Everton Chief Executive Officer Denise Barrett-Baxendale says the “blue thread” binding Carlo Ancelotti’s squad was a significant factor in the Club’s acclaimed coronavirus response.
The annual Premier League Fan Survey, released this month, produced Everton’s best results in the 25 years since supporters were first asked for their views on various elements of off-field performance.
Champions League football and silverware are the stated targets for manager Ancelotti and his players.
And, insists Professor Barrett-Baxendale, Everton are intent on operating in a similarly elite sphere off the pitch – a commitment underlined when the Club launched its transformational Blue Family campaign four days before the country entered a national lockdown in March last year.
Everton’s CEO sourced “great pride” from supporters’ overwhelmingly positive survey responses.
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COLEMAN'S HEARTWARMING CALL TO NURSE WHO MADE COVID SACRIFICE
Of those quizzed, 90 per cent asserted Everton had “supported its fans” throughout the pandemic, a figure 26 points above the Premier League average.
The 92 per cent who believed Everton supported its local community represented a rating 24-per-cent higher than the divisional average.
And while 79 per cent of fans across the division were impressed by the conduct of their respective club's players, that number rose to 92 per cent among Evertonians.
“With the players, there’s a blue thread right through them,” said Barrett-Baxendale.
“They understand the community commitment. Seamus [Coleman] is a wonderful captain, somebody very much in connection with the community.
“I’m really proud we’re 30 points above Premier League average [84-54 per cent] in supporters believing we listen to them.
“We’re custodians. It’s really important that 95 per cent of our fans think our leadership maintains the traditions of the Club [15 per cent above division average].
“Clubs are competitive about where they come in this survey of fans’ approval.
“The points difference between the average ratings and our club’s ratings are really important to me because I don’t want to be average.
“I want us to be Champions League off the pitch and this is the evidence of how we’ve been able to achieve that.
“We are competitive because we want to deliver the best service we can for our fans.”
The strategic football vision under Ancelotti and Marcel Brands, Everton’s Director of Football, reinforces Professor Barrett-Baxendale, is to “compete at the top of the league, win trophies and… [play] Champions League football”.
“We want to be in Europe and have secured the manager we believe will help us get there,” said Barrett-Baxendale.
Additionally, Ancelotti and Brands have bought wholesale into the Club’s off-field values.
Professor Barrett-Baxendale describes Blue Family as “A people’s club protecting the people within our community”.
“Carlo is as interested in the new stadium and how he can contribute and support me as he is in the community programme and working on a masterplan for USM Finch Farm,” continued Professor Barrett-Baxendale.
“Carlo wants to contribute in whatever way he can to the future of the Club. Marcel’s very much the same.
“We’re very fortunate to have Carlo. He’s so calm, so considered and so compassionate.
"No matter what I’ve requested from him, going on telephone calls, doing video recordings, having access to players for additional support, and deliveries, he’s been incredible.
"We are so gifted to have a gentleman of that stature and that leadership pedigree.
"He absolutely loves the Club.”
Italian Ancelotti proactively sought engagement in the Club’s Blue Family campaign, devised to support and assist the most vulnerable and isolated community members throughout the pandemic.
He was among a number of senior figures, including Professor Barrett-Baxendale, Chairman Bill Kenwright and a host of First-Team stars, to make personal calls to supporters.
“We’ve supported more than 29,000 vulnerable and at-risk families across Liverpool during the pandemic,” added Professor Barrett-Baxendale.
“We’ve provided more than 26,000 check-in and welfare calls by staff, players, Club Ambassadors and Carlo.
"We’ve delivered 15,500 food parcels and vouchers and provided 265,000 meals to schoolchildren and people in need across Liverpool.
"We’ve supported 3,350 families with utility bills, mobile phone credit and essential household items.
"We’ve provided 570 laptops for schoolchildren.
"We’re proud of our COVID response.”