Choosing Sides

It is impossible to deny that there is a rift between Evertonians.

Choosing Sides

Choosing Sides

By @AlexLen95

After a truly lifeless season, the support of one of the most successful football clubs in England is significantly divided.

It would be incredibly difficult to gain a true understanding of how many Blues fall onto either side of the Kenwright argument, yet one thing is certain: This widening gulf has become more prominent than ever before.

The controversial topic has generated more and more Evertonians to voice their personal opinions. Everybody connected with the club has their own thoughts on the matter. Some have no concern over how the club is run whereas some would prefer a radical overhaul of the board.

There is no unanimous decision and perhaps there never will be one.

So rather than go on about my personal opinion (I’ve already written about the board at length), I set about bringing together the thoughts of others.

There is a great range of feeling among fans currently, and it needs exhibiting. Therefore it is not my intention here to support anything pro or anti Kenwright – just to find correlations.

A fitting starting point for this process comes from Daniel Keogh, an Evertonian who like myself has never seen the Blues win a trophy because of our age. He opens with a quotation from financial expert Joe Beardwood, who made controversial comments regarding the club’s finances and ambition:

“To finish 10th, ninth or eight and turn over a big team at Goodison Park every once in a while is success”

The words of Joe Beardwood rang home some harsh truths for Everton fans. For me personally it was the final in a handful of final straws of my patience with the ownership of Everton Football Club.

The biggest problem for me is the same old stories of new ownership and new stadium plans which do the rounds in the tabloids annually (and normally coincide with the advertisement of season ticket renewals).

Then there is the arrogance of the owner, Bill Kenwright, Everton’s so-called ‘Biggest Fan’ who refuses to sell up for anything less than a big profit.

Although I agree with the method of not selling up to the first big billionaire who comes along, the club has apparently been on sale for years now and the same old excuses are being used despite clubs such as Newcastle, Manchester City and QPR all being taken over whilst Everton are ‘for sale.’

Kenwright has pulled the wool over Everton fans’ eyes for too long now and he’s pretty good at it too. After all, he is a theatre producer.

The quicker his supporters realise this, the quicker the club can move forward.

Goodison Park by @KevenBanks
Goodison Park by @KevenBanks

The main points of Daniel’s argument are evident: The words of Beardwood, the board’s secrecy, Kenwright’s self-declaration as a huge Everton fan and his attitude towards selling the club that comes as a result of this.

Whether you love or loathe Kenwright, surely Dan’s position is enough to make any football fan who cares about their club empathise. After all, the objective of the football is to win and be successful.

And Everton Football Club is doing the complete opposite of this.

Neil Adderley expresses his opinions and feelings in the following piece:

As Good as it Gets

Both on and off the field of play Everton, today’s Everton, is a mediocre, middling, mid-table Premier League football club.

It is difficult to escape this statement of fact.

However, should we, as supporters, not only accept but even embrace the reality of what ‘our’ club has become?

If the narrative of the current custodians and the local press are to be believed, then yes, we should.

Should “finishing 10th, ninth or eighth” and “turning over a big team at Goodison Park every once in a while” be deemed a success?

Well yes, if you frame your response within how the club has been and is currently operated, it is.

If you have embraced the narrative and come to terms with it, then you will agree, there are no practical solutions, likewise, there is no white knight, no miraculous cure.

It is what it is.

You don’t whine like a spoiled child, there will be no moaning. Only an acceptance of the state of things as they actually exist.

It is, indeed, not rocket science.

This is Everton, your Everton, you are a supporter, you go the game.

And yes, this is as good as it gets.

What Neil and Dan both share in their views is a dissatisfaction for the “truth” and “fact” of Everton’s bleak situation.

The club is neither up nor down. It is slap-bang in the middle, and this will not change if everything stays as it is. The current squad is over the course of a season too good to be relegated, yet not good enough to really challenge for a trophy and succeed in the league simultaneously.

And so we are quite simply existing. This particular word has been incredibly significant of late, especially following the publication of the article ‘Existence’, written by @LowerGwladysLad.

Its mass popularity came as a result of how well it summed up Everton’s stagnancy. Here is an extract in which you can gain an understanding of the article’s main point:

Existence

Basically, in my opinion, long before Beardwood’s presentation, the fact of the matter is that Everton are just existing; at the Club there is no such thing as striving to become something better, no objective, no financial shrewdness or business target, no likelihood of investment or change to push the Club forward, no likelihood of a new ground (or need for one, in Beardwood’s opinion) and ultimately no hope for Evertonians.

To sum it up, I believe that more and more Everton fans (the questionnaire drawn up by Grand Old Team, in partnership with other well-known Everton sites, represents this) are now feeling this way, and in my opinion they have every right to be concerned.

Some Blues want a lot more, and expect a lot more for this Football Club, whereas others are happy to bide their time, coast along and continue to plough money into Everton – that is fair enough, who am I to tell those people what to do or not to do.

But what angers me most is that these people do not see a return on their investment and efforts. Their investment and efforts are NOT matched by the current Everton Board or the mentality of the Club.

They have no vision, no plan, no model, no acumen, no interest in improving, yet people will always go the game, pay their money and carry on, and whilst they do this the Goodison hierarchy feel no need to make alterations, or look to better themselves and MORE IMPORTANTLY – this Club.

Existence – it is just what we do, until someone or something happens, but how long will it take?

The same depressing point is raised here as in the previous writings. The lack of achievement and obvious ambition is incredibly frustrating.

Although there is a great divide of opinion at the moment, how long can this trophy drought be allowed to go on for before everybody becomes incensed by it? Thirty years? Even more?

With each passing season, it gets increasingly more unbearable.

In the final guest piece, Evertonian Mark Godfrey, editor of the brilliant quarterly magazine @TheFootballPink, develops further upon the prominent themes of this article:

It’s time for change

I have no doubt that Bill Kenwright is a ‘proper’ fan of Everton, whatever that title may actually mean. The issue as I see it is his belief that he alone has the best interests of Everton at heart and the necessary wherewithal to deliver quality on the pitch and the stadium required to compete for honours with an increasingly select band of clubs at the forefront of English football.

Some may call this arrogance, others fear – the fear that if he did allow other parties to invest or take over entirely then horror scenarios that have played out at the likes of Leeds or Portsmouth may transpire at Everton too.

Personally I understand that.

I think the Chairman is rightfully accused of holding on too tight and is probably under pressure from his current partners on the board to hold out for the highest possible price before selling.

Ultimately I think Kenwright has done some good things during his time at the helm of the club but his ambitions have been hamstrung by his inability to attract the necessary investment to be able to follow through with projects like Kings Dock.

In turn this has seen the team (firstly of Moyes and now Martinez) hit the ‘glass ceiling’.

If Everton are to truly mix it with the elite of English football and have world class, 21st century facilities, it’s unlikely that will be as a direct result of Kenwright and the current board. They’ve been there too long now. It’s time for change.

Bill Kenwright

Mark’s conclusion sums up the overall feeling of many Evertonians: In whatever form it may come, “change” is most certainly in order for Everton to progress – and no matter how much I think about this whole murky issue, my conclusion remains the same: Something has to change if the Blues are to fulfill their potential.

At this point I want to reiterate how my motive here is not to lean either in either a pro or anti Kenwright direction. It is more than about simply ‘choosing sides’.

This article’s purpose is to show that the divide between fans is actually not as large as it seems – because above all else, Evertonians just want to see their club succeed.

Surely every Blue desires to see this historic club win trophies once again – and if that is expressed with dislike for Bill and the board, then so be it. There is nothing wrong with anger when expressed appropriately, for it is an understandable result of watching a football club tread water for 20 years.

All Evertonians will share that intense desire to see the club succeed. It is what drives us to buy tickets for games and travel lengthy distances to away fixtures (or put up with an incredibly dodgy online stream). Most importantly, it instils constant hope and dedication.

This notion of caring for the club is what inspires the dissatisfaction at the current stagnation – it is very understandable that fans are upset with the lack of ambition and silverware.

And so ultimately, these correlations in the views of Evertonians mean the fan-base can desire and demand more success together.

Whether you are in favour of the board or you oppose it, I hold no doubt that you want to see the Blues do the best they possibly can because you care about them.

Everton Football Club is not achieving anything near to what it should be and it is in danger of being left behind – this is why there is a call for change.

I find it appropriate to conclude with something that everybody connected with Everton Football Club in one way or another should be able to agree on. Regardless of your opinion, it is integral to never forget that famous motto of ours and everything it stands for.

Nil Satis Nisi Optimum

 

Follow Alex Leonard On Twitter
Follow Alex Leonard On Twitter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alex Leonard

Everton and Widnes fan. Studying English at Sheffield Hallam University.

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