Premier League club Everton has made progress on the development of its new stadium in the Liverpool docklands.
Construction of the 52,888 capacity venue is expected to cost £500 million, in addition to providing a boost to the local Liverpudlian economy of £1.3 billion, and will generate 15,000 jobs for residents.
An official ceremony, involving an Everton-branded excavator, took place yesterday to kick-start the beginning of the three-year project, with preparatory works beginning towards the end of July.
Bill Kenwright, Everton Chairman, remarked: “This is a momentous day. One that we have all been waiting for. Now that the work has commenced we can all watch our magnificent home as it comes to life.
“In a few years’ time we will, of course, be bidding the fondest farewell imaginable to our cherished home at Goodison Park. That sad day will be made easier because we know we are going to an astonishing new stadium that will bring our fans and their children – and their children’s children – the kind of joy throughout the next century that we have all shared in Liverpool 4.”
Everton’s hunt for a site for its new stadium has been taking place for 25 years after then-Chairman Peter Johnson announced plans for a 60,000 seat stadium, marking the “beginning of the end” of the Toffees’ tenure at Goodison Park, which the club has called home since 1892.
The new location on the banks of the River Mersey was chosen in early 2017, after which a 150-week build plan was developed, enabling Evertonians to attend matches at the new stadium by the 2024/25 season.
Liverpool City Council gave Everton permission to begin construction on 23 February, and the final green light was secured in March after which Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, ‘decided not to intervene’ in the club’s plans.
Majority club shareholder Farhard Moshiri is the primary fundraiser behind the project, whilst additional financing will come from private loans, a small number of grants and earnings generated from a stadium title sponsorship deal with USM.