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“Lucky Bill”

By Brian  Noble :  16/12/2008 :  Comments (41) :
I read in the Sunday papers that the delectable Amanda Staveley has had to forego her duties as a football club broker in favour of saving the economy of Dubai. Now, depending on how much you believe that Everton is really up for sale, this may not seem good news for her `close friend` Bill Kenwright who is rumoured to have put Miss Staveley on the look out for a buyer whilst she shared a meal with him and Phil Green.

Be that as it may, the sudden swing round in the economy may just be about to work in our club`s favour. Already we hear that Roman Abromovitch has ordered a major cut-back of staff at Stamford Bridge with over thirty scouts and background staff unlikely to enjoy their Christmas.

`Over the road`, joint owner George Gillett is looking to find loans of £50M in order to hang on to his stake whilst even `sensible` Arsenal have had to succumb to the overtures of their despised American shareholder and `welcome` him onto their Board. At Old Trafford, the demise of sponsor AIG has sent their income projections into free-fall whilst Iceland`s bankruptcy may well see the end of West Ham as Premier League players.

In comparison with these clubs, Everton`s indebtedness is trivial and, whilst Blue Bill may well have reached his credit limit, the relatively sensible way his lieutenants have controlled the club`s finances may just see us emerge as `big winners` come the inevitable meltdown.

A big factor in this will be the delay and inevitable abandonment of the Kirkby project. Already, we know that the club have no way of funding their contribution to this white elephant and, as gates retract to the 30,000 level, a phased and modest up-dating of Goodison will be seen as the only way forward.

Regardless of the Man City phenomenon, the days of £100k-a-week players are doomed and even lavishly rewarded managers may be in for a pay-cut! Let`s face it, only the ability to borrow huge sums have set the big four apart from the mere mortals who make up the Prem and whilst they may still be clinging to their delusions of grandeur their end is in sight. When they implode ? as they surely will ? the Evertons of the league will be far better placed to ride out the storm.

Theatre people have long told me that BK is a `lucky promoter` ? just how lucky we are about to find out!!!

Reader Comments

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Nick Entwistle
1   Posted 16/12/2008 at 14:37:22

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Quite frankly I’ll laugh my borbells off if the financial crisis hits these clubs, but will they go into administation? Doubt it. The Asian contracts have a few years to run yet and the big 4 still have CL to bolster coffers, massive fan basis and are hugely attractive to anyone who once owned an oil field or government... still fingers crossed.

But yes, Everton do not have the credit line (is that the term?) these teams are allowed with their banks due to being ’small’, so that too is in their favour in these times... and if it really was an issue for the time being, would they really have put £15m on Big Bird?
David O'Keefe
2   Posted 16/12/2008 at 14:42:36

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Whatever you're on, Brian, I want it.

Economics is not your strong point is it.

The sky four have larger income and revenue streams than ourselves, they may make cutbacks to cope with recession, but they will do just fine. It is the clubs with lower levels of income, relative to debt levels that will struggle.

Neither is recent history, one of your strong points Throughout most of the summer the club had no money for transfers, until they got another loan to add to the dozen that they already have.

I have no wish to be harsh on you, but let's be realistic: in a recession its the weak who go the wall not the strong.
Gareth Humphreys
3   Posted 16/12/2008 at 14:48:52

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I have said for a long time that the Premier League is now nothing more than a deluxe SPL with 4 instead of 2 places being more or less guaranteed at the start of each season.

As such, if one or more of the "big 4" implode then it can only be for the good of the game in this country. As it stands at present, the EPL is turning into a game of monopoly for the uber rich with Man City the latest after Chelsea and QPR to be dubbed the richest in the world.

Sky TV, unregulated foreign investment along with the scandalous cartel that is the "Champion's" League, are ruining the game over here and more and more people are getting pissed off with the whole thing. I had a conversation with a good friend of mine the other day who has been a season ticket holder at Anfield for over 20 years. He said that he was considering not renewing his ticket next year (this despite his team being top of the league and in the next round of the CL). His reason: stupid ticket prices & stupid kick-off times.

I am also considering not having a season ticket for the first time since I was 14. My reasons are on the same lines as his but you can also add to them the following:

(a) Moving EFC to an average stadium out of the city purely to chase foreigh investment;

(B) Not a hope in hell of winning anything without the above or a dramatic redistribution of money within the game.

The above comment may come accross as a bit glory-hunterish; however, when you consider I have had a season ticket since Colin Harvey?s first season, that doesn?t fit. Things need to change because ? despite what Sky may have you believe ? things aren?t all rosy in their garden.

Ciarán McGlone
4   Posted 16/12/2008 at 15:16:34

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Fairytales.

If any of the banks demanded their share of our reported £90 mill debt back, we?d be donald ducked instantly... Could you say that about the big four? Not likely.

Misguided article. We are probably in one of the most precarious positions of any club in the league.
Patty Beesley
5   Posted 16/12/2008 at 15:36:58

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Good God, Ciaran, every time I read one of your postings, I think to myself that you are either on the way to being the next Tony Marsh or you're a bloody Job?s Comforter.
Steve Beck
6   Posted 16/12/2008 at 16:39:04

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Good on you, Ciaran, for telling how it is and not making Bill out to be what he certanly isn't.
Stan Ashbourne
7   Posted 16/12/2008 at 16:49:07

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Blimey Ciaran, we are all doomed!
Gerry Morrison
8   Posted 16/12/2008 at 16:54:07

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I don’t know if any of the so-called big four are about to go bust, but the idea that businesses, and that is what they are, are "too big to fail" is no longer a reality. Turn on the news boys. Take a peek at the wreckage.
Jay Campbell
9   Posted 16/12/2008 at 17:05:05

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Utter bollocks.
Andy Crooks
10   Posted 16/12/2008 at 17:04:21

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Brian.
I think you?re right with regard to an impending financial football crisis. I do feel, however, that you are wildly optimistic in believing that we are in any position to ride out the storm.

A re-negotiated Sky deal will hurt us as much as anyone. There are more signs of our attendances falling than any of the big four. We face a second half of the season with nothing to play for. We don?t have any waiting list for tickets to fall back on. Also, are the sensible lieutenants you refer to those who have made us one of the worst marketed clubs around?

Ok, were Abramovich to go, Chelsea would likely implode. With regard to everyone else, I think clubs will be hit in relation to their current situation. If Everton, Man U and Stoke all cut their wage bills by 30% nothing will change in the order of things.

In addition, we are in (and I hate to say this) a worn out stadium. Is now really the time to divide the fan base with Kirkby?
Football is facing a crisis and we are no less vulnerable than many others.

Neil McKinney
11   Posted 16/12/2008 at 18:05:47

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I think Brian has a slightly warped view of our strength (or weakness) in the current climate, but some of the responses are almost as short sighted.

David O’Keefe - toatally agree with your point about debt as a percentage of turnover, not sure how we compare on that front. We have a much smaller debt than some of the bigger clubs, but we also have a smaller amount of revenue coming in.

However, "in a recession its the weak who go the wall not the strong.", not so sure about how you are defining "weak" here. As Gerry said, take a look at the news and tell me that all of the companies/banks going under are "weak". Would you have defined these huge organisations weak before the crisis hit? I doubt it.

Economics is not my strong point either, let’s face it the economy is an incredibly complex thing as I have discovered trying to get my head around how this all happened. I would not be so bold as to sit here smugly waiting for the Big 4 to go out of business while we apparently prosper. Everyone will struggle in this climate and would be wise to tighten the belt.

One thing’s for sure, I agree with Andy Crooks, love it or hate it (Kirkby) now is not the time to be building stadium.

COYB!
Christopher Mowll
12   Posted 16/12/2008 at 18:45:31

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I want to prescribe to Brian?s theory. We have been around for 130 years, and I hope for at least 130 more. Things have always happened in cycles of dominance with football, and I truly believe this will also be applicable to the Sky 4.

Does that make it good for us the present time? Obviously not. We can?t compete with the so-called Sky 4 on the pitch, and 5th place is never the ultimate goal to aspire to. I am as frustrated as the next blue; however, if I don?t hold on to the hope that in the foreseeable future things will even themselves out and we can once again compete at the very top level, then I may as well jack it all in now!

I?m just hoping Abramovich fancies buying Honda?s F1 team. That would at least be one club to the wall!
Alan Kirwin
13   Posted 16/12/2008 at 19:35:49

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Whilst I find some of the bile aimed at Kenwright to be either grotesque or ridiculous, even I would not subscribe to us being that well run a club. Our debt is modest by comparison with other clubs, but this is easily offset by our poor revenue generation in comparison to even middle-weights like West Ham, Spurs, Newcastle, Villa & Man City. It?s a poor show.

However, I agree that the global meltdown has pissed on the fireworks of many "giants". Chelsea are technically insolvent, making a loss every year and holding debts of almost £800m.

I expect there to be a shake up, but we lag so far behind in our revenue that I worry about us more than others. Football has lived beyond its means for far too long. Instead of vilifying him, fans should applaud the efforts of Michel Platini to regulate the game in favour of fans & competition. When all?s said & done, it?s what the game is all about.
David O'Keefe
14   Posted 16/12/2008 at 21:40:47

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Neil McKinney:

Size isn?t everything. The weak are those businesses that are badly managed, inefficent and poorly led. GM may be a big busineess, but it has been mismanaged for many years.
Ciaran Duff
15   Posted 16/12/2008 at 22:17:50

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In terms of our proposed DK move, I think there are pros & cons associated with the current financial crisis.
Pros are:-

1. That the Govt is eager to stimulate the economy and a £400m project that is ready to go would fit into that category.

2. The price of fuel, steel and raw materials has dropped substantially in recent times.

3. Tesco is cash cow and that sector of the market (groceries) etc, stands up pretty well in a recession.

The major con, of course, would be our ability to raise £78m in the current climate. My gut feeling is that there is no way we can raise that money unless Tesco loans it to us at a mate's rate OR a sugar daddy comes in if the project gets approved.

Tom Campbell
16   Posted 16/12/2008 at 23:13:25

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Don't mean to get away from the original topic but doesn?t BK earn a pat on the back for sticking with Moyes? Look at poor Ince, he wasn?t given enough time. If only Bill was rich... we'd be one of the most attrctive clubs to manage!
Andy Crooks
17   Posted 17/12/2008 at 00:59:02

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A fair enough point Tom, but I feel that to some extent BK has gone to the other extreme. A manager in constant fear of the sack will struggle but there are disadvantages in having a manager who appears to have a job guaranteed until something better comes along. BK supported Moyes for six years. When he dithered over his new bumper contract, it was time for a change.
Steve Edwards
18   Posted 17/12/2008 at 10:34:20

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I find it amusing that people above are commenting on Everton's financial situation as if they knew what Everton's financial situation really is. The bottom line is we don?t. You're all just guessing and then trying to make a case out built on guesswork. Amazing!
Alan Kirwin
19   Posted 17/12/2008 at 11:01:12

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Steve Edwards - what?s amazing is that you don?t bother to read or research the information that is available on Everton?s financial plight before offering your sweeping retort.

The club files public accounts, in case you didn?t know, and there have been plenty of statements or indications given by Bill Kenwright, and indeed others, on the subject. Many TW contributors have also taken the time to investigate our position on all fronts.

Whichever side of the fence you are on, there is no deep mystery about Everton?s finances. Just because you haven?t bothered to look at the info doesn?t mean nobody has.

The fact that you seem oblivious to this is, to borrow your adjective, amazing.
Phil Martin
20   Posted 17/12/2008 at 11:45:52

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Lucky Bill - too right he is.

I know for a fact if I continually fucked up in my job year after year, lied to customers, and showed a complete lack of competence in everything important I tried to do, I would've been fired a long time ago.

8 years of BK?s reign and what do we have? Still no significant player investment since Agent Johnson was removed, despite our strongest squad performances for 20 years. Plenty of bullshit about fake transfers and bogus investment companies. Oh and Destination Oblivion...
Richard Parker
21   Posted 17/12/2008 at 11:12:56

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I don’t think we’re in as big a hole as some clubs, as we’re not dependent upon a single benefactor.

Should the rumours of Abramovich’s disappearing wealth be anywhere near the truth, Chelsea could well get into serious trouble. Also the Icelandic chairman of West Ham (forget his name) could well be in deep trouble......

Should the economic crisis deepen and some of these rich chairmen go to the wall, we could well see another couple of Leeds’ happen.

We should be relatively safe compared to these clubs, as it is extremely unlikely that the banks which hold our loans will call them in or go tits up. There may be a collective tightening of belts at GP as well as other Premiership clubs, but even a hike in our interest rates would probably, at worst, result in a few of our on-field assets being cashed in.... as long as it’s only a few, despite the squad size, we should get by.
Neil McKinney
22   Posted 17/12/2008 at 12:54:58

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David O’Keefe - Not sure what you are on about with GM, I never mentioned them but you see fit to pick them as the definitive answer to my comments. There are plenty to choose from and if you are naive enough to believe that they all deserve it because of mismanagement then there is no point debating any further with you.

My point is that you insinuated that the Big 4 were strong by saying that they wouldn’t suffer because the "weak" are the ones who go to the wall in these times. You insinuate that EFC are the "weak" and that the Big 4 are strong. I don’t think that you can simplify it like that. The mismanagement that you speak of in most cases was not deemed to be mismanagement at the time. These companies have over extended and when the proverbial has hit the fan they have been left in the shit.

As said in my previous post, economics is complicated so why do many on hear try to make it sound so straight forward. It is foolish for anyone to assume that they are safe in the current climate, but as long as the club remains responsible with its spending, then we should ride it out.
Ray Roche
23   Posted 17/12/2008 at 15:33:59

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I wonder how West Ham can claim to have "5 to 10 parties" interested in buying their club. After all, Bill's been looking 24/7 without finding one...

> David O?Keefe; "Size isn?t everything."? Ask your missus...

Ste Kenny
24   Posted 17/12/2008 at 16:29:47

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The official site has a new article stating that EFC turnover has increased by 47% and we have actually made a profit before player trading and amortification.

Could this mean there will be a bit of money to spend in the January sales?
Martin Roberts
25   Posted 17/12/2008 at 17:43:53

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As West Ham are now officially for sale, you maybe quite surprised how their books look. £100m turnover last year and carrying a debt of £20m. The owner is in deep shit but none of it will affect the club, only that it will change hands quite quickly or a liquidator will do it next March.
Stephen Williams
26   Posted 17/12/2008 at 22:09:19

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Ste Kenny, about £½M profit ? what is not clear, why on an increase of a 47% turnover, is only £½M profit made last year? Since we are out of two competitions already, does this mean we will be back to a loss this year? How on earth do West Ham turn over £100M with their fan base? As we finished 5th, had a good run in the Uefa Cup and the Carling Cup, which West Ham did neithe, surely it's not down to just the price of their tickets is it, as we turned over £75M ? maybe its the pie sales that are up 47%, they cost enough.
Ciarán McGlone
27   Posted 18/12/2008 at 10:15:18

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Every club will have an increase in turnover this year with the significant increase in Sky money.

This is nothing but another cynical piece of marketing from the club to cover the cracks of Bill & Co to provide any investment whatsoever.

Piss poor.
Richard Dodd
28   Posted 18/12/2008 at 17:39:46

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More logical people would say the accounts reflect a successful year on and off the field. It seems some Evertonians wouldn?t give credit whatever the Club achieved. Sad really.
Ciarán McGlone
29   Posted 19/12/2008 at 09:49:11

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What would you know about logic, Dodds?
EJ Ruane
30   Posted 19/12/2008 at 09:55:30

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Richard, equally ’logical’ people reading your posts might say it seems some Evertonians would give credit, whatever the club DOESN’T achieve.
Christine Foster
31   Posted 19/12/2008 at 10:50:55

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Richard, with all due respect, we are quite happy to give praise when its due as frequently as the club are when it comes to attempting to validate the move to Kirkby and answering the concerns of its supporters instead of gagging and condemming them.

No drivel Richard. But the board can’t take the praise and not the brickbats over the illusion of choice that is Kirkby.

As Kipling said.. Treat both success and failure the same..both are imposters

Of course that could have been Mr Kipling.. makes exceedingly good cakes...
Richard Dodd
32   Posted 20/12/2008 at 09:41:44

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Nothing you say can negate the fact that we are lucky to follow a club which is run exceptionally well both on and off the field. Even my old adversary Nobby reflects this in his post above. Good news shines through to all ? eventually!
Rich Jones
33   Posted 20/12/2008 at 15:33:50

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I?m so ashamed that we have such deluded fools such as Dodd amongst us, sadly this is what the grey-haired one has used to his advantage to get him closer to his goal, which will not benefit Everton FC one bit.
James Cadwaladr
34   Posted 21/12/2008 at 11:13:19

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Andy Crooks... Nothing to play for in the 2nd half of the season? How about trying to move up just one place in the league and qualify for Europe? Oh, then there is the small matter of the FA Cup. I?m not saying we are going to win it but surely we are due a run????
Steve Edwards
35   Posted 21/12/2008 at 13:27:05

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Alan Kirwin ? with all that research that you have been doing, it must have been no surprise to you that the summer transfer window turned out to be such a complete shambles... or was it? I?ll bet you were just as perplexed and disappointed as the rest of us.

The point that I am making is it's what the club don?t say and don?t disclose that really matters. There?s a lot that goes on within the club that we don?t get to know about and that's when the guessing starts because things don?t quite make sense... the summer transfer window being a prime example. Few of us would have expected that, except maybe your enlightened self.

Richard Dodd
36   Posted 21/12/2008 at 14:17:10

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We hear so much of how disappointed people were that the summer transfer funding only amounted to some £16Million. Davey chose to spend that on just one player and his judgement is again proving sound with Mauro proving the inspiration towards another top-half finish. Just how much did Evertonians expect to be made available? It strikes me that the critical majority have absolutely no conception of football economics and would be more than happy to see our club go down the Leeds route to disaster. The latest accounts show that the Club is being managed with great prudence and efficiency both on and off the field ? DK is a mere side-show!
Jay Harris
37   Posted 21/12/2008 at 18:20:47

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Doddy, as we had such a "spectacular" season last year and sold McFadden and Johnson for reputedly more than £17 million and Fellaini was reported to be for sale for 15 million euros (not pounds), I think we could and should have expected more in the transfer kitty.

But there again maybe myself ? along with a host of other Premier League clubs that managed to generate a decent transfer kitty ? have no idea of football economics.
Rich Jones
38   Posted 21/12/2008 at 20:01:12

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You really naive, Doddy, if you think we spent 15 million for fellaini ? even if it was Euros.
Steve Edwards
39   Posted 22/12/2008 at 09:38:19

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Despite what David Moyes has said I don’t believe Fellaini was a prime target, at least not until the last week of the transfer window. It appears to be only then that Moyes found out exactly how much money he had to spend. All summer he had been dropping hints that he didn’t know how much he had to spend. The problem was not how much he eventually spent but what on earth had been going on up to that point. Once again we can only guess. One thing is for sure and that is that this is no way to run a football club.
Peter Laverty
40   Posted 22/12/2008 at 16:09:59

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Stephen Williams - West Ham?s fan base is probably quite a good bit bigger than ours and certainly a lot bigger than you would think. They basically service the whole of east London and the Thames Gateway region right out towards Essex and beyond. They also have a club hotel and mid range executive facilities, something that cannot be said about Goodison.

I used to live in Southend and half the town supports West Ham instead of the local team. Many people moved from East London to Southend after the war and there is a very large and loyal fan base across the whole area.
Jay Harris
41   Posted 24/12/2008 at 11:15:52

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Peter, I think you?re way off beam.

While I agree West Ham's following runs right through Dagenham to Southend, you also need to remember there are a lot of Arsenal and Spurs fans too and to a lesser extent Chelsea and Fulham.

Everton?s fanbase runs right through the Wirral, North Wales and Ireland. Recent attendances show West Ham hovering around 32,000 with a capacity of 35,000 at the Boleyn ground whereas Everton?s average attendance this season, although down on last year, is close to 35,000 with a 40,000 capacity.


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