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What really matters this year!

By Phil Martin :  08/10/2009 :  Comments (34) :
After yet another predictably poor start, and subsequent recovery. 2009 seems to be an exact replica of 2008. A lack of funds has seen Everton stumble out of the blocks and fall behind our rivals battling for the top 4. With a long season still to go and all to play for. I wonder how our hugely inferior financial predicament and the forthcoming African Cup of Nations will affect our challenge for Silverware and a top 4 finish. I suspect Moyes (and the majority of us fans) would accept Top 6 and a good cup run as another excellent season –given our resources.

However this for me (and I said in this in an article last year) is almost secondary to what’s happening with DK, any (potential) takeover, and our general “off the field” performance. After all treading water is fine for a few years but without a new stadium and a bigger transfer pot –we will be overtaken. Pushing on, improving and challenging at the top is what separates the big clubs from the truly big clubs...which is almost impossible without similar resources.

With this in mind, and a decision over DK on the horizon I stumbled across Tom Hughes’ design for a redeveloped Goodison again. I have seen this before but every time I read his document (and I have several times) it gives me a warm feeling.

Apologies if this sounds a little childish for a grown man to say. However I look at the 3D images, and can imagine sitting in my Bullens Road seat looking across at a new, bigger, modern, compact, atmospheric, exciting Goodison Park. Not only is it the ideal design, it would allow us to build in stages, without losing capacity. It even has room for expansion if the circumstances allowed. It would also tick all the boxes regarding Executive seating/lounges etc. Yet it would still be Goodison Park! The designs discuss build strategies, exact seating arrangements and the various implications.

Now when I look at the provided plans for the current front runner — Kirkby. We have a few images of the stadium at night with fireworks in the sky. We also have an image of the ground with Tescos next door. But we don’t have any details on the exact number of seats, the layout of the stands or even a 3D mock-up of what it could look like.

All we know is that, our board don’t see re-developing Goodison as viable. In fact only DK is truly viable in their eyes. If that’s the case then why hasn’t DK been put under the same scrutiny by our board, like every other option that has reared its head?

Given Everton need to find up to £100M to pay for Kirkby. Which in my view is just a generic, unflattering, non specific proposal to a very important issue. I just don’t understand why a bespoke Goodison Park redevelopment couldn’t be achieved for a similar amount. DK could really could be anyone’s home stadium -it just happens to be on a retail site in Kirkby. Tesco know we need a stadium but they need us more, to get their new superstore.

Which is why I hope we get an answer once and for all to this DK inquiry. If it takes a resounding ‘NO’ to force our current board members to truly seek a real set of Stadium development options AND new owners of this club. Then I feel it can’t be a bad thing.

Just as a ‘YES’ from the inquiry would disappoint me, it would at least force some hands into action. Our current situation (with no investment) is slowly destroying what has been built over the last 8 years. Maybe I’m blinkered but Kirkby doesn’t feel right in my heart or my head. If it takes new owners to realise that too, then I won’t lose too much sleep.

For me the future stadium plans are far more important that what happens this season on the pitch. For me, it sets the tone and our level of ambition for the next 50 years. That is something really worth celebrating.

Reader Comments

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Guy Hastings
1   Posted 08/10/2009 at 17:22:02

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Putting aside the small matter of coughing up/finding £100M, I’d be interested to know how the go-ahead for DK would affect any potential buyer. Would they be legally locked in to DK or, as new owners, would they be able to knock it on the head and look again at the whole ground issue?
Colin Potter
2   Posted 08/10/2009 at 18:21:26

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I was under the impression that, if the vote turned out a Yes result, it was a Yes to carry on negotiations with Tescos about building a new ground. It was not to accept what they were offering and that was that.

I would have thought Kenwright should have asked for another Yes vote, after explaining to us what we were really getting, instead of waltzing right in and accepting the so-called Deal of the Century. With Tescos as our little helper, who needs enemies? I may be wrong over this, as I’m not too sure. Some one will let me know.

David S Shaw
3   Posted 08/10/2009 at 22:30:55

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The Kirkby stadium has been designed and images have been released already. There’s away fans behind one goal. Corporate boxes in the middle of both the end stands, killing hope of atmosphere.

Upper Tiers are maximum steepness so are actually unsafe if anyone stands up there! The rows of seats are spread out to prevent intimacy. There is no potential for expansion the way United expanded.

In short. Pathetic and insulting to Evertonians. Do Everton care? If they did they’d change it.
Jay Harris
4   Posted 08/10/2009 at 23:11:40

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Phil, totally agree with your sentiments but the truth is they have never seriously considered other options. This exclusivity bullshit saw to that.

They could easily add 8,000 seats in the Park end for about £20 million which would give us the best return as a club if we’re so strapped for cash but the truth is there’s a headlong dash to Kirkby for the gravy train.

Green and Earl are running this one, not Kenwright and it wouldn't surprise me if there isn't still a bonus to be paid to Wyness out of it.

I firmly believe that Green and Earl have charges on Kenwright’s shares such that he can't sell until they get their piece of cake and release the charges.

So we can expect a really cheap build dominated by retail and then some golden parachutes.
Nick Armitage
5   Posted 08/10/2009 at 23:43:42

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David S Shaw

"Upper Tiers are maximum steepness so are actually unsafe if anyone stands up there." What utter tosh. The top balcony now is like the North Face of the Eiger but I don’t remember seeing anyone falling off that into the Family Enclosure.

"The rows of seats are spread out to prevent intimacy." Exactly how intimate do you want to get at a game? Dunno about you but I am fucking fed up of having to shoehorn myself into and out of seats that an average teenager can’t fit in at Goodison.

But then again I suppose Goodison is great, as long as you are midget with x-ray vision.

Goodison needs bulldozing, don’t use lame excuses to denigrate an alternative that is far superior in terms of comfort and safety.
Jay Harris
6   Posted 09/10/2009 at 03:28:35

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Nick, you’ll certainly need X-ray vision at Kirkby because the distance from the pitch is significantly more than GP.
Ciarán McGlone
7   Posted 09/10/2009 at 09:19:01

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A nice idea about re-development, Phil... but ultimately a fruitless one.

Kirkby has been shoehorned through in the most despicable of ways... But that’s Bill Kenwright — the eternally defended saviour of our club from the devil.

I wonder would Kirkby have got this far if it had been Peter Johnson pursuing this agenda? That’s assuming he’d have had the balls to conduct himself the way ’Blue Bill’ has...
Russ Quinlan
8   Posted 09/10/2009 at 09:17:41

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I would love us to stay at Goodison. I appreciate there are funding issues which have been discussed ad nauseam, but putting that to one side (because we need funds anyway!), why do we have to follow every other club's path and build a new stadium?

We are Everton, why can’t we set the standard and show what can be done to an old atmospheric stadium and revelop for the future and also keep our heritage?

All these Clubs that have left their old homes like Roker Park, Ayresome Park, Main Road, Burnden Park, The Baseball Ground and Highfield Road ended up in ’nice’ stadium but none have the history or atmosphere of the old grounds. As it stands, GP cannot be expected to be used much longer but why follow the ’sheep’ and do what everyone else has done?

We are Everton, we should be setting standards and showing other clubs their grounds CAN be reveloped with a bit of thought. We should be leading the way, not following everyone else so come on EFC, put more effort into making the Club what it once was again.

Bob Parrington
9   Posted 09/10/2009 at 09:49:38

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Born and brought up on the Blue side of Merseyside but now living in Adelaide, Australia, one of the great pleasures of life is the occasional opportunity to get back to Goodison Park. If there is a chance to redevelop it, why not give it serious consideration?

Are there some grave feelings about needing to be outside the city because the city can’t support the two teams? It has done for donkey’s years and so I doubt this is a reasonable excuse.

Ok, some will say that the past has nothing to do with it and we need to move for the future. Perhaps we should refer them to the new owners of Man City, who had the balls to have a go at knocking their illustrious neighbours off their top perch.

Do we really need to move to Kirkby? Is there really some magical pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for Everton? I doubt it but perhaps there is for somebody?

Phil Martin
10   Posted 09/10/2009 at 10:09:26

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Nick Armitage, Have you read through Tom Hughes’s design document for a redeveloped Goodison? Not an obstructed view in site.

It’s a modern stadium (with all the facilities demanded) which also maintains the character and heritage of the Old Lady. It’s fucking superb! How can anyone not be impressed with this? Well done, Tom!

Ciaran, Jay, I totally agree that, as long as our current board are in charge they will disregard anything other than a Kirkby move. Which is why I hope the Inquiry decision comes soon, so we can see their true colours. Because at the moment they aren’t putting money into the club and they aren’t receptive to anything other than a Kirkby move. Surely it's in the best interests of EFC to pursue all avenues? Not lock yourself into an option from day one and then cover your eyes and ears.

If Kenwright loves the club so much, and just maybe he isn't really pulling the strings anymore, then how did he get us in this mess (i.e. being ran by two non-football people)? If he loves EFC so much, why isn't he doing everything possible to progress the club? Because not investing in players and moving to Kirkby doesn’t really equate to much...
David S Shaw
11   Posted 09/10/2009 at 10:18:29

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Nick Armitage:

The maximum steepness safety wise for when fans stand up is 25 degrees. The Kirkby upper tiers are 34 degrees. That’s fine for side stands, but fans are always going to try and stand behind the goal.

Second point about compactness. Kirkby’s treads are 840mm, Goodison in general is 660mm. So you can improve most comfortably on Goodison while still retaining intimacy. Kirkby has gone the other way.
Ciarán McGlone
12   Posted 09/10/2009 at 10:28:00

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If by ’pursuing all avenues’ you are referring to the so-called ’exclusivity agreement’ preventing such options — I think this is a red herring...

Exclusivity agreements are rather dubious creatures that are pretty easy to extricate from as they ultimately only determine an obligation to consider entering into a contract... and, once one party decides they do not wish to do this, the agreement itself is easy to frustrate.

Another thing about about ’exclusivity agreements’ - they do not necessarily prevent a party from exploring other options... they can ’lock in’ or ’lock out’ — only a well drafted lock out will exclude other alternatives — and even then that’s only until one party decides otherwise...

This is all irrelevant anyway... I believe the consultation process ended well before the vote and the vote was the catalyst for an agreement for the proposal.
Colin Potter
13   Posted 09/10/2009 at 10:29:34

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Nick Armitage, Don’t worry about the size of the seats, after a season or two, you will be able to lie down on them.
Jamie Rowland
14   Posted 09/10/2009 at 10:33:06

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I have to confess that i did vote for Kirkby. It seemed the only viable option at the time.

Now, however, the more I think about it and the more I hear, the more I wonder whether I made the correct decision in voting ’yes’.

I think I was startled a bit by the prospect and the positive attention Kirkby was getting. Having now travelled to the site etc, I realise that it's not a particularly good move.

I do worry though that the opposition to Kirkby is a bit of a chocolate tea pot. The KEIOC group is too mob handed and seems ill-disciplined for my liking and I don't think the occassional car sticker and t-shirt really makes an impression.

I worry more that there is nothing we can do about it all... Kirkby will go ahead and the only thing we could possibly do is work with what are given and make it work (somehow)... How we do that is still a mystery to me.

I will still have a season ticket and I will still attend all home games. I will still try and make Everton work — regardless of location — I just don't think that the current board want Everton to work for the fans.
Jamie Rowland
15   Posted 09/10/2009 at 10:42:42

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Just realised... I’ve sort of agreed with Ciaran again! That's twice in one day!
Ciarán McGlone
16   Posted 09/10/2009 at 10:49:46

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Take each argument on merit Jamie... Too many people on here disagree with personalities rather than specific points.
Derek Turnbull
17   Posted 09/10/2009 at 10:51:06

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Jamie Rowland, a couple of points. KEIOC are normal fans doing whatever they can. Anyone can sit back and say you done this wrong etc, but the real crime is people not doing anything.

You mentioned a bit later about trying to make the stadium work as we may be stuck with it. I agree. We must put pressure on Everton to get that awful design improved.
Peter Griffin
18   Posted 09/10/2009 at 11:27:06

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The whole ground move situation has caused a massive divide between the fans. All we have to go off now on DK, is the information from the public enquiry. This information was different to what was told to the fans by the board prior to the ballot. They may have acted with good intentions and told us what they were told, but frankly I’m not intersted now, it’s done. The ground move however, is not done. My point is, in light of the current facts, would Kirkby still get a 59% "yes" vote?

Put your BK opinions to one side and ask yourself in the short, medium and long-term is Kirkby right for Everton?

If not, what are you willing to do about it? For those who say there is nothing you can do you are wrong. Without the fans the club doesn’t exist. Divide and conquer is what they have thus far achieved.

We should have had a full independant survey into redeveloping GP, cost, timescale, future revenue etc.

We should have been given some viable options in the City from LCC to again assess costs, timescale, future revenue etc. Even if we never had the money, we should have had a concrete option.

We haven’t. All we have on the table is DK or stay where we are for now.
Phil Martin
19   Posted 09/10/2009 at 11:18:48

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Jamie Rowland,

I remember when I first heard the Kirkby proposal and was initially very impressed. The announcement was made using the (what we now know) false statements;

"World Class", "Stadium for Nothing", "Deal of the Century", "50-55k capacity". Aside from its location the above sounded very impressive. Pity they were just words and not an accurate description of what’s really planned.

As for KEIOC, like others say. These are ordinary fans with families, lives and jobs. Who give up their time to protest against something worth fighting for. Sure they aren’t a professional organisation, that's because this is all done and funded off their own collective back. They should be applauded for at least showing that they care.

What really annoys me is the attitude from the board regards any questioning of their judgement or motives on the stadium move or future takeovers. They treat us fans like petulant kids.

They dismiss totally any suggestion that Kirkby isn’t the correct move. Without even so much as a glance at what other people of authority offer. They also dismiss suggestions they aren’t looking for investment. Yet nothing/no-one is ever linked. In fact there is never any sign of any discussions taking place.

Phil Martin
20   Posted 09/10/2009 at 11:29:16

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Peter Griffin,

I totally agree. Surely Tom Hughes’s document could be used as template for an argument supporting redevelopment of Goodison Park? It’s solid in detail and facts. It's certainly a more comprehensive document than anything we’ve seen published re Kirkby.
Jamie Rowland
21   Posted 09/10/2009 at 11:34:48

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Phil Martin, Derek Turnbull, Sorry guys, I did not mean to put negative attention on the KEIOC group as to their efforts. I actually applaud the fact that they have managed an action group and are trying to make a difference — it's certainly more than what I have done. My concern is that, to me, it seems mob-handed and a little aggressive and as such, it is replied to by Everton in the same manner.

The point here is that, while KEIOC is run by normal fans — the board sees them only as hostile. When tempers flair and websites are created counter-attacking what the board publishes, the response will only be treated in the same manner.

Thus, my experience is that we go round in circles — questions asked (often shouted) towards the board, only to be ignored or brushed off with answers that satisfy no one.

So apologies if it would seem that I am criticising KEIOC for making an effort — my criticism is that the effort is perhaps going down the wrong path. But that's only my opinion.

I worry that we end up with a stadium that is hard to get to, gets us in debt and is dead. I believe that we are going to get DK and that we will have to work with what we are given.

I did vote Yes to DK and I have to admit that I was dazzled by the ’won't cost us a penny’, ’55k capacity’, ’£5-10m extra funds per year’ etc etc... it all now seems to be a complete fabrication.

I am not sentimental, so moving from Goodison is not the end of the world — but I must stress that if we do move, it HAS to be for the better and not because of a hidden agenda to improve personal wealth — which may well be the ultimate motivation behind the DK drive. I hope not.

Ciaran... true... (another agreement!)
Jamie Rowland
22   Posted 09/10/2009 at 11:44:55

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Colin Potter...

’Don’t worry about the size of the seats, after a season or two, you will be able to lie down on them ’

All to true... sadly
Trevor Williams
23   Posted 09/10/2009 at 11:53:13

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Whatever we do, please let's not take the catering staff with us. I saw at the Stoke game they had won a customer service award. The competition must have been worse than useless.

The young girl selling programmes on the top balcony was actually texting and receiving calls as she was selling the programmes. What a great example of who we employ...
John Shaw
24   Posted 09/10/2009 at 11:38:17

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When now considering if Kirkby is or isn’t a good move/deal, supporters need to remember the following:
  • The capacity will not be 50-55k.
  • We will not be allowed to host other events (ie concerts) at the stadium.
  • The stadium will not be of the standard originally suggested.
  • There is currently no acceptable transport plan in place.
How do we now the above? Because the original proposal is no longer relevant due to the amendments and restrictions placed on the development by Knowsley MBC amongst others.

This results in no additional funding for team development from a sub-standard stadium located in a much more difficult to reach area for 30 to 40k supporters.

Wow, what a deal!!!
Peter McHugh
25   Posted 09/10/2009 at 13:42:49

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I’m really confused about the Kirkby deal. I don’t understand why the Board would move us there if they do not genuinely believe it to be a good deal and redevelopment of Goodison Park is not viable. I assume people think the reason is because Kenwright will be able to find a buyer for Everton more readily if we move and make a profit?

But if redevelopment of Goodison is possible, which everybody would prefer and cheaper, why not go with this? Why is that not in the Board’s interest? I just don’t get it.

As a layman, I fail to see why Goodison can’t be be redeveloped, I haven’t looked at the plans by Tom Hughes but it seems odd why Goodison can’t be redeveloped and I am yet to know why it can’t. Personally, I do want a new stadium as I think Goodison as it currently stands is inadequate.
Tom Hughes
26   Posted 09/10/2009 at 13:50:16

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Phil, Thanks for your kind comments. That scheme came out of a design project I did over 10 years ago while looking at some of the options the site held. This took the form of a number of permutations for getting above 50k (unobstructed seats), building 1 or 2 or 3 or even 4 new stands and/or extensions to existing structures to reach that capacity and more.

When the move and then the sham of a vote was announced, I decided to put one of the schemes together to offer as an alternative but only had 2-D drawings and sightline studies, and just about got the 3-D finished by a friend of mine in time to exhibit.

It was all a bit rushed, but I think it got the main points across. The main one being that this was an accurate scale interpretation of what could be done on that site.

The other schemes are also viable options and there would be a multitude of others if the club had commissioned a stadium design competition, which is what any club really trying to find the best alternative would’ve done. At least one of the other schemes I did has now been modelled also, and this preserves the historic stands and enhances their qualities while erradicating most of their failings.

Trevor Skempton and I have been developing this theme further, but in essence it’s already featured in the Black Widow video... As they say: Watch this space ;)

Liam Reilly
27   Posted 09/10/2009 at 14:53:39

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Excellent design Tom,

Question, have you ever had any response from the club on its viability?
Jay Harris
28   Posted 09/10/2009 at 15:02:28

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Peter McHugh, two points regarding the logic of Kirkby.

1. The board (including a certain Robert Earl and the assumed shadow director Phil Green) are mainly interested in the potential cash cow that is the retail element.

2. The stadium cost at £130 million (less £50M for retail enablement) is being valued at £150 million. This IMO gives the opportunity for a bit of creative accounting and puts a significantly higher perceived value on EFC than developing GP for the same amount.

The only people who will benefit from this are the board who will then sell up and leave a legacy of disaster and debt. That is why they refuse to consider any other option. They have never had any costing nor research done on any other option so that should tell you everything.
Peter McHugh
29   Posted 09/10/2009 at 15:45:25

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Thanks, Jay; I agree. The "Kirkby is only viable option" does not stack up.
Robert Daniels
30   Posted 09/10/2009 at 20:23:44

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Is anyone interested in starting off a petition for a new vote? This itself would let the Board know that we won't meekly go without a stand... because I for one feel in my heart and head that DK is a catastrophic mistake and I'm embarrassed to say I did nothing.
Christine Foster
31   Posted 09/10/2009 at 20:33:35

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Robert, afraid the call would fall on deaf ears... a real easy way would be this.

Next home game the club should put an A4 piece of paper on every seat in Goodison. One side Green the other Red.

At half time the announcer just asks for a show of paper, red or green... Green being Yes, Red being No..

The question? The same as the ballot. Should EFC move to the proposed location in Kirkby?

But It will never happen because the embarrasment for the club, BK and Tesco would be huge.

Maybe KEIOC can distribute outside the turnstiles and can we do it anyway...
Robert Daniels
32   Posted 09/10/2009 at 20:43:06

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That's an idea, Christine, but the red paper should be blue — I couldn't wave anything red at goodison unless it was a stick of dynamite flying across Stanley Park to that franchise yankeedoodledandy fat waiter.

I actually like the yanks cos they dont. But what you're suggesting could work, people on here could make it work, if they had the gumption.

Phil Martin
33   Posted 13/10/2009 at 15:43:36

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The problem is until REAL action is taken — for example, a proper organised protest, display of anger against the way fans are being lied to, the Board will happily ignore any other suggestions.

It will take something high profile to capture media attention to really force our board members into action.

Robert Daniels
34   Posted 13/10/2009 at 19:13:32

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Phil, How about a load of banners at a forthcoming game to be televised live on Sky and after the kick-off, people produce them, reading "Get Green Out" or "We're not Green, we're Blue" in reference to the very likelihood that Green does in fact own us.

If enough people could be persuaded to take part, the Sky TV reporters would have to ask some relevant questions of Blue Bill... And you never know, some journalist might just take it upon himself to investigate the true goings on at the club.

Just a thought that I would be willing to go along with.

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