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Everton at a Crossroads

By David Whitwell :  21/02/2011 :  Comments (55) :
Much has been made of our great club in recent weeks with the non-activity in the transfer market and the release of our accounts. Despite being frustrated by them on many occasions I believe both Moyes & Kenwright have done everything they can to ensure success for Everton FC but for me it is their next decisions that will define their legacy.

We are a club with a very decent turnover ? maybe not as great as the likes of Man Utd & Arsenal but still very decent nevertheless. The philosophy over the last 7 years or so has been to incrementally improve the squad where possible but with the major intention being to keep the players we have. In fact, in that time, to me it seems only Rooney, Lescott and Pienaar have left against our wishes and for the former two we got some pretty decent money for...

Our big problem now is our wage bill: we have a squad of players who, bearing mind we can?t add to them, have probably reached their peak as a team ? by that, I mean they may qualify for Europe every so often and will probably finish in the top half... but nothing more.

We need an investor but are not attractive due to the issue of the ground and primarily the fact that we don?t make any profit. Any investor besides the Man City lot and Ambramovich will want a return and for that they have to be able to make the club profitable. I don?t believe we can substantially improve our turnover without either a new ground or Champions League money ? neither of which are currently likely. What we can do, however, is substantially reduce our wage bill.

I think it's time for both Kenwright and Moyes to be bold: they need to change tack and break this squad up, using the money to find the next generation of stars ? something that Moyes has shown a talent for. Doing so, could bring fresh blood to the team and reduce the wage bill in the medium term, thus making us profitable and more attractive to investors.

This is undoubtedly a gamble and relies heavily on Moyes staying put and being able to create a new squad all over again; however, I believe doing nothing will ultimately see a gradual decline back to 10 years ago... At least trying something different may change our fortunes for the future.

Reader Comments

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Michael Kenrick
1   Posted 21/02/2011 at 17:07:31

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David, I think you've hit the nail on the head... in fact, I think you've identified something that should in fact have been going on for the last two or three years.

I mean that both Kenwright and Moyes knew the situation we were heading for. But Moyes refused to change his vision and his plan of building this team. The sell-to-buy policy should have been embraced with the Lescott sale and the subsequent opportunities (Jagielka to Arsenal for £14M? etc) should have been taken, purely with a view to transitioning into the mode of club operation you describe.

The fact that they have not done this can be seen as a dereliction of their duties to the club, given that they knew the situation going forward. But to an extent they are still sitting on their hands and not grasping the changed paradigm. Moyes still clings to this mantra of keeping his best players...
Antony Matthews
2   Posted 21/02/2011 at 17:07:50

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Trouble is, David, if we break the team up and find the "next generation of stars", Man U, Chelski, Man C, and the like will be sniffing round as we will always be a selling club unless a rich arab turns up on his Camel outside Goodison. Unless we get a new ground and are able to pay silly wages, most players will use us as a stepping stone to one of the top 4.
Morgan Rhys
3   Posted 21/02/2011 at 17:24:02

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I think exactly the same as the first person, this should have been done years ago.
John Brennan
4   Posted 21/02/2011 at 17:41:56

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Mubarak appears to have a few quid in the bank.
Is he a Toffee?
Richard Dodd
5   Posted 21/02/2011 at 17:51:07

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Rory Smith made precisely the same points last week and was denigrated for it. Now it`s hailed as the way forward. Sometimes I wonder about my fellow Evertonians........
Rob Teo
6   Posted 21/02/2011 at 17:27:48

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I have to disagree with Michael #1 and Morgan #3, as well as David.

I mean, if Everton's business strategy is solely one that relies on us selling our best players in order to fund the purchases of a new set of players, where will it end? Do we then go on to sell that set of players (once they've proved themselves at Premier League level) in order to fund a new set of players, who we then groom only to sell in order to fund new players, ad infinitum?

Granted, by doing so, we could eventually pay off all our existing debts and leave us in a healthier position financially than we are now. However, there's no guarantee that there'll necessarily be a Lescott or Cahill or Jagielka in the subsequent pool of players that we can groom and sell for a 2000% profit on what we paid for them.

Not only that, a strategy like this ultimately allows us to aim only for financial solvency, not financial success. I do not for one minute think that Bill Kenwright shouldn't be doing better in terms of securing funding for our club. But I'm not convinced that a "groom-and-sell" strategy is necessarily the way to go. Financial solvency may help us to stay afloat, but it won't necessarily prevent other clubs from overtaking us. I mean, do we really want to be a financially solvent club languishing in the First Division?

I would rather that Moyes continues to cling to his better players in the hope of breaking into the Champions League and, from there, to reap the financial rewards, than for us to aspire only to mid-table anonymity, however (falsely) secure that position may be. The fact that we've not been able to do so this season ? in spite of the oft-repeated acknowledgement that this is the best crop of players that we've had for a long time ? is due primarily to our failures on the pitch and not to the failings of any mantra on Moyes's part of "keeping his best players". Now, imagine if our team did deliver as the pre-season hype surrounding them had promised, would the "keep our best players" strategy still be seen as folly?

Again I have to emphasise that I agree that our finances are shite and that BK is as pathetic an excuse for a chairman as you'll get where securing funding for our club is concerned. But I disagree that our club's financial misfortunes are due to his failure to embrace a "sell-to-buy" policy. Rather, it's because of his lack of financial nous to capitalise on our Australian and American stars, his handling of Destination Kirby fiasco and the financial costs incurred by the club, his failure to find decent investment even after 9+ years at the helm, his failure to oversea serious revenue-generating improvements to Goodison Park, etc, that have led us to be in the state we're in.

Finally, how attractive would we be to investors if we did end up in the First Division? It may seem unlikely that the loss of one or two key players would necessarily lead to relegation. But we only have to look at the current league table to see that there's actually a very real possibility of that happening (especially if we were to continue losing more key players).

For me, nothing would please me more than to see Everton succeed on the pitch. Not only that, I'm a firm believer that success on the pitch leads to success off the pitch. To compromise our chances of footballing success by selling our star players in order to secure mediocrity off the pitch just doesn't seem like the right way to go.
Brian Denton
7   Posted 21/02/2011 at 18:20:54

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The trouble is, it would be profoundly depressing to support a selling club. Especially if you've been used to Everton being a buying and a winning club. For those of us of a certain generation ? in fact of several certain generations ? it would require a different outlook on the club. It doesn't exactly inspire.
Gavin Ramejkis
8   Posted 21/02/2011 at 18:14:15

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Doddy, selling the last pieces of family silver is a disgrace and fitting end to Kenshite's reign as the worst chairman in 133 years, the chairman that bankrupt the club and left it nothing but debts.
Andy Crooks
9   Posted 21/02/2011 at 18:30:57

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Rob, you suggest that Moyes should cling to his better players in the hope of the Champions League. Sorry, but this is dreamland. At present and on current form we do not have a single player worthy of Champions League football. Our league position is perilous and there is not one player in the squad who is blameless.

Being pragmatic, we need Rodwell to come back, get a run in the team and boost his value. In an ideal world Moyes could strengthen the squad and start afresh. Unfortunately we are in the shit and need to raise money.

It is my view that we had a squad capable of Champions League but the wrong coach. However, we are stuck with Moyes and a crisis is what he is good at. I have long called for him to go but we are too late. Dig us out of this, David, speak truthfully of how you have been let down by the board, then move on with the respect and admiration of most Evertonians.

Craig Wilson
10   Posted 21/02/2011 at 19:11:49

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Just been on the news, Gadaffi has been seen in a chip shop in Goodison Road... it can only mean one thing..........

He is lost!!!
Michael Coville
11   Posted 21/02/2011 at 20:14:16

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Just not going to happen. The only player we will sell in the summer will be Rodwell and if we get £20M for him that will keep us going for another year. The year after that, what the management hopes is that another young player comes through the ranks and can be sold to keep us above water.

I believe Moyes has an excellent record at picking up talent from the lower divisions. His big problem is not getting rid of players who have peaked like Yakubu, Arteta, Neville and Yobo and giving out these high and extended contracts to the likes of Arteta.

When he has had money to spend he picks up the likes of Heitinga and Bilyaletdinov who are squad players at best. The problem we have now is that any of the six I have mentioned above will get us very little back in the market even if we do try to sell them.

Phil Bellis
12   Posted 21/02/2011 at 20:28:09

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Will Bill be following you up seeing as we've won one?

Tony Wilson
13   Posted 21/02/2011 at 20:29:53

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Sorry gentlemen but I must take liberty with the this ideology.

At the start of the season you all allowed yourselves to be conned by the media-enforced hype around the club that implied that Everton were Champions League quality, and now it seems as though you are out for revenge; i.e. "sell the bloody lot of them...sack the manager for being so stubborn and wanting to maintain the squad he painstakingly built!".

I don't like Moyes as a tactician, but I admire the fact that he wants to push the average salary up to try to keep his best players. This shows his ambition, not stuborness. Recently he has been down-beat, which does him no credit whatsoever, but if he had let Jags, Yak, Heitinga etc. go in the summer you would have been up in arms about him dismantling the "best squad in a long time".

Michael (1), I find your reference to a changed paradigm (presumably that we are a selling club) slightly ahead of it's time, as I do not believe that this idea is widely accepted yet.

To be fair to the much beleagured players, factors that are beyond their control have contributed to the team's inability to beat so-called lesser opposition this year. Jags, Arteta, and Yak all recently had career threatening injuries that they seem to be struggling to recover from. This effectively ripped out our spine. With these players in their prime we were a good side. Without them I fear we are closer to average.

Criticise Moyes's negative tactics all day, but criticising him for wanting to keep his best players is bizarre. As has been pointed out already, what if the next batch don't produce? You'd be slating him for getting us relegated, that's what. And don't bother telling me we're going down anyway. Clearly, this is bullshit.

Tony Wilson
14   Posted 21/02/2011 at 20:59:45

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Sorry, I didn't make it clear...the ideology that Moyes should have already embraced player sales!

Yes, I am a moron.
Robert Daniels
15   Posted 21/02/2011 at 21:32:29

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Nobody wants us to be a selling club, but if it was done say, on the same lines of Arsenal, I woudn't mind.

They have sold players for years, Adebyor recently; they have made a healthy profit and still invested in their team, and managed to stay at the top table while paying for a new stadium as well.

I remember seeing figures recently, that showed Arsenal had the lowest net spend in the PL... Yes ? even lower than us, truly remarkable.

I believe we should have sold: Saha, Jags, Yak, Vaughn, Yobo, in the summer for a combined fee of, say, £30M, £15M could of gone on ground redevelopment and £15M on new players. This may be the only way forward for us at the present time, but at least it would give us a strategy, for growth.

As Rob Teo says, I wouldn't be selling Fellaini or the Rodwell, as they are our jewels in our crown. Forwards, and defenders, the equivelent of the ones I've mentioned are easy to find. Real deal central midfielders are what makes teams, and shouldn't be sacrificed to pay a bill, or were doomed.
David Price
16   Posted 21/02/2011 at 21:26:03

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I'd be amazed if one comment could be found on ToffeeWeb prior to the season starting stating that Arteta, Yakubu and Jags should be sold.

We all expected better, I really thought we could threaten 4th spot based on the 2nd half of the season points tally, Yakubu being fully fit, Saha staying fit turning those draws to wins. A strong midfield with Donavon being signed.

So now with hindsight, the "experts" state what we should have done in the summer.

Respect all opinions but these opinions didn't exist last August; in fact, with the turmoil across the park, we were gloating on the great relationship between Manager and Chairman and the stability we have at the club. Again in hindsight we are now wiser, to the point of the Chairman being the worst in 133 years and the Manager has no idea and must go.

I would like to think that Moyes tied up various players to the club with a certain amount of confidence in younger players accquired that will offset the need for big money purchases, uch as Duffy, Barkley, Rodwell, Coleman etc. He may well be assessing the need for that elusive striker and releasing Yobo, Bily, Yakubu and Heitinga in the summer to give him the funds for the deal with the young lads stepping up into squad contention. For me, that would be controlled and careful management in the situation we are in.

If we are honest, that "striker" early season to put some of those chances away we continually missed would have given the season a much needed momentum.

We've seen evidence of the spirit being there and I don't think all is lost, so don't under estimate the fighting spirit of a Scotsman and the pride that Davey Moyes has at being Everton's Manager.

Steve Abraham
17   Posted 21/02/2011 at 21:54:38

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David Whitwell. Isn't that what has been happening at the club? Moyes has been buying young talent for a while to compliment what we have coming through the academy. I'm thinking about the likes of Maggie, Silva, Garbutt and Barkley (correct spelling?)
Steve Abraham
18   Posted 21/02/2011 at 22:00:24

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Sorry, didn't see post 16. I agree with that.
David Price
19   Posted 21/02/2011 at 22:05:09

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Utd did it in '96 with their kids and what a platform they got from it. It's a good blue print to work off without the financial muscle. With glass half full attitude i'm trusting the club know what they've got coming through, jeez, if anyone deserves this strategy to come off it's us.
Gavin Ramejkis
20   Posted 21/02/2011 at 22:10:32

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We've become a selling club to pay bills not to rebuild, are you guys nuts? Sell a player or players from the smallest squad in the EPL and not replace them as the money has gone to keep the administrators away for another 12 months if we are lucky, and hope that we have another kid in the ranks we can do it all over again with a year later?
Michael Kenrick
21   Posted 21/02/2011 at 22:01:28

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It's understandable people are going to have trouble with this: it's such a massive shift from what we all thought this club was about.

But that's when we still all had our heads in the sand, believing that (a) someone would buy us ? they won't; (b) we'd be good enough to make the Champions League ? not a chance; (c) we would soon have a great stadium to consolidate our financial wellbeing ? never gonna happen; (d) that we have a great amanager ? we don't.

But there is one thing Moyes has been fairly good at: picking lower-league/unknown talent and getting them to make the grade in the Premier League ? at tremendous potential profit.

For pretty much everything else a manger should be doing, he's hopeless. Certainly holding on to established players too long until they are in decline (Arteta? Cahill?) or he falls out with them (Yakubu; Vaughan?) is not ever going to make us great.

Look, Moyes is staying and Kenwright is staying, at least for the foreseeable... They both knew the constraints and limitations way before us poor saps picked up on them and realized the shit we were in.

Sadly, it is now clear to me that this is what they SHOULD have been doing; but Moyes's stubbornness has probably been the biggest obstacle... now the cat's out of the bag, and they appear to have missed the better opportunities for this strategy to have actually worked. It could have put the club in a better financial situation than the rather crappy one that is clearly only taking EFC Co Ltd further and further into the shit.

Dick Fearon
22   Posted 21/02/2011 at 22:14:18

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Gaddaffis son who fancies himself as a player and team manager will be looking for somewhere to launder his countries loot. BK should be on the phone already.

One problem is he has a tendency of jailing and flogging everyone when the team loses. By flogging I don't mean to the highest bidder. I'd like to see that.

Gavin Ramejkis
23   Posted 21/02/2011 at 22:27:32

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Will Kenshite "cry" when he sells Baines to pay the bills?
Dick Fearon
24   Posted 21/02/2011 at 22:25:56

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Had Moyes already started on a sales campaign, would we have beat the RS and Chelski?

I agree with those on these pages who said that those were memories to last a lifetime. Without them to cling to this season would have one of utter despair and probable relegation to boot.

Peter Warren
25   Posted 21/02/2011 at 22:40:27

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I think a lot of people are missing the point. It's not the lack of selling players which is the biggest problem, it's the wages. That's why he's shipped out Yobo, Vaughan, Pienaar (wouldn't offer him the money) Yak etc . Moyes is already trimming. Yes, he could sell to raise funds, but I confess, deluded perhaps, but if he can find a striker, a Kevin Philips, a Darren Bent, an Andy Carroll ? dare I say, some other gem in lower leagues and undoubtedly there will be someone out there, English or foreign, we will have an excellent team.

I thought Heitinga was a great player last season, now changed my opinion and agree he needs shipping out.

Oh , whilst I'm at it, I think Bily is absolute class, simply not a winger... I'll put my tin hat on now.
John Ford
26   Posted 21/02/2011 at 22:54:38

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Hmmm... I was standing at Wembley two years ago thinking we really must sell our best players, and once again during the second half of last season when we were outplaying most teams... sell sell sell.

Revisionist nonsense.
Mike Green
27   Posted 21/02/2011 at 23:03:35

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Bang on John Ford and David Price, as usual.
Steve Harris
28   Posted 21/02/2011 at 23:18:33

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I couldn't disagree more with some of the comments in #21. Someone will buy us when BK wants to sell.

I feel sad that you appear to have accepted this fate as a reality. I for one will never accept it and will never accept mediocrity, why couldn't we have finished 4th this season?

Most fans truly believed after the way we finished last season and the talk from within the club echoed our expectations. Even Sir Philip Carter's statement of exciting signings which never materialized couldn't dampen our hopes... so, If your reality is willing to accept mid-table or staving off relegation, then again no thanks.

Moyes has been our saviour despite the debacle Kenwright has overseen. It is you who's head is firmly planted in the sand of gloom and I hope the anti-Kenwright feelings gather pace to force his departure asap and give us all including Moyes the hope back and put EFC back to its rightful place.

Kieran Fitzgerald
29   Posted 22/02/2011 at 00:07:48

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Honestly, I think I would happily accept a number of seasons of mid-table mediocrity if it meant getting the club back on a healthy footing financially. As it stands, I can't see us winning on a consistent basis any time soon and financially things are only going to get an awful lot worse.

And yes, hindsight is a great thing, but right now, I think this is the most realistic we have been in a long time about where the club is.

The only condition I would add is that they pump some of the cash raised from the sale of players into the youth academy. If we are already doing a fairly decent job on what must be a shoestring budget, imagine how much more success we would have with decent funding at youth level.
Roman Sidey
30   Posted 22/02/2011 at 00:13:48

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Michael Coville, "sqaud players at best" for Heitinga and Bily. Now I apologise in advance as the only players I speak of in the positive lately is these two players, but I feel they get much more stick than players that actually deserve it.

Heitinga was a starting centre back in the World Cup Final, but you call him a squad player? I don't see how the manager for the Dutch team can rate a player as the best in his position for one of the best sides in the world, but for some reason he isn't good enough for probably the 400th best team in the world.

Bily, likewise, is/was a star for Russia, arguably a better national side than England at this point in time. If we had Dick Advocaat managing England, I guarantee these two players would be our best two.

Roman Sidey
31   Posted 22/02/2011 at 00:30:35

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And by "Dick Advocaat managing England", I meant "managing Everton."
James Crolla
32   Posted 22/02/2011 at 02:32:23

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It all makes sense when you consider all the facts, we cannot afford a wage bill that would create a team capable of challenging for a top 4 finish.

Forget anything else, this is the only way of changing the scale and stature of our club and subsequently our finances. Everything else will fall into place thereafter. I don't like it it but it is the reality of the commercial framework that is the Premier League.

We can improve revenues by being more efficient (listening to supporters, improving our marketing strategy, improvements to services available to supporters on match days), but not significantly and not enough to make a material difference to our ability to compete. We can't raise ticket prices (the average supporter is already finding it difficult in the current climate) and we can't improve our corporate facilities without major investment, which is only possible when we have finances to fund a wage bill that can deliver a team capable of competing.

We are horribly caught in a vicious circle!

So what can we do? People are suggesting becoming a selling club but will this really work? The main problem is that everyone knows our financial predicament and as such we can never get market value for our players. The Phil Neville debacle to Spurs is a better example than you may think. The lack of respect shown with the value of the bid was not because of our need for immediate cash as most people suspected, it was actually because they realised the urgent need for Everton to reduce the wage bill, and Phil is one of our biggest earners tied to a long contract. Shrewd and opportunist by Spurs and unfortunately we will see more examples in the future, therefore demonstrating that we will not get full market value for our players and therefore cannot succeed with a selling strategy.

The market forces and opportunist actions by other clubs is also obvious with "tapping up". Intentionally unsettling players by offering higher wages, which Everton could not compete with, is another way of forcing Everton to sell an unhappy player below market value. The benefiting club then gets a player on the cheap which helps to fund the higher wages. ONCE AGAIN A SELLING STRATEGY CANNOT WORK....

So what can we do? There is no solution except selling the club to an investor that is willing to look at Everton as a "long term investment", i.e. need to fund a stadium and a higher wage bill based on future success and subsequent revenue. Assuming of course that there is such an investor out there and that Bill is actually willing to sell.

If no investment is found we will gradually decline in league performance whilst our debts increase and we will be relegated or go into administration, whichever comes first. This is inevitable whether we adopt a selling strategy or not.

Investment is essential.

WOW... I'm really depressed now.
John Maxwell
33   Posted 22/02/2011 at 02:27:22

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Can anyone explain why Arsenal beat Barcelona then draw against Orient.

Mmmmmm, the truth is out there!
Michael Coville
34   Posted 22/02/2011 at 12:21:07

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Well, Roman Sidey, I probably should have left "at best" out. However, this year Moyes has used them mainly on the bench. I would have expected for the amount of cash we spent they would be automatic picks for the team. I don't care what they did before they came to Everton, we just can't afford to pay the sort of transfer fees we paid for these two and leave them on the bench.
Eric Myles
35   Posted 22/02/2011 at 12:59:32

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Trouble is, for ths strategy to work, the 'new blood' needs to become a top class team withn 3 years and be challengng for honours at which point they will be demandng higher wages than our current top earners get now.

And we still won't be able to afford to keep them as there will have been no change where it really matters, a change in the ownershp.


Shaun Brennan
36   Posted 22/02/2011 at 13:59:00

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Does all this talk mean that we are heading for another 5-year plan set out by Moyes? This method of selling players should not be embraced. The board has failed time and time again to provide sufficient resources to Moyes without it being:
1) too late and results in panic buys; &
2) used to to strengthen the squad.
Dan Brierley
37   Posted 22/02/2011 at 16:22:15

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Shaun, if the board had given Moyes anything more than he has already been given, we would be bankrupt by now. Every penny is ploughed into the squad we have today.

What we need to do, is sell players in order to improve the ground, or use the money to build another. We need to vastly improve the cashflow each season. Selling to buy will keep us going, but ultimately not fix the problem.
Michael Kenrick
38   Posted 22/02/2011 at 16:39:02

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"Every penny", eh, Dan?

I think you've been taken in perhaps by the over-simplifying Mr Elstone. If you get a chance, ask him what the undocumented but hugely increasing "Other operating costs" listed in the accounts cover (up from £1.5M to over £20M during Kenwright's reign)???

Nobody has yet explained where those TWO BILLION pennies are going....
Larry Boner
39   Posted 22/02/2011 at 17:07:51

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The reason why Arsenal only drew with Orient is that Wenger dropped 10 players for the FA Cup game. Simple really.
Roman Sidey
40   Posted 22/02/2011 at 23:09:11

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Michael Coville, when you put it that way, I agree totally. It is strange that Moyes spent all the Lescott money in one fell swoop for players he has never had any intention of playing (Distin excluded, but even he only got in when Yobo went strange).

This is what shits me to tears, when you see Hibbert playing right back when Heintinga is on the bench ? I know he's a centre half, but he was actually bought by us as a RB ? and Osman getting straight into the XI with Bily sat on the bench, losing any inclination he had last year to do amazing things at amazing times.

Mike Elbey
41   Posted 22/02/2011 at 20:01:04

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The true tactic we should be deploying is somewhere between the breaking up the current squad and not selling anyone.

There seems to be some sort of reluctance for people to accept player sales at Everton. Personally, I believe if the sale of one player can facilitate enough money to improve the team then that is acceptable and does not mean we are a selling club anymore than any other club. Let's be honest, with the exception of Chelsea and City, all clubs are selling clubs to an extent.

In my opinion, we missed a real opportunity in the summer by not cashing in on one of Jagielka / Heitinga / Yobo along with one of Rodwell / Arteta / Fellaini. The money from these two sales would have facilitated the purchase of a top striker and right-sided midfielder with pace. That would have improved our team and this is the blueprint we should be following.

What we can't afford is £20M players sat on our bench ? our valuable players need to be on the pitch. Moyes's stubbornness in the summer at refusing to sell left us with an unbalanced squad that hadn't been refreshed in a long time. The results are there for all to see this season.

We don't need to dismantle this squad, we just need to refresh it with some new players ? in the same positions we needed last summer. If we finance that by selling some of our squad that does not make us any more of a selling club than most of this division.
Christine Foster
42   Posted 23/02/2011 at 02:31:22

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David Price et al, I wrote in July last year that we needed to clear out some players (including Yakubu) to buy and sell to start bringing in new players. In December last year, I wrote an article that simply stated we needed to sell deadwood and possibly some of our better players to survive and rebuild.

For both articles, I was roundly condemned at the time but sadly I could see where we were going and the only way forward would be to buy and sell to get the balance and the future right as well as pay our bills.

It's the ONLY way forward currently. Without other income to stave off the commercial reality, it's what we should be doing as a business and what Moyes should be doing as a manager. Whilst he may not like it, he has to work within the commercial constraints on the club.

Ernie Baywood
43   Posted 23/02/2011 at 12:55:38

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I used to understand the idea of holding onto your best players no matter what... then I moved overseas.

What is the point of holding onto your best players (most valuable assets) if the end result is nothing? We built a team, then took a bit of a punt on keeping it together, then found it wasn't good enough. How exactly do people think this team is going to improve into top 4 contenders? Some of the main drivers behind the initial improvement are through their peak now ? they just won't improve any more.

Other sports, in particular Aussie Rules, talk of windows of opportuinty. We've just had one and it amounted to little more than a Cup Final and some Euro days out. To be fair, in the grand scheme of things, that's not bad. For a little while we were in the top 5 or 6 English clubs ? we have no divine right to be there.

Time to look at building towards another window. Young players who will be alongside Fellaini and Rodwell when they hit their peak. While players like Baines are still contributing.

That means selling players over 27 or so. Entertain offers for the rest, keeping a little bit of experience to guide them through.

My guess is that we wouldn't get relegated but, even so, it's a risk worth taking to get the squad into shape. I don't want Everton to blunder along in mid-table and regard it as some sort of success ? I want us to build toward something. And we can't spend our existence praying for new investment. How long do you wait for something before you give up and get on with what you've got?
Ernie Baywood
44   Posted 23/02/2011 at 13:07:41

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Quoting David Price "I'd be amazed if one comment could be found on ToffeeWeb prior to the season starting stating that Arteta, Yakubu and Jags should be sold. "

The OP didn't claim that should have been the tactic in August, but I'll tell you I said it on these boards after only two or three months of the season. Keeping the team together was a punt on our future - if we'd started well then who knows what could have happened? Pienaar might have re-signed? We would have had something worth fighting for. But where we are right now requires a change of tactic, IMO. Hard to think of any other way of getting back up there isn't it?
Ernie Baywood
45   Posted 23/02/2011 at 13:13:36

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James Crolla "we will not get full market value for our players"

That only applies with a single buyer. Multiple buyers makes it a sellers market again.
Brian Waring
46   Posted 23/02/2011 at 14:36:49

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I think some of you lads are missing the point. It's not just a matter of selling players for the sake of it, it's selling them to keep the club afloat.
Dan Brierley
47   Posted 23/02/2011 at 14:51:30

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So Michael, you genuinely believe that people are stealing money from the club? I now understand why you are so vociferous against the current regime. The oldest data I can find is £8.6M for 'others' in 2002, and recently up to £23.7M in 2010.

Spurs had £28M in 'other' in 2010, Man City £34.3M, Arsenal £55M, the list goes on.... So you think its a nationwide conspiracy by all clubs to steal money? Or is not possible that running a football club might've gotten more expensive over the last decade?
Michael Kenrick
48   Posted 23/02/2011 at 15:29:31

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You just gotta love some of our contributors... because if you don't, the absolute shite they invent would drive you mad...

Dan Brierley ? where did I say anything about stealing?

Where did I even use the word "stealing"?

That entire concept, Dan, is straight out of YOUR head, not mine.

Since you seem to be having trouble following the thread here, you clearly and confidently sated that "Every penny is ploughed into the squad we have today." I think that is bullshit, and what is more, it doesn't even jive with what Elstone said (I think it was along the lines of 85p in every £1).

Of course it's become more expensive running the club, talk about stating the obvious, I think it's called inflation. But £1.2M to £23M in 10 years??? I don't think all that can be down to inflation.

And these are the fucking Accounts we are talking about... you know... where you "account" for every penny you spend.

What I want to know is what is covered under this category, and how the hell they get away with placing such a huge portion of the overall budget under an anonymous category of "Other Costs". From an accounting perspective, it's ludicrous.

Nothing about stealing. I await your apology.

James Crolla
49   Posted 23/02/2011 at 15:23:28

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Ernie, I accept your point about multiple interested parties; however, how often now do you see teams fight it out for a signature?

My observation is that clubs work out whether they can be successful in securing a player by reviewing who else is reported to be interested. This seems to happen before any formal bid is made and then the team that is most likely to succeed makes a formal bid, either because of their spending power or because the player had indicated a preference.

This all seems to happen behind the scenes and in meetings between agents.

When was the last time you can remember bidding wars between clubs for high profile players?

It all stinks.
Dan Brierley
50   Posted 23/02/2011 at 15:57:53

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Michael, apologies for misinterpreting the tone of your post. I thought you were suggesting something malicious was going on.
I am not too sure where you live Michael, but it really is not as sinister as you think. The price of running businesses in the UK has increased well above the rate of inflation. Tens of thousands have gone bust in the last ten years because of the sorry state of financial affairs in the UK. Oil prices have also shot through the roof, meaning travel expenses are a huge part of any business now. I don't know what the 'right' amount to spend on others is, but it doesn't seem like we are spending more than other clubs.
Brian Waring
51   Posted 23/02/2011 at 19:23:42

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I wonder if 'Other costs' should read 'Phillip Green'?
Brian Denton
52   Posted 23/02/2011 at 22:52:00

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Dan, I would be exceedingly surprised if the vast increase in 'Other Costs' could be put down solely, or even mostly, to 'inflation'. Neither the Retail Prices Index, nor more relevantly the Business Price Index, has risen by anything like that amount in the period. I would challenge you to give a single business cost that has risen commensurately in this period.

I must confess that I would have expected at least some of that rise to have been disclosed as 'Extraordinary Items' in the accounts. Perhaps one of our professional auditor contributors (do we have any?) can comment.

Dan Brierley
53   Posted 23/02/2011 at 23:48:39

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Brian, I do confess it is just an educated guess as to why these costs have risen based on my own personal view on todays cost of living in the UK compared to 9 years ago. The only yard stick I have is how this figure compares with other clubs, and it seems to be lower which suggests it is being managed well and not a cause for concern.
Roman Sidey
54   Posted 23/02/2011 at 23:46:09

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Ernie Baywood, great point on the Aussie Rules 'window of opportunity'.

The mighty Magpies won last year's Premiership under this exact idea. Over the last six years or so they have cleaned out a lot of high profile players who had either peaked, or were continually injured (any parallels to Everton?), leaving a lot of places in the side up to young players who have had a few seasons to become accustomed.

Fair enough, they had a couple of years at the bottom of the table, a situation that Everton cannot afford like an AFL club with no threat of relegation can. But within a few years of the core side coming together, the Pies had gone from 2nd last, to Minor Premiers and Premiers, ending a 20 year flag drought for one of the most decorated clubs in the country.

The draft system does help, but an free agency system like in the Premier League can work wonders if the club has the balls to start letting players go and bringing a few youngsters through each year.
Leigh Hough
55   Posted 25/02/2011 at 21:13:25

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I think that the point is not "what should be spent in others?" but "what IS being spent in others?" not in terms of ££ but in terms of breaking down what is being spent and seeing what can be cut. Streamline Everton so we run like a business ... At the moment we are not business-like.

Kenwright is not adept enough at running a business. Every year our debt increases. Why? Because every year we take out a new loan to cover the paying back of the old one and don't actually pay it back.

The finances need sorting at Everton, but while some here are calling for us to sell players to strengthen our off the field issues, I think they need to look at what we do.

You sell your best players and are a business selling entertaining football, you will not make any money back. ie. if we sold Fellaini / Rodwell and Heitinga in the summer and brought nobody in, I know that I'd be disheartened and disillusioned. I imagine that a number of other people would be equally upset, and that merchandise, shirt sales and ticket sales would all drastically reduce, therefore meaning that we would go into decline.

Whatever money we bring in MUST be spent on new players, and must be spent wisely. It is difficult, but it is necessary in these frankly depressing times.

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