With fans about to be up in arms again following the Blues’ insipid attacking performances over the last couple of weeks, the Everton Board decided to calm the hordes with a statement released early on New Year’s Eve updating the status of the site development at Bramley-Moore Docks for the new stadium.
Here is the statement in full from the Chief Executive Officer Robert Elstone, with our comments in between.
The Club has invested considerably into the new stadium project over the past 12 months and I’m pleased to report we have made progress on many fronts.
You will know we recently secured the Bramley Moore Dock site. Meis has presented the Club with outline concept designs. Cost consultants have prepared estimates. Planners are ready to kick off the planning application. And, we are moving ever nearer to securing a significant proportion of the funding we will need to build the stadium.
The presence of Farhad Moshiri has been significant in this already, bringing in significant investment from the likes of USM, Blackwell Global & Industrial and Commercial Bank of China.
After careful consideration of several sites, over recent years, a clear winner emerged and whilst the cost and related preparatory works add a one-fifth premium to the cost of the Bramley Moore Dock site, we believe that the commercial returns from naming rights, sponsorship, higher attendances and greater use on non-matchdays will recoup that premium. We are incredibly excited about the opportunities for us at Bramley Moore Dock.
Glad to hear that the Docks have been selected as the final candidate, despite the expected increased project costs. This is a marked difference from the past where we have seen the Toffees try to nickel-and-dime whenever a financial decision needs to be made. In addition, a stadium on the waterfront would be iconic and really representative of the Merseyside culture.
From the outset, we have prioritised ‘an intimate and atmospheric home’ and ‘a fortress that opponents fear and respect’. Your informal feedback has endorsed this and informed the concept designs prepared by Meis needed to secure a reliable estimate of the project’s total cost and, ultimately, our funding target.
Dan Meis has made it very clear that his main design brief has been to create an intimidating atmosphere with fans ‘on top of’ the action. As always, the fanbase grows more and more desperate by the day to see his first sketches.
That funding target has escalated significantly and has occupied much of our efforts of the past 12 months. The premium for the waterfront site, an ambitious capacity that we will test with more rigour, a design we can all be proud of and the simple but painful impact of inflation, have all contributed to an increased overall cost and a funding target which continues to grow.
It’s a challenge that has always had the full support of Liverpool City Council and throughout 2017, we have been totally committed to finding a funding arrangement that works for the Club and the City. We have needed to be patient as we work together to ensure the ‘checks and balances’ that underpin such a deal are in place and whilst we ‘detoured’ temporarily pursuing the prize of hosting the Commonwealth Games, as we start the new year, both parties feel we are near to agreeing a framework that works.
If the main reason that the whole process is taking so long is because we are doing it by the book, then fans will gladly wait as patiently as they can.
Once these funding arrangements are secure, we will be able to move forward with more conviction and optimism. Our new home will kick-start the regeneration of North Liverpool and we are proud to be the catalyst for significant numbers of new homes, jobs and infrastructure. The prize for the Club and the City is substantial. Bramley Moore Dock will bring £1bn of private sector investment into the City and introduce our world-famous waterfront to billions of Premier League fans every weekend.
This is key, and a real statement of intent that Everton Football Club is committed to bettering the city of Liverpool, not only creating employment but regenerating parts of the metropolis that have fallen into disrepair.
Again, following the sign-off of funding, the priority for the year ahead is to deliver the planning permission required to allow us to begin construction.
It is a process not without challenge. Bramley Moore Dock sits within a World Heritage Site with several historically significant features, and our designs must respect the heritage and culture of the City’s northern docks. Our planning case will be enhanced with impressive legacy plans for our existing home at Goodison Park. Also, firmly on our agenda for 2018, is to bring all fans into the new stadium design process and our plans for Goodison when we leave.
Please register to be involved in this process at evertonfc.com/yourstadium.
Blues - it is not often that our input is sought or considered, so when we have the opportunity to be heard, let’s make sure we’re speaking up now, or forever holding our peace, as may be the case.
Our hope, and our target, is the opening game of the 2022/23 season. Be assured that all our efforts during 2018 will be focused on meeting this challenging but achievable target.
Finally, thank you for all your support on and off the field. The People’s Club will always listen, always put fans first, and always endeavour to meet the aspirations of our forefathers; nil satis nisi optimum.
Happy New Year, Robert Elstone
Elstone is not our favourite Evertonian, many a fan will attest to that following some of the dealings we’ve seen at the club over the years. However, the Board has a distinct opportunity of showing that indeed the new Everton is doing things differently, and delivering a spanking new stadium on the docks, on time, within budget and paying tribute to our proud history would definitely be a good way of displaying that.
Happy New Year to the players, staff and everyone else affiliated to Everton Football Club, and a Happy New Year to all you incredible Blues who make this all worthwhile.
Come On You Blues, and Up The F*ckin’ Toffees!