The huge TV revenues plus a large proportion of our other income has been swallowed up by players wages. We have even made a slight profit on our transfer dealings. Given those figures the dream of a new ground or rebuild has always been pie in the sky.
Kings Dock will see Everton resurface
24 Jul 2001 by Andy Hunter
Everton's immediate financial problems will not deepen as a result of the club's commitment to the £305m redevelopment of Kings Dock, Bill Kenwright vowed last night.
The Blues were yesterday confirmed as the preferred bidders for the prestigious waterfront site and, providing they satisfy questions over such issues as finance, transport and design within the next six months, will kick off the 2005-06 season in a new £150m stadium.
But deputy chairman Kenwright dismissed suggestions the project to enhance Everton's future will starve the present day team of money and time, insisting the two concerns are financially independent of each other.
And he revealed the club has a four-year plan to wipe out its crippling overdraft, which once again leaves manager Walter Smith in a position this summer of having to sell before he can buy.
"At the moment we are talking about something that is going to happen in four years time and there is another time-scale called now," said Kenwright.
"At the moment I am working 16, 17 hours of every day and most of that time is dealing with now, with keeping the club afloat, the finances afloat and making sure Walter does have an amount of money to strengthen the squad.
"I am dealing with the obvious problems of a club that does have financial problems and they are not easy. So it is extraordinary to be talking about building the best and finest stadium in the country when we have the well-publicised problems that we've got now. "But we have to if we are to progress. We have to run one alongside the other.
"We have to say 'OK, there is the dream' and that has come on in leaps and bounds over the last year. On day one I think very, very few Evertonians thought we would get to where we are now, but we have because we have worked, battled and fought to get here. Plus we've got the support.
"Now we are going to have to continue battling day to day for Everton, and it is a battle. It is a big battle keeping Everton buoyant at the moment."
Everton will own 49 per cent of the whole Kings Dock development when it is completed, but with the Blues continuing to languish behind many of its Premiership rivals in spending terms the club's majority shareholder denies money earmarked for the stadium could be given for team-rebuilding now.
"They are two totally different areas of income and finance," Kenwright said. "What we are doing with the Kings Dock is buying into an asset. That is a different kind of finance to buying players.
"There is a rolling fund for players and at the moment, as everybody knows, that rolling fund comes from an overdraft.
"So what we've got to do is gradually get rid of that overdraft whilst looking to the Kings Dock as being the future."
He explained: "It's like buying a new house. You get the money for that from your old house, your mortgage and a bit of borrowing, but if you have got any sense you will still have money for the food and the kids' clothes. That money will come from a different area.
"In the present Everton will continue to be run as it is, while this dream to get us to the Kings Dock takes shape. I know it sounds very complicated but it is not, like the 49 per cent ownership issue.
"Everybody knows I wanted a much bigger portion of the pot than that but we were originally talking about just the stadium.
"Everton haven't got the £150m it will take to build the new stadium, but we were offered a portion of the entire site. If you've got 49 per cent of a huge site like this you can raise money from development outside the stadium to put into it. That's where some of the money will come from.
"Collecting parties or entities to support you is what myself, Paul Gregg and the other partners do for a living.
"All I can tell you is that within football it is almost impossible to find financial support for a football club.
"I wasn't one of 50 people trying to buy Everton Football Club despite what may have been said at the time. I was one of one and since I've started no-one has come to me with a cheque book and asked to buy any of my shares in the club. It hasn't happened.
"But there are a lot of people interested in development and that is how we can get money into Everton.
"We have also got tremendous support from the public sector, which other clubs with new stadium plans like Arsenal don't have, and they are beside us making sure that we only get the best. They want the best, as we do, that's all we want. So to have them as our partners is a big plus."
The future name of the new stadium unlikely to be Goodison Park and the fact that the Blues will own 49 per cent of the development are undoubtedly two contentious issues for fans of the club.
But the bigger picture, Kenwright insists, is one that Everton simply must grasp. He added: "Would you rather own 100 per cent of a stadium that is worth say £10m or 49 per cent of a development where the stadium on its own is worth £150m? It's a simple answer.
"But it's not all about money it is also about raising status. The first time I talked with Walter after I took over the club just over a year ago we talked about the ability of a club to attract new players.
"Footballers come to a club and they look around the stadium and the changing rooms before they make a decision. Too many clubs have leapt over us lately and the old girl Goodison is looking a bit tired now.
"But when we have this we will be able to attract such a class of player and I hope they are not going to be mercenaries but committed to the shirt and if they all come from Liverpool that will be even better for me.
"So this is of such huge importance to us and you have to remember that I was one of those who was emotionally opposed to this in the beginning.
"I wore the 'Goodison For-Everton' tee-shirt and I didn't want to leave. But now my education has come full circle because I know what it can do for us and what it can do for Merseyside.
"This is an opportunity that is so sensational it cannot be missed."