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Mandate for Kirkby?

By Steve Williams :  24/08/2007 :  Comments (32) :
Whilst I?m not surprised that a YES vote has been declared by the Board, I am very interested in how close it was. In this regard I have the following observations:
  • Why was the return address on the ballot form different from the address on the enclosed envelope? Even the post codes were different! I would like to believe that this was just a cock-up with no sinister undercurrent, however at the very least this could very easily have lead to votes going astray.
  • How were the issues of duplicate and missing votes resolved?
  • Why didn?t the Board allow the overseeing of the vote from both sides of the argument? Any accusations of inappropriate administration would then have been removed.
The number of YES votes amounted to less than 5,000 more than the NO?s. Such a small majority hardly seems appropriate given the enormity of the subject under debate.

I think that few would disagree that for the mandate for the relocation to have creditability, a strong POSITIVE vote would be required. However an analysis of the voting pattern indicates that the POSITIVE vote for the relocation was only 41.5%, ie less than a simple majority of the total votes available. Given the enormity of the decision, it is extraordinarily weak, factually incorrect and shamefully misleading (but nevertheless predictable) for the Board to claim that:

?Everton Football Club acknowledges that a majority of those Evertonians who were eligible to vote in the ballot do support the Club in its desire to relocate to a new home in Kirkby?.
As a matter of principle, the Board owes us an apology for this statement. As a Chartered Accountant, I assist clients with Corporate Governance issues and on day to day matters such as:
  • - do you stock sausage rolls or pasties in the staff canteen?, or
  • - do we order white or pink toilet rolls for the restrooms?
it is entirely appropriate to have a simple majority ruling the day. However on major, strategic issues it is highly unusual to require less that a 75% majority. In fact in a number of circumstances the Companies Act 1985 demands that this level of mandate is required.

So the question is: How can the Board realistically and credibly argue that at best 59% of those that voted and, at worst 41% of those eligible, constitutes a valid mandate? I don?t suppose for one minute that the Board will consider these points because they seriously weaken their position, however to receive no answers would be a shame for all of us, whether we vote YES or NO.

I suppose the Board might argue that the move to Kirkby is on a par with the toilet roll decision!

Reader Comments

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Brian Baker
1   Posted 24/08/2007 at 13:56:24

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The same way that Tony Blair formed a government with only 42% of the electorate voting for them.

Its called democracy.

How do you know what percentage of those that didn’t bother to vote are against the move???

Its sounds like they didn’t care, because they couldn’t be bothered to vote. So if they don’t care let the Everton board decide for them.

The board’s percentage of 59% is correct. Its percentage of voters, I REPEAT, VOTERS, who voted in favour of the move.
Steve Williams
2   Posted 24/08/2007 at 14:08:31

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Brian, I understand your point however the Board made the statement about:

- who were eligible to vote

- not, those that voted.

Now, we can debate all day about opinions - it is this that makes the game so great - but the Board, and you, are factually incorrect and it is this that is most disappointing. Even after they have got the decision they wanted, they are still pre-occupied by spin, inaccuracies and misleading propaganda.
3   Posted 24/08/2007 at 14:10:34

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I for one am glad it’s over, at least I hope it is.

I’m born and bred in Liverpool, I’ve supported Everton all my life and have held a season ticket for many years.

All I want now is for everyone to accept the decision; like I have. Whether the decision is right or wrong it has been made.

We all knew before the ballot that 1 vote could be the decisive vote, we just need to accept what has happened and get on with supporting Everton.

Let’s hope we end up with a stadium that allows us to move forward and a team that we can watch with pride. At the end of the day we are all Evertonians, come what may.
4   Posted 24/08/2007 at 14:10:15

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Steve, if 59% had voted NO, would you still be having this argument about them having a valid mandate??? I think not...
Dan Mckie
5   Posted 24/08/2007 at 14:18:11

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Firstly Steve,if you put your vote in the envelope provided then it will have gone to the same place as eveyone elses unless your suggesting that the club somehow knew who was going to vote no so supplied them with a different address?? Secondly,5000 votes is alot when only 25000 were counted,it amounts to a 20% difference,a majority vote is to have more on one side than the other,end of!
AJ (London)
6   Posted 24/08/2007 at 14:16:23

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Clutching at straws

Vote works the way democracy is supposed to work and all you can find is fix.

Should the club have said "if you don’t vote its a no or yes", or should they, as in all elections, let the voter decide?.

As for people being at the count of the ERS, who the hell do you think that they are? The Bill Lackey Party?

And before you talk about needing a percentage of votes for a strategic decision - by law Everton didn’t even need to legally (though probably did morally) hold a vote, no other club has.

By the way 70% exercised their democratic right to vote.

You can’t turn a yes vote into a no vote by your negative attitude.
chris taggart
7   Posted 24/08/2007 at 14:19:34

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would you be having the same level of analysis if the vote was in favour of a no?

it would be probabley trumpeted as a crushing defeat by the no’s against the board

time to shut up and move on methinks
tom brown
8   Posted 24/08/2007 at 13:50:12

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Also a chartered accountant.

Most strategic decisions in businesses of size are taken by boards not shareholders.

Boards voting unanimously for decisions is not a fair comparison for the Everton vote.

Boards discuss decisions before voting and individuals in the board may vote against their own opinions because (1) it has become clear they hold a minority view in the board and feel they should vote along with the team rather than being difficult (2) They vote in line with the dominant board members who are dominant because of personality, perceived expertise, the decision impacts them most or other reasons.

Better comparisons for our vote are elections, television viewer votes.... 60% in these elections is usually considered a landslide. Turn-out was also high relative to these comparisons.

I am in favour of the move because I believe it gives the best chance for a secure financial future for the club. Despite this, I myself did not vote because I know many Evertonians who’s match-going lives will be directly affected by the move to a far greater extent than me and I felt it was fair for those supporters to make the decision. This means if I had known what the majority decision was, I would have voted inline with it, whether the majority was yes or no.
Geraint Cooksley
9   Posted 24/08/2007 at 14:25:27

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Steve, it was clear from the outset that there would not be a strong majority either way. We all accept that Kirkby is nobody’s first choice, but the proposition was finanially attractive and the stadium could be delivered very quickly.

Regarding the results 59% yes is very impressive I think for a decision that would have meant that many, manny yes voters, were voting with a heavy heart.
Tony Fryer
10   Posted 24/08/2007 at 14:42:09

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Steve, you can’t go massaging the figures like that. Ok only 41% of those elegible to vote did vote yes but putting it the other way round only 28% of those elegible to vote said no.
If you want to look at it that way should the club really refuseto move based on the opinions of 28% of the voters?
Nich Starling
11   Posted 24/08/2007 at 14:52:56

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Arguing about the "yes" vote only getting 41% because of 10,000 people who could not be bothered to vote makes you sound like one of those dreadful Tory MP’s dragged out on Sky News to justify another disastrous Conservative by-election performance.

They always talk about the people who didn’t vote, and they make themselves look silly.
Steve Williams
12   Posted 24/08/2007 at 15:13:28

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With all due respect (and I genuinely mean that, in an age when often it is meant to imply the opposite), I raised two main points that no-one has yet answered:

1. For something this enormous surely a positive, active vote was needed. To rely on passive missing votes seems lame to me.

2. The statement on the official site is clearly wrong and therefore misleading. Nothing new there then.

Although I fully accept the vote has been declared and, whether we like it or not, we will be moving, I just think that even at this late stage the Board could stop the propaganda. I think we all deserve better.
Sandy Brown
13   Posted 24/08/2007 at 15:28:17

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You’re absolutely right. The statement from the club is clearly wrong. A majority of those who chose to vote in the ballot, rather than a majority of those who were eligible to vote have given the thumbs up to Kirkby.

If the club were seeking a majority of those eligible to vote, they have failed.

They can’t stop spinning even now. Shameful. Let’s hope they sort themselves out, and start acting on behalf of all the supporters, not just those who ticked the Yes box.
nick harris
14   Posted 24/08/2007 at 15:24:47

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clutching at straws is spot on.

this whole article is a steaming pile of junk.

almost 60 % voted yes !!! 20 % more than the no voters.

the no vote was crushed fair and square.

Sandy Brown
15   Posted 24/08/2007 at 15:59:14

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Nick Harris

You’re falling into the trap of not actually reading the article again, aren’t you mate?

Illuminating though: "the no vote was crushed fair and square" seems to sum up how many Yes voters saw the ballot. And that’s why the club is now so badly split, because of the adversarial way it has been portrayed.

"We won! You lost! Get over it!" seems to be the cry.

Wrong attitude if you want our fan base to remain united. All wrong.
P Higgs
16   Posted 24/08/2007 at 16:04:44

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I am writing to regards the Stadium design, rather than the location debate.

Does anyone else not think the Kirkby stadium design is dull, un-inspiring, and generally out of the box rubbish.
If we had designs to build a brilliant, striking, stadium to be proud of, then I believe a lot of the "No" voters would?ve been swayed.
It?s the symmetrical, Identikit, cheap, design which really pisses me off. Total Crap. I thought we wanted a 55,000 all seater with possible expansion to 70,000 originally. Now its 50,000 with potential to go to 55,000-60,000. Why?
Cos its f****n cheap.
The whole plan is f****n cheap, done on a Tesco?s budget. I will always support Everton, but no number of images with floodlights on a dark night will make this proposed new stadium inspiring.
Neil Pearse
17   Posted 24/08/2007 at 16:19:22

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Steve, I’m sorry mate but this is pathetic and makes you look silly.

The majority who voted voted to move - by a substantial margin.

This is the way these things work. It’s fine to say you would have preferred the result to be different. But trying to change the result because you don’t like it makes you sound like Rafa Benitez.

This is a 3-2 victory for YES over NO. And the referees (ERS) were fair and impartial. Can we move on now?
Mike Neely
18   Posted 24/08/2007 at 16:15:29

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So far you,re the only one I,ve come across who doesn,t like the ground design.I say ground because it,s not a stadium it,s a footy ground.A proper four sided footy ground,the likes of which generate a far better atmosphere than modern oval stadia.
Sandy Brown
19   Posted 24/08/2007 at 16:39:46

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Mike Neely

You should get out more mate, I fucking hate it, it’s shit. I’ve yet to meet anyone who has been excited by it. In fact I’d say the reaction amongst fans I know has been about 5-1 against. Most say it looks like it’s come from a kit.

Perhaps you were taking the micky, sorry if so.
Mike Neely
20   Posted 24/08/2007 at 16:33:43

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Steve Williams.

Just a couple of points;
1.Why should anyone be in on the vote count? This is the Electoral Reform Society we,re talking about not a bunch of Johnny come lately,s.
2.The only way ballot papers could have gone to the wrong address is if the envelope was wrapped in them.As long as they were put in the envelope they got there.
3.Bill Kenwright promised every Evertonian, eligible to vote, a simple majority ,no matter which way the vote went.In real terms this was by no means a simple majority,it was huge.The fact that some chose not to use the franchise afforded them is unbelievable,and I hope none of them has the gaul to broach this topic again.However the fact that they took no part in the vote is niether the fault of the board or the E.R.S.The ballot was based on votes received
and therefore was fair and just.

No matter which side anyone took in this debate I hope to see you all on Saturday.We may be yaes and nayes but we,re all Evertonians.Bless you all!
Paul Daly
21   Posted 24/08/2007 at 17:12:57

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My question is what happened to the 11,000 who could have voted and didn’t vote- I mean wtf??????
Don’t they care????? Are they some bizarre set of casual fans?????
Mike Neely
22   Posted 24/08/2007 at 17:29:39

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Sandy Brown. You,re not looking at it properly Sandy! You have to imagine it after the expansion with the corners filled in like Old Trafford 60,000 joyous blues singing to the rafters......Oh joy!!!Need I go on?
23   Posted 24/08/2007 at 17:35:56

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Geraint cooksley, i never voted with a heavy heart and really wanted this move as opposed to the loop or redevelop goodison. If we did redevlop goodison we could do nothing about the slums around the groud and the whole area needs redevelopment and LCC to be involved and they would have to spend millions but as its outside the city centre it gets forgot about so we could have a nice shiny new ground but still has a grim area surrounding it with poor parking road and rail links, and as coming from skem I need my car along with thousands of others and while not getting into the argument of can we/can we not build a 35.000 or 55.000 stadium again its a parking and travel nightmare.
Although it will be easy for me to get to our new ground I am really looking forward to it and the mojority of supporters are judging by the vote,the location is ideal and the motorway / road links are excellent easy access to m57,m58,m62,m6 a station less than a mile away,15 mins from speke airport for when our european matches come. I have heard supporters give kirkby stick but w the town has flourished throughout the years I have worked around there and opposite the location properties are selling for 1/4 million and if any body doubts this go take a look at the valley rd/bewley drive area.
we also have a big fan base in Kirkby as its only 4 miles form goodison and not in outer mongolia.
On a personal note us skem boys cannot wait.
Democracy is a wonderful thing
Dave Roberts
24   Posted 24/08/2007 at 18:41:42

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P. Murphy,

Your enthusiasm warms the cockles of my heart! For every pessimist there is an optimist. Well done mate.
p downey
25   Posted 24/08/2007 at 19:22:38

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what a surprise them vote results?? as if behind closed doors ? why not in front of members of keioc an the board that would of been fair sky sports new the results last night??? tut tut do we really beleive TEN THOUSAND mainly season ticket holders couldnt be botherd 2 vote??? this is a sad sad day and i am ashamed of those who have sent us packn out of the city you have made thosands of reds happy 2 sell out to tesco the only option interesting 2 see when blue bill ha an his buddys keith an mr planet hollywood will sell us once in r new bolton/reading stadium 4 a nice huge profit an share few drinks on a beach sumwhere exotic SHAME ON EACH FAN WHO HAVE SOLD R SOUL 2 the first bidder NIL SATIS (we can no longer claim i hope you all sleep well tonight i wont!!!!
26   Posted 24/08/2007 at 21:04:26

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p.downey Shame on you for living in the past,I mayt have made thousands of reds happy but also 59$ of blues are happy, I see this in our club as anew milestone and cannot wait for it.MOVE ON,MOVE FORWAARD AND EMBRACE THE NEXT STEP FOR EFC. Sir terry and the tesco board know exactly what they are doing and I bet within the next three years we have a major financial backer ,lets face it in the financial world tesco can attract more investors than we can,if you doubt the efc board look at who is behind this a massive everton suppporter,more than you can say for any of the other clubs who have been bought by mainly americans/russians who have no knowledge of football or is that soccer
Steve Williams
27   Posted 24/08/2007 at 21:48:49

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Thanks to all who responded to my post. Out of courtesy to all I have taken time to read and re-read each and every one.

However ...

It saddens me that there is an undercurrent of aggression towards me and my views and anyone else who dares to have a view other than a YES - surely that can’t be right? After all we are supposed to be Evertonians together.

I have never denied the YES voters a fair crack. I have also never personally derided any individual who has voted YES. We are all entitled to our opinion.

I really fear that this will divide us for such a long time. Everything is pretty raw at the moment and perhaps part of the reason why the NO voters can’t ’just let it go’ is because of the unecessarily aggresive attitude of some YES voters.

Incidentally, nothwithstanding the legitimacy of some of the responses arguing against my view, no-one has explained why the Club are continuing to peddle the factually inaccurate and deliberately misleading comment on the majority.
Tom Hughes
28   Posted 24/08/2007 at 21:51:07

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Mr Murphy:
How can town be a travel nightmare? The vast majority of match-going blues live within the city region. I can understand your lack of local knowledge but the city centre is the transport focal point of that region. It is the only place that can be reached by all residents on one bus/train journey. Kirkby station gets 4 trains per hr. even at GP Sandhills gets approx 30 per hour. Or Kirkdale 20 per hour. In town there is a major main line station, and also the Wirral line. There is also no comparison with the buses, especially as regards the city centre, and no comparison in terms of parking. At Kirkby the vast majority will be travelling to and from the stadium in the same direction. there are only 2 dual carriageways serving Kirkby from the city (with the east lancs already at capacity, hence its major works recently), at the end of the day the M57 is only 3 lanes. There are a multitude of arterial roads serving Town and Walton, and furthermore people can use them in all directions. I’m afraid there can never be any comparison. The city centre handles over 100,000 every rush hour with capacity for double that, Kirkby often chokes on a few hundred cars when the industrial estate lets out. Which is what you might expect for a small town. 50,000 evertonians mainly wanting to go in the same direction?
Steve Taylor
29   Posted 24/08/2007 at 23:22:18

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Tom - on match days the scheduled buses & trains will be increased to meet the demand mate.

As for road travel - I drive to GP & believe me the route out of GP to the M62 is shite & congested to fuck at 5pm on a Saturday afternoon. Any further into the City centre & it’d be even worse.....the links from Kirkby to the M57 can’t be any fucking worse mate.
Phil Murphy
30   Posted 25/08/2007 at 20:33:15

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Tom its called supply and demand,kirkby staion gets 4 trains per hour from liverpool city centre because that is suffice right now,but it also has trains coming from wigan for or out of town supporters and yes there are only two dual carriage ways but these sre nowhere near as congested as goodison,as for motorway links this is a fantastic location.....dont forget our fans dont only come from the city centre but all areas arounnd it
Tom Hughes
31   Posted 26/08/2007 at 14:00:34

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Steve and Phil: Firstly you cannot just add trains to a local network that has to converge at some point, where would they fit? Kirkby station is single track for a start and it is the end of the line, meaning practically everyone will be coming and going from the same direction. Secondly, the buses are deregulated these days, gone are the days of masses of spare capacity to call upon. The difference between Kirkby and Walton in terms of public transport is approx 10:1..... and much more than that when compared to Town. This isn’t a small shortfall.... it’s massive. The city centre can absorb this influx with ease, like I said it handles more than this every rush hour, that is how the place is structured, that is why the CBD, city centre and all other major amenities will never move out to the periphery. The vast majority of Match-going blues still come from the city region, so to move to the edge of that will by definition inconvenience many more than it will benefit. If the club was in the city centre would so many out of towners really need to come by car with a mainline train station around the corner? The out of town option has been done in the US for decades..... they are currently undoing it, and are seeing the benefits of inner city stadia.
p downey
32   Posted 28/08/2007 at 21:24:28

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just read your reply MURPHY see u cant spell forward!!! fernandes deal gone pear shaped theres a surprise now they got their vote good pr exercise that 1 blue bill aberdeen will cash in once we in the new stadium mark my words you are easily fooled they are business men 1st so shame on you reply in 4 years when you can apologize when they have cashd in you blirt!

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