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Fans Comment

The Last Straw?
The backlash against increased ticket prices and a miserable season has begun
1 May, 2004

The hike in the cost of attending games at Goodison Park may have been necessary and inevitable but the timing of the announcement has coincided with two consecutive defeats to lowly opposition and the two factors combined have got some fans thinking hard about whether this is the straw that will break the camel's back after a decade and a half of financial mis-management and growing chaos at Everton Football Club.

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A luxury too far

I'm sure I'm not the only one who will be giving up my season ticket this year.

As it happens, I was considering giving it up anyway, since the 500 mile round trip to games is expensive enough, but with the increase in price it has definitely become a luxury too far. 

Of course, changes in my personal circumstances have a bearing on this, but this last season has led me to question the value for money I get from this activity, one of my three remaining indulgences*.   How many of the (home) games this season have given me any real pleasure, how many have set the pulse racing, how many have given me any real joy?  Actually, this is not a rhetorical question the answer is three.  Leeds, Man U (despite the loss that come-back was the only truly spirited display I can remember from this last season) and Spurs the last of which I watched on TV anyway.

A number of things have contributed to this growing feeling of disillusionment, but the fact is that this season just hasn't been as exciting as it used to be even last season, when every time Rooney touched the ball everyone craned their necks to watch, sure of a little bit of magic.  The main factor for me though, is that they have managed to dampen my innate (often ludicrous) optimism because I no longer see anything to make me think the team is going forward.  We have looked unimaginative and pedestrian throughout the season and, what is worse, have lacked the air of determination and enthusiasm that characterised so many of our performances in the first part of last season.

I don't think the new prices are exorbitant, but the increase is.   I would have had no objection to a 15% price rise last year followed by the same again this year, since it has been obvious for some time that our prices are very low compared to most other clubs particularly those with any pretensions to big-time status, and for a club constantly pleading poverty charging something like the going rate seems reasonable.  However, a price rise this great is, IMHO, just too much.  It smacks of smugness within the club we've got Rooney so we can charge anything we like the mugs will cough up anyway.

This last is the nub, really.  If I had any reason to believe that the extra money would be used wisely then perhaps I would be swayed, but what evidence do I have?  In common with many others, I remember being told that the club budgeted to finish 17th, with no reliance on cup runs and minimum TV revenue and without expecting full houses.  Then, last season, we surpass all expectations and what happens? We now get told that we're worse off than ever!  So, either we were lied to before or we are being lied to now by the same people in either case.  I don't want to give my money to liars.

Or maybe it's just that I'm getting old.


It's a Money Pit

Another season draws to a close and like last season two players have carried us.  Last season it was Yobo and Radzinski. This season the accolade goes to an 18-year-old kid and a 37-year-old panic buy.

ToffeeWeb often gets slated for it’s doom and gloom approach to all things Everton but what the hell do people expect?  As Roy Walker used to say, “just say what you see.”  Well all I’ve seen this season is shit, shit and a lot more shit.  And to watch more of the same shit next season we have to stump up and extra 30% on season tickets which have already doubled in ten years.

I’d pay a thousand pounds a year, gladly, if I had a guarantee that I’d get to watch a reinvigorated and competitive Everton every week.  I just know that whatever money I hand over to the club will disappear into another puff of smoke.  It’s a money pit and there’s no climbing out of this hole the Board have dug for themselves.

Ask yourself, where does all the money go?

Duncan Ferguson and Kevin Campbell are on big salaries.  The media, prompted by the club, perpetuates the myth that the minute these big earners finally see out their contracts, David Moyes will be out signing football’s finest young talent.  With what?  Are we going to sign all these youngsters on frees?

Players cost money.  The types of players we need cost lots of money.  Money is what we don’t have and we haven’t had any since True Blue Holdings took over.  Moyes hasn’t got a pot to piss in while he watches clubs, who were light years behind us 15 years ago, sign players who cost more than our entire first team.

Sean Davis turned his back on us to play for a club that plays in front of fewer fans than Tranmere get.  Don’t forget it’s at a home ground they don’t even own.  What does that tell you about Everton’s current standing in the game?  Hazard a guess as to how much will Moyes get this close season?  I bet it won’t be much more than the 5M that never appeared last summer.  That’s despite the wage bill dropping, the extra gate revenues, and the new sponsorship deal with JJB.

The debt has been restructured but has this improved the first team at Everton?  The deadwood is finally leaving but is this improving the first team at Everton?  If you think that the answer is yes to either of these questions then you’re exactly the type of fan that the Board want.  The type of fan who’ll hand over his hard earned dosh and never question anything, ever.

Take a good look at what you see on the pitch.  That’s what we pay our poke to watch and when we watch it we see that we are still standing still.  And because we are standing still we are falling further and further behind.  Birmingham City can now outbid us for players.  Just to reiterate that, Birmingham City are now able to buy players we can never hope to afford.  That is the very same Birmingham City who were in the Nationwide two years ago.

Now it’s easy to go Board bashing, but if that isn’t the Board’s fault whose fault is it?  Who has had bigger gates and a bigger income for years?  Who has been mismanaged for years and who hasn’t?  I had a good mate who was a Manchester City fan and how I used to laugh at them and Francis Lee.  Ring any bells?

I’d think more of the Everton Board if they admitted they were taking the club nowhere.  Contrary to what the Board want you to think, the future for our once-great football club is very bleak indeed.

Nick Armitage

2004 ToffeeWeb


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