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FAN ARTICLES

Goodison Can Be Fenway Park

By Roger Domal :  04/06/2009 :  Comments (47) :

Much has been written on this site about redevelopment versus moving, and I wanted to tell all of you about my recent experience at a brand new billion dollar stadium and a Park built much like our Goodison.

I have been traveling all across the United States in the last few months, and I have been in 5 baseball stadiums (4 built within the last 10 years and one built nearly 100 years ago). Of the 5 stadiums, the best experience was at Fenway Park in Boston, built in 1912. The worst experience was at the new Yankee Stadium which was devoid of everything a sporting match should be at a cost of 1.5 billion dollars.

I bring Fenway Park up to Everton supporters because it is a story that can come true to us. A few years ago, The Boston Red Sox were sold to a group after being family owned for decades. The big fear was the new consortium was going to build a new stadium and tear down the long time home of the Sox. But, the new owners quickly realized that they had a gold mine in the old place, and they set about sprucing it up and making it the showplace for baseball in the USA. The new owners have quietly refurbished the stadium in each of the last 4 off-seasons. They have added additional seating where none previously existed. They have added food courts in unused space, all the while living in a landlocked space with housing, restaurants, bars, and a major highway surrounding it.

This past winter saw them rip out the old lower tier of the stadium all the way around, pour new concrete and put in new improved seating. It has taken almost 5 years but the payoff is increased revenue, happier supporters, and a stadium that is loved by everyone in the country.

Ten years ago, the place was a dump. Falling down, it was in danger of being beyond repair. But, new ownership gave it the loving treatment it needed, and this 98-year old ballpark will live on for at least another 50.

Mr. Kenwright, it can be done, and should be done. Soulless new stadia are not pleasant. I have been in too many of them recently, and the joy of attending the games and matches are not there. Let?s renovate in pieces. I have seen it work. It can and must be done.

Reader Comments

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Rezzie Flanders
1   Posted 04/06/2009 at 18:12:36

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I’m a Cubs fan who has made the same point in this space, using Wrigley as my measure. Basically, Wrigley is the same kind of scenario as Fenway, and Fenway and Wrigley are probably the two most beloved sports venues in North America. People vist these place out of season when they’re stone empty, just to say they’ve been there. (I’ve done this in Boston, at Fenway. In November.) The new Yankee Stadium is a wonderful place, it seems - but it’s not the same stadium. Excellent point, sir.

Making this happen in Liverpool with the financial and political barriers against making this happen seems to be an enormous hurdle, unsurprisingly. Best of luck to any who take on this burden.
Michael Hunt
2   Posted 04/06/2009 at 18:10:45

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That would be my preference, though doubt it meets the pre-requisites of ’viability, affordability and deliverability’ Robert Elstone and Bill Kenwright stipulated time and time again re revamp of Goodison Park (GP).
It may be a necessity to stay at GP though, even in their eyes as I guess the Hazel Blears resignation means futher delay on the decision on DK and therefore less likely it becomes deliverable? (As I beleive the Club have indicated in the past that the further it is delays the more difficult it is for them to raise the finances.)
Dave Roberts
3   Posted 04/06/2009 at 19:14:55

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I think a refurbishment of Goodison Park would be the option that everybody would prefer if it were possible. However, I do not know Fenway and I wonder whether the refurbishment had to deal with obstructed views. This is one of the major problems at Goodison, to one extent or another 10,000 seats have obstructed views to the point where many of those seats are not considered to be obstructed by the Club (as far as pricing is concerned) where the obstruction is considered by them to be acceptable. It also seems to me that Baseball is a much more static game than football and accordingly a minimally obstructed view would not be quite so onerous or neck- achingly annoying.

This problem would have to be dealt with at Goodison in all areas except the Park End. To remove the obstructing pillars and girderwork would require new roofs and these would need to be cantilevered or some other such design which would require more room.... which we do not have. Furthermore, the upper seating areas in the Bullens and the Gladdy would need to be renewed as they are set on timber and the lower Bullens would need to be ripped out as the area is not a fit place from which to watch football! The main stand is and always has been a total disaster and the obstructed views there cannot be left in place and only a rebuild there would suffice.

Therefore, it is not a refurbishment that Goodison needs but a rebuild and in that case we would not have the advantages of the traditions and Edwardian environment of the Grand Old Lady a la Fenway but a new stadium (in essence) that may be just as soulless as the modern stadia you despise. It is Goodison as it is (with the occasional tart-up as ever) or we move I am afraid.
Dave Roberts
4   Posted 04/06/2009 at 19:53:04

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I’ve just had a look at Fenway Park on the internet. There are indeed obstructed views somewhat on a par with the Lower Bullens. Assuming these are not new they have been left in place and this confirms my view that it is not such a problem in baseball. As long as you could see the pitcher, the batter(?) and the bases it is unlikely a spectator would be greatly inconvenienced at a baseball game. This would not be acceptable in a modern football stadium where the game is in perpetual movement all over the pitch.
Oli Ferns
5   Posted 04/06/2009 at 20:19:22

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Perpeptual movement allover the pitch?!? Who have you been watching....

Seriously tho?, you wouldn?t pull down a country house to build a tower block would you....
Marco Bonfiglio
6   Posted 04/06/2009 at 19:37:22

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I?ve been an agnostic on the Goodison/Kirkby thing, but the new considerations of the Blears debacle, and the news that a sold-out DK would only be worth an extra £5M p/a, suggest ? in the wake of media attention on the contrast between the two FA Cup finalists (historical, cultural) ? that The Old Lady is Everton?s greatest asset.

This is not meant to demean the people who have produced what I think is our best season without winning anything. (And yes, I think this season was better than 86, because 23 years ago Everton were expected to carry all before them.)

I suspect I?ll be blowtorched for apparently suggesting that we should settle for our place in the scheme of things, but look at today?s facts: £3B owed by the Premier League; 66% of that owed by four clubs - guess who? I thought we were in trouble until today (the most common phrase bandied around on this site is "without a pot to piss in"), but the Sky4 are pissing on the street at eleven on a Friday night, and it?s only a matter of time before a scuffer comes along and plants a hand on their shoulder.

Arsenal have the best alibi, but those apartments at Highbury, which were supposed to finance the bunfight are selling like cold doughnuts.

Chelsea say it?s all based on interest-free loans from their benefactor, but their benefactor has cannily converted a proportion of those loans into shares, which bodes ill.

United and Liverpool are owned by the Glazers, and the Hole In The Wall Gang, respectively. Both of whom are looking at the calendar, circling dates in June and July, and staring out of the window.

The billionaire Mike Ashley answered the question of how to become a millionaire by buying the Barcodes.

Aston Villa, supposedly well set, have just lost their best player. Admittedly, we bounced back from losing ours in 2005, but we hadn?t depended on him for 12 years (and I happen to think that Laursen was their best player, And they?ve lost him too),

Who else? Ah. Abu Dhabi United, the sky blue hoovers. Manchester City, anyone? This was supposed to be the year they broke the glass ceiling. I?m 48. They?ve been breaking the glass ceiling since Nottingham Forest, Ipswich Town and ... God love them, QPR were something to aim at. They?ve been breaking the glass ceiling since their flirtation with the third division.

The start of next season will be difficult. The spine of the team (excluding Howard, fingers crossed) won?t be ready in August, but that may mean those three will be stronger come March-May 2010. Fingers crossed.

And to get back to the crux of the original posting (sorry, it?s taken a while, but I?ve tried) two features of Fenway Park have always been the Red Sox fans, and the Big Green Giant. Well, we know from last Saturday that the fans at Goodison can make a difference anywhere; give the Old Lady a facelift, and re-christen her the Big Blue Giant. No one will be happy about playing there except the home team.
Tom Hughes
7   Posted 04/06/2009 at 20:17:42

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There is an easy solution to obstructed views...... make them a nominal price..... say half-price. I gaurantee the queue will be around the corner for these cheap seats with no-one complaining. As far as Baseball not requiring the same viewing qualities as football, there is plenty of movement and a much smaller ball to try to follow. GP can have all its upper tier obstructions removed by re-roofing alone and lower tier ones minimised by reprofiling, with additional capacity readily achieved behind both the Park end and upper-Bullens. Rezzie and Roger are both right..... Wrigleyfield and Fenway are national sporting treasures held in reverance over there (all in the home of the most advanced stadia in the world)..... We can have antiquity and modernity at a renovated 4 sided GP. The best of both worlds and something unique.
Roman Fedkiv
8   Posted 04/06/2009 at 21:19:07

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I agree that redeveloping GP would be ideal. You stated that the redeveloping of Fenway has been an on-going thing in the offseason for the last 5 years. One of the disadvantages that GP has is that the off-season in football is much shorter than in baseball (3 months v 6months) so based on that alone the progress that Fenway has made in 5 years would take 10 years at Goodison.
David Reiner
9   Posted 04/06/2009 at 21:28:56

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Please do not compare my beloved Everton Football Club with the vile Boston Red Sox. If Everton were to emulate them, our entire squad would be made up of hulked-up steroid abusers whose performances would spike unnaturally in their 30?s followed by a pecipitous drop in fortunes strangely coinciding with a league-wide crackdown on ?performance enhancers?.

The Red Sox are a miserable outfit cheered on by whinging overly-sentimental ?fans? who only cease complaining about the umpires long enough to vomit upon their unfortunate seat-neighbors. The ?New Goodison? would never resemble the Yankees? new, sterile edifice simply because we couldn?t afford it.

A more suitable basis for comparison would be Camden Yards in Baltimore, a stadium built by a club with medium-level resources that puts fan comfort & an old-fashioned feel at the forefront. That is a stadium that I had the pleasure of attending on a frequent basis for many years. My season ticket cost $9 per game for an excellent view.

Most new baseball stadia have contnued to follow Oriole Park?s template. It?s a far better place to take in a game than Boston?s puke-stained, ugly monument to self-pity.
ps:- Boston women are ugly, pale, fat, befreckled disasters with incomprehensible accents. Baltimore women = BEAUTIFUL.

Roger Domal
10   Posted 04/06/2009 at 22:06:48

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I hate the REd Sox as much as the next guy, but my point was that the stadium the last time I was there (about 10 years ago) was falling down. And new ownership gave up on the idea of a new place, instead they made the old place something to be proud of. They have fixed it up and made it pretty comfortable to go to. It’s landlocked like Goodison with not a big footprint and it holds pretty much the same capacity.

It would take longer to remake Goodison because of the off season disparities, but after touring a whole bunch of new parks I think we are better off with a refurbished Goodison than a soul less new place.
Marco Bonfiglio
11   Posted 04/06/2009 at 23:01:58

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It’s a sterile argument comparing UK to US sport anyway, because paradoxically, the US - where socialism is a filthy, filthy word - is where they have salary caps, end of season drafts where the worst teams get the best new prospects, and municipally funded stadia. Go figure.
Jay Harris
12   Posted 04/06/2009 at 23:05:34

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Like everything in life, it?s simple, stupid.

Put another tier on the Park end (cost about £20 million) increasing capacity by 8,000 and sell the restricted view seats cheaper or convert them to extra facilities (more pies and pints anyone?).

That action alone will generate far more extra revenue than Desolation Kirkby which will put us in serious debt and I doubt will get the extra gate receipts required to service the loan.
Johnny Joycey
13   Posted 04/06/2009 at 23:20:36

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Is the hatred for the Red Sox simply because they have red in their name? I'm a Sox fan but a bigger Everton fan and, whilst Fen has a lot of character, it also has a huge monoply on fans in the northeast of the US.
Rezzie Flanders
14   Posted 04/06/2009 at 23:27:27

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It?s a sterile argument comparing UK to US sport anyway, because paradoxically, the US ? where socialism is a filthy, filthy word ? is where they have salary caps, end of season drafts where the worst teams get the best new prospects, and municipally funded stadia. Go figure.

Marco, what you?ve said is true of most NFL teams, and is almost universal with professional basketball/hockey, etc... That said, baseball is another kettle of fish, especially for the old-line clubs like the Cubs and Sawks. Many own their ballparks, and the genius is turning that ownership into a revenue stream, as the Cubs and Sawks have managed to do.

Think about this - where in the world can you absorb more football culture than on the boundaries of Stanley Park? What is that worth? How can this be turned into a revenue stream?
Dave Reiner
15   Posted 04/06/2009 at 23:28:56

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Roger - Your title seemed to suggest that Everton should aspire to be like the Red Sox, a notion that caused me to throw up in my mouth just a bit. Forgive me if my reaction was a bit stronger than warranted. From the fans to the stadium to the uniforms to the constant whinging, there is no club I have ever come across in my travels that reminds me more of The Shite than the Boston Red Sox.

The one point in my earlier post that had real bearing on the issue was that we need not build a cold, souless, corporate monument to excess as the Yankees have (and as Spurs soon will, ManUre/Arsenal/the FA already have, & The Shite doubtlessly will) if we are to have a new ground.

We can have a supporter-friendly building with unique characteristics & charm that is located in a good, central location. If achieving this means remaining a decade or more at Goodison, even as is, that?s fine by me. If you want an example of a baseball team that moved too soon, see the Chicago White Sox.

Sam Higgins
16   Posted 04/06/2009 at 23:27:02

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I cant see Kirkby ever coming off now to be honest.

Everton appear to be doing everything right at the moment and all thats being done right is being done at Goodison.

I reckon the place just needs a good spruce up.

Whenever I speak to fans of other clubs, they always say that Goodison is one of their favourite grounds.

The atmos Goodison generates is unique and has at times almost certainly won us some games.

And then I look at Arsenal. In the last 5 seasons at Higbury they were more ofen or not - Barcelona-esq. Since the Emirates they have still been good but they have lost that something special and now look further away from a champs league cup or the prem champs than ever before.

I want the team to remain at Goodison. I really dont care for corporate boxes or those extra revenue streams.
Rezzie Flanders
17   Posted 05/06/2009 at 00:38:18

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If you want an example of a baseball team that moved too soon, see the Chicago White Sox.

Isn’t that the truth. I loved Comiskey for all it’s faults, and I wouldn’t hold a goat rodeo at that new corporate monolith, no matter how good the food is. (And it is - the food at White Sox games is terrific. Too bad their fans still don’t turn out. Actually, no it isn’t too bad.)

Anyway, that’s exactly what I mean. Spruce up Goodison, and let the Kopites blow up their Kop. Then see where the magic is. We who have been chosen can see that the magic is on the blue end of the Park. Just watch - the rest of the world will just have to come around as the shite prance around in their mausoleum while the magic still happens between the Park End and the Gwladys.
Jamie Crowley
18   Posted 05/06/2009 at 02:06:06

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As a life-long Red Sox fan - October 27, 2004, first championship in 86 years ? I agree wholeheartedly Roger! I was born in Boston and love my Sox. I also love their management. This, and I have posted this briefly before, is THE model EFC should emulate. We have a very long standing manager in Terry Francona. Very, very similar to Moyes.

There is consistency at the club. They can spend, but don?t do so willy-nilly. They buy for chemistry and for the team as a whole. They simply don?t pull a "Yankee" or in the British parlance a "Chelsea" or a "City". They purchase wisely and don?t just spend, spend, spend on the most expensive, best player out there. EFC can do this now, but admittedly they need more cash to make that big buy when needed. But renovation would court new buyers....

The best move the Sox made is keeping Fenway intact. It truly is an American baseball landmark.
Goodison could be this, but from what I?ve seen a massive renovation would be needed. But it?s money much more wisely spent, and the PR the club gets from keeping a dated but renovated stadium is huge. People from all over the globe see a Red Sox game ? and everyone definitely says it?s a great experience.
My buddy, born in Glasgow, called me from Fenway last year and stuck a few guys on the phone from Manchester who were sitting next to him as they were talking football and he had to get me in on the conversation. They could not stop saying how fantastic (brilliant) Fenway was. Of course, they didn?t have obstructed view seats, but those that do are generally so damn happy to be there they don?t give a shit.

Goodison could be the same venue. And Everton would reap rewards untold if they invested in it.

Roger, my only problem with your post is that you later mentioned you hated the Red Sox. You were obviously not raised correctly. I blame your parents for your misguided ways.

God is a Red Sox fan. The devil pulls for the Yankees.
God is also an Everton fan. The Evil one wears red and I believe is of Swedish or Norwegian decent....
Also - David Reiner: you?re nuts. Period. We should emulate the Red Sox b/c they are, unquestionably, the single best run sports franchise in North America. And yes, although we are talking different sports on different continents, the business and growth model can be and should be the same. Proofs in the pudding. And the women? Are you kidding? Besides, this is in reference to Everton, residing in Liverpool. Although no expert, I doubt there?s many Liverpool chicks gracing the cover of Playboy. And Baltimore is full of women who fell out of the ugly tree and hit every damn branch on the fall. I?ll take the New England ladies, TY.
Marco - glass ceiling ??!!! Try having your Grandfather and Dad live and die without seeing their team win a Championship!! You?ve no clue what it?s like to suffer - none at all. This dry spot EFC has hit - I?ll worry about it after 50 years. Twenty something isn?t even a blip on the radar screen to a life-long Red Sox fan. What a bunch of ninnies.

Paul Hennessey
19   Posted 05/06/2009 at 03:41:49

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As an Everton and a Red Sox fan there is one glaring difference between the teams (apart from the sports, countries etc...). The Red Sox can already afford to pay the best wages to the best players. We can?t. The reason we need to change or at very, very least upgrade our stadium in order to bring in more money and/or attract investment.

Of course, if we were to somehow get massive investment or the huge borrowings taken out by other teams above and around us catches up with them then then we won?t have to move ? but, until then, how else do we get the revenue to seriously compete over a sustained period of time?

That doesn?t neccessarily mean Kirkby, but something needs to be done quickly ? I?m not sure we can use a baseball club such as the Red Sox, or the cubs for that matter, as a good example.

Peter Corcoran
20   Posted 05/06/2009 at 06:29:05

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I would love it to happen as I don?t want to go to Kirkby but this is old ground and does not answer how we would fund the refurbishment of Goodison Park?
Mike Gaynes
21   Posted 05/06/2009 at 07:07:23

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Excellent, thought-provoking piece, Roger... and it does have considerable logic to it, since such a refurbishment could be done piecemeal over a period of years, thus spreading out the investment.

And Rezzie, I love your comments... I grew up in Wrigley Field (snuck out of school a few times) and covered a couple of Opening Days at Fenway when I was a sportscaster. Both parks are proof that you can do extensive refurbishing and increase the revenue generation of a venue without losing the charm and tradition.

But I’ll disagree with you on one point, Rezzie... the old Comiskey was a charmless old train wreck of a ballpark, and absolutely unsalvageable. Aside from the wonderful exploding scoreboard, the nightly fistfights in the lower grandstands and the fire in right field on Disco Night were the only good things to remember about that old barn. Even Bill Veeck hated it. I had the privilege of getting him drunk one night and he told some great stories of rats the size of beagles and drug dealing in the concourses. Then there was the night Mike Hershberger got hit in the back with a fly ball because he was watching a naked couple go at it in the left field wall picnic area...
Alan Willo
22   Posted 05/06/2009 at 07:53:49

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To all you USA blue’s and baseball fans check out www.liverpooltrojansbaseball.co.uk >This is the oldest baseball team in the UK and is a direct descendant from Everton Football Club. We play at Bootle Stadium not too far away from Goodison, after the game go into the bar (tennis area) and you can see Dixie Dean and other?s on the wall in their uniforms. Dixie was an excellent baseball player; we have an old bat too that was used in that game when the name was Liverpool Cardinals. My late farther played many baseball games at Goodison Park and Belfield, remember all the holes in the roof at GP that was caused by baseball, so they moved the team to Belfield. Well worth checking out, COYB.
Alan Clarke
23   Posted 05/06/2009 at 08:30:42

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I?ve been to Fenway on a couple of occassions and the place has a similar feel to Goodison in you can feel the history and romance in the place. I?ve followed the red sox since the days of Clemence and that turn coat Wade Boggs. Red Sox fans are very similar to Evertonians in that they have a great knowledge of their game and are hugely aware of their history. They?re a long suffering team that have recently tasted glory again.

I?d love Gladys Street to be kept and cherished in the same way the green monster is by those in charge.
Derek Turnbull
24   Posted 05/06/2009 at 09:00:49

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Architects don’t get it.

They’re obsessed with spreading the fans out as much as possible as it’s supposed to be a comfortable experience. They build stands as steep as possible as it improves sightlines. Kirkby is designed the same. Everyone is really spread out.

The best stadiums in reality are the ones where fans are more compact, the stands are shallower and the fans are closer together. A new stadium does not have to be built like all the other new stadiums.

There’s no harm in slightly improving sightlines by making stands steeper and with more legroom, but not to the lengths that all new stadia are doing so. It’s to the ridiculous extreme now.
Phil Roberts
25   Posted 05/06/2009 at 09:43:26

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Loved this piece - if only for the Sox support.

Afterall the Sox are our local team (check it on Google Earth). All we know is Yankies = Evil Empire = Money/Glory hunter supporters = Utd/Sh*te.

Over in New England in a few weeks so I can buy Louis Saha a new Cap so he does not have to wear that NY one he had on TV the other week. Remember everyone, a NY cap is not a New York Cap it is a Yankees Cap. If you hate the money machines like United, don’t buy a NY Cap it just fuels them like it would United.

I would love to go to Fenway, but as Homer J once said when he was off the beer - now I am sober, I didn’t realise baseball was so boring. Think it will just be a stadium visit!
David Ellis
26   Posted 05/06/2009 at 10:04:00

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Nostalgic as I am for Goodison - with childhood visits starting 35 years ago. It really does not cut the mustard. The facilities are very poor. Visiting Goodison is like being an extra in Life on Mars - charming, but glad it is not the real present day (except that in our case it is!).

I went to a new retro baseball stadium in San Francisco a few years back. Nice building on the water front in the down town area. Stupid name (Tacobell or something ghastly) - but apart from that it was great.

Also been to Shea Staduim of the NY Mets (and Beatles fame) - very spread out and not a great atmosphere (and now pulled down?). And the Vet stadium in Philly - also demolished - but again far too spread out and the wrong shape for baseball anyway.
Derek Turnbull
27   Posted 05/06/2009 at 11:27:10

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David Reiner, I agree trhat there is no need to have a new stadium that is designed without a soul. We can have a new stadium that desined with more warmth and, character and atmosphere.

But we’re not getting that with the Kirkby design. It’s all very well saying we should wait at Goodison, but that may not be the reality that is facing us?

We may be on the brink of moving to an awful stadium in an awful place. If Kirkby goes ahead are we just going to accept that stadium? I’d rather we have a decent stadium in a bad place than an awful stadium in a bad place, a good stadium does not have to cost the eath either. We just need a board who give a toss about what the stadium is like
Dave Roberts
28   Posted 05/06/2009 at 15:22:18

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Tom Hughes.

So Everton sell obstructed view seats at a nominal price...what all of ’em? So the Club refurbish Goodison and end up with less revenue? Nobody has ever realistically explained how a refurbishment/rebuild would be funded as it is, but a process that costs the Club revenue indefinitely is a definite non-starter.

I’m no engineer so correct me if I am wrong, but in the absence of the posts that hold up the roofs of the Gladdy and Bullens at present wouldn’t a new roof have to be counterweighted at the back? There is no room as far as I can tell to place such anchors internally so where would they go...out into the street?

I’ve never watched baseball (the game doesn’t appeal to me) but I have watched cricket and I suspect it is a very similar experience. In cricket you often lose sight of the ball in any case and only the movement of the fielders suggests where to look. Once the adjustment has been made (if your view is obstructed) it is possible to stick with it. In football the ball can be flashing around all over the place at times and it is this that can make obstructed views so annoying and tiring.

As for Goodison being a national treasure...well, I suppose we would say it is. But some would say Maggie Thatcher is as well but I wouldn’t want to be stuck with her forever!
Tony Kelly
29   Posted 05/06/2009 at 18:16:03

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Dave Roberts.
The stands at Goodison and Ibrox were designed by Archibald Leitch. Rangers have modernised their ground gradually over the last 8 years, blending the old with the new. Result: a super modern stadium with increased capacity, in a footprint much smaller than Goodison.

Don't believe all the negativity from sun bed Bob, that Goodison cannot be developed. Ask him to get in touch with Fairclough?s who developed Ibrox, and they will tell you that if Ibrox could be developed with mimimum disruption, so can Goodison.

Tom Hughes
30   Posted 05/06/2009 at 19:39:43

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Dave,
Goalpost trussed roofs do not need rear-mounted frameworks..... nor do Catenary supported roofs. That said a landgrab on the Bullens side would release enough space to accommodate any roof support structures as is the case at the Park end.... with Gwladys Street and Mainstand easily roofed with longitudinal trusses (priced at only a £4m a few years ago). The additional capacity will more than offset losses for the massively reduced obstructed views, which in turn will at least offer some of those currently priced out of footy to at least experience Goodison on matchdays and capture them for the future. None of this need cost £78m, and some enabling could be included on club’s land!
Dave Reiner
31   Posted 05/06/2009 at 20:18:58

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OK, now I?m COMPLETELY off-topic.

I feel I must I must explore this phenomenon, of which I was until very recently blissfully unaware, of the Everton/Red Sox supporter. I will abbreviate Red Sox to RS for ?convenience?.

In 2004, after losing game 3 of the ACLS to the Yankees, the RS (American branch)were anticipating watching the World Series on TV when Satan appeared in the RS clubhouse. He said ?If all of you fellate me, I shall end your miserable streak of dismal & complete failure & force the Yankees to fall apart. I will inject your buttocks with enough foreign substances to make Trot Nixon resemble a decent ballplayer?. The RS players scrambled over each other in eagerness to service the Lord of Darkness, their wish was granted, & the rest is history (dark, dark history).

Some seven months later, Satan appeared in Istanbul, Turkey, as the RS (European branch) were getting twatted by AC Milan at halftime, also by 3-0. He arrived in a cloud of crimson & brimstone & said, "If all of you fellate me, I will put a stop to this abject display of football in which you are currently engaging, force AC Milan to forget how to defend, & enable you to win the match. I will inject enough horse semen into Vladimir Smicer?s left buttock to make him forget that he is shite, & resemble a decent footballer". The RS players scrambled over each other in eagerness to service the Lord of Darkness, their wish was granted, & the rest is history (dark, dark history).

PLEASE stop comparing Everton to RS of USA!!! Between the singing of shite songs (I?d Rather Walk Alone v. Sweet Caroline, both utter shite), the gimmicky fan seating section (Kop v. Monster Seats), the blatant cheating (diving/politicking for cards v. rampant roid use), the old, dirty, overrated ground (Analfield v. Fenway) & the legions of ?hard-core supporters? who have followed the club sice 2004 - I could go on all day.

Jamie Crowley - you talk utter bollocks. I have been in the USA long enough to know that the RS are the 3rd-best run club in that region, let alone the world/country. The Patriots & Celtics manage to do it better, with the last possible draft picks & a salary cap. Only unlucky injuries & a once-in-a-lifetime helmet catch (Go GIANTS!!) have kept them from even more glory than they have had of late. The RS & Yankees are more like Celtic & Rangers in the SPL - they outspend evryone, so if one of them doesn?t win, they failed against all odds. To fail for 86 years in a row in those circumstances is an achievement of historic proportions - you?ll excuse me ( & agree with me) if I hope Everton DO NOT emulate that!!

As for attractive women, Atlanta > Miami > Los Angeles > New York > Baltimore/DC. > Liverpool > Chicago > Leeds > Newcastle > Middlesbrough > Pet Shop > Cemetery > Boston. About sums it up really.

Will Shanks
32   Posted 05/06/2009 at 21:36:48

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Dave Roberts
What the fuck is your problem?
There’s no waiting list -pay more and move seats,man! Or keep pressing for Kirkby - you’ll have plenty of leg-room
Bob Hannigan
33   Posted 05/06/2009 at 22:09:59

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Let’s get back on topic:-
Fenway Park Goodison Park

I feel I?m in a very good position to comment here. I?m a ?yank? who has gown up in the shadow of Fenway Park, been there probably more than 400 times. An Everton supporter since their 1999 acquisition of Joe Max Moore, have had the opportunity to visit Goodison Park probably 6 or 8 times since. Never been or cared to visit Anfield. Had the opportunity to attend matches at Everton fixtures at Highbury, Stamford Bridge, the Valley on Floyd Road, Recently been to new and old ball parks in the USA [Coors Field, Camden Yards, Miller Park, Wrigley, old Yankee Stadium [only once] , Busch Stadium. One of the best features of Fenway Park is it?s intimacy, you are on top of the action, recent stadium designs have tried to replicate that but that is difficult with modern building and safety codes.

I?m in a construction related business, not an Architect, but familiar with site issues.
Fenway and Goodison have several things in common, probably more than I have listed.
Fenway opened in 1912, Goodison some 20 years earlier
Both are located in relatively tight residential areas of the city
Obstructed views are a problem. Most of Fenway?s seats are not properly aligned for optimum viewing of a MLB game.
As previously INCORRECTLY reported, Fenway Park has NEVER in my lifetime [more than 60 years] been in bad shape or disrepair. The new owners have made a concerted effort to rebuild and expand as best they can the facilities within the existing ?footprint?. A portion of the newer space has been provided by relocating ancillary operations outside of the Fenway ?footprint?. The previous owners always maintained the park with various means from intense cleaning, painting, to minor and mid level improvements, however, never to the extent of the new owners. The major mistake the previous owners made was to announce their intention to replicate a modern version of Fenway Park adjacent to the existing site BEFORE THEY ACQUIRED THE PROPERTY. Land owners, speculators and investors ruined that plan and escalated the land costs.
Despite the Architects? claims, I believe the new owners should have completely redeveloped Fenway Park in full sections over a 5 to 8 year span similar to what I have observed in certain UK facilities. Don?t get me wrong, the new owners have done an outstanding job with their continuing projects to enhance Fenway, however, at the end of the day, we?ll still have a renovated olde ball park.
My opinion of what should occur in Liverpool is to totally rebuilt Goodison Park on the existing site with whatever additional property that can be acquired. Obviously Everton would need to relocate and in that regard a ?temporary? ground share should be negotiated with the dark side. I?m sure in the minds of most Blues supporters that isn?t preferred. That opportunity did not present itself in Boston, the only other MLB ball park was Braves Field abandoned in the ?50?s when the Braves moved to Milwaukee and later to Atlanta.
In conclusion, temporary ground share, rebuild on the present site with a modern , intimate version of Goodison Park
Sean Condon
34   Posted 05/06/2009 at 23:43:17

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Fenway and Wrigley are definitely the cream of the crop when it comes to North American stadiums, particularly the Fens. There used to be several great, atmospheric faded sport palaces over here, but, one by one, they have been replaced by soulless "retro" money-spinners. Cleveland Stadium, Boston Gardens, the Montreal Forum, Tiger Stadium and Maple Leaf Gardens spring immediately to mind.

I hate the idea that you have to generate oodless of ancillary revenue to compete in the modern marketplace. I was at Goodison recently for the first time in 22 years and was thoroughly under its spell. Yeah, it needs work, but why not marshall all our resources in service of it. It?s our home.... and you?re right, it?s our Fenway.
If i?m not mistaken, Boston?s baseball ground only holds about 35,000 people, and the Sox make dick-all from parking revenue, but they don?t seem to have trouble competing or attracting big names.

What the Premier League desperately needs is a new executive and a salary cap. Level the fucking playing field.

Sean Condon
35   Posted 05/06/2009 at 23:57:23

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Marco: well put. One minor quibble... I believe the large wall in left-field at Fenway is commonly known as the Green Monster.
Sean Condon
36   Posted 06/06/2009 at 00:00:27

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Fuck, a lot of Red Sox fans on here. I am a Dodger die-hard because when we moved to Canada in 1977 the first baseball game I saw on tv was between the Dodgers and the Atlanta Braves. Steve Garvey singled home the winning run in the tenth, but more importantly, they wore the right colors.

After a host of EFC moments (mostly mid-80?s), the best sporting memory I possess is Kirk Gibson?s homer in Game 1 of the ?88 WS. I can watch that shit for as long as I can watch Sharpie?s at Anfield.

Unless it?s Pavel Bure?s goal against Calgary in the first round of the NHL playoffs in ?94... but that?s another thread, another site perhaps... any other EFC/Vancouver Canuck fans out there?

Sean Condon
37   Posted 06/06/2009 at 01:35:24

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@Tony Kelly: are you THE Tony Kelly, compadre of the one and only Bob Taylor?
Rezzie Flanders
38   Posted 06/06/2009 at 01:40:36

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Hate Steve Garvey. Not Steve Garvey in Blue, Steve Garvey as Choco-taco Padre man. He makes me feel the way Stevie GBH makes me feel.

1984. The Cubs had ?em ready to go and then that Popeye armed fucker broke my heart. Just so his ridiculous bunch of Padres could choke to the Tigers, a proper baseball team, in the Series. In a Dodger blue hat, I can handle him - just don?t mention his name. On the other hand, the Kirk Gibson HR was one the great sports moments in history - especially since he could barely get around the bases. I can still remember the look on Tony LaRussa?s face. Heh.

Back on topic. Tony Kelly, Tom Hughes, Bob Hannigan - thanks for the contribution, guys. Great posts, all.

Steve Garvey,

Ptooey.
Jamie Crowley
39   Posted 06/06/2009 at 02:13:20

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Dave Reiner - we can agree to diasgree regarding the women. I take the New Englanders easily over Baltimore. Miami, LA? Yeah, those 2 markets win - hands down no contest! So there, some middle ground....
The Sox - under John Henry have COMPLETELY outclassed every other MLB club! Third in the region? WHAT!! 2 Championships in 5 years and how many pennants? U gotta be kidding me. How bout those Yanks? Spend like complete dumb-azzes yet win fuck-all! Who the hell is the third team? Please. Talk about utter bolllocks! U been under a rock for the last 5 years?
And insofar as I hope EFC NEVER goes 86 years.... I’ll be dead.... b/4 they win a thing: all I’m saying is, as a Sox fan, you can wait out almost anything, remain loyal and true, and it will eventually come.

Finally, the devil resides in that shallow, how much money do you make, what do you do for a living area called New York City. He loves the Yankees b/c they are all superficial dick heads and not real people who know how to work hard, have a sense fo fealty to purpose, and understand about effort and appreciate while falling short of what the world says is most important. In short, most Yankee fans are arrogant, short-sighted, fair weathered, bird-chested, small penis jack-offs. You got your story all wrong. It goes this way:

The Sox, trailing 3-0 to the Devil himself, grabbed their rosary beads and dropped to their knees. The Good Lord appreared unto them and said, "Your time in purgatory and your time of suffering have born witness to what those who remain loyal to Me will bear. And they will bear much fruit, those who walk the path of pain and perdidtion in My name. I shall carry you, My loyal chosen people, to the promised land! Blessed are you, my loyal creation. And I will now remove the weeds from your garden and toss them into the furnace, where there will be wailing, and gnashing of teeth. Follow me to my Father’s Kingdom!

And they went out and fucking TONKED the evil FECKS from NYC with God Almighty’s assistance!

Now, can I buy you a beer my friend, while we discuss all thing Everton Football Club?

:0)

We all want the same end game. Me thinks the emulation of the Red Sox growth model and success is the way to go.

p.s. - Steriods? those would be in the Yankee clubhouse. Trot didn’t juice once. And we just dumped the poster-boy for roids - Manny the arsehole. Why? He’s a self-serving twat. So we brought in Jason Bay - a team guy if ever there was one. And THAT is what EFC need.

That and more moola.

Beer’s up. On me.
COYB FTRS

Sean Condon
40   Posted 06/06/2009 at 03:31:45

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Rezzie: to be honest, I never cared much for Garvey either. And my favorite ever Dodger was the born-again, Republican goody-two-shoes Orel Hershiser (but, oh man, was he ever something else in ?88).

Jamie: I agree. While my AL team has always been the Mariners (proximity to Vancouver), I?ve always had a soft spot for the BoSox. I?ll never forget how bad I felt for Sox fans on Bucky Fuckin Dent day. Or the Bill Buckner game in ?86. Fans of the Sox always seemed to epitomize the passion I usually only recognized in the supporters of footy teams. The Celtics and the Bruins, too, actually.

Fuck the Yankees, FTRS and COYB!

Jamie Crowley
41   Posted 06/06/2009 at 04:09:28

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Atta boy, Sean.

Funny thing, the ?86 Buckner thing: a few years back my wife is flipping through the channels. She?s not a big sports guru at all. She stops on a channel when she see the Red Sox playing. She says, "Honey, the Red Sox are on, come and watch!"

I walk over only to see she?s flipped on EPSN Classic showing a replay of game 6 in 1986. The following immediately came out of my mouth: "You gotta be fuckin kidding me, right?"

She had no clue. We still laugh about it.

SO MANY HEARTACHES! I seriously don?t believe anyone who hasn?t followed the Sox can possibly understand. 2003 was the worst. Was watching with my Dad at his place. With 1 out in the 8th and Pedro on the mound my Dad looks at me and says, "I think they?re gonna do it Jamie!"

Curse of all curses. Aaron "fucking" Boone, the reincarnation of Bucky "fucking" Dent all over again.

The utter, unbridled joy of 2004 can never be properly described. It?s what I hope I?ll see with EFC, and we are moving in the right direction.
Hope springs eternal.
BTW - I do see so many similarities with the fans of the Sox and Everton. I just pray EFC gets to reach the summit. So many of these phenominal, craddle-born fans deserve it. They really do. And as one who?s been through so much as a fan of a long, long suffering club I can tell you it?s surreal when it happens. I think ¾ of the posters here would simply spontaneously die from the overload of joy.

Mark Stone
42   Posted 06/06/2009 at 13:13:55

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I’ve been to Fenway a few times pre renovation. The biggest difference is that Fenway is was on a big footprint ... I know it’s close to buildings but what I mean is that when you were inside the gates there was a large open outdoor area full of pretzel stands, beer stalls etc before you got the terraces (or bleachers!). The only area like that at Everton is the park end. It was more like a cricket stadium type set up in that respect ... huge concourses etc.

Having said that I like where you are coming from I hope that Everton can, like the red sox, keep the unique, historic home. Remember the old park end? Just the like green monster eh?
Barry Hughes
43   Posted 06/06/2009 at 17:47:15

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The one avenue that does not appear to have been explored fully is the expansion of the footprint around Goodison Park.

Landlocked the footprint may be, but Bullens Road and Gwladys Street are minor roads that might be permited to be closed and incorporated into a land acquisition programme, including the school and the few streets around it, giving the space neaded for almost any size and design of ground (Tottenham have been doing this for the last few years).

The two main problems are: paying the people living in the houses enough money to move out; and permission for the roads to be re-routed. Out-of-town souless stadiums in retail parks must be avoided at all costs.

Nick Flack
44   Posted 07/06/2009 at 12:51:04

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I loved the old Park End... Only ever sat there a few times, but was on the front row when i did and used to flick stuff into the crowd below.


Excellent piece this and I can see the comparisons with the Baseball Stadia in USA. There is no real way we can expand the footprint of Goodison. Part of the grounds charm is that it sits in the middle of all the streets, making it a real community stadium. I’m a designer, not an architect, but still look at things the same way, see what you can do with what you’ve got. As far as I can see, the places we can work with are Bullens Road and behind the Park Stand. There’s a pretty big car park there, which could easily be built on. Loads of room for corporate facilities there, and could tier the hospitality boxes in the corner, or along a redeveloped Park End. (The Park End was probably the worst piece of business the club has ever done IMO, it was dated as soon as it went up.) Then the car parking issue could simply be solved by having it underneath the development and stand.
regarding the cantilvever roof over the stands and the lack of space to intrtoduce these... Why does it have to be cantilever?
Designers are page huge sums of money to find solutions to all manner of complex and seemingly impossible problems.
The Romans put roofs on their arena’s 2000 years ago!

As for facilities, who cares? Ok, our toilets aren’t as nice as Old Trafford’s, our stairwells are damp and whiff a bit, and the snack facilities are duff. But our songs are shit, we swear too much and we don’t have any big posh and really witty flags or one of those massive big banners that gets passed over the home fans before kick off.

Forget heaven. Welcome to Hell.

Derek Turnbull
45   Posted 07/06/2009 at 19:25:47

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Nick Flack, glad to hear someone else say that the Park End is the worst thing we’ve ever done. That structure looks set to be the cause of Everton moving to Kirkby and is a reason why we are playing catch up now, our ground could have been completed by now if the Park End was done right to begin with. (Perhaps though they didn’t want to build a 2 tier as they were sick of fans throwing things down from there! Hee hee!)
Nick Flack
46   Posted 07/06/2009 at 20:09:24

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Well to be fair, I think I only ever flicked stuff on southerners.
Dave Reiner
47   Posted 08/06/2009 at 17:14:23

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Jamie - no doubt about it mate, no hard feelings & your points are well taken. If you see a miserable, scowling punter at Fenway, kitted out in a Duncan Ferguson or Yakubu shirt, surrounded by his Red Sox supporting friends, rooting for (insert team here) against the Red Sox, he could most certainly use a drink!!! For the record, I?m no Yankee-Lover myself, just Giants (get in!!) & Knicks (urge to kill.....rising....) Pleasure making your acquaintance (online, at least) & God bless you & yours (this statement excludes your favourite baseball team).


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