So, Thursday 23rd March 2017 arrived and by the end of that day we knew that the preferred option of Farhad Moshirsi to solve the “Goodison” problem was to not revamp the old lady; take it out of the 19th century in which it was built and turn it into what it once was, but to take a momentous step to re-home Everton Football Club. For me, that is a huge decision that despite his capital injection into the club, Mr Moshiri should have at least consulted the fan base on in a similar vein to how desperation Kirkby was.
Goodison was a groundbreaking stadium that set the standards that all other stadiums aspired to. As we know, it was the first purpose built football stadium in the world. Amongst other things, it has hosted an FA Cup Final, FA Cup Semi Finals and a World Cup Semi Final. As CV’s go, not many can go head to head with it, and certainly none in the uk can. Sadly, solely due to a lack of investment by a board headed by Bill Kenwright, Goodison Park became moribund. Looking at her, the old lady became a shadow of her former herself, with away fans complaining about site lines and “woodison” jibes. What no one did though was sing one of our own favourite staples at away matches “shitty ground” because looking at her from the Bullens Road, she still looks beautiful. Dated, yes, but still beautiful.
What she never lost though was any of her bite. At her best, she still bares her teeth when needed and makes it intimidating for opposition teams to play and referees to officiate in. The Chelsea FA Cup tie last year was a prime and recent example. Make no mistake about it, just as much as Lukaku and Barkley, she helped us win that game. It was a nasty narky atmosphere with half the ground well fuelled and the players responded. Ours positively, Chelsea’s the opposite way. There was only ever going to be one winner that night.
My own personal favourite of Goodison though was Wimbledon in 1994. I’ve seen Everton lift the title and the FA Cup, I’ve seen Mike Tyson with the world title in Vegas, I’ve seen Tiger Woods win the Open at St Andrews but I’ve never seen anything like that day. It is often described as a bear pit, but my god it was that day. Anger turned to disbelief to more anger to hope to belief to unmatched joy and relief. We all went through the mill that day and it only had 3 stands!
Now we all know that we are way behind other clubs for match day income and if we want to compete then this, amongst other revenue streams, has to change.
As such, and fair play to him, Mr Moshiri has opted to go the difficult route and plump for the more romantic stadium at Bramley Moore. Whilst obviously a project fraught with many logistical difficulties, if we are to leave Goodison, this is where we want to go. An iconic stadium on the banks of the Royal Blue Mersey that will become synonymous with the city’s skyline. It is the perfect setting to put this club back at the top table of English Football.
We will get over the ghosts of Dean, Ball & Pele in a new stadium. We will make new memories to go with those from Southall, Latchford, Sharp and the like and new match day routines will be created to replace County Road. What Dan Meis is going to have trouble doing is replicating the intimidating aspect of Goodison, because I for one am going to miss that the most.
The great Eusebio said it was the best stadium he ever played in and plenty of other pro’s agree.
Godspeed to you Daniel, I think you are going to need it.