Everton FC stadium question lingers over Football Quarter proposal
ONCE upon a time the most complicated maths football fans were required to do was adding and subtracting goal difference at the end of a tense season.
Now the hardened supporter finds him or herself delving into balance sheets and the accounts of their football club to attempt to glean an insight into the financial health of their chosen team.
What happens off the field is as important, if not more so, than what happens when 11 men get a 90-minute workout on a Saturday afternoon.
Put simply, fans know that for their team to succeed their club needs to be rich.
The need to generate more cash for Liverpool FC and Everton FC underpins the ideas behind the Football Quarter plans launched this week by Fans' groups Spirit and Shankly (SOS) and Keep Everton in Our City (KEIOC).
Alongside the noble aim of bringing much needed regeneration to Anfield and Walton, the idea would create new income streams for both Liverpool FC and Everton FC.
An open air matchday Fan Zone, bars, cafes, hotels, a musuem, and better transport links are part of the plan to regenerate a large part of L4.
Colin Fitzpatrick of KEIOC pointed out earlier this week both teams have suffered with the lack of activity on the stadium front for quite some time.
"It must be remembered, with the new UEFA financial regulations, clubs need to find new ways of generating income and this Football Quarter would benefit them hugely," he said. "Hopefully this will be a productive cycle for all parties."
LFC's owner John W Henry is currently mulling over the option of either redeveloping Anfield or building a new stadium in Stanley Park.
While Everton, hampered by a lack of cash, currently have no stadium proposals on the table.
The Football Quarter, by its very design, necessitates that both clubs remain anchored around Stanley Park.
The prospectus which launched the plan is keen to stress the Football Quarter vision does not try to solve the stadium dilemmas facing both clubs.
Whether LFC stay or move onto to the Park does not really matter for the Football Quarter concept to succeed.
But Everton's future is a key issue for the scheme. For the time being the club will not be moving from Goodison Park.
But any developer contemplating investing in the Football Quarter plan would want to know what the long term aim of the club is.
Redeveloping Goodison is possible, but is not simple or cheap. And while moving would be easier, the club cannot afford to finance a new ground.
It is understandable that SOS and KEOIC want to avoid the stadium question because, certainly in the case of Everton, it has proved such a divisive subject in the past.
But the truth is that clarity is needed at the earliest opportunity if the Football Quarter plans are to be given a chance of success.
EFC chairman Bill Kenwright is still on the lookout for an elusive new owner to buy the club.
Any new owner knows that they have to solve the stadium dilemma for Everton to become a true force in English football again. Those behind the vision for a Football Quarter must hope that a new owner shares their desire for the club to remain in L4.