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Time To Pull Together

By Steve Pugh :  10/08/2008 :  Comments (0) :

Destination Kirby has been called in, time for the club to have a rethink, time for the council to step up to the plate and prove once and for all that they want Everton FC to stay a part of the City of Liverpool, and time for Evertonians to stop attacking each other and start working together to find answers.

First of all the only definite facts we have:

1: Everton had committed to paying £78m towards DK, and Tesco?s had checked the money was available, threatening to pull out if the money wasn?t their and available.

2: Actually that?s as close to a real fact that there is, and if I?m honest I struggle with the concept that Everton has £78m. Everything to do with this argument has been opinion backed up by figures manipulated so many times that they have lost all of their integrity.

So what are the options open to the club right now. Obviously the club could hold out on the result of the enquiry on the chance that the scheme will be passed at the end of it and we can pay whatever extra costs accrue. It amazes me that people on this site are convinced that this scheme has been called in solely because of the stadium, whilst others are convinced that the stadium has nothing to do with it. Yes, I am sure that the Stadium had a part to play, especially when it comes to the controversy card, but equally, the effects of a large retail park on surrounding town centres and other retail parks will also have had a part to play in the decision. At this point I have to chuckle at the comments relating to the scheme being called in even though Blue Bill gave the Labour Party £250,000, are we suggesting that the Government are bent? I honestly don?t know whether the scheme will end up being passed or not, the same as every single Evertonian in the world today, but I don?t think the club will be able to find the supposed extra £36m, nor do I think Tesco?s will pay for it. But most of all I don?t think the club can afford to sit around for 18 months on a chance.

The second option is that the club now carries out proper investigations on the other options that where dismissed out of hand. In almost every instance both sides pulled out their highly qualified experts to argue their case, and both sets of experts totally disagreed. Naturally enough the fans instantly claimed that their preferred set of results were correct and the others were falsified propaganda. Well now we need to get the experts back in for all of the proposals and find out if any of them are actually viable, as Bestway, Sainsbury?s and others claim. Now the odds are that any stadium move within the city will cost the club a lot more than DK, but it would be pointless at this point to speculate how much because we don?t know what partners would be involved and how much would they contribute.

The third option is of course to redevelop Goodison, which of course is impossible, according to lots of well informed people. Well, if you haven?t read Tom Hughes? plans for redevelopment I suggest, that as soon as soon as you have read this you read that @

The biggest obstacle to redeveloping Goodison is finances, but to my mind this isn?t a problem at all. Because we don?t need to redevelop all of the ground in one go, therefore we don?t need to find all of the money in one go. Now if the club is to be believed we have £78m available and earmarked for the new ground. We use that money to get proper plans made up for the whole redevelopment, get planning permission for the whole development and pay for phase one, which, if we follow Tom?s proposal is the Park End. That will give us an increased Capacity of 46k.

Now, bear with me on this, we have been led to believe that there were investors waiting to buy the club if DK got planning permission, not got built, got planning permission. Now if we not only had planning permission for the redevelopment, but also had the first phase paid for and underway would some of those investors not be prepared to open their cheque books. We have already seen elsewhere that investors don?t actually pay for ground improvements; they just borrow money against the improved stadium, future income etc.etc. Hicks and Gillette are very good at that, as are the Glazers. That brings up the question of debt repayment. My opinion for what it is worth is that a ground within the City of Liverpool will produce more income than one in Kirby, if it is managed properly. For starters the ground will need to have good conference facilities, a high quality restaurant open to the public seven days a week, equally bars and a well stocked properly managed Megastore. According to Tom?s proposal there is also the possibility of a hotel development at the Park End, possibly a way of attracting a partner to help fund some of the redevelopment.

The other major obstacle will of course be planning permission, especially if the redevelopment affects the local residents. But this will give the City Council plenty of opportunity to show how much they want Everton to stay within the city limits.

So what we have at the moment are options, all of them have a certain degree of feasibility, and all of them have drawbacks and risks. But none of them are impossible, sure some may be improbable, but none are impossible. If we want to see our club grow into a top four club then we need to stop all the arguing and start pulling together. Let?s look at the options already available, talk about the pro?s and con?s in a sensible manner then maybe, just maybe, we?ll be able to talk to the club in such a way that will make them listen. No more scare tactics from KEIOC, no more lies from the pro Kirby movement, just honest straight talking.

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