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David Ellis
1 Posted 23/08/2018 at 03:27:40
I really like the 1 to 11 idea (Bracewell and Dobson for No 8 need a mention).

However as to your wider point I do think that DBB has brought in that quest for excellence and proper strategic planning. Surely no coincidence that her promotion is immediately followed by the arrival of Brands – an appointment every bit as important as Silva's. I'm very much encouraged by the direction of the club.

As for the All Blacks – that is very illuminating – but didn't one of them (married) get caught shagging in an airport toilet recently (of course it caused an uproar which probably makes your point).

Christine Foster
2 Posted 23/08/2018 at 05:00:37
What an exceptional article! Inspirational culture starts with tradition, is brought to life by passionate people who have pride in what they do.

The All Blacks are a national icon of what it is to be a New Zealander, they instill a national pride and a level of respect that is unrivalled anywhere else in the world. Having lived there for many years, I get it, completely.

It's a great aspiration for any sport but team games in particular, national pride. This is where the analogy falters with Everton though, the groundswell of an entire country is behind the All Blacks, but it is the pride of each and every player to wear the famous All Black jersey that stands out.

Do we really believe that foreign players care or get it? Do we believe that professional footballers of any background would understand or worse still, care?

When you wear an All Black jersey, you are acknowledged to be the best, or one of the best players in the world, that's a mind-boggling concept at our club were some players are not even the best in the club!

Culture has to be driven and ingrained in all that you do, that means in every single, solitary person in that club. Every single person should wear the club colours with pride every day.

It starts with a pride and is driven by passion. Everton are special, and is testified as such by our ex-players time and time again.

Personally, I would love the opportunity to create that culture in a club we all love, to make the world see not just a club but an ethos, a way of life, a pride in who you are and what you do every day of your life. To be an Evertonian.

Alan J Thompson
3 Posted 23/08/2018 at 05:43:33
It is a worthwhile aspiration and some effort may have gone into achieving this with the use of "The Peoples' Club" but the All Blacks is the wrong comparison.

Everton cannot select players and coaches only from those born and playing within political or even imagined boundaries and in such a limited competition. We do not represent our City never mind the country and in this country clubs may use easily recognizable songs and signs and statues welcoming you to a ground and recognizing past glories and players. As for cleaning your own dressing rooms, the Japanese Blue Samurai and their supporters have been doing this for an equally long time, it may earn you some respect but it is no guarantee of onfield success. In football success and trophies is what gets you respect and dare I say it, tradition.

The All Blacks are recognized throughout the Rugby Union world and a lot of places that don't play the "Gentleman's Game" whereas English teams are known only for what they have won, that is football's history, ask a Notts County fan.

Rick Tarleton
4 Posted 23/08/2018 at 07:43:31
No 11 Tommy Ring, Derek Temple, Johnny Morrissey all needed to be added. Nice article.
Steve Ferns
5 Posted 23/08/2018 at 08:01:50
Great article, Gerrard.
Ian Burns
6 Posted 23/08/2018 at 09:08:03
A very though-provoking article, Gerrard – thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

I am not sure the All Black analogy is the right one due to the various cultural differences top teams have on their playing staff these days.

Going back a long way, in 1967 Celtic won the European Cup with a group of players who were all born within 30 miles of Celtic Park and it is that sort of background which would bring about the spirit you are referring to within the article.

However, your point is taken, Gerrard, and any initiative to bring pride back to "We Are Everton" has to be welcome.

Great stuff. Thanks.

Dave Abrahams
7 Posted 23/08/2018 at 09:24:31
A very good article, Gerard, I promise everyone well worth reading.

Anything that improves the running of the club is well worth considering not just a now thing but something that is continuous and ingrained for the future.

The club is definitely too comfortable and easy run, no-one disturbs the cosy atmosphere of the club. That is why there has been no real pressure to galvanise and change the way the club has stumbled along for the last 20-odd years, sleep-walking might be a better way to describe it.

Well Mr Brands seems a good choice to get the club to have a good look at itself, and start a different culture at the club. I think Gerard, the writer of this article, has seen how the club has been run from an inside perspective and, quite rightly, been far from impressed.

Maybe "Out with the old, sweep the place clean, and start again" could be a new club motto, it most definitely needs jumping into the 21st Century.

Derek Thomas
8 Posted 23/08/2018 at 09:26:13
Noble sentiments Gerard, but, mores the pity, those days are well gone.

With the odd exception, most only have allegiance to the weekly cheque... and maybe social media likes.

Darren Hind
9 Posted 23/08/2018 at 10:14:38
Best piece I've seen on here for ages.
Mike Allison
10 Posted 23/08/2018 at 11:59:27
This is an outstanding idea. I love it. It’s kind of the opposite of the American idea of ‘retiring’ a Jersey. Using the shirt itself as an extra motivation and inspiration, as well as trying to connect players to the club as a whole. A shirt number could be temporarily ‘retired’ (on hiatus?) until someone proves themselves worthy.

I also love that general principle of ‘better people make better All Blacks.’ Football in general needs more of that but it’s also somewhere that a club like ours can make up ground on bigger spenders.

Jay Wood
[BRZ]

11 Posted 23/08/2018 at 12:38:10
What a wonderful way to start the day!

A GREAT read, Gerard. Thank you.

Whilst I can understand some objections to the All Blacks' model being applied to Everton - principally, you are talking about a national team in which all associated with the team share a common culture and heritage - that does not immediately exclude the possibility that a similar tweaked concept could be applied at Everton.

Our own 'Legacy' predates that of the All Blacks. They only played their first international match in 1903. History, we've got plenty of.

Even today in the age of Bingo-numbered shirts, the numbers 1-11 do resonant with supporters, recalling our great players from earlier times.

I for one like the idea of a rigid selection process before bestowing a hallowed number shirt in a ceremonial style as a means of making players aware of the lineage, responsibilities and aspirations they represent when pulling on said blue shirt.

Beyond that, I for one would also welcome something else Gerard alludes to: a more corporate, hard-nosed professional approach from every appointee at the club, whilst still retaining the caring community philosophy the club does so well. With the right leadership, a happy and effective balance of those two things can be achieved.

But again, a great read Gerard. Methinks I'll be getting that 'Legacy' book by Kerr sometime soon.

Alan Bodell
12 Posted 23/08/2018 at 15:38:25
Lovely article this and Rick #4 you beat me to it with the No 11's of Derek Temple and Johnny Morrissey, I'll never forget the semi '68 at Old Trafford, the penalty spot went back to Merseyside that day on a coach.
John McFarlane Snr
13 Posted 23/08/2018 at 19:27:33
Hi Gerard, I'd like to thank you for attending my birthday bash, and for the book that you kindly gave me.

Your idea of a much respected ex-player presenting the appropriately numbered jersey to a current player is an excellent one. Far better, in my opinion, than the system that some clubs have adopted, of retiring the number, for example, West Ham United in the case of the Number 6 and Bobby Moore.

If I was a young centre-forward making my way in the game, I could find no greater inspiration than wearing the Number 9 jersey that had been worn with distinction by the likes of Dixie Dean, Tommy Lawton, and Alex Young.

I feel that you should approach Everton and put your idea to them, and I'm certain that you would have the support of thousands of proud 'Blues'.

Stan Schofield
14 Posted 23/08/2018 at 19:28:43
Nice article, and a nice idea. However, the only thing that will excite passion for the club is great performance on the pitch. It's as simple as that. In the words of Metallica, nothing else matters.
Gerard McKean
15 Posted 24/08/2018 at 08:52:25
Rick, Alan, I agree with your views on the No 11 jersey, and I think I was on that coach in ‘68!

John, you're welcome, and if you or others think the idea should go forward, please feel free to approach the club. Unfortunately, I am not able to do so as Barrett-Baxendale, somewhat vindictively, blocked my email access after I pointed out to her some anomalies between words and actions regarding the 'Everton Way'.

And John, given that other clubs' fans, especially across the park, regularly trawl this site, wouldn't it be a great pity if we soon start seeing Dalglish or someone presenting a shirt to Saleh etc. before Everton wake up to the idea!

John G Davies
16 Posted 24/08/2018 at 09:19:32
Great article Gerard.
Fantastic read.
Tony Abrahams
17 Posted 24/08/2018 at 14:53:26
Brilliant piece, Gerard, and anyone who says it's wrong using The All Blacks to compare Everton is, imo, completely missing the point.

pride, pride and more pride, is the reason why this shirt is so revered, and if you have got "real" pride in your jersey, then you should at times, be capable of anything?

This is why I never get tired of the brilliant Kiwis, because it's usually the humble that have the most pride, and it's why I wouldn't be worried too much about getting my e-mail blocked, Gerard, because you know how the bastards work!

John Pendleton
18 Posted 24/08/2018 at 22:45:11
Love the idea Gerard - just need to work out how

- to agree who makes up the panel (some of the best are long gone)
- to eliminate bias towards home grown players who 'get' Everton
- to smoothly withdraw the number from out of form players
- to handle unallocated numbers (constant reminder of recent mediocre recruitment?)

Would love some of our current squad to make up that future panel.

John Hughes
19 Posted 24/08/2018 at 23:16:57
Please remember Kevin Campbell in the no 9s — and surely we would have to include a No 17 to accommodate Tim Cahill?
Don Alexander
20 Posted 25/08/2018 at 00:30:41
The All Blacks in my time have resorted to very ugly rugby to win and are by no means the paragons of virtue implied. That said, they are also regularly brilliant. They are, and were before their game was ever formally professionalised, professional in the extreme, and that's what's been absent from Finch Farm for decades.

Would the All Blacks employ as a coach some muppet who spent his entire playing career failing to live up to the God-given talents he only occasionally displayed? No way.

Would the All Blacks take on as coaches ex-players who for whatever dubious reason let all their talent drift away to the extent that they couldn't even make Accrington Stanley's first team in the lowest division? No way.

Would the All Blacks continue to employ a youth development manager whose one success in recent years was to produce only one player good enough to make nearly 60 appearances in two seasons as a first team member. No way again.

But that's not the "Everton Way" under Kenwright, is it? Under him, they're all welcome.

It also disturbs me that Gerard (#15) has been banned by LBB from emailing her. So much for her own much-boasted "listening to the fans" mantra. Does she live on Kenwright's knee?

Colin Gee
21 Posted 25/08/2018 at 01:12:35
Pat van den Hauwe deserves No 3, surely!
Alan Bodell
22 Posted 25/08/2018 at 07:00:59
John #19, Kevin Campbell, super Kev is the only ever time I wrote a letter to one of ours to thank him profusely for getting us out of the doo doo that year, wasn't with us long but a massive help in those dark days.
Tony Abrahams
23 Posted 25/08/2018 at 08:11:39
I haven’t checked the timeline outside the ground, but I’ve heard that there is not even one picture inside Goodison of the greatest player, I have ever seen play in an Everton shirt. Okay maybe “Big Nev” is not cut out to work for the club, but it should never mean, that they should try and cut him out from our past?

This indeed is Everton, or more to the point, “Kenwrights sycophantic Everton” where it is better to keep your mouth shut or was it always this way?

It’s early days, we all know talk is cheap, but it’s a very long time since I’ve heard anyone connected to Everton, use a word like obligation, so maybe we might even begin to exist again to try and win trophies?

Mike Allison
24 Posted 25/08/2018 at 09:00:51
Don, is it not possible that a talented player who failed to utilise that talent could become an excellent coach precisely because of their own failure? They would know better than anyone the pitfalls and problems involved in trying to develop and maximise a talent that might be initially bigger than their own ability to cope. They could use their own experience to pre-empt problems happening in our own young players and be a voice of authority in what not to do. “Trust me kid, I’ve made this mistake, you don’t wanna...” etc.

Now I’m not saying the individuals you don’t name are themselves particularly good or bad coaches, I just don’t know, but their backstory isn’t what makes them unsuitable. It could, maybe, perhaps, even help. (Note that I’m not saying it will help, my point is that they shouldn’t be judged as coaches on it.)

I personally like that we employ people who have a connection to the club. You seem to consider ‘sentiment’ to be a wholly bad thing, but it’s only bad if it gets in the way of pragmatism and success. I’m not sure it does, and having at least some people who actually care makes success more likely. After all, what is our affiliation to the club if not sentiment?

I think a successful model will try to blend some sentiment into its pragmatism, and as a fan, it’s good to see Duncan Ferguson, David Unsworth, Phil Jevons and Steven Schumacher involved. Personally I would like to have seen Hibbert and Osman given a chance to develop a coaching career with us.

Some of the most successful clubs in history have regularly produced their own coaches as well as players. Ajax, Liverpool (70s/80s) and Barcelona spring immediately to mind. There’s something to be said for having a coherent style, identity and emotional connection to the club (rather than the modern phenomenon of ‘who do I work for this season?’) that I think can be something where Everton can make up ground on richer clubs. Frankly, success would be far more meaningful to me if achieved that way.

Alan J Thompson
25 Posted 25/08/2018 at 11:41:43
Have any of you seen the All Blacks doing the Haka, probably one of the most intimidating pre-match rituals, and their reaction when their opponents don't stand there in admiration. Other sides have ignored it or wandered in between them and do they ever complain.

Could you imagine the outcry if somebody asked for "Z-Cars" or "YNWA" never to be played. By all means let's look at ways of raising team spirit but don't for a minute think it isn't also a form of gamesmanship. Would you have sacked Rooney for visiting places of ill-repute or Maradonna for his indiscretions? What is it meant to achieve, the better neighbour you are, the better player you will be?

Bollocks; most teams today are nearer Leeds of the '60s but would never admit to it in the same way as the All Blacks use rule changes to their advantage. By all means look to some thing better and instill in juniors that there is something more to life than football but let's not kid ourselves that the nice guys can use that to be better than second.

Don Alexander
26 Posted 25/08/2018 at 12:10:42
Mike (#24), if our coaches comprised ex-players of the stature of Reid, Ratcliffe, Royle, Sheedy and Southall I'd fully agree with you, but they don't. The two of them we had left the club to work for a.n.other and the other three seem to have been ostracised by the hierarchy.

Kenwright has a lot to answer for in softening this club from top to bottom. Hopefully Moshiri realises this by his appointment of Brands. We'll see.

Three points today an' all. COYB!

Gerard McKean
27 Posted 26/08/2018 at 14:04:57
Don #20, you've hit on a very important point; our CEO does sit on Kenwright's knee! Not literally, of course, but she certainly borrows from his playbook. If one can claim to be a graduate of the Boys Pen, then the other can boast about being a lifelong Evertonian – even though one of my jobs when she arrived at the club was to sit with her inside an empty Goodison Park and explain which stand was which and who sat where etc.

It's worth remembering that a number of people not afraid to speak their own opinions have left the club since she arrived. Certainly two I can think of were forthright, clear communicators and if we hear little or nothing of them these days, I can only wonder if they were given golden handshakes with non-disclosure agreements?

In my own case, I was a mere casual employee, and that matters at EFC, but of course some people make the mistake of equating 'casual' with 'not intelligent'. When it became clear to me that constructive criticism of Barrett-Baxendale was interpreted as treason, I left.

I only found out my emails had been blocked when some poor young person who'd named me as a referee in a job application to EFC pleaded with me to get a move on as HR was waiting for her letter of reference. I had thought I had sent it, of course, and in the end, I had to use my wife's email address to make sure the girl's reference got through.

This is no way to run a railroad and the CEO's "my way or the highway" approach will burden the club with 'Yes' men and women for years to come, all of them afraid to utter anything original or critical in case they upset her.

John G Davies
28 Posted 26/08/2018 at 14:14:23
Gerard,

With the greatest respect, my ma is a lifelong Evertonian and stands our corner against the neighbours. She wouldn't have a clue which stand was which.

Gerard McKean
29 Posted 26/08/2018 at 14:24:30
Yes, John, but it seems that your Ma actually goes to the game and she obviously brought her son up to be a good Evertonian.
Dave Abrahams
30 Posted 26/08/2018 at 14:28:23
John G (28) not being funny, but does your Ma go to the game? What Gerard was pointing out was Missus Barrett-Baxendale claims to be a lifelong Evertonian; if you read her latest offering, her dream is to get Everton back to the very top. She claims Graeme Sharp was her idol and she saw her first derby game in the 1970s.

I think Missus Barrett-Baxendale is around 46 years of age, so – if she saw that Derby game in 1979 – she would have been about six or seven. Maybe she stopped going after that game, but it seems to me she tells a tale closely to the way Billy Boy does...

John G Davies
31 Posted 26/08/2018 at 14:29:29
We had no choice, Gerard. Thankfully. It was either that or sleep in the back yard. 😁
John G Davies
32 Posted 26/08/2018 at 14:38:49
I know your not Dave, she has never been into Goodison.

The point I was making was about Gerard having to show her which stand was which. Her not knowing didn't disqualify her from being a lifelong Evertonian. I hadn't read her account of Sharpy and the derby game.

I think you know my thoughts on Kenwright, hopefully he has not influenced her to his methods.

Dave Abrahams
33 Posted 26/08/2018 at 14:50:55
Fair enough, John G, my own mam was the same, never been to Goodison in her life. One morning, I went to see just after Thomas Myhre had had a nightmare of a game. As me mam opened the door, she said, "You want to get rid of that goalie, he's rubbish."

"Mam," I said, "what do you worry about Everton for, you've never seen them in your life?"

She replied, "Haven't I? I've seen something you've never seen."

"What's that?" I asked.

"Dixie Dean bringing the cup up Scotland Road!" she answered."

"Mam," I said, "I wasn't even born then... how could I?"

"Doesn't matter, I've seen Dixie with the cup, you never!"

Don't think I ever won an argument with me mam in my life — how could I with that logic!!!!

John G Davies
34 Posted 26/08/2018 at 14:58:31
Put a smile on my face that, Dave.

My ma would tell you the other crowd are all phony, never go the game etc etc. A breed apart our scouse women.

John G Davies
35 Posted 26/08/2018 at 15:01:15
Gerard,

I don't know your situation with the club and don't want to impose if it is sensitive to anything ongoing. Can I read anything about it that is in the public domain?

Gerard McKean
36 Posted 26/08/2018 at 16:06:04
The winners get to write the history, John, and I doubt the CEO will release the details of the criticisms I made.

Like you I laughed at Dave’s comments. I actually took my Mum to the (very) occasional match as a reward for years earlier bagging a place in the queue for me at 6 in the morning in the days when we had to go the ground with a full set of vouchers in order to buy a ticket for a semi or a final. I used to bunk out of school during afternoon break and scoot down to Goodison, take the place she had saved all day, and she'd go home to get the tea ready. I think they only started selling the tickets at about 5 and the queue by then was all the way round the ground and it took ages because scallies like Dave used to forge vouchers! Like making a little mark to make 1 look like 11, but the staff on the box office were so bloody vigilant!

Dave, just pulling your leg, if you’ve still got my number give me a call and we’ll meet for a pint. And at least your, John’s and my Mum all brought their sons up as Blues whether or not they actually could get to games themselves, which can’t be said of all “lifelong Evertonians”. And as for derby matches in the 70’s, nah not having that either!

Dave Abrahams
37 Posted 26/08/2018 at 16:32:09
Gerard (36), yes I know that Gerard, as if I'd do anything like that!!!!!! Imremember the days and nights of queuing up for tickets, first time in 1953 for the semi final of the FA cup versus Bolton, five of us, all young boys, but what a giggle we had and we got the tickets.

Yes I've got your card Gerard and we'll have a pint soon.

John G Davies
38 Posted 26/08/2018 at 16:51:31
Thanks Gerard.
All the best mate.
Alan J Thompson
39 Posted 26/08/2018 at 16:56:33
My Mother never attended a game in her life and supported Liverpool while the rest of the family were Evertonians. I asked her why she supported them and her answer was because she felt sorry for them as they were always in the Second Division.
Christine Foster
40 Posted 27/08/2018 at 07:03:12
Gerard, and let me say right up front, this is not a defence of Denise Barrett-Baxendale, l know nothing of her to make a judgement call, but it's very common for companies to block access to emails to other members of staff once they leave, this could have been done by the CEO herself or as a matter of course by the IT department when you left?

In many companies, once you leave, you are history, seen as tainted — especially if you say something someone doesn't want to hear. Remember, this is the club that canned AGMs because they didn't like the questions...

Whilst it's refreshing to see new people at the club running the teams, there is still the need to change the culture of some of it too and, until then, the club will never accept criticism as anything other than a personal attack.

Dave Williams
41 Posted 29/08/2018 at 22:15:47
Any company that allows e.mail access to ex-employees has to be certifiable.

I had to get rid of a few of my staff in the last four months and the first thing I did was block all e.mail traffic from the second they left the building.

Did they like it? Of course not. Was it necessary? Too right it was!

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