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Thursday, July 23, 2009

KEIOC support city of Liverpool 2018 World Cup bid

KEIOC have unreservedly given their support to the City of Liverpool’s campaign to become a host city for England’s world cup bid. World Cup inspectors visiting the country’s footballing heartland were shown an outline plan based on the city’s clubs delivering new stadia in time for the country to act as hosts in 2018.

David Moyes described it as unthinkable if the city, where football is a genuine passion, wasn't involved; Rafa Benitez described matches being hosted in this city would be a huge boost to a world cup played in England, whilst council leader, Warren Bradley, described the City of Liverpool as one of the great hubs of world football. Most encouraging of all was the statement from the CEO of the city council, Colin Hilton, who said……

“This world cup bid is a huge opportunity for the City of Liverpool, it will cement the legacy of all we have achieved in the past ten years, in terms of harnessing our cultural and sporting offer to regenerate the city and make it a better place to live work and play”

The city and stars of both clubs are asking fans to unite and get behind this bid, KEIOC would go even further; perhaps it's time for everyone to unite in a bid to force the owners of the clubs to listen to the fans so that we can all “harness our cultural and sporting offer to regenerate the city”

Liverpudlians and Evertonians alike have witnessed their clubs become little more than the pawns of big business at the expense of this cultural and sporting heritage. The proverbial tail is wagging the dog.

Liverpool fans have seen their new owners place massive debt on their club and repeatedly fail to secure funding for their new super stadium whilst they await the opportunity to realise a massive profit for their tenure, which means that a prospective owner is likely to be looking at, once debt, profit and a new stadium are factored in, an investment approaching £1bn. Unsurprisingly there has been few takers in these financially challenging times.

Evertonians have fared little better; having been enticed by the promise of a £50m contribution towards a £150m stadium that would have the best transport in the North West, not forgetting the £10m extra funding per season for the manager, it must have been a bitter pill to swallow for some, when the realisation that the truth was somewhat different. A public inquiry heard that the stadium turned out to be an £80m stadium, the additional £50m turned out not to be actual money but value, to be derived from the increased value of the land that was being leased to Everton, the transport plan, what there was of it, was laughed at and the £10m turned out to be only £6m………if an average of 47,000 attended during the season.

Somewhat surprisingly, Everton failed to substantiate the source of their funding which now means that a condition of the application is that they need to demonstrate their funding is in place before any construction begins, leading KEIOC to believe that an unexplained source of finance has to be available. The inquiry inspectors decision has been made; a political decision will now decide Everton's ultimate fate.

Both Everton and Liverpool have become little more than Trojan horses in the world of business; used as platforms to deliver vastly increased profits for the select few.

Without the stadia the city will still deliver a successful bid to be a host city…… but that city will be Manchester.

How much better for the City, for the people of Walton, Anfield and Kirkby, for the city's Evertonians and Liverpudlians, if the words of Colin Hilton and Warren Bradley were actually taken on board. What if the Stanley Park area became the city's football quarter with an established link between the clubs via the park or truly became a hub of world football as a centre of excellence or a football university with a campus containing a redeveloped or new Goodison Park and Anfield that would attract the worlds sporting, science and business elite.

Instead of the 290 job losses in Walton, predicted by Tesco, and little prospect of regeneration, the area's local MP could spearhead an initiative that would ensure massive job creation and regeneration. Leading academics, such as Professor Tom Cannon, could promote and lend support to the city's world cup bid by encouraging university research into projects in and around the area of Stanley Park.

Sometimes the solution is staring you straight in the face………sometimes you need to lead, not follow………football is a massive business and this city is the best in the world at it.

It's time for schemes that benefit the few at the expense of the many, schemes that fail to “harness our cultural and sporting offer to regenerate this city”, schemes designed to fragment and break a centuries old dichotomy, to be shown the door and their perpetrators brought to task.

You can register your support for the City's bid here

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