The stadium debate raises mixed emotions for me. Being born and raised in Kirkby, I have an affinity to the place that is mostly sentimental as opposed to rational: Me dad worked in the industrial estate at Hygena before it closed in the early eighties and me ma at Makro. My much elder brother was regularly suspended at St Kev?s in Kirkby.
On the semi-regular occasions I come back to Liverpool, I always go out to me old house at the back of Spinney Woods and reminisce of the matches we played on the wasteland known to the local lads as ?up the top? when I was Trevor Steven, which was ironic given I regularly asked for the Paul Bracewell haircut at my barbers.
Given all this you could assume that I would support Everton relocating to Kirkby and base it around a logic stream of regenerating a part of Merseyside long neglected.
In Adelaide, where I live, the major football stadium is called Football Park (like many stadia around the world it sold its naming rights to an insurance company). This stadium is located about 15 km northwest of the City and was built in the 1970s so that the local Aussie Football league could own its own stadium and it would not be subject to a landlord that treated the sport and its administrators poorly. (The landlord being the South Australian Cricket Association with the ground being Adelaide Oval, which many of you would know as a Test Match venue, being located smack bang in the centre of the city.)
Whilst the move was seen at the time as being a positive step for the league, the stadium has become sadly dated, has extremely poor transportation links, and is very difficult to get to. Car parking is extremely limited and local people make a killing charging $10 each to park up to 6 cars in their front garden on Match days.
It is home to two successful football teams in the Adelaide Crows and Port Adelaide Football Club, which whilst it has some of the highest memberships in the country (Adelaide has nearly 45,000 members) has never sold out the stadium in the past five years ? the capacity is 55,000.
The predominant reason for this is that people would prefer to stay at home and watch the match on the telly rather than travel out of their way to a location that has dated facilities and no soul. There is now an active debate as to whether a new stadium can be built back within the Central Business District (CBD) ? but with the cost for such a stadium that would be multi-purpose and can accommodate our type of football would be close to $800 million (Aussie dollars); this appears to be out of the question.
My point here is that there is every potential for Kirkby to end up exactly the same as what has happened with Football Park. A stadium with no natural public transportation hubs, expensive and limited parking, and no ongoing revenue stream from attendances to provide upkeep. All of the above issues are real and dangerous barriers to putting bums on seats and dissolving the fan base of our great club.
Taking the stadium footprint of the club away from the CBD may well provide Kenwright, Wyness et. al an investment option they crave so as to provide a short term windfall for them, but strategically the problems the club will inherit 30-50 years down the track may prove to be disasterous.
The purpose of this piece is to not articulate a Plan B, but to say that Plan A is sadly flawed. If Goodison Park is the dinosaur people say it is then fair enough ? but for God?s sake don?t sacrifice the city. Because once you do, you can never go back
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1 Posted 01/07/2008 at 14:37:38
’The future is Knowsley’ is proudly proclaimed on a sign along the M62.. bollocks - this is just like the spin that the club have adopted in respect of the DK move... Knowsley is the middle of nowhere; Kirkby itself an economically deprived backwater of the middle of nowhere... Liverpool is the city everyone wants to visit, everyone spends money in... and everyone should associate it with 2 football clubs
Do we honestly believe that Kids growing up in Merseyside will continue to support Everton, even if their families did, once the identity of the club has been lost forever...?
2 Posted 01/07/2008 at 15:00:37
We’re basically saying "It’s a crap idea but it’s the only option we have so we’ll just have to get on with it"
It’s absolute madness !!
How many times does it need to be said ??
What you voted for doesn’t exist !!
3 Posted 01/07/2008 at 16:41:32
Very few supporters who don?t currently go to the match will put themselves out to go to Kirkby. A significant number of current season ticket holders will not renew.
It?s a self-inflicted disaster waiting to happen and most of us are powerless or too lethargic to do anything about it.
4 Posted 01/07/2008 at 16:49:08
Well written but one part stood out for me.
"The predominant reason for this is that people would prefer to stay at home and watch the match on the telly rather than travel out of their way to a location that has dated facilities and no soul"
1) You will still have the fans who will prefer to watch the match on the telly at home. This will never change
2) Dated facilities?? A new stadium built anywhere with dated facilities means something is badly wrong
3) No soul? Why is it that Kirkby will have no soul but Wally Hall Park, Speke or eevn the mysical Loop would?
Just playing Devil’s advocate here
5 Posted 01/07/2008 at 16:57:43
6 Posted 01/07/2008 at 17:04:03
Do you now accept that you were wrong in your assertion that the delay with David Moyes signing his new contract was administrative. It must be six weeks since you made the assertion Tony.
Why hasn’t he signed yet?
Doesn’t he trust the board?
YOU KNOW, TRUST?
You would think that Moyes knows the board quite well wouldn’t you?
As for your post, the increased inconvenience will result in more and more people staying away from Kirkby and a subdued atmosphere as the ground gradually empties of fans
7 Posted 01/07/2008 at 17:23:50
8 Posted 01/07/2008 at 17:52:12
One of the (many) reasons so many are against this move here, is that the transport ’system’ in place is a joke.
EG: No extra trains, no extra carriages, 1000 car parking spaces, 90% of the cars all arriving at the stadium from one direction.
When they ’crunched the numbers’ (always wanted to use that) even the club had to admit that some supporters could be getting on the train at 6.45 after leaving the ground at 4.50.
The club have even suggested 1000 turning up on bikes!
I saw my first game in 1967 and I’ve yet to see ANYONE arrive on a bike.
9 Posted 01/07/2008 at 19:35:52
T ttttttt ttttt ttttt tttttt !
Whats that skip ? Crickey that dastardly ’Blue Billy Liar’ wants to move Everton to the back of beyond.
tttt tttt ttt tt
Streuth you’re right mate looks like he’s doing it to make some Aussie dollars and doesn’t care It’ll be the end of this great club.
Yep we’d better warn Sheila, Bruce & all the other fans
tt tt ttt
Oh yes & ’Tiny Tim’, fair dinkum to you Skip.
Que music : Skippy, Skippy Skippy the bush Kangeroo
10 Posted 01/07/2008 at 20:20:44
11 Posted 01/07/2008 at 21:10:19
Like I have said before....think LONG TERM. This article is another perfect example of why Kirkby is sooooo wrong.
I had a Bracewell haircut too!!! :)
12 Posted 01/07/2008 at 21:45:49
ps: This is not just an emotional rant.
13 Posted 01/07/2008 at 23:21:22
Crikey! we get 10 times bigger turn outs if they want to shut the local pub. Fair dinkum.
14 Posted 01/07/2008 at 23:57:26
15 Posted 02/07/2008 at 01:04:41
Just a couple of quick responses if I may:
Brian Donelly: the state government in South Australia has in recent years provided buses from areas all over the city and suburb hubs to facilitate supporters to the ground as a park and ride strategy Whilst around 15-20% of supporters use it, don?t forget it was introduced as a response to the problem of the ground being located well outside the city. Additionally buses of course have to compete with the thousands of people who will travel by car anyways ? the traffic congestion going to and from our ground in Adelaide is just horrendous. The irony here is that the buses have been marketed as of this year as free of charge. Why? Because the government has introduced a levy on match day and season tickets to recover the cost.
Tony Williams: I agree that a lot of fans will watch the match at home over going to the ground ? that?s a natural phenomenon. However, what will also be natural is that if you make it harder for fans to go to the football, more and more will choose not to go ? especially when its bollocking down with rain and you know you?ll have traffic problems galore getting to and from the ground. I also fear given the stadium design and comments from the club about the design the ground will indeed have no soul .Football Park was a state of the art stadium in the 1970s but now comparatively to other stadia in the country its very poor. This is the reason why Adelaide will probably miss out as a host city as part of Australia?s 2018 World cup bid. The government incidentally has allocated $150 million to do the ground up but you cant make a silk purse out of a sows ear. I don?t think Everton will be able to rely on tax payers dollars like this
Marc Williams: You?re figgin hilarious mate! ? I?ll be thinking of you when you are freezin your tits off in Kirkby and I?m sunning myself in forty degree heat on the beach, cookin prawns on a bbq and snoggin me Shelia. Now bugger off and take a bath you smelly pommy bastard
16 Posted 02/07/2008 at 06:27:16
Nice one cobber !
17 Posted 02/07/2008 at 09:21:13
"stadium is located about 15km north of the City"
"has extremely poor transportation links"
"car parking is extremely limited "
"has never sold out the stadium in the past five years"
Short term solutions such as destination Kirkby bring short term gains. Bill, its time for a U-turn, the world class stadium you promised with the best transportation links in the North West does’t exist. Admit it and let’s have a rethink.
18 Posted 02/07/2008 at 10:09:29
Also confirm that I have 2 season tickets that will not be renewed for Kirby.
Why should I? Ground will not be full of season tickets, therefore I can pick and choose games, as tickets will always be available.
Also does anyone really believe that ticket prices will not increase drastically?
19 Posted 02/07/2008 at 12:41:53
20 Posted 02/07/2008 at 12:48:05
I count myself as a "tester" (I used to be a defiant "no goer" but I realised that, for me at least and the way my head’s wired, I need to physically see that something’s bad/good before passing a very final judgement).
Of the "testers" I suspect a great many will not bother renewing their tickets initially. I certainly won’t. Why the need? For as you say the stadium will be plenty big enough. Anyway, you like to look around a gaff, don’t you, before deciding on where to settle?
I’ll go on the basis that I’ll be attending purely in order to see and feel how things are. In truth that will probably require a full season (all weathers, night games, Sundays etc).
As soon as I sense that I was totally wrong and that Kirkby has actually been the saving of EFC I’ll not only renew my ticket but hold my hands up high (and my keyboard strokes on here) and admit sheepishly that I was an idiot and I’ll just shiver coldly that if the likes of me and thousands of others had had our way then Everton would have died a slow death by missing the last chance train to the New Hollywood Park. I’ll be thankful that the foresight of the pro-movers spared my conscience and I’ll be forever grateful to them.
However, the moment - and I won’t rush it - I get a really bad whiff that Kirkby has turned out to be every bit as bad a move as I fully expect it to be, then not only will I not be renewing my seazo but I’ll never be returning again on the basis that the Everton I knew and loved had died - something I used to do and now lament its loss - and my conscience will be clear that it wasn’t the likes of me that killed it.
I suspect that the club has been too busy looking at the financial numbers in extremis (those who will go v those who defiantly won’t) and not considered a potential slump in season ticket sales from those who will be going "on test".
For if 10,000 or so "testers" take the same line as I do then that’s a serious dent in the club finances.
21 Posted 02/07/2008 at 16:11:40
Fourth paragraph says it all really.
22 Posted 02/07/2008 at 16:52:04
The second part could almost be describing GP’s current failings, but the first part outlines the reason (s) why Kirkby would almost certainly not be the solution to that problem.
Tried, tested........and failed.
23 Posted 02/07/2008 at 19:27:02
Finally have you noticed there have been no brags of season ticket numbers on the website this summer,ask yourself why? how many have not renewed this summer?
24 Posted 02/07/2008 at 22:52:50
It makes me sick to think Everton fans will follow a man who has told umpteen lies and has stated that when he hears THAT song that the RS sing it brings a lump to his throat!!! WHAT!!! Is this idiot for real??
If you follow him and Wyness to Kirkby you all deserve each other.
25 Posted 03/07/2008 at 01:35:22
26 Posted 03/07/2008 at 02:49:31
27 Posted 03/07/2008 at 08:53:00
Normally you just renew your season ticket automatically, but now you will be faced with the choice:
Where will I sit?
How will I get there?
Most people who voted yes will have voted that way because they thought it was in the best interests of the club ?mistakenly in my view. It doesn?t mean that they thought it was in their best interests to go to Kirkby or even that they would still go.
In the no-voters it will be thousands ? some of which will never go again. I fully agree with Steve Taylor & Greg Murphy, in that there will be a substantial number (like myself) who will not renew and wait to see what it is like.
28 Posted 03/07/2008 at 12:11:06
Okay be pissed off, don’t be happy about it, wish you were still in GP, but for someone who supposedly loves the club to just ’fuck if off’ - doesn’t seem right. Almost childish, ’I’m not going because I’m pissed off and didn’t get my own way’. Kind of like a tantrum almost. I’m not going to get into where we should be, or who should run us (there will always be lots of views on that) - but at the end of the day I’m an Everton fan and no matter how bad the view, how shit the facilities are, how bad a signing a manager makes, how pissed off you with this and that - I would complain, but I’ll still go and not just suddenly say ’right, I’m not going anymore’. I love my club and if you a true fan no matter how bad things are you should still go.
Change happens in life and often people don’t like it. If you don’t deal with it, you get left behind. If every time there was change in our life that we didn’t like and we just said ’right, fuck it off, I’m not happy with that’, the world would be a bit fucked up!
Whether it be GP, Speke, Kirkby, central Liverpool - I’ll be there because I am an Everton fan, I support Everton. This won’t stop because we change grounds, that to me seems OTT and irrational. People are catastrophising I think. But that’s your choice. If you don’t go, you don’t go, but many of us still will. Not you guys, but I’ve read stuff on here were people have said they would be happy that after going to Kirkby, that it all goes tits up - people actually wanting bad things to happen to Everton. That’s silly.
29 Posted 03/07/2008 at 12:53:04
I don’t think working out where to sit and how to get there are actually that difficult.
Jay, you think thousands will fuck it off, you don’t know that, like I don’t know that only a small number will fuck it off.
As for following ’that man’, I don’t follow him Jay, I follow Everton, that’s why I’ll be at the game.
30 Posted 03/07/2008 at 13:09:44
"And where were all you Pommy blighters when the 100 strong? anti-DK car rally was taking place.
Crikey! we get 10 times bigger turn outs if they want to shut the local pub."
Don’t suppose you heard down under that the local police force couldn’t cope with the 100 (not 36,000, 46,000 or 50,000, but 100) strong demo?
Liverpool Echo, 23rd June 2008:
OPPONENTS of Everton?s move to Kirkby brought the town to a standstill with a motor cavalcade.
Organisers of the protest had planned to do several loops of Kirkby to highlight their objections to plans to build a 50,000-seat stadium in the town centre and demolish 70 homes.
But they were asked by police to stop after one lap.
They were told that the 100 cars that had joined the convoy on Saturday afternoon were causing too much disruption and officers simply did not have the resources to deal with the event.
If 100 cars doing laps of Kirkby caused absolute murder then what time will we be getting home from a match on one of Sky’s four o’olock Sunday kick-offs? Of course that only applies to some people, namely the ones who actually go to the match
31 Posted 03/07/2008 at 13:14:23
Offensive posting removed by moderators
32 Posted 03/07/2008 at 19:04:55
33 Posted 03/07/2008 at 20:09:06
If it is all going to go swimmingly at DK, why are you so uptight about people saying if we go to Kirkby that?s it, I?m finished. I am sick of people coming on here to berate no voters about their lack of understanding that Everton Football Club is a modern business venture and that we have no right to question its activities, half truths, lies and farcical behaviour. Well let?s take the business analogy then as a customer I have been a regular consumer (i.e. a Season ticket holder) of the product that is Everton Football Club for 35 of my 46 years. I don?t like the look of the new product it?s going to be far more expensive and have the feel of a cheap imitation, so I am not buying it anymore. I think that?s my prerogative as a customer isn?t it? I don?t need you banging on about loyalty etc who knows how many current supporters won?t go to Kirkby but to quote the new club motto ?every little helps? If you think that 45-50,000 will be at every home game I think you are deluded. So I suppose your pleas for the refusniks not have a tantrum are justified if incredibly patronising.
A modern business (Sorry football club) does not need any of the following
? An outdated Latin mottos FFS
? A picture of an old keep (in Everton) on its badge
? A Church in the corner of the ground.
? Supporters with the highest walk to ground % in the premiership
? Statues of centre forward from the 1930?s outside the ground, just caused they scored 60 goals in one season and died at the ground
I mean this is the 21st century all this clinging to the past, what we need is the following
? A supermarket in the ground so you can drop your girlfriend/wife kids off etc so they can max out the credit cards
? A statue of Sir Terry Leahy the benevolent saviour of Everton Football club
? In fact fuck it, watching Everton should be an on-line experience streamed live from Kirkby that you can subscribe to. The crowd can be made up of the great and good, Lord Kenwright of Westvale and holographic images can be beamed in to generate the old time match feeling for the on-line punters.
I mean it just makes good business sense doesn?t it? I am sure neither Kenwright or Wyness are looking to make any great profit out of this are they?
34 Posted 03/07/2008 at 22:38:04
My point about the hundred car cavalcade was simply to illustrate something that I have long suspected.
The actual number of DK protesters is far less than their propaganda would have us believe.
As for ’Police unable to cope with a mere 100 cars’.
If only one car travelled extra slow down the main street of any town it would very quickly be moved on.
35 Posted 04/07/2008 at 01:26:35
Everton’s history will still be there, wherever we play our home games, it won’t be erased.
EFC isn’t Goodison, if we moved to the Kings Dock - there would only be a handful of season tickets being ripped up, so all the Dixie Dean, the church, the history & the rest of the reasons given for despising Kirkby as opposed to GP - surely aren’t relevant - as we were going to give it up willingly anyway?
Because the venue, the location, the bus route, the design etc of Kirkby isn’t popular amongst many - it’s now all about the history? I don’t get it.
36 Posted 04/07/2008 at 01:39:01
Good post about the ground share issue in Adelaide mate.
What I find really interesting about the groundshare is that the stadium continues to be not full when Adelaide and Port Adelaide play against each other. This is supposedly the two games of the season when you would imagine all season ticket holders would be clamouring to go to the match.
Football Park only has a small number of match day tickets available for an adelaide home game which inevitably ’sells out’ - but its the members that dont go.
I’d be 100% certain if the stadium was located in the CBD they would? Why? Convienience, good transportation, and the ability to get home quickly.
The lesson for Everton here is stark. It not that those people who can afford to buy season tickets will be fair weather supporters, its that members may well pick and choose the games to go to because of the sheer bloody inconvience associated with getting to the place.
Many will have to catch at least two buses or a bus and a train. and face a massive hasle going to and from the ground.
Those who drive will be just as stuffed.
It really breaks my heart to see the myopia and lack of strategic vision that is dominating the clubs administration on this...
37 Posted 04/07/2008 at 12:40:08
I love our history, the latin motto, badge, etc. and we won?t lose that.
I don?t see myself as a customer either. If I was shopping in Sainbury?s and thought it had gone crap then I might go to Asda. I?m not a customer of Everton, but a fan, there is more of a strong emotional tie/bond. That is why I could not fuck it off even if I am not happy about something they?ve done, a bit like family and good friends!
38 Posted 04/07/2008 at 22:18:57
39 Posted 05/07/2008 at 01:35:30
Football Park in Adelaide was built in area that at the time was remote and had no population nearby. It had no transport infrastructure, apart from a major internal highway close by. There were no houses, no shopping centres or even small shops, no trains or other forms of public transport even remotely near to it. It was also located in a low lying, flat coastal area that was once a large swamp marsh that was (and still is) affected by high winds and a high water table. Despite major drainage works carried out during construction, this drainage problem still remains an issue in terms of the potential life span of the stadium.
All of this meant, from an engineering and infrastructural development perspective, that this site was totally unsuitable for a major construction from any perspective one wants to take; it had also been rejected twice by the SA Government in the 1960?s for public housing or the development of a major junior sports centre before the football fraternity purchased it. This commentary is on the public record and has been validated repeatedly by engineering and transport specialists since. It is also why the stadium now requires a major overhaul or, preferably, a move to a more suitable location.
The reason the site was initially purchased was purely financial - the South Australian National (Australian Rules) Football League paid 95% with the Government kicking in the other 5%. Transport and further community development were never considered.
In terms of AFL Park in Melbourne, this site was purchased by the Victorian Football League in 1967 well before the introduction of the Australian (National) Football League and was located 21 kilometres from the City in the major South-Eastern growth corridor. One reason was that the land was reasonably cheap, the other was that it would provide a major sports attraction for the growing population in this area which was project to grow to 1 plus millionm by the year 2000. There were existing bus services to this area and train services were planned by the State Government. There were also plans for major housing development and the development of three major shopping centres nearby ? all of these were delivered, except for the train service (Government procrastination meant that the projected costs at the time went ?through the roof? and could not be delivered). This stadium, unlike Adelaide?s Football Park, also had car parking bays for over 5000 vehicles included. It was also located beside a projected freeway which has been delivered and provided access to the centre of Melbourne in 15 minutes from the stadium.
The reasons for this stadium being closed were purely financial and were based around supporting a growth strategy that supported national ? as distinct from Melbourne suburban - growth of the competition. The AFL is a national competition that currently has two teams in Western Australia, two in South Australia, ten in Victoria (9 Melbourne / 1 Geelong) one in New South Wales (Sydney) and one in Queensland (Brisbane). The strategy is to have another team in each of New South Wales and Queensland with the possibility of further teams in the Northern Territory and North Queensland. All of this costs big money and the AFL sold AFL Park to generate this ? the ground was not closed for any other reason. It was still in good condition and the crowds were growing. The actual ground itself and the original stadium are now used as the home base of one the competition?s leading teams.
The point of all this simply to avoid bringing in ?red herrings? to the debate on Kirkby.
These two examples both of which were initially developed for the same reason but have since taken different paths for different reasons, provide contrasting information all of which is related to local issues. And the only thing we can deduce from these cases is that the final decisions that have to be made (in relation to the proposed Kirkby move) must be made by local folk based on solid ? meaning robust and validated ? research about the real benefits of the move to the Club, the growth potential of the area and the reality of issues such as site suitability, commercial development potential, impacts on local communities and the provision of a robust, adequate and sustainable transport infrastructure in a timely fashion (unlike the Melbourne example).
We also have to consider the emotional issues such as the history of the Everton Football Club, the role that Goodison Park ? our home - has played in that history and the reactions of fans and members to the move.
The one thing that really concerns me at the moment as a lifelong Evertonian (for the past 51 years) is that many of us Evertonians seem to be losing the plot, turning on one another with abuse, denying others who don?t agree with our views their say and locking ourselves into either/or thinking.
When we add to this debate the fact that we have a Chairman and a Chief Executive Officer, who, in my own humble view, have consistently been less than honest with fans and members over the past few years, and I can understand that emotions will run high. But let?s try and focus on the facts and, rather than attacking these two people, let?s publicly demand answers to constructive questions regarding the proposed move from them and put them on the public record. And, more importantly, let?s ensure we get the answers and ensure they are honest answers. This won?t be easy as the issue of past behaviour and trust will come into play (I?m still trying to fathom how Bill Kenwright avoided being prosecuted by the authorities for what was clearly fraud over the Fortress Funds ?interlude?), but by attacking these two we only justify their refusal to respond positively to our questions.
We need to stick together and work our way through this issue as Evertonians and address all issues, including the pro- and anti-move issues, so we can arrive at an acceptable position.
40 Posted 05/07/2008 at 12:52:19