The Blue Union would like to send a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to all Evertonians who took part in the planned protest march prior to Saturday’s match against Aston Villa.
With a turnout clearly well in excess of 1500 fans, it was a credit to everyone involved that the march was executed peacefully and respectfully – as expected – and the behaviour of all on the day was exemplary.
As promised, once inside the ground, support for the team was unequivocal. Collectively, members of The Blue Union agree that the atmosphere on Saturday was one of the most positive and raucous seen for a game of this level for many a year, and the performance of the team matched the fans’ commitment.
We hope that this will once and for all put to bed the suggestion that the aims and actions of The Blue Union and like-minded Evertonians will in any way have a detrimental effect on the team or manager. Judging by the players’ commitment against Aston Villa, it could be said that the opposite was actually the case!
Despite all the positives, however, we do have to express our great disappointment at the actions of the club during the match.
As is now common knowledge, the repeated showing of Mr Kenwright’s image on the big screens caused a temporary but very clear division between fans inside the ground. We feel that this act was both needless and counter-productive from a supposedly professional group of people who have, thus far, attempted to claim the ‘moral high ground’.
In stark contrast to the reaction that the same flashing of the Chairman’s image was met with during the recent game against Queens Park Rangers – widespread booing – on this occasion an initial chorus of ‘boos’ was followed by a round of applause. A second time the image was put back on the screen, the applause was briefly challenged by a growingly audible ‘booing’ before, finally, the screen went back to covering what we were all supposed to be there to see….the football.
Members of The Blue Union wish to stress again that the aims of the group’s campaign are not personal to Mr Kenwright; they are solely aimed at the betterment and progression of the club, with a view to safeguarding it’s future for the benefit of both current and future generations of Evertonians.
As such, we do not condone the booing of the Chaiman’s image. We do, however, feel that the club have sadly encouraged supporters to do just this in the future.
In choosing to show the Chairman at a point when the team was playing fantastically well and leading the game, it is clear to us that there was an intention of creating a false impression that Mr Kenwright enjoys the support of a ‘majority’ of Evertonians. If this is indeed the case, then we would simply refer back to the game only two weeks previously against Queens Park Rangers, when the reaction was a markedly different and wholly negative one, and ask what has changed? These polar reactions would suggest to us that many of the fans in the ground are swayed, from one week to next, simply by the performance of the team on the pitch. Nothing more, nothing less. Football fans.
Whilst we are confident that such petty acts will only serve to strengthen the resolve of those who believe that it’s “Time For Change”, we retain a solid commitment to our promises that the campaign will not encroach beyond the Gooodison turnstiles, and thus risk affecting both the performances and morale of the team.
With Saturday’s attendance in the 32,000 range – the lowest for a 3pm Saturday home league game in 9 years – we believe that the club’s attentions would be better spent looking for ways to win back some of the large numbers of stay-away fans, as opposed to creating further divisions within an already fractured fan-base that could potentially lead to the kind of hostile atmosphere within Goodison Park that would turn more people away, particularly women and families.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank Merseyside Police and Liverpool City Council for their help, advice and assistance on the day.
The huge success of Saturday’s protest should serve as a wake-up call to all involved in the management of Everton FC. We sincerely hope that they heed that call and look to address the genuine issues and concerns that are leading people to take to the streets in such number.
Thanks again to all involved, and look out for details of the next planned action.
Keep the faith, keep getting our message out to our fellow Evertonians, and take pride from our show of solidarity on Saturday.
The Blue Union