Sunday, 7 June 2009

Councillor Bradley uses Liverpool's financial woes to insist on a ground share

Liverpool council’s Warren Bradley is again insisting Liverpool and Everton football clubs must combine in order to share one stadium. Bradley, who has consistently backed the proposal, has seen Liverpool’s current financial predicament and England’s 2018 World Cup bid as ways to resurect the idea only he appears to support. The city will not be included within England's 2018 World Cup bid because "Anfield and Goodison Park do not fit Fifa's ­criteria" is his new opportunistic claim. Bradley, says he has "seen the books of both clubs", told The Observer: "We've got to do something if we are serious about being a bidding city for the World Cup. I don't want to see everything migrate down the M62 to Manchester where there are two fabulous stadiums. "There is a need for a 60,000 fit-for-purpose, 21st-century stadium in ­Liverpool. It would cost around £300m. Sure, we still have the tribalistic ­supporters in the city who would say, 'I won't sit in it after a Liverpudlian or Evertonian has.' But that's not the ­argument, is it? I don't see any reason why it can't work – it does so across the southern hemisphere, and in Germany, Italy and America."

Bradley’s proposed shared stadium would be situated in Stanley Park where Liverpool football club’s new site is. The plan has never been supported by either clubs or sets of supporters, but despite this, Bradley is claiming: "What I've said is absolutely right and is now being amplified in the city in ­business, at the clubs privately, and with the supporters. When you speak privately to different people at the clubs – at director level – they tell you what they think, but will never publicly go on record. There is a groundswell of support now that it is the only way forward for both football clubs."

He goes on to claim "We recognise the Fifa ­criteria that both clubs must have 40,000-plus seats available to the paying public that doesn't include VIPs. I don't believe either club is in a position to satisfy that criteria, so therefore something needs to be done quickly." Presumably Anfield's capacity of 45,000-plus does not deter his claim. Bradley who has been an Everton season ticket holder for thirty years has never backed Everton’s proposed move to Kirkby.

Northwest Regional Development Agency, a major stakeholder in the city's World Cup bid, said: "The Agency was ­supportive of the idea of a ground share between Liverpool and Everton due to the economic sense this made. However, we accept that any decision has always been a matter for the two clubs."

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