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A call for transparency?

By Luke Berry :  22/01/2011 :  Comments (23) :
The musings of most, here on Toffeeweb are that Bill Kenwright uses Everton as his plaything, 'His trainset' as many not-so- affectionately put it. And in all likely hood they are correct.

Others have delivered arguments for this issue in a far more eloquent and fact-laden manner than I am able to, and so I will use this post in an attempt to support this stance, rather than impose an over reaching theory of my own.

Evertonians in this current climate, are feeling a sense of increasing alienation from the hierarchy of our beloved club. From a seemingly obvious refusal to release the financial figures of last year and a lack of transparency regarding how much they want for the club, to older issues such as the scrapping of the AGM, a place where shareholders should quite rightly get the chance to to voice their opinions. Bill and his board have progressively shut up the shop and closed any existing channels of dialogue between themselves, and us.

This issue of the boards ostracisation of the fans is becoming increasingly untenable for many, yet there are still some 'supporters' who feel that Bill is the lesser of two evils, a case of 'better the devil you know?' but is it?

The arguments posed to support this are the rough handling of some clubs by foreign investors, the Portsmouths of this world are used as warning of how foreign cash doesn't always come with a guarantee of stability. You only have to look across the park to see just how close to catastrophe a massive club can come. And yet, I find myself doing just that, looking across the park and feeling a pang of jealousy.

Liverpools owners are setting up a new forum with which they can have a more direct line of communication with what they see as their biggest assets, the fans. It is to be called The Liverpool FC Supporters Committee and it will meet four times a season, at Anfield, to discuss all of the issues affecting Liverpool Football Club. The owners take this egalitarian gesture one step futher, Tom Werner and John Henry will attend at least two meetings personally and when they do they will be meeting with 17 'democratically appointed' fans.

Those of a more cynical bent will say that this is a gesture, designed to appease the fans and lead them into a more docile accepting state. They, in my opinion, would be very wrong. Lerner and Heny are boxing very clever here, they recognise that the fans are better placed than anyone else to evaluate the clubs condition, and even if they haven't got the business acumen to strategize a proposal from start to finish, fans can be pool of wealth to mined for the betterment of their business. And make no mistake, this is a business decision on behalf of the Americans, one that our board have neither the decency or the imagination to implement.

Cynicism aside many of the Liverpool fans will just be happy to get a level of transparency at their club, something that we as Evertonians are unlikely to ever get whilst the current incumbents are in charge. I did not wish to use this post as a rallying call to revolution, I am not the man to implement such a manoeuvre as I don't have the requisite skills or contacts to do so, however I do hope we Evertonians might start to think about forcing a change.

That lot across the road have shown us what fan power can achieve, for as much as this was a canny business move on behalf the Yanks, in the back of their minds they will have images of the SOS brigade demonstrating their disgust and disapproval if anything was to go wrong, and they won't want that sort of a fight. Unfortunately our board doesn't currently feel that level of pressure, if they did then maybe they would feel obliged to do the same for us.

Reader Comments

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Ste Traverse
1   Posted 23/01/2011 at 05:59:56

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Sadly Kenwright and his yes men on the board are untouchable right now. Particulary with the local media on their side (including the disgusting Liverpool Echo).

I can't get my head around why we STILL have fans defending the embarassing useless oaf that is Bill Kenwright.
Jamie Connor
2   Posted 23/01/2011 at 08:03:32

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The board and the owner are like the band that played as the titanic sank. Standing idly by as everything around us is crumbling. Every single team in the league is stealing a march on Everton who are slipping further and further into the abyss. I for one cannot wait until the summer when everyday will again be a case of who's leaving to bigger clubs and bigger wages instead of who's coming in because we don't even have money for any signings at all. They missed their chance when they failed to invest on a 4th and 5th place finish. I also think that any efforts to sell the club come with a list of permutations as long as your arm putting people off aswell as the fact that we clearly must make no money at all as we've been penny pinching and scraping the barrel for years, low wages, low transfers in, high transfers out so it makes no sense to me where any money goes.
John Audsley
3   Posted 23/01/2011 at 09:07:13

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I think BK believes he is doing a brilliant job, im sure he has blokes round him saying YES BOSS at every opportunity

Moyes has got his salary and quite likes the plucky underdog slant the press always give him

It wont change until we start BOOING BK for his lack of effort in taking the club forward

He's a Blue though and thats enough for some of us init!!!

Jesus Wept
Ste Traverse
4   Posted 23/01/2011 at 09:12:22

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To true John. I makes me wanna throw up when I hear the "at least he's a blue" sad excuse off his supporters.

If that's all he has to offer then why are these fans still backing him?

If just being a blue is all the credentials you need to run this club then any of us 36,000 regulars are qualified to do the job.

KENWRIGHT OUT.
Steve Carter
5   Posted 23/01/2011 at 09:30:56

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This April 2010 article was mentioned by another poster recently. http://bleacherreport.com/articles/378517-why-has-nobody-bought-everton
There is no point is continuing to bleat 'Kenwright must sell' or 'Kenwright must go'. If the author of that report correctly states the situation, Kenwright can't sell because there truly are no buyers.
Nick Toye
6   Posted 23/01/2011 at 10:52:03

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They also have 2 major forums on side too, which would certainly add to the slant towards the board.
John Keating
7   Posted 23/01/2011 at 13:06:43

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I believe the whole board are as guilty as each other in the state the club is slowlyor quickly going.
Some fans are saying Elstone is a really nice guy, approachable etc etc. Well he is the mouthpiece of BK. He also lied and misled supporters over DK.
The rest, including Grantchester, by supporting board- BK/Green decisions are equally as guilty
Its not just BK who should go its a total clearout of the whole rotten bunch
Guy Hastings
8   Posted 23/01/2011 at 14:34:12

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Jamie#2 - the band on the Titanic sacrificed themselves for the sake of morale, keeping up spirits until the very end. Fat chance of BK and the board doing that.
Ellen West
9   Posted 23/01/2011 at 13:54:57

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I think the problem with Kenwright (and to a similar extent Moyes) is that he is keeping Everton afloat. We have no money and he is not going to sell his beloved to people who do not love the club. Unfortunately, the fans (okay, not all fans, that would be ridiculous painting us all with the same brush) want Everton to do more than just survive. To win, to challenge and to entertain. Most fans (I haven't done a pole, so I'm guessing) believe that this will not happen under our current guardianship. So the way forward has to be sell Everton to a foreign business. They will bring in the right personnel to develop the team and club in the way they see fit. They may even listen to disgruntled fans and oust the management team. The business team will then try to make money in whatever way they see fit, whether it be selling home grown talent, increase ticket prices, prostitute the players and club name to increase sponsorship revenue. And Everton will slowly lose its soul to the corporate world, without the guarantee of success that one would hope will follow.

I don't like Kenwright, I believe he loves the Blues, but loves power more and I don't believe he is doing enough to make me think otherwise. But I also don't like what could be the alternative.

If you guys believe that Everton would be a better club if we got rid of Kenwright and the board then you must stick to it and oust them all. But I want to be able to read your forum messages supporting the foreign investors that take over, even if it means watching Everton field mercenaries in a shit hole of a stadium (shared with Tranmere), that is, if you can afford the ticket price.

Personally, I'm happy to wait it out to see what happens to Everton over the next 4/5 years, to see if we can miraculously challenge for top positions and win trophies without having any money (then Joe McGinniss can write a book about us). Either that or I am hoping the Hawaiian Doctor from Stargazing live spots a gigantic meteor heading towards us, early enough to thwart it and is given a Billion Dollars to spend as a thank you gift.
Luke Berry
10   Posted 23/01/2011 at 15:33:21

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Ellen, when you say:

"Personally, I'm happy to wait it out to see what happens to Everton over the next 4/5 years, to see if we can miraculously challenge for top positions and win trophies without having any money"

The important word there is 'miraculous', because that is exactly what it would be.
We are in the position were we can not afford to bide our time over this issue. 4/5 years in football is a lifetime and I believe by then we will be a mid table championship team.

I believe Kenwright and his cronies are holding out for a big payday, with figures circa £200m being quoted as the price that is required to force their hand, they are pricing many buyers out of a move.

If we protest, boycott and vote with our feet and wallets, then the board has to sit up and take notice, because this will directly effect the value of the club.

The lies and the the lack of dialogue with supporters has gone on long enough, they think they have us over a barrel, and whilst we keep our mouths shut then maybe they do. 1/2 years will be too long a time in the current climate. 4/5 years, we will destroyed by then.
Tom Owen
11   Posted 23/01/2011 at 19:39:15

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Luke #10, Totally agree. I fear PG has got his hands on Kenwright's shares and, as Kirkby has gone, it is Mr Green and not the Luvvie who is holding out. Perhaps the Qatar royal family will give him a call.

I find it very strange how, during all of January, we have not heard a peep out of our leader BK. I wonder why that is?

John Vanderwerff
12   Posted 23/01/2011 at 20:00:08

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Whether Kenwright and the Board have Everton's best interests at heart, or their own personal pocket, will always be a matter of conjecture. There are those who will never believe anything they say even if it's verified externally, and those who believe everything they say. Personally I am inclined to believe they have the club's best interests at heart but I could easily be wrong. We will never know until things move on and the historians amongst us are able to look back in many years time. Until then we live for the dream of the right player, the right owner, a run of luck coming along. Things have a way in football of coming around again - we were the millionaires in the 60s! Let's hope that our turn is just around the corner. COYB.
Larry Boner
13   Posted 23/01/2011 at 19:46:29

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Currently, I would settle for the people who run Everton, the business doing a few basic things, that most businesses, who hope to be successful, do as a matter of course.

1. Get the fucking escalators to the Top Balcony working on a regular basis.
2. Take back the catering from the thieves who are ripping honest people off with their outrageous prices.
3. Get someone with business sense, who can sit down with the team manager and decide - PRE-SEASON - who we can sell, player wise and who we can then use the money generated to bring in to improve the squad.
4. Do some basic maintenance on the stadium to at least give the impression that the board give a fuck.
5. Involve the club in some meaningful pre season tournaments that not only get the team prepared for the start of the season, but raise the clubs profile (there has to be a reason why we always start the season so poorly, every season)
6. Bring an executive whose brief is to generate funds for the club, not protect the board.
7. Realise that cost cutting now will reduce season ticket renewal next season, crowds of - 30000 a certainty next season, the economy already starting to bite into attendances.
There must be many more that people find annoying in this age where service and customer satisfaction are paramount, one dissatisfied customer can dissuade a dozen others from using a service etc



Sam Walton - Founder of Walmart

A Customer
A customer is the most important person in any business
A customer is not dependent upon us. We are dependent upon him.
A customer is not an interruption of our work. He is the sole purpose of it.
A customer does us a favor when he comes in. We aren't doing him a favor by waiting on him.
A customer is an essential part of our business--not an outsider.
A customer is not just money in the cash register. He is a human being with
feelings and deserves to be treated with respect.
A customer is a person who comes to us with his needs and his wants. It
is our job to fill them.
A customer deserves the most courteous attention we can give him. He is
the lifeblood of this and every business. He pays your salary. Without
him we would have to close our doors. Don't ever forget it.


Walmart not the best at treating their employees, but the customer ideas apply to all businesses.

What Im trying to get to is, apart from the performance of the team, I just do not enjoy going to the game any more, poor team performances I can take, a poorly run club, that just takes your money and does nothing else, well I cant.
James Cadwaladr
14   Posted 23/01/2011 at 22:50:47

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Unfortunately Larry, we the fans are not the important customers of Everton FC any more. Sky, Kitbag, Sodexho etc are.
Matt Garen
15   Posted 23/01/2011 at 23:10:38

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Question due to lack of knowledge/understanding and apolog ies if this has been covered on a seperate thread. Are shareholders not entitled to see the annual accounts of the company to which they own shares and if not how can this be? If say tomorrow morning, the club goes into administration surely to fuck the shareholders have a right to see what has come in and out of the business over the past 12 months??
David Israel
16   Posted 23/01/2011 at 23:20:17

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Steve Carter # 5, you may have a point, but it is very hard to believe that a buyer can't be found for Everton once you take a look around and see the clubs that have been taken over in recent years.

I must state that I am very sceptical of any possible Russian, American or Arab buyers, but the way things are going I am starting to wonder whether ANYONE would be preferable to the current lot.
Roman Sidey
17   Posted 23/01/2011 at 23:55:43

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It's little things that could be generating more money like merchandise. A season ago I was online about to order a new jersey complete with player and number, when I had an epiphany. When am I going to wear it? I live abroad so I don't go to games, the club don't inspire me to where it during a game or the next day, so why waste the money that will eventually just end up paying for another dinner or suit for Blue Bill. Fuck him.
Christine Foster
18   Posted 24/01/2011 at 07:37:18

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I just has to redo that verson of a Customer Service Charter posted by Larry, with a slightly different perspective!

A Chairmans Customer Service policy & Various associated definitions

A Customer best (defined as someone who thinks they are important to a business but can be replaced.)

A customer is the most important person in any business, (after me of course)

A customer is not dependent upon us. (But they are mugs.. We are not dependent on them so feed them crap its ok.)

A customer is not an interruption of our work. He is the sole purpose of it. (And I am happy to answer any question they have on the latest West End gossip. )

A customer does us a favor when he comes in (but we are doing a favour by letting them in so cheaply)

A customer is an essential part of our business?(Customer Service = Lip Service)

A customer is not just money in the cash register. He is a human being with feelings and deserves to be treated with respect. (As long as they understand they have no rights and I don?t have to listen to them.)

A customer is a person who comes to us with his needs and his wants. It
is our job to fill them. (its our job to make more money out of them)

A customer deserves the most courteous attention we can give him. He is the lifeblood of this and every business. He pays your salary. Without him we would have to close our doors. Don't ever forget it. (Bleed them dry.)

Definition of a small shareholder? ? Pain in the arse. But we shut them up

Definition of an Investor ? Has money but still a pain in the arse as they might want something for it

Definition of a buyer ? Has the required money, loves Everton, happy to let me run the show, will make no changes to the board, doesn?t want shares, will pay all our debts and happy to sign an open ended confidentiality clause.

Disclosure of accounts ? No longer required to disclose. What they can?t see can?t hurt me.

Brian Waring
19   Posted 24/01/2011 at 11:31:17

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Like it Christine.
Kevin Gillen
20   Posted 24/01/2011 at 11:21:07

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Thank you for all your excellent comments, very thought provoking, especially Ellen, Larry and Christine. Ellen says, "personally I am willing to give it four years.." hmmm... I am a devoted Evertonian, what am I going to do after four years? support Manchester United? Larry is spot on about the poor service at Goodison and the poor experience. I still enjoy it but it is only because it is an experience in nostalgia, it appeals to something in me that was lost, innocence I suppose. My dad saying to the guy in the turnstile booth, "Can I lift one over?" and getting the nod when I went with my brother (now that was customer care!). The lack of true customer focus at Everton is appalling and they are going to reap what they sow. Evertonians I suppose will remain loyal and transfixed as long as the results are ok but at the moment I don't see a happy camp. I do periodically withdraw from Everton Football Club. Watching games like the West Ham game hurt and my mood is altered (thank God I haven't got a cat to kick). My sons look at me as if to say, "Why are we Evertonians dad?". The transfer windows are the worst and the clubs handling of the supporters' expectations poor. At least Moyes is either silent or honest. He let us know what we all thought we knew about Mbokani. I don't see a strategy though from the boardroom and in that uncertainty I might well go and spend my money on the forthcoming England v India test series or on the Heineken Cup rather than on shirts, tickets and exhorbitant pie prices at Goodison in the near future. If only to prove Galbraith taught me a little about Consumer Sovereignty.
Roman Sidey
21   Posted 24/01/2011 at 11:55:54

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Spot on Kevin.
Adam Bennett
22   Posted 24/01/2011 at 12:16:04

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Matt Garen (15): Not sure on the shareholder thing, but I think a copy of the accounts get sent to each and every one of them upon their release. What I do know for sure, is that when submitted to Companies House (the deadline of which is 28/02), anyone can download a copy from the Companies House website, or request a copy to be posted to them.


Now to my point! I think Kenwright (and the board as a whole I think) is refusing to sell because he knows if he accepted an offer, during the ?due diligence? stage, the prospective new owner would have one look at the accounts and say to himself ?what the fuck has been going on here??.

Then when the prospective new owner abandons the planned takeover, everyone will wonder what the hell put him off, and Kenwright could finally be found out by those who are still bind to him.
Ged Alexander
23   Posted 24/01/2011 at 21:42:32

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Bill wont sell unless he gets a return, unless he can remain chairman and he'll do neither whikst we are £80mn in debt. This well written article argues a good point - transparency breeds confidence in relationships. but whilst Bill has his own agenda, there will not be true transparency.

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