Upon receiving numerous tweets demanding why I so heavily criticise groups such as The Blue Union and Everton Board Out, I have decided to relent and attempt to put my feelings down in writing.
Side by Side As We Sing Along Together
I am no Dickens and in criticising others I realise I am leaving myself open to similar. I would urge those tempted to, to look at the content of what I have written rather than the grammar or spelling.
So here goes, where do I begin? I am sure most Blues are more than aware of the group named the Blue Union. As I am sure most Blues are aware at their calls for “change of board,” and “new ownership.”
And the famous “where is the arteta money bill?”
Now it seems they have an answer to all our problems, deciding at the most recent public meeting that ground re-development is the best way for the club to move forward.
The idea behind it is that a re-developed Goodison Park would give us a greater capacity, the corporate boxes we have lacked, and in doing so an increase in turnover – which will make our beloved club a much more attractive proposition for potential buyer’s/investor’s.
I can’t argue with this reasoning, in the main, because it’s nothing new, and there lies the rub.
We have long known the grand old lady is looking a little older over the past few years. The licks of paint each summer seem to be achieving less and less.
The board which the BU so heavily criticise have themselves investigated this as they felt it was also the best way to move forward.
Now in saying earlier I am no Charles Dickens, I am also no Carol Vorderman, my grasp on numbers is even worse than my grasp on language. However, the club seemingly to me, are in a better position to assess the funding that would be needed for such a project.
At the BU meeting an architect, and I might add a respected architect with an impressive portfolio, has put forward again the designs which he feels are perfect in order to redevelop Goodison Park.
The plans which I have read look great, and if the BU can somehow manage to get the local media and the club itself to look at these plans around a table with the architect we might actually get somewhere.
However, the stumbling blocks begin to appear when things start to get serious.
The reasons for this are simple (A) Funding: The plans seem to suggest the recent TV boom money can pay for it.
Great idea but the planners have no idea of what the clubs financial obligations are for the next four years. Neither do I, but I would assume it is earmarked (not ring fenced) and will go towards new contracts with increased wages, transfer fees moving forward and paying off the ongoing debt.
(B) The club, after events that have been documented by national and local media have no interest in dealing with the BU.
Whether rightly or wrongly this means however sound the idea is it will not move forward under the banner of the BU.
This raises an interesting dilemma for the group (well it should but they refuse to admit the dilemma exists). I have seen numerous blues put forward the idea of re-branding the BU and potentially having new figure heads. Same message just different banners as it were.
This would help facilitate dialogue with the club and hopefully local media.
This idea has been steadfastly refused by the group. And it’s because of this, in my opinion the Blue Union will continue to hold meetings, continue to tweet the same things we have seen every day (except during Martinez first season when everyone forgot we had a board) for the past few years.
As I said, they bring nothing new in way of planning or execution to the table. And I have seen nothing with my own dealings with people representing them on twitter to make me think they have any clue on how to appeal to the wider fan base.
Which brings me to the new group on the block ‘Everton board out.’ This group were brought to my attention by someone retweeting a proposed meeting.
Lots of angry and aggressive tweets later I am still none the wiser as to what this group plan to do.
Their agenda seems to be to target individuals. But that seems to be it. I’ve openly criticised the approaches of both groups and I have come under an avalanche of abuse from people which really does make me want to be on their side, great tactic lads and lasses.
I’ve been asked far too many times to mention “what’s my idea then” and I have tried to explain it each time before again being disregarded, insulted and patronised (again great tactics you lot really are great at PR).
I don’t intend to go to the meeting on Saturday and I must state for the record I have not spoken to (to my knowledge) anyone from the organising group. So in no way am I saying it is them who were abusive.
What I will say is I am tired of meeting after meeting and the fans being no further down the line, the anger and aggression from me and towards me does point out one thing, our passion.
We all want this great club of ours to be what we know it is and what as fans we deserve. If a fan doesn’t agree with your own ideas please don’t disregard them.
The only way any of us can hope to make a difference and establish change is to be united. Which is why I will put forward what I think is a sensible way to move forward.
Canvass the masses
Go out on a match day outside Goodison, as a group decide upon a range of questions to ask fans.
What do you like about our club?
What can our club do better?
Are you happy with the current board?
What would you like to see happen in next 5 years?
And in closing ask if we can obtain an email address in order to let them know the survey results.
(these are just suggestions but I would advise one question to lead to a positive answer, this shows no set agenda to get negative answers)
With the results of this canvass attempt to open up dialogue with the Liverpool Echo or Radio City. Failing that a number of fan groups who take part in podcasts.
Then if the local media are more accessible, pressure can be turned up with a view to meeting with the club.
This is the only way in my opinion these groups can begin to open up to the masses of fans that pay to watch the blues each week. This is a way to start the process again, find out what angers the majority of fans and get some sort of response to it from local media.
It’s win win for me. If the local media are not interested straight away you have more numbers interested in your cause than ever before. This would be hard work and people on twitter have said as much to me but what struggle was ever won without hardship?
My main message from all this is, I hope, moving forward, fan groups will stop alienating people who simply ask them questions or even try suggesting ideas.
At the end of the day the only way we can only move forward is together.
Nil Satis Nisi Optimim shouldn’t just be applied to the club, but to us fans as well.