New Stadium Blog: Chong Reflects On 'Seismic' Change

The change we’ve seen on site in the past year, on what was a complete wasteland, is nothing short of seismic.

We’ve created an extra 23 acres of land which is a significant milestone in itself, and it’s been challenging, without a doubt, for many reasons.

Everton looked at a similar site 20-odd-years ago and unfortunately it never happened.

But this is the best site and the only site for Everton Football Club’s new stadium.

It will be the place-making project for North Liverpool and the amount of regeneration it us going to spur, from central Liverpool, all the way north, is going to be astronomical.

The stadium is the catalyst for all that and for me, it will be the Fourth Grace; the most iconic building alongside the majestic trio that encompass Liverpool.

It will be the gateway to the Irish Sea and the first, substantial architectural feature that people will see as they arrive into the city on the new cruise liners.

That’s for the future though.

In the here and now, the amount of activity that’s taken place since Laing O’Rourke took possession of the site last summer is incredible.

In many ways, witnessing first-hand the development rise out of the ground is the tip of the iceberg.

Unseen, below the waterline, has been all the pre-planning that’s taken place in the previous months and, in some cases years; from choosing the site, to the design work, gaining planning approval, appointing a construction partner and placing all the orders.

There’s a vast amount of work that has already taken place and we won’t forget that in a hurry, once we see the super structure actually take shape.

Before Christmas, actually seeing some of that become visible above ground was a big milestone for us.

And that followed one of the biggest maritime engineering developments in the north of England.

The amount of equipment used was unfathomable and, as is the norm in the industry, we actually had to place some of the orders for the boats and barges to harvest the sand back in February 2020.

These were significant orders of tens of millions of pounds that we were placing, in confidence, before we had gained the final planning consent, so the level of commitment and foresight the owner has made has been unwavering.

Mr Moshiri and the Board have been completely supportive and four years ago, if anyone were to say to me ‘would you be happy where you are to date?’, I’d have snatched their hand off.

We could not have hoped for a better outcome in relation to the plan we presented to the Board back then.

Notwithstanding outside issues, such as Brexit, the Pandemic, inflation and all the challenges that are less obvious, such as three storms within the past week, where we are right now is within weeks of where we said we wanted to be.

That’s testament to the Board taking advice and wanting to do the right thing, in a dynamic environment.

It’s going as well as could be anticipated, and we are still on our strategic timeline and on programme.

I can’t wait to see what the next 12 months brings.