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What Makes Everton FC So Special?

By Christine Foster :  24/03/2008 :  Comments (63) :
Since its humble beginnings, Everton FC had always been a cut above the rest. Maybe not always on the field, but in stature, presence and its fan base. Yes, even the fans considered they were better than the fans of other clubs, they had quality, vision and belief. For over a hundred years we have held our head high as one of the aristocracy of football in the UK.

The club could regularly boast attendances over 50,000 with obstructed views included. It was Everton. It was the club, it was who we were. Today, in the time of Sky, we see the club placed with the also ran?s of the Premier League. I hear as well that we must have a ground to match our status (as also rans?) We aren?t being set up to succeed but we are being set up for fodder for the big four.

Kirkby is a mediocre example for a mediocre club. I have said it before and I will say it until I am blue in the face: Location, Location Location; if you build a stadium that truly inspires then you build a dream. You build a stadium where the best want to play, fear to play. Not behind Tesco?s on a Saturday afternoon, who the fuck would want to play there? Does it showcase a great team or a great piece of business by Tesco?

Whenever I go past EFC, I look at it with pride. It means something to my life. If I went past Stanley Park or Walton Hall Park with an EFC on it I would view it the same way. Put it behind Tesco and it means nothing and never will.

So why is that? I am sure there is a multitude of social academics who can tell me why pride in a place engenders such passion. For me it?s a symbol of all that is good with the club, its supporters and the football we play. I associate with it because we have always wanted to play our football with class and style, it sounds snobbish but you know, when something you believe in passionately is threatened you can either roll over and do nothing or stand up and say something.

Yep.. maybe I should get a life, maybe football has changed to just watching a game on a park and nobody cares where it is. But Just remember, Sky will not be around forever. The days of huge money will end, that?s an economic certainty. In management terms its called Risk. I for one wonder what will happen without a David Moyes, without the Sky money or even worse, if, god forbid we fell out of the Premier League. AND we are in Kirkby. Dark days indeed. "Never happen," I hear you say.

One can bemoan all one wants the club and our fellow supporters, the quality of the services, the area. But the fact remains, it's our club. We have a right to a voice and a right to be heard. If you believe that we should not dispute any injustice then all I can say to you is why are you an Evertonian?

We all want success; we all want to see a team playing for honours; we all want to belong. Right now we do belong to a great club with a great tradition. You can only sell the family silver once. Our silver is not in the trophy cabinet, its in the hearts of those fans who treasure the club for all it is. That?s a fan. That?s Everton. That?s why we are special, that?s why we believe the best team, the best ground, the best experience should be worth working out the difficult solutions. Not in taking the only options given and deluding ourselves that all will be ok.

It's called Passion; Passion has a colour. It's Royal Blue. It lives in Goodison Park. If Goodison Park needs rebuilding, rebuild. If it needs a new home, build one. But always remember to take the bricks, the steel, the hearts and the passion with you for without it all you have is a soulless place in Kirkby.

Reader Comments

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Jay Harris
1   Posted 24/03/2008 at 15:19:29

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Christine - One word - Excellent!!

It may not be objective in fact its highly subjective and spiritual but isnt that what being an Evertonian is all about.

Its important that any new development reaches the Hearts and minds of ALL Evertonians and clearly KIrkby doesnt even come close.
Joe Ludden
2   Posted 24/03/2008 at 15:52:14

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Some much needed to be raised points Christine. People need to realise that the money boom in football will become bust one day. People need to realise when that day comes, we could be sitting pretty in a nice plastic stadium outside the city, with a debt of something in the region of 150m to pay off.

Too many fans are ignoring Nil Satis Nisi Optimum. They are agreeing that we are only supposed to finish 5th.. Well thats not how my Pops brought me up regards Everton.. I am religiously Evertonian, GP the cathedral. We have a god given right to more than just the premier league scrap of 5th place. Now I am aware that the game has totally changed and that it is becoming more and more difficult to break the stangle hold of the top 3 clubs, but moving to Kirkby is not going to turn us into league champions. Priority number one for the board should be to find investors, produce a decent 5 year business plan, and not saddle the club with huge debts and a wildly unpopular ground move.
Michael Kenrick
3   Posted 24/03/2008 at 16:38:43

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If you liked this piece by Christine, you might also want to read and comment on this similar article she submitted just before the West Ham game. She writes wery well ? I?m sorry that it got lost a little further down the list...
Terry Maddock
4   Posted 24/03/2008 at 17:12:29

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Sorry to piss on your cornflakes, Joe Ludden..But the attitude that we have a "god given right" to win anything is way off kilter... We area magnificent club..but lets put our achievements and exactly where we are now into perspective..

Everton Football club has won 15 "Major" honours.. but none for 12 years,,

Bob Paisley won 19 major honours alone,


Alex Ferguson.. Including his time at Aberdeen has won 27 major honours..

SO IF YOU KNOW YOUR HISTORY...

No matter how much you love the club..if any team has agod given right..it aint us..

We are moving in the right direction..and its gonna take a while...

We really all need a big dose of realism..5th is astounding..4th would be be a near miracle... and winning something in the next 3 years ..possible..but not a right.
Karl Masters
5   Posted 24/03/2008 at 17:40:52

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Love it.

When Davey Moyes started with us 6 years ago, one of the first things he said was that he had to raise expectations.

On the pitch he has by and large succeeded. In fact, if there is still some work to be done, you sometimes wonder if he has to convince himself to believe we can get in that Top 3 or 4 and STAY THERE, rather than every now and then. I say that based on tactics and teams selected in recent games against the current Top 4. Remember, in October, he dropped talisman Lee Carsley for the Derby and put a defender, Jagielka in his place, a plan that did not work although forgotten since due to the actions of the referee.

Where some serious raising of expectations needs to be done is in the Boardroom.

Relocating the Club to a liitle town in suburban Merseyside in a B - grade stadium served by inadequate transport facilities is like telling BK telling Moyes that he’d settle for a mid table finish in the Championship every season.
Terry Maddock
6   Posted 24/03/2008 at 17:48:15

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I should have added..That the above is what makes Everton FC so special.. We the fans are not a bunch of Banwagon jumping glory hunters..but proper football fans.. win or lose...The great thing is a lot more wins than losses is becoming the norm..and its only going to get better..

Liverpool cant sell their soul..they never had one to sell.
John Sreet
7   Posted 24/03/2008 at 17:51:56

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Very nice Christine. Like you I am a proud blue and have been for over 50 years, but times change, the game has changed, it was about the supporters, today it?s about the business................but I agree with you, however one small oversight is the minimum £100 million pounds it might take to re-develop etc...?
Arthur Jones
8   Posted 24/03/2008 at 17:46:46

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A great post Christine, your writing style is far more eloquent than I could ever hope to achieve and you have put into words exactly my feelings for our Club. It?s always been a love affair for me going back to my first game as an 8-year-old and I still get butterflies in my stomach when just before Kick off I hear the familiar strains of Z-Cars. There?s been good and bad memories but the common denominator has always been Goodison Park. It might sound silly but whenever I?m being driven past there, at any time, I have to stare at what I consider my haven.
We can?t leave ... It?ll break my heart. And I know I won?t be alone in that feeling...
Alan Clarke
9   Posted 24/03/2008 at 18:35:46

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What makes us so special is that 60% of Evertonians voted FOR a move to Kirkby! I voted against it but I am willing to accept that the majority of Everton fans want the move. Pride doesn’t magic us up £100 million to redevelop Goodison.
Tom Lammy
10   Posted 24/03/2008 at 19:33:15

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Forgive me Alan, but where do you think the £80 to £100 million for Kirkby is coming from? We were told it was free ? Deal of the Century, KW said. Utter bollocks.. if it's costing us that much then for fucks sake spend it on Goodison.
Cathy Johansen
11   Posted 24/03/2008 at 19:48:48

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Met many of those 60% Alan? I haven’t.
Joe Ludden
12   Posted 24/03/2008 at 19:52:08

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Terry - only three sides have won the league more times than us. No other club in the world has a century of top flight football under their belts but us. Founder members of the league. Sorry if I can't lose sight of that and see that sets us apart from the likes of Chelski, Spurs, Pompey, Newcastle et al. We should be challenging the top 3 not the also rans and not happy to settle for 5th or 4th. Nothing satisfies but the best.

I?m not stupid, I can see the movement in the right direction we are going on pitch, from relegation fodder to Uefa Cup status, but that shouldn't be our all or our aim. Whenever that royal blue jersey goes on, a victory is all we should be playing for. I grew up listening to these types of things, yet these days, supporters seem happy to settle for less. That?s not Everton. And I don?t believe that's what Christine was alluding to in her article.

I don?t understand your cornflake metaphor either. I normally skip breakfast!

Alan Clarke
13   Posted 24/03/2008 at 20:04:14

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Was the vote a total fix then? The reason you don’t meet any is because it’s so unfashionable to say you voted yes so noone admits to it but an independent vote showed 60% wanted the move. Some fans couldn’t even be arsed to vote, that’s pride for you!

The only conspiracy was that we were not given the full facts about other options and 60 % allowed themselves to be duped but they still voted for a move to Kirkby from Goodison.

Tom, there is absolutely no way our club can afford £80 - £100 million. We’re skint. If that is what Kirkby is costing us then there’s nothing to worry about because we’re not going anywhere.
Tom Lammy
14   Posted 24/03/2008 at 20:19:06

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God, I hope your right with that, Alan!
Joe Ludden
15   Posted 24/03/2008 at 20:15:43

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Who knows Alan - the vote hasn?t been verified by a third party. Also, supporters felt they had a choice between Kirkby and the slow gradual death of the club. That's not exactly accurate. Had the question been: "Would you prefer we spend £100m on redeveloping Goodison or £150m on moving to Kirkby?" would the result have been different? And before anyone has a go regards the money - I have no idea where it is coming from for either project but I know who will pay it off: Us lot.
Lindon Watkins
16   Posted 24/03/2008 at 20:27:39

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Love the artcle, love Goodison... but we have to accept it?s a shithole belonging to the 1900s. Unless and until someone can find the way and the money for a complete rebulild, it?s stuck in the last century. Don?t imagine that Davey will stick around if Kirkby goes tits-up... Believe me!
Arthur Jones
17   Posted 24/03/2008 at 21:13:11

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Lindon, I think David Moyes would prefer to stay at a refurbished Goodison rather than a plastic piss pot in Tesco?s car park. And as far as having to stay at Goodison, if the Tescodome does go tits up then BK will have to prove he?s the true blue he keeps telling us he is and pull his finger out to get us the needed investment. A top 5 prem finish each season is worth £45m/year ? surely this is a good starting point! It's better than 5 years ago when we budgeted to finish in 17th or just above each season and aim to get 40 points by the end of March!!
Jon Beck
18   Posted 24/03/2008 at 21:32:57

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Joe, is the Electoral Reform Society not a highly respected and trusted 3rd party then? Please think before you post.
Joe Ludden
19   Posted 24/03/2008 at 22:39:35

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Jon - Absoulety no. I work for A Society intrisically linked professionally to the ERS and I can tell you that unofficially the ERS has less a than favourable professional reputation. The vote has not been verifed and given the quantity of unissued ballot papers and the propaganda about Kirkby or bust prior to vote, I doubt the vote would stand up to criteria of a democratic free referendum. Dont forget, Everton gave the ERS the question, it wasnt derived from an unbiased point. I am stating simple fact. I am not trying to agitate. The board have an agenda. They will try and achieve it anyway they can. I don’t believe that agenda is in the best interests of Everton FC. Vote or no vote, you miss the point. Kirkby will cost us - Everton not Tesco - £150m (Robert Earl, AGM - Dec 2007). Please explain to us all where this money is coming from, and why we cant use it to redevelop Goodison?
James Doherty
20   Posted 24/03/2008 at 22:48:17

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I am a 35 year old Evertonian from Derry, Ireland. I have supported Everton for as long as i can remember. My father lived and worked in Liverpool in the 60’s and when he was there he was engulfed in the passion that is Everton F.C. He brought this passion back to Ireland and is shared the passion with his brothers, and in turn his 3 sons and 2 daughters and a wide spread Evertonian movement was formed in the Doherty clan! In our family now we have 3 generations of Evertonians with a total number of about 20 !! Being an Evertonian is like a religion in our house and I, my wife and 2 boys aged 7 & 3 are all members of the Irish toffees supporters club and travel to about 4 games each season. Unlike some we honour the motto ’ Once a Blue, Always a Blue’
Nil Satis Nisi Optimum
Colin Wordsworth
21   Posted 24/03/2008 at 23:33:15

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If the new ground is indeed built I will be the fourth biggest in the league, and based on one of the best german stadia for acoustics etc....with corporate facilities to match any in the league, hardly a poor stadium I think! If Everton are to compete at a higher level consistantly this potential money stream is essential!! I have it on good authority that the maximum that Everton will pay is 20% of the stadium cost...... nowhere near the £100 million quoted by the doom and gloom merchants!....we voted for change...lets embrace it!..... .On a sobering note: when did our fantastic atmosphere at Goodison last win us a major win when needed..... the dark side aside?
Joe Ludden
22   Posted 24/03/2008 at 23:51:17

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Colin - we were the first purpose built stadium in England - why should we now take designs based on stadia in Germany (Bundesliga formed 22 years after EFC)? Your good authority is at odds with Robert Earl - he stated in the AGM in December that our costs had risen to £150m. We are not taking this figure out of fresh air. Is Earl wrong? All we want is tranparancy. Let’s see the figures. BK isnt forth coming. Makes you think....
Colin Wordsworth
23   Posted 25/03/2008 at 00:04:01

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Joe, I have been an Evertonian for 38 years and I love Goodison Park.......however as much as I love her I realise that we have to move on. I would hate to see us in 5 years time in our wonderful museum with a huge dark shadow over us from Stanley Park.....and the new stadium of the dark side! As I see it, without a huge investment from someone we have no other alternative than to move. I know Kirkby is not ideal....but what alternative do we have, I know the club looked at many potential sites in the Liverpool area but none were big enough or in the right area for a stadium...unfortunately we need a partner due to the finance involved! Was Robert Earl not talking about the full stadium cost?
Joe Ludden
24   Posted 25/03/2008 at 00:26:51

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Colin, I dont doubt your blueness or anyone elses on this and other sites. I cannot answer your question regards Earl?s valuation because the facts are not in the public domain. Hence the panic. Why do we need to move? What is Kirkby giving us? We dont fill GP today ? and not because of obstructed views. I want progress as much as you do, but I just don't see how Kirkby can deliver that ? even if it was free ? which is certainly isn't.

GP has a similar sized footprint to Old Trafford. That's surely a big enough site in Liverpool to redevelop in??
Colin Wordsworth
25   Posted 25/03/2008 at 00:36:18

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Joe, although I would like Everton to compete without it, we need corporate money! At the moment we struggle to compete even against the ?smaller clubs? in the Premier League in this regard! As a stadia Goodison Park would need massive money to redevelop, we haven?t got it! We also need to refresh the club and move on further than we are already, I feel we need to move Everton on as a brand. The new stadia is an opportunity to move forwards at what appears to be minimum cost in comparison to other ideas. I feel that if we don?t either move or redevelop quickly we will suffer badly as a club. We have not got the money to redevelop so......I agree that the whole sales pitch has left much to be desired but surely Bill Kenwright would not sell us short?It is the great unknown but also a great opportunity to progress and improve. Re the obscured views..........would you pay £30? If you take away the obscured views, our reduced capacity this season and the rarely filled away support...in most games we would not be far off capacity!
Joe Ludden
26   Posted 25/03/2008 at 01:06:17

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Yep I regularily pay more than £30 for obstucted views. I just dont understand how a shoddy plastic stadium in kirkby is gunna move us forward as a brand. GP is part of the brand that we are. I took a friend from Slovakia to GP last season and she was bowled over with the whole experience. Parking at priory road, chip shops and chang all combined. God forbid we get a slightly bigger version of Pride Park with a Frankies and Bennies outside instead. Once we go theres no turning back...
Nick Jones
27   Posted 25/03/2008 at 01:16:44

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Christine, Great post - well done. I for one would be very happy if Goodison stayed at Goodison.
Joe McMahon
28   Posted 25/03/2008 at 01:28:49

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Time to move on Guys. No more obstructed views, wooden seats etc.

Memories are there, but in my 31 years following Everton, there has also been some awfull football. The Red Marketing machines new stadium will simply make us look a laughing stock.

Before you start I do also hate the Sky sports, Hoodies, Nike obsessed culture, Shit Music, shit films, Fast Food, Reality TV, and lack of culture world we all live in today. But Everton do need a new stadium. I took my new GF to Goodsion this year, she has only been to one football match before at Turf Moor, she said both grounds seem the same - THAT?S why a big historic team like Everton need a new home.
Neil Pearse
29   Posted 25/03/2008 at 01:38:30

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Joe, just one point - I know about the ERS too and as far as I have heard they have an excellent reputation. Of course they ’took the question’ from Everton, but any suggestion that they did not independently verify the ballot is nonsense.

Anyone who says they would prefer to stay at Goodison (especially when expressed as well as Christine), deserves absolute respect, and is obviously entitled to continue fighting their cause. You are not helping your cause one iota by insinuating with no evidence that the ballot was fraudulent. The Yes vote was signficantly (not marginally) higher than the No vote, and verified as such by a respected independent party. Fact.
Jay Harris
30   Posted 25/03/2008 at 02:10:43

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Colin
what good authority informed you that EFC would only provide up to 20% of the total cost??????

It wasnt the same authority that said "The cheque will be in the bank in the morning" was it?

People GET REAL.

Kirkby is not FREE.

It is not the deal of the Century,in fact its the "Crime of the Century".

We wont even own the land it is being built on.

TESCO has already said "It is NOT providing funds to Everton"

It is estimated by one of the board to cost EFC between 80-100 million at last count.

Goodison is not about to fall down or be closed down.

There may be restricted views and less than ideal number of corporate boxes but if you read various independent experts it would cost less than 20 million to fix this and increase capacity at GP and for 80 million spent progressively so GP wont have to close down WE WOULD HAVE A 55000 CAPACITY WORLD CLASS STADIUM.

THE VOTE WAS RIGGED - it was said it was KIrkby or nowhere.

That was a blatant lie.Sainsbury were already proposing a joint development in Walton Hall Park.

A number of highly respected Architects/Engineers with experience of stadium development have said that GP can be extended/improved.

Despite what "The Illusionist" and Fat (bonus) Keith have said THERE ARE REAL ALTERNATIVES TO KIRKBY!

The "Yes" camp talk about 60% voting for the move but in fact it was only 2300 people and I believe more than that number of loyal Evertonians did not get the chance to vote either through ineligibility or not receiving their voting papers.

Since more information has come out I believe (purely subjectively) that a lot more people would now vote NO than when the vote was taken.

At a very minimum I believe support to be totally divided on this issue and that together with a board that has no experience or competence in managing a project of this nature leads me to believe that EFC would be best served by re examining the options.

NSNO not a "Sheep shack" in Kirkby>

Christine Foster
31   Posted 25/03/2008 at 03:49:43

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I feel for the first time since this debate started that the penny has dropped. The basis for the move does have merit and whether one relates to a new home or to a rebuild of where we are, there are few if any who would disagree we have to do something. The realistic options are to redevelop or move. Both are likely to be very expensive to EFC no matter who says what about how much it will cost. The facts are we just don;t know who to believe. Perhaps they (the board) just don?t know either.. best guess time. Perhaps they do and are frightened to say. Or perhaps its a done deal and its time to ride the storm and hope it gets through council before the fans wake up.

One thing is clear, the mandate the board got from selective supporters was clear and a yes vote, in the absence of any alternative was duly forthcoming. But thats like heading into a general election and saying that only members (not all supporters) of the labour party can vote, not only that, you need to follow a three line whip too. The absense of a representative set of supporters would always defeat the mandate cliche. The premise was incorrect no matter how well it was conducted.

So, the facts are we are guessing as to the true reason, the true cost. But we do know what we don;t want. Thats a plastic fantastic in Kirkby. Nobody realy voted for that, they voted for change and improvement. Kirkby was the only option given back then, its not the only option now. I hope the board have the courage to say lets do a due diligence on all the options, make them independent and release the findings of an independent body for us to make that call. Perhaps then we will have a team, a stadium and a board we can be proud of as well as our supporters.

Derek Thomas
32   Posted 25/03/2008 at 05:39:35

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What She said, both times and the previous post a few days ago.

As for all the revenue streams so b’lov’d of the yes men(apt term that).
It was all concerts and conferences and this time next year we’ll all be millionaires rodders, When was the last time there was a multi million pop concert at a NW stadium. If there was one that slipped my mind I think the millions went to the STAR...NOT THE VENUE

Planning your multi national business function?? Kirkby or Old Trafford....uum let me think

Apart from the Manchester location as the IN place, The only reason anybody would go to Old Trafford was to bask in the reflected Glory as seen by the more easily impressed.

We KNOW we’re good, but hardly anybody else does, YET.

It’s all about the team, thats where the glory comes from.

If we had had, or would get, 10yrs of success like the top 3. All and sundry would be queueing up to get in the crap tent in the Bullens car park.

It’s all about peception think how the tide has turn in the better papers in the last 6mths and multiply it by 20 over 10 years.

May the sub prime and all that shit upon the Kirkby Dome from a great height.
Neil Pearse
33   Posted 25/03/2008 at 08:14:18

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Derek, the sub prime crisis means that ALL credit is likely to be less available and more expensive. Which means borrowing to rebuild Goodison just as much as borrowing to build Kirkby.

Since terms of credit will partially be offered against future revenue streams (i.e. the ability to pay back) then if anything credit for Kirkby will be cheaper than credit for Goodison, because the future revenues for Kirkby will certainly be higher (higher prices, corporate boxes yada yada yada).

Since it is also probable that the net borrowings for redeveloping Goodison will be higher than for Kirkby (no offsetting sale of Goodison, no new naming rights etc.), the credit crisis almost certainly means that Kirkby becomes more attractive to Everton.

Finally, again, the fact that we won’t own the land at Kirkby is really neither here nor there. Most modern companies do not own the land their factories are built on, or the offices their employees work in (or even the furniture they sit on). Last time I looked Everton was a football club, not a property speculator. All that matters is the terms of the lease.
Alan Willo
34   Posted 25/03/2008 at 08:58:29

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Joe Ludden. Do you watch the X-Files on a regular basis??? You're mad! you only take part truths and turn them around to suit your weak argument.

Vote rigged? Stadium cost EFC £150 million... these are false statements!!! EFC only pay for the Stadium interior ? all other building costs carried by Tesco and Barr. Tesco is the best offer on the table, sadly its the only offer so EFC had to decide what to do and they consulted the fans and were given the green light to move forward. We, myself included all had a choice Yes or No and we voted YES! Respect the result, EFC will continue just with another abode.

Direct your anger at LCC, they have chosen RS over EFC so we have moved down the road to a place that wanted us. History is past, time to move forward. Footy has changed, either change with it or be left behind. I would have more respect for NO voters and KEIOC if you came up with Plan B, but all you do is attack EFC and Tesco plans; to me that is wasted energy. Basically your have no solid options hence the attacks and X-files bullshit. The longer it goes the more extreme you become, next you will all be saying EFC have to pay £200m for Kirkby. COYB no matter you play,

Terry Maddock
35   Posted 25/03/2008 at 10:18:43

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Joe Ludden..

I was responding to your belief that we have a god given right to anything..we dont..
Supporters who are happy at the progress made under David Moyes are not settling for 3rd 4th or 5th best..we are just glad that their does seem to be light at the end of a very long tunnel...we may well have won the league 9 times..but its been 20 years now...We have fans who only have videos and stories...I recently spent a week in Portugal..and nobody knew who we were...
8 years go we were the team that always just about stayed up... a bit like Charlton or Fulham, Wigan...That was our standing in the game from about 1992 onwards (barring one season).....
Now our expectations have been lifted..buy they still need to be tempered with a healthy touch of realism...although i am one of those who dares to dream
Lee Rogers
36   Posted 25/03/2008 at 11:29:23

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You can argue til your blue in the face but we haven?t got the money or running costs to either rebuild Goodison or build a stadium besides Kirkby ? unless Paul Macca wants to hand over a couple of bob.
Christine Foster
37   Posted 25/03/2008 at 11:20:46

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Alan Wilo.. Can?t let your comments pass without response. There are alternatives, there were alternatives before the vote that had been put to the council and the club. They just weren?t put to the vote.
So don?t feed me the BS about the fans voted a clear mandate.
Sadly your comments indicate you obviously have no concept of the history or tradition of the club as you say, the past is past. Sorry but why do you think Liverpool command such respect from media and Sky?? Because of what they have done in the past. !
Everton FC are every bit as good as them. Better.
Tradition and History are the foundations of any great side and any great club.

No solid options?? Now can we when we have no solid comparisons to make a call on and an exclusion clause that fobids any discussion with other parties.
Attacking Everton? I attacked the board on what was a poor decision based on a poor choice and then closing the door on all other options.

I work as a CEO of several companies; if I did what the board did at EFC I would be rightly condemned and shown the door. It's BAD BUSINESS. YOU NEVER CLOSE THE DOOR BECAUSE CIRCUMSTANCES ALWAYS CHANGE.
.
Perhaps its a generation thing where people don?t give a shit about the club, just the result on Sat / Sun / Monday at midnight.. Because that's all I seem to hear as a response from people who frankly don?t care about the club and a sense of belonging. All they want to do is ridicule those who choose to challenge.

Without those people you end up with mediocrity which I for one will never settle for, which the bulk of supporters will never settle for. It's a shame that blind faith in the board should result in the derision this forum decends into. It is neither constructive nor rational. Step back, use some common sense and realise that unless the CLUB listens to its supporters, looks at the opportunities and is trasparent in decision-making, then the only outcome is blind faith and the probability of a foul up.

That's the reality. That's what happens in real life. Good decisions are the result of long hours and looking at all options. Bad decisions are made without exploring the options.

Having been on the end of both, I know from bitter experience which is the best.

Tom Hughes
38   Posted 25/03/2008 at 11:39:47

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Neil,
I’m not sure I understand your points:

"Since terms of credit will partially be offered against future revenue streams (i.e. the ability to pay back) then if anything credit for Kirkby will be cheaper than credit for Goodison, because the future revenues for Kirkby will certainly be higher (higher prices, corporate boxes yada yada yada)."

Will higher prices necessarily mean higher revenue? Liverpool is still one of the poorest cities in the country. Cost and demand always had a negative correlation when I did A-level economics. Higher prices may mean smaller turnouts and consequently lower income. As far as corporate boxes, there is nothing prohibitive in providing significantly more of these at GP. For instance, the scheme I produced for GP had nearly twice as many as the Kirkby design.

"Since it is also probable that the net borrowings for redeveloping Goodison will be higher than for Kirkby (no offsetting sale of Goodison, no new naming rights etc.), the credit crisis almost certainly means that Kirkby becomes more attractive to Everton."

This is highly speculative since unlike kirkby, GP does not necessarily require 4 completely new stands immediately. Which is why redevelopment is still the most commonly chosen option by football clubs. At a minimum it can be brought upto capacity by the addition of one new stand and remodelling/re-roofing of the others. EFC can even generate their own enabling project as outlined by Trevor Skempton on land that they actually own at the Parkend to help fund the first phase. LCC planning office agrees with this in principle. Therefore, at a minimum outlay GP can actually generate the same income, not to mention offer the better convenience of the more central site, as well as continuity and preservation of heritage/tradition and matchday routines. If you take into account the increased costs of Kirkby, i.e. the nett increase above enabling funds not being met by Tesco it appears that Kirkby may be far more costly. As far as naming rights is concerned how much is this really worth? A hotel/residential development at the Parkend may release similar naming opportunities at least for part of the redeveloped stadium. Huddersfield’s stadium is on its second or third sponsor, meaning that even established stadia can have saleable naming rights. According to various reports the sale of Goodison is hardly as lucrative as you might think. In anycase, isn’t it already re-mortgaged to its full value?

Neil Adderley
39   Posted 25/03/2008 at 12:50:58

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Colin Wordsworth,

"If the new ground is indeed built I will be the fourth biggest in the league, and based on one of the best german stadia for acoustics etc...."

The proposed stadium at Kirkby is not based on Koln. How do I know? Well it says so in the Tesco planning application.

"With corporate facilities to match any in the league, hardly a poor stadium I think! If Everton are to compete at a higher level consistantly this potential money stream is essential!!"

Also untrue Colin. It says so in the Tesco planning application.

""Whilst the type and size of stadium EFC had (and still has) in mind for itself would be a considerable improvement in many ways over what it currently has, it knew that it could only afford a mid-range Premiership stadium"

Tesco Stores Ltd, November 2007"

"The Directors of
the Club recognise the need to strengthen the balance sheet in the short term have
identified opportunities to achieve this, of which the most important and potentially
valuable option is to move to a larger, more modern stadium."

The proposals for EFC at Kirkby are all in here;

http://www.knowsley.gov.uk/consultation/kirkby/kirkby_tesco3.html

I suggest before you make any more unfounded claims as you have above, you should read the many, many documents that will inform you exactly what EFC would be getting at Kirkby.

Cheers.
Lee Spargo
40   Posted 25/03/2008 at 13:48:44

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Christine is right. We do have a right to a voice and we do have a right to be heard. Now, if only we could have some sort of ballott............
Greg Murphy
41   Posted 25/03/2008 at 13:56:59

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Correction:

60pc of Evertonians did not vote to move. Does anyone know how many Evertonians there are in the world? I don’t.

No, less than 60pc of those Evertonians who particpated in the ballot voted to move. That’s quite different from saying 60pc of Evertonians voted to move.

As it stands, there’s a swing of just 2,382 Evertonian ballots leading us who knows where.

Is that really enough for us to take a leap into the unknown that is Kirkby? Is that really a mandate?

I do not for one minute think that the actual vote submission process was rigged. Nor do I believe that the ERS was in EFC’s back pocket.

I do believe - rather, I know (and the facts are out there) - that EFC carefully managed the parameters of this ballot (especially concerning who could vote) and the attendant information whilst meeting the most minimum requirements of the ERS.

Most ERS ballots stipulate that any accompanying literature should present a case for "yes" and a case for "no". However, only one of those cases was witnessed last July but as EFC was the ERS’s client on this one there was very little the overseeing body could say or do. Its only power was to ensure fair play in the counting procedure. Regarding the pre-amble it was powerless.

EFC knew it would be a tight affair and officials were very nervous about the outcome. It was proved that they had every reason to be so nervous for less than 2,400 of those Blues who voted (sic) won the day for them.

Knowing what we all know now, especially regarding costs, it would be interesting to see how many of those 2,382 would change their minds.

A fair few, I’ll bet.


Alan Willo
42   Posted 25/03/2008 at 14:28:26

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Christine, if your are a CEO then you will always be aware that your staff at times can be bitter about changes. To say i dont care about my club is a joke! I went to Arnot St, then Alsop drink on County Road when I can and follow EFC around the world, EFC are a major part of my life!! But live with the fact I and thousands others voted YES. We dont own EFC we are just patrons of the club or even customers if you want to be blunt. Having history is nice but it doesnt pay the bills and you of all people should be aware of that. If people wish to question EFC board and make other proposals then thats fine with me but it needs to be of interest to the buyer(EFC) and at present all I see is attacks on Tesco, EFC and the Directors themselves thats not how a business plan should be submitted. You all question that the vote was not fair, well again this is silly because EFC can only pole people who have made a commitment to the club in season tickets, membership etc, etc. People who dont register to vote politically cant moan when their candiate doesnt win! I dont care where EFC play as long as we are doing well at the top of the league. I?m a realist !!! COYB
Tom Hughes
43   Posted 25/03/2008 at 14:58:58

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Alan,
Shareholders got additional votes. Shareholders with holdings under several names..... presumeably got more additional votes. How do I know......? I’m a shareholder. Who are the biggest shareholders?

Everton may be moving on the say so of a number of people that would scarcely fill the paddock.

Ok, I’m being a bit mischevious!!! ;)
Paul O'Neill
44   Posted 25/03/2008 at 15:42:43

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Well maybe if they did all fill the Paddock that?s why they voted Yes. That?s if they had time between craning their necks to actually see the games they?d paid 500 pounds per season for and hoping they didn?t get DVT whilst hoping the 1920?s foundations were going to crumble and the ?beautiful original Archibald Leitch? brick iron and wooden seats and floors of the Bullens Road wasn?t going to fall on their heads. Still some ?sky boxes? and a new roof will sort out a stand that dates from 1928 and that away fans from lesser clubs think is a joke. Yes I do appreciate the architecture, but ok, I?m being a bit mischevious too...
Christine Foster
45   Posted 25/03/2008 at 18:04:33

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A business that doesn’t listen to its customers risks survival as a company. A board who that refuses to acknowledge the concerns of the stakeholders riskexpulsion as Directors. Travel down both paths at the same time and you lose all credibility and integrity. That my friends may just as well be written of Everton FC at this point in time.

The board can recover its integrity by simply stating it is open to review all other options. But history to date has shown that rather than do so it attacks and ridicules those who carry the message.

You have a choice in life, to not pay lip service to decisions that are made in your name or have the balls to say you were wrong and be man enough to listen. Of course, if your lucky enough to be right all the time then you don’t need to accept others views. But somehow I don’t have that comfort with our board of directors.

So my apologies because I dropped ino slinging abuse mode when I shouldn’t have done so. Alan Wilo thats for you.

But thenI still hold passionate views about my club. I am a stake holder as everyone who has paid money at the turnstyle is. If the concerns voiced here in this forum are truly representative of the overall body of support then the club has a duty to respect our concerns and answer them.

Everytime we start to shoot each other for holding views then we lose any basis for the club to take us seriously. This issue is far too important to let the board off the hook by pointing to the arguments and abuse and saying that those supporters don’t know what they want. Well, I do.

Honesty, Integrity, Transparancy.

Then you can put me back in the cupboard and say thank Christ she has gone.Until then, Stand up for your right to ask the questions and keep asking until answers are given. Hold those in power accountable for our club.

I don’t critisize the board for having a vision of improving Everton FC, I critisize them for their arrrogance in dismissing options and ridiculing those who would speak out in protest. That smacks not just of bad management but of a lack of integrity and respect.

I hope to goodness BK or Everton FC read this post. We are not luddites or pond life as some have suggested. We are passionate about Everton FC. We are the fan base that ensures the club lives. We are special too.
Jon Beck
46   Posted 25/03/2008 at 19:51:12

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Joe substantiate your claims with facts not personal hearsay. Too many use the ERS for your slur to stand without evidence. By the way i expressed no opinion on the move i merely challenged your 3rd party point. Why then do I have to justify the board’s position?
John Sreet
47   Posted 25/03/2008 at 20:24:35

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Christine, first of all we?re not customers we?re fanatics, and fanatics follow whatever, you cite that we?re every bit as good as the RS, nay better you say, my heart agrees, but the facts speak for themselves.... is it 5 European championships........ I hate to even say it, it but it?s true.

There are a lot of CEOs, Chairmen and women of major companies and great intellectuals that follow the beloved, but those attributes gain us nothing, for that of which you speak, is a matter of the heart, and as always, leads to clouded judgement........... But I love your post!

Tom Hughes
48   Posted 25/03/2008 at 20:35:03

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Paul O’Neill said,
"whilst hoping the 1920?s foundations were going to crumble and the ?beautiful original Archibald Leitch? brick iron and wooden seats and floors of the Bullens Road wasn?t going to fall on their heads. Still some ?sky boxes? and a new roof will sort out a stand that dates from 1928 and that away fans from lesser clubs think is a joke. Yes I do appreciate the architecture, but ok, I?m being a bit mischevious too..."

There are some who used to think the Albert dock was a pile of debris fit for infilling the dock only. There are many older stands in the world still fully operational. Close to home Anfield’s 1900’s Mainstand is still completely intact within the one that’s’ there today. At Ibrox, they did similar to what I suggest to their mainstand, and it is for the most part the best stand in the ground despite a few obstructions, with talk of replacing the other three stands which look alarmingly similar to those planned for Kirkby. The only poor views in a redeveloped Bullens Rd stand with a new tier behind the current upper tier, and a re-profiled lower tier will be those at the rear of this lower stand. The new lower tier with slightly increased rake wouldn’t continue to the back wall, but just to the second row of columns thus reducing the number of obstructed views substantially, with a new roof eradicating them completely in the extended upper stand. The result would be a completely transformed stand with history preserved, in essence a new 15-16,000 seater stand for the cost of 5-6,000 seater, less if the skybox option was adopted instead, or some hybrid thereof. The addition could be an independent structure that could be added to in the future should the Leitch stand need replacement, however this massively over-engineered structure is probably stronger than many newer variations on the double-decker theme.
Paul O'Neill
49   Posted 25/03/2008 at 23:06:07

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Tom, I have no truck with your knowledge of this subject as you clearly work in the business and know what you?re talking about. I wasn?t being (completely) sarcastic, I do think the Bullens and the Gwladys are amazing examples of pioneering football ground design, and you?re right, the Bullens is solid as a rock. Indeed, I nearly got my head kicked in for defending the thing on the train home to a bunch of w*nker Birmingham fans after we mopped the floor with them earlier this season. My point is that however workable your designs are, they need costing, implementing and, layman as I am I cannot see how this convoluted method will work, or why it?s worth it. To me it?s still a sitcking plater/wound situation given the sheer datedness of the internal infastructure. Bulldoze the thing, pull the fantastic iron criss cross out of the rubble, polish it up and stick it in either a new stand or the new club museum at Kirkby or at Goodison. By the way, is your solution for the Gwladys Street the same? And how about the 1971 Main stand which though visually impressive and ahead of it?s time when built,also has more pillars than St Georges Hall, horribly cramped concourses for the masses and only 12 prawn sarnie boxes for the corporate folk, and they were tagged on the front in 1981!
Colin Wordsworth
50   Posted 26/03/2008 at 00:03:01

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Neil .Re your comments made... A mid-range stadium!... something like the Stadium of Light perhaps... mmmmm.......sounds good to me!

The new stadium has loosley been based on the Schalke stadium (if that?s how you spell it) which has one of the best atmospheres in the German League. A great improvement and capacity of what we have already, at a fraction of the real cost. We have very little money to waste... we need a new stadium. We also need new players ? how else are we to do it?

We cannot afford to redevelop Goodison, which incidentally I would prefer! You need to wake up and smell the coffee! Cheers! ps: the new stadium for the dark side will cost them at least £30 mill a season in interest alone... what else can our club do to take us forward?

Gary Sedgwick
51   Posted 26/03/2008 at 01:37:42

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I think the forum managers should offer Christine to become a columnist. This, by far, has been the most constructive post I have read on the site regarding this volatile issue. She could be the lead analyst for the topic. Great post Christine!

What do you all think?
Alan Willo
52   Posted 26/03/2008 at 08:55:08

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Christine, while your posts are pleasing on the eye you lack substance for your point. EFC asked its fans who commited to the club offically and the answer was plain for all too see.

The reason EFC have an exclusivity deal is because we have no money so we have to agree to the terms on offer to obtain the "free gift". Whether all parties agree to what the free gift is, location or even the sponsor is completely irrelevant thereafter as we lose the upper ground because we don't have a pot to piss in. Staying at GP, moving to the Loop are all fine options but none have a major sponsor so we fall back to the fact we have no money, no private invester and a council that has chosen LFC ahead of EFC. These are the cirumstances that lead us to Kirkby.

If you (like me) hold a very senior position in large company then you will understand that sometimes decisions are out of your control when you don't have the cash flow or capital to deliver what in a perfect world we would like. I love GP too but I?m afraid today?s business footy circles dont hold out for sentiment ? they follow P&L?s accounts, assets and projected earnings.

The argument you have against is not confined to EFC but the move away from the fans to the boardroom along with player power. Once you understand this then it all fits in (we don't have to agree!) we EFC are just trying to keep up with the Jones and I?m afraid we need to make decisions that may upset its loyal base but what is proven is the loyal base will stay around not matter what in time for EFC. COYB

Christine Foster
53   Posted 26/03/2008 at 09:41:09

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Alan, pleasing on the eye but lacking in substance. The truth is the whole deal is lacking in substance. A segment of the fan base was asked to agree to a Hobson's Choice and without any other viable option chose to go with the club's prefered supplier.

Thats fine. I could look at the substance in detail and contend that the vote was misrepresentative and should not be continued to be lauded to as the reason for the move.

The exclusitivity deal was at Tesco?s request to prevent any other bid. That's business, EFC signed off on it; that was bad business. Of this there cannot be a dispute. Somewhere in all of this there should be a "Get out of Jail" clause. So where is it?

No other sponsors? Sainsburys? Walton Hall Park? Politically a nightmare scenario for Tesco to lose to a competitor? That's a fact, not a figment of anyones imagination.

Look at the track record of the EVerton Board when it comes to investment issues. Fortess Sports Fund indeed, Kings Dock.. I am not saying its all the Board's fault as the LCC have blood on their hands in spades... Shameful is the truth.

Free gift.. exactly What is free? I would LOVE to argue this point but I can?t because NO ONE will give us the FACTS. I Can?t assess how good or bad the deal is financially because the statements from the club, BK. Wyness, press releases all appear to have different hymm sheets.

So what are we left with? Unsubstantiated emotion and the impact studies done around the Kirkby proposal. The transportaion issues, the location itself, it really doesn?t quite generate a feeling of great expectation. More of impending problems.

The fact that sometimes a Board is between a rock and a hard place is unfortunate for the Board, but I would contest that they are a maker of their own misfortune in terms of attracting investment.

I have asked on this site before just why was Walton Hall Park and Sainsbury?s buried as a possible alternative. For me it fitted the bill perfectly and allowed GP to be sold off to recover funds. But the deal was killed off before it was given an airing.

Alan, in response, I can only say that, fact or fiction, we are left to argue about where the deck chairs are being placed on the Titanic. Nothing to date has been carved in stone regarding the cost to EFC. Like most major projects I bet the overspend will be a cracker..

One is left asking the question why was a site that is obviously less attractive than WHP still being pursued? Of course it's money; of course it's power; of course it's politics. But NONE of them make it right.
Greg Murphy
54   Posted 26/03/2008 at 10:03:06

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Take your general substance about the Main Stand edifice, Paul O’Neill, but I disagree that it was "ahead of its time".

Tom Hughes may correct me on this and I certainly bow to his knowledge, but I think the only thing that whole monstrosity (c’mon it is) had to boast about was being the first ground in Britain with an escalator.

Sheff Weds had already introduced cantilever technology in the mid to late 60s (in time for the 66 World Cup?) and certainly by 1968 Man United had employed it. By 1972 Chelsea’s plans were in place for a cantilever stand which was eventually finished in 1974 (the one which houses the dressing rooms today).

In the middle of all that, though we erected that crazy structure which is absolutely riddled with ob-views.

Ironically, I wrote several times to PJ in his very early months asking him to address the Goodison Road side of the ground (I was being slightly mischievous because I hated him from the off and I was trying to expose how skint he was as opposed to the mega-bucks image he was trying to pass off...but I was also hoping he might just say "yeah, let’s bulldoze it"). The last thing I expected was for him to start muttering about moving ground.

I eventually met him and he said that Everton had missed a trick with the new single tier Park End stand which was under construction before he took over. He categorically said that he would have insisted on a two-tier job (I was inclined to believe him, for once).

I told him that it was actually John Moores that had missed a trick (more like cost-cutting...as he was entering his turn-the-tap-off mode in 1970 and I’m convinced his role in the Alan Ball sale has never been fully exposed) with the construction of the Goodison Road side of the ground.

I used to work in the JM Centre in Old Hall Street and had control of the keys to the old Littlewoods archive for a number of years: there were three sets of plans (real, lay-it-out flat, eight-foot long drawings) in that room for the construction of the Goodison Road side and one of them was definitely cantilever. Another was a variation on what we have now (but not as good - so we can be thankful for small mercies, I guess).

It was always my intention to "spirit" those plans away one day...but I didn’t bank on the company being taken over almost overnight back in 2002.

We’re still paying the price today for JM’s shortsightedness / cost-cutting back in 1969.

The Park End fiasco 24 years later merely compounded the error.
Alan Suagre
55   Posted 26/03/2008 at 09:40:19

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I am the Chairman of a very large company and make senior decisions on a very senior basis. I eat Senior for breakfast and I am so far up the corporate ladder that in actual fact the ladder is climbing me! So if this doesn?t convince you that I am right then I really don?t know what more I can say. Listen to your customers, the Chairman is always right, they don?t like it up them and cor blimey guvnor I can?t spell like youse lot yer dead clever ;)
Tom Hughes
56   Posted 26/03/2008 at 11:10:24

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Paul,
I am not in the "business", I am just trying to show how capacity can be increased. There are a multitude of options. There might be great kudos to be gained from preserving the Leitch stands and adding to them on the Bullens Rd side. I believe you can combine tradition and modernity, some times the contrast works well, as is the case at Ibrox IMHO. That said, piece-meal additions can detract from the original so it’s not something to be done lightly. As far as the existing poor concourse facilities, the rear extension will expand these behind the existing stand. Like I say this is just one way of expanding the capacity to a point where we can truly judge our ultimate demand. It could be part of an overall scheme to preserve these two historic stands and to build something state of the art around the other 2 sides. This would make GP unique. I’m not sure about putting the balcony front on a new structure, sounds a bit pastiche to me, maybe spread it around internal bar spaces?!
Tom Hughes
57   Posted 26/03/2008 at 11:32:04

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Colin W,
You are getting your German stadia mixed up. The Kirkby proposal is nothing like Shalke?s stadium which is completely covered. The comparison has been made to Koln?s stadium (Rhein-Energie-stadion) in that it is the simplest possible two tiered symetrical structure. The Kirkby design has far more open corner sections though. What we are being offered probably isn?t as good as the Stadium of Light.
Tom Hughes
58   Posted 26/03/2008 at 11:42:48

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Greg,
It?s a shame you didn?t get them drawings. I have got copies of Littlewood?s drawings for a completely redeveloped GP (1980). I visited the architectural department and met some of the structural people who had been involved (I was amazed they were still on manual drawing boards in the late 90s). Basically the plan was to take the mainstand /top balcony around all four sides.

I also put some ideas together for completely transforming the Goodison Rd side, and they are shown on the KEIOC site in the "alternative sites" section I think, with drawings etc. I agree, it is an eyesore in its current format, but it is not beyond redemption IMO. For a start it has scale, it is imposing. The majority of the obstructions can be eradicated by re-roofing this side. The two front columns cast the largest shadows. An exec tier hung beneath the top balcony would solve the issue of good and plentiful exec provision, and would make the rearmost rows redundant reducing obstructions there also. Continuing the mainstand down to pitch level would get rid of the shallow enclosure, and would make-up some of the capacity loss from the rear of that stand. Result a transformed stand that will not look dated or ad-libed.
Tom Hughes
59   Posted 26/03/2008 at 13:01:37

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Greg,
Meant to say that I also spoke to people involved with the Mainstand. They apparently had a simple brief to deliver as many seats as possible on that side. There was little regard for quality, but it has a massive capacity for the footprint. It was never ahead of it?s time, although its pure scale must have had a real wow factor at the time. I can remember visiting teams walking out on the pitch in my youth for their usual pre-match walkabout and standing in awe looking at the stand. There was nothing like it till Chelsea built their superior effort, but the rest of Stamford Bridge was a mess at the time. A cantilevered roof would have made a significant difference, and you are correct that Sheff Weds and Old Trafford pre-date 1966.
Greg Murphy
60   Posted 26/03/2008 at 13:07:12

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Tom,

That’s reminded me of something PJ said (Grand National "Monday" 1997 - IRA bomb hoaxed re-run day).

He said he’d been looking at redeveloping the Main Stand to run it right from the back to the pitch side. But he added that the pillars were the problem. Frankly, he then completely lost me as he continued to jabber-on about the impossibility (cost wise and engineering wise) of slicing the Top Balcony off!

I waited for him to draw breath (because I was frankly lost by his continuing incoherent stream of consciousness that lasted about 10 minutes) and wanted to press him about what he actually meant.

But as he came to a pause, he issued a grand flourish stating (verbatim: "Anyway, we’re moving, anyway, we’ve got no choice and the plans are clear and I’ll hold a vote if you like but we will move so the rest is merely contexture (sic)."

I think he meant conjecture!

But what the hell could he have been on about?

Although Dunford later admitted that there never were any plans, it was clear that PJ must have had prelim discussions at least about reconfiguring GP.

Any clues?

P.S. Yes, I saw those manual boards at least as late as December 98!!
Alan Willo
61   Posted 27/03/2008 at 08:58:05

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Christine, we have common ground ?Walton Park" I too have been posting WP since day one. I even emailed KEIOC and LCC about the same before last weeks article came out. Sainsbury?s have expressed an interest but that’s all. The answer has always been in front of us, put the Tesco project in the middle of WP!! Bradley reply was" two wrongs don?t make a right" referring to RS in Stanley Park. That’s why I was amazed KEIOC allowed them to be backed by LCC when they had the answer in front of them. Tesco/Knowsley council to peruse this both had to invest millions in planning and development and EFC was the catalyst to getting planning permission that’s why they had to encourage EFC to sign up to the deal before both parties would sign off the development costs. To me this is the answer to unite us all but why are we not pushing LCC??? Tesco would be happy to move, EFC would be happy as long as the deal is the same? Answer, get out of jail card whatever you want to call it is LCC! not slagging off the institution we all love. As a side issue to Sainsbury?s, they may well be taken over soon so I doubt they could make a long term commitment with cash flow due to them needing to keep cash in the company to inflate any potential take over. COYB
Tom Hughes
62   Posted 02/04/2008 at 13:25:30

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Greg,
I’m not really sure what he was going on about, although I remember him making similar statements at the time.....

"He said he?d been looking at redeveloping the Main Stand to run it right from the back to the pitch side. But he added that the pillars were the problem. Frankly, he then completely lost me as he continued to jabber-on about the impossibility (cost wise and engineering wise) of slicing the Top Balcony off!"

There have been studies for remodelling the mainstand side, and indeed carrying it around all four sides. The Littlewoods drawings I have date from 1980. They are an initial study only and are flawed in that sightlines for the proposed new Bullens simply would not work, and the proposed structures would all possess the same problems as the existing mainstand side. Certainly the removal of a whole tier could be problematic and expensive (especially if keeping the lower tier in operation), but I’m not sure why it would be necessary to get rid of this tier in the first place. While the Top Balcony is steeper than would be allowed nowadays, it is an existing structure and therefore for the time being safe from legislation. These old drawings also showed the mainstand continued down to the pitch level, which would have meant the loss of the enclosure and which again matches his ponderings to you

"Anyway, we?re moving, anyway, we?ve got no choice and the plans are clear and I?ll hold a vote if you like but we will move so the rest is merely contexture (sic).But what the hell could he have been on about? Although Dunford later admitted that there never were any plans, it was clear that PJ must have had prelim discussions at least about reconfiguring GP."

Hard to say now, but I think similar to the current episode PJ had only looked at some preliminary, possibly outdated redevelopment studies like the ones I have, and preferred the relative hassle-free blank canvas of an out-of-town site. That might explain his referral to the problem of the pillars since the front columns are still evident in the Littlewoods scheme as well as the second row of columns to support the top tier. It probably all goes to reaffirm Dunford’s admission that no real feasibility studies had been conducted. The parallels with the current process are only too obvious. One seemingly less problematic solution was found or offered and the blinkers went on, end of. Similarly pre-vote KW stated categorically that all options had been fully exhausted yet the grossly biased feasibility study for redeveloping GP was dated October of last year, several months after his initial assertion. This suggests the rather back to front process of making the problem fit the solution.
Greg Murphy
63   Posted 02/04/2008 at 16:16:03

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Cheers Tom,

That’s actually clarified a few things for me, believe it or not. I’m more convinced now than ever of two things:

* that he had been looking at both those 1980 drawings and the putative 1988 study conducted by Marsh (the famous Sunday Mail "underground car park" pipe dream) and was mentally merging the best bits of both a-la-carte style...hence his weird ramblings

and

* the "blank canvas", path of least resistance (ha!), sod-it, let’s just move long-term ambition was really pushed by Buckley Finch until PJ finally accepted that was the most profitable way forward; I’m convinced that, ironically, PJ initially favoured the cheapskate "stick a bit on here, bolt a bit on there" approach to redeveloping GP in order to get the capacity (and revenue streams) raised asap in order to cash-in on the "new dynasty" post our 1995 cup win (he definitely did favour sticking a 2nd tier on the PE almost immediately as he admitted he was so impressed with the take-up of season ticket seats at that end (he had no appreciation that it was more to do with a cultural and spiritual homecoming for loads of old-skoolers).

Sidenote: I almost got John Moores Jr to admit to me one day (after he’d categorically told me that he and the rest of them regretted the day he’d sold out to PJ) that they were guilty, at least in part, of planting the seed of a ground move in potential buyers’ heads. But after his anti-PJ rant to me he suddenly came-to and realised he was talking to a minion and, like those drawings I never got, that was another golden moment gone forever.

One way or another, the Moores are at the root of all our problems today - IMO - and ironically the emphasis on behind the scenes corporate hospitality on the Goodison Road side (at the expense of spectator convenience), although it was then ahead of its time in 1969, is the very thing that has stymied us for over a decade.




Cheers, Tom

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