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Everton confirm plans to move to new stadium

Chris Brunskill

After a weekend of rumour and speculation, Everton have confirmed their desire to move to a new stadium.

The Liverpool Echo reports that the new ground would be situated, as widely predicted, at Walton Hall Park approximately one mile from Goodison Park.

Details are currently vague, but Liverpool council would be an official partner along with housing association Liverpool Mutual Homes.

It is hoped the project would provide around 1,000 jobs for the region as well as providing a number of new homes and leisure facilities.

No property needs to be demolished or cleared in order for the project to go ahead, though mayor Joe Anderson says the public will be fully consulted.

Mayor Anderson also confirmed that the council would not offer financial support directly to the club, but would help fund parts of the regeneration project that would benefit the city as a whole.

The Liverpool Echo estimates the stadium would cost around £200million, part funded by a naming rights deal and sale of Goodison. However, there are no details as to how the club would make up any shortfall.

Chairman Bill Kenwright says:

"On my journey to our home games, as I pass Walton Hall Park, I inevitably think that I am only a minute away from our beloved Goodison. For several years now I’ve also thought, if only it was available for our new stadium, it ticks all the boxes.

"It would fill me with great pride, it could be something very special for our city, the residents of North Liverpool and all Evertonians – a new home that goes beyond football and does what Everton does better than anyone else.

"To get every aspect right will take time as well as the continued support we’ve received to date from Joe Anderson and his colleagues at the council."

Chief executive Robert Elstone added:

"We are delighted to be the conduit for the council’s commitment to enhancing the outlook of the residents of north Liverpool.

"We are equally delighted to be exploring an opportunity that allows us to reinforce our commitment to our fans.

"We don’t know how long the journey will take but we won’t lack stamina or commitment. It is also essential that we bring fans with us."

The stadium debate has rumbled on for the best part of 20 years, with former chairman Peter Johnson the first man to propose a move away from Goodison in 1996.

Then came the failed attempts to move to the Kings Dock in 2003, a site many Evertonians still believe would have been the perfect and most iconic venue for the club.

Then came the ill-fated Kirkby plans in 2007 that threatened to split the fanbase and left them feeling disenchanted with those in the upper echelons of the club.

We have been in limbo ever since.

A sympathetic stage-by-stage redevelopment of Goodison would be the perfect option, but sadly the cost is prohibitive and the club would lose too much money during the rebuilding process to make it viable.

Therefore a move to a new site is widely accepted to be the best option, even if that means the sad reality of saying goodbye to the Grand Old Lady.

Leaving Goodison, Everton's home since 1892, would be a massive wrench, so the club have to ensure it is for the right reasons.

That reason is a state-of-the-art stadium worthy of the Everton name and one that gives us the best chance of re-creating some of the glorious nights Goodison has witnessed over the years and begin a new chapter in our club's illustrious history.