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Selling our competitive advantage

By Dan Sedlak :  24/08/2007 :  Comments (14) :
This quote taken from a blogger on the Guardian is interesting, and I for one agree completely:

To my mind the arguments in favour of the move are all wrong.

The financial strength of any club is increasingly based upon the exploitation of its franchise and name. Think TV rights. Think shirts. Think corporate support. The physical stadium will play a decreasing role in the finances of a club. The big spending clubs base their financial power less on the people who turn up and more on the distant supporters and/or rich sugar daddies.

In effect financial strength relies upon the "virtual" club rather than the "real" one.

So the problem for us Blues is that our board has been inept in handling that side of things. The marketing and financing of Everton has been ludicrously amateur. Selling forward season ticket sales etc is short term approach - you can't carry on selling the family silver indefinitely. It's not a viable option.

In most business it is "differentiation" that creates value - What makes your offering different? And it is here that the club is throwing away its main asset. Goodison - smelly, ancient, crumbling is a well loved place. It "reeks" of football - admittedly an old flat-capped, brown-mixed, football rattles, "Golden Vision" type of smell - and that is its true appeal. Visiting supporters generally speak well of the atmosphere, especially those whose clubs have moved to the ubiquitous "surround-sound super-cantilevered, squeaky-clean, environmentally-friendly" stadia. They positively hanker over what we have - and our board wants to throw that away. Our very idiosyncratic club and stadium are our strength - once we move to Kirkby we'll be just the same as all the others and our competitive advantage will disappear.

I am not hankering after the good old days for the sake of them, but rather because they are the way forward for the club. Update the stadium, put more seats down the Park End, make it safe but keep its essence intact and then leverage the very difference of the offering. Throw away the stadium and you throw away the opportunity to be different.

Reader Comments

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birky blue
1   Posted 24/08/2007 at 17:20:44

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Did not read the article and dont know who the blogger is but is he trying to say the tesco board of directors dont know anything about financial muscle,get real and admit its the best think to happen to us now we can look forward to a new backer to fund dm and corporate boxes also a bigger fan base. Ignore the blogger and support the blues
bootle blue
2   Posted 24/08/2007 at 17:32:02

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Tesco know about selling groceries. A large part of the ’No’ campaign has been based on the fact that in Kirby we cannot leverage being a part of Liverpool - a major european city.

Kirby is, to be frank, not as attractive a proposition for investors as Liverpool is.

Final point, lost the vote, gutted but sincerely accept it.
3   Posted 24/08/2007 at 17:30:39

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So Steve, the essence of what you are saying is that we update the stadium to keep opposing fans happy. At the last estimate less than 10% of our OWN fans think staying at Goodison is worthwhile! I could go on and on about the faults in your argument but it’s all been said before in these columns. Your philosophy appears to be that of "it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t sell, as long as we’re different to the rest". A sort of moral high-ground whose foundations are built on sand. Sorry, but this corner-shop of yours will fold quickly, because you simply don’t understand the competition.

Anyway, let’s continue a sensible debate. We’re in this together.
Mike h
4   Posted 24/08/2007 at 18:01:51

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Bootle blue ,tesco do not only sell groceries the are involve with all kinds of financial arms investing money world wide and they have some of the best financial boffs working for them,that is why they are a profitable company in the top 100 in the ftse.
We need this move and its a giant step forward and I also votes yes and now looking forward to it
Karl Masters
5   Posted 24/08/2007 at 18:33:29

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The vote came in around about what many suspected - a Yes, but not a massive one.

It is something of a mystery how 30% never registered a vote though. I would think, that based on my experiences with Everton FC, that their database is inaccurate and many voting forms went astray or arrived too late. Some of course, copped out of a decision ( which is sad, but some people are like that ), whilst others were probably on holiday and could not vote.

Personally, I voted No, but I accept the vote although I do have reservations and I hope that should the Loop or anything else develop in the near future, the Club have the decency to look at it properly rather than pay lip service.

I hope we can now put aside some of the acrimony. We are one set of Fans. Ultimately, either opinion may prove to have been right, but for now I want to see us get the results on the pitch and give Rafa ’chip on his shoulder’ more to moan about!
mick mac
6   Posted 24/08/2007 at 18:42:02

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Now this maybe blocked I dont know but why dont we start an organisation BKBIL BRING KIRKBY BACK INTO LIVERPOOL
7   Posted 24/08/2007 at 18:58:40

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Mike H, I accept what you’re saying, Tesco aren’t idiots, but their major driver is to make money from, and for, Tescos, not for Everton. The vote is done so it’s a mute point anyway.

Put it another way, you’re a kid, who loves Everton - you work hard rise through your organisation and make it to the top. You look back at Goodison and see it’s falling down. You fullfill the dreams of your childhood and work even harder to help both your company and the love of your childhood. Part of me thinks, prays, that Leahy is that kid.

Final point, lost the vote, gutted but sincerely accept it.
8   Posted 24/08/2007 at 19:21:48

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best news to come out of efc in years. grow up all!!! theres nowhere else that can compete with tesco deal. as the board says deal of a life time. im there and i know thousands more will(50000).come on the toffs
Dan Mckie
9   Posted 24/08/2007 at 20:40:30

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I seem to recall most sets of away fans sing "what a fucking shithole" when they come to goodison,except Fulham fans!
Keith Glazzard
10   Posted 24/08/2007 at 21:15:31

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If Liverpool is a major European city or not has got sod all to do with anything. My mates in Spain have no idea that Chelsea, Arsenal, Spurs and the like have anything at all to do with London (which they have heard of).

I read someone disputing whether Kirkby was three and a half miles or four and three quarter miles away (from?).

Get out more.
11   Posted 24/08/2007 at 22:42:39

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Goodison Park is our competitive advantage? Nonsense.

In the 60s when it was the state of the art ground in the land then perhaps. However these days it is a rusting, rotting crumbling parody of its former glory.

It would be like giving Lewis Hamilton a Morris Marina and telling him it is his competitive advantage.

A small die hard group may want crap toilets, appalling catering, and a mythical atmosphere, but i would wager most fans do not.

Football has moved on and now has to compete with a million other activities which take up weekends, whther it be shopping in world class retail parks or sitting on the sofa watching 200 channels of sky. It is also a premium entertainment service where people pay £30 for 90 minutes entertainment (unless we are playing Boro) therefore the facilities have to match the investment fans are prepared to make. A new stadium could deliver the world class facilities that fans desire and actually provide the club with the competitive advantage we do not have.

Ally a new stadium to the best squad and manager we have had in years and Everton becomes an attractive proposition for fans. Chuck in hotels, restaurants, bars and retails facilities and there is something for everyone and Kirkby becomes the leisure destination Goodison isn’t.

As for Tescos, they are a modern British success with £1 in every £10 spent in retail going through their tills. They are absolutely in this to make money. So what? They can make a billion from their retail park as long as we get a stadium and the facilities that allow the club to grow.

I completely agree that Everton’s marketing and self promotion has been atrocious, but the biggest marketing initiative we can undertake is to generate positive noise around Kirkby and continue to develop a winning team.

New fans who do not have a natural attachment to a club are not created by marketing initiatives, but by success. That is why there are kids all over the globe wearing Chelski, Man Ure and Shite tops.

Hopefully now all the infighting and moaning will stop. Fans were (misguidedly imho) given a vote and the vote came back yes. Lets get on with the future.
kevin quinn
12   Posted 25/08/2007 at 01:56:11

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I already see that people are contesting the vote as being not overwhelming enougth , are these the same people who are prepared to accept election results as being not overwhelming enough , if so why did they not oppose Margaret Thatcher when she never got such an overwhelming majority, I personally hate the cow but thats another story
Peter Jones
13   Posted 25/08/2007 at 11:18:29

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Tesco are in it for Tesco.
We are only a pawn in their game, their financial commitment to Everton FC is an insignificant, one-off, pill sweetener. If Tesco is the great panacea why do we still have a third world, third rate beer manufacturer on the front of our shirts? Answers on a pre-packaged sandwich wrapper please.
John Bendix
14   Posted 02/11/2007 at 17:36:00

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Take the toffee-papers off your specs, Dan. Goodison is a dump, and no amount of facelifting could make it otherwise.

No new fans will be attracted to the club on the premise that it’s different because it plays in a shithole.

’Leverage the very difference of the offering’...? If that means build success on the uniqueness of arguably (but only just) having the worst ground in the Premiership, then your are barking up the wrong tree. Now, consistently good football AND a new stadium - that might be something!

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