Everton have confirmed plans to leave Goodison Park after acquiring the requisite land at Bramley Moore Dock, the location selected for a new £300m-plus stadium.
However, there are still a number of hurdles to be negotiated for the project, including planning permission.
Bramley Moore Dock on the banks of the Mersey was chosen over Stonebridge Cross in Croxteth because, despite the extra room, there was a feeling Everton would end be hidden, pushed to the edge of Liverpool’s city boundaries.
The new location was also picked to rejuvenate an impoverished area which was once a working-class waterfront quarter, with the stadium taking rise across Liverpool’s skyline, thus enhancing Everton’s brand, making it synonymous with the city.
The club will, however, have to overcome the potentially significant transport challenges which Bramley Moore poses.
Robert Elstone, Everton’s Chief Executive, said: “Over the past year, the Club has worked with the support of the Council and we are grateful for the ‘can-do’ approach that has got us to this important milestone. We are particularly grateful for the role the Mayor has played to date in our talks with Peel and for his support in this important step in the journey towards reaching a funding solution for the stadium.
“We are delighted that we have been able to agree Heads of Terms with Peel, giving us control of the Bramley Moore Dock site and allowing us the time we need to complete the substantial further work required to be able to confirm the project’s viability.
“We can now move forward into the next phase of work with much greater confidence. Clearly, it is vital we have clarity on cost and we have to recognise that the stadium will be significantly more expensive at Bramley Moore Dock. To get that certainty, and ensure the stadium is affordable, we need to confirm stadium design, capacity and configuration. And to do that, we need to talk to fans, partners and all stakeholders in the project. We’re committing to that consultation. We’re also committed to keep fans fully informed as the project develops and as other milestones are reached."
It does mean that the club will leave Goodison Park, which has been their home for 125 years, since it was built to host Everton’s home games in 1892.
It is one of the world’s oldest purpose-built football grounds and as well as hosting a number of England internationals, was also the home of the 1894 FA Cup final, which saw Notts County beat Bolton Wanderers 4-1 to lift the trophy.
It is the fourth attempt from the club since 2003 to leave Goodison, after plans to move to King’s Dock that year, Kirby in 2009 and Walton Hall Park last year all fell through.