Thursday, February 25, 2021

No Blues for Everton

THE TOFFEES WILL GET A NEW GROUND

Proposed New Stadium
Proposed New Stadium

The blue half of Liverpool has had a good week.

Last Saturday Everton won the Merseyside derby 2-0, their first win at Anfield in 22 years. Then this Tuesday Liverpool City Council approved its plans for a new arena on the waterfront, ending years of stadium project false starts.

Bramley-Moore Dock stadium has a projected capacity of 52,888 and could be open for business in 2024 providing the housing minister Robert Jenrick, as expected, rubber stamps the application.

Goodison Park, the Blues' home since 1892, has 39,414 seats but with its notable poles and lack of cantilevers on the Bullens Road side it seems quaintly outmoded. 

Unable to expand on a classic residential site in Walton - St Luke's church famously sticks out in one of the corners, the club have been searching for a new site for a quarter of a century.

A number of plans and sites have fallen through, which left some Evertonians wondering if there was some curse on their club, watching jealously while Anfield modernized and expanded and other clubs moved to new and shining homes.

THE TOFFEES WILL GET A NEW GROUND
What the stadium could look like

The Bramley-Moore site is on the Mersey estuary and being a disused industrial site, offered space to build.

This will be the first European stadium built by American architects MEIS, who have built baseball and NFL arena before but also have the contract to build a new 52,500 home for Roma in Serie A.

There had a planning objection from English Heritage, worried about damage to the Liverpool waterfront's UNESCO World Heritage status, but the council decided the £500 million scheme and subdued design of brick, glass and steel would not ruin the built environment.

Goodison Park has earned its spurs as one of football's most historic arenas. It has hosted more top flight games than any other English stadium, six World Cup games including a semi-final, the F.A. Cup Final and several internationals including England's first defeat to a non-British nation (the Republic of Ireland in 1949) and was bombed in WWII.

Portuguese legend Eusebio called it "the best stadium in my life" after scoring six goals there en route to the Golden Boot at the 1966 World Cup.

(c) Sean O'Conor & Soccerphile

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