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Notes on the 2001 Annual General Meeting of Everton Football Club Co Ltd


All members of the Board were present including Paul Gregg.  Sir Philip Carter conducted the meeting as professionally as usual.

Kenwright's & Carter's places on the Board were up for renewal; apparently there were three people due to stand for a position on the board, but all three retracted their applications when they found out who they were opposing.  Two of the three people who were going to oppose the board were unable to attend, but the guy who did attend requested that in future the board should try to appoint a member of the shareholders association.

As usual Phillip Carter went through the financial side of thing quite swiftly, the paper reports at the weekend, stating we were still 29M in debt, were right, as at the end of May 2001, but the debt is now down to under 20M.  Annual salaries are an incredible 29M per year!  And, although our turnover went up, we still incurred a loss, albeit reduced to about 4M.

The board underlined that current borrowings are now under 20 million - and they will NOT gamble with the future of the club as perhaps Chelsea and Leeds are doing.  They will remain prudent and watchful until Kings Dock.  In doing so, they will be keeping ticket prices keen in order to attract an increased fan base to fill a potential 55,000 stadium.

Kenwright only opened his mouth when someone mentioned the Kings Dock.  Kenwright was 'gushing' when going on about the new stadium and all the brilliant, hard work involved - the implication being that maybe (probably?) on-field matters have been neglected, as many think, even though this is denied at board level.  Listening to him and Carter, it would seem that the football side has definitely been neglected.  

Kenwright assured the meeting that Kings Dock would indeed be one of the best if not the best stadium in the world.  The key success in negotiation for the site is that we have cut a great deal in obtaining 49 % ownership for "only" 29M of a massive 350M investment.  How was this possible? Because the project needs Everton's presence and involvement to be viable.  Other than that, if a question was asked, the answer was either "We are not in a position to answer that," or "Trust us; we know what we are doing, we are very good at what we do."

Carter stated that the plans for selling Goodison were well on the way, but he couldn't say any more.  However, he urged us to remember that the sale of Goodison was to finance the new stadium, and so the highest bidder would win; sentiment would not be a factor.  

When asked about preserving the pitch at least, Carter's response was not a positive one when you read between the lines.  This 'highest bidder' thing was also muted regarding the new stadium name, and it all smells a bit like we are to prostitute ourselves here, but shareholders who are not supporters only see the signs.... 

The question of whether Lord Grantchester or others were asked to give the club money to fund transfers etc. was raised, and all Carter said was that was an inappropriate question: ''All board members are aware of the club's situation, and are doing all they can, including digging into their own pockets if necessary.''   Surely the facts of our finances simply do not bear this out?

The best point of the evening was when Ian MacDonald, stood up and begged the press, both national and local, in particular the local press (the Liverpool FC Echo) to get off Everton's back and stop printing negatives all the time.  This was applauded by everyone, except I presume, the press who were in attendance.



Once all the formal information was dealt with, it was open season on Walter Smith.

 Questions and Answers with Walter Smith

Most of the shareholders who posed questions to Walter were quite happy with what he and Archie were doing.  Two people stood up and before asking their questions, begged the board to look after Walter and Archie as much as possible, telling the board that WS and AK were Everton's biggest assets and on both occasions were roundly applauded by approx. 80% of the shareholders present.  Personally I don't think the fans would agree.  These were the main issues:
  1. Get used to everyone being back for a corner - Srchie doesn't like it either but that's the way Walter wants it done and he ain't changing for nobody!
  2. Smith couldn't repeat what he said at half-time against Southampton.  Strachan congratulated him on a masterstroke in bringing Gascoigne and Pembridge on and in doing so pushing Gravesen forward.  Smith thanked him but said " I didn't tell Tommy Gravesen to do it - he makes it up himself as he goes along"
  3. Xavier is unlucky as Stubbs and Weir are playing really well together - but he likes Xavier and wants him to stay.
  4. Smith basically admitted that Ball and Jeffers had to be sold
  5. Smith lamented that it was these two because a) cos they are young (he believes Leeds have bought well) b) They are Evertonians.  He would like more Evertonians in the side, so he said.
  6. Tony Hibbert has done well - but Smith hinted that his mistake at Blackburn has set him back a bit.
  7. Building a new Youth Academy is a Number One priority!!!! This will be taken forward in the next year....
  8. We had a far-eastern player sorted until he went elsewhere (?!) with one eye towards trying to spread the word to a big new market.
  9. There were rumours of a pre-season tour to the USA.
  10. We would enter the InterToto Cup if we qualified.
  11. Walter feels sorry for Joe-Max Moore but says his attitude is spot on and continues to be so.

In a nutshell, his answers hinged on the position: ''That's my opinion of the way the game should be played, and I'm sticking with it.  I've been asked before if I'll change, and I've said 'NO!' ''  Hmmm....

No-one asked about Smith's decision to play a right back a centre forward, thus upsetting the defence, when we have strikers on the bench.

Walter got off very lightly; it was just as well we got a result against Southampton the day before....

Sir Philip closed the meeting by answering a question on the possibility of celebrating should Everton become the first club to mark up 100 years of top-flight football; he assured everyone that, without tempting fate, it would be suitably marked.

No one brought up Nyarko and his fee/wages, or Knox's alleged violence in the dressing room, which they club have never denied, or threatened the various sources with legal action.


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