The Everton supporters are pretty thrilled with what they’ve seen of the new stadium design as revealed yesterday by the club, but it turns out they’re not the only ones.
Speaking yesterday at the event to mark the announcement of Everton’s plans, veteran player Leighton Baines admitted that the players were pretty excited too and that the new designs were the talk of the training ground at Finch Farm the day before.
“We had an abbreviated version of this as a group yesterday and it created a buzz in the dressing room. It’s been the talk of Finch Farm for the last day.
”We’ve all been waiting for this day, to get a glimpse of what the new stadium could look like, and it didn’t disappoint.
“The plans are very impressive and it was good to get a look at where we’re heading. It’s still conceptual at this stage but looking at what Dan and the guys have put together and hearing their plans has been really exciting.”
Architect Dan Meis has always insisted that recreating the bear-pit atmosphere of Goodison Park was one of his main design briefs, and Baines added that was top of most players’ thoughts too.
“Yeah that was one of the key thoughts of the players. We as a small senior group of players were consulted quite early on for our thoughts and we were thinking about it from a player’s point of view being out there on the pitch.
”The biggest point probably taken from that was that we would like to retain the atmosphere and the intimacy that Goodison Park can generate.
“I think from the plans and also what’s been said up here that it’s been taken into serious consideration and, from the designs we’ve seen, it looks like they’re going to make a success of doing it.”
The local-born Baines signed a one-year extension to stay at his boyhood club for another year, but knows that he won’t still be playing for the Blues by the time the stadium move happens.
”Me as much as much as everyone loves Goodison Park, it was my favourite stadium to play at even before I was an Everton player because of the atmosphere, it sets you alight as a player.
”It’s definitely a stretch to imagine me running out there as a player but one thing’s for sure I’ll at least be there as an Evertonian.”
The 34-year-old has been heavily involved in a lot of charity work conducted by Everton in the Community over the years, and is also thrilled by the plans to develop Goodison Park for the local community.
“For me, the plans for the space once we do vacate Goodison are equally as exciting.
”To see Denise [Barrett-Baxendale] speaking so passionately about what we’re going to put back into the community and how many people are going be helped in that area is fantastic and so important.
”It’s something I feel passionate about and I think we’ve seen that’s echoed throughout the football club. The fact we’re putting so much back into the people of Liverpool speaks volumes for the football club.”