Everton: It’s complicated
Everton Football Club’s first general meeting for five years is taking place tomorrow against the backdrop of losing our manager, our captain, several players, our badge, our motto and last, but not least, yet another director of communications; symptoms rather than the cause of this extraordinary meeting, a meeting called to question the performance of the board at a club where the smell of revolt during its 135 year existence is never far away.
We all know Everton are known as the people’s club, but in an age of hollow sound bites and flaky meaningless straplines, we’re far from the people’s club in name only. Steeped in history and with a healthy record of dissent and activism that really is in our DNA, almost 30% of the club is owned by fans so committed that they’ve bought shares in a club which our seventy five year old Shareholders Association has forced this EGM due to their own increasing concerns over the direction their club is taking.
It’s thirteen years since Bill Kenwright’s consortium took over the reins from former chairman Peter Johnson in which time the club’s balance sheet has gone from plus £20m to minus £44m due to what fans see as a total lack of investment, selling assets and increasing debt along with a failure to deliver numerous infrastructure projects, an apparent inability to solve our stadium issue, zero success in identifying a much needed new owner and, most painful of all, no trophies in a period of time when those across the park have won eleven with teams which at times haven’t been fit to lace our boots.
The people of the people’s club are hoping for more than we received in 2008, when, after calling yet another EGM, our concerns were ignored over the alleged £52m stadium subsidy from Tesco which, only a few months later, despite assurances from our board during that EGM, a government inquiry established that not a single penny was being provided by Tesco nor anybody else. A lesson for the egotistical millionaires, given by ordinary fans, which perhaps they’re unable to accept and unwilling to forgive.
Lack of investment isn’t news for Evertonians, none of our directors have invested a single penny to improve the club’s situation, yet it was claimed, by a mystery Everton official, Paul Tyrrell, on a recent TalkSport show that the club is for sale for £125m; an astonishing return for the £22m they paid in 1999 and a remarkable demand considering what they’ve achieved and the state they're leaving the business in.
Let’s hope Evertonians receive better assurances from the board regarding their concerns over the involvement of Sir Philip Green, investment and the future direction of one of England’s great football clubs; let’s also hope they have more substance than the answers they received in 2008.
For a more in-depth read on what’s happened and what's happening to Everton fans prepared to speak out against the disgraceful behaviour of some, click here.