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The challenge facing Everton

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Approval from Liverpool City Council for their new £300m stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock is another step forward for Everton.   Unlike the club's previous plan to relocate away from th city in Kirkby, this proposal has the broad backing of supporters.

However, fulfilling the ambition of Everton becoming a top six club will not be easy, even with the backing of millionaire owner Farhard Moshri.   In age of financial fair play, clubs can no longer simply spend their way into the elite, as was the case for Chelsea and Manchester City.

In 2003-4, their first season under Roman Abramovich, Chelsea's wage bill soared from £54.5m, the joint fourth largest in the Premier League, to £114.8m, which, at the time, was almost 50 per cent larger than that of Manchester United.   Manchester City's wage bill went from £54m in 2007-8 to £233m by 2012-13.

This season's wage bill at Everton is £111m, up from £84m last season.   Their wage bill has now reached the level of Chelsea in 2003-4 and Liverpool in 2009-10.   The club is building on firm foundations, but they have to make up for lost time.