Parts of this have never left the club fabric, and I hope they never do. Community commitment is one of the the most unique and relatable aspects of EFC, and in an era of super clubs, oligarchic funding, third party ownership, and tax evading stars it is something we must double down on – the idea of community, humanity, inclusion, and sportsmanship above all else. Yes, even above winning. Everton could compete for the League every year, but it wouldn’t matter if we were buying 13 players a season, emptying our youth of local lads, raising ticket prices so the average Liverpudlian isn’t present – taking from the community without giving more in return.
I feel we are well served by Farhad Moshiri, as he has taken a responsible view to management of the Club and its role in the community. As a foreign Evertonian, there is a reason I was so feverishly drawn to this club; a reason why our supporters are made of different stuff. It isn’t the stuff of Chelsea fans, and Reds under the last two American ownerships. Being an Evertonian means something, and every player, supporter, and club employee should embrace that.
The replacement of Goodison, nostalgia aside, is the most important decision for the long term future of the club. With other clubs above us having already solidified their future homes, it is imperative for us to begin construction before summer. The value of an extra 15-20,000 seats over the course of a season (plus Europe) could push £100M per season, effectively paying for contracts and transfers while increased television revenue would handle operation.
The Bramley-Moore Dock is the most sensible location economically for the club and the City of Liverpool. Baltimore in the US is a good example of how a tasteful stadium can start the movement for harbor tourism renewal. It is no secret Liverpool would like the area developed, and a subsidized loan or bond program in conjunction with the government could seriously reduce the borrowing costs of development. Such a win-win situation would offer huge savings for the club, to be used in making sure the team is fighting fit for Europe when the stadium opens.
That said, Everton would need to make some assurances to the citizens of Liverpool to gain approval. The first of which would be the redevelopment of the Goodison Park area, and assistance for existing small businesses reliant on matchday crowds. The second would be a commitment toward financial guarantees to make sure Everton’s financial situation puts the repayment of the City as a prime financial objective, and from a PR perspective, a double-down on community involvement and development. If Everton truly are a community club, this shouldn’t be a problem.
All-in-all, the advantages to a development elsewhere is much less advantageous. The only reasonable second option would be a significant upgrade to Goodison, with a season co-leasing Anfield in the interim.
For those that don’t know, Everton Annual Financial Reports are free to download on the Everton FC website dating back to 2003. Let me take a moment to applaud the transparency, while stating the need for more transparency across football, especially with regard to player transfers and agent fees.
Moving forward, the consolidation of existing debt without interest by Mr Moshiri will save over £5M each season, and drastically improve the liquidity issue within the club. With accounts in good standing, the club rarely has the cash on hand to act freely with transfers and staff hiring. How many of us have bemoaned the long protracted negotiations for Steve Walsh, Ronald Koeman, and the many transfer targets we have missed over compensation? To devote future funds to separate cash holdings for these negotiations would be a big start toward decisive club management – not typically one of our strong suits.
With a positive transfer balance from the summer, and increased TV deals kicking in, the last step toward income security remains an upgraded stadium.
The spending side of the finances requires savvy to compete for titles in the age of increasing financial dominance by select clubs. This is what we hope the value of Steve Walsh will be. If we examine the last window, there were successes, but also much room for improvement.
If we accept that the delay in replacing outgoing manager Roberto Martinez with the combination of Koeman and Walsh led to some of the difficulty, we need only to reference the above comments on the need for increased liquidity and managerial decisiveness. We should count then that this will improve with coming windows. If we believe, as I do, that using the late excuse is painting over some of our errors, let us proceed.
Injuries happen, and they are always unfortunate. It is worth keeping in mind what the presence of a healthy Matt Pennington, Tyias Browning, and Mo Besic would mean to the club when we look in the the last and present window.
The biggest deal was the sale of John Stones to Manchester City for £47½M. This transfer, like the purchase of Ashley Williams for £10M, occurred late in the window. It is worth asking whether the Williams transfer was related to the sale of Stones. I believe not, as it was always suspect as to how much Jagielka would be involved this season, while trusting Holgate, Browning, and Pennington so much over a season would be risky. That said, why the delay in engaging in the purchase of Williams? Surely discussions with Swansea could have been resolved before the Euros were over if there was concern about unsettling Williams.
The Stones sale however, was a financially motivated decision not a footballing one. With the amount of time left on his contract, there was no incentive to sell now. The idea that getting that value, for that player, and the effect it could have on this team being too much to deny is logical. It is safe to state the purchase of Williams and Idrissa Gana Gueye for a combined £17M did more to improve the defense that Stones ever could.
Making calculated purchases and sales like this will need to be the fabric of Everton transfer policy for the foreseeable future if we are to be winners. You can buy a N’Golo Kante for £35M if you are Chelsea, or you can get him for £4M. Only teams like the existing top will be able to consistently spend that type of money. It is not necessary to do so. Spending does not guarantee wins. It is how you spend that matters, unless you are buying established stars.
This is what makes the other transfer of this window so maddening – spending £30M for a 27-year-old Yannick Bolasie. In his last three seasons with Crystal Palace he had 9 goals and 13 assists, with pass accuracy consistently around 72%. Please compare to the 13 goals and 18 assists, with 80% pass accuracy of the £10M 22 year old Nathan Redmond.
Is Bolasie three times the player of Andros Townsend, whose return when playing drastically exceeded him? Paying top price means receiving the type of player who would excel anywhere, linked to other clubs – a Sadio Mane, Andre Schurrle, or Lorenzo Insigne. Why did they believe Yannick’s ceiling to be so high for an established player?
For the current transfer window, many of the existing squad issues from summer are still in need of repair – a long term goalkeeper, an attacking midfielder, center midfielder, a forward behind Lukaku, and clarity in defense. The number of issues may be too many to resolve in one window.
Spending on youth with high ceilings is a bet – the payoff can be a superstar, and is a worthy use of funds. To me, that is the logic of spending £11M on Ademola Lookman, who at time of writing seems certain to arrive. He looks a cross between Alexis Sanchez and good form Theo Walcott, and it is worth taking. I the same argument could be made for spending big on Memphis Depay, Andreas Isak, Jordan Pickford, or Jack Butland (despite his current injury), all commonly linked players.
Spending significant amounts of money on established players out of teams above us is rare in it’s payoff. The purchase of Morgan Schneiderlin wouldn’t increase the standing of the club, only reinforce it, and funds could be better spent elsewhere, if the goal is truly to win. Coupled with this stream of logic is to look abroad more than Everton currently has. Players like Max Meyer, Leon Goretzka, Jonathan Tah, Felipe Anderson, Hakim Ziyech, Davy Klaassen, and Mathew Ryan are relatively underpriced compared to their Premier League equivalents. Their age makes them attractive due to possible resale, even if they don’t become established starters.
There are many things Ronald Koeman still has left to resolve regarding the current squad. There were many problems with the end of the Roberto Martinez era. Some of them have left positive impact on the club that Koeman would be good to make permanent. The youth movement at Everton has placed the club with a squad of Premier League ready youth players. In truth, many of them would be in the first team of many squads. It should be no surprise Everton tops the U23 and U18 leagues.
The task for Koeman will be to carry on the integration of values between the squads, so that players are prepared for first team life at the time of promotion. Second, he will have to identify clear medium term plans for the players, including timing for future loans and their promotion to the first team 23, if not matchday squads. These decisions shouldn’t be taken ad hoc. Koeman shouldn’t be afraid to use his links and send young players abroad, if it means developing certain skills, as well as some adult independence.
If there isn’t a clear path for a player, move them on. At present, there are important decisions to be made to ready Conor Grant, Liam Walsh, Kieran Dowell, Jonjoe Kenney, Tyias Browning, Matthew Pennington, Callum Connolly, Gethin Jones, Mat Hewelt, Russell Griffiths, David Henen, Courtney Duffus, and Sam Byrne. It is no small amount, and it will be hard, but it is time for the next step for these players.
Just as many decisions need to be made about the future of first team squad members. For one, there is the a reoccurring problem under Koeman of not playing to individual strengths. He has frequently asked players to do what they do not specialize in, for the sake of making tactical changes. This stubborn approach has resulted in dropped points to bottom teams, while salvaged points against better ones.
It is not a fair trade however. A team can hunker down for a result every so often, but losing the initiative to dictate play can become toxic. That is the first half season for Everton in a nutshell. Koeman must move-on fringe squad players Kone, Gibson, Cleverly, Oviedo, Garbutt, McAleny, and Rodriguez.
He also must explain the status of Deulofeu, McCarthy, and Niasse. With Deulofeu, it has to be why Koeman doesn’t think he is able to be the creator on this team. Last term Geri produced 4 goals and 13 assists in 1,835 minutes in all competitions as a young player, while setting the youth scoring record for Spain, and being the leader of that team. Compare that to Bolasie’s 6 and 6 in 2,464 minutes. Why does that quality not translate with Koeman? In terms of ceiling, he has more potential than any player bar Lukaku, and maybe Davies. It is up to the manager to make it that talent produce for the team, not marginalize it.
Similarly, why with all of the struggles, has Niasse been written off so badly? Is he really, for all the recent hyperbole, that much worse than Enner Valencia? David Unsworth seems to think he is a talented hard working bloke, so where is the miscommunication? The transfer fee is a sunk cost, so it is simply just the case of moving him on at whatever fee.
The point is this lack of congruence between the reserve manager and the gaffer. James McCarthy has had an unlucky season. For all his hard work, he has been set up to fail by Koeman. As Gana has seen his form slip, McCarthy was the standout midfielder in those games, in his preferred role. If he still has a role to play in this team, he should be playing it while healthy. If not, he too should be moved on.
Tactics and Results
Having touched on it before, there is just a little more to say about tactics and the Martinez legacy. One of the other good bits about Bobby was that the team retained the ball and scored goals. The expectation under Koeman was that the set-piece issue would get fixed, and the defense would improve. Instead, the long ball play from Koeman has actually destabilized the team, increasingly isolating Lukaku and offering possession to the other side to mount another attack.
Help in the midfield is necessary with injuries to Besic and McCarthy, and the rapid aging of Barry, and while Tom Davies has helped, it is still one of the issues we identified. That said, playing retention football through the defensive midfielders to the attacking full backs, to allow the team to regroup, has been marginalized in place of the long ball. There is less danger from counter in those areas. Playing to foot must be re-emphasized, and if there is no better argument, watch the passing movements from the last 20 minutes in the most recent match against Southampton.
Set-pieces are still a total mess. Why Baines has not been taking a greater share of corners and free kicks is anyone’s guess. With Deulofeu not in the side, we are without likely our best taker. Defensively, the packing the box has proved counter productive, and it is time for Koeman to leave one player up to keep the opposition honest, and provide a foil and willing runner for counter-attacks. Not deploying players on the posts have exacerbated marking failures, as the first goal at Hull proved. As for the marking itself, it seems there is just not enough drilling to get players following their marks, especially on the second ball.
The last piece of analysis is that of the lacking identity of team play. Everton thus far have dropped more points against the six sides below than those above. The inability to take play to inferior teams and win is currently the biggest issue with this side. Instead of developing tactics and changes to repress opponents, Koeman must start building sides to win. If we believe in the future potential of players like Barkley, Lukaku, Deulofeu, and Davies to drive the side, the time is now to give them the chance to play and learn together. If it isn’t to be, it is better to have tried, and know for sure, than to restrain them and still produce mediocre results.
The team has had lots of growth to do since the Moyes-Kenwright Era. Thus far, it has gone well, if not totally according to plan, through the youth development under Martinez, to the financial management of Moshiri, to the transfer and scouting independence of Walsh, to Koeman’s experience of success. So far, the recent developments have been a mixed bag. It is up to Walsh and Koeman to learn and improve, while Moshiri supplies the means with a new stadium, so that Everton can begin filling the trophy cabinet in 2017.
Reader Comments (34)
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1 Posted 04/01/2017 at 14:48:12
2 Posted 04/01/2017 at 15:18:12
3 Posted 04/01/2017 at 15:29:58
The part about the special values and culture that make Everton truly unique are a timely reminder to this jaded old Evertonian as to why he has persisted for 63 years,so thank you for that particularly.
I look forward to more articles from you.
4 Posted 04/01/2017 at 15:39:31
5 Posted 04/01/2017 at 15:46:27
Nobody on the posts, just a melee of players in a bunch around the penalty spot, no one up front means no out ball, leave 2 up and then the opposition will leave 4/5 back.
6 Posted 04/01/2017 at 15:47:55
7 Posted 04/01/2017 at 15:57:25
Not sure Schneiderlin for £24m can be justified when the very useful Rincon (captain of Venezuela) was bought by Juve for less than £7m yesterday.
I too think we overpaid massively for Bolasie which i'm prepared to do with a player who will make a huge difference to our team but not for someone who is only a marginal (if that) improvement on what we have.
8 Posted 04/01/2017 at 16:02:58
Our Community contributions depend on our footballing success, not the other way around. We are customarily patronised as a good old family club, no threat to the winners. We need to be careful that we don't play to that image.
9 Posted 04/01/2017 at 16:04:08
And you are right regarding Bolasie it was a crazy signing.
10 Posted 04/01/2017 at 16:18:55
I agree completely Everton FC is a football club and nothing should detract from its core business which is to win football matches.
I love the fact that the people involved in Everton from directors to the average fans take time out to help under-privileged people regain their places in society, and that shouldn't be treated lightly, as it is right and proper.
Whilst I don't want Everton FC to become a corporate non-entity, soulless and devoid of any social responsibility, I do want the main focus of the club and its board to fund and help the manager to get a winning team out on the pitch and the other aspects of the club can only benefit from having a successful football team.
11 Posted 04/01/2017 at 16:26:53
The two things are not mutually exclusive. Only in the money grubbing Sky world of the Premier League does one take such precedence and dominance over the other.
Oscar called it knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing.
That is how you end up with the football tourists and glory hunters that infest the so-called top clubs... but a balance can and should be achieved.
12 Posted 04/01/2017 at 16:29:57
My only gripe with your article is your estimate of matchday income in a new stadium... £100 mill per year including an extra 15-20,000 seats. I can't see how that adds up.
Even if this was possible, surely it goes against the whole argument you make about EFC being so much of a community club. The prices would have to be sky-high to generate such money. The advent of a new arena on the waterfront might get us a few more matches on telly, but most viewers will want to see teams at the top playing each other (as happens now). And, even though we may love to look at a shiney new stadium, the average Joe in middle England couldn't give a toss.
Anyway, very interesting and it whets my appetite for this transfer window.
13 Posted 04/01/2017 at 16:32:11
I never thought the two were mutually exclusive but banging the drum for community projects when the club is having a bad time on the pitch or is doing relatively badly with its commercial deals etc, shouldn't be used by the club to deflect attention from its failings either. Balance can be achieved both ways.
14 Posted 04/01/2017 at 16:51:10
I think we may be violently agreeing. Palmer in his original post says that, as a foreign Evertonian, it was these very values that drew him to Everton in the first place. That is one reason why it is important to retain them. It makes us unique and we seem to be good at these softer ethical matters.
What we are not good at is running a successful football club from a commercial point of view but hopefully that may be about to change, but that has no bearing on the community/altruistic aspects of the club or vice versa.
We can and must do both and I hope that the will is there to do so.
15 Posted 04/01/2017 at 17:23:39
To be honest, I feel no sense of that with Everton. As with most if not all Premier League clubs; the role of the supporter is to provide a backdrop and soundtrack for a very expensive TV product.
16 Posted 04/01/2017 at 17:28:53
This club under the control of "the Coronation Street" no mark is just a laughing stock, & will continue to be - regardless of any of our new monies gained transfers continue to be under the auspices of our board regardless of Walsh etc.
I would really like to see some light at the end of the road but I'm not overly optimistic!!!
17 Posted 04/01/2017 at 17:39:02
With a fan committee to administer and suggest how money is spent. For me it would not be on player wages but maybe on youth or infrastructure but that would be member choice and a list of options could be agreed with Board.
I'd probably sign up and be proud to be a member. Income, eg, 25,000 x £120 pa (£10 pm) = £3M. Useful and if sold and marketed well could be a cool thing to be part of. (I have a horrid feeling I may be showing ignorance and this exists already.)
18 Posted 04/01/2017 at 17:41:09
I note with interest the debate you have re-ignited concerning Everton's role in supporting charitable and community projects, and in particular I refer to the exchanges between Patrick Murphy and Chris Williams. I come down heavily on Patrick's side here; I am very happy and proud to see an Everton with a social conscience but unfortunately the tail that is EitC is now wagging the dog.
I have commented previously on TW about the comfort-zone culture on the non-playing side of the club and the fact that Mrs Barratt-Baxendale was promoted to Deputy CEO of EFC without having to relinquish her jealously guarded high-profile status as CEO of EitC illustrates the complacency behind the scenes. Is there a conflict of interest here? Perhaps not, but there is definitely a case for arguing that the club needs a full-time Deputy CEO who has a laser focus on (and preferably a deep understanding of) football and business, thus allowing Mrs B-B to concentrate on developing the club's charitable work.
As a passionate Blue with, fortunately, the means so to do, I donated a lot of money over the years to EitC. I no longer feel able to do this for a number of reasons, one of which is this structural weakness of governance that allows what should be a commendable sideshow to become the main event. I gave money to the charity because it carried the name of my team; I don't go to watch the team because I like the charity.
19 Posted 04/01/2017 at 18:14:22
Well researched, well thought out and presented extremely eloquently. Very timely, too, as in a few hours the AGM will sit and discuss some of the issues you raise.
Hopefully, our new benefactor will put in an appearance. The first opportunity, if he does so, to directly address the heart and soul of the club, its supporters.
Equally hopefully, there will be some revelation on the stadium question, improved income streams, hell even about incoming players.
I for one am very pleased you highlighted the importance of Everton's role and importance within the community. Not wishing to diss or disagree with either Tony Hill or Patrick Murphy that EitC initiatives should not distract or deflect from the club's 'primary' role as they see it - that is, winning football matches and (please mercy, before I die...) trophies, the club's work in the community is something that gives me particular pride as an Everton supporter. It DOES make Everton a cut above the rest.
Dermont references Barcelona in this connection. Let's not forget that it was Barcelona who studied Everton's former player foundation and duplicated and implemented it at their own club (as have other major football clubs). Indeed, unless I'm mistaken, I believe even today something like 1% of all Barca players' salaries is donated to their former player fund.
Once again, in closing, congratulations Palmer on the most readable and enjoyable article on here in many a long day. Thank you.
21 Posted 04/01/2017 at 21:32:29
The signing of players like Niasse and others, the extension of contracts to some, are decisions that, in any world other than the mad unaccountable shite that is the Premier League, would render some unemployable for life.
"Move on", is a nicer term than "ship out" but it is still as pointless. They are people, not chess pieces.
22 Posted 05/01/2017 at 01:28:25
I do think that perhaps Deulofeu should have been given more chances, but on the other hand look at his stats for 90 mins completed. Maybe he just hasn't got the stamina?
23 Posted 05/01/2017 at 05:30:02
Bolasie was shocking business. Pace and power but very little football intelligence. Too much showboating and not enough craft. Insanity in my opinion to pay that kind of wedge for a player in their late 20s who is not going to deliver consistent quality.
I feel sorry for the lad on a human level and hope he returns to full fitness, but he's not the type of player we need.
24 Posted 05/01/2017 at 08:28:54
25 Posted 05/01/2017 at 19:28:40
26 Posted 05/01/2017 at 19:43:13
Tony Hill (#8): spot on. The community thing has become a useful diversion, from the club's perspective, from the unsatisfactory state of affairs on the field.
27 Posted 05/01/2017 at 19:52:55
28 Posted 05/01/2017 at 19:54:57
29 Posted 06/01/2017 at 00:17:52
The £100m extra stadium revenue is the highest estimate. I got that number by multiplying the extra 20,000 seats by £75, an assumed average ticket price for three years from now, times 30 home games for a total of £45m.
Now assume an increase in ticket prices for European games, and for the very expensive club boxes they almost always build into these new stadiums, and another bonus for summer concerts at a beautiful riverside stadium just look at the 66,000 people who went to see Springsteen at San Siro and £100m starts to be plausible.
As for players, there is a market for them when you consider not driving a hard bargain. Even getting them off the wage bill, plus the opportunity cost of giving more training time to youth, and releasing players might even be financially prudent. They are people, and they get a say over their lives. For many of them, the chance to play, or make more money in China, or MLS, would be welcome.
There is obviously a balance to maintain between sporting success and community activity, but they are not mutually exclusive. Having Mrs Barrett-Baxendale as the Deputy CEO, and in charge of EitC is only a testament to her operational acumen. Running a club is big work, and the key to success at this level of management is the ability to effectively delegate tasks to the individuals best suited and to maintain the achievement of goals and timelines.
Football isn't that different from other businesses, especially businesses with barriers to entry. She is being rewarded for management skills. Thanks again everyone!
30 Posted 06/01/2017 at 01:10:22
The latter two are a first for the club, while the shirt sponsor is the highest grossing deal in history. Remember that the Umbro kit deal was the first time in history the club was paid to wear someone's kit. This is amazing stuff on the financial front.
That said, if we could only loosen ourselves from the Direct Sports marketing of EFC-licensed products, and get them around the city and country more...
31 Posted 08/01/2017 at 11:40:08
That said, I wrote back in 2008-ish something that strongly agrees with a few comments above that we are a football club, thus our prime reason for existing is to win football matches. At that time I wrote it to support the massive changes of culture that would have been demanded by our move to a new stadium.
Now I repeat it as we have an opportunity to truly compete once more thanks to large incoming investment I assume I will get a little less opposition this time?
32 Posted 08/01/2017 at 16:39:38
And he and Thomas Lennon and others should realise that nobody is criticising EitC per se. What is being said is simply that the tail is wagging the dog. EitC is highly commendable and it deserves to have its own separate Chief Executive.
Even more deservedly, not to say desperately, Everton Football Club must have a CEO and Deputy CEO whose sole focus is on supporting the club to achieve success on the pitch.
33 Posted 10/01/2017 at 07:25:32
And a good point about the long ball leaving Lukaku isolated up front. Set pieces as well, good observation although this has been the case for years under three different Managers. You just wonder how much we practice them in training, just as you wonder why we don't leave a man up at corners and defend the posts.
Personally, I just think there is a mentally weak squad of players, many of whom are here from abroad for the money. You only have to see Funes Mori rocking up on Instagram in Barcelona the Sunday morning after being knocked out of the Cup by Leicester to see that some of them just don't get it. They do what they have to, they say all the right things, but when push comes to shove many of them can't go the extra mile, the last 20 mins on Saturday being a good example.
Holiday Camp Martinez is still alive and as I'm sure Ronald knows, it's shutting that down that is his biggest priority.
34 Posted 12/01/2017 at 09:25:40
Is Tom Cleverley really that bad he is not worthy of a place in our squad? I think we end up arguing over the merits of certain players because at some point we have shouted "You're shite!" at them from the stands.
When I was (a lot) younger I couldn't see the point of Barry Horne being in our team, but that game against Wimbledon in 1994, if he hadn't been on the pitch we might have gone down.
Managers run the clubs, fans shout their opinions from the sidelines, in such a well considered piece I thought repeating the names of those players a bit unfair.
35 Posted 13/01/2017 at 00:05:43
They are everything wholesome about sports as community organizers. I adamantly hope that EitC maintains a high level of outreach, and not focus only on the pitch. I think that there is no reason why one has to trade off with the other.
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