The Turning Point?

Are we at a point where we can finally throw off the shackles of the past, the lack of ambition, the cautious thinking, the poor decision-making and execution?

Paul The Esk 13/03/2018 22comments  |  Jump to last
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Perhaps in the famous words of Winston Churchill, “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning”.

Churchill’s quote came after the first Allied victory of WWII, after a whole series of defeats from Dunkirk to Singapore, the victory at El Alamein was ultimately the turning point.

The question is are we, Everton Football Club, at that turning point? Are we at a point where we can finally throw off the shackles of the past, the lack of ambition, the cautious thinking, the poor decision-making and execution?

Are we about to see a change in Chief Executive Officer, Director of Football, manager and possibly Chairman and Deputy Chairman in the coming months?

Difficult two years

The long-awaited arrival of a new investor rather than dawning a business revolution at Goodison turned into a series of blunders and poor performance in every respect. Yes, we’ve seen significant investment by Moshiri, managerial changes and huge ins and outs on the playing side, but the commercial, communications and development revolution called for in the business have failed to materialise. On the pitch the absence of strategy through the managerial changes and poor player recruitment have been apparent, and even the most ardent Walsh fan would be hard pushed to present any case for the success of the Director of Football role to date.

Look at what’s happened in the business in the last two years – painfully slow progress on the stadium, negligible progress on commercial matters and a further deterioration on the communications front. This at a time when our competitors leap ahead.

Whilst the top 6 seemingly sign new commercial deals on a weekly basis, we’ve been stuck in neutral.

Expensive errors

The recruitment mistakes to date, and the lack of changes to the senior business roles have been hugely expensive for Moshiri.

It’s difficult to believe that many of the signings made would recoup a significant proportion of the fees paid. When one considers Klaassen, Sigurdsson, Bolasie & Williams combined cost more than £110 million, the scale of the poor spending is there for all to see.

Managerial changes have cost in excess of £20 million with a likely further £6 million or thereabouts when Allardyce returns to his retirement in May.

Performance on the pitch has cost us dear too. Every Premier League place is now worth £2 million, so the fall from 7th is going to cost the club. As is the absence of European football. Qualification for the Europa League would likely increase revenues by more than £10 million and, depending upon how sponsorship contracts are written, a likely total cost of £15 million by not qualifying and appearing in the Group stages.

Commercially, aside from the USM Finch Farm deal, there’s little to shout about. Small deals with a derivative trading company and a tyre company are negligible in their impact, whilst the much vaunted Sportpesa deal looks very light in current market conditions. If the rumours of the true value of the Angry Birds deal are correct then again there’s plenty having been left on the table. Tied into long contracts that will not expire until May 2019, the shirt manufacturer and distributor deals are hopelessly inadequate.

The delay in the opening of the stadium is expensive also. Not only is there the prospect of inflation, but arguably an additional year at Goodison Park will cost the club £25 million in lost revenues, before even looking at the potential loss of a year’s increased sponsorship and naming rights arising from Bramley-Moore Dock.

Changes in personnel 

If we are to see a new Chief Executive Officer and perhaps see changes at board level, Director of Football and a new first-team manager in the next few months then the recruitment policies to date need ripping up and re-written.

I’ve said it often but we now need the highest quality managerial appointments on and off the field. We need people who can buy into the development story that should be Everton.

Everywhere you look in the club there’s scope for change and improvement. Isn’t that the ideal scenario for most leaders? Be recruited into a well-resourced company with a clear development and progression plan? Work in a company or club that you can make a difference to?

The “to do” list

The “to do” list is huge.

For a new Chairman, it’s to construct a board capable of meeting the challenges of the “big 6”. It’s to present an identity of solidity, professionalism and a desire to advance. That person has to be capable of taking the Everton name and selling it globally to all stakeholders. Internally, it is to create a corporate culture of “can do”, to be forward thinking and progressive.

For a new CEO, it’s to shake off the timidity of the past. It’s to be bold and aggressive. To rework the main variable income streams of commerce and sponsorship. It’s to present Everton in a manner consistent with our past and our club motto. It’s to take advantage of the numerous commercial opportunities globally that frankly we’ve ignored.

Most importantly, it’s to drive the delivery of the new stadium. It’s to conclude the design process with Dan Meis; close the finance deal with Liverpool City Council, complete alongside Farhad Moshiri the remaining funding; secure the planning permission, appoint the contractors and get a spade in the ground.

For a new Director of Football, it’s to define the role, secure responsibility and accountability; plan the structures required to integrate all the age levels and senior squads into an “Everton” way of doing things; most importantly, it’s to get player recruitment right

For a new manager, it’s to stamp an identity on the team; sort out those not required and fill the gaps where we are short; it’s to create a team that makes a big 7 viable; a team that gives everything and most importantly has the belief and confidence to go to the “big 6” and compete. The scale of the manager’s challenge is the clearest indication of the appalling running of the football club these last two or three years.  As important as all the other roles are, to a large extent their success depends upon the success of the manager and his football team – it is the most vital appointment to be made.

In his “end of the beginning” speech, Churchill went on to say the Allies would in future, have better trained troops and better equipment than the enemy. If the likely changes of the next few weeks/months are to be Moshiri’s El Alamein then he too has to recruit better personnel with better plans to see us battle against our competitors.

Having resourced the club, this is our turning point – we wished the early years of Moshiri’s reign had gone smoother. It is within his powers, and I’d suggest, his abilities to deliver at this time of change, so we too can move on to victories in the future. By virtue of the successes of other companies he runs, now at this turning point is the time to apply those principles to Everton.


Paul, aka, The Esk, can be heard regularly on the Everton Business Matters podcast and writes frequently on the business side of the club at theesk.org

Follow @theesk


Reader Comments (22)

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Derek Knox
1 Posted 13/03/2018 at 22:55:06
Good article Paul, which really identifies what is wrong with Everton at present, coupled with failure to learn from expensive mistakes.

Like I have said may times, we have craved an Investor/Saviour for many, many years, then we eventually get Farhad; who is clearly not a football man, and we see that long awaited dream vaporised but hopefully not vanished for good.

The hope is now, that the Club make the correct appointments with the highest calibre candidates, with higher aspirations for Everton Football Club.

Kevin Tully
2 Posted 14/03/2018 at 00:13:25
Apologies for any offence that may be caused, but there were so many more issues in the public domain many years ago related to the club, it makes me wonder why long-term Blues such as yourself, Paul, are only just speaking up?

This platform has existed for at least 10 years, but suddenly we see a lot of people, including the 'Red Echo' only just holding the custodians to account now our glorious leader is riding off into the sunset.

Sorry, I find it difficult to believe there haven't been some underlying loyalty to the outgoing regime for one reason or another.

Chris Jones [NZ]
3 Posted 14/03/2018 at 01:10:31
Paul
Another excellent piece of writing, but after reading this, and others such as Lyndon's recent articles, I always wonder whether senior figures at the club ever get to see them. Do you have any indication of whether they do or if they become part of general "background noise" to the comms department. They are clearly worth more.
Danny Baily
4 Posted 14/03/2018 at 08:19:21
There will be no turning point. The prospect of troubling the big 6 is more distant now than at any time since the late 90s.

The reality is, we'll have nothing positive to play for for the foreseeable future. Just the threat of relegation and the embarrassment that will cause.

Jamie Evans
5 Posted 14/03/2018 at 08:46:59
Morning Danny @ 4.

Other than that, everything's fine.

Chris Gould
6 Posted 14/03/2018 at 09:46:00
So you weren't inspired by the Churchill quote then, Danny?

Dennis Stevens
7 Posted 14/03/2018 at 10:58:04
We'll be playing them on the beaches. . . . . .
Dean Johnson
8 Posted 14/03/2018 at 11:46:40
In a word, no.

We are Everton, we don't learn and we never will.

Dermot Byrne
9 Posted 14/03/2018 at 12:10:38
Lol Dennis
Paul Richardson
10 Posted 14/03/2018 at 14:00:42
Excellent again Paul. Cannot argue with the points made.

May I add something? The organisational chart needs streamlining for Everton to move forward as a business running a (hopefully) successful football operation.

Who does the manager report to? The director of football? The chief executive? The board of directors? The chairman? The majority shareholder? Or does the director of football report to the manager?

Who determines the style of play throughout the club which culminates in the style of play used at first team level? The manager or director of football or the board or chief exec or chairman of majority shareholder? Is there a style of play?

What is the recruitment policy, who sets it? Etc... see above.

How is that policy reviewed and by who? See above?

And that's just the football side!

Once you've done all that, you need the same thing for commercial activities, communications and all the other functions of the club, plus, I suggest, a completely separate (but integrated) specialist team, not containing any of the above personnel, except probably the chief executive, concentrating on Bramley-Moore Dock and all the complications that project adds to the everyday issues the club needs to tackle to take it to where we would all like it to be.

Ken Kneale
12 Posted 14/03/2018 at 22:19:00
Sadly for supporters dealing with or playing against Everton for the past three decades is more like another famous political comment, Like being savaged by a dead sheep .

Even the supportive Liverpool Echo is starting to ask moderately difficult questions now – it is quite disturbing this has taken so long but clearly there is a loosening of ties. Let's embrace and root out the mediocrity pervading this great football club.

Don Alexander
13 Posted 14/03/2018 at 22:53:47
Well said, Paul. I've tried to say the same thing but without your eloquence. It's way too simplistic to have a go at the manager or team alone, even on the many occasions their performances deserve it.

If Moshiri hasn't realised by now that he's massively over-estimated the character and abilities of those in the boardroom then he must be thick. I hope he isn't, for all our sakes.

John Fieldstead
14 Posted 14/03/2018 at 00:33:38
We all hope we are about to start a new era, where maybe, just maybe, our kids get to see us win a final at Wembley and bring some silverware home. We all hope we can challenge the normal top six in a league game, home and away.

If you are like me, the hope is dwindling. I am fed up with the constant stream of poor management, poor performances, poor excuses and generally feeling poor. We may be one of the big spenders in the league, but overall, the quality of this spending has been, well, poor.

I felt great during the summer when all the signings were coming through the door but that feeling soon evaporated once the team started playing, or not, which has been the case on more than one occasion this season. We need a clear leader at the top. Someone who knows what it means and how it feels to be an Evertonian. Once this is in place, the rest should follow.

Bill should retire, with, should I dare say, his head held high. Elstone, in my opinion, should take the job offer and move back to his rugby roots. Sam should go now, so his predecessor can have the last 8 games of this poor season, to assess what they have got, what we need and and more importantly, who we don't need, Mr Walsh included.

I hope the new stadium happens but will believe it when I see it. I hope we get a new manager but again, I'll believe it when I see it. I hope we get a CEO who makes things happen instead of telling us it might then it never does.

I want whoever is in charge of player recruitment to stop saying we are interested in this or that player and never signing them and just show us the welcoming Finch Farm video with their new kit on. Over to you Farhad/Bill/Usmanov...

Patrick Fennell
15 Posted 15/03/2018 at 02:17:15
The only way to make it a Big 7 is to get the new stadium. Not only would this increase revenues but I think it would help attract players as well. Fancy new stadium with excellent player facilities would show ambition. Never being to Liverpool, how many supporters could be expected to attend matches in the new stadium? Could we average 40,000? 50,000?

Also, being Canadian, I always believe the best way to build a team is to start from the goalie out. Well we have a top young goalie in Pickford so set there for years to come. The next window, we should focus totally on defence as I feel we need three new defenders – it's by far our oldest position.

Pat Waine
16 Posted 15/03/2018 at 09:45:08
Reading this article, you would assume that the Board and Moshiri set out to wreck the club. The ground move is clearly moving ahead and everyone knew that getting planning for a site on the waterfront was going to be difficult and take time.

I think the mess that that the club are in can be laid at the recruitment of Ronald Koeman who, in my view, wrecked the club. He cost a lot to get him in; he then went on a second holiday which delayed work on his first transfer window which was a failure in every way. The second and third windows dealt with only one problem the team had and that was the keeper. All the other problems were never addressed by Koeman.

The idea that people are out there that just want to throw sponsorship money at Everton is nuts. I notice that your article fails to point at another club outside the top six that has done huge sponsorship deals. Everton will have to do well in the league and start qualifying for Europe regularly before the sponsorship deals will be turned around.

Koeman saw to it that we have no name in Europe worth talking about. Is there any club in Europe that had a worse European campaign than Koeman's Everton. We need to sort team aspects first get a manager that plays attractive football and build for the future this will take 5 years possibly. We should have moved to the new ground at that stage and be moving up.

Matthew Kneale
17 Posted 15/03/2018 at 12:30:14
The commercial revenue has been a mystery for years. Why can't a club who boasts a big fanbase, rich history and relative success on the pitch not attract more than a mid-table revenue stream?

It's nothing short of a disgrace. People tell me it's because where not part of the "big six". Absolute rubbish, before the last 4 seasons Everton were a consistent top 6 side under Moyes and I don't see Spurs, Man City or Chelsea with 9 league trophies.

It's time Elstone left. A man with zero ambition or footballing knowledge is perfectly suited to the small world of Rugby league and good riddance. It's time Everton started competing on and off the pitch.

Ian Smitham
18 Posted 15/03/2018 at 19:20:57
Paul, or anyone else, went for a haircut today and had a wait, took the chance to read “The Sun”

Was surprised to see an Exclusive that says Everton are taking financing from Santander, secured by the payments due for Lukaku and John Stones.

Thought all debt paid off and Moshiri was financing the club going forward.

Any thoughts??

Lawrence Green
19 Posted 15/03/2018 at 19:33:02
Ian (#18),

I just read that exclusive from the paper that can't be named which is why I haven't linked it. It looks as if you may not be the only one taking a haircut.

Kevin Tully
20 Posted 16/03/2018 at 13:53:35
I find it absolutely staggering that any conversation or presentations regarding the possible new stadium are dominated by the "legacy" that would be left around Goodison.

This is before funding, planning, or design have been confirmed! Why would you put so much time into something such as a legacy project until the new stadium is actually signed and sealed? They will have at least 3 years to make those plans as and when the new stadium is confirmed.

It strikes me that some people employed by the club have far too much time on their hands.

Lawrence Green
21 Posted 16/03/2018 at 14:00:30
Kevin (#20),

I agree, it does seem to be putting the cart before the horse; however, perhaps Mayor Anderson has tried to ensure that the club don't leave L4 in a mess when they eventually move and has asked Everton FC to 'leave a legacy' to the area.

Another 12 or so months of "will we or won't we get funding, planning etc?" and by this time next year we should know for definite.

Kevin Tully
22 Posted 16/03/2018 at 14:12:51
True, Lawrence. However, EitC have a large presence in L4 and Goodison will be demolished and developed by whoever purchases the land it sits on. So I would have thought the main conversations regarding "legacy" would have to take place with a third party?
Jack Convery
23 Posted 17/03/2018 at 10:29:02
We have become a Lottery winner who has gone out and bought a load of stuff at ludictous prices, thinking it all looks great. however due to a complete lack of taste its tat and makes him / her look ridiculous. then realising this, gets in a financial adviser, who screws them out of more money, whilst trying to look competent. Just your typical EFC story.

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