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The Laz Word: The People's Club v The Neighbours

Whoever wins the Battle for Kirkby, the fallout will take seasons to settle, predicts Larry Neild

Published on November 25th 2008.


The Laz Word: The People's Club v The Neighbours

KIRKBY isn’t the kind of place that would normally attract a legion of experts with posh voices, people boasting so many letters after their names you would think the alphabet wasn’t long enough.

Yet this occupation-force of barristers, town planners and architects have moved lock, stock and shopping trolley into Knowsley for the duel of the century.

I’m agnostic about Everton playing in Kirkby. Those who
say the club is abandoning the city are talking ball-ocks. Kirkby was created by Liverpool as a bolt-on overspill area and it’s as scouse as Kirkdale and Scottie Road

Behind the refined accents and big words is a battle to decide whether Kirkby should play host to Britain’s biggest BOGOF development. Buy a football stadium and they’ll give you one of the North’s biggest Tesco superstores.

Living up to its battle cry of “every little helps”, Tesco is also throwing in an expanded town centre shopping area, a mini Liverpool One on the Knowsley town's doorstep.

How the 40,000 souls of Kirkby will cope with all this retail space remains to be seen. Kirbyites (is that the correct handle?) deserve better shopping facilities, there’s no doubt. I have always thought Kirkby town centre a glorified shanty town.

But to get their retail Utopia they’ll have to accept a fortnightly invasion of the Goodison Army.

I’m agnostic about Everton playing in Kirkby. Those who say the club is abandoning the city are talking ball-ocks. Kirkby was created by Liverpool as a bolt-on overspill area and it’s as scouse as Kirkdale and Scottie Road.

The idea is for an authoritative person or body to decide sub-regional policy on matters such as policing, fire, road building, economic regeneration and possibly planning.

If the Kirkby plan fails, Evertonians had better get used to staying at Goodison Park till the fat-player rusts.

That though, is only half of the story. In an emerging age of 21st century self-rule, there’s talk of Liverpool City Region having its own powerful mayor or at least cross boundary cabinet.Such a person or body would probably rule a massive retail expansion in Kirkby and would upset the equilibrium. In other words, Liverpool, Sefton and St Helens would be well p***** off. It would, some may think, go against city regional interests to allow such a massive expansion in Kirkby because it would pose a threat to Liverpool City Centre – and particularly Liverpool One, as well as Sefton and St Helens.

The main opposition to the Kirkby Plan comes from Knowsley’s neighbours. Even West Lancashire has waded in because of the impact it would have on Skelmersdale's ‘virtual’ town centre that is believed to be hiding somewhere in Lancashire, hidden by traffic islands.

It’s a free for all and when the decision is reached by an independent government planning inspector, the screaming and the hollering will start. If Kirkby loses, Knowsley Council will shout foul play; if Kirkby wins, the neighbours will be restless.

The wrangle, though, could harm the much needed unifying collaboration across the city region.

I have doorstepped too many meetings which in some cases resembled bun-fights at the Not-OK Merseyside Coral, as tempers flared among politicians. More like Fiends and Neighbours if you ask me.

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20 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Professor ChucklebuttyNovember 25th 2008.

Dig, I really have not got the time to count all those people, some may be visitors or customers so we'd have to ask them-it'll take ages man and it's freezing. If you are aware of my Protest song entry, you will know that I am short on string vests at the moment so I'm firmly indoors. Can't we do something else instead. Why not just have tea and cakes at Miss Chuckley O'hairs new gaffe in Bald Street. We could wait there for the tram line to be built and then start the research. I could flog her some of the Herring and Gooseberry Jam. I really need to shift it, some jars are starting to explode.

stellaNovember 25th 2008.

This move will be a disaster for whichever club accepts the deal. Already Liverpool has an image in the worlds eyes of dole scrounging, drug addled layabouts in shell suits who smoke too much, overeat and are only good at stealing cars and wife beating.Moving the club to Kirkby will only confirm this fact. If people are honest they will admit Kirkby is a hell hole. Away fans will be abused, robbed, and attacked in droves by the underclass of Kirkby.Wait for the first headlines of "dole scum stole our tickets", "Thugs stone coach - baby injured", "Scouse thieves destroyed our happiness".The headlines are already written, editors are just waiting for names and faces.The best idea? Return Kirkby to farmland and let decent people enjoy football in Stanley Park.

DigNovember 25th 2008.

Ringo is still tied to the roof of The Echo Arena. He's turning into a bit of a monster. A bit like that David from The League of Gentleman. He's rarely had any human contact since I took him up there. I go up occasionally to fill up his fish head bucket, kick the dead seagulls towards him & take a new battery for his laptop. I think he's totally forgot how to communicate with fellow humans now. It's all my fault he told the world not to send any more fan mail. He doesn't receive it up there. I took him up to the roof and he thinks he's a bit closer to to God & above us now. Peace & love.

DigNovember 25th 2008.

You really should publish a book of poetry, prose and opinion Prof. It is an honour and an embarrassment to work for someone like you. Genius, lunatic or delightfully eccentric (aka posh lunatic) I'm really not sure. Whatever you are please don't ever change! I've already contacted Phil Daniels to read the lyrics if you are to release your singlet. He's up for it.

KlarkyMalarkyNovember 25th 2008.

Decent people dont care about football. Jobs, housing,education,health,the arts and decent cheap food are the only things worth debating.

baz s.November 25th 2008.

Stella is right. It is unbelievable that Liverpool are training children in the shadow of a factory belching out poisonsous chemicals and filthy smells. No wonder Liverpool dont have a youth team if they are training in the smog of Kirkby.A stadium there would be a joke. Theft would be rife and no sensible parent would allow a child near the place. Remember what happened to Rhys?Kirkby, as Stella says, should be returned to farms.

DigNovember 25th 2008.

What a ridiculous comment Klarky. To say decent people don't care about football is pathetic. Are they the ONLY topics worth debating? Maybe you don't enjoy talking about football but if they are the only things worth debating then you need to live, philosophize and get out more.

ANNNovember 25th 2008.

WHAT ABOUT THE PEOPLE WHO ARE LOSING THEIR HOMES FOR THE EVERTON AND TESCO PROJECT NO ON HAS GIVEN THEM A SECOND THOUGHT

DigNovember 25th 2008.

Whether you like it or not Everton, Tesco and the 'Towny' expansion is happening in Kirkby. All Saints Secondary School is closing.(Where the new boulevard will be). There's a huge devolpement happening at Ruffwood to accomodate the pupils from the closure of All Saints as we speak. A council run hotel and nursing home that back onto the field where the stadium and Tesco are to be built closed their doors months ago in anticipation of Mr.Reid & Kenwrights arrival. The council is making the necessary preperations for the arrival of it all. It's all just being kept quiet(ish) until Everton F.C., Tesco & the Council see a fit & appropriate time to make it common knowledge.

Professor ChucklebuttyNovember 25th 2008.

Lord Street, Lady Nora and Sir Digby, thank you for your kind words. I don't mind if Phil Daniels wants to release my poem/song, just so long as it doesn't include Debbie MacGee. He hasn't had a hit since that Blur song that was banned for advertising cigarettes - Park Drive. Lord Street you are probably right I may have been influenced by the great scottish poet Pete Burns. Best known of course for his epic work, Will ye nay stop spinnin' ma aroond. The style is, cylic pedometer, I believe. I am not sure if Mr Thomas Jones has the subtlety to carry it off although I am sure he would be up for wearing a vest. It may be possible to use it as a vehicle for Ringo's rehabilitation. I probably need to put a demo together. I'll see if Vasilly Potato is up for loaning me the banjo section from the philharmonic.

Lord StreetNovember 25th 2008.

Another triumph, Professor! Is your verse both poem and song, in the style of Robert Burns? I couldn't help noticing that the metre of your above words suggest it could be sung to the tune of Pontypridd popster Mr. Thomas Jones’ popular ditty 'Sex Bomb'. Was this intentional or are you sublimating genius directly through your pen?

Purple HeartNovember 25th 2008.

I support both Everton FC and Liverpool FC and can't see why they don't take the plunge and have a joint stadium. It's bonkers in a credit crunch thats gonna last 10 years to struggle to come up with the readies to build two stadiums a few miles apart.Just get on with it and stop the moaning. After a couple of seasons they be wondering what they were whingeing about. Liverpool could fly the flag for football with a fantastic shared ground. The money earned would be spent on players which would stop EFC getting hammered by the likes of Wigan.

London RoadNovember 25th 2008.

Delightful.

DigNovember 25th 2008.

Aren't you lovely Stella? Are you actually from Liverpool? It seems you haven't actually visited where Goodison currently is or visited Kirkby. When you have come back and rescind your comments and apologise.

Knotty NoraNovember 25th 2008.

Prof, you are getting confused. You did not put your protest song about string vests on here, but on Book Face. Keep up! Your string is getting tangled in the web.

Knotty NoraNovember 25th 2008.

John Shuttleworth, read this and weep!

So called KirkbyiteNovember 25th 2008.

Disgraceful of plastic journalist Neild to call Kirkby town centre a shanty town.Just remember the urban blight, poverty and chronic health problems of this area. It does not help underpriveleged persons to compare them with shanty slum dwellers. At any level it is offensive.Kirkby has some of the most marvellous green spaces in England. The ailing population maintains its cheerful chirpiness despite grinding poverty.Kirkbyites as you call them have fought and died in many wars for you.Disgusting to run this wonderful town into the ground.

mitch the pullerNovember 25th 2008.

Kirkby is bad but not as bad as Anfield where the red rubbish plays. Mancs would not be welcome in Kirkby so would have to make there own way their. but everone else would be welcome to spend money - it would be good to open a mcdonals near the ground and maybe have some more pubs and chippys for hungry supporters their.there will be more thefts but that it the away fans who will try and blame scousers like they did at heysel stadium when it was italians with guns not us.

zakNovember 25th 2008.

lets hope it goes ahead. what fun there will be for the media; TESCO ANNOUNCES RECORD THEFTS, AWAY FANS ROBBED OF MORE THAN THERE SOCKS, DRUGS ON SALE TO TODDLER FANS.The stories are already written.

DigNovember 25th 2008.

If you count the people employed in the Town Centre/ market and industrial estates and the various other businesses, Kirkby actually employs more people than almost every other town in Merseyside. Thousands of people and their families have a lot to be grateful to Kirkby for.

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