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Relationship Status: It?s complicated

By Peter McPartland :  16/03/2011 :  Comments (26) :

Up until the last few months, I was one of those "see no evil, hear no evil" Evertonians who would back the club to the hilt in everything they did ? just as a sign of my love for them; I could not separate the people who make the decisions at the club from the people who have been part of all the wonderful days, nights and memories the club have given me. That all began to change the minute Eric Howell and myself decided to start our own Everton podcast.

Eric and I started to talk through Twitter as he is a Blue born and bred in Kansas who has no association with the club or city and only started following the club after the likes of Paul Rideout, Preki and Mo Johnston had played for his hometown club, the then Kansas City Wizards, as the Premier League boom hit America. We both saw a gap in the market for an Everton podcast, especially one that would relate to Blues all over the world, as well as the traditional home supporter.

So, at the end of May 2010, The Followtonians Podcast was born ? just in time for the debut episodes to feature all the World Cup Blues as well as all the transfer gossip and pre-season news. We built  up steady support, using our loyal Twitter and Facebook followers to spread the word for us; we recorded every couple of weeks to iron out all the bugs that go with recording a transatlantic show using PCs, Skype and basic recording equipment... and then went weekly for the new season.

From the start, we wanted to have a close association with the club, as we hoped long term it would gain us access to a player interview or two, but were told that was not allowed... So we still went on the club's unofficial site list, which basically means they send out a secondhand story. In exchange, we?d promote match tickets, merchandise etc, which we were fine with... but stressed we needed audio as we are a podcast and the written stories do little to help us.

We suggested the club give us aftermatch interviews and we?d promote Everton TV; once again, we were told No ? even though the interviews would be nearly a week old by the time they were on our show ? although the club did manage to send us a 30-second Leighton Baines clip that made no sense and a Tim Howard recording off Radio Merseyside.

Then, on 25 October, things took a serious turn for the worse when wel received an email from an Everton employee, asking me if the Twitter screen grabs included where from my Twitter account? When I replied, Yes, we were told the club could no longer associate with us as I had made personal threats against Everton staff  ? during the Spurs game, my personal Twitter account included the tweets ?Fuck off, Howard? after he lost the ball for the Spurs goal and ?Fuck off, Moyes? after he subbed Yakubu.

So, after one small misunderstanding, we were blacklisted and would receive no further help from the club. But we decided that it just meant were free to say what we wanted without any fear and decided to not make it personal as we were starting to get ex-players on as guests and didn?t want to ruin what we had.

One guest we managed to get was Joe-Max Moore, who told us he was coming back for the West Brom game ? which I informed the club as they didn?t know; the club's response was a thanks and then to do their own interview with him weeks after we had done ours. I also asked the club if I could meet him for a photo, which (to their credit) they arranged but the two Everton employees I had dealt with where nowhere to be seen.

Then, in December, we managed to get an exclusive interview with Landon Donovan after a successful Twitter campaign. Once again, we offered the club the recording and the transcripts of the interview but, rather than print it and give us any credit, the club decided to lift the story from the Echo and place it in the ?What the papers say? section.

Since then, we have tried to get our heads down and do the best we can, gaining interviews with ex-players, all off our own backs, plus a brilliant interview with Dr Everton himself, David France. But, once again, bad news was around the corner when we received an email from an image rights solicitor informing us that, if we did not take down some T-shirts we had made on a third party T-shirt web site, the club would take legal action against us as they featured player images!

Now I understand the club has a right to protect its images but a friendly email advising us of what we had done would have been fine considering they knew we weren?t a company making money but just some fans offering something a little different than the club sells and not making a penny from them.

The final straw for me came just this week; I have been attending the excellent Premier League Health programme run by Everton in the Community for over a year... and yes, you probably haven?t heard of it, which is why the staff asked if they could come on the podcast to promote the programme. It consists of fitness programmes for men aged 18-35.

On the day I was due to record it, I was told the interview had not been approved, so, once again, I contacted the club and I was the told they would not grant any interview due to the same Twitter remarks that had started the issue.

I asked if the Club was blocking its own charity from well deserved and much needed publicity and was told they were not refusing publicity and were focused daily on giving publicity; they were just refusing on our past and hoped we?d understand... Well, we don?t understand why a club would refuse any positive publicity for its own charity or any good work it was doing.

The whole thing has taught me the club is just some faceless grey men working inside the ground with their steadily growing paranoia and delusions that they are doing a good job. Men who have obviously lost touch with those who make or have made all those days, nights and memories that make up the real club that is Everton.

Reader Comments

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Chris Bannantyne
1   Posted 16/03/2011 at 04:52:36

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Wow. Very interesting article. Keep up the good work with your podcasts and that though.

Can't believe you got barred because of the whole 'fuck off Howard/Moyes' business. What a load of shit.

Do everyone a favour, start blasting 'Fuck off Kenwright' everywhere.
Christine Foster
2   Posted 16/03/2011 at 05:11:11

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Peter, frustrating as it is, don't stop. Despite all the negativity and road blocks you face, don't stop. Sadly, it's another example of that paranioa which has the club in such a defensive mode, ready and willing to attack all things that are not the gospel according to them. Staggering insensitivity and arrogance.

On a broader scale, it's like watching a blind man do a jigsaw puzzle... the pieces fit but no-one looks at the overall picture produced. It's a pretty crappy picture they paint.
Alan Clarke
3   Posted 16/03/2011 at 07:18:39

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It's such a shame the club behave this way. Like I said in another thread, we are no longer fans, we are customers. If the club can't make money off you, they're not arsed about you.

If we were treated as fans, the club would take an understanding view of why you'd want to write "fuck off Howard".

In response to their shitty email about the t-shirts, I'd like to start a range of Everton clothing with the slogan, 'I'm not an Evertonian, I'm an Everton Customer'. On the back it will say 'Fuck you Kenwright'. Let me know if anyone wants one!
Chris Bannantyne
4   Posted 16/03/2011 at 07:41:12

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I want one of those t-shirts, what's the retail on one of those?
Peter Laing
5   Posted 16/03/2011 at 09:10:29

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Fuck 'Em, Peter, is what I say. They couldn't even sort out a copyright for "The People's Club" mantra, which they conveniently traded off for a number of years. Everton FC Co Ltd does not represent the views, feelings and emotions of what Kenwright would sickeningly call the 'Everton Family'.

'We', in the collective sense of the word, are what makes Everton and it's such sites as this and your podcast that allows for democratic debate concerning both the fabric and prosperity of our club. Keep up the good work, I will certainly check your podcast out.

Tom Mallows
6   Posted 16/03/2011 at 09:31:05

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I can understand the club wanting to protect it's images re the t-shirts and stuff but why the threatening letters? As you say, a more personal approach wouldn't go a miss, small things like 'polite' letters go a long way in shaping someone's opinion of the club.

It annoys me the way they claim to be The People's Club and have all these interactive supporter events, but on the other hand treat supporters like you ? who are attempting to work hand-in-hand with the club ? with contempt and dismissive arrogance.

Peter McPartland
7   Posted 16/03/2011 at 09:45:46

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Thanks for all the positive comments, the podcast is called The Followtonians and can be found on iTunes or at our site Followtonians.com. There is no chance I'd give it up 'cause of them... in fact, it makes me more determined to make it a success.
Al Reddish
8   Posted 16/03/2011 at 09:50:49

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Banning local papers, AGMs and now this. I think someone hit the nail on the head with 'defensive' and 'paraniod'.
Dave Martin
9   Posted 16/03/2011 at 10:39:59

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It disappoints me that the club don't communicate at a personal level with fans. They should be glad of podcasts like Followtonians spreading the word about Everton.
Liam Reilly
10   Posted 16/03/2011 at 10:36:49

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Incredible short sightedness on behalf of the club. Any publicity is good publicity.

Obviously there is a need to protect the Brand name, but there are sensible ways of going about it.
James Hollister
11   Posted 16/03/2011 at 13:25:40

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Why are people surprised with the club's reaction? They have been this way for a very long time.
Daniel A Johnson
12   Posted 16/03/2011 at 13:38:39

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The news that Everton have banned the Echo from Goodison, and talking to the players/manager etc on top of the cancellation of the AGMs, suddenly starts to paint a clear picture of the Kenwright regime.

I?m starting to envisage Kenwright as a cigar smoking mafia boss.

If you dare to question,
If you dare to criticise,
If you try and look below the surface

?well you are done for. The petty bullying and shutters down mentality displayed by the board is downright pathetic.

Let's face it, truth hurts. As the fans get more disillusioned, we start looking to point the finger, some have pointed at Moyes but I?m in no doubt 99.9% of all Evertonians are now looking at Kenwright. He was out of his depth when he bought the club, to his credit he admitted it himself. But Kenwright has survived far too long on the generous nature of the fans and the now dwindling magic of his manager.

Lack of investment has finally started catching up and we are beginning to see the end of the Kenwright regime. Our slow crawl down the league is slowly loosening Kenwright's stranglehold on the club but, like any individual in a position of power, he will try to cling on.

What Kenwright needs to realise is that, as fans, we have a divine right to ask the Board any question we feel fit. Every person on the Everton Board of Directors needs to realise they would be nothing without the fans. But right now, the questions have already been asked numerous times ? what we want now is answers, something Kenwright and his mafia men are not prepared to give.

No doubt after this article (if it gets published) I will be have to think twice about starting my car tomorrow. Fellow fans you have been warned.

Joe McParland
13   Posted 16/03/2011 at 13:41:35

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Glad to hear you and Eric are to continue with the good work Ped.

It appears to me that the current board have lost touch, both with the fans of the club and with reality. I think they are beginning to feel pressure from David Moyes re signings and from groups like Evertonians for Change and Evertonians for Action, who, although they appear to use different methods appear to have the same goal in trying to force the board out.

Dave Brooks
14   Posted 16/03/2011 at 14:57:23

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Hello Peter ? I?m sorry to hear about how discouraging an experience this has been for you, but glad you?re carrying on and are determined to make it work.

Quick question ? have you asked the appropriate people at the club what they want from you in order for the relationship to improve and for the Twitter comments to be treated by them as a thing of the past?

If you haven?t, whatever they come up with doesn?t mean you?d have to do it? but at least you?d know.
Peter McPartland
15   Posted 16/03/2011 at 15:12:02

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David, at the time I apologised and hoped they'd reconsider in time as it was my personal Twitter account, it appears nothing has changed.
Dave Brooks
16   Posted 16/03/2011 at 15:15:49

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Thanks Peter. Maybe it's worth identifying the person with the power to change this situation and asking them directly.

If the answer is 'nothing', you'll really know where you stand. But if they want to work with you, maybe they'll be big enough to come up with something.

I certainly hope so.
Stephen Leary
17   Posted 16/03/2011 at 15:53:31

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Just sums the cub up at the minute, Peter, mate ? they can't have any of us fans saying anything bad about them. Bet if they could, they would ban this website to. KENWRIGHT OUT!!!
David Bridge
18   Posted 16/03/2011 at 16:56:41

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Bloody hell if they banned everyone who said 'Fuck off Moyes' we'd have a pretty empty stadium.

Very poor business decisions being made all over from Kitbag to destination Kirkby to Chang.

We have lost so much oppurtunity to tap into new fans in Merseyside, the UK and across the World.

KENWRIGHT OUT and MOYES TO UTD (Sheffield Utd that will be)
Al Reddish
19   Posted 16/03/2011 at 19:00:54

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On a slightly different note but similar theme, a year or so back my young son wrote to all the first team players telling them how he idolised them and loved Everton. He got a slightly snotty note back from the club asking him to not write any more because if all the players wanted to reply to him with a signed photo (he hadn't asked for one) it would not make economic sense for the club to supply them. Charming ay!
Joe Bibb
20   Posted 16/03/2011 at 20:09:37

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'EFC' rhymes with 'Ghaddafi' and there is a good reason ? they are a dictatorship, they use their power to influence and control the media.

Just a small example: George Orr was on BBC Radio Merseyside Blue Watch programme for 9 years; he was an outspoken critic of David Moyes and his negative style of football. He was asked by Radio Merseyside to 'Tone Down' his criticism, which to his credit, George refused to do.

When the tenth series of Blue Watch started, guess what: George was not asked back. After being on the programme from Day One and doing 9 years, he was dropped. No other fan was put on the programme and it started to sound like the Everton FC show , people like Darren Griffiths, who had not contributed anything over the years was suddenly doing interviews, so did the players after 9 years of silence. After complaints to Radio Merseyside, another Everton fan was put on the show.

Whilst all this was going on, Red Alert (the LFC Radio Merseyside show) had Les Lawson, the Liverpool fan who hounded Roy Hodgson, saying he should be sacked, he is not good enough etc etc. Radio Merseyside took no action, Les wasn't warned.

If a Club the size of EFC are worried about a fan's (valid) criticism on Radio, then, my friends, don't worry about Libya and freedom, think about the Echo and Radio Merseyside and your opinions that are being censored.

I still talk to George outside the Winslow where he sells the finest Everton Fanzine, Blue Blood. But, maybe one day, George will not be there... who knows, at least he is safe from an EFC hit man ? especially if he was trained by David Moyes!!!

Steve Harris
21   Posted 16/03/2011 at 21:36:34

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Daniel (#12) ? I couldn't agree more with your comments regarding Kenwright although I fear we may not yet have 99.99% support of fellow Evertonians, hence why there is still no public demonstrations against Kenwright. Does he even know or care what the majority of us feel about him and his woeful and painful tenure. A 1st step would be a chant at Goodison calling for his head ? KENWRIGHT OUT!
Ste Traverse
22   Posted 17/03/2011 at 01:20:47

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Steve.

It would just be fantastic if the whole of Goodison pointed at the Directors Box chanting "WE WANT KENWRIGHT OUT" and watch this egotistical, arrogant excuse for an Evertonian, squirm.
Eric Myles
23   Posted 17/03/2011 at 01:51:31

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Well it goes to show that the Club have people monitoring the various Everton websites.

So I just have this message for them to pass on.

KENWRIGHT OUT
Neil Adderley
24   Posted 17/03/2011 at 12:30:05

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It seems you are not alone, Peter:

http://othertallstories.wordpress.com/2011/03/17/everton-fc-how-to-alienate-fans-and-lose-supporters/
Jim Lloyd
25   Posted 17/03/2011 at 23:16:25

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Keep going, Pete! You must be seriously pissing the rotten regime right off. Good luck and my support to you, for what it's worth. If I knew anything about Twitter and stuff, I'd help if I could but am really lost on that kind of malarkey. Keep going boys. KENWRIGHT, FECK OFF.
Eric Myles
26   Posted 24/03/2011 at 01:16:31

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Peter, it must just be a vendetta against YOU because I looked at WSAG and Bluekipper websites yesterday and they are selling Everton merchandise with club logos and player pictures on them.

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