Glenn Moore: Why historic arenas are millstones

The FA Cup Dossier

This weekend's FA Cup quarter-finals will be hosted at four of the most historic football stadiums in the country, grounds so rich in memories they are regarded with a reverence that evokes the oft-made comparison between football grounds and cathedrals. Yet, if the host clubs have their way, all four would be rubble within a decade.

Anfield, Goodison Park, White Hart Lane and Stamford Bridge have each staged England internationals and FA Cup semi-finals; Goodision even hosted the FA Cup final. They were all on the CV of the great stadium-builder Archibald Leitch and their names are recognisable across the globe. Yet they each date back to the 19th century and the inner-city habitats that once served them so well now prevent the ground redevelopment necessary to earn their keep in the contemporary game. For each club a new stadium is the only realistic future, though Liverpool's newish owners are researching whether Anfield can be given a makeover.

The economic argument is compelling. Manchester United, who have been able to take advantage of Old Trafford's spacious location to increase capacity to more than 75,000, have a matchday revenue of £3.6m. Arsenal's move to the ultra-modern 60,000-seat Emirates not only brings in £3.5m each matchday, but is also a busy conference centre during the week. The club may not have won a trophy since leaving Highbury, but they are set up to prosper for decades.

Like Arsenal, Chelsea have levered their capital location to work the corporate and hospitality market and charge high admission prices, but with Stamford Bridge limited to 42,449 spectators they take only £2.4m each matchday. This, though, is significantly higher than Tottenham and Liverpool who make around two-thirds of that, with Spurs' ability to charge higher prices compensating for White Hart Lane's notably smaller capacity than Anfield.

Then there is Everton. Goodison Park was, notes stadiums expert Simon Inglis, "the first major ground in England." But that was in 1892 when Everton built it after leaving Anfield after a row with landlord John Houlding, prompting the latter to form Liverpool FC.

Goodison, 120 years on, is a much-loved venue and will host the most atmospheric Cup tie this weekend, but not for nothing do fans call it the "Grand Old Lady". As recently as 1989 it held 50,000-plus, but then came the post-Hillsborough Taylor Report with its insistence on all-seat stadiums. Goodison had more seating than most, but conversion cost the club 10,000 spectators without sufficient corporate facilities to compensate for the drop in income. In gate receipts, catering and associated income Everton now take £775,000 each match – half Liverpool's income, less than a quarter of Manchester United's – per game.

This cherished millstone is one reason Bill Kenwright has found it so hard to find investors. The Abu Dhabi United Group is understood to have looked at Everton before deciding Manchester City, with a new ground kindly donated by a local council that had built it for the 2002 Commonwealth Games, was a better proposition.

Everton have tried to develop a new and larger stadium twice in the past decade, at Kings' Dock and Kirkby, but planning regulations, a lack of finance and their own supporters' resistance have stymied these attempts. Due to David Moyes's ability to accept and work within the constraints imposed by Kenwright's refusal to put the club at risk, Everton have remained competitive, but every year they slip further adrift of the "Big Five" status they enjoyed when the Premier League was first mooted.

To outsiders the obvious solution is a joint venture with Liverpool. Everton were against this idea when it was floated a quarter-century ago but are more accepting now. Liverpool, however, wish to go it alone, either refurbishing Anfield as the American owners did Fenway Park, Boston Red Sox's equally fabled home, or re-activating plans to build a new ground in nearby Stanley Park, for which planning permission was first granted nine years ago. Both proposals are expensive, especially while banks are loth to lend.

Spurs are in a similar position. Planning is granted for a 56,000-seat stadium adjacent to White Hart Lane but costs are formidable. Hence chairman Daniel Levy's hardball tactics over the Olympic Stadium which, in the wake of the Tottenham riots, have wrested concessions from Haringey Council and the London Mayor. As theirs is the smallest arena, only the 12th largest league ground in England, the need to expand is urgent. So, too, at Chelsea, where a railway line, a cemetery, and the Chelsea Village complex limit expansion.

Chelsea are actively seeking a new site. Unlike the others money is not the problem, finding a location is. The Chelsea Pitch Owners rebellion was motivated more by a concern that the club would leave the immediate area than love for a ground which, unlike at Everton, Liverpool and Spurs, older supporters would barely recognise.

One significant aspect of the quartet's ambitions is that they all want larger grounds with at least 50,000 capacity. The most notable new stadium to open overseas this year is in Turin, where Juventus have swapped the unloved 69,000-capacity Stadio delle Alpi, which was only built in 1990, for a 41,000-seat arena. The club will own this stadium and therefore increase revenue, but it is hardly a statement of faith by Italy's best-supported club.

The chill winds of recession blow in England too but the major clubs clearly believe the future is in thinking big, just as it was more than a century ago. They were right then, but it has not always been so – Chelsea in the 1970s, and Spurs in the 1980s, had financial problems brought on by ground redevelopment. So while all four clubs know they cannot afford to stand still, they need to move with care.

twitter.com/GlennMoore7

Five Asides

1 Moyes breaks the mould by putting the FA Cup first

"The FA Cup is not what it used to be, clubs only care about the Premier League." How, then, to explain David Moyes fielding a weakened team in a Merseyside derby to protect key players for today's FA Cup quarter-final with Sunderland? A 17-year wait for a trophy, the last 10 under Moyes, has much to do with it, but how refreshing to see a manager prioritise silverware. Perhaps, come May, he will be able to avenge Tuesday's defeat with a full-strength side, at Wembley.

2 Blackpool won friends, but goal-shy Wigan survive

Blackpool scored 1.5 goals a game last year and went down. In seven seasons in the top flight Wigan have scored 251 goals in 256 games and, so far, survived. Is this a good thing?

3 Mkandawire is honoured for knife crime campaign

Congratulations to Tamika Mkandawire, who was voted PFA Player in the Community in the Football League awards. The Millwall player was honoured for campaigning against knife crime. Portsmouth's Joel Ward and Noel Hunt of Reading were runners-up.

4 Turner earns award for services to Welsh border

Also deservedly honoured at Sunday's dinner was Shrewsbury manager Graham Turner, one of the stalwarts of the game, whose contribution to football along the Welsh borders has been immense with Wolves, Chester and Hereford also owing him a debt. To judge from Shrews' promotion challenge the 64-year-old's enthusiasm and ability remain undimmed.

5 Disowning Richards is not enough – he has to go

Much as the Premier League attempted to disown Sir David Richards this week, it was notable that Fifa vice-president Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein (one of the governing body's few good guys) referred to him as "Premier League chairman" in his statement on the affair. Hiding him away will not work; Richards needs to be fired.

FA Cup

Everton v Sunderland

Odds Home 10-11; Draw 12-5; Away 16-5.

Kick-off Today, 12.45pm (ITV 1; Highlights ITV 1, 10.30pm)

Referee A Marriner (West Midlands)

Tottenham v Bolton

Odds Home 2-7; Draw 9-2; Away 10-1.

Kick-off Today, 5.30pm (ESPN; Highlights ITV 1, 10.30pm)

Referee H Webb (South Yorkshire)

Chelsea v Leicester

Odds Home 2-7; Draw 9-2; Away 10-1.

Kick-off Tomorrow, 2.05pm (ESPN; Highlights ITV 1)

Referee L Probert (Wiltshire)

Liverpool v Stoke City

Odds Home 2-5; Draw 7-2; Away 15-2.

Kick-off Tomorrow, 4pm (ITV 1)

Referee K Friend (Leicestershire)

Premier League

Fulham v Swansea City

Odds Home 5-6; Draw 5-2; Away 7-2.

Kick-off Today, 3pm (Highlights BBC 1, 10.45pm)

Referee M Halsey (Lancashire)

Wigan V West Bromwich

Odds Home 8-5; Draw 23-10; Away 7-4.

Kick-off Today, 3pm (Highlights BBC 1, 10.45pm)

Referee M Oliver (Northumberland)

Wolves v Man United

Odds Home 8-1; Draw 4-1; Away 1-3.

Kick-off Tomorrow, 1.30pm (Sky Sports 1; Highlights BBC 2, 10pm) Referee A Taylor (Cheshire)

Newcastle v Norwich

Odds Home 4-5; Draw 13-5; Away 7-2.

Kick-off Tomorrow, 4pm (Sky Sports 1; Highlights BBC 2, 10pm)

Referee P Dowd (Staffordshire)

Sport
Raheem Sterling and Luis Suarez celebrate during Liverpool's game with Norwich
sport Another hurdle is out of the way for Brendan Rodgers' side
Sport
Luis Suarez celebrates after scoring in Liverpool's 3-2 win over Norwich
Football Vine shows Suarez writhing in pain before launching counter attack
Arts & Entertainment
The original design with Charles' face clearly visible, which is on display around the capital
arts + ents The ad shows Prince Charles attired for his coronation in a crown and fur mantle with his mouth covered by a criss-cross of white duct tape
Sport
Steven Gerrard had to be talked into adopting a deeper role by his manager, Brendan Rodgers
sport LIVEFollow the latest news and scores from today's Premier League as Liverpool make a blistering start against Norwich
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
News
People White House officials refuse to make comment on 275,000 signatures that want Justin Bieber's US visa revoked
News
Sir Cliff Richard is to release his hundredth album at age 72
PEOPLESir Cliff Richard has used a candid appearance on an Australian talk show to address long-running speculation about his sexuality

Sport
Lukas Podolski celebrates one of his two goals in Arsenal's win over Hull

Arsenal strengthened their grip on a top-four finish with a straightforward 3-0 win over Hull City.

Arts & Entertainment
Quentin Tarantino, director
arts + ents Samuel L Jackson and Michael Madsen have taken part in a reading of Quentin Tarantino’s axed follow-up to Django Unchained.
News
The speeding train nearly hit this US politican during a lecture on rail safety
news As the saying goes, you have to practice what you preach
Sport
Mercedes Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain (front) drives ahead of Red Bull Formula One driver Daniel Ricciardo of Australia during the Chinese F1 Grand Prix at the Shanghai International circuit
sport Hamilton captured his third straight Formula One race with ease on Sunday, leading from start to finish to win the Chinese Grand Prix

Arts & Entertainment
Billie Jean King, who won the women’s Wimbledon title in 1967, when the first colour pictures were broadcast
tv
News
Snow has no plans to step back or reduce his workload
mediaIt's 25 years since Jon Snow first presented Channel 4 News, and his drive shows no sign of diminishing
Life & Style
food + drinkWhat’s not to like?
Voices
Clock off: France has had a 35‑hour working week since 1999
voicesThere's no truth to a law banning work emails after 6pm, but that didn’t stop media hysteria
Arts & Entertainment
Maisie Williams of Game of Thrones now
tvMajor roles that grow with their child actors are helping them to steal the show on TV
Arts & Entertainment
Kingdom Tower
architecture
Life & Style
Lana Del Rey, Alexa Chung and Cara Delevingne each carry their signature bag
fashionMulberry's decision to go for the super-rich backfired dramatically
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit