For my final piece (you’ll be glad to hear) on Bramley-Moore I’d like to focus on the branding and marketing of the stadium, and indeed the club and why we need to adhere to the highest standards and expectations.
As I’ve tried to demonstrate in the previous two articles this is a time to be bold and innovative whilst very much drawing upon the incredible richness of the Everton and Goodison Park history and our significance in the global game of football.
I make no apology for having a view of our football club which perhaps younger supporters have difficulty recognising. I was born in a decade when the City of Liverpool was still one of the great ports of the world, Liverpool as a city was a global cultural capital, and Everton, the Mersey Millionaires, the Bank of England football club was at the peak of its and the game’s powers.
I fundamentally believe we have an enthralling story which is multi-faceted and has the widest possible appeal locally, nationally, and internationally drawing in stakeholders and partners with shared values, a story which can return us to the top of the game.
But our branding and how we act must reflect our history, our status, our achievements, our innovation and yes, our role in the local communities of Walton and the wider city, in order to make that return.
Nil Satis Nisi Optimum
In other words, Nil Satis Nisi Optimum, except for clarity we need people to know “only the best is good enough”. It is interesting that the club motto was adopted after a brief period of success in the 1930’s following our first relegation. To me it became our motto to act as a warning never to allow standards to slip again. Clearly, we have not maintained it consistently but now at this critical period we must. It must be the standard applied internally, the standard applied to everything the club produces from football to marketing material to the stadium itself, and it must apply to every partner associated with the club. It must be the quality mark of everything and everyone associated with Everton.
We should be unequivocal in our desire to meet that standard ourselves, but also in demanding them from everyone wishing to be associated with our club and name.
The People’s Club?
In my opinion attempting to brand the club with “The People’s Club” and associating the new stadium with it is a completely wrong and limiting move. Firstly, we’re not, as has been suggested, known as “The People’s Club” the world over. We have a 140 year old brand in “Everton” which is known throughout the footballing world. Why attempt to re-brand an established name for something which to many will be meaningless or at best, limiting?
Everton is a brand that is invaluable. We are unique in being the only club that is both a founder of the first football league in the world, but also a founding club and ever present in the Premier League, the world’s richest, most popular and competitive league. So not only were we instrumental in creating the first league, we were instrumental in creating the league which changed the footballing model forever. We are known throughout the game for our past innovations, first purpose built ground, first to present medals, first club to go on a overseas tour, first football team to be televised, first to have 4 two tiered stands, first to have a three tiered stand, the list goes on. Now we must take that deserved reputation for innovation and be market leaders once more.
Not only is the name Everton respected for our past and our achievements, but also our style, values and integrity. Associated with a unique, “career defining” (in the words of Dan Meis) stadium it can also represent the future. We should be selling our club, our stadium with (I hope) its modern innovative features, its connection to the city and the city’s heritage, technology and sustainable footprint combined with our business models, as the way to run a modern football club.
The Senior Club of the City
All of the above is why we are the senior club in the City. Not only for our age, but for our role in developing the game that defines the sporting nature of Liverpool, for building three grounds, for having one of the world’s greatest charity and community support organisations, but also for what we are about to achieve for the City itself. We will lead an enormous regeneration and redevelopment of the North and the Northern Docks whilst providing revenues for essential services delivered by an austerity hit local authority.
We should in terms of design and budget and ultimately the final product, be proving that football’s excesses as demonstrated by the new Spurs stadium and the planned Chelsea stadium are not required in order to have a world class stadium and professional football club. If we want the club and stadium to be closer to its community, let’s do so in terms of its design, its affordability, its role in the life of a vibrant city, albeit a city with huge social and economic needs. That’s how you become a meaningful Club of the People, not just a strap line that suited the club for a short period of time when we truly were un-competitive and under-dogs in a booming Premier League.
The benefits are obvious and huge.
By the uniqueness of approach, through innovation, the re-writing of what and how a football club is and how it interacts with its city, the commitment to the best on and off the field we will attract partners who share those values. By definition, Corporations with such values are successful and therefore have the budgets to provide the commercial support and global presence our club needs.
In three articles I’ve looked at what makes Goodison special and why many of those elements should be reflected in our new, unique stadium. I’ve looked at why we need to bring innovation into the design, build and into what the stadium provides on match days and throughout the time when no football is played there.
But finally, and perhaps most importantly, when examining what Everton means as a brand, we are a football club with an unmatchable history, and as we have always been, innovators bringing in new experiences and models, operational, community engagement and financial in terms of our stadium, its location, our connection to the City and the club that plays there.
Our future is in our hands
This is all possible, if we have the vision, the desire, the skills and the application to get us there. We are told by our major shareholder the financial resources are there, which is comforting when have lacked such for decades, however, more than anything we need genuine ambition, a very real hunger to excel and an absolute, steely-eyed determination to get the job done. Without leadership, passion and application and the right people to execute them, we are wasting Moshiri’s resources but more importantly failing to meet our motto and the standards upon which the club was built.
The decisions the club makes in the next few months will define our future, once and for all. The right decisions will ensure that our future can be as glorious, and perhaps even more glorious than our incredible past.
Thanks for reading!