Fans Comment on the David France Collection
We must take this opportunity
I was fortunate enough to be contacted by Dr David France to help provide some stats for him on his book regarding the Everton Memorabilia collection. David is, probably, one of the nicest people you could ever meet and he was gracious enough to let me have a look at some of his collection.
Obviously we all know that we won our first title in 1891, however, I am probably one of the privileged few who have actually held one of the medals. You can forget the discovery of Tutenkhamenís tomb, this was a very special personal moment for me. Also, David and I went through the ledgers of 1961 which provides the boardroom information regarding not just the sacking of Johnny Carey, but also the legal writ he issued against the club for compensation.
The collection is truly mind-boggling. It must be saved. Bill Kenwright said, when he ousted Peter Johnson, that he was not the owner of the club, just its custodian. Well as custodian of our club we (and I mean we) demand that the club does everything it can to secure thisÖ well, letís just say the phrase Ďtreasure troveí doesnít do the collection justice.
A question that should be asked is why the club are quibbling so much. OK, having the collection at the Liverpool Museum would allow future generations to view our illustrious past. However, at the end of the day, once all avenues have been explored then, if it comes to it, the club should just write a cheque and get on with it. Whilst the club may be a bit apprehensive at forking out a sum of money for the collection, the ways in which this could, at least partly, be recuperated are infinite. Would you pay, say £10 or £20 a year to be able to read the ledgers, or see an online museum of the memorabilia? Would you pay £1 at a time to read a programme on line, which could be updated every week? Letís look at the facts.
The collection, according to the last audit, contained 6,110 programmes. OK, so having 1 programme a week may be a bit difficult. How about viewing a seasonís worth of programmes for a month for £5? Interested? I bet a good number of you are. OK, so thatís about 120 seasonís worth of programmes, or 10 years worth of material. Say £5 a month, or £50 a year. How many of us would sign up? Iíll be very conservative at this and say 1,000. Thatís £50,000 a year straight away. Add to that, a separate on-line museum where you can view pictures of memorabilia and bits of the ledgers, which could be updated on a regular basis, at a cost of, say £25 a year. How many would sign up for that one? Letís say, that there are 5,000 subscribers a year. Thatís £125,000 a year! So, even with these two initiatives, thatís a self-financing function which would pay off the cost of acquiring the collection.
Also, the potential to view the collection in a private museum (assuming itís not in Liverpool Museum). How much would you pay to see the England caps, the actual medals themselves? Would you say an entrance price of £1 or £2 would be extortionate? I wouldnít. Say we get 10,000 people during the year to visit just once (thatís less than half of our regular gate for a home match) and you then generate £10,000 to £20,000 and thatís assuming they only visit once during the year. A self-financing project surely?
It can be done, it must be done. Having spoken to David recently, he is so desperate to have the club buy the collection. However, if the club keeps dragging its heels then the Board must be made to realise that we will not accept anything less from them than purchasing the entire collection and making it available for viewing. Also, David is concerned at his own personal reflection if he has to eventually sell the collection to private investors. I hope nobody would feel any animosity towards him as, from my personal dealings with him, he so much wants this to be seen by future generations.
I have said to David that if I ever dropped the big one on the lottery, and if his collection was still for sale, I would buy it! And I mean it. God knows how much Iíve prayed for a jackpot win so I can start writing the cheque out.
I urge all Evertonians to do all we can to get the club to buy the collection. We could start an on-line petition (unfortunately I have no idea about creating web sites, etc), we could all write to the club, we could ensure that whenever any of our spokespersons from the supporters clubs, etc are interviewed by the media, that they mention the collection and urge the club to buy it. Remember, this is probably our one and only chance to secure Evertonís past for Evertonís future. We must take this opportunity.
Steve Flanagan©2004 ToffeeWeb