A MULTI-MILLION pound Football Quarter linking Liverpool and Everton football clubs is a realistic aim, the leader of the city council said yesterday.
Supporters from both teams yesterday launched their vision for the 40-acre zone in Stanley Park.
Cllr Joe Anderson backed the scheme which would bring a fan zone venue, football museum, hotels, bars and restaurants, new pedestrian links between Anfield and Goodison and improved rail and bus links to Walton.
He said: “The Football Quarter concept is something I strongly support.
“It is something that could provide an economic boost to the city and, in particular, to north Liverpool.
“I believe that all parties, the football clubs and the council have never had a better relationship, one that is based on trust and understanding.
“I feel that the Football Quarter offers real benefits for all and could be deliverable if we can continue to work together and certain things happen.
“The council will continue to respect our relationship with both clubs and won’t add much else other than to say if we can make it happen we will.”
Blueprints for a Football Quarter, set out in a 28-page prospectus, include a possible park-and-ride facility between Walton and the city centre.
Project campaigners from fans’ groups Keep Everton In Our City (KEIOC) and Spirit of Shankly (SOS) suggested the reopening of the redundant rail route between Bootle and Edge Hill as another transport link to boost the initiative.
While ideas have been put forward by supporters, the key factor remains investment from the private sector and the two football clubs to make it work.
Both Everton and Liverpool yesterday gave a tentative acknowledgement of the Football Quarter launch.
An Everton spokesman said: “We listened to these ideas last year of fans’ vision and remain willing to stay in discussion about future developments.”
A Liverpool FC spokesman said: “It is clear a lot of work has gone into this proposal and we will now have a closer look at the details in the launch document.”
Liverpool fan and The Farm frontman Peter Hooton said: “This needs vision and people with a lot of drive – these groups have got that.”
Former Liverpool council leader Derek Hatton spoke from the audience to question the feasibility of the plan.
The long-standing Everton fan said: “After 50 years of being a season ticket holder, I have a major problem with the difficulties of convincing both sets of supporters.
“The distinct differences of both sets of supporters needs to be remembered.”
Campaigners said the outcome of Liverpool choosing to either redevelop their Anfield stadium or build a new ground in Stanley Park would equally fit in with the Football Quarter footprint.
Obstacles could occur on the Everton side, however, as the project seems to depend on them remaining at Goodison.