Are the winds of change blowing gently through Goodison?
Some say, for Evertonians, it doesn’t get much better than what was served up on Saturday.
The appetisers were a top drawer, FA Cup quarter final under the Goodison Park lights and the first public appearance of the new majority shareholder, billionaire Farhad Moshiri, followed by the main course of a comprehensive win through to a semi-final at Wembley with the icing on the dessert cake, arguably one of the greatest ever goals witnessed by the Goodison faithful in a generation.
Can it really get any better?
On the field, yes, of course it can. Winning the FA Cup in May after the longest trophy drought in the club’s illustrious history, would be a momentous achievement and as in the past could hopefully act as a catalyst for even greater success.
Off the field the only way is up.
Despite an understandable lack of detail the arrival of Mr Moshiri couldn’t have come at a better moment. Everton, effectively rudderless of late are due to experience a massive 52% uplift in income due to the new £8.5bn Premier League media deal.
With previous improvements in media payments dragging them from their perennial hand to mouth existence, something which has been the case ever since Peter Johnson made the last major investment in Everton, and with all Premiership clubs due to experience this massive uplift, the last thing Everton needed was the present board to be in charge with their empty pockets and even emptier promises.
As small details of Mr Moshiri’s strategy start to emerge, a tantalising preview of what could be in store for Everton begins to unfurl confirming that amateur hour will no longer be tolerated as a more analytical business approach is taken.
The deal to acquire 49.9% of Everton’s stock was completed on Thursday 10th March, two weeks after the unusual and unexpected announcement on the Saturday 28th of February. Thought by some to have been prompted by inaccurate reporting on Russian websites on the Friday evening.
Rather than simply employing the usual due diligence process Mr Moshiri, a business analyst and finance advisor for over twenty-five years to Alisher Usmanov, one of the worlds richest men, assembled a team of specialists to analyse and advise on his investment.
His team included auditors Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC), specialist law firm Charles Russell Speechlys and football analysts 21st Club who audit playing staff, advise on future strategic requirements and produce software to assist their ongoing support.
A new era
Finally, the days of the non-existent board and non-existent board meetings, and of receiving instructions from a ‘friend of the club’ are now at an end. The combination of new investment alongside the media uplift couldn’t have been timed better.
Another possible tantalising glimpse of the future was to be found in the directors box on Saturday.
As Kenwright and Moshiri took their seats, a few rows behind the main attraction, Lord Owen was in attendance.
Lord Owen is an associate of both Farhad Moshiri and Alisher Usmanov, having been the Chairman of Middlesex Holdings, a London based investment company, from 1995 to 2006.
Interestingly Lord Owen resigned from three companies on 21st December 2015, as a director of Europe Steel plc, a trading company of Ural Steel, a subsidiary of Metalloinvest, owned by Alisher Usmanov, and as a consultant to both Epion Holdings Limited and USM Holdings Limited. Both registered in the BVI and both also owned by Alisher Usmanov.
The short video of Bill Kenwright and Farhad Moshiri, released later, was an inevitable exercise in toe curling.
Perhaps Farhad will best wear his Persian slippers for the Arsenal game as he looked as uncomfortable as Pontius Pilate at a baby contest as Bill kept his arm around him in a bid to connect himself to a new era. One where the distinct possibility that nothing but the best will only be good enough once more.
From what little Mr Moshiri said it looks like we won’t have to suffer such embarrassing hollow gushings for much longer.
Ultimatley, in our own way, we all want what’s best for Everton.
Where others have failed we all want Farhad Moshiri to succeed and, even after the failures he has presided over, who would deny Bill his final day in the limelight as chairman of an FA Cup winning club?