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#1 Louis

Louis

    Dixie Dean

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Posted 04 Jun 2007 - 21:28

http://www.nsno.co.u...php?extend.2595

Last week, Dominic King wrote a piece of what can loosely be labelled as journalism in The Echo regarding Everton's proposed move to a new stadium in Kirkby, using Coventry City as an example of a move that would work. The reason given was that Coventry used Tesco to help them, but that is where any similarity ends.

Finding a club that has moved recently that can compare to Everton isn't easy, we'll grant Mr King that much, but it's not impossible.

The likes of Sunderland, Derby, Leicester, Southampton, and Arsenal have all moved recently, but of those only Arsenal can match Everton's situation of being a top Premiership club and of having rivals within the same City. But Arsenal reached the Champions League final 13 months ago, and won the league far more recently that 1987. They are also based in London, where, in real estate terms at least, the streets really are paved with gold.

Manchester City, however, can match (well, come close on some!) the Blues on a number of points. They share a city with some horrible red neighbours. They have a famously loyal fanbase (getting crowds of over 30k whilst in the second tier of English football), and they got their stadium, effectively, for free. Which is what we are led to believe will be the deal for Everton if the proposed move to Kikrby goes ahead.

City have a proud history, and Maine Road was an intimidating place to visit. It was in Moss Side, after all! Like Goodison, Maine Road was ground-breaking in design, being built to hold 80,000 people when first opened - second only to Wembley at the time.

The ground was famous for it's atmosphere, and like Evertonians, City fans were proud of the noise they could create. So how do they feel about their move away from their old home?

There were originally plans in place to increase Maine Road's seating capacity from just over 35,000 to 45,000 in the late 1990's, but these plans never came to fruition and the club moved to the City of Manchester Stadium in 2002.

Since the move to their new ground, City have struggled. Kevin Keegan almost got them relegated in their first season, and Joey Barton has openly criticised the club for lacking ambition and drive. This despite increasing capacity and corporate box numbers.

So, keen to see what the future could hold, we asked members of blueview.co.uk their thoughts on their new stadium, and if, with the benefit of hindsight, they felt the move was good for the club. There were mixed reactions, but one theme was plain....

There's no atmosphere at the City of Manchester Stadium


I'd say the majority of fans dont feel at home at COMS like Maine Road. I know we cant live in the past but i miss the character of Maine Road and the surrounding area.


I miss the character of the place and the atmosphere, it was our spiritual home. We had a whole range of decent boozers to choose from i miss it big time. New stadium lacks atmosphere and after a few years now it still doesn't feel like home. Goodison Park as you probably know is very similar to what Maine Road was, it will be an ashame for you to leave.


Obviously, some like the new stadium, but one fan pointed out an area in which Everton could learn from City's mistakes :

I prefer the new stadium but feel the prices are way too high and the atmosphere has suffered. The club made a mess of the singing sections from Maine Road and should have set aside an end or corner for the singers. There aren't enough in the South Stand lower to get things going when the team's struggling.


The most balanced view came from a City fan of 35 years who pointed out that since the move to the City of Manchester Stadium, City have played some dire football, scoring only 10 goals at home last season.

He suggested that could be the cause of the poor atmosphere. But then again, the riches that Evertonians are being told these new stadia bring should be enough to pay for players who can avoid forcing us to sit through the dross City endure on a regular basis.

A few City fans said they hoped for a new sponsor to come in and buy naming rights of the ground so they could get some stability which might make it feel like home, others talked of it being an added attraction to outside investors......although that's an entirely different discussion.

Everton and Manchester City are different clubs in many ways, but judging from the City fans' responses, the deal is that if you move to a new ground you may well lose your atmosphere, and there's no guarantee that you'll be watching better football. But, you'll be in a nicer seat, and just like Coventry fans, you can get your sprouts on your way home.

* Shortly after we published this article, we received mail from a Coventry City fansite who wanted to inform us, and Dominic King, that Tesco did not in fact finance their new stadium, but rather bought a piece of land within the complex. Begs the question of what point Mr King was trying to get across really....
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