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The Fans Charter

By Christine Foster :  23/04/2008 :  Comments (24) :
I watch the games from the stand or from afar and the feelings of frustration abound at every turn. I see it in the eyes of every supporter, I feel the club has no direction, no determination, a readiness to abandon flair for safety when the chips are down. Damn, that hurts.

Ok, pretty negative stuff... but then I thought as a fan, what do I want or expect from Everton FC? Perhaps it?s a good point that the club is a business and has to run its affairs in a businesslike way. Well, if we had a fans charter it would be telling the club what we expect from them and not them telling us what we should be happy with.

Let?s face it, there are a tremendous amount of positives with the performances since Moyes has been in charge; progress since the days of the maligned Walter Smith (the poor sod never had a chance with the absence of ANY real money and the boardroom in-fighting) but now it?s really taking too long to step up to the mark and I fear that the gap is forever widening and we will not be able to catch the same old four above us.

So it occurs to me that perhaps we should tell the club what we expect from them in how the club is run, how the team should play and when and what we should be consulted on. Ok, some may say, what right do we have to do so? But isn?t the maxim of any business, ?Give the customer what they want??

?Great Expectations? or ?Oliver Twist??

Seeing as we have a theatrical chairman, I really would love to get away from the theatrical theme and the BK pantomime that has been over running its season for too long. So for what it?s worth here is my Fans Charter, but it's not a wish list ? it?s a demand.

The Club:

  1. The club show real ambition to succeed in all its activities, not a win at all costs but a single clear vision of what success is and how we will achieve it.
  2. The fans are treated with respect and the board and management of the club are treated by the fans with the same respect.
  3. The club should always be available to answer fans concerns and communicate honestly, transparently and frequently to inform us of status
  4. The club act with an integrity that is visible, with honesty that is a result of hindsight.
  5. The club is run within its means or realistic expectations of such.
  6. Someone puts their hand up and tells us when they get it wrong. Someone owns the problem, someone carries the can. Someone fixes the problem.
  7. We want a home that captures our tradition, intimidates our opponents and befits our ambition.
  8. That the club should poll its overall fan base on major decisions that affect the club's future and that all known facts are disclosed to make such decisions informed ones.

The Team:

  1. We want a playing style that promotes an attractive blend of attacking football with players who are coached to utilise and improve those skills.
  2. We want a reserve team that actually has players who can step into the squad or team when they have to.
  3. We don?t want a team of Prima Donnas but we want a team that can accommodate flair and the exciting to allow us to meet our Vision
  4. We want a team who don?t have to play at 120% week in week out to win games. But we do want a squad that can last the distance and ensure we are in a position to win.
  5. We want a manager who is appointed because he meets our ambitions, style of play and believes his methods of coaching can deliver on our expectations.
  6. We believe it is our responsibility to support our team through thick and thin, to help them raise their game, to support the manager when it?s clear he has done his job to the best of his ability and our expectations of such.
  7. Lastly, that it is our responsibility to praise the board when they get it right and be there to question when they get it wrong.
It?s not a joke. It?s answering to your customer, it's giving us a say in how we want to see Everton FC prosper. It's courageous, it's challenging, it's not how clubs are run. But then we are not just another football club, we are Everton FC. If we are to break the mould of how a club should, could be run, then do we have the courage to do it? What would it take to break the stranglehold of the big 4?

It is the opportunity to make it the strongest club in the UK with the strongest bond to its fans and its fans to the club. It sends a signal to the footballing world that this is Everton FC. This is what we believe in, this is how we play football; this is where you can play football.

Reader Comments

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Steve Pendleton
1   Posted 23/04/2008 at 14:02:21

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I reckon you’re like the female version of Jerry McGuire. Now I want to hear you say to BK ’SHOW ME THE MONEY’!!!!

In all seriousness, excellent post and agree with everything that’s been stated Christine. Unfortunately, I can’t see this becoming a reality as it might show our financial position for what it is.

If only you were on the board to make them accountable Christine. The way it’s being run is a joke and the lack of information about the future of our club shows total disrepect for the most important component of a club - the supporters of course.
Mr Disappointed
2   Posted 23/04/2008 at 14:46:43

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Sorry stopped reading after you expressed sympathy for Walter Smith who I recall had a fair few millions to spend on more than one occasion!
James Asquith
3   Posted 23/04/2008 at 15:07:18

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You might like to know that there is already a "Customer Charter"...

...or at least there used to be.

The main page of the OS ?Club? section (http://www.evertonfc.com/club/) refers to it and the 06/07 Customer Charter Report is still available on the site (http://tinyurl.com/4cykvc), but the actual charter itself has mysteriously disappeared!

Using Google to search the domain evertonfc.com for the specific term "customer charter" returns 6 results - none of which actually allows you to see what is promised in the charter.

Incidentally, the latest (actually that should be only) Customer Charter Report available is the 06/07 one linked above, which is dated February 2007 - are we due a new one?
Anthony Horabin
4   Posted 23/04/2008 at 18:06:10

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I would guess that the club already thinks it offers those points listed above.
Anthony Newell
5   Posted 23/04/2008 at 19:28:06

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Dream On
Danny ONeill
6   Posted 23/04/2008 at 20:52:29

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Great Christine,

Some excellent sound bites that must work well in the business world or some sort of new Labour think tank.

This is football - the unpredictable happens and sometimes you can’t control it.

That’s why we are addicted to it!!
Ray Robinson
7   Posted 23/04/2008 at 21:56:41

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Sorry Christine but for the most part idealistic claptrap. Well presented and very well written but divorced from reality. Do you work in HR or Marketing by any chance?

Point 3: The Club: On the subject of transparency, I reckon our manager is as open amd honest as they come.

Points 1 and 5 are potentially contradictory.

Point 7 comes down to investment. - we don’t have much! Some would argue that Kirkby is an honest (misguided?) attempt to address that.

I’m not going to carry on responding to each individual point. It mainly comes down to money or lack of it. Let’s face it we’re doing ok with limited resources.

You must work for a large Corporate. Well running a football club isn’t like that!

My charter is that we always play attractive football and beat the opposition by by at least 3 goals to save my nerves If only ... , it ain’t that simple.

God, I’ve got another soul destroying Corporate presentation to attend tomorrow!
Christine Foster
8   Posted 23/04/2008 at 22:43:12

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For teh record I don’t work in a large corporate and my background isn’t sales and marketing! As for claptrap.. hardly bears a response but ok for what its worth.

Everton FC is a corporate business anyone who thinks its not is dreaming. Yes its a club that we support but if its a business run for profit by its shareholders and paid for by its customers then its answerable to both.

Dream on? yes I do because somebody needs to state the bloody obvious that unless you ask for something you will never get it.

Too long have I listened to the utter claptrap by fans who have no idea what they want or what the club is offering. Too often have I heard half truths, spin and utter claptrap from the club fed to us the fans to shut us up. Pat us on the head and tell us to P**s off.

Without any vision we are going nowhere, how can we be expected to believe what we are told whentheir is no leadership or accountability?

One of the main reasons this site has so many dissaffected fans who argue with each other is that we all have our own idea of what we expect from the club. My expectations are not yours and so on .. without the club stating intent adn its own objectives with respect to many of the points I have raised, what else are we expected to do? Until then we are left rudderless and getting angry with each other because there is no one listening to us at the club.

You may think what I say is Claptrap, your may not agree to the points I raised, but someone has too raise them, someone has to ask us what we want. Someone has to put a stake in the ground and say THIS is why we are here.
Christine Foster
9   Posted 23/04/2008 at 23:00:24

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Ok.. now I will take my tablets and sit in the a dark room and be a good girl in future
James McCarthy
10   Posted 23/04/2008 at 23:46:37

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Hey Christine, can I claim first dibs with you .in a dark room with a few tablets.
Danny ONeill
11   Posted 24/04/2008 at 00:18:50

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Christine,

Don’t be daft - you’re entitled to your opinion as much as we all are. Lets be honest - do you think if you took control of the club tomorrow and implemented your charter it would change things?

Answer = no, they’re footballers! As unpredicatble as they always have been.

Have Everton always been successful every season? No - do we still love them?

Yes!! Is it just me or is anyone else getting irritated by the attitude of some fans? How far have we come lately? I know there is a long way to go but we are not that far away given the resources we currently work under. Please guys, you’re starting to sound like Newcastle fans (i.e. sing when your winning but boo istantly the moment we hit a bad patch). We’re 5th not 15th for Chirst’s sake.
Christine Foster
12   Posted 24/04/2008 at 01:41:00

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Danny, I know.. and no I shouldn’t get ticked off because I am frustrated but I am human. The real point I was trying to make was that their is a lack of direction and leadership and we all end up taking a pop at each other because no one knows whats really happening.
In comparison to were we have been in the last ten years we are doing well but I for one want the fans to have some input in to the playing culture and philosophy of the club.
Seriously I am not having a go at Moyes so much as I am at teh board. But there has to be an underlying belief in our club, our style, tradition and future.
Yes you can disect every word or point in the charter, I really have no problem with that but don’t miss the message.
Things have to change to improve, communication and honesty at the board level when we ask serious questions. Be as sarcastic as you want and put me down for stepping up and saying the things we all know we feel but never hear from the club. ASk the questions of the club, don’t shoot the messenger.
jayharris
13   Posted 24/04/2008 at 02:52:42

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Christine
a well considered view and eloquently put as always.

You are absolutely right about the division in the supporters.

It seems that escaping relegation created more of a bond than keeping up appearances with the top 10.

You are right in one respect that the supporters need unifying but that needs real leadership and ability in the boardroom and on the pitch with a real achievable plan.

I do however believe that it is not a supporters charter we need its a real capable leader not a penniless incompetent luvvie who no longer commands any respect from a large number of fans.

I am constantly amazed that other clubs in the top 10 have no trouble finding investors even when they’re not looking for them but according to the Magician he’s been seeking investment 24/7 for the last 5 years and now he’s running out of time and assets to sell he creates the monster known as Kirkby as a continuation of his smoke and mirrors routine.

I think that when the majority of supporters find someone to believe in that will be the time that we are all united in one purpose = to make Everton great again.
Jason Lam
14   Posted 24/04/2008 at 02:40:53

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I thought this was a positive, productive contribution from an Everton supporter. I’m seen some clubs (ableit baseball) publicly state their vision and mission, their role in the community as a club. One thing I would add as a fellow supporter is that we don’t need a tangible reason such as a business charter to justify why we support Everton. Other clubs such as Chelsea need to win trophys otherwise their ’supporters’ will clear out their wardrobes and don apparel of the current winners.

Over the years Everton has had varying success on the pitch, and with each generation of supporters their expectations are different. Those that grew up in the Walter Smith era are wetting their pants at the moment. Those from HK1 believe Anichebe is not fit enough to wipe Graham Sharpe’s dog’s arse. But no-one can deny what you ask for. You can find it in the logo: NSNO

Btw, can someone provide links showing pictures of the new kit? Nevermind, I’m gonna buy it anyway, probably only enough budget to clothe my kids and not myself. COYBs
Art Greeth
15   Posted 24/04/2008 at 09:44:46

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Hello Christine. Can I first say that I enjoy your contributions on TW. They frequently offer a good read and present a viewpoint at a deeper level to the norm.

However, on this one, I can’t subscribe to what you are proposing. Not because it isn’t valid or applicable to a football club as some are claiming, but because (as I see it) it is little more than window dressing.

Corporate social responsibility - corporate responsibility - corporate citizenship - responsible business (call it what you will...) is a fairly recent concept which purports to demonstrate the more ’caring, attentive’ side of a business.

All very honourable in principle, but too often not realised in practice. As soon as the bottom line - profit - is threatened, all the fine words in such a charter are conveniently forgotten.

I believe the public at large take a very cynical view to such charters and dismiss it for what it is - PR propaganda intended to cast the corporation in a benevolent light.

For me and, I believe, many others, such charters are pure mulch.

Sorry!
Christine Foster
16   Posted 24/04/2008 at 09:57:53

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Art, I have read your comments and I do agree to a great extent that words are meaningless without action and responsibility. A Charter, or whatever you use to communicate expectations and commitments are not just words. The problem is of course where Everton FC currently are it's hard to believe anything the Board tells us. So many contradictions, half truths and silence abound when leadership is required.

My second point in putting the expectations together was not the actual detail that I set out. that depends on an agreed viewpoint and maybe none of my points would be valid. No, the point was to give the club a sense of purpose in terms of its, and our expectations for how we operate, play, manage and support our club. If we are all pulling for the same thing then we are far more likely to be successful.

The current issues relate to the fact we all have different expectations from our team and from our club. The poor leadership and direction from the board in recent times is reflected in the frustration the fans feel for being treated as mushrooms. Left in the dark and fed ....

It is no surprse that my view of the world is perhaps totally different from others but without a line in the sand, who is right? Is it all just a waste of time? The fans want a working plan they can align to, that they agree to, that they believe in. The team desreve our unwarranted support but its hard to give when you have to sift through a mixture of half truths and incompetance. It sort of undermines the confidence in the club. That can?t be allowed to continue. The Fans Charter is a tool but the cynics amongst us would have us believe words and expectations are a waste of time.

I don?t believe giving direction to a club is a waste of time, I don?t believe communication with the fans in an honest way is a waste of time. I don?t believe that a philosophy of style of football is a waste of time.

But then if I have wasted my time in penning this it's because I believe that my club is worth it.

Art Greeth
17   Posted 24/04/2008 at 12:08:33

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I fully comprehend your motivation for penning the words you have Christine, but the ?need? you evidently feel for the club to have a charter as some kind of road map as to where we are, where we want to go and how to get there is, as you also state, a matter of personal opinion.

Unlike many, I don?t have such a cynical view of the board and BK that, as you state, "it?s hard to believe anything the board tells us".

Again, unlike many, nor do I subscribe to the view that (to paraphrase you) "the club (doesn?t have) a sense of purpose in terms of its, and our expectations for how we operate, play, manage and support our club". On the playing side, Moyes clearly is applying an appropriate model to the team, given our particularly circumstances; on the commercial side we have sold Bellefield and have a state-of-the art training facility in its stead at Finch Farm; the club is biting the bullet on the ground issue and we continue to extend global partnerships, from grass roots football to corporate level. That doesn?t strike me as being without direction or purpose. That strikes me as a corporation laying in solid foundations and planning for future success.

You state that " If we are all pulling for the same thing then we are far more likely to be successful." A quick scan on these pages alone on any day would quickly eliminate any hope of an acceptable consensus to all. Therefore, tough decisions HAVE to be made - as in all corporations to which this thread alludes - by those at the very top.

Now alas for many, but positively for others, such decisions have been made by the club?s heirarchy with regard to, for example, the stadium. Far from "treating fans as mushrooms" there was (and continues to be) a very public debate and there was an unprecedented public ballot on the issue.

Now you interpret what comes out of the club as "a mixture of half truths and incompetance... (which) undermines the fans? confidence in the club". That may well be true for some, but it does not necessarily ring true for all.

I don?t deny Everton?s PR could be better at times. I don?t deny that there have been failings. What I do dispute is that this equates to out-and-out incompetence and conscious, malicious, premeditated intent to harm, undermine ? destroy, even ? the club in any way.
Christine Foster
18   Posted 24/04/2008 at 12:55:02

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Art as I said before, its my viewpoint and I respect thaI it may not be for others. However,
"I don?t deny Everton?s PR could be better at times. I don?t deny that there have been failings. What I do dispute is that this equates to out and out incompetence and conscious, malicious, premeditated intent to harm, undermine - destroy, even - the club in any way."

I did not state nor imply any of the above as a consequence to the incompetence or lack of leadership. They are your words not mine.
Dave Lynch
19   Posted 24/04/2008 at 13:06:53

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Christine.
Please do not take this the wrong way.
But after i had picked myself up off the floor from fits of laughter.
I imagined the the board of our football club discussing how they could serve the fans better.

Let’s keep them informed and involve them in the decision making progress. etc etc etc.
Great post but very utopic.
Art Greeth
20   Posted 24/04/2008 at 15:54:20

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They are indeed my words Christine. Now whilst I do not attribute such attitudes directly to you I was speaking in more general terms about how the EFC management is perceived by many, rather than you personally - forgive the confusion.

That said, the following words are yours from this very thread:

"Too often have I heard half truths, spin and utter claptrap from the club fed to us the fans to shut us up. Pat us on the head and tell us to piss off..

"Without any vision we are going nowhere, how can we be expected to believe what we are told when their is no leadership or accountability?

"The problem is of course where Everton FC currently are its hard to believe anything the board tells us. So many contradictions, half truths and silence abound when leadership is required...

"The team deserve our unwarranted support but its hard to give when you have to sift through a mixture of half truths and incompetance. It sort of undermines the confidence in the club. That can?t be allowed to continue..."

Can you not discern from such rhetoric how someone might just - an incey-wincey bit - consider that you consider there is a conscious deceit being perpetuated by the Everton board...?
Christine Foster
21   Posted 24/04/2008 at 20:14:15

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Art, I see where your coming from, but I don?t see it as contrived or malicious. I just see it as incompetence and patronizing. I believe the board does have the good intent of the club at heart but that good intent does not gloss over the actions taken and lack of leadership or communication.

As I have often said, there is an impression that we only ever hear part of a story, why is that? I have never critisized Moyes or the team in general, but the running of the club has left a great deal to question for the last decade and the current leadership of the board in particular. BK may be a great Evertonian but he is human and it is his money and he wants to safeguard his investment as much as anyone else.

Wyness is another matter. I believe BK trusts Wyness and that in my book taints his leadership because I think that trust has been misplaced. I could argue the case for that belief as I am sure you could counter it but no matter what is said it doesn?t feel right. Without the honsety and transparency we will never get the full story.

Derek Thomas
22   Posted 25/04/2008 at 05:19:09

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You mention Leadership, that starts from the top and there in lies (no pun intended) the problem. The turkey isn’t going to vote for Christmas is he.

You also mention ’ the customer’ there’s your 2nd problem, we are no longer the only customer we aren’t even, by a long chalk, the biggest customer so we don’t count.

Only when the stay at home punter stops watching the product will the money men put enough pressure on the clubs to change ..and the changes THEY want might not be the changes that you want.

Bridge to Sulu.

Sulu here.

Mr Sulu, set scanners to Billionaire, full power warp factor 10.
Michael Hunt
23   Posted 25/04/2008 at 09:14:14

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I’m not sure how meaningful such a ’charter’ would be, at all! The Club already does most of the above (if not very well in many areas).
Ideals are one thing, but what we need is the desire, skills and (crucially) MONEY to give the club the impetus needed to get the Club in the Champions League places.
Moyes has done well given his resource (and maybe we’d have made it this year with better luck with injuries), but it is MONEY that is the main missing ingredient here.
Will Reid
24   Posted 25/04/2008 at 14:27:48

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Didn?t anyone read the local press the other week? All our board members have agreed unamiously NOT to sell their shares to possible investors, hence Randy Lerner's comments about looking at EFC before Villa and being warned off! So much for BK looking for investment 24/7 ? its a load of bollocks. The people running our club are an absolute joke.

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