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Everton leaving Goodison Park a worthy sacrifice for progress

It will be a huge wrench to leave our home, but it’s a necessary evil if we are to ever witness new chapters in Everton’s illustrious history

Everton v Middlesbrough - Premier League Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Anyone who has ever moved out of their childhood home will know what it’s like to leave a place that has become so entwined with your past and your identity that it feels like you’re leaving part of yourself behind.

Shared experiences and memories seep into the walls, making it much more than just bricks and mortar. It’s a vessel where memories and kept and revived for posterity.

Yet life must go on.

When my parents moved out of my childhood home I knew it made sense and was the right thing to do, even if the child in me disagreed.

Evertonians will be experiencing similar emotions now the starting pistol has been fired ahead of Goodison’s grand finale; Everton’s Article 50, if you will.

In a few years’ time Everton will leave Goodison for good for a new life at Bramley-Moore Dock.

Goodison Park has been Everton’s home since 1892 and so is the one thing that links almost every Evertonian that has ever lived.

Teams and managers have come and gone but the Grand Old lady has remained ever present.

There is history everywhere you turn; from Archibald’s Leitch’s crosswork design, the three-tiered Main Stand (the city’s original ‘big stand) to St Luke’s Church nestled in the corner by the Gwladys Street.

On the pitch we’ve seen Dixie’s 60th, Latchford’s 30th, the Golden Vision, Andy King’s volley, THAT night against Bayern.

And although success has been sparse since we still have games like the 4-4 derby draw, Wimbledon ’94 and Coventry ’98 to reminisce about and tell our children ‘I was there’.

I may not know you, nor ever meet you. But if you have been to Goodison we have a special, shared experience.

Goodison is one of the last existing examples of football’s roots, before the rampant commercialism of the Premier League took hold.

It has its faults and is showing its age, but few grounds can create an atmosphere quite like a boisterous crowd in L4.

Everton v AFC Bournemouth - Premier League Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

But while that has been one of Everton’s undoubted strengths, it has also been the club’s greatest weakness.

The game has raced ahead of us and no amount of nostalgia will bring it back.

Goodison has been a millstone around the club’s neck for decades now, allowing clubs we once considered beneath us to race ahead and reap the riches of the modern game.

Part of me doesn’t want to leave. The final match at Goodison will be an emotional occasion tinged with sadness and a little bit of regret.

I have no doubt that Goodison Park could have been modernised step-by-step, but the opportunity to do that was in the 1980s and 1990s.

A lack of direction and leadership at boardroom level has hamstrung the club for decades, with a crumbling Goodison a symbol of that crippling inertia.

Building a new stadium while enjoying a final few years at Goodison is the only realistic option.

Everton v Sunderland - Premier League Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images

The Grand Old Lady’s finale will be the perfect opportunity to revel in the club’s glorious past and give thanks to a ground that has provided a lifetime of memories – good and bad.

But if we are to ever create fresh memories of our own, not ones immortalised in black and white newsreels or 80s’s videos narrated by John Motson, then we simply have to move with the times.

A state-of-the-art stadium on the docks is the chance for Everton to once again live up to its Latin motto – only the best is good enough.

Evertonians will always respect the club’s history, but by looking forward and not back the club can be emboldened by its glorious past not weighed down by it.

Nothing will ever recreate the atmosphere and mystique of Goodison’s ageing walls. But if the only way to bring back the glory days is to let the Grand Old lady go, then it is a sacrifice worth making.