Five weeks in to the Moshiri/Koeman era and there seem to be very few blues who aren't happy with the start we have made. Even the more cynical fan has been impressed with our stronger defence; the seamless inclusion of the gladiatorial Ashley Williams next to the familiar faces of rejuvinated favourites Jagielka, Coleman and Baines, as well as the midfield organisation, tenacity and dynamism provided by Gaz Barry and the new fan favourite Gana Gueye. Perhaps we were more accustomed to the skill of our attacking players and the bludgeoning penetration of Lukaku at his best, but as that disappeared towards the end of the Martinez era, a return to free flowing goals home and away is very welcome.
The manager is receiving plaudits from all quarters, something that Mr Martinez was not afforded even after his first record breaking season, as some saw through his one dimensional set-up that borrowed much from the Moyes era. A new owner who has swiftly overhauled the club structure, including the employment of a Director of Football of some calibre given his involvement in the Leicester fairytale and the promise of more funds to spend (or borrow against) for new players and the holy grail of a modern dock-side arena. The fresh feeling around Everton is really quite amazing given the stagnant mess left at the end of the abominations of last season.
The main moans and frustration however, seem to have been derived from affairs involving the sporting media. Cracks of frustration began during the end of the close season as an impatient feeling grew with the perceived lack of signings. Some hysteria then ensued during the nauseating 'yellow tie day' as those at Sky Sports News revelled in the orchestrated theatre of an approaching deadline. Finally to cap off the clown show a laughable correspondence through the 'medium' of Jim White splashed embarrassment on the new age at Everton. The lack of league football due to the parallel rebirth of England's international football whipped up this storm in a teacup. The exclusion of Barkley from the squad (which could be a blessing in disguise!) adding further frustration to the narrative.
Roll on the Sunderland game and the return to football, followed in quick succession by the hosting of Middlesborough at Goodison. We now know how that has gone! Impressively these positive results have taken place in the face of further negative media stories surrounding the drop in form of our star homegrown blue and the loyalty of our main striker. Coverage of our successes have hardly been flattering either, second last on MotD last night... errr we're second in the league and have now had our best start ever in the Premier League!
The absolutely ridiculousness of BT's commentary team trying to convince the world that Middlesborough's goal last night was fair, then backtracking massively after the damage of the message had already been made. Would this really have happened to the media darlings who now surround us in a top 7 sure to pull away from the hapless teams that make up the rest of the league. A league now saturated in dirty money such that there is a homogenisation at the bottom end.
The stripping of character in these identikit squads is a reflection of the formulaic strategies employed to guarantee top flight footy and another season dragged along by the gravy train. The same league where aiming for the top 6 is aspiration! It's the "Best league in the world mate" or so we are told. This is something perhaps we suffered from during the transfer window where prices quoted to Premier League teams for players are higher than the continent. Are we collectively so rich that now money doesn't always talk, but club perception and media portrayal does?
So the re-build is in full swing, but to truly progress there is a need to adapt to the modernities of football in 2016. To really reach the upper echelons (and stay there) we need to own our own narrative. To become a media darling... not constantly repelling sensationalist story telling aimed to knock us down and put us in our place. Maybe that is what Farhad Moshiri tried to do by twice directly engaging Jim White; if that particular yarn is to be believed. What sticks in the throat slightly, however, is that this is not very 'Everton'. We are the people's club. We have class. Exemplified only this week through our donation to the fund for the young Sunderland fan suffering with cancer. That is the sort of coverage of our club we need to advertise.
I hope this new dawn remains bright for Everton. It is early days and we shouldn't get carried away, but all of the ingredients are there, even if we are a little thin in some areas of the squad. My main hopes are that we can master the communications and engagement side of things to keep fans happy and attract more young fans. I would love to see us improve our marketing streams and accessibility to improve our reputation and to become more respected in the media. But through this we can't lose our integrity and need to keep that essence of the people's club. With these facets in check then the stage is set for the team to shine. This, and sustained improvement on the pitch, may also help when it comes to attracting players again in January.
Reader Comments (37)
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1 Posted 18/09/2016 at 15:45:32
I think the key point is to, as you say, "own our narrative". Keep winning and you can do that. You can't be ignored.
2 Posted 18/09/2016 at 17:35:30
The media circus has to exist. We all want it, read it, submit messages to ToffeeWeb about it, argue over it, contribute towards it an so on. Media darlings, and their opposites will always exist and that is unavoidable. What may change this season is Everton's role in it.
David Moyes for all his successes and failings was a lousy PR man. He did not get it whether managing us, or Manure or now Sunderland.
Martinez was a spin-master, but eventually he was found out.
Koeman is different. Judging from his first series of results, he is media indifferent. However that is because like most sincere hard working 'professionals' he has little respect for the insincere shallowness of media people, whist also understanding that media reporting is an essential part of the circus.
If we maintain our form and the results keep coming, then eventually the media will respond, either grudgingly, patronizingly or in a state of bemusement. If results go south then we will be dismissed extremely quickly, or not at all as if it never happened. The question is, why should that be?
The answer is the vested interests in the status quo / establishment / call it what you will. The marketing machine that feeds of Man Utd, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal, and Spurs, and now Man City thanks to the sustained influx of capital from Abu Dhabi being such that they could no longer be ignored. It is the way the world we live in works. Nothing sinister.
So what I find depressing about the selection process is not so much how you buy your way into the select club in the first place, that's just money and lots of it. However, when your performance levels drop, or scandals erupt, how far the media go in propping up and maintaining their established core group, whilst at the same time understanding that teams like Leicester doing the impossible, and Stoke providing the platform on which they perform, are marginalized.
Idealistically, the BBC have a responsibility to be unbiased and objective in their reporting and coverage. Without wasting time and energy beating the drum regarding their bias towards Liverpool, I really do struggle to watch how the BBC reporting in action is so loaded and biased, when as the archetypal neutral position they should be as objective as possible.
Perhaps the answer lies in the fact that objective, accurate and honest reporting simply does not "sell news", and whether they or we like it or not, the BBC are a business at the end of the day. If they feel their tacit endorsement of Liverpool FC works for them then lucky RedShites.
Living in the Middle East, and probably the same goes for other overseas areas, the coverage of Liverpool is frequently approaching saturation point when they are doing reasonably well, instead of merely constant all the time.
As an Evertonian it makes me annoyed, jealous, frustrated, whilst they are talked up in the media and we hardly merit a mention. And when we do it is as an afterthought, such as the treatment of John Stones on / off move to Chelsea and then City, or the scheduling of Match of the Day. Similarly, the weekly Lawro Column and his fantasy league always has Everton and another surprise club of the time marked down and the RedShite marked up. This gentlemen is simply biased, and prejudicial to the interests of Everton FC and other clubs such as Stoke, who (current form aside) have been progressing with a well constructed business plan and are a model for how a club can emerge from the Championship into Premier League with solid business practices.
3 Posted 18/09/2016 at 18:18:44
Whilst I accept some clubs that is, the more successful clubs who, as a result, attract a greater following get more air time and column inches, I believe that is more influenced by commercial interests by the media, rather than some deeper diabolical plot to maintain an imaginary 'closed shop', designed to prejudice Everton.
At the formation of the Premier League we were not merely the equals of the clubs now perceived as 'media darlings', we were vastly the superiors of most.
Everton were leading proponents in forming the Premier League as our then chairman, Philip Carter who was also President of the then 4 division Football League, conspired against the overwhelming majority of the members he was elected to represent to breakaway and form the cash cow that the Premier League has become.
The growth of the Premier League went hand in hand with the growth of Rupert Murdoch's struggling subscription channel Sky. There was a symbiotic relationship in which the growth of one aided and abetted the growth of the other a virtuous circle, if you like, though the phrase may bring a wry smile to many in relation to Sky and the Premier League.
The point I wish to make is that if we are now viewed as being outside an elite group of 'media darlings', we have no-one to blame but ourselves.
Our finances, our stadium, our following, our commercial streams, our standing at the formation of the Premier League were superior or equal to the overwhelming majority, including today's 'media darlings.'
It was the club's guardians over more than 2 decades that have patently failed to invest (or divest and allow someone else a go) to take advantage of the riches the Premier League has generated.
With Farhad Moshiri's arrival there is now greater expectancy that this terminal neglect can be reversed. I won't talk of the coaching and playing side of things as your post is focused on the media side of things.
In this regard, your call that "we need to own our own narrative" is a worthy one, even if by implication it calls for us to manipulate the news to further our own self-interests as governments, big corporations and, yes, sporting clubs do.
In this we remain seriously lacking. Moshiri's (alleged? genuine?) texts to Jim White do not further the club cause. Rather, it fuelled confusion and disbelief at the crass stupidity of the content and incredulity at the preferred platform and conduit on which it was shared.
In conclusion, I don't subscribe to the wilder conspiracy about the media in relation to Everton as oft spouted on here, but I do agree with you our PR and media arm needs to radically improve.
Hopefully, it is an area Moshiri will address when he isn't texting best buddy Jim White.
4 Posted 18/09/2016 at 18:40:35
5 Posted 18/09/2016 at 18:47:52
6 Posted 18/09/2016 at 19:28:55
7 Posted 18/09/2016 at 19:35:06
Here I see none of this favoritism. Yes, the major teams are the "headline games" week to week. But Everton always get a lot of "headline games" and primo time slots.
And the media coverage of us I would argue is sufficient and more importantly fair. We are spoken of with respect. And based upon our standing the last twelve or so years that the Premier League has been adequately covered here, we can't have any complaints in the land of the free.
I feel for true, homegrown Blues having to endure what seems from afar a blatant bias.
8 Posted 18/09/2016 at 19:42:36
Let Mourinho, Klopp and Guardiola hog the headlines, we've never been media darlings since (or because of??) the Harry Catterick era, so we'll just do our talking on the pitch; one day, we will earn that respect again from them all!
9 Posted 18/09/2016 at 19:48:47
10 Posted 18/09/2016 at 19:57:22
My feeling is that we definitely have a new era, and we'll return to the Everton I grew to know rather than the relative mediocrity of the last 20 or so years (although not mediocrity for a lot of clubs, who would love constant attendance in the top flight).
If anyone is bothered about the media's approach to Everton, well, it's going to change anyway as we become more successful (and 'fashionable' like we used to be apparently). Then we can continue to listen to pundits talking shite, but this time about Everton more frequently. It's already happening.
12 Posted 18/09/2016 at 20:01:01
That's the sort of thing that gets my goat why should Arsenal be considering our manager as a replacement at this juncture? Why should Lukaku have to move to one of the 'elite' clubs in order to satisfy his ambitions or indeed any other Everton player?
Everton FC pays good money to their staff, but obviously there are limits as to what we can afford to pay, but apart from that, what is the reason for the media to constantly show such little respect to the club and its fans?
13 Posted 18/09/2016 at 20:35:21
The other night, I was watching a documentary about the greatest sporting moments of the '80s. All the expected personalities were there, eg, Botham, McEnroe, Maradonna, Tyson etc and who was the team of the '80s? You guessed it. Our cup finals with them weren't even mentioned. We don't seem to exist in some quarters.
14 Posted 18/09/2016 at 20:40:54
Back in the '80s, when we embarked on our first Championship win in 15 years, it was two-thirds of the season gone before MotD and the papers started to take our chances seriously. I remember being a little frustrated at our lack of coverage but also happy that we didn't have too much of the pressure that would have come with it.
Today on radio 5, the pundits at Spurs talked of the top teams likely to do well, and they mentioned everyone in the top seven... except us! Fuck them! They are mostly idiots and all of them have their favourites. John Hartson loves talking about Arsenal, Alan Green loves Liverpool (and obviously hates Man Utd) and the other odious ones like Laurenson, Owen and Savage are lacking in knowledge or insight.
If we have a few good seasons it will change but it won't happen in one season.
15 Posted 18/09/2016 at 20:40:54
We see the results of this everywhere we choose to get our news on the game, very sadly. Practically inescapable.
16 Posted 18/09/2016 at 21:08:55
In the 1980s we were 'The team with no Stars' when we would the League.
It used to be the Sky 4 until we finished 4th under Moyes, then it became the Sky 3 + the RS.
In a way, I am glad we are being ignored, then we can give the media a giant 'Fuck You' when we win the League in May.
17 Posted 18/09/2016 at 21:21:24
To be honest, it doesn't worry me. I don't want us to be the team of choice on the streets of Bangkok, the favourite of the Scandavian hordes or of the "devoted" Irish fans. I want us to belong to the blue half of Liverpool. I want us to be successful and I want us to get a stadium fitting for such a team.
18 Posted 18/09/2016 at 21:22:00
No, the last thing the media need is another "outsider" gate crashing the media party love-in. Manchester v London is how they like it. Nothing would give me greater pleasure this season than Merseyside giving it loads – with us above LFC, of course. "Merseyside" we used to sing at Wembley... and "Are you watching, Manchester?"
Merseyside on top again... how will Sky cope – they hate us, you know.
19 Posted 18/09/2016 at 21:35:37
20 Posted 18/09/2016 at 21:39:42
21 Posted 18/09/2016 at 21:58:55
Daedspin had a mancrush on Delboy the first half of last season, when he was going good; featuring his goals and assists (even his diving).
If you want to see stories on Everton, routinely, Yahoo's home page features them maybe more than any other club for some reason. Not the sports page, the home page. Someone in the Yahoo hierarchy likes Everton.
US, England or anywhere else, though, you have to win your way into the sports media. We keep going well this season, we'll get more coverage.
23 Posted 18/09/2016 at 22:50:09
The average position of our opponents is 13th and City's is 16th but look at the difference in the way it comes across in the media.
24 Posted 18/09/2016 at 23:19:06
Oh that it should happen...
25 Posted 18/09/2016 at 23:37:03
So, although I remember what it used to be like when I lived there (I left in 98), I imagine it is worse now from what I read here on TW, with the advent since then of Chelsea and Man City being considered major clubs
26 Posted 19/09/2016 at 01:20:16
27 Posted 19/09/2016 at 05:32:03
For those Blues craving validation from media types it looks like moving to the US would meet your needs according to the posts on here from the land of the free. Personally I will settle for winning matches and hopefully one day winning a trophy. To savour it I won't need a two-hour special hosted by gobshite Lineker, I would just like to be there when it happens
28 Posted 19/09/2016 at 09:38:15
I couldn't give a flying fuck about the press opinions. All EFC need to please are the fans.
29 Posted 19/09/2016 at 10:29:47
If we win a lot, we do get the coverage. The night before the 1985 Cup Final there was a slot on Newsnight about Everton and the BBC referred to Man Utd as "the other team" in the final, it was the only mention they got. We were the team and overwhelming favourites.
In Asia I am seeing a lot more respect from pundits on BBC and Sky. There is however a quite ghastly show out here called "Fanzone" which is UK based and involves fans from around the world dialling in to moan about their team. Nearly all the callers come from Africa or Jamaica and their fans are all from the usual suspects... although Leicester did get a look in towards the end of last season. I don't know how much for sure because I just can't bear to watch it... it's truly awful... ignorant fans talking to ignorant pundits about their own delusions.
The fact is that Asian fans to my knowledge support their teams entirely differently to us lot. They pick a team at the beginning of each year and follow them for that season. They then pick again the next season, maybe the same team... maybe not. It's incomprehensible to me but I know of many examples of this behaviour. So if we do well now we could quickly pick up a lot of "support" (albeit fickle support).
My final point is that Leicester's success has shaken up the complacency of the commentators and they are now willing to accept that a non-favoured club could break through. As we are certainly the best of the rest and have been so (more or less) for a decade and that has become our reputation, they can now much readily believe that Everton could break through.
31 Posted 19/09/2016 at 13:44:48
Start winning things again and our profile will go up. Simple really.
If you look at other clubs forums, and listen to phone-ins on national radio, some fans of all clubs complain about the coverage their club gets, or doesn't get.
Given their past success, our neighbours are always going to have a high media profile, but the club which gets on my nerves for being the ultimate media darlings, and have been for years, is Spurs. The amount of coverage they get, and promotion of any of their half decent players, is ridiculous.
And we are talking about a club which has won less league titles than Huddersfield!
32 Posted 19/09/2016 at 14:27:43
33 Posted 19/09/2016 at 15:02:26
34 Posted 19/09/2016 at 16:07:57
Look how the fawning over the Foxes happened last season; they were written off for the vast majority of the season by all the “experts”, but, all of a sudden the gobshites employed on Murdoch's various trashy, classless outlets (and others including the dear Beeb) starting talking like they loved what was happening, as they got closer to the winning post - bollocks!
The only one who genuinely enjoyed it was Lineker – the rest always looked uncomfortable talking about Leicester winning the league, to my eye anyway.
Balls to the lot of them, Catterick had it right, the press can go and shove it.
35 Posted 19/09/2016 at 18:48:03
There is something to be admired in the 'sod them' attitude of some, but to me that falls down when we are trying to be an attractive proposition to both young blood (fans) and new players. Like it or not, our media persona means something to those groups; perhaps much more importantly than cajoling our expectations or pandering to our egos.
I would also say my thoughts here are quite reluctant ones. I don't like the effect big money is having on the Premier League, particularly in diluting ambitions and driving teams towards consolidation first. But to win, we must play the game and that means interacting positively with the 'medjah'.
The key though is how this is managed and pitched. We need the nouse and influence internal to the club's marketing machine to maintain control of that message. To be just accessible enough whilst not whoring ourselves out. We have class and that should certainly be portrayed to those not already under the Everton wing.
Of course this should all be happening in parallel to the progression on the pitch. Results are definitely very important, the most important thing to football fans, but this does not guarantee your narrative; just ask Leicester. You may get more (transient) attention, but there are many ways to spin that yarn.
36 Posted 19/09/2016 at 19:47:22
Also during that time there were generations of people born and reared and grew up with the notion that Everton were in the same class as Sunderland, Stoke, West from, and a lot of other less attractive teams. Even up until very recently, we were in danger of being surpassed by Southampton and West Ham!
I live in France and when we were doing great in the mid-eighties all my friends used to know Everton. Their exploits were shown on Canal Plus every week, during the European football round-up. Yet nobody at that time heard of Chelsea or Man City, as they were utter shite and even languished in the old 2nd Division.
Fast forward thirty years on: I go to eat with friends and their children (20- to 30-year-olds) ask me how come I support Everton? Why not Chelsea, Man City, the glamour successful teams (without heritage !), with all the star players.
So that's what happens when you spend time in the football wilderness. I welcome and embrace every thing that's happening at our great club. And as for buying success!, yes please! Let's roll with the rest as that's the trend. Why buck it?
37 Posted 19/09/2016 at 22:42:19
So how could they relegate our 3-1 win to second to last slot.
Actually it's quite simple and no conspiracy, First game: WBA 4-2 WHU, more goals. Second game: Man City 4 - 0 Bournemouth, same goals City higher in the league. Third game: Arsenal 4 - 1 Watford, more goals. Fourth game us.
Whilst we do get less coverage than some, it is nowhere near as bad as some on here would have you believe.
38 Posted 19/09/2016 at 22:51:19
I rest my case, m'lud.
39 Posted 19/09/2016 at 23:16:04
Those twats at Granada TV, Tony 'Mr Manchester' Wilson and his pals, accompanied Man Utd on the upper deck of their bus around Manchester. Everton's bus tour got completely ignored, by 'our' supposed regional TV service provider.
I'm glad they got wiped by ITV, but having said that the BBC Sports department at Media City have taken Manchester-centric reporting to new levels. Vox Pops from Deansgate, anyone?
40 Posted 20/09/2016 at 11:30:26
It's arguably begun already with us, in that we're getting a lot more media coverage, and the bias of it changes according to how we perform both on the pitch and off. For example, all of the media appear to have the greatest respect for Koeman, no doubt aided by his top playing pedigree, and partly due to the fact that he doesn't do histrionics or complain, because he doesn't need to.
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