Following the last game victory over Burnley, GrandOldTeam.com launched its first Everton Fan Survey, and in the following two weeks, Blues around the world responded in their thousands – 6307 to be precise and for that tremendous response we thank everyone.
And apart from the full set of answers published in full on the website, and the key findings we’re highlighting here, the level of response has cemented in our minds the need and the willingness to make the End of Season survey an annual event.
As we all know, it was something of an up and down season with the last few weeks being arguably the best period that the first team and thus the supporters enjoyed. This was duly reflected in a 94.7% approval rating for our manager Marco Silva, who prior to Christmas appeared to be somewhat overawed by the magnitude of the Everton job.
Last summers’ transfer activity that saw Director of Football Marcel Brands oversee the signings of Lucas Digne and Yerry Mina, plus the on-loan acquisitions of Kurt Zouma and Andre Gomes earned him a 96.7% satisfaction rating. Everyone is aware of and has opinions on where the current squad needs to be strengthened, and that we have something of a surplus of players, so this summer will certainly be another crucial period for Brands. He’s on record as saying that any new signings will be by mutual agreement between the manager and himself, and that he has very firm ideas on the age criteria of squad additions.
With the DoF and the Manager having scored so highly and with a strong end to the season with excellent victories over Arsenal, Chelsea and especially the demolition of Manchester United, it’s perhaps not surprising then that 86.1% rated the 2018/19 season as either 6 or 7 out of 10.
However, that strong end to the campaign cannot paper over much of what has gone before in previous seasons and the question relating to the football performance of Everton in recent years saw 71.6% express the opinion of being either Unsatisfied or Very Unsatisfied. Much of that feeling is undoubtedly aimed at and can be unequivocally blamed upon previous managerial appointments and the fans will now be looking for a period of managerial stability and boardroom support for both Brands and Silva as they look to return the Blues to being genuine trophy contenders and winners.
And on that very point of becoming contenders and winners, over 85% felt that for next season, Europa League qualification is a realistic – if not demanded – target, with just under 18% believing that a top four finish and qualification for the Champions League is achievable.
Turning to matters away from the field of play, and there was slightly less enthusiasm in some key areas. Asked about the now three-year ownership under major shareholder Farhad Moshiri, 67.3% expressed a feeling of satisfaction.
However, this was tempered by a 65% feeling that he should endeavour to improve his communications with the fan base and over half the survey responders being disapproving of his use of Jim White and TalkSport as a method of communicating.
Add to this, over 74% of survey respondents believe the senior executives of Everton are either not in touch or need to improve how in touch they are with the clubs loyal support. To this effect, there is a distinct appetite amongst the fan base for the club to consider the appointment of a ‘Head of Club and Supporter Liaison’ to maintain a steady and meaningful flow of information.
One area where the fans voiced negativity was in feeling that having SportsPesa as the clubs major sponsor was not good for the club. On-line gambling is obviously a major issue in modern-day life and this coupled with some social media gaffs by the East African company has largely negated the positive side of their goal incentivised financial support for Everton in the Community.
Finally for these key findings and we need to look towards the future.
Over 86% of fans who took the survey do believe Everton will see a new stadium built at Bramley Moore Dock on the banks of the Royal Blue Mersey, with just under 80% having faith that the current Board of Directors will deliver a stadium befitting of the Senior Club in the City.
And on the question of the capacity for the new stadium, over 66% feel strongly that BMD should be able to accommodate at least 55,000 with over 88% very strongly in favour of safe-standing to be included as an aid to generating the best possible atmosphere.
Everyone at GrandOldTeam.com is grateful for the fantastic response to this first End of Season Survey, your support of this project has absolutely convinced us it was a worthwhile exercise and we’ll definitely being doing it again next summer.
Enjoy the close season, and COME ON YOU BLUES !!!