The Everton board of directors have dominated the Twittersphere during the summer break and with feelings running high the owners of our great club are unlikely to be let off the hook anytime soon. This article isn’t however going to focus on the rights or wrongs of the current board (that is to come in subsequent articles during the next few weeks), instead I am commenting on the campaign to remove the board and the approach many on the fringes of the movement appear to be taking.
To start with I would like to firmly state that I do not have an issue with groups of like-minded Evertonians using their right to protest against the actions of the board. The Blue Union and other prominent fan groups, including the website SOS, are hosting a meeting this weekend to discuss their plans to ramp up the pressure on the board and, as is their right, they will continue to voice their opinions loud and proudly on the internet. Whether you agree with the views of the Blue Union (and I for the most part do not) you have to applaud the fact that they are willing to do something about the current status quo, using their growing unhappiness to mount a campaign against Kenwright, Elstone and Co.
It is however, those on the fringe of this movement which I believe drives many against the anti-board campaign and creates such a significant divide amongst Evertonians. I am talking about those who are quick to jump on the slightest negative news story to spin and manipulate opinion.
Let’s firstly take the potential transfers of Angelo Ogbonna to West Ham United, Georginio Wijnaldum to Newcastle United and Xherdan Shaqiri to Stoke City. If you were to believe the propaganda machine on Twitter, Everton have, due to the failings of the board missed out on the signing of all three players.
Ogbonna is a player Everton and Martinez have a confirmed interest in, however the player has decided he would rather live in London and with the promise of regular first team football at West Ham, something he was never likely to get at Everton, he has made what would appear to be the obvious decision. This is in no way a reflection on the ambition of the Everton board.
Wijnaldum and Shaqiri, although boasting significant potential, are by no means risk free signings. Martinez has already confirmed to supporters in attendance at the U21 fixture against Burscough that he does not have a genuine interest in Wijnaldum and instead will focus on other targets in his pursuit of a new number 10. Again, if Martinez is not interested in signing players, how can it be the fault of the board that Everton have not pursued the transfer of these two maverick footballers.
Moving from ‘failed transfers’ to ground issues, a picture that has received several retweets shows a pretty dilapidated looking Goodison Park. Stained cladding and miss-painted pillars certainly don’t make pretty viewing, however this is an isolated picture (taken before any summer maintenance work has taken place) and used to highlight the grounds worst features. I cannot get on board with any campaign to tarnish Goodison Park, a ground that for me will always be the home of football.
If a campaign to oust the board is to gain genuine momentum and spread beyond the vocal few, then those at the centre of the protest need to avoid these petty arguments and stick to the big issues of which there are many.