This season has been a particularly difficult one for me, as an Evertonian. Since the birth of the Blue Union I have been involved in numerous discussions, debates, and a few heated arguments, on the merits of the group's existence and activities. To be honest I'm a bit bored of it. I want a return to the days of discussing tactics, referees, kopites and other things more closely tied to what we actually see on the pitch. Why am I writing an article then on a topic I want put to bed? Because I believe that the Blue Union are here to stay for the foreseeable future. They appear to have gathered enough support to merit their continued existence, and only if this support withers will they cease to be. I am writing this article in an attempt to crystallize my own views on the matter, and to encourage you to do the same, whatever your current stance.
During the many conversations I have had regarding the Blue Union, a few key questions seem to be raised time and time again. For example: Is Kenwright a liar, incompetent, neither or both? Are there potential buyers out there? What exactly can be deduced from our financial statements? The fundamental question I am asking here however, is whether or not us lending our support to the Blue Union will help matters. Consequently we need a definition for what "helping matters" looks like, we need to figure out just what it is that we want.
So what do we want as Evertonians? To win, of course, just like all football fans. My primary difficulty with the Blue Union's current position is that one requirement for the success of their campaign would appear to be poor performance on the pitch. This may sound harsh, however, it is clear from their statements and activities that a critical part of the current strategy is to increase numbers. To "educate" as they have put it. The better Everton do in footballing terms, the more difficulty they will likely have in gathering support. They need frustration, angst and dissatisfaction - things that happy people don't experience. Their recent piece, named 'Papering Over the Cracks', hints at this. It saddens me enormously to think that there are Evertonians out there who feel even the slightest tinge of regret when we win. Winning should be about delight, ecstasy (the emotion, not the tablet), and sharing joy with your family and friends.
The counter-argument to this angle is that we would all accept a few defeats if it led to more success in the long run. If God were to offer us two choices - an FA cup this season followed by relegation next year, or a poor run this season followed by a board overhaul and success over the next few years, then we would of course choose the latter. But unfortunately no such offer is on the table, and things aren't so simple. When I try to imagine how the Blue Union might help matters, I struggle. Their primary objective appears to be to persuade the club to appoint professionals to help find a buyer. For the club to buckle, to agree to make such an appointment, I believe one of two things would have to happen first. Either attendances reach such a low that the club feels it needs to win back some support, or protest numbers become so large that the club succumbs to pressure. Theoretically, either of these scenarios is possible, so let's say that one of them does occur. The club appoints professionals to search for a buyer. The search begins. A buyer is found with money to put into the club. The debt is wiped out, we buy great new players, maybe even a new stadium in Liverpool.
This all sounds great, I would love to see this happen, the problem is that there are just too many ifs, buts and maybes for me to give up any of the pleasure I take in watching my team win. Is there really any better feeling than being in Goodison Park when its in bear-pit mode? It doesn't happen every week but there are a still a few "limbs everywhere" moments every season.
Two clear sides appear to exist when the topic of the Blue Union is discussed, and I've heard some pretty nasty slurs coming from both. It is a sensitive issue because it relates to the club that we love. I've heard or read the Blue Union being referred to as kopites, power-hungry, fame-seeking and even sexually frustrated. Personally I think they are just Evertonians who believe they are doing the right thing, which is why I find it all the more sad to see the road they are taking, and the division that currently exists within the Evertonian family.
Non-followers of the Blue Union have been referred to as apathetic. So am I apathetic? I don't believe so. I'm sometimes moved to tears by events on the pitch - our semi-final victory over Manchester United being the most recent. I still get butterflies when I hear z-cars. There is something inexpressible about my feelings for Everton, so I reject any claims of apathy.
Sadly, Everton are in financial difficulty. So what am I going to do about it? Until I hear a more convincing suggestion, the same thing I have always done. Buy a season ticket every year, and go to a few away games. Buy the odd bit of merchandise, sing, cheer the team on, aim insults at the opposition. Be happy when we win, and occasionally ecstatic. Be dejected when we lose, and occasionally heart-broken. Because that's really what its all about isn't it? Monsieur Bleu