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It's happening...

By Alan Clarke :  14/08/2008 :  Comments (19) :
The end of football as we know it. We all knew the bubble was going to burst at some point. Everton are a prime example now of investors deciding to pull the plug because football is only worth investing in if your team is in the Champions League - that's the only way to make any profit. Green and Earl are not Evertonians, they're businessmen and are in it to make money. What return have they had for their investment? We made £400,000 from the Uefa Cup and all TV money was borrowed against for previous transfers and helped pay for Finch Farm. Goodison is mortgaged to the hilt so we've very few assets. So how can we expect Green and Earl to put their hands in their pockets again?

Look at the other teams in the Premier League and what their approximate net spend is this summer: Arsenal £10mil, Villa spent big £28mil, Blackburn approx -£10mil, Bolton £14 mil, Chelsea £10mil, Everton -£10.5mil, Fulham £17mil, Liverpool £32mil, Man City £24mil, Man Utd -£7mil, Middlesbrough -£2mil, Newcastle £7mil, Portsmouth £5mil, Stoke £8mil, Sunderland £20mil, Tottenham £10mil, West Brom £15mil, West Ham £7mil, Wigan £6mil.

Now a few teams including Liverpool have still spent big this summer but there's a fair few teams who's net spend is less than £10 million this summer including Portsmouth and West Ham who supposedly have sugar daddies funding them. Even Chelsea have spent relatively little and Man U have actually recouped money (I anticipate Chelsea signing Kaka or Robinhio and Man U signing Berbatov as well as paying for Tevez).

My point is, if you're outside of those top 4 clubs, you're screwed. Villa have spent big but that's for this season's assault on the top 4, I bet Lerner won't spend this big next summer if they only finish 5th. Tottenham appear to have spent big but have recouped most of their money and will do further if Berbatov goes. Ashley at Newcastle has said they're still paying for players from 3 seasons ago and is unwilling to pay for big transfers. Portsmouth won the cup but 'Arry's been told he's got no more to spend. Shinawatra's threatening to leave amid rumours he's had to borrow money to pay some staff wages and some City supporting mates of mine are seriously worried about them.

Season ticket sales are down at Everton and most other clubs too. Not many games sell out now around the PL. We mock teams who don't bring a full away support but it's so bloody expensive I can't afford to watch Everton home AND away. People are starting to realise it's not worth it both from a competitive point of view and financially especially during the current financial climate.

I feel it's unrealistic now to expect a wealthy business man to come in and save us because that ship has most probably sailed. The money is draining away from football for those outside of the CL and I can only see that gap widening. We can point the finger at Kenwright for allowing us to be in such an awful position with our investors but our problems this summer are indicative of the problems within football itself: Investors are not seeing a return on their investment. I do fear we're in the worst position when the shit does hit the fan.

Reader Comments

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Christine Foster
1   Posted 15/08/2008 at 07:44:41

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You make some valid points Alan, I have been wondering for sometime just why anyone with a pot of money would want to become involved as a serious investor in a PL club. Lets face it, what returns can be expected? Outside of the monopoly of the top four there appears little business sense in investing in a club with large amounts of money.

Sure if the value of the assets go up you can recoup when you sell for a higher price IF the team is moderately successful, otherwise, how do you get your money back??

Looking at it another way, it appears that the main reason (apologies but again, outside of the big 4) for investors coming in to a club appears to be their love of the game or their love of the club.

Take BK, (anywhere you like) he loves the club, but he is in limbo as the road to hell is paved with good intentions but he did not have the financial clout to make an ongoing difference. His words lack credibility because he hasn’t delivered.

So the Premier league is living beyond its means and their is a credit crunch biting. Thats why Everton ( Green or Earl that is) have not spent money. No wonder Moyes is frustrated. But the money has to come from somewhere not just for transfers but running the club as well.
Gary W
2   Posted 15/08/2008 at 08:10:10

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An excellent article. Brings home the point that there is no short cut to the top, contrary to what most of us hope for. Shinawatra at Man City highlights exactly why we need to be very careful what we wish for. Always loved being a blue, simply because we are a better breed of person. We wouldn’t moan if we had it as good as them (would we)? Seems we would...We’ve gotta stay possitive, get behind the club, players and manager and show that theres no-one more passionate and supportive as us blues. Who knows, a not-so-famous scottish masturbator once said something about ’not winning anything with kids’ this space. COYB!!!!!
neil scott
3   Posted 15/08/2008 at 08:06:28

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Both good points.

Investors at that level are not stupid or easy to come by and it will take something quite special to get ourselves into their shop window.

Which for me makes it ever more important to improve ’the Everton brand’.

And by that i dont just mean marketing and merchandising in Liverpool city centre.

It starts with the club showing some ambition off the field. To be an innovator, a business leader that is not afraid to push itself to the front of the queue. The professionalism with which the club promotes itself, conducts its business affairs, and speaks to its customers (the fans) is very poor right now.

It would then be helped if David Moyes, and whatever team he gets to put out, shows more willingness to ’give it a go’ from the off, and not play the bloody percentages all the time. I know there is a lot of money at stake but a more attacking mentality would get us greater recognition worldwide and thats where the real potential exists for fans and investors.

And lastly the fans of ’the peoples club’ deserve more of a voice in my opinion. There are plenty of people on this website who claim to have better ideas than BK so what would hurt the club to listen to some of them?

Everton are a club with many ’firsts’ in their history to their credit. So why not show some real vision Bill and form a ’working partnership’ with some of your passionate fellow blues?

It may not work but it would get huge media exposure, go a long way to justifying ’the peoples club’ tag, and that alone may just be what it takes to flush out that elusive billionaire.

Worth a go?

Well either that or a bloody big ’for sale’ banner on Goodison Road... :)
James Power
4   Posted 15/08/2008 at 09:01:20

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I have to say I agree, especially with your ideas Neil with regards to the fans having a greater say. My only reservation is the mechanism for choosing the individuals who get to represent the fan base. Like any other area, the difficulty will be choosing individuals whose only agenda is the good of the club.

Anyway, as for this season and the closed season’s lack of transfer activity, part of me is screaming inside saying "sign, sign sign" but part of me is wondering why I am being dragged into this frenzy. I look at Spurs and think that the reason they are not doing as well as they could is because they sign a new team of players every summer, there is no settled format and while I have a sneaking feeling that Mr Ramos may just change this, I still feel that this season will be another ’bedding in’ campaign for Spurs.

Now, I really do think we need to make a few signings, just because we have shed some options (Carsley, Johnson, McFadden and Fernandes). I think that is of the utmost importance. Equally important is to give the youngsters a good go. In the meantime I cannot stop myself being hauled into what is essentially something that will eventually eat itself.

Some of this Premier league rubbish I just don’t buy and on the other hand, some of it I just can’t get enough of. Sad isn’t it?
Alan Burnham
5   Posted 15/08/2008 at 09:43:57

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Hmmm. Possible collapse of the financial basis of the Premier League ? That could ghave some awful consequences. Players earning miserly £10k or so a week, having to watch more home-grown players, the title not dominated by a few rich clubs, Sky and Andy Gray disappearing, foreign dictators and mafioski types buggering off elsewhere, decline of the domination of the Champions League and resurgence in status of the FA Cup, better England team as more English youngsters have to be developed, realistically priced admission prices. How could we cope with such a disaster ?
Chris Hockenhull
6   Posted 15/08/2008 at 09:49:30

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Absolutely totally agree with your piece and the respomses. Yes it has been a miserable summer but we are not alone in this. We are now reaping the rewards of the so called ’big 4’ and they can take their ball and go tout themselves around the rest of the world as far as I am concerned. Its all about pulling together in the face of it like we did a few years ago when Rooney went and it was the end of the world for many of the doom and gloom merchants.As the great man said "money doesn’t talk it swears"
John de Frece
7   Posted 15/08/2008 at 10:01:19

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Damn good article

Having spent the summer (even on holidays) wasting my time checking every few hours on the web in the hope we had signed somebody (you would think the club might have a little compassion for us!) I take the view that what the club should do is ramp up its scouting system and scour the whole effing world for talent. Its shouldn't cost an arm and a leg to recruit the best scouts available.

Obviously if we haven't got the readies and the author of the article makes it crystal clear why we are never going to get them - a youth policy is just about the only game in town.
Simon Gilmovitch
8   Posted 15/08/2008 at 09:38:59

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THEIR IS NO DISCRACE IN BEING POOR.........Alan the problem I have with our club is the spin, hype, bullshit that comes mainly from BK. In many ways I have no problem if we don?t have money to sign players, what I can?t swallow is being told we are about to sign this player and that player, why do that? to sell season tickets? IT DOESN?T WORK. I would rather be told the truth.

I love EFC and I will support them to my last whatever happens, we are the People's Club, not the cucumber sandwich club. If investment comes fine if it doesn?t so be it, I don?t give a fuck what the nieghbours have. I don?t care how big we are in Europe, I don?t care if we don?t play in a ?superbowl?. Just don?t constantly bullshit the fans ? that's all I ask.

Gary Williams
9   Posted 15/08/2008 at 11:02:50

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No more greedy twats getting £20k a week for their minimal talent.< I would love to see the arse fall out of the Premier League.Everton will still be around and most us will still go.

Remember the eighties? Out of the misery of the early eighties came our greatest ever team.

I for one am praying the bubble bursts, but whilst Sky subsidise it all I doubt it will happen.
Tom Hughes
10   Posted 15/08/2008 at 11:10:19

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I agree that there are external forces affecting football finances in general, but it can’t detract from the abyssmal management of our club, that has seen Moyes having to continually live off scraps to get us close to where we can actually compete with the big guns. Only for the directors to then pull the rug and be totally incapable of rewarding him with proper funds that he has earned by way of our performances and league positions. Last season, with just one or 2 additional players we would have pushed Liverpool to the line and probably got that 4th place...... a real opportunity has been thrown away. The farcical and illconceived stadium debacle and all the lies that accompanied that is just further evidence of the ineptitude that pervades this club.
Dave Brierley
11   Posted 15/08/2008 at 12:11:50

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Good points well made Alan but on one particular issue I’d be interested to know how many of the respondees to this article plus Alan subscribe to Sky Sports? Just out of interest I terminated my subscription 3 years ago and have not, nor will re-join.

My big fear however is that it is so bloody expensive to attend matches these days that Sky will benefit further from fan’s reluctance to pay for travel and tickets and may take the second best option to armchair support with the inevitable result of their influence on the Premier league increasing evermore.
Liam Young
12   Posted 15/08/2008 at 12:43:56

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Great article alan, its true that the "Top 4" CL teams are certainly the ones in the comfort zone, and the biased opinions of people from Sky only promote this further, and brain wash the country into thinking you should support one of the "Big 4", we have made giant strides, and a valiant effort from moyes and co, but unfortunately, our current state is, we are "the best of the rest", and their is not much future in the rest of the teams in football, money and greed is destroying our game, and this summer has been heartbreaking for us evertonians, every day checking for transfer news, and still nothing. I will be at goodison tomorrow cheering on the blues, as usual, but with a slight dissapointment, and lack of buzz i usually feel around this time. We will need to pull of miracles to become one of the "Big 4", the media, sky, and premier league in general i dont think will ever accept us ahead of Man U, Arsenal, Chelsea or Red Shite. I dont think its about breaking the top 4, it was always about becoming the top 4 at the right time, and that time has passed us by. I know this sounds very negative, but it seems like the writing is on the wall. But one thing i will never lose, is my love for everton.
Sky- you have a lot to answer for in destroying the traditional english game.
Money Talks - Bullshit Walks
tommy gibbons
13   Posted 15/08/2008 at 12:37:30

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People can’t help having a go at the current custodians of the club can they..
Whichever way you put it.. The investment in the playing side of the club has been comensurate with our current status as a mid table team turned european regulars.. How anybody would expect any more investment is beyond me without of course the proverbial ’sugar daddy billionaire’.. We are still currently the best of the rest and it is only by maintaning that position and by hopefully repeating our sucess a few years ago of breaking into the top 4 that we will eventually start to attract the ’sugar daddies’.. Also, somebody mentioned about innovation.. I’d say setting up training camps in China, Thailand & USA. the link with a major Asian brand Chang, the TV shows offering training at Everton,.. This brings an immediate raising of profile but will take a few years for Everton to receive financial rewards.. One other thing we are leaders in is our community program and our charitable work, including looking after our former players... It begs the question.. are we as badly run as people would have us believe? of course things could be done better but that can be said about just about anything.. Keep the faith, we actually have quite an ethical brand, is the next step complete capitalism?
14   Posted 15/08/2008 at 12:49:09

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A good piece Alan and personally I would love to see the collapse of the whole rotten Sky/PL thing. I believe supporters of football teams are daft (me included) to put up with the shite they do from their clubs and/or Sky. However we are not so daft that (key word) eventually, we will realise we are paying far too much to support a league, the top four of which is more or less decided before a ball is kicked. It would be incredible to see to see Placido Domingo win the £37 Karaoke prize in your local alehouse on Saturday, but if he came in EVERY Saturday for years and fucked off with the prize-money EVERY week, someone would eventually kick a lung out of him.
chris williams
15   Posted 15/08/2008 at 14:04:12

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Gary W agree with you we ARE a better breed person. Was born a blue will die a blue and hopefully i will live long enough to see Rooney go before me, he should never have misused the saying ONCE A BLUE ALWAYS A BLUE ! To some of us it is our mantra our whole belief, EFC, the PEOPLES CLUB, is soo special no other team has what we have. COYB see u all at goodison on saturday
Paul OHanlon
16   Posted 15/08/2008 at 12:17:59

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I don’t think the bubble’s beginning to burst at all. TV money is still being pumped into the game at increasing levels and sponsorship deals are getting bigger and bigger.

Transfer fees and players wages are what stops investore making the money they could, not lack of income.
Tom Hughes
17   Posted 15/08/2008 at 14:26:38

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There are foot soldiers in the organisation that are more than pulling their weight. The Everton in the community and former player charities both predate Wyness for instance and are a success they can’t claim. The rest of our relative success has been achieved by a hard-working and talented manager who has done it on a budget most of his contemporaries would choke at!! ALL other clubs have done more to their facilities than EFC, so we don’t have the excuse of expending more in that direction. Most are sitting in completely redeveloped or new stadia, we haven’t even started. Now we are on the eve of a new season with no replacements for lost personnel from an already tiny squad, when at the end of last season we were literally only a few players away from bridging that gap. Check out all the threads on here. How many think this board are performing well?
sean condon
18   Posted 16/08/2008 at 02:42:53

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I don’t believe that wealthy businessmen invest in pro sports teams to make money year in year out. I think that they do it to spice up their social lives (well, maybe not that reverse-beard motherfucker at ManUre) for a few years until they can sell their franchise for a whopping profit.
I believe that the EPL, much like our civilization itself, has become some so bloated with its own pomposity and the insatiable lust for the fast buck, that it’s only a matter of time before the whole thing goes tits up.
Graham Atherton
19   Posted 16/08/2008 at 10:00:32

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5 years ago our aim was to avoid relegation but we have progressed rapidly to challenge in europe - perhaps too rapidly. There is no money in UEFA cup but there are bucketloads of prestige and merchandising opportunities - that is where our major marketing effort should lie along with selected places abroad and not in the centre of the city - where is the need to spread the word in a city already well partitioned?
Tourists? I don’t see the demand - yet. Focus on selling at the club shop and online and leave expensive city centre retail alone for now(tried and failed). Our most cost effective routes to expand interest in Everton are the Prem & UEFA selling abroad. Play a few seasons in europe and then there might be a demand.

The JJB contract has done its job as a stopgap, turning a long standing loss making operation into immediate profit. If JJB haven’t made a profit that is their problem - they still have to pay us a million a year for another 12 months. If we do well again this season then perhaps we will move that back in house.

Matchday retail was also outsourced and is raising around £100 000 more now than it was. Commercial activity is up £400 000 too - and this is for the season before last so no cup runs are contributing to that.

Season ticket sales are up on last year (!

Global demand for football and the Premiership in particular remains in constant expansion in The East, India, USA - billions of people - the Sky money has a way to go yet with hopefully more TV companies to compete with them, generating more money.

The bubble is a long way from bursting yet

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