Everton release cup statment.

Last updated : 28 January 2002 By Austin Rathe
Here's the full statement:

"I can understand the disappointment and frustration of those people who didn't get into the ground, and there is very little I can say to appease their disappointment.

"I think we have to go back to when the draw was made. I am not looking to make excuses, but as I explained when the draw was made we decided to go unreserved on the basis of previous experience, that had we gone reserved seating, there would still have been a massive walk-up on the day.

"To a certain degree we were taken by surprise by the numbers that turned up, and you could say we should be planning for all eventualities, and I have to agree with that, but we reduced the prices and that is one of the positive aspects that has come out from our supporters forums, to get as large a crowd as possible at Goodison Park.

"Had we gone reserved and kept traditional match day prices in place, I think the gate would have been somewhere between 25-28,000, but we reduced prices and there was a huge walk-up.

"The people I feel desperately sorry for are the season ticket holders, who came along in good faith expecting to be able to get into the ground by paying at the turnstiles and due to the massive walk-up they were unable to get in.

"When we sit down to discuss the match arrangements we don't just flip a coin, and decide which way we are going to go.

"The senior people at the club, myself included, along with the ground safety officer, the stadium manager, the box office manager, sit down look at previous history and decide what is best.

"For Saturday's game, we had to make a decision which we felt ensured the comfort and safety of the vast majority, in fact, all of our supporters.

"It was not a decision that was taken lightly, it was the right decision given the type of game we were staging, and given the history of previous sales trends.

"I have to admit there are certainly lessons to be learned from Saturday. I can't say how many people were locked out of the ground. Whether it was 500, 1,500 or 2,000, it was too many.

"To those people, I apologise. We have to learn some lessons and I would hope it will never happen again.

"I have spoken to Bill Kenwright and we have discussed the situation at great length to see what we can do about it in the future.

"As I said before there are lessons to be learnt, and I will say categorically that the next FA Cup game against Crewe will be a reserved game, and that season ticket holders will be able to obtain their own seats, and for FA Cup games in the future, that policy will prevail.

"I refute any suggestion that we don't care about our fans. I care, Bill Kenwright cares and the Board of Directors care and we will get it right for our supporters."

So there you go.