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Let's not moan about it but fix it instead...?

By Jamie Rowland :  06/10/2008 :  Comments (20) :
Firstly let me point out that I have posted something similar to this before but, after hearing today's missives, it seems particularly poignant to go down this path again.

I?m going to put the cat amongst the pigeons... I was in the toilet today at half-time and some of my fellow facility users where complaining about the involvement (or, in their opinion, lack of involvement) of Bill Kenwright in the club's affairs. As you can probably imagine, there were lots of moans and groans but that?s enough of the toilet humour.

One fan was complaining that all the club's problems originate from the Boardroom and their lack of creativity and ability to manage business. A pet hate of mine is when people present a problem but are not willing to offer a solution. To me, a solution is something that can be put into action that resolves an issue practicably and viably.

So I informed the disgruntled set of fans (fan) that their opinion was somewhat irrelevant as the boardroom is managed on votes. Votes based on money put in. Money is the power. The fan opinion, the newspaper opinion, the fanzine opinion and the website contributor's opinion counts for little unless there is some substance behind them ? the substance unfortunately is the root of all evil... money.

I didn?t get the best of responses. In fact, some of them where outright rude and went along the lines of "I?m a fan, my opinion counts" (or words to that effect). But the simple fact is not one of them could give or wanted to give a solution to the problem. I therefore, presented one (farfetched, I know): "Why don?t you do something about it? Why don?t you fund a buy out? Why don?t you start a campaign to gather the money together to buy out Blue Bill?"

What I meant by my suggestion was that a fan consortium could gather the funds to have a representative sit on the board and use the position (a prominent one) to instigate a buyout/takeover of the club. It?s really that simple and I never meant that the fans could run the club fulltime and fund the future. I just meant that the fans could have an influence in order to push forward the finding of a ?suitable? investor (would BK consider the fans a suitable investor ? that?s another argument).

The reply... "We?re not Kopites." No, we?re not ? but we are always wondering why we can?t share the same spoils... So obviously, I put the cat amongst the pigeons by remotely suggesting that we should take note of action that other fan groups have attempted to take, albeit crazily.

Perhaps, the fact the fans of Liverpool Football Club have taken this action (unsuccessfully) should not be a particular stumbling block for Everton fans. Put away our stubbornness and our apparent hatred for everything the other lot do ? sometimes even they can provide a best practice that we should perhaps take on board? This sounds completely out there but I can?t help think that other people supporting my beloved club find it too easy to pick on the bad points without suggesting a way to improve them.

Fans are supposed to stick to the football, not the politics but we find ourselves being caught up in the madness of what we really can?t see and most definitely don?t understand (without being involved more directly). A great example was the call for the EGM. A waste in terms of actually actioning the club to do something more positive and communicate more effectively with its bread and butter, the fans.

Fans, on this site and others, praised the efforts of those brave enough to force the EGM but did it address anything we didn?t already know? Not really... But it did serve as another piece of evidence toward this article ? we offer problems but absolutely nothing in the way of solution.

Same goes for the stadium debate. Some fans have been against it from day one, some have joined that notion after reading about it and being swayed. That fact is ? the stadium proposal has been called in and it?s allowed the various anti-Kirkby groups to present a viable alternative (or, in my language a solution) but they have failed.

They have failed to present a solution that can be seriously considered and I don?t think that the board neglects to look at other options before ruling them out. I think more that they too are wishing for a great solution that could keep us in the City and provide fantastic opportunity. My belief is that they are wanting the same thing... even if it is just to line their pockets, the goal is the same. It has to be, otherwise there would be no business at all at Everton FC.

I should stop here, I?m probably creating a massive flurry of comment about the ridiculous notion of a fan takeover. That?s not what I am endorsing, not at all. What I am asking is that we stop moaning and we starting doing. If we have a problem, suggest a solution or at least admit that we don?t know of a solution (and ?Get him out? isn?t a solution, it?s just another gripe). It?s called development and it WILL push the club forward, even if it only serves as a way to restore some confidence amongst fans.

Offer solution or stop whining about the problem. This goes whether you think you have the right to moan or not. The moan is wasted if not backed up with a fix. I will guarantee that the board will struggle to ignore viable options and communication will have to improve if we give them something to get their teeth into ? even if they only look to reject our ideas, at least we have made them look and talk.

Mr Kenwright will not communicate or partake in debate that is built only on argument and problem without solution, concept or idea. As we have seen, just because he has made it big does not mean he has all the answers. Sometimes we have to provide them.

Reader Comments

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Kevin Sparke
1   Posted 06/10/2008 at 08:51:41

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Solution to our problems: Score more goals in each game than the opposition do....

(I?m a footballing genius!)

Seriously, if you are advocating fans representation at board level at EFC, you need to address three key problems:

1. How will you choose the ?fan?s representative??
2. How will you determine his/her agenda?
3. How will you fund this?

EG Nightmare scenario 1.

I pay my £1000 quid towards a ?fan?s representative? and Tony Marsh wins the election. Is he going to represent my views as a fan? How will I make sure this happens? Why should he represent my views... they may be atypical? Do I really want someone like Tony representing me? (No offense but anyone who writes that they want us to get beat and boasts that they asked an opposition manager to come and manage us... ?redshite Steve Coppel?... I don?t want representing me!)

That?s the big problem Jamie... you can?t realistically have a ?fans representative?. Judging by what I see on here and hear around me, there is no coherent and authentic ?fan?s view?.... we?re all different. To try to get consensus would be like trying to herd cats.

The only common denominator as a fan is we all want to see Everton win (apart from Tony).

Sorry mate but I think it?s a non starter.

Stephen Stuart
2   Posted 06/10/2008 at 09:21:56

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Problem: - articles like this

Solution: - stop posting.
David Kiely
3   Posted 06/10/2008 at 10:03:34

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Jamie - this is basically the Supporters Trust route...the one that has made inroads into smaller lower league clubs, but made absolutely no impact in the Premiership due to scale of finance. Looking on from afar, fan representatives in those league clubs seem to be a viewed by lower league boards as a bugbear they have to put up with in order to have irate supporters financially help them out and keep them from becoming too Bolshy. I fear the same scenario would unfold in the Premiership. In my opinion, only a complete fan buyout would suffice, would that be possible - which, of course, in this climate is unthinkable.
Jamie Rowland
4   Posted 06/10/2008 at 10:29:58

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Guys - thanks for the repsonses. I mentioned a fan takeover as an example of a solution to the moans that we constanly hear. I realise that it is farfetched and would be overally complicated to conduct but it was just one solution. The article was aimed at prompting the moaners to come up with a solution. Stephen Stuart?s post is exactly what I am talking about.

We all have an opinion and I am just within my rights to express mine as everyone else. So a reply like Stephen Stuart?s is uncalled for an narrow minded - is there any wonder that the club NEVER moves forward?

Andy Crooks
5   Posted 06/10/2008 at 10:32:20

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Sorry Jamie, it?ll never work in a million years. Here?s an alternative. Replace David Moyes with a coach who will play attractive open football. (Our defence is shite any way so we might as well be more attacking.) Have someone running the club who has an idea what they?re doing, eg someone who considers marketing to be of some importance. Have a chairman actively seeking investment (not lying about it). At least then we will be seen to be doing the best we can.
Jamie Rowland
6   Posted 06/10/2008 at 10:46:56

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Andy, I realise that it is extremely difficult to achieve. That wasn?t really the point of the article. The point is that we always present the problems but never the solution (or an action that results in solution).

I agree that Moyes rarely plays attractive football but if we, as fans, think that the solution is to replace him (if we truely believe we have players to play attractive football), then we need to take the action to solve the problem... don?t we?

David Edwards
7   Posted 06/10/2008 at 10:20:30

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You’ve got to stop reading those ’self-help’ or ’personal development’ books, Jamie - you’re starting to sound like a wet liberal teacher.

I apologise for an obscure TV reference, but you don’t half remind me of that classic Red Dwarf episode when Rimmer becomes a pipe-smoking, sandal-wearing liberal who in response to battling an alien monster says "I say let’s hit it hard...I suggest a leaflet campaign now!’

In all seriousness, I do sympathise with your view that problems require solutions rather than just negative vocal criticism. However, much of our current frustrations are the result of having no power to directly affect things by our actions.

Without huge amounts of money, we cannot affect the decision-making process at board level. Given the resignations we have seen in recent years, even board membership doesn’t guarantee success. The idea of a fan presence on the board is pure tokenism (as anyone who has seen such shop-floor representation at business meetings can testify).

What power do we have to express our views? Forums such as this (which we hope might just reach their ears, if only via the wider media), booing at the end of matches, not turning up at matches (look at yesterday’s attendance), starting campaign groups etc. I don’t particularly think the Toon were well co-ordinated in their response to Keegan’s departure, but they still did enough to make their views clear to Ashley.

I actually think that Blue Bill has finally latched onto the unrest within the fanbase, which is why we might just be seeing buy-out/investment possibilities at long last.

The solutions to our problems are out there, and just because we can’t broker those changes ourselves, doesn’t mean we should keep quiet.

Problem: Board stagnation and lack of investment in future.
Solution: Club buy-out or major investment.

Problem: Disenchantment with Manager (not necessarily my view).
Solution: Replacement Manager

Problem: Poor on-field play.
Solution: Improved coaching, training, selection, player discipline and focus.

Problem: Kirkby Ground Plans:
Solution: Identify and discuss alternatives with all parties in an open forum, freed of exclusivity agreement restrictions.

If you want to persist in using business management-speak, Jamie - I can leave you with one thought as a Quality Manager. Every successful business thrives when it listens to the views of its customers - who know what they want, and when they pay for it, they expect their needs to be met. Let the board and the football club listen more carefully to our views. We shouldn’t need to chip in for a fan representation to get our views and possible solutions heard - they should be known already.

Let’s start having a bit more respect for the views of the fans (from the urinals upwards!). I suggest the board get desktop shortcuts to Toffeeweb, Blue Kipper, NSNO etc. - although knowing how effective our PR/Communications department is, I doubt if they’d know how to do that.
Christine Foster
8   Posted 06/10/2008 at 11:24:29

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Sorry Jamie, but the premise of shut up unless you have a solution is never going to happen. Change comes about as a result of people demanding it, pressure brought to bear and in the end the get out clause of sell up, stand up or shut up.

At Everton we have a number of serious problems that I am sure many of us would have solutions too IF we had the facts. We don?t and we never will. Money does talk, you're right. The questions many of us ask are to the motives behind many of the decisions, you say that even if they "line their pockets" it's still done with the club's best interests at heart.

Sorry, don't buy that one.

People are human and if they see the chance to make a killing most do. Why should BK or John Woods, Robert Earl be any different?

IF the Daily Mail report of the interest in the sale of the club IS true and the price IS roughly accurate then once you deduct the debt you still come away with the FACT that BK and the other directors (who according to the report have already agreed to sell). They will make a significant killing.

BTW Neil P. IF the report is right it goes to show that the club would be sold above its asset value, which would rather put a hole in your argument about who would pay that much? Just a thought, if it happens of course...

Fans' concerns have a right to be heard, we all moan too, but there have been some pretty hard hitting facts (not moans) that require answers that have never been addressed.

In reality, you're saying that the board only answers to the market not the fans. We may not have all the solutions because we are not privy to all the facts, only spin (suddenly I feel like a mushroom again, kept in the dark and fed...)

We don?t expect all the truth all the time, but don't mix it with lies, spin and conjecture.

Last but not least, relocating the club has had more to do with where Tesco wanted to go than Everton. Perhaps a better solution is a better partner. Perhaps a better solution would be an end to an exclusivity agreement that has been used to prevent options rather than create any.
Ciarán McGlone
9   Posted 06/10/2008 at 12:05:45

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The suggestion that one cannot criticse without offering solutions that would be highly dependent on knowing the internal structure and machinations of the club - is just plain daft...

A pet hate of mine is people who say criticism is not valid without an accompanying solution.

Bollocks.
David Johnson
10   Posted 06/10/2008 at 12:05:18

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Did Newcastle fans do any more than moan and yet they forced Ashley to put the club up for sale? My point is the views of the fans taking a leak are perhaps a little more pertinent than you think.
Kevin Sparke
11   Posted 06/10/2008 at 12:06:29

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Realistically, the only ’power’ that fans have is to stop being fans and deny those in power revenue.

You can make a lot of noise, boo the team, chant for the chairman/manager’s head... they’ll only take notice if they think it will hit their pockets.
David Johnson
12   Posted 06/10/2008 at 12:19:14

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Fan power is hugely important. In my humble opinion, it's the real power and I think it's about time our club showed us some respect. Are Man Utd's 68,000 per week not the reason they are champions? Do you think the Glaziers would have shown the slightest interest if Utd were pulling in 20,000? The money men are nothing without us but we could go on without them.
Jean Philibossian
13   Posted 06/10/2008 at 12:51:12

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Well said both Kevin & David.

I have called repeatedly for fans against Kirkby to cease attending games in protest.

As per usual, I’ve been thoroughly ignored.
James Power
14   Posted 06/10/2008 at 13:17:45

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Fans against Kirby and for Goodison, refusing to go to the place they love, to show that they wont go to the place where they don?t want to go.....hmm.

Newcastle are a joke and largely because of the fans. They only want Kevin Keegan I mean come on...Ashleys mistake was hiring him in the first place as he never fit with the long term plan that Ashley had (which was credible until he introduced Keegan into the fray)

The big factor in all of this is that our players lack confidence and we fulfill their fears by booing at the end and voicing frustration throughout, which I know we have the right to do, but if we think that this will make them buck their ideas up we should think again. I've never seen it have as positive an effect as constant singing and cheering the team on.

In all honesty I feel frustrated and don?t know what to do (sorry Jamie) I was furious yesterday, but I have a feeling that everything isn?t shit ? just like when we enjoyed some fantastic Goodison nights last season, everything wasn?t fantastic.

And who suggested we get a manager that plays good football? A real ideas man eh...

Alex Kociuba
15   Posted 06/10/2008 at 13:57:05

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Kevin, David, Jean...

People don’t go to the game to support Kenwright or the board, they go because they support Everton. Not going to the game in protest of one man is ridiculous and unrealistic. The board, management and individual players’ popularity will fluctuate from time to time, but their love for Everton is permanent.
Andy Crooks
16   Posted 06/10/2008 at 14:00:20

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Yes James Power, a manager who plays good football, not the dour shite we've been subjected to for some time. How much more attractive to an investor would we be with Bilic, or Hoddle, or even Keegan at the helm? The place needs a new buzz about it. I can?t believe that so many Evertonians are opposed to this basic change.

For £4 million a year, we need not settle for hoofball.

Kevin Sparke
17   Posted 06/10/2008 at 16:17:47

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Woah Alex, steady Tiger!

I?m not suggesting that people ?should? boycott the game or withhold their support. I?m just pointing out that by doing so they?re more likely to bring about change. Much more likely than shouting abuse at Kenwright/Moyes, phoning 606 with a rant, or organising a sit down in the Spellow.

But you have to admit that blind loyalty for a club by its supporters is something that the fat cats rely on. The same fat cats who are ruining the game at Sky, the FA, and yes at Everton.

I?m not holding my breath for any change.
Richard Harris
18   Posted 06/10/2008 at 18:47:18

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Kevin Sparke wrote "But you have to admit that blind loyalty for a club by its supporters is something that the fat cats rely on. The same fat cats who are ruining the game at Sky, the FA, and yes at Everton."

That?s what they always rely on. If it was a ?normal? business the fans would go somewhere else that offered a better quality product. The floating football follower already just watches the premium games on tv and how long before the smaller clubs lose out to the seduction of the big name clubs, players and tournaments. Why bother to spend all that time and money travelling to a real game when you can get a bigscreen HD experience at home or at a Sports Bar? No queues, no hassle.

The people running (ruining ?) football don?t care about fans who want to go and watch a game. Change the day, change the time - enough people will go to watch and the majority will see it with little effort or emotional attachment. If we can?t compete with the big money, shouldn?t we be trying to ?brand? Everton as all the things that the big money hates? Tradition, values, fair play, affordable for families, a real life experience where you can feel part of a welcoming community. Not a faceless corporation with shiny baubles to impress the investors.

But that also needs strong leadership and a manager and players who can satisfy the fans and win over the neutrals who at present are keeping the big boys afloat with their subscriptions and support of the elite system.

Andy Crooks
19   Posted 06/10/2008 at 20:22:11

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Richard, some sound points.
James Power
20   Posted 06/10/2008 at 20:25:08

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Andy wow, Bilic, Hoddle (!) or Keegan!!!!!!!!!! Well would the former be welcomed with open arms by the club he (alledgely) royally screwed? He who has inherited a particularly talented golden generation of Croats, would he do as well with us?

And as for the others, I am not sure that I should even dignify the suggestion with a response. It's the old Catch 22 isn?t it? If I respond to that then I must actually be mad and therefore the response can?t be taken seriously. If I don?t respond then I think I will go mad so there you have it. Keegan and Hoddle, may God help you my friend and according to Glen, if you aren?t paying for the sins of a former life. He gives eveyone a chance (once they have atoned of course). All the best.



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