MINUTES OF THE 128TH EVERTON FOOTBALL CLUB
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
HELD IN THE ALEX YOUNG SUITE, GOODISON PARK
ON TUESDAY 4TH DECEMBER 2007
Mr W Kenwright (Chairman) (WK)
Mr J V Woods (Deputy Chairman) (JW)
Mr K Wyness (KW)
Mr R I Earl (RE)
Mr D Moyes (Team Manager)
Mr C Potts (Saville Stadium Consultants) (CP)
Mr D Sanders (Deloitte & Touche LLP, Auditors) (DS)
Approximately 260 Shareholders (SH)
Approximately 40 Proxy Holders (PH)
Approximately 15 Media Members (MM)
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
WK welcomed everyone to the meeting and confirmed that in accordance with the Articles of Association a quorum was present; therefore the 128th Everton Football Club Annual General Meeting could proceed.
WK officially opened the meeting at 19:02.
WK announced that the MM present could remain throughout the proceedings. Several SH pointed out to WK that a vote must be taken to establish this. WK replied that he had checked this with the Club?s lawyers and there was no need to this.
WK then gave a speech pointing out the Evertonian deaths this year, from Alan Ball to Rhys Jones and Ben Nowak, and the disappearance of Madeleine McCann ? a short silence was requested and observed by all present.
WK then read out the apologies of the SH unable to attend.
WK then asked for a vote that the Notice of this AGM should be taken as read ? a majority voted in favour.
WK then took SH through the Club?s accounts from 01/06/06 to 31/05/07. WK announced that the Club made an accounts sheet loss of just over £9 million.
WK explained that this was largely due to the finishing position of 11th in the 2005/06 Premiership table. Specifically, WK said it was the lower TV and attendance revenue, plus the absence of European football during 2006/07 and the outsourcing of the catering and merchandising operations which were responsible for this trading position.
WK reminded everyone that home-grown talent through the Club?s Academy could not be accounted for; as they had never been transferred, in accountancy terms there attracted no value.
WK this applied to Tony Hibbert, Leon Osman, Victor Anichebe and James Vaughan.
DS then read the Auditors? Report, confirming that they were satisfied that these figures and accounts met all relevant British and European accounting rules, standards and good practices.
WK then asked for a vote to accept the Club?s Annual Accounts and Auditors? Report ? both were accepted by a large majority.
WK then conducted a vote that Deloitte & Touche were to be re-elected as auditors ? carried by a majority.
WK then pointed out that in accordance with Article 18.2, Director JW retired by rotation and being eligible offered himself for re-election.
WK then conducted a vote in which a majority voted for JW to be re-appointed to the Board.
WK then explained that RE had been co-opted onto the Board on 18th June 2007, and asked for a vote to decide if RE should be re-elected to the Board. A majority voted in favour.
WK then announced that the Board had received no notification of any other matters that may be raised at the AGM, and attempted to close the meeting.
This was thwarted by Mr Frank Hargreaves, who insisted that there were other matters to be discussed at the AGM, e.g. the proposed stadium move to Kirkby.
WK stated that he had taken advice from the Club?s lawyers, and explained that matters such as this were to be covered in the Question and Answer session to follow the AGM.
Mr Hargreaves disputed this, and also requested industry standard minuting of the whole of tonight?s meeting. He pointed out that he had asked for this at the previous two AGMs and had been ignored, so was asking for this again.
WK stated that he would ensure that more detailed minutes than previous years? AGMs would be issued to SH.
WK declared the AGM officially closed at 19:25.
QUESTION AND ANSWER SESSION ? POTENTIAL STADIUM MOVE
WK opened the Q&A session at 19:26.
WK then invited questions from SH.
The first question posed was from a representative of Keep Everton In Our City (KEIOC), regarding why the Board had not appeared to seriously study and consider the Bestway ?loop? site at Scotland Road.
KW answered that this had been fully investigated and discussed by the Board, who had unanimously agreed that the ?loop? site was financially and technically undeliverable.
An objection was raised to this, stating that a report had been done by HOK Design, which was in the public domain (on their website), stating that this site could easily accommodate a state-of-the-art 50 000 stadium, with premium quality seating for all.
CP reiterated that on behalf of the Board he had looked at potential relocation sites for the Club for the past six years, and was adamant that this site was not suitable.
SH challenged why this was the case.
CP stated that the financial cost was huge, given that the stadium would have to be built on a plinth, with a huge walkway having to be constructed over Scotland Road.
CP continued that there would not be enough car parking and ?park-and-ride? spaces for even a 40 000 crowd let alone 50 000.
CP confirmed that he did not have the exact figures to hand, but it would be considerably cheaper to move to Kirkby.
SH asked CP if he had seen and read the HOK Design report about the viability of the ?loop?site.
CP stated that he was aware of it.
SH asked CP again if he had actually read the report.
CP admitted that he had not.
SH asked CP why this was the case.
CP stated that he had a huge amount of respect for HOK Design, and had worked with them on a consultancy basis on several occasions, for example on Arsenal FC?s Emirates Stadium project.
SH challenged CP to come up with figures and other facts to conclusively show why the ?loop?site was a less attractive prospect than the Kirkby site.
At this point WK intervened, stating that he felt that the questioning was becoming a little too personal and intimidating to CP.
SH asked KW why other sites offered to the Club by Liverpool City Council (LCC) had not been fully investigated.
KW responded by stating that when the Board first approached (LCC) for potentially suitable sites for a new stadium, with the necessary transport, infrastructure and other links within the city boundaries, they were offered three sites.
KW confirmed that these were Long Lane, Edge Lane and Speke.
On behalf of the Board, he and CP had visited each site, and quickly concluded that for different reasons, none of them were financially deliverable.
KW continued that he and CP had performed a similar exercise when Knowsley Council offered a potential Kirkby site, and this did ?tick all the boxes?.
Mrs Dot Ward then introduced herself as a Kirkby resident, stating that the proposed new stadium would mean that 53 houses and a nursing home would be demolished in Kirkby, and her house was one of them. She specifically asked KW if he was aware of this situation.
WK confirmed that he was not aware of this, thanked Mrs Long for her comment, and asked for the next question.
A gentleman Kirkby resident then pursued a line of enquiry, intending for the Board to give a figure for the total cost of building the new Kirkby stadium.
This gentleman contended that the ?loop? site would be cheaper, due to the huge cost of de-toxing the entire Kirkby site as it has been used as a landfill area.
CP and the Board stated that they did not have all of the figures to hand, but confirmed that these costs had been factored in to the Kirkby project.
At this point, Mr Trevor Skempton (TS) introduced himself. He stated that he is an architect with many years of football stadium design experience.
TS pointed out that whilst he worked for Newcastle City Council in 1991, he designed a plan to redesign to completely redevelop St. James?s Park into a ground that could have been built in tiers, up to a maximum of 80 000 seating capacity.
TS explained that he had submitted these plans to the Newcastle United board, but the plans never came to fruition, as the current owners, Magpie Group then bought the stadium and Club.
TS then went on to explain that he had carried out his own feasibility studies on the ?loop? site and the redevelopment of Goodison Park, and confirmed to the meeting that both were possible and deliverable.
TS explained firstly that the ?loop? site could accommodate up to 60 000 spectators, all sitting in comfort, with ?park-and-ride? provisions and the existing Merseyrail stations, all within 20 minutes walk of the ground.
CP challenged this on the basis of the unusual shape of the land, almost pear-shaped, and the stadium plinth and walkway he had mentioned earlier.
TS stated that the stadium plinth and walkway over Scotland Road were necessary, but could be constructed for a relatively small amount ? he was adamant that these costs were not prohibitive to the success of such a project.
TS then moved onto the redevelopment of Goodison Park.
TS stated that this would need to be done piecemeal, but could be done stand-by-stand within a close-season, season, next close-season period, so revenue for the Club would only drop during one playing season.
TS stated that all four stands would be demolished, beginning with the Park End, plus moving that stand back around 40 yards into the existing car park.
The Bullens Road Stand would be next, followed by the Gwladys Street Stand, then finally the Main Stand.
TS stated by the end of this project, the stadium would hold 60 000 premium quality seats, with double-decker stands plus a triple-decker Main Stand.
TS also maintained that the design would be such that should the team be more successful, the ground capacity could be raised to 80 000 by adding a third deck to the other stands.
This sparked some heated debate and comments aimed at the Board and CP, for example from Mr Mark Denny, who accused WK of being the man who will best be remembered as ?The man who tore the heart and soul out of Everton Football Club, by moving outside of the city to Kirkby?
At this point, WK stated he would like to talk to TS outside of the meeting.
SH asked how much the Kirkby stadium was going to cost in total, and how much the Club would have to pay towards that.
RE indicated that he would like to answer this question, which WK accepted.
RE firstly briefly introduced himself as a 56 year old man that largely resides in the United States of America, was a Tottenham supporter, but now is fully supportive of the Everton cause.
RE confirmed that he asked to join the Board, as he felt that with his many years of business marketing and profitability expertise, he could help maximise this Club?s ?massive potential?.
RE informed the meeting that the Kirkby stadium cost was around £50 million when first floated.
After the feasibility study and the Board?s wish that supporters only received the highest quality seating, facilities, environment etc., the cost rose to about £75 million.
Due to construction costs, the figure then became approximately £100 million.
Now, because construction costs have risen again, the total stadium cost at Kirkby is in the region of almost £150 million.
At this point, some angry SH asked how the Club intended to meet these extra costs.
RE attempted to placate these SH by stating that the Board had formulated a long-term plan to pay all the stadium costs.
WK and KW informed the SH that these costs had mostly been factored into the original business plan, as they knew prices would rise before the stadium was completed.
KW was adamant that this original Kirkby stadium plan was still very much on track and financially deliverable.
SH asked the Board why there appeared to be no ?Plan B? or ?Plan C? if the Kirkby stadium plan could not proceed.
KW stated to SH that same as he has many times in the media, to financially maintain and progress the Club at the forefront of the domestic and European football scene, there was no other option than to move to Kirkby.
Another passionate and lively debate followed, with a lot of SH pointing out that TS had put forward what appeared to be sensible and affordable plans for both the ?loop? and Goodison Park.
WK then confirmed to the meeting that he was happy for him and the rest of the Board, to consider the Scotland Road ?loop? site as a ?Plan B? and the redevelopment of Goodison Park as a ?Plan C?.
WK then declared this part of the Q&A closed.
QUESTION AND ANSWER SESSION ? DAVID MOYES
WK introduced DM to tumultuous applause from SH.
DM gave a report on the team?s performance over the last 12 months, and how he feels the playing side of the Club has vastly improved over the five-and-a-half years of his tenure, including the following key points:
- DM is delighted with how the average age of the squad has reduced from over 30 when he first took over to the current 25. DM declared he intended to reduce this further over the next 12 months.
- DM is now far happier with the quality of players throughout his squad.
- DM is very pleased how overall the Premier League placings each season have improved during his stay. He confirmed that within football, Everton are no longer seen as a struggling against relegation club; now Everton are seen as a top half club.
- DM is excited by the quality of young talent coming through, e.g. he cited Vaughan and Anichebe, but insisted there is an excellent crop of young players who are not far off being considered for first-team action.
- DM paid tribute to the Board, pointing out that 6 Premier League managers had already left their clubs this season, and he felt honoured that the Board have had such patience with him.
- DM stated that he was absolutely sure that this Club was now financially stable, and provided he stayed frugal with his transfer dealings, the Club would become stronger year-on-year.
- DM stated that he felt that more football clubs would be managed and ran ?The Everton Way? as he felt that the current Premier League TV deal would be the last one to be so financially huge, so other clubs would have to look at ways of cutting spending, through lower transfer fees, wages, etc.
- DM paid tribute to the fans, saying full houses at Goodison Park, e.g. for UEFA Cup games does make such a huge and positive difference to the players. He recounted that at 5:45 pm in Nuremberg?s Hotel Victoria, as he began the final team talk about tactics at attacking and defending set-pieces etc., he could hardly hear himself speak due to the singing and shouting of all the Evertonians in the street outside. DM assured everyone he walked across to the window, opened it, and told his players ?Do you want me to carry on with this team talk, or do you want our fans to do it instead??
DM received sustained and warm applause for about 90 seconds.
WK asked SH if there were any questions for DM.
One gentleman asked where the 2008 pre-season games would be.
DM stated that they had no idea at this stage, but his personal preference would be the USA again, as ?We always have a good season after being there!?
WK asked for any other questions ? there were none.
Anne Asquith (Shareholders? Association Chairperson) was then asked by WK to say a few words. Anne?s speech touched on how 2007 had been a sad year for Evertonians as WK had covered at the start of this meeting; also how it was sad but somehow inevitable that there was such divided opinion and deep feelings about the proposed stadium move; how the team?s performances were so encouraging and we should all be optimistic that 2008 will be great on the pitch.
A Disabled Supporters? Club gentleman then praised the Club and Board for the improvements made in the past year in the seating arrangements and facilities for all their members at Goodison Park, and in organising away tickets and social events.
WK stated that he was pleased with these comments, and thanked the Disabled Supporters? Club as a whole, on behalf of the Board.
WK asked for any more questions or comments ? there was none.
WK then declared the meeting formally closed at 21:02.
Note: the following content is not moderated or vetted by the site owners at the time of submission. Comments are the responsibility of the poster. Disclaimer
1 Posted 10/12/2007 at 07:48:51
My mistake, Ian. Duly corrected. ? LL
2 Posted 10/12/2007 at 10:31:35
Can you put a link to the report? I can’t find it on KEIOC or HOK website.
3 Posted 10/12/2007 at 10:15:00
4 Posted 10/12/2007 at 12:37:22
5 Posted 10/12/2007 at 13:38:22
6 Posted 10/12/2007 at 14:08:31
The bit about them not having the "figures to hand" is amazing. They knew perfectly well that this was the hot topic, and that people have been after definitive figures from day one. Earl is wheeled out to blast off another set of rough numbers, and we’re all supposed to be contented. The expert hasn’t even read the report he’s supposed to be able criticise. If I was given the task of assessing a project, and I hadn’t acquainted myself with the full detail of the most thorough report by the industry’s leading lights, I don’t think I could expect anyone to take me or my opinion seriously. The club have played this card several times now, always without substance!! His reference to park and ride at the Loop is quite unbelieveable. There could be no need for ANY park and ride at a city centre site because the public transport capacities are vastly superior to Kirkby, where do we park and ride for Goodison?
7 Posted 10/12/2007 at 16:50:29
Can anyone here confirm that the money he ’guaranteed’ for yakubu’s signing was his down payment on the naming rights to kirkby? I have heard it many times in the last week from people I would trust to know, and if it is the case then where does that leave fat Keith’s financial oulook regarding the25mill for naming rights?
8 Posted 10/12/2007 at 17:56:44
9 Posted 10/12/2007 at 17:55:10
One thing I would say about the spiraling costs of the Kirkby project, the very same thing would happen with any project. Particularly in this country, projected costs of development are almost always a far cry from the finished cost. Watch RS’s project triple in cost as it moves forward (if it does). Of all the merry dances that the board have been leading us on, the ever increasing cost of Kirkby is one that I fully expected, and would for any other proposal.
I do wonder if the people questioning the club’s ability to pay for Kirkby just want us to stay at GP. There’s nothing wrong with that, it just seems that some have contradicted there own calls for other options by arguing that the club cannot afford Kirkby. I agree, the figures don’t really sound that promising, but if we can’t afford the "flat pack" "cheap option" stadium with help from Tesco, how the hell are we going to afford any of the other options.
And so it continues. At least DM and the team are moving forward even if the club seems to be lost in a civil war.
10 Posted 12/12/2007 at 16:52:35
I would also be interested to hear from Trevor Skempton with regard to Bill Kenwright’s request to meet him outside the AGM. Has this happened, has a date been set or was it just a way of shutting him up at the time? I seem to remember Bill saying he would meet with KEIOC and then simply cancelling at the last minute with the meeting never happening I believe.
It’s only my own personal hunch, but I just can’t see why Kirkby at £150m is the ’ Deal of the Century’ compared to any other possible stadium solution. My hunch is still that it’s the deal of the century for somebody else. Sorry, if that’s not the case, Bill, Keith, Terry and Robert, but your communication with us so far has been so poor, that is the conclusion that comes to mind.
11 Posted 14/12/2007 at 18:58:55
Add Your Comments
In order to post a comment to Column articles, you need to be logged in as a registered user of the site.
Or Sign up as a ToffeeWeb Member — it's free, takes just a few minutes and will allow you to post your comments on articles and MailBag submissions across the site.