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How Times Have Changed

By Sur Jo :  03/01/2009 :  Comments (0) :
I would like to quote the following from a Wall Street Journal, 2 January 2009 article:

“Many owners’ primary business incurred deep losses in 2008. As a result, league officials and investment bankers fear a market flooded with teams for sale at a time when potential buyers are few and credit for acquiring sports teams is difficult to secure, which would lead to shrinking team values.”

In light of the above, I am curious to know more about the short- to medium-term outlook for my beloved Everton FC. I recently read that we just had a season of record turnover. Next, unlike many, there is someone willing to part-finance the construction of a new stadium for us. But then, our manager does not have money to make signings. We have close to £50 million in debt. Our gate attendance is lower. Bill Kenwright can’t find a buyer of his choice for the club despite working 24/7.

Hence, while my favorite club is showing some signs of progress, yet their financial problem seem insurmountable and keeps growing over time. To bring solace to myself, I decided to look around the finances of the other Premier League clubs and see where we stand in comparison.

First, let us look at the known financial problems:

  1. Liverpool have postponed plans for a new stadium because of a lack of financing; it is also rumored that their owners have to refinance their current debts
  2. Newcastle have reached a standstill as far as financing goes
  3. It is rumored that West Ham are up for a forced sale
  4. It is also rumored that Portsmouth are up for a forced sale
Hence, 3 out of the 4 above teams won’t bother us for the near term in terms of our standing.

Teams that can’t invest at the moment include:

  1. Blackburn – it is reported that, if they go down, there is no comeback (OK, if they sell Santa Cruz then it may be a different story; but who do they bring in his place?)
  2. Middlesbrough
Hence, at least for now, we are not too worried about these two posing a significant risk to us.

Let us consider those who may spend but not big:

  1. Wigan Bolton
  2. Hull
  3. Stoke
  4. West Brom
  5. Sunderland
  6. Fulham
I expect us to perform better than those seven teams.

Let us now look at the big spenders:

  1. Man City
  2. Chelsea
  3. Man Utd
  4. Tottenham
  5. Arsenal
  6. Aston Villa
  7. Liverpool
I think, because of their financial muscle, these 7 teams will edge us for the time being.

Conclusion: Based on the above, I see Everton as the 8th most powerful team in the League, and I would love to think that this means we are a well-established Premier League team that won’t be besieged by the problems that are currently haunting West Ham, Portsmouth and, in the past, Leeds.

Well then who do I thank for that? I guess David Moyes and Bill Kenwright (and for sure: us, the fans).

I can’t forget how we saved ourselves and stayed in the Premier League on the last day of the 1997-98 campaign. I can’t forget the beating we were taking under Walter Smith towards the end of his tenure. I can’t forget the uncertainty and mounting debts at the club under the chairmanship of Peter Johnson. I can’t forget how the club was saved from relegation with a few minutes to spare in its last game of the 1993-94 campaign, and how we could not collect points under the management of Mike Walker.

I have seen dark days at the club and there was no end in sight until the last few seasons, and for a few seasons when Joe Royle and Big Dunc were at the club. And when I look at the top of the club’s hierarchy for the last few seasons, I see Bill Kenwright and David Moyes. Remember that they inherited a club in crisis that was heading down.

It’s true that we have not won anything since that memorable FA Cup Final under Joe Royle with Southall and Watson as the rock of the team, Limpar orchestrating that memorable FA Cup run alongside hotshots Rideout, Ferguson and Amokachi. But it is also true that these days I am not as anxious about my club as I was in the past. It means a lot to me as a fan that these days we are not talking about our Premier League survival but about how we make it to Europe! Thank you, David Moyes and Bill Kenwright. Though I hope they do not prove me wrong soon.

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