Everton have got themselves into a situation where every penny that comes into the club is accounted for and goes straight back out again. There is no cash in the bank and ultimately there is no transfer budget for the manager ? not last season, not this summer, not ever! ? unless something drastic changes (a billionaire investor is extremely unlikely and makes the club live outside their own means).
On the last financial accounts, Everton?s income was close to £80M. However, staff wages were £54M. Other operating costs accounted for £21M ? and the board should provide a detailed analysis of what these ?other operating costs? were. However, let?s say this £21M other operating costs are genuine and that Everton have to pay this money out. The target is to have a surplus cash flow every year to give the manager a transfer budget.
Everton can try to increase their income, which they are trying to do with the new building (when it gets started!) by the Park End. They could also build more hotels, restaurants, executive boxes, casinos ? anything that generates money ? but space is limited at Goodison and it all takes time to build. The quickest and easiest way to produce a transfer budget is to cut expenses, namely player wages.
In my opinion, the Board should limit the wage budget to 50% of the income to stop this current situation happening again. Nothing should break this budget, no player is more important than the future of our club. Therefore, if our income is £80M, our wage budget should be £40M per season or £770k per week. With our current situation, it would mean trying to save £14M in wages per season or £270k p/w.
With a squad of 25 first-team players, it averages out at £30k p/w per player. This may not seem a lot but it is the average. We normally have about 5 or 6 youngsters in the squad that probably earn no more than £5k p/w. This means the highest earners can earn £50k p/w, similar to what we pay now (apart from Arteta). I believe the Board have mis-managed over the last few years in constantly increasing player wages. I understand the idea is to keep the players at the club but feel we have increased wages too early and in some cases, unnecessarily.
The quick way to reduce wages is a fire-sale. Not good youngsters like Fellaini and Rodwell, but part of Moyes?s golden generation like Yakubu and Yobo that are on higher wages and haven?t justified them. A clear-out is needed, and I would quite happily sell Yakubu (£5M, £50k p/w), Yobo (£4M, £40k p/w), Bily (£6M, £40k p/w), Heitinga (£8M, £55k p/w), Mucha (£1M, £20k p/w) along with Arteta (£10M, £75k p/w) as we can?t afford his wages and Anichebe (£1M, £20k p/w) and Vaughan (£1M, £10k p/w) who I feel simply isn?t going to make the grade. Now all these figures are purely subjective and roughly what I believe to be true, but if it were the case would raise £36M and more importantly save £310k p/w in wages.
However, if Everton did sell those eight players, we obviously would need to bring in replacements. These replacements are where Everton can rebuild and save money as youngsters generally cost less in wages as they haven?t established themselves yet.
With a decent transfer budget, Everton should be looking at signing the best British youngsters. Players like Connor Wickham from Ipswich (£15M, £15k p/w), Alex Chamberlain from Southampton (£10M, £10k p/w) are players to target. Obviously other clubs will want to sign them, but I believe the ?Sky 4? won?t move for them as they won?t be tried enough to put them straight into their first-teams.
Even clubs like City and Spurs can?t afford to take a risk on a young player from the lower leagues and drop an established player from their line-up. A promising youngster will look at a club like Everton and see that they can break straight into their first-team and play for a good club that can be challenging for honours in a couple of years, given the right management. It is also a good chance to change the style and formation that clearly isn?t as effective anymore. Promising wingers like Dale Jennings from Tranmere (£1M, £5k p/w) and Kazenga Lua Lua from Newcastle (£1M, £5k p/w) could be purchased.
In terms of increasing the squad numbers, I think a club like Everton should play the Bosman and loan markets even more. A lot of Bosman signings went in January this year as clubs preferred to get something rather than nothing. However, there are still a few gems out there like Matt Gilks (£10k p/w) from Blackpool and Jay Boothroyd (£15k p/w) from Cardiff to fill the ranks.
If Everton accomplished these signings, it would be a net spend £27M and only an increase in wages of £60k p/w. There are also plenty of loan signings to try for, especially youngsters from the ?big? clubs. Players like Aaron Ramsey, Kieran Gibbs and Henri Lansbury from Arsenal or Daniel Sturridge, Gael Kakuta or Jeffrey Bruma from Chelsea would be good signings if their clubs wanted to give them a year?s experience in the Premier League. Sergio Canales of Real Madrid is another hugely promising young player that is unlikely to get many, if any, starts for the Spanish giants. Everton should use the maximum loans available to them to boost the squad numbers.
Everton have always been a club that likes players from the youth academy to come through into the first team; players like Shane Duffy, James Wallace, Adam Forshaw and Ross Barkley look like they have enough about them to at least be given a shot in the first team. Generally, you can tell if a young player is going to make it or not when given an early opportunity and Gueye and Vellios have impressed so far so why not try a few more youngsters rather than sit them in the reserves and loan them out?
If all this wheeler-dealing went through, Everton would have £9M left to throw at the debts and save £250k p/w in wages which is close to the target of £270k p/w which as mentioned would generate a transfer budget target of £14M. Everton could start next season with Howard; Neville, Baines, Jagielka, Distin; Fellaini, Rodwell, Cahill; Gueye, Chamberlain, Wickham, playing in an attacking 4-3-3 and keeping Cahill in his preferred position with two wide forwards cutting inside. The bench would comprise of Gilks, Hibbert, Coleman, Osman, Barkley, Saha, and Beckford. There would be plenty of options, especially in attack with Vellios and Boothroyd competing and getting chances if we change to a 4-4-2 and a couple of back-up wingers in Jennings and Lua Lua. Coleman would also be encouraged to become a right-back and take over from Neville during the season.
Admittedly, this is all not a quick fix, but sorting out the finances to allow for a transfer budget and signing some of Britain?s most promising youngsters is certainly a step in the right direction. Another massive bonus about signing youngsters is that hopefully you won?t have to sign another player for that position for a long time. For example, if Everton sign Chamberlain from Southampton to play on the left-wing and he turns into a success, providing we can match his ambitions, that?s the left-wing sorted for about ten years! This in turn means there are fewer positions to spend money on. It is a domino effect if Everton carry on signing youngsters, do the same again the following summer, although not as much drastic change is needed.
If Everton saved £250k p/w in wages from the 2011-12 season, that generates a £13M transfer budget for 2012-13. With that £13M budget and sales of Saha (released, free, £50k p/w), Cahill (£2M, £50k p/w) as I wouldn?t have a bit part player on the bench for £50k p/w, Neville (make a coach, £40k p/w) and Beckford or Boothroyd, whichever has been least impressive (£2M, £15k p/w) makes a total transfer budget of £17M and another £155k p/w into the wages budget! This domino effect then makes us able to sign a world class youngster.
A player like Bojan from Barcelona would be excellent but his wages could be a stumbling block, or Romelu Lukaku from Anderlecht who is certainly an option with £135k p/w available in this budget. Obviously if players like Wickham and Chamberlain start fulfilling their potential their agents will push for bigger contracts, but if we can sign Lukaku on say, £60k p/w then there is still £75k p/w in the wages budget to play around with. As long as Everton stay within that budget, then we will always have a transfer budget, unlike the current situation.
Everton could start the 2012 season playing 4-4-2 (now we don?t have to accommodate Cahill) with Howard; Coleman, Baines, Jagielka, Distin; Chamberlain, Fellaini, Rodwell, Gueye; Lukaku, Wickham. Now that is a hugely promising and attack minded team with Duffy, Barkley and Vellios on the bench. Both full-backs, Coleman and Baines can bomb forward with two great box-to-box midfielders (Fellaini and Rodwell), two out-and-out wingers and two potentially fearsome world class strikers. The captain would be Jagielka alongside the ever-fit Distin who I believe could follow the likes of Beckham and Giggs and play into his late thirties.
It all may sound a bit too surreal and even Championship Manager-esque and we may miss out on a few players or the players that we sign may not be exactly the ones mentioned above, but the main point is there needs to be a plan in place for the good of Everton Football Club, and that is strict financial restrictions. Everton may lose some players, à la Rooney or Pienaar, but, as long as we have that set plan in place, we are always going along the right road; and if we invest in youngsters, whether British or worldwide, then we could even turn out to be the next Arsenal. Better still, if we invest more in our own academy and focus on youngsters, we could be the next Barcelona! The academy at Barca, La Masia, costs £5M per year to run. Instead of Everton having their £14M transfer budget per season, we could have a £10M transfer budget and put the other £4m into recruitment and training in the academy.
It is all possible, with a little bit of common sense and a good managerial running of the club at Board level which unfortunately seems to have been lacking recently. I feel as though Everton have to act drastically this summer in order to get the finances in check and not fall further behind the opposition. We simply can?t go on as we are now and fans, the manager and the Board that believe otherwise are simply burying their heads in the sand.
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1 Posted 22/04/2011 at 23:29:13
This is most certainly up on Moyes golden generation - the truly defining moment being our "season-saving" great run of late happening almost without any involvement of the players from this group.
Yakubu and Yobo are obvious candidates. Then we have to take a strong look at Mikel and Tim too - the talismen of the 00s. I feel those might even come as a "package", I sincerly question the moral and motivation for whoever is left behind if we ship one of them out.
I think it's madness that people see selling Rodwell or Fellaini (whoever of the two they happen to not really rate) as a quick fix for a summer budget.
Selling two players who are looking destined for a long career at Champions League-level to be able to persuade with players who are at best nearing the end of their peak and without any silverware for to show for (as great Everton careers as they have had - even Yobo as much as anyone).
2 Posted 22/04/2011 at 23:26:32
Premier League teams know how to generate income, but they don?t know how to control costs and until an effective mechanism is put in place, Everton will be hanging on to the coattails of the ?big? boys.
3 Posted 22/04/2011 at 23:34:05
4 Posted 22/04/2011 at 23:41:57
Everton certainly won't be spending £15/10 mill on a couple of young players from the lower leagues.
So the whole article then becomes fairly meaningless.
5 Posted 22/04/2011 at 23:48:56
6 Posted 22/04/2011 at 23:52:34
Even if promising youngsters could be turned in to quality
players they would soon be snapped up by any Club willing to pay more than £30k per week.
Incidentally why is Mucha regarded as an expendable player; what happens if Howard gets injured?
7 Posted 22/04/2011 at 23:54:45
All I can say is I am glad you are not running the club.
To borrow an emotion from the famous Lee Iacocca when asked by an accountant to close a division of Chrysler because it was losing money he responded by saying "Why don't we close the WHOLE of Chrysler and we still wont be losing any money!"
Everton's only problem IMO is off the field, not on it.
To destroy what Moyes has taken years to mould in one summer of madness is folly. We have some good foundations and as Moyes said "for not a lot of cash we could be competing with the top 4".
Why would players take £30k pw when they can get at least double that elsewhere.
What we really need is some balls and vision from the board but the greedy bastard's only plan is to move stadium so they can hit the jackpot.
We are not stuck with Kenwright as we were not stuck with Johnson ? nor the RS with Hicks and Gillette.
8 Posted 23/04/2011 at 00:14:27
"Some say Kenwright should go (never going to happen)... so it?s about time that we should be honest with ourselves: stop complaining, and look at how they are going to improve the current situation".
Well my HONEST view (not saying I'm right but I AM being honest) is that with Bill Kenwright in charge, nothing CAN improve - certainly not significantly enough to make any real difference.
Also, I can't help thinking that had 'the Kopite sons of Nessie Shankly's red setter' (or whatever the fuck they were called) taken the advice 'stop complaining', Gillette and Hicks would still be running things over at Castle Grayskull.
9 Posted 23/04/2011 at 00:30:55
Matthew, some of the players you've spoke of trying to buy are way out of our league; money or no money.
Also some of the other just aren't good enough and are no better than what we already have.
I wouldn't swap Bothroyd for Beckford and I'd have Mucha over Gilks any day of the week. Gilks isn't even Blackpools best keeper.
10 Posted 23/04/2011 at 00:58:57
11 Posted 23/04/2011 at 01:31:35
I stopped reading the original piece as soon as Jay Bothroyd was suggested as a potential signing, he's crap!
12 Posted 23/04/2011 at 02:52:30
I've enjoyed watching the Blues more the last few weeks with Coleman, Beckford, Gueye, and Vellios (etc.) getting time than I have watching Cahill and Arteta laden line-ups.
13 Posted 23/04/2011 at 03:02:15
Would you rather have a sugar-daddy owner and buy the best team possible and watch the silverware fill up the cabinet?
would you like to be known as the team that is forever young with raw, inexperienced talent?
I'd love the latter. The American college kids beat the Russians in '80 and it was the greatest sport moment of my life bar none.
Give me a team that lives on a shoe-string budget, constantly finds the young, inexpensive talent. A young, exciting team that wins that magical trophy every 5 years or so....
Beats paying dudes a mint who just go through the motions.
14 Posted 23/04/2011 at 07:05:29
I think part of the reason we've not started well is the lack of fresh faces in the squad. New faces want to impress and those who think their shirt is safe get a kick up the bum.
I think the only way we'll see more faces coming in than going out is by selling Rodwell and / or Fellaini. I'd rather keep them but that seems the only solution. Yobo and Yak will go but for far less than you quote. Vaughan may also go. These three sales may only see a punt on a Vellios or Gueye type squad player.
15 Posted 23/04/2011 at 07:56:07
16 Posted 23/04/2011 at 08:20:45
There's going to be article after article on this site all summer about fantasy football management - who we sell (overpriced) to make way for some special other talent (underpriced). For instance sell Bily for 30 mil so we can buy Rodellega and Banega for a total of 5 mil. Save yourself the bother. As long as this current set up continues all we'll see is players leaving and not being replaced or being replaced by poorer cheaper players. We aren't going to improve. The best we can hope for in the future is surviving. Nil satis!
17 Posted 23/04/2011 at 08:21:05
Sell X,X,X,X,X,X and buy X and X and we´ll be so much better.
Not at all likely to happen, and i sincerely doubt it would make us much better. More likely to make us worse.
18 Posted 23/04/2011 at 08:27:43
19 Posted 23/04/2011 at 07:30:59
The reality of course will be somewhere in the middle. Firstly, we will be saying goodbye to the Yak and the Yob for sure (although I'd wager that c.£5M combined or a player exchange is a tad more realistic). If the price is right Heitinga and possibly Billy will also move on (we should get £10M for the pair, maybe more - Heitinga hasn't been a notably worse player and I thought we got him cheap) and if anyone at all is prepared to pay Vaughan will go too, ideally with Anichebe (although the latter is less likely - he's just signed a new contract and hasn't exactly showcased his talents!).
Secondly, we are likely to sell at least one substantial player, I personally believe it will be Rodwell (and I also believe in the current climate and our situation if we can get £20M plus for him we have to take it). I can understand the idea of surrendering Arteta and Cahill due to age and wage, but I don't think it will or even should happen this summer. They are both core Moyes players who have signed new deals recently and clearly they are both players who when on form are real match winners - either from Mikel dictating the passing play or Cahill harrassing the opposition and nicking a winner in the box.
They also contribute very strongly to the character and identity of the club right now (Cahill is without doubt our highest profile global player) and are good role-model professionals and potential leaders on the field and in the dressing room - not something you can easily recreate with a new signing.
I see Felliani as another who could establish himself in this iconic role (partly it is the hair, partly the way he always plays with passion) and certainly a more ready option than Rodwell right now at a similar age (although the interfering of his agent/father is unfortunate (in my belief, these characters are in general the real cancers of the modern game - constantly unsettling clients into moving and driving up prices and wages for their own selfish ends without putting anything back into the game).
Thirdly, by virtue of necessity we will continue the practise of loans and youth buys (the poster who suggest Moyes isn't the man to wheel with good prospects clearly isn't thinking of Coleman, Cahill, Arteta, Pienaar, Beckford, Gueye or Vellios), but I really can't see us going the £10m for a youth talent root.
All in all then, some elements of what you suggest will happen but it won't (and I'd argue really shouldn't) be as radical as you suggest. The key to success has always been youth AND experience (see todays opponents for the best template with likes of Scholes, Giggs, Van der Sar and Gary Neville still playing crucial roles).
Crucially, I would also say at least your approach shows some invention and positive ways of dealing with a known tough situation rather than the one-eyed ranters who's only solution is to sack the board and/or forever pump more money in. More money isn't the long-term solution to the problem, in fact i'd argue it is pretty much the core to most of the problems facing modern football and the reason why we have clubs going out of business, a skewed league that's dominated by 2-3 teams (and can apparently only be broken into by billionaire investment) and an increased focus on pragmatic win-at-all-costs football over an attempt to actually entertain (thank Christ for Barcelona, and Arsenal, is all I can say on that). Did you know for instance that leading premier league club wage bills (and I suspect most) have gone up by a factor of c.20 in the last 20 years? Doesn't that worry you Jay? Doesn't it seem a teensy bit unsustainable? If not, I suggest you take a look at another recent market where prices of a commodity skyrocketed in a short-space of time and were individuals and companies happily paid more and took on more and more debt in order to feed the beast...the collapse of that particular bubble almost brought down the entire global financial market and was a large contributing factor to the period of austerity we're all having to face up to now.
Anyway, I digress, for my money the road ahead is pretty simple - we clear out dead wood, sell one of of our marquee central midfielders (an area where we are not exactly short of players right now) and invest as much as possible in attacking talent- ideally at least one proven player (on wing or centre forward) and a couple of exciting prospects. On that note, the biggest mistake for me, and the one area where I would have encouraged the board to push the loans just that little further - albeit with an understanding that we'd have to sell other players later) was the Donovan situation. Here we had a proven international star who would enhance the global Everton brand (particularly in US), with a brilliant temperament (that US winning mentality), who wasn't on ludicrous wages, who slotted effortlessly into the club (work ethic and all), visibly improved our attacking play during his trial and could play multiple positions across the front and midfield. Oh and he really wanted to play for us too.
I know his price had gone up due to world cup from c.£6-7M to c.£10M but I just can't see how that wouldn't have been returned with both goals (he's a clinical finisher), assists (he actually CAN play on the wing), on the field will-to-win leadership and brand value and off the field commercial benefits. Ultimately, with Landon on board and a larger proportion of that good possession earlier in the season turned into a few more goals and draws to wins, we really would have been in the top 4 as we all hoped and expected.
20 Posted 23/04/2011 at 09:51:08
21 Posted 23/04/2011 at 10:11:27
22 Posted 23/04/2011 at 11:41:31
23 Posted 23/04/2011 at 14:59:10
24 Posted 23/04/2011 at 16:29:41
Honestly, Matthew, you write well and were offering some possibly interesting suggestions but then you went off into left field for me, naming players and worse still, inventing fictitious Everton line-ups that lose you all credibility in my book.
Underling it all there's the highly dubious financial accounting that underlies the entire piece ? is this mentality from Championship Manager too? Oh dear... most people can't fathom what is really going on inside the club with the benefit of accountancy quals and the EFC Annual Report, yet you seem to intrinsically believe the numbers you are spouting, almost to the pound.
Then you actually claim this ambitious plan is all possible, with a little bit of common sense and a good managerial running of the club at Board level?!?! I'm speechless...
25 Posted 23/04/2011 at 09:09:56
I'll also guarantee you that out of the 14 games we have drawn this season, and bear in mind we've actually lost 8 which is 4 or 5 less than our rivals, had we turned a realistic 8 into wins when we were dominating teams early in the season, we would now be sitting 2nd or 3rd having only brought in Beckford and Gueye.
We currently sit 2 points behind a resurgent Liverpool who have spent around £80M this season as well as having half a season with the league's 'most feared strikeforce'. We also sit 7points behind the mighty Spurs who have had the greatest season ever and are hailed, if you believe, as one of the finest teams to ever kick a ball and still to play Liverpool and Chelsea.
So, had we won a few more games and not drawn, what would all the doom mongers be saying? Who's head would you be after?
26 Posted 26/04/2011 at 14:45:52
First things first, I believe now is the time to cash in on Rodwell. Not having a go at the lad personally but let's get the money while he has the Rooney hype instead of the Jeffers realism! This transfer alone should make us £20M minimum. I personally also see Osman at a club like Birmingham City and Hibbo at whoever finishes fourth bottom this season. Anichebe and Vaughan can also go for me. Even in a recession, we should get at least £15M for the four.
Replacements for me are a mixture of loans, freebies and rejects who I am sure would do a job for us: 1) Seb Larsson. Not exactly class but on a free and more of a footballer than Leon. 2) Instead of or as well as Larsson, Jamie O'Hara. Either loan or maybe £5M and I see him as a starting eleven player week in week out. 3) Kyle Walker/Naughton from spurs. We need a right backhand both of these lads would do a job, especially walker. 4) David Bentley. I know a few people are going to give it that he's a big time Charlie but he's had his fingers burnt at Spurs and will be desperate to prove himself again. We could even look at Shay Given if a decent offer for Howard comes in.
As I said, unleash the fury of those that adore Osman for having a purple patch of form etc but I honestly believe this would improve our squad and our starting eleven.
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