Normally, the Shareholder’s AGM for Everton is a frustrating event, with the board being criticised for a lack of investment, spending, vision and yet another failed new stadium bid and calls for the owner Bill Kenwright to sell up. This opening sentence could have been used any time this century. The years may come, but Everton remain in a dark black hole, playing in a “museum of a stadium”
This week, however, most Everton fans are recovering from the shock of listening to the new owner, Farhad Moshiri, stating quite clearly that he has money to spend and wants to see Everton as a team participating in the Champions League. Ok , I know Martinez said the same thing but, even better, he appears to want to deliver on the Holy Grail of the fabled new stadium on the “banks of the Royal Blue Mersey”. Most fans are now experiencing a feeling that they have not had since the mid 80’s, optimism.
Rafa Benitez once famously referred to Everton as a “small club”. The cosy ex Liverpool clan that present Match of the Day , especially Danny Murphy – remind me again- what has he won? – often refer to “plucky little Everton”, placing the 9 times league winners and the team that has played more top flight matches than any other club in the same category as Watford, Hull and Middlesbrough. Well , judging by the reaction to the proposed new stadium by Liverpool fans , this perception may be about to change?
Everton are hoping to build the new stadium in the Bramley Moore Dock area , which is currently owned for redevelopment by Peel Holdings Limited.The Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson is supporting the plan and after all the other abortive attempts to site a new stadium in Kirkby, The Kings’ Dock, Walton Hall Park , amongst others , it does appear that this proposal is a runner. Everton benefit, the City of Liverpoool benefits. What is there not to like?
Listening to the Radio Merseyside lunchtime phone in on Thursday, was to be treated to an hour of pure comedy gold as outraged Koppites demanded that such a move cannot be allowed and want to take to the streets in protest. The bile that has spewed about this move from the foreign legion of Liverpool fans on social media would wipe out the entire city of Liverpool if released. Even if the stadium did not go ahead , it has been worth it just to enjoy the outraged reactions of bemused Reds.
On Friday, Everton announced a major sponsorship deal worth 75 million for the Everton training facility at Finch Farm. This has come courtesy of USM Holdings, owned by Mr Moshiri’s friend and Arsenal shareholder, Alisher Usmanov. The reaction again from Liverpool fans has been so predictable. Everton have broken the Premier League rules on ownership, this cannot be allowed etc. Thankfully the average Koppites’ knowledge of such legal matters is on a par with Joey Essex’s understanding of Syrian Politics. I don’t think the club are too worried.
As stated earlier, optimism and supporting Everton have never been a natural fit. So deep down I know the new stadium is never going to happen.We will soon find out that Teresa May had earmarked the site for a new Grammar School Complex or that David Cameron sold off the area to a big American fracking company as his insurance policy for a No vote in the referendum.
But, for once, I have enjoyed the positivism emanating from Everton’s major shareholder and perhaps as one of the original Big Five, we are about to re-assume our rightful place?
Does anybody have Danny Murphy’s contact details?