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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Keep Everton In Our City – One Year On

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Our campaign is now just over twelve months old. We took our name "Keep Everton In Our City" due to the initial reaction of Evertonians to the Kirkby proposal. Of course, this is not the only issue the KEIOC group is concerned with. Whilst as a group we have grown and evolved our initial aims have remained the same.  In short, Evertonians who want the best for Everton. Subsequently the support for our campaign from people who do not believe that relocating the club to Kirkby is the best long-term solution for our club has continued to grow. It is not only fans who have given their support; Kevin Ratcliffe, Duncan Ferguson and the Moores family to name but a few, have publicly backed our campaign.

Our position today is as clear as when we were established:

  • That attempting to move the 130-year-old institution that is Everton Football Club away from the city will cause irreparable damage to the future levels of support and the financial well being of the club. The world expert on football stadia, Simon Inglis, supports this position.
  • That alternative sites, within the city of Liverpool, a renaissance city, have not been fully explored due to the premature signing of an exclusivity agreement that has been detrimental to the club and the match going Evertonians that support the club.
  • That the ballot process was flawed due to the inclusion of literature with the ballot form extolling only the benefits of the Kirkby move and misinformation on the redevelopment of Goodison Park.
  • That by using the phrases "deliverable," "effectively free," and "the deal of the century," the fans were led to believe that Kirkby was an achievable and realistic proposition when in reality, taking the phrases one at a time, the departure from local, regional and national planning legislation, coupled with a grossly inadequate transport plan renders the plan undeliverable. A position recently endorsed by the secretary of state in the draft proposal for changes to the Regional Spatial Strategy. The inference that the plan is "effectively free" and is "the deal of the century" has long since been discredited with latest estimates approaching approximately £100M and rising.
  • That the claim of a mandate on a vote carried by as little as 2,386 fans isn't in the best interests of the club and that a fair and proper investigation of the alternative city sites should, in light of the precarious position of the Kirkby project, be undertaken as a matter of urgency.

KEIOC are sympathetic to the fact that Everton have no money, have had little investment in the past six years and need to improve the ability of its stadium to generate increased revenue streams for use by the manager on the field of play, our position is clear, Kirkby never appeared to be the answer, as time has progressed and more information has been released to Evertonians, it appears the Kirkby proposal offers neither the manager nor the fans any tangible positives whatsoever in terms of the desired revenue or the quality of the match going experience. Therefore you may ask “Who stands to benefit?” KEIOC maintain it would certainly not be the match going Evertonians and the residents of Kirkby.

Is it true that a Stadium fit for Evertonians and reflecting the history of the club can't be accommodated in a major city?

We may have the answer to this conundrum; we are the only group talking with Liverpool City Council, Bestway and Sainsbury's representatives as well as local Councillors and Members of Parliament. Everton Football Club are in dialogue with none of the above, why is this?

We advocate Churchill's famous quote; “to jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war” unfortunately the silence from Goodison Park remains deafening. Conversely, the KEIOC group would once again like to take this opportunity to publicly invite the CEO and board of directors, the press and other stakeholders to a open and honest debate in front of fans, in order to enable both sides of the argument to be given a fair and transparent hearing.


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