As many Premier League fans will know, Everton had big aspirations a couple of seasons ago and as well as spending big on strengthening their first team squad and overhauling the technical side of operations at Goodison Park, they also formulated plans for a new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock, and work on that project began back in August 2021.
Unlike neighbours Liverpool who have suffered delays outside of their control, their own redevelopment project has gone pretty well, albeit despite keeping the 2024/25 window open for a move, they have now stated that will be the last year at Goodison and they will instead switch for the start of the 2025/26 season.
Given the Financial Fair Play issues, and subsequent points deduction they have suffered this year, the Toffees have stated that it is not in relation to their current problems, but it has been driven by commercial, logistical and supporter feedback reasons. It should be noted the development remains on track to be completed by the end of 2024, where they will then have a shiny and new 52,888 capacity ground.
Interim chief executive Colin Chong explained.
“Firstly, and to be absolutely clear, our decision to not move in mid-season is not because of a construction delay. It is a club decision driven by a combination of commercial insight, a comprehensive review of the logistics required, an analysis of the potential impact upon our football operations and, importantly, fan feedback sourced as part of our recent stadium migration survey.”
Given recent financial issues, some fans will rightly question the ‘commercial’ aspects of the delay, however, whilst they have sponsorship deals in place for Goodison (and they will naturally port to Bramley Dock) a bigger stadium has bigger running costs, and larger sponsorship and advertising opportunities – not least the requirement for extra staff, and as any business owner knows, you need the right level of staff to maximise supply and demand, especially if potentially increasing the foot print of supporters by that much overnight.
It’s probably not a bad move by Everton right now, particularly as manager Sean Dyche has reacted perfectly to their punishment and just overseen three wins from three, including victories over Newcastle United and Chelsea, and they will have every confidence of making that four from the last four when they face Burnley this coming weekend.
Everton’s financial battle will no doubt continue, as many Premier League fans will look at Manchester City, and Chelsea most recently and wonder what might happen there on a severity front – if found guilty of course.