Friday, 8 July 2011

What is going on at the Liverpool Echo?

Choo choo!
Among the usual internet rumblings of discontent among some Evertonians, one lad said on Twitter that he was part of some fans' group looking to get national press interest in their movement.
I thought they had no chance, but fair play, Chris 'Bosco' Bascombe of the nearly-defunct News of The World blogged this.
The reason I thought they - the People's Group I think - had no chance is the reluctance of the Echo, to put it bluntly, to do their fucking jobs properly.
For too long now the Echo's Everton coverage has read like it was pre-approved by the club, with David Prentice - for my money, the best football writer in the country - penning increasingly irritating articles, like this.
He's also gone for the old line of asking people on Twitter, who dare to think the current owner/board might not be doing a stellar job, who they imagine will come in and save the day.
It's a horrible ruse that one, laying the onus at the feet of the paying customer - of the club and the paper - rather than at those who should be responsible.
Prentice, Echo Everton reporter Greg O'Keefe, sports editor John Thompson and editor Alastair Machray should be demanding to know what the hell's going on.
This is a club limping through seasons relying on the monoped Louis Saha for goals, that is mortgaged up the wazoo with apparently no further credit to call on, and whose squad - while being decent - contains a lot of players who will have little or no resale value by the last couple of years of their contracts.
When they're gone, what next? Because we have no money, and the only money we seem able to get is from player sales. What when that dries up? Do we expect David Moyes to keep finding bargains that we can sell on to Manchester United? A risky strategy.
Bill Kenwright must love the Echo as they never seem to ask any tricky questions. Top of my head - Philip Green, Fortress Fund, Keith Harris, King's Dock, Kirkby, Dan Gosling, "no plan B". So many fuck ups which all seem to drift by.
Season ticket queue declared 'a slow burner'
And what do we get from the Echo? Phil Neville's rallying cries and shite about how Tony Hibbert isn't arsed whether he ever scores a goal (you fucking should be, it's the object of the game).
Cards on the table here - I've worked as a reporter and in a football club's press office. So I know how difficult it is to strike a balance between finding out what the readers/supporters want - and deserve - to know and not upsetting the club to the point they get the arse.
That said, what we appear to be seeing with the Echo - and I suspect the Daily Post too but I don't pay as much attention there - is a massive dereliction of duty.
For too long now Evertonians have been told we can't expect better, that we should be careful what we wish for. But this isn't just any club - this is one of the most successful in the country. Two generations have grown up thinking a 4th to 7th place finish represents 'success'. Nil satis nisi you what?
How can the local paper - which once had the second biggest evening paper circulation outside of London - not be at least curious at Everton's slide into, and subsequent embrace of, mediocrity?
Are they really so shit-scared of the club that they abandon completely the principles of news gathering? Are they asking questions or are they just hoping the current apathy which grips many Evertonians (me included) will continue, thus getting them off the hook?
It's a newspaper and Everton is one of the most important, and biggest, things on their patch. Right now with Everton heading into an uncertain future the club should be front and back page news - proper news, demanding answers of those in power, those who doubtless have good intentions but appear unable to deliver what Evertonians deserve.
If the answers are unpalatable then so be it - but let's get the questions asked. We've seen one great newspaper institution perish this week, let's hope we're not living through the slow lingering death of another.


  1. Is money changing hands? In my time at the Echo (88-96) the sports dept was producing fan mags for both teams. I can't believe that the chance of commercial gain would be passed up now even if it meant the Echo (and the DP, such as it is) going soft.

  2. as far as i know, the post and echo (trinity mirror strictly speaking) produce everton's matchday proey and the evertonian magazine - former echo sports ed ken rogers was involved. he was some kind of exec sports ed for the echo after that i think.
    everton produce the editorial but the echo put it together.