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Everton Independent Supporters Association
Christmas Woes, 2001

Ian MacDonald's open letters to the Everton Directors 

 

 Everton play Scrooge

  

26 December 2001

Dear All, 

It is with deep sadness and disgust that I mention the following.  Every year we the Independent Blues arrange a kids Christmas Party, it takes a lot of organising and commitment.  Now we always have this special party to coincide with the players kids party at Goodison so that some of the players can walk 200 yards to greet our kids, the future of Everton. Now the previous day these kids' parents braved blizzards to sit and watch these players turn out with a 300-mile round journey, please bear this in mind.  

The players were booked for months previously to arrive after 2 in the afternoon; everything confirmed on Friday with Michael Dunford.  Our Blue Father Christmas was in attendance (the outfit we lend the club every year), the disco came, the key-ring picture maker came, the caterer's came... but no sign of the players. 

Give Michael Dunford his due he came to announce that no players had turned up at their own party or the church service except David Weir, who had gone home.  Apparently the players were in for training that morning, so what!  I wonder if any players turned up at the staff party that Sunday night. 

We had fifty odd children waiting patiently with merchandise and autograph books to be signed, faces painted at the ready.  Lots of fun with Santa but no bloody players.  Half an hour is all we ask all year for these players to give a little back, is that too much?  It would appear so. 

So disgusted and angry were the parents present that many wanted me to go to the media and belittle the players as they have done to the fans.  But the elders amongst them did not want our dirty washing hung out for all to revel in that would.  Long suffering wives and girlfriends were proved right in that we are soft following this crowd making sacrifices and spending hard earned money on prima donnas.  

Words fail me right now to sum up what I think of the players or who was responsible for not caring about our kids.  I got in touch with Bill Kenwright who was rightly disgusted and embarrassed by it all.  His first reaction was that for some of these players going to Alderhey Hospital was enough for them.  How sad is this we have a squad of over twenty, half of which haven't kicked a ball in anger for us for many weeks if not months. It's not as if these injuries were life-threatening most are capable of walking and picking up king's ransoms is all the hard work they have put in for this club of late. 

You can imagine the anger and disgust welling up in the Bluehouse towards these so-called pros who you follow blindly everywhere.  A lot of soul-searching ensued, the very fabric of what it's all about was torn at and ripped up possibly forever.  

I rang Jimmy five bellies (who's not anymore if Gazza's not drinking he's not drinking) as regards to what had happened from his friend's point of view.  Apparently Gazza knew nothing about it, so the plot thickens...  

Well the next thing you know is our fans throughout the day called into the Bluehouse to find out when the Megastore will be open, they were met with shutters.  It happened again on Christmas Eve. Shutters down at the Megastore for the second day the two busiest days of the year for tills all around Merseyside and the world!  Can you believe this happened?  We obviously have too much money and don't need any more. 

I really despair and I am obviously wasting my time liaising with this club, our club.  If you can't get two things like a kids' party and the Megastore open pre-Christmas, then is it any wonder we are meandering along as we are.  The club motto is obviously not adhered to in many facets of the club.  At a time when the relationship is at an all time low with the fans and club and communication of the important issues never enough the club shot themselves in the foot yet again. 

Well this is once too often for this Blue, after snubbing the kids especially.  What are we suppose to follow now and think when you take up your seat home or away?  Supporting a gang of people who don't care by the look of it all what a way to run a business.  This club takes its support for granted.  

After this, I feel sorry for Bill Kenwright for he can't be at two places at once.  He has to run his private business in London to pay his part of the loan to buy Everton, which has been made harder since 11 September, but he is badly let down on Merseyside.  The moment has gone for these kids whatever happens now, but a bitter taste is left on many Evertonians and it will take at least a full public apology for this taste to go partly.  A full enquiry about these two events should be held and those responsible should be severely reprimanded or sacked. 

I will be sending our views on these grave matters to every department.  From Walter Smith, Kevin Campbell the team captain and to the Board.  It cannot go unnoticed what has happened, it is unforgivable just now.  The signal these two events have given out speaks for itself; how sad this all is when a club does not care about its own fans and takes them for granted.  

If the club does not respond to this wake up call then we are in a sorrier state than I thought and everyone who I have argued with about the present regime have been proved right.  Build a stadium ? they want to build a better relationship with the fans first! 

I am naked now with nothing to bat back with for I too think at this moment in time the club is not good enough for its fans.  If people don't want to do a professional job at our club and represent these special fans accordingly then at least be honest and go now!  It's clearly not good enough especially at this time of year.  Now prove me wrong, please! 

What did the bible say, "Better to throw yourself in the sea with a millstone round your neck than to hurt a child."  The ghost of Christmas past needs to visit quite a few homes on Merseyside to show how lucky they are and to think more of others who pay their obscene wages.  The fans are all we have in my opinion right now; sorry to those at the club who are innocent of all this and work hard for our cause. 

Ian Macdonald

  

 RECORDED DELIVERY

  

29 December 2001

Dear Bill,

Firstly, more best wishes for you and yours for the New Year.  Family always comes first and everything else a distant second.  For what I have written below has been made harder when I consider the illness of your Dad, but you always told me to come clean.

During the holiday I have given a lot of thought to recent events and the future of our club.  As you know, I have been involved with the Independent Supporters Club for seven years now and I have finally decided to withdraw from its activities to give more time to family and business.  All good things come to an end and I have decided that I have done my share and can now honourably quit and return to just watching individual games instead of getting involved with various shenanigans.  The recent media interviews I did over the racism issue really took it out of me.

For me it all came to a head with two annoying events just before Christmas.  As I told you on the phone, first the Megastore was incredibly closed for two days during one of the potentially busiest times of the year.  And then not ONE player turned up for the Children's Christmas Party.  After the excellent efforts on racism, this was the equivalent of one step forward and several steps back.  Needless to say there were a lot of very upset children and parents because of these easily avoidable catastrophes.

Equally needless to say I got my ear bent by a lot of outraged supporters.  But of course there is nothing I can do except mention it to yourself.  Frankly, day-to-day administration of the club's affairs is a complete mess and has been for a long time.  Sadly the two events I describe are merely typical.  I have mentioned them to you often enough during our phone conversations.  How can we hope to become the family club you have long described and wished for when avoidable disasters like this continue to visit our club?

So for me, enough is enough.  I am tired of trying to explain the club's position to annoyed fans when that isn't even my job, let alone when I agree with the fans.  We seem to be no further along.  Maybe someone else can do it better.

I want to thank you for all the personal phone calls and confidences you have been good enough to give me.  I will never forget them and hope you feel too that I managed to contribute something to your efforts to turn the club around.  There is still a lot of hard work to do of course and you know you have my very best wishes in everything you do for our club, particularly in bringing the Kings Dock to reality.  I hope too that you will try again to improve the club's communication with the fans in the admirable way you did with the racism issue.  You know my feelings on the communications issue so there is no point in my repeating them here.  Suffice it to say that a majority of fans agree with my position.  One last request, please Bill: can you arrange a meeting with our Chairman and Secretary as soon as possible please with the local directors.

Finally, my best wishes of all for your family and business prospects in the New Year.  I know it has been a most difficult time for you.  But given your self-motivation and determination I know you will come through it all.

Happy New Year!

Kind Regards, 

Ian Macdonald

COPIES: 
Paul Gregg, Michael Dunford, Walter Smith, Kevin Campbell, Arthur Abercromby, Kieth Tamlin, John Woods, Kevin Nolan, Shareholders

  

 A Reply from Michael Dunford

  
As yet, the only response has come from our Chief Executive Michael Dunford and it reads as follows:

Dear Ian,

I acknowledge receipt of your envelope delivered to me on Wednesday and as you would expect I have read the contents with interest.  I have also, as requested, distributed the envelopes to all other directors and Walter Smith.  For my part, my response will be short.  As far as the non appearance of players at the party is concerned, we too were equally disappointed that they did not appear at the clubs official party, for reason's best known to the players themselves.  However, I do believe that they were called in for training unexpectedly on the Sunday, that may have well given some of the player's justifiable reason for not attending.

In respect of the megastore opening hours, our decision was made on sound commercial grounds and we stand by that.

I do however take exception to the paragraph where you criticise the day-to-day administration of the club, that I do take personally and will not accept it.  You can rest assured that your comments have been made known to all other members of the administration staff who too are equally very disappointed at your comments.  I do not wish to say any more on the subject, you are entitled to your opinions, most of which I have respected in the past. 

Yours sincerely 

Michael J Dunford 
Chief Executive

  

 Ian's frustrated reaction

  
Well, those of you out there who deal with such Executives regularly or not, what do you think of that?  Is there any wonder I do not want to be associated with a Club who has given our fan group and me a response like that?  

I take no enjoyment out of what has transpired on the pitch lately.  I hope our long-suffering fans are rewarded better than the present fare.  I do not want to dance on our own graves as angry as I am now.  If the club showed as much passion and commitment as the fans we would be in the champions league. 

In my eyes, we only have each other now.  I repeat I'm deeply sorry to those that do their best for OUR club at Goodison, sadly they are too being let down.  We are crumbling from the inside.  I really have these last few months been banging my head on a brick wall.  

The club never even had the decency to tell us the Megastore would be closed.  I have a long list of the administrative 'cock ups ' just in the last month, but I suppose you reading this will have your own.  Why do more dirty washing in the open? We have to embrace each other now; the club will not embrace us for help it is too arrogant.  

I wait with baited breath for other responses from the directors.  I'll give Bill Kenwright compassionate leave for now, such is the grave illness of his Dad... but the others?  We really are in a mess this time!  I ask you this: Are we any better off than the previous regime, except for an Evertonian at the helm who is badly let down?

Yours sadly 

Ian Macdonald

  

 A Reply from Sir Philip Carter

  
Dear Mr Macdonald,

I refer to your undated letter addressed to Bill Kenwright, and copied to all directors, complaining of certain instances during the Christmas period.  

Our Chief Executive Michael Dunford has responded to your comments regarding the Megastore and Children's Christmas party and I do not intend to comment on those instances.  The purpose of my letter is to ask you to explain your particular sentence, "Frankly, day to day administration of the Club's affairs is a complete mess and has been for a long time."  In my opinion and experience this club is run very professionally and I think your comments are a slur on the integrity and function of our total administration department. 

Your letter, having been copied to nine other people, was naturally distributed to members of the administration staff who were naturally extremely upset to think that someone who has been involved with the Independent Supporter's Club would make such a statement without any detailed knowledge whatsoever of how this club functions.  Needless to say I fully support the staff, who I know are all of an extremely high quality, and merely repeat my original question; will you please explain what your particular statement means? 

Yours sincerely 

Sir Philip Carter 
Chairman

  
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