By Tony Attwood
Everton look to become the latest Premier League to benefit from state aid. West Ham, Liverpool and Manchester City have paved the way in terms of stadia deals that have been supported by greater or lesser amounts from tax payers money; now Everton have been promised part of the cash that English tax payers seem perfectly willing to hand out to football clubs, without any protest.
Liverpool City Council has now agreed the plans for Everton’s new ground. Unlike West Ham and Man City they won’t get the ground for very little indeed – they will have to pay around £300m – but that is still below the market price for a new stadium.
The council has also shown its willingness to become a guarantor for the bank loans that will be required. It is seen perhaps as a balancing up of the fact that Liverpool were at one stage owned by their bank, which because it has not been solvent for years, was owned by and paid for by the tax payer. I am told (but haven’t seen documents to verify it) that the local council also guaranteed loans for the recent rebuilding of Anfield). Mind you, some people deny this.
Of course run down areas such as the land surrounding some of the River Mersey do need redeveloping, and sticking a football stadium there is certainly one way of helping this along. Apparently there is also hope of their being a cruise liner terminal next door – although having recently watched the gigantic cruise liners in Sydney Harbour surrounded by the iconic Harbour Bridge and Opera House, all in the brilliant New South Wales summer sunshine, and the plethora of outdoor bars, I wonder if the people on a cruise will appreciate a few days docked on the Mersey.
But anyway it is going to be “a world class, high quality, mixed-use waterfront quarter… competing with the likes of Hamburg, Boston, Toronto and Barcelona in terms of the scale and diversity of its waterfront offer and associated economy.” So that’s all right then.
And the scale of tax payers investment can be seen from the fact that the building of the first new road into the area will cost £18m alone. The next road will cost £20m and on and on…
And what will it mean to Everton?
I’ve run this chart before, but it always seems to me worth considering. What happens when clubs move to a new staduim?
Between 1935 and 1995 no major new football stadia were built. Since then we have had quite a few although not always accompanied by success on the pitch. Each new club assured its fans that they would “not make the mistakes” of those who had gone before, but most did.
“D3” and similar below means the third tier of English football. Where grounds have since changed their name the original name is used but place in italics.
|Riverside Stadium||Middlesbrough||1995||Relegated 1997|
|Britannia Stadium||Stoke City||1997||Relegated 1998|
|Reebok Stadium||Bolton Wanderers||1997||Relegated 1998|
|Pride Park Stadium||Derby County||1997||Relegated 2002|
|Stadium of Light||Sunderland||1997||Relegated 1997|
|Madejski Stadium||Reading||1998||Releg to D3 ’98|
|JJB Stadium||Wigan Athletic||1999||Won D3 2003|
|St Mary’s Stadium||Southampton||2001||Relegated 2005|
|KC Stadium||Hull City||2002||Prom from D3 2005|
|Walkers Stadium||Leicester City||2002||Relegated 2004|
|Etihad Stadium||Manchester City||2003||Won League 2012|
|Liberty Stadium||Swansea City||2005||Prom D4 2005|
|Emirates Stadium||Arsenal||2006||FA Cups, 2014/15|
|Cardiff City Stadium||Cardiff City||2009||Won D2 2012|
It is also interesting that all this stadium building comes at a time when English teams are not doing very well in Europe.
Manchester City with a stadium gifted to them are out, Arsenal, having paid for their own stadium, are out, Tottenham about to move into Wembley en route for their new stadium, are out (twice). Man U, who have not moved since building Old Trafford in 1910 are still in the Europa, and so are Leicester with a new stadium in 2002. Chelsea, yet to start on their rebuilt stadium, didn’t join in this season.
As for Tottenham they now have permission to play 27 home games at Wembley next season in front of 90,000 people for each game after Brent Council overturned its own rules to allow them in. No comment seems to have been made by the FA about what happens if Tottenham progress to the semi-final and final of the FA Cup, and would thus effectively be playing at home.
However there is a story doing the rounds that Tottenham, after all the effort of getting permission might not take up the Wembley offer. That might be because of the problems they had getting results at Wembley in Europe this season (just as Arsenal did in our two years at Wembley) but there is also a story (mentioned in the Guardian recently) that the club is assessing “whether their new stadium next to White Hart Lane will be completed in time for the start of the 2018-19 season.”
As a result the paper argued, “Tottenham could yet stay at their current ground next season and play home games at Wembley in 2018-19, before moving into the new stadium for the 2019-20 campaign.”
That notion has only just emerged. I wonder if work is going a little more slowly than previously anticipated. But it was just one suggestion in one paper, and you know what the papers are like.
- And so for the fifth time in four seasons I’ve bought a Wembley ticket – and without airmiles
- Xhaka: “I was made to look like a mindless idiot”. The player the English media won’t ever let you see.
- Journalists seek to up their game by removing the next Arsenal manager before he starts