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Trying to understand

By Dave Wilson :  25/05/2008 :  Comments (48) :
There can be no doubt that articles about the proposed moved to Kirkby will arouse passions amongst blues like no other issue. Even people claiming to be totally bored with it, post by the dozen to tell us so. John Hughes`s recent " Yes or No" article proved once again how deeply entrenched views on both sides have become, the differences are now almost certainly irreconcilable, there will be very few converts either way.

As someone completely opposed to the move, I`d like to put a different slant on it and rather than debate whether we should go or not, I`d like to ask the people who voted Yes, if we moved to Kirkby, What for you, would constitute a successful move?

The proposed new stadium would have a capacity of about 50,000. The current average attendance falls 15,000 short of this. We`ve all heard the "I will never go to that stadium" threats.... assuming at least some of these fans carry out their threat, Kirkby`s starting position will be worse than the one currently enjoyed at GP. We would then find ourselves looking for more than 15,000 "new fans " to fill the stadium, having pissed off a large section of the current fan base, is this really a possibility?

In recent posts, some of the most optimistic Yes voters say if we are not successful they expect the attendances to be similar to the ones we get now, ? would you consider that satisfactory? Even if we found more than 5,000 "new fans" the stadium will have 10,000 empty seats, ? would that be ok?

At what point ? attendance wise ? do we feel the bitter divide amongst Evertonians, not to mention the projected debt the club would be saddled with, worthwhile?

Tom Hughes has detailed in several posts how first-class corporate hospitality can be developed alongside Bullens Rd, ? will Kirkby generate more corporate money than Toms suggestion?

I have to admit my concerns about the proposed move is more to do with success on the field. I vividly remember me dad taking me into town and seeing what I believed at the time, to be millions of Evertonians, all celebrating our triumphant return with the FA Cup ? I could have sworn Labby waved the cup just to me...

I have since experienced the people of Liverpool turning out in their hundreds of thousands to honour one of the city`s teams and Everton entering the the city center to tumultious scenes of joy, they are amongst the very best moments of my life. Those too young to have experienced these occasions, don't know what they`re missing. I dream I`ll experience such scenes again; Kirkby would kill that dream stone dead!

All supporters dream of success; I believe we will be succesful again and I would ask the people who voted Yes, would a trip to Kirkby town hall feel like a scouse team had won a trophy? Would that constitute success?

Reader Comments

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Michael Kenrick
1   Posted 25/05/2008 at 14:16:02

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Okay, since the last thread degenerated, and since there is nothing new in Dave?s attempt to understand what would constitute success at Destination Kirkby, here?s the new rules:

1) We want to hear from people who are going to discuss the questions Dave raises. If you?re not going to do that, then please don?t participate in the discussion.

2) If you?re bored with this debate, there?s no need for you to respond by telling us so. Keep it to yourself.

3) If you don?t like these restrictions, and your really need to let us know, please use our feedback page.

Adam Cunliffe
2   Posted 25/05/2008 at 14:40:56

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I?m opposed to the move but not so much so that I wouldn't go to Kirkby to watch us play. I think that if we did move to Kirkby, an average gate of 45 000 should be regarded as a successful season attendance wise.

In regards to silverware, I think most of us would love for us to win something no matter where we are playing. I don?t believe that moving would help us win a trophy, in fact probably the opposite as less funds would be available to be spent on the team.

I don?t agree with people syaing that they wouldn?t go to watch everton in Kirkby because true blues would watch them anywhere. I appreciate that they probably are season ticket holders and have been for many years but if it did hapen I think they should swallow their pride and go there regardless of if they wanted it or not.

So there you go Dave. That's my opinion, I don?t think success will come immediately but in time it could, however if we got 45 000 in our first year we should be happy as it would probably increase over time.

I hope we don?t need to worry about things like that, however, as I don?t agree with it happening at all.
Gavin Ramejkis
3   Posted 25/05/2008 at 16:01:00

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Without inviting the inevitable "not welcome" type fan, as I?ve typed on many occasions the new stadium will alienate my disabled car passengers making home games far less attractive. I won?t stop going to watch Everton I will simply be far more likely to go to away matches rather than reinvest in a car full of season tickets and have a potentially soul destroying match day experience of park and ride, bus queues and long walks my passengers simply can?t do. I think the stadium could have a short novelty surge followed by decline especially weeknights and bad weather/winter games.
Matthew Lovekin
4   Posted 25/05/2008 at 15:52:41

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Fact number 1. We have to move from Goodison, it?s too small and crumbling. We can?t generate enough revenue to compete with the bigger clubs. This is done by a new stadium having hotels, restaurants, casino?s, etc inside to make other forms of income.

Fact number 2. Our attendances are staying the same at GP but falling in the PL table. We were only the 9th best supported team in terms of attendances this season. I think that?s a disaster. We are being overtaken off the pitch, this will lead to being overtaken on the pitch. There is only so long that Moyes can pull off miracles on the pitch and we won?t make the top 4 unless as a club we move drastically forward off the pitch.

Fact number 3. I believe the stadium can always be filled. Apparently Man Utd are looking to upgrade Old Trafford over the next three years to 83,000. We can fill a 50,000 stadium by offering school kids free entry or something stupid like a £1 entry with a full paying adult. If it takes that to fill the stadium up, then so be it. Do you think Arteta and Cahill, etc want to play in a half empty stadium? Fill it up even if kids get in for free. They will go and probably buy a hot dog and drink at half time and a t-shirt or mug in the shop. It?s all revenue and more support and if they are undecided on being a blue or red, should persuade them that the blue half is the better half of the city.

Fact number 4. If success carries on the pitch (which I see no reason why it shouldn?t if Moyes stays and we move stadium) then more fans will want to watch. Then expand the stadium. Have room for expansion when first built, then upgrade to 60,000 then 70,000 when success arrives. GP can?t be expanded.

Fact number 5. This needs to sorted out ASAP. This is to keep Moyes and to stop us falling further behind. The stadium issue should be priority number 1. Either move now or find somewhere else to move now. No more dithering.

Personally, I?d like to stay in the city boundaries. For this to be done, abandon Kirkby plans and start looking for alternative sites, now! I understand where BK is coming from on Kirkby. He is trying to get us a stadium without the huge debt like Liverpool and Arsenal have, fair play to him, but perhaps work with Tesco on another site. If Terry Leahy is an Evertonian, tell him to put his money where his mouth is.
Adam Cunliffe
5   Posted 25/05/2008 at 16:24:40

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To be fair Matthew if you looked at the percentage of the ground filled we?d probably be about 6th. Sunderland and Man City got more than us because their stadiums are bigger but when you look at the bigger picture they were still probably the best part of 10,000 off filling their ground.
Michael Kenrick
6   Posted 25/05/2008 at 16:38:19

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I think you?re right, Adam, and this is one of the weakest No arguements raised against Destination Kirkby.

While there will apparently be plenty of stop-out stalwarts who will refuse to set foot inside a new stadium in Kirkby (if they stick to their word!), I?m sure there will be plenty more Everton fans from within and beyond the existing catchment area who will be only too glad to take their places and fill up a new stadium. How long that effect lasts will then depend on the success of the team, and the ongong growth of Premier League football.

Really it?s one of these double-edged arguements like the one Bob/Neil mentioned on the other thread that makes no sense: if we are really a Big Club, as many of the "DK is too Big" protesters surely would claim, then how can you honestly believe that we would only get 35,000 minus the stop-outs?

We need a new stadium; the problem with Destination Kirkby is Kirkby itself. I hate this mindless soundbyte but it really is about Location, location, location...

Andy Willox
7   Posted 25/05/2008 at 16:41:00

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Matthew, as wanted as all that is, it is alien to a Board like ours, who had opportunities to be at the forefront with KD and missed the boat; we are now playing catch-up.

Unfortunately the one, and IMHO only big selling point in attracting people to EFC (and subsequently abused by the marketing men) is the history and generational family feel of Everton. I accept that the tourist supporters are needed to bring in revenue but not in a way that pisses off a huge amount of the foundation of the club's following, which is what I believe will happen in Knowsley.

Another ?West End production? handled in the same way as Kings Dock has split our fanbase down the middle at least, and dreams of Dave?s of parading around this city are what have kept these supporters loyal over the mismanaged years. But the word 'bellyfull' seems to crop up from time to time, that?s why a lot believe that, in Knowsley, it would be someone else ? not Everton FC.

Dave Wilson
8   Posted 25/05/2008 at 17:01:21

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It's not in any way a double-edged argument, Everton are a big club but we don't enjoy the nationwide support of the likes of the Shite or Man U, I believe if Everton are ever to get 50,000 regularly, then 40 -45,000 scousers need to turn up, the point being, can a team who would celebrate any success at Kirkby Town Hall ever attract that number of scousers ?

Your argument about people within and beyond the catchment area ? wherever thats supposed to be ? being only too glad to take up their places doesnt stack up either, why don't these "new" fans turn up now whenever we get gates of 32-33,000.

Michael Hunt
9   Posted 25/05/2008 at 17:31:37

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The success of the whole operation revolves around success on the pitch. If the team is doing well, allied to the ?new stadium effect?, (plus better facilities and lack of restricted views) we?ll get the increased attendances. Success on the pitch at Kirkby will mean a united fanbase (as the fears of it failing would not have materialised). If some decide to not attend that is a shame but the Club cannot be held to ransom by those fearing change. We?ve gotta change with the times to not be left behind. A new stadium will create a buzz, more sponsorship, profile and more chance of attracting top players.

Construction costs are rising all the time so we?ve gotta act fast before costs escalate out of control. KMBC will mean we escape LCC?s RS bias and grow without the same council contraints.

And Yes, Everton coming back with a trophy to Kirkby will feel like a scouse club success for predominantly scouse supporters, coz it will be!

ps: That is my attempt to honestly answer the key questions posed, but overall I believe a shared stadium would make most sense, if on suitable and equitable terms (despite my deep dislike for the contemptible behaviour and nature of too many reds of late).

Michael Kenrick
10   Posted 25/05/2008 at 17:53:34

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I don't think this is about nationwide support or worldwide support (we actually do have nationwide and worldwide support already, you know ? we truly are a big club but we are not tapping that potential). However there aren't too many stats on where the fans are currenlty coming from, but we already get a good mixture of local and travelling fans... this is about upping the numbers across the board.

I remain convinced there are far more than 35,000 Evertonians who would want to attend most Everton matches if they thought they could sit in comfort in a nice new stadium with no obstructed views, no disgusting toilets, and decent bar/restaurant/fast-food choices. And if the team were doing well on the field, with even more star players, hopefully playing decent football, even though they were playing Wigan or Hull City. I'm sure it?s not the same 35,000 who currently turn up every week.... or fail to turn up when it?s a low-appeal match.

Forget Kirkby for a moment, I think these are real factors which currently disuade a significant number of existing fans (they don?t all have to bne "new") from attending more regularly at Goodison Park. But, if the above ingredients are in place at Kirkby, how many of those fans would be saying, "Yea... I really wanna go the game today... but NOT in frigging Kirkby!" ? that?s what I don?t know, and I don?t think anybody knows. But that might be exactly what "success at DK" hangs upon....

Adam Cunliffe
11   Posted 25/05/2008 at 18:07:45

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We probably would get more fans turning up to watch games but we won?t attract any new fans just because it is outside the Liverpool boundaries. If the board are aiming to attract new fans from East Merseyside/West Lancashire areas like St Helens (where I?m from), Warrington and Widnes, the club are sorely mistaken.

The towns mentioned are prodiminatley Rugby League supporting areas and no unobstructed view, hotels or restaurants are going to get them to go and watch what they call "a pussy's game."

These Rugby fans don?t follow football and if they do they support United. A lot of them think that because they don't have a scouse accent they can't support Everton (or even Liverpool).

We have a lot of fans from those areas mentioned that regularly attend games (myself included) but we won't attract any new ones by moving outside the city no matter what transport systems are put in place.

So, I think there are many fans who stay away be it because of facilities, or because of Sky/Setanta sports. If we did move grounds, these fans might start coming to watch us more often but no new ones will follow. If we did move to a 50,000-seater stadium, I'm positive that at least 45,000 would turn up each week. Be it in Kirby, WHP, Scotty Road or a redeveloped Goodison Park.
Anthony Newell
12   Posted 25/05/2008 at 18:42:48

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IMO Kirkby will generate very little corporate revenue in comparison to a stadium that is close to Liverpool CBD. That is why I get so annoyed with these projections from the club that all these extra corporate boxes will be automatically patronised ? it?s just an assumption like that of an untapped mass of support in East Lancs, a load of bollocks on both fronts.

For businesses in Liverpool (usually accountants, solicitors etc) wanting to entertain clients, the Kirkby option is just not an attractive one for logistical reasons. These types of match-goers want the convenience of being able to get from the city centre to the ground as easily as possible then back to the centre afterwards to continue their jolly.

I?ve sounded out a few people who are in a position to take their clients to games and all I?ve heard is that it?s a non-starter and there is no possibility of buying a corporate box in Kirkby. I wonder if those responsible conducted a simple survey of their current box holders to see whether they would continue to buy a box if the ground moved to Kirkby, I very much doubt it. Time to end this Kirkby nonsense as soon as possible

Roy Coyne
13   Posted 25/05/2008 at 20:35:55

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For what it's worth, I can not see the corporate boxes being a success, as a previous poster has said it's the location from the city centre, not the fact that its Kirkby. There seems to be an idea that if you are against the move you don't like Kirkby which is not the case. A lot of people are saying to the fans who have decided the move's not for them that it's only a small distance from Goodison to Kirkby. So, by the same reasoning, if we have a hotbed of support waiting to join us in Kirkby, why are they not taking the short trip to Goodison?

On the filling of the ground subject, I think most people accept that we will not fill every seat so this may create two problems:

First, if I know I can get a ticket for every match with a reasonable view, why should I pay for a season ticket as this season I have missed four games through illness so I have lost out. Others might think that they can save the interest on the loan they use to buy their season ticket, thus denying the club the lump sum that is needed for transfers etc.

The second thing is playing in a stadium that is half empty for some games, the atmosphere will be awful as the players calling for the ball can be heard echoing round.

Next, the financial side: it is now a fact that it's not a free stadium so, if estimates can be believed, we will be between £50-£70 million in debt. For the fans who think the move is the key to wealth, I suggest you think again. What the answer is, I really do not know ? only that we missed out badly on the Kings Dock and Kirkby is just not right.

Gavin Ramejkis
14   Posted 25/05/2008 at 21:38:57

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Can I add I?m happy this hasn?t turned into the regular No and Yes slagging match, well done everyone that?s contributed so far.
Ken Buckley
15   Posted 25/05/2008 at 23:13:10

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Given the latest rumour mill offering regarding possible Russian interest and the fact such a lengthy diatribe accompanied it giving it more credence than other rumour mill offerings I get the feeling that the whole stadium debate should be put on hold and ’Destination Moscow’ scrutinised further.
Gavin Ramejkis
16   Posted 25/05/2008 at 23:46:31

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Ken the trouble is "The Boy who Cried Wolf", we have been here before, I’ll believe it when I see him holding a scarf above his head and Messrs Kenwright and Wyness leaving the building.
Ciaran Duff
17   Posted 25/05/2008 at 23:54:33

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I agree with MK that in a bright shiny new stadium, Kirkby or elsewhere, you are likely to attract some people because of the facilities. In particular, women & families with kids are much more likely to attend if the facilities, views and general level of comfort is better. In addition, there are certain games during the year (Sky 4, FA Cup, Europe etc) which will attract even bigger attendances.

In terms of creating a larger fan base (esp. outside of Liverpool) in the longer term, I think the biggest driver for this has got to be sustained success on the park. Unfortunately, in today?s instant gratification world most people (kids especially) just look to the current stars and winners. In their eyes, we are not much different to Villa, Pompey, etc. We know we need to break into that top 4 on a regular basis in order to "take us to the next level". The board seem to feel that the increased revenue from a new stadium will help with that.

Jay Harris
18   Posted 26/05/2008 at 05:14:32

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Just for comparison, here are the attendance tables by % of capacity filled:

1. Arsenal		60,062, 60,432, 99.39%
2. Man United		75,638, 76,212, 99.25%
3. Tottenham	 	35,931, 36,247, 99.13%
4. West Ham		34,616, 35,089, 98.65%
5. Chelsea		41,499, 42,449, 97.76%
6. Newcastle		51,122, 52,387, 97.59%
7. Reading		23,469, 24,200, 96.98%
8. Portsmouth		19,999, 20,600, 96.67%
9. Derby			32,270, 33,597, 96.05%
10. Liverpool		43,529, 45,362, 95.95%
11. Aston Villa		39,848, 42,719, 93.28%
12. Fulham		23,503, 25,600, 91.81%
13. Everton		36,766, 40,170, 91.53%
14. Manchester C		42,069, 47,300, 88.94%
15. Birmingham 		26,176, 30,009, 87.23%
16. Sunderland		42,546, 49,000, 86.83%
17. Middlesbrough		26,401, 35,049, 75.33%
18. Wigan			18,740, 25,023, 74.89%
19. Blackburn		23,369, 31,367, 74.50%
20. Bolton		20,412, 27,879, 73.22%

Is it no coincidence that the only new grounds (apart from the Emirates which is a proper stadium with a proper football team) occupy the bottom 5 positions?

And as Kirby Tescodome is about the same standard and type as these, can we assume that we may get 75% occupancy(IF they can get to the ground)
And 75% of 55,000 is..............41,000, ie, an increase in gate receipts of about £3.5 million.

Let's assume we get £2.5 million a year from naming rights. Forget GP because thats already mortgaged. If the interest bill is £10 million a year that leaves a shortfall of £4 million ? hardly the 10 million extra per year that KW was forecasting.
Bill Goodall
19   Posted 26/05/2008 at 05:25:12

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I have never been to Goodison. I live in Australia and have supported Everton since I was 10 in Ireland. All my family support Liverpool. I get up at all hours of the morning to watch listen or see updates on how Everton are going. I check this site and others every day to see any news of Everton.

The one thing that brings a tear to my eye is when, on these late nights, the crowd in Goodison Park is at full voice. I am on these occasions even more proud than usual to be an Evertonian.

A new stadium even with 50,000 people in it will not have this voice. This voice is what brings new fans from all over the world even in a time when the club have not won any trophies for 13 years. Winning football games is what we want our team to do. I believe that we are on the verge of winning trophies and this will bring the investment from increased turnover or a buyout to allow us to be refurbish Goodison over time.

Goodison Park is Goodison Park because of its fans and unless the caretakers of our club can provide the fans with an arena to bring a tear to our eye even from the other side of the world then we should stay put. Moyes, Arteta, Kenwright and Co may not be here in 20 years but the fans, our club's voice, will be, so listen to us, carefully: "DON'T MOVE TO KIRKBY!!!"

Gavin Ramejkis
20   Posted 26/05/2008 at 07:24:06

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Bill Goodall, I?d implore you to get to Goodison before it?s too late and taste what she is all about, the hairs on my neck still stand on end walking up to her and the butterflies in the stomach as Z-Cars pipes up and the boys run onto the turf. When she?s gone, she will be gone for ever. When she is in full swing there?s not a stadium in the English Premier League to touch her for atmosphere.
Jay Campbell
21   Posted 26/05/2008 at 08:21:11

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When football changed in the early to mid-nineties, the gang of idiots running our club stood still. This is how this shambles (Kirkby) has arisen today.
Adam Cunliffe
22   Posted 26/05/2008 at 09:03:43

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Bill, I completely agree with your sentiment.The atmosphere at Goodison under floodlights can?t be beaten any where in the world and doesn?t get the recognition it deserves. We would loose all that at Kirkby and it?s not worth it.

And Bill, Gavin?s right: you should definitely try to come to Goodison just once at least. The feeling is unbelievable when Z-Cars is on and it doesn?t change no matter how many times you go.
Paul Gladwell
23   Posted 26/05/2008 at 09:49:14

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Whichever way this goes, it has been one sad state of affairs, I am totally gutted with it all the way it has all been done. I noticed yesterday Wynees was spoutin off about the 39th Game again and its quite clear he wants it and just shows what the aura and tradition of our great game means to him.
Anthony Newell
24   Posted 26/05/2008 at 10:51:47

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"Messrs Kenwright and Wyness leaving the building" - what an uplifting thought that is!

Tom James
25   Posted 26/05/2008 at 11:24:36

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Fans should follow the club no matter were they play. I don't see how moving a few hundred metres out of Liverpool can cause outrage. It's the team you go to watch, not the ground or were it is. We don't sing "We are the Pride of Liverpool" ? we sing "We are the Pride of Merseyside".
Alan Kirwin
26   Posted 26/05/2008 at 11:28:02

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Dave: I?m afraid your basic argument is simply wrong. Look at the evidence, it?s everywhere.

How did Sunderland go from gates of low 20,000s to average of 44,000? How about Celtic going from high 20,000s to almost 60,000??? Or Man City from low 30,000s to 44,000, or even Man Utd going from just over 40,000 to almost 80,000? What about Derby going from less than 20,000 to over 32,000?

It is almost incontestible that good stadia, with comfortable seating, large & safe communal areas, unrestricted views of a great pitch etc etc will atract more people. You?re right about our gates, but Goodison is unique in the PL with having thousands of restricted views. It?s antiquated and beyond repair.

I didn?t vote as I?m not entitled to, although I?ve been a supporter for 44 of my 48 years. I would love a stadium on the riverside, or near the city centre, or even at Goodison if it were magically possible. Sadly, in every case, it?s not.

And let?s not piss about here. Your posting is simply another attempt by a "No" fan to twist the arguments and find another angle that makes it all sound SO pessimistic and sad. There are many, many fans for whom Kirkby is not first choice (or even 2nd), but who have a greater grasp of the realities facing Everton, i.e. financial.

Let me try and explain this in very simple terms. The faux shock & indignation presented by the "No" brigade that the new stadium will "cost" Everton about £78 is almost amusing. Take away the proceeds of Goodison, Bellefield, naming rights and the value of the Tesco offer (I?m no fan of Tesco by the way) and the figure is a long way short of £78m to get a brand new 50,000+ stadium with all the facilities.

OK. Then let?s look at this for Goodison. How much would it cost to re-develop Goodison to hold 50,000+ seats, all comfortable & unrestricted views, with all the facilities that go with that? Do you know? I don?t either, but I do know that it is a long way more than £78m. So the gap in terms of cost is possibly over £100m and maybe nearer £200m. Then factor in the lost income from closing down whole sections of Goodison, not to mention the lost atmosphere.

To close, could you perhaps come clean and state what exactly it is you are suggesting, rather than ask such a boring, meaningless and (quite clearly) il informed question. Do you think we should stay at Goodison? Because it?s a joke amongst all other fans and it?s crap my friend.

Please stop telling us either directly or (as in your case) cryptically, what you don?t want. If you want something else, say so and explain how.
Alan Kirwin
27   Posted 26/05/2008 at 11:48:19

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Jay Harris: Just need to inject a few facts into your ill-informed nonsense:

Arsenal, new stadium. Reading, new stadium. Derby, new stadium. Blackburn, old redeveloped stadium. Wigan, old redeveolped stadium. Sunderland, gates increased from low 20,000s to 44,000 (that?s a failure?).

When will this misleading nonsense stop?
Ciaran Duff
28   Posted 26/05/2008 at 09:15:05

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Some interesting statistics there Jay. Not sure what you think they say though. Have Blackburn or Brum moved to a new stadium? If you go back and check, Boro?s attendances are in fact higher at Riverside compared to Ayresome Park. Same goes for Wigan. Roker Park recent max was 30,000. Sunderland now average 43,000 at TSOL.What does this all mean?

Not sure except to say that I can?t see a link between moving to a new stadium and a drop in attendance. Quite the opposite actually. Also, can we clear up another furphy that keeps coming up ? the old "Forget GP because thats already mortgaged". GP may be mortgaged but it doesn?t mean we cannot sell it and any money we get is more than we had before. Say, for example, we owe £15m on GP and we sell it for £15m then we are still (£15m) better off than before. It?s same as me selling my house with a mortgage on it.

David O'Keefe
29   Posted 26/05/2008 at 14:07:19

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Sorry, Cairan but Jay is right about drawing an example between Kirkby and Bolton (Horwich). The Reebok would be full if it was in Bolton and even when the team was relatively successful under Allardyce the ground was only full when the big four came to visit.

If it was in Bolton it would be full. The location and the transport links have put a cap on that club's success.
Jay Harris
30   Posted 26/05/2008 at 14:18:30

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Ciaran, just to pick up this point on GP. Why so many people want to include it in reducing the theoretical £78 million is beyond me.

Yes so we get £15 million and repay the mortgage of £15 million but that does not contribute anything to Kirkby.

As regards my point, it was to suggest that the "New" stadia of the type EFC are looking to build in Kirkby are averaging about 75% of capacity attendances and therefore pretty soulless.
Joe Ludden
31   Posted 26/05/2008 at 14:22:24

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Can I just ask one question: Do supporters really believe that the major parameter governing attendance levels is Goodison Park herself? If it was, why is it a full house on derby day for example, and not v Fulham? It?s the same GP for both games??.

The 2 most important issues in my opinion regards attendance is the price of the ticket and the level success we deliver on the pitch. Some supporters, like at other clubs, will select the matches to go to, not because they don?t like GP and think it?s falling down, but because they are not season ticket holders and £36 for an hour and half of football ? littered with ref conning time wasting by the opposition and us having pen after ligit pen turned down ? is just not value for money.

Some matches are never miss ones ? the Sky 4 etc ? but some just are not worth the £36 entrance fee. Don?t get me wrong, such supporters are not paying to see the Sky 4, they are paying for the opportunity of seeing us beat the sky 4, and that?s worth monetarily more than seeing us beat Fulham for example.

So, if we move, will the price change? Will it go up to pay the interest on the huge loan we need? Will they slash the price cus then we will have an average gate of 50,000? I think we all know the answer. I think we all know that we won?t get 50,000 to watch us play against Hull. Only if we were League Champions would the price start to become irrelevant - however, Moyes says we are 4-5 years off finishing 4th again.

I love my GP and I love my Everton. I just really cannot see DK changing our fortunes dramatically. How can we compete with Aresnal, Liverpool or Man Utd any better in a 50,000 stadium when they all still have massively more than that (post new Anfield build)?

Ciaran Duff
32   Posted 26/05/2008 at 14:34:14

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Sorry Jay, have to disagree with you again on both points.
Reading - New stadium, 97% full and looking to expand.
Blackburn - Old ground, 74% full.

On the GP mortgage ..
"we get 15 million and repay the mortgage of 15 million but that does not contribute anything to Kirkby"
Of course it does, it means we have paid off £15m in debt. Our balance sheet is £15m better off. We’d not be paying interest on £15m etc.
(£15m is just my figure plucked from the air to illustrate the point).
Jay Harris
33   Posted 26/05/2008 at 14:30:33

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Alan Kirwan, I?ll come back on the stadium issue shortly but, as I said to Ciaran, there will not be any proceeds from GP as it's mortgaged for £15 million and estimated value is only about £13 million. We may get about £2 million for Bellefield but only if we get Planning for housing which was recently rejected by our old friends at LCC.

Naming rights, by the way, will probably get us about £2.5 million a year for 7 to 10 years according to the experts which will help to offset the interest bill for a while.

Not sure what you mean by "the value of the Tesco offer".Tesco have already stated that they WILL NOT contribute financially to the cost of building the stadium.

Also you say you have no idea about costs then go on to say developing GP could cost between £100 and £200 million. You obviously havent been up with the postings regarding GP. Adding another tier to the Park end will add about 7000 seats for about £10 to £15 million and can be done in the close season with little disruption.

Redeveloping Bullens road to a world class stand incorporating executive suites and high standard facilities and removing restricted views 20 to 40 million depending on aquiring the school and housing for about 10 million (which LCC have already stated is a possibility) that would take the capacity up to around 55,000.

The advantages of this IMO are twofold: we get to stay in a stadium we?ve all grown up in with so much history and established transport links and we can do it in our own timescale as we can afford it. The main disadvantage is the disruption in redeveloping Bullens but this can be offset by the increased capacity in the park end.

I know that we cannot stand still but we also have the chance to have a renovated "Blue palace" rather than a brand new cowshed.
Jay Harris
34   Posted 26/05/2008 at 14:51:36

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Ciaran, you are totally missing the point.
Yes repaying the £15 million debt from the sale of GP does mean we reduce our debt but we also lose an asset worth approximately the same so the balance sheet is not improved in any way and it still does not affect the cost of £78 million for Kirkby.
Jay Harris
35   Posted 26/05/2008 at 15:06:59

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Your point to Dave re attendances at Sunderland is very flawed as the average attandance last season as highlighted in my figures above was 42,500 not 44,000 and the low 20s you point out were actually mid to high 20s at the stadium of light when Sunderland were in Div 1. They zoomed up when they were leading Division 1 and eventually promoted which goes to show that success on the pitch has more to do with filling a stadium than better facilities and views although it would be nice to have both.
Alan Kirwin
36   Posted 26/05/2008 at 16:17:44

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Jay: I?m sorry, your stuff regarding attendances at new/old stadiums is simply nonsense, even by your own league table. And you?re still arguing the toss! (e.g. Sunderland).

You again fail to respond to the point being made, i.e. Sunderland, Reading, Derby, Man City, Man Utd, et al have all found "new fans" to boost their attendances significantly. Yet you continue to suppose that we are unable to do this. Be so kind as to explain why Everton can?t do this, yet many other teams can.

However, leaving that to one side, my point about the cost of re-developing Goodison into the standard of stadium everyone seems to want remains. The actual cash cost of our contribution to Kirkby is less than £78m, the actual cash cost of re-developing Goodison is much more (for obvious reasons) and then you have to take into account reduced attendances whilst it?s being done. Hence the figure of at least £100m as the difference between the two.

But I?m further intrigued. You are suggesting we can re-develop the entire Bullens Road into a "world class" structure (your words) for just £20m. Please let everyone know how this can be done and who will do it, it could solve all our problems (yes, I am being sarcastic). How come people such as yourself wax profanely on the quality of stadium we can achieve at Kirkby for in excess of £100m, and yet by the same measurement we can re-develop the old lady into a world-class sporting arena for a mere fraction of that cost?

As with so many of these postings, it?s a mixture of fantasy, mis-information and nonsense. On occasions it appears that the figures emanating from the club demand further scrutiny, but please, the stuff beng thrown about by you emphatic "No" people is, at best, dodgy, and at worst, utter nonsense.

Sorry Jay, you?ll have to do much better. It?s little wonder so many fans have become polarised on the stadium debate. The vitriolic drivel peddled by so many in the "No" camp has only served to divide. But it?s good that your own true colours have surfaced and it?s simply YET ANOTHER tedious tangent to fly off down to try & show that we should stay at Goodison and somehow wave a magic wand to get a brand new world class stadium for less than half what Kirkby would cost.

Truth pills all round.
Dave Wilson
37   Posted 26/05/2008 at 15:13:41

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Alan Kirwin, Not sure how my argument fell down, as I didn't offer one. The figures I used in the article are not mine, they are the figures suggested by people claiming to be "optimistic" in recent articles on this site. Personally, I have no idea what sort of attendance a team based in Kirkby would attract, that's why I asked.

You asked me to say what I want but I spelled it out clearly; I?m a No voter and I?ve stated on many occasions that I believe the custodians of this club have been too eager to accept the first and ? thanks to the exclusivity agreement ? the only offer to come along (see Ken Buckley's comment, things can change...). IMO a team thats celebrates any glory at Kirkby Town Hall will never be considered a city club.

Getting back to attendances. It seems I?m not the only one who doesn't have a scooby what sort of crowds a team based in Kirkby would draw. Michael seems to think we?ll fill it, he made the the perfectly reasonable point that better facilities, unrestricted views etc would encourage new fans, but he was rather vague when asked where these fans would come from, stating only, that stats are unavailable. Young Adam was also one of the few brave enough to put down figures but he can't say with any degree of certainty. Mathew Lovekin wants to let the kids in for nothing... I?m not sure anyone would disagree that the proposed move out of the city would be a deeply unpopular one with the existing fanbase

Everton's situation is unique; to compare us to Sunderland and Derby is absurd, they are the only teams in their respective cities, we can't be compared to Celtic either, we can safely say their fans won't be drifting over to Ibrox

I wonder if any of the above clubs would increase its fanbase by moving into a catchment area were it would be competing with, Wigan, Bolton, City for "new fans"?

And oh yes, I forgot mention, two of the biggest clubs on the planet... Incontestable? you sure?

My original article was to try to establish what the Yes vote would consider a successful move; as yet I?m no wiser.

Ajamu Mutumwa
38   Posted 26/05/2008 at 17:29:28

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Dave Wilson

First, you shouldn?t confuse the internet with the real world. Because Toffeeweb posts articles ad neasum about "No to Kirkby" doesn?t mean that there is a deep divide.

As I?ve said on another post, if the vote was to be re-run, I still believe that it would be a Yes to Kirkby vote.

The second issue about the debt is a red herring. If we redeveloped GP, we would still be saddled with debt, this time though without an enabling partner, which may hit us even harder and eat into team finances.

I personally would prefer a re-developed GP (not a bolt on as suggested by Tom Hughes), but for that we really would need an enabling partner to help us generate some serious money.

As for attendance, this is closely linked to success on the pitch. A team regularly playing European football, competing for cups will draw back fans, wherever Everton is based.
Dave Wilson
39   Posted 26/05/2008 at 18:02:47

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about 30% of our entire fanbase voted to go to Kirkby 70% did not

About 60% of the people who voted said yes, 40% said no
Figures are there to be played with but whatever way you look at it, whatever way you dress it up, there is a deep deep divide
that my friend has nothing to do with the internet, its cold hard "real world" fact
Adam Cunliffe
40   Posted 26/05/2008 at 19:35:40

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Alan, I mentioned before that outside of Mereyside, ie, West Lancashire, Chesire they are vey big on rugby league. And most rugby fans don?t like football and when they do they support United.

I like rugby but I much prefer football, there aren't many like me.
Ajamu Mutumwa
41   Posted 26/05/2008 at 19:11:44

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David Wilson.

You’d be right but for two important "real world" factors. Not all Evertonians had the right to vote. I’ve been an Everton supporter since 1969, but because I am not a member of Evertonia, nor a season ticket holder (I live in London), I didn’t get a vote.

If I did, I would have voted yes.

Secondly, you completly discount the 10,000 people who didn’t vote. I won’t go into why they didn’t vote because that has become a contentious issue on this debate.

I don’t know if they would have voted yes, or not, nor if they would change their minds with the information to hand if there was the prospect of a new mandate. All we can do in reality is speculate.

My view is that they didn’t vote because they were by and large apathetic to the issue. Given a choice between staying at GP and falling behind other teams (because that is how it will be sold), and moving on to a bright new future, I suspect that the "No to Kirkby" campaign, with no viable alternative, will still lose.

I again content that there is not a "deep divide" but a spectrum of opinion from those who are simply concerned, to those with more extreme views that come across as Anti-Everton to the other end of the spectrum where people are prepared to accept any positive propaganda from the Board regarding Kirkby, credible or not.

Reading Toffeeweb, you’d think Kirkby was THE main topic of conversation on peoples lips, but looking at the various forums, you’ll see that Kirkby is rarely mentioned, and at this moment people are more concerned about incoming players, who we play in pre-season, and concern about tying up Davey’s extended contract.

Sorry its a long answer to a short question but you did respond, and I am trying to follow the rules laid down by Mr Kenrick and not move too far off topic. Sorry if I’ve strayed.
Alan Kirwin
42   Posted 27/05/2008 at 00:03:43

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Dave Wilson: What exactly is the point you are trying to make regarding attendances?

You say "Everton?s situation is unique; to compare us to Sunderland and Derby is absurd, they are the only teams in their respective cities, we can?t be compared to Celtic either, we can safely say their fans won?t be drifting over to Ibrox"

Why is it absurd to compare the potential outcome of a new stadium for the 5th best team in the EPL with two other teams who have done the same and can?t touch us either for history or current potential? Are you seriously suggesting that what happened at Derby and Sunderland (both of whom have had nothing to aim at for decades) can?t be repeated at Everton? a team from a far bigger city and huge catchment area, with European football, an excellent manager and a great squad of hungry young players.

What nonsense is this? Do you know the respective populations of Sunderland, Derby and Liverpool? Let me update you, Sunderland is 177,000, Derby is 233, 000 and Liverpool is 440,000 (Merseyside is 1.36m).

So where exactly is the absurdity in the possibility that a team with the history, fan base, current potential and catchment area of Everton can?t replicate the achievements of Derby and Sunderland in new stadiums?

If we move to Kirkby it?s 4 miles away and still within the Merseyside boundary. The idea that this somehow means we lose fans to Wigan, Bolton, Man Utd & Liverpool is, to use your own word, absurd.

Oh yes, and even if Kirkby?s not my first choice (and it isn?t), it won?t stop me from going to the match (despite being born in Dingle, my round trip is now 540 miles from Sussex). It?s got something to do with being an Evertonian.

And as Ajamu rightly says, like most fans I?m far more concerned with whether or not we get Arshavin and a few others in the summer.

Enough absurdities.

Tom Hughes
43   Posted 27/05/2008 at 01:49:12

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Sunderland moved to a stadium over the road from the city centre, as did Man City. Both have benefitted greatly from the improved accessibility and no doubt the new stadium efect. Also both their old stadia were massively oversubscribed and under capacity, (so is it any wonder the gates increased....?) ours isn’t. Reading have just had their first 2 seasons in the top flight, and they have a good catchment, I’d say they were bound to get more interest. Man U, Chelsea, Newcastle and most other clubs have expanded on their current site and have enjoyed the improved attendances too. GP is not Ayresome Park, Roker or the baseball ground.... it has far more quality and historical value than all of them put together. As has been stated, it is the only place that can be expanded incrimentally, allowing it to grow as we grow and not requiring the massive outlay that kirkby does, nor the gambles concerning future turnouts, transport problems, loss of heritage/identity etc
Tom Hughes
44   Posted 27/05/2008 at 05:43:20

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I am not suggesting a bolt on redevelopment, although that can form part of the redevelopment process. Would you call Ibrox?s Archie Leitch upgrade a bolt on? It is probably the centre-piece of their whole stadium, and one of football?s most iconic structures..... warts and all it knocks spots of its 3 neighbours. extensions can be seamless, there are many examples of extended stands all over the country..... Old Trafford and St James? to name just 2. I agree it can be done badly, but so can a new build, and that will never come with years of history invested in it.

If you check out KEIOC site they have part of a scheme I drew up which is 3 whole new stands, around a completely remodelled mainstand side. There are a multitude of ways to skin this cat. The problem is the club have not explored them nor included them in the voting/options process.
Dave Wilson
45   Posted 27/05/2008 at 06:11:24

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Alan Kirwin

As Tom Points out, Both Derby and Sunderland were both massively oversubscribed, they already had thousands who couldn't get into their old grounds waiting in the wings to attend matches; we don't

I'm not sure why you researched their respective populations, but while we are at it Kirkby has a population of 40,000, it already boasts an enormous blue following and as you point out, it's only 4 miles for them to travel to GP, the ones who are going to watch Everton, already do, so where are the new fans coming from ?

At no time did I say we would loose fans to other clubs, My point is, a lot of people in this mythical "catchment area" already support the teams I mentioned. Football fans are notoriously fickle, but they usually stay loyal once they have chosen a team, what makes you think they?ll suddenly become regular match-going Evertonians?

Talking of absurdities, if Kirkby is still inside the city boundaries, does that mean you?ll be heading for St George's Hall to celebrate any future successs ?
You?ll be on your on mate

I didn't overlook the people who didn't get a vote or the people who didn't vote. I deliberately chose to leave them out of the figures I quoted; I firmly believe most of them would have voted No, but it could have been construed as conjecture on my part. I wanted to keep the debate factual.

Adam Cunliffe
46   Posted 27/05/2008 at 07:57:15

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Dave, that?s a good point about St Georges Hall. Where would we have our trophy parades if we did win anything? Also Tom Hughes?s ideas on the KEIOC website look (and probably are) very do-able at a reasonable cost.

TBH I think a redeveloped GP is by far the best option. We?d keep our history and heritage, whilst still being able to attract businessmen and the like as we are still inside the Liverpool city boundaries.

Also regarding transport, Everton has the soccerbus service running directly to the ground from Sandhills station. People slag the transport in and around GP off but we don?t really need good busses when we have one that runs regular. No matter where your from, ask for GP when you book your train ticket and you get a return ticket for the soccerbus which takes you straight to the ground.
Anthony Horabin
47   Posted 27/05/2008 at 08:53:38

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All this talk of developing GP seems to concentrate on the Park End and Bullen Road stands. What about the other two stands? A new build means the design is consistent all around the ground instead of extentions of differing styles and ages. I for one am looking forward to a new stadium to watch Everton play.
Graham Atherton
48   Posted 27/05/2008 at 13:09:57

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The solution to this debate is very simple.

If we cannot fill 50 000 seats with unrestricted views every week then we aren’t the big club many here seem to think we are and we will never able to compete with the top 4.

If we want to compete we have to try.

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