Alan Myers was employed at Everton as the Head of Media, but he became so much more than that to Evertonians. He spoke to us about the fans, why communicating is so important and how Paul Gascoigne managed to ruin his wife’s breakfast.
“I love communicating with Evertonians, I’m very privileged to be in the position I’m in.”
Alan Myers says as he discusses his ‘strange yet lovely relationship with Evertonians’, built on decades of solid communication with the fan base. He is a fan himself, after all.
It’s rare for a member of a football club who isn’t a player to develop a ‘cult hero’ status amongst supporters. But such was Alan’s popularity during his time on Merseyside, that’s exactly what’s happened.
“It sort of came out of nowhere, really.” The 57-year-old said.
“I moved to Everton in 1996 from the BBC and worked under Joe Royle, Howard Kendall and Walter Smith. There were so many good people and good characters at Everton.
“I left in 2001 because the atmosphere didn’t feel right for me. I then had 12 great years at Sky and I found with all the teams and countries I visited, I saw what worked and what didn’t, but fans were always communicated to, which was huge for me.”
His popularity stemmed from a willingness to interact with Evertonians and to encourage a culture of openness with them. Alan found himself at Everton during a period of turmoil, however.
Near relegations, a managerial merry-go-round and the sickening sale of Duncan Ferguson, the club’s only real asset at the time, summed up a tumultuous half-decade at Goodison.
Alan never hid or ducked from difficult questions from fans, though. He courageously maintained his openness and honesty.
“I wanted to be straight, honest and communicate with supporters in the good times, but more so in the bad times. It’s easy when you’re getting good results, but you earn your money in PR when it’s not so good, you need to talk to fans.”
James Humes once said that, ‘The art of communication is the language of leadership’ – when Alan speaks, Evertonians listen.
Alan then spoke of his friendship away from work with Nicky Barmby, how good John Collins was to work with and that the FA Cup semi final over Tottenham in 1995 is his favourite Everton game – even if he couldn’t watch it properly until The Blues were winning 4-1 due to nerves.
A vintage, side-splitting Gazza anecdote was a particular highlight, however.
“I was driving Gazza to A Question of Sport and on the way I asked him to sign photographs of him I had in a box in my car. So he did that.
“But then he started signing Gary Naysmith’s. Then he started doing the same on Davie Weir’s, then Duncan Ferguson’s, then Thomas Gravesen’s.
“So, he ruined a whole box of photographs because they all said ‘Best wishes, Paul Gascoigne’ on them.
“We got to the place and I was a bit angry that he’d done that, but I knew it was reasonably funny.
“Earlier in the day, Walter (Smith) had said to me, ‘If he does anything wrong, if he has a drink, it’s on you’, so a long story short, he had a drink.
“He’d promised me he wasn’t going to do that and I was really quite angry with him because he let me down and it could’ve got me into trouble.
“I didn’t really speak to him on the way back before I dropped him off. I was in a real dark with him.
“Before I’d picked him up, I’d bought some shopping for my wife. Milk, bread, that sort of thing.
“I woke up the next morning and went downstairs for breakfast and my wife went to me;
‘Alan, why is our bread signed by Paul Gascoigne?’
“It was a Warburtons orange loaf, and he’d taken out every slice of bread and signed it; ‘Best wishes, Paul Gascoigne’.
“You couldn’t stay angry at him for long.”
It was a Myers’ story fit to rival the legendary tale of how Neville Southall nearly became Everton’s caretaker manager in 1997.
Alan and Paul remain good friends, meeting up at Sky as recently as August.
“I had the pleasure to know what a generous person Paul was and still is.
“He’s the funniest man I’ve ever met, never mind in football.”
After leaving Everton in 2001, Alan went on to have a successful and distinguished time at Sky as the North West Bureau Chief.
The call of home was too much to resist however in 2013.
“I was on holiday and my phone rang, It was Bill Kenwright and he said ‘do you want to come home?’
“I just couldn’t say no, it’s the club I adore.” He said in 2013.
Alan became Everton’s Director of Communications.
“I told the club when I came back that, ‘I’m not just going to put the press review out, I want to communicate and be honest with the supporters.’”
Communicate is what Alan did. He set about changing the new and controversial badge design, which only lasted a season before being reverted back to a badge more befitting of The Blues.
Alan’s reunion only lasted seven months due to personal reasons, but his legacy at Everton still rages on. He has over 33 thousand twitter followers who still contact him every day with Everton related queries.
A group of Evertonians even set up a petition to get him back to the club in 2018 and again in 2019.
Armed with a war chest of anecdotes, the experience of working with some of Everton’s most loveable characters of the past 25 years and a legion of captivated followers – does Alan have a book in him?
“Yes, 100%”, he said emphatically.
“I’ve actually been asked a number of times to write a book, but I’d rather talk to fans or ex-players about my experiences, rather than selling a book.
“I might do something for Everton in the community someday, but I certainly wouldn’t charge for it.
“The joy for me isn’t in writing a book – it’s in having actually done it. I like to impart my stories on people in conversation.”
Alan is now back at Sky working as a freelance broadcaster, but his love for Everton is still abundantly clear, and his love and dedication to Evertonians is truly admirable.
He’s given supporters a voice and a personal connection to the club they love which hasn’t gone unrecognised.
It is clear to see Everton have left their mark on Alan, but Alan also left his mark on Everton.
(All photos courtesy of Alan’s social media accounts)