Everton to call EGM over Kirby stadium fury?

July 22, 2008

Everton could be forced to call an extraordinary general meeting by fans opposed to their move to a new stadium in Kirkby.

The club have confirmed receipt of a petition from shareholders calling for an EGM over the 55,000-seater ground, which could be shelved in any case if the Government elect to 'call in' the project for further review.

Under Everton's articles of association, a mandate from 20% of shareholders is required for an EGM to be called.

Mark Rowan, Everton's head of media and communications, said: 'The club can confirm that we did receive a petition from shareholders.

'There will now be a process of authentication and validation of the names on petition against the share register.

'Once we ascertain the accuracy of the names then we have 21 days from receipt to announce a date for an EGM.'

There has been growing opposition to the Kirkby plans from a section of fans who do not want to see the club move outside Liverpool's city boundaries.

Knowsley Council have approved the scheme - which sees the club link up with UK supermarket giant Tesco - and are also now waiting for Government approval.

If the Government do call it in, the planning process could be extended by more than a year and kill off the £400million project.

Such a situation would severely damage Everton's dreams of moving the club forward to be able to compete with the big four of English football.

They would be forced to reconsider schemes to extend Goodison, previously dismissed as unworkable.

Attempts to find another site inside the city boundaries have also been abandoned by the club.

Sharing Liverpool's proposed new stadium in Stanley Park has also failed to win the approval of both sets of fans as well as the two clubs.

Shareholders spokesman Mark Grayson wants a debate on the issue regardless of whether the plans are 'called in' or not.

He said: 'Our primary concern is that we feel that the club promised a world-class and effectively free stadium with the best transport links in the UK.

'We now know through the Tesco-led planning application that the stadium will only be of 'mid-level quality' that could add a further £78million to the club's existing debt. It is our intention to have a debate regardless of whether it gets called in or not.'