Everton is building a new football stadium in Liverpool, England. It will be where they play their games starting in 2024. The new stadium is going up on Bramley-Moore Dock, and it’s going to replace their current stadium, Goodison Park.
Bramley-Moore used to be a dock for ships, but now it’s closed off and near a place that treats wastewater. The plan is to not just have the stadium there, but also to have shops, houses, and other cool places nearby. In the future, the stadium will also be used for a big soccer event called the UEFA Euro 2028.
Everton’s home ground, Goodison Park, holds a significant place in the history of the club, having hosted its first game back in 1892. Over the years, the stadium has seen several modifications, with the most recent being the introduction of a new stand in August 1994, boosting its seating capacity to over 40,000. However, the stadium has faced several constraints due to its construction limitations and its geographical placement.
A notable issue arose in 2007 when then-CEO Keith Wyness highlighted that the club had spent a substantial amount, around £500,000, solely on repairs to maintain the steelwork of the stadium. Concerns were raised that Goodison Park might not pass safety inspections within a decade. These challenges were partly a result of the Taylor Report in 1990, which mandated that all stadiums in the Football League in Britain become all-seater, leading to a reduction in Goodison Park’s capacity from its peak of more than 78,000 to just over 40,000 and further down to its current capacity of 39,414.
The stadium’s capacity pales in comparison to neighboring Anfield, which has plans to expand to 62,000 seats, as well as other larger stadiums like Old Trafford. Consequently, discussions surrounding the possibility of relocating to a new stadium began to surface around 1996 when former chairman Peter Johnson proposed moving Everton from Goodison Park to a new 60,000-seater stadium at a different location. A potential site at King’s Dock was identified in 2001 for a 55,000-seater stadium, initially intended to be completed by 2005. However, these plans were eventually shelved due to financial complications.
In June 2006, Everton engaged in discussions with the Knowsley Council and Tesco regarding the potential construction of a new 55,000-seat stadium, expandable to over 60,000, in Kirkby, a project known as The Kirkby Project. Notably, the club involved its supporters in the decision-making process by conducting a ballot, which yielded a 59% approval for the proposal. However, opposition to the plan emerged, with concerns raised by other local councils regarding the impact of a large Tesco store as part of the development. Additionally, a group of fans advocated for Everton to remain within the city boundaries of Liverpool.
Following a public inquiry into the Kirkby Project, the central government ultimately rejected the proposal. Efforts were made by local and regional politicians to devise an alternative plan, prompting the Liverpool City Council to arrange a meeting with Everton F.C. to explore suitable sites within the city’s boundaries. Despite these endeavors, the amended plan failed to come to fruition.
During the development phases of their new stadium, Everton explored the possibility of co-financing Liverpool F.C.’s Stanley Park Stadium, a project initially slated for completion in 2006. However, the plan was ultimately abandoned in 2012, as the new owners of Liverpool F.C. favored expanding Anfield instead. Liverpool’s former co-owner, Tom Hicks, denied the concept of joint stadium development, despite rumors circulating at the time.
In a move to enhance transport accessibility, the Liverpool City Council proposed reopening the Bootle Branch line in a meeting held on February 10, 2011, with priority given to both Liverpool Football Club and Everton Football Club as key economic enablers for the project. This proposal aimed to integrate both clubs into a rapid transit Merseyrail line encircling the city. Subsequently, Everton, in collaboration with the Liverpool City Council and Liverpool Mutual Homes, initially outlined plans to construct a new stadium in Walton Hall Park in September 2014. However, these plans were later discarded in May 2016, with the identification of two alternative sites for the club.
At the Annual General Meeting in January 2017, Everton’s chairman, Bill Kenwright, disclosed that Bramley-Moore Dock was the favored location for the new stadium. This choice was contingent on establishing a Special Purpose Vehicle with the Liverpool Council, who would act as guarantors for substantial commercial loans intended to finance the construction, which would include funding for a new railway station and road infrastructure.
The selection of the Bramley-Moore Dock site garnered public support during a consultation exercise conducted in 2018. However, it also faced criticism from UNESCO, leading to the removal of Liverpool from its list of World Heritage Sites. Architect Dan Meis was appointed to design the new stadium for Everton, followed by a comprehensive second stage of consultation known as The People’s Project.
In November 2017, the club finalized a lease agreement with Peel Holdings, spanning an extensive 200-year term. Everton unveiled their plans for a 52,000-seat stadium in 2018, with the provision for potential expansion to 62,000 seats in the future, depending on demand.
The proposed design for Everton’s new stadium takes the form of a bowl, planned to accommodate 52,888 individuals. The structure is predominantly composed of steel and glass, with the current dock set to be filled with reclaimed sand sourced from the River Mersey.
Drawing inspiration from the famed “Yellow Wall” at Borussia Dortmund’s Westfalenstadion, the stadium will boast a 13,000-seater stand, aiming to replicate the fervent atmosphere synonymous with the Dortmund stadium.
In addition to the seating arrangement, the stadium will include a unique feature known as ‘ALL’, which will offer a diverse range of social spaces, encompassing everything from lively pubs and bars to popular high-street style eateries, as well as providing options for personal and upscale dining experiences.