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Blues Unveil Plans

by Rob Urbani @efc_roburbani

Everton v QPR
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Everton have announced plans for a state of the art retail and administration development adjacent to the Goodison Park stadium.

Chief Executive Robert Elstone revealed the news to a Shareholders Forum before the clash with Everton Chile on Wednesday.

And the Blues are confident that planning permission will be awarded for the new building, which will sit within the Goodison Park footprint. The project could be operational by summer 2011.

The planned building, on the current site of the Club Everton lounge at the Park End of the stadium, will house a retail store, museum, cafe, corporate hospitality lounge and office space.

The four-floor, self-funded £9m development will also free up space within Goodison, meaning that capacity for corporate hospitality inside the stadium itself can be expanded.

Mr Elstone also confirmed that the plans will not negatively affect the cash available to David Moyes as it will be taken from extended deals with catering partner Sodexo and retail partner Kitbag.

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In fact, it is forecast that the development will boost revenues and improve Everton's bottom line profit. The Forum was also assured that the proposed development does not mean an end to the search for a site in the city for a new stadium.

Chairman Bill Kenwright told the Forum: "One of the prime focual points behind this new addition to Goodison was to say 'we're proud of Goodison and we want to show you how proud we are'. We want to give the fans something and I think it looks terrific.

"As long as we are here and as long as it doesn't put in jeopardy the finances for David Moyes we will do whatever we can with Goodison Park. Our partners have been phenomenal in helping us with this one, but it doesn't mean the search is not going on for a new stadium within the Liverpool city boundary!"

His sentiments were echoed by Chief Executive Robert Elstone: "This new scheme is totally self-funded by partners so there is no net cost to the Club. In fact, it is cash-positive from the start.

"Even if a new stadium scheme came to light very quickly it would take a number of years to realise. Our discussions with Liverpool City Council have genuinely been more positive but the crux of the matter is we need substantial enabling support and the council see that as being difficult and hard to deliver.

"If I'm managing expectations, in the current climate it is hard to foresee a new stadium in the short-term or medium-term but it doesn't mean we will not continue to pursue it vigorously and enthusiastically."

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