This week Bill Kenwright gave an interview with three members of the Blue Union Everton support group (see link bottom of page) that prompted serious consternation amongst the club’s fans. Lifelong Evertonian Alex Bentley contacted the Cutter perplexed and angry at the amateurish manner in which the club that he so loves is being allowed to stagnate and sink slowly into a financial mire. Part open letter to Kenwright/part heartfelt plea here is what Alex has to say…
Last week, three representatives of Everton supports group The Blue Union, somehow managed to conduct an interview with the much talked about chairman of Everton Football Club, Bill Kenwright.
Kenwright started the interview by declaring that ‘nobody is a bigger Evertonian than he’. And I do actually believe this. I completely buy that he loves the club, and no doubt he would make an ideal Everton representative. However, this doesn’t necessarily make him the best choice for chairman.
My personal gripe regarding the whole calamity is the lack of communication with the fans. There will always be rumours and speculation within football, but usually rumours either substantiate, or are proven otherwise. We hear rumours regarding Evertons woes regularly, and these never get dismissed or otherwise. Somewhat hilariously, Kenwright claimed “Look you’ll never get a better salesman than Bill Kenwright for Everton Football Club”. I am confident to assume that everybody reading that raised an eyebrow at that point. We have heard bits and bobs over the years, and when it comes to club communication, we’re left dry. Bill said that every avenue is being explored, and that we either ‘believe him, or don’t believe him’. MAKE US BELIEVE YOU KENWRIGHT. Issue a statement when ‘progress’ is made. For the last decade we’ve been passed from pillar to post and avoided and ignored. The one aspect of Kenwright’s attitude during the interview that really struck me, was how childish he could be. When he asked when the last major sale of a football club was, and was answered with Liverpool and Blackburn, he responded with “You would want Blackburn football club?” and “I wouldn’t want Blackburn Football Club”… Oh really Bill? Well that’s handy, because they wouldn’t want you either. They want trustworthy investment and ambition. Everton Football Club currently have neither. I refuse to believe that the club receives little to no genuine interest. If relegation battlers Blackburn seem attractive to investors, then how can a club with a loyal fanbase, great and consistent manager, and a good squad with a great team spirit not be whipped up? Kenwright dismisses the stadium issue with ease, whereas I personally see that as a huge hurdle in the way of progress. Goodison Park, while I love the place, it is a shithole. And investors are aware of this, and if they aren’t I’m pretty sure they would ask about it. Now if you were interested in buying a football club, out of your own personal bank account, would you be keen on spending potential several hundred million pounds on a new stadium? Of course not. Not every club gets lucky like Manchester City, and it is a real problem and threat to some clubs future.
Bill Kenwright, you are quite clearly clueless as to what goes on at your own club. You are oblivious to the fact that we as paying and loyal fans, deserve to be told what is going on.
Another hot topic of conversation amongst the faithful blues, is the £24m of ‘other operating costs’. Kenwright was asked what these costs covered, and he didn’t know. Yet he is shocked and horrified when it is suggested it goes in the boards pockets. What the hell does he expect? Break the costs down Bill, you’re the chairman, it is your job to know every detail, especially such an important detail as £24m being spent, and you not knowing what on. I find it embarrassing to associate myself with a club that has a chairman who can effective lose £24m flippantly not knowing where it went; can lose a player by not offering a contract extension properly; can have a board member find potential buyers in the way of the head of ICI, based in the far east, and an inventor, then to discover he actually lived in a one bedroom flat and the inventor was from Manchester, yet the board member, Keith Harris, is still trusted to find an investor?!
Bill Kenwright, you are quite clearly clueless as to what goes on at your own club. You are oblivious to the fact that we as paying and loyal fans, deserve to be told what is going on after all these mishaps, and that we expect improvement before things get steadily worse. Yes, we are all happy with the consistent finishes at the top end of the table, but that is down to hard work from the team and the manager. It appears to me, that you are somebody who loves your club, and doesn’t want to part with it. The simple fact is though you cannot have your cake and eat it. If you really love the club, then start acting in its best interests, instead of running it into the ground. We fans are not expecting a huge overhaul, and to be spending like Manchester City, but at least a bit of parity to compete. David Moyes is a brilliant manager, who has the potential to be even better and achieve a great deal more with some sound financial backing.
What we need as a club is a plan. It appears that we do not have one whatsoever, and if we do, nobody seems aware of it. I understand that while we are not spending, we are not running up debts as huge as perhaps them lot across the park. However they have a plan to break even, through sponsorship deals etc. The state of modern football is sadly business first, and Everton are barely keeping afloat and avoiding such huge debts, but is this really good business? While it may be considered a gamble, one must speculate to accumulate. Until we buy top quality players to improve both our starting 11 and squad depth, we will always be an underdog, and while this is the case, 6th place is the best we can hope for. To get the big money coming in from TV deal and Champions League, we need to finish higher. But we need that investment first. It’s a catch 22 at the moment – we can’t spend because we don’t have the money, we don’t have the money because we don’t finish high enough, we don’t finish high enough because we don’t spend the money. I don’t see it lasting in this current state for much longer, something has to give, and it must only be a matter of time.
While the Blue Union representatives (and myself as a fan) entered the interview with the notion of it NOT being a ‘Kenwright Out’ movement, on a personal level, it certainly is now.