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They burned the bridges

By David O'Keefe :  15/03/2011 :  Comments (20) :
As Everton Football Club rush headforth to another crisis of their own making, the response of supporters has yet again been a source of frustration. Those that know the exact nature and cause of this crisis will not need to be told again but, to summarise: the Board's failure to solve the club's long-standing problems regarding the stadium issue and develop a viable business plan to provide sufficient funds for the team manager is responsible for the current malaise.

The supporter?s response to all this has been: Why won?t you talk to us?

Well.... not all supporters ? just Evertonians for Change and Anne Asquith, the chairwoman of the Shareholders Association. Does this strike you as being rather tame considering the club's current predicament?

I won?t spend too much time or expend much effort on criticising a naive supporters group for seeking to engage with a board that doesn?t want to engage with them. But Anne Asquith should know better:

Mrs Asquith said she will meet with chief executive Mr Elstone at a shareholders? meeting next week.

She said: ?Getting the AGMs back is a perennial request, and lots of shareholders have felt disenfranchised since they were stopped. But you can almost understand why they stopped them. Proxy representatives were attending the AGMs and there was some behaviour which some of us felt was not appropriate.?

This inappropriate behaviour is not specified, but Anne knows the real reason why the AGMs were stopped and it has nothing to do with any inappropriate behaviour by proxies or shareholders... unless that inappropriate behaviour is called holding the board to account.

Asquith does have access to the upper echelons at Goodison, unlike the shareholders that she purportedly represents. I wonder if Elstone has given her an indication about when the shareholders will be have their rights restored?

The club have silenced the shareholders and the chairwoman does not raise a word of complaint,: instead, she parrots the clubs line. If Anne Asquith can?t muster a defence of the shareholders rights then the Shareholders Association should be wound up forthwith.

As things stand, the club have silenced the shareholders, banned The Echo and we still have individuals and supporters group that want to engage with them. The board of directors at the club are not reasonable people, and to regard them as reasonable is a colossal mistake.

They burned the bridges, it?s not up to us as fans to rebuild them.

They regard supporters and small shareholders as beneath their contempt, little people that can safely be ignored until they need your season ticket money. Engaging with them is pointless ? they will not listen, and taking their record into account, why engage with them at all?

Reader Comments

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Michael Kenrick
1   Posted 15/03/2011 at 14:27:44

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The role of the Shareholders Association seems an odd one. Representing the views and interests of the small shareholder is indeed a noble cause... but they seem to have tripped up along the way, and accepted a compromised position that does indeed pay lip-service to the club without making any meaningful challenge on issues of any real import.

A few years ago, there was a challenge to the comfy establishment ensconced on the committee of the Shareholders Association, when a group led by Steve Allinson took control and tried to confront the club on a number of issues. But, as I recall, it all petered out and they gave up in the end, relinquishing their posts on the committee.

The highlite of membership seems to be a revolving lottery for two seats in the Directors Box on matchday ? for one game of the season. You gotta love that!
Al Reddish
2   Posted 15/03/2011 at 15:10:15

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Not coming from Liverpool I am not always aware of local issues like the club banning 'The Echo'. Sorry if this has been done to death but can anyone nlighten me on this. If this is true it seems staggering that the club would cut off ties with the most famous local paper.
Sorry for going a bit off track David.
David Thomas
3   Posted 15/03/2011 at 15:37:25

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Further to Al's comment, what have they banned the Echo from doing?
David O'Keefe
4   Posted 15/03/2011 at 17:15:18

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It's all in the above link.
Lyndon Lloyd
5   Posted 15/03/2011 at 17:10:59

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I've heard from a few people that the Club have barred the Echo from speaking to Everton's players. No bad thing if it's the first step to a cutting of the ties; having the local press beholden to the Goodison hierarchy has never been a healthy state of affairs.
Lewis Morrison
6   Posted 15/03/2011 at 17:55:02

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Yes, Lyndon, but have they banned them for the right reasons? Am I right in saying this has only happened since the Echo dared to raise questions about the Board a few weeks ago?
Al Reddish
7   Posted 15/03/2011 at 17:53:34

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I just read the link, thanks, David. What an appalling state of affairs our club is in. If you ban a paper with an estimated readership of 162,000 a day, then you are seriously cutting off your nose to spite your face. No wonder people have had enough of this regime.

How dare any of us offer any constructive criticism, no matter how many of our well earned pounds they readily take off us? I was a staunch Bill Kenwright fan. I reckon it must have taken me a bit longer to see the light!!!! It sounds like he has got pissed with power and has got his head stuck firmly up his fat arse.

As Lyndon has pointed out, though, at least we haven't got the local press in our pocket now, spouting the 'party line'.

David O'Keefe
8   Posted 15/03/2011 at 18:10:32

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Everyone (or almost everyone) has supported BK at some point, Al, no need to be ashamed about it. If you still support BK today, after the failed ground moves, FSF, NTL deal and the lies that accompanied them, then you're a fanatic.
Steve Guy
9   Posted 15/03/2011 at 18:23:37

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I agree with Al's point re BK gettting power mad, I've seen it elsewhere; individuals get positions of significant power where they are difficult to challenge and they soon start to believe they can do anything they want.

Increasingly, I see this chapter in the Club's history ending badly. The only real losers will be the supporters who end up with a worrying deterioration in our ability to compete whilst Moyes and maybe BK disappear over the horizon with tenners floating in their wake,
Jake Wilson
10   Posted 15/03/2011 at 21:59:00

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I am not Bill Kenwright?s biggest fan but I do sympathise with him, he is being blamed for the teams? performances by a minority of supporters. It is not the reason why a Russian supposedly worth £10 million can?t play well; it?s not his fault our best player in recent seasons hasn?t played well all season. It is not his fault that we have a leaky defence. But the business side? Let?s leave that till the end of the season.

I think we?ve been average and we deserve to be where we are. We have risen to the challenge of the big teams, but we have let ourselves down in the games we should be winning.

I am in no way shape or form blaming the supporters for the performances this year, but Goodison has been dead for atmosphere this year, there are only two games which you could say had atmosphere, the derby and the Spurs game. I know people will say that the players need to lift the crowd. But sometimes the crowd need to lift the players and wake them up and make them realise how much even the small game means to us. I think with only a few home games left we should make Goodison a fortress and leave the Manchester City players and Chelsea players not wanting to face an atmosphere like ours again.

Gavin Ramejkis
11   Posted 15/03/2011 at 22:25:09

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Jake ? partially right and massively wrong: Bily isn't playing well as he's never been and never will be a winger, that one is down to DM. But who is responsible for not giving Gosling a contract offer and farming out Yobo, Yakubu and Vaughan and selling Pienaar with not a single replacement or even a loan as cover?

The buck stops with Billy Bullshitter, well it would if he wasn't hiding like a shithouse rat in his London digs, the same shithouse that, for all his True Blue credentials, wasn't even arsed to come to the Cup match against Reading and has remained painfully silent over DM getting a penny of the Pienaar sale money in the January window.

He looks to be greasing up the exit door to cover his own useless arse with DM the latest fall guy to feel his 'knife in the back' routine.

Guy Hastings
12   Posted 15/03/2011 at 22:56:10

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If SAF bans the local media ? national news. If Wenger bans The Standard ? local news. If the Dark Side ban the Echo ? national news. Kenwright bans the Echo ? not even local news, apparently.

Years ago, then Crystal Palace chairman Ray Bloye (I was living in S London then) banned the Croydon Advertiser from games. The main sports reporter, John Matthews, just paid his two bob or whatever it was and stood with the fans. After a couple of weeks, you should have seen Palace retreat.

If the Echo did the same, I suspect EFC would do the same.

Christine Foster
13   Posted 16/03/2011 at 00:50:29

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I was surprised the Echo ran the articles they did as they have always been pretty much happy to toe the party line. But they were mild and quite reasonable (understating) in content. That the club should ban them is disgraceful, spiteful and arrogant. They are not above the news, if they feel hard done to in the articles then they have the right to reply; surely as supporters we have the right to hear the clubs version of events?

But no... another nail in the art of transparency. Another example of "its' my ball and you're not playing..."

Perhaps the Echo will now go on the offensive with respect to news and speculation with the club. Gloves off, gentlemen?
Christine Foster
14   Posted 16/03/2011 at 00:56:00

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Where can we find the truth?
Dennis Stevens
15   Posted 16/03/2011 at 01:03:34

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Jake, maybe you're right & Kenwright is being blamed by a minority of supporters for the poor performances of the team. However, more to the point is that an increasing number are dismayed at the ongoing ineptitude of our Chairman & the rest of the Board. Without changes in the Boardroom I suspect it's only a matter of time before Everton slip out of the top flight & who knows how long it'll be before we ever return again?

You say to leave the business side until the end of the season, but the season's all but over for Everton, bar scraping a few more points together to grant the club another season in the Prem. The prospect of losing key players in the summer, no cash to buy replacements, and no change at the top means next season is already looming up on the horizon as a disaster waiting to happen.

Roman Sidey
16   Posted 16/03/2011 at 01:27:13

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Not knowing much about the Shareholder's Association, I can't comment on Anne's position. However, the quotes attributed to her remind me of when I was working for Education Queensland a few years ago when we were striking for a better pay increase.

The government offered us x, and we told the union that we wanted 2x, which they then told the government. The response we got from the union was "Take the original offer!"

This, from the organisation that is supposed to be representing us as workers, toeing the wrong party line and leaving its members our to dry.

Sounds identical to the way the shareholders at Everton have been dealt with.
Peter Laing
17   Posted 16/03/2011 at 09:26:30

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If I was fortunate enough to be a shareholder I wouldn't even be able to voice my discontent at the AGM because it's been banned.

We have paid up stooges like Graeme Sharp employed as a fan's liaison officer ? for what exactly? We score zero in terms of customer care ? I wonder why?

We have endured a littany of lies and fiascoes on every issue from investment to an ill-thought-out ground move ? I wonder why?

The only way that I, as one supporter with a season ticket, two for my kids, and the associated hundreds of pounds spent on merchandise each season, have to demonstrate my anger at this totalitarian dictatorship is to withdraw my backing, and that us what I will do.

Brian Hill
18   Posted 16/03/2011 at 17:40:08

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I remember a song title from years ago, can't recall the name of the band, which seems to sum up the current Everton situation rather well: "If you tolerate this, then your children will be next."
David Thomas
19   Posted 16/03/2011 at 22:47:53

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Manic Street Preachers
James Hollister
20   Posted 17/03/2011 at 04:47:25

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Club for sale £100/120 million,

Not being funny where did Kenshite get that price from? We aren't worth that amount, let alone anywhere near it.

We might have history, but when it comes down to it, we have never won the Premier League, we have never come close to it.

We haven't won any silverware in a good 16 odd years. In reality, we have never looked like winning anything.

The board cannot seriously expect someone to come along and fork out the above sum of money because they 'where punching above their weight' ?

The club should be up for sales for around £50 million maximum. The amount of work a buyer would need to do is tremendous as it is.

Unless these custodians do something very quickly, and reduce its sale price substantially, I feel we'll quickly end up in the winding-up books. Such is the severe / dire predicament we are in / moving into.

As a life-long Evertonian, and a match-going fan home and away, I think it's time this board pulled its head out of its arse and listened to its customers (I mean fans) and actually did something that shows they care about the club... nothing to date suggests they give a rat's ass.

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