Goodison Park, What it Represents, and Why It Still Stands

The first match Everton played in Goodison Park was September 2nd 1892 and it has been home to Everton football in Liverpool England ever since. When the park opened, there was not a camera lens advanced enough to get the entire stadium in one shot (Gamble). Several generations have grown old watching Everton soccer at Goodison and some have even seen trophies won at the old ground. But what does the Park mean to the fans? Would they prefer an upgrade? Being American, and not really knowing how the fans feel, or the political landscape involving a move for the Toffee’s I took it upon myself to find the answers to these questions.

According to Matthew Gamble, when Goodison park was built in 1892 the total cost was roughly 5,500 pounds which according to is a current value of 609,900 pounds (or $763,567.35). In the thirteen seasons between 1992/93 and 2005/06, 2.2 billion pounds were spent on stadiums by soccer teams in England (Kennedy). Everton tried to get in on this trend with an attempt to build a new stadium in the late 1990’s, but the plans fell through. Then again in the late 2000’s, a new deal partnered with British superstore Tesco for a new development in Kirkby was rejected by local government (Gamble). And so the club remains at the 124-year-old stadium.

According to David Kennedy, soccer fans are becoming more and more accepting of the fact that premier league soccer at its core is a business. He explains this further by saying that in the questioning of Everton supporters on the issue of the stadium, a majority used “the language of commercialism in order to support or undermine” the idea of a move from Goodison. Those against the move argued the “economic irrationality” of moving outside of the city of Liverpool, along with possible business ventures that could benefit the city should Goodison remain, go under a major renovation project, or build a new stadium inside the city limits. Several of the fans on this side of the argument however, made an argument based on tradition and lore, but were very good at supplementing that argument with the financial reasons listed. However, when Kennedy posed the question on Toffeeweb, an independent Everton fan-run website, there was a clear discrepancy between the reasoning for the side of wanting to stay, and the side wanting to make a move. History, tradition, and heritage.

Even though both sides could refer to financial positives in their reasoning, it became obvious that the group that was pro-staying at Goodison were relying on history and emotion in their argument. Here is a very good example in the discrepancy of the two sides from Kennedy’s test on Toffeeweb. From a fan that is pro-moving “Like it or not, globalization is a fact, a part of modern day society. That facilitates corporations AND individuals being able to broadcast themselves and reach markets and other individuals across vast distances in an instance in ways previously unheard of. A successful strategy [corporate involvement in soccer clubs] in extending your client base and thus improving your income streams and projecting your image to new markets is… I prefer the club to stand or fall within a free market rather than one over-legislated.” Then there are those who support the same soccer team, but have the polar opposite opinion “My blood runs cold at the thought of My Club losing its heritage and identity… Or that it becomes the plaything of some semi-interested billionaire… English football needs an example, proof that the game hasn’t completely lost its soul, it needs a club that can stand toe to toe with the clubs who have sold out. I would not be broken hearted if that club was to be Everton.”

Between August sixth and August twenty-third in 2007 Everton conducted a vote for 38,000 season ticket holders and shareholders to get insight into if the fans were in favor of moving to Kirkby or if they would prefer to stay at Goodison park. To the surprise of both David and Peter Kennedy, the result was fifty-nine percent to forty-one percent in favor of moving. Because these numbers were surprising they did some further digging into why the fans of Everton had voted on their team moving. What they found was that in July and August of 2007, Everton’s players, and coaches, both past and present were encouraged by the board to come out in support of a move away from Goodison. The manager at the time David Moyes even went on to say before the vote “We would love to remain. However… we now appreciate that we cannot, we must move to keep up with our competitors and grow… I want what is best for Everton Football Club in both the short and the long terms… I trust the Club’s Board of Directors-and I ask you to do the same” (David Moyes left the club afer the 2012-13 premier league season). Even with such a push from the team to move, and the eventual attempt to leave, it feels like fate that the team remains in their 124-year-old home. So what is it about Goodison Park that makes it so special?

According to Simon Hughes of The Independent, a British news service, Everton have plans to start building a new stadium, within the city limits of Liverpool, and begin construction on it late in 2017. But when he talked to Neil Robinson about remaining in Goodison park, a man who grew up just a few blocks from Goodison park, and even played 17 games for the Toffees, Robinson said “I’d take that option if it was there, oh, that’d make me very happy. All the history is going to be lost otherwise. The record books will say what Goodison was and memories would still be there for a while but over time, they’ll fade. It’d be great if they somehow kept it as a museum or a place for the reserves to play. It’s such a shame it will probably get knocked down.” Not only will fans of the team be devastated, but taverns and small shops that have been around for almost as long as the stadium has will all but surely be closed down. The old stadium isn’t just a place where soccer is played. It is a place where generations bond, grandfather, son, and grandson all have memories in the same building.

The 124-year-old Goodison Park has seen the beginning of the Olympics, two world wars, and several billions worth of stadiums go up in its time. And yet it stands. It has survived two different relocation attempts and appears to be fighting for its life again. And yet it stands. One thing that is certain to continue standing are the memories that Everton fans of all ages have, that cannot be replaced, destroyed or relocated. Goodison park was, is, and forever will be something sacred.


Gamble, Matthew. "History Of Goodison Park." Everton Football Club. Everton FC, n.d. Web. 09 Feb. 2017.

Hughes, Simon. "Everton vs Liverpool: New Stadium a Step Closer, but the History of Goodison Park Remains as Important as Ever." The Independent. Independent Digital News and Media, 18 Dec. 2016. Web. 10 Feb. 2017. < a7482711.html>.

Kennedy, David. "Football Stadium Relocation And The Commodification Of Football: The Case Of Everton Supporters And Their Adoption Of The Language Of Commerce." Soccer & Society 13.3 (2012): 341-358. SPORTDiscus with Full Text. Web. 9 Feb. 2017.

Kennedy, Peter, and David Kennedy. "'It's The Little Details That Make Up Our Identity': Everton Supporters And Their Stadium Ballot Debate." Soccer & Society 11.5 (2010): 553-572. SPORTDiscus with Full Text. Web. 9 Feb. 2017.

Measuring N.p., 2017. Web. 9 Feb. 2017. < e%5B%5D=CPI&use%5B%5D=NOMINALEARN&year_early=1892£ 71=5500&shilling71=&pence71=&amount=5500&year_source=1892& year_ result=2017>.