They tried their best not to say it outright, but mayor Joe Anderson helped Everton officials by calling Bramley-Moore Dock as “the elephant in the room”. This is where the Toffees want to grow.
During yesterday’s annual general meeting of Everton FC the issue of new stadium was possibly the most discussed one. It was raised by all key speakers, including majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri, chairman Bill Kenwright, CEO Robert Elstone and mayor Joe Anderson.
Moshiri, for whom it was the very first AGM at Everton, gave the least insight to the 300 shareholders in attendance. He only hinted that time is very limited for Everton to establish themselves in upper regions of the Premier League, part of which is getting the new stadium.
Elstone and Kenwright moved much closer, but none of them clearly stated that the club want to build in Bramley-Moore Dock. Well, mayor Joe helped them out. “The elephant in the room is the waterfront site, it’s what everybody in this room wants, me included, and we’re aware of that,” Anderson said.
“I remember when we talked about Destination Kirkby and I came along, by proxy, to an AGM and said that we needed a plan B. We’ve got plan Bs now but everybody is working, extremely hard,to deliver on the site you want, we all want, everyone of us.” the mayor continued.
The city will help
Using the opportunity, mayor Joe assured the city council is already on board to regenerate the entire northern waterfront area. In recent days spending of £20 million was approved for road network in the area, while around April further £6 million should be granted for works directly next to the proposed stadium site. Also, a new railway station is getting done, which would prove very useful to ease traffic on matchdays.
“I can hear people making comments about ‘why is the city involved in this?’ and ‘why is the city involved with Everton Football Club?’. Well, we did it with Liverpool Football Club. The City Council invested around about £23m in that particular regeneration of that area and supported that huge stand through the planning process and we backed that club to the hilt.
“For me, what happens in North Liverpool is crucially important for the whole city and that’s why, when Robert and Bill says they have the Council’s support, they have the Council’s support through every challenge that we face.” Anderson said.
Not certain yet
As confirmed by the mayor, there is an alternative plan, widely understood to be the Stonebridge Cross site, more distant from the city centre but easier to build a stadium at.
“One site is more favourable. The opportunities are much greater at that site but so are the costs. We have to find answers to some uncertainties and risks because it’s the biggest decision the club will ever make”, said CEO Robert Elstone. He expects to have more details to share with fans within the next 2-3 months. Currently Everton are understood to be negotiating conditions with Peel, the developer in possession of the Bramley-Moore Docks site.
While cost and schedule for the new stadium remain unclear, Everton are looking for a chance to accommodate 50,000-55,000 people at the new stadium.