Maybe not quite to the tune of the song for Seamus Coleman, but much has already been written and spoken about where the capacity of the new Everton stadium at Bramley Moore Dock should finally end up.
Goodison Park used to hold nearly 60,000 back in the days of mass standing on the terraces and has hosted crowds in excess of 70,000 during an illustrious career as one of England’s premier football venues.
It’s seen eight league titles and trophies paraded, never forget, we won our first in our first home across the park. It’s seen a veritable galaxy of footballing stars, legends, the incomparable W.R.Dean and his 60-goal season, a Golden Vision who was deified in his own tv show, and the Holy Trinity, the best midfield combination ever.
Goodison has had too many memorable games to even begin listing them here, with a never-to-be-forgotten European Cup Winners Cup semi-final victory over Bayern Munich arguably the greatest. The Grand Old Lady has hosted FA Cup semi-finals, world title boxing fights and a World Cup semi-final in 1966
and throughout it all, it’s been a glorious home to Everton Football Club.
But the sands of time are, for Goodison, sadly running out and the club is rightly looking to re-locate to the best possible location to host our football for the next hundred years… and maybe longer.
Bramley Moore Dock has been selected, acquired and pending a successful consultation process that everyone on Merseyside and with any interest in Everton should complete – https://www.peoples-project.co.uk – and subsequent planning application, sometime in the next five years, a new dawn will break for our much storied and revered club, down on the banks of the Royal Blue Mersey.
I won’t try to blind you with the science of financial arguments for as big a capacity as possible, others far more eminently qualified and well-versed in these matters have already ventured well-researched and reasoned arguments and to that aim, I heartily recommend everyone reads this https://theesk.org/2018/07/26/the-case-for-60000/ to appreciate the complexity of the issue, but in relatively simple terminology.
So what’s my angle?
It’s simply one fans passion to see Everton once again back at the vanguard of English football. I want to see Everton competing at the very highest level, Everton going toe-to-toe with the best, not only in England but Europe and yes, the world… and winning!!
To do that, we need the best possible team on the field of play and in Marcel Brands and Marco Silva, I have a growing confidence that we might just have stumbled on a partnership to lead the club back to trophies and the glory we all yearn for.
But we also need a world class, iconic, state-of-the-art stadium, perfectly located on the riverfront, the gateway to the city and a stadium that can hold as many people as possible, and for me that has to be a minimum of 60,000 with a leaning towards a nostalgic 61,878 as a mark of respect to the year of our founding.
Unless we ultimately face overwhelming evidence of design and construction problems that would make it impossible, anything less than 60,000 would, in my opinion, be a capitulation to negativity, to a lack of faith in the loyalty of Evertonians, and a lack of belief in the aim of returning Everton to the very top.
Some have suggested that there are or may be people within the club who may be hesitant about building 60,000 at BMD and that there’s doubts because currently Manchester City fail to completely or regularly sell out the Etihad.
My suggestion to any such doubters would be… don’t concern yourself with the problems of others, concentrate and focus on the demand and passion of Evertonians.
Thanks to continued enlightened Season Ticket pricing initiatives and the just announced freezing of ST prices for a fourth season, the Sold Out signs at Goodison will be regularly if not constantly displayed for the next 18 months and almost certainly longer still.
The club themselves are proud to advise that there is a waiting list in excess of ten thousand for season tickets, and that would take home game attendances to beyond 50,000 in the blink of an eye, before the need to go out and market ourselves to even more Blues.
Could we find another ten thousand?
I honestly and truthfully cannot think of one reason, good or otherwise, why Everton could not achieve this in a brand new home a few minutes from the city centre. A brand new home that will be infinitely better served than Goodison currently is with corporate and hospitality facilities, the kind of facilities that will attract greater numbers of corporate clientele and command premium pricing structures that will go a long way to justifying the costs of building the stadium to as big a capacity as possible.
As has been posted this past weekend on social media, if we look forward over the next three to four years, stadium capacities are destined to grow and ironically, Manchester City – often cited as a good reason to be conservative – have announced plans to expand the Etihad to 63,000 in time for the 21/22 season.
If we look at the numbers for the current biggest and proposed new build or expansion planning… Man Utd 75,640 (with plans to further expand); West Ham 66,000; Man City 63,000; Chelsea 63,000; Spurs 62,062; Liverpool 61,000; Arsenal 60,260; Wolves 60,000 and Newcastle 52,338.
Why on earth would Everton even begin to consider a brand new stadium to be less than that of at least eight others is incomprehensible to me.
Now as I said earlier, the science of the financial arguments is not my personal forte, and I’m sure that the financing of BMD is not an easy thing to achieve. But I would urge the powers that be within the corridors of Goodison fully examine and reach out to as many options as can be considered, the need for Everton to get the move to BMD as perfect as possible cannot be compromised by conservatism, fear, negativity or pessimism.
Mr Moshiri, together with the board of directors, needs to be bold, brave and tenacious in finding the ways and means to build Everton a new home that truly befits the future it will launch us upon.
Our club motto is Nil Satis Nisi Optimum – Nothing But the Best – let’s live up to it with every decision made, that’s all I’m asking, and I think I’m safe in saying I’m asking on behalf of many thousands of others too.