New Everton stadium months behind schedule, Guardian analysis suggests

  • Construction experts believe project at least three months late
  • Everton insist 52,888-seat stadium ‘remains on schedule’

The construction of Everton’s new 52,888-seat stadium is running months behind schedule, analysis suggests. Documents filed by Everton as part of the stadium’s public planning submissions – combined with the club’s latest published drone footage of the construction site – indicate that the project is at least three months late, according to experts in stadium construction.

A three-month delay to the overall project would mean the new ground would not be ready for the start of the 2024-25 season, an ambition indicated by the club. The planning documents imply the stadium should be completed by July 2024, when successful test events would have to be held before the stadium can host a competitive match. Any delays will likely increase the costs of the project which the club say stand at about £760m.

The apparent hold-up is the latest in a long line of setbacks for the club, who have been seeking finance to complete the stadium for more than three years. Everton are contesting Premier League charges for alleged breaches in financial fair play regulations and have been forced to defend themselves against a series of questions over their ownership, finances and governance.

A series of construction experts who have worked on similar-sized stadium projects said the evidence suggested the project was running at least three months late.

One of the experts said: “This project is currently 10 to 12 weeks behind. Once you start getting problems, it gets worse. Steelwork is the easy stuff. The delays come in getting the building management systems to work. If you are behind now, it is unlikely that you can make it all up.”

A second expert added: “I concur. I would say this is three to four months behind.”

The stadium project at Bramley Moore Dock is nearing the end of week 85 of its 150-week schedule. Drawings submitted as part of the planning process illustrate that by week 75 the whole upper terrace of the east and west stands should have been in place and that the installation of the roof structure would have commenced.

An image from planning documents showing what the stadium would look like on week 75 of the build
An image from planning documents showing what the stadium would look like on week 75 of the build, which was 10 weeks ago. Photograph: No credit

However, the club’s drone footage – released on Everton’s website last weekend – showed that the upper west stand terrace was still to be completed. Meanwhile steelwork, which will allow the upper terrace on the east stand to be constructed, had yet to be installed.

When the Guardian visited the site on Thursday afternoon, steel raker beams to support the upper terrace of the east stand had just begun to appear, seemingly 10 weeks after the project’s construction management plan suggests the steelwork – and accompanying terracing – should have been completed.

In written commentary accompanying the drone footage, Everton said: “… upper-tier steelwork on top of the concrete structure has led to the ongoing installation of terracing units and a retaining wall to the rear [on the west stand]. The east stand will soon begin to mirror that pattern, with the steel raker beams next to be installed ahead of the terracing. Roofing work on the west stand is due to commence in late April, or early May.”

Amid a series of financial and football setbacks in the past year, Everton have clung to progress with the stadium construction to demonstrate that the board and owner are capable of delivering something positive.

An aerial view of Everton’s new stadium from 7 March.
An aerial view of Everton’s new stadium from 7 March. Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA

Everton have issued a series of publicity videos over recent months which detail how the stadium project is developing. The club have always said the project is on time and this week a club spokesperson told the Guardian: “The development remains on schedule in line with the projected works.”

However, the repeated positive public statements appear to be contradicted by Everton’s promotional videos and its own submissions to the planning process – as well as what appear to be efforts to blame any future delay on the financial fair play investigation.

Everton did not answer questions about the apparent delays revealed by the planning documents. However, a spokesperson for the club said the project remained on track.

A spokesperson for Laing O’Rourke, the company constructing the stadium, also did not answer questions about the planning documents.

He said: “Our construction team, which now comprises almost 600 people, continues to make excellent progress on the new Everton stadium. The project is on schedule and we have a good relationship with the club.”


Simon Goodley

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Lampard admits ‘business decision’ may decide Gordon’s Everton future
Frank Lampard has reiterated his desire to keep Anthony Gordon but admitted the Everton forward’s future will be decided on ‘football and business level’

Andy Hunter

19, Aug, 2022 @9:30 PM

Article image
Everton ease relegation fears with unlikely rout of Brighton
Abdoulaye Doucouré and Dwight McNeil scored twice as Everton eased their relegation fears with an astonishing 5-1 rout at Brighton

Nick Ames at the Amex Stadium

08, May, 2023 @6:38 PM

Article image
Miguel Almirón cracker lifts Newcastle and leaves Everton looking down
Almirón’s delicate chip in the first half was enough to give Eddie Howe’s Newcastle a 1-0 home victory over Everton

Louise Taylor at St James' Park

19, Oct, 2022 @8:53 PM

Article image
Farhad Moshiri backs Lampard and board amid supporter unrest at Everton
The Everton owner has said he has faith in the club’s manager, Frank Lampard, and the board despite disquiet from fans

Andy Hunter

11, Jan, 2023 @7:09 PM

Article image
Leeds’s Luis Sinisterra keeps Everton and Frank Lampard waiting for win
Anthony Gordon’s fine finish gave Everton an early lead but Luis Sinisterra struck an equaliser after half-time to help Leeds to secure a 1-1 draw

Louise Taylor at Elland Road

30, Aug, 2022 @9:05 PM

Article image
Gündogan double eases Manchester City towards title with win at Everton
Ilkay Gündogan scored twice and Erling Haaland was on target in Manchester City’s 3-0 win at Everton to extend their lead at the top of the Premier League

Andy Hunter at Goodison Park

14, May, 2023 @3:15 PM

Article image
Sean Dyche says Everton have assured him over alleged rule breaches
Sean Dyche said he had received assurances from Everton that the club have not broken Premier League profit and sustainability rules

Andy Hunter

30, Mar, 2023 @3:04 PM

Article image
Everton require major overhaul on and off the field after survival
A stay-away board, threadbare squad and an investigation into an alleged breach of rules are among the problems that remain

Andy Hunter

29, May, 2023 @5:00 PM

Article image
Sublime Maupay strike gives Everton first win of season against West Ham
The former Brighton forward Neal Maupay scored his first goal of the season, which was enough to give Everton a 1-0 win over West Ham

Will Unwin at Goodison Park

18, Sep, 2022 @3:20 PM

Article image
Everton boosted by hope that Calvert-Lewin could return at Crystal Palace
The Everton manager, Sean Dyche, said Dominic Calvert-Lewin was ‘certainly in the thinking’ for selection on Saturday at Crystal Palace

Andy Hunter

20, Apr, 2023 @4:00 PM