Goodison Park has undergone a makeover this summer with one of the most noticeable projects being the installation of improved floodlights in order to meet new Premier League and UEFA standards.
While @EFCTRADITIONS understands the need to bring the Goodison floodlight system into the 21st century, the aesthetics leave an awful lot to be desired.
The Vandalism Of Goodison Park
The dawn of a new season always brings with it a renewed sense of optimism and excitement no matter what may have gone before.
The anticipation at being reunited with kindred spirits never diminishes no matter how much time passes by, and the traditions and rituals of a match-day begin again as if second nature.
It’s all part of the shared quest to be a part of the ongoing fortunes, whether good or bad, of your local football team. The hopes and dreams of the chosen masses are carried by those that wear Royal Blue, they congregate in a place not far from St Domingo Road, a place that over the years has left an lasting impression on all that have ever set eyes upon her.
A new season often also brings with it change, whether that be in the welcome form of new players to take on the weight of expectation to achieve success. Or, as is the unfortunate case this season, in the less welcome form of wanton vandalism in relation to the hallowed cathedral that has served as the spiritual home of those previously described.
As time goes by, sporting arenas with the grandeur and mythical aura of Goodison Park slowly fade away only to be replaced with soulless, sterile structures that have all the charm of a grey industrial estate. It is a truly tragic state of affairs that shows little sign of abating, a fact that makes appreciating what is currently still standing to the north of Stanley Park all the more important.
The history that Goodison Park possesses is difficult to match anywhere else around Europe, it is history that deserves to be understood, appreciated and respected.
The football ground has played host to many of the games past greats,from Dixie Dean to George Best, Alan Ball to Stanley Matthews even Eusebio and Pele.
When the World Cup was held in the this country back in 1966 it was Goodison Park that was chosen to act as one of the hosts to the game’s most iconic tournament.
The countless memories that have been created through the years are too many to mention but one thing is certain, the impression that this Grand Old Lady has made knows no bounds.
“Goodison Park has always been a handsome fashionable stage for football, a living thing full of atmospherics-like a theatre. A cathedral of a place indeed, fit for the gods of the game.” Renowned football writer Geoffrey Green.
With these adjectives in mind the sight that will welcome the faithful masses this season is one that should cause both anger and distress in equal measure.
It could well be argued that Goodison Park truly comes into its own at night when the sky is dark and the lights shine down. So with this being said the announcement this past off season of the intention to install new floodlights was accepted as part of The Grand Old Lady’s need to evolve with the times in order to meet the demands that are expected in this multimedia age.
The presumably valid argument was that the lack of high quality light in certain areas of the pitch was affecting the quality of the picture captured by television cameras. So by adding more lamps it would provide viewers with a clearer view of the action taking place on the pitch.
The installation of additional lights is by no means the issue, the ugly and seemingly ill thought out nature of their appearance certainly is, with them bearing an unflattering resemblance to the type of mobile scaffolding used by window cleaners of large skyscrapers.
These ill fitting eyesores look completely out of place in relation to the rest of ground and are in no way befitting of a football team which such grand traditions. It is even more distressing when it is the Gwladys Street Stand that has been so adversely affected aesthetically, especially as it was designed by the visionary architect, Archibald Leitch.
Coincidentally, this season marks the uncovering of his iconic lattice work that adorns the Stand and had previously been scandalously hidden from public view for over 25 years. A great deal of hard work had gone into achieving this desired aim (especially by Paul Wharton, Chairman of the EFC Heritage Society) though unfortunately this momentous occasion has been overshadowed by the terrible monstrosities that have been erected above it.
By taking a brief look back in time it can be found that Goodison Park first installed floodlights back in 1957 when there where four pylons in each corner of the ground measuring 185 feet in height, the tallest in the country at the time.
When the original two tiered Goodison Road Stand was demolished in 1971 it was replaced with the current three tiered structure, the sheer size of the rebuilt Stand meant that the floodlit pylons had to be taken down and replaced with high powered lamps all along the gantry and brim of the roof.
On the opposite side, the Bullens Road Stand also integrated floodlights to a very aesthetically pleasing effect.
The iron framework that is mounted above the roof leaves an imposing visual whilst also appearing architecturally stylish, achieving this is an impressive feat.
The lower set of lights on the Stand have been cleverly integrated into the supporting roof beams which allows there to a perfect balance of dazzling at night and yet during the daytime they become unobtrusive when not in use.
This is clearly the strategy that should have been replicated, there should have been a seamless incorporation of the additional lights alongside those that are already in place.
When viewed in comparison it could almost be comical if it were not for the fact that what has been constructed is adorning the place many of us hold so dear to our hearts.
With both the Bullens Road and Gwladys Street Stands sharing the same architect surely it would have been entirely logical to have replicated appearance that had been previously implemented, with the only difference being the use of more modern, high powered lamps.
This would have resulted in a maintaining of the iconic appearance that already exists whilst upgrading the quality of light that is both important and necessary in order to move forward, allowing the club to grow and evolve. And while this is happening it is vital that the past is not forgotten and that any changes that are implemented are done so with the history and traditions of the club respected and incorporated.
It is difficult to understand how those in charge of the decision making process believed that this end result was befitting a football club of the history and tradition of Everton.
Maybe the problem lies in that they were unaware of how adversely affected a great footballing monument would be by this or possibly and most troubling of all they simply did not care, either way the result is clear for all to see.
The saving grace must surely be the fact that despite the great expense that has been invested, it is in fact the lamps themselves and there power units which are so valuable not the actual unattractive iron work with which they are supported. This should make the correcting of the terrible error in judgement altogether easier and allow the beauty of a Stand that has been so blatantly disfigured to be restored.
Those that hold positions of power and influence within this grand institution need to realise that they are custodians of an important and irreplaceable piece of footballing history.
They are entrusted with the duty of not only maintain what has gone before, but at the same time continue the evolution of a building by implementing the necessary upgrades whilst at the same time maintaining the character and style which is already exists.
This current situation is something which needs urgent attention and to be addressed in a manner befitting such a grand and iconic institution. I appeal to all other Evertonians who share these concerns to make their feelings on the matter known in order to correct what has gone before.