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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Friday, July 30, 2004
    Reflections on debt and soccer at the heart of old Everton village
    Spent the afternoon on the green ridge of Everton brow, overlooking a sunkissed city, the Mersey sparkling in the gaps between grand business houses, iconic dock warehouses and new hotels, perspective foreshortened so that the city, the Wirral and the Welsh hills tumbled together to meet the eye. Everything close.

    The news is that UK consumer debt has reached £1 trillion, and that Everton FC, £30 million in debt, are in boardroom turmoil. In my wallet is the Premiership Barclaycard which connects me to both those stories. My personal debt diminishes today as my four-year car loan comes to completion. But there's that £470 I invested in the football club (season ticket), and with the season two weeks off yet I'm already wondering if that was wise, or safe.

    On the lower slopes of the Brow, once the heart of Everton village, I found the old lock-up, a small circular brick building with a pointed roof, quaint centrepiece on Everton FC's club badge. The perimeter fence was broken, and the lock was off the metal door, so I wandered up to it contemplating going in, to say a prayer at that energy-centre for all people with money worries in this city, and for the future of our football club. However on peering into the darkness I discovered that someone had got there before me - and had set up home with a mattress and plentiful supply of beer cans.

    The other news today is that Liverpool fc have got the green light from the City Council to proceed with building their new stadium, despite the controversy of it all: they're taking public land to do it, cutting Stanley Park in half, which the Council itself regards as "arguably the most architecturally significant of the city's great Victorian parks."

    En-route I'd noticed that the new banner across the width of the Stanley Park End of Goodison is that quote of David Moyes the day he became club manager: EVERTON - THE PEOPLE'S CLUB. Well, despite boardroom tussles, perhaps they are slightly more THE PEOPLE'S CLUB than their rivals could claim to be today. As lfc get themselves into enormous debt to pay for a stadium the city doesn't want, Everton (unwittingly) find themselves in the company of those scratching around to make ends meet. And so, on the club website tonight, your last chance to put in an auction bid for Wayne Rooney's plastercast from his recent Euro injury.