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COLM'S CORNER, #97


Colm Kavanagh now points the fickle finger of fate at the figurehead Chairman

 

 Get Carter

 
 

Sir Phillip

Firstly, afford me a little cynicism, please (a natural trait amongst Evertonians): Next season, our 126th, we will be playing TOP- (sic) -flight football once more surely a perfect opportunity for the Club to commemorate our fourth ever finish as runners-up, in the old First Division: season 1904/05. 

That season, we finished one solitary point behind Newcastle United.  Weve celebrated the 100 seasons of top-flight football and the 125 years in existence (with or without Bear Stearns)...  One Hundred Years since we finished second sounds like an appropriate celebration for next season, in keeping, of course, with the mantra that is Nil Satis Nisi Optimum.  Granted, it feels like 100 years since Pat van den Hauwe scored the winner at Carrow Road to secure our ninth, and last, Championship back in 1987

Its barely 48 hours since Bolton Wanderers secured our presence, for another year, in next seasons Premiership and I find myself numb, apathetic even, watching my own Club dropping like a lead balloon.  Make no mistake: this season has ended abysmally.  Everything about Everton looks flat.  Over recent weeks, weve travelled to all the now relegated sides yet returned with a paltry two points, from a possible nine.  Both Leeds United and Wolves ran us ragged at times.  Were it not for the heroics of a 37-year-old has-been keeper, we just might have found ourselves mapping routes to Plymouth Argyle next season.

Its all well and good for us fans to scream for the removal of people within the patriarchal hierarchy at Everton Football Club now that were living in times of mediocrity and survival on and off the pitch.   Sure, we all know whats best for the Club, dont we?!  The reality is that no one is going to quit his position due to pressure from the plebs.

Yesterday, I was amazed to see an attendance of 42,573 at Villa Park for the meeting between Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur.  This is the very same Aston Villa where, only a matter of months ago, the fans who actually bothered to turn up were all protesting against their beloved Deadly Doug Ellis.  Struggling near the foot of the table, OLeary still a haunted man after his end-of-days as Leeds manager, and a chairman being hounded for overseeing Villas continuing fall from grace.  Empty seats all over the place, another of Englands traditional big clubs falling on hard times... well, whats happened there then?

Villa have hit form, risen phoenix-like from the bottom three to a position where theyre breathing down Liverpools neck for a Champions League place next season.  The crowds have returned and I am no longer hearing those Brummie accents on radio phone-ins screaming for Deadly to go.  Winning football focuses the mind!  Right or wrong, when the teams on a winning run the majority of fans do not want to know about financial difficulties and the like. 

I can imagine Deadly Doug chuckling at the good of all these planned protests against his leadership on days when Villa have the scent of Champions League football in their nostrils and theyre playing in front of a full house.  Football will forever be more than a game to the fans who are tied emotionally to their club.  The Clubs know it too.  It will take more than a number of protesters screaming Ellis Out to remove him.

Unfortunately, at Everton, the same sets of rules apply.  We had our flirtation with success last season, a brief interlude from our world of dross.  The emergence of Wayne Rooney, alongside the energetic Radzinski, in tandem with the Moyes feel good factor snowballing, had Evertonians everywhere talking football, football, football

We were only interested in finishing as high as we possibly could in the League would it be a dream-like fourth and Champions League?  Could it be a return to UEFA Cup footy?  In the end, it was to be neither as we ran out of steam just short of the finish line.  Romantic visions of grandeur renewed quickly evaporated with each and every Blackburn goal at White Hart Lane on the last day of last season. 

  • No more 100 Seasons of Top Flight Football celebrations. 
  • No more championing 125 Years (116 of those ending without the Championship!!).
  • No more WE are the PEOPLES CLUB as our financial standing, once again, became central in our thoughts.

The majority of fans are sick and tired of reading about the Clubs financial woes.  They are simply not interested.  Match day revolves around a few pints before the game, being entertained at Goodison Park by a team visibly committed to the cause, a few pints more afterwards... and then off to do whatever you do!  You can read report after report about Evertons finances usually a sorry tale and still some fans will talk about the Club signing some player for five million quid we havent got!  Hello!  Wake up!  Get real.  Were absolutely skint.  Not a pot to piss in.

It all points towards one burning question just what the hell are the Board doing to alleviate our financial problems?  If anyone can provide a simple answer to this above question then please do.

We seem to have, at Everton, a Board not in touch with reality.  Ill start with the top man, the figurehead our Chairman, Mr Philip Carter.  Has he been on the Board since 1878?!  I cant help but get the impression that Mr Carter believes we should all be extremely grateful for his mere (green?!) presence.  If it werent for Mr Carter, who is to say that Howard Kendall would have brought success to Everton back in the mid Eighties? 

Im sorry, but the game has moved on so much since Philip Carter first became involved with all matters concerning Everton Football Club.  Were now in an era where the game has become global.  Most of the top clubs are turning every stone in foreign lands, attempting to unearth hidden gems for the minimum outlay whilst increasing their commercial strength in those countries.  Philip Carter considered a second tier on the Park End too good for Evertonians some years back what chance hell appreciate any investment by the Club into foreign scouting missions in countries like Australia, South Africa, USA etc.?

He made comments, part of the Chairmans Statement in the Annual Reports & Accounts 2003, stating that he was not alone in believing that last season (2002-03) may, ultimately, come to represent something of a watershed in our Clubs recent history.

I think he just might be correct with that assumption but for all the wrong reasons.

Whilst it would be foolish in the extreme to believe that we have now achieved our primary objective of returning our Club to the vanguard of English football, the portents are good and I think it is fair to say that we now have sturdy foundations upon which we can hopefully construct something of substance and durability.

Sturdy foundations, Mr Carter?  You havent paid a visit to the Bullens Stand of late then, I take it, Sir?  I think it is fair to say, Mr Carter, that claiming we now have in place sturdy foundations to construct something of substance and durability, to be nothing more than hollow words.

Of course, much hard work does still lie ahead but in David we are fortunate to have a manager who is not only professional, passionate and driven but also realistic.  David is a man of almost limitless ambition and it is incumbent upon everyone else connected with the Club to strive tirelessly to ensure that he, along with his most able assistant, Alan Irvine, receives the encouragement and guidance he will undoubtedly require as he bids to ensure we remain amongst the Premierships elite grouping.

Mr Carter it has been years since we could brazenly claim to be members of the elite grouping within the Premiership.  We rank somewhere below Southampton these days and soon we shall rank beneath the likes of Charlton Athletic.  Harsh words, perhaps, but true and based on facts, not fiction. 

You mention that it is important that all who are connected to the Club strive to ensure that things improve.  Could I be so bold as to ask whether or not the fans of the Club now being marketed as The Peoples Club can have an input into matters as they too are connected to the Club?  You recently dismissed the suggestion of a Rights Issue, chucking that idea on the back burner.  Why?

With season ticket sales increasing from our then second-highest ever figure (24,200) to our highest ever total this term (a ceiling of 27,000) and an increase in e-commerce trade (our best ever year), just where is the money going?  How can such a well-run business find itself in ever increasing debt?  I know matters are not helped when a figure of 882,000 in professional fees to a company controlled by the family of Everton stalwart, Paul Gregg, can be so readily written off.  Im sure the Gregg family can plough some of that cash back into Everton Football Club next season with a few season tickets for the family.  Mind you, he has no interest in attending games these days.  I wonder why

Mr Carter a bit like our beloved Everton Football Club itself: your best days are behind you.  Time to take the dignified course of action and afford Everton FC a chance to catch up on the ever expanding lost ground.

Colm Kavanagh
4 May 2004