Everton Fans Trust
Everton Fans Trust was established in 1999 to engineer the financial muscle needed to mount an audacious bid for Peter Johnson's shares a bid that was ultimately thwarted when Bill Kenwright bought the lot.
|The Trust – An Introduction by Steve Allinson, 11 November 1999|
|Black Watch Poster, published 10 November 1999|
|THE TRUST AN INTRODUCTION|
|Steve Allinson, Promoter of Everton Fan's
|On Saturday the 20th November 1999 at the Sandon, venue of momentous Everton
Football Club board meetings in the 1880's, a similarly momentous event is
taking place. Just hours before the home game against Chelsea, the old public house
witnessed the launch of the Everton Fans Trust.
The Trust has been developed by local fans wholly frustrated as they witness from their dilapidated stands the slide into debt of a club once dubbed 'The Bank of England'. Successive boards have appeared unable or unwilling to address the issue, and the apparent intransigence of Peter Johnson to sell at anything less than a huge profit has added fuel to the fire. Clifford Finch stokes it further with his insistence that anything less than this means poor Peter is having the Club 'stolen' from him!
The supporters have been quick to point the finger at Mr Johnson, and it's clear to see why. How can a club with a projected overdraft of £20M at the end of this season a club with contingent liabilities based on future appearances and 'loyalty' bonuses of over £10M not included in the annual accounts be worth the sort of figures bandied around?
The halt to the development of a Youth Academy and the aging and outdated state of Goodison Park is testimony to how far we've come since Mr Johnson's promises of 'ring-fenced' stadium development money that was to lead Everton into the new millennium...
Well, now we have the chance to see whether grumbling Everton fans are prepared to own their own club, and do away with the non-executive Boards that have served them so poorly over the last ten years.
The Trust has been developed by local fans to provide just the vehicle to achieve that, and representatives from all fan groups and areas have been invited to join them.
With legal and accounting qualifications evident, the Trust has been assembled with the assistance of local and internet Everton fan organisations.
Input from the likes of Ian MacDonald and Barry Murray of the Independent Fan Clubs; Stuart Ennis, Mark Staniford and Phil Pellow of the Fanzines; Mark Denny of Goodison For-Everton; and Michael Kenrick and Lyndon Lloyd of the main independent Everton web sites (ToffeeWeb.org and Evertonia.com), has ensured that the whole organisation has a genuine 'grass roots' feel to it.
The Trust is thought to have a two-fold ambition: to provide a safe and secure method of building up a buy-out fund, and providing a democratic forum for agreeing the actions of all the fans who join. The subscription is believed to be £20 per month, on each of which the trustees can raise a loan of a thousand pounds, and the more fans that join the greater the fund. The forum is to be called the Black Watch, in honour of the early days when the Everton players all died their kit black so that they could at least turn out all together in the same colour. For many years in the last century that was Everton Football Club's only nickname.
Invitations have gone out to all Everton Fan Clubs, all the pubs around Goodison Park, and any large businesses that might have a significant Everton fanbase amongst the workforce. It is these representatives that will have the opportunity to launch the Trust and provide the communication structure for everyone prepared to stand up and demand their own club be returned to them.
John Hannah, a Fellow of the Chartered Association of Certified Accountants, and thought to be one of the original proposers of the Trust is quoted as saying 'This may be the only chance Everton Fans ever have of owning their own club. For ever.'
The meeting at the Sandon was broadcast live around the World on the Internet, and facilities were being put in place for overseas fan clubs to attend 'electronically'. It was believed that Tony Banks, Minister for Sport and well-known advocate of Trust initiatives, had been invited to attend.
The message to the fancy consortiums sniffing around a possible 'killing' on Liverpool's oldest Premiership institution is clear. With an estimated 100,000 active fans worldwide, and over half a million who might identify themselves with Everton Football Club, any sale of the Club to anyone other than the fans might just meet some stiff resistance.
What is certain is those old walls at the Sandon hadn't heard anything like it in a hundred years.