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A Giant Falls... A Lesson to Learn?

By Adam Bennett :  27/06/2011 :  Comments (65) :
Last night, on a live internet stream, I watched a match involving one of the big clubs of Argentine football, River Plate. They where up against a team from Cordoba called Belgrano, in the 2nd leg of a two legged relegation play-off. Belgrano won the first leg 2-0 in their 28,000 capacity Estadio El Gigante de Alberdi, which meant the 2nd leg in the magnificent Monumental stadium, River?s home and the scene for Argentina?s World Cup triumph of 1978, River Plate had to win by two clear goals to avoid relegation.

They drew 1-1.

The most historic and successful club in Argentine football, with 33 league titles and 2 Libertadores titles to their name, have been relegated to National B for the first time in their 110 year history. To say this is a jaw-dropping moment in South American football would be an understatement, especially when you consider that the relegation system over there is set up to prevent this kind of thing.

The Argentine championship system is based on two short seasons, and relegation is based on a three-year cycle where the average points are calculated to determine who gets relegated. In other words, you have to have three bad years (or six seasons) on the trot to be relegated. Now, normally, one really bad year by one of the big clubs would result in them having two more years to sort themselves out and make sure it is not repeated. Something, somewhere, has been drastically wrong with River for three years straight, and beyond.

A quick look at some of their recent former players may provide a clue for this downfall. Ayala, D?Allessandro, Cambiasso, Demichelis, Saviola, Mascherano, Higuain, Falcao.

By the looks of it, these players have not been replaced adequately, and an ability to replace top players is a must for South American clubs due to the European clubs? power of money attracting players to fly across the Atlantic. The majority of these players went for big fees, yet the club has a reported debt of 280 million pesos (£68million), and will now loose their 23 million pesos a year TV deal, which is reduced to 3.5 million pesos. This shows mismanagement in the general running of the club as well. Also, this is on top of a potentially drastic reduction in the attendance figures at their 60,000 capacity stadium.

Basically, put bluntly, they are now well and truly right up the creek without a paddle. Their situation will not be helped by the Argentine FA?s efforts to expand football beyond the historically centralised set-up around Buenos Aries, which is exemplified in the list of venues for the upcoming Copa America where the capital?s only match is the final. More competition in the lower league will make it even harder for ?Los Millonarios? to come back.

Now what does this have to do with Everton? Well, I?m not going to suggest that we are close to being relegated as I think, barring an overnight disaster, we are past that stage of the mid- to late-90s, but, it is a warning to clubs like ours. Selling your best players, not replacing them properly and having people running your club the wrong way and you will find yourself in a whole lot of trouble. No matter how big a club you are.

This summer, the majority of Everton stories in the transfer gossip columns are about the possibility of players leaving: Baines to Manchester City; Jagielka to Arsenal; Fellaini to Chelsea; Rodwell to Manchester United. This has resulted in various posts and comments suggesting selling to strengthen other areas of the team. While I believe these suggestions have merits, I also believe if we are going to sell one or two of the players listed, we have to be very careful in how re-invest.

During the late 1990s and early 2000s we sold a number of our best players: Ferguson, Jeffers, Ball etc, and we had years under Walter Smith of hovering over the relegation places. Under Walter?s four-year reign, a three-year relegation cycle could well have seen us relegated! And we would have been relegated but for the loan signing of Kevin Campbell.

Now, thankfully, since David Moyes took charge there have only been two occasions when one of our best players has been sold: Rooney and Lescott ? the latter was arguably adequately replaced. However, how many sales would have to happen to make us struggle? Which of our better players can be replaced adequately with players who would come to us and not just an FM fantasy? Which players are a definite no-no, no matter how much money was thrown at us?

River?s relegation will send shockwaves around the footballing world. Everton ought to look in depth at how this was allowed happen to ?La Banda Roja? and learn the lessons of their mismanagement. Make sure that we don?t sell and not replace. Make sure that the running of the club off the pitch is done to a high standard (cough!).

And make sure this fate is never allowed to creep up on us.

Reader Comments

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Gavin Ramejkis
1   Posted 27/06/2011 at 15:48:36

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No one is too big to fail in football, the Sky lot if in free fall will spend whatever it takes to get new faces in to steady the ship but already have reasonable size squads to swap in and out.

Everton are in a seriously precarious situation in that we quite literally have no backup cover for several first team players and our "squad" now includes players who haven't kicked a ball in the Premier League never mind played full games in it. The scenario of long-term player injuries has already cast its shadow over Everton: Yakubu, Jagielka and Arteta all hit by them. What happens if we lose Baines to long-term injury? Given the undeniable truth that Saha can't play every league game then what happens if Beckford gets a long-term injury?

We don't even have the money for loans never mind emergency player purchases and if we did have any money suddenly appear we would be held by the short and curlies to pay way over the odds as sellers are fully aware of our financial constraints.

River Plate is a very sobering story of what can happen no matter what history you have.
Anthony Jones
2   Posted 27/06/2011 at 15:44:21

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Interseting article, Adam, thanks.

However, there is something I don't get about the link with Everton (cue the hate mob!)...

How is it exactly that Everton are mismanaged?

I accept that the board tried and failed wrt Destination Kirkby, Kings Dock, NTL, etc... and I don't need reminding of the other TW commandments.

But at what point did the board "mismanage" the club.

They don't line their own pockets. We have no evidence that they have turned down strong offers to buy the club out. Most importantly, they at least tried to push the club on within the limits of the club's finances. None of them wanted the schemes mentioned above to fail. But they tried, knowing that these ideas could easily backfire. Yet, they are accused of a lack of ambition?

The rich crazies that give millions away to Chelsea and City are very rare.

The clubs, such as LFC, who are well backed by foreign consortia, generally have much higher annual turnover because they have bigger brands than us, and so are ultimately profitable (in the long term).

Clubs like ours are generally treading water. The problem as I see it is that too many Everton fans live in the 80s or 60s, and cannot accept the current reality. They compare us to Arsenal, when it is fairer to compare us to Wolves.

"What about Sunderland, Villa, Stoke?" ? I hear you say... Well, they are reasonably well backed by Americans who are seeking to make a profit, and a local benefactor who has money to burn. Yet, where did they finish last season?

More to the point, rich philanthropists are a dying breed, and the business men will only invest to make profit. The margins for making profit in football are very tight, and we have just seen a major economic downturn. It will take time for Everton to be sold on. We cannot force the issue. It's a free market.

My advice is "buy the club or support it", and stop bloody moaning!

Gavin Ramejkis
3   Posted 27/06/2011 at 16:08:26

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Anthony, without getting one of your free "badges", I have to ask are you aware that, at the start of the Premier League, Everton were on a level playing field with Man Utd, Arsenal et al? Consecutive boards have ran the club like an Old Boys Club, shunned any form of business strategy and cut corners left right and centre ? as an example, the Park End was the cheapest solution on offer. How many years has it been since any renovations besides legislative ones have been performed on the ground? Increase capacity surely an obvious idea but nothing for over a decade...

The Premier League grew and we fell by the wayside year by year, the fans aren't running the asylum ? Carter et al were and missed every boat. The current chairman has held that position for over a decade and is a failure as a businessman with regard to the club; he was on his predecessor's board which also failed. A business that is haemorrhaging cash by annually increasing amounts is only headed in one direction.

Oh and how can you buy something that isn't for sale?
James Martin
4   Posted 27/06/2011 at 16:15:12

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Didn't we get to the FA Cup final that season that Jagielka, Arteta and Yakubu got injured? Yes, our losing of the final was ultimately down to those injuries but it was hardly like we were flirting with relegation that season or the following one.

It is precisely because of the good running of the club that we don't find ourselves in these circumstances. The club doesn't stupidly back the manager with money it doesn't have in a one-off gamble to make Champions League. It doesn't fire the manager (much to the dismay of many on here) for losing a few games on the bounce before then hiring the media's flavour of the month or some old boy with no managerial experience who will take us down to the Championship with a load of passion.

Apart from Rooney, Lescott and Pienaar, we haven't sold our best players. Villa are always being banded about as such a well run club yet they've sold Barry, Milner, Friedel, Young and probably will sell Downing. They've also bought an absolute load of rubbish, cut and changed manager and ? surprise, surprise ? finished below us yet again.

Tottenham may find themselves suffering a similar fate soon as the pattern starts again. Liverpool have sold Alonso, Mascherano, Torres and even Owen before them. Why does everyone think that we are the only club in the league who should be deemed a 'selling club'?

Personally, I want our players to be linked with other teams... obviously I don't want them to go but if Man Utd, Arsenal and Chelsea are on the phone to Moyes then obviously Everton have some good players.

As far as I know, Kenwright has never sold a player behind Moyes back. So when that phone rings and an offer is tabled, three things can happen: Moyes decides he wants to keep the player who is happy at Everton and it goes no further (the pattern during the majority of Moyes's reign); or he decides the money would be better spent on other players so cashes in on the offer. The third option in the case of Rooney and Lescott is the player wants to leave so then Moyes drives the price up as high as he can before selling.

None of these three scenarios involve Kenwright selling players off who want to play for Everton that Moyes needs, so in what way are we a selling club?

Fans can't expect a massive spending spree with absolutely no outgoings to balance the books. The top teams in Spain (and perhaps Man City now) can do it in the preferable manner (flogging the deadwood and bringing in quality) but every other club occasionally has to flog a jewell or two. Man Utd have done it, Arsenal are about to do it, Liverpool have done it, and even Barcelona once sold Figo to Real Madrid.

There are many valid complaints that can be made about Everton but making out that we're badly run just because we're poor is not one of them.

Anthony Jones
5   Posted 27/06/2011 at 16:33:29

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? "level playing field" means?

? "shunned business strategy" means?

? Park End development being the cheapest option is relevant how?

? Do we have the crowds to warrant ground expansion? I don't belive so.

? Carter et al missed what boats?

More importantly... a business that is haemorrhaging cash by annually increasing amounts applies to a frightening number of professional clubs. Let me speculate that your issues really lie with the commercialisation of the game, and Sky Sports.

Lastly, you have no evidence that the club is not for sale. This is wild conjecture.
Eric Myles
6   Posted 27/06/2011 at 16:39:27

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Definite no-no sales however much money is thrown at us:

Hibbert & Osman.
Richard Parker
7   Posted 27/06/2011 at 16:32:38

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If we don't sell to buy and have no investment, how can Everton stay in the Premier League?

In 2 years time, there will be no Neville, Distin or Saha, Cahill will be in the last few years of his career, Arteta, Jags, Ossie and Hibbo will be the wrong side of 30.

That leaves Howard, Baines, Heitinga, Rodwell, Fellaini, Bily, Coleman, Gueye, Beckford and (god forbid) Anichebe out of our first team squad.... barely a first XI.

If we don't start to recycle the squad now, whilst we still have a couple of valuable players approaching the latter part of their peak years, and we don't have investment in the squad, of which there is no sign, how can we hope to be in the Premier League in 2 or 3 years?
Eric Myles
8   Posted 27/06/2011 at 16:44:34

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Anthony, #2, you put your answer before your question.

Q: At what point did the board "mismanage" the club?

A: The board tried and failed wIth Destination Kirkby (thankfully), Kings Dock, NTL, etc... and I don't need reminding of the other TW commandments.
Richard Parker
9   Posted 27/06/2011 at 16:45:55

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Of course I include the over 30s players in the "That leaves..." bit.
David O'Keefe
10   Posted 27/06/2011 at 16:41:37

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Judging by some of the responses thus far, some people will not learn those lessons.

Adam's point is that you can't sell your best players every year and hope to compete with the best. You need to have the funds in place to build a strong team; if you haven't got them, eventually you will fail.

EFC have pursued a strategy of asset utilisation, they have sold/mortgaged off our assets to build a team, instead of investing in infrastructure. This strategy is flawed as eventually the debt repayments will eat up the club's income, affecting our ability to compete with our peers. Robert Elstone admitted at the inquiry that this strategy is unsustainable.

Regrettably, Adam is right: there is a lesson to be learned, but those that don't want to learn will be grinding and gnashing their teeth if that fateful day arrives.
Anthony Jones
11   Posted 27/06/2011 at 16:57:14

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David #10, Good post. The problem that I have is that the board could never win.

If they had let Arteta, Yakubu, Jagileka and Baines go before they reached top earnings, too many fans would have been up in arms and buring effigies.

To secure the best players and to keep Moyes from quitting, the board and executives had to fund top salaries (which are clearly ruining the game).

If Everton had spent this money on infrastructure, the team would surely have suffered, and if we had been relegated, this discussion would have an even darker backdrop.

Ask a kid who hasn't chosen their club yet whether they want a great player or a new stand. For that matter, ask season ticket holders!
Peter Laing
12   Posted 27/06/2011 at 17:03:03

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Now if only Gillette and Hicks had managed to hold on... we may have seen the same scenario unfold across the Park with administration etc. It must have been sheer joy for the Boca fans to witness the demise of their more wealthy and illustrious neighbours...

Having watched a little footage on documentaries, I see a similarity in the working class nature of Boca and our very own People's Club compared to River Plate and its more wealthy and glory seeking fanbase. Maybe they should have signed Riquelme!

David O'Keefe
13   Posted 27/06/2011 at 17:07:24

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Anthony, if the club had made a decision to invest in infrastructure, they would have an income level to support a great team. You've badly missed the point.
Anthony Jones
14   Posted 27/06/2011 at 17:27:47

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David, by "invest" I assume you mean "donate".

The only club with a new stadium that roughly pays for itself is Arsenal, and they are in the capital, where they can charge extortionate fees for season tickets, and regularly fill the stadium for non-football related events.

I really do appreciate your point but, the last time I checked, money does not grow on trees, and our board barely have the finances to pay the current squad, let alone "invest" in infrastructure.
Neil Madden
15   Posted 27/06/2011 at 17:37:08

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I'm absolutely amazed at that news. They are probably the biggest name to be relegated in football since Man United in the 70s. In fact, it's probably on an even bigger scale. It's hard to think of a bigger name, in any league in the world getting relegated at any time in the history of football. It's just incredible. Imagine how happy the Boca fans must be feeling right now.
Richard Dodd
16   Posted 27/06/2011 at 17:51:24

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Well, at least River Plate`s relegation provides another obscure reason to give Everton a good kicking. We sure have some wierd .........`supporters`!
David O'Keefe
17   Posted 27/06/2011 at 17:58:58

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Glad you're familiar with my "literary" output, Anthony.

Fair points, but if the board don't have a strategy and are unable or unwilling to invest in the club, then what is the point of them continuing?
Gavin Ramejkis
18   Posted 27/06/2011 at 17:43:29

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Everton were on a par with Man Utd, Arsenal et al at the beginning of the Premier League in having a direct input into the format and layout. A lot of luddites act as if football was invented by Sky ? it wasn't; prior to the Premier League, a good few teams had a reasonable shout at winning the league. Since it's inception, that has eroded completely to a few teams only, year-in & year-out.

Shunned business strategy ? can you give any examples whatsoever of a short-, medium- or long-term business strategy from Everton Football Club regarding opening new markets, developing off-field income streams, non-matchday income through merchandising and branding... I won't hold my breath, they can't even market players they have in their home countries: Cahill in Australia; Howard in USA or Donovan whilst on loan in USA.

Park End development was the cheapest as it didn't have a second tier built on it or any additional boxes and was a single level build; QED ? cheapest build.

You make a determination of not warranting extra seats against what timespan exactly? On this website itself as a single example you can read contributors saying they won't sit in restricted view seats at Goodison Park which would have been eradicated with additional seating and redevelopment and the obvious second tier on the Park End.

I'll give you a small example to ponder over: whilst Everton were pissing money away on the likes of Ginola, Newcastle were adding seats to St James Park... Roll the clock forward and the seats have regularly been filled and generated income; where is Ginola and is he still providing income to Everton?

Carter et al missed the boat on several occasions given Everton were on a par with the current Sky darlings at the inception of the Premier League and those clubs have left Everton for dead as well developed businesses marketed globally and plenty of non-match income. Are you going to claim those opportunities were only located in Salford or North London?

Finally, and so you have an opportunity to read this, the club has record levels of debt. Bury your head in the sand as you may, the debts are not the highest in the league but the ability to service debt is the crux of the problem, operating costs reported at over £23m up from £21m the year before, a business plan which is to sell your best players hoping for a profit but no recourse as to how those players are replaced, players sent out en masse on loan to reduce the wage bill ? deny this if you will but a £1m loan fee for Yakubu, wage reductions of his, Yobo, Vaughan and the sale of Pienaar and the club admitted it couldn't afford a loan fee for the January transfer window.

My problem lies with blinkered fans who can't see beyond the cloak-and-dagger lies.

Robert Elstone at the DK hearings admitted on oath the club isn't for sale. At the end of the last season over the course of a few weeks he himself used the conflicting terms buyer and investor over a number of interviews ? the two are not the same. I stand by the overwhelming belief that the club isn't nor ever has been for sale.

Anthony Jones
19   Posted 27/06/2011 at 18:49:21

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I appreciate your attempt at qualifying your arguments, even if I am sceptical of certain details.

Surely the pendantry isn't necessary on mis-types though.

As a general point, which is the basis of my previous comments: I suspect that the factors that have determined the current Premier League pecking order are many and complex. It certainly was never going to be easy for Everton with Liverpool in the same city, and the owners of recent times have consistently not been big investors.

I totally agree with your comments about the debt level and its management, however, my original post does not contest this. I am looking at the situation as a realist in the present, and not the past.

Blaming the current board for perceived past failings achieves nothing.

My central premise still stands regardless of the witch hunt:

"The margins for making profit in football are very tight, and we have just seen a major economic downturn. It will take time for Everton to be sold on. We cannot force the issue. It's a free market.

My advice is "buy the club or support it", and stop bloody moaning!"

(for your own blood pressure if nothing else)
Stephen Leary
20   Posted 27/06/2011 at 20:13:57

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I think we will go down this coming season i really do we will sign nobody of note that will improve us, we have an ageing squad that are beggining to become very injury prone and i have already said what i think of our board the useless fuckers. Im dreading the new season i can really see us getting tanked 4 or 5 nil at spurs on day one.

Something has to change we need 3 quality forwards, two good wingers and another very creative midfield player, the most we will get is Jay bloody Bothroyd on a free. The thought of him and Becks as our strike force next season gives me the willy's. Kenwrong out!!!!!
David O'Keefe
21   Posted 27/06/2011 at 20:20:54

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Anthony: Your basic premise is don't criticise the clubs board. I find your use of the word witchhunt to describe critics of Bk illuminating.

Nice try, but it won't work and your attempts to mitigate the boards responsibility for the clubs condition will convince no-one except the usual suspects.
Joe McMahon
22   Posted 27/06/2011 at 20:55:50

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James Martin (4) - "Didn't we get to the FA Cup final that season that Jagielka Arteta and Yakubu got injured". Not sure if you remeber but Yak what bloody pants leading upto his injury, Arteta got injured well into the season and Jags got injured after the semi final. If you remeber the semi final was awfull to wath, and we struggled to beat a very much weakend Utd side, and culd only do it on penalties.

You said we are not bady run?!? - Gavram makes a very good point about what has happened to Goodison since the Park End stand...........Nowt, and Worryingly thats nearly 20 years ago.
Joe McMahon
23   Posted 27/06/2011 at 21:05:14

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I apologise for the typos, I'm keeping an eye on the tennis
Drew O'Neall
24   Posted 27/06/2011 at 21:10:02

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David 21

Take your point to its logical conclusion.

Presumably you would like to protest and remove the board.

Assuming there are only a handful of the oligarths who could make a meaningful change at Goodison, and they haven't made themselves known so far, who is going to step in to replace the current board?

Either a) someone who wants to make a few quid, b) someone who wants to play with the trainset c) AN Other Bill Kenwright who has the "best interests" of the club at heart but no real means of achieving them

The level of investor we need is so wealthy (he's got to write off close to £100m of debt after compound interest and build a new stadium and then rebuild the squad), if he had wanted to buy Everton FC before now he would have done and removing the current board will just land you in the same position or a worse one than we're in now.

So Anthony's point stands, either buy the club or support it and save yourself from insanity .
David O'Keefe
25   Posted 27/06/2011 at 21:23:45

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Drew: What point did I make in #21 that has led you to that "logical" conclusion? All I did was object to Anthony's tiresome attempt to restrict silence the debate.
Dick Fearon
26   Posted 27/06/2011 at 21:34:01

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Joe # 23, I trust that like me you are watching the lovely ladies at Wimbledon.
Jay Harris
27   Posted 27/06/2011 at 21:52:26

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Anthony #19

"Blaming the current board for perceived past failings achieves nothing."

They are not being blamed for past failings they are rightly being cticised for their own failings.

EFC won the FA cup and made a profit before Kenwrights regime even up to the point of him taking over and despite all the negativity about PJ Kenwright only inherited an overdraft of 5 million and no net debt.

Since Kenwright took over the club has made a loss every year except the year we sold Rooney and now has record debts.

If that's not mismanagement I dont know what is.

We wasted over 5 million and a lot of time to play sycophants to Earl and Green over DK even though most knowledgable people said it had no chance.

I will not demean David Moyes and the players achievements in this time but to say the club is not being mismanaged at the top is tantamount to insanity.
Trevor Lynes
28   Posted 27/06/2011 at 22:26:22

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I dont understand the arguments !! Its patently obvious that Gavin is talking sense and we HAVE been mismanaged...ever since the 60's when we had the chance to create a conveyor belt of success as later Liverpool and now Manchester Utd have soon as we won the title the team was disbanded and that pattern has been followed ever since...our board/s have never had foresight and never 'built on' any success we have ever the excuse is lack of money.....we are without doubt rapidly falling behind virtually every other club in attempting to strengthen our squad.
We do not use the loan system to acquire players...we use it to lower the wage bill to the detriment of the squad.
I abhor the loan system and feel it should be abolished..!!
It gives the likes of BK and his board the means to lower expenses and use the excuse that it gives players playing time.... that is a load of B......T.
Where is the money going ?? I cannot believe that we cannot compete in ther transfer market with clubs consistently below us season after season.
Fresh players give impetus and draw fans who need some real excitement and ambition.
We are being eroded slowly but surely if we continue to ignore the obvious.
We all deserve so much more !!
Anthony Jones
29   Posted 28/06/2011 at 00:04:43

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David, I am more than happy to carry on the debate. I am not tyring to mislead anyone; I'm just trying to illuminate some flaws in the tiresome anti-board rhetoric. I am not arsed one bit if you can prove me wrong. The thing is, I don't think you can.

I'll start by suggesting you read the following.

Jay, #27, we may have been in the black pre-Kenwright, but we couldn't possibly remain there and support our palyer salaries.

Inflated salaries are the reason we are destitiue, along with so many other clubs.

You can argue that the board allowed the wage bill to get out of control, but is it really that heinous a crime? What was the alternative? It was mediocrity and quite possibly relegation. No cup final, no Eurpoa League, no Arteta, no Yakubu, no Fellaini. How would that satisfy your nil satis nisi optimum?

Anthony Jones
30   Posted 28/06/2011 at 00:54:15

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(apologies: dead link)
Roman Sidey
31   Posted 28/06/2011 at 02:05:07

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This summer, if we have to sell someone (let's face it, if we don't sell someone the debt is going to be unworkable in about three more years), sell Fellaini if we get a decent offer. Of the players mentioned in the OP, selling him makes the most sense.
Matt Traynor
32   Posted 28/06/2011 at 02:34:30

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Er, okay probably of no relevance anymore on this thread, but FYI the Argentinian league is operated like a cartel to protect the interests of the bigger clubs, in that relegation happened as a result of their performance over 3 seasons.

This season wasn't a disaster compared to the previous one where they'd finished bottom.

There's all sorts of stories about "external influences" in the club etc. And whilst going to the game is a comparatively expensive experience in Buenos Aries, a lot of tickets are given out free to their "hardcore" supporters.
Eric Myles
33   Posted 28/06/2011 at 02:57:49

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Anthony #19 "My advice is "buy the club or support it", and stop bloody moaning!"

How can anyone buy the club when it is not for sale?

Michael Brien
34   Posted 28/06/2011 at 07:17:09

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I have just looked at the BBC football website - there are rumours in some papers that
1. Tottenham will have to sell 4/5 players before Redknapp can bring anybody in and that 4/5 could include Modric and Bale.
2. Arsenal it would are prepared to sell Fabregas.
Now I know that some of you out there will be saying -but they will bring in big name players. Well firstly that isn't certain and do you think Spurs fans or Gooners will be happy at that news ?

Reality need to kick in - we are not in the 1960's or 1970's when Everton could compete in the transfer market with the best of them. I remember in the 1970's we signed Bob Latchford and around the same period Manchester United signed Wyn Davies ( I think it was earlier in 1973-74 that Davies went to OT from Maine Road). We need to get used to the idea - if we aren't already - and there are plenty of clubs who do well without spending vast sums in the transfer market.

We need to invest in a wide ranging scouting network - looking at South America and even Asia. We also need to invest in an Academy system that will produce and develop talented young players. The models for this are Ajax and Udinese.
Derek Thomas
35   Posted 28/06/2011 at 08:21:43

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The whole point is...

1) It happened to River Plate

2) It ' could ' happen to us given we aren't in the best of financial health and Mother Kenwright's Old wives group, not being able to pay for so much as a jar of Vick between them

3) The author is not too confident that our bad financial cold will not develop into Pneumonia, or worse.
Joe Rourke
36   Posted 28/06/2011 at 09:35:19

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Bang on generally!

Don't know if you saw this article it has a spreadsheet with all premier league clubs finances contrasted and compared Everton come out very well generally, given performance:


Educate yourself! You talk about Newcastle for example ? they have debts of £150M, mainly in interest free loans from Mike Ashley . They don't have significantly more income from matchday income for this massive spending on their squads and their stadium. Most of the time over the last numbr of years they have been a laughing stock! If I remember corresctly Ashley was been threatened at one point. Arsenal have similar amount of debt and they pay £20M a year to service it ? Newcastle paid just £2M on theirs and still the fans hate that man.
Gavin Ramejkis
37   Posted 28/06/2011 at 08:25:15

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Anthony you keep sidestepping the undeniable fact that the board run the business and have failed, they are responsible for the short medium and long term strategy for the business.

They have failed to invest in the infrastructure of the club - the word "invest" is wholly correct - they should have invested in a gradual or piecemeal development of the stadium; extra seats generate income which could easily have paid for the improvement and now be generating positive returns. They outsourced marketing and pretty much every other department and despite having some quite high profile players over the years haven't capitalised on marketing them - Rooney before he left, Pienaar (captain of the hosts of a world cup), Tim Cahill probably the best known Australian player going, Tim Howard and Donovan despite US tours we never marketed this as a few examples.

Liverpool was Capital of Culture, not something that happens overnight and is known well in advance, Everton's board's response was to close the city centre retail outlets only finally opening one right at the very end of the year long celebration, blatant missed opportunity to sell, sell, sell, market, market, market?

The board's business decisions which are ultimately down to the Chairman have included such calamities as the NTL deal, Kings Dock, Fortress Fund lie of biblical proportions, offering a certain Mr Nyarko a contract longer than his work permit, claims of offering Banega a deal only him to say he's never heard of us, orchestrated lies to coincide with season ticket renewals (how many seasons have leaked stories of takeovers, new players and other fairy tales come out strangely just at the same time?), Desperation Kirkby and all it's wasted millions which as a reminder is far more than DM has been provided for new players by the board for a few years - our last few purchases paid for by player sales not the board, asset utilisation to gain a temporary stay of execution from the banks - a strategy which is simply not sustainable for any business whatsoever never mind Everton.

I standfast that the current board are failing badly, previous boards have also failed but not quite as badly and as potentially damaging to the club as the current one.
Gavin Ramejkis
38   Posted 28/06/2011 at 09:58:06

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Joe, good try but look at Newcastle's business model - they paid the likes of Michael Owen and others way beyond the going rate for their services in order to secure them, the redevelopment of St James has taken place over the last decade well before Ashley went on his buy any player you want spree. If you have a point to make at least make it pertinent. The investment in their ground was and still is a good plan to take but mismanagement after that decision to rapidly increase player wages just to secure them has negated it's benefit.
Gavin Ramejkis
39   Posted 28/06/2011 at 10:03:28

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Joe, taking a look at your referenced article it shows only Arsenal, Villa, Bolton, Man U, Liverpool and Spurs actually pay more a year on interest servicing their debt than Everton and of those I'd say Villa and Bolton would have every right to be worried. Again, your point was?
Eugene Ruane
40   Posted 28/06/2011 at 10:46:26

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Love Anthony Jones question (2) "I accept that the board tried and failed wrt Destination Kirkby, Kings Dock, NTL, etc... and I don't need reminding of the other TW commandments. But at what point did the board "mismanage" the club".

(love the use of 'etc')

The logic instantly reminded me of..
Trevor Mackie
41   Posted 28/06/2011 at 10:41:50

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Anyone arguing Everton aren't mismanaged just like the sound of their own voice - the TW flaneurs society.
Anthony Jones
42   Posted 28/06/2011 at 11:35:16

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actually, I do like my own voice, because it's normally a voice of reason.

Back to the OP...cue music

Don't cry for Plate Argentina
The truth is they never went down
All through their hay days
Their mad existence
They kept their trophies
Don't keep your distance
Adam Bennett
43   Posted 28/06/2011 at 12:37:42

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Some interesting debates going on here!

While I mentioned the possible mismanagement side of River, and that we need to make sure we are run properly off the field, my main focus was more on the fact that they have sold their better players over the years and an inability to replace them adequately as resulted in a side that is simply not good enough.

When we where a selling club during the Walter Smith era, we never got out of the bottom half and very nearly got relegated. I know this affliction almost happened pre-Walter, but selling players very nearly caught up with us because the players we bought where unable to be better than those we sold.

Since David Moyes took over, Rooney and Lescott aside, we haven?t sold anyone we didn?t want to sell (playing ability wise), and we have not had a threat of going down. Granted, we have had some terrible starts that got people nervous at some point, but relegation has never been a real issue. I put this down to us keeping our better players, and players who have left have been replaced with players who have become better than what we had.

Now, however, there is talk of having to sell. Debts need to be paid, other areas of the team need to be strengthened. However, if we sell the wrong player, i.e. someone who is too important to the team (Baines for example), and the player(s) who come in is not up to the task, we are weakened. You get weaker, you move down the table.

I don?t want to sound too much off a doom monger, but if we have a sell to buy/pay off debts policy over the next couple of years and get it wrong, in four or five years time we could have a much poorer squad.

When a massive club falls the way River Plate have done, Everton, and other clubs for that matter, should look at what happened to them and prepare themselves long term to avoid a similar scenario themselves in the future.

If it can happen to River it can happen to absolutely anyone, and I don?t want to be sitting here in ten years time on the eve of a relegation decider, with a team not good enough for the fight, saying ?shit, how the fuck did this happen??, and debating where it all went wrong.

Although my ambitions are to strengthen the squad in order to compete at the top, we also need to insure ourselves against possible disaster.
Guy Rogers
44   Posted 28/06/2011 at 13:34:20

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Interesting article on River Plate... poorly linked back to Everton though.

James Martin (4) ? spot on, son.

The Park End cheap stand needs to be demolished and rebuilt further back allowing movement of pitch. A short-sighted decision by the chairman at the time meaning loss of future revenue which could affect our top-flight status.
Trevor Lynes
45   Posted 28/06/2011 at 13:52:05

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Adam # 4e3.....What about Pienaar going for buttons, did we want to sell him ?
What about Gosling who would have commanded a fee of sorts who went for free....Pienaar was well worth keeping and has not been replaced...He pulled us out of the s..t when Arteta was injured and Baines blossomed with him as a foil....we have been really LUCKY to get away with things...
Baines has stayed fit all season with no cover at all....Ozzie who was lambasted on this site regularly prior to his injury, came back and played his best football since making the first team squad....the same to a lesser degree happened with Hibbo.
Distin has been an unqualified success but he is nearing the end of his career, Heitinga and Bily have been poor value for the money spent on them.
We look like going into next season with a squad as threadbare as last season.....insuring ourselves against disaster means strengthening our squad !!
David O'Keefe
46   Posted 28/06/2011 at 13:59:41

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"David, I am more than happy to carry on the debate. I am not tyring to mislead anyone; I'm just trying to illuminate some flaws in the tiresome anti-board rhetoric. I am not arsed one bit if you can prove me wrong. The thing is, I don't think you can."

An astonishing display of ignorance and arrogance from Anthony Jones. If your trying to illuminate some flaws in the anti-board rhetoric by alluding to broad trends in the game re wages its sadly not going to work.

Nice try at deflection, but I'm not going to ignore evertyhing that has gone on at the club for the past dozen years.

Read this:

No-one was able to find a flaw in this though many tried.
Joe Rourke
47   Posted 28/06/2011 at 14:21:07

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Paying over the going rate securing the services of Michael Owen ? ha ha!!! Do you like shooting yourself in the foot with your retorts? Go on ? blow off the other one while you are at it! Why don't you say .... go on tell me the same for Kluivert too.

My points about Newcastle were totally pertinent ? they have fucked themselves up: Ashley is saving them financially to some degree by providing mountains of free cash but then destabilising the club with mad managerial changes and purchases of players. It's his little train set and, unlike Kenright's stewardship, it's a total embarrasment.

Business model? What's their business model? Turn the club into a giant circus and somehow make money from all the attention they generate? Relegation as the new route to the wonderland of Champions League revenues? Go on, Gavin ? enthrall me!
Anthony Jones
48   Posted 28/06/2011 at 14:17:54

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Calm down Dave,

if there is any arrogance on display in this stream it is emanating from you and Gavin.

I challenged your fundamental beliefs about the board, and I can see it clearly upset you when you realised that your opinions have weaknesses just like anybody else's.

I have read Colin's article previously, so ignorrant is not a fair label to apply to me, along with arrogant.

Colin's article is very well researched, and I applaud his intelligence. I think the bottom line is that I am looking at what is happening at the club now. As I see it, the culb is being run reasonably well within the constraints that currently apply.

I agree with Colin in that past events should not be forgotten, and if there was a voting system I would vote against the current board if a suitable competitor was up for running the club. However, this is not a democratic system we are dealing with, sadly, and the strength of supporters' clubs to affect strategy is as yet unproven.

You can't force the owners to sell. You can't force them to do anything, unless the fans stop going to games en masse. Even then, there is no knowing who would come in for the club, with it's well documented financial burdens.

I would love to see the club sold to a group that has long term aspirations for increasing revenue and for increasing the profile of the club through investment, but I can't see it happening within the next few years at least. So rather than continually opening old wounds and seething and turning on my club, maybe I just accept the past. What is the alternative?
David O'Keefe
49   Posted 28/06/2011 at 14:43:21

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Anthony, please tell me what my fundamental beliefs about the board are?
Joe Rourke
50   Posted 28/06/2011 at 14:38:25

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"However, there is something I don't get about the link with Everton (cue the hate mob!)..."

Well called!

#46 David arrogance personified reads like this Read this: ? No-one was able to find a flaw in this though many tried.

# 41 Trevor ? so we are to take it that the only comments acceptable here are those that condemn Everton's managment? That's not an argument or discussion that a situation where everybody agrees with each other... that's simply ridiculous that just group think then.
David O'Keefe
51   Posted 28/06/2011 at 14:56:07

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"#46 David arrogance personified reads like this Read this: No-one was able to find a flaw in this though many tried. "

Nice try, Joe, but I was stating a fact. Why not read the response to comments article that followed it.

David O'Keefe
52   Posted 28/06/2011 at 15:16:09

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Joe: St James Park has far better facilities than Goodison and I didn't enjoy typing that.

Now on the field EFC have done better than the geordies who built up a lot of debt paying off poor managers and poor players. Under Hall's stewardship they used their on-field success (relative) as a platform to build their club's infrastructure... if only I could say the same about BK and EFC.
Anthony Jones
53   Posted 28/06/2011 at 15:11:31

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#49, I'm not entirely sure, but there is an aura of bitterness throughout your posts, which strongly suggests that my questionning of the logic behind criticising the board didn't rest well with you. Moreover, you seem to get personal quite readily, which suggests that you don't have the arsenal to debate the subject in an objective manner.

To quote you, "nice try".

David O'Keefe
54   Posted 28/06/2011 at 15:28:32

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Anthony look up psychological projection. I haven't got personal with you at all, in fact quite the reverse has happened in this thread.

Anthony Jones
55   Posted 28/06/2011 at 15:41:57

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I know this is looking like a bitch fight now, but hypocrisy to me is a red rag to a bull.

I am sorry for pojecting my own failings onto you David, and in no way do the following exerpts suggest that you got personal in this thread...

"there is a lesson to be learned, but those that don't want to learn will be grinding and gnashing their teeth if that fateful day arrives.

You've badly missed the point.

Glad your familiar with my "literary" output Anthony.

All I did was object to Anthony's tiresome attempt to restrict silence the debate.

Anthony: Your basic premise is don't criticise the clubs board. I find your use of the word witchhunt to describe critics of Bk illuminating.

Nice try

An astonishing display of ignorance and arrogance from Anthony Jones."

Kevin Gillen
56   Posted 28/06/2011 at 10:39:48

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Great article and good reasoned debate. I am reminded of how people can quite reasonably be watching the same phenomenon and come to different conclusions quite justifiably.

The questions disputed by Anthony and Gavin appear to be: What constitutes mismanagement? ... and Is the club for sale? I tend to side with Gavin's analysis of the former and Anthony's on the latter.

Everton have been mismanaged at boardroom level and many opportunities for investment or development missed or squandered. Relatively we are more well managed than similar sized clubs especially on the field (eg, Villa or Newcastle).

I do believe the club is for sale, however... and find it hard to understand those who argue it isn't in spite of what might be said, simply because in the world of football it seems to me that everything has its price. I can understand how people would imagine it is not.

I think it to the great credit of the custodians of the club that they did not sell out to the Fortress Sports Fund, that could well have been another Notts County episode.

Trevor Mackie
57   Posted 28/06/2011 at 16:19:09

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Anthony Jones is TJ Williams - I claim the £5.
Michael Kenrick
58   Posted 28/06/2011 at 16:25:18

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Kevin (#56), I wasn't finding much to disagree with until your final statement: "I think it to the great credit of the custodians of the club that they did not sell out to the Fortress Sports Fund..."

Kevin, FSF was a total fabrication invented by the custodians of the club with one purpose only: to ward off a powerplay by one Paul Gregg.
Jay Harris
59   Posted 28/06/2011 at 16:59:02

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Kevin #56, just to add to what Michael has said, FSF were never interested in "buying" the club ? they were introduced by Black Bill as investors with £15 million in response to Paul Gregg suggesting he would invest £15 million in the club if Bill were to resign as Chairman.

Kenwright's infamous quote and LIE was "The cheque will be in the bank in the morning" when questioned about FSF's lack of forthcoming promised investment.

Suffice it to say neither Kenwright nor any of his cronies have EVER invested one penny of their own money into the club and have all stated on public record that they have no intention of selling their shareholding.
Ste Traverse
60   Posted 28/06/2011 at 17:41:47

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To this day,I don't know how Kenwright has the brass neck to show his face at Goodison after the infamous 'Fortress Fund' episode.

It just goes to show the depths this disgrace of a man will sink to in his desperate attempts to cling on to power.
Roman Sidey
61   Posted 28/06/2011 at 23:03:41

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Probably not going to add much to the debate, but I recall when we sold Gravesen in January 05 it coincided with us winning about four or five games in the second half of the season. Was one of our best at the time.
Gavin Ramejkis
62   Posted 28/06/2011 at 23:38:49

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Joe, is your keyboard sponsored by crayola as I'm sure by your response it's all you are allowed to write with freehand.

Answer the following questions whilst hobbling on your own blown to shit argument :

How much did Newcastle pay Michael Owen per week and how many games did he play?

How much did they pay to Kluivert as you've chosen that one yourself again add matches played.

Now take a sip from your tommy tippee then a deep breath and answer what the capacity of St James Park is and when they started the ground redevelopment.

Compare and contrast the timeline for that with the subsequent - I'll help you with that "big" word it means coming afterwards change of owner and spending spree on players and wages.

I'll help you a little with that research in case you get lost a bit like your supposed response:

1993 Leazes End demolished and development completed by 1995 increasing capacity to 36,610, then again in 1998 with further work with a second tier on the Milburn Stand, Leazes End and adjoining corner and some work on the Gallowgate end raising capacity to 52,143. Still with me? Roll forward to 2005 and the Gallowgate was redevloped, more cosmetic and function than increased capacity with a new bar "Shearer's" added.

Now take a breath Joe, a deep one, you claim the nemesis who is Mike Ashley fucked Newcastle and all of this is irrelevent, well he took over in 2007, that would be 2 years after the last development and some 9 years after the 1998 large scale capacity increase - so again Joe what the fuck is your point????

Ashley took over and they recorded a home crowd of 47,771 which had fuck all to do with the increased capacity and forward planning of his predecessors and down to his treatment of Keegan.

Owen was signed in 2005 again after the redevelopments, Kluivert was signed 2004 again after the ground redevelopment by piss poor management paying over the odds and very high wages.

I eagerly await your next crayon bash
Michael Brien
63   Posted 29/06/2011 at 07:12:46

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"Joe, is your keyboard sponsored by crayola as I'm sure by your response it's all you are allowed to write with freehand."

Gavin - you have some interesting points that you make - it's a pity though that you have to resort to sarcastic insults inorder to make a point. Maybe you are the one who needs to grow up.
Tony J Williams
64   Posted 29/06/2011 at 13:17:37

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Trevor, no he's not.
Kevin Gillen
65   Posted 30/06/2011 at 12:26:00

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To Michael and Jay, I stand corrected. I must admit to not having much insight into the politics of the Fortress Sports fund, I just thought it was an attempt to buy into the club by some rogue investment fund who ultimately thought the better of it. I find it very bold of you Michael to actually accuse Kenwright so openly of what is almost a criminal manipulation but I am sure you have more knowledge than me on the subject. I will say that this doesn't alter my point. I am convinced that the right money at the right time will liberate Everton from the grasp of the current board. I don't agree with your assertions, although I respect them, that Moyes and Kenwright are going nowhere simply because over time football has proven to be such a volatile business.
I don't share the pessimism of many toffeewebbers. Yes it is galling that we don't seem to be able to move forward at as quick a rate as we would perhaps like. Yes it is galling that we don't partake of a lot of big transfer activity but is it really to our detriment that the squad remains so trimmed and so constant? I don't think it does. It is boring to observe but I don't hanker after the days of enormous squads and random managerial changes and substitutions to the team almost as if all the egos in the club needed satisfying. Without ridiculous takeovers I feel the model employed by Kenwright/Moyes (financial prudence, continuity in the playing staff, youth development) still holds out the most likelihood of success in the modern era.

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