In an interview with the Liverpool Echo, Everton chief executive Robert Elstone has said that new stadium architect Dan Meis will be leading the fan workshops coming soon that will look to get more feedback on the design of the new stadium to be built on Bramley-Moore dock.
Only fans of the club with a customer number are allowed to fill out the feedback survey on the 11 key principles regarding the stadium design, and just those fans will be eligible to take part in the fan workshops. The deadline for completing the 51-question survey is 5pm BST on Friday 23rd February.
Elstone talked about the thought process behind the selection of Meis Architects, saying he was struck by the level of Meis’ engagement with the project, and how involved he got in a very short amount of time.
“That’s the great thing about Dan, it clicks immediately with him and he’s totally enthused by it. He wants to do something that’s different, that’s progressive, that looks forward and doesn’t look back.
“Dan has bought into the city, Dan has bought into Everton and he’s bought into the vision in a really big way and he was up against a number of major, perhaps more well-known, architects and he came through a really rigorous selection process based on the passion he had, the homework he’d done on the club, the homework he’d done on the city and the passion he had for the project. He won it hands down with us feeling ‘Here’s a guy who is going to make something really, really special and here’s a guy who knows how special this is’.
“He’s massively enthused by it. He’s been to Goodison loads and loads of times and he’s so keen to take with us that intimacy, that closeness and I’m convinced he will deliver on that.”
Fans have certainly taken to Meis well, who has been very engaging on social media as he fields hundreds of questions about the new stadium, primarily centered on when he will release the first sketches.
As a result of his enthusiasm and engagement, Meis will also be looking at the feedback from the survey before speaking with the fans, as Elstone observed.
“Dan is living and breathing the project and has been now for a couple of years. Dan is very accessible, Dan is reading and talking to fans about what they currently feel so that feedback has been consistently building.
“So what we are hoping, and what we are expecting, is a rubber stamping of where Dan is and what we are trying to develop here. If it isn’t, and it’s a bit more challenging, then we are going to have to go away and think about that.
“The feedback is really, really important to us but it’s an ongoing process and has been for some time.”
In a previous interview with the Daily Post, Elstone had also mentioned his desire that the new stadium be a ‘fortress’, a thought that has been echoed by thousands of fans who have seen and experienced the ‘bear-pit’ atmosphere on some nights at Goodison Park.
“A real bug bear of mine is the gap between the first seat and the pitch and the way in which we build to accommodate different things and have this contingency in it.
“What I wanted to do is strip out the contingency in it, or make the contingency as tight as it could be, and push that first seat as close to the touchline. If guidance says this, then challenge that guidance, why is the guidance saying that? Is it guidance or is it statutory? Do we have to comply?
“And it’s all those sorts of things. Principle number one is about being a fortress and, largely, that’s about atmosphere and largely that is how close fans are to the action.
“There will be other things such as size and shape of the roof and how we stagger the tiers but ultimately it’s about getting the fans as close as we possibly can. If we can get the fans close, if we create that fortress, then it is going to be a great stadium. It is as simple as that.
“I said to Dan Meis, almost on day one, that if you can make this a place where the opposition hates coming to play because it is so tight, it’s so intimidating then you will have ticked the brief.
“And with a lot of other stadiums that have been built, I would be surprised if lots of them have started with that brief. I doubt many new stadiums have been built with that clear defined over-arching brief which is about creating that fortress.”
While Everton’s leadership have made more than one suspect decision over the last few years, it appears more and more that choosing Dan Meis as the architect for the Toffees’ new home for the next few generations is one of the better choices to have been made.
Click here to go complete the stadium survey, or forever hold your peace!