As someone who is passionate about stadium design, as well as my beloved Blues, there's been something that I thought could be a bit of fun (remember that?) for us all to discuss: How do we maximise the advantage of our new home?

We know that there will be financial advantages to our new gaff (hopefully) and that it will be more comfortable (certainly) than the Grand Old Lady, but what little tricks should we be pulling to give the team out on the pitch the biggest advantage that we can? What I'm talking about here, and some may find this distasteful, but what shithousery can we use to make the new Everton Stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock as horrible as possible for visiting teams? 

Most of us will be aware of the sorts of things that went on in years gone by, such as not having hot water in the visiting changing rooms, not having the heating on, but most of this sort of thing is now frowned upon in elite football, even if it still goes on at amateur levels. So what could we learn from other sports?

Leicester Tigers, one of English rugby's most decorated sides, have/had the doors from the home and visiting dressing rooms open across the hallway from each other. What they did was make sure that the home dressing room door was a couple of inches narrower and shorter than the away dressing room door. This obviously made the players look bigger than they were when emerging from the dressing rooms. Having played at Welford Road during an Under-18s match (105 years ago), I can attest that the effect is striking and does get in your head. They also had a little trick whereby the floor was slightly higher on the home side of the tunnel. Sneaky stuff.

Now that I live in Sweden, ice hockey is a big thing. The entrances at the local, elite ice hockey club's arena (6,500 capacity) are strikingly effective. The home team enters the ice to fireworks, a light show, the roar of the home crowd, and the motivation to cause bloody havoc. The away team enters the ice from an entirely different, crappier entrance, to no fanfare and an extremely loud chorus of boos. 

We don't want to turn the new stadium into an American sports experience, and I would never want to get rid of Z-Cars, Grand Old Team, Spirit of the Blues etc, but how American teams use music to motivate and intimidate could be learnt from. Just look at the Enter Sandman entrance that the Virginia Tech American football team come out to on YouTube FB: Enter Sandman (ODU) (youtube.com) 

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(Disclaimer: this video is painfully American. Side effects of watching it can include the overwhelming desire to invade some oil-rich country to bring their people "freedom").

I'm certainly not saying we should do this, or that it would work, but, you have to admit, those players and the crowd are seriously pumped up and it must feel massively intimidating for the opposition.

The small, psychological, advantages are part of what we are missing. Yes, we want visiting fans to come and enjoy the legroom and the fancy pints at Bramley-Moore Dock, but we also want them leaving with zero points and thinking that Everton away is an absolute fucking nightmare.

My question to you, fellow Blues, is what little tricks like these have you known through your own supporting and playing experiences? What would you like to see at the new stadium that will help the Blues by unsettling the opposition?

Reader Comments (19)

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Danny O’Neill
1 Posted 02/03/2024 at 06:09:28
I would ditch Grand Old Team personally, but keep Spirit of the Blues, Forever Evertonand Z-Cars, but ditch the siren.

Some of the clubs and grounds we visit sound like a cheap night club / rave. I don't want that. Or those flame-thrower things that seem to have become popular. Move to the future but keep the traditions.

In terms of the title and maximising the new stadium outside of football and Everton:

Concerts, Boxing, Rugby League (for Brian), England matches. There is probably much more but the point is that the new Everton Stadium offers so much potential to maximise the Everton brand and put us on the map.

Mike Gaynes
2 Posted 02/03/2024 at 06:30:46
Mike, some fun speculation there, but personally I think spectacular demonstrations are a bit overrated -- fun to see on TV but not exactly impactful for the game itself.

I would point out that Virginia Tech's records for the past six seasons are 6-7, 8-5, 5-6, 6-7, 3-8 and 7-6, and their home record isn't much better than their road record.

The roar of the crowd, not the music or pyrotechnics, are what gets the job done.

In the final years of the old Chicago Stadium, the tradition for games of the hockey Blackhawks was to stand and roar at the top of your lungs throughout the national anthem. Everywhere else, the crowd will stand respectfully and sing, then start to cheer at the stanza "...land of the freeeee....." but in the Stadium, the roar began with the first note and got louder from there.

During the playoffs, the effect on the opposing team was shattering. Seemed like we never lost a playoff game in there. They still do it in the new United Center and we won the third of our three cups in there in 2015.

And I'm with Danny, I hate Grand Old Team. Worst song we have.

Mark Murphy
3 Posted 02/03/2024 at 07:31:09
Do what Newcastle do with us and put the away fans up in the gods!

And install loudspeakers in the away section to make announcements every time the away support start singing.
Hopefully, as we won't be on the Goodison Road any longer that nonsensical song will be forgotten….

And definitely not them stupid big flags like Arsenal wave after a goal!

On a slightly related note – are we the only club that doesn't have home only / away only pubs around the ground?

John Raftery
4 Posted 02/03/2024 at 07:48:43
Serve them cold, fizzy, tasteless lager like Carling, Fosters etc.
Danny O’Neill
5 Posted 02/03/2024 at 07:55:58
The self proclaimed best supporters in the country Mark.

I think it's 147 steps to get up to the away section at St James' Park. Definitely over 140.

They shouldn't be allowed to do it. Apparently the Premier League "rules" mean that away supporters should be allocated one section that is pitch side.

Someone needs to challenge it.

David S Shaw
6 Posted 02/03/2024 at 08:32:48
If you look at the roof height of the South Stand, you'll see that it must be at least 12 metres above the back row of fans. Why is it so high? Are we not even maximising the basic advantages here?

Everton don't have a lot of fans who take it upon themselves to start chants so will they even be heard being that far away?

Considering also that the standing area is at the front rather than the back, they must be about 30 metres from the roof.

The super riser in the middle of the stand will mean we will rarely have the whole stand stood as one despite fans asking for a Dortmund-style End.

A standing area at the back would have meant all and would have been stood as one more often, maximising the stand's potential plus the fans who start chants would have been closer to the (already distant) roof.

The size of the South Stand has been reduced too from 68 rows to 60 rows. This is not the Blue Wall that we were promised.

Ralph Basnett
7 Posted 02/03/2024 at 11:41:15
Unlike Danny I would not only keep the siren but crank it up, no real housing to worry about but when the siren is louder followed by Z Cars the crowd react more.

I would couple this with evening kick-offs to have air raid lights in the sky, batmanesque with the tower projected into the sky.

Coupled with the above I would not only make the away end alcohol free but double the prices for whatever meagre morsels we offer them. We are not here to make them comfortable, quote the opposite.

Paul Morrison
8 Posted 02/03/2024 at 12:01:50
I'm glad it's not only me that can't abide Grand Old Team.

It's not the song itself, however; it sounds like it's been recorded by George Formby's less-talented brother. Makes me cringe.

Rob Dolby
9 Posted 02/03/2024 at 12:08:13
I have always thought our Pa or DJ is sitting there with a handful of 45s (one for the kids to Google) and just rotates them without any real thoughts on motivation.

A few notable exceptions being Queen's Another One Bites The Dust during a relegation clash v Spurs I think. Tales Of The Unexpected after a home draw or win against Liverpool.

We certainly don't do enough on this front.

Any song with 'blue' in it should be played. I think Dorothy Moore's Misty Blue could become a proper anthem for us.

I love the psychology of what Mike has posted in the OP. All the small things make a difference – that's why Man Utd have employed Brailsford.

You can only ask the fans to make a bear pit so many times before it becomes ineffective.

Away teams and fans being made to feel uncomfortable without it being obvious.

Coyb — big game today.

Danny O’Neill
10 Posted 02/03/2024 at 12:16:47
Ralph, at the Emirates after our Crystal Palace hangover, they only handed out water at half-time!
Billy Bradshaw
11 Posted 02/03/2024 at 12:39:20
Got to keep the siren, and Rob I'll go with that one, misty blue.
Peter Mitchell
12 Posted 02/03/2024 at 13:02:04
Rob @9:

Story of the Blues – The Mightly Wah!

Rob Dolby
13 Posted 02/03/2024 at 13:25:22
Peter 12 Good shout.
Bobby Mallon
14 Posted 03/03/2024 at 20:08:34
I think we should have a terminal for cruise liners, so that once a month the passengers pay a premium to come have lunch and watch a game.
Tony Abrahams
15 Posted 03/03/2024 at 20:22:35
I'm certain something along those lines will be done one day, Bobby, but I'm just not certain it will be in my lifetime.

It will start because of Everton, but things like this will eventually involve people also going to watch Liverpool, and I always think that, with good motorway links on the other side of the water, to the left of New Brighton, there will be a new landing stage created, with a park and sail scheme introduced.

Writing about New Brighton, I hope George McKane is doing okay. Cosmic Grooves, if you're reading, George, along with best wishes from everyone on ToffeeWeb, I'm sure.💙

Bobby Mallon
16 Posted 03/03/2024 at 20:31:06
Best wishes to George.
Mark Taylor
17 Posted 03/03/2024 at 20:37:32
Definitely keep Z-Cars and crank up the siren/air raid warning.

Lose the truly daft songs like Grand Old Team, which makes me cringe. Talk about a time warp. It's not even true anymore.

You want a bear pit? Let's get some bears, real ones, for the away end. And a couple for our defence.

Mike Cheshire
18 Posted 15/03/2024 at 13:45:45
Thanks everyone for your contributions. A combination of travel and losing my login prevented me from hopping back in sooner.

I really like some of the suggestions. Getting rid of Grand Old Team is fine by me. Sounds really dated. Keeping Z cars is a must. Crank up the siren and playing spirit of the blues should also be continued.

I have a memory (hazy at best) of the '84 cup final and a banner saying "Sorry Elton, but I guess that's why they call us the Blues". Would love to see something done with that as good sing-a-long song earlier in proceedings but probably too low tempo.

A cruise terminal is an interesting idea but a ferry terminal would be utterly iconic. Imagine crossing the Royal Blue Mersey in site of the ground on matchdays!! Also a really good way to reduce traffic etc from the Wirral through the tunnel. Could even go via Pier head en route.

Regarding the comment on the South stand, it's a bit of a compromise due to land constraints. The whole stadium is, for that matter. That's mainly why it's capacity is 52,888 and not 60k+. The super riser won't even be noticed, I'm certain and the effect will be further lessened with safe standing in the lower and seating in the upper.

Anyway, thanks again all for your input. Enjoy you Everton free weekend! I know I will.

Stephen Davies
19 Posted 19/03/2024 at 18:12:12
BMD review from Inews

£50,000 for two premium seats and they are selling out fast !!! Carragher buying seats for his family as well. Something positive to read for us long sufferers:

https://inews.co.uk/sport/football/inside-everton-550m-stadium-seats-scent-2963704?ITO=newsnow


A riverside bar, 52,000 seats and Goodison Park acoustics - i's Mark Douglas goes behind the scenes at Bramley-Moore Dock

By Mark Douglas
Northern Football Correspondent
March 19, 2024 1:19 pm(Updated 1:58 pm)

When Everton were preparing to sell hospitality packages for their new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock, they wanted to find a way to show this would be no ordinary football ground.

So the club commissioned a special stadium scent, complete with notes of sea salt from the river Mersey and hints of freshly cut grass. Perhaps in those early days they should have added a whiff of incredulity, given the scepticism from some quarters about the £550m project.

They really needn't have worried. When I takes a two-hour guided tour of the 52,000 capacity stadium on Monday – one of a privileged few not employed by Everton or construction company Laing O'Rourke to get a glimpse inside this architectural marvel – the sense of anticipation around the place is palpable. For all the uncertainty around Everton right now, the stadium is right on track for completion and will surely outstrip the expectations of even the most optimistic Toffee.

While progress on the pitch and certainty in the boardroom remain elusive, there is something here for those hoping for brighter days to cling to. Wembley of the north, you say? Everton are building something with a sea view that could easily qualify.

Progress really is rattling along. As of the start of this week 30,000 blue seats have been laid, turnstiles are in place, glass has been installed all around the magnificent South Stand and even the cavernous space for the home dressing room has been cored out. There are 1,200 people working on the site on the day we visit and it has been that way since January.

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A world-class stadium, breathtaking in its sweeping ambition, is rising by the river here at a fierce pace.

Everton take the keys from Laing O'Rourke later this year – a moment that has been two years in the planning – and will play their first competitive game at the venue in August 2025.

But to see it on a grey Monday in March you still need a hard hat, hi-vis vest (complete with Everton crest), rubber boots and a prized invite from the club.

“We all joke that you need a letter from the Pope to get in, it's so difficult these days,” one club employee quips of hoops you need to go through to get on site.

Unsurprisingly there were plenty of volunteers for our tour, which took in a sweeping walk around the South Stand – the huge home end with steep terracing constructed to replicate Borussia Dortmund's famous “yellow wall” – into the heart of the West Stand, where director's boxes, hospitality spaces, player's tunnel, the country's biggest stadium hydro pool and a huge home dressing room resides.

It is a vast venue but somehow when you get out onto the terraces it feels more intimate, your proximity to the pitch giving it a claustrophobic feel.

That is deliberate, it is explained to me. The intention of architect Dan Meis was to transplant the Goodison Park atmosphere to the new arena and to do that they've pulled the pitch as close to the stands as they can.
Everton's new stadium development is coming along nicely (Photo: Tony McArdle/Everton FC)

Acoustics are seen as critically important, too. The barrel roof, which will be lit blue at night and is currently being constructed around the ground, has been designed to reverberate noise back into the stadium. “On those big game nights it's going to be an absolute bearpit,” one club employee notes.

The piece de resistance, though, is surely the raking 330ft South Stand terrace, which Everton have deliberately made as steep as safety laws allow to recreate the intimidating feel of Goodison Park's Gwladys Street End on a good night.

It's certainly unique: after emerging from the concourse on level two I clambers up more than 100 steps to get to the back of the bowl. It will leave fans breathless but with a breathtaking view. The angle has been specially designed so that those at the top of the stand will gaze out over a sea of heads in the safe standing area on the lower tier below.

“Atmosphere is massive for Evertonians and I think everything about the stadium is geared towards that,” Alix Waldron, Everton's director of new stadium development, tells i.

“We wanted it to be unique, we wanted it to be like Everton's home, to be like Goodison Park is now – our fortress on top of the pitch.”

A few more seriously cool little designer touches are dotted around: the South Stand has a “Long Bar” that will allow fans to sip a pint with stunning views across the river.

A tunnel club is also being built into the West Stand and supporters will be able to buy packages for that on a game-by-game basis. The idea is to stop paying punters from becoming blasé about getting a glimpse into the players tunnel, which is something that market research suggested has happened at the Etihad.

Then there's the huge fan plaza in the East Stand, so big that it will be able to hold music festivals in the off-season. As part of that the club have renovated a listed hydraulic tower on site and are currently deciding what to do with it. A bar, restaurant and even a club museum have all been mooted.

“The wow factor is absolutely there and there's such a buzz around this now,” Waldron says.

“We're so excited. My family are all Blues and this is once in a lifetime, getting a new stadium. We had to get it absolutely right and when you walk around it now, we have managed to do that.

“It has to be an intimidating place to come to but also sympathetic to the environment, which has been a challenge as well.”

She can say that again. When Everton's contractors first took over the site, divers spent 11 weeks searching every nook of the dock, using sonar equipment to find anything metallic. What they discovered were some unexploded World War Two bombs – work was held up while several were detonated safely on site – and rare eels that had to be “shimmied away” to an alternative natural habitat.

It is also being built on a World Heritage site so the design has had to take that into account. Preservation and sustainability are key words: the whole stadium can actually be dismantled and returned to a working dock if someone decides to do it in the future.

Later on, up on floor nine of the city's sleek Liver Building, I is the first newspaper granted access to the showroom where the club have been doing a very brisk business in hospitality packages.

It is here where Everton's bespoke scent – they're looking into putting it in candles to sell at the towering new club store, apparently – is pumped in to prepare for the hard sell. But really, they haven't had to work that hard. Of those who walk through the doors, around 80 per cent have bought packages including Jamie Carragher, who snapped up two for the blue half of his family.

The stadium's most expensive seats – retailing at £50,000 per season for a pair – are in the enclosure just above the dugouts and might just rank as the plushest in any ground in England.

These are the first lounge seats ever to go on sale in this country, which come complete with arm rests, cup holders, a VR headset to watch instant replays and a mini TV screen on the seat in front. These proved so popular there is now a waiting list.

Everton don't call this hospitality, instead branding it as “All Experiences”. That's because a lot of the seats will be reserved to be sold on a match-by-match basis, opening them up to families or friends wanting to shell out for one off celebrations. It's a neat idea.

Making the short 15 minute journey back to the city centre on a mild spring evening, you can't help but feel this glittering monument to the future jars with where Everton find themselves right now.

Before we start the tour news of Nottingham Forest's four-point deduction drops and anger simmers at the perceived injustice of their relatively lenient punishment. No-one needs reminding of Everton's second hearing later this month and the fury at the Premier League that has barely subsided since last year's jaw-dropping 10-point tariff which was reduced to six on appeal.

The long-running attempt by 777 Partners to finalise their takeover of the club also lingers and it is a deal which has been mired in much controversy. Despite the dire predictions about what comes next, it must be said that those inside the club believe the mood music to be more positive around Premier League approval of the buyout. That remains to be seen.

As I witnessed firsthand, a brighter, bolder future is right in Everton's eyeline. If they can get there unscathed, it promises to be something spectacular.


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