Despite the latest transfer pantomime, which Evertonians have unfortunately become accustomed to, surely there can’t be too many left who will be genuinely surprised when we sell Lescott; even less will believe the most likely line that will be taken which runs something like “Once we knew the player wanted to leave, our main priority was to get the club the best value possible.”
Lescott has to be sold. For one, the explanation has been on the KEIOC website for weeks... and for another, it’s apparent to every man and his dog that the cumulative effect of years of under investment has resulted in a position where we now have more debt than assets; in a nutshell, Everton are officially insolvent and are in desperate need of funds.
To get to the truth, you need to dismiss Bill Kenwright’s sugar-coated smokescreen anecdotes that bring a tear to a glass eye. Stories like how he brought Moyes to the club and stood by him are as much bollocks as his tale about standing next to Eddie Cavanagh in the ’66 Cup Final. Of course there will always be the same apologists ready to spring to Kenwright’s defence but let's be honest — the game's up; it’s now no longer just simply embarrassing… enough is enough.
The ambition of Bill Kenwright can be summed up by the fact that his choice for the manager's job after Walter Smith was NOT David Moyes — it was between Gary Megson and Dave Jones. A few years later, he was ready to sack David Moyes; they had his replacement lined up... but at the final hour, their man reneged on the deal and went to Aston Villa; yes, it was Martin O’Neill. Not the fairy tale version of events concerning standing by their man — just the plain simple truth.
There are a few more unpalatable truths Evertonians will have to accept. Maybe we could just about understand the desperation surrounding the Kings Dock "ring-fenced" money claim and the NTL charade; but the appalling Samuelson affair was, at best, a masquerade... and the “Tesco are contributing £50 million towards the stadium cost” travesty was nothing short of disgraceful; an all time low, all perpetrated under the chairmanship of Bill Kenwright.
The indisputable truth is simple… we were lied to: there is no £50 million; there never was. It’s now clear the Kenwright stadium is an £80 million budget special; like the squad, cheap and cheerful, leaving us unable to compete with the big boys. This is Kenwright’s legacy to Evertonians; his legacy from Everton is another matter…
Another unpalatable truth is that no stadium in Kirkby or a redevelopment will now finance the success our club and our fans deserve. We need at least five years of sustained achievement to attract fans and sponsors to develop the commercial revenues to levels that will make a difference — and even that is no longer enough. With the disparity between the Big Four and the remainder of the EPL increasing season after season, and teams like City, Spurs and others making tangible investments in their squads and infrastructure, Everton are gradually and unquestionably being left behind.
Exactly where did Bill Kenwright get the money from to purchase his Everton shares? Does it matter? Well, yes it does, if it effects the running of the club it certainly does. He’s admitted he’s not a rich man, but he managed to raise over £8 million to buy his shares. Did he borrow this from a bank? He doesn’t claim the annual interest payment of £400,000+ through the business so was it more of a private arrangement?
Was it an arrangement like that used to obtain those shares that now reside with the mysterious BVI registered BCR Sports? Shares that were paid for by Sir Philip Green; the man Keith Wyness bitterly complained was interfering with club policy and about whom he was about to issue a statement only for Green and Earl to chase across the Med and allegedly offer him 150,000 reasons to say nothing… and he didn’t.
Bill Kenwright has told shareholders that Philip Green has nothing to do with the club; he’s just a friend — a good friend of his... and therefore a good friend of ours; what a lot of people would like to know is how much of the £22 million used to buy the majority of the club's shares through True Blue Holdings came from the substantial pocket of Mr Green? Have we all been a little colour blind, was it True Green Holdings all along? Is this the reason why Bill Kenwright appears impotent when it comes to taking major decisions, attracting investment and selling the club?
Without a billionaire investor, the very real danger is that, in years to come, when a two division Premier League or even a European super league is established, Everton will be consigned forever to being just another club perennially making up the numbers; another Sunderland, Wigan or Bolton.
Some argue that we already are that type of club, but our stock and saleability is at its highest right now and we can still change our fortunes both on and off the field; we’re firmly established as the fifth-best team in the EPL, we consistently qualify for European football, we’re managed by a three times Manager of the Season, and we have at the helm a man who would appear to bleed blue, so don’t you find it strange that we haven’t attracted a single bid?
At the beginning of last season, anyone seriously looking at buying a Premier League club had plenty to choose from; Newcastle, Liverpool, Manchester City and Everton amongst others.
When ADUG cast an eye over the Premier League they, and others, must have looked at what was on offer. Newcastle, as ever, were in a death spiral once again, going nowhere. Super club Liverpool were on the market but — with debt, owners profit, stadium costs and new player acquisitions — the investment would be a hefty £1 billion. Manchester City’s owner Shinawatra was in need to realise some assets but the club has no pedigree, an unproven manager and no stadium of their own.
Then there was Everton.
Just behind the Big Four, good manager, new stadium planned, illustrious history, based in the capital of football… do I need to go on? The choice was obvious… and they chose City!!!! They paid £200 million for it and have so far spent another £200 million on players, more if wages are included. Next they’ll have to tackle their stadium issues.
The other week, our Chairman refused to answer a shareholder when he asked how much the club was up for sale for; in fact it was worse than that — he told the shareholder, in public, that he was bored by his question and wasn’t going to answer him.
On Saturday, after the game, I saw some of the KEIOC guys; I asked them how much they thought someone would need to spend. I was told £500 million… £120m for the club, £250m for a stadium and £150m for player acquisitions and lowering the level of debt. It all sounds like telephone numbers to me but they said this is what the Premier League has become, this is the sort of money someone would need. Actually, it’s the deal of the century to get Everton competitive once again and the owners would have an excellent chance of returning a handsome profit in the future when it was sold on.
It comes to something when a group of rag-arsed Evertonians can answer a question that our Chairman can’t. Once again, the apologists will start explaining such things away with inane rhetoric such as “it’s common business practice not to…” …blah, blah. Thank god some Evertonians are taking this Board to task, no matter how hard they try to avoid answering questions.
A few weeks ago at a private function in London, Philip Green was asked about Everton; his reply was that it was being run like a circus. We know that; it’s just we’d like to know who the ringmaster is!
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1 Posted 21/08/2009 at 00:59:41
Personally, I still can’t figure out Phillip Green’s angle, underwriting what is by all accounts a failing business enterprise... albeit one that some party will soon pay hundreds of millions for... rewarding the current owners many times fold, since they "only" paid a few tens of millions.
Gee, I guess I just answered my own question! All I ned now is for Neil Pearse to analyse your contentious findings and recast them into standard business language that shows this "model" does actually make sense from a business perspective.
Oh wait... i should have read the entire article at the KEIOC site. Here's the ultimate answer, right at the bottom:
Evertonians should resign themselves to the fact that current players and up and coming stars will continue to be sold to finance the clubs financial shortcomings whilst we battle against the problem of bridging the staggering and ever diverging financial disparity between the top four and fifth placed Everton.
I think I'm beginning to get it now...
2 Posted 21/08/2009 at 01:32:25
So far the takeovers by such figures have not all been a success, and their numbers are limited in any case. Fact is that if they decided to walk any of the clubs involved would be in huge trouble.
I find it quite amusing how many people seem to think that there really are queues of people willing to buy Everton AND spend their own money on a new ground. Until Goodison goes, no-one will be interested in either purchase or investment.
3 Posted 21/08/2009 at 01:54:24
Was it only last week that the Official Website confirmed that bids for Lescott, Saha and Vaughan totalling £29 Million pounds had been turned down. Can a skint club afford to do this?
Does anyone outside of the boardroom really know the state of the club? Especially as we seem to be able to come up with money for players and wages each season whilst most seem to percieve us as skint. I am lost over this. Any experts out there that can explain this with provable and checkable facts?
4 Posted 21/08/2009 at 01:54:35
There have of course been plenty of approaches from potential buyers in recent years but I’m not going get into the rights and wrongs of billionaire takeovers and whether it’s better-the-chairman-you-know here — that’s another Column article altogether!
Suffice it to say that I have first-hand knowledge of one approach in particular on behalf of Middle Eastern buyers made last year and the interested parties were left with the distinct impression that the owner was not willing to sell.
Furthermore, do the documents supporting the Destination Kirkby proposal not explicitly state that the Board of Directors has no intention of selling the Club, thereby ruling out the possibility of a sale until the Kirkby travesty is decided one way or the other?
5 Posted 21/08/2009 at 02:19:18
6 Posted 21/08/2009 at 02:40:41
The short answer, Ken, is that these acquisitions are funded by player sales (Andy Johnson, James McFadden) and the overdraft (recently secured against Sky TV revenue). Remember that by most accounts, we only put £3.5m down for Fellaini, the rest is paid on the drip.
The overwhelming majority of the record turnover from last year will go to player wages — you don’t get to keep the likes of Arteta, Cahill and Lescott otherwise — and these ongoing drip-payments, and so it goes.
Unfortunately, we’re maxed out now. Kenwright admitted it to shareholders at the EGM — we can’t go on like this, but the suspicion is that we’re tied to the Kirkby decision before anything can happen... assuming the current owner(s) even want it to.
7 Posted 21/08/2009 at 03:56:36
8 Posted 21/08/2009 at 04:22:01
Few I think would have called the sale of Saha anything other than smart ’business’ (tho’ I for one am glad we kept him) and the dosh would have kept the supposed wolves from the door.
I appreciate there would’ve been pressure to spend any proceeds from offloading Louis - especially with a month of the Window left - but many also have such a poor regard for EFC’s ability to close a deal, that few would have been surprised to see it unspent by the end of the month - albeit they would have been incandescent with rage!
9 Posted 21/08/2009 at 07:31:55
10 Posted 21/08/2009 at 07:37:08
1. Sources - you make some serious allegations (Kenwright about to sack Moyes - the job being between Megson and Jones... if so why did Moyes get the job?) Where did you get this information from; a club insider or some lad in The Spellow whilst you were on a bender? It has the whiff of bullshit about it to me.
2. This ’apologist’ rhetoric gets right on my nads... we’re all ’apologists’ for something — what difference does it make?
Personally, I think Kenwright is doing a poor job of running Everton; with just a little more investment a little earlier we could break through the glass ceiling of the ’Big Four’. The facts speak for themselves: fifth twice; fourth once... without the added investment in quality players you need to compete with the big boys. If he could just find money a little bit earlier and allow players to bed in pre-season we might be 2 or 3 points behind or in front of fourth place instead of 10 or 12 points behind fourth.
Quote your sources, Roger.
11 Posted 21/08/2009 at 07:55:26
12 Posted 21/08/2009 at 07:59:36
I’d say if Kenwright’s asking for £120mill then it’s no wonder the sale is going nowhere... £60-70mill is probably a figure that would actually generate interest — and the cronies would still make over 100% profit.
13 Posted 21/08/2009 at 07:58:57
I will ignore all the ritualistic Kenwright bashing stuff (e.g. no credit for Moyes because Smith chose him... yawn). And as all the others have said, it would be interesting to know some sources or even a bit more detail. But actually thank you Roger for a riveting and thought provoking read.
But a couple of points on the more sensible matters. Philip Green - I think you are right Roger, all the evidence suggests that he plays a pretty big role in the club. I for one would love to know more. What is in it for a truly wealthy and spectacularly successfull businessman like him who hardly needs Bill Kenwright or Everton Football Club to make him a wealthier man? Unless he himself in some kind of consortium once to buy the club if Kirkby is done? Seems unlikely.
And before we go all negative and conspiratorial about Green. If he actually is the source of much funding (even if in the form of loans) in recent years — well, I for one would rather have Yakubu, Baines and Felli etc. than not. Green’s backing is hardly worse than Abramovic’s or H&G’s.
On the choice between Everton and Man City, you pull a bit of a fast one here Roger. Whilst generally criticisizing Kirkby throughout as inadequate, you say we had a "new planned stadium" (i.e. Kirkby) which it seems you think made us more attractive to a potential investor. Well, which is it? Is Kirkby then really an asset which makes us more attractive after all? Secondly, of course, if a new stadium is actually required to make us more attractive — we DIDN’T have one when the choice was between us and Man City! Kirkby had been knocked back. So maybe that is one factor which led the Middle Easterners to go to Man City rather than us.
Which would make a lot of sense when we come to the real bombshell in your post. The £500M. In this number you assume no Kirkby, and that we could get another new ground for £250M — which is possible but optimistic, and clearly would NOT then be a ground of Emirates standards. Anyway, a new investor needs at least £500M to make it worth their while to take over our club.
One thing you are right about Roger: this is REAL money. How many other Premier League clubs have received this kind of investment from outside? Let’s go through them:
Chelsea for sure over the years through transfer dealings. But they didn’t need a new ground. (And Anramovic is one of the very richest men in the world.)
Man City actually not yet because they don’t need a new ground either. Although they may get there if they keep buying players at this rate.
Liverpool not yet by any means. H&G loaded all the debt from purchase onto the club so their own net investment is relatively low (someone else may know the numbers). If they stumped up for the new ground they would get up there. But, as we see, they won’t. Hmmm.
Man Utd? No. All the debt loaded on the club. No new ground investment. And now we see major constraints on transfers.
No one else of course anywhere near. So please no more bollocks about "Even Notts County got investment". £500M was it? I don’t think so.
So here’s the reality. To do what most posters on ToffeeWeb want (buy out Kenwright, world class stadium, great players on the pitch) requires the largest investment in a Premier League club so far apart from Abramovic. For currently the second team in a relatively economically constrained northern town (i.e. not London, not even Manchester), without even a current season ticket waiting list. It’s quite an ask isn’t it? And maybe not so surprising that it hasn’t yet happened?
And Kirkby doesn’t look quite so crazy in this light does it? Let’s say a new investor has a guaranteed new stadium capped at around £100M cost (additional debt in reality) — well, we can get down to some rather more reasonable numbers then. As you imply Roger, if Kirkby had already been sewn up when the choice was between us and Man City — maybe it would have been us instead. Just a thought.
14 Posted 21/08/2009 at 08:48:27
15 Posted 21/08/2009 at 08:50:26
But what Roger’s piece makes beautifully clear is that the alternative for a new owner is having to find another £150M+ for a stadium somewhere else than Kirkby.
As I say, that’s a big ask. And it’s certainly debateable whether we are going to find anyone wanting to spend this kind of money on us.
16 Posted 21/08/2009 at 08:57:49
17 Posted 21/08/2009 at 08:56:29
Regardless of what people claim about Goodison, look at the clubs that have recently been sold. None of their stadiums are as shabby as ours and no new investor has had to fund a stadium move or major ground improvements. Kenwright knows he will get maximum return on his investment if Everton move to Kirkby.
Everton as they stand cannot afford the £80 - 100 million needed for Kirkby. Where could that money possibly come from when we’re in so much debt? That money will be raised by selling Everton’s only assets — the players. So bye bye Lescott and only an injury to Arteta has prevented him leaving us too. The sale of these 2 players would probably give Kenwright at least half the money he’s looking for.
18 Posted 21/08/2009 at 09:20:42
Kenwright is treading a fine line to attract a new owner. He needs to have a viable business proposition (a reasonably costed new stadium in place), and a decent manager and team if possible. He’s not stupid and knows he needs to be careful about selling off all the quality playing assets (and potentially losing the manager).
On the Kirkby investment, like any major investment this will effectively be borrowed against likely increases in future revenues. We will not be paying cash up front, so we do not need Lescott / Arteta money now to be able to do Kirkby at its currrent price.
Of course we may need to sell the likes of Lescott and Arteta at some future point to pay back the Kirkby debts (especially if the additional revenues don’t come). But that’s for another day.
19 Posted 21/08/2009 at 09:09:09
Virtually free — now at considerable cost which we all know the club simply doesn’t have;
Best transport links — if many fans experience extra hours to get to and from expect reduced footfall which may well be forced upon the project due to the unsatisfactory transport capabilities;
Extra revenue streams from non-football use — already denied by KMBC during the process;
These three alone, and there are more, would have caused me as a project manager to can the project as it clearly fails to now meet the original requirements; if the revenue streams are not going to be those originally projected then a continuation is folly. The prime reason for the failure of the majority of projects in any walk of life is that they are allowed to continue despite them no longer being viable in terms of what they were supposed to deliver.
I don’t have the magical answer as to where investment will come from but that isn’t my job. I can see the sense in some self funding development such as a second tier on the Park End, potential hotel development behind the Park End; the Atlantic Tower has a smaller footprint than the marquee and car park. With no will or rather exclusivity to other business partners there is no way.
20 Posted 21/08/2009 at 09:44:57
Neil, honestly, where do you think Everton will magic £80 million from? Everything at Everton has been borrowed against so the only assets we have are the players. It may be that as a compromise Moyes is given some of it to spend i.e. £6 million for Taylor and £2.5 million for Huth but the rest goes into the Kirkby pot.
21 Posted 21/08/2009 at 09:36:11
The question Gavin is not whether you and others like Kirkby, or feel that you’ve been lied to or whatever. We know the answers to those questions. It is whether a potential new owner with money to invest in our club is more likely to invest in us with Kirkby than without.
The choice for the new investor is it seems: (a) a £300M-ish amount required if we have Kirkby; (b) a £500M+ amount if we need another new stadium; (c) buy us and invest a bit in GP; (d) leave us alone.
On a rational business basis, (d) is probably the most logical, but as Michael and others have argued, football is a funny game.
(c) I submit is simply not interesting to a major new investor. You still have to pump in a very big amount of money into the club, and have all the very considerable hassle of slowly making marginal improvements to a ground which will be hard put ever to get as good a return as a brand new purpose built one on a big site. In any case, new owners like new things like new stadiums.
(b) I submit is just too much for anyone other than someone who is both a billionaire and emotionally in love with our club.
(a) may be unlikely. Kirkby is far from ideal. Ciaran may be right and a billionaire won’t touch it. Others may be right and when they do due dlligence they will find that 5,000+ currently loyal Evertonians won’t go.
But we are not arguing about the ideal here, we are arguing about the really possible. Kirkby may get more investment into the club. There are no other options which the club as currently financially constituted can come even close to affording. And how many of you REALLY believe that the £500M+ new owner is still going to show up?
22 Posted 21/08/2009 at 09:54:06
The better question is: will someone lend it us? Probably yes, if they believe that Kirkby can produce a major increase in revenues. Also a banker knows we have lots of on field assets to sell if the worst comes to the worst down the road.
Actually what I believe possible is that with Kirkby in a new owner will appear to fund the new ground or at least guarantee the bank loan a la H&G. I may be wrong about this. But my case is that if we can’t get a new owner with Kirkby, you have to believe in the £500M+ billionaire if you think we will get one without. Possible too, but not very likely.
23 Posted 21/08/2009 at 10:02:41
24 Posted 21/08/2009 at 09:43:46
Despite having helped to run TPF for several years, I really, honestly don’t have any agenda (I just want the best for our club), or any real first-hand inside knowledge of the goings-on at Everton (other than the dubious honour of having being lied to both face-to-face and in general by our beloved chairman) - but I’ve obviously read lots of rumours, been passed lots of "insider info" over the years and I’ve also attended a few AGM/EGMs as well, all of which has allowed me to make my own mind up about things and I have to say, your post ticked more than a few boxes for me in terms of what I think is more LIKELY to actually be happening at Everton.
I really don’t buy all the "Agent Kenwright" stuff and I genuinely believe that he IS an Evertonian, and he honestly thinks he is - in the main - doing the right thing for the football club. He has (almost certainly reluctantly) been convinced that things like Desperation Kirkby HAVE to be done and they are the only way forward for our club and I just don’t think he has the strength of character or the business acumen to stand up to those assertions and challenge them - or maybe he just doesn’t have that much say anyway ? Would it really be THAT surprising, or that much of a leap to think that he was really just the "public face of Everton", a front for the real owner alluded to in the original post (again, no proof or "source" on this, just an instinct that this could be more than possible).
The last time I saw him (at possibly the last EGM we ever have now that they moved the goalposts) he looked tired, exhausted, not in the best of health and utterly, utterly sick of the position he was in, and - if this puppet-master scenario were true - then I really can’t say I’d blame him, having been talked into moving the club he loves to an identikit shed outside the city he loves will be a million miles away from the legacy he would have hoped to leave when he first got involved.
25 Posted 21/08/2009 at 10:11:55
But Judgement Day is approaching, as it usually does. The club is basically not a good investment for all the reasons Roger makes clear (£500M+ to be truly competitive). Carrying on as we are must see us slip further down the league as we lose our best players and probably Moyes. No clearly good options which we can afford.
It’s possible Green has just been helping out his friend with what is pretty loose change for him (or effectively costless bank guarantees). I still can’t see what Green truly has to gain that he needs Bill and Everton for. Maybe all one day will be clear.
26 Posted 21/08/2009 at 10:31:47
The fact is Everton have nothing left to borrow against. Look at the official financial reports. We’re mortgaged to the hilt. Ask yourself, why is Moyes beeing so stubborn over selling Lescott? Is he that stupid? I doubt it. He either wants the maximum amount of money because he knows he’ll see only a small portion of it or he knows he won’t see any of it therefore he’d rather keep him.
I’ve said this before but a friend of mine spoke to Sir Phillip Carter at the Macclesfield FA Cup game. At the time, Carter said Everton would not be moving to Kirkby because they couldn’t afford it. I hope this is still the case but, when you’ve got silly money being offered for a centre-half, I imagine the club will be putting every bit of extra income towards the stadium.
27 Posted 21/08/2009 at 11:37:23
I still find it incredulous that due dilligence wouldn’t start ringing alarm bells, reduced footfall from project proposals, single usage, etc and despite my often publicised viewpoint on DK, I stand by the belief that the project is fundmentally flawed and without sufficient merit to continue.
28 Posted 21/08/2009 at 11:54:22
1. Our planned new stadium could be paid for with the sale of just 4 players: Arteta, Rodwell ,Jagielka, Yakubu... and or Lescott;
2. We are allegedly up for sale at £120m according to KEIOC although a general consensus is also somewhere around that. Without paying for a stadium, paying off debt or anything else, we could concievably qualify for the Champions League with a squad investment of £40/50m. what would this do for the resale value of the club? IMO this would see our value rise to well above £200m. Man City have spent £200m on players alone. Just to get to a comparable level to us. More if you take Sven’s reign into account.
3. A new owner is not obliged to pay off the debt, nor are they obliged to pay £250m+ for a new stadium. A phased redevelopment of Goodison would be possible over 10 years. This could cost as little as £20-30m per year. Meaning you do not have to come into the club with £500m or anything near that figure. A more likely figure is £200-250m. Which is not chicken feed but it’s not a ridiculous amount in the current climate.
I’m not saying we could or should do any of the above, but purely from a money-making perspective EFC has a lot of possibilities for someone looking to make a quick buck or a long-term investment.
29 Posted 21/08/2009 at 12:30:30
Likewise with the £250m for a new stadium. A supermarket is not the only ’enabler’ and if a ’Billionaire’ was to take over EFC it would seem certain that the cost of a stadium could be met in various ways and not only with a one off payment - as Neil himself points out in regards to Kirkby: "we will borrow the £80M, we don’t need to put up downpayments.
The better question is: will someone lend it us? Probably yes, if they believe that Kirkby can produce a major increase in revenues. Also a banker knows we have lots of on field assets to sell if the worst comes to the worst down the road."
Obviously in an ideal scenario any new owner(s) would cover the full costs out of his/their own pockets but given the choice, I’d say ’the banks’ would be more inclined to lend money to a ’Billionaire,’ wouldn’t you?
Finally Stephen, I’m with you all the way on the incremental redevelopment of Goodison Park.
30 Posted 21/08/2009 at 13:36:46
31 Posted 21/08/2009 at 13:36:32
’Bye bye Lescott’? Brilliant stuff - you really are learning after all aren’t you. I think I even heard the penny drop. Well done, my friend. My patience with you paid off.
You need to realise that I was very kind to you by turning your ridiculous proposal of a bet down. Go and treat yourself to a couple of pints and think about some more players we can buy with that Lescott money.
32 Posted 21/08/2009 at 13:47:23
My point is mainly that we are going to find it very difficult to find a new owner willing to put up (over time) what we need them to put up. Especially if £250M+ of that is for a new stadium. As pointed out, no new owner that I am aware of has yet taken over a club and immediately started to borrow large sums for a new ground.
On the £20M odd a year at GP. Maybe. But this is still a good deal of money. And I just don’t think a major new owner will want to operate on that kind of timeline ("it will all look great in five years time!"), will be prepared to wait this long for additional revenues, or will actually believe that it is possible to turn GP with its physical constraints into the kind of prestigious money generator they want. They will say: "a very differerent stadium is required, the sooner the better".
And remember - a new owner will neither be sentimentally attached to GP the way we are, or give a rat’s ass whether our new stadium is one side or the other of a municipal boundary. To Gavin’s points they will of course care whether fans are going to show up.
Neil, I have been a bit mischevious with the £500M I admit. But the big point is that, from where we actually are now, it is going to take a very large sum of money to get us to the NSNO vision of Everton. And it is, as Ciaran would put it, very ’debateable’ whether there is any potential new owner who is going to spend this money on us. Hence the much cheaper enabler for a new owner - Kirkby.
33 Posted 21/08/2009 at 14:20:00
If I follow your logic then it seems quite obvious why Moyes isn’t selling Lescott. So he may still not sell him. The "politics" side of things means there is basically a stand off between Moyes and Kenwright on this so why would Moyes back down? If Moyes won’t see the Lescott money then I fully expect Lescott to stay in which case I win the bet. I’d suspected the money would be used for Kirkby since the story about City bidding for Lescott started, which is why I said you could never say with such assurance that Lescott would be definitely sold.
So things aren’t as rosey between Moyes and Kenwright as our old friend Doddy says?
34 Posted 21/08/2009 at 15:13:49
"Hong Kong businessman Carson Yeung has this morning tabled an £81.5m offer for Birmingham City Football Club."
Let’s go through this a bit....Location. BIrmingham is bigger and more attractive as a locale than Merseyside? Yes.
Stadium. I have never been so I can’t discuss. Maybe someone can add a little local color.
Debt: No discussion of debt in the article but they had a profit of a few million last year on turnover near £50 million while playing in the Championship.
Realistically, what does that £80+ million price do to Everton’s price?
35 Posted 21/08/2009 at 15:11:46
Roger Davis’s post is both interesting and provocative. Can’t agree with the 'officially insolvent' comment though. A company of the size and public positioning of Everton Football Club Co Ltd would regularly test both its ’cash flow’ and ’balance sheet’ by way of the management accounts; any financial failure highlighted by either of the above tests to establish solvency (or lack of it) would indicate a possible application to move to administration (the most extreme of a number of options); a failure to do ’something’ would make the directors potentially liable to a charge of wrongful trading; a persistent and/or wilful continued disregard could introduce the more serious charge of fraudulent trading.
So... all OK so far. What does give cause for concern are the actions of the directors and their reasons for them, such as ’DK the only viable option for the club’ and various other pronouncements made in the past and more recently.
I am particularly interested in the position of Sir Philip Green... he is not a director (as far as I know) and has publicly professed no interest in the club (am I right?). I understand that monies were advanced to Mr Kenwright by Green for, inter alia, the purposes of the purchase of shares. Is Green involved in the Arcadia group? Is Arcadia interested in DK?
I’ll tell you why I pose these questions: I am concerned about the position of non-directors (as shareholders or not) acting as ’shadow directors’. These are persons that exert real influence over a company's affairs without the onerous responsibility of directorship; they are known as de facto directors, if it can be shown that such influence is, or has been exerted.
What of it? you ask. Well, on indictment, they can be joined in any proceedings that may be brought against the company, usually in the course of any form of insolvent liquidation. So no insolvency of any type for EFC Co Ltd then....
If you bear with me, I think that these are real concerns, since it is the public perception of the club's activities in this regard that is often echoed in these forums. For the lawyers amongst you, a landmark case is demonstrated in ’Secretary of State of Trade v Deverell’. Just a thought.
COYB (legal or not!)
36 Posted 21/08/2009 at 16:19:58
Lescott is not an Everton player by the start of 2010-11 season (despite what you keep stating, this is all I have ever said). For the record — my prediction has always been January.
If Lescott is an Everton player on the first day of the 2010-11 season, I will send you £10. If not, you send me £5 — hows that?
37 Posted 21/08/2009 at 16:21:46
Concerning initial outlay: I think Stephen Kelly’s point regarding City’s outlay on playing staff (£200m plus), in order for them to challenge Everton on the field should not be ignored. I’m certain Moyes wouldn’t turn his nose up at the amount but equally, if he had the access to say a quarter of that total (maybe freeing up the rest for the stadium issue??), he would be confident of entering the promised land of the CL and the possibilities that would offer the club.
Running parallel to the above, I’m afraid that Kirkby always was a shocking case of putting the cart before the horse — incidentally, something that Arsene Wenger seems to agree with here.
38 Posted 21/08/2009 at 16:29:44
Welcome, Paul Leyland. I liked what you wrote but I still struggle with this idea that football clubs are run under the same rules as other businesses (Neil Pearse’s main point from many moons back... which I still have doubts about — thanks by the way, Neil for your excellent and thoughtful contributions to this thread).
What still bugs me is this: wasn’t there a media article recently that insinuated most Premier League clubs are indeed technically insolvent? Paul, you imply that action is required as soon as this condition becomes obvious... but is it not equally obvious form the record that all they do is go out and look for yet more debt to cover the insolvency?
They are not operating under normal business rules... are they? Or am I missing something?
39 Posted 21/08/2009 at 16:41:31
The real issue here is simply not knowing. We are all desperate for that little bit of knowledge that will uncover all. Sometimes you just have to be patient, sometimes you have to act... which is it? How long we will as fans of the mighty Everton wait? The current leadership has shut the curtains tighter which has only increased our desire to know.
I for one cannot see how Everton couldn’t redevelop Goodison Park. Even if we took just half of the supposed £80mil for this new stadium, the impact that could have on GP should surely be tremendous! Why not build some brand new big homes in Kirkby and offer them to the people around GP, anything! Keep the fans happy and the money will come.
I for one don’t want a big investor; I think it would ruin what the club is all about. I would much rather we gain the finances through success and this is where I see the real problem.
What are the current leadership’s ambitions? It is clearly not building on success. They are holding back money for this project rather than investing on what’s actually earning them money. A successful team will bring attention, TV money, sponsorship etc. To me they seem unwilling to let Moyes have that final piece we are all craving.
Spend on the team first, ground second. Work with what you have — great fans! Alienate them and they will no longer be loyal. I would just like an owner that would like good football first. Moyes has shown them he is capable and he makes the money count, so trust him some more and be patient for the rest. COYB!!
40 Posted 21/08/2009 at 17:16:57
It depends what one considers as insolvent: the definition is ’the inability to pay debts as and when they fall due’. Hidden in that simple sounding phrase are the minefields, shark nets, sand traps, swamps and cesspits that await all unwary directors (football clubs or not), the idea that EFC or any other football club floats above all this rather like a perfectly formed Swan gliding across still waters has been the downfall of many a football club.
In fact, football clubs are subject to some particularly unique legal circumstances when they ’hit the skids’, mainly due to the additional rules of continued admission to the league in which they operate.
It gets terribly complex which is why my original questions Re ’shadow directors’ might invite further debate.
41 Posted 21/08/2009 at 17:45:29
42 Posted 21/08/2009 at 18:19:05
I’ll bet Lescott is here at the end of the 09-10 season. I’m only following your logic on this that the Lescott money will be used for Kirkby and not be put in Moyes’s pocket for spending. The only way I can now see Moyes allowing Lescott to leave is if he finds a suitable replacement. Beyond the crap written in the papers, it doesn’t seem Moyes is close to finding one.
Moyes’s comments are very much open to interpretation but I don’t think he’s holding out for more money, I really don’t think he wants to sell Lescott.
43 Posted 21/08/2009 at 18:54:05
OK - Lets do the bet for the end of this current season then. I will give you 10 quid if you win it and come on here stating I was wrong all along (isn’t going to happen).
Done deal - thank you and good luck.
44 Posted 21/08/2009 at 20:56:57
Thanks for your comments, I am just the man in the pub that EFC directors might meet after a particularly contentious board meeting who tells them what their options are after 7 or 8 large scotches. they then either agree with me or make an excuse, leave and do what they want.
’Curtains drawn’ about covers it... there is no obligation upon directors to reveal their plans, intentions, differences or options to anyone other than (possibly) shareholders either at AGM (now not required) or at an EGM specifically convened for that purpose and duly minuted.
Since EFC Co Ltd are not a PLC, they are removed from any additional requirement that the title ’PLC’ imposes, thereby depriving us ’interested parties’ of any information. That’s why ToffeeWeb forums are a continuing fascinating centre for debate and speculation.
Watch this space (or did someone already say that somewhere?).
45 Posted 21/08/2009 at 21:31:21
Not much, actually, Steve — not because I’m deliberately being evasive, my contact did not wish to divulge their client’s identity due to the sensitivity at the time — but the most interesting aspect for me was that the more the contact heard about Destination Kirkby, the more they thought it sounded like a terrible idea.
Anyway, I don’t know how far talks eventually went — not very, I suspect — but this contact was frustrated by how difficult it was just to pin Kenwright et al down to get talks started and then amazed at how many legal hurdles the Club threw in the way of advancing negotiations further.
I have heard from sources that other approaches have been met with similar resistance which leads me to believe that Kenwright either doesn't want to sell or can't sell yet (because of the outstanding issue of Kirkby).
46 Posted 22/08/2009 at 01:16:31
I agree with what you say about shadow directors, if some stories are to believed then Green is definately one. I also think that the directors’ fiduciary duty means that they couldn’t let the club carry on trading if it was insolvent.
Lyndon - not only don’t you substantiate your response to Steve Carter but you then go one to make further unsubstantiated claims. We can all do that. I heard from my contact that Kenwright offered to sell to Sir Paul McCartney for £1 who was then going to put £500m into the club. However, McCartney only wanted to pay 97p and Kenwright wouldn’t budge on the price and was difficult to deal with.
47 Posted 22/08/2009 at 07:23:15
Sorry, Chris, would you like me to post the dozen or so emails I had with the person in question so you’ll believe me? Because I’m not going to do that nor am I going to reveal their identity, a) because I don’t know if they’re still in negotiations with the club (despite the initial roadblocks) and b) it was an exchange undertaken in confidence and I intend to keep it that way.
So you’ll just have to take me at my word because it’s rock solid and I wouldn’t make that kind of thing up.
48 Posted 22/08/2009 at 14:33:34
Top 6 finishes and Cup Final appearances will always draw attention.
The fact the Buyer does not have to pay for an already built stadium means that the asking price will have to be much lower and make us accessible to more people. Just because they buy a Club does not mean they have to do anything about the stadium at all. West Ham and Portsmouth are good examples there.
It’s bleedin obvious that there is something we are not being told. It does not add up. Even Birmingham have a takeover going on.
My thought is that Kenwright does not actually own those shares, he is just the public face for a certain Spurs fan. A Spurs fan who even got another Spurs fan (under the cover of the Stallone — never seen since — publicity stunt) to join the Board after Gregg left to keep total control. That’s why Bill can’t answer a question about how much the Club is up for sale for. It isn’t — not unless Kirkby goes tits up — and if it was, he is in no position to decide how much.
Now that adds up to me. It explains why we have been without any transfer funds for 2 years now (and even in 2007 was it not Earl who guaranteed the Yakubu and Fernandes money that suddenly just appeared?) it explains why BK is so hacked off with taking the flak, it explains why Wyness left all of a sudden, and Trevor Birch as well, it explains why Gregg sold up, it explains why nobody is allowed to offer any alternative to Kirkby. For me, it fits perfectly. I think the cat is out of the bag.
49 Posted 22/08/2009 at 17:30:17
50 Posted 22/08/2009 at 17:50:08
51 Posted 22/08/2009 at 18:19:59
Lyndon Lloyd: "So you’ll just have to take me at my word because it’s rock solid and I wouldn’t make that kind of thing up."
Is that the same trust that you expect when "as a site" you say you do not censor posts for any reason other than for poor grammar and formatting.
I only wonder as I find it hard to ponder exactly where the truth lies in that somewhat ambiguous statement.
We can all say that "I won’t divulge my sources", it could even be that some of us DO have sources to "not divulge", but to not post a contribution for no particular reason only compounds my thoughts that the content of ToffeeWeb is only ever going to contain some, but not all aspects of life as an Evertonian, compounding further the fear that some believe they have more rights to the freedom of speech than others.
Facts have never been as exciting as fiction on this site, just like most web sites, papers and sky based news stories.
52 Posted 22/08/2009 at 18:38:38
I could promise you that your impression that readers of this site are somehow missing some "aspect of life as an Evertonian" because there are scores of posts that are withheld "for no reason" is completely unfounded... but then you’d have to take my word for it and you don’t seem prepared to do that.
I’m not a bullshitter, Dean. Not only is it not in my nature but I have no reason to spread lies here. ToffeeWeb is a life’s work because I’m proud of the service we provide to fans through long hours of our own free time; it’s not an instrument designed to put forth one side of any particular story, and I think our editorial record of publishing articles from every possible angle proves that.
53 Posted 22/08/2009 at 19:03:51
It feels so much nicer when it is a personal statement, so on that note, I do/will believe you in regard to almost all, if not all the threads I have read of yours.
It’s not that I didn’t believe you, but that I have read so many so-called truths from fellow posters this summer I think I might be loosing the plot somewhat!
Keep the good work going Lyndon, as I for one do appreciate all the hard work that you and your team do in keeping this site as vibrant and diverse as it is.
Many thanks, NSNO
54 Posted 22/08/2009 at 19:22:22
Since I started posting regularly a couple of years back I have often said some pretty unpopular ’minority’ things here, and have directly and even heatedly crossed swords with both you and Michael on a number of occasions. I have never had a single word of my posts censored.
Great job guys, and much appreciated.
55 Posted 22/08/2009 at 21:32:53
I can certainly corraborate your claims through enquiries of my own.
I cannot say too much as most posters will appreciate but suffice it to say Earl and Green are handling the sale and it is very complicated.
I would ask fellow posters to respect my position and not to ask for any more detail than that.
56 Posted 22/08/2009 at 20:44:40
"Facts have never been as exciting as fiction on this site" — at one level a harmless enough comment, it can however be interpretted at another level to imply that we champion fiction over fact, and are intentionally participating in the deception of a portion of the Everton fanbase that choses to read the contents of this website.
I can assure you that nothing could be further from the truth.
While it is of course impossible for us to verify all the material posted on here, all the news stories we link to, all the mailbag items and fan articles we publish... I think most intelligent people would accept that they are smart enougn to know when someone is telling porkies. The only exception is the Rumour Mill, which carries clear caveats and disclaimers accordingly.
It’s far too easy of course to doubt stories that have not gotten into the mainstream, to demand that we give away our sources, to ask for independent verification before you will allow new information and opinions to alter firmly held precepts.
But that kind of intellectiuual rigour somewhat misses the point regarding exactly what it is we are providing here.
Above all, it is an open forum for Evertonians to exchange and comment on news, information, and opinions. But to that extent, you are entering into a trust with fellow Evertonians when you post on here, that you do not deliberately bullshit them with fiction. The problem, however, is that any topic you chose (Pick one!) can be presented in a wide range of ways, polarizing into pro or con, positive or negative... and all shades in-between. I often feel that the major problem we have with certain individuals is that they cannot or will not recoginse this general fact. But that is the nature of diverse opinions — something which I feel we need a few people, such as yourself perhaps, to sign a Memorandum of Understanding on before they venture forth.
In a perfect world, that MOU would say:
"In agreeing to participate in active use of this website, I accept and acknowledge that it is a relatively free forum for the exchange of views, news, information and opinions on all things Everton, provided in good faith and at face value and independently by fans like me. I agree not to unfairly or arbitrarily denigrate the site or its contributors; I accept they have essentially the same intersts as me when it comes to knowing and understanding all there is to know about Everton Football Club... warts ’n all."
If you can subscribe to that charter, then we will strive to make it worth your while.
But as a result, we do censor those who cannot accede by such a charter. There are a relatively tiny handful who believe we have some agenda (untrue — other than as described above), are anti-Kenwright (also untrue), want Moyes sacked (untrue), etc etc. They are a tiny but of course vocal minority that we deny space to becuase they will not agree to abide by the terms of this charter, mainly because in spouting forth their shite, they demonstrate a total lack of respect for their fellow Evertonians with whom they disagree.
It’s maligned and overused, but what I’m asking for here is... Respect!
57 Posted 22/08/2009 at 22:22:46
In Roger’s case, though, if I hadn’t heard all but one of the nuggets he raises (the Moyes/O’Neill thing being the exception) from a number of different sources over the last year or so, I’d be inclined to see things from Dean’s side as well.
But there comes a point where there’s so much smoke, there’s just got to be a fire.
58 Posted 23/08/2009 at 07:36:02
59 Posted 23/08/2009 at 07:55:44
60 Posted 23/08/2009 at 09:14:28
61 Posted 23/08/2009 at 08:45:17
I do wish some people would stop insisting on named sources or they won’t believe anything. Do you believe what’s in the tabloids if it names the "reporter"?
A lot of people work in business and are subject to various legal documents that forbid divulging of confidential material. Some commentators will actively use such discreet (!) disclosure of non-financial information to further their aims, at a time of their doing.
One of the companies I’m involved with is heavily dependent on investors. Sometimes I only get to meet their accountants or lawyers. Some people don’t court the publicity like our esteemed Chairman — and as long as their money’s clean, it’s good...
62 Posted 23/08/2009 at 13:28:19
Just dwell on that when yousling the stones and arrows!
63 Posted 23/08/2009 at 19:35:27
64 Posted 25/08/2009 at 23:10:32
What's it to be, Bill? Maybe one more signing and a couple of loan deals. Why should Everton stagnate just so you can squeeze every last penny out us. Do Everton a favour and fuck off now.
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