Reports: Elstone considering return to Rugby League

Tuesday 13 March 2018  74 Comments  [Jump to last]

Everton's Chief Executive, Robert Elstone, has been approached by Rugby League about heading up their Super League according to reports.

The 54-year-old has apparently heads a list of a dozen candidates under consideration to oversee the organisation based on his work with the Blues and both his experience and love of Rugby League.

Prior to joining Everton, Elstone worked at BSkyB and Deloitte & Touche and was on the board at Castleford Tigers having already played a role in the initial creation of the Super League in the mid-1990s.

According to The Guardian, no deal has been completed but "it is understood the clubs are confident of tempting Elstone away from Everton."

Elstone was promoted to CEO a decade ago following the departure of Keith Wyness and has been heavily involved in the club's plans to relocate away from Goodison Park.

Recently appointed to the Board, he is currently charged with finalising planning and funding for the proposed stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock but his potential departure from Everton, along with that of Chairman Bill Kenwright, has been the subject of rumour in recent weeks.  

Reader Comments (74)

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John Hughes
1 Posted 13/03/2018 at 12:19:17
The Guardian reporting that Robert Elstone is poised to leave Everton to take over as Chief of Rugby League's Super League. Interesting times.
Brian Wilkinson
2 Posted 13/03/2018 at 12:28:57
He was with Castleford for a while.
Ste Traverse
3 Posted 13/03/2018 at 12:43:49
God help Rugby League with this bloke at the helm.
Philip Bunting
4 Posted 13/03/2018 at 12:49:58
Ste any particular reasons? Could you foresee someone doing any better? I think he comes across well. If it's shirt deals and sponsorship, any ideas you can see that would generate the income better, please apply for the job.
Steve Ferns
5 Posted 13/03/2018 at 14:26:16
The quiet man, possibly a yes man, who should be taking all of the responsibility for the off field problems in my opinion. He's the guy responsible for the day to day running of the club, he's the one who has presided over a lot of the fiascos we've had in recent years. Sure maybe Kenwright told him to do specific things, or he was handcuffed by a lack of investment, but nothing improved after Moshiri came in.

As CEO he needs to be a bigger personality. He needed to be driving Everton forward. But it really seemed like he was doing his best nodding dog impression. A yes man with no back bone if ever I saw one.

I hope Moshiri gets in a proper CEO now. It doesn't matter if he has no football experience, as long as he can do the job properly (marketing and the business side of the club) and we have a decent Director of Football to handle transfer negotiations and the football side of things. We are looking for a David Dein or David Gill type figure.

Matt Hunter
6 Posted 13/03/2018 at 14:37:27
Please let this be true.
Steve Brown
7 Posted 13/03/2018 at 14:41:38
Housecleaning is now properly underway with Kenwright and Elstone leaving. Next Walsh, Allardyce, Lee and Shakespeare.
Colin Glassar
8 Posted 13/03/2018 at 14:42:16
Thank god. Terrible shirt deals despite what his apologists are already claiming. Bloody useless, insipid suit. Hope Boys Pen Bill is next and Wood as well.
Kevin Tully
9 Posted 13/03/2018 at 14:47:28
Maybe Philip Bunting has a point? How could anyone manage to become CEO of a Premier League ever-present club for 11 years without being brilliant at his job?

Unless they just did as they were told? Imagine the length of the non-disclosure agreement after working with our board? Is there enough ink in the printer?

William Cartwright
10 Posted 13/03/2018 at 14:50:55
Looks like Moshiri is starting to take things seriously and let's hope he uses good judgement throughout. Elstone has never been a popular figure, too much of the 'grey man' image and I suspect his character is much the same.

Interesting times indeed. Will be more interesting to see how things stack up during the summer and how we re-group for next season.

Walsh must surely be a candidate for the chop. His impact has been minimal. Just consider the money made yet to be made by the RedShite from buying and selling Coutihno and potentially Salah – staggering.

Len Hawkins
11 Posted 13/03/2018 at 14:57:43
He came from Castleford and I have just watched the Superleague Show from last night on BBC which reported that Castlefords Chief Exec is standing down in May so he could even be going back there.
Tony Cheek
12 Posted 13/03/2018 at 15:00:56
Bye then!
Jamie Evans
13 Posted 13/03/2018 at 15:15:15
Deep, deep joy.

Meanwhile the poll is up to 6%.

After 1 win?

John G Davies
14 Posted 13/03/2018 at 15:19:26
Sooner the better. He plays a big part in a failed regime.

Get them all out. Woods, Walsh, Allardyce, the lot of them and start again with the best we can get in their relative fields.

John Pierce
15 Posted 13/03/2018 at 15:20:11
Elstone seemed to be fit for the purpose he was brought in on, chief penny-pincher. To which I cannot disagree, small-time Everton and all that. But he hasn't evolved despite new ownership, something Steve Ferns points out well.

He had a chance to flourish, and grow with a newly financed club. The chance to shape a seminal ground move at an iconic club is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, he, from the outside looks out of his depth and dated.

Everton need a market leader, an operator with charisma not an accountant with a narrow field of vision, innovation and 21st century ideas.

I for one hope this is the real changing of the guard under Moshiri.

Lawrence Green
16 Posted 13/03/2018 at 15:27:27
This is only good news if he is being encouraged to leave; if it's by his own volition, then rats and sinking ships could spring to mind. The same if the story of Bill Kenwright leaving is also true.
Colin Glassar
17 Posted 13/03/2018 at 15:39:11
I hope he, Moshiri, uses a sabre and not a scalpel. I’d use a bloody guillotine tbh. Get all of the old guard out, they have sat here far too long.
Alex Mullan
18 Posted 13/03/2018 at 15:45:57
Even his face is annoying. Petty I know.
Ken Kneale
22 Posted 13/03/2018 at 16:36:15
Steve @5 spot on - I wish him well but we are long overdue a change in this role to a dynamic leader
John Keating
23 Posted 13/03/2018 at 16:42:11
Long overdue. Hopefully Moshiri will bring in an experienced business replacement.

Elstone will be better off returning to Castleford and opening up a small accountant's office in the main street to look after the local traders. Doubt he'd do too well at that either

Hopefully the start of the full clear-out...

Jay Woods

24 Posted 13/03/2018 at 16:50:32
Good news if true... let's hope someone competent steps in. Moshiri's clear out gathers pace, perchance?
Phil Walling
25 Posted 13/03/2018 at 16:56:59
Obviously making way for more comic operators like the moneyed fool that is Moshiri.

Gawd help us!

Chris Jones [Burton]
27 Posted 13/03/2018 at 17:49:39
Ste #3 You say "God help rugby league..."

The Guardian article that prompted this thread reports: "He was also employed by the Rugby Football League and is regarded as one of the key figures in the creation of Super League in the mid-1990s."

So, a complete and utter failure then!

Peter Morris
28 Posted 13/03/2018 at 17:54:12
This is a timely opportunity, as it would save the club a severance payment, and presents us with the chance of seeking a much bigger hitter for what is now a completely different role to the one Elstone was appointed to.

And a personal wish – no more bloody accountants, please! They are not entrepreneurial operators and are constantly looking for reasons not to do things!

Jay Wood

29 Posted 13/03/2018 at 18:08:50
Hmmm... dunno if there is much behind all these rumours – Elstone and Kenwright to step down – but if there is, let me put forward one name I have promoted several times down the years:

Former Southampton CEO, Nicola Cortese.

Forget the suggestions of David Dein and David Gill types. Read up on how Nicola Cortese was very much the driving force that carried Southampton from starting season 2009-10 on minus 10 points to returning to the Premier League just 3 years later for the 2012-13, playing attractive football with an incredible youth academy.

Recall the wrath he incurred when he replaced the popular Nigel Adkins with an unknown Argentinian by the name of Mauricio Pochettino.

He left Southampton in rude good health in 2014, due to differences with the club owner.

And to add a dash of intrigue, here are some links:

An in-depth interview on BBC in 2014 shortly after leaving Southampton - Link

A brief 5-minute 'teaser' video for TalkSport promoting a more in-depth radio interview with - wait for it! - Moshiri's best buddy, Jim White.


And finally, the full TalkSport interview with Jim White in which he talks glowingly about a young manager he considered appointing at Southampton who has his lobbyists on TW, Eddie Howe.


The TalkSport stuff is from September 2017, in which he makes it clear he is ready to return to England and get back into football.

In conclusion, Saints fans were seething when he replaced Adkins with Pochettino. In the longer interview, there are numerous positive calls from Southampton fans singing his praises.

How often do you get level of appreciation from supporters for a club CEO?

Nicola Cortese is exactly the sort of appointment which could prove a huge game changer for Everton FC and seemingly available.

Jay Wood

30 Posted 13/03/2018 at 18:15:09
An appendage to my previous post about Nicola Cortese.

An example of his ambition is summed up in this quote on Southampton's return to the PL (from the BBC link above):

"Once we got promoted to the Premier League in 2012, we started a new five-year plan," he says.

"We were 18 months into that. We had an exciting team, not only this season but for next season.

"The question for us was not if we could win the Premier League but how."

He adds: "If you don't think of winning the league, you will never even get close or get close to getting into the Champions League.

"I am a believer that it is not the money alone that makes the difference. We didn't have the resources that other clubs have. We had to be smarter, find different ways."

This would be a great appointment for Everton

Kunal Desai
31 Posted 13/03/2018 at 18:51:46
One stooge down, only another four more to go. Let the clearout commence.
Christy Ring
33 Posted 13/03/2018 at 18:52:34
Great news, if it's true. The main man in the 10 year Kitbag deal, one of the worst commercial deals ever, should have been sacked then, and renewed a deal with Chang, even though other sponsors offered more money.
Stewart Lowe
34 Posted 13/03/2018 at 18:52:50
Let's all face it, very very few of us knew much about him or what his full duties were, but that doesn't mean he hasn't done an excellent job at our club. Some of the most silent roles within a club can be crucial. If true, all the very best in a new adventure.
Joe Ainsworth
35 Posted 13/03/2018 at 19:07:39
Dunno if anyone posting has ever had any personal dealings with Robert Elstone but I have. Myself and my 11-year-old daughter were caught up in the horrendous scenes outside Anfield at the Derby a few years ago. The experience, down to abysmal stewarding and policing outside the ground, frightened the life out of my little girl and having finally got into Anfield she duly dissolved into floods of tears and I had to take her home.

I complained to Ric Parry at Liverpool and copied Robert Elstone in on the email. I'm still waiting for the reply from Parry or LFC but Robert Elstone got back onto me late the same night. He showed genuine concern at our ordeal and was determined to make it up to my daughter even though it was neither his nor Everton's fault.

He invited us to arrive at Goodison Park early before the next home game and my daughter received all sorts of souvenirs before we were taken onto the pitch where Gerard Deulofeu was brought out to meet her and have his photo taken with her. He even emailed me later that weekend to make sure we'd enjoyed the day. It was an experience neither of us will ever forget and I think showed a side to Robert Elstone that may not be otherwise present in some of the opinions on this thread.

You may dismiss this as an irrelevance in the grand scheme of Everton's future but when people are saying he's useless, spineless etc and celebrating his departure, I think it's right to defend a man who clearly possesses many of the qualities we hope our club still embodies.
Martin Nicholls
36 Posted 13/03/2018 at 19:24:17
Pay Terry Leahy what he wants to take the CEO role at EFC.
Jimmy Hogan
37 Posted 13/03/2018 at 19:31:09
We need someone like Peter Moore over at the dark side. He has been transforming the business side of that club and I think Moshiri has recognised that our clowns are not in the same league.
Tony Everan
38 Posted 13/03/2018 at 19:31:56
I seem to remember Terry saying he doesn't want an official role, it would spoil his enjoyment as a fan. I don't blame him.

He would be someone maybe that Mr M should consult on the appointment. A true blue and one of the best businessmen this country has produced.

Jay's suggestion is an interesting one.

Steve Ferns
39 Posted 13/03/2018 at 19:40:31
Stewart, yes some of the silent roles are crucial. But this is not a silent role. This is the guy who runs Everton day-to-day. Most of the stuff people crucify Kenwright for was actually done by this man. Maybe he was working to orders from above. That's the bit none of us can really be sure about. But he's a blatant yes man. He's also far too quiet for CEO. He needed to be more dominant and more authouritative. He wasn't.

This role is the driving force of the club off the pitch and all his manoeuvring off the pitch smacked of second rate and small time. Everton is a massive company with a global profile and a huge turnover for a company. Look at other comparative companies and compare their CEOs.

Look at other clubs and see that David Dein, Daniel Levy, David Gill, and other lauded football businessmen are usually not the owners of the club but just the CEO or equivalent. We need a man of this ilk, more charisma, more dynamic and energy to drive us forward. How can we be seen as a top club when our CEO's lips only moved when Kenwright was stood next to him? Elstone performed like a club secretary but picked up a CEO's salary and supposedly did a CEO's role.

Jay Wood

40 Posted 13/03/2018 at 19:46:18
Joe @ 35.

A cracking story. Heaven knows the club gets kicked from pillar to post on all sorts of issues by its own supporters at times. Some justified, some contrived.

But time and time again, as with your own experience, Everton as a club also gets a lot of things very right.

I hope the terrifying experience at Mordor didn't have deeper scars for your daughter and that she still continues to attend matches with her da'...

John Pickles
41 Posted 13/03/2018 at 19:55:59
Big Nev for CEO!
Derek Knox
42 Posted 13/03/2018 at 19:58:46
To quote Shakespeare (William, not Craig): "Parting is such sweet sorrow" but, in this case, it evokes tears of joy and ToffeeWebbers dance and sing, round the merry-go-round, whilst the Calliope plays the dulcet tones of Z-Cars on the night air.

So the rumours attached to Boys Pen Bill stepping down thread appear to have some substance. I said on here that I thought maybe Kenwright, due to health reasons, but not the Lord Mayor's Parade following ensemble too.

Glad to be proved wrong in this case; still no mention of the other numpty, Walsh, hitching a lift with the outgoing Circus.

Jay Harris
43 Posted 13/03/2018 at 20:14:05
No matter what his personal strengths were he was only ever a glorified accountant who covered "other operating costs" up very well.

Instead of real leadership and ambition, he nurtrured the smoke-and-mirrors culture of the "Kenwright years" and I will not be sorry to see all the old guard out of the door.

Great shout-out by Jay re a new appointment. I had been advocating David Dein / Wenger or Monchi and Emry but you can't argue with Southampton's record under that guy – although a lot of Southampton supporters credit Les Reed for their success.

Derek Knox
44 Posted 13/03/2018 at 20:59:42
Jay Wood @29, great post which makes a lot of, not only good reading, but sense for (us) to follow it up. I have bracketed the 'us' because as you know only too well, none of us are ever involved in making decisions for the good of the Club.

No, they would rather go out, and probably get an Elstone Mark 2, or the likes. Football has had a massive C shift in the past few years, and the Old Type Managers and Boardroom members even, are getting left in it's wake.

Peter Gorman
45 Posted 13/03/2018 at 21:02:10
Jay Wood, that is an interesting series of posts, thanks for putting in the effort.
Chris Jones [Burton]
47 Posted 13/03/2018 at 21:32:46
Thanks for sharing that story with us, Joe (#35). It's always nice to see a bit of balance.

I've no great opinion of him as CEO – no dealings with him – but your story combined with the statement he is seen as instrumental in setting up Super League, tells me the guy has some qualities, regardless of how much mud our fellow Evertonians throw at him.

David Graves
49 Posted 13/03/2018 at 21:45:55
I've met him a couple of times through a mate of mine who went to Hull Uni with him. I don't know enough about his role to comment but can say that he came across as a bright and intelligent guy who was very proud of his job at Everton. Never gave much away either!
Darren Hind
50 Posted 13/03/2018 at 22:11:37
Terry Leahy?

Clearly a very savvy businessman, but I still have the brochure telling me that a move to Kirkby was a really good Idea and the then "Tesco Terry" was using all his powers of persuasion to sway the vote in favour of going.

No thanks. I know Tesco were paying his wages and he had obligations to them, but no genuine Evertonian would go to such lengths to mislead the fan base. If he'd have had his way, we'd now be rotting out in Kirkby.

Whatever Elstone's failings, reading these posts help you realise that he did at least have some redeeming features.

I still want him gone, but I now wish him well.

Colin Glassar
51 Posted 13/03/2018 at 22:13:46
I'd prefer Fonseca or Emery but I'd be happy with a Cortese, Howe, & Les Reed reunion.
Gavin Johnson
53 Posted 13/03/2018 at 22:57:57
Good news if it happens. Elstone didn't do anything other than deflect questions about operating costs. Wasn't theawful Kitbag deal under his watch?

My guess is if Moshiri hadn't come in we'd still be picking up relative peanuts on a new Chang shirt deal with Elstone saying it was the best deal in our history without mentioning that this is because every previous sponsorship deal was shite.

One thing I think we'd all agree on is that sponsorship revenue and calibre of sponsors has vastly improved under Moshiri's watch. That will be of no credit to Elstone. The guy serves no purpose and needs to go.

Christy Ring
54 Posted 13/03/2018 at 23:12:44
Gavin @53 As I said earlier, he agreed the Kitbag deal, £3m a year for 10 years, all the merchandise sold, jerseys etc, they received everything.
Joseph Mullarkey
55 Posted 13/03/2018 at 23:20:44
I thoroughly despise this guy – he had a big hand in destroying a sport that I loved.

I know some will take exception to me writing about an issue many will see as irrelevant to EFC but the article is about Elstone and so is my rant.

As a kid, I grew up in a rugby town called Widnes, We had a great club and I loved going each week to watch our town team take on and very often beat the best sides in the country in what was the 'Championship', They were great days.

Then some smart arse decided that they could take our game of northern English tradition and turn it into a bastardised version of American football with stupid names like Wolves and Warriors and getting rid of the traditional club crests all in the pursuit of more cash from a wider fan base.

Widnes were even left out of the 'Super League' when it started and new clubs such as London Broncos and french side Catalans were drafted in on commercial grounds.

All who still feel the resentment of what could have been for Everton if we had not been banned from Europe at such a crucial time for us through no fault of our own can surely sympathise with my feeling towards this guy for having a hand in the failure of what is 'The super League' and the engineered downfall of my local club.

It comes as no surprise to me that Everton have not prospered during his tenure with the club.

David Johnson
56 Posted 13/03/2018 at 23:23:19
The role was compromised after Wyness was chased across the Med and given an offer he couldn't refuse. Elstone was merely Bill Kenwright's ventriloquist dummy. Good riddance.

Like Kenwright, a smart cookie, making dough out of appearing incompetent. Everton fans have been had – and probably deserved it for not seeing through it.

Darren Murphy
57 Posted 13/03/2018 at 23:58:06
Good, now for the rest asap. 6% like Fat Sam Avaslice? RS supporter's, or just nuts...lmfao?!
Roman Sidey
58 Posted 14/03/2018 at 00:05:50
Joe, that is a very warm experience you've had with Elstone. I have never thought he wasn't a decent man - he does seem like a nice person.

But, to be a CEO of a Premier League football club, "nice" is ver>

y far down on the list of qualities the owner should prioritise."developing an efficient organisational structure, securing and empowering a strong management team, ensuring appropriate levels of financial reporting and accountability, delivering commercial growth, principally via filling the stadium at higher yields and securing new sponsors".

Seeing as he was deputy CEO from 2005 to 2008, looking at that criteria, it is hard to figure out how he got the promotion when Wyness resigned. Well, it's actually easy to figure out if you have even the slightest idea how Kenwright likes his ship to be sailed.

Keith Harrison
59 Posted 13/03/2018 at 00:28:27
Joseph, 55,

I can empathise as my nearest team, Workington Town, was relegated on the last day of the season prior to Super League only because they got battered by about 80-8 at Wigan and finished below Catalans on points difference. If Catalans had been worse off, there was to be no relegation.

The Super League was an attempt to basically make Rugby League 'sexier' and pull money in to the sport. It was, and still is, however, a minority sport played along the M62 corridor, and along the western coastline of Cumbria from Aspatria to Barrow.

This is borne out by poor attendances at Rugby League matches, especially compared to Premiership Rugby, and all teams below the Super League are virtually amateur, not very good, and run on an absolute shoestring by dedicated supporters.

Robert Elstone has admitted in the past that he knows little about football, and it seems, the same about marketing if Super League is anything to go by, and our deals he has presided over.

I have stated recently that Bill nor Elstone appear to have much power nowadays, according to my source, and they themselves look like leaving of their own volition – albeit it with a very healthy bank balance after decades of payments, and share sales.

I would appoint Kevin Tully to the post if it were up for election. The daft bugger really does know what he's talking about – as long as you catch him before half-time on match days, lol.

Failing that, Jay Wood's choice would have legs.

Sean Randles
60 Posted 14/03/2018 at 00:34:18
Joe (#35),

I have also had personal dealings with Robert Elstone and have found him to be a man of great integrity, warmth, dedication and total commitment to our club and who has done everything within his powers to maximise the commercial potential as we have gone through a very difficult transitional phase in our history.

He has had to have great resilience to absorb the negative criticism and personal abuse from certain quarters which is often unsubstantiated and based on ignorance. He should go with our thanks and best wishes for his future career.

Victor Yu
61 Posted 14/03/2018 at 01:55:50
William Cartwright
63 Posted 14/03/2018 at 02:27:46
Jay; Your researched study and recommendation for Nicola Cortese is spot on. Stand out candidate by a mile.

But two simple issues; Why did he leave Southampton and would he be interested in the challenge?

Any thoughts?

Alexander Murphy
64 Posted 14/03/2018 at 05:25:11
Interesting times indeed for Everton.

Hopefully of the fascinating, amazing and enthralling varieties rather than watching though the fingers from behind the settee kind.

Should Elstone & Kenwright indeed depart, then it's not entirely unlikely that others might do so too – whether of their own volition, by invitation or surgically removed.

What that would present us with would be Moshiri Everton® – to be judged entirely on its own merits.

Then hopefully, an end to: Arkwright's Open All Hours Everton™, (complete with its dodgy till).

Beginning with the death of "Be careful what you wish for" thinking replaced with "Know precisely what you are aiming for and work tirelessly to achieve".

Personally, I cannot help but imagine what could be written on these pages 12 months hence. Now I and you need to get these things written down and use them as our "thermometers of success".

Very easy for us Evertonians (myself included) to point our fingers at Bill Kenwright and say he talked down our expectations, lulled us with security in place of success, he tricked us.

Nonsense; 20 years and how many unsightly, sustained protests? Easy to accuse Kenwright but, as a fanbase, we've been silent accomplices in mediocrity.

Look at shockwaves created by West Ham fans (including the despicable and unacceptable aspects). They've proved in a very, very brief space of time that it is very easy to grab the owner's attention.

Forty thousand crammed into Goodison week by week. Not a peep. We can't blame "obstructed views" as we meekly sit there refusing to see what has been done, or rather what has repeatedly not been done at our once great club. Yep – me included.

Keith Harrison
65 Posted 14/03/2018 at 07:24:14
It's 'Barometer of success', Alexander, not thermometers.

Having originally quoted 'Be careful what you wish for' it seems some people just have to re-quote it at every opportunity, even with a limited knowledge of English.

In the context I used it, it meant that we should have a plan going forward, dominoes in place, before changing the structure wholesale. And probably the most important one, as I have stated on another thread, is to get a CEO with footballing knowledge in as I personally do not think Mr Moshiri understands that side. At all.

We should have a CEO, DOF, and Coach (Fonseca for me) lined up and waiting to step in before releasing/jettisoning all who would appear to be leaving to prevent bigger chaos at the club than at present – and yes, that is possible.

Or do you want Jim White to run the club?

Alexander Murphy
66 Posted 14/03/2018 at 08:26:54
Keith, My post was not directed at you. And if I choose to say thermometer, then I choose to say thermometer. Is that really worth bothering to correct? Would anyone reading that be so baffled as to fail to grasp the point?

I have assumed that the rest of your post is for general consumption.

Craig Walker
67 Posted 14/03/2018 at 09:29:14
Joe @35. He's always come across as a decent bloke to me and I've heard other good stories of him from other Evertonians. He let himself down around one of the AGMs if I remember where he was questioning some Evertonians but I think he's represented our club well and I wish him the best in the future.

Joseph @55. I'm a big rugby league fan with my home town being Wigan. I was dead against the exception of Super League and I think the introduction of Catalan and other foreign teams at the expense of the traditional rugby league areas like Widnes and Whitehaven is ridiculous. If the game needed spreading then why not have a team in Cumbria where they are rugby league mad? I'm not sure you can pin the formation of the Super League on Elstone alone though. I think Sky have ruined football but they've been good for the game of rugby league, on the whole.

Before Sky, the sport was shown on Grandstand every now and again and a perception that it was a second rate sport. Now there is genuine competition and the sport is pioneering. Football is just now getting round to VAR but Super League has had video refs for 25 years. Then there's blood bins, salary caps, fans not being priced out of tickets and players who aren't over-hyped prima donnas and have respect within their community. Football could learn a lot.

Shane Corcoran
68 Posted 14/03/2018 at 10:06:28
Would he have the build for it?
David Graves
69 Posted 14/03/2018 at 10:26:18
Off topic, Joseph, but I too follow Widnes. An Evertonian/Widnesian. Was there ever a more challenging combination? What a decade the 1980's was for both clubs. The parallels between Everton's demise from Champions of England and Widnes's from World Club Champions are strikingly similar but Super League destroying the sport? Don't agree with that.
Ian Edwards
70 Posted 14/03/2018 at 12:46:11
If Elstone goes then no doubt Denise Barrett-Baxendale will take over.
Jay Wood

71 Posted 14/03/2018 at 12:46:11
William @ 63.

In answer to your questions, you need to go back a wee bit in time in Southampton's recent history.

In 2009, the club was in freefall. Already relegated from the Championship before the final day of the season, they declared themselves bankrupt, went into administration and as a result started season 2009-10 in League One with a minus 10 point deduction.

It was Cortese - an Italian banker, by trade - who negotiated the £14 million purchase of the club for a Swiss-German businessman, Markus Liebherr. Liebherr shrewdly appointed Cortese as his CEO with almost total control of the club.

That season, Southampton won their first trophy in 34 years - The Football League Trophy - and even with a minus 10 point penalty finished 7th, 7 points off a play-off position. This was under Alan Pardew as manager.

If you listened to the link of the full TalkSport interview, you will have learnt how - in interviewing prospective managers under the new Liebherr-Cortese axis - Cortese was solely responsible for this and that the young manager, Eddie Howe, gave him a 'huge headache', so impressive was he in his vision which matched that of Cortese. Howe eventually withdrew his candidacy himself and they went with Pardew.

By August 2010 of the 2nd season, Cortese demonstrated his ruthless ambition for the club (that had done so well under Pardew) by sacking him and replacing him with Nigel Adkins. In the same month, Liebherr died. The ownership of the club moved to his daughter, Katharina.

Adkins guided Southampton to consecutive promotions back to the PL for the 2012-13 season. Cortese again showed his ruthlessness and ambition for the club by sacking the very popular Adkins with the unknown Argentinian Mauricio Pochettino, with Southampton in mid-table. (You might recall Pochettino's 1st game as Southampton manager was a 0-0 draw with Everton). Cortese was slated by fans and the media alike.

Again, if you listened to the full Jim White interview, you would have learnt Cortese was actually scouting Coutinho when he first noticed Pochettino. Southampton actually came quite close to landing Coutinho ahead of Liverpool, but that's another story.

To cut a long story short, Cortese was loved, respected and admired by pretty much everyone at the club because he had a vision and plan in place that was working. Here is an additional link to my earlier ones showing that and the detail he applied in his work:


In answer to your specific question about why he left Southampton, it was down to integrity. As this link reports, after her father's death Katharina Liebherr looked to sell off Southampton, something Cortese vehemently opposed. At the same time, she (foolishly...?) wanted more of a say in the day-to-day running of the club, undermining Cortese's position (arguably to the detriment of the club).


As to if he is interested in taking the CEO job at Everton, in both the short video and full radio links I shared yesterday, he is clearly putting himself on the market, saying he is ready to return to England and get back into football.

It is impossible, given the Jim White-Moshiri ties, that our majority shareholder is not aware of Cortese, what he achieved at Southampton and that he is available.

Cortese's appointment at Everton would be HUGE!

Brian Wilkinson
72 Posted 14/03/2018 at 13:14:21
For those not familiar with the Super league rugby, this is how it works.

You play all season to see who tops the league, roll out the Champions tour bus... no, not yet; the top teams finishing positions then go into a play-off for a chance to get to the Grand Final – win that, then you are Super League Champions, regardless of finishing 12 points behind last season's table toppers, Castleford.

Meanwhile top the Championship or finish bottom of Super League and it's promotion and relegation... wrong again! The bottom 4 of super league play the top four of the Championship in a mini league to determine who stays in the top Super League.

The new format has totally spoiled rugby league and made a mockery of any team winning the regular season league.

Alexander Murphy
73 Posted 14/03/2018 at 18:53:51
Jay Wood [Brz] thank you very much indeed for your sterling work in assembling those compelling pieces for our consideration.

I'm fully in favour of your recommendation to such a degree that if:
Everton do not secure Nicola Cortese as CEO or equivalent, then I shall be deeply disappointed.
Everton do secure Cortese as CEO then having Big Fat Sam as manager would not worry me one jot because I should be fully confident that Cortese would take care of the situation to great benefit in due course.

Great stuff, Jay, how I wish that you had Moshiri's ear in this regard.

Gerard McKean
74 Posted 14/03/2018 at 19:41:09
Just some observations in response to various posts above:

From personal experience, I found Robert Elstone a thoroughly decent, hard working man, a nice bloke. Perhaps being a “nice bloke” turned out to be his weakness. He will not be remembered as a great CEO, partly because he always toed the party (Kenwright) line, and partly because he could not see how his authority was undermined behind his back by colleagues ostensibly loyal to him.

As someone who's had season tickets for Everton and Widnes over the years, Elstone was not responsible for the stab in the back to Widnes at the birth of Super League; that was Maurice Lindsay.

Praise for the owner getting tough is premature; Robert is going of his own accord to a job for which he was identified by some well run Rugby League Clubs as the best man for the job.

We shall see how tough Mr Moshiri is going to be in the search for Elstone's successor. He needs to use the club motto as his guide in this because one thing is for sure: if, as one post suggests, the job goes to the current Deputy CEO, the club is in very serious trouble. The club's highest paid official (by dint of holding two positions simultaneously) can wax lyrical about charity work but ask her some basic questions about Everton Football Club and our history or how to operate a business at the highest level and she is rather less forthcoming.

Other questions that might test her memory would include; what exactly happened with Ian Ross, what due diligence does the club have in place when appointing someone to head up EitC and should that involve taking up references from the immediately previous employer?

I'm not optimistic; Everton's default position over the last 25 years has been to play safe and reward mediocrity if that means the boat doesn't get rocked.

Joseph Mullarkey
75 Posted 14/03/2018 at 22:05:37
Gerard (#74)

In my post I said that Elstone had a big hand in creating the league not that he was the one who stabbed Widnes in the back – you are right to point the finger at the ex-Wigan chairman for that.

My point was that I felt it took all the tradition out of a working class sport to make money for the devil Murdoch and other money men in the sport at the expense of the game.

I could not help my bitterness about the exclusion of Widnes seeping into the post.

Dave (#69)

Yes, mate, we must be bordering on self-harm to support the clubs we do!
I have got to say that Brian (#72) has hit the nail on the head when he points out the absurd format the Super League has in place compared to the old system.


Brian Wilkinson
76 Posted 14/03/2018 at 23:09:58
Joseph, I followed Everton on a Saturday and Wigan on a Sunday, even when they got relegated, I still went to places like Halifax, Workington in the old Second Division, Widnes were a great team.

Sadlly Wigan bought your better players Joe Lydon, Andy Gregory, Martin Offiah, all ex Widnes players and built a professional team, the salary cap was a great introduction to Rugby League, I no longer attend Wigan games because of the way the farcical topping the leagues is pointless, all that matters is winning a few play-off games, and on most occasions Wigan normally play home games on a Friday night. I still follow them in the Challenge Cup because thankfully this has not been changed in format, apart from when the ties are played.

Agree 100% Widnes got shafted so that they could allow London Broncos and Catalan in the league, how they allowed a team Like Widnes who lifted 24 trophies between 75-89 to be disregarded is baffling.

Roman Sidey
77 Posted 15/03/2018 at 00:30:32
Your English Super League, whilst a blight on the game, still did a lot better than it's Australian counterpart. I'm no rugby league fan (at all) but know enough about the Australian game to know that, having abolished it in 1997ish, it has only really recovered in the last few years.

The English version, though, is now expanding and may have a North American team in the next year or two if the Toronto Wolfpack achieve back-to-back promotion. In my opinion it's a bit of a farce to have a trans-Atlantic team in a UK based comp. It is fun going down to watch the mungo in downtown Toronto for a tenner though.

Jamie Evans
78 Posted 15/03/2018 at 08:44:54
Jay Wood, applause applause applause.

Thank you for all of the effort around the Cortese info. I now feel the same way about this fella as I did about Paulo Fonseca after reading Lyndon's article a few months back.

Cortese and Fonseca?

We can but dream I suppose.

Paul Cunniff
79 Posted 15/03/2018 at 09:22:28
I was with my son outside the Park End before the derby in December 2016 taking pics etc when Robert Elstone was returning from a run and he came over and asked where we had come from etc. Told him that the match was a treat for my son who had worked hard to complete his 11-plus and that we had traveled from Belfast that morning. He led us through security and allowed us to take pictures on the pitch.

I have been an Evertonian all my life and been to countless games and had never got near the pitch in my life, I do not know who was more excited, me or my lad Thomas. When we were on the pitch, Robert Elstone called over the official photographer who was close by and got him to take from pictures of the me and my son together. About a week later, these photographs were e-mailed over to me and our now pride of place in Tom's room.

I am aware from this site that this fella gets a fair bit of grief but this little act of hospitality always be remembered by me and more importantly Thomas and as such I wish the man the best of luck if he decides to return to Rugby League, decent fella, doing a job that is never going to please everybody.

Phil Walling
80 Posted 17/03/2018 at 09:00:03
Can't help feeling Elstone is being moved on. The Rugby League is a backwater compared to Premier League football, even at club level – and I've been a Warriors supporter all my life!

Derek Thomas
81 Posted 17/03/2018 at 10:13:59
Brian Wilkinson @ 76; Widnes were made an offer they could and did refuse... merge with Warrington ffs. For those who don't know the ins and outs, it would be like asking us to merge with the RS.
Len Hawkins
82 Posted 17/03/2018 at 10:50:50
Brian #72

I am with you on this, Leeds have become past masters at drifting through the season just doing enough to finish in the top 8/12/6 (whichever the RFL deem season to season) and then peak for the play-offs. It makes a whole season worthless for teams who go out to win every match.

David McMullen
83 Posted 18/03/2018 at 20:58:05
Phil (80) that's a very interesting view. Cheered me up as I never thought of it like that. Maybe there's hope after all.

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