Toffees reconsider stadium options

Everton are looking again at the possibility of redeveloping Goodison Park but chief executive Robert Elstone remains optimistic over hopes for a new stadium in the city.

Since plans for a £400m (€457m) project, in conjunction with Tesco, at Kirkby were rejected the club have been assessing their options.

And although the global financial climate appears to be easing slightly Elstone admits they may have to look closer to home if building a new ground is deemed unaffordable.

“We’ve met with developers and land owners and we’ve also commissioned a fresh look at Goodison Park with a highly-recommended architect who had no involvement in Kirkby or our previous reviews of Goodison,” he said.

“He’s currently looking at previous plans alongside developing his own ideas.

“Of course, the well-reported challenges remain: roads, shops, houses, a school, a church, a pub, a garage most of which will need to be addressed in one way or another for us to go forward in a way that makes commercial sense.

“In short, the challenges of working with a stadium footprint housing 50% more fans than The Reebok, in pretty much the same space remain.”

Sites in Scotland Road, Speke and Aintree have all been mooted as potential new venues but without the corporate backing of a company like Tesco none are currently seen as viable.

But Everton will continue discussions with the local authorities as they pursue every avenue.

“There are many examples of council-led or partnered stadium developments in football over the course of the past decade,” added Elstone.

“We hope, between us, we can create a scheme which, in the first instances passes our basic test of ’affordability’ and, ultimately, becomes a reality.

“Several sites have been identified. All are familiar to us and all had been assessed previously but this doesn’t mean we’ll come to the same conclusions as circumstances change.

“The economy, in all respects, changes from day to day and we have to refresh our conclusions and look for new opportunities.

“I hope we are able to report progress in the near future.”

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