The construction of Everton’s new stadium remains on track and is making good progress towards completion in the end of December 2024, as confirmed by the Interim CEO and Chief Stadium Development Officer Colin Chong in a blog post released on Friday.
In it he started off by talking about the meeting he had held recently with the club’s Fan Advisory Board, in which a huge decision about the club’s future was made, specifically regarding the move to the new stadium at Bramley-Moore dock.
This was the confirmation that the first competitive football fixtures for our senior men’s side will take place at our new stadium at the start of the 2025/26 season.
Everton Football Club has decided against a mid-season move to their new home, and will only move to the Everton Stadium for the beginning of the 2025-26 season. While there were plenty of rumours circulating that there have been delays with construction that might have forced that decision, Chong addressed those concerns by confirming that the completion date was still on track.
Firstly, and to be absolutely clear, our decision to not move in mid-season is not because of a construction delay. It is a Club decision driven by a combination of commercial insight, a comprehensive review of the logistics required, an analysis of the potential impact upon our football operations and, importantly, fan feedback sourced as part of our recent stadium migration survey, which was completed by almost 10,000 Evertonians.
Everton Stadium remains firmly on track, as scheduled, to be completed in the final weeks of 2024.
He went on to explain that the few months between the completion and the proposed move would be used to prepare and get in test runs of the club’s new home with varying numbers of fans present as well.
We will need to conduct test events at our new home, which will allow us to stress test the stadium in a number of different ways in order to obtain our Safety Certificate. It will also give Evertonians a chance to see and sample the new facilities.
Some of our test events will involve crowds of varying capacities, while others will need to be operationally focused and only involve our own staff.
We will, of course, provide more details on how Evertonians can get involved and register for those events in due course.
While leaving Goodison Park looks to now have been pushed off for half a year, the farewell tour is surely going to be as heartwrenching as any other significant event in the lives of so many of us. Chong addressed that process as well, dropping hints about some planned celebrations that look back at generations of the greatest teams that ever stepped on the hallowed turf of Archibald Leitch’s masterpiece.
All of this does mean that next season, 2024/25, is scheduled to be our last at Goodison Park. By the time we close the gates for the final time, Goodison will have been our home for nearly 134 years, with many supporters telling us very clearly about their desire to make sure the Grand Old Lady gets a fitting send-off.
For a while now, the Club has been looking at a series of events, tours and celebrations that will allow us all to pay tribute to one of the world’s most iconic and well-known stadiums.
Now we know the farewell to Goodison will be a year-long celebration, we can start to firm up those plans and we will begin to reveal more details around what is planned and how fans can get involved later this season.
At a time when plenty of aspersions have been cast on the club’s leadership and how the Farhad Moshiri years have turned the club in a downward direction, it is of extreme importance that the club get this construction completion date right. Even as news continues to do the rounds that 777 Partners’ proposed takeover could yet be scuppered by the decision-makers, there simply cannot be any major hitches in the move to what will be the club’s new home for (hopefully) another 133 years.
The added scrutiny brought upon the club with the Financial Fair Play ruling and points deduction — and the united front that came together to protest that — means every financial decision taken from here on out has to be the right one too. The Blues could be giving up lucrative opportunities to start up the new stadium and start earning back some of the vast sum that was paid in construction. This would then go on to improve the overall fiscal future of the club, and allow a competitive product on the pitch.
However, putting the team at risk in case of any malfunctions in the quick turnaround that a midseason move would require being the chief concern. The kind of pressures that could come into play in executing the logistics of that kind of a move are best left untested.
The announcement on Friday did specify that the Men's team would only start playing their fixtures at the new stadium in the 25-26, but that still leaves the opportunity open for other Everton teams like the Women's and Under-21 sides to test drive the new facility.
While it's oft-said that there's no room for sentimentality in business, the Grand Old Lady certainly deserves to see one last full season, hosting her last big game before we step out of the ground for that one last time on an early summer's evening in mid May 2025.