In that vein, then, I?m always well disposed to listen sympathetically to what he has to say. Increasingly, though, I?m finding myself caught between two stools when BK shoots from the hip, chiefly because it?s regularly becoming the case that what he says is either poorly informed, badly recalled, misses the point or is just plain wrong.
My instinct with BK is always to give him the benefit of the doubt. But I?m starting to wonder, now, whether in his famous ad-lib moments he?s making genuine mistakes (because he?s probably got a million-and-one things to deal with, coupled with the fact that he?s a likeable guy) or whether he deliberately seeks to misinform and, in fact, is far shrewder than he deliberately likes to appear and knows exactly what he?s up to when he lets one of his famous heartfelt quotes dangle in the Evertonian ether.
Take his latest line about redeveloping Goodison piecemeal. Whilst I don?t want to get into the whole ?it can / can?t be done? argument, Bill has now put it about that there is an inherent danger in Everton operating with only three sides of the stadium in operation. This is what he said:
"I am not a developer, so I have to rely on the advice given. But I do know what happened the last time we moved a stand at this ground and we played with a three-sided ground, we nearly got relegated.?
He?s obviously referring to the spring of 1994 when we demolished the old Park End. And, on the face of it, he?s right to say that Everton did indeed nearly get relegated in the spring of 1994 and we famously did play out that 3.2 nailbiter with Wimbledon minus the Park End of the ground (which, let?s face it, stood virtually empty for the vast majority of home games in the late 80s and early 90s anyway).
So Bill has a point. And it?s an emotive one, too. And it seems factual. And none of us wants to risk relegation again, do we (let?s just overlook the fact that four years later with the new Park End built and occupied by Evertonians every game we nearly went and got relegated again)?
Except that Bill hasn?t got a point. For he not only totally distorts the unfolding calamity of the whole of the 93-94 season but he completely misrepresents the sequence of results after the stand was demolished towards the end of the campaign.
Sorry to be such a pedant (Bill started it!), but if I recall correctly, the last fixture we played out with a fully functioning old Park End was against Chelsea on 5 February 1994 (won 4-2). By that stage, Everton, with four sides of the ground in operation from August through to February had laboured under three managers (Kendall MK II, Jimmy Gabriel?s prolonged and disastrous caretaker spell, and Mike Walker).
By that stage, Everton, with four sides of the ground in operation from August through to February had played 15 home league games (witnessed by some top-notch Saturday attendances such as the 13,000 fools like me who turned up in December to see us play Southampton in Kendall?s last game) of which we won just six and lost eight, including a memorable 5-1 thumping by an Efan Ekoku inspired Norwich (under Mike Walker) witnessed by about 50 Canaries? fans in the Park End.
By that stage, Everton, with four sides of the ground in operation from August through to February, had already flown-out of both cups at Goodison (the League Cup to Man Utd - so that?s ok, then; the FA Cup to a lower division Bolton, featuring Messrs Stubbs and McAteer, whom we were beating 2-0 before inexplicably folding to lose 2-3 aet).
I could go on, but I think the point is already proved. Because by the time we knocked down the Park End in February 1994, Everton, with four sides of Goodison in operation, were already making pretty decent strides towards disaster and relegation. In fact, things got measurably better when we actually did decommission the Park End, for we played seven home games after that and only lost two of them. Good stats by 93-94 standards!
But why let the facts get in the way of a good story?
Certainly Bill hasn?t. But is it just a case that his memory was playing tricks and the iconic images of fans hanging from the trees in Stanley Park as we all sweated against Wimbledon has coloured his recollections?
Or did he know exactly what he was doing when he made that statement about the perils of having only three sides of the ground in operation, especially by evoking the horrible spectre of relegation which he knows will make every Evertonian of a certain vintage shudder as they recall the horror of 1994?
I?m beginning to wonder; simply because the net effect of Bill?s statement has been to seriously damage the ?let?s redevelop Goodison argument?. At a stroke.
And it?s a direct-hit line, conveniently laden with the dark memories of that Wimbledon game, that, no doubt, will be gleefully latched onto by the defiantly pro-Kirkby lobby and you can bet it will be trotted out with regularity (odd, though, that like Wyness? famous recent assertion that we suddenly need a 75,000-seater site, Bill?s never mentioned it before).
Shame, then, that he was so muddled in his memories....
Or was he?
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1 Posted 06/12/2007 at 15:59:44
2 Posted 06/12/2007 at 16:10:39
3 Posted 06/12/2007 at 16:10:51
Again, could you guys get your No stories straight? Are Bill and Keith (a) incompetent buffoons, (b) evil geniuses manipulating our minds, or (c) corrupt criminals lining their own pockets?
Or perhaps they are relatively decent guys trying to do a decent job in difficult circumstances which some people on this site agree with and some people don’t? And because you disagree rather than deal with reality (i.e. how we are going to afford any other option than Kirkby) you are just throwing any shit at them that comes to hand.
4 Posted 06/12/2007 at 16:17:34
The point is that the Board appears to be feeling the pressure and that?s a concern for all of us. The current propaganda campaign is feeding the cynics and doing nothing to instill confidence in the Yes voters. To state "We?ve had our vote now move on" is to ignore the developments of the past few weeks, especially in the light of Asda?s announcement.
5 Posted 06/12/2007 at 16:39:43
Where will we build a stadium with the magic money that exists in peoples minds?
Kenwright has a certain point in alluding to relegation. If we rebuilt Goodison then there would certainly not be any cash for players.
6 Posted 06/12/2007 at 16:44:50
I?m glad I got that off my chest...
7 Posted 06/12/2007 at 17:01:59
Having second thoughts about BK?, an actor by trade will say what he needs to convince the massess and win their hearts (and boy does he?)
What a load of shite about the ground quote and relegation. Find two factors that occur and invent a relationship between them to suit your purpose. What about the season viallii saved us (fuckin hell I must be of been sitting in an imaginary park end).
Football teams tend to get relegated because they are hopeless, didnt see the Staduim of Light save Sunderland, or Old Trafford save Man u in the 1970s?
I tend to go on reliable evidence i.e. frequency of bullshit quotes Bill comes out with - plenty of evidence over a long period of time, choose your topic Rooney,Fortress, Kings Dock etc etc not even mentioned the K-word
PS Didn’t BK play a red neck in the LIver birds snuggled to Nerys Hughes?
8 Posted 06/12/2007 at 17:21:51
9 Posted 06/12/2007 at 17:00:41
The problem they now have is that by not being honest, every statement they make appears more bizarre than the last, and does make them look like your option a) utter buffoons.
I really, really hope they are not. They are shaping our club for future generations.
10 Posted 06/12/2007 at 18:17:08
By my lights, on the Goodison question Bill should have said something straightforward (and true) such as: "Look, we’ve looked at the Goodison question from all sorts of angles over the last few years. We have concluded that we cannot afford the short-term loss of revenues from the rebuilding, need a partner anyway for that level of investment, and need a new ground to enable us to get the future revenue streams we need as a club to compete in the modern age".
There is a strong case for Kirkby given our financial condition, but I think Bill has now put himself in a bit of a no win situation. He fears telling the blunt truth because it might alienate a section of the fans. And because he won’t just come out with it he fuels all these absurd conspiracy theories.
Message to Bill: we are adults; we can take it; just tell us that Kirkby is the selected option because it is the only option we can afford.
11 Posted 06/12/2007 at 18:30:16
Throw away remark or not, that is an absolutely ridiculous thing to say. He is an idiot and demonstrates why time after time after time. He is an embarassment.
* I voted Yes to Kirkby, before anybody starts.
12 Posted 06/12/2007 at 18:31:31
This is where the disinformation began by describing it as an ’almost free’ stadium. Once this was proved as less than true my concern was that other aspects of the deal (e.g. that all other options had been fully investigated) may also be disinformation.
For example, I am disturbed that Bill can state that The Loop cannot accommodate a 50,000 seater Stadium. The Loop may, or may not, be a real option, but stating what is now generally considered to be an untruth makes him seem totally out of touch with an evolving situation.
LIke you, I think he is getting himself (with the help of our CEO) into the mire which is becoming increasingly more difficult to extradite himslf.
13 Posted 06/12/2007 at 20:10:24
There is a very simple argument against the Loop which should have put it to bed months ago. It is a very complex site and would obviously cost far too much for us to develop, especially as there is no Tescos or Knowsley Council involved. Why not just come out and say it? Kirkby is unquestionably a much better financial deal for us. End of.
Once we all take on board the basic fact that WE ARE NOT VERY RICH, then we can make progress. Once you accept this, Kirkby is not some bizarre idea dreamt up by people who must be either crazy or corrupt. It is the best we can afford in order to start bringing in as soon as possible the new revenue streams that the club so desperately needs.
14 Posted 06/12/2007 at 20:22:17
As someone whose scepticism of the Kirkby move is not solely down to the fact that it is not Goodison Park and is outside of Liverpool, this is one my biggest concerns. The additional revenue streams proposed in Kirkby are far more dependent on pure matchday attendance than would ever have been the case at the Kings Dock.
Keith Wyness admitted that the "up to £10m annually" that the club hopes to get in Kirkby is dependent on the club doing well, regularly selling out 55,000 seats and not succumbing to a severe downturn in attendance after the three-year "new stadium" syndrome wears off.
If the reverse happens, if what is delivered at Kirkby is mediocre or just alienates a sufficiently large bloc of the match-going fanbase, or if the access issues that are already a concern lead to a gradual fall-off in attendances, what then? Those revenue streams simply won?t exist; indeed, the stadium might end up being an albatross around the club?s neck.
I?d be more confident in the club remaining on an even keel through lean times at a redeveloped Goodison than I would be in Kirkby and, by the same token, I think there?s more revenue to be had by staying closer to Liverpool city centre.
We need a long-term solution, not a short-term fix to our current debt and comparatively low turnover, and there are just too many of us who feel that long term, relocating to Kirkby could seriously harm the club.
15 Posted 06/12/2007 at 20:38:59
At 37, I am considerably younger than BK, and I don’t remember most of that season, either.
Does everything that BK says have to be dissected to the nth degree to wring out even the slightest hint of pro-Kirkby propaganda?
As someone who has always thought that moving to Kirkby was our best option, (even though I didn’t get to vote, because my season ticket is registered at my dad’s address, and multiple tickets at the same address only got one vote - but, hey, I can accept the rules!), I can admit to some reluctance to moving.
But those who are against moving to Kirkby don’t do their arguments any favours by twisting every bit of information, whether or not related to the move, to "prove" that BK/KW are evil liars only concerned with lining their own pockets. All you’re doing is entrenching those in favour of moving, when you should be trying to engage them with alternatives to the move - if they, indeed, exist...
16 Posted 06/12/2007 at 20:51:29
My worries about Kirkby are precisely what you say: on the revenue side, not the cost side. On the costs I repeat myself, which is basically that the Kirkby costs are uncertain and may well continue to escalate, but the intrinsic nature of the site and the partners means that it is still overwhelmingly likely to be the best cost option compared to alternatives. All the alternatives have precisely the same risks of unpredictable cost escalation, and there’s not much can be done about that.
On the revenues there are again a huge amount of uncertainties, but there are three essential elements as far as I can see. The first is the basic football attenders (the likes of you and me). On balance, I think you are right that it would be better to have a prestigious ground right in the middle of the city, especially to attract new young supporters. However, the drift towards the Big Four is huge at the moment (none of my nephews support Everton despite family traditions), and I’m afraid that it a fact of life anyway, unless we can break into this top echelon. I suspect the G14 or whatever they call themselves may effectively form their own league within the next five years or so anyway.
My hope is that the traditions of the club, the undoubted strength of the basic fan base (despite current ructions), and success on the pitch (absolutely essential) will secure the attendances we need.
The other two categories are commercial activities related to football (corporate boxes etc.), and unrelated (concerts etc.). Here I am more optimistic than many. I don’t think that the precise location is a big driver here. Businessmen don’t walk to the ground or get the bus! And the stadium is quite well located for concerts etc. despite not being central. The O2 Arena in London is packing itself out, despite being way over in Docklands. I think these additional revenue streams can definitely be tapped in Kirkby if we market ourselves effectively (we absolutely need massively higher calibre marketing people when we move).
So Kirkby is a risk of course. But on the plus side it will almost certainly put us into less debt than any available alternative option (I never believed that it would cost us "almost nothing"). And with success on the pitch and effective marketing, it can bring in the revenues.
And, unfortunately, what is the alternative? The only way more attractive options would be opened up to us would be if a very rich new owner popped up. Personally, I wish they would. But there is no sign. I don’t understand why not, but I know that if someone really wanted to buy us they would go public and make Bill an offer he could not refuse. I suspect that no bidders have emerged because, in line with my whole argument, Everton is not currently a very attractive financial proposition.
17 Posted 06/12/2007 at 21:17:40
You are unduly optimistic. You state that it is absolutely essential that we are successful on the pitch to be viable at Kirkby, how will this be ensured?
You mention tradition in your post and our hard core support. Many of these fans are alienated, feel disenfranchised and feel abandoned, I suspect many will go to kirkby and many wont. You mention tradition but for many of us tradition has been jettisoned in favour of a very short term vision and a quick buck. Somehow the rhetoric does not match reality it does not feel like the deal of the century does it? Is any one genuinely excited about moving to Kirkby I have yet to meet them (apologies to those who are). I dont say this to slag yes voters, I simply have not met anyone bar Keith Wyness who is.
Is Kenwright himself a barrier to investment does he want to retain control until we go to Kirkby?
18 Posted 06/12/2007 at 21:42:23
To veer towards pessimism again: I don’t think success on the pitch can be secured. I also don’t know whether the alienation over the Kirkby issue can be healed. I have made my proposal for the latter: some straightforward honesty.
Maybe I should speak just for myself anyway. What I really want is for the team to be successful on the pitch! If that happens I will do the best I can to go to see them wherever they play. Simple as. Kirkby is not perfect, but if James Vaughan is knocking goals past the RS there - well, it will be a great place to be! And I think the vast majority of fans will want to be there too.
Finally on Bill and selling. Terry Leahy said something very intriguing in his interview pre vote. Namely that securing Kirkby may well enable Everton to secure major new investment. I think one of the barriers to any current bidder for Everton is that the first hit to their wallets will be funding a new stadium (see how the Muppets who own our neighbours are beginning to feel). So, yes, Everton become a lot more attractive for both bidder and seller (Bill) if a new stadium at reasonable cost has been secured. Bill is not turning away bidders before Kirkby; more like, bidders will not be interested until the ground issue is settled.
19 Posted 06/12/2007 at 22:44:08
The whole reason we need a new ground is to increase revenue with more supporters and corperate facilities, this will not happen by moving to Kirkby!
If you were MD of a large buisness wanting to invest in the area to get noticed where would you put it? In Liverpools in your face city centre penthouse or our out of town council flat?
20 Posted 06/12/2007 at 23:05:52
I don’t believe we will attract any concert revenue at a stadium in Kirkby, especially not with a bigger venue available more centrally with all the attractions/hotel rooms of the city centre. I feel the London analogy is way off target since Greater London has 10 times Merseyside’s population with a comprehensive public transport network, and you quite frankly could’ve filled a 23,000 seater venue anywhere there. This continuous reference to Kirkby as the only financially viable deal is also off the mark surely? Kirkby is not going to cost us nothing or anything near it, and that’s before you go into the imponderables of damage to identity etc. They have admitted themselves that it will cost us a minimum of £50m. Maximum? £80m+ has been leaked. For either of these amounts redevelopment is deliverable, so how can there not be options? Everton can have the best of both worlds at GP, history and modernity. You can’t buy the former...... at any cost, making redevelopment not only deliverable but also desirable IMO!
21 Posted 06/12/2007 at 23:19:49
"throw away " comments. Reading your article Greg, one "throw away" comment really stood out, talking about the Park End you say, "which, let?s face it, stood virtually empty for the vast majority of home games in the late 80s and early 90s anyway".
Now, as an old Park End devotee, I would say that the reason for the sparse attendances in the Park end was that, very often, that end was given over to the away fans and us Park Enders were turfed out regularly and had to wander aimlessly around trying to decide which unfamiliar terrace to situate ourselves upon.
So, fed up with the disruption, I decided to forsake the Park End and it’s regular disruption and try to find a new "home". This we did but we always bemoaned the loss of our favourite vantage point.
The reason then for the sparse attendances were not for lack of love for that end but for the two or three away fans who wanted to see their team. Your "throw away" comment has stirred up a lot of bitter sweet memories and I suspect that happens to other such comments
22 Posted 07/12/2007 at 00:53:55
I have background in BK’s ’saving’ of the Playhouse scenario and I can tell you he IS far shrewder than he likes people to think.
So I agree with your suspicion that he’s sowing the seeds of doubt over the redevelopment of GP.
He obviously feels he’s on the hook and will say anything to try to deflect peoples attention from him.
As you rightly say ’why let the facts get in the way of a good story?’
23 Posted 07/12/2007 at 02:33:52
24 Posted 07/12/2007 at 03:47:44
Now Bill’s been a long time in showbiz and no doubt knows his ’istory there too.
So, as a showbiz trivia question this will be on a par with asking ’ who scored 60 goals for Everton ’
There was NOBODY better with a throwaway line than Bob Hope.
It was also Bob who said ’ Nothing works so well as a carefully rehearsed ad-lib ’
Greg’s case has more than a lick of sense
25 Posted 07/12/2007 at 07:30:58
The problem is that we are not in a perfect world, and, unless we are taken over by someone very rich, we do not currently have the option of building a new stadium in the city. That’s reality.
On revamping Goodison, I respect your expertise on all this Tom. I think at least that - unlike a new City stadium - it is clear that we could afford to do something at Goodison. Many think it will not be enough to bring in the new revenues we need, and need a fresh start. That seems to be the nub of the issue here.
26 Posted 07/12/2007 at 09:01:10
I don’t think Bill’s "three sides" line was a true throw-away (though presented as such). Likewise, I really don’t think he’s stupid enough to believe we nearly got relegated in 94 because we lost the Park End for a few games at the end of the season. But I am convinced that he does know that a nice line, whether thrown-away or not, with a liberal sprinkling of relegation-jitters mixed into it, might score another well-aimed hit at those who wish to redevelop Goodison.
A true "throw-away" line, I believe, often has an unthinking signature to it. For example, Robert Earl’s line yesterday which unfortunately refers to Kirkby as "out there". It would be churlish to twist that just to suit the "anti-Kirkby" view; because it was clearly a figure of speech and an obvious "throw-away".
With Bill, I’m not so sure.
27 Posted 07/12/2007 at 10:48:47
During that time Goodison could be re-built.
It was done here in Berne with great success.
There?s a brand new stadium here now which you?ll all see when watching Euro 2008.
Yea, I know some of you may not as England aren?t taking part, but footy?s footy anyway.....
28 Posted 07/12/2007 at 14:21:27
I think I believe the people who would actually be paying said money, and that Tesco are not financially contributing, as they have not financially contributed in any of the other similar collaborations they have had. The more our board talk the more suspicious I become, rather than be reassured I find extra reason to question.
29 Posted 07/12/2007 at 17:38:56
That?s before getting into the "footprint issue" & the CPO?s, timescales etc etc etc.
IMO this whole debate & the subsequent squabbling etc could have been avoided with strong leadership from the off.
If BK & the board felt that Kirkby was the best option for the club - they should have just said " we?re going lads - end of" & not offered the poll in the 1st place - it?s their business, as the end of the day - we?re all customers of that business - but it?s theirs! They should have just made a decision & announced it - end of.
30 Posted 07/12/2007 at 20:45:57
31 Posted 07/12/2007 at 21:07:28
I agree, people do attend concerts in the most unlikely places, but I wouldn’t hang my hat on it as a key element of the Kirkby proposal or almost any stadium development for that matter. Even Aintree has been pushed as a mass concert venue in the past, I don’t see many bookings for it since Michael Jackson did his years ago. Plus of course, the other place may want a slice of that market too and will be on top of all the other amenities to add to its attractiveness. So all in all, how lucrative can that be? At best it’s a bonus, that can probably be beaten financially by an extra few cup games. As far as ideal worlds, I can only stress that the backing of Tescos here is little more than a facilitator to release enabling funds to help subsidise the build. This type of development or some derivative of it is going on all over the city centre, and is only the tip of the iceberg with all the other developments in the pipeline (Peel etc). These dwarf the Tesco development many times over, and regardless of Tesco’s expertise/wealth their involvement is not of a directly financial contribution, and therefore can be matched in terms of financial benefits by any similar or even smaller sized development at another more central site. On top of everything else, Kirkby now has a plan B, and one that is backed by ASDA, who are owned by a much bigger company than Tesco. Their’s and Bestways plans both lie within the existing UDP..... Tesco’s doesn’t, meaning their plans are hardly yet "on the table", they haven’t even been through initial planning yet!!
32 Posted 08/12/2007 at 00:18:25
33 Posted 08/12/2007 at 10:32:56
Whilst shareholders have every right to their say at an AGM - your right to lead the business is zero. The leadership & direction should come from the major shareholder or CEO - in our case they’ve fudged the decision making IMO. They should have made the decision & therefore they OWN the decision - by opening it up to a poll, they deferred the ownership of the decision to us! We didn’t have enough facts to make an informed decision & in the main based our judgement on the location or some sketchy drawings!
This was piss poor leadership IMO - as now WE OWN the decision - & BK can hide behind his mandate from the fans.
With regard to the re-development of Goodison, a lot of what you’re saying makes sense - but I think you’re over simplifying it. The Bullens & Street end would need to be bulldozered & whilst we could do this in stages, there would have to be a severely reduced capacity for at least a portion of the season. The re-roofing of the main stand - wouldn’t solve the problem of it being a pit - that too needs to go IMO.
We could move out for a season?
But the reason this won’t happen IMO is that there’s no possibillity of a retail partner to assist with the cost at the GP site - if Kirkby goes pear, then I think we’ll be stuck at the current GP for another decade & whilst I have many reservations about Kirkby, overall I think it’s a better propostion than either the Loop or a half arsed re-build of GP.
34 Posted 09/12/2007 at 01:44:12
35 Posted 09/12/2007 at 18:22:02
There are several ways to get GP upto 50k seats, of course I am talking simplistically, as this is only a small response on a forum thread. However, I think you will find that Ipswich for instance managed to maintain their capacity throughout redevelopment, actually increasing it as upper tiers became available. As far as the mainstand is concerned, much of its internals are problematic because of the way its lower levels are subdivided for lounges etc. A new exec balcony supported beneath the top balcony would get of practically all the obstructed views behind the second row of columns, and would open up some spaces below the stand. It would be a complete transformation both aesthetically and functionally, and would cost a fraction of a new equivalent quality/size structure. To go significantly above 55k would require its complete replacement of course (and bridging Goodison Rd), especially if the older stands were going to be preserved to some degree. The club should have all these variations covered if they have truly studied all the options. They haven’t!!!
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