I think fan engagement is vital on a new stadium that will last us 50 years or so, so outlive most of us on here.I think we having to adapt to a new world where the gap between 'business necessities' and fans 'needs' is widening. There's been moaning on here for years about the club's attitude to fans but having experience elsewhere I feel it is as good as any and better than most. I think the change is inevitable if we are serious about competing at a higher level, however, that doesn't mean fans views should not still be actively researched and listened to. Some of the things I would like to see are incredibly trivial in the wider scheme of things but it would help me to embrace the new dawn because it would be meaningful to me.
We're not going to be telling them to increase the leg room by a centimetre on each knee, but telling them whether or not the stadium looks like it will meet our expectations or not is important.
Suggesting small things that people at the club won't have thought of because they've either never experienced matchday from a supporter's point of view, or the current stadium and expectations from fans have changed dramatically since they last went in the Boy's Pen.
I don't have much faith in any kind of non-Everton focus group either - the kind of thing the FSF would put together about the whole Premier League fan base - and nor do I have, and I'm sorry @Bally and everyone else on it, but I don't have too much faith in the Fans' Forum. Not because of accusations of being "yes men" or whatever for the club, because I know Bally and have spoken to other members enough to know that's not the case. I do, however, feel that there are times when the club use the Fans Forum as a way of saying "Yeah we spoke to the fans and they loved it" (the old badge being the biggest example) and that there are people within the club who see the FF as a way of saying "yeah we did do consultation" without rolling it out properly.
Every time the club has moved - or got to a stage where they could put forward plans - there has been a vote given to supporters, except this time. I would expect the result to have been overwhelmingly in favour, so there's no need for a vote on the location, but I do think there has been a huge gap between club and fans on the current plans to move. Maybe the GM will throw up more interaction, but that's unlikely given the fact that they are treated more as a way of giving presentations to the shareholders than being an actual meeting where real questions can be asked / addressed.
When 1874 Northwich was rising from the ashes of the disaster that was Northwich Victoria fans were included as far as possible. 4 years on it is now so obvious that it was the 'trivia' that was important (design of kit, name, choosing Birtwistle pies etc etc!! Because on a Saturday that is what the fan experiences. That acknowledgement of the fans wants has produced an incredibly loyal and enthusiastic fan base. It may be at a totally different level to Everton but the principle remains the same.
Ask 40,000 Evertonians on Saturday what Goodison means to them and you will get 40,000 different answers but the club can and should explore those feelings, find trends and similarities and incorporate as much as possible into BM.
When '1874' left Northwich Victoria they left behind so many negatives but what we have taken with us is the soul of the club. Everton need to carefully move the soul of Goodison to the docks.