from t'echo (without the horror show of intrusive ads):
Everton chief executive Robert Elstone has urged fans to help influence the design of the club’s new stadium - which he believes could “break the mould”.
The Blues recently released the 11 Key Principles they hope will shape their new home at Bramley-Moore Dock as well as the long-term future of Goodison.
As part of the document Everton called on supporters to complete a survey to help them gauge opinion on a wide variety issues surrounding the proposed waterfront development.
The deadline to answer the questions is Friday, February 23 at 5pm and those who have participated will then be invited to workshops hosted by architect Dan Meis.
Elstone says fan consultation is part of a three-pronged action plan to make progress on a new stadium alongside finalising a funding agreement with Liverpool City Council for around £280m and securing the remaining money needed for the near half-a-billion pound construction.
The chief executive has reiterated the club’s vision for a new home that has fans as close to the pitch as possible and says creating a “Fortress” is at the heart of their thinking.
“The Principles are designed to create a framework for the fans to give us their feedback on what we believe the key attributes and features of the stadium should be,” Elstone explained.
“And they are based on a stadium that may well break the mould but also a stadium that in 20 years’ time fans will say: ‘They got it right’.
“A real bug bear of mine is the gap between the first seat and the pitch and the way in which we build to accommodate different things and have this contingency in it.
“What I wanted to do is strip out the contingency in it, or make the contingency as tight as it could be, and push that first seat as close to the touchline.
“If guidance says this, then challenge that guidance, why is the guidance saying that? Is it guidance or is it statutory? Do we have to comply?
“And it’s all those sorts of things. Principle number one is about being a fortress and, largely, that’s about atmosphere and largely that is how close fans are to the action.
“There will be other things such as size and shape of the roof and how we stagger the tiers but ultimately it’s about getting the fans as close as we possibly can. If we can get the fans close, if we create that fortress, then it is going to be a great stadium. It is as simple as that.
“I said to Dan Meis, almost on day one, that if you can make this a place where the opposition hates coming to play because it is so tight, it’s so intimidating then you will have ticked the brief.
“And with a lot of other stadiums that have been built, I would be surprised if lots of them have started with that brief.
“I doubt many new stadium have been built with that clear defined over-arching brief which is about creating that fortress.”
The Principles document also includes key areas such as Respecting Heritage, Harnessing the Environment and Embracing Technology with all 11 included in the 51-question survey.
“The fans will see in the Principles that this is about embracing new technologies,” Elstone said.
“Principally, the brief to the team is about entertainment and entertainment is about connecting fans and that’s about season ticket retention, it’s about repeat ticket buying.
“There will be an element of e-commerce within that – easier to transact – but the core driver of using technology in the stadium is to create an enhanced experience through entertainment.”
He continued: “It’s really incumbent on us to use local environment as much as we can, so that unique location next to the river, in an estuary with all its environmental features, that’s something we need to embrace.
“We also need to consider the location from a heritage point of view and an aesthetic point of view and Dan is very enthused about that.
“The Principles are about drawing out some feedback and rather than just putting out a blank sheet of paper and saying ‘tell us what you want on the stadium’, we thought let’s create some anchor points, some framework to facilitate that comment.
“What is your definition of being a fortress? What is your view about how we use technology? What is it about the People’s Club and our value set we want to take into that new stadium? How could that be lived and breathed in a new stadium?
“So it’s not meant to be massively prescriptive but it’s meant to be a thought-provoker to get some feedback.”
Everton will analyse supporters’ opinions as part of the next steps towards building a new stadium, which also include tying up a funding deal with the local authority as well as securing the remaining money needed for construction.
“There are a couple of milestones ahead,” Elstone said.
“We had a board meeting (earlier this month) and that was about the board rubber-stamping the next stage in the journey.
“The next stage is to do consultation with fans and get that feedback while at the same time looking to get the Council funding whilst at the same time looking to secure the additional top-up funding that we need.
“So they are the three key work streams on at the minute.
“The fan consultation and potential design implications of that, progressing forward with Liverpool City Council and progressing forward with other funding streams.