The Blue Union public meeting - Part two

Posted by Luke O'Farrell

Kevin Mirallas Everton injuryPA PhotosEverton's lack of squad depth was highlighted in January, with many players unable to take the rest they needed

Colin Fitzpatrick proceeded to explain how "nobody in the local press supports us". He expanded his point. "The things that matter, the things that have destroyed the club, which I've just shown you, we know they [Liverpool Echo] know the answers."

The Blue Union met with the Liverpool Echo around two months ago and provided a series of extensive questions relating to the club. However, they feel there has been no progress on this front: "They won't report it, that's fine."

- The Blue Union public meeting - Part one

Ending his financial section on a resounding note, the Blue Union Press Officer proclaimed: "I know what I'm going to be doing in the future. I don't need the Echo, I don't need Kitbag. So I know what I am doing, what are you doing?"

After this, Dave Kelly returned to the microphone. "I'm pleased to see the Echo in attendance and I hope they do their attendance the justice it deserves. I would like to see a full account of what goes on here, because that is what we want."

The meeting then went up a level as the question and answer session began with Southall. Quickly building up a rapport with those in attendance, the former Everton goalkeeper soon had the room in fits of laughter after ribbing a number of supporters.

On the more serious side, Southall offered his thoughts on the club: "The problem is transparency, I think that's been the problem all along. For all we know, Bill Kenwright might have spoken to 10 people [about buying the club]. I would like to see a company brought in to sell it, and be transparent, and say, 'this week we spoke to three'. At least that way there is a bit of honesty."

On the ongoing search for investment, Southall had this to say: "Look, I can't, for the life of me, work out why they can't sell the club. I do think somebody should be able to sell this club, in all fairness. It is just one of them clubs; best fans in the world, great history, great players."

Once again, the club legend returned to the idea of transparency. "I'd like Bill Kenwright to come out at half time of the first game and say, 'thanks for coming, really appreciate it, this is what we're trying to do, this is our way forward'. He ended this part with a typically no-nonsense statement. "If it is the people's Club, surely the chairman should speak to the f*****g people."

Southall proceeded to discuss the current squad. "I think we are four players short, look at January. Some players needed a rest, but there was nothing really in there to give them a rest and we petered out."

In terms of bridging the gap between sixth place and the holy grail of a Champions League place, Everton need "a centre half, a midfield player and a striker or two" and "missed a trick" when Jack Butland joined Stoke.

The conversation shifted onto ambition: "For the last, god knows how long, it has been so negative around the club." Southall continued, "money doesn't buy you success, it helps now and again, but it doesn't buy you success. You've been sold a vision that finishing sixth is f*****g great."

On the prospect of some of the better players leaving in the summer, Southall left supporters in no doubt over his thoughts. "If they don't want to be here, well f*** them, let them go somewhere else."

Worshipped by those in attendance, that level of respect is clearly reciprocated: "We've had good times, we've had some horrendous times, but the one constant is you [the supporters]. That's what makes the difference. To be fair, when you look at the Bayern Munich game [in 1985] we would have lost that but for you."

Returning to off the pitch matters, Southall closed with several pertinent points. "I'm not a particularly great lover of the board, but at the same time I don't hear anybody saying who can come in and replace them; that's the biggest problem. You are doing a good thing; but what is the aim, who is going to take their place, where is the money going to come from?

Whether the answers to these questions should come from The Blue Union, Everton Football Club, the local media, or a mixture of the three, it is obvious the answers to these questions would enable the club to move forward.

Southall ended the serious side of his comments with a final point on investment: "If you are going to have investment, it has got to be the right investment with the right people who know the history of the club and get you, get the history, and get what it means to you. That is why it is not bad for Martinez to come here, he's been in the North West and he knows what the club means to people."

Rounding off the meeting, the Blue Union welcomed suggestions and discussed possible measures for their campaign. While the group "will not advocate the boycotting of matches", they "will advocate boycotting the partners of the club."

Having had three public meetings within four months, from September 2011 – January 2012, the gap to this meeting was an overly long seventeen months. As a result, the group proposed regular meetings in a bid to "sell their message" and "get people knowing it".

The Blue Union may not be to the liking of all Everton supporters, some like them, many more loathe them, yet it was clear from the meeting on Saturday that each attendee wants the best for their football club and no supporter should be criticised for that.

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