Don’t You Love the Smell of Desperation in the Morning?

By Barry Jones  ::  04/01/2013 I wasn't one bit surprised when this morning most of the media used exactly the same language as the club to report Everton’s accounts; it’s the same because they’re either too lazy or they’re pushed for time. At best they had essentially added a comment to Everton’s press release; at worst they just filed the whole thing word for word.

Everton’s wages to turnover ratio isn’t 75% as widely reported: it’s 79% as stated in the accounts by the guy who has left to be replaced by one of Robert Elstone’s mates from Deloitte. The spin to lower this figure, spin that journalists swallow because they have little or no understanding of what they’re reporting, is that it's more representative to add back the cost element to the figure received from our outsourcing partners which makes the ratio only 75%.

This smacks of desperation to me and it’s laughable. What's Elstone going to do next, increase the matchday figure by adding back the discounts given on concession tickets to kids and the £17-a-head block bookings offered to companies?

Here’s what was said by our chief executive four years ago:

“The relationship between wages and turnover (the wages: turnover ratio) is a key barometer of the financial health of any football club, as Deloitte continue to comment upon in the Deloitte Annual Review of Football Finance (Appendix 7 for the May 2008 edition). Deloitte comment that the management of a football club with a wages: turnover ratio of 50% or less is performing excellently. The dividing line between comfort and concern is around 70%. A ratio significantly over 70% may be a matter for concern depending on a club’s circumstances.”

When Robert Elstone wrote this in 2008 Everton’s wage bill in actual terms was £44m, today its £63m, a £19m increase. In that same period our turnover has only increased by only £4m, from £76 to £80m, in an era when the Premier League is the biggest game on the planet... there’s the problem, it’s staring everyone in the face. We can’t cut the squad any lower, we can just about field a team now so we have to get more turnover in and we’ve the wrong man in for the job. Our neighbour's combined shirt deals from Standard Charter and Warrior alone brings them in £45m and their commercial guy, somebody with a track record of actually running businesses, is re-negotiating higher figures.

In my opinion, the reason why we’re so poor is that the board have appointed an accountant to run the club instead of an experienced businessman. He gets away with it because Bill Kenwright hardly knows what time it is. I’ve sat there with Bill for hours, it’s embarrassing to be honest and God knows what potential buyers must think. It you want a story, Bill’s your man; if you want a trophy-winning club you need professionals in the boardroom and in the offices as well as on the pitch.

Bill talks about the need for trust in the accounts, he tells us all how important it is and asks us to trust him because he's an Evertonian. Again how laughable is that from the man who told us the Bullens Road stand was going to fall down, and that we were getting a load of money off Tesco that proved to be a lie, and worst of all was going to sell to a guy from Singapore just because he met his asking price!

Only a fool would trust anything Bill says and you'd be a bigger fool to trust anything Elstone says. How many deals has he told us will make a difference to David's transfer kitty?

Something on Twitter this afternoon told me everything about the type of people who fall for this bullshit. David Gold called Everton's 75% wages ratio madness; he was wrong of course, it's 79% and he doesn't know about the piss poor turnover performance behind that ratio. He was replying to someone telling him that Everton are a well run club — that someone was Mike Parry. There are far too many Mike Parrys supporting this broken regime, in my opinion.

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Frank McGregor
352 Posted 04/01/2013 at 20:11:03
Barry,

Having read your post, am I correct in assuming you are a shareholder, particularly as you say you have sat for hours with Bill Kenwright discussing the finances at Everton?

Is David Gold the same person who owned Birmingham City Football Club a few years back?
Joe Sage
373 Posted 04/01/2013 at 21:16:57
Spot on. While most Premier League teams have some of the finest buisness men running their clubs, we have a fella whose former job was organising the end-of-year piss-up at a rugby club.

Kenwright is just an actor who got lucky with his theatre empire but he's no financial wizard so I can't really blame him but he should bring in the right people with the right pedigree.

And then you have the rest of the mob sitting on the board who between them are worth about £1.7 BILLION yet won't even offer the club a short term loan of £5 or £10 million till the new TV deal kicks in. There was a good article on The Times website about this. They're only Evertonians when it suits them.
Guy McEvoy
379 Posted 04/01/2013 at 21:20:52
As a Shareholder myself who has also sat there at AGMs (remember them!?) and gulped each time Bill attempted to tackle any finance question on the accounts - (he is no accountant that's for sure) - I read the copy of the accounts that dropped through my door this morning with interest.

I think this whole article captures the hopelessness of the issue, although I'm not sure I'm any the wiser what the answer is.

- even IF we changed CEO, and got the world's sharpest marketeer and commercial negotiator in

- even if they were pumping at 100%, priced tickets at the optimum level for price elasticity, managed to get over fair value for every sponsorship opportunity, sorted out the catering to make off match day revenue generating run at full capacity, managed to find extra margin from the direct sales over and above the deal with kitbag, etc, etc...

It would all be, at best, marginal to that ratio figure. If with all that work the ratio went down from say 79% to 69% we'd still not be where you would want to be to be sustainable.

The only other way to attack that ratio is to lower the total wage bill by getting the prestige players off the books. Can you imagine the reaction from the fans if we did that? The fans (rightly) want more big names not fewer. Christ knows what the answer is.

The tragedy of the Premier League is that even being the best business man in the world isn't enough to compete, if you try to run the club as a sound business you are aiming to fail. You seem to have to find someone who is willing to happily bank roll at a massive loss. Football finances are madness. It's ruining the game.

Danny Broderick
411 Posted 04/01/2013 at 22:59:25
To my mind, we can't afford to be paying players like Fellaini £70,000 a week. I said the same about Arteta. I am more concerned about the future of our club - our long term health - than the short term reaction of the fans.

I really hope we can find a new owner who can nurse us back to health financially. The longer this is put off, the harder it will be. But the crux of the argument is that we cannot keep on running at a loss. According to the accounts, we have reported losses of £52 million over the last 7 years. That simply can't go on, or we'll reach the point of no return.

The manager, if he stays, will have to play his part in all of this. It's all very well trying to keep his best players together, but what are the long term implications on the club of paying Cahill £60,000 when he was past his best & selling him for a pittance, as opposed to maybe £10 million 2 years previously?
What if we could have sold Pienaar in the summer for around £8 million, as opposed to £3 million in January? Given that the only assets we have left are players,it's important we sell them at the peak of their value.

I am not knocking Moyes here, as his transfer record is as good as anyone's. but if we can't break even off the pitch, we have to balance the books with the players we have got. This should come from the top down, & the manager would have to go along with it.

It might not be popular, but if any of us wanted to start up a business,& went to see a bank manager and told him we have a business model where salaries account for 75% of turnover, he would stop you there.

We are playing Russian roulette with our long term future. We are running at a significant loss, and the longer this goes on, the more damage is being done. We need to start cutting our cloth accordingly, however painful that may be.
Sean McKenna
444 Posted 05/01/2013 at 00:31:37
Hold on a minute, I'm no accountant but, surely the mystery £24 million on lawnmowers etc has to be taken into account? What about the fact that Bill takes out loans after loans paying incredible interest charges?

Or maybe its the £1.7 million we pay for Finch Farm every year because Billy Boy sold it? Bill must be getting loans from wonga.com. We have a tiny squad, there's no way wages could make up 79 percent of turnover!

I'd also love to know how, after getting rid of Cahill, Yobo, Bily – all big earners... not to mention half the academy getting sent on loan – how wages are up? And now we have players signing new long term contracts?? Can somone enlighten me???

Brendan Doyle
448 Posted 05/01/2013 at 00:59:12
Why does this site attract so many people who never seem to have a good word for the owners, managers and players of our club? There are a number of honourable exceptions but so many contributors say nothing is ever good enough, that everyone involved in the club is either incompetent, a liar or disloyal, that the accounts are what? Wrong? fudged? Fraudulent?...it's a football club and the accounts are just what you would expect from a football club...lets hope Bill can find a decent, respectable buyer.
Mark Wilson
456 Posted 05/01/2013 at 01:28:22
Danny #411 but......the point is your approach is just way too much like the old turkeys voting for Christmas argument. The Board have taken huge flak for two years. They haven't budged, not an inch. In my view EFC is following a strategy set out three years ago. They have decided a Russion billionaire isn't happening and a Randy Lerner type purchase won't get us anywhere better than where we oreads are. There is an attempt going on to try and be the first poor club to break the mould. It is based upon DM skill and the slow but clearly working team building which now relies upon wheeling and dealing and from next year a small bit of the extra TV cash going to Moyes.

To work this strategy must now see a return, which I believe to be 5th or sixth and Europe, but ideally a CL spot, the latter being a tall order for one of the poor clubs. All this means that in terms of everyday operations and the year end accounts its simply about survival until the extra sky money can be used to pay back around £30m of the debt, over three years, and then fund the inevitable operating loss caused by increased wages and general costs each year, probably another £6m pa.

You cannot seriously expect our Board to slash wages now ? Their strategy is dependent upon keeping a core of top performing players who would grace most of the rich list clubs. Right now we have Baines, Felli, Jags, Piennar, Mirallas and a squad generally better than it has been for a while, despite being painfully thin.

Barry.....I believe that the wage to turnover ratio is going to drop back to 70/75% in the next accounts. But your point is well made in a business sense, just not the business of PL football in 2013. I don't have the evidence but would be amazed if there are better than half a dozen clubs in the PL right ow that don't have a ratio of lower than 68%. So yes we are on the wrong side of that but if you exclude City, Utd, Chelsea then there will be few with a ratio outside the 70% to 75% mark. Of these clubs some rely totally on rich benefactors to bail them out....it's happening right now at Sunderland, a club who could be in real trouble if they go down, despite those gates. So in reality, our CEO was spot on when, as you point out, he mused that exceeding a wage to turnover ratio of 70% was not good.....but he also added a caveat about "different clubs circumstances". This is I suspect how he would answer questions on the dangerously high ratio.......right now it's about coping with desperately limited resources yet mounting a wholly unexpected push for a CL spot.

The ratio badly needs to come down and it will. Ignore the ranting of David Gold because if you trust his judgement after what he did with Birmingham then your trusting the wrong guy. Your points are perfectly valid in terms of how bad the accounts look.

But looks can be deceptive and though dire in accounting and yes, "the future" terms, things could change, albeit slowly. I'm horrified at how little Robert Earl is prepared to do to help, even a no interest loan of £15m this year would possibly be the catalyst for a CL drive and then the return might be really interesting. But as many have said despite the brutally obvious need, and the complete absence of anyone having dipped into their own bank balances before this, the real crisis here isn't that poor ratio it's the now glaring and spectacular failure of several Board members, not BK as he hasn't any real money, to take a half decent interest in our club and surely in the process improve their own investment ?

This is what now matters and for me the BU strategy should be to target Earl and Woods and basically pound out the message in all media....why won't you take a small risk with your vast fortunes and give us the relatively small boost we need, right now ? Emails by the thousands, petitions, planes over Goodison, USA based blues getting stuck in....why not ?

Danny Broderick
481 Posted 05/01/2013 at 07:30:26
Mark,

I hope you are right and that we qualify for the CL and everything is ok. But as I said earlier, it is effectively playing Russian roulette, putting everything on black and hoping it comes in.

Fingers crossed we finish the season like we have started it...

Eric Myles
484 Posted 05/01/2013 at 07:27:11
Guy #379 "The tragedy of the Premier League is that even being the best business man in the world isn't enough to compete"

Then why employ business men that are useless if even the best may not be good enough? That's a recipe for failure from the start.

Ajay Gopal
485 Posted 05/01/2013 at 06:53:38
Excellent and measured opinion, Mark Wilson (#456) instead of the usual abuse of the owners. If you want to compare the ratio of turnover to wages of the Premier League clubs, here is an excellent source (albeit 1 year old).

http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2012/may/23/premier-league-accounts-profit-debt

In my opinion, a one-time cash injection by the owners would not be addressing the fundamental issue, ie, how can Everton Football Club be run as a profitable and self-sustainable business entity?

OK, I see your point that taking a calculated risk and pumping in money could possibly push us into the CL and then we hope that it becomes a virtuous cycle – success (on the field) feeding success (financial profitability). But it is a dangerous game to play as many clubs have discovered (Leeds, Portsmouth).

So, where does the solution lie?

(a) Find new buyers – that is the popular opinion, but I don't think it is easy to find the right buyer in the present economic climate;

(b) As Mark suggests, the present owners seem to be doing a careful balancing act – try to meet fans' aspirations with just sufficient funds to support a manager who is brilliant at unearthing uncut gems and bringing out the best of players from lower/foreign leagues or players who have lost their way a little bit. At the same time, not going overboard with huge risks. And hope that Uefa / The FA bring in some changes some day to make it a more level playing field.

From the Guardian table, it is ridiculous to expect Everton with ~£80 million turnover and ~£60 million in wages to compete in the same league with Man Utd whose turnover is £330 million (4 x Everton) and £150 million (2.5 x Everton) in wages. Just doesn't make sense, but then that it is why we are proud of the Mighty Blues, aren't we?

Richard Jones
486 Posted 05/01/2013 at 08:49:21
Ajay,

I am proud to be a blue; however, I'm disgusted at the way the club has been neglected by one of our own and I'm ashamed of our fan base for allowing him to do it!!
David Stewart
489 Posted 05/01/2013 at 08:33:17
Why would men like Green and Earl jump aboard the jolly ship Everton? Let's face it, they're not lifelong Evertonians who have any emotional attachment to the club. Maybe for the first time in their lives they've had the wool pulled over their eyes... Blue Bill has taken them for a pair of mugs.

"Come aboard, lads, we're sailing off to Kirkby to make our fortune... Mega-malls for you and your shops, Mr Green... and Mr Earl, for you it's casinos and hotels packed with cashed-up tourists..." Well, we all know how that farce panned out.

So the two said gentlemen who really run the club have decided enough is enough. Now these two gentlemen wan't their money back — and they will get it back, it might take longer than they wanted but, sooner or later, it will happen. Over time, they will be taking their money out and certainly will not be putting any in, so don't expect any superstars to arrive shortly. As long as Everton remain in the Prem, and I believe they will, then they'll happily siphon off their money.

See, that's the good thing about business — you don't have to make a profit to make money — just ask Starbucks! In today's world of global business, sham offshore accounts and unexplainable tax breaks, then EFC might even be a handy business asset for these two Arthur Daleys.

So what does the future hold for the Mighty Blues? — more of the same, I'm afraid. Whoever the manager is, he'll be working under the same constraints — buy to sell, living in hope, loans for journeymen and crocks. We'll all still follow Everton in one way or another but I really have stopped believing in fairies; this is as good as it gets.

Dick Fearon
493 Posted 05/01/2013 at 09:26:37
Anyone know how our profit/loss account compares with other PL clubs?
James Lowrie
499 Posted 05/01/2013 at 09:45:37
Can anyone tell me what the club actually owns? From what I've heard, it's not a lot.

And is it true the car park at the Park End has been sold off and is leased back, similar to Finch Farm?
Barry Rathbone
502 Posted 05/01/2013 at 08:13:30
You have to read between the lines with the characters at Everton year on year the company is pronounced dead yet Kenwright & co hang on to the moribund corpse snapping up additional shares in the rotting carcase like opportunist vultures.

Q. If true none are taking money out the biz why throw good money after bad?

A. They KNOW the investment is gilt edged.

The declaration a year or so ago of enquiries every week adds up and among the nutters enough serious suitors call to confirm their money is safe. But like all businessmen they're after the big bucks and unless Mansoor's brother turns up "Kirkby" is still the aim albeit rebranded as "Speke" or similar.

Smoke and mirrors.

Matt Traynor
505 Posted 05/01/2013 at 09:51:41
Dick #493 I'm not sure it would be that relevant to compare due to the different revenue dynamics of different clubs, so it would be an apples and pears situation.

One of Everton's problems is the stadium limits secondary revenue generation.

I'm not comparing us with them, but as an example of the differences, Arsenal has benefitted hugely from their move to Ashburton Grove. They have paid down more than half of the stadium debt due to the redevelopment of the Highbury ground into flats, and sit with (last accounts) £135m cash at hand. Arsenal fans are pissed off because they see themselves as unambitious etc. but the point is they have the resources and the revenue. Their main beef now as a club is they feel that signing a 10 year deal with Emirates was unwise, as they felt that naming rights have moved on. They are in the last knockings of that deal now, but don't seem able to buy themselves out of it (like Man Utd did with DHL in their training kit sponsorship deal).

Everton's real problem is we don't earn enough from matchday and commercial streams. We are too dependent on broadcast revenue. We have most "control" over the first 2 however.

Now people are saying that attendances are up this year compared to last, and they are, but the club has offered incentive deals like block bookings (mentioned by the OP) and also the child discounts. It's laudable to do this, but from a pure economics point of view it's another bum on a seat, but one that's low yield, and likely not spending much on other areas.

Everton has a tough job to sell the club. But some of the commercial deals we've entered into grossly under-value the club brand, and are too long and likely with onerous exit-clauses. This reduces the attractiveness of the club to buyers - or at the very least will impact on the price offered.

I appreciate some fans really aren't arsed with this, and just want to cheer the team on. That's understandable, but the club need to have a great team off the pitch as well as on it to ensure it generates enough revenue to have a team of highly paid players and manager/coaches to entertain us.

Philip Quilliam
509 Posted 05/01/2013 at 09:47:35
Anyone who thinks that running a football club is the same as running a business lives in a world where the sky is yellow and cows can fly. Every Premier League club that is successful has built that success on a hugely wealthy benefactor who is willing to pump money in as a hobby. In terms of the ratio of salaries to turnover, Everton are about in the middle; some clubs are higher, some are lower.

There is no point analysing football club accounts using the same criteria that you use to assess business accounts of proper companies. Nearly every contributor to TW is clamouring for BK to release funds to bring in more and better players, do they think that these players will come to us for the love of Everton? — if not, we will end up with an even higher wage bill.

We need to generate more income and will only do that with a bigger ground with a bigger capacity that is more or less full each match day. If any of you have a viable suggestion as where that will be and how it can be funded, don't waste time telling TW how easy it is — just get on with it and do it. There is no point in wasting time on fruitless marketing exercises until we have a brand that is recognised as being successful.

Joe Sage
511 Posted 05/01/2013 at 10:20:43
Don't forget too that, from next year, we will be getting an extra £15-20 million from the new TV deal per year, so it's not playing Russian Roulette hoping we can get fourth spot.
Barry Rathbone
513 Posted 05/01/2013 at 10:28:06
Bang on the nose Phillip.
Mike Gwyer
514 Posted 05/01/2013 at 10:10:53

Barry

"What's Elstone going to do next, increase the matchday figure by adding back the discounts given on concession tickets to kids and the £17-a-head block bookings offered to companies?"

IMO I think we have seen a major change at Goodison - one that is aimed more televised games and also increased recognition of the club.

That major change is the style of play Everton are now playing. Moyes has thrown his defensive game plans out of the window, the sit back and nick one, the kick the shit out of the opponents better players and also the guaranteed last spot on MOTD.

If you have gone to GP over the past 5 years you will have noticed this. Not only at GP but also at away grounds, EFC play attacking footy. We have scored in all but one of our EPL games, we get plaudits from everywhere (including the fucked up RS twats on MOTD and even Redknapp who I believe detests Everton) - also take a look at the number of Sky matches we are scheduled to play or have already played.

I believe Everton is changing, no more 40 points thank you very much - well done Moyes, EPL footy guaranteed again next season. We are going for it, the CL places and attacking football. Everton are opening the eyes of lots of people and lots of people of taking notice.

Now the above game plan wasn't dreamed up in one of Moyes nightmares, it was started with sale of Rodwell to City (no one saw that deal coming) and the purchase of two wide players, good ones at that. Moyes has changed his game plan totally hence the reason why we are also conceeding goals - we are so fucking busy attacking their goal.

So yep, I think changes are on the go at Goodison and as much as we would all like to think that the board were too busy pissing it up too notice - I'm sure they sat around the table with Moyes and had a chat.

Pat Waine
517 Posted 05/01/2013 at 10:27:57
The stadium is the elephant in the room. Until that is addressed, it is hard to see any set of Everton accounts making good reading. Moyes could start using the likes of Barkley and other young players at lower cost and have a different model . I'm not too sure if that would be any more successful but I think you are more likely to get a young player giving his all if he wants to make it rather that Phil Neville – past it and on high wages.
Dave Lynch
523 Posted 05/01/2013 at 11:10:03
I personally believe that CL qualification is the last thing Kenwright would want. Where would the investment come from to strengthen the squad in order for us to compete?

It would probably/likely/definitely show up the lack of serious funding policy the board has in mind, the one where they give Moyes pittance with the keep us up remit; Moyes in the past has definitely been party to this and has in some ways been bought off with his massive wages.

I get the feeling he is fed up with it now though and sees his future elsewhere, hence the change in attitude being demonstrated on the pitch. He will want to prove that he can coach a team to play exciting attacking football and catch the eye of the richer clubs.

Peter Foy
526 Posted 05/01/2013 at 11:28:29
The board does have the option of a share issue.

Although it would raise badly needed funds, it would also dilute the shareholding of Bill.

"Only wants what's best for Everton"? — my arse.

Sam Hoare
527 Posted 05/01/2013 at 11:27:24
There's no doubt that our finances make for very depressing reading. We are sinking and the situation is not sustainable. One of two things has to change:

1) We increase our revenue. This seems to be what the board are relying on in the shape of the new TV deal. Will it be enough to claw back our debt and shore up our losses? Who knows. But, as stated above, our reliance on TV money does not speak very highly of those running the club... especially when compared with some other clubs of our stature.

2) We slash our wage bill. I don't understand how our wage bill is so high and yet our squad so small. It would be interesting to see a breakdown. I suppose Moyes and Fellaini alone count for a lot. One things is for sure and that's if the increased TV deals do not stem the flow of our losses then very soon we will have to lower the wage bill. One manager who could probably successfully replace outgoing high paid stars such as Fellaini with able, more affordable players is Moyes; but I'm not so sure he will be around to do that.

Philip Quilliam
539 Posted 05/01/2013 at 12:03:32
Sam. Our wage bill isn't high compared to the teams above us that we are chasing to overtake. All those teams have wage bills of at least £100m and some will be pushing towards £200m. There in a nutshell is our dilemma.
Christine Foster
543 Posted 05/01/2013 at 11:55:23
Sam, you're right in stating that the real problem is not the wage side of the ratio — it's the falling commercial revenue. The situation is even worse if one offsets the impact of transfer monies coming in...

The commercial performance is abysmal; therein lies the seed to our success or survival, coupled with cost. Management, no easy or comfortable solution. Whilst increases in revenue from TV rights will buy the club more time, unless we grow commercially, the business risk will be exponentially greater every season.

The financial management has been appalling for the last 20 years: living on a credit card and hoping to win the lottery is hardly a business plan. Sell of your assets rather than grow, plan or invest. The legacy of BK may be one that will hang around the neck of our club for another decade, if we are lucky.

So what needs to happen?

1. Need to get everyone on the same hymn sheet, all in unison, that's, fans, board, team and shareholders. To do this, bridges have to be repaired. BK talks of trust; I am not sure if this was a dig at the fans but his credibility is low. It's time for him to step down as Chairman; being a majority shareholder and a fan is not enough, we need leadership and overall business turnaround ability.

2. We need a commercial director to drive through commercial agreements that are driven by growth and profitability to the club. Where are the successes to date?

3. The club needs to have its profile raised globally and domestically. Pre-season tournaments that see the best teams play each other. Whilst it was great to see the team in Australia and the US, the opposition was poor, the commercial exploitation was non-existent.

4. Realization that there are a number of shareholders hoping for a significant payday despite the state of the club. Forget "the club is for sale" — it's not and never has been. What is for sale is either diluted shares or someone's shareholding. That's what is being envisaged, not the sale of 51% of the club's shares. Assuming that BK will not walk away, someone else will have to or all shareholdings will have to be diluted, something they may not agree with. They haven't warmed to this suggestion before so we can only assume another Directors' shares are up for grabs. Indeed, this may well be the real stumbling block for the new investor who may demand controlling shares for their investment. I would, given the track record and current position of the club.

5. Everton FC should bite the bullet with respect to debts and reduce it through the control of future wage costs for the next few seasons and assignment of TV income to repurchase back Finch Farm and an expansion plan for Goodison Park. At this moment we cannot afford a new stadium.

6. Prices need to rise. If all of the above are set in place, I have no doubt that the fans will see the increase for what it is, assisting the club to improve. Without any or all of the above, fans will only see it as money down the drain.

We have to break the cycle before we disappear down the pan.... Trust?

Niall MacDiarmada
549 Posted 05/01/2013 at 12:47:35
The club needs to sort out its commercial enterprise. It's beyond a joke.

I've been to 30 different sports shops in Ireland. I cannot get an Everton shirt. Every store I walk into has Liverpool shirts, Man Utd, Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea, Celtic...

Philip Quilliam
550 Posted 05/01/2013 at 12:47:25
Christine, this is an excellent business plan for a normal, sensible business... but this is a football club and all the normal strategies are meaningless.

Football clubs are only marketable when they are successful and winning trophies. No-one in Indonesia is going to give a rat's ass about Everton just because they turn up once a millennium to play in some Mickey Mouse cobbled together tournament against Jakarta Jaguars and Brisbane Bucaneers.

No one in the US gives a monkeys about soccer. No one organising a significant pre-season tournament will include Everton because we have won nothing.

If we had the marketing budget of Coca Cola we could inundate the world's media with adverts to raise our profile but as this was around $11 billion in 2012 I suspect this is unlikely.

Point 5 will only result in Everton being less competitive and having players of lesser ability.

Point 6 will happen when hell freezes over. Do you honestly believe that fans will pay more to "assist" the club? If that is the case, there is nothing to stop them handing over their money now.

Christine Foster
556 Posted 05/01/2013 at 14:16:44
Philip, unsurprisingly I disagree with your view, but the point here is that we need a plan. Because we sure as hell don't have one currently. Certainly not a sustainable one.

I have spent the better half of the last 15 years turning companies around, whilst I agree that a football club is a different animal, the principles and management are the same as any other business, you need a product and a plan to market the product and fund it. That's what this board are obliged to do.

Eric Myles
558 Posted 05/01/2013 at 14:13:12
Phillip #509 "Every Premier League club that is successful has built that success on a hugely wealthy benefactor who is willing to pump money in as a hobby." — How do you explain Arsenal then?

Peter #526, the 'diluted shareholding' theory is bullshit, the board are free to buy more shares to maintain control.

Phillip #520, I suspect that what holds most fans back from 'handing over their money now' is BK and his cronies, if these multi-millionaire owners won't put their hands in their pockets, why should the fans? That's why something like Trust Everton is important.

Trust Kenwright? Never.

Frank McGregor
561 Posted 05/01/2013 at 14:51:22
Mark (#456), I agree with most of your post; however, to mention the BU as a vehicle to improve the club is a non-starter, they have no credibility. I also find it interesting that a lot of the posters have not posted on the improvement of the team's performance on the field.
David O'Keefe
571 Posted 05/01/2013 at 16:00:22
Frank, that is because this thread/debate is about off-field matters.

As for a credibility debate about BK/BU – who has more/less.... well, that depends on the cognitive biases of those making the claims. Objective reality makes it easier for all concerned if they put their opinions to one side.

Gavin Ramejkis
573 Posted 05/01/2013 at 15:20:45
Philip (#539) — sorry to piss on your chips but Man Utd built themselves from success on the pitch, not an oligarch or cash cow. They embraced the reinvention of football when Sky came along and whored themselves as they grew more successful on the pitch. It wasn't until the arrival of the Quaker-like Glazers that they got a rich owner but even they they didn't benefit from the cash and continued to use their developed commercial off-pitch incomes and on-pitch successes to progress.

To some extent, Arsenal did likewise; the idea of cas-rich benefactors is only really true from Abramovich onwards. Before that, it was clubs generating their own commercial deals. Spurs haven't exactly got an oligarch and equally don't have some third-rate soap actor/clown in charge and out of his depth.

Gavin Ramejkis
575 Posted 05/01/2013 at 16:12:41
Brendan (#448) — oddly enough, I can't find another post from you anywhere on ToffeeWeb. This seems strange as you seem to think the website always detracts from Bill Jong Ill and his carpetbaggers; the site has seen similar one-off posts defending their ills before... coincidence?
Peter Foy
579 Posted 05/01/2013 at 16:36:27
Eric,

If Bill doesn't have the cash to purchase any new shares made available through a share issue, then his existing shares would be diluted.

This is why the option of making more shares available is not an option. I'm sure the rest of the shareholders could afford to purchase more new shares in order to maintain their existing % of power.

Peter Warren
583 Posted 05/01/2013 at 16:43:13
Selling Fellaini means we get £20m profit. The Board is gambling on out-performing our rivals by the skill of the manager. Not a great business plan but there you go...
Graham Lloyd
586 Posted 05/01/2013 at 16:48:43
A lot of what you say is right. Apart from gate reciepts, which are capped by how well the team is playing, and sponsorship, the other big earner is shirt sales.

I would personally source a shirt manufacturer who is going to give us a better percentage return. I feel we have gone with Nike because of the name and, although I don't know the profit margin on a Nike shirt, I am sure if we did what the neighbours did, we would certainly get a retrospective clawback which would be a lot more favourable. At the moment, we sell the shirt in the team shop — which is great if we made the shirts ourselves — but, to appeal to the world market, we need to sell in other outlets.

For sponsorship, we need a specialist business person in that role; as you said, Chang is a good sponsor... but what else — apart from matchday beer — do they bring to the table? There must be better-appealing commercial sponsorship than that; maybe get sponsored by a building company or a steel company who would also benefit with the building of a stadium?

I do not have all the answers but one thing is for sure: if we aren't making a profit that makes us solvent and there is only so much your assets can be worth, we need to start working on the solution before our great club goes down.

Steavey Buckley
589 Posted 05/01/2013 at 17:09:14
Without wanting to appear disrespectful to Everton's sponsors, Chang, in the current financial climate, Everton do need a sponsor who will pour more money into the club to cover the shortfall + some money for transfers and extra wages. The Premier League being the way it is, attracting millions of viewers from throughout the world, it should not be too difficult in finding a sponsor who is attracted by such a proposition.
Andy Walker
598 Posted 05/01/2013 at 17:38:19
5th in the league at about half way ain't bad in my book considering:

1) We have spent about 6 times less on players than EACH of the clubs above us.

2) Ticket prices are on par with the cheapest in the league.

3) The average income of our fans is in the bottom quartile of those in the EPL.

4) The average spend per fan is in the bottom quartile.

It is a minor miracle that we are where we are. Name one Premier League club that was sold on a COMMERCIAL basis in the past 5 years that's doing better than us. If you want a much easier question, how about name one club that has done a lot worse since being sold in the past 5 years.

How have we managed to out perform our competitors? Is it just luck? Obviously it's not down to the club management is it? Just sayin......

Ian Smitham
607 Posted 05/01/2013 at 17:57:47
The four Directors of the club control 70% of the shareholding. Bill himself holds 25.84%. Let's assume the four of them act in a concert party. Let's also assume that every single other shareholder could afford and would afford to subscribe to a Rights Issue and would vote against Bill (unlikely).

Let's further assume that the basis is the current share price – they have been trading at around £1,200 each. Also assuming fees for arranging a Rights Issue were around 2%, plus underwriting fees, and there had to be a discount offered as an incentive for subscription by existing shareholders, as outlined above, say each new share netted £1,000.

I reckon that, for the existing Board to retain overall control, ie, 50% of the shares, diluted by them not taking up the Rights Issue, around 14,000 shares could be issued which would raise around £14m for the club.

I own a share; I don't really want two... I bet there are loads more like me, so getting a share issue away I imagine is not attractive to a stockbroker while retaining the existing board.

As I see it, raising not a massive amount of money, in the world of football anyway, while retaining the control the board have, is unlikely to help the club move forward.

I am sure the figures are right, but if they are not then please feel free to put me right; no offence will be taken.

Jay Harris
631 Posted 05/01/2013 at 20:29:29
Ian
a number of us have advocated a rights issue in the past but Bill will not hear of it.

He would sooner mug some of his pals so he can retain control longer.

You are correct in assessing a rights issue generating around 15 to 20 million but I disagree with you that it could be used effectively to either:

1. put an extra tier and corporate boxes in the Park end which would increase capacity by around 8000 and enhance our corporate income.

2.Improve the squad and thereby generate extra income from Europe and/or higher league placing.

3. Pay off some debt and thereby reduce interest payments.

4. Buy Finch Park back and save the astronomical lease payment.

What we need is a bit more vision and leadership instead of the deceiptful incompetence that has been the hallmark of Kenwright's reign.

Niall MacDiarmada
634 Posted 05/01/2013 at 20:47:47
Plenty of up-and-coming shirt manufacturers who would give a much better deal to Everton, eg: Under Armour, O'Neills, Puma...

Plus they might actual produce a decent shirt.

Tony Stanley
635 Posted 05/01/2013 at 20:56:49
Once again, this club is not telling the truth to the public.
Mark Wilson
639 Posted 05/01/2013 at 20:38:22
Andy #598 now that's an interesting take on the debate !! And, actually, a bloody good fans view of things in what we sometimes hear referred to as the real world. I think that to have this kind of basic view of all things EFC you have to have come to terms with the "history" and perhaps accept that whatever the rights and lots of wrongs of Kings Dock, DK, plus various embarrassing cock ups along the way, we are where we are and that's pretty amazing given the incredible gap between us paupers and most of the rest of the EPL. It should be better, much better, but truth is money rules right now and on the face of it we shouldn't even be in the Prem let alone upsetting the applecart, but hey, we are Everton and somehow we hang on in there.

Ian #607. When you read your post, and other similar ones I've seen elsewhere, it's hard to understand why so many seem to be get very exercised about a share issue? If all its oing to raise is a one off £14m AND produce the same leadership, or worse, what's the point ?

John Crawley
645 Posted 05/01/2013 at 21:21:30
Mark 639 "on the face of it we shouldn't even be in the Prem let alone upsetting the applecart" - seriously have a word with yourself! Possibly the most ludicrous statement I have read on this website ever.
Andy Walker
650 Posted 05/01/2013 at 21:16:41
Gavin (#575). Just because Brendan has a different view to you, whether it is a one-off post or not, doesn't make it any more or less a legitimate point of view than anyone else. Why would you attempt to undermine the validity or otherwise of a poster just because you don't agree with it?

I think everyone on here is capable of making their own minds up about posters without your help thanks.
Jay Harris
652 Posted 05/01/2013 at 21:31:41
Totally agree with you John but thats shows how much apathy there is now amongst our supporters.

When you hear phrases of plucky little Everton and "punching above our weight" it makes you cringe.

Do supporters even realise that up to 1991 we were on a par with Utd and Chelsea and City were also rans.

At a time when football income is so high our board should be ashamed of themselves for the lack of interest in the club.

Matt Traynor
655 Posted 05/01/2013 at 21:51:49
Jay, and others advocating a share rights issue - it would achieve nothing.
Put aside the fact that the directors are not turkeys voting for Xmas...

How much would it raise, realistically? £15m?

So suspend reality, and say the majority shareholders agreed with it, and we got it fully subscribed, and you got your £15m. What do you do with it?

Cover Moyes' new contract? (maybe 4 years?)
Pay down some of the bad debt?
Make 1 semi-marquee or 2 minor signings?

Christine Foster
657 Posted 05/01/2013 at 22:02:25
Matt, you're quite right, consider the new deal re TV income. That's just like an investor dropping a wad of cash in; soon enough it will be spent and we will be back to square one. I wonder why people don't understand that the business has to be fixed, and money raised.

Both have to be done otherwise it's a waste of time.

Andy Walker
658 Posted 05/01/2013 at 21:50:09
I don't sense apathy amongst the fans, in fact the complete opposite if this board is anything to go by. The context of Marks comment was financial, ie, winning trophies in football is about money now (hard to argue with?), we don't have much of it compared to many other clubs, yet we are giving them a good run for their (vast amounts) money.

It has been mentioned many times on this forum how good it is to finish above the RS a) because we finished above them and b) because they have spent 4 times as much as us on players.

Whatever way you look at it, if we won the league, it would be a greater achievement than the RS, Man City, Man Utd, Chelsea, Spurs, Arsenal. Why? Because we would have punched above our financial weight.

Finishing in the top 4 would also fall into this category in my opinion. I think this is a realistic perspective on matters. By definition, whether we punch above our weight or not can only be gauged on the strength of the teams around us. The strength of the teams we compete against is not something we can singularly control and therefore it is nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about if we find we punch above our financial weight, in fact I'm proud of it.

Matt Traynor
660 Posted 05/01/2013 at 22:08:16
Christine #657, like others recently I've also resigned myself to just being a supporter. Many have posted on here passim to dissect the finances, the business deals, the ground moves etc.

I've been lucky enough to see aggregate and club figures covering leagues in Germany, Italy, Spain and UK and frankly it fascinated me.

I remain convinced we are in the money league, the place to be in terms of governance (cf Spain, Italy). I recall that EFC were pioneers of this EPL concept.

I am utterly convinced that we're being slowly but surely run into the ground financially. We're not a sell-to-buy club, we have to sell-to-stay-in-existence, except some of those sales are masqueraded as "wanted to go".

The closer we get to the buffers, the more likely we'll be sold. That in itself means we're running the risk of ending up in the hands of a vulture group. Then those that cautioned "Be careful what you..." etc (can't even finish that redundant phrase) can sit back and smugly say "I told you so".

Andy Walker
662 Posted 05/01/2013 at 22:07:01
Christine... by 'fixing the business', I assume you mean make a profit so the club is sustainable in the long term?

There are 2 basic models a club like Everton can follow:

Model 1: downsize by reducing expenses and applying tight financial management, for example, capping salary roll relative to turnover. Result: long term security, but we'd have to accept playing in a lower league where we don't have to compete against clubs that don't have to make a profit as they get bailed out by wealthy owners. More and more clubs are being forced down this route now and some are having success, that is if you want to gauge success by making a profit and having long term security, rather than challenging at the top of the EPL.

Model 2: (much higher risk) run a highly geared club, compete with the best in the top league and bank on hitting the financial jackpot before it's too late, by winning something or qualifying to the CL, or selling big players for big profit. This then buys more time to do the whole cycle again. Much higher risk, and it does put the future of the club at risk, but when you're not competing on a level playing field with all the other clubs in your league, it's the reality for this model.

John Crawley
663 Posted 05/01/2013 at 22:15:20
Andy, I think there is plenty of people accepting the current situation. Mark's comments stink of apathy, as do yours.

The problem is, the performance off the pitch, which is the responsibility of the board, bears absolutely no resemblance to the performance on the pitch. We as supporters seem to be happy to accept this situation.

What is even worse about the current situation is that they have no plan to fix this situation other than to hold out the hope that some extremely rich businessman is stupid enough to pay them over the odds for the club so that they can ride off into the sunset having made a killing.

Judging from her posts and intelligent analysis over the years, I would suggest that the club could do a lot worse than flying Christine over to give them a hand to turn this situation around!

Andy Walker
665 Posted 05/01/2013 at 22:36:12
John thanks, what exactly am I apathetic about?

I think you might be the apathetic one if you believe the Board aren't ultimately responsible for the performances on the pitch.

Matt Traynor
668 Posted 05/01/2013 at 22:44:19
Andy, your comments don't smell of apathy to me. Just misguided. There are many clubs adopting your "cut your cloth accordingly" model. They have different models. You could argue by extrapolation we're kinda doing that too.

I saw a comment earlier about only clubs with rich benefactors are winning pots.
Man U? Geared and leveraged to fuck. But they'll be fine as long as they're there or thereabouts. Good job Sir Alex thrives on pressure.

John Crawley
672 Posted 05/01/2013 at 22:47:37
Andy,

This is taken from Colin Fitzpatrick's presentation in October 2011.
Spurs 1999 - Net Assets: £41 Million
Everton 1999 - Net Assets £20 million.
Spurs 2011 - Net Assets: £70 million.
Everton 2011 - Net Liabilities - £35 million

This is how low that we have sunk as a club off the pitch. Your comments about us punching above our financial resources on the pitch take no account of the board's complete failure to improve our income streams off the pitch in the period in which Bill Kenwright has been in charge of the club. The failure to secure the Kings Dock is the single biggest mistake in the club's history.

That isn't the only failure and it is these failures that have put us in this position. Taking Chelsea and City out of the picture there is no reason, other than complete incompetence, why we as a club shouldn't be in a position off the pitch to be amongst the top 5 or 6 clubs in the league.

Tony I'Anson
673 Posted 05/01/2013 at 23:16:55
I personally believe there is a lot more frustration than apathy amongst many Evertonians (shareholders and non-shareholders) regarding the state of the finances, given the perceived lack of being able to do anything about them. After all, we are talking about very large sums of money in a very competitive industry, with no certain outcomes of success.

However, the Trust Everton aims and objectives are very much related to this debate, and may be able to make a postive difference for the benefit of all stakeholders.

On a lighter note, I seem to recall from TW that Christine interupted her wedding day to go to Goodison for a game. I don't recall if she mentioned whether her husband was in attendance or if she changed her dress!

Eric Myles
675 Posted 05/01/2013 at 23:40:39
Peter #579, Bill didn't pay for the shares he has now so why would no cash be a barrier to buying more shaers?
Matt Traynor
677 Posted 06/01/2013 at 00:05:51
Eric #675, I won't repeat the oft-mentioned rumours as to whether BK did pay for the shares originally, or just put the debt on the club - some speculated with the sudden increase in debt after the takeover that we were the original leveraged buy-out.

However, the stumbling block about a new rights issue is it would need to be under-written. The last time there was a rights issue, Peter Johnson provided that guarantee.

Ian Smitham
679 Posted 06/01/2013 at 00:00:51
I believe that my comments earlier address the issue of the concert party and control of the club which can not be wrestled away without a break of parts at least of the group, I.e. the 4 Directors. This, makes Bill's actual holding irrelevant; I believe it also nagged comment #579.

Jay (#631), I quite agree, my earlier post was trying to highlight that a rights issue with the present incumbents on the board and in control is unlikely to raise a largest by the standards of the Premier League finances. Your ideas for the spend are all laudable.

Eric (#675), just so that we are all clear, please can you clarify how his shares were bought please? I am not looking for hearsay about such a vital subject, but evidence and specifics. I want to know the actual facts, and I am sure that there a few more on here who will be interested in your sharing what you know.

Being slightly devious, he could actually sell the rights to some of his shares to create money to buy a few more. So, he would own more shares but technically dilute his holding and power.

Ian Smitham
686 Posted 06/01/2013 at 00:19:14
Eric, on the other post, you have noted that much of the club's borrowing is due for repayment within a year. Also, some have noted the comment in the accounts about the Directors and an ongoing concern.

I believe that both are entirely normal. To deal with the latter, the Board have to indicate any reason why they may not be able to continue the business, which is obviously reliant on Bank support; the statements simply give comfort that they believe that they have that support subject to a few issues — one being end-of-season placing... for example, they may not be forthcoming upon our relegation.

Most Banks operate on the basis that overdraft facilities are extended subject to annual renewal, and proof to their satisfaction that, on renewal, they still think they could get repaid. Repayment of one facility may well be in the form of a further facility, a bit like Greece and other euro economies; and, as the Banks appear to have no appetite for lending to football clubs now, it will be subject to variations in interest rates and fees payable. Anyone self-employed will concur, I am sure.

Lastly, some say we do not own our ground. We do... but subject to mortgages, like many of us own our homes. I bought the house with one mortgage loan and borrowed some more later on another loan. I see it as all one loan but, when I check the annual statement, , the Bank see it as two loans. Hence the 14 facilities Everton FC Co Ltd.

The relevance? Imagine you are a big insurance company with a client who borrows loads off you, at a rate of interest you were okay with... but now you wish you could get more; they come to you for more money you do not want to really give them but, if pushed, you will. What would you do?

I would say to the borrower that they can have the money, subject to a new mortgage, subject to my fees and a new interest rate not only for the new loan but also for the rest of the loans. If they don't like it, we'll not have the new money.

Sorry to ramble!

Gavin Ramejkis
687 Posted 06/01/2013 at 00:23:45
Andy (#650) — as a long-time contributor to this site, I've read many a club plant and spurious posts from one-off posters suddenly appearing with trite pro-Bill remarks, who then disappear into the dust. If Brendan wants to support his thoughts, I'm sure he's big enough to do so by himself, likewise you'll continue to post your views and respond to challenges - it's the SAME thing. So back off your box and continue with your own thread of thought please, it's adding to the debate whereas your petty jibe at #650 isn't, thanks.


Regards the share rights issue raising a one-off sum of £15m - £20m surely this is exactly the same type of "one-off" income generation that selling Bellefield did... and the same that one-off sales of players does? The usage of the monies generated is what would appear to be more important, such as the purchase of Finch Farm — which I believe to be in the same region that would remove a long-term debt from the annual debt servicing required by the club. The club is in significant debt in relation to its ability to service it; the removal of any chunk of this would be a step in the correct direction and make any asking price (should it be for sale) far more attractive.

Ian, I believe it was Mihir Bose who reported that Anita Gregg lent BK £7M for the purchase of Peter Johnson's shares, he was paid £20M and (as was the case for subsequent share purchases) that money and shares swapped hands and not a penny went into the business itself. TBH stakeholders included Paul Gregg, Jimmy Mulville, Willy Russell and Jon Woods. It was dissolved and left Gregg, BK and Jon Woods, the others were obviously repaid their stakes. When Gregg left and was replaced by Earl, there was also the matter of repaying Anita Gregg's loan of £7M – I've no idea where this was ever recorded but I'm certain, given the animosity of the split, it wasn't done on the never-never.

Ian Smitham
694 Posted 06/01/2013 at 00:57:36
Gavin, thanks for your thoughts, but not quite the facts I wanted. No critisism here as I expect much of this is done through confidentiality at law. However, I look forward to Eric substantiating his views which may help.

My understanding of Man Utd is that it was bought by a Company, owned by the USA people. The loans taken to do it were to be repaid by the family or the vehicle they use. The family or vehicle they use will receive income to enable them to pay those loans. The income will come from the club to the vehicle or family. The income from the club will be provided in part at least from ordinary bods paying at the turnstile.

How it is treated as an accounting issue I am not sure, being really devious and at risk of causing a bit of an issue on here, it would not be something to do with Operational Expenses would it??? Would it???

Christine Foster
695 Posted 06/01/2013 at 01:09:35
Tony, in response, yes to both! The only concession was to remove the veil, it stopped the view for others.. Seems a long time ago....
Dan Brierley
700 Posted 06/01/2013 at 01:12:33
I haven't seen anyone mention the fact that in terms of ticket revenue, we are actually around 13th in the Premier League. Its pretty tough to compete when even Stoke, Reading, QPR, West Ham and Fulham have higher ticket prices than we do.

Every year, we see the same armchair economists telling us how the club is failing. It's all very well saying we should reduce debt, and invest in long term assets, but the reality is that the money used to fund those activities would ultimately come out of the pot that pays for the team. I don't see a way of having both with our poor income.

I can understand the frustrations of many fans, but the reality is that we have to operate this way in order to compete. My anger is towards the Premier League, who are responsible for selling the soul of our game to the highest bidder.

Richard Jones
702 Posted 06/01/2013 at 02:03:33
Sorry, Dan, I think the biggest frustration with most of us with our eyes open is that Kenwright won't name his price and go!! Most of us have have given up on his business acumen and decision-making processes (if he ever had any) long ago.
David Barks
703 Posted 06/01/2013 at 02:16:02
Dan,

Could you imagine the outcry if they raised ticket prices by £10 a match next season? Just for 20 matches, assuming we only had 2 home Cup matches and no European matches, it would be an additional £7 million with an average attendance of 35,000. But I would bet there would be outrage by every single person on here complaining about the debt. It's like a nations debt, people bitch and moan about it, but with their next breath will complain about having to pay taxes.

Christine Foster
704 Posted 06/01/2013 at 02:28:55
David, existence or pay more? As I said in my post, the only way people would pay more would be if the present regime had moved on. Credibility of the current board for financial planning and performance is in question, trust without credibility or vice versa? I doubt it.

I do believe supporters would pay more to assist the club, I believe they would also invest in the club if they had the opportunity. It you are going to eat at the top table then don't expect to do it at McDonald's prices.

David Barks
705 Posted 06/01/2013 at 02:41:23
Christine,

But you just said it, you wouldn't pay more now, but you have no problem complaining about our lack of income. The fact is that people are showing up to the matches, we just charge a lot less than most clubs. So it's not like we have half a stadium empty every match because of dissatisfaction with the board.

Dan Brierley
706 Posted 06/01/2013 at 02:42:56
I am sure if anybody has a genuine interest in buying the club, and can show the verified funds, they will find out the selling price and terms and conditions.

But if you expect to know the selling price just because you go on Everton websites and buy the odd shirt for your kids, you live in a dream world. Yes, there has been clubs sold over the last decade. But, with the exception of Chelsea & Man City, which of those takeovers have resulted in sustained challenges for the title? The answer is, none. All those takeovers, investments etc. have won the grand total of fuck all.

Arsenal fans are pulling their fucking hair out at the moment as they are miles behind, regardless of their excellent business plan. The astute proven business acumen of Randy Lerner has failed miserably in the Premier League, even after £100 million of investment. Liverpool's vast investment has also shown that it is not a simple task; you need to spend hundreds of millions now, AND sustain that with huge wages.

This talk of suggesting that we can sustain title challenges by selling a few thousands more shirts is bollocks. In my humble opinion, of course....

Christine Foster
714 Posted 06/01/2013 at 06:33:35
David, I think you're deliberately missing the point: would you stand on Goodison Road and burn a tenner? Because that's what many believe would happen currently if prices went up with the current management — BECAUSE NOTHING WOULD CHANGE!!!

What I said was that people would be prepared to put faith in a new order to get us out of the mess we are in. Or another analogy of logic: take the US and Chapter 11, where you trust the idiots who got you in the mess to get you out of it by allowing them to trade on without responsibility to creditors... to overcome their own incompetence!

We are where we are financially because of the Board of Directors and the decisions they have or have not taken and the poor fiscal management of the club commercially.

Dan, quite agree. A few thousand shirts alone ain't enough but can only help if it is to be part of a larger commercial and marketing strategy. If you're saying there is no other solution than become a rich man's toy, I disagree, but it took 20 years of poor decisions to get us into the mess we are in... it will take another 10 to get us back on track and profitable with good management.

We can dance around the problem till the cows come home but the problem is one of the price someone is willing to pay and the true worth. It's clear that the present incumbents aren't interested in a long-term solution anymore, so it's down to a price the board will accept.

Steve Brown
718 Posted 06/01/2013 at 07:31:17
By far the best thread I've read here on the issue of ownership and building a cost model that is sustainable for the club. Really interesting reading.

Four points I want to add:


  • The commercial management of the business has been a disaster and if we invest money nowhere else, the board must appoint a world-class commercial director appointed directly from business;
  • Everton should pay good salaries for its best players as it has been shown to have a clear correlation between salaries paid to players and points accrued by clubs – but not £75k pw plus as anyone earning that must should already have been sold on;
  • We should not be tying players into 5-year deals as it breeds complacency in players who only come to Everton because they are hungry to build their reputation in the Premier League (and let's be honest, use it as a bridge to move to a 'bigger' club);
  • 4) We should follow a deliberate policy of scouting young talent globally and bringing them in at 21/22 years old, developing them and selling them on to top European sides at 27+ years old for a big profit.
  • Now a lot of that may be unpalatable as it confirms what we fear, that we do not regard ourselves as 'big' club. But it is far better than placing our hopes in a rich oligarch, businessperson and sheikh buying the club as their latest plaything until they get bored. It is also the model that European clubs such as Lyon and Borussia Dortmund follow, which has brought them European football year on year and domestic trophies.

    Chris Leyland
    723 Posted 06/01/2013 at 08:30:41
    Gavin- I hate to disabuse you but I seriously don't that 'club plants' come on here to post one-off comments. Why bother? Do you honestly think they are sitting in their offices saying 'shit Gavin's posted yet another comment on Toffeeweb re-stating his views about how shit we are at running the club. Put operation one-off rebuttal into play' ? Wouldn't it be better, if they wanted to follow this strategy, to have more regular posters who could build up a defence over time? Then again, that would assume that Toffeeweb actually ever figures in their thinking, which I doubt very much it does.

    Andy Walker
    728 Posted 06/01/2013 at 09:16:24
    Gavin, 'long term contributer to the site' Ramejkis — although why you think it's relevant to mention that, I don't know. Thanks for you advice but I will keep expressing my opinion without relying on spurious (almost paranoid?) implied accusations made against someone who happens to have a different opinion to you.

    Whether this person never makes a post again is none of your or my business and is totally irrelevant. It's a valid opinion, just because you or me may not agree with it doesn't mean we have to try and undermine the legitimacy of the poster themselves, or the content of their post. It's 'trite' is it? No it's a different opinion, you or me are no better than any other poster on here.

    Notice you haven't made any similar accusations against people who have the same opinion as you, but then you wouldn't would you.

    Richard Jones
    732 Posted 06/01/2013 at 09:45:55
    Chris, it's common knowledge that Ian Ross used to post on ToffeeWeb and Kipper!!
    Andy Walker
    734 Posted 06/01/2013 at 09:32:42
    John (#672). I think Spurs is a good comparison. The average price of a ticket to watch Spurs is about £20 more than us. We get similar gates so that equates to about £15m a year in extra gate receipts that Spurs get. Apply over just 10 years (rather than 14) to err on the cautious side and you still end up with an extra £150 million generated in gate receipts alone over the period you highlight. Obviously this is pure extra income, there's no downside to being able to charge more for the same product, ie, watching a match. This actually ties in quite reasonably with the change in the value of assets you flag.

    If we'd have charged an extra £20 a ticket for the last 10 years and fans had still bought the tickets, the picture would be very different, but of course we wouldn't have bought them as we're not as wealthy on the whole as Spurs fans. Their fan base has an A/B demographic whereas we are on average C; Premier League fan surveys show this.

    This is one of the reasons it's difficult to sell our club; Liverpool is differen,t they have one of the highest proportion of fans travelling from more than 50 miles away (second only to Man Utd). The result: the RS tap into a higher demographic of fan, who spend more on merchandise etc.

    Peter Barry
    737 Posted 06/01/2013 at 10:10:36
    Everton's financial situation is not a new phenomenon, it has come from DECADES of short-sighted financial mismanagement with the current board and owner merely guilty of a continuation, albeit with glaringly obvious examples — the Kings Dock catastrophe, disposal of land assets etc — of the steady decline of the 'Millionaire' Club of the 1960s.
    Sam Hoare
    741 Posted 06/01/2013 at 10:25:34
    The sad answer is there is no answer. We have a less affluent fanbase and are well behind our rivals in terms of global recognition. Simply put we are not one of the biggest clubs anymore.

    It's depressing but I just have a horrible feeling that we are being left behind and seasons like this where we are scrapping for 4th or 5th may be the best we can hope for in the short term future. Maybe I've just woken up on the wrong side of the bed.

    Richard Jones
    744 Posted 06/01/2013 at 11:02:38
    Sam, I'm sorry, mate, the buck stops at the top. The answer is to pressure Kenwright to name a realistic price and sell our club, we don't want investment or him as a figurehead!! He's failed now let's move on and get our great club back to where it once was. The truth of the matter is he may've caused irreversible damage to us; my fear is he'll kill us if he carries on.
    Gavin Ramejkis
    745 Posted 06/01/2013 at 10:59:50
    Andy, you dove in twin-footed to defend someone, not me – high horse or just so far up your own arse? I asked a question on Brendan who still hasn't responded as I've been here answering club plants before, as have many other contributors. But hey, I guess a keyboard warrior smartarse wants to blow his own trumpet, I'll let you — but does that detract from me having a valid question to ask? Hmm I guess not Sherlock.

    Chris, if you want to see examples of the club plants, trawl through the posts on ToffeeWeb back in the days of Desperation Kirkby there were some absolute pearlers who, like the charlatans they represented, disappeared without trace. If you want a poll of views if they happened or not, post a mailbag item asking the question.
    Andy Walker
    747 Posted 06/01/2013 at 11:14:58
    And your valid question is what exactly, Gavin? You haven't actually asked a question.
    You are now just resorting to personal abuse, are you feeling threatened that the world doesn't always agree with you? Want me to stop challenging your attempt to belittle any opinion that's different to yours? If Heitinga was as defensive minded as you we might have a few extra points. Respect man.
    Andy Crooks
    751 Posted 06/01/2013 at 11:57:13
    Wasn't there a well known club plant a few years ago ago called Gerard, his surname was Mannon or something like that.
    Andy Walker
    755 Posted 06/01/2013 at 12:03:11
    What exactly is a 'club plant'. Is it someone who happens to have the same opinion as the club hierarchy, or is it someone employed by the club to spin their side of the story, or just someone working at the club with a different view?

    Can we be more specific please and could someone explain to me why it makes sod all difference? Surely someone giving a pro-BK view on this board just opens up an excellent opportunity for someone else to counter it with a well reasoned response as to why BK should go? That helps the less well informed such as myself understand the debate some more. There appears to be a tendency sometimes for pro-BK views to simply be slagged off, dismissed as irrelevant or naive, yet it doesn't seem to happen the other way around very often.

    At the end of the day we all know that some people are pro-BK, others anti and some don't-knows. I have to admit I fall into the don't-knows, not because I don't care but because I just haven't had access to enough information to form a considered opinion. How many have? I would love to know exactly what's gone on but I can't see a time that's ever going to happen until BK decides to quit.

    Having said that, I have great respect for those with the determination to try and find out more.

    I would like to hear both sides of the debate, TW is one place were a small degree of insight might be gained, if only those on both sides of the argument could debate with mutual respect.

    David O'Keefe
    756 Posted 06/01/2013 at 12:33:58
    Can we forget about Club plants and focus on the issues at hand?

    BTW, Andy calling for mutual respect on the internet is akin to calling for abstinence in a brothel. Sad, but true.

    Andy Walker
    760 Posted 06/01/2013 at 12:45:40
    Yea David, it was more of a hopeful plea. I just find that I give more weight and validity to views that are put in a balanced respectful way, something I have become wiser to over the years.
    Jay Harris
    801 Posted 06/01/2013 at 15:42:24
    Describing Tottenham as an A/B demographic smacks of not knowing North London at all.

    But that is a smokescreen anyway as the comparable "wealth" has been fairly constant over the last 100 years.

    The major difference is Spurs have actively exploited commercial oportunities and managed their finances much better than the buffoon and his cronies.

    Even forgetting our commercial inadequacy, nobody has ever explained why "other operating costs" have jumped from £1 million to £24 million a year since Kenwright took control.

    Dan Brierley
    831 Posted 06/01/2013 at 16:50:58
    Jay Harris,

    Spurs season ticket band £730 - £1845

    EFC £443 - £672

    Can you explain how the above figures are a 'smokescreen'? Have they really actively exploited commercial opportunities, or is it they are just able to charge more for the same merchandise? Outside of Europe, Spurs are LESS known than we are.

    On the subject of 'Other Operating Costs', your 'benchmark' Spurs posted a figure of £35 million in 2011, an increase of nearly £7 million on the year before. Your 'Other operating costs' argument is the real smokescreen, it is constantly pointed to a mismanagement, yet our figures are LESS than the top six clubs.

    Jay Harris
    846 Posted 06/01/2013 at 18:05:34
    Dan Spurs got 80 million from Corporate,Sponsorship,Media and merchandising ignoring gate receipts.Total income 160 million so of course their operating costs are going to be higher than ours.I would imagine the costs of operating a stadium in London are significantly higher than Goodison too.

    My main queation is how come operating costs rose from 1 million to 24 million since Kenwright took over while our controllable income has not risen significantly.

    The reason their operating costs are high is they manage their own facilities which we farm out so we do not have the cost of running our catering or merchandising operations.

    Do you not think it is totally unacceptable that the chairman makes a statement that he doesnt know where 24 million of our income goes.

    We were in the Premiership under Johnson and made a profit almost every year and had a net asset position so despite significantly increased outside revenues we have made a loss every year since Kenwright took over.

    Does that not raise any red flags for you?

    Andy Walker
    853 Posted 06/01/2013 at 18:27:30
    Jay have you actually looked at the last published Barclays PL fans survey?
    I guess not because if you had you would know the FACTS.
    The last survey published in 2008 showed the average salaries of fans as follows:

    Spurs fans £45,000 pa
    Everton fans £34,000pa.

    This is not a Mickey Mouse Survey it's the biggest of its kind. The 2012/13 survey is being done now - this is the first since 2008.

    Here the link to the evidence

    http://www.premierleague.com/content/dam/premierleague/site-content/News/publications/fan-surveys/national-fan-survey-2007-08.pdf

    Enjoy the read!

    Colin Wainwright
    856 Posted 06/01/2013 at 18:47:10
    The average price for anything in North London is more than in Liverpool. The fact that Tottenham charge around £20 more for a ticket merely reflects this and not their supporters' supposed superior wealth.
    Andy Walker
    861 Posted 06/01/2013 at 19:11:04
    Colin prices are not 33% higher in Tottenham. I've heard it all now, North Liverpool folk more wealthy than North Londoners! They'll soon be a mass migration north from London to the wealthy suburbs of Kirkdale and Bootle.
    Andy Walker
    863 Posted 06/01/2013 at 19:19:25
    Oh and don't forget, that was back in 2008, I would expect the gap has widened in recent years as the economy in the north has suffered much more than London in recent years. We will see...
    David O'Keefe
    865 Posted 06/01/2013 at 19:24:24
    Tottenham... where last Summer's riots started. Good grief.

    How about, instead of looking for excuses, we ask those in charge to take responsibility?

    Dan Brierley
    868 Posted 06/01/2013 at 18:56:41
    Sorry Jay, but you clearly don't know what your talking about, Spurs catering has been outsourced for years, as with other revenue streams:

    http://www.footballtradedirectory.com/news/2012/july/lindley-venue-catering-win-spurs-deal.html

    You sometimes come across as someone that blindly believes some of the other people on here that suggest the club is badly managed by throwing around statements about Operating Costs and other conspiracy garbage. My advice would be to do your own research on these things, and come up with your own conclusions. Whilst I fully recognise the club is not in perfect shape, I also can tell you it's not half as bad as what some people try to make out.

    Richard Jones
    870 Posted 06/01/2013 at 19:35:08
    Andy, care to make a comment on Jay's commercial figures or are you just going to ignore that massive point? You see, I really value your opinion on this.
    Barry Rathbone
    871 Posted 06/01/2013 at 19:34:06
    £45k in London is worth 10 bob anywhere else.

    I remember years ago being offered work there at 3 times my wages and worked out I was only marginally better off if I bought an equivalent house.

    Doubtless it's still the same.

    Andy Walker
    879 Posted 06/01/2013 at 19:48:58
    Appreciate it Richard. presume you mean the operating costs. I would love a breakdown but of course there isn't one. It will include the cost of running Goodison, Finch Farm academy, the training complex, match day policing, team travel, utilities such as heating and lighting.

    The only thing I can think of to try and benchmark it, is to compare it to other PL clubs and its around the average when you do this. One positive is that the operational costs have fallen this year.

    Andy Walker
    880 Posted 06/01/2013 at 19:57:51
    There are only two conclusions I can reach when comparing wealth between Spurs and Everton fans:

    Either 1) the Spurs fans are indeed more wealthy;

    Or, 2) They are prepared to pay an extra £20 a head per match to watch their club than our fans.

    I go for 1).

    Michael Hegarty
    885 Posted 06/01/2013 at 20:30:07
    Gavin has accused me of being a club plant before; I'm not. I just don't have as much time on my hands to keep replying to his blinkered arguments as he does to my balanced ones.
    Disagree with Mr Ramejkis + don't post constantly = club plant; apparently?
    Jay Harris
    898 Posted 06/01/2013 at 21:21:03
    Dan (#868) — I have never once suggested any conspiracy but, in the absence of any explanation, I happen to believe it is something to do with Earl and Green, loans and the failed DK project. For everybody's benefit, we have always had policing and other incidental costs so that does not explain why other operating costs jumped from £1 million to £24 million when Kenwright took over.

    You also say "I also can tell you it's not half as bad as what some people try to make out." Is that why we have one of the lowest credit ratings in the history of the Football League? And why Bill states "We are at the mercy of the Banks"?

    Andy# various: having lived in London from 1984 to 1992 and having gone to many Spurs games, I can tell you that, after paying an extremely high mortgage or rent, the disposable income of an average Spurs fan is not that much greater than the average Everton fan — particularly if you have a couple of pints or eat out. And FYI Spurs ticket prices have always been high, even before the Premier League.

    Now I grant you, Spurs Corporate facilities and income are on a higher level but I am purely talking about their ability to exploit commercial opportunities as opposed to our board's apathy in this regard.

    Also, I am sure if you asked Daniel Levy what the makeup of their operating costs were, he would not reply "I am only the chairman I don't know about these things".

    Tom Hughes
    941 Posted 07/01/2013 at 01:13:12
    I think WHL has 120 boxes, we have 11 poorly located boxes (less than most lower league clubs). In general, their stadium demand significantly outstrips supply. Spurs have significantly modernised their stadium and enhanced their supporter's matchday experience throughout. They have shown far greater ambition, invested far more and might yet even push for a new 56,000 seater next to the existing site to cater for their season-ticket waiting list.

    We meanwhile have invested nothing in facilities and are still trying to sell up to 13,000 obstructed views. Despite all this, our operating costs have risen almost tenfold in the last few years...... I don't know where they're getting the blue gravel from but it's got to stop!

    David O'Keefe
    945 Posted 07/01/2013 at 01:42:42
    Dan Brierley, constructing strawmen again? Shocking!

    "Whilst I fully recognise the club is not in perfect shape, I also can tell you it's not half as bad as what some people try to make out."

    That sentence is loaded with a staggering amount of BS!

    You must have missed the email from a senior club official stating that the club was in "financial meltdown". And Elstone confirming that the Clubs financial strategy of asset disposal and utilisation was unsustainable, but if you want to pretend that its not that bad and in the process construct provocative strawmen arguments to prove your point... don't let me stop you.

    Some people... indeed.

    Colin Wainwright
    979 Posted 07/01/2013 at 10:43:17
    I don't really want to labour this point, as it's a side issue to the OP but the reason, in 2008, that the average wage in North London was £11K more than that in North Liverpool, is purely because it costs a hell of a lot more to live in that part of the country. Both areas have their problems with low pay, unemployment and poverty.

    Sell a two bedroom house in Kirkdale, Andy and see what you get for the money in Tottenham. You will be forking out more than 33% extra to buy similar.

    Christine Foster
    981 Posted 07/01/2013 at 10:47:51
    Jesus, Dan, on what planet are you living?? How bad do our finances have to get?? When a liquidator is appointed will it be you saying, "It isn't that bad???"

    Flip, even you must see the deterioration of our position in even the last 5 years never mind the last 10! So please, tell me just how we are not as bad as we think...

    I think we are one bad season away from administration... brinkmanship??

    Eric Myles
    995 Posted 07/01/2013 at 12:00:00
    Ian #679, Gavin in his post #687 has explained to you where the money came from to purchase Bill's shares and I agree with him that it is unlikely that Anita Gregg was willing to wait for her money given the circumstances in which her husband left the Club.

    So where did Bill get the money to pay her back? That's never been disclosed but it's interesting to note that her husband has stated that when he sold his shares he was paid for them by Phil Green. So maybe if Bill had a friend like Phil he could have paid Anita Gregg the money owed?

    Steavey Buckley
    063 Posted 07/01/2013 at 16:19:40
    Income can't increase due a stadium not fit for the 21st century, when corporate hospitality and exec. boxes are needed,not just bums on seats. Chang, the Everton sponsors, don't give enough money. Alternative sponsor needed. Otherwise, Everton will have to cut costs and sell players who are on more expensive salaries. While the academy, with it's under 21 league, can't inspire many a player, playing in training grounds to very few if no spectators. The better players would be better off loaned out playing in the championship or division one to get more competitive experience, playing for real points in front of supporters in the few or more thousands.
    Kevin Hudson
    077 Posted 07/01/2013 at 17:06:08
    It is noticeable, that even the faintest whiff, of the vaguest hint, of either tolerance or support of the Everton board is greeted with foaming outrage and latterly, paranoia, by the legion of 'knowledgeable,' nay-sayers.

    It reminds me of London cab drivers who appear to operate under the mistaken assumption that I'm fascinated by their 'take,' on Cameron's legislative agenda..

    Dan Brierley
    100 Posted 06/01/2013 at 21:07:49
    David Keefe 945#, thats a classic. You suggest that I create 'strawmen' arguments, then quote a mysterious 'senior club official' as saying we are in financial meltdown. Was he smoking in the shadows of the Gwladys street alleys when he said it, with a trilby hat on? Your other point regarding Elstones comment, is also incorrect. He was asked can it be sustained forever, to which he replied no. The fact is that at the moment, it is working. The sale of Rodwell has undoubtedly strengthened the side, unless you want to argue that point? But of course, you cant do this forever. At some point, the plan is for the club to be sold to someone who can fund the club without selling players.

    And Christine, you make my 'not as bad as people make out' point perfectly with your 'one bad season from administration' comment. Sensationalist nonsense.

    Christine Foster
    121 Posted 07/01/2013 at 19:28:58
    Kevin Hudson, Dan, staggering... Look at the trend, look at the lack of assets, look at the falling operational cash flow...they are pinning their hopes on more tv money and a continuing ability to hover in the top eight. We end up with no Moyes and in a dogfight in the lower half our average gate will fall, as it's done before, and cash flow could. Be the issue.

    Btw Kevin, assumed your dig was aimed in my direction, or maybe I presume too much, but there are some excellent business people who comment in the forum, to compare them to a cabbie, at least they understand how a business is run, now actors...

    David O'Keefe
    123 Posted 07/01/2013 at 20:34:21
    So, Dan, you agreed with me about Elstone.

    That senior official was Ian Ross the former Head of Communication, did you not read the leaked emails? He is I believe an eye-liner and lipstick man. Even the echo covered the leaked emails! As usual bullshit and semantics.

    If you want to believe that everything's fine, go ahead.

    Kevin Hudson
    126 Posted 07/01/2013 at 20:57:53
    Agreed, Christine. You are guilty of presumption.
    Ian Smitham
    171 Posted 07/01/2013 at 22:30:29
    Eric (#995), thanks for the reply the content of which I noted along with the earlier response from Gavin. I am not looking to fall out or be difficult, simply to get factually to he bottom of a subject that, I am sure, if the wrong words were published, could lead to lawsuits all round.

    That is why I wanted to see what is known rather than speculated. Not sure that the second paragraph of your most recent comment actually helps but thanks anyway.

    Ste Traverse
    193 Posted 07/01/2013 at 23:34:36
    Dan Brierley's posts are usually pretty delusional, If anyone remembers his bizzare offerings during the Kirkby debacle.
    Colin Wainwright
    195 Posted 07/01/2013 at 23:42:54
    And you, Kevin, are guilty of sticking your head firmly in the sand.
    Colin Wainwright
    196 Posted 07/01/2013 at 23:45:14
    So, Dan, it's not unsustainable but it cannot be sustained.

    Fuckin' brilliant.

    Tom Hughes
    209 Posted 08/01/2013 at 00:41:42
    Dan,
    If the club is doing so well you'd think they'd jump at the opportunity to host AGM's to receive the plaudits from the shareholders..... but they don't. I wonder why? This board have done the least to build the club up for the future of almost any other club board that I can think of. Their job is to provide the investment and infrastructure to allow the club to be the best that it can be. They've had well over a decade and have delivered nothing. Moyes has managed to achieve minor miracles despite their impotence. Several lesser clubs have shown far greater ambition and some now achieve the highest average attendances in their history. They do it in smart new stands and whole new stadia, and still manage to outspend us year after year. Only Moyes keeps our team ahead of some of them in the league table...... but for how much longer? Will you come back and tell us how great this board are then?
    Andy Crooks
    387 Posted 08/01/2013 at 19:09:59
    Kevin #077 , I would suggest that "foaming outrage " at the recent accounts is entirely reasonable. Also, it seems to me, to be a reasonable response to anyone who believes that Bill Kenwright is doing even okay.
    Noel Early
    464 Posted 09/01/2013 at 00:21:31
    The day will come when the masses revolt and Blue Bill won't be seen around Goodison Park again... This man is a liar and is surrounded by bigger liars. The club is run like a joke.

    Niall — don't waste any more effort in looking to buy Everton gear in Ireland, it doesn't exist mate. We have the bumper Kitbag deal to thank for that. I'm a lifelong Evertonian; I will always be... but I vowed last year to never again set foot inside Goodison Park as long as we continue being lied to by the regime. If I sound bitter, it's because I am.

    I'm delighted we are doing well this year but I know we are punching above our weight. Fellaini will be sold in summer and more than likely Baines will follow, the media darlings circle every transfer window linking every good player we have with other clubs.Why? Because they know we are gagging for the cash, piss poor and needing help.

    Lewis Holtby signs with Spurs, boyhood Evertonian we couldn't even dream of getting him — that would be to easy, we are no longer regarded as one of the big boys face it folks.... Blue Bill he is an Evertonian after all... working 24/7 — he is going to make it all better,

    Colin Wainwright
    647 Posted 09/01/2013 at 19:53:49
    Sadly Noel, you're spot on.
    Pat Waine
    339 Posted 17/01/2013 at 12:46:47
    Evertonians attacking Kenwright amuse me. Would you rather have a chairman that isn't a Blue and also has no money?

    Kenwright has steadied the ship after the Johnson era. Like all Blues, I would like a fairy godmother but it's not Bill Kenwright's fault we haven't got one. Remember the shites previous owner that nearly sank them.

    Finding a new owner is not easy. We are in a difficult position and are doing reasonably from that position. The ground issue needs to be sorted but the collapse of International capitalism has not helped us.

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