Everton backlash

TERRY JONES, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:25 AM ET

What you are about to read are two letters signed by Mike Koziol of Enbridge Pipelines in Edmonton.

They address the uncaring Everton soccer club thumbing their nose at the locals on a visit to the colonies and fans forced to pay twice the price of a Premier League fixture at Goodiston Park to watch them play.

Everton's top players, Tim Howard and Phil Neville, didn't start Saturday's international exhibition against River Plate at Commonwealth Stadium, and Neville only played 26 minutes. Of the eight players pictured on the full page Edmonton Cup ads, three didn't play and only two went from start to finish.

Ticket prices ranged from $40 to $105, and the announced crowd of 15,800 made it obvious the backers took a financial bath.

The first letter, to Everton F.C., should be sent to the teams they line up for million dollar-appearance fees before they sign the deal.

The second letter should be studied by the backers before they make the same mistakes again with ticket pricing.

Letter 1

Dear Everton FC:

You should be ashamed to call yourself a class organization after failing to provide any sort of opposition or entertainment against River Plate.

Your decision to fly to the match on the same day and not field any of your so-called "stars" reeks of a money grab.

It was obvious from the kickoff that you had no interest in being there and your tactics were disgraceful. I've never seen so many back passes to a goalkeeper; every time the ball was turned over to you (not by any aggressive tackling on your part but by missed passes by River), instead of turning the play up-field you were content to manoeuver the ball back to your goalkeeper (what's his name, because it wasn't Tim Howard.)

I was really hoping to see an excellent match but you turned this into a farce because the instructions from your manager were clear: Let's just get out of here, boys!

Why does Manchester United have so many fans around the world? Because when they travel to another part of the world they take time to meet the fans and many of their best players take part in the matches.

They go out to sell their brand of football. You obviously don't.

Letter 2

Dear Bruno Mastroprimiano and Tom and Dave Fath:

How can you justify the outrageous ticket prices for the match between Everton and River Plate?

Yes, I understand that you need to recoup your money, but you also need to make it affordable to do so.

I purchased the second-lowest priced tickets at $70.25 each.

You need to realize that you can double your attendance by lowering the ticket prices by 30-40% and create a greater atmosphere at the game. I saw very few youngsters in attendance.

Your comparison to the Oilers prices cannot be substantiated.

Yes, ticket prices are high for the Oilers, but the building only holds 17,000. You had a facility that holds 60,000.

I hope that you will try again next year to bring in some top quality teams. With the right promotion and the right ticket prices I'm confident you will be successful.

- - - - - -

Koziol is bang on.

The organizers have the right idea here for an annual set of games featuring top international teams.

But it's pointless if they can't put at least 40,000 fans in the stands at more reasonable prices -- including the soccer youth of the community.

And if the clubs you bring here don't come to spend time in town, at least start their most famous players.

Otherwise the entire project is pointless.


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