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2010 - The Year something gives?

By Andrew James :  01/01/2010 :  Comments (29) :
A lot has happened in the last decade at Everton. The trophy cabinet has remained dusty and full of cobwebs, a new regime has taken grip of the club, and most seasons we have witnessed better results and football than we did in the 1990s. Relegation battles have become a thing of the past and there is usually something to be hopeful about.

However, in the final few months of the decade, a few things happened which made one wonder if all that work and progress could be for absolutely nothing. For me, Bill Kenwright had sewn the seeds for problems in the 2008-09 campaign with his fibs in regards to the transfer budget.

Although David Moyes did well by bringing in Louis Saha on the cheap and his only big buy DID work. (Fellaini has his critics but take him, his muscle, and his goals out of last season and how would we have got to 5th and the Cup Final?) The other acquisitions or loans were hopeful at best. Quite simply, we didn’t backfill the positions that needed strengthening... thus meaning that we could only prosper in Europe if there were no major injuries.

Ha! Well, of course, Yakubu (who had scored 20 odd goals the previous season) was written off in November. Soon in the following year, the likes of Arteta and Anichebe followed with the removal of Jagielka so tragically a week after the penalty shoot out.

For me, the tight-fisted or rather limited ability of our Chairman came back to haunt us. Cause and effect. We could only beat Chelsea with our best players on the field. Our best defender, midfielder and striker were not present and the thought of Castillo (nothing personal against him) reminded me how Kenwright had badly let the club down.

Did he learn from his mistakes? Did he bobbins! Transfer windows in 2009 were like Groundhog Day. It intensified with the Lescott Saga, which I hold Kenwright responsible for. We all knew he was going so the Chairman should have privately over-ruled Moyes and got Lescott out earlier, thus giving the manager the money he was never really going to get otherwise.

That ruined our start to the season and the injuries just got worse with a thin squad that could not deal with three competitions. Moyes and his players could only pull so many rabbits out. Kenwright’s failure to free up transfer funds was insulting.

And so we hear that the paucity will continue in this transfer window. Unless the injured boys come back and perform miracles, we will be struggling to progress in the Europa League, the FA Cup and the Premier League.

Of course, maybe James Vaughan will surprise us and not get injured; previous experience suggesting he might bang in 10 before the season ends if he gets to play week-in, week-out. Or maybe Baxter will suddenly catch fire?

But sadly, I don’t think so. I had a bet with a mate in October that we would finish 6th. We still might and perhaps Moyes might draw a line under the campaign and get on with the next. However, the recent decision about Kirkby makes me wonder that, if we do struggle for the remainder of the season and don’t get anywhere in the cups, will he say enough is enough?

Or will, more pertinently, Kenwright finally do the decent thing and go? On top of that, could this be the Summer where, in the absence of proper transfer funds being available, our better players start going elsewhere in larger numbers?

Something must give in 2010...

Reader Comments

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Brian Lloyd
1   Posted 02/01/2010 at 09:37:43

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Something will have to give if we are to keep up our record of winning the title every 24th year since 1891. All we need is a fully fit squad, £200 million to spend on players, a rich chairman, a new ground within the city (preferably where we are now) and a manager who looks like he’s not carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. Come on Davey, make it your New Year's resolution to crack a smile once in a while!
David Hallwood
2   Posted 02/01/2010 at 12:04:20

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Y’know this is really starting to get on my tits. I blame it on the fact that as football fans we never grow up; since the age of 10 I’ve wanted to score the winning goal at the Gwaldys Street end that wins the league and here I am mid-40s responsible job kids mortgage etc etc and I still fantasize about that goal.

Why is it that grown men can understand economics in their daily lives but, when it comes to football, they’re still 10-year-old boys that don’t really understand why their dad’s got a 10-year-old Mondeo while John’s dad’s got a new BMW.

FFS, for the 1,000th time, Kenwright isn’t a billionaire, he’s stated this on numerous occasions, if this was Trumpton he would step down and let Mr Ollie Garch the Russian oil man who lives at No 6 run the club and spend his billions. But it ain’t gonna happen... or at least it hasn’t happened — not because Blue Bill aka Kenwrong aka any other name you want to call him has binned the vast amount of offers to take Everton over by oil sheiks — but because no-one wants to know. On top of that, moneyman around the world have lost billions in the credit crunch and have got better things to do with their money.

New Years resolution: everybody start acting their age and comment on the situation as it is, not how they fantasize how it should be.
Gavin Ramejkis
3   Posted 02/01/2010 at 12:45:07

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David, your New Year’s resolution is the same as I asked you last year a month or so ago — in essay format please, explain and confirm your conjecture that no-one has ever come to buy Everton and found the terms unreasonable or it’s simply not for sale. BK has for ever used the term "investment" rather than "for sale".

If you must rant and use your argument of proof then do so with your own belief that no-one is or ever has been interested in buying Everton, in the essay can you please include what exactly you know about Randy Lerner’s interest prior to buying Aston Villa.

Ignoring the argument about anti- or pro-BK, does anyone expect the club not to have to sell at least one player at the end of the current season, given last year’s two Wembley appearences and other TV rights plus finishing 5th in the league still made the club a loss large enough to mean selling to buy?

David Hallwood
4   Posted 02/01/2010 at 13:28:54

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No problem, Gavin. Firstly when a group/individual want to buy a company it doesn’t have to have a ’for sale’ notice on it. A perfect example is Kraft (American firm-makes cheese) have put in a bid for Cadbury (English firm-makes chocolate) the Chairman of Cadburys told them that Kraft’s interest was not welcome. Kraft’s reply was along the lines of "don’t give a flying fuck, we’re going for it". Therefore buying/selling a company is fundamentally different to buying/selling a house or a car.

Secondly, Kenwright has stated on numerous occasions that the club is up for sale and even enlisted the help of a middleman, Keith Harris (not the one with his hand stuck up a duck’s arse) to hunt for perspective buyers.

Have a look at these three websites, the first two are from reports from the backend of 2008, the last one is about the hostile prospective takeover of Cadburys by Kraft, which incidentally may not be successful but that will eventually be decided by the shareholders.

http://www.liverpooldailypost.co.uk/everton-fc/everton-fc-news/2008/08/04/everton-for-sale-to-the-right-bidder-64375-21461878/

http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2008/oct/01/everton.manchesterunited

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8349832.stm

Finally, the ‘Kenwright wants to fuck us over’ brigade jump on the word ‘investor’ as proof the he doesn’t want to sell. Do you seriously think that there is a money man out there that would pull his cheque book out give BK a fuckin big cheque and say “there you go Bill happy New Year!” Is this the way people with money behave? Because the ones I’ve been in contact with are ruthless egomaniacs (Dragon’s Den anyone?), therefore BK knows that if someone comes in with shit loads of money, they will call the tune and it would be bye, bye Bill.

I’ve got a problem with this ‘debate’ because it makes me look like a Kenwright apologist, and I’m far from it, but I think most Evertonians are baffled why we haven’t had an investor when other ‘lesser’ teams have, to which I’ll reply nobody told you that life was fair, the reason why no bids have come forward is that they’ve looked at us and haven’t liked what they’ve seen.

In conclusion, there’s no conspiracy going on to take Everton down or asset-strip the club, is just that moneymen like to make money and they can’t see that with our club.

David Hallwood
5   Posted 02/01/2010 at 14:04:09

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Oh PS I’m just off to the match COYB
Graeme Hodgkinson
6   Posted 02/01/2010 at 15:51:03

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I think its hard to level the criticism of being tight fisted at BK. He has said there is no money, everyone excepts that, it has been the case for many years...how is that tight fisted?! We just had an operating loss of £6million didnt we?!

Castillo reminds you of how Kenwright has let us down?! When was he responsible for player recruitment?!

You blame Kenwright for not over-ruling Moyes RE: Lescott?! Does Moyes not get any of your criticism?!

You were ’insulted’ that Kenwright didnt have any money?! Once again, its something we have been well aware of for many years...

Your post smells of a knee jerk reaction. On the day of the 3rd round, which we nearly won last year, on the back of a string of good performances and a well deserved win V Burnley! And on the day we get two of our long term injuries starting the game....

Perspective, perhaps?!
Dennis Stevens
7   Posted 02/01/2010 at 17:02:11

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You know the club has been up for sale, David - even though it was clearly stated at the inquiry that none of the current Board members had any intention of selling up as they were totally committed to DK. The reports of a "middleman" or fixer were flatly denied by the club, after news reports emerged suggesting one had been asked to help find a buyer.

Your analogy with Cadbury’s/Kraft dosen’t really stack up as it’s pretty well impossible to mount a hostile takeover when the majority of shares are in the hands of a few individuals who have indicated they aren’t for sale, as is the case at Everton.

To suggest there would be no takers if Everton were genuinely up for sale is ludicrous. Whether the next Board would prove better or worse than the current incumbents is the concern, of course. Maybe we’ll be finding out sooner rather than later...

Jay Harris
8   Posted 02/01/2010 at 18:12:45

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As somebody who has enquired about the sale of the club, I can tell you that IT IS FOR SALE — but with prohibitive terms — and is being controlled by Earl and Green. Keith Harris is just a go-between.

I cannot say any more due to confidentiality agreements but, for all the problems I have with Kenwright, I do not think he is the problem behind the sale right now 1 although he may have been previously.

However, I do hold him accountable for the disgraceful financial performance of EFC, especially given the relative success on the pitch. He has borrowed so much money at high interest rates it is now virtually impossible to make an operating profit because of the inerest payments.

Our marketing and merchandise performance is abysmal and we get a chairman that makes statements like "Everton fans don't buy shirts, only Newcastle fans buy shirts" and "I don't know what goes on at the club, I am only the chairman".

You would think with all the bullshit he is capable of we would be a real marketing force but his only interest seems to be attending the games as Everton’s chairman.
David Hallwood
9   Posted 02/01/2010 at 18:38:03

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Spot on, Jay Harris, that is my criticism of BK — the underselling of EFC, and there are numerous examples.

For example, a friend of mine lives in Baltimore, and there’s hardly an Everton shirt to be had (according to him, so if any of out US based posters disagree, I’ll give you his e.mail address!). Given that Tim Howard and now Donovan are playing for us, you would have thought there would have been billboards in Times Sq of them proudly wearing the blue in what is the largest sport market and a relatively untapped one.

Another example is Chang beer; why doesn’t the club come to an arrangement with the company to have Chang in every pub/bar/off-licence on Merseyside?

We could go on & on, but you summed it up perfectly with the Newcastle shirt comment. Obviously they’ve never been on holiday or even been to the average High Street when every 4th person is wearing a replica shirt — except it’s all Man U and RS shirts.

Dennis Stevens
10   Posted 02/01/2010 at 18:48:42

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Jay, what you’ve posted makes far more sense, to me. With the demise of DK I’d have thought some, if not all Board members would be open to offers — but whether any potential bidder can meet their requirements is the question; perhaps the passage of time may cause those requirements to be modified.

Even if he had the opportunity, I doubt Kenwright would be willing to sell his personal shareholding until the whole deal is resolved as he might find the other major shareholders holding out for more than he received... and I believe he still holds some genuine affection for the club, as a supporter.

Andy Crooks
11   Posted 02/01/2010 at 19:06:42

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Graeme, I wouldn’t accuse Bill Kenwright of being tight-fisted. I believe he has not the money and therefore not the right to run a Premier League club. He has lived the fan’s dream on the cheap and by doing so he has damaged the club and is in danger of leaving a legacy of being held in contempt by those who love the club as much as he says he does.
Gavin Ramejkis
12   Posted 02/01/2010 at 20:02:21

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David, just back from the game myself and christ that was poor (the game).

The analogy with Kraft and Cadbury is very different to Everton FC purely on the distribution of shares and shareholders where Kraft are using their offer to persuade a larger group; the controlling shares at Everton are amongst just a few individuals.

The smoke and dagger of "is he or isn’t he involved with Keith Harris?" has been discussed at length in the local and national press and seemingly at odds to what the club’s own PR office has said, so even more confusing.

The DK hearings publicised the fact not one of the board members had spent a penny of their own on the club (beyond buying the shares), would spend a penny of their own money on the club, or would be willing to sell or dilute their shareholdings in order to raise funds for the club, and thus lessen their own projected or required return of interest to leave.

Whilst the demise of DK is welcomed by myself and many others, I believe it doesn’t put the club any closer to actually being for sale. So, thanks for the reply, David.

Jay Harris
13   Posted 02/01/2010 at 20:02:06

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Guys, there’s hardly a chairman of any club who puts money into the club, it is the business acumen, connections and standing in financial circles that they bring to the party.

Kenwright has not got a clue and is avoided by many in the "Upper circle" because he is not well thought of.

Despite his "hail fellow well met" exterior, he is not considered a good person to do business with and his financial record of running EFC is abysmal.

It absolutely appalls me that, with two consecutive 5th place finishes and a cup final appearance, the manager has had to sell to buy for two seasons running, while so-called experts ran up a £4 million bill for the "no hope" DK.
Andy Crooks
14   Posted 02/01/2010 at 20:16:00

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Jay, would you not agree that while chairman do not necessarily put a lot of money into the club, Bill Kenwright acts like a man who is bringing a lot of money to the party. Bill Kenwright acts like Roman Abramovich. The same benevolent bewildered smile.
Andrew James
15   Posted 02/01/2010 at 20:29:22

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My original point (and sorry if it was not made very well) was that Bill Kenwright is the custodian of EFC and that everything he does has ramifications. Therefore when he failed to take control of the Lescott Saga and when he implied there were transfer funds when there weren’t...anymore of his fun and games and the players, DM or both might go this year.
Phil Bellis
16   Posted 02/01/2010 at 20:58:00

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David, Before you tell me, yeah, I agree it’s a different world, now, but has nothing remained constant? Don’t you wonder how Clough ever got his teams together for so little money? Could talent, skill, ability and belief have had something to do with his success?

Nearer to home — take one ex-binman, a teenager form Burnley, a Liverpool reserve, two old crocks with dodgy knees...

Andy Crooks
17   Posted 02/01/2010 at 21:09:47

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Phil Bellis, an early contender for the most inspirational post of the year. Well said.
Andrew James
18   Posted 02/01/2010 at 21:18:33

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Phil - to all us normal people who aren’t on £40k a week, you make a fair point.

However (and I am not saying this is right or the way things should be) players are so pampered now that they are soft. The football hierarchy is cast (by the Sky 4 and the media) so that if you are Leon Osman or Leighton Baines you never really, truly believe you can get higher up the table to the point of challenging for honours. If you do then it is portrayed as being excessive (that annoying phrase "playing above themselves").

Because their wages are so good, their hunger has a cap on it. Even if they never win silverware, these players know two things: a) they were never expected to win it because it would have been against all odds; and b) they will have a very nice life once they retire.

You are right in what you say but sadly footballers don’t live in the real world. Therefore DM can only get them so far on the current budget.

All that said, at Wembley in May I was disappointed that none of them were inspired to think "hang on, if I go Hell for Leather against this lot, then reputation goes out the window and we might win the Cup!"
Gavin Ramejkis
19   Posted 02/01/2010 at 21:23:25

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Andy Crooks, did you read the other day that Chelski are now virtually solvent again too? So much for that what if their owner gets bored and leaves - http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/8434698.stm.

Jay, many years ago I was friendly with some theatrical types and brushed shoulders with Cameron MacIntosh at Glyndebourne as a guest; the chat, even way back then, included the summary slating of who was who and, back then, BK was small time and not well looked at amongst his hangers on. Sounds like things haven’t really changed.

Phil Bellis
20   Posted 03/01/2010 at 01:30:21

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Points taken, Andrew.

I stiill argue that...
you don’t need a billionaire or a Russian oli-thingy behind you to be able to pass a ball to a team-mate in space;
you should leave one man on the half-way line when defending a corner.

As for motivation and loyalty, yes, it may have gone out with Sesame Street, but you can’t help but be feel inspired by quotes like... “I’d have crawled up the M6 on broken glass to play for Everton again.” (Andy King)
David Hallwood
21   Posted 03/01/2010 at 02:47:11

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Phil the trouble with your argument is that good players make for good teams and great players make for great teams. Unfortunately, in these mercenary times, any talented footballer is going to go to the highest bidder and that’s the money teams, and yeah it is a different world and all the worse for it.

And Gavin, what Chelski’s done is to turn the interest-free loan into shares, most people think it's a way of getting around Platini’s ruling that a club must act responsibly; Wenger (who by the way has an economics degree) had a sideswipe at it today.

Gavin Ramejkis
22   Posted 03/01/2010 at 10:09:50

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David, Spurs raised a significant wedge through a share rights issue many years ago but BK refused point blank. Economics degree aside, anyone with a grasp of mathematics knows that any number multiplied by zero, be it one or one million, equals zero... thus, hanging on to shares which are already seriously depreciated by the burdening loans the club has, they are quickly becoming worth closer to that zero figure for potential buyers.

The technicality Chelski have employed is a valid one and which could easily be used to return that original interest-free loan through the sale of those shares which would have instant interest from several buyers. I fear the acumen at board level at Everton is sadly lacking, as is any sort of initiative or innovation.

Richard Dodd
23   Posted 03/01/2010 at 11:41:53

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I have no doubt that the clowns who bought the likes of Portsmouth, Notts County and West Ham first enquired about Everton. Quite rightly, Blue Bill rebuffed their advances whilst many on ToffeeWeb would have welcomed them with open arms. The same people cheered from the rooftops when DK went tits up and the last hope of a real ogliarch coming in for the club disappeared. One can only wonder at the perspicacity (or lack of it!) shown by shown by so many of our clan!
Ciarán McGlone
24   Posted 03/01/2010 at 11:48:09

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David Hallwood,

Are you aware of the difference between a public listed company and a private company?

The Cadburys analogy is out there....
David Hallwood
25   Posted 03/01/2010 at 13:51:13

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Ciarán, yes of course I know the difference, I was trying to point out that when a person/consortium wishes to buy a company, whether public or private, they offer to buy the shares at £x; the reason they do this is to shake the monkeys from the trees. To say that a shareholder in a private company cannot be tempted by a decent offer is not the case and there are numerous examples of many fractious takeovers/buy-ins in even long-established family firms when even partners have taken the money and run. As a friend of mine used to say, "wait till they read the will to see how close the family ties are..."

And Gavin, what Chelsea have done isn’t a rights issue, but I agree that Everton should explore the possibilty, I’m sure that there are enough mug Evertonians (me included by the way) that would happily invest in the Blues!
Jay Harris
26   Posted 03/01/2010 at 19:27:51

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Doddy, which bit didn't you grasp?

"Blue Bill" is no longer deciding who to and how the club should be sold. The begging bowl has gone as far as it can and we are now selling players off. DK is totally academic and so is the £4 million we wasted on a hopeless project.

As quite a few posters have mentioned our only hope for fresh funds is through a rights issue which could also be used to reduce our borrowings and hence the interest liability generated by your Hero.

Phil, I totally agree with your feelings but now you need the motivation AND the money to make a consistent difference.
Eugene Ruane
27   Posted 04/01/2010 at 15:25:25

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I don’t doubt for a second that BK has no money (is there anyone disputing this?).

The problem is, the man won’t shit OR get off the pot.

Facts: 1) He has no money. 2) He won’t sell.

Some say he WILL sell to the ’RIGHT’ buyer

Fine, I’ll buy it, just... show me the proof.

Seriously, I’d be really interested to see it, particularly as Tesco documents, revealed during the inquiry, stated ’it should be understood that nobody (nb: NOBODY) on the board of Everton FC has ANY intention of selling any of their shares’.

Also saying ’he has no money’ seems for some (ie: Doddy) a legitimate excuse.

They should know that, though not disputed, it is for others (ie: me) an accusation. One of complete uselessness and a total lack of imagination.

By the way, anyone else notice this attempted sleight-of-hand by Mr Dodd?

He says... "I have no doubt that the clowns who bought the likes of Portsmouth, Notts County and West Ham first enquired about Everton. Quite rightly, Blue Bill rebuffed their advances whilst many on ToffeeWeb would have welcomed them with open arms."

So the first part of the paragraph is pure guesswork without a shred of proof (ie: "I have no doubt")

The second part..

"Quite rightly, Blue Bill rebuffed their advances"

So based on the FACT-LESS first part, the second part suddenly becomes... um... fact! ie: "Blue Bill rebuffed their advances".

Did he? Did he REALLY? So there was definitely, DEFINITELY advances?

This in my opinion is like saying — "I have no doubt Pixies exist. In fact, when Goblins make sexual advances, Pixies, quite rightly, tell them go fuck themselves"

In other words... Gibberish!!
Brian Donnelly
28   Posted 04/01/2010 at 23:31:16

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ER - A brilliant analysis of Doddy’s ramblings.
Drew Glenister
29   Posted 06/01/2010 at 23:15:40

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Whoever said the board didn’t put up any money for the three players we bought in the summer are deluding themselves because, although the capital costs associated with each player’s registration seemed to equate to the amount received for the sale of Joleon Lescott, three players' wages are obviously more expensive than one player’s.

So Everton’s operating expenditure increased, I accept that... but, with the annual Sky lump sum of circa £20M, is there not likely to be some capital left in the coffers, even if it is earmarked to pay for wages over the next three years? At £30k a week each, that’s still only a total of £12m and we all know a lot can happen in three years.

I dare say my point is badly researched and easily corrected so I invite someone with a better grasp of the figures to do so.

What I was going to go on to say was that, if I was DM/BK working with a very limited transfer budget, sharing targets with better funded peers such as Aston Villa, Man City and Spurs, then I would want to give the impression that I had no funds with which to work in order to reduce competitor offers for those targets and indeed stop sellers setting unrealistic prices.

Is there possibly money in the kitty that we don’t know about? Are we about to make a gigantic bid for a world superstar? Is this the pathetic clutching at straws of a strung out and exasperated Everton supporter??!

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