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What is wrong with LCC?

By Rupert Sullivan :  22/01/2009 :  Comments (0) :
Having read the recent article concerning the failed appeal of Everton FC to obtain planning permission for Bellefield Park, I noticed a comment in the BBC rumour section indicating that certain parties feel that LCC is deliberately trying to scupper EFC's move out of the city — by denying them some of the opportunities they have to raise cash.

Now I freely admit to not wanting Everton FC to move outside of the boundaries of Liverpool, but is this really the way LCC should approach this matter? To my mind all this can possibly achieve is to further alienate LCC to Everton FC, rather than attempting to improve a relationship which may already be sour.

Admitting the fact that Everton FC have (in my mind stupidly) signed an Exclusivity deal with Tesco and are therefore unable to discuss other options; surely a carrot would be more effective than a stick? Offering land to EFC will not work, the club has publicly stated that there is insufficient money to build a stadium without help...

If one imagines that the LCC wish to continually improve the image of the City, bringing in more jobs, more tourists and more money then one can perhaps understand their (apparently) immediate backing of the move by LFC to build a World Class stadium. Liverpool Football Club do have a more widely known brand than do Everton and their recent history has more success in it than does that of Everton: but LFC it seems can no longer afford to build their stadium either — so perhaps blindly backing the 'Big Guy' is not anymore the wisest course.

Surely then, now is the time for a far-sighted council to propose a shared stadium? (Dare I say it, even insist by denying all other planning permission.) I can see no reason why the council cannot make overtures to EFC in proposing that a shared stadium be built for both Liverpool and Everton. Liverpool is a burgeoning and prominent city in the UK, recently being the City of Culture for Europe it has a proud history — a history which includes two football teams that have long-standing success. Surely the way to capitalise on this is to further support that industry?

Despite the rivalry between the sets of fans I firmly believe this to be the answer. The image of the Liverpool Derby match as was recently highlighted by Lyndon Lloyd has moved away from that which it once was, but building a shared stadium may just be another step on the path to restoring that. In a City where many families are divided by colour, surely a stadium can be shared?

I have always believed that to allow both Everton and Liverpool to build new stadia is a fool's mission. The City itself has little need of two stadia, both of which would be used under 50%, economically it makes a great deal more sense to have a single stadium used at capacity. In addition, a shared stadium would surely financially benefit both Everton and Liverpool Football Clubs, it could also provide a single unifying identity to the City's footballing image, capitalise on one of the birth places of football — an image and position of which an intelligent LCC could take advantage for years to come.

Should the World Cup ever return to the UK, there will be a need to secure prime venues for the matches — having a truly World Class stadium inside the city would allow Liverpool to place itself firmly behind such a competition, and surely would benefit not only the local economy but also the name and reputation of Liverpool as a city.

The image of team football in Liverpool will always be subject to change, as each team has differing levels of success, but the image of Liverpool as a footballing city has been present for over 100 years — whether you be a Blue or a Red. Should the Council decide to capitalise on the history of football therefore, rather than on the successes of each individual team, it would benefit enormously.

Imagine that you as a city are able to take advantage not only Dixie Dean but also Ian Rush; not just Steven Gerrard but David Moyes. As a marketing strategy it seems to me to make much more sense to profit from both sets of history rather than just one. Stanley Park itself sits between the two teams and is already a known landmark — it seems to me an obvious step therefore to centre the footballing history of the city on this location, where both sets of supporters can profit from a shared history — a history which already has so many cross-overs.

If after all, one imagines that the motivation behind LCC is that of image and branding, then to enhance the City reputation as a whole, and to support the two football teams at the same time is of benefit to everyone involved...?

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