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Brand Everton

By Damien Jones :  26/07/2007 :  Comments (11) :
In the last 15 years clubs, such as Man Utd, Arsenal, Liverpool and now Chelsea have succeeded as Brands. They generate vast revenue streams beyond that of ticket sales and outsiders understand their location and the importance it plays in their identity. As brands, all of these football clubs have tremendous equity. They understand the importance of identity and location in relation to success of their Brand.

Initially a move to Kirkby didn?t seem that trivial to me. Whilst I appreciate and enjoy the rich history and foundations of the club, such emotions unfortunately have no place when it comes to making big decisions relating to the future ? they should not be totally forgotten though. However, there are some serious considerations to make beyond that of ?this is the Deal of the Century?. How will the Brand evolve and succeed in a town such as Kirkby?

We all know the facts about this great club and its traditions, but one fact should never be forgotten: Everton were and still are the first club in the city of Liverpool. As a Brand, Everton?s equity lies in its location, traditions and thus has a clear identity.

Are Everton a more attractive Brand as a result of being in Kirkby? ? The answer is No! KW talks of moving to Kirkby in order to help the club proceed into the next millennium ? Bollocks! Kirkby is what Tesco define as the ?value? option. Everton as a Brand are weaker as a result of moving to Kirkby ? fact. A loss of identity will follow and when trying to attract a new supporter base we will have to rely on people such as myself. We will all be pushing our siblings to support a club that has no identity in a town that has no soul (sorry, people of Kirkby).

I can see my daughter in 10 years shaking with uncontrollable excitement when we begin our big day out at a stadium next to a supermarket in a town somewhere near Liverpool (I live 200 miles away). Furthermore, should we manage to successfully tap into the SE Asian markets at some point (nowhere near it just yet), how do we clearly define our location in relation to the Brand? More lost revenue for sure.

Moving is commercial suicide. Not only will we give the city to our biggest rivals, we will ultimately not capitalise on additional revenue from visitors. Who on earth, when visiting Liverpool, will want to hike 5/6 miles to Kirby, 9 league titles or not? KW seems to think that success will follow as a result of moving, thus attracting new support ? this is straight out of the Bill Kenwright book of romantic fantasies.

At this time, we may be perceived as the second team in Liverpool to outsiders, but forget even a mention when we up sticks and try and replicate 129 (or 132 in 2010) years of tradition in a second-rate stadium aligned to a retail Brand that gives little or no respect to its suppliers let alone is local surroundings ? Evertonian at the helm or not. Is Tesco a good fit for Brand Everton, regardless of the financing?

Everton the Brand relies at this time on its close links to the city in which it was founded (this fact is underexploited). Admittedly we are not the best Football Brand in the city, but we only have ourselves to blame from a commercial and footballing perspective.

Ask yourself what business/organisation doesn?t have a plan B when discussing critical subjects such as location? Answer: nsuccessful ones. KW and the board have demonstrated twoaknesses here.

  • Not taking consideration for their customers (the vote is a PR exercise, nothing else)
  • Demonstrating little strategic thinking, foresight, or commercial aptitude.
  • Those of you that agree that this is the Dal of the Cntury are wrong. This is the deal of the decade or actually the deal of the ?moment?. The figures are ambiguous and are forged from forecasting (there is no science to forecasting, purely educated speculation) ? have we truly begun to understand other avenues that can be explored or have we convinced ourselves that this is the only option?

    No Plan B is tantamount to bullying. Are we to believe that Kirby is the only way in which Everton can move to a new stadium without being saddled with debt? This is the kind of short-sighted behaviour that befits a third-rate organisation. I know we are not cash rich, but surely as a commodity we are attractive to other companies who may just for a moment see some kudos in being associated with Everton FC ? in a progressive modern city.

    At the end of the day, you are only as successful as you set out to be, and in this instance I believe the only successful ones will be those who champion it. It would be nice to know what incentives KW et al have personally in shifting to Kirkby? Everyone has an agenda in this...

    Consider the following. Where will new supporters come from? How will Everton promote and fill executive boxes in a town that has little commercial activity beyond that of its boundaries? Do we really view Tesco as a suitable brand to align ourselves with? How do you increase the equity of a Brand like Everton that has lost its key ingredient (the city)? Isn?t the Everton supporter base mainly from working class backgrounds in Liverpool (another argument all together)? Never mind logistics, finance, infrastructure or location, are Everton a more marketable Brand in a competitive industry when located in Kirkby?

    If you believe that all of these matters have been answered by the Board of Directors, then you have more faith than I do. I believe we have become so short-sighted that objectivity is no longer a word the board understand. Bill Kenwright in my opinion is better than most chairman. His weakness, however, is having emotions like a hormonal teenager, being swept along with whatever seemingly bright idea that has recently been placed on the table. Keith Wyness, I believe, has an agenda beyond that of what is best for EFC ? I hope I am proved wrong.

    This subject is all about a lack of vision ? not funds. We are aligning ourselves with a brand that is not worthy of our association in Tesco (this is not naivety). If no-one else out there is interested then fine, but surely this is not the case? I remain open-minded and optimistic that our Board will listen to the fears of its customers. Somehow I doubt it ? the blinkers are on and we are heading towards the finishing line.

    Reader Comments

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    Marko Poutiainen
    1   Posted 26/07/2007 at 21:45:11

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    This was actually one of my arguments in my article as well. The damage to the brand is very hard to gauge, but it is impossible to imagine how it could possibly be enhanced by this move. The stadium is hardly anything spectacular and moving away from a famous city like Liverpool can’t be good.
    lee rogers
    2   Posted 26/07/2007 at 23:07:07

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    i really agree with this,but i do like the new stadium it’s still better than the greenhouse the darkside will have.i mean why can’t we have a ground on stanley park aswell that annoys me lcc how many back handers did it take for there ground i wonder
    tommy gibbons
    3   Posted 26/07/2007 at 23:16:55

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    And what fantastic worldwide brand is Everton? even some football supporters don’t know where we come from!! and those that do think we are the second team in the city in every respect.. We are a big club, but not as big as we like to think..Our football will grow our brand, not whether we are in L4 or L33.. and as for the assocciation with Tesco who are the biggest brand in their field, are a blue chip mainly UK company, which happens to be headed by an Evertonian and you say we should not be assocciated with them.. Pray tell.. what bloody company do you want us to be assocciated with!!
    Peter Pridgeon
    4   Posted 26/07/2007 at 23:31:14

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    Your brand argument Damien is succinct and correct. I have also argued this point, Everton will only loose traction in the city of Liverpool if this deal goes ahead. I applaud BK for his offer to the supporters of a vote and todays statement of ’the question to be asked’ is also laudable. However after the consistent lies about the FSF BK has little or no credibility in mine and many Evertonians eyes.
    This move really is short term gain for long term pain.
    Bob Parrington
    5   Posted 26/07/2007 at 23:39:57

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    You made some good points here. I can hardly imagine the effect that selling the naming rights will have on the Everton brand. Just imagine "Tesco Stadium". YUK. Please welcome on to the pitch - The Tesco Blues. Let’s be careful not to throw out the baby with the bathwater.
    Marc R
    6   Posted 27/07/2007 at 10:25:37

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    ’This subject is all about a lack of vision ? not funds’

    ...WELL SAID!
    Brian Waring
    7   Posted 27/07/2007 at 11:11:20

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    Spot on Damien.These were all the factors I took into consideration.Hence coming to the descision of no.It had nothing to do with sentiment towards goodison,I understand we have to move.I just think moving out to kirkby on a business and future level is a non-starter for me.
    Bob Turner
    8   Posted 27/07/2007 at 14:58:31

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    So "there is no science to forecasting, purely educated speculation", but "Everton as a Brand are weaker as a result of moving to Kirkby ? fact. A loss of identity will follow"? So Everton’s forecasting is purely speculation, but yours is fact?? Really??

    So let’s have a look at your forecasting abilities, shall we?

    "the vote is a PR exercise, nothing else" - look at the wording on the ballot question revealed today "If the answer is no, then no further negotiation on the current proposed scheme will take place".

    Everton’s other "weakness", "Demonstrating little strategic thinking, foresight, or commercial aptitude". How do you think Everton are going to get a bank to advance the up to £30m financing to kit out the stadium? Do you think KW’s just going to make an appointment with the local bank manager, say "lend us £30m please", and when asked to justify how Everton are going to pay it back, turn round and say "if we build it, they will come"?? Everton will have a detail business plan, showing projected revenues, not just some figures on the back of a fag packet!

    You allege that personal interests are taking precedence over what’s best for the club, as "Everyone has an agenda in this". In what way does this argument not apply to LCC/Bestway/any other investor?? No-one else is going to have the same interests as us i.e. a successful Everton team. As I’ve said on a separate post, the only way KW/BK will get what they want (assuming they ARE in it just for the money!) is the successful team we all want, which would then attract the attention of a nice American with a big fat cheque book, and his eyes on what he can get out of it! But this is obvously what you want??

    Tesco is a "brand that is not worthy of our association"?? Our turnover for the year to the end of May 2006? £58m. Tesco’s turnover for 2006? £42 billion, some 724 times bigger than ours. So why are they not worthy of association with Everton, they’re f*cking huge!!

    So your daughter’s not going to get excited by a shiny new stadium next to a Tesco store, but she’d love the drive down Queen’s Drive to a run-down Goodison?? You know her better than me, but I don’t think that’s a reason on which to base whether we should move anywhere, let alone to Kirkby.

    I would have imagined that tapping into any foreign market, SE Asia or wherever, would depend more on how successful the team is, not where it comes from. Or do you think all those kids in Indonesia with old replica Man Utd shirts have a great affinity with their city?? Surely Brand Everton will be better developed by success on the field?? And is this not more likely by a scheme will allows us to acquire a stadium with a huge discount??
    9   Posted 27/07/2007 at 15:59:32

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    As a long time Everton fan who was brought up in Netherton and lived for a good while in Ormskirk I fail to see the importance of whether or not we are "in the city". We were a Lancashire club when I started supporting them and we have been a Merseyside club since 1974. We will still have "Merseyside" derbies; we will still have local "scousers" playing for us like Stubbs (Kirby!) and Osman (Ormskirk). Goodison will always be in the heart and the memories are special but a move is required. The issue is not which Borough we are in. The issues that should be getting addressed are "what will a ticket cost?" and "will there be proper provisions for junior and diabled supporters" and "can we please ensure that there are no more lousy restricted views".
    10   Posted 27/07/2007 at 18:18:51

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    Thank you Bob Turner, for a little moment of sanity amid all the madness.

    As I have mentioned on several other posts, E.F.C have under the leadership of BK KW and DM moved forward on and off the field that nobody would have believed possible in the dark days of agent Johnson..
    It is inconcievable that any of those mentioned above will move forward with a scheme that is detrimental to Everton FC.
    I was unlucky enough to live in Kirkby for a couple of years..and it is unrecognisable now from then, with the exception of the area we are planning to develop.

    Hundreds of new families have moved to the area, all in newbuild developments..many from the "Greater Merseyside" area..and indeed new developments of housing estates are sprouting all along the East Lancs Rd..many of these I am sure "football supporters", some perhaps Evertonians, who due to the lack of parking or the decrepit state of Goodison ,restricted views etc, may have never been to a live game.

    Now Im not naive enough to thing that all these people will suddenly say "Oh look a football stadium..! lets go"..But neither will the poeple who have supported Everton all there lives..STOP going because its now 4 miles fom where it was..Its L33 not M33.

    I was born and raised in seaforth, and consider myself a scouser..but apparently not..No I am now it would seem from Sefton..!! ridiculous..sonebody moving a line on map will not change who I am...and a 4 mile move north will not change who Everton are..Bold street to Cherryfield drive can be done in 30 mins..its 20 mins from Liverpool central to Kirby by train..and around 20 different buses go to Kirkby from all over merseyside...thats before any (if) improvements are made to transport links...I really believe when its built you will come

    Phil Owens
    11   Posted 28/07/2007 at 07:58:21

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    Good article, but there are 2 points that got to me:

    1) Stating that the vote is a pure PR exercise. On what do you base this statement? Especially as the club has stated the opposite.

    2) One line sort of makes a mockery of the rest of the article.

    "The figures are ambiguous and are forged from forecasting (there is no science to forecasting, purely educated speculation). Surely this applies to yourself just as it applies to the club.

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