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Is There Anybody Out There?

By Tom Shrimpling :  04/08/2010 :  Comments (23) :

Being 22, I feel that I have lived and am living through one of the most turbulent periods of football history. I remember the early days of the Premier League, where the money invested was seemingly a great thing for the football in this country. The foreign imports were something of a novelty and teams threw up surprise signings who graced our shores with flair, exuberance and, above all, a greater sense of professionalism.

As fans (not so much Everton I suppose!) we looked forward to the new signings, whether foreign or not, and would gaze only briefly at the activities of the board and where the future finances were coming from. All this has seemingly changed, and in my humble opinion, it's for the worst.

Fans, including myself, are now so preoccupied with the external factors of football, (i.e finances, PR, marketing, etc, etc) that we cannot fully commit to just supporting the team. Don't get me wrong, I am among those who berate the financial fortunes of our truly great club, and when they step over that white line everything is forgotten! However, of course I am jealous of Manchester City, of course it irritates the hell out me when Liverpool, a team barely 100 yards away, is linked with 6 or 7 investors, and of course I hide behind the fact that "we are doing it the right way". Yet, taking the moral high ground is not going to win us cups, leagues or entrance into the champion's league, where the real money is. Football has gone investment mad. It's now not the foreign players who are catching the attention of the fans and the media, its the foreign investors.

I would love to write on here that foreign investment was not an issue in football. Yet I read this morning that Blackburn, yes Blackburn, who give us half their stadium every away day as they can't fill it themselves, have been approached by possible suitors. Ok, it may well be paper talk, however how many papers are talking up our chances of the next sheik/billionaire entering Goodison?

Morally it would rip me apart as I truly believe we are building something here for the future. But, after the Donovan fiasco and the possible imminent departure of Arteta, I feel we will, once again, fall short. We don't have any money to help arguably the best manager in the league. What £50 mil would do for our team. I seriously don't think we need £200-300 million that Man City have had over the last two years. I feel firm investment, of around £50 million would be adequate enough to see us make that next step. I fear without any investment in the next 1-2 years, we will be left in the footballing wilderness, whilst all the fat cats make a monopoly of the league and all the trophies.

Is there anybody out there?

Reader Comments

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Neil Mulhearn
1   Posted 04/08/2010 at 16:23:12

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I?ve always been a supporter of Bill Kenwright, and feel a lot of posts on here and other sites have been very unfair. Maybe he has made some unwise statements ? searching for investment 24/7 which he plainly isn?t. But I always thought he had the best interest of the club at heart and would do the right thing when the opportunity came along.

I didn?t want us prostituting ourselves to the highest bidder ? look where that has got Liverpool (and how happy they are for are Chinese takeaway assuming it must be better than a couple of yanks ? here?s hoping it?s out of the frying pan into the fire for them). But surely there must have be one viable investor out there?

And now Blackburn are the next in line to be taken over. £20mill debt cleared & an investment of £300million!! As I understand it, we have debts of around £60mill, and the club is currently valued at £100million. So these guys in theory could buy the club, clear our debts, give DM £20 ? 30mill and still have over £100mill to upgrade the stadium.

So I go back to the title ? am I missing something? Surely a club like ours is a better investment than Blackburn ? twice the home gate for a start never mind the worldwide fan base. Is BK treating us like his train set ? he doesn?t want anybody else to play with it. Because I feel we are going backwards.

We have the best squad in decades, but haven?t spent anything on players in years (net spending that is). We have 5 or 6 outstanding players ? but they are all vulnerable to poaching from other clubs and there is nothing we can do about (Roger last year ? Arteta, Peanuts, Jags this year maybe). And from a high of finishing fourth, then consistently finishing the best of the rest, we couldn?t even qualify for Europe this year ? and I can?t see us doing so next. We only need 2 or 3 players to be right up there, along with the financial support to stop our best players leaving. As somebody once said, you can fool some of the people all of the time etc ? BK can?t keep fobbing us off.

tony hughes
2   Posted 04/08/2010 at 16:27:12

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Why can`t he keep fobbing us off Neil? he`s been doing it for 10 years.
Lyndon Lloyd
3   Posted 04/08/2010 at 16:31:41

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Neil, the press reports about Blackburn's apparent suitor suggest that he's interested in them because they represent the best prospects for growth ? clearly the millstone that many feel Goodison Park represents, plus our position of sitting among the six to eight clubs challenging for the top four places would make us a less attractive prospect if maximum growth potential is the main criterium.

The Destination Kirkby documentation clearly stated that none of the Board members were interested in selling their stake in the Club but the whole way through, Kenwright insisted the club was for sale. That may have changed now that DK is over but if you couldn't believe Bill then, what makes you think you can believe him now?

I want to believe him, I really do, and for all his faults and his verbal diarrhoea, I'd welcome him to stay in as Chairman if he could find a billionaire investor willing to sit back and let him run the show but I suspect that's all he's looking for and no one is interested.
Sean McKenna
4   Posted 04/08/2010 at 16:47:41

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We are not for sale: Simple!
Dan Brierley
5   Posted 04/08/2010 at 16:47:09

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I still don't see how selling the club in going to benefit us in the long term. As with most sales, the debt of buying the club is then transferred onto the clubs books. So just to get a new owner is going to add up to 100 million to the deficit. That's before stadium investment, player investment etc. I don't see how the economics stack up to be honest.
David Price
6   Posted 04/08/2010 at 18:24:23

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There are no investors out there who can continually pump money into a club with no return. Blackburn may well get initial investment but will incur debt with the purchase. No-one outside Saudi Arabia is walking around with a billion in loose change. Even Hong Kong Phooey at Anfield is a head of a group of business men.

Now business men are well known for not taking risks with their own money and are content to use their business nouse and potential to borrow large sums from banks who can't lose. If the investment comes off they get their debt paid with interest, if not the club sells the assets and hey presto the debt gets paid off. Banks 1 club 0. To imagine these Chinatown boys are different is naive.

This could happen to us and Kenwright is aware of this. Bill is not turning people down, Moyes is not stupid and understands the situation. He has built a team the old fashioned way but in our fast food get rich and famous quick society, we want more. Everton is probably the one constant we will have in our lives, friends, family, almost everything passes through at some point. I for one want to know that our club is going strong when i take my last breath.

Alan Kirwin
7   Posted 04/08/2010 at 18:50:50

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Blackburn was muted for sale last season for as little as £25m. I find the idea that someone will put £300m into Blackburn as preposterous in the extreme. To be spent on what?

Blackburn has an almost unique value proposition to some bidders as it has the highest Asian population pro-rata in the UK. Half of the town are Asian/Muslim, so that is a possible attraction to a buyer, but only up to a point.

The club has no catchment area beyond the town's relatively small boundary. At £25m or so it may offer the chance for growth, but it is not in the same league as Everton as a club or institution.

And we can't compare with Liverpool either, as that is the other end of the spectrum, with many observers seeing LFC as a stronger international brand than MUFC.

But regardless of any of this, my view is that clubs should be run under normal business rules and fund their own growth from income & sensible borrowing only. As Arsenal do. I find the idea of sugar daddies or excessive unsupportable borrowing to both be grotesque.

It's frustrating for the vast majority of fans that we are stuck in a rut on the stadium front. And I keep coming back to the idea that the business plan has to be ambitious, water tight and achievable. IMHO the only stadium project that ticks every box for income, investment, prestige, affordability and deliverability. We, and especially the other shower of bastards, are missing the biggest trick of all.

I don't think many Evertonians want our club turned into the circus that Citeh has now become, where players are rescued from Barcelona reserves and awarded over £200k a week. Some financial crisis hey? And apparently they've doubled the cost of their boxes this season, prompting one Ricky Hatton to cancel his this season out of disgust.

It would be great if there was someone, or some fund, out there to buy some/most of the shares, clear the debt, inject about £50m of working capital for squad acquisitions and £100m to part-fund a new stadium. The stadium could then be funded on a low interest mortgage as Arsenal's is. The business plan behind a Merseyside super stadium would be a complete no-brainer and IMHO sail through investment hoops.

It pisses me of in extremis that the bleedin obvious can sometimes be so difficult to acknowledge and achieve.

David Hallwood
8   Posted 04/08/2010 at 19:23:05

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Tom, wouldn't it be great just to think about football, I used to watch football to get away from life's problems, now we've got a new set. There was a report on the web some time last year that set out in fairly stark, depressing terms, the reason why Everton cannot attract investment.

In a nutshell, anyone that wanted to buy the club or invest significant amounts of money have little or no chance of turning a profit or even breaking even. Therefore we are looking for a gimme rather than investment.

If an investor did buy the club, they would have to sort the ground out, probably pay part or all of the debt, as well as making x amount of money available for new players. So if you know anyone with a spare £200 mill, £300 mill or £400 mill please ask them to phone +44 (0) 871 663 1878 or email everton@evertonfc.com
Charles King
9   Posted 04/08/2010 at 19:07:36

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Tom, its fans like you that I fear for, born into an era of one of the deepest troughs in our history with minimal signs of us competing at the highest level let alone winning anything.
When your son or daughter comes along will you enthusiastically whisk them off to Goodison like my dad did back in the 60s?
I would'nt blame you if you did'nt, along with many others of the blue faith if our present malaise is not sorted this is where we're going.

The Blackburn news is just another nail in the coffin of the Everton for sale lie, there MAY be some credence in the Man City sale being based on stadium, larger population (no,,, its all bollocks but i'm just trying to be fairminded) but Blackburn Rovers before us don't anyone try and justify this.

I'm going out now because i can feel the vitriol and obscenities rising.

"fuckin blackburn??" (sound of door slamming)
Jon Cox
10   Posted 04/08/2010 at 19:37:24

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David Price, brilliant post, Take a bow son.
Mike McLean
11   Posted 04/08/2010 at 20:45:37

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Alan Kirwin. What is the total population of Blackburn / and its immediate environs? Hmmm. Not very big, is it?
Dan Brierley: pIease, I beg of you, stop embarrassing yourself.

David Price (take a bow son blah bloody blah) let me instruct you. Noone since the 20's went into a football club expecting to make money. It's a social thing; a kudos thing. Be seen in the right restaurant, with the right girl, being driven in the right car. Move in the right circles, shrug the shoulders and say something along th ines of, "Yeah, it's a cross I bear, but, hey, somebody has to do it ...".
Jamie Crowley
12   Posted 05/08/2010 at 02:26:16

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The kick in the balls is this Syed fella has stated he wants to invest in players and infrastructure for the long term. Not splash money around a la Man City.

A billionaire with prudence and long-term vision? Please God let it be us next time. Imagine, if this guy actually esposes to this approach, how well he'd fit in with Moyes' approach?

The thought 300M is too much for Blackburn is folly. If you a net worth of 800B that's less than 5% of your ledger.
Put in simpler terms, if you had 100K and you could buy a football club for 3K, would you do it? Hell yes, even if you overpaid it wouldn't matter. You never pay too much, you just buy a little early..... The asset will appreciate over time. And the interest on your assets cover the purchase - it's a no brainer.

He's got his eyes on Blackburn and he thinks it's the best investment he can make. Someone with a sales pitch mentality needs to present Everton as a better investment. Problem is, no one's doing that.

It's still not doom and gloom. Envy is one of the 7 deadly sins. Best team in a long while, qualify for Champions League, take that $$
Jamie Crowley
13   Posted 05/08/2010 at 02:44:14

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OOPS...

and build on it.

Do it the old-fashioned way and be proud. It's NOT impossible.

Pull up your boot straps and get to fucking work! Let's hope that's what everyone inside Everton FC are doing relentlessly.
Derek Thomas
14   Posted 05/08/2010 at 07:35:59

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Jamie; Bill is doing better than looking relentlessly, he is looking 24/7...watch this space
Alan Williams
15   Posted 05/08/2010 at 07:55:56

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You all make it sound so easy, look at the Blackburn?s deal it?s not what you all think. The outlay if said to be true is modest: purchase club and invest maybe £20 million per year. Jack Walker left them £20 million per and that wasn?t enough because that also includes wages so before you compare make sure its like for like because that amount of investment wouldn?t do anything for EFC. The problem EFC have is we need to go to the next level, that in itself is the issue we have poor revenue streams due to lack of infrastructure across the whole business so immediate capital expenditure (Capex) is required with no short term return possibly for even 5 years or more so before the person/consortium buys the club clears the debit they need a lot of cash in the bank. Today we have offered an extension to retail at GP with no investment from EFC which is positive short term but long term its negative as we will not prosper from the gains it will bring. I think fans need to look at today?s news in more long term objective approach and I would say re-development of GP must be on the Agenda so maybe just maybe we may have a investor willing to back us with modest outlay why would an independent business pay £9 million if the club where to move unless they struck a deal with compensation already either way. We as a club are not perfect but there are signs coming from GP at all levels that we are at last planning ahead instead of looking back. COYB
James Mullarkey
16   Posted 05/08/2010 at 08:56:54

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Whats going on in Football is a farce. People have a go at Blue Bill but he has our best intentions at heart. I would be disgusted if he sold out to a foreigner that would be the end for me as a loyal supporter. A local Evertonian now thats okay. Just like Jack Walker did for BRFC. Liverpool not content to be bailed out once are now bending over for someone else & I think it's embarrassing. Moyes is one of the few manager who has tried to build something honest, we have a really good squad better than some of the big boys & if we can be a little bit more consistent we can pick up a trophy this year. It would be sweet if we could achieve something without a billionaire. Everton should remain true to it's roots, Bill knows this. The Kopites are always banging on about Shankley. He would be turning in his grave. Remember he built that club from great management and a decent scouting system. We should not be envious of Clubs like Liverpool prostituting themselves in public. Everton Football Club belongs to it's people. Thats the way it should stay.
Alan Clarke
17   Posted 05/08/2010 at 10:33:06

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Everton belongs to the people? What crap.

David Price, if Moyes is not stupid and understands the situation why has he spoken this summer about leaving? Why does he use the press every summer to have a dig at Kenwright and the board about his lack of funds? Moyes is not stupid in that he realises he is paid very well and has a very safe job at Everton but he'd be delighted if a billionaire came in at Everton and handed him a blank cheque.
Phil Martin
18   Posted 05/08/2010 at 10:09:15

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1) Kenwright either won't or is not able to sell the club. I don't know if that's his incompetence, his desire to stay as Chairman OR the power held by Green and Earl preventing him from selling.

However I don't believe for a moment that we are the only club to have not had a sniff of interest (good or bad). Yes we need a new stadium and better players. But so do many other previously bought out clubs in the Premiership.

2) As a kid watching Everton in the 80s collecting trophies. I thought it would always be like that. Now aged 32, not only have I fallen out with the game. I'm getting fed up of forking out big money to watch Everton. Don't get me wrong I still love the club -and always will. But I'm tired of kidding myself we're going to break the top 4. I'm tired of kidding myself we're going to buy top players this summer.
I'm tired of kidding myself that the club and its players really give a shit about any of us. OK some might, but the majority don't.

And I'm tired of all the "I'd rather have slow and steady progress", "Better off with Billy" talk.
Yes none of us want a City type circus at EFC. But surely there's some middle ground between where we are now and what's going on at City? Let's not pretend that having literally no money to buy players is a strong position to be in. Or that it makes us morally superior to other clubs.
Steve Pugh
19   Posted 05/08/2010 at 11:02:52

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For Gods sake, you make it sound like DM is going to be gone next summer. He said he couldn't see himself spending the rest of his career at Goodison, why? Because one day he wants to be Scotland manager.

It has nothing at all to do with the situation at Everton it is simply a patritic Scotsman dreaming of managing his country.

As for investment, to be honest I do believe that we can make it into CL this time, and I also think that we can do reasonably well once there. This will start to deliver the funds we need to grow, but in the same way we are doing now, slowly and sensibly.
James Mullarkey
20   Posted 05/08/2010 at 12:06:39

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Alan Clarke. I have never heard Moyes complain about lack of money. He accepts it. You must be getting him mixed up with Martin ONeill or Benites.
Alan Clarke
21   Posted 05/08/2010 at 12:54:38

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Fine Steve, but how is Everton's financial situation any different to when he was stalling on signing his contract? Why does Moyes need to say anything about leaving if he was totally happy at Everton? I find the timing of those comments during the transfer window funny. Does the other patriotic Scotsman in charge of Man U talk about leaving? No, only retiring.

Also, James, the words "do you not think I've asked my chairman to make it happen" in reference to not being able to sign Donovan are a complaint. They are a complaint because he's saying he'd like to sign a player that he can't afford. By mentioning "the chairman" he's making a specific remark about Kenwright not being able to get him the player he wants. Moyes' previous remarks about the "glass ceiling" are also a complaint about his lack of funds.

You lot can kid yourselves that everything is rosey inside Goodison as though having no money is the 'Everton way' but you're totally deluded if you think Moyes is happy with a net spend of £0 every summer.
Roberto Birquet
22   Posted 05/08/2010 at 13:28:00

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Why investors want English PL clubs? Guardian has some insight, all to do with TV and broadband.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2010/aug/02/liverpool-kenny-huang-tv-rights

But if Chelsea can become abrand; then why not Everton?
Some of the infrastructure is there: The team, large fanbase, member of the PL.

Gavin Ramejkis
23   Posted 06/08/2010 at 16:26:45

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Has anyone stopped to think about these generalisms of "Good old Bill has saved us from dodgy foreigners turning the club purchase into debt"? I've thought more and more about this and it's only really happened in the last few years and certainly not for the majority of BK's tenure and his bullshitism 24/7 for ten years. To my mind the problem has been BK's insistence of investment not new owner and just what the terms he attached to that investment or rather cynically what Sir Philip Green would want.

Investment was mooted during the KD fiasco which would have seen BK lose control, he wouldn't take it so you can only assume that was a key stipulation to investment back then. The DK hearings showed none of the major shareholders willing to sell or dilute their shares so again control or a profitable post DK buyout was the stipulation then.

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