What next for our great club, who were once known as the Mersey Millionaires? We have won nine league titles, five FA Cups, and with a European Cup Winner’s Cup title on our honours list. No doubt we are a big club, steeped in history. We are still unfortunately the Mersey Millionaires... but now in a world full of Billionaires. Sky would have us believe that football was invented 23 years ago.
Our Grand Old Lady was the best stadium in the land, with new innovations such as, dugouts, underground heating, scoreboards etc. It held FA Cup finals, World Cup matches. It was a stadium to be envied. Staying or leaving the Grand Old Lady is an emotive issue that has divided the fans in the past. One thing is for certain: every fan would love to stay.
At the moment, Goodison Park is not fit for purpose and is not the best built stadium. It has multiple obstructed views all around the ground. The Taylor Report has diminished our capacity to under 40,000. Is it possible to redevelop Goodison Park? Yes, is the answer... but at what cost? Is it viable to do so? Probably not. Modern stadiums boasts hotels, multiple executive boxes, unobstructed views, shops, etc.
Even if it would cost a lot less money to redevelop Goodison Park than to build a new stadium, where will the money come from? Man City have rebuilt one side of the stadium, but the Etihad was built in an non-residential area and they are circumventing the Financial Fair Play rules buy ‘selling’ the naming rights to the stadium to give them a financial advantage over their competitors. Liverpool are redeveloping their ground, reportedly at the cost of £150 million. Where do Everton get that sort of money?
Building a new stadium would attract investors that could sponsor the new stadium, it would be hard to rename Goodison Park, as it would always be referred to its original name. Hotels, executive boxes and retail units could be incorporated, giving us much needed revenue. We need a major event like a World Cup for the Government to build us a new stadium in the way Man City benefited from the Commonwealth Games and West Ham with the Olympics.
Arsenal took years to pay off their new stadium, with the fans paying exorbitant amounts of money to see their team play: over £1,000 (two times the cost of our lowest) is the cheapest season ticket and over £2,000 for the dearest (nearly three times the cost of our dearest). They won the league the year they started building but took nearly 8 years without winning a trophy, until recently winning two FA Cups. Their main source of income being the gravy train that is the Champions League, a train that is ever increasingly hard to catch.
In Everton’s history, fate has dealt us many blows; our great club could have had more silverware, title-winning teams that have been broken up by not one World War but two; a title-winning team in 1987 and our most successful manager disbanded because of a ban in Europe. More recently, the spine of our team injured for the FA Cup Final against Chelsea and but for a referee, who had retired a month earlier, might've qualified for the Champions League...
Two seasons ago, we ended with 72 points, our highest in the Premier League, and in most of the last 20 years since the formation of the Champions League, that would have seen us qualify for it. Maybe in a parallel universe we would have more titles and be perennial members of the Champions League, but unfortunately this is not the case in this universe.
What of the future? Will the FFP rules and new television deals level out the playing field for all? Our Future looks bright with the spine of our current team: Stones (who is still our player), McCarthy, Lukaku, Deulofeu, Besic and Barkley are all good young players with the potential to get better. And we have Galloway, Browning and McAleny impressing in their cameo appearances for us so far, with our U18s winning their league two seasons ago and just missing out last season on retaining their title. The future looks bright and, as a certain Mr Hansen was proven wrong 20-odd years ago, you can win with youngsters.
Whatever your view on the current Board and the ground move situation, one thing is for certain: WE ALL love this club of ours; we may have different views on what way the club is run. We should NOT be fighting amongst ourselves with remarks such as ‘kopite behaviour’ and childish name-calling. If anything is ‘Kopite’ behaviour in my books, it is calling fellow Evertonians ‘Kopites’.
While The Grand Old Lady still stands, we should build an atmosphere to be proud of, get the old girl rocking, and try not give abuse as soon as one pass goes wrong; it does not help the player’s confidence and will make him not want the ball. Encourage the team... after all, we are SUPPORTers, as in the names, so SUPPORT the team.
How can 4,000 fans at Southampton be louder than 37,000 fans at Goodison? Have you forgotten how to clap and cheer, forgotten our chants over the summer? Cheer each name as it is announced over the tannoy system; cheer until you can’t cheer no more.
For those who think the Board does not live up to our motto, Nil Satis Nisi Optimum, I have to say that we as fans do not live up to that motto either at Goodison. Show that we are the best supporters in the land. I for one will be Everton till I die – and that is not a motto to me – it’s a way of life.