Everton’s Ownership and Leadership, Part IV: Finance and Funding

How have Everton financed the last 5 years, what Farhad Moshiri’s funding has enabled, and the impact of poor decisions on the club's finances

Paul The Esk 27/11/2021 30comments  |  Jump to last

So far in this series, I’ve examined the impact of governance, the cost of poor recruitment and the role of the director of football.

Now I’d like to turn the attention to how we have financed the last 5 years, what Moshiri’s funding has enabled, and the impact of poor decisions on our finances.

Let’s start with Moshiri’s funding:

£millions Amount invested Shareholder Loan Balance New shares
2015-16 0 0
2016-17 105 105
2017-18 45 150
2018-19 150 300
2019-20 50 350
2020-21 100 250 200

In the 5 years to June 2021, Farhad Moshiri has contributed a total of £450 million by way of shareholder loans and the issue of shares. This does not include the additional £100 million to fund the current ground preparation works at Bramley-Moore Dock.

Article continues below video content

Why has he contributed so much?

Several reasons.

He backed a pledge made on TalkSport in November 2016:

“We have no restrictions to spend, the manager is totally committed and ruthless; if a player is not up to it, he uses another player and eventually he buys one. There are no sentimental issues there. The manager will strengthen the team in the areas he feels necessary. Koeman is Koeman: he does what he wants and I support him.

"I think the job of an owner and chairman is simply to hire and fire the manager, the rest is down to him. Once we hire a manager, we back him. He has the personality, aura and ability and we trust him. In Everton’s culture, the manger is the most important individual.”

Farhad Moshiri, TalkSport November 2016

£millions 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19 2019-20 2020-21 2021-22
Transfer fees spent 77.4 182.9 89.8 108.9 67.4 1.8
Wages 104.7 145.0 160.0 164.8
Major signings Bolasie Sigurdsson Richarlison Iwobi Godfrey Gray
Schneiderlin Keane Mina Kean Allan Townsend
Williams Pickford Digne Gomes Doucouré
Lookman Klaassen Bernard Gbamin Rodriguez
Gueye Walcott Delph
Tosun
Vlasic
Sandro
Rooney
Manager Koeman Koeman/Allardyce Silva Silva/Ancelotti Ancelotti Benitez
D o F Walsh Walsh Brands Brands Brands Brands

Secondly, he spent a small fortune on manager compensation. The cost of early termination of Martinez, Koeman, Allardyce and Silva, before taking into account their support teams, totals more than £32 million.

Two other elements contributed to Everton’s expenses – the new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock, at more than £40 million, even before ground was broken, and of course, the impact of Covid which I have estimated to be approximately £80 million from March 2020 to present day.

The increased expenditure, some of it planned but a significant element that resulted from poor decision-making, was compounded by the lack of performance on the pitch. As articulated by Koeman in December 2016, the plan was Europa League qualification by year 2 (achieved) and to be in contention for Champions League in year 3 and thereafter (not achieved). The resulting failure to qualify for Europe massively impacted future revenues against projections. In addition, poorer than projected Premier League placings also reduced the amount of revenue generated. If our average position was say four places below expected over 5 years, there’s an income shortfall of nearly £40 million.

To compound matters, moribund commercial performance, and a refusal to increase matchday ticket prices and/or reduce the number of season ticket holders to increase matchday revenues left little scope for making up the income shortfall. Only the support of USM and an innovative naming rights option payment relating to the new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock saved the club from much more significant losses and cash-flow issues.

Losses actual and projected

The enormous increase in expenditure and the lack of corresponding increase in income results in significant losses:

£’000s 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Profit or loss  ‑24,348 30,660 ‑13,021 ‑111,868 ‑139,800 ‑86,000
2021* forecast

Not only were we making significant and increasing losses, but we were seeing negative cash flows, ie, more cash was going out of the club than was coming in. This was a result of the operating performance, the unexpected costs (above) and the continued investment in playing staff. The negative cash flows were countered by Moshiri’s injections of cash and the use of third party debt providers.

£ Millions 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19 2019-20 Total
Cash flow operations 7.4 22.7 –6.8 –9.8 11.1 24.6
Cash flow investing –26.1 –45.5 –111.2 69.7 –0.2 –113.3
Cash flow financing 10.1 35.1 117.8 –41.9 18.2 139.3
Net Cash flow –8.6 12.3 –0.2 18.0 29.1 50.6
Invested by Moshiri 105.0 45.0 50.0 100.0 300.0

In a football club, to be cash-flow positive, you need to see income greater than expenditure (operations), and/or a positive return from player trading (investing). All the successful clubs operate a business model on that basis. A model that then allows further investment by their owners (through debt or equity) in the belief that the financing will enhance the return from operations (matchday, commercial, broadcasting etc being greater than costs) and investing (profitably buying and selling players, including player development from the academy).

£ Millions 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19 2019-20 2020-21 2021-22
Player sales 54.72 113.74 25.79 79.02 3.98 7.2
Player trading profit 51.94 87.80 20.30 40.50
Major sales Stones     Lukaku Klaassen Gueye Schneiderlin Rodriguez
Deulofeu Funes Mori Vlasic Dowell
Cleverley Lookman
Barkley Onyekuru

The amount of funding provided by Moshiri and other lenders is a direct result of over-spending, management changes, continuing the purchase of players in the hope they improved the quality of the squad, and the fact that the sale of players dried up.

Why did the sale of players dry up?

Three reasons in my opinion:

(i) Despite Moshiri saying that the retention of our best players was a key objective, we had sold Stones, Lukaku and Deulofeu within his first two full seasons with us;
(ii) Market conditions from March 2020 changed; (iii) Those players that were made available had no obvious buyers given market conditions and their existing contracts were beyond the then market conditions.

As a result, in the last two seasons, there has been virtually no cash generated from sales – poor from a cash-flow perspective and no player-trading profits – bad from a profit and sustainability (regulatory) perspective.

Regulatory concerns

As I have discussed on several occasions, most notably here in July 2020, the accumulated losses even after taking into consideration permitted costs and the impact of Covid put Everton in a difficult position regarding the Premier League’s profit and sustainability rules, impacting our ability to strengthen the squad in the summer of 2021 in the absence of significant sales.

This is a situation which will continue in January 2022 and the forthcoming summer.

The New Stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock

More than £40 million was spent before planning permission and, in what the club now call “phased funding”, Moshiri has committed to funding the ground preparation costs of up to £100 million, funding work into the first half of 2022.

Future works will be funded with external debt financed through the private placement market, financed over a maximum of 30 years. Whilst some details are still to be concluded (including potential guarantees) banking sources expect completion of this funding early in 2022.

Additional funding will be provided by the naming rights partner under an existing agreement.

Further funding requirements

Although the degree of losses experienced in recent years will start to reduce, it’s difficult to see (in the absence of major player sales – problematic in an already depleted squad) an early return to profitability.

Equally, cash flow will continue to present the club difficulties requiring continued reliance on debt facilities. The club currently has a 3-year rolling credit facility with Rights and Media Funding to a maximum value of £100 million and a £30 million overdraft facility with Metro Bank.

The careless abandon with which cash was spent in the early days of Moshiri’s reign, combined with extremely poor recruitment decisions on and off the pitch, have created a significant cost and liability that Moshiri could never have foreseen when he arrived in February 2016.

Despite his significant financial support, the damage is clear to see: an uncompetitive squad, a less than optimum choice of manager, and an unproductive academy.

The combination of all factors is a testament to the gross mismanagement of the club, a common theme behind this series. We have not achieved what we set out to achieve – despite the financial resources thrown at the club.

With a diminished competitive position as other clubs have strengthened, and financial constraints real and regulatory, the task of competing is made more difficult for the future.

Both the major shareholder (despite his financial commitment), the board and the executive must each take responsibility for this situation and ultimately the major shareholder must make changes to his board and executive team for there to be a realistic prospect of recovery off the pitch, plus the prospect of gaining competitive advantage over fellow Premier League sides.

It is an obvious conclusion that the lack of investment in the business management of the club (despite all the money flung elsewhere) has led to bad recruitment decisions and a continuance of poor governance. In turn, that affects our financial performance and ultimately our ability to compete. It can only be resolved by changes to that management at board and executive level.

Hire people who are better than you are, then leave them to get on with it. Look for people who will aim for the remarkable, who will not settle for the routine.” – David Ogilvy

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Reader Comments (30)

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Stephen Colby
1 Posted 27/11/2021 at 10:23:26
As ever, Paul, a persuasive and articulate examination of a club we all hold dear. Thank you.

From a far less knowlegable terrace view, please allow me to pose a question that has alluded me for years: What are the lines of reporting at Everton?

Is there a Human Resources department and are the players and/or the support staff reviewed annually against pre-set goals?

And finally how and by who are this team counselled?

This latter question has alluded me for years given some of the antics we have endured. Examples:- Moise Kean refusing to carry out Duncan Ferguson's tactics; Mason Holgate's attitude before and after his second yellow card; and various other players' off-field behaviour that my learned friends will not permit me to articulate.

The best businesses successfully marry attitude with skill and, while you have again highlighted the lack of skillful macro-management, I would also question our ongoing lack of micro-management in developing the right holistic attitude throughout the club?

Mark Taylor
2 Posted 27/11/2021 at 13:58:27
After all the talk, comes the numbers and of course they make depressing reading. We have ended up with a squad with the depth of a puddle after £450m spent. It probably needs almost that much spent again, this time by competent people, to get us truly competitive again, even if you could persuade players of sufficient calibre to choose us. I don't think Moshiri has that kind of money. Before he bought us, I read he was worth £1bn, maybe £1.5bn tops but more likely the lower figure. So he has from a third to close to half of his total wealth tied up in an unstable asset. I just don't buy that he would do this. Usmanov's money is in here somewhere. Let's hope so, because that is the only way we will find another few hundred mill to spend in improving the squad.

Always interesting to be reminded of the players we bought. If we exclude the last year or so, because not enough time has elapsed, of the 24 signing we made only 5 maybe 6 could be described as having worked out. That seems like a dire success rate. If there is no more cash to spend, I can see us selling off our most in demand assets, which are either DCL or more likely Richie, this summer.

Stephen Vincent
3 Posted 27/11/2021 at 14:23:40
Paul, As always a cogent and well thought out piece. However, I was a little disappointed that you did not take the opportunity to address the effect on finances that league position and commercial activity have.

As I understand it, this season each place is worth £3.2m, although there may be a covid claw back of £0.5 per place. This means that the difference between us, in our current position and say West Ham in 4th is £18.9m. The fact remains that the rich will get richer, Up to 2018 the foreign broadcasting rights were distributed equally between all PL clubs. For the 2019-2022 deal this payment is performance related.

It is very difficult to compare commercial income since clubs deal with it in different ways Everton show it as 'Sponsorship, Advertising and Merchandise'. The Hummel deal, I believe earns us 7.5% of each shirt sold. The Liverpool Nike deal earns them 20%. Our Kitbag deal was disastrous and even though this has now expired it is still virtually impossible to buy Everton merchandise other than from the club shops or website. I was in my local Sainsburys this week and I could buy Liverpool, Man Utd. Man City, Arsenal and Spurs 2022 calendars, but not Everton.

Merchandise is not just about income, it is building a relationship with fans - existing and potential. We missed so many opportunities to build a fan base in the US when we had Howard and Donovan on the books but completely ignored the chance. The last time I went through Heathrow you could buy a shirt for every PL club except Everton.

This is just a further example of the criminal way in which the club has been run for the past 20 years.

Paul [The Esk]
4 Posted 27/11/2021 at 14:38:12
#3 Stephen Thanks for your comments. The retail deal with Fanatics is very poor and was extended only a couple of years ago.

Re the impact of league position versus budget I did comment:

"The increased expenditure, some of it planned but a significant element that resulted from poor decision-making, was compounded by the lack of performance on the pitch. As articulated by Koeman in December 2016, the plan was Europa League qualification by year 2 (achieved) and to be in contention for Champions League in year 3 and thereafter (not achieved). The resulting failure to qualify for Europe massively impacted future revenues against projections. In addition, poorer than projected Premier League placings also reduced the amount of revenue generated. If our average position was say four places below expected over 5 years, there's an income shortfall of nearly £40 million."

Paul [The Esk]
5 Posted 27/11/2021 at 14:44:02
#1 Stephen, the club has a human resources team. Unfortunately I have no idea how effective they are. I am aware of a degree of micro-management in certain parts of the business. I believe it is very structured and line management features strongly.
Stephen Vincent
6 Posted 27/11/2021 at 15:54:07
Thanks for the clarification Paul.
Charles Brewer
7 Posted 27/11/2021 at 17:22:56
Paul, I love the David Ogilvie quote. It fits every good organisation and every poor one I have any experience of.

There's another on which goes alongside it, which I've seen attributed to Donald Rumsfeld and which seems even more apposite in the Everton situartion:

A's hire A's, B's hire C's

with a further qualification the B's sometimes hire D's.

In other words, those who aren't very good hire people who will neither show them up nor rock the boat. This seems to sum up both the failings of Everton, and, sadly, the success of the lot across the park. (Satanic assistance is another factor of course).

We seem to have a DoF who cannot buy good players; managers who cannot motivate the mediocre players they have; a training regime which results in more injuries than actually playing; and a recovery regime which seems to be able to take very fit young men and turn them into wrecks who recover from minor injuries slower than the average 80 year old.

I still think Moshiri is not the man to be running this outfit, I'm sure he is a first rate accountant/finance director, but a football club needs a monomaniacal, wholly unsympathetic dictator at the top who is happy to fire any of the staff who fail to perform.

Bobby Mallon
8 Posted 27/11/2021 at 18:33:52
Paul,

I have read all your articles and they are very interesting and informative but, saying that for myself, all they do is make me as a fan feel very low.

What I want to see is what we can do to get out of the mess we are in. Can you write an article that shows us how to get out of the mess we are in?

Jim Lloyd
9 Posted 27/11/2021 at 19:15:20
Paul,

You're right about Lukaku and Stones, but wasn't it that they both wanted to go, the season before, but agreed to another year? In fact, Lukaku openly expressed his desire to be off... not sure about Stones, other than he wanted off as well.

Too true about Kitbag! It seems to be par for the course, but I suppose it is slowly getting better after the Kenwright era.

Have you any thoughts why Ryazantsev and Usmanov's nephew left recently?

John Zapa
10 Posted 27/11/2021 at 20:21:24
Just imagine where the club will be if it was subjected to another 5 years of such leadership and management.
Jim Lloyd
11 Posted 27/11/2021 at 20:54:12
We have Moshiri and, probably, Usmanov. I don't see them selling (but you never know?) and without them, we'd have sunk years ago. So, until such a change takes place, I'm just thankful we're not stuck with Kenwright owning the club.
Rick Tarleton
12 Posted 27/11/2021 at 21:24:08
Everton are, Paul, as you have proved, not only a very mediocre team, but a team that is managed atrociously. Ashley at Newcastle had little interest in providing a successful team, but he had a great interest in making his team financially viable.

At Everton the Board through Moshiri and Kenwright has managed to do neither.Unless Moshiri and Kenwright wish to sell out, we are stuck with this Board and these owners.
Paul, having done this examination of the Everton financial chaos, you must be even more depressed than the rest of us. I'm an old man, but the current Everton situation on and off the field has me more depressed than I have ever been since I first watched Everton in 1953-4 when we got promoted.

I don't see a shortcut. Bramley-Moore is possibly the one plus on the horizon. But that will squeeze all other finances for a decade or more.

Thank you, Paul for your work and your cogent summary of the situation. It explains a lot, but is not an optimistic scenario.

Paul [The Esk]
13 Posted 27/11/2021 at 21:46:46
Thanks for your comments. There will be a concluding article with possible solutions & questions for the board and Moshiri
John Raftery
15 Posted 27/11/2021 at 23:33:15
Does anyone think relegation might provide an opportunity for a complete overhaul of everything at the club including the financial management? Knowing our luck it would probably coincide with the withdrawal of parachute payments.

In regard to recruitment of players it seems to me we should invest more effort scouting the leagues below the Premier League. Unearthing hidden gems, hungry players with something to prove might be more productive than gambling a fortune on second or third rate, but very expensive talents from other Premier League clubs or from abroad.

While not a total solution to our player trading woes it would offer the potential for better value for money. Other clubs have proved astute in bringing players in from the lower tiers. We face such a player tomorrow; Ivan Toney whose 40 goals in 76 appearances for Peterborough ought to have attracted the attention of any club struggling to build a strike force.


Ian Pilkington
17 Posted 27/11/2021 at 23:59:41
John @15,

Relegation would be nothing other than a total disaster.

These days, our proud record of more seasons in the top flight than any other English club is just about all we have left to brag about.

Mike Owen
18 Posted 27/11/2021 at 00:08:25
Thanks again, Paul, for your research and analysis.

After a quick count, I reckon that, if you exclude the two "new boys", that is 27 major signings in around 5 years, but only 14 are still with us. That's quite a churn.

But Paul, could you clear up one thing for me? How do you arrive at player trading profit?

For example, if I have read correctly, in 2017-18, transfer fees spent is listed as £183M, player sales is listed as £114M yet player trading profit is at £88M.

I am sure there is some accountancy explanation, probably left out for sake of brevity, but I'd like to know what it is. To me, as a non-accountant, there was a net spend of approx £70M.

Don Alexander
20 Posted 28/11/2021 at 00:42:51
Point if order, Ian (#17), you seem to be overlooking the fact that, amongst our glorious achievements, we were the first club in the country to have installed under-soil heating – albeit I had to visit the records in the Everton museum Moshiri said he wanted to abandon to find that out.

And don't overlook the fact that in 1936 we took part in the first-ever televised league match (v Arsenal).

More presciently, I'm sure we're also the first club to spend "£half-a-billion" to make ourselves weaker right across the board for 5 years, now, and in the next 2 or 3 years minimum.

"An' if ya know yer 'istory" – my arse!

Kieran Kinsella
21 Posted 28/11/2021 at 01:14:54
Don

Love it! Lol

Eric Myles
22 Posted 28/11/2021 at 03:46:32
Mike #18,

I think it's to so with the magic of amortisation.

Remember when Man City bought Robinho for £32 million, then sold him for £16 million? They booked a £16 million profit in their accounts!!

Eric Myles
23 Posted 28/11/2021 at 04:26:15
Well I almost remembered the correct figures!!

Link

If we take Robinho as an example: he was bought for £32.5 million in September 2008 on a 4-year contract, so annual amortisation was £8.1 million. He was sold after 2 years, so cumulative amortisation was £16.2 million, leaving a value of £16.3m in the books.

Sale price to Milan is reported as £18 million, so Man City will report a profit on sale of £1.7 million in the 2010-11 accounts. Therefore, City will show an annual profit improvement of £18.1 million after this deal: £8.3 million lower wages + £8.1 million lower amortisation + £1.7 million profit on sale.

Eric Myles
24 Posted 28/11/2021 at 04:56:05
Don #20, we were also the first club to have floodlights on the stands, corner flags and numbers on the shirts I think.
Paul Birmingham
25 Posted 28/11/2021 at 08:20:42
Paul, thanks for your excellent article and insight on Everton.

To me, the current mess leaves the club at a massive disadvantage, which looks realistically very difficult to make an overnight emergence from.

That doesn't happen.

The club's rotten to the core and dereliction of competence and duty means, as supporters, there's another long road ahead in our continued purgatory of the Premier League abyss, just being a number. Will the board be looking at next steps and a recovery plan?

If and when Everton get savvy professional business management in, to ensure the business side is managed effectively, remains to be seen.

It's numbing to see which decent players would come to Everton in the future, all facts considered.

Getting a result today at Brentford would be a boost, let's hope so.

Riding the storms is normal but Everton can't last like this forever, 30 years of decline in any business is tough to bear.

Alan McGuffog
26 Posted 28/11/2021 at 08:32:30
Don... the under-soil heating. Did we install it in the late '50s? And didn't we make a bollix of it and it was ripped out?
Danny O’Neill
27 Posted 28/11/2021 at 08:36:04
I wasn't expecting Part IV of this series Paul, so thanks as always for an excellent, albeit stark, read.

Now finance is not my thing, so I'll refrain from attempting to sound like I know what I'm talking about other than the transfer table laid out bare confirming what we knew. That summer ahead of the 2017-18 season was an uncoordinated & mismanaged disaster. It seemed at the time as though several people, with access to money, went to the shops on their own without speaking to the others and all came back with something different. We've literally been paying for that since.

The quote from Moshiri is interesting. To me, it confirms he likes to delegate responsibility and empower those he puts in place. That is fine and standard leadership practice. The problem is his judgement of who those people are. Surely he must see this?

Failure to secure Europe & challenge for the Champions League. An unproductive academy and millions wasted on non-saleable assets. A pretty grim picture. I appreciate there is a link between success and expenditure; however, we are a very good example (unfortunately) of how it is sometimes not about how much you spend, but how you spend it.

The concern now, given the prediction that we might be constrained by FFP until the January 2023 window, is that we cash in on what saleable assets remain. That puts Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison, Digne, Doucouré and Mina firmly in the shop window. After that, what's left?

Tony Everan
28 Posted 28/11/2021 at 08:51:25
Thank you, Paul, for explaining all this, no-one else does and that makes you unique.

Looking at the chart that 2019 summer when £110M was spent on players and wages increased to £160M was an absolute killer.

Managerial instability brought confusion and disruption to plans and targets but Marcel Brands had to take responsibility here. What an abject failure this window was. £110M spent, wages up to a record £160M and no players bought who improved the first team. How any DoF survives that litany of failure defies belief, a truly shocking performance from Brands.

There are spurious rumours of there being interference from above with regards to the Iwobi signing in this window, who knows the truth with any of them?

Whichever ever way you cut it, that 2019 transfer window is still a lead weight attached to a drowning man. To me, Marcel Brands is living a charmed life, why is that? Is it an acknowledgment of outside pressures being influential in some failed transfers? Even if that is so, it makes him weak and a yes-man.

Maybe he is still there because tough lessons have been learned by all, and change is now belatedly being embraced.

Brian Murray
29 Posted 28/11/2021 at 09:22:50
Allen @26. I read somewhere we were using wiring but it got damaged by pitchforks because they weren't deep enough but then it was rectified and, along with floodlights, we were the first. Also numbered shirts which we started in the 1933 FA Cup Final.
Andrew Bentley
30 Posted 28/11/2021 at 10:24:06
Excellent analysis as always, Paul. As others have said, you can see the windows which have really hurt us in terms of money wasted.

But it's not just our first-team sales that's the issue, it's also the lack of any investment return from our youth teams and players coming through to compensate for spending large amounts on first-team players. There have been many articles written on this and comments but, if we were to truly measure the success of our youth set-up, it's got to be woeful.

Calvert-Lewin was bought into the youth set-up about a year before he started getting into the first-team squad on a regular basis, so Sheffield Utd did the work on him, so it's really only Tom Davies (2016 he made his debut) and Anthony Gordon in the last 5 years. Neither of which are taking us forwards and I doubt would make any significant value if they were to be sold.

Calvert-Lewin being sold would be a huge profit clearly but where are the others that can bolster the first team and/or drive resale value to help us reduce the losses?

I would love to see the analysis of players now playing in the Premier League for all the teams that have come through their academy. Even money bags Man City and Chelsea seem to be playing academy graduates on a more regular basis now.

Bringing through young players can bring energy and positivity to the team and would be something that the fans would get behind more so than another mercenary being paid top dollar who doesn't seem to care.

Jason Li
31 Posted 28/11/2021 at 10:36:43
Maybe it's something simple to fix if recruitment is the problem!

We managed to bring in Carlo and Benitez - so can attract managers with knowledge of the game.

The easy fix is to continuously assess each person involved in recruitment in terms of their recruitment IQ – ie, how good are they at judging if a player is good enough and has the potential to be like a Richarlison or a Dave Watson?

A lot of job roles have Continuing Professional Development (CPD) metrics – why not our own player recruitment department in terms of finding the best players we can bring in?

And develop an internal model for different types of players to scout. Just like normal organisations have a job description for an accountant or payroll manager or sales rep or account manager or nurses for different wards.

Yes – very assumptive and I'll hold my hand up. But the figures kindly posted on this thread speak for themselves and the recruitment department has to start a dialogue on how to improve the model that exists today.

Otherwise more spending leads to more debt in simple speak. Not just a one-off fee debt either, more like... Player acquisition = transfer fee + millions in annual wages too.

Robert Williams
32 Posted 29/11/2021 at 16:18:43
We were the first club to have an owner in the Hamper Business.

We now have a club owner who is only Hampering the Business.

Trevor Cotterell
33 Posted 30/11/2021 at 09:42:00
Wow Paul! Thanks for this analysis!

I've reached the point of dreading coming on this forum because there's too many armchair experts that think it's all so simple, just sack the manager etc. This goes some way towards saying it's not that simple!

One more thing that might help explain things is to see how much longer we're committed to wages for the players we have (if they won't leave and we're not using them). I can't claim to fully understand the Financial Fair Play rules but clearly it's a major issue affecting our options. I believe we're getting towards the end of quite a few now, aren't we?

My biggest concern is the inevitable "sack the manager" calls. Come on, Benitez is hardly an idiot. He's succeeded far more than he's failed. But if we've learnt anything, surely it's that an annual change of manager simply means we never build a squad that's consistent with any manager's idea of what to do.

We simply keep the merry-go-round turning, and the current guy so far hasn't had any real chance to change anything and half to three-quarters of our squad simply aren't up to it.

We'll need better players, and a 'name' manager is our best hope of attracting them. I know this is slightly off the finance question but to me, you can't separate them fully.


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