Paul reports from the “Everton Football Stadium and Associated Regeneration” meeting hosted by “Downtown in Business” featuring Everton’s current CEO, Robert Elstone and Liverpool City Council Mayor, Joe Anderson.
This morning saw the greatly anticipated business meeting “Everton Football Stadium and Associated Regeneration” hosted by “Downtown in Business” featuring Everton’s current CEO, Robert Elstone, and Liverpool City Council Mayor, Joe Anderson.
The meeting was split into two parts, Robert Elstone speaking first followed by Joe Anderson. I don’t intend going through to meeting verbatim but recording my observations from the comments made and the answers to questions asked.
Firstly, the positive news. Although a number of Evertonians still doubt the Bramley-Moore Stadium will happen, there is now an overwhelming body of evidence that it will. Despite finances still not being totally in the bag, it’s pretty clear that the expectations are that it will happen. The club, in Robert’s words, is spending money on the project now, and given the usual caution Everton display on such matters, that to me is a clear indicator.
Perhaps the biggest questions remain about the budget, and the implications of that in terms of capacity and ultimately even design.
I’m trying to be objective, but try as he might, after a surprisingly up-beat start, Robert soon drifted into his usual more cautious speak, referring to costs but also referring to the business case. I’m hoping this is his natural caution rather than the belief of the whole board, but presenting the case for a £500 million capital investment in a new stadium as “future-proofing” rather than the big leap ahead that other stadiums presented other clubs is at best unnecessarily cautious, at worst demonstrates a continuation of the limited thinking of the last 20 years.
It seems odd to me that we can sell 33,000 season tickets in an antiquated but much loved Goodison Park with its poor sight lines, obstructed views and very limited food, beverage and entertainment facilities, yet only project 35-40,000 season tickets in an iconic stadium at Bramley-Moore. All the case evidence from Arsenal, Manchester City, Southampton, Sunderland etc is that season ticket sales rise substantially when a new stadium opens. The challenge I would suggest is retaining those ticket holders in future years, not finding them in the first place, but that becomes a footballing issue – success on the pitch keeps bums on the seats.
Similarly, there is the view expressed today that the stadium will not be substantially geared to executive or premium seating. From a business modelling perspective this makes no sense. If the concern is that executive seating destroys atmosphere then surely the challenge is passed to the architect to solve, not as appears to be the case reduce the number. As a rule of thumb, 10% of the capacity being premium or executive seating of different categories should generate more than 50% of the overall income of the stadium. Given Everton’s desire to keep regular seating prices as low as possible (to be applauded) surely the premium and therefore opportunity to subsidise regular seating should be taken?
Additionally, if the business case is as tight as Robert suggests, being less aggressive on premium seating accentuates the problem, it doesn’t solve it. Airlines don’t become more profitable by reducing premium classes at the expense of economy, they develop their product to increase demand. I suggest we take that view also.
There was talk that “phasing” was back on the agenda – meaning a design that permits for capacity to grow. However, as Robert admitted to in his comments, the extra investment required to future-proof potentially higher capacity in the future doesn’t produce an immediate return on investment, so again, what is the business logic in this?
In addition to the business case concerns, the issues relating to World Heritage Status still feature although Joe Anderson robustly defends the idea that having WHS does not mean we should be a monument but a “living, vibrant city”.
Bullish Joe Anderson
As much as Robert is naturally cautious, Joe Anderson is the exact reverse and his enthusiasm for the project has to be admired even if the reality takes a while to catch up with his words. It is clear that the stadium has two major benefits for Anderson. Firstly, it bookends the Liverpool Waters development, accelerating other developers' plans, bringing forward much needed future revenues through increased land values and therefore business rates, plus the multiplier effect of increased economic activity and future visitors to the City. Secondly, the stadium represents a significant proportion of his “invest to earn” income now and in the future. With the prospect of £7 million in revenues from Everton, that represents 20% of his future income from these schemes – something which should not be lost when considering his enthusiasm.
On timeframe, there’s now a clear sight of what is expected and when. We can argue about what on earth has happened since nearly a year ago the “guarantor scheme” was first announced and the now very obvious lack of progress throughout 2017, but now there’s a clear timeline.
The key points in the timeline are as follows: confirmation of the City Council funding by early summer, ongoing to conclusion confirmation of the additional funding (perhaps as much as £220 million). Start of the formal planning process beyond the summer (informal meetings are already taking place), granting of planning permission in early 2019 followed by work starting by the summer of 2019. On that basis, although tight (in Robert’s words) we will kick off the 2022 season in Bramley-Moore.
To conclude, perhaps there’s not much that’s been learned from today, but the significance of the first face-to-face talks in public shouldn’t be over-looked.
With or without Robert (the subject was banned from today’s meeting; I‘m pretty sure we go into the next few months without him), Everton through the direction of Moshiri, who has to address the lack of progress to date, perhaps already has, need to be much more assertive. They need to be confident in the outcome, and that, once built, the stadium is a great success. They need to grasp the nettle and get on with it.
I think fans have a role to play too – the consultation process continues with Richard Kenyon set to announce the planned workshops. We have to demonstrate our confidence in Bramley-Moore, not a cautious, scaled-back version of what might have been, but the biggest it can be, best it can be, most iconic stadium that stretches Moshiri’s pockets to the limits. He said at the AGM in January that, whilst he was here, funding would never be an issue – well let’s hold him to his word, and demand the best – something that meets the club motto, Nil Satis Nisi Optimum!
Reader Comments (49)
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1 Posted 16/03/2018 at 16:11:37
Yeah. Glad it is not me you are holding to account.
2 Posted 16/03/2018 at 16:14:44
3 Posted 16/03/2018 at 16:25:32
After 20 years of Kenwright and cronies it is easy to be cynical but Moshiri has shown he is not afraid to put his hands in his pockets to make EFC better.
We need to get rid of the dinosaurs and bring some people with vision and ability onboard to reinstil belief amongst the fans.
4 Posted 16/03/2018 at 16:37:54
I am in total agreement with Jay Harris's last paragraph.
5 Posted 16/03/2018 at 16:46:12
I certainly hope that the cautious approach is not born out of a fear that the plans to have an iconic world class stadium on the docks are unaffordable and therefore a watered-down version is already in the pipeline. If the latter was to be the case, we would have been better advised to remain at Goodison and rebuild that over a period of time.
As for Moshiri, he only signs the guarantees, not a penny piece will come out of his pocket, no matter how deep they are; the club will have to carry the burden of the costs of a new stadium, not the guardians of the club. From that perspective, perhaps, Elstone's caution is not without merit.
8 Posted 16/03/2018 at 17:30:29
Volunteers to paint wooden shed (County Road area). Ongoing project for at least five years.
ps: Please bring own brush.
9 Posted 16/03/2018 at 19:02:39
There is always a sticking point, and the biggest one will always be funding. It continues to concern me that, after many months, the funding aspect is still a problem. I want to see some real progress.
Maybe it's me being naive and wet behind the ears on such matters. Also it's impatience borne out of the frustration of previous projects.
10 Posted 16/03/2018 at 19:40:00
If this plan fails, then I see a long way back if there's anyway back at all, to regain the supporters' faith in the club.
Hopefully good times will arrive soon. Win v Stoke...?
11 Posted 16/03/2018 at 19:40:16
12 Posted 16/03/2018 at 19:47:20
13 Posted 16/03/2018 at 19:50:08
14 Posted 16/03/2018 at 20:09:50
What can we see without guess-work?
Anyone does business with Peel knows Everton bought a 200-year lease on Bramley-Moore Docks.
Anyone does business with Dan Meis's company knows it.
The company taking the soil samples at the dock. Everyone they do business with know it too.
The Mayor of Liverpool trumpets it to anyone who will listen.
In all four instances, construction companies know this is coming.
To guess-work? I'm going to guess that Moshiri (and the city) has financial backers banging on the door to get in on the ground floor regarding the docks' regeneration.
Another guess? The "sticking point" everyone is waiting on is the the last financial i-dotted and t-crossed between EFC and the City.
Then it's ON!
15 Posted 16/03/2018 at 20:37:02
I know little about economics, I think Manchester overtook Birmingham, to become our second city years ago, but honestly think that, when this City's docks are regenerated, then only London will be able to offer more to the visitor?
I'm not saying these visitors will stay, or even become Evertonians, but the money men are coming. Otherwise, Peel, wouldn't have given Everton a second glance, especially whilst Kenwright is still on the board...
16 Posted 16/03/2018 at 22:17:53
You mentioned about cautious "new stadium as “future-proofingâ€ rather than the big leap ahead that other stadiums". How spineless is the current CEO!
Anything less that the lines of the new Tottenham stadium, including size, will be not good enough.
17 Posted 16/03/2018 at 22:58:45
However, regarding "the issues relating to World Heritage Status still feature" to me, there are no issues. I wrote to Joe Anderson's office a while back and got a nice reply.
I pointed out that it is not what is built on the site, it is what it represents and evokes. The docks of this great city were a major point of departure for UK people migrating all around the world. The people took their culture with them, and founded new towns and cities named after ones in their homeland.
They also took with them their football allegiances and there are Evertons (along with many other clubs' names) to be found in more than one place that were former British colonies. Therefore, what better World Heritage cultural representation could there be than a brand spanking new football stadium?
There could be tributes paying homage to our foreign visiting friends' heritage, using whatever medium, incorporated to remind them that their ancestors were just as likely to have embarked from the very dock upon which the stadium sits. Or one just down the road...
Or just build another museum or art gallery that will cost the city, as they would really have to be free to enter. The World Heritage committee (?) would be delighted with that.
18 Posted 17/03/2018 at 00:40:53
Just how much does an empty, unused 'World Heritage Site' contribute to LCC coffers? How much more will it deteriorate remaining an empty, unused WHS?
The bare bones are all there and will remain... there must be a way to work in/incorporate that suitable cleaned and refurbished magnificent clock tower too... plenty of images from times of yore exist to cover the area with before, present (empty, unused etc) future exhibits in the manner of the Albert Dock.
To be fair, the Albert Dock is enough to show what 19th and early 20th Century docks were about.
Also given LCC's extremely poor record of pulling down old buildings, least said by anybody even vaguely connected with them the better...were was World Heritage then? [Ends bee-in-bonnet mini-rant.]
Anyway, step forward all you men of vision (hopefully) and have at it... But, this being The Ev, I have recurring flashbacks of the car Homer Simpson helped design and the owner's resultant bankruptcy!
19 Posted 17/03/2018 at 07:37:41
Why can't the fans be offered shares in the funding of the stadium so we feel part of it?
20 Posted 17/03/2018 at 08:06:27
No-one wants to start a build and have to go back to investors seeking further material contributions or seek a rights issue for the purpose of completion. Return on Investment is the base of everything in the stadium build, forget about football, this is all about real estate.
The stadium will directly impact everything built on the rest of Peel's land and what the city do for them in return with infrastructure. No stadium being built will just see the whole North Dock plans stagnate.
For once, I think the club is finally doing things properly; sadly, past failures have turned the majority into sceptics.
This development is huge for the North of the city and the city as a whole; idiots calling radio stations aside questioning the council's involvement is both sad and extremely short-sighted.
As with the on-pitch business, we just need to be a little bit more positive.
21 Posted 17/03/2018 at 10:03:05
22 Posted 17/03/2018 at 15:02:02
I have said this before and I will say it again. If this stadium deal was a 100% genuine starter then why haven't the club made a start on clearing and draining the site in readiness for the build to start? Not a thing has been done down there, not a single thing. I go past the site 5 days a week and it's derelict. We don't need planning permission or stadium design plans to put the foundations in and clear the shit away do we...?? Give the fans something to cling to and make a start.
The club is basically telling the fans it needs another 12 months to raise a proxy £163 million why??? I'm not fooled one bit. Sorry, guys, but we have a skint Billionaire in charge at EFC. We don't have the money or the brains for this project. Moshiri and Elstone... Give me strength.
23 Posted 17/03/2018 at 17:55:06
a) The stadium is 100% going to happen as things stand; and
b) it should have been a lot further on by now, but the delays are completely down to EFC not keeping to the agreed schedule.
24 Posted 17/03/2018 at 19:19:04
25 Posted 18/03/2018 at 02:05:23
This would require dewatering the dock itself, obviously, which changes the stress and lateral loads on the dock walls. And providing some kind of impervious barrier or the river side to keep out the water of the Mersey.
So I imagine the soils investigation is focused on the stability of the walls under the dewatered condition, where each block in the walls becomes 30 to 50% heavier just through the lack of submergence under water.
The simpler option may be to fill in the dock, and avoid the problems that permanent drainage and dewatering of the dock brings. But the problem then becomes differential settlement beneath the foundations for the stadium, because part would probably be constructed over the dock walls, and part over the compacted fill.
And there's almost certainly a thick layer of soft compressible silt at the bottom of the dock that needs to be removed, and the base of the dock defined in terms of a supporting layer. (The Sherwood Sandstone should be there, but will need drilling to prove it's presence, strength and depth.)
Any way you cut it, the engineering challenges are fairly unique, I imagine. Not insolvable but certainly challenging and important to get right.
26 Posted 18/03/2018 at 02:20:40
Why do we have to keep repeating this? They can't do anything meaningful at the site until the full design is finalized and approved. That includes getting planning permission. You can't go filling in the dock until you know what you are building there. In full detail.
Is that really so hard for you to understand? You say nothing is going on there, but the geotechncial investigation has been and is the only thing any reasonable person would have expected at this point.
Yes, we all know the previous attempts have been abject failures. And this project is way behind where it could have been. But all serious indications, contrary to your boring previous posts, suggest the project is proceeding. That will continue to be the case until it's built or it's canned.
Most sensible people acknowledge either possibility moving forward. Save your naysaying until you have something serious (dare I say 'concrete'?) to aim at.
27 Posted 18/03/2018 at 03:24:33
28 Posted 18/03/2018 at 09:26:22
29 Posted 18/03/2018 at 14:54:44
Immediately north of the the Leeds-Liverpool is Nelson Dock and then Bramley-Moore Dock. I wouldn't have thought the water feed would be affected.
Having said that, my knowledge of water engineering is limited to changing a washer and usually involves getting a man in chez McGuffog!
30 Posted 18/03/2018 at 15:17:15
31 Posted 18/03/2018 at 15:41:49
32 Posted 18/03/2018 at 15:47:10
Let's assume you are correct on the build procedure and more and more time is required... but what about the finances? How can anyone take the club seriously when the club cannot stump up the cash for our side of the bargain?
All we hear from mouthpieces within the club is "we are working on finances" at the same time, fans think we have a Billionaire who is here to save us and build a stadium. How can anyone take any of it seriously if we don't have the money to do it??
It reeks of Kings Dock again. The council will soon lose patience and pull out if this carries on much longer. That or there will be a power shift. Why doesn't the club either put up or shut up? It's embarrassing. The stick Evertonians live with over the shit football is one thing but this stadium bullshit takes the biscuit.
Another year now before we do what? Have another fans survey... Promise Dan the Man will be at the next AGM with stadium designs, like they promised in December... I don't have proof Bramley-Moore won't happen but none of you have proof it will happen either.
33 Posted 18/03/2018 at 16:21:23
The way I rationalise the finances is a bit like the build procedure. The club has been working to put the pieces in place. It's a process that has many moving parts, takes time to negotiate, draw up agreements, put the financial instruments in place, will not all be resolved at Day One, and may have bumps along the way.
I'm much more of a geotechnical engineer / groundwater guy for new project builds â€“ than a finance guy, so I'm out of my comfort zone here. But I'm not looking to Moshiri to splash all the cash, as you seem to believe he should have done already. That's not the financial model that anyone (except you) has put forward, and is therefore totally unrealistic in terms of your misplaced expectations.
We Evertonians are superbly privileged, in my humble opinion, to have ongoing commentary from a trio of highly respected Everton businessmen (Paul The Esk, John Blain, and Rodger Armstrong) who have made it their business to track and comment on every aspect of Everton Business Matters since last March, and they don't seem to be raising any of the concerns that trouble you so much every time this topic comes up.
Have you listened to their podcasts? You really should.
34 Posted 18/03/2018 at 16:40:17
However, if you mean the river corridor then yes Bramley-Moore Dock connects to (what I think is) Huskisson Dock to the north and Nelson Dock to the south. Both of these bodies of water have direct access via dock gates to the river. Bramley Moore Dock itself does not. BMD does, however, inter connect with both: OS Map of BMD
As to what presently exists of any note within the dock environs beyond the gates on Regent Road, very little indeed. As Michael has referred to above, the actual walls of the dock basin and the dockside itself (granite sets) being the full extent. Other structures are typical nondescript industrial corrugated sheds of no merit other than scrap value.
Should the access between the north and south neighbouring docks be required to be maintained, then the westward (river) end of BMD would require a new wall to be built to maintain this waterway.
The three granite pillars/towers between which the two gates are located absolutely shout "Ball, Harvey & Kendall", as my mate Jamie & I immediately remarked upon our first visit to the site last season.
Hope this helps with visualising.
35 Posted 18/03/2018 at 20:35:17
I see your discussion as nothing more than increasing frustration at the gaping void which is Everton FC's communication. With time dragging on and nothing tangible audible or visible in terms of real progress on the stadium, we all choose how to fill in the blanks. Either we feed off snippets of 'information' to remain optimistic or, understandably we reflect on the club's history in this area; fool me once (or three times in reality) etc.
From a communication perspective, the failings are there ('weeks' until the key principles document which was thrown together much much later, Dan Meis's flurry of fan engagement and teasers followed by silence and a 'check this space often' Sept 2017 BMD website entry gathering moss, Anderson's proclamation that we could be in a new ground in a couple of years etc) in that the club has not controlled the narrative.
Complex it may be but I completely understand Tony's heartburn as it relates to the protracted process as it relates to the mayor. He's a kingpin in the financial agreement and the longer this drags on, the greater likelihood that a spanner gets thrown in should he lose influence for whatever reason.
Also bantering in the blank spaces are the good folks at Everton Business Matters. I've listened each episode and tbh, there's little more than opinion and educated guessing. No one is in-the-know, even the Shareholders Association chair and so we sit around taking shite and get increasingly frustrated while grasping at straws. And all with the backdrop of the shittest season in memory and failings in virtually all sectors of the club. 'Everton that' has firmly replaced NSNO.
Although a synchronized change in chairman, board, CEO, DOF and manager in addition to shedding half of a failed squad in one fell swoop might be a risky proposition, it would be fully justified. But for god's sake, Everton, get a Communications Director with a clue in the door and save us from ourselves.
36 Posted 19/03/2018 at 08:33:31
Clearly, the name Sandon has connection with another club's formation. Could this be at the root of their anguish?
37 Posted 19/03/2018 at 16:03:46
38 Posted 19/03/2018 at 18:48:01
Perfectly summed up, mate, thank you. I recall John Blain recently talking about the no-show of Dan Mies at the last AGM.
The board promised the Shareholders Committee that Dan Meis would be present with stadium design in hand. Guess what â€” he wasn't there. Was it an oversight by the Board or just complete bullshit??
39 Posted 20/03/2018 at 14:02:58
Why have we not started draining the site before we get planning permission? The answer is quite simple: If we don't get planning permission, there is little point draining the site.
The way some Evertonians talk about the chairman and the owner, I wouldn't blame them walking away.
40 Posted 20/03/2018 at 16:33:45
So, if anything the previous fanfared announcements were premature in the extreme. All of which makes you wonder what was the point of the presentation? (Charm offensive for investors?)
Where are we in the design-process when we are only just having a fan engagement process years after the architect was first engaged? Are we to believe that he hasn't already been fully briefed? Elstone also said that club officials and their experts only recently met to discuss basics of configuration/general-admission capacity/corporate capacity etc.
This is several years into a process that was supposed to be taking up a large proportion of his every-working day, yet this is only getting discussed now? These are the initial phases of any stadium planning process, which needed to have been resolved long before we could ever make a decision to relocate in the first place.
41 Posted 26/03/2018 at 16:39:32
The one thing that really concerned me was the city's loss of becoming the Commonwealth Games venue resulting in a very quick announcement that costs for Bramley-Moore Dock had all of a sudden zoomed, from 𧸖M or so, to 𧺬M.
That's a massive hike in costs and, if it's truly the case, I would expect any financially prudent owner to re-visit every part of the plans previously made known before the Bramley-Moore Dock initiative was announced with such a fanfare. That would surely have to include re-designing Goodison Park wouldn't it? I recall seeing detailed plans by a fellow fan on TW, an architect by profession I recall, who made the case for massively extending the Bullens Road/Park End stands to enable crowds of 50,000 minimum for far less expenditure than a new stadium demands. Obviously that's before the Main Stand and good old Gwladys Street could be improved too.
Is that option still something that our fans would accept if the 𧺬mill just can't be raised?
42 Posted 26/03/2018 at 17:48:14
The plans you refer to, Don, are still posted here on ToffeeWeb â€“ in fact, we have a series of pages dedicated to the Redevelopment of Goodison Park. But the massive investment made by the club (much of it sadly wasted) with the blinkered intention of moving away, and absolutely zero consideration given to redevelopment, suggests that Tom's crusade bears too many similarities to 'flogging a dead horse'.
But, with this club... you can never say "Never"!
43 Posted 26/03/2018 at 19:14:53
44 Posted 26/03/2018 at 19:16:00
I think most fans, and especially those we hand the club over to, would be gutted if we stayed at Goodison. It has served us all so well and is our history, not future.
I know there is the West Ham and Arsenal mess up but my fear is we would sit in a new Goodison with a club with more money over the park still and those patronising camera pans showing that little club with a great history "so close".
I also imagine us sat there as Spurs love their new place after a few years.
But even if the floors are not marble, a ground on the river will change it all.
The camera wisdeshots one of the best riverfronts in the world and somewhere up there is that "monstrous Anfield".
I do believe Moshiri knows this. I am keeping faith in this dream.
45 Posted 26/03/2018 at 19:43:21
After Kings Dock fell through, I was hoping to see us in a new stadium before I turned 50; well, as I'm now 48, I'm left thinking will I see us in a new stadium before I'm 60??
46 Posted 26/03/2018 at 20:01:59
So let's pray the new step is brill as we own the city.
But, in the end, we are owned by a Monaco resident. Never forget that whether we move to the river, Aigburth (ha... the fun!), or Kidderminster.
47 Posted 26/03/2018 at 22:38:32
Let me remind readers that I have no faith at all in Kenwright or his lackey Elstone.
Ideally I'd like a new state-of-the-art stadium in an attractive location with a pleasant environment with excellent transport facilities. Unfortunately, Bramley-Moore Dock is totally bereft of those characteristics in my opinion, and any public expense needed to even begin providing them sits very badly with me given the demand for public monies of much more needy entities than a privately-owned football club, and yes, that's us.
That doesn't mean I want to live through a three- or four-year redevelopment of Goodison Park but, and it's a big 'but', if that's what it needs for us to even try to keep up with the London and Manchester clubs, it may be a pill worth swallowing, horribly distasteful and disappointing as it would be.
I for one have got used to swallowing such pills throughout the entire Kenwright tenure though. Maybe swallowing one for Moshiri would for the first time lead to better things.
48 Posted 26/03/2018 at 23:23:53
What public monies are being used exclusively for the stadium? As I understand it, the council are willing to loan Everton x amount at a particular interest rate over a period of years. The City of Liverpool will make money on the deal and therefore it will have more in the pot to help fund areas of need. That's of course if the full council approve such a loan and if indeed Everton FC decide to continue with their current plans.
49 Posted 26/03/2018 at 00:14:59
To loan on that basis would be as unacceptable to me as was that soulless bitch May last year denying a pay rise to nurses on the basis that "there is no magic money tree", as she said one week before she shook a billion pounds out of just such a money tree to give to the Democratic Unionist Party who now keep her in power.
Sorry to bring politics into it, but politics is people's lives, and deaths, sometimes literally dependent on immediate money supply. I doubt these considerations often apply in Monaco though.
50 Posted 27/03/2018 at 06:12:27
So the money is not coming from a Council fund and not even coming from the ratepayers of Liverpool, but the interest payments will benefit the city.
51 Posted 29/03/2018 at 18:57:01
The chaos the Qatar World Cup will do to European Leagues will be the optimum time for the elite clubs to form their elite new League & finally break away for new untold global riches.
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