Nothing but the best will do. But can Everton really do better?

26/08/2015  19 Comments  [Jump to last]
Journalist Matt Scott offers another seemingly neutral opinion on Everton's place in the Premier League and concludes that the club is doing fine "muddling through" with prudent debt management and Bill Kenwright at the helm.

» Read the full article at Inside World Football

Reader Comments (19)

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Joe Foster
1 Posted 26/08/2015 at 00:23:41
Balance sheet champions 2015/16 hurrah!!
Patrick Murphy
2 Posted 26/08/2015 at 01:20:21
In a long line of articles relating to Everton FC in the last week or so, either these analysts / Journalists don't understand football fans or they deliberately fail to understand them. Evertonians are no different to Liverpool, Chelsea or United supporters, nor are they vastly different to Rochdale, Tranmere or any other club's supporters.

The vast majority of football fans want their club to be chasing success and having a board of directors who will facilitate that dream to the best of their abilities. Not many clubs are blessed with the rich heritage of Everton FC and in that way we are a different breed to most other English League clubs, but it shouldn't be a burden to try and emulate our past, it should be the benchmark.

Nobody I know is asking for millions more to be spent in the transfer market for the sake of it, most are just wanting the club to show ambition when the time is right, many of us thought that a few bob spent in January 2014 could have provided the impetuous to carry us through to the CL, there have been other times when a judicious investment may have brought tangible rewards, but it didn't happen and we missed out on glory of one kind or another.

Muddling through is exactly what Everton FC have done for far too long, take the Stones case for example, how difficult would it have been to ask John Stones as soon as Chelsea made their intentions clear, "look lad do you want to remain at Goodison and help us to achieve things or do you have your heart set on something else". John's answer would have provided the club with the facts and they could have acted accordingly far earlier and given the manager time to set about bringing in his replacements in a calm and considered manner. But what have we ended up with a pig's ear of a mess that the club will do well to overcome this side of the window.

This 'sentimentality' aspect of the club leads it to make huge errors of judgement and always sees it on the back foot, reacting to any given situation rather than being pro-active. The more cynical will say that the example of the Stones saga is a well worn path that the board have perfected for over a decade and we as fans are mere mugs for believing anything they tell us.

I remain wedded to the 'sentimentality' theory, because giving long-serving players extensions to their contracts when they are unlikely to add anything to the points tally that the team may achieve, doesn't make sense. I don't want the club to become heartless and soulless but there has to be a more businesslike approach to the playing staff, most of whom have been well paid for wearing the club's colours. It is folly for a club who has to watch it's pennies to be employing players who will provide little or nothing to the cause, no matter how loyal or nice they are or have been.

Then we have the protracted ground debate, which after nearly two decades of deliberation is no nearer a conclusion than it was when first thought about. That's not good enough, that isn't solely about finance it's also about the lack of will to do something positive.

As fans all we want is for the players at the club to represent us on the pitch and fight tooth and nail for every point and in every cup-tie and the people in charge to provide the means for the manager to help him improve the quality of the players over time. But if the board and administrative staff, muddle along, doesn't that lead to the team muddling along as well and any progress on the picth is stalled or halted and we end up chasing our tails in ever decreasing circles?

NSNO still has meaning to many fans but it seems to have been abandoned by the leaders of the club as they muddle along from one TV pay day to the next.

Paul Kossoff
5 Posted 26/08/2015 at 01:50:56
Exellent post Patrick. I despair sometimes being an Evertonian, but it's our club and I will support my club whoever plays and which ever league we are in.

Nothing but the best would be nice, but till we get it, we will have to muddle along.
Harold Matthews
6 Posted 26/08/2015 at 02:09:25
Excellent post Patrick. Straight from the heart.
Matt Traynor
7 Posted 26/08/2015 at 06:17:08
Sorry but this is bullshit.

For years I've worked on the basis that True Blue Holdings carried out a leveraged buy-out, dumping their debt for buying the club onto the club itself. The sudden swing in debt by -£20+ million within 12 months of their takeover was an indicator.

All they've done is pile more debt onto the club and take out more and more borrowings - the Bear Stearns (now Prudential) mortgage against Season Ticket revenue, and several (and increasing) loans with Vibrac of the BVI against broadcast revenue.

Add in truly fucking awful commercial deals for shirt sponsorship, kit supply and other ancilliary revenue and it gets worse.

Then you read on @WatchedToffee (on twitter) how some of the characters behind these BVI loans are connected to Kim Jong Bill, funded their share purchase, and basically using the club as money maker by taking out huge interest charges and financing fees, and you begin to wonder... Are we paying everyone £100k + a week? Because the money certainly isn't going in transfer fees.

Be careful what you wish for eh? I don't blame Stones for leaving. The club has no ambition, and the fanbase seems to be compliant, for fear of being seen as exhibiting "kopite" behaviour, FFS. If Stones goes in the next few days, the rest of our bright young talent will be questioning why they're wasting their careers at Everton.

If the good folks at BU and Everton Board Out are wondering what to do with their fundraising efforts, consider hiring a couple of financial investigators, and get this shit out in the open.

Everton isn't the only club this is happening to, but in terms of size, status and history, it must be one of the largest.

Phil Sammon
8 Posted 26/08/2015 at 06:50:11
Well said, Matt.

I think these protests would be much more effective if we focused on your points rather than 'BK hasn't spent a penny of his own money'...which is almost irrelevant.

The board's job is to run the club effectively. Surely that should be at the heart of any 'BK - OUT' campaign.

Peter McHugh
9 Posted 26/08/2015 at 07:20:58
Great post Patrick you hit the nail on the head.
Dave Ganley
10 Posted 26/08/2015 at 08:16:31
Excellent post Patrick, took the words right out of my mouth. You too Matt good post
Mike Allison
11 Posted 26/08/2015 at 10:27:35
Non-Evertonians just want us to know our place, 5th-8th while more glamorous clubs get on with the league and plucky underdogs win the odd cup. We don't really need to listen to them as they don't have our best interests at heart.

The financial reality is that we won't get much beyond 5th to 8th, even with a better stadium and more commercial revenue, but we should bloody well be in or around the semi-finals of both cup competitions every year as well.

We're right to demand more than a meek acceptance of the status quo, but we do need to be realistic about challenging the 'mega-clubs' over the course of a season.

One sure fire place to start though is not selling our best players to them. Keep Stones in the reserves for four years if that's what it takes, or name a fee, say £50-60M, that we would accept, but not from Chelsea.

Jay Woods
12 Posted 26/08/2015 at 11:34:55
Matt Traynor, I like your thinking on a fitting route of investigation. I think that's what's really needed - a publicly disseminated, thorough, forensic deconstruction of the club's true corporate and financial condition.
Eric Myles
13 Posted 26/08/2015 at 12:38:53
The usual litany of misinformation but with more incorrect figures than usual make this a bigger piece of nonsense than most that have been posted.

Mr Elstone must be scraping the bottom of the barrel now, feeding the Club script to so called jounos like this.

Thomas Lennon
14 Posted 26/08/2015 at 15:54:10
We have 'overachieved' on the field regularly over the last 12 years. I think this article accurately describes our financial status pre-2002 and the successes in turning around our accumulation of debt - back then we bought expensively and sold cheaply. Now we buy at £3 million and sell for £35-40 million. Progress of a sort (a very important sort).

We still underachieve off the field - though there has been progress year on year.

Stones sale may well enable us to write down more debt and buy more promising talent - if not the finished article.

Those who advocate we should 'show ambition' are advocating a return to pre 2002.

The new TV deal is apparently putting premier league football teams back on a financial footing that will interest buyers. As ever, we await developments. What possible reason is there for a buyer to compete with three clubs with practically limitless cash and a situation where wages spiral ever upward?? It certainly wont be to make a profit. Where are the Chinese investors looking to make a statement in the west?

Martin Mason
15 Posted 02/09/2015 at 23:07:00
An excellent article and mandatory reading for those who'd like to understand the reality of Everton's position.
Ben Mackenzie
16 Posted 04/09/2015 at 16:39:07
At last, a good article on Everton.
Eric Myles
17 Posted 04/09/2015 at 16:43:42
Ben, your standards of journalism appear very low.
Michael Kenrick
18 Posted 04/09/2015 at 17:52:32

One thing that keeps coming up is the huge disparity in estimates of the total debt:

Is it £107M and rising?
Or £43M and falling?

Can you speak to the conflicting numbers, and explain how we seem to have two entirely different trajectories?

Eric Myles
19 Posted 04/09/2015 at 19:09:05
I'll look at it tomorrow Michael, it's bedtime here.
Ged Simpson
20 Posted 04/09/2015 at 19:22:39
Matt (#5): agree with you about some kind of external investigation.
Eric Myles
21 Posted 07/09/2015 at 11:30:33
Michael #16, I've had a look at the Club accounts going back the last 5 years and the trend is that debt is increasing yearly but the borrowing from financial institutions is fairly stable, fluctuating between £46 ~ £48 million per year. The big change has been the type of financial institution the borrowings have been from.

Until 2012 the loans were the long term Man from the Pru loan which decreases by a couple of million each year, coupled with bank overdraft and bank loans (Investec?). Come 2012 though the bank loan was not renewed and we took out our first BVI loan with Vibrac. Since then we have shifted the overdraft from the books and that money is loaned from Vibrac also, without having a great deal of affect on the total borrowings but I suspect having an adverse affect on the interest payments.

Why in a climate where regular banks get free money and would be keen to lend against guaranteed income with little risk do we have to go to some dodgy source in BVI to borrow money at higher interest rates?

The accounts tell us that the BVI loan is repaid in August and then renewed but the exact mechanism of this is not mentioned. Do we hand over a cheque to Vibrac and receive a bigger one back from them? Or is the loan just rolled over and we are effectively paying an interest only loan with no repayment of principle, which is increased each year?

There has been a rather static trend in Income, expenditure and operating losses except for a significant decrease in expenditure in 2013, and a significant increase in both income and expenditure in 2014 when the bumper telly deal came in.

Debt has steadily increased in the last 3 seasons with net debt fluctuating and profit from player sales fairly static except for an almost doubling in 2014.

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