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Catching Breath & 'Kicking On'

Robert Elstone, 13th May 2010 - 11:27

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Robert Elstone

Robert Elstone

Posts: 39

Robert is Everton's Chief Executive.

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A Moment of Reflection

I was asked on Radio City’s ‘Terrace Talk’ at the weekend for a reflection on the season.  It has to be some fantastic ‘highs’, tinged with a real feeling of ‘what might have been’.

I thought about Ossie’s reaction when asked the same question at our wonderful Awards Night last week, and with a shrug of the shoulders and almost a shake of the head it was ‘OK’. Wins against United, Chelsea and Man City twice being described as ‘OK’ says an awful lot about the desire and spirit in the camp and where our expectations currently sit.

And it’s clear it’s a view shared by you. 22,500 season ticket holders already on board for 2010/11 endorse the expectations, the optimism and the desire and spirit on the terraces. Forgive the rhetoric, but season ticket support is the bedrock of the Club and the most important line in our budgets. Thank you to everyone who has made that pledge three months before a ball is kicked.

Gratitude

If you will indulge me on a couple more thank yous. 2009/10 was our first year with Kitbag and even with very high expectations, they didn’t let us down.

Not everyone loved the home shirt, not everyone loved the away shirt but Kitbag has reported record retail sales and has reaped the reward from their investment in great products, great staff and great facilities. I’m delighted they’ve had such a great year.  I’m delighted to have a retail business to be proud of.

We should also thank Kitbag for helping us to raise our impressive donation to our nominated charity, Liverpool Unites. Presenting a cheque for £150,000 is quite an achievement.

As we all know, Chang are far from new, in fact last season was our sixth season with Chang as main partner and as we enter 2010/11, I believe the deal will become the longest in the Premier League. It’s also near the top of Premier League shirt values and alongside the great work they do in Bangkok; we’re delighted to be in such a mutually rewarding partnership. Thanks to both our principal partners.

I would also like to thank all the staff at Goodison. The team is genuinely committed to making Everton a better Club; committed to listening to our fans and committed to responding when things aren’t right. And, I’m happy to ‘lead from the front’ on that one. Let me know if we don’t deliver as we should.

Blues on Tour

It’s set to be an exciting summer; ‘Everton Down Under’ and a Goodison Park welcome to Everton Chile. The former will be the base for the Manager’s critical pre-season training camp.  First day back and out to Sydney for the ‘hard yards’ that will carry the boys through the season. It will also see us taking on the A-League with games against Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.  I’m hopeful we can get news of official travel packages out to you soon.

As for Everton Chile, confirming the game was on brought big smiles to many faces, which is always good and a good sign we’ll get some great support. Pre-season games at Goodison have struggled to capture the imagination but I’m sure, with some sensible pricing, we can attract a great crowd for such an historic and unique game. Anyone who knows their history knows Everton vs Everton is a fixture to be treasure.

New City Council, Fresh Discussions

Hopefully, discussions with Liverpool City Council and the newly-elected Labour leader will also be exciting. The truth is, as I said on Terrace Talk, the City Council does hold the key to a new stadium; a new stadium that’s so important to us to keep pace at the top of the Premier League. Going over old ground, but Goodison redevelopment has an uncertain time frame, an uncertain cost, restricted funding streams and no guarantee, ultimately, of success.

It’s also worth pointing out, apologies again if this is repetition, but design is not our current challenge.  Well-intentioned as they might be plans such as the so-called ‘Siamese Stadium’ don’t really take us anywhere.

There are many, many versions of what our new stadium should look like, either on its own, at Goodison or elsewhere, shared or ‘joined at the hip’ and when such schemes receive media backing, inevitably the expectations of our fans are falsely raised.

Specifically on the ‘Siamese Stadium’, we did see the designs a while ago and there has been brief, correspondence with our advisers but all dialogue emphasised our issues and identified many challenges which, it seems, haven’t been addressed.

What is very evident, to bring a stadium to life is a Kirkby-type funding model with substantial private sector support facilitated by a supportive and progressive City Council.  ‘Being supportive’, in my view, needs the Council to fully appreciate the significance and contribution made by Everton Football Club to the City and its communities; an indisputable fact that all too often seems to be overlooked. We look forward to fresh and progressive dialogue which centres on the delivery of a funding model and an affordable stadium.

Building and Strengthening

I’m not sure exciting will be the word to describe the next three or four months that will be consumed by efforts to strengthen the squad, but that task is at the very top of our list of priorities.

As we finalise budgets, and identify funds, we move into the player market and consider the existing playing squad with the sole objective of starting 2010/11 with a stronger, more competitive squad than the season just finished.

It’s a tough job with budgets less than the majority of our rivals and when faced perhaps with smaller pockets than the Clubs above us, skill and hard work are the only ways to compensate and make up those deficits.

Skill identifying talent and skill negotiating deals is critical and again, coming back to my comments on the radio at the weekend, our Chairman and our Manager have over 20 years combined experience.  That experience is envied by all our rivals and that experience has secured our best squad in years.

Three Lions

Hopefully, all the Everton team gets the chance to have a break. After the best part of ten and half months, the players and management definitely deserve a break and Sydney sand dunes are only seven weeks away! For many of those away from Finch Farm, for nine months of the year, it’s a six-day-a-week job and recharging batteries is important. The off-field team needs its break too.

I know also most of you will also be looking forward to holidays and I hope you manage to relax, cheer Bainsey on to his winners’ medal in South Africa (and when it’s right of course, all our World Cup boys), and come back in great voice ready to roar on the Blues.

Thanks for your support!

Latest Blogs by Robert Elstone

Mike WilliamsHas Dr Who been hacking our website? 'Siamese twin stadium' must have been written on 01 Apr and the doctor has time-travelled it to 12 May. What a load of tosh. If there is a recognition that shared central facilities are appropriate then it does not take a huge extension of the argument to realise that a shared stadium is appropriate. If that is the case we would still only need a 60000 seat stadium to start off with. Why would we want to twin with a failing club anyway? They have a poor manager, a lousy business plan and are a club more on a Leeds trajectory than anything else. If the plan was to go ahead who would own the stadia? If private money was to be used (and let's face it neither club can afford to build the grounds with their current finances) then why would any venture capitalist support a scheme where 50% of the facility is non-revenue earning on a weekly basis? There is no way the authorities would/could allow alternative events to be staged when the 'other' team is away. Equally Stanley Park is a space for all Liverpudlians (including non-football fans - if there are any!?) and any ground that impinges on it must have its footprint kept to the minimum. Even the alleged comments from the so-called developers have been dreamt up after a good session in one of the local hostelries. Get real folks. We want our own ground, preferably in the city environs.

Sunday 16th May 16:15 Report Comment

Tom HughesAs regards the never-ending stadium issue, I don't think anything should-be off the agenda........ The whole Football/Sports Quarter concept is something aimed at maximising the potential of the combined existing assets, their close proximity and the historic duopoly they form. The keyword is "existing", they are real and not fantasy. It's just one potential angle to help release enabling development finance and investment opportunities to help fund incremental development of existing stadia or perhaps complete new-build in the case of Liverpool, as well as capitalising on shared infrastructure. I'm sure any other scheme whereby either or both clubs might redevelop separately or relocate... preferably closer to the city-centre would have to be considered and even measured against the quarter idea which can boast a "sum of the parts" type synergy. The more the merrier really, and of course when more are fully generated and studied openly the more the abomination that was destination Kirkby will be exposed for what it was...... a very poor and even unviable option that would be the bottom of anyone's list when held up to genuine comparison. Hence the reason why it never was. As far as redevelopment of Goodison in general. Very few clubs are openly endowed with extra billions/Millions to build stadia or redevelop existing ones, yet mysteriously they practically all have.... even some that have languished for years, decades and even generations in the lower leagues have done precisely that. It's a very convenient to hide behind financial barriers but it begs the question of how so many inferior/smaller clubs have managed to do the impossible.... perhaps they simply planned their redevelopments or relocations more effectively, and didn't just rely exclusively on a single retail enabling scheme that could never deliver, even if it had been compliant which it evidently wasn't by a long long chalk. Where are the design/planning studies to show what could be achieved at GP for £20-£100m in incremental/affordable stages? Where are the planning enquiries seeking advice on these potential schemes? Where is the commissioned design competition to see what the world's best stadium design companies could come up with on the site of the world's first truly purpose built football stadium? These should've all been in place years ago. Only now are we hearing of efforts to address these obvious omissions. However, the continued insistance on a retail-led option is mind boggling since there can be no major retail schemes within the city boundaries due to the whole planning legislation barriers outlined at the inquiry. People have to be aware that there are various other types of enabling developments. Many are far richer than out of town retail which was shown to yield very little in construction cost terms. Everton were going to be paying for over 3/4 of the construction costs. Where is the benefit, especially if it's such a ridiculously inadequate site in transport/logistical terms? Any project has to be club/stadium-led, measured against properly researched options and not arranged at the whim, or for the convenience of a 3rd party.

Sunday 16th May 15:41 Report Comment

Paul Ingramwhat about funds??? give moyes the money

Saturday 15th May 15:16 Report Comment

Alec WalkerIs the land where the old Garden Festival was held earmarked for something? Otterspool isn't that far out of the city. The area there would be ideal for the plans that we had for Kirby .

Saturday 15th May 13:27 Report Comment

Steve McClellandIt seems clear that the Kirkby Option was, and remains, our only realistic option for a new stadium and a genuine opportunity to compete at the very highest level. As Robert mentioned, the redevelopment of Goodison would be difficult, require acquisition of land we do not currently own, and be prohibitively costly. A new Labour council MIGHT help us, but you cannot get blood out of a stone - there simply seems to be no available, suitable options within the city boundary. Meanwhile, Kirkby and Tesco awaits, ready to welcome us back once the options in Liverpool are exhausted. At least there is SOME hope of us aquiring a new stadium, in the long term at least.

Saturday 15th May 02:46 Report Comment

Malcolm BubbYes, next season is very promising on paper, judging by our 2010 form, so let's seize the moment by supporting Moyes financially, and not let it slip away.

Friday 14th May 19:23 Report Comment

Paul Ellamim not too sure about the "siamese stadium" idea, it looks like it could work for me, but what i do know is that we would definitely get some major games there in major tournaments because of its uniqueness. surely we have to look beyond goodison whatever we may eventually choose

Friday 14th May 19:20 Report Comment

Mike WilliamsI love the walk up to Goodison. No matter how many times I do it, I still get a buzz of excitement, exhilaration and nervousness. I enjoy the drawl of 'Grab A Grand' outside the club shop and the oft repeated jokes from people you see week in, week out. But I don't love Goodison so much as to believe the club must remain wedded to it. I will feel the same and renew my season ticket wherever we end up. I agree that the City Council must help both clubs in their search for new grounds. Those stadia must be multi-use, have proper fit-for-purpose access and parking and be capable of attracting top class events from UEFA and FIFA. It is a scandal that should England be successful in its bid for the 2018 World Cup that the city does not already have a suitable stadium. Liverpool is a great city and rightly makes much of its heritage. However the Council cannot rely on the past forever and must move forward. Glasgow made great strides with its cultural and sporting facilities when it was European City of Culture - Liverpool must do the same.

Friday 14th May 17:19 Report Comment

David Kellyyou cant say they have sat and done nothing, were in the prediciment that liverpool are a bigger world club than us so there ground to the council comes first, which is shocking but the truth, this guy is pushing us in the right way which is encouraging, i just dont belive we can redevelope goodison it would be too cosltly we need to move, and fast. weve submitted good ground plans its just the councel dont agree that we should be getting a new ground before liverpool, but i agree 2 more players this summer then we tie everyone down to new contracts and in 4 years we will have a top 4 team i dont think we could compeate with the top 2 and then city in the next few years for 1st

Friday 14th May 17:09 Report Comment

Milin Chandrawe can come 3rd or even 1st because we got a good winning end in the last season and everton is now confident that it can now lift the B.P.L trophy

Friday 14th May 15:18 Report Comment

Kevin JamesI listened to the interview on terrace talk and enjoyed how Mr Elstone blew Mr st john out of the water over current premier league wages and how salary caps cannot be introduced into this legue. I agree that if caps wer'e introduced the best players would leave these shores and go where big wages are paid. I am concerned however over how much wages we pay out although I am aware that we can only pay out what we earn in ticket sales at goodison which simply isn't enough. Look at how much utd must make in sales at old trafford compared to us but if we hike up wages and stay at goodison our outgoings would be higher than our income and we don't want to go down the road as 'them' across the park. A stadium move is a must to compete in revenue against the big boys and attract big talent with good wages. I wish the kings dock project hadn't collapsed that would have been brilliant!! We have a fantastic chief executive in Mr Elstone and long may he continue to push us into the modern game!

Friday 14th May 09:32 Report Comment

Anthony kellyNo matter what we do in the future our great club should never ever go down the Kirkby road. Everybody knows that Goodison is in serious need of a huge facelift,but we keep getting told this is virtually impossible,this is nonsense. Goodison has a bigger footprint than Villa Park,Ibrox St James Park,Parkhead, all of which have been developed year by year. The present board have been sitting on their hands doing nothing while our rivals with smaller footprints have re-developed their grounds

Thursday 13th May 18:22 Report Comment

Paul Ellamall sounds encouraging. just wish liverpool council would pull their finger out and help us find the stadium we so badly need. both merseyside clubs have fallen behind in recent years and if they want us to compete at the very top they should help both clubs out and quickly!

Thursday 13th May 18:17 Report Comment

Craig Webbi think you just have to look at the season Everton as a club have had and have happy thoughts about the future! With a fully fit squad just think where we could have finished...5th...4th...3rd even! Then the ladies deservedly win the FA Cup!!! Keep the players we have, bring in a new striker and central defender, then throw in (over the next couple season) a new stadium and the future for Everton FC looks brilliant. Well everyone from the players, coaching staff, Chairman, and everyone behind the scene!!!!

Thursday 13th May 15:13 Report Comment
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