Mubarak ousted. Gaddafi killed. Wall Street occupied. Kenwright..?
The Blue Union will hold its second demonstration against the financial mismanagement of Everton Football Club tomorrow at 2pm, beginning at the field on Spellow Lane and presumably culminating with a march to the Directors’ entrance at Goodison Park. Given yesterday’s debacle involving emails allegedly leaked from the account of Ian Ross (Everton’s Head of Communications), it seems likely that what this event will lack in clown costumes and John Heitinga cakes, it will make up for with the number of disgruntled Evertonians in attendance.
Considering the laundry list of failures and farces that has been compiled under the present board, you’d have to say that their PR department have done a remarkable job in keeping the fanbase generally happy over the last decade. Obviously they owe a lot thanks to David Moyes for achieving league positions that rarely make sense, the two Manchester clubs for paying massive sums of money for Wayne Rooney and Joleon Lescott, and to the fans themselves – the majority of whom have remained apathetic towards the off-field running of the club while the team has been doing well.
Sadly for Kenwright and Friends, you can’t fool all of the people all the time, which is why it should come as no surprise to them that the jig is finally up. The money for Kings Dock isn’t ring-fenced, the Fortress Sports Fund didn’t go into the bank on Monday, and Destination Kirkby wasn’t ‘world-class’, ‘effectively free’ or even legal. Now that the team is going backwards and the banks are refusing to accept Dave Hickson anecdotes as legal tender, something has to give.
Kenwright has been in a hole since Kirkby collapsed, and while his determination to just keep digging no matter what is almost admirable, his journey to the centre of the Earth must surely be coming to an end after the release of these emails. The club has done a good job of presenting a united front up to now, with Moyes, along with past and present players, routinely backing up CEO Robert Elstone’s claims that Everton remain ‘fiercely ambitious’, but all of that looks like a load of bollocks when senior staff members are allegedly describing the club as being in ‘financial meltdown’ in between drawing up plans to divide the supporters through manipulation of the media.
Though there’s definitely a funny side to a lot of was written in those emails – the idea of a man who seems to spend much of his day posting snide remarks on fan forums questioning the productivity of the CEO was particularly amusing – there were also parts that are at best worrying, and at worst scary.
Rumours of the board’s asking price being a sticking point with potential buyers would become ever more believable if the comment about it costing ‘upwards of £25m’ to acquire a 25% stake in the club turns out to be true, while the insistence that the Blue Union’s message is nothing more than ill-informed scaremongering will become a lot harder to swallow if the club are found to be dictating the Echo’s coverage of what is becoming a nasty, bitter episode. Such paranoid behaviour, along with in-fighting amongst prominent employees, certainly creates the image that these are people cracking under the pressure of having something to hide.
'Gentlemen, you can't fight in here. This is the war room!'
Still, there was some good news in the form of Marouane Fellaini signing a new contract, even if the timing of the announcement was a bit suspicious. Fellaini has developed into one of the better central midfielders in the Premier League over the last two years, and at 23 years old is only going to improve further. Between him, Jack Rodwell and Ross Barkley Everton have the makings of a very, very good midfield.
There’s also a game tomorrow, in case anyone had forgotten. Everton are playing Wolves at home, which is never much fun, but after turning them over at Molineux last time the two sides met it should be a game that Moyes and his players more than fancy themselves in.
John Heitinga, who is rumoured to be taking his Gravesen 2.0 act to Roma in January, will probably drop out in favour of Sylvain Distin with Fellaini coming straight back into midfield. God knows what, if anything, will happen up front.
Wolves will be strong and direct, with the horrible Karl Henry looking to win plaudits from knobheads like Martin Keown and Lee Dixon by going through the back of Fellaini about fifteen times before the referee finally books him for shame’s sake.
Everton are currently 17th, and while it’s not quite time to panic, they don’t want to find themselves down that end of the table much longer. A win over Wolves, who sit 13th, would push Everton two points above them and hopefully represent the start of a much-needed run of positive results.