Everton will consult with fans as part of their considerations over whether to move into their new stadium midway through the 2024-25 season.
Chief stadium development officer Colin Chong, who was recently installed as interim chief executive after a boardroom shake-up, insists the development at Bramley-Moore Dock is ahead of schedule and the club have never committed to a move-in date.
Everton will definitely not start the campaign after next in their new ground, with test events scheduled for the final months of 2024, but a huge decision remains over whether to re-home the team in the middle of a season considering the associated upheaval leaving Goodison Park could cause.
“I can confirm, after overcoming a full winter where we lifted the heaviest materials in the most challenging climate, we are confident the stadium will be completed in the final months of 2024,” said Chong.
“This means we won’t be starting the 2024 season at Everton Stadium but, to reiterate, the club has never publicly confirmed an intention to begin the 2024-25 season at our new home.
“If the project remains on schedule, it raises the question as to whether the club moves in mid-season or alternatively, do we wait and give the Grand Old Lady (Goodison) a fitting send-off before commencing competitive league games for the senior men’s team at the start of the 2025-26 season.
“Whatever decision is reached, it won’t be based on sentiment; it will be reached in consultation with fans, while also considering the impacts it will have across our football club in terms of our football operation, our commercial partners and third-party contracts, our staff, seasonal workflows and the impact, of course, on supporters.
“Moving mid-season may offer some commercial benefits, but also presents a series of challenges and hurdles that could negatively impact other aspects of the club – and other commercial considerations.
“What I can say categorically is that, today, the project is several weeks ahead of schedule, with another winter to come.”