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Too Late to Cry

By Greg Murphy :  23/07/2007 :  Comments (65) :

We only asked!


?The council has bent over backwards for Liverpool but not us...? ? any Evertonian, 2000-2007.

Fact: Everton has never formally requested permission to build on Stanley Park.
Fact: We made a general enquiry to see if it was feasible.
Fact: We were told it was protected under ?Victorian covenant?.
Fact: LFC, at a later date, were indeed told the opposite.
Fact: We never moaned about this when we had the chance.
Fact: The reason we didn?t can be summed-up in two words: King?s Dock.

For anyone who?s forgotten. For anyone who was only 10 at the time and now has a burning sense of injustice. For the record. Here?s what happened, or rather what didn?t, once and for all. I was there and I attest to these facts. Forgive me if some old ground is covered but seemingly it needs doing. The chronological context is important, in my view.

[Point of interest to declare: I was a founder member / treasurer/ minute-taker of Goodison for Ever-ton / GFE. I have no connection whatever with KEIOC.]

  • In Dec 1996 Peter Johnson announced he wanted Everton to leave GP. He said he?d explored two options. Option 1: redevelop Goodison Park. Option 2: leave, preferably for a site on the Kirkby Golf Course. He said ?Option 1? (as referred to in the club?s newspaper of the time, The Evertonian) had failed and a feasibility study showed that Goodison could not be redeveloped beyond 47,000.
  • In Jan 1997, in the wake of the Kanchelskis sale, and knowing the parlous, generally unappreciated (certainly by manager Joe Royle) state of Everton?s finances (two months earlier we broke our transfer record for Nick Barmby and it was generally assumed the accounts were healthy, when in fact we were already £7m in debt) a group called Goodison for Ever-ton (sic) ? aka GFE ? set itself up with one remit only. Namely, to challenge the assumption that Goodison Park couldn?t be redeveloped. What PJ didn?t know was that the GFE had a club insider and knew that no such feasibility study had been undertaken. The GFE asked PJ to produce it. If he did, and, if it was as stated, the GFE said they would accept the inevitability that Everton had to leave Goodison Park.
  • At a meeting with the GFE on the Monday of the re-run Grand National (IRA bomb threat), PJ said he would never release the study. Furthermore, he said, he would undertake a supporters? vote at the last game of that season v Chelsea, to gauge attitudes to a move to Kirkby Golf Course. He told the GFE that the literature accompanying the ballot would be heavily swayed towards the move. He also said that for political reasons he couldn?t say, specifically, that the club was destined for Kirkby Golf Course but that he would be launching a PR campaign across local media to make it clear this was his preferred location (hence the laughably famous ?bus blockade day? as covered by local media at the time). When asked how he could be so confident that the media would be on his side, he simply stated: ?Oh, I?m sure they will.? He refused to allow the GFE to produce any ?counter argument? within the ballot brochure. As he predicted, the GFE went on to be slated vehemently in the local press.
  • In May 1997, the club undertook a heavily flawed, unsupervised ballot which revealed that 82% of those who voted (sic) wished to move (implicitly to Kirkby Golf Course). At no point in the lead-up to the ballot had emotions ever touched on the fact that Everton were planning to leave the City of Liverpool. It was a non-issue.
  • Four days after the vote, PJ announced that as well as Kirkby Golf Course, the club may also consider sites at: Burtonwood, Cronton and Speke. Generally, although it was clear that (despite the best efforts of the GFE) an undeniable majority of fans were prepared to leave Goodison, most felt duped.
  • Having achieved his mandate, PJ proceeded to do precisely nothing about the proposed relocation of Everton during the whole period from May 1997 to his departure as Chairman and majority shareholder in Nov 1998. The reasons chiefly stemmed from the fall-out that reigned across the club as a result of the ?resignation? of Joe Royle in March 1997, the non-capture of a ?world class manager? in spring 1997, the desperate reappointment of Howard Kendall Mk III as late as July 1997, the tumult of the club?s on-field travails culminating in the last day survival versus Coventry in May 1998, the sacking of HK, the appointment in July 1998 of Walter Smith, the spending of £20m (Collins, Dacourt, Materrazzi, Bakayoko et al) which the club didn?t possess and the chaos that led to the sale of Duncan Ferguson in Nov 1998, which inadvertently exposed the true nature of the club?s finances for the first time (some £29m in debt).
  • Knowing that the ground issue would resurface again at some point, the GFE utilised the period between May 1997 and Nov 1998 to re-galvanise and, as well as raising its own funds through bucket collections and events, also secured the support of two very well connected Evertonians. One of these was prepared to back the GFE financially in its attempt to secure the services of the Sheffield architects, Ward McHugh Assoc, who had stated that, contrary to PJ?s assertion, GP could indeed be redeveloped to at least a 47,000 unobstructed capacity and possibly 55,000.
  • Thanks to the financial backing of this noted supporter (who I won?t name), the GFE/Ward McHugh study was duly published after the departure of PJ. At this time, the GFE was informed by club secretary Michael Dunford that the feasibility study PJ said he?d undertaken into the redevelopment of Goodison had (as was known) never existed. The GFE stressed that not only had this wasted two and half years of the club?s valuable time but that, given spiralling construction costs, time was fast running out to start a phased project of rebuilding GP (similar to those underway at many grounds around the Premiership at that time).
  • Basically the GFE/ Ward McHugh report produced two chief alternatives for redeveloping GP. The first was a ?same footprint? option. The second ? which could have delivered a stadium of some 55,000 ? depended on the club securing permission to encroach onto Stanley Park (roughly the area in front of the megastore and alongside the Marie Curie daffodil field) with a consequent reconfiguration of Walton Lane to snake around the new perimeter.
  • Whilst these options were being considered by Everton, it was known that LFC were searching sites as far afield as Kirkby or Speke in order to relocate their club. A further option was to redevelop Anfield ? on its current site ? but it was felt that this was too restrictive as it would be impossible to achieve a desired 60,000 capacity.
  • At some stage in 1999, Liverpool City Council approached LFC about the possibility of the the club taking up residence at a proposed new stadium at King?s Dock. Sure that LFC would leap at the chance to expand its Liver Bird culture on the banks of the Mersey, LCC was stunned to hear LFC reject the idea out-of-hand based on the fact that the capacity would only be 50,000.
  • In early 2000 (Bill Kenwright only assumed control at the millennium), Everton, by now keen on the idea of the slight encroachment onto Stanley Park, approached LCC to ask how feasible it would be. LCC rejected the idea, citing, among other things, the Victorian covenant that existed. In fact, the then CEO of LCC was at pains to publicly reassert Council leader, Mike Storey?s prior assertion (1998) that the city?s parks were ?safe forever? (Google "Liverpool city parks safe forever").
  • At Easter 2000, LCC was approached by Rick Parry to enquire about the possibility of LFC building a completely new 70,000 capacity stadium on Stanley Park. If this was not possible, said Parry, then LFC may have to go beyond the city.
  • It is purely a matter of conjecture as to whether LFC had got wind of Everton?s Stanley Park query. It is further conjecture as to the extent of the role (if any) Parry played in solving LCC?s subsequent dilemma but nevertheless, by June of 2000, several cards slotted neatly into various slots. All within weeks.
  • LCC?s dilemma was: they could not risk losing LFC but they couldn?t very well agree to them building on / decimating Stanley Park having informally told Everton, weeks earlier, that it was impossible. It is also known ? fact ? that LCC had never previously considered Everton as Kings Dock tenants.
  • Curiously, though, just after Easter 2000, not long after Rick Parry had enquired about Stanley Park, the first Everton for Kings Dock media stories emerged. Suddenly Everton ceased interest in Stanley Park. Unable to believe LFC had spurned it, BK leapt at the chance to bring the ?Banks of the Royal Blue Mersey? to reality. Postcard heaven. Having given financial assurances to all parties (not forgetting LCC?s willingness to co-fund) Everton announced publicly that they would seriously explore the Kings Dock (hence the eventual arrival of Paul Gregg).
  • Amazingly, just weeks later in June 2000, to everyone?s surprise, Parry announced that LFC had finally solved its stadium dilemma and that a solution had been ?under our noses all along? (verbatim quote): namely a new stadium on Stanley Park. In fact, the tone of Parry?s PR at the time was ?stupid us, we just didn?t notice.? Very, very un-Rick Parry.
  • However, even more amazing than LCC?s apparent u-turn on its ?parks safe forever? policy, was Everton?s complete silence on the clear double standards at work. By now, though, Everton was in full Kings Dock mode (incidentally dismissed by the GFE as a financial non-starter ? Liverpool Echo, November 2000 ? and therefore another waste of valuable time) and no longer cared about Stanley Park ?inner city? trivia. Instead Everton foolishly believed it had gained the upper-hand over LFC.
  • The GFE urged Kenwright to complain to LCC about the dual standards. He was reluctant to do so. The GFE has never had any purposeful involvement with Everton since.
  • In October 2000, Everton duly lodged its Kings Dock bid and one month later a second fans? ballot was taken, with largely the same results as 1997. Thereafter the GFE effectively wound up. Incidentally, despite very public accusations to the contrary, the remainder of funds collected for that Ward McHugh feasibility study (paid for, remember, by that GFE supporting, ahem, well-connected Evertonian) have remained in the organisation?s bank account in Manchester. **
  • When the KD dream unsurprisingly collapsed in 2003, it was then far too late for Kenwright to complain to LCC about double-standards. He knew it. LCC, which had given Everton more time, some more time, and then even more time (as well as the promise of co-funding) knew it too. And Rick Parry knew it also. Meanwhile seven years (now 10) had elapsed since Everton should have ?bitten the bullet? and start a phased redevelopment of GP which, in all likelihood, would have been completed by 2002 (the financial backing was there, if it wanted, as Everton well knows ? but that?s another story) probably around the time a certain Wayne Rooney was emerging.
  • So, to set the record straight, Everton has very little room for complaint with LCC. However, we did ask about Stanley Park. We never made it formal. We were told there was little point. The fact remains, though, that LFC got a very different answer. We should have screamed Blue murder while we had the chance. We didn?t. And despite my GFE past, I now believe, for financial reasons, we must sadly leave GP (but not for Kirkby). We missed the boat, basically.

** To anyone in a long line who still wishes to accuse me/the GFE of ?being glad we got our way in 1997 and have subsequently held the club back for generations?, I?m always available for a pint after the game in the Sloop Inn, St Ives (honest, I?ll turn up!). About the £1,200 of supporters? cash raised: the one and only (non-signatory) account holder is me ? Mr G Murphy ? and I have Allied Irish Bank statements showing an untouched, since the millennium, (sadly non-interest) account with all monies still intact. And there they shall remain until such day that they are no longer needed whereupon the GFE will release the funds to a worthy Everton cause.

Reader Comments

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Lyndon Lloyd
Editorial Team
1   Posted 24/07/2007 at 05:38:34

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Riveting account, Greg. Many thanks for taking the time to write it up and send it our way. It puts in one place so many things that many have known or been told for years and also reveals plenty that we at TW weren't privy to.

As for the GFE?s mystery benefactor, he?s already been unmasked on these pages in the past few weeks so I doubt he?ll come as a big surprise to many!

George Stuart
2   Posted 24/07/2007 at 06:46:56

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Greg

You very quickly gloss over the Kings Dock failure. Many believe that to have been acheivable and a missed opportunity(amongst many). Care to comment further.
Derek Thomas
3   Posted 24/07/2007 at 06:46:51

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Why am I / we not surprised?? Not only did we miss the boat, we fannied around that much (for various reasons) that those boats we didn’t burn or poke holes in the bottom of were withheld by the owners coz we pissed them off with said fanning....’you are handling the press and spin well young Kenwright, you taught me well Master Johnson’.
Michael
4   Posted 24/07/2007 at 07:27:42

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An excellent summary. The un-answered questions.
1)Why were LFC given the nod by LCC for Stanley Park? A more credible set of proposals/plans for redevelopment of the area?
2)Or LCC simple preference for LFC - given the "majority of LCC are season-ticket holders" rumour?
3) If a shared stadium was offered now - would you take it to stay in the city?
Gary Jones
5   Posted 24/07/2007 at 08:33:12

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Great summary of 10 years of incompetant management at EFC.

One positive thing to note though. Evertong have existed for nearly 130 years. 10 years of bad management will not kill the club off. Moving to Kirkby would though. Where would the next generation of Evertonians come from. All Scousers would automatically be LFC fans.
Simon O`Keefe
6   Posted 24/07/2007 at 08:35:24

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I was told by an LCC insider some weeks ago that whilst the Council could NEVER afford to lose the club that bears the City’s name,’few outsiders even know where Everton is based’.Officers and Councillors with long memories were apparently well pissed off with our club’s failure to go ahead with King’s Dock and vowed they would do everything possible to keep the Reds within their boundaries.
Richard Hindley
7   Posted 24/07/2007 at 08:23:41

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Thanks for that, Greg. It’s hard to argue with your assessment. Sadly it’s also hard to see how any alternative to Kirkby will emerge in time to stop it happening. One question: I agree with you 100% about it being way too late for EFC to make a noise to LCC - is there any effective way Evertonians (maybe through well connected people like you?) could expose LCC’s double standards? I only ask that if it would have the effect of helping any alternative to Kirkby.
Steve L
8   Posted 24/07/2007 at 09:17:09

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As LFC have now re-submitted plans for a re-designed stadium is it possible for LCC council tax payers to object to the plans? It is even bigger and takes up more public park space than previously.

Also, I was under the impression that all Liverpool public parks were given by weathly benefactors from the Victorian era on the understanding (the convenant) that they would never be built upon. If that’s the case then giving planning permission sounds slightly dodgy.

I was told we were given the option of Kings Dock to keep us quiet over LFC getting Stanley Park because the original proposal had no chance of susceeding. Not sure how true this is.

Finally, they’re going to re-build the glasshouse so everything is OK.
Gavin Ramejkis
9   Posted 24/07/2007 at 09:32:44

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A great eye opener given heard some but certainly not most of it through rumours, is it any wonder the likes of the Grantchesters have shrunk into the shadows, the mismanagement that has crippled this club for at least the last twenty years and certainly the last ten should for ever shame those responsible, we are all in the family of Everton and whilst we all make mistakes those lucky enough to be custodians of the club should hold their heads in shame they are tasked through their position to lead this club not destroy it through this acute lack of ability and acumen.
Matt Owen
10   Posted 24/07/2007 at 11:27:52

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As a red I found your article enlightening. I find it frustrating to continually hear from Evertonians of council bias to LFC. Particularly when they’re based on rumour and distortion of the facts.

In the interests of balance it should be noted that LFC have by no means enjoyed a smooth passage from LCC.

In addition to the demands placed on the club in terms of regeneration payments and provision of community facilities there’s been repeated attempts by LCC to impose Groundsharing on the Stanley Park project. That’s something which the majority of Reds and many Blues feel would’ve been damaging to both clubs.

In answer to Steve L above, perhaps one of the reasons why the Everton proposal would’ve caused problems for the planners would be that the area of the park they wanted to expand into was the area with the Victorian features which were worth preserving. LFC on the other had are knocking down a hideous 60’s sports centre, a large carpark and a couple of football pitches.

LFC will pay for the other areas of the park to be renovated. Plus under the LFC plan the land where Anfield is currently situated will be returned to public use as the Anfield Plaza. Under the Goodison expansion that wouldn’t have been the case.

Finally, I hope Evertonians don’t seek to undermine our project because of dissatisfaction with their own board. The LFC plan will serve as the engine for a much needed regeneration in a deprived area. My Grandad watched the Blues at Goodison and I hope you get to stay and redevelop,but whatever happens I think if you put what’s best for the area ahead of partisan rivalry you’ll let the Stanley Park project go ahead.
Sean Rothwell
11   Posted 24/07/2007 at 11:45:19

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My favourite line of that article:
"At no point in the lead-up to the ballot had emotions ever touched on the fact that Everton were planning to leave the City of Liverpool. It was a non-issue."
So why is it an issue now?
Alan Hampson
12   Posted 24/07/2007 at 11:39:13

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Is Stanly Park not older than the old Tobbacco building that is sat derelict in the city? That building can not be built upon as it is a listed building...surely Stanly Park is more a part of our history than a building that is never used and given the whole Smoking Ban debate... a waste of space and a bit of an eye-sore.
Greg Murphy
13   Posted 24/07/2007 at 11:22:01

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George Stuart - you?re right, I did gloss over the KD aspect. Deliberately, not cynically, though. I only wanted to produce a bullet-point run-through of the last decade. TBH, I wasn?t sure how useful it would be because I didn?t know how much was in the Evertonian-domain (for example, the GFE?s mystery benefactor: his identity may well have been already unmasked in TW, and I?m not surprised, but I couldn?t possibly comment!). But it?s recently struck me that there may well have been Blues who were only 8,9 and 10 or so at the time all this chaos started (barely believable it?s been a decade) so it was to give them an insight into what went on and hopefully let them judge how much gripe we can have with LCC. Another reason that I glossed over KD is that, as stated, it was not much longer after the ?bid decision? became EFC official policy that the GFE ceased to have any involvement with the club. In fact, all we did was release a statement pre-vote that was carried in full by the Echo (underneath a comment piece and huge photos of Richard Gough and Blessed Walter - where are they now? - instructing us all to vote yes) in which we aired concerns about the finance and ownership issue. Then post-vote we issued the ?Al Gore? acceptance statement (the Bush-Gore election spat was in full swing; TW has the full text somewhere online). Other than that we only had our personal views. I do remember BK asking us all directly, though, whether we would be opposed in principle to KD. I wondered, then, what the real reason for his question was. We only gave him the type of answer we?d given to PJ three years earlier, namely, ?if we provably can?t stay here, then KD is certainly more preferable than anywhere else.? Much had changed since 1997 and there was a greater appreciation of the state of the club finances by then and even the GFE were beginning to realise that the really damaging period had been the inactivity between May 97 and Nov 98. Personally, whilst I genuinely never expected KD to come to fruition, I was quite comfortable about heading there on a Hobson?s Choice basis (unlike how I feel about Kirkby). For the record, I voted ?no? to KD.

Michael - my own belief is that LCC were caught like rabbits in the headlights and never for one moment thought LFC would ever consider leaving the city. Whether RP was playing supreme brinksmanship is another matter. The fact is that RP stunned many people (hence his quite curious quotes) by asking for SP. My own belief is that he knew damn well what EFC had asked and I wouldn?t be surprised if, when LFC turned KD down (which will always be denied by LCC/LFC), he sowed a seed along the lines of ?too small for us, but maybe Everton...??

Simon O?Keefe - yes, that?s pretty much my understanding of exactly how the top bods at LCC (especially Henshaw) felt at the time. But it remains the case that LCC gave LFC a different answer to us regarding initial SP queries. Incidentally, it has been suggested to me (conjecture only, though) that one reason BK was able to get away with repeated ?can we have more time, please?? requests was that he?d earned some brownie points by not bleating in spring 2000. Swings and roundabouts. Possibly, to an extent, LCC felt as though they owed EFC one...but there came a limit.

Richard Hindley - that?s sort of what I was trying to achieve by laying things down as I recall them to be (and from the minutes I took from those meetings). But I felt too many Blues, unwittingly, especially younger ones, were falling into the trap of accusing LCC of being the total architects of our predicament. Maybe the Echo bods are reading and they can shout for us. Ahem.

Steve L - yes, shades of that are true from what I learned. Although it would have been hard work (very) and we?d all have had to grin and bear it (including residents and commuters) EFC?s ?encroach onto SP? option was certainly deliverable. It will be interesting to see how chaotic things get down Arkles Lane / Priory Road later this year.
Geoff Noonan
14   Posted 24/07/2007 at 11:38:39

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It’s worth pointing out that while our various board members have dillied and dallied for many a year the new owners at Liverpool have been swift in their assessment of the current situation and on realising our imminent departure have applied for a possible future extension of their new ground from 60,000 to 80,000.
Flotsam
15   Posted 24/07/2007 at 12:12:52

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In response to Steve L’s comment about the covenant I think I’m right in saying the words used in the covenant say ’for 99 years’ or something similar i.e. nothing stopping them anymore and another green belt bites the dust. If I’m right we could have been knocked back anyway had we made an official application for the land and a few years later the restrictions ’run out’ and LFC get it. Not very fair but legal all the same - damned annoying as well.

I don’t like the idea of Kirkby but I’m not against going out of the city, provided its not too far out. Although that Bestbuy site looks ace, a shame its not free/already funded like the Kirby deal.

Just out of interest how big is the new super stevie g laa stadium going to be as the capacity seems to go up with each passing month?
Alan H
16   Posted 24/07/2007 at 13:03:04

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I say that we should go for the BESTBUY idea straight away... it may not be free/funded like the other deal but it keeps our beloved blues in the city and there is more scope/vesability for future expansion to the stadium. Would they not have to knock down the Tesco in the future to expand in Kirkby? Tell me if I am wrong.
Dean
17   Posted 24/07/2007 at 13:09:42

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before, before, quit living in the past
Michael Brien
18   Posted 24/07/2007 at 13:22:27

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Greg - very interesting article, I seem to think that at one time PJ had some plans re a possible move to the Widnes area ? Was there any truth in that ?
Many thanks to you and GFE for putting up a fight for the cause of staying at Goodison.I cling to the hope the it could still be done.After all back in ’66 when Wednesday went 2-0 up Mr Wolstenholme was heard to say in his TV commentary " 2-0 that’s it it’s Wednesday’s cup"
And 2-0 down at home to Wimbledon we were looking down and out.So comebacks are a part of our history !! Here’s hoping for another !!
Mike Owen
19   Posted 24/07/2007 at 13:35:58

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I believe that ANY history article/book has to be read, whilst bearing in mind it’s the author’s perspective and that some people may wish to challenge it.
However I reckon that’s a brilliant piece.
I’ve often wondered about a lot of those things; in what order it all evolved until we got to the situation we are today. I’ll cut out and keep.
I also thought the remarks of Matt Owen were interesting.<
Tom Hughes
20   Posted 24/07/2007 at 15:59:13

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I’m glad you stated that it wasn’t requested formally, since I was under the impression that there was no such record of planning application having enquired specifically about it. What format does an informal request take, since I have even seen notes regarding telephone calls when I have viewed planning docs. It could be said that even if EFC had asked for a slice of the Park it may be contentious in that this end of the park contains all the Victorian features. Of course, if they had indeed lodged a formal application and been refused we would have heard more from the club on the issue before now..... especially while they’re in pro-Kirkby mode. Interesting article!
Joanne Tilt
21   Posted 24/07/2007 at 16:07:30

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Who was the mystery GfE benefactor?
Keith Slinger
22   Posted 24/07/2007 at 16:20:09

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Double standards by LCC and agent Johnson, however an excellent article. But we were the first team in this city, therefore we should have had first choice on Stanley park.
Franny Porter
23   Posted 24/07/2007 at 17:19:50

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Am I being naive or what?
Who was the mystery benefactor?
Im missing something here!
robin dickson
24   Posted 24/07/2007 at 18:16:24

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was the mystery benefactor D. H.and wasn’t he involved with the glass house.
Gary P
25   Posted 24/07/2007 at 17:09:10

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Demonstrations can be effective and I believe that most Evertonians want EFC to stay within the boundary (some say insignificant but to me not so insignificant).
I am a Kirkby lad and would love us to get the Scotland Rd site as this is closer to our roots than we will ever get to be again.
Tradition is EVERYTHING to our club and if enough people make waves then the board will have no option but to listen
jim mcmahon
26   Posted 24/07/2007 at 19:23:07

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As LCC have treated us so shabbily over the years, I have no problem with teaming up with Knowsley council, who want to work with us. As for the comment that moving from GP would kill Everton off, thats rubbish, a true blue would travel to the ends of the earth. A mere four miles is nothing. We obviously need a new stadium and cant afford it on our own, so having Tesco and Knowsley as partners sounds good to me.
Greg Murphy
27   Posted 24/07/2007 at 19:03:47

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Michael Brien - I?m sure Widnes was mentioned in passing at one point (I wouldn?t doubt that Snowdonia got an airing too!) but, as I was basing my ?facto-llections? (as the Yanks like to say) purely on the notes, records and cuttings that I took at the time, I could only state with certainty that PJ publicly aired those sites I mentioned. But he may well have mentioned many others in passing. Basically, the sense that we had in early 97 that PJ was all over the place on his thinking was what led us to start the GFE and it was no surprise to learn (very, very early) that he never had undertaken a feasibility to redevelop Goodison, despite his insistence that he had. A bit like John Burns, whose laudable stadium studies are recorded elsewhere on TW, I had also been a bit of ?single shooter? on Goodison issues from the moment PJ took over in 1994. Naively assuming him to be ?loaded? (like we all did, although I was a BK man) I regularly bombarded him with letters telling him to bulldoze and rebuild the whole Goodison Rd edifice (it?s a mess, let?s face it), little realising that I was giving him ammunition. As a point of interest, he did tell me - in a rare moment of cordiality - that he actually had many, many letters from fans in that first year asking him to ?do something? about Goodison. It was the only thing he told me that I ever believed. Anyway, the next time we met him he called me a ?jumped-up ragamuffin?. Hey ho.

Tom Hughes - yes, I?ve often wondered about how informal any so-called ?informal? enquiries are. I can honestly say, from my notes, that I?ve no record of what manner the ?informal? query about SP was made in. Safe to say that we were informed very quickly that LCC had sadly dismissed the SP query immediately. Ironically we seemed to accept this and for a few weeks we filed it under the ?pity, but worth a punt? heading. Fast forward two months, though...

Joanne Tilt, Franny Porter, Robin Dickson - I seem to have unwittingly stirred a hornet?s nest on this one. I genuinely didn?t intend to do this and if I could have skirted around the fact that the GFE / Ward McHugh study was paid for by a well-connected Blue I would have. Unfortunately, the question of GFE finances became the subject of some mucky accusations several years ago, with yours truly being asked (indirectly) ?if the study was paid for, where did all the money from the buckets go?? So, in writing this bullet-point overview (and there?s indeed a lot I?ve left out, including a truly jaw-dropping meeting in July 98 with PJ, Dunford, and, bizarrely, Walter Smith, just 10 days after he arrived, who was effectively asked by PJ to sit, listen and not speak - I kid you not) I knew I had to cover the issue of the Ward/McHugh payment with (relative) transparency. Unfortunately (and I do hate this) I really don?t think I?m personally at liberty to disclose the name of the benefactor (although I think it?s an open secret, as per Lyndon?s comment) as he asked at the time for his identity to remain anonymous. I?ve kept to that since. It?s an indicator, though, of how fraught things were at the time and I?ve put it on record in WSAG before now that I found the whole GFE episode and its aftermath to be the most bruising Evertonian experience I?ve ever known since I first pitched up at GP on April Fools Day 1972. Which is why I?ve total admiration for any fans group, fanzine, website etc that?s existent in the Evertonian arena today. I hate the whole ?who appointed you?? mentality from some. The more fans who stick their heads above the parapet the better IMO.
Iain D
28   Posted 24/07/2007 at 19:23:38

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floasam i think your confusing a convenant with a leasehold, convenants can only be removed via either the person added them to the title deed or a court order. leasehold is self explanitory
Richard Hindley
29   Posted 24/07/2007 at 19:28:44

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Greg - does your reply to my post mean you think some sort of publicity about LCC’s part in the tale of two grounds would actually help make the debate about Kirkby real, and maybe lead to a non-Kirkby outcome? I’m interested to know. EFC wouldn’t come out of it very well, though.

One other question, for you or anyone else reading this: isn’t Kirkby really part of Liverpool? Would there be the same kerfuffle about being in the city boundary if we were going to Bootle?
Gary P
30   Posted 24/07/2007 at 20:32:56

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Good point Richard...I have seen a few letters suggesting other sites like the docks..which are in Sefton! If people are going to make comments they should look at a map first
Frank
31   Posted 24/07/2007 at 20:08:34

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To be up front, let me say that I am a life long Liverpool supporter but the last thing I want to see is not only Everton leaving the city but also leaving the Stanley Park area. The idea of not walking past Goodison Park on my way to Anfield is un-thinkable to me and most true Reds fans. I believe that is not just a football issue but also one of financial regeneration of a loved but decaying part of the city. I have two questions. Why is it too late for Everton to seriously lobby and campaign for their own development in or around Stanley Park? It seems to me that all scousers (red and blue) would be in favour and we could be surprised by the politicians react to one united voice. Not to sound crass but why is Everton not shopping itself around? You have a great brand, a huge fan base and I still believe, a city council that dosen’t want you to leave. We Reds have just gone through a difficult time where our club was being whored around for a suitabe buyer, which we may now have found. Correct me if I am wrong but it seems to me that the current leadership is in effect saying "it’s us or death" How can it be that Aston Villa, West Ham and even Portsmouth can attract savvy businessmen with pots of money to invest looking to cash in on the Premier League while the men in charge at Goodison sit with there thumbs up their arse? As I said I support Liverpool but first and formost I am a Scouser and think Everton leaving the Stanley Park area would be a disaster. In any event, good luck to you all.
Greg Murphy
32   Posted 24/07/2007 at 20:15:48

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Richard Hindley - would exposing the extent of the LCC role help to bring about a non-Kirkby result? Well, probably not. Then again, it can?t do any harm for anybody, whether they??re pro or anti, to know all the facts. Anyway, ironically, I can?t help thinking we?re 48 hours late on this one; for as recent as Sunday I might have replied to you ?well it may help turn up the heat on LCC to do the right thing by EFC? (although, as I?ve said in my main piece, I don?t think we?ve anywhere near the level of complaint against LCC that many assume we have). But, from my own, private individual, vantage point, I rather think LCC/Warren Bradley has now gone a significant way to redressing that particular balance in the shape of the Bestway news. I really do. I may be wrong, naive (ticked every box before now) but I just don?t see that the 12th richest Asian businessman in the UK (Anwar Pervez) would wheel-out his property director to issue the type of substantial quotes that he did (I mean, they were very pointed, IMO) if they were on a mere kite-flying exercise. It sounded to me like a real "hit the ground running" invitation. I really think they?ve forced EFC into a corner on this. Surely? Which is why I?m amazed (well, no, I?m not really) that the media/EFC hasn?t addressed this issue more fully over the last 24 hrs (although it should be noted that we were told by KW last Monday ((16th)) that the exact ?Kirkby question?, as per the ballot form, would be revealed by ?the end of the week?, and from what I can see, that hasn?t transpired). So maybe there?s movement behind the scenes? Hmm.

About Bootle. Well, again IMHO only, I think there would be a kerfuffle to a degree but nowhere near the extent of Kirkby (although, as I said in my main piece, the Kirkby boundary question was ironically a non-issue in 97). If I can clarify my stance for what it?s worth: whilst I am against Kirkby on a geographical (as well as many others) basis, it?s actually nothing to do with the boundary, as such. It?s more to do with the visibility and profile of Kirkby as far as I?m concerned (i.e. it?s a place that gets bypassed and Scousers and visitors to the city just don?t happen upon it in their comings and goings). Bootle, though, is a different kettle of fish for me. Yep it?s over the boundary (and let?s face it, would any kopite accept that Carragher isn?t a Scouser, and for that matter what about ?steviegeelar? the ?Whiston Wonder??). For example, I?m sure that Sefton actually stretches a good way down Derby Rd towards the Old Hall Street/ Costco approaches to Liverpool. And I?d have no problems with EFC playing anywhere around there. If they built on ?The Mons? plateau I?d be fine too. My own case illustrates how it?s impossible to pigeonhole fans on the whole move issue. Yeah, you can be pro or anti, but for many different reasons. Another oddity about me is that for all that I?m vehemently opposed to Kirkby (and then some) I?m still actually pro-BK, despite, well, despite, well...yeah, I know.
Cormac Murphy
33   Posted 24/07/2007 at 21:19:23

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Excellent account, but I believe it’s not too late to complain about double standards in relation to the Stanley Park issue. And we should encourage a thorough and transparent investiagtion into the affair.
Beagle
34   Posted 24/07/2007 at 20:41:11

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Just passing through but, for the cost of a stamp, an idea would be to write to LCC requesting "copies of all documents, including notes of telephone discussions or other informal meetings, relating to the possible redevelopment of land at Stanley Park by Everton FC" under the Freedom of Information Act...
Mr Todd
35   Posted 24/07/2007 at 22:20:00

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Why not e mail Warren Bradley direct at warren.bradley@liverpool.gov.uk
Let’s see if he has any answer to the above. Perhaps someone could ask him which way he intends to vote, he is a season ticket holder after all, or would he be excluded under some sort of conflict of interest.
John Charles
36   Posted 24/07/2007 at 23:37:09

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I emailed Warren Bradley months ago.

I got no reply.

Luckily I do live in the city center and thus get to vote him and his useless council out of power.

"Warren Bradley - the man who let Everton leave Liverpool". On your head son - forever.
ToffeeDan
37   Posted 25/07/2007 at 02:32:58

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John C
Maybe Bradley is finally waking up to the legacy LCC will have generated in failing to try and keep Everton in the city.

Or, if I may be a little more cynical, it’s because Everton in the Community do so many good things which LCC don’t have to pay for!!

TD
Tommy Murphy
38   Posted 25/07/2007 at 07:40:33

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Excellent article,putting in concise and honest language what many Evertonians have suspected for may years.We want to be part of "The Peoples Club" so, to the Board of Directors,do not exclude us.
P.S we will never move to Kirkby because once anything appears in the Liverpool Echo cartoon strip(sorry "artists impression")we all know it just will not happen!!!
s howard
39   Posted 25/07/2007 at 09:24:53

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are there any liverpool echo reporters or more to the point sports editors reading these posts if so greg murphy puts them to shame.Instead of printing any rubbish wyness and co feed them, they should get off their backsides forget they have a monopoly in the city and ask questions maybe even do some research, some real work on behalf of evertonians in particular and liverpool people in general even though im a redsh--- i think this this site is tops
Seamy
40   Posted 25/07/2007 at 10:43:44

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i’m sure not one evertonian would object to the monies collected being donated to the hospice or any such good cause. It would probably end any unsavoury speculation as to the monies collected and as to where the monies currently reside.
David McKee
41   Posted 25/07/2007 at 13:32:01

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You know when you get that feeling that something isnt right? you don’t know why but something is defintely wrong. Well I think it’s because you dont know all the facts for why you feel the way you do, normally you let it go as just one of those things? Well this excellent article by Greg has just rammed it home, right now, right into my gut. That feeling was of despair as to how irresponsible the leaders of Everton have been down the years. I know it must have been difficult having swapped Chairman during the crucial time when almost every other club was building for the future, but for Gods sake why didnt they listen to this GFE team. I think it goes back even further. All those still on the board or who have an influence and who enjoyed the success and dividends of the eighties should hang their heads in shame. Fatcats who couldn’t see over the rim of their bleeding glass of champagne or brandy. We could/should have been up there with Man U if we had re-invested then. K.Wyness said that the Kirkby deal will not happen if 51% of the vote goes against it. Please I beg you all, don’t vote for it. I have that horrible feeling again, something is wrong................ we are a City Club one of the original 5 and deserve a place within the boundaries. Scotty Road would be ideal for me, but dont panic vote against Kirkby and watch all the other options come out from nowhere (its that feeling again)
Greg Murphy
42   Posted 25/07/2007 at 14:14:48

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David McKee - whilst those are very, very kind words from you, I think in the interests of perspective (a decade on) it must be stressed, and I?m the first to admit it, that the GFE back in spring 97, didn?t exactly have all the answers or solutions to the EFC stadium predicament that, in reality, was only just starting to emerge then (it had, though, been slowly creeping up supporters? agendas since the jaw-dropping stupidity that was the, then new, Park End stand erection in 1994). That said, I can honestly say that every member of that original GFE was stunned at the sheer level of all-round vitriol aimed at the organisation from the very earliest days of our campaign. It has to be remembered that PJ, in early 97, was still enjoying the huge Evertonian support he?d luxuriated in (I use that term very deliberately) from 1994 until the tide started to turn agin him in the late summer of that year. Though I lamented the very day he was ever granted access to EFC (and indeed John Moores Jr told me, directly, in December 1998, that he and his sister ?rued the day? they sold to ?that man? - cold comfort indeed!) it would be wrong to say the GFE was anti-PJ to a man. It was split. But what we?d all individually noticed was that his rhetoric just wasn?t adding-up. Hence the GFE started. Simply because alarm bells were really starting to sound for us. Then, when we realised he wasn?t exactly giving us the full account about the so-called failed feasibility into redeveloping GP, it became quickly apparent (to us at least) that there was only one reason he was wanting to move us from GP; for he?d noticed how much cash was being spent around the stadium area on a matchday. His thinking, I?m sure, was to take us to as remote a site as possible and, using the motorway service station business model, create a captive audience that would have no choice but to pay overly inflated prices (the profits of which, I doubt, would have totally flowed Joe Royle?s way). Basically he tried to railroad the whole agenda through from a mere germ-of-an-idea in December 96 to a sketchy fans? ballot in May 97. Six months, start to finish! Caught in the slipstream of his bulldozing determination, with a fawning media doing his bidding (ring any bells?) we were constantly playing catch-up. It was a somewhat different story regarding KD, though. For at no stage could BK (IMO) have ever been accused of latching onto the the plan purely for his own benefit. However, by the time BK was in any position to address any aspect of Everton staying/going, roughly the early months of 2000, the club?s finances - or lack of - were the dominant factor. And the fact that the (on the face of it) really attractive KD plan emerged seemingly from nowhere (yeah, right) just weeks after we?d learned that our Stanley Park option had been blocked, meant that he was always going to take that comparably easier option. And now here we are again, in 2007, almost full circle and it?s easy to ask ?why didn?t they listen to this GFE team?? because hindsight is a wonderful thing. And I, for one, certainly don?t claim any rueful vindication because that would be putting far too tendentious a slant on the way the history sadly panned out. Conflicting and competing circumstances have constantly beset the whole stadium debate from 1996-present. And probably from 1970 TBH. However, in line with your broader sentiments, yes it is fair to say the GFE was a voice in the wilderness during what was possibly the most crucial 30 months in Everton?s modern history.
harry
43   Posted 25/07/2007 at 15:49:18

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If liverpool have been allowed to build, then so should we, if both are allowed to build on Stanley park fine. if only one BUILD IS ALLOWED ,THEN IT MUST BE SHARED you cant give one half of the city supporters tax payers money [however much it is] and not the other. is unequeal rights .and has not got a chance of passing a goverment enquiry. the liverpool city council is going to regret this action for many a long year.iT MUST HAVE A FULL AND THROUGH INQUIRY AS THIS IS A NEW APPLICATION.
Gary Woollam
44   Posted 25/07/2007 at 18:37:27

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Greg, the memories com flooding back..But hope fully not just to me...I hope that BK is reading this...We are all still here , and we all cannot beleive what is going on with GP...we thought the dark days of PJ where long gone...but now you have replaced them with,imo,even darker days...
KW is no Evertonion, and will do what he sees fit to further and feather his own...
We now hear that under 18’s will not be able to vote...thats is it in my book...you will cut off the life blood that EFC has with the City , now cut of the life support that was young supporters...
EVERTOINION’S HAVE TO SPEAK OUT AGAINST THIS, ONE WAY , RAIL ROAD PLAN TO OBLIVION...!!!
Richard Hindley
45   Posted 25/07/2007 at 19:35:11

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Greg - me again. It seems to me that Evertonians need to be able to register their feelings and opinions about Kirkby and (lack of) any alternative somewhere. The bottom line for me is this: Kirkby is the wrong location. Full stop. Inside or outside the city boundary is irrelevant, and if we harp on about that it just lets EFC (and even LCC) off the hook. So... the question is how can ordinary, rank and file Evertonians like me be empowered to make their feelings known other than in the forthcoming vote? We need help to do that - who can provide that help

Your article is very good, but if it just ends up being for information, and a catalyst for people to vent their unhappiness then I think we will have missed an opportunity. We’re battling uphill, but for the sake of doing something rather than nothing, can Toffeeweb/WSAG/bluekipper any media savvy Blues provide some help?

Anything needs to be properly publicized of course, and made easy for people to take part in. By the time a list of posts is as long as this one is, there’s probably only me and you left reading it, so we really do need the help of TW et al. Otherwise it’s Kirkby without even a whimper.

What’s your take?

P.S. Do you really think that Loop site is logistically feasible? Looks badly inaccessible to me, but I’ve never tried to go there.
Greg Murphy
46   Posted 25/07/2007 at 22:08:41

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Richard Hindley - I share the anxiety. Really speaking, the intention of my article was indeed, if you like, for "information only" as I assumed that, by and large, most of it was known anyway. But what?s surprised me, to a degree, over the past 48 hours is how many Blues seem to have had their eyes opened wider about the whole sorry caper. I think that, as per Lyndon?s opening comment, much of this has been down to the fact that the chronological ?nutshell? presentation I?ve given seems to have shed a clearer light on the previous decade than a thousand rumour-and-counter rumour conversations we?ve all heard down the pub since circa 1996.

As to what we can do about it all, well I?m unsure that even the most orchestrated campaign at this pre-vote stage would change anything. If you?re anti-Kirkby (and I agree with you, it?s not about the boundary per se, it?s just that it?s so obviously the wrong profile-location for us) all that you can hope for is that a good 10pc or so have had their minds changed over the last week or so as more information has trickled out.

If a ?no? vote was secured, and we only need 51 per cent (they say) then obviously things would be different and we could use the ?back to square one, extra time? period to re-examine why there hasn?t been a Plan B; why no-one other than Tesco has been forthcoming (notwithstanding the Bestway news).

My own take is that I really do think there are other potential investors out there waiting for EFC (of course there are, this is Premiership we?re talking about, it?s shown around the world: and we?re all up-for-grabs to an extent).

However, I don?t think any savvy investor would have been prepared to declare their hand whilst the situation regarding the ridiculous groundshare confusion was still dragging on (I mean how many times did we need to hear Parry say no?). Likewise, why would any of them have even considered EFC whilst the whole LFC saga was in flux (until February just gone). Remember it?s only a year ago that the likes of Steve Morgan was trying to get them on the (comparative) cheap. It may seem odd to some, but I genuinely believe the uncertainty over the park was effectively keeping us on an amber light. I may be wrong, though.

Another hampering factor, now that the LFC saga has been clarified, has been the fact that we?ve been locked into exclusivity with KMBC/Tesco since last December which has basically sent a signal to any would-be investor ?not to bother...well not just yet?. And now here we are with the exclusivity period (presumably) over but we?re falling headlong into a ballot which could dictate our future for ever.

For my own part, I can only hope we can record a ?no? vote and then, if we get that crucial ?extra time?, we don?t waste a second (inside and outside the club - we?re all stakeholders, after all) in examining every option open to us, fully, rationally, honestly and openly.

Regarding the ?loop?. Well, logistically I can?t really pass an opinion except to re-iterate my earlier view that Bestway are no fools and the amount of boxes that the property director managed to tick in one wide-ranging opening statement, to my mind, was very significant. If he?d come out with a tired-old corporate communications style ?we?d be very interested to speak to Everton? type statement, then I?d have just rolled my eyes. But he was very detailed in his overview, I thought. I can?t imagine they?d stick around forever, though. It really is over to EFC in my opinion and at the moment I?m 50-50 between thinking that the silence over Bestway is encouraging / deeply worrying. Ever thus.

mike
47   Posted 26/07/2007 at 10:21:46

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The light of history makes the present clearer. Thanks for a particularly illuminating article.

I haven’t trusted an Everton director since December 22nd. 1971. I’m certainly not disposed to trust their rather bumbling spokesman /KW. But, as Richard notes, there is a sense of lack of direction in the no campaign, if such can be said to exist.

Surely people can rally round the Scotty Rd. scheme?

As to the 18 year old bar, good! Those with little sense of the past and lack of caution in moving into the future tend to be younger.

I hope the bruising encounters and vile personal abuse you’ve suffered in the past won’t limit your efforts now and in the future.
Bentley
48   Posted 26/07/2007 at 11:58:26

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Excellent article Greg, thanks for that

Am aghast at the news that about our tentative SP question being shot down essentially because we’re not Liverpool.

Can’t really reconcile my feelings at the moment having read that to be honest, am a bit numb.

The only question I can think of in my current frame of mind, which is entirely of a cold and logical (ie. unemotional) nature, is; Have Liverpool already lined up buyers of Anfield? I’m imagining it might suffer the same development feasibility problems as GP, but if the footprint is bigger than GP and ultimately we’re aiming for a smaller capacity than them anyway is it remotely an option - for the sake of keeping us local?

- concede it might be a highly emotive subject, but given we’re spitting distance apart and have been for years, and our board seem utterly convinced that our only options are miles away...
Desperate times etc.
Greg Murphy
49   Posted 26/07/2007 at 13:44:35

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Bentley - sorry be the bearer of sobering news but the current Anfield site, once vacated, is to become a central part of the wider regeneration plan over that side of the park. It?s to be called ?Anfield Plaza?. Have a check around yesterday?s news about LFC?s new stadium and you?ll see it?s recorded in overview detail.

As you say, though, it?s desperate times and, in that light, I simply can?t understand why the (now five days old) news about Bestway is drowning under a media silence or is being dismissed by admittedly jaundiced Blues as a non-starter. It may well indeed prove to be. But surely it?s worth investigating even a little further? I mean, given where we are, what have we to lose?

To anyone with even a passing curiosity about the ?loop plan? (and there?s many who think that phrase needs a ?y" placing on the end) I?d say just two things.

First, have a look again at the candidness of the quotes that Bestway Holding?s property director, Malcolm Carter, released last weekend. A senior executive like that just simply doesn?t trot out that type of overview detail unless there?s some substance to what he?s saying. He?s laying himself open to potential ridicule and I doubt he?d take a risk like that unless he was sure of his ground.

Sure, to a layman, that site looks way too restrictive (you be surprised though if you do the Google Earth, Tools, Ruler, Straight line facility comparison between that site and the current EFC and LFC footprints... i.e. it?s bigger than it looks) but frankly I?d be inclined to have a little more faith than some have (somewhat rudely IMO) shown in Carter?s words.

Secondly, have a good scout round the Bestway Group website (that?s the corporate site ? not the transactional retail site ? go to www.bestwaygroup.co.uk) and tell me that these guys sound like the type of cats who like to mess around for a laugh. You?ll see Malcolm Carter listed under the ?key contacts?. His statement was that the Bestway plan depended on an ?enormous groundswell? of support developing, and pretty quickly too, across Evertonia (particularly us fans) and the wider city. I?ve never read a clearer ?gauntlet laying? statement.

And yet, judging by the perceived silence, we seem to be blithely ignoring the situation (certainly an incurious local media is ? but you don?t have to be Sherlock to work that one out). Put it this way, Mr Carter is certainly getting a ?thanks? e-mail from me. At least out of courtesy for taking time to show interest in EFC. The least the club should do is talk to these guys.

And the least the fanbase should do is insist that the club should be seen to do so. I don?t see how a potentially binding Kirkby vote can be activated until the club has spoken to Bestway and informed us of the outcome. Yeah, it may turn out to be another false lead (we?ve a thick skin)... but it may turn out to be exactly what we all want.
Jim McIntyre
50   Posted 26/07/2007 at 18:08:28

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A real eye-opener Greg. I was one of the mugs who believed that Kings Dock would be built!

The "Bestway" site at the "Loop" junction off Scotland Road leading to the Wallasey Tunnel now gets my backing! Everton must not surrender Liverpool to LFC!
John Griffin
51   Posted 26/07/2007 at 19:40:37

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My Dad also called John was also one of the founder members of GFE and met with PJ to discuss the feasibility of redeveloping Goodison. He still passionately believes that Everton should remain in Liverpool and never surrender the City to the dark side. The Scotland Rd site is a must!!
TMP
52   Posted 26/07/2007 at 20:32:51

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Given that Everton could not afford the contribution to the Kings Dock project would the club, in all honesty, have been able to meet the cost of a build on Stanley Park?
Magic H
53   Posted 26/07/2007 at 21:29:51

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Evertons proposed redevelopment encroaching onto stanley park, was totally different to liverpools current plans, Involving re-routing one of the main throughfares in and out of liverpool city centre for a start, and the parkland lost would not have been replaced.

Liverpools plans, are part of a much bigger plan, to redevelop the whole area. The parkland lost will be given back by turning the current anfield into anfield plaza, and liverpool will enter into a partnership with LCC to ensure the park is adequately restored to its victorian glory and maintained, therefore securing its future. This will act as a cataylst for the regeneration of the anfield/breckfield area as a whole, yet evertons scheme involved no such regeneration of the walton area.

Everton missed the boat with the Kings Dock scheme when it couldnt come up with its share of approx 50m, so unless another supermarket, or benefactor is willing to build a stadium within the boundaries of the city like the Kirkby scheme, a liverpool based stadium a non starter straight away. Everton just do not have the money, investors or banks who would be willing to borrow them the money to fund their own stadium.

The 50000 Kirkby stadium will cost everton a grand total of an estimated 10m, and lets face it, there are no other options with the current financial straight jacket everton is in.

As sad as it may seem, Everton have to embrace the kirkby scheme or risk falling yet further behind the team from across the park.

Staying at an antiquated goodison, or hanging about for someone who is basically willing to build us a stadium and give us it in liverpool, is not going to happen.
Alan
54   Posted 26/07/2007 at 22:29:12

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Magic, I think that you are talking a load of bollox saying that Everton FC are falling far behind Scumpool.... Can you just remind me the scores from last season? Can you also remind me of the position that the Mighty Everton were in 2004/05? We have a more loyal fanbase than liverpool could ever dream of.

Anyone else agree with me? Kirkby is a no-brainer scheme by KW and we should all say NO...
Magic H
55   Posted 26/07/2007 at 22:44:54

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Hate to p_iss on your chips alan, but 2 european cup finals in 3 seasons, fa cup and CL winners is something everton can only dream of at present.

Liverpool have a turnover of approx 110m with a 45000 seat ground, evertons is less than half that with a 40000 seater ground. Liverpools top paid player is on over 100k a wk, and have several players on 60k plus evertons wage cap is around 35k. Everton have spent 4m on 1 player, and couldnt even compete with the mighty portsmouth for Nugent, because they cant shift beattie off the wage bill. liverpool have spent over 40m and are willing to spend more.

The gap is only going to increase once Liverpool move to a stadium which will hold 76000 eventually. Probably about 5m a game more in revenue at least.

Goodison has next to nothing in the way of corporate facilities, which in order to compete, everton needs desperately. The corporate facilities in the kirkby stadium alone will generate more than the whole of the current stadium does now in revenue if arsenals new ground is anything to go by, so I really feel that everton have no choice but to bit the bullet and move out the city.

Show me a viable alternative?
Gilbert
56   Posted 26/07/2007 at 23:27:23

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I read article with great interest as I have long since decided EFC owe nothing whatsoever to LCC.
After being turned down for Stanley Park and at the time of Peter Johnson’s vote for moving to the Kirkby Golf Course site the people of Aintree started jumping up and down.
Meetings were organised, petitions started and the clamour from the area brought a statement from LCC I seenm to recall carried in the (Red) Echo saying,"The City owned a part of the site and there was no way it would be sold for the development."
Not dissimilar to the present with opposition from the Walton area, ’not to move’ and from Kirkby ’not wanted here.’ Suddenly noises are heard from LCC who have jumped on the bandwagon to ’stay in Liverpool’ but what have they to offer? Is the Council in agreement? Is Warren Bradley speaking on their behalf?
Questions from all sides to all sides but don’t expect to be given the truth from any of them.
Just one huge question to answer -’what’s the best for EFC given the position we’re in?"
Gary P
57   Posted 27/07/2007 at 10:48:27

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I was brought up in Kirkby and don?t like some of the derogoratory things people have been saying about what is now quite a nice place (unlike when I grew up there!).
As much as it would be fantastic for Kirkby to have this move I have to agree with some of the comments I have read regarding visibility...not the comments on the corporate/hospitality side of things as Kirkby has one of the biggest industrial estates in europe (many businesses!).
Our club needs this Scottie Rd site more than you can imagine, this is a place where visitors to the city will see a (hopefully) fantastic looking stadium as they are walking around and want to visit out of curiousity..I cannot tell you how important this is. The links to the loop are fantastic by train/road and we would be returning to our spiritual home.
The electorate (I am not one) must vote NO to Kirkby and they all fans must put pressure on LCC by whatever means to grant us the loop site..many voices united can make a difference...lets get this Kirkby thing out of the way and make our voices heard. And by the way I am not part of the KEIOC, just a very very concerned Blue.

Gary Jones
58   Posted 27/07/2007 at 14:24:20

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The long and the short of it is that BK and KW are completely useless commercially. How come the likes of West Ham can attract Billionaires and we can’t? Money talks and at the end of the day Liverpool have a lot more of it than we do. They also have more commercial nouse, which, made their proposals for a new stadium on Stanley park more attractive to the council.

BK Needs to understand 2 things about EFC and fast. 1. We need a new investor. 2. Everton need to stay in Liverpool.
Stu Mac
59   Posted 27/07/2007 at 15:55:28

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Gary Jones - Its probably not due to the fact that we cannot attract investors, but whether BK wants investors in. All the recent take overs have been at clubs that were plc’s - Like West Ham - its much easier to gain control of a club. Thats what its all about - gaining control. Everton are not a plc and any potential investor in Everton would naturally want some sort of control, but is BK willing to give that up? Probably not and that maybe discouraging people coming in.
James Connolly
60   Posted 28/07/2007 at 00:06:17

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What seperates an Evertonian from a Liverpudlian? Is that the question here? Is this another Derby match but on a different scale? I don’t care if Liverpool build the best ground in the world on the Mersey! I’m an Evertonian, and proud of it. Like every other Evertonian. Wherever the team plays, it doesn’t matter!

Liverpool has enjoyed more commercial success than Everton over the last 40 years.

They carry the name of the city.

That will never change!

So what makes us love Everton?

I will tell you!

It’s the true spirit of scouseness.

The underdog!

The hard done to!

The fight till the end.

It’s easy supporting Liverpool FC. Like going to the toilet for a pee, it’s easy. If anyone has seen the film ’Braveheart’ then thats what it means to be a blue. It’s our freedom of choice. We will not fall in with the masses. We will not be conditioned to follow the easy route.

We are passionate to the end, because we believe in the course. As Labby put it,’One Blue is worth 20 reds,.’. If our ground is on the moon, we will still fight, fight, fight on the banks of the Royal Blue Mersey!
Kevin
61   Posted 28/07/2007 at 17:51:06

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How impressive this thread is.

The quality of the debate is very high indeed in all but literally one or two contributions.

I am a Red but I genuinely feel for my Blue brothers. As scousers we have a city to be proud of and Everton and Liverpool play a major part in that heritage.

I genuinely hope that Everton will prosper.

Reading the whole sorry saga about how Everton Football Club has been grossly mis-managed for generations is heart-rending. Everton fans do not deserve to be treated like this. They are "lions led by donkeys".

Good luck Everton and Blues everywhere.
john
62   Posted 28/07/2007 at 19:23:11

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"Magic, I think that you are talking a load of bollox saying that Everton FC are falling far behind Scumpool.... Can you just remind me the scores from last season? Can you also remind me of the position that the Mighty Everton were in 2004/05? We have a more loyal fanbase than liverpool could ever dream of"


first of all alan i’d like you to look at the results from the previous 5 or so seasons before posting. secondly, well done for realising you finished above us by a few points in the league, the year that we won the champions league and you won nothing. finally, "more loyal fanbase" please, Everton must resort to begging ’fans’ over the radio to buy the season tickets, even half season tickets- how desperate. we fill a stadium for carling cup first rounds. stay at Goodison cos you’ll never fill the new supermarket, sorry stadium.
Greg Murphy
63   Posted 29/07/2007 at 17:46:19

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Stan Howard - to agree in part; also to clarify. Without delving too much into the acumen of previous LFC regimes, I agree they probably were naive (that?s just my opinion - and I well recall frankly bizarre episodes like the Noel White ?chairman for about 30 minutes? caper). There was a similar naiveté over our pre-PJ side of the park in the late 80s and early 90s. I believe both clubs were caught napping after the respective departures of Messrs Robinson and Greenwood. IMO, the debt Merseyside football as a whole owes to the peerless administrations of Peter Robinson on the red side and Jim Greenwood on the Blue has been scandalously ignored for too long. During the most testing time English football has known (hooliganism, disasters, chronic crowd attendances - e.g. 26 and 13,000 respectively to watch Saturday 3pm home games at Anfield and Goodison) these two total ?do alls? were the forerunners of the modern CEO. And it?s interesting to recall, while we?re at it, that Robinson, in the pre-Sky era had the vision to even consider a shared stadium (seconded informally by Greenwood, but ultimately met with a rather sniffy response in the, shall we say, ?well coiffed? Everton boardroom). In the immediate aftermath of both Robinson and Greenwood?s departures, I genuinely don?t think either club knew what to do in the giddy new Sky era. And there was more than an air of ?well we?ll just watch the money pour in?, especially on the Blue side. That the reds ?came to? before we did is undoubted; witness the creation of the Centenary Stand (you can?t really give visionary credit for the Kop creation but at least you demolished and started again, unlike our hamfisted and money-pinching adaptation of the Gwladys Street). And it?s important to bear in mind the developments on the Kemlyn, Anfield Road and Kop end when considering the saga of the King?s Dock. For I maintain - and there will be documentation of this at LCC - that LFC were indeed offered the King?s Dock first. We need to adapt our lens somewhat when recalling what happened regarding the King?s Dock. For example, it?s easy to just think that there?s only ever been one King?s Dock ?project? stretching back to the development of the Albert Dock in the mid-80s; and now, at long last, it appears to be reaching a satisfactory conclusion. But that?s an incorrect recollection. There have been, to my knowledge, at least three King?s Dock "projects" which span the chronicles of the most debated piece of real estate in Liverpool. The first, ill-fated one, which died in 1998 (as reported on the front page of the Liverpool Echo), whilst it was in part a ?stadium? project, had no planned inclusion of a home for either LFC or EFC. There was just no thinking along those lines back then, simply because as far as LFC was concerned, they had been busy redeveloping the existing Anfield. Everton, meanwhile, as I?ve stated, were either heading to Kirkby Golf Course or chaotic oblivion depending on how you view the PJ era. When that first ?project? died, the city, which had a gaping scar along its river front went back to the drawing board regarding not just the King?s Dock but also some far-off dream of applying for a future Capital of Culture title. So was born King?s Dock ?project two?. This was the phase that involved a full-scale football stadium dream. Now, in 1999, you have to ask yourself to whom would the first chance of residency at King?s Dock be offered? The club which, despite their recent ground redevelopments, had announced they were looking to far afield sites like Speke but were also considered to be a safe bet financially, the one which features a Liver Bird (yadda-yadda) on its shirt? Or the club which, though it grieves me to say, was in near meltdown, that had just a year earlier, for the second time in four years, only protected its Premiership status on the last day of the season this time by an even slenderer margin? I repeat, LCC assumed that LFC would jump at the chance of the King?s Dock but they hadn?t realised that the now Rick Parry-run reds (and you?re not telling me he?s naive; for, trust me, I have many titles that I privately bestow on him, but naive ain?t one!) had already reckoned that 50,000 just wasn?t enough any longer, not when a treble-winning Man Utd (in 1999) had already announced plans to expand to a, then mere (!), 60,000. Everything else is as I?ve stated.
Bruce Heighley
64   Posted 29/07/2007 at 21:44:29

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Remember that we are one of the few remaining Premiership clubs who haven’t sold out to foreign interests. If I may suggest that money should be invested in a first class PR firm. Before you know it, there would be more interest in investors willing to explore the possibility of becoming involved with a major Premier football club. Even here in America, the interest in the league is growing month by month. I have never met more loyal supporters than those who follow the fortunes of ’The Peoples Club.’ Don’t believe that, unlike City and Everton fans, the followers of LFC or United would remain loyal to their Reds if their fortunes went into decline.
Gary P
65   Posted 31/07/2007 at 10:30:22

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Stan. The stadium can be built cheaper because Tesco prob have a regular contractor who builds all their stores around the world...like anything if you buy in bulk you get it cheaper...tesco will be getting all the materials at the lowest cost and a low construction cost.

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