Death to Bullshit

by   |   19/04/2018  46 Comments  [Jump to last]

A few years ago, a colleague of mine — I’m in the Web design industry, I’ve seen him speak at conferences, follow him on Twitter… we’re colleagues, alright?! — coined a phrase that I come back to time and time again: “Death to Bullshit.”

It was a rallying cry specifically related to design on the Web and demanding better experiences for people using Web sites and the Internet in general — “Popups, jargon, junk mail, sensationalism, begging for likes, tracking scripts, spam, unskippable ads, clickbait, linkbait, barely-visible unsubscribe buttons, 24-hour news networks, auto-playing audio… the list of bullshit goes on and on and on” — but it resonates loudly when it comes to life and modern media and communications, and football appears to have fallen prey to bullshit as hard as anything.

The media-stoked furore this week over Everton’s fan survey, the results of which weren't ever to be made public, is a classic case in point. It began as a routine data-gathering exercise by the club and has ended with Sam Allardyce grandstanding in a press conference and throwing the Blues’ Director of Marketing and Communications, Richard Kenyon, under the bus for not being “a great understander (sic) of football and how football works.”

You can argue about the merits of the club canvassing its supporters in this way but, let’s face it, there is no way it becomes a story of this magnitude if we were not in the social media age where everything is blown out of all proportion and knowledge of a questionnaire aimed only at season ticket holders and registered members spreads like wildfire, fuelled by the local and national press... and by some pretty well-respected journalists who should know better at that.

The fact is that Everton have held this kind of survey in the past (through a desire to get more targeted data on its supporters than a wider Premier League survey of all 20 top-flight clubs’ fans) and it didn’t even register a blip on the radar of any journalist. (It also asked for Evertonians to rate their trust in the club’s hierarchy but you haven’t heard about that as much because, while they haven’t quite got their arms around the task yet, Farhad Moshiri and the Board of Directors are showing the ambition off the pitch required to take the Blues forward.)

The difference this time, of course, is that the incumbent of the hot seat being evaluated before wasn’t a controversial, almost universally unpopular manager who a majority didn’t want appointed to the post in the first place.

Ironically, the very fact that this has become such a massive talking point without the kind of balance that you would hope from some better regarded or senior members of the press corps and has prompted the manager’s performance at Finch Farm this afternoon is precisely because Allardyce has been such an underwhelming and disliked appointment.

So when Bill Kenwright is, as the boss claims, offering his apologies to Mr Allardyce, you would hope he is saying sorry for the embarrassment caused by the wholly disproportionate reaction from the media rather than the fairly benign survey itself.

At least Allardyce didn’t name-check Richard Kenyon personally or anyone on his team specifically but you would hope that he would have the grace to extend a private apology of his own to a fine Evertonian who, as James Corbett expressed on Twitter, is a passionate Blue who “understands more about the club than Allardyce could in 100 years.”

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Reader Comments (46)

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Peter Mills
1 Posted 19/04/2018 at 19:29:43
The upsetting thing about this survey is that it has allowed Allardyce to take some vestige of moral high ground. He is an unpleasant character but is no mug when it comes to self-protection and promotion.

He wants to get out of the club with his pockets full as soon as possible, and he doesn't care who he takes down along the way.

Kristian Boyce
2 Posted 19/04/2018 at 19:30:10
Lyndon, I just posted something similar on the main 'slipped up' thread about how this has been blown out of proportion. Reading through the comments on there, a large majority of the responses say it's a massive cock-up by the club and blaming them. Allardyce must be loving this as it totally distracts from the actual results from it, which is more than likely very damning of his tenure.

It all stems back to the original Mirror article, and we all know who they are in bed with.

David Barks
3 Posted 19/04/2018 at 19:45:43
Allardyce's appointment has done massive damage to this club. And I don't think it simply goes away once he is sacked, although it is a necessary first step. The media has pounced on a storyline of a crisis club and they will do everything they can to continue to reinforce that storyline. And Allardyce will continue to damage us with his self serving and arrogant media performances.
Dermot Byrne
4 Posted 19/04/2018 at 20:05:14
Media will find him easier to play with because he is English. Harder with foreign managers. I can see Sam having a bevvy with some reporters to make the story even worse when we get rid of him.

Expect the shit to continue for a bit after he has gone. But thankfully, for once, other clubs make headlines much more than us. We need to rebuild under the radar.

Lenny Kingman
5 Posted 19/04/2018 at 20:12:37
Reality check.

Allardyce has been pulling these short term stunts for years. Ask fans of Blackpool, Newcastle, West Ham, Crystal Palace, Sunderland, England and now Everton. Not much time served in the managerial chair but massive compensation for his dubious services when he shoots through early doors.

He has let down, without conscience, tens of millions of fans by his greed, short term-ism and what's best for him and his crowd of adoring arse-licking hangers-on.

He keeps doing it and he keeps turning a buck or two. A selfish arrogant charlatan that should have been sent packing from the game after the criminal fraud of the England debacle. But, with some of his associates of low morals and double standards in the press, he keeps getting away before the posse arrives to carry out his warranted execution.

Kristian Boyce
6 Posted 19/04/2018 at 20:28:11
So running count, the BBC has published their 3rd article about the survey. Lawrenson's weekly prediction post about Everton, is basically about the survey along with the second main feature article.

I guarantee that a similar fan survey/fan panel has been conducted by every PL club at least once this season, with more than likely the same questions. How many times have those been highlighted?

Oh, and the Echo now is running an article saying FS hopes the survey doesn't affect the players performance on Monday. He's already got his excuse in for another poor performance, deflecting the blame away from him as per usual.

Andy Crooks
7 Posted 19/04/2018 at 20:37:01
You are right, Lyndon. Those who dismiss this survey as a repeat of the last are missing the point. Last year Koeman looked good, all was well, money was spent. It was just a box ticking, utterly shite, patronizing, half witted, second rate PR stunt devised by conveyor belt produced marketers.

This time it has a resonance and I fear it will backfire appallingly. It will strenghthen the position of a man whose appointment and continued employment shames us. Kenwright and Moshiri look like bumbling fools. They are in cahoots and apologizing to a man without a shred of integrity. A money grabbing, money worshipping, talentless braggart.

Michael Williams
8 Posted 19/04/2018 at 20:51:39
I want Sam gone but this was a massive mistake by the head of the marketing department and whoever he reports to.

No competent organization puts an employee out on a limb like that no matter how unpopular he or she is. Of course, it's going to start a media firestorm. The media uses oceans of ink and uncountable amounts of airtime discussing managers and their place at a club and the Everton organization should have thought of that.

This makes the club stupid, leaderless and second-rate.

Phil Walling
9 Posted 19/04/2018 at 21:17:21
I can just imagine a sniveling apology from Kenwright to Allardyce over this issue. Probably will mean Kenyon gets the chop and Sam gets another year.

Fecking laughing stock– all of them!

Alan Johnson
10 Posted 19/04/2018 at 21:32:06
A marketing person would have their finger on what's happening with fans. They would have considered all possible outcomes. This is a bullshit response that Boys Pen Bill told Fat Sam. This is a massive cock-up once again. Take a look at Conte's response when told about the survey. Sums up what we are – a Laughing Stock...
Anthony Hawkins
11 Posted 19/04/2018 at 21:48:57
What's wrong is that Kenwright is still at the club and talking bullshit.

Kenwright simply needs to go, along with Allardyce.

Lyndon Lloyd
12 Posted 19/04/2018 at 22:47:42
Michael (8), the club did not put the manager out on a limb. Just as they did last year, they put a questionnaire to season ticket holders asking them to rate their trust in the abilities of many aspects of the running of the club – the Board, the players, the manager, the lot of them. I see that the Mail's Dominic King is the latest journo to completely ignore that part of it in favour of pushing a juicier narrative.

It did not single out Allardyce. Its intent was not to canvass opinion solely on Allardyce. It was a data-gathering exercise to gauge the general mood of STs surrounding their club away from the filter or distortions of social media, etc. And I very much doubt they were going to make the results public.

The whole thing would have passed without incident if it hadn't been sensationalised by the media.

Simon Dalzell
13 Posted 20/04/2018 at 02:39:33
Commiserations, Mr Allardyce, the truth can be awfully hard to bare at times. It's a "no-brainer".

A grotesque figure, picking the most defensive and baffling teams that produce the garbage we've all had to suffer.

Good riddance... and the sooner the better.

Derek Thomas
14 Posted 20/04/2018 at 03:18:09
Death by bullshit, more like...
David Barks
15 Posted 20/04/2018 at 04:10:06
Lyndon,

Which you would have thought the club would have come out and said publicly. How they have allowed Allardyce to play the victim and not themselves answer these sensationalized media accounts is completely beyond me.

A simple two-sentence response to the media would have done it. Simply state that this same survey was sent out last year. And simply state that this was but one of many questions about the club, that the manager was not the focus – just as he was not the focus last year. But it is sadly another case of abject failure and it seems even a large number of Evertonians have fallen for it.

Lee Brownlie
16 Posted 20/04/2018 at 15:30:51
David Barks (#15).. Spot on about how crazy, stupid – and completely avoidable!! – it would, should, have been to get the board's side (and simple facts) in first, or at least in counterbalance!!!

I mean, ffs, we do have a PR department, don't we?

Lee Brownlie
17 Posted 20/04/2018 at 15:36:21
Okay, enough now. Let's really see the fucker squirm (as we send him on his way!!). New questionnaire:

Do you think the manager's fat?
Is he a total mercenary?
Should he have been hired in the first place?
Does he have our team playing the most drab, often most inexplicable, football ever?
How quick do you think he should be on his way?

Mike Gaynes
18 Posted 20/04/2018 at 16:34:59
Lyndon (#12)...

"The whole thing would have passed without incident if it hadn't been sensationalised by the media."

I'm sorry, my friend, but that's the bullshit here. The idea that the media shouldn't/wouldn't take this and run wild with it is just not realistic in today's world of media immediacy. With the club facing anger and disillusionment from the ST holders, there was no way in hell the survey results "weren't ever to be made public," and no chance that it wouldn't become a media firestorm.

The fact that the survey is an annual event is irrelevant. Mr Kenyon should have known what would happen this time around, and the club should have been prepared for it. I'd have suggested they dispense with the survey this year, since the feelings of the fans are already evident.

Peter (#1), spot on. The sight of Allardyce smugly savoring some semblance of moral superiority is nausea-inducing, as is the idea that Bill apparently felt called upon to apologize to this despicable character.

David (#15), if you really think that "A simple two-sentence response to the media" would have prevented this blowup, you're living in a dream world.

Phil (#9), I hope you're wrong about the outcome – I would hate to see Allardyce keep his job and Kenyon lose his over this – but I must admit, it was the first thing that flashed through my mind.

I mentioned in another thread yesterday that it was time for Moshiri to step in. Now he simply must. The chaos is beginning to take on a life of its own.

David Barks
19 Posted 20/04/2018 at 16:56:07
I disagree, Mike. When it was first breaking and the media were grabbing hold of it (and make no mistake that Allardyce was absolutely in conversation with his chums in the media to stir this hornets nest for his own benefit). If the club would have just come out with a very simple statement that this was the same annual survey sent out last year when Koeman was manager and that the question about the manager, players and staff is but one of many questions about the opinions of the club from our most valued supporters, then it would have been squashed.

If after that statement Allardyce came into that press conference and put on the same little show for the media, then the club would be well within their rights to take action against an employee for insubordination, going against the hierarchy.

But of course they continue to do absolutely nothing and Sam is playing this thing to his gain. That perennial loser is now being portrayed as a victim by all his media friends and the same pathetic Premier League coaching carousel. Idiotic posts saying if he took on West Brom that they'd be staying up and we'd be going down, as if there is any comparison between the level of quality in the two squads!! And ignoring the fact that Sam couldn't even beat West Brom!!

Brian Williams
20 Posted 20/04/2018 at 16:58:00
If "you" truly believed that you'd delivered on your remit, and you truly believed that you'd done, and continue to do, a good job, then a survey wouldn't worry you in the slightest. You'd welcome the praise, surely?

If, on the other hand, you knew deep down that you knew only one way to play football and that you were basically now out of your depth, and were about to be judged by the most honest of juries – one whose members only had the good of the club at heart; one whose members watched your total dross, week-in & week-out, one whose members were about to prove that the dissatisfaction WASN'T a few knobheads on the internet – then you'd be fucking livid.

That's why Allardyce is livid.

Mike Gaynes
21 Posted 20/04/2018 at 17:44:33
David (#19),

There is not one chance in hell that "...if the club would have just come out with a very simple statement [blah blah blah] then it would have been squashed."

Never. No way.

I deal directly with the media every day. I've made my living for 23 years instructing clients how to deal with the media. And given Everton's current situation and today's media environment, at the moment the club sent out those surveys, it was a 100% locked-in certainty that this would be the result.

The survey was guaranteed to leak. The media was guaranteed to go apeshit. And no boilerplate "we do this every year, it's just routine" statement was going to have the slightest "squashing" effect.

That's just how it is.

Mike Gaynes
22 Posted 20/04/2018 at 17:49:32
Brian #20, I wish the bastard was livid. But I'm afraid not. I think Pete #1 is correct that he's having a wonderful time playing the persecuted victim.
Dermot Byrne
23 Posted 20/04/2018 at 17:51:47
Interesting Mike. Why was the media bound to go apeshit? A genuine Q. Just cannot see why it is such a huge story unless they are encouraged to see it as such by an interested party.
David Barks
24 Posted 20/04/2018 at 17:53:13
Mike,

I have also spent over a decade in media, and a quick response to change the narrative is PR 101. Remaining silent does nothing but let the narrative be controlled by those with their own agenda. They sent the same survey last year, the media environment that exists today existed last year with social media and click bait.

By staying silent, the club have allowed Allardyce to be the spokesman, he's the only Everton employee to have spoken publicly about it and obviously twisted it to meet his agenda. If the club would have spoken first, they could have also directed Allardyce to make a simple statement matching the club's, that "This survey was done before I was here and will be done after I'm gone and thus has nothing to do with me." Situation squashed.

Brian Williams
25 Posted 20/04/2018 at 18:10:44
Mike, I reckon he islivid because I believe he's that delusional that he thought, with the forthcoming transfer window and another season, he could "go places" as a manager.

I don't care what he thinks or how he feels anyway; I just want him gone, pronto!

Tony Everan
26 Posted 20/04/2018 at 18:50:02
I hope Mr Moshiri put a clause in his contract so we don't have to pay him the full ٤M. If not, it will be still money well spent.

I am still 100% certain he will be gone with a handshake, a thank you, and 6 million smackeroos after the West Ham match.

Kristian Boyce
27 Posted 20/04/2018 at 20:17:52
Does anyone know who actually is Allardyce's boss? Kenwright released the statement yesterday, but surely Walsh as DOF would technically be his supervisor.

Has the hierarchy of the management structure ever really been explained? With Walsh's job supposedly on the line, perhaps he doesn't care what Allardyce does/says as he knows one or both of them won't be here in the summer.

As DOF, I can't ever recall hearing a thing from him during his time at the club. As DOF, you would imagine anything on the football side, he would be responsible for, including hiring & firing his manager.

Mike Gaynes
28 Posted 20/04/2018 at 23:48:56
Dermot (#23), Sam's a controversial figure and Everton is in a mess – two elements that have generated many, many stories in recent weeks, so the media was already geared towards this. The timing of the survey would strike any reporter as non-coincidental. And you hit on the third element – Sam waltzing in front of the cameras to play victim. That entirely predictable scenario guaranteed feverish coverage.

Brian (#25), a big Amen to that.

Tony (#26), agreed. May 14 will be FFS Day. (Freedom From Sam.)

John Keating
29 Posted 21/04/2018 at 08:05:22
I Have to agree with Mike Gaynes. It's naive in the extreme to do a survey, a ridiculous one at that, this season especially with all the turmoil inside and outside the Club. Did it really need to be done? Do the Club really have to ask supporters these questions when it is quite obvious what the answers will be?

In this day and age with social media can anything really be expected to "remain in the Club"?

Jurnos are paid to sensationalise, I'll not say lie, to sell a story and bugger the truth or consequences.

Sorry, but in my opinion the Club have nobody to blame but themselves. This was a pointless survey at this time and if they don't know Allardyce's personna then they really are dumb. They have played right into the hands of Allardyce.

A definite own goal, no VAR or replay required.

Jack Convery
30 Posted 21/04/2018 at 14:08:48
As we fans know nothing about football, why is he so put-out by the question and the response it gets? He's taking the piss and the money. He's strikes me as the sort of guy who tells a pensioner he needs a new boiler, new roof etc, when all he needs is a washer to stop the tap dripping.

The Newcastle match should be used to show we don't need to be asked what we think. Let the banners, the songs and the vitriol point out the bleedin' obvious — We don't want you! Leave Now!!! And if it makes a difference, we'll even say Please! And you know what? — those Geordies will join in too.

Peter Howard
31 Posted 21/04/2018 at 16:02:05
Mike,

If the Club held back the survey this year, and that decision was picked up by the Media, could you draft a response on behalf of the Club?

Brian Williams
32 Posted 21/04/2018 at 16:29:51
I can't stress enough times (to others, I probably already have), if you've done a good job then a survey wouldn't bother you in the slightest because you'd be getting positive confirmation from those who watch, week-in & week-out.

On the other hand, if you knew that those who watch, week-in & week-out, can't be cajoled, bullied, or conned into going along with your bullshit and will be honest in their assessment, then you're in the shit!

If Man City had done a survey which included the same questions regarding Pep, would it be different? Yes, it would because the fans would be right behind him and would rightly praise him for bringing a brand and style of football which has saved me personally from losing all interest in the game this season.

The reason our club is being castigated (even by some of our own) is that the self-serving fuckers within the game, ex-players, pundits (don't make me laugh) and ex-player newspaper columnists just can't stand one of their own being outed, questioned, and held to account by mere plebs like ticket-buying supporters.

If you've got a down on the club, and think the survey is a disgrace and disrespectful, then IMHO you're simply continuing to be conned and are buying into the self-protecting arse-covering fuckers who believe that you don't matter and you should just shut up and give thanks to the higher beings who earn thousands of pounds a week and obviously know much better than you and I.

Jamie Crowley
33 Posted 21/04/2018 at 16:40:41
When a company seeks feedback on its performance and its customer satisfaction, how is that, by any metric, a bad thing?

In an age where corporate M&As render customer satisfaction almost meaningless across the globe, how can you complain about an organization seeking feedback on how to improve?

Someone please answer this rather straightforward question.

Brian Williams
34 Posted 21/04/2018 at 16:44:07
It's not a bad thing Jamie, but some people have swallowed the bullshit coming from every arm of the media — that it is a bad thing.

Jamie Crowley
35 Posted 21/04/2018 at 16:50:53
Yes Brian, but there seems to be an argument that Everton made a mistake by offering the survey, no?

How is that a mistake?

And the question in regards to the media bullshit being gobbled up that I'd ask: how many Evertonians are buying that bullshit?

And back to my point, how could any Evertonian care about the media response when all their club has done is ask their opinion?

I don't understand the mindset, hence the question.

Brian Williams
36 Posted 21/04/2018 at 17:03:25
Me neither, Jamie. I guess there are more easily led people than you or I were aware of.
Geoffrey Williams
37 Posted 21/04/2018 at 17:06:33
I assume Allardyce expects a negative response from supporters. I'm sure he would think it was a great idea if he thought he'd come out favourably.
Jamie Crowley
38 Posted 21/04/2018 at 17:14:44
And another rhetorical question: Is it not the perfect time to release a survey when you suspect your customers / membership are precisely not happy?

How else can you improve satisfaction if you're not brave enough to receive feedback when things aren't going so well?

And does that not show, by asking for feedback when things aren't so well, that you actually care about what your customers' opinions are? And that you're willing to take on board the feedback and make changes to increase customer satisfaction?

Seems to me people upset with the survey being offered are more concerned with PR and perception than affecting actual change based upon their feedback.

Big banks don't answer to their customers. They sell them shit financial products while simultaneously shorting them. Telecoms don't give a fiddler's fart about their customers. They care about market share and stock price. The list of holding companies in every facet of life in a global economy render customer satisfaction a non-factor in their business decisions.

And we have a company – a football club – actually reaching out to their customer base asking for feedback and their opinion, and we say that's a mistake? We should be proud they even give a shit.

Paul Tran
39 Posted 21/04/2018 at 22:12:51
The issue here is that the UK football media is by and large lazy and shallow and their nonsense is swallowed by far too many. Over The past few years, I've heard these arguments all over the UK:

Did a great job Moyes. Real football man. Got you punching above your weight. (And that's from people round my age, 54!)

Great chairman, Kenwright. How can you criticise him after all that money he's put into your club?

You must love the football you watch under Martinez, he's so entertaining.

Big Sam? He's kept you up, you were certs to go down before he turned up. See he's sorted your defence out.

I regularly challenged all of the above and was met with disbelief. It was in the papers/radio, so it must be right. Hmmmm...

James Flynn
40 Posted 21/04/2018 at 22:18:27
Tempest in a ToffeeWeb teapot.

I searched and searched the English press. Found no indicators of that media running wild with it, fire-storming, guaranteed ape-shitting, or feverish over anything Allardyce said.

Two reasons why: Everton and Sam Allardyce; England's footy media care about neither.

Jamie Crowley
42 Posted 22/04/2018 at 03:03:31
James, too true.

But they care a hell of a lot when there's a soap opera brewing!

Pete Clarke
43 Posted 22/04/2018 at 04:45:53
Maybe they could have put a survey out about Allardyce coming in.

We all have different views on things and mine is that the club simply don't know what's right or wrong and for the most of it they are getting it wrong. The timing of the survey was piss-poor and has now given the ever saintly Allardyce a platform.

Judging by the responses most people sent back in, the board are more likely to view their customers as ungrateful moaning gits.

They are hardly likely to fire themselves, are they ?

John Williams
44 Posted 22/04/2018 at 09:24:44
It seems to me everyone's going way overboard here regarding this survey. Who cares what the media or pundits think? Or even Allardyce for that matter? He will be gone after the West Ham game – of that, there is no doubt. Premier League status guaranteed; job done; let's move on.

There will be big changes this Summer, both on and off the field, and Moshiri has to get them right. I would like to think the DOF position has already been bagged and consulted over the new manager appointment. If not, and the club are still dithering, I'd try to entice Wenger and Howe.

Anyway, off you pop, Sam it's not been nice to know you.

Up the Toffees

William Cartwright
45 Posted 22/04/2018 at 17:38:40
Lots of views on this about the media savvy and the lack of communicative skills the rest of the actual people and actions the media are supposed to report on! I deal with the media from time to time. I've never been misquoted or misrepresented but the true message has always been watered down to suit the wider perceived, politically correct message to what the media think will grab attention.

Moshiri seems new to the social media and is probably very surprised at how they deal with Everton. The anti-Everton bias runs very deep and accepting that for the sake of this discussion, it is no surprise that the media look to inflate anything with a slightly contentious narrative; if the subject is Everton related, then for them it is all the better.

(I recently highlighted the extensive and prolonged BBC coverage of Mason Holgate's homophobic tweets from his mid-teenage years as a classic example, compared to how quietly the Carragher spitting episode disappeared from the BBC's Premier League web page).

However, what Alladryce doesn't realize is that, while the media love a story, his crass foul-mouthed rantings are probably the single most reasonable excuse for Everton to get rid of him. Hoisted on his own petard, he will now have to fall on his sword, and you can bet your life Moshiri won't say a word. Also, he most certainly will not discipline Mr Kenyon, who is, I believe, a tried, tested and trusted employee.

I'm with Lyndon on this. His article and comments @ 12, are as usual reasonable and well expressed. The only challenge we have is to support the Club, patiently, while the nonsense works its way through the system.

James Flynn
46 Posted 22/04/2018 at 23:01:15
Jamie (42) - Jamie-Me-Lad, way too long since we spoke.

The chase to lift Lord Stanley's Cup without your Bruins in the mix. What's the hockey world coming to?

Just doesn't seem the same.

Allardyce out, bye the bye.

Jamie Crowley
47 Posted 23/04/2018 at 17:06:49
James,

The Bruins play tonight in Toronto, leading the series 3-2! Of course they are in the playoffs!

And yes, Sam has to go. ;0)

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