Lack of Council Funding Damages Everton's Plan for New 50,000-Seater Stadium

Phil Haigh@@philhaigh_Contributor IApril 30, 2014

A general view of Goodison Park during the English Premier League soccer match between Everton and Manchester United at Goodison Park in Liverpool, England, Sunday April 20, 2014. (AP Photo/Clint Hughes)
Clint Hughes/Associated Press

Everton have decided upon a site for a new 50,000-seater stadium, but it may well be of no use to them if Liverpool City Council maintain the position that they cannot fund the move.

As per Andy Hunter, for the Guardian, the Toffees have identified a site for the vastly improved stadium at Walton Hall Park, but they admit they will require council funding for it to go ahead.

The club’s chief executive Robert Elstone told Everton’s general meeting on Tuesday:

We will need a collaboration with a number of partners, the principal partner being Liverpool City council, but there is a degree of optimism, perhaps cautious optimism, but definitely optimism and we wouldn't be investing in what we're doing without thinking it had a chance of success.

Unfortunately for Elstone, and the club as a whole, Liverpool City Council are only willing to have a limited financial input in the project, if any at all.

A statement from the council, reported by Joshua Taylor in the Liverpool Echo, read:

We must stress that the city council is clearly not in a position to fund the costs of a new stadium.

Any investment the council makes would be in a wider regeneration scheme, subject to a sound financial and economic rationale for doing so.

Any progress is set to be slow in this project with the financial viability of the move not to be decided upon for a few months as yet, per Hunter.

Everton are desperate to move to new premises in order to boost the appeal of the club to potential investors. Elstone used the example of Manchester City moving to the City of Manchester Stadium and receiving significant investment soon after.

Jon Super/Associated Press

It has been no secret for some time that Toffees chairman Bill Kenwright is open to offers for the Merseyside club, but there has simply been no viable interest. He and the rest of the Everton board are hoping that a move away from their traditional home of Goodison Park would achieve such interest.

Given the success of the club in achieving top-half finishes in the Premier League on a meagre budget, it is thought that a boost to their funds would see them challenging with the top-four clubs on a more regular basis.