Despite the fact that seemingly no-one in Liverpool – including either club or either set of fans – want Liverpool and Everton FC to share a ground, Councillor Warren Is-This-My-Best-Side? Bradley is still dead set on the two clubs joining forces, now using the 2018 World Cup bid to convince the two teams to form what’s likely to be an uncomfortable joint tenancy, assuming it happens.
The situation is not straightforward. Everton is keen to press ahead with a rather unloved proposal to build a new stadium in Kirkby, South Merseyside, on which the government will have the final say.
Meanwhile Liverpool – deeply in debt and owned by warring entrepreneurs George Gillet and Tom Hicks – favours building a new 60,000 stadium in Stanley Park, though a date for leaving Anfield seems no closer than it did five years ago.
Bluenose Bradley is keen on the groundshare idea, and the North West Development Agency is thought to pressuring both teams to accept the groundshare proposal, waving the carrot of a healthy injection of cash if the two clubs obey.
Muddying the waters is the fact that Liverpool, via Gillet and Hicks, owes a significant chunk of cash to RBS, which is itself essentially owned by the government.
A set of unlikely circumstances would need to transpire for LFC to fall under any kind of direct government control, but the prospect remains an intriguing and amusing one.
To an outsider it looks like LFC simply considers itself too big to consider sharing a ground with its oldest enemy, or afford it the opportunity to rebuild its squad by redirecting cash from infrastructure to players.
Everton doesn’t appear to have the cash to build its own ground without help, and if the Tesco-backed Kirkby proposal goes west, a shared stadium seems the only way out of the decrepit Goodison.
However, Liverpool is hardly flush at the moment so the Reds may not have much choice if they want to leave the equally decrepit Anfield.
So, the government may end up owning Liverpool; Everton may not be allowed to move to Kirkby; the NWDA won’t give Liverpool any money unless it considers a groundshare; both clubs are currently mired in debt and have crumbling grounds; and a 2018 World Cup bid would currently not involve Liverpool.
A groundshare makes sense on so many levels, but since when has football had anything to do with common sense?
Bradley may profess to be a dyed-in-the-wool Blue, but he shows little understanding of football and football fans in his desire for LFC and EFC to share a ground.
Even so with both clubs struggling for cash, neither may be in a position to turn down financial aid – the only realistic proposition at the moment, assuming sharing ground is out of the question, seems to be for the clubs to tart up Anfield and Goodison.
LFC won’t get the cash it needs for Stanley Park; Destination Kirkby will probably be blocked.
A groundshare may just be the least worst option.
• Image by davegriffiths.