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Give Peace a Chance

By Andy MacFarlane :  27/07/2007 :  Comments (5) :
I confess immediately that unless some SERIOUSLY THOUGHT-OUT counter-proposals to the Kirkby proposition comes into the public domain within the next few weeks, I will vote in favour of the move, albeit with a sad heart (for leaving Goodison) and in the face of opposition from at least one of my sons, whose opinion, shared by many, that leaving the City of Liverpool, is not in our best long-term interests, I respect, but will choose to reject, on the balance of considering all the issues.

However, that is not the thrust of my comments, as that issue has been the subject of innumerable debate on all of the Everton websites over the last few months (and quite rightly).

My thoughts at the moment turn to the Board of Everton in general, and Bill Kenwright in particular. I regularly look at the many "independent" websites for varous Premier League clubs, and it is a seemingly inevitable fact that the comments published on most of them are from the angry or frustrated sections of their fan base. I am saddened that it seems that, at the moment, our Everton sites seem to contain the most vitriol of all of the sites against both the Club Board of Directors, and fans who express conflicting opinions about the ground move options, in particular those in favour of the move.

Despite all of the negative predictions, every independent commentator has acknowledged that the ballot questions, and the range of fan base to be consulted by EFC on the Kirkby issue, is far in excess of any consultation process ever before conducted by any football club considering such a move. Now, we haven't seen, yet, the final presentation of the ballot, BUT, this is where I wish to comment. EFC Management are between a rock and a hard place. No matter how they phrase the preamble to the ballot question, they will be in a potential "no win" situation.

Exercise their duty to the Shareholders (and supporters) of the Club, and make a positive recommendation based upon all of their research, professional advice received, etc (as they are legally obliged to do) will no doubt result in screams of "they're full of spin and trying to manipulate the vote".

Come out "limp wristed" and say "hey, we think the Kirkby deal is good, but there may be alternative offers from someone in the future, so, if you don't like what's on offer, we'll scrap it all and start again" will result in cries of "Sack the Board ? no leadership ? how could they leave us in this mess?"

Mr Wyness might not be the most articulate presenter of the financial arguments (although I believe I understand the delicacy of some of the issues) but I tend to trust his judgement on the PURE BUSINESS PERSPECTIVE.

Now, many contributors to the dabate are saying "why has Bill Kenwright not spoken out so far?" Some have apparently put this down to "He's left Wyness to do his dirty work" or "He's ducking for cover". Some have even questioned whether the entire Kirkby exercise is a route by which BK and the Board will achieve a future buy out of the Club with a huge profit to the Major shareholders (i.e, BK and the Board). I'm sorry. I don't believe that for one moment.

I believe that Kenwright's silence is due to the fact that he is preparing himself for the one, absolutely pivotal, public statement of his life. He has to be the Chairman of Everton FC, a Club that he clearly, and sometimes embarrassingly, loves, to make a statement that will potentially direct the Club's for fortunes for the next 100 years or more. When he makes public his statement, which, as Chairman, he must, whether you agree with him or not, and whether you vote in accordance with his recomendation or not, give him the respect he, and the Board, deserves. I believe they have done their best, in all of the circumstances, to present an affordable solution to take us forward.

I beg all of our contributors to the debate to not personalise the issue, or the Club will "self destruct", much to the delight of "others" not too far away from us. I have believed all my Everton supporting life in "Nil Satis Nisi Optimum", but I also interpret that to include "Everton deserve only the best support". Keep the faith. Keep united, even where opinions differ.

Reader Comments

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Brian Waring
1   Posted 28/07/2007 at 10:13:58

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I think the problem for BK,Andy,is the trust issue.Over the years my trust has slowly eroded away for him,(fortress,ntl etc)and I could imagine that is the situation with a lot of fans.When you become wary of someone,it just seems hard to get past the trust issue.I don’t deny he is a true blue,and may have the clubs best intrest at heart(there I go again with the trust ’may’).I totally respect the man as an evertonian,as a business man,no.The reason why I am against the move,is not through sentiment towards goodison.I understand that to move forward we need to move on.But,on a business level I just think Kirkby is not the answer.I also agree with you, that he is getting ready to make the speech of his life just before the vote.It will probalby be the toughest role he has had to play in his whole career.One thing I am certain about though,is that even if we had to play on a school field,with jumpers as goalposts,I would be there 100%.
2   Posted 28/07/2007 at 14:28:58

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Andy, i agree with many of your points. i do worry that we (as evertonians) have spent alot of time at each others throats on this and many other boards. I myself have been guilty of this, only to be embarrassed later when i think that essentially the people i argue with want exactly what i want, the best for Everton.

But at the end of the day, there will be a problem with trust, and until we have either spent 2 or 3 years at the new stadium or stayed at Goodison and see how things go, will we know what the best decision would be. I only hope that we make the correct one, for our childrens sake.

(just for info i am in favour, although will deeply miss the atmosphere, the people i meet before and after the match etc) But i’m sure i’ll meet new people in new pubs.
Lee Kidd
3   Posted 29/07/2007 at 00:27:20

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I think alot of the pro-Kirkby’ers see it as this:

1) If a guaranteed, contracted agreement from Liverpool City Council came about before the vote is concluded (not just "consider this first" but a absolute promise) which is at least near the level offered in Kirkby to build a 50’000+ stadium within the boundaries with the same or less amount of personal debt to the club, every single Evertonian in the world would back it. However...

b) If it wasn’t guaranteed but a request to discuss with Bradley and A.N. Other over a "possibility" - after YEARS of trying to negotiate with Liverpool council, then that "possibility" would be told where to stick itself by those in favour of a Kirkby move.

Most people aren’t in favour of Kirkby, they’re just in favour of what’s seemingly best for the long term future of Everton. The location is irrelevant.
Paul M
4   Posted 29/07/2007 at 15:18:53

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You’ve nailed it Lee.
Michael Kenrick
5   Posted 29/07/2007 at 15:41:13

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I think anyone who blanket states "the location is irrelevant" cannot possibly have nailed anything. Location is supremely important. And for many (including me), locating the new stadium in Kirkby is wrong. It?s an expediency imposed upon us. It?s something I can?t imagine anyone actually chosing. Yes, it?s the only option, and the miraculous financial "Deal of the Century" does force you to stop and think... but the location IS relevant and Kirkby IS the wrong location for our once-great club.

Note that the question, though, is not "Will you accept this fabulous Deal of the Century and a new stadium built for peanuts?" It is "Would you support relocating the Club to Kirkby?" To that question I will vote No.

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