Everton Football Club decided to issue an ‘apology’ to the fan-base after a barrage of negative responses aimed not only at the ‘evolution’ of the badge, but also at how supporters were mislead by executives at the club concerning claims of ‘an extensive consultation process.’
Flip-flopping CEO Robert Elstone, who with the launch of the badge had praised his teams efforts in ‘extensively engaging the fans’ in the decision making process, found himself in the uncomfortable and embarrassing position of having to apologise to supporters for, well, not ‘extensively engaging the fans’ in the decision making process at all.
As apologies go, it seems Elstone could do with more practice. Which in itself is an unfortunate oversight. Both in his own right as CEO at Everton, and as the former can-lad to Keith Wyness, Elstone has been party to and has overseen enough failed projects and naff deals to last a whole career. Had he felt the need to say sorry for that long list, he would have had apologising down to a fine art.
Instead Evertonians were firstly offered a mind-bending reminder of what the club were actually attempting to achieve with the new crest as ‘our solution in a globalised, technology-led world’ and ‘permanent links to our DNA.’ Elstone then goes on to reveal that many Evertonians had agreed the club had ‘delivered on those objectives.’ Which I assume is news to Evertonians.
If Elstone was a little vague with his reasoning, the CEO was explicit in his total admonishment of his chairman Mr. William Kenwright CBE, as he made it painstakingly clear his boss was absolutely not responsible for anything to do with the globalised, technology-led solution to a problem that never really existed in the first place.
Apparently, time-constraints with the new design regarding kit-suppliers, fixtures and fitting, merchandise and other tat (including an incredible effigy of new Manchester United manager David Moyes!) means we’ll have to put up with the newly rejected badge at least until the 2014/15 season.
This, while understandable, does reveal that the design had to be set in stone many months in advance of the official launch. And while it may be logistically impossible to immediately reverse the physical, what is the challenge the team at the club face concerning their social media identity and branding? My understanding is a simple click of a button should upload an image of the ‘old’ badge to the clubs Twitter feed and Facebook page. Or am I out of my depth here?
While Elstone gave assurances on future fan involvement, claiming that ‘all sections of the fan-base will be pulled together in a fully transparent way in helping us shape and refine the badge.’ Many Evertonians will be wary of false promises on transparency and free, open dialogue the CEO has regurgitated and reneged on throughout his tenure at the club. Albeit at the behest of his paymasters.
That the recently called EGM had to be forced through by the shareholders association, citing their disappointment in the board of directors refusal to convene a meeting voluntarily, speaks volumes.
The current custodians and executives of Everton Football Club may claim to be ‘open to freely flowing dialogue,’ however, perhaps not it seems, if that dialogue includes relevant, pertinent or searching questions.