Since 1878 there has been an Everton football club that its supporters have loved and taken to their hearts unquestionably and unconditionally, through thick and thin, good times and bad, for richer or poorer, to love and to cherish, till death us do part.
The current generation of the club, the Bill Kenwright era has arguably been the toughest for many fans to endure. We’ve flirted with relegation, been within grasping distance of the heights, flattered to deceive, and gone into gunfights armed only with knives and been happy to come out alive.
The past four and half seasons have been a microcosm of the period that Kenwright has overseen. Some glorious football, some woeful football, blind faith in the face of overwhelming evidence of mismanagement both on and off the field – in short, nothing remotely close to standard the club motto demands, NSNO.
Even with the arrival of Farhad Moshiri the demise on the field, the area the supporters are most concerned with, has continued and indeed worsened to the point now where relegation from the top flight of English football for the first time in over sixty years is a very real concern and possibility.
There is discord amongst the fans but that is nothing compared to the patently obvious discord within and between the board of directors and the major shareholder.
The fans have largely lost or are fast losing any faith that the BoD and/or the major shareholder have any real plan or structured thinking for the future.
Consider the current situation with Everton, that has amongst others…
- a club with a disjointed and apparently dysfunctional boardroom…
- a club that sacked a failing manager without a proper plan of how and who to replace him with…
- a club with a Director of Football about who nobody outside the club has one iota of what his job descriptions, functions and responsibilities are…
- a club that miserably failed itself in the summer transfer window after what appeared a terrific start…
- a club with an apparently non-existent PR activity leading to the major shareholder inexplicably preferring to conduct his PR through the sensation-seeking Jim White on Talksport…
- and a playing squad so low on confidence, form, self-belief, ideas and skill set that’s almost beyond comprehension…
The questions are glaringly obvious, the answers not so given we have no idea who is actually responsible for formulating and communicating coherent and structured responses.
Everton needs a complete overhaul and ultimately that responsibility lies with Farhad Moshiri. He is the person who took it on himself to become the major shareholder, he is the one who has corrected and repaired the balance sheet, he is the one who has driven the new stadium project and he is the one who has attracted some new partners, notably USM in sponsoring the training facility at Finch Farm.
Moshiri has done much, but he has an awful lot more to do and with every hour that passes, the ‘to do’ list grows ever more critical, particularly where the correct managerial appointment is concerned.
Failure to unequivocally accept and act upon these responsibilities will see Everton teeter on the cliff edge of relegation, and continue to fall further and further behind the ‘big six’ in commercial and financial areas.
And as I pen this article, news continues to break that Sam Allardyce is not only back in the frame to be Everton manager, he appears to be the odds-on favourite.
If this is correct, it constitutes a breakdown of gargantuan proportions in what vestige of joined-up, progressive thinking exists within the corridors of power at Goodison Park.
Allardyce is a proven relegation escapologist, but his managerial career has been tainted by stories of transfer impropriety and his tenure as manager of the England national team lasted just one game before he was relieved of his duties for another alleged indiscretion.
It should be noted at this point that Allardyce is believed to considering a legal challenge against the FA decision to dispense with his services, but any such allegations, proven or otherwise always leave a blemish on a persons character.
Aside from being the Harry Houdini of relegation battles, Sam Allardyce would be arguably the most unpopular appointment Everton could make. Possibly only Alan Pardew, Tony Pulis and Martin O’Neill would rank below him in the ‘No way Jose’ stakes.
When Sam Allardyce was first mentioned in connection with replacing Ronald Koeman, hundreds of Evertonians on numerous forums suggested they’d rather burn their season tickets or never set foot inside Goodison again should he be appointed.
In short, the club would be playing with a potential forest fire of angst, chagrin and protest from arguably the most patient and definitely long-suffering supporters in the Premier League.
Now some people would have you believe that football is only a game and not as the late Bill Shankly of the parish across the park once quipped, “Some people believe football is a matter of life and death, I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.”
To highlight the feelings that the majority of football fans have towards their chosen favourites, a little over twelve years ago, a group of Manchester United fans were similarly unhappy with the way in which the Glazer family were running the biggest club in the country and arguably the world.
They were so disheartened that they demonstrated their feeling firstly with the green and gold – the original club colours – scarves campaign before taking it to a whole new, unprecedented and previously unheard of level, that of forming their own alternative club – FC United of Manchester.
It was an incredibly brave and risky move, but one that has succeeded in spectacular fashion.
Originally joining the North West Counties Football League and playing out of Gigg Lane courtesy of a ground share arrangement with Bury FC, FCUM won three successive promotions and have steadily progressed to now play in the Vanarama National League North and having acquired land, built their own stadium Broadhurst Park in Moston, north Manchester.
The people that started FCUM and the fans that follow them are all still rabid Manchester United supporters, but chose to show their support in a different way, by returning football in Manchester to the fans.
The circumstances that led to the formation of FCUM differ somewhat to the circumstances Evertonians currently find ourselves in but, the unavoidable reality is that they were fed up with the Glazer regime and actively did something about it.
This leads me to question whether the current predicaments, and there are far too many, that Everton find themselves in could ever lead to a move similar to those fans in Manchester.
Could an alternative FC Everton of Walton or FC St.Domingo be formed by disillusioned Evertonians for Evertonians?
Is there sufficient disillusionment and unrest to actually see such a movement come to reality?
Would the appointment of Sam Allardyce be the final straw that kick starts an alternative?
Evertonians will always support Everton Football Club, but as the fans who formed FCUM have proven, there is life after unsatisfactory experiences.
Evertonians live by the creed of NSNO and right now, the club we all love is barely paying lip service to that creed and so, if the mountain won’t come to Mohammed, then Mohammed might have to go to (another) mountain?