This evening Everton Football Club made a major announcement in regards to the proposed capacity of the new Bramley-Moore stadium:
Everton Football Club has announced it is proposing a capacity of 52,000 for its new stadium, with the potential for this to rise to 62,000 in the future.
The proposed capacity and design of the new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock will be subject to further public consultation and engagement with supporters during the design process, and with other important stakeholders, including Liverpool City Council and Historic England.
Whilst I have already declared my disappointment at this figure, I’m going to try to be analytical in examining how we have reached this decision and the appropriate response.
A proposal, not a decision
Firstly, it’s not a decision, it’s a proposal and is subject to and open to further consultation. Logically that should mean that the club brings forward arguments that supports its current position and allows interested parties to counter the arguments.
The contributory factors determining capacity are a combination of some or all, of the following
Planning considerations including heritage & transport
Desired match day experience & the impact of different capacities
The business case, including
- Projected costs and means of funding
- Projected demand
- The scale of the club’s ambitions & expectations of future success
- The case for extending the stadium and the conditions required to do so
As many who read this will know, the club has been very positive in engagement at a senior level in recent days. In this EvertonBusinessMatters podcast, I was able to meet our Chief Financial and Commercial Officer Sasha Ryazantsev for a frank discussion on the accounts, commercial considerations and stadium financing.
Whilst I am very disappointed with the initial proposal, I’d prefer to put facts out there, and have the opportunity for the club to present its reasoning with the ability for others to counter-present alternative views.
However, the above engagement must be real and meaningful, and as demonstrated by the Sasha Ryazantsev podcast it can generate invaluable goodwill, but perhaps more importantly, greater understanding within the club and the fan base of each other’s position and ultimately acceptance and agreement of decisions.
I believe we’d all benefit from the same opportunity with regards to the proposed capacity announcement. Therefore, I’d call upon the club to make that possible at the earliest opportunity.