Blues' plan set for approval
Jul 2 2001 by Malcom Handley
EVERTON'S plans to build a super stadium on the Kings Dock could move a step closer tonight.
A board meeting of landowners English Partnerships will consider the decision last month of Liverpool Vision which gave the green light to the Blues bid. It is not certain if tonight's meeting will necessarily reach a decision on the proposals. A final decision could be deferred for further consideration. After due diligence studies, regeneration agency Liverpool Vision opted for the Houston Securities consortium bid, which includes Everton Football Club and entertainment giants SFX. Liverpool Vision board spent several hours at the Moat House Hotel on June 20, carefully examining the two rival bids. Houston Securities presented the Everton stadium plan, while rivals Ician offered a system of Venice-like canals and a multi-purpose arena on the site as an alternative.
The consortium's proposals for a leisure, entertainment and office development includes ambitious plans for a 55,000-seat stadium/arena. Liverpool City Council leader Mike Storey who had publicly backed the bid by Houston, has said he welcomes Liverpool Vision's decision. Coun Storey is on record as saying the Houston Securities bid will give Liverpool the opportunity to boast Europe's best stadium-arena and, in one step, leap-frog other British cities including Manchester.
Kenwright scores dream goal
Jul 3 2001 by Richard Elias and Emma Bird, Daily Post
NEWS that Everton FC had won their battle to move to a £125m ground came as a surprise to many fans last night. But one person who won't have been shocked in the least is the club's owner, theatre impresario Bill Kenwright, for whom the move has been his biggest goal. And the announcement was also warmly welcomed by the leader of Liverpool City Council, who has been firmly behind the Blues' bid. Mike Storey said last night: "This appears to be great news for Everton and the entire city. "There is a lot of hard work still to be done but it looks like, in the near future, we will have a first-class facility on the banks of the River Mersey." He added: "It will not only be a premier football stadium for Everton but also an entertainment centre for all the family and will attract some of the big names in popular entertainment. "This is what we wanted to happen. There is a lot of hard work still to be done - problems over access have to be tackled - but it is a huge step forward Goodison Park was increasingly becoming a millstone for the club once dubbed "the School of Science". It is out-of-date with poor facilities, and restricted development potential meant the club had little choice but to look elsewhere. This was recognised by Mr Kenwright, the man who has been behind some of the West End's biggest stage productions, and he knew the switch could hold the key to revitalising the club he loves. It is hoped that the new stadium will herald a new dawn not just for Everton FC but also for the region as a whole. For years, councillors, business figures and sporting promoters have been calling out for somewhere to host concerts and events with claims that a lack of such a venue has seen many missed opportunities for the area. The 55,000-seater stadium stadium will feature a retractable roof and pitch. In addition, the rest of the development, which will cost a further £125m, will house a 15-screen cinema, a hotel, family entertainment centre, restaurants and apartments. Last night, one lifelong Blue expressed his surprise at the news but said he hoped it would signal an upturn in the club's fortunes. Decorator Steve Haylett from Childwall, south Liverpool, said: "I didn't think it would go through but now it seems that it will soon be up and running. "And if the plans are anything to go by it will look absolutely stunning. It will make Anfield look like a Vauxhall Conference ground." Bob Halligan added: "This is great news. It's about time things went in our favour." However, a slightly more cautious note was adopted by Bullens Road season ticket holder, Dave Murray. When told the news, the chartered surveyor replied: "New stadium? What about some new players for the team first? And what about the traffic? It's going to be chaos."
Stadium go-ahead...with new shape
Jul 3 2001 by Larry Nield, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON have won the race for the Kings Dock but the new stadium will be SQUARE rather than oval. Architects have changed the design of the 55,000 seater stadium to ensure it is more in keeping with other buildings on Liverpool's waterfront. Yesterday landowners English Partnerships confirmed the Everton plan was the preferred development patner for the prime site. It is a vital step forward for the combined bid which will see not only an all purpose stadium but also hotel, cinema complex, shops, restaurants and luxury apartments. Originally the stadium had been drawn up in a sweeping oval shape, but the ECHO has learned that under the new plans submitted to English partnerships the stadium is square. This followed a demand by conservation agencies who feared the original shape would clash with the world famous warehouses along the riverfront.
As Evertonians celebrate the dawning of a new era after more than a century at Goodison Park, critics were drawing up battle plans. A legal challenge is to be considered against the decision by EP, the government's official land management agency. Abercromby councillor Joe Anderson said a meeting of residents is to take place on Friday to consider going to the courts to block the decision.
But city council leader Mike Storey welcomed the vital backing from EP, owners of the 14.6 hectare site. He said: "This is great news for Everton and for the entire city. It will not only be a premier football stadium for Everton, but also an entertainment centre for all the family, attracting some of the biggest names in entertainment." Cllr Anderson said: "These decisions have been made behind closed doors. We have no idea whether the views of local people have even been considered. We are thinking in terms of a Judicial Review to challenge the decision and the process because there has been no transparency." Liverpool Vision chairman Sir Joe Dwyer will make a formal announce later this month at a date yet to be decided. But after the board meeting ended a brief statement was issued by English Partnerships announcing the decision. The statement confirmed that Houston Securities, the company heading the Everton FC bid, has been selected as the preferred development partner.
Blues win Kings Dock fight
Jul 3 2001 EXCLUSIVE by Richard Elias and Emma Bird, Daily Post
EVERTON FC's dream of building a new home on the banks of the Mersey became a reality last night, when the club's Kings Dock bid was accepted. As a result, the Blues will kick off the 2005-2006 season in the heart of Liverpool city centre, in the most visually-stunning football stadium ever built in Britain. The £125m ground will also double up as a concert venue. And, while it means the club leaving its traditional Goodison Park home after more than 100 years, last night's decision is the catalyst needed to re-establish the side among the country's elite. It has taken months of negotiations by the club and its backers, Houston Securities and SFX - one of the world's biggest promoters - to beat off the competition from five other top-class bids. The announcement was made by English Partnerships, the Government's land agency, which yesterday held a meeting to discuss Everton's proposal. Afterwards, EP released this brief statement: "Following today's main board meeting, we have considered the recommendation of Liverpool Vision, that Houston Securities should be appointed as the preferred development partner for the 14.6 hectare site at Kings Waterfront." A spokesman later confirmed that this meant Everton's bid had been successful.
A spokesman for Everton was reluctant to comment until the club had received official confirmation that the bid had been accepted.
Challenge for Blues
Jul 4 2001 by Thomas Martin, Liverpool Echo
OPPONENTS of Everton FC's Kings Dock plan claim there could be too many obstacles in the way of the club's move. The warning came just a day after it was announced by English Partnerships that the Blues had won the fight to turn the prime waterfront site into a £125m multi-purpose stadium.
Cllr Steve Munby, who has been one of the most vehement critics of the plan, continues to press for the proposal to be overturned. He said: "The Kings Dock is not the appropriate place for a stadium. The site does not have good facilities around it, or even a decent transport network, and because of that this idea is simply not going to happen." He is calling for all the reports and documentation made available to English Partnerships to be made public. One-time chairman of Everton Sir Desmond Pitcher has also added his voice to the dissenters. He was a non-executive director of one of the rival bids for the Kings Dock site, proposing a £207m housing development. Asked several months ago about his thoughts on the Blues' proposal, Sir Desmond said: "I do not think that it is a regeneration bid The road infrastructure in Liverpool is poor for a city, and for many events it would create large problems." However, those behind the scheme say the critics are not fully aware of the planning that has gone into it. Paul Gregg, a director at Goodison Park, is also a director of the SFX group, which is one of Everton's consortium partners. He remains confident that all the problems can be overcome. He explained that, while there would be provision for limited underground parking at the site, most drivers would be expected to use surrounding car parks. -Kings Dock protesters plan a meeting on Friday at St Vincent's school, off Duke Street, Liverpool city centre, at 6pm. EVERTON have won the race for the Kings Dock - but realising their grand plans won't be all plain sailing from here.
Here are some of the issues that developers will face before the stadium's opening in 2005:
Everton have 11 major obstacles to overcome before they can make the move to Kings Dock
1. LODGE PLANS KINGS Dock Waterfront Company - the company 49% owned by Everton FC - will submit detailed plans to the city council in around six months time
2. SCRUTINISE PLANS
THE plans will face intense scrutiny by public bodies, such as English Heritage, Liverpool Urban Design Panel, Merseyside Fire Brigade, Merseyside Police and environmental groups.
3. IMPACT ON AREA
ENVIRONMENTAL impact study will take place, looking at the impact of the project on the city, within the dock community, the city centre and the wider area.
THERE will be a separate study on the impact of the stadium/arena development on traffic movements in Liverpool city centre and on the infrastructure needed.
5. CITY IMPACT
BUSINESS community and bodies such as Liverpool Stores Committee will be asked to comment on the likely impact on shopping and leisure in the city centre.
6. PUBLIC OPINION
MAJOR public consultation exercise will take place, giving ordinary people a chance to comment. People living close to the site will be individually invited to express opinions. Their views will have to be reported to the planning committee when the application is discussed.
7. FINANCE PACKAGE
PROJECT will face intense scrutiny to ensure that the financial side stacks up. SFX, the international promoters, pumping over £30m into the project on behalf of Everton side of proposed partnership.
8. PLANNING COMMITTEE
PLANNING committee debate will be held when all of the views and opinions of experts, conservationists, traffic and environmental engineers and the public will come together. A special meeting of the committee is likely to be held to discuss the issue.
9. PUBLIC INQUIRY
IF the committee accepts the plan it is likely to be "called in" the process used when the government feels that a project of national importance needs to be looked at by the Secretary of State`. A public nquiry could be called conducted by an independent planning inspector who will advise the Secretary of State on whether the final green light should be given.
10. GOODISON FUTURE
THE implications of the project on the Everton area will have to be considered. There has already been interest from supermarkets on a development on the old Goodison Park `that could create 500 new jobs. The scheme is likely to form part of a major regeneration of the area around Goodison Park.
11. STADIUM OPENS
ASSUMING Everton sails through the processes and wins, building will start in 2003 and in September, 2005, it will be a case of GOAL . . . Everton home and dry in their new waterfront home.
Blues may be denied home win
Jul 4 2001 by Richard Elias, Daily Post
OPPONENTS of Everton FC's plan to move to the Kings Dock last night said there could be too many obstacles in the way of the scheme. The warning came just a day after it was announced by English Partnerships that the club had won the fight to turn the prime waterfront site into a £125m multi-purpose stadium. While the project's backers appear confident the idea will turn into a reality, critics are not so sure and claim a number of vital questions still remain unanswered. But, whatever the outcome, one thing is sure - the club still faces several major hurdles to overcome. It will be six months at the earliest, probably nearer a year, before any formal planning application is presented to Liverpool City Council. It could take a further two to three years before the foundations of what would be the most modern sporting stadium in Britain can be laid. Because the 14.6 hectare site is owned by English Partnerships - the Government's land agency - the decision will have to be referred to the Treasury for ratification. The Department of the Environment is likely to ask to scrutinise the idea and a full examination of the traffic effects will also be called for. Coun Steve Munby, who has been one of the most vehement critics of the plan, yesterday continued to press for the proposal to be overturned. He told the Daily Post: "I think it is a depressing and foolish decision.
"I do not think the scheme is going to happen and many of the main arguments against it still have to be answered. "The Kings Dock is not the appropriate place for a stadium because of what is around it. "The site does not have good facilities around it, or even a decent transport network, and because of that this idea is simply not going to happen." The councillor, who is Labour's budget spokesman, says he is backing Everton's plan to move from their present Goodison Park home but believes a location in either the south of Liverpool or the north end dock area would be preferable.
He continued: "The most important issues still have to be answered. "It is going to cost an awful lot of money to set up the schemes which have been suggested to move people to and from the ground, and if it goes ahead then it will take up all of Liverpool's Single Revenue Budget or Objective 1 funding." Transport proposals for the site include a light railway system along with an increased ferry service to shuttle spectators in and out of the stadium, but it is the road network that many believe to be the main stumbling block. Coun Munby also fears that the Kings Dock move could even throw the Chavasse Park plans into chaos along with other schemes. He is calling for all the reports and documentation made available to English Partnerships to be made public. Even the one-time chairman of Everton, Sir Desmond Pitcher, has added his voice to the dissenters. He was a non-executive director of one of the rival bids for the Kings Dock site, proposing a £207m housing development. Asked several months ago about his thought on the Blues' proposal, Sir Desmond said: "I do not think that it is a regeneration bid. "The road infrastructure in Liverpool is poor for a city, and for many events it would create large problems." However, those behind the scheme say the critics are not fully aware of the planning that has gone into it. Paul Gregg, a director at Goodison Park, is also a director of the SFX group which is one of Everton's consortium partners.
He remains confident that all the problems can be overcome and explained that, while there would be provision for limited underground parking at the site, most drivers would be expected to use surrounding car parks. When buying a season ticket, fans would also purchase either a parking space voucher or travel card.
Holding back the cheers
Jul 4 2001 by Len Capeling
OF COURSE, the Kings Dock decision is great news for Everton. And for Bill Kenwright, who is now a showman with a showpiece. But what will worry Blues fans is how the wealth of a shimmering new stadium can be squared with the want of a poorhouse Everton team. On the one hand, supporters are being asked to cheer the vibrant visuals of the River Run ground, and on the other being asked to suffer the impoverished images of a side unworthy of the Everton name. How the two can ever resolve themselves into something worth watching is difficult to imagine, with plenty of perils that lie ahead before Kings Dock opens its golden doors. More debt will be piled on the club as the new £125m stadium takes shape to add to the burdensome £30m we already know about. Team building from 2006 onwards will largely depend on projected new revenues from executive boxes and mega pop concerts. And, whisper it, higher seat prices. But no-one knows how much all that will bring in, though the pop concerts in particular will plunge so many hands in the pot that it's difficult to see the multi-million pound yield intended to turn Everton into future title hopefuls. Walter Smith, for one, may smile only when he sees the colour of Bill Kenwright's transfer cash. Starved of investment (every outlay speedily followed by a shameful trip to the pawnshop), the Scot who had a great stadium at Ibrox - and players to match - has added only T for tribulation to his C.V. No way to run a club, unless, given its new waterland setting you're intent on re-naming it Titanic. Yes, the fans want a new home. They want it to outshine Liverpool's efforts among other things. But they would gladly abandon those bricks and mortar musings and stay at a re-developed Goodison Park in return for the promise of a team that would justify their pride in the Royal Blue. So, one cheer for the Kings Dock. The other two cheers stowed away until we see what the next fraught five years may bring.
Blues get true value for money
Jul 5 2001 by Kevin Ratcliffe
ARSENAL will fork out, depending upon which report you believe, at least £23m on the transfer of Sol Campbell from Spurs. Everton's capture of Alan Stubbs is substantially more modest.
Campbell's qualities as a defender are unquestionable, but if you're looking at value for money the Blues haven't done so badly themselves. Alan Stubbs is a quality footballer. I've always thought that. My only reservation is what his best position is. He can play as an out and out central defender, in a defensive three, as a sweeper or just in front of the back-line. He strokes the ball about superbly and already has experience of playing in the Premiership. But the Premiership changes every year, and it's been a few since Stubbs last played in it. Having said that, he's an experienced lad and I'm sure he'll settle sooner rather than later. The most pleasing aspect of the whole deal is that we have a player who quite clearly wants to play for the club. After the unfortunate Alex Nyarko incident last season, it's great to see someone with a genuine passion for Everton arriving at the club. Importantly for Everton, his arrival won't break the bank either.
The figures involved in the Campbell deal are truly staggering. At Shrewsbury I haggled with a player over a 20 increase last week, and told him to get out and find another club! It's a different world altogether and hopefully Everton can soon compete respectably with the bigger clubs next season.
Tomasz is up front about his ambitions THE Anderlecht executive's claims this week that the Belgians were a much bigger club than Everton may possess a grain of truth. After all, Anderlecht are instantly recognised across Europe, competed in last season's Champions League and lifted their title last season. That triumph, however, merely entitled them to entry into the second qualifying round of the Champions League. That's one round before Liverpool, who were third in the Premiership! Anderlecht may be big fish in Belgium, but Belgium is considered small-fry in the rest of Europe. That is why Tomasz Radzinski is keen to try his luck in England oh, that and the small matter of trebling his wages. At least he is being up front with the fans and not pretending he has always admired the club. I just hope he isn't coming to use Goodison Park as a stepping stone for a move elsewhere, like so many players have done in recent years. Universally liked Fagan
I NEVER came across Joe Fagan all that much, but knew all about him - such was his standing in the game. He was the Anfield stepping stone between Paisley and Dalglish, and achieved an incredible amount in a very short space of time. As an Evertonian it was heart-breaking to see managers of the quality of Shankly and Paisley leave, then another old coach step out of the shadows to do an equally impressive job. Everyone you spoke to at Anfield always said that Joe Fagan was a really nice man and it's rare to find a manager universally spoken of in such fashion. He will be sadly missed not just at Anfield, but on Merseyside.
Passion for Blues at heart of matter
Jul 6 2001
PEOPLE ask me if Everton are even close to sparking a revival.
You have to be realistic and state the obvious. The Blues simply do not have the funding at present to go head to head over a full campaign with the likes of Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool.
But, having made that statement, there is always the thought in the back of your mind that sometimes the arrival of one or two new faces can totally change the focus of the dressing room.
The most obvious Everton example is the dramatic change in fortunes in the early Eighties sparked by the arrival of Andy Gray and Peter Reid. Of course, our success was a mix of many things. In Neville Southall we had one of the game's great, emerging goalkeeping talents. Kevin Ratcliffe had found a new position in the heart of the defence. Trevor Steven was signed, once again a young player with immense potential. Kevin Sheedy crossed the park and quickly showed he was both a creative force and a potential matchwinner with that famous left foot. Graeme Sharp was there, as was Adrian Heath. What we needed was a catalyst to mould this talent and Gray and Reid helped transform the dressing room. So, as I look at Everton today, I find myself wondering where the inspiration will come from that might lead to a sharp change in fortunes. If you are building your plans around certain players then it helps if those individuals have a real feel for the club and desperately want to do well. In Everton's case, they have a new centre-back, Alan Stubbs, who is a Blues fan through and through and who has always wanted to play for the club he supported as a boy. Alongside him there will be another local lad, Michael Ball, who is so steeped in Everton tradition that he has the club crest on the gable end of his house. Up front there is a centre-forward, Duncan Ferguson, whose passion for the Blues inspired him to have that same crest tatooed on his arm. That is a powerful motivating force right down the middle. Of course, we need Big Duncan to steer clear of the injuries that haunted him last season. His early start on the training ground, aimed at easing him back, will hopefully set him up for the big kick-off. At the same time, all Blues fans will be hoping that Ball's contractual situation can be resolved in a sensible way. I'm sure Stubbs will be raring to go and so the passion is there Ð and it does rub off. There is no doubt that Gray made Sharp a better player and that Reid inspired the engine room. As a manager, you want the people with a real feel for the club to stir the imagination of those around them. And so I'm encouraged that Everton could have players in vital positions with a real Everton heart. At the same time, the news from America is that Paul Gascoigne is in good shape. If Walter Smith can get Gazza out onto the park, it will be another major plus in the inspirational stakes. Yes, you have to be rational. You have to be realistic. But in football you also have to have a dream. Get the mix right and it's amazing how you can make rapid strides. Target Tomasz seems a lively lad I'VE spoken to a few people within the game, including scouts who have see him, and they tell me that Everton target Tomasz Radzinski would be a very useful acquisition. He's lively and has an eye for goal. Let's just hope the clubs can resolve the difference in valuation. If it's not that great, I'm sure Walter Smith will be suggesting that the club sort out the deal. Of course, Anderlecht are trying it on at the moment, suggesting they might report Everton to FIFA for an alleged illegal approach. It's a game of cat and mouse over the fee and the Blues can't allow themselves to be blackmailed. But if they feel the lad could make an impact Ð and those scouting reports are right - the message is simple: Go out and get the lad.
Modest Joe was respected by all fans
TRIBUTES have been pouring in for Joe Fagan.
Joe was such a modest individual that over-the-top praise would have had him shrugging his shoulders. I'm sure he would want to be remembered simply as someone who was honest, dedicated and the ultimate club man. He never pushed himself into the limelight. I don't think he even wanted the manager's job when it was offered. I remember after his great treble-winning season at the helm, we were pictured together with the trophies Liverpool had won and the silverware we had secured. The Blues and the Reds monopolised the game's major honours that year, even winning the Youth Cup. But Joe was always reluctant to blow his own trumpet. He remained totally modest. But, like all the great managers, he earned the respect of fans across the Stanley Park divide and this is the greatest tribute you can pay him.
Blues Stadium Battleground
Jul 9 2001 by Ian Latta, Liverpool Echo
CAMPAIGNERS on Friday night set out their battle plan to block Everton FC's Kings Dock plan.
They unveiled a range of objections based on a massive 80,000-strong survey, including the potential archaeological interest in the prime waterfront site. About 60 people turned up at the meeting at St Vincent's school off Duke Street following English Partnerships' announcement that the Everton consortium had won the fight for a 55,000 seater stadium. Councillor Joe Anderson, who has been one of the strongest critics of the plan, said: "I'll use whatever I can to get our message across.
"We need to widen the focus of our campaign and ask people at Albert Dock if they would come shopping on match days. I'm pretty sure the answer would be no. "I'll look to keep all the fires burning that's the only way we'll win this campaign. We can mount a serious challenge, it's within our rights. "This is not a public meeting if it was hundreds would have turned up."
Residents living nearby the proposed stadium claimed it would cause traffic chaos and raised concerns over safety. There was also criticism of the ECHO's support for the Blues' bid to turn the site into a £125m multi-purpose stadium. One woman said: "The ECHO never asked us if we wanted a stadium nearby when they backed the campaign." But those behind the scheme claim the critics are not fully aware of the planning that has gone into it. Paul Gregg, an Everton FC director, is also a director of the SFX group, which is one of Everton's consortium partners. He was not at the meeting but has said he remains confident that problems can be overcome. He says there would be limited underground parking at the site and most drivers would be expected to use surrounding car parks.
Turning a dream into reality
Jul 10 2001 EXCLUSIVE by Ken Rogers
PLANNING AHEAD: Bill Kenwright and Paul Gregg check out the Amsterdam Arena (top), then it was on to Schalke's stadium in Germany EVERTON have given the clearest indication yet that their fight for the Kings Dock is still very much on track after top club officials jetted off on a fact-finding mission to Holland and Germany. Yesterday's whistle-stop trip enabled ambitious club owner Bill Kenwright and influential director Paul Gregg to further study two state of the art arena venues in Amsterdam and Dusseldorf, one featuring a futuristic retractable roof and the other a revolutionary roll-in, roll-out pitch that enables the stadium to switch from a state of the art football or sporting stage to a versatile entertainment and conference facility at the push of a button. These are the key elements in Everton's plan. Reports over the weekend suggested that Everton's bid to build for the future on the banks of the Mersey, lodged under the banner of Houston Securities, were anything but cut and dried, despite the club recently receiving unqualified support from the board of regeneration agency Liverpool Vision which voted to back the scheme for a new riverfront home for the Blues. Liverpool Vision's recommendation will play a major part in the final dock decision, which is expected to be made on or around July 26 by site owners English Partnership. It is true to say that even if Everton's plans are rubber-stamped by EP, there will still be many hurdles along the way before the first spade is thrust into the Kings Dock soil. Formal grant application will have to be made for European Objective One funding and Football Trust money. Government backing will have to be sought over what is part world heritage site. Detailed planning permission will be required and a transport strategy will have to be developed. But whether it was Everton or any of the other bidders seeking to progress the Kings Dock dream, the same strict procedures would apply.
The key element is to receive the backing of English Partnership, and Kenwright is clearly proud of the progress his club has made to claim pole position as a long and intensely fought battle which began with six rival bidders reaches its conclusion. As he stood under the soaring roof of the Amsterdam Arena yesterday, one of most modern stadiums in the world and the benchmark for Everton to match and surpass, he exclusively told the ECHO: "In meeting with Liverpool Vision and English Partnership, they have pushed us towards our dream by not only accepting that our standards are of the highest order, but also by insisting that this is the way it must be. I like that.
"We are aiming for the very best and will not be satisfied with anything less." The Everton party toured the imposing Amsterdam facility which was built in 1996 as the home for European soccer giants Ajax as well as hosting international matches and a succession of high profile concerts and events. Kenwright and Gregg, accompanied by Kings Dock project manager Steve Lavell and design team member Jim Buxton, then jetted on to Germany and the mining area of Dusseldorf where the ambitious Shalke 04 stadium project is just weeks from completion at the home of the German cup holders. Once again, it features a retractable roof, but benefits from one of the world's first roll-in, roll-out pitch facilities." The pitch sits outside of the stadium when it is not required for football, enabling the arena to become multi-purpose and be used year-round. Kenwright said: "Standing on that new pitch and seeing it slide out effortlessly underneath one of the goal stands was a thrilling experience. It proved to us that it actually does work. We felt the confidence of the builders and the construction people and we are aiming to be just as innovative and as ambitious for Everton, for the city of Liverpool and for England." Kenwright and Gregg form a potent partnership of showbiz flair and entertainments expertise. Gregg is chairman of SFX Europe which will play a key role in ensuring that beyond the undoubted football ambition lies a project that will see the Kings Dock site exploited 52 weeks of the year. He said: "We cannot put a price on the importance of the stadium/arena facility to the city. This is critically important to Everton as a football club, but I believe we have persuaded Liverpool Vision and English Partnership that this venture can be lift-off point for the on-going regeneration of the docks and the city centre as well as being the catalyst for sorting out the major traffic issues." Reflecting on the success of the Dock regeneration to date, Gregg said: "It is fantastic what has been achieved so far. Now our Kings Dock plans could help make Liverpool a really special city. "We could say to superstars like Madonna and every major rock artist in the world: 'Come to the home of the Beatles. Play in one of the best arenas in the world.'
"All these people will come. We will have the right capacity to offer them an earning power equal to London. We must give these stars different reasons to choose Liverpool over Manchester where they might have already been a dozen times. "The option must be London and Liverpool and not London and Birmingham or London and Manchester."
King's Dock - Your queries answered
Jul 11 2001 Liverpool Echo
QUESTIONS ANSWERED: The proposed Kings Dock arena poses several questions
ECHO sports editor KEN ROGERS asked Everton FC to talk about their plans for a new ground
EVERTON'S plans to move to a new stadium at Kings Dock have inevitably created a catalogue of questions. Many have come from people who could find themselves living alongside the new arena, while others have come from the fans themselves. Liverpool Vision has already given the scheme a green light, Site owners English Partnerships will make a formal announcement in the next two weeks. Here the club responds to many of the key concerns which have been raised.
Q: Who and what is Liverpool Vision?
A: An urban regeneration company whose task has been to work alongside Liverpool city council on the regeneration of the city.
Q: What were the main aims of Liverpool Vision as bids were invited for the Kings Dock?
A: To create a high quality, safe urban environment. To establish a 21st century economy on the site which could compete with other European cities. To establish inclusive communities. To reposition Liverpool city centre as a premier regional shopping destination and an area capable of supporting a quality lifestyle. To attract and retain young people.
Q: What is the main thrust of the Everton scheme?
A: To build a 155m waterfront stadium/arena with a 55,000 capacity, including 70 executive boxes,. The arena to have a restaurant/banqueting capacity of 3,000 and a conference capacity of 5,000.
A further 150m will be invested in 650 one, two and three bedroom apartments; a 15 screen cinema; family entertainment centre; health clinic; fitness club; 150-bed 4/5 star hotel; family pub; cafe bar and restaurants; complementary shops and offices; public walkways, boardwalks and presentation areas; late night live music venue; parking for 2,800 vehicles.
Q: How will people get to the site from the city centre?
A: By the time the waterfront stadium/arena is completed in 2005, a significant number of projects will have been completed under the current public transport development plan for Merseyside.
The strategy for the next five years will include:
- High quality public transportation by light rapid transport tram (LRT), SMART bus and Merseyrail.
- High quality road access with priority for buses and coaches.
-On-site parking for coaches with limited on-site parking for cars.
- Off-site parking for cars at remote park and ride sites served by rail, LRT or shuttle buses.
-Enhanced pedestrian linkages and crossings.
- Restrictions on spectators parking in surrounding areas.
-Emergency routes of emergency services.
Q: What impact will the traffic have on existing residents?
A: The proposed development will have to be built into the fabric of the local urban area. Some of the near neighbours are residents and the developers want to respect the local population.
The new underground car park beneath the stadium will reduce the impact on parking for existing and new residents and local businesses.
Q: Will parking still be a problem?
A: An area north of Kings Dock has been identified as a location for a new large multi storey parking facility to serve the new development. The same area , off Jamaica Street, is identified by Liverpool Vision as a potential site for a large coach parking facility.
Q: What about The Strand?
A: A link must be made between Chavasse Park and the site.
Initial conclusions support the proposal for a pedestrian bridge link or links, strategically placed to ensure maximum crowd dispersal.
Q: Why isn't there a big car park to cover football traffic?
A: A car park with three to four thousand cars would takes hours to fill and empty.
The expectation is that the spare capacity in the city centre car parks will be utilised with fans given a dedicated space.
It will not affect existing city centre parking for shoppers because sites will be identified that research demonstrates a genuine spare capacity at key times.
Q: What about the arena?
A: Liverpool city council appointed consultants to review the arena requirements.
Manchester has the MEN Arena with a seating capacity of 20,000 for major concerts. If you are to build an arena it must be able to compete against Manchester's and the Kings Dock venue will in every way.
Q: Will it require revenue support from the city council?
Q: How long does it take to move the pitch out?
A: Three to four hours.
Q: How long does it take to close the roof?
A: 20 minutes.
Q: Can Liverpool FC play there?
A: Yes - as the opposition!
Q: How is the scheme to be funded?
A: Developers will invest in building residential, commercial and leisure facilities as well as contributing towards the cost of the stadium/arena. The additional capital money will be provided by Everton and its partners in return for an exclusive arrangement to use the stadium for football.
Q: Who will own the stadium/arena?
A: Everton 49% (always remaining the largest shareholder).
English Partnerships 25%. Liverpool City Council 13%. North West Development Agency 13%. Everton will keep its own soccer related revenue. The club will also receive its share of new money from the other activities.
Q: What will the stadium be called?
A: Waterfront Stadium, but it is possible a major sponsor will secure naming rights. It will, however, be the home of Everton Football Club.
Backyard fixtures bad for Blues
Jul 11 2001
IT is important for any football club to make a positive start to a new season. But when the expectation levels are not high to begin with, a good start becomes imperative. That is why Everton are courting unecessary pressure by conducting most of their pre-season build-up under the unyielding scrutiny of the North West media. The Blues travel to Tuscany on Sunday for a week's training camp. I like the idea of taking a squad of players away to live and train together, building team spirit and focussing their minds after a summer away with their families. But the Blues then come back to a series of pre-season fixtures staged exclusively in their own backyard.
While this makes life undoubtedly easier for the fans wishing to follow the side, it throws just a little more pressure on the shoulders of the players. And that's pressure Everton can well do without this summer. Modern training techniques, routines and systems are almost always more effective than their predecessors. But in some cases the old-timers still had it right. With Everton starting their own pre-season regime today, I was reminded of the way we used to prepare for a new season under Howard Kendall. We would always start five-and-a-half weeks before the season kicked off, as Walter Smith has today, and build gradually to a peak of physical and mental fitness.
That would be done almost exclusively through playing football. All of the fitness work would be done with a ball, with just some running to end the sessions. We would play anything from six to eight pre-season friendlies and the majority would be played on foreign soil, usually in an out of the way corner of Europe. That way the players could focus on regaining their match fitness without having to worry about the results of matches. Pre-season friendly results are utterly meaningless, but try telling that to tabloid newspapers eagerly seeking a sensational headline or supporters worrying about the season ahead anyway. Defeat by highly motivated minnows at Chester, Preston, Burnley, Tranmere or Wigan can increase pressure before a ball has even been kicked in anger.
That's why I used to enjoy warm-up matches in out of the way backwaters in Switzerland and Sweden. And there's little doubt that the pressure on Premiership clubs now is infinitely more intense than it was 20 years ago. Everton's players just want to focus on getting their fitness levels right in time for the start of the new season. Instead they will also have to concentrate on avoiding a handful of embarrassing defeats.
Nyarko out in the cold
ONE aspect of Everton's pre-season routine I am in complete agreement with, is Walter Smith's decision to isolate Alex Nyarko and ask him to train on his own. The player made it perfectly clear last season that he had no desire to represent Everton Football Club again. His presence at training sessions would only introduce an element of negativity which is the last thing you need pre-season.
Walter Smith will be hoping that Nyarko has fixed himself up with a new club before the players return from Italy which is probably another reason he will be left to his own devices next week.
Training on his own at Bellefield will be particularly soul-destroying, and Walter will hope the experience forces Nyarko to fix himself up swiftly.
Safety the new focus
Jul 11 2001 by Richard Williamson, Sports editor, Daily Post
EVERTON FC has drawn up a radical series of plans to combat fears over dealing with crowds at their proposed Kings Dock stadium. And the Daily Post can reveal today that they include a ferry landing stage just yards from the entrance to the £155m arena and the building of new walkways to span The Strand. Concerns over the ability to deal with the huge numbers expected to attend Everton matches or special events at the 55,000-seat stadium have been at the forefront of opposition to the scheme, which has already won the overwhelming backing of urban regeneration agency Liverpool Vision. But the club has set the ball rolling over how the issues of transport and crowd dispersal can be handled in anticipation of months of hard work that still lie ahead if its Kings Dock dream is to become a reality. Official confirmation that Everton's scheme is to go ahead will lead to a formal planning application and intense scrutiny of the environmental and transport impact on the city.
"It's crucial that all the ideas for this area from the different agencies, such as the city council and Merseytravel, are fully integrated," Jim Buxton, a key member of the waterfront design team and managing director of Ellis Williams Architects, told the Daily Post. "At the moment, what we're putting forward are suggestions and bringing the ferries into a new landing stage on the site is one of those. It may be that additional dredging of the Mersey will be needed to improve the depth of the river to get the ferries in closer but we believe it could be beneficial in helping bring people in from the other side of the river. "The number and frequency of ferries on big event days is something else that needs to be discussed, along with car parking in the Birkenhead area.
"It may be that the ferry operators don't want to be involved or that after analysis we don't want crowds of people trying to catch a ferry in that area of the site. "But even without a new landing stage the ferry terminal now is only a 10-minute walk away." The Strand also poses a significant headache with the prospect of thousands of people trying to cross the busy road but Everton believes taking them over the traffic could be the answer. "A bridge or bridges spanning The Strand could be the way of bringing people over to the site while keeping the traffic flowing, particularly at peak times, like Christmas," Mr Buxton said. "There also has been discussion about a new light railway transport system for Liverpool and it would be possible to provide a link through to the city centre and Lime Street from the Kings Dock, which could perhaps help bring 5,000 people an hour into the site. "But if this was something that never happened or was going to happen after the stadium was due to open in 2005, then we would amend our strategy accordingly. The scheme isn't dependent on any one method of transport. "It's about trying to bring all the pieces of the jigsaw together in full discussion with all involved. But if one part of it wasn't available, then we would adapt accordingly." Car parking is seen as another important concern but Everton hopes to make use of spare capacity in the city and is considering building a new multi-storey car park in the Jamaica Street area to back up the 2,800 underground spaces that will be available on site.
Everton also is considering giving designated spaces on city car parks to season ticket holders and putting routes out of the city on the backs of tickets for major events to improve the traffic flow.
Everton also has redrawn the boundaries of the site, replacing the curved ends with a rectangular shape to meet environmental concerns over an important heritage site. But the stadium shape remains an oval. The club believes the smaller blocks, which have increased the scope for accommodation, leisure and office space, will lead to greater freedom on the site, as people are now able to wander through instead of being forced round the buildings. The revolutionary roll-in, roll-out pitch will be surrounded by a moat when it is outside the stadium to give increased security while also providing a water feature for the apartments overlooking it. "There will be fountains and water spouts and we believe this will help give more of a dioxide feel to the area," added Mr Button.
Last week, the board of site's owner, English Partnerships, considered Liverpool Vision's recommendation that Houston Securities, who submitted a £305m scheme for the 36 acres Kings Dock, including a new home for Everton, should be appointed preferred developer. The English Heritage board has referred the matter to Liverpool Vision for a final decision, saying that some issues arising from due diligence reports on Houston's proposals need to be addressed.
But this is not seen as a major problem, given Liverpool Vision's enthusiasm for the bid and a final decision is expected to be announced in the next few weeks. You can join in the big ground move debate on our discussion board. Simply click the link below to enter.
Kenwright: Move's right for everyone
Jul 11 2001 by Richard Williamson, Daily Post
DOCK AND ROLL: Everton hope to have a roll-in, roll-out pitch at the Kings Dock, like at Schalke
BILL KENWRIGHT last night insisted that Everton were not pursuing their Kings Dock move at the expense of the team. And the Blues' vice-chairman has hit back at suggestions that the Board is preoccupied with the move away from Goodison Park while the team struggles to make its presence felt on the pitch in the Premiership. Everton's majority shareholder believes that the move to Kings Dock is vital to the club's long-term revival and will serve as a catalyst for future success - both on and off the pitch. "The Kings Dock is a great opportunity for Everton and one we cannot afford to miss," he said. "It is a chance for everyone at the club, from the ball boys to the office staff, from the players to the Board and the supporters, to move forward together with one common goal.
"It can be a catalyst for success. Celtic is a good example of how things can change quickly on and off the pitch. We see this as an investment which will result in the club having a major asset."
Houston Securities - whose £305m scheme for the Kings Dock includes a sporting arena that will be Everton's new home - have won the backing of Liverpool Vision for their project, but are now awaiting official confirmation that they are the preferred developers for the site.
Everton would take a 49 per cent stake in a new company that would oversee the site, the Waterfront Stadium and Arena Company, and would have three members on the six-strong Board.
"We will have ownership on one of the most prestigious sites in Britain, if not Europe," said Kenwright. "We will have the majority shareholding and it is very exciting that we are part of that.
"There will be a separate management team that will run the arena because we want to be able to concentrate on on our top priority of the football club. Money for the development will come from a variety of sources. It is money that we would not have attracted to the club for any other reason than the Kings Dock. "The work involved with this project has been unbelievable, but that does not mean we have been neglecting the day to day running of the club. We intend to improve facilities for our fans by the move and with other revenue streams, it should have a positive effect on our bank balance. "Those other revenue streams are important in supporting the work of the football team because there is no doubt what is the biggest factor in bringing in extra revenue - success on the field. "I am a great romantic about the history and tradition of Goodison Park, but we have got to progress and this is a chance to do that."
Germans can't grasp our reluctance to progress
Jul 12 2001
I WAS never much of a speed merchant on the football fields of Clubmoor Rec, Edinburgh Park, Wavertree Playground and Sefton Park where I appeared regularly in the famous black and white stripes of LDP & E Football Club. For anyone who doesn't recognise the initials of the former Business Houses League giants for whom I was clearly a key individual, mainly because I was always on time to help put up the nets, let me remind you that the Daily Post & Echo team of my era was in a class all of its own. Did I hear you shout: "Second class?" Outrageous! But back to the question of speed (and mobility). If I could have moved down the wing without the rather necessary action of moving my feet, maybe my soccer career would have soared to a much higher plane than one solitary but proud appearance for the Liverpool High Schools representative team. The thought crossed my mind this week as I visited the most remarkable football venue I have ever seen in my life, stood motionless in the centre circle, but still felt myself advancing forward towards one of the soaring goal stands. It wasn't a Michael Owen burst of speed. In fact, the motion was almost imperceivable. But I was definitely on the move. This was the cutting edge of stadium and pitch technology, as demonstrated by the proud officials of German club Schalke FC. I had joined key officials of Everton on a fact-finding mission to Holland and Germany where they were following up the work of their own Kings Dock architects and designers and studying first hand the remarkable facilities of the world famous Amsterdam Arena (main feature a giant retractable roof) and the nearly completed Schalke venue in Gelsenkirken near Dusseldorf. This also has a retractable roof, but benefits from a pitch that rolls right out of the stadium under one of the goal stands and sits open to the elements on those occasions that the arena proper is needed for other activities, from concerts to monster truck extravaganzas, from motor shows to world indoor tennis events.
The football surface remains in superb condition all-year round. For those of you who still can't get your head round this technology, let me give you the simplistic explanation of one of the stadium project managers. It's like a giant window box, three feet deep, 200 yards long and 180 yards wide. It sits on narrow strips of steel rather than rollers which are coated with the kind of material you find on the bottom on non-stick pans. The box is pushed along, electronically and efficiently at the push of a button. It takes three to four hours to move the entire pitch out of the stadium and the system works! This was one of the fundamental reasons for the Everton visit. In some respects, you are suspicious of the technology unless you have actually seen it operating with your own eyes. That they allowed us to walk all over their bowling green playing surface, as yet unplayed on, while they were demonstrating this forward and reverse motion (or should it be slow motion) engineering feat added to the WOW factor. The pitch has its own heating and sprinkler system. The 60,000 capacity Schalke Stadium is the first German multi-purpose arena. It's actually in an industrial/mining area which makes the ambition of the club and the city all the more remarkable. It's not a Munich or a Berlin. Six years ago Schalke FC were not even in Germany's top flight. Three years ago they decided to take this arena challenge on board in tandem with their city fathers. I smiled when their project manager spoke about "dispensing with the old stadium, which was built in 1974, because it was so old-fashioned!" They cannot grasp why some people here shy away from progress. To remind you, Goodison Park was built in 1892! Everton can learn from the Schalke lesson, on and off the pitch. Schalke have moved from a team going nowhere to a position in which they won the German Cup last season and finished second in the Bundesliga, gaining entry to the Champions League. They will kick off the new season in their new arena, not just a club with a real future but a coal mining area regenerated, vibrant and proud. The only thing that shocked me was that one of the goal ends is totally standing only with hundreds of safety barriers. There is also a much smaller standing area at the visiting end. To me, this did not sit comfortable with the 21st Century Stadium concept and it certainly does not sit comfortably with the safety concerns brought on by the Hillsborough Disaster.
Nevertheless, it was interesting that they deemed it safe to stand in what they believe is a controlled environment. They were quick to point to the 78 security video cameras which will constantly track the crowd and contribute to safety. It was interesting to compare Shalke with the Amsterdam Arena, the home of Ajax, especially on the pitch front. Amsterdam, while a more dramatic structure, does not have the luxury of the roll-in, roll-out pitch. When they have major non-football events, they accept that the playing surface will inevitably be damaged and are prepared to replace the surface as many times as is necessary over the course of a year. For instance, a moto cross event completely destroyed the pitch and they simply returfed it. But the seating is spectacular and many of the small innovations intrigued me. For instance, no money changes hands inside the arena. Fans buy a swipe card in advance or from machines inside the stadium complex. This is used when you buy everything from a pie to a programme to a three course meal in one of the restaurants.
The major benefit to fans is that queueing is reduced considerably because change does not have to be given at the retail outlets. I would need more than this column to highlight the dramatic benefits of a modern stadium/arena, as experienced in Holland and Germany. Everton's owner Bill Kenwright and club director Paul Gregg, who runs entertainments giants SFX Europe, certainly came away fired up to progress their Kings Dock dream. Like the rolling pitch, we've got to get on the move.
Fears over Radzinski
Jul 12 2001
A NUMBER of things puzzle me about the Tomasz Radzinski affair. The first has to do with his non-arrival for training, in a bid to secure his escape from Anderlecht. If he ever arrives here and things don't work out at Everton, can we expect similar sullenness? Second, after reportedly saying that the Blues are not a big club but are playing in a big league, will he insist on a get-out clause in case his talents prove too large to be contained within Goodison? Third, if Radzinski's so good Anderlecht's top scorer last season with 24 goals, five of them in the Champions League why are Everton the only bidders? Discuss. Zinedine Zidane's move to Real Madrid highlights the cash gulf between clubs
WE DIDN'T need Zinedine Zidane's £50million move to Real Madrid to remind us of the growing gulf between the haves and the have-nots. Spain and Italy are setting the gold standard, with transfer fees now routinely hitting the £30m mark for the most sought-after players. But even in England, the ability to spend big is producing an elite grouping, whose party the poorer clubs are never going to gatecrash, not to any great degree, anyway. I was one of the first to identify the three-way split in the Premiership, with the famous five Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool, Leeds and Chelsea all able to fund their big ambitions, and relatively untouchable. They are the ones who will lead the Premiership surge again this season, as well as finding time to spring a few surprises in Europe.
Behind them, a second wave of wannabees, Aston Villa, Ipswich, Tottenham, Sunderland, Newcastle, Leicester, Charlton and perhaps Blackburn will strive to secure mid-table security, with possibly one of them last season it was Ipswich attempting to narrow the gap between themselves and the top teams. Fulham, yet to make a major signing, are another side who may have something to say about the final placings. But manager Jean Tigana will need to see more of the Harrods riches if they're not to be yanked down into the Premiership's third division, where the trapdoor is the only thing you can rely on. Down there, the cash-strapped pray for a bit of good fortune, and, in Everton's case, freedom from injuries. Up to yesterday, few of the clubs on the danger list had rustled up much in the way of real money, with two of them, the Blues and Derby County, spending nul pounds.
Middlesbrough splashed out £6m on Gareth Southgate to open their transfer account for the summer, while West Ham, another club with a new manager, and another club at risk, have swooped for David James. Past experience tells us the clubs identified as being cannon fodder only wake up to their deficiencies when the Christmas panic sets in. By which time, the best players are signed up, and the points gap is so wide that short of divine intervention, they're doomed.
Money doesn't guarantee you'll avoid the drop. But being poor invites the kind of trouble that Everton have now found themselves anchored in for the past 14 years. Walter Smith now has fainting fits when anyone mentions transfer funds. No such giddiness at Highbury or Stamford Bridge. Arsene Wenger has gotten rid of nearly £25m, Claudio Ranieri a similar amount.
Later this week, Manchester United expect to take their signing spree to £43m when Juan Sebastian Veron arrives at Old Trafford. Over at Anfield, Gerard Houllier has in excess of £25m still at his disposal; David O'Leary is in a comparable position at Leeds United. For them, like Wenger and Ranieri, the goal is to overtake Alex Ferguson in his last season in charge. For that reason, funds will always be found. The same philosophy the need to be the best drives on Real Madrid, hence the audacious purchase of Zidane, despite debts approaching £160m. Down in the depths of the Premiership, where chill winds are about to blow for all the usual suspects, the word on the lips of fans is not affluence or ambition but anguish and affliction. And only five weeks to the first bitter bite of reality. Whistling up controversy THE age of professional referees is with us in the Premiership. Or, as Jimmy Hill once observed, here come the same old souls, making the same old mistakes, but being paid large sums of money to make them. Jimmy's fears, as I recall, were that fans would expect higher standards of performance from the men in black (and green) and be left deeply disappointed. The new list of suspects doesn't exactly gladden the heart. There's Jeff Winter, who in the season gone reduced one of the Merseyside derbies to farce in his eagerness to show us every one of his card tricks. There's the preening Uriah Rennie, whose last visit to the Premiership, before banishment to the B-list, is still being gulped over. There's Dermot Gallagher, a fine referee whose good sense appears to have been skewed by the discomforting presence of the spy in the stand. Basic pay for the ironically named Select Group of Referees is £33,000-a-season, to be topped up by fees of £500 per match. The projected top rate is around £75,000 a season, and for that fans will expect better than we've seen in the recent past. For the first time, managers will have a genuine say on which referees survive the yearly cull, although casualties will be comforted by two parachute payments of £33,000. Presumably, supporters are to be encouraged to chant "Give us our money back, ref!" Taylor-made for refereeing IN the long, long ago when our referees were world renowned, Wolverhampton master butcher Jack Taylor was the brightest and best.
The tall, commanding Taylor officiated when Everton came back from oblivion against Sheffield Wednesday in the 1966 FA Cup final, and was also the only referee to curb Jack Charltons threshing-machine approach at Leeds corner-kicks. But even a referee as good as Taylor could be caught napping, as Roy Entwhistle, author of 'I'm Not God, I'm Just a Referee' (Empire Publications, £7.99) recalls. Taking charge of a Manchester United-Derby County match, Jack completely missed a punch-up taking place 50 yards behind him. Leaving the ground later he was challenged by the home manager, who complained, "F****** hell, Jack, you missed a lot there today."
Without blinking, Taylor replied, "Sorry, Tommy, cant stop, I'm on my way to hospital."
Full of apologies, the manager stuttered: "What for?" "I'm having an operation," said Jack. "They re putting eyes in my a***." One-nil to JT, one of the last of a great British breed.
Winning formula for Blues and city
Jul 12 2001 by RICHARD WILLIAMSON, Daily Post
PAUL GREGG admits he has been taken aback by the pace of change at Goodison Park.
But the head of SFX's European arm, who came onto the Everton board as part of Bill Kenwright's successful takeover from Peter Johnson 18 months ago, believes the Kings Dock development can mark the awakening of one of football's "sleeping giants." Everton stand of the threshold of final approval for their £155million new stadium plans, and while that will only serve to signal the start of months of intense work on the details surrounding the ambitious project, Gregg is convinced the Kings Dock regeneration is a winner for both Everton and the city. This week he got a glimpse of what the future might hold when he paid a flying visit alongside vice-chairman Kenwright to the super stadiums which are home to Ajax in Amsterdam and Schalke 04 in Germany. Everton have scoured the world in picking the best features out of the growing number of state-of-the-art arenas that combine footballing passion with showbiz razzmatazz. In Holland Gregg saw how the two can be combined with spectacular results with the 52,000-seat Amsterdam Arena covered by a retractable roof which means the weather will never dampen plans for events other than football.
Then in Germany, with workmen still scurrying round the site to meet an August 13 deadline, the revolutionary roll-in, roll-out pitch was witnessed in action. This provides a fitting stage for the the football side, but it can be moved aside in just four hours to allow any number of different events to take the limelight. And Everton have one other surprise planned for their arena, which will mark it out as unique. A movable stand, which will be brought forward from the opposite end to where the pitch goes out, will give a chance to cut the 55,000 capacity to whatever is most appropriate for the event going on in the arena. The hope is to create just the right atmosphere whether the entertainment be Madonna, The Tweenies or the Philharmonic Orchestra. As Gregg settled back in his seat for the final flight home after a tiring day, he spoke with enthusiasm about the possibilities ahead and the challenge of striking the balance between supporting success on the football field and providing a showcase for world-class entertainment that will further enhance the city's reputation.
"Over the next few months we have got to prove to everybody that we have got the ability to achieve what we have set out and that it can arrive as one package," he said. "We need to take on board the concerns of people in the area and show that they can be addressed. "It is comforting to see things like the movable pitch in action and what we are trying to achieve is tried and tested.
"Now we need to resolve things like the naming rights of the new stadium and the find the right kind of sponsors for the project who can be involved right from the start. We need to ensure we get the right kind of hotel, cinema and catering outlets involved to ensure we achieve the high standards we have set ourselves for the site. "It is not just about putting something in there for the sake of it. Bond Street attracts all the best retailers and our challenge is to attract that same kind of quality feel to the Kings Dock. We have the chance to provide a venue for artists and events of international stature and that can only be good for the reputation of the city. "We want to build on the good work that is already being done in the regeneration of the city by so many people and to add something very special to Liverpool. We hope other attractions may want to tap into the potential crowds attracted by events at the Kings Dock, like the Tate, for example. We believe this is a fantastic opportunity for Liverpool and Everton will be part of it We have the potential to attract 5,000 away supporters to a game and we hope that even if they only visit a few away grounds a season, the quality of Kings Dock will mean that is one place they want to go. If they are coming here, we hope they make a weekend of it and spend more time in the city and its attractions.
"We also hope the quality in and around the Kings Dock will mean fans arrive earlier for games or events and perhaps spend more time in the city afterwards." Gregg insists there is no danger of Everton losing its identity amid the potential for a whole host of new attractions ranging from international boat shows to Disney on Ice or motorbike racing. "We could have Madonna playing one night in the arena and Everton taking on Liverpool the following afternoon," he pointed out. "That is the flexibility the movable pitch gives us. We know when the football fixtures are likely to be and that leaves spaces, such as Friday nights, for other events." Gregg believes one of the ingredients for success is creating the right atmosphere, whatever the event. "A lot of attention will be paid to ensuring that when a concert goer is in the arena he does not feel he is in a football stadium and vice-versa," he pointed out. "This can be done with lighting and the use of textures to frame events. The brief was to create a stadium that did not compromise either the football followers or those people using the stadium for other reasons. "We want the experience of going to the Kings Dock, for whatever reason, to be something special and I hope the football fans will appreciate that we have tried to protect their special feeling of following their club."
Like his fellow traveller Kenwright, Gregg hopes that Everton's football team will reap the benefits of the move. "This could be a catalyst for change within the club but we have got to get it right for the supporters as well," he said. "We recently spent £200,000 upgrading the dressing rooms at Goodison even though we may be leaving in the next few years. "We wanted to show that the players matter to us and to give them a sense of pride in where they are playing. It is the kind of feeling we want to carry over into the new stadium."
Blues stuck in a transfer wilderness
Jul 13 2001
YOU will often hear Evertonians saying that the club should should somehow conjure up a substantial transfer fund and start to compete for the best again to help get back on an upwards curve. I can understand their frustration linked with Walter Smith having to wheel and deal because of the on-going financial restraints. But what is often overlooked is the fact that even if the Blues had an open cheque book right now, it doesn't necessarily follow that they could spend the money powerfully and attract genuine star quality. Realistically it is your standing in the league that can be the difference between signing a big name or missing out. Everton offered Francis Jeffers a club record deal to stay. He snubbed that and opted for a move to Arsenal because modern players are impatient. They don't want success tomorrow. They want it now. The Blues are in a Catch 22 situation. I'd like to think that if Walter had 15m to persuade one of the game's top stars to come to Goodison that a deal could be struck. But fans need to be realistic. The first step is to improve steadily and get into a situation in which European football is a genuine possibility. There needs to be a clear signal that the club is going places. I know people will say that you won't get into that position without big signings, but the reality is that you have to improve steadily. Walter has been operating in a vicious circle. The Blues' boss has had to widen his net to target people who, while coming well recommended, are not necessarily in the minds of rival managers. Tomasz Radzinski is the perfect example. I've been following the saga with more than a passing interest simply because I know exactly what Walter must have been going through over the past few weeks as this on-off saga almost turned the transfer into a soccer soap opera. Everton finally agreed a deal with Anderlecht yesterday, but it can cause a boss all kinds of problems if the a swoop does not result in a swift resolution. For instance, the selling club inevitably do their homework to see if they can inflate the asking price. I'm sure Anderlecht will have taken into account the 8m the Blues received from Arsenal for Francis Jeffers. They will have been monitoring other pressures on Everton, like the Michael Ball situation. They will have worked out that the club has desperately wanted to give their fans a lift to boost season ticket sales. Add to this Anderlecht's natural irritation at having to sell a player they wanted to keep and you can understand why negotiations have appeared to go on forever. But what would have happened if Walter had lost out on the striker? Without the resource and with the club not well placed to attract top stars, he would have faced a major headache finding an alternative. I'm pleased Walter has got his man. As a boss, you start to formulate your selection options in this critical pre-season period. If a deal suddenly falls flat it's not the end of the world, but it can be extremely frustrating. For instance, in the 1991 close season I worked long and hard on a what would have been a British record deal for striker Dean Saunders who was set to join us from Derby County. He was a real hot property at that time. I even travelled to the old Baseball Ground myself and lodged our official bid with their club secretary. I then set off on our pre-season tour to the Continent, convinced that we had clinched the deal. I remember we were in Strasbourg when I took took a phone call late in the evening which revealed that Saunders had joined arch-rivals Liverpool for £2.9m. It was part of the double deal that also took Mark Wright to Anfield.
I was angry and disappointed, but had to accept that Saunders' father was a former Liverpool player and so there were emotional reasons why he was persuaded by Graeme Souness's late move.
As it turned out, he hardly set the world alight in a Red shirt and was sold inside 15 months to Aston Villa. He had joined a club going through radical change and ultimately paid the price. As I said, Most players want to join a club that can at least guarantee Europe at the end of the season. For instance, a record deal I did pull off was for Gary Lineker. Everton would not have secured his services if we had not been so successful at the time. His Leicester boss was former Red Gordon Milne who was pushing him towards Liverpool all the time. But we were Champions and Gary was motivated by joining the best. Yes, the money was significant, but there is more to it than the cash.
Walter Smith will want to sign the best but there is the wider picture and the reality that he must move the Blues forward steadily before the pattern will change.
Spotlight on Kings Dock
Jul 13 2001 icLiverpool
What does the Kings Dock project involve?
A waterfront stadium and arena, costing around £155m, with a capacity of 55,000. Seventy executive boxes are planned with 2,750 business seats (including 1,500 premier) with restaurant and banqueting facilities for 3,000. A further £150m of 650, one, two and three bedroom apartments; 15-screen cinema, family entertainment centre, health clinic, fitness club and 50-bed four or five star hotel. Also planned for the site are a family pub, cafe bar and restaurants, complimentary shops and offices, public walkways, boardwalks and presentation areas to bring a dockside feel to the area.
A late night live music venue is also planned with support parking on 2,800 spaces.
What would happen to Goodison Park? Everton Football Club and Liverpool City Council would agree a strategy for the development of the existing Goodison Park site within the framework provided for by the Unitary Development Plan for the whole of the area. How is the scheme to be funded? The basic principles of the three components to the scheme are: residential, commercial lesiure and the stadia/arena. The residential and commercial lesiure will create a development receipt. That development receipt, together with additonal grants, will be invested in the infrastructure of the arena - for example the sliding roof and moving pitch.
The additional capital money will be provided by Everton FC and its partners in return for an exclusive arrangement to utilise the stadium for football, together with English Partnerships and its partners. What will the new stadium be called? Currently the name is the Waterfront Stadium, but it is possible that a major sponsor will have the intellectual naming rights. It will, however, be the home of Everton Football Club. How is the new stadium/arena going to be run?
The intention is to create the Waterfront and Stadium Arena Limited with a first class management team to dedicate themselves to the running of the stadia/arena, conference and exhibition centre.
What will Everton do? Everton's priority is to concentrate on the affairs of the club, maximising ticket income, TV rights, sponsorship opportunities, merchandising, developing the brand, winning trophies and playing in Europe. Who will own the stadium/arena company? Everton will always remain the largest shareholder with 49 per cent. The rest will be made up of English Partnerships (25%), Liverpool City Council (13%) and North West Development Agency (13%). Will the project require revenue support from Liverpool City Council? No What happens now?
Everton and the private sector will form a JV Company - WSA Limited. The Board will comprise three directors from English Partnerships and its partners, and three from Everton FC. What is the timescale for the project? We envisage a 9-12 month period to undertake the necessary detailed design, obtain planning consents and submit the grant applications, achieve a fixed price construction contract and put all the necessary steps in place to allow works to start on site in August/September 2002. The Waterfront Stadium and Arena Limited would be immediately formed.
Completion of the stadium/arena would be expected for June 2005. Are public monies being paid to Everton Football Club? No. Grant monies will not be paid to Everton FC. WSA Limited will be responsible for making grant applications. The company will identify eligible areas for grants, concentrating on access and arena conference requirements, such as the roll-out pitch and sliding roof.
Blues' vision for city
Jul 13 2001 by Richard Williamson, Daily Post
THE airborne camera sweeps down The Strand towards the Albert Dock. As it moves past Liverpool's revitalised dockfront, the Kings Dock site looms into view. But instead of the huge green and yellow striped marquee - home to the Summer Pops - that dominates the view this morning, the camera offers a glimpse into the future. At the heart of the new vision is the Kings Dock stadium - which will become home to Everton Football Club and a host other attractions. The camera sweeps round and out over the river to frame what could become one of Liverpool's lasting images - the new stadium with the two cathedrals in the background. On the site, the arena is surrounded by a mix of apartments, offices and leisure facilities that will give the Liverpool waterfront a vibrant new addition. The 55,000 seat arena itself will boast a sliding roof, roll-in, roll-out pitch and moving stand that will allow capacity to be adjusted for any event. For the moment the spectacular images are merely the product of a video presentation of what might be - but one that has already won the backing of urban regeneration agency Liverpool Vision. They are expected to formally announce the winners of the race to develop the prestigious Kings Dock site in the next two weeks, with Everton widely-tipped to be given the go-ahead for a £305m project. For now it is the concept that has won admirers - and critics - and Everton's task, once permission is granted, will be to put together a detailed project plan that will fulfill their dreams and appease concerns over the impact of huge crowds on the site and the transport systems needed to get them in and out. But the team behind the design of the 36-acre waterfront site are convinced they have come up with both a winner for the club and the city. "With the walkways in and out of the buildings, along with areas for things like street theatre we hope to create a kind of Covent Garden atmosphere that will make people visit the area," explained Jim Buxton, managing director of Ellis Williams architects. "The pitch will be surrounded by a moat when it is outside and the use of fountains and water spouts will help emphasise the dockside feel of the area. "We have tried to get a mix on the areas outside the arena so there is as much going on as possible with people there during the day in the offices and shops and then the residents and evening attractions taking over later in the day." Everton are determined not to get caught up in the kind of controversy raging over the future of Wembley. The national stadium has become embroiled in rows over spiralling costs and its future use - but Everton's plans for the Kings Dock have built-in safeguards that will help them deliver. Project co-ordinator Steve Lavelle told the Daily Post: "We have already had to prove our scheme was viable and we have spent a lot of time working through how it all holds together. We are aware of the dangers of people thinking it could become another Millennium Dome or Wembley. "There is a five-year business plan in place to deal with the Kings Dock project. "One of the important stages of the project is to negotiate a fixed price contract, which will give us the comfort of knowing we will not be hit by escalating costs.
Club get shirty with squad numbers
Jul 18 2001
Considering all the rest of the turmoil that seems a permanent fixture around Goodison, the decision regarding squad number changes for the new season isn't exactly one of the issues that immediately springs to the fore. However, the recent announcment that Duncan Ferguson will take the number 10 shirt vacated by Stephen Hughes and that Idan Tal will take number 14 for next season, really irritated me by its lack of consideration for the supporters who buy team shirts. When Ferguson came back to the club at the start of last season and it was announced that he would be wearing the number 24 shirt, I wonder how many fans went out and bought a "Ferguson-24" shirt. I'm sure a (much smaller) number of people bought a "Tal-33" shirt, too. Now, of course, having shelled out 40 quid on the shirt, they find it doesn't match with the player's. The issue is one that I first thought about a few years ago when Alan Shearer moved to Newcastle and decided he wanted the number 9 shirt, and I wondered about the thousands of Newcastle fans who'd bought a "Ferdinand-9" shirt just the season before. In the greater scheme - maybe its a small thing - but it smacks of a "we don't care" attitude that shows up far to often in Everton's - and most other clubs'- dealings with their fans. I'm sure that for the players, with perhaps the exception of the number 9 shirt, it doesn't really matter what number they wear on their back, which means that there's no real reason for changing, and all it does is devalue a 40 quid purchase.
Robin Cannon Yokohama, Japan
Radzinski a signing to quicken the pace
Jul 18 2001
NOT since Gary Lineker have Everton had a striker of real pace at the club. But thats a wait that looks to be over now with the arrival of Tomasz Radzinski this week. Pace is something that has been missing up front for a while. It is an area where they have lacked real quality goalscorers 20 or 30 goal a season men. Like many Evertonians, I know very little about Tomasz, so it is wait and see. But if reports are accurate he could be a decent buy. He seems to have produced the goods at Anderlecht, which explain their reluctance to release him. He is a Canadian international as well - and there arent many bad international sides around these days. £4.5m isnt much to pay for a striker these days so there are no guarantees that Tomasz will start. After all, the club paid nearly £4m for Duncan Ferguson, while Kevin Campbell is on £30,000 a week so they won't necessarily want them sat on the bench either. Everyone will be watching how he does in pre-season and then Walter Smith will have to decide which of his strikers to leave out or perhaps play all three.
I suppose it is the same situation that arose last season with Duncan, Kevin and Franny Jeffers - before injuries solved that problem. Thats when squad rotation comes into play. At least it is called rotation if you are winning games, if you are losing them I believe it is called being dropped. That s just the way it is. Everton have needed a natural goalscorer and if Kevin and Duncan can get you ten to 15 goals a season and Tomasz can get 15-20, you'd be happy. I don't think the man Radzinski is replacing, Franny Jeffers, was lightning quick. Lineker was really the last striker we had at the club who was. He had blistering pace and great balance, something we haven't seen at Goodison Park for a while. Getting short shrift
I'D LIKE to be able to say that the unveiling of Evertons new away strip this week brought back memories of the silver kit we wore in the eighties but to be honest I can't remember it!
I am reliably informed we wore it for the game against Chelsea about three games into the 84/85 season and if memory serves me right we won that game 1-0 with Kevin Richardson getting the goal - we didn't do too badly that season either if I remember. Thinking back, we had some terrible away kits all of which were very tight. I used to wear the same shorts every week, it was a superstition of mine. And I remember the day we were playing the semi-final match against Southampton, I couldn't find them anywhere. It turned out Peter Reid had them on. The two of us used to wear our shorts an inch longer than everyone else because of the size of our thighs, but that day he had put mine on. I had a nightmare of a first half. I wasn't happy and when we got in at half time I had to get them back because they just didn't feel right. We went on to win. Could just be a coincidence I suppose. Gazza will be a key man IT IS good to see Paul Gascoigne back and raring to go.
Everton have strengthened their defence and attack during the summer but have left the midfield alone and I think a lot of their success in that area will depend upon Gazza. If Walter can get 20 games out of him next season it would be a real bonus. They have to play a certain way when he is playing, with three in midfield rather than two. But he is still a player that can provide the key to the door, if you like. He has that killer pass within him and the ability to change the whole pattern of the game in a five-minute spell. It is good to see him determined to make it work for Everton this season. If he keeps away from injury I'm sure he will.
Blues challenge amid Kings Dock dream
Jul 18 2001
THE irony will not have been lost on long-suffering Blues followers.
There was Bill Kenwright and happy band jetting off to Holland and Germany to ooh and aah over stunning space-age stadia on the very day Manchester United brought their spending on two players to a third of the cost of the Kings Dock superdrome. What did Sir Alex Ferguson think he was doing wasting £50m on a world-class striker and midfielder when the money could have been invested in sand and cement? That's the trouble with managers. They don't see the beauty in bricks and mortar.
Obsessed about soccer success, they can't comprehend that the most needful thing for fans is to know where they're going to sit to watch Madonna, Michael Jackson, Robbie Williams, or Placido Domingo. To hell with the soccer team, pal, where's me and me mates gonna park ourselves to get a close-up of Diana Ross or Whitney Houston, as well as easy assess to the T-shirt and memorabilia concessions? Players? What are they? Just flesh and blood. Here today, off to Italy or Spain tomorrow. Not to mention the fact that they require constant rebuilding. Now super-stadiums, they're a different proposition altogether. They don't move on. They're the last word in loyalty. Their playing surfaces, their roofs, their stands may move to suit the mood of the entertainment, but they're with you through the wind and the rain, until the concrete goes the way of all building materials. Okay, you can't worship them in the same way as a Dixie Dean, or an Alan Ball, or a Peter Reid. You can't paste a steel flange in your scrapbook, or cry with happiness or otherwise over a riveting row of seats, you can't build your memories on a soaring roof truss or the glitter of a glass panel, but what the hell, we're selling you mechanics here, not magic. Okay? Not quite. Like many another observer or at least those who are honest about it the sight of Bill Kenwright making merry in the superdomes of Ajax and Schalke encouraged mixed emotions. Good for Bill that the dream of a new money-no-object waterfront home was all but secured. And fact-finding formed an essential part of the process. Not so good when you remembered that back at base the worried Walter Smith was organising yet another car-boot sale. I can't shake that picture. Nor the snapshot of Glasgow Celtic's magnificent new Parkhead Stadium. Nor the way they mirror the Everton dilemma. You could hardly get a better stage for soccer than Celtic's. But - and this is the thought haunting Evertonians - would any one of their 60,000 supporters have such a warm feeling about the operatic grandeur of their Glasgow ground, if they were forced to watch a side that didn't deserve such swank surroundings? Under the chivvying Martin O'Neill old-time penny-pinchers Celtic have had to wake up to the fact that a luxury villa looks a bit strange if you insist on attaching it to the equivalent of an outside lavatory. The danger for Everton - and one not being seriously addressed despite the manager's unease - is that the club will drift into their river run with a team not fit for a King.
I HOPE the Everton architects know what they're doing with the ro-ro playing surface.
In a city not unaccustomed to mindless vandalism, is it good policy to park your holy ground in the great outdoors for what might be days at a time? I accept the pitch will be surrounded by a moat.
But with swimming not unknown among the yob fraternity, some consideration may still have to be given to stocking the stream with, say, crocs and piranhas. Make it a golden night
AS a trustee of the Everton Former-Players Foundation I have been privileged to witness the incredible help given to ex-Goodison greats, either to meet medical bills or to ease financial hardship. Much of the work of the foundation a registered charity has been made possible by the tremendous generosity of Everton fans, and, unstintingly, by Bill Kenwright. The players and management team have also put their hands in their pockets while Everton Football Club itself has agreed to stage regular testimonial matches for ex-players and the foundation itself.
Over the past 18 months, numerous heroes from the past have been helped. For obvious reasons, some cannot be named. Suffice to say that life hasn't been kind to many of them, having starred at a time when wages were derisory compared to the riches of today. On the medical side, Gordon West, Derek Temple, Fred Pickering and the late Gordon Watson, have had pain-easing surgery, as well as a number of others. Donations have also made towards rehabilitations, renovations, and, in one tragic case, funeral costs. The foundation would not exist without the constant support from the Everton faithful, who are justifiably renowned for their benevolence. Which nicely drops me at the door of the main event. On Monday, August 13, Everton will stage a tesimonial in aid of the legendary Alex Young and the Everton Former-Players Foundation. Kick-off is 7.30pm, opponents are the classy Spanish side Espanyol, and ticket prices are an extremely reasonable £10 for adults, £5 for youngsters. The Goodison ticket line (0151 330 2300) is open from July 23 for pre-booking and I know I can rely on your suppport for the Golden Vision's emotional return to the ground where he made his magic. Those who want to make corporate reservations or require VIP seats, ring 0151 525-0836. It is Everton's only home game before the new season. For us, and Alex, let's make sure it's an electrifying sell-out night.
Anger as dock vote plea blocked
Jul 19 2001 By Larry Neild, Liverpool Echo
A PLEA for a referendum on Everton's plans for a stadium on Kings Dock has been rejected.
Around 30 residents living around the 36-acre waterfront site lobbied last night's full city council meeting. As councillors entered the town hall they handed out leaflets urging them to support the referendum idea put forward by Labour councillors. But councillor Joe Anderson, who tabled the proposal, failed to win enough support to spark a debate. Backed by Labour colleague Steve Munby, Cllr Anderson wanted a referendum among local people. But the ruling Lib Dems used their overwhelming majority to block the debate. The call for a referendum will go to the Regeneration Environment and City Centre select committee. Cllr Anderson said: "I believe in the interests of democracy a full council chamber debate should be held." He accused the Liberal Democrats of hypocrisy and double standards. He told the council the Lib Dems had supported a call from one of their own members, Cllr Joe Kenny, last year for a referendum on whether Liverpool FC should be allowed to build their new stadium on Stanley Park. Cllr Anderson said later: "The Lib Dems can't ignore this legitimate call and we will be back to make our demands heard." A spokesman for the Waterfront Residents said: "There are many reasons for supporting a referendum. This is one of the biggest developments in Liverpool for many years and there are strong arguments for consulting the public."
Pre-season about fitness, not medals
Jul 20 2001
IT'S interesting to assess the different pre-season build-up for Liverpool and Everton.
The Blues are currently locked away in a training camp in the Italian mountains, but the main thrust of their match action will be in this country against the likes of Burnley, Wigan and Preston.
In sharp contrast, the Reds are just about to complete a marathon trip to Singapore and Bangkok. They will soon play in Amsterdam tournament against world class opposition in Valencia and Ajax, take on Wolves, squeeze in a rather important Champions League qualifying clash and then face arch-rivals Manchester United in the Charity Shield. Yes, Liverpool's run is more testing and certainly more glamorous, but Evertonians should not lose sight of the fact that pre-season is about fitness and working towards a competitive edge in time for the big kick-off. You can sometimes get caught up in the false importance of friendlies against top class opposition and the dreaded end product can be unwanted injuries if players are tempted to go at full stretch. Liverpool have been getting attendances for training sessions in the Far East that some clubs would welcome at league level. You can tell players not to get caught up in the excitement, but it's difficult. I always preferred to take the team abroad and play fairly low key matches at this stage. You will always get the true stalwarts travelling because they have a tremendous pride in having not missed a game of any sort for years and years. I can't remember any pre-season when we did not hear an Everton chant, no matter where the venue. But without an army of fans concentrating on the result rather than the training element, you can try things and experiment. Another thing you have to watch pre-season is the possibility of picking up costly suspensions. I can remember Kevin Ratcliffe being sent off at Walsall, forcing him to miss a couple of key games at the start of the season. I always used to make a point of telling referees prior to these outings that if any of my players were giving him a serious problem, just nod to the bench and I would take the individual off rather than it escalating into a dismissal. It's more difficult seeking this type of co-operation in foreign friendlies. The Ratcliffe incident occurred because I wasn't actually there. I'd gone off to view a possible signing and was shocked when I found out about it later. Referees, managers and fans have to be sensible and keep these games in perspective. Keeping faith in Walter I'VE been following the Everton goalkeeping situation with interest. It's no secret that Walter Smith has made a bid for Wigan's Northern Ireland international Roy Carroll. This throws serious doubt on the future of Paul Gerrard's current understudy Steve Simonsen. The suggestion has been that the former Tranmere player was offered as part of the Carroll package. Of course, Everton have still got Thomas Myhre on their books although he will surely be on his way shortly. Carroll, at 23, is highly-rated. If he signs, it remains to be seen whether he would come in as number one ahead of Paul Gerrard or have to wait for his chance.
But it can be difficult having a youngster in reserve, especially one with real talent. I always preferred an older player in reserve! I always preferred to have an older player as cover in this specialist position. An example would be Gerry Peyton who I signed from Bournemouth as understudy to Neville Southall. Gerry was strongly recommeneded by Jimmy Gabriel. He was a very experienced international keeper who was in his mid-thirties when he came to us.
Gerry was happy to be number two to Neville. At the same time, I knew I could rely on him in an emergency. I remember Fred Barber joining us. I don't think he got a first team game and was very frustrated. Simonsen will have that same bitter disappointment inside him. The search for experienced goalkeeping cover inspired one of football's most famous quiz questions. Everton's most capped international never played in a first team game for the Blues. Who is he?
The answer, of course, was Pat Jennings. Southall got himself injured right on the transfer deadline in 1986 which thrust Bobby Mimms into the limelight as we continued a run towards the FA Cup Final. It was a real rush job to get Pat registered. I'd called in our other goalkeeper, Mike Stowell, and told him he was on stand-by. He informed me he had played in an FA Cup game that season for a non-league side which ruled him out. As it turned out, the great Jennings never got a game out of us but he got a Cup Final suit. What we got was the insurance of having such an experienced individual and a great character as goalkeeping cover just the way I like it. Blues must get behind Gascoigne I WAS delighted to read that Paul Gascoigne is back in business after his summer problems. We can only hope that he steers clear of injury and that Walter Smith feels he is worth a regular place. Gazza can be a real force for the Blues when he is involved. The problems occur when he is injured and loses his focus which can happen quickly. A fit Gazza remains a joy to watch. I'm certain he wants to do it again and he clearly respects Walter for the support he has given him. We all wish him well.
'Don't blow cash on stadium'
Jul 20 2001 by Barry Turnbull, Daily Post Staff
JOHN Flamson, the head of Merseyside's European funding programme, has warned regeneration agency Liverpool Vision not to blow all of its £35m city centre windfall on a high-profile scheme like the proposed Kings Dock stadium. The city centre is earmarked to receive around a third of the total allocation of about £100m a year, the rest of which will be shared among seven other target areas.
But Mr Flamson yesterday raised concerns about the need for investment across the city centre - not just the eye-catching Everton stadium scheme on the waterfront. At a special briefing to mark the end of the first year of the programme, he said: "Liverpool Vision has a dilemma. "Do they put all the money into something like Kings Dock or do they look at all the other things in the city centre?
"There will need to be some careful consideration of the issues involved but a number of requirements across the city have already been identified." The Houston Securities proposals for Kings Dock, which include leisure and apartment developments as well as a 55,000-seater stadium for Everton, will cost an estimated £305m, of which £35m is expected to come from the British Government and European grants. Eight zones across the region have attracted funds by being designated Strategic Special Development Areas, with Liverpool grabbing the lion's share.
Mr Flamson went on: "We had to ask is the city centre a special case? The answer that came back from everybody is that yes it is because it is really Merseyside city centre. "It was decided to allocate £35m up front and Liverpool Vision is the channel through which the money will be spent.
"This is a big challenge, particularly as there has been a change in the political perception and personnel at Liverpool Vision. "We have to ensure that this works both for residents and the programme itself." Other key schemes in the strategic areas include an extension to the Estuary Commerce Park in Speke, possible demolition of the Stanley Dock tobacco warehouse and development of a space exploration centre in Wirral. The Objective 1 programme is expected to generate investment of £2bn in the regional economy by 2006, safeguarding and creating 56,000 jobs. In his end of year report, Mr Flamson said the building blocks were now in place to deliver the strategy but warned those involved: "We have to hold our nerve". In the first programme of Objective 1, there had been too much administration and a rush to spend money, he claimed.
However, in the current two-year phase of the new programme, only £2.1m has been spent out of an allocation of £380m. The spending phase now needed to be stepped up, he said.
"So far, we have handled more than 1,500 projects in the first months of the new programme but we need to turn great ideas into quick results." Keith Barnes, senior civil servant in the region, agreed: "This is about an investment programme not just a spend programme." The gathering of "Objective 1 partners", held at Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts, heard dissenting voices from some community representatives who claimed that aims were still not being delivered.
Dream comes true for Bill
Jul 23 2001 By KEN ROGERS, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON owner Bill Kenwright today told of his relief and elation that his stadium dream can now become a reality. Kenwright was centre stage at the Maritime Museum as Liverpool Vision formally announced that Houston Securities the working name for the Everton-led project is the preferred developer for the riverside site after a lengthy battle with a host of rivals. Everton's majority shareholder said: "Alongside the feelings of relief that the announcement has now been made is also a huge rush of adrenalin and a desire to get on with the job." He recently jetted to Holland and Germany with fellow director and SFX Europe chairman Paul Gregg to view two state of the art venues. SFX is one of the world's largest entertainments companies, and will help make the Kings Dock arena a 52 weeks of the year multi-purpose facility. Kenwright said: "When Paul Gregg and I visited the Amsterdam Arena I was impressed by the 24-hour operation and the way it seemed to be non-stop. An army of people were getting the arena back into shape after a major event which had attracted an audience of around 77,000. "In the middle of all this, the Ajax players were walking around in their training gear while a constant stream of visitors came and went. There was a real buzz about the place. "It was fantastic. I thought to myself just how much our club and our city would love a facility like this. "But it is always easier building an arena of this sort when you can learn from other people's lessons. The Amsterdam Arena was built in 1996. It is spectacular but there are things they would definitely change if they were to build it all over again. We will benefit from their advice." Kenwright added: "Our stadium will be of the highest order. We also have this extraordinary position on the banks of the Mersey. It is a prime site. We must be visionary with the design. It's a real opportunity for the architects, who already have shown us a thrilling concept.
"Whether you are talking about a corporate situation or ordinary fans, for football or other events, the views inside the stadium will be sensational." He added: "If my final legacy to my home town is that I am part of a fantastic monument to entertainment that will bring a lot of pleasure to people on the banks of the Mersey then I will be a very happy man. The dream is drawing ever closer."
LIVERPOOL will be given a major boost by the arena and stadium development said Sir Joe Dwyer, chairman of the city-council backed regeneration agency, Liverpool Vision, today. The former boss of Wimpey plc said the development is crucial to the emergence of Liverpool as an international tourist destination. His view was echoed by the leader of Liverpool city council, Mike Storey, who said: "This announcement today paves the way for a superb world class arena and stadium for the city of Liverpool and Merseyside. It will be a fanastic showcase for our city and will also give Everton FC an amazing stadium. "When I became the leader of the city council I expressed my ambition to see an arena being built and now we are on the brink of achieving that aim. It will take the whole area forward, bringing international stars and major events." Cllr Storey acknowledged that there are still hurdles to cross as the project goes through planning, environmental impact and finance procedures. The expectation, however, is that the development will be completed in the autumn of 2005. Sir Joe spoke of the global impact of the prestige development at the official announcement of the Everton FC consortium being the preferred development partner for Kings Dock.
"In order to achieve true international tourist destination status, there is a need to create more diverse opportunities," said Sir Joe. "This is precisely why the Kings Waterfront development is so important to the future of the city and the region. "The developers' brief for Kings Waterfront indicated a preference for arena/conference/exhibition/family entertainment facilities together with non-competing retail and specialist residential development." Earlier this year Liverpool Vision launched a world wide search for a potential developer for Kings Dock. Interest was expressed from every continent but it came down to five bidders and finally two Houston Secur ities, fronting Everton's bid, and rival developer Ician, who wanted to create a "Venice of the North". Sir Joe added: "Many of the excellent proposals submitted had elements of acceptability. Ultimately, it was the multi-functional Houston Securities scheme that attracted the support of the Liverpool Vision Board. "I am pleased, therefore, that with the support of our public sector partners, we are pleased to formally announce that the Houston Securities Bid has been successful and will be awarded preferred developer status for an initial period of six months. "During this time, the public bodies (English Partnerships, Liverpool city council and the Northwest Development Agency) will work closely with the preferred development partner to overcome a number of issues that exist in order to be confident that this stunning world class opportunity is realised for the benefit of the region.
"And it will prove to be the catalyst for the creation of Liverpool as a truly international tourist destination." TODAY'S decision triggers the start of an exercise to dissect every aspect of the stadium plan. Planning, environmental impact, transport implications and the way the scheme will be financed will be examined. Developer Houston Securities and partner Everton FC have been given six months to come up with answers. Critical will be the share of public and private money invested. Millions of pounds of public money will be sought from Europe under Objective One and other regional development sources to help pay for infrastructure. The North West Development Agency will also be involved in funding, as will Liverpool city council. Officials insist the project will not cream off Euro money that would have gone to other parts of Merseyside. All the processes will take place over the next year, with work hopefully starting on the £300m project before the end of 2002, for completion in 2005. International promoter Clear Channel Entertainment Europe, formerly known as SFX, has put in at least £30m. The arena and stadium will be run by a joint venture company, with a 51% public stake held by site owner English Partnerships, the North West Development Agency and Liverpool City Council. The other 49% will be owned by the Everton consortium. Everton will be the main tenant, effectively paying rent to a company half owned by its own consortium.
Everton's dock arena gets go-ahead
Jul 23 2001 Liverpool Echo
THE Everton consortium was today officially crowned the winner in the race to develop Liverpool's prime Kings Dock. A new stadium for the club and the city will be the jewel in the crown of a 300m, 36-acre redevelopment on what is currently a giant car park. As today's announcement was made by the regeneration agency Liverpool Vision, Everton owner Bill Kenwright said: "Now let's get on with the job."
Kings Dock will see Everton resurface
Jul 24 2001 by Andy Hunter
EVERTON'S immediate financial problems will not deepen as a result of the club's commitment to the £305m redevelopment of Kings Dock, Bill Kenwright vowed last night. The Blues were yesterday confirmed as the preferred bidders for the prestigious waterfront site and, providing they satisfy questions over such issues as finance, transport and design within the next six months, will kick off the 2005/06 season in a new £150m stadium. But deputy chairman Kenwright dismissed suggestions the project to enhance Everton's future will starve the present day team of money and time, insisting the two concerns are financially independent of each other. And he revealed the club has a four-year plan to wipe out its crippling overdraft, which once again leaves manager Walter Smith in a position this summer of having to sell before he can buy. "At the moment we are talking about something that is going to happen in four years time and there is another time-scale called now," said Kenwright. "At the moment I am working 16, 17 hours of every day and most of that time is dealing with now, with keeping the club afloat, the finances afloat and making sure Walter does have an amount of money to strengthen the squad. "I am dealing with the obvious problems of a club that does have financial problems and they are not easy. So it is extraordinary to be talking about building the best and finest stadium in the country when we have the well-publicised problems that we've got now. "But we have to if we are to progress. We have to run one alongside the other. "We have to say 'OK, there is the dream' and that has come on in leaps and bounds over the last year. On day one I think very, very few Evertonians thought we would get to where we are now, but we have because we have worked, battled and fought to get here. Plus we've got the support. "Now we are going to have to continue battling day to day for Everton, and it is a battle. It is a big battle keeping Everton buoyant at the moment." Everton will own 49 per cent of the whole Kings Dock development when it is completed, but with the Blues continuing to languish behind many of its Premiership rivals in spending terms the club's majority shareholder denies money earmarked for the stadium could be given for team-rebuilding now. "They are two totally different areas of income and finance," Kenwright said. "What we are doing with the Kings Dock is buying into an asset. That is a different kind of finance to buying players. "There is a rolling fund for players and at the moment, as everybody knows, that rolling fund comes from an overdraft. "So what we've got to do is gradually get rid of that overdraft whilst looking to the Kings Dock as being the future."
He explained: "It's like buying a new house. You get the money for that from your old house, your mortgage and a bit of borrowing, but if you have got any sense you will still have money for the food and the kids' clothes. That money will come from a different area. "In the present Everton will continue to be run as it is, while this dream to get us to the Kings Dock takes shape. I know it sounds very complicated but it is not, like the 49 per cent ownership issue.
FITTING IMAGE: How the stadium will fit with the waterfront skyline
"Everybody knows I wanted a much bigger portion of the pot than that but we were originally talking about just the stadium. "Everton haven't got the £150m it will take to build the new stadium, but we were offered a portion of the entire site. If you've got 49 per cent of a huge site like this you can raise money from development outside the stadium to put into it. That's where some of the money will come from. "Collecting parties or entities to support you is what myself, Paul Gregg and the other partners do for a living. "All I can tell you is that within football it is almost impossible to find financial support for a football club. "I wasn't one of 50 people trying to buy Everton Football Club despite what may have been said at the time. I was one of one and since I've started no-one has come to me with a cheque book and asked to buy any of my shares in the club. It hasn't happened.
"But there are a lot of people interested in development and that is how we can get money into Everton. "We have also got tremendous support from the public sector, which other clubs with new stadium plans like Arsenal don't have, and they are beside us making sure that we only get the best. They want the best, as we do, that's all we want. So to have them as our partners is a big plus."
The future name of the new stadium unlikely to be Goodison Park and the fact that the Blues will own 49 per cent of the development are undoubtedly two contentious issues for fans of the club.
But the bigger picture, Kenwright insists, is one that Everton simply must grasp. He added: "Would you rather own 100 per cent of a stadium that is worth say £10m or 49 per cent of a development where the stadium on its own is worth £150m? It's a simple answer. "But it's not all about money it is also about raising status. The first time I talked with Walter after I took over the club just over a year ago we talked about the ability of a club to attract new players. "Footballers come to a club and they look around the stadium and the changing rooms before they make a decision. Too many clubs have leapt over us lately and the old girl Goodison is looking a bit tired now. "But when we have this we will be able to attract such a class of player and I hope they are not going to be mercenaries but committed to the shirt and if they all come from Liverpool that will be even better for me. "So this is of such huge importance to us and you have to remember that I was one of those who was emotionally opposed to this in the beginning. "I wore the 'Goodison For-Everton' t-shirt and I didn't want to leave. But now my education has come full circle because I know what it can do for us and what it can do for Merseyside. "This is an opportunity that is so sensational it cannot be missed."
Blues should get behind Walter's Ince bid
Jul 25 2001 by Kevin Ratcliffe
I CAN understand Evertonians wincing at the prospect of Paul Ince pulling on a Royal Blue jersey.
Not only was he the worst type of red, but he has also been a Manchester red, and criticised by managers at both clubs for an overly arrogant attitude. But what Walter Smith will be hoping is that at 33 years old, Ince will have left those old arrogant excesses behind, but that he still retains that fiercely competitive streak which marked him out as one of the most effective midfielders of his era a department where Everton lack that very quality, despite bizarrely accumulating the worst disciplinary record in the Premiership last season. Of course True Blues would love to see Walter Smith sign a creative, ball-winning midfielder in the Frank Lampard or Lee Bowyer mould for £8m or £10m, but Everton's finances render such a prospect impossible. Ince comes cheap, and while he is obviously not as quick and likely to chip in with the odd goal as he once was, he is capable of sitting in that holding role in midfield and providing a vital anchor in front of a back three or back four, whichever Smith chooses to use. Everton conceded an awful lot of goals last season from corner kicks. Their own corner kicks! Think of both derby matches when their vulnerability to the counter attack was exposed savagely. The current players on the Goodison staff do not appear to possess the discipline to fulfill that role effectively, so Smith has to scour the Premiership for a cut-price alternative. It's a choice of either gambling by bringing in a foreigner who may or may not settle swiftly in the Premiership, or a performer already proven in that unique arena. Smith has already lost one important leader this summer with the retirement of Richard Gough, and Paul Ince has the experience of leading some of the most successful club sides in the country, not to mention his country. If he should sign for Everton and that is still a big if mind it would remind me in many respects of Howard Kendall's swoop for Paul Power in 1986. If Peter Reid was still probably Howard's best ever buy, Paul Power was arguably the cutest. When he arrived from Manchester City we were all a little unsure of him, football wise and dedication wise. He proved all of his doubters completely wrong and played every single match that season until the Championship was won. That is the be all and end all for football supporters winning matches. If Paul Ince signs for Everton and plays a significant part in them winning matches his part in Liverpool's history and Manchester United's triumphs will be swiftly forgotten. Preston result means nothing
EVERTON kick-off their pre-season programme at Preston on Saturday, against a side which has already played two or three fixtures. As such, the Blues should not be alarmed if they lose a game they would normally be expected to win. They actually romped to a 5-0 win at Deepdale last season, in a result which as meaningless as Saturday's will be. If the players involved can develop their fitness and Walter Smith can learn something from the game, than the fixture will have fulfilled its purpose, and Everton can move on to the next one at Burnley next Tuesday. My Shrewsbury team lost at Burscough last week. Obviously I wasn't happy with the result, but I think I learned a number of things from the game and in a truly competitive situation would like to think we could win the game again comfortably. Pre-season is all about fitness and that starts for Everton on Saturday.
Failure not an option
Jul 26 2001
IT'S funny how a few words can make you sit up and take notice. I was studying the editor's morning conference list yesterday and the various photographic options when the words "Liverpool FC at the Kings Dock" leapt out at me. Had our news steam unearthed a major new angle on the the great stadium debate? Was it linked with a shock stadium share plan? After all, the question of ground sharing was fired at Everton's Bill Kenwright during Monday's Kings Dock press conference when the Blues were given preferred bidder status for the site. He ruled it out, almost as the ECHO broke the news that Liverpool FC remained focused on staying in the Anfield area. Of course, the conference reference to Liverpool and the Kings Dock was linked to the "Kop On The Dock" concert on Tuesday night when the three trophies won by the Reds last season were ironically paraded in the heart of what could ultimately become Everton territory. It has been an historic week for the Blues, one that finally undermined all the conspiracy theories about the decision-making Liverpool Vision allegedly being influenced by individuals with links to Everton's dock rivals. Of course, the best bid was always going to win the day and while there is still a lot of work to be done in the three key areas of funding, planning and traffic, there is clearly a will on behalf of the Dock partners to overcome the obstacles and turn the dramatic visuals for the site into reality. I was talking to some Manchester colleagues about the magnificent new Commonwealth Games stadium which is nearing completiton and which will ultimately be claimed by Manchester City. Add to that United's Old Trafford stronghold, the MEN Arena and the cycling Velodrome and you can see that here is a city with a determination to dominate the North West sporting and entertainments scene. Are we going to allow that shadow to stretch the full length of the East Lancashire Road and engulf us? I'd like to think that Liverpool Vision and Everton Vision will dramatically put us back into the ball game.
The Kings Dock plan cannot be allowed to fail.
Has Mac trailed star from United days?
Jul 30 2001
THE transfer market is never straightforward. There are different types of deals.
Good players move for a mixture of ambition and reward. Some players, particularly those reaching the end of their careers, are often looking for that last big pay day. As a manager you have to be very careful that no matter who you sign, the individual still has a hunger and a pride to go out there and produce the goods. If Newcastle United had managed to tempt Francis Jeffers to join them, this would have been a purely financial move on the player's part. His subsequent Arsenal switch, while it was the worst kept secret in football, was at least a sign of the striker's ambition to play in the Champions League. If Michael Ball goes to Middlesbrough and he seems to have given them no encouragement at present once again this would be viewed as a move purely linked with money. No way are they a bigger club than Everton. If Ball even talked to Boro, this would be a bigger disappointment for Evertonians than Jeffers going to Arsenal. What I find interesting is the fact that it is Steve McLaren showing a real interest in Everton's England defender. Not too long ago, there was talk that Ball could become a target for Manchester United. Some people dismissed it as wild speculation. But was McLaren the link? If so, did the new Boro boss fancy Ball more than Sir Alex Ferguson, who would have the final say on any signings? We cannot know for certain, but now that McLaren is calling the shots in his own right as a manager, it could be that he is using the homework he did on Ball at Old Trafford to try and tempt the lad to the Riverside. He will have noted that Everton have become a selling club, but it will be a stunner if Boro get their man. I'm sure Everton would part for the right price or the right mix of money and player -exchange. But if Ball does go up there, it cannot be for reasons of ambition. Ince would have a lot to prove I CAN understand the negative attitude of many Evertonians over the club's interest in signing Paul Ince. The Liverpool link is not the problem. It's more a case of why Ince wants to return to Merseyside. I'm sure it will be a comfortable move for him because he still retains a house down here. But Paul will have to prove that he is still hungry at the highest level. You can have too many experienced players in your side who have technically had their best days, which I think has been a problem at the club he is at.
When you sign a player at this stage, it has to be absolutely right. Walter Smith certainly knew what he was getting when he signed the veteran Richard Gough. Other people might have had doubts, but not Walter. When I signed Paul Power from Manchester City in the Eighties, many people raised their eyebrows because of his age. But Power was the model professional.
More importantly, he still wanted to do it and finished up with a championship medal at Goodison. I remember him scoring for us against City at Maine Road. He didn't know what to do, celebrate or apologise. He certainly gave his all in an Everton shirt. That is the type of player you want to sign.
I don't know if the Ince deal will progress, but it goes deeper than Smith needing a midfielder who can tackle. The player must convince him that he can fit in, be a team player on the training ground and the pitch and have a determination to help Everton move forward. Keeper move gives Gerrard cause to worry OF all the players at Everton who must be going through a worrying period, I would think Paul Gerrard is top of the list. He will have noted the Blues' interest in Coventry's talented goalkeeper Magnus Hedman. It's not the same as the club showing an interest in a defender, midfielder or forward. Goalkeeping is a specialist position and Gerrard will be feeling unsettled.
It's not the same with Steve Simonsen, who has not had his chance yet, although the signal will be going out to him that the manager does not see him as a serious option to Gerrard. Thomas Myhre has had his injury problems and seems to have accepted that he is on his way. But Gerrard has been the number one. If the Hedman deal doesn't come off, will Gerrard be mentally right for the start of the season? Gerrard's confidence might suffer even if the Hedman situation falls through but you can't blame the manager. He is looking at every angle to improveon what he has got. It shows the ruthless side of the game, but it has to be this way.
Smith must develop young talent
Jul 31 2001
When a 16 year old kid, Sean Doherty, decides that he is better off leaving Everton it really makes you wonder. Jonathan McEvoy's article says how surprised Fulham were that he wanted to leave. He is clearly part of a trend. Francis Jeffers, the brightest home grown striking talent for a generation, decided he had to leave. Michael Ball, the best home grown defender for a generation also wants to go. There is a common theme here and that is that Walter Smith has no interest in developing and retaining young talent; he now wants to bring in Paul Ince. If he'd paid Ball what he's going to have to pay Ince, Ball would have stayed, so where's the sense? Don Hutchison (remember him?) would have stayed for less than we'll pay Ince. Seven years ago having Gazza and Ince in midfield would have been top drawer but it's 2001 and Everton face another season of battling the drop. This is just not good enough - Smith has had three years and he has improved nothing and achieved nothing. For god's sake we are fourth favourites for the drop, and the bookies don't get it wrong. Smith has to go and go now. If Kenwright is the true blue he says he is, he should see, as Eric Sutton says in his 'Sort the team out first' letter, that the wonder new stadium is not the top priority, it's the football. That means the team, the players and the management. I can see us in the King's Dock and in the first or even second division. What a glorious future. Rodger Armstrong
Harpenden, Hertfordshire What do you think? Send us your views. You can email icliverpool at: