As a plane taxis towards the runway trailed by a message thanking the most unsuccessful Chairman in the history of Everton Football Club….. and after the club released its latest set of accounts earlier this week, takeover rumours are rife amongst Evertonians.
After all, the AGM is on Monday, and half season tickets are now on sale. Feels like Groundhog Day, doesn’t it?
Simplified, the accounts seem ‘decent’ to some. To those with their eyes opened, they aren’t the greatest.
A sports lawyer who supports Chelsea took a look at them and stated in one Tweet: “At a time when Premier League club valuations are skyrocketing, Everton may be the only club to actually lose value, based on latest accounts.”
He continues: “Everton’s COMBINED sponsorship, advertising & merchandising revenue: £10.4 million. Liverpool’s shirt deal (with) Standard Chartered by itself (is) £30 million (per year). Not saying Everton should be where Liverpool is with commercial £, but the Everton ‘brand’ is very solid and should be monetised a lot better by commercial team.”
He is absolutely right.
The verdict at the AGM on Monday? Should, and could do better. Miles better.
Everton For Sale
Amongst the rumours of a takeover by Americans, Russians, Israelis, Chinese and nigh on every other nation on the planet, I received information two weeks ago, after the interest from Kansas cooled due to “circumstances” and “price,” of interest in Everton from South America.
Despite listening with scepticism, when digested the information and figures quoted made sense. Thus giving the information extra validity.
The person who revealed this information is connected with someone working on “the sale of Everton.”
The asking price was $240 million, with a recognised debt of $60 million. This is being viewed by the seller as a “fair and realistic” price.
According to this person, the talks were at an advanced stage and the deal would be “more likely to happen than not.”
In GBP, this converts to roughly £157 million, with debt being recognised at just short of £40 million.
There was no indication as to whether or not a new stadium or the redevelopment of Goodison Park formed part of any plans.
A safe assumption would be that some form of development would form part of any deal, given the Council and Everton currently have nothing to report on the development at Walton Hall Park.
With the debt being recognised at around £40 million, the handsome sum of £157 million would represent a very nice return on no investment for our Chairman. It would also provide a hefty return for a Monaco based Londoner sitting in the background rubbing his hands.
Ill informed pundits may say that this is a cracking piece of business for those owning around 75% of a business.
However, any Evertonian should be able to see this as nothing other than a potentially unmitigated disaster.
There aren’t many other European football clubs who are owned by South Americans. Could a nightmare scenario of Everton being sold, not to the best, most credible and suitable individual or group, but being auctioned off to the highest bidder be in the offing?
The possibility of flogging the club to unfit owners could unfold right under our noses. After all, the person giving the information was involved in the Hicks/Gillette takeover of Liverpool FC, and is currently seeking offers for Aston Villa.
Those who trust Bill Kenwright, who think he is good for Everton, who want to show their gratitude tomorrow against Villa, need to ask themselves one simple question: With the Chairman being in ill health recently, who exactly is selling our club?
Is it the Director who hasn’t spoken a word in sixteen years? Perhaps it is the phony one, Mr Bankruptcy, who is so false he won’t even use his own name?
Or maybe it is the Chief Executive Officer (title used very, very loosely), who has failed to deliver anything benefitting to the club year upon year. The ideal candidate for his own position, with a board who has failed to deliver a plan, a vision, any investment, honesty and, above all, trophies.
The answer is none of the above.
The final say lay, as I said earlier, in the harbours of Monaco. With a man notorious for negotiating deals by writing a number on a napkin and offering a ‘take it or f**k off ultimatum.’ It is being sold by de-facto owner Philip Green, not only to protect his own investment through Bill Kenwright, but to realise it.
Green is a ruthless business man, one who doesn’t make deals just for the sake of it. Nobody can be so naive to believe Philip Green “helped” Bill Kenwright buy Everton simply “because I like him.”
Underneath it all, he makes deals to benefit himself. He cares not where the money comes from, as long as he gets what he alone wants.
Green has no interest in the fabric of Everton, other than its ability to deliver a sizeable return on his investment.
This has always been his plan. There is no emotional attachment for Green to Everton. It is simply another business deal, another good night at Les Ambassadeurs.
Everton are not alone when it comes to farcical ownership of football clubs. It has gone on for long enough. The working class fan is being increasingly priced out of football as the modern, corporate game kicks in.
No longer is the emphasis on trophies for the Board of Directors. The emphasis is remaining in the Premier League to benefit from the best TV deal in history.
After this, it’s finishing as high up the table as possible. Only in Manchester, and Arsenal and Chelsea are the top four places a must, season in, season out.
At one time, it was only at Old Trafford, yet investment, a plan and good deals behind the scenes have seen City propel from the depths of the lower leagues to spending over £50 million on a winger.
Meanwhile, our manager is quizzed on an unattached former Dutch centre half, released by Aston Villa.
When Green enabled a Bill Kenwright takeover in 1999, the new majority shareholder said he had a plan. Was his plan to take the club to the brink of administration twice? Was it to sell key players and assets to appease banks and other creditors after begging them “not to kill us?”
Was it to waste tens of millions of pounds on interest payments? Was it to fail to deliver a hat-trick of new stadiums? And was it to oversee the least successful period on the pitch in the history of Everton Football Club?
Everton needs to be sold. Or, at the very least, a substantial investing partner needs to be brought in with the vision, ambition and ability not only to deliver solutions to our derisory financial state and the ongoing “springboard to better things” that is the new stadium, but to also deliver the success on the field which Evertonians crave.
Can Evertonians sit comfortably knowing those with the ultimate say in the sale of Everton FC will do right by the club, our club, and by us, the supporters?