I’ve not seen it mentioned anywhere yet, certainly not by anyone associated formally with Everton, but in four seasons' time (2028) the institution that became Everton Football Club will be 150 years old.

St Domingo Methodist Church’s new chapel was first opened in 1871. Six years later, a new minister was appointed, the Rev B S Chambers. He started a cricket team for the young boys in the parish, but because cricket was only a summer sport, he decided to form a football club for the winter months. Thus, The St Domingo Football Club was formed in 1878.

The football club became so popular and drew in people from outside the parish and as a result, in November 1879, at a meeting in the Queen’s Head Hotel, the name was changed to the name we love and is known worldwide today as Everton Football Club.

The last three decades have done much to destroy the legacy of our football club, and despite (possibly also contributed by) the new stadium – much more on this later in the article – our competitiveness, and actually our ability to function, to survive, has seriously reduced, to the point that we genuinely face the existential crisis spoken of by its primary author, Farhad Moshiri.

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However, this article is not going down that well-trodden path. Instead it looks at (in as much as a single article can) what needs to be done so that, when we enter our 150th year in four years' time, we are in a much better place than we are now.

Given the point at which the recovery process begins, it is quite possible that a full recovery cannot be completed in this time frame; however, much of the hard work, the turn-around from where we are now, will have been done and it is then a case of seeing strategies playing out.

A New Everton

Regardless, the idea of creating a recovery period of four years leading into our 150th year anniversary provides space to plan and execute, not only immediate short-term survival strategies, but a long-term vision of a new Everton on and off the field.

Have no doubt about it, a New Everton is required. In a sense – and I recognise the dangers of this comparison and how much a sacrilege this would be for many, but, and I am making a non-political point – this is Everton’s "New Labour" moment. To return to power, whilst respecting our past, our identity and our values, we have to become something else, do things differently and adapt to the modern environment of a small number of “super clubs” and the following pack.

Off the pitch, I will not be talking about hyper-commercialism, but a totally different approach to the city of Liverpool, its people and, increasingly, its reliance on the visitor market.

However, before that, we need to sort out our current mess.

What needs to happen immediately?

Despite the protestations of many, there remains the chance of administration – a small, but still realistic chance. Why? Because, we continue to spend more than we earn operationally, we have a yet-to-be-completed and still not-fully-financed capital project with very short timeframes to completion, a huge and unsustainable debt burden, and no obvious short-term funder other than through the sale of player assets, an inevitable but sad consequence of where we are.

To date, we have had mutually consenting (mainly) and supporting funders. The drawn-out and ultimately failing takeover attempt by 777 Partners has greatly increased our debt position. 777 Partners' own precarious financial position – and depending upon what happens in the New York Southern District Court and/or with various State insurance regulators in coming days – may change the nature of that relationship; particularly if their potential administrators or the existing corporate restructuring advisors were looking at their own debt recovery positions.

Everton’s major creditors include: Rights & Media Funding – approximately £225 million, secured on charge on bank accounts, future player receivables, properties and other tangible assets; MSP Sports Capital, £160 million, secured against the Everton Stadium Development Company and its assets; 777 Partners and associated companies, approximately £200 million – junior debt with a subordinated security arrangement with Rights & Media Funding: negligible debt to Metro Bank; and football and other trade creditors perhaps as high as £70 million. In addition, Farhad Moshiri through Bluesky Capital £450 million – unsecured.

In addition to the above, Laing O’Rourke’s remaining construction and fitting out costs are estimated at £95 million – some of which has been met by pre-payments, but not all.

Thus a new buyer (not 777 Partners) has, through Moshiri’s misjudgements and choice of 777 Partners previously, a huge barrier to entry. All of the above are costs before a single penny or cent is spent on the playing squad and future management, recruitment, or future business strategy investment.

It is inconceivable that a new buyer would (i) pay Moshiri anything for his equity and (ii) agree to pay all outstanding liabilities. It's a difficult position for creditors to accept, and to date, one that has been resisted; however, it has to be faced – there needs to be an enormous capital restructuring including haircuts for creditors in any future purchase of the club.

A failure to recognise this, or a failure to agree an incoming proposal of such, means no likely sale of the club and, ultimately, administration where the restructuring is taken out of the hands of the principals.

What might a restructuring look like?

The most vulnerable creditor is the current owner, Farhad Moshiri, which perhaps, partially at least, explains his blind faith in 777 Partners – their offer (no matter how unlikely to succeed) provided the prospect of some partial repayment.

No new owner or incoming investor would offer this now. Moshiri’s shareholder loans would be wiped out completely. He might be offered a small retained shareholding going forwards but the reality is that he faces an almost complete loss position.

Rights & Media Funding are long-term lenders to the club. Because of their lending to other clubs, it is unlikely they would swap part of their existing debt for an equity stake; however, a new owner providing long-term secure debt against the stadium may generate enough capital to significantly reduce the R&MF loans. It would be sensible to do so, with any existing debt going forwards either moved to a better quality lender as Everton’s position improves, or paid off completely given the exceptionally high cost of borrowing.

MSP Sports Capital are the creditors with the most immediate potential need for repayment. It is their extension of the current loans due to them that allow the club to remain (in the eyes of the directors) a going concern. Secured against the stadium development company, they are secure. The out strategy for them is a new owner either paying with equity funding or the use of a major debt package against the stadium (as per Arsenal and Tottenham stadium funding models).

Because of today’s much higher interest rate environment, equity would be preferable. Too much debt loaded on the stadium (i) reduces the increased revenue benefit of a new stadium, and/or (ii) leads to much higher ticket prices. For argument’s sake, £400 million of stadium debt at 9% (optimistic) translates to an average annual interest cost per seat of £680.

777 Partners and associated companies’ debt is an interesting one. Their future position would depend on Everton’s own solvency, what was agreed with the two more senior debt providers, and importantly their own future. It has long been a view that a significant element of their debt would be converted to equity. Given all that is now known and additionally alleged about 777, their future is uncertain.

Of course, their creditors in their own corporate restructuring (however that transpires) would seek maximum recovery. The reality is far different.  A future equity stake would be highly undesirable from a branding, fans and new owners’ perspective. Who would willingly want to maintain that association? 

At best, 777 Partners and associated companies, or their creditor representatives, might see an offer of a partial recovery (15-20 cents to the dollar?) or the issuance of very junior, long-date, low-coupon debt which in balance sheet terms may be beneficial to 777’s balance sheet (i.e. not crystallising immediate losses. Regardless, a significant cash payment to 777 or whomever is extremely unlikely.

Whatever all the above looks like when negotiated, due consideration has to be given to Everton’s football creditor position and the very strict requirements in meeting those obligations.

Aside from creditors?

Fan shareholdings

New owners must give due consideration to existing shareholders. Share retention is important. Equally, in the context of New Everton, an extension of fan share ownership is highly desirable. Whilst not likely to raise significant sums in the context of all that is required, a block of minority holders, individual Everton fans, say perhaps representing 5% of the new share capital, would have huge benefits.

It strengthens the fan/club bond, it provides tangible evidence of fan ownership, and in the context of engagement provides (under a different format to the existing FAB/shareholder association/club relationships) an opportunity for an entirely new governance, engagement and scrutiny model. We would always be minority holders, but what an opportunity for new owners of a New Everton...

New management

The management of the club has to be totally revolutionised, from board, to executive, to mid-management. First, let me acknowledge that there are plenty of good people working at the club. However, it has to be said that the overall culture of the club, the lack of collective, comparative expertise when compared to other clubs is a reflection of the quality of past owners, board members and senior executives. This has to radically change. If we want a successful club in the future, this is the reality. There is no room for sentiment, no nod to long term, cosy relationship – there has to be total change.

Any new owner not bringing this message, and not bringing people at the top of the business in to do this often unpleasant but necessary task is frankly not going to succeed.

Whilst we can point to historical misfortunes, to global events like the pandemic and economic set-backs including the impact of recent year’s construction cost inflation, ultimately we are in our current position because of the failure of owners and directors to address our competitiveness in managing and a football club and running a successful commercial operation.

Apart from culture, the harsh reality of cost management and income generation can only be addressed through better owners, the highest quality board membership and exemplary executive recruitment.

Regional economic regeneration and the relationship with the City of Liverpool

Sir Jim Ratcliffe has come in for some considerable criticism for (despite his own considerable wealth) his call for public funding for the redevelopment of Old Trafford. He has neatly tied together the benefits of regeneration, of new investment required around Old  Trafford, job opportunities, tourism potential etc with his own club’s needs.

For what it is worth, I think he is entirely correct. I say that because, if he can justify a case for Manchester United (owned by billionaires on both sides of the Atlantic) in a more prosperous city than Liverpool, how on earth cannot the same argument with much greater validity (and need) be made for Everton, Bramley-Moore Dock, and the redevelopment of the Northern Docks and North Liverpool more generally?

In an instant, Ratcliffe has laid bare the lack of dynamic thinking of Moshiri, of the Everton Board. Personally, I think there’s an undeniable case for some form of development aid for Everton. This is a huge topic, but surely this unites everyone across the City and region. What local or regional politician, MP or members of the House of Lords, or any other political influence/public body cannot see this as a wonderful opportunity?

Of course, the current Government have very different ideas and whilst many would argue Starmer’s Labour might not be that different, why are we not making this a condition of continued support for a new Labour Government? Liverpool has been ignored by generations of Tory Cabinets (managed decline, anyone?) but equally it could be argued, might be taken for granted by a future Labour Government too.

Everton’s current ownership and management should have been banging the doors down of the Treasury and elsewhere – seemingly not. There can be no excuse for an incoming owner not to demand such support, not only for the stadium, but the surrounding area. Without supporting investment in infra-structure and amenities, in isolation the New Everton Stadium will not fulfil its economic, revenue-generating potential.

Finally, a slightly different point, but one that would represent New Everton (in my opinion). Whilst I understand the significance in heritage terms of the “dock wall”, the reality is that it is madness to have the new stadium hidden by it. The dock wall built, no doubt, with security in mind – keeping people out of the docks and protecting precious cargoes and their ships separates the people of Liverpool from the very feature that provided the city with almost all of its wealth – the River Mersey.

It might be too late for an immediate change, but what better representation of a New Everton and indeed a new relationship with the city and its multitude of visitors than opening up the stadium and plaza completely? Emotionally it would be significant, but equally economically and commercially.

Do we need to retain ownership of the plaza? People have discussed the part sale of the stadium as a solution to our obvious financial difficulties. How about removing the wall and selling the plaza back to the city or other private developers? Integrate the stadium with the future development around it.

It would make economic sense, but perhaps more importantly, be representative of a more integrated Everton, an outward-looking Everton, a New Everton.  We, as Evertonians know the unique bond between us and our City, a bond stronger in every sense than the bond between the City and the club that carries its name. A bond, in truth, more representative of the city’s values and history.

The road to recovery starts with new ownership – definitely not ownership defined by Moshiri’s judgements. It requires strong, well-resourced owners prepared to take the essence of Everton and radically engineer a much brighter, more competitive future. It requires new understanding, courage, and the ability to utilise our past, our assets for the benefit of our club going forwards, to reward existing and future fans and to benefit the city as we have in the past.

The road to recovery is there, in front of us, Moshiri just needs to pass the opportunity to new custodians. It would be fitting if that recovery starting now, would be well established and more, before our 150th anniversary.

Up the Toffees!

Reader Comments (67)

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Mal van Schaick
1 Posted 20/05/2024 at 16:45:23
For any potential new buyers looking in:- The fan base is there, there is a New Stadium on the horizon, we have retained our Premier League status, and in my opinion we are a decent acquisition, if the debt is managed well.

Having said that, any prospective new owner will have to act quickly in the next few months in order to secure our better players on contracts, without having to sell them.

If we get decent owners, who act in the best interests of the club and fans, they will reap their rewards from loyal fans.

James Flynn
2 Posted 20/05/2024 at 17:18:39
Well-written Paul, thank you.

11 days left to 777's deadline date.

Jay Harris
3 Posted 20/05/2024 at 17:19:08
Paul you are right to highlight the commercial and development opportunities BMD development creates and I cant understand why the club havent sought to exploit those opprtunities and engagein partnerships with developers and government bodies.

Our club has been stagnant in past values for far too long. We need to embrace modern commercialism and opportunities.

Martin Reppion
4 Posted 20/05/2024 at 17:42:54
As usual a very informative piece.
I don't claim to understand all the finance implications.
One thing I would say, is that if Everton own land that could be developed commercially near the stadium, they should look to lease it rather than sell as that would give a continual income.
Having said that, we need the injection of capital.
Jack Convery
5 Posted 20/05/2024 at 18:17:34
Paul, I would doubt the Dock Wall can be demolished as of the H&S concerns about the other open dock(s) next to and near the Stadium. Also because of its historic importance.

I agree we should take a leaf out of Radcliffes book, as it makes sense. EFC will bring in an awful lot of business opportunities, which can only help enhance the area and open up further job opportunities. Why anyone hasn't or maybe they have, not planned for a floating restaurant in the adjacent dock is beyond me. I also think a landing stage for a Match Day Mersey Ferry service, near to the Stadium would make an ideal extra contribution to the transport needs of fans. A ferry back to Wallasey / Birkenhead / Pier Head would relieve a lot of car congestion. Also a train station on the Hunts Cross to Southport Line, surely has to be built. Then there is, the new pubs, car parks, fast food chains, hotels etc. The opportunities are endless and why shouldn't EFC receive a grant to help make it happen.

Brian Williams
6 Posted 20/05/2024 at 18:23:47
I believe removing the wall wasn't an option open to the club and it had to be retained.
Barry Rathbone
7 Posted 20/05/2024 at 18:40:29
My problem with this sort of piece is it boils down to a solution built on being business savvy.

Yes, it's a better option than being financial nincompoops but I've yet to see a club climb onto the elite platform of Utd, City, Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea let alone go beyond them based on such a plan.

I know this might come as a shock to the kids who don't care about competing in such environs but emulating Brighton, Brentford and other luminaries of the "well run" fodder outfits won't cut the mustard for more than 5 mins.

Mad as it may seem I still sense the vast majority need us to win stuff.

Only oil money (or a willing despot) can bring us the "new Everton" anything else is more delayed decline.

John Keating
8 Posted 20/05/2024 at 19:12:32
Correct about a tidal landing stage at BMD
A real quick and easy fix and great for supporters from the Wirral, Wales and South
Mentioned this before the project started and still surprised nothing has been done.

I’m all a bit surprised Peel hasn’t got a bit more involved with BMD as it would surely increase and enhance their surrounding land value and profile

Stephen Davies
9 Posted 20/05/2024 at 22:11:26
From a respected poster from another Forum:

Been in contact with people closely involved in the EFC situation, one as a reporter/observer, one working to try to bring a consortium together and another working for a lender. I cannot break confidences but:

1. There is no seriously rich interested buyer and MSP seriously do NOT want to step in. No Qataris. No funded US buyer (just another chancer).

2. The only possible consortium right now is some Evertonian names well known to us (through involvement with MSP or wider public profile) but they are well short of being able to make a bid. Even if they can it will be at best a short-term bridging move as they try to restructure and find the elusive longer-term buyer

3. MSP (perhaps because they are American) do not yet fully understand the risks of relegation, UK liquidation etc. They might be getting there slowly but do not seem to understand or want to accept that their stadium security is worthless unless Everton is a going concern in the PL. They do not want to be the one to push us over the edge but do not seem to realise they could easily lose everything. If they ever do get there maybe option 2 will become viable with their support. IF!

4. R&MF have the strongest income security and will not consider taking a haircut on loans or reducing or deferring interest - unless and until the doom clock strikes 11.59.

This all means IMO there is no path forward until:

1. MSP recognise security on stadium is worthless unless Everton are a going concern; no club, no value; and

2. R&MF recognise much of their debt will never be repaid; both a US marine style haircut & lower interest rates are needed to stabilise long-term finances

Right now neither get/accept this analysis so this summer we will be selling players (multiple) to pay final stadium costs, cover operating costs and maybe trim the R&MF loan a touch. It will require miracles from Thelwell, Dyche et al to keep our heads above water. Kicking the can down the road.

Will we survive in PL? I have no idea but I am more worried tonight than I was last night and I was mildly terrified last night. Unlike eg The Esk I do not think we would emerge from administration without liquidation sending us to AFC Everton at eg Tier 8-11.

Sorry to be the grinch but bad though the last two years have been we are nowhere near turning a corner, at least not in any positive way.

Mike Gaynes
10 Posted 20/05/2024 at 23:06:27
Stephen #9, highest respects for your insights and expertise, but to me item 3 from your "respected poster" appears patently ridiculous on its face.

MSP's portfolio includes five European clubs -- Augsburg, Brondby, Estoril, Alcorcón and Beveren -- and the idea that they don't understand the economic implications of relegation because they are American is both nationalistically condescending and outright laughable.

MSP is also an investor in McLaren F1, a high-risk investment, and Najafi led the effort to oust the previous owner of the Phoenix Suns whose racist behavior put the franchise at risk, so the implication that these dumb Yanks "do not seem to realise they could easily lose everything" likewise strikes me as ridiculous.

Moorad has doubtless seen athletes and enterprises go bust from an up-close perspective.

And in addition to co-founding MSP, Moorad remains the head of Morgan Lewis, leading a worldwide legal team that (according to his bio) advises clients on, among other things, stadium and club financing. He didn't walk into this deal blind and deaf.

MSP may or may not be our white knight here, but they're not the stupid Americans your poster portrays. I would bet the rest of my mortgage that they know exactly how much their investment depends on Everton's viability.

Bill Gall
11 Posted 20/05/2024 at 23:48:14
Well, that is the end of a roller-coaster season with the last problem to solve: Who is going to finally own Everton Football Club?

The support that Everton have received over the last couple of seasons, and a special mention has to go to their phenomenal away supporters, demonstrates the passion and belief that the supporters feel about their club.

If the present owner and previous Board members had shown 50% of what the supporters felt, the club would not be in the mess that they and they alone created.

With the new stadium due to be finished in the near future, that will be sold out, and become a money-making attraction to the area? Why is the owner working with the lower end of financial institutions?

Surely looking at other clubs that have been bought, would Everton not be a viable option for investing, or are the Premier League going to make up new rules to protect the Sky favourites from being challenged?

Stephen Davies
12 Posted 20/05/2024 at 23:50:44
Mike, thanks for the reply. I'm just the messenger. It's late here and I was being a bit lazy. I suppose the point I was making is that come June we may well be staring into the abyss should that white horse go lame.

I'm hoping that something positive comes out of the FAB meeting with Moshiri this week.

Bob Parrington
13 Posted 21/05/2024 at 02:34:51
Paul - It's great to have somebody look to the chance of a positive solution for EFC. Phoenix rising from the ashes. I believe this will be the case and agree that it will take some time to achieve.

Mike, when I was reading Stephen's post@9 and specially item 3, I was thinking "I bet Mike Gaines will be on to this like a flash". You didn't let me down. Thanks and well put.

Like we've ground out staying in the Premier League over the past 3 seasons, we will grind out a full recovery, hopefully in time to celebrate the 150th anniversary. Hmm! I think that will be my 80th birthday year and 75th year as a Blue.

Mike Gaynes
14 Posted 21/05/2024 at 06:58:54
Stephen #12, thanks, I did understand that these weren't your words, although I wasn't clear on exactly the line between his views and yours.

And certainly anybody, no matter how rich and how smart, can get completely skunked on any deal at any time. But having met Moorad many years ago and loosely followed his career, I would be absolutely astonished if he was the one to get skunked on this one.

Bob #13, yep, I'm nothing if not predictable!

Sam Hoare
15 Posted 21/05/2024 at 07:37:49
It continues to look very bleak on the ownership front with no obvious path forwards other than perhaps MSP stepping up, which they seem unwilling to do.

Out of curiosity, we have not sold naming rights to the stadium yet right? That must be something that could provide a decent bit of cash as surely a stadium that is likely to be used in the Euros and other events moving forward can draw some decent offers?

It's all rather depressing, given that on the pitch we've managed our best season in a few years. What a legacy left by Kenwright and Moshiri.

Phil (Kelsall) Roberts
16 Posted 20/05/2024 at 07:40:59
So build a landing stage at Bramley-Moore Dock and have a ferry to serve it for 19 days out of 365 in the year. Just a 1½-mile walk to the Everton 2 (shop in) Liverpool 1 — although this year it has been moved to Liverpool 0.

Not sure if I did a return-on-investment calculation, I could ever get someone to fund it.

Robert Tressell
17 Posted 21/05/2024 at 09:15:26
Barry, I think you are probably right; it is impossible to contest titles and Champions League finals without a very serious injection of capital (the first team is probably about £750m worth of investment adrift).

However, as someone who has witnessed almost nothing but rubbish football and one cup win, I would be pleased for us to improve!

I also don't see what Brighton and Brentford have achieved as our ceiling. We are clearly a much, much bigger club. We can learn from them (and I hate the say it the RS too) since they have gone about their business in a very astute manner and allowed them to outperform the level of investment.

With good business practice (in lieu of big bucks) I think we can certainly achieve regular European football (and compete for European trophies), and domestic cups in the relative short term - i.e. the next 3 years. That at least means most of the fans can enjoy being an Everton supporter again, after a really miserable era.

From that base, who knows - someone with some serious money might look kindly upon us and take us to another level.

Stu Darlington
18 Posted 21/05/2024 at 10:05:02
Wow Robert,where did that come from?
Achieving regular European football,competing for European and domestic trophies in the next 3 years?
I wish I had your optimism!
Financially our club is hanging by a thread with as yet no sign of the cavalry coming over the hill!
As you quite rightly say we will not be in a position to contest European or domestic competitions without massive injections of capital.Good business practice in lieu of this is not going to be enough on its own,but where is this investment coming from?
I really wish I could endorse your optimism for the long suffering fans sake but I think it’s going to take a lot more than a football savvy Director of Football to achieve it
Brian Harrison
19 Posted 21/05/2024 at 10:44:05

Yet another great post and very thought-provoking, you suggest a few options to help ease our financial situation.

I agree that Everton should have pursued a similar path to what Ratcliffe is proposing, some sort of Government injection. Surely even Michael Gove would have difficulty arguing against Everton getting funding from the Government's levelling-up campaign.

Also I could never understand why Moshiri turned down the Liverpool City Council's offer of a loan at a fixed rate to cover the cost of the new stadium.

As you suggest depending on what happens with the court cases against 777 Partners, we may have to negotiate a repayment plan if they are put into administration.

You seem to suggest that there is now only a small chance we would be put into administration, but if no agreement is reached with R&Mf and MSP, who funds the day-to-day running of the club should the deal with 777 collapse in the next 11 days?

Paul [The Esk]
20 Posted 21/05/2024 at 11:42:18
Brian #19, thanks.

By virtue of the window opening in less than a month, we can sell players to keep us solvent – far from ideal though but it will unfortunately happen.

Unless the creditors agree to a massive restructuring including haircuts, then the club is not going to be sold. If the creditors don't agree, then administration will be the only way out.

Administration is not a free lunch though, it may have terrible consequences. I have always been aware of that. I just know the current impasse cannot continue.

Christine Foster
21 Posted 21/05/2024 at 11:51:28
Paul, commendable article, much hope too.

The real issue is that the debtors are entrenched in their positions and no one wants to risk anything more going forward, so the impasse has to be broken. But to do that goes against the haircut analogy for any of the parties.
Like a game of chicken, there is a 16-wheeler called the liquidator gathering speed. Because if there is no movement, there is no avoidance.

The current debt levels probably exceed any calculation of worth, leaving no space for a new investor. This means someone, if not all, is going to lose in addition to Moshiri.

Significant debt has to be converted to equity. The spanner in doing so is RM&F because they make their money solely from high-interest loans, not equity. The are the devil incarnate. And our luvvie got into bed with them and sold our soul.

If 777 go to the wall, then a deal will be done to discharge the debt at a significant cost reduction. Player sales to reduce RM&F with 777 out of the game means a better entry opportunity for MSP or a combination with other parties...

No one is moving, the chickens are standing still on the M1.

Robert Tressell
22 Posted 21/05/2024 at 12:22:09
Stu # 18, fair challenge. I believe that within 3 seasons from now (assuming we don't go bust) we should be capable of European football. So that is the beginning of us being in that position.

Here's why:

- Dyche has a track record of outperfoming the level of investment. He got Burnley into Europe. With a bit more firepower and no points deductions, he wouldn't have been that far off this season.

- Although we will lose some key players this summer and have little to spend, there is a reasonable chance that the squad overall is better. I appreciate that I'm one of the few who see selling Branthwaite as a possible opportunity to improve – but it is.

- Three more summers of sensible spending within a longer term strategy should pay dividends. If we recruit with a view to players peaking in about 3 years, then we can do it. Our most important signing this summer could be as young as 16 and be nowhere near the first team for a year or two.

- We should hardly be intimidated by the likes of West Ham and Brighton who have enjoyed recent European forays and look fairly well placed for more.

Brian Harrison
23 Posted 21/05/2024 at 12:32:01

Yes, the transfer window will no doubt be used to bolster our finances to help with the day-to-day running of the club. Also, I am sure those at the end of their contracts on big money will be shown the door.

But somehow we will also need to replace some of the sold and out-of-contract players, but given the uncertainty around the club, if the manager can't replace those he loses, he and his staff may look for employment elsewhere.

You are far more across the possibilities of what will happen, but me personally I don't think Moshiri is willing to spend another penny on the club and if, in 11 days time, 777 are rejected by him, I don't see a scenario were a white knight rides in to save the club.

I remember you saying some months back that the yearly interest to service both the R&MF and the MSP loans was in the region of £35M. Since then, we have taken a further £210M from 777 Partners.

Kevin Molloy
24 Posted 21/05/2024 at 12:34:53
We are in a situation where the club owes several different people ridiculous amounts of money. The people owed the money need to keep the patent alive so that they can start to be paid back.

So where are we? We are in Hell. We'll be kept alive to the extent necessary to continue to pay off the debt. That debt will, unless we get a country owning us, never be paid off. We cannot advance, but we will not be allowed to fail. Stasis.

My advice is to find another sport.

Keith Gleave
25 Posted 21/05/2024 at 13:19:23
An excellent piece as always. I would have thought it was to the landowners and Everton's benefit to develop the area around the ground. If the club could do this in joint ownership with the developer it would bring monies to the club.
The Titanic is across the road but there is room for another hotel, not to mention restaurants and bars.
There are other uses for the stadium as well and this could be further tapped into with other sport and recreation facilities close by. Just look at east Manchester now.
Stu Darlington
26 Posted 21/05/2024 at 13:58:58
Thanks Robert
I follow your reasoning but am not entirely convinced it can be achieved in a 3 year timeframe
Yes we will lose some of our better players just to survive and we won’t have much to spend on replacements this summer so I don’t see how the squad overall can be better next season. We still need more firepower,at least 1fullback /wing back,and a couple of creative midfielders.Above all we lack pace in the squad and we need it now!
I agree a long term strategy with sensible spending and recruitment is the way forward but I think it will take nearer to 5 years than 3 if we can somehow manage to survive this year
Barry Rathbone
27 Posted 21/05/2024 at 14:34:45
Robert 17

Hopefully you're right and some sort of improvement is possible with minor investment BUT we've been down this road before and it split the fans.

The Kenwright/Mo yes era was often referred to as "punching above our weight" with a few Euro spots and mid table stability close to your scenario but I lost track of the amount of Evertonians who gave up as a result.

It's the elephant in the room that doesn't seem to be appreciated on forums but the club NEEDS to win things and every season without a trophy kills us a little bit more.

Robert Tressell
28 Posted 21/05/2024 at 14:47:34
Stu: if you are interested, I did an article called 2024 summer reset a few weeks ago which talks about building the squad on the cheap. There's examples of players who could cover different positions in the squad. In many respects, it is not rocket science - it is about hunting for value with youth, frees, loans, low cost markets and richer clubs benches. It is not unlike what Moyes and Martinez each did. This contrasts a clear Moshiri era strategy of ignoring low cost markets and buying average players from high cost markets (and paying them high wages). Fortunately we stopped doing that when the money ran out, so are already on the path to redemption.

Barry: as to your point that 6th to 8th place and no trophies isn't good enough for some fans. My answer is "tough shit", unless those fans happen to be billionaires. But I think most fans would be pleased to see us back in Europe and looking competitive in domestic cup competitions. And if the buying and selling and player development is handled very astutely indeed, then it can lead to the Champions League. See Leverkusen and Stuttgart this season pushing big spending Bayern into third place in the Bundesliga. See also Girona in La Liga etc etc. See Brentford, Brighton and very definitely the RS as astute buyers, sellers and player developers who punch above their weight in the Premier League.

John Keating
29 Posted 21/05/2024 at 22:19:14
Phil 16,

Honestly, as per everything, including the stadium long-term, the cost of a tidal jetty for ferries is really negligible.

It is an easy fix, we've done it worldwide. Once constructed, it's easy management. Once the ferries get themselves organised, it's a win-win.

John Keating
30 Posted 21/05/2024 at 22:24:36
Any chance we could get a Patrick Mahomes?
Jerome Shields
31 Posted 21/05/2024 at 22:54:09
Christine @#21,

I agree that a form of stalemate exists amongst interested parties in Everton. The serious ones are being cagey and know where they are coming from, but are faced with Moshiri, a form of Muppet, and 777 Partners who they probably would prefer not to be involved.

As many have said, it will be a tight summer regarding the squad. I think administration is a long way off than most expect, because the prospect for the parties involved is not certain. So I expect Everton to limp along.

Paul the Esk Bramley Dock Development Plans.

In the case of Paul the Esk development of the site. Everton have a 40-year lease on part of the site whilst the whole site is held under a 200-year lease. The whole site's ownership is unclear and not known at all at this stage.

Everton are also paying over £29 per ft² for 14% of the Liver Building on a 25-year lease. 70,500 ft² of the Liver Building is empty. The Liver Building ownership consists of two offshore companies and a group of foreign investors.

I would not be surprised that the 200-year lease on the whole Bramley-Moore Dock site has a similar ownership structure, with Everton FC as a tenant.

Don Alexander
32 Posted 22/05/2024 at 02:50:33
It surprises me that several of us somehow project the birth of a bright new future in 3 years or so.

It surprises me that several of us project the signings of "nobody" players who're available for nowt, on loan or otherwise, as a viable way forward.

After what Moshiri and his trusted (by him alone) Kenwright and his litany of ass-kissing employees have done to us, we are fucked for many years to come as viable for any success at all. Christ, mere existence is right now dubious, to say the least.

"Nobody" players will be courted by other non-entity clubs, clubs whose very existence isn't in the peril we are but, "looking on the bright side", maybe if we offer these non-entities mega contracts, they'll deign to sign for us.

Sound familiar?

Good luck, Kev and Sean.

Steve Carter
33 Posted 22/05/2024 at 09:02:01
I always enjoy (if that be the correct word in these straitened times) reading your thorough and thoughtful articles, Paul.

Sorry to dampen your muted optimism with some present reality – here's what the people none of us can beat think about our prospects next season:
Premier League – Relegation Betting Odds

Interesting that they have Man City at what at first blush is a miserly 25/1 – obviously factoring in some punting on the Premier League actually doing something next season.

Robert Tressell
34 Posted 22/05/2024 at 09:12:38
Don # 32, it might depend what you mean by a bright new future. I don't see us troubling the top 4 within the next 3 seasons. But I do believe we can begin an era whereby we're in the mix each year for the top 7 and competitive in the cups.

Not easy, by any stretch, but doable and something the club should be aiming for.

To put that into context, we were 15 points off 6th this season; and 12 points off 7th. 7th gets Europe if someone in the top 6 wins the cup (at least I think so anyway).

Is it really so far-fetched that in 3 seasons we might have assembled a squad capable of 4 or 5 more wins than this season? I don't think so.

As to the recruitment of "nobody players", I'm not really sure what you mean. Again, we're not going to be competing for players like (randomly) Benjamin Sesko who is probably on his way to Arsenal, or even more modest but established players like Ivan Toney or Scott McTominay.

However, the likes of Stones, Branthwaite, Calvert-Lewin, Coleman, Barry, Tarkowski, Saha, Pienaar, Arteta, Lukaku, Deulofeu etc etc seem to fall into the categories of player you object to. And we can certainly tap into the same sort of markets these players came from.

Martin Farrington
35 Posted 22/05/2024 at 10:09:42
Great article.

It shows how really fubar the club is. How far Everton as is can go, is really frightening. With no oil-rich state type remotely interested and oligarchs present by their absence, a foreseeable future is bleak.

I have attached a link listing: All of the 2022-23 season Premier League clubs' outstanding debt — The Sports Journal, 10 February 2024

No idea how this titanic financial wreck can be listed into something feasibly fiscal.

Oddly we are (I think) 19th in the transfer spends league since about 2020? Which was what I thought PSR (in whatever guise) was introduced for. To prevent clubs' financial ruin on player transfer fees, wages and bloodsucker agents.

Everton have excelled on another front albeit we will (hopefully) have a prize asset to show. Has building the new stadium incurred the £1B debt? If so, is it possible to split the two, club and stadium, into some kind of separate entities with a sustainable workable outcome for both on financial footings?

Brian Harrison
36 Posted 22/05/2024 at 10:13:14
Robert @34,

I admire your optimism and you put together a well-argued case as to how that can be achieved. But I think realistically we will do well to avoid the drop in the next few seasons.

At present, we have an owner who to all intents and purposes washed his hands of our club last September when he agreed to sell his shares to 777 Partners, and despite all the numerous reports of their unsuitability, he is still giving them to the end of the month to convince the Premier League they are fit and proper people to own Everton Football Club.

We are in debt to the tune of roughly a billion pounds and at the end of this month, even Moshiri will realize that the deal with 777 Partners is dead.

The club will receive payment from the Premier League for finishing 15th and at some point in the next few months they will get their first payment of Sky money. This will take care of the day-to-day expenses for the next few months but, without new owners, the manager and the DOF will have very limited resources to spend on replacements.

So I cant see how, with a much weakened squad, we can improve on this season's results.

Barry Rathbone
37 Posted 22/05/2024 at 11:00:56
Robert @28

I think the "tough shit" attitude is a good representation of the Kenwright regime and not a good thing to perpetuate – but that's just me.

Robert Tressell
38 Posted 22/05/2024 at 11:27:34
Fair enough, Barry, but in football as in life we'd all like to be rich and successful – unfortunately it is not just something you can simply choose.

Brian # 36, I don't argue with any of that really. Which is why I recognise we will sell Branthwaite and Onana this summer whether we like it or not (possibly for low-ball fees before 30 June).

The main issues for the club currently is to find new owners, avoid going bust and thereby avoid doing a Glasgow Rangers. If we can come through that unscathed, then we can claw our way back up the table.

Since we have no money, the way I have outlined is the only option available. It would be nice to have a sugar daddy owner to fund a huge spending spree but that ship sailed years ago.

Barry Rathbone
39 Posted 22/05/2024 at 13:30:58
Robert 38

Sound sentiments in real life unfortunately football fandom relies on myth and legend, dreams and fantasy.

Once realism appears, football recoils in horror… acceptance of "your lot" is a slow death.

Jay Harris
40 Posted 22/05/2024 at 15:24:50
I believe the last few years have been character-building for a lot of our players. Unfortunately, the key ones are over 30:- Pickford, Tarkowski, Gana, Coleman, Young.

However, I cling to the belief that we will keep hold of Jarrad and build a team around him with the older players becoming squad players rather than regulars.

Our future obviously depends on the new owners but again I am optimistic that, with the right financial planning and reconstruction of the debt, we will be okay.

The obvious gap in our squad is for players who can score goals, whether that be forwards, wingers, midfield players or defenders, and if we address that and retain our defensive solidity it bodes well for the future.

As for the top teams we have Villa, Newcastle, Brighton and even Palace who are joining the argument so I see Top 10 as tough.

However, if we can consolidate and build a foundation, I can see us rejoining the top 7 within 5 years. Ever the optimist… almost Dannylike.

Mark Murphy
41 Posted 22/05/2024 at 15:57:38
Maybe a silly question but, if nobody buys the club, then it's still Moshiri’s club, yes?

So isn't the onus still on him to put up the dosh to keep us a going concern, attractive enough for future deals perhaps when we're at the new stadium and our stock has risen??

Christopher Timmins
42 Posted 22/05/2024 at 17:01:22

If nobody buys the club and parties start calling in their loans, I doubt that Moshiri has any funds to throw at the problem and he would probably seek to have an administrator appointed.

His position is weakening by the hour. He needs the 777 Partners deal to happen.

Brian Williams
43 Posted 22/05/2024 at 17:01:42
Mark, I've been thinking the same thing myself.

If he puts the club into administration doesn't he lose loads of money?

If he continues to fund and support the club doesn't he stand a chance of getting considerably more in return?

Seems simple to me but no doubt there's lots more to it than my simple mind can understand.

Rob Halligan
44 Posted 22/05/2024 at 17:08:07
Christopher, Moshiri has a net worth of $2.4B, so I’m pretty certain he has the funds to throw at the problem.
Brent Stephens
45 Posted 22/05/2024 at 17:09:38
Bang goes the Government's Football Bill? With an election looking to be announced any minute, surely there won't be any parliamentary time to complete the passage of the bill through parliament (old joke about easing bill's passage...).

A likely new Labour Government would then make this low profile? In which case the EPL retain control...

Danny O’Neill
46 Posted 22/05/2024 at 17:25:06
Detailed as always, Paul.

I'm still exhausted Everton wise after that season, but exhausted with a smile on my face. No matter what they put us through, we can't stop loving them. They are stuck with us.

The dogs are a bit more relaxed as well. I think they are looking forward to the pre-season break!!

It is important to respect our background and heritage, but important to move forward. Back in the day, we didn't get what we became by standing still and living in the past. Be forward thinking Everton.

The new Everton Stadium offers a massive opportunity for Everton and the city.

I apologise for repeating Monorail from Brunswick station to Sandhills. It would serve the club and the city and be a modern iconic resemblance of the "docker's umbrella" overhead railway.

Mike Gaynes
47 Posted 22/05/2024 at 18:29:51
Rob #44 and Mark #41, Moshiri's published net worth by Forbes is an estimate at best, a blind guess at worst.

All of his holdings are private, none in public entities, so we have no way of knowing how much of his wealth is locked away in Usmanov's sanctioned enterprises, or how much is liquid and therefore spendable on Everton. We do know that USM Holdings, which he co-owns with Usmanov and is the primary source of his estimated wealth, is under sanction. So his shares may be illiquid and therefore currently worthless on the open market.

And even if he has cash available, there is absolutely no legal requirement that he make any Everton expenditures. There is nothing to keep him from simply closing his checkbook.

Brian Harrison
48 Posted 22/05/2024 at 19:06:08
I think the transfer window will be very interesting, certainly the January window was I think the lowest spend for a long time. Many have suggested this is because clubs are now paying more attention to the possibility that they could fall foul of the P&S rules and with Everton and Forest having points deducted it has really focussed the minds of all Premier league clubs. Should that be the case the chances of us getting the sort of money we would expect to get for those players likely to be sold will be substantially reduced. Also clubs needing to offload players to stay within P&S rules must do so before the end of June. Also with 2 of the richest Premier league clubs having said goodbye to their managers and a third club Man Utd still undecided whether to keep their manager, that could have a detrimental effect on clubs like Everton who may be looking to one of these 3 clubs to move players onto.

Should the summer transfer window mirror the January window, Masters and his cronies at the Premier league will have serious questions to answer.

Paul Tran
49 Posted 22/05/2024 at 19:43:16
There is no onus on Moshiri to do anything, other than what he wants. For him, that means selling to 777, for now at least.

He's not a businessman, he's an oligarchs mate. Most oligarchs get their money ftom who they know, not from their business acumen.

It shows.

Geoff Gordon
50 Posted 22/05/2024 at 20:21:18
It’s all about money folks. We’re customers buying a product. Any sway we have in decisions are minimal. Our sway may have hounded out a number of managers and players but I’m not sure all these decisions were correct.
Would I put my money into Everton? Not sure.
Jerome Shields
51 Posted 22/05/2024 at 22:58:00
Paul #49,

There is a lot of truth in your post.

Mark Taylor
52 Posted 22/05/2024 at 00:10:08
I think Stephen's post at 9 pretty much sums up the position. It feels like an impasse, a slow motion car crash until at the very last moment, people realise they need to get out of the car.

I've always said this club cannot survive without a re-structuring (and cancellation) of a large proportion of our debt since we are clearly effectively insolvent. Too much money poorly spent comboned with bad luck and bad timing.

No-one is in much a position of strength right now. Except maybe one. Dyche. Whatever you think of him, he won't be lacking for work after what he has been seen to have done for us. His resignation, and the absence of any credible successor given our predicament, would quite likely doom the club. I am not a Dyche fan especially but in a way, he holds at least partly, our potential survival in his hands

Stephen Davies
53 Posted 23/05/2024 at 08:07:16
Also on Twitter:

AV Sports, which owns Aston Villa, is one of the groups discussing the purchase of Vasco de Gama, one of the 777 stable of clubs

Tony Abrahams
54 Posted 23/05/2024 at 08:17:26
If you want to own multi-clubs, then you would definitely want a couple in South America, a continent that has always been a hotbed of talent.
Adrian Evans
56 Posted 23/05/2024 at 09:13:41
If 777 Partners manage to buy Everton, what would they intend doing with us? This is the question… and I think the answer is simple.

To remain a Premier League Club, get into the Champions League. Fill the stadium every game, have a successful team, make money, add value.

They are not buying us to fail. So they have to prove themselves to the fanbase; otherwise, they are done.

Will they buy us? We will know in 8 days… unless Moshiri gives them another extension.

Len Hawkins
57 Posted 23/05/2024 at 10:08:15
After reading all this financial malarkey which is way over my head, there are two things that worry me:

1. This barber at the new stadium doing all the haircuts… will he rent the salon or are Everton going to fit out the salon and pay him a wage?

2. The cavalry coming to our aid, forget that — I was at the dental hospital with our lad the other day and there was a bloke in a cavalry uniform with his mouth in a right mess, he has only just joined up as the bugler and on his first charge he knocked most of his teeth out.

Robert Tressell
58 Posted 23/05/2024 at 10:25:57
Moshiri will not put another penny into Everton and will allow us to go into administration if no buyer materialises. That has been pretty clear since Summer 2021 when the Moshiri financing very abruptly stopped.

But won't he lose money if we go bust?

That is far from clear. But whatever the case, he is certainly behaving as though he doesn't care.

The money was probably never his in the first place, originating instead with Usmanov. Usmanov is probably more focussed on avoiding arrest and / or murder than keeping Everton afloat.

Stephen Davies
59 Posted 23/05/2024 at 12:49:22
When Insurers Fail: Chapter 4 of the 777 saga.
Mary Walsh, 22 May 2024

The troubles are deepening fast for the unhappy insurance family of 777 Re, Sentinel Security Life, Atlantic Coast Life, A-Cap, and all their corporate kith and kin. The outlook for their unwitting policyholders is dim.

The companies and their principals have been named in some 20 lawsuits, in multiple jurisdictions, by creditors chasing hundreds of millions of dollars in unpaid debt. The parent of 777 Re has hired a turnaround and crisis-management firm, suggesting a bankruptcy filing is coming soon. Officials of the turnaround firm, B Riley Advisory Services, have been placed in governance roles at 777 Partners, with one named its interim chief operating officer.

US bankruptcy law seems tailor-made for battles like this one, because it forces disparate creditors to work collectively toward a fair resolution of their claims. A federal bankruptcy judge and an arm of the US Justice Department keep watch, to reduce the temptation to cheat. The creditors often get together beforehand to discuss possible settlements, which can hold down the cost of a case.

Stephen Vincent
60 Posted 23/05/2024 at 13:19:59
It is a strange one, Rob.

Since all of Moshiri's money is equity or unsecured debt, where we to go into administration, he (or Usmanov) runs the risk of losing the best part of £750M. And no matter how wealthy you are – that is a substantial wedge.

My guess would be that, when 777 Partners finally fail, Moshiri will provide minimum funds to keep us ticking over until alternatives can be found. This will mean a self-imposed transfer moratorium, but I cannot see that he would risk losing £750M for the sake of say advancing a further £50M.

Raymond Fox
61 Posted 23/05/2024 at 13:44:46
The cost of the stadium is a large barrier to selling the club, sure it will be a great new shiny thing when it's finished but it's also costing a huge sum of money.

This project it seems went pear-shaped when Usmanov was barred from being connected to the club. I don't believe that Moshiri would have attempted our move to the docks if he didn't have Usmanov as back-up.

I fear we are in dire straits just now, it's going to take a brave man who buys us and attempts to make us into a going concern.

Paul Norman
62 Posted 23/05/2024 at 13:59:25
Another challenging read there, interesting and thought-provoking as usual. But I'm not going to comment on the meat of our woes, I think there'll be plenty of that from others.

I did want to take issue with the peculiar assertion that the dock wall is somehow a problem for the new stadium, and should be knocked down! I couldn't disagree more. Disregarding the very real concerns of whether we can actually afford it, the only beacon of hope that we've had for the last few years has been building our new home, and to a large extent, the meticulous approach taken to it is something we can be proud of.

We're not just building a bog-standard stadium, we're also preserving and securing the heritage aspects of the site for the future - the pump tower, the inner dock wall, and the very impressive approach to punching through the outer wall, and then rebuilding it around the new gates.

I'm as excited to see those features finished as I am to get into the stadium. The stadium is certainly not hidden behind the wall either, a drive along the dock road and you'll see it now rises majestically above it.

The stadium build is all the better for the care being taken with it, and it's a rare credit to our owners that we've not just taken a scorched earth approach to building it, as we've seen in other stadium redevelopments not too far from us!

James Hughes
63 Posted 23/05/2024 at 14:36:27
I have to disagree with the cost of the stadium being a hinderance. The stadium is in a prime location and the increased attendance will only add value.

It will add value to the area and generate serious revenue. It is a long-term investment.

It will apparently have the ability to hold concerts and other outdoor events. Just think that one tune Diva will be playing at Mordor soon. Given the effect she had on the NFL the spin-off for RS will be huge.

Now if only we had a PR/ Marketing team…

Eric Myles
64 Posted 23/05/2024 at 15:59:04
Paul #62, 👍
Raymond Fox
65 Posted 23/05/2024 at 16:23:59
James @ 63,

I agree that the stadium is great but who can find the money to buy the club and the stadium?

What the value of the club is, not counting the stadium, I don't know; the stadium alone will probably cost the wrong side £1B.

Jerome Shields
67 Posted 27/05/2024 at 04:00:06
Stephen #58,

Thank you for that information. There will have to be an agreed course of action, supervised by the courts. Looks like the only relevant part regarding Everton will be the recovery of the >£200M 777 loans to fund the club.

Laurie Hartley
68 Posted 27/05/2024 at 11:09:21
If this snippet is anything to go by then I like the sound of Senor Textor:-

He says there would be “30 bidders” if he gambled on seeing if Everton enter administration and cites moral reasons for not wanting to do that. “I don’t want to be involved in a situation where they clean people out, I show up and get a great deal,” he says. “That’s for somebody else. That’s for the rotten souls of this world.”

New York Times

It would seem he is a businessman with a moral compass - and an American to boot! ;)

James # 63 - “It will apparently have the ability to hold concerts and other outdoor events”

I wonder if the grassed area of the pitch is long enough to take a gridiron pitch? Here in Melbourne the other night, Spurs and Newcastle played a friendly in front of a crowd of 78,000!

Steve Brown
69 Posted 27/05/2024 at 12:05:37
The value of the club is decided by investors (not accountants). They will look at the player valuations, new stadium, money from TV rights, and see huge opportunity to grow revenue and profit over time.

The club has a large structural debt v assets, but the debt can be restructured over a longer term. In fact, it will have to as the unsecured debt that 777 Partners and Moshiri are exposed to will never be repaid if we go into administration.

Those with secured debt (Rights & Media Funding and MSP) will also need to be sensible, and I think they can be persuaded. Otherwise, they will have security on something that will be difficult to dispose of.

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