For six months, there was a tantalising air of mystery around the Iranian-born billionaire who splits his time between residences in London and Monaco and claims as his long-time friend and business partner, one of the richest men on the planet in the form of Alisher Usmanov.
There was a feeling that that sense of mystique may have been unceremoniously blown away by his unexpected use of Sky Sports’ Jim White as the messenger of his thoughts in August, with rhetoric that was confident before the closure of the transfer window and arguably more confusing on the morning after the frustrations of deadline day itself, but Evertonians have been waiting to hear more from Moshiri and his plans ever since.
The painful 5-0 drubbing at the hands of Chelsea may have been the catalyst but the elusive Mr Moshiri has at last spoken again in what is his first real live interview. And the conduit may have again been White, this time via talkSPORT, and not the Official Site (presumably in the interests of national PR for Everton) but the 13-minute chat was candid, revealing and should be hugely encouraging for Everton supporters.
In it, he almost casually describes the kinds of dramatic forward steps that seemed far out of our reach just nine months ago but which have been taken in a relatively short space of time. If true — as we must assume they are — they represent huge strides in positioning Everton to be able to seriously compete with its former peers and inferiors in years to come.
Substantial progress on delivering the new stadium that Moshiri insists Everton “must have”; the clearing of debt from the club’s books (how much exactly he doesn’t specify but the removal of just the bank covenants on Goodison Park would represent an important start; the provision of “financial flexibility”; the search for more lucrative commercial deals; and robust backing for Ronald Koeman in the transfer market. Even taken in isolation, any one of those developments would have been seen as huge for the club by fans; together they represent a quantum shift in the footing on which Everton Football Club stands.
A section of the fanbase is going to need to be convinced, however. Having born witness to a succession of false dawns, been let down by four failed stadium initiatives, phantom investors and broken player recruitment promises at various times over the past two decades, many Blues have developed a thick skin of reinforced cynicism and distrust. For them, it’s going to take more than grandiose talk and intangible teases of an imminent solution to the stadium issue for them to believe that Moshiri is the long-awaited saviour delivered by Bill Kenwright and not just his puppet.
It’s a point I was going to make in a response to this surprisingly pessimistic Talking Points submission, one that thanks to ToffeeWeb’s open-door policy with regard to opinions illustrates just how deep this cynicism runs among some sections of the fanbase. They won’t be convinced Everton are on the right track under the new major shareholder until there is concrete evidence of something big.
The signs were already there though that Moshiri’s arrival has marked something very different and that this isn’t just business as usual at Everton in the context of the preceding 16 challenging years.
It’s easy to overlook the significance of not only the relative speed with which Moshiri cut ties with Roberto Martinez and hired Ronald Koeman — it came a month too late for many people’s liking, myself included, but it wouldn’t have been a surprise under the old regime had the Catalan been afforded another few months of this season to prove he could right the ship — but also the costs involved, ones that would have been prohibitive before he arrived.
A reported £10m compensation to Martinez, another £5m to Southampton to release Koeman and Jan Kluitenburg from their contracts at the St Mary’s, and then another £6m a year in salary to the Dutch manager is not small money. That’s before the summer’s transfer dealings, of course, which would have been net negative to the tune of £30m (thereby going a way towards negating the lingering “sell-to-buy” accusations) had Moussa Sissoko not effected a last-minute volte face and signed for Tottenham on transfer deadline day. Much of that money would have come from the club’s share of the massive television broadcast deals, of course, but prior to Moshiri, the manager saw very little of that revenue, a good portion of it going into player salaries and servicing debt.
As has already been said among the comments on these pages, the proof of the really substantial pudding will be in the eating and until Moshiri delivers on the promise of a new ground in particular – the day ground is broken, hopefully at Bramley-Moore Dock, will be a transformative one in terms of unifying opinion – and backs Koeman in the transfer market with significant funds over and above player sales, there will always be doubters.
There has been enough to whet the appetite for supporters in just the past few months, however, that the former Arsenal stakeholder truly has a vision for the club and has both the means and the desire to deliver on it. All that is required in the interim is a little faith and a good dose of patience, and that applies where Koeman is concerned, too. Turning the good ship Everton completely around will take plenty of time.
Reader Comments (15)
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1 Posted 08/11/2016 at 01:09:34
The most moderate view they can countenance, even on the least innocuous bland statement seems to be... "Yeah, well he would say that, wouldn't he, aka, he's not going to tell us the truth we couldn't handle the truth" etc, etc.
Maybe for once the cigar is just a cigar, just a good smoke... nothing else... I mean we've all seen, heard, read about people from all over the world who have been bitten by the blue bug... it could happen.
Meanwhile, back in the real world; he's a billionaire and his mate's a bigger one (I was a welder big deal).
So there's money to be made, he's a billionaire, they make money.
So he has to build us a decent team with a new ground to have some added value to sell on well boo fuckin hoo.
But I would say that wouldn't I, because round the back of the shed is the empty, rapidly shrinking and dissolving pod thingy I've just come out of.
2 Posted 08/11/2016 at 09:47:02
3 Posted 08/11/2016 at 11:25:53
4 Posted 08/11/2016 at 12:38:13
But unfortunately in 45 years I have never disliked or mistrusted an Everton team as much as this one. This shower of millionaires who effectively downed tools for the last 6 months of the Martinez regime, and as a result are now beyond regaining the self-confidence, determination or basic skills needed to sustain performances worthy of the fans. Every last one of them can go to Hell.
5 Posted 08/11/2016 at 14:12:32
While for every Chelsea / Man City who go nuts with new money, there is also a Blackburn, or Leeds who blow it. A firm hand and level head are what's needed here and with Moshiri I think we have it.
Now we need to focus on the players, never mind a firm hand, a steel toe-capped size 11 where the sun don't shine is what is required.
Tactics being wrong will not stop a professional footballer from being able to make a tackle or pass a ball to feet, or run into space. That is Football 101, surely? Hopefully this is the lowest point, and it's onwards and upwards on the slippery slope.
7th is not a bad position just now, but we MUST see the effort put in to avoid the inherent pessimism born of being a long-suffering Evertonian to creep in and settle like the skin on rancid custard.
6 Posted 08/11/2016 at 17:53:12
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster,
And treat those two impostors just the same.
7 Posted 08/11/2016 at 18:02:14
By the way, in case any of you have taken real stick after Saturday. just do as I do – say deadpan "at least it wasn't Stoke". They have short memories those RS lot. They've even forgotten the League lasts 38 games, not 11.
8 Posted 08/11/2016 at 18:20:12
This interview has answered a lot of my questions. It's obvious he's been doing quite a bit behind the scenes; debt, stadium etc. It's also clear that he doesn't want to be involved with the day-to-day running of Everton.
He discussed Kenwright and Koeman, and their roles, but I thought it strange Walsh wasn't mentioned.
This gives is something to talk about during the International break... and provides a handy way to maybe forget the Chelsea debacle.
10 Posted 08/11/2016 at 19:52:31
But I cannot see why Mr Moshiri would have become involved unless it is to try something big. In his short time here he has put down some pretty substantial foundations. Ground works and footings are never glamorous, but once the building starts to emerge it suddenly all becomes clear.
This may be wishful thinking on my part, an unsubstantiated hunch. But I'm clinging to it.
11 Posted 08/11/2016 at 23:04:05
Never forget the massive wedge Mr Kenwright must surely have trousered from the Moshiri takeover. I really hope he had the decency, don't laugh, to personally fork out the £10 mill reportedly paid out to the Catalan turd he appointed in the first place and then extended his contract on a reportedly much enhanced basis.
Kenwright's finest comedy ever... except nobody amongst us was laughing yonks before the curtain fell.
12 Posted 09/11/2016 at 08:34:27
13 Posted 09/11/2016 at 10:35:59
14 Posted 09/11/2016 at 14:49:14
Our performance was dire, it happens, and it may happen again to us or others this season; we might even be on the winning side of such a result in the future. it wouldn't surprise me.
I think the whole diabolical 90 minutes has a silver lining. It as brought so much into sharp focus and will really set the tone for what happens between now and the new year sales. I think the team-sheet for 2017 will look a bit different but it will certainly feature Gueye, Davies, a reformed Barkley (I hope) and Captain Williams or Rooney. The rest will have to step up to the plate or sod off with a mix of youth and new boys.
It takes time, guys, and Koeman is still experimenting with the chemistry. Let him do what we believe he can do and see where it takes us. If 5-0 drubbings become the norm, then will be the time to revolt.
15 Posted 09/11/2016 at 19:52:03
16 Posted 09/11/2016 at 20:19:56
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