Everton’s Ownership and Leadership, Part I: The Importance of Good Governance

There is an absolute and clear relationship between governance and corporate performance and in recent months there have been growing questions as to the performance of Everton Football Club on and off the pitch

Paul The Esk 09/11/2021 92comments  |  Jump to last

I want to set out a clear analysis of Everton’s performance in recent years on and off the pitch and the role the club’s owner and leadership have played in it. In Part I, I want to look at governance – its importance, and how it sets the scene for the last 6 years in particular but also the preceding decades.

There is an absolute and clear relationship between governance and corporate performance. There is extensive evidence across all sectors of commerce that the best-run businesses exercise the greatest governance standards. This is not a coincidence.

In recent months, there have been growing questions as to the performance of Everton Football Club on and off the pitch. As we approach the final quarter of the sixth year of Moshiri’s effective ownership, questions are being asked by increasing numbers about his role as owner, about his board of directors and executive teams, in addition to the performance of our core “product” – our football team and its management.

Just like any corporate entity, a football club cannot and does not stand in isolation. It must have meaningful relationships with its stakeholders. A football club, especially one with such a lengthy history as ours, as the fan led review will state, is embedded into local communities, being a fundamental part of whichever town, city or area it occupies. In many cases, it speaks more loudly than anything else as to the well-being (or not) of an area.

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In a football-mad city like Liverpool, it defines regional and local identity more than any other single institution. Thus the club has to acknowledge that importance and therefore its own obligations. How a football club is run really matters to the people surrounding its location, and particularly the fans, whether local, national or international. That responsibility (ie, its performance) falls fairly on the shoulders of the owners and directors.

To be fair, before analysing the football club any further, Everton in the Community excel in its work in this area. It would be churlish not to acknowledge its success and importance. But, and to use a word much in vogue at present, the performance of the charity and that of the football club should not be “conflated”. They remain two separate legal entities with different legal identities, management structures and very different objectives.

What is governance?

So, let’s start with governance. What is it? It can be defined as “the system by which companies are directed and controlled.” The differentiation between being directed and being controlled is extremely important. The owner and the directors perform two different roles within governance.

Boards of directors are responsible for the governance of their companies. The shareholders’ critical role in governance is to appoint the directors and to satisfy themselves (the shareholders) that an appropriate governance structure is in place.

The shareholder or owner role in governance is essential to how we perform, to our future strategies, and our attractiveness to lenders and potentially new investors. New investors or, put it another way, a succession plan is critical also as that determines what type of owner Everton may attract in the future.

If we determine that our governance is poor, then the shareholder is responsible for not recruiting the correct board of directors to govern his (our) club. As might become a theme in this series, recruitment either solves or creates problems. Get the recruitment of directors wrong, or choose to neglect recruitment of new and independent talent, and this guarantees poor performance across the business. Inexperienced, ineffective or simply unambitious directors create poor strategy and are usually not equipped to see that strategy executed properly, regardless of how good or not it might be.

So if I, or others, believe the board to be inadequate for its purposes (that of making Everton a successful, sustainable football club, an organisation helping to lead the development of the game) then it is down to the shareholders (assuming they agree) to make the changes to the board to deliver against the objectives set.

It is not too strong to say that, in this respect, Farhad Moshiri has been wholly negligent of his duties to the club, its minority shareholders, and all other stakeholders.

What are the key principles of good governance (modified for a football club)?

Board leadership and company purpose – A successful football club is led by an effective and entrepreneurial board of directors, whose role is to provide the resources for the long-term success of the club, generating value for shareholders, meeting fans objectives for success on the pitch, and contributing to the local community and environment. The long-term success of the club must include winning trophies at home and in Europe, competing with the very best club sides.

Generating sufficient resources to meet objectives – Self-evidently, it is the legal responsibility of the board to ensure that the necessary resources are in place for the company to meet its objectives and measure performance against them. It is also their duty to establish a framework of effective controls, enabling accurate assessment of risk.

Purpose, values and identity – it is the responsibility of the board to establish (or maintain and improve) the club’s purpose, values and identity. From establishing these vital components, strategy can then be determined. If a board does not determine purpose, values and identity how can it build or execute strategies? Equally if the purpose, values and identity are not apparent to those outside the organisation, how can the board be held to account?

Legal obligations – a board must ensure that the club meets its responsibilities to shareholders, stakeholders, and of course, its employees.

The structure and roles within an ideal board

“The board’s position is, therefore, to act as the link between owners and management, directing and controlling the company on the owners’ behalf. Put another way, the reason owners grant such authority is to enable the board to act as the ownership in microcosm.” ― John Carver

The Chair – The Chair leads the board and is responsible for its overall effectiveness in directing the company or club. Ideally, he or she should demonstrate objective judgement throughout their tenure and promote a culture of openness and debate. In addition, the chair is responsible for constructive board relations and the effective contribution of directors, including non-executives, and ensures that directors receive accurate, timely and clear information. The Chair also has the primary role in dealings with the major shareholder(s).

Executive and non-executive directors – Best practise calls for a combination of executive directors (ie, those employed by the club in executive roles – CEO, CFO etc) and, most importantly, non-executive directors. Even better practise would be the use of independent non-executive directors – ‘independent’ meaning they have not had a former employment or contractual relationship, nor are they related to any significant shareholder or stakeholder. Their role is very much to bring oversight and external expertise, to the benefit of other directors.

Non-executive directors should have sufficient time to meet their board responsibilities. They should provide constructive challenge, strategic guidance, offer specialist advice, and, most importantly, hold management to account.

There should be a clear division of responsibilities between the leadership of the board and the executive leadership of the company’s business.

Everton’s poor governance structure

“I believe the Everton board is revered throughout football… and I know that our board is what other clubs aspire to. In fact, one very famous football club said to me two or three days ago “whenever we have a problem” he said, “what would the Everton board do? As they always get it right.”

Quality speaks for itself”

Bill Kenwright, Chairman of Everton Football Club, speaking at the Annual General Meeting of the club in January 2021

Unfortunately, in Everton’s case, our board does not follow best practises. Composed entirely of executives, there is no separation between the board and the leadership of the business. This is an extreme weakness in Everton’s governance model and it is directly the responsibility of Farhad Moshiri to address this issue.

There are so many elements of what a board does, what it should do and the decisions it has to make that are compromised by having a small, all executive board. Who makes an objective analysis of individual performance? Who makes an objective analysis of strategy? Who provides the robust challenge necessary to ensure good decisions are made? Who determines remuneration and reward? Who decides who is competent enough, skilled enough, ambitious enough to remain an executive in a fast-moving sector like professional football with all its challenges (and opportunities)?

If we are to improve?

If we are to improve as an organisation – if we are to become truly competitive on and off the pitch, return to the top of the European club game, build a magnificent academy, successfully complete the new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock, and grow our identity, commercial attractiveness and brand – then Moshiri has to act. He has to look firstly at our governance and recognise the current model, structure and individuals at board level are not going to achieve what is required.

To not do so in the face of overwhelming evidence (footballing performance, financial performance, loss of stature within the game) will be grossly negligent – not only to himself as major shareholder, but to minor shareholders, fans (most importantly) and every other stakeholder that values our football club. He, alone, has the power and authority to act. He must do so now.

This is the first in a series looking at the challenges the owner and the board face. I’ll be looking at our finances, our commercial performance, the performance of our Director of Football, recruitment, and Moshiri’s role in this.

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Reader Comments (92)

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Ian Bennett
1 Posted 10/11/2021 at 07:51:01
Let's be clear. If it wasn't for Moshiri building a new stadium, he would have been run out of town by the fans by now.

No-one said nothing about him, as they fear the golden goose won't replace a delipidated Goodison... fact.

He has been poor in his choice of personnel and has been part of a terrible transfer strategy which has seen us spend £500M on players, bloat the wage bill, sell star players, and have a squad that is more inferior than when he took over. Hell, the Walter Smith teams could beat this lot, and they were terrible.

We are in a spiral of sacking managers. The players go through the motions, knowing their 4- and 5-year deals will outlast the 18 months afforded to the next manager on the list.

No right-back, no cover at left-back, only one decent centre-half, little attacking options, and a ponderous midfield. A squad that should be now challenging for Top 4 has "relegation scrape" written all over it. Our better players are ready to jump ship, as soon as decent offers come their way.

His involvement in the media has been embarrassing. He's allowed the running of the club to be muddled. Is it him, the manager, the Director of Football, Barrett-Baxendale, or Usmanov calling the shots?

He's not taking us forward. I just hope the next owner does.

Christine Foster
2 Posted 10/11/2021 at 08:28:36

I remember similar discussions I put forward during the infamous Kirkby debates, and in truth, the only thing that's changed is the owner of the majority of shares.

I agree, he has been negligent in the lack of governance to the point of arrogance. But I cannot help thinking that the name has changed but Bill still rules his train set.

Perhaps I should add that I believe this was the case for the first 3 years of his tenure. Bill got his investment and still had control... but at some point, Moshiri had enough and started making the calls alone. Nightmare, governance non-existent, control of board irrelevant, as they no longer make the calls. Clear them out or sell the club. The only options – because it can't continue.

Stu Darlington
3 Posted 10/11/2021 at 09:16:34
Totally agree, Paul, and with Ian's and Christine's posts above.

A key sentence to me is “if a board does not determine purpose, values and identity, how can it build or execute strategies?"

Those basic objectives have certainly not been communicated to the fans. What we have been left with is confusion, contradiction, and general incompetence.

It reminds me a bit of North Korea: autocratic leadership answerable to no one, population (in this case, fans!) starved of the football club they desire.

In fact, a delusional belief if we go by Kenwright's statement that the Everton board is revered by other clubs and is what other clubs aspire to...


Peter Neilson
4 Posted 10/11/2021 at 09:39:58
Personally I find it impossible to believe that any club ever said that to Kenwright. It's so ridiculous, it beggars belief.
Bill Gienapp
5 Posted 10/11/2021 at 09:44:16
Kenwright couldn't have made a more delusional statement if he tried. If someone from another club actually did say that to him, it was through choked laughter and he was too dim to realize it was a joke.
Peter Neilson
6 Posted 10/11/2021 at 09:52:27
Or they meant “we ask ourselves what would the Everton board do” and then do the opposite.
Dave Abrahams
7 Posted 10/11/2021 at 10:01:10
Moshiri, who is in Monaco most of the time, left the club to be managed and run by Kenwright, who is in London most of the time and, wherever he is, lives in a world of delusion and fantasy.

I fully believe the club is in the process of finally being sorted out if Benitez is allowed to get on with the job on the playing side of the problem while getting the coaching side put to the right and proper personnel. For the last few years this, as is patently obvious, hasn't been the case.

Joe McMahon
8 Posted 10/11/2021 at 10:17:21
Kenwright's statement has got me stunned! It's incredible. I suggest he look just a few 100 yards away to see how a board should act with Governance, objectives and a clear strategy.

Apologies for the language Editors but what a complete wanker he is.

Pete Clarke
9 Posted 10/11/2021 at 10:53:12
There have been too many instances of Kenwright's failures to list on here... but the one that gets me irate more than anything is him allowing Moyes to see out the season with full knowledge he had already accepted the Man Utd job.

Don't get me wrong: I was made up to see the back of Moyes but what an image they both gave of Everton Football Club that day. "Soft Arses FC" we should be called.

As supporters, we all should also take a bit of blame for not putting some real heavy pressure on this new owner to take action and sort it out.

I will not hold my breath for any big changes taking place if we don't, though, because Moshiri had so far proved to be pretty stupid at running a football club. It seems that only the threat of relegation gets him moving.

Jim Lloyd
10 Posted 10/11/2021 at 11:26:02
Ian (1),

I'd just ask you one question: And then what?

Moshiri, has made mistakes, some might think he's made plenty; but I think he definitely made one mistake and has paid for it since, that is trusting Kenwright – and keeping him on to run the club as Chairman.

Before he came along, we were regularly selling our best players (John Stones, Romelu Lukaku, Michael Arteta for starters... there's more as others will recollect).

Over the years since Kenwright got involved with the club, and certainly when he became Chairman, we sold all our assets, including Bellefield, and outsourced all our support services.

We lost the King's Dock opportunity and never had any sign of investment in the club; apart from the offer by Paul Gregg to loan the club the money for Everton's share of building the stadium at the Kings Dock.

Oh, aye! And when he had the promise of investment (the money's in the bank) from a True Blue Evertonian, who couldn't tell us when we last won the FA Cup and lived in Thailand or somewhere and later became a central star of the "Men who sold Football".

There was one offer that I believe was made, of massive investment in the club, by a certain Sheik who was evidently directed elsewhere; and I wouldn't be surprised that it was up the East Lancs to Manchest City.

My view is that Moshiri was duped by Kenwright into believing his investment would be carefully overseen. I think he's learnt his lesson belatedly; and, if there is any sign of Usmanov becoming more involved in the club, then I think he'd get shut of Kenwright and his cronies throughout the club.

There's others on here who I agree with regarding where the centre of our travails lie. I believe trying to get rid of Kenwright and his cronies is like trying to get a limpet off a rock but it will happen.

Before the club can be governed in a much better manner, I think there is a minefield awaiting Moshiri (and possibly Usmanov) when he or they attempt it.

If the fans and supporters intend running anyone out of our club, it isn't Moshiri, it isn't Benitez (who has already called for those on the board to pull their fingers out).

I'll leave you to guess who I think should bugger off... asap!

David Pearl
11 Posted 10/11/2021 at 11:32:27
Peter Johnson sold Duncan Ferguson.
Jim Lloyd
12 Posted 10/11/2021 at 11:46:07
I know that, David, I thought I'd edited it, after getting carried away about our beloved chairman; but thanks for pointing it out.
Pete Clarke
13 Posted 10/11/2021 at 12:56:33
Some might say that Peter Johnson did something right then!
Raymond Fox
14 Posted 10/11/2021 at 13:04:15
We can't get the very best players to sign for us and, if we produce a top player, they want to leave. Unless you can solve those two major problems, we are stuck where we are.

Buying £25M level players won't work, I'll concede we haven't chosen very well but, until we can match the usual suspects with equal quality players, we will fail.

Barry Hesketh
15 Posted 10/11/2021 at 13:14:58
In what is most likely a scare story from the Echo, a stricter set of rules surrounding sponsors and their ties with a club are to be discussed by the movers and shakers of the Premier League, which might, if fully implemented, adversely affect Everton FC and its sponsor USM.

As with the FFP rules, it does seem that those responsible at Everton FC either willingly ignore the rules or are not fully aware of the regulations. I've still to see evidence of other similar clubs falling foul of FFP or being close to spending restrictions in the same way as Everton has.

If USM is unable to provide significant sponsorship in the future, then we are back to having to sell star players to fund squad rebuilding as and when it's required or the current owner would have to sell the club to another party and all of the turmoil that would bring.

USM Sponsorship threatened?

Jim Lloyd
16 Posted 10/11/2021 at 13:24:11
Peter (13) How true :)
Robert Tressell
17 Posted 10/11/2021 at 13:47:45
Raymond @ 14.

For balance, I'd mention that Leipzig have done very well indeed by buying only players less than £25M.

The point is to have the patience (not a lot) to develop world class talent – rather than find the most expensive average player that money can buy.

Jerome Shields
18 Posted 10/11/2021 at 14:05:23
Weak governance equals an organisation run by, in the main, individuals who purposely allow weak systems and procedures to develop for the said individuals in power to run the organisation to suit themselves, usually maintaining and enhancing their positions, for their own material gain.

This is done to the detriment of the organisation's performance and progress, both which are of interest to such individuals, only in terms of maintaining their positions. Premier League status is enough.

In Everton's case, a new owner was sought to maintain such an organisation – and what a success it has been in achieving and maintaining that objective. Even allowing them to add like-minded individuals to their ranks to strengthen their positions and get rid of anyone who challenges their positions.

I bet that the individual that Kenwright refers to was on the Man Utd board, maintaining the hotline to get rid of rubbish. No wonder Man Utd are heading in the direction they are in, following the Everton template, even if it is partly true.

'O what a gift to give to see ourselves as others see us. ' – What a clown!

Jon Harding
19 Posted 10/11/2021 at 15:48:00
Jim Lloyd @ 10 - Moshiri was already the owner when we sold both Lukaku and Stones. Mikel Arteta's sale was indeed before his time at Everton though.
Bill Hawker
20 Posted 10/11/2021 at 19:08:30
If Everton were a publicly-traded company, you'd have made a killing shorting the shares. Paul is dead-on in terms of the rot starting at the top and finding it's way down to the pitch. It must be stopped and soon.
Robert Williams
21 Posted 10/11/2021 at 19:09:04
While I appreciate Paul's in depth analysis of 'Everton now, then and whenever', I do not for a minute think whatever anyone says will make a blind bit of difference to the governance of this club of ours.

Half a billion pounds is a lot of money to piss up the wall and recouping that amount, short of selling the club, will take eons.

Football clubs have long since become the play things of the mighty rich; I wonder whether they ever expect governance to be a part of their little games, while they amuse themselves?

After all, it's only money!! (And can probably be written off as a loss against gains elsewhere.)

Joe McMahon
22 Posted 10/11/2021 at 19:23:03
Slightly related (being part of a failing setup). But it looks like Villa are stepping up their pursuit of Gerrard. This is where both Unsworth and Ferguson are going wrong if they want to manage Everton. They have to test the water elsewhere first. Lampard and Gerrard both have.
Kunal Desai
23 Posted 10/11/2021 at 19:28:36
“I believe the Everton board is revered throughout football… and I know that our board is what other clubs aspire to. In fact, one very famous football club said to me two or three days ago “whenever we have a problem” he said, “what would the Everton board do? As they always get it right.”

Never has a man been more delusional; if one wanted proof that this man shouldn't be at the club, it's that statement in itself.

Totally agree with the article, Paul. Mr Moshiri needs to act and act now, not in 3 years time when we are about to move into a new stadium.
The Kenwright legacy should have been slowly phased out over time. I can only imagine there have been certain clauses incorporated at the time of Moshiri becoming majority shareholder based on 'certain terms' and 'agreements' in the contract for purchasing his shareholding.

Barry Hesketh
24 Posted 10/11/2021 at 19:37:16
The real reason that Moshiri moved Everton HQ to the Liver Buildings?

AGM 2022 preview

Michael Kenrick
25 Posted 10/11/2021 at 20:03:09
You've been pointing up these structural inadequacies of the Everton hierarchy for as long as I can remember, Paul. Your approach is that of a 'traditional' businessman, and I'm not faulting that as such. I just wonder for discussion purposes how much different football clubs are from more traditional business? (Although you could argue that most of those have gone east!)

I can't help coming back to the role of Chairman, as my belief is that it is one of the bigger differences: the Chairman of a football club, especially if he was a substantial share owner, really seemed to rule the roost. This was certainly true of Everton from the halcyon days of Sir John Moores, through (with some notable lapses) until Bill Kenwright sold most of his shares to Farhad Moshiri (for a massive return of around £20 million... in passing).

As discussed on your previous ToffeeWeb thread, considerable confusion now reigns over exactly what powers of governance Kenwright has continued to wield through the Moshiri years. Given my possibly dated perception of his role as 'The Governor', I firmly believe he has overseen the transition of the Board from one which consisted almost entirely of non-executive directors, to the current edifice that I think you correctly characterized as a management committee, rather than a more traditional board of directors.

I still struggle, however, with your claim that Kenwright is now an executive director. He certainly wasn't for all the pre-Moshiri years and would boast about the club having never paid him a brass nickel for his services to the Club. So I'm curious when you think the transition occurred, and what you think his functional job title is (beyond Chairman)?

But that's a continuing aside really. The point I want to make is more about Governance going forward. The role of the Board to safeguard the major shareholders' investment is, you could argue, better served now with a management committee of executives who are trying to make best use of the major shareholder's investment on a day-to-day basis. Worrying about the protection of the minor shareholders' interests was never high on the agenda, and now (with the massive share issue to Moshiri) it has become diluted even more to the point of irrelevancy.

In all honesty, I can't see them changing back to something more traditional at Board level, as your analysis suggests they should. Instead, they are likely to consolidate the executive roles and functions, perhaps even making the CEO the new chair-person when Bill finally vacates? Arguably, the club still needs the strong individual figurehead at the top (okay, maybe I should stop watching Succession...)

But actually, succession is probably the bottom line here. Who steps up to the Chair when Bill finally surrenders? You are asking for change; the only foreseeable change is him stepping down... so who steps up? Moshiri? Usmanov? Barrett-Baxendale? Jimmy Chong? It's a pretty short list.

None of the others on the Board seem remotely capable. Unless the real power broker (I'll buy that it's probably Usmanov) brings in someone who is really capable. But, if they had someone in mind, wouldn't they have done that already? And, instead of the joke operation we have all witnessed, they would have brought in someone who can institute proper effective governance of Everton FC Co Ltd?

The fact that they haven't just keeps bringing me back to the old bad penny himself: Kenwright. They must believe he is still doing an effective job at the head of this monster.

Ian Bennett
26 Posted 10/11/2021 at 20:17:27
Jim @10 - if he goes, and the ground is dead, we are stuffed.

If he stays and builds the ground, Jack's up the prices, and fails on the pitch – the fans will oust him.

Whichever way it's going, I can't see it ending well. We lack leaders on the pitch and have no identity. The boardroom is no different.

John Keating
27 Posted 10/11/2021 at 20:38:30
Based on what you say, Paul, then surely the answer must be for the entire Board to be binned and a completely new Board of hard-arsed businessmen – not supporters – brought in to run the Club?

Time for Miss Dynamite to return to her great success and totally separate EitC.

Brands to become an advisor to the Board and have no voting rights.

The World's Greatest Evertonian gracefully retired and finally made to put something into the Club by buying a season ticket.

Hard-arsed businessmen who will do a complete season-long examination of the Club top to bottom – certainly including the Old Boys' Club at Finch Farm, make and carry out recommendations.

We'll all go crazy but it may drag us into the real world!

Ken Kneale
28 Posted 10/11/2021 at 20:41:27
Paul's article as ever is spot on.

Sadly, Michael's comments at 25 strike a chord of reality - whatever he should do, Moshiri should have done by now as Paul surgically exposes. What he is going to do is important and horribly Michael's analysis seems to close for comfort from the 30 years of misery Kenwright & Co have inflicted.

Jerome Shields
29 Posted 10/11/2021 at 20:52:43
Michael #25,

That is the unknown dynamic that is hard to fathom – that it suits Moshiri to have Everton run as it is and to have Kenwright as Chairman. Brands is an interesting figure in this dynamic. Brought in as Director of Football, promoted to the Board and recently given more directorships; but executive-wise, he is increasingly looking like a non-event. Benitez now seems to be in charge of transfers.

The only attempt at change which is Moshiri-driven is to bring in a new manager to try to manage the Premier League playing side with limited resources and existing contract players, both good and bad. It looks like an attempt to directly manage the team by Moshiri, with limited input by the Board or the executive management committee of the club.

Which brings us back to why would Moshiri allow the Club to be run this way?

There seems to be no succession at Everton, as you pointed out. I wouldn't be surprised if Barrett-Baxendale, as you suggest, was Everton's next Chair-person. . . The only accountability control is the FFP rules and sacking a manager when Premier League survival is threatened.

It could be that Moshiri walked into Everton with his eyes open. Maybe Usmanov has a long-term plan that not even Moshiri knows about. It all suits Kenwright though. The small Board would suggest uninterrupted control and power in fewer hands, with lip service being paid to governance. A rubber stamp when Moshiri needs it.

Paul [The Esk]
30 Posted 10/11/2021 at 21:02:51
The UK corporate governance code says that succession from CEO to Chair is an absolute no no. Something I agree with totally. How could an incoming CEO make changes when the Chair is responsible for all that he/she wishes to change?

#Michael 25, great post.

More to follow from me if you can stomach it in the period leading up to the accounts and the AGM

Paul [The Esk]
31 Posted 10/11/2021 at 21:09:20
BTW regarding Kenwright's status as an executive Chair, any shareholder can contact the club and has the right to inspect his contract which includes role, responsibilities and his rewards.
Jerome Shields
32 Posted 10/11/2021 at 21:09:27
Maybe it is Moshiri who wants no accountability or governance and is preferring to keep a buffer of token management in place.
Paul [The Esk]
33 Posted 10/11/2021 at 21:13:23
I think you are 100% correct, Jerome.
Andy Crooks
34 Posted 10/11/2021 at 21:46:35

To Bill Kenwright, the notion of corporate governance would be beyond his comprehension. He works on hand-written notes, nod and a wink, emotion, not what I meant, you know what I mean, we're all Blues, hug, handshake, I'm only the Chairman, all be good in the end, Kings Dock, Kirby, luvvly jubbly.

Corporate Governance?? Now,.. Moshiri?

I suspect the concept is familiar to him but familiar to him in a kind of Who cares? way. Not his problem.

Dale Self
35 Posted 10/11/2021 at 22:07:46
We probably need to get right with the notion that some owners (perhaps including our Moshiri) are looking for that sweet spot of feigning a run at European competitions while never being saddled with squad wages that accompany Champions League qualification. Everton is a bit of a mark in that respect and choosing to abide stability could be playing into a shrewd deception.

The main objective is to ride the overall growth in the Premier League and stay in a position to sell the club once the stadium is built. Doing this while not incurring the wrath of the fanbase is the constraint. It's a maximin but not the type that plays for the House of Sod and definitely not a move made by a saint.

Barry Hesketh
36 Posted 10/11/2021 at 22:36:40
Dale @35,

I think aiming for underachievement is an underrated method to run a Premier League club; unfortunately, Everton have gotten so good at it, that it now looks like a natural way of life.

The only footballing promise I've heard from the leaders of Everton FC, in modern times – I dismissed Barett-Baxendale's AGM call to arms as an unrealistic aim of the type that befits politicians – came from Bill Kenwright himself following the Wimbledon game, when he said 'Never Again!'

But even that became a broken promise as, 4 years later, we entered the last weekend of the season requiring a positive result to maintain our place in the Premier League.

Tenth is the new Seventh!

Brian Murray
37 Posted 10/11/2021 at 22:47:39
About the toe-curling embarrassing comment by the Chairman. I'd like to know is the world really made of tangerine trees and marmalade skies in his mind... or is this just an act and he's really as arrogant as people have said and not really an Evertonian? Surely a proper Blue would jump before they were pushed, if they loved the club and can see the damage he has caused?
Pete Clarke
38 Posted 10/11/2021 at 23:45:08

Arrogance is definitely a part of his make-up, as was shown when he stopped the AGM meetings, therefore taking himself out of the firing line.

Delusion is another big part of his make-up but he has never been truly challenged to step down, so it's going to carry on. Moshiri clearly trusts him and only relegation or a huge call from the supporters will change anything.

He should have gone a long time ago and, if he hangs around until the new stadium is built, then I can see some part of it being named after him, which is a sickening thought.

Jerome Shields
39 Posted 10/11/2021 at 23:46:54
Paul #33,

The question is Why?

I do think that it is more likely that Brands is the next Chairman in this scenario and Barrett-Baxendale remains Chief Executive on the Board of Directors, especially given the attitude of the authorities to a CEO to chairman succession, as you describe.

It's a bit like directors and officers in an offshore company with the shareholder and actual beneficial owner being in full control of operations, limited as that is in running a football club. At Everton, the directors are allowed to play about with their mates.

Don Alexander
40 Posted 10/11/2021 at 00:05:48
I always respect The Esk's take on things but the notion of openly developing a club, whilst respecting the significance of "corporate governance" to the likes of Kenwright, Moshiri and Usmanov is as valid as those few among us who still believe the Earth is flat or that Unsy and his team of sycophantic has-beens have ever been worth a jot.
Brian Wilkinson
41 Posted 11/11/2021 at 01:23:06
Peter@13 yes, at least he landed us a trophy, did sod all else but something the mighty one had failed to do, land us a trophy.
Danny Broderick
42 Posted 11/11/2021 at 02:43:42
Is it too simplistic to state that all of our problems have been on the pitch and that, off the pitch, things have improved under Moshiri? I don't have facts and figures to hand, it's just my gut instinct.

We have made progress with the stadium. We have increased sponsorship revenues with all kinds of tie-ins, including training ground sponsors, sleeve sponsors, shirt sponsors etc. We no longer have the Kitbag deal, we have opened a new club shop in Ireland... Things seem to be okay off the pitch.

On the pitch, however, it's been an unmitigated disaster. The Director of Football role has not worked for us. Our recruitment has been bloody awful, first under Walsh, and now under Brands. We must have the most injury-prone squad in the Premier League. We have consistently bought players that are not good enough for the Top 6. We have given them extortionate wages they cannot get elsewhere. The result is that we have ended up giving them away, or selling them for peanuts, or even subsidising their wages while they play on loan elsewhere!

We have gone through 7 managers in 5 years.

We now have an ageing, unbalanced squad, with little cover in the full-back positions. We have ageing players - like Rondon, Begovic, Lonergan – who are effectively worthless. We don't appear to have any real top-class youngsters coming through from the academy.

I can't help thinking that the lack of structure has somehow created a lack of strategy on the pitch. We just don't know who is buying the players – Moshiri, Kenwright, Brands or Benitez? There are examples to suggest they are all involved in it.

Personally, I would get rid of the DoF. We were far more effective when we had a steady manager (Moyes) and one guy getting the players for him (Kenwright). Let Unsworth or someone else have overall responsibility for the academy. But we need to get back to proper accountability, and to have a clear idea of who is responsible for what. Too many cooks have spoilt the broth.

Mike Gaynes
43 Posted 11/11/2021 at 02:45:12
Michael #25 (and Paul #30), you seem to consider it a foregone conclusion that a current director would be elevated to the Chair if it changed hands at this point.

If change is truly what Moshiri has in mind, wouldn't it be more logical to bring in a new Chair from outside the club? And if Kenwright's retirement isn't imminent, wouldn't it be natural to wait until we were closer to launch at BSD, when a new stadium would be a greater attraction to a top exec from elsewhere? It's not like a Board upheaval is going to have much impact in the next year or two, but in 2023 with the move impending, it might be a different story.

If I were Moshiri and Usmanov, I might be thinking along those lines.

Christine Foster
44 Posted 11/11/2021 at 08:27:11

You outline good practise in an organisation, one in which the management and directors are responsible to the shareholders and the "customers" – or, in this case, the fans. However, I doubt this format has ever been in place at Everton FC.

With both Kenwright and then Moshiri having more than enough shares to dictate what the club does, governance is an unused word in their dictionary. They are responsible to no-one, as was seen in the infamous cancellation of AGMs and lip service to small shareholders and fans.

This was Kenwright's toy... still is to a great extent; remember, he never wanted to sell the club, he only wanted an investor?

But, and this is where it starts to get interesting, Moshiri obviously trusted Kenwright with carrying on the running of the club. (Why, oh why would he do this?? Was he the victim of a con trick? A brain fade?)

As the money went out, as the managers came and went, as players were bought by... just who was responsible for all the No 10s we bought? Why don't we have one left? Why was the only creative player of class derided and made unwelcome? (No... let that one pass; too contentious...)

I firmly believe the club is quietly up for sale, that Moshiri has said no more money, that Benitez was brought in to make it a viable European club.

I doubt there is a need for Brands anymore, that Kenwright is now a token figurehead. No Governance required. Moshiri is making all the calls. His trust was betrayed by Kenwright, by Brands, by Ancelotti. On top of that, he is being blamed for all our ills. He is a different beast to Kenwright but neither are good enough.

Paul [The Esk]
45 Posted 11/11/2021 at 08:53:02
Interesting comments as always.

I accept entirely that governance doesn't appear in the Kenwright lexicon and, given the areas of the world Moshiri generally operates in, it won't appear high on his list of priorities.

However, I would say that in my business career, I've met very few businesses, if indeed any, that are well run and successful yet demonstrate poor governance.

If you can't be bothered to run your company properly, what does it say about your commitment to excellence regarding your product and services? Professional sport can be a business of small margins when it comes to success. If the owners and directors are not committed to excellence, what chance the people charged with delivering elsewhere?

Just to clarify, I would not advocate any of the current board or executive to replace Kenwright. We need a complete clear-out, bringing professionalism, talent and ambition to our floundering club.

We have to be more demanding of Moshiri; it's not just about pouring money in and building a stadium.

Christine, yes I buy the theory that a new owner at a suitable price would be attractive to Moshiri, although I suspect the price would be a significant barrier.

Tony Abrahams
46 Posted 11/11/2021 at 09:04:09
Very logical thoughts, Christine, but I heard from a very good source that some very close friends of Benitez begged the man not to take the job... but he was insistent that he could do a good job and turn Everton around, if he was given a fair crack.

I also heard about the Zoom call, when Usmanov told Mr Kenwright to be quiet please, because although he liked him, he had spent a lot of money at Everton, and also intended to spend a lot more. So, if your logical thoughts are correct, Christine, then there must have been a change of heart since the summer on this matter.

I also heard that some people advised our owners that FFP was going to be radically changed because of how Man City had already dealt with Uefa regarding FFP, and they should not be so worried about spending.

I hope the reason that they have suddenly become very prudent is more to do with making sure they have got the right man at the helm, before they open the coffers once again... But that's because I always live in hope regarding Everton, and probably because I have no other choice – other than to turn my back on them, which is something that I don't think will ever happen. 🤞

Danny O’Neill
47 Posted 11/11/2021 at 09:36:38
I'd agree with the FFP comment, Tony. I don't think they were too bothered by it (not that I have inside knowledge). I assume that they finally woke up to the fact they had been giving the money to people who didn't know how to spend it so are holding off in a "wait and see" moment. You need to remove the word 'think' from your last sentence. It's never happening!!!

To Paul's article. Governance is absolutely related to performance. If you get it wrong, you don't perform.

I like the point about direction versus control. An owner should be able to give direction and then delegate to those empowered to deliver on that direction (the strategy, the objectives). But set KPIs and measure them periodically to make sure everything is on track and, if not, readjust or reset. In my experience, a controlling owner is rarely a good one.

To date, the owner's misjudgement has been who he has appointed, left in place and empowered. He needs to act, as Paul says, and not just focus on managerial appointments as the solution. Think strategically.

Politicians own the Army. Generals run the Army to support the UK's strategic objectives passed to them by politicians. Officers follow direction from the generals to interpret strategic aims and turn that into plans to achieve tactical goals. The soldiers go and follow that instruction and do the delivery piece at the operational level.

No plan ever survives contact with the enemy, but the important thing is to quickly reassess, readjust and change direction to maintain momentum and get back on track quickly. We've unfortunately been doing that with the speed of thought and movement of an oil tanker rather than a unit in the heat of an operation. Or a football club wanting to challenge the elite.

Strategy, direction, delegation, empowerment, delivery. But get the right people in place first.

Christine Foster
48 Posted 11/11/2021 at 09:39:58
Tony, like you, no matter what, I could never turn my back on Everton. My heart is Blue.

But for all my business experience at high levels, you learn to read between lines, you hear the words not said, you learn to weigh up situations and make most likely assumptions.

Of course it's all hypothetical but people with money rarely suffer fools, they don't become rich by luck. Anyone in Moshiri's position would have second thoughts; anyone who has placed trust to the value of money he has, has a right to demand to know what is going on. He is not incompetent but his errors of judgment are frightening.

I hope Benitez gets a fair crack at sorting it out, but the issues at the club are not just on the pitch, are they? If Moshiri or his mate are committed long term, then they have to sort the board out as well – neither on- nor off-pitch management can be successful without the other.

Brian Harrison
49 Posted 11/11/2021 at 10:37:29
I think we need to accept that Moshiri is merely a front man for this part of Usmanov's many and varied portfolios.

There is no passion for Everton Football Club from Usmanov and Moshiri – it's just another business opportunity and they are astute enough to know that, to get a profitable return on their investment, then Premier League football is key. They also realized that the building of a new stadium was also crucial to enhance the resale profitability of their purchase.

I think Usmanov was desperate to own Arsenal as a self-confessed fan and, when asked about his allegiance to Arsenal, he said he will always be an Arsenal fan. So, seeing as Moshiri had been gifted his shares in Arsenal by Usmanov in his bid to get control of Arsenal, seeing that was no longer possible, he used the money raised from selling those shares to buy Everton Football Club.

I think Usmanov, being the shrewd businessman that he is, thought Everton was a good investment; he had looked at a club that had spent very little... yet managed to finish in the Top 7 on a regular basis. I think he also thought this had been achieved by good governance by Kenwright, and he could happily throw some money into the club which could get them into competing on a regular basis for a Champions League spot.

Just to back up this failed strategy, Moshiri was quoted as saying after 12 months he only expected being the owner of the club to take up 5% of his time – whereas, in reality, it was taking up a lot more of his time than originally expected.

I believe this underlines my belief that this is just another business to be added to the portfolio, which, given the right investment, would be a very shrewd investment. But, unlike the templates of both Abramovich at Chelsea and Mansoor at Man City, where their takeovers were followed by appointing the very best managers around – something that both these clubs still do.

Our owners decided to employ Koeman, who had won nothing and done nothing as a manager; they also allowed this untried manager to spend vast amounts on mostly mid-table players. Then, having been burnt, you would have thought they will now learn the lesson and appoint a top class manager... but again they appoint Silva, whose track record in this country was even worse than Koeman's – and they had to pay Watford £10 million into the bargain!

After even more failed managers, they turned to Ancelotti who bought some decent players and, although his style of play was far from most people's liking, and just like now, he had injuries to key players, he still managed to end up with a win rate percentage which was only bettered by Catterick and Kendall... so not a bad start.

But, despite him saying he wanted to be here long after we move to the new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock – only weeks after that statement, he was gone – with little or no explanation from him or the board as to what happened to change his mindset in just a couple of weeks. Could it have been he found out that, because of FFP, there was no money to spend for the upcoming season??

They have appointed what they and we hope will be a safe pair of hands and a lot of Premier League experience in Benitez to hopefully steer this club away from any possible danger of relegation until after they have built the new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock and sold the club. I hope for our sake they are right.

Laurie Hartley
50 Posted 11/11/2021 at 10:39:43
My take on the situation as it stands:- Carlo threw the cat amongst the pigeons when he took his “unexpected opportunity”. It was during his tenure that Moshiri (and Usmanov?) really committed to the new stadium.

Benitez is the latest attempt to get the right manager in the most important position in a football club. They have probably got it right this time but are currently in a "wait and see" mode.

If I was the owner, I would be telling all concerned that the manager will be making the call on what new players are acquired. Might bruise a few egos, that...

On the business side, the Dan Meis return seems a significant move to me – good or bad news for Colin Chong?

Michael Kenrick
51 Posted 11/11/2021 at 11:36:41
I think the shocking thing that comes across from all the wise posts on this thread is the blindingly obvious need for far better people to be running the club at the very top.

I don't want to embarrass Paul but I hate to think for how long and in how many different ways he has been making this plea. Yet what have we seen in 5 years of the Moshiri era?

I don't really know for sure but most of the Board appointees don't seem to really reflect anything like the high ideals Paul and others are advocating. I think perhaps Brian (@49) comes closest to providing a possible explanation why this might be the case... and sadly why it is unlikely to change.

I'm still not convinced that drawing parallels with real business management (or the military – but thank you, Danny!) and the way they do things has much relevance to Everton Football Club. As Bill says, we are the trendsetters. Others follow us and respect us. We don't have anyone to tell us anything about how this should be done. [*Cough*, *Sputter*, *Choke*]

So it's nice to see websites out there still blowing happy bubbles at Bungling Bill and the Great Everton Management Myth:

"The Toffees are known to carry out good financial deals as they were one of the most successful clubs commercially in terms of new deals since the pandemic began."

ps: Laurie (@50), I expect that the remit for Dan Meis is very different from Colin Chong's role, and that if anything, Meis would hopefully be an important additional resource in reviewing and approving the implementation of construction for all architecture-related aspects of the new build at Bramley-Moore Dock, with Chong still very much the Owner's Representative.

Niall McIlhone
52 Posted 11/11/2021 at 11:44:08
Some great posts on here, but basically, I endorse Dave Abrahams' post @7. There is no point in appointing Rafa Benitez as manager unless the Board and Mr Moshiri are prepared to accept home truths?

Benitez needs to be given "clear blue water" to completely re-structure the playing side, and to place his stamp on Finch Farm and the youth set-up, so it is fit for purpose. At the moment, the U23 side is mainly producing mediocre young players who end up in the lower leagues – How can this be acceptable when we have a highly paid Director of Football who is meant to be in charge of the throughput of talent?

As for Paul the Esk, you, sir, should be opted on as an expert spokesperson for the fans, but sadly I can't see Denise Barrett-Baxendale returning the email...

Danny O’Neill
53 Posted 11/11/2021 at 12:06:56
You'll have to forgive my over-the-top battle cry, Michael!!! It's that time of year I get emotional, maybe even more than Everton make me, so I probably got carried away!! Apologies, but I do see parallels in military structure on how to run an organisation that is fluid and conducting multiple operations.

I've been in the commercial world for a couple of years now and running operations based on my background. I've used a lot of the skills and experience I learned, but had to adapt and change. And that's been in a positive way to learn new skills and experience in a complimentary way to support the business objectives. Follow the direction to achieve the goals.

Definitely I have experienced organisations that are "flatter" rather than the more hierarchal structure I was used to, but there still needs to be governance and structure. And if the plan isn't working, you change it, including (if necessary) the people. Unless they are willing to change and buy into the plan.

Glass of Port and a toast tonight.

Stu Darlington
54 Posted 11/11/2021 at 13:26:27
Having read the posts above, I am now resigned to the fact that we are unlikely to see any changes in governance in the immediate future. Given the delusional, Emperors new clothes, attitude of the owner and chairman, where does that leave the club?

A club that has alleged ambitions to compete in the Top 6 of the Premier League and in Europe?

Why do the words 'creek' and 'paddle' keep springing to mind?

Bobby Mallon
55 Posted 11/11/2021 at 14:50:36
We need Usmanov to buy us for a large amount of money. End of.
John Hodgkins
56 Posted 11/11/2021 at 15:19:11
I believe that the only time we are likely to see changes is when Kenwright stands down and we may then get someone with both business and football experience at a high level.

Surely it must be in Moshiri's best interests to have a successful, well-run football club? If for no other reason than it must maximise his potential return on a sale.

All-in-all, his time in control just seems to lead from one disappointment to another.

Raymond Fox
57 Posted 11/11/2021 at 15:58:21
Following on from what Bobby 55 says our only chance to become big time Charlies again is a mountain of money, that is if we are allowed to spend it!

You can waffle on about Moshiri, Kenwright our Dof etc but as I mentioned before tell me how we can sign the very best players that only want to go to your City, Utd, Chelsea etc. Why, if we do manage to produce a top player they want out to a current bigger club.
I don't see better management overcoming those barriers, don't get me wrong I'm all for a better run club but that alone wont get us on par with the previous mentioned clubs.

Barry Hesketh
58 Posted 11/11/2021 at 16:21:28
Raymond @59,

I don't think many Evertonians are delusional about the prospects of the club challenging the elite in the near future; however, a better-run club might well see us become more competitive and at least allow us to dream of being in Europe or picking up the odd cup.

What we have at the minute, for a variety of reasons, is a club struggling to keep its head above water, whilst other similar-sized clubs are seemingly doing things better than us and are likely to finish higher than us in the Premier League, not just this season, but for the foreseeable future.

It might take a lot more luck – which hasn't been in evidence in the last few years – in order for Everton's prospects to improve in the coming seasons. I also think the reason that Moshiri splashed so much cash in the first place was because he was gambling on the club gaining European football, sooner rather than later. That gamble has failed and we are currently paying the price for that.

If there is a structural problem at Everton, things could get decidedly worse – and very quickly.

Danny O’Neill
59 Posted 11/11/2021 at 16:30:09
But Chelsea in the early 90s. Manchester City in the late 90s / early 2000s? Unfortunately when you've been in decline for decades, it takes a while to dig yourself out of it. And they were on a way worse starting point than us. Admittedly, we've wasted time, but in the bigger scheme of things, we have plans in place.

When you're building something, you have to look beyond this year and next. Especially when your are talking strategy and structure of the club.

Otherwise, you're just existing from year to year and hoping for the best.

Martin Mason
60 Posted 11/11/2021 at 16:37:31
Great and informative article as always Paul.

The only correction I'd suggest is that when you state "It is not too strong to say that, in this respect, Farhad Moshiri has been wholly negligent." I would say that it isn't a statement of fact but a strong opinion. I'd have asked the question, "Is it not too strong to say that, in this respect, Farhad Moshiri has been wholly negligent."

Negligent is a very strong word and normally used inappropriately.

Bobby Mallon
61 Posted 11/11/2021 at 16:39:13
Let’s just hope Dunk gets the Rangers job. How has he seen off all those managers?
Mike Gaynes
62 Posted 11/11/2021 at 17:05:48
Brian #49, I don't believe that Usmanov or anyone else buys a football club as a "good investment." Yes, owning a team can be highly profitable, but there are much easier, safer and less public ways of making a whole lot more money with a whole lot less stress and press criticism.

The super-rich buy clubs as a passion project, a drive for very public success that is celebrated in the worldwide media and fan parades rather than a dry, soulless stockholder's report. They love the competition and the high-profile ego reward.

Therefore, it's not important that "There is no passion for Everton Football Club from Usmanov and Moshiri" -- very few owners buy clubs they actually support. Nobody saw stands full of Saudis at Newcastle or movie stars lining the pitch at Wrexham before they were bought out. I can tell you for a fact that no Glazer grew up a Man United fan.

What's important is that Usmanov and Moshiri have a drive for success -- that they want to win, that they're not willing to settle for mid-table or second best as previous owners were required to accept for lack of funds. No super-rich mogul wants to preside over a failed enterprise, especially one that fails on TV once a week. It hurts their pride and image.

We've had decades of ownership that bled Blue. What we hope now is that we have ownership that bleeds Winning.

Barry Rathbone
63 Posted 11/11/2021 at 17:12:39
Ray Fox 59 Spot on.

Middle management buzz words about "governance" etc have never turned a club round it's just peripheral navel gazing for accountants and financial wallahs. I can only think of 2 clubs who went from dire to dynamic without shedloads of cash both led by managers who instantly evisecerated the existing playing staff. Unfortunately one is Liverpool and the other Forest so until we get a Shankly or Clough we are stuffed

Danny O’Neill
64 Posted 11/11/2021 at 17:13:25
I do remember that Kieran and it has been an ongoing concern at Everton. I also remember Martinez raising it (yes he was / is a qualified physio).

My brother mentioned Donnachie going and being brought back in again. Another link to previous regimes?

Back to Chelsea and City Barry. They installed a governance structure and strategy the eventually gave them success. Buzzwords maybe, but I wouldn't call them middle-management. Middle management are more the deliverers, not those is set the strategy or the structure.

Brian Harrison
65 Posted 11/11/2021 at 18:11:39
Mike @64,

You say that Moshiri and Usmanov have a drive for success: they want to win and are not willing to settle for mid-table or second-best. But despite buying into the club over 5 years ago, they have turned us into not even mid-table; we have gone backwards since their arrival.

You say none of the super-rich owners want to preside over a failed enterprise, but we have already seen super-rich owners like Ellis Short at Sunderland fail, Randy Lerner at Aston Villa fail, Mike Ashley at Newcastle Utd fail... and so far, the Glazers at Man Utd fail – all very wealthy owners but all failed.

Jay Wood

66 Posted 11/11/2021 at 18:28:05
I don't follow the thinking of some suggesting Moshiri will be looking to sell the club once the stadium is built. That strikes me as a losing investment.

I've always maintained that, for Moshiri (and Usmanov?), Everton is a useful vehicle in a much bigger game of real estate grabbing. They have the Liver Building at one end, the new stadium in Bramley-Moore Dock at the other, and plenty of backfill in-between the two. There is a lot of money to be made in such a play.

For Moshiri to build the stadium and then immediately sell his holding in the club for profit, he surely needs the team to be successful. We are a long way off from being so.

Another suggested scenario – that Moshiri is already looking to sell his Everton holdings before the stadium is completed – should give us all cause for concern if true.

If the latter happens, there are no guarantees that the new owners would complete the new stadium project at Bramley-Moore Dock. Everton could find itself in an extremely precarious position if such a sale was realised, seeing us completely asset-stripped.

Possibly Moshiri has been a little giddy on power, taking ownership of a Premier League football club and indulging in a game of Fantasy Football Manager.

I think there has been a number of his personal indulgences in both management and player recruitment which have not served the club well. So in that he is equally culpable as the pantomime villain Kenwright in his even longer tenure of mismanagement.

In that regard, Moshiri needs to stand back and entrust his appointments to do their thing. And therein lies the flaw flagged up by so many.

The management structure is not fit for purpose and the club continually fails to live up to its motto which still counts for many of us:

Nil Satis Nisi Optimum.

Mike Gaynes
67 Posted 11/11/2021 at 18:38:41
Brian #68, I said 'drive' matters.

I didn't say it's the only thing that matters.

Competence is also required. Either in running the club or in hiring the right people to do so.

Lerner, Ashley and Short were not competent. Moshiri and Usmanov have yet to prove they are.

The Glazers are the flip side of my point. They bought Man Utd as a business investment, no passion involved. And from that perspective, they have been exceptionally successful. The club is worth five times the £800 million they paid for it, and they are vacuuming up £20 million a year in dividends.

Bill Gall
68 Posted 11/11/2021 at 18:59:50
I do not believe that the Chelsea or Man City governance can be used to show the Moshiri problems, as both clubs were bought by extremely rich owners and Chelsea more than City were allowed to use their wealth without having to follow FFP rules, and both of them changed managers at times.
Peter Neilson
69 Posted 11/11/2021 at 19:51:14
Maybe more importantly, both Man City and Chelsea changed their chairman and board. In the case of City, it was immediate; with Chelsea, just over 6 months... but Ken Bates had already been sidelined.

I don't know of another club that has a new owner with over 90% of the shares but the same Chairman. Happy to be enlightened...

Michael Boardman
70 Posted 11/11/2021 at 20:00:13
Are you serious? Mike Ashley has coined it in from Newcastle. Just like Blue Bill with us.
Paul [The Esk]
71 Posted 11/11/2021 at 20:22:39
Just regarding this is an extensive real estate play. Far from it.

Moshiri owns a minority stake in a highly leveraged purchase of The Liver Buildings by German investors Corestate. The fact the club and Moshiri permit the spin surrounding The Liver Buildings is an example of how disingenuous this all is.

The truth is Peel Holdings would only offer the most northerly site of Liverpool Waters for the stadium because they feared, if the stadium was further south, the development value to the north would reduce significantly. The bookending spin is complete nonsense.

Stephen Vincent
72 Posted 11/11/2021 at 20:32:51
Michael #73. Mike Ashley paid £134m for Newcastle in 2006 and paid off their substantial debts. The club was on the verge of administration at the time and most Geordies forget that. I know that investment in the team hasn't been amazing, but he sold it debt free for £300m.

Contrast that with Blue Bill who bought Everton £20m in the black and virtually ran us into the ground.

Jay Wood

73 Posted 11/11/2021 at 21:14:16
Paul, I'm aware of Moshiri's partial holding in the Liver Building. I'm also aware that Peel Holdings have failed to attract the necessary investment to start developing the considerable plot of land they hold for their self-declared '30-year-regeneration' project.

Giving Everton the BMD plot on favourable terms has encouraged the city council and regional bodies to back Everton's stadium build and initiate moves to improve access and infrastructure in a much neglected corner of the city. It will open up links from the centre to the north docklands which ties in with the Ten Streets Project.

I am not saying it is Moshiri (or Usmanov) acting alone on this. There will be a LOT of very serious players (unconnected to Everton), far more visionary and capable than you or me, interested in opening up this neglected part of the city - the region, even - and earning some very serious coin as a result.

Peel list the five dock 'neighbourhoods' they are looking to develop as the Northern, Clarence, Central and Princess docks, plus the King Edward Triangle.

Each one is at different stages of development. Everton's stadium build has started in the Northern Docks. A new Isle of Man ferry terminal is due to be completed in the Central Docks next year, as is a new road to the terminal. In the Prince's Dock The Lexington I believe is completed/near complete. The Cruise Liner Terminal and adjacent hotel are pending, waiting consent. Patagonia Place similar.

I am not so naive as to think that meetings and discussions unknown between extremely well-heeled suits and political players have not taken place as how to best kick-start the Liverpool Waters project. And that includes our own custodians at Everton FC.

After all, the '30-year-regeneration project' is 16 years old as Peel acquired the Liverpool Docks in 2005. With 2 million square metres intended to be developed as residential, commercial, business and leisure, that's a LOT of building required which hasn't yet been the case.

Everton's new stadium maybe - just maybe - a vital cornerstone for Peel which will encourage more investment and faster development and build of their entire Waterfront holding.

Jim Lloyd
74 Posted 11/11/2021 at 21:45:39
Sorry for my concertina memory in post (10) Lukaku and Stones leaving during Moshiri coming in. So I can't blame Kenwright for that, but the bloody big list of his (shall I be generous and call them his mistakes) is quite a long one and has dropped our club in the mire from 2001 and later. Until Moshiri came along and Kenny boy thought he'd hit the jackpot, when he invited his friend Farhad Moshir along.

Anyway, there's been a lot of excellent posts on here, absorbing, thoughtful and all concerned about where is our club going. I agree with Dave Abraham (7) and others, who see Rafa being brought in to start sorting out the who does what in the coaching and recruitment. From what Tony Abrahams has heard (46) it seems to me that Moshiri and Usmanov have decided to act.

What we do on the pitch for this season is, not as important as getting the recruitment and coaching sorted out. I don't mean in any way, that it doesn't matter; but until we can get shut of the underperforming and well paid puddn's off and on the pitch, we've got no chance of taking on the Top 6.

Danny's (46) point about who's recruiting the players (I'll add before Benitez arrived,) is vital. We have spent tons on cash on players and it reminds me of Randy Lerner's time at Villa (basket case of a club then).

I remember Moshiri on two occasions talking about our recruitment. First one is when he said he involved Kenwright in the negotiations (that was quite early on after he'd bought his shares. Another time was when we bought Mina. He said that there were 4 of them at his home (or one of them!) including Kenwright, Brands, Marco Silva and Moshiri, to weigh up whether or not to buy him.

This sort of recruitment sems fraught with the danger of dropping a clanger. It's like recruiting by committee. If Rafa Benitez can take on the task of sorting out the Gordian Knot (bit like a reef knot, but thicker) of the mess our club is in, then I wish him good fortune and I think if anyone can do it, then he can. If he's got the backing of the two major players, then he's got a good chance.

I think he's also going to need our backing, as Kenwright is adept at poisoning the atmosphere (remember when he showed his smiling gob on the big screen (and some supporters actually clapped him! All to try and nullify any growing opposition to him when banners calling for him to go were taken down.

Even with Moshiri and Usmanov discussing (I believe) with Benitez, how to take on the status quo up top, and him wanting to [prove he's got what it takes as a manager (and I think he's the besty man available to do the job) it's going to be hard.

It's like taking on the Cosy Club, in the boardroom and on the coaching staff... and even the medicos by the luck of it. A big job, a mssive job.

Ian (26) I agree with you about not having any leaders on the pitch, though Townsend, Allan and, belatedly, Delph, ar showing signs of not wanting to put up with the cosy club on the pitch. I differ though, with your views about us being sunk and running Moshiri out of the Club.

My view is he, along with Usmanov, Benitez and others, are our hope to start the climb towards the top. It'll take a while, just like it did with Man City. And they didn't have the financial constraints that our club faces.

What is it, the Chinese curse? – "May you live in interesting times" ... well, there's another one as well: "Know thine enemy."

Laurie Hartley
75 Posted 12/11/2021 at 03:39:19
Paul # 71,

My view is that, one way or another, there will be a lot of capital investment on Merseyside in the not-too-distant future. Actually, I have held this view for several years but I think the Covid pandemic put the brakes on things.

Now that the world has gone carbon mad, I am even more convinced that this project will attract a lot of interest from people wishing to jump on the bandwagon.

Mersey Tidal Barrage

I actually posted about this on here about 4 years ago on the Moshiri is part-owner of the Liver Building news thread.

I must admit I am amazed that the Chairman and CEO are still standing after the debacle of the years since then – it wouldn't have happened in any normal business.

It seems to me whether Moshiri stays or goes Everton Football Club will prevail provided our manager sorts things out on the pitch and keeps us in the Premier League. I reckon that there are still quite a few super rich entities who would quite like to own a Premier League club. Who knows they might even also want to invest in renewable energy – the oil companies are going to have to find a way to reinvent themselves.

Apologies for going off on a tangent but it is much more exciting than dwelling on how bad we were first half against Wolves and how much of Moshiri's money our current hierarchy have manage to send down the gurgler.

Bobby Mallon
76 Posted 11/11/2021 at 06:48:22
Micheal Boardman @70,

He may have coined it in but he left that club with no debt.
Jay Wood

77 Posted 12/11/2021 at 11:09:45
Laurie @ 75.

I thought of you when I wrote my post @ 73.

I just couldn't remember the Aussie project build you have previously mentioned and likened to Everton's BMD build.

Nor the correct terminology (an 'enabling project..?') of how one (relatively) small scale build on a huge area of neglected real estate (2 million square metres of the Liverpool waterfront) can kick open the doors for rapid further development across the entire site.

A 'Field of Dreams' scenario. 'Build it and they will come.'

Peel did not seal a deal with Everton out of charity. They did so to mutually benefit from something concrete being built on their holding, rather than a blank space existing on an a rolled up map and layout of the site. It could help flush out and encourage others to front and back build between the two Everton points of reference on the site, BMD and the Liver Building.

Moshiri is relatively small fry in any scheme to mint it from real estate development of Liverpool's docklands. Usmanov is top of the feeding chain as are others in the circles he moves in. And Usmanov is clearly influential in an as yet undefined and unofficial way at Everton.

A far more probable scenario IMO than alternatives offered in this thread that Moshiri is open to selling the club NOW, before the stadium is complete, or immediately on conclusion.

Tony Abrahams
78 Posted 12/11/2021 at 14:23:21
Laurie has posted the regeneration of Melbourne docks a few times, Jay, but because it's something I never get tired of seeing, then I hope he can post it again!

I'm sure Melbourne has been voted the best city in the Southern Hemisphere a few times in the last few years.

I believe that, once this stadium begins to kickstart, then I'm genuinely expecting similar things for the city of Liverpool, because I'm certain the regeneration will have a similar long-term effect on our own city.

Jim Lloyd
79 Posted 12/11/2021 at 14:37:57
Laurie (75),

That's a vision of the future (and not so far in the future) that I can see happening. At least a very good chance of it. I don't know whether Moshiri will sell before. or even during our time in the new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock; but I guess that is one way that more (and massive) investment in the North end will come.

We're the enabler of the Waterfront scheme, as it would not likely have gone ahead without our stadium, so I think we have had some considerable negotiating strength when the deal was mooted.

The potential is for sky is the limit, regarding investment in and around the dock and the streets and roads around. There's already super-rich apartments up for sale in the Tobacco Warehouse opposite the ground (starting bids at £250,000) and there's a plan to build 400 homes in Lightbody Street, leading alongside the canal to the Titanic Hotel.

As it effects our club, then it's basically, get through this next couple of years, with Rafa being given the role of stabilising, and then improving, the squad, It also looks like he' has the backing of Moshiri and Usmanov to demand changes in other areas of the club... and about time too!

That Mersey Tidal Barrier that Laurie has mentioned and posted a link to, is very likely to be given a go-ahead in the near future.

I don't think Moshiri and Usmanov are going to miss out on such a boundless opportunity coming the way of the North End... and us.

ps: They'd better do something about better transport to The Bramley Moore pub, I was knackered walking home from that fine hostelry on Sunday night!

Dave Abrahams
80 Posted 12/11/2021 at 15:14:20
Tony (78),

I also never get tired of Laurie's story of how the building of a football ground on Melbourne docks started the whole ball rolling in the regeneration of the whole area. I have quoted the story many times to different people, but mostly get a kick out of telling it to Red Noses and how Everton's new ground will start the rebuild of the North End of the city.

Barry Hesketh
81 Posted 12/11/2021 at 15:18:44
Paul O'Keefe has tweeted a table showing how close clubs are to falling foul of FIFA's FFP rules. According to Kieran Maguire's figures, Tottenham could spend £400 million and still not fall foul of FIFA's financial fair play.

I'm not sure what the different FFP rules are, is there an overarching FIFA rule, or are there several different rules by each Association and separate to UEFA? Whatever may be the case, Everton FC isn't in a healthy position relating to FFP.

FFP wriggle room

How much each Premier League club can spend on transfers under FFP rules...

Danny O’Neill
82 Posted 12/11/2021 at 15:23:22
This can be a platform for that part of the city and Everton Football Club.

Melbourne is an example I don't know too much about, but look even closer to home and okay, not all necessarily football stadium related. The decayed Dock area of the Isle of Dogs in London in the 1970s. Massive regeneration throughout the 80s and now most of the area is a global business hub referred to as Canary Wharf. I know London has always had global pulling power, but so did Liverpool once. The 2nd city of the British Empire.

Similarly, look at Stratford, East London following the 2012 Olympics and West Ham's subsequent occupancy that is potentially beginning to bear fruit for their forward thinking. A business district and Westfields Shopping Centre have sprung up around it as well as high speed rail connections.

These things take time and a strategic mindset even though most of us fans just want to win the next match!

Even closer to Liverpool, the development of Salford Quays near Manchester. Media City, where the BBC news is now effectively based and where many prominent national organisations and global corporations have a footprint.

This type of development represents opportunity. And Everton are at the centre of this opportunity for the city of Liverpool and the Merseyside region.

ps: I bet you weren't as bad as me when I had to run to Lime Street from there to catch my train after the Norwich match, Jim. Two minutes to spare. I call it precision planning.

Kieran Kinsella
83 Posted 12/11/2021 at 15:34:39
Barry #81,

So it looks like we need to sell someone for £35 million in January or cut £35 million in expenses somehow?

Not sure how amortization works etc (The Esk can tell us) but if we say cut Tosun loose for the last six months of his contract, we'd save about £2 million. Leaves us a long way short.

The problem is the only players we have who might generate a fee are the few players we have who are actually good. In that respect, it's also alarming to hear Man City have set a price tag on Raheem Sterling of £45 million based on "the reality of the Covid economy." If that's true, we can't rely on selling Calvert-Lewin or Richarlison for £100M to cover our losses.

Barry Hesketh
84 Posted 12/11/2021 at 16:01:46
Kieran the situation may not be as bad now as it was, as buried in the Mail's report is this The analysis of FFP is based on the most recently published financial figures, mostly from 2020.

The Mail does like to sensationalise things every now and again. It still doesn't excuse Everton FC from performing so poorly in the market though.


Derek Moore
85 Posted 12/11/2021 at 16:05:27
I have previously stated my beliefs on Moshiri and the position he finds himself in today. It's my view that the recently attempted European Super League has made it obvious to Moshiri and those closest to him just how tenuous "investing" in a football club really is, and he consequently now has an eye firmly fixed on the exit door.

If the European Super League plan had actually succeeded, Moshiris investment in Everton would have been entirely ruined. The TV contracts for the Premier League would have been utterly worthless paper in such a scenario – the devaluation of the big five leagues into effectively second-tier competitions to the ESL would have obviously seen to that.

Football clubs have already taken enormous financial hits in the form of rebates to the TV companies and the loss of matchday revenues from the pandemic. The Esk himself has noted the universality of those two issues in relation to football finance.

As we all know, Moshiri has compounded that misfortune by spending tens of millions of pounds on managers (and their coaching teams) who no longer work for him, and hundreds of millions of pounds on players who wouldn't fetch a fraction of that now.

For a few days in April, when the ESL looked like it might happen, Moshiri must have been looking at potential losses in the hundreds of millions. At that stage, should he have taken stock, he may have appraised the assets as being roughly a TV contract not worth the paper it was written on, a stadium project he was on the hook for and nowhere near completion, a playing squad that was purchased at Harrod's prices but delivering Poundland performances, as well as his own personal loans to the club – the losses would have been disastrous, even for a man as wealthy as Moshiri.

It's been austerity ever since really, up to hiring the fella they didn't even have to send a bus ticket to for a chit chat. And I can't really fault Moshiri for that, as austerity looks like it will deliver the same mediocre type campaign and ultimate league finish that all those many wasted millions produced anyway. Midtable.

Inflation at 30-year highs in the context of a large project like a football stadium build no doubt have the bean counters running back to redo their sums and then redo them again. Significant cost over-runs can almost be a given at this stage.

The positive for Moshiri is we're presently living through the largest, fastest and most sustained rise in asset prices in modern economic history. The shack I live in on the east coast of New Zealand has apparently doubled in value in the last 2 years, despite me doing virtually nothing to add any inherent value during that time. The same, sadly, is probably true of Everton.

If you accept that Premier League football clubs are essentially the playthings of billionaires then there is good news. There are more than twice as many billionaires today than there were only 10 years ago – and that's a trend that looks set to continue. Moshiri will find a buyer sooner rather than later should he wish to do so.

As long as the club is in the Premier League that is. Is this where the pragmatic appointment of Benitez comes in? Is this where the silence from the executive structure on the performance of the team this season comes in?

Is this why the lack of changes to the structure producing this dross seem so utterly unsurprising?

Brian Wilkinson
86 Posted 12/11/2021 at 16:12:30
I remember Jim telling me it was just a 5-minute walk from Sandhills to The Bramley Moore pub, Danny, might be just 5 minutes at Bill's walking speed who sprinted like Nijinsky to the pub. However I would say closer to a 10-minute walk maybe more.

Are you sure it was the walk that tired you, Jim, and not the night before... nudge nudge, wink wink.

Anyway, Jim and the gang, I think we will stick closer to town on our next weekend fixtures for an after-match drink.

Jim Lloyd
87 Posted 12/11/2021 at 18:03:00
Absolutely not, Brian, I took it slow for you two slowcoaches to keep up! A 10-minute walk there; but an hour's walk back!! Nothing to do with the beer, by the way. :)
Barry Hesketh
88 Posted 12/11/2021 at 19:58:13
Kieran @83
It's also alarming to hear City have set a price tag on Raheem Sterling of £45 million based on "the reality of the Covid economy."

Is this Manchester City being clever?, as by setting a lower price for a saleable asset, they might lower the prices across the board, seeing as City don't really need the money from sales as much as many of their rivals.

I would think it fair to think that the usual suspects have 'rigged' the market in the opposite way in the past, by inflating prices and wages in order to allow clubs like us, to make unfortunate and costly buys.

This is to me where there has to be a much fairer way to curtail spending than the present fair-play rules. I can't for the life of me, understand why the amount of debt a club holds seems to have little bearing on the amount it can spend.

Laurie Hartley
89 Posted 12/11/2021 at 21:46:06
Derek #85,

A daunting post that – especially if you are Farhad Moshiri.

I also think you may have hit on the reason why our chairman and CEO have retained their positions despite the abject underperformance of the club as a business that Paul (the Esk) has pointed out to us on this and numerous other occasions.

One way or another, I think and hope our owner will find a way out of the situation he finds himself in because, despite some bad decisions, he really has tried to do the best for the club.

For our part, what really matters is, as you point out, our remaining in the Premier League. Our manager has a huge responsibility on his shoulders and that is why, in my opinion, the fan base needs to get behind him. We just cannot afford to have another change of manager over the next 3 years.

Laurie Hartley
90 Posted 12/11/2021 at 21:56:21
Dave & Tony - your redevelopment will make this look like chicken feed... 😉

Melbourne Docklands History

As for Melbourne being the world's most liveable city, that ended with the lockdowns 18 months ago. We have been the most locked down city in the world. Thankfully, there appears to a light at the end of the tunnel.

Dave Abrahams
91 Posted 12/11/2021 at 22:04:29
Laurie (90), yes Liverpool will be bigger than New York once we get going and much, much better!!
Danny O’Neill
92 Posted 13/11/2021 at 09:57:03
I always liken Liverpool to New York, Dave, in terms of the people. Even though in modern times it's more akin to London. Then again, I used to refer to Napoli as 'Liverpool in the sun' when I lived out there!!!

Between London and New York, those 2 cities have made the world's economy tick for decades. The Alpha cities.

I think currently, Liverpool struggles to be on the C-list. But it has so much potential. Let's get the show on the road with Everton leading the charge.

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