Yet More Managers And Badge Caper

creativity

Hey you, the rock steady crew.

Get on Everton, lurching from their slumber and gittin’ they house in order.

First up, as predicted, Robert Elstone has chosen, to use a favourite Max Clifford phrase ‘GET IN THE FUCKING VAN OR I’LL CUT YOU!’, no, hang on, a different one, and that is ‘to get in front’ of a situation. The whole badge thing was snowballing – well, the petition was getting loads of signatures and the papers were all running gleeful, teasing stories – and the club had the choice of hunkering down and waiting for everyone to get bored, which they would have eventually, or getting on the ‘front foot’. To their credit they chose the latter option, held their hands up and said they will put things right.

You can’t say any fairer than that.

Before anyone gets too carried away with what happened though, don’t get drunk on power like the Moonies over the park who still think they kicked ‘Dem Yanks’ out. This was a relatively easy thing for Everton to turn around and make some PR capital out of and so they did. Don’t think that you will ever influence anything genuinely significant via the medium of the outraged tweet.

Just for the record, it’s been slightly irritating seeing people like the Guardian’s Paul Wilson and the Creative Review cover the situation in some depth and yet manage to miss the main gripe that Evertonians seem to have with the new badge, i.e. that judged purely on aesthetics it looks silly and cheap and lacks any of the inherent gravitas that characterises the venerable institution that is Everton Football Club. Regardless of the motto or any other single element, whoever designed that thing just didn’t ‘get it’.

Similarly Elstone over-emphasised the whole lack of supporter consultation. It just needed to be a decent design and there would have been very little fuss. Obviously you can’t please everyone, but anything that obeyed any sort of basic design principles for a start would have certainly avoided the outcry that has so embarrassed the club over the last few days.

And speaking of shitty branding, Dave Whelan, whose DW Sports shops’ signage looks as if it’s based on the theme of ‘Soho tourist trap sex club’, reckons that now Roberto Martinez has quit Wigan he should join Everton.

For some reason Bill Kenwright is trying to be all coy, but surely he must know already if the Spaniard is the man he wants. Acting as if he‘s going to have him and Alan Stubbs back in for an ‘assessment centre’ in a mid-priced hotel followed by a final panel interview just seems a bit wishy-washy. Manchester United have already started booting people out and plotting who they are going to nab from Everton while it seems on the surface at least that we are still getting Malky Mackay to sit an in-tray test and asking Phil Neville to give us an example of a time when he did something really shit that let loads of people down and how did he handle it.

‘By pointing, hmmm. No, that’s fine.’

Will Martinez – let’s just say it’s going to be him – be the best choice? There’s really no way of knowing, is there? You just have to look at the positives, and they are ostensibly that his teams play attacking football, everyone within the game seems to really rate him, and perhaps one thing that doesn’t really get mentioned is that his players work their plums off for him. That was one of Moyes’s great strengths, getting the players to graft, and Martin O’Neill once said that Brian Clough told him it was one of the most important things about management; if you get players who will run for you then you are halfway there.

Martinez is also, reportedly, a control freak workaholic, and that is something Everton definitely need in the wake of Moyes – someone to lead, make decisions and provide a sense of purpose. A ‘vision’ is straying into Brendan Rodgers territory, but you get the gist. We need someone who can try and make a team that is greater than the sum of its parts, and given the work he did at Wigan – where you could at least see what he was trying to achieve – then Martinez is certainly in that mold.

We don’t have the squad or the money to have some slightly distant ‘head coach’ figure, we need a manager whose whole reputation hinges on doing the best for Everton, and that’s why the board seem willing to take a chance – which it obviously is – on someone who has just been relegated.

This is all dependent on him taking the job, obviously. If he goes to Malaga instead then he’s shite and we’ve dodged a crafty-combed, weird-staring-over-the-interviewer’s-shoulder, ill-fitting-overcoat-wearing bullet. The twat.

Badges and Managers and That

mini collection badges

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.

No problem.

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.

Limp on.