Now I know this debate will turn into a transport argument; however, that is covered on many a topic elsewhere. While it is a fundamental debate, I want to look at this subject from the viewpoint of a boardroom member or of a Yes voter because I feel they’re missing something... again. So, for their benefit, I shall assume that the Transport Working Group (what happened to them? Have they provided any solutions yet?) have come up with the answers to allow a free flow of fans into the stadium!
Now Everton, I think it’s fair to say, have always had a strong working class following; our gates have rarely been constant, it is only recently since the our capacity has been capped at a low figure that this has become obscured. So, while aiming for 47,000 that only allows a 3,000 margin of difference before hitting capacity.
As the board are officially aiming for us to be the best in the country with this move, we should look at our average attendances during our most successful post-war periods: 1963, 1970 and 1985. However, for good measure, I will throw in 1983.
Take our record average attendance of 51,000 in the 1963 season. With our working class support, and a poor winter weather-wise no doubt hitting our average, our attendances ranged from 38,000 to 72,000. Additionally, we had four attendances of 60,000+, and one at 56,000. Only six attendances were within the average bracket of 50,000-53,000.
If a new stadium was to aim for a 47,000 average, then we are only allowing for an extra 3,000 to come for a big match, making it far harder to achieve that 47,000 average. So, if in 1963 the aim was 51,000 but our capacity was limited at 54,000, there would have been six high attendances that we would have missed out on. We would have missed out on 18,000 extra fans on one match alone for the 72,000 gate. Altogether, we would have missed out on 62,000 fans going through the gates that season. This would have reduced our average to 48,000. In today's terms, that’s 62000 * £30 = 1.86M lost a season — and that’s not including those who would spend extra in the ground.
In 1970, work was being done on the Main Stand, restricting our capacity; however, average: 49,000; high: 58,000; five attendances over the 3,000 margin.
1985... average: 31,000; highest 51,000. 13 attendances including Cup games in total over the 3,000 margin of 34,000 .
Now for the low of 1983... average: 20,000, high 52,000; seven attendances over the 3,000 margin.
So, by restricting the capacity to 50,000, Everton are making it harder to achieve an average of 47,000. They cannot rely on big derby gates or season openers to make up for the games against the newly promoted teams.
This is a starting average, I believe, but their aim should then be to go on from there. So, even saying they do that, they shall be restricting themselves by only allowing up to 60,000.
Perhaps they are not fans of Man United’s model of expansion by allowing for extra tiers to be added. So, if we ever have a window of opportunity to become a superpower, rather than effortlessly adding a new tier and buying that star player, we will spend our money knocking down a stand (including knocking down a freshly built corner) and will have to rebuild it, costing us those vital players and fans through the turnstyles in the process.
Even if we were to have a more conservative starting capacity of 55,000, if Everton were to have an average of 47,000 then you could comfortably predict that we could reach attendances of between 51-55,000 at least 5 times a year, worth about half a million pounds plus in extra money through the gate a year.
So what about the atmosphere playing in a half-full stadium v Stoke? Kirkby has not been designed for atmosphere anyway, regardless of how many people are in there, so it’s irrelevant. What about the rows of empty seats v Stoke, and what about the space on the footprint of the site?
An extra 5,000 is 3 rows of seats in the upper and lower tiers. Modern stadia struggle to hide empty seats because they are not as compact, they are far steeper and more spread out. However, Kirkby is very excessive for legroom (which also isn’t good for atmosphere as everyone is really spread out, neither is it good for views at the rear), with treads reaching 840mm in the upper tiers (St End 660mm, Park End 700mm). Now if the treads were reduced to 760mm, which satisfies the Green Guide I believe, then the footprint with three extra rows would be extended by less than a metre.
So again I’m stuck trying to find where their logic is in Kirkby. If this move happens, I will be desperately hoping to be proved wrong on the transport issue, but even if I am it just fails at the next hurdle.
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1 Posted 11/07/2009 at 22:31:38
For the lesser games against Stoke, Hull, Burnley, etc you might only expect 30,000 to turn up. Therefore reduce ticket sales or more importantly give or sell tickets to school kids, etc for next to nothing such as £1 or £5. This will fill the stadium up more, but more importantly give a better atmosphere.
2 Posted 11/07/2009 at 23:14:43
1. Kirkby has been capped at 50,401 by KMBC and unless the transport plans are improved may even be capped down to 40,000.
2. We ’ve got as much chance of getting 60,000 in Kirkby as Tranmere have of getting 100,000 in Prenton Park
3 Posted 11/07/2009 at 23:29:22
4 Posted 12/07/2009 at 02:55:45
The population has shrunk since then. There are more counter attractions and I would hazard a guess that the cost in real terms to the fan has risen too.
Back in the day, the price of a pint was less than the admission money, when was the last time you paid 25 quid for a pint?
Get the team winning and in the CL and you could charge what you wanted, the Corporate bods would be crawling on broken glass to get into the tent... sorry, Executive Marque.
Put the horse before the cart and get it moving first; and the need and the wherewithal to finance a proper Stadium will sort itself out.
5 Posted 12/07/2009 at 03:19:48
Even when we last won the title, our average attendance was in the lower mid-30k range.
Whether or not the global financial situation is resolved in 1 year’s time, or 10, I really don’t see how we can realistically expect to get another 10k on our average attendance.
6 Posted 12/07/2009 at 09:59:00
7 Posted 12/07/2009 at 10:18:14
8 Posted 12/07/2009 at 11:28:38
Going to the game was a ritual, a distraction and a social event. For years by the second barrier behind the goal in Gwladys St we knew everyone around us... we chose to stand together, as mates; now we’re spread all over the stadium
I go to the pub to go to the pub; if I just wanted alcohol I’d drink at home. Similarly, I’d not settle for watching Everton on the tele or PC but I know many match-going Blues who say, calmly and with sadness, they will not set foot in Kirkby.
"As the board are officially aiming for us to be the best in the country with this move..." could you expand and explain, please?
9 Posted 12/07/2009 at 11:34:28
Personally I feel a shared stadium is the answer, funded by the government out of a bid for a major football tournament. The truth is, whatever happens, not all the supporters will be happy.
What I do object to is the thought that fans "will not go to Kirkby". I support Everton FC not Goodison Park, not Walton traders, not Liverpool City Council.
Standing still is not an option for successful businesses either. The customer experience at Everton is pretty poor in reality. Parking near the ground is difficult, public transport is inadequate and the services and facilities at the ground are well out of date. I don’t know if Kirkby is the answer...
The answer seems to be that if you can get someone else to build you a stadium then you are in business to attract some real investment. If Kirkby fails, let’s see some real efforts to improve the Goodison experience. Moyes is doing his best on the football side and, despite all the bullshit, Blue Bill has delivered some real progress and stability on the pitch.
Whatever decision is made however, all Evertonians need to get behind the project.
10 Posted 12/07/2009 at 13:30:00
Tickets are realtively easy to come by now and I suspect a reasonable ammount of season ticket holders will let their tickets go and pick the better games they want to attend. With 10,000 more seats they should be much easier to buy.
If we dont sell out on a regular basis at Goodison I can't see why we would add 20% more fans at Kirkby. I’m positive we need a new/upgraded ground, I’ve never been pro-Kirkby and still remain of the opinion its not the right destination for us.
11 Posted 12/07/2009 at 13:50:03
"The stadium was originally described as a 55,000-seat stadium but was capped at 50,401 in this application; do you believe that a town of 42,000 after experiencing an influx and rapid departure of 50,000 supporters over a four-hour period, would agree to a 20% increase in capacity?”
“Yes, ask Mr Ellis of SDG.”
“Would you agree that this proposed stadium has clear and apparent access issues? In paragraph 7.1.3 you describe access as critical, yet you’re so concerned with access issues you’ve borrowed another tactic from Tesco and you’ve set up your own transport group, haven’t you?”
“Yes” Elstone agreed, “we have set up a group.”
“Do you agree that Evertonians of all ages should me made to walk up to 45mins, queue for buses that may or may not be available or wait in pens for over one hour and a half before being 'crush loaded' onto trains?”
Colin received no reply so he pushed on, “Have you considered that the old and the infirm will be the slowest to exit the stadium so, being last to arrive at the bus or coach facilities, they will wait the longest. I’m amazed that anyone would claim that this criterion has been met?”
Mr Piatt, acting for Everton FC, stated that the transport plan would need to be submitted to the council six months before operations began and that it would need to be agreed between Everton and the Council. Penalty clauses were already in place that could see the stadium’s capacity capped at 40,000 if modal share targets weren’t achieved over the first three seasons.
12 Posted 12/07/2009 at 14:40:22
We have a history of a few games a season being able to pull in big crowds. Therefore, IF we were to achieve 47,000 then we would need the help of attendances greater than 50,000 to make it easier to help us achieve this to make up for the lower attendances.
I am therefore questioning even further how are Everton going to get 47,000 a week to get that whopping £6million a year extra? If that is their target then they are making it harder for themselves to reach that.
John Kelly, The reason we ’only’ get 40,000 a few times a season is becase our capacity is capped at 40,000. This obscures what our potential is for one-off games.
Even recent derbys that didn’t sell out I know a number of Evertonians who were unable to get a ticket on the day of the match as they didn’t meet the criteria.
You also questioned what the atmosphere and what the stadium would look like when our support tails off. If you bothered to read the article you’d see that these two points were discussed.
Phil Bellis, you asked me to expand on a sentence ’officially aiming us to be the best with this move’. Key word is officially. They are not officially doing this move to benefit themselves are they? I am therefore making a mockery of their official reasons for doing this project.
13 Posted 12/07/2009 at 15:59:03
14 Posted 12/07/2009 at 15:26:59
Firstly, the massive crowds you cite for the one-off games are clearly a thing of the past. They were possible in a very different Goodison Park that had great expanses of terracing for standing fans, where ’crush loading’ truly applied! They have no relevance to this discussion.
It’s about current stadium capacity. Goodison Park is now limited to just over 40,000... yet Everton have consistently (in recent years) scored average attendances of around 36,000 — just 4,000 below capacity. And you’re questioning the ability of the club to achieve a slightly larger load factor in a shiny new stadium?
I strongly believe that the Everton attendance at Goodison Park for ’normal’ games is limited by the absolutely abysmal seat you get if you are not a season-ticket holder and you turn up on the day, or even pre-order your ticket. It's no coincidence that the current attendance shortfall of 4,000 is about the same as the number of obstructed seats at GP...
Now imagine the new stadium, a brilliant view from every seat. Yes, it may be a pain to get there, but you are guaranteed a great view of the entire pitch, even if it’s your only game of the season. So it's not unreasonable to assume that the marginal attendees will be much more interested in going the games.
How many marginal attendees do we have now? 23,000 season ticket holders — they ain’t marginal, even if they don’t attend every game. Add in 3,000 seats reserved for away fans... So that’s about 10,000 marginal attendees (on average) we’re talking about.
Of this number, a significant proportion (let’s say 50%) do actually attend most or all games. That would leave say 5,000 of the average attendance coming to only a portion of the games. The point of this is that those 5,000 actually represent a much larger number of real people — Everton fans who only attend anywhere from 1 to let’s say 15 games a season.
There could be anywhere from 20k to 50k or more actual fans in this itinerant category. And to get the average attendance up to 47,000, you only need these existing fans to come to 2, 3, 4, or 5 more matches each season.
Is that really going to be so difficult in a shiny new stadium? I don’t think so; we need to aim high, and I was glad to hear of Wyness talk of 75,000 — the bigger the better, if we really want to strive for greatness again. The only problem is that this may not be possible in Kirkby due to the transport/access issues.
But a BIG stadium is not the problem; I believe it’s a massive part of the solution to our woes.
15 Posted 12/07/2009 at 16:11:13
16 Posted 12/07/2009 at 18:50:59
Jason, Are you on some sort of medication ? The fans will NOT turn up irrespective of how the team plays. With an, in my opinion, expected increase in the admission price, how many folks are going to get the hump the first time things start to go tits up ?A start to the season like we have just witnessed in the last season will see many people disenchanted more or less immediately.
I cannot imagine that the admission price will stay the same. Let us all hope I am totally wrong.
17 Posted 12/07/2009 at 19:02:36
Knowsley Council will never allow the capacity to go above 50,400. In fact, unless the Club come up with a feasible transport policy we’ll be forced to leave up to 10,000 seats empty for every game on safety (transport, not in the stadium) grounds.
So let’s look at this and make it nice and simple for anyone that still does not get it:
The stadium is a second-rate design using very basic construction methods and materials.
Before it’s even built there is a significant doubt if it will be big enough should we succeed on the pitch.
There is a strong likelihood at present we will have to leave up to 20% of it empty during matches!
Even if we average 47,000, David Moyes will only gain £6m a year MAXIMUM extra in his transfer budget (which will buy what in a few years time???).
It has divided the fan base like nothing else.
How on earth can that be ’the best thing that ever happened to EFC’???
Re-build Goodison a la Villa Park or a shared stadium in Stanley Park. Why is it so hard to see these are the logical options?
18 Posted 12/07/2009 at 19:11:46
Middlesbrough, Sunderland, Reading, Southampton, Derby, Leicester, Coventry.
All prospered for a little while after lashing out on new Stadiums (don’t forget Everton have to find £100m in one go for this, rather than develop gradually) and all have now gone backwards on where they started. Apart from Sunderland who have only just avoided relegation and are stuck with Steve Bruce as manager and the likes of Fraizer Campbell as big signings despite an American investor.
New stadia mean nothing in themselves and often actually make things worse — even for the likes of Arsenal.
19 Posted 12/07/2009 at 19:01:12
Take sell-out derby’s now, Fiorentina game, Chelsea Semi-final, if our stadium capacity was not capped what attendances could we have got for them?
Everton estimated that we had a figure between 60-90,000 (they had an accurate figure it’s my memory that’ forgot but it was in that region) different people buying tickets for Everton last season. That pool of 10,000 people you mention were made up from say 35,000 (to go with the low estimate).
Add to that 35,000 you have those who have packed in going who could be incited to return if well marketed, or if ticket were repriced. Plus any new fans that we should be aiming to attract.
I am sure those who go to the Stoke match will want to go to a Fiorentina or Derby match, therefore out of that 35,000 pool those who can go will go. You can therefore see the potential in the one off matches.
So Everton want to raise the average by 11,000, as you say by getting that pool of fans to increase their attendances slightly.
Now assuming we can get 47,000 for a game v Stoke, I will tell you now that we can 57,000 easy v Liverpool.
However, I see it far more reasonable to go for 44,000 v Stoke etc, and a few big games per season get a big score in, say 55,000, to level off averages to 47,000.
Stadium capacity for me should be about how many you can get for a big match. I don’t ever want us to sell out. I only want us to come close to selling out. Why? Because that means our stadium is too small and we have lost revenue on ticket sales.
So if on our big matches we can only ever get 50,000 (on a limitless capacity), then we wont get 47,000 average.
So one of two things are wrong. Capacity or average target.
20 Posted 12/07/2009 at 19:53:25
21 Posted 12/07/2009 at 19:53:09
I agree with most of what you say. Everton,for the foreseeable future,and probably beyond,will never sell out more than 40k on a regular basis. We are trying to increase the capacity for the benefit of Utd,RS, or whoever fans, not our own. In our most successful seasons we couldn’t manage more than 51460, in the great 62-63 season. In our 80’s period we didn’t manage more than 32977,less than we get now. Anyone thinking we’ll get a regular 45k plus are off their head.
22 Posted 12/07/2009 at 19:57:18
23 Posted 12/07/2009 at 20:27:51
If we are to average 47,000 then we could easily attract 55,000 a few games a season.
24 Posted 12/07/2009 at 21:10:52
25 Posted 12/07/2009 at 21:22:29
Now these 10,000 aren’t the same 10000 people each week, these are made up of say 30,000 people who go on average say 6 times a season (random figures but a low estimate).
So, come a big match v Liverpool or Man U, rather than 10,000 out of that 30,000 wanting to go, it could be 20,000 out of those 30,000 wanting to go if not more. So as well as extra away fans, we could have an extra 10,000 of our own fans wanting to go. However this is obscured because of Goodison only holding 40,000.
Therefore if Everton think they’re getting 47,000 average then they’re making a mistake by having a capacity of 50,000. Either that or 47,000 is too high a target. Either way Everton have made a mistake.
26 Posted 12/07/2009 at 21:42:31
If we move to a 50,000 new stadium, how are we going to attract, up to 16,000 new fans, all of whom will have to pay more in ticket prices?
I agree about the obstructed view arguement at Goodison, but you can still see most of the game. The club should just reduce the price. If you want a season ticket for this coming season you can just turn up and buy one. We don’t sell out and don’t have massive queues or a season ticket waiting list. We sell half-season tickets, at Xmas time.
Hate to be pessimistic and would love us to play in a full 50,000 new stadium, but it ain’t gonna happen just yet.
Arsenal moved to a new stadium because they had a massive waiting list and could satisfy the demand. Man Utd keep expanding their ground for the same reason.
27 Posted 12/07/2009 at 22:08:13
A lot of people point to new stadiums as leading to an increase in attendance. St Mary’s, Riverside being two cases in point.
What people don’t mention is that these new stadiums were significantly larger than the ones they replaced. Ergo, increase in attendance due to demand for top flight football.
28 Posted 12/07/2009 at 22:43:54
I’m sorry David, but the prospect of looking at 16000 empty seats for every match bar two or three is just not on.I don’t know where you get your figures from but, be honest, we haven’t sold out for Derby matches for a couple of seasons, so if you think that we’ll attract those extra fans by moving to a sub-standard ground in Kirkby then you’re mistaken. I’ve been going to Goodison for 50 years but I’ll not be buying a season ticket if we move to Kirkby. I wouldn’t have to. There would be no shortage of empty seats.
29 Posted 12/07/2009 at 23:07:41
Re the view of empty seats I explained how this can be hidden by making the seats more compact.
30 Posted 13/07/2009 at 00:19:28
Everton are looking to build a new stadium with a capacity of 50,000; to make an acceptable profit, they need an average attendance of 47,000.
If Everton were to construct a new stadium to hold 60,000 fans, then, in order to make an acceptable profit, they’d be looking for an average attendance of 57,000.
If Everton were to construct a new stadium to hold 70,000 fans, then, in order to make an acceptable profit, they’d be looking for an average attendance of 67,000.
Can you see the pattern developing? Bigger stadiums cost more. And you need even more fans attending to provide anything like the same financial return.
47,000 out of 50,000 is a reasonable load factor;
47,000 out of 75,000 is not.
31 Posted 13/07/2009 at 08:53:03
It is however worth considering that one way to make the stadium appear more full than what is, is to make the seating more compact.
Making seating more compact is better for viewing distances to the rear and makes the venue more intimate and therefore more atmospheric.
An additional six rows while making the stadium more compact will use up less than a metre in space, meaning that this additional increase will be subsides by changes (and changes for the better) elsewhere.
32 Posted 13/07/2009 at 10:19:06
The reason Goodison rarely reaches the 40,000-mark is the swathes of empty seats in away end for all but three of our home games (United, the Shite and Arsenal).
We actually have a great turn out at 34,000 in my opinion when you consider the empty away seats and obstructed views. I could easily see that figure rising to 47,000 at Kirkby.
33 Posted 13/07/2009 at 13:20:41
I think you’ll find that we sold our allocation to away fans on more accasions than the three you mention. Newcastle, Stoke, Sunderland, West Brom, City and possibly more all brought a great away support with them. To say it’s just the three usual suspects is clouding the water here.
34 Posted 13/07/2009 at 14:50:40
With reduced prices, how many fans can we get to achieve the same revenue through the turnstiles?
35 Posted 13/07/2009 at 16:00:21
36 Posted 13/07/2009 at 16:13:50
37 Posted 13/07/2009 at 19:48:39
Over the past two seasons I have seen close hand the impact of the Arab channels in boozers, many a cold day or shiity Boro at home, I have seen lads say ’Fuck it’ and stayed in the local to watch it, and the added to time scale of getting a last minute taxi over will certainly add to this for Wirral blues.
And as for the obstructed view shout I am with Brian on this, if you want to see the blues enough, you will; we never sold out that derby cup game because it was on the box not because of obstructed views.
Yes, we should be aiming bigger but it will be a slow process, forgive me if I am wrong but last time we won the league we averaged 27,500. We have a regular fan base and dreams of 47,000 gates are a long way away.
38 Posted 13/07/2009 at 20:14:34
39 Posted 14/07/2009 at 07:48:46
The Kirby option is patently flawed and in any event has been so divisive that it’s time to move on. A world class stadium share makes so much more sense. It’s very common in Australia and other countries. I understand the desire to have our own stadium, after all it’s what we grew up with and it is very special but we live in different times and need a smarter fix. I think the best thing we could do for the club is to knock heads with right people and build a scouse super stadium.
40 Posted 16/07/2009 at 17:34:20
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