Given the critical role that a beloved stadium can play in defining a club's history and tradition, it's mercifully uncommon that one's favorite team packs up and moves somewhere new.
It doesn't matter where the team relocates, or how much money developers spend on the new venue—the same truth is always in play:
Change is never easy.
For supporters of Liverpool and Everton, though, the clubs' decisions to go shopping for new homes should come as a relief.
In both instances, the proposed move make sense—and even the most critical fans must eventually realize that their best interests are being served.
For Rafael Benitez's boys, the move is a much easier one. Fans won't have to travel very far in order to find their new pitch, and the recent July redesign will accommodate a staggering number of spectators (as many as 80,000).
For those who have never had trouble acquiring good seats when Man U come to town, this may not mean much. But for everybody else, the prospect of 30,000 more tickets being distributed should be cause enough for celebration.
In another part of town, though, Everton loyalists are greeting their proposed move with anything but cheers.
The August 25th referendum in which a small majority of voters approved the relocation has all but sealed the club's fate. No longer will Everton actually play in Liverpool. Instead, the team will do something that would seem counterintuitive given trends over the last few decades:
It will move to Kirkby.
Indeed, the town of Kirkby, which saw its population fall dramatically not so long ago, is experiencing something of an economic renaissance—and it should come as no surprise that Everton's move is being sponsored in part by Tesco, that great symbol of corporate pride.
If the role of the world's third-largest grocer doesn't speak to the quid-first mentality that surrounds the move, then perhaps the price tag will make it obvious: £400 million.
That's right. Read that figure again.
It's not a misprint.
The relocation is being jeered by over 40 percent of Everton supporters, who seem to have forgotten that everything in life comes down to money. The more one spends on a stadium, the more comfortable the accommodations. More money means more seats, better safety conditions, nicer nearby pubs and restaurants. It also means more jobs for the residents of Kirkby, and more Tescos.
Money can't buy love—but it can buy one hell of a new football infrastructure.
Sure, it won't be easy to leave Liverpool, and those supporters who argue that Everton should remain within the city limits make a good point. But try telling that to the generations of Kirkby residents who have watched their town die a slow economic death.
Everton boasts plenty of fans who live in the towns outside Liverpool, and many of them are just as loud as the locals when they're fortunate enough to find seats at the match. In fact, the move to Kirkby is as much a symbolic change as it is a financially apt one:
It's proof that Everton's reach extends the borders of Liverpool.
In any event, the controversy seems to be nearing an end. Everton will move. The protests will no doubt continue, but people will forget soon enough. The cushy new seats will help to assuage any deep-seated frustration.
That said, the move to Kirkby will be about more than the comfort and convenience—it will be a testament to the fact that football loyalty doesn't end at the edge of the city.