Friday, May 30, 2008

England: Liverpool, Everton Seek New Homes

This aerial view of Liverpool, courtesy of Google Maps, shows you the proximity of the city's two football clubs. The green arrow at the bottom points to Anfield, home of Liverpool Football Club, while at the top is Goodison Park, home to Everton. The two teams, located just a mile apart, are both seeking new homes, a quest that pits passion against logic.

Liverpool are looking to build a new 300 million pound stadium in Stanley Park, the grassy area adjacent to their current home. Everton, meanwhile, are seeking a new home in the outlying neighborhood of Kirkby, which would be a joint project with British retail giant Tesco. I won't bore you with all the details of why neither project is underway, but as of today neither stadium has broken ground and doubts remain as to whether either project will start.

Liverpool's city council has stepped in to promote the idea of a joint stadium. Given the construction costs involved with two new stadiums, this makes a lot of sense. Ground sharing is nothing new in Europe, most notably with San Siro co-tenants AC Milan and Inter Milan, but remains rare in the UK.

But neither team is in favor of the idea, as club loyalty and tradition are being placed ahead of common sense. Liverpool's new stadium design calls for a recreation of the famous Kop stand and other touches that would replicate the unique atmosphere of Anfield. LFC don't want to sacrifice those elements for the sake of a joint stadium, and it's doubtful Everton fans have any interest in filling the Liverpool Kop on game days to watch their side. Whether those desires win out over the logical benefits of a shared home remains to be seen.

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