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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Newcastle have secured agreements on their innovative reciprocal ticketing proposal with Swansea and West Brom. The scheme will see away supporters of all three clubs paying more affordable prices for tickets at their 2013/14 fixtures. Newcastle fans attending both away games at Swansea and West Bromwich, will benefit from a saving of £44 on these alone, with ticket prices at Swansea previously set at £35 now costing £20 whilst the £39 ticket for last season’s game at West Brom will now cost just £15. Swansea and West Brom fans will be charged the same amounts for their visits to St James Park under the reciprocal agreement.

The Premier League recently launched the Away Fans Fund to reverse falling away attendances, with all 20 top flight clubs now ring-fencing £200,000 each per season over the next three seasons to assist away supporters.

John Irving, Finance Director at Newcastle United, said: “Ticket prices are too expensive generally across the Premier League and we believe the right way to encourage people to attend, and to therefore fill stadiums as the Away Fans Fund intends, is to look at charging reasonable prices.”

Newcastle’s innovative management team also lobbied the Premier League for the abolition of the prohibitive “sale only/sale or return” method of selling away tickets, which the Premier League duly ended in summer 2013 as part of efforts to halt a decline in away attendances.

Everton have proposed a raft of familiar measures surrounding enhancing the experience of all fans attending Goodison but specifically, for Everton’s own away support, £5 ticket reductions at the four away games over the festive period in addition to offering all junior Evertonians travelling to Stoke on New Year’s Day the opportunity to purchase their ticket for just £1. It is not known how many junior Evertonians usually travel to Stoke or if Stoke City has agreed to provide extra tickets for what one would expect to be a sell-out fixture for Everton’s legendary and sizeable travelling support.

John Irving continued, “While we respect the right of clubs to choose options which suit their individual circumstances, we believe there is room for clubs to work more closely to try to charge a fair amount rather than discounting very small amounts on match tickets in isolation. We are delighted to have reached an agreement with two of the first clubs we spoke to, West Bromwich Albion and Swansea City, and we applaud them for taking part. As prices indicated last season, fans of some clubs continue to pay far more than those of others and we hope this initiative will lead to a fairer system which can ultimately benefit all supporters.”

By contrast, in the face of some criticism to what so far appears to be Everton’s somewhat meagre proposals, CEO Robert Elstone said, “Just to be doubly clear on the Premier League’s instructions, they asked us to commit at least £200,000 of existing money, at our discretion, to ideas, activities and events that would fill visitor's sections. It was left to us and it was our money. “I’ve just been in a meeting talking about being a fan-led club. It’s undoubtedly our aspiration, and our away fan's initiative underlines our commitment to making sure our actions speak louder than words.”

Indeed, actions are ultimately what you are measured on but great news, we’ll be looking out for those actions and we’ll be looking forward to a democratically elected fan’s forum who will make proposals rather than listen to them.

In the meantime, for those still confused as to why the "away fans fund" was suggested by the Premier League, here's a short explanatory film from the New York Times, as action speaks louder than our words - obviously!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

BOSS Night and STAND AMF Fanzine team up to bring you "STAND: Ale Music Football"; A day and night of football talk, music and drink on Saturday 6th July in Liverpool.

Taking place in The Black-E in Liverpool city centre "Ale, Music, Football" will kick off with a panel based discussion aiming to answer the question "What can we, as football supporters, do next to take back our game?".

The panel discussing modern football includes:

Everton's Blue Union, Amanda Jacks (Football Supporters Federation), Andy Walsh (FC United), Brian Reade (Daily Mirror), David Preece (Professional Footballer), Gary Hart (Parliamentary Outreach Officer), James Brown (sabotagetimes.com), James McKenna (Spirit of Shankly Liverpool Supporters Union), Kevin Rye (Supporters Direct), Marc Jones (AFC Wimbledon), Marc Quambasch (Kein Zwanni/Borussia Dortmund), Mark Howell (Chester FC), Nick Miller (football365.com), Tom Hocking (When Saturday Comes), Tony Evans (The Times)

This will be followed by live music from Mercury 13 and later an OFFICIAL HAPPY MONDAYS DJ SET from BEZ (The Happy Mondays) and VINCE VEGA (Happy Mondays Tour DJ) as well as music from The Beat Boutique DJ's.

This is an event for supporters of all clubs to come together for the future of our game. It's been taken from us. Let’s take it back!

Time to leave any rivalries at the door, have a good time and make a STAND!

Tickets can be purchased online right up until 2pm Saturday. There is an option to collect on the day or you can select postage up until 4pm Thursday.

Doors 2pm. First debate 3pm and will run until 11pm.

The Black-E is in Chinatown, only a few minutes from Lime Street Station.

Black-E, 1 Great George St, Liverpool, L1 5EW

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Following a predictable, tedious and at times straw clutching presentation from Robert Elstone, during which he attempted to paper over the board’s massive inadequacies, the show of hands vote, to allow the motion to reinstate annual general meetings, produced an almost unanimous verdict in favour. Evertonians everywhere should applaud the hard work and sacrifice put in by the committee of the SA.

Chairman Bill Kenwright predictably brought shame on the club by disgracefully trivialising the heinous crime of rape, but of course some will excuse him because he’s a blue. Absolutely abhorrent and not fit to be chairman, but at least the shareholders know how to conduct themselves in public.

Well done to those who were allowed to witness the shenanigans.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

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.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Once again Everton’s lack of vision and inability to invest a single penny into the future of our great club means that we are being left behind, not because of the council, not because of the fans, just because we have a board of directors who manage to deliver the square root of nothing.

The inclusive proposal known as the football quarter developed by fans after the undeliverable and grossly misleading attempt to move Everton to Kirkby, is clearly the template for the exclusive Anfield Project, exclusive on the basis it no longer includes Everton due to the owners once again refusing to back their club or put forward a tangible and realistic alternative.

Liverpool Vision reports, “Major plans for a £260m regeneration of Anfield have been revealed. The ambitious scheme will see hundreds of new homes, new business premises, a revamped stadium for Liverpool FC, a village square, a hospitality academy hotel with 100 beds and a “pedestrian-friendly” avenue gateway cutting through Stanley Park right up to the football ground; many elements which can be found here.

The project, which should take around five years to complete, will be the biggest single regeneration push in the city after the multi-billion pound Liverpool Waters development.
Thursday, June 20, 2013

Members of the Blue Union, including members of KEIOC, were in London yesterday to attend a demonstration by fans from Leicester, Manchester,  Merseyside, London clubs West Ham United, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and many others around the country, against Premier League ticket prices on the day the new fixture lists were announced.

Premier League chief executive, Richard Scudamore, spent over an hour with a delegation of fans which included Football Supporters Federation chief executive Kevin Miles who later said, “From the Premier League we encountered some sympathy, a restatement of their commitment to price-stretching, and an acknowledgement that local support is important.”

With attendances already dropping by 9%, and an acknowledgement that to improve atmosphere there is a need to encourage more fans to be at live games, particularly away fans, it is believed that the Football Supporters Federation is pushing on something of an open door.

Since 1989, ticket prices in the premier league have risen by an astonishing 716%.  Many ordinary people have been priced out of the game in an age when billions upon billions of pounds has been injected into the game, a game which its paymasters, Sky TV, are heavily reliant on fans to create the atmosphere at Premier League matches which they convey around the world.

You can read about the demonstration here and watch videos here or by clicking the main picture.

Friday, June 14, 2013
Monday, June 10, 2013

With DTZ having been tasked with finding a suitable buyer for Everton's leased training ground by then owners, Finch Farm Ltd, formerly known as ROM Capital [Academy] Ltd and earlier New Blue Properties Ltd, the complex has been sold to Liverpool City Council for £13m.

The vehicle, Finch Farm Ltd, is now in the process of being liquidated.

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Blue Union are pleased to announce the special guest at this Saturday’s Public Meeting will be Everton’s most decorated player – Neville Southall. Neville will be hosting a question and answer on his views on the way forward for Everton Football Club.

The event which is taking place on Saturday 8th June at 1.30 at The Casa, Liverpool will also feature KEIOC’s Colin Fitzpatrick on why the appointment of Everton’s new manager is unlikely to change matters at Goodison Park.

Invited guests to the event include Everton CEO Robert Elstone and Fans’ Forum Chair Tony Bott. We look forward to our invited guests taking up discussions about current matters at Goodison Park.

The event is free and as always we encourage people to get there early to ensure admittance to the venue.

To read a review of the meeting click here.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The badge fiasco; embarrassing, humiliating and shameful, yet entirely predictable and sadly all too unavoidable for a club of highly questionable ownership who, having achieved the dishonourable distinction of making the management of the White Star Line appear competent, offer their long suffering fans little prospect of improving their position both on or off the pitch in the foreseeable future.

For the casual observer, thinking that this was simply a genuine mistake, an uncharacteristic miscalculation, it isn’t; what it is is yet another mistake, yet another misunderstanding that can’t be apologized for and moved on from and it would be prudent for the uninitiated to become acquainted with the salient facts and understand that this is not simply a financial disaster for a cash-strapped club, but that the whole sorry episode is symptomatic of the “Carry on Kenwright” debacle that has been in full swing ever since the day an unsuitable owner struck a Faustian pact with a known tax avoider and secured the financial backing to make one of his many harmless delusions a dangerous reality.

How difficult is it to produce an acceptable badge that reflects the club’s history? How difficult is it to portray status through modern clean lines that can easily be replicated?  Firstly we engaged a brand expert to evaluate the new badge and this is what she said:

“Speaking as a graphic designer let’s strip the badge of its elements.

The Tower – shortened to reflect the actual shape of Rupert’s Tower with no ‘helter skelter’ as Everton called it in the roll out of the new crest. Critical comments made include, “it looks like a beehive.’ ‘It looks like the tin man’ ‘its navy!’ If the tower was lengthened it doesn’t look so bad. As it is it fails to represent Everton.

The Shield -   Fattened out at the bottom, like an American Police Badge, to cater for the word ‘Everton’ using the most hideous yellow border around the shape. Yes there was yellow around the old badge but the borders stroke wasn’t so thick. This is the real area that cheapens the crest.

The Typeface – ‘Everton’ and ‘1878’ namestyle is in a typeface which is not dissimilar to the old font which the Club used on the recent badge – there lies the problem. That font was awful too. It looks cheap. The mixture of upper and lower case doesn’t help either.

Summary – Bringing the elements together, a squashed navy tower, poor choice of typeface, a fattened –Americanised’ shield bordered with an overly thick yellow border and we have a rebrand which looks like it belongs to a ‘My First Everton’ range of merchandising.”

Then, in just ten minutes, a badge was produced that met what the brief should have been; this alternative, below, was produced by a lifelong Evertonian and whilst not to everyone’s taste it certainly doesn’t create the almost universal condemnation the supposed "market tested on fans" version that the incompetents produced.

It is said that fools often find greater fools to admire them and whilst the media offers the outside world a vastly different view of Bill Kenwright he’s long since been a laughing stock amongst city based Evertonians who fully understand that whilst ludicrous stories of the middleclass boy with holes in his shoes standing in the boy’s pen and being with Cavanagh in ’66 are just relatively harmless lies; the far more serious delusion of being a premiership chairman coupled with the illusion of a board is where the root cause of Everton’s problems are to be discovered.

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