I received an email early October from Everton. I've started to pay attention to the emails I receive from them as these days they appear to be informative and interesting and not just the usual spam. This was an invitation to apply for a ticket for the conference to be held later in the month where Leighton Baines, Phil Jagielka and Graeme Sharp would be in attendance alongside our CEO answering questions........I clicked to apply but didn't think much more about it. I received an email from Christine saying my application had been successful and I was to be at the Alex Young Suite on Friday 19th October for 7pm prompt.
To be honest, I had no idea what to expect thinking it was something of a forum so began to think of appropriate questions that had bugged me.....Ladies Replica kits, away ticket allocations and important stuff like Why the street end sells cider but the main stand doesn't! There was even moments when I thought about just getting home from work on a Friday night and putting my weary pins up with a beer rather than having to drive into Liverpool and have to drive home sober!
On arrival I was given a print of the current squad personalised with my name, nice touch! The room was laid out with about 12 circular tables all with an ice buckets full of Chang. There was food laid on too though I didn't partake, smelt tastier than the half time offerings from the stands though!
Alan Irwin was the compere, Jags and Bainesy took to the stage and answered his questioning firstly on England and then about Everton. Both looked and seemed relaxed and went round being photographed at each table and signing autographs of photos that had been distributed.
Next and in the current trend of standing and addressing the people without the help of cards or autocue, came Robert Elstone. He spoke a little on his background and how he came to be in such a privileged position at Everton. He spoke of his years on the terraces watching Rugby League which gave him empathy when it came to Football fans. The clubs priorities were mentioned numerous times throughout which were Investment and a new ground, neither of which we have though interested parties were mentioned but it seemed the stumbling block could have to do with the fact that we don't have a shiny new stadium....a vicious circle then. I liked the mention of the core business of the club which is recruiting developing and retaining players.....I've heard that so many times in HR presentations but it's true. There was also an emphasis on the whole 'match day experience' and making it a memorable day with better parking, improved food, enough toilets and events for the family. Lovely idealistic vision but the match day experience for me is fantastic every time we win and 'memorable' is usually a 1.30pm kick off when I'm a tad more sober. He then took questions from the floor which varied from shareholders being disgruntled at the abrogation of the AGM's which it was felt were no longer constructive. The abysmal 'match day experience' some fans had at the Leyton Orient game having to queue for tickets and miss the beginning of the game, Robert apologised and shared that for the Sunderland game, fans will be able to print their own tickets. The debt of the club was raised and well answered in that the results for 2011/12 were not good however the debt was now under control and we have a much better squad of players and that money would be available in January. The CEO returned to answer further questions that were raised to Graeme Sharp when he took to the floor which again Robert answered. I liked him, he appeared human, honest and with a hunger for improving things, though sometimes unrealistic yet ambitious if that makes any sense!
Sharpy was up then with his away day mate Alan and taking questions from the floor. I get the feeling he believes this team and what we currently have at Everton is something special and it wasn't the Chang as I was driving but I tend to believe him too. He was then presented with a Birthday cake and there was a half hearted attempt to sing Happy Birthday to him but it was so bad that we didn't even get our piece of cake wrapped in a serviette when we left.
Everton didn't have to do this and I was impressed that they did so and that people gave up their Friday night to spend some time with their fans. I had an enjoyable evening in the company of fellow Evertonians, thank you EFC.