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A Comparison of Grounds

By Jay Harris :  01/05/2008 :  Comments (67) :
A lot is currently being said about Goodison being about to fall down or be closed down. So I thought it might be interesting to see which Premier League grounds we might prefer to have as ours.

Old Trafford (Developed) - 76,000 capacity but still fails to rock unless full for a big match.However enjoyable views and facilities.

Stamford bridge (Developed) - 42,500 capacity -used to have a section known as "the shed" for good reason.Good atmosphere but IMO not a patch on GP.

The Emirates (New build) - 60,400 capacity and a real example of how well managed finances and excellent stadium go together.

St James Park (Developed) - 52,200 capacity and again a well developed and financed project on a smaller footprint than Goodison Park.

City of Manchester stadium (New build) - 48,500 capacity. A windfall for City due to the Olympics. Good facilities but a bit soulless.

Villa Park (Developed) - 43,300 capacity incorporating executive suites. Could be a model for GP phase 1.

White Hart Lane (Developed) - Capacity 35,000. Very similar to GP but smaller footprint and capacity. Still manages better income than EFC. Questions there then eh?

Anfield - not considered for personal reasons.

All the other Premier League grounds, including the newly built Riverside and Reebok, have much smaller capacities than Goodison so are not relevant IMO.

So does that really leave us with a stadium that's unfit for human consumption.

Certainly not in comparison to other Premier League grounds and, contrary to our Chief Executives implied problem with safety certification, GP has always passed with flying colours and is considered to be one of the safest stadiums in the Prem.

If the answer comes back that we have to move to increase our income, I would ask the question what will increase our net revenue more £20 to 30 million spent on GP to increase capacity and more corporate suites or £78 million plus to create a "crude and substandard" (as described by CABE) stadium in a location that many don't want to go to, with an interest bill of 10 million a year as a millstone before any increased revenue.

Deal of the century or crime of the century?

Reader Comments

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Neil Pearse
1   Posted 01/05/2008 at 07:34:48

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Jay, I agree with your assessment of grounds, and I think you are asking precisely the right question: given that we are very financially constrained, which gets us ’more bang for the buck’, Kirkby or redeveloping GP?

Once the issue is looked at in this more sober light, I think what soon becomes rather obvious is that there is no obvious or easy answer to this question. On the cost side, building budgets are notoriously unreliable, and that applies in both cases (I think you are a bit mischevious in always quoting the £78M for Kirkby, since we know that we will receive SOME monies for GP, naming rights etc., even if we might not be sure how much).

But as you suggest, it is on the revenue side particularly where it is hard to predict. Kirkby should certainly allow Everton to systematically raise all its prices (even if in some ways this is of course to be regretted), and should enable very significantly increased revenues sooner from match day catering and entertainment and of course the corporate sector.

The big imponderable of course remains how many people will actually show up, in either the redeveloped GP or KIrkby. No marketing plan could possibly tell you that with any reliability, especially since we would really have to know how the team is performing in five years time. And have, e.g., the Big Four broken off into a Europe Super League by then?

My judgemental call is that extra revenues from Kirkby will justify the additional costs. But my real point is that this is a pretty tough call versus redeveloping GP, and something that no research or planning could ever possibly decide to everyone’s satisfaction. (Personal admission: I am a management consultant working for twenty years now on evaluating the very large investments of global corporates. It always comes down to informed judgement.)

The only bit of Jay’s argument I disagreed with was the last line: deal of the century or crime of the century. In financial terms, it is clearly neither. More like a perfectly reasonable project which may or may not turn out to be better for us than staying put and making some more slow and incremental changes. In fact, very typical of decisions businesses make every day, never being fully sure if they are right or wrong.
Derek Turnbull
2   Posted 01/05/2008 at 09:22:00

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For such an important subject as this, don?t you think it?s a bit childish to ignore Anfield as a stadium?
David Thompson
3   Posted 01/05/2008 at 09:39:55

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You say that no marketing plan could possibly tell with reliability how many people would show up. I am sure you would agree, however, as a business consultant, that adequate research must be done in order to arrive at the final decision, even if that decision is so close to call that it comes down to gut instinct.

For example, faced with redevelopment or a new build, you would firstly call in experts for a full assessment of your existing structure, to determine the options and costs for redevelopment, and how the costs for such options might be met.

You would then undertake detailed research into how the new build might affect your existing customer base, and the potential to attract new business to fund the additional costs involved.

This would apply regardless of the industry you were involved in.

Now taking Everton as a specific example. NO feasibility study into the redevelopment of Goodison was carried out prior to the signing of an exclusivity agreement with Tesco. After KEIOC produced Tom Hughes plan for redevelopment at St Georges Hall, the club called in one of the companies working on the Kirby project to refute the plan. Hardly independent, and begun from a destructive, rather than constructive remit.

NO survey has been undertaken to assess the likelyhood of existing supporters following the club to Kirkby, nor has one been undertaken to assess the probability of attracting new fans, or where those fans will come from. The only data they have used in evidence that other clubs have initially increased their attendance when moving to a new ground (though many have seen a drop off by year 3, as acknowledged by Wyness).

If you were advising a company on perhaps the biggest single decision in it?s history, wouldn?t you be making these kind of recommendations to the Board

What would you think of a company that actually progressed to the stage Everton are at, without undertaking the proper investigations.

Would you trust the Directors of that company?
Christine Foster
4   Posted 01/05/2008 at 09:54:16

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Good Post Jay, it highlights what could be achieved on limited finances and staying where we are over Kirkby or any other location.
Niel, glad you see my point of view regarding where the money could better be spent other than Kirkby. I just find it difficult to view the proposed stadium as anything other than a millstone around our neck and a price that can be viewed on a balance sheet for years to come and in the surrendering of GP for realistically little advantage if any. IF there was $78m available from anywhere I would seriously look at what that would get me in GP rather than an inferior option that is Kirkby.

Good one Jay, shows that GP can be made a viable option if the will is there as well as the momey
Tom Hughes
5   Posted 01/05/2008 at 09:29:59

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A seemingly fair assessment as usual, except you omit to say that in your profession you would at least try to avail yourself of all the options throughout your decision process to enable you to make fully informed decisions. The Kirkby project has stunk of a blinkered myopic approach from day one. The aggressive treatment towards ALL options and the total lack of any independent feasibilty study before the vote shone out from the start (This has all since been proven to be the case), and is the complete antithesis of good design/decision-making practice. EFC were offered a life line, and instantly all alternatives became void.... almost a sin to talk about them.

I too have been involved in several major engineering projects, and the first rule of Design is a completely open mind. Receptive at all times..... You don?t have your Eureka moment then attempt to make the problem fit your solution because it seemed so great to start with, or because you don?t want to upset your mate who came to you with this wonderous idea. You ALWAYS assess the lot, and never stop looking for alternatives till you have turned every stone. This patently hasn?t happened with this project.

I agree, there are lots of imponderables, yet I would say that there are far fewer at an established location. Over 115 years of operational life supplies much data and experience. It also equates to millions of man-hours of Evertonian memories and match-going experience. There is real value in these, as there is in continuity generally.

Shaun Brennan
6   Posted 01/05/2008 at 10:16:31

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Just a small note. St James park was built around the corner of their old ground. So effectively its a new stadia. However developed in phases over time.

Good post though.

My personal view is that we are moving to Kirkby. Tesco has too much money and previous developments by them have flouted the rules.

Have a read of George Mombiot's Captive State. He does it justice.
Tim Borrington
7   Posted 01/05/2008 at 10:49:22

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Why do we get it every day now about the Stadium.. The votes said to move, EFC plan to move to the Tesco Site. We need to live with this fact unless EFC say otherwise... Banging on day in day out will achieve NOTHING... Sorry to be so blunt but its the cold fact
Tom Hughes
8   Posted 01/05/2008 at 10:39:18

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St James’ Park has been fully redeveloped in situ. The east stand was built in the 70’s, and is still in place. The rest has been added since.
Jon Gorman
9   Posted 01/05/2008 at 11:13:23

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St James? has a massive footprint, you've clearly never been there. Tottenham get more revenue because they're in London, the atmosphere at the Bridge is non-exsistent (unless they?re knocking the RS out of Europe).....

We need a new stadium because GP is not up to modern standards in terms of safety and facilities. Whilst I am certain it is possible to build a stadium with a limited capacity on the current site, it is a pointless argument. The finances to redevelop a 120-year-old stadium are not in place at EFC. I can't believe people are still debating this issue!

The Kirkby idea sucks but we are running out of options.....
Rob Bentham
10   Posted 01/05/2008 at 11:04:13

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The interview on KEIOC with Croke Park’s Stadium Director is interesting they redeloped over 14 years and did so because they valued the historicity of the ground and it’s location, close to the city centre.
Tim, if you’re sick of the debate don’t open articles with the words stadium, ground, Tesco etc in the title. The other contributors to this debate on both sides are very interested and interesting. On both sides of the argument.
Ed MacDonald
11   Posted 01/05/2008 at 11:52:52

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We can redevelop Goodison and we could afford it.

The ONLY issue is can we extend the footprint? The club say no so we could only redevelop to 37,000 seats.
James Asquith
12   Posted 01/05/2008 at 11:54:34

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Jon Gorman,

"a 120-year-old stadium"?

I?ll excuse the slight exaggeration (it?s 116 years since we moved from Anfield - I guess you?ve just rounded up), but could you tell me which of the stands at Goodison has not been rebuilt at some point in those 116 years? It must have been some sight in 1892!

Your point is...err...pointless. How old is Old Trafford? Villa Park? White Hart Lane?

Oh, and if "the finances aren?t in place" to redevelop Goodison, how are the finances in place to build a new ground? Overall it may be more expensive to redevelop, but as it can be done in stages, it can be more practical. We couldn?t build one stand every 5-10 years at Kirkby, but we could at Goodison.
Paul O'Neill
13   Posted 01/05/2008 at 12:06:41

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The current Bullens Road Stand was opened in 1928, but has since been given a new roof in the 1960s and made all seater in, I think, 1991.

The Gwladys Street was opened (by Queen Elizabeth the former Queen Mum no less) in 1938. It was renovated after the war when GP suffered bomb damage, and given a new part-cantilevered roof in the summer of 1987. It was made all seater in 1991.

Both those stands had their concourses smartened up with TVs etc in the mid-1990s.

The Main Stand was built at a cost of £1 million in 1971, replacing the previous structure which dated from 1909. The wierd bolt-on exec boxes were added in the early 80s. The Family Enclosure replaced the old Boys Pen in 1987, making the stand all seater, and part of the middle tier was reseated in the mid-1990s.

The Park End was built in the summer of 1994 and was originally supposed to be two tier with executive boxes in the middle, but was done on the cheap because, again, the club was skint and Johnson?s new board wanted the club to move stadiums anyway.

The big screens and the external smartening up of GP with the new signage, flags, lick of paint etc was all done in the summer of either 2000 or 2001 (the outside of the ground looked a lot smarter as a result too in my view) and that?s about it. Hope that?s helpful to the argument over how old the ground actually is! :.) COYB

Michael Brien
14   Posted 01/05/2008 at 12:12:36

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Tim Borrington - We?ve had the vote so no more discussion - Every 4 or 5 years we have a vote in the General Election, does the discussion end with that vote? I don?t think so, are we not entitled to an opinion? Or do you follow the Robert Mugabe approach? i.e. how dare anyone have a view that disagrees with mine .
I have looked at the articles with an open mind, I doubt whether Mr Wyness has done so.
Robbie Muldoon
15   Posted 01/05/2008 at 12:24:16

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Can't you people see!!! Kenwright wants to build a cheap stadium in Kirkby, then make loads of money by sekiing us on to a Businessman!!!
Neil Pearse
16   Posted 01/05/2008 at 12:28:04

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Thanks for your responses Tom and David. I do agree that either more research and analysis could have been done, or (and I think this is a large part of it) the research and analysis that has been done could have been presented more fully and honestly.

I think that what the club have been most unwilling to tell us is: we are poor! This is a bit embarrassing, and doesn’t reflect that well on the existing stewards. The reasons why exhaustive analysis has not been performed on other new build options is that, pretty obviously, they will all be more than we can afford. I believe many problems could have been averted if the Board had been more straightforward and honest about this.

I also do think there is a BIG difference between the cost and the revenue sides of this issue. The costs are more predictable than the revenues - even if they have a fair degree of uncertainty. To be honest, David, as a consultant I would not believe any analysis which claimed to demonstrate how many people would go to Kirkby. Really, how would you do it? People now might say they won’t go, but many will. People saying they will, probably won’t. And the big unknown is the performance of the team.

Tom, you are right - an existing stadium is much more predictable. But even then... There is probably no better assumption on Kirkby than that we’ll get about the same attendances as we get now. Maybe a bit more, maybe a bit less. And that then the revenue per attendee will be higher.

The question then is whether the investment and the borrowing is worth it for those additional revenues. That’s where informed judgement comes in.
David Thompson
17   Posted 01/05/2008 at 13:15:05

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Are you saying that if you came to my company to pitch to act as a consultant on a forthcoming major project, that you would not recommend market research, on the basis that someone might say one thing and do another?

How can any business begin to plan for the future without assessing the market?

Professional Market Research companies are more than capable of factoring-in tolerances to take into account people changing their mind.

Your final paragraph asks whether investment and borrowing is worth additional revenues, and tells us that is where informed judgement comes in.

How is one to make informed judgement, with information upon which to do so?

Chris Halliday
18   Posted 01/05/2008 at 13:28:46

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I have often felt if we genuinley couldn?t afford a new ground ? one that is of high standard and good location ? we should not just take the next best offer avaliable. Instead redevelop GP. So what if we have reduced capacity for 2 years, say to 30k. Just reduce away tickets, all season tickets holders would get a seat and still leave tickets avalible. After all we only get around 36k each week now. Then use the money earmarked for Kirby to begin works for a 40-45k ground, with better views and co-operate, which would meet are needs easily. I have always thought this is an exit strategy for BK and the rest.
Neil Pearse
19   Posted 01/05/2008 at 13:28:19

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Yes, David, in my opinion you are fooling yourself if you think you can do much more than produce a fairly broad assessment of the likely attendance - i.e. the average is likely to be somewhere between, say, 34,000 and 44,000 depending on a whole range of uncertain and unknowable factors. I earn my living partly by telling people that there are many uncertainties that they just have to live with.

What should be done, and there is no evidence that I have to suggest that it hasn’t been done, is to run detailed sensitivity analyses on what the implications are of e.g. 32,000 versus 44,000. Or a cost overrun of 10%. Or a delay of one year. If a reasonably possible outcome would financially sink the club - you shouldn’t generally do it. Of course, if you are too strict about this, you would never do anything.

Leeds problem was not that they predicted the future wrongly, it is that they took risks which they could have seen in advance were imprudent. Transferred to Kirkby, if you truly believe that there is a realistic scenario of average attendances of, say, 30,000, then you should not be in favour of a move to Kirkby. I don’t believe this, but I can’t definitvely prove to you that you are wrong. And you can’t prove that I am wrong either.

As a consultant who works with some of the largest corporate businesses in the world, I am always amazed by the apparent belief that businesses routinely perform huge and exhaustive analyses on their major investment decisions, somehow (impossibly in my opinion) predicting the future. I can assure you that they mostly don’t. They do what they can by way of research and analysis without wasting too much time on it, they run sensitivities, they challenge their assumptions - then they make decisions, and they take action.

What the best businesses very rarely do is waste their time analyzing options that they are already 90% certain are not going to fly, especially if the reason is that they will almost certainly not be able to afford them.
Tom Hughes
20   Posted 01/05/2008 at 13:20:02

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Given that there is no evidence of real exhaustive research of the options pre-exclusivity or even pre-vote (eg the redevelopment feasibility is dated many months after the vote, is carried out by Tesco’s consultants and has an obviously heavily biased remit. There are also no planning applications or enquiries registered for extension of GP’s footprint)..... I think you can conclude that "informed judgement" is either not possible solely based on what Tesco need/want. EFC should have known many months ago, even before the vote what the cost would be to the club. They then could have hosted a design competition for the phased redevelopment of GP to the value of that expected outlay or proportions thereof. I guarantee a multitude of potential schemes would have appeared. Likewise, any other interested party/investor would have been encouraged to throw their hat into the ring too. Exclusivity without a detailed independent preliminary study of all the options shouts either old pal’s act or complete incompetence to me, since it bares no resemblance whatsoever to normal practice for this scale of project.
Alan Willo
21   Posted 01/05/2008 at 13:15:55

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Not interested in talking about Kirkby. Enough said already and we are moving ? live with.

Jay, what a crap post! If you are going to compare then make sure it's like for like as you have just made yourself look extremely silly. Old Trafford built outside Manchester and in the middle of an industrial estate; surely that?s not your preferred choice now is it???? Well EFC have similar plan, sorry said I would mention it again??..

Chelsea, stadium is part of Chelsea village and backed up with hotels and flats, real estate value off the wall compared to Walton and until the Russian arrived CFC nearly went in to receivership. Also, CFC is looking at plans to move to Earls Court as SB doesn?t have space to move them forward.

Arsenal, I?m going on Sunday so I will enjoy the new stadium that put them in massive debt and the crap transport links around the stadium (1 tube station, other closed) and we don?t have the money so not a fair comparison.

Newcastle, difference is simple: one team in the City, they get exactly what they want, EFC don?t get that out of LCC.

Man City, free gift from the taxman in return for the old site at Main Road, lucky Mancs!!

Villa, this club has always been run to make a profit and Doug Ellis always backed the club on and off the field, sadly EFC don?t have such an owner (YET).

Spurs, well one of the highest ticket prices in the country and have on the main board countless multi-millionaires the main being Jo Lewis who made an offer to Johnson but was turned down as he got greedy, another missed opportunity. Nevertheless Spurs have a large waiting list for tickets and major corporate income and guess what?? They are looking to move stadium and have set up a study to see if it?s possible and have reportly asked to share Wembley!!

So I guess we can?t compare to any of the above as we don?t have any money, no major assets, a ground that has thousands of obstructed views on 3 sides and a council that is not interested. Sadly we have to make good out of what we have, the problem is we have very little to offer apart from an average fan base that spends little and prefers to go to County Road for drinks than walk up to the game (I do it too). We are not an attractive purchase, live with it. COYB

Neil Pearse
22   Posted 01/05/2008 at 13:50:38

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Tom, you and I completely agree that the one option apart from Kirkby that is clearly in some form viable is redeveloping GP. (As does Keith Wyness actually. When pushed on Plan B he said something like "I suppose that would have to be redeveloping Goodison".)

As is apparent, I disagree with perhaps most posters here that any of the other new build options are worth much more than relatively quick analyses (which it appears they got).

On GP, I am a bit baffled why the club has not been more forthcoming about why they think it is not a good option. I can certainly imagine myself working up some plausible numbers to suggest that Kirkby was better!

PR wise, it seems a big own goal to me not to have basically said: we are poor; we can only afford Kirkby or redeveloping GP; we think redeveloping GP would cost too much relative to the uptick in revenues; and so we recommend Kirkby given that we assume x, y, z.

Given my differeing experience of business decisions, I don’t see any particular incompetence here. My rather uninformed hypothesis is that Bill believes that getting a modestly priced new ground is the best way to get a new owner for the club (Terry Leahy basically let this slip in his piece on the official site).

Many will now scream about BILL LINING HIS OWN POCKETS!! You could just as well say that Bill is trying to increase the worth of the club and get us better players on the pitch to enable us to compete more effectively with the Top Four.
Tom Hughes
23   Posted 01/05/2008 at 13:49:10

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"if you truly believe that there is a realistic scenario of average attendances of, say, 30,000, then you should not be in favour of a move to Kirkby. I don?t believe this, but I can?t definitvely prove to you that you are wrong. And you can?t prove that I am wrong either."

Whilst I’m all for this "you can’t predict this or you can’t prove that your honour" business it’s all a bit wishy washy to me. I’m an engineer who has to back up all decisions properly..... many supported by statistical and technical analysis.

I find to hide behide imponderables to be a real smokescreen to be honest. There are plenty of "knowns" to be playing with before we need to make too many assumptions.

We can prove that if Everton don’t achieve average gates of a certain level at Kirkby we can never overcome the ensuing debt. Given that when we voted that debt was posted repeatedly as perhaps only a few million and yet we told the expected required break-even average attendance to be in the mid to high 40’s. What is it now? You didn’t know then that the debt was going to be c.£78m, do you really believe you made that "informed judgement"?

Do you now know what it would cost to place a 3-5,000 seat tier behind the Bullens with exec boxes increased concourse areas. Or the cost to extend or build a whole new vast Park end? or to place exec boxes beneath Top Balcony, or right along the front of the mainstand even? Without any of this info, and/or that pertaining to the Loop, WHP and any other number of options still not unearthed your judgement will never be informed. As far as companies not over analising..... they have had over 10 years and 3 votes, the analysis for this most important of issues should have been comprehensive by now.... even Michael Dunford admitted there was no feasibilty study for the redevelopment of GP back then.
Tom Hughes
24   Posted 01/05/2008 at 15:07:57

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"Spurs have a large waiting list for tickets and major corporate income and guess what?? They are looking to move stadium and have set up a study to see if it?s possible and have reportly asked to share Wembley!! "

They have asked about sharing Wembley because they haven?t counted out staying at WHL yet and redeveloping. Why would they need Wembley otherwise? I believe an anouncement is due soon. I also believe that one of the sites earmarked if they do relocate is almost next to the current one. This and the fact that their capacity is lower than ours, they sell out every game and that they have a waiting list will render their criteria/urgency for moving/staying different to ours. However, the fact that they managed to redevelop in situ already to produce a stadium with some of the facilities we currently require is a fair comparison IMO.

As far as being attractive...... Are Pompey an attractive proposition? They seem to have attracted investment on crowds half our size, and in a ground that is nowhere near as good in any respect. There are several reasons why we may be seen as uninvestable, and that might have more to do with the heirarchy and internal politics as highlighted by Tesco?s own take on the club?s board.

Peter Howard
25   Posted 01/05/2008 at 16:20:48

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Tom, as you are a shareholder do you not think you should be contemplating legal action against what you obviously deem to be an incompetant Board who are not acting in the best interests of the Company (ie EFC) ?
Alan Willo
26   Posted 01/05/2008 at 17:35:33

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Tom, How can EFC be the same as Spurs? They have many people willing to invest and are a very, very rich club. We don't have a pot to piss in.

Its all about location with you lot and that's not what I?m talking about. Pompey, I agree they have investment, we don't... maybe it's because of the North/south divide I am not sure but you're correct they are better equiped than EFC.

Every trime we discuss money and where EFC stand, you always have no answer at all just slagg off the board because they are skint. No matter what plan we have, we need money, we have a limited capacity to borrow ? that's why we need sponsors such as Tesco and KBC. We may not like Kirkby or the fact that our bank balance is not too healthy but that is the TRUTH, we can't hide away from that basic point.

Options are limited; that's why Jay?s post is crap. It pairs us with clubs we can't compete with unless we have a major investor; we don't... so no point dreaming ? accept it. That is a basic fact that can't be hidden yet you all forget about it when you critise. COYB

Neil Pearse
27   Posted 01/05/2008 at 18:59:25

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I have to say I fully agree Alan. The missing ingredient in all these debates is MONEY (or rather our lack of it). We ceased being the Mersey Millionairies about twenty years ago. We are doing incredibly well given the poverty of our resources.

Most of the debate about Kirkby is gloriously irrelevant, because it dodges the blunt harsh truth that the reason we are contemplating a mid-level stadium on Tesco’s retail park outside the city centre is THAT WE CANNOT AFFORD ANYTHING ELSE (apart from incrementally redeveloping Goodison). If we could afford something better, Bill and Keith would be building it. Why on earth wouldn’t they??
Tom Hughes
28   Posted 01/05/2008 at 19:05:03

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Where have I said Spurs are the same? The comparison is one of stadia(in line with the thread). They have redeveloped theirs in situ which is roughly comparable in size to ours to a facility that yields more than double our income yet within their existing footprint.

I agree we need cash and I haven’t avoided anything..... On the contrary I stated months ago what I believed this was going to cost, and many attempted to ridicule mine and several others’ estimates. I never avoided it at all, it would appear that some who voted yes did though.

At Kirkby we need £78m and even more if the enabling scheme falls through. My argument is that if we can find it for Kirkby we can find it for redevelopment, or to put towards any other site...... (TESCO AREN’T GIVING US IT, OR UNDERWRITING IT) that has nothing to do with slagging of the board which quite frankly constitutes next to no part of any input of mine.

Furthermore, with redevelopment we don’t need the whole sum at once which we will for Kirkby, and capacity and executive provision etc can be increased incrementally giving us the chance to measure increase and demand. There is also sufficient space at the Park end to include an enabler of our own, which will yield a return that will come back to us in its entirety possibly to fund a big chunk of the first phase. It would also not compromise our identity/history nor expose us to the farcical transport scheme that is being rejigged after its latest poorly received revision.
Tom Hughes
29   Posted 01/05/2008 at 19:50:51

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"(apart from incrementally redeveloping Goodison). If we could afford something better, Bill and Keith would be building it. Why on earth wouldn?t they??"

They might have if they hadn’t shut up shop before the dog could see the rabbit.... or jumped into bed with the first person who has promised all sorts (with BK rewarded by being allowed to preserve ownership and rewarding KW acting as progress chaser), but as we are increasingly hearing is delivering very little. "Practically nothing" = £78m..... I don’t think so.
Neil Pearse
30   Posted 01/05/2008 at 20:55:43

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Tom - so why do you think Bill jumped into bed with Tesco before even considering anyone else if really he could have had a much better and more prestigious ground in the city?? Seems a bit odd. Bill could be building a 70,000 seater stadium on Stanley Park but instead he chose to go to Kirkby? Really?

Oh, the reason is so he could preserve his ownership of the club. Well, firstly he is having no problem anyway preserving his ownership of the club because no-one is trying to buy us. We would know if anyone wanted to because if Bill turned them away and they were serious they would tell us. They couldn’t possibly be deterred from buying us by Bill himself being on the Board (as you suggested earlier), because what a new owner does is change the Board by becoming Chairman himself - that’s the point.

Secondly, you will have to help me understand how building Kirkby helps Bill keep a grip on the club. More than building this better ground in the city that is apparently fully possible? Or indeed than incrementally improving Goodison? Wouldn’t building a fab new ground make Everton MORE attractive for a potential new buyer, and hence put Bill’s ownership MORE at risk. I would say that Bill can best keep his ownership of the club by hunkering down with your favourite option and staying at Goodison. Pretty unlikely we’ll be bought by anyone on that scenario.

Have you ever heard of Occam’s razor? It says that, other things being equal, it is rational to prefer the simplest explanation of an event. So we could invent extremely convoluted theories of Bill’s psychology and his various incredibly clever and devious ruses etc. etc.. Or we could explain Kirkby by saying: IT IS ALL WE CAN AFFORD.
Michael Kenrick
31   Posted 01/05/2008 at 21:14:51

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Here?s a simple razor for you, Neil. The outcome of Destination Kirkby is good for Bill, provided he retains his controlling interest in Everton until the project is complete. He will be a lot older by then (as we all will)... if it ever happens. But he will have a much higher value product... albeit with much higher debt.

At some point, Bill Kenwright will sell his shares in the club and relinquish control. He could do it now, and not get that much at all really ? certainly nothing like the £100M Forbes valuation, which is apparently low because we do not have a modern stadium.

Or he could secure the "Deal of the Century", get a stadium built on a shoestring, and increase the value (and debt load) of the club virtually overnight.

Kirkby is clearly not good enough for Everton long-term but it is clearly very good for Bill Kenwright and Keith Wyness in the short-term. All you have to do is follow the money trail...
Ian Naylor
32   Posted 01/05/2008 at 20:53:07

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Tom, I enjoy your input but this time (is it the stress of crunch time coming nearer) I cannot understand what you are saying.

Put aside what can be done as an engineer, because let's be honest, anything can be done with money, and think of it as a business man. To draw a line between the grounds of Spurs and Everton and say that one can make a lot of money with a smaller ground and therfore the other should be able to, is to ignore commerical and social factors. Spurs are in the heart of one of the richest cities in the world, it is proven there that footballl fans across London will pay top dollar. London is the corporate headquarters of lots of big companies and lots of people go there to do deals and they all want to be entertained.

Let's compare this with Liverpool and our fan base. For a start our fans appear not to want to spend that much on their support. Our ticket prices were far too low for too long, some people will not like that but from a business point of view they were, and in some cases still are. Yet, when tickets go up, people complain, and they still want to put money into the pockets of pubs around the ground rather than the club. All of these facts come together in studies made of each clubs support.

Our corporate facilties are shocking, and I can give you a real example. I took three people to the recent chelsea game, and these guys run one of the biggest registered compnaies in Liverpool, but they don?t live here. Now if things would have gone well they might well have bought some tickets. To give you an idea, paying hundreds of thousands at twickers is not a problem. They also have tickets at Villa, Old Trafford, and White Hart Lane.

The apporach to the ground they thought was like a scene out of a horror film and it went downhill from there. Some of it is the club's fault but a lot of it was about the frabric of the ground. In a nutshell, we cannot compete.

Lots may say we don?t need these people and we don?t... but, unless we change something to attract more income, we will not move forward and then we will start to go backwards.

The biggest sin was the Kings Dock and from that point we have struggled. Our owners are skint and have proven to play fast and loose with the truth to suit them, and the fan base is getting older and we are not attracting enough profile and younger fans.

In conclusion Tom, yes you can make points about other clubs to support your argument, but in the same way as you describe your job in a post above technical etc, I can say that I have engineers working for me, and never, ever ask them to make a business decision... Why? Because they never think of the money, and at the end of the day it always always comes down to money in any capital development.

ps:- You also must have lost it if you think we can build an enabler for a project of this size at the back of the Park End. I am not sure at all about Kirkby, but lots of guys quote you on here, Tom, and you put yourself up as an expert and I trust that you are, but I think that in this thread you have shown that your head for business is not quite as good as the one for buildings.

Finally, to answer one of your points on having the money for Kirkby and therefore the money for Goodison, it doesn?t work that way. You have to make a pitch to attract a loan, and god knows that will be difficult in this age. To go and ask for money on the back of rebuilding an existing ground, with perhaps a Travellodge on the side, or dare I say a major building project backed by a cash and carry compnay, is just not the same as going for a loan based on being the major part of a huge development that is backed by the council and the one of the biggest retailers in the world. You can also include lots of other names such as M&S, TK Maxx... I am sure the list will go on. Take a step back: which project is likely to get the support? In business terms they are not the same.

Finally, finally, Tom I have started to do the car ride from the new car park by the Malmasion to the tunnel, going around the loop, a few times, and at rush hour to do that mile it takes me 36 minutes. What will it be like with 50,000 going at the same time?

Ian Naylor
33   Posted 01/05/2008 at 21:46:10

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If only Bill Kenwright was in for the money we wouldn’t be in this mess.

I know people who know Kenwright, I don’t, and they assure me he is not in this for the money. They think he is a crap buiness man. He gives a lot of his money away, in a way he spends it on his favorite thing....his ego
Neil Pearse
34   Posted 01/05/2008 at 21:23:54

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Michael, that is the complete oposite of Tom’s argument - Kirkby it now turns out is not at all about Bill retaining control, but about providing a mechanism for him to profitably relinquish control. This certainly is a lot more plausible to me. (Although you No guys might want to sort out amongst yourselves why exactly Bill is foisting Kirkby upon us.)

Your argument rather sinks the ’rebuild Goodison’ position though, which is interesting. It tells you that Everton FC is worth considerably more with a new stadium than in Goodison. Given that markets for reasonably well-understood items such as sports franchises are not usually completely wrong, that means we can reasonably safely conclude that the markets in the shape of football club owners are pretty convinced that it is better from the point of view of generating additional revenue for the club to build a Kirkby than stay in Goodison. So all those who don’t apparently believe this (most No voters apparently) are now committed to maintaining that they have a better grasp of football club economics than the potential owners of football clubs. Possible, but not very likely.

Of course this also means that, whatever other personal motives Bill has, he is doing right by the club by going to Kirkby, at least in terms of making the club richer than it would be by staying in Goodison. Otherwise the value of his shares would not go up.

The subtlety of your point Michael is that, although we have now more or less proven that Kirkby is a better financial option for the club than redeveloping Goodison, it is indeed possible that there is a yet better option which would be building a new stadium in the city. Bill isn’t going for that, although it would make his shares worth even more than would moving to Kirkby, because the cheaper Kirkby option makes him able to cash out earlier.

Obviously and undeniably possible. A couple of problems though. You do have to assume that Bill wants less money sooner rather than more money later. I have no idea whether that assumption is valid. It could be if he wants to do something else with the money (e.g. buy a theatre).

But the second problem is that, for Bill to be doing the club a disservice, the more expensive new build option must actually be possible. Otherwise, whether Bill is making money or not, there are still only two choices (Kirkby and GP), and Bill is choosing the one which on your own argument is financially superior (the value of the club and his shares go up).

So we get back to the same place. If we actually can’t afford any option more expensive than Kirkby (which I believe we can’t), then Bill may indeed make a lot of money out of building Kirkby and then selling the club. But by happy coincidence the club also becomes more valuable and has more money to spend on players, and indeed is now able to attract a rich new owner who will spend even more on players.

So Kirkby gets us a richer club with a rich new owner buying us better players. And the problem is exactly?
Michael Kenrick
35   Posted 01/05/2008 at 22:17:33

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Neil, you have taken it a lot further than I could by (conveniently) claiming that Kirkby is the best option for increasing the long-term value of the club, and the income of the club to support future player purchases.

As the other Neil was saying, I think that is impossible to project what those new revenue levels will really be. It is certainly not guaranteed with either option (assuming redevloping GP is really an option... I don?t think it is because I honestly believe the Board is dead set against redeveloping Goodison Park).

I don?t think this says anything about future revenues, which have been sold to as the prime reason for the project. Otherwise, what is the point of moving out to Kirkby? The attraction lies in the short-term gain (for BK and KW) who will soon leave EFC and leave the long-sufferring fans with what could well become a long-term pain.
Jay Harris
36   Posted 01/05/2008 at 22:13:29

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Neil and others
apologies for missing some of the excellent points made here however, I must pick Neil up on one point.
Neil you said:-
"As a consultant who works with some of the largest corporate businesses in the world, I am always amazed by the apparent belief that businesses routinely perform huge and exhaustive analyses on their major investment decisions, somehow (impossibly in my opinion) predicting the future. I can assure you that they mostly don?t."

Now I have served on the boards of 4 FTSE 250 companies and I can tell you categorically that decisions of over 1 million were considered in detail with any proposal having to be accompanied by a detailed justification including demographic analysis before they were even considered let alone approved.

I am now semi retired but I?m sure that the business world has not changed that much and I am absolutely certain that Tesco Terry had to justify the return for Tesco to his board before being allowed to continue.

And that for me is the main problem.This whole "Desecration Kirkby" project is all about Tesco and Knowsley with EFC being used as a trojan horse.

Even if in your world decisions are made on instinct rather than considered opinion there is no justification for the totally amateurish (at best) approach being taken by the board over the stadium issue.
Jay Harris
37   Posted 01/05/2008 at 22:41:37

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Alan Willo,
Would you please tell us in what way Tesco and KBC are sponsoring us and why this is not shown up on any of the financial documents put forward on Kirkby?

I would not be so anti-Kirkby if that was the case or are you one of those that still believes the rhetoric of Kirkby being "Virtually free".

While you?re doing that instead of having a few extra pints and reading "crap" posts, would you also tell us where the extra income is going to come from to pay for the loan interest on Kirkby.
Neil Pearse
38   Posted 01/05/2008 at 22:28:23

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Michael, you can?t have it both ways. The price of Bill?s shares only goes up if someone somewhere (a potential football club owner) believes that the club is now worth more. They will only do so in relation to Kirkby if they believe that the additional revenues exceed the investment costs of securing them.

The most plausible explanation of the shares going up is that the club IS actually now more valuable. (Did a financial idiot just buy us?) In which case, Bill has done the club a financial service by moving to Kirkby, at least compared to staying in Goodison. Quite apart from securing a rich new owner (less likely if we stay in Goodison).

Of course you could be right that any revenue increase in Kirkby will not exceed the investment cost of securing those revenues. In which case any smart new potential owner will see this and will not pay Bill more for his shares than Bill could get by selling them now. On this scenario, Kirkby destroys value, therefore the shares are worth less. But then Bill would have no personal incentive to build Kirkby; quite the reverse.

Indeed, if most No voters who post here are anywhere near right, going to Kirkby is so stupid that it will tank the value of Bill?s shares. He would be crazy to go to Kirkby if he is trying to make money for himself.

As I say, you can?t have it both ways. Or, to put it another way, by definition anything which makes Bill more money simultaneously makes the club richer because he is the largest share owner.

Here?s the simple explanation. As you suggest Michael, football owners know a thing or two, and believe that Everton with a new stadium such as Kirkby is now a more valuable business than Everton in Goodison. Because it will be. Whether Bill?s motive for doing Kirkby is to sell up or retain control, is basically neither here nor there. The club is better off anyway (i.e. more rich, better players). Bill would have a strong personal incentive to be even more ambitious than Kirkby, and do something bigger in the city - unfortunately, we cannot afford such a grand option, and, in any case, it would be too risky and really would run the risk of tanking the value of his shares.

So something KIrkby sized turns out oddly enough to be about the best we can do. Generates more value than sticking in Goodison; doesn?t potentially sink the club like building more grandly in the city. Perhaps that?s why we are doing it?
Neil Pearse
39   Posted 01/05/2008 at 23:04:26

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Jay - well, my experience is what it is, and yours is what it is. However, my point is not that big investments don’t need to be justified, it’s that in most cases they cannot, beyond a certain point, be proven. And a lot of posters on here demand PROOF. And castigate the Board for not providing it. My position, based on my experience, is that there is a lot more judgement involved in big investment decisions than is usually acknowledged.
John Fitzpatrick
40   Posted 01/05/2008 at 23:48:37

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Your comparison with Villa is one I have been saying all along. Villa have turned the equivalent of the Bullens Road into a good stand with exec boxes all the way along. If you knock down the Bullens Road stand and just have the Paddock change Lower Bullens into exec boxes and build a top tier, that would be a start. The club say we would lose income but we haven?t been selling out all season, also while it?s being developed you open the paddock then as more rows are put into the new top tier you sell them as soon as completed. Doesn?t seem very hard... that?s what Man Utd and Liverpool did when they were redeveloping their stands.
Steve Ryan
41   Posted 01/05/2008 at 23:03:42

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Neil Pearce, I am not stalking you here but for the umpteenth time you have entered the Kirkby debate and have once again waffled for England. Those who care to scrutinise your extremely repetetive, lengthy contributuons will find that they are pure conjecture on your part, never, ever backed up by hard evidence.

The fact that you are an important consultant who chooses to base major business decisions on gut feelings as opposed to detailed research (as Kenwright does) explains a lot to me and I would be very concerned if I were paying big bucks for advice.

On numerous occasssions, most recently last week, I and other contributors have asked you a simple question on your favourite subject of finance which you simply refuse to answer for whatever reason. So I will ask you once more in your capacity as an eminent consultant:


If you prefer not to answer the question that?s fine but please in future spare us from more unsubstantiated, predictable, rhetoric. No offence intended here but my only concern is the future of Everton Football Club.

Jay Harris
42   Posted 02/05/2008 at 00:27:35

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I dont think they demand proof as much as considered and evaluated options.

We constantly revisit Kirkby because we were told it was the ONLY option when clearly it wasnt.

And when you discover that "The deal of the century" and a "Virtually free" stadium are?nt and you look at the track records of 2 proven and historical liars you then question the decision and lack of options.

Or if I can put it another way if either KW or BK had pulled just one of the stunts they have already pulled they would have had to tender their resignation immediately in the companies that I served.
Christine Foster
43   Posted 01/05/2008 at 23:52:56

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So Neil we meet again.. what you are asking is that we trust the board because of their judgement. Sorry not going to go there because that judgement is irrovocably tarnished.

As a senior exec and group CEO for many years in multinational companies I can tell you I ceased to be amazed by the incompetence of major companies in making judgement calls. They exist, why do you think many companies go broke? Because of poor judgement calls and incompetence. As a business consultant I would say you make a living out of fixing other peoples problems usually as a result of poor management decisions.

$78m could go along way to redeveloping Goodison. How far? I don?t know and Tom would have a better idea than I would.

With respect to investment, BK statements have effectively said I am not selling my shares to any new investor (even if they have plans or MONEY to redevelop the club) Why? because his shares are worth much less than at an alternative (new) site. So lets be honest about all of this.

1. We can?t attract new investment when nothing is for sale.
2. We have a chairman who can maximise his investment by incurring more debt to increase the value of the club irrespective of the qualty, location, issues..etc..
3. We have a leadership dedicated to Kirkby or Bust. Irrespective of fans, cost, infrastructure, transport, etc etc.
4. A club who hide behind an 18-month exclusivity agreement to enable it to say nothing
5. An exclusitivity agreement that was for discussion only with many stop points.. where are they? what are they?

So tell me again why we should trust the board of this great club? I won?t repeat the endless assurances they have made and broken, no point.

The fact remains that IF EFC go to Kirkby the ONLY winners will be BK and Tesco.

For those who still think Kirkby, despite all its probles is the best option we have, I respect your right to be wrong. That's ok.

I am sick and tired of people saying its all we can afford, if we could only raise half of that and begin redeveloping GP it would take longer but then we would not be crippled with the debt. But the optons available to us are not ones which the board wants.

For my mind you can?t justify the quality of whats on offer at Kirkby for our club. CABE state it's not good enough for Everton and not good enough for Kirkby. I repeat what I have said before. If we are building a stadium that is not good enought for even the people of Kirkby then why do you believe it is the best we deserve?

There is no way you can rationally support this move. Money, Expectation, Growth, Prestige, Investment, oh yes.. just the other thing..The Fans..
Jay Harris
44   Posted 02/05/2008 at 00:44:08

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Well said Christine but dont you feel like you?re knocking your head against a brick wall at times?

I have even questioned my own sanity,knowledge and experience at times wondering if I am in touch with the real world.

I have always been of the belief that simple rational argument wins people over but this is the land of the blind we seem to be encountering so it's a bit more difficult.
Bob Parrington
45   Posted 02/05/2008 at 00:23:14

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There?s been some really excellent argument back and forth on this posting so I have to congratulate Jay for raising some good points to kick it off. Clearly, this subject is not dead just because of the earlier "vote".

It might seem a little "tongue in cheek" (and perhaps be seen as too broad a brush) but I have a somewhat guarded view about "consultants" and particularly those who claim to be experts. Currently, in a different sport environment but with similar issues, I have just read the "feasibility report" for a new venue. I work from the inside on this one as one of 4 people responsible (as volunteers) for the direction of the current venue.

Frankly, I?ve never seen so much bull in all my life as that put together by the "consultants". They?ve ignored so many things and trumped up some quite bizarre demographics figures to justify moving to a greenfield site in an area that is likely to see the whole thing fall well below income requirements and at the same time justify a massive build cost.

I?m not now resident in Liverpool (or Europe for that matter) so miss some of the local knowledge. But .... & here is the point .... does what I have said above seem to be happening with the Kirkby plans?
Eric Myles
46   Posted 02/05/2008 at 02:14:25

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You accuse Jay as being ?a bit mischevious in always quoting the £78M for Kirkby, since we know that we will receive SOME monies for GP, naming rights etc., even if we might not be sure how much?. BUT that IS the acknowledged cost (by the club). and where they get the money from is irrelevent to the cost.

Also in redeveloping GP we could sell naming rights to the stands or at the least advertising across the seating (like the RS with their Reebok ad across one end). This will bring some additional income that will not be realised from the sale of GP.
And don?t forget to build a new stadium we need that £78M UP FRONT, but to redevelop we can spend that over time as we can afford it.

As to the attendences predictions at either ground I?d say staying at GP you?d still have a guaranteed 35,000 that turn out week in week out NOW, but in Kirkby, where the transport options are much worse than GP, it?s more of a risk.

Bob Turner
47   Posted 02/05/2008 at 06:28:39

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Unfortunately, I am a mere accountant, who has not been "a senior exec and group CEO for many years in multinational companies ", nor have I "served on the boards of 4 FTSE 250 companies", and I guess I must be "blind" (thanks, Jay, for avoiding calling us stupid, though the insinuation that comes from your comment that you have even question your "own sanity knowledge and experience at times wondering if I am in touch with the real world" certainly implies that "you know best").

I have posted at many times on here that I believe (in my own naive way, obviously!) that, in order to borrow the money we need, we will have a business plan, and that the organisations who will lend us that money, will only do so upon receipt of a valid business plan.

Now, Steve, it is not my job, nor anyone else?s who advocates the proposal to move to Kirkby, to justify to you what we will gain from moving, particularly when the reverse question (i.e. your fully detailed, costed, business plan for an alternative) is something which, if I recall correctly, YOU HAVE ALSO REFUSED TO SUPPLY (A RESPONSE BASED ON FACT AND NOT ASSUMPTION WOULD BE APPRECIATED)

Not a single one of us has a crystall ball to allow them to see the future with the definitive clarity you all seem to possess.

However, might be going a little off-thread here, and this is something I posted long, long ago, what WILL mean the death of the club, will be the refusal of the (tens of?) thousands of fans to go to Kirkby. If you support the club, I really cannot understand why you would not go and watch them wherever you play, it?s as simple as that.

It doesn?t matter to me who runs the club, how much money they make out of it (that?s why anyone invests in the first place, isn?t it?), or where they are. I would watch them anywhere, even if it is in a cowshed in a retail park, because it is my team out there.

And what I really can?t understand is that many people who will refuse to go will still go to away games (so you?ll travel 200+ miles to, in many cases, a lot worse grounds which require a full day?s travel, but you won?t travel an extra 5 miles out of principle??)

If your principles mean that you won?t go, fine, but in my opinion, this refusal to go of so many fans will be the biggest contribution to the decline of the club we apparently all love.

Alan Willo
48   Posted 02/05/2008 at 07:41:10

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Jay, why have you not challenged what I said about your post? Is it because I?m right and your interpretation like Christine is based on passion and not clear economics. You answer my post with additional questions not raised on this thread??. Anyway how can I put it to you in simple terms, do you really think the total cost for Kirkby is £78 million? I?m sure we can all agree it?s a lot higher than that so there you go we get a subsidized stadium. Income in the new stadium, this is based on projected increase in Turnover and revenues, basically a full business plan will be lodged with the bank and we will obtain a loan over whatever period the club deem suitable. In simple terms a bit like getting a Mortgage based on production of your wage slips or if self employed projected earnings/contracts. Sadly, GP does not offer that attraction to the commercial sector so it?s not worth as much in monetary terms as it is to us all in memories and we all love it to death but we have to move forward, whether Kirkby is the best move I doubt it but I?m afraid it?s the best offer we have that is deliverable and so we either do nothing or make the move and we have chosen the latter. It?s all about choice and timing and the board have now chosen to act. COYB
Neil McKinney
49   Posted 02/05/2008 at 08:32:57

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Great debate guys. Excellent contributions from Tom, Neil, Jay, Alan etc.

I was going to join in, but it would appear that I am apparently out of my league. I am neither a top engineer, a business consultant or a CEO. I have had no involvement with top 100 companies and no experience of stadium design, so I’m not going to get into too much detail.

An observation from me though which you can choose to ignore if you wish.

Jay - "I have always been of the belief that simple rational argument wins people over but this is the land of the blind we seem to be encountering so it’s a bit more difficult."

You ruined all the good debating that you had been involved in up to then by discounting the other side as the land of the blind. You have made some rational argument which, granted, has oft been ignored by the counter posts. However, IMHO the arguments presented by Neil Pearse are rational too, yet you discount him as a resident of the land of the blind. Poor show. Stick to the rational argument as it was becoming very interesting.

Tom & Neil - I have found a lot of what both of you have posted very interesting, but it would appear to me that you have eventually got to the point where your different experience, in very different fields, has lead you to have differing opinions. Tom - as an engineer you strive for proof, analysis, reason and solid fact. Lets face it, there isn’t a great deal of that floating around at the moment. Neil understands that too much analysis of options that are non-starters costs time and money and that if we had plenty of the latter we could build the best stadium, in the best location and still be able to afford players without taking on huge amounts of long term debt. I accept his point that you can analyse and analyse til the cows come home and there will still be a huge volume of variables and things that cannot be accurately predicted, but at some point you will still have to make the decision. How much analysis and research EFC have done is again debatable, but I agree with his point in essence.

I think this does demonstrate that all the back and forth that is done debating will never convince anyone one way or another. The proof of the pudding will inevitably be in the eating. I just hope which ever way it goes, it is beneficial for, or at least not the ruin of, our beloved club.

Tom Hughes
50   Posted 02/05/2008 at 10:13:31

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This "It’s the best offer available, let’s move on" malarchy is completely hollow. The point is, this option has been engineered to be the ONLY option by the exclusivity process undertaken. The reasons it was made to be the ONLY option is as you and EVERYONE (both yes and no voters)has already stated........ Kirkby is far from the ideal location, Is far from inspiring in design terms, and is far from convincing in transport terms. These factors were always going to be the case and were flagged up here and elsewhere before the vote even. Leahy knew this hence he set up their stall to stifle any competition completely, first by exclusivity, then by "managing" a one-option vote the hardsell minset was fully in place. EFC simply fell into line telling us all we haven’t the cash to do anything else..... now mysteriously we’re able to stump up sums of the order of £80m. If any other option had been given the chance to grow legs, or if EFC had commisioned a design competetion for redevelopment of GP, or even encouraged Sainsburys or Bestway...... then ANY other option would have beaten Kirkby hands down. Leahy knew this! No one can refute that at the end of the day all Tescos involvement has provided is the enabling finance to build approximately one stand in Kirkby. Given all the other negative issues and outright gamble surrounding this proposal, is that really so great? It’s salesmanship at its worst, hook them with the sale of the century sparkling advert, tell them its practically nothing then when their sold on the idea, make them pay for 3/4 of it.
Tom Hughes
51   Posted 02/05/2008 at 11:22:05

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"Tom - so why do you think Bill jumped into bed with Tesco before even considering anyone else if really he could have had a much better and more prestigious ground in the city??"

BK (I don?t know him personally so I wont call him Bill) stated at an AGM that this whole thing grew out of a simple conversation with his old friend Terry Leahy. Leahy said he could help and hey presto. BK stated at previous AGM?s that that is the way he conducts business, through people he knows and trusts using his instincts etc. There is no science to it, no statistical analysis (I am sure he doesn?t even know what a standard deviation is). The next thing we know is Tesco have exclusive rights to progress a stadium for EFC. There are no studies/documents/planning applications or whatever to show that a thorough investigation of all the options was carried out.

"Seems a bit odd. Bill could be building a 70,000 seater stadium on Stanley Park but instead he chose to go to Kirkby? Really?"

Where have I said that? The club has NEVER even asked about building a stadium on the Park. Nor anywhere else (apart from Kirkby).... The kings Dock was even offered to them...... Hardly pro-active are they?

Peter Howard
52   Posted 02/05/2008 at 11:13:17

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Tom, you now appear to be saying that slagging off the board has little part in your input. Well, I suggest your being disingenuous ? read your posts! By the way, are you going to answer my point as to whether you, as a shareholder, are considering legal action against what you obviously percieve to be an incompetent Board? I agree with Neil,think Occam?s razor- if you hear hoofbeats, think horses not zebras!
Tom Hughes
53   Posted 02/05/2008 at 12:10:00

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I haven’t even explored the legal possibilities. My criticisms are primarily with respect to the Kirkby proposals, the individual decisions involved and indeed the decision-process by which we have arrived at this point. If you’re prepared to go through the archives I believe you will see that is where my main arguments are centred. I think you will find that mine and many others reservations from right at the beginning of this process have long since been vindicated. Increasingly evidenced by latest revealed details..... and even more to come ;)
Peter Howard
54   Posted 02/05/2008 at 12:40:35

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Tom, the only reasonable conclusion one can reach from all that is being said against Kirkby et al is that the Board is incompetent and is not acting in the best interests of the Company (ie EFC). In that case, it is incumbent on those with power to do so (ie the shareholders) to take action. That is also far more effective than debating it on websites. Of course, I could be wrong and the legal action fails, but that should only happen if the Board are shown to be acting with propriety and in (the club?s) best interests. By the way (and with sincerity) do you not fancy the job as Masterplanner as suggested in my earlier post?
Alan Willo
55   Posted 02/05/2008 at 13:08:27

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Tom, thanks for your reply but again you state the obvious. Do you think KBC and Tesco would allocate millions of pounds on a loose promise from EFC, I think not, so they wanted commitment before they put aside some £ 65 million to purchase land and probably another £5/8 million to design the site. Again, EFC don?t have the assets to borrow on GP so regrettably we have to look for partners who do have the cash to speculate. That is the problem (or basic FACT) why we all debate yes or No, Tesco don?t care, KBC rubbish etc. etc?. If we want to move forward on a large scale then we have to invite sponsors and because EFC?s financial position does not match our ambitions then we have to compromise, and by compromising we lose complete control of most aspects of the move and merely become a partner of the project rather than the paying Customer. We can debate all day but if the Tesco project was catapulted in to Walton Park the no?s would be smaller than Fulham?s away support. This whole debate is purely down to location, we lost that card when we couldn?t raise the funds to go it alone. This is just about the best we can hope for under the current financial strains. We can?t afford the Porsche we all so much want so we must ?cut our cloth accordingly? and buy the family estate car we don?t want but is totally practical to the needs of the family EFC. COYB
Tom Hughes
56   Posted 02/05/2008 at 12:40:31

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I missed your posting but....My comparison was in line with the thread ie that of stadia, I don’t profess to be able to change our fanbase’s demagraphic, but that will apply wheteher or not we move to Kirkby..... the point being made was that it is possible to maximise potential revenue for any given site/stadium, this probably doesn’t occur very well at GP at present, but as shown at the likes WHL, can be built into a redeveloped stadium just as well as a new build..... infact a redevelopment gives you a solid basis to explore market potential via an empirical process of providing new facilities gradually and testing demand which a finished stadium cannot...... hence some new stadia not being able to fill their shiny new boxes etc

"Let’s compare this with Liverpool and our fan base. For a start our fans appear not to want to spend that much on their support. Our ticket prices were far too low for too long, some people will not like that but from a business point of view they were, and in some cases still are."

I don’t believe we’re anywhere near bottom of the price league table, but again it’s got nothing to do with the main issues regarding Kirkby.

"The apporach to the ground they thought was like a scene out of a horror film and it went downhill from there."

Did you go via Kirkby? Croxteth? Gilmoss? Stocksbridge village? I’m joking of course but I’m sorry, I’ve got no time for that kind of snobbery. Have you looked around WHL to go back to just that example?

"Some of it is the club’s fault but a lot of it was about the frabric of the ground. In a nutshell, we cannot compete."

How much would it cost to correct? greater than £78m?

"The biggest sin was the Kings Dock and from that point we have struggled. Our owners are skint and have proven to play fast and loose with the truth to suit them,"


"In conclusion Tom, yes you can make points about other clubs to support your argument, but in the same way as you describe your job in a post above technical etc, I can say that I have engineers working for me, and never, ever ask them to make a business decision... Why? Because they never think of the money, and at the end of the day it always always comes down to money in any capital development."

Ooh, Oil and water? I’ll not debate the role of the engineer/accountant.... but suffice to say I know of several engineers who can make a good business decision, I’ve yet to meet an accountant who can design a bridge though. ;) Perhaps a good illustration of the heiracical difference in Industry between the likes of the UK and say Germany..... and probably a major reason why we have next to none anymore! I digress.

" You also must have lost it if you think we can build an enabler for a project of this size at the back of the Park End."

Trevor Skempton the renowned architect and the city planner office think it has more than potential to do precisely that. He is currently overseeing the whole Grosvenor development in the city centre which quite frankly dwarfs the Kirkby scheme. Perhaps you should take it up with him/them.

" Tom, and you put yourself up as an expert and I trust that you are"

I’ve never said I am an expert! I am a professional Engineer who has studied Stadia design, but it has little to do with many of the issues posted in this or many other threads.

"Finally, to answer one of your points on having the money for Kirkby and therefore the money for Goodison, it doesn?t work that way. You have to make a pitch to attract a loan, and god knows that will be difficult in this age. To go and ask for money on the back of rebuilding an existing ground, with perhaps a Travellodge on the side, or dare I say a major building project backed by a cash and carry compnay, is just not the same as going for a loan based on being the major part of a huge development that is backed by the council and the one of the biggest retailers in the world."

Backed? One out of the 4 stands at Kirkby will be paid for as a result of Tescos involvement. We will be expected to pay for the rest. That’s barely a leg-up, nevermind "backing" so all the talk of Tesco and all their wealth has proven irrelevant. We don’t need 3 new stands immediately at GP, we may only need one now and 2 medium to long term. In otherwords we don’t need £78m upfront. Do you think our ability to arrange finance for kirkby might be affected by all the uncertainties regarding the split fanbase, the rebranding of the club, the transport issues etc? By the way the small cash and carry company you refer to are probably wealthier the LFC’s yanks, figure that one out, or are you saying that only Tesco can ever complete a project this size.... check out who were one of the major developers of cheshire oaks and various other retail developments around the country..... but again, I digress!

"Tom I have started to do the car ride from the new car park by the Malmasion to the tunnel, going around the loop, a few times, and at rush hour to do that mile it takes me 36 minutes. What will it be like with 50,000 going at the same time?"

Clutching at straws there Ian.... You of course omitted to mention that over 100,000 commuters travel into and out of the city ever rush hr (with capacity for double that). Often similar numbers at evening times. Over 300,000 attend events such as the Mathew street festival and the River festival...... and of course the fact that by comparison Public transport at Kirkby cannot accommodate more than 5,000 per hr (from the clubs own Transport strategy).
Tom Hughes
57   Posted 02/05/2008 at 13:48:46

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Frankly I don’t really care what KBC or Tesco have put into this...... I don’t believe their motives correlate with our club’s best interests for the myriad of reasons posted before. LCC spent Millions on a very loose promise by EFC for less than half the amount required for Kirkby, and for an infinitely superior location and stadium, and we never really got to the bottom of that debacle did we?
Neil Adderley
58   Posted 02/05/2008 at 14:23:35

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Peter Howard - You did well to find the only remotely positive comments in the CABE Design Review;

"it applauded the efforts of the local authority to bring forward redevelopment of Kirkby Town Centre in partnership with EFC and Tesco."

I suppose the idea of redevelopment should be applauded but when the details and design are condemned by the Government Design Watchdog, then surely that would outweigh the notion?

"It also said it supported the development ?going beyond the intensity envisaged by the Local Plan?."

Not quite. The support was for "the principle of development that goes beyond the intensity envisaged by the Local Plan."

Taking away the fact that this particular Tesco project is proposing retail floor space NINE times greater than envisaged in the Local Development Plan, I think it would be clearer for everyone if the statement you refer to is read in its full context;

We applaud the efforts of the local authority to bring forward significant redevelopment of Kirkby town centre in partnership with Everton Football Club and Tesco. We support the principle of development that goes beyond the intensity envisaged by the Local Plan. The relocation of a premiership stadium here creates a unique opportunity to bring forward retail development, and especially food retail for the benefit of the Kirkby and the surrounding area. However, we think that the masterplan proposed fails to translate this opportunity into a positive vision of transformation. We also think that both Everton and Kirkby deserve a stadium of first class design quality, and we are not convinced that this has been realised by the current proposals, however, our fundamental concerns for the masterplan are paramount and need to be addressed first.

Peter be assured, Tesco will not be spending any more time or money on their masterplan. The final Design and Access Statement has been resubmitted which includes "slight" changes that come nowhere near meeting the standards of CABE, the people of Kirkby or Everton Football Club and their supporters.

You?ve been sold a dud Peter.
59   Posted 02/05/2008 at 14:06:03

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There are so many good posts on here both for and against Kirkby so I thought I would sum up my own feelings (again!).

A lot of the pro-kirkby posters keep making the point that Kirkby is only costing £78 million less assets that we can sell.

But GP is already mortgaged to the hilt so there is no net gain from selling GP.

And the £78 million is dependent on getting £52 million worth of enabling retailers otherwise the cost of the stadium is £130 million or in the submission?s documents words unable to progress.

My point all along has been the cost of building a stadium(Of whatever standard) is more or less the same wherever it is built. It is only the cost of the land and enabling partners involvement that fluctuates.

Do we really believe that spending millions(EFC?s own expert?s admission) on contaminated land that we will lease not own in a questionable location cannot be bettered.

Commercial partners are desperate for large schemes in Liverpool.

Do we really believe that we could not get commercial partners interested in GP?s development.

Wherever there is opportunity there is investment and I believe GP and WHP both represent better opportunity for return than Kirkby.
Peter Howard
60   Posted 02/05/2008 at 15:25:32

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Neil A , I haven?t been ?sold? anything ? I?m keeping a completely open mind. What concerns me, however, is the reluctance on the part of those with power to do so to take legal action against the Board in respect of what is put forward as gross and financially ruinous incompetence ? they prefer to write than fight.
Michael Kenrick
61   Posted 02/05/2008 at 15:33:41

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Okay, Peter Howard, we?ve heard that point fifteen times already, Tom has answered you, it?s getting boring. Legal action costs an absolute bloody fortune, and the ones who can pay for the most expensive lawyers usually win, so it?s a total non-starter. Now pack it in please!
Gavin Ramejkis
62   Posted 02/05/2008 at 15:20:30

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Some great responses in this thread, I’d like to chip in regards the bolt on travel lodge. If you were working in a large hotel chain and you became aware that a 70k seater stadium offering Champions league football together with a redeveloped say 50-55k stadium with a good chance of regular European football existed near a city centre and had room to build a hotel next to the lesser of the two would you not be tempted? The hotel doesn’t care who it rents it’s rooms and conference suites to and would certainly allow rooms and suites when those at the Stanley Park Superbowl were full. Think outside the picture and realise the opportunities, you don’t have to be the owner of the biggest stadium to still make a dollar or two from it, just ask the merchandisers lining up to cash in from the olympics in London do you think they care who owns what, right place right time.
Alan Willo
63   Posted 02/05/2008 at 18:04:22

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Tom, I agree with you 100% about KD but again the basic fact was we didn?t have the £ 30 million until a couple of weeks after the deadline. We should have taken a loan like we are doing now but Footy has since seen larger returns than 5 years ago and the economic climate and revenues have changed dramatically. What Tesco/KBC want is to use EFC as an excuse to get what they want; I?m afraid that?s business. As I posted, our hand became weaker when we lost the ability not to be able to fund it on our own hence inviting big business to help. Sadly we can?t set the rules or guidelines as we don?t hold the commercial collateral, so it?s difficult to complain when we don?t like the partners chosen. It?s by no means ideal but reality. COYB see you all at Arsenal on Sunday.
Ed Fitzgerald
64   Posted 02/05/2008 at 20:10:07

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I have missed the great ground debate the today as I have been working in Birmingham. Sad individual that I am I logged on as soon as I got home. I was struck by your comments about the partners we have chosen for our future and even you seem to have some disquiet about the mighty TESCO. On my journey home I was amused by the following article in Private Eye

They parody our claim to be the People's Club by bringing up KW's writ against KEIOC and his unwillingness to engage in public debate.

Above this article they outline a writ served by TESCO against a Thai journalist for suggesting in the Bangkok Business Column that TESCO engage in aggressive expansion to the detriment of local communities. The journalist was paid £16 for the article, TESCO are personally suing him for £1,600,000 ? mmm... every little helps!

It is good to see some alignment of strategy between ourselves and our partners in terms of dealing with dissent ? serve a writ against them!!

I have made some pretty poor choices myself when selecting a partner but this looks like a marriage made in heaven. Let?s face it the Everton Board won?t even allow people to wear KEIOC shirts in the ground, are not prepared to have a public debate, and won?t allow any banners, what?s next? I am scared to groan if Neville or Hibbert misplace a pass ? perhaps I will get a writ for stating I don?t think they are good footballers.

I have every confidence in Everton?s legal team as they have issued legal proceedings against KEIOC.COM ? the website of a dental practice in Japan. I am sure many Blues are already aware of this so apologies if this is old news. I don?t know whether to laugh or cry at the farcical antics of the board.

Jay Harris
65   Posted 02/05/2008 at 21:30:48

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Alan Willo

The truth of KD is that we NEVER had the £30 million required.

Bullshit Billy kept asking for the deadline to be extended and when they finally realised he was talking crap they extended the deadline again but demanded proof that the £30 million was "ringfenced" as he had promised. BK then asked his "one time" close friend and ally Paul Gregg to come up with the £30 million.

Gregg quite rightly IMO had by now realised the incompetence of the man and said he would but wanted security on the £30 million either through BK?s shares or securitisation on the development. BK refused, the deadline passed and the rest is history. LCC were mad having been pissed on by BK and some refused to deal with him ever again.

As regards your other point again I disagree strongly.

EFC as a leading and long-established top-flight football club is a massive marketing opporunity. Any major commercial developer would love to get in bed with Everton but when the door keeps getting slammed in their face by our "honest and dignified" Chief Exec you dont get very far.

To realise EFC?s incompetence at marketing you only have to look at the JJB fiasco. EFC are considered a top six premier club by any standards so how come our non gate receipt income is the lowest of the top 10?

Spurs for example with a maximum capacity of 35,000 have double the income that EFC manage.
John Taylor
66   Posted 03/05/2008 at 03:07:24

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Sorry to say, people, & I know most wont agree with me, but I was a Yes voter coming from Kirkby & voting on a purely personal note, wanting Kirkby to be improved. I have since changed my beliefs a little too late, wanting Everton to stay where they are or move to Walton Hall Park but the facts remain. Tesco have every intention of coming to Kirkby and Everton are coming wether they like it or not. Being a resident & seeing the documentation, I have no reason to believe otherwise....
Tony Waring
67   Posted 04/05/2008 at 12:06:53

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Great article and comments. It?s going to be OK. I?ve worked it out. Terry Leahy is as blue as they come, which is why the Tesco proposal came to be born; all we have to do is transfer him to Sainsbury?s (Bosman of course) and he?ll pick up the Walton Hall Avenue ball and run! End of story and we?re almost where we are located at present! Can?t see any problem with that ?cos I?m sure Sainsbury?s will give him special discounts on his weekly shop.

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