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Bill Kenwright and Kings Dock?

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I know this probably sounds a stupid question but was Bill Kenwright Everton chairman for the promotion, pursuit and ultimate collapse of the Kings Dock stadium project?

If not, who was? And also, if he wasn't, why do people always name it as one of his wrong doings?

Just to clear it up, I am not a Kenwright fan ? I just want to know the facts on this.

Paul Heaton, liverpool     Posted 07/01/2011 at 23:22:09

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Ste Traverse
1   Posted 08/01/2011 at 02:29:09

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After the fans voted in favour of Kings Dock and it went through without any of the controversy that we had with Kirkby 7 years later, Kenwright went around shouting his mouth off to all and sundry that we had the paltry £30M for the project "ringfenced".

However, it turned out to be another of his fairytales. Paul Gregg, then on the board, offered to put the money up for it but it meant BK losing control. Kenwright refused then ran a campaign through the Liverpool Echo discrediting Gregg and the whole thing collapsed.

And this is the man who some, naively, believe has our best interests at heart.

Gavin Ramejkis
2   Posted 08/01/2011 at 08:00:20

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I suggest Michael and/or Lyndon have some basic timeline pages on the website to end these types of questions. It doesn't need to have anything other than factual details.

i.e. Chairman - chronological order, CEOs - chronological order, proposed ground moves - chronological order

It does sound a silly question to ask given the fact a simple Google search will return most of the details, but you never know. Posts like this do tend to end in a good old BK slagging session, deservedly in this case should you have seen the Echo Arena with a few tit for tat thrown in from a handful of BK's acolytes.
Dave Wilson
3   Posted 08/01/2011 at 08:04:02

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Ste. The guys has asked for the FACTS, but you offer mere opinion.

Gregg NEVER offered to put the money up - he merley proposed a cockeyed way of raisng it. And it was Lord Grantchester who eventually discredited Gregg by revealing he too was a fantasist.

My advice to you Paul would be to do the research yourself and draw your own conclusion.
Robert Daniels
4   Posted 08/01/2011 at 08:29:43

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Ste and Gavin, you're wrong.

Just when it looked on the verge of collapse, Bill got the money off Fortress Sports Fund...

Oh no, sorry, that was another lie.
Tony I'Anson
5   Posted 08/01/2011 at 09:07:15

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Factual timeline suggested by Gavin sounds like a very good idea, with hyperlinks to supporting comments. It does amaze me how little genuine Evertonians know about the club. But then again, they would probably wipe the floor in regards to on-the-field history...
Matthew Johnson
6   Posted 08/01/2011 at 09:36:13

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James I'Anson
7   Posted 08/01/2011 at 09:57:18

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It was the single biggest mistake made in the history of Everton Football Club and he almost managed to out-do that, had Kirby gone ahead. The very thought makes me sick.

And he got away with it.
Erik Dols
8   Posted 08/01/2011 at 11:55:55

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Having the Kings' Dock deal collapse was like a whole new signing!
Alan Williams
9   Posted 08/01/2011 at 11:53:04

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Ste that is not true what you say. Gregg was willing to front a guarantee but SFX (his promo company) wanted to control a very high percentage of revenue and control over the project which led to them not agreeing a way forward. EFC then tried to get the money in other areas as the deal from Gregg wasn?t that great for us but better for Gregg, a bit like a Wonga loan. Thereafter we ran out of time and the council moved on.

BK did fail in getting funds (no different than today) and he does deserve some flack for this but ask yourself why the Grantchesters, who are worth £500 million, wouldn?t put up the money?

The idea that BK doesn?t want to lose control is bollocks as he only owns 28% of our club, he has never had control of our club it?s a complete smoke screen from anti-BK fans.

Also the big Sky deal that is around today wasn?t and the revenues were a lot less and EFC was a relegation outfit, hence no interest from finance houses. History now tells us this was a massive missed opportunity; we all know that ? including BK, easy when you have hindsight. COYB

Gavin Ramejkis
10   Posted 08/01/2011 at 12:24:04

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Alan, 28% is the controlling interest in the club so the anti BK claims are spot on, it was BK with backing from his lesser majority shareholders on the board to veto AGMs so thats the nail in that pro BK bollocks pretty much nailed.

The Grantchester's money is controlled by the matriarch and Lord Grantchester won't work with BK. What somebody does with their own money is pretty much that. Would you piss money away into BK's hands given his "form"? I wouldn't.
Albert Veldhuizen
11   Posted 08/01/2011 at 12:56:45

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Blame it on the boogie
David Bridge
12   Posted 08/01/2011 at 12:52:36

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Ridiculous that BK refused / couldn't raise the paltry (in football terms) sum of £30M for the Kings Dock but what's the point in bitching about it now!

And by the way, with hindsight the £30m was easy we had a young fresh wantaway striker worth this and more in Rooney. (Oh, I forgot, we let the Richest Club in the Wworld have him for fuck all...)

I remember everyone loved BK in those days, as do a lot of fans now, because he claims to have spent years in the Boys Pen between elocution lessons. BK speak ? where are you now when times are hard? How are you trying to find investment? What money is available now? Next summer? What players are we losing?

Let's get real ? unless we are prepared to protest and move him out, we are always to remain a poor unambitious club.
COYB ? Kenwright Out!

Jay Harris
13   Posted 08/01/2011 at 12:47:13

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Alan #8.

My understanding is that Gregg no longer trusted BK as a competent caretaker and therefore wanted reasonable (by anybody's standards lending £30 miliion at that time) security on his money.

The terms were not that onerous and followed Gregg's earlier concern about how True Blue holding's (Bill Kenwright's aquisition company) was structured in such a way that any prospective investors were deterred.

This led to a breakdown in their previous relationship as close friends and then Kenwright did what he does best ? invented a new investor (Fortress Sports Fund) with his assurance that "Their cheque will be in the bank in the morning" and proceeded to conduct a shameful campaign through the media ridiculing Gregg's character and interest in EFC when all Gregg wanted was a sound financial model for the club.

We now know that Kenwright was telling blatant lies which is something he has done with regularity since.

For the record, LCC employees spent 2 years working very hard to get £195 million worth of grants to support a £250 million project for a world class waterfront stadium which Kenwright assured everyone for over 2 years that EFC's contribution of £30 million was "ringfenced".

Suffice it to say the project and majority of grants were lost to Merseyside (most of it was EEC grants which are now unavailable) which, if Kenwright had been honest from the outset, could have been done a different way.

I really don't know why the man is such a compulsive liar. Maybe he needs help.

That is why we have a strained relationship with LCC ? not because they are all kopites.
Ged Alexander
14   Posted 08/01/2011 at 13:39:51

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The problem for those who see everything BK does as self-serving is that they miss the point because they are clouded by prejudice.

Fact: Everton was owned by a Liverpudlian who acctually divested his shares at no-profit to True-Blue

Fact: Since then, Everton's debt has grwon from £25 million to £80 million.

Fact: This is borrowed money used to pay for a team.

Fact: There has been no progress on a new stadium and that, in my opinion, reflects on a very unimaginative set of CEOs and an over-controlling chairman.

Fact: Paul Gregg did, eventually, sell his shares following the Kings Dock failure. Again, opinion, but he was not a true-blue or a football man so I think you can safely consider that he was in it for a profit based on Kings Dock. Private profit does not suggest pro-EFC tendencies.

Pick the bones out of that, but here's a final fact. Bill Kenwright and Jon Woods are the only two Evertonians to plough their millions into Everton.

Brian Waring
15   Posted 08/01/2011 at 14:57:03

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Ged, I'm sure BK hasn't used any of his own money to invest in the club.

I think it's Jay Harris who has mentioned it before, that we had X amount of debt when BK took over, and then all of a sudden, after BK was in the chair, the amount of debt went up, by the amount BK had had to borrow to secure the shares.

I've either dreamed it, or read it somewhere.
David Hallwood
16   Posted 08/01/2011 at 15:10:20

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A good question Paul and one that needs to be fully addressed. Forget Kings Dock, let's look at any capital project; the people in charge with building it will usually go to the money markets for investment, and in turn the money markets will obviously ask the question, is this project worth investing in, or to put it more crudely, will it turn a profit.

Obviously the money markets judgement on King's Dock was that it wasn't a good investment, now if that was because they viewed the management of Everton as incompetent or simply because they couldn't see a profit, or a mixture of both has never been explained fully

Secondly, Did the Everton Board examine fully other funding streams such ie Government or European money?

Did the fact that we were trying to attract investment against a backdrop of the Gregg-Kenwright wrestle for control seriously undermine confidence from both private and public investment.

Once again if anyone out there has the answers to these questions, and as Michael Kenrick posted earlier, try to be civil and objective ie do it without repeating, "Kenwright's a gobshite" ever other sentence.
Gavin Ramejkis
17   Posted 08/01/2011 at 16:27:05

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Ged, take some time to trawl through the court documentation from the DK hearings then "pick the bones" out of that little lot and show me a single point where BK or JW have spent a single penny of their own money on anything other than shares in Everton FC. All players have been paid for by loans and Sky income. Goodison Park has had no significant investment in it for at least a decade.

In even more simplistic terms Ged, ask yourself this, do you go to the match? Do you buy anything from the club? Do you go to away games? If you answer yes to all of these, take a quick finger in the air guess at how much all of that has cost you out of your own pocket for the last decade. Keep that figure to one side.

Now picture BK or JW going to the ticket office and buying tickets for home or away games ? guess that's out they would be complimentary, Have you EVER seen either in any Everton merchandise beyond maybe a complimentary tie, I've never seen BK with a scarf on never mind anything else so that's another blank. Now picture a board member of a company not claiming travel expenses on the business and I could bet that refreshments at the game are also complimentary for the directors and any hangers on. Now write that figure next to yours.

Look hard at those figures and you tell me who has invested more money into the daily running of the club.

Pick some bones out of that.

Oh and regarding Gregg, whether or not a director of a company has any interest in that company is a bonus rather than a requirement, the main requirement is that they are competent business people able to run and develop a business. If Gregg would have taken a profit from providing the grounds for Everton to have Kings Dock then, as the investor, that's his prerogative, his money, his choice and certainly more attractive than the farce which was Fortress Sports Fund. How busy is the Echo Arena as a venue, Ged?
Ged Alexander
18   Posted 08/01/2011 at 16:44:45

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Hi Brian. BK mortgaged his house and cashed in some favours with Philip Green to buy shares only. He has not invested in the team, he has invested in the club. That means if and when we are sold, he'll be repaid +. The borrowed money he arranged thereafter was £25 million since when we have consistebtly spent more than we earned hence our debt is a whopping £80M. The lack of progress on the ground improvement/replacement makes the club less valuable than otherwise so he will make less when he sells. which he doesn't seem to accept, hence no buyers.
Tom Hughes
19   Posted 08/01/2011 at 20:31:14

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Bottom line is, the club had the opportunity to move to a £200-300M genuine state-of-the-art stadium in a truly iconic location, at the focal point of the whole city/region's public transport network. This was attainable for the cost to the club of just £30M, or the value of just one Wayne Rooney (who was sold roughly 1 year later).

For the past 4+ years Everton FC would've been playing football in a 55k-capacity stadium that would've been the envy of EVERY club in the league. What price would you now put on that missed opportunity? What would that have done to assist Davie Moyes in his quest to push us into the top 4? What would that've done to have elevated the club generally?

This was a catastrophic failure by the club by any measure!!

The precarious nature of the club's ownership, and the politics of the boardroom over which BK presides provided enough inertia and ulterior motives to scupper the real "Deal of the Century".....

The club have never been able to explain it, despite very direct questions at AGMs which they have just dismissed... is it any wonder? It's better to say nothing when the truth hurts.
Stephen Graham
20   Posted 08/01/2011 at 19:07:53

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He started early. At Liverpool Institute (my old school too) he played Shylock in the Merchant of Venice. He's still in role.
David S Shaw
21   Posted 09/01/2011 at 00:12:45

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The Kings Dock was over rated in all aspects bar location.

Think of the problems with the non location element of Kirkby and you have the same problems with the Kings Dock

Don't fool yourseves, Kenwright didn't learn to lie and bend the truth when Kirkby started you know.

Matt Traynor
22   Posted 09/01/2011 at 00:25:58

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David Hallwood (#13) "Secondly, Did the Everton board examine fully other funding streams such ie Government or European money"

There was substantial NWDA and EU Objective 1 funding included in the overall capex for Kings Waterfront. All of this was being handled by NWDA and LCC, not by EFC.

Also, to clarify, the original contribution from Everton was £30M, but as the project progressed, this figure actually rose to £65M. Moot as we didn't even have the £30M.
Steve Sweeney
23   Posted 09/01/2011 at 09:17:23

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What I cannot understand, is that Mr Bill Kenwright has stated that the £78M needed to fund The Kirkby Shed was in place... Where is it??

This man is ruining our club. Please don't let a few good results mask his ineptitude. We have got to force him out.

The only thing I will hate if we have a good cup run is his smug face on TV again telling anyone who will listen how much he loves EFC.


Craig Bellew
24   Posted 09/01/2011 at 09:13:51

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I only ever step foot in the Liverpool Echo Arena to watch my brother, Anthony "The Bomber" Bellew, fight and it still hurts more than anything thinking when I watch him that this great location and Arena/Stadium should have been OURS.

What ever the failings were behind the collapse, one thing is for sure: I will never forgive BK for losing the best opportunity we've had for years. Great location, Famous Liverpool skyline accomodating the blues, Great new stadium, lost revenue... the list is endless.

The time is now for BK to cut his losses and move aside, he steadied a seriously sinking ship and got rid of Hamperman for which I am eternally grateful; we need to do the same and move BK on, as he won't be moving aside anytime soon himself. That whole "24/7 search for investment" nonsense is a fable I'm sick of hearing, whilst the Stokes and Sunderlands of the world are now spending money on one player which equates to DM's spending budget for the next 3 seasons.

Get BK OUT NOW!! Please!
Tom Hughes
25   Posted 09/01/2011 at 10:09:43

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David, "Think of the problems with the non location element of Kirkby and you have the same problems with the Kings Dock."

I don't think there is any comparison between both projects to be honest. The Kings Dock was vastly superior in every respect. Public transport capacity for the city centre is comfortably 20-30 times that of Kirkby's. It is a move to the centre of the population, and not the periphery, giving single-bus/train journey accessibility from all parts of the city-region and beyond.

There is also the prestige of the locality, and the proximity to the business district increasing commercial possibilities..... and even just daily footfall. The stadium design itself was also on a completely higher level. These were undeniable facts, the lies (or more importantly the lack of response) in this case revolve around how and why it never happened.... and that is unforgiveable.

Ste Traverse
26   Posted 09/01/2011 at 12:22:46

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BK doesn't care about this club being successful, all this power-crazy egomaniac cares about is keeping his beloved niche of being chairman.

He'll continue to make cock-up after cock-up and give us lie after after as long as he continues to "run" the club.

Has he ever apologised for his mistakes or admitted to making them? No.

Michael Kenrick
27   Posted 09/01/2011 at 17:13:58

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Ged, some of your "Facts" need additional rebuttal:

Fact: Everton was owned by a Liverpudlian who actually divested his shares at no-profit to True-Blue ? AT NO PROFIT!?!? WTF??? Peter Johnson made a tremendous profit out of Everton Football Club ? around £10M. That's TEN MILLION POUNDS!!!! FACT!!!

Here's a final fact. Bill Kenwright and Jon Woods are the only two Evertonians to plough their millions into Everton. ? An absolute lie. Their millions (if it really was theirs...) went to a certain Liverpool fan by the name of Peter Johnson. When you buy shares from another party, that money goes to the party selling the shares... NOT into the company itself.

The common saying that "they have millions invested in Everton" is inaccurate. They have millions invested in Everton SHARES ? FACT!
Ged Alexander
28   Posted 09/01/2011 at 19:47:44

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Michael. I did actually say in a post at 15 that True Blue invested in a company, not the team by which I meant - as you have said - that they bought shares from the previous shareholder. That is still an investment - however it is a personal one not in the team. If BK had bought a house in St John's Wood for £7 mn in 1999, it would now be worth around £20 mn. He chose to invest in a football club instead....ours. If he and the others ever sell the club, it will be for more return than buying a house so, in that sense, selling will have netted him a good return.

I am not sure about your 'fact' about Agent Johnson's profit. He spent £24 mn of his own money on on the team when issuing an under-written share block. Later, he recouped some of that money by selling Big Dunc, True Blue paid him £20 mn for his shares. His purchae price and subsequent investment in the team was worth about £30 mn wasn't it? So, I'm note sure he made a profit.

HOWEVER, this is missing my point and I dont care about Agent J. I am simply saying, we must get our argument against BK right. We have to admit that he got rid of Johnson, we have to admit that we are better now than then and we have to admit that he recruited and held on to a top manager. He is not all bad.

My biggest complaint is that there has been no progress on his watch about the stadium and, more generally, on the infrastructure of the club. We now lease our training ground, have sold our property portfolio and have a massive debt. Bill HAS to accept responsibility for that situation. It is ludicrous to suggest Kirkby was a realistic option. It was obvious to me, and therefore many others, that Tescos' plan was a not shoe-in. Why would the Government/Planners ok a scheme threatening the viability of Liverpool One?

Keith Wyness and Robert Elstone have not really helped either have they? For example, why is there no planning to doule-tier the Park End stand, why no filling in of the corners? Why have we not offered to buy St.Luke's Church and fill in that corner? The Church offered the site to us on Carter's watch - this is achievable.

The answer to my questions is that Bill has no real imagination and picks people that do not challenge him.

And he wont sell unless he gets a big return and he stays as chairman - and at a debt of £80mn and rising, an old stadium and no plans to improve the situation, I'd say he wont be selling soon.
David O'Keefe
29   Posted 09/01/2011 at 20:18:50

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He is not all bad because he's not Peter Johnson, fair enough Ged, but he left the club thirteen years ago and all the failures and failings that you have listed took place under BK's reign.

You're incoherent and have failed to make a case for BK. Playing the Johnson Joker is an apologist trick, Ged, only your incoherence suggests that you're no longer convinced that BK is all that he once seemed. He's not all bad, but you're not convinced are you?
Dick Fearon
30   Posted 09/01/2011 at 21:15:20

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There is only so much milk in a cow and this particular one is well and truly milked dry.
Every time it surfaces we get the same people regurgitating the same things over and over ad nauseum. Have they nothing better to do than go over and over the same pros and cons.
The only thing I would like to know more about is what Steve #20 mentioned.
What happened to the 75 mil that was set aside for DK?
Ste Traverse
31   Posted 09/01/2011 at 22:07:32

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Dick. May I suggest the £75m "set aside" for Kirkby was probably the same as the £30m "ringfenced" for Kings Dock... non-existent.
Gavin Ramejkis
32   Posted 09/01/2011 at 22:56:59

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Dick #27, it has been posted here and it came out at the DK hearings too regarding the mythical financing surrounding the DK scheme. Neither Tesco, KMBC or Everton were able to answer the free ground for the stadium reversing into a value asset and it was very strongly rumoured that Tesco would offer finance through it's banking arm. Tesco now has it's own standalone bank based in Edinburgh opposite Haymarket station as they divorced themselves from RBS.

You could ask a very similar question regarding funding which suddenly stopped with the death of DK, was that particular door shut by Green?
Jim Lloyd
33   Posted 09/01/2011 at 23:09:17

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Ged, we're not talking about whether Kenwright is a better chairman than Johnson. The question was about Kenwright's involvement (or lack of it) in the Kings Dock stadium. Kenwright quoted that "The £30 Million is ring fenced."

The vast majority of Evertonians voted for the King's Dock (not like the bloody travesty of a vote that this latest shower held). So off we go! waiting for the most iconic stadium in the country to be built, yet worrying about leaving dear old Goodison Park. Stiil, I'd guess most of us looked at this beautiful stadium and thought "it's not bad at all!"

Then things started getting a bit worrying (finances) hence BB's "The money's ringfenced! At the last chance saloon, BB was like me Dad when the rent man come round. "I'm sure I've got the rent somewhere." That's when Gregg came in with his "reverse mortgage".

People have called Gregg for wanting a profit... Well, 1) we wouldn't have needed it if BB had backed his comments up with the actual cash; and 2) What is wrong with an investor making a profit from a successful enterprise?

All we've had from the current incumbent is imaginative language but no progress for our club.

Alan Williams
34   Posted 10/01/2011 at 08:13:04

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Gavin, as a BK fan if you like I agree this was a massive error not to take KD. Every time I stay in the hotels around it I sulk like a baby and always say what if! My wife now says it before me taking the piss...! BK biggest fault is he has no money all the other spin is just what happens when you live hand to mouth in a business you look short term as apposed to long term. Until somebody fit and proper makes a bid for our club I'm happy to stay with him warts and all and getting rid of him without a plan B is just daft as it serves no purpose other than danaging the club and team. COYB
Jamie Rowland
35   Posted 10/01/2011 at 09:50:06

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Correct me if I'm wrong...wasnt the Kings Dock originally an idea from Peter Johnson..?

Didn't it get knocked back by the council ultimately on traffic congestion (they can't get traffic down the Strand as it is! - and its horrendous when the 10,000 people come out - at night - from a concert at the Echo Arena). 40,000 (or 55,000) would have been impossible using the current road system and that couldn't be easily changed (unless we knock some listed buildings down).

I remember voting on the issue when I sat in the main stand (which was in the 90s) so the Kings Dock was a longer debacle than Kirkby... by my reckoning.

As for Bill Kenwright... well he's a different story but he has put money into the club... well, as much as John Henry has into Liverpool... or the Arabs have into City or Abramovich has into Chelsea...
Jamie Rowland
36   Posted 10/01/2011 at 09:56:16

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Gavin - post 7...

The Grantchester's money is controlled by the matriarch and Lord Grantchester won't work with BK. What somebody does with their own money is pretty much that. Would you piss money away into BK's hands given his "form"? I wouldn't.

Isn't that paragraph supporting the fact that Bill Kenwright 'doesn't' put in his 'own' money - because what he does with it is up to him??? (By the way, not many people put 'personal' money into a business without the prospect of getting it back - be it by ownership or directors loan).
Tom Hughes
37   Posted 10/01/2011 at 10:00:56

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I'll correct you.... you are wrong on every count.

Johnson had been gone for several yrs, he went in the late 90's (you are remembering the first Kirkby vote). A simple Google search would've told you KD and its demise were much later.

It also would've told you that the council did not knock anything back, and no the traffic was not and is not an issue at all. The initial problems with the strand were during the big dig, with several lanes down, they are now fully resolved.

FYI: In terms of people movement the city-centre copes with many more times the stadium's proposed capacity every single rush hr with ease, it often copes with much bigger numbers. The River Festival and Matthew Street Festival both attract several hundred thousand... again without any significant traffic problems. As will the international boat show taking place on the same site. There are many city-centre/waterfront stadia around the world.... none have the problems you mention. Why? Because Public transport readily takes the load, and parking facilities are usually spread around city centres and are extensive, and traffic management is most efficient..... and that would've been the case with Kings Dock.

As regards amounts of money put into clubs, I'm not sure anyone would say BK has spent anywhere near as much as those mentioned... Which is pretty much on par with the rest of your assertions, which only serves to illustrate the level of misinformation regarding these horrendous mistakes.

Gavin Ramejkis
38   Posted 10/01/2011 at 13:40:22

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Jamie, BK started as a pauper; he didn't even have the money to buy the shares. Bit like a chav licking the windows at a Merc or BMW dealers, lending a shedload of money before the recession and taking out a top of the range brand spanker promising to look after it. Trouble is the chav couldn't afford the fuel never mind the servicing costs.

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