Work to be done as common sense prevails

Posted by Luke O'Farrell

Premier LeaguePA PhotosWill Roberto Martinez take the focus off Everton's 'badge-gate'?

The early afternoon developments on the managerial front were heaven-sent. In all honesty, any news is welcome at present, whether it is about a new manager or additional lawnmowers, it does not matter. Anything providing a break from badge-gate is a relief. Boasting a tower similar to the residence of a Lord of the Rings character, the vast majority of supporters voiced their displeasure towards the new design.

- Jolly on Martinez exit

The badge petition has over 23,000 signatures, there is a Twitter account edging towards 5,000 followers, and 91% of supporters on fan site Toffeeweb either disliked or hated the badge; the poll comprised of over 12,000 supporters.

Given the strong opposition to the badge, Evertonians gained a moral victory earlier when the club issued an apology regarding the design. Nevertheless, the fact remains, the situation should have never got this far.

The documents accompanying the badge launch on Saturday went to great lengths to explain how "the new design has been created following an extensive consultation process with the fans". Fast-forward just 72 hours and the club apology offers the swiftest of backtracks: "Our Chairman had demanded widespread consultation and we stopped short of that".

Having submitted the crest to kit suppliers and finalised the merchandise, Everton have no choice but to use the new design in 2013-14; the following season a new badge will arrive after consulting supporters.

Unfortunately for the club, though brought on by their own errors, merchandise sales may suffer next season. Any products sold in the upcoming campaign have a one-year shelf life and fans may view investing in a product with such a short life span as a futile exercise.

Moving forward, supporters are sure to keep a keen eye on developments, especially the new consultation process. The statement outlines the basic setup for the future design, “Evertonians from all sections of the fan-base will be pulled together in a fully transparent way”.

"This group will conduct an in-depth review of all aspects of past and present Club Crests. The panel will then develop ideas and put forward suggestions to you. Evertonians will make the final decision".

One of the closing comments in the statement is somewhat contentious, given the removal of the annual general meetings in 2008, "We have worked hard over recent years to give our fans a greater sense of involvement in the Club and dialogue flows openly and freely in many areas”.

The Everton Shareholders’ Association recently received the required number of votes to force the club into holding a general meeting. However, it is only due to the work of the shareholders that the meeting is on the horizon, as noted in their accompanying press release, “We are very disappointed to announce that we have failed to convince the Board of Directors to voluntarily convene a General Meeting “.

Tying in with the failure to consult shareholders and supporters over the badge, it appears there is still work to be done before Everton can truly call themselves the ‘People’s Club’. The apology and future badge changes are a step in the right direction, but supporters are unlikely to forget this saga in a hurry. Everton will need to work hard to regain the trust of their passionate fan-base.

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