The Slumbering Giant: Part IV – Soul Searching

Is finding a faceless billionaire the only way to lift Everton back to the top of the English game – and, if so, at what cost to the soul and traditions of the club? The final part of the series.

Lyndon Lloyd 04/05/2015 87comments  |  Jump to last

What do you want from Everton Football Club?

It's not an idle question. Why we support this Grand Old Team, what we aspire Everton to be and how we want our club to go about it are all fundamental to a resurfacing debate over the future of this 137-year-old institution and its place in the rapidly-changing modern game.

How you answer the question will likely be affected by a number of factors – your age; your generational ties to the Toffees (if any); your proximity to Liverpool; how often you go to the match and the lengths you go to do so, etc. It might also be determined by what you wish to get out of following the club – be it purely to indulge a love of the game and a tribal sense of belonging; for the camaraderie and the familiar routine of the match-going experience; the simple desire to support a team towards success (or, at the very least, enjoy enough memorable experiences in the pursuit of success); or all of that and more.

Even with Blue-tinted spectacles set aside, we follow a truly special club, one that helped launch the professional game in 1888, was there 104 years later to found the Premier League, and often lead this country through the 20th Century with an enviable list of footballing “firsts” in between. We have a history rivalled by few – the quintessential top-flight club – with enduringly close ties to its community and its working-class roots.

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We’ve played in the same stadium since 1892, have won the League title more times than any other English team bar three and are helmed by a true-Blue Evertonian who, if nothing else, knows the soul of the club and whole-heartedly understands the Everton experience. Much may have changed since the Premier League revolution took hold but the spirit of fair play, honour and sporting valour embodied by club legends like Brian Labone live on in a club that is fundamentally decent. This is our identity. A small part of what is Everton.

And yet, woven into that tapestry of Everton’s history has been a culture of success and the pursuit of excellence encapsulated by our treasured motto. From Bill Dean, Ted Sagar and Tommy Lawton to Roy Vernon, the Holy Trinity, the Golden Vision and Neville Southall, Goodison Park has been graced by some of the finest footballers to have ever played the game. The School of Science was as much a contemporary expression of the beauty of our team’s on-the-field ethos as it was an embodiment of the club’s natural and historical inclination towards excellence. Howard Kendall’s wonderful blend of technique and heart that swept almost all before it for three wonderful years in the mid-1980s threatened to establish a dynasty for many more beyond.

Since helping to usher in the Premier League era 23 years ago, however, Everton as a club has abandoned its place among England's elite and the size of the task in getting back there appears Herculean. To borrow a passage from a similar exercise in soul-searching by a Tottenham fan on the site, all this romanticism “doesn't all translate from the echoed poetry of the past to the petulant pomp of the present day.”

The footballing landscape has changed irrevocably since we last won the League and has shifted to a dizzying degree even since we last lifted the FA Cup. In that time, as the power and the silverware has come to be dominated by first just four and now five clubs, just one outside of this quintet has won the Premier League and it took the free spending of Jack Walker to achieve it. Just three clubs (including the Blues in 1995) outside of this five have won the FA Cup.

Parts I, II and III have touched on the ways that Everton might find their way back among the English game’s elite: continue on the path of slow and patient progression established by David Moyes and, hopefully, to be resumed again next season under his successor, Roberto Martinez; use the new broadcasting cash bonanza to speculate a bit more on transfers to accumulate better prospects of success; instill more energy and drive into the club’s commercial activities to once more match our peers; or build a new stadium to help generate more revenue from corporate sponsorships, entertainment and matchday ticket sales.

None of them are quick solutions to our lengthening trophy drought and exile from the upper echelons of the domestic game but they offer hope, enough to have kept the majority of the fanbase in tow over the last decade despite just one Wembley final, an agonisingly close call with Champions League qualification 10 years ago, and a couple of tantalising but ultimately fruitless forays into the last 16 of the Europa League. This from a club that, again, won the title on average once every 10 years before the Premier League era, that was at the forefront of the world game for so much of its history in terms of infrastructure and innovation, and was poised to potentially become a lasting force at home and on the Continent in 1985.


So as Evertonians greet the 20-year milestone since our last trophy with a mixture of resignation and apathy on one end of the spectrum and frustration and growing restlessness on the other, more and more fans are asking if there is sufficient ambition, energy and resources being applied in the current regime to maximise and optimise towards bridging the gap every part of an institution that was built for success and retains the potential for it even after three decades of relative stagnation.

This is after all our club. Not only are we entitled to question those in charge, it is our responsibility to ask whether the Board has a plan and a vision for Everton beyond the current strategy of either making piecemeal progress or treading water until the right buyer comes along to take the club over... assuming that is even something Bill Kenwright wants.

How long do we wait under a Chairman that does not personally have the riches to make us competitive with the biggest clubs and whose “24/7” search for either investment or a buyer has come up empty for the past 10 years? How much more patient should we be with the rest of a Board that clearly has no interest in investing anything into the club beyond the money they spent to acquire their shares?

If their aim is not to ultimately make money from the club, why was the possibility of a rights issue (that would have diluted the holdings of the majority shareholders) not explored when it would have been more advantageous to do so? Why is there no obvious sign that they are using their collective business acumen to improve the club’s commercial performance?

The longer time drags on with no apparent movement on the ownership issue, though, it fuels questions over whether the Chairman is either simply holding onto his “trainset” because he either can’t let go or is fearful of doing so (if you owned Everton, wouldn’t you be?), is committed to seeing through a new stadium that he believes would transform the club, or is looking to maximise the profits for himself and his partners on the Board from a potential sale. Certainly, as Everton's financial statement, as quoted in the Combined Authorities evidence to the Destination Kirkby Inquiry, stated,

“...the willingness or abilities of the Club’s Directors to sell all or some of their interests to attract an investor who or which might have the ability in financial terms to fund a new stadium in its entirety or at the very least the shortfall...this is not an option, as the current Directors have no intention of selling any of their interests in the Club”.

With plans afoot to move the club to Walton Hall Park in the next few years, do we assume that this is still the case?

Against the backdrop of this stasis, Kenwright’s rhetoric has for years oscillated between soundbites about finding a “billionaire” for Everton and simply attracting investment and there is an obvious distinction between the two goals. And if the emphasis has been on the latter, that is clearly the more difficult of the two to attain. As Joe Beardwood recently posited, with no guarantee of a return, investment without overall control would be tantamount to a donation – no one other than the most die-hard and philanthropic Evertonian would plough millions into the club with no expectation of making anything out of it.

That leaves the option of a wholesale takeout by an individual or consortium with bottomless pockets as the only viable alternative and every new story about a potential takeover of a Premier League club by billionaire interests from the Middle East, the Far East or America is used as a stick with which to beat Kenwright for his assertion a few years back that “no one is buying football clubs these days.”

There have, of course, always been interested buyers but we might never know how far their inquiries went or why they failed. According to rumour, lying somewhere in a filing cabinet on Merseyside is proof of just how far down the road Sheikh Mansour got with negotiations with Everton before he switched his attentions to Manchester City. Randy Lerner is also believed to have approached Kenwright before eventually taking the helm at Aston Villa. And a broker for a global venture and investment firm making an approach on behalf of wealthy Middle Eastern clients in 2009 said that he came away from unproductive negotiations with the club with the feeling that Everton were “setting hurdles that effectively put them out of the running with so many prospective purchasers” and that “either [a sale] is not their true intention, or their lawyers are not accustomed to working in this commercial space.”

There will undoubtedly have been others and, of course, not being privy to these negotiations or only knowing one side of the story, we as fans can’t possibly know whether these proposed takeovers were viable or whether they’d have been right for the club at all. And as the demand for England’s league continues on its upward trajectory and the money that can be generated from successive broadcast deals continues to grow, there will be other interested buyers wanting a piece of the pie.

Selling our soul?

This cuts to the heart of the Everton dilemma in the current environment of the Premier League. If we all collectively say enough is enough, that the current regime is taking us nowhere and new owners are the only solution, are we fully appreciative of the risks that lie in the alternatives to the club’s future, its character, its identity and its very soul?

Because the Lerner example is just one of a litany of takeovers of English clubs that have either fallen short of expectation, failed outright or led to galling changes to the fabric of the clubs concerned by new owners showing scant regard for their traditions. The sheer depth of the pockets of Mansour and Roman Abramovich have and will continue to ensure that they can throw enough money at their manager du jour to buy big-name players that City and Chelsea will be able to compete for silverware year in and year out.

They are in a minority, however, and there is a lengthening list of cautionary tales that would fall very much under the cliched “be careful what you wish for” mantra where Everton are concerned: The chaos of successive ownership changes at Leeds United, whose future remains as uncertain as it was five years ago; the Venkys debacle at Blackburn Rovers; Vincent Tan’s needless and heedless meddling with Cardiff City’s heritage; likewise Assem Allam’s bid to change Hull City’s name in the face of vehement opposition; Shahid Khan’s struggles at Fulham; the mess going on at Newcastle United under their billionaire owner, Mike Ashley, with dubious stadium and shirt sponsorship deals and declining fortunes on the pitch; and Portsmouth, who were declared insolvent and rescued by a supporters trust.

Even Fenway Sports Group’s feted takeover at Liverpool has failed to translate their success at restoring the Boston Red Sox to a long-awaited title into reviving the fortunes of the reds across Stanley Park. The lesson of millions of pounds thrown down the drain on hugely inflated transfer fees for mediocre players under Kenny Dalglish has not been heeded under Brendan Rogers, who has perpetuated the same flawed strategy.

If there is a lesson from the recent history of ownership changes in the Premier League it’s that only those with the most to throw at player purchases have had a genuine shot at winning the title. Even Arsenal, as well-run and restrained a club as there is among the “big five” have struggled to mount a serious run at the title, although they do remain perennially competitive on a sustainable model.

Still, it feels that with the bastardisation of football in the modern age that the only choice is to throw your lot in with the unknown quantity of a foreign billionaire in the hope of buying success. And there is a reflexive flurry of excitement as soon as someone with billions to their name is mentioned in connection with the Blues but even then you have to wonder whether that is what we really want. At what cost to our identity, our traditions, our values and what it means to be Everton?

At its heart, Everton is still a club in the image envisioned by the Football Association in 1892 when it insisted that fledgling institutions over which they presided remain clubs in their culture; an enduring institution that will hopefully survive this current era of excess and promiscuity. One where the chairman will personally fund buses to away matches, players will subsidise away tickets by way of thanks for fans’ support, and a walk around the club’s Finch Farm training complex will reveal the warmth, familial closeness, community, openness and heart that beats at its centre.

Do we want to “do a City” and suddenly be transformed into one of the richest teams on the planet; to be run at the whim of an outsider sheikh or oligarch with no affinity to Everton FC, its fans or its traditions? To be able to sign a bog-average defender for Ł40m like Mangala and go through managers at a rate of one every couple of seasons until you find one capable of delivering the biggest trophies? To waste Ł50m on a failed signing like Fernando Torres and become so spoiled and unappreciative of silverware that half your fans will leave Wembley before the presentation of the FA Cup just to beat the traffic home? To lavish Ł300,000 a week – more than a good proportion of your supporter base will earn in 10 years – on a player like Wayne Rooney and still not be anywhere close to winning either the Premier or Champions Leagues? To see the stands at your home matches increasingly populated by tourists, part-timers and glory-hunters?

If staying true to your club’s roots by taking a slow and deliberate path appears more and more fruitless with each passing season, though, is there a place for such nostalgia and stubborn romanticism? Nothing would be more satisfying than seeing a patient, agile, modernised and Corinthian Everton – a beautiful term coined by a reader in an earlier part of this series – building its way back to sustained success. But in age where an Arab sheikh can plough well north of Ł1bn into building a team in the space of a few years, it seems like an impossible dream.

A Middle Way

While little has changed in terms of real ownership in the club for 15 years many of the questions posed above will have to find resolution eventually. Bill will turn 70 in September and while he could well have another couple of decades left on this mortal coil, it’s unlikely he will always have the energy to helm the club in the face of the massive expectation we as a fanbase still have, exclusively manage the transfer negotiations (as he currently does), and deal with the stress of trying to relocate the club to a new stadium after 123 years at Goodison Park.

Answering the calls from many supporters for the hiring of a specialised team dedicated to aggressively ramping up the club’s commercial activities and formulating a vision for the club as a business for the next decade would be one step but sooner or later, he will inevitably have to think about his succession. With few signs that his daughter, Lucy, would be a natural heir to the Everton throne and no apparent appetite from the likes of Jon Woods (68 himself) or Robert Earl to take any leadership role, future ownership of the club is likely to come from an outsider.

But who? The Ł125m price tag that was apparently placed on the club around three years ago has, no doubt, been a significant impediment to potential buyers of the club, particularly when you factor in the additional cost of a new stadium or the redevelopment of Goodison Park. It makes for a prohibitively large investment for all but a small group of buyers which tends to be dominated by super-rich individuals looking for a play-thing and would almost certainly transfer ownership of the club away from its roots.

Of course, that entire premise is predicated on the notion that the Board have to or even should sell the club at market value – indeed, how many Evertonians believe they have done enough through their custody of the club to warrant such massive returns on their initial investment?

There have been, and no doubt will continue to be, high-net-worth individuals (perhaps Blues themselves) with a vision and a plan for Everton who could head up a takeover bid by a highly motivated and competent consortium but can’t compete with explosion in the value of Premier League clubs on the back of the ballooning broadcast deals. A sale like Peter Johnson's, designed to recoup the current directors' initial outlay (even with a small profit) would dramatically widen the pool of potential buyers and give them far more leeway in what they could achieve.

Given a head start by only having to pay a fraction of what the club might conceivably be worth, the funds and commercial expertise from a consortium of this type could be combined with a partial supporters trust model (which, for example, could help fund a new stadium or the redevelopment of Goodison Park) that would put Everton on the road to a Bundesliga-style fan-ownership model (one which might not be viable in the short run given the massive funds needed to compete with the resources of our rivals at the top end of the Premier League) over the long term.

So, as he passes into his eighth decade, a more reflective and altruistic Bill might come to see the merits of such a middle way between the current grind against the capital forces at work in the Premier League and the leap into the unknown that a wholesale takeover by a faceless billionaire would represent. One where any profit motive from his ownership of Everton that he might harbour is replaced by a desire to safeguard the character and future of the club by easing the handover to responsible new owners and perhaps transferring a greater share of its ownership to the fans. The older the Chairman gets, the more sense it makes for him to create a legacy and this would be an enduring one.

On the back of the retrograde step that the 2014-15 season has come to represent and its coincidence with two important anniversaries – our last silverware 20 years ago and the 30-year mark since we lifted our only European trophy – the coming summer and the season beyond could have an important bearing on supporter sentiment.

Will Roberto Martinez be handed the funds to undertake significant reconstruction of his squad or is his unambitious rhetoric of late a reflection of a fiscal policy aimed first at debt reduction and the servicing of “payday loans” originating in the Virgin Islands? Will the rising tide lifting the collective Premier League boats take transfer fees and player wages to such obscene levels that the effects of the rise in revenues on the Blues’ ability to compete is diminished or wiped out entirely?

And if Martinez proves incapable of taking the club again to knocking on the glass ceiling and the top four or delivering a trophy... if the current strategy of progress by increments continues to promise much but deliver little in the face of the broader realities of the top flight... if no clearer vision is articulated from the Board beyond paying lip-service to the search for a buyer and the distant promise of a new stadium... then will there be sufficient appetite from Evertonians as a collective to overcome the apathy and the sense of futility that has set in during our club’s slow somnambulic decline from its former status as a towering force in the English game to demand a change?

While the club remains healthy and in the Premier League, with a vibrant community, large latent support and an unfailingly committed match-going core, the dormant potential of this club remains significant, just waiting to be tapped once more. The nagging fear remains, though, that it is going to take something extra than the current status quo to awaken the slumbering giant. The question is, what will it take, how long will it take to arrive, and can we afford to wait?

« Part I: Another False Dawn | Part II: Twenty-Year Itch | Part III: Treading Water

(Cover photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

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Reader Comments (87)

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John Otway
1 Posted 04/05/2015 at 07:19:03
An excellent set of articles Lyndon; thank you. As a Blue for over 50 years, the gulf between "Nil satis nisi optimum" and the current mediocrity enveloping all aspects of our club makes me want to weep.
Joe McMahon
2 Posted 04/05/2015 at 07:38:45
Lyndon, a very realistic summary of EFC in 2015. My last hope was in the mid-90s with the FA Cup and a new Park End, sadly all hope has diminished under the Bill Kenwright years.

I canÂ’t actually see EFC returning to glory again. Sharing a city with LFC, a global marketing giant, doesnÂ’t help. I actually think Man City would be where they are today without inheriting the Commonwealth Stadium and having a large (3 terminal) airport nearby ready to accept Etihad airways for the first time. All the odds are stacked against Everton; our opportunity was Kings Dock (and we know what happened there).

Everton Football Club is not an enticing brand, a visit to Goodison Park for visiting supporters must take them back to the 70s (if the modern day football fan was alive then?) Is there success outside London and Manchester? – I’m not sure but I’ve seen plenty of impressive stadiums outside these areas and infrastructure is there. Many Championship clubs have managed to build/re build, Molineux is very impressive.

Yes, he’s a blue – who cares, look what has happened to Everton with him here. Bill Kenwright and an antiquated Goodison Park will be his legacy as he’s here to stay.

Kelvin Thomas
3 Posted 04/05/2015 at 08:05:27
Did you watch ChelseaÂ’s lap of honour after theyÂ’d won the league on Saturday? John Terry posted a video of celebrations in the changing room, a handfull of players jumping around while several players and staff sat down completely disinterested.

EvertonÂ’s lap of honour would last a week!
Eric Myles
4 Posted 04/05/2015 at 08:20:59
Joe #2, itÂ’s often remarked that weÂ’re overlooked because we share a city with another team, but Birmingham have had 7, YES 7 buyers interested in them and Villa and WBA have also had suitors in the same time, yet all 3 share the same city.

The other line frequently trotted out is Â’weÂ’re not in LondonÂ’, well neither are Birmingham, Villa and WBA.

Erik Dols
5 Posted 04/05/2015 at 08:40:25
Eric #4, well I think it is quite easy actually. The points made are correct, both by Joe and by you.

Sharing the city with another club and not being in London does have impact on the attractiveness and marketability of the club and therefore the price the board can fetch for it.

The real high-end buyers, the only two examples of takeovers that took their club to a next level – Abramovich and Mansour – came to those two clubs because Chelsea was in London and because Man City came with a brand new stadium and a relatively big airport.

Other buyers will only pay what they consider is a Â’good dealÂ’. Most expect to make money on it so they will not pay the jackpot. Obviously our board is asking a price that matches that of a club situated in London or at least matching a club with a brand new stadium and being the primary club in the vicinity. We are for sale, but just not at a price that the B-category of investors think we are worth. Mind you, that may be a blessing in disguise as most of the investors from these category seem to ruin the club theyÂ’re at.

I feel weÂ’re in a status quo at Everton. And although I would love to see us competing for silverware again, I am terrified to think what happened at Leeds, Pompey or Blackburn. IÂ’m not even sure if winning prizes with a team that some billionaire bought us would feel as good as winning prizes in the past did. I would love it if we could get back in the big five on our own but thatÂ’s probably not realistic...

Brin Williams
6 Posted 04/05/2015 at 09:03:34
Lyndon, yet again an excellent article in an excellent series, all posing very poignant questions but alas no answers other than regurgitated thoughts of us all.

I look forward to the next article of Â’how Everton fulfilled the dreams of its fansÂ’.

Or am I being naive?

Sam Hoare
7 Posted 04/05/2015 at 09:37:48
An excellent article, Lyndon, though I fear you may be optimistic in hoping old age will begin to sway BK to prioritising legacy over profit. I suspect he sees them as the same thing and that that is why we have missed and will continue to miss out on several opportunities. Though, as you point out, very few Â’opportunitiesÂ’ lead to happy endings... especially with foreign investment.

For me, the horizon is rather bleak. I have a horrible feeling that this season will mark the beginning of a trend and that, for the imminent future, we will be jostling with the likes of Stoke, Southampton, West Ham and Swansea for upper mid table rather than with the moneyed clubs for top 4.

The only way past this mediocrity is an Athletic Madrid/ Dortmund scenario where an exceptional manager builds a truly effective team that knows what it is doing without spending the world. IÂ’m pretty sure the current incumbent isnÂ’t that manager but Lord knows they are hard to find. Koeman and Pardew are probably the only managers this season who have had their teams overperforming and neither of them spectacularly so. Perhaps the mold is harder to break in England?

Helen Mallon
8 Posted 04/05/2015 at 09:43:32
What I want is for Everton to be competitive, with a very good commercial dept. I want to be able to go into any sports outlet and buy an Everton top, not have to trawl Kitbag for something in stock. I want a new affordable stadium (or redeveloped Goodison Park) – something a bit more modern. I want Everton with all this new money buying back our training ground and the back of the Park End.

Now the big question is this: How to accomplish all this? For me, there are two ways

1. Bill sells the club to a rich billionaire who wants to take on the big five.

2. We sell one or two of our playing staff a season and invest that money into doing what I want over a number of seasons to accomplish our goal, just so long as we the fans are told the plan.

At the moment, we are a mid-table team who may finish 6th, 7th, 8th but, with the right plan, we could be a top team who could finish 1st, 2nd, 3rd... 4th. It can be done; itÂ’s happened in Spain and Germany, so it can happen here. ThatÂ’s my plan.

Kunal Desai
9 Posted 04/05/2015 at 09:43:41
The bright lights and glamour of London followed by Manchester are ultimately where the top players want to be. Everton have been in the wilderness for the last 30 years, playing second fiddle to our neighbours who are also struggling for any relative success and attracting big name players, there is absolutely no chance Everton will attract the type of players to take us to the level of winning things ever again.

Although I could see the club taken over at some point in the future, I do not foresee it being on the scale which would totally transform the club, like Chelsea or Man City. A big factor is the geographical status of both clubs in the city of Liverpool make it ever more difficult to compete again at the top.

Chris Regan
10 Posted 04/05/2015 at 10:17:38
We just have to keep believing, thatÂ’s all!
Patrick Murphy
11 Posted 04/05/2015 at 10:48:18
To think that itÂ’s 28 long years to the day since many of us witnessed Pat Van Den Hauwe score the winning goal at Carrow Road to seal our ninth and most recent title; wonderful memories which alas I canÂ’t see being repeated for perhaps at least another 28 years.

In the absence of trophies and cash, what the club and its fans need at the very least is a team that will go out and play with 100% commitment and with the the desire to entertain the supporters. What we have witnessed for too long is football by numbers – mind-numbingly functional football with no freedom of expression by individual players.

ItÂ’s not only Everton that have succumbed to this modern trend; most Premier League clubs have adopted the Â’modernÂ’ style of functionality, The game of football and Everton have to realise that, if teams are unable to compete for the trophies, then they still have a duty to entertain.

Football with no hope of winning and devoid of entertainment will eventually see the fans stop turning up in such huge numbers, it might not adversely affect the business plans of the clubs but it will have a devastating effect on the game itself – and what is the game without the fans?

Tony Hill
12 Posted 04/05/2015 at 11:07:04
I agree, Patrick, especially with your last comments. The dominance of the top sides (in my view, even Arsenal and Liverpool are slipping away) looks impregnable.

We nearly made top 4 last season and it is true that Atletico and Dortmund have shown some sort of model for getting into the elite but I donÂ’t, in truth, see either of those sides maintaining their position over the long term.

In my more optimistic moments, I do see us building from within and getting a platform from which to challenge but we can’t get around the money factor – nor can most other clubs, including those who have had investment and new grounds. On the latter point, I am afraid I can’t see us moving and we will have to see if we can expand Goodison intelligently.

So, let us keep our soul, be shrewd in the transfer market, and in nurturing our youth, and try to entertain and look to the cups. From there, it is just possible that something more substantial may develop. A long road, almost certainly.

Dave Williams
13 Posted 04/05/2015 at 11:13:06
Great post, Patrick. We cannot buy our way to success and the blueprint has to be what SAF did with Man Utd and indeed what HK did here first time around – create a vibrant young side who work incessantly and attack in waves, a team which will invigorate the neutrals and make a new reputation for this marvellous club. Get the product right first which will take a bit of time...

But we are already seeing our future stars disappearing if the rumours about Garbutt are true and our treatment of this lad is sinful. Surely it is better to keep hold of a richly promising 21-year-old and sell or re-deploy a 30-year-old?

We need a long term plan but the playing side has to be sorted first in my view and the HK model of young vibrant players with a couple of old heads to guide them has to be the way to do it.

Michael Winstanley
14 Posted 04/05/2015 at 09:10:04
Thanks for another great piece, Lyndon.

The TV cash will keep on coming for the next few years so I hope weÂ’re planning to clear the debt, look at either redeveloping Goodison Park, or moving to new stadium. Not to increase our revenue but to improve the matchday experience.

The issue of who comes next after Kenwright is an interesting one as they will have their own vision for what they want the club to achieve. But I donÂ’t want to see us spending ÂŁ100s of millions to finish 5th, 6th or 7th.

The plan under Martinez is clear: develop the academy players and supplement the first team squad with a couple of buys each summer. Where we will end up is anyoneÂ’s guess but I actually think weÂ’re heading in the right direction.

Andy Crooks
15 Posted 04/05/2015 at 11:52:33
Lyndon, the finest in a series of fine articles. In my opinion, we will compete again only by the money clubs somehow regressing.

You ask the vital question of what we want as supporters. I donÂ’t want us to buy a trophy.

Many years ago a friend of mine watched his local team, Motherwell, win the Scottish FA Cup. It was a joyous, landmark day. A day against which all days were counted; eg, my daughter got married the year after we won the cup.

I have the Corinthian dream: We play the right way, we donÂ’t cheat, the club is part of the community. The name Everton is a byword for all that is good about football. Now THAT would be something.

Ray Said
16 Posted 04/05/2015 at 11:58:43
Good series of articles – very thought provoking.

My view is that the club is in a spiral of decline which will never be turned around with the current ownership. The clubÂ’s turnover is not sufficient to allow enough investment in both the playing side and the infrastructure to create the conditions for success.

If the investment goes into the playing side then the infrastructure suffers – the fabric of the stadium, the marketing effort such as it is. If the investment goes to infrastructure then the playing side suffers and the good players will vote with their feet and move on.

My view is that the only hope is that the owners bite the bullet and make a decision to stay at Goodison Park and start to work with the council to acquire the land needed to renovate and remodel the ground, keeping the traditional aspects we know and love but making a modern stadium. This strategy could be played out with a ÂŁ20 million investment every year for five years. This is very risky as it will direct money away from the playing side to the stadium. The team would have to retain a strong core of players and reinforce by sales or free agents/low cost buys.

This is the only investment that will fundamentally improve the clubÂ’s position in the long term.

Chris Feeley
17 Posted 04/05/2015 at 10:45:17
Great article. I’m fed up of hearing Kenwright’s waffle – there are so many sound bites and quotes out there that show that the man is either completely out of his depth or naively believes that the fan base isn’t clever enough to see through his flannel and deceit. Either way, it shouldn’t be accepted or even viable for him to continue to be allowed to run the ’train set’ into a terminal state of disrepair.

He must be able to acknowledge, if not accept, that his reputation and standing amongst a large proportion of the fan base has plummeted dramatically under his tenure. If he cares about his legacy, surely now is the time to stop treating the fan base as if they are a nuisance that is there simply to fund his play thing. Come out and say how much the club is available for; we all understand that everything has its price. Open up 15-30% of the shares to fan ownership with a voice on the board where the revenue generated can go towards paying off debt or improving the dilapidated relic that is Goodison Park. Pay the retainer to a single entity, giving them sole responsibility for finding buyers, investment and handouts. Just do something!

Over the weekend, I was speaking to a Kopite about the state of the two clubs. He made an interesting point about their view of fan protests. They look at us; the way weÂ’ve been allowed to slip from relevance and meekly accept it, and it drives them to make sure that their voice is heard. Ultimately they fear turning into us. As much as that condescending sentiment stuck in my throat like a house brick, I canÂ’t help feel that the people who pipe up about Â’Kopite behaviourÂ’ forfeit their right to complain about the ownership.

Irrelevance, for a club with our history and standing, should be the fear and key driver for change – with or without Kenwright.

Patrick Murphy
18 Posted 04/05/2015 at 12:25:43
Chris (17) Fed up hearing Bill Kenwright’s waffle? I would welcome any of his thoughts at the moment; I don’t believe he’s written or said anything about the club all season and that in itself is a trifle worrying. Whether that is due to some reports about his supposed illness or domestic issues is not clear – but a Chairman at some point in the season usually speaks to the supporters, for good or ill.
Chris Feeley
19 Posted 04/05/2015 at 12:33:35
Patrick - I see your point, but would you trust anything that came out of his mouth when his track record shows that heÂ’s happy to treat the fan base as though theyÂ’re simple? The only time heÂ’ll talk is when he isnÂ’t asked awkward questions. When the going gets tough, Bill gets off.
Kevin Tully
20 Posted 04/05/2015 at 12:34:03
All Blues need to look at the way the club are approaching the possibility of a new ground being constructed in Walton Hall Park. It is titled: "The Opputunity." Here is the half-page of waffle that outlines "The Oportunity"...

"Everton and Liverpool City Council together with a number of partners have announced their intention to investigate a regeneration scheme for North Liverpool which could potentially house a new stadium for the Club.

In addition to a stadium, the site at Walton Hall Park would be developed to provide a number of new community facilities and bring a significant amount of jobs to the area.

While the possible scheme is in the early stages of development we are encouraging fans to get involved from the outset.

We will be running a series of events in the coming weeks. Registration for the consultation events has now closed. Anybody who completed a submission on September 30 or before form will be contacted in due course."

Unfortunately, all of the above is just a pre-emptive load of hot air, so the board cannot be accused of complacency by the long suffering fanbase.

Personally, I have a grudging admiration the way the board can silence any dissention – they would be far better employed working alongside one the major political parties during the current election campaign, they are that good at spin and misdirection.

One aspect that may also hinder any prospective sale is the numerous mortgages Bill & Co have loaded the club with. Who knows, Robert Earl and Bill may have put their shares up in EFC as collaterals to prop up one their many other business interests?

I would guess there is zero appetite for any sale.

Michael Polley
21 Posted 04/05/2015 at 13:15:05
Great article. I donÂ’t see any mayor investment in either infrastructure, or players. I donÂ’t think we have a manager that is capable enough to develop a good team. Apart from these issues, weÂ’re a great old team!!!
Eddie Dunn
22 Posted 04/05/2015 at 13:38:21
Lyndon, I have really enjoyed this series of articles, even though it is a bit depressing! I love our traditions and Goodison Park, and I would love us to stay there if possible.

Patrick Murphy mentions that it is 28 years to the day that Psycho Pat scored that winner at Norwich, and I am glad that I was there. Those moments surrounded by people who have the same interest and ambition for a club, all celebrating together, are the highest point in a life of following your team.

I personally detest much of what is now football, and resent the way it is all set up. It is no longer the game of the working class (or non-working class). Ordinary folk are being priced out of the game, and the clubÂ’s keenness for season ticket sales leave the occasional visitor unlikely to get to games at all.

I see posts here regularly wondering how we are going to attract the fans of tomorrow? Well, make it much cheaper to attend, and keep more seats available for general sale. If a young person wants to come at the moment, even if they can afford it, they will be hard-pressed to get a ticket, due to the current system. The grounds are full of older fans; unless we encourage the youth to come, we will all die off, and there will be nobody left.

Also how can it be justified to charge ÂŁ40 for a polyester shirt, made in a sweat shop in the Far East? I know all the clubs do it but it is wrong.

The only way for us all to be stakeholders in this thing we love is for us all to become shareholders. Some German clubs (I believe – but I’m no expert) have some fan ownership, and surely this would help us all to feel part of the club, and to have a voice, and a right to speak out on our own behalf.

We are otherwise giving loyalty to people who have their own interest at heart and not the clubÂ’s. If we were to move, may I suggest we take a leaf out of Man CityÂ’s book and look at a site near Speke Airport. There is a fair amount of brownfield land around there and it would make a lot of sense to be near the airport and the area is not so developed as around the Everton area, so I would hope it would be cheaper.

One other thought: Surely, if we want value for money with the latest windfall from the TV deal, the best place to spend it is Europe, where the majority of clubs canÂ’t compete with us on purchase power, and (for real Europeans) work permits are not a prerequisite.

Dave Abrahams
23 Posted 04/05/2015 at 14:09:16
Great concluding article, Lyndon. If only Kenwright cared about the club as much as yourself and other Blues supporters on here, weÂ’d be in a lot healthier state.

Patrick, I wouldnÂ’t worry about BillÂ’s health; he has looked okay on a few TV shots and sounded okay on a lot of radio shows... the devil looks after his own!

Steve Barr
24 Posted 04/05/2015 at 14:35:40

A great series of articles that have aroused a range of emotions for me. From immense pride in our club given its history as a founder member of the Football League, honours won, the style in which we won them, contribution to the community etc, through to misery, frustration and sadness watching the clubÂ’s slow decline over the past couple of decades, culminating in this debacle of a season. I for one, however, am still optimistic about our future.

We have a solid enough platform on which to build. We have a good youth development programme, a sound enough financial footing with an increasing level of revenue accruing from the Premier League coffers, which with elementary financial management should provide a foundation to build and sustain a decent squad capable of being competitive in the top 6.

The club, however, needs somehow to find that visionary leader that can take the club by the scruff of the neck and take it to the required level. I hate to say it but Bill Shankly comes to mind in how he took over and transformed Liverpool FC.

We may not be able to buy the very best players but really, how many world class players are there out there? As you mention in your article, Liverpool alone has spent millions on average players. The ÂŁ40m on Mangala being a great example. There are many more clubs in the Premier League that have done the same.

Surely an astute manager, who actually knows how he wants the team to play (has to be the old Everton way, of course – a patient, agile, modernised and Corinthian Everton will do for me) and knows the attributes of the players that can deliver that vision, can put together a competitive squad with all the options out there.

It canÂ’t be long before excellent players get pissed off and finally work out that it has to be much more rewarding playing every week in front of a great fan base at a great club like Everton than warming the bench at one of the top 4 or 5 money clubs? After all, their entire playing career is relatively short!

Probably wishful thinking on my part, but I really do believe the good times can return.

Tony McNulty
25 Posted 04/05/2015 at 14:45:20
I have just finished writing a book; it will be published in September.

Somewhere in there I use a quotation from Richard Feynman. He says: "The truth always turns out to be simpler than you thought."Âť

I am persuaded that the complex ownership structure is the main reason some prospective purchasers have walked away. Who wants the hassle of dealing with so many individuals and trying to get so many parties to reach agreement? To buy a new stadium for some of these billionaires is little more than a bunch of change.

I still hope to wake up one day and see the headlines: "Billionaire to buy Everton" – I am probably dreaming.

I donÂ’t really dislike our Chairman. But as regards selling Everton, he does remind me of that tattoo of St George: always sitting astride the horse, yet he never goes anywhere.

Nick West
26 Posted 04/05/2015 at 15:10:34
I donÂ’t want our club to be like Man City or Chelsea (if successful) or Aston Villa (if not). I donÂ’t want to be surrounded by new Evertonians just cos weÂ’ve paid ÂŁ50M for Cafelito Costa or whoever and weÂ’re in the Champions League.

WhereÂ’s the pleasure in having some rich twat throw cash at our famous club? Fans get carried away with the sewer that is the Premier League.

IÂ’m proud to have an Evertonian as chairman. And IÂ’m proud that when I meet blues they are real fans.

With a bit of luck, we can make the Champions League without selling our soul... and imagine how much better it will feel — it will be real and authentic.

Eric Myles
27 Posted 04/05/2015 at 15:34:23
"The team would have to retain a strong core of players and reinforce by sales or free agents/low cost buys."

So business as usual Ray #16?

Declan Brown
28 Posted 04/05/2015 at 15:19:36
Brilliant article again, Lyndon. A great read.

I have a friend whoÂ’s been a lifelong Man City fan for over 30 years, he likens our situation with Kenwright to that of theirs with Peter Swailes, heÂ’d never sell up and hung on to owning City at all costs regardless of how bad they were on the pitch.

City got very lucky with the timing of their stadium being handed to them to rent (and Mansour eventually bought it); they had a dodgy owner who had to sell up to Mansour and the rest is history.

WhatÂ’s happening at City is a dynasty being built, the foundations are strong and future proof, the stadium will soon be 60,000+ with all the mod cons, their training complex is world class, everything about them says theyÂ’re aiming to be the next Barcelona. Their ambition will always be there as Man Utd are their neighbours so theyÂ’ll always have to strive for better and that bodes well for their future. If youÂ’re a City fan, the future is exciting, compared to the days of Royle getting them out of League 1.

We had our winning EuroMillions ticket with the Kings Dock, ÂŁ30m for a 55,000 stadium on the waterfront with all the mod cons and extras with it to bring in more income. But Kenwright blew it along with one of the most disgraceful lies and the eventual ousting of Paul Gregg to cover his shame. Then the golden ticket, the euromillions triple rollover ticket, Mansour arrives and wants to buy the club, Bill says "No, only investment needed here, IÂ’m in charge," so the Sheikh heads to Manchester and itÂ’s goodbye Golden Bricks Road.

Whilst Kenwright is here, we are going nowhere fast, having to sprint just to stand still with what weÂ’ve got; how long before exhaustion kicks in? WeÂ’re just one bad managerial appointment from being the next Sheff Wed or Nottm Forest. If the finances are that bad, we could be next Coventry, Leeds or Portsmouth waiting to happen, all in the golden era of the Premier League.

When you sit down and think of all the lies, the cock-ups, the missed opportunities, and how our clubÂ’s management blew all the opportunities, it would give you a serious dose of IBS.

I understand why Bill loved Moyes so much. Stability, but boring mundane stability, every year, no chance of going down, the occasional big team getting turned over at a bear pit Goodison as the underachievers occasionally turned over the lions and gave us something to smile about it. Moyes and Kenwright were the perfect fit for each other, finishing 5th or 6th was MoyesÂ’s equivalent of being a champion; Bill lapped up the overachievers doing it again and again whilst the money disappeared into operating costs.

You want to start dreaming about the good old days coming back, that depends on the next owner, but donÂ’t hold your breath because Kenwright is going nowhere, heÂ’ll be here until either his health says no or most likely when the TV money golden goose is gone and footballÂ’s finances implode at the next TV deal.

I was just 8 years old when Van Den Hauwe scored that goal in the first minute at Carrow Road to win our last league title. Knowing what I know now, I wish I could go back to that day to savour it better than I did back then.

A sobering piece Lyndon for a sobering predicament. I doff my cap to you for your effort.

Matt Muzi
29 Posted 04/05/2015 at 14:20:35
Very good articles, thank you Lyndon.

I have always been very sceptical of the claims of 24/7 search for investment and extremely suspicious of the non-disclosure agreements any parties who have been interested in buying the club have allegedly had to sign.

The club is seriously lacking in its off-the-pitch finance/investment strategies and some would say incompetent when you consider the kitbag deal.

I do feel weÂ’re run by a board who are quite happy to keep the ship steady & take their annual returns from the club, without ever (it would appear) putting their hands in their own pockets.

I think the only way weÂ’ll see the current board ousted is if someone comes in with an offer to buy the club that is in their interest, which I canÂ’t see happening.

Or if health & safety legislation forces the club to have to undertake major redevelopment work to Goodison, which financially wonÂ’t be viable and will require us to move to a new stadium.

Patrick Murphy
30 Posted 04/05/2015 at 16:25:33
Matt (29)

Oh the irony; if a few years down the line, Goodison was to lose its safety certificate and we had to return to paying rent to the owners of Anfield in order to fulfill our fixtures. Bill Kenwright –the man who led us back to our original starting position.

Paul Andrews
31 Posted 04/05/2015 at 16:49:30
Great article Lyndon.

Exposes the myth that we have "a great Evertonian as chairman, a chairman who will only pass the reins onto someone who has the club at heart"

Bill Kenwright is looking for a massive return on his stake. Full stop.

Christine Foster
33 Posted 04/05/2015 at 16:43:04
Excellent set of articles, Lyndon, well done. Rather puts the last decade in context very well. This last one rather encapsulates a lot of my thoughts regarding BK and the management of the club.

We are in a league of our own as Evertonians, perhaps we are just dinosaurs waiting for a new age to dawn. But you ask what we want as fans and it made me reflect of a number of issues relating to how the club has been run, on and off the pitch, how supporters and shareholders have been treated, the influence of inactive / unsupportive board members, and the basic lack of good commercial acumen from general management.

It’s not that I am bitter – far from it; I love my club and for that reason I find its attitude so annoying to those who love it and probably those who would love to own it.

We have been run poorly for many years and yet we are still in the top division; lied too, yet we are still at Goodison Park. But with the cash cow that is Sky, profits are significant. Clearly it is nothing commercially significant we have done to improve our lot. Frustratingly we are often now held up as a club that is well run. Not by many Evertonians though.

The attributes of the type of club that Everton are currently viewed as are more suited to the Championship, and it is a club that is awaiting the transition to another level. Clearly to, without the financial means or board inclination to provide a strategy or a vision to enable that transition, we are in limbo.

I remember a few years ago being taken to task by the editors when I suggested that the present situation could not go on, it was suggested that it most certainly could as long as we stayed in the Premier League. How true that was.

The very sad thing amongst many of our supporters, is the inability to remember the deceit and ridicule with which the board treated fans and shareholders alike. Nothing has changed, no apologies ever made, no approaches to mend bridges, the legacy will be forever tarnished.

Whilst supporter groups gave the management a hard time and probably entrenched their attitudes, it was, in my opinion, a legitimate response to what we as fans had been fed for so long.

Myself as a supporter would like to see the future thus:

1. A club that held dear its traditions and relationships with the city and its fans, to be Everton and held in respect by others and ourselves.

2. Transparency and honesty in how the club is managed and its communications with supporters and shareholders alike.

3. A true camaraderie that embraces the team, management and supporters, one team, one front, in unity, shared belief, shared objectives and shared vision. Unity.

4. Realism, pragmatic honesty, no bullshit. If we cannot eat at the top table then we are able to forge together teams built on pride, skill and teamwork who can rattle the chair legs of the table. We make it easy for no-one.

5. A management team and a board of directors who will work tirelessly for the betterment of the team, the business ahead of personal interests. Ones that can earn our trust.

I could go on but you get the drift. It’s not a wishlist, nor is it unrealistic, but it will not happen with the current management in place. Sooner or later change will have to happen, but I pray that it’s under better management.

Mike Oates
34 Posted 04/05/2015 at 16:59:22
I was out last weekend, with a number of people, one of which who has been a workmate for 20 years and is a Man City fan, another bloke who I met for first time ever was a Chelsea fan, all in our 50s / 60s. Both didnÂ’t like the way their clubs have bought success but the Chelsea fan said to me he admired EvertonÂ’s approach and their high regard by all.

But, if you’re talking about history, it will only be Chelsea, Man City, Man Utd who will feature in the future history books. It hurt, IÂ’ll tell you, but heÂ’s right. The only chance weÂ’ve got is what Sam Hoare #7 has stated, and that is to find a rare gem of a manger who can build a cheap but great team, but heÂ’ll have to do it quickly before the vultures arrive and pick of the players, as with Dortmund.

Tom Evans
35 Posted 04/05/2015 at 17:43:03
Thanks for the series of articles, Lyndon, they encapsulate exactly my thoughts.
Eugene Ruane
36 Posted 04/05/2015 at 17:16:05
Chris (10) - "We just have to keep believing, that’s all!"

Despite having just renewed my season ticket, I donÂ’t, not for one second.

So why did I renew?

Well the (excellent) OP helps explains why – "purely to indulge a love of the game and a tribal sense of belonging; for the camaraderie and the familiar routine of the match-going experience; the simple desire to support a team towards success (or, at the very least, enjoy enough memorable experiences in the pursuit of success)"

All that and conditioning or force of habit.

Everton right now offers me a distraction, a reason to get off my arse every couple of weeks, curry and chips, a few laughs,the occasional good win, conversation, ammo to debate at the game/in the pub.

Plus I love a European trip when the chance comes along.

But I donÂ’t (canÂ’t) believe, that under the present regime, any dreams are possible.

As far as Â’successÂ’ goes, IÂ’ve simply given up on the idea.

It’s one of the reasons I can’t get as worked up about Martinez as others do – I see all his flaws and yes, his particular brand of blarney grates like fuck, but I believe with our lack of resources, anyone replacing him isn’t going to do anything either (and few would be likely to give us a 5th).

Ray (#16) – "My view is that the club is in a spiral of decline which will never be turned around with the current ownership. The club’s turnover is not sufficient to allow enough investment in both the playing side and the infrastructure to create the conditions for success"

I think in an odd way, itÂ’s worse than a spiral of decline (that at least would have a conclusion) this is a loop, a kind of groundhog day scenario.

We probably have enough in the way of resources to stay in the division and to bounce around indefinitely between (guess) 12th-ish and 6th-ish, but... thatÂ’s it.

Would I prefer we went down? Of course not, but a future of indefinitely treading water is (to me) only slightly less depressing.

IÂ’m 55 and in my relatively short time on the planet, Everton have won four titles, three FA Cup finals and a European trophy. Live or on telly, I got to actually witness them all bar the title in 1963 and I have seen an Everton side regarded as the best team in Europe, so at least I have some great memories.

Those who have seen us win nothing and have only really known the present board of hopeless, bullshitting chancers have my deepest admiration (and sympathy).

Frank Wade
37 Posted 04/05/2015 at 18:21:12
Great work Lyndon. The recurring theme in most of this thread is that we need a moneybags figure to invest (or donate). Do you or does anyone on the Forum know the implications of the FFP restrictions on future investments?

From what I have read on FFP, I think we would be restricted to making a loss of no more than ÂŁ105m over 3 years and to an increase in salary outlay of ÂŁ4m per annum. I am reading this to mean the maximum loss that can be covered by inward investment.

If we are to finance a new stadium and some additions to the team, ÂŁ35m a year does not give us much. We would of course have the TV money and Commercial profits to add, as would our competitors. The maximum permitted Salary increase of ÂŁ4m would allow us buy just one marquee player on equivalent of ÂŁ80k a week or add two on ÂŁ40k.

Bill Gall
38 Posted 04/05/2015 at 17:27:37
Understanding that this excellent article had to be written it still makes sad reading to supporters like myself .Being fortunate to witness our earlier league and cup wins and looking forward to the following season our expectations were high, and it is a sad state of affairs, that the way the club is run today our expectations are just "hoping" we may do well.

We are in a catch 22 situation in realizing that the only way to become a league and cup winner with successful European results we will have to hope that some billionaire will take us over as a hobby ( R.Abromavich ) or some middle east royal family that will not only buy us a winning team but invest in the community as the owners of Man City are.

For the supporters who do not want this type of ownership but want Everton to be run on similar lines as today but without a new chairman and board what will be the most important signing is a team manager. This person regardless who it is will have to be ruthless ,have a better scouting organization be prepared to work within a budget at times for a number of seasons, and have a knowledge of various systems against different opponents.

Looking at our youth system for answers . Everton have all ways had a decent youth system with the likes of Harvey, Royle, Rooney, and Barkley to name a few but they just come in as individuals. By that statement I mean there is really only one club that has had a team from the youth system and that was Man Utd with a team of the Neville broÂ’s .Beckham. Scholes, Giggs and a couple of others from the youth squad who played together from youth to first team. Everton have never had a youth squad that it was ok to bring in 3-4 youth players on a regular basis to form the nucleus for the future and in todays market will find it difficult to keep good youth players with potential.

As I stated under our present regime,and that looks like it is not going to change, the most important signing will the manager, and unless he can improve drastically Mr Martinez doeÂ’s not tick all the boxes. So to me the future will remain the same with highs and lows sometimes close to the glass ceiling but never beyond it ,start off well but be let down in the January window, be given promises that are never kept, but being Evertonians will take it on the chin and come back for more.

One comment aside my wife said to me "if it is so bad why do the supporters who complain keep going"

Dave Ganley
39 Posted 04/05/2015 at 20:00:41
Excellent series of articles Lyndon, thanks very much.

Well as to what I want to see, in the short term I do have a number of expectations.

The first being that no matter who is on the playing staff, I expect all players to do their utmost to win a game and show a determined and energetic attitude to reflect that. I expect all players to give everything for our club in the pursuit of victory. If they show those attributes then if we lose, I can accept that.

A manager who shows he can learn from mistakes and can prepare a team for all aspects of a game and to be ready to take the field suitably equipped to win any game of football.

A commercial department that enables a supporter to be able to buy a team shirt from any sports store in our home city let alone anywhere else. A commercial department that splashes the name Everton all over our city alongside the RS motifs that blight every street and outlet. A commercial department that actually makes some money for our club and not sits on their thumbs doing absolutely jack shit.

I expect our great club to seriously challenge for each and every competition they enter, including the league. This may not be realistic but going into games with damage limitation thoughts will inevitably lead to defeat anyway. How many times have we been to Arsenal, Chelsea, United , City and the RS and come away with a defeat after yet another rearguard action in which we spent the majority of the game in our penalty area? I expect EFC to be more positive than parking the bus and lets face it, these days the PL is not the imposing beast it was a few years ago, with the exception of Chelsea (who are not vintage themselves) the top clubs are all beatable.

I expect a long term plan as to when we will be able to realistically challenge for the league title and also a plan as to what we are proactively doing to arrest the pitiful sequence of seasons that are passing by without lifting any kind of trophy.

These are the bare minimum requirements I expect from our club.....we donÂ’t need a bucket full of money for those requirements, just a bit of heart and common sense and a realisation from the club/board that they have an obligation to do the best for all long suffering supporters instead of seemingly being ignorant of the slide into obscurity we are fast heading for. EFC are not meeting any of these expectations at present and should be held accountable as to why not. Lack of a billionaire owner and a bottomless pit of money canÂ’t be blamed for the lack of my expectations being realised, just very poor management from top to bottom.

In the long term, a decision needs to be made definitively as to whether we stay at GP and redevelop or move. As with everything at our club, indecision always seems to cost us greatly. We are never proactive and hardly reactive either.....we just seem to muddle along and hope for the best. If we get a billionaire owner then brilliant but Bill Kenwright needs to actually be a "wonderful Evertonian" and try to sell the club to someone who can actually move the club forward. I am fed up with the excuses that because we are not from London we cant sell....thatÂ’s utter nonsense and yet another excuse that the apologists like to throw into the equation because Bill wont sell.

In an ideal world, EFC would build a quality squad capable of regularly challenging for the title, however in reality, we need a rich owner to enable us to compete on all fronts on a regular basis. Like it or not, money rules in the PL. I have been lucky to witness 2 title wins in the 80s and personally, if we somehow managed to get a rich owner and we won the title on the back of it, would celebrate equally as long and hard as I did the other 2. Like it or not, the only way to consistently win the title these days is with cash and again, personally, would rather do that than drift into obscurity with my principals in tact by declining the services of a rich owner. It would be like trying to box with one arm tied behind your back. We all dream of doing a Notts Forest etc but the big boys wont let you build a team without ripping out all the genuine talent before the teams potential is realised. You need to fight fire with fire and unfortunately in this day and age that fire is a bucket full of cash. Keep on the lookout for a bored Sheik

Jamie Crowley
40 Posted 04/05/2015 at 22:44:28
My opinion of what is best for this Club really doesnÂ’t matter. Not when discussing the state of the Club on a macro level with the backdrop of years of history - a history IÂ’ve not had the honor and privilege to be a part of. I leave that to the veterans, and read with delight their insights.

What I do want to say is this:

Lyndon, your writing ability is sublime. I never tire of reading anything you post / publish. It is always measured, intelligent, and enjoyable. It always spurs the most intelligent and thought-provoking responses from TW membership, and has a magical way of avoiding vitriol.

Outstanding series and piece.

Terry Murphy
41 Posted 04/05/2015 at 22:46:22
Weirdly enough, I feel a bit relieved having read the comments here. It seems most of us donÂ’t want to see us sold to become some oil-sheikÂ’s plaything. Thank god for that. That leaves us with the hope that Bobby Brown Shoes (okay someone else if he canÂ’t) can patiently build a team that can compete on our terms. You may say IÂ’m a dreamer but I glad to see IÂ’m not the only one. Tread softly youÂ’re treading on our dreams....
Andy Finigan
42 Posted 04/05/2015 at 23:32:48
Well said Dave and Jamie. Going to bed very dejected, knowing how true many wise but painfull comments are spot on.

Unfortunatly we all know that we are powerless in altering the situation but can only put our faith in our present manager.
I think we all feel the same pain, a mourning sort of pain.

If only there was an injection to put me in a state of hybernation only to be awoken when things look a whole lot better.

Jay Harris
43 Posted 05/05/2015 at 03:11:50

as always a literary masterpiece diplomatically highlighting all of our ills and possible remedies.

I, like a number of other posters, have been lucky to see our best periods of managers, players, trophies and told all the stories about Dixie and Tommy Lawton from my dad and grandad but I have not yet lost hope.

Everything goes in cycles and we still have some very good youngsters and some very able "old pros"

The problem as I see it is we are like a rudderless ship with no direction.

It is OK for Kenwright to say "He promised CL" but where is the plan to achieve it.

We need a plan and a sense of purpose and vision that embraces the board, a capable manager and all the supporters.

Useless second rate managers and disinterested board members that generate disillusioned supporters and demotivated players will not cut it.

We do not need a billionaire or Oligarch we just need a proper board and the "new" Mourhino.

Simple just like football!!!

Nicholas Ryan
44 Posted 05/05/2015 at 02:45:15
Sorry to be brutal folks, but here it is.

1. We are never likely to win the League again.
2. We are never likely to be relegated.
3. We are likely to be permanent members of the PL, finishing between 6th and 10th each season.

If youÂ’re OK with that, carry on supporting; if youÂ’re not, then you need to look somewhere else.

Rick Tarleton
45 Posted 05/05/2015 at 06:12:35
These articles have been brilliant analyses of the stasis at Everton. Lyndon, youÂ’ve quietly moved us to an appreciation of the problem that surmounts all others at Goodison: Bill Kenwright.

That some Everton fans donÂ’t realise this is the issue, means that "BoysÂ’ Pen Bill" is allowed to continue. You ironically posit the situation that "a more reflective and altruistic Bill" might become more rational and less ego-driven. Well watch the way Dave Whelan became more tolerant and more reasonable as he got older. Old men and I am one become more entrenched and more convinced that they are right.

Bill wants to wave from the DirectorsÂ’ Box, he wants to give the odd interview telling everyone what a great Evertonian he is and above all he wants to keep his position in charge of Everton.

IÂ’m about BillÂ’s age and I reckon that unless bill goes very soon, I could well see Everton back in the second tier of English football where they were when I first saw them play.

Dick Fearon
46 Posted 05/05/2015 at 06:28:20
About 5 years prior to Bill Kenwright entering the boys pen I began my own Everton journey. More than 60 years later I still hold a passion for everything connected with the club. Twenty years on rickety football specials I formed lifelong pals. My wife who used to roar with the best on the Gwladys street end was once carried out after fainting with excitement at a derby game still holds strong opinions on club affairs.

What I am trying to point out Lyndon is in all that time I have never seen such a good summary of how the club got to where it now is and where it might be heading. Please accept my congratulations on your excellent contribution to the Everton Story.

The Slumbering Giant was a toure de force not only of our club but also the Premier League. I appreciate the difficult job you had in researching the minutiae of matters that certain people are determined to keep secret.

In the fullness of time all the facts about Kings Dock, DK etc and potential new owners will be revealed. Only then we will know whether or not certain figures are entitled to praise or vilification. Hopefully part of the story will come direct from the horses mouth.

Those who are privy to what went on behind closed doors would be wise to reveal the unvarnished truth before the vultures swoop.

Lyndon, If I am to make one small criticism of part iv it is where you mention Martinez as playing a part in our future. As recently as a few days ago he stood impassively with arms folded seeking advice from no one as his team, OUR team were being shredded by Villa cellar dwellers. With a mere 15 minutes to go he belatedly made desperately overdue substitutions.

Not even the much maligned Moyes would have been so paralysed of thought for so long.

Regular Twebbers might recognize the ginger one was definitely not a favourite of mine yet t the current incumbent is much worse.

Paul Andrews
47 Posted 05/05/2015 at 06:56:00
If this great article was about a similar situation at Liverpool FC, the Echo would have serialised it.
Eddie Dunn
48 Posted 05/05/2015 at 08:45:27
Dick46; Interesting point about Martinez. He stands alone throughout almost the whole game, whereas most others do seem to discuss ideas with their fellow coaches. You never see Roberto shuffle up to his side -kick unless it is time to get a sub on.

I think it is an example of his single-mindedness, and perhaps a defect. I recon that even Steve Round would have been able to make a suggestion to Moyes!

Jim Hourigan
49 Posted 05/05/2015 at 12:54:39
A remarkably, balanced and erudite analysis of our situation - well done and congratulations.

Not so much the Â’elephant in the roomÂ’ more the crux of our problem is the refusal of BK to acknowledge he can no longer compete at the level required if we want to be successful. As we all know success comes at a price, but is BK prepared to pay that price? i.e. let go!! Whether it’s a sugar daddy or the preferred fan ownership model, an injection of funds is the only way we will move forward in the current climate. Things may change, but realistically our chances of producing a competitive young team are almost zero – another Rooney or similar, will be snapped up by the vultures in the top 4 – what price Stones and Barkley still with us in 2 years? Therefore without funds we will find it nigh on impossible to match the Â’money bagsÂ’.

Sadly BKÂ’s sentimental oft repeated boys pen journey, has put him in a position where unless a younger, richer, fellow Evertonian comes forward he will never relinquish the reins. In his own mind I doubt he could countenance anything else, so a long, painful decline is too much of a possibility, but as Evertonians we will follow that path because itÂ’s also in our blood.

Phil Walling
53 Posted 05/05/2015 at 17:23:00
Even the Moores family eventually succumbed to an approach to sell the Club and I am sure the same scenario will occur with either Bill or his heirs.

But, as Lyndon points out, there is absolutely no guarantee that the eventual purchasers will be any improvement on the present owner or the many clowns who seem attracted to this kind of investment elsewhere.

Whilst Â’getting rid of BillÂ’ is seen by most of us as the panacea for all ills, the odds are that the sale, in itself, will bring little change in fortunes. The Premier League is, at best, viewed by its funding mechanism, Sky Sports, as competed for by just six clubs and we ainÂ’t one of them!

As IÂ’ve said for years we are a Â’seventhish outfitÂ’ and we better learn to like it. Have all the dreams you will but I promise you they will NEVER be fulfilled!

Paul Andrews
55 Posted 05/05/2015 at 19:24:17
Bill Kenwright should not be mentioned in the same sentence as John Moores. Unless it is to point out the difference in class, style and financial backing of the manager of Everton Football Club.
Andy Crooks
56 Posted 05/05/2015 at 20:11:30
Phil, we are a sevenish outfit and thatÂ’s where money dictates we will stay. Things change, though, and I believe that it doesnÂ’t take that much for dreams to be fulfilled. Is it beyond probability that the FA Cup winners would get the fourth Champions League place at some time in the future? That would be a game changer.
Bobby Thomas
57 Posted 05/05/2015 at 20:49:46
The money, as time goes on gents, will increasingly dictate we will not be a seventh-ish outfit.

The uplift in cash from the TV deal is the uplift all the other teams get. We are financially capped by the ground and stand still whilst others progress & get level to or move ahead of us. Those already in the distance surge away.

We will gradually slip down the wages paid table. It will be a slow, sad slide.

Spurs, West Ham & Liverpool are all finalising ground moves or redevelopment.

We do... nothing. The big idea from this inventive board is to pursue another free ride, nightmare to deliver thatÂ’s 6/7/8 years from happening if it even gets going.

No chance of any investment from the current board & as the aim, judging by previous episodes, is to probably somehow get a ground move on the cheap & then kerrrrchinnnng, sell us for the handsome profit, no chance of selling as yet.

One day, unless we are careful, all this time, lost time & inaction will stack up & we will be fucked.

Come 2020, we will still be playing at Goodison & he will still be in charge. The future will be bleaker still.

Peter Mills
58 Posted 05/05/2015 at 19:32:02
Lyndon, thank you for your excellent articles which have prompted many eloquent, heartfelt comments.

The only true law of life is that everything changes. That will apply to the current state of football as we know it now. It may implode, or it may move on to become a global, televised championship, played in front of 150,000 crowds in India or China. I donÂ’t want/foresee Everton being part of either scenario.

So, I think we have to hang in there. Purchase, and bring through, young, hungry players, who see us as a possible passage to higher things, but make them buy into our ethos while they are here, have their salaries heavily geared towards success bonuses (points AND cups), let them go with a big pat on the back when they leave, have others fighting for the place their departure will create. Make players hungry, instead of the complacent wasters we see playing for and against us weekly.

Do that for maybe 10 years. Then reappraise.

Christine Foster
59 Posted 05/05/2015 at 21:17:16
The club is NOT for sale. It never has been.

BK Looking for a buyer 24/7 is bullshit.

What may be for sale are the shares that some of the board may wish to sell, if the price is inflated enough. However, as Lyndon points out, none of whom have any inclination to sell. The total value of the share base may be currently north of ÂŁ200m given the influx of cash from Sky inflating value and profitability.

Until a person or company can offer members of the board enough cash to take a controlling interest, little will change. In the meantime, shareholders will be rewarded any dividends the club wishes to pay them. Will it all be ploughed back into the club?

Owners of a business take the profits as they see fit. At the current rate of inflated profitability, it's hard to see any board member voting for any sale. Turkeys voting for Christmas, anyone?

Greg Anderson
60 Posted 05/05/2015 at 21:53:48
Everton is a special, even unique club, not just to us the fans, but in the game as a whole. Of all the major clubs in England, the gameÂ’s spiritual home, we alone occupy the high ground, which all of our "rivals" have to a greater or lesser degree long since vacated. We alone continue to field competitive, even occasionally exciting teams, while retaining a real, meaningful sense of our historical identity, our soul, and the soul of the game itself. We are not a mere brand, an empty exercise in purchasing "success" to sell a lifestyle accessory to the world.

I genuinely feel sorry for my poor old Dad, a Chelsea fan, since the club that he still loves, the club of Bentley, Greaves, and Osgood, no longer exists. If I were a Chelsea fan, I would envy the fans of Everton more than those of any other club, since the singular "value" of their club is something that had to be hard earned over the course of more than a century, something that can never be purchased. It is a value that may be harder for fans in the "the global market" and City analysts to appreciate, a value that cannot be easily translated into dollars and Euros. And it is a value that more than anything, we have to retain, even in this shoddy money-grubbing world of ours. Because once it is gone, it is not coming back.

Of course, itÂ’s great to win things. Of course last season was much more enjoyable than this one. But whatever we do in the future (ideally, we would be run by a Supporters Trust), I hope we somehow retain our enviable, unique status in the game, even if it is a status that only the minority, the real fans of the game, can truly appreciate.

Ian Smitham
61 Posted 05/05/2015 at 23:34:48
Lyndon, another superb piece, thank you. Lots to consider over the series, and many of the contributions have been well balanced and equally well thought out.

Again, Thank you.

Ian Smitham
62 Posted 06/05/2015 at 00:12:14
Christine (#59), fellow Evertonian, the dividends issue is a non -tarter. The Board on behalf of the Shareholders declare a Dividend. It is nil and has been as far as I know.
Eric Myles
63 Posted 06/05/2015 at 01:31:46
Andy #56, isnÂ’t it from next season that there will be no 4th place CL spot? It will only be the 3 CL places but as a sop to the other 2 teams that try to buy CL places the FA and League cups losers spots will go to the league placings, provided the winners are one of the top 3.

Thus the status quo is maintained, the top 5 spenders and media darlings will get places in Europe and with the EL winners getting an automatic CL place there is incentive for them to take it seriously.

Jamie Crowley
64 Posted 06/05/2015 at 02:07:46
Phil Walling @53 -

Never say never.

I say this to every Evertonian with a great deal of humility and ask you to step outside your "one sport box" and step into the American sports landscape – as much as it pains you and you may roll your eyes – for just a few minutes.

1918. The year, 51 years before my birth, the Boston Red Sox won a World Series in baseball.

The heartbreaks were SO many. We were cursed. We sold Babe Ruth after winning the series and "the ghost of Babe" wouldnÂ’t allow us to ever win again.

October 28th, 2004 – 86 years of drought, 35 years of my life before me, they finally won it.

I wonÂ’t get into all the personal euphoria of crossing that finish line, the despair of the years in between 1918 and 2004 that so many witnessed and felt.

I will say that when you get there, the rough road you travelled makes it so much sweeter.

And I will say this, Phil: Never say never. I lived in the world of "TheyÂ’ll never win it."

They did. Finally. And so can Everton one day. My other sports "love" proved it.

Michael Kenrick
65 Posted 06/05/2015 at 05:18:35
I donÂ’t believe Everton have ever paid dividends. Well, certainly not during BillÂ’s reign.
Matt Traynor
66 Posted 06/05/2015 at 05:49:39
Michael #65 (and Ian #62), I believe I read somewhere that the club was now paying DirectorsÂ’ fees, which is a recent departure from the norm? I donÂ’t know who receives, or how much, but I think I read it was 6-figures, and IÂ’m not personally aware of any Director who has an executive role at the club.
Eric Myles
67 Posted 06/05/2015 at 05:54:11
Matt, I read something similar recently but it wasnÂ’t our directors per se that the money was related to, but the CEO (although he is a director).

It wasnÂ’t this article Link as the figure I remember was ÂŁ350,000.

Ring any bells?

Eric Myles
68 Posted 06/05/2015 at 06:20:53
Just notice Matt that the linked article refers to the 2010 salaries so presumably Elstone has received performance related pay rises to the ÂŁ350k figure I saw recently.
Michael Kenrick
69 Posted 06/05/2015 at 06:19:36
I may be wrong, but I donÂ’t think Elstone is an Everton Director. As CEO, he likely attends (rare!) board meetings... maybe (like Wyness before him) he may eventually be elevated to that level.

After Wyness became a director, his remuneration as CEO was publicised, as I believe is required by Company Law. To my knowledge, this has not yet happened with Elstone.

Admittedly, ElstoneÂ’s profile appears on the Offcial Website under Â’Board of DirectorsÂ’; this I believe is merely a convenience.

Paul Andrews
70 Posted 06/05/2015 at 06:31:02
Or indeed an inconvenience Michael.
Dependent on your point of view.
Matt Traynor
72 Posted 06/05/2015 at 07:10:22
The point I was referring to was as recently as the Destination Kirkby Public Inquiry, it was stated that none of EvertonÂ’s directors took any fee from the club.

The Guardian does an annual survey of football finances which is so high-level as to be not very useful, but as recently as 1 May 2014 (so this yearÂ’s should be out soon) it stated under the description for Everton:

"Highest paid director: No directors were paid; chief executive Robert Elstone is not a director"

ThatÂ’s obviously changed recently.

Christopher Kelly
73 Posted 06/05/2015 at 07:42:31
Sorry, guys, but this has been blindingly obvious for everyone to see for the past 8 years. If youÂ’re now just figuring this out well then God Bless you, I wish I was that pie-in-the-sky. The blueprint, much like Southampton's, also shouldnÂ’t be some revelation either. Had we actually figured out that we needed to improve from within way back when, weÂ’d be 15 years ahead of where we are now.

Mike Oates (34), The truth of the matter is that any Chelsea fan may be turned off by how their teams have been transformed. Somehow I donÂ’t think he minds that much when they are playing for a Champions League trophy every year and Prem. It may turn him off but there are a lot of fans turned on, I can promise you.

Christopher Kelly
74 Posted 06/05/2015 at 07:46:12
But the truth is weÂ’re not going down. At least not anytime soon. ThereÂ’s too much TV money and too many teams beneath us to ever worry. What unfortunately I can see happening is we turn into Sunderland and become non-relevant for everyone but the fans. Not right!
Eric Myles
75 Posted 06/05/2015 at 08:11:22
Matt (#72), that must have been the article I saw as I recognise the wording, it also had the figure of ÂŁ350,000 at the end which I took to mean ElstoneÂ’s salary.
Tom Dodds
76 Posted 06/05/2015 at 08:10:24
A thorough, incisive and methodically damning report of every aspect of our situation thatÂ’s been brought right up to the present time, Lyndon. Well in. And I hope more fans become more and more aware (asap) of where we are on the map and where more importantly we're we are NOT heading.

There have been people voicing and pointing out similar concerns like-mindedly for many years now, I even remember booing Kenwright when his picture came on the screen at Goodison last year, and people around me started saying Why? What's he done?... To which I replied..... "NOTHING!" (etc) They still didn't get it.

As for the board, with its estimated collective fortune of... I believe somewhere round ÂŁ1 billion, who have not put in so much as a Â’porridge oatÂ’ towards any aspect of improvement of the club since the acquisition of their shares, should, to any fan that ever wondered why we never signed this or that needed player, have registered at the very least a Â’Why the fuck notÂ’ ????.... in their direction.

I have said many times on these forums in the past, that if this present owner and board of (Sky) Money-Grabbing Bastards / Chancers / Leeches etc where in charge of Liverpool FC, they would've been hounded to hell out of there after only 1 season... So why – as the final drip of the tap to your article, Lyndon – have we endured 15 OF THEM??

Richard Jones
77 Posted 06/05/2015 at 09:05:49
I think the devil in the detail is other operating costs, just who and what are people being paid for in that little can of worms!! I think if we knew it would blow the lid on this current shower running our club.
Patrick Murphy
78 Posted 06/05/2015 at 09:25:19

I think that things such as players bonuses and items such as add-ons when the likes of Seamus ColemanÂ’s original move cost ÂŁ60k but eventually cost the club ÂŁ400k according to a former employee of Sligo Rovers. There are loan fees / wages which may also be grouped in those Other Operating Cost figures, IÂ’m not sure what purpose the Other Operating Costs serves but it is most likely a way of saving tax or staying within the FFP rules rather than a useful disguise for sticky-handed directors.

Iain McWilliam
79 Posted 06/05/2015 at 11:13:25
What exactly makes Everton, a club with a great history domestically but now an upper mid table team which was only fleetingly good in Europe, thanks to our neighbours, stand out from the crowd? How do our commercial staff and even Bill Kenwright sell this (in terms of investment, sponsorship and outright selling of the club)?

What makes us hugely better than Aston Villa (who even won the European cup once) or Sunderland (who have a shiny big stadium)? Why would a rich Arab, American or Asian bloke with no natural interest in football – other than to either make money or to flatter his ego – buy Everton? You wont make money buying Everton in the short or medium term as you have to upgrade or move to a new ground. You won't get your ego flattered at Everton because we are in the shadow of two of the most popular clubs in the Asian world and the media pretty much treat us like that little baldy bloke on the Benny Hill show. They won't give us exposure because the sponsors of the shows and newspapers know that Everton fans' numbers worldwide are too small to generate significant income.

The above may sound almost Moyeslike in its negative pragmatism but until one us fans wins the lottery a few times it doesn't matter how many hours a day Kenwright and our CEO spend searching for a buyer (ha!) or investment, it's not likely to happen on the scale we want.

In order to attract the top investment that we need, the club needs to come up with something unique that potential investors want to be associated with. We are not going to win the league, we are unlikely to finish in the top 4 so without stating the obvious we need to be taking the small-fry trophies more seriously. Even if you think the League Cup, FA Cup or Europa League are a waste of time, you should not ignore the exposure it gives worldwide. Success attracts investment. The style of football we play also attracts potential suitors, as does having a young vibrant team even if the results are not always good. Without Barkley or Lukaku we would get even less exposure than we do now (which is miniscule).

I canÂ’t see things changing anytime soon until we do something on the pitch that puts us in the shop window. It's Catch-22.

Ronnie Pearce
80 Posted 06/05/2015 at 10:39:01
The perennial Sky 4-5 will inevitably leave to join the other nailed on certs in Europe to form a Super League, hence the mad scramble to buy over-priced blow-ins who have no affinity or loyalty to regional clubs or their fan base. Then, instead of just rich owners, clubs will have to have rich supporters as well, or more likely, no away support and zero ground atmosphere. It may present Everton FC with its most realistic opportunity of winning a title again, until the whole horrible mess turns full circle again and gets back to its roots.

Tyranny of distance may be the major factor, but I donÂ’t feel the same affinity for the game itself any more. I count myself fortunate enough to have been able to follow the blues home and away, from the 60s until emigrating to Oz in the mid-90s. Always enjoyed away trips, win or lose, could always find some humour somewhere, even when we were getting bricked on the walk from the train station to Elland Road!

I find myself sounding like a right old fart when I speak about the game now, but somehow it was different years ago. They werenÂ’t all glory days. Plenty of dross about in the 70s, early 90s... Maybe it coincided with the social changes that took place at the time, more money, more mobility to follow your team nationally. TV exposure then also seemed like a good thing, not concentrating on just a few clubs as is the norm now.

It seems as though, apart from Sky favourites, other teams are only tolerated to make up the numbers like some sort of cannon fodder, mentioned only when in opposition to the moneyed clubs. I hate the thought of it, but unfortunately for me, my love and addiction to Everton keeps dragging me back in. FuckinÂ’ hate Sky... fuckinÂ’ love Everton. Never leaves you.

Peter Mills
83 Posted 06/05/2015 at 15:48:36
By the way, there is a very good article on Heysel in the June edition of GQ magazine.
Patrick Murphy
84 Posted 06/05/2015 at 17:57:02
We are no longer in the ForbesÂ’ top 20 European clubs but the usual suspects, Chelsea,Arsenal, Spurs, Liverpool, City and United are in the top 10 joined by West Ham and Newcastle in the top 20.

Top 20

Christine Foster
85 Posted 06/05/2015 at 21:30:28
Ian, yes, quite right, but I didnÂ’t say they had been taking dividends, I said they could award themselves those dividends as they see fit, which they can. Up to now its been a non issue as we havenÂ’t been making any money. With the influx of TV money thatÂ’s changed,.

Smoke and mirrors, fees? Operating cost black holes?

All comes down to Trust. Or lack of it.

Jim Hardin
86 Posted 07/05/2015 at 02:24:06
Lain #79;

"The media pretty much treat us like that little baldy bloke on the Benny Hill show." Brilliant! I can just feel them patting me on the head and sending me off stage right. Thanks for that!

Matt Traynor
87 Posted 07/05/2015 at 03:47:41
Richard #77, Patrick #78 - EvertonÂ’s loans cost a staggering amount in interest and financial charges every year. All it needs is one of those "financial instruments" to be through a company connected to one of the owners, and they have a revenue stream that returns their investment plus profit in spades over the years. (And remember, they still retain that investment, hoping for the pay-day of a sale).

Of course prior to any sale they can pay down this debt all they like, get it off the books, and make the club more attractive to the new owner (at the expense of re-investing this money into EFC). They canÂ’t lose.

From memory I donÂ’t think many of these loans are disclosed in detail in the accounts - certainly not the terms of the short-term loans. So if you were to calculate our costs of servicing debt since BK and chums took over (when we were debt-free) I think the amount would be staggering, but still an under-estimate.

Eric Myles
88 Posted 07/05/2015 at 05:55:48
Matt #72, I found the article which states

"Highest-paid director Directors paid for the first time; Highest-paid ÂŁ350,000; chief executive Robert Elstone is not a director" Link

and also "Everton have for years pushed spending on player signings and wages to the limits of their bank's tolerance, but used the new TV cash for housekeeping which bordered on the stingy. Turnover increased ÂŁ35m yet wages increased just ÂŁ6m. The club would have just broken even but for ÂŁ28m profit on the sale of players, principally Marouane Fellaini, to Moyes."

Jason Pullen
89 Posted 07/05/2015 at 08:01:11
The question of how to achieve sustained success is an interesting one. Whilst most if us would probably prefer the idea of building a team and making the Champions League, there is a big difference between making 4th, getting through the qualifier, then managing to stay there.

We saw this year that, once you make a European competition, you then need to invest more to be able to compete in Europe AND still do well enough domestically to be there again the next year. Getting there once isnÂ’t going to bring any significant money in the door. So the team needs to be good enough not just to get there, but also get through the qualifier, have a good run, and make it again the following year. I canÂ’t see that ever happening without a billionaire owner.

Plus if we did make 4th, do you risk the investment in more players not having made it through qualifying yet? We certainly didnÂ’t last time we made 4th. And if the answer is No then getting into the main draw is no certainty.

So itÂ’s either a billionaire (which I canÂ’t see happening either) or at the very doubtful best, a one-off foray might be possible with lots of luck and good management. But as I say, staying there is the even bigger challenge that only lots of money can solve in my view.

Phil Walling
90 Posted 07/05/2015 at 08:23:12
Says it all, Jason. A billionaire or we settle for seventhish........ at best.
Eric Myles
91 Posted 07/05/2015 at 10:22:27
Jason, I think itÂ’s from next season that only the top 3 qualify for group stages, there will be no 4th place qualifying round any more.
Jason Pullen
92 Posted 07/05/2015 at 14:04:03
Fair enough Eric, although I think sometimes people forget it is not just about getting there in the first place, but then staying there as well. And when teams like Man Utd can just throw silly money at getting back there when they miss out, it makes it even more difficult to do, if not impossible without serious money to spend.
Alan Ross
94 Posted 07/05/2015 at 21:18:06
So it appears as though Villa are about to be taken over by a consortium with some high profile blue chip companies in tow for around ÂŁ150m. How does this relate to KenwrightÂ’s assumption that no one is buying clubs any more?
Dick Fearon
95 Posted 07/05/2015 at 21:46:22
Alan, 94,
BKs credibility is already non existent but that doesnÂ’t matter cos he served time in the boys pen and is a true blue etc etc.
Mike Childs
96 Posted 08/05/2015 at 18:10:08
Thank you, Jamie Crowley (#40), for saying what I feel as a newbie fan. Then you bring out the Curse of the Babe. I was 14 years old in 67 when they broke my heart for the first time.

Lyndon simply excellent thank you. I will never give up hope for Everton because of the fan base. You people deserve it.

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