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One Fan, One Vote

By Rupert Sullivan :  16/07/2007 :  Comments (12) :
So, Everton Football Club plan to send out a ballot in August ? ostensibly to gauge the ?mood of the fans?. In point of fact, I believe that this is a fantastically progressive move of the club, it shows a desire to have an inclusive process which can only be positive for the fan base. Nevertheless, there are several points with which I would like to take issue.

If as a fan I am to be balloted (and sadly as neither a season ticket holder nor a shareholder, just a subscriber to Everton TV I am not and therefore I am not privy to the level of information which may have been provided to ?voters? beyond that which is already in the public domain) on what am I going to base my decision? As a ?voter? so to speak, I can only form an opinion based on two things ? information and emotion. Now I consider that the information which is available publicly concerning the stadium move is limited at best (although please bear with me if I have missed something in the press). So far we know:

King?s Dock is dead
Goodison cannot be redeveloped
Tesco will aid financially if the move is made to Kirkby

So, together with the above information, the ?voters? will have only emotion on which to base their decision. Now, I appreciate that a football club is a very emotional entity, but in this current market and in this league it also needs to be a business ? and quite frankly only a fucking dickhead would make a multi-million pound decision based solely on emotion.

So what should we (sorry ? the voters) know?

Alternative Options

Everton FC are currently in an ?exclusivity? deal with Tesco and Knowsley Council concerning the potential move of a stadium, which will mean amongst other things that the club are not formally considering any other options. This would suggest to me that an awful lot of money and time will have been spent on examining the potential for Kirkby and not a lot (if any at all) on any alternative options. Not only does this mean that EFC may not have adequate comparison figures for the alternatives to a move outside of Liverpool, but it also suggests to me that they have a strong vested interest in moving ? since otherwise all this has been an enormous waste of time and effort.

How then will the option of moving to Kirkby be able to be compared to any other options? Is this one financially better ? better than what, what are the alternatives ? have EFC been looking at alternatives? I am aware that the fans have been told that redeveloping Goodison is not a financially viable option ? but on what this is based? It strikes me that this ballot is similar to a choice between all and nothing.

Yes, I am aware that if the club do not move to Kirkby then Goodison Park will still exist and so the choice is not all or nothing, but where are the real alternatives? Everton Football club have indicated that a move to a new stadium is required for the financial side of the business to improve, so that they may capitalise of corporate investment and non-football related revenue streams. Therefore, the option not to move can only hurt the club and therefore is not an option.

Now, I suspect that it is unfair to expect full transparency of information, especially if you are not a shareholder; and would any of the fans actually have the time to trawl through the information anyway? Probably not either, but surely anyone who is to make a decision requires more that that information which is currently publicly available ? which leads me onto my second point?

Business Case

My experience leads me to believe that before making a decision about where and how a business intends to spend several million pounds, a little bit more would be needed. Without listing a full business case here, I will cover some of the areas which would need to be covered such as:

Scope of Work

  • Detailed plan of what assets will be delivered
  • Asset ownership

Financial Information

  • Costs of work
  • Value of end asset
  • Yearly maintenance costs of asset
  • Expected revenue streams and forecasts

Marketing Information

  • Effect on business of move away from Goodison
  • Anticipated additional revenue streams
  • Footfall in Kirkby ? growth plans etc
  • Anticipated growth/ fall in fan base overall

Product/ Asset Life Cycle

  • Projected life of stadium
  • Non-football opportunities

Additional Info

  • Effect on EFC image
  • Effect on EFC fans
  • Opportunity Cost
  • Alternatives

Obviously this list is but a glimpse of the information which would be needed, however I mention it here solely to illustrate just how lacking in this information the fans/ voters are currently. Therefore, given that the alternative options may not have been fully investigated, and the information available to the fans is (severely) limited, I would like to raise my 3rd point which is, what is the?

Point of the Vote?

EFCs CEO Mr Wyness has stated on the Liverpool Echo website that the point is to ?ascertain the level of support? for the Kirkby move. Nevertheless, it would be incredibly difficult for me to trust a decision made based upon no information at all and emotion ? as I said in my introduction, only a dickhead would; so how can EFC? Either the Everton board are absolute idiots and they truly believe that 33,000 Everton fans can show them the way, or? (add cynical argument of your own choice here).

The impression that I have from reading this website and Blue Kipper is that the majority of fans do not wish to leave Liverpool ? but that of those, many are resigned to it as the only viable option. Either way, the way you as a fan feel will colour your beliefs as to why this ballot will be held. My personal opinion is that the board no longer wish to proceed with the move and now want to ?blame? the fans for a pull out so that neither Tesco, nor Knowsley, nor the Fans will be upset (see what I mean about cynical!!).

When all is said and done, this move, this planned ballot has achieved something which I have been bemoaning the lack of for a long time ? a high profile, positive media story about Everton FC. It also shows an inclusive attitude towards the fans and stops them moaning about poor transfer rumours ? it is well and truly a positive step, but please do not think that it will in any way decide the future of Everton Football Club ? of course, that doesn?t mean that you shouldn?t vote. It does however mean we should question further the way Everton are doing business? hang on, isn?t that Wyness? job?

Reader Comments

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Derek Thomas
1   Posted 17/07/2007 at 06:45:24

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Lots of valid points and headings that ’could’ be classed as information.But the fish-hook hiding near the end, after the 1st mention of cynical, is the personal opinion that the Board will use the vote to justify, so thinks the writer, the fact that the Club are looking for a reason to back out.

So, to my somewhat devious mind, unless the process of actual counting the vote is purer than Bambi’s mother. The result will reflect what ever the Board want it to, be it yea or nay.

This ’ask the audience’ will not change anything, you the voters and me and others, the dis-enfranchised of many different stripes will get what we are given.

Christ! you can’t even trust ’Blue Peter’ on a vote nowadays , so what chance Blue Bill???
Steve Taylor
2   Posted 17/07/2007 at 07:35:52

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Why bother holding the ballot at all?
All this "inclusive" bollocks has been qualified by Wyness in that the board will not be "bound by any outcome", and will ultimately make the final decision.
Therefore even if we return a 100% stay vote, they can/will move us anyway!
This is a smokescreen to deflect criticism from the boards’ decision to not invest in the transfer market to strengthen a team qualified for Europe, AGAIN!!
Did they not learn their lesson last time?, obviously not.
I have a season ticket and will vote not to go to Kirkby(if that is the question, as it may just be "Would you move away from Goodison" - without naming an alternative)
I will not re-invest in a season ticket in Kirkby, but will pick and choose when to go, as there will be plenty of seats.
And before anyone starts the "You should watch the Blues anywhere or your not a real fan" mantra, I have followed this club through thick and mostly thin for over 40 years and I definately KNOW MY HISTORY!
3   Posted 17/07/2007 at 08:20:05

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To be honest Im so sick of hearing about new stadiums ( notice it always gets dragged up either when we are struggling in the league or the transfer market?!). Its all we ever hear now though..I couldnt give a toss anymore if we go to play on a bar football table..Although the secret Ive heard is that BK’s choice is the well ironed Subbutteo pitch.
4   Posted 17/07/2007 at 09:47:19

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I am a life long fan but am based in the south. I therefore do not have a season ticket. Why do I not get a vote? Hardly fair!

Why have a ballot for 30,000 people when there are 5 million supporters?
lee rogers
5   Posted 17/07/2007 at 10:04:40

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in my opinon bk wants to build the new ground and sell it off to a yank and walk off with loads of dosh.why can’t everton have there ground on stanley park aswell why not liverpool council eh....
6   Posted 17/07/2007 at 10:44:47

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If anyone is remotely interested (shit ? what does that say about my self-confidence) I have a couple of fears about the ground move and a few questions that I am still asking myself.

1) If the new stadium can be ready by 2010 and Goodison may not get a safety certificate in ten years time, surely we still have 7 years of scouting opportunities for a new site and hopefully one that may be found in the city. So is there a rush to move forward?
2) When Everton win the league and cup double in 2012 will the open top bus be driving 3 or 4 times around Kirkby, or will we be allowed in the city of Liverpool?
3) What will happen in say 25 years time when Tesco may be in danger of going into liquidation or administration and decide that they need to claim back some of the money they have spent of the stadium in Kirkby?

Honestly, I really don?t know what I should do when I receive my ballot paper. My first thought is ? if the fans don?t want to go to Kirkby it will mean that Bill, Keith and the board will have to work 26 hours a day, 8 days a week to seek out new investment. This isn?t a bad thing, and if they are not capable of finding investment for a stadium inside the city boundary, maybe they are the wrong people to be looking for it and we need to get rid.

However, where will Evertonfc be in 6/7/8 years time if we don?t move as soon as possible?

I have yet to hear a really good argument for going to Kirkby, but I am really hoping that the intelligence of the Everton board know exactly what they are talking about.
Colin Potter
7   Posted 17/07/2007 at 14:55:36

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Balloo, Billy Liar and Fat Arse Wyness have never looked for investment they are just biding their time, waiting for the time they can sell Kirkby
Loretta Anthony
8   Posted 17/07/2007 at 17:14:30

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All this nonsense about ground move and where to go. Liverpool are ready to move out of Anfield and relocate to Stanley Park so all we have to do move in to anfield when they leave. Paint the seats blue, rename the stadium and some other minor altercations. It used to be our home ground anyways. Then a move Birkenhead or wherever will be simplified. And it does hold more than Goodison also. Subsequently the likes of Tranmere could move into our stadium if it was not pulled down. Even St Helens could use it for their rugby games. I wanted originally the stadium to be built in Scarborough where I live so I would be more convenient to watch games then have to travel across to see matches. I dont like having to make an effort.
Denis Byrne
9   Posted 18/07/2007 at 10:53:32

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I am an exiled scouser living in Brighton. I was a season ticket holder when I lived in Liverpool. My kids (aged 8 and 14) are mad Evertonians and we follow the blues as members of the Everton South Coast Supporters club (ESSCA). I have been an Evertonian all my days. My mum and dad were passionate blues and spent their courting days at Goodison. My grandad, great grandad and great great grandad lived in Everton and followed them from Anfield to Goodison. Blue blood courses through my veins. But the eligibility rule means I cannot participate in the decision making at this pivitol moment in our history. 3 years says Wyness - but 125 years of following the club means nothing - he is oblivious to all it means to be an Evertonian. Its a fact which remains hard to accept - apart from being a source of income, the supporters mean nothing to this ’son of Johnson’. It leaves me and my family disenfranchised. It feels dirty and inequitable. Simply another sickening action by the administration that confirms that the club (not the team)is increasingly alienating its obsessively loyal fan base. Are we engaging in the slow, agonising, final death of the ’The Peoples Club? Is this what it feels like to be an Evertonian?
David C
10   Posted 18/07/2007 at 11:05:19

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I’m a lifelong Evertonian but who now finds himself in Australia. How come I don’t get a vote?
Why the hell should I? This ballot should be seen for what it is - a referendum of our hardcore support on a move to Kirkby. A new stadium will draw in the casual fan - but the club needs to know how many of the 33000 they can expect to lose as hardcore support. These are the people paying the bills remember!
Vivienne Stephens
11   Posted 18/07/2007 at 16:51:54

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Well, if the ground’s development strategies, at least, those in the public domain, are so limited and the Board can’t decide why not get Rupert on the Board? At least he seems to have good grasp of the situation.
Jip Foster
12   Posted 18/07/2007 at 17:20:46

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I thought I read that you will get a vote if you were a member of the offical supportes club, Evertonia, last season. Glad I joined - I can now vote No to Kirkby.

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