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Season Ticket Holders Fans Conference Review

By Paul Traill :  20/04/2011 :  Comments (64) :
Half asleep on the couch Sunday afternoon the phone range and the good lady answered. ?It?s Everton on the phone,? she said. Convinced it was about nothing of any great significance I requested she take a message? the message being confirmation of an invite to an exclusive Season Tickets Fans Conference this evening.

I arrived earlier than the 7pm start and took advantage of another offer temporarily on to season ticket holders at the Everton One store. On entrance to the rather empty store, I was greeted with a bottle of Chang and a little goody bag? all staff nice and friendly. I rarely buy Everton merchandise and feeling half guilty for being one of the few in the shops and possibly leaving with nothing? and the other half sold by a 20% discount, I purchased a training top.

The time neared 7pm so I made my way back towards the ground. A gentleman stopped me on the way in, handing me a yellow leaflet, probing me with the question ?See if you get any answers from these?. While queuing up, Phil Jagielka walked on past me? moments later, Phil Neville strolled in all smiles? this was looking very interesting. The leaflet was from ?Evertonians For Change?, a group of Evertonians attempting to change the goings on of our club for the better.

From previous, various events I?ve been lucky enough to be invited to at Goodison Park the majority have entailed tea and biscuits though I was impressed with the complimentary bottle of Chang along with potato wedges and sandwiches, plus a printed photo of Phil Neville and Tim Cahill (it should have been obvious what was coming!). Phil Jagielka wandered in and walked straight past us and started fiddling with a video camera?until it became obviously apparent it wasn?t actually Phil Jagielka but an excellent look-a-like of.

Darren Griffiths introduced Alan Irwin from Radio City who was to present the forum. I think just about everyone was pleasantly surprised with the panel that included Ronnie Goodlass, Graeme Sharp and Kevin Ratcliffe along with Phil Neville and Tim Cahill from the current era? and Robert Elstone present to take the tricky questions; everyone generally in high spirits?

Down to business? and Elstone dodged no punches whatsoever. He?d seen one of the yellow leaflets and, without prompting, got straight down to answering the questions listed. Having left my notebook in the car, I picked up the yellow leaflet and began taking down notes from this? not much space to work with but this is the best I?ve got? the questions and the general answers:

? Why is there a sustained lack of investment in the playing squad?

There isn?t a lack of investment in the squad, the academy, the scouting network or player development and David Moyes has big support from the board. The current squad on paper has cost £90M.

? What value have the owners and board members placed on the club?

This is private and confidential information which can not be shared. However, it is not an unreasonable price ? and is NOT the reason the club hasn?t been sold.

? Why has no-one been appointed with the sole remit of finding a potential buyer?

Several people have been appointed. Agents have approached Everton? Everton have used agents. Keith Harris is aiding the search. You have to look for the right person as this is not a rational business. Whoever does come needs to come with deep pockets, such is the job required. You have to be careful what you wish for, however, as we don?t want someone like the Glaziers, Gillete & Hicks etc.

? Which major shareholders actually have their shares for sale?

All of them.

? What are the ?legal quagmires? that have caused the Park End Development to grind to a halt?

Unforeseen landscaping securing. A breakthrough is hopeful. Robert is convinced it will go ahead and generate £9/10M investment.

? What plans are in place to either redevelop Goodison or find a new home within Liverpool?

The current site is too small and we are restricted by schools and houses surrounding Goodison Park. The cost is too high. We are in constant dialogue with Liverpool City Council and have earmarked three or four new sites. Nothing is likely to happen soon. Main problem is that outside investment is very much required.

Robert got straight into things after this, clearly stating there is no transfer budget currently in place for David Moyes to work with. David Moyes decides exactly who comes; David Moyes decides exactly who leaves... Everything is decided by the manager. Not all money made by Everton through player sales will go to David Moyes for squad funding but some will. Not news you wanted to hear but you were drawn towards respecting Elstone for fronting up to the facts.

The current squad value of £90M has been raised partly by player sales (Lescott, Johnson, Beattie, Rooney)... partly by funding. Season ticket sales for the Early Bird discount finished at around 19,500 season tickets ? down 8 or 9% on last season ? and also slightly down on the previous season, though still up on the 08-09 season. Disappointing, said Elstone... but certainly understandable in very tough economic times.

Everton are currently having to borrow every year, though apparently sensibly, though further finance has been raised in recent years with the FA Cup Final appearance, the last-16 run in the Europa League, plus the small matter of £750,000 per league position ? all clearly very important. 85p in every £1 spent on tickets is re-invested into Finch Farm (player, squad, scouting, development).

The way forward? To continue to sell better and then buy better than our competitors; continuing to do it this way in tough economic times with no money... though he insists this is the same for 16 or 17 other teams in the league. He feels we?re better at doing this than everyone else and the overall objective is European football every season. Again, no punches seemingly ducked by our Chief Executive... then onto questions from the audience... again, all from my notes:

? How much of any money generated goes to David Moyes for the squad and how much goes on debt?

It?s too early to answer with regards to the budget but it is David Moyes who makes the overall decisions with regards to players coming and going, though Robert Elstone and Bill Kenwright et al do everything they can to strengthen the squad.

? Would David Moyes walk if there?s no cash?

Robert ?can?t speak for David Moyes? but we will back him.

? Should we make any changes to our investment search?

Many searches have come close though all have fallen over for various reasons.

? Do we have any safeguards for preventing bad owners from taking over, eg, Blackburn Rovers?

The Chairman and Board of Directors won?t let this happen.

? Quite a depressing speech Robert. We have no money for new players and no ground investment?

?I didn?t say there?d be no new players. Come in for a cup of tea with me any day of the week and we can look at bringing this forward?.

? Should we not be looking at greater socio-economic or demographic analysis given the tough economical times?

Key is to get more people through the turnstiles. We roughly have 2,000 empty seats after the away fans' allocation isn?t used up every game. That?s £1M a year. An alternative is to put £1 on every seat... this will provide £750k. Everton?s Chang sponsorship deal is the 6th or 7th best in the league. The KitBag deal is the best after Manchester United and Chelsea. Our commercial turnover is quite good. We need to generate more from sponsorship, more from hospitality and more people through the turnstyle.

The ease of buying from Everton has improved. We?ve strived for online sales as easy as Amazon, Box Office sales as helpful as John Lewis and as quick as Tesco Direct. Things are improving in this regard. Fans communications has improved; supporters clubs have been visited all round the country.

? I can buy things everywhere with my bank card except for on the website. It?s the only place I can?t do it.

?I hang my head? said Robert. "Give me your details and we?ll look at fixing this for you. This needs to improve."

That brought an end to the questioning. It?s fair to say most were quite impressed with the openness and honesty of our Chief Executive though the depressing reading is indeed what we already knew ? we have to sell to buy.

Alan Irwin moved on to Phil Neville for an interview. Overall, our captain is disappointed with how the season has gone as he felt we could win the league at the start of the season. Well I don?t think anyone really thought that was the case but I think everyone feels we?ve underachieved a little. He says he felt quite confident stepping up for the penalty at Chelsea as, no mater what happened, we?d have still had another stab with the next spot-kicks anyway. His highlight at Everton thus far: the 2009 FA Cup Semi-Final win vs Manchester United... Tim Cahill mocked his goal celebration at Wolves.

Tim Cahill says he should be fit in a couple of weeks. He spoke of how he fought so hard to play for Australia that he was never going to let it go easily and hence will play for his country whenever he can. He also shares Phil Neville?s disappointment on the season, saying that in pre-season when they were in Australia he and Neville both felt they might not get into the team such was the quality of the squad. He insists he would not have signed for Everton if not for David Moyes and Bill Kenwright.

Also that he understands everyone wants a new striker, but this could cost £20M, and that when he sees Seamus Coleman, Jose Baxter, Ross Barkley and Jack Rodwell in training he?s very optimistic about the future. He feels lucky to have been at Everton for seven years and having been bought up with Duncan Ferguson, Alan Stubbs, Kevin Kilbane etc, so he could learn and understand what it meant to play for Everton.

Liverpool could be very nervous having spent £75M and sitting only one place above us. In the questions for the players later, Cahill stated how his best moment is: every derby! Both Neville and Cahill were very complimentary of Leighton Baines when probed on his quality by a member of the audience.

Ronnie Goodlass spoke of yet another frustrating season with injuries as he feels our fit squad is as good as anyone's. He mentioned how proud he is to see away ends always full at games and how the top teams really don?t like coming to Goodison. He appeared a very proud Evertonian.

Graeme Sharp appears a big fan of Seamus Coleman and feels we?ve been a little unfortunate this season. His favourite moment ? the Leighton Baines free kick against Chelsea in front of 6,000 Evertonians.

Moving on... and we had a short break to allow everybody to get some autographs of the players, to which I dually obliged. Kevin Ratcliffe capped off the night with a very nice talk on his time playing for Everton. The way he talks, it seems they had a great time doing so. He remembers the turning point for the team, and for Howard Kendall, when we played at home to Coventry City in front of just 9,002 supporters... with Graeme Sharpe grabbing the winner. Howard Kendall would have been sacked in the morning had they have lost ? and we trailed 0-1 at half time! The rest is history as they say.

Neville Southall is the best player he?s ever played with. He told a humourous story of how they played Real Madrid away once and found themselves 0-5 down at the break with Bobby Mimms in goal rather than Southall, and of course spoke fondly of the European Cup Winners Cup semi-final vs Bayern Munich. The toughest opponent he?s played against? Graeme Sharpe for Scotland... though Klinsmann, Voller, Careca, Rush and Dalglish all received honourable mentions.

Speaking of the current squad, he feels they?ve done ?blinding? this season with the injuries though the slow start has been disappointing again... suggesting it is maybe time to tweak pre-season methods ? though we can still finish on a high, and ?finish above the red shite!?

A nice night from Everton and good to see our Chief Executive speaking so frankly about current issues. I got the impression he was rather sincere with his answers and it was excellent to see and hear from players both past and present.

Still, it?s clear to me just how difficult a job David Moyes has. Let?s hope he can pull something out of the bag next season as it seems clear to me that the squad, the staff and the board are all united as one behind our manager. Let?s knit together and who knows ? maybe the best is yet to come.

Reader Comments

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James Flynn
1   Posted 20/04/2011 at 02:47:00

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Paul - Good one. Thanks.
Michael Coville
2   Posted 20/04/2011 at 02:49:12

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Thanks for the meeting report Paul, much appreciated. About what we expected, no cash and we will have to sell to buy and the cash value of the incoming player will be less than the outgoing one. Same old same old.
Jackie Barry
3   Posted 20/04/2011 at 03:14:36

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Awesome report, still mad at the board though! I think they are all in over their heads and this openness is very worrying, I'd say it's a sign of extremely bad times ahead! They expect the worst and are trying to make it easier on us all. Have to laugh at the Glazier comments, would rather have them in control than Kenwright any day of the week. At least they are winning stuff.
Michael Kenrick
4   Posted 20/04/2011 at 03:32:37

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A big shout to you, Paul, for putting this up; sounds like an excellent summary that is much appreciated I'm sure by all who would be wondering what went down... puzzling over what inner secrets the cognoscenti would be privy to.

No huge surprises: honesty and sincerity; telling it like it is... transparency that we have been clamouring for for many a long year from a club hierarchy that has been inherently secretive and dismissive of the fans' more inquisitive concerns about how the club is run. So, for that alone, we should be very grateful.

Unfortunately, the message is not all that great; and it's pretty much in line with what we mostly know and mostly understand. Shooting the messenger is very very tempting... (not you; shooting them!)... but achieves nothing.

We are in the situation we are in, and there is no clear, easy or readily available way out of it.
Kirk McArdle
5   Posted 20/04/2011 at 05:32:55

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Really in-depth and an interesting read, Paul. Thanks. As the 2 Michaels have said, nothing we didn't already know but at least no ducking from the CEO. Maybe the Chairman should take a leaf out of Elstone's book and not get bored with these type of questions in future.

Great that we (contributors and daily readers) on Toffeeweb have subscribers that have access to these kind of events. No conjecture just first hand reporting.

Although one thing does stand out for me: Elstone says that we will need someone with deep pockets such is the job at hand. Completely contradicts Moyes's comments in the Chronicle and on the TW opening page. He says we can get to where we need to be with not an awful lot of outlay.

Someone is not toeing the party line?!?!?

Jamie Crowley
6   Posted 20/04/2011 at 05:11:58

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Park End development is a must if it can generate more income.

Selling better and buying better than our competitiors: an absolute must and that is the one area I truly believe Moyes is better than his peers.

Ticket sales need to increase... despite many people's frustrations with this season and frankly others, it would appear the Club needs the support of the fans. I've seen a lot of people questioning whether or not to renew their season tickets on this site. I sincerely hope they do. Financially the Club needs the support more than ever.

If I lived anywhere near Liverpool I'd purchase season tickets in a New York minute. Despite puzzling player selections, baffling substitutions, and frustrating tactics at times, I'd still support the Club and pony up the money to do so were I not half way around the world. I truly hope those financially and geographically able fill Goodison to capacity this upcoming season. It's clear the Club needs the support of the fans to help them "dig out" of this financial situation they are in.

Yes, they are ultimately responsible for where we currently are. But they can't move in the right financial direction without the financial support of the fans.

Thank You, Paul. Very appreciated.

John Keating
7   Posted 20/04/2011 at 06:34:54

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I see there was a bit of a commotion tonight outside the ground before the Fans Forum. Possibly this may be the start of a more "joined-up" protest of feeling against the present board.

Seems they're taking a bit of a leaf out of Man Utd wearing protest scarfs... Will anything come of it? Possibly a bit late in the season.

Paul Gladwell
8   Posted 20/04/2011 at 06:32:59

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Won't sell to someone like the Glaziers, what a load of shite. Money talks... if the price was right, he would sell to anyone, do they think we are that stupid?

I am sick of all this goody goody image that is portrayed about Billy Bullshit and I thought Moyes's shout about wanting someone to plough millions in for ground development and team rebuilding, but to not actually own the club, was comical ? what planet are these men on?

Roman Sidey
9   Posted 20/04/2011 at 06:32:58

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You had me with every word, Paul. Until, that is, you said how difficult Moyes's job is.

It does sound like Elstone was being quite genuine, which is a positive thing. The only problem is that someone being genuinely genuine can help them to conjure sympathy or forgiveness.

How does this sound: "Yes, I admit, in all honesty and integrity, I killed your whole family after performing heinous acts on all of them."?

Sounds genuine, but does that make it excusable?
Jamie Connor
10   Posted 20/04/2011 at 07:02:24

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So it's set in stone ? sell to buy. In that case Yak, Vaughan, Yobo, Billy and Johnny ? get your bags packed, lads, because you're gonna make the sacrifice for a front man and wide man. Thanks for the memories, lads.
Ian Smitham
11   Posted 20/04/2011 at 07:31:19

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Paul, if it's any consolation, I was also invited and thoroughly enjoyed the evening. I made a mass of notes with a view to reporting back on here but there is no need as your reflections are entirely accurate. Good report, thanks.
Chris James
12   Posted 20/04/2011 at 08:25:30

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Great report of an interesting meeting Paul.
Not really sure how much more Robert Elstone could do to be open and engage the fans, but as usual there's still some carping.

Personally I'm a massive fan of Elstone's, he's clearly making a difference on the commercial side (albeit slow and steady and clearly not enough for those who think we should somehow get similar success to Utd or Liverpool without the same success or brand) and he always seems open, genuine and inclusive.

Obviously none of us wants to hear that we have no transfer budget, but if that's the truth then I'd rather have it now so everyone from club to fans to players can be thinking along the same lines and not expecting superstars in the summer.

I'm sure they could raise more money through loans and speculation (as has doubtless happened in previous years) but to be honest that's the madness that has led to the combustion of clubs like Leeds and Portsmouth and which would have consumed several others if their benefactors didn't keep pumping in money for no reward, I'd rather that we started applying some rationality.

English football as a whole is a terribly run business (in fact I think business is something of a stretch) in which virtually all investors lose money one way or another and it's really only being propped up by the interests of a global market and some billionaires with money to burn. The simple and uncomfortable truth is that pretty much all players (not to mention their leech-like agents) are paid far, far too much money for what they actually do (I'd argue the factor of overpayment is anything from 5 to 10x what is a reasonable reward) and until that changes the overall game and clubs without billionaire backers will forever be struggling.

If fans want to start a United-style protest to do something that actually changes football, then maybe we should be aiming our ire at the section of the industry whose pay has risen by a factor of 20 in the last ~20 years (not including the other money they take through private sponsorships, image rights, etc) and who are taking from 75 to over 100% of revenues for most Premier League clubs. Sure the money coming into the game has increased dramatically... but, at the end of the day, is the job or the performance really that much better than it was in 1990? I'm less than convinced.

I'm not a Kenwright-luvvie by any means, but, when compared to individuals refusing to represent the club and do their job for less than £30k per week (much more in some cases + image rights and other perks), he seems slightly less villainous.

Alan Clarke
13   Posted 20/04/2011 at 09:06:17

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Sorry to piss on anyone's chips but Elstone's not enlightened anyone to anything. I think he does a very good David Cameron impression.

"There isn't a lack of investment in the playing squad" What the fuck? How much was spent last summer? How much will be spent this summer? Also, just because you value the squad at £90 million doesn't mean you've invested £90 million. That squad includes includes players such as Rodwell, Beckford, Coleman and Baxter who cost nothing. It also includes current valuations of players bought cheap but are now worth more.

"This is private and confidential information which can not be shared. However, it is not an unreasonable price ? and is NOT the reason the club hasn?t been sold." Yes how honest, well done Elstone for being so open with us.

"Why has no-one been appointed with the sole remit of finding a potential buyer?

Several people have been appointed" - WHO? Keith Harris is "aiding" the search? What does that mean? Again, how very open.

I can see why those who went were chosen because you're a bunch of pussies who couldn't ask the toughest questions when you had the opportunity. And you seem perfectly happy with the crap answers you've been fobbed off with by our lying chief exec.

1) What is our current level of debt?
2) Why are we in so much fucking debt?
3) How will the club service that debt?
4) How much do we pay in interest on those debts?
5) What is Philip Green's involvement?
6) How much money did you waste on Kirkby?
7) If you think there is investment in the current squad does Moyes have any money to spend this summer to strengthen the squad?
8) What are the long term plans of the club to develop the team?
9) Do the current board ever see us challenging for honours or are we condemned to mid-table or relegation fights every season from now on?

There are far more challenging quesitons that fans who give a shit about our club would have asked. It's a shame some are so easily pleased with a few memorable tales from ex-players and a free bottle of Chang.

I can't stand the constant crap that comes out of Elstone's mouth and he was in no way honest and in no way called to account.
Dave Wilson
14   Posted 20/04/2011 at 09:34:50

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Thanks for your taking the time and the trouble Paul.

Well done.
Mick Wrende
15   Posted 20/04/2011 at 09:52:16

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Spot on Alan Clarke and well done for putting Elstone to rights. To me he vies with Billy Liar for fabricating the truth. How anyone can be fooled by stuff about Moyes being able to buy and sell whoever he wants is beyond me. Yeh right. I have said on here before there are some very intelligent Evertonians but there are also some with IQs less than 30 and that is obviously who Elstone was pitching his words too.
Steven Pendleton
16   Posted 20/04/2011 at 09:56:17

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Reckon the Chang bottle contents must have been laced if you think these responses are open and forthright. With you on that analysis Alan Clarke. Make sure you pinch someone else's ticket next time as we need the answers to your questions rather than some pre-meditated responses to a yellow leaflet full of questions that were probably set up by the club.
Colin Potter
17   Posted 20/04/2011 at 09:55:02

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Well said Alan Clarke.
Elstone had a very easy ride.
Richard Dodd
18   Posted 20/04/2011 at 09:48:49

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Alan Clarke ? if you had every one of your questions answered, how much further on would YOU be? Everton FC, like virtually every other club, is in private hands and its conduct is the business of the owners (ie, shareholders). Your season ticket ? if you have one ? enables you to watch the TEAM play its home matches. It affords you no other rights and neither does it involve you in any obligation or responsibility for indebtedness.

I guess it also gives you the right to moan about the football you witness but beyond that the business of the Club is the responsibility of the appointed Board and its servants. Thank God for that, I say.

Dave Street
19   Posted 20/04/2011 at 10:20:47

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Alan Clarke, Your an idiot. The people who were chosen were the ones that applied. If you had renewed your season ticket and applied then you could've been there. Funny how hard-hitting your questions are when you write them on the internet!!!! Shows what a tough guy you are, doesn't it.

To say that those that attended don't give a shit about the club is frankly ridiculous. They are the ones who have a season ticket and took the trouble to apply. No doubt you probably didn't do either.

I disagree, I thought Elstone was very honest and he fronted up to all the questions that were asked of him. We all may not like the answers (I certainly don't, because we are screwed financially and will have to sell before we buy) but he told it how it is.

So in summary it was a shame you weren't arsed to make the effort to attend.
Gavin Ramejkis
20   Posted 20/04/2011 at 09:49:40

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Alan Clarke nail on the head about the double speak shite ? especially the investment in the squad; he didn't explain why so many players are out on loan.

On another point, and this one does grind my gears, the Park End development. As far as I know, Everton aren't spending a penny on this development as they are potless and it's coming from other sources. Now, given that Everton aren't paying for it and their examples of mathematics over the years are a fucking abomination ? DK would generate £xm per season for DM, given x would change at the drop of a hat and although never acknowledged finally become a debt the club would have had to pay rather than provide an income stream ? how and why would another company invest in a development and then give the money away?

Any one enlighten me as to how fuck all suddenly becomes £9m to £10m a year??? If so, they can come and build something in my garden so I can have free money too.

Dick Fearon
21   Posted 20/04/2011 at 10:13:29

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Paul, I thank you for the report. It appeared to be a honest appraisal of where we are at. No false or misleading allusions about the future.

If anyone has a solution to our financial problems I genuinely would like to hear from them. Much of the bile aimed at BK is spiteful unhelpful bitchiness.

Peter Laing
22   Posted 20/04/2011 at 10:40:52

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Maybe your contempt of fellow supporters, Richard Dodd, fits with your masochistic and indulgent perceptions of Bill Kenwright...

However, I am one of the 8-9% of supporters who have chosen not to renew my season ticket as an individual protest against the litany of lies, empty promises and false dawns that have perpetuated Bill Kenwright's tenure.

An obvious question for me would have been "What does Robert Earl actually bring to Everton Football Club?" My decision not to renew my season ticket or purchase two junior tickets for my kids ? the future generation of lifeblood for this club ? is based upon the buy-to-sell policy which will never again see us challenge for honours.

'Share the Belief', Richard... pull the other one.

Rory Slingo
23   Posted 20/04/2011 at 10:21:50

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Thank you, Paul. What worries me most was the reply to this question:
Should we not be looking at greater socio-economic or demographic analysis given the tough economical times?
Key is to get more people through the turnstiles. We roughly have 2,000 empty seats after the away fans' allocation isn?t used up every game. That?s £1M a year. An alternative is to put £1 on every seat... this will provide £750k.
An extra £750k-£1m a year... wow, that's really going to turn our club around isn't it? Just goes to show you how myopic this board really is if they still think generating revenue from within the city is the answer to our financial woes. Clearly, the answer is to develop the Everton brand abroad like Liverpool, Man U, Arsenal and Chelsea have done. The big money is in overseas markets and Everton have so far left it largely untapped.

How many opportunities have the club missed by not taking better advantage of the exposure of our international players? Tim Cahill gets a lot of exposure around the Asia-Pacific region. We missed opportunities to move boatloads of merchandise with Steven Pienaar and South Africa during the World Cup, Landon Donovan and the USA, etc. (I'm sure there's a few Nigerian princes out there wouldn't mind rocking a nice Yakubu top!)

Then there's our Chang deal, not the best beer in the world but it is making inroads with the pub scene in SE Asia of late. More could definitely be done with the exposure from that. Just relying on getting more people through the turnstiles is so '30-years ago' and doesn't generate enough revenue to sustain a club with top European ambitions in the Premier League!

If bouncing around 6th-10th place in the league, getting knocked out of Cups early and not having a pot to piss in are what we're satisfied with, then we have the RIGHT people on board, alright.

Andy Duff
24   Posted 20/04/2011 at 10:58:43

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Alan Clarke, the internet warrior. So answer this: Why did you not apply? No season ticket? Could not be bothered applying? The names were not hand-picked ? it clearly stated the first 200 who applied for it and renewed got it. I also left it very late to renew and still got picked.

So, Mr Hard as Nails internet warrior, where were you? Watching soaps and venting your spleen on Toffeeweb?

Another point: the yellow leaflet was from Evertonians For Change ? nothing to do with the club.

There were a lot of people asking questions, you could simply put your hand up. His Q and A went on longer than it should.

I agree the answers were a joke and it is exactly the response I expected. What should we have done? Shouted him down? Demanded he answer? Spit the dummy out and get evicted?

Clowns like you talk a good talk on the internet; if you're that bothered, apply yourself next time.

One thing I will add. He mentioned the supporters trust ? not sure if it was the one on here that Tony I'Anson is involved with but he claimed they had been talking and are waiting for the trust to get back to them.

Also somone asked about a share issue to raise funds and so far it had not been explored because they reckon there would not be enough interest or enough rich blues buying in. Again, spin no doubt... but, like I said, if you don't like the answer, what can you do?

All-in-all, despite the bog standard answers from Elstone, the rest of night was enjoyable, especially the current players.

Phil Neville saying about the corner kicks and having everyone back annoying him but it's done because Moyes was a centre-half as a player; Cahill mocking Phil Neville's punching by gesturing it was too feminine.

Glad I went and would go again if asked.
Neil McKinney
25   Posted 20/04/2011 at 10:54:06

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Thanks Paul. Interesting read.

Elstone may not have dodged the questions completely but he did give a couple of nothing answers as pointed out by a few posters. He is, however, not obliged to answer many of them and at least he didn't try and pretend that everything is all rosy like Bill often does.

Alan Clark #13 ? You make some valid points in the first part of your post but then your tone and disrespect towards Paul and the other fans who attended the event is totally uncalled for.

Maybe they didn't ask the questions that you wanted answered and maybe they didn't give Elstone the grilling you desire, but at least they went and at least they asked some questions. Are you hoping that Elstone comes on Toffeeweb to read your rant? Maybe you have emailed those questions to Elstone? I wouldn't expect you to get much in the way of answers but at least he'd then deserve the slagging that you are dishing out to Paul just for bothering to tell us about this event.

I understand your frustration at the current situation and what you feel people like Bill and Elstone are doing to this great club, but don't direct it at people like Paul who take the time to post articles like this without which you wouldn't have a clue what was said and would have nothing to rant about.

Thanks again, Paul, for an interesting, if somewhat depressing, read.
Dave Wilson
26   Posted 20/04/2011 at 11:24:45

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I can accept and respect your reasons for not renewing your ST, but you can't speak for the rest of the 8/9% ? that fall in sales is some way below the national average, so it can't all be protest; I think its resonable to believe that a considerable number of that group have not renewed due to the current economical climate... fair?

I expect Everton's average attendance next season to be very close to this season's... and the season before... and...
Dave Wilson
27   Posted 20/04/2011 at 11:41:30

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After reading some of the posts on this thread, the words 'messenger' and 'shooting' are spinning around my head.

As has been pointed out, it's very easy to get all brave when you`re sitting behind a computer.
Gavin Ramejkis
28   Posted 20/04/2011 at 11:39:33

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Andy Duff, one small point about the share Rights Issue is that it was questioned over five years ago at the same time Spurs did it ? and theirs raised a great deal of cash. The share Rights Issue per se isn't looking for a small number of wealthy folk to buy a block of shares ? it gives the chance for lots of Joe Averages to go and buy shares.

Here on this site alone we have fans who may never have and never will attend a match due to geography but may be willing to buy a share/shares and thus invest in the club. The negative side is that it lowers the price of existing shares so smaller shareholders that I've spoken to would be against it... but ? given they only have one or two shares and have had them for years ? I'm not sure what they see their investment doing?

Tony J Williams
29   Posted 20/04/2011 at 11:53:03

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Good reporting Paul, thanks for that.

Nothing new to us but cheers for taking the time to post the outsome.
Peter Laing
30   Posted 20/04/2011 at 12:04:25

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That's a fair point, David Wilson, the economic climate will undoubtedly have an effect on season ticket renewals as people struggle to pay their bills, let alone consider purchasing a season ticket. My personal stance is not based upon financial reasons; quite apart, I would readily buy another two junior tickets in addition to my own for my two boys but cannot stomach the prospect of another summer of selling one of our top prospects, be it Rodwell or Fellaini. With Wayne Rooney in the team, would Everton remain trophyless during Moyes's tenure? Who knows... but that is exactly the scenario we find the Club in.
Daniel A Johnson
31   Posted 20/04/2011 at 12:03:18

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For what it's worth, I always think Elstone is receptive to the fans and enjoys engaging them. He will always welcome any question and answer it (even if the answer is sometimes "safe" and uninformative).

BUT our chairman Blue ? fucking don't speak to me ? Bill is a shitester of the highest order.

There is ONE problem at EFC: his name is Bill Kenwright.
Dave Street
32   Posted 20/04/2011 at 12:14:05

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Well said Andy Duff, Dave Wilson. Couldn't agree with you more. All of us are worried about the predicament and want more from our club. But we are were we are and we have to make the best of it.

We do however still have a good squad of players who can achieve more. I do believe the board could do more but, from last night's update from Elstone, I do believe they are doing their utmost to improve things. We should be respecting Elstone for fronting up and not criticising him. He doesn't have to do these types of conferences and let's not forget he is an Employee of the club too! He doesn't own it.
Alan Clarke
33   Posted 20/04/2011 at 12:06:17

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Sorry, my rant should not be directed at Paul. Thanks for reporting Paul.

I am just not happy with Elstone's reponses and I'm not pleased that everyone in attendance seemed happy with his responses. We've all been fobbed off again yet Elstone is getting praised for his "honesty". He's been the exact opposite ? deceitful, yet some of you have lapped it up.

If you want to focus on me being an 'internet warrior' or 'brave behind a keyboard' rather than the content of the meeting then you obviously sit in the IQ less than 30 group that Mick Wrende talks about. The fact is financially, Everton are in a mess. Most of you who've posted so far on this thread have said it yourselves at one point in another post. Those who attended last night had an opportunity to ask some awkward questions to Elstone but he was allowed to side-step everything.
Andy Duff
34   Posted 20/04/2011 at 12:34:39

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So Alan, where were you? My IQ is well above 30 and as for being able to simply put him under pressure, it was not that simple. It was well structured.

Harp on all you want... do somthing about it then. Elstone said his door was open ? call in for a tea or e-mail him. Why don't you do that? Go on! Actions speak louder than words... call his bluff make the contact and post on here your answers.

If he ignores you, which no doubt he will, you can at least post your experience. If he answers, then all the better. If he answers with spin, call him on it.

You're all talk on a forum like this ? well, go do somthing about it. Look forward to reading your posts after you contact him.

Rob Keys
35   Posted 20/04/2011 at 12:35:13

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Thanks Paul, a great read. It's nice to know Elstone is upfront. What is amazingly absent is any question/discussion of growing the brand and seeking investments from the Asian market. Everton is an international brand, and I believe this is a hugely untapped potential. Currently, I don't think any of us know if there is a strategic business model for the club.
Peter Laing
36   Posted 20/04/2011 at 13:10:43

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The strategic business model for the Club, Rob @35, would appear to be buy / develop the playing staff to then sell on at a profit... ad infinitum. Imagine the other lot across the Park accepting such an approach, ie, selling Steven Gerrard after his first couple of seasons and on the brink of stardom.
Chris Lock
37   Posted 20/04/2011 at 13:07:51

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Just a quick point about the new Park End development. Didn't the club post on the official site that the move was delayed only because it would be easier to move all the technical departments in one go ? not during a season? And now it's down to landscape securing?

However, I'm quite pleased the club don't announce how much cash there is to spend on players as, when other clubs know how much money you've got, they inflate their asking price and hold clubs to ransom.

The way things are at the moment looks like the club needs us more than ever so let's get behind the players and show any potential investors what Everton means. I'm not for or against Evertonians For Change but isn't the People's Club a registered trademark?

Keep the Faith, Blues!
Adam Bennett
38   Posted 20/04/2011 at 13:24:20

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Alan Clarke (13)

Your questions answered one by one:

1) £45million ? it?s in the 2010 accounts.
2) Because our board are skint and have done ?asset utilisation? to fund the club.
3) By paying a service charge each year which is ?manageable?.
4) £4.4 million a year ? it?s in the 2010 accounts.
5) He?s a friend of Bill, so he?s a friend of the club.
6) £4 million.
7) No.
8) Buy cheaper, sell dearer.
9) It is their aim.

These self-styled ?challenging? questions have been answered before. The answers are not liked, but they are the answers. So, last night, what would have been the point in asking questions only to receive answers we already know?

As for your ?fans who give a shit about our club? statement. Seriously, what a fucking cunt of a statement to make. I?ve given Everton £543 for my 2011-12 season ticket, I applied to go last night to hear what?s going on at our club, and somehow you think I, along with 199 other people, ?don?t give a shit about our club?. Get fucked, Alan.
Jackie Barry
39   Posted 20/04/2011 at 13:28:49

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Adam Bennett, do you really think all of the people at Everton FC have no money? The truth is none of them have ever put anything into the club itself.

I understand Alan's discontent at what was asked and the answers that were given. Last night was nothing but an attempt to water down the increasing number of fans who are frustrated at what is going on. The board and some of our fans don't seem to realise that we have every right to feel this way! Giving some answers at a staged event doesn't achieve anything.
Dave Street
40   Posted 20/04/2011 at 13:48:40

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What is this stuff about a "staged" event or a "handpicked" audience? People were picked at random who had showed interest in attending and having already bought a season ticket.

None of us were told what to say or who to say it to?

Short of appearing on Toffeeweb on a live question-and-answer session, what else can they do to listen to the fans' voice?
Jackie Barry
41   Posted 20/04/2011 at 14:09:32

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Maybe because that's the way they have always done things. It was a better attempt, I'll give you that but it still went the way they wanted it too, that is obvious. As fans we have rights; without us, there would be no football club ? simple as.
Dave Wilson
42   Posted 20/04/2011 at 14:03:38

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Alan Clarke.

You launch into a direct attacks ? on Paul and anyone else who was present at the meeting ? then, when pulled up about it, you launch into further insults. What gives with you? Are your arguments always so weak you have to resort to personal attacks?

Here`s a few direct questions for you: If you're so keen to demand that other people to ask ? on your behalf ? How much was wasted on DK?

Why did you vote for it?

Why did you repeatedly attack people who were against it?

And why have you suddenly turned on Kenwright?

You sound all confused again, fella.
Stephen Leary
43   Posted 20/04/2011 at 14:02:32

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I think it's still all bollocks. Elstone will hardly sit and say Bill isn't trying to sell up, he is his puppy and will say what Bill tells him to or maybe he will be out like the previous two executives. The club isn't for sale, he doesn't want to let go of his toy, I'm sick of it; there will be no players coming this summer ? just ones leaving.

I'm also a little sick of Cahill: he pisses off to play in a two-bob bits cup in January when we were struggling, and he has barely played since. If he does continue to play in these stupid friendlies on the other side of the world, legend or not, we should sell him and get a replacement in.

My prediction for next season is: Moyes will give it one more year after more bull shit from Bill and the board; "We will get you money in January, David, and there will be plenty next summer"... Blah blah blah... is it just me or is this the final straw? Elstone said all this in January ? he is a puppet for Kenwright and says what he is told.

We will thus find ourselves with an unhappy manager, trying to provide miracles again, probably minus, Fellaini, Rodwell, and the ones on loan, us the fans will be told it will all be better, the club is close to investment... blah blah blah... I feel we really will be in the mire next season and find ourselves in a relegation battle, and going down the following year when Moyes has walked.

I have had enough ? I'm making my stand: while that man still owns us, I will not be renewing my season ticket to fill his pockets for his London production shows. Why can't Bill face us fans and bloody answer truthfully? It's time he went NOW!! If he doesn't, our great club really is doomed. KENWRIGHT OUT!! COYB!!
Andy Duff
44   Posted 20/04/2011 at 14:20:45

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Look, it is quite simple. Everton staged a night for anyone who renewed their season ticket and applied could attend. It was limited to the first 200.

Having spent most my time moaning on forums llike this, I thought, "Fine, I'll apply shown them what for..."

It became apparent early on that the hard hitting answers we wanted would not be given. The answers supplied seemed well rehearsed as if they anticipated the types of questions we would ask.

One question I thought genuinely threw Elstone was the one about how much of the income from player sales would be given back to Moyes. He answered honestly and said he cannot say all will until they have finalised things with the banks.

Now, sitting in the room, I had two options: try to shout Elstone down and demand he drop the spin; or accept this for what it was. I had a question and was not picked... but so what: shit happens.

Everton did not have to do this ? it was obvious they were trying to look like they communicate with us. The cameras and photos taken will no doubt be used to promote this.

So what was the point? Not much really. It was a very enjoyable night after Elstone spoke, listening to Cahill, Neville, Sharpy and Ratcliffe.

Some people can moan all they want ? I doubt very much if anyone of them when sitting in the room would have demanded answers and turned it into a shouting match. Like I said, call Elstone's bluff and contact him with your questions ? see what you get back.

Maybe then we can all come on here and mock you.
Jay Harris
45   Posted 20/04/2011 at 13:50:58

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dont you realise the event was staged because the natives are getting restless and season ticket sales are down because of fans showing their discontent by not renewing.

Doesnt it tell you it all when Elstone says "they have been very close with a number of parties but THEY pulled out ".

Nobody want BK in charge of their financial responsibility and Earl and Green's involvement in the sale is dettering a number of buyers because there are probably side letters guaranteeing them certain things.

That is why the club has not been sold and NOT because there are NO potential buyers.
Larry Boner
46   Posted 20/04/2011 at 16:23:52

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I was contacted on Friday and asked why me, my son, my Dad (aged 91) and my brother were not renewing their season tickets for next season. I gave my reasons, all of them centered on the lack of investment in the stadium, not the team.

I am sure I do not need to list the issues, but the fans forum should have, MUST have had an invited audience of long-term season ticket holders who were not going to renew, otherwise what is the point of talking to people who have accepted the status quo, nothing will ever change?

My Dad has followed Everton for 80 years, 80 years!! He does not want to go anymore... me, 50 years, my brother, 45 years, my son 15 years ? we are still Evertonians and will fight our corner against any "nouveau rouge", but taking the piss is taking the piss, no matter what way you look at it.

I, we, are still Evertonians but we need to indicate to the controllers at this club that a bottle of Chang, a reduction in seat prices, Cahill, Neville et al appearing on stage is not going to change the mentality of people who think a 1950s stadium, outrageous catering prices, pathetic access, toilets and seating is going to get even the most committed Blues to spend hard-earned money renewing their little plot of land in Goodison Park.

I reiterate: I have followed Everton for 50 years, for 30 of those years, home and away, my Dad saw Dixie score his 60th goal at Goodison... Why are we the lost souls? Ask us. I do not criticise the people who have renewed for next season: what the question should be, is why have I and thousands of others seen the spark go out?

Nick Entwistle
47   Posted 20/04/2011 at 16:34:22

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We have the third biggest kit bag deal. We are Blue. We are Evertonians. Nil Satis Nisi Optimum.
Dave Street
48   Posted 20/04/2011 at 16:47:43

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91-92% Larry is not thousands of others. In fact an early bird renewal of 19,500 is pretty good in this economic climate. If the same percentage renew their tickets after the early bird, then we won't be too badly off next season. We will still be gettting gates of 35k, with more people coming if we win games.
Tony J Williams
49   Posted 20/04/2011 at 17:11:41

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Larry, can I ask why after some of the dross that you must have sat through in the 90s and the relegations battles, are you deciding to pack it all in now?

We have been skint for a decade and the same shit board has been there longer, I assume this year's cack outing may be the straw that broke the camel's back but since I started going back the match 2003, season ticket prices haven't rocketed, and we have been playing better footy the last two years to the 7 years before.

I wish I could give it up, it would save me a fair penny each year, but I can't. I just cannot work out why now? We have been worse yet people have stuck with the team.
Ron Broadstairs
50   Posted 20/04/2011 at 17:52:11

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Firstly Paul, many thanks for your effort both in attending and providing an excellent report.

The stonewalling over the sale price and the assertion Goodison is too small and costly to develop are the bits that piss me off.

Not telling us a ballpark figure just smacks of contempt and they can fuck right off; this is my club, it's been in my family for generations and I, together with fellow Evertonians have spent fortunes over the years supporting it. We have a RIGHT TO KNOW. Evasion just tells me they're shifty individuals on the make and really couldn't give a shit about the club's future.

The KEIOC evaluation of an improved Goodison seems plausible to me ? 50,000+ all-seater stadium, please tell me what's the problem?

I'm not buying a season ticket with these liars in charge.
Adam Bennett
51   Posted 20/04/2011 at 18:16:11

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I think Robert Earl has the money but, since the Kirkby move went tits-up, he is no longer interested. I know none of them have put their own money in and it pisses me off... but what are we supposed to do? We can?t mug them, or turn them upside down shaking them until their wallets fall out! :-)


Firstly, where in my comment did I have an opinion about whether last night was staged or not?

Secondly, where in my comment did I have an opinion about Earl and Green and why the club has not found a buyer?

I don?t mind people having a go at me for something I?ve said, or picking holes in something that I?ve said and having debate with me. After all, it is why I come on here.

But please, in future, don?t start commenting on things I haven?t even said. I thought it was only my ex who done things like that.

Tommy Davis
52   Posted 20/04/2011 at 18:38:31

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In response to Jamie Crowley #6

I have an idea: for some of the overseas Toffees, why don't those who are able, purchase season tickets, for family or friends!

I am sure several thousand could actually be bought; I did this a few times, albeit a few decades ago now! It's not a fans trust by any means, but perhaps the nearest thing we can reach right now, plus the main objective is helping Everton FC sell those empty seats... any thoughts?
Dennis Stevens
53   Posted 20/04/2011 at 17:55:45

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I attended a similar event for a regional supporters club the night before the Villa match. Unfortunately, Elstone, who usually fronts these things, couldn't be there. However, alongside Sharpy & Ray Hall, we had a a chap from the communications team & one from the commercial side ? can't recall their names now. They also wheeled out Fellaini to do photos & autographs. We also got some free Chang, but no complimentary nibbles!

The style & format sounds quite similar: no questions barred ? but you may not like the answer; quite forthright about where they felt we were doing well & what the challenges ahead are; some "diplomatic" answers, as you'd expect ? and they were pressed a few times when people weren't satisfied with the response.

Overall, I was left with the impression that we have a gradually improving situation in terms of the calibre of the management of the club from a business perspective, but they have to operate within the parameters set by the Board, same as Moyes. One point that may differ, perhaps due to the number of footballers on the panel, some supporters were quite frustrated by the number of questions about finances, stadiums, take-overs, etc ? they just wanted to talk about football & in some ways that was a healthy reminder of what we're embroiled in this club for: it's a football club!

Nonetheless, although I applaud these initiatives, ultimately it does nothing to dispell the feeling that the Club cannot really move forward whilst the current Board remain in control. At least, not unless Moyes really starts to perform miracles & actually starts winning things! My great concern is that the club's position may become a lot worse before it ever starts to get better than it is now.

Andy Riley
54   Posted 20/04/2011 at 19:54:41

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I'm sure Mr Elstone is quite a personable chap but he still won't answer the question that would help to unify the fans and show that Bill Kenwright was serious about selling up to the right person ? namely the price being sought.

We are told that the price is NOT the reason the club hasn't been sold but this statement would be far more believable if the price range envisaged was quoted. It is a matter of record that BK and his associates paid around £30 million to purchase the Peter Johnson (approximately 75%) shareholding and this gave an individual share price of around £857 per share at that time.

My understanding is that individual shares are currently sold at around £1300 and were priced similarly (on an individual basis) at the time of the Kenwright takeover. Therefore on that basis is seems logical and reasonable to conclude that BK has not increased the value of the club in any significant way and could actually have decreased it's vale by greatly increasing the debt level.

It seems then that the true value of the 75% shareholding held by the three majority shareholders is somewhere between £30 million and £45 million at best and if they are asking anything much in excess of the higher figure it seems unsurprising that there has been little serious interest and this is surely the reason why the asking price is considered confidential.

Ian Smitham
55   Posted 20/04/2011 at 19:59:36

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Mr Clarke, calling me and the others who by buying Season Tickets for next season put themselves in a position to be in communication with the club "pussies" is insulting.

I object to your comments and tone and would love the chance to discuss with you personally at the next game that you attend.

A few other thoughts if i may:

Dave (#18) ? Well said;
Dick (#20) ? we dont seem to agree on much but well said from a passionate Evertonian;
Andy (#23) ? "spitting the dummy" ? quite right... I actually would hope that people who want to be abusive are excluded;
Neil (#24) ? "tone and disrespect" ? quite right
Gavin (#27) ? Also quite right. I have a share (hey ho) but I also believe that a rights issue is the clue. With BK and his concert party being in complete control, I cannot see what he has to lose... and further, if a load of fans buy, then he has at least part chance of winning them over in any vote.
Dave (#40) ? Handpicked! When I got the call, I thought it was a wind-up;
Dave (#41) ? Quite right.

Mr Clarke, there is a way to make a point and present a view and argument... and you, Sir, need to learn the way.

I will be in the Winslow next home match.
Eugene Ruane
56   Posted 20/04/2011 at 21:12:59

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A straightner!?

Come on let's 'ave yer!

Stripped to the waist, curry and chips in one hand, rolled up WSAG in the other.

Both doing the 'bouncing on tippy-toes, arms out' dance.

John Shaw
57   Posted 20/04/2011 at 22:01:17

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There are a couple of problems with regard to the club undertaking a new Share Issue.

The first is the one which a number of posters have alluded to for some time. Any new issue would mean the current major share holders seeing their stock diluted.

The second, and for me far more pertinent, is the fact that when conducting a share issue, you must first have a guarantor for the full value of shares at the sale price. The reason for this is that the guarantor then has to purchase any shares which remain unsold through the issue, should that arise. So if for arguments sake the club were to issue 20,000 new shares at £1,350 somebody would have to go guarantor for £27,000,000.

Now given nobody on our current Board is the slightest bit interested, (or just hasn't got it in Kenwrights case) in spending anymore money on the club, and by that I mean shares, this is why I believe a share issue has never had the slightest chance of happening, just in case they had to fork out more of their own corn for more shares !!!
Dick Fearon
58   Posted 21/04/2011 at 00:07:14

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Eugene, # 55, I'll hold yer coats.
Chad Schofield
59   Posted 21/04/2011 at 00:04:41

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Thanks so much, Paul! Really, thank you for putting together such a comprehensive report.

I hope, as Dennis Stevens wrote, that this does lead to more open dialogue ? albeit that I too still feel sadly that the current regime is unsustainable. Politicians' answers have to be expected, but at least there seems to be some refreshing honesty if nothing else.
Jay Harris
60   Posted 21/04/2011 at 02:03:07

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Adam #50, I am sorry if you thought I was having a go at you. That was not my intent.

I was simply putting forward my view that the supporters are being duped by the board.
Roman Sidey
61   Posted 21/04/2011 at 05:49:12

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Larry Boner, fuckin spot on. No disrespect to the people the renewed their tickets. On the contrary, it's you who make us able to stay a business.

On the other hand, it's not the satisfied customers that need to be questioned. The guys who have been paying their money for years who have suddenly decided to stop that need to be asked: "Why not?"

In all honesty, and don't attack me, just answer me with Yes or No and brief explanation, who is excited about next season? Not me...
Phil Bellis
62   Posted 21/04/2011 at 09:14:15

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Dick @58
and I'll mind the ale
John Maxwell
63   Posted 21/04/2011 at 09:50:47

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Roman @61.

The last time I was dreading next season was when we sold Rooney prior to 2004-05 season... I even went into the bookies and we were only 6-1 on to go down...

We finished 4th.

Keep the faith mate... Nothing personal but I'd like to hear your ideas for a teamtalk before our next game.
Tony J Williams
64   Posted 21/04/2011 at 10:16:17

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Roman, I am excited at the start of every season... more to do with the several pints in me before the first game that the team itself.

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