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Kirkby: Setting The Record Straight

Robert Elstone, 13th February 2009 - 11:00

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Robert Elstone

Robert Elstone

Posts: 39

Robert is Everton's Chief Executive.

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Stadium

After 36 days of evidence, the Public Inquiry came to a finale last Friday with a last-day-of-term atmosphere appreciated by all sides.  Our barrister concluded with a series of football clichés and the Inspector responded with her version of the BAFTAs. All parties agreed that the Inquiry had been conducted in good spirit and with good order and all parties recognised the patience, good humour and diligence of the Inspector.  We almost swapped shirts!

As reported by the Club over the past few months, we've been satisfied with our contribution to the Inquiry, and the evidence and support provided by our partners. We've deliberately ‘bitten our lips' when some of the objectors have ‘gone public' on unsubstantiated or misinformed reasons to oppose the Kirkby scheme. We also kept our counsel when, in our view, certain sections of the media have misunderstood or misreported events.   Now the official business has finished, it's time to come off the fence and for the first time express our opinion and our version of events.

Options

Cutting straight to the chase, the Club is more convinced than ever that for the foreseeable future, Kirkby is the only viable stadium option for Everton Football Club.  Despite fanciful and extravagant claims to the contrary, I would urge you not to believe that we can build a new stand at Goodison without major risk and substantial cost; not to believe we can build an expanded new stadium on the Goodison site without a time-consuming and uncertain ‘land grab' and a significant, unachievable price-tag; and, not to believe there is an alternative site, within the City boundaries, that comes with the financial support that makes it even remotely viable and deliverable.  We might not want to hear it but no credible evidence was presented in support of these schemes. Not one of these stadium options is real.   

Funding

As ever, affordability is a major issue.  Off our own back, we do not have the financial wherewithal to build a new stadium.  We have battled with this problem for well over 10 years and it remains the case that we will be unable to build a new stadium unless it is substantially funded by third-party support.  There are no magical funding strategies and the Club has not been myopic or unimaginative on funding options; please don't believe that 30-storey, five-star hotels will pay our bills; that we can re-name Goodison Park and raise the £millions generated by a new site; and that we can find 10,000 Evertonians willing to invest £23,000 each (or 100,000 fans and £2,300) to raise the £230m we'd need, on very optimistic estimates, to build an expanded Goodison.  Again, not what we might wish to hear but no credible evidence was presented in support of these funding schemes. Not one of these funding options will meet our needs.  

Myths

All the above views are supported by highly-qualified experts and claims that their views are tainted by vested interest, biased ‘briefs' or ulterior motives are both objectionable and incorrect.  Unfortunately, and unlike other proposed schemes being put forward, the Club does not have the option of building the stadium of our dreams, on the site of our choice, with money no object.  We live in the real world. We have to. A world where we have to be accountable and responsible, where every penny has to be earned and all investment must deliver a return.

Contrary to an extraordinary statement by KEIOC, this is not about Bill Kenwright ‘making a turn' on his investment. The Chairman has always made it clear that all he ever wants, and indeed has ever wanted, is for the Club to grow in stature for the sake of its players and staff, but most of all, for its fans.

It is patently obvious that this can only happen by taking the Club forward financially, by growing its commercial worth, by generating more money to secure better and better playing resources.  Kirkby will only increase the value of the Club if it's successful and if we're competing at the top-level in which case the objectives of the fans and shareholders are fully aligned (of course, indisputably, our owners are also fans of the highest order). Kirkby has never been about the Chairman ‘making a quick buck'.  

Revelations

The Inquiry saw some revealing admissions and conclusions which deserve greater prominence:

  • The double standards displayed when, despite attacking Everton's ability to fund Kirkby, Liverpool City Council confirmed it had never seen proof of funding before granting Liverpool FC's Stanley Park permission.
  • Liverpool City Council re-confirmed that Liverpool FC had ruled out Loop/Bestway along with every other site put forward by them, prior to granting permission on Stanley Park.
  • Liverpool City Council's planners agreed with our experts that there is no viable and deliverable alternative site within the City boundaries.
  • It was agreed by KEIOC's witness that HOK's report on the Bestway/Loop site was timed to influence the Kirkby ballot and that its ‘persuasive' content - drafted in 48 hours - was concluded in collaboration with Liverpool City Council and KEIOC's architectural adviser.
  • The cost of the Bestway/Loop site, estimated at £230m, had been determined by KEOIC based on nothing more than the published costs of other ‘similar' stadia. Cost was not part of the HOK brief.

Choices

In the face of an ever-changing, increasingly wealthy Premier League where billionaires spend without check or where Arsenal earns £2m more than Everton on every home game, we have this choice:

  • 1) We stay at Goodison and make cosmetic changes that deliver marginal returns. We won't be able to remove pillars, we can't add capacity and we can't add new hospitality, and we extend our ten-plus years' search. We could hope for the ‘billionaire' - although I'm not sure whether any of the new billionaire owners have built a major stadium? And, we can wait until we or Liverpool City Council or someone else can find a significant funding partner, prepared to make a multi-million pounds investment in our City and our Club.
  • Or, 2) we take the Kirkby option.  It might be argued that during our 10 year search, we have identified potentially more attractive sites but, of course, none have been viable; Kirkby is. Kirkby is a deliverable, modern, stadium, sited within the ‘Greater Liverpool region' (with an ‘L' postcode and a 0151 STD code) , that will make a significant, positive difference to our Club, and to our future.  Kirkby a high-specification stadium that will take us off the bottom of the stadium league table, position us at the right end and, even better, 40% of the cost is picked up by someone else. It will make a material difference to the Manager's spending power and accordingly, a significant difference to our ability to compete at the highest level.

In reality, there is no choice. Option one will lead to gradual decline and diminishing competitiveness. Option two, subject to planning permission, is ready to be grasped.

We're known for many things including being straightforward in or dealings, being bold and being ambitious, let's not abandon these traditions; let's not fail future Evertonians.

Take our destiny in our hands or cross-fingers and hope?

 

Before signing off, you might be interested to read the relevant section of our barrister's summary presented to the Inspector on Friday.

Everton Football Club

  • 1. The need for the club to move is an important component of the regenerative impetus. It has been in existence since 1878 and whatever the disagreements at the inquiry it is clear from such as Mr Elstone, KEIOC and others, that it is a proud club. It has had many years of success and has played the most games in the highest divisions of English football. It is a club which historically has been prepared to adapt and grasp modernity. It was host to World Cup games at Goodison Park 43 years ago because they had up to date facilities - a description which cannot be applied now.
  • 2. It is a truism that a football club like any other business is not isolated from modern commercial pressures. EFC and its business at Goodison Park, in simple economic terms, depend on adequacy of ‘production goods' in the team and the stadium which will drive the success or otherwise of the club. Success is judged by what is achieved on the pitch and whether a sufficient number of spectators have an experience which is good enough to make them return, and also to attract others. If neither is achieved the club will atrophy over time and that is a course none seriously can wish. There is concern over the cycle of decline. Lack of investment or opportunity to invest means that the club will reduce its effectiveness.
  • 3. Combined with that is the general planning approach that it is desirable that a recreational experience which is enjoyed by large numbers of the public should be located, presented and managed in a manner which is adequate and sustainable. That is not unique to EFC but has prevailed to allow Liverpool FC to plan a move into a new stadium in historic Stanley Park. The advantages overwhelmed the disadvantages in the public interest. Other clubs have undertaken recent moves elsewhere in the country.
  • 4. Whenever any club is to move it will be beset by financial issues of affordability. Football clubs perhaps have a different business model to other commerce. Many boards are composed of enthusiasts who are prepared to put up their money to fund the club in one form or another with little or no material return and who are prepared to accept that close involvement with the hoped for success of their passion is dividend enough.
  • 5. Somehow that has been the currency of many clubs for many years and EFC is no exception historically and currently. Some clubs have been sold to highly affluent investors from overseas. They are a finite band particularly, it is reasonable to assume, in the current financial market. They are not necessarily a panacea for resolving money problems since they too have to raise money and service the debt. Nevertheless as Mr Elstone told, since Mr Kenwright became Chairman in 2004 the club, like many, has been for sale. Nobody has been appointed to sell the club and to the knowledge of the CEO there is no buyer for the club.
  • 6. The decision should be taken on the basis that the club's financial structure will continue as it is currently - unable to fund a move to a new stadium or indeed a rebuild of a current stadium without subsidy from another source.
  • 7. Thereafter it is a specious suggestion that EFC should stay where they are or that they are trying to steal a march on their competitors by constructing a stadium they cannot afford. That is Luddite business planning of ‘do nothing and it will be alright'. On the contrary, as above, EFC are investing in the future like any business by raising finance for a stadium which will provide one of the best customer experiences in the country (and indeed as good as Wembley if not better). The new stadium will serve the existing season ticket holders given that 75% of the current holders live within 12 miles which is 1% more than for Goodison Park.
  • 8. Perhaps the inconsistency of the opposition approach at the inquiry is typical of the general position on football clubs and football stadia. Everyone is an expert. Like all self - appointed experts they cannot agree. Some suggest a smaller stadium and some a larger. Some accede to a move, others do not. Whatever, the conclusion is invited that Goodison Park is inadequate. That has not appeared to be controversial.
  • 9. Mr Skempton for KEIOC told Mr Keirle that GP is a "horrible experience for non football fans" and he suggested that revealed ‘a gender imbalance' which should be addressed. Mr Skempton's views are on behalf of KEIOC but an objective view can corroborate it to some extent when the following indicative characteristics are addressed:
    • i. Lack of capacity and opportunity for expansion;
    • ii. Spectator viewing experience with 53% of the stadium having obstructed views;
    • iii. Corporate facilities well below those of competitor clubs; and
    • iv. Concourse facilities constrained and underprovided.
  • 10.     That is confirmed by the Premier League Fans Survey which make gloomy reading for the club since it is only in the category of quality and range of food and drink that the club is removed from around the bottom of the league and that must be because they are not dependent on the stadium but the skill of the staff.
  • 11.  The decision has been taken to move and EFC have been looking for more than 10 years during which nothing has matured into a solution and the Goodison Park stadium conditions have got worse, particularly in comparison with its peers.  The decision was not taken without the approbation of supporters and shareholders.  There were three ballots and an EGM to address the issue.  All concluded in favour of a move. Mr Elstone described a unique set of circumstances which will enable EFC to provide a new stadium which is affordable and deliverable.
  • 12.  The search was explained by Mr Potts, and the DPP work corroborated it by looking even wider to satisfy the requirements of environmental assessment.  No site is seriously suggested by those trawls.  The following conclusions are invited:
    • i. The site must be big enough to do the job of accommodating a stadium for 50,000 spectators with the possibility of 60,000 to modern standards of concourse and approaches;
    • ii. There is no site in Liverpool City as has been shown by the Council being satisfied by LFC on three occasions, including 2008, that there was no alternative to Stanley Park;
    • iii. No site out with the City is seriously proffered before the inquiry;
    • iv. PPS 17 requires that a stadium should be close to transportation facilities;
    • v. It is not an issue ultimately for decision whether it is right for EFC to move. None can require them to stay. The decision is whether or not the location is appropriate for a new stadium; and
    • vi. EFC must be in a position to afford the stadium. Mr Elstone revealedhow they think they can proceed and what they can afford. It is cautious and not excessive. At £130m it is substantially less ambitious than Liverpool FC's budget of £350m of which Mr Burchnall told he had never seen a financial appraisal.

Latest Blogs by Robert Elstone

Tony BatemanRemember, The ballot to move to Kirkby was only sent to season ticket holders and evertonia members FROM THE LAST 3 YEARS. What about fans that don't have season tickets or are evertonia members?? Ie, the majority of us? We don't have a say?? I go 1 game a month that's all I can afford, £8 taxi to GP, £30 ticket, £8 taxi home. I think that makes me a fan, and although my vote isn't counted here it is: NO TO KIRKBY!! YES TO NEW STADIUM. IMHO, if whoever was in charge of park end redevelopment in the nineties hadn't have been such a penny pincher and made it 2 tier instead of 1, we'd be in a much brighter position right now.

Wednesday 4th March 14:30 Report Comment

im a blue through and through i would die for everton but keith davies making us as a comparison to united and old trafford is a joke, we dont sell our gorund out as it is as a 40 odd thousand seater let alone how empty it would make the ground feel if we made our stadium any bigger straight off. think about what u said think about the size of the clubs your comparing. im sorry this proposed move will ruin the heart of everton. i went to the away game at bolton this year and it just gave me the image of how evertons ground would be if we moved to kirkby. no atmosphere. thousands of empty seats. and an absoloute joke of traffic congestion. goodison has been quoted by many players as one of their favourite away grounds because of its history and its type. everton is the quickest ground to leave from in the premier league because it isnt sat next to b and q or matalan or some shocking retail park. everton is THE liverpool based team. we invented football at our home. we will no longer be a team from liverpool if we move to kirkby. i myself live in knowsley and as an everton fan i dont want it. ye great for me to and from the match but as for everton football club i dont want it. the stadium that is being proposed will not be world class. ive been to the neu camp and there you have world class facilities the emirates you have world class facilities. we as much as it pains me to say it are not in the same league as barcelona and manchester united when it comes to gloablly our size and what we realistically can achieve. i just dont understand these fans that are happy to move to kirkby. all fairness goodison isnt the best and we do need to move to progress but look how far we have come in the last few seasons has goodison stopped us? no. a new stadium would be ideal. but somewhere within the city boundaries.

Sunday 15th February 21:07 Report Comment

Steven GriffithA move to Kirkby would kill Everton. Liverpool city centre is potentially one of the best cities in Europe and were moving further away from it. Who would want to take corporate business to Kirky anyway, when the Echo Arena and new anfield are in the heart of our city. In my opinion we should swap Bellefield for Walton Hall Park with Liverpool County FA and discuss developing a ground with Sainsburys in Walton. Why on earth did we sign an exclusivity agreement with Tescos. By signing this agreement indicates that other parties must of been interested in Everton. Keep Everton in OUR city !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday 15th February 20:55 Report Comment

Graham BrandwoodMost fans will continue to attend in Kirkby, but please Robert can you reasure us as to how and how long it is going to get back home after the game. You have no transport plan (Station too small, not enough buses, Car parks 40 minutes walk away, too few Taxiis), and no other example of a big city club moving 8.5 miles away from its City Centre, This is a dangerous untested in Britain experiment.

Sunday 15th February 20:53 Report Comment

Graham BrandwoodRobert I realise that it is your job to promote DK but you failed to show a large group of supporters(remember their were 10,000 no voters as well as 10,000 abstain) that there will be no negative effects to moving the club 8.5 miles from the centre of the city. KEIOC got it wrong to focus on the city boundary, although the choice of route for a victory celebration would be interesting. Man.U (2.4Miles), Man C (2.4), Liverpool (3.3), Villa (3.3) Newcastle (1).all the major clubs outside of London have inner city sites with inner city transport systems. Kirkby does not have a satisfactory transport system, and i and many more of us against the move will try to continue but we are not sure how or at what time we are going to get home.This may seem like a gift at the moment but i am scared that we will become a clubfor the eastern periphery of the conerbation and within 10 years we will regret this move like many others who have moved to edge of town locations.

Sunday 15th February 20:36 Report Comment

Paul Ellamnot all everton fans are born within a 1 mile radius of the club so why not spare a thought for us?!! just cos you might have to travel a bit to see your team youre spitting the dummy out! maybe this will test the "real" everton fans from those who just watch them cos theyre round the corner. as far as i can see its simple financial logistics - if we stay at goodison we will be in trouble of getting relegated and left behind cos we wont be able to keep the best players, but if we go to a new stadium we will have plenty of cash to keep up with the top teams and hopefully bring in some much needed trophies. it was the same situation with bellefield - lovely old training ground with stacks of memories but ask the players where theyd rather be and they all say finch farm. surely it will be similar with the new ground? and to keep tradition they could call it bellefield park - hows that??! lol

Sunday 15th February 17:57 Report Comment

Robert NewellRobert Cunningham, what are you like, along with many more of the so called hardcore fans ? Would you change your girl friend if she moved house ? Would you change your religion if a new church was built ? You might go to a new supermarket if your local closed down and moved elsewhere I guess. If the parallel for you supporting Everton is shopping in your local supermarket then I suggest you reconsider your stance as a ' hardcore supporter. ' In my eyes a hardcore supporter would watch their team wherever and whenever and not get all precious over a new address. It's about the club ( not the buildings ) and the players that pull on the jersey, and about the 90 minutes within the white lines that count. Who cares where those lines ar ? This comes from a dedicated Everton fan that has just moved to Australia and wishes he lived in the North West of England somewhere so that he could go and watch his beloved Everton every week, wherever they play. You should re-asses how lucky you actually are and get over it.

Saturday 14th February 23:21 Report Comment

rob williamsLike most Evertonians I love Goodison Park and have lotsf fond memories of games but the stadium is past its best.I would like to echo Steve McClelland I also would watch Everton anywhere and i think all those everton fans who are thinking of boycotting games at the new stadium to think very carefully, are they more concerned with the taunts of the red side fans?

Saturday 14th February 21:48 Report Comment

Mark JamesHas this site been infultrated by Kopites? Real fans turning their back on their club? Let's face facts, Goodison has had its day - and what days they were. Nobody can steal our memories. We need to move forward and we've tried with all our might, but, we've been shafted by LCC and their major business partner LFC every step of the way. Now that we've got a real solution to our problem what happens? The bullies complain - "They cant do that! They'll take all business away" - 'TOUGH' they had their chance and turned their back on us, and by the way "YES WE CAN". As for Toffees turning their back on Everton, I'll leave that to the words of a legend, "I'd rather change my religion".

Saturday 14th February 16:22 Report Comment

Matthew Keenanthe reebok may be a souless match day experience but how many people there have to watch the game round a post? its all very well having a soulful matchday experience but can this really be the case when you are sitting behind a huge white pillar when the winning goal goes in?our stadium is made of wood!, its falling apart and costing more and more each season to maintain. i love goodison as much as the next fan and ill be sitting in the gwladys tomorrow admiring the character and soul of the place. but eventually all that will fade away when 10 years from now we are still sitting in a shed and clubs like bolton and southampton are leaving us for dead with their modern grounds, and clubs like liverpool and man city make millions from concerts and corporate events. paul mcartney admitted he is an everton fan but where was his big homecoming gig? ANFIELD!! purely and simply because its light years ahead of Goodison in terms of facilities. i want to stay at goodison but we need to move simple as. the everton fans of 20 years time will not thank us if they are left in the same position we are in now. wit hno room for expansion and no help from the council whilst they bend over backwards to help liverpool compete at the highest level. we have been stabbed in the back by LCC. we need to go. kirkby is in liverpool. and on the rare occasion liverpool fc uncover a good youngster, where do they learn their trade? at the academy in KIRKBY. typical double standards from them with their city's all ours chant, but we still need to go

Saturday 14th February 13:58 Report Comment

KEITH DAVIESSince when did all these people start being concerned about local authority boundaries. Remember Old Trafford is well out of Manchester City Council boundaries and it has done them no harm has it!

Saturday 14th February 13:35 Report Comment

Joe HurstFor those who have not been to the Reebok stadium and seen for themselves what a soulless and dismal matchday experience it is when its situated in a retail park - I advise you to go as soon as you can. I would then challenge anyone, especially Mr Elstone, to continue to try and persuade us that this would be a good thing for our beloved club. And just to repeat so that the message will finally hit home - the DK planning app confirms that the stadium will be MID-RANGE. Stop all this talk of "best in the Prem" nonsense like the opening comments here.

Saturday 14th February 11:32 Report Comment

michael bruceBy moving to Kirby we will get one of the best stadiums in the premier league.No more pillars in your way when your watching the match.For a club to become the biggest in the world you need need to have a strong base.Goodison park was fine when some of the World Cup was played there but that was in the 60s.Lets make Everton one of the worlds biggest clubs and move.Plus e need to move as far away from the red sh**e as possible !!!

Saturday 14th February 08:17 Report Comment

Rob Cunninghamits all very well telling us fans whats best for the club in business terms, but its our club, and we dont want our club outside the city boundries, end of! alot of the hardcore supportwho go the game no matter how poorly the team plays, will be turning their backs on Everton, i am one of them! we would have a hard enough time filling a 60 thousond seater as things are, but with so many die hard fans boycotting the new ground, what do you think our average gate is gonna be?

Saturday 14th February 03:02 Report Comment

Sean O'DonnellWe were the first team in Liverpool so I don't see why we don't get priorety to build a ground in Stanley Park. If we end up going to Kirby, I will miss (like a lot of Evertonians) the walk down to the ground and the fact that the Kopites are meerly yards away, which gives our derbyssuch a passion. I don't want to move, but our future has already been decided it seems.

Saturday 14th February 00:55 Report Comment

cathy johansenIt's a sad day when the club feels the need to divide the fan base even further before a massive game against Villa at the weekend. Robert, why couldn't you have just let it lie until the decision was announced. Now we have to have the fight all over again and cause even more bridges to be burnt.

Saturday 14th February 00:46 Report Comment

Steve McClellandI have read with dismay some of the comments on here, people who are supposed to love this great club saying they would not attend matches if we moved to Kirkby. How egocentric and selfish! I would watch Everton ANYWHERE they played - as I am sure the vast majority of fans would - and feel this is simply a knee-jerk reaction from some, who fear leaving their comfort zone by changing their match-day routines. Reading Robert Elstone's comments should leave no fan with any doubt the choice we face; grasp our own destiny and move to a new stadium in Kirkby, or simply stay where we are, and wither on the vine as we vainly wait for 'something to happen'. Everton throughout their proud history have always taken the pioneer approach to any challenges they had to face. I expect no less of them today.

Friday 13th February 23:41 Report Comment

Neil SteeleWilliam Vickers, you are correct about Old Trafford. The problem with Kirkby isn't just the location though, it's everything about it...the quality, lack of more to the point. If we were being dragged to Kirkby to build a stadium of a similar quality to Old Trafford, even St James's Park...Emirates, Tottenhams proposed new build etc...then i'm sure people would swallow it. The problem with this is it's third rate in every aspect and no matter how many times Mr Elstone repeats his mantra that isn't going to change. It's all very well saying we can't afford to stay at Goodison but what price this sell out?? Once our prestige has gone, as it will with this move, you just cant buy that back, then we truly will be consigned to the list of 'also rans'. Sad sad times.

Friday 13th February 22:45 Report Comment

ROLANT ELLISIs it true that for the new stadium to be a success, we will need average gates of 47,000? Since we got 10,000 less than that when playing Manchester United and Liverpool recently, what evidence is there that we'll get the extra 12,000 fans? Will we really get more "corporate" supporters, when we can all see the gaps in the corporate seats at Goodison? Is now, at the beginning of a major recession, the best time to be thinking of moving? Can we really hope to get untold millions for naming rights?

Friday 13th February 22:43 Report Comment

Mark BillingMichael Brown - try turning the engine on? If, living in Bebington I can get to GP in 20 minutes and home in 30 minutes, 35 if i go for a pint first, then I can only conclude that you need to TURN THE ENGINE ON - all that pushing must knacker you out. Not going to Kirkby - neither are 5 of the 12 I go with; the pub and the internet beckon; much easier to get to. And for £6m extra per year (on 47k crowds)? That's not even a player for £4m and his £40k salary for a year (£80k short for the non-mathematicians amongst you). Just plain silly, like the blog.

Friday 13th February 22:29 Report Comment

Conor BuntingRob.... We are the city of liverpool's club. The thought of moving us outside the city on it's own is completely obsurd. I don't even live in the city and i can see that. This could destroy our club. Please Re-think....

Friday 13th February 22:14 Report Comment

david kennedyDavid Kennedy - No, No, No to Kirkby. The transport nightmare alone should scupper any thoughts of the move.

Friday 13th February 21:41 Report Comment

Michael HalesHow can anyone calling themselves a true blue say that if we move to Kirkby they will stop following their team. I will follow everton right or wrong in this life and the next . So Kirkby will be a doddle!!! Evertonians are chosen and we don`t have a choice. Get real. coyb

Friday 13th February 21:15 Report Comment

brown gregmove move move move -a better efc is what we all want

Friday 13th February 20:58 Report Comment

Dave BrewListen..No brainers. It's time to move on and bring this club and the facilities into the 21st century. I am a season ticket holder also, and I work for a worldwide construction & Faciltiies management company (yes I have the qualifications for both construction and also a full member of BIFM) believe me, it is not financially viable for this club to fund the regeneration of Goodison park, it's not just the building costs, it's the whole life cycle costs that will cripple the club. Forget what the fools across the park are saying, they haven't the money either to build a new stadium and I very much doubt in this current climate that their new build will go ahead. We need a new start, and a very bold start. I think Kirkby is the way forward.

Friday 13th February 19:56 Report Comment

Michael BrownTry driving a car from Goodison after the match.How long do you think that takes.I live 5 miles from goodison.Takes well over an hr.Kirkby is not 10 miles from Liverpool.The boundary is copplehouse lane.Its not even 10 miles from the Pier Head

Friday 13th February 19:24 Report Comment

Gary GreenwayIt's a bit ambitious to think that a 60k stadium will be filled. But then again maybe the unobstructed views would encourage more people. Good - so long it's a proper football crowd and they don't price us out of tickets. Incidentally, I'm still against a move to Kirkby. I'd even prefer a ground share. Just like in Munich. Imagine a glowing blue stadium on matchdays like for 1860 Munchen. The thought of that is amazing.

Friday 13th February 19:15 Report Comment

ste sherringtonThere was a vote and it was almost 50/50 how can you go for kirkby on a 50/50 vote you cant so many evertonians dont want it and what if the people who dont want it stop going then were in trouble we already struggle to sell out imagine taking 20000 evertonians who dont want kirkby away. Every single blue i speak to in the pubs along county road dont want it i dont know a single blue who does want it. This city is were are identidy lies imagine the signs coming into the city welcome to liverpool (Home of liverpool fc and not everton) because thats it we wont be and future generations of supporters growing up in the city will see liverpool first and support them. Kirkby will ruin us why cant use see the vote was to close to make a decision on if we are the people club then let the people decide were we go.

Friday 13th February 18:30 Report Comment

Alan Williamsall of you "true blues" that are saying how you wont be going to the games anymore if we move to kirkby obviously are not true blues. why does it matter. whether the blues are bottom or top of the league, in barcelona or in liverpool a "true blue" would still go to the games you cant jus turn off your support of a team you've supported all of your life. even if we do move to kirkby that has no relevance whatsoever to whether we are the famous club we always have been its our support and the football that we play that made us famous, so if the only way to take ourselves back to the top of england is to move stadiums do it! COYB

Friday 13th February 18:24 Report Comment

William VickersStop all the whingeing. Kirkby was always considered part of Liverpool when I was a kid. We need a new stadium : Kings Dock would have been great but it's not on. Man Utd s stadium is not in Manchester, and they don't moan. I'm a season ticket holder, have been to Goodison since 1962, and will always support EFC.

Friday 13th February 18:22 Report Comment

Tony BatemanI go past the old pleasure island/chinese gardens site every day, imagine that for a location of our new stadium. On the hill visible from the wirral and everywhere. I don't know what the plans are for that site, but there is no supermarket for miles around if the want to put a tesco there. IF EVERTON MOVE TO KIRKBY, I WILL START SUPPORTING RUGBY. END OF.

Friday 13th February 18:20 Report Comment

Neil SteeleYou have a really positive attitude Robert and the way you are engaging the fans is commendable. Sadly you are flogging a dead horse on this one, we simply don;t want it...it's not right for this club. Clearly the board won;t hear us so on your head be it.

Friday 13th February 18:15 Report Comment

Frank Carroll Tom Carey- to say you would never go see them again is- well not being a TRUE blue...1st of all I DONT want to go to Kirkby either...however all things concidered it is our only option open to us..I was carried into Goodison in 1955 as a kid,am a season ticket in the U Bullins,and also lived in Dorset for 11 years and NEVER missed a match...630 miles round trip...I would crawl over cut glass to watch my team thats a TRUE blue...yes we should have had the Kings dock,Yes we should have had Stanley park...and Mr Elstone is right LCC are completly biased to the other lot...but true blues will go anywhere to support them WITH OUR HEADS HIGH

Friday 13th February 17:22 Report Comment

john okeefeive attended everton games since i was 12 if we move to kirkby count me out , im not moving out the city to support everton , you say we have a better attendandce capacity at kirkby i say dount count yoyr chickens mr kenwright ill guess our attendances will go down pull out of kirkby or run the risk of losing more fans than you think !!!

Friday 13th February 16:57 Report Comment

Michael HalesLike Bill Kenwright and David Moyes. We are just so fortunate to have Robert Elstone on our team. At some point evertonians who think we can stay at goodison or find some neverland where we can build the style and type of stadium we need have got to see that the only viable route is Kirkby. My first game was 1959, I`m a season ticket holder and travel from my home in Northamton so I am a comited blue and I know my history

Friday 13th February 16:20 Report Comment

Tom careyThe planning permssion will be declined anyways, if they did move i would never go to see them play again. I live 5 minutes away from the ground and it is total unnessary to move to Kirkby. And i know a lot of other people who will not be attending the games if they did move.

Friday 13th February 15:58 Report Comment

Glynn ParryThe people's club ? Do the so called "people" want Kirkby ? I suggest another ballot.

Friday 13th February 15:51 Report Comment

DANIEL MOOREWholeheartedly agree with you, Jay. And I also think it is fast becoming the majority opinion amongst Evertonians. I have to say, I find it incredible that Bill Kenwright continues to show his face after the pure lies included in the "ballot" to decide on the move to Kirkby. He was loving the cameras after we got a draw at Anfield, but failed to see that he'd sent us into our most important run of games this season without one recognised striker. Don't let the wool be pulled over your eyes - Kirkby is NOT right for Everton FC. Yes it's affordable (apparently) and yes it's deliverable, but so would the redevelopment of Goodison/relocation to Loop if Bill Kenwright would only sell us. We're not for sale, that much is clear. The death of Everton FC awaits us at Kirkby.

Friday 13th February 15:44 Report Comment

Damon MurphyGiven enough time, and enough generations of young Liverpudlians growing up and seeing one club in Liverpool, and one outside, it wont matter about our history. It wont matter about our traditional home, or support. It wont matter about the glory days of GP. All that will matter will be one club in a state of the art stadium in Stanley Park, and one club in a new but "not fit for purpose" stadium 12 miles out. And it will, given enough time, condemn this club to mediocrity. 60,000 seats is great - unfortunately we wont manage 60,000 fans sitting in them.

Friday 13th February 15:06 Report Comment

Jay HoughtonIt doesn't matter if Kirkby was free (as was originally promised by Keith) and it was even within this mythical scouse boundary that some people feel is important, the fact is that Kirkby is completely innappropriate for a football stadium because the transport infrastructure is not there. The local population is not big enough to sustain the club, and the infrastructure will only allow approx 10,000 people an hour into Kirkby, even with park & ride and additional buses, and that's not just fans, that would also include those wanting to shop at the new shopping mall. Yes we have to move, but moving to Kirkby, regardless of how cheap it is, just isn't sustainable. We need a plan B, and we need it quickly.

Friday 13th February 14:37 Report Comment

Steve McClellandSteve McBride - If the club cannot use its own website as an appropriate 'platform', what platform do you suggest they use? The fact is the clubs detractors have used every 'platform' available to attack the clubs attempts to progress this great team of ours to where they deserve to be - at the very top, domestically and internationally. I would politely suggest that this is the perfect platform for the club to stand their ground - and for the fans to support this great club of ours during this difficult time.

Friday 13th February 13:43 Report Comment

Stephen DelaneyEverton Football Club do not belong in Kirkby. We are the original scouse club and belong in the city of Liverpool. Everyone has their own opinion of course and there will always be a conflict with matters such as this but I cannot and will not support Everton F.C. giving up our birth right and surrendering the city to the other crowd across the park by moving to Kirkby. People say Kirkby is full of scousers, its only a couple of miles away blah blah but that doesn't wash with me. Kirkby is NOT in Liverpool despite the spin put on it from the club with the "L" postcodes and "0151" dialing codes etc. It is a geographical fact that Kirkby remains outside of Liverpool and we do not belong there.

Friday 13th February 13:36 Report Comment

Steve McbrideA totally unecessary blog and should not be using this platform for it. EFC have not come out of this squeaky clean either with many questions still left unanswered. The enquiry is over and the experts will make their decision either way so we should await the outcome and, in the words of our manager, do so with dignity and style.

Friday 13th February 13:29 Report Comment

Steve McClellandA well written article as ever by the articulate Mr Elstone. And nice to see the club standing its ground against the many dissenters who do not see the big picture regarding us needing to move as a matter of extreme urgency. Hopefully common sense will prevail and we will see both Everton FC and the township of Kirkby flourish in the years to come. Well done Rob.

Friday 13th February 13:17 Report Comment

Simon BartonAt first, i was one of those in favour of KEIOC. Now the more i read about it the more viable and attractive the Kirby option becomes. Possibly 60,000 blues under one roof, more money for the gaffer and a stadium with resources and qualitys second to none. all in time for the 2011/12 season. I say Go Kirby, Go Blues. NSNO

Friday 13th February 13:03 Report Comment

Wayne BrownSo the stadium cost has gone from "effectively free" to costing Everton 60% of the total cost? As well as declining in quality from "world class" to "midrange"! This move will kill the club , the only people that cant see it unfortunately happen to be the major shareholders

Friday 13th February 13:03 Report Comment

Peter KevanAll Evertonians should get behind the club on the Kirkby project. Goodison has been fantastic, but it is time to move on.

Friday 13th February 12:54 Report Comment

Lee McMahonGood read, just hope we get the stadium approved.

Friday 13th February 12:35 Report Comment

Tom Power1) 'As ever, affordability is a major issue. Off our own back, we do not have the financial wherewithal to build a new stadium. We have battled with this problem for well over 10 years and it remains the case that we will be unable to build a new stadium unless it is substantially funded by third-party support. ' So if third parties will account for 40% of the cost, that means that the club must provide 60% of the cost. Funny how we can't seem to squeeze out ¬£20m for Moyes every summer, yet we COULD find money to build a new stadium... 2) 'Contrary to an extraordinary statement by KEIOC, this is not about Bill Kenwright ‚Äėmaking a turn' on his investment. The Chairman has always made it clear that all he ever wants, and indeed has ever wanted, is for the Club to grow in stature for the sake of its players and staff, but most of all, for its fans.' Most of all, the fans? The last time I checked, the ballot indicated that 41% of the fans didn't want this stadium. Can you tell me, therefore, how Bill is providing a "world class" stadium for ALL of the fans then? 3) 'In reality, there is no choice. Option one will lead to gradual decline and diminishing competitiveness.' Of course, because things haven't been going swimmingly so far, have they? A top four finish, two top five finishes and European football three times in the last four seasons. That sounds like going up to me. We don't NEED to move. There is nothing to say that we can't compete at Goodison and, when the RIGHT time occurs, then the club can look at other viable options. Kirkby maybe the only one CURRENTLY, but it won't be the last option.

Friday 13th February 12:15 Report Comment

Tony KibbleSo many things incorrect, and double standards, in here that it is difficult to know where to start. "no credible evidence was presented in support of these schemes." Some could say that no credible evidence has been presented re Kirkby since day 1. The club have been hiding behind the 'Exclusivity Agreement' to avoid questions re where our part of the funding is coming from ( and this still hasn't been revealed even though the club keep banging on about how no other project gives financial projections). Mr Kenwright says that the club is for sale, you said that it wasn't, in the proposal for the stadium it is claimed that the club is not for sale. Who is telling the truth here? Taking the club forward? How is the projected 6m extra a year going to facilitate that? And that is based on us selling out the ground week in week out, which we patently cannot do at the moment. Unless by taking the club forward you mean that as we have a new stadium in place then someone might come in and buy the club from the board. In that case are we only doing this for the board to make a quick killing on the basis of ground gifted by the local authority? We rejected 30 odd sites within the city because Liverpool decided they were not suitable for them. How one eyed is that? I am sure Kirkby isn't suitable for them either but that hasn't been rejected on those grounds. "Option one will lead to gradual decline and diminishing competitiveness. Option two, subject to planning permission, is ready to be grasped" You cannot prove the first statement, and the second statement avoids any mention of how the club will fare. Those two statements can very easily be turned around "Option one,subject to planning permission, is ready to be grasped . Option two,will lead to gradual decline and diminishing competitiveness subject to planning permission." Kirkby is a cross fingers and hope situation for the board. Unfortunately they have been shown up for the chancers that they are by some commited supporters of the club. BTW is it true, as you stated, that Mr Kenwright has not put a single penny of his own money into the club?

Friday 13th February 12:03 Report Comment

Lindsey McGrathI have to say I,ve firmly believed for the past 10 years we could save our clubs presence within the city boundaries. I sadly now concede we can,t. I,m glad this enquiry has shown proof positive that officials in power have worked against our club and provided support for lfc. We deserve better from our city. However now is the time to face facts, accept our options and march forward with dignity and professionalism, as we always have! I will attend my clubs games wherever they are based, because I love my club enough to overcome these obstacles placed before us. I,d like to thank everyone involved in this difficult process and acknowledge how sad it has been for most involved. So again thank you to all who tried to help us maintain our city presence I,m grateful for your help. See you at the game Sunday! Lindsey

Friday 13th February 11:55 Report Comment

Mick Gallagherbefore saying goodison is the bottom have you ever been to portsmouth or fulham.

Friday 13th February 11:47 Report Comment

Tim KeenWhy no mention of transport? Everton's own evidence shows fans will have to wait for 90 minutes after the final whistle to get on a bus or train or walk for 40 minutes to get to a parking zone. Is this acceptable?

Friday 13th February 11:37 Report Comment

ARTHUR JONEShttp://www.keioc.net/index.php?mact=News,cntnt01,detail,0&cntnt01articleid=224&cntnt01returnid=15 If a balanced view is to be presented to the PAYING fans of the club then why have you not presented the above link ? there are 2 sides to every argument . Something which was not obvious hen the ' vote ' was presented to a portion (not all) of the fans .

Friday 13th February 11:22 Report Comment
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