Everton chief executive Robert Elstone says the club will still have a significant presence at Goodison Park long after the club moves to a new stadium.
The Toffees are pressing ahead with plans to move to a new ground on Bramley-Moore Dock by the start of the next decade.
That means the clock is ticking on Everton’s time at Goodison Park, their home for 125 years.
There is understandably some concern among local residents about the impact Everton’s move will have on the community around Goodison Park.
Many businesses around the stadium rely on match-day traffic to survive and there are fears the area will suffer once Everton leave.
However, Elstone insists the club are determined to maintain a presence in the Liverpool 4 postcode and will not simply allow the area to decline.
Speaking to the Everton fans forum podcast, Elstone said:
“We see Bramley Moore as an opportunity to extend our community and that clearly means we’re not going to be leaving Liverpool 4. We are not leaving Liverpool 4 very forcibly.
“People have seen recent developments around the school and community facilities and they will stay here and we will still maintain a very significant presence in Liverpool 4. We won’t turn our back on it.”
When pressed on specifics, Elstone was unable to provide anything certain at this stage.
But what he was sure of though was that the club wouldn’t simply flog the land to a supermarket or unscrupulous housing developer.
Everton in the Community and the Everton Free School are already based in the area and it is likely any development on Goodison will be a continuation of those projects.
“I think what we want is to leave a legacy, something that’s sustainable, sustainable for local residents and local businesses. That will be a blend of leisure, housing, health and education on this footprint.
“Many clubs would have simply sold the land off to the highest bidder, whether that’s for supermarket or housing. That’s not what we will do.
“We will look at integrating a small community unit within the Goodison Park footprint and make sure that is serves the needs and is driven by the needs of the local community.
Elstone even went as far to suggest that Everton’s move from Walton could actually benefit the area in the long term:
“What we want to do is put something in place at Goodison that creates a greater economic sustainability than a football club that may have 23 or 24 home games. Yes, you will have a big surge 23 or 24 times a season but what we want to do is replace it with something that provides 365 day sustainability through building new houses and bringing new families in.
“We are really committed to doing something very special at Goodison. My colleague Denise Barrett-Baxendale is leading that, working with master planners looking at what this local community needs.
“So we will take great pride at not leaving L4 but what we do replace Goodison Park with will be something that we think will be fantastic.”