The Bramley-Moore capacity debate

Is there sufficient demand for a 60,000-seat stadium and what does the capacity of the new ground say about Everton's ambition?

Paul The Esk 23/03/2018 115comments  |  Jump to last

The great Bramley-Moore capacity debate rumbles on with seemingly contradictory comments in recent weeks, vacillating from greater ambition as stated at the beginning of the year to a more cautious approach last week “future-proofing” not growth. This was topped yesterday by the club’s official statement regarding 99% of respondents wished to have a stadium with a capacity "greater than 50,000".

I’m going to begin by saying that the club should really just have the fortitude to say “X” is the capacity, we’ve done our research, done our costings, the architect agrees and that’s it. Sure, there’d be some moans if it’s at the lower end of the scale but, if it’s announced as a final decision, then there’s little or nothing the fans can do about it.

Instead we have a situation that allows fans and people like me to speculate and present our cases as I’m about to do now. The club are well intentioned in asking for fan comments, I can accept that on matters relating to atmosphere and matchday experience; however, allowing the debate to continue on more fundamental aspects, particularly surrounding the business model, seems to demonstrate (again) a lack of leadership.

For the record, I believe the major factors determining the final capacity are as follows:

  • Cost, budget and availability of capital
  • Technical/design considerations
  • Demand
  • Ambition

I’m going to focus on the last two in this article – demand and ambition.

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I’ve heard it said that it is thought that the demand is not there to support a 60,000 or above capacity stadium.

One of the justifications for this is that we “struggle” to sell 40,000 seats at Goodison.  Even if true (which I don’t accept on the evidence of full houses for the last two years, 12 months of which was some of the poorest football seen at Goodison in a generation), there would be very strong mitigating circumstances in terms of not all away fans take their full allocation, the general poor state of an antiquated ground and facilities, the many poor sight lines and “letter box views”. and most importantly the number of obstructed views where one or both goals are obscured by pillars.

Anecdotally, there’s numerous stories of fans who won’t go to the game for the above reason. Despite that, a 100,000 unique home fans have attended one game or more in the last two seasons which demonstrates the demand for non-regular attendance – that at a time when perhaps less than 3,000 tickets would be available to home non-season ticket holders per game, almost of all of which offering the worst views in the stadium.

Whilst every club has its own set of circumstances, it’s possible to quantify the impact of a new stadium on attendances. Since 1998, 32 league clubs have moved into a new stadium. When one compares the average attendances of the 5 years prior to moving with the 5 years after, the average rise in attendances is 62%.

When one looks at clubs with an old stadium utilisation rate (i.e. % of capacity) greater than 80%, then there’s some startling rises in 5 year averages including Arsenal 57%, Southampton 94%, Derby County 90% and Sunderland 135%. The one relatively poor performer in this context is Manchester City at just 34%.

Of course, other factors can come into play, the old Dell at Southampton was hopelessly outdated and small, but on the flip side Arsenal identified demand for a much bigger increase in capacity than to 60,000. It was only the planning process that restricted the build to 60,000.

What is interesting about Arsenal is that historically, up to the point where they moved to the Emirates, their attendances and ours show a great similarity. In fact, if you take the averages from 1894 when they joined the Football League up to their last season at Highbury, we pip them with an average of 31,027 to 30,972.

Liverpool FC, with impeccable timing, have announced their plans to go to 60,000. I really believe Liverpool’s positioning as an international club, a Premier League experience destination, and with an artificially low season ticket number give us tremendous opportunities in our own city. I don’t use the “senior club in the city” tag lightly. We have a tremendous opportunity through the new stadium, the redevelopment of Goodison Park, the regeneration opportunity more widely, as well as our immense latent support, to become the preferred footballing destination in the City welcoming fans new to football and returning Evertonians.

I’ve stated in previous articles that we can attract 60,000 crowds through a segmented marketing approach which requires fewer sales in each category than similarly sized clubs.


The most difficult factor to quantify is ambition. One could argue that spending the thick end of £0.5bn on a new stadium demonstrates ambition, but we have to view ambition in the context of what other clubs, particularly those we wish to compete against, are doing. Look at Spurs, backing themselves with a 72% increase in capacity.

That should be the measuring stick by which our ambition is judged. I am sure around the boardroom there’s talk of ambition but I’m not convinced there’s talk of our relative ambition.  Putting it another way, do other clubs talk of higher ambitions than we do? On the basis of results relating to commercial performance and business models, the answer over many years has been a resounding Yes.

Why is the 60,000 so important to Everton fans? It’s important for two reasons in my mind. Firstly, the message it sends to the rest of the Premier League. It makes a statement that we’re prepared to invest and build comparable to our nearest competitors. It states that after 30 years we’re putting ourselves up there with our peers.

The second factor is of course revenues. It would appear reading between the lines that the fear of not filling the seats is the driving factor, not necessarily the cost. We, the fans, realise that revenues are vital in the modern game. We have seen with our own eyes the effect of not being competitive financially and the impact on the pitch. We also recognise that a larger capacity reduces the requirement for significant price increases for ordinary fans, particularly if the executive/premium seats are properly priced and sold.

Fans know the fan base best

It is the idea that the club might think it can’t sell the seats that is so galling. As fans, we know our own fan base better than anyone. The near 40,000 who attend Goodison Park know, for want of a better term, “market conditions” better than any survey or consultation will ever provide. The fans have a unique insight into future fan behaviour. It is their friends, family members and work-mates who will make up the additional numbers. The fans know why so many other fans don’t attend on match days currently – mostly related to the poor facilities and match watching experience – despite the love most Evertonians, match-going or not, have for Goodison.

For almost all Blues, this is not some vanity project that we must have a certain capacity just for the sake of it. We can enjoy the vanity of an amazing location, design, and match-day experience in the years to come – it’s about ensuring, just as we ask for on the pitch, that the board and the club leave nothing on the table. By doing so and ensuring a successful outcome, the project immediately becomes de-risked.

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Reader Comments (115)

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Ben Dyke
1 Posted 23/03/2018 at 16:03:00
Good article. I think ultimately the site itself will dictate the capacity more or less. I'd love to see 60k+ but is it a total disaster if it ends up being 55k-?
Lawrence Green
2 Posted 23/03/2018 at 16:50:05
I agree with Paul, wouldn't it have been much better for the club to have stated that this – whatever number they have in mind – is the capacity we can afford or justify? Or, as somebody mentioned on another forum, the maximum capacity which can be built on this particular site?

If that observer was correct in his argument that 50k was pushing the site to its limits, then surely the designated site is the wrong one for Everton Football Club?

Lawrence Green
3 Posted 23/03/2018 at 17:02:24
Just had a crazy thought, but given the funding package that Everton FC are seeking from the council and the methods of repayment of the loan, eg, season ticket revenue etc, is there truly any incentive to greatly increase the capacity of the stadium above 50k?
Amit Vithlani
4 Posted 23/03/2018 at 17:54:10
"The most difficult factor to quantify is ambition. One could argue that spending the thick end of £0.5bn on a new stadium demonstrates ambition, but we have to view ambition in the context of what other clubs, particularly those we wish to compete against are doing. Look at Spurs, backing themselves with a 72% increase in capacity.

That should be the measuring stick by which our ambition is judged."

I am no expert on this subject, but looking at the most critical financial aspect, ie, revenue generation, stadium capacity is only one factor. The others are:

1. Ticket Prices. If there is all this pent-up demand, the club can reduce the building costs by building a smaller stadium and charging higher ticket prices. This can still achieve the same revenues.

2. Use of the stadium on non-matchdays. A well designed structure with good access and parking could be used for concerts and events.

3. Use of space. The design of Wembley was inspired – not the horrendous arch, but the shape which created space for offices and shops. The walk way is populated by small retail complexes and a hotel. Great way of paying off the land costs.

From a footballing point of view, the design drives atmosphere as much as the number of seats. London Stadium, Etihad and Emirates are inferior atmosphere-wise to the Stadium of Light, despite having bigger capacity.

Lastly, stadium size does not correlate to "big club"; revenue does. A big chunk of revenues come from broadcasting, sponsorship and merchandising. These will not necessarily be greater in a 60,000 vs 50,000 stadium. They will be greater if the team delivers on the pitch.

Liverpool, Chelsea, Atletico Madrid and Juventus are still power houses despite having lower capacities than AC Milan, Inter Milan and Dortmund and have given the titans occupying big stadiums in Barca, Bayern, Real Madrid, Man City and Man Utd a run for their money in the trophy winning stakes.

Liverpool and Chelsea have announced expansion plans but I don't understand why their stadium capacity is relevant to ours.

Size does not matter, it's what you do with it.

Anthony Murphy
5 Posted 23/03/2018 at 18:16:49
The answer – safe standing home end?
Dermot Byrne
6 Posted 23/03/2018 at 18:21:22
Good point, Anthony. My view is standing will be back in a few years
Lawrence Green
7 Posted 23/03/2018 at 18:55:40
Amit #4

I understand fully why the capacity of Anfield, Stamford Bridge etc are relevant to Everton FC. Revenue! If we invest half a billion pounds in the project, albeit spread over a long period of time, and still find ourselves financially falling behind those clubs we are competing against, then couldn't it be argued that we have shot ourselves in the foot? Again!

Capacity isn't the be-all and end-all but it is relevant because a conservative approach to any part of the business is what's got us into the situation we find ourselves in today, and a conservative approach – no matter how much the club invests – will keep us on the same direction of travel for the foreseeable future.

It's as if those who run the club feel that we will never be able to fully compete with our peers – no matter what we do – and, to be honest, they may be right, because of the 25-year head start we gave to those other clubs.

Phil Walling
8 Posted 23/03/2018 at 19:09:19
I can't help thinking how fortunate is the Club to have all these experts so ready and willing to donate their advice on a subject of what most of them know nothing!
Dermot Byrne
9 Posted 23/03/2018 at 19:20:59
Phil... we are all experts in our homes and circle of friends. Over my 57 years in architecture, I know exactly how many rivets are needed, never mind the design!

Think about it, this is such an important thing that we will all have a view. Fair enough. Mine, 60,000 seats – that may increase when standing comes back. Can it be done? Absolutely no idea.

I just hope the opinions don't descend into a pointless vitriolic keyboard fight just because there is no game this weekend.

Kevin Tully
10 Posted 23/03/2018 at 19:24:18
Whilst Goodison seems like home to a lot of us, we shouldn't lose sight of the fact it's a relic that belongs in the '70s. How does a player we are trying to attract, who has played for some massive clubs view us as a club? As Moshiri himself said, we are a museum (ran by people who should have long since retired.)

Players want executive boxes for their families on a match day thrown in for nothing, they want the kudos of playing for a modern club with incredible facilities. Bill's stories of Uncle Cyril and his handlebars no longer cut it, I'm afraid.

We need to move; if it's to a 50,000 capacity stadium with an iconic design and feel to it, then I don't think many would complain after looking at riveted steel columns for so many years. I realise we should ideally be aiming for 60,000, but with this club and all the failed schemes they have presided over, I'll take a new 50,000 beautiful new stadium any day, thank you.

The 'fans consultation process' is just a smokescreen to try and keep some traction under the project whilst finance is being raised. Be happy with a few Leitch type crosses around the ground on a bit of plastic cladding, because that's all they will take from Goodison.

Lawrence Green
11 Posted 23/03/2018 at 19:42:34
Nice one, Phil (#8). It must be fantastic to have such a low opinion of your fellow contributors – nobody on here has claimed to be an expert about anything, just some of us like to discuss the merits, issues and drawbacks of a project that will have a major impact upon the club we follow, for long after most of us have left this earth.

John Cartwright
12 Posted 23/03/2018 at 19:42:34
I am one of the 2 per cent who voted for over 70k. I must be stupid when we can aspire in our new mini-stadium to achieve 6th which seems to be what some are advocating.
Guy Hastings
13 Posted 23/03/2018 at 20:21:40
Phil (#8) – you missed out 'not know how anyhow' at the end of the sentence.
Dermot Byrne
14 Posted 23/03/2018 at 20:28:21
I'll buy the tumbleweeds to blow through it on most matchdays ,John (#12). What if I post we should have 100,000? Is that aspiration or me being daft?

Harder to work out than Davies being a great prospect or Championship standard.

Still, keeps TW threads going when there is no game.

Brian Williams
16 Posted 23/03/2018 at 20:53:54
I can't help thinking" ..............Go on just try'n not to.,"I can't help thinking" . Go on just try'n not to.,,,1,20:51:02,,,ok,856,03/23/2018 20:51:02,Brizey,reader,, 906750,36436,toffeeweb,23/03/2018,Mike Keating,,"A Bola is a daily footy paper which scours the bottom of the rumour bin for scraps and, when it can't find any, circulates its own rubbish. It's like the Sun devoted entirely to fantasy football!
James Morgan
17 Posted 23/03/2018 at 21:16:00
My maths says 60,000 would be a 50% increase on current capacity, that would be a big jump. As mentioned, we have to find the balance between ambition and expecting too much. I'd be happy with 50,000 with the potential to expand.
David McMullen
18 Posted 23/03/2018 at 21:17:38
Great article, Paul, pretty much what I believe.

I think, One: This ground move is a tremendous opportunity to reestablish ourselves with the "elite" clubs and make a statement of our intent, of our ambition.

Two: you suggest the fear of not filling the seats is the driving factor; this is also backed up by Meis's recent tweets on not wanting an empty stadium and defining 'intimate' as a smaller capacity. Why should we be the only 'big' club not able to fill a big stadium?

Three: fans know the fanbase best; someone at the club is driving this low unambitious capping on the capacity... I can hazard a guess at who. I don't believe that person knows our fanbase at all and has a small-time mentality.

But, if we get a new stadium which is state-of-the-art, the attitude now is who cares if it's 50k? Posts either side appear to accept this 50k suggestion. I guess we have to settle for a less ambitious stadium then, aye?! NSNO.

Danny Baily
19 Posted 23/03/2018 at 21:18:38
50k seems about right.

Man City are champions in waiting and can't get 50k. We're better than that lot but I wouldn't want a 60k stadium when serving up the current dross.

Having said that, I'll be amazed if it comes off at all.

Lev Vellene
20 Posted 23/03/2018 at 21:22:20
The real question is, can they make a 60k stadium that is still as intimidating as we want it?

With the reported waiting lists, and a move away from the obstructed views of Goodison etc., I think an aim for 60k is not so far-fetched! It would require our team to actually start doing better than they are today, though!

Karl Masters
21 Posted 23/03/2018 at 21:34:12
I'm convinced we'd sell out 60,000 easily.

We also have to make sure we at least match the likes of Spurs and West Ham.

I agree that being conservative is what has held this Club back for a very long time indeed. Back in the 80s, I wrote to Jim Greenwood, Club Secretary, imploring them to develop the Park End. I got a very sniffy reply, but in 1991 the club revealed plans for a 10,000 seat double-decker stand. Brilliant, except that, two years later, they changed their minds and decided on the structure that's there now – single tier, 6,000 seats and 80% funded by a grant!

I wrote to Mr Greenwood again. He informed me the Board were confident that 40,000 was ‘more than enough for now and the next generation'. Well, 25 years later, and I think we can safely say you got that one wrong, Jim! As soon as the new stand was built the average leapt 9,000 a game (over 40%) in one season and by another 5,000 in the following season and has stayed at a similar level for 20+ years despite some terrible football at times and no trophies.

Based on that alone it's obvious to me that the crowds will jump massively. For the love of God, don't make the same mistakes again please!


Anthony Murphy
22 Posted 23/03/2018 at 21:44:31
50,000? Not a bad capacity for those Europa League Thursdays... eh, fellas!
Peter Lee
23 Posted 23/03/2018 at 21:45:17
Dan Meis made the point that, if clubs could generate more money from 100,000 seaters, then they would build them. They don't because maximising net income means a smaller capacity makes sense.

There is no doubt that the club will have engaged consultants to offer evidenced-based advice on what would be the optimum. That wraps into site, finances, engineering limitations, etc.

Numbers over time tell us little. There was a post-war boom in attendances that wasn't sustained. When we won the league in 1970, our average gate was around 47,000. Capacity was 63,000. There were games when the ground was barely half-full and this was the team of Ball, Kendall and Harvey, et al.

Commentators predicted that attendances would decline with an increase in live football; it hasn't happened. But it might. It might not. Nobody can predict.

As for the fans knowing about such things, I can guess as well as anyone but as for knowing why people don't go I haven't a clue. Even if I did, extrapolating that would be foolish.

I know for example, that me and eight mates enjoy a pint of cask ale in comfortable surroundings before and after games. A tenth drinks Guinness. I can't say that 100% of men of a certain age would turn up at Bramely-Moore at 12:30 if there were warm, comfortable seats and a choice of cask beers and draught Guinness for Tommy. Us ten would. How about it Dan?

Laurie Hartley
24 Posted 23/03/2018 at 21:58:53
Phil (#8) – I don't know what you did for a crust before you retired but I think you are underestimating the potential of your fellow ToffeeWebbers.

I would bet you that a highly skilled and experienced team of experts could be drawn from the ToffeeWeb membership more than capable of delivering a new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock.

There may be more but, off the top of my head, these key areas of expertise would be required:

1. Architecture
2. Finance & Estimating
3. Earthworks
4. Formwork and Scaffolding
5. Structural Steel
6. Concrete
7. Craneage & Rigging
8. Electrical & Lighting
9. Plumbing & Drainage
10. Finishing Trades
11. Project Management.

After 37 years in the construction game here in Melbourne, I reckon I could put my hand up for number 4 on the list and I would be able to make a worthwhile contribution on numbers 6 & 7.

I think Paul the Esk may have number 2 covered but, from what I have seen, he would be ably assisted by Amit who seems to me to be a "numbers man" of some note.

It would be interesting to hear from other TW'rs on their areas of expertise. It might also be a bit of fun for us to have a ToffeeWeb Stadium design competition where we could submit our own individual designs to Michael and Lyndon.

I have got mine drawn up in my head already.

ps: Got to be 60,000. I have been in Goodison in the sixties with gates of just over 50,000 and the joint was heaving despite a then capacity of well over 60,000.

Don Alexander
25 Posted 23/03/2018 at 22:37:55
Peter Lee (#23),

I don't say this to disrespect what you say but throughout the late 60s and entire 70s, at least, the whole country was financially bolloxed by the devaluation of the pound in '67, rampant inflation, strikes (some more than justified, some outrageously trumped up) and in the case of the City of Liverpool we'd unknowingly been effectively put on the "managed decline" road later turned into government policy by Thatcher.

In short, in the late 60s/70s times were hard in terms of affording football match admission costs. Your comments about Goodison's crowds are, I'm confident, statistically valid but I just think that every other club "suffered" to a similar degree or worse.

Derek Thomas
26 Posted 23/03/2018 at 22:58:33
Pretty much covers all the bases, Esk. There is always going to be a trade-off of various factors: a, b, c & d vs e, f, g & h.

The 3 bottom lines are: (i) we're not made of money; (ii) the site is a fixed size; and (iii) there are only so many supporters... however much the "build it and they will come" mob wish.

This next bit is the big worry: we don't pay the bills and have no real power... like with the manager choice, in the end, we have to trust them to get it right.

Always more questions than answers – Everton that.

Peter Lee
27 Posted 23/03/2018 at 23:26:13
Don, I still have my first season ticket book from the 60s. The 21 home games cost £3.15. That was 15p per game. The club didn't do reductions for kids in those days. If you wanted cheaper you went in the Boy's Pen.

I was getting £1 a week from my Saturday job.

Your political points are well made but football was cheap then, about the price of a pint. For me, your reasoning is wrong.

By contrast, an adult ticket now is ten times the price if a pint, twenty or more times in some clubs.

We've just gone through 10 years of largely unnecessary economic torture. If there was ever a time when attendances should have been falling, it is in that period. They haven't.

John Daley
28 Posted 23/03/2018 at 00:15:42
As someone with a 'business brain' comparable to the Canarsee who thought they were getting a cracking deal when they flogged Manhattan to the Dutch for four kettles, some 'glass beads' and a mouldy Ginster's Sausage Roll (a peppered steak slice was 'pushing it'), I would guess, from the club's point of view, the ability to securitise revenue streams via season ticket sales will probably be key.

Could a superfluity of seating not be perceived as a negative if it has the potential to shackle the number of all important annual sales that supporters feel it necessary to stump up for in advance? If an excess supply of seats was such that fairly priced match day tickets were to be readily available for absolutely any fixture at all, even at the gate to any who decide on the day to turn up last minute on a whim, then the need to lock yourself into a 19-game package would be effectively negated for some. It seems common sense for clubs to look to drive the demand for their most regular, reliable form of income, so as to raise attendances and revenue across all fixtures, not just those 'premium' clashes easily predictable as the most popular to punters.

Then again, it just seems nonsensical (to me) to reduce a club being 'forward thinking' to something as simplistic as 'cramming more seats in'. Juventus had a stately 67,000 seat stadium yet went all John Spartan on it to build a brand new, modern, ground with a much reduced capacity of 41,000. How any self-respecting fan with love for la Vecchia Signora vibrating in their scrote can stroll into a packed state of the art stadium, offering a vibrant atmosphere and premium match day experience, alongside numerous commercial and entertainment areas, without shaking their head and muttering "small time, short sighted, knackerless, Nick Nack from 'The Man With The Golden Gun' sized ambition signalling pricks", before plonking their sweaty arse down into a plush seat with a perfect view to watch a side picking up trophies, year after year, ever since the piss-ant place first opened it's doors, is beyond me.

Of course, I'm being overly flippant as Serie A is a different animal to the Premier League, stadium ownership by clubs isn't the norm, and stereotypes about hooliganism may have led some decision makers to believe actively pricing out a certain class of punter couldn't possibly harm, but the fact remains that 'the biggest capacity possible' is not always the best option, or sole primer for success, no matter how boisterous or persistent the clarion call.

Lawrence Green
29 Posted 24/03/2018 at 02:01:08
John (#28),

That's a very compelling argument and I can see the reasoning behind it, therefore, no need to do any grand designs or fancy stuff, just replicate Goodison Park at Bramley-Moore, but without the pesky pillars and the Church to get in the way and a capacity of circa 45k should suffice – if it's good enough for Juventus then it should be more than enough for Everton FC, so long as we pick up as many trophies as they have in recent years - jobs a good 'un.

I'm sure you remember sometime in the mid 70s – I think it was – when the shock horror headline in the local rag was Goodison capacity cut to 35k at a time when the ground could hold 53k, I can't remember why this scare story appeared – possibly due to safety concerns – I would be most grateful if anybody who knows when and why this story appeared at the time could relay it to us.

Peter Lee
30 Posted 24/03/2018 at 08:28:46
Lawrence, I think that was the back end of the 1993-94 season when the Park End was demolished and rebuilt.

On a matter related to maximising income generation I share this story from the first away game, Old Trafford, of the 1995-96 season. Two of us, my friend wary of trouble, parked up in Altrincham and went to the game on the tram. After the game, 2-2 despite what seemed like half-an-hour of Fergie time, we made our way out expecting to run the usual gauntlet of orcs behind the scoreboard end. They were noticeable for their absence.

At the tram stop, I asked a reasonable-looking bloke where all the "hooligans" had gone. He showed me his season ticket. It was the cheapest available, more expensive than mine for our main stand. He said that the price hike was bad enough but it had to be paid in full before the end of the previous May. He said that the club had priced the idiots out. ("Perhaps most of them," I thought.)

This was followed by the regular increase in capacity at OT whilst the cost of attending stayed at a high level.

Lesson? Everton need to charge more in a new stadium. Every survey I have completed for the club, apart from that about the stadium, asked me how much I would be prepared to pay. The answer I gave was always less than I would really pay. Make no mistake, it is part of the thinking, as it should be, it's a business at the end of the day.

If the number of season tickets was kept, say, 20% below capacity, whatever that might be, tickets could be sold months ahead using the same algorithms used by budget airlines. Leave it late and you pay through the nose if demand is high or get it cheap if it isn't. Season by season, this data would feed into what the club would charge for a season ticket, going up or down in relation to demand. The airline model is built on an anticipation that demand will continue to grow. If it doesn't, they scrap the route.

This bit can't apply to football except the club could reduce costs marginally if it were to close off sections of the stadium where tickets went unsold. They do now for away fans if uptake is poor.

I suspect that the drive from fans for a bigger stadium is partly about expecting that a big stadium will help to ensure lower prices.

The club know, or should know, how price-sensitive demand for tickets at various levels is. Currently, the "keep it at £30" approach is significant but how long will that last?

At one point in the 60s I remember a 50% price increase, from 10p to 15p. More recently, about 20 years ago, there was a significant increase which I felt particularly hard because I was buying three season tickets at the time. I paid up though.

FA Cup Wembley tickets are in the news again. Why is anyone surprised that prices are up again? This us what businesses will do. If people will pay £500 to a tout (or a vastly inflated price to a seller on StubHub) surely it's better that that money goes to the club?

"They don't care about the fans!!!" Of course they don't. They care about getting them in the ground and making as much out of the customers as they can otherwise. We can't bang on about the poor management of the club in the past and complain if they adopt effective pricing policies in the future.

Can we??

Danny Broderick
31 Posted 24/03/2018 at 09:08:38
Build it and we will come. Has to be 60,000 (or 61,878) for me. If we build a smaller stadium, say 50,000, then it will be a missed opportunity every time it is full. I would rather us get, say, 53,000 average attendance in a 60,000 stadium than selling out a 50,000 stadium every week. I'm sure the financial figures would back this up also.

Building a bigger stadium gives us something to aspire to also – we would aspire to fill it. Building a smaller stadium that we already fill leaves us nowhere to go.

Jim Burns
32 Posted 24/03/2018 at 09:37:44
Just read through the threads – belatedly. The quality of thought and contribution is first class and the club would do well to keep an eye on the stadium-related threads if they are serious about fans' views.

Phil @ 8 – your apparent disregard (bordering on disrespect) for your fellow Blues' views –and insight on potentially the most important twist in our history since the split with the rent grabbers – is disappointing. Why don't you stay off this thread – you are not needed.

John Keating
33 Posted 24/03/2018 at 10:07:27
I would sooner play in a full house 50,000 capacity Dortmund type stadium than a 60,000-seater with empty seats.

Might it not be possible to build a 50,000-seater with the potential to "add on" if and when required?

Peter Howard
34 Posted 24/03/2018 at 10:16:48
Don't forget that, in the sixties and seventies the gate was given as "official" attendance. Everyone used to laugh like fuck when it was announced.

I don't know what happened to those gatemen – I think they went on to operate the Mersey Tunnel booths.

Tom Hughes
35 Posted 24/03/2018 at 10:29:22
Copied, slightly amended and pasted from previous thread:

The "new stadium" effect is a well documented phenomenon but it is by no means universal.

Man City weren't struggling to fill Maine road they had to build a temporary corner section because they couldn't cope with demand and regularly filled it even in the 3rd tier. So there was a lot of latent support there. When The Etihad first opened average attendances did increase significantly but it wasn't full every week, and in fact it dropped off again to below 40k within just a few years, until they found their winning ways on the pitch. The place is still now notorious for its empty seats (nicknamed The Empty-ad) and inflated attendances, despite their greatest team ever. Suffice to say they are growing their support with every success on the pitch, and those glaring light blue seats will be filled in the coming years with new supporters.

Stoke took several years to fill their new stadium. A small initial increase soon tailed off, and some quite significant infrastructure changes had to be made to help them eventually attract full or near full houses. It's taken 20 years and a sustained period in the Premier league for them to finally justify a small expansion at one corner. Their stadium cost just £14m to build.

On the other hand, several clubs have enjoyed dramatic and sustained increases in average attendance. Before the Premier League, West Ham had only ever averaged over 30k just 3 times in their whole history. Their record attendance was just 42k yet here they are now averaging over 50k. (I'm not sure that will last though). It has to be said though that this, as at Man City and Sunderland has been helped with cheaper ticket pricing strategies in turn afforded by a freeby or relatively cheap stadium move. That will not be the case for us, as we need to cover our costs. As a rule of thumb construction cost can rise almost exponentially with capacity, and if a fully-occupied seat will take 10 to 15 years to pay for itself, how much longer will only occasionally filled seats?

The Emirates has had full houses since it opened, and importantly a corporate section that yields more than the whole of Highbury could, yet it seemingly has affected their spending during its payback period, turning "The Invincibles" into the relative "also-rans". We're nowhere near the standard of the 2006 Arsenal side so how would a 75-90% full Bradley-Moore Dock, with higher build cost, and much lower ticket prices/total revenue affect our future spends? Let's not forget they had a massive waiting list before their move.

Just how big is our latent support? Thinking beyond the initial novelty period, how many would renew season tickets if they knew that the large extra capacity would guarantee them a good seat every week regardless? Many renew now because they have to to guarantee a good seat. How many would do it after our current season if there was no urgency about securing a good seat? Basic supply/demand says that the more you have the less you have to charge to sell them, and conversely the more you build the greater that cost per seat. The sweet spot is roughly where those two conflicting correlations meet, with the added dependence on team-performance on the pitch shifting the demand Circe one way or another. Lots of variables and imponderables to juggle. Design can avert some of that, but there are limits and outside forces affecting that too.

The site is a sensitive and tricky one in many ways, with extra expense written all over it. The infrastructure and logistic issues are also a long way from being resolved, and the funding strategy turning into an epic. The Common Wealth would have come with substantial extra funding, and surrounding enabling developments too. This is no longer the case (at present), and instead we're sitting on a site at the poor end of redevelopment scheme that has been hyped for over a decade, but for the most part has yet to get beyond the drawing board.

Meanwhile, as an aside we could perhaps just expand our current footprint... expand/replace the Upper Bullens and/or the Upper Gwladys Street and/or extend the Park End to create the same capacity at a fraction of the cost, and all with far less unknowns, incrementally to allow us to test that demand, and not build unnecessary expensive capacity that we do not need? Is it time for that reality-check and to finally take off the Royal Blue Mersey blinkers? Or can football's continually economics-busting growth pull this all off, and not leave us skint?

Martin Nicholls
36 Posted 24/03/2018 at 10:30:24
Peter (#30) – a good and sensible post. I too remember that 50% price hike in 60s – I assume the "conversion" to decimal currency is for our younger TW lads!! 2 shillings to 3 shillings for us older guys!
Martin Nicholls
37 Posted 24/03/2018 at 10:43:59
Tom (#35) – also a good post. In particular, I noted your point about some current season ticket holders perhaps renewing just to ensure they can hang on to a decent seat. I hadn't thought of this but conversely it should also not be overlooked that season tickets are pro rata much cheaper than paying game by game.

For example, I've paid £23 and £21 respectively for Man City and Newcastle tickets for my 9-year-old grandson whereas, had I been able to get him a season ticket, he'd pay the equivalent of £5 per game.

On that basis, buying and retaining a season ticket would be a no-brainer for me – it would only make me pause for thought if the per-game cost of a season ticket were much closer than buying match by match.

James Morgan
38 Posted 24/03/2018 at 10:44:30
I don’t get why people equate moving to a stadium less than 60k is lacking ambition? Moving to a brand new £500m stadium on the waterfront with 50,000 seats would certainly show ambition to me!
Jay Woods

39 Posted 24/03/2018 at 11:04:04
James Morgan, because less than 60,000 is lacking ambition as it's well proven to be the "gold standard" or "critical mass" needed for any club to push on from the middle tier we're currently in.

I remember Schalke used to play at the old Parkstadion (which I attended once, a 2-0 win against Karlsruhe in late 1997), but they seldom came close to filling its near 70,000 capacity; it was one of those old 1970s style bowl stadiums with a running track and only one covered side. Attendances back then would float around 40,000.

Then they built the Veltins Arena, with a roof that covers the pitch as well as all sides of the ground, and a capacity just north of 60,000. Right away, they started to sell out every home game, a trend that has continued ever since, and have become established as one of the "big two" in Germany that sit behind Bayern (the other being Schalke's bitter rivals, Dortmund).

I'm not saying we would automatically emulate that interest; after all, Schalke's fanbase is larger than ours, but I do say that if we have investment in the team, then we really should be expecting to fill a 60,000-seater on a recurring basis.

Anthony Murphy
40 Posted 24/03/2018 at 11:11:10
I don't think we should focus too much on what's happened previously in relation to attendance at Goodison Park, or historical demand for top flight football. Let's look at the hear and now.

Not one ‘top' club would contemplate building a new stadium with an approx 50k capacity. We have a once in a lifetime opportunity here to catapult ourselves back to where we once belonged. Unfortunately, due to a lack of ambition by owners, we as fans have largely accepted our place in the pecking order and are now mentioned without challenge in the same breath as the likes of West Ham and Newcastle.

Not for me. We are a much bigger outfit and this is a golden opportunity to send out that message. Spurs are showing the sort of ambition we should be mindful of.

At the same time, let's just remind ourselves how many titles Spurs have won, how many Newcastle have won and West Ham? Yet, as a club, we are almost apologetic for our place in and around that company.

I'm a realistic type, I'm not a dreamer or deluded, I just want Everton to see itself as the genuine big club they truly are.

Tom Hughes
41 Posted 24/03/2018 at 11:38:08
In Football, there is little more embarrassing and soulless than a half empty stadium. Man City have gone out of their way to exaggerate attendances to play down the obvious empty seats all over the place. Does anybody really believe that they operate at or anywhere near 99+% capacity?

Celtic had to close whole sections for some games when demand plummeted after their main rivals were relegated, again posting ridiculously inflated attendances when the stadium was almost empty for those unimportant games when the fans stayed away.

In the era of terracing, the gaps were less obvious than rows and whole sections of empty seats we see at some grounds nowadays, so perhaps the inclusion of safe-standing (rail-seats) will provide that design and capacity flexibility to give us a more ambitious maximum capacity, with less expense and less obvious glaring gaps that, and of course the much needed boost in atmosphere.

A free-standing roof system on 2, 3 or 4 sides allowing space at the rear of each stand and the relative cheap addition of new rows at the rear of the stands if demand increased – thus future proofing the stadium. So why not say 52k (@ £4-6k average cost per seat) initially, with room to add 8-12 rows in the future to get above 60k? Thus avoiding unnecessary initial costs, and allowing demand to be tested without jeopardising ticket-pricing strategies below our payback break-even? Or we could go for a relatively cheap modular construction, and throw a "Stadium of Light" clone or basic bowl into the dock with the pitch below river level?

If the club has a genuine 10k+ waiting list then of course let's go for it and aim high. However, I'm not sure that Elstone's continued reticence on the subject points to that being the case. I know I keep beating the drum for redevelopment, but if the margins and business case are tight, then without the massive incentives of additional funding from whatever source, we probably should not really be considering moving ahead of the far cheaper and less problematic option of adding quality capacity where we are. Which is the model adopted by so many big clubs elsewhere (executed better by some more than others).

Goodison Park lends itself better to this than many other stadiums. Lower tiers are relatively shallow and easily expanded or built above. There is plenty of space at the Park end, and property prices on remaining sides are the lowest alongside any stadium in the UK. Yet £500m (where did that figure come from?), with endless planning, infrastructure, logistics and funding unknowns is the only obvious solution?

John G Davies
42 Posted 24/03/2018 at 11:42:06
Jay (#39),

The ticket prices in Germany play a big part in the high attendance. Dortmund tickets start at less than £15. The ticket includes the return train journey from the City centre.

Kevin Tully
43 Posted 24/03/2018 at 11:55:45
Tom, I think Blue Bill will be desperately pushing this move to be honest. He knows all too well the accusations that have been levelled against him re: the Kings Dock fiasco, and will want to go out as the Chairman who eventually got this one over the line.

Now we have the financial muscle, and the Prudential mortgage has been settled, it would make total sense to look at redevelopment, but there will be zero appetite in the boardroom for that particular option.

There are so many obstacles when building on the Bramley-Moore Dock site, that capacity would be fairly low on the list of priorities to be honest. If we are to proceed, then getting this new stadium erected with a capacity of 50-55,000 would have to be viewed as a massive success. I'm sure any design would take into consideration future expansion plans.

Dermot Byrne
44 Posted 24/03/2018 at 12:24:04
Laurie (#24): I love the idea but the thought of an agreed plan and strategy may just be a little out of TW reach!! (No it wouldn't... yes it would... no it wouldn't...)

However, I think your idea of a fun stadium design competition is brilliant. I know sod-all myself but would love to see the ideas of those that do and, to be honest, the ideas of some of the smart arses who know as little as me.

Tom Hughes
45 Posted 24/03/2018 at 12:49:34
Martin (#37),

It is certainly true that the junior tickets are great value and will sell themselves regardless. However, some individuals (adults) may be less inclined to invest in a whole season's worth of tickets and pick and choose their games if there is an abundance.

The clubs want to avoid this at all costs as they want the cash up front. They know that attendances can fluctuate massively if there is a low season-ticket take-up, so they build accordingly. If that surplus capacity is cheap to build, then fair enough.

Amit Vithlani
46 Posted 24/03/2018 at 12:50:13
Lawrence @ 7

"I understand fully why the capacity of Anfield, Stamford Bridge etc are relevant to Everton FC. Revenue! If we invest half a billion pounds in the project, albeit spread over a long period of time, and still find ourselves, financially falling behind those clubs we are competing against, then couldn't it be argued that we have shot ourselves in the foot? Again!"

The gist of this particular comment appears to be: we build a stadium with a smaller capacity than Liverpool and Chelsea and we fall behind them financially and shoot ourselves in the foot ("Again!" no less).

Which you then follow up with in post 29:

"...just replicate Goodison Park at Bramley-Moore, but without the pesky pillars and the Church to get in the way and a capacity of circa 45k should suffice, if it's good enough for Juventus then it should be more than enough for Everton FC, so long as we pick up as many trophies as they have in recent years – jobs a good 'un."

So, unless this comment was made in sarcasm, you do concede that our stadium capacity does not need to be equal to Liverpool or Chelsea?

If so, I agree with your follow up post wholeheartedly. Stadium capacity is only one factor in determining revenues, which underpins the ability of a club to be ambitious or "big". Revenues are a function of ticket prices as well as stadium capacity, but these revenues are dwarfed by broadcasting revenues, sponsorship and merchandise. The latter 3 also contribute more to the bottom line as the costs of attaining those revenues are lower than building a stadium.

Fairly obvious stuff.

Furthermore, if I recall correctly, Everton are ranked in the top 20 clubs in the world by revenue, and yet our stadium capacity is most certainly not in the top 20 globally. Our wage bill must also be close to being top 20. It appears when the Sky gravy train ends, a new gravy train funded by Facebook, Amazon, Google, Netflix, HBO or even BT will step in judging by the moves these corporations are making in the content sphere. Whether we like it or not, broadcasting will rule the roost as far as club revenues are concerned.

So there is a much bigger picture to consider when questioning the club's ambition than just the number of seats it intends to install at Bramley-Moore Dock.

The stadium debate has to focus on maximising revenues. I hope the club do not miss an opportunity to develop the new stadium to extract as much revenue from non-football activities as possible. If that means a 50,000 capacity stadium, that is okay by me.

Earning revenues from shops, offices, conferences, cinemas as well as high priced corporate boxes with a premium match day experience to rival any other could well turn out to be far more beneficial than an extra 10,000 seats.

Tony Everan
47 Posted 24/03/2018 at 13:00:18
55,000 capacity, incorporating a design to easily expand to 61,878, is surely an achievable and logical approach.

I would like to see 61,878 from the off, and I think it would be filled. Failing that, maybe because of infrastructure concerns from the council, 55,000 has to be the absolute minimum.

Anything less would see us as a small club compared to most of those above us at the moment (and some below).

Surely the main reason for building is so we can compete on “a level playing field” with the top 4. No player in future should want to leave Everton to play in front of bigger crowds.

50,000 would be disappointing, an own goal and the biggest missed opportunity in the club's history. It would confine us to mid-table mediocrity in perpetuity.

Jay Woods

48 Posted 24/03/2018 at 16:51:12
Yes, good point, John G Davies!

There's a lot of disquiet in Germany over a vote in the past few days to keep their "50 + 1" rule, with one commentator on Kicker saying, "Well done, idiots, you can now look forward to more decades-long periods of Bayern's domination and a failure to attract interest in the Bundesliga from beyond Germany." (Or words to that effect.)

Paul Tran
49 Posted 24/03/2018 at 17:35:13
The first step is to work out what we can actually build on the land we're going to use; then we can have the debate on capacity. I do love the idea of 61,878, if it's feasible.

The word 'feasible' doesn't necessarily mean cost. It could be a matter of construction, safety, access, comfort.

Amit's point about match day revenue is a good one. Arsenal sell out their stadium, but have raised concerns about the empty seats leading to loss of income. As anyone who's bought anything to eat/drink at the Emirates will know!

John G Davies
50 Posted 24/03/2018 at 18:09:50

A lot of the London clubs sell out their games but have empty seats. The tickets are bought en bloc to be used to entertain business clients but are not always used.

Paul Tran
51 Posted 24/03/2018 at 18:17:00
Fair point, John G. I'm wondering why Arsenal were publically raising concerns about loss of match-day revenue?
John G Davies
52 Posted 24/03/2018 at 18:25:47
Possibly food and drink, Paul. Shirt sales, souvenirs, programmes etc.

£9 for a pie and a pint adds up when you consider two or three pints intake.

Lawrence Green
53 Posted 24/03/2018 at 19:22:59
Paul (#51),

Perhaps they have suffered a drop in income on matchdays due to stay away fans or fans refusing to purchase kits etc, however, the club was doing pretty well a couple of years ago. The revenue received on match days may not be the most important part of a club's income but we can see how the usual clubs are raking in the cash compared to those who aren't quite as popular, including Everton.

Match day income for 2014-15

Arsenal £100m
Man Utd £91m
Chelsea £71m
Liverpool £59m
Man City £43m
Tottenham £41m

Newcastle £27m
West Ham £20m
Everton £18m
Southampton £18m

Aston Villa £14m
Leicester City £11m
Sunderland £11m
Palace £10m

QPR £8m
Stoke City £8m
Swansea City 8m
West Brom £8m
Burnley £6m

Premier League Income 2015

Anthony Murphy
54 Posted 24/03/2018 at 20:21:40
If the site allows for 60k, would it not be easier to go for this and if after a few years due to lack of demand, remove some seats and have a few more executive boxes or disabled access/general space? Wouldn't this be easier and cheaper than building the thing and then trying to extend?

Tom, maybe you can shed some light on what the best approach would be?

Paul Tran
55 Posted 24/03/2018 at 20:22:20
Cheers Lawrence, interesting stats that show the importance of matchday revenue and how far behind we are.
David McMullen
56 Posted 24/03/2018 at 20:37:09
Anthony (#54) good point. But is it not feasible to have a variable capacity? The Lucas Oil Stadium is in its mid-60s and they block off upper parts with large advertising. It can go up to 70,000. Let's say we did the upper limit at 61,878 and blocked off parts for certain games in this way reducing to mid 50s, just as an example. Why can't the club do that?

In my opinion, it would be folly for the club to build a low capacity to create a demand and certain sell out as opposed to building it big to anticipate having the available seats when it demands. And I don't see the club doing a Man City, adding to or expanding the stadium later on – surely that would also be daft cost-wise compared to building the finished article right off.

David McMullen
57 Posted 24/03/2018 at 20:50:12
Instead of the club being fearful of empty seating (which I find laughable really that they don't think we'd fill a bigger stadium), why don't they make a 60k-plus stadium and have varied pricing more than we have at Goodison so that there is plenty of lower priced tickets and various offers to generate regular bums on seats but also robust pricing at the other end of the market including corporate seats and exec boxes?

The Esk and the other guys on Everton Business Matters have gone into this.

John Raftery
58 Posted 24/03/2018 at 21:33:56
I agree with every point made by Paul in his original post. The potential football watching population is much larger than it has ever been and covers a much wider span of the generations. More children are attending the game with their parents and more of their grandparents are still attending games well into their seventies and eighties. Providing the overall match day experience is positive people get into the habit of attending and find it hard to break the habit.
Tony Dove
59 Posted 24/03/2018 at 21:35:46
We appear to be as far off as ever. But should something happen anything less than 55 to 60 is a no no. Actually we already know it will be 50 don't we?
John G Davies
60 Posted 24/03/2018 at 21:38:37
Off topic.

This squad will take a bit of work to trim down ready for replacements looking at how long some of them have left on their contracts.

How long every Everton player has got left on their current contracts with the club revealed

Gary Gibson
61 Posted 25/03/2018 at 05:28:23
It's got to be at least 60,000. That's just the standard for new Premier League stadiums these days.

I'm confident that we'd fill a big ground every week, or at least come close to doing so. A new stadium always dramatically increases the average attendance of a club.

Man City rarely filled Maine Road (which was smaller than Goodison), yet their average attendance suddenly jumped to 47,000 as soon as they moved to their new ground. And at that time they had a worse team than we have now. People are more likely to pay for an expensive football ticket if the stadium has great facilities and no obstructed views. It's as simple as that.

And I'd rather we had a couple of thousand empty seats than be missing out on income because people can't get a ticket.

If we went for a capacity of 52,000 and then found that that wasn't enough, it would be too expensive to remedy it. The RS have just spent £114 million on redeveloping one bloody stand. We'd be stuck with a pig in a poke.

Andrew Clare
62 Posted 25/03/2018 at 08:38:55
We have fallen behind our peers through total lack of ambition. If the new stadium capacity is less than 60,000, it sends out all the wrong signals.

The fact that we are having this debate and that it is all over different forums makes me think that we are in for bad news.

God, I wish we had someone with a vision for our great club, someone with ambition. They are the people that make things happen.

Daniel A Johnson
63 Posted 25/03/2018 at 09:16:49
I think 55,000 would be the sweet spot but in turn also make the design more expensive/premium and unique.

60,000 could prove problematic; I imagine it would sell out easy for most top tier fixtures. But would we fill it for when the likes of Huddersfield come to town? Sunderland have recently closed half of the stadium of light to improve the atmosphere. Could cheaper tickets and season tickets be the answer for a 60k stadium? Keep in mind Man City and Man Utd both have plans in to go even bigger.

However, one thing is guaranteed: we wont be anywhere near the state of the art facility that Tottenham have produced. Daniel levy is forward thinking and has also hooked onto the billion-dollar NFL gravy train. Certain design aspects have been included to accommodate the NFL specifically. When you look at the amazing new NFL stadiums this is no bad thing. It's costing £850M to build and will have rotatable NFL and football pitches and glass view walls for paying corporate fans to see the players in the changing room and tunnel etc.

I just hope at some point we get some designs as it's hard to visualise anything at the moment. The fact the capacity hasn't been finalised yet indicates we are still a million miles away from a finished design.

Chris Gould
64 Posted 25/03/2018 at 10:22:05
Man City filled Maine Rd during their final season playing there (35,000), finishing 9th in the Premier League. This was 5 years before Sheikh Mansour bought the club.

The following season they moved into their new stadium and regularly filled it (capacity just over 47,000). This was despite playing poor football and finishing 16th.

After the takeover (and the expenditure of hundreds of millions on top talent) City were able to increase their attendance to 55,000, and they regularly fill it. Now they are playing fantastic football and one of the best teams in the world and are planning on increasing their capacity to over 60,000.

Are we in a position to fill a similar size stadium, playing far less attractive football and finishing 7th-8th? City have moved up their capacity in line with their success.

We certainly won't fill a 60,000 stadium playing the brand of football we have been. If we expect more than the hardcore fans to commit to the club regularly, then we need to play entertaining and winning football. If we can't get the footballing side right then we have to be realistic.

Building a stadium that is designed to allow for further development if we ever become a top side may be the sensible choice. It would be a mistake to have a 60,000 seat stadium with 10,000 empty seats.

It's a difficult decision as we all want to think big and have a larger capacity than our neighbours, and one which is in line with the rest of the top 6. But, we are a million miles from playing the kind of football that regularly attracts 60,000 plus fans.

On the poll, I voted for 60,000, but maybe 52-55,000 with the option to expand (if our results and performances improve) would be more sensible.

Philip Bunting
65 Posted 25/03/2018 at 12:12:19
If be happy with 51,878 to begin with. Then having the stand behind the goal facing the Mersey with large glass see-through panels which could incorporate an area for restaurants, conferencing etc which is then expandable to suit capacity as time goes on.

I would much prefer 4 individual stands as, over the lifetime of the stadium, adaption could be made without affecting the other 3 sides. 55k though is ideal for now in my opinion and spending £500M to get it is certainly not lacking any ambition.

Tom Hughes
66 Posted 25/03/2018 at 13:00:57
I think we have to be careful when making any comparisons. Man City were filling Maine Rd regularly even in the 3rd tier, and by the time they came back up they was posting full houses for every game, even requiring temporary seated sections to eek out some extra capacity. So, the extra demand was there, and was sizable.

However, it is very important to remember that this was essentially a freeby. They were getting a £155m stadium for £20m + rent. So as I say, we have to be wary of that comparison in terms of cost, and consider the effects that a similar (bigger) project might have on our future finances. They were also relocating to a more central site with potentially better transport connections than Maine Rd.

Initially their average attendances shot up to meet the new capacity, helped by that surplus latent support, and some competitive pricing of tickets. This dropped back off to less than 40k within a few years, increasing only with the new owners and success on the pitch.

It could be speculated that they have attracted their new owners partly as a result of their new facilities and location although in the case of their owners, any stadium option represented merely raiding the petty cash tin.

I think we have to take a step backwards and ask a few fundamental questions before we speculate fancifully about capacity. The club opted for the dock for several reasons. The main ones being additional funding due to the Commonwealth Games, and lucrative enabling packages connected to both that and the future Liverpool Waters development. Together these, and a funding SPV with LCC were intended to drag our initial and long-term outlay down to a manageable bare minimum.

Mysteriously, as soon as the Commonwealth Games bid failed, the club started spouting the £500m cost figure out of nowhere, and the body language and wording was toned down a few notches. Meis similarly. The games and its cash injection is now not there, and the catalytic effect to kickstart the Liverpool Waters scheme at the "poor end" of the site has potentially gone, perhaps also lessening the yield-value of any enabling scheme there too.

The process seems to have hit something of a hiatus, with the current "arse about face" fan-engagement process about 18 months late, and more of a pause for breath than a step in the process imo.

Meis is currently also working on Roma's new stadium. Coincidentally also on a sensitive riverside location, and with a proposed capacity of 52k – this is also considered a state-of-the-art arena. Multi-tier on all sides with substantial corporate/executive capacity and facilities. This is priced at just £240m in a country with similar construction costs to the UK. So where is the cost hike come from?

As ever, stadium costs can easily be confusing, and comparisons misplaced, as can basic cost per seat figures. Increased Structural and site specific complexity issues can affect costs dramatically, and rise almost exponentially with capacity, whereby a 60k stadium can cost several times that of a 40k one. If large ancillaries/enablers are built into those costs, a substantial proportion of the construction is self-funding, although the headline cost will appear disproportionate. The more commercially lucrative the site, the more influence this can have on those design ambitions and capacity aspirations.

We see this at even the smallest stadiums, were their location is specifically chosen to allow the building of large commercial floor space developments into or adjacent to the stadium, often offsetting construction costs dramatically. We need to know if this enabling opportunity still exists at this site, because a stand-alone football-only stadium represents a huge leap of faith compared to Man City's relocation.

John G Davies
68 Posted 25/03/2018 at 13:45:10
I agree with all of your posts on this thread Tom. A good analysis of the situation from you.

We would all love to see 60,000 Evertonians in a state-of-the-art stadium. Realistically, I can't see that happening.

James Marshall
69 Posted 25/03/2018 at 14:12:44
I don't go to Goodison every week because I live 260 miles away these days. Everyone has their reasons, but – unless I move considerably closer – then my home game habits won't change because we have a new ground.

Of course I'll want to be there the day it opens, and will definitely still go to the odd home game, but my match days are away days because of the travelling. Plus away games are usually more fun, even if we are shit away from home!

Paul Tran
70 Posted 25/03/2018 at 14:14:01
Great, informative stuff, Tom. I wonder if the difference in the projected cost is down to the price of the land and/or known site-specific issues?

The other thing with The Etihad was that it was linked with regeneration of an area. Lots of new housing and a stop on the then-new train line.

Ernie Baywood
71 Posted 25/03/2018 at 14:23:05
I don't really understand the need to have more and more seats.

We've got 32k season ticket holders. That means we currently have about 3k walk-ups (assuming 3k away fans and 2k hospitality). Apparently we have about 7k on the waiting list but presumably that includes a good chunk of the 3k walk-ups.

So it's not unreasonable that we get 40k season ticket holders in a new stadium. Plus an increased hospitality of, say, 4k – that's where we make the big money isn't it? Add in 3k away fans and leave a 3k-5k allowance for walk ups and you're getting into the 50k-55k range – with sold out signs.

I've got to admit, I've been in stadia that are 75%-85% full and it feels half empty. That small drop makes such a big difference.

55k seems to make sense. Who would the other 5k to 15k seats be for if we went for 60k-70k? If we had 70k capacity would you bother getting a season ticket knowing you could walk up most weeks and not get stung when you can't make a game?

Paul [The Esk]
72 Posted 25/03/2018 at 15:00:58
Some fantastic stuff in the comments, really enjoyed reading them all.

For me 60,000 strikes the balance between cost (I realise mine is a simple model, it was never intended to be anymore than that) likelihood of being sold out, and affordability given we need to do something about our dire revenue performance relative to the clubs we need to compete against to get anywhere near the top of the game once more.

All the clubs above us massively outstrip us on matchday revenues and each are planning further increases in capacity overall or in the case of Arsenal converting ordinary seating into premium club seating to increase revenues.

As a reminder here's 2016-17 matchday revenues in £m:

Manchester United 112
Arsenal 100
Liverpool 74
Chelsea 66
Manchester City 52
Tottenham Hotspur 45
West Ham United 29
Southampton 22
Leicester City 16
Hull City 16
Everton 14

Spurs conservatively will go to £97 million in their first season in the new WHL.

As a club we're committed to affordable prices, therefore we have to balance that with being aggressive on capacity and employing people capable of filling the ground every week.

A 60k ground full to capacity with 5,600 premium seats would with a 25% increase in average seat yields (excluding premium seats) generate around £40 million a year. Still far off our competitors but much healthier than present. Of course, the cost of servicing the loan (likely to be around £20 million a year) has to be taken into consideration also. As Robert said the business case is tight. In my view it is tighter when the capacity is lower.

Tony Everan
73 Posted 25/03/2018 at 20:54:13
Southampton more than 50% better match day revenues, and we are below Hull.

Is Elstone going of his own accord?

Dermot Byrne
74 Posted 25/03/2018 at 21:18:26
Those numbers Paul (#72) quoted on matchday income amazed me too, Tony (#73).

I try and not get drawn into becoming a supporter of Best Financial Model rather than best football team. Not for any high brow reason but just because getting fed up with the Premier League riches that are bringing sod all additional joy to most fans of clubs who are now in Premier League.

But sometimes research and info from the likes Paul The Esk makes me think and realise the grim reality is that, unless we up our financial game and leave those other smaller clubs behind, we will not hover where we are for much longer.

The end result for enjoyment of each of us, well I guess it's down to each individual's hopes.

Lawrence Green
75 Posted 25/03/2018 at 21:21:15
Tony (#73) if you compare the figures Paul has posted and the ones I posted earlier in the thread for matchday income for 2014-15, Everton have seen their income fall by £4m, whilst all the others apart from Chelsea and Arsenal have increased their matchday revenue.

Arsenal £100 same
Man Utd £91 Plus 21
Chelsea £71 Minus 5
Liverpool £59 Plus 15
Man City £43 Plus 9
Tottenham £41 Plus 4
West Ham £20 Plus 9
Everton £18 Minus 4
Southampton £18 Plus 4

Tony Marsh
76 Posted 25/03/2018 at 21:34:43
I really don't understand why so many of you give Your time and energy to this stadium concept when it is little more than an idea at the moment. You all talk as if it's a done deal or the stadium is actually under construction down on the dock road.

There is such a long way to go if it ever happens st all. Just take a drive down the proposed site and around the surrounding areas. It looks like Dresden after WW2. Who is going to pay for the infrastructure upgrades never mind a stadium.

Why not do a poll on ToffeeWeb asking how many of us think this nonesense at Bramley-Moore will actually happen? Now that would be interesting.

John Macdonald
77 Posted 25/03/2018 at 22:05:04
On the Royal Blue podcast, The Echo's Everton sports writers wondered where the club would find the extra supporters to fill a 60,000-seater stadium.

Could the club reduce ticket prices to bring back supporters like myself who would like to attend matches with their children but who have been priced out of going to games? Surely charging £20 a ticket would have fans flocking to a new stadium – and there must be thousands like myself.

We could probably fill 65,000 if the tickets were cheap enough.

Dermot Byrne
78 Posted 25/03/2018 at 22:18:08
Are the really interesting numbers from Lawrence and Paul grounds (sic) for optimism then.

Where we have been with the old Goodison really has been poor income wise.

So this why it appears the ground is so important and probably what Moshiri is 90% focused on. Perhaps he sees how we do in the meantime (as long as we are still in the Premier League... hence Sam) as pretty irrelevant and sees this as the only chance for the club to be big again or even survive.

When we rightly or understandably rant about that last match's tactics or how we won't make 7th, maybe Moshiri understands this, okays some silly buys but is looking towards the river most of the time. And not with a happy-clappy folk song about the Boy's Pen in background as I fear Kenwright did with Kings Dock).

I have posted a few times that I think Moshiri has a strategy and these figures tend to convince me he would be playing a huge risk game with a lot of his money if his plans for the new ground were as uncertain as some suggest. I think such figures and another failed ground project would reduce our value so much. Just find it hard to believe a careful accountant like him would take such risks.

And that is what makes this time different.

Peter Lee
79 Posted 26/03/2018 at 08:12:39
Our income has fallen because we have reduced ticket prices. Result: we fill the ground. The increase in other match day sales hasn't impacted. In a (much) larger ground we would have to keep ticket prices just as low, maybe lower (see John Mc's post) to fill the seats, at least initially without a more successful team.

As I have posted before, for the club it has to be about net income, not attendance numbers. A bigger ground at this stage will just increase capital and interest payments and reduce net income

John, I seem to recall from previous posts that you are a gentlemen above a certain age? Pensioner STs are £300 so £16 a game, paid for interest-free on an EFC credit card over nine months – around £35, a month might be doable.

Dermot Byrne
80 Posted 26/03/2018 at 09:58:19
Peter (#79): for god's sake! Now you have added another complication that will do-in my simple mind.

After an quick half-hour last night I had a whole medium and long term strategy written and was about to send it to Mr Moshiri c/o Monaco.

Now I will have to put at least another quarter of an hour aside and rethink it.

May build in a subsidy for fans who are Librans and born in 1960.

Eric Myles
81 Posted 26/03/2018 at 10:10:12
Peter (#79), probably the other match day sales haven't been impacted by the increased attendances as it's all outsourced so we don't make any additional extra income from increased sales of food / beverages or shirts etc.
Tom Hughes
82 Posted 26/03/2018 at 11:01:26
Peter (#79),

You are absolutely right that we are already very reasonably priced compared to most of our peers. The deals for juniors and concessions are excellent, but mean that our average return per seat per match is only just over £20, so how much wiggle room is there left?

Of course, everything is relative, and we could argue that given our TV income, we are still expensive compared to say German clubs, who enjoy some excellent well-connected facilities too.

That pricing strategy, and the early season optimism created a waiting list for the first time in our history. I believe we also had approx 100k individual customers last season. Is that exceptional, or just the norm for a club averaging just under 40k at our prices? Does that really correlate to a new 50k or 60k capacity?

Of course if that waiting list was 10k+ and we were getting a freeby like Man City or West Ham, or the cost per seat for construction was the same for both capacity options, then we could more readily speculate over a surplus capacity, and build a monster stadium, and do the "stack them high, and sell them cheap" trick with all the benefits of massive crowds for income, atmosphere and indeed kudos.

However, we are not getting the freeby, and the cash injection from the Commonwealth Games has evaporated. The potential enabling-developments were probably also tied into the games, as this end of Liverpool Waters hasn't yet attracted the developers (with the obvious exception of the Stanley Dock developments).

That's not to say that the stadium wouldn't be the catalyst for that, as at other waterfront stadiums around the world, but at over 1 mile from the pier head, with no real infrastructure already in place, and in the current climate, are we at the wrong end of the site and is that leverage there? Only the club and LCC will have an idea if that's the case, and perhaps the recent business presentation was a charm-offensive to potential investors to stir up support. There has hardly been a clamour of developers looking to engage with us.

The cost per seat for a basic single-tier structure can still be as low as £1000 but this rises up to £8k+ per seat for a large multi-tiered stand. Therefore, when you go above the 40k basic bowl arrangements, that price can soar as the volume of construction multiplies to reach those expensive upper tiers, and footprint/roof-area expands together with supporting ancillaries.

There are ways to minimise those costs such as: larger lower tiers where capacity is cheaper; structural continuity for economies of scale; and/or straight stands with open corners to reduce structural complexity; reducing quality of finish and size of internal floor-spaces/facilities and other design details etc but these can all affect the quality of the end product, on a World Heritage Site site that will undoubtedly attract architectural scrutiny. So there is only so far that we can go to cost cut, and that is why the capacity appears to be becoming the easy target.

The other obvious deficiency with Goodison Park that adversely affects our matchday income is the pitiful corporate offer. There are clubs in the conference league with more executive boxes than us. Whilst we don't have London's business sector, there is massive potential to expand our offer substantially. LFC attract over 7k corporates, many with little or no team affiliation. We are in the same city and play in the same league and should command a far bigger slice of that very lucrative cake than at present. This alone could go a long way to bridging the construction cost and resultant income gap.

The dock site may also merit boxes convertible to hotel rooms, and lounges with views of river/Liverpool waters and pitch to attract conferences/business-meetings ahead of anything comparable at Anfield.

Or, we could simply add 10-15k net (mainly high quality) capacity to Goodison Park at a fraction of the cost. Anyone for history/tradition and pragmatism?

John G Davies
83 Posted 26/03/2018 at 13:02:29

We are Evertonians, we have to be pragmatic.

Good piece again.

As with all business men, especially billionaires, one criterion is crucial: Top line... bottom line.

Laurie Hartley
84 Posted 26/03/2018 at 21:54:41
Tom (#82),

I would like to ask you a question in relation to the higher cost of the second-tier stands – £8k per seat versus £5k per seat.e

I have been of the opinion from day one that the dock shouldn't be filled in but reinforced and lined to provide the supporting base for the pitch.

From looking at the geometry of the site and the Uefa rules regarding seating sizes, foot room, and the "C" (line of site) regulations, it appears to me that the pitch could be sunk 6 metres below the existing quay level on a suspended concrete slab.

This would provide sufficient width and height for the first tier of seating. The second tier of seating would be supported by the existing quay.

As I see it, there appear to be a number of advantages to this approach:

1. Lower cost of concrete slabs, columns and retaining walls compared with filling the dock in and laying a ground slab.

2. Lower cost of second tier seating: £5k per seat as opposed to £8k per seat for second-tier seating.

3. Potential for an underground car park if the dock is deep enough – 9 m?

Perhaps this is what Dan Meis has already alluded to with his "Rising from the docks" strap line.

From what I can see, the other restricting factor is the actual width of the site. This has a direct impact on the number of rows of seating that can be built on each side of the pitch. In Germany the specification for the width of terracing is 800 mm – in the UK it is 750 mm. It doesn't sound much but for 40 rows of seating that equates to 30 metres, and potentially another two or three rows of seating on each side of the stadium.

I would be interested in hearing your view regarding the viability and cost-effectiveness of this approach.

I would be interested to hear yours and others views on this.

Guy Hastings
85 Posted 26/03/2018 at 22:10:43
If the quote for the job is £100 it'll end up costing £300. If the quote for the job is £100m it'll end up costing £300m. It's what we British do best.
Don Alexander
86 Posted 26/03/2018 at 22:56:36
Note to editors Michael & Lyndon; there appears to be close correlation between this thread and the "Unnecessary caution at business breakfast meeting on Bramley-Moore" thread, also penned by Paul the Esk. Can the threads be easily combined into one thread lads?
Laurie Hartley
87 Posted 27/03/2018 at 05:39:22
Point of clarification in my post at (#84). There is an error in the third paragraph from the bottom stating that the difference in terracing widths equates to 30 metres - this is not so.

The difference in a terrace width between 800mm and 750mm is 50mm per terrace. Therefore the difference between an 800mm and 750mm terrace width over 40 rows of seating (one side of the pitch) is 40 X 50mm or two metres - just under 3 rows of seating.

I have assumed the pitch would be 5 metres from the front of the first row of seats so I am sure the designers would be able to squeeze the short fall of 150mm from somewhere. If so that would result in an extra 3 rows of seating around the full perimeter of the stadium.

Following on from that, if the outside dimensions of the row of seats furthest from the pitch but one was something like 200m X 165m X 2 = 660 metres and the seat widths were 600mm that equates to an extra 3300 seats (660 divided by 0.6 X 3).

John G Davies
88 Posted 27/03/2018 at 07:53:03
Good informative stuff, Laurie,

Can you now come up with a design that allows the architect to land smack bang on whatever thousand 1878 seats please.

Derek Thomas
89 Posted 27/03/2018 at 09:25:08
Laurie @84; fair point about why fill in the dock. I've seen many big buildings go up and invariably they dig out first.

It's fairly common knowledge that the whole area sits on a big sheet of sandstone, some of it not too far below the a train trip into Lime St will illustrate.

I can't see those big dock walls, which are essentially dams holding back the river, just sitting on the sand and mud of the reclaimed river floor. Surely the original plans still exist in the Council Archives, these will give a preliminary idea of the geology which will of course be confirmed by drilling and such.

As you say, with suitable bracing, why fill in free space... didn't Barca do much the same, remove the running track, dig down and sink the pitch to gain seats / save money?

Laurie Hartley
90 Posted 27/03/2018 at 09:38:30
John (#88) – I'll see what I can come up with; however, the more I look at this, the more I think it's going to be 51,878 – although I would love it to be 61,878.

The reason I say that is because I think the higher option requires a third tier for the additional 10,000 seats and, according to Tom's figure of £8,000 per higher tier seat, that works out at an extra £80 million!

Based on that, his suggestion for the design to include an option to increase the capacity at a later stage makes a lot of sense.

Derek (#89) – the reinforced concrete supporting slab would be a very effective plan brace, and the first row of reinforced concrete terracing could be configured to be a diagonal brace from the pitch to quay level.

I've got too much time on my hands.

Tom Hughes
91 Posted 27/03/2018 at 10:57:47
Laurie (#84),

My first thoughts for the site were similar to yours to take full advantage of the site: a classic example of the lower tier and pitch being below ground level to get say 20-30k lower tier seats on the cheap as we see at several large stadiums. At the same time, reducing the cost of the upper tier(s) as you say. To be honest, I haven't checked the size of the site to see how it fits.

The other major thing with this approach is of course that the pitch will then be at or below sea level. I am not sure of the construction/maintenance cost ramifications for this, not to mention the risks associated with rising sea level which will affect the whole waterfront. I've seen the Pier Head flooded at high tide a few times in my lifetime so who knows?

As regards tread depths I've often thought that the tighter rows for lower tiers better replicate the density of the old terraces. Thus at the same time, also increasing the sale value of roomier rows in upper tiers... in essence replicating what we used to have at Goodison, with cheap lower-quality views downstairs (standing), and better more expensive views upstairs – it was always a simple choice. The other consideration is safe-standing.

When LFC were designing the new Kop, they went for the shortest tread-depths that they could, to maximise density and capacity. In fact most of their older seats are in very tight rows. Importantly though, I'm not sure if that depth now allows for retro-fitting rail-seating, as there is a minimum depth and rake with the current systems. So, we might have similar constraints to consider on that score if we want rail-seated sections too.

Andy Riley
93 Posted 27/03/2018 at 13:58:01
I remember hearing that in the sixties or seventies the council refused to let Everton have a tiny portion of Stanley Park to slightly re-route the road outside what is now the Everton One shop thereby freeing up all the land between there and the Park End. The Park was covenant protected and sacrosanct then apparently but there was an entirely different story and outcome when Liverpool wanted the entire Park for a new stadium!
Tom Hughes
94 Posted 27/03/2018 at 17:49:09

I think there are a few urban myths surrounding this. The park episode was much later, and wasn't a formal application in any case. We have to remember that it would've involved re-routing of major carriageways and infringement of the historic and listed parts of the park, all just to expand our already substantial footprint at the Park End...

As opposed to LFC's request to build on an already built-on, and relatively featureless section where the Vernon Sangster was, to create a state-of-the-art stadium, and in fact add extension of the park on their existing site. So there isn't much of a comparison really.

On top of that, of course, we have to remember that the council did offer the real deal of the century at the best location in town, and we fluffed it despite a board member offering the cash. I'm surprised the council ever went near the club again after that debacle.

Then they offered Walton Hall Park, with some enabling developments... and that collapsed too – the council also stated at the time of Destination Kirkby that they would be very receptive to ideas for expansion at Goodison Park, and helped facilitate discussions with Bestway for the loop site. Now they're arranging the SPV, so I don't think we can really claim we've been hard done by.

Ron Sear
95 Posted 27/03/2018 at 19:25:17
There really shouldn't be any problem for a survey of the docks.

A few years ago, when we were running a bookshop in Lark Lane, we got hold of a historical copy of the original dock plans. The level of detail was astonishing and included everything from cross sections of the geology of the area, every drainage system and the calculations regarding water ingress into all of the materials used in the dock structure.

As I remember, we sold it to the BBC for their research department who were engaged in making some program. The originals are almost certainly in existence somewhere. Might save a lot of money if somebody could track it down.

Paul [The Esk]
96 Posted 27/03/2018 at 21:19:00
Tom – surely the original £300 million figure was totally unrealistic? It could be argued that the £500 million figure is still on the low side, so how £300m could be seen as viable and/or realistic, I don't know.
Paul [The Esk]
97 Posted 27/03/2018 at 21:25:37
Hi Ron – can you do me a favour and email me a contact number regarding the plans. Will explain in email – Thanks:
Tom Hughes
98 Posted 27/03/2018 at 21:33:16

Roma are building a 52k stadium for slightly less and Meis has designed that too.

Paul [The Esk]
99 Posted 27/03/2018 at 21:35:55
That's true Tom, and you will know better than me, but for example the lease cost £22-25 million, site preparation/dock drainage/ surrounding works rumoured to be heading towards £100 million - doesn't leave a lot to add up to £500 m plus
Brian Wilkinson
100 Posted 27/03/2018 at 21:42:43
Karl @21, if memory serves me right in regards to the double-decker Park End stand, I am pretty sure at the time I read they ditched the double-decker stand because it saved the club just over a Million in having a single-decker stand, like you said 80% of the build was funded, so we penny pinched and cut costs and ditched the double-decker Park stand.
Tom Hughes
101 Posted 27/03/2018 at 21:44:47
That's one expensive pump but, I think it only serves to illustrate my original point that this project was originally driven by the cash injection via the Commonwealth Games. The cost hike was nothing to do with inflation of construction costs of Brexit as was first suggested.
Laurie Hartley
102 Posted 27/03/2018 at 22:47:03
Tom -- surely one of the first things Dan Meis team would do is a cost comparison between filling the dock in and building on top of the new surface or, draining the dock and taking advantage of the space created -- wouldn't they?

The other potential upside to the second option is that the area not covered by the ground footprint is could be converted to an underground car park. Have the club approached people like National Car Parks to enter into a Joint Venture for the development of that part of the site?

We have secured our Premier League status for next season - the club needs to release its plans for the ground in the near future otherwise the fan base will sense another Kings Dock like debacle.

Tom Hughes
103 Posted 29/03/2018 at 09:28:51

In the time that Dan Meis has been engaged by the club, he could've outline-costed any number of variations on the theme. In the same time, his company has been involved with other stadium projects worldwide. He even submitted a whole new scheme for redevelopment of Selhurst Park, but it wasn't the winning bid.

So yes, I'm sure he has done general comparisons of at least those two options. While having the pitch below the ground level is the obvious choice to minimise stadium construction costs, and also create efficient internal access, egress and circulation I have to admit I struggle a bit to get my head around having the pitch at or below sea level, especially when the sea is only yards away. Not insurmountable, I'm sure... but I suppose it's because I spend half my life below sea level, and am only too familiar with the potential consequences.

Laurie Hartley
104 Posted 29/03/2018 at 12:07:17
Tom – I used to feel like that the first few times my dad drove me through the Mersey Tunnel.

Think about it – when they dug the dock out originally, it was completely empty and they didn't have the shoring systems that are available today or 10 metre precast panels.

It will be alright – a full footprint slab and terracing will provide all the support needed for the dock walls.

Being below sea level will be great – it will be like the coliseum. Our visitors won't like it much.

I see Dan Meis is having some sessions with the fans shortly. I would have loved to be able to go to those meetings – but I'm a bit to far away here in Oz.

Ray Roche
105 Posted 29/03/2018 at 12:09:25
Laurie, the invitations for the stadium workshops with Dan Meis have already been sent! Even with the new non-stop service, you'd be cutting it fine!
Jim Burns
106 Posted 29/03/2018 at 14:18:42
On the subject of seating capacity at the New Stadium – a little off topic I think – but bear with me. I applied to renew all 3 of my season tickets in the Upper Bullens (held for centuries) in January. Payments were set up by Direct Debit as usual and regular payments duly taken immediately.

Yesterday got three letters from EFC (one for each ticket) in the post telling me I hadn't yet renewed and if I didn't renew before the 6 April, my seats could go.

I rang EFC today and was told that the letters had gone out in error to all season ticket holders – including those who had renewed, and to settle my mind they would e-mail me confirmation immediately.

5 hours later – no e-mail and another phone call, plus quite a few minutes checking by them while I hung on. This time I insisted on waiting for the e-mail confirmation that my tickets had in fact been renewed back in January. E-mail duly arrived. At no time was an apology offered for the time and stress, and when I politely suggested the club could easily e-mail confirmation of renewals with a thank you – at the time they were in fact renewed – I was met with a shrug. (I could tell it was a shrug even over the phone.)

Here's my point: on the assumption every season ticket holder received this letter (approx £15k spent?) – what confidence should we have in anything to do with the running of this side of things and the manner in which we are sometimes treated as 'customers'. Even more worryingly, how can we trust them to accurately assess the seating capacity of a one-man outside loo – never mind a new stadium?

I don't blame the staff at the Box Office at all – but Amazon it ain't.

Laurie Hartley
107 Posted 29/03/2018 at 22:10:52
Yes, Ray, true – but I am hoping I will make that trip one day for the opening of our new stadium.
Derek Thomas
108 Posted 30/03/2018 at 07:16:37
Planning the same myself, Laurie from Brisbane, if I'm first there I'll put one behind the bar for you... at least it'll be better than the Carlton piss we mostly get now.
John G Davies
109 Posted 30/03/2018 at 07:52:28
On the comparisons with Man City and the new stadium effect.

City are currently texting their season ticket holders offering them two additional seats for the Champions League quarter final. The best side the Premier League has seen can't sell out.

Tom Hughes
110 Posted 30/03/2018 at 09:23:16
As regards City... they have a good solid fanbase but not a massive one. The decades of Man Utd dominance ate into their catchment since the 50s, but their fans still clung to the defining difference that they are the only club actually in Manchester and that was the only thing they could claim in identity terms and helped maintain healthy gates.

But we should also remember that their record average attendance pre-move was just 42k. Even when they won the league in the 60s, their average was less than that despite having a capacity of about 68k at the time. So, their new stadium and its recent and planned expansions was/is a leap of faith, and ambitious; however, they did get it for peanuts in the first place and their owners have unlimited wealth to absorb those costs and still spend on the team.

Success will bring them new fans, and every year they are breaking their records for getting fans through the gates, but your post illustrates that they're not there yet.

Unfortunately, we don't have a geographical distinction to claim against our red neighbours, and we are also fighting against their years of success, and our failures when trying to claim new hearts and souls and we don't have endless funds or the best team in the country. I would like to think that we are bigger in terms of fanbase – but that wont be for long if current trends continue.

Stephen Davies
111 Posted 30/03/2018 at 18:31:07
Tom (#110),

I've read your comments re the stadium. I don't think it's been mentioned in many places as to how we are going to disperse 50,000+ fans from an area that's hemmed in on 3 sides and a listed building (small stone gate and wall) which can't be demolished.

Anderson's podcast did not mention any of this or any plans for transport to/from the location (at the moment, it's a decent hike in the pissing rain and wind from any good transport link).

I would have thought from EFC's point of view, and perhaps Peel's too, i it would be in the best interests of both to have a good quick transport service to the Central Docks area. Ideally a light transit system.

Frank Crewe
113 Posted 05/04/2018 at 10:58:18
I would think a fair comparison would be Arsenal. Moved from an old 38,000 capacity ground to a brand new 60,000 capacity ground. It doesn't appear to have improved their success. In fact the reverse as they appear to be struggling at the moment and they certainly won't be in the top four. Not to mention a 60,000-seater looks a bit sparse when it only has 40,000 in it as it did last Saturday.

I would go for 50,000 with room for expansion. That would still give us the thin end of 12,000 more than we currently have with the option for more should we need to expand further.

Ron Williams
114 Posted 09/04/2018 at 17:49:46
Writing as an 83-year-old life-long-Evertonian who attended the School of Football Science (if only - now) to see the 1958 Derby where the attendance was 78,299. During the next decade the attendance average was over 60k. With a great manager and the correct person/s buying players, it is not unimaginable that this sort of number could be attracted again.

Take the example of Spurs, from an average of just over 30k at White Heart Lane to, on a few occasions, topping 80,000 (average about 60k) at Wembley. They've "hit it on the button" with the new stadium designed for about 60,000.

So with our current average of just under 40k I think it very feasible we could mimic Spurs – so to hell with 40k or 50k go for 55k or even 60k.

As previously mentioned, underground car parking in the old dock basin should be considered as this would provide a huge area and hence club income. If the site is so small that the pitch length is similar to Goodison – why was it chosen, as if the pitch can't be made longer then one might assume that car parking too will be restricted, therefore under the pitch seems a logical step and would save a tremendous amount of infill.

The 'safe-standing area' is a non-goer as the law stands at present. Therefore the 12,000 to 15,000 is now reduced to, say, 5,000 seats. So the 50k is now reduced to some 40-43k – could have this been a ruse to make us think the stadium will hold more than it can in reality? Mmmm.

Is the stadium going to have a sliding roof to make it an all-weather pitch and also keep the crowd dry?

Surely movable seating could be designed so that a track area could be provided for athletics etc – consider the Commonwealth and Olympic Games etc, in addition to boxing matches, concerts and international football (even rugby).

I contend that here is an opportunity to build a Wembley of the North and put the city truly on a par with the Capital, having a beautifully designed and versatile stadium to cater for a wider audience than just football in order to sustain income throughout the year, and for years to come.

I do hope that the directors who will make the final decision will demonstrate their true ambitions and aspirations by having a stadium fit to call 'Goodison 2' (well we've got Liverpool 1!!!), the new home of Everton, and it not be a chicken hutch holding a handful of supporters. Come on, Mr Moshiri and directors, make it happen; we're all waiting – don't forget 60k!!! – except at my age, I may not see the idea come to fruition.

Bye y'all

Michael Kenrick
115 Posted 09/04/2018 at 18:03:43
Great post, Ron (#114), but I hate to say you're living in a myth: The average attendance at Goodison Park for league games has never even been close to 60k during any season on record – never mind a whole decade!!!

What are smoking, old fella? In our entire history, for one season, and one season only, it has topped 50k. Can you remember which season that was?

Ray Roche
116 Posted 09/04/2018 at 18:13:08
Pat Waine
117 Posted 10/04/2018 at 10:28:17
If I was Moshiri, I wouldn't consult any fans – particularly Everton fans. It's asking for trouble. It's like asking a committee to compose a letter.
Ron Williams
118 Posted 11/04/2018 at 13:32:02
Okay, Michael – I hold up my hands: a big typo... well two really, the date of the record attendance was 1948 – not 1959.

The average attendance for the next decade was over 40k, not over 60k as I stated. Thanks for pointing out this error – nothing to recommend getting old!

Dermot Byrne
119 Posted 26/06/2018 at 14:49:47
Interesting piece in The Echo re Heritage Status:

Liverpool retains World Heritage Status – what now for Peel and Everton stadium?

Wonder if this may mean the outside of the stadium looks classy. If Peel can get the okay, then surely we can if we are clever. Lucas Oil Stadium type?

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