Time for Patience – On the Pitch, at Least

Brands and Silva have to restructure the footballing side of the organisation. That cannot be done in one window, it might be done in three or four. It will require a huge amount of patience from fans but it also urgently requires an explanation from those in charge

Paul The Esk 18/07/2018 33comments  |  Jump to last
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It’s the 15th July, the World Cup Final has just finished, and undoubtedly for many Evertonians attention will return to the fact we’ve not signed anyone to date, in this window.

Frustration, disbelief, anger, and fear are just some of the emotions expressed on social media, no doubt accelerated by the changes to the English transfer window. This year’s window for purchases, at least, closes on Thursday 9th August, 2 days before the opening fixture of the 2018/19 season.

I’d like to examine the logical reasons for not having done business so far.

Let’s start with what we know.

We have a new manager, and most importantly a new Director of Football. Both have been tasked with two priorities. Repairing the footballing, economic and I’d say cultural damage ravaged upon the club during the Koeman/Walsh and Allardyce/Walsh reigns, and secondly build a sustainable footballing platform from which we can develop an  Everton specific footballing ethos throughout the club.

The ills of the club are not going to be fixed by a few quick player acquisitions this window. The solutions are much more complex, and to be sustainable will take some time.

So deep and significant is the damage caused by the last two years of mismanagement that this is a task of almost Herculean proportions. It cannot be, and will not be solved in one window, especially a World Cup window. The repair and restructuring must be viewed over a period of time, certainly three windows, two seasons, at least.

It’s also set against a decidedly poorer economic situation and outlook for the club than that of two years ago – more on that later.

Footballing damage

Let’s start with the footballing damage. We have a decidedly weaker, poorer and less balanced squad of players than the squad inherited by Koeman. We have sold our best players (Stones, Lukaku, Barkley, Deulofeu) and recruited, in the main, poorer, more expensive replacements. Players such as Williams, Bolasie (possibly due to injury), Schneiderlin, Klaassen, and Ramirez have been poor and expensive replacements. Tellingly we have been unable to move on the “deadwood”, those contracted by Everton but unlikely to feature or contribute much to the first team. As a result, the squad size has ballooned, and we have a large number of players with no realistic chance of first team football, picking up wages and reducing the cohesion of the club.

Leadership is another critical aspect for this season. We have lacked leadership over the pitch for many years in my opinion, not only from a playing captain but also from the manager/coach. We’ve lacked a clear identity.  A mark of our determination to change the ethos of the club should be made apparent in the recognition of a new Captain. In his tenth year at the club, there is no stronger candidate than Seamus Coleman. Not only does he represent the finest of the Everton spirit, he has the strength of character to inspire others to work harder, and give more than their talent suggests.

We do have a great deal of young talent, developed at Finch Farm, or acquired early in their careers. It’s probably true to say in the last 12 months the progress of pretty much all of that talent base has stalled. I can only assume that’s a combination of poor management, training and the general atmosphere within the football club. The development of this talent will be critical for both footballing but also economic reasons. It will be one of the primary objectives for both Silva and Brands.

Economics

There have been many reasons put forward as to why we haven’t signed anyone yet. Let’s be clear, the squad size, the amount spent in the last two years (£259 million out-goings, and £167 million in receipts) and particularly the increase in wages (2015/16 £94 million, 2016/17 £106 million, and 2017/18 est £139.5 million) are not sustainable, particularly the wage spend.

We cannot only generate £175-£185 million per annum in revenues and spend £140 million of that on wages. Champions League participation supports that (and higher) wage spend. However, we currently remain a club that qualifies irregularly for the Europa League. Therefore, the wage bill has to be reduced.

It is clear from the comments by Moshiri at the AGM in January and subsequent comments by Silva and Brands that the squad size must be reduced along with the total wage bill before significant player incomings will be considered. This is based on the not unreasonable assumption that Moshiri is keeping his resources for the stadium rather than ploughing even more capital into the playing squad. Equally, lenders will need to see a cost base in line with current income, particularly in the period between borrowing funds and the new stadium opening.

The stadium

The build cost of the stadium has increased significantly in the last two years (which begs the question about the delays in the last 12 months…) rising from an estimated £300-350 million to a figure likely to be in excess of £500 million. This change, without a significant capital injection by Moshiri and/or other investors will impact our ability to spend on transfers and on wages.

Assuming we can borrow 75% of the cost of the stadium (either from the Council plus a lender, or from a number of private sector financial institutions), the club is still at least £125 million short of the total cost. This will have to be met by shareholders, most likely in its entirety by Moshiri himself.

This is set against a potentially difficult time for Moshiri’s main business interests,  his operating environment has changed significantly since February 2016. This does not mean as some have suggested he’s run out of cash or has no wealth, however this clearly impacts our ability to spend expansively, especially whilst the wage bill runs amock.

Therefore this window will not be like last year’s signing fest which ultimately has proved to be disastrously expensive in so many ways. I’d argue even if it was, that it would not solve the ills of the club.

Off the pitch

Whilst on the pitch requires, by necessity, patience, off the pitch the club can make decisive moves which should produce quicker returns on investment than the playing side. If we as fans want to demonstrate impatience, then it is to be directed at the board. Decisiveness and speed must be the only way forward. Ensuring Bramley-Moore is funded, approved and built on time and in budget. Ensuring that the commercial performance of the club, it’s expectations and global growth plans are agreed and executed by experienced commercial professionals with a career record of operating in fast growing companies. Success in this area makes the roles of Brands and Silva so much easier, allowing for higher ambitions and targets to be set. The reverse though is also true, which is why the board should have no greater priority than ensuring (as with the footballing side) removal of the deadwood and the introduction of proven, fresh, hungry talent in the boardroom.

Patience

Brands and Silva have to restructure the footballing side of the organisation. Given that primarily involves (other than building an organisational structure throughout the club) moving those not wanted out, reducing costs, and replacing with younger, less expensive but higher potential players, it requires patience. That cannot be done in one window, it might be done in three or four. In that time we can hope for an improvement on the pitch, a better style of football, a return to the “Everton way”, a recognisable improvement path and perhaps a realistic go at the Cup competitions.

It will require a huge amount of patience from fans. To be fair to fans, it also urgently requires an explanation from those in charge, particularly at Board level.

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Reader Comments (33)

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Paul Kernot
1 Posted 18/07/2018 at 04:02:58
Balanced, considered analysis, Paul. As you pointed out, at this time of year, particularly this year we're hungry for genuine good news. Hope, in short. Problem is, recently that's been all about spending on players. Not easy, but we all need to admit that it just can't & won't continue.

Our biggest hope for this season can surely only be that the new management team will show us a definite direction out of the mess we're in, then commit to it & at least get some progress towards improvement.

Patience, I agree is required from us. We're not good at that evidently but this time, I don't think we have a choice. I come on here every day looking for, I don't know what really. As the Police say: Nothing to see here, go home!

David Ellis
2 Posted 18/07/2018 at 04:25:05
Paul – another great article.Last summer was so exciting. I still haven't recovered from the disappointment of how it panned out. Obviously the wage bill needs trimming, but mainly we have to hope that in the short term Silva can get the team playing attractive top 7 football and longer-term Brands can get a good pipeline of players coming through.

For Top 6 we need a miracle – either a low key transfer that pays of spectacularly or a few of the kids suddenly stepping up or Silva just getting the squad to play better or frankly all 3. After 45 years of hoping and the stars aligning but 3 times in that period (1970 and 1985... and kind of 1987), I"m a sucker for more hope!

David Ellis
3 Posted 18/07/2018 at 04:38:05
Also off the pitch there have been changes made at board level and clearer reporting lines. I have high hopes for DBB.
Mike Gaynes
4 Posted 18/07/2018 at 06:20:16
Paul, interesting analysis.

I'm not sure what kind of "explanation" you're looking for, and frankly I wouldn't put much stock in what a Board member has to say anyway. The necessary restructuring, as you point out, has already begun... and while the executive suite is important, Brands and Silva will make or break this effort.

I would, however, quibble with some of your assessment of the footballing damage. True, we've made some poor purchases -- and I would also number Keane among the errors -- but we've also made some that I believe will turn out to be brilliant in Sigurdsson, Walcott, Lookman and Tosun, and of course Pickford is already a spectacular success. I think you should have mentioned those as well as the failures.

And I would vehemently dispute your inclusion of Deulofeu among our "best players" sold. There is absolutely nothing to regret in his departure. Note that Barcelona, after activating his buyback from us, required only 17 games to determine that he was all flash and no product -- just as Sevilla, Everton and Milan had all determined previously. I eagerly await Watford's December visit to enjoy the footballing lesson he will get from the supposedly "too slow" Baines. No contest.

Your most important point is the need for patience among the fans, and I heartily agree with you.

Amit Vithlani
5 Posted 18/07/2018 at 06:40:44
"This is set against a potentially difficult time for Moshiri’s main business interests,  his operating environment has changed significantly since February 2016".

Would you be able to share the details behind this statement?

Peter Lee
6 Posted 18/07/2018 at 07:43:44
I fervently hope for a season of progress when we see a side with shape and style.

However, we are likely to be watching largely the same set of players as last season. My heart sank when I saw Mirallas returning to training.

Arguments raged last season between the majority, who believed that more could be achieved with what we had from January, and those who believed that we had a poor, unbalanced squad that was lucky to be where it was on the league.

I think the first half of the season ahead will settle that argument.

As for the very reasoned article which points out that we had a bloated, unbalanced and overpaid squad and that business this summer would be both difficult and limited, and that it would take two years further to see results, well!

Love him or hate him, Allardyce said exactly that as soon as he walked through the door.

Alex Doyle
7 Posted 18/07/2018 at 08:03:02
I'd be reasonably optimistic that we'll see a marked improvement with the same squad.

I'm not concerned about the lack of signings and the focus on our talented younger players seems like the right approach to me.

If we end up with seventh again, fine, as long as we can see an identity and a clear path for progression. And if the media can see the same, there shouldn't be too much pressure to handle.

Jim Bennings
8 Posted 18/07/2018 at 08:03:54
ITs a very well written article but aren’t we continually told to always have patience?

As Evertonians I think this is now wearing (or rather worn) a bit thin.

Football is a game for today not tomorrow, and at Everton we are continually told that tomorrow will be our time, but it never comes.

We don’t really ask for the world as Blues supporters, there’s no huge demands on winning the League or annually expected Champions League appearances but take into account the following..

Year in year out there is seldom a serious crack at winning a domestic Cup.

We rarely win a game against a top opponent to at least give the fans some optimism that a challenge of better things is around the corner, our record at Arsenal (no win since 1996), Chelsea (no win since 1994), one win at Old Trafford since 1992 and well, the leas said about our Anfield and Merseyside derby record the better.

Everton bobble along year in year out nowadays almost like a 1980’s Coventry City, a team happy to be floating around in the middle of the pack with no real intentions of challenging or causing waves at the top end of the table.

I think as long suffering loyal fans patience is the one thing we have had to show for decades, it’s now a time when perhaps someone raised the bar of expectations and said “enough is enough, it’s time this club started doing something memorable “.

I have no idea where the Silva era will take us but the club simply has to start moving forward this season otherwise what’s the point in new managers on a yearly basis but the club always being stood in the same place?

Ash Moore
9 Posted 18/07/2018 at 08:22:35
I'm with Jim Bennings. Patience is one thing. The longest trophy drought in our history and no timetable on when that might end is another.
If the club put it's cards on the table and discussed expectations with the fans it would be one thing. They do not. And not long after the Foxes (!) became premier league champions people are still making the same old excuses. At this level there is NOT a huge amount of difference, a style that works and players that can make it work CAN and HAVE won the league.
The club really needs to have more dialogue with the fans on where we are, and where we want to go. Then we can work out how to get there, and agree what represents progress.
Give me a reason to be patient. After twenty three years Evertonians deserve that much.
Jim Bennings
10 Posted 18/07/2018 at 08:49:58
Ash#

Couldn’t agree more!

We are forever told that in 5 years time the young of players aren’t “going to be great and ripping up the league” but chances are that most will have fallen by the wayside and if any do become a real talent they’ll be sound on in the same manner Stones and Lukaku were (somehow can’t see DCL or Holgate/Kenny etc fetching £75 million anytime soon though) .

I am tired of being patient and the reality is, the same people telling us to be patient today, July 18th 2018 will still be telling us to be patient in July 18th 2022.

Jim Bennings
11 Posted 18/07/2018 at 09:08:27
The one thing Everton’s board has always been very good at is buying time and patience especially with the more naive of our fan base.

They have been doing it for years, promising big things whilst slyly selling on the silver and replacing it with lesser quality.

Apart from the period between 2006-2009 under Moyes, when maybe that team had the nucleus of winning something and came close once or twice, we have slowly gone backwards ever since (Martinez first season the one exception).

Simon Jones
12 Posted 18/07/2018 at 09:42:27
Allardyce played a certain way and probably damaged our eyes and hearts, but more than likely, achieved what he was tasked with. He had the players he had and worked with what was in front of him. Some players he probably liked, some less so (Lookman?). Walcott came in under his reign, I'd argue that landing him was a quality signing. I don't see the footballing damage under him.

Pro players should be able to play a different way for a different manager. I expect them to be asked to play more attacking football from the start of this season. The so-called damage I believe relates to the previous style of play. It is my opinion that the same players will also be able to perform well in a different formation with a different mindset applied.

'Deadwood' is an interesting term. I think most ToffeeWebbers think you mean Mirallas, Williams & Bolasie. Bolasie suffered a bad injury and was never the finished article even from day one. The £28M paid for Bolasie hangs around his neck, but he's not "Deadwood."

I think age has caught up with Williams. Schneiderlin & Besic may also turn out to be surplus to requirements, one suffered poor form, the other is likely not up to standard, but I could never bring myself to describe Besic as "Deadwood".

Mirallas, though, I'd give him a lift to the next club meself!

Mike Allison
13 Posted 18/07/2018 at 13:41:18
I think you’re excessively negative about the football side of things. You seem to talk about he structure of the club when really you mean an oversized first team squad. The structure of the club is pretty sound, with clear pathways through the academy into the U23s and then out on loan. The bit where those players actually then break into the first team when they come back is the crucial next step. This season will tell us a lot more about that, with Dowell, Robinson, Connolly and Joe Williams all having been reasonably successful in The Championship, and Browning and Pennington having gained a lot of experience as well.

We certainly don’t need big signings though, I agree with that. Our model going forward has to be something along the lines of two significant first team signings per season, with hopefully two young players ‘graduating’ into first team regulars.

This season we’ve also got the issue of extremely capable players, who’ve been successful in different ways in the past but did not contribute last season. I put Schneiderlin, Klaassen and Sandro into that category.

Thomas Lennon
14 Posted 18/07/2018 at 14:09:37
You usually write with some authority Paul but this time...

"We have sold our best players (Stones, Lukaku, Barkley, Deulofeu)" Lukaku yes, the rest were all waved off without many misgivings, criticised more than praised. We also had bad luck with long-term injuries

"2017-18 est £139.5 million" – any actual facts used to estimate this figure?

"The build cost of the stadium has increased significantly in the last two years (which begs the question about the delays in the last 12 months…) " – are you implying that there have been unavoidable cost rises of some 60% over the last two years that we could have avoided if we had started building a year ago? Such as what? Price of steel has risen 20% at most over the last 2 years, much less over the last year: European Steel Prices

Or perhaps more likely what we are building has changed as design work has progressed, and that would have happened whenever the build started?

Tony Everan
15 Posted 18/07/2018 at 18:55:26
I don't think that Brands will do it all in one transfer window. Rooney going is a major plus for the wages reduction a few more high earners will follow.

We will have room to sign 2 players of good quality to enhance the first team. Further wheeling and dealing may net us one or two more.

Considering we finished 8th last season, I think we can still expect to do much better this season and lay foundations for more progress.

Jim Bennings
16 Posted 18/07/2018 at 19:00:44
Tony (#15),

Who do you envisage these two quality players are that will come in before August 10th?

Paul Birmingham
17 Posted 18/07/2018 at 22:03:07
Excellent article Paul. It sums of the angst, perpetual agony Evertonians are conditioned to.

I honestly don't believe anything from the club and these days, there's very little meaningful feedback from the club.

The club is keeping stum, and so we are left waiting as ever for the next ray of hope.

Let's pray Moshiri and M&M, have the best master plan to take the club forward. We can't keep waiting for ever. 23 years and still waiting... The decline of the clubs management and no success on the pitch tells its own story.

Tony Everan
18 Posted 18/07/2018 at 22:15:41
Jim,

If Brands can't get us a quality centre-back and quality left-back in before the window shuts, I will be extremely disappointed. Failure to do this basic necessity will jeopardise our season.

They know it, we know it, so those two signings will happen. Moshiri won't be wanting to play the relegation game again.

Mark Wilson
19 Posted 18/07/2018 at 00:29:47
Paul, you may see something of a trend here. Most enjoy reading your analysis, commend you for the balanced view and some, most, leave it at that.

I sense that years, well nearly three decades, of false dawns and broken promises, linked to absolutely dire miss management, the patience you so often refer too, just isn't there any more. Well okay, it still is for some but it's less and less after living thru Martinez's last two years and a Koeman Walsh Moshiri Allardyce team nightmare.

I'm humming a familiar tune here Paul but the balanced argument sounds and is based on reasonable assessment but actually it's just not balanced. This is not something to be laid at the door of the esk particularly but it is for me a clear symptom of what's been wrong at the club for some time. It's bizarre but the whole club, except most of the fan base, seems intent on continuing to almost ignore why we exist, which is to be a successful team, you know, on the pitch. Mr Moshiri clears loans but hasn't invested in the squad what most expected and his focus remains on Bramley-Moore Dock, yet spookily that is way behind where he and us thought it would be and even today there's no firm planning permission in place, just outline, after outline, after outline.

The wages situation is exactly as you call it, Paul. But it's an utter disgrace that we are suddenly in this really serious position, of wages versus income ratio, yet actually have not particularly made the kind of step change net investment that was the real promise of a new owner.

The balance economically just isn't right. Accounts will be happier reading your assessment than fans. No loan repayments to service debt. Hurrah. And here's me saying I'd rather be servicing £100m of debt right now and have £150m to spend on the squad to correct the abysmal Walsh and a Koeman errors, than have a super dooper balance sheet.

There is a logic to this PAUL that I expect you won't be too keen on. This is a football club, not a new stadium club, or a more exec boxes club or a bigger capacity club or, well you get my drift. Of course Bramley Moore may be wonderful, iconic, and have a great view of the Mersey and drive the Big Stand mob crazy. But decades repeating what we've had won't fill those 55,000 seats or win us trophies. Quality investment in the squad will do that, alongside clever footballing management, and great support.

Here's the thing: if we had kept Lukaku for an extra year, and spent £80m on a left back, top-notch centre-back and an additional striker we would in my view have been back in Europa this season, and building towards top 4 and not raging at Allardyce.

We will never know but a stubborn focus on the team as the priority rather than clearing loans and BM will be the one thing that will create the step change we need. A new stadium is just a shiny pretty building with all sorts of economic gains to be had, but only if you have an attractive winning team to play in it and frankly we are years away from that without a change in our focus.

Brands and Silva can only improve things so far. They must have the support now, not “patiently over three years” because by then we will still be farther behind, fighting relegation battles and not attracting the players to make a difference. I'm not talking about squandering the money a la Walsh and Koeman. Brands is getting very well paid to do better, much better, and find the value.

I'm not actually scared of not spending big on a couple of players. I'm scared that we underestimate the mess this current squad is in. I see the reducing squad size mania as strange, when 32 players couldn't provide adequate “cover” for injuries and loss of form.

So we are left hoping, just hoping, that by shipping out 8 or more, at big losses or on crazy nonsense loans like Bolasies, and bringing in just three top buys, we can turn it all around.

Yes, we should be patient but I ask you this. If we end up with hardly any new quality into the squad, hit injuries and find ourselves playing with most of the “deadwood” we have now and little bump from Silva arrival, where do you think that will leave us ?

I'm hoping I'm wrong but it feels like we are actually skint. Or close to it and this window's net spend will be less than £50m. Which represents half of the increased Sky money. Sounds a lot doesn't it ? But it's now just chump change in this league.

Everything you say about the longer term is totally right, Paul, and respected. In my view, we just aren't at the jumping-off point to make the accountants proud without damaging our ability to create a winning team.

Peter Gorman
20 Posted 19/07/2018 at 00:44:46
I've very little to argue with that article, Paul and in places it sums up my thoughts and concerns perfectly.

I just can't see how we can move on the deadest wood and replace them with (realistically) sufficient numbers of bargain gems to make us improve this season.

The sanest thing I can do is dramatically lower my expectations. I would consider it a relative success if Silva can incorporate and develop the young talent at his disposal and get the team to at least attempt entertaining football.

Steve Ferns has done a good job of convincing me he has the ability and in my own limited view of Silva, despite his 3-2 loss to Unsworth I thought his young(ish) forward line of Richarlison, Gray and Hughes tore strips off us that night.

If Silva can get Dowell, Lookman and Tosun (for example) playing with that kind of pep then I'd probably be happy to accept any drop in league position that doesn't involve a protracted relegation scrap.

David Ellis
21 Posted 19/07/2018 at 03:16:04
Mark Wilson (#19),

I feel and share your frustration. But the boring facts are that off the pitch finances have a massive long-term effect on the pitch performance. A suprisingly good manager and a couple of signings that magically pay off can also have a short-term impact (until they are lured elsewhere).

But the reason we haven't won the league in 30 years is because we can't financially compete in the way that we could back then. This is a long-term structural problem that we are unlikely to ever fix.

A new stadium will help. An owner of the wealth of Moshiri will help (and has helped). We can only hope for a miracle (a la Leicester) or perhaps for a decent cup run or Europa League success (which is within our financial means).

But splashing £150M on new players this summer would be more likely to send us backwards – exactly as it did last summer. Yes it would be nice to spend 80m on a couple of top class players but that is surprisingly difficult to do for a club like ours, even if we have the money -– as we found out last summer.

Cement our position in the top 7. Qualify regularly for the Europa League; win the damn thing; challenge for the cups; win one; win the odd game against the big 6. This is what we can realistically aim for.

Mark Wilson
22 Posted 19/07/2018 at 07:59:16
David, (#21) I take your point. Reality checking and EFC is not something that we do well after so many false starts and bitter disappointments. Strange as it may seem, I honestly do get the crucial importance of Bramley Moore for our club moving forward. But when the Esk again sets out the reality of the financing I jump straight to the bottom line.

We seem to have delayed long enough to see a huge increase in estimated costs, and the gap between loaned project costs and what's left to find, at £125m is huge, even for a wealthy owner, albeit one whose own business isn't perhaps as healthy as it once was. I fear, indeed now think we are seeing, the start of the cutbacks on squad building spend in readiness for finding that £125m and, whilst I understand that's “reality”, I don't think we can do an Arsenal and trundle along winning a few cups, getting into top four etc whilst creating the new ground kitty. As we know even Arsenal found that too hard eventually.

I think that the “we are where we are” position is largely down to a series of massive errors by the owner and tho I like his style and reassuring warmth, I remain unconvinced he's the guy to take us forward. He has at last made the big changes at boardroom and senior management level. One or two last huge changes to complete of course.

Yes, Brands feels like a world apart from the over hyped one season wonder of Steve Walsh. So I understand that the structure is getting polished and should be able to deliver. But you just do not get three years to steadily put it all in place in terms of the squad. This league should but doesn't allow that luxury.

I guess my reality is that we demonstrate we understand this and take a measured risk. You suggest concerns at spending £150m now. Why? I'm not saying that it's done a la Walsh and Koeman and a naive owner clearly not quite as experienced on the footballing side as he thought. I'm not even saying that we shoot for the £40m x 3 or so top stars. Unlikely to happen.

I am venturing to suggest that we prioritise the squad now ahead of long term accountancy and accept that's the focus and more; I'm saying that it cannot be that Brands gets three years or even three or four transfer windows to make us competitive again. He surely has to be good enough to get five players in now who will make that difference and they do not need to all be £25m — which seems to be our favourite price!

I don't see the progress expected on the new stadium. I'm worried like many are that it's now slipping back again. I do think the new team off the field is a good one. But whilst the longer term health continues to slowly develop, we cannot prioritise it over making the team attractive to watch and able to compete for at the very least top six. We just won't get away with more failure on the field. It will catch us up and we will find a season not far away where there are not three worse than us.

I really feel that and that's why I see a reality that may not involve a cup win even but does see us compete at the top not bottom end of the league. Eighth place was a strange finish after so much dross last year and I'm still not sure how we did it, apart from the fact that the rest were so poor.

Frustrating it most certainly is. The next three weeks will make or break the coming season, in my view, so I hope I'm wrong and the focus is where it needs to be. On the pitch — not a plot of land near the river.

Pat Kelly
23 Posted 19/07/2018 at 20:28:27
Remember when it was about football?
Dave Abrahams
24 Posted 19/07/2018 at 20:59:05
Mark (#19), we have failed miserably on the field for over 20 years, and the common denominator in all of the failure is Kenwright, as the chairman and wheeler and dealer in the clubs affairs. Strangely you give him a walkover; is he immune from criticism? Not in my eyes. He is the cause of why the club is in the position it is in, while I doubt he has never been so well off.
Keith Young
25 Posted 19/07/2018 at 22:01:44
Dear Paul, as with others, I do applaud your clear assessments of Everton's situation.

In your previous thread, you wrote that Kenwright and his Co- Directors failed the Warren Buffett test. I beg to differ!

Kenwright knew very well what he was doing, he saw how to get rich (really rich) and he has succeeded. That desire, (with no money of his own to invest) required asset sales kicking off with the Rooney windfall. Plus personal financial support. The Club got nothing from Mr Moshiri's share purchase, the Jackpot went to Kenwright and Co.

I think we fans want:

Stage 1, all fans want is a team that works full of heart and loves Everton
Stage 2: we'd like to beat the Reds and also more than 1 of the top 6 at home;
Stage 3: we'd like to win at Anfield and more than one of the top 6 away.

How do we do it? Stop selling our top players & stop buying +£20m players we intend to sell on. I am sure that things will improve dramatically when we stop the “Love-in” with Kenwright. He's got the money but sadly for him to old and ill to enjoy it.

Yes, patience for Mr Moshiri, the Director of Football, the new manager and the players (if they try their best). Emphatically NO to Kenwright and his cronies.

Jay Harris
26 Posted 19/07/2018 at 22:52:43
Keith, you beat me to it.

Excellent summing up by Paul but the real cancer at the club is still there and will not let go of his trainset.

The biggest unanswered question yet is why were Brands and Silva summoned to Kenwight's London pad on the second day of training to "discuss" transfers and then in the following days we pull out of the pursuit of Tierney one of the most promising up and coming left backs around.

My problem with EFC is not the recruitment but that we always fail to get the best. We only seem to sell the best. It now looks pretty certain that Lookman will be sold to Leipzig. What kind of statement does that send out to the fans.

If we could only go out and get a Hazard, De Bruyne or a Modric instead of a Man Utd reject.

Laurie Hartley
27 Posted 20/07/2018 at 08:00:23
Paul – the call for patience by you, and Lyndon in his article, while Brands and Silva endeavor to change the clubs fortunes on the pitch, seems reasonable to me. Especially so given the damage done by the then executive team in the last transfer window.

Of one thing I am certain: we are not going to be able to buy our way back to a place among the elite. It didn't work last season, it didn't work for Randy Lerner as Phil W often reminds us, and it won't work for us in the long term – we haven't got enough money.

We obviously need a couple of signings in this window but, in the long term, we need a totally different approach, something that will change the club at its core and give it what was once known as a competitive edge.

Moshiri's words "We are not a museum" come to mind as I am writing this article. I hate to say it but I have come to the realisation that, in many ways, we are exactly that.

You have suggested that we need new blood at board level. I reckon this bloke would be a good fit.:

Astros General Manager Jeff Luhnow

If you want the longer version of his work and its impact on the Astros, these two articles are a good read for anyone who can find half an hour or so to read them: (Especially recommended for you, Steve Ferns, who I reckon you will love it).

How the Huston Astros are winning through Advanced Analytics

A view from the front lines of baseball's data-analytics revolution

As fans we have high expectations of Messrs. Brands and Silva and rightly so but they are going to need the backing of the an organisation that is "switched on".

Brands in particular seems the sort of character that would take these ideas on board.

If I was Farhad Moshiri I would be having a chat with Jeff Luhnow's boss and owner of the Astros, Jim Crane, and be teeing up a meeting with the pair of them. If I liked what I saw and heard, I would be sending Brands, Barret-Baxendale, and Ryazantsev over the "pond" to spend a couple of weeks with this man and his team.

Amit Vithlani
29 Posted 20/07/2018 at 15:40:07
Mark @ 19

"Mr Moshiri clears loans but hasn't invested in the squad"

As the rest of your post goes on to admit, you are not a fan of accounts, even though those documents are where the facts reside. The fact is, Everton were the 4th highest net spenders last season, and Moshiri pumped 150m into the club - far higher than the club's debt. The surplus amount financed the net spend. So your statement is wrong.

"The wages situation is exactly as you call it, Paul. But it's an utter disgrace that we are suddenly in this really serious position, of wages versus income ratio, yet actually have not particularly made the kind of step change net investment that was the real promise of a new owner."

Financial Fair Play is a real consideration. AC Milan have just been banned from European football for breaching its rules, whilst PSG are facing significant fines.

But more importantly, our failures are not due to a lack of spending. Our wage bill is in the top 20 in Europe. Would you say we are amongst Europe's top 20 clubs on the pitch? Definitely not. We are grossly under performing and that surely means correcting fundamental errors in coaching, tactics, organisation and mentality.

"The balance economically just isn't right. Accounts will be happier reading your assessment than fans. No loan repayments to service debt. Hurrah. And here's me saying I'd rather be servicing £100m of debt right now and have £150m to spend on the squad to correct the abysmal Walsh and a Koeman errors, than have a super dooper balance sheet."

Well, accounts are a good way of establish financial facts, and facts are necessary when trying to put forward an argument on our financial approach. Moshiri invested in the squad. Proven. He cleared the debts. Proven. Walsh and Koeman made a royal fuck up of the largesse they were given. Proven. So, that leaves the club essentially with 2 choices: double down and splurge more or try to fix the mess with the tools at their disposal. Some might say doubling down is a gamblers mentality. What does Moshiri do if the umpteenth football management team lets him down a second season running?

Also, choosing to spend more in the transfer market versus clearing the club's debt is nonsense bordering on the comical. Heavy Debt in a football club almost always ends in tears. Just ask the Chinese owner of AC Milan, or take a look at the history of indebted football clubs. Moshiri put in cash which was zero interest with no fixed repayment date. He earns no return or indeed got no additional shares. I would say the sole bright light in the mess we find ourselves in is the fact that the club is not indebted. Moshiri cannot demand his cash back like the lender of a normal loan could.

Again, that fact sits in the club's accounts, which, unglamourous and boring though they may be, are the only source of facts we have as outsiders looking in, and worth heeding when considering what our largest shareholder has done for the club as a whole.

Laurie Hartley
30 Posted 20/07/2018 at 23:47:00
Amit - your post is a timely reality check for those amongst us who think throwing money at our current on pitch problems is the answer. This comment is particularly worthy of consideration:

"We are grossly under performing and that surely means correcting fundamental errors in coaching, tactics, organisation and mentality."

My hope is that Silva can address the coaching and tactics issues, and that Brands has the intelligence and drive to change the organisation and mentality.

If I was asked which of the two has the biggest challenge I would say Brands.

Amit Vithlani
32 Posted 21/07/2018 at 08:16:54
Laurie @ 31, I agree totally.

Whether Brands and Silva will be able to implement sound and strong ideas and concepts is the key to improved performances – not just transfers. That said, when they do spend money, as the latest Richarlison transfer indicates, it will be eye-watering sums given the market top-flight football now exists in.

Paul [The Esk]
33 Posted 21/07/2018 at 08:36:48
Amit, thanks for your contribution. Just one point, the Premier League short term cost controls do not present a problem even with our current inflated wage bill.

By Elstone's estimates our wage bill for 17/18 increased by £33 million, yet the permitted increase under STCC rules would have been £59.5 million given the contribution from the 3 year average player trading profit, and the increase in non-broadcasting revenues.

The desire to reduce wages is a reflection on our inability to generate significantly more commercial revenue/matchday revenues until we move to Bramley-Moore, and Moshiri's unwillingness to fund the operating losses that would stem from this level of wage spend.

Amit Vithlani
34 Posted 24/07/2018 at 10:08:41
"By Elstone's estimates our wage bill for 17/18 increased by £33 million, yet the permitted increase under STCC rules would have been £59.5 million given the contribution from the 3 year average player trading profit, and the increase in non-broadcasting revenues."

Paul, this is the trap that clubs who have breached the rules fall in to. There is an on going test, so the fact that there was head-room this summer to increase wages does not mean there will be head-room next summer, unless we keep up the average on player trading profit and/or see a supportable increase in broadcast revenues.

I do not know what the projections are going forward, but I imagine our wage bill is going to come under pressure because we have already grown it significantly (and with bonuses, wage rises etc it may grow further even without squad additions). We do not appear to be making further player trading profits any time soon (so that average will drop as each season passes and we are net spenders), and the broadcasting revenue growth in the next 3 years is known and likely to have been banked when planning the wage bill.

I expect if we saw the projections, we could clear up the debate: since this will never happen, its conjecture on both sides of the argument.

Consequently I refer back to the facts: off the pitch, the club is in sound financial health - debt free, and with net spend on transfers funded from equity. Squad pruning, wage control and a prudential transfer policy are necessary to create a long-term platform.

Better to buy 1 or 2 world beaters and create the room for wages by gradually pruning down the squad.

It might take a couple of windows to do that, and I for one would be happy to be patient for that period as long as there was tangible progress shown by the coaching team and players on the pitch versus the absolute mediocrity we witnessed last season.

Amit Vithlani
35 Posted 24/07/2018 at 10:08:47
"By Elstone's estimates our wage bill for 17/18 increased by £33 million, yet the permitted increase under STCC rules would have been £59.5 million given the contribution from the 3 year average player trading profit, and the increase in non-broadcasting revenues."

Paul, this is the trap that clubs who have breached the rules fall in to. There is an on going test, so the fact that there was head-room this summer to increase wages does not mean there will be head-room next summer, unless we keep up the average on player trading profit and/or see a supportable increase in broadcast revenues.

I do not know what the projections are going forward, but I imagine our wage bill is going to come under pressure because we have already grown it significantly (and with bonuses, wage rises etc it may grow further even without squad additions). We do not appear to be making further player trading profits any time soon (so that average will drop as each season passes and we are net spenders), and the broadcasting revenue growth in the next 3 years is known and likely to have been banked when planning the wage bill.

I expect if we saw the projections, we could clear up the debate: since this will never happen, its conjecture on both sides of the argument.

Consequently I refer back to the facts: off the pitch, the club is in sound financial health - debt free, and with transfers funded from equity. Squad pruning, wage control and a prudential transfer policy are necessary to create a long-term platform.

Better to buy 1 or 2 world beaters and create the room for wages by gradually pruning down the squad.

It might take a couple of windows to do that, and I for one would be happy to be patient for that period as long as there was tangible progress shown by the coaching team and players on the pitch versus the absolute mediocrity we witnessed last season.

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