The protests lasted four days before the self-styled ‘People’s Club’ gave in. In years to come, the 2013/2014 Everton Football Club badge will be remembered for the hamfistedness of its introduction and rapidity of its fall, rather than for any merits that history may award it for its actual design.
What were the club thinking? The final matches of the season have been played (bar some international friendlies that no one cares about). There are lots of pages at the back of newspapers to fill. More to the point, Everton don’t currently have a manager. Assuming that the new manager is not a man with an Everton background, he will be only the third such appointment since January 1994. So it is a time of extreme uncertainty for Blues fans. Now is the time to reassure supporters that the club’s traditions remain sacrosanct (note the use of the Latin-derived word there), not to mess around with towers, laurels and mottoes.
Football fans are notoriously sentimental and conservative. Especially the ones that follow clubs with a great tradition. ESPECIALLY the ones that follow clubs with a great tradition that haven’t won anything lately. When you have Nil New Trophia In Cabinetus, don’t mess with Nil Satis Nisi Optimum. Even if it has come and gone from the club badge quite happily previously:
It isn’t as though the club hadn’t done its work, as it rather defiantly pointed out (hey! great idea to be both obsequious and bolshy in the same statement). It was a reasonable attempt to solve a difficult problem. The launch area of the website shows a great deal of work and a thought process – but there are gaps and I think that the language is misjudged. As I’ve argued before, British football fans don’t like to see themselves as loyal to a brand – we want to be part of a cause.
Where was the openness? All the talk about consultation seems a bit fishy given that the shareholders group say that they hadn’t seen the official proposals. Fans have cliques like anyone else and the official Forum is obviously mistrusted by a large part of the fan base. There is talk about non-disclosure agreements. Ridiculously, it is suggested that the fans will like the new badge once they’ve watched the introductory video. Why not talk to fans and get their ideas? They’re coming up with them on line anyway?
Why wasn’t the work more complete? It was known that the dropping of the Latin motto would be controversial. If it’s going to be on merchandise, show us the merchandise, even if it’s a mock up. Showing it on a big carpet on the technical area isn’t good enough.
Why wasn’t it launched properly? Earlier (ie. last season) and wish a flourish. Despite their talk about branding, Everton have made the discussion not about the brand but about the new badge. Palace launched theirs at the Player of the Year Awards, a huge love-in, and presented it when the audience were good and ready. They made it about Palace, about something we were all doing together. Everton let the debate become about the pros and cons of the design.
Where were the figureheads backing the badge? I don’t mean a couple of current players. If you’re doing something that could be interpreted as changing history you need past players who are associated with history. Moyes could have launched it towards the end of what was a reasonably successful season…unless the plan was to (Paul) Ride out (see what I did there?) any dissent? Look how well that plan worked.
Now the club has made another mistake. In saying that everyone will have a say in the 2014-onwards badge they have swung too far in the other direction and made a rod for their own back.
Without wanting to crow, contrast with the way that Palace went about it. They came up with ideas that people hated – but, through the debate found partners whom the fans trusted. Having established what was important the club retained control. Dave Bassett’s first spell in charge at Selhurst lasted the same amount of time as the new badge at Goodison, but our new badge has already outlasted them both.