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Push continues to keep Everton in Liverpool

Hopes rose for the campaign to keep Everton in the city of Liverpool, reports the Liverpool Echo.

The Northwest Development Agency will conduct a study into the benefits of keeping Everton FC in the city boundary.

The agency, which hands out government cash to boost regeneration in the region, was asked to examine the economic benefits of Everton FC building its new stadium in Liverpool, rather than neighbouring borough Knowsley.

Today council leader Warren Bradley described it as a positive step and said he wants the study to examine a number of sites for keeping Everton in the city boundary.

He said: "A copy of the NWDA letter has gone back to Everton and I will be speaking to the club sooner rather than later.

"We've wanted to establish a line of funding on one particular site. But that dialogue has got to take place.

"The bridegroom and all his family are waiting for the bride - and the bride is Everton.

"This is a positive step which could have obvious economic benefits for the city of Liverpool.

"There has been too much talking about this. It's about time for hard evidence to be put forward.

"The council has got to be integral. We would appoint officers to oversee it because what's good for Liverpool FC is good for Everton.

"The council is willing to put support into this through planning and highways."

An Everton FC spokesman said: "Despite the fact that we have been in an exclusivity agreement with Knowsley council for some time, Liverpool city council has always been free to come forward and go public with what they believe to be a deliverable alternative.

"In terms of a viable site with a workable business plan this has so far not happened."

"We have been given a mandate by our supporters and are continuing negotiations with Knowsley and Tesco about the possibility of relocating to Kirkby."

A spokesman for campaign group Keep Everton In Our City (KEIOC) said: "We are encouraged by this news.

"Despite recent reports to the contrary, the world's leading stadia architects confirm that a stadium suitable for the future needs of Everton FC can be built on the Scotland Road Gateway site."

"This or a redeveloped Goodison Park must be investigated, it is essential that Everton remain a big club in a big city."

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