Along the banks of the river Mersey the most ambitious civic building since the Victorian age is beginning to take shape.
The new home of Everton Football Club on Bramley Moore Dock is being pieced together one giant slab of concrete and steel at a time.
A skeletal structure of a soccer stadium is now visible on the Liverpool skyline and the dream of a brand new venue, which the club has held for so long, feels more tangible than ever.
At present, however, progress on the stadium construction is one of the few things Everton fans have to savor.
Just a week after the club updated fans about the installation of a second roof truss on the North stand it revealed the most exciting future prospect on the pitch was leaving.
Having been with the club since he was 11, it was announced Anthony Gordon will not grace the new stadium as an Everton player and has joined Newcastle United.
It’s a cruel blow for supporters of the Toffees who surely felt the 21-year-old would be one of the early stars of Bramley Moore Dock.
But his departure is far from the only issue the club is wrestling with.
Two days before its stadium update Everton was removing another fundamental member of the staff; manager Frank Lampard.
With the team lying second from bottom, it now appears former Burnley manager Sean Dyche will become head coach. This comes after the owner’s first choice ex-Leeds United coach Marcelo Biers apparently rejected the role.
A steady pair of hands to follow a more ambitiously-minded appointment, Dyche fits the pattern of hiring Everton has had since David Moyes left for Manchester United a decade ago.
Moyes spent 10 years in charge on Merseyside before then and managed a couple of strong seasons where the team challenged for the Champions League.
He often complained the club lacked the financial capabilities to be a more consistent presence at the top of the table, a complaint most of his seven permanent successors cannot have.
Since Farhad Moshiri bought the club in 2016, transfer expenditure has been up there with any other club in the league, the trouble is there has often appeared to be a lack of strategy behind the spending.
The quality of players acquired and the level of the manager chosen has often been bold, it’s just not come together on the pitch.
Evidence of this lack of joined-up thinking can be found in managerial decisions.
Every single coach Everton has hired since David Moyes has had experience managing another Premier League club.
In many cases, like with Roberto Martinez, Ronald Koeman and Marco Silva, they were plucking the best talent from a side beneath Everton prestige-wise in the English soccer pyramid.
Banking on a coach who’s proved themselves in the same competition has logic to it, but when it is the only type of hire you have to question if the horizons amongst the administrators are broad enough.
Why is a club in Everton’s position not able to source these coaches themselves?
It’s a methodology almost entirely in opposition to rivals where data and analytics are at the heart of a long-term strategic approach.
Despite historically being well below Everton, Brentford and Brighton have double the points the Toffees do.
This has been achieved through smart decision-making rather than outspending the Toffees.
When Brentford lost head coach Dean Smith to Aston Villa it appointed Thomas Frank who led them to the Premier League and is now one of the most widely admired managers in the division.
He was chosen because he understood deeply the club’s philosophy having worked there as an assistant.
Brighton and Hove Albion’s boss Graham Potter was picked up by Chelsea this season, but rather than go for the tried and tested, Italian Roberto De Zerbi was hired whose experience lay with Italian minnows Sassuolo and Benevento.
Again he was brought in because he understood the long-term strategy. The evidence of his suitability is clear to see, the improvements made under Potter have been maintained and even improved on.
Big name disappointments
When it is not picking up the managers developed by other teams, Everton has tended to hire big-name managers on their way down.
Champions League winners Carlo Ancelotti and Rafa Benitez have both graced the Goodison Park dugout but failed to deliver performances that improved on their less famous counterparts.
All of this is maddeningly frustrating for Everton fans, who know how big the potential of the club is.
They look at teams like Brentford and Brighton & Hove Albion who have a fraction of the top-flight experience and wonder how they could strategize this much better than their club.
The sentiment was captured by former Liverpool player and childhood Evertonian Jamie Carragher.
“Why does every Everton manager fail? he said.
“Lampard, Champions League winning managers like Benitez and Ancelotti, Silva, Koeman has been around the world. So when a club fails, you have to look at the top. It’s a mess.”
“There were no banners against Frank Lampard, they were against Farhad Moshiri and the board. I have said Everton is the worst-run club in the country. That wasn’t a flippant remark as an ex-Liverpool player, I’m saying it as an ex-Everton fan. When I made that comment, Everton got in touch with me and I admired it.”
“Nobody knows a football club better than their own supporters.”
The impressive progress of the stadium on Bramley Moore Dock shows the Everton hierarchy can make long-term strategic decisions that will set the club in good stead for the future.
They just need to apply the same approach to matters on the field.