The Grand Old Lady:
A family heirloom or a cheap trinket to be disposed of ?
The Blue Union held a Public Meeting on Saturday in The Casa. Many of those in attendance sacrificed the opportunity to attend either of our pre-season fixtures at Swindon or Wrexham. The back room at the Casa was standing room only with over 70 Evertonians in attendance, reminiscent of some of the earlier public meetings.
The meeting was opened by our Chairman Dave Kelly, who gave an appraisal of The Blue Unions activities covering the last 12 months. Reporting back on meetings with the Premier League as part of the FSFs negotiating team for their £20s plenty campaign. Various meetings with local, regional and national politicians to attending last weekends Football Supporters Europe Congress in Belfast.
Apologies from John Thompson of the Liverpool Echo and a no show by Christine Prior Evertons Supporters Liaison Officer and Nick Mernock from the Everton Fans Forum left the top table a little light, however this allowed Joe Jennings and Trevor Skempton additional time on their presentations.
Joe Jennings: The Everton Symposium and the Kitbag deal:
Joe spoke intelligently and passionately about the complexities of the Kitbag deal. He explained the complexities of commercial partnerships, highlighting that the clubs accounts and press releases talk about the groundbreaking record deals signed with Chang but very little or no details surrounding our partnership with NIKE. He went to challenge Robert Elstone to “put up or shut up” by showing the NIKE sponsorship details in the accounts. He drew gasps from the audience when explaining that NIKE pay QPR £10 million a season just for wearing their kit but we received nothing.
Joe went on to explain that The Everton Symposium that was organised by the Echo was a source of frustration to most if not all of those who attended, for a number of reasons. He explained how the Echo meeting had been a full and frank exchange and that they had agreed that the participants could record the meeting for their own reference purposes. The Echo also stressed that as hosts that we would respect their wishes and not release the recording. This was agreed.
It was some ten days later before the Podcast was broadcasted, and in the opinion of those who attended it wasn’t a true reflection of how the symposium flowed. Most of the contentious issues had ended up on the cutting room floor.
It was agreed that an open letter would be sent to the Echo outlining our concerns. The open letter also included the pertinent points that had been edited out of the Podcast. Things like Philip Green paying Anita Greg for her shares, the club operating a Blacklist against its own supporters, the leaked e-mails. Sports editor John Thompson duly responded but overall the general consensus of those who attended was that they felt let down by the Echo and that the #TellAli was nothing more than a publicity stunt to relaunch and rebrand the paper.
Trevor Skempton: The redevelopment of Goodison Park.
Trevor’s presentation was both informative and passionate. He explained how he believed that Goodison Park could be redeveloped, incrementally and sympathetically and that any regeneration of the area should also include iconic buildings like the Winslow and St Lukes Church.
He explained how the process could be a phased one, one that wouldn’t impact to much on our capacity. That any new structures could be constructed in a similar way to what Liverpool are using for their new main stand at Anfield.
He advocates starting this process by demolishing the current Park End Stand, this enables the footprint to be extended and enhanced. For phases two and three to be the Mainstand and then the Bullens with the St End becoming the final stage.
The incremental rebuilding of Goodison Park has many advantages over a new build given that it wouldn’t be with the met with opposition from new neighbors. Potentially avoiding a Kirkby type scenario and a time consuming and expensive Public Enquiry. Another benefit of an incremental rebuild is that you don’t need to put the funding upfront right from the start.
Many fans have asked about costings for a phased rebuild. At this stage it would be impossible to put costing on an idea, an idea that could only be costed once the club decided on the spec. How many seats, how many lounges and how many boxes. The whole idea was to get a consensus and we did.
A vote was moved. The question was a simple one. Do you prefer a redeveloped Goodison Park over a new build elsewhere ? The outcome wasn’t the greatest of surprises. Barring one it was unanimously agreed that The Blue Union should approach Liverpool City Council Mayor Joe Anderson to discuss the possibilities.
The Chair, Dave Kelly also reported that the Officers of the group wanted to move the group along to become a members led organisation and that we would like to introduce a membership. This was debated on, voted on and once again unanimously agreed.
It was also agreed to step up the campaigning work of The Blue Union and given that campaigns cost money that we would actively look to increase our fundraising activities.