Quite out of the Blue today Everton dropped a bombshell regarding their new stadium to be built at the Bramley-Moore Dock.
The stadium’s capacity has been hotly debated over the last few months by fans, with the realists saying it will be better to get a smaller stadium that will be filled regularly rather than attempt to build a colossus which might not fill up for most regular matchdays. On the other hand, the opposing camp have been proposing more of a ‘build it and they will come’ mentality with the arena design.
Today the club announced that the proposed capacity will be for 52,000 fans, with the potential to rise to 62,000 in the future. Goodison Park currently houses 39,572 of which quite a few seats have obstructed sightlines. 32,000 of those are currently season-ticket holders with a waiting list of about 10,000. The move to the docks is not expected to happen until the 2023-24 season at the earliest.
It is important to note that the number is not final by any means as there is still going to be more public consultation with fans and with stakeholders like Liverpool City Council, the Local Planning Authority and Historic England.
Another piece of big news built into the announcement is that should ‘safe standing’ be approved at any point in the future, then that can be easily covered as the design of two of the stands will have the rail seating/safe standing option.
There is a current public consultation underway regarding travel methods used by supporters to get to the docks, and a further consultation next summer when proposed designs will be announced. The timeline then moves on to a planning application submission in the second half of 2019.
Colin Chong, Stadium Development Director said:
“There is still much work to do as we develop our plans and seek the views of our supporters and local communities as well as bodies such as Liverpool City Council, the Local Planning Authority and Historic England.
“At this stage, it is important to stress that this is our ‘proposed’ capacity and it is what we are currently working towards. It is important to emphasise that the final capacity and design will be subject to further engagement and consultation.
“We believe that our approach is the right one because it is commercially and financially sustainable and will mean that, in the long term, we will be able to increase the capacity should there be a demand and requirement to do so.
“Extensive work has gone into assessing the optimum capacity at the point of opening to create the best possible atmosphere for fans and, in turn, supporting the players on the pitch.
“At this stage it is not possible to say if and when any capacity expansion to an absolute maximum of 62,000 would take place. That would also be subject to further design work, fan and community consultation and planning approval.”
Projected PL Capacities 2023/4:— Trevor McKinlay (@TrevorMcKinlay) November 18, 2018
Man Utd: 74,994
West Ham: 66,000
Man City: 63,000
Would you want Everton to build a smaller stadium than these?
Stadium architect Dan Meis said:
“We know from all of the conversations we’ve had with fans that they want a stadium that is atmospheric, feels like a fortress and supports the players on the pitch. They also want the Club to be ambitious for the future.
“We believe this proposed approach to design and capacity meets with those aspirations.
“Our design and engineering approach will give us the potential to expand in the future. This will be done if and when we are at a stage where it is financially viable and fits with our key principles.”