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A Change in Opinion?

By Jamie Rowland :  06/05/2009 :  Comments (19) :
Some of you may remember the article I wrote around the time of the Middlesborough home game: Just as a memory jogger it featured me, my missus and a lot of daft questions around the fundamentals of the game. I was probably too honest with my article and got slated for taking her the game and told by many to put her in the bin? do you remember it? I haven?t binned her? yet.

Anyway, the real point to that article was a question she asked that really opened my eyes as to one reason why we just can?t break that top four cartel. The question was straight forward? ?who have Everton got? Liverpool have Gerrard, Manchester [United] have that guy with the sun tan who everyone hates??

She was asking me as a wind up because her footballing wisdom clearly doesn?t stretch to the in depth debate that goes on amongst regular fans. For example, she commented on the day that a draw was good because it meant ?no arguing, every one is happy?. WOMEN!

After naming a few ?stars? such as Arteta, Cahill and the Yak, I gave up by telling her to ?get lost?, although it might have been another combination of words meaning the same thing! My final comment greeted of course by smiles and sniggering. She can?t resist a wind up?

When I wrote the original article, I concluded that one of the reasons we ?struggle? is because we are not commercial enough compared with our bigger rivals. Our brand name just isn?t strong and not every kid, wife, girlfriend, mistress, foreigner and non-football lover in the land has heard of an Everton player. Despite my best efforts to educate, we are just not a household name. I am sick of meeting new work colleagues who unsafely assume from my accent that I will be a Liverpool fan, having rarely or not heard of Everton FC.

We have no pin-up type players, no real creative players and no mega stars. We don?t even have a crazy bad boy amongst our ranks to cause boozed, drug fuelled scraps with the paparazzi (although we?ll probably sign Barton). The result is that we just don?t get the press. If league position was based on the number of inches received in national newspapers ? we?d be relegation fodder. We rarely feature?

OR do we?

Here?s the turning point, perhaps. Yesterday I asked my missus (now my fiancée ? yes we are getting married!) the same question she asked me. I was hoping for a good response but expecting something outrageously stupid like ?the guy with the black hair?. What I got was superb from someone who doesn?t like football (especially because it determined the date of our wedding, if there is to be one). She named Arteta, Cahill, Peanut, the young good-looking lad who scored against Liverpool (good looking?) and that lad who scored the penalty [Jags].

She also produced a flag for my car and a tee-shirt that she had bought from the local market stall in Huyton, telling me they were for Wembley. Apparently the stall, by the tanning place (she informs me), is now littered with Everton merchandise from flags and badges to scarves and tee-shirts. She mentioned that there wasn?t a red item to be seen. The stall is normally engulfed in red merchandise, you know the type I mean ? the tacky mirrors, clocks and dodgy scarves. The collage pictures of Torres and the ?almost signed by Gerrard? post cards etc etc... but currently, she explained it was totally blue and even the stall owner was wearing (or modelling) the FA Cup final tee-shirts. (Oh how the bandwagon turns!).

Even my now educated work colleagues, of Dutch, US, Malaysian, French and German origins watch for the Everton result, often starting e.mails with ?Go Everton, Go Screech?. So, with the social experiment again shelved for six months, I ask for comment as to why the Everton brand is on the up.

Is it purely because we have made it to the final of the FA Cup? Or is it something bigger than that? Is the blue machine finally oiled and back up running after so many years of heartache?

The new CEO knows what he is doing and is seemingly open about it. We are signing big deals with global retail outfits, bettering ourselves as a viable business. Could it just be something as simple as having the right person in the hotseat? Has Mr Elstone managed to convince Mr Kenwright that change is required and the way forward is to market the club as competitors to our rivals, rather than underdogs to them?

One thing is certain in my mind and that is that we no longer dive into investment promises with firms that cannot produce. We aren?t trying to find lending agreements or secure our ground as collateral against a big debt (perhaps because we can?t?). Everton FC looks as though it is finally striding forward and making itself look attractive, to me at least. Signing bumper deals can only be appealing to investors (as can the acquisition of planning rights for a new stadium?).

Are Moyes and the ?budget? team finally getting the praise they deserve from the media? Nearly every commentator in the land mentions our shoestring budget and ability to find top players for little amounts of money. Has being able to compete with the top four on the pitch enabled us to gather more media focus? We have given a good account of ourselves against the teams above us this season.

Finally, have all factors mentioned above increased our presence so much that even my missus knows a thing or two about my beloved football club? (Even if she still can?t understand why we don?t consider a draw the fairest result?)

Reader Comments

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Ciarán MacGiollaEoin
1   Posted 06/05/2009 at 15:13:46

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All at the club seem to be basking in the glow of the great season from Moyes and the boys...

Including the boardroom...It won’t last.

When the football draws to a close we then have a summer of contrary emotions to look forward to.

Your stall outside the tanning shop is probably a little more indicative of the fickleness of unkempt men - who engage in the raping of human emotion and market forces....rather than our clubs current fiscal stability.
Peter Laing
2   Posted 06/05/2009 at 15:22:46

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I think you have more or less answered your own question Jamie. Success albeit reaching the FA Cup Final, a stable manager and back to back top 6 finishes have ensured that the Everton brand is becoming ever more appealing. However, before we all get carried away I would temper this with caution as I recall feeling exactly the same way following the success of 1995.

Before that we had the disaster of our European exclusion post Heysel and a board running the Club like Arkwright?s corner shop thereafter when the likes of Manchester United became the equivalent to Tesco in footballing terms.

The next step in our development is continued sustainability and a business model that matches that of the Manager David Moyes. Without doubt the Semi-Final at Wembley seen the rebirth of Everton and positively demonstrated that we have ?the best behaved supporters in the land". Onwards Evertonians....

Tony I'Anson
3   Posted 06/05/2009 at 15:13:51

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The old AIDA model roles into town again for the re-launch of the Everton brand.


Awareness ? oh yes that other team in Liverpool that hasn?t won anything for years. Noisy fans. Hard to beat. Can?t really name any players. Didn?t Andy Gray off Sky play for them once?

Interest ? They got results against the top 4. They don?t have millions. That Jagielka is a handsome fellow, I?ll buy his replica shirt.

Desire ? I?d love it if they won on penalties, that ManUtd win too much. How did the manager get all these good players for nothing? They?ve won the FA Cup loads of times. They?ve also won the league a few times. The World Cup was played at their ground in 1966. Oh they should have been in Europe when English teams got banned. etc...they delve into history and...

Action ? A fan is borne. Z-cars makes them shiver. £500 spent on everything blue. They visit Goodison and nothing else compares. Rest is history.

Branding job done. Pass me Chang.
Phil Martin
4   Posted 06/05/2009 at 15:32:25

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I wrote a few articles in the past about our ’off the field’ performance. More specifically
a) Stadium move/redevelopment situation.
b) Our lack of commerical nouse.
c) Inadequate Transfer funds.
d) Our limited profile outside of the UK.

They’re all closely linked. By getting to the Cup Final we (potentially) have a moment of glory. But if its just a one off then we will be forgetten again by the following year. The same way the winner of that awful programme Pop Idol is in every paper, every day for a few months, but is then quickly forgotten when the hystreria dies down and the next years competition starts.

The simple answer is to achieve sustained success on the pitch. Success breeds popularity and the end product is increased TV money, prize money and commercial deals.

We can’t guarantee success on the pitch, but we are making progress. Ditching that ludicrous Wyness/JJB deal was essential. Building a new home (that’s fit to replace Goodison) or Redeveloping Goodison is the biggest challenge.

The bottom line is that clubs like Man U and RS have a more complete product. They have a regular trophy chasing/winning team, star players, and the commerical nouse to exploit this.
IF (or when) we start winning tropihes regularly more things will start to come our way.
Jay Wilson
5   Posted 06/05/2009 at 16:14:52

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Best behaved supporters in the land? Have you seen this article about 50 supporters who looted an off license on the way home from Wembley. Tossers the lot of ’em.
Gerry Morrison
6   Posted 06/05/2009 at 16:29:05

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I think our profile will be raised greatly in the good old U S of A this summer. The "All Star" game is a bit of a joke by our standards, but it will be watched by millions on the telly, and we will be presented as one of the big teams from Europe.
Stephen Graham
7   Posted 06/05/2009 at 19:15:47

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Have you considered pre-nuptual counselling?
Stephen Graham
8   Posted 06/05/2009 at 19:22:40

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Jay Wilson,

That is shameful behaviour from those "supporters". They deserve to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
Rob Hollis
9   Posted 06/05/2009 at 20:14:43

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What a day it was. I was talking to some Man U supporters before the game when a crowd of scallies came along ’winging’ their way to the ground, perhaps indicating they had arrived by air?
At half time two policemen were filtering the crowd into the exits when two middle aged blokes starting shouting at them to get out of the F****** way so they could gerra bevy. More abuse followed but the cops let it go.

the toilets soon became sickening because our ambassadors simply used the floor and then at the services later our boys stole all of the footballs from the shop and had an impromptu game amongst all the families with kids, food and hot drinks.

It makes you proud to be from Liverpool.
Julian Wait
10   Posted 06/05/2009 at 20:34:46

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I think you answered your own question in two halves, but didn?t realise it?

1. FA Cup Final
2. Screech: he?s big, has a "stupid" haircut, gets noticed (unfortunately by the refs as well), and the comentators love talking about him.

He?s also had an impact in several games.

Jay Wilson
11   Posted 06/05/2009 at 20:42:16

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Rob ? Within 10 minutes of kick-off, a guy in the row behind me had been sick on the fella sat next to me. He then left and was never seen again. All that effort for the first ten minutes!!! At least he got leathered mind... story to tell his Grand kids and all that.
Rob Hollis
12   Posted 06/05/2009 at 21:33:04

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A friend of mine is a Man U fan (sorry). A group of them go to the match in a mini bus every week.

The last one into Wembley is drunk and try?s to get in with his Man U season ticket. When stopped he argues and gets arrested. His friends get him after the game and the police can?t believe that he has a valid ticket in his wallet. He did not even see ten minutes.
Richard Dodd
13   Posted 07/05/2009 at 11:25:07

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... and all this improvement has occurred during the great Bill Kenwright?s tenure as our Chairman. Phil Carter got a knighthood out of it ? Blue Bill should get a peerage!
Peter Laing
14   Posted 07/05/2009 at 12:35:47

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Jay and Rob get a grip, there will always be minor incidents at an event that attracts 90,000 people and subsequently kicks off at 4pm. The overwhelming consensus is that Everton had in excess of 50,000 at Wembley roaring the team on, the media by and large reported on the atmosphere and conduct of Evertonians in a positive light. Around Euston station I and many others shared a pre-match drink or two with fellow supporters from Man United and again at the stadium did not witness any trouble.
Paul Gladwell
15   Posted 07/05/2009 at 19:35:58

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Everton supporters are not welcome in the Green man anymore after some shithouse had the burger man off of his takings.Tthe pub put a great show on for Blues fans, then some rat shits all over them. Don't these people have any morals?
Arthur Jones
16   Posted 08/05/2009 at 06:58:12

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I arrived in London on the Saturday morning and arrived home in Liverpool at 1:30am on the Monday morning and never seen one incident of unruly behavior unless you could call a bit of banter 'unruly ?. The vast majority of Everton fans IMHO were there to enjoy the occasion and to watch the team progress to the final.

I?ve no doubt there were a few isolated incidents, don't forget there were 90,000 people in the stadium and quite a few in the pubs watching the game. I?ve seen far more bother at a Blackpool v Bury game attended by 4,000!

Jamie Rowland
17   Posted 08/05/2009 at 11:38:13

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I called the Green Man pub. They were not aware of the situtation with the ’burger’ man. They told me that no Evertonians could be at the pub for the final because the police have allocated it to Chelsea fans.

So nothing to do with theft, unruly fans or bad behaviour.
Dave Leeson
18   Posted 10/05/2009 at 20:11:03

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Jamie, good article. Football is and has always been about money; you have tapped into a theme that has been a hobby-horse of mine for a while.

While the Kitbag deal seems good, we have missed an opportunity with the new shirts; quite apart from their design, to get only £3m from Le Coq is very poor and where are the associated garments (Ieisure wear)?

Plus, even allowing for the limitations of the ground, matchday hospitality is poor; Mr Elstone should try out a normal fans day at the match. If we can get the buisness right and the field performance right, we have a massive fanbase waiting to be tapped. We will then be needing a 50k-seat stadium!

Fred Bolls
19   Posted 12/05/2009 at 11:31:48

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Can I just start by saying that I’ve never met more friendly, honest and proud people than those from Liverpool. Why people want to continuously give ’scousers’ a bad press is beyond me!

The stall in Huyton is now full of toffee merchandise because it will return a profit quicker, simple as.

It sounds like your gf is simply taking more of an interest in Everton. I wish my gf would do the same, but unfortunately she can’t stand seeing grown men fall about and roll around in supposed agony being tickled by a fart!

We’re top 6 again, and we’re in the FA Cup final with a Europa league spot next year guaranteed. Maybe with some nice additions this summer, injured players coming back and the excellent youth coming through we may be able to challenge for 4th spot next year? Or even a cup in Europe?

All I know for sure is that with Moyes at the helm, we’ve got good times ahead.

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