EVERTON V WOLVES PT2 (GOODISON & MOLINEUX)
After our piece earlier in the week comparing both Everton and Wolverhampton Wanderers’ ‘lifelong fan’ chairmen (who oversaw a takeover of his Club for £10) today we compare the both clubs stadiums. When Sir Jack Hayward handed the control of the club over to present chairman Steve Morgan in 2007 the majority of Molineux was developed in the wake of the Lord Justice Taylor report (Molineux was the first stadium to be renovated following Taylor) and is less than 20 years old.
Despite this Wolves have unveiled plans for a £40 million regeneration of Molineux, which will see an initial two-staged, phased development for the start of the 2014/15 season. These plans represent an exciting vision by Morgan who is determined to improve supporters’ facilities, bring fans much closer to the pitch to enhance match day atmosphere and create new and improve income streams for the Club.
The plans will also provide a boost to the local economy, with new jobs created in both during construction and, long-term, as part of the bigger and improved stadium.
After the aforementioned Taylor Report, by the late 1990’s Wolves had completely redeveloped their antiquated Molineux ground into a modern 28,000+ stadium, made up of four new individual stands. Two 2-tier side stands with exec boxes, and 2 single-tier end stands. This was achieved while in the lower leagues, with only small attendances and appeared to represent an ambitious, solid and functional solution to all their future stadium needs. This alone represents a far great achievement than anything undertaken by Everton boards in the same period.
Their new owner (Steve Morgan) had reservations about some of the excessive viewing distances and the limited capacity of the stadium, and decided to do something about it. In a quite a bold move, comparatively new stands are now being systematically replaced by bigger and even more modern structures, while maintaining good capacity levels throughout construction phases. In other words having already built a far more modern stadium than ours, they are now doing it all again… in a period, when we have delivered nothing comparable. The following images show the scheme (Phases 1-3 of a potentially 4-phase project, although phase 3 may be subject to changes):
The new 2 tier stands are built in stages with the lower tiers operational while the upper tiers are finished off. A system of construction that has been used elsewhere and could be equally effectively applied to Goodison Park:
Wolves own website covers the construction:
The cost of the first 2-phases is just £40m:
Phase 1 – £16m (7,700 seats) End stand
Phase 2 – £24m (13,000 seats) Side stand
These are up to date costings. The third phase has not been finalised yet, but will be just £16m if it mirrors the other new end stand. Ultimately a fourth phase will yield a total capacity of approx 50k with the addition of a 24k capacity side stand (approx £35m).
THEY SAID IT COULDN’T BE DONE:
Just a few months before Destination Kirkby was unveiled, Keith Wyness laid the foundations for the serial deceptions that followed, by magically announcing at a shareholders meeting that GP could not be redeveloped due to both physical and financial constraints. The above example shows this for the lie it was then, and still is now. In fact additional capacity and concourse areas can be added to Goodison even more cheaply than that shown if existing structures are just expanded as shown below (existing roof line in grey):
Or incorporating significantly increased corporate and executive provision.
Similarly, the Park end can be expanded very substantially to create the largest single-tier end stand in Europe, with the existing seats shown in blue (all images to scale):
And linked to an expanded Bullens Road stand:
These images represent a few simple options (there are a multitude of variations on the theme) to increase capacity and add further quality to an already revered, respected and historic stadium. The famed atmosphere and iconology of Toffeeopolis would be greatly enhanced, with modernity and tradition existing side by side. Alternatively, one or two large new stands could be built to replace the existing structures as shown at Wolves, with new roof structures for the remaining stands to greatly reduce obstructed views there. Far from being unfeasible or unviable, this strategy can the cheapest way to progress, and the only one that guarantees continuity and does not jeopardise identity in a way that any move cannot.
The example shown by Wolves (and many others) illustrates clearly that all such options should be fully explored, with perhaps a design competition commissioned to identify all the possibilities. Only then can the theme of our motto be truly enacted and adhered to.