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Changing Times

By Marc Roberts :  21/07/2007 :  Comments (7) :
It's not 'by fluke of chance' that Everton have 'found a free home'. It's about one thing - More money. More money for Tesco. More money for Everton. More money for tickets for bricks for a shed in the sticks, for stadium sights and the players' cold pints; More money for ladies and gents and adverts and tents.

You may put this down to SKYification (Americanisation) of the nation's sport or you may think that's just the way of the world these days. And you'd be right. But in this crazy modern self-obsessed world the one thing I have left of traditional value is our club heritage and identity, like the last of the Mohicans (big clubs) we have not been moved, and still retain our traditions of the past.

Now we are standing at the crossroads of our destiny and the question is do we fight our own path into the future for our right to exist under our own terms, or do we get on the motorway and head down the same path as the rest? Do we really have a choice?

The world has gone money mad and the loss of happiness through community spirit happens because people are driven further apart in pursuit of money what they think leads to happiness. Scousers have never had much money and hence community spirit pervades through the streets and especially in the midst of our football clubs. Our two football clubs are focal points of our communities because they give us excitement, pride and of course endless banter.

However LFC are different to us and this difference can also be defined by one word ? SUCCESS. Yes we have also had success, but they hit a peak at the advent of televised football and it gained them a huge favour of fans, the same with Man U (and, to a lesser extent, Arsenal) since '92.

Now LFC have jumped on the money-train but they have aleady seen the huge loss of local fans through rising prices which will continue to rise. The upshot is they could build a new stadium anywhere they wanted (London even!) and still fill it. Instead they have decided (though I will wait till the first brick is laid before I believe it) to stay in Anfield.

We have not had sustained success for a good while, and now there is a 'property boom' on premiership football teams since the Russian showed us all how it is to be done - Moremoney.

Everyone and his wife is suddenly clambering for a piece of success a la Chelsea, and getting investment is now held in esteem on a par with winning the FA cup. But what is investment? Lets get this straight ? it's not free money. People who buy-to-let houses and drive the prices up aren't providing shelter for others, they are investing to make a profit at the expense of the community. This is not like investing in business where you provide a service or product and hope for it's success, just a money-making exercise in which people invest at the expense of others for no gain in real terms.

This is what is happening in football and prices are going up. The question is will it all come crashing down again? Like the property market there are no signs of it happening soon? But even if it doesn't, in 10 years most who 'won' investment will realise they still never won a trophy. Of course the fans will be paying higher prices.

So as the middle-classes have moved into claim football for themselves, we have to look at ourselves and ask can we hang on and hope we can keep up? I seriously doubt it, but as a blue I live in hope. But how do we go about it? Again the keyword is success and without major success we will always be dependent on our local fanbase. The problem these days is that people are forgetting what football is all about, to me its not about a shiny stadium, convenient parking, toilet facilities, haute cuisine, or even an extra 8cm of legroom. None of them matter, it's all about us the fans going to the game and and our spirit to fight for the blue cause together.

I'm not going to try and change your mind about the vote, whether you decide that Kirkby is the way to go or not, I know you are thinking it is for the good of the club. Im also not going to start on BK or KW, they are just doing their jobs (however badly). I just hope that Bill, as a blue, remembers his role as protector of the club's values when someone offers him a way out.

I'm not going to Kirkby because it will spell the end of all I hold dear about our club; the togetherness of the fans, team and club in the pursuit of style, success and enjoyment, to be abandoned in the pursuit of dollars, hotdogs and profit margins. This is not a mentality I subscribe to in life, and while it has been going on for a while in football it would be the final nail in the coffin.

I am sick of hearing Everton use the people's club motto while they treat us like dickheads and seeing that phoney banner on the park end, as it has simply become a big advertising slogan. But I know we ARE the people's club and I think we as the people should be doing more to ensure we are not collectively led to turn our back on our people. I believe we can do it if we fight for what we want. COYB!

Reader Comments

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Steve McBride
1   Posted 22/07/2007 at 08:37:20

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You’re last paragraph says it all Marc. Spot on.
2   Posted 22/07/2007 at 09:54:51

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Not sure we’ve ever had sustained success in the past thanks to equally odd business decisions such as the sale of Mercer, Lawton, Ball and too, too many others.

That aside, they do these things because they know sufficient fans, usually young, will believe in their fairy tale stories and back them to the end of their wallets.

The one great thing about the money is that it’s a two edged sword. Scream at the Directors’ Box ... no result. Stop buying any form of merchandise, food or drink inside the ground or in the shop ... much sharper listening skills on their part, I suspect.
3   Posted 22/07/2007 at 10:01:29

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Your alternative to moving seems to be refusing any new investtment, staying at GP and falling into stready decline while those around us move on.

Even if the act of moving on only means standing still in real terms it is essential if we want to maintain our existence. If we stay put we fall further behind.

The values you cherish about Everton have always come from the fans never the directors and they will still be in our new home if you come and share it with us again. Despite all the arguments we are all brothers and sisters.

Even the pro movers would prefer other options to be available but we are perhaps more (Realistic or Gullible or Accepting) than the anti movers who are more (cynical, romantic or stubborn) and don’t believe a better opportunity than this will arrive.

I personally think the saddest part of all this isn’t leaving GP or Liverpool it’s the rift it is causing among us fans who are the clubs heartbeat. I also believe that if we all stay together wherever we are will always be Everton and always be the Peoples Club.
4   Posted 22/07/2007 at 11:46:52

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I have been sitting here reading the increasingly hostile anti and pro lobby’s comments and thinking about how sad this all is. I then read your comments and I think that they just about sum up how I feel about this whole debate. Good work 100% in agreement with you.
Steve Mc
5   Posted 22/07/2007 at 11:51:53

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Again, the last paragraph is the most telling in your response Barry. The crux with the majority of those saying ’no’ is the fact that the club has not properly explored alternatives and until it does, and Kirkby comes out as the best LONG term solution, then the rift will continue and deepen, especially if the deal has any flaws which we aren’t being told about. The solution and the healing is in the hands of the board, SHOW us that there really is no viable way to stay in the city, don’t just tell us, and the majority will fall in line. We’ll be in our new ’home’ for a very long time, this deal, we are led to believe, has been put together in less than eight months so why can’t we take a few more months just to see what’s available?
Neil Pearse
6   Posted 22/07/2007 at 12:49:22

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Many fans on this site reasonably ask: isn’t there another way apart from Kirkby? And Steve Mc says that we need to be "shown" by the Board that there is no other way.

Sorry, but you can work it out for yourselves. "Another way" would have to be (a) within the city, and (b) have somebody else (not Tescos, not Knowsley) putting up the money to pay for our new stadium.

Well, we know for sure that it is not going to be the Knowsley equivalent - the LCC. We know it’s not going to be Tesco. So now "the other way" has to involve a major new investor with at least £100m taking over Everton and building us the new Goodison.

To believe in "the other way" you have to believe that there is a massively rich investor somewhere around the corner wanting to buy and invest millions in Everton. And that it is worth waiting for this investor and turning down the opportunity for a new debt free stadium in Kirkby.

That’s a choice any Evertonian has the right to make. And that’s the choice you will be making if you vote "no". I personally think that would be a far more reckless thing to do with the future of our club than moving to Kirkby using someone else’s money. But then that’s why I will vote "yes".
Peter Laing
7   Posted 23/07/2007 at 12:56:05

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It would be great Mark if Everton could buck the trend and survive, I too am from a working class background and the ’people’s club’mantra from the Club these days seems to be merely part of the PR spin and lame effort to appeal to the core and fabric of its fanbase. We did also dont forget have our own Robin Hood in the shape of Wayne Rooney, pity this working class hero forgot to read the script. Football though as you say part of our identity and culture, its more than just going the game, if it was I would have given up years ago following Everton. That’s why the likes of SKY buy into the concept, they are aware that the working classes spend their money, like a beer and for many the prohibitive cost of following a team is replaced by armchair or sitting in the local viewing. Whats the alternative though mate, its my escapism, I meet my pals for a bevvie, it saves me from DIY and B+Q on a saturday, Kirkby wont be the same but I will still follow.

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