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Everton new stadium: Latest on £500m Goodison Park replacement plans

Amidst an ongoing series of crises at Everton in the last half-decade, the club has been literally laying the groundwork for an incredible new stadium that it hopes will define a renewed era of success.

But why are Everton leaving Goodison Park, how much will the move cost, where will Everton play during construction, have there been any problems on-site, what will the capacity be and when will the Everton new stadium opening date be?

Football Ground Guide offers the answers to all these questions in this regularly update guide.

History of Goodison Park

GOODISON PARK, LIVERPOOL
Capacity: 39,572 (all seated)
Pitch Size: 112 x 78 yards
Opened: 1892

This will be the first time Everton have moved grounds since 1892, when they ditched Anfield (yes, that's right, the current home of Liverpool) following a bitter and long-fought dispute with their own chairman John Houlding.

Goodison Park | Home of Everton 1892-2024

One of the key benefactors behind Everton's early success, Houlding soon frustrated the Everton FC committee by refusing their regular requests for a long-term, stable lease on the Anfield ground and forcing frequent rent increases. The matter came infamously to the fore in the autumn of 1891 as Everton's committee fought off a proposal that would have left the club in significant debt and made Houlding a large profit.

Instead, they identified a cheaper and larger site nearby at Mere Green field and abandoned Anfield and Houlding who, after trying and failing to hijack the Everton name and colours, founded a new club for his now-empty stadium, its name Liverpool FC. Everton's last game at Anfield was a mid-April clash against Bolton Wanderers but by August 1892, they celebrated the inaugural event at Goodison Park, a festival of athletics, music and fireworks. The football would soon follow.

Goodison Park was, in fact, the first ground specifically constructed for football in England. Its original capacity was 12,000, though this was bolstered quickly by frequent enhancements and expansions. Roofing was added to the uncovered stands and soon enough, plans had begun for a two-tiered stand, and another followed a couple of decades on.

Brazil at Goodison Park
Pele's Brazil at Goodison Park in 1966 | Photo by Icon Sport

Another English first came with the introduction of covered dugouts in 1931 and a few tweaks were made prior to the 1966 World Cup. Goodison hosted several games during the tournament, including the West Germany vs Soviet Union semi-final.

There have been a couple of rebuilds since, for the Goodison Road and Park End stands, but the crucial change came after the Taylor Report in 1990, which demanded all Football League stadia to become all-seater. This dramatically reduced the capacity at Goodison Park, from nearly 80,000 to 40,000.

Changes since have been primarily cosmetic, but even so, or perhaps due to this, Goodison Park is one of the most-loved grounds in English football. What it lacks in comfort, it makes up for in character.

Why are Everton leaving Goodison Park?

So, why leave? Well, there is a genuine lack of comfort at Goodison Park, for supporters, players and the media. In addition, there's a lack of corporate facilities at Goodison Park. Everton take home less money from their corporate facilities than any other club in the Premier League does, something which the owners of Everton are desperate to change. The move to their new stadium will bring in more money from sponsorship deals and corporate seats. Supporters will hope this additional income will be reinvested in the playing squad.

Furthermore, there is little-to-no room for expansion at Goodison Park itself due to the ground being sandwiched between terraced housing in the city.

What's the location of the new Everton stadium?

Everton's new stadium will be situated just over two miles away from Goodison Park, and it'll be on the banks of the River Mersey at Bramley Moore Dock.

The location is a former commercial dock and the whole area is expected to be transformed thanks to Everton's move, with new shops and housing.

Cost of Everton new stadium, and how will it be funded?

Designed by MEIS Architects and Pattern Architects, the Everton Stadium – as it will officially be known to begin with – is being built by Dartford-based construction company, Laing O’Rourke. The estimated cost for the stadium is around £500m, with Everton already having a good chunk of the money set aside, they needed to find the remaining £220m as of 2018.

Everton new stadium cost | New Everton Stadium capacity | Bramley Moore Dock | Goodison Park
Photo by Icon Sport

In January 2020, Everton announced that they had agreed naming rights with USM worth a reported £30m. USM already sponsor Everton’s training ground, Finch Farm. Later on it was also announced that the club would seek out help from major international banks, JP Morgan and MUFG to help secure the finance to ensure the stadium would be built.

In 2022, the club then went on to announce that Liverpool City Council would not be offering a loan to the club to help with the build.

In September 2023, Everton received a £100m loan from MSP Sports Capital to help fund the new stadium build.

In the same month, majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri announced an agreement to sell his 94.1% stake in the club to 777 Partners. How this will affect the funding of the stadium build is yet to become clear, but Moshiri has insisted the potential takeover would guarantee the full construction of the new ground.

What are the plans for the Everton new stadium?

The Everton stadium will have a bowl design made up of steel and glass. The plans have been much-lauded for their design qualities, which intend to complement the architecture of the old dock buildings surrounding the site.

One of the key aspects of the new ground is something called ‘ALL'. Quite what this is remains a little unclear beyond PR speak. In essence, it seems to be a new program offering a wide choice of social spaces, such as pubs, bars and restaurants.

Everton new stadium capacity

As for capacity, the bowl will be able to seat 52,888 and will have a one-tier stand similar to that at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium inspired by Borussia Dortmund’s Yellow Wall. This stand will hold approximately 13,000 spectators.

Everton new stadium opening date

The Everton Stadium is set to be completed midway through the 2024/25 season. It is not yet decided whether the Toffees will move into their new home midway through that season, or wait until the start of the 2025/26 season to leave Goodison Park.

Latest pictures of Everton new stadium progress

Progress is good at the Bramley Moore dock site, but Everton were faced with the tragic loss of a worker in August 2022. Michael Jones was a lifelong Evertonian who followed his team home and away. He died after suffering severe head injuries in a heavy machinery incident.

Work paused as a result of the tragedy, but has since resumed.

Everton New Stadium at Bramley Moore Dock | Everton New Stadium cost capacity location
September 2023: The bowl takes shape at the Everton new stadium | Photo by Icon Sport
Everton New Stadium at Bramley Moore Dock | Everton New Stadium cost capacity location
September 2023: The new stadium will have a one-tier stand with a capacity of over 13,000 | Photo by Icon Sport
April 2023 Everton new stadium under construction at Bramley Moore Dock
April 2023 | Photo by Icon Sport
August 2022 Everton new stadium under construction at Bramley Moore Dock
August 2022 | Photo by Icon Sport

Latest Everton new stadium videos

New Everton stadium single-tier South Stand video

What’s the latest with Everton’s new stadium?

Everton struggling to pay for final stages of build

With the stadium nearing completion, Everton's financial woes are deepening and with the Moshiri still trying to sell the club, cash injections and loans have been needed to keep the club and the new stadium project afloat. There are now concerns around whether the club will be able to pay for the final stages of the stadium build.

In April 2024, a statement read:

“The club is continuing negotiations to secure the next stage of funding for the Bramley-Moore Dock development. Various options are being explored, however, the club has yet to secure legally binding facilities as of the date of approval of the financial statements and this facility is not yet guaranteed.

“The board are confident that funding will be secured or refinanced, However, the directors acknowledge these uncertainties may cast significant doubt on the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern.”

Despite the financial uncertainty, work is continuing at the stadium. The club released an update at the end of April which showed that rail seating was now being installed around the stadium. Rail seating will be installed throughout the entire lower tier of the steep south stand for home fans, and also in the lower section of the away end.

Cladding specialists file for administration

On March 19, 2024, it was reported that Alucraft Systems Ltd, who installed the curtain walling, aluminium rainscreen and composite cladding on the South elevation of the new stadium had filed an administration notice.

The company are one of four businesses who make up the Clarison Group of cladding specialists. Grant Prior reported for Construction Enquirer that the other three businesses are all profitable unlike Alucraft Systems Ltd.

For the year up to December 31, 2022, the cladding business had a turnover of £18.7 million, while generating a pre-tax loss of £5.7 million. This included the employment of 82 staff members.

‘Progress really is rattling along’ – Mark Douglas of the i provides behind-the-scenes update

Mark Douglas of the i provided a fresh update on the progress of the new stadium located at Bramley-Moore Dock.

Douglas said: “Progress really is rattling along. As of the start of this week 30,000 blue seats have been laid, turnstiles are in place, glass has been installed all around the magnificent South Stand and even the cavernous space for the home dressing room has been cored out. There are 1,200 people working on the site on the day we visit and it has been that way since January.”

Part of the design is a “barrel roof” designed to keep fans as close to the pitch as possible. Everton have been keen on replicating the intense atmosphere of Goodison Park at the new stadium. A club employee told Douglas, “On those big game nights it’s going to be an absolute bearpit.”

Bramley Dock workers go on strike

In January 2024, 150 electricians effectively went on strike on the project and walked away from the Bramley Dock site in a dispute over pay.

The workers have reportedly walked away from the project as they believe they aren't being paid a fair rate while they also claim to have been shortchanged on overtime with work ramping up on the project as Everton look to get the stadium ready for the beginning of the 2025/26 season.

Talking to the local newspaper, the Liverpool Echo, one of the striking electricians said on Wednesday 24 January that calls for a pay rise had been “ignored” and that the walkout was workers “taking a stand.” Another electrician added:

“We are the most skilled trade on the site but are paid the least. We want to see a fair uplift in our pay. A substantial number of colleagues walked off the site today. We are local, skilled tradesmen. We just want to support our families. We are giving our blood and guts to the stadium site.

“We are walking off the site at 3.30pm as that is when we have worked our legal eight hours. We are doing everything correctly. We are human beings in a skilled job, we want to be paid correctly.”

Everton are yet to respond to the walkout out although they will want a swift resolution to ensure there are no further delays to the stadium build. The club have already officially announced that the 2024/25 season will be their last at Goodison Park.

Other key takeaways

  • South Stand terrace is 330ft high, which takes more than 100 steps to get to the very top of the bowl.
  • South Stand has a “Long Bar” which overlooks the river.
  • Tunnel club being built into the West Stand designed for hospitality packages that will be sold on a game-by-game basis.
  • Fan plaza in East Stand – Allows club to hold music events in the off-season.
  • Stadium is being built on a World Heritage site, so the design allows it to be dismantled/returned to a working dock if that is required in the future.
  • Stadium’s most expensive seats cost £50,000 per season for a pair.

Andy Delaney

Andy is a freelance sports writer with ten years of experience covering major sporting events across Europe. He has also been a season ticket holder at Old Trafford since 2008 and has visited over 40 football stadiums in the United Kingdom and abroad following the Reds.

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