CEO: the inside story on how we'll grow the club the 'Everton Way'

Wednesday, 22 August, 2018 49comments  |  Jump to last

CEO Denise Barrett-Baxendale has an article at ESPN where she talks about her ambitions for Everton moving forward into a new era.

It is a privilege to lead Everton Football Club as the chief executive in a new Premier League season. I am hugely excited to be in a position to set a path forward that will underline our ambitions for the future, reflect our values as The People's Club and maintain the motto set out for us by our forefathers - Nil Satis Nisi Optimum.

» Read the full article at ESPN

Reader Comments (49)

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Steve Ferns
1 Posted 22/08/2018 at 16:49:33
Says nothing new, but gets the club message out there.
Dermot Byrne
2 Posted 22/08/2018 at 17:12:01
Agree Steve. My experience is CEO strategic statements rarely say much to get your teeth into in any business, they just give you rope to hang them with when things don't go the way you hope.

I think many of us accept a new climate of ambition at the club that she expresses but for footy fans the devil is in this season, this game and often the last 5 mins!

Tony Abrahams
3 Posted 22/08/2018 at 17:15:03
Maintain the motto?
Jay Harris
4 Posted 22/08/2018 at 17:16:47
Positive message; let's wait for the substance.
Lyndon Lloyd
5 Posted 23/08/2018 at 00:07:32
Nothing new for Evertonians – apart, perhaps for those who weren't aware of the appointments of Richard Battle as director of football strategy and Joel Waldron as Academy director. It reads mostly as a PR piece which is perfectly fine for the neutral audience on ESPN.
Tony Hill
6 Posted 23/08/2018 at 00:29:45
What the fuck is football strategy such that we need Mr Battle to look after it for us? We are complicating everything unnecessarily and that invariably means that an organisation is disappearing up its own own arsehole.

I admire the Professor insofar as she is doing/has done well-targeted charity stuff. As a guiding intelligence of our club, not so much.

Don Alexander
7 Posted 23/08/2018 at 01:04:08
I don't pretend to know what the lady's role truly is in Moshiri's grand scheme but given that Silva, an employee just like her, has had his contract described by the club/DBB as "incentivised" (and a good thing too) I just wonder how we fans are expected to judge her performance given her huge acknowledgement of the importance of fans' opinion?
David Ellis
8 Posted 23/08/2018 at 03:19:08
Great PR. She says all the right things and seems totally authentic.
Michael Kenrick
9 Posted 23/08/2018 at 06:34:29
I'm saddened that she's trotting out The People's Club rather than consigning that particular Moyesism to the dustbin of history.

I can see the resonance from her EitC background but, for me, it goes hand-in-hand with "plucky little Everton", "knives to a gunfight", and us being forever only the "Best of the Rest".

We gotta break free. And win things. Something Moyes could never do for us.

David Ellis
10 Posted 23/08/2018 at 07:09:05
Yes, Michael, I agree on the People's Club moniker- never liked it. But as you say it comes from the community aspect that DBB does so well. I don't think it signals lack of ambition.
Jim Harrison
11 Posted 23/08/2018 at 07:12:19
Micheal and a few of us are the only ones awake!

To be fair to Moyes, he came the closest to anyone since Royle to winning anything and did get us 4th. And he at least left the club with saleable assets and a history of good value signings.

Phil Sammon
12 Posted 23/08/2018 at 07:17:27
Completely disagree regarding ‘The People's Club'.

I ended up hating Moyes by the time he left but there's plenty of things he did that should be remembered fondly. His observation of Everton being the People's Club rang true with me at the time and it still does today. I don't think it's in any way belittling.

At the end of the day, like every football team, we will be judged on results on the pitch. A moniker doesn't seem worth getting bent out of shape for.

Phil (Kelsall) Roberts
13 Posted 23/08/2018 at 07:18:15
My memory is -

Moyes used the "People's Club" when he first arrived at the club.

His first press conference he said that driving around the city that he saw more Everton shirts being worn than Liverpool shirts. He used the phrase "the people's club" to denote that Everton was the club of the people of Liverpool.

I think it was a great wind up of the red third of the city then - and I think it remains that to this day. Liverpool FC may the people's club of Oslo but we are the people's club of Liverpool.

Erik Dols
14 Posted 23/08/2018 at 07:25:43
She is in one of those jobs where every single word she says - or claimed by others that she said for that matter - will be scrutinized. Of course she knew that when she took the job, especially given her background. The result is seemingly meaningless but positive messages like these. To be honest I wouldn't attach too much value to it.

Tony Hill, I am not 100% sure if I can compare the role of a director of football strategy to comparable roles at continental clubs but if it is what I think it is, then he oversees the process and operations from youngest youth teams (and recruitment) to the U23's and first team, in order to enhance the chances that the youth setup brings up players capable of playing in our first team in the near and distant future. In another thread it was mentioned that if Marco Silva goes for zonal marking, Rhino and his U23 team needs to do that as well for those players to be able to make the step up comfortably. It would be part of the job for a director of football strategy to make sure that the tools are available for Unsworth to teach his players how to play in a zonal system. And make tools available for the youth teams to do so as well. In tools I mean training material, video analysis etc.

I do see this as an important function/role within our footballing universe. I am not sure if the function or role should be at director level, but if you look at the Academy Management Team, it is a head of-function within the academy, which is fine by me.

Amit Vithlani
15 Posted 23/08/2018 at 07:42:01
What she is saying might sound like old hat, but the fact that she is taking the opportunity to repeat her simple messages is a good sign that we have a clear direction.

I see 3 cornerstones:

- Identity. "The Everton Way", EitC, The People's Club. Rightly or wrongly, this is the chosen identity of the club. The piece in the Times by Paul Joyce illustrated the narrative; this is a local club first and foremost, there to serve its community. It might not appeal on the global stage, but the club recognises the importance of its local constituency, which is very wise. I am bemused at how people think EitC somehow detracts from our desire for the club to be successful on the pitch. It doesn't in my view. Also, all businesses should address their markets step by step. Become influential locally, then nationally, then globally.

- Football Strategy. She spoke of the strategy that Brands and Silva were implementing. Perhaps Battle is just the administrator but it is the main men who she refers to as the architects. It looks to me as if they will construct a classic European model (Lyon, PSV, Ajax) - blood youngsters alongside a few expensive signings. Perhaps I am wrong, but it is the only way I see us making sustainable progress on the pitch. We can't keep spending £130M on transfers each year.

- And of course, Bramley-Moore Dock.

Old hat, sure. Thin on details, sure - eg the looming question of how Bramley-Moore Dock will be funded. But it is clear that the club has adopted a direction.

Let us see how much progress is achieved this season, notably on the latter two.

Gerard McKean
16 Posted 23/08/2018 at 08:45:54
Empty words from the Theresa May of EFC, with about as much meaning as Brexit means Brexit. The number of name checks for Silva and Brands, especially, would have you almost believe that she had some involvement with their appointments!

I'd be more interested to know about the appointments she has been responsible for recently. Are there any rejects from LFC? Who among them has/had relatives working at Everton?

But in a world of soundbites the parrot is queen. Learn a few phrases by heart and throw them out to those starving for success. The People's Club thing will still resonate with many Evertonians as will her Deliaesque call at the AGM that the city is ours. Except that the first thing she did on getting a job at EFC was to move house away from the city... brings me back to where I started: empty words.

Will Mabon
17 Posted 23/08/2018 at 09:11:59
I think a couple of decades of corporate bullshit ("Mission statements" and what they "Believe" etc.) has left most people cynical and partied out with it all by now.

Pity really, because some will still actually mean what they say with the best of intentions. Thing is, which ones are they?

Bobby Thomas
18 Posted 23/08/2018 at 09:36:34
As she is one of the three most important employees at the club, it's important we take from the article what we can. But it is enveloped in a fog of soul-killing corporate speak that compromises its credibility.

However, based on the last couple of years, I'd say it's fairly apparent that, for the first time in a long time, the drive and ambition to transform the club is there.

What happens on the pitch will be the major driver. We need to get re-acquainted with one of those silver things we used to win, and make regular European qualification – Europa League or otherwise, the benchmark, minimum requirement.

We got off to a bad start but in essence all we have done is exactly what Fenway did when they took over LFC. Put a DoF in there with a new manager, spent loads, got about 80% of it wrong and then sacked them all and started again.

I think we have the football appointments right this time. If we can get the three key aspects right in tandem – the key football side progressing in conjunction with the stadium move, whilst also developing the clubs identity, then we can push the club forward massively and finally unlock its latent potential.

John Raftery
19 Posted 23/08/2018 at 10:24:46
Gerard (#16),

You seem just a little bitter and twisted about our new CEO as though you have several axes to grind. Only time will tell if her appointment is a success but I very much doubt her place of residence will have anything to do with it.

Her comments contain all too familiar corporate jargon but they are more meaningful than ‘Brexit means Brexit' which has no meaning at all.

Stan Schofield
20 Posted 23/08/2018 at 11:20:00
All the corporate CEO speak is just a set of platitudes. What matters is how we do on the pitch, which depends on large amounts of cash, perhaps from someone like Usmanov. Words from people with PhDs are no substitute for that.
Dermot Byrne
21 Posted 23/08/2018 at 11:21:40
Gerard... I heard once:

Q. What is the fastest thing on the planet?

A. A rich scouser leaving Liverpool.

Cruel but in the world of the rich, do you expect them all to live in the city?

Not sure you are being fair but don't know thoughts that were behind that post.

Paul Tran
22 Posted 23/08/2018 at 11:59:52
'The Everton Way.' What in God's name is that in plain English?
Dermot Byrne
23 Posted 23/08/2018 at 12:08:49
Road from the Liver Building to the new ground, I hope, Paul (#22)!
Paul Tran
24 Posted 23/08/2018 at 12:12:12
I hope you're right, Dermot!.

Why not just talk about how the club is going to create success, on and off the pitch?

That would be far more compelling for me than an empty politician's soundbite.

Dermot Byrne
25 Posted 23/08/2018 at 12:51:16
The market for inane platitudes becomes bigger, the higher up the ladder you go, it seems to me.

My hope, Paul, is that one day it will reach a logical conclusion and those at the top will just say nothing.

Brian Williams
26 Posted 23/08/2018 at 12:53:44
Let's be honest: this is yet another case of "damned if she does, and damned if she doesn't."

I feel for those who can never see ANY positives in anything, but have to denigrate someone or someone's words.

If she kept her mouth shut, she'd be accused of being not interested and disconnected from the supporters. So she speaks and gets slaughtered for it, by some, who rather than voice what they'd like to hear or offer constructive criticism, simply complain, accuse and criticize.

Jay Wood

27 Posted 23/08/2018 at 12:56:00
On the question of Everton now occupying the Liver Building, can any city dwelling Blues tell me just how much of the floor space we are claiming?

It's a very large building for Everton alone to occupy, or am I seriously underestimating the backroom staff we employ?

Is Moshiri letting out some of the (presumably) vacant office space we don't use? I remember a story a couple of weeks back about the death of grade A office space in Liverpool city centre.

Just curious...

James Hughes
28 Posted 23/08/2018 at 13:03:21
Dermot (#25), how very true. It's amazing how the people in power talk, but say very little. No promises or targets stated means no difficult questions to be answered.
Dermot Byrne
29 Posted 23/08/2018 at 13:16:14
Fair point Brian, #26.

My point was not criticism of her per se. She has done superb work with EitC and will be a very capable CEO I reckon

When focused on EitC she spoke with knowledge and in detail about pressing social issues in the city and concrete ways to address them.

But, like so many when they reach the top, they get "strategic" and the content tends to lose its detail and credibility.

The unholy alliance between marketing teams and the media they feed means this kind of statement is what is published over and over again. It says positive things in a nice broad-brush sort of way.

So no criticism of her individually – this kind of vague statement disguised as vision is in the job description!

Erik Dols
30 Posted 23/08/2018 at 13:20:09
Paul #24 Why not just talk about how the club is going to create success, on and off the pitch?

To be fair, that's exactly what she does in the article... perhaps not at the detailed level you would have liked but she explains that getting the structure right and appointing the right people is the first step towards achieving the goals.

I wholeheartedly agree with people who say this article is full with management speak but at the same time she does give a clear view of how she wants to achieve success. Having the right people in the right structure. That might seem as obvious as saying that you win a football match by scoring more goals than the opponent, but I never caught Elstone on a strong opinion an anything so I feel this is a slight improvement.

Jay Wood

31 Posted 23/08/2018 at 13:25:58
And talking of birds, DBB, Liver, Angry or otherwise, anyone else seen that three Everton players have become the first footballers to be characterised for the game?


I think they look brilliant!

Tony Ateman
32 Posted 23/08/2018 at 13:34:26
Jay 27.

From Wikipedia, Royal Liver Building.

There are currently 16 tenants in the Royal Liver Building. (It says 16 tenants, but I count 18 on the list.) They are:

Captivate Presentations[14]
Crowd Mortgage
Tilney Bestinvest
Epic New Media
Everton FC
Grant Thornton
Mott MacDonald
The Venue at the Royal Liver Building
Princes Group[16]
Richard Hogg Lindley

Brian Williams
33 Posted 23/08/2018 at 13:35:35
Hey Dermot, wasn't having a go at you personally mate, honest :-)

Just sometimes the cynicism and negativity on here can drag yer down when you visit for a lift, lol.

We all dislike the boardroom jargon and buzzword speak but that's the world these people live in and that's how they all convey their messages.
Again, she'd be castigated if she tried to put her message over as one of the lads from the Winslow.

She can't win whatever she says and however she says it!

Jay Wood

34 Posted 23/08/2018 at 13:47:50
Good man Tony @ 32. Appreciated.

I presume from that list Moshiri took over the building with sitting tenants already installed and simply inherited them.

I saw the official opening of the Everton offices in the Liver Building on Everton TV. They have certainly tried to link its look to our heritage at Goodison Park.

I was also wondering where is the Everton Collection so lovingly put together by Dr David France housed these days? Surely the Liver Building in the centre of the city would be an ideal home for setting up a permanent museum to display such a priceless artefact of our history?

Dave Abrahams
35 Posted 23/08/2018 at 14:19:47
I'd like to know, in a language we can all understand, how Missus Barrett-Baxendale is going to help Everton FC succeed on the pitch? She's said little that we don't already know.

As for the two lads from the Acadamy, Battle and Waldron, they already do a very good job there; they won't be any better because their titles have been changed.

As for "The People's Club" – the club didn't have the nous to take a patent out on the motto and the banner was taken down from The Park End a few years ago, the patent was bought by a very good Evertonian who had the foresight to buy it. He should have been brought onto the board; he showed more initiative than most.

Missus Barrett-Baxendale will do okay for herself, don't worry about that; I'm not sure she will do anything for The Blues on the field, but we'll see.

Stan Schofield
36 Posted 23/08/2018 at 14:21:36
Brian @ 26 & 33: Oh come on, nobody is slaughtering the girl, we're just recognising platitudes when we see them. We've had a diet of platitudes for too long, we want to see success on the pitch, and it's seems a simple fact that pronouncements (or an absence of them) from 'senior managers' don't make a blind bit of difference. In other words, their words are largely a waste of time.
Gerard McKean
37 Posted 23/08/2018 at 16:52:01
John #19 please don't descend to the level of many across the park who fall back constantly and lazily on that old "bitter blue" accusation. I'm not "bitter and twisted about our new CEO", I'm just hugely disappointed that somebody who could never be accused of having an understanding of football could become CEO of a great football club. Nor is there anything of substance in her CV that would suggest she has other vital attributes at this level to compensate for her lack of knowledge about football.

It is perfectly understandable that Stan #20 assumes that someone calling herself Dr has a Ph. She actually has an EdD, a rare species indeed, usually awarded to people who teach. The same institution whence the EdD came, Hope, also conferred the title of Professor upon her. Barrett-Baxendale's links with Hope are longstanding and I am sure it is right and proper that Hope is adequately remunerated to evaluate EitC programmes.

John (#19) and Dermot (#21), I think it is relevant that a CEO who takes the stage and issues a populist slogan such as "the city is our's" decided to leave the city shortly after joining Everton.

I make the related point in a concurrent article on TW that LFC encourages its players and staff to live on Merseyside and while there are some notable exceptions, most of our high earners choose to live elsewhere and in so doing provide a welcome boost to someone else's economy, typically Manchester's. There are many desirable places to live within say a 25 mile radius of Goodison Park and I think it would go down well if local shops, restaurants, theatres and cinemas, cleaners, gardeners, security staff, plumbers, joiners, electricians and so on and on could benefit from the disposable income those working for the city's senior club.

I trust that Brian (#26) will accept the last paragraph above as "constructive criticism". But honestly, Brian, I have made many attempts to offer constructive suggestions to our new CEO but they all fell on stony ground because they were someone else's ideas.

Michael Kenrick
38 Posted 23/08/2018 at 17:07:28

Good question about The Everton Collection, as it was renamed after the iconic Dr* David France [* Man with real PhD in Chemical Engineering from a real university 😁] merged his collection with the Club's official archive, 10 years ago now. It is still housed by the Liverpool Record Office, but shameful to say, I have not tracked its progression.

It seems one of the aims is to digitize everything but whenever I've gone to look for something specific, eg, a matchday programme that is in the collection, it has not yet been digitized.

It would be a fantastic idea, though, to have an exhibition room for The Everton Collection in the Liver Building.

Brian Williams
39 Posted 23/08/2018 at 17:13:28
Stan (#36).

But Stan, that's what these people have to do, it's part of their job. A lot of their responsibilities are PR related. She's trying to communicate with the supporters and she's trying to "sell" Everton.

There' an awful lot of waffle involved in big business it just goes with the territory.

Steve Ferns
40 Posted 23/08/2018 at 17:55:09
Guys, I met with Gerard at Gentleman John's shindig on the day of the World Cup final. He's got a real story to tell and he can't put most of it here. If you get a chance to meet Gerard, you should ask him about it.

It was great to meet you, Gerard.

Bill Griffiths
41 Posted 23/08/2018 at 17:58:13
Like Steve, I met Gerrard at John's birthday bash and echo Steve's see comments above.
Dermot Byrne
42 Posted 23/08/2018 at 18:19:01
#40 and #41. Well that makes it all easy to assess!

Gerard... Victoria Rd in Formby is full!

Richard Scanlan
43 Posted 23/08/2018 at 18:26:54
It’s the ‘Everton way’ I worry about.
Stan Schofield
44 Posted 23/08/2018 at 19:03:32
Brian @39: Agree 100% mate. It's precisely because it's just PR, i.e. no real substance beyond mere words, that some of us are saying "big deal".
Gerard McKean
45 Posted 23/08/2018 at 19:50:17
Steve, Bill, thank you for your kind words of support - much appreciated!
Dermot, genuinely I'm sorry that this seems so opaque.

My reticence in writing more is due less than any worry I have about threats from Barrett-Baxendale – I don't have any because everything I write I can back up – it is more that I feel she is still in the honeymoon period and as such there is no overwhelming appetite for hearing the reasons behind the worry I do have that my great football club is treading water until inevitably she is rumbled.

Dermot Byrne
46 Posted 23/08/2018 at 20:10:41

You clearly have reasons.

I may be biased having worked in charity sector so long and seeing great leaders who sometimes can put the private sector's much vaunted skills to shame.

However I also watch some very poor people in Charity sector following that great old principle often previously aimed at public services "Everyone rises to one grade above their ability"!

The pay some are on after their charitable roots can be so hypocritical it beggars belief.

Will watch even more keenly Gerard and make judgment only on what has been good performance at EitC so far and no time to judge CEO performance yet.

Hope it doesn't affect the club I know you also hope.


Stan Schofield
47 Posted 23/08/2018 at 21:57:12
Gerard @37: Whether it's a PhD or a Doctor of Windsurfing is just a detail of course.

The point is that too many organisations have bums on seats with irrelevant qualifications and a propensity for chatter over useful substance, and often being an unnecessary drain on resources. I'm not saying that this is the case here, only that I'm not assuming it's not the case, if you get my drift (and forgive the double negative}.

Mark Andersson
48 Posted 23/08/2018 at 04:43:29
Interesting thread... some cynical views but over all football seems to bring that out in people. More so the People's Club that has us all living in hope...
Stan Schofield
50 Posted 24/08/2018 at 10:12:27
Mark, I can't see any 'cynical' views being expressed on this thread, only views that vary between enthusiasm for the subject being reported and scepticism based on experience and judgement.

Perhaps you're using the term 'cynical' simply to mean you disagree with the more sceptical views.

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