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Fans Comment

Accentuating the positives
Stuart Mann says: Let's be a bit more constructive...

27 April 2004

I have always gone to ToffeeWeb's website first for the true view of everything Everton before reading anything extra I can glean from the official website, ignoring its positive spin approach where necessary.  However, after reading the latest postings on ToffeeWeb about the price hike on season tickets, I felt I had to make some sort of response more to make myself feel a bit better and stop my overwhelming urge to go and take an overdose!

Yes, we are in a bad state; yes, things are going to be difficult; but I really feel some of the arguments are far too negative and in many ways dont quite hold true.

A large criticism towards the Everton Board has been levelled at the lack of commercial awareness of the Club.  Now this isnt rocket science and forgive me for explaining the obvious but this is something that was ignored in the arguments posted recently.  If you are running a business selling music CDs at 5 each and you find through market research that all 40,000 fans of that sort of music are buying the CD then you are pricing the CD too low.  If further market research revealed that all other CD manufacturers are selling their CDs at 10 each this could only strengthen the case to increase the price.  Would you not agree that in holding the price at 5 shows gross commercial incompetence?

Of course, the Club could have announced it less obviously; they could have gradually increased prices or made a more subtle statement but this doesnt remove the cold hard commercial facts.  I really think that the price should have been increased this season just gone; people wouldnt have raised such a fuss due to our good season prior but the Club perhaps thought they were helping the fans by holding the price down.  They should have known this would be thrown back at them as a negative the next year!

I know its not quite as simple as all this geographical earnings and the like, lack of Board investment, and poor recent form hardly help us swallow this bitter pill but how people can argue that we have a bigger average attendance than Arsenal this year and yet cant compete financially and then moan that we will have to pay an extra 80 a year (which still only takes us to half the price of an Arsenal season ticket) astounds me.

The season ticket hike has bought us more in line with the likes of Bolton's season ticket prices this year.  However, Bolton are due to announce an increase of a similar magnitude for next; Middlesbrough have already hiked theirs.  Unfortunately, this seems a common occurrence for next season as clubs get more desperate to gain revenue.

I really just wanted to accentuate the positives where possible against the downcast comments posted.  Many of the players burdening the Club with their huge wages will soon finish their contracts, freeing cash for the manager to work with.  David Moyes knows that money is tight; he knows that the situation is the same at many clubs.  Bolton are 38 million in debt but all people talk about is how great it is they will sign an over-the-hill prima donna this week on a two- or three-year contract worth 15 million and how great this will be for the Club!

The only difference between Everton and all but the top three clubs in the Premier League is that we admit we are financially restrained and are being sensible and prudent in trying to cope with this.  Whereas the others just hope that things dont go pear-shaped as has been so starkly illustrated in recent times by Leeds, Leicester and soon Man City while they carry on ignorantly living the dream.  Mark my words, this will come back to haunt them.  David Moyes knew from the start, I am sure, that things would be difficult.  Bill Kenwright has done everything in his power to assist him and I am sure will continue to do so.  [Err... Rights Issue? Ed]

It is obvious what we need on the pitch from just watching the Blackburn game.  How Osman or McFadden cannot get in a team that has Nyarko jaunting around I do not know.  Nevertheless a central midfielder is required, obviously, along with a central defender. These, coupled with a few youngsters for the squad's development, should be attained.

Now, people have argued about the Board's short-sightedness in waiting until the end of the season to secure Radzinski and Gravesen on longer contracts.  But we already know that we cannot be reckless in giving out new contracts to players.  Arguments have stated that we would only get less than 1 million for these two players if they decide to leave at this stage and how would we replace them for that?  Well all other clubs are in the same position.  I remember going mad last season when I saw Charlton had signed Matt Holland for 750k what a different season we might have had had he signed for us! 

This pre-season will see more players coming to the end of their contracts at other clubs as they look to reduce overheads, just like us.  Muzzy Izzet will be available for a free and I have already heard Birmingham are after him.  There was a time when you would feel confident we would be able to persuade him to join us but although its sadly not quite as easy these days.  These are the sort of bargains we should be looking at, as well as people like Sean Davis.

One thing for sure is that Rooney should not be sold FULL STOP.  In evaluating his transfer value:-

  • Cost of Media Interest                  2 Million a year
  • Cost of Merchandising Spin Offs    1 Million a year
  • Cost of Increased Attendance       250k a year
  • Cost of Premiership Status           10 million a year
  • Cost of Eternal Hope                    Priceless !

All hope will be lost for Evertonians if this great talent leaves the club.  If the season tickets need to go up by a similar amount next year to pay his wages, I will pay up!

I agree that the key to our financial and subsequently on-pitch recovery is initially increasing corporate facilities.  I dont know a great deal about Directors like Gregg, other than a few were in the Britain's Rich List the other day, but surely some sort of ultimatum must be given to them: Invest money or let us raise a rights issue.  If they are against a rights issue, they must release the money from their pockets to fund the essential development of the ground and provide a transfer kitty for Moyes to work with.

Stuart Mann

2004 ToffeeWeb


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