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Fans Focus Meeting
November 2001

A belated and ominous report from Ian MacDonald on the latest meeting. 
Representatives from the major local Everton supporters groups
 met with a leading group of senior executives from Everton FC
 to discuss a wide range of current issues of concern to Everton fans

 

 THOSE PRESENT

 
The Club
Michael Dunford, CEO Everton 
Graeme Sharp, Fans Liaison Officer
David Harrison, Club Secretary 
Darren Griffiths, Press Officer 

The Fans
Kevin Nolan, Ted Brooks and Jean Healy, Everton Shareholders Association
Steve Heneghan and Bruce Rodgers, Everton Disabled Supporters Association
Barry Murray and Ian Macdonald, Everton Independent Supporters Association
 

 Jim King, by Ian MacDonald

 

First of all, I mentioned the recent sad loss of a great Evertonian and servant of the club, Jim King.  Not only was Jim a key member of this group but the Chairman of the Official Supporters Club for many years.  A lot of sacrifices were made by Jim over the years for the benefit of many fans.   

I also took the opportunity to thank the club for their acknowledgement of Jim and their support at his funeral with the kind gesture of opening up of the 'Legends Bar' after his burial for his family and many friends.  Jim will be missed but not forgotten; he was a very special fan. 

Michael Dunford suggested we had a minute's silence to gather our thoughts about Jim, a nice gesture for a much-respected man.

 

 MEETING NOTES

 
Once again, the club shows that it will listen to the fans it's not lip service.  These meetings arise out of the quest and thirst for knowledge of our club.  The fans want to help the club by such meetings, not throw more mud at it (there's been enough of that over the years...)  Answers provided by the club executives are shown in italic's. 

I can't imagine any Evertonian really wants the club to fail in its present form.  I personally feel the club is turning itself around slowly but surely.  The likes of Leeds, Chelsea and the North East clubs show that from the abyss you can become a force again in the transfer market.  We have the fan base, an integral part of this big picture; the decision-makers of this club have the custody not only of our club but our dreams it is quite a responsibility.

I proposed discussion of the following topics as frankly and openly as possible.  Mr Dunford suggested that, from now on, a more structured formal agenda on key issues should be prepared.  To this aim, those present where asked which subjects should become the main issues. The list included the following: 

  • The Kings Waterfront, 
  • Ticketing, 
  • Reports back from the company's AGM, 
  • Facilities and Amenities and Marketing. 

These main topics would be circulated and any additional questions needing to be answered were to be sent in before a scheduled meeting.  It was also suggested that Andy Oldknow and Ian Ross would be invited on rotation.  

Mr Dunford also asked roughly how many people of each group they where representing:  

  • Everton Shareholders Association: 900
  • Everton Disabled Supporters Association: 200
  • Everton Independent Supporters Association: 200

I can only guess why this question was asked maybe there have been complaints along the lines of Who are we to represent the fans?  I don't know but Barry and I can only speak on behalf of our members really, can't we?  I do feel that there has been / is an effort among some fans to discredit those at these meetings.  Why?  You tell me!  But I thought Mr Dunford should have been clearer in his motivation for asking how many each of us represents.

 

 MEDIA IMAGE

 
Sadly, this has come under fire of late so soon after the euphoria of our new board and the promises that we were never going back to the old days under the last tenure, which was deplorable towards its end and a major factor in its downfall.  This is what is perceived outside amongst a large amount of fans.  

I too have been guilty of this piecemeal giving out of information not realising that putting out the results of these meeting to just the Everton websites and our own members is not enough.  Analyzing it, I guess less than 5% of Evertonians are on line with computers and only so much can be passed on by word of mouth.  

Recent scandalous newspaper accusations without direct reply have not helped.  True, some of the stuff printed against the club and its board was not worthy of a reply but the fans need constantly informing about current topics and rebuttal of accusations.  

Most clubs would not even consider meetings such as these with the fans but most clubs never burnt their bridges as much as this club did with their fans.  It can never be totally transparent with all the business surrounding the club, but the old adage 'No news is good news', does not auger well in the football business at Goodison, particularly.  

What can be done to alleviate the overworked rumour factory at Goodison?  What about having The Evertonian perhaps print  with the findings of these meetings for a start?

In support of this topic, I read out a letter from a fan on the BlueKipper website in which the fan said that, since we are mostly grown-ups, we can take the good and bad news of the finances, etc.  It's the questions which go unanswered that frustrate us or finding out later on a certain topic.  

This went down like a lead balloon.  Mr Dunford commented that he has never known a club's fans wanting information all the time, it was insatiable.  He asked me what other club treats its fans like Everton for information and why where we like this?  

I responded by saying that we still believe this is our club: Boards are only custodians of our club answerable to us for their decisions.  We are like Manchester City's fans (who incidentally had an ordinary fan on the board at one time); we never deserted our club in its many hours of need unlike Sheffield Wed and Coventry...  

We stood by loyally and helped this club of ours over the last hurdles of the relegation dog fights.  I truly believe we would be in at least the First Division if it was not for our fans and that is one reason why we should be respected for our ever-quizzical nature.  When we stop asking about our club then I think it will be a worrying time.  Sure we can't obviously be told everything about the team and the club but please don't think we are nuisances.   

A lot of damage has been done by our local papers towards our club of late.  Why?  I don't know.  It is the aim to sell papers on Merseyside but I think the opposite is happening many Blue are starting not to read the constant negatives and mischief-making about the club.  [Some examples: McNulty Rant; ] But still many fans read more into the printed word and want the club to rebuke this, that, and the other... but you can't be putting counter statements out everyday of the week! 

To be honest, some of the accusations should be treated with the contempt they deserve and ignored.  We should be symbiotic in our relationship with the media not at each other's throats.  It is all very sad and the best way is for the team to perform well on the field.  Then, if the same reporters continue to sneer at us, they will be shown up for what they are, along with their hidden agendas.

 

 KINGS DOCK

 
First of all I'd like to say what a fantastic achievement for Everton to win preferred bidder status, going from being laughed at to pole position, a remarkable deed.  I'd also like to thank the EfKD group for their Herculean works in promoting the case for Everton during the decision-making process.  

Of course, the Everton board deserves a pat on the back for their energies and vision so far whatever happens from this point.  It could transform the club from paupers to Kings again, it's that important I hope the board's business-like approach in winning this bid is transferred fully to the club at present.  The slow turning around of fortunes could become a canter and the long suffering fans desperately want this to happen.

Is there any update that can be passed onto the fans on the behind the scenes work involving our bid for this magical site?  Is everything going according to plan?  A recent meeting with Sir Joe Dwyer of Liverpool Vision with a member of the EfKD bodes well for our bid. 

As previously stated in the last meeting, work is feverishly being carried out behind the scenes for "the most important development since the docks were built" as Kevin Nolan put it.  A lot of Mr Dunford's time is spent these days on this work, with Bill Kenwright and Paul Gregg meeting regularly on the 'steering group'. We must not forget that this bid is not being just driven by Everton but the three other main parties. 

Are we on course to satisfy the financial criteria of Liverpool Vision Why was the final decision delayed yet again until Spring 2002? 

The club is effectively forced to have a period of silence until the end of May.  The bid, we must remember, is to benefit the Whole of Merseyside not just Everton FC.  The aim is to get Objective Qne funding secured totalling over 35M.  The stadium will cost 125M with the whole Enterprise valued at nearly 300M.  

May I suggest an overall project manager for all the bodies concerned with this bid to move things along more fluidly?  

All the main issues of transport and funding are progressing well for the final application.  We hope to have the handing over of the new stadium in 2005.  

Will EDSA and other fans' groups be brought in for the final drafts of this exciting venture?  I'm sure all aspects will be covered as to what fans will want there for this new era.  Sunderland was very co-operative in listening to their fans' wishes, enforcing the bond between club and supporter.  I would think that a fact finding mission of new stadia pros and cons will be done when building work hopefully commences, a kind of melting pot with all the good points thrown in for our ultimate benefit.  

Is the top layer of the Goodison pitch to be relocated to the new stadium?  Issues like our departed fellow fans' ashes and urns should be addressed with dialogue of those close to this special sensitive subject.  

Every step towards the 2005 date will be discussed in the proper manner with the fans from EDSA's special requirements to seating with the sensitive subjects as departed fans ashes taken on as a high priority. 

What is the time scale now with planning permission etc?  The consensus amongst some of the fans is that they want to keep helping this process along.  I think this is borne out of fear of losing out on the final lap and wanting to be a part of our new future.  I say this is admirable and a good thing.  After all, the stadium is for the fans, is it not?  

I think the next announcement from the club will be the preferred building contractor.  Sunderland and other clubs with new stadium will be looked into and used as a well of information for the benefit of the fans.  

The naming of the New Stadium.  This again is a sensitive subject.  A recent survey on an Everton web site was in overwhelming favour for the name just to be 'The Kings Dock'.  A name like 'the Friends Provident St Mary's stadium' does little to enhance and respect our heritage.  I think when this subject is addressed, Evertonians will be forceful in their opinions.  

Recently, Mr Peter Ridsdale has thrown his thoughts on this subject regarding naming rights for the new Leeds stadium.  He has proposed the bidding should be in the region of 100 million to a Blue Chip company his reasoning is that the name is for life and therefore should not come cheap.  Fair dinkum is all I can say... but caution still in that the colour red should not be incorporated in our scheme with a sponsor.  For example Pepsi would be preferred to Coca Cola.

Naming rights will be addressed when appropriate.  

For the record I know that we will be the biggest single shareholder in the Kings Waterfront Development; Bill Kenwright wanted 100% ownership at first but logistics would not allow it.  Yet still I hear of other people who supposedly should or could Have bought the club when Johnson finally sold out. 

So I ask these people now would the same suitors have come up with such a development as the Kings Waterfront and would they have made it happen any quicker?  Without sounding like a broken record, the club cost 22M with a lot of baggage and only one consortium did the deal after a year of the club being up for sale.  So, please, let the man work on our behalf, and stop with the constant arrows....  Deep down, you know where we would be without his decisive action at the time.  

For those who crave for more information about this vitally important subject, please read this excellent report of a meeting with Liverpool Vision's Sir Joe Dwyer at in which a fuller update is provided.

 

 EVERTON FINANCES

 
Our current standing with the bank manager obviously could be better but I have noticed that the limelight of our financial plight has been dimmed with other clubs in a far worse state than ours.  

There are as reported of late a lot more clubs than Everton in far greater spiralling debts, Chelsea, Leeds. Coventry and Newcastle to name but a few.  Our debts are deemed manageable now after a nightmare time of accruing debts from the previous regime.  Funds will be made available when and where necessary for playing staff etc. 

A fan's share issue a la Celtic: is there any chance of the fans helping the club out of this financial nightmare?  Without the fans there is no club.  They must always be embraced on issues that endanger the club.  And the financial restrictions do just that.  

On the fans share issue as previously mentioned there have been meetings with the instigators of the Celtic issues.  I think the fans share issue will be brought up at the next AGM. 

Will SFX / Clear Channel invest in us directly?  

SFX/ Clearchannel will not be investing in Everton; they are strictly the agents to bring in top acts to the new stadium no more than that. 

Pay per view, do we get a set fee or is it based on subscription?

Pay per view funds is divided as follows; 50% equal shared out, 25% on merit and 25% on appearance.  Each time a game is screened the clubs are given 100,000.  Viewing figures for each game will not be divulged till the end of the season, although when United play I think their figures number more than all the other games put together.  If I remember rightly there was 150,000 season ticket sold at the beginning of the season for pay per view.

 

 ATTENDANCES

 
After a poor start with Spurs less than 30,000, which would have been unthinkable 5 years ago the gates are on the increase again.  Against Newcastle a gate of nearly 38,000 appeared due mainly to an upturn in the team's performance and away fans taking up their allocation.  Even the defeat was made easier to accept due to the overall team performance.  Eighteen attempts on goal and thirteen corners to the oppositions three tells its own story.If we can maintain this level of entertainment, I'm sure we can fill the ground again, an improvement in the team's performance is the best way.  

But what else can be done to get the long suffering fans back?  I previously suggested placing a facility in the city centre to book forthcoming games without having to come down to Goodison.  The likes of HMV and Virgin could be agents to take cash off fans in town with an on-line Goodison.  Not everybody has credit cards... Any updates on this idea? 

It was also noticeable that long queues formed outside Goodison for tickets on the Newcastle matchday.  This spontaneity of support could be alleviated by easier sources of obtaining tickets, such as the above idea.  But any new methods of obtaining tickets must be well publicised.  The recent Newcastle game of nearly 38,000 showed that the best way to attract fans is to play good football that is the nature of the beast.  Six low-key games have been identified though and will be marketed accordingly.  Saturdays and when games fall on the monthly salary pay-days show an increase in attendance.  

If we hopefully maintain an upturn in on-the-field fortunes, can the away section in the Upper Bullens (when not taken up by the away support) be opened up for the home support?

I noticed that Blackburn offer another child ticket free when purchasing an adult and child ticket; would this work at Goodison?

The new crowd railings for queues (hopefully) situated at the Park End ticket office are welcome for keeping order but could they not also have some sort of roof cover added for the increasingly inclement weather and onset of winter.  Ask a sponsor perhaps. Any update on this?

It was looked into the roofing of the barrier area in the Park End but it would obscure the ticket screening and look-unbecoming .It is being explored about a concertina yawning from the ticket office during inclement weather. Mr Dunford was genuinely concerned about queuing fans getting wet with the onset of winter.

The freezing of season ticket prices goes to show that the club does listen to the fans, as does the introduction of junior season tickets.  Could a step further be taken to do Dad and Lad tickets for obstructed views and child individual tickets for games like Sunderland does for say 6? 

I know the club is wary of abuse of tickets but a height restriction of under 12 is workable like theme parks.  Last season, after the Tranmere debacle, 35,000 fans turned up on a Wednesday night due to special pricing 4,000 extra than expected with just 40 complaints from season ticket holders  

Are we exploring the idea of away season tickets?  Personally I think the present scheme is fine it favours the lower wage fan.  I never want finance to evaluate our fans.  The bringing forward of buying season tickets has been suggested, City and Utd have done this for years, with added incentives to buy early.   

Away season tickets like at Leeds will not be forthcoming.  I think the present system of ticket stubs is the fairest way. I never want our fans to be determined by their income.  Never forget we live in an area where our fan base are living in the main on low incomes.

 

 MEDIA DEAL

 
Is the catalyst for this to happen the Kings Dock?  Could NTL pulling out when they did have been a blessing in disguise if this is the case?  If not, is the issue now dead seeing as no one has done a media deal in over nine months? 

There is nothing on the horizon at this moment in time.  There is to be a new club Web site though in November with the facility to view our matches on a delayed basis.

 

 NETHERTON AND BELLEFIELD

 
Any progress in identifying a location for the new academy? 

There has been another meeting with the City Council and things are moving well on this important front. There were three sites identified; hopefully the preferred site can be secured.  Unlike some other clubs, all Everton's teams will be under one umbrella in a new complex.

Years ago, Open Days at Bellefield were a great success' can they be brought back with a ticket only system?  The dinners are good with the players but a lot of kids and the tacticians amongst us want to see their heroes train!

Present day health and safety regulations make this idea of Open Days impossible; also, the lack of car-parking facilities at Bellefield.

Although at least four times a year, school kids are allowed in to see their heroes, supervised.  Demand would be great though and the club would disappoint rather than satisfy this demand.  So it will have to wait until we get the new Academy / Training ground for fans in general to see these thoroughbreds.

Supporters groups; how much contact do they receive such as newsletters or offers for them to meet players?  Coming from distance they should be embraced more in my opinion.

The Golden Goal tickets should be sold for sole benefit of the youth system and a bit more re-vamped in prizes for more punters.  John Munroe of the Everton Supporters Southport branch suggested that we follow what Glasgow Rangers did when they changed the Golden Goal to the 'Rising Stars' ticket in which all proceeds go to the youth academy.  On the first day of sale, Rangers sold 76,000 tickets to a crowd of 50,000 and I thought the Scots were tight!  Can this idea be taken on board and given publicity? 

The 'Golden goal ' is for the sole benefit of the Academy as printed although it was taken on board that a large poster depicting this should be next to the seller on the day to state this fact loud and proud and rightly pull at the heartstrings.  

I think more than a lot of subjects the youth set up is close to our hearts. Funds will always be welcome for I think we have got a great staff working with the youth and given more tools could even do better.  Remember they won the Under-19's last season and where the backbone of the reserves winning championship team.

Scouting in Ireland and general; how are we getting on?  How is our Scandinavian scout Mr Nielson faring?  We need a goalkeeper and midfielder in my humble opinion 

John Ebbrell now has a room set aside in Bellefield where he can take in any game played in Europe and assess players.  It follows on the theme set by Perugia in Italy.  

Mr Nielson I was told is currently working his socks off.  I have noticed one or two Scandinavian lately coming over for trails, so it may pay off.  I think, pound for pound, these Scandinavians are worth a good look at.

 

 MARKETING AND THE MEGASTORE

 
Our new marketing manager, Andy Oldknow has announced a five-year plan.  What exactly does this entail and what are his aims and hopes?

Andy Oldknow will speak on his plans at a later date although those privileged to have been at the Shareholders Forum will know more of his plans.  Mr Oldknow must be making inroads as the merchandise shop is starting to make money.

How about placing more offers of store merchandise around the ground inside to a captive audience?  The Bayern Munich game on video is most welcome; how about the Golden Vision video?  

Demand for Everton videos are the lowest in the Premiership, similarly with our neighbours.  The 'Golden Vision' video is still in the pipeline.

I know everything regarding a noticeable leap forward revolves around what goes on in the field of play.  In theory, a successful Everton will mean a successful megastore. etc.  The Manchester-based marketing agency, exactly what role will they play in our future aims?  Is there to be a shop within a shop in Wades Smith for Everton Merchandise? 

This is still being explored by Guy Buzzard, an ex-manager of Wades Smith.  I have also had good reports of Guy in his new job. 

Will the shop be fully stocked for Christmas? 

Provisions are being made for additional stock and it was agreed that the quality of items sold was greatly improved.

How about approaching John Keith for the production of his One to Ones with the great Dixie Dean on tape, ready for Christmas?  His new book is about to hit the shops about Dixie and I'm sure these tapes would be a good accompaniment.  

[Editor's Note: John Kieth's Dixie Dean tapes were released in 1997-98.  Click here for details]

 

 PITCH WIDTH

 
 

 PLAYERS

 

First of all, I am happier with the start to the new season.  Except for the performances against the two teams playing in red and Crystal Palace our perennial embarrassment and financial suicide tendencies came to the fore yet again.  I have looked for the two most important things for me personally after last season and they are passion and commitment.  I have not been disappointed to date, except at the games mentioned above.  We need to build on this decent start not stand still with the present squad it is fragile and small for the demands ahead.

Normally when we get beaten, especially at home, there are phone calls from irate or upset fans.  But after our reversal by Newcastle not one phone call.  I think it endorses the Evertonian ethos of not minding too much if we get beaten but as long as we tried and entertained and never gave up. There is definitely more rhythm about the team this season.

Has the new Chartered physio, Rob Styles, analysed what happened last season with the amount of injuries that occurred?  Have training methods and techniques changed? 

Les Helm has retired and by the end of this month there will be four chartered physios.  Three for the first team squad (providing a more one to one basis for those under treatment) and a physio for the Academy.  As well as Rob Ryles there is Steve Hardwick and a new lad Mathew Lenny from Port Vale aged 26.  I think these lads could be great signings, both short- and long-term.  Footballers these days are costly commodities and need specialised looking after.  Bill Kenwright, give him his due, said last season there would be changes for the better....

What is happening with the likes of Myhre who is in the last year of his contract is costing us a fortune in wages?  And he is not alone. Players are like planes and taxis they don't make us money if they don't play / move.  I'd rather have the wages spent on a player who plays for us.  If Walter's monthly wage budget is at the limit, then sentiment must go out of the window and get rid of the long-term injured / injury-prone or out-of-favour players.  This is a club in financial hardship we can't be a soft touch anymore, hard business decisions should be made for our ultimate benefit. 

I think Myhre will be belly dancing soon in Turkey, so that leaves a few more bits of deadwood to get rid of.

Abel Xavier I recently accused him of standing outside at night naked to get all the viruses, but he has proved me wrong lately with some good performances.  Abel seems to revel in his new position (no not the one in Walton Hospital, thanks to his teammate Gerrard!).  

I think Walter is finally getting it right now on the field of play... fingers crossed.  In the past, I, like others, have accused him of putting square pegs in round holes, but there seems to be a good side developing with spirit as well.  I along with many others wanted a change in management a few weeks ago.  The board stood strong and I think that Walter is producing a team after that pressure which is full of passion, commitment and attacking style of play pleasing to the Evertonians eye.  

So now for the record some of us are being proved wrong about Walter, thankfully, as we do need stability more than most clubs with our financial constraints, but I also think the fans' outburst at Blackburn, rightly or wrongly, has fired Walter up more than ever to get it right and more importantly made him listen to the fans' criticism a good trait.  

Will you ask Walter if we continue to get it right on the field of play what does he want me to eat with this humble pie, custard or razor blades?  Can we have clarification of Walter regarding the Scotland job and what of Archie Knox's position there now? 

Walter is under contract to Everton, end of story.  Archie is still on the Scottish coaching side and when the Scottish manager's position is reviewed then and only then can his position be discussed.  Remember Craig Brown left by his own judgement.  This rumour about Walter's departure still ran about at the Bolton game.  It seems whatever you say on these matters they keep running, until the post is officially filled.

We do need to strengthen the squad though it is on the thin side, will funds be available to Walter if need be?  Or is Walter happy to use the likes of McLeod, Clarke, and Hibbert more often than last season? 

As mentioned before, funding will be made available when deemed necessary and youth will be given a chance when allowed.

The threat of a player's strike has grown lately; who is our PFA representative?  

David Weir is our PFA rep; the club has talked to the playing staff regarding the strike issue and discussed the consequences.  There will be a ballot if needed.  If they do strike for a longer period of eight weeks then their contracts can be terminated legally for non-performing. Players cannot differentiate between televised games and non-televised games and strike accordingly, a game is a game.  However, the PFA perceive it otherwise for strike action. The PFA funds total over 28M (including a Lowery painting) so if the players went on strike these funds would be exhausted in a couple of weeks for 'strike pay'.  Our players are apparently willing to pay more in subs.  I think at present its 75 per annum, so its self-evident that the higher-paid players should pay more on a pro rata basis.

Was the club disappointed like the fans that the assault on Tommy Gravesen by Tarricco against Spurs went unpunished by the FA, and how is it a referee like Elleray can live in Harrow only five miles away from Tottenham and officiate?  Even Jeff Winter, who refereed the Newcastle game, lives in the Northeast.  How is it after a performance like that by David Elleray he is not dropped like Dermott Gallagher recently was?  

No comment on this subject!

I believe one of our ex-players Mark Higgins has suffered a heart attack can the club pass on our best wishes to Mark?  I think he is only 43 years old. 

Graeme has sent a get-well message on behalf of the fans to his ex-team-mate.  Apparently Mark thought it was wind from a curry the previous night!  He was taken ill whilst playing golf and hopefully will recover fully.

On the subject of past players, I recently met Gordon West and what a difference 'Blueblood' has made for him and his life!  This is an admirable body and a idea made into reality that Evertonians can be proud of.  

I recently found out that the Northampton branch of Everton Supporters Club raised over 3,000 for BlueBlood what a wonderful achievement from our fellow fans down South!  It just goes to show our fans care and are prepared to help this club past and present.  Well done Lads and Ladies. 

The Claire House appeal also benefits a lot from our club; this is all good to see.  I think we should blow our own trumpet a bit more sometimes.

 

 PRE-SEASON

 

Last time, I suggested we arrange early for a pre-season with Celtic with all funds going to the Local Cancer unit in Merseyside out of respect to Alan Stubbs?  Any update? 

No comment on this subject!!!

The Falkirk game, Is this game still on and when? 

Mr Dunford has no knowledge of this game; Sharpie mentioned that this story came from a Scottish paper and filtered down here.

Any possibility of a pre-season tour in Ireland?  We have a large latent / active fan base there awaiting to be stirred.  With all the cheap fares now available across the Irish Sea it would be prudent.  

Further-a-field preseason games are being investigated, from USA to South Africa and the Far East. 

I think if this happens it will be a big improvement and satisfy a lot of fans thoughts about the brand name being made bigger.  But I don't think my piggy bank will stretch that far...

The Everton in Chile link, can this be forged stronger?  If we stay in the top flight this season, we will accomplish 100 seasons in the oldest league in the world. The first club to achieve this.  So maybe a game with our South American counterparts would be nice. They could play in our away kit, that would be novel. 

At the forth-coming Shareholders Association quarterly meeting on the 20 November, John Shearon will be doing a talk regarding our South American counterparts.

 

 GOODISON PARK

 
Can the pitch been made wider next season or mid season; what are the rules governing this? 

No, the pitch cannot be changed mid-season.  Sizes are registered before the season starts, even West Ham had to ask for permission then to move their pitch to accommodate their new stand mid-season. 

The size of the pitch is determined by the manager.  Howard used to chop and change the size every season.  The narrowing of the pitch was not due to pitch invasions last season and prior.  In fact it has not been changed at all this season.  

I think Mr Dunford was happy to put this subject to bed once and for all.

With all the facilities in place now when are we due our next screening of away games at Goodison?  Any dates? 

There are four identified away games set to be televised.  These include Fulham (I expect a high demand to go to this game the last terrace in the Premiership), the Reds, and Chelsea.

Kevin Nolan mentioned about the horrendous car parking at the Park End just now.

Apparently, Kevin Campbell complained about the players being jostled after the recent derby game and now barriers bisect the area at the back with only one way out for the fans' cars, causing major congestion. 

 

 ENDNOTE from Ian MacDonald

 
The way I feel now, this will probably be my last attendance at these Fans Focus meetings.  After responsibility for compiling the agenda was taken away from me, I fear that further meetings will be set up by the Club to convey a more convivial stance.  

It would have been better for the Club to have told me beforehand that the way I set these agendas out was frowned upon.  I spend a lot of time asking a lot of fans what they want asking.  I felt for the first time uncomfortable thinking I was to be channeled into thinking a certain way, when all I've ever done is to try and help this Club.  

Some of the subjects I write down I know the answer to but, when a fan asks for it to be put on the agenda, I feel obliged to do so.  I feel right now my input is finished.  I've endorsed the Kings Dock (or the Kings Waterfront as it is now called), helped over the years to make things better, and suggested many ideas.  But after this I got the distinct feeling that I was becoming tedious in my speaking and all the things I've tried to do in the past were worthless.  When you feel like this, then no longer can you endorse or support some of the people who work at the club. 

Is it my imagination (and that of the many fans I talk to) that the PR of late is not what is desired by the mass of fans?  Nor are the responses to fans that have dealt with the club satisfactory.  

If Kevin Campbell thought he was hassled after the derby, then it was lucky he was not in Bill Kenwright's shoes or mine!  The stick we got... and we don't even kick a ball!  No, I think I've done my bit.  I no longer have the desire to feel on the outside at such places as these Fans Focus meetings. 

For example, it was met by scorn when I questioned the goalkeeping training; why was that?  Each of the three goalkeepers are similar all with the same negatives: the kicking, coming out for crosses, etc.  Surely it could be the training given???   I know you can't instill everything into a player some are less receptive than others but you can at least ask about the subject, can't you?  

I've never been in any one's pocket; I've always paid for my tickets and done my best.  But, when you walk along that difficult path between the club and its fans, then you are easily kicked by both sides; and then where do you go? 

No, before I become a dissenter or bitter and twisted, I think it is best I stand away for a while.  Someone else can take up the baton and speak up for the fans I'm tired of a thankless job which costs so much time and money. 

This meeting's agenda was my intent for publication in The Evertonian but we've missed this month's issue and the small amount of worthwhile information inside this will now be dead and gone.  I'm still annoyed (a few days after the meeting) with Mr Dunford and his apparent contempt of the fans' and my own questions.  The difference is I do not get paid for what I do.  On this meeting's agenda, I stayed up until five one morning to get it finished...  

Would anyone be as annoyed?  Or would they be more sensible to not get as involved as I have?  The feeling of being used is tedious now and won't go away.  Remember this: people come and go from our club as employees; we fans stay forever in some capacity and that's why we should be respected, not scorned and looked upon as 'just' fans who will come through that turnstile, whatever is served up on the other side.

Yes, Mr Dunford, we are different from any club; but please don't under-estimate us and take us for granted.  Mr Dunford, like the rest of us, may have had a bad day at the office but I have provide three numbers on which they can ring me to explain his conduct; I have not had a phone call as yet.  

Bill Kenwright is still in my opinion a man you can trust and the best man to take us away from our recent underachieving, given time.  The job he took on was a massive one; it will take a least a couple more years for us to get noticeably better.  Anything quicker will be a remarkable achievement.  He can't be here full time because he has to work in London to meet the mortgage payments on his share of the club we love and I thank him for giving us at least this chance in the Premiership and his friendship.

Yours despondently

Ian MacDonald
EISA

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