Born and brought up in Liverpool, I left in 1974 after getting married; my job took me all over UK, even abroad (Switzerland for 4 years), and we finally settled on the South Coast since 1989. I recently retired and have managed to watch the Blues over the years, 2-3 times a year at Goodison Park, and virtually every year at Southampton, Portsmouth, Crystal Palace, or Reading when they have been in the Premier League... and even Chelsea 3 years ago.

Well for the first time ever, my Southampton mates (who are Southampton season ticket holders) made it to Goodison yesterday (I couldn’t go due to a family commitment in bloody Liverpool). After speaking to them today, back down here, it got me thinking how both clubs’ fortunes have improved on the pitch and yet, off the pitch, they are miles ahead of us. [More later…]

My mates thought that in Barkley, Coleman, McCarthy and Lukaku we had real top-notch talent that should push us all the way to a top 4 place. They stated that, on the few occasions the crowd got roused, the noise was terrific, but it was few and far between. The real negative – Goodison Park itself: a real dump of a ground... it might have history but for views, facilities, comfort and safety it was the worst they have visited this season.

How have Southampton managed to get a excellent 35,000-seater, state-of-the-art, stadium? How have Southampton generated funds to lash out nett £40M this season, nett £33M last season, on players, and yet still (credit to them) they have produced, Bale, Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlin, and now Shaw and Lallana over the last few years?

Well, to do all this, they literally went bust in 2006-ish and were taken over by the Swiss family Liebhrr’s (Mechanical, Cranes etc, giants in Europe) for a paltry £15M, ground included, which cost only £30M to build back in 2000 (Southampton Council give them the land for free). The key to the Liebhrr’s was there was no asset investment (ground) required. And now, even though the head of the family has recently died, the family remain committed to getting Southampton FC as far as possible. To me, Goodison Park is the like the piece of concrete attached to us, dragging us down year by year; yet, while we continually strive to deliver on the pitch, I just can’t see us delivering off it whilst we have Goodison Park. There will come a point in time when we just will not be able to reside at Goodison Park any longer; and while Bill Kenwright (and I’m not knocking him, as no bugger else has committed monies, time and energy) and his board hanker for their return on their outlays, I can’t see anyone like the Liebhrr’s coming in to save us.

The outlay required — whatever best guess anyone has (£200M? £300M??) is just too much. Should we face reality, get ourselves in a position which will attract the big buyers, and build ourselves a 35,000-seater, bowl-shaped, cheapish stadium for £50-60M.... gotten from a Barkley sale!!!!

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Derek Thomas
1 Posted 31/12/2013 at 06:31:11
All very well and good as a new year wish list. But if going bust is the first requirement for progress you won't get many to agree to that no matter how much they drink tonight.

A stadium for 50-60 mill. If we had that cash or even a portion of it, just where would you put this new Boys pen Bill Bowl. No I don't think that will happen.

Sell Barkley, to raise the cash, not going to happen, even if it does there are other calls on the cash before spunking it all on the Kenwrightdome.

The ground can be rebuilt one side at a time and to do this we have to get lucky on the field / invest this window, have a decent run in the CL and do it again next season.

If we don't do at least half of that then the chance will have passed us by

These next 2 seasons are shit or bust. Martinez won't stay ( or be allowed to stay ) 11 yrs. He will jump or be pulled if in 4 yrs or so, if he sees he is flogging a dead horse and who could blame him. He'll be 44-5 in his prime.

As for Southampton, they have a decent team but all the angst Re the ground you seem to think is coming from them is just sour grapes If they'd won they would've been full of how good it was coming to a 'traditional stadium' and winning.

We might have problems, but they would swop in an instant, their new ground, go back to the Dell if it meant being were we are today.

No disrespect to them but they and others are called yoyo team for a reason. If you looked in the dictionary for yoyo team if the picture wasn't of them it would be somebody similar.

Our problems are many, but we have to generate the money via on field success, there will be no white knight, no Russian with snow on his boots, no sons of the desert. We have our own stan and Ollie sitting up in the directors box and there is the real problem.

I don't have a solution other than hope that Martinez can work a miracle and buy us via on field success some cash and time to spend it...wisely

Iain Johnston
2 Posted 31/12/2013 at 07:48:12
Southampton have one team, the council can offer them as much land as they please. St Mary's doesn't have competition either for staging concerts or the like. Imagine the uproar across the park if the guys on Water St offered us a prime location to build on for free?.

I would also add both clubs histories are entirely different. Southampton are not expected to be successful, there is no pressure there for them to be challenging for a European place, if they finish tenth no one will bat an eyelid..

BUT, the owners have forked out over £70m in two seasons, they will soon want to start seeing a return on their investment or these players you have mentioned will be sold and where will Soton be then?

Jags has commented about the monkey on our back. The Red Shite must have a gorilla on theirs, look at the money they have spent and for what?. They now pay a striker £225k a week.... To be fifth. It will just get harder for them. Their fans talk of the late 70s and 80s like it was yesterday. It's all gone.

There are many "smaller" EPL clubs who have invested heavily on pitch personnel these past 3/5 years without reward, where will they be in another 5?.

A lot of us commented on here regarding the money these clubs spent in the summer, where are they in relation to us?.

As for Goodison, well, I go to watch the team play, the customer retail offer is secondary but i'll say this. In 30yrs of going on my own, I've never failed to buy a brew or food when the mood takes me and I've never been in a position where I couldn't watch the action.

Mike, Derek is right. They'd swap places with us in a heart beat.

Thomas Lennon
3 Posted 31/12/2013 at 08:50:51
Totally different social backgrounds between these two. Merseyside teams prospered on fanatical support of many – but are now easily outspent by those with larger wallets and richer fans and yes, larger more modern stadiums. There is far more relatively untapped disposable income in several parts of the south (hence why owners are/were buying up Portsmouth, Southampton) compared with Merseyside, all they have to do is persuade people to spend it on football. St Mary's (cap 32,000) is part of that effort. In this brave new world they are not that far behind us already – turnover £33 million in 6 months since being in the Prem. They can increase prices and increase turnover.

Our crowd cannot spend as much as easily. Few want to pay for those awful obstructed seats bringing our true working capacity down to 34-36,000? True, fans who are less fanatical will not attend when times are bad or tend to travel as much to away games so perhaps we have a more solid fan base that has held administration at bay but we need those types of fans too.

Goodison Park is holding us back in financial terms. It has been at the bottom of the 'quality of experience' league tables for a long time now. It is an interesting historical curiosity for most visiting fans but clearly not a very pleasant experience for most.

Fanatical fans will move to wherever the club goes, monied fans want to see some comfort for their money (for their guests as well as themselves) as well as good footy. The brutal truth is that Kirkby is/was about what we can afford and a risk we must take sooner rather than later.

Paul Mackie
4 Posted 31/12/2013 at 09:50:15
There's no reason we can't redevelop Goodison though other than the board saying "just because". I was reading this the other day and it was making me so angry that we don't have a board with the vision to make something like this happen:

Ray Roche
5 Posted 31/12/2013 at 09:45:18
Some good and interesting comments already on this thread, comparing us to Southampton, and I don't really want to start up a Kirkby debate again, however, my own opinion is that if we had moved to a new stadium in Kirkby we would have been finished as a top club.

According to the Prems own fans survey taken about 5-6 years ago, Everton were the club, from what we might call the "Big Clubs" , with the largest percentage of fans who either walked to the ground or at least travelled the shortest distance. Moving to a new ground on the outskirts would damage the attendances.

A new ground is something that may be desirable but can't be some soulless bowl on a retail development. Boro, Portsmouth, Reading, Derby, Bolton, Wigan and Birmingham were the only clubs with supporters travelling less than us and every one of those would swap places with us now and four of those gained little lasting benefit from new grounds.

I think Iain Johnston makes good points with his post, and I would sooner us get more success on the pitch with team investment than a shiny new seat and more leg room. Stuff me, there is even a debate about standing at matches now.

David Hallwood
6 Posted 31/12/2013 at 12:36:27
The problems are twofold, or even threefold...

Firstly, redeveloping GP is an option but the club would have to buy some of the land around the ground. Unfortunately, as the RS found out some years ago, all you need is one obstinate tenant, and that could take years.

The second option is a move away from GP to somewhere else in the city, but if there is objections from residents' groups, that would also take years.

The only other option is move to a green field site... DK anyone? IMHO (and just about everyone else) we missed the boat at the Kings' Dock (no pun intended), and I cannot think of a similar patch of land within the city that is suitable and that wouldn't be controversial.

Barry Rathbone
7 Posted 31/12/2013 at 13:03:16
How much would getting the pillars out and increasing capacity to 50k cost at GP ?

When I look at the list of clubs with new stadia only the extremely tenuous example of City seems a winner and that's a rental!

According to Arsenal fans their increased t/o is of benefit only to board members lining their pockets.

The Southampton story appears a roll of the dice rather than any marvelous plan - (they went bust didn't they via this new stadium??)

If I remember correctly they had their own version of the "Venkys" before being baled out by the present owners.

Replacing GP has to be a world class operation (as kings Dock was) but it's not happening so surely a pillarless 50k GP is not beyond the wit of man at decent money.

Paul Mackie
8 Posted 31/12/2013 at 14:14:40
There's no reason we can't redevelop GP at all. Now is precisely the time to be doing at as we've got extra money from the TV deal that hasn't yet been absorbed by players and agents. This cash will more than cover the loss of revenue if we have to rebuild stands during the season. As ever though our shortsighted, useless board of wankers are just sat on their arses doing bugger all.
Steavey Buckley
9 Posted 31/12/2013 at 14:13:12
At present, Everton have not that type of money to buy a new stadium and borrowing it is definitely out of the question. Re-modelling GP would be a planning permission nightmare. There could be some modest re-modelling, but planning permission appeals would certainly make it not possible (but not improbable) to re-build all the stands, by making them higher and offering more corporate hospitality and executive boxes to generate more income and make GP appear more attractive and appealing.

The idea there is a billionaire in the shadows waiting to take over Everton FC has to be taken lightly. He/she would have to fork out quite a considerable amount of money to build a new stadium, but their money could keep Martinez happy buying the right type of players (and keeping them as well) and offering them the right salaries.

Kevin Tully
10 Posted 31/12/2013 at 14:41:31
Don't forget that GP is not mortgage free. I think they took out the stadium loan in 2002, so that's a possible 13 years left on that loan if it was over a 25 year period.

Then you have another two directors with a substantial holding - who knows what their plans or thoughts are on a sale?

Our finances and commercial deals are all tied in to long term contracts, which would all cost a fortune to be released from.

Add to the fact the asking price has allegedly got numerous conditions of sale attached to it, would you want to invest your hard earned clearing up the financial mess left by the current custodians?

I did laugh when Elstone said at the EGM they had identified a site within the City - but don't expect any movement on this for at least 5 years!!

I've told my missus I have a site in mind to build a new mansion on - she told me to stop dreaming.

Iain Johnston
11 Posted 31/12/2013 at 15:24:08
Wasn't there an idea floating around about a stadium in Walton Hall Park tied to a Sainbury's?
Iain Johnston
12 Posted 31/12/2013 at 15:32:04
I think Stamford Bridge is very similar to Goodison. KSS did a very good job renovating the Stadium in the '90s.
Mark Taylor
13 Posted 31/12/2013 at 15:45:41
I don't think the returns are there for a new ground, especially at our existing ticket price levels. We don't usually sell out what we have. I think the big revenue growth is going to come from building a global presence- ex UK TV revenue is already the largest single revenue source and the sponsorship potential if huge, if we can start to get Everton talked about globally. The one thing we do need in that case is much better corporate hospitality but that surely is possible within the current footprint?
Harold Matthews
14 Posted 31/12/2013 at 16:00:40
What a dismal thread for New Years Eve.
Dennis Ng
15 Posted 31/12/2013 at 16:10:25
Mark, my thoughts too as well. I can't remember which team I was looking at but 40k seems to be about there. Unless our new stadia is in the range of 50% more capacity AT LEAST, ROI is non existent. I'm surprised by the mention of lack of hospitality though. Shouldn't that be like the first thing for "The People's Club"? That should be the focus in my mind as we try to reassert ourselves into the EPL elite.
Noel Early
16 Posted 31/12/2013 at 18:00:47
Kings Dock was our chance and we blew it. The only hope we have is a ground share with the other mob, but the usual heritage and pride brigade won't stand for it. Another stumbling block is they don't need us as much as we need them. Harsh maybe but the truth.

Goodison is the main stumbling block for a potential buyer also... well, along with Kenwright and his astronomical price tag, whatever that is.

Pat Finegan
17 Posted 31/12/2013 at 18:26:31
I havent read the whole thread so if someone else has mentioned this, sorry.

We could temporarily sell naming rights to the stadium. We could call it "Goodison Park at [Chang, Nike, Red Bull, etc.] Stadium." Contract it out for ~£10m per year. Each year, use that money to improve/rebuild a stand. The money could go some way toward offsetting the lack of bodies in seats during renovations and pay for the work itself.

Ticket prices could also be raised for however many years it takes with a promise to bring prices back down after the renovations are complete. I don't think the regular match goers would have an issue with that, provided the renovations are actually done.

Derek Thomas
18 Posted 31/12/2013 at 23:41:32
The is money out there, the global profile is out there, sad to say so are all the know nothing plastic southern, norwegian, asian, who ever glory hunters band wagon jumper oners ( you know, the ones with the real money ) but it's all linked to on-field success.

As I said previous, we have a small window of opportunity for the Martinez revolution / miracle to kick in to give us this on-field success.

Regular CL money is the key, so invest as much as we safely can in the team, then do the ground up one end at a time. It might take 15 yrs. or more.

But do it.

Starting this window.

Matt Traynor
19 Posted 01/01/2014 at 08:11:21
I find it amusing that some fans think "Kirkby was all we can afford". How were they going to pay for it again? No, they weren't. They were going to sell the club with a planning consent for someone else to come in and build the mid-level stadium with no ancillary revenue and incumbent access difficulties representing a risk to match day attendance ergo primary revenue.

I could imagine there would've been a queue of buyers for that opportunity.

King's Waterfront remains the true chance the club had, and they blew it. The failure of the Kirkby plan to get planning permission will, in time, prove to be a blessing.

Eric Myles
20 Posted 01/01/2014 at 08:39:32
The OP fails on so many levels.

First, if we were for sale for £15 mn like Southampton there'd be plenty of buyers willing to invest, even selling the Club at the original purchase price.

If BK and his cronies, being the OWNERS of the Club, don't invest money then who else do you think should?

£50-£60mn spent on refurbishing GP will give us a greater capacity, and therefore more income, than a new 35,000 seater stadium. By the way did you figure in land costs into your new stadium calcs? Didn't think so, you're probably still expecting the 'free' land in Kirkby to materialise.

Peter Lee
21 Posted 01/01/2014 at 11:06:36
Can anyone give me three sound commercial reasons why anyone would want to buy a football club?

Can anyone make a case for one good reason why anyone would be mad not to go for Everton?

Sam Hoare
22 Posted 01/01/2014 at 11:37:13
Not sure Southhampton are necessarily a yo-yo team or have reason to be jealous of us.

They may be below us in the table but have a lucrative stadium, strong financial backing and a team packed full of talented youngsters. Possibly their first team is worth more than ours ( not including loan players) and they have money to spend in the window.

Matt Traynor
23 Posted 01/01/2014 at 11:44:47
Sam #829, I think the point was they spent time in the lower leagues - they even dropped to the third tier recently. But then Man City were in a similar position a few years ago.

I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure Southampton went into administration twice in that period.

Andy Hegan
25 Posted 02/01/2014 at 13:30:22
Noel 694. I don't know if you have visited the San Siro but apparently Milan share it with some small local club by the name of Internazionale, who have a small gift shop and trophy room as well as a much inferior dressing room to their much more illustrious and media preferred hosts.

In fact, come to think of it, the Allianz Arena has a similar arrangement whereby Bayern Munich kindly put up with a local interloper whose identity is not worth mentioning.

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