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The Uncomfortable Truth Facing Merseyside
Footytubeblog (Blog) 2 years ago
here have been mutterings and murmurings for several years now that, with both Liverpool and Everton in need of either redevelopments on their existing stadiums or a new, more modern home, the two halves of Merseyside could be united in a Stanley Park stadium. The idea has ebbed and flowed over time; George Gillett and Tom Hicks utterly dismissed it when they took charge at Anfield in 2007, but Everton owner Bill Kenwright claimed last year that Liverpool's new backer, John W. Henry, was open to talks regarding a shared stadium. 

Various committees and bodies have proposed plans for development ideas. The most recent round of rumours appeared to be driven not be either club but by Liverpool City Council, who objected to Everton's recent proposal of a development in Kirkby on planning grounds. In 2010, possibly the most bizarre suggestion came from the Mersey Stadia-Connex group, who wanted to build the two clubs a 'Siamese stadium'.

The plan would have seen both sides get separate stadia, conjoined by a central spine encompassing a 300-bed hotel, the executive boxes and an underground car park. Despite the fact Mersey Stadia-Connex estimated the plan would save the clubs a combined £200m, their concept was ridiculed by both sets of fans, dismissed out of hands by an Everton spokesman and ignored altogether by Gillett and Hicks (although to be fair, they were also ignoring each other at this point).

Understandably, the possibility of a shared stadium, an unprecedented suggestion in Merseyside, is not popular with either club or either set of fans. Many issues would need to be ironed out before any deal could be completed - which side of Stanley Park the ground would be based on, what capacity it would be, and so on. Liverpool and Everton are two of the most storied clubs in English football and have a rivalry as deep and visceral as any in the game. Yet it has been demonstrated in the past that ground-shares can work, even between the most entrenched of rivals.

The San Siro is arguably the world's most famous example of a ground-share system working for both clubs. Internazionale and AC Milan have shared the 80,000-seat goliath for over sixty years. There are other notable examples around Europe - Rome's Stadio Olimpico, shared by AS Roma and Lazio; the Allianz Arena in Munich, home to both Bayern and their bitter rivals 1860 Munich; the Gamla Ullevi in Gothenburg, which is home to three teams, GAIS, IFK Goteburg and Orgryte IS.

Back on Merseyside, the primary reason both Liverpool and Everton should think again about sharing a stadium is financial. They may have scoffed at the plan based on emotional ties to their own stadia, but both sets of fans and directors alike are aware of the financial issues surrounding their clubs. While the ownership of the Fenway Sports Group means Liverpool are safe from immediate financial crisis, they are a loss-making company at present. The looming UEFA financial fair play rules may cause a restructuring of their wage scale and a loss of transfer funds which could be avoided by saving money through ground-sharing.

Everton's situation is rather more pressing. The Toffees’ finances are very far from 'in order' and the club needs to act now in order to curb its debt problems, which have been lessened by the summer's fire-sale but nowhere near extinguished. The Toffees are facing a £35m debt, and Goodison Park is already tied down as security against one of their various loans. There is no doubt that, of the two clubs, Everton have more to gain through the proposed Stanley Park project from the increased capacity and wider range of facilities the new ground would involve.
What remains to be seen, of course, is whether money can rule the hearts of those who would be at the centre of any deal necessary for this plan to become reality. On the surface, a ground-share may make little sense to Merseysiders of either persuasion, but on the balance sheet, it may prove a life-saver.



This blog does not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of footytube or its partners.
Araz (Queens Park Rangers) 2 years ago
There's no doubt it makes financial sense but I've always been of the opinion that people who really get football know that it's about something that goes way beyond money and football really isn't a business, it something much more important than that.

Most football fans would (perhaps foolishly) rather see their club go bust than be saved by a deal with the devil and as illogical and self destructive as that may seem I hope it continues like that forever.

The day we make football an attractive business model for investors is the same day the real football people, and those who plough money in to their clubs for love and out of control passion rather than financial gain slowly start being weeded out of the game.

Years down the line we end up with a game run by business men who make millions from profitable football businesses by using players, stadiums, managers and even fans like cold, inanimate business assets rather the emotively charged, beyond logic, muses that they are to the loyal supporters who use their hard earned to follow their boys around the world and fund the game at its roots.

If we let football decisions be driven by finance alone the game will change as we know it, I only wish there was an endless pool of millionaires who cared more passionately about their team than their wallets so they could keep it like it is (expect for the players becoming ever more greed on their salaries of course!)
Tanmay 2 years ago
Well that's an interesting sentiment but I would rather see Everton play in the Premier League ten years from now in a shared stadium than not at all.

I am, of course, not a fan, but even the diehard fans would regret their decisions later. If asked right now, yes they will say that they would rather die than have a shared arrangement, but go ask the fans of Leeds United whether they would have made a compromise to prolong their glory days 30 years ago and 9 times out of 10 they will say yes
Redsince63 (Manchester United) 2 years ago
@Araz, football has been all about business and money for a long time now, the people with the real money even if there so called fans don't turn up when things get rough ! Look at United whers all the money from the mega rich stars who follow United nowhere to be seen, the red knights wherae basicly all businessmen, what happend to guys like Rod Stewart and Mick Hucknall, RS must be a multimulti millionare and Hucknall and countless others, where were all the mega rich when Liverpool were gettin sucked dry?
In the real world its the hard cash businessmen and not the sentimental supporters that turn up! Nowerdays if you arn't in the top dollar bracket you can't even begin to compete a sad but hard fact that's not going to change, maybe the fans hate the idea but for the scousers its a good option
Karl (Liverpool) 2 years ago
As a Liverpool fan, living in Liverpool (yes shock horror!) this will never happen. LFC have a plot to build (Stanley Park) and now have the funding (although it will be longer timescales). So really its a non discussion. As for Everton, they had the opportunity to have a site in kirby (not city centre) but the fans were having none of it. More fool them
Araz (Queens Park Rangers) 2 years ago
If it was suddenly on the cards would you object enough to go an protest outside Anfield, chaining yourself to the hollowed gates, without any question at all? Or would you be inclined to think through the pros and cons from a long term businesslike perspective?
Karl (Liverpool) 2 years ago
If it was a case of having too or the club would fall into financial ruin, then of course. But thankfully its not the case for us. However, taking off my red tinted glasses, the other lot over the road are in a shocking situation. Key players gone, no money to replace. A few injuires and that could leave them in a real struggle
Araz (Queens Park Rangers) 2 years ago
I just think that football is one of those irrational passions where common sense and logic go out of the window. As wise as it is for you to think the way you do, I reckon a lot of fans would cling on the the last straws of hope, probably until it's too late, before they get in bed with the enemy, no matter how little sense it appears to make to the unbiased observer.

You're right though the Everton ship is rocking a fair bit
Redsince63 (Manchester United) 2 years ago
Everton need some businessman to come in and haul them out of the s**t there in, as a United supporter who's been to Goodison many times i'd hate to see them cease to exist, just as i'd hate to see the majority of teams disapear, the EPL still the best in the world because of Its history and competitivness
Donnchadh (Liverpool) 2 years ago
I do not want a new stadium at all and wish Liverpool FC to stay at the only home they have ever had, Anfield. It seems horrible and foolish to throw away over 100 years of tradition for a couple hundred million dollars, capitalism is already a bad seed in football. I don't want it having such a sway in the matters of The Mighty Reds, but we'll see what happens.

John Henry seems like a good guy though(party on!) and I think he has good intentions and will measure all the options. I really really hope we stay at Anfield
Liverman8 (Liverpool) 2 years ago
As much as I love Anfield, wouldn't you rather be part of the "new" Anfield? To build a bigger stadium so that more of us can watch the team we love? As much as I love Anfield, I love the club itself more, and the club isn't just defined by its stadium, but by all the fans, staff and the team itself. However I do agree with John Henry, that a revamped Anfield is the best option, best of both worlds it you ask me.

And as a side note, if it kept Everton in the EPL for longer, i'd happily share a stadium with them. The more the merrier
Sdfrick (Everton) 2 years ago
"You'll Never.... Do"
"Only the Best Will.... Walk Alone"

Just by combining the mottos of the two clubs produces the answer lol

Seriously though, Everton have always been the poor church boys and Liverpool the greedy landlords. It won't work
Lfcfever22 (Liverpool) 2 years ago
This will not happen. The only people that want this to go through are the politicians. I understand both teams need a new stadium, but putting them together would be a daft move to say the least. The Stanley Park project has been in discussion for a long time for liverpool, but I really do not see the point in building it. Henry stated that he would like to put off the building of it as well. He said that he would rather renovate Anfield and add about 15, 000 more seats as opposed to building an entire new stadium. He said something like "why pay (x) amount of dollars to build a stadium that seats 60, 000, when you already have a stadium that has a very prestigious history that seats 45, 000. It just makes sense to add on to an already great stadium.

Another reason not to build an entirely new stadium is a majority of that money would be coming from annual ticket sales. The ticket prices would have to be raised in order to help pay off such an expensive endeavor, something that many liverpool supporters could not afford. I support John W Henry to the fullest. I already have trouble affording tickets to matches already
Wesblitz (Manchester City) 2 years ago
Great thread.
I simpily love the stubborness showed in each side of merseyside, fans and staff. It truly shows a bitter, but wonderful rivalry. Moving to a new, shared park would be leaving a home that is beloved for a better oppertunity. It seems this might be more likely to happen in almost any other city in the world. Just think: The almighty Anfeild that liverpool settled in 1892. The word 'anfeild' means 'home' to any true liverpool fan. The famous 'This is Anfeild' saying that is outside of the stadium. Now over to good old Goodinson Park, started in 1892. The ground that has been stuffed way over capacity. The nice dark blue that fills the inside is classic. The place where the toffees truely started. Besides all this, there is no denying the gain of money for both sides. Nobody can say they don't want something new especially a nice, new stadium. I believe if architechted right with the perfect mix of new, creativity, and, of course, some tradition; a new park in merseyside country could be wonderful
FootyRulz (Chelsea) 2 years ago
Financially this would definitely benefit both clubs but it's unlikely that these two fierce rivals will be able to share one stadium. However eventually it will get to a point where both clubs will have to accept the fact that they won't be able to finance this new stadium on their own.

I understand that Anfield and Goodison Park have been home to Liverpool and Everton for over a century and many of the fans that have come to love their home will not want to move. But in order for Everton and Liverpool to be able to improve their financial situation to compete with the current financial powerhouses in football then moving to a new 60, 000+ capacity stadium may be what the clubs needs



   
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