New Everton stadium deal defended by Mayor Anderson

Thursday 29 March 2018  32 Comments  [Jump to last]

Mayor Joe Anderson has launched an impassioned defence of the proposed financal deal that will see Liverpool City Council lend Everton money for their new stadium.

The £280m agreement is in place between the local authority and the Blues but is still awaiting full council ratification.

Anderson, who was speaking to Episode 23 of the Everton Business Matters podcast, explained the deal would earn the city £8.4m a year over a 25-year period whilst not costing the council anything.

The Mayor discussed a wide range of issues associated with Everton's move to Bramley-Moore Dock, which will cost in the region of £500m, and revealed he is in favour of the club building a new ground with a capacity close to 60,000.

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Reader Comments (32)

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Lawrence Green
1 Posted 29/03/2018 at 14:46:25
As one of the guys on ToffeeTV observed it appears from the outside that the stadium plans are being led by Mayor Joe Anderson and once again the politician is championing the cause and re-iterating that the loan to the club will not come out of the council's coffers. He argues that it is financially beneficial to the city as it will raise money at no cost to the council tax payer.

Anderson was asked if he had any worries over Everton finding the rest of the money required to build a new ground on the waterfront but despite admitting “slight concern” he remains confident the club’s major shareholder Farhad Moshiri is determined to see the project through.

“Robert Elstone has been working very hard and he gets a lot of stick but I don’t see why,” he said.

“He’s had to sell the proposals to the board and Moshiri wants to support the club’s development on the field and his argument is that the club has to sustain itself and be a viable business moving forward.

“There is a concern that he might say: ‘’Hang on, I don’t want it...’ but I can’t see it. You heard himself yourself at the AGM, he recognises that it’s now or never. I’m fairly sure he will make sure that there is an impetus here that doesn’t roll back.”

The club has sat relatively quietly in the background whilst all goes on around them, perhaps the survey and fans meetings are just a delaying tactic until they are certain that the move to the docks is financially viable or until they get the necessary backing from potential partners?

Michael Kenrick
2 Posted 29/03/2018 at 15:32:27
Sounds like a remarkably simple (too simple?) idea to profit from a unique position with the PWLB.

Does he talk about plans to actually get this ratified by the Council?

Dermot Byrne
3 Posted 29/03/2018 at 15:43:49
I think it would have to be, Michael. New English City Mayors may have increased or delegated powers but don't think Joe can just make decision like this alone. I also doubt that he has got to this stage already without Council support.

I hope this is the case anyway or it would be the silliest scheme ever and we have done some! (Or more accurately, not done them.)

Michael Kenrick
4 Posted 29/03/2018 at 16:29:14
I'm well removed from the debate itself, but it seems important to convince the many social and political skeptics that – not only is this public money that is set aside for infrastructure and investment projects of this type (as in "Public Works"), but that it only brings profit and additional much-needed funds to the increasingly strapped City coffers – at no negative cost whatsoever to public services – in fact, Joe is promising the annual cash windfall from Everton would be used exactly for that.

It's money that, without this project going ahead, would not be coming to the City, and would not be providing the potential social benefits promised. Yes, it is all promises at the moment, and yes, it relies on the Premier League juggernaut steaming on unhindered for the next 25 years... but what's the old cliche?

Nihil ausi, nihil acquiritur – Nothing ventured, nothing gained!!!

Steve Taylor
5 Posted 29/03/2018 at 16:33:39
Well, he would say that wouldn't he. The £8.4 million per annum (it's gone up a bit) will be worth a lot less in 25 years but the TV revenues by then will be huge – probably £200m or even £300m per annum the City getting only an inflation hit £8.4m per annum of that huge figure would be a pathetic return for all the risk and raising all the money.

The guy who sold London Bridge to a tourist would not get away with that. It is telling you all you Liverpool people are stupid, thick as two short planks. We will take all the cream, you can have the licked plate.

John G Davies
6 Posted 29/03/2018 at 16:37:53
Everyone's a winner Michael. No losers in this situation.

Letters have arrived this week informing us of a raise in our council tax due to the savage cuts from Tory government. The raise is required to maintain the standard of services that Joe is fighting to provide.

Any way that brings the council £8 million per year to help those services has to be welcomed.

Michael Kenrick
8 Posted 29/03/2018 at 16:50:27
Steve, I don't quite understand your agenda here. There seems to be a strong political undertone to your posts that includes casting any and every doubt possible on this simple and elegant financing plan for a unique new Everton stadium on the banks of the Royal Blue Mersey.

Okay, like Tom Hughes, you are committed to redevelopment of Goodison Park... but that's been unilaterally rejected time and again by the key decision-makers. Yes, there was a U-turn by the Reds on Anfield, and nothing can ever be ruled out, it seems – especially if this project, like all the other ones before it, also crashes and burns in another embarrassing fiasco for the club.

But is that actually what you want to see?

Steve Taylor
9 Posted 29/03/2018 at 16:54:32
John G Davies – no losers? The ordinary people of Liverpool are subsidising a billionaire to the tune of £280m – we don’t want the lousy £8.4m per year we don’t want the loan. Just because it’s there does not mean we have to use it in the way the Mayor decides.

Blaming the Tories is a bit rich, even they would not pull a stunt like this – no it takes a so-called Labour leader of a so-called local Labour Party to rob the poor to give to the rich – Local labour leaders are Tories masquerading as labour – they have nothing in common with the national labour party – nothing but a name.

Michael – nothing ventured, nothing gained sums up this deal:if nothing is put in, nothing will come out of it.

Brent Stephens
10 Posted 29/03/2018 at 17:00:00
Steve, "The £8.4 million per annum...will be worth a lot less in 25 years". Because of inflation? And so what's left of the debt will be worth a lot less?

What are your assumptions about the increase in real terms (as opposed to nominal terms) in TV money over the next 25 years? And what's the basis for the assumptions? Why do you think the TV money will continue to increase in real terms?

And if that is the case (real terms increases in TV money), then is that not a more solid guarantee for Liverpool City Council to rely on?

Steve Taylor
11 Posted 29/03/2018 at 17:07:54
Michael, you are right in that I am politically motivated (not an activist) but I am motivated by fair play, I truly believe that we are being manipulated by a few self interested people.

Ordinary Everton supporters will gain nothing they would not also gain if the ground was paid for by those who stand to benefit financially. I am a rate payer etc – why should I / we be told where our money is going for years to come without a say?

Joe Anderson and his Cabinet could not borrow even 1% of that amount between them – it is the people who are guaranteeing it and taking the risks. Politicians come and go – why should just a few of them decide on putting debt on the people for 25 years ahead.

James Hughes
12 Posted 29/03/2018 at 17:14:02
Brent you beat me to it. It also needs to mentioned that the risk to council decreases in line with returns.

The money being mentioned will be small change in ten years

Dermot Byrne
15 Posted 29/03/2018 at 17:37:15
Enough logic Brent .enough!
Michael Kenrick
16 Posted 29/03/2018 at 17:50:57
Steve, you are clearly not listening to what is in the podcast. If you are, your political bias is preventing you from understanding what is being proposed, and you are instead stating complete falsehoods that help nobody.

It's a transparent governmental process. Nobody is being manipulated. It's not your ratepayers' money that is going anywhere. It's money from the PWLB, and interest payments from EFC, coming to your city. Why would you deliberately falsify that fundamental aspect of the deal?

It's their job as politicians to look forward and to encourage development of the City by private investment. This deal potentially makes that happen. Joe talks about due diligence and all the protections the City will need moving forward. Why won't you assess the deal on its merits, which are potentially positive for all concerned?

John G Davies
17 Posted 29/03/2018 at 17:54:52

"Ordinary Everton supporters will gain nothing they would not also gain if the ground was paid for by those who stand to benefit financially."

If they are residents of Liverpool they will gain an extra £8 million to help reinstate the services, Inc libraries, children's centres, sport and leisure centres lost due to the could not care less attitude from the Tory government when it comes to Labour local government areas.

Jay Wood

20 Posted 29/03/2018 at 18:15:23
The way Joe Anderson describes this deal, as Michael says, is deliciously simple and extremely beneficial to both the city, the club and - let's make no bones about it - Joe's political standing as well.

Isn't this basically a similar deal to the one between the club and the council over Finch Farm, but on a bigger scale, which in turn adds more money to the public coffers?

Or – again as Michael says – is that too simple?

For sure, Joe will face serious political opposition to this deal which effectively means the club remains at the mercy of other powerful parties who have to oppose it to advance their own interests.

It leaves us vulnerable and possibly unable to get this over the line.

On a related note and with regard to the current TW poll and Paul the Esk threads, a video on this link in the Echo should allay fears from those questioning whether the Dock side footprint is big enough for 'x' thousand spectators.

Various stadiums – including the current Goodison Park up to a 150,000 capacity stadium – are shown to fit comfortably within the site perimeter, so no worries on the 'size' issue.

The link includes Dan Meis's latest pronouncements also.


Don Alexander
21 Posted 29/03/2018 at 18:18:59
Michael, and others, thanks for your input. It helps me try to rationalise the "public funding" issue that is/was problematic for me.

That said, we have so often been led a merry dance by our own boardroom this century when it comes to a new stadium so a good measure of unease within more than a few fans is the least that should be expected. In addition I was very surprised to hear it said that, coincidental with losing the right to host the Commonwealth Games, the projected costs had escalated from a reported £300M to £500M almost overnight without any actual activity having been apparent at Bramley-Moore Dock. To me that was suspicious. Any enlightenment would be genuinely welcome.

And talking of cost those sort of sums are hugely in excess of what our very own Tom Hughes, who comes across as knowing the business of stadium redevelopment, projected years ago for a re-development of Goodison to achieve a 55-60,000 stadium. Keeping new-stadium costs to a minimum would afford more expenditure on better players or is that too simplistic, and that's a genuine question too?

Michael Kenrick
23 Posted 29/03/2018 at 18:57:11
Don, some valid concerns there, and I can't really offer much by way of mitigation.

My thoughts are that £300M was unrealistically low and far too optimistic as an initial estimate. £500M is a much more realistic figure... could be even higher as you usually have to pay extra for "unique"! Nothing suspicious to me – just a combination of naivety and enthusiasm being replaced by cold hard reality. And considering how Kings Dock ad Destination Kirkby were spun relentlessly, I see that as a good thing. The club has obviously learned something from those disasters.

Redevelopment is off the table. Rightly in my opinion, as L4 is an awful place for a new ground. Yes, Anfield, blah, blah (okay, L5)... but they paid what £114M to modify one stand. I think Tom's figures need to be updated to provide any realistic compassion but, in my opinion, it's wasted effort as the currently it's just not an option.

Stadium to impact the resources available for team building? Tough to refute given what appears to have happened at Arsenal. But you might argue that, without a new stadium, Everton will have no hope whatsoever of making any upward progress, and will in fact start to drop like a stone. At least with a new stadium, and all that it could bring, there would be some hope of seeing that upward progress to go with it.

Of course, this is Everton: no guarantees!

Dermot Byrne
24 Posted 29/03/2018 at 19:01:13
Steve Taylor. This is a plan to basically invest which means a cash strapped council will make some money for services I presume we all want to see.

It seems to me good, forward and creative thinking by LCC.

So whilst I completely support your right to ask "where our money is going for years", I think you need to do a bit better in your criticism of LCC.

Seems to be, aside from whether this involves EFC or not, shrewd thinking at one of the worst times for local democracy and services.

By the way, what are your politics? (In the interests of transparency?)

Brian Harrison
25 Posted 29/03/2018 at 19:34:48
Whichever way you look at this, it's a good deal for both Liverpool City Council and Everton Football club. The Council will receive direct from Everton £7 million a year plus another £1.4 million in business rates from Everton. The deal has been agreed in principal with the council but still needs to be ratified by the full council. I am quite sure that Joe Anderson hasn't gone this far down the line without knowing that the full council backing is a given.

Now just imagine what a council can do with that money, all of which goes direct to the council, no government intervention. Not beholding to a government for hand outs, money that this City can use for the good of all the people. So how any right minded council tax payer like myself could object to this extra windfall to the City is beyond me.

But there will always be a section of fans that will always try and find fault and, to be fair, this club has on many occasions given them adequate reasons to be sceptical. We have been promised many false dawns especially the Kings Dock that never happened. But I genuinely believe this will happen, Moshiri will be well aware that even if he wants to sell this club on in the next 5 -10 years, for this club to be attractive to any new buyer, a new ground is essential.

Kevin Tully
26 Posted 29/03/2018 at 19:50:42
This "invest to earn" strategy is being used by many Council bodies across the country, and Joe did mention one Council which had borrowed £250m to attract big business to the area. He also said the club were desperate to get out of the Finch Farm lease deal, which I found most amusing after the same board members who are pursuing this model told us what a great deal it was for the club! (When that was plainly bollocks.)

The fact is, after the Council has put their mark-up on the interest charged, we probably can manage a comparative rate from other private lenders. Personally, I think it's a far more desirable model to borrow from LCC, as we can then put pressure on them to deliver on infrastructure and other support services required for this project. LCC then have the excuse to lend their time and expertise regarding any UNESCO issues. They can also lean on Peel Holdings into being a little more cooperative, seeing as the figures stack up in their favour.

We can only judge the downside when the risk analysis that was recently commissioned is published. That can put an end to all the sniping in the Town Hall because, let's face it, these councillors are no more qualified than anyone who posts here, sometimes less so.

We have to remember the club still have to borrow a large amount of money to make up the shortfall, and on a unique site such as this, costs can soon spiral out of control. There comes a point when the return on investment doesn't stack up.

I pray that this does happen, because the alternative will just knock the stuffing out of the whole "Moshiri project."

It's up to the man himself to ensure the right people are driving this whilst he is sunning himself in Monaco. Don't forget, Moshiri, these are the same people who thought the Finch Farm deal was a "win-win".

Paul Smith
28 Posted 29/03/2018 at 20:22:07
Local councils are having to become investors, landlords, lenders, commercial managers, everything and more to ameliorate the savage cuts.

My local council owns a Waitrose in Somerset, a car dealership, a banana import company, it pays financial advisers to target projects with limited risk (always some granted). They will be important income schemes for the future. Basically councils are becoming private entities with public money and a tax payers guarantee to invest in what they want.

Bramley-Moore Dock is another example of this.

The only thing they can't do is borrow to build housing... but that's a different discussion.

Jeff Armstrong
29 Posted 29/03/2018 at 20:29:44
This just feels as far away as when it was announced 18 months ago. There appears a long and rocky road ahead just to put a spade in the ground, and as someone who has worked in the construction industry for 35 years, I would estimate even if things go smoothly from this day forward, we are looking at 5 years before we move in.
Anthony Murphy
30 Posted 29/03/2018 at 20:47:54
Can't understand what's not to like. Seems straightforward to me and will give the council more to spend on important services that have been hit by central government cuts. It won't cost tax payers anything and will support the regeneration of a part of the city that is currently a wasteland in a prime location. Said regeneration will lead to jobs, increase in tourism and therefore more money spent in and around the city.

For a city that has struggled at times to attract investment and was not too long ago in a state of managed decline, shouldn't we all be embracing this? We are light years behind Manchester and this is partly due to a historical lack of council cooperation with investors, so let's at least give Joe the benefit of the doubt for now. He's showing a level of ambition that has been sadly lacking both at Goodison and by LCC at times over the years.

It might never happen and if any institution has previous for cocking up new stadium moves, it's EFC but right now, as it stands, I'll be keeping my fingers crossed as Bramley-Moore Dock will be fantastic for both the blues and the city.

Tom Bowers
31 Posted 29/03/2018 at 23:08:29
Whilst it is an interesting subject, I really don't give much thought to a new stadium although the loyal paying fans have every right to state their views about access and capacity etc. My concern is the state of the current squad and management team which has been through the mill this season.

No good having a state-of-the-art stadium if the product is not up to snuff to fill it. I sincerely hope Moshiri and Co are making plans to get this squad to the next level as what they are at the moment is nowhere near good enough.

If Goodison's days are numbered, let's at least move out with a bang rather than a whimper.

Bobby Mallon
33 Posted 30/03/2018 at 15:54:20
Steve Taylor, correct me if I'm wrong but I believe the council are only being used to get cheaper rates for the loan. If they did not get the loan, then they won't get £7 million a year in interest from Everton.

I'm sure the council are not going to borrow £280mil for roads, hospitals and the likes and then pay it back by putting up your rates. I think in this instance, they are just being brokers.

Michael Kenrick
34 Posted 30/03/2018 at 16:11:05
In trying to understand the incredibly blinkered viewpoint put forward by Steve Taylor, reading between the lines, I can only assume that he his torn by the huge irony that Labour councils are being forced by the Conservative central government to become more and more capitalist in their outlook and operations, simply to survive in these supposed times of 'austerity'.

Good question above about Mr Taylor's politics:

(a) Is he a socialist aggrieved by the capitalist treason being perpetrated so unashamedly by these "so-called Labour" councils?

(b) Is he a Tory, maddened by these "so-called Labour" politicians stealing a march with a deceptively brilliant financial plan his lot could not have dreamt up in a month of Sundays?

(c) Or is he a Lib-Dem of the ilk Joe Anderson slammed down with thinly-veiled utter contempt in the podcast, as having been obstructionist naysayers who have done nothing for the City?

A dangerous place to go, probably... tin headgear donned!!!

John G Davies
35 Posted 30/03/2018 at 16:28:57
Purely a guess.

I would say a touch to the right of Pinochet.

John Pierce
37 Posted 30/03/2018 at 16:58:16
I thought this was a very good pod. It reflects very well on Anderson. I'm sure he was clear how the pod was to be produced, he seems very savvy to me.

Even though this was a piece of fan media, Anderson felt it important enough to be on it and have a voice. The element which was missing was the club.

This still concerns me, Everton are so behind the ‘eightball' where good press coverage is concerned.

They surely realise that many of the faithful cannot shake the debacles of ground moves in the past. Front foot positive noises should be emanating from the club at all times to help salve many a fevered brow about the move.

If the club continue to let Anderson's PR march on without either matching it or combining it, they will look increasingly in the frame when any snags happen.

At the moment, it looks like Joe is single-handedly doing everything, Everton need to wise up, coordinate with people like Joe and even Dan Meis to get a blended narrative.

The absence of any competent media presence is damning.

Jim Burns
39 Posted 31/03/2018 at 10:31:18
Steve Taylor – if you have genuinely misinterpreted the basis of the proposed deal – then a simple acknowledgement would suffice political views aside.

If your motives are elsewhere then your subsequent silence is interesting and certainly not helpful given the blatantly distorted view you have presented.

A 'Man for all Seasons'? The maxim of the law is "Qui tecat consentere' – Silence gives consent.

Logan Stout
42 Posted 01/04/2018 at 07:51:45
After listening to Joe Anderson on the EBM podcast and watching the game yesterday, I've come to the conclusion that Everton are just too nice on and off the pitch. My points below reflect the point made by Kevin Tully (#26).

I really don't want to pour cold water on what Joe Anderson is trying to achieve with his “Invest to Earn” approach to resolve tight public finances for the city of Liverpool, but a quick Google around for “a limit to borrowing from the public works loan board” brought up a number of articles like this recent one, "Councils braced for restrictions on borrowing for property investment". The £280m+ investment is a lot of money and a 25-year commitment to contribute about just over half of the funds to build a stadium, acting as a catalyst for further investment and increased business rates revenue for the city.

Funding only half a project raises a number of questions in itself, but Joe also said he would be structuring the deal so it's mainly beneficial to the city – and presumably secondly to EFC. He mentioned that EFC had tried to buy back Finch Farm but he was having none of it, as it generates £800,000 a year revenue for the city of Liverpool. In a new stadium context, this equates to £7m a year for providing half of the finance plus £1.4m in business rates that EFC would pay. He also mentioned an additional £20m in rates from restaurants, shops and residential dwellers when the development was fully populated. That's potentially an extra £28.4m a year for the city of Liverpool for 25 years once the development is complete. In other words, £710m additional revenue over 25 years for the city of Liverpool thanks to EFC wanting/needing a new stadium on the banks of the Royal Blue Mersey. For the mayor of Liverpool, who could argue that is a public service job well done if he pulls it off?

However, this is a website forum about Everton and a couple of points caught my attention.

Firstly, it appears to me that, without Everton, the city of Liverpool could potentially lose £710m worth of revenue from loan arrangement fees (£175m); EFC rates of £35m over 25 years (assuming no increases); and other commercial rates of £20m (assuming no increases) a year over 25 years (£500m). It doesn't appear from the outside that Everton are driving a hard enough bargain with the Council for making this deal happen as, without the club, the Liverpool Waters development could be another 20+ years before being completed.

Secondly, one of the interviewers asked whether EFC could repay any loan early and would there be penalties for this? My interpretation (from Joe's reply) is that, to get their part of the funding deal through due diligence at the council, there will be clauses in the deal that will allow early repayment, but effectively the city of Liverpool would get the vast majority of its £7m per annum arrangement fees up front if EFC were in a position to pay off the entire debt at any point in time. In the crazy world of the Premier League, this could be done with another bumper TV deal or selling a couple of promising youngsters overnight. However, it seems the EFC board are prepared to commit to 25 years at a fixed repayment with no break clauses (err... the Prudential loan?!).

As Joe said, a great ‘Invest to Earn' deal for the city... but is it really a great deal for Everton at a time of historically low interest rates? There are two financial experts on the board and surely they would be able to go to the market for a competitive rate, albeit not as great as the PWBL deal, but once the council take their cut, probably not that much different. And let's not forget that Everton have already paid £20m for the 100-year lease on the land to Peel. Or do we just forget about that now it's done?

As I said – too nice, too accommodating and too naïve when it comes to dealing with an old dog like the canny Joe Anderson. “Punting like drunken sailors all around the country” according to a bemused fund manager who has been outbid by local authorities on more than one investment in 2017.

Alan McGuffog
43 Posted 01/04/2018 at 21:26:11
Let's just give thanks that any shiny new stadium has not yet been built. That Chinese space station would be nap to land right on it with Everton's luck.
John G Davies
44 Posted 01/04/2018 at 22:13:47
Alan 😁

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