Goodison Forever

In the wake of Robert Elstone's cautionary words over the proposed move to Walton Hall Park, the time has surely come to call off the search for a new home and redevelop the Grand Old Lady.

Lyndon Lloyd 23/05/2015 81comments  |  Jump to last
(Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

By 5pm on Sunday, we will know whether or not Everton have secured 10th place in the Premier League by, essentially, either bettering or matching West Ham's result at Newcastle. It's a far cry from last season's fantastic 5th, achieved with a higher (or equal, depending on the outcome of their game at Hull) points tally than Champions League-bound Manchester United will achieve this time around.

Whatever happens against Spurs, though, it will be the club's lowest league finish in a decade and will represent another sobering assessment of the club's current status two decades on from our last trophy. And, as revealed by the Echo yesterday and coming in the wake of Joe Beardwood's recent assessment presented to the Shareholders Association Roberto Elstone's measured programme notes regarding the proposed stadium development will further crystallise the notion that Everton FC remains some way short of tangible progress in its attempts to bridge the gap to the top flight's big five or six clubs.

There is little need to read between the lines of the Chief Executive's comments because there is an implied and honest admission that relocating Everton to Walton Hall Park or anywhere else, for that matter remains beyond the club's financial capability at present. That won't come as news to many; the funding aspect was always going to be the biggest stumbling block to any relocation proposal; contributions from Liverpool Council together with the sale of stadium naming rights and other sponsorship agreements would be an important component but the bulk of the monies would need to come from Everton. As Elstone rightly admits, there is a significant danger in Everton assuming too great a burden of debt pursuing a scheme with no guarantee of commensurate returns.

The CEO's comments constitute a tacit admission, therefore, that despite the publicity last summer surrounding a potential ground move up the road merely a box-ticking exercise required to publicly outline the club's intent to build on the land in partnership with the local authorities as part of a wider regeneration scheme the realisation of such a project is many, many years away at best.

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With those expectations realigned and with the years and energy expended on three ground-move proposals in mind, the time has come for Everton to abandon plans to relocate and focus instead on the redevelopment of Goodison Park. It's a decision that should arguably have been taken in 2004 after the collapse of the Kings Dock certainly after the Destination Kirkby debacle but a point has been reached where the question has to be asked: How much more time dare we waste chasing an impossible dream?

It's a pertinent question because, for the first time in decades, the redevelopment of the Grand Old Lady is actually a viable fiscal option for the club thanks to the mushrooming broadcast revenues that will firmly establish Everton among the top 20 richest clubs in the world. The bonanza currently being enjoyed by Premier League clubs presents a historic opportunity for the club to set in motion a phased, affordable plan for the reconstruction of Goodison Park.

Our neighbours, even with the vastly superior financial backing of their American owners, came to the same conclusion regarding their future, of course, and construction of their new stand is already underway. A long-term plan of land procurement and the purchase of property around Anfield has borne fruit with an improved structure that will add 8,500 to Liverpool FC's capacity. Clearly, had Everton pursued a similar strategy in the area around Goodison Park, the club would already be on the road to resolving the increasingly burdensome stadium issue.

While the club have categorically stated that redevelopment of Goodison isn't feasible, there are many fans this writer included who believe that, with the right will, determination and imagination, a phased construction strategy is not only possible but makes vastly more financial sense than building from scratch somewhere else. While transfer values and player wages have continued their perversely stratospheric rise, the costs of construction and materials have remained grounded in the real world, allowing for the patient incremental development of the four sides of the ground over time.

Everton are pulling in an additional 33m per season from the current television rights deal, a figure that could increase to as much as 85m each year between 2016 and 2019. While some of that will, as a matter of course, end up in the pockets of players, their agents and other clubs in the form of inflated prices and salaries, there should be plenty of scope to combine a targeted player recruitment strategy and the continuation of the club's sound wage structure with a phased redevelopment scheme that would allow the club to remain competitive in the Premier League while moving towards to a more secure financial future.

Of course, rebuilding Goodison is not without its considerable challenges but it remains possible. Goodison For Everton certainly thought so 18 years ago when Peter Johnson first floated the idea of moving Everton away from Walton and provided their own feasibility study part-funded by one Bill Kenwright no less to prove it. Architects Trevor Skempton and Tom Hughes offered similar studies around a 50,000-seater ground completely within the current stadium's footprint to counter the hierarchy's insistence that staying put was not an option.

The tight footprint and density of buildings around three sides of the ground do pose huge logistical issues but none of them are insurmountable, particularly when you look beyond the existing footprint where other possibilities exist.

One might entail moving a significantly larger Park End Stand further towards Stanley Park, pushing the car park back and, with Council assistance, routing Walton Lane through an underpass underneath. That would allow for the pitch to be moved southwards as well and allow for a redeveloped Gwladys Street stand to be built without exceeding the current height and overhang regulations for residents.

Another more complicated and more costly option that has already been mooted would involve rotating the pitch 90 degrees and building over the school, which the local authorities have already said could be relocated if absolutely necessary. That would be a massive undertaking, tantamount to relocation elsewhere, but would require no development on a green-field site like Walton Hall Park.

These are architectural and engineering questions that could be solved by the right minds, though, and if the financial conditions for such a strategy have ever existed for the club, it surely is now. The will has to be there, however, and that has to come from the Chairman and Board of Directors who must surely now realise that the Arsenal model, predicated as it was on all the advantages that club enjoys in the nation's capital, is not so readily transferrable to Everton's situation.

Redevelopment doesn't necessarily preclude the kind of leisure, retail and entertainment possibilities that initially attracted involvement from the likes of Robert Earl and Philip Green realistically, how much scope is there for that at Walton Hall Park anyway? but it's absolutely essential now that the needs of Everton Football Club and those of its supporters were placed above outside interests and that we, as a club, start to look after ourselves. There is no sense in moving a mile down the road and further away from the city centre to try and replicate the magic of what we have at Goodison Park if it risks plunging us back into unmanageable debt.

The emotional argument for staying put is an obvious one. We've been in this hallowed spot for 123 years in a stadium that for decades was at the forefront of the domestic game, staging a World Cup semi-final and playing host to most of the club's legendary players and achievements. That sentimentality seemed trivial to many in the face of the bright lights of a brand-new development elsewhere but it can and should now underpin the drive to keep Everton FC in L4, lest we waste precious more years going around in circles.

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Reader Comments (81)

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David Harrison
1 Posted 23/05/2015 at 00:57:42
Whatever the arguments for or against moving, How small time have we become that our CEO worries that we couldn’t fill a 50,000 seat stadium?

He might be right but we pretty much sell out now and there must be thousands who don’t bother forking out for the restricted views. Nil satis no longer seems to apply and I find that the most depressing thing of all.

Karl Masters
2 Posted 23/05/2015 at 01:29:25
For all the good work that has gone on playing wise since Moyes took over from Smith, the one thing that has truly held Everton FC back is the pathetic failure of the Board to show any vision for the future.

If we had just got on with Kings Dock or redeveloping Goodison it would all have been done and paid for by now. There has to be a leap of faith at some point.

Jesus Fucking Christ: £33m extra TV money a season and rising. You could pay for a £200m stadium in 7 years easily!! How much less of a risk does it have to be? Over simplifying it I know, but sometimes you have to just get on with it.

Mike Childs
3 Posted 23/05/2015 at 01:38:03
Granted we pay some decent wages but we never buy unless we sell. Where the hell is the money going? Do we have anyone making more than 75K a week?

Given Goodison’s age I hope they redevelop it but I still cannot for the life of me believe the money isn’t available unless the present regime borrowed to the max against the club.

Jamie Crowley
4 Posted 23/05/2015 at 02:08:59
Goodison needs to stay the home of EFC - redevelopment is the only way.

It can be done in phases and as Karl rightly points out, the increase in TV revenue surely can assist in the financing of such a venture.

If we’re friendly with our neighbors on an executive level, BK would do well to reach out to Mr. Henry and New England Sports Ventures and inquire about how they redeveloped Fenway Park.

It’s the model for us. Fenway here in the States is THE Cathedral not only of baseball but of North American sports.

Goodison is THE Cathedral of footy in England. A redevelopment is the way forward - and we can follow the Fenway model and pay homage to our home and our past.

If you’ve never been to Fenway you may think this folly. But one visit to the Boston Palace of Sport and you’ll see the parallels of where Fenway was before redevelopment, where it is now, and where Goodison is present day and what it can become with some TLC.

Goodison is a gem that just needs polishing - same way Fenway Park was.

Admittedly millions of dollars of polishing, but surely with increased TV revenues we can finance this on a long-term basis without killing our ability to compete on the pitch.

Derek Thomas
5 Posted 23/05/2015 at 02:30:04
Many, myself included, concluded that the continued ’ official ’ opposition to Phased Redevelopment was due in the main to need to maximise the big pay out if and when the ’Big Buyout ’ came about.

If the CEO is more or less stating that WHP is realistically as far in the future as KD is in the past, then The Board, The Chairman and by implication anybody who has ’ backed’ The Chairman, must see the ’ Big Payday ’ is likewise.

Somebody must decide wtf to do now that the shares are just so many pieces of paper, that nominally may be worth 1, 1.5 or 2 thousand pound, but only if somebody e.g. a ’ bigger fool ’ will give you that much for them.

How long before some one cries ’ I’m an Investor, get me out of here.’

As always with Everton, on and off the field, plenty of questions.

Any answers Bill??

Colin Glassar
6 Posted 23/05/2015 at 07:45:59
You should all read Gary Neville’s piece about the rs in yesterday’s Daily Telegraph. If that made for depressing reading for the rs, it made me almost suicidal considering how far we’ve fallen behind just them.
Eric Myles
7 Posted 23/05/2015 at 07:41:43
We pulled in an extra £33 mil in 1 year in telly money but the profit we made came from player sales.

The extra money didn’t go on player salaries as that percentage to income fell.

It didn’t go on reducing debt as that increased!

Where’s the telly money Bill??

Joe McMahon
8 Posted 23/05/2015 at 08:20:20
Colin (6), I couldn’t agree more. The Kenwright years are nothing but a downward spiral. We are so far behind now, there will never be a recovery.
Andrew Clare
9 Posted 23/05/2015 at 08:29:58
I have just read the Gary Neville article and I feel the same way as you. Has our ship already sailed?
Eugene Kearney
10 Posted 23/05/2015 at 08:29:56
The GAA renovated Croke Park in Dublin during the 90’s and it’s now a superb, modern stadium. The FAI and Irish Rugby Union (OK, and the government, a bit !! ) demolished and rebuilt a spanking new stadium at Landesdowne Rd. This one in particular was restricted by the close proximity of streets and private homes, but they managed to build their groovy new stadium.

Would it not be possible to take inspiration of both these cases.....renovate Goodison even with the space restrictions? Could a long-term plan not be envisaged for this, like the GAA did...over 5 or 6 years or something?

I’ve often wondered why this hasn’t been an option for Goodison.

Just an idea from someone who isn’t an expert !

Martin Mason
11 Posted 23/05/2015 at 09:11:01
The Gary Neville article was very good and highlights to me the danger of us becoming just another backwood parochial club (as we’re gradually doing) if we stay in Goodison Park especially on the weak basis of "history". Both Liverpool and Everton need a new location close to main transport links. The best solution for me by far would be a shared stadium. These monstrosities must be the most inefficient business enterprises on the planet being unused space for most of their life?
Tom Hughes
12 Posted 23/05/2015 at 09:16:04
A comprehensive summary Lyndon.

In the absence of a well-funded major city centre stadium development, I think it is very difficult to argue against the redevelopment option.

There is a whole spectrum of approaches that could completely transform Goodison..... and it’s difficult to understand how this has been dismissed out of hand throughout.

Robert Elstone could’ve wrote those notes a year ago..... or 8 yrs ago. He’s only saying what we’ve been saying for yrs........ farcical!

Ray Roche
13 Posted 23/05/2015 at 09:24:03
The re has always been a belief, thanks to Tom Hughes etc., that Goodison can be rejuvenated but there has never been a DESIRE to do so from board members who can’t or don’t want to see it happen. This can only be because they assume that it will somehow impact on the profit they will make if Bill’s 24/7 search for a buyer--or investor-- bears fruit.
Tom Hughes
14 Posted 23/05/2015 at 09:28:15
Martin.... Most football stadia are only used for a small proportion of their lives..... are they all monstrositis?

I would be all for a city centre stadium but am against sharing. I don’t believe that it is really possible to rationalise two identities within one structure..... hence the reason why all the well known shared arrangements are currently falling apart. I’m also not sure that both clubs have the same requirements in terms of capacity etc.

The Neville article is just more Mancunian based poison.... With just enough plausible content to carry it. Little more In my opinion.

Aidy Dews
15 Posted 23/05/2015 at 09:26:32
Eric Myles, we reduced our debt last summer by nearly half! Are debt went from around £50m or more to £28m!

But with what money is coming into the game, and will be in the next 4 years, how the hell can this board not put some aside to put towards a new stadium or a redevelopment?!

Lyndon was saying there that by 2016 the extra income from TV is going to be around £80m plus! How can we not save say 50% of that each season to put toward a new stadium? In 3-4 years time you’d have around £200m easy! And still be able to pay wages and squad build. I know fees and wages will go up but can anyone honestly see us forking out sums like we did for Rom on a regular basis or start paying players around £100K a week, cos I can’t. We’ll still go and cut or cloth accordingly regardless!

The way Elstone is going on it sounds to me like our board wants everyone else to pay the bulk of the money for a new stadium and us pay as little as possible and it’s not going to happen.

This board want to get there arse into gear and either get a new stadium built or redevelop Goodison and at least put us on the front foot to a brighter future or fucking do one cos there a waste of space at the minute!

Steavey Buckley
16 Posted 23/05/2015 at 10:03:31
Even with the extra cash from TV rights (although Everton were denied an extra £15 million per season from Sky and BT, because that money went to lower league clubs) Everton could only afford one big outlay with Lukaku, when Everton needed more players for a demanding season that may see Everton finish in just a possible 10th place. Taking money away from Everton to renovate GP or buy a new stadium is risking Everton’s short term future. Any renovations or new build should come from a trust fund.
Ray Robinson
17 Posted 23/05/2015 at 10:09:33
Of course there is an argument for re-developing Goodison based on putting aside each year a considerable portion of the TV monies. However, to receive that income stream it does require that we remain in the Premier League during that time - which, considering our record, should be achievable, although at one point this season was looking precarious. But would the fans tolerate season after season of mid / lower table finishes if income was diverted away from squad re-development and ploughed into ground renovation?
Patrick Murphy
18 Posted 23/05/2015 at 09:53:26
Martin - I tend to dislike your constant belittling of the City of Liverpool and the need you have to call the club parochial etc.

Anfield and Goodison Park have been witness to some of the finest football teams in the history of the game and are every bit as important as Wembley or any other English stadiums you care to mention. Football is not all about the money and the facilities on offer; if it was, Goodison would have remained half-empty for the best part of the last 20 years. Passion for the club has helped Everton to survive and at times thrive in the top-flight of English Football for well over a century and it will be that passion that will keep it there and hopefully see it rise up in the future.

It is difficult as always to argue with the bean-counters as they often produce figures which support the arguments that the risks are too great or the rewards are too little. There are so many things in life that cannot be calculated or given a monetary value.

Unfortunately, football has become another commodity which the accountants and investors see as a way of making money out of and clubs similar to Everton are seen as irrelevant, but they are wrong, people on Merseyside love the game and they love their clubs and that is why both clubs will be relevant in the future no matter what logic may tell you.

Everton FC have to find a way to develop in the next decade and if the people in charge really care about the future of the club they will somehow have to re-engage the fan-base in a more pro-active manner and start to see the supporters as something more than customers and tap into the passion.

The fans, as long as the club is being honest with them, will always go out of their way to support the club, unfortunately the present day owners disregard the supporters as a hindrance when a strong leadership of the club could still utilise that support to help the club become something closer to what most fans want to see.

Too many people at Goodison for too long have forgotten that their core business is football and that means ensuring that the team that represents the club always goes onto the park intending to win and remind the players that the pride of the supporters is why they are fortunate to play for a club not rich in financial terms but rich in so many other aspects that don’t show up on a balance sheet or fancy tourist brochures.

We may as a club be doomed to failure in the future, but no matter what the state of play is relating to the local economy or the wealth of the club, we are still a fan-base that will give two fingers to anybody from outside the city who thinks it is okay to disrespect us as a club or to belittle the city of our birth.

Roger Helm
19 Posted 23/05/2015 at 10:27:23
Is debt a big problem? Interest rates are rock bottom and will remain so for a generation, according to the experts, and Chinese, Arab and Russian billionaires are looking for safe havens for their cash. We have a more or less guaranteed income stream to service the debt. Meanwhile we are stuck in an ancient stadium that gets more embarrassingly dilapidated every year, missing out on the revenue a new stadium would bring.

I am no businessman or accountant. But I can see that nearly every other club, including my local teams Doncaster Rovers and Rotherham United, have modern new stadia.

What is wrong with Everton, one of the biggest clubs in the country, that we can’t afford to do anything other than produce half-baked plans that come to nothing? I am really angry with this board who just sit on their hands and pocket their investment proceeds, doing nothing for the club. No commercial development, no business plan, no nothing.

Everton as a club historically have been trailblazers and innovators – now we are drifting into irrelevance. If this continues we will end up like Sheffield Wednesday or Leeds United, with a great future behind us.

David Holroyd
20 Posted 23/05/2015 at 10:51:34
How much is our debt ? Does anyone really know.
Eric Myles
21 Posted 23/05/2015 at 11:06:57
Aidy #15, that’s not what the accounts show.

Our borrowings increased £1m (p. 84), as did the amounts we owe £19 m (P. 84 & 83) and our interest on loans increased £1m (p. 79) mainly on ’other loans’ which increased by a total £3m (p. 84) although the short term ’ other loans’ increased by £8m (p. 84). I’m guessing that’s thanks to the largesse of our friends in BVI??

David #29, around £100m according to the accounts.

Thomas Lennon
22 Posted 23/05/2015 at 12:43:44
Snag is that the accounts aren’t as easy as that to read and interpret - people who bought season tickets prior to the accounts (31st May) are included as short-term creditors for example – all we ’owe’ them are 19 games even though they may well appear as at least £5-10 million debt (we made nearly £20 million on gates).

Accountants conclude "The financial results have led to the Club's net debt position as at 31 May reducing from £45.3m in 2013 to £28.1m in 2014." and I think that is probably the most accurate figure.

Patrick Murphy
23 Posted 23/05/2015 at 12:52:20
Thomas (22) The accounts for 2011-12 shows net debt at £46m of which £18.7m is not due for repayment for more than five years. If your reading of the accounts for the last set of accounts is correct then the club has cleared some £18m off the debt in a couple of years -– why would they do that? Are you sure the figure is as low as £28M?

Eric, I’m not sure where you get the £100M figure from, I must be missing some small print or overlooking something obvious.

Thomas Lennon
24 Posted 23/05/2015 at 13:48:37
Ross Edwards
25 Posted 23/05/2015 at 14:22:28
I think Gary Neville is spot on regarding Liverpool. I think redevelopment is coming far too late for them. And any redevelopment is definitely far too late for us. That opportunity has long gone now.

If they are in danger of becoming a provincial club according to Neville, then we definitely are a provincial club already.

Eric Myles
26 Posted 23/05/2015 at 14:27:54
Thomas (#24), it appears you believe the Club spin on the accounts which always make things in the garden look rosy.

Nett debt is not the amount owed, it is the amount owed after all assets have been liquidated, ie, when the Club is bankrupt.

The actual debt figure is something obvious Patrick, it’s the total of creditors amounts. Company is £95m, Group is £107m, so I picked £100m as the median.

Patrick Murphy
27 Posted 23/05/2015 at 14:46:57
Cheers Eric, I tried to find the full acounts for the last couple of years but the EFSA and EFC don’t appear to have them on their webistes do you have any links?

I’m no accountant so I’ll take your word for it, but it still doesn’t explain why we are so indebted, although it seems to be the fashion these days. Apparently Swansea are debt free or so they claim can’t we have people like that running our club?

Denis Richardson
28 Posted 23/05/2015 at 14:36:07
Patrick, the accounts are a bit confusing but from what I can see the 2014 accounts show that creditors due within 1 year total £77M and creditors due after one year total £30M, so total liabilities were around £107M at 31 May 2014. If we assume about £15M is early season ticket money (being generous), which isn’t really a true liability, then you can reduce it to about £90M odd.

The £90M is roughly broken down into

1) £22M owed under the loan we took out in 2002 (at 7.8% interest and won’t be gone until 2027!)

2) A loan of £21M (at 8.8% interest!) which seems to be with our friends in the BVI – this loan was about half the size before!

3) Trade creditors went up from £9M to £19M – no idea what’s in this as there’s no note, didn’t realise grass seeds cost that much, maybe unpaid transfers fees are booked here.

4) Social security & taxes – £12M

5) Remaining £16M odd is anyone’s guess as it falls under ’accruals’

Our total liabilities actually increased from around £90M in 2013 to £107M in 2014. The main loans we have increased so I’m not sure where this ’debt pay down’ is coming from. The NET debt position may have come down as we had a load of cash (£18M) compared to the previous year when we had a overdraft but we have hardly repaid any debt at all - in fact our borrowings have gone up. Only repayment I can see is the fixed 1m we have to pay on the loan we took out in 2002.

Our interest expense went up from £4M to £5M a year – £5M a year on just interest with around £2M of it disappearing to some company in the BVI owned by god knows who.

Scary thing is the signings of Barry, Lukaku and the new contracts for other players came after these accounts. 2015 accounts will be out towards the end of the year, it’ll be interesting to see of the club has actually paid down any debt (ie, actually reduced the loans) or if the net debt mantra will be trotted out again.

I can’t believe that in this climate of rock bottom interest rates we’re paying almost 9%(!) on a £21M loan from the BVI – we all know that certain directors have business in the BVI, I refuse to believe that’s just a coincidence. 9%!

Anyway, the Sky money will hopefully be used wisely and not just pissed away on higher wages for the players.

Denis Richardson
29 Posted 23/05/2015 at 15:12:13
You can find all the accounts here
James Hill
30 Posted 23/05/2015 at 15:19:03
Patrick Murphy – take a bow: your post #18 is brilliant.
Tim Michael
31 Posted 23/05/2015 at 15:21:25
Its a sensible article Lyndon. We have been ploughing this new stadium field for some time now without any reward. Joe Beardwood’s analysis of the potential partners in a "new stadium" are not ideal as basically they are not able to raise sufficient monies to make a real percentage contribution.

I posted a comment on the Beardwood article on TWeb which goes along with Lyndon’s points. Redevelop GP with a expansion which is achievable but not ambitious. In that comment, I made the point that I did not see why the capacity could not be raised to 45,000 without too much upheaval.

Of course, the Park End is ripe for expansion with the potential to fill in each corner of once redeveloped. Gwladys Street and Main Stand are the difficulties in this. St Luke's is an immovable object and it would take some convincing to move the houses behind each of those two stands. This leaves the Bullens Road. The precedent has already been set on Stanley Park with the LFC PP given.

I believe that the council would be agreeable to relocating the school plus replacement new housing on a section of the Park plus as Lyndon suggested re-routing the road system accordingly. This would potentially move the capacity further forward from current 39,500 to even 48,000. Stadium construction is much simpler today but also much more imaginative. Too much time has been wasted on pipedreams. Time to put all efforts and available revenue behind redevelopment of our current home

Jamie Crowley
32 Posted 23/05/2015 at 15:40:50
Those interest rates are criminal and the debt analysis you’ve enlightened us on Denis does paint a different picture.

Until we get that under control we shouldn’t undertake the redevelopment project of Goodison.


There should be minimally a 5- or 10-year plan to pay the debt down to an extremely manageable level with rising TV revenues, then obtain a long-term loan to redevelop Goodison.

If we don’t do that we’re kicking the proverbial bucket down the road – which unfortunately seems to be the MO of our current board.

If they have a plan in place they should enlighten supporters and the public of said plan so there isn’t as much frustration.

Seems so simple... nothing ever is.

Patrick Murphy
33 Posted 23/05/2015 at 15:48:21
Thanks Denis #29, Wow that is frightening, where has all the money gone? I’m not a shareholder but if I was I would be asking a great many questions about the whereabouts of that money and what it has been spent on – it’s little wonder we don’t have buyers queueing up, the only assets we have are out there on the pitch and the TV money if we stay in the Premier League. Good job the man in charge is an Evertonian.
Aidy Dews
34 Posted 23/05/2015 at 15:45:31
Eric & Patrick, I know Kenwright talks a lot of shite a lot of the time but last summer when we bought Lukaku, Jim White got Bill on SSN and was asking him about us spending a new record fee on Rom and asked about our accounts and things and Kenwright broke everything down and spoke of our new deals with Umbro, improved deal with Chang, player sales, increase in ticket sales and the new TV deal and he said that allowed us to go spend big on Rom and reduce the debt down to around £28rM and he said that on TV, live!

And like Thomas as shown with the link, were around £28m in debt. How you’ve got the £100M figure I don’t know cos our debt was always around the £50-60M or less!

Patrick Murphy
35 Posted 23/05/2015 at 15:57:46

See Denis’s post (#28) and ask yourself how economical with the truth our dear leader has been?

Eric Myles
36 Posted 23/05/2015 at 15:54:23
Denis #28, better put than I could, thanks for making the debt situation clearer although the happy clappers still won’t believe it.

Jamie, our debt increased even with an additional £33M income last season, hopefully it won’t increase exponentially with an £80M increase in income.

Eric Myles
38 Posted 23/05/2015 at 16:20:13
Aidy #34, the debt has never been around £50-£60M or less, just look at the accounts in the pages I noted and you will see the figures Denis & I are quoting.

But Bill was on telly and explained our accounts, so everything is OK; the guy who claimed he didn’t know Other Operating Costs from his arse ffs.

See what I mean Denis??

Jamie Crowley
39 Posted 23/05/2015 at 16:28:52
Eric – I’m hoping (cough, cough) that when the accounts for 2015 are published that we’ve seen that debt decrease. On the surface, it may not seem likely, but with structured deals (Rom) being phased in over a period of years, I’m hoping we see a decrease in the debt as the £28 million won’t all be posted in 2015.

Like I said, they need a 5- to 10-year plan. Whether one exists or not I’ve no idea. Again, if it does they should really go public with it. Transparency would go a long, long way with supporters. Unfortunately transparency doesn’t seem to be a rule with this board.

Eric Myles
40 Posted 23/05/2015 at 16:33:40
Jamie, I suspect the problem with increased income is that it gives the opportunity to secure increased loan facilities, especially from BVI based companies at very high interest rates.
Martin Mason
41 Posted 23/05/2015 at 17:04:30
Patrick (#18), I was born in Liverpool, have been a fan of and watched EFC since 1958 and I don’t belittle it or the City of Liverpool in any way. I think only of the future of Everton FC and it isn’t necessarily secured by being in the location that it is now.

Did you read Gary Neville’s article? If not, you need to. He stated the main reason that Liverpool has lost its massive success was that it had become a parochial club while other more successful clubs worldwide had moved to bigger, better grounds or massively improved their own grounds and achieved success as a result. Liverpool did neither and have stood still in comparison. It is fair reasoning and equally applicable to Everton. I have no disagreement with most of the points that you make but none are really relevant to the points I raised.

You also have to remember that EFC is not owned by the fans that live in the city of Liverpool. The club takes it’s support from a massive area including down here on the South coast and not only from Scousers who moved out. People from the old and potential EFC catchment areas now have the option to go to see successful clubs with modern, easy to get to stadiums with great facilities and over the years and have done so over the years. Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be and our great history doesn’t guarantee us anything but could be a burden.

I’ve watched Everton with 77,000 people in the Stadium and as a successful club why couldn’t we expect to see this again as Man Utd do week-in & week-out? One reason is that the current ground doesn’t have the infrastructure not only to seat them and cater for them but to get them in and out. It may be that developing GP with a modest increase in capacity is basically saying that we’re happy with what most regard as our current mediocrity (I don’t share that view). I see a new development with leisure and retail facilities as a statement of the will to become a top club again and an essential means of providing the additional finance that we desperately need. My own view is that the lowest cost option for this would be to do it with LFC.

My wish is only to to see EFC back at the top table and development of Goodison within the constraints of its location may not do that. Funnily enough it was a major development of Goodison that saw us lose that place although we didn’t see it at the time. Maybe we will never have that extra clout that is essential now to be at the top table?

Colin Glassar
42 Posted 23/05/2015 at 17:47:12
Joe 6, Eric 7, I’m just glad I lived through some of the glory years. I really feel for the younger fans who’ve never seen an Everton captain lift a trophy. Once again, thank you Mr Kenwright.
Chris James
43 Posted 23/05/2015 at 18:18:39
Woah, hang on a second. I’m not an accountant but I do run a small business and I’m pretty sure net creditors does not equal club debt.

I’m presuming the largest of these ’creditors’ are the playing staff who’s contracts are currently ’known’ costs that will need to be honoured in the coming year, plus remaining payments to other clubs for transfers (a large number of which are done on a drip basis).

If that is the case then I have no doubt that these figures will increase as player salaries are going up and we have made some sizeable player buys in recent years. Arguably as someone above mentioned we may well well have to ’credit’ the season ticket holders who’s cash can’t be banked 100% in accounting language until we’ve fulfilled the delivery of matches.

In the same model though, surely we’d have to count against these the ’net debtors’ for the coming season as well surely? Of which the premier league is obviously relatively sizeable and then there’s the match-day revenue, sponsorships, merchandise sales, etc.

Ultimately the published accounts which are the legal (and in this era of financial fair play no doubt thoroughly checked/audited) representation of our finances and seem to pretty clearly highlight that we made a profit as a business and net debt for 2014-15 is down to £28M as has been suggested.

Chris James
44 Posted 23/05/2015 at 18:22:55
Just read your post Denis, which seems very detailed.
Where are you seeing all this debt information?
Chris James
45 Posted 23/05/2015 at 18:30:02
Seen the notes now at the back of the accounts. However, reading them it appears that these are comparatively short-term loans against secured EPL revenue – are these not effectively bridging finance until the EPL cash arrives (for underwriting salaries, transfer negotiations, etc?)
Could be totally misreading this though, like I say I’m no accountant.

Either way I do agree that the interest percentages seem somewhat crazy on these loans compared to standard bank loans, albeit less so compared to bridging finance (which can be up to 18% p/a based on some online research).

Paul Andrews
46 Posted 23/05/2015 at 19:34:35
Thanks Lyndon for an accurate and concise report. You are, of course, correct; the only possible way forward is to develop one stand at a time. We would have to suffer the decrease in attendance over the short term, it would without a doubt enhance our prospects over the long term.

The emotional attachment is a very powerful matter to take into hand when discussing the redevelopment of Goodison Park. Remember, we have the ashes of Evertonians buried along the touch lines.

Andy Crooks
47 Posted 23/05/2015 at 19:41:12
I would love to see Goodison Park re-developed. However, every club in the Premier League is going to have loads more coming in, so our comparison with other clubs will remain the same. If a significant level of our extra income is going on the stadium this is unlikely to be the case with other clubs.

I fear that this could lead to us falling behind clubs who presently trail us, because in my view the big winners are going to be players and agents. The million pound a week player is surely not far off and it all becomes more WWF and obscene.

I think it could be done but will require an unlikely chain of events.We will require a canny, forward thinking board that can achieve a balance between prudence and recklessness. We will require a youth system that can turn out a few gems.

Also, we will require a coach who can get the absolute maximum from every player. Most importantly, in my view, we need to start something new. Develop a youth system that has the fundamental principal that playing for Everton is the best that can happen. That an Everton player will earn enough money to be wealthy for life. Will play the game the right way. Won’t cheat and will be part of something different and special, part of an Everton community that will aspire to win trophies by being the best club, not the richest.

Phil Walling
48 Posted 23/05/2015 at 20:04:40
Chris, I don’t think Denis – or anyone else – has mentioned that those 9% loans from Bill’s ’friends’ in BVI carry horrendous penalties for early repayment. He must have been desperate to agree to those arrangements so I guess all the banks had turned him away!
Ken Buckley
49 Posted 23/05/2015 at 20:13:03
From time to time these articles turn up. The debate follows in the main the same pattern yet nothing ever happens. If any truth is knocking about it seems that those in charge will do what they do no matter what advice or knowledge is coming from the fan base. We are where we are and baring a multi million pound buy out we will will stay that way.

We need people at the top to deliver us. We need another Mr John Moores who is an Evertonian and gets the Everton Way. Until then, you can join me and renew your tickets and hope to hell something turns up.

As long as footy continues as a national sport and clubs survive then HOPE will prevail and who knows in year X we may yet again be top dogs. Until then the present debate will continue on and on. Hope we win Sunday.


Tim Michael
50 Posted 23/05/2015 at 21:27:44
It's interesting to see the debate on this article turning towards revenues and debt. One thing on that front is for sure. Our non-TV revenue has been pathetic and now we are paying for the inadequacies of such a poor attempt
Denis Richardson
51 Posted 23/05/2015 at 21:47:39
Chris, you’re correct that the net debt has gone down (thanks to the £33M profit due to Sky) but our actual debt went up. We didn’t pay any debt down, which I think is what confuses people.

The numbers still look poor overall (our assets are £28M less than our liabilities) but at least they improved from 2013 – thanks to Sky.

The bridging finance is an interesting one as the BVI loan is a short term loan (I believe 12 months) but we roll it over every year. We’ve had this weird loan from the BVI for a number of years now and with the almost guaranteed windfall from Sky, you have to ask a) why do we still need it and b) if we do why not get a cheaper loan from elsewhere?

As usual more questions than answers... still, the Sky money should mean the 2015 accounts also improve on 2014.

Michael Kenrick
Editorial Team
52 Posted 23/05/2015 at 22:11:57
For anyone in search of the Everton’s Annual Reports and Accounts, we’ve collected copies of them all, going back to the halcyon year of 1985:

Everton FC Co Ltd: Annual Reports

Chris Feeley
53 Posted 23/05/2015 at 22:50:08
Denis - I believe the BVI loan is from Vibrac, and is essentially a cash advance on the money we receive for competing in the Premier League. It’s based in the same building as BCR sports, which has links to Robert Earl.

Apparently other clubs including Southampton, West Ham, Fulham and Reading have taken similar loans from Vibrac with varying degrees of value, success and continuation. However, we were officially the first to make such an agreement and seem to be the company’s chief marketing tool and advocate.

Dick Fearon
54 Posted 23/05/2015 at 23:11:10
Speaking as a complete financial novice I scratch my head and wonder how Fenway reputedly paid £300M+ just to clear debts that Gillett and Hicks had piled onto the RS and are currently doing a massive rebuild of Anfield while Blue Bill and Co could not raise a cracker for us.
Jamie Crowley
55 Posted 24/05/2015 at 02:06:01
Dick @ 54 - that’s an easy answer in a simplistic way:

NESV (New England Sports Ventures, the business run by Henry & Co) is absolutely massive.

The Red Sox have, since their World Series in 2004, have grown immensely. Their marketing reach is gigantic. In short, they are one of the largest sports corporate entities in North America. They shit gold coins. They have the money to dump into LFC, and they are doing it aggressively. They’re using the same business model as they have with the Red Sox and their redevelopment of Fenway Park at Anfield – or at least they’re gonna try to.

Everton is tiny comparatively, hence the comparison of "they’re doing it, why can’t we?" simply can’t be made. We can, however, as I stated earlier, follow their model on an albeit smaller scale and longer time-frame, and improve our Club IMHO.

And I’ve said from day one when NESV took over the shite, and I have some "credibility" being a life-long Red Sox fan – these boys at NESV know what the hell they’re doing. They are excellent owners. We’d do well to learn a thing or two – inasmuch as that seems sacrilege to say in a Blue way.... I have a lifetime of experience to know if we followed their model on a longer time-frame and a smaller budget, we’d be better off.

Dick Fearon
56 Posted 24/05/2015 at 02:43:38
Jamie, 55, Thank you for that info.
William Cartwright
57 Posted 24/05/2015 at 03:23:08
Colin Glassar (6) - Yes the Gary Neville article was a good and simple reality check on the "let’s look forward not back" approach. Interesting that, throughout the article, Everton were not even worth a mention. That in itself was an indicator on just how far we have fallen. Times change, always have and always will. That’s why museums coexist with computers.

Architecturally Goodison could be refurbished but after 20 years it would have further regressed in comparison to the dynamic on-field and off-field developments of not just the big six. In fact the big six don’t worry me as much as the clubs who will be overtaking us: Swansea, West Ham, Spurs, Southampton, Sunderland, Leeds, etc. All these clubs have a commonality: new stadiums and young fresh boardroom styles. Goodison, which I remember fondly, will even if refurbished, perhaps even more so, become a lovely millstone around our necks in the longer term.

Phil Sammon
58 Posted 24/05/2015 at 07:25:43
William Cartwright (#57),

I think you can scratch Leeds off that list.

James Newcombe
59 Posted 24/05/2015 at 08:23:04
I wouldn’t trust this lot to deliver a new ground if their lives depended on it! They couldn’t even get a small office/commercial building off the ground; stumbled over trying to sell Bellefield; and although the new training facilities are top-class, we are now renting them off the council! In short, this wonderful club will continue its long and painful decline whilst Mr Kenwright is chairman.

King’s Dock was the real opportunity that got away. That really could have been a stunning stadium, and what a statement of intent! It’s also something that might actually have seen the light of day, were it not for True Blue Kenwright’s desire to keep full control of the club at all costs.

Next best after that is redeveloping Goodison. It has been for ten years. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. We just have a shit board.

Allan Board
60 Posted 24/05/2015 at 08:12:43
The sad truth is that any redevelopment of Goodison Park should have taken place when we were at the top table – 30 years ago. Investment should have been invited and encouraged then but, for whatever reason, it didn’t happen. Perhaps the Euro ban was the cause? Perhaps Everton are too honest and won’t grease the right palm,at the right time, in the right office? Don’t tell me it doesn’t go on!!!

The biggest issue is the players wages in my opinion – lottery winning numbered contracts thrown around like confetti to, at best, average players. Whilst Everton are still a huge club in a traditional sense, I’m afraid we are so far behind in inventive merchandise exercises and revenue, it's alarming.

Sky fund the majority of PL teams and that’s was the vision for them 20 plus years ago. Make the clubs reliant on this revenue every year and you have cracked it! Whoever gets relegated is irrelevant to them, the next mug has just been promoted, so they give not a shit. Abhorent, but quite brilliant marketing.

The Premier League is now truly global and the monies earn’t as profit by Sky would dwarf their outlay on the PL.

I hope Sky fuck off soon and take their favourites to the Euro Super League with them and we can have our football back.

Good luck today Blues

Tony Abrahams
61 Posted 24/05/2015 at 08:46:34
Martin I haven’t read Gary Neville article but I can tell you that calling Liverpool a parochial club is like saying Everton's board are doing a great job.

Hicks and Gillette done a great job in trying to destroy them but they have a worldwide fan base and the amount of people that travel great distances to watch them play is astonishing.

I genuinely think Kenwright's reign at Everton is very similar to those loveable Yanks I mentioned above. Only difference to me is that everything has been done on a smaller scale.

Colin Glassar
62 Posted 24/05/2015 at 08:46:06
William Cartwright, you are right, EFC didn’t even get a mention in Neville’s article. Just another indicator of how far down the pecking order we’ve fallen.

Everton are now amongst that august bunch of dinosaur clubs like Aston Villa, Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds Utd who were once great and powerful football institutions but are now looked down upon by the sycophantic and condescending media with a tinge of sadness and nostalgia.

We have a dilapidated stadium, in a dilapidated area, with no income other than the pittance we get in from gate money and the Murdoch millions. Let's be honest, we are one of the worst run clubs in the league, despite the non-stop media campaign telling us how lucky we are to have Boys Pen Bill running the club, Fucking amateurs the lot of them and criminal amateurs to boot.

We need a journo like Chris Bascombe (Daily Telegraph) who writes virtually every day a column about his beloved Redshite but who, at the same time, exposes to the world the shortcomings of Brenda and the RS board. BK’s got no one in the media who will call him to task like that. All the journos around him are a load of fawning, backslapping, brown-nosing, syphilitic toadies who are quite happy to receive free theatre tickets to keep quiet and promote the image of Chairman fucking Bill. Makes me sick.

Denis Richardson
63 Posted 24/05/2015 at 09:16:23
Chris 53 - thanks for that bit of info, interesting to see that other clubs also take out the same pay day loans from Vibrac. Very surprised that Southampton also take out this loan given they are now owned by a Swiss billionaire.

Still doesn’t answer the question of why we need this loan every year when we’re getting tons of money from Sky – surely at some point they can do without it.

Brin Williams
64 Posted 24/05/2015 at 09:12:26
Lyndon, that is a cracking assessment of where we are as a club and where we should be as a club.

Your article is well reasoned and I fully agree with every word of it - it is now up to the powers that be to stop phaffing around and put an acceptable, financially viable, plan into action.

Goodison is our home sweet home!

Christopher Timmins
65 Posted 24/05/2015 at 09:56:42
Lyndon, until a buyer is found, even the reconstruction of Goodison, in whole or in part, is a long-term and far-away reality.
Paul Smith
66 Posted 24/05/2015 at 10:02:12
It’s like Groundhog Day!
James Marshall
67 Posted 24/05/2015 at 10:10:46
We’re going backwards, as other clubs are going forwards - yet again Everton missed all their chances along the way to improve and sustain that improvement. We seemingly still have no money, and there genuinely is a lack of major investors in football at the moment. The global economic slow-down has bitten and people are highly unlikely to ever invest heavily in our club.

That feels like pie in the sky now, so we’ll just carry on carrying on as we are, with no way to fund a new ground, and even if we did, what then? Is it really the holy grail? Will be get the big bucks and big players? Probably not.

Denis Richardson
68 Posted 24/05/2015 at 10:37:47
James 67- understand the downbeat view but a new/improved stadium would make a difference. Even an extra 5-10m a year in revenue (from extra seats, corp boxes, events, sponsorship etc) over time would make a big difference.

Never mind the fact that at some point the stadium will fail its safety certificate and who knows how much longer the sky bonanza will go on for - they know they messed up with the last bid vastly over bidding, cannot see them making the same mistake twice in a couple of years time.

Anyway - it seems most fans are not too bothered/apathetic about anything to do with off field matters so I doubt anything significant will change in the next year or two and/or as long as BK is still around.

In two years I’ll probably we writing the same post again.

Dick Fearon
69 Posted 24/05/2015 at 14:21:33
For years the media has lauded BK saying what a great job he is doing. Even a reducing slab of our own fans help to promote this fallacy.

We will be faced with a status Quo situation until that last vestige of misguided admiration is exposed with the emperor stripped of his tawdry robes of self indulgence. Tonight would be a great opportunity to let the football world and its tame media know exactly what the Everton supporter base thinks about Boys Pen Bill.

That won’t happen because it requires balls those damn Kopites have cornered the market.

Rick Tarleton
70 Posted 24/05/2015 at 19:24:12
What we can’t do is sit tight in a stadium that has little corporate potential, restricted views and a maximum of 40,000. The club will wither if we stay still. Management of any organisation these days is the management of change.

Bill, lead us or get the hell out of it.

Christopher Kelly
71 Posted 24/05/2015 at 18:00:52
Paul Smith (66) - it is like Groundhog Day. The whole cycle of things.

In fact, I wrote the same thing on here probably 5/7 years ago and we’re still here. We’ll probably be saying the same thing in another 5 years...

Christopher Kelly
72 Posted 24/05/2015 at 20:00:18
By the way, my eyes almost jumped out my head when I saw 8% interest rates. Earl has always been mooted as being behind the BVI loans. A conflict of interest if I’ve ever seen one and clearly illegal.
Patrick Murphy
73 Posted 24/05/2015 at 20:02:20
Christopher - There’s one thing you can count on it will all be on the right side of the law unless of course the people involved are complete fools! - Then again!
Nicholas Ryan
74 Posted 25/05/2015 at 02:03:50
1. Can any Architect/Engineer out there, tell me why we can’t put a 2nd tier on the Park End - there seems to be enough room in the car park behind?

2. If you want to give yourself a fright, look up Vibrac on Wikipedia, especially the section headed ’Reading’.

3. I thought that Gary Neville’s piece was thoughtful and well-researched, until I got to the bit where he said Andy Burnham MP was a passionate LFC fan!

Matt Traynor
75 Posted 25/05/2015 at 03:11:34
Nicholas #74, I’m neither an architect nor an engineer, but my understanding is the structure was designed as single tier, and therefore has neither the foundations nor load-bearing capacity to withstand a second tier being added.

I’m sure there’s a complex engineering solution, but I’m also pretty sure it would be cheaper to demolish it and rebuild. Yet more short-sightedness from an Everton Board.

Terry White
76 Posted 25/05/2015 at 05:40:25
Christopher, #72, perhaps when the loans were taken out 8% was a reasonable interest rate? "Illegal"? I very much doubt it. The question would seem to be are we in a position to refinance the loan at a lower interest rate and, if so, is there any prepayment penalty to the loan contract? We’ll probably never know.
Tom Hughes
77 Posted 25/05/2015 at 07:33:20
A second tier or an extension can readily be added to the Parkend regardless of the size of existing foundations. It would be a stand alone structure with its own foundations if necessary.

One of the key features of the WHP proposal was for a large single-tier home end.... bigger than the Kop. The Parkend could readily be extended to achieve this.... with the obvious added bonus that half of it is already there, and paid for. This could be done anytime, and probably for less than £3k per seat. Giving 44-47,000 capacity (dependent on size of extension) for less than £18m, with a dramatic effect on the stadium and the atmosphere. More new capacity could then be added on the Bullens Rd side in later phases..... and all for significantly less than having to find funds for a whole new stadium elsewhere.... with all the associated risks.

Trevor Skempton
78 Posted 25/05/2015 at 08:19:40
That’s right, Tom, and new corporate facilities below the new upper tier could be part-funded by a hotel development as part of a ’Football Quarter’, providing a new tourism, transport and social infrastructure that would benefit both clubs and the communities on both sides of Stanley Park. It should be accepted that Liverpool have finally made the correct choice in redeveloping Anfield stage-by-stage, and Everton should do the same at Goodison - but taking more care to maintain its unique historic character. No club in the World has the same opportunity to build on its heritage.
Thomas Lennon
80 Posted 25/05/2015 at 12:36:26
Tom's suggestions to rebuild on a tiny footprint by reaching for the sky build in mediocrity. Let's think about the next 50 years, think about where the Premier League is consistently heading.

IF there is enough evidence to say that the people of Everton would be happy about thousands more football fans parking and walking past their homes every two week;

IF there is enough transport and parking to suit a 50% increase in capacity considering there are already restrictions for miles;

IF we can INCREASE the footprint at least twofold to provide similar space to our rivals – which means demolishing most of GP and moving the pitch rather than destroying the homes of many dozens of people....

THEN by all means please develop Goodison as it will then enable us to compete on a more equal footing with those above us in at least one context. However, apart from the location, how much of Goodison Park would be left?

Eric Myles
81 Posted 25/05/2015 at 13:06:10
Thomas #80, now there are only 40,000 Everton fans parking and walking past local homes every other week, I remember when it was 60,000. Don’t forget we already have the NIMBYs contesting WHP, as they did Desperation Kirkby, so the only way there won’t be some local resistance is if we build in greenbelt land outside the city, and then we won’t need such a big stadium anyway.

Tom #77, my gut guestimate posted the other week was around £15m for a Park End so I’m glad to hear I wasn’t too far out. I’m sure you’re £18m is much better researched than my gut and it sounds very doable given it’s only around half the current increase in telly money income, and 1/4 the future increase.

If only the board could ring fence the funds and they could start as early as the end of next season.

Paul McGinty
82 Posted 25/05/2015 at 16:45:33
I haven’t read the Gary Neville article. Not to defend the RS, but living in the USA, where Liverpool can easily fill mega football stadiums, I would hardly characterize their branding as parochial. I seem to remember similar sell outs in Australia ..its depressing to see just how broad their fan base is outside of the UK.
Tom Hughes
83 Posted 25/05/2015 at 19:08:30
You may or may not be aware, but the proposals for WHP were far from state-of-the-art.... and more like an enlarged Britannia Stadium as far as we can make out. With basic single-tier stands on 3 sides and two-tier Main Stand on the remaining side, containing executive boxes and lounge spaces. Sounds like mediocrity personified.

Acreage alone doesn’t define the quality of the stadium. In fact, confinement has prompted some of the finest stadiums in the world, and indeed led Everton’s founding fathers to innovate, creating one of the largest and certainly the best club stadium in the country.... All on one of the smallest sites.

By having to only add say 15,000 new seats at GP.... these seats can all be high to premium quality with supporting infrastructure. Circulation can also take place on two levels to offset any spacial limitations if necessary, as occurs elsewhere.

The result can be far from mediocre... shouting history, tradition and quality on all sides and preserving the intimacy, short viewing-distances, high number of elevated views that only a multi-tier stadium can.... something GP is famed for..... but on a grander scale. WHP promised none of this.

LFC are planning for a 60k stadium so our 50k is well within limits. Especially as GP is marginally better served by public transport, so I don’t see a 25% capacity increase infringing excessively on the local community... and certainly no more than a stadium at a new suburban site, with less public transport serving it and where the local community has never had to accept it.

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