It's time for a pragmatic approach to what happens next. There are, as they say, defining moments in time and, right now, I believe we have reached yet another one.

To use a very simple analogy: “If you are in a jungle and a lion comes charging toward you, you don't have to outrun the lion, but you do have to outrun the person standing next to you.”

In Premier League terms, you have to outrun three of the bottom teams to at least secure future revenues and earn another chance at getting it right. Recent results have shown we are losing to our fellow relegation candidates which is both worrying and an indication that statistically we will be relegated this season.

I would say the only light in our growing darkness is that there is still time to turn this around. Do I think this will happen? In all honesty, based on what I see and hear, I think it's tough.

I see a club that, from top to bottom, looks exceptionally wary and downcast. That's understandable in the current circumstances and probably expected when added to years of frustration and disappointment. It's a time when big decisions have to be made and that won't be easy.

The principle parties need to compromise and put egos to one side for the sake of the club. We may not appear to be united right now, but I am absolutely sure we all want the same short-term outcome of another season in the top flight. The rest has to wait for another day. 

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Firstly, I have to admit that, for the first time in a very long time, I felt very little emotion at losing to West Ham. The game played out like many others. Frank looked like a man struggling to comprehend what went wrong. He was asking himself the wrong question. He should've been looking to understand what went right.

Mr Moshiri turned up to his first game in 18 months and looked equally lost. His comment that it was not his decision regarding Lampard's future smacked of someone abdicating responsibility. Bill Kenwright just looked old and tired.

The fans had their banners out and, whilst I understand their passion for change, I think it's the wrong approach. On the whole, I think we simply showed the other clubs trying to stay up that Everton where already in the jaws of the lion.

The optimist in me still feels not all is lost, though each passing day makes the challenge greater. We may well regret not making a brave decision back in November to replace Frank Lampard. I doubt many managers would have been given the time he has to turn things around.

Sadly Frank fit's into a long list of great players who should have stuck to being TV pundits. He is a nice guy, but an indecisive, tactically inept manager. He has had more time than he should because the board fear reigniting the 'hire and fire' image once again. Frank is not the Messiah that the club should stand by.

I constantly read about the players not being worthy of the shirt and yet every one of them has proven they have or can play at the highest level. Yesterday's starting eleven included ten internationals; what we don't have is a team.

We lack a top leader. A playmaker to make things happen, and a game-changer who can turn a poor performance into victory with a piece of magic. We don't even have a single player who can take a free-kick close to the box with reasonable expectation of scoring, like Baines and Sigurdsson did on a regular basis.

These are so obvious omissions that we lack. We have a little over a week to construct a team and less to find the person to manage it. Is that possible? With a will perhaps.

Ultimately our current plight is due to many factors, but responsibility lies squarely with Mr Moshiri and the Board of Directors. For all the mistakes, the dreadfully poor communication, and lack of empathy toward the supporters who are the true blue blood of the club, they remain the primary influence in what happens next. 

They are not the enemy and nor are they friends. They are the financial heartbeat of the club and, if nothing else, the people who are making the new Everton Stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock possible. Not all is bad.

The civil war, as some have described the conflict between fans and board, is not what we need. Those who know their history will appreciate a Pyrrhic victory is the only one on offer with victory by either side not worth the cost. We all lose.

We need peace and a promise that board and supporters will coexist for the fight ahead. The club needs reform and a reset, but not today. What it does need is an agenda and timeframe to make it happen. Today, we need a united front.

For Lampard, yesterday's game was a battle between two sides without a recent win. He lost perhaps the last of his chances. We have 2 weeks until the next game which is the best time to twist, if indeed there has been prior sounding-out of potential candidates. Simply put: whoever comes in can't be as bad as Frank.

In my business life, I had a team who helped support businesses who were failing to deliver their potential. Following an in-depth physical and desktop analysis, recommendations were made and presented back to the boards.

I do wonder about the internal review the club have supposedly undertaken. Unless it involved independent specialists, I doubt it will be worth the paper it was written on. Internal reviews are typically distorted through emotional bias and selective input.

Whilst it would be wrong to jump to a conclusion without the benefit of a comprehensive analysis, I have raised in a previous post that Mr Moshiri is an investor and business owner. I believe the operational running of the club should be conducted by a CEO appointed by Mr Moshiri.

This would be a candidate with the appropriate skills and experience to take the club forward. It would be the decision of this appointment on the make-up of the other board members. I would hope this would include a non-executive director role for a supporter who is suitably qualified.

The recent resignations by some Fan Advisory Board members who were frustrated in their current role indicates a need for a seat at the main board table in a supporter advisory capacity. I would hope a new structured board would be more effective and remove the toxicity that is associated with the current members.

Fans also have to have realistic expectations on communication and shared information. The role of the board is to ensure the best interests of Everton Football Club are maintained. These may not always be consistent with what supporters want. That's how boards operate.

Finally I would like to see exactly what my club's vision and mission statement would look like. What is the ultimate goal of the business?

Equally important are the cultural values that the club want to uphold. Most large corporations hold these as must-have elements of the business.

I am pretty sure that the new Everton Stadium will open up new value chains for business and the opportunity for diversification in income streams which collectively support the football operations and Everton in the Community. I am hoping the corporate opportunity it provides will be the game-changer.

Apologies for the length of this article but, completing the circle, the bright future is somewhat dependent on the continued membership of the Premier League which should be our primary and only focus for this season. I believe the feelings of supporters have been heard. I believe, for the greater good, they should now end. 

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Reader Comments (10)

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Michael Kenrick
1 Posted 22/01/2023 at 21:29:54
You have to be commended, Michael, for offering a relentlessly positive road map of the vision ahead. It's far more constructive than I could certainly muster, and it sounds like you have the business credentials to underpin that narrative.

But unfortunately my takeaway is your last line, which sounds suspiciously like the very opposite of a call to arms: it is the language of surrender, coming just at the point where the collective unity of the fan protests is being heard and reported far and wide, with admittedly little or no recognition still from the board and owner — apart, that is, from their shameful quitting of Goodison Park.

If the fans stand down now, with nothing having changed, then they will have achieved nothing and the board's cynical strategy of divide and conquer will have won the day.

I believe the fans have to continue the fight – and it is a fight – to get something to change at the highest levels of the club. Now that might not happen for a very long time, but the club hierarchy cannot be allowed to believe their own rhetoric that they are all doing a great job as the club nosedives into the Championship.

It's the fans' collective duty to remind them at every game of the great standards this club was built on, and which they will not allow to wither and die.

Derek Thomas
2 Posted 22/01/2023 at 21:44:32
Were in a Triage situation.
Forget The Board, they're a medium term problem, LinkedIn could sort that out.
Forget Moshiri, he's a long term problem (and 'K knows what that solution is.)

Somebody has to deal with The Short Term problem - winning games.

Brent Stephens
4 Posted 22/01/2023 at 21:54:50
"I do wonder about the internal review the club have supposedly undertaken. Unless it involved independent specialists, I doubt it will be worth the paper it was written on."

Agree totally on that, Michael.

Kieran Kinsella
5 Posted 22/01/2023 at 22:02:39

The last home game saw thousands warmly welcome the team. The away fans were vocal yesterday too. This “we need to be quiet cause it might rock the boat.” Is silly. The boat has been turned upside down and everyone is fighting over life rafts. The team has been in relegation form for two years straight. The club has been in decline on the field and more so off it for years. We can’t expect happy clappers to magically keep us in the prem while the team gets worse and worse year on year out. The likes of Bkackpool and Swindon had happy clapper fans but what good did it do when their teams were crap? Did the relentless positivity stop Oyston from basically bankrupting the club? No. The board need to go and finally even the club friendly media say so.

Danny O’Neill
7 Posted 22/01/2023 at 22:06:32
Good read. Great post @1 Michael.

I left that stadium yesterday with many frustrated Evertonians who made their voices clear from where I was standing.

Internal reviews, especially when conducted by a board are akin to marking your own homework Brent. Nothing to see here, all is well.

Ken Kneale
8 Posted 22/01/2023 at 22:19:32
As Michael K and Kieran allude, the fans are the only people in this blundering business seeking to uphold the standards the club has sought since 1878.

This unholy mess has not been made by the fans but even the most unrevolutionary among us see passive acceptance of mediocrity has elongated this desperately upsetting death by a thousand (Bill Kenwright) cuts.

Michael Fisher
9 Posted 23/01/2023 at 09:42:16
I take on board the comments of Michael K, Kieran, and Ken.

I fully agree that the fans are the righteous element of the club and I understand that many fans will take the same view. There was a time I would have waved my banner with the same enthusiasm. If the protest was directed at the manager, then it might just work. When it's the board, it's a totally different ball game.

There are huge amounts of money involved and equally large egos. There is no room for emotions in business at this level. I know from experience and learned to leave my emotional head at home. The fans are trying to communicate an emotional message to people who listen to numbers. They are communicating in a different language which makes it just noise.

Let me pose 4 questions:

1. Who would buy the club right now unless it was a fire sale?

2. The board is Moshiri so sacking the board would make what difference?

3. If we continue with the toxicity and it impacts the team's performance on the field, is that a price worth paying?

4. If the board are sacked and the price is relegation is that a price worth paying?

Forget the club's history. Upholding standards or the traditions we all respect. They have no financial value. Relegation is the financial killer so think beyond emotion. There is no better life in the Championship. There is only short-term at the moment and that's survival.

Michael Kenrick
10 Posted 23/01/2023 at 11:16:09
Michael @9,

I fully understand where you're coming from on this. I just fundamentally disagree with your approach. It's been tried and tested for many a long year and it's gotten us to exactly where we are now.

Let me provide some answers to your questions:

1. Who would buy the club right now unless it was a fire sale?

The market for Premier League clubs is pretty healthy judging by recent transactions and this claim that some US investors may see the club as undervalued. The Middle East is another potential source for a buyer. The idea that Moshiri is desperate to sell and would go for a fire sale is, I believe, well wide of the mark.

I don't think he wants to sell, but he may be looking for investors, especially to fund completion of the stadium. Loans to enable this are rumoured to be in the offing.

2. The board is Moshiri so sacking the board would make what difference?

First off, the board is most definitely not Moshiri. He is the owner, and is not even on the board.

I believe those who are on the board oversee the direction of the club and are responsible for all the key appointments – on the football side and on the business side – both of which are shockingly poor and are now close to being in almost complete failure mode.

Replacement of the Board is a simple way for the entire direction of the club to be changed at a stroke. Moshiri has it within his power as majority share owner to do this — it would probably require an Emergency General Meeting that he could call and push it through at will with his overwhelming stake.

The problem will be getting in competent replacements. Moshiri does not have a good record for this. Hopefully he would seek expert and knowledgeable advice —(not Kia Joorabchian!!

3. If we continue with the toxicity and it impacts the team's performance on the field, is that a price worth paying?

The primary source and trigger for continuing 'toxicity' has been the ludicrous actions of the board, fully justifying their immediate removal for supreme incompetence.

Meanwhile, the vast overwhelming majority of the fans will, I believe, continue to support the team on the field of play during games without toxicity — as they always have.

4. If the board are sacked and the price is relegation, is that a price worth paying?

The objective is to avoid relegation. It may happen whether the board is sacked or not. But the causality you imply with this question simply does not exist — nor could it be demonstrated one way or the other and is thus meaningless.

Stephen Vincent
11 Posted 23/01/2023 at 13:17:12
Have to agree with Michael @10.

According to the Deloitte report this week we are the 19th richest football club (by turnover) in the world so there is obviously some value there.

Surely the point of the protests is to persuade the owner of the club that he needs to consider the position of the failed stewards he has in charge of his £500m asset and to replace them with people who are suitably qualified to run an organisation of that stature.

The crowd at the games I have been at recently have been remarkably supportive of the team during the 90mins. It has only been after the game that the banners have come out.

Jim Lloyd
12 Posted 25/01/2023 at 10:37:33
I've just heard the interview with Mr Moshiri and he seemed to reply to all the questions with a professional response "what we've done so far" and if we need anyone or anything, we will buy it" sort response. What I thought I heard, (couldn't go through it again) was what I think is the fundamental weakness in our club.
He replied to a question about Kenwright's position, and I thought I heard him say that Kenwright is one of the most respected men in football!!!
As far as I'm concerned, thety don't know the man; and the shenanigans he's got up to over the years. It seems to brought us two things, The loss of two stadiums so far, the second one wth the threat of our own Goodison Park, not passing a safety certificate and a court case that had to be brought by Keep Everton in our City group, to show up the weakness of the plans. There are other little ploys that have been undertaken. The trouble is he refused a massive takeover, presumably to keep himself in control, and Man City were the lucky beneficiaries.

All this going over again, is just to point out the the man in charge, as Chairman, has overseen us now apparently without funds sufficient to buy the players we need, except maybe on the never never, and our club saring over a cliff edge.

That's why the supporters, led by the shareholders, have signed a petition in their thousands, to sack this board, and that's why there are protests after the match. I don't think it helped many fences when it came out that the poor CEO was headlocked, but no one seems to have witnessed it, and painting the supporters in a such a light, that the protest was anything other than peaceful.

The supporters are doing just what supporters do, in spite of the litany above, we have 40, 000 at the match every week, we have a massive away support. As for protests, look at other clubs, Liverpool supporters were marching round the streets at very short notice.

The supporters have not got our club in such an awful postion, the supporters saved the club last year; and what have we got now?

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