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St Domingo Football Club

By Paul Lally :  18/02/2008 :  Comments (60) :

?Everton to pay tribute to a founding figure.?

Extracts from? The Evertonian? ? February 2008 - issue 161
Everton FC and Liverpool FC hope to combine to restore the grave of the Revd Ben Swift Chambers, the Methodist minister who was a key figure in the clubs? formation. The neglected grave was discovered in the Yorkshire village of Shepley by Peter Lupson while researching the church roots of famous football clubs for his book, ?Thank God for Football.?

Bill Kenwright and Rick Parry both responded positively to the suggestion that the two clubs should combine to restore Chambers? grave and re-dedicate it at a joint service of commemoration.

Reverend Ben Chambers joined the Methodist church in 1869. He was eventually appointed circuit superintendent and minister of St Domingo Chapel in the Everton district of Liverpool on July 1st, 1877. He was a great lover of cricket and after only a couple of months he had persuaded members of the Young Men?s Bible Class to set up St Domingo Cricket Club.

A year later in 1878 the St Domingo cricketers felt it would be a good idea to take up Association Football during the winter months to keep fit. This was common attitude at the time. Association Football was still in its infancy and was regarded as little more than an opportunity for winter exercise by members of cricket clubs. The members found the football very enjoyable and began to take it seriously. They called themselves St Domingo Football Club in the winter months.

Soon they were the best team in Stanley Park and began to attract players from other churches. Within a year the team was no longer wholly representative of the St Domingo chapel and it was decided to rename the football section of their cricket club Everton after the district in which they lived.

Everton grew more and more successful and in 1884 opened a new stadium called Anfield. Success followed and in 1891 the club became the champions of the Football League?s First Division, the top flight in England.

A year later, there was a split in the ranks. The club?s landlord and president, John Houlding, had increased the rent on the Anfield stadium to such a level that the majority of the committee rebelled and Houlding promptly expelled them from Anfield, intending to run the club under the Everton name without them.

But the exiled Evertonians appealed to the Football Association, claiming they were rightful heirs to the Everton name. Their appeal was upheld and Houlding was forced to find a different name for the club he wanted to run at Anfield. He chose Liverpool. The Evertonians meanwhile migrated to the Walton district where they built Goodison.?

 (Chambers family re restoration please contact Peter Lupson ?

I believe the above story is perfectly timed and highlights the urgency required to re-examine the use of Stanley Park by Liverpool FC.  Stanley Park is hallowed ground and should be used by either both clubs or neither. It is the spiritual home of football in our city, our roots.

Both clubs should be entitled to keep their souls intact and therefore both clubs have equal rights to Stanley Park.  In fact I cannot think of any other city in the world with two or more football teams with a greater history and tradition.

This then poses a number of questions ?

Planning permission refused for Everton FC;
Planning permission granted to Liverpool FC

Numerous rumours abound as to why we did not get permission and Liverpool did but in light of the above article surely this should be investigated and proper answers given as to why one club was chosen over the other.

A public enquiry

Is there history and precedent so that a complaint could be lodged with the Government, House of Lords or European courts of Law as to who has rights to Stanley Park considering the historic significance to both clubs history?

Shared stadium

Now and the bigger picture ? next 100 years. The decision to share overshadows other proposals as this is a unique opportunity to re-enforce the totally unique story that is already attached to both clubs over 100+ years . Our birth re-affirms our place in global football as one of the founder cities of Association Football, with the most unique story ? from our roots to present day. Not just domestically or across Europe but unique in global football.

It reads like a fictional thriller and will draw millions of fans from all over the world to the stadium ? Mecca of football, Holy Grail? Plus the National Museum of Football in Preston is within an hour. Add in the The Beatles and you have a worldwide attraction for music and football.

The two most successful teams in English football, the oldest league in the world. Liverpool have a larger fan base in the Far East, for example, who will visit but they will also visit the whole stadium and enjoy our museum and discover the truth and take that information home with them.  Take our Singapore blue from the ToffeeWeb Mailbag who is an Everton fan because he did not want to be a ?sheep? and follow his friends who all picked Man U, Arsenal etc because they were on the TV more often.  He looked into the history of Everton and new he was ?born? - a true blue.  Once people know the history they become intrigued and excited.

Marketing a shared stadium

It would be a dream ticket, a dream deal, the ?real? deal of the century. How many revenue streams are there to exploit? Birth, history, supporters, Wembley finals in the 80s, blue and white everywhere, one bedroom blue, the other red, football tourists, tourists in general who see the stadium as part of a Liverpool City tour.

Grow with the city ? stadium used every week, concerts in the summer, full hotels, bars, transport etc ? all of which keeps underlining and growing the name of both clubs and the city. And above football this is all our city.

TV documentaries re the restoration of the grave but also the whole history of the clubs and how they are intertwined over 100+ years ? add in a shared stadium and you have a brilliant story to sell around the world. When tourists do visit and stay in the city and mix with locals they will then be able to understand the passion and history and pass it on.

One of best stadiums in world ? Liverpool as the city now the focus of world football where it should be ? not Manchester, London or Madrid.

Re-affirm our history and also generate money from all of the above ? pot of gold.

Stadium design.

Two main ends behind goals: Everton?s end ? gates opposite Goodison; Liverpool?s end ? gates facing Anfield.  Away supporters on the side.

Both ?home? ends will then attract the singers etc.  If you do not want to sit behind the goal then pick a place ? when either club is away would we vandalise our own ground when a brother or sister might support the other team?  We can police it ourselves. 

Colour of seats can be worked out.  Therefore each team gets an L shape ? one end and one main stand ? equal numbers of seats taking into account away fans. Dixie Dean statue one side ? Bill Shankly the other. Both teams? museums. Trophies and memorabilia. Everton ?firsts?. Moore?s? family. Plus the ex players and on and on.


How can Everton FC fund their share? Tell the same story to investors ? present the possibilities in terms of global domination as the two most famous clubs in the world with the totally unique story ? how can that not attract investors? Would Chang invest more money as they see the long term opportunities? Just one example. Better people than me will see hundreds of ways and means to attract investment with a dream package.

Infrastructure there or ready to go in

This would have a major economic impact on the clubs themselves, local area and city. North West Development Agency has offered money only if we share ? they can see the potential. I am only scratching the surface of what could be achieved...


How can we loose an identity that is already over 100 years old by going back to our roots and place of birth?  Our identity is passed down from generation to generation and will only be reaffirmed as more and more supporters understand our roots.  As experts all over the world discuss the loss of football in the local community and its identity amongst local supporters, we would deepen our roots further and grow them stronger along with major growth of the team through marketing.  Our identities would become deeper and stronger.

Rivalry will still be fierce.

Most passionate and knowledgeable fans in world. One of most passionate cities in the world. One of best stadiums in world, most visited stadiums in world.  Most earning stadiums in world.  Educate the world ? city of Liverpool, two teams, two cathedrals, The Beatles. 70,000 plus supporters in the ?old? days for a derby back again.  Keep both teams community-based where they belong.  Engrained in folklore within 10 to 20 years around the globe.  Links with other clubs, ie, Barcelona...

Next step in our unique history?

Kirkby??? ? After all of the above why is Kirkby even on the table?


Pride comes before a fall as they say ? Scouse Blues and Reds are the reason other clubs around the world envy us ? we are in the same family ? live in the same houses.  The implications of not sharing are far too deep and disturbing even if we re-develop Goodison ? they will have Stanley Park. It is sacrilege.

Even if you disagree sharing a stadium, you cannot possible support the scandalous decision to allow Liverpool sole permission to build on Stanley Park. To let Liverpool FC go ahead with Stanley Park would be an insult to St Domingo Football Club. They do not have the right. Only the two clubs sharing a stadium have the right.

Not only would it be scandalous for Liverpool to be allowed to go ahead but by not sharing both clubs will miss out on the one-off golden opportunity that presents itself.  An opportunity which is too good to miss; historically, morally and for the future.

If we can unite to recognise our roots and birth and restore the Revd Ben Swift Chambers grave then we can unite to complete our circle of history.  Recognised domestically, across Europe and globally, as having the most unique football clubs, fans, city and history in the world.  The spiritual home of both clubs.

  • St Domingo (Nike) Stadium?
  • Stanley Park (Nike) Stadium?

To quote Winston Churchill ? ?The farther backward you look, the farther forward you are likely to see.?

Thank you

Paul Lally

Aged 44 - lifelong blue within a ?majority? family of reds - Tuebrook.

Reader Comments

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Stu Gore
1   Posted 19/02/2008 at 08:02:54

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Given that neither club can afford to do it themselves this makes the most sense. Less overall debt, make both clubs stronger, better to counter the strength of the Mancs and the London clubs. But it won?t happen. Common sense never prevails with things like this. Too many intractable positions, bar-stool politicians. I think there was more chance before the Yanks bought (whatever that weird haired idiot Parry said) but not now. Sad really. I like the stadium names.
Ed Fitzgerald
2   Posted 19/02/2008 at 08:31:58

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The clubs and the City Council should have shown this type of foresight years ago. Our blindness (the clubs and the fans) has stopped us reaching what is entirely logical solution that would have been of benefit to the clubs and the city itself. Too many of the leaders at our clubs have shown a remarkable lack of vision and bravery. Our relationship with Liverpool supporters are not poisonous as many posters on this site would suggest. Like you I live in a mixed family and we take the piss out of each other and then get on with our lives. I suspect that for the majoirty of Blues this is the reality. Perhaps for people who are not from Liverpool this is not understood (although I hope for many it is) If Inter and AC can share then so could we. It is sadly too late.
Mark Lowery
3   Posted 19/02/2008 at 08:39:46

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I recently visited the San Siro in Milan. Tremendous ground, despite how ugly it is (kind of like a building equivalent of Luke Chadwick’s face). Both Milan clubs have shared the stadium without fuss (and with plenty of success) for enough time to show that it can and would work. Yes, It would be weird to start with but I think that, in the long run, people would just get on with it and enjoy supporting their respective teams from a world-class stadium. The alternative, of playing in a Tesco car park, is so grim that it goes beyond mere embarrassment. It is a mystery to me why LCC have allowed the new Anfield to be built on public recreational land without pressure for a groundshare. If only our neighbours would agree to it...
David Hall
4   Posted 19/02/2008 at 08:41:32

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If only the present incumbents of the two Board Rooms had the vision of the founding fathers. Come to that ,the vision of Paul Lally would do for a start!
I do hope Paul will send this piece to the clubs? CEOs and to the Liverpool Press and politicians. For what it?s worth, the idea has my total support.
Dean Johnson
5   Posted 19/02/2008 at 08:50:12

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I agree too

Maybe this highlights the intrinsic tribalism which permeates English culture.

Everyone has to have their own "identity" when in fact, we are all the same.
Steve Carter
6   Posted 19/02/2008 at 08:52:05

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For a while there, Paul, I thought your final proposition was going to be "Let’s put aside all differences in memory of the good Reverend, combine the teams and call it "St Domingo’s FC".
Jimmy Rim
7   Posted 19/02/2008 at 09:51:38

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Really enjoyed that piece, nice one Paul. That story could make a cracking film.
Shaun Brennan
8   Posted 19/02/2008 at 10:13:52

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I thought the reason why we never got stanley park was because we never bid for it and went after the kings dock.
Eric Turner
9   Posted 19/02/2008 at 09:43:45

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I now live in Sydney and can say that no sporting club of whatever persuasion in Australia owns its own ground. Clubs of Aussie Rules, Union, League, Association, Cricket and Basketball all lease from the local Council or Trust and share the venue weekly. Sydney Football Stadium (40,000) and Telstra Olympic Stadium (100,000) host different clubs and sports every week. Cricket and Aussie Rules share Sydney Cricket Ground. There is thus no sentimental attachment to a piece of dirt, and what’s more, the dirt is maintained by the Council! Everton is my team, Goodison is just where they currently play. I’d share with the devil.
Paul Lally
10   Posted 19/02/2008 at 10:27:39

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Thank you for comments so far.
I have forwarded the email to -
Brian Viner - Independent
Dave Prentice - Liverpool Echo
Tony Livesey - BBC NW sport
City of Culture

Peter Kilfoy - MP
Warren Bradley and to Culture Secretary Andrew Burnham’s secretary( I could not find his email).
If anyone knows Kenwright and or Wyness email please feel free to pass it on or anyone else they can think of.
Maybe, just maybe.......
John Atkinson
11   Posted 19/02/2008 at 10:50:01

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Fine words and I agree with most if not all of it but LFC have planning permission and have it until 2011 (I think!) and our scheme is well advanced too - Its all a bit too late and should’ve been highlighted in the early 2000’s.
Dick Fearon
12   Posted 19/02/2008 at 11:16:36

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Turmoil in the financial world could decree that sharing a stadium could be a real possibility. It is a great shame that luddites of both colours had such a big negative input when Stanley Park was first raised.
Now that the Yanks entrepreneural bubble is almost burst we must seriously consider whether we should let the other mob share our state of the art Kirkby school of science.
Lee Spargo
13   Posted 19/02/2008 at 12:20:06

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I think you’re pissing in the wind here mate. The idea of a shared stadium has been put to both clubs, and neither wanted it. Both have since put their own projects on the table. What has changed?
Tony Anetts
14   Posted 19/02/2008 at 12:00:01

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Like Eric, I too live in Australia. Football (Aussie Rules, Rugby League, Rugby Union and real Football) supporters here are absolutely devoted to their teams yet manage to ground share without undue difficulty. Crowds of 80000 - 90000 turn up regularly to games of Aussie Rules in Melbourne for routine fixtures between the well-supported teams ? crowds that just couldn’t be accommodated in the older suburban grounds that were vacated 10-15 years ago. Sure, there is the odd bit of nostalgia for a return to suburban club grounds by the older folk, but these grounds, much like Goodison, could not support the complete ’package’ of modern football (regardless of code) and hence were moved aside. Economic rationalism indeed, however once done it has worked and worked well.

I acknowledge that I don’t live in Liverpool and hence may have a less passionate voice, but I just don’t understand the concern with sharing a ground. For all the reasons identified in Paul’s article, our history (if you know it!) cannot be erased - it certainly hasn’t been by us having occupied two grounds previously.

Ground sharing makes economic sense. Economics are the fundamentals upon which modern football is built. Liverpool and Everton would both benefit and the City could share both the ground’s costs and any peripheral profits generated by away support, concerts, tourism and the like.

I do differ with Paul in one area ? the internal configuration of the shared ground. There should be a blue end and a red end (something not done in Australia). The away support goes to the other coloured end. There should be a blue and a red change room - each teams need never cross the threshold of the other. Seats along the sides of the ground could be coloured white/yellow (both teams routinely use these colours for away shirts) and season ticket holders are also allocated seats along both sides - so your bum may be replaced by a red season ticket holding bum every other week. The only time this would be an issue is when Everton plays Liverpool - with the solution being that alternate seating not allocated to season ticket holders is provided to ?away team? season ticket holders who need to move (using some mysterious process as yet unthought).

I like your idea Paul - spread the word and tune out to those who condemn the Kirkby option and simultaneously refuse to contemplate sharing a ground with Liverpool.
David Kiely
15   Posted 19/02/2008 at 12:39:03

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I hate to piss on anyone?s chips here, but the St Domingo connection is an overblown one. Cahpel members from there certainly played their part, but Everton FC coalesced from many different church and chapel sources in the Everton district - Nonconformist; Anglican and Roman Catholic. There are no formal records of St Domingo setting up a football club, still less that their congregation were the precursor to Everton FC - the connection is asserted by Keats in his 1928 history of the club. Yes, St Domingo regulars Cuff and Wade were former players and committemen/directors (George Mahon, often cited as being from that chapel was, in fact, member of a nearby Wesleyan chapel ).

That said, I appreciate and support the intent of using the connection to reinforce the point that our heritage demands we remain in this part of north Liverpool.
John Roberts
16   Posted 19/02/2008 at 13:01:42

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I too live in Australia - left Liverpool in 1973 as a 10 year old.

Here in Adelaide the two local AFL (Aussie Rules) teams share a 50,000 seater stadium. There is no problem with these arrangements. They play each other twice a year and they each take a turn at being the home team. This approach is taken for the benefit of season-ticket holders so they know which match they can attend as a member.

I cannot believe the hoo-ha that is going on at Everton and the other team - a shared stadium is a must if both teams are to maintain their place amongst the Premier League elite.
David OBrien
17   Posted 19/02/2008 at 13:18:30

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I thought it was exposed that we in fact never applied for Planning Permission and that Agent Johnson admitted it was done to keep the fans happy. We couldn’t afford it at the time - I may be wrong but I don’t think we ever actually applied.
Peter Corcoran
18   Posted 19/02/2008 at 12:58:37

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I thought the reliogeous tones were turning into Billy Graham for a moment there.

All pie in the sky I’m afraid. I have no strong feeling one way or the other about ground sharing but who pays when one team wants to extend the ground further?

What state will the pitch be in after being played on 2, 3 or possibly 4 times in a week?

Tony Anetts - home supporter season ticket holders should always get their own seat - I didn’t understand your problem there.

Barry Bragg
19   Posted 19/02/2008 at 13:07:47

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I was always taught that Everton decided to leave Anfield because of the exhorbitant rent rise. Houlding never threw us out. I know its a small point and I don’t wish to sound pedantic but there is a big difference between the two scenarios. Can anyone tell me if I am right or wrong.?
John Roberts
20   Posted 19/02/2008 at 13:25:31

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Barry, I believe you are right. When the rent was upped Everton decided to leave Anfield at which time Houlding offered to sell the ground to EFC for about 6000 pounds. Of course EFC removed and eventually bought the Mere Green (Goodison Park) for over 8000 pounds. Work that one out if you can!
Tom Davies
21   Posted 19/02/2008 at 13:59:52

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It’s a good idea but it would never happen, and there’s still a feeling of who would be more dominant in the back of my mind.

If 1 club was to put more money in then surely they would have more say in what happens in the stadium andcould cause a lot of arguments.

Also, would you like to sit in a red seat?
John Roberts
22   Posted 19/02/2008 at 14:10:44

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Tom, what colour seats do you sit on when you go to Anfield or Old Trafford? That is a pretty piss-poor argument!
Paul Lally
23   Posted 19/02/2008 at 14:08:38

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David Kiely - re you saying the team was from numerous churches.As per original email - ?Soon they were the best team in Stanley Park and began to attract players from other churches. Within a year the team was no longer wholly representative of the St Domingo chapel and it was decided to rename the football section of their cricket club Everton after the district in which they lived.?
Also Billy Bragg -again article does not say we were thrown out - we walked and went to the FA to keep the name Everton due to rent rise.
We have to understand the ?twin brother? relationship we have and like all brothers have major fall outs sometimes.
A lot of Liverpool supporters also think their history started with Shankly due to their age and speed of progress in media and technology. If we had the same access to the ?world? in the 60?s as now, the clubs would be on an equal financial footing.
As for who would pay for stadium growth in the future on a 70,000 seater - this is possibly looking for excuses that at this point are too far away to contemplate.
As previously stated, even if you are against a shared stadium, to let LFC have it just seems to me utterly wrong. We need to stand our ground re Stanley Park. Both or neither.
The thought of moving to Kirkby and Liverpool getting Stanley Park makes my blood boil but also makes me feel devastated.
It was my Nan's funeral (she was 96 and had a great life and was a red!) in Anfield cemetry not so long ago and I shared one of the cars with 6 of my close male cousins who are red. Usual banter about football in the car during the day until we were leaving the cemetry, turned left and drove past Stanley Park. I said no-one was entitled to the ?Park? and they reluctantly agreed then rubbed it in that they were getting it.
A slight moment of guilt though and they knew it.
We grew up together, blue and red and they know their history as we do.
First and foremost we are a blue and red city.
It took us years to sort out Matthew Street and The Cavern. People from around the world could not believe we were not celebrating the hometown of The Beatles.
Is their any question that with a shared stadium we would be the most unique city in the footballing world and recognised globally as one of the homes of football ?
There would be numerous obstacles to overcome to make it work but is any of them worth losing what both clubs and the city could have ?
Ah forget it - let them have it and we can move to Kirkby - who cares ?
Just typing the line above almost made me physically sick.
David Kiely
24   Posted 19/02/2008 at 15:36:41

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Paul Lally -

Yes, I know that point was alluded to in your original piece. My assertion is that there really is no solid basis for viewing St Domingo as the instigator for the eventual Everton FC. Everton?s first history was written in 1928 when the massive character of Will Cuff dominated the club. Thomas Keats (a former director) looks to have been swayed by the very ?proper? Cuff (a demon against drink and gambling) to propagate that Everton?s antecedents were of a certain religious nature. As I said earlier, other than the coincidence of two early committeemen also being St Domingo chapel attendndees, the religious connection if there is any was far broader than that Nonconformist own opinion is that it?s all a load of bollocks and that we are a club with secular roots.

Billy Bragg -

Houlding - and I hate to say this about a Tory! - was very harshly done by in his dealings with the Everton committee. He asked for no more than what they agreed to pay him for rent back in 1885 when the club took up tenancy of his land (Anfield). That was agreed to be 4% per annum interest on the money he loaned them in 1885 to set up at Anfield (which amounted to £250 - a sum he never insisted on or received until 5 years later when Everton were English champions and coining it in from gate receipts).

Basically, the move to Goodison was down to committeemen with a personal and political axe to grind against Houlding and other Tories in the club hierarchy - but that?s another story. ;-)

John Lloyd
25   Posted 19/02/2008 at 16:59:39

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Gentlemen; I think your missing the point, you are getting into petty squables about the finer details of Paul's post, which is not worth it. His overall point is spot on, it's the first time I?ve listened to a groundshare argument/point of view that seems to have a clear idea why it is a GOOD idea, potentially eliminating a lot of problems that both clubs have had in planning & building thier own stadium.

The more I think about it, it makes more sense!!! I especially liked the comaprison to the Beatles, as it was only in last 10/15 years (prob less) that we have started using that to our advantage as a city.

This brings me to the reason why I sadly dont think this will ever take off, basically....... the short sightedness & general incompetence of people who have led & continue to lead (ha ha) this city, and further on the leaders, owners & CEO?s of the football clubs involved.

It also makes me sick to my stomach when I think about what we could & more than likely will end up with, how these people get into positions of power & influence is beyond me.
Louis Huglin
26   Posted 19/02/2008 at 16:56:21

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A great idea - a shared stadium certainly grates me on some levels but like you say with time sour feeling would be forgotten and a huge stadium in the home of both clubs would be a symbol of the City of Liverpool, the history of world football and the unique rivalry that exists between the two most successful clubs in English Football.

Paul Lally - you’re article is certainly romantic, filled with persuasive rhetoric while perhaps lacking tangible facts and figures but that doesn’t matter because it is not necessary. Send this, or an ammended version, to EFC, to LFC, to KEIOC, to the FA, to Local Government, to National government, to FIFA, anyone and everyone who can have even the slightest impact, and hopefully one or two of the relevant people will read it and think twice before letting this opportunity slip away. Kirkby does not even remotely compare to this idea - make everyone know your thoughts, lead the charge!
John Lloyd
27   Posted 19/02/2008 at 17:17:23

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I do agree that a piece like this should be sent on to as many people as you can in councils, governments, FA, the clubs themselves. It may strike a chord with someone, maybe not. But you never know
John Taylor
28   Posted 19/02/2008 at 17:10:36

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Great article Paul, would be interesting to see just how many fans (Blue & Red) would be up for the idea. Any time it gets mentioned in the media its shot down by high profile fans & Board members that can voice their opinion, But is that what the real fans think? I cant believe its never been properly considered. Would anyone be willing to arrange a poll or e-petition to see just how many people would support the idea? & if not this how far would LCC be prepared to go to keep Everton in the city? would they bend over backwards to accomadate us in say, Walton Hall park. Or is that another piece of green belt unavailable to the blues yet readilly available to whoever the LCC see fit?
Paul Turner
29   Posted 19/02/2008 at 17:35:51

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Spot on, Paul Lally! Could this just be the very start of a campaign to try to influence EFC, LFC & LCC (and whoever else needs to be influenced) to reconsider whether a world-class shared stadium could or should be built? I hope it might be. You have my support. Petitions, whatever it takes...
David Kiely
30   Posted 19/02/2008 at 17:46:10

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Dennis Stevens -

Orrel owned two pieces of land: the field where the ground would be built, and his own adjoining strip of land. The former he sold to Houlding, which he, in turn, rented to Everton ? letting them pay him back in installments, for both the land and the ?stadium? facilities that were needed to fit the ?stadium? out).

The problem was that Orrel?s land abutted the land the ground was built on - and the primitive stands would have to come down if Orrel insisted he would like to place an access road between properties in order to open up his own land for building (the district WAS in the course of being developed at this stage: early 1890s). That was Orrel?s stipulation to Houlding when selling the land to him (a detail Houlding insisted the Everton committee always knew about). From that point on it was all about the Everton committee sorting both Houlding AND Orrel out in terms of rent if it were to be to Orrel?s advantage not to pursue his building plans (he was a building contractor as well as a brewer, so his threat to build looks plausible rather than just a bit of opportunism). Houlding, knowing the committee would seize on this further request for rent in order to move from Anfield and wrest full control away from his own ambitions, offered to drop his rent below the £240 pa he was entitled to. That was a last ditch attempt to keep the club together at Anfield and within his orbit....all to no availl.

We all know what happened then!
Jeffrey Leahey
31   Posted 19/02/2008 at 17:25:02

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Paul, that's a super post, really enjoyed reading it I've been arguing the same points myself for years, in fact i could have writen your piece myself. It's refreshing that there are others who look at the bigger historical picture of things. I think its a case of "if you know your history" I suppose....
Dennis Stevens
32   Posted 19/02/2008 at 18:22:39

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Ta for the replies, David. Was Houlding club president as stated earlier in the thread? If so I presume he was a member of the committee. Am I correct in thinking that at this stage there would have been no shareholders as such? I seem to recall the club becoming a limited company some time later?
David Kiely
33   Posted 19/02/2008 at 18:38:17

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Dennis -

Houlding was President, yes. He didn?t sit on the committee, but he was able (because of his financial interests in the club) to nominate an associate to sit on the committee. John McKenna (later on an LFC chairman after Houlding snuffed it) took that role up - as a couple of others did who went on with Houlding to form Liverpool FC.

Correct on the shareholder stuff. 1892 the club was set up as a private limited company.
Barry Bragg
34   Posted 19/02/2008 at 18:43:46

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Paul Lally

Sorry to labour the point mate but your piece does say we were ’expelled’ from Anfield by Goulding. (Para 7).

Oh and the name’s Barry not Billy. Easy mistake I guess.

I guess it just goes to show how little we really know about our history or that of Liverpool. Personally I have always favoured a shared stadium but it will never happen.
Dennis Stevens
35   Posted 19/02/2008 at 19:50:58

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Ta once more, David, all fascinating stuff. Some of the info you?ve posted seems slightly at odds with Keates ? what other historical sources are you drawing from? I presume it?s not your memory!
Mike Kennedy
36   Posted 19/02/2008 at 18:58:55

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I disagree on a fundamental point about the shared history. Yes Everton were born of St Domingo?s but Liverpool were not. Rev Chambers founded the football club for altruistic reasons to give the men of area something to do of an evening in the winter. John Houlding who founded Liverpool did it out of greed.

When the Orrell Bros said we could use Anfield. Everton were to pay a small donation to the local hospital by way of rent. Houlding paid that money over to the hospital but set himself up as a landlord to Everton and charged increasing amounts of rent. After winning the league, Houlding again made another hike in the rent. That?s when we rebelled and went to Goodison.

Houlding formed a new team and tried to call it Everton. He lost that battle and called his team Liverpool. His team is not Everton nor born of St Domingo?s but a creation of his own to cash in the growing popularity of the game in the area brought about Everton?s success.

David Kiely
37   Posted 19/02/2008 at 20:10:24

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Dennis -
Sources are from research I had to do on the subject once upon a time - archival material held in public record offices in Liverpool/Kew + local press. I haven?t seen the France collection ledgers where this issue would possibly be covered (although I reckon official minutes are usually a bit anodyne and don't get you to the heart of institutional conflict). Careful analysis of all the local press cuttings relating to the split tells you all you need to know.
Karl Masters
38   Posted 19/02/2008 at 22:09:59

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Personally, I?d rather share with LFC, on a 50/50 basis only, than go to Kirkby. Reasons:

* Better location ( transport and surroundings)
* Better, bigger stadium
* Tradition is maintained
* Shared construction costs
* Will eventually re-unite the support
* Better for both Clubs? chances of breaking Manchester/London stranglehold
* Would make us a unique city and clubs - fantastic marketing opportunity

It all adds up. If we can?t redevelop Goodison, can?t stay close to our roots, then this is the next best alternative. Better than park & ride to the Kirkby Ewood Park any day.
Dennis Stevens
39   Posted 19/02/2008 at 23:06:44

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David, you should publish your research ? I?m sure there are many blues who?d be very interested, especially as Keates is the generally accepted authoritative word & a different perspective is healthy, IMO.
Alex Pike
40   Posted 19/02/2008 at 23:10:11

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Interesting read guys, thanks.
Michael Smith
41   Posted 20/02/2008 at 01:49:07

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Very interesting but all a bit pointless at the same time - a sizeable minority of our fans would be in favour of groundshare (as opposed to Kirkby) but an overwhelming majority of their fans would be bitterly against it. The issue is now only ever bought up by a small amount of our fans.
Joe Baini
42   Posted 20/02/2008 at 02:14:51

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As an Aussie who has followed Everton from afar and for over 35 years, I fully support the notion of a shared stadium.
In Melbourne we have the MCG, which is shared by several Australian Rules teams and we often have over 65,000 attending and more importantly the stadium is used over 45 times a year for football alone - this is in a city of 4 million people. It makes total sense to have a shared show piece stadium in the middle of Stanley Park!
David Johnson
43   Posted 20/02/2008 at 07:45:51

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Good read as I had not heard the full story of our roots. The ground share is the answer to both teams finances but I suppose the costs of the disinfection & purification systems we would have to install as well as having to move their pitch out and ours in each week would be prohibitive. Wouldnt it?
Dave Whitwell
44   Posted 20/02/2008 at 10:18:08

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My understanding on this issue is that both clubs thought about it and decided against it. I would imagine they are against the idea because they beleive the fans wouldn’t like it, can’t think of any other reason.
If that is the case then why don’t both clubs hold a ballot of the fans as we did for Kirkby and get a true opinion as to whether both sets would be happy with the idea?
My biggest issue with this has always been colour of the seats, I like the Everton & Liverpool ends behind the goals idea, presumably the middle terraces would have to be white?
David Kiely
45   Posted 20/02/2008 at 10:55:38

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Dennis -

I have done. Not in a book, but in journals.


everton + 1892 + politics.

Paul Lally
46   Posted 20/02/2008 at 10:47:36

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The full hsitory ceratinly needs more investigation.( Thanks to David and Barry - got it right this time Billy-sorry Barrry).
But I still think this is a once in a life-time oportunity and one that should not be allowed to pass us by.
Look forward 5 or 6 years and Liverpool have a new stadium on Stanley Park and we are about to move to Kirkby - Surely that cannot be allowed to happen.
If sharing is a major no go then it has to be our priority to ensure that we re-develop Goodison to include all the marketing opportunities re the unique story and history of both clubs and to a very high standard.
Sorry re the Kirkby vote - but if the 3 options were offered again on a ballot what would we vote for ?
1) Re-develop Goodison
2) Share
3) Move to Kirkby
Liam Reilly
47   Posted 20/02/2008 at 12:34:37

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Interesting Article, however I wonder how many would vote for a Ground Share if WE had the Tesco money and the Planning Permission in Stanley Park, as opposed to Liverpool?
Chris Renfrew
48   Posted 20/02/2008 at 12:47:25

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Its a good Article

It would be interesting to see "which" Everton or Liverpool fans would object to a groundshare.

I hate to sound zenophobic.

But would a vote among locally based fans bring up a different outcome.

Would Liverpool (the City) people be so much opposed?
Gary Roberts
49   Posted 20/02/2008 at 14:01:08

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Be funny to sing "Shitty ground" to each other to
Neil Pearse
50   Posted 20/02/2008 at 14:33:50

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Sharing a ground has always made most economic sense for both clubs, and I think emotionally it could work too along the lines Paul says. For some reason though the will just never seemed to be there on either side. Shame.
Ian Ankers
51   Posted 20/02/2008 at 17:24:07

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No matter how much sense the ground sharing idea makes, I’m afraid I personally could not agree to it. Why? Simple: I just don’t want to share with the kopites. maybe a fickle and shallow point of view, but one I’m sure I share with a majority.

A well put together thread though and a good read, but I suspect sending it to anyone that matters will have little effect after all, have we not kind of been here before? Still, if you don’t buy a ticket you ain’t gonna win the lottery I suppose!
Dennis Stevens
52   Posted 20/02/2008 at 20:44:21

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David, is that the "COMMUNITY POLITICS IN LIVERPOOL AND THE GOVERNANCE OF PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL IN THE LATE NINETEENTH CENTURY" piece i found on the Cambridge University press journals site? it must be good, they want people to pay to read it!
Derek Thomas
53   Posted 21/02/2008 at 04:39:59

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My 1st thought was of the old Simpsons episode about the Mono-rail.....mono-rail, Mono-rail, Mono-Rail, MONO-RAIL.

And yes, it would make a cracking film.

Many of the Victorians were men of vision, great vision. But, sadly we are not the men our (great great grand) Fathers were and haven?t been for years.

Example: after the war Liverpool and Manchester, who both had fledgling Airports, had a chance to get, at a knock down price, the big Airbase out along the M62.

But no, we want our own, and it?s going to cost how much and then when they did have to invest in a new runway in the 60?s built the cheapest smallest one they could ...Tossers!

I would love it to happen ....but it won?t, it should, but ....
Baloo Johnson
54   Posted 21/02/2008 at 10:49:06

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Interesting post, but keep in mind that a ground share only suits Everton. Why would it suit Liverpool fans? They are moving to Stanley Park anyway.

So put the boot on the other foot. If we were granted Stanley Park and the evil ones were intending on moving to Kirkby, would you still be happy with a ground share?
Paul Lally
55   Posted 21/02/2008 at 12:12:53

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Baloo - pretty irrelevant point. Liverpool have got Stanley Park so yes it suits them.A lot of Liverpool fans would see the benefits. I especially feel the blue and red who live in Liverpool would be more in favour because they live with each other everyday.
If boot was on other foot Liverpool fans and the club would be appealing to everyone they could.
I get the feeling that because of the last 35 years they think they can walk all over us.
As said before scandalous.
Duncan Mclachlan
56   Posted 21/02/2008 at 13:47:38

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This article has really got me thinking on this groundshare issue.

The majority of Liverpool people support either one or the other. They are both great teams although the bigots, of which we have plenty on either side, would take me to task on this. My dad, god rest his soul, was a red and one of those, he could see no good whatsoever in Everton no matter what they did. I grew up with that.

Saturday for us as kids was a visit to the Atlas to watch Flash Gordon etc. on to Queens Drive Baths and then, if our threepenny bits hadn?t been nicked, on to either Goodison or Anfield and the delights of the Boys Pens.
Incidentally if our money had been nicked we still found ways to get in.

I know in an Ideal World our own Super Stadiums side by side in Stanley Park would be great but this ain?t going to happen.

Stanley Park was donated to the people of the City Liverpool for their enjoyment and recreation, both teams originated out of a football club that was created in Stanley Park, so why shouldn?t both teams have the benefit of the facilities.

Deep down don?t people from the City of Liverpool relish the thought of their own two great teams competing against each other in a ?Super Stadium? in the best league in the world? Could we live without ?Real? Derby Games i.e. two teams from the same city and not Sky?s interpretation?

Who really wants to see the demise of the other? Fat Gavin the Red from Fareham in Hampshire, or Jimmy the Blue from Oxford may, but whereas they have every right to support either team, they apart from exiled scousers, are not part of the ethos of the City of Liverpool most couldn?t give a damn where either team played.

We all have mates who support either side and, more importantly, we all have relatives in the same category. Hands up who hasn?t.

The relationship has become strained over the years, at one time one side would turn out in force to welcome the other back with the various and numerous trophies both teams had won, it probably still does happen. I do remember standing in front of St Georges Hall when the reds had won something when that ?Clown? announced to the world that Everton are tragic, that upset me, was that the start of the rot? He?s gone now forget him. The ban in the eighties also dealt us a bitter blow; some reds acknowledge the fact, others won?t.

We used to stand together and enjoy the banter, we mourned together over Hilsborough.

Can?t we just mend our differences, we don?t have to love each other, but join together and share a stadium in Stanley Park, our spiritual home in a resurgent City, St Domingo Stadium sounds just great to me, the City of Liverpool Stadium probably would sound good to them, but lets talk about it I think most would be open to suggestion.
Derek Thomas
57   Posted 22/02/2008 at 03:55:07

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That the ground needs improving, can’t really be denied. But at least it was once good and has been left to run down.

There is a time, a set of circumstances, money etc when it is ’ right ’ and everything jells, it may even be fashionable, what ever. A lot of teams got, built, new grounds, almost without exception they all had crap small grounds to start with.

Arsenal being one of the exceptions, along with being the only one’s to keep on getting the results that justified a new ground.

We may look back and see them as the last passenger off the new ground band wagon.

None of the others have done a toss as a result of having a new ground... they were crap teams before, they are still crap.

That ’ time ’ is past, the financial world is a different ball game now and will be for a few years to come.

The Redshite may find that they have missed the boat and that they need us as much as we need them and by association DON’T need Kirkby.

They say that there is nothing as unstoppable as an Idea who’s time has come.

Dave Ush
58   Posted 22/02/2008 at 14:06:44

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best post in a long time. I was a kirkby supporter but recently every time i go to goodison i wonder why we would want to leave our roots. this whole idea would be the perfect scenario and perhaps we could even get back to friendly but passionate rivalry rather than the vicious petty stuff we’ve seen from both sets of fans in the last few years.

great article, great idea.
Mike Dolan
59   Posted 25/02/2008 at 01:57:37

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Sharing a stadium makes obvious sense. The turf being used so much in winter when grass does not grow would be an issue. The new Anfield would have to be totally redesigned because IMHO the present plans are hideous. If the people of Liverpool want Everton to remain in the city then it is they that have to come up with the financing. Having said that and given LFC’s new ownership purchasing the club into debt I would be a little leery about climbing into bed with the bastard sons of St Domingo.
Eric Turner
60   Posted 27/02/2008 at 22:16:29

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Imagine a new stadium with 100,000 seats. Imagine a hundred corporate boxes always full - all sold, anyway. Imagine all the people, I wonder if you can, blue and red, sharing the best stadium in Europe, the envy of all others. Not shoddy ’state-of-the-art’ crap, but good logical stadium design, easy in and out, with lifts and escalators, good food and drink bars, adequate lavatories and wide concourses. Imagine underpitch heating, decent touchline gaps and a roof which can open and close, and from every seat you can see the name on players’ shirts. Imagine the other great European events. You may say that I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.

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