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Without Risk We Cannot Improve

By Jeff   Adams  ::  07/07/2011   17 Comments (Last) The transfer window has opened once again... To many clubs, this is a time of excitement, an opportunity to rejoice in the signing of players that will strengthen their team and hopefully enable them to compete at a higher level, domestically and/or in Europe.

Evertonians have a different take on the window: a number of us dread the window opening, knowing yet again we will be linked with over 100 players and end up with a freebie from League One. Many are eternally optimistic about the window and feel we will sign players of real quality, ultimately to be disappointed and left feeling angry with the board.

I can sit here and speculate about the board and where our money goes and why we don't have any transfer budget each year... or I can go down the stereotypical "Kenwright Out" route. I'm not going to do either.

With any business, there is an element of risk involved and ? whilst the board seem to be "safety first" regarding our finances, in turn ensuring we have a club here for the foreseeable future without an element of risk ? we cannot improve.

I'm not suggesting we go gung-ho like Leeds did a few years ago as ultimately the city of Leeds almost lost their team, but maybe taking some calculated risks with our finances to enable us to improve a little each season could well ensure European qualification on an annual basis, thus bulking up our finances which would allow us to compete at a higher level each season.

A club of Everton's stature should not be in this position; we shouldn't have to mull over free transfers and go almost 2 years without a first team player purchase. We have a good manager in David Moyes who has had his hands tied for several years; even he will grow tired of this soon and he might well fancy his chances elsewhere which would be a disaster given his ability to work on a shoestring and get the best out of his squad.

The board?s safety-first approach might mean we have our club for longer, but do we want a team playing outside the top flight? That will eventually be our future, and it will be realised sooner rather than later if something does not give.

So, to the board of Everton Football Club, I reiterate:

Without risk we cannot improve.

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Brian Waring
1   Posted 07/07/2011 at 15:22:52

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Jeff:? "A club of Everton's stature should not be in this position." ?What does that mean, Jeff? Because, the way I see it, we're a small club, with a board who have a small-club mentality.
Mark Stone
2   Posted 07/07/2011 at 15:23:35

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One point: outside the six silly spenders, which teams are actually spending money (in net terms)?

Newcastle have signed a couple but only with money they have made from selling their two best players... Are they really building? I actually think they are moving backwards!

Sunderland are the same. They are linked with and buying players that we on here would be moaning about if we were buying them (see posts re: Wes Brown last week), but only using the money they earned from selling Henderson, their brightest young propect. Are they improving? I don't think so ? I think they are going the other way too!

I have been holidaying for most of June so haven't really been following transfer news other than snippets, so I'm not saying that nobody is improving ? I am just saying I don't know who they are ? and can't be chewed trowling the net.

Mark Stone
3   Posted 07/07/2011 at 15:44:03

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Actually, even including the top 6, only Liverpool and City seem to have improved (as of yet)!

Arsenal and Chelsea have both sold and not bought. Man Utd have spent big but only in replacing Scholes and Van der Sar. All Spurs have done (so far) is bring in an ageing keeper on a free.

It's not just us! It's everyone!!!
Ben Jones
4   Posted 07/07/2011 at 16:32:11

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I agree with the central point of the article. A growth and development strategy based around foreseeable and manageable risk could lead to Everton being stronger both on and off the pitch.

It is, however, important to consider how a football club would manage risk. Arguably a football club faces a unique challenge in this regard. The employees of the company must perform two functions in order for the business to succeed. Firstly, they must entertain and serve consumers as in any entertainment or hospitality business. Secondly, and uniquely to sports teams, they must defeat other such teams on the pitch. This involves a higher degree of unforeseeable risk.

This risk can range from simple injuries to arbitrary refereeing decisions. I certainly do not propose that all match results are down to luck. Unquestionably those teams with squads of international stars are better placed to ride out a wave of injuries and those, such as Barcelona, who deny the opposition possession of the ball, create more chances on goal. However in the premier league the margins between those chasing European qualification are so narrow that such factors could have wider consequences. A dropped point here or there can reduce the final league position and thus delay any growth plan. This is then amplified by the success achieved by the competition making progress on to next years targets even more difficult. To risk the future of the club or even the integrity of the squad currently achieving comfortable top half finishes on such margins would be reckless.

It is also necessary to consider the parties who would be undertake the risk. The club would obviously take on the primary risk of any spending however we, as a club, do not have any capital to spend. The club is thus required to borrow and have partners who are wiling to share in the risk. We are all aware lenders are having to hold more capital themselves and becoming more risk averse. It is doubtful that a bank would wish to risk financing a football club that could only offer an aging stadium with a number of prior mortgages as security. Indeed it might be argued that the club was following the approach advocated in the article with the purchasing of Beattie, Johnson, Yak, and the Big Fella until credit became unavailable.

The wider issues of lending do not appear likely to be resolved quickly nor does the club appear to have any way of increasing its ability to borrow. Therefore we return, inevitably, to the decade old question ?How does EFC attract either fresh investment or an obscenely wealthy purchaser who could fund a growth strategy which if not met would not destroy the club??
Ray Roche
5   Posted 07/07/2011 at 17:45:08

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Mark @3

The thing is, Mark, other clubs COULD enter the transfer market if a player they fancied came along. We couldn't.
Andy Crooks
6   Posted 07/07/2011 at 18:26:43

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Exactly, Ray.Mark, let's see how your comment looks on 31st August.
Trevor Lynes
7   Posted 07/07/2011 at 19:07:21

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Perhaps DM does not want to sign players either... maybe he might be expected to win something if he did. As it stands, his job is pretty safe... survival in the Premier League keeps him earning and any new manager would want a transfer budget.

BK is happy with annual mediocrity. The fans however want more as our motto states....

We have not lowered the age of our squad and quite a few are approaching their twilight years and some are becoming injury prone. We lack cover in a lot of positions so where do we go from here??

Mark Stone
8   Posted 07/07/2011 at 19:50:12

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We'll see.
James Martin
9   Posted 07/07/2011 at 20:14:54

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What if Moyes does have a target up his sleeve? There's been bids confirmed by other chairmen that we've bid such and such million for Yanick Djalo and Moyes was scouting Gervinho and other higher price players. There seems to be little point in this unless they actually do have some funds.

I agree Everton need to take a risk but with our finances it has to be a calculated one. We can't bemoan the fact we missed out on Demba Ba, N'Zogbia or Long or whoever (the last two still haven't moved) because if they're not right for Everton then we can't take the chance.

Moyes has said don't believe the target rumours until we hear it from him. What if he's just been vigorously scouring the market making sure we get the right players that will improve Everton for good value rather than just jumping for the first mercenary that's on sale or disclosing our transfer targets so that Redknapp can pick them off? Judge this transfer window when it closes, or much rather after a season or two. If Moyes does buy some unknown Irish winger who turns out to be another Coleman then would anyone be complaining?

Drew O'Neall
10   Posted 07/07/2011 at 22:08:43

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We took our risks and it didn't come off. Now we are leveraged servicing massive debts with our income.

The reason players are being scouted is because it's quite likely up to 4 players will leave over the summer and they will need replacing.
Kevin Freaney
11   Posted 07/07/2011 at 22:24:49

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I can't see us signing anyone decent this window. Maybe a lower league squad player or freebie but nothing to get massively excited about.

Cahill has been tweeting about Yak back at training and maybe Moyes has decided to use him next season and not sell him as he can't afford to bring anyone in up front this window.

It's a sad situation we are in and yes, I'll refrain from going on about Kenwright and the board but I do hold them responsible through their mismanagement of the club. I agree with the article, a certain amount of risk is needed and Kenwright needs to back Moyes on some of his targets. Then Moyes needs to stick his neck out and bring in the right players. Maybe both are scared of the risk and how it will affect their positions... who knows?

But, I for one am kinda tired of this nonsense every summer.
Stuart Gray
12   Posted 08/07/2011 at 13:32:49

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Take a risk? That assumes we are able to take a risk. If we have no money, in fact we have debt, and we can't borrow any more where exactly do these risky funds come from?

I'd love us to pull in some big name players, just like everyone else, but there comes a point where we have to accept that it isn't going to happen and just hope that we unearth someone special.

The other option is to sell out top 5 players and buy 10 more, but would that work?

I for one have changed my opinion of Kenwright. I think I am grateful that he hasn't jumped on the foreign owner bandwagon because most of these "billionnaires" are actually just con-men.

Anyway, I hope that we will somehow pull out a couple of major signings, but if we do it is getting too late already because pre-season has already started.
Neil McKinney
13   Posted 08/07/2011 at 13:48:36

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Ben Jones #4 - Interesting post.
Steve Cotton
14   Posted 08/07/2011 at 15:18:18

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David Vaughan just signed for Sunderland on a free....

Blackpool's Player of the Year and better than Charlie Adam...

Did I mention? On a free........

Plays across the midfield, hardly ever injured and available free..... oh well.
Andy Crooks
15   Posted 08/07/2011 at 20:30:45

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Stuart. Carson Yeung is an example of what you refer to. Like you I don't want a self-serving billionaire. What I would like is a proper chairman. Kenwright isn't. Here's the thing: what's best? A rich conman or a poor one?
Jay Harris
16   Posted 08/07/2011 at 22:15:06

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Andy,
I couldnt have put it better myself.

Noddy and big ears would make a better job of it than Kenwright and Woods.

When will some fans realise we dont need a billionaire. We already have a couple on the board and look at the way they are fucking things up.

We just need a sound business plan and a board who are interested in the club and its future.

After championing Kirkby Kenwright clearly is not the true Blue a few fans think him to be.
Phil Martin
17   Posted 12/07/2011 at 14:48:53

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Drew,

"We took our risks and it didn't come off. Now we are leveraged servicing massive debts with our income."

I agree we have massive debts. But I'm interested to know what risks exactly we've taken to get into this mess? As far as I'm aware we've not spent big, or paid top wages, or 'pushed the boat out' in any way, shape, or form.

In summary. We spent zero on our stadium, absolute minimal player investment. We've sold players and recouped £Ms but not reinvested this in the squad. Yet we're perenially financially crippled.

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