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Breaking Down the Barriers

By Colin Fitzpatrick :  18/02/2011 :  Comments (82) :

When I think of Everton today, my mind is firmly fixed on those desperate scenes inside Hitler's bunker in the film "Downfall" or of comical Ali telling the world Iraq were winning the conflict and no Americans were anywhere near Baghdad... as an American tank rumbled by. The regime built on spin, on misinformation, on who has been running the club is falling apart at the seams and even their most fervent supporters in the press are waking up the fact that something isn't right.

The club are getting desperate; they've long since issued threats to journalists over talking to KEIOC but they've now reached a new low ? banning the decent guys at the Echo from speaking to the players. How these people are in a job at the club is simply a further indictment of the calibre of the people who allegedly run the club.

The parts of my original piece not printed by the Echo are below; it's taken a long time for them to start printing what's really happening... it will take them a little more time or perhaps a big story to act as a catalyst for greater change ? "watch this space" is all I can say at the moment!!

At the 2008 inquiry into Destination Kirkby, I had the opportunity to publicly question Everton CEO Robert Elstone, a person I respect as he has always answered my questions with a degree of honesty. I asked if any of the current directors had ever invested in Everton, apart from their personal shareholdings? "Not a single penny" came the reply.

Enquiring if the business plan, based on asset utilisation, was sustainable, Robert answered that it wasn't; my suggestion that it was in fact inherently unsustainable, that the loans would overwhelm the club?s ability to provide the manager with funds, was answered with ?We have a highly qualified finance team and a good relationship with the bank. That wouldn't be allowed to happen.? But this scenario has happened ? and it?s only going to get worse in the 2010-11 accounts.

Everton's multi-million pound net losses that are posted aren?t all cash, they?re mainly due to accountancy conventions applied to the value of the playing squad. That doesn?t mean that everything is fine at Goodison, it?s not; those with even a rudimentary knowledge of accounts can work out the financial ratios which confirm Everton are in, and heading for some more, serious trouble.

Ten years ago, Everton had net assets of £18.5m on their balance sheet; today, this position has deteriorated to having net liabilities of £30m. Everton, like another 14 Premier League clubs, are officially insolvent using the legal definition. Using the accountancy definition, we?re not... as, if needs be, we can sell players to balance the books; but, if this situation were to arise, how are we expected to operate as a football club?

Some of the main issues fans have with Everton are the veil of secrecy that has descended over Goodison and the constant and insulting level of spin that is used to cover-up the inadequacies of a board bereft of ideas and ability. As an example of secrecy, the accounts show staff costs representing 69% of turnover whilst almost all the rest, 30%, is simply posted as ?other operating costs?. Ten years ago, these costs were just £1.2m, or less than 4% of total turnover, yet the board can?t be questioned on this as they have banned Annual General Meetings in favour of stage-managed "Shareholder Forums" ? when the chairman can tell fellow owners of the club that he?s bored by their questions and refuses to answer.

With these latest accounts, the devil is in the detail: the club secretary?s narrative explains that, post year-end ? that is to say, outside the scope of these latest accounts ? the club has, yet again, obtained further funding through borrowing against future revenue, the latest being in December 2010, which was a loan from Barclays that was used to pay off a previous loan.

Perhaps the most surprising information from Martin Evans is that the money from the sale of Bellefield, also obtained in December 2010, was used to pay ?the previous working capital loan facility?... So that?s Bellefield, our last remaining useable asset, gone. Taken in conjunction with other events, I would suggest that the bank has put pressure on the club to reduce its overdraft and control costs by shipping out players to reduce expenditure against dwindling income. Commendable fiscal measures... but ones that diminish our ability to compete on the field of play.

We all know what is required: Everton need to increase their own commercial performance, specifically the amount of revenue delivered from the stadium. Currently, fans and shareholders alike are being given very little information concerning the new £9m building behind the Park End; sadly Everton?s reputation and performance tells you that there?s a tale to be told over this latest ?at no cost? project.

The boards last attempt to address the income situation was Destination Kirkby, a proposal described by Liverpool Council and Sefton Council as a con. For Everton, this was a truly appalling solution which would, in my opinion, have failed to provide the club with any additional income whatsoever when factors such as attendance, additional financing charges and attendance capping (due to being demonstrably unable to meet government transport targets) were applied.

For me, Kirkby represented the last straw for Bill Kenwright and his board. Destination Kirkby, or DK as it became known, joined a long list of initials that angers any Evertonian worth their salt:? KD, NTL, FSF... Destination Kirkby being the worst as the board stood impotently by whilst outside influences dictated the detrimental direction the club was taking. Perhaps the revelations and repercussions of this decision aren?t yet at an end...

The next chapter for Everton will undoubtedly be new ownership but, given the current board's track record, they cannot be allowed to be involved in this process. Too many clubs have committed major errors of judgement on this matter, our neighbours being just one of them. It is my belief that Bill Kenwright has forfeited the honour of being chairman of our great club. I would suggest that the way forward is to replace the current directors with an interim board, as was done at Liverpool, with the sole objective of identifying and securing a suitable new owner who has the means, capacity and vision to halt the decline and take the club forward.

"Trust Everton" for me, and many others, is the type of organisation that should be the way forward and should have a representative say on the future direction of the club. If this would have been in place, it's doubtful Bill Kenwright could have got up to what he did with Green and Leahy. It would be an organisation for the benefit of the club and its fans and not just about the wealth and opportunities for the selected few. Well known and respected Evertonian, Andy Burnham, is a great advocate of supporters trusts.

Colin Fitzpatrick
KEIOC


Supplementary Supporting Information


Extract of minutes from 2008 EGM

BK: "But to get to 4th, we need more money. Banks, will you lend us more money. We know what's going on at the moment in the world, the banks are tighter than they've ever been. Our bank's fantastic to us. All I can tell you, with absolute, genuine honesty, I don't know what to do anymore other than to get more money."

Shout from audience: "Sell it then."

BK: "Sell it? You're right. If I can sell it, it will be sold tomorrow, the next day or the next day. There's a man called Keith Harris who I'm sure you all know, he did the Randy Lerner deal, he?s done most of the big deals in the last few years. He's out there looking for me, Jon?s [Woods] been out there looking for the last ten months. We are out there with an open door policy.. Everyone knows this football club needs investment. I don't know what more I can do to serve you, to serve the football club and to get you the success that you deserve."

Shout from audience: "The planning application said the club is not for sale."

Notes extracted from the revised Planning Statement (document 18) Kirkby Inquiry:

6.10 A further point that is of relevance to any debate on the options that might be available to the Club to fund a new stadium, is the willingness and abilities of the Club?s directors to sell some or all of their interests in the Club in order to attract an investor who or which might have the ability in financial terms to fund a new stadium in its entirety or at the very least fund the shortfall that exists in the context of this proposals. As is pointed out in greater detail in the financial statement (document 26), this is not an option as the current directors have no intention of selling any of their interests in the Club.

Extract of minutes and narrative from the public inquiry:

Mr Roger Lancaster, the barrister representing Sefton, West Lancs? and St Helens Council?s, then began his cross examination. Mr Lancaster asked why Everton should receive a cross subsidy from money derived from public land; ?would you expect Woolworth?s to be given such a subsidy to help them??

Robert Elstone replied, wittily, that he wasn?t familiar with their business model!

Mr Lancaster then examined Everton?s methods of raising their financial contribution towards the stadium construction cost; Mr Lancaster asked if Everton had considered a rights issue, Robert Elstone explained that the Club hadn?t because it was not affordable on top of the £78m figure that their advisors had indicated was achievable.

Mr Lancaster then enquired if a sale and leaseback scheme on the stadium had been considered, ?No it hadn?t? was the reply. Mr Lancaster then referred to the applicant?s own DTZ report which stated that the major shareholders had no intention of selling their interest in the Club. Robert Elstone pointed out that selling shares would not raise funds for the club just the shareholders.

Mr Lancaster focused his attention on Bill Kenwright?s statement at the recent EGM concerning the sale of the club to a billionaire and the apparent engagement of Keith Harris of Seymour Pierce; Robert Elstone refuted this, adding that the club hadn?t engaged Seymour Pierce or anyone else. It was established that the club is for sale, although this is not mentioned in any of the 6,000 pages of the planning application.

Mr. Lancaster hypothesized that if the club was sold, there wouldn?t be a requirement for the £52M cross subsidy; the £52M wouldn't be needed. Mr. Lancaster asked, ?What happens if a Manchester City occurred the day after this inquiry closes?? Robert Elstone replied, ?Who knows??

Mr Lancaster asked about average attendances in recent Premier League fixtures, indicating that no game had an attendance of 50,000 and only Manchester United and Arsenal actually had gates of that magnitude, Robert Elstone explained that Newcastle, Sunderland and Manchester City have those capacities and that Liverpool, Tottenham and Chelsea plan to develop grounds with that capacity.

Mr Lancaster, now in full flow, then suggested that Everton were trying to steal a march over their rivals by getting a bigger stadium, a stadium that they can't afford. He established that no investment had gone into GP in the last thirteen years and that it wouldn't cost that much to improve facilities. He finished off by suggesting to Robert Elstone that if a private business received £52m from a council and then its owners sold up and made an increased profit due to that money, ?there would be a public outcry wouldn't there?? ?Perhaps? replied the Everton CEO

Extract of narrative and minutes of reexamination by Colin Fitzpatrick.

Now once again changing quickly to finance, Colin asked ?This asset utilization and disposal plan that has been adopted by the board, it can?t be sustained forever can it??

?No? came the reply.

?It?s inherently unsustainable, won?t the assets run out and the loan repayments overwhelm the club's ability to provide sufficient funds to obtain better players??

?We have a highly qualified finance team and a good relationship with the bank, that wouldn't be allowed to happen? replied Robert Elstone.

?The lack of available funding clearly indicates that a change is needed? continued Colin, ?we can completely understand the need to become facility led. One would assume that improvements in the Stadium would, if correctly managed, lead to increased revenue streams from ticket sales, increased ticket prices that reflect the better amenities available, increased catering, hospitality and corporate sales and higher commercial and merchandise revenue, this is what you?re after is it not??

?In broad principles, yes? replied the CEO.

Colin, returning to investment, asked, ?In the main, highly successful business people typically own these Premiership clubs, how do these owners obtain a return on their investment??

In a bizarre reply for a chartered accountant, Robert Elstone told the inquiry, ?In a variety of ways: emotion, profile, status.?

A clearly confused Colin put the question another way, ?would you agree that they take the long view, that they?ll obtain their return when they sell their club??

?There is evidence of substantial capital growth in the Premier League.?

Obtaining the accountants answer he wanted Colin went on to ask ?You indicate that Everton have failed to invest in their revenue generator, their stadium; would it be a fair observation to state that the current board have never invested a single penny in the club??

Robert Elstone answered honestly, ?Yes, that's true, so when they sell, that's a return.?

Reader Comments

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Kirk McArdle
1   Posted 18/02/2011 at 05:45:23

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Title should be rename to "Breaking down the bullshit"

I thought for a long time that the fact that we had an actual fan as the our custodian was something to be proud of. Other teams that were selling up and losing their identities placed us on a moral high-ground if you like. I didn't want a Sheik Whathisnameovich using us as a toy and as a money laundering convenience shop. I wanted us to do things the right way. The Everton way.

Over the last 3 years this has been gradually chipped away and I can't believe or understand what and how this has happened to our club. We all (Doddy exempt) have a moan about BK but it isn't just him. The entire board and executive level management are at fault.

BK says from the transcript above that "Jon (Woods) has been looking for investment for the last 10 months". Woods by his own omission "Never gets involved with the goings on at board level" Why is he here then?

Robert Earl bought out the Gregg's shareholding when their relationship with BK became untenable. Apart from sticking an Everton scarf around Rocky's neck (whilst he was over here promoting a film by the way) what has he ever done for us? He lives in bloody America anyway running a business that is struggling itself.

Sir Philip Carter. How many times does one man have to come back to the position he left? Anyone? Anybody?

That is our board baring Sir Philip Green that is everyone's friend but has nothing and never will have anything to do with the running of this club. With friends like these, eh Bill!

Robert Elstone. Given the job because there wasn't really anyone else to give it to.

I used to post regularly a while ago but could not be bothered to in the end. I read the site every day and agree or disagree with comments in my own way now. But the time has come where something has to give. The lies... The lack of investment... Two abandoned ground moves... A Chairman that no-one seems to know where he is... A manager at his wits end... Players seemingly lacking motivation and connection for the club... Discontent amongst the fanbase.

And the media are definitely starting to pick up on the above. For a number of years, I felt that there was only 19 clubs in the Premiership but over the last 2 months how many pieces have sprung up on the BBC sport section and in national newspapers?

I feel that this current board and owner has almost run its course and change is not far off.

Colin, an excellent piece again. Fans make a club. Not an owner.
David Ellis
2   Posted 18/02/2011 at 06:15:07

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Colin
An excellent piece, but your case would be strenghened if you did not over-stress two points:

1. The Club is "officially insolvent using the legal definition" ? This is simply not true. The legal definition is "not being able to meet its liabilities as they fall due". The Club can do this, at the moment. So it is not insolvent. It would become insolvent if the banks asked for their money back and the Club could not re-finance. Hence all Elstone's talk of the good relationship with the banks. I share you concern (as a shareholder myself) of the risks this creates, but the Club is not insolvent.

2. For all Kenwright's weaknesses I do not think there is much evidence that he is in it for the money. It is true that a subsidy for a new stadium would effectively enrich the shareholders of the Club ? and Kenwright could cash in on this by selling the Club as soon as the new stadium was developed. But I would still want the Club to obtain the subsidy ? and to have the new stadium.

Also, the new stadium may not increase the value of the Club because of all the extra debt that would be required. The reason a subsidy is needed is because the increased revenue from a new stadium is probably not sufficient to finance the cost of building it in the first place. If this is the case, the new stadium would actually reduce the value of the Club ? thus removing the ability of Kenwright to cash in on any increase in value. But this would depend on how a number of variables panned out after the event, eg, interest rates, actual costs of construction, value of GP, attendances, ticket prices etc.

Elstone is quoted as saying that the price of Premier League clubs has risen over time so anyone who sells would make a gain. This is true during the life of the Premier League ? largely because revenue has been constantly rising since the league was formed in 1992. But profitability of Premier League Clubs has generally not changed over the period ? on average, they are consistently around zero (with Man U being the one consistent exception because they are the one club that can match others wage bills and still have some money left over, by definition only one club can do this at any one time, the one with the highest revenue).

If revenue stalls or falls, the clubs will all start to lose money rapidly because it is not easy for them to reduce costs, it will be impossible to reduce costs if the entire league is affected at the same time because there will be no buyers for players or clubs willing to take over contracts negotiated when wages are at the current peak levels. Football faces a potential systematic risk like that affecting subprime mortgages in 2008.

My point being that the value of Mr Kenwright's shares (and my one share) is quite likely to drop dramatically, so he will likely not make a great return, particularly given his long holding period, compared to say putting the money in a bank savings account for the same period.

For all that, I think it is a good article. I am dismayed by the lack of a coherent financial strategy. I fear our period of "out-performance" is over for now and mediocrity beckons. I have successfully managed my 7-year-old son's expectations ? my own are a bit harder to manage!

David Ellis
3   Posted 18/02/2011 at 06:51:48

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Colin
I need to at least half apologise regarding my point 1 above (insolvency).

There are two legal tests for insolvency (a) the balance sheet test and (b) the cash flow test. I was talking about (b). The balance sheet test is not really relevant in the current context, but obviously Everton fail the balance sheet test as their liabilities exceed their assets ? and I imagine that was your point, and it is correct.

I am not worried about the balance sheet for reasons already discussed at length in other threads.
Colin Fitzpatrick
4   Posted 18/02/2011 at 06:50:26

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No David [2] I think you'll find it's you that is wrong, you're quoting the same definition as I do, the accountancy definition, hence what I have said. Under the legal definition, that is the official definition, Everton, and most or the other Premier League clubs are insolvent in the legal sense of the word; that is unless you know more than Equifax!! Here's a link http://www.equifax.co.uk/efx_pdf/Acquire_Q4_2010.pdf

Not sure I understand your second point David, there wasn't a subsidy at Kirkby, the board and chief executive can talk till they're blue in the face, there was no contribution to the COST of the stadium. In my opinion, the whole thing was a con for the benefit of others and the board, who are legally obligated to take decisions that are in the best interests of the business; the board should rightly be brought to task over this at a general meeting.

It's the boards actions that have brought the club to the situation we're in today. Kirkby was about short-term gain and nothing else. Like I've said before I'm not anti-Kenwright, I'm just pro-Everton and because of that, for me, the man shouldn't have any say in the future of the club whatsoever; but that's just my opinion, I'm just an ordinary fan.

For me, the board will get a return on their investment when the club is sold; I'd just like to know who will ultimately make the decision on whom to sell to. The decision to follow Kirkby tells you that their ability to make the right decision, for the club, is at best highly questionable.

Cheers David, I'm obviously with you with your other observations.
Colin Fitzpatrick
5   Posted 18/02/2011 at 07:31:32

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Argh, you beat me to it fella!!! Our posts crossed.
Steve Carter
6   Posted 18/02/2011 at 08:47:25

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How sure are you that new ownership is undoubted, Colin. Why would anyone buy Everton? The infrastructure costs required coupled with the LFC across the park factor are going to put anybody off, aren't they? For example, why wouldn't a newbie be far better off, say, investing in or buying (call it what you like) a current single-town Championship side with better infrastructure, waiting a year for promotion and waving as they pass us as we go down?
Al Reddish
7   Posted 18/02/2011 at 09:00:50

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I don't claim to be any kind of financial wizz kid. I have got a £600 o/d facility from my bank and I know I have to stay within it or be penalised, so when it comes to reading posts on our accounts it can be a little hard for people like me to keep up. However, it is clear that amongst all the smoke and mirrors, our beloved club is dying.

We ain't seen Bill for ages now. The last I heard he was in Hollywood getting some investment lined up. It really is time he went, and I was a BK fan. Maybe he did have the best interests of the club at heart, but his total lack of vision and business acumen, not to mention some bizarre decisions, have left the royal blues in the brown stuff.

You only have to remember Kings Dock, Fortress Sports Fund, NTL, DK, Watch this space, Rooney would not be sold for £50m (I suppose that one was true!), WOW!, Trevor Birch, Races across the Med in a yacht to catch hold of Wyness, the appointment of Wyness, Gregg, Gosling's contract, Manuel Fernandes disappearing the day of his supposed signing, Getting rid of our forwards this January when we struggle to score, the last 5 transfer windows and the AGMs

Shit, that list even suprised me!

Mike Gwyer
8   Posted 18/02/2011 at 09:19:44

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Well, the bottom line for me is that it's so fucking sad when people, who do not give a flying fuck about Everton ? other than how much wonga is going to go into their pockets ? have such a big say in what happens to the club. Personally, I hope their shares become worthless.

However, with cost cutting and asset selling the order of the day at GP - this summer will be probably be the end for the likes of Fellaini, Baines & Arteta. Sad days.
Stephen Kenny
9   Posted 18/02/2011 at 09:48:14

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The only thing more worrying than what Bill Kenwright considers a business plan, is that in all likelihood the sale will be handled by our friend in retail. A man whose proven interest shows he certainly doesn't care about Everton Football Club.

According to Alan Sugar, he likes making deals, especially in the football world. No doubt he will be making one for Everton in the not too distant future, with Bill telling everyone how great it is for US!!!

Gavin asked the question what would it take to really ignite a spark of protest amongst Evertonians, I believe should this man's involvement be laid bare with Bill's complicity then he would finally be chased from Goodison. Something I personally would love to see after the way he has behaved.
David Hallwood
10   Posted 18/02/2011 at 10:04:44

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Great piece Colin; I cannot think of another more divisive issue than Kenwright and it's split Evertonians, pro or anti; sadly I'm neither so you get shot from both sides! But the conundrum for Everton is, if we can't turn a profit who in their right mind would want to 'invest' in the club, especially the eye watering amount of money needed.

In the real business world, lame duck companies are usually sold for a nominal fee, and then the new owners implement a 'rationalisation? ' programme (aka sack everything that moves). Now obviously this isn?t an option for a football club and we appear to heading towards the rocks with no hope of a u-turn. A bad, bad place.
Colin Fitzpatrick
11   Posted 18/02/2011 at 10:13:53

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I think it's inevitable Steve [6], the current board are a sham. If change doesn't occur we're heading for disaster, the financial year end is 31 May, if you think last year's accounts weren't great, wait till you see the next set, it doesn't take Deloitte to work that one out!!!

I don't feel the Liverpool situation is actually relevant myself, but that's just my opinion as a blue; however, you're spot on about the stadium situation, a viable solution must be found, maybe the solution is for the directors to sell their shares on a cost plus a nominal fee basis rather than any substantial profit? Why should they do this? Why shouldn't they? They're responsible for the mess the club are in.

It's interesting to see David Barlett's piece on the stadium issue in today's Echo, the club aren't speaking to them over this set of articles so he's resorted to using someone described as "a source familiar with Everton's situation" I think the clues as to who this is are in the statements that the stadium was going to cost £130m ? it wasn't ? and generate an additional £11m a year ? it wouldn't; it's just as much a load of bollocks now as it was when he conned the fans and shareholders over it; we've had an inquiry since which has proved it!!!
Al Reddish
12   Posted 18/02/2011 at 10:53:48

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Another worrying issue for me is the money for Bellefield has already been swallowed up ? meaning we don't have anything to do anything with now. We can't put a down payment on a possible new ground or improvements on Goodison as we can't sell anything else except the players to do so.
Tom Hughes
13   Posted 18/02/2011 at 11:19:38

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As ever, Col, a comprehensive summary of the situation the club is in. No speculation nor conjecture.... just simple facts backed up by solid research. I hope some more journalists pick up on these references, and further expose the club's situation in the media.
Colin Malone
14   Posted 18/02/2011 at 11:35:37

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Tom: "I hope some more journalists pick up on these references, and further expose the club's situation in the media." ? Just like destination Kirkby, Tom ? You'll have a long wait .

Colin, It's great to have you and Tom Hughes on board. I listened to Robert Elstone, last week and the only word he used was 'investment' ? not once did i hear the word 'buyer'. Am I right in what I'm saying ? that an invester is a completly different avenue to a buyer? This was a question I posted last week but never got on a thread.

ps: Where's the money going to come from this June, when EFC want all to renew season tickets?

Kevin Tully
15   Posted 18/02/2011 at 11:55:09

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I cannot for the life of me see why our club would be valued @ £100-120 M.

If Kenwright is a true fan, he would sell without the need for massive profit.

As for the rest of the board, what is the point of them ?

No business plan, not prepared to invest their personal wealth, they must realise their time is up.
Tom Hughes
16   Posted 18/02/2011 at 11:39:07

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Steve #6,
I don't understand this stance at all. Why would anyone buy Blackburn for instance (or any number of other smaller clubs), with only a fraction of our fanbase and history? How have Birmingham secured new owners? Pompey? These clubs have no brand, no heritage, no fanbase to trade. How have Man City (not once, but twice)? They were completely dwarfed by Man Utd, who make LFC look like Bolton with a large honours list.

On the sane principle, why would anyone buy West Ham or for that matter ANY London club, until recently surely Arsenal and Chelsea had it all tied up? The fact is none of these issues has hindered the sale of nearly ALL other clubs in the time that Everton has been supposedly looking for similar.

I believe there is great potential in our club. A massive fanbase that repeatedly shows that we could be as big as anyone if properly invested in. (As witnessed by the away-following due to descend on London tomorrow, being significantly larger than that which came the other way from one of the nouvo-rich).

The stadium issue is grossly overplayed IMO. Yes, this represents additional costs but it can be spread over a few years and in any case, most of Goodison's defficiencies can be addressed for a fraction of the costs oft-quoted..... not to mention other options that could be available to a more receptive leadership (perhaps not constrained by out-of-town retail-led enabling, that can't exist).

Even then, if this board's shares were transferred at the current nominal value to a new owner, Everton would be a very attractive proposition, even with debts and an ancient stadium. Even the devil-incarnate, Peter Johnson was honourable enough to do that much. You'd expect at least that from "one of our own". We'll see!

Tony Wilson
17   Posted 18/02/2011 at 12:26:53

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Thanks Colin, this is an exellent critique.

I have been on the fence for a few months but now I am sold.

I e-mailed the CEO recently to ask a few questions about the stadium, commercial opportunities, and so on, with the aim of posting the reply on this site (naive, I know).

His response was respectful and immediate, and he stated that he would be publishing an article soon about the club's financial strategy.

I decided not to send it to TW because I could not help but feel sympathy for the man, who has a very difficult job under the current board.

I hope that Trust Everton have achieved genuine influence before the club changes hands personally (if it actually does), as long as the club is not dead in the water by such a time (certainly a possibility).

Cheers
Jackie Barry
18   Posted 18/02/2011 at 14:04:47

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Good article Colin and although I haven't always agreed with some of your comments I was never behind the Kirkby stadium move.

Anyway, my question to you and all of us is where do we go from here? We can write article after article until we are blue in the face but, until the fans start taking action, nothing will be accomplished. I sometimes get the feeling that because so many of us were taken in by it all, we are now a little embarrassed to act upon our anger.
Colin Fitzpatrick
19   Posted 18/02/2011 at 14:12:05

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Tony [17] completely agree, the CEO's hands are tied behind his back, it's a wonder he can type a reply!!!!
Jay Harris
20   Posted 18/02/2011 at 13:54:47

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Excellent piece as always Colin but I am afraid it changes nothing without some action from the fans.

What I cant understand is why they will NOT consider a rights issue which does dilute shareholders percentage holdings but would enable funds to give greater overall value to the club.

We need a protest of the magnitude that got rid of Johnson ? or a reintroduction of cushions in the stands!!
Alan Williams
21   Posted 18/02/2011 at 13:24:18

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I'm sorry Colin but what gives you the right to speak for us all?

You state the obvious with the fiscal comments, anybody with an ounce of intelligence will see we spend more than we get in. Slagging the board off for using the Bellefield revenue to pay off debt is good management by the club, are you asking that we get more loans to buy players so our predicament becomes even worse?

EFC is a business and under new law it?s doesn?t have to hold AGMs any longer, and I don?t blame them as the past meetings have turned in to a debacle and added no value whatsoever. We as fans have no legal claim at all to suggest that the major shareholders stand aside so the fans can decide who buys the club and for what price, it's complete fantasy.

LFC created a new board not by choice but due to its major creditors applying this caveat ? otherwise they would have withdrawn finance and placed the company in to administration. EFC are not to date in such a predicament.

I like the sound of the EFC trust and let?s see if it gets the support from the fans, but again, the shareholders of EFC don?t have to accept the EFC trust. BK or any of the board doesn?t have to put their own money in, they take the risk by purchasing shares that offer no dividend ?pay?s your money takes your chance?.

DK failed because it was half a mile out of the boundary, simple as... but the idea of going to a new stadium with two commercial backers was a sound alternative and quoting councils that had the most to lose with the project being successful adds no intellectual argument at all to the failure, they did it not for KEIOC but for their own selfish reasons.

And I ask you a question: what if EFC was offered a new stadium at Speke Industrial Park as apposed to say Hillside School/Bootle Stadium ? both of the same quality ? which one would you choose as Speke is 11.1 miles away and in the City and Bootle is 1 mile away but outside the City limits? COYB

Ken Buckley
22   Posted 18/02/2011 at 14:20:35

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Among all the technical financial jargon that has been disseminated by experts in all parts of the media as well as fan groups since the publication of the latest accounts, I feel it might be the simple realisation that we can't move on any improvement on the playing pitch in the foreseable future that becomes the catalyst for rapid movement of some sort down Goodison way.
Dave Wilson
23   Posted 18/02/2011 at 14:34:36

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Colin

Well researched and thorough as usual, my worry is this; In many ways you are preaching to the already converted, Does anbody still support this current board?

It's the WHO, the WHEN, and the HOW that people are now looking for...

Who will remove the current board, by what mechanism? And if they refuse to go, how do you think it can be done?
Dave Wilson
24   Posted 18/02/2011 at 15:11:48

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Jay

I think it make take substantially more than the relatively small protest that eventually saw the back of PJ. This crew have much thicker skins.

The trouble is ? and the board play on this ? many Evertonians just want to support their team, 6,000 tomorow.

We are a Premier League club, with Champions League fans, being held over a barrel by a Ryman League board...
Rob Dolby
25   Posted 18/02/2011 at 14:06:59

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Great post. I feel the same way as most who have already contributed. BK needs to make room for a new regime whether they have money or not. We are not progressing in any off-field activities which is vital in the modern Premier League. The fans are the only ones showing any new intiiatives. The lack of trasparency is also a major concern leaving most to form opinion upon hearsay and conjecture.
David Thomas
26   Posted 18/02/2011 at 15:47:43

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Rob,

What would be the point of a new regime coming in without money?

We need money. A new regime with no money would be a pointless change.
Michael Kenrick
Editorial Team
27   Posted 18/02/2011 at 16:13:40

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Dave,

I'm afraid I pushed Colin for this piece, having seen how his contribution to the Echo was so watered down by them. It was really to redress that balance a little, and restate some of the facts... but they are playing catch-up ? it's taken them the best part of a week to realise the significance of the accounts and to cut loose somewhat from the shackles the Club has on them.

But you are right: the fans will want to see some solutions being brought forth. The Trust is an imperative that is long overdue, in my opinion, but it is clear that it will take a while to build any momentum, let alone be able to apply real pressure for any change.

Tony & Mike are right to progress carefully but at the same time, the challenge for all fans who are concerned about the situation is to maintain the pressure, keep discussing the issues, help more and more fans understand what is really going on (not easy, as there always appear to be different ways to interpret the same 'facts') and above all, avoid getting drawn into in-fighting factions ? that is what I fear the most but, in any democratic entity, it seems almost inevitable.
Ray Robinson
28   Posted 18/02/2011 at 16:21:59

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Dave #24, what do you mean by Championship fans? Can't for the life of me agree there - unless you clarify.
Ray Robinson
29   Posted 18/02/2011 at 16:26:20

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Dave #24 just re-read it: Champions League fans - that's better! Apologies.
Michael Kenrick
Editorial Team
30   Posted 18/02/2011 at 16:26:58

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Ray ? "Champions League fans" ? ie, up there among the best.

Championship fans would indeed be something quite different....
Gareth Humphreys
31   Posted 18/02/2011 at 16:36:04

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At the risk of creating some friction, are we Champions League fans or Championship fans?

The apathy at match day towards Kenwright suggests the latter.

Dare I say it, but at least that lot kicked up a bit of a fuss. Whether it had any effect or not is another matter.
David Thomas
32   Posted 18/02/2011 at 16:48:21

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Gareth,

I presume you are taking the piss with that question? Well I hope you are.

We are Champions League fans without question.

I think the fact that the double holders and the team who spent £75 million in the last transfer window sold 2,900 tickets for the match at Goodison whilst we have sold 6,000 for the replay tells you everything you need to know.
David Price
33   Posted 18/02/2011 at 16:48:02

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Thanks Colin, really informative.

Alan, I don't think Colin is speaking for all of us, it isn't an opinionated article, it's a factual outline on where we stand as a club.

Kenwright now reminds me of the old days on an away trip on the coach. Nearing journey's end after a long day, a guy steps up with his Everton hat and does a collection for the driver. We all chip in and the guy with the hat looks the good guy as he hands over the shrapnel to a grateful driver. Thing is, the guy probably didn't put any money in and the "investors" made him look good.

Next trip, no-one invests and the same guy looks out of his depth. Yep, some definite parallels going on here...

Thanks again, Colin.

Gareth Humphreys
34   Posted 18/02/2011 at 17:00:14

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I'm not Dave. Do we sell out every home game? Nope; Do we sell out every away game ? Yep. What does that tell us? ? no idea.

My point is that them lot had shit owners putting them in trouble and they let it be known they were not happy. We have the same type of owner but not a protest in sight. Unbelievably, we still have people thinking that Blue Bill is fine and just skint.

Paul Carr
35   Posted 18/02/2011 at 16:37:07

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Colin, are you able to clarify the current status of the Shareholders Association? I emailed them requesting membership details and never got a reply, and their website looks out of date. Do they support the Board?

Presumably, they hold more than 5% of the shares between them and therefore have the power to call a general meeting at which all these points could be raised and the Board would be forced to respond.

A vote of no confidence could also be organised.

David Thomas
36   Posted 18/02/2011 at 17:08:41

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Gareth,

So what you are saying is Liverpool have Champions League fans because they protest and Everton have Championship fans because we have not protested?
Mark Murphy
37   Posted 18/02/2011 at 17:03:22

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David, playing devil's advocate here but I would suggest that a Chelski fan would reply along the lines of the FA Cup is not a big deal for them anymore?

Colin, thank you very much for this article ? It's got me seriously thinking of the situation now rather than just skimming from the outskirts. Keep up the good work and please God let's all hope something happens positively soon.
Charles King
38   Posted 18/02/2011 at 17:16:20

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Great stuff, Colin, appreciated by accounting dullards like me.

30% "operating costs" hides a multitude of sins ? no wonder these buggers aren't trusted.
David Thomas
39   Posted 18/02/2011 at 18:24:46

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Mark,

Maybe it's not their biggest priority.

However, do you think it is Manchester United's or Arsenal's main priority?

Do you think they would have taken up their full allocation even if it is not their top priority? I think they would have taken the full allocation.
Gavin Ramejkis
40   Posted 18/02/2011 at 20:08:08

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David #39, I'm pretty sure the last time Chelski got anywhere near their full allocation at Goodison was when they were heavily subsidised by their own club and that was the same game the Sky microphones above them made it sound like they had brought 40,000 to Goodison. Most occasions I can remember sitting in the Park End, Chelski have always had a shite away support.
Lyndon Lloyd
41   Posted 18/02/2011 at 19:20:09

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Alan Williams: Slagging the board off for using the Bellefield revenue to pay off debt is good management by the club, are you asking that we get more loans to buy players so our predicament becomes even worse?

I think the point here is that the Board got us to the point where the sale of Bellefield was used to bail us out of another loan because they have sold off all of the Club's other assets and failed over the past decade to attract any investment of any kind. Yes, as a policy of last resort, using revenue from an asset sale to pay off debt is sound but fairly damning in the context of what preceded it.

EFC is a business and under new law it?s doesn?t have to hold AGMs any longer, and I don?t blame them as the past meetings have turned in to a debacle and added no value whatsoever.

That depends on your point of view. A small selection of very vocal fans were raising some points that, in hindsight, were highly pertinent. They challenged the legitimacy of the Fortress Sports Fund "investment" (since admitted as a sham to force Paul Gregg off the Board), the wisdom and integrity of Destination Kirkby (since proven to be unworkable and undeliverable), and, more recently, the veracity of Kenwright's claims that EFC is for sale (demonstrated again above not to be true at the time, although we're now supposed to believe that stance has changed).
Andy Riley
42   Posted 18/02/2011 at 20:37:55

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I think the recent "Strategy and Investment" article on the official site whilst not saying very much at all may show that the constant questioning of the current regime by more and more loyal Evertonians is starting to show that it could be having an effect. To use a Churchillian quote it may not mark the beginning of the end but it just might be the end of the beginning.
Steve Harris
43   Posted 18/02/2011 at 20:42:59

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Kirk#1 summed up my feelings perfectly, suffice to say my own disillusionment with this current situation is increasing daily. Something has to be done to oust bk and the board asap! Coyb lets join together and make it happen. Great piece btw
Andy Riley
44   Posted 18/02/2011 at 21:16:25

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Maybe we should mobilise small shareholders (like me with one share) to a 50% club. Either be prepared to sell to a new owner for 50% of the price paid for your shareholding or be prepared to invest a further 50% in a rights issue. I paid £1250 for my share and would sell it for £625 to any new owner who I believed would offer a better future. Similarly I'd be prepared to invest a further £625 in a rights issue. Could we start a movement for every existing shareholder to make a similar pledge which would put pressure on the current majority shareholders to do likewise?
Gavin Ramejkis
45   Posted 18/02/2011 at 22:00:14

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Maybe naive maybe not but surely there's nothing stopping majority shareholders buying a big slice of a new shares issue thus really putting their hands in their own pockets for a change but as the £1250 cost of a share hasn't changed in a long time then surely they could sell their new shares and get at least what they paid back for them thus not losing a penny and potentially earning a few more silver pieces come the time to sell up completely?
Andrew James
46   Posted 18/02/2011 at 21:48:30

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I look at Everton and I don't get the feel for a well run business.

Marketing

Dreadful. There's a real lack of knowing how to change perception and a complete inability to influence the press. It even comes down to how you treat the press when they're at Goodison. They need to be wined and dined so they feel compelled to have good words to say about us. Superficial I know but that's the game. Plus the website is really basic and lacks imagination.

Sales and Operations

I am putting these two together because I think the clubs merchandise and ticket selling arm is a combination of these. Nevertheless, operationally they are a lame duck with antiquated systems and poorly trained customer service staff. Ordering a ticket is hard work compared to getting a ticket for a gig or just about any other entertainment. When I go to away games at Craven Cottage, I even go direct to Fulham because you can order online in seconds. I end up in the neutral area but at least I don't mind that as long as I get the ticket without fuss!

Finance

Without proper investment, I suspect that this is the department that comes off best. You can only manage what you're given on the numbers front. However, what remains looming over them like a shadow is the "ring fenced" monies issue over DK. Was this their incompetence or Bill fibbing? I have in business, witnessed Finance teams failing to ring
fence off money they should have due to incompetence or complacence.

Compliance

As an aside, do we have the harshest due diligence procedures going hence why we have not been taken over? Who knows!

All in all, I think a lot could be overhauled so we are a much leaner and dynamic outfit thus increasing revenue which can only help Davey.
David Israel
47   Posted 18/02/2011 at 23:12:00

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Excellent piece, Colin. Thank you very much.

Now, as to the contradictions on whether Keith Harris is or is not involved in trying to sell the club or "find investment", the truth is he only recently said he is and even mentioned there are two or three possible buyers on the horizon. So, it is all very puzzling...
David Thomas
48   Posted 18/02/2011 at 23:59:50

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Gavin,

Yeah it was the League Cup semi-final where once again we took 6,000 to the Bridge and they brought approx 2,500 to Goodison. They had the microphones etc right above the away end so, like you said, all you could hear on the highlights was the Chelsea fans.
Colin Fitzpatrick
49   Posted 19/02/2011 at 00:43:13

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Alan (#21) I've pulled you up before for posting factually incorrect information and making erroneous statements that uncannily always appear to be inline with the latest club propaganda; alas you feel the need to continue to keep up this tradition.

First of all I don't believe I've claimed that I speak for everyone, however if I have, before I apologise, perhaps you can point me to where I've stated this?

You state "anybody with an ounce of intelligence will see we spend more than we get in." if that is the case then clearly you don't have an ounce of intelligence!! I get the impression that you're a senior manager or possibly a director, which is slightly worrying given your above statement. Below are the operating profit / (loss) figures posted by Everton over the last ten years:

Year ? profit / (loss)

00-01 (£3.0m)
01-02 £1.5m
02-03 £5.6m
03-04 (£2.6m)
04-05 £10.4m
05-06 £3.1m
06-07 (£0.5m)
07-08 £7m
08-09 £6m
09-10 (£0.5m)

Everton have only spent more than they have earned on four occasions during the last decade and the total is just £6.6m profit over that period of time. If you're unaware of how football accounts work, if you're unaware that the net losses posted aren't actual cash movements, then I suggest you attempt to obtain this information before posting any further misleading statements. Like I said, Everton run a tight ship, you're talking bollocks.

I'll come to the erroneous statements in your third paragraph at the end. In paragraph six you state "DK failed because it was half a mile out of the boundary, simple as..." Alan, are you on medication? Is this what you actually believe? I could of course give you chapter and verse at this point but frankly I can't be bothered these days with anyone making such ridiculous statement as that. Do you genuinely believe we had commercial backers? I think you need to seriously read what the planning inspector said; you'll be telling me next that Tesco were giving Everton a £52m subsidy!!!

To confirm your lack of knowledge and confusion on the stadium location situation, you ask me a bizarre question which you must think is somehow clever; my answer and probably the answer of everyone I know, is Bootle, why wouldn't it be? You clearly must have swallowed the club's propaganda which attempted to dumb down the location issue into a boundary issue.

Returning to your earlier allegation, in paragraph three, when, in relation to the club's abandonment of general meetings, you state "I don't blame them as the past meetings have turned into a debacle and added no value whatsoever" ? were you at these meetings? Can you give me a specific instance of a meeting becoming a debacle? Because if you can I'll happily get on the phone to one of the guy's who called the last EGM and you can put your allegations to him and in return he will post the real reason on here I'm sure.

I for one cannot remember any meeting being a debacle, I also don't remember any member of the board being abused, as has been claimed by others, yet I clearly remember the chairman abusing a shareholder who asked a legitimate question, a shareholder who has since sold his shares in disgust of being spoken to in such a manner.

Nobody is saying the fans have the right to remove the board, but expert advice, from lawyers versed in company law and Everton's Articles of Association, assures me the shareholders can, complicated yes, but the board can be removed.

You've asked me a question, now I'll ask you one, why do most people who post shite always end their posts with COYB? Do you think it admonishes them of their sins against intelligence? (Two questions I know; I like to give value for money!!)

Colin Malone
50   Posted 19/02/2011 at 06:54:25

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The Club is for sale and that sale does not depend on the Chairman remaining in charge."

Original Source: Everton FC

Remember, Rooney is going nowhere.
Shareholders and fans need a bit more transparency on whats going on An extraodinary AGM should be called ASAP and let it be known what the fuck is going on, instead of our CEO going on websites and radio stating things that cannot be legally binding. At least at an AGM every word is minuted as gospel.
Any other company worth their salt would do something to pacify the people who are important to them.
Ged Simpson
51   Posted 19/02/2011 at 07:06:07

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Excellent piece Colin

COYB
Lee Smith
52   Posted 19/02/2011 at 09:54:26

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Colin #49, a brilliant fact backed response to Alan #21. How anyone can still hold them sort views, especially about DK, baffles me.
Brian Waring
53   Posted 19/02/2011 at 10:50:35

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Colin ( #49 ) well said mate. I wouldn't hold your breath on getting a response back though.
Eugene Ruane
54   Posted 19/02/2011 at 09:15:11

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Alan Williams - "DK failed because it was half a mile out of the boundary, simple as..."

'Simple as'?

Really?

REALLY really?

Wow!

That's in-CREDIBLE!

Just take complex stuff you don't have the capacity to understand and simplify the shite out of it.

It's almost....genius!

It kind of means you'll ALWAYS have the right answer.

Well count me in!

Erm....Egyptians were rioting because they like shouting, simple as. Cows produce milk because they're born with loads of milk inside them, simple as. Cars are able to move because they've got wheels and wheels go round, simple as.

I fucking LOVE this!
Phil Bellis
55   Posted 19/02/2011 at 11:39:47

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DK failed because it was half a mile out of the boundary, simple as...

The mind boggles
Tony Wilson
56   Posted 19/02/2011 at 11:40:54

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Colin, #49, I think "COYB often (not always) parallels "Praise Allah", or "Jesus saves". The former being akin to BK, and the latter DM.

This analogy is also pertinent when people refer to pushing the "club brand", as club support appears to spread in a similar way to religion, rather than a conventional product/service.

Just a thought.
Eugene Ruane
57   Posted 19/02/2011 at 12:31:06

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Tony - "BK aKBAr!"

Coincidence?



Gavin Ramejkis
58   Posted 19/02/2011 at 12:39:57

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Eugene that's priceless I can picture Alan running towards Colin with an Everton First rucksack on his back shouting it.
Jim Lloyd
59   Posted 19/02/2011 at 12:15:31

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Alan Williams, I'm sure Colin is a concerned blue who has devoted a lot of his time and energy at trying to call this current bunch of directors (and shadow directors? ? is this the role of our friend Green?) to account. Anyway, he can speak for me any time he wishes to and so can Tom Hughes and so can many others on this site who have tried for so long to get the life back into Everton Football club.

And if Eugene wants to become the official poet for Toffee Web, that's fine by me too.

I don't knock you for holding your views but I think its unfair of you to criticise Colin for laying down facts, FACTS, so that other blues can make their own minds up. I for one think that this club is going up shit creek without a paddle and the fans themselves need to get active before we leave it too late.

Steve Smith
60   Posted 19/02/2011 at 23:35:42

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I think (and hope) Colin is providing his support and backing for the supporters trust... (Me and Colin agreeing on something who'd have thought it?)

Not really sure why anyone thought the Bellefield money would be used in any other way than it has, it was an asset that was unwanted and unused and sold a long time after it should've been, and then the money went back into the business, using that money to reduce liability is sensible even though it may be undesirable.

Colin thinks an interim board should be in place, why and for what purpose? How would an interim board run the club better than the current one? Given the fact that an interim board would have to act on the wishes of the shareholders, this is nonsense or to put it another way, it would be the same as Philip Green telling this current board what to do wouldn't it?

Steve Smith
61   Posted 20/02/2011 at 00:46:00

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Tom16:
"The stadium issue is grossly overplayed IMO. Yes, this represents additional costs but it can be spread over a few years and in any case, most of Goodison's defficiencies can be addressed for a fraction of the costs oft-quoted.."

Come on then, Tom, let's hear how this can be done.
Phil Bellis
62   Posted 20/02/2011 at 01:06:19

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Steve, grow up you tart.
Phil Bellis
63   Posted 20/02/2011 at 01:08:13

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Well done all you Blues at Stamford Bridge ? you did us proud (again)!
Thomas Williams
64   Posted 20/02/2011 at 00:58:14

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What I want to know regarding the accounts is, in 2007 we had 202 staff, 2008 went up to 444 and 2009 it was 469.
Who are these extra staff? Who doubles their staff levels in a recession?
Steve Smith
65   Posted 20/02/2011 at 01:14:25

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Phil:
Good answer, so what does it mean?
Phil Bellis
66   Posted 20/02/2011 at 01:18:04

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You can't respect the opinions of a fool ? take it any way you like.
Steve Smith
67   Posted 20/02/2011 at 01:22:06

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I would respect your opinion Phil, but you haven't given it, you've just called me a tart instead, hardly oxbridge debate is it?
Eugene Ruane
68   Posted 20/02/2011 at 01:32:25

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Steve Smith, you ask..

"How would an interim board run the club better than the current one?"

Jesus, Ernie Wise never set 'em up that well.

Ok, I'll bite.

In my opinion, if an interim board was formed and they did nothing but strip down to their bills and spend an hour a day bouncing Baby Bel cheeses off each other's arses, I for one would think "Well it's crazy.....but it IS an improvement"
Steve Smith
69   Posted 20/02/2011 at 02:23:35

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Eugene 69:

Quite funny but not really an explanation of what an interim board could or couldn't do, in fact, a bit of a bollocks answer don't you think?

it's ok trying to be smart on here but if you're going to have a proper debate about this, let's do just that, tell me what an interim board could actually do?

Doug Nestor
70   Posted 20/02/2011 at 02:52:23

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Actually Steve, I thought Eugene's answer was really funny and a total improvement on what the current board has been doing...........
Steve Smith
71   Posted 20/02/2011 at 03:05:40

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Doug:
I acknowledged that it was funny, but likewise you have less to say than him, apart from siding with his mildly funny response, hardly gives your point of view does it?
Tom Hughes
72   Posted 20/02/2011 at 12:29:34

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Steve,

I don't know how long you have been coming on this site, but I think I've answered that one many times over the last few years.... several others have done similar also, and have been backed up by respected stadium architects, who agree that GP offers truly great opportunities to create something unique.

There are many options to address GP's main issues and deficiencies.... ranging from gradual but full rebuild, to partial rebuild and/or extending existing tiers. The vast majority of existing obstructed views can be eradicated simply with new roof systems. Exec boxes can readily be perched under the Top Balcony and/or above (or below) the Upper Bullens. Boxes can also take the form of corner towers in upto 3 of the existing corners. Lounges added to the rear of extended stands due to increased footprint/floor-space etc.

Capacity can most readily be added by extending the Park End or Bullens.... but the Upper Gwladys street can also be extended. One simple solution would be a simple 20-row tier wrapped around these 3 sides bringing the whole stadium upto the height of the Top Balcony...... etc. This could be done in phases, unlike any newbuild.

TBH tho mate, I've done this to death lots of times, and right now my head's banging and my farts would knock a rhino out, and are even making me feel nausious..... also my back's aching after going ape in the almost definitely non-compliant upper tier yesterday, so I'll leave it there for now.

Eugene Ruane
73   Posted 20/02/2011 at 17:44:43

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Steve Smith - in my opinion, you asked a stupid question and I obliged.....with a deserved fatuous answer.

WHY do I think it was it a stupid question?

I'll explain.

Our board have proved themselves (beyond reasonable contradiction) to be fucking hopeless.

Seriously, those still defending them imo are either staggeringly...erm....'naive' or have a vested interest.

The CURRENT board are responsible for us having to loan out a proven striker while desperately NEEDING a proven striker.

The CURRENT board are responsible for spiraling debt that could lead to fuck knows where.

THEY are responsible for us having to sell any decent players we produce.

THEY are responsible for the fact that every bean that comes in appears to be going to pay off loans.

THEY were responsible for pissing away millions on a guaranteed failure like Kirkby.

THEY tell us virtually fuck all and spin what little they do say.

Repeat - THEY are responsible for us being in the shite (nb: not Tony Hancock, not Bill Clinton, not an interim board, them!)

Yet who are YOU suspicious of?

Who do YOU want to question?

Incredibly, you want to know what..SOMEONE ELSE might do!?

Why?

Do you think someone else will do WORSE?

How? (fucking love to hear this!)

Yes my response took the piss, but keep this in mind, when I see questions like yours, my first thought is (honestly!) "Is this feller taking the piss?".

(and by the way, as smart-arsed as my answer was, and accepting I exaggerated hugely to make a point, I genuinely DO believe my undies-wearing, processed-cheese flinging board could not do any worse than the hopeless bums presently 'running' things)



Karl Masters
74   Posted 20/02/2011 at 18:58:15

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People on here are banging on about the current Board being useless (which by and large they are ? they are just like somebody opening and closing a shop every day without ever doing very much in between), but I think our Board has been bloody useless for at least 30 years.

When I was a kid in the 70s, Goodison was an absolute palace compared to just about every other stadium in the country. Capacity 54,000 with 25,500 seats as against Anfield with a capacity of 52,000 with 15,000 seats or Highbury with a capacity of 57,000, but only 15,000 seats.

Double decker stands with seats on all 4 sides, a triple decker stand, elevators, one of the best pitches, a state of the art Training Ground we owned, the 300 and 500 Clubs, a lottery, Blue Streak Travel, undersoil heating, floodlights on the stand roofs, not on pylons, they even experimented with putting in a Travel Agents in the Bullens Road stand in 1973!

We were forerunners in everything.

Around 1975, John Moores took more of a back seat, Phillip Carter joined the Board and we had a collection of local businesmen and Littlewoods people running the Club. And also a certain Jim Greenwood became Club Secretary and morphed into a Chief Exec later.

And from then on it went downhill. CAUTION & COMPLACENCY seemed to be their watch words. They abandoned a a legal challenge to the Heysel ban with a whimper, they only finally put a roof on the Gwladys Street after we won the League twice, they thought they were being clever only spending £800k of Everton money on a single tier basic Park End stand, they failed to recognise the impending boom in football and 'just bolted seats to terraces' while every other club was building new stands to house corporate clients as well as everyday fans. They brought in people like Kenwright who have clearly had no money to invest and by the time Sir John died in 1993 we were left with the impotent (not in the medical sense, although who knows?) Dr David Marsh in charge and Kendall Mk 2 resigned because they would not stump up £150k to buy Dion Dublin.

We then had Hamper-man and Cliff Finch who at least built a new Club Shop and had a go at dealing with the Stadium situation, although they also lied saying Goodison would only have a capacity of 30,000 if redeveloped due to Health & Safety laws. So they wanted to also go to Kirkby (golf course) and then wanted to re-plant us in Cronton ? nearly in bloody Cheshire.

The Nigel Martyn debacle and the Jurgen Klinsmann as Manager farce summs up that era with Joe Royle also resigning over lack of transfer funds for Tore Andre Flo and Kendall Mk 3's sacking announced by a Goodison doorman before Johnson's Emperor's New Clothes act was exposed by our Bank Manager, forcing him to sell Duncan Ferguson.

That just brings us round to Kenwright who has spent over a decade like fat bastard on a treadmill desperately trying to keep up as the Premier League wage bubble has just made the treadmill go faster and faster. Moyes, whatever any of you may say, has been the only reason he hasn't flown off the end of it years ago. Despite all the opportunities to progress the Club during an income boom, an economic boom (gone for some time now), City of Culture, regular Top 6 finishes, 15 years of near sell out crowds, Kings Dock, NTL, etc, etc the Club have almost always got it wrong.

In my mind, what all these administrations have had in common is a total lack of vision. Carter and the earlier ones could perhaps point to the crumbling economy and infrastructure on Merseyside from 1975 to 1993 as reasons for a degree of caution (although the arrogant way they often dismissed concerns of supporters should also not be forgotten), but since then that excuse does not wash. Granted, Kenwright cannot help Abramovich or those Arabs distorting the whole picture, but not enough has been done.

Where is there any semblance of a Plan at work other than to sell off the assets, rob Peter to pay Paul and hide behind the sofa hoping it will get better? And in case anybody says it, NO, Kirkby was not a proper plan, just a disaster that would have benefitted others far more than Everton FC that, luckily for us fans, failed.

More than anything else we need LEADERS with LONG TERM PLANS and a VISION. I can accept it if the Board are not Billionaires, but what I cannot accept is the total lack of a decent, forward looking plan that has been prevalent for the last 35 years.

Goodison can be redeveloped just like Villa, Newcastle, Man Utd, Spurs etc have done. It's never too late to start ? even if it's 15-20 years later than it should have been.

Brian Denton
75   Posted 20/02/2011 at 20:27:41

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Karl, that was a masterly summary. Thanks.
Eugene Ruane
76   Posted 20/02/2011 at 21:30:19

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Agree with everything you say Karl, think your 'caution and complacency' interpretation is spot on.

However unless someone comes along with a time-machine, the current board are the only board we actually have a chance (albeit slim) of changing and/or affecting.

So... they're the board I'll 'bang on about'.
Brian Denton
77   Posted 20/02/2011 at 23:00:56

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Just realised my last post (#75) had an unintended pun. Sorry Karl !
Tom Hughes
78   Posted 21/02/2011 at 12:38:07

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Spot on Karl.....!
Steve Smith
79   Posted 22/02/2011 at 19:57:01

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Eugene:
A very long response that misses the whole point:

1. An interim board HAS to represent and act on the wishes of the shareholders;
2. The shareholders are the present board.

So what you want is a paid quango to come out with the same shite as the current board, but because it's a different person saying it, everything's rosy in the garden?

Total bollocks mate, it makes no sense whatsoever, and anyway if you believe Colin, our current board are acting on a shadow's instructions.

So we will then have the shadow telling our current board what to do/say who will then pass it on to the interim board verbatim for them to tell us; sounds great to me... not.

Steve Smith
80   Posted 22/02/2011 at 20:04:48

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Tom #72:
Thanks for the response mate, yes I am aware of some of the plans for improving the stadium, it's the "relatively cheaply" statement that I would take issue with.
Eugene Ruane
81   Posted 22/02/2011 at 20:58:49

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Steve Smith - 79.

WHAT!!?

Sorry but that WAS just a noise...

I can't really disagree because I have no idea what any of that means.

(I will accept a 'Sorry it was late and I was pissed.')
Steve Smith
82   Posted 22/02/2011 at 21:33:09

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Ok, I'll make it really simple for you.

An interim board would NOT be shareholders would they? Because, as is stated on here a million times, the current shareholders will NOT sell. An interim board can only act on the SHAREHOLDERS instructions, so how the fuck would it be any better than what we've got now?

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