Our Club. Our Future. - was attended by a hundred or so Evertonians, all
united in the desire to keep the club within the city boundaries.
The meeting, chaired by Ann Adlington and Brian Gould, saw a flurry of ideas
and opinions put forward and a committee was formed to take the matter to
Liverpool City Council leader, Warren Bradley, was also in attendance to put
forward the views of a local authority that have seemingly bent over
backwards to accommodate fans of the red half of the city, whilst
simultaneously neglecting the blue half.
Mr Bradley, a season ticket holder in the Bullens Road, - yes, I was
surprised to find out that the leader of the City Council is a Blue - was
quick to point out that the council have offered Everton two potential
sites, one in the north and one in the south of Liverpool.
He was also at pains to point out that he cannot reveal the location of
these sites as this could lead to an auction and drive the price of the land
up even further.
One proposal put to Mr Bradley was the option of Everton building on Walton
Hall Park, the assumption being that if they have been allowed to build on
parkland why can't we?
His response was that no-one has put forward this proposal but it is one
that he will look into.
But he was also staunch in his assertion that he in no way advocates the
annexing of the city's parkland and that Liverpool would not have been given
the green light had he been council leader when proposal was put forward.
Mr Bradley spoke passionately about his desire to keep the club within the
boundaries of the city and stated that it would be financial suicide for the
council to let a business the size of Everton move elsewhere.
He was also of the opinion that, contrary to the beliefs of many, that the
proposed move to Kirkby is anything but a done deal and that the 'period of
exclusivity' is due to expire soon.
This means that the club can start to investigate alternative sites, such as
the ones identified by the council.
But there was still a great deal of skepticism from many in attendance,
probably due to the fact that, despite his obvious love of the club, Mr
Bradley is, after all, a politician!
And no-one seems to believe that the club have any intention of looking
elsewhere as, Everton CEO, Keith Wyness has more or less told shareholders
that this is the only financially viable option available to the club.
Mr Wyness has also stated in the past that a move to Kirkby is very much the
club's 'Plan A' but there is actually no 'Plan B' in place.
And this is where the Keep Everton In Our City campaign comes in.
Much like the Goodison For-Everton movement of 1997, this one wants to
open dialogue with the decision-makers at Everton to ensure that all
possible options are thoroughly investigated before we commit to move away
from the city.
If the club do this openly and honestly and then still come to the
conclusion that Kirkby is still the only financially viable option then most
will be more inclined to accept the proposals.
But the club needs to have more dialogue with the fans and tell us exactly
how they expect to make so much more money from a new stadium.
I, for one, am very skeptical as to how our finances can be improved so much that we move to that magical next level purely through selling a few more corporate boxes and putting a few thousand more bums on some moulded seats.
But if the club come out and show me that a move to a new stadium will see
us genuinely competing for the signatures of top players then I'm there to
We obviously all want what is best for Everton, but it's hard to believe
that a move out of the city is the panacea that the club says it is.
We don't even know if a move away from Goodison will massively benefit the
club and supporters.
But it looks like it's up to the fans to identify the alternatives and make
our voices heard.
There will be another Keep Everton In Our City meeting at 12pm in the
Black Horse on County Road on Sunday 18th March.
If anyone is interested in contributing to the campaign or wants to get
involved in any way then drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org