The Slumbering Giant: Part 3 - Treading Water

With lagging commercial revenue relative to our peers, a new stadium is cited by the Board as the key to Everton's longer-term success. Is it the best option, how long dare we wait and what of the ownership issue in the interim?

Lyndon Lloyd 28/04/2015 113comments  |  Jump to last

Football, like sport in general and practically everything else in this complex world we have built for ourselves, for that matter has always been cyclical. Two-plus decades of the Premier League, where the power, the money and the trophies have been pooling around a small band of rich clubs, may speak to the establishment of an unshakeable status quo but change is a constant.

What the consolidation of power in the modern top flight has done, however, is alter the dynamics of that change. Chelsea and Manchester City have both been relegated and promoted back to the top division since the Blues lifted their last League title but, short of something cataclysmic, its hard to see either club ever going down again.

The end of Sir Alex Fergusons reign at Manchester United and the failure of David Moyess succession would, under the old order of things, likely have seen that club go through years of rebuilding and relative under-performance but, like Liverpool FC, they have been able to buy their way back into the Champions League places in fairly short order.

Evertons complacency and then near implosion in the 1990s means that we have essentially missed the boat we helped launch and with the ever-increasing disparity in resources between the new big five and the rest, were still treading water in their wake trying to catch up. However, to torture the metaphor somewhat, the unprecedented influx of broadcast revenue is a rising tide that is lifting all boats in the top flight and where there is opportunity not to mention money and human fallibility there is hope.

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For the time being at least, the gap to the monied elite is sufficiently bridgeable for those clubs that can find the right managerial hire, assemble the right scouting network to find hidden gems for small outlays, push enough genuine talent through their academy, keep wages sufficiently capped to prevent costs spiralling out of control and crucially maximise income from their commercial activities.

As Part I and Part II explored, its a difficult strategy that Everton are still trying to implement and while it could work and nearly did last season its an inherently slow process and this season has had many Evertonians wondering if we had taken too many steps backwards for us to be able to get back to challenging the top four in the short term. The revival of form that were currently enjoying is allowing a little hope to creep back in, but cracking the hegemony of that top five still feels some way off.

Falling behind

That is why so many supporters are looking at the forthcoming transfer window as the opportunity for Roberto Martinez to effect an overhaul of his squad, to clear out the older heads and make way for younger, fitter and hungrier players that can lay a foundation for consistent challenges for Europe.

Past experience and the managers own rhetoric suggest this isnt likely to happen, at least not on the scale many think it should. Due largely to our shortfall on one of the key performance indicators highlighted by Joe Beardwood the other night non-media revenue Martinezs budget is likely to remain constrained. With some of the television money likely to be channeled into reducing some of Evertons debt, it is extra income from commercial activities that should be either the key difference-maker between ourselves and the likes of Stoke, Southampton, Newcastle, Swansea and Aston Villa or the mechanism by which we can specifically rival Tottenham Hotspur as the biggest threat to that big five.

No surprise then that the criticism bubbling up on social media, fan sites, podcasts and the like is centred around the current regimes perceived failings when it comes to Evertons commercial performance. Though the club aspires to at least finish in that best-of-the-rest spot of fifth in the Premier League, both our kit sponsorship and manufacturer deals are ranked firmly mid-table well receive 20m less from our five-year deal with Umbro than Spurs will from Under Armor, while they pull in three times as much per season from AJA as we do under the new deal with Chang. It translated to a 60m difference in turnover in the two clubs respective 2014 accounts, with 43.5m of that from commercial (non-matchday) activities alone.

That may be partly reflective of the socio-economic and geographical advantages that Tottenham enjoy from being in the more attractive market of London and the wealthier catchment area of the south east not to mention a more consistent presence in European competition over the last few years but it underlines the challenge that Everton must face in bridging the gap with more imaginative and lucrative commercial arrangements. The incremental growth in the recently-signed Umbro and Chang deals indicate movement in the right direction but to the regimes biggest critics and those who feel as though the Blues are rapidly falling behind, its not moving fast enough.

Disappointments on the pitch this season, particularly the manner of our exit from the Europa League, has fostered a growing feeling among supporters that from the playing side to the Boardroom, the club as a whole is being held back by a simple lack of conviction needed to push Everton forward through force of will. Sterling efforts on the marketing and PR side are driving engagement, a healthy demand for season tickets and maximising merchandising revenue from the existing fanbase but its on the macro commercial scale, where the real margins are at play, that the club still lags behind its peers.

That speaks both to Bill Kenwrights role as Evertons "custodian" and owner in absentia rather than its entrepreneurial driving force and the apparent lack of an over-arching vision for the club other than an as-yet unrealised proposal to relocate to a new stadium. Indeed, inertia at Boardroom level, where the anonymity of Robert Earl and the opaque nature of Sir Phillip Greens involvement in the club breed scepticism and uneasiness, presents little evidence of the necessary energy being invested to take the club forward.

New stadium a "silver bullet"?

While his pledge to attract either the investment or the buyer that could bring the funds capable of vaulting Everton onto Europes gravy train remains unfulfilled, the Chairman and his Chief Executive Robert Elstone hold true to their belief that relocation is the key to Evertons future. Without a new ground, the Board argue, sustained success will never be achievable. But without sustained success that would grow the clubs profile and boost its attractiveness to corporate sponsorship, matchday hospitality and other key sources of significant revenue, those afore-mentioned socio-economic factors will likely continue to limit the financial benefits of any new stadium. Evertons apparent Catch-22 in a nutshell.

At best, the proposed stadium in Kirkby was projected by former CEO Keith Wyness to bring in an extra 5m to 6m per season small beer now in an environment eight years on where the clubs broadcast revenue alone has mushroomed by 33m per season.

And if Beardwood is correct in his assessment that Everton have limited potential when it comes to earnings from corporate boxes, sponsorships and the like without the global exposure that comes from the Champions League, the clubs reliance on maximising commercial revenue from the existing match-going and merchandise-buying fanbase will surely persist. That, combined with the very open questions of how much a new development would cost and how it would be funded, hugely increases the risks of relocating.

Even if it were the silver bullet that Kenwright paints it out to be, any resolution of the stadium issue remains many years away. In the interim, unless a huge cash infusion from a takeover at the club comes out of the blue, finding a way to push the envelope on the commercial side and breaking into the Champions League remain our best hope of progress in the medium term.

Its a frustrating situation heightened by the passage of 13 years since the proposing of the Kings Dock and the collapse in between of Destination Kirkby. Time that, in retrospect, many feel could have been spent making incremental upgrades to Goodison Park and diverting funds over a period of years towards buying up property around the existing ground.

That strategy is one bearing fruit for our neighbours who, having given up on their own grandiose plans for a new development on Stanley Park, gradually acquired the land necessary to expand the footprint of Anfield and are now in a position to push ahead with construction. With Everton still only in the exploratory phase of a potential development at Walton Hall Park one that, like the two projects before it, may never come to fruition supporters can be forgiven for wondering if we shouldnt start looking at redevelopment ourselves rather than sit around year after year waiting for a mythical white knight with an over-flowing bank account.

Questioning the hierarchy

And the more time that passes, the more restless the fanbase is going to become. Questioning of the Goodison hierarchy on the level undertaken by the Blue Union in the wake of Kirkby has naturally been dampened by the passage of enough water under the bridge since the collapse of the project and progress on the field in the interim. But the unwanted milestone marking 20 years without silverware and stalled progress on the playing side has revived questions over the motives and the plans of the Boards more peripheral figures.

If theyre not using their considerable wealth and connections to fund a new stadium project for Everton or transform the business into a 21st-century operation with a global brand, what exactly are the likes of Earl and perhaps Green still doing in the picture? Having facilitated the ouster of Paul Gregg and then push the Kirkby project, are they merely in place now to prolong Bills tenure, or are they simply waiting around to profit from the clubs eventual sale?

And what of Kenwright himself who told the Blue Union four years ago that he couldnt see himself still in charge at Everton in five years time, all the while providing assurances that he would put his energies into finding a billionnaire to succeed him? His 24/7 search goes on but a takeover at Goodison feels as far off as a new stadium. Whether its in a year or, health permitting, another 20, the Kenwright era will eventually come to an end. But what replaces it?

That, of all things, could be the question that keeps Bill up at night the most. Having achieved the dream of owning the club he has supported since childhood, how do you let go and whom can you trust with your beloved Blues? Only he and those close enough to him might know if that momentous dilemma is what has kept him from selling Everton to this point, but unless he can find the solutions to the problems holding Everton back from truly competing again, something is going to have to give sooner or later.

Part I: Another False Dawn | Part II: Twenty-Year Itch | Part IV Soul Searching

(Cover photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

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Reader Comments (113)

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Kristian Boyce
1 Posted 28/04/2015 at 02:23:32
Another great piece, Lyndon.

After all these years, Robert Earl’s involvement in the club seems slightly bizarre. I can understand his original investment as more of a favour to oust Gregg to aid Kenwright, but why is he still there? First and foremost, he’s a businessman, and – by the way his various companies are doing here in the States – a very good one (he’s also been on TV tons as well the last few months in the US and I even saw his own food show once).

After the Planet Hollywood downfall, he now owns the Earl of Sandwich and Buca Di Beppo’s restaurants as well as keeping the rights to Planet Hollywood (plus he’s the Chairman of the casino in Vegas). All this has made him a very wealthy man.

His 23% of the club was bought for around £8M from Paul Gregg; let’s say the club’s worth £125M, his shares would be worth £28.75M, a cool £20M profit.

As said before, why is he still there? I think most people had the presumption he had a connection to Kirkby move, and was going to make a quick buck by selling after they club moved for a profit. The only reason I can think why he’s still here is he uses the share ownership as his ’party piece’.

He’s been on TV quite a bit recently over here in the States, either on chat shows or on pieces promoting his restaurants. In all the shows, its been highlighted that he’s the ’owner’ of Everton Football Club. Watch the cringe-worthy interview on the Seth Meyers show to prove a point. With the growth of football here and the notoriety of Tim Howard, people are taking notice. Sports team ownership is a big thing here, and for him to say he’s the owner of a Premier League team is a huge vanity bump for him. If they only knew he bought it for £8 million and has put sod all in afterwards.

Mike Price
2 Posted 28/04/2015 at 05:12:38
The overriding fact in our lack of ability to attract a billionaire is our geography. If we were London-based, with our size and history, we’d have been taken over by some serious money.

It’s like the unfairness of the real estate market; if your family bought in London 30 years ago rather than Liverpool, you’d likely be worth millions right now. If we were based in London, we’d be Arsenal.

Man Utd and the RS are special cases unfortunately, and Man City hit the jackpot with the stadium factor.

Unless this FFP actually somehow works, and doesn’t just maintain the status quo, then we are destined to make up the numbers for the foreseeable.

Matt Traynor
3 Posted 28/04/2015 at 05:43:50
A good piece, within a good series so far, Lyndon. The treading water is the key to this – the opportunities missed, particularly with the Kings’ Waterfront project, will haunt the club for a long time, certainly for the rest of our lives.

BK has managed to get away with things purely because he trades on his reputation as a Blue. Be in no doubt he was only ever in it for the money – and personally had he delivered Kings’ Dock, he would’ve been entitled to every million he earned out of it, as our long-term future would’ve been secured, he’d have got his big buyer. But, for whatever reason, that project didn’t materialise, and we’ve had 2nd and 3rd rate proposals ever since. An in-depth, speculation-free appraisal of why that project failed would be of interest to all Blues – but I doubt it can be done.

Speaking of interest... Everton was debt-free when BK et al took over. In the years since (17?), I’d like someone to calculate how much in finance charges/interest payments we’ve seen go out of the club with all of these loans and other "financial instruments" the club has been involved with. Add in to that the shitty commercial deals, and there’s your new stadium / world class squad right there.

It’s no wonder the RS hope he’s around for a long time yet.

Rick Tarleton
4 Posted 28/04/2015 at 06:45:36
If you are right, and I’m damn sure you are, Lyndon, then we have Kenwright, and Earl who see their job as being one of holding the ship steady without putting in any more investment than they need to. They enjoy the prestige that running a Premier League team brings, but they have no further ambition.

Unfortunately I’m not convinced that "Boys Pen Bill" is all that committed to the project of a new stadium. As Matt Traynor says, the lost opportunity that was the King’s Dock stadium is a terrible indictment of Kenwright’s lack of ambition for the club he loves so much.

Walton Hall Park is near enough to Goodison and central enough to be viable; whether the project is pursued with any degree of commitment remains to be seen. I have grave doubts that our beloved chairman is interested in overseeing the building of a new stadium.

Bill will continue waving from the Directors’ Box and that really is the extent of his ambition, I’m afraid.

Lyndon Lloyd
5 Posted 28/04/2015 at 07:04:42
Matt, there are Blues out there who will have better insight over the failure of the Kings Dock but I remember that the goalposts moved a bit as time went on and the cost of our share of the project began to rise prohibitively.

You’d think that the club/BK would have moved heaven and earth to find the money but he would probably say that it was hard enough pulling together the funds to buy out Johnson a few years earlier. £30m back then was an awful lot harder to come by for us than it would be now. And Bill clearly did not fancy Paul Gregg’s reverse-mortgage scheme!

It could have been the making of our club, though. A massive missed opportunity. As you say, nothing as come close since and I genuinely believe Bill was relieved that Kirkby got called in in the end because he’d seen how big a mistake it would have been.

Erik Dols
6 Posted 28/04/2015 at 07:42:40
I really regret the Kings Dock fiasco but if I remember correctly Everton’s contribution rose from £30m to £60m with no guarantee that the contribution wouldn’t rise again, in a time when the club had no money at all.

In current time I would say that £60m still is a steal for that stadium – even if it would rise to £100m for my part. A state-of-the-art mutiple-use stadium in THAT location. I’m no expert but I belief that would pull in far more than just £6m extra a year. I would say that in a season with European football we might be able to pull in £15m extra easily.

I guess we really just didn’t have the money. This was the end of the Walter Smith era, we sold more than we bought at that time. Can you blame Kenwright for this? I don’t know. In hindsight maybe he should have pulled every penny he could get his hands on but we didn’t look like going into Europe regularly at that time, we looked like relegation candidates.

I could see that possible financers at that time saw it as a huge risk. And if you see that we needed to sell Rooney and later Arteta just to keep the banks happy, it might be best that Kenwright didn’t put us into more debt than he already did. I guess that you could blame him for not being rich enough or not being able or willing to find someone else to invest.

Jim Lloyd
7 Posted 28/04/2015 at 08:53:37
Erik. It was £30 million that we were to contribute, if I remember aright, and that money was "ring-fenced" according to BB.

I’m afraid that, by not carrying through with the King’s Dock, we’ve been consigned to the "also rans".

Erik Dols
8 Posted 28/04/2015 at 09:06:29
Jim, I’m searching the web for the £60m but I cannot find it. I know we initially had to bring in £30m but I seem to remember that the figure doubled over time. Could be my mind is playing tricks on me. One thing that I found so far:

"(...) the NET boost to EFC’s coffers would be (so I’m told — but I haven’t seen the projections) in excess of £15M per annum."

In hindsight it seems ridiculous that if the net boost is over £15m a year, the club was unable to find financing for £30m or £60m. Even if it was £60m (for which I am unable to find evidence), a loan for that amount payable in ten years at an interest rate of say 12% would have been a golden deal in the end and add money to the coffers from the first year on. But a sentence in the next paragraph might hold the key.

"(...) providing we manage to stay in the Premiership"

I think a lot of financers weren’t too sure about that part at that time.

Tony Abrahams
9 Posted 28/04/2015 at 09:45:05
Why go on about geography? If the club was really for sale then it would have been sold.
Peter Mills
10 Posted 28/04/2015 at 08:58:49
A very thought-provoking series Lyndon, thank you.

There are many big challenges ahead around commerce, the stadium, where Everton FC aspires to be in the European (and potentially global game). A wise Evertonian used to say to me, "a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single footstep", and winning a trophy would be a very firm and purposeful step. We have seen previously that such a success can have a catalytic effect. This is a clear, achievable target for next season.

Dick Fearon
11 Posted 28/04/2015 at 09:46:33
Lyndon, I sense you are building up to some kind of crescendo in part three. I desperately hope you can find a reason for hope and a glimmer of light at the end what has been in the main a dismal long tunnel.

O Lord! Please let it be.

Jim Lloyd
12 Posted 28/04/2015 at 10:00:37
I agree, Eric. There is a point about financiers but nevertheless, the £30m was supposed to be ring-fenced and I guess that it wasn’t.

Lots of other interesting points about where we are now but I’m off out for a walk (soft ould git!) but will come back later.

Matt Traynor
13 Posted 28/04/2015 at 10:01:59
Erik #8 from memory (former company I used to work for was involved in Kings’ Waterfront) the contribution from Everton increased from £30m to £65m. The guys at my old firm had long given up hope by then. Everton were never in danger of raising the £30m, let alone the £65m.

On my trips back to Liverpool I’ve never had any inclination to go near that site, no matter who or what is on there.

Rick Tarleton
14 Posted 28/04/2015 at 10:43:51
With apologies to Browning:

The Year’s at the spring
And day’s at the morn,
United are beaten three to nil
Naught is wrong, naught is ill
Bill’s at the helm,
Not a sign of a thorn,
Bill’s in his heaven,
All’s right with the world.

Laurie Hartley
15 Posted 28/04/2015 at 10:21:36

I thought I saw the light at the end of the tunnel last year. That was why I was so disappointed when I thought the light had gone out - but Lo! I see a smouldering flax! (Or am I just a hopeless dreamer)

Lyndon this has been a very interesting series of articles - a sort of big picture of what has been going on over the past 20 years.

What bamboozles me is how West Brom can be up for sale for £150M Link
and yet according to Kristian @ 1 our value could be £125M.

Perhaps the board saw the increase in TV income coming and have been holding out till the increased revenue hits the P&L and balance sheet.

Peter@ 10 - was your pal Chinese by any chance?

Peter Mills
16 Posted 28/04/2015 at 11:22:55
Laurie#15, as far as I’m aware my dad didn’t have any oriental blood!
Eugene Ruane
17 Posted 28/04/2015 at 10:12:56
Very interesting stuff and begs all sorts of questions.

First, re "With Everton still only in the exploratory phase of a potential development at Walton Hall Park – one that, like the two projects before it, may never come to fruition – supporters can be forgiven for wondering if we shouldn't start looking at redevelopment ourselves rather than sit around year after year waiting for a mythical white knight with an over-flowing bank account."

Regarding the reluctance to redevelop Goodison, I have never heard the club give a reason. Sure I’ve heard the board say it’s not possible and it’s not feasible, but have never heard a detailed (or any other) explanation as to why it’s not possible and/or feasible.

Surely if it genuinely wasn’t feasible or possible, you would explain exactly why not and then at least, on that issue, we’d all be forced to sing from the same song-sheet (so to speak). To say ’It can’t happen’ without saying why, just invites (more?) suspicion. (nb: and I’m not particularly against a move to WHP).

Secondly, re Spurs – "It translated to a £60m difference in turnover in the two clubs' respective 2014 accounts, with £43.5m of that from commercial (non-matchday) activities alone."

The size of this difference to me is a real disgrace. To a degree, I accept Spurs ’socio-economic and geographical advantages’ and ’more attractive market of London and the wealthier catchment area of the south east’ but they’re hardly Real Madrid.

I lived in London for 20 years and my first address was 88 White Hart lane - undoubtedly the roughest area I’ve ever lived in (I’m sure they have many supporters who have done well and now live in Edmonton, Enfield. Southgate, Finsbury Pk etc, but Tottenham and it’s immediate surrounds is a big very unposh area)

Walton is certainly deprived but Tottenham could definitely give it a run for it’s money. No doubt their tickets are more expensive but we get a couple of thousand more than them on average.

Yes, London is massive; and yes, Tottenham is in London... but it’s also sort of... not (In short, it’s a looooong way from Big Ben and it’s as rough as guts.)

So, for them to be able to generate £60m more than us, without them regularly getting CL, tells me that rather than them being geniuses, our commercial dept are truly hopeless.

Andrew Ellams
18 Posted 28/04/2015 at 11:38:05
Tottenham seem to have the ability to market themselves as the club that they have never been. Is there another club in any major league with only one league title in their entire history that has the media image that they have?

Our commercial people on the other hand have absolutely no idea how to sell off our much more illustrious history. We may not be in London, but never underestimate how people aware people in far flung places are of our City. Somebody just needs to remind them that we live there too.

Chris Feeley
19 Posted 28/04/2015 at 12:32:40
Great article. The safety certificate issue might end up forcing the redevelopment of Goodison as a short term fix (if it ever becomes widespread public knowledge), but it’s a disgrace that a club that’s been in the top flight for the whole of the premiership era is still stuck in a ramshackled stadium that is no longer fit for purpose. Imagine if we are still debating this in another 10, 15, or 20 years time?
Clive Rogers
20 Posted 28/04/2015 at 13:16:53
Build a new stadium. I wouldn't trust this board to put a shed up. They even made a complete hash of a superstore on the car park!!!
Kevin Tully
21 Posted 28/04/2015 at 13:50:16
When it comes to the club recruitment policy, I believe they are extremely reluctant to employ any 'outsiders' because we are just happy to plod along.

What is the answer to our poor commercial performance? Simple, bring in a team of experts who specialise in growing this type of revenue stream. So, why haven't we done just that? On one hand, we are tied to Kitbag, on the other, there is no appetite for growth from our board. I posted a piece a while back about the club purchasing The Winslow, and turning that into a full hospitality suite. Instead, we are bringing people in from the City centre, after paying the Hilton, or Titanic Hotel for the privilege.

People tend to forget, Bill is also a full-time producer, so after Robert Elstone - who else is driving the club forward?

We are just not set up to take advantage of the riches the Premier League has to offer, the structure is not in place I'm afraid. You only have to look at the Chang sponsorship deal, are you telling me there isn't a business out there offering more lucrative terms? Of course there is, but as usual, there is absolutely no will to even look for a new sponsor. That tells you all you need to know about our outlook as a club.

Chris Regan
22 Posted 28/04/2015 at 14:19:19
Eugene Ruane #17 regarding the club not giving a reason for not redeveloping the ground. In the past I recollect BK saying that the primary school near the ground and church on the corner have been unavailable for purchase. Furthermore, we don't own the land at the back of the Park End. Then I'm sure most remember the proposed develment announced there 2-3 seasons ago.
Helen Mallon
25 Posted 28/04/2015 at 14:27:22
We need to start advertising Everton around the world but especially in the UK. Adverts with players and celebs who support us would be fantastic. Why do we not see adverts on tv plugging the Everton way is it against the law or something?

By the way what is the size of Everton's debt. Oh and why are we tied to the kit bag deal, contracts can be broken can't they?

Ian Smitham
29 Posted 28/04/2015 at 14:54:40
Lyndon, superb and very thought provoking. Additionally, excellent contributions IMHO from many as the thread unfolds.

There is, coincidentally an article in "The Times" today around pretty well this subject.

In the recent Matchday programme it showed the Main stand being built in tandem with the demolition of its predecessor, which makes me wonder why I have seen articles saying how much revenue would be lost if a whole stand had to be closed.

I am aware that until, at least recently, and I am not as up to date on these things as I was, the club do own the area behind the Park stand but it is Mortgaged and the Mortgagors wanted to increase the interest rate they charge for granting Everton the right to develop the site. Bit like on your home mortgage, if you want to take in a tenant you have to get the Lenders' OK.

Like Eugene, I have no real preferences around WHP, but anyone can see that Goodison is not fit for the present day.

Again, great Article and really good constructive discussions.
Cheers, Ian

Andrew Ellams
30 Posted 28/04/2015 at 15:05:43
Helen, do you see Ed 'Stewpot' Stewart and Claire Sweeney attracting much interest in Malaysia?

It's a tough world but we the only way to take a significant forward step off the pitch is to do it on the pitch. Catch 22 really

Eric Myles
31 Posted 28/04/2015 at 14:52:42
Chris #22, we do own the land at the back of the Park End, just that due to it being part of the security on a loan, i.e. part of GP, we couldn't sell it to the proposed developer.

Helen, contracts can be broken but there will be a penalty to do so.

Our total debt is around 95mn.

Chris Regan
32 Posted 28/04/2015 at 15:24:39
Eric #31, thanks for clearing that up, I was under the impression we had flogged the land. Surely then if we can lower the debts we could increase capacity and redevelop the parkend. Then subsequent stands.
Patrick Murphy
33 Posted 28/04/2015 at 15:25:11
Eric - £95m who do we owe that to and for what? I thought we hovered around the £50-60m mark but going towards £100m seems excessive to me.
Eric Myles
34 Posted 28/04/2015 at 15:38:23
Patrick, you may be thinking of net debt.The accounts just say 'creditors', they may be detailed in the blurb accompanying the accounts but I don't bother wading through 80 odd pages of BS.

Chris, they did try to sell the Park End to the developer on a lease back basis (same as Finch Farm) but it was already tied up in securitisation.

Patrick Murphy
35 Posted 28/04/2015 at 16:12:26
Fair enough Eric, like you I haven't the time or inclination to study the accounts in detail. However that works out at circa £6m debt accrued for every year of Bill's tenure, it's a good job the TV money is around to keep us going isn't it.
Denis Richardson
36 Posted 28/04/2015 at 16:03:58
Another great piece Lyndon - thanks for investing the time. Just a couple of comments from me to add.

1) I disagree that Everton's potential from commercial revenues is limited by not being in the CL. Whilst that would provide a massive boost it doesn't explain why other clubs (who have also not been in the CL) have higher commercial revenues than us. E.g. Aston Villa, West Ham, Newcastle and Sunderland(!). None of these clubs are remotely near the 'top 5' and a couple were in the championship not too long ago. Some may have the 'London effect' but Sunderland is a shithole (no disrespect to people living there..)

2) Despite being posed the question numerous times, the club has yet to explain why a phased redevelopment of Goodison Park is not possible. The only answer I have ever seen/heard from them is that it was not feasible - without any further details being given as to why. However, independent architects have said it is possible and even came up with an example of how it could be done. If the boards' opinion is that the stadium issue is what is really holding the club back then why has a phased redevelopment of GP not been considered? This would not require a massive outlay from day one, could be funded over 3-5 years by current TV money and would solve the issue whilst keeping the club in the city. It seems however that the only option being looked at is something involving some kind of retail theme.

People say Goodison park wouldn't fill up the corporate boxes in a new stadium - I disagree. There is huge demand for the product and if much lesser clubs are generating significant revenue from corporate and commercial activities, then so can/should we.

3) We will not be able to match the 150-200k/week wages the 'big' clubs pay but at a top 75k/week we still have some of the highest wages outside the 'big 5'. A decent manager, coupled with a first class accademy and scouting network would lead to a first class team on the pitch. If the likes of Klopp/Dortmund can sign a Kagawa for 350k (before selling him for 17m!), why can't we?

In the past decade our whole academy has produced just 2 decent players (Rodwell and Barkley). That is a pretty poor return - 2 in ten years! The decade before gave us; Rooney, Hibbert, Osman, Jeffers, Ball, Dunne and a few more I can't remember. Today we only have 2 regular first teamers who came through the youth (one is 33). Moyes' 11 years saw very few players come through the academy and he seemed to have a preference for experienced players - Martinez has made the right noises so far but it's too soon to see if it's just chat. We hope the likes of Browning, Ledson and Green will make it in time.

I've said on another thread that Everton's priority should not be focused on the CL. We ARE a big club but one that has not won anything for 20 years! We should be focusing on winning trophies and sending the fans to Wembley - that way we would automatically reach Europe anyway whilst increasing the profile of the club. In 18 months' time the CL places in England will likley go down to 3 so the hunt for the CL will be a waste of time as we will not finish in the top 3 anytime soon.

Give me 14th place and the FA cup or League Cup rather than 5th and nothing, any day. If we are playing well there is no reason for the cups to suffer at the expense of the league - its not as it they are that many games extra to play.

Chris Regan
37 Posted 28/04/2015 at 16:57:53
Eric, that clears a lot up for me, however, it doesn't lessen the embarrassment I felt when Everton had to bin the project.

I spent over a decade as a marketing manager and hold a Masters degree in marketing can whole heartedly tell everyone on this site that the commercial position of the club doesn't do anything to leverage Everton's brand or reputation. Lots goes on but little seems to leverage our support base or drive the club forward. That being said we need to push ourselves fwd by targeting the domestic cups.

There's a phrase in business 'Managing expectations' and I often feel the board does little to raise them for fear of failure and criticism.

Eugene Ruane
38 Posted 28/04/2015 at 16:37:09
Chris, it seems (according to Eric) we do own the land but even if we didn't, as I said, I've never heard the club come out with a detailed explanation as to why redeveloping Goodison is a non-starter.

Sure the school could be a problem (on that side of the ground) and there appears to be no give at the St End but have they genuinely looked into it?

If they have, why on earth wouldn't they say something along the lines..

"Redeveloping Goodison Park, is unworkable, unfeasible and impossible for the following reasons..." and then a list of reasons (nb: a list offering transparency and one that makes sense).

If that (or any similar) statement has been issued or printed in any paper, I sure haven't seen it.

I might add that though some problems are insurmountable, others can surely (if there's the will and you employ experts) be solved.

The attitude from our board to the redevelopment of Goodison reminds me of a teenager being asked to tidy his room, a kind of "Oh do I HAVE to!?" or "I'll do it later!"

Many have suggested that the problem boils down to 'our' amateurishness and I absolutely believe this to be the case - tasks that require costly experts and professionals are left to amateurs, and as long as that's the case, regarding every aspect of the 'running' the club (ground, marketing, business, the lot) things are destined to remain second-rate.

Denis Richardson
39 Posted 28/04/2015 at 17:37:33
Sorry hadn't read the posts before, sorry for the repetition.

Eugene - you're right re the development. The club have said many times its a non starter but have yet to give any general or detailed explanation as to why. The massive TV money would give a decent amount to start, one side of the stadium at a time, over a few years.

We wait and see/hope as usual.

Bobby Thomas
40 Posted 28/04/2015 at 17:27:03

I think Evertons official position is the site/footprint is too small & that only an approx 32k stadium could be constructed, according to the architects employed by the club.

Other plans say this isn't the case.

Absolutely no point in thinking about Goodison being redeveloped.

That requires spending money.

Bobby Thomas
41 Posted 28/04/2015 at 17:41:32
Regarding Kings Dock funding, Im sure I've read a quote from Arthur Abercromby (ex Everton director resigned approx 2004), saying that Kenwright approached him for help very late in the day.

Going on memory here, but Abercromby said he felt he would have stood a good chance of getting people together to significantly help with the funding package, but it was much too late.

Internet digging beckons....

Mike Oates
42 Posted 28/04/2015 at 17:39:37
My golfing partner down here is South East works for company who manage Corporate Hospitality for a major Investment Company based in London servicing clients with assets of multi-millions, and their working minions, particularly overseas clients. The league for venues to be visited goes something like this - Wimbledon, Emirates, Old Trafford, Lords, St Andrews, Twickenham and just maybe Liverpool for some Asians.
The likes of Chelsea, City, Spurs, etc don't get a look in and Everton will never unless they win the Premier League and CL a couple of times in short period of time. We are like many clubs are a non Corporate friendly club and whilst at Goodison a complete non-starter.
Forget your history, we are not marketable, we are in the wrong place .
Eugene Ruane
43 Posted 28/04/2015 at 17:46:29
Bobby - "I think Evertons official position is the site/footprint is too small & that only an approx 32k stadium could be constructed, according to the architects employed by the club"

You might well be right, but an 'I think' from you (or me or anyone else) isn't what's needed.

Also, I mentioned transparency - which architects and when?

I wonder if anyone remembers (a good few years back) a supporters group commissioning architects to come up with a plan?

I'm not going to say 'Coz I do and it could be done on the current footprint and increase attendances and corporate boxes' (coz my memory is shot) but I'd love to see it again because I remember it being quite detailed and appearing to work.

What I do remember is there was little or no response from the club.

Ray Said
44 Posted 28/04/2015 at 17:58:39
Chris (22) in 2008 the then leader of the council stated that the school could be acquired and rebuilt on a new site,cntnt01,detail,0&cntnt01articleid=129&cntnt01returnid=85
Ray Said
45 Posted 28/04/2015 at 18:14:19
Bobby - "I think Evertons official position is the site/footprint is too small & that only an approx 32k stadium could be constructed, according to the architects employed by the club"
Someone should have told them there is a 37k stadium already on site?
Ray Said
46 Posted 28/04/2015 at 18:21:01
Eugene (43) these are the links to the plans on KEIOC-i think Tom Hughes drew them up but may be wrong on that

Richard Reeves
47 Posted 28/04/2015 at 17:14:46
St James Park is the blueprint for the expansion of Goodison. They've built two stands with only one corner filled. We should be doing the same starting with a rebuild of the Park End, wrapping round to the corner of Gwladys/Bullens, but stopping before the corner as they've done at St James Park.

I don't believe the house owners couldn't of been bought out or the school relocated but more a case of greedy people waiting for a handout, so on that assumption and with the hope that one day justice will prevail I'd like a big fuck off stand please. Three- tiered with a row of corporate boxes separating each tier, as steep, high and close to the pitch as possible and built in a way to trap sound.

As others have suggested, I think it's about time the board give reasons as to why a redevelopment can't be done and there needs to be more pressure for them to answer. We can't let another ten years pass and be in the same situation especially with all this money being handed out for the tv rights.

If this club was run by the fans we would be taking advantage of this money and building for the future by purchasing land and building one stand at a time but that just isn't going to happen under the current board.

Chris Regan
48 Posted 28/04/2015 at 18:26:10
Ray, I never heard that, but I do recollect hearing the school was not for sale due to Protesting parents etc.

Thanks for this info

Ray Said
49 Posted 28/04/2015 at 18:30:10
Cheers Chris
i also think I recall Joe Anderson saying the lease on the car/lorry place on the Bullens could also be acquired but I have not been able to find the link to verify my recollection.
Patrick Murphy
50 Posted 28/04/2015 at 18:38:42
This is probably the same information given earlier by Ray, it has a link to detailed analysis of what could be done on the present site.
ToffeeWeb Tom Hughes
Eugene Ruane
51 Posted 28/04/2015 at 18:45:04
Thanks for that Ray and Pat, yes the pdf is what I remember.

Also a google-search brought up the name 'Trevor Skempton', a blue and an (another?) architect who devised several ways that we could regenerate Goodison giving us attendances from 47,000 to 80,000.

Also a bit of quick research shows the St End houses could be bought for relatively little.

Usually selling for around between £40-60k, even if you paid everyone (38 houses) double, it wouldn't cost £4m.

I'm not suggesting this a solution, but looking at the plans above, it seems clear the ideas of supporters (some obviously experts and professionals) are simply ignored or dismissed by our board of amateurs.

Bill Gall
52 Posted 28/04/2015 at 18:13:33
Lots of interesting quotes and theories but the major problem has been at Everton since the premier league was first discussed.

Every successful business starts from the top. The chairman and the board are responsible for the overall planning and financing for the yearly, and most importantly for any business plan, for the ''future'. Their next major priority is to hire (a) a competent manager to run the playing side of the club and (b) a run the general and commercial side of the club.

It seems to me and is a fairly general opinion that Everton suffer from lack of dynamic leadership from the top coupled with lack of interest from certain board members and to me this is the major problem at the club.

The 2 problems to me that stand out are the lack of future planning and the inability to provide substantial income from the commercial markets.

In regards to re developing Goodison Park . I have been at a couple of major worldwide mining companies and on major re developments or new mines opening there is no such thing as it can not be done. The only questions that come up are is it financially viable to do it and how long will it last. Modern engineering and methods would be able to come up with a plan for re developing Goodison and I agree with Eugene. All it would take is for the club to issue a statement "Why it is not possible to re develop Goodison Park " and everyone will be happy with that.

Patrick Murphy
53 Posted 28/04/2015 at 19:04:55
Bill Kenwright told the Telegraph in December 2007 that 'The team we've brought in to look at these other schemes know what they're doing. You would think we'd brought in Desperate Dan the way people are talking. Kenwright insists he does not want Everton to leave their present stadium but says that redevelopment would cost double the figure of the new ground in Kirkby.

Desperate Dan

Eddie Dunn
54 Posted 28/04/2015 at 18:47:25
Surely part of the problem is the amateurish way the club is run, as others have said.
If we employed a PR firm to get us in the media more, and get the message over about our history. heritage etc, then our profile would increase.
I don't know if we already do this, but it ia one way to even things up with the Spurs of this world, basking in the London- centric media.

Also, although I have no love for the occupants of corpulent boxes, i'm sure that if we had more in a re-developed Goodison, we would fill them, given the huge catchment area.
Imagine Mersey prawn sandwiches.

Ray Said
55 Posted 28/04/2015 at 19:09:15
this is the link to Trevor's page. Very well respected in his field as is Tom Hughes.
These are the sort of people whose ideas and hard work in their own time are dismissed out of hand by the board-shameful
Patrick Murphy
56 Posted 28/04/2015 at 19:11:28
If we did move, would Goodison Park then belong to the banks we owe money to? Therefore having much of our debt written off in the process, so that we could borrow new money to aid with the new build, whilst the banks get a piece of real estate that could be very profitable if it married up with the Anfield Quarter to be used as hotels etc.

Somebody's going to make a killing along the line and you can bet your bottom dollar it won't be Everton FC.

Ray Said
57 Posted 28/04/2015 at 19:15:39
Bill Gall (52) I totally agree, there is no thing as can't be done. You decide what you want then see what it will cost and decide if you can pay the price and that is the sticking point – the price. The board want someone – anyone – else to pay for it for them.

With the right will (and the will to invest), the club could ask for the road around the Park End to be moved 70 yards into the park. It would cost but not huge sums, thus freeing up huge space for development.
They could build a 25k-seater 'Blue Wall' stand in the Park End.

They could acquire the lorry/car place on the Bullens Road, support the council to relocate the school and expand that stand into a 25k-seater. It needs vision – sadly lacking in this mob.

Dick Fearon
58 Posted 28/04/2015 at 19:16:03
I look on WHP as a decoy to avoid the bleeding obvious of building on Stanley Park. The other mob had permission from relevant authorities to do so and the city council was calling on them to make a start.

As for WHP, after all due process is gone through, I expect to see Bill sadly wriggle out of it. I have raised this issue several times on these pages and have yet had any kind of response.

Chris Regan
59 Posted 28/04/2015 at 19:35:31
Ray, from everything you have said and my knowledge of the surrounding area, redeveloping Goodison should be viable. It just seems the board's looking for a new slate or that perhaps bringing all these separate issues together (school, church, land) quickly complicates the whole process of developing the stadium.
Eugene Ruane
60 Posted 28/04/2015 at 19:48:22
Chris - "It just seems the boards are looking for a new slate or that perhaps bringing all these separate issues together (school, church, land) quickly complicates the whole process of developing the stadium"

Possibly, but I have a feeling it'd be equally complicated trying to secure land and build a 50,000 seater stadium (plus corporate boxes) with a biscuit tin full of slummy.

Having a word Dynamo seems more realistic option than expecting these puddins to make anything happen.

Richard Reeves
61 Posted 28/04/2015 at 19:47:43
Chris (#59),

I’m not doubting that Kenwright used the Church as one of the issues to deflect interest in the question of redevelopment but it doesn’t sit in a position that hinders a rebuild of the Gwladys Street End, it’s land behind that is required.

I’m no architect but I can get a good understanding of how much space is required by looking on Google maps and taking a look at what is being proposed over the Park. If you look at their design and measure the distance left between the stand and the nearest house (and that is them taking the shadow created into account) then were looking at about half the properties from the two streets adjoining Bullens road and relocating the school. This would be enough to build as I’ve said above, a big enough stand for The Park End and Bullens Road without needing to change the structure of the Gwladys End but upgrading it or doing whatever work is required so it meets safety standards.

Ray Said
62 Posted 28/04/2015 at 20:31:23
The boards 'strategy' amounts to a picture of two fellers with a shovel pointing at some grass and saying "let's wish really, really hard and maybe someone will build us a new ground here."
Peter McHugh
63 Posted 28/04/2015 at 20:29:12
Buying the school site would be easy. The council needs to raise revenue and would be made up to sell. They would get best price by a mile and relocate.

The option of forcing or CPO land or school doesn't sit ethically right to me BUT that's not the reason the club have said – they just say not possible.

Chris Regan
64 Posted 28/04/2015 at 20:35:05
Eugene, you may be right. I know we don't give the board much credit but they must surely have gone into detail when costing options for the ground or any new ground.

Anyway, Everton will be at Goodson for the foreseeable future.

Ray Said
65 Posted 28/04/2015 at 20:45:46
Peter (63), like you, I am opposed to CPO of private property including peoples homes. The school is different as the council have offered to rebuild a better school on on a better site. The car/lorry place is leased so the club could make a fair offer to the owner of the site. Any houses could be bought by private sale by the club-although I think the plans put forward for development of the ground require the homes by the street end to be bought.
Ray Said
66 Posted 28/04/2015 at 20:51:56

In post 65 I meant to say "although I DON'T think the plans put forward for development of the ground require the homes by the street end to be bought."

Eugene Ruane
67 Posted 28/04/2015 at 20:48:24
Chris - "but they must surely have gone into detail when costing options for the ground or any new ground."

Have to disagree, I personally don't believe there's ever a time 'surely' can be applied to our chairman our board.

They have proved nothing to me other than they are rank amateurs and not to be believed.

I base this not on dislike for the sake of dislike or 'in my opinion', it is based entirely on an actual list of fuck-ups and lies they have been responsible for, over the years.

I've no doubt 'but surely' was said many times over DK.

Andy Crooks
68 Posted 28/04/2015 at 21:10:46
I have always liked the idea of redeveloping Goodison Park, however, I would feel very uneasy about using CPOs to help us become part of the Sky Premier League obscene monster. Yet, I want us to as well.

Would the development of Goodison Park not be a drawback to a potential buyer? Who wants to spend a fortune to spend years on a building site?

I know this is probably dreamlike, but could GP be developed slowly, painlessly, and relatively cheaply with a fans trust or something like that? Yes... I know, vague, is my middle name.

Chris Regan
69 Posted 28/04/2015 at 21:17:33
Eugene, I don't disagree with you but when money is at stake our board seem to go for the cheapest option. Having never put their hands in their pockets, where the clubs concerned (squad investment) I personally believe they have had some sort appraisal/costing done and decided to look for a new home for the club.

Getting a surveyor in and preliminary talks with an architect can't be too much to expect. After all it would be the club not the board paying for such services.

Chris Regan
70 Posted 28/04/2015 at 21:24:59
Then again... the list of fuck-ups is long.
Eugene Ruane
71 Posted 28/04/2015 at 21:08:42
As a 'slumbering giants' aside (or if you prefer, slumbering overspending, underperforming, self-aggrandising shit-houses aside) it was pointed out to me earlier that it was 25 years ago today that the spawn of Beelzebub won their last title.

A strange thought for someone my age (55) as when I was in my teens and 20s, they seemed to win it every bleeding year (and it seemed they would be winning it every year until I died). Souness knocking the 'famous boot room' down and trying to 'go all modern like' was truly a wonderful thing and they've never really been the same since.

Oh and they just got beat by Hull. Up the Toffees!

Andy Crooks
72 Posted 28/04/2015 at 21:43:19
It is often said, by me anyway, that Liverpool supporters would not tolerate what we do. I take it back. If Roberto Martinez had squandered the fortune that the gormless Rogers has, I would expect Evertonians to be, well, a bit cross.
Jim Lloyd
73 Posted 28/04/2015 at 21:24:20
First off though, about our club treading water. That's just spot on and it's been accelerating since Heysal. As soon as English clubs were banned from European competition, thanks to that bloody Harpie Margaret Thatcher, our club started losing ground.

First of all the Manager went, then some of the best players and they weren't replaced with the best, either manager or players (sorry Colin Harvey, no disrespect to a great player but didn't quite keep us up at the top.)

It seems to me that the Board then, weren't particularly interested in keeping us at the top because they saw no point in doing so. I can remember Howard Kendall in his second spell going for a player from Man U. Can't remember his bloody name now (dearie me!)

Anyway, we sold Peter Beardsley to partially fund the transfer and then the Board reneged. The Player then went to Aston Villa and did a brilliant job for them as Centre Forward then Centre Half. I think Howard resigned over the issue. Then we went further and further into a no mans land with just the brief glory of the FA Cup in 95. Our Club was instrumental in bringing about the Premier League. We were supposed to be one of the "Big Five" but I think our place at the table was more to do with our history rather than what investment we were prepared to put in to stay as an equal competitor to Arsenal, Man U, Spurs and "the other lot"

And so it went on until we were saved from relegation, twice, on the last game of the season.

Non of that history is likely to have sponsors drooling at the mouth in anticipation of EFC coming along and saying "Hitch your wagon to our star Bud!"

We've done a decent job during Moyes tenure and we've had a great season and an "interesting" season with Roberto.

Well then, I think that unless we get Goodison redeveloped or (if you are prepared to believe that this board actually mean what they say about a new ground in WHP...and can back their words with action, then we're in the vice like grip of financial constraints that will make it almost impossible to compete with clubs who are spending a hundred million or more each Summer.

My view is that Kenwright and Earl with probably Green in the background, are still looking for the "Big Payday" by having commercial partners form a sort of retail/sports complex only in Liverpool not in Kirkby.

I think then, the'd look to sell the club with a whacking big load of mazuma each.

If this recent history had happened to the club over the park, then the board would have been run out of town.

Looking as realistically as I can; to me the sensible way forward would be to redevelop GP like the other mob have done with their ground...incrementally. But I'm not holding my breath.

Mike Corcoran
74 Posted 28/04/2015 at 22:03:24
Meanwhile, the reds slug it out for fifth after all the wayward expenditure while we look a good bet for 8th... and still no one's interested in buying. Bizarre.
Jim Lloyd
75 Posted 28/04/2015 at 22:35:26
Yep. But they can spend another £100m or more, this Summer and still they're the media darlings and have Sponsors queuing up to give them more money.

To a degree, they're living on their history... and we're starving on ours.

Bill Gall
76 Posted 28/04/2015 at 22:48:15
Jim Lloyd # 73.

I cant remember the manager but was it Dion Dublin they tried to sign and were refused the money and he went on to score pretty consistently for whoever bought him and then moved to center half near the end of his career. I might be wrong but I believe it was Joe Royle.

Patrick Murphy
77 Posted 28/04/2015 at 23:02:00
Bill - I'm pretty sure it was HK in his second spell who wanted to buy Dion Dublin from Man U for circa £1m. Joe Royle I think wanted Tore Andre Flo or somebody similar but couldn't raise the funds.
Bobby Thomas
78 Posted 28/04/2015 at 23:07:40
Eugene #43

It is the club's position.

Jim Lloyd
79 Posted 28/04/2015 at 23:18:16
Yes Bill, Dion. You're right Patrick. Dion Dublin I couldn't remember his name but he was wanted by Howard who had to flog Peter to raise some funds, then the Board decided not to back Howard, who then resigned.

He was a cracking player for a decade or so

Bill Gall
80 Posted 28/04/2015 at 23:30:02
Thank you, Patrick. My memory is starting to get a little hazy at times as I am 75 this year. I started supporting Everton in 1952 after playing on Goodison Park for the school and changing in the home teams dressing room. As they say, time flies when your having fun but I can't say I have had much fun this season.
Bobby Thomas
81 Posted 28/04/2015 at 23:09:02
2007 AGM minutes from this site, also on the KEIOC site:

Everton are trying to push Kirky, wheel out a fella from Saville stadium consultants to say redevelopment can't be done & the Loop proposal was a non starter.

Trevor Skempton speaks as well.

Patrick Murphy
82 Posted 28/04/2015 at 23:34:47
My memory isn't what it used to be either Bill, but you deserve a medal for sticking with the Blues for so long.

This season has been a real disappointment for most of us, there is of course always the next one and if the team can replicate the sort of attitude that we saw on display on Sunday and add the right players in the summer who knows? Aim for the title Roberto and if we fall short we will be happy with a top 4 spot, unlikely perhaps but we have to believe that one season everything will fall into place for us.

Eric Myles
83 Posted 29/04/2015 at 01:32:43
Denis #36 "In 18 months' time the CL places in England will likely go down to three so the hunt for the CL will be a waste of time as we will not finish in the top three anytime soon."

Exactly!! There's 6 teams that are trying to buy their way into the CL places and 3 of them are not going to make it, let's see how long they can keep throwing money down the well. I suspect it won't bother Chelsea and City, possibly United, but the others will struggle.

Eric Myles
84 Posted 29/04/2015 at 02:11:17
Patrick #53 "Kenwright insists he does not want Everton to leave their present stadium but says that redevelopment would cost double the figure of the new ground in Kirkby."

What he really means is that nobody will give him 'free' money to redevelop so the board will have to put their hands in their own pockets, but with a new stadium they can get grants and enabling partners so that it's "effectively free".

That Park End Plaza was going to be a 4 storey building with conference facilities, corporate facilities, museum, offices, restaurants, shops, etc. for £9mn. That would require a high level of interior finishings, lighting, services etc. which a new stand would not. OK it would still require corporate facilities and offices if done right so a ballpark figure of £15 mill should be enough to redevelop the Park End stand. Surely we can spare that from the increased TV money (effectively free money!) without the board having to spend a penny of their own money? Even £20mn to increase capacity and corporate revenue?

Bill Gall
85 Posted 29/04/2015 at 03:30:49

Joe Royle wanted to sign Tore Andre Flo and another Norwegian player Claus Eftevaag but was refused the funds by P Johnson and after that he resigned. Flo then signed for Chelsea and we know what his form was like there.

My memory has not got better — I had to look it up.

Matt Traynor
86 Posted 29/04/2015 at 03:46:55
Bill (#85), I'm sure your memory will recall that Dion Dublin (combined with Nick Barmby) almost sent us down on the last day in 2008 when he equalised Gareth Farrelly's goal to give us just a point at home against Coventry. Fortunately results elsewhere saw us safe that year.
David Ellis
87 Posted 29/04/2015 at 04:28:57
Matt - your memory is losing entire decades mate. That Coventry game was in 1998 not 2008!
Matt Traynor
88 Posted 29/04/2015 at 05:52:31
David #87. Oops. In my defence it was 5am and I'd not had my coffee fix! I was at that game as well.
Christopher Kelly
89 Posted 29/04/2015 at 06:30:29
God bless the locals for never taking this con man to task!

13 years not enough time to figure out what's going on?

Tony I'Anson
90 Posted 29/04/2015 at 07:26:26
I recall having a conversation with Trevor Skempton at the end of a season a few years ago (outside the Dark House) where he told me the story of how the Council were going to demolish the Albert Dock in the 1980s.

Anything is doable from a construction point of view, but the other main factor (cost of finance) is probably why the Club say a renovation is not doable.

Jim Lloyd
91 Posted 29/04/2015 at 08:26:41
Bloody Nora Matt, I’d forgot about Dion Dublin making us sweat even more! Wasn’t it Bolton who went down instead of us on that day? If I’m wrong on that one, I can’t blame getting up early and I was at the match as well... I think!

Anyway! Erik (#84) makes interesting points regarding the Park End proposed development and then the subsequent view of the club regarding the cost of developing the ground. That development seemed odd to me. To spend around £10 million on offices etc, when the Club had made statements to say their only option was to build a new ground, seems a waste of money. and effectively would stop us increasing the crowd capacity at the Park End.

My view is that we could have started (and still could start) developing the Park End and then the rest of the ground; but I agree with Erik, that plan of action doesn’t suit the Board’s vision of a Brand New Ground... paid for by someone else.

Neil Munnelly
92 Posted 29/04/2015 at 08:32:28
Good stuff, but I do have one issue; "the club's reliance on maximising commercial revenue from match-day and merchandise-buying fan base" just isn’t true. I have lived outside of Liverpool for the last 20 years, and you simply CANNOT buy Everton merchandise in sports stores. Everton kits are nowhere to be seen, let alone anything emblazoned with the motto... nothing and nowhere.

Spurs, Chelsea, United, the Shite, Arsenal, even the likes of Aston Villa and West Ham have all been spotted over the years, yet our stuff only appears to be available on-line or in selected outlets. That in no way helps to raise our revenue or our profile and, in this day and age, is a disgrace.

Jim Lloyd
93 Posted 29/04/2015 at 09:14:05
You’ve hit on a topic that we’ll all agree with Neil. I don’t know where that sentence came from but our commercial activities are woeful and have been for years... decades!
Patrick Murphy
94 Posted 29/04/2015 at 09:42:58
Neil and Jim,

I think what Lyndon meant was that the club only ’sell’ merchandise to the match-going fans and fail to grow their revenues by catering to the fans who don’t or can’t attend Goodison regularly. In other words, they are only prepared to preach to the converted and fail to attract new ’customers’ outside of that group.

It’s the easiest and cheapest option which appears to be the mantra of the club in recent decades.

Neil Munnelly
95 Posted 29/04/2015 at 09:57:57
Patrick, you could be right, maybe that’s what Lyndon was getting at, but either way, it’s completely unacceptable and self-defeating way to go about running any business.

I currently live in Ireland, and there are a surprisingly high amount of blues over here, but ALL of them had to buy their shirts/whatever online or in the club shops, as opposed to the myriad of idiots who can stroll into any sports shop and pick up whatever shirt they fancy wearing this week... Poor vision from the commercial department.

Jim Lloyd
96 Posted 29/04/2015 at 09:51:24
I agree with Lyndon, Patrick. In fact it would be hard to find anyone who disagrees. The club is amateur but not in the Corinthian sense but in the Commercial sense.

Just one small example. The Beatles museum in the Albert Dock, is now linked to LFC because they have set up an arrangement that the Tour of the City bus ride now incorporates a trip round their ground.

So, in the minds of people who come to the city and take the bus, the Beatles story and the city’s story are both now linked up with LFC’s.

There’s loads more opportunities missed. When I used to work in town and got the train in, before the start of the season, for years a lot of the adverts on the way up via the escalator, were of the Reds' new kit available. We were advertising season tickets for sale! What kind of message does that send out?

At Christmas time, the same amount of Ads (and plenty more round town) were advertising the gifts available from the their shops. I didn’t see one of ours.

So if that’s the case in Liverpool, Neil, no wonder you have trouble finding EFC items where you live.

A good point lad and we can only hope this club takes notice.

Eddie Dunn
97 Posted 29/04/2015 at 10:11:35
Matt (#88). I was in London doing a trade fair at Earls Court that Saturday and nipped out to Chelsea, as they were playing Bolton, who were near the bottom with us. Thankfully we drew and Chelsea beat Wanderers (who had taken a lot of noisy fans there).

The Everton result came over the tannoy and I was so relieved, I turned to the bloke next to me and said "I’m an Evertonian, that result keeps us up". He looked at me blankly and muttered something unintelligible... he was Norwegian! (He probably supports the RS now.)

Rick Tarleton
98 Posted 29/04/2015 at 10:17:36
I live in the East Midlands and to buy Everton stuff for my grandson only happens when I go to Goodison or online. The Board is not doing its job.

We won 3-0 against Man Utd – think about the goals carefully: we won’t get many like that again... certainly not in one match, and basically all’s well with the world. Roberto’s got his mojo back, Bill’s running the ship soundly and stop worrying, next season will be great, we’ll challenge for the Champions League.

Utter Balderdash! We’ll still have an out-of-date ground with no prospects to move, Everton will still be badly marketed and we’ll still be a selling club, rather than a buying club. The Kings’ Dock fiasco should have been the end of this board; until they stop treading water (and I think they’re drowning not waving), we’ll remain a second class club.

I too go back to the fifties and remember being the best club around in the sixties and eighties. I’m unhappy that our motto is totally ignored by the board who try merely to get by and have no concept of the best or even the adequate.

Chris Regan
99 Posted 29/04/2015 at 10:35:13
Jim Lloyd 91, you nailed it with the line

’Brand new Ground... paid for by someone else.’

As soon as I read that comment, the mist cleared for me. I’ve now belatedly caught up with everyone else.

Paul Washington
100 Posted 29/04/2015 at 14:51:52
I live in Widnes... 10 miles from GP. The town of Widnes is full of Everton season ticket holders and regular match goers... and I / we cannot buy so much as an Everton scarf locally.

This inept (I would like to use a more expletive word) board should hang their dithering heads in shame at what has become of our club.

Mike Childs
101 Posted 29/04/2015 at 14:28:04
I have never seen anything with the Everton name on here in the States. I bought one on an end-of-year sale on the EvertonFC website. $50 for the shirt and $21 to ship it to me. That’s $21 without any exponential markup to ship it sooner. Worst quality shirt I’ve ever bought.
Matt Traynor
102 Posted 29/04/2015 at 15:18:02
Eddie #97,
I heard that there were Chelsea fans wanting their team to lose so we’d go down that day – did you pick up on that?

I decided to look it up to remind myself who got the goals for them that day, and found this piece of TV_Gold

Andy Crooks
103 Posted 29/04/2015 at 16:21:24
Neil # 95, exactly. It is beyond belief.
Eddie Dunn
104 Posted 29/04/2015 at 16:22:11
Matt 102,

On the day, the Chelsea fans around me were just interested in winning the game, and I didn’t pick up any talk of us. Of course, it wasn’t the sort of place to advertise one’s allegiances! I just looked at the game and remembered that Bolton had a few chances in the first half.

I remember Vialli being different class for them, and was still on pins as they didn’t get the second goal until the last minute. De Matteo. Days before mobile phones, when you waited for information in the ground... more exciting back then.

Erik Dols
105 Posted 29/04/2015 at 16:42:13
Matt Traynor, Thanks for the link. I never realised (or choose to forget) that Bolton missed a ton of chances that day. It’s ridiculous that a club like Everton came so close to being relegated – twice! Think of what we could have been with the right board and right ambition in the early/mid nineties...
Jim Hardin
106 Posted 29/04/2015 at 16:22:44
Mike #101. My problem over here is the same. not sure where in the States you are but in the midwest we have Dick’s sporting Goods and Soccer Villages and I can get Barca, RM, Chelsea, Man Utd, Man City, PSG, and Bayern gear and some Liverpool and Tottenham gear but not so much as an Everton scarf or keychain much less a ball or a shirt.

My daughter is a Newcastle fan and she can get stuff on major online sites here and I can’t get anything. I wonder what the untapped potential of the American market is for Everton in numbers? I don’t know but the problem is I am willing to bet the Board and BK don’t know either.

Lyndon, What a great series you have constructed. Thank you and I look forward to the next installment and the commentary on it.

Darren Hind
107 Posted 29/04/2015 at 19:51:59
This is an excellent series, Lyndon.

I was particularly drawn to where you speak about Sir Philip Green and Robert Earl.

Kristian #1 asks a few questions about Robert Earl which beg answers? But Sir Philip? what's going on there?

I don’t understand their continued involvement. With a little investment they would surely increase the value of their asset. No?


Paul Doyle
108 Posted 30/04/2015 at 06:42:46
it seems like trying to get hold of some Everton merchandise nowadays was a bit like trying to get hold of anything by Joy Division in the late ’70s – rare, sold out, limited edition, minimal information, and no advertising of new stuff all together. However this all changed once the lead singer hung himself!

Ciaran Duff
109 Posted 30/04/2015 at 11:03:00
I know I’m not going to be Mr Popular but I have to disagree with many of the comments so far.

Unfortunately the PL/CL have almost locked in the success of an elite group of clubs. A few years earlier and we might have been part of that group. Given the prize money and exposure, the success of the elite clubs is almost self-perpetuating. Trying to break into that group (for any other club) is extremely difficult unless you have a billionaire buyer.

Not saying that we couldn’t do some things better but overall I don’t believe that growing the club's commercial revenue (substantially) is as easy as some people think. Walk into any sports shop around the world and you will generally only find shirts from the elite PL/Euro clubs. Shops don’t stock Everton (or other clubs) because there is little or no market. Similarly, our corporate money and sponsorship is hard to grow for the same reason. It’s not personal, it’s business.

The best way to grow our brand is through success on the pitch over a long period (not just a one-off Champions League qualification) and that generally requires large amounts of money. Our board doesn’t have that money and, as far as I have seen, there is no Billionaire that wants to take us over. So, our only real option is to grow organically through developing young talent and buying shrewdly on the transfer market. That is generally what the club seems to be doing but obviously it is a long-term project and not the silver bullet that so many crave.

Paul Mackie
110 Posted 30/04/2015 at 11:24:32
Ciaran, shops couldn’t stock Everton gear even if they wanted to due to our deal with Kitbag.
Denis Richardson
111 Posted 30/04/2015 at 12:22:51
Ciaran - whilst success is the main driver for growing commercial revenue, can you explain why clubs like West Ham, Villa, Newcastle and Sunderland have much higher commercial revenues than we do?

Even an extra £2-3m a year would allow was to do things like invest more in the academy, pay down debt, eventually buy Finch Farm or sign an extra player or two for the first team. It wouldn’t change the world in a day but you have to ask: Why, for an established Premier League side, our commercial revenue is so poor? £2-3m a year extra soon builds up fast over a number of years.

Also saying Liverpool is a poor city doesn’t wash when you have Sunderland and Birmingham as examples and the league being a massive global brand – the average fan in China, Thailand, Angola, Tanzania etc could barely tell you where London was on a map of England, nevermind Liverpool. The CL clubs obviously have more pulling power but our deals with Kitbag, Chang and others are very poor.

We had at one point at Everton the most popular footballer in South Africa, the most popular footballer in Australia and one of the most popular in the USA – I have not heard of anything meaningful that the club did to try to use this to our advantage at time.

It’s not easy to increase sponsorship but there are people at the club whose job it is to do so and imo they are failing badly when we compare ourselves to the rest.

Patrick Murphy
112 Posted 30/04/2015 at 14:58:51
Could it be that the club and Kitbag are starting to listen to some of the ideas put forward by the supporters?

New Click and Collect Service

Jim Hardin
113 Posted 30/04/2015 at 16:21:09
Patrick, thanks for the info, clicked it and it looks like a real plan. Wish it was available over here in the USA but progress through baby steps is better than nothing at all. Excellent to see something being tried.

Hope that the merchandise will be in stock and available rather than the items being listed as sold out, unavailable, or back-ordered. League safety, an unbeaten streak, and now a hint of business sense too and it isn’t even my birthday!

Tom Evans
114 Posted 30/04/2015 at 20:55:24
Bill #85. For a long while I have understood that that the main reason for the failure of the deal for the signing of two players was down to some skulduggery over the valuation of their values.

I can’t recall exactly what happened, but was on the lines of fees being agreed as part of a double deal, but then one of the players changed his mind about joining us.
Royle wanted to still buy Flo but his price had been artificially inflated and Johnson refused to pay it.

Dave Abrahams
115 Posted 30/04/2015 at 21:20:43
Tom, Joe Royle had a party in his house the weekend he left Everton, he couldn’t believe he had been relieved of his position, near to tears.

I think in the end he left under the usual nonsense of ""mutual consent", he was dismissed because basically Peter Johnson wasn’t happy with the way Joe was performing, and to be honest I could understand that.

Murdo Laing
116 Posted 30/04/2015 at 20:47:07
Great stuff, Lyndon. This has been a long thread, understandably so, and some very pertinent points made. Quite randomly, I’ve been led to the "shit happens" angle. I look at current English clubs in a similar tradition and (very) roughly similar fan base to ourselves, and posit the following, in brief :

TOTTENHAM: London’s version of us (?), but with much more business savvy. Still buoyant despite wasting £££ on shite under-performers. About to go up several notches with bigger ground etc, but they are serial under-performers.

ASTON VILLA: Bagged a sugar daddy (Lerner), messed up with a poor choice of manager (Lambert) but will find another level if they win the FA Cup under Sherwood. Prospects really quite good.... decent stadium to boot. Bad shit for four fifths of the season though.

MAN CITY: Shit, most definitely, happened for them: Free stadium, shining bauble polished up by the astute Mr Bernstein and Manchester City Council, attracts men in white robes with heap big money... Rest is history. East Manchester regenerated, whole new perspective on what club/community are about.

WEST HAM: Shit is happening as we speak... As with MCFC, they have nabbed a cheapo/free relocation option and, with the fragrant Ms Brady at the helm, have delivered affordable ticketing to grow the fan base. Leyton Orient are doomed, but the Hammers will grow the fan base by 10k in no time at all as they stride imperiously around rival- free and populous East London.

That’s my take: I say this not because I think EFC are to struggle ad infinitum, but because we are a club that simply has not moved on, due to many factors – some beyond the board’s control; some not. In my book, we need to look at peer clubs like the ones I’ve mentioned, not the likes of Man Utd, Arsenal, Chelsea. If we had not saved our worst team performance (and tactics) of the season for the Kiev game, we might now be in a position of wooing prospective buyers which Bill seems to be struggling to find.

So, yes, Lyndon, "treading water". Someone pull the plug.

Jimmy Kelly
117 Posted 01/05/2015 at 12:17:06
Murdo, I’m not entirely sure on what basis you would say Aston Villa’s prospects are good?

As far as I’m concerned, being two points above the relegation zone (having played a game more), being up for sale with no sign of an imminent takeover, and a number of top players due to leave at the end of the season (Vlaar out of contract, Cleverley’s loan ending, Benteke looking likely to move on) are hardly the signs of a club in better health than ourselves.

I’m also not convinced that West Ham will magically find extra fans. It’s one thing getting people in while the new stadium is a shiny novelty, but it’s not easy to keep an extra 10k fans when you’re just hovering in mid-table. Just look at clubs like Stoke, Wigan and Hull. You see a sharp spike in their attendances when they first come into the Premier League, but when it all becomes a bit more mundane, the attendances drop by an average of 1k or so. Wigan’s had dropped by about 4k by the time they’d spent a few seasons in the league.

If fans suddenly decide they support a team when they’re an adult (I don’t include any of our overseas ToffeeWebbers in this as there are understandable reasons for that) the chances are they won’t be a ’hardcore’ fan, and will drift away eventually. Unless the team becomes successful that is.

London’s transport system is excellent, and the proximity of a club’s ground is not necessarily an important factor in whether you support them. I think you can get from Stratford to Tottenham or Arsenal in about 15 minutes so it’s not like they’ll be the only team in the area. I’d be more concerned that moving out of their natural habitat (where supporting West Ham is a sign of being a proper ’eastender’) may cause them to lose some of their core support.

Andy Crooks
118 Posted 01/05/2015 at 20:44:09
Jimmy, I agree with you about Villa but I think Murdoch is right about West Ham. If they appoint the right coach, it could really happen for them. They will undoubtedly gain some extra support and with even some improvement on the pitch it could snowball. Could it be Moyes's time?

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