Ensuring that we protect the essence of Everton when we leave, not only at our new home but back in L4 as well.
I was struck by Dan Meis’s comment about capturing the “lightening in a bottle” in relation to Goodison Park and what it means.
Although I am often very critical of much that the club does, they need to be applauded for the recognition that Goodison is a special place and the desire to take as much of Goodison with us when we move.
I think we all know in our hearts what the essence of Goodison is based on our individual and collective experiences, but it is difficult to articulate it precisely.
For me, and this may sound obvious or indeed strange, but the key association I have with Goodison is Everton – it is our home, it’s where we’ve made our history, seen the good and the bad, but it is ultimately about Everton. Many of the newer stadiums I’ve attended lose that identity and association with their team. New stadiums tend to become more neutral, at least to begin with.
We need to see the name, the badge, the motto, the Royal Blue, screaming out of every wall, beam, seat and part of the ground. We need to leave everyone in no doubt, this is where Everton “happens”. The stadium itself needs to shout Everton from the moment you arrive and enter. If we want to intimidate our opponents we need to let them know they’re on foreign turf. It’s no surprise for example that when putting the plans together for recent Ryder Cups, the European organisers made every structure, sign post, every covering canvas blue – the colours of the home team. They did so to remind the Europeans they had home advantage. For the last Ryder Cup in the US the Americans did the same using their colours, red and many players from the victorious US team commented on the impact.
Of all the features about Goodison the greatest special element for me is that every part of the ground is distinct, not only in appearance but also in atmosphere. Most Evertonians at least partially identify themselves by the part of the ground they sit in. Most are very specific, “Upper Gwladys Street, in line with the edge of the penalty area” “Top Balcony, just to the right of the half way line” “the paddock, close to the Gwladys Street”. There’s a real sense of identity and ownership of your seat but also the immediate surroundings. There’s the familiar faces who you’ve seen for years on end, may be nod to, but you don’t know their name, nor them know yours, they are all Blues obviously but they’re a bit more special because they sit near you, in your chosen area of the ground.
The interesting thing and what confirms the value of this is that in days of terracing, most fans would choose to stand in as close to the same spot as they always did for every match. It might not have been the best view, you might have got wet when it rained but it was your spot. I used to stand on the Gwladys Street, two barriers up from the front wall, in line with the penalty box, on the Bullens side. Why? Because it was where my grandfather stood, and he stood in that spot from 1927 until 1974. I still look over to it every time I go to Goodison.
The local community element within the different parts of the stadium, the distinctiveness and local familiarity of each section of the ground is very special and extremely important. One of the biggest issues all clubs have faced when moving supporters is keeping that community together. It will be an essential part of getting the new stadium right.
I think the physical relationships between the different parts of the ground are also important, the relative positions, proximity to the “Gwladys Street” or being in the “Bullens Road” to see the players run out on the opposite side to Z-Cars.
Not only must Goodison’s amazing history be reflected in our new stadium, it must be celebrated at Goodison before we leave. We have a duty not only to relive and celebrate the memories ourselves but to re-educate the footballing world to the significance of our home, a true cathedral to the world of football. Just as an oil painting by a master has depth, a football ground becomes iconic over time through the continual layering of events and memories for those present.
Fortunately for many of the 70 million plus that have gone through our turnstiles there are so many unique events from our time at Goodison, hundreds of matches played by Everton obviously including many, many memorable afternoons and evenings, but also an FA Cup Final, a final replay, hosting the World Cup in 1966, the only club ground in England to host a World Cup semi-final, the hosting of the home internationals in the 70s.
Each of these are stories in their own right, and it will be interesting to see how the memories are transferred to our new ground. As well as physical, visual reminders, lounge names, concourse names etc, artwork and pictures, perhaps the club can explore ways of telling the Goodison story on match days before the game. One of the objectives is to attract fans earlier to games, to eat, drink and relax before games – perhaps this is an ideal time through innovative use of technology to relive those memories, remind everyone of our past and significance to the game.
I guess most important though is the atmosphere during the game. Whilst the team’s performance is always going to be key, clearly the design, materials used will have a huge part to play. Assuming that is the case, certainly Dan Meis has talked about it frequently enough... what else can be done?
One of the keys to atmosphere will be communication. The club needs to know which fans want to stand and sing throughout the game, and they need to make sure everyone understands the characteristics of each part of the new stadium when choosing season tickets or indeed just match by match tickets.
Sensible stewarding and whilst not permitted currently, the immediate provision of safe standing when permitted should be a key part of the design and planning once the stadium is built.
The Greatest Legacy
Finally (for now) one last point. Whilst we get excited for the preparation of a new stadium we should remind ourselves we have four more seasons left at Goodison. Sadly it is a fact that anyone younger than their late 20’s will not have seen Everton parade a trophy around Goodison. The greatest legacy the club can provide in those 4 years is a team that wins at least one piece of silverware, preferably but aiming for more.
For me, and I know others agree, the club, board, Director of Football, manager (new) and players should have one huge focus – ensuring that the club doesn’t leave Goodison in 2022 without at least one genuine “lap of honour” with at least one trophy.
The greatest start to a new life on the banks of the Royal Blue Mersey will be a trophy-winning side, capable of mixing it with all the Premier League and the best of Europe too.
Reader Comments (41)
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1 Posted 22/02/2018 at 18:15:35
For me, Goodison Park is more than a football ground. It is the focal point of our love for the club. I only have to look at the picture there to feel it.
Maybe we can dig up the pitch 5 m x 5 m and 5 m deep at a time and lay the sacred earth beneath the pitch at the Bramley-Moore Stadium.
That earth and sacred ground will be there then for ever in our new home. The ground that has had a thousand Everton players feet grace it. The ground that has soaked up a million roars of excitement will underpin our new pitch.
We will have something of Goodison Park. Something that will make the new place feel like home.
2 Posted 22/02/2018 at 18:53:26
FFS I'll even lend him my old Etch-A-Sketch and he can do it on that.
3 Posted 22/02/2018 at 19:17:45
4 Posted 22/02/2018 at 19:34:48
A fresh start is required and many of the unique points of Goodison Park cannot be replicated in a new stadium; however, the supporters and their fervour, at least when a decent Everton team is on display, can transfer quite easily into the new place.
Given the absence of winning teams at Goodison Park in the last three decades, the new stadium should be seen as a fresh start a new beginning and the relaunch of Everton as a truly competitive football club. We will all savour the memories of Goodison Park, but I hope that the new stadium regardless of design proves to be the catalyst for a successful Everton that adds to our history.
5 Posted 22/02/2018 at 20:56:25
Cosmetically with blue seats (who'd have guessed) it should have EVERTON as we do on the seats now plus a link to Archibald Lietch with the criss-cross... So it will have a home look. Throw in the other bits like images around the place of players and success and the Dixie Dean statue you're half way there.
6 Posted 22/02/2018 at 22:09:22
We are the only club in the country that has obstructed views even in the most expensive seats in the house. Unfortunately I am not even thinking about any move until I see some real proof and not this horseshit we keep being constantly fed.
A Cocky watchman's hut and fire at Bramley-Moore Dock site would be better than anything that's there at the moment. One bucket of cement will do me. Please will the club just put up or shut up. More blue corrugated iron on the Bullens Road stand anyone?? I am not falling for it again, sorry, but it's just dragging on too long.
7 Posted 23/02/2018 at 00:24:20
But, what confidence do you have that the move is even going to take place? I have heard suggestions that the whole plot would be pulled if (as was worried at the time) relegation happened. So what, if any, other criteria could prevent a move?
Cheers and it's your round next time.
8 Posted 23/02/2018 at 07:11:12
In retrospect it looks like the club and Joe Anderson jumped the gun at the AGM with the degree of certainty expressed in the Council funding plan. That's not to say it won't happen; I firmly believe it will, but it's clear now that matters were less progressed than implied at the meeting. Why would they have done that? Possibly it masked the almost complete lack of progress made between the previous AGM and this year's.
I understand that, with the Council funding in place, the remaining funding ,whilst not complete or finalised will effectively be underwritten by Moshiri (in a similar manner to how Tottenham have progressed without all the funding in place and an absence of a naming rights partner to date).
Then there's the planning risks, and of course the usual project risks of any major capital project.
I believe the stadium will be built, it will match the hype surrounding Dan Meis' involvement, but I suspect it will stretch the club's managerial abilities to the limits and without, strengthening, that represents the greatest risk in my opinion.
9 Posted 23/02/2018 at 09:37:50
Any new stadium will be designed to current stadium construction standards within a set budget. Nothing will change because Joe from Bootle had asked for bogs with a serving hatch for Tetley bitter over the urinal. Wake up, FFS.
The only thing we should be concerning ourselves with is the Council funding of an initial 𧷐m. I say 'initial' because it's an absolute certainty costs will escalate. I would like to know what contingency is in place if this Council funding is not granted, which is a very real possibility. Does that mean the scheme will be scrapped?
As far as Goodison is concerned, it's an embarrassment for a Premier League ground. A relic, that was fit for purpose in the 1970s. I don't think we will ever be able to progress until we do actually move. It's like a morgue on a matchday anyway.
10 Posted 23/02/2018 at 10:08:42
I think you raise some important points, especially what happens if the Council don't approve the loan. I don't think we can criticize the club for engaging with the fans over the look of the new stadium. I think, if there had been no consultation, then we would have something to moan about. But seeing that most weeks we cant agree which of the 26-man squad should play, so trying to accommodate a few thousand thoughts of fans on the new ground will be even more difficult.
I think we should be more cautious about the new stadium delivering the extra revenue to push us to challenge the top 4. I well remember Wenger telling the Arsenal fans that, when they moved from Highbury to the Emirates, they would be able to compete in buying the worlds best players. I don't think there are too many Arsenal fans who think the club has delivered on that pledge.
Certainly the same was said when Sunderland moved into their new ground, the expectation was the bigger ground would create the extra revenue to compete in the Premier League. Again, another prophecy that has fallen flat.
11 Posted 23/02/2018 at 10:44:18
It should be about the future and the design needs to have enough complexity to give the new fans, in their new seats, plenty of new things to associate with.
The new memories will soon build-up as will a new fondness for a new place.
12 Posted 23/02/2018 at 11:52:42
There is also the small matter of a new Royal Liverpool hospital left lying unfinished, which will surely have an impact on whether the Council will approve a loan of £280m to a private business, headed by an billionaire? Priorities and all that. That particular project may well end up in the civil courts. There are too many variables to even think about before we see the diggers heading into Bramley-Moore Dock, so I'm not getting my hopes up just yet.
People discussing legacies is putting a fucking great big cart before a very small horse at present.
13 Posted 23/02/2018 at 12:22:19
That said I'm of the view that it's our obsession with our 'istory that contributes to our lack of future vision. Everton in and of itself is a relic and we need to drop it and become a modern, forward thinking club. The game has changed.
I'd like to see an ultra modern stadium that inspires a vision for future generations, not past. History doesn't win trophies.
14 Posted 23/02/2018 at 12:32:10
Could this be a subtle hint on the proposed capacity?
15 Posted 23/02/2018 at 13:02:24
Could the club make that happen ?
I love the thought of our players walking out at our new ground but still walking over the hallowed turf of Goodison.
Make it so.
16 Posted 23/02/2018 at 13:55:06
17 Posted 23/02/2018 at 14:25:32
18 Posted 23/02/2018 at 14:35:20
19 Posted 23/02/2018 at 14:46:34
Besides on the day of the last home match the fans will probably invade the putch and dig up chunks of turf as souvenirs.
20 Posted 23/02/2018 at 15:04:19
Hopefully then, with a Bill-free board and Fonseca in charge, that will see us believe again... even in away fixtures. COYB
22 Posted 23/02/2018 at 15:39:31
We have toilets ankle-deep in piss, food I wouldn't give to my dog, and beer that tastes like it might have been sucked up from the ankle-deep piss in the toilets. We can definitely leave all of that behind us when we go.
The advantage we'll have at our new place is that it is already soaked in history; the history of the docks, of the working people of Liverpool, of everything that has gone before in the city, of everything that made Liverpool a great prosperous port. We should build a fortress for sure, but one that represents not just the history of the club, but also of the city.
A truly iconic landmark, clad in blue, that can be lit up at night, with a fucking big blue liver bird hovering over the top of it. Bring not just our history, but the city's history, let those hideous tourists over the park know where the future lies in Liverpool.
After that, let's set our minds to overtaking the Mancs they should be our main rivals in this great new stadium, not the other lot.
23 Posted 23/02/2018 at 15:46:44
Bramley-Moore Dock is a myth.
It's season ticket renewal time soon, though, so expect a big PR push that will once again be followed by utter silence and zero progress.
24 Posted 23/02/2018 at 16:11:42
25 Posted 23/02/2018 at 16:30:34
I don't get to go much but the last trip was in the Upper Gwladys Street for one of the Europa League Qualifiers in the corner; it rained and it rained through the roof!
The idea of relocating the pitch is surely just symbolic as the pitch is relaid year after year. My dad was a docker for 30 years he worked on this dock I believe too would be nice to scatter his ashes and my mum's when we move there.
26 Posted 23/02/2018 at 16:33:04
Sorry to bring that lot into it but I feel that if they were earmarking this site there'd be red and white feckin Liver Birds all over the place, marching bands and the Echo providing hour-by-hour up dates. Still having this nightmare about Gillmoss, sorry.
27 Posted 23/02/2018 at 17:00:06
But stand back and recall the totally false hype they generated about Kings Dock. Then all the false promises about Destination Kirkby... I believe the club hierarchy has actually learnt its lesson from these depressing fiascoes and is treading more carefully this time, not raising false hopes.
And the ironic consequence of a more considered approach? The naysayers have plenty to point to in terms of lack of progress, dubious rumour and negative inference.
Can we not just let it play out rather than trying to call it ahead of time? The process has a number of stages and needs a lot of aquatic birdlife to get in line.
28 Posted 23/02/2018 at 18:12:26
29 Posted 23/02/2018 at 18:36:48
30 Posted 23/02/2018 at 20:34:15
As I'm sure you are aware, the existing Royal had been run down in anticipation of the move, so they can't wait forever.
31 Posted 23/02/2018 at 20:49:42
32 Posted 23/02/2018 at 21:01:09
My Dad is 80 next month. I would love him too see Everton in a new stadium on the waterfront in the next 3 years. I bet there are many more Evertonians who feel the same way but deep down we all know it won't happen by then.
When time is on your side, it is easy to have patience. The problem is we are seeing zero progress on the dockland site. All we basically have is a load of chatter from the club and stalling tactics. It went really quiet after the City didn't secure the Commonwealth Games.
I don't see or hear anything I can really get my teeth into concerning this ground move. All I know is we are yet to fully secure the funding required, even though LCC are putting up the lion's share?? We have no planning permission and no architect drawings for the stadium plans yet all though we keep hearing about how Amazing to his stadium will be??
When is planning permission being granted? I thought it was a supposed to be last month? I don't think the club want it passing if the truth be known. Easy bullet to dodge.
If anyone out there can show me some proof that any of the above mentioned is about to open happen then maybe we could all relax a bit.
Waiting about reading and listening to pure bullshit is not what I call progress. Show me and every other Evertonian out there that things are moving forward...
Some blues out there don't have the luxury of sitting back waiting for it to happen. Some fans out there won't be around in 5 years time. Sad as that is it's true.
33 Posted 23/02/2018 at 21:59:45
34 Posted 23/02/2018 at 22:06:31
Your comment "The Goodison Park of my Childhood is gone" expresses my feelings exactly. Good enough to host World Cup games in the sixties it is now a relic of the past.
Why that has been allowed to happen is another thread but suffice it to say EFC needs a new stadium like a drowning man needs air. This move has just got to happen for the long-term viability of the football club.
As far as the funding goes, we have supposedly got a specialist in this field on the board:
I feel quite sure that there is a detailed plan in place, however, cynical as it may sound, I don't think we will see the plans until after we hit the 40-point mark this season.
35 Posted 23/02/2018 at 23:20:46
36 Posted 23/02/2018 at 23:46:32
37 Posted 24/02/2018 at 00:05:42
38 Posted 24/02/2018 at 11:53:23
39 Posted 24/02/2018 at 15:20:48
40 Posted 25/02/2018 at 20:36:21
41 Posted 27/02/2018 at 09:23:52
Here in the land of Oz, Sydney has two stadiums, the Sydney football stadium (built 1988) and the 2000 Olympic stadium. Having visited both I prefer the former but the Olympic stadium, reconfigured for a 80,000 capacity struck me immensely when the the blues played there a couple of years ago. I imagined some super successful Everton playing in an 80,000-seater stadium in the future. Some lament its lack of atmosphere. It is big.
Whatever, the state ruling party (neo-conservatives and farmers), intend to build two new stadiums from scratch. Price tag, A$2,000,000,000. Count the noughts. Most importantly, they will be somewhere for the pollies to take their mates and business "connections".
If Everton was a suburb of London, we'd have had our stadium decades ago. That's my point.
42 Posted 28/02/2018 at 15:59:03
It seems striking while the iron is hot and certain incumbents remain would make sense and until this hurdle is jumped, all else is pure fantasy (unless of course Moshiri is willing to underwrite the entire amount as a back-up and under what terms?).
Surely, if council approval is given, the club can proceed to seek planning permission and move on without the entire sum, knowing that Moshiri would underwrite the remainder.
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