Everton are the latest in a now long line of English clubs that see a desperate need to have a bigger stadium, if they are to be able to compete in the longer-term.

For years Newcastle United had the second biggest Premier League capacity, then Arsenal knocked them down to third with the building of the Emirates.

This has been followed by Manchester City moving and then expanding the Etihad, West Ham moving, Liverpool increasing Anfield’s capacity. all of which has knocked Newcastle down to sixth.

Tottenham are now moving and when their new stadium is ready, that will make St James Park only the seventh highest capacity.

Now Everton have agreed a deal to acquire land where they will build a new £300m stadium, this will be on the Bramley Moore Dock site near the River Mersey.

After a number of false starts over the years, this time it looks as though the new stadium is coming to fruition and would almost certainly relegate St James Park to only eighth largest in English club football.

A number of hurdles are still to be overcome including final planning permission – but with the club working in partnership with the local council on the project, it is set to go ahead, providing all the finances stack up.

Liverpool City Council is to act as a guarantor to help Everton secure funding for the project, with he local authority securitizing any loans taken out by the club.

Liverpool Mayor Anderson:

“We will provide security using our status as an organisation, enabling them to go the market to secure a loan.

“It won’t cost Liverpool City Council taxpayers any funding. Indeed, the reverse is true.

“Out of the deal for that security, Liverpool City Council would receive a substantial amount of money, in excess of £4.4m every year.

“For us it is a great deal, we’re spending no money. It is also a fantastic deal for the city because it helps us revitalise north Liverpool.”

Iranian billionaire Farhad Moshiri bought a 49.9% stake in Everton in February 2016 and immediately identified the desperate need to set in motion plans for a far larger stadium.

The Merseyside club want to to develop long-term into one which can compete both domestically and in Europe, with greater attendances and profile key to that ambition.

In the meantime, Mike Ashley is pushing ahead with a development to build student accommodation opposite the Gallowgate End, which will effectively end any hopes of Newcastle ever expanding St James Park, even under a new owner.

With no realistic way of increasing the other three sides of the stadium, a study undertaken by the Hall/Shepherd regime showed that the Gallowgate End could be brought up to the level of the Milburn and Leazes, giving NUFC a capacity of around 60,000.

The club had purchased a long lease on the land opposite Gallowgate with the potential of enabling that to happen.

That lease was part of the Newcastle United that Mike Ashley bought but this student accommodation development is purely a personal project for him, with no financial benefit to the football club.

With Newcastle averaging over fifty one thousand in the second tier, if Newcastle United showed ambition on and off the pitch then there is little doubt those extra eight thousand seats could be sold if competing at a decent level in the Premier League.

Despite the ever greater amounts of cash coming in from TV, clearly any ambitious Premier League club sees a bigger capacity as essential to competing at the very top.

A bit like his ridiculous transfer policy/management structure that relegated Newcastle twice in seven years, when he thought he could ‘cheat’ the system.

Does anybody really think that Mike Ashley is right and everybody else is wrong?

That is of course if he has any intention at all of trying to make Newcastle United long-term.

  • Wor Lass

    This comes as no surprise – everyone KNOWS why Ashley is involved with nufc: to make money. End of story.

    • It’s bobbi fleckman

      Which is fine, you really have to worry if an owner doesn’t want to make money. Every decision should be a logical business decision. If you look at issue one of this once good fanzine, Mark and his pals demanded the club be ran as a successful business.

      • Wor Lass

        Is it dark up there?

  • mentalman

    The whole Ashley is ruining the club by not expanding has been done to death, are we going to get one of these articles every time a club increases its capacity?

    Its been pretty well documented that we can’t expand St James’ significantly, would people accept moving away from St James’, my guess is they’d just use it as more ammunition against MA

    • The Doogan Family

      You missing the point. If we want a successful NUFC then we need to griw as best we can. Making St James Park 60k stadium will help. Selling the idea of ever making St James park bigger is just sad. It does not matter if it’s Ashley or someone else selling the land, it’s just a bad idea

      • mentalman

        Read 1957’s comments above, the expansion doesn’t stack up financially, if it did the previous owners would have done it when we had a massive waiting list for seats.

        We’d be better moving the club out of the city centre, i’m not sure if the club own the ground or not but if we do then we could sell it which would probably more than cover the cost of the new stadium.

        • Damon Horner

          if we owned the land you could get a good price on City Centre land especially with the growing University and accommodation blocks.
          This is where the “stay at home” protests from the fans has a negative impact because based on average attendance on paper we don’t look like the club would financially benefit from the increased capacity.

          • Salty

            The club doesn’t own the land Damon, its on long term lease from the council. The balance sheet shows value of the building work for the stands (less accumulated depreciation) which makes any sale and move even less viable. As you and others have said though, it’s a pointless argument whether extending or moving.

          • Damon Horner

            I don’t delve into it that much in truth, Personally happy the way it is.

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    the council had the power to stop the Fat Lad & they didn`t

    • It’s bobbi fleckman

      They don’t really have the power to stop a development because the council wants the club to build something that financially makes no sense. I

  • 1957

    Because of developments in structural engineering as I understand it the ground can still be expanded regardless of the land around the Metro station being redeveloped, the real issue being the cost per seat of expansion.

    The last studies I read talked about £6k to £8k per seat for a new stadium against £13k plus per seat to extend. If you take a step back from that fact Ashley is involved it just doesn’t stack up financially.

  • Toonrobbybobson

    I dont confess to know the ins and outs but the land of st james park is surely rising with the recent development in that area? Would we not be best keeping our powder dry for a whole new stadium with that land its on ultimately helping to fund it. Not looking for arguments just wondering if this is a possibility. St James Park has always been limited by the surrounding area unfortunately. Our expansion was ultimately on the cheap in comparison to the amounts of today but it has tied our hands a lot more for expansion and revenues the club could generate. For good of the club long term I think we would need to move personally putting sentiment to one side.

    • 1957

      I don’t think the land the ground stands on belongs to the club, we simply have a long term lease on it

      • Toonrobbybobson

        Yeah ive heard that before so maybe its true. So again we are trapped. I think now though ckubs grounds are so much more than just for football that we probably lose out with our current setup.

        • 1957

          The club should have taken the decision to move before the last redevelopment, even if it meant taking the club out of the city centre.

          • Toonrobbybobson

            If i remember right (sometime ago) there was other sites discussed.

          • It’s bobbi fleckman

            The serious proposal was Castle Leazes but that was objected to by a fair few Nimbys.

            There was a design proposed in Gateshead but that looked like a ruse to get the council worried that the club may go out of town.

            Reality it, we don’t sell out SJP too often at full price (our tickets are quite cheap) so to completely rebuild a 60,000 stadium at (say, the estimate of Everton’s) £300m, just for a handful of games would make it a very expensive 7,500 seats.

          • Toonrobbybobson

            There is an argument that the larger the stadium the more you can reduce the price to fill it but make greater revenues with other match day income. If its cheap in the first place more will go and a greater support exists and market to tap into. TV money however has damaged the importance of the matchday/season tickets though.

            Maybe the best play is to go long get the value out of what we have now and relocate when there is greater demand or a better offer.

            I dont think its a hinderance to us at present and then eventually modernisation will be required and the cost of that will go against other options at that point in time when the other will be locked in. However that will be under a new owner.

          • It’s bobbi fleckman

            We could certainly raise prices, I can imagine the response thought.

            If the club relocated, there would be a significant increase in refreshments income. Back in the day Freddie Fletcher bemoaned the proximity to the town as fans didn;t spend much in the club but it all went in the local pubs

          • mentalman

            I’m going to have to find my copy of the report, there were approx 6 locations and if i can remember correctly 2 were in Gateshead. The most suitable was along Scotswood Road just past B&Q, this is now Newburn Riverside Business Park

          • It’s bobbi fleckman

            Not quite as evocative, “ganning alang the Scotswood Road just past B&Qzees.”

            The website Skyscraper city has most of the proposals from pretty much the year dot.

  • MadMag83

    Currently, all those sides mentioned are well above Newcastle in terms of league position, and gave been for the last few years so it’s hardly a surprise. In the longer term, Ashley would probably sell up if a significant offer was in the table, he’s not particularly interested in the long term success of the club so long as it’s not hurting his own pocket.

  • Rich Lawson

    Ffs,St James’s is a fabulous ground,is 50,000 + not enough people ? is there not enough tv/sponsor money coming in already ? I don’t want a new stadium,I love the old one in the centre of the city, Extend upwards and what sort of view does that offer,I have been in the top tier at Old Trafford and you genuinely need binoculars to see what’s going on,let alone recognise the players,Fair enough for clubs with under 40,000 capacity who could still offer a decent match day experience but otherwise it’s just greed,enough is enough.

    • Wor Monga

      Well said!!!

    • Toonrobbybobson

      Yeah there has to be the demand from 80000 baying geordies for me. At present I dont think the cost makes sense. It has to be a substantial jump and the work we had carried out still has plenty life in it.

    • Damon Horner

      fully agree, it’s sounding like wanting a new toy because your friend has a better one. It’s an historic ground with a respectable capacity, I’d happily keep it as it is even if we move down to 12th highest capacity.

  • It’s bobbi fleckman

    Quite what status in the markets Liverpool City Council have is questionable. Deggsy Hatton weren’t exactly financially prudent.

  • Wor Monga

    This stadium story is getting done to death…it’s put out every week without fail, along with the other Mag weekly about the full house of over 50,000 fans yet no atmosphere…So what would be the point of adding another 10,000 to the Gallowgate End…

    …It’s already been pointed out many times over the years that the engineering cost would be enormous in spanning (or diverting) the road, and compensating for the massive extra load in the vicinity of the Metro…I’ve never heard any other person except the writers on here moaning about the size of the stadium relative to other PL clubs…

    …it’s laughable in the days when only 5 clubs average above 50,000 supporters, and (apart from W Ham who won’t keep that number for long) they all figure regularly in the CL, etc…whereas more than half of the others are lucky to even make 30,000…

    …Get over it…it’s not going to happen at our very own SJP, because unlike the Everton crowd we wouldn’t be for moving either!!!

  • Cuh736

    This is hilarious. So Mike Ashley is building student accommodation, for your Geordie kids, to aid their schooling experience, and help better their futures,

    But you think that act is evil and only for Ashley’s benefit…

    And you would rather have extra 10,000 at St. James’ watching football.


  • MagpieG

    Most of the grounds that will be bigger than SJP will only be bigger by a few thousand. West Ham and Everton will not fill theirs after any novelty value has worn off. Citeh are already struggling to fill 55k seats. Are folk really suggesting we should spend 100s of millions just increase capacity by a few thousand seats either at SJP or on a brand new stadium. Surely there’s scope to extend the Gallowgate corners to take us up to 55/56k anyway.

  • Andy Mac

    The ground is big enough. What we need is a team who can guarantee to fill it with fans every other week in the PL.