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Kirkby - Our View

Kirkby StadiumNow that the furore surrounding the ballot and the AGM has died down KEIOC would like to take this opportunity to dispel a few myths surrounding our recent opposition and the suitability of the proposed relocation. There are many reasons for not wanting to see Everton Football Club relocate to Kirkby. We appreciate that Kirkby is quintessentially an extension to Liverpool, with many residents exiled there from their roots in and around the Scotland Road area. We also appreciate when Everton has moved stadium in the past the city boundary has followed (Walton wasn't in Liverpool when Everton moved to Goodison Park) and this may one day be the case at Kirkby; but this, as you will see, is far from the minds of the supporters of KEIOC.

So, as will be seen, there are indeed many reasons other than a city boundary, arbitrary of otherwise, to suggest that Kirkby is not the right location to serve as a home to Liverpool's premier football club. Whilst many feel that this reason alone is enough to become disillusioned with the Kirkby project, there are in fact many more valid and logical reasons why this relocation fails to make economic sense for the future wellbeing of our great and historic football club and its supporters.

KEIOC are of the opinion that the Everton board’s wish to relocate to Kirkby is more conducive to the future wellbeing of Tesco and Knowsley than the future wellbeing of the club. We do not believe that a Premier League team would willingly relocate from a thriving renaissance city to a semi-remote town with a population similar to the club’s home attendance. Everton are making this choice, they’re not being forced into moving out of the city, they are opting to do it voluntarily which makes the decision even more bizarre. 

Kirkby is semi-remote, it's away from the populous and it’s away from the major transport links found in and around major city centres. Liverpool is a major city, Goodison is three miles from it; Kirkby is nine.

The directors of Everton are praising the site's location because it's near a motorway yet they have failed to mention that the motorway by-passes where the majority of the home support will travel from (North Liverpool, Wirral and North Wales). We find the transport infrastructure in Kirkby to be inadequate for a 50,000 capacity stadium; You can now read KEIOC’s transport plan assessment here.

Because transport options available to Everton fans in Kirkby are inadequate the proposed stadium will see one of Europe's largest park and ride scheme put into place, fans will be expected to walk and queue in Kirkby more than at any other football stadium for one reason only; Kirkby as a location for a major football stadium is grossly inadequate; major football stadia belong in major cities.

In a somewhat bizzare statement Everton’s highly paid CEO,Keith Wyness, stated that one of the reasons that Kirkby is suitable is because it was the home of the television series Z-Cars, Everton run onto the pitch to the Johnny Todd theme from this series and we can only assume Watford must be kicking themselves knowing that they never looked at moving to Kirkby as they also run out to the same piece of music.

The insurmountable problems travelling to and perhaps more importantly from Kirkby, will have a detrimental effect on attendances and therefore the effectiveness of the stadium as a revenue generator. Ticket prices will increase to subsidise the many park and ride services required , many of which would not be necessary if a suitable location close to the city centre was chosen.

KEIOC would like to take the opportunity to dispel some of the myths that have been created recently with the express intention of convincing Everton fans that a move to Kirkby would actually be good for the future of the club:

Myth #1 The stadium will be effectively free.

This rumour was created in the Liverpool Echo on July 17 2007. The Echo published the line “Everton FC today revealed how their link with Tesco will effectively secure the club a new stadium for free.”

Robert Earl later spoke to Everton shareholders at their Annual General Meeting and told them that Everton were getting a £150million stadium and that the cost of redeveloping Goodison Park into a 60,000 capacity stadium would be greater.

Source: http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk

Myth #2 Tesco’s builder Barr Construction will give the club a £25million discount because they are partnering Tesco.

Again, the Echo published “Tesco’s contractor, which has football stadium experience, would be drafted in and a 50,000-seater stadium worth £75m built for the discounted price of £50m because of its links with the supermarket giant.”

Barr, Tesco's contractor work to a total profit margin of less than £2million per annum, in short, there is simply no way that they could waiver almost a third of the project cost.

Source - http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk

Myth #3 Everton will receive a non-reimbursable cheque from Tesco worth £55million.

This was given credence by the Liverpool Echo, this time in an exclusive interview given by Robert Earl to the paper’s Everton correspondent Dominic King (Dec 7th 2007).

Robert Earl told Mr King that the quote “We are getting a non-reimbursable cheque for £55m from Tesco and it is absolute manna from heaven." was a ‘figure of speech’ and was not to be taken literally. This was of course after he’d said it on national TV. The newspaper should have made this crystal clear. Tesco are a public company, as such they are unable to donate to other companies. If you were Tesco shareholder would you be happy that your investment has given £55million to another business?

Tesco's Corporate Affairs Manager Tony Fletcher denied rumours that Tesco will fund Everton's stadium in Kirkby, he told Radio Merseyside:

"Reports in a number of news outlets today have stated that Tesco will fund £50m towards the cost of a new stadium for Everton FC. Tesco wish to point out that the intention would be for the proposed stadium funding package to be derived from the value generated by the overall retail led development scheme not as a result of direct funding from Tesco."

The key word in the above statement is value; KEIOC believes that no, or very little, money, actual money, will exchange hands and as such all references to this are simply designed to mislead.

Source: http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk

Myth #4 Everton will receive £40million for naming rights of a new stadium in Kirkby

This was published in the Sunday Mirror, it stated that Everton would sell the naming rights for £40million to Chang over ten years. However it did not state that the deal with Chang would also include sponsorship rights on the playing kit. The current deal with Chang is aproximately £2.5million per year. Based on this, the naming rights would be valued at £1.5million a year, a figure that sits well with Price Water House Cooper's estimation of £15million over ten years.

Myth #5 Everton will own the new stadium

The land on which the new stadium will be owned by Tesco. Everton will have to pay money to Knowsley Council to use the stadium; Keith Wyness, the CEO, stated this would be a 'peppercorn rent' but this can be increased at anytime in the future, we’ll be little more than tenants; just the same as we were at Anfield; a step forwards or backwards? Liverpool FC are expected to pay £300,000 per annum to Liverpool City Council for a stadium on Stanley Park.

Myth #6 Kirkby railway station will receive a major upgrade to cope with demand

This is simply not true, it has the same probability as the tram, perhaps less so. Merseyrail and the related companies will not be able to justify spending several million pounds on a train station that will only require the increased capacity twenty days a year. Originally, the Liverpool South Parkway railway station build cost was estimated at £5.5million but the final cost was £39million. In addition the single track at Kirkby presents a problem as it restricts the numbers of trains allowed per hour.

This is a video from BBC's Inside Out Program about the transport problems at Emirates Stadium, Everton are currently using the same transport analysis experts, SDG, that Arsenal used and Evertonians, like Arsenal supporters were, are being told there will be a major future upgrade to the transport provisions for the new stadium:

http://www.youtube.com/v/hmRo9nJQsyM

Myth #7 The Everton manager will receive £10million extra for transfer funds per season

Keith Wyness originally said that David Moyes will receive an additional £10million per season for transfer funds, however he changed his stance when he realised he was wrong. He next stated that Everton will increase revenue by £10million per season. This simply isn’t true either. To put this into perspective, even increasing stadium revenue by 25% (or £5m per year) would involve selling an additional 30 boxes at £50,000 per season (there are only plans to build 38 at Kirkby and where is the demand?) and an additional 7000 tickets per game at £25 each. If only 15 extra boxes were sold then crowds would have to increase by 8500 per game. KEIOC are convinced that additional costs will emerge that will completely nullify the economic effect of the new stadium.

KEIOC 2007