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The Mail Bag

Pity I never followed my own advice

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Somewhere deep in the bowels of ToffeeWeb's archives can be found a submission I posted during a brief resurgence of the Stadium debate a week or two after the vote. I was so pissed off with the attempts to breathe further, last gasp life into old and lost arguments that I advised 'yes' voters to ignore the whole thing and to let the naysayers discuss it amongst themselves.

It's been quiet for a while. But now my prophecy, which was a part of the discussion I posted, has borne fruit. I prophesied that every time a development occurred within the stadium issue the debate would kick off again because it was the only tactic the naysers had left And a pretty desparate tactic at that. The argument was lost; the protesters outside the players lounge all went home in the same taxi and even the KEIOC airforce had failed to impress, in fact it was an embarrassment.

It was a pity that, especially in light of the accuracy of my prophecy, I did not follow my own advice. During this latest resurgence of the stadium debate I forgot that it will happen again when Knowsley Council formally discuss the residents responses. I forgot it will happen again when planning permission is granted. I forgot it will happen again when the first brick is laid and I can't imagine what will happen when the bulldozer's arrive at Goodison.In short, I got involved!Again!

So I am going to disengage from this debate because the arguments have been heard , the votes counted and the decision taken. From now on I am going to concentrate on thinking about a resurgent team. A team that has scored some wonderful goals over the last few weeks and (I think off the top of my head) 13 goals in 5 games. A team that is capable of playing the best football I have seen an Everton team play in years, many years, and, more importantly, a team which I can only see getting better. I am going to take my own advice and concentrate on that rather than the Stadium debate.

However, in a submission today by Michael Kenrick (I am not sure if it was THE MK as his name did not appear in the usual blue) the implication was made that Evertonians who voted YES were less thoughtful than those who voted No and that (at least perhaps) their virtue as Evertonians was less proven. There was also by implication a suggestion that we cared less about the Club and The Grand Old Lady. Before I depart this debate I would, at least, welcome the opportunity to respond to that as it is a new and unexpected accusation.

Let nobody accuse me of loving our Club any less than any other Evertonian just because I did not vote in the way that the majority on this website would expect. Let nobody accuse me of being thoughtless in my decision to vote in the way that I did.... because I voted in the way that I did because of my love for our club. And let nobody accuse me of not loving Goodison any less than any other Evertonian. I first attended Goodison with my father just after we were promoted and I helped carry his brother out of the place when he died there a few years later, in my company, during a game. I took bemused girlfriends there in the early sixties (yes, even before the Beatles!) and met my future wife in the queue in Bullens Road for semi-final tickets in 1966 (the game was played at Bolton) I have left Goodison Park in tears of sadness and joy over the years and in times of paucity I have walked there from as far away as Garston. In many ways it is more of a 'home' to me than the little bungalow I live in now.

As a kid I hated to leave the place after games and hung around for hours, win or lose, and I was always in there as soon as the gates opened at 1.30 pm. I have been going to Goodison Park even longer than Pat Beesley who now says she will not be going to the game if or when we move to Kirkby. Unlike Pat I WILL still be there, watching my beloved Everton until, perhaps one day, my nephew carries ME away for the last time!( I hope we win that day!)

I know many are unhappy at leaving Goodison. So am I. Desperately so.But unless somebody comes up with an inarguable alternative (in all respects) then my beloved Everton have to come first, even before Goodison or Liverpool city, and I support the advantages of the move to KIrkby... and I will be there because that will be where Everton play so (to use a suffix so popular on this site) END OF!

Dave Roberts, Runcorn     Posted 15/11/2007 at 18:57:44

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Lyndon Lloyd
Some questions, Dave. Some may appear to be flippant but pertinent. (Oh, and while I'm blamed for stoking up the debate again, TW are not the only ones asking questions.)

You voted "yes" and gave the club a mandate to pursue the "Kirkby Project" but what do you do when the stadium starts moving further and further away from what you thought you were voting for?

Let's say you voted for a "world class" stadium that needed to be built as part of a retail park in order for the club to afford to construction. The artist's impressions make it look like the stadium will be visually separated from the retail component of the development. Maybe a high grass verge, some trees, a hedge, even an attractive wall.

Then it emerges that the stadium will actually be right next to Tesco and other thus-far un-named shops? No unique identity for proud Everton FC's stadium. Just another business in a retail precinct.

Then, the club say that the video wall or projections of Everton legends on the outside corners won't be part of the final design. Those corners won't be blue either. They'll be grey.

That nice glass facade? Nope, it'll be concrete breeze blocks or brick.

At what point do you as a faithful yes voter turn stop and say, "hang on, that's not what I voted for!" Take the "high road" and opt out of the discussion if you like but you'll have to put up with the stadium you're given and by that point it'll be too late.

After all, the same happened to Coventry:

This debate is important. It affects the very future of our club, financially, how we're perceived and how we regard ourselves. If the "nay-sayers" keep piping up it's because they are desperately unhappy with the way this is going and they don't feel like they should keep quiet just because people like you are tired of hearing about it.

The vote may be in, the mandate may have been given but if this project veers any further away from what was promised then nothing is set in stone.

Tony Miller
1   Posted 15/11/2007 at 22:19:50

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Dave Roberts it would appear that you gained politicians answer in that the answer was not linked to the question.

I am sure you thought long and hard, I am sure you are not a sheep, I am sure you are not any less of an Evertonians nor do you feel any less about the old lady (certainly going off your post).

But as you stated no matter which way you voted and how you feel now, these are easy and overused accusations , by those you would hope know better. fellow Evertonians.
Roy coyne
2   Posted 15/11/2007 at 22:40:04

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Dave Roberts when every thing goes pear shaped and we are just another small time football club in the north west It is the likes of you who are responsible give glib answers and believe what you are told and despite what your our told by our owner there is no santa claus and no such thing as a free lunch I honestly hope in the future I can hold my hand up and say sorry you were right Dave but I think there is a bigger chance of pointing at you and saying theres one of the men that killed our club
David Barks
3   Posted 15/11/2007 at 23:21:39

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That is just pathetic Roy. By the way, there is this thing called a period, it looks like this. And you rightly say there is no such thing as a free lunch, so why don’t you tell me where the increased revenue is going to come from by staying at Goodison. Nobody is saying we are getting a free lunch. The assistance is being given to us because Everton’s stadium is seen as a vital part of the redevelopment of Kirkby City Center. Therefore they are assisting us getting the stadium that we need to help themselves. There can be two beneficiaries you know, it is possible.
Roy coyne
4   Posted 15/11/2007 at 23:53:34

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Dave what makes you so sure about increased revenue’s once this ground building gets under way and cost soar as they always do and us being liable for the over budget cost,How do we make more money after taking out loans to cover cost as it appears we are skint ,are you that sure we will fill the extra seating I read all about the new catchment area but this is football not retail people will shop where its handy but would you go to watch Liverpool or even Man u if they where on your door step or would you as I am sure you would walk past to get to Everton now the people in that area that support us will already go to the games so where is the new customers so to speak,As how often do we sell out now I do not like this move because it has to much taken in good faith requirement and hand on heart when has Bill come through with out selling every asset we have.I just can not agree at all and I’m grateful that by the time this is complete I will be in my 60s with the best years of supporting the club behind me but I honestly fear for are future fans and if IM right I not only admit I could be wrong I hope I am,then the people who voted yes will be the ones who have brought our club down
David Barks
5   Posted 16/11/2007 at 02:23:59

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What makes me so sure about increased revenues???? How about history. Go to this link and scroll to the bottom, all the figures are there to see.
Now I would submit to you that we are a bigger club than all of those listed and should have no problem drawing people to the new ground. And by the way, the stadium images that we are seeing will not be exactly what the stadium looks like, they never are. Fortune favors the brave.
Lyndon Lloyd
Editorial Team
6   Posted 16/11/2007 at 04:50:32

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"And by the way, the stadium images that we are seeing will not be exactly what the stadium looks like, they never are."

My point exactly, David. These Kirkby stadium images are the best that ground is ever going to look. Look again at the Coventry images above ? where in the real version are all those nice-looking pedestrian concourses and the trees?
David Barks
7   Posted 16/11/2007 at 05:10:31

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The first images we saw were of the stadium. These second set were emphasizing the overall development, not just the stadium. If you look they hardly show the stadium because that was not meant to be the focus. These are being shown to the people of Kirkby so they can start to get an idea of what the development will be like. Again, this is part of an overall redevelopment, not just a stadium, so for them to only release images detailing the stadium would be ridiculous. And to compare Everton to Coventry is not accurate. The two clubs are on a completely different scale as are the stadium plans, and the initial designs. Why don’t you show pictures of the Emirates designs and what actually was developed. In that case it worked out pretty well. You guys complain about the club only putting forward their view but this site does the exact same. It’s fear mongering about doom and gloom, that moving will kill Everton. Well every single bit of documented evidence shows that attendances go up after moving into a new stadium.
Lyndon Lloyd
Editorial Team
8   Posted 16/11/2007 at 07:00:29

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"Well every single bit of documented evidence shows that attendances go up after moving into a new stadium."

...for the first 3 years. Then they tend to decline after the "newness factor" wears off, particularly if the team is not doing as well. Wyness admitted as much on a few occasions himself over the summer.

The success of the stadium, any new stadium, and the projected £10m increase in revenue is predicated on Everton doing well on the field. Add the fact that there?s no guarantee of that to the untold numbers who might stop going if they don?t like what?ll be served up as the replacement for Goodison and the unknown final cost of the project and you have genuine cause for concern.

It?s not fear-mongering, it?s asking highly pertinent questions (posed very eloquently by David Coakley at WSAG) that weren?t properly addressed at the time of the ballot.

And you were the one who said "the stadium images that we are seeing will not be exactly what the stadium looks like," so forgive me for confusing what you were referring to.

And you say we're not like Coventry? Well, it looks to me that we are very much like Coventry seeing as we got the same level of imagination from Tesco as they did:

Simon Hughes
9   Posted 16/11/2007 at 08:41:47

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You can say END OF as often as you like, but this debate is not going to go away. The reason being that a huge amount of the fanbase is against this move, vote or no vote.

The advantages you refer to are nothing more than pie in the sky. Where do you base your trust in Wyness’s ability to deliver his promise of a world class stadium? Have you seen the recent financial results? They are shockingly poor. His one plan seems to be outsourcing, which is an admittance that he can’t run the business effectively himself.

And you would risk the future of the club on the words of this fool. All for a potential extra £10m?

I respect your Evertonian credentials. It’s your judgement I worry about.
Pat Beesley
10   Posted 16/11/2007 at 09:09:08

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Think you have got it wrong Dave!! I don’t believe I said I would not go to watch my beloved blues if we moved to Kirkby. First game I went to was in 1946 with my Dad, a very strong blue - not many supporters can say over 50 years of devotion, but they are so very much a part of my life.
Peter Laing
11   Posted 16/11/2007 at 09:25:24

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For the record Dave I too voted for ’project kirby’ as to be honest I was led to believe their was little alternative and that staying at Goodison Park was a total non starter with the current custodians unable / unwilling to finance its redevelopment. However the more that I see the design phases of the project being mocked up the more fearful I become as to what we may actually end up with. As you say you have had many great times at GP but what about future generations, if the management and team get it wrong on the pitch, say circa Smith or Walker then will we witness apathetic crowds of 18-20,000 turning up. I voted for Kirby because I thought it may move us forward, if it doesnt then the ramifications will be untold.
Martin Handley
12   Posted 16/11/2007 at 10:17:02

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As I’ve the "NO" voters several times and recieved endless abuse and bile back as replies,don’t just say I’m not going to Kirkby prove that any other option is financially viable.
I voted "YES" but I’m open to ideas and am willing to listen to reasonable,soundly put arguments for other plans but so far all the other options presented have 1 major flaw NO financing or funding or grants offered to us.So please when offering other options tell me where the financing is coming from as neither Bestways or more importantly LCC are interested in offering the major financial help that Tesco and Knowsley are.
In as far as LCC are concerned there is only 1 club in the city and that’s you know who,we hardly rate a mention in fact Tranmere get more ink in the 2008 brochures than us so that sums up their feelings for me.
Yes of course I have reservations about moving but I also know I have more about staying at Goodison (god bless her) simply because I don’t see how we can upgrade her and not lose at least 10,000 seats whilst we do.
There is one way I can see LCC funding a new stadium in part,and that is to ......SHARE with the other lot and despite what they may think there new heap in Stanley Park is far from rubber stamped as they think it is.
Also it looks likes cracks are starting to show at fortress Dallasfield as the costs spiral out of control to 1/2 a BILLION quid!!!
So don’t be surprised if sharing is already being whispered in the corridors of both clubs although they won’t publically admit it yet.
On a more positive note what odds on a European trophy ending up at Goodison that small club from county rd walton!!!
Wouldn’t that piss off the LFC Redsox!!!!!
Tom Hughes
13   Posted 16/11/2007 at 12:38:10

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I can’t believe some blues are still saying they voted for Kirkby because it is our only option and we can’t afford to upgrade GP or move of our own accord etc. People voted yes because they were sold the myth that this would cost us "practically nothing". They tried ti turn it into a no-brainer by not even including the options in the ballot papers. Then after the ballot, Wyness himself anounced that it will actually cost us £50m min at a shareholder’s meeting. The more accurate figures are I believe in the region of £80m+. By definition, at £50m cost to the club redevelopment is then an option. At £80m it is a necessity. No-one knows the potential cost to the club of relocating to the edge of our main fanbase catchment area in terms of loss of identity/tradition/history, nor the increased inconvenience for the bulk of our regular matchgoers given the tiny public transport capacity at Kirkby. All these potentially damaging unknowns can only be averted by redevelopment of GP or staying within the locality. LFC could’ve probably built the new anfield practically anywhere in the UK and still filled it, but even they Know the real asset value of the local fanbase..... and of continuity. We are far more reliant on ours than they are of theirs.
Phil Bellis
14   Posted 16/11/2007 at 13:32:04

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You say ’I voted in the way that I did because of my love for our club’ I’m sure you undertand most people of either opiinion could give that as one of the reasons. But what actually convinced you to vote Yes. Was it simply you believe we have no choice? If so, you wouldn’t let that premise rule your life in other areas, surely?
Ed MacDonald
15   Posted 16/11/2007 at 13:07:59

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Attendances go up at redeveloped stadia as well as new builds.

2 options:
John Simons
16   Posted 16/11/2007 at 14:57:29

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Oonce again the stadium debate raises its ugly head and I feel sick to the stomach...

all yes voters have signed our death warrant- i hope you enjoy your shopping experience, though it seems to be the same people always saying how great it will be - funny how people like david barks can continually praise kirkby when he lives thousands of miles away and will probably never go to watch us in kirkby! - well me neither!
17   Posted 16/11/2007 at 14:01:35

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just a thought.
If evrything goes belly up as everyone who voted no seems to think. Will those people actually be pleased? It seems to me that although some people on here argue their case very articulately like Lyndon. Others seem to actually want us to fail so they can say i told you so.
not really sure why i’m posting this its just something i’ve noticed recently
Tony Marsh
18   Posted 16/11/2007 at 15:52:16

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Dave the trouble with voting Yes to Kirkby
was that none of you had a clue what you were voting for.The only info you had was some bullshit from Wyness to go on along with some massaged figures that didnt add up.How can you vote yes to that?On the other hand the NO voters had genuine reasons to vote No.
Not trusting the board for one.Not wanting to get further away from the city center another.Not wanting to be lumbered with what we have seen this week ie retail park stadium.All valid reasons for voting NO.If you think Everton FC dont deserve better than whats on offer then you are a fool mate>who has no buisness supporting this club and that applies to anyone who thinks this bullshit design is acceptable..A ground on aTesco carpark and you are happy with that? FFS give me strength
Mike Neely
19   Posted 16/11/2007 at 15:51:23

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Lyndon Lloyd.
I,ve just been to the Tesco presentation at Kirkby sports centre.The plans show that the proposed stadium actually stands alone and is quite a distance from the Tesco store.
As for your "what ifs".What if we stayed in the city and ran out of funds half way through a build.Would we not then end up with a compromise stadium of breeze block and brick?
I know it,s been said many times about relocating in the city but here goes again.
Show me the money.
As for Tom Hughes it doesn,t matter how many figures you bandy about ,the cost of moving anywhere in the city would be crippling compared to a subsidised Kirkby move.
If between now and the granting of planning permission ,someone can come up with a viable, affordable alternative to Kirkby I would be as pleased as the next man, but I won,t be holding my breath, cos it isn,t going to happen.L.C.C. have shown nothing but a total disregard for E.F.C.not just now but over the years.It would be foolish to think they would be our saviours at any time soon.
Stefan Tosev
20   Posted 16/11/2007 at 17:07:11

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Mike I dont know what do you understand under "subsidized Kirkby move" but for me if we are going to pay 50m a redevelopment of GP is more than a viable option.

Beside that as former fan of the move myself the more I see of the plans and the spin from the Board the more I am against it. There were two people who turned my view the first is T. Hughes, who has more knowledge and always backs his opinion with numbers about the redevelopment of GP and the second is Joe Beardwood who provides us with very good financial analysis about the proposed move and countered every pro-argument with well balanced numbers.

All the pro-voters say that this will be discounted stadium, sadly you got what you pay for and if we gonna end up with Ricoh-Arena 2 I would prefer to stay and redevelop GP for 50m
Tom Hughes
21   Posted 16/11/2007 at 17:22:26

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Mike, I didn’t bandy any figures, these are Wyness’s and a construction company involved. How can the figures not matter when you then state the cost to doing anything else would be crippling? That is contradictory and really doesn’t make sense at all. We are being told by Wyness that Kirkby, subsidised or not will cost EFC at least £50m. Other sources suggest this will be nearer £80m, which considering he started at next to nothing, this is hardly surprising. Have you any idea how much redevelopment can be achieved at GP for those amounts? If not, you cannot possibly make a judgement of any options. One clue might be that the construction costs for the Kirkby stadium are just over £100m..... that’s for 50,000 seats. We don’t need anything like that number to achieve the same capacity at GP. It has very little to do with LCC acting as saviours at all. A new 15,000 seater Parkend would achieve that capacity in one go. This could cost as little as £20m-£30m depending on its format and specification, which could be offset by an enabling development at its rear, reducing the net cost substantially. Other clubs are currently doing something similar in the redevelopment of their stadium. £80m would also be greater than the club’s contribution mentioned by Bestway for their site. So you can see, these figures are important.... they mean there are options!!! Plan B’s if you like!!
Lyndon Lloyd
Editorial Team
22   Posted 16/11/2007 at 21:46:24

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Mike Neely: "I,ve just been to the Tesco presentation at Kirkby sports centre. The plans show that the proposed stadium actually stands alone and is quite a distance from the Tesco store."

How do you reconcile that with this then, Mike?

I?m not being deliberately obtuse here, I?m going by the images being presented. And it doesn?t matter who they?re aimed at, Kirkby residents or Evertonians, these CGI mockups are the only indication we have of what the area is going to look like. And going by that photo, the stadium is right next to a row of shops.

Another thing is that the plans have changed from what was originally shown at the very beginning of the process. The "Destination Kirkby" site shows what it says is the original plan for comparison but it?s not. As far as I know, this one was and it looks to me as though the stadium is behind the shops, not part of the shopping precinct (not that it makes that much difference but it supports people?s fears that the goalposts are moving all the time):

Derek Thomas
23   Posted 17/11/2007 at 06:29:42

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The before and after pictures (above) don’t lie...Artists impressions not withstanding...

Derek Thomas
24   Posted 18/11/2007 at 02:32:16

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The sound of silence.... As of now, where are Bestway up to? Has anybody the clout to ask their movers and shakers what the score is. Same goes for the Council.
Rich Jones
25   Posted 18/11/2007 at 09:49:33

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I have suggestion to all no voters,the best way to hit people your against is financially. As Everton know that very few of us would hit our own club in this area, although ultimately it maybe our last weapon to stop this suicide mission. I sugest all blues buy there groceries and all the other stuff you can get from your local superstore from Asda there main competitor or failing that Sainsbury Morrisons anyway but deprive them of at least our money and lets see the response. If you guys are not prepared to protest as was evident after the United game then at least do this.

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