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Behind the Throne

By Michael Kenrick :  02/10/2009 :  Comments (137) :

For some unfathomable reason, probably just coincidence, the figure of Bill Kenwright threatens to loom large again in Everton affairs after another period of relative calm, and quiesence:

  • The imminent news on Destination Kirkby, awaited with baited breath;
  • A sycophantic eulogy in the form of some romantic lost cowboy story about Bill "Shane" Kenwright, offered up by fellow luvvie and BBC commentator, Jonathan Pearce; and
  • The approaching anniversary of 10 years in the Everton hotseat for Chairman Bill Kenwright.

But perhaps there's something else looming... hinted at in that gushing piece by Pearce, and — some suspect — heralded by the massive impending decision on Destination Kirkby — it's the thought that, not long from now, Bill Kenwright will no longer be the Chairman of Everton Football Club.

I've no idea when or how the transition will occur...  or who will take over from him.  I''ve been watching from a distance, these past 10 to 15 years... neither lover nor hater but interested to understand better, if at all possible, what is really going on with this man who has led his beloved club from the brink of the abyss to the brink of greatness once again — thanks of course to the miracle-working of his manager, David Moyes.

It's of passing interest to note that, some months after the event well publicised on here and elsewhere, The Guardian this week carried a snippet featuring Bill Kenwright's infamous slap-down of an inquisitive shareholder who dared to ask him — at a Shareholders Forum of all places! —  if the club was for sale, how much was he asking for it?

While the financial backdrop to the club should always take second place to the football, it is harder and harder to deny the importance of this aspect, from financing transfers to paying for a new stadium.  So I make no apolgies for delving into the topic again, knowing that for some it is a turn-off.

The internal operations of Everton Football Club Co Ltd have always been a pretty closely guarded secret. Perhaps that is only right, since it is, after all said and done, a privately held company; there really is only a rather limited "need to know" for the plebian hordes that follow, salivating at every Machiavellian move believed to have occurred in the smoke-filled boardroom. 

And that's the problem: we really have no firm idea of what goes on. A fundamental part of being in a position of power is the control of information, and Everton under Bill Kenwright have gotten increasingly more adept at that.  But, over the internet years, with the ability for many snippets of information (and misinformation) to break loose from many diverse sources, it is possible to convince oneself that at least part of the picture can be drawn.

Some things are public knowledge: Bill Kenwright backed off from a full-fledged battle with Peter Johnson in 1994, allowing the Park Foods magnate to steal a march on him and wrest control of the club from the Moores family. He fianally bought the club off Peter Johnson toward the end of 1999.  He paid the somewhat paltry sum of £857 per share, which in simple maths (35,000 shares) valued the club at around £20M.

Those are the bare facts... or are they? Well, in truth, it was True Blue Holdings that bought the club — not Bill Kenwright.  The major players — Kenwright, Woods, Abercromby, and the Gregg family — all reportedly had shares in TBH (along with a handful of others), and no-one really questioned what was being said (although to be fair many puzzled over what the purpose of TBH really was... especially as it summarily disbanded a couple of years later).

It was only a lot later that the involvement of Sir Phillip Green (a Spurs supporter) became apparent... initially as Chinese whispers... later as more concrete indications of perhaps the power behind the throne.  At the time of the club purchase, a big deal was made out of the claim that Bill Kenwright had had to re-mortgage his house. Yet that can't have netted him more than a million or two... and he is boss in the theatre business, but did he really have £5 or £6 million lying around, ready to invest in his dream club?

Wikipedia Mihir Bose tells us in the Daily Telegraph that Kenwright may have borrowed as much £7M in order to finance his portion of the Johnson buy-out — not from Green but from Anita Gregg, then wife of then friend Paul Gregg.  When that relationship soured, first over the Fortress Sports Fund, represented by Christopher Samuleson (another professed Spurs fan) at the infamous 2004 AGM, and soon after in a bitter clash regarding how the paltry sum of £30M could be found to finance Everton's real "Deal of the Century"  —  the Kings Dock; it spelled the end for the Greggs. Ultimately Robert Earl (friend of Sir Phillip Green.... and yet another Spurs supporter) stepped in to buy the Gregg shares at around £9M.

All this makes it particularly hard to support the insidious suggestion, often repeated by one of our mailbag correspondents, that the money Kenwright used to buy Everton was actually converted into loans on the company (a la the new ownership of Man Utd and Liverpool); there seems to be very little real evidence of that cunning move, other than a coincidental increase in company debt around that time, which can probably be explained away in excessive transfer fees and the failed NTL deal.

So where's all this going?  Well, it's that charming idea that Bill "isn't in it for the money"...  Here's a thought: if it's not actually his money on the line, then that sweet sentiment might be just a little bit more palatable to the less trusting amongst our flock.  The exact role that Sir Phillip Green plays as a "silent director' of Everton FC has never been made very clear... but he apparently took over the debt owed to Anita Gregg and has been presumed to be the guarantor who has enabled Bill Kenwright's Everton to live on an ever increasing succession of loans and mortgages as the total debt relentlessly increased over the Kenwright years?  So... does Green, with his friend Robert Earl, in effect *own* the majority of Everton shares (in all but name)? 

Perhaps Bill Kenwright is merely a puppet, performing his much loved role as Chairman of Everton FC but without the burden of fiscal responsibility imposed by real ownership. At the same time, the imperative to move to Kirkby may be something that has been thrust upon him by his fiscal masters, for it is probably they who are most eager to see a significant return on their investment in Everton FC. Selling a club with a new ground at Kirkby , most people will agree, is likely to be a lot easier than selling the club with an old dilapidated antiquity that is Goodison Park.

After ten years in charge (at least nominally), there are suggestions that Kenwright's tenure in his position as Chairman may finally be drawing to a close. Everton face an uncertain future 'under new ownership' at some point in the near future — in a  strained climate where other Premier League clubs have gone through severe rollercoasters with their new owners.  The spin would have us believe that Bill is carefully vetting all suitors, and rejecting them so far on the basis that they are not good enough to take over the reigns at EFC.

Add to that, though, the documented truth contained in the Kirkby Documents, that the Everton Directors have no intention of selling their shares in club... Statements made purely for effect? Or to persuade the government of their commitment to carrying through Destination Kirkby?  A decision on Kirkby is imminent (the rumour mill even claiming this week that some had already been told of the government's decision). That will be the next watershed for this club... and for Bill Kenwright and we should be hearing about it very soon now...

Meanwhile, there's interesting contribution to this thread (the first entry below), in the form of a little timewarp back to 1999, and an article that appeared in the now dead fanzine, Speke from the Harbour... reproduced here without permission:

Reader Comments

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Cathal O'Neill
Editorial Team
1   Posted 03/10/2009 at 01:51:29

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The author is currently in the witness protection program and must remain anonymous behind this assumed name but he is well respected as something of a visionary and more locally as a land baron. — Editor's Note.

Come December of this year, Bill Kenwright will have been in control of the destiny of Everton Football Club for 10 years. In preparation for this milestone, I was searching through my BK file and can across this article entitled ‘Not a bad bit of business’ which was published in an Everton fanzine back in December 1999:


Obviously there will be differences of opinion regarding the clarity of the insight of the unknown author. But was it a not a bad piece of business for Bill?

For the record, in 2001, the club sold Ball to Rangers for £6.5 million and Jeffers to Arsenal for £8.0 million. Of course, both Unsworth and Simonsen stayed until 2004. Also Bellefield has remained on the books.

I have summarised Wikipedia’s entry summarising his term. It reads: Bill Kenwright secured 68% of Everton from Peter Johnson for £20 million in late-1999. In January 2000, he formed True Blue (Holdings) Ltd. Under True Blue's ownership the club spent money it did not have on Collins, Dacourt and Materazzi. NTL was expected to pay £20.0 million for shares in Everton but later withdrew from the deal leaving the club in crisis as it had already spent the money.

Everton were forced to sell the players a year later. Mr Kenwright sacked Walter Smith in March 2001 and appointed David Moyes. In 2003, he attempted to relocate Everton to the Kings Dock but the move fell through after a public feud with Paul Gregg. The Greggs later sold their shares to Robert Earl and Kenwright repaid his loan from Anita Gregg using money borrowed from Philip Green.

In early-2004, the club was close to filing for administration as it grew perilously close to exhausting its £5.0 million overdraft provided by Barclays Bank. In February 2004, it borrowed £10 million from Singer & Friedlander. Mr Kenwright described the loan as ‘an advance from Sky’ Shortly afterwards, Rooney was sold to Manchester United and the loan was repaid.

In 2007, Mr Kenwright announced that he would like to relocate the club to outside of the city boundaries as part of Destination Kirkby. At the second EGM held under his tenure, Mr Kenwright revealed that he would be looking for a new owner for the club. Many consider this a smokescreen until the Destination Kirby enquiry is closed.

It is anticipated that a 'yes' decision certain to bring more investment to Everton and enable him and his co-investors to walk away with a handsome profit.

Now be honest, was it or was it not a bad bit of business?

Steven Jones
2   Posted 03/10/2009 at 02:51:09

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Yes a very good piece of businss for both the investor and also the club and fans considering the progress in 10 years moving from the abyss to potential true greatness again with Everton competing in the top 4-6, back in cup finals, competing regulalry in Europe and a squad now truly capable of taking on four fronts and winning things regularly.

In the light of the ever increased financial competition and might of the top 4 plus Man City and Aston Villa getting new monies and having seen off Leeds and Newcastles huge investments.... this is no little achievement over ten years.
David McKitt
3   Posted 02/10/2009 at 16:23:36

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I thought it was an interesting article on Kenwright at the BBC sie:

"He may not satisfy all of the Everton fans, but most recognise that he's one of them. "

Gavin Ramejkis
4   Posted 02/10/2009 at 16:35:36

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That BBC article is one-sided utter twaddle. Not surprising from one of his friends at the Beeb but I almost gagged reading this utter one-sided twaddle.
Matt Traynor
5   Posted 03/10/2009 at 04:26:15

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"Interesting" point in the Pearce article is that he states that Bill could’ve sold to potential buyers before, but didn’t think they were the right sort.

We’ve heard that time and time again from contributors to this site, but as they won’t give up their sources, they are discounted.

So come on Pearce, name them or STFU...
Mike Dillon
6   Posted 03/10/2009 at 04:40:24

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Surely... isn’t this all conjecture? The only people that know what has gone on is the select few in the Everton boardroom. Chinese whispers can spread far, even from people "in the know".

I heard from someone "in the know" that we were going to be bought out by a Russian superbillionaire last season. That happened. Really.

Aren’t all of these articles pure pro- or anti- Kenwright propaganda?
Richard Jones
7   Posted 03/10/2009 at 04:45:53

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Steve — Please don't mix up Moyes’s success, on the pitch, with Bill and his friends rather under-handed and elaborate money making scam, using his beloved Everton and the trust of those who blindly support him.
Matt Traynor
8   Posted 03/10/2009 at 04:32:02

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Another interesting snippet, in Asia there’s a TV program called "First Edition" on a Friday which looks at the UK press reports about the Premier League, and major European Leagues (basically, the mainstay of Sky and ESPN’s coverage).

It’s quite an OK watch - the guy fronting it in ESPN is a well respected journalist / pundit / presenter, and the UK contact is good old Richard Keys.

Last night one of the points for discussion was Portsmouth’s situation. The question was is al-Fahim a "Stalking Horse" for other bidders. (Some of you may have been interested in the "fit and proper" debate, and the use of people to "front" ownership of clubs. Case in Point — Carson Yeung is only a minority shareholder of Hong Kong-based Grandtop, who themselves have a company valuation of GBP £50M — less than the £80M price for Birmunum Satay)

Anyway, my question is, has Bill (in fairness recognising he doesn’t have the financial clout — which we all know anyway), morphed himself into a stalking horse for others?

Secondly, Richard Keys (when talking about the Portsmouth situation) dropped the snippet that this year’s advance Sky payment in late August was GBP 35m - about half of what the bottom club would get from the TV deal this year.

Two points arise:
- Surely we must be on for a record turnover this year...
- So Moyes spent the Lescott money and that’s it. If player trading is assumed to be neutral then next year’s financial report must be stunning. And we’ll know about Kirkby by then, and how we’re paying for our share.
Steven Jones
9   Posted 03/10/2009 at 08:02:25

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Understand your point and the difference - it does take a brave Chairman to select a Championship side manager, to see the potential in Moyes and then back him through thick and thin — a consistent chairman is something that not many of the clubs have had and envy this stability at Everton.

As Mike Dillon has said above please don’t also believe the proganda of underhanded dealings and money making claims to be 100% either. Kirkby etc is not palatable to any of us, nor is an investor that blows up after a while and ruins what we have.

All the in the know conjecture is just that — simply conjecture. What I do not want to see is Everton fans turning into Barcodes, Kopites etc and spending all of our time playing hate games with individuals that are serving our club — it was not how I was brought up as an Evertonian and does not make for good balanced reading.

All opinions are valid and worth listening to but it does get tiresome when people make extreme comments and point to non-proven facts. Who to believe? I look at the progress on the field.
Steve Pugh
10   Posted 03/10/2009 at 08:20:50

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Matt Traynor, the group that took over Notts County had reportedly approached Kenwright before moving eastwards (source most of the British media). Considering that one of the group is now under investigation by the FA for being unfit to run a club. I would say that Kenwright did well to say no.
Neil Pearse
11   Posted 03/10/2009 at 08:17:38

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Pretty fair and balanced piece I think Michael, raising some pretty good questions, especially about Green and Earl.

My view has always been that I am much more interested in the reality of Everton’s actual competitive situation, than about all the speculation and the psychologizing and moralizing about Kenwright’s personality or morals. PR fluffing and spinning is, unfortunately, the condition of our age — no point getting too worked up about it. There are much more important things at stake.

To be honest, I don’t care that much either for whether or not Kenwright is a ’true blue’ or not — as many have rightly said; ’so am I, but that doesn’t make me a good owner of Everton Football Club’. So I think Pearce’s article in the Beeb is a bunch of cringe-making sentimental twaddle. Kenwright should be judged on performance not on intentions. (And if he’d shut his gob more often and spare us the gushing, I for one would be much happier.)

So when we look at the realities of what has happened to our club under Kenwright, what do we see? One almighty failure to be sure — King’s Dock. Again, we can all speculate on the blame, but the reality is that we missed the opportunity under his watch of getting a world class stadium which could have transformed our fortunes — and we shouldn’t have missed it. Huge failure, no excuses.

Since then? I find it hard to reach any other judgement than mixed to positive. In essence, we have failed to break into the top four (or five), but have established a respected position just below, and not collapsed or fallen into disastrous ownership like so many clubs around us. Our financial position is poor but not perilous. That all represents to my mind a pretty decent achievement.

The Green and Earl stuff is of course extremely interesting, but I think it is important to neither get it out of perspective or in effect pre-judge it. There is a lot of pious tut-tutting on this site about them being Spurs fans and bankrolling the club etc. First of all, if these guys have helped us buy a lot of players we otherwise wouldn’t have got — that’s a positive in my book. I prefer having better players at our club. I don’t care that much where the money comes from, as long as it enables our club to keep competing. (Green’s money is no better or worse to me than Arab money or Russian money or Yank money — none of it is ’pure’ in any sense: if you want ’pure’, join a monastery).

But — I hear the cries — what is he ’getting’ for this? Well the reality so far is that no-one can point to any reality in which Green is getting anything that is harming our club. Despite the wilder fantasies and conspiracy theories on here, he of course is not in any way siphoning off money illegally from the club or anything of that sort. I don’t think he’d quite get away with that (or again — it’s rather laughable that a man as rich is Green is taking money from ’little old Everton’, spare change for him).

Even the idea that ’he is getting Kirkby’ needs a bit of looking at. First of all because some of us believe that we don’t have any other affordable alternatives to Kirkby anyway. He’s not exactly preventing us from getting another King’s Dock. Secondly because a man as powerful as Philip Green hardly needs Bill Kenwright to do him any favours — quite the reverse, as we see.

I would say the jury is out on Green, because we know so little. And in some real sense still on Kenwright too. King’s Dock was a major failure, but since then he has got the club into a decent position. I think it is clear that he has to go, because he simply does not have the financial resources to run a major modern sports franchise. That seems to me indisputable, whatever gushing Jonathan Pearce may have on the subject.

In the end, the proof of the pudding for us Evertonians is in the eating — not in all the psychologizing and moralizing and emotional guff (either from the likes of Pearce or from those who ’can’t stand Black Bill’). If Kenwright sells on to a ’good’ owner, who has the money to take us on, and who does not pile debt on us or do a runner like so many others — he will have done a bloody good job. If he (or Green, or Earl or anyone else) makes a lot of money in the process — well, what the hell did anyone expect in today’s world?

As Michael says, we seem to be entering the final act in the Kenwright threatrical production. The reality is that he could still turn out to be hero or villain.
Art Jones
12   Posted 03/10/2009 at 08:41:46

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According to Deloittes, for DK to generate £5m extra per season the stadium will have to average 47,000 fans through the turnstiles per season. Can anybody, hand on heart, honestly see this happening when our closest opponents, Villa, City and Spurs are far more financially stable than ourselves and are much more able to enhance their playing squads and indeed offer some of our better players a salary they cannot refuse?

DK will not attract investment as it’s not expandable and tied to Tesco for 25 years, there is no feasible transport plan in place and many existing fans will refuse to go to Kirkby out of principle. Kenwright / Green / Earl or whoever has thrust this on us on a "world class, free" ticket ... I, for one have already informed the club that, if we move, I will not renew my season ticket and I will not go to that excuse for a stadium.

Guy Hastings
13   Posted 03/10/2009 at 09:10:03

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Two points:
The Pearce piece was the worst piece of journalism I’ve read on the BBC site for many a season. And that includes Lawrenson’s predictions. Any half-decent sub would have whittled it down to a 50-word intro and then asked Pearce where the interview was.

As for BK, my jury is still out, though I hold no brief for DK. However, in the light of Portsmouth, the Dark Side, Notts County, Southampton etc, those crying for a buy-out should be erring on the side of caution. Those of a certain vintage will recall Michael Knighton’s ball-juggling in front of the Stretford End as he sought to take over Man Utd. How would history have been written if that little deal hadn’t fallen through?

Richard Dodd
14   Posted 03/10/2009 at 09:23:44

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I know only too well that it is unfashionable to show support for Bill Kenwright. There are those amongst us who would not have hesitated to sell the Club to a Guydemark or a Goodmunson — or even an Ashley had his tentative approach met with any enthusiasm.

That Kenwright resisted such overtures — and they did come his way — can only be testimony that he really does care for our club and is anxious to see it stay in caring hands.

Whether or not he got the deal of the century when he ’purchased’ Everton or whether he’s waiting for that with the building of Kirkby matters not. There was no queue waiting to save us from Johnson, no other Chairman had taken a punt on Moyes, and very few other chairmen do that job at their own expense.

Kenwright may not be everyone’s cup of tea but, all-in-all, he hasn’t done badly by Everton and we should all be thankful we’ve still got a club to be proud of.

Chris Lawlor
15   Posted 03/10/2009 at 09:48:41

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Taking everything into account with the current overall situation at our clubs and then comparing it to the rest of our league, I actually see us as being in rude health.

As was stated above, I do not want us turning into a franchise or have fans like those across the park or on the Tyne. Everton are better than that.

As with everything else with our club, the transition is going to take time and heartache but I believe we’ll get there and for now I believe that, in his heart of hearts, Bill wants the same. Give me him any day above Roman, Hicks, Ashley, Mansour etc.

Tom Hughes
16   Posted 03/10/2009 at 10:23:37

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I can almost understand people playing the loyalty card for a fellow Evertonain time and again, but Michael’s article isn’t really about BK’s blue credentials.... more the pretence they underpin in Pearce’s gushing comments.

The psychological effect of fronting the club with BK cannot be underestimated, and is here for all to see. Does anyone seriously think the board’s business performance over the past 10 years would be so readily swept under the carpet if Green or Earl were the actual figureheads? I doubt it very much.

The board are there to run the business and supply the funds for the manager, and few would argue that one of the lowest nett spends in the league, year after year, and an ever-growing debt is indicative of a great business performance. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t envy their predicament in running a multi-million pound operation without the resources, and there is an apparent stability...... but this is fragile because it is false.

Too many mix DM’s successful wheeling and dealing, miracle-working on a tight budget, with the perceived success of the board. Yes, they kept faith with him during his one poor season, but didn’t he earn that the year before? Couldn’t it equally be said they kept misplaced faith with Walter Smith for long enough? Indicating they’ve hardly been brimming with choices or assertive decision-making qualities throughout the process.

As far as not wanting a Roman or whoever, can you imagine what Moyes could’ve done with a tiny fraction of the money they have lavished on their clubs, or just the £20m+ that was supposed to be available this season? Would we really be still chasing the pack now, or firmly established in it? There is far too much historical substance in Michael’s article for it to be mere conjecture IMO.

Dave Lucas
17   Posted 03/10/2009 at 10:58:27

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I still can't believe it when I hear people say, "I will not go to that excuse for a stadium." (Art Jones). I will go to anywhere to watch Everton play and where they play has no relevance to my love for this football club.
Tom Hughes
18   Posted 03/10/2009 at 11:04:53

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"There is a lot of pious tut-tutting on this site about them being Spurs fans and bankrolling the club etc. First of all, if these guys have helped us buy a lot of players we otherwise wouldn’t have got — that’s a positive in my book. I prefer having better players at our club. I don’t care that much where the money comes from, as long as it enables our club to keep competing. (Green’s money is no better or worse to me than Arab money or Russian money or Yank money — none of it is ’pure’ in any sense: if you want ’pure’, join a monastery)."

It’s not "pious tut-tutting" to question the motives of people who are either not prepared to put their names to things and/or who seek to create or hide behind a puppet chairman. Nothing to do with "business purity" at all, just the selling of, or the belief in the lie that all decision-making is by dyed in the wool Evertonians who began their apprenticeship in the Boys Pen... so we can drop that smoke screen for starters.

"But — I hear the cries — what is he ’getting’ for this? Well the reality so far is that no-one can point to any reality in which Green is getting anything that is harming our club. Despite the wilder fantasies and conspiracy theories on here, he of course is not in any way siphoning off money illegally from the club or anything of that sort. I don’t think he’d quite get away with that (or again — it’s rather laughable that a man as rich is Green is taking money from ’little old Everton’, spare change for him)."

Again, no-one has suggested syphoning of funds so why bring it up other than to offer a non-argument? That said, the "not bad business" assertion regarding the relatively cheap acquisition of the club is pretty solid IMO, they will not lose on any investment because they got their shares for a song.

"Even the idea that ’he is getting Kirkby’ needs a bit of looking at. First of all because some of us believe that we don’t have any other affordable alternatives to Kirkby anyway. He’s not exactly preventing us from getting another King’s Dock. Secondly because a man as powerful as Philip Green hardly needs Bill Kenwright to do him any favours — quite the reverse, as we see."

Erm, I think you’ll find the whole DK project, which Green is a major beneficiary of, is tied to an exclusivity agreement that precisely prevents us from getting another Kings Dock — or anything else for that matter. That whole retail project requires the stadium as a technical loophole to gain planning permission... not even Greens or Tesco’s vast wealth can build their shops anywhere... we are in effect their enabling package.

So, yes we are doing him a favour I’d say... and what are we getting in return...? The cost of a plot that quite frankly is valueless without us, so hardly supporting the "no-affordable-alternatives" assertion that to date you have NEVER been able to back up once!

Tom Hughes
19   Posted 03/10/2009 at 11:41:04

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If people feel they have been lied to or let down they are well within their rights to withdraw their support...

If they believe the end product is not desirable or too big a departure from what they hold dear then they may be able to justify that stance in their own minds. Not everyone is prepared to follow blindly on, otherwise we would fill the ground every week regardless of results, and we would never have seen the likes of 13k turnouts in the early 80s.

Also, on a more practical point, not everyone will be prepared to accept the reduced convenience of getting to a peripheral site with a vastly inferior public transport capacity, otherwise we would have 35,000+ people applying for tickets to Wigan away, just 20 mins down the road... we don’t.

Steven Jones
20   Posted 03/10/2009 at 11:58:06

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You are probably a genuine nice guy and loyal blue but once again you talk about underhanded exclusivity deals etc. which there is no evidence of whatsoever. If you have some real information and sourced and validated then please share.

Otherwise stop fabricating things that do not exist and claiming motivations by people that you do not represent.

It is very see through, painful to read and embarrasing that fellow Evertonians cannot stick to reality and fair and straight comment. You are entitled to your opinion but not present conjecture as fact.
Tom Hughes
21   Posted 03/10/2009 at 12:14:22

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The exclusivity agreement is fact and not conjecture at all.

Whether I’m a nice guy or not is however both painfully and embarrassingly irrelevant!
Chris Leyland
22   Posted 03/10/2009 at 13:18:13

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Michael very early on his article stated:
"I’ve been watching from a distance, these past 10 to 15 years... neither lover nor hater..."

I was half expecting a balanced article on ther back of this but instead got something that raised more questions than answers and was full of what can, at best, be described as conjecture and veiled insults of Kenwright. Quoting that well-known beacon of truth Wikapedia did it for me.

The only "fact" we can establish from this very long article by Michael is that Bill Kenwright is the chairman of Everton. Everything else is just waffle.
Howard Don
23   Posted 03/10/2009 at 13:48:20

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Cathal O’Neil - off subject really, but I’m sure that Wikipedia entry is incorrect (no surprise there). I’m sure we bought Dacourt, Collins and Materazzi when Peter Johnson arrived, not when BK and True Blue took over.
Tom Hughes
24   Posted 03/10/2009 at 13:48:24

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I note you don’t label Pearce’s article as waffle despite the complete absence of figures and historical facts but reference to a cowboy film analogy only..... yet you can discern regarding Wikapedia’s credibility!?

Would some people’s heads be so firmly planted in the sand if it wasn’t for DM’s one-man prompted feel good factor. I doubt it!
Michael Kenrick
Editorial Team
25   Posted 03/10/2009 at 14:21:43

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Howard Don, you are right; I hadn’t spotted that. All three players were bought in 1998, long before the TBH takeover (although long after Peter Johnson took over too, so you are not right either!).
Michael Kenrick
Editorial Team
26   Posted 03/10/2009 at 14:35:16

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Thanks for your comments, Chris. Since you presumably have some interest in the subject matter, what do you think Sir Phillip Green is doing behind the scenes?

Maintaining the note on Bill’s original loan to buy the club? Providing cash and loan guarantees to Bill on a regular basis to keep the club afloat? Working with Tesco and Sir Terry to get a nice big piece of the retail action at Destination Kirkby?

All conjecture I know... but why is he involved with Everton FC? Or are you not that curious?
Howard Don
27   Posted 03/10/2009 at 15:26:47

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Michael - Yes you’re right, thinking about it the three players were signed after Walter Smith took over. I knew it was after some "new broom" took over. I remember driving back the Saturday of first game of the season from a break in the Lakes, just to see the new arrivals. The atmosphere was electric, but we only drew, did Collins miss a penalty or have I imagined that to?

Sadly it was another false dawn and the wheels soon fell off.
Danny Jones
28   Posted 03/10/2009 at 15:57:48

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Out of interest can anybody point me in the direction of the proposed Kirby development ? Or can anybody tell me which other businesses apart from Everton and Tesco will be present?

Also Michael, using Wikipedia as a source is very poor surely you as an editor of a website should know this?
Michael Kenrick
Editorial Team
29   Posted 03/10/2009 at 17:21:54

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Sorry Danny, I forgot the smartarses of this world don’t believe anything on Wikipedia. Here’s the original reference, as provided by Wikipedia, and retrievable via t’internt:

In February 2000 when True Blue, formed the previous month, bought the club the offer document issued by accountants Grant Thornton spelt out the contribution Anita Gregg was making. She was shown to have 17.57 per cent of True Blue (Holdings) Ltd, exactly the same percentage as her husband. Their joint holding was, therefore, marginally higher than the 35.13 per cent held by Kenwright.

The offer document also said that Anita Gregg had arranged a further £2.5 million of committed facilities ( in plain language lent money) for True Blue which, it is intended, will be refinanced in due course.

I understand that Mrs Gregg also lent Kenwright money to help him finance his share of True Blue. It could have been as much as £7 million. She may also have lent other directors money.
That’s from the Daily Telegraph’s Mihir Bose, in this article "Director’s wife holds the purse strings at Goodison".
David Oliver
30   Posted 03/10/2009 at 09:14:18

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Is it me or is this BBC article by Jonathan Pearce just a little bit too much? I can't stand Pearce and his faux Motson commentary style and this article typifies why.

It nice to hear good things said about the club (including its chairman constituted entirely of marmite — love him or hate him!) but I felt very un-easy reading this... A nice big pat on the head and a playful ruffle of the hair for little old Everton.

Pearce's one eyed assesment is verging incredibly patronizing and one wonders about the motives and timing of the article. Are these two luvvies in cahoots or am I being dirty minded?

Ciarán McGlone
31   Posted 03/10/2009 at 17:28:08

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Interesting and well scripted piece...

But it leaves one obvious question... If indeed the premise of the article is true — and Kenwright is merely a front — Does that actually make his tenure ’more palatable’ or does that actually make it less palatable — because that would represent one seriously huge piece of misrepresentation... and perhaps his greatest work.
Neil Pearse
32   Posted 03/10/2009 at 18:50:27

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Tom, on a few of your points.

Firstly, on the siphoning of money to Green - that’s what someone did claim very recently on this very site.

Second, on ’not under-estimating the effects of Bill fronting the club’... What does this mean? Does it mean we would be better having a lot of other Premier League owners ’fronting’ our club? As is clear, I have a lot of criticisms of Kenwright, but I’d be interested in your views on the ’psychological effects’ of having the owners at Liverpool, Portsmouth, West Ham, and Newcastle (amongst others) ’fronting our club’. It really could be a very great deal worse, Tom.

On Green, I would love to know more too. I fully agree with you that the idea of all ’true blue Evertonians’ running our club is sentimental twaddle. But as I say, I don’t much care. It’s the performance of our club I care about.

And on Green — I’ve said I don’t know of any harm he has already caused our club, or is about to cause our club — do you? Can you tell me what it is?

The whole Green thing is not so much a WHOdunnit as a WHATdunnit. All the innuendo is there — power behind the throne, pulling the strings etc. etc.. So we all know WHO is the guilty man — Green. But WHAT has he done that is so bad? Utter silence! He’s helped us buy some players, good, and then he’s.... (please anyone fill in the dots). Maybe there is some terrible disaster he is about to inflict on our club. I’d just like to know what it is. Again, the idea that Green has gone to all the trouble of getting involved with Everton just to get one more shop in Kirkby — it’s not very likely, is it?

And Tom, if you still think that we could afford to pay the £200M+ we would need for another stadium in the city (I think KEIOC put the number at £250M) — then I can only say that after all this time you are yet to grasp the first essential point driving this situation: WE ARE NOT VERY RICH.

That is why Kirkby is all we can afford. We are not planning to go there because Kenwright likes the neighbourhood. One day you really have to try to get your head around this. If we had more money we would be building on Stanley Park. Kenwright would make a lot more money from selling the club then. But we don’t have the money. We really don’t. Really. Time to wake up and stop daydreaming.
Dennis Stevens
33   Posted 03/10/2009 at 19:11:45

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Although the various snippets of information & misinformation about Kenwright & the Board are of some interest, of course, I find this continual revisiting of Kenwright’s tenure rather pointless. Very little ever seems to be added to the debate nowadays, which means most people aren’t going to alter their view much either way & it now seems a tad pointless as the situation at Board level may well change fairly soon if DK proceeds or falls through.
As an aside, seeing as Neil Pearse raised it, even if all we did was much as proposed for the new stadium in Kirkby — why does anybody imagine this would cost a lot more inside the city boundary instead of outside?
Michael Kenrick
Editorial Team
34   Posted 03/10/2009 at 19:47:33

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You’ve gone rather melodramatic there, Neil.

My thinking was, if Green is pulling the strings, it rather lets Bill off the hook to an extent. It makes it possible for me to finally believe "he’s not in it for the money" — a claim which is frankly risible for anyone with ostensibly that significant a wedge invested in the club. But, if it really is Green’s money that’s invested, and not Kenwright’s... and if, as you say, Everton is ’small change’ for Green — then the momentary imperative can be down-played while keeping a straight face.

Sure there are those who will lambaste poor Bill whatever the circumstances but if the power really rests with Green then surely, as a retail magnate, he must have a lot of interest in the retail portion of Destination Kirkby that extends beyond the doors of the Tesco Megastore. Was the ownership, rental and income on these units raised at the inquiry? Is it a decent enough wedge to justify Green’s (and Earl’s?) interest in this project?

More to the point, if a stadium is needed to make DK work, and the return for the club is a paltry £5M annually, is the real money to be found elsewhere? And does that provide a more rational basis for this strange project being pursued by our powers behind the throne?

Regarding your point of there being no damage to the club, what if the ridiculous stadium is merely an adjunct to get this far bigger(?) retail park off the ground? Isn’t there a risk we’re just being used?
Neil Pearse
35   Posted 03/10/2009 at 20:37:02

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Yes, you are right on the melodrama Michael. After debating this issue for two years on here, there is nothing that drives me crazier than having experienced posters seem ignorant of the fact that we are actually very constrained financially. Suggesting that maybe we could afford a much more expensive stadium in the city — it does tend after all this time to make you give up the will to live.

Fair questions, Michael. I think though there is something worth noticing in your basic premise. That Kirkby is "this strange project" and "a ridiculous stadium". If you start there (something TRULY weird is happening...), then of course you need some explanation from somewhere, however unfounded and conspiratorial, to explain matters.

But here’s a simpler premise, requiring no creative feats of imagination. Kirkby is exactly what it appears to be. The club decided some years ago that it needed a new ground. Nothing weird so far. We disastrously failed to land King’s Dock. We are pretty hard up and can’t afford much. We never found anything in the city that we could get for less than £100M (because quite obviously there isn’t anything). We found Kirkby. We decided to go for it.

Add in that Kenwright knows he needs to sell up and is not averse to making quite a bit of money on whatever stake he has (he could fund lots of exciting new musicals then...). And as you say yourself: selling a new ground in Kirkby is going to be a lot easier than selling an increasingly dilapidated GP.

Anyway, on my little story Kirkby’s not really that strange then after all. So we don’t need all these creative and convoluted explanations after all.

On Green by the way, I just don’t that an extra shop or two in Kirkby could be that important to him that he would go to all the trouble of effectively bankrolling our football club. That makes no sense to me. Earl is a smaller fish, so the quid pro quo argument makes more sense with him.

Having said all this, I am not a great fan of Kirkby. I think it is a symbol of how far our club has fallen behind the top clubs in our league. But I don’t buy the conspiracy theories all around it. They are not needed when there is a much simpler and less exotic explanation.

And simply wishing that we were richer than we are and could do things we can’t — well, that really doesn’t get us very far does it?
Ed Bottomley
36   Posted 01/10/2009 at 12:48:08

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In light of Sol Campbell waltzing away from Notts County, and Svennis admitting that he hasn't ever met the owners of the Club — with murky promises about players coming in made to both men — what does everyone think about the hoopla made on this site about BK supposedly turning these "billionaires" down?
Chris Butler
37   Posted 03/10/2009 at 22:28:15

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Well, our lack of nouse to secure Van der Vaart, Defour or even Jenas struck me as a club that has been within a few points from the top four but has such little money.

What fans are forgetting is all the money generated by the FA Cup schemes should have given us at least £2 milliion. I believe personally why did we get a Russian player, a young lad who probably would involve lots of extra expense, when we could've got Van der Vaart, an internationally experienced player, or Stephen Defour who engineered our exit out of the Uefa cup last season, for half the price.

Many possible investors are put off by our ground as it is not exactly a mega consumer product with no retail or dining facilities in the local Walton area.

I may be missing the point here but when 45% voted not to go to Kirkby almost 10,000 of our regular match going fans... we barely get an average of 35,000 fans in Goodison — where else are we going to get 20,000 fans? Unless admission prices are slashed severley we will barely get 20,000 in the new ground. Also, Kirkby is north for the majority of fans that means almost I'd guess 25,000 fans travelling in the same direction for each game.

I propose with the regeneration of L4 L5 L6 we should take advantage of this and move to the Scotland Road site which is better for nearly everyone bar those who live in Kirkby. Also what you have to remeber is many fans nowadays just go straight into the ground maybe go to McDonalds or a local chippy, or even take butties — this also restricts Everton's financial gain as Man U do with official food outlets.
Tom Hughes
38   Posted 03/10/2009 at 21:13:13

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"On ’not under-estimating the effects of Bill fronting the club’... What does this mean? Does it mean we would be better having a lot of other Premier League owners ’fronting’ our club?"

I might not have explained myself very well, but the point I was making was that some of the goings on or misgivings even you mention are patently more palatable with many fans due to the fact of having a card-carrying, fully fledged member of our flock "apparently" at the helm. Working on the simple premise that it is far easier to get "one of their own to sell" an idea to the masses.

If, however, outsiders are really pulling the strings, then we should know... if only because they may have ulterior motives that won't necessarily be in the club’s best interest medium to long term, and the old boy’s pen anecdotes can finally consigned to the file marked irrelevant.

Somehow, I’ve a feeling an Earl- or Green-led scheme or the general board failings you mention would be far less well received.

"And on Green — I’ve said I don’t know of any harm he has already caused our club, or is about to cause our club — do you? Can you tell me what it is?"

Relocation is probably the biggest single thing to happen to our club in its history. When that relocation is on the back of a retail-led project as opposed to a stadium-led one, to a site that contradicts all modern stadium design and planning philosophy, I say the potential for HARM is very significant..... and I’d challenge you as I have done several times before to find anyone in stadium planning to say different. See what Simon Inglis wrote within an instant of hearing these plans. Round peg square hole!

"But WHAT has he done that is so bad? Utter silence! He’s helped us buy some players, good, and then he’s.... (please anyone fill in the dots). Maybe there is some terrible disaster he is about to inflict on our club. I’d just like to know what it is. Again, the idea that Green has gone to all the trouble of getting involved with Everton just to get one more shop in Kirkby — it’s not very likely, is it?"

It’s precisely what he proposes to inflict on us that bothers me. Green has helped his old mate stay in place, fair enough that’s what mates are for, I suppose... but let’s face it, he can’t lose financially. It’s you who keep spouting about his wealth, just as others kept mentioning Tesco’s massive wealth, only to find that it is an irrelevance, we are still paying practically the entire construction costs of DK and they were contributing precisely zero.

Similarly, where was Green’s wealth when Kings Dock was under threat and Gregg was ousted by it? Or was the fact that the enabling was already tied up with that, and not retail —based a contributing factor?

"And Tom, if you still think that we could afford to pay the £200M+ we would need for another stadium in the city (I think KEIOC put the number at £250M) — then I can only say that after all this time you are yet to grasp the first essential point driving this situation: WE ARE NOT VERY RICH."

Firstly Neil, I think this illustrates in one go that it is you who has failed to grasp the fundamentals here. There are several options that can see EFC realise 50k+ seats and additional facilities for similar or even lesser amounts than that needed for DK. You actually keep mentioning one yourself but suddenly forgot it only a few paragraphs later. Kings Dock magically generated the vast majority of the stadium cost on a much smaller plot than DK. This was achieved because the development value of high end multi-storey downtown projects outstrips out-of-town single-storey retail sheds many times over..... therefore the reference to £200-250m stadium costs by the likes of KEIOC, and the fact that they are far more recoverable there..... hence also the Bestway initial figures stating the club’s contribution for their proposals to be of the order of £60-65m.

Two years ago, you were one of those telling us all DK would pay for itself because Wyness told you so, you eventually had to drop that one. Who was daydreaming then?

From a more basic angle though, it should also be remembered that if Barr can build 50k new seats at Kirkby for £100m (£2k per seat), they can add 15-20,000 high quality seats to Goodison and eradicate many of the existing poor views for far less using any number of design approaches... all the time preserving history, and not imposing the horrendous gamble of locating away from the centre of our main catchment at a grossly inadequately served peripheral location.

You admit yourself it is not ideal, I’d go much further and say that it is potentially catastrophic, and would quote Simon Inglis the world renowned stadium expert in saying that we should be "very worried" at the prospect. Furthermore, if you need cost comparisons check out the redevelopment proposals at both Sheffield clubs where increased capacity will be achieved at substantially lower costs than that.....

This is not daydreaming, these are the facts, conveniently washed over by you every time! That is all before you include the increased value factoring and operational efficiency of any more centrally located stadium, or the value intrinsic to preservation of History and heritage and of the interactive duopolly with our nearest rivals and the shared increased infrastructure.

Kirkby doesn’t even come close on any count! Unfortunately its getting increasingly apparent that you cannot accept your initial mistake in voting yes for a scheme that you were grossly misinformed about..... I’m really not prepared to accept DK because of your hurt ego, I value the future of EFC much higher than that!

Chris Butler
39   Posted 03/10/2009 at 22:41:55

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Bill Kenwright cannot be blamed for Everton and in fairness Evertonians being behind the times.

If Everton's new ground come through, I think we should go the way of Schalke in Germany, having a clubhouse, fans meetings, a terrace behind 1 goal, organising charity events in the ground, and making it a very enjoyable day out.

What strikes me about Everton is that it's a very unfriendly away ground although if you are used to it, it's bearable. But to continue to have large parts of our ground, mainly on the Bullens Road side, obstructed is unfair considering the price you pay for tickets nowadays.

Everton's frankly awful parking system nowhere near the ground. Probably the funniest programmes on display in the club shop but not for sale... as the guy said we’re the shoddiest club in the league. When Benfica fans come to Goodison, some will only be able to admire dried up 70s Dulux paint from the back of lower bullens.

Our concourse facilities are probably only matched by West Ham, the food on sale forces many to spend outside the ground, generating no profit for our club. The local area is just not friendly to corporates or for any of the high-end market that Spurs have made almost £4 million from this season.
Neil Pearse
40   Posted 03/10/2009 at 22:52:11

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Tom - I never ever believed that Kirkby would be "virtually free" and so did not vote for it on that basis. I voted for it because - my first choice of a ground share being apparently unavailability - I believed that is was probably the only new ground that we could afford. I still believe that.

If all these wonderful opportunities are available to us in the city (even the Loop gets resurrected again!), please explain to me Tom why Kenwright has not taken them up? He would make LOTS more money out of them than by going to Kirkby. He would also be able to avoid all this fan hassle, and appear even more of an Evertonian sentimentalist to all the fans.

Why are we going to Kirkby if we could get a much better ground in the city for little more cost and much more revenue, and make Bill much more money? (Please: no crazy conspiracy theories.)
Tom Hughes
41   Posted 03/10/2009 at 23:24:51

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"If all these wonderful opportunities are available to us in the city (even the Loop gets resurrected again!), please explain to me Tom why Kenwright has not taken them up? He would make LOTS more money out of them than by going to Kirkby. He would also be able to avoid all this fan hassle, and appear even more of an Evertonian sentimentalist to all the fans."

Could it be the same plain incompetence that helped bring us mistakes like KD which you admit too? Could it be that he is beholden to Green who you admit has underwritten much of his tenure and who will get shops he can never get without EFC? or Earl or Leahy or whoever..... the main point is I gave you 2 current examples of clubs who are redeveloping for far less than DK will cost us.... I can give you several more. Perhaps the fact that the club haven’t even got a proper independent study of redevelopment of GP let alone any other site might explain their motives and indeed their ignorance.... no conspiracy theory required I’m afraid!
Chris Leyland
42   Posted 04/10/2009 at 00:12:33

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Michael -

Firsly, I don’t know what Philip Green’s actual involvement in the club is. I could speculate but then that would be pointless as whatever I said would be exactly that, speculation. It won’t actually make a jot of difference as to what happens with him and Everton so what’s the point?

Secondly, if he actually was the "power behind the throne" then has he been subjected to the fit and proper person test that the Premier League has? I don’t know but again I could speculate.

Thirdly, what is he hoping to get from his involvement in Everton? Maybe he is hoping that secretly pumping his cash into the 10th best supported club in England with a turnover of just over £75million will somehow add to his £4.43billion fortune? Or maybe he is banking on another Topshop being opened in Kirkby as the final piece in his business jigsaw? Point is it is again all pointless speculation.

Chris Leyland
43   Posted 04/10/2009 at 00:21:45

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Tom Hughes I didn’t describe Pearce’s article as waffle as I didn’t bother reading it. I don’t give a shit about what some no-mark ponce from the BBC has to say about Kenwright and Everton as it makes no difference to me or my life. At the end of the day I support Everton, always have and always will. Whatever anyone writes about them won’t change that.

However, despite this, I do read ToffeeWeb avidly and feel that at times Michael is too "anti-club". By that I mean the board rather than the team and I am in no way questioning his support for the blues. He did write earlier in the season in an impassioned summary of a debate that he started about ToffeeWeb being negative or positive that he would seperate his own personal views from that of the role editor but he seems not to have done this in the article above which is why I felt the need to respond.

Again, it won’t make any differecne to the fact that I love Everton.

Tom Hughes
44   Posted 04/10/2009 at 00:27:11

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I think he’s in line to get a far bigger slice of DK than just another Top shop. This place is supposed to be about half the size of the Trafford Centre and he’ll probably own a sizeable chunk of the retail.... like we say in the jet set..... look after your millions and the billions will look after themselves!

The point is... he’ll get none of that if the stadium isn’t included (hopefully, he’ll not get it anyway), and he didn’t get his wealth from squandering such opportunities. So, if he is pulling the strings, wouldn’t that represent a conflict of interest? Do you honestly believe he would have received a yes vote if he’d sold it that way?

Of course you are right though, this is just speculation... however, it is underpinned by several irregularities and mystifying ownership/share transactions and an out-of-town stadium project that would not see the light of day at any other major club.

However, It cannot detract from, and is probably supportive of the fact that EFC have either mistakenly or intentially deceived the fans by telling them there are no genuine options. When examples demonstrate that an equivalent spend at GP or elsewhere can create something of far greater value when all things are taken into account.

Even if Kirkby was a freeby, and it was the San Siro with knobs on, it would die on the location, location location and transport factors alone. Unfortunately, it’s neither of these!

Chris Leyland
45   Posted 04/10/2009 at 00:57:09

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I agree Tom, I’m no fan of Kirkby and think that the location alone is reason to worry. However, what I fail to understand is how Kenwright managed to manipulate the situation by buying out DJ Spuddles in the first place. Then messing up on Kings Dock, mortgaging his own home and then bringing in his palm from Topshop on the provisio that moving to Kirkby one day in the future will personally make him millions but will ruin Everton.

Surely it would have been easier for him to sell to some dodgy American or myserious Arab, of which we have been reliably informed on this very site that have been gagging to take Everton over in the last few years but for Billy, rather than stage this elaborate, high-risk strategy?

Shit I’ve become guilty of doing exactly what I am accusing everyone else of, i.e. speculating!

Tom Hughes
46   Posted 04/10/2009 at 00:57:12

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I’m sure we all love our club, isn’t that the reason we feel the need to respond to issues involving it.....

Michael’s article was in response to Pearce’s earlier one which was published in a national paper, and we all know the potential influence of the media on all things.... (note Labour’s reaction to the Sun’s change of tack for instance!). That is the basis of this whole thread, yet you now admit to simply reacting to Michael’s article only.... excuse me if I say I think your concerns are slightly misplaced and undoubtedly misguided!
Chris Leyland
47   Posted 04/10/2009 at 01:05:36

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Tom - the fact is that ther national press and some article about Kenwright has absolutely no influence on anything. It is somewhat disingenuine to compare it to Labour and the Sun. The Labour Party are a political party which is elected to govern by milions of people. Everton are a privatley owned business at the end of the day.

The reason I "reacted" to Michael was because of the reason I outlined around his position as editor of this site. As I said, I don’t give a shit about the BBC and Pearce but as editor of this site, Michael could just simply have posted the article by Pearce and asked for comments rather than lauch into his own agenda.
Tom Hughes
48   Posted 04/10/2009 at 01:05:40

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What’s elaborate about being skint, potentially losing control to the Greggs and asking your wealthy mate to come in and bail you out, even if it means KD falls through.....?

Was the mysterious Fortress Sports Fund backed by mythical lapsed Evertonians like Samuelson elaborate enough for you? No speculation really required for any of this... it is all well documented, and has prompted some of the most hilarious and even raucous AGMs and EGMs in the club’s history... perhaps it all really didn’t happen!

Tom Hughes
49   Posted 04/10/2009 at 01:13:51

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I was just demonstrating the influence of the media. If you watched the ballot process at the time you would have seen similar influence exercised to secure votes. You may be aware that an important public inquiry decision is imminent, whereupon the outcome could greatly affect the future of the present custodians.... coincidence perhaps?
Mark Staniford
50   Posted 04/10/2009 at 02:30:39

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Errrr....can I just point out that ’Speke from the Harbour’ is not dead?

It’s alive and well and issue 105 goes on sale 2 weeks tomorrow!

Mark Staniford
Editor of the "not dead" Speke from the Harbour
Michael Kenrick
Editorial Team
51   Posted 04/10/2009 at 05:40:00

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Ooops... apologies Mark. And good luck... Keep ’em coming!
Richard Dodd
52   Posted 04/10/2009 at 08:26:49

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So what if our proposed new stadium is merely an ’enabling development’ for a Tesco store at Kirkby? If it happens, then surely it is an indicator of the shrewd way in which Mr Kenwright operates. He knew his mates wanted to develop the town and showed them the way to do it.

They win, Everton wins and only those who would see the club rotting in Walton (just because it’s ’in the city') would be the losers!

Keith Richmond
53   Posted 04/10/2009 at 10:47:41

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There is something about the DK affair that evokes memories of some of the “favours” done by Sid James for Tony Hancock in “Hancock’s Half Hour”.
Alan Kirwin
54   Posted 04/10/2009 at 11:13:01

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Good article (if a rather biased opening, as Chris Leyland points out). How come it’s always OK to pen (or link to) articles slagging off Kenwright, whereas it’s sycophantic eulogising (or apologist) to remotely suggest any hint of good (or even just no hint of bad) about Kenwright’s tenure? Funny thing, hypocrisy.

Anyway, despite the same old same old topic, a rather excellent thread, with all concentrating on the issue(s) without emoting. There’s loads of issues that I think all of us would prefer to know about, regardless of our position on Kenwright. Should we be told? Well. it’s a private company so I guess our rights are limited legally, if not morally.

Neil P (and Chris L) you’ve covered it how I would have done. We’d all like it better, but some choose to react in different ways to others, often based purely on facts than innuendo.

Good stuff chaps.
Neil Pearse
55   Posted 04/10/2009 at 11:30:53

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Tom - good thread, but really one more time....

It is extremely misleading on your part to continue to state that the "equivalent amount" as being spent by us on Kirkby could get us something "elsewhere" (i.e. not GP, presumably right in the city) that would be better (so I also assume you mean more ’world class’ than Kirkby’s design, of which you have been consistently dismissive).

Are you seriously suggesting that for £80M spend Everton could get a world class stadium in the centre of our city?
David O'Keefe
56   Posted 04/10/2009 at 12:23:21

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Plenty of sentiment being deployed by Bill’s supporters in this thread along with the "we could do worse argument"? List his achievements instead.

Thank you Tom and Michael for this thread, I have spent many hours arguing over the details of DK on this site and this timely look at the bigger picture is eye-opening. Thank you.

Neil, you have consistently defended DK on the basis that it will lead to a change of ownership and nothing else; changing tack by sneering at its critics that we can’t do any better is disingenous in light of the fact that the club has not looked at any alternatives. There is no Plan B, Neil, remember.

I do find it strange that you, like other DK apologists, hold the No voters to account but let the board off the hook. There are no advantages/positives/benefits in relocating to Kirkby, Bill is not even gauranteed a buyer on the back of this move and the increase in the share value that it will bring.

It is very strange this move to Kirkby; I may be mistaken, I thought Bill may benefit, but I may be mistaken. Bring on November.
Christine Foster
57   Posted 04/10/2009 at 12:34:34

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I have for a great deal of time looked at the roles of the main players running the club and asked for the motives behind some of the decisions that have been taken in our name as supporters, and please remember that, we have been told repeatedly that the club is merely exercising the mandate given.

However truth may never be know with respect to the role of the main players / backers to the board.

But. It is absurd to suggest (or not to suggest) that messers Green and Earl have no interest in the decision that is Kirkby. It can only be a fact that they have underwritten loans for players based on the principle "What return am I getting on my investment?"

That the club concede that even at full capacity for every game will only net an extra 5m says it all. Its not about increasing revenue, its about the sale of the club and the means to facilitate it.

That BK is a luvvie Blue who is the "figurehead" of the club without the management expertise of running a football club is a more likely scenario and the financial management / control / business advice of the club is more likely in the hands of Green & Earl.

No one has ever been able to make the case for Kirkby. As the years have gone on the foundation the case was made on has crumbled. Yet here we are today on the eve (almost) of a decision that will forever change the future of the club, with an irrational set of claims for the move.

Its not a question of being skint. Not a question of being good for the club. Its not even a question of on going support. Its business. In Green and BK eyes good business if it happens.

Should BK move over post decision he may have left EFC with the most damming legacy in its history.

Luvvie, Blue or not.. he made his bed and will lie in it. I for one will not be sad to see him go for if we end up in Kirkby his departure will be of little consequence to the immediate future of the club.

So I leave you with the $64m dollar question, If the decision to move is not based on a significant improvement of the clubs operational finances, then what is it being done for?

There are alternatives and always will be and they may not involve a new stadium. The fact is that the continuing double handed comment against action shows the club and the board in a true light, inclusive of fans, but actions to gag and remove actual shareholder rights.. Happy to answer questions as long as they are not concerned with the key issue..

The list goes on. Its not speculation any more. Its recorded fact, and Michael is right to point out that there are few other conclusions one could draw from the actions of the board.

Enough smoke to indicate a fire? I think the whole case for Kirkby burnt down a long while ago.

In a years time all the speculation will be gone and so will the key players in the board. Whatever the decision.

What could be left is the embers of history consigned to pages in a book.

Legacy of BK.?
Dennis Stevens
58   Posted 04/10/2009 at 14:16:40

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Good post, Christine. It is incredible that, even at this stage in proceedings people are still trying to present DK as the way forward for Everton. When one considers that the majority have never wanted to take this course of action & it is now clear that this will be a huge gamble for the club in the hope of a very modest return, I find it quite absurd that anybody is still peddling the "I don’t really like it either, but we’ve got to go - it’s our only option" lie. Let’s hope it’ll all be over soon.
Neil Pearse
59   Posted 04/10/2009 at 14:45:55

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David, it is simply not true that the club hasn’t looked at any other alternatives. What is true is that the club hasn’t found any other alternatives THAT WE CAN AFFORD. That’s rather different.

Sneering or not (I regret if the first), I do actually think that it is incumbent on those opposed to Kirkby to come up with something else that they would propose that we do that will move this club forward. And that we can AFFORD to do.

I find it relatively easy to accept that we should just sit where we are for now and not go to Kirkby, and hope that a new owner will come along with enough money to give us more choices. I think it is dreamy wishful thinking to suppose that we have any other affordable choices right now in terms of a new stadium.

Anyway, football match to tune into!
Brian Waring
60   Posted 04/10/2009 at 15:08:57

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The club have said that a full house every game will only net an extra £5m. Obviously the amount is going to be a lot less than that because we are never going to get a full house every game, so how does that help us out?

Also, we are going to burden ourselves with another £100m+? debt on top of our existing debt, how does that help the club out?

The major players have stated that they won’t be selling (?) their stakes in the club, so if that's the case, how can it be a good move to Kirkby, if it is going to put the club into huge debt, and won’t be generating any significant income?
Dennis Stevens
61   Posted 04/10/2009 at 17:02:29

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Neil Pearse, you are quite wrong. It’s not the job of supporters to do the Board’s work for them. But it is quite appropriate for supporters to highlight the Board’s failings.

So it’s quite valid for the inadequacy of the DK proposal to be exposed, regardles of what other alernatives may or may not exist. The perceived lack of affordable alternatives does not turn a bad idea into a good one.

However, a number of supporters have made the effort to do part of the Board’s work for them & identify alternatives that merit further investigation, but we know that won’t happen as the Board have (conveniently?) locked themselves into this indefinite exclusivity agreement with our "partners" in this scheme.

It may well be that, if DK doesn’t proceed, there will be changes at Board level & so the whole dynamics of the situation will have changed & other alternatives may prove to be more viable than currently perceived to be by some.

Neil Pearse
62   Posted 04/10/2009 at 17:51:20

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Dennis, I am not asking for the fans to do the club’s work for them. I am just saying that we know that — with only £100M AT MOST to spend — we are not going to be able to afford a new ground in the city given our current financial resources.

I’m not sure what you are getting at in your final paragraph. If you mean that — in the event of DK being knocked back — alternatives that we can’t now afford will miraculously become affordable... well, no, obviously not. Our problem is that we don’t have enough money. DK being knocked back doesn’t give us any more money.

If you mean that a major crisis in the club may result in new owners with more money... yes, that’s possible. Kenwright may decide that he wants rid even at an Ashley style firesale price. But I wouldn’t count on it. I think it is much more likely that we will get new owners if Kirkby is approved. As indeed Michael suggested in his starting post.
Dennis Stevens
63   Posted 04/10/2009 at 18:14:54

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Neil, you still haven’t explained why the stadium we can apparently afford to build in Kirkby would be too expensive to build in the city of Liverpool.

My final paragraph means what it says: there are alternatives; some, such as yourself & the current Board, apparently don’t think they’re viable; some changes at Board level may result in some fresh thinking & maybe even an improvement in performance, because the club seem to me to have done pretty badly out of this "partnership" with Tesco & Knowsley Council.

But, regardless of any of this, a bad idea still doesn’t become a good one just because you can’t think of anything better at the time — although some would argue that better suggestions have already been made.

David O'Keefe
64   Posted 04/10/2009 at 18:27:23

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Neil, are you lying or simply unable to follow your own arguments? Personally I think you are a hypocrite.

I don’t think you're concerned about the club's future, you merely want to win an argument and prove to yourself and others that you are our intellectual superior. In this thread you have changed your position twice on the issue of critics of DK putting forward alternatives to DK, saying yes first and then no when challenged.

So which is it Mr Pearse?

Neil Pearse
65   Posted 04/10/2009 at 18:44:42

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Grave charges, David, but I don’t really get you. I’m certainly concerned about the club’s future. I have always thought that Moyes cannot perform miracles forever (and one day will surely leave anyway), so that at some point we need to get increased revenues and a new owner.

My position has always been that staying at GP won’t get us there, that a groundshare unfortunately seems unavailable, that Kirkby unfortunately is all we can afford in a current financial position, and that on balance it is better than simply sitting where we are and hoping for the best.

Tell me what’s hypocritical about that?

Dennis - not sure where you get the idea that we’ve done "badly" out of being in partnership with Knowsley and Tesco. Knowsley are giving us land for free and Tesco are using all their very considerable weight to get the cheapest build we ever could. LCC have never offered us such a deal, and I very much doubt that Bestway for example would get us a better deal than Tesco.

As you say, none of this makes Kirkby a great thing. But it does make it an affordable thing.
David O'Keefe
66   Posted 04/10/2009 at 18:57:05

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I question your motives, Neil; you want increased revenues and a new owner for the club, but you support a scheme that promises neither, defend it to the hilt and pour scorn upon those that criticise. You have also demanded that these critics come up with alternatives and when challenged on that you shifted your position and then returned to it.

You're a hypocrite for advocating a scheme that is "not ideal" as you admit, as being a panacea for the club's ills. It doesn’t wash and the charge that I make, Neil, is that — as a self-styled realist — you fail to acknowledge reality and poor scorn on those that do.

Hypocrisy is a false claim to virtue, Neil, a lie in other words. Your claim to be a realist is a lie.
Dennis Stevens
67   Posted 04/10/2009 at 19:14:23

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Wrong again, Neil. Everton are not getting any land in this deal — we will be leasing the site that the stadium will be built on.

Tesco seem to be introducing us to their regular contractor Barr as a preferred client & so we will apparently get a fair price on the construction costs — which begs the questions: How do the projected costs compare with what Barr have charged for other stadium constructions & which other contractors have we approached for quotes? Could it be that we are locked into using Barr & that Tesco are doing Barr the favour rather than EFC?

The assumption seems to be that Tesco, who are putting not a penny into the stadium, are doing Everton some great favour — they are not, it is a business deal & our Board have not struck a very good bargain at all.

Having said that, even if Tesco had said they would take Bellefield & Goodison Park off our hands & in return build the proposed stadium in Kirkby, it would still be a poor deal for Everton quite simply because it’s in the wrong place with a wholly inadequate transport infrastructure.

Neil Pearse
68   Posted 04/10/2009 at 19:10:51

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Wow, David! But way off, if I may say so.

I don’t think you (and others) grasp how much of a deep pessimist I am about our current position. I would never ever say that Kirkby was "a panacea for the club’s ills". I think we have no very good options at the moment, because our financial position is too weak. Any option we do have (including sitting where we are for now) is a gamble on probabilities with no certainties at all. Kirkby is no guarantee of anything. But then neither is anything else.

I do pour scorn admittedly on those I think who have still not grasped this, and still come on here assuming that we must be able (somehow) to afford a world class stadium in the city. Once you make this assumption, then we are really off to the races — Kirkby becomes (I quote from this thread alone) "strange" and "ridiculous" and then we have to come up with all sorts of elaborate conspiracies and complexities to make any sense out of it at all.

By the way, I would be doing the same round of conspiracies myself if I assumed that we could really rustle up £200M+ to build a much better stadium in the city. Going to Kirkby, if we could do this, would of course be utter madness. (It would be like Arsenal choosing to relocate to a mid-quality stadium in Hackney when they can afford The Emirates.)

But of course we don’t have the £200M+. So instead we have some very hard choices to make indeed.

Kirkby may or may not turn out to be a good choice, it may or may not bring us a new richer owner, it may not sustainably raise our income. All true. The question is whether — in the actual here and now — it is a better bet, given our best judgement about probabilities, than our other actually available options. You have to make a bet.

I don’t know whether that is realism or not. It is hardly optimism, I know that. And it does attempt to start with our actual current situation rather than what we would ideally wish to be the case.
Neil Pearse
69   Posted 04/10/2009 at 19:29:49

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Dennis, laying out less than £100M for a brand new 50,000-seater stadium really is cheap by any comparative standards. It really is. The Emirates cost £400M odd, and that’s the projected cost of the RS stadium.

The stronger argument against Kirkby is not that we could build a better ground for the same amount in the city — so why aren’t we (it would make Bill a lot more money)? It is that — as you say — it’s in the wrong place and people won’t come. I personally think that is possible and it worries me. But I doubt it if the team is reasonably competitive on the pitch. But I certainly don’t lie awake at night worrying that maybe we can get a new £85M stadium in the city if only we looked a bit harder.
David O'Keefe
70   Posted 04/10/2009 at 19:38:05

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Neil, your constructing a strawman argument again.

I’m sorry Neil, but you have consistently claimed that Kirkby is a panacea as it would make the club a more attractive proposition to that prospective new owner that we badly need. Now you have said that it may not happen. Good.

However Neil, if you're suffering from depression, weigh up all your options before deciding to commit suicide as EFC has done. At the moment, that exclusivity agreement is a suicide note; thankfully the deed has not been done... yet.
David O'Keefe
71   Posted 04/10/2009 at 19:47:18

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No, Neil, the stronger argument against Kirkby is that it does not meet the club's requirements, not that there is a better option in the city.
Neil Pearse
72   Posted 04/10/2009 at 19:49:45

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David, it is you pushing me into the straw man of the Kirkby ’panacea’.

I absolutely do believe (like Michael in his post above) that Kirkby will make us "a more attractive proposition" a prospective new owner. Certainly a lot more attractive than staying in GP. But I don’t believe that there are any certainties or guarantees, only probabilities.

I actually fully understand and respect your position David because (unlike many others) you maintain quite consistently that (a) Kirkby will be a disaster, and (b) it is therefore not likely to get us a rich new owner. I disagree with (a), but if I believed it, I would of course agree with your (b).

Thanks also for your concern, David, about my moods (!), but I am no more depressed than I ever am (although more than a bit frustrated by the result today). If I were to be melodramatic it seems that you think going to Kirkby is suicide, and I think staying at GP is a slow death — not a great set of choices! I certainly think that neither is as good an option as King’s Dock or building a world class stadium on Stanley Park. Hopefully we are at least in agreement about that.
Karl Masters
73   Posted 04/10/2009 at 19:41:48

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Rather than looking at the past, I would prefer we look at what Everton’s options are now:

1/ Go to Kirkby, get a new, but poorly designed and located stadium that risks alienation of fans now and in the future. All for a maximum of £6m a season for team-building, but losing our tradition etc and gaining £100m of debt to manage in one go. In short, a massive risk for little gain. Key words: Massive Risk.

2/ Stay at Goodison. Look for alternative investors to the Spurs Duo and really search 24/7. Either re-build Goodison slowly like almost all other Clubs have done, or re-locate when an opportunity arises, or begin to make noises about groundshare for the day when LFC’s plans go tits up. With the team on the up, interest from Investors must exist. In short, very little risk for little gain at present, but in the future who knows? Biggest thing to remember is... Little Risk.

When you look at those two options, really only somebody with a screw loose would go for option 1/. To ignore all logical argument on that would indicate that there is something else going on and a hidden agenda.

You might call that logic or you might call it common sense, but it is not scare mongering and it is not really idle speculation as the Club have themselves admitted the £6m potential gain based on 47,000 gates that they also admit are going to be hard to maintain in the long run, that they have no coherent transport plan, and that the stadium is ’mid range’ in design but that’s ok (for some maybe, but not me).

They also said it was the Deal of the Century, 1,000 fans would cycle to the match and we have no other options. One by one, they have admitted all this was wrong. So, why the hell are we still up for this? There can only be one conclusion can’t there?!!!

Bill Kenwright is the central figure in all this and whether it’s for his personal gain or whether it’s for other people’s he knows the truth and yet we read this garbage from Pearce about his auntie at the match and how it’s breaking his heart to leave Goodison. Well, if it is he can still do something about it, surely?
David O'Keefe
74   Posted 04/10/2009 at 19:52:45

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Neil, It is difficult to take you seriously as you're going all over the place, far from your professed realism, to a fantasy land in which Kirkby is a success, despite the transport problems, because the team is doing well.

Some realist you are.
Neil Pearse
75   Posted 04/10/2009 at 20:15:16

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David, if you are absolutely certain that Kirkby will be a disaster then of course I (and many others who are not so certain) must look pretty unrealistic. I am just not so certain as you.
Dennis Stevens
76   Posted 04/10/2009 at 20:07:06

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Neil, you seem to think that the only alternative to DK is a world class stadium we can’t afford. We all know the proposed new stadium is cheap — the point is it’s most likely possible to build a cheap stadium elsewhere — somewhere like Liverpool, perhaps.

However, there are other considerations beyond the outright stadium cost, such as the likely income from such an investment & a location that people can actually get to & from, where the stadium can have multiple commercial uses (concerts, etc.), these are important factors to throw into the financial equation — NB: none of this is the case with DK.

Similarly, although you are amongst those who seem to feel it’s not possible to remain at Goodison Park for much longer, there seems to be no real basis for this other than "it’s old". A phased redevelopment would certainly cost more in the long run but the club wouldn’t have to find all the funds in one go — each phase could be done as demand & finances dictate. It’s not as simple as the single up-front charge, which we’ll then be paying interest on for many, many years, but the whole financial package being to Everton’s long-term benefit.

Of course, if anybody were to be looking for a short-term gain to cash-in on, they wouldn’t be too interested in the long-term situation for Everton.

David O'Keefe
77   Posted 04/10/2009 at 20:07:00

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Neil, you have consistently defended and put forward the idea of Kirkby as a way forward, a panacea for our ills, but I forgive you as you appear to have some trouble following your own arguments.

The problem with your position, Neil, is that you have taken a position of virtue: Realism; while failing to acknowledge the problems that exist at Kirkby and the damage that it will do to the club’s long-term future. This is hypocritical.

The true realist would acknowledge all the facts and weigh up all options, the club have not done this and neither have you. The current set of options as presented by yourself is depressing, but then again so are the parameters of this debate. Kirkby or stay at an outdated GP, it need not be like that.

EFC need money and more importantly ideas. Kirkby does not mean a new owner, it means suicide. Staying at GP gives us a chance to get it right, regardless of whether we decide to stay or go.

By way of apology, Neil, I will retract the charge of hypocrite, as being being guilty of hypocrisy once doesn’t mean that you are hypocrite now and forever. Just put away the realist card for the moment.
Neil Pearse
78   Posted 04/10/2009 at 22:16:51

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Dennis, fair points on the revenue side of the equation and the disadvantages with Kirkby. But the problem there is still how we afford (borrow obviously) the upfront cost of a more revenue generative stadium.

On GP, I think it will be very hard and pretty expensive to get the revenue potential of a purpose-built modern stadium. Also to attract a new owner. Emotionally I have to confess that I am also not keen on being literally in the shadow of the RS’s proposed Stanley Park edifice. I think I might almost prefer being in Kirkby.

On the 'world class stadium' bit, maybe many of the diehard anti-Kirkbyites would be happy after all having a ’cheap cowshed’ in the city. They must speak for themselves. But I’ve always assumed that they would not given their vociferous opposition to the Kirkby design, so that seemed to be the argument we were having.

David, thank you for the retraction on hypocrite. Wrong I might always be, hypocrite I don’t accept. I have argued for Kirkby as the best amongst our actually available options, but have never argued that it was ideal, and have been prepared to accept (even just above) that it is a risky proposition. So I actually don’t accept your claim that I have not acknowledged the risks that exist at Kirkby. I do; I just disagree with you about how bad they are likely to be.

I agree with Karl as it happens about the available options: Kirkby, or stick where we are and (as indeed you put it) get "a chance to put it right". To turn the tables on the risk point, I am sure I believe that Karl’s Option 2 is riskier than both of you seem prepared to acknowledge. We have no chance of ’getting it more right’ if we have no more money. That means a richer new owner. The bet in Option 2 is that we stay at GP and get that new owner. If that’s the way things go, and Kirkby is knocked back, I very much hope that you are right and that we do.
Tom Hughes
79   Posted 05/10/2009 at 00:52:56

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Neil Pearse..... the acid test.... put your face to your name..... I BET YOU CANT!

I can to mine! You talk in riddles, and always avoid direct issues. Meet with me and/or KEIOC and try to support your stance with anything approaching a valid argument. My money is on you not even existing!!! Everyone else.... watch this space!
Richard Jones
80   Posted 05/10/2009 at 08:52:56

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I’m up for that too, a pint in the Phil or the Cassa before a home game would get my vote. How’s about it Neil? I'll buy you a pint just to show there’s no hard feelings.
Chris Taggart
81   Posted 05/10/2009 at 10:47:34

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Tom is that the best you can do?

Neil always takes time, i think to give well thought out reply’s, you may not agree with him but I don't think calling him out to face your gang is a solution to the problem.

Kirkby isn't the best option but it's the only option right now.
David O'Keefe
82   Posted 05/10/2009 at 12:10:07

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Mr Taggart, Neil has contradicted himself on this thread and is a self-styled realist that refuses to face reality despite the attempts of many to make him do so.

So I too would like to meet Neil to discuss this further, he is an intelligent guy and arrogant with it, thus explaining his support for a discredited project.

For the record, I do think Neil is a real person. Ged was never that bright.
Eugene Ruane
83   Posted 05/10/2009 at 12:08:06

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The one bit that must never be allowed to be ’out there’ without question is...

"..though 59% of supporters voted in favour"

Fact: 59% of supporters did ABSOFUCKINGLUTELY NOT vote for the deal (if it happens) they will end up with.

Fact: 59% of those (allowed to vote!), voted for a ’state-of-the-art’ 55-60,000 seater stadium with the best transport system of any ground in the country.

Not, as is now planned, a ’mid-range’ ground in a shopping centre with the worst transport plan anyone has ever heard of.

We rightly slag politicians for their shifty, make-it-up-as-you-go-along, self-serving carry on.

Blue or not (nb: and we’re ALL Blues!), I’ll continue to criticise Bill for doing exactly the same thing.
Richard Jones
84   Posted 05/10/2009 at 13:06:28

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Totally agree, Eugene, its a stick that’s used by the club and apologists, this sham of a vote and when you consider how different the original subject matter is from what’s now on the table. They should be embarrassed every time the vote is brought up!!
Neil Pearse
85   Posted 05/10/2009 at 13:30:32

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Guys, I really am a real person. At least last time I checked. As with most people these days, very simple internet research will probably enable you to find out quite a lot. Enjoy!
Chad Schofield
86   Posted 05/10/2009 at 13:42:14

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Wasn’t it you who started the whole "siphoning of money to Green" on this very site... Neil Pearse
Posted 25/09/2009 at 10:56:01
completely putting words into my response... before yet again going into hiding.

In the two years you’ve debated this, you still seem unable to look at Tom Hughes’ GP redevelopment plans — personally I find that strange for someone who proclaims so much interest, yet does not bother to look beyond their own ideas.

You’ve again attacked only elements of people’s responses. Whilst putting blatant falsehoods into yours... and now "free" hasn’t become £80M it’s under £100M — much more palatable!

By the way, very interesting article and follow ups — even your responses Neil ;)
Neil Pearse
87   Posted 05/10/2009 at 14:12:48

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Chad, I did think your comment first of all on ’paying Green his pound of flesh’ was a bit of a ’nudge nudge wink wink’ innuendo without making it clear what you were actually saying. To be fair, as I read back, you did clarify what you were claiming into something much more reasonable — so my apologies for continuing to attribute to you my earlier interpretation.

On ’going into hiding’ — Chad, I already spend far too much time on ToffeeWeb, sometimes I really have to do some work!

On GP, like most of us I am not an architect or a civil engineer, so I am not qualified to judge the precise costings of any potential large scale redevelopment. I do know that I have seen a very wide range of estimates, from Tom’s to the club’s. I certainly don’t assume that the club’s are necessarily correct.

My problem with staying at GP is not really based on the precise costings anyway. In an exchange with Tom some time ago I think I said that the full cost of a major GP redevelopment would be in the same ballpark as the cost of Kirkby. I don’t recall Tom disagreeing with this, but I am happy to hear now if he does.

My concerns about GP are more that I do not believe it will in the long-term generate the same revenues as a purpose built new stadium. And even more importantly I think it is less likely to attract the new owner we so desperately need. I think I have said both of these things over and over again.

On the ’under £100M’ — I’ve moved to that because frankly I believe that using numbers like £86M or whatever is ludicrously over-precise about a major construction project such as Kirkby (or redeveloping GP for that matter). One thing we should all be able to agree on is that such estimates are notoriously fallible — and usually too low.

By the way David, still not sure what my "contradiction" was on this thread. I wrote a lot so it’s hardly impossible. But interesting to know what you think it was.

Now back to work....
Chad Schofield
88   Posted 05/10/2009 at 14:50:02

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Chad Schofield
89   Posted 05/10/2009 at 14:50:02

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Chad Schofield
90   Posted 05/10/2009 at 15:08:27

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Sorry... must have typed in HTML code wrong...

Seriously meant to link to:

And now I’d better get back to work!!!

Tom Hughes
91   Posted 05/10/2009 at 15:56:22

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Chris Taggart.....

"Tom is that the best you can do?"

No, actually I took the time to put at least 2 schemes together illustrating what could be done at GP, using a sight-line modeller and full site plans and CAD..... I think that is representative of a far more thoroughly thought-out and substantial input than a few lines on these threads, don’t you?

"Neil always takes time, I think to give well thought out reply’s, you may not agree with him but I don’t think calling him out to face your gang is a solution to the problem."

Again..... these are throwaway remarks attempting to cheapen the anti-Kirkby stance or the people who support it. I do not belong to a gang, we are not the rabble! I was simply trying to ascertain if Neil is one of the few stooges who frequented this site under numerous false names attempting to replicate some volume of support for Kirkby when it slowly fell apart after the vote, until they were found out. These people never put a face to their assertions either..... I wonder why! But for your information Neil has consistently posted on issues until they are broken down into the nitty gritty whereupon he vanishes or lately softens his stance. He’s latest offerings demonstrate blind faith in DK, at best.

"Kirkby isn’t the best option but it’s the only option right now."

This encapsulates the problem in one sentence...... you can tell a lie a thousand times..... it will still be a lie! But to break that down, if you accept it "isn’t the best option" you must therefore accept that there are options...and let’s face it "Only option" and "not the best option" isn’t very NSNO is it?
Dennis Stevens
92   Posted 05/10/2009 at 17:19:21

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Eugene Ruane, I have to take issue with your figures - it wasn’t even 59% of those "allowed to vote", it was 59% of the actual voters within that selected electorate. This "majority" was actually just the largest minority of the total electorate, narrowly ahead of the "No" voters, followed by the abstentions. Had many others who were denied the opportunity to vote done so it would have been very interesting to see the figures, but I suspect this scheme would have been dead in the water at that point.
Neil Pearse
93   Posted 05/10/2009 at 17:18:28

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Tom, I have certainly never thought of you as ’rabble’, so no problems there.

I think your response reveals quite a lot of why I keep posting on here. I am hardly a fanatic for Kirkby, and never was, but the unquestioned assumption so often on here is that it is CLEARLY a complete disaster, and there can be NOTHING positive to say on its behalf whatsoever.

I simply don’t buy that things are that certain or that clear cut on such a complex matter. They rarely are.

Of course, once you assume that Kirkby is some form of obviously weird madness, you start to go a bit nutty. Because now you have to explain to yourself how we could possibly be close to doing it, and why anyone (such as Neil Pearse) could say anything, however moderate, in its favour.

So then we get all the conspiracy theories about Philip Green, about Kenwright making a fortune from it, and even the rather fevered idea that anyone coming on Toffeeweb and saying anything in favour of Kirkby must by definition be a ’club stooge’.

Guys, I admit: no-one but a crazy person thinks that Kirkby is The Emirates. However, given our actually poor financial situation, it is not the 100% blind madness most of you maintain (and then follow up with all your conspiracy theories). It is a completely understandable and valid, if no doubt flawed, attempt (no ’panacea’ David!) to find a way out of our current rather serious financial predicament - a way at affordable cost to boost our revenues and make us more attractive to new owners. That’s all.
Dennis Stevens
94   Posted 05/10/2009 at 17:24:40

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Neil, some of us really don’t care what the RS say!

I think Goodison Park is a great location & the club should only move away if there is a really good reason to do so — DK isn’t it.

Whatever we do there will be the issue of finance to resolve — I can not claim to be an expert in this field, any more than I can claim to be an architect, but imo there are always deals to be done & opportunities to be grasped. Tbh, I do wonder who would lend us the money for DK based upon what has been disclosed through the inquiry — or is the big "favour" Tesco are doing for the Board?

Likewise there are always people who would be interested in taking over most any football club, but maybe not always at the price the current owners are looking for. I’m also sceptical as to who would want to pay a premium to inherit the current Board’s white elephant, rather than spend their money on something they feel will be of greater benefit.

I don’t think anybody wants a "cheap cowshed" — but much less a "cheap cowshed" built in the wrong location.

David O'Keefe
95   Posted 05/10/2009 at 18:33:33

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That internet research has certainly turned up something interesting Neil. Nudge, Nudge,wink,wink.
Tom Hughes
96   Posted 05/10/2009 at 18:03:54

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There you go again..... claiming all we have mustered in 2 yrs against Kirkby is conspiracy theories.....You obviously haven’t read any of the public inquiry transcripts where KEIOC were commended for the volume and quality of evidence they provided, to the point that Tesco/club were too scared to cross examine KEIOC in the end.

There is no conspiracy theory required in recognising a mediocre stadium, in a poor location that we are practically paying for every brick of, that has the worst transport provision of any major stadium in the country. Altogether, the complete opposite of everything promised at the vote.....which is the absolute definition of the "hard-sell". For once try to address some of those little gems before you start telling us how we should acknowledge the (well)hidden beauty in DK. Why would Simon Inglis a completely independent and world renowned stadium expert say that we should be really worried at the prospect of relocating to Kirkby? Precisely what can the same amount of investment in redevlopment achieve at GP, and over a much more manageable and phased period? If you don’t know, how can you possibly be so determined in your stance? I don’t really expect any direct answers just the usual vague responses acknowledging that DK isn’t that great but that we should go for it anyway. As ever some kind of bizzarre non-argument!
Karl Masters
97   Posted 05/10/2009 at 19:05:08

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Without wishing to sound patronising, I do actually feel a bit sorry for Neil.

He is a fellow Evertonian, after all. However, he is one of the ones who fell for the Emperor’s New Clothes spin of people who seem to have always had another agenda - the Exclusivity Clause really tells you that.

To be fair, at the time of the Vote many of us were unaware of the Green and Earl thing in the background, although surely anybody with half a brain had to question just why Robert Earl was so keen to invest in Everton. It didn’t really add up.

Neil has always taken the pragmatic view that this is the best of a bad bunch option and that without any money we had to accept what was being offered. Of course, you could always say that we merely had the wrong people on the Board to have any money, especially when you consider that perhaps it has always been in their own personal interests to convince us that we had no money.

My own conclusion is that we have been fed a set of ’facts’ that many fans would on face value accept and thertefore support the Board’s view. However, some of us are more cynical ( not always a good trait that’s for sure ) when the grubby subject of large amounts of cash are being waived around. Also, careful thought makes you realise how hare-brained the scheme is when you bother just to drive out to Kirkby from the City centre. It takes ages and that’s without actually having to stop and park when you get there. It really is bloody miles and miles from Liverpool city centre. You feel like you could be in St Helens or Southport - in fact you very nearly are! The sheer folly of locating in such an out of the way place just makes this a non-starter to anybody who really cares about the Club’s future and nothing else.
Chris Taggart
98   Posted 05/10/2009 at 19:51:59

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Tom, anyone who is a regular visitor to the site has seen your plans and very nice they are too... but they lack two things: the money to do it, and the willingness by the board to explore redevelopment as a deliverable option.

You referenced KEIOC, not me... so if all you wanted was a straightener with Neil, you should have asked him directly without reference to those lovely chaps, it seemed to me to be threatening and I apologise if I got the wrong end of the stick.

Neil doesn't need me to fight his corner but neither is it your responsibility to police posters to this site given that the mods do a decent job as it is. And further, with the registration scheme, if Neil was a gimmick poster, a report to the mods of your suspicion would have sufficed unless you have a controling interest in ToffeeWeb that you haven't declared? (Did you see what i did there...?)

Of course there are options, Tom, but all the CAD drawings in the world won't deliver them — only money will and we are sadly no longer the Mersey milionaires.
Tom Hughes
99   Posted 05/10/2009 at 20:31:33

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The scheme I originally put up represents three new stands and a remodelled main stand side. These are only marginally more complex though less materially than those proposed at Kirkby...

As we are paying practically the entire construction cost for Kirkby, why can’t that money be spent in affordable packages as opposed to all at once to build just 3 new stands at GP?

Alternatively, other schemes exists whereby 1 and 2 new stands are built to achieve the same capacity and another one where the existing structures are simply extended and obstructed views erradicated via new roofs... in these cases, the cost needn’t be as much as DK with independent stadium designers confirming this. They aren’t just pretty pictures. The club have no such plans and haven’t conducted ANY similar studies! Why is that?

"You referenced KEIOC not me so if all you wanted was a straightener with Neill, you should have asked him directly without reference to those lovely chaps it seemed to me to be threatening and I apologise if I got the wrong end of the stick."

I think you will be the only person who construed my comments as wanting a "straightener"...... and quite frankly I find the suggestion to be offensive in the extreme. I simply wondered if Neil was who he said he was, as opposed to some of the well known serial posters who mysteriously vanished when exposed as all being the same person(s). Similarly, if he was a club official or Tesco executive, it might also be an important factor don’t you think?

Michael Kenrick
Editorial Team
100   Posted 05/10/2009 at 21:45:36

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I would prefer it if we stayed generally on the broad topic (ownership, Green, DK, etc) rather then get into personal face-offs and call-outs.

To the extent that people have given their names along with their unique e.mails and IP addresses (perhaps shared), we have to take it on trust as a basic tenet of this forum that you each do indeed exist as independent beings with viewpoints on these topics.

We already ask for a lot more than many such internet forums, and are grateful to the regular contributors (like Tom, Neil and Chad) for maintaining a steady input and exchange of your own ideas. There have been odd characters popping up on these threads, ’Gerrard Madden’ being perhaps the most vocal, if not the most obvious. Who’s to say they are club plants? Anyone is free to post as long as the meet our Conditions of Use.
Michael Kenrick
Editorial Team
101   Posted 05/10/2009 at 22:29:15

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Tom, please drop this tack; it’s not doing your cause any favours. Neil Pearse is Neil Pearse.... and Tom Hughes is Tom Hughes. Get back on the topic, where you have far more leverage.
Lyndon Lloyd
Editorial Team
102   Posted 05/10/2009 at 22:18:50

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Chris Taggart: "Tom... your plans... lack two things: the money to do it, and the willingness by the board to explore redevelopment as a deliverable option."

Which more or less brings us back to the original article and the desire to ascertain the motives of the men behind the scenes. The current Board won’t explore redevelopment as an option (despite there being not one but TWO redevelopment options proposed by the same Chairman as alternatives to the Kings Dock) and it behooves us as concerned Evertonians to ask why. Why the effort to ram the Kirkby option through the vote with such transparent misinformation?

One answer may be that the Board were convinced that Destination Kirkby is the best option for the club and they needed to make sure that the fans couldn’t scupper a "deal of the century" by letting nostalgia and their love of Goodison get in the way.

Another answer is that they wanted to make absolutely sure that it got the majority vote because they stand to benefit and were prepared to spin it every which way they could (including savaging alternative proposals from Tom Hughes and Bestway) to get the job done.

Me, I’d err on the latter answer because when Bestway went public with their proposal, it was club director Robert Earl and not Chairman Bill Kenwright or Chief Executive Keith Wyness who got straight on the phone to Malcolm Carter to ask, "can you give me the same as I’m getting in Kirkby from Tesco?"

While I don’t doubt that Kenwright is centrally involved, that illustrated to me where the power really lies at Goodison. So, while this potentially catastrophic Kirkby option is on the table, despite almost every selling point on the ballot literature having been stripped away since, I think every Evertonian is entitled to question the motives of those behind the throne.
David Johnson
103   Posted 05/10/2009 at 23:16:06

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A good article. I have long suspected Green is the real power behind the throne but feel Kenwright is culpable for bringing him on board and keeping up the charade. Remember Kenwright’s words at the last EGM:

I wonder how many of Bill’s fans would be so tolerant if we knew for sure that a deep-pocketed Spurs fan was taking us to Kirkby and realative oblivion? Perhaps Kenwright is simply a shit deflector like others down the food chain.

"Put your hand in your pocket, Green"

Gavin Ramejkis
104   Posted 06/10/2009 at 08:07:26

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I’ve chosen to jump into this debate now with the same question I asked many many moons ago on one of many DK threads. What is the difference in spending £85-£100m on Goodison Park as opposed to DK, even more so now that DK’s obvious weaknesses and problems have all been aired at the hearings?

Unless BK is going to borrow the money from Tesco Finance itself, I can’t see what lending money from one bank or another would do given Everton have no extra revenue from any of the surrounding retail outlets and have to virtually sell out every single home game to make a marginal profit. Who in their right mind would lend money on that basis?

If you have to lend the money for DK then you would equally have to lend the same money for GP and in both instances present a solid business forecast; the DK forecast is at best fantasised.

Chad Schofield
105   Posted 06/10/2009 at 13:49:44

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I just wanted to clear up one more point on the veered off topic.

"I am also not keen on being literally in the shadow of the RS’s proposed Stanley Park edifice. I think I might almost prefer being in Kirkby." Neil Pearse (sorry to pick on you again!)

By that sentiment we not be attempting to get into the Champions League with it’s glitzy foreigners and media darlings, inevitably we’ll only end up embarrassing ourselves. Who cares about our history in the top flight, trying to compete with the billionaires is ludicrous... until we find a buyer perhaps we should move elsewhere and leave the Sky four plus Villa, Spurs and the ones that play in light blue to battle it out for the Premiership. Let’s go somewhere we can win and be big fish in a small pond rather than being overlooked by our neighbours... yes, surely it’s The Championship where we can shine - right?

Andy Duff
106   Posted 06/10/2009 at 14:01:16

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Michael could we have another Toffeeweb survey on kirkby maybe? Would like to see results now after all this time.

Q.1 Did you vote on the move originally?
Q.2 If yes how did you vote? If no skip to 3?
Q.3 How would you vote today?

Would be good to see the results especially Q.3 might in some way to dispelling the majority myth.

Neil Pearse
107   Posted 06/10/2009 at 17:44:12

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Chad - that is almost completely the reverse of what I was saying!

My point was actually that I do not want us to look like ’the little club’ in an old (if improved) stadium in the shadow of a giant Liverpool palace.

My point about this versus Kirkby is (once more!) that neither represent particularly great choices to my mind.

To be honest, I wish WE were the ones building the stadium on Stanley Park (or at least sharing it).

My passion about this whole new ground thing is about how we can get greater financial heft so that we NOT fall behind our current rivals, and we can one day again challenge the current elite.

Chad, it’s fine to be told (relentlessly) that Kirkby is not a great option for the club. However, although I am well used to such things by now, I do take some offense to being told that I am happy for us to play in the Championship.
Dennis Stevens
108   Posted 06/10/2009 at 18:17:59

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Neil Pearse : "My passion about this whole new ground thing is about how we can get greater financial heft so that we NOT fall behind our current rivals, and we can one day again challenge the current elite."

The last projections I’m aware of for profit from DK were a measly £6 million, subject to average attendance of 47,000. This, of course assume that the amount we need to borrow doesn’t go up any further & that interest charges aren’t higher than projected. It also ignores the threat to cap the stadium capacity should the tranport plan prove inadequate.

So it’s highly likely we could end up massively further in debt, with capacity restricted to the same level it is already at Goodison Park & running at a loss — far from providing additional funds for Moyes's transfer kitty, it’s possible he, or more likely his successor, will be having to sell players to keep the club afloat. You may not be happy with the thought of seing Everton playing in the Championship, or below, but I think that scenario is far more likely to unfold in Kirkby than the one you hope for.

Neil Pearse
109   Posted 06/10/2009 at 18:52:03

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Dennis, GP is not falling down, but at some point we are going to have to spend a substantial chunk of change SOMEWHERE (GP or other) to get a modern revenue generating ground.

You talk as if the choice is spending money on Kirkby or sitting happily where we are, earning just as much money for ever. It isn’t. One day soon we are going to have to borrow some money to spend on our ground. More debt is coming our way whether we like it or not.

Fair dos, you think the return on Kirkby is not as good as the return on other ways we can spend £100M odd. You may be right. However, maybe Tom has them but I’ve never seen any calculations on the revenue upturn from spending £100M at GP. On the face of it is not clear that it would be higher than for Kirkby (leaving aside that we would almost certainly get less for naming rights).

Also the other options to GP and Kirkby are almost certainly going to cost us more and will involve us incurring greater debt. Although maybe in this case — if the ground costs more in the city and can eg make more money from concerts etc — the revenues should be higher.

Anyway, once again the argument is nowhere near as clear cut as you make out.

The £6M increase is against money that one day we have to spend somewhere. And despite all the sniffing, £6M is £6M. It’s better than zero. And you can also leverage it through further borrowings.
Tom Hughes
110   Posted 06/10/2009 at 18:10:25

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Once again, you say DK offers the best chance for all sorts without actually backing it up in anyway, other than your own blind faith. If GP is redeveloped, it needn’t be in the shadow of anything. It commands a prime corner location on a major arterial route with masses of space at the Park End to build on.

There are drawings of an extended Park End and Bullens that will see the new structures at an equivalent or even greater height to anything proposed for on the park. Their new external facades and facilities within can be of similar standards.

All that said, you should also remember that Anfield was in the shadow of the much superior GP for literally generations, it hardly stopped them from winning everything in sight at a time when we had greater capacity and far more seats, so I’m not sure of the relevance of your stance in any case.

At no point do you acknowledge the absolute disparity in demographics and transport capacities between Walton and Kirkby that has left the club’s experts repeatedly unable to produce a viable transport strategy. How can a less convenient venue ever stop us from falling further behind our rivals?

Furthermore, it should be noted that LFC are going to great expense to replicate a traditional British stadium by insisting on 4 independent and different stands and ensuring the Kop format is reproduced at one end.....

We can have the real thing, not a retro-designed replica, by building new tiers or extensions behind and above existing structures on two sides, preserving history which they are having to spend an absolute fortune to reproduce, and that can only ever be pastiche. Your aversion to the ensuing face-off across the park, which would be the most spectacular statement of club rivalry in world football, directly contradicts that old adage I’ve mentioned before.... Stay close to your friends, closer still to your enemies.

The greatest density of our Friends is firmly embedded in North and central Liverpool. This running to the Kirkby hills displaces us from our main catchment and will marginalise us, killing that duopoly that both clubs have thrived off for over a century. Instantly placing us out of sight, out of mind... and out of our city.

Neil Pearse
111   Posted 06/10/2009 at 19:10:01

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And Dennis — all the risks about cost overruns and interest charges apply to EVERY OTHER OPTION we may ever do (including GP). So these particular risks are irrelevant to the choice and cancel out.

Of course, it is HIGHLY relevant to include Kirkby-specific risks in evaluating our options — such as the ground capacity being capped, or fans not going there. Absolutely. But not the general risks around debt, construction and interest rates. They apply whatever we do.

As I have been saying for a long time: the point is to compare Kirkby against other actually possible options, not against an assumption that our present situation in GP will simply continue for ever. It can’t and it won’t. One day soon we have to spend tens of millions of pounds somewhere.
Neil Pearse
112   Posted 06/10/2009 at 19:19:12

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Tom, we may be in agreement on something? if we stay at GP we are going to have to spend a great deal of money on it so that it does not look like the poor cousin to the New Anfield. And indeed so that it can generate the extra revenues that we so desperately need (at least the famous £6M). So maybe not incurring more debt than Kirkby, but hardly much less.
Tom Hughes
113   Posted 06/10/2009 at 19:15:24

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"You talk as if the choice is spending money on Kirkby or sitting happily where we are, earning just as much money for ever. It isn’t."

No Neil, they are your words only. We all accept that GP needs additional high quality seats and proper corporate facilities (although how just 20 boxes constitutes such I don’t know) and a reduction in obstructions etc. We can show that that can be achieved at GP in a location that doesn’t need unfeasible transport strategies, and is at the centre of our match-going fanbase. It can also be done in affordable chunks to measure actual demand before committing to unwanted capacity, and it will NEVER be capacity capped!

"However, maybe Tom has them but I’ve never seen any calculations on the revenue upturn from spending £100M at GP. On the face of it is not clear that it would be higher than for Kirkby (leaving aside that we would almost certainly get less for naming rights)."

Its commonly accepted that inner city venues have far greater intrinsic and operational value, indeed this is regularly factored into stadium planning comparisons. Naming rights is a tricky one, I can’t say I’ve heard of any rush to sponsor DK despite it being packaged and circulated over a year ago. That said, it should also be noted that several named stadia have actually changed sponsor and name, so its hardly unprecedented. It might also be attractive for some company to put their name against GP since it will be unique, not another characterless bowl and quite literally the cradle of football stadium design. What value might you put on that?

"Also the other options to GP and Kirkby are almost certainly going to cost us more and will involve us incurring greater debt."

Again, another one you never answer. How come Kings Dock was only going to cost £30m for a £2-300m stadium yet according to you all other options involve us incurring greater debt. There is more than one enabling model. According to the club, the vast retail offer at Kirkby will yield no more than a few million when it was supposed to practically cover construction costs with us only paying for fit out. This is one of the reasons why out of town stadia are factored so low.

"The £6M increase is against money that one day we have to spend somewhere. And despite all the sniffing, £6M is £6M. It’s better than zero. And you can also leverage it through further borrowings."

Perhaps, but you are assuming we average 47k, at a location with a tiny fraction of the public transport, with the threat of capping and despite the total lack of evidence to support such an increase in demand other than the new stadium effect which could equally apply to a redeveloped GP.... otherwise we’re in the red before we start!
Neil Pearse
114   Posted 06/10/2009 at 19:50:01

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Tom, these are indeed the rather complicated and uncertain puts and takes between Kirkby and other options. A couple of points.

I think it should be possible (if a bit unpalatable) to rename GP, although I doubt we would get as much for it as Kirkby. So there is a likely lose in some money there from staying at GP.

The ’stages’ argument is oft put, and of course has some advantages. But again we need to be careful with what we are assuming. Building in stages defers costs but also defers revenues. It may well be the case that if we seriously wanted to redevelop GP the numbers would anyway point to doing it as fast as we reasonably could — probably cheaper than a stop/start approach, and getting the additional revenues sooner.

Your ’out of town stadia’ argument has some general validity which I don’t contest, but I wouldn’t push it too far. Like it or not, one likely consequence of a move to a new ground like Kirkby would be an immediate across the board (significantly revenue generating) raising of ticket prices. Less easy to realise at an existing stadium such as GP. Also Kirkby will be purpose-built for corporate and catering etc revenues — you might be able to persuade me that GP could be built to generate as much, but I doubt it. It certainly couldn’t if built in stages.

When all the smoke of this debate clears, I am more and more convinced that the financial case for Kirkby versus other options hangs mainly on the simple question of whether people will go. We have to spend money soon on something, and the costs are as cheap as we will ever get for a new stadium (and I doubt more expensive in the end even than a full-scale redevelopment of GP). The revenues will obviously substantially tick up if people go.

Once all the blind "it’s obviously a disaster" and the even worse "it must be a corrupt conspiracy" arguments are put aside, Kirkby is a gamble on getting higher attendances than at GP. Nothing any more — or any less, depending on your views — crazier than that.

Those who are absolutely certain that, however well the team is doing, we won’t get consistently more than 40,000 at Kirkby — I do wonder how you can be so very sure.
Colin Wordsworth
115   Posted 06/10/2009 at 20:01:47

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Tom, having observed all the recent arguments re DK, I feel it is time to make my apology to you! I am led to believe that DK is now going to cost well over £100 mill and the club cannot afford it! This to me makes any advantage that the new stadium gives the club totally bogus and I am now firmly in the No camp. DK is now not the value for money promised and will not provide any advantage to moving away from the Old Lady. I feel that redevelopment over the next few seasons is now the only way.
Neil Pearse
116   Posted 06/10/2009 at 20:17:14

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Where do you get "well over £100M" from Colin?
Tom Hughes
117   Posted 06/10/2009 at 19:52:07

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"if we stay at GP we are going to have to spend a great deal of money on it so that it does not look like the poor cousin to the New Anfield. And indeed so that it can generate the extra revenues that we so desperately need (at least the famous £6M). So maybe not incurring more debt than Kirkby, but hardly much less."

In the short to medium term, it needn’t be anything like the amount spent on DK. It very much depends on the approach taken and how extravagent you are. But suffice to say it needn’t cost anything like as much to build 12-18,000 new seats at GP (for a net increase in capacity of say 10-15k seats) as it will be to build 50k at Kirkby. There are several readily available comparisons to show this.

Conversely, there are other issues like grants that may be available to develop the school site into a community based facility or new school connected to the rear of an extended Bullens, and also the possibility of an enabling scheme on the parkend that will yield a 100% return as opposed to the meagre fractional return of the whole of DK’s retail. Then there is the vastly increased likelihood of sustainable increased attendances at the better served and more central location.... which on it’s own would merit increased investment!!

David O'Keefe
118   Posted 06/10/2009 at 20:23:48

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Delays cost money, Neil, so Colin may not be wrong, considering that it is an £80 million pound stadium.

Where do you get the idea that Kirkby will get the club a new owner? That is a question that you have not answered.
Neil Pearse
119   Posted 06/10/2009 at 20:24:50

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Tom, what bedevils this debate is that we are not comparing like with like. People keep comparing Kirkby with either doing nothing, or with a partial job at GP. These comparisons are not valid.

If we stay at GP, over time we are going to have to thoroughly and radically build on, modernise, and overhaul it. The cost of THAT is the relevant comparison with the cost of Kirkby or any other new stadium, not the cost of fractional improvements. I don’t think even you seem to be claiming that THIS total cost at GP would be much if any less than the cost of Kirkby.

Again, the reality is that the best argument against Kirkby is not its cost. Indeed, Kirkby is by any standards very cheap (in a number of senses!), and we will have to spend at least as much if not more for all other options (including GP in the end).

The best argument against Kirkby is on the revenue side, with the risk that people won’t go.
Neil Pearse
120   Posted 06/10/2009 at 20:33:43

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Delays do cost money David, agreed. But then any other new stadium could be subject to delays as well, so as I have said that’s hardly unique to Kirkby. Even GP could be subject to planning delays depending on what we do (although Tom maybe can correct us on that one).

On the new owner, David. First of all, nearly all your fellow anti-Kirkbyites think Kirkby will get us a new owner, because they nearly all seem to think it will make Kenwright’s fortune (that remember is why we are doing it, as well as paying off Philip Green). So you can just as much ask them as me why they think we will get a new owner with Kirkby. Since they all think it will be an obvious disaster, I can’t wait for the answers!

For my part, my claim is that Kirkby is MORE LIKELY to get us a new owner than sticking at GP. No certainties in this world, remember. Why? Well, it’s not a knockdown argument but we haven’t got a new owner yet have we? Nothing been stopping anyone trying seriously to buy us while we have been at GP.

The obvious reason for that is that the cost of buying the equity in the club could be smaller than the cost of investing in a new ground - if we don’t get a new ground at a reasonable cost. Why would anyone buy a company if they couldn’t be sure whether it was going to need to spend either £100M or £200M+ on a new stadium? Much better to wait until a stadium is in the bag and the investment costs can be predicted with at least some ballpark certainty. In effect, the club is virtually unvalueable until you know what we are going to spend on a new ground. Who then is going to buy it?

So having a new ground in the bag fairly obviously makes us more attractive to a new owner. Does having KIRKBY? Well this is just the same old argument again. If you think that the average attendances at Kirkby will be around 35,000 or less, you would be stark staring mad to buy the club off the current owners unless you can get it at a deep discount. If you think they may average 45,000, you almost certainly have yourself a perfectly respectable financial deal.

The clever financial people amongst us may say: but the expected future revenues will be factored into the cost of the equity. Not really given the uncertainties. Everton with Kirkby would likely be valued at a conservative projection on Kirkby attendances and revenues. So any buyer who believes we can achieve a 40,000 average is unlikely to lose their shirt.

I’ve also always had a hunch that a new owner has been in the wings for when Kirkby is approved. Leahy hinted as much once. This is just a hunch though - backed by all the considerations above, but could be plain wrong.
David O'Keefe
121   Posted 06/10/2009 at 20:47:55

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"Tom, what bedevils this debate is that we are not comparing like with like. People keep comparing Kirkby with either doing nothing, or with a partial job at GP. These comparisons are not valid."

You're right Neil, you miss out the loop option, but then again, Neil, the point above is a red herring or South Park parlance the chewbacca defence. What truly bedevils the debate is your constant switching of the goalposts. You favour Kirkby because it may not be a complete disaster and people may come providing the team is relatively successful, and that it may lead to a new owner.

In the quoted paragraph, you misrepresent the opposition and options again, a constant tactic of yours sadly. The debate is not about comparing like with like; it is about the future of Everton Football Club.
Neil Pearse
122   Posted 06/10/2009 at 21:00:03

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David, I cannot agree at all with what you’ve just said, which borders on the frivolous. The future of Everton Football Club is PRECISELY about comparing like with like and making the best choice.

To compete near the top of the game we HAVE to have a new modern ground generating greater revenues. EVERYTHING is in the question of how best to achieve this given our financial constraints. No new owner is going to come to the club if they cannot see a reasonable way to make this possible. As you all say, if we get it wrong, that will be a disaster.

Kirkby is one option. GP is another. The Loop is indeed another, although I suspect the land and build cost would put it out of our reach, and there are to be fair different views (I am not qualified to judge between them) on what is feasible on that site.

You have to make the best choice given your best assessment of your available options. That’s life. If no option is perfect or certain or ideal (the case in spades here), you have to pick the best. I think that is the most important choice facing our club today.
David O'Keefe
123   Posted 06/10/2009 at 20:57:56

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Well, Neil considering the confusion over the enabling funding/subsidy, I can’t see the benefit for Bill. Also there is no viable business plan at Kirkby. It doesn’t make any sense, except to Messers Green and Leahy.

The rest, Neil, is conjecture. A buyer may or may not wish to fund a new stadium, but you don’t know that. They would want a viable business and Kirkby would not give them that.
Neil Pearse
124   Posted 06/10/2009 at 21:14:58

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David, if that is what you believe about Kirkby, I am in full agreement with you about it not making us more attractive to a new owner. Of course not.

I don’t agree with "a buyer may or may not wish to fund a new stadium" (I count GP in this because it is to all intents a purposes the same). They have absolutely no choice. Our club is doomed and of no possible interest to anyone if we don’t invest tens of millions in the ground where we play (wherever it is).
David O'Keefe
125   Posted 06/10/2009 at 21:15:02

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"You have to make the best choice given your best assessment of your available options. That’s life. If no option is perfect or certain or ideal (the case in spades here), you have to pick the best. I think that is the most important choice facing our club today."

Neil, I don’t think that was frivolous at all as the stadium debate is about the future of EFC; get it right the club flourishes, get it wrong and the goes into an irreversible decline. The above quote, Neil, is dishonest, in light of the club's failure to assess all options meaning, Neil, that you can shove your Hobson’s Choice up your rectum.
Dennis Stevens
126   Posted 06/10/2009 at 21:08:49

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If I remember correctly, Neil, the vote was either for DK or not — there was no alternative offered, no choice or comparisons to be made. I view the situation much the same now — DK is the only proposal currently in play: is it any good or not? — I’d say clearly not.

DK does not become attractive, or even viable because of a perceived lack of alternatives. DK simply fails because it won’t deliver the additional revenue the club is supposedly moving there to generate. £6 million is not £6 million if it’s never realised, & the it may well turn out to be worse than zero.

The costs I mention may apply to other schemes, but they are hypothetical — DK could actually happen & so these costs could make the difference between success & failure, therefore they are valid concerns.

Neil Pearse
127   Posted 06/10/2009 at 21:24:28

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David, I have presented lots of ways of comparing options (on a like-for-like basis) and not seeing Kirkby come out as worse, so I think we can assume that the club has done the same. It’s not as if we haven’t been looking for a ground solution for years.

And there’s not a lot of point doing exhaustive analyses of options you obviously can’t afford (unless you like wasting money). That’s the point I keep making: we are VERY financially constrained, so our option set is VERY small. THAT is why we are seriously considering Kirkby. A highly detailed assessment of many options we couldn’t afford would have been idiotic.

David, I am sympathetic to the view that — since we currently might have no good options that we find acceptable — we should just bide our time for now and wait and see what might come up in the future. That’s tempting to me too. But the idea that maybe we missed out on great options THAT WE HAVE NOW because we couldn’t be bothered to assess them is frankly delusional.
Chad Schofield
128   Posted 06/10/2009 at 20:29:41

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I’m not sure about the "well over £100M", and neither did I mean to suggest that you actually want us to play in The Championship, Neil... I merely meant to get the point across that having an inferiority complex over what others are doing and not wanting to fight our corner is a dangerous and potentially slippery slope. There may be some reasons for moving but because of their stadium would be terrible. I never want to see an advert with "Everton... who are they?". Again though, this does not mean tha I think you do.

When you replied to Dennis you wrote "all the risks about cost overruns and interest charges apply to EVERY OTHER OPTION we may ever do (including GP). So these particular risks are irrelevant to the choice and cancel out." but you later acknowledge that we could build in stages — although correctly stating that this would lead to reduced revenues. However, surely this is the sensible options?

With so many unknowns, the danger of budgets spiraling as builders continue to struggle in what looks like a bleak 24 odd months, surely minimizing risk is the prudent option. Generally I’m fairly far from risk adverse, but £80M+ for the potential (and increasingly unlikely) £6M extra a year seems like a silly punt at the moment

Of course a staggered redevelopment leaves the door open to other sites (and enablers) and I believe is more desirable for potential buyers too. I appreciate this goes against what many people hope from Kirkby as we will have left our dilapidated shell, but a new owner is going to have to pick up the tab for DK.

Yes it’s new, but the buyer does not have any say in it. If you personally had the money (and I don’t even mean as a fan) would you not want the chance to make your mark as a custodian?

But then again if you’re going to earn more from the Tesco brand than the Everton brand and you might also get to put your mark on the retail trends of Kirkby then it might make the DK a whole lot more interesting for the men at the top, or should that be the current Topman.

Finally, as I’m developing RSI, other than The Emerates and New Wembley, I can’t think of new British stadiums that have been an improvement. Admittedly, I never went to Ayresome Park or Roker Park, but for me The Riverside, St Mary’s, The Reebok et al seem pretty souless little boxes.

The travesty is that GP has not been sufficiently maintained. We do need to spend money, but for me Kirkby is extremely risky on so many levels. We’ll be there for a minimum of 20 years unless we really make a reversal and absorb hefty losses if we do end up relocating to Kirkby. I just hope and pray it remains a safe haven for water voles.

David O'Keefe
129   Posted 06/10/2009 at 21:36:23

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Neil the club can’t afford Kirkby so that make the above points irrelevant. So, was it worth pushing ahead with Kirkby?

However, Neil, if we explored alternative options for sites, we can do the same for funding. We are paying the full cost for Kirkby, we may only have to pay a fraction of the costs for an alternative. A prime example was the King’s Dock cost to Everton 20% of construction costs-bargain. It can be done.
Neil Pearse
130   Posted 06/10/2009 at 21:34:18

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It’s always a choice Dennis. We HAVE to have a new or upgraded ground sometime rather soon.

Kirkby should be rejected if (a) it is worse than actual alternatives available to us now; or (b) it is so bad that it is better to just sit and wait even if the currently available alternatives are not attractive either. But even (b) is a choice with risks, there is no escaping it.
Neil Pearse
131   Posted 06/10/2009 at 21:44:09

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I wish I could be as optimistic as you David about finding other better options. Unfortunately I am not! Chad, as I say I have sympathy for the ’wait and see’ strategy, for the reasons you say. However, given that I am not so optimistic about something better turning up, I am worried about its risks. I’ve seen plenty of businesses who put off decisions and ended up in an even worse state. It’s a tough call, I don’t envy the club’s current management. Anyway, enough for tonight!
Dennis Stevens
132   Posted 06/10/2009 at 22:38:58

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That’s just where you’re wrong, Neil — there is no choice. The club have said there’s no Plan B. It seems to me you are struggling to find any positives about DK & so are trying to compare it with hypothetical alternatives that you can find wanting. But DK is all we have to actually look at & it doesn’t look good. That’s why it shouldn’t proceed & the Board should start work on a viable proposal that actually offers the club a future.
Chad Schofield
133   Posted 07/10/2009 at 10:28:27

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We only are in that situation because of the infamous "Exclusivity agreement" and since Fat boy Wyness left the club conceded that Plan be would be at GP.

The redevelopment of GP can not be seen as "wait and see", even if Elstone wanted to trivialise it as "Take our destiny in our hands or cross-fingers and hope?". We clearing have ring-fenced money for DK so this could be used for phase one - and I’m not talking a lick of paint.

I do appreciate what you’re saying that we would be able to leverage more with potential sale of GP etc... though I’m sure there were problems regarding LCC refusing residential planning permission (or was that just Bellefield?).
Steve Pugh
134   Posted 07/10/2009 at 17:05:41

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Phew, what a thread.

Before I start, it is impossible to say whether or not Kirby will be a disaster or not until after it has stood for a few years. Unfortunately that could be too late. It seems to me that we accept Kirby and face potential disaster or we don’t accept Kirby and accept potential disaster. The question that I would like to have answered is which option gives the most chance of success, not which will be the biggest disaster.

Anyways, I know people hate speculation but that is what I do.

I think one thing that we are all agreed on is that something needs to be done stadium wise. I also think that most of us agree with Neil that the club is broke. So BK et al are looking at options when up pops Terry Leahy with a proposal. Tesco want to build a superstore in Knowsley but know they won’t get permission. Knowing the situation at Goodison Tesco Tel approaches the board and says that he can help them get a stadium on the cheap if they will help him get planning permission. After they have crashed ideas around it comes down to the money. "Sorry" says Bill, "we can’t afford it".

But Green holds up his hand, "I could loan the club the money at a very good rate if you will give me x,y, and z." Tesco Tel comes back with x and z but no y and a deal is done. We get a stadium, Tesco gets a store and Mr Green gets x and z, whatever they are.

When the loop came on the ground Everton still needed money so Green called Carter and told him that if he was to bankroll the club he would want the same concessions from Bestway as he was getting from Tesco. I guess they said no.

Like I said this is pure speculation based on what has been released onto the open market by various sources. The problem as I see it is that, in the current climate it is very hard to get funding on the scale that we need, the only reason Phillip Green is taking the risk is because Tesco are basically underwriting the loan with shops, or whatever it is he is getting off them.

Whilst there are other options location-wise, maybe there aren’t any other options loan-wise.

Michael Kenrick
Editorial Team
135   Posted 07/10/2009 at 21:17:42

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Nice contribution, Steve Pugh. I think that’s a very reasonable working hypothesis. It brings us back on point after some wanderings, and focuses back on the question: just what is Sir Philip Green getting out of Destination Kirkby?

I wonder, did anyone (KEIOC perhaps?) who followed the Public Inquiry more closely than I did, glean what this might be in regard to the retail development? Who owns the retail development? Knowsley or Tesco?

If Tesco, can they give Green free rent on a bunch of high profile units at the heart of it? Is that the sweetener? How much is that really worth? What else would whet Green’s appetite...?
Talking of which, does Earl get first choice of the prime restaurants and food courts??? Again, is that worth Thousands or Millions of pounds to them?

Chad Schofield
136   Posted 07/10/2009 at 22:44:23

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Should both Green and Earl be getting this kind of kicker, would this not explain why one of the biggest elephants in the room is being looked past — transport?

Suffice to say that for those parties the current infrastructure would likely be sufficient, and they would be unlikely to require an over-sized bikeshed to cater for all their cycling clientèle. However, the fans venturing to the Tescodome would still be inadequately catered for.
Dennis Stevens
137   Posted 08/10/2009 at 15:26:51

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Chad, Kenwright conceding that in the eventuality of the demise of DK the Board would revert to a plan "B" of reconsidering a redevelopment plan for Goodison Park, is clearly a "we’ll think about Plan B if it turns out we need one" response. As things stand, there is no Plan B & so nothing to compare the DK proposal with.

DK stands or falls on it’s own merits, or rather the lack of them. Some have argued the indefinite exclusivity agreement is a convenient tool to save the Board from having to seriously address any other alernatives to DK, presumably excusing them from any contingency planning.

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