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Forget Spurs, the bus has already left...

By Alan Kirwin :  02/11/2009 :  Comments (46) :
Last week there, as happens on TW, a number of contributors were eulogising about the investment available to other clubs, most notably Spurs. The planned new stadium getting particular attention.

I posted then that I really couldn't understand how it would work, knowing as I do just how difficult/impossible it is for just 35,000 fans to get to & from that location. It's also a particularly shitty part of the world... Adding 20,000 to a horrible infrastructure that can't take 35,000 is ridiculous and if it gets through planning, I would be amazed.

And, as this story from Patrick Barclay states, there is a bigger story. Tottenham's bus has already left the station, and it's called The Emirates Stadium. He makes the same point, the right point, about us & "them".

If you can't beat them ... Spurs should have moved to the Emirates.

If anyone asks you to explain the expression "flogging a dead horse", point him to Tottenham Hotspur and their determination to press ahead with the rebuilding of White Hart Lane in time for the 2013-14 season.

The artist's impression of the new, improved, extended stadium is almost a satire in itself. It shows hundreds of happy people milling about the concourse while a single red double-decker roars up the northbound bus lane of the adjacent High Road. There is no other traffic in either direction.

So how have the happy hundreds — not to mention the 56,000 inside — arrived? If they have come by Tube, the station within reasonable walking distance of White Hart Lane must have been completed in record time. If they have taken one of those trains that, even with the ground's present 36,000 capacity, disgorge you at White Hart Lane station a claustrophobic wreck, they are not as cheerful as we assume.

There are few more handsome and evocative stadiums, but getting to and from it is already a far from pleasant experience. Transport aside, there is hardly anywhere suitable to eat or drink. Adding 20,000 places will simply make things worse, for all the talk of fan-friendliness, community consciousness and so on.

The success of Arsenal's move from Highbury to the Emirates Stadium has been assisted by a very different environment, especially in terms of transport: there are two Tube stations within a few minutes' walk and two others, also served by trains, within a comfortable 20 minutes. You can be fed and watered locally.

It is not really the ideal metaphor, but Spurs have missed the bus. They should have moved to the Emirates with Arsenal. It would have helped both clubs; while Spurs have a healthy balance sheet and an inadequate stadium, Arsenal have big debts and a home for the 21st century. In time, with imaginative design, the shared stadium could have become a visitor attraction seven days a week, increasing the prestige of both clubs.

The same could be true, and even more valuable, in Liverpool, but there the notion of a shared stadium has become the common sense that dare not speak its name. Instead, Everton plan a ground that will be too small and Liverpool's owners trumpet empty promises about a huge one.

My fear is that Liverpool and Everton will, over the decades, become Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United when they could be AC Milan and Inter.

Although much is made of the tribal system in English football, to me it just gets in the way.

Reader Comments

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Nick Parker
1   Posted 03/11/2009 at 06:27:19

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I agree and am baffled still as to why Kirkby is still even being considered.

Anyway back to banging my head against the wall...

Roberto Birquet
2   Posted 03/11/2009 at 13:39:24

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I am and always have been a supporter of a shared stadium. We have people moaning about a lack of investment and often the same ones who "over my dead body" would accept such a move.

Well fellas, that is why we have no investment.

Maybe we will strike lucky and someone with far more money that sense - al a City - will come along and allow us to "live the dream". It is a sorry state that pure luck governs who can win trophies, and an indictment on the English game, which will deserve to implode if it ever does. But declining 50% of a massive ground right next door is bloody barmy.

And here’s an idea. Anyone against a shared ground, says so when you cry for "the board to relesase funds."

Yes, you have the right to your opinions, anticipating that sort of irrelevant response, and I have every right to pour scorn.
Karl Masters
3   Posted 03/11/2009 at 13:50:03

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Much as I love Goodison, I have to say that a shared stadium is a NO-BRAINER if we cannot redevelop Goodison.

Kirkby would be the stupidest thing we could ever do and the truly frightening thing is that by the end of this month we may well be heading there.

Liverpool, meanwhile are going backwards, but their ignorant fans are too consumed in their own self importance (and ringing phone ins calling for King Kenny to return!) to even consider a shared stadium, much the same as some of ours.

I would like Michael to re-publish the article that was on here a year ago by Trevor Skempton and a Reds fans who had come up with an imaginative design to suit both sets of fans. How about it, Michael?
Alan Kirwin
4   Posted 03/11/2009 at 13:56:10

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A shared ground on Merseyside is way past being the bleeding obvious. I have only ever heard one thing against it, and frankly bigotry doesn’t count as a view.

It ticks all the boxes and is bordering on the criminal that these two clubs can’t get their fucking heads together and see the huge benefits and sweeteners that would dwarf anything of an individual nature.

But the Spurs admirers should also take note. As a club, Spurs have had ideas beyond their station for a long time. I don’t usually indulge in schadenfreude, but this club is due a wake up call.
Liam Reilly
5   Posted 03/11/2009 at 14:41:59

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Hard to stomach but the bottom line is that Shite are more marketable and profitable than Everton is and would never agree to a shared stadium.

The truth hurts.
Jay Harris
6   Posted 03/11/2009 at 14:40:51

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Alan you are right economically and politically to make the point about a shared stadium... although I don't think Spurs are a good comparison.

We are run by numbskulls but have a half decent "coach" Spurs are run by very shrewd businessmen and have had a succession of poor "coaches" although they might be getting it right in that respect just now

We can only envy their ability to make money while we continually make operating losses which IMO will only be made worse by Kirkby.
Fran Mitchell
7   Posted 03/11/2009 at 14:37:01

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One thing has always confused me, this ’dare not mention shared stadium in Liverpool’. I saw an Sky Sports/ BBC (not sue which) program saying that 95% of fans are 100% against a shared stadium.

Is this a media myth? Or is it true?

I was brought up in a family of Reds, have a number of both blue and red friends and the majority are supporters of the idea.

Also, most fans I have talked to in the occasional match I go to, and when just watching both Everton and Liverpool (watch Redshite games with me dad) games in the pub, the majority... apart from the odd overly bitter, slightly ignorant bigoted fan (from both sides)... have agreed with the idea of shared stadium.

The idea of having one world-class stadium in Liverpool, shared by two great clubs sounds appealing. This is something KEIOC should now try and press ahead with.

Everton have managed to dismiss KEIOC by sayng they are implausible. While they have dismissed the shared stadium on basis of no-one would support it. Maybe KEIOC could try and develop a co-operative campaign relationship with one of the Liverpool fan groups and develop an actual movement.

Kirkby is coming closer and closer to reality and needs to be fought. we cant go out without a fight. We need planned protest outside every home game showing our total non-support of the Tescodrome, rather than the odd KEIOC banner.

I don't understand why people are so averse to public protest, it's the only way they will listen.
Nick Parker
8   Posted 03/11/2009 at 15:01:07

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Fran - some sort of protest is a must.

What are people's thoughts to boycotting a home game?

A very visual expression of our feeling which would get huge national coverage and give a clearer picture of true support for Kirkby?

For the record, I hate myself for suggesting this — but I hate Kirkby more.
Steve Edwards
9   Posted 03/11/2009 at 14:46:18

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If Everton had the same support that Liverpool have I would have no problem sharing a stadium with them. Unfortunately we don’t and that as far as I’m concerned is the problem. Liverpool would not settle for a stadium that holds less than 80,000 and make no mistake they will fill it every week. On the other hand we will stuggle to half fill it. Don’t kid yourself up that another 40,000 are going to suddenly appear from somewhere on a regular basis. Now think that through, do you fancy sitting in a half full stadium? Great atmosphere that would produce and I don’t think.

What would happen on derby day when we are ’at home’. We may get 50,000 turning up for that but that would leave another 30,000 seats for the red shite at least. The same would apply when we played Man Utd for instance. Great home advantage that would be.

If we could somehow pin them down to a 60,000 seat stadium that would not be too bad but I doubt very much that they would agree to that, why should they? they have a huge waiting list for season tickets and half of Norway supporting them. Some of you may not be bothered by what I’ve pointed out but I would be and I wouldn’t go for it for the reasons outlined. I don’t fancy Kirkby either by the way but a shared stadium to me is far from a no-brainer.
Keith Skidmore
10   Posted 03/11/2009 at 15:19:04

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First time poster - long time visitor.

Nick - I don’t think you need go as far as a boycott. The club had the Gwladys St hold up coloured cards before I think it was the Wolves game? with the intention to show support for some cause (mind fails me)... Turn the tables on them, distribute coloured cards before a home fixture and have the supporters show their dissatisfaction with the move to Kirkby?

For the record; season ticket holder, couldn’t bring myself to vote in the ballot, don’t want to move if GP can be redeveloped and disillusioned with the state of football in its modern guise to the point where if I didn’t love my club so much it hurt... I’d have turned my back on the whole sorry mess a while ago!!!

David Booth
11   Posted 03/11/2009 at 16:05:27

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Easy to say this when Kirkby seems to be the only alternative being pursued right now, but a ground share in Stanley Park would be tremendous.

Half the building costs, half the running costs and still all the revenue from ’home’ games.

Plus a bigger and better stadium than we are able to contemplate on our own (even if we end up prostituting ourselves with a multiple retailer).

Apart from obvious local pride/rivalry considerations, what else is there to say against it?
Roger Domal
12   Posted 03/11/2009 at 16:19:56

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Ah the shared ground controvesy... always pleasing to read this one.

May I ask if anyone has read "Why England Lose"? Read it and then come back to discuss investment and the difference between London and Liverpool. And provencialism and localism. We talk in circles on these forums, but nobody has any facts except what they know in their own lives. What we don’t realise is that NO ONE CARES AS MUCH AS WE DO! The book debunks some long held truths about supporters, and towns, and what it means to be a fan in this day and age. You will be shocked at the conclusions. I know I was.
Kevin Sparke
13   Posted 03/11/2009 at 16:22:01

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I deplore and despair in equal measure Everton’s proposed move to Kirkby for a number of reasons.

These include certain problems of transport, sub-standard unimaginative stadium design and the probable generational loss of our unique identity as a ’big city’ club... but the main reason I hate the idea is that everything about the proposed move smacks of our repositioning as a small, mid- to low-table Premier League team — at best.

It’s as if our board and its chairman have decided to settle for the fact we’ll never compete at the pinnacle of English football ever again — so let’s make the best of what we are, which will be Everton as a rival to ’Bolton', ’Wigan’, ’Coventry City’...

Nothing would be more unsurprising to me to find out that, when Kirkby gets the nod from the band of incompetent back-scratchers who currently form our government, that the capacity will be slashed to 35,000 or some other manageable amount due to ’unforeseen transport issues’, congestion problems and the worry that the ’50,000’ blues who have disgorged from a stadium in the middle of nowhere might not disperse to their cars, train, buses and non-existent alehouses in an orderly fashion.

I was once a passionate opponent of a groundshare — the reason: I did not want Everton to be an unequal partner in a groundshare with Liverpool FC and, when the issue was discussed in years gone by, this has always been a sticking point.

Now that the new Liverpool Stadium in Stanley Park looks to be delayed indefinitely due to costs, our Chairman, their owners, Liverpool City Council and any other interested parties should get around a table immediately and hammer out a deal.

Of course it wont happen — it’s too sensible.
Ken Buckley
14   Posted 03/11/2009 at 16:37:35

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Alan, I saw and heard Paddy Barclay on the ESPN programme ’Between the lines’ last night. In his analogy of Sheffield and Milan he described Liverpool as a smallish TOWN and ’not very rich’ which immediately made me suspicious of anything else he had to say.

The shared ground debate so far has been between fans and councils, Blues fans I know would not share a bag of chips with ’em. However, I do believe that if the power brokers at both clubs thought this was a goer, then — no-matter what anyone else might want or think — they would be pushing for it.

They are not... so, if you are Paddy Barclay, the question you should be asking is why are you not listening to my sound advice and save your SMALL TOWN from becoming a Sheffield. I would love to hear the official answers from both clubs...

Martin Mason
15   Posted 03/11/2009 at 18:24:34

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I completely agree, ground share is the absolutely common sense option in this day and age. I have been ignorant of the goings on over Kirkby (I’m a bit of a born again Evertonian after saying I’d never watch them again). The Kirkby option sounds only like the end of EFC.
Andy Codling
16   Posted 03/11/2009 at 19:34:17

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Steve Edwards, you talk about sitting in a half-full ground... well, after the gloss has faded at Kirkby, that is what it will result in a half-full ground.
Keith Glazzard
17   Posted 03/11/2009 at 19:00:38

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Alan’s post began at WHL. Been there, but I’ve no expertise about getting many thousands of people in and out. Do Tottenham fans walk to the ground from home? Perhaps they do. All the same, I await the day their starts are delayed and even then Alan Green, Radio5’s RS correspondent starts his commentary 15 minutes late.

Steve Edwards raises a very good practical point in the groundshare debate. Can an opposition’s supporters simply fill up the empty seats in someone else’s home ground — I don’t know. Stanley Park would be our home ground for the matches in question. I think the EPL, FIFA etc have regulations about things like this, but to be honest, I don’t know what they are.

My take on this groundshare thing has always been that if it was of any benefit to EFC, then LFC would have nothing to do with it, short of them being on the edge of bankrupcy. In our close to relegation days I was sure that they lost games which meant nothing to them but gave points to other candidates for the drop. They don’t want us to exist.

Fran — KEIOC and a Liverpool action group? Together? Good luck as you try to build the bridge.

Nick — are you talking about buying your ticket and then not turning up? Or just not turning up? Turning up and leaving, putting a pink/yellow/blue god knows what leaflet on your seat. I suspect that having paid a few quid to get in, most people would rather give the lads a chance. It's a football game.
Alan Kirwin
18   Posted 03/11/2009 at 20:17:01

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Ken, on Paddy Barclay, I’m surprised. Having read & heard the man for years on end spout so much sense on football in general and Everton in particular, what you suggest sounds strange.

But it doesn’t change the argument for me. And frankly, outside of an in joke, not sharing a bag of chips with a kopite is one thing, but cutting off one’s nose so spectacularly is too far to go to make a silly point. IMHO.

When you strip away all the nonsense and take this to its bare roots, I am beside myself with incredulity as to why this hasn’t hit home. It is the only game on town. The wary Evertonians who worry about filling 80,000 are missing the point. Firstly it wouldn’t be 80,000. But then again, Dortmund get 80,000 so why not Merseyside?

Such a stadium should be 65 - 70,000. That’s plenty. It would attract grants from local, regional, national & European bodies way beyond any individual stadium. It would attract marketing income and naming rights that would be in orbit compared to the same. It would contain match-day facilities that would be working almost every week of the year, rather than half of that.

Put simply, it would actually cost less in real terms, look so much better, be a far greater monument to both clubs and the city, a sporting venue of world renown, it would be the complete bollocks.

If I were running the council I would call in both Chief Execs and make it abundantly clear. NO NEW SITE FOR EITHER CLUB, but we will move heaven & earth and help you all the way if you choose a joint stadium.

You’d have thought Liverpool in particular would have learned their lesson about debt. Don’t forget, all that debt was used to pay David Moores for the club. It has not resulted in a penny of investment. It seems we can raise up to about £100m. Liverpool were talking about spending twice that (and the interest!). I think a Merseyside stadium could be delivered for less than either club were looking to spend on their individual homes.

KEIOC could & should show some lead here. We need progress, not more of the same. Too many people in this country hate progress, hate change, hate learning from others, especially Germans or Italians. We need vision and common sense where it matters, at the top.

Time to start shouting and telling the clubs to stop pissing about with our future.
Andy Morden
19   Posted 03/11/2009 at 21:00:58

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I posted a reply to a debate similar to this one probably about a year ago and my opinion has not changed. I think it is a very sensible option on the grounds of economics, viability and staying in the area that is the club’s spiritual home.

I previously made the point that, in this age of big branding and media focus, it would be very shrewd to thrust ourselves alongside Liverpool. There have been numerous threads on here bemoaning the lack of media coverage we get and lack of focus upon Everton in global events held in the city — Capital of Culture, anyone?

Yes, that may well stick in people’s craw as it would be a tacit admission that we are, for now, in their shadow, but, if we moved to Kirkby, I really do fear we’d be even further removed from the spot light.

Anyone ever witnessed RCD Espanyol’s ground and relative coverage compared to Barcelona? Well, we wouldn’t want that would we? Alarmist and over-dramaticised I know, but I’d rather is be the part of a set-up more like the Milan clubs than that of the Catalan capital.

On another note, I actually think between us and Liverpool we have a unique history and geographical closeness (as the grounds already exist) to allow us to do that. I look at local rivals in my home region of the West Midlands and I could not see it happening due to the historical context. Aston Villa and Birmingham City couldn’t do it. Far too much emnity and water under the bridge. Ditto Wolves and West Brom.

It is a unique opportunity and it would take a lot of bravery and will to do it. Is it out there I wonder?

Keith Skidmore
20   Posted 03/11/2009 at 20:37:22

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Thinking a little laterally, this is an idea I bring up occasionally whilst blowing the froth off a few pints with my mates. Has anyone put forward the idea of sticking two new grounds together and sharing many of the utilities, construction costs, catering costs etc...? Before this idea gets shot out of the sky, it is just that, an idea and a different one to the usual shared ground scenario.

If you were to build the two grounds with a large double sided canter-lever type stand in common, you could house a truly unique corporate experience... because let’s face, it’s the added corporate facilities which we are led to believe is the only hope for the future of our club. I can imagine a number of different sized function suites which, at one end, overlook the new Blues ground, and at the other, our dear friends.

Now I don’t know of any other venue which can offer an experience like that. Both clubs need to think outside the box with regards to the corporate side of things as the Echo Arena has a monopoly on location, the Kings Dock is still a bitter pill to swallow.

I know people will say... what about the money side of things? I don’t know, possibly a mix of grants, sponsorship, loans??? Clubs employ ‘clever’ people to sort that sort of thing out. Capacity can differ to suit the needs of each team, ground design can be unique to each but for the shared stand.

GP and the spud patch can be sold off to raise a couple of quid, used for parking or other.

As I say, it’s a different idea... if money could be found, it offers both sets of supporters what they want — the ‘best of both’ — and it should keep initial costs down and in the future be an earner, ‘every little helps...!’ There you go — two sponsors in one sentence!

Roger Domal
21   Posted 03/11/2009 at 22:16:13

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I think this is the first time in my memory that a ground share article has had more fors than againsts.

A lot has to do with the economy and the realization that our stadia are not going to make it another 10-15 years. And the the financial markets are not exactly giving money away anymore.

I think it is up to the City to decide what they want, and then we can all argue from there.
Keith Glazzard
22   Posted 03/11/2009 at 22:00:01

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Andy - speaking from Catalunya I have some background regarding the Espanyol and Barcelona situation. La Liga, of course, comes close to rivalling the SPL for an ’old firm’ dominance. Madrid was Franco’s team. His policemen took Catalans out and shot them. The last ’military’ execution in Spain was a Catalan rebel, about 1960. The Catalans regard Barcelona as their national team, certainly in the ongoing battle with el capital Castellano.

So Espanyol - el Reial Club Desportiu, perfectly good Catalan name, except many object to the Reial part, coming of course from the King in Madrid - have been playing a bit part on a massive stage. There is no comparison between our histories.

Having been in the awful Olympic Stadium for a while now, they are building their own ground near, I think, Barcelona airport. This doesn’t seem to bother their supporters that I know as they all have to travel (like Barcas supporters) to the match. And like Villarreal, and the Madrigal, it might do them a lot of good. Les Espanyols are very loyal.
Dick Fearon
23   Posted 03/11/2009 at 22:11:42

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In my posts 1 to 6 over two or three years ago on these very pages I made a case for a shared stadium and was metaphorically flogged and driven out of town by the local bigots.

The road to Kirkby can be likened to Paul's coversion on the road to Damascus. A growing number have have been exposed to a blinding light of wisdom and common sense is coming into play. For both clubs and their fans any chance of a wonderous ultra-modern stadium may now be a forlorn dream. Instead of debate being focussed on how to best serve the needs and wishes of both sides, we are faced with a dubious future in a second class home as the other lot slide further and further into a quagmire of debt.

Those who condemned the clubs and our city to a millenia of mediocrity will be forever cursed.

Phil Guyers
24   Posted 03/11/2009 at 22:06:23

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You say that you have only heard one argument against a groundshare and that is the view of a bigot. I view sharing with the Reds as the ’nightmare scenario’ and regard your arrogant comment that only a bigot could hold such a view as an extreme insult.

Let me give you my reasons for opposing a groundshare:-

1. Every football club must have its own identity and, for me, one of the biggest parts of that identity is the home ground. The only example the groundsharers ever quote is the San Siro and this has been shared since 1947. I would contend that both clubs have thrived in spite of the groundshare and not because of it. Where else has groundsharing been successful for both clubs?

2. Any ground in Stanley Park would be built to suit Liverpool and, as such, would be too big for us. We do not need a stadium bigger than 50,000 and the idea that we would suddenly get crowds of 65,000 or more is just wishful thinking. Where do you think the extra fans are coming from, Alan? All I can see in my nightmare are rows and rows of empty (red?) seats.

3. I am amazed that Liverpool are not interested in the groundshare as they would stand to gain the most from it. I am sure that you are right, Alan, that a lot more public money will be provided for such a stadium but this will only enable the Reds to achieve what they are currently finding so difficult. We would have to provide our share of the costs and it seems to me that we would be helping our most hated rivals to move further ahead of us.

For the record, my preferred option is to spend whatever money we can raise on modernising Goodison Park, broadly in line with the views expressed on here by Tom Hughes and others. However, this is just my opinion and definitely not ’the only game in town’.

Dean Adams
25   Posted 03/11/2009 at 23:07:59

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It was said recently that the Reds would not want to share with us, a small club!! Well, if results go against them, they won't be in the Champions League for long this year. So they join us in the ropey cup, an image that makes us equals and therefore the ground share would gain more credence, you would hope.

I do not wish them bad luck, far from it, but the pure justice would raise a smile and if it meant that the groundshare proposition would be entertained, I would then be hopeful that both clubs could sit down and use common sense. Alas I fear it may never happen as they would still pretend to be superior, such is their inferiority!!

Ciaran Duff
26   Posted 04/11/2009 at 01:35:58

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While I personally think this is a good idea, there are 2 major stumblling blocks:-
1) LFC are not interested;
2) EFC do not have anywhere near the money pay for half of a mega stadium.
Steve Rowson
27   Posted 04/11/2009 at 04:00:49

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San Siro isn’t the only ground share arrangement. Here In Aus the Aussie Rules clubs often groundshare - the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Perth etc. It works well and it is your home ground every bit as much as if you owned it completely. It’s just a different way and change is what a lot of people don’t like. Financially, it works and this is what will, in time, inevitably drive some of these decisions. Both us and the RS need a new ground. There is a suitable location ready and waiting. LFC’s dip in form and their financial problems will help concentrate a few minds, as it should for us too. I don’t buy the argument that we would never fill it - having a great new stadium will pull extra people in, in the same way that a poor stadium (Kirby) won’t. We need to have a long term vision for the club that starts with a great stadium and a plan to broaden our supporter base. The alternative is to accept mediocrity and decline.
Michael Kenrick
Editorial Team
28   Posted 04/11/2009 at 05:04:52

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Karl, that article from Trevor Skempton is still on the site: Plan C: Time to Share?. Is that the right one?

It’s a bit tough for me to repost, unfortunately, but Lyndon might be able to access the database entry that holds al the text, html formatting and image source refs...
Chris Briddon
29   Posted 04/11/2009 at 08:47:58

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Ken Buckley - to me the comparison of Sheffield & Liverpool is a fair one as both clubs in Sheffield have 40,000 + stadia. Describing Liverpool as a smallish town is obviously incorrect, but it is a smaller city than Sheffield.

The main difference between the two is that the two teams in Sheffield haven’t been particularly succesful in the last 20+ years, so Sheff Wed in particular struggle to fill their ground. Utd do and are planning on extending it, but they struggle to develop on the pitch to be any more than a good Championship team.

Alan Kirwin
30   Posted 04/11/2009 at 10:29:12

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Phil, I don’t really get your point. The only arguemnt I have heard against it is in fact bigotry, from people who just do not want to share with THEM. Sorry, but in this day & age, with it’s huge financial challenges & constraints, it’s a ridiculous position.

Our old ground may share some of our history, but they don’t define us. We have not prospered without a shared ground. if you bothered to look, both clubs are in the shit & need a way forward.

Liverpool can’t afford a new stadium and neither can we. The idea that this would only go ahead on Liverpool’s terms is fatuous & misleading. It would be a shared ideal or it would be nothing. It could be designed to reflect the wishes & traditions of both clubs, and be part of a huge sporting & entertainment footprint that would accommodate lots more than just football. It would, in all likelihood, be the most sought out and busiest venue of its type in the world.

I’m bored with the resistance to change in this country. Liverpool, as a city, has often bucked the conservative trend in Britain. It’s international cultural heritage feeds a psyche that often embraces the different and the unusual. IMHO it’s time for Liverpol to be brave again, to do something different, unusual and amazing.

Goodison and Anfield are yesterday’s solutions. A new bold statement is what’s needed.
Ollie Taylor
31   Posted 04/11/2009 at 11:31:36

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It's probably the most sensible solution for both clubs (but not for the same reasons).

The main practical problem (after getting the respective boards and majority of fans behind the idea) would be the image rights of the prospective stadium. Every new stadium being built in the UK and Europe needs some sort of link up with a major brand for naming rights. Even older grounds are realising its a good way to boost income (St James).

However, getting a deal with one corporation would be very difficult:

1. They would want the Liverpool side of the brand a lot more than the Everton side. So I really doubt there would be 50-50 split in revenue from it agreed to by our friends. And no Everton board (even the current shower) would be stupid enough to sign a deal that boosts Liverpool’s relative financial power and footballing prestige.

2. There’s no way you could get two corporations to sign separate naming-rights deals for each team, as it were.

To me, I can’t see how those issues would be overcome unless the council decides to blow its entire budget on building it itself as a means of creating large-scale employment (which would be helpful in areas such as Walton and Anfield) but I don’t think the central government or less football-crazed local taxpayers would be too pleased at the majority of their council tax being blown on a footie ground.

Oh, and Sheffield isn’t bigger than Liverpool. There are more people in South Yorkshire than Merseyside, but that’s a very different thing. And both Hillsborough and Bramall Lane are smaller than Goodison.

Dan Brierley
32   Posted 04/11/2009 at 11:40:02

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Has nobody picked up on the fact that:

A) We cannot afford a ground share

B) Liverpool do not want it

Its nice to discuss, but ultimately it will never happen.
Chris Briddon
33   Posted 04/11/2009 at 12:27:32

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Ollie, as someone who works in Sheffield I can assure you that Sheffield is bigger.
Latest ONS Popn Estimates 2008:

Sheffield 534,500
Liverpool 434,900
Phil Guyers
34   Posted 04/11/2009 at 12:10:50

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I am staggered that you can read my post and still say that you have only heard one argument against groundsharing. To sum up, the three arguments that I put forward are:-

1. We would lose something of our identity.

2. The ground would be too big.

3. We would be helping our main rivals to achieve their objectives.

I am not asking you to agree with me, just to accept that someone can have a different view on a subject without being a bigot. Which of the above shows me to be a bigot?

There were two questions in my post. Is there any chance of an answer instead of all the flannel about feeding our cultural psyche or whatever?
Peter McHugh
35   Posted 04/11/2009 at 12:58:20

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Groundshare a good idea but a non-starter as both clubs would need public money and with credit crunch this will not be forthcoming as will not be seen as essential.
Dave Wilson
36   Posted 04/11/2009 at 12:25:45

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A third party is needed to broker such a proposal, some body with genuine desire to make it happen, but who? The only flaw I see in Alans proposal is he seems to pin his hopes on somebody in the council is big enough to do it.
Ian Edwards
37   Posted 04/11/2009 at 13:17:58

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A thousand times NO to a ground share.

A cowshed in Kirkby is better than sharing with the neighbour from hell.
Dave Wilson
38   Posted 04/11/2009 at 13:27:07

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Ian, regardless of how great a rivalry we have on the pitch, many many of us have grown up sharing toys, schools, friends, clothes and in the cases of those with big families even beds.

Neighbours? we are far closer than that mate, we are inextricably linked, they are our parents, our siblings, even our children.

We share everything with them, we even breath the same air, by all means voice objections, but let's be a little sensible here.
Ciarán McGlone
39   Posted 04/11/2009 at 15:54:14

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Once again...I fail to understand the hatred that seems to exist between some Everton and Liverpool fans.

Sure, I have contempt for them on the pitch, I detest their colours, I hate there anthem with a passion - and I wind them up at every opportunity...But how this can manifest itself in a real hatred of actual human beings is beyond me - How it can bring someone to pour blue paint over the Hillsborough memorial - or rather more jovially - painting a red headband on Dixie’s statue - as an expression of hatred - is beyond me...

It’s not as if this division is deeply manifested in a religious bigotry and division as the celtic/rangers divide is here...

It’s nothing more than football...Some people need to really catch a grip and realise shankly was talking through his arse...
Alan Kirwin
40   Posted 04/11/2009 at 15:49:46

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Phil I think you stagger too easily.

Re your points:

1. Nonsense in my view. identity is about so much more than a ground. Sounds like a nose/face spiting approach. Would you rather stay at Goodison (now a crap hoie) or move to Kirkby than have a new stadium near the centre of town? Just to stop Liverpool? dear me.

If a stadium is part of our identity, we currently play in the 2nd shittiest stadium in the EPL, with over 10,000 restricted views, wooden structures all around (with health & safety risks), apalling corporate facilities, tiny old seats. It’s a crumbling edifice that’s had it’s day. What does that say about our identity? And what does that say about you, the fact that you would resist changing it just because it might help Liverpool in the process?

2. No idea what you’re talking about. No such ground exists yet, and if it ever did it would likely be 65-70,000. That’s the figure Liverpool were looking at, why would it be bigger? What is your criteria for judging a hypothetical joint stadium to be too big?

It’s not my job to show where extra fans will come from. You think 50,000 is ok, based on what? that’s 14,000 more than Everton’s average, so where did that figure come from? If 50,000 is OK in a shit hole like Kirkby then there are countless arguments as to why 60,000+ is more appropriate for a fantastic stadium near the town centre and with countless other pluses in its favour.

3. Oh dear. And you objected to my point about bigotry. So tell me Phil, is it really more important to you to actually STOP Liverpool achieving anything than it is for Everton to achieve something? Sad & bitter man.

We can argue about the technicalities a hypothetical joint stadium, but I have no time for bigotry and prejudice. Hope that’s now clear.
Alan Kirwin
41   Posted 04/11/2009 at 16:17:47

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Dave W - You’re right. I would never actually expect the council to "drive" this. And frankly, I can’t see who really would.

I think LFC’s ownership & management is now so detached from its roots that they are clearly a stumbling block. Had David Moores stuck around, or the excellent Peter Robinson been on the scene, then things may have been different.

Irrespective of its profound appeal (to me) on financial, moral, technical and cultural grounds, it really is just a pipe-dream at the moment. And that’s the fucking tragedy.

When you strip everything away and examine both clubs' current positions, both saddled with debt & unable to keep pace, and then examine the arguments for a joint stadium, it is utterly incredulous that the idea isn’t occupying their every thought.

The gains for Everton and Liverpool clubs, and for the city as a whole, seem massive. And there would appear to be almost no downside.

It’s such a waste and it makes me angry. It’s the elephant in the room that everyone (or almost everyone) knows is the right answer. Yet nobody wants to drop their guard and admit they want or need it. Total madness & the sad thing is we will all pay the price for it for a long time to come.

In saying all this, I'm more agitated by the Arteta news today & Pienaar’s continued absence. Dreadful.
Ollie Taylor
42   Posted 04/11/2009 at 17:10:11

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Alan, I’m not debating the figures, I’m stating that Liverpool as a census area does not cover areas that definately are part of the city (i.e. Bootle and Aintree) and some other ones that could arguably be seen as parts of the city (i.e. Litherland, Huyton.)

Point is Liverpool is much bigger in real terms than Sheffield because of the hinterland it has. The two Liverpool clubs may come from an area the same size as Sheffield, but the Sheffield clubs draw fans from Sheffield alone. Us and Liverpool draw fans from the Wirral, Knowsley, St Helens and south Lancashire, so the comparison isn’t valid.
Phil Guyers
43   Posted 04/11/2009 at 18:46:00

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I consider myself duly worked over by one of the bigger beasts in the Toffeeweb jungle. Merely for expressing the opinion that I would prefer it if my team played at its own ground, you see fit to call me sad, bitter, bigoted and prejudiced as well as use the irritatingly arrogant ’dear me’ approach.

This was the first time that I have contributed to an opinion thread (previous infrequent posts related to questions of fact) and it will definitely be the last.

The funny thing is that I never posted my opinions before for fear of a mauling by the Tony Marsh tendency. Apart from the last one, I enjoy your posts and agree with nearly all of them so I was at least expecting a polite debate if not a meeting of minds.

At least we can agree on the Arteta and Pienaar situation. Very worrying.
Gavin Ramejkis
44   Posted 04/11/2009 at 22:26:32

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I’m astounded with the so-called business brains that post... no-one else has suggested a fairly obvious way in which to take the joint Merseyside stadium forward, which would be to create a new company comprising equal board representation from either club but headed by an independent, say from LCC... stop laughing at the back!

The company would then seek the funding and sponsorship for the stadium, including the build and off-field activities and additional revenue streams such as retail shops, both theirs and ours.

The profits would be paid to the clubs in the form of dividends equally split for stadia and corporate functions and the retail side would pay percentile profits to the respective clubs as theirs obviously outstrip our sales. All fairly obvious but it would take someone with the drive to make it a reality.

Alan Clarke
45   Posted 05/11/2009 at 12:00:08

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Alan Kirwin, is everyone who disagrees with you a bigot? For all your flowery vocabulary I actually think you aren’t very clever at all. Rather than being constructive you always resort to insults.

The reasons against a groundshare should not be dismissed. Do you think the people in charge at both clubs and LCC would have dismissed it so easily if it was a NO-BRAINER?

If Everton are struggling to find £80 million for Kirkby where does the extra funding for a shared stadium come from? The resaon Everton and Kenwright decided on Kirkby is because it’s the cheapest option. So I’d really like your insight into where the extra money is coming from.

If Liverpool want a 60,000+-seater stadium, how do we fill it? By your own admission, we’re a smaller club with far fewer fans. You criticise Everton in other posts for not being able to sell out a 40,000-seater so would you have Everton playing in a half-empty stadium? Perhaps it doesn’t bother you as you only watch games on your computer.

Everton know they are far less marketable being attached to LFC than they are by themselves so long term it’s a bad idea. If Everton were on a level playing field to Liverpool, I would be all for it. You should also look into the AC and Inter situation as Inter are currently looking to build their own stadium.

The lack of support for this project is not about bigotry, it is about people with a sound business brain knowing it’s a bad idea.
Ray Burn
46   Posted 05/11/2009 at 14:55:56

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"If Liverpool want a 60,000+-seater stadium, how do we fill it?"

Dropping ticket prices would be a start.

Wasn’t the record attendance at Goodison something like 70’000 back in the old days. Presumably there are just about enough of ’us’ out there if, as Brucie would put it, "the price is right".

Whilst my preferred option by a country mile would be to stay at a redeveloped Goodison Park, I would gladly accept ANY other stay-in-the-city option to avoid moving to the ’Tesco-Direct@Cowshed-
upon-Kirby-Retail-Park’ stadium. Even if it meant sharing with...them...

Undesirable as that may be, if we are hell bent on moving what’s worse, 3 quarters full 60,000 seat shared stadium or half-full 50,000 seater dump that entertains KFC?

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