It's 20 years yesterday since the Park End stand opened for its first League game, a 2-2 draw with Aston Villa on August 20, 1994.
Although a big improvement on the old 1906 built structure, it looks now to have been a massive missed opportunity. The original plans, unveiled in April 1991, were for a 10,000 seater double decker stand to line up and join the Bullens Road stand.
However, symptomatic of the depressing 'Dr David Marsh' era, the Board, including a certain Bill Kenwright, deemed it unlikely we would need a capacity of more than 40,000. So, instead a single tier 6,000 seat structure was built, costing a mere £2.3m, of which £1.8m was a grant from the Football Trust.
Even at the time, it seemed short sighted and we ended up with something not big enough, noticeably further back from the playing area than the Gwladys Street end, and out of keeping with all the other multi-tiered stands.
So, 20 years on, do you regard it as a missed opportunity of 4,000 extra fans at many games from a penny-pinching Board or a prudent move to get the stand replaced at the lowest possible cost?
Reader Comments (45)
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1 Posted 21/08/2014 at 17:11:56
2 Posted 21/08/2014 at 17:39:59
As I recall it wasn't a matter of it being believed there was no need for it to be any bigger, rather the decision was, as usual, to do with affordability.
I notice that Cardiff have just added a tier to one of their stands at a cost of just a few million. Despite all the money coming into the club via new TV deals (㿀m pa) there seems to be no inclination to address the capacity or the corporate facilities issues. Depressing.
3 Posted 21/08/2014 at 17:46:41
4 Posted 21/08/2014 at 17:45:00
From being Champions in 1987, we really should have been relegated in 1994 and it has always baffled me how we managed to deteriorate so quickly. It seems to me that, once we had a couple of mediocre seasons, the board completely lost its nerve and budgeted for failure. The Park End stand was just one aspect of this totally unambitious policy - Brett Angell being another!
5 Posted 21/08/2014 at 18:14:54
What's depressing is that apparent lack of any progress whatsoever on a new stadium. We risk just going over old ground here, but despite the footprint difficulties I'm still convinced Goodison could be redeveloped into an excellent stadium of around 50,000. A bigger Park End would be a start.
6 Posted 21/08/2014 at 20:19:11
A catalogue of poor management from Everton legends and zero support from the most inept board in our history.
That is why Moyes deserves a medal for how he pulled us around on a shoestring rather than the rubbish which some have written about him.
7 Posted 21/08/2014 at 20:43:10
8 Posted 21/08/2014 at 21:03:44
Fag paper maths, but however you work it out, it pays for itself within a few years as long as you sell the tickets. And seeing as we have sold 75% of tickets for this season already, it's not a massive leap of faith to say we would sell an extra few thousand every week. We might have cup runs, European nights, sponsorship around the sign, catering etc which would bring in money too.
If only the board had a bit of foresight...
9 Posted 21/08/2014 at 21:14:08
10 Posted 21/08/2014 at 22:11:27
Yes, a complete lack of ambition back in the early 90's with the patronising Club Secretary, Jim Greenwood always good for pouring a bucket of cold water over any ideas to take the Club forward. As conservative a bunch of pepe as you could ever get. Complacent doesn't even begin to describe it in my opinion.
But today, there is talk of a new stadium, but with what capacity? 50,000 is not enough, 60,000 might be.
I get so tired of hearing people say we can't fill the stadium now, so where are all these fans coming from? Firstly, we already have more than enough fans to fill it, we just don't all go every week due to many factors, but not being able to buy tickets in groups of more than one or two puts you off taking the kids for a start, despite the generous children's proving structure. Obstructed views are another. I certainly don't want a 500 mile round trip to have a pillar blocking my view of the goal or the peering through a letterbox view of the Lower Bullens.
Sunderland's crowds more than doubled after the move to the Stadium Of Light, same for Southampton, Leicester, Derby, while Arsenal saw an instant gain of more than 20,000 fans a match. Man City's crowds went up 12,000 a match after leaving Maine Road and their team was crap. I do hope that we don't look back in another 20 years and regret having an inept Board......
11 Posted 21/08/2014 at 22:31:29
I think we have a good hard-core of supporters and many more who would visit Goodison if they were guaranteed a good view of the game. Problems with the average age of the current fan-base may prove problematic in 10 to 20 years.
12 Posted 21/08/2014 at 22:39:58
Sure, we're enjoying decent attendances right now and I hope it will continue but there is nothing worse than seeing 20,000 empty seats around a ground which is what I believe we'd see if we were suddenly presented with a new 60,000-seat ground. We need consistent success on the field before we see a continuous, permanent increase in attendances and it's on the field we should be concentrating our efforts.
13 Posted 21/08/2014 at 23:14:33
Great comment about Moyes. Totally agree.
14 Posted 21/08/2014 at 23:44:54
15 Posted 21/08/2014 at 23:59:05
16 Posted 22/08/2014 at 01:36:30
17 Posted 22/08/2014 at 01:37:38
The new stadium effect, increased gates, is documented fact. I've posted figures on here in relation to it and will happily provide them again.
Plus in the seasons we won the league in the 80s the Redshite were averaging 30k in the middle of one of the most dominant spells in club football anywhere ever.
The area was on its arse and it's a false representation.
Our gates are increasing and this is in a stadium that actively discourages people from attending for reasons we know.
People just want to see the club means business. Give people something to hold onto. Progress the club. Build momentum.
An Everton FC regularly qualifying for Europe and having a go? Coupled with a ground move that people could get behind?
We'd fill 50k, easy.
There's loads of latent support for the club out there and, putting it bluntly, our current ground is shite.
18 Posted 22/08/2014 at 02:44:05
The mid '80s is not a time to compare to now. Based on that, 1985-86 only FOUR clubs averaged over the 20,800 averaged at Spurs: Arsenal 23,900; Everton 32,900; Liverpool 35,500 and Man Utd 45,000.
Football was still a working class preserve and working class areas were being pummelled by Tory economic policies.
Your point about us only averaging over 50,000 once is an interesting one, because until the modern era and larger capacities at Old Trafford, St James Park and the Emirates, only Everton and Newcastle and Man Utd had broken the 50000 average barrier since WW2. So, I believe that demonstrates what is possible with Everton in relation to other teams.
Nowadays, Football has a totally different place in the lives of all social classes doesn't it? The potential audience is almost limitless. We seem to be every other supporter's second favourite team, America has woken up to us, we have a very good profile which will attract new fans from everywhere.
We would average 50,000 almost immediately. But this time room to grow a bit more needs to be built in. Are our Board blessed with enough vision to see this? Or are they just in it for the short term?
19 Posted 22/08/2014 at 03:03:57
We went from hosting a World Cup semi final in 1966 to being behind Bristol City and Derby when considered for the England 2018 bid!
20 Posted 22/08/2014 at 06:15:01
21 Posted 22/08/2014 at 06:38:18
22 Posted 22/08/2014 at 07:29:10
You say this like the 39k should have been 50k or 60k? Do you realise that an average of 39k is pretty much a sell-out every single home match as the maximum capacity is around 40k and some teams do not fill out the away end? That it means selling around 4,000 obstructed views every home match?
Ridiculous comment, if anything that season proved that Everton could fill a bigger stadium without obstructed views easily.
23 Posted 22/08/2014 at 08:32:27
24 Posted 22/08/2014 at 09:12:06
If you will note, I also mentioned the 62-63 campaign as well as the 1980s. In the 1960s we had a stadium capable of holding more than 74,000 yet managed more than 50,000 average only once. Despite football being very popular, despite the RS being in OUR shadow and also, these were the days when the only live football on TV were the England Internationals and the FA Cup Final, so if you wanted live football you went to the game.
I honestly wish we could bring in enough fans to average 50,000 every week and not just against Man Utd, Arsenal, Man City and the RS but I can't see it happening*. I've been a regular at Goodison for nearer 60 than 50 years and would just love to see it full every week, without the "obstructed view" excuse.
And yes, Erik, I do realise "39k is pretty much a sell-out every single home match " and, no, it's not a "ridiculous comment". We DO need success on the field to stand any chance of a continued increase in attendance to the levels you think are easily attainable.
*Unless, of course, you can get the kids of today away from their iPads, computer games and such crap.
25 Posted 22/08/2014 at 09:38:20
Before live football on TV, people like Brian Clough said if it ever happened it would be the death if football as everybody would watch it on TV rather than go to watch it live. The complete reverse has happened.
iPads, computers, football websites like this have just enabled the interest levels to explode.
I agree a successful team is required to get big attendances, but not as much as it used to. It's not the 1960s anymore. The world is effectively a much smaller place, information us everywhere, transport is much improved and there is more disposable income generally available. By harking back to the 80s or the 60s you are missing the point completely.
26 Posted 22/08/2014 at 09:58:24
Now, you will see women taking their kids to the match, or young families happily munching on a packed lunch before the game starts. It's a game of superstar footballers. A glamour game with perfectly manicured pitches all year round, and people want to take their kids to experience it.
Put 10,000 in family section at a new ground with the current pricing structure and it would sell out, no problem.
The only thing that hasn't changed is the 'the Redshite' Â— they're still a gang of knob 'eads.
27 Posted 22/08/2014 at 10:18:13
28 Posted 22/08/2014 at 11:05:36
Whilst I agree with some of what you say about the changing nature of football in the last two decades, it has also lost its soul as a result. Whilst I abhor the hooliganism that characterised some of the '70s and '80s, football clubs in the UK have sold out to the Premier League making it another globalised product for consumption. There was an alternative model we could have followed Â– the one that exists in Germany; this would have made the game more affordable, noisy and passionate.
The way things are heading with the 39th game ideas etc, how long is it before we have our first football franchise?
29 Posted 22/08/2014 at 11:20:05
I do not want to idealise the old times. But we could have done without the Disneyfication. Atmospheres at matches in Germany and Holland are on average better than in the Premier League. And it used to be the other way around.
30 Posted 22/08/2014 at 11:59:05
Lower Gwladys for me every time.
31 Posted 22/08/2014 at 12:04:52
I think now a new stadium is a must, but if we could time travel, a structured rebuild, starting with the Park End being built further back allowing for the Gwladys Street to eventually be extended forward, and potentially turning the Lower Bullens into executive boxes would have been amazing. Eventually the roof on the main stand would have had to be removed as well. All this required forward planning that we just didn't have.
Those saying we should not expand capacity are completely ignoring the obstructed views etc of the stadium. I would point blank refuse to sit in the Lower Bullens or the back of the Gwladys Street, you just can't see the game properly and the ٟ concession is an insult. With a modern stadium with unobstructed views and with intelligent pricing of tickets, for big games we could probably fill 60,000. I wouldn't really want more than 50-55,000 though as it would destroy the atmosphere for the Saturday afternoon's against Bolton or Blackburn (or whoever).
In addition, we should be planning for where we want to be, not where we are. Concentrating on the present has got us into the mess we're in currently.
32 Posted 22/08/2014 at 12:28:23
Robert Earl is the invisible man in America, Jon Woods is the quiet man who has never uttered a word about Everton, and Sir Philip Carter, with all due respect, is really just a nominal member with just a few 100 shares.
Until we get some more investors, I canÂt see any real progress... only talk and more talk!
33 Posted 22/08/2014 at 14:40:25
In the words of Gavin Ramjekis, Kim Jong Bill reigns unopposed, a dictatorship propped up by a couple of Spurs fans.
Don't be surprised to see his portrait placed exactly four feet off the floor directly opposite the windows or doors of every Lounge or room in Goodison tomorrow! Ball boys high goose stepping around the pitch and his face all over the big screens in the stadium. :)
34 Posted 22/08/2014 at 15:27:39
I don't expect everybody to know six people who can't afford to attend but if every sixth Evertonian knew ONE, which I feel is reasonable to expect, then there's another 7000 above the sell out figure of around 39500. So affordability could mean a gate of 47000 without anything else happening to encourage attendance.
For this reason the current campaign for Safe Standing at Stadia may be very important in not only helping all stadia to be better attended but in making it possible for watching games to become affordable. Standing can be made safe there is no doubt about that and vast terraces containing 20000 fans would be a definite no-no. but standing can be made safe in areas such as paddocks or perhaps reserved areas in the corners of stadia.
There's no reason at all why making the game affordable for all could not result in attendances at a revamped Goodison (or a new stadium) of 50000 the norm. There are more than enough Evertonians out there. A new stadium effect , better facilities and, most importantly success on the pitch could add considerably to that figure and towards 60000 and hence the club needs to look to the future and growth needs to be built into whatever plans they make and the false economy of pricing people out of the game must stop.
I have every sympathy for the Hillsborough families and support them in almost everything they are trying to achieve. But we cannot allow them to dictate forever how people may watch the game of football. Hillsborough was not about standing being unsafe...it was about certain stadia and police behaviour and lack of intelligence being unsafe to the point of incompetence.
35 Posted 22/08/2014 at 16:41:44
Lower earners are less likely to have access to credit facilities and therefore 㿔 taken from a weekly wage is a fair chunk not to mention other costs such as transport and refreshments.
There is little doubt that the demographics of those attending football matches is vastly different to what it was even twenty years ago - it might also explain some of the games lacking in atmosphere on occasion, compared to those earlier times.
If Everton FC do ever move into a new stadium they will have to consider those factors even more than they do at the moment and perhaps move away from the notion of a season ticket and more towards an annual membership which grants access to matches for a twelve month period or variations of that idea.
36 Posted 22/08/2014 at 17:07:28
How long would tickets sales for the Park End to cover the 𧺬,000 outlay, a season maybe? Short sighted lack of ambiition at it's frustrating worst! It really is frightening just how much of a skinflint this club has been under his stewardship, we don't even own our own training ground.
Everytime something about re-developing Goodison or moving is mentioned all I can think of is The Kings Dock disaster. Kirkby was a lucky escape, but the Kings Dock was our gateway to a prosperous future. What a future it may well could have been!
With all the money awash in the game right now, clubs should have no problem filling stadiums these days, simply you reduce the prices until demand meets supply and you get full houses but at reduced prices. TV money alone should be keeping clubs solvent and able to keep facilities at their best. Well, in a Eutopian world anyway...
37 Posted 22/08/2014 at 16:27:32
Dave Roberts @35
Dave, you have hit the nail on the head, if prices were reduced, especially for children or families, THEN we would have a better chance of increasing our fan attendance and filling a 55-60k stadium. AND encourage a youthful fan base to continue following the club when the older fans have gone belly up.
38 Posted 22/08/2014 at 19:43:26
Exactly what could and should already have been happening but a lost opportunity back in 1994 due to in ambitious, timid decisions from the Board.
Think about it.
Gwladys Street with hemmed in footprint: capacity 12000.
Park End with plenty of space to build: capacity 6000.
As Dave Roberts mentions and others allude to, we all know of fans who would love to go if they could afford to. West Ham are basing their plans on filling the Olympic stadium on a price structure like this and they need to get 27000 extra fans a game to do it, but see it as easily achievable.
39 Posted 22/08/2014 at 22:03:20
I was looking forward at that time to it being built but was sadly underwhelmed!
40 Posted 22/08/2014 at 22:54:56
41 Posted 23/08/2014 at 16:49:49
My preference would be to rip the Park end down , build proper foundations and use the space to make a monster 18k+ seater triple decker stand and make it a unique feature of the ground . A lot of people seem to want uniform even stands but no reason we should follow the mob-go for the unique and lead like we used to do.
42 Posted 24/08/2014 at 10:32:54
I have heard exactly the opposite rumour, that the foundations were deep/strong enough for another tier and it would have happened if attendances in the 90s had warranted it (which they weren't). Does anyone actually know the true answer?
43 Posted 24/08/2014 at 13:56:56
I think that the picture / architect's drawing shown in the Coventry programme on April 23, 1994 shows very limited foundations. However, I believe you can effectively suspend a second tier over the first one using either cantilevers or what is often referred to as a 'goalpost' and, in theory at any rate, there is no reason why the foundations for either of those supports could not be placed in the ground behind the current structure.
44 Posted 24/08/2014 at 14:49:24
45 Posted 24/08/2014 at 13:56:56
I am not totally opposed to moving, but if we are to leave Goodison and all its good points (atmosphere that other teams don't like; history; keeping it costs less than building new; good transport links etc) then it had better be to something and a location worth giving all that up for.
Kirkby was a disgraceful attempt to move us to a crap design of stadium in a rubbish location (from a stadium point of view) and to deceive the fans all to line certain individual's pockets. Therefore, I'll be looking very carefully at what is being proposed when this impending announcement is made.
After last time, we should all be very wary indeed.
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