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Fans Comment
Mike Keating


Food for Thought
1 July 2005

The churlishness of the Peoples Club Co Ltd in their demand that you withdraw their pic of 'our' new kit came as no surprise but it does have a whiff of hypocrisy about it.

Following my unceremonious decanting from season ticket seats in the Mainstand to make way for additional lounge space, I procured a copy of the Club's new Corporate Hospitality Brochure to see what they intended to do with my old seats and what a corporate guest might be getting for their 30 pieces of silver.

The first thing to notice is the way in which references to sweaty old football and Everton as a club that founded the damn game are so muted, you might imagine you are buying some timeshare in Tuscany or leasing a company car.  The brochure itself comes in Phillip Carter shades of grey and silver more evident in the stripes on a businessman's suit than anything to do with supporting The Blues.

The choice of photographs tell a similar story no images of Bill Dean scoring his historic 60th goal or Derek Temple's Wembley winner, or even the great Derby Day punch-up of 1979 instead we are treated to dishes fresh from the Jamie Oliver Cookbook for Posh People which, we are told, are all part of the Goodison "premier match experience" that offers "fine dining, Maitre d' service and the finest champagne, wines and liqueurs to satisfy the most discerning of connoisseurs".

The split between photos of food and wine and those with some reference to football are almost evenly split with seven showing various glossy pics of fines dishes or tables laid with silver service and one which we are supposed to believe are a normal corporate couple (fresh from a few pre-match pints at The Wimslow???) enjoying the premier experience at Goodison Park ... but you can tell at a glance it was taken in some fancy restaurant in London just around the corner from the model agency where these two manikins actually come from.

On the other hand, there is one of the ground, one of Dixie's statue (worth betting how many of the 'target demographic" will even guess this reference?), one of David Moyes in pensive mood, five of different players celebrating, and two involving a football.  There are no fans to be seen unless you count the blurred backdrop to the Cahill Derby day celebration picture, which could just as easily be Laura Ashley wallpaper.  Whether you count the one of Mr Wyness looking as if he can't wait to escape Page 1 as anything to do with football is up to you.

There a range of prices; starting at 900 (+VAT) offering a Buffet and Bar, up to the Dixie Dean Platinum Suite (so that was statue of the bloke we passed on the way in?) for which you will pay 4,600 per person (+VAT) and get Champagne, a four-course gourmet meal served to your private table identified by your Company Pennant (to remind you that you are still at work) and a match-day programme (just to help you understand what you are doing in the middle of Walton on your day off).  In an age when the police are concerned about the links between football violence and alcohol, there is a complimentary bar open all day.

In case anyone is tempted by the booze and the atmosphere to actually follow the game and get carried away, all boxes come with an 'exclusive' dress code which acts as a gentle reminder of who you are.  This allows 'smart and casual' (but no trainers) in the lower price bracket but insists on 'smart attire' at the top end where the four elite lounges prohibit the wearing of....."team colours"!  For a club which seems intent on disguising a good old working class pursuit as the Northern equivalent of the Henley Regatta and excising allegiance to your team in some parts of the ground altogether, it does seem a little odd that Everton Football Club can be so prissy about the unauthorised use of a photograph of the new shirt.  Petit Fors anyone?

ps, Dear Ed - why not use the pic of the dreadful couple on page 7 for a caption competition? you can get your own copy of the Brochure from CorporateSales@EvertonFC.com or I'll scan it in and email it to you.  Unless of course this is also in breach of copyright!

Mike Keating


Responses:

Well, that's a good ragging, Mike, and I can fully understand the viewpoint of the "working man" who feels his rightful ownership of the game slipping away...  But how about a bit of a historical perspective that might redress the balance a little. 

Firstly, the origins of EFC: Working man's club? Dockers who wanted some weekend exercise?  Kickabouts in the workhouse yard?  I'm afraid it was none of the above humble lower-class origins; it was a Methodist Church in the suberbs!  And they were playing bloody cricket in a lovely leafy park!!! ( well, it was then)  How much more middle-class could you get?  So I would question the presumption that is has always been a working-class game... 

Yes, the support for the game developed most among the masses... growing into the cloth-capped crowds who crammed the terraces last century.  But local dignitaries, citizens of industry, and various other snooty hoi polloi have always been heavily involved at the highest levels of the Club.  And have played a significant financial role in their "support".  Is this not merely a modern form of that same high-end support?  Is that so wrong?  And isn't it vital for the future financial health and stature of the Club that they should do more of this?

If it truly is the People's Club, on what basis do you justify excluding any section of "The People"?  Instead of perpetuating the endless class struggle that Merseyside is so famous for (and which arguably was the direct cause of its industrial downfall), why not strive to be more inclusive and accepting of diversity within our society?

Here endeth the Sermon Ed

"Fans Comment" articles are submitted by outside contributors to ToffeeWeb. The views contained therein may not correspond with those of the site owners. Editorial policy

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