The internet ‘shit storm’ that Everton have drawn down upon themselves with the unveiling of the new badge has certainly kept everyone entertained during the end-of-season lull.
This could be well wide of the mark, but it looks a bit like they came up with the new design one morning, sent it out to the suppliers and then got a bit of a shock by the reactions they witnessed when it initially got leaked. They then spent an inordinate amount of time and effort coming up with this whole backstory about the design process which culminated in a video which should have been titled something like ‘The new badge: it’s honestly not as shit as you think’ or a broader ‘Looks – are they overrated in graphic design?’
The biggest problem they have with the video, and indeed all the information they put out justifying the ‘design choices’ they made, is that it just digs a deeper hole for them. All the buzzy phrases about being ‘dynamic’ and a badge that can ‘take us forward’ (how exactly, it’s a badge?) are all fair enough. And again, stressing how important it is to have a clear symbol that represents the club out in ‘the market’ seems a legitimate point too. You can also argue with some justification, as they have, about the primacy of any individual element, how the badge has evolved over time and the reasons why the one they’ve been using for a while needed an update.
Where all these talking points come unstuck though, and where they have hoisted themselves by their own petard, is that they make this strong case and then completely undermine it by unveiling something that fails to meet any of the criteria they set out.
In essence, it just looks shit. No one can talk about that with a straight face and say that any love or attention has gone into the design. The proportions are weird – it’s only a couple of celtic twists away from looking like someone’s shit tattoo that makes everyone wince behind their back while saying, ‘Yeah, looks sound that mate. Er, you can put your shirt down now’.
Something modern, dynamic and all that sexy jazz would have been fine, but this bloated Mikel-Silvestre’s-head-looking concoction is none of those things.
In some ways if they hadn’t bothered with the video and the ‘look, these fans said it was alright’ nonsense they could have almost got away with saying ‘Fucking hell, it’s only a badge, we’ll change it back next year you bunch of tarts’, but now they’ve painted themselves into something of a corner.
Incidentally, anyone who was on those fans forums who now feels they are being unfairly used as a stooge by the club has learnt a lesson the hard way. It’s a shitty thing to do though to people who love the club, are made up to be involved and are only hoping to try and make some positive contribution.
Ultimately it is only a badge, and not the end of the world, but when you are a club like Everton who struggle to make progress in terms of football’s ‘meta game’ then you have to at least make sure you get most of the small stuff right. In fairness to them almost everyone would admit that they have made great strides in terms of their PR and marketing, but they need to hold their hands up and acknowledge that this badge thing is proper Cliff Finch ‘ah, fuck them’ territory.
Like the manager situation, where we’ve been left looking weak, this needs someone to ‘man the fuck up’ – and that’s essentially Robert Elstone, because that’s just not Bill Kenwright territory – and say ‘We’ve clearly misjudged this and although we like the design we acknowledge that it’s not in keeping with what the majority of our fans expect. We’re committed to it for the next season but we will look at ways of updating it again over the next year’. Then they announce a competition, throwing the design open to genuine designers and the wider public, they narrow it down to the best five designs and have a big vote.
Turn a challenge into an opportunity and all that.
To be honest, in instances like this we normally say ‘but do you think they will?’ but it seems almost inconceivable that they won’t do something like that.
Going back to the manager thing, even the bookies seem bored of it now. The latest story is that Dave Whelan wants £5 million compensation for a coach who just took his side down.