How Everton Represent English Football’s Failed Business Model

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36 Responses

  1. Rob says:

    This is the club that stopped AGMs for shareholders due to questions asked.

    Its a basketcase and lacks transparency.

  2. Luca Benetotti says:

    Well said Sir

  3. Colin Fitzpatrick says:

    A tremendous piece that comprehensively sets out the background to Everton supporter’s unrest over the direction Everton has taken off the pitch which, all too inevitably, has led to deterioration on the pitch.

    Too many, particularly club owners, their employees and all too compliant media outlets, readily dumb down football supporters grievances when the reality is, all over the country, supporters are, as the article suggests, ahead of the game.

    Three years ago the Everton supporters who successfully predicted the outcome of Everton’s attempt to relocate their club nine miles from the city centre also predicted the current financial meltdown; they’re protesting now because they believe the only action that can prevent further damage to their club is to remove the sale process from the current board of directors and place it in the hands of an organisation that can demonstrate a prowess in this extremely complex area.

  4. Mike Bates says:

    Re: Robert Earl. Paul Gregg (the man bill chased out of the club despite him being able to loan the club £30m for Kings Dock) has been quoted as saying he sold his shares to Phillip Green, Owner of topshop and one of Uks biggest tax cheats, and that Earl is merely shareholder in name in order to disguise Green’s involvement. Bizarre.

    Time to go Bill, and please, lower the £150m asking price Keith Harris said ‘wasnt far wrong’ on SSN.

  5. lesroberts77 says:

    A great article that brilliantly sums up the current crisis (and, yes, it is a crisis) at Everton. When you also factor in a manager that seems to have lost interest and a squad that is patently not good enough then you can see we’re in real trouble! I just wish the local and national press would do their jobs and look into how one of England’s greatest football clubs is being run into the ground!

  6. Ben says:

    As a non-Everton fan, I was wondering if a new Tesco-funded stadium would ease these money problems and if so are fans still opposed to this development?

  7. James says:

    So… I guess we won’t be signing anyone in January then. Sounds like it’s for the best.

  8. Stuart Fitzgerald says:

    This is indeed a well written and well researched piece. As a STH, the most depressing issue is the sheer number of fellow regulars who are absolkutely adamant, before half the season has passed, that this will be their last season ticket! Have no fear that this is any reflection of the recession, most of us would spend our last £1 on following the blues; no, this is much more likely to be a reflection of just how many people are coming to the realisation that the likes of Rodwell, Barkley et al will all go the same way as Rooney – simply as a direct result of our financial state. Many of us feel sick, hurt, depressed and yet haven”t got it in us to speak against the Club as a whole, the Chairman or the Manager. But we all know that it’s going to end in tears and we’re all desperately keen that a solution will come to the fore and that people’s egos are kept well away from the coalface when a better option finally gets placed on the table. Please keep the faith just as long as you can, Bluenoses. COYB

  9. Graham Kelly says:

    There’s no denying that Everton is in a terrible mess financially, but there are underlying reasons for this for which Bill Kenwright is not to blame. The Heysel tragedy and its consequent ban on English clubs prevented us from becoming a global name as a top club. The economic demise of Merseyside means that we have a supporter base with a low income, which is very different from Tottenham’s situation, with which the article unfairly compares us. Tottenham have 20,000+ on the season ticket waiting list. Everton have never maxed out on season-ticket sales, because the fan base is not wealthy enough. This also impacts on other revenue streams such as hospitality and merchandising.

    It’s perfectly fair to say that the Premier League business model is failing, and Everton is a classic example, but what alternative business model is available? Any logical business person would immediately conclude that we should cut down on player wages. Any football fan would then immediately realise that relegation struggles, reduced attendances and less “place money” would result. The fans complaining about Kenwright are usually the same people complaining that we haven’t spent huge money on a striker. One year ago many of them were complaining that Venkys had bought Blackburn instead of Everton – though interestingly that’s not such a common complaint these days!

    Kenwright would clearly like to sell the club to a rich investor. As much as he loves Everton, the club must be a financial and emotional millstone round his neck. What he will not do is sell to the next Venkys, or the next Hicks & Gillett, and thank God for that.

    Please stop going on about the business model being discredited. Please do write an article about what the business model should be in the eventuality that there is no mega-billionaire available. I would really like to see one of Kenwright’s critics come up with that plan.

  10. Shawn says:

    So we are losing £13.5 million a year (since proceeds of Bellefield reduced this to £5.4 million)?

  11. Keith says:

    The assets meltdown continues slowly but surely. How much towards the hilt is Goodison itself hocked, I wonder ? … also let’s not forget we don’t even own our own training centre – Finch Farm is only on a leaseback arrangement, the entire area to the rear of the Park End, nor any of our merchandising outlets ! These are owned and managed by Kitbag – who themselves are also in the mire, apparently !

  12. Hotdog says:

    Opinion,yet another who claims to have a full inside knowledge of the internal working of everton fc.
    We need facts backed with all the relevant paperwork not another episode of smoke and mirrors.

  13. Lee, Huyton says:

    Excellent article.

    After 12 years of errors,bungling mistakes and downright lies from the self-styled ‘world’s biggest Evertonian’,you really have to be beyond all help to still support Bill Kenwright,the man is just a tangle of contridictions.

    Had been a Liverpool fan like Peter Johnson he’d have been chased out years ago but he cynicaly uses his Blue crecentials to gain support.

    I personally can’t stand the man and will be arranging a huge party whenever we get shut of him.

  14. Ray Said says:

    Great piece but a quick question regarding your figure on shareholdings. You have Kenwright as having 37% of shares, Earl at 35% and Woods with 27% giving a total of 99% . This leaves the Grantchesters family shareholding and independent shareholders with less than 1%-is this correct?

  15. Mark Murphy says:

    Ray said,

    The figures I’ve quoted are the percentages of the shares held by directors, which I failed to make clear at all, sorry. I’m not sure of the figures outside the board. Does rather emphasise my point about Kenwright not being the owner…but only by mistake. Thanks.


    Well, it IS an opinion column…and only based on outside and published info. I promise.

  16. Simon says:

    Bill Kenwright does NOT love Everton. His decisions constantly look after the best interests of Bill Kenwright rather than the best interests of Everton FC. This is the man who pulled the plug on King’s dock because he was going to lose control of the club to Paul Gregg.

    His scandalous and inept ‘running’ of the club has got us EXACTLY were we are today.

    He loves 1) Himself 2) Power 3) Being the face of Everton. He loves all 3 more than he loves the club itself.

    The day this bungling beaut has no influence on the running of our club CANNOT come soon enough.

  17. Tom C says:

    A great article. I’m not sure I totally agree with Simon, I think Bill does love the club in his own naive and self interested way. I also feel that the “silent” board members should share equally in the blame he recieves. One thing I do agree on is that his own naivete and hubris have caused him to negotiate business deals that were shallow, short sighted and detrimental to the long term future of the club. Simon mentions King’s Dock, which is an excellent example. Also of note is the sale of future gate reciepts, outsourcing of concessions, merchandising, etc. etc. In essence Everton don’t even own their own future income. Each of these were foolishly sold to other entities who earn a profit off the operation, skimming a precious percentage off the top of already narrow margins. Even worse is the fact that this fire sale of assets and future income puts Everton in a precarious position where it can no longer negotiate favorable credit terms with mainstream creditors, thus increasing yearly costs to maintain the club’s debt. These are the actions of management, not some type of external force. More amazing is that the efforts to sell the club (if they are indeed in earnest) are made at prices meant to enrich the current board, who have invested nothing and have overseen the destruction of every asset and revenue stream of this club.

  18. Guy says:

    As an Evertonion living outside the perimeters of the UK, it is growing increasingly frustrating watching the gradual decline of my beloved toffees.

    Unfortunately it seems as if the vast majority of Everton supporters are adamant that we should be sitting strong alongside the up and coming benchmarks, of the likes of, Tottenham who have fought their way into the top 4 contention.
    -Only problem being, the demographics of Tottenham (London) in stark comparison to Everton (Liverpool) means they will always have funds available due to their large and rich supporter base. (as Graham mentioned, Tottenham have 20,000+ on the waiting list).

    In my personal opinion (and generally against many Everton supporters), the only way Everton can come out of this on top, is if they sacrifice a season towards rebuilding. This doesn’t mean completely starting from scratch, but it does comprise of making particular sacrifices in order to ‘level out’.

    The Everton squad depth is not as strong as quite a few squads in the league, but it is undeniable that the talent is there. But it takes intelligence and a more secure and sound business plan, to come out on top.

    A few players must be sold in order to achieve financial stability (that is a given). But it seems that the supporters, Kenwright and even Moyes would rather see the club keep ‘striving’ to try and finish in Europe and hold on to one or two key players, rather than secure the future of the club for a possible lower half finish. Maybe it is the hope that maybe a miracle will present itself and a buyer will emerge?

    Whatever it is, it is clear that this plan is proving futile as many other clubs (with funds) are passing us at an alarming rate.

    So I propose this;
    To sell two or three key players for 9 mil + means Everton will have far greater latency financially. Selling a couple of players, should never hurt this current Everton side, because – It seems we will never have shortage of ability down back, we have good up and coming midfielders, solid wing-men and one or two dormant strikers (who will soon prove their worth up front). We also have a few intriguing players coming through the academy and reserve team, but unfortunately these are the only players whom we are going to have the ability to bring in in the near future, because of our financial situation.
    This means, simply, we need to give them a greater chance. And regardless of whether we keep the likes of – Fellaini, Rodwell etc. they are only at the moment, keeping us where we are (while sitting on high wages), they are not going to take us forward (albeit Rodwell’s young age). So why not sell one or two of them to ease financial strain and give our youngsters a crack?
    They have the stability around them to prove themselves, only opportunities on the pitch will truly allow them to reach full potential.

    If we successfully manage this hypothetical of sacrifice and rebuilding, and in the process unearth two or three genuine young guns, the entire club starts to look far more enticing for a potential buyer.

    Reducing wages + reducing operating costs + bring in young, exciting prospects + increase sales
    Higher income.

    Surely the Everton board must act quickly. Before it really is too late.

    Wake up Kenwright,

    Time to act!

  19. toxyboy says:

    Yet again another journo sending out the same re-hashed news.I’m no great Kenwright fan but what the heck do supports want get rid of board FOR WHO I haven’t got millions as most fans haven’t and theres so many cowboys out there who would strip the club to bankrupcy and walk away.Reality says we have to reduce costs if it means selling all the first team and starting again in the championship so be it as long as my club survives and doesn’t go the way of the Portsmouths of this world.P.S.What a great job Harry done there another who walked away.COYB’s

  20. Carlos says:

    What a wonderful article – insightful, measured and beautifully written. Will someone please send it to Henry Winter, Brian Viner, Paul Hayward, David Lacey, David Conn, David Prentice (on second thoughts…), Phil McNulty, Stuart Hall, Alan Green and all the rest of the people who should be skewering Kenwright but who have failed to do their jobs properly.

  21. Richard Dodd says:

    Very well written piece although I suspect the same `spin`language is used in virtually all football club accounts and not a few companies outside this crazy circus of this game.
    Of course `we`re in a bad place`but certainly not one that the £20M sale of the sparingly used Jack Rodwell will not ameliorate!

  22. Rod Jones says:

    Excellent article, and I have to say, a shock to me to find out what a mess Everton are in; I had assumed they were one of the better-run clubs in the Premiership.
    But to me it just signifies what a disaster the Premier League has been for English football.
    The leeches on our national sport have no doubt done very well over the years.
    But there are millions of proper football fans around the country who passionately feel that we won’t get OUR game back until the whole of the Premier league collapses like a pack of cards, as it surely will.
    Obscene wages and transfer fees, money thrown at the top league at the expense of the rest, and then bled out of the country to the Cayman and British Virgin Islands. Smaller clubs folding for the want of a couple of days wages of a Rooney or a Tevez. The whole thing stinks.

  23. jertzee says:

    Is there any club in the Premier League that is run well finanically? Not one that I can think of.

    The business model for virtually all football teams is rancid.

    Only a few run with minimal debt and live within their means.

    Whether it is at the top , lower leagues, Conference or even levels 8 or 9 I consistently see clubs overspending, trying to buy their way out of trouble or up a division.

    I hate it.

    Football in this country is generally fucked but as usual debt just gets passed on, or creditors get shafted.

    The only solution as I can see it is if every club had to pay for everything in advance,
    you know, like we do when we go to the petrol station, or Sainsbury’s or whatever.

    Sounds weird doesn’t it? Imagine clubs having to pay up front.

    Nurse…time for my medication……

  24. Ian says:

    It’s all relative and they are still over-dependent on one person’s money, but the answer to that might even be Fulham:

  25. Novoludo says:

    Overstated breathless hysteria. Yes, there are some facts in there – as carefully selected as those in the club’s report. But what is the author really saying? Apart from ‘it’s all a terrible mess!’ And what is he proposing as a way out for Everton? Rather farcically near the end he says “merely finding a rich owner won’t solve their fundamental problems”. Er… so the answer is?? There’s no answer here. Nothing. Not a clue. Just more headshaking and handwringing about how dreadfully wicked and incompetent is Everton’s ownership and management.

    The truth just about shows through the hysteria. Yes, the business model of Premier League football is completely and utterly bust. We know! With a very few exceptions (perhaps Arsenal and Tottenham?) clubs are (a) living grotesquely beyond their means (eg Chelsea and Man City), (b) labouring under absurd amounts of debt (eg Man United and Liverpool until Hicks & Gillett were in effect expropriated), (c) staring disaster in the face (eg Blackburn, West Ham, and yes indeed Everton to a lesser extent), or (d) just plain poor, barely able to compete, and utterly terrified of relegation (everyone else).

    The single biggest problem in football is that wages have escalated to a level where for most clubs they approach 100% of revenues. For the richest clubs – Chelsea and Man City – they EXCEED 100%. This is utter insanity. No industry can support this madness for long. The major problem is not what Everton’s or equivalent clubs’ managements are doing. It is the bizarre business models adopted by the richest clubs which are driving up wages and making economic life for the rest basically impossible. We all have to pray that Platini makes some headway here or Everton will only be one of a series of clubs whose futures are doomed. A wage cap will ultimately be required – this is blindingly obvious, but everyone is currently in denial.

    As the hysterical writer basically acknowledges in the end, there is little Everton can really do on their own in this circumstance. They have already reduced the squad to reduce the wage bill (eg high earners like Arteta and Yakubu). They can hardly do much more there. There are no other significant costs to cut. On the revenue side, merchandising could be improved but is constrained by the vicious circle of the club not being one of the ‘Sky Biggies’ (and not having the money to become one). And the club manifestly cannot afford the 200 million pound plus (minimum) required for a new ground (unfortunate that they lost the much cheaper and maybe even then unaffordable Kirkby).

    So we are left to hope that some Sheikh Mansour will show up to shower money on us. Dream on. The lack of a viable ground for one thing makes us utterly unattractive, whatever price the owners wanted. Apart from that we hope Platini sorts things out. Or we get hysterical and throw our toys about and pretend that a new owner would somehow wave a magic wand and everything would be rosy. It would help instead if some of the hysterics had some real answers.

  26. Alex says:

    If bill is the ‘biggest’ evertonian of all time, he would have sold up a long, long time ago, i cant bare to turn up to a match day. We simply dont have what the premier league requires on the field to create us opportunities to get to the higher reaches of the table, and therefore, earning us more money. We as fans should be doing everything in our power to shift these dead weights sat around OUR board table before we find ourselves in a irrevertible situation. Kenwright is going to be physically removed if he and his board are found to reject another bid. My only way of seeing this whole sorry mess is by doing our bit as fans, no matter how hard, fustrating, emotional and as painful as it maybe, we must continue to show the team and the manager support, Everton as i know are better in the face of adversity, dont go hiding blues, now is the time to be a fan, get to goodison and be part of a club that WE will change. share the faith, COYBB!

  27. novoludo says:

    Alex: “…found to reject another bid”. Care to tell us which bids have already been rejected?

    It must be comforting to live in your world in which bidders are keen and eager (in complete secrecy of course) to pump money into our club. And the only thing stoppping them is the current owners. If only!

  28. P says:

    In answer to the question of whether there is any premier league club run properly I can answer that there is at least one – Swansea City. I doubt we’ll get our first away win at Everton tonight but I do hope that we’ll survive this season and from then on who knows!!

  29. Penfolds11 says:

    Hysteria, Novoludo? You appear to be epitomising the Cassandra Complex!

  30. Peter says:

    It could be argued that Everton took a big gamble a couple of years ago to secure the players we needed to make a push into the top four. It may well have been the right time, last year the clubs finishing in those places were probably weaker than for some time and, with the exception of MCFC that is probably still true.

    Unfortunately the gamblke failed and we are still paying the price in terms of wage bills.

    The only sensible way forward for English football generally would be a wage cap. Ironically, this would be likely to encourage buyers for most clubs at sensible proices which related to the prospect of real profits. The chances of this happening might be remote however. The Champions League generates such huge revenues for UEFA that I can’t see Platini being allowed to rock the boat enough to bring about fundamental change.

    The poster espousing a season of retrenchment may very well have it right for Everton. I suspect that the sale of Arteta and the return of Cahill to Australia are/ will be part of the strategy, although if we had anyone capable of scoring goals where would we be despite a negative and pedestrian approach?

    Life for Evertonians is all about what ifs as we know but Rodwell not being sent off and us winning the Derby would leave us 4 points behind LFC, touted as top-four candidates, and 1 point behind Newcastle, the “team of the season so far”.

  31. Jason says:

    BK said when we did have shareholders meetings that his great friend Philip Green had lent him the money to participate in the purchase of the majority shareholding in EFC by True Blue Holdings He personally had no funds to develop the club.
    We pay our players too much and if you want to guarantee failure and worse leave an average manager in charge for ten years. We do produce good young players and DM has made many good signinga. We did overperform now we don’t Change would be for the best for Everton but who will take it on?

  32. Richard says:

    Sadly, despite his enormous amount of good work, David Moyes has to shoulder blame too. He has been complicit in a double act where he and BK never put any pressure on each other. DM should have been chucking his toys out of the pram on our behalf at what was going on instead of just accepting the safety of his own personal position. DM is a great manager but in this sense he let us down very very badly.

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