It has been whispered as a rumor in pubs across Liverpool, occasionally it is even mentioned publicly by executives at both clubs. Today those rumors became fact as Everton and Liverpool announced a historic groundsharing agreement at a brand new stadium.
The stadium would seat 55,000 spectators, and even include a small section behind one goal that could be converted to standing room only at some point in the future. Of greater concern to Everton, the stadium would also include several hundred luxury boxes, allowing the current tenants of Goodison Park to up their matchday revenue from the paltry sums they receive at Goodison Park.
For both clubs location was an important factor, and both clubs and the city came through with an inspired idea. The new stadium will be built in between Goodison Park and Anfield inside Stanley Park. In exchange for the land in the park, both clubs will be donating their current grounds back to the city of Liverpool. The city council plans to demolish both stadiums and turn the area into more green space for Stanley Park.
Other features include an orientation of one goal facing Goodison Park and the opposite towards Anfield in a nod to both clubs. The hope is that the raucous supporter's stands behind each goal will develop the history and tradition currently found at Goodison and Anfield. Both clubs will have team stores on the grounds, as well as separate changing rooms on the home side.
While the deal still has to be ratified by the Liverpool City Council, it is expected to be a formality. All of the members issued statements of support for the announcement, and a meeting has been scheduled for 2 weeks from now for official approval.
Construction is expected to begin this summer, and it is unlikely the stadium will be ready before the 2016-2017 season. The price is being quoted at £400 million, but it would not be surprising to see the cost rise to £500 million after delays and changes are factored in.