Where now for Everton FC, after Government rejects Kirkby plan?
Where now for Everton FC after the Government has rejected the club's plans to build a new stadium in Kirkby?
We were told there was no plan B by former chief executive Keith Wyness.
But staying at Goodison as it is is not really a long term option, back in July 2007 Mr Wyness said over the next decade there would be some real issues as to whether the ground would get a safety certificate.
It would appear these are the options:
Judicial review the rejection: The club, Tesco, and Knowsley Council were always wanting to effectively rip up the rule book on regional planning policy ( 500,000sq ft of retail in a town the size of Kirkby is not normally allowed). The justification for breaking the rules with 'Destination Kirkby' was the massive regeneration (ÃÂ£400m and up to 7,000 short and long term jobs) that a deprived area town like Kirkby so badly needs. It is unlikely that the courts are going to disagree with Communities Secretary John Denham's view the projects would breach shopping policy to discourage major supermarket chains sucking business away from town and city centres.
Redevelop Goodison: At last year's extraordinary general meeting (EGM), at which I was present current club chief executive Robert Elstone said redeveloping Goodison would cost between ÃÂ£50m and ÃÂ£230m depending on the scale of change. But apart from the most expensive option, the club would either lose money or only gain an additional ÃÂ£2.5m a year.
Shared stadium with Liverpool FC: LFC's plans for a new stadium on Stanley Park are already on hold. The club says it is waiting for the global financial situation to improve before going to the banks to raise finance. But the amount of debt already on the club does not help the situation. While Everton are not flush with cash either. Both Liverpool Council leader Warren Bradley and Steve Broomhead, chief executive of the North West Development Agency, are in favour. It is likely the NWDA could put a substantial amount of money into the pot. In the past both clubs have been opposed, but may be the present situation might change views?
New super rich owner: Chairman Bill Kenwright is on record saying he is looking for investment in the club and will sell to the right owner. Could it be that with the uncertainty with Kirkby out of the way that a new owner could come in. Again this would seem unlikely.
Another site: There are of course other sites in the city, but the real problem with any option that does not include a big enabling development is the club's lack of funds (relative to other Premier League clubs).
There are no easy answers now, and there may be an option that comes forward that I have not thought of. Football is good at providing surprises.