaa) is one of the best in the country. But 1 problem, its 30 minutes from the city. It sells out but always has 10000+ no shows. It’s too much effort to drive from areas not located in that part of the city. The best two MCG and DOCLANDS (Melbourne) are built close to the CBD, Both make use of existing Bus Tram Train connections. In addition to season ticket holders they both get loads of fans who dont support the teams rocking up to the games. People just go as its a quick, no hassle decision.
Tom hughes
18   Posted 21/11/2007 at 13:32:01

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Lee,
Apolgies, I read of a new stadium for one or the other a while ago and it was to be located in Manhatten, there were even some images...



American footy is not my thing but I’ve visited a few stadia, and a few baseball parks also. I don’t know if this is most current or not:

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9801E1DB1430F937A15750C0A9629C8B63

There are peripheral sites with large urban sprawls and or neighbouring connurbations with mutually supportive transport networks. But Kirkby is quite literally the end of the line. St Helens is probably the nearest town and this can rarely fill 15,000 Knowsley Rd for one of the best Rugby league teams in the world. There simply isnt the kind of numbers nor interest to be of any real benefit to Everton...... but to be honest why are we trying to reinvent our fanbase? There are 1.5 million people in Merseyside we should be striving to win them, and the nearer to their geographical centre the better..... that’s why the rest of the amenities are there too.
Steve Green
19   Posted 21/11/2007 at 15:34:18

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Tom Tibb, a couple of minor points:

1. The LA Raiders were originally the Oakland Raiders. They moved to LA when owner Al Davis couldn?t get a better deal from the city, then moved back again when LA wouldn?t build a new stadium.
2. The Houston Oilers didn?t move to another part of Texas, they moved to another state -- Tennessee, where they?re now the Titans.
Neil McKinney
20   Posted 21/11/2007 at 17:35:44

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Pretty pointless trying to compare the two really, but it hasn’t stopped many rushing to rubbish the article. Only goes to further prove a post above. People are entrenched on both sides, some want to see what the move can bring to Everton football club, some want to remain in the club’s historical home, but in most cases one side will not change the other’s mind.

Whilst this is a poor comparison, I believe that the main point is that fans should be able to continue to support their team regardless of a move of a few miles. As long as the transport links are good people will travel. As long as the team does well on the pitch, new support will continue to flow from surrounding areas and across the UK (think about slagging off RS for having support from far and wide). I understand the view that Everton are a Liverpool club, but IMHO the distance they would be moving to Kirkby is negligible, as you could probably move further and still be within the city boundaries. I am not for one moment suggesting that moving from the city should be taken lightly, but I think some make it a much bigger issue than they can justify with evidence. There are lots of theories about what might happen to EFC if they relocate to Kirkby, but many are based on worst case scenarios and assumptions. Inevitably there is a risk, but you can’t avoid them in business so while Kirkby may not be the right decision, it should not be dismissed too easily.
Dave Trudgeon
21   Posted 21/11/2007 at 16:06:45

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I was driving past the area where Pleasure Island used to be and i noticed that its an absolutely huge wasteland now. Has that area ever been put forward for the stadium idea or is something else planned for that land?
Lee Spargo
22   Posted 21/11/2007 at 20:54:18

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Dave, i’m not sure who owns that site, but i’d be suprised if it was LCC. It’s not very well served transport-wise either. But, like the Kings Dock, it would have been great to have a stadium on the banks of the Mersey. Truth is though, it’s Hobsons choice isn’t it?
Gary Sedgwick
23   Posted 22/11/2007 at 01:24:35

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To all respondants I give my thanks. The post has spawned, so far, honest and open debate. If I may I would like to make my comments to some of the responses?

Lyndon. Your articulate response set the overall tone for replies. A very measured and accurate response and one I cannot and will not argue with except for one point. Your last sentence of paragraph one reads, "Furthermore, local fans often support two or more of their city?s teams so the only real competition is for people?s money." I have reworded this as, " Local fans often support one of their city’s teams so the only real competition is for people’s money." Does/Could this reflect the current EPL mindset? That we (EFC) are competing with LFC as a business rather than a "club"? I think so.

Eric. I agree. It will not happen

Tom Hughes (post #1).You make good points. Maybe they have learnt and we are learning? Quote, " Are you saying we could move anywhere and fill it?" No I am not. What I am saying is that it might not be as bleak as it looks - for the present. Who knows what will happen in the future...?

Tommy Jones. I support the "Club" irrespective of the outcome. Should we move, wherever, I will support the CLUB. The club is Everton. As I wrote I cannot give an honest answer to the ground move. My last visit to GP was Coventry 1994. 2-0 up to a 2-2 draw sat in a cramped seat in the Lower Bullens. That is my last memory of GP

Tom Tibb and Paul Ramsey. I agree. If the move happens then maybe that is the result. I am not attempting to compare US franchises to our Club

Damian. Good post.

Tony Marsh. Thanks for your response. I was not trying to compare the NFL to the EPL. I was attempting to articulate that, forgive the comparison to the way American sports are controlled, if a move away from GP is necessary then maybe the new stadium, wherever it is, will become the new GP.

Neil McKiinney. You have hit the nail on the head. Thank you!

As I wrote in my original post I have many fond memories of GP. Now living in the US all I want is for the Blues to be a success. If this is at GP or somewhere else I will still support EFC. I am neither for or against a proposed move. I want what is best for the CLUB. Be that at GP or elsewhere..
Joel Landry
24   Posted 22/11/2007 at 22:54:10

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If you can stop supporting the club you have supported all your life simply because they?ve moved a couple of miles up the road you?ve got to ask serious questions
Tom Hughes
25   Posted 23/11/2007 at 00:33:49

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JL, my first question would be since when has Walton to Kirkby been 2 miles?
Eric Myles
26   Posted 23/11/2007 at 00:54:11

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So what Tommy Jones seems to be saying is that if you’ve based your opinion on wrong information just ignore all those people that give you the correct information and stick with your opinion.

But then doesn’t it make the opinion wrong if the information it was based on is wrong?
Joel Landry
27   Posted 23/11/2007 at 09:06:05

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Tom, I didnt say ?2 miles?

If we?re going to be pedantic, it?s 5.8 miles from Goodison to Kirkby according to the AA

If people can?t be arsed with the extra 5/6 miles to sit in a stadium that doesnt have wooden seats and obstructed views, Id ask questions about their ?support?
Tom Hughes
28   Posted 23/11/2007 at 17:50:17

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Joel, you can question people’s support all you like, but 5.8 miles given the location and all the logistical problems that are being highlighted might as well be a whole new experience. This could add an hour or more to our journeys given these problems and will deter many in our convenience led society. As far as wooden seats and obstructions ...... how does this apply to the Loop or a redeveloped GP?

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