CEO On Forest, Stadium Progress And Transfer Market

Twenty-three years have passed since we last hosted Nottingham Forest here at Goodison Park.

That’s far too long and today we are delighted to welcome back one of English football’s oldest and most traditional clubs.

We hope they don’t enjoy the experience too much, though, as we seek to secure three points.

Our opening two fixtures have been decided by the narrowest of margins but, whilst the results have been disappointing, there have been positive signs in both matches of the progress being made by the manager in shaping the team for the season ahead.

Not least, in terms of positives, has been the way in which our summer arrivals have settled into the Club and the team. James Tarkowski, Rúben Vinagre, Dwight McNeil, Conor Coady and Amadou Onana have already demonstrated in their time on the pitch the qualities and strength they will bring to our squad moving forward.

In the remaining 12 days of the transfer window, we will be continuing to support Kevin and Frank in the transfer market as they shape the squad in line with their vision and plans.

While that 1 September date is important, we also observed another significant anniversary recently – a year since building work commenced on the new Everton Stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock.

Progress on the project has been staggering.

In the space of 12 months a semi-derelict dock has been infilled, marine life relocated, foundations laid, the steelwork of soaring stands put in place and the first concrete terracing installed.

A new football stadium – our future home – is now clearly visibly rising from the ground and it is enormously exciting.

Dan Meis, the man who designed the stadium, became one of the first people to stand at the top of what will become our new home end, the towering South Stand, this week. He declared himself blown away by the experience.

I am sure that anybody witnessing the speed of the build on our recently launched new stadium website will be experiencing similar excitement.

We have faced – and overcome – numerous unexpected obstacles during the planning and building of this project and our majority shareholder, Farhad Moshiri, Chairman Bill Kenwright and the Executive Leadership Team deserve the utmost credit for getting the most significant project the Club has undertaken in 130 years to its present point.

Such has been the progress made that last week we were ready to launch ‘ALL’ – a new concept in stadium hospitality.

In keeping with the style and modernity of the Everton Stadium, we wanted to reset traditional football hospitality and the ‘ALL’ brand brings together the bars, restaurants and experiences which will be available to Evertonians at their new home.

We have been working closely with Forward Associates, a globally-renowned agency who have helped shape the creative direction of more than 60 prestigious venues, stadia and events worldwide, tocreate experiences which we hope will appeal to all supporters.

We are all fans, but all fans want different experiences and we intend to be as inclusive as we can possibly be.

But while we are all looking forward to our future home, we are also mindful that next week marks the 130thanniversary of the opening of our current, beloved, home of Goodison Park.

Lord Kinnaird, the president of the FA, performed the ceremonial duties in August 1892 ahead of an exhibition match against Bolton Wanderers which we won 4-2.

A few days later we welcomed our first visitors to Goodison Park for the very first league match staged here... Nottingham Forest!