Club has yet to secure funding for the project, which will see it move out of Goodison Park, and the club CEO admits it is likely to cost significantly more than the original projected £300m. Tony McDonough reports
Everton FC chief executive Robert Elstone has vowed the Blues will be in their new Bramley Moore Dock home in time for the 2022/32 season – despite soaring costs.
The club has yet to secure funding for the project, which will see it move out of its Goodison Park ground, and Mr Elstone admits it is likely to cost significantly more than the original projected £300m.
Last March Everton agreed a deal with Peel Land and Property to acquire the 19th century waterfront site – which forms part of a £5bn Liverpool Waters scheme – subject to planning consent.
It also agreed an “innovative finance model” with Liverpool City Council to push forward the project. Iranian businessman Farhad Moshiri bought a 49.9% stake in Everton in February 2016 and quickly outlined plans for a move from Goodison Park.
In an open letter to fans, Mr Elstone insists that, despite spiralling costs, Everton is confident the new arena will pay for itself through a naming rights deal, sponsorship, non-matchday use and higher attendances than they currently have at Goodison.
“All our efforts during 2018 will be focused on meeting this challenging but achievable target,” he wrote. “We are moving ever nearer to securing a significant proportion of the funding we will need to build the stadium.
“That funding target has escalated significantly and has occupied much of our efforts of the past 12 months.
“It’s a challenge that has always had the full support of Liverpool City Council and throughout 2017, we have been totally committed to finding a funding arrangement that works for the club and the city.”
He went on: “The premium for the waterfront site, an ambitious capacity that we will test with more rigour, a design we can all be proud of and the simple but painful impact of inflation, have all contributed to an increased overall cost and a funding target which continues to grow.”
Everton has made a number of unsuccessful attempts to move to a new stadium with proposals for sites at Kings Dock, Kirkby and Walton Hall Park all coming to nothing.