In the city...

Last updated : 22 November 2007 By Les Roberts

The agency is responsible for handing out government grants to aid in urban regeneration in the North West of England and, obviously, will have some hand in the Project Jennifer scheme that is overseeing the regeneration of the Great Homer Street area that encompasses the Bestway site.

The study will look in to the economic benefits of Everton building a new stadium within the Liverpool, from the perspective of both city and club.

The news of the report has been well received by, Liverpool City Council leader, Warren Bradley and a KEIOC spokesman who are urging the club to look at other sites within the city.

Cllr Bradley, who asked to both the NWDA and Tesco, Everton's partner in the Kirkby project, to take part in the study, said of the report: "This is a positive step which could have obvious economic benefits for the city of Liverpool.

He added: "There has been too much talking about this. It's about time for hard evidence to be put forward. The council has got to be integral. We would appoint officers to oversee it because what's good for Liverpool FC is good for Everton."

A KEIOC spokesman said of the report: "We are encouraged by this news. Despite recent reports to the contrary, the world's leading stadia architects confirm that a stadium suitable for the future needs of Everton FC can be built on the Scotland Road Gateway site" adding "This or a redeveloped Goodison Park must be investigated, it is essential that Everton remain a big club in a big city."

But the club remain adamant that, despite giving Liverpool City Council plenty of opportunities to come up with a viable alternative, no suitable plans have been put forward.

An Everton spokesman said: "Despite the fact that we have been in an exclusivity agreement with Knowsley council for some time, Liverpool city council has always been free to come forward and go public with what they believe to be a deliverable alternative. In terms of a viable site with a workable business plan this has so far not happened."

The spokesman added: "We have been given a mandate by our supporters and are continuing negotiations with Knowsley and Tesco about the possibility of relocating to Kirkby."

So, in theory, the report is a positive step for the KEIOC campaign and has come at a good time as, despite a majority of fans giving the club the go ahead for Kirkby, many people have been underwhelmed by the more detailed plans shown on the destination Kirkby website.

But, if the report is to just examine the economic benefits to both club and city, then it's difficult to see how it'll throw up any new findings.

It's obvious that the city will benefit economically from housing two football clubs rather than one and, as we are constantly being told, a new ground with new facilities will generate more revenue for the club.

In fact, the propaganda supplied by the club almost suggested that the extra £10 million or so generated each season by the new ground would guarantee us a place in the coveted 'top four' in the Premier League!

But moving out of the city boundary has become too prevalent an issue in the whole ground move debate as the boundary is just an arbitrary line between district councils.

I would suggest that it's not the city boundary that is the issue, rather, the proximity to the city centre or the current site in Walton.

Both sites are well away from Goodison's current location and the city centre and, if either were to house a new stadium, it would no doubt be part of some retail development, making the whole matchday experience a sterile one…like going to see Bolton every week!

And, though it would be ideal if at all possible, the plans for the Bestway loop had better be re-drawn as that looks even worse than the ground proposed for Kirkby!