Two weeks can be a long time in football and that is certainly the case for The Blue Union. Since our strategy meeting on January 25th it’s been pretty hectic for both us and Everton Football Club, the latter having a particularly busy time both on and off the pitch.
For us the hard work began after the strategy meeting a fortnight ago. Discussions with Merseyside Police and Liverpool City Council highlighted some operating and logistical difficulties with organising a protest for the Manchester City game last Tuesday, a decision that could potentially have worked in our favour taking into consideration all the events surrounding the Club over that 24 hour period, more on that later.
With everything that has happened during that first week it was easy to overlook a massive step forward in terms of support for The Blue Union with yet another fan site, Follow Everton joining the cause and swelling the ranks.
Formed in 2007, Follow Everton is one of the largest and rapidly growing online Everton communities. They bring a large core support to the group and offer yet another way of highlighting the issues plighting Everton Football Club to a larger audience and are a welcome addition to the team.
The disillusioned and ambivalent attitude that has been prevalent around Goodison this season was washed clear, albeit for a couple of days at least last week, with a flurry of activity in the transfer market. The dust was blown off the fax machine; the number for the Player Registration Department for the FA was looked up in the phone book and low and behold Everton made their second cash purchase in the January window in Nikica Jelavic; the first permanent first team recruits we have had through the door for 2 ½ years.
Coupled with the welcome return of midfield maestro Steven Pienaar on loan and a favourable FA Cup draw in the next round the return of the feel good factor at Goodison was too much to bare for the visit of Champions elect Man City last Tuesday who succumbed to their 8th defeat in 10 against the men in Royal Blue. Alas, for all the hard work, Evertonians came crashing down to an extremely cold earth with a bump at the DW Stadium on Saturday and showed yet again why now more than ever change is needed.
The Blue Unions campaign has not just centred on Everton’s inability to compete in the Transfer Market despite that being the best indicator for proving just what a mess we are in. Despite the wonderful 1-0 victory over a City team that looked like they would have preferred the cold of the arctic rather than the fire at Goodison, Saturday’s draw to Wigan, one of the worst teams to compete in the Premier League, goes to show that it is going to take a lot more than Darron Gibson, Nikica Jelavic and a few loan signings for us to consistently compete on the pitch, which at the end of the day I think it’s safe to say every Evertonian wants to see.
The Blue Union’s strategy over the course of the next couple of weeks is one of raising awareness of the real issues surrounding Everton Football Club and building up support for a massive “Day of Protest” in and around Goodison Park for the home game against Tottenham Hotspur on March 10th.
We’re starting this Saturday at home to Chelsea. We intend to picket Radio City for their attempts at censorship in refusing to air any callers who wished to discuss off field incidents with Fans Liaison Officer Graeme Sharp on the edition of the Football Phone-in after the recent FA Cup tie against Tamworth. After the picket, officers and supporters of The Blue Union will be handing out leaflets around Goodison Park advertising the upcoming protest against Tottenham, and intend to do a similar leaflet drop before the FA Cup 5th round tie between either Blackpool or Sheffield Wednesday.
The attempts to paper over the cracks won’t wash with Evertonians, and the purchases of Jelavic and Gibson won’t matter one iota if we are forced to sell, yet again, our brightest talent in Rodwell, Barkley, Baines, Fellaini or Jagielka in the summer to keep the wolves from the door.
There are still more questions than answers that Evertonians need, no, deserve. What is being done to improve our commercial revenue streams to help us compete with our peers? What is being done about the short, medium and long term future of Goodison? When are the AGM’s going to be reinstated?
The message we are sending yet again to the Board of Directors at Everton Football Club is a clear and concise one, it will be sung loud and proud from the streets around Goodison Park on March 10th and it remains, as ever, “It’s time for change – Let go if you love the Club.”