A few years back, around the start of the Moshiri era, I promoted the phrase ”Everton, the Senior club in the City”. I put it to the people who ran our marketing, commerce etc. and the view was it was too contentious, too bold a claim even….

Well, to this day, I believe it to be the case, and I will always do so despite whatever we face in the future and whatever any other club from the city goes on to achieve.

The fact is, we are the Senior club – co-founders of the Football League, co-founders of the Premier League, the only ever-present club to hold both distinctions, the club with the greatest number of seasons in the top flight and still the 4th most successful club in terms of League titles.

A whole litany of firsts, the first Merseyside club to win the Division 1 Championship, to win the FA Cup. Nationally, the first to go on an overseas tour, to build a purpose-built stadium, have four double-tier stands, the first triple-tier stand, dug-outs, matchday programmes and under-soil heating. To have the world’s greatest goal scorer and arguably, the world’s greatest goalkeeper, to have the greatest, most loyal supporter base...

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Our greatest asset is our fanbase. Liverpool, the city, is a unique city. I had the good fortune to be born in this city, to be brought up even in the desperately tough Thatcher years. To have grandparents and parents who had lived through the 1920s depression, the Second World War, post-war austerity and then experienced the joys of 1960s Liverpool.

I’ve equally had the good fortune to travel a fair bit and I’ve yet to find a part of the world who doesn’t know our city, its people, its culture, its reputation and acknowledge its global influence and qualities. We are a tough group of people, brought up on hardship, often on the wrong side of the establishment, achievers and owners only of what we have earned – nothing has ever been given to our great city.

Everything we have, everything we stand for has been earned – our global standing is the result of our people’s labour and graft. A result of our character, and yes, integrity.

That’s true in culture and sport too – globally recognised as leaders. In football, we house two great football clubs – two, not one – and the city is richer and stronger for that being the case. It’s also a reason why the future of Everton, the building of the new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock and the as yet unfilled development opportunities around it are so important; more of that in a moment.

It’s also why whoever owns our club – I say “owns” in a legal, economic sense, the company that holds our assets and generates the income for us to maintain and fulfill our status and objectives – is so important.   Ownership, particularly in the context of Everton, is custodianship – the owners own a lease, temporary and with the grace and goodwill of Evertonians; the freehold belongs to us, the fans, generation after generation. 

There’s a tendency to bemoan the fact that football today is being determined in the boardroom by accountants, lawyers and monied people, but the truth is that that has always been the case. All football clubs’ periods of success coincide with the advantages of greater financial resources and higher quality management than their peers.

The best owners create the best strategies for success, have the means to support the strategies and the ability to recruit on and off the pitch to execute their vision. There’s not a period in football history when that’s not been the case. These are the key components of sustained success.

All of which brings us to the Everton of today. Still the Senior club in the city, but facing more challenges than at any time in our history. We are not the first club to face these challenges, challenges so severe that they are existential by their very nature. Sadly, some clubs fail to overcome those challenges as the fans of many such clubs could tell us. 

Everton’s problems didn’t begin with Moshiri; our competitive decline and the gradual erosion of our identity – and yes, I will say it, self-belief – started many years earlier. Arguably it coincided with the Moores’ reduced interest in the club after the 1969-70 Championship, although the Howard Kendall inspired domination of mid-1980s football briefly bucked that trend.

What is undeniable is that the competitive decline, and the tendency to follow rather than lead, accelerated throughout the Kenwright era, despite the huge efforts of Moyes and the footballing personnel he gathered. The tipping point though was Kenwright’s unwillingness to sell to better-resourced owners and ultimately his choice of Farhad Moshiri in 2016.

Moshiri has been an unmitigated disaster as an owner. What appeared to be quaint, almost eccentric behaviour in his early days were actually only warning signs of much worse to come.

The absurd loyalty to the former Chairman, a failing board and executive. I’ve documented over hundreds of pages and podcasts his financial failures, his bizarre recruitment decisions – his willful ignorance and disregard for sensible finances, and as we now know and are suffering from, for financial regulation.

We are a hollowed-out shell currently. Massively indebted – to the tune of £1 billion. Moshiri’s shareholder loans, treated as equity, signed off as equity by directors and auditors, remain loans. Unlikely in the extreme ever to be paid off, but alongside £550 million of external debt – and rising debt.

The paucity of talent, home-grown or recruited, the selling of our best players, our inability to compete financially on the pitch, hamstrung by sanctions – sporting sanctions as a direct result of our owner's disregard for financial probity – all down to Moshiri, his failed directors and executive.

Sure, we have a gleaming stadium nearing completion, subject to finance, but what use is having a Ferrari on the drive (on HP) if you can’t keep the lights on, feed and clothe your kids?

Which brings us to perhaps his greatest folly – the choice of 777 Partners as prospective owners. The organisation (in his words) who “are the best partners to take our great Club forward, with all the benefits of their multi-club investment model”.

This an organisation that has failed to satisfy (even) the Premier League of its suitability as fit and proper owners after 25 weeks. An organisation that is beset by financial difficulties, credit rating downgrades, operational uncertainties, and legal challenges. An organisation that is called out for being disruptive by one of its major funders (and previously closest allies) for its mismanagement – listen to or read the transcript of Kenneth King here.

An organisation that, within its football operations, has on several occasions paid its employees late. This is Liverpool, the city that for centuries has campaigned, challenged and at times suffered for the improvement and recognition of workers’ rights. How do those two opposing philosophies sit together?

An organisation, whose principal partner, founder, Josh Wander purportedly questioned should fans show gratitude for 777’s financial support (loans by the way)? Excuse me? How dare you? How dare anyone walk into Goodison Park and question the motives and behaviour of Everton fans? 

How dare he expect gratitude? For what? Failure to satisfy the Premier League as to your suitability? If, as claimed by Moshiri and yourselves, you are the best option for Everton, why is this process taking so long? Why don’t your finances and business practices present a slam-dunk case? Why does the overwhelming evidence elsewhere run contrary to your claims?

Respect, gratitude is earned in our city, and when won, is remembered for a long time. Evertonians still to this day quote the words of John Moores: “We’ve a very good crowd and our crowd are very loyal. But, of course, they pay money and they expect to see us do well.” He earned the respect of some of the toughest, but fairest people in our country.  The people who have kept this club in the Premier League for the last two seasons and God willing, will do so for a third time this season.

We are the Senior club in the city, our status rising from the ambition, drive and achievements of our founders and successive owners, players and employees. A status today that flickers, but still (just) burns and burns because of our supporters. Our relevance is nothing to do with our position within the game based on contemporary achievements or current/prospective owners.

 We remain relevant because of the 40,000 who turn up at Goodison every match, the tens of thousands who live in the city, don’t go to the match but identify as bluenoses, the hundreds of thousands outside the city who love our club as much as a Lower Gwladys Street season ticket holder.

We deserve much more than Moshiri has delivered. We deserve, the club and city requires, much more than Moshiri promises in terms of his potential new owners in 777 Partners. We, the fanbase, the people of Liverpool and all Blues globally have to fight for what’s right for our club.

We need the owner, the authorities, politicians, the media, those who love the club to recognise Moshiri’s choices present not only a current existential threat but a future one also. There are options,  other investors, solutions worthy of our city, club and fanbase. Our motto demands nothing but the best – for years we have not lived by it; we cannot, we must not allow Moshiri’s preferred option of ownership to continue that.

It’s time to reject 777 Partners, allow other ownership options, time to behave like, to act like, to enjoy once more the status of being the Senior club in the City.

Reader Comments (73)

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Michael Kenrick
1 Posted 08/03/2024 at 21:35:13
Friday's come and gone with no word on the meeting 777 Partners supposedly had with the Premier League.

No leaks? No insider info? Are they getting closer or are they being dumped? Watch this space!

Hans Fyhrqvist
2 Posted 08/03/2024 at 21:37:31
Great article by Paul The Esk!

Should somehow be sent or delivered to Farhad Moshiri!!!!

Tony Abrahams
3 Posted 08/03/2024 at 21:39:50
I said earlier today on the matchday thread, that I'm beginning to feel that something very cynical is happening towards us Evertonians with regard to this takeover. I just hope that the Premier League have got something up their sleeve to help us in what will soon become our judgement hour.

I'm of the opinion that Moshiri doesn't care about Everton; otherwise, he would have never gone down the 777 Partners route. Waiting for them to be Shanghied by the Premier League is definitely casting a very black shadow over our club right now.

Will Everton end up with 777 Partners, or will Everton end up going into administration? What a choice we have… but I live in hope, and will always believe that better days are around the corner now that Moshiri is coming to the end of his disastrous tenure. And we don't have to tolerate Mr Good Times anymore.

David Bromwell
4 Posted 08/03/2024 at 21:51:06
What a rallying call! Thank you once again for your wise words, Paul.

It seems inconceivable that the Premier League will find in 777's favour and that they will be given the green light to take over. But then nothing concerning the Premier League is straight-forward, so we must wait anxiously for their decision.

I am old enough to remember when we were truly the senior club in this city; sadly many, many years of inertia and poor management means we can only make reference to past successes and initiatives, and our most recent record is best forgotten.

The appointment of new owners with proven big business experience and the desire and financial backing will be essential if we are to begin to repair and rebuild the club. And maybe only then will we be believed when we call ourselves the citie's Senior Club.

In the meantime, I hope that your reports are widely read by all those who have an opportunity to influence the future management and direction of our club. Thank you, and please continue with your articles, and perhaps common sense will prevail.

Barry Rathbone
5 Posted 08/03/2024 at 21:57:12
The club swerving the senior club epithet is shameful but unsurprising. The servile relationship with the Red Shite is one of the reasons we've drifted into obscurity.

But be careful, detailing how less than perfect we are might upset the "I don't wanna hear it" kids presently stroking each other on another thread.

Top Blues they are.

Andy Crooks
6 Posted 08/03/2024 at 22:22:09
Paul, you have added passion to your usual logic and the result is your best piece yet.
Oliver Molloy
7 Posted 08/03/2024 at 22:31:19
Why are there no visible protests that 777 Partners can just fuck off, then?
Brent Stephens
8 Posted 08/03/2024 at 22:41:46
Oliver #7 - you organise it, I'll be there.
Brendan McLaughlin
9 Posted 08/03/2024 at 22:51:29
For fuck's sake... "senior club"?

That's a slogan sure to attract the next generation.

Tony Abrahams
10 Posted 08/03/2024 at 22:52:59
Could be many reasons, Oliver, the thought of administration for a start, or maybe people are staying quiet because they don't believe they have got a cat in hell's chance of purchasing Everton?

Something has got to give very soon though, and even though a large percentage of our match-day crowd have never seen Everton win a toffee, they are still a very proud bunch, Brendan, and would be right behind the senior club on Merseyside.

Brendan McLaughlin
11 Posted 08/03/2024 at 23:16:53
No doubt, Tony #10.

I doubt it's the "senior club" slogan though?

Oliver Molloy
12 Posted 08/03/2024 at 23:22:17

Somebody said the other day that 777 Partners were just loading debt onto the club with their loans — this is their plan to put off any other interested parties who are maybe waiting to see what happens?

Brendan McLaughlin
13 Posted 08/03/2024 at 23:53:52
Tony #10,

No doubt about that — and perhaps "senior club" might even float their boat? I'm just not sure?

Derek Thomas
14 Posted 09/03/2024 at 01:43:38
Hear, hear. 777 Partners is only the best deal from Mr "Cut and Run" Moshiri's perspective – hence the 'exclusivity' and numerous, 'final date' extensions.

This lot are dubious at best and alleged pyramid merchants at worst.

Rumours abound about Investers in hiding/waiting... I'll take that chance please.

Kieran Kinsella
15 Posted 09/03/2024 at 02:20:21
There was a news story today about an attorney who sadly died. Her father is saying 777 Partners “worked her to death” making her work 18 hours a day for months on the Everton deal!

Is there no end to their villainy?

Jack Convery
16 Posted 09/03/2024 at 02:27:07
Excellent article.

Tuning into TW these days is like tuning into the Weather Forecast. Warnings about forthcoming storms.

Storm Sodem – Very good chance of a 6-point deduction due to strong recommendations.

Storm Good One – strong winds and 777 bid blown apart.

Storm Ono – Placed into Administration as financial headwinds rip into Goodison.

Storm Donefor – 9-point deduction following tailwinds from Storm Ono.

Storm Demoted – Heavy seas and not a pot to sail in see EFC relegated.

Storm Fire Sale – Storm damaged goods: players, new stadium sold off to satisfy creditors. Followed by the bleakest sunset ever seen over the Mersey.

It's the positiveness of being a blue that keeps me going.

Christine Foster
17 Posted 09/03/2024 at 02:49:05
Paul, well put, a common-sense perspective that would make any reasonable person question the frankly odd relationship they have with Moshiri. The longer this goes on, the worse it gets for both 777 Partners and Moshiri, and ultimately for the survival of the club itself.

If the Premier League grants confirmation status on 777 Partners, then we are powerless to prevent this. The backer has walked away, funds dried up. What follows next for 777 Partners is sale of assets to meet its debts.

Given the history and their performance so far, there is no way in heaven and earth that this deal can be verified by the Premier League. Forget even the downgrading of credit status to a C, their plug has been pulled, new investments (ie, Everton) are impossible to fund on a continuing basis.

Deep breath because, unless there is another investor in the wings, Moshiri has to continue to fund or lose it all by going into receivership... that's the reality. A further 9 points plus the other outstanding PSR charge may well sink us. But it would make us a lot more attractive to another buyer, assuming of course we are not wound up... then that's a different issue altogether.

So to priorities:
Do we:

1. Gather as many points on the table as possible? Absolutely! We would need to be approx 12 points ahead of Burnley, Luton and Sheffield Utd by the end of the season to stay in the Premier League.

2. Should Moshiri underwrite costs until another buyer is found, thereby not going into liquidation? Absolutely, it's his responsibility to do so or lose it all.

3. Hope to god the Premier League (a) reject the takeover, or (b) pass it? Devil and Deep Blue Sea because, if it's passed, we are stuffed.

There is also another problem for the Premier League: Leicester City currently look odds on to be promoted back to the Premier League but also appear to be well in excess of the 3-year PSR requirements… How will the Premier League handle that one, a club in breach being promoted back to the Premier League? Whilst at the same time relegating another because of the same breach?

They have royally fucked this whole thing up... if they continue, it will have resounding impacts on promoted clubs, relegated clubs, titles or league positions previously held, financial revenue and profitability.

The way forward is littered with controversy, legal action as club sues club, or clubs suing the Premier League, disputes and shame... The damage to clubs may be terminal; the damage to the Premier League will ensure they become a laughing stock.

And over the hill are the armies of lawyers of Man City and Chelsea… waiting.

The Premier League has lost the plot. They should drop all charges against clubs, abandon PSR and wipe the slate clean for all parties as it cannot be fixed, the inequity of sanctions when they can only be selectively applied.

The continuing application of sanctions may well indeed have to live on for at least another 3 years until the current sanction periods are ended; otherwise, clubs who would have been in breach if the rules still applied, gain a sporting advantage — you cannot condemn one and not another for the same breach!

The league will be gone before that happens... pure folly.
Wipe the slate and start again.

Paul Ferry
19 Posted 09/03/2024 at 03:50:56
Top-notch article, Paul, with deep feeling. We're around the same age and I feel your increasing frustration down through the years.

I want 777 Partners nowhere near our club. How can anyone think them to have a single ounce of credibility given the now little library of journalism exposing them for exactly what they are? This has dragged on for far too long and my hunch is that this spells bad news for 777's venture capitalist bid for our club.

So, like Christine said, the first priority is to get points on the board.

But Paul, if 777 Partners disappear forever from our radar (as they should), what happens next? Tony (A), who I respect greatly, is convinced that there are others waiting to step in if 777 Partners sink back into their slime. I want to believe him because I respect him and I love Everton.

Do you, Paul, know if there are alternative bidders because it seems so dangerous to leave us in Moshiri's clammy hands? What then happens to the loans we need to pay back to 777 Partners?

Does anyone know if there is a timeframe at work here or was it just here's some bridging loans? Will Moshiri step in to handle debt and running costs or will he just let his pesky ship sink?

In an ideal world, that we rarely inhabit, new owners would step in and pay off 777's blood money (their desperate attempt to show the powers-that-be that they are reliable and dependable managers). But the stakes are so high.

It's fair to ask someone who blurts "Dyche out" who might be their preferred replacement.

Can I, with great respect, Paul, put it like this: one piece of the jigsaw missing, who comes after them, what next?

This new post of yours that we all know comes from the heart as well as the mind does little if anything to reassure anyone. It tackles the immediate short-term but the longer term is conspicuous by its absence.

What happens if 777 Partners are turned down? Can you offer me, us (?), some reassurance or hope for the months after 777, Paul? I would love to hear what your thoughts are on the post-777 months and longer.

I'm hoping that you have got the short-term sorted out for us and that Tony (A) is right about the longer term.

Rick Tarleton
20 Posted 09/03/2024 at 06:41:06
Paul, is there actually another conglomerate or even a state backed group who is actually interested in taking over our club? Or are we stuck with 777 Partners or no-one?

I totally agree with you that, when the Moores family stopped being totally involved in our club was the early '70s and that was the beginning of the problems. Everton started selling their assets in the '70s. We lost Steve McMahon and David Johnson, and Kendall built his team on buttons until he'd won a cup and a title.

I can remember writing to the Echo (no ToffeWeb then) and saying that Everton had to keep McMahon at all costs and it caused quite a lot of consternation at the time.

If there is anyone else other than 777 Partners, who are they and are they ready to move quickly?

Christine Foster
21 Posted 09/03/2024 at 07:06:58
My message to the Premier League would be this:

If you want to stay in business, Wipe the slate clean.

Paul Hewitt
22 Posted 09/03/2024 at 07:32:03
Think they have gone too far down the road for that now, Christine. How can you have a team getting promoted but likely to get a points deduction before the season starts?

I do think they will be regretting what they've started though.

Tony Abrahams
23 Posted 09/03/2024 at 10:36:40
That point 2, @ post17, is the one thing that is giving me a bit of faith right now, Christine, but after watching a few Championship games in the last month then I don't believe the standard is as good as I thought it was, so I'd genuinely take administration if it meant we had a bit of short term suffering to pave the way to a much brighter long term future, with regards the club we all love.

Paul F, the latest bit of news about the story I've been told is that these other investors have more than covered all the bases with regards to financing a takeover, but I'm fed up thinking about it now until the Premier League do the right thing and tell Moshiri that they won't be accepting 777 Partners.

Christopher Timmins
24 Posted 09/03/2024 at 11:42:54
Tony, sadly I have to agree with you, the time may well have come where we need to think long term and forget the short term fixes as they only appear to papering over the cracks.

We survived last season and Leeds went down but I suggest that their long term prospects are now better than ours.

If 777 Partners are approved, then we have a short-term fix but limited hope of ever getting back to where we belong.

Tony Abrahams
25 Posted 09/03/2024 at 11:45:49
If 777 Partners are approved, then I would have to join the queue of people who think that the Premier League have simply got it in for Everton Football Club, Christopher.
Stephen Meighan
26 Posted 09/03/2024 at 12:13:13
Christopher Timmins @24. back to where we belong? Enlighten me. We've got no divine right to be anywhere near the top echelons of England's top clubs.

Granted the fans deserve a lot better than the dross we've had to put up with for years. But the club is a shambles and it's hard being a Evertonian in this city these days.

But back to where we belong... I ask you?

Ray Said
27 Posted 09/03/2024 at 16:43:55
This scenario has troubled me a lot: If we get relegated this season, either through not having enough points at the season end or having the points but having a second deduction, and then go into Administration as a Championship club with a 12- point deduction, then we could end up in League 1?

Any thoughts?

Bill Hawker
28 Posted 09/03/2024 at 17:48:36
Very well written article, Paul, and as always, backed up by numbers (numbers that many Evertonians don't want to hear or agree with) but backed up nonetheless.

I just don't see how we get out of this mess short of some state-run fund coming in and buying us – and while that would save us, is that what we really want?

At present, I'm not seeing a way out of this. I really don't. I hate being a pessimist because it's not in my nature but, man, if Everton don't make it hard.

Bill Hawker
29 Posted 09/03/2024 at 17:49:37
Ray #27,

I've always thought if we go down, we'll have to sell off just about every player we have. We'll have nothing worth keeping.

I could easily see us doing a Sunderland and dropping two tiers in two seasons. Easily.

Jim Lloyd
30 Posted 09/03/2024 at 18:14:19
Well, I was sharing an email natter with one of the lads I have a pint with before the match. I've been going since Johnny Carey took over from Ian Buchan. So seen some great football and gone through it all until now.

I was nearly packing it in after the last game at Goodison, which I thought we should have won but managed to lose. And that seems to have been a similar outcome today.

Anyway, I was saying to my mate that I was thinking of packing it in. He wrote back and said he'd felt similar but that he had two young lads and he wanted them to keep going; to support our club.

My other mate has been going since the mid-'50s and he comes down with his lad who's in his 30s; and I think he was around to see us win the 1995 FA Cup Final.

Also, my dad used to bike it down from a mining village outside Wigan and saw Dixie score his 60th goal. So I'll be carrying on supporting our club.

The thing is, I wonder how many offers Kenwright had to buy the club, which he refused? The only one I know of was directed up the road to another club, after only offering the buyer investor terms.

In my view, he was instrumental for his own monumental arrogance and selfishness, for the beginning of the potential destruction of Everton Football Club. That's when he declared to all our fans "I've got us our Billionaire!" Then… disaster awaited us!

I think the Premier League have come in at the other end of the story, and started something they don't know how to stop.

I think they felt they could make an example of Everton Football Club, and have all the other riff-raff clubs below the Sexy Six trembling in their football boots and never be naughty again.Well, I think they've opened a can of worms that they cannot close.

The Premier League won't give a tinkers toss about Everton if they can get themselves out of the Gordian knot they've tied themselves up in; if it means saving Everton, they will do; If Everton go down the pan but save the Premier League, then they'll let it happen.

As a supporter, I haven't a clue what's going on behind the scenes, I gave the benefit of whatever doubt I had to 777 Partners but there seems to be some extremely dark clouds around them, and consequently, our club.

I can only hope, an amateur football club started in a methodist chapel in Everton, called St Domingo's gets a bit a good luck for a change, and forces political, sporting and legal, all join together to help us in our fight to to keep Everton Football Club alive.

As for ownership, I just hope we get buyer who has oodles of money and will guide us to the top.
Ian Pilkington
32 Posted 09/03/2024 at 19:22:54
An outstanding article, Paul, your finest contribution yet.

The delay in the Premier League's decision regarding the truly appalling 777 Partners is yet another example of the scandalous manner in which we have been treated.

Even Moshiri must surely have worked out that 777 Partners cannot possibly be approved as fit and proper owners. He will simply have to bail us out in the short term and talk to other potential buyers or lose his entire investment.

I really cannot believe that nobody other than 777 Partners is interested in our historic club with an exceptional new stadium nearing completion.

Oliver Molloy
33 Posted 09/03/2024 at 19:30:26
I can, there is close to a billion of debt involved!
Tony Abrahams
34 Posted 09/03/2024 at 22:02:27
So the club, with a beautiful brand new iconic stadium on the waterfront of the River Mersey, is going to be owned lock stock and barrel, for around £1.1 Billion, and will then be debt free?

I honestly think Everton Football Club is a bargain, even if the club is in desperate need of a complete rebuild.

Kieran Kinsella
35 Posted 09/03/2024 at 22:38:06
For fuck's sake, yesterday 777 Partners “killed an attorney” —now Josh Wander is accused of leaking “non-consensual explicit photos.”

In their spare time, do they steal tuck money from little kids?

John Connor
36 Posted 09/03/2024 at 22:45:45
To be honest, I'm just losing interest in the many permutations that seem to be going on. Ifs and buts when no one seems to know what's going on or what will happen.

It seems odd that it took Jim Ratcliffe a matter of weeks to be shooed-in for a 25% stake in Man Utd, after moving his residency to Monaco to save £Ms in tax and being classed as a fit and proper person to have a stake in a club, while we are still waiting.

Surely by now they have enough due diligence to say they either can or can't buy us? It's the waiting that drives us mad.

Either way, I will be there next season (no matter what league we are in), never in danger of giving it up, it's in the blood, and nothing is as bad as the football under Mike Walker.

Bill Gall
37 Posted 09/03/2024 at 22:48:40
Well written, Paul, and compliments for your article, it explains everything in black and white that is easy to understand the predicament our club is in and who the culprits are that placed us in this predicament.

My association with Everton started in the early 50s when I played on Goodison Park for the school. I carried on supporting Everton at Goodison home and away until 1976 when I emigrated to Canada. I have supported them ever since with trips back home and fees to different companies for TV coverage.

My complaint is what is the Premier League's agenda in this farce, as they seem to appear to block any way they can for a takeover by 777 Partners. They may not be the right people for a takeover but it could have been settled months ago. Instead, they just seem determined to punish Everton FC as the first club that has broken the PSR limits, even knowing they are not the only ones.

There may be other people who have wanted to take over Everton but, with the Premier League delaying the takeover, will this increase the dept to be paid to 777 Partners, whoever wants to purchase the club? That is if there is any one else, as most of what you read is rumours.

Hope when I come back in April, the 20th and 27th games will not be must-win relegation battles.

I will stick with the saying "The Cream Always Rises To The Top".

Dave Lynch
38 Posted 09/03/2024 at 23:12:55
All this "we deserve better", "we are the senior team in the city", "I remember, blah, blah, blah!" means jack shit in today's game.

You can (and some do) pine about the past achievements and players all you want but that doesn't matter. We are in the "now" and it's been coming for a long time.

The football landscape has changed, the issue is... we didn't follow the change, we stood still with the arrogant attitude of "We're Everton". The inevitable has come home to roost, we (the club, that is) have gotten what we deserved for years of mismanagement.

Whatever happens will happen, it's always the fans that suffer, see Sunderland, West Brom, Leeds as examples – all clubs with a rich history.

Forget the past, it is what it is... a wise man once said to me, "You can't change the past, live in the now and shape the future". All our yesterdays and reminiscing will not make this shit show go away.

Don Alexander
39 Posted 09/03/2024 at 23:16:02
I really don't share the, erm, optimism of those speculating that only selling our very few indeed coveted players is our biggest problem... but it's coming soon.

I also don't share any optimism that the new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock will be our resurrection because we'll be paying mega-bucks for decades to whoever, if anyone, ends up as its owner... but that's coming soon too.

My optimism on the integrity of the Premier League, the Sky Six, the current UK so-called government, and the ability of Liverpool City Council to do anything whatsoever to improve our viability is lower than Trump's grasp of altruism. It simply doesn't exist.

Moshiri worshipped them all of course (Trump being worked like a puppet by Putin), and pathetically entrusted Kenwright and his boardroom leeches to outwit all of them.

How he must now miss Kenwright's advice on dealing with 777 Partners and everything else credibly threatening our very existence!

Paul Hewitt
40 Posted 09/03/2024 at 23:21:48
Senior club in the city? Don't make me laugh.

Take your bloody blinkers off. We're in deep deep trouble, on and off the pitch. That lot over the road don't even consider us rivals anymore, we're that far behind.

John Raftery
41 Posted 09/03/2024 at 23:28:19
I don't think we need worry too much about rejecting 777 Partners. Given all the negativity around them with new issues emerging every other day, it seems highly unlikely the Premier League will ever approve their takeover.

Where we and Moshiri go from there is anyone's guess. The very worst scenario is the stadium is not completed, the club is liquidated and AFC Everton 2025 apply for entry to whichever lower tier of non-league football will have us. I know more than a few supporters who would quite enjoy a journey from the foot of the pyramid.

Don Alexander
42 Posted 09/03/2024 at 23:31:24
Paul (#40) you're absolutely right.

No football fan on the planet is remotely interested in who first had floodlights, programmes, undersoil heating, two-tiered stands, a three-tiered stand, a totally useless alleged owner or his lying unaccountable self-serving buffoon of a chairman.

Ben King
43 Posted 10/03/2024 at 00:49:51
John #41,

Is it the worst-case scenario if the club was liquidated?

I am sick of this crap.

Jerome Shields
44 Posted 10/03/2024 at 09:16:38
If my experience of the Everton Marketing Department is correct, I doubt they would have had any idea what you are talking about. I still believe that is the case today.

Dyche last week informed us that the Academy had no-one good enough for the first team squad. Everton is being run as it always has been run for the past 30 years, at the whim of the owner, who disappears as far as fans are concerned as the de facto leader of the club.

See no Evil, hear no Evil, speak no Evil.

Andrew Taylor
45 Posted 10/03/2024 at 13:21:28
I think a marketing theme like 'senior club in the city' would be atrocious, and I am glad it was flatly rejected. By definition, it depends on 'them' and defines us against 'them'. Otherwise, senior to whom?

It reeks of looking backwards. Moshiri may never have lived up to one iota of what he said, but he was absolutely right in signalling that we needed to stop being a museum. Honour the past, yes, to eternity, but never be defined by it.

My question to 'The Esk' is always the same. I agree with so much of what you say, but please confirm what relationship you might have, if any, financial or otherwise, with any creditor or interested party in Everton Football Club Limited or its linked companies?

Without transparency, and with so many claims to be 'in the know', you owe it to your readers to set this out as a basic tenet of honest journalism and public commentary.

Or we can assume it is in service of just another agenda looking to set a narrative around our club.

Paul [The Esk]
46 Posted 10/03/2024 at 15:59:42
Andrew, just to be clear (as I have on Twitter or X), I have no financial or beneficial relationship of any form with any creditor or party interested in Everton.

Does that mean I don't speak to them? Of course not. I have regular communications with our creditors, potential investors and many in the media. (I'm saying that just for clarification.)

Ray Robinson
47 Posted 10/03/2024 at 22:03:05
How about a marketing and new nickname? “The (Scouse) Originals”?

I was in the city centre earlier today for a family meal and must have passed about 50 Liverpool fans, all with their scarves tied around their necks (why don't we do scarves?). Not a single one of them was speaking English (well apart from a couple of Americans).

I know they're a global brand but shouldn't we play on our local roots and authenticity?

Andrew Taylor
48 Posted 11/03/2024 at 09:37:57
Thanks for the clarification, Paul.

Can I ask what your view is of R&MF, and why it is not a greater focus of your ire? They seem to hold a noose around our neck in terms of collateral and in blocking previous moves from MSP.

If it were not for them, then it seems 777 Partners and all that might never have figured in our little post-Moshiri psychodrama. And yet... whatever we may say about 777 Partners, and I don't doubt they have no business running us, they have pumped £170M into the club and do not have the club over a barrel in quite the same way.

For me, R&MF appear truer villains with a far greater threat to our ongoing existence, and yet get none of the attention or scrutiny that the young chap in the baseball cap does. Why?

Michael Lynch
49 Posted 11/03/2024 at 10:23:20
I don't doubt your football finance knowledge, Paul, but I'd advise against a career in marketing!

"Senior Club In the City" is just about the clunkiest thing I've ever heard. It reeks of old men, a crumbling stadium, bitterness, nostalgia and an acceptance that all we have to celebrate is in the past, as we've been overtaken by our younger cousins in the city.

On second thoughts, it's a brilliant slogan.

Stu Darlington
50 Posted 11/03/2024 at 17:54:12
Great article, Paul, I enjoyed reading it. Dare I say it's as near as I've ever heard you get to a rant!!

But I agree totally with Dave @38. Great post, lad, well said. And Don @39 and @42. We all need to wise up and accept the reality of our situation as it is now and it's not a pleasant experience.

Like John @41, I believe the examination of 777 Partners has gone on too long for them to be given the go ahead, the time elapsed indicates that there must be some cause for concern and I sincerely hope they get knocked back. No way can they be good for our club in the long run.

Bill Gall
51 Posted 11/03/2024 at 19:33:13
Does the suggested new financial Uefa model mean the Top Six will still have the upper hand in being able to sign and afford the payments to the world class players, while the less fortunate clubs shop in the bargain basements?


Bob Parrington
52 Posted 13/03/2024 at 12:40:29

Your argumentations are well defined and clear that I wonder where you are? They are the kind of arguments that come from far away, such as New Zealand or Australia. Whichever, I support your views. The only way forward is for the Premier League to clean the slate, admit its faults, and get on with a new world of the Premier League.

You are a true Blue and I respect your views on TW. Thanks!

Danny O’Neill
53 Posted 13/03/2024 at 12:53:56
Bob, I live in London and travel a lot watching the blues home and away.

I hope Paul doesn't mind but here is most of the post I put on his website. Powerful, emotive and passionate stuff from the heart, Paul.

We, both as a city and as Evertonians are more passionate than anyone, despite the attempts to paint those loveable Geordies as the best supporters in the land.

Sure, they are passionate as are supporters of all clubs they follow.

But there is something different about our mentality in times of hardship. The nearly years in the 70s and the dark winter of 1983. Our current challenges and those we faced as a city back in the 1980s when we fell on hard times. But we were resilient and fought back. Everton can now.

It's my city. It's our city and we are proud people. I too have travelled a lot through professional and personal reasons. Some nice places I lived in, some not so nice and I just hoped I was coming home or at least in one piece. I now live in west London, but the city of my birth is always the place I call home.

Wherever I've been, people are intrigued when they hear you are from Liverpool. More intrigued when they find out who I support.

We are the senior club.

1878: The Originals. The bird is blue.

Steve Brown
54 Posted 13/03/2024 at 13:13:07
Danny, I think Bob was posting to Christine.
Danny O’Neill
55 Posted 13/03/2024 at 13:16:21
I know, Steve. I was posting to Bob and on the thread.
Rennie Smith
56 Posted 13/03/2024 at 14:09:30
Another great article, Paul. It seems like the Premier League are giving 777 Partners extra time to prove their worth, surely that's why it's gone on so long? Which means they're about as welcome as a fart in a lift.

I don't prescribe to living in the past, but I also don't see anything wrong with fighting for what you believe in, so we can't just down tools and say hey, that's the modern world.

Raymond Fox
57 Posted 13/03/2024 at 14:14:51
I've mentioned on a number of ocasions that the Reds made a brilliant marketing move when they called themselves Liverpool. It doesn't seem right does it, they patently don't represent all of Liverpool.

The majority of UK residents will know where Everton is but foreigners won't have a clue.

Alan J Thompson
58 Posted 13/03/2024 at 15:08:47
So if not 777 Partners, then who are the most likely to step up and at this moment?
Brian Harrison
59 Posted 13/03/2024 at 15:17:36
I see Stan Collymore has quite rightly lambasted 10 of the Premier League clubs who voted against giving the EFL and the £900M deal they were asking for.

The clubs who voted against were Arsenal, Chelsea, Spurs, Liverpool, West Ham, Aston Villa, Wolves, Forest, Palace and Bournemouth — and as Collymore said, Bournemouth in their 144 years of existence, have spent 120 years in either the 3rd or 4th tier of English football.

He has also said today that Man Utd have told season ticket holders that if they don't attend 17 of the 19 league games they will have their season tickets taken away and resold. Spurs apparently next year are withdrawing the subsidy for pensioners.

He also states part of the Holte end at Villa which used to be for season ticket holders is now given to day trippers at an average cost of £140 per game. Fulham are charging £160 per game next season for a seat in a certain stand next season and doesn't include any hospitality.

This used to be the game of the working man but these decisions show that they don't care about loyal supporters and will do anything to maximize their profits to pay the mercenaries who play the game unsustainable amounts of money. Unless these clubs realize they can't keep ripping off supporters and need to introduce a wage cap that is open and transparent.

Rant over.

Paul Hewitt
61 Posted 13/03/2024 at 15:28:48
Can anyone give a legitimate reason why this takeover is taking so long? After 25 weeks it should be a simple yes or no.

Personally, I think the Premier League are doing it on purpose to cause maximum disruption.

Joe McMahon
62 Posted 13/03/2024 at 15:29:15

Stan also posted on Twitter this fab quote from Bill Shankly: "The socialism I believe in is everybody working for the same goal and everybody having a share in the rewards. That's how I see football, that's how I see life."

Ray Roche
63 Posted 13/03/2024 at 15:30:13
Raymond @57,

That's the reason West Ham have put ‘London' on their badge. No one would know where they were from either.

Gerry Quinn
64 Posted 13/03/2024 at 15:50:04
Raymond, 57 – they originally chose Everton Athletic but were refused, therefore, the twats came up with their current name.

[Even though I was born there, I still struggle to say that city name!!!!]

Rob Halligan
65 Posted 13/03/2024 at 15:50:46
Ray # 57…

Apparently when the RS were formed, they wanted call themselves Everton Athletic, but Everton objected, claiming something like the two teams couldn't have Everton in their name, so the RS just called themselves Liverpool instead.

Rob Halligan
66 Posted 13/03/2024 at 15:52:03
FFS Gerry……beat me by 42 seconds. 😁😁
David West
68 Posted 13/03/2024 at 17:23:59
The silence around the takeover is just ridiculous. The planning for next season, top tier or not, should be going on with the people who will be responsible.

We are like a skeleton club. Big massive offices in the liver building and just 2 fellas, Chong & Thelwell both sitting at each end of a massive boardroom desk, with no one else in sight shouting across a massive empty office.

"Have I got any money to bring players in, Col?"

"Dunno, Kev."

"Have I got to sell players to balance the books, Col?"

"Dunno, Kev."

"Who knows, Col?"

"Dunno, Kev."

Mike Gaynes
69 Posted 13/03/2024 at 17:28:34
Rob, you can't match Gerry for pace!
David West
70 Posted 13/03/2024 at 17:41:21
We've had some dodgy owners of clubs, they all passed this test, many taking over in less than half the time this is taking. Why if 777 Partners have the funds, have the finance, the backing, the strong financial footing to take us on, why can't they show it?

Doesn't this show they are not professional in their approach? Doesn't this show they haven't got their finances in order? Doesn't this show it's the first step into taking control of our club and they are already messing it up?

It's a PR disaster, for them, for Moshiri, and for us as a club.

Ratcliffe passed this test in a few weeks when taking a stake in Man Utd, because he's legit, above board, professional and transparent.

Doesn't that tell its own story about 777 Partners??

Mark Murphy
71 Posted 13/03/2024 at 17:58:28
Rob, you can't beat Gerry for pace…
Christine Foster
72 Posted 13/03/2024 at 19:13:26
Bob @52,

When the club were first charged with breaching PSR, I said on these pages that the Premier League wanted a patsy and that the rules would be changed immediately afterwards having shown the world they didn't need an independent regulator. The new rules adopted from Europe's model ensure the massive gulf between the top clubs and others will be so far removed from a level playing field as to make it a sick joke.

Did not anyone notice that the term 'FFP' rules (Financial Fair Play) has been dropped because they know it isn't fair? The goal of a level playing field has been ditched in pursuit of a trickle-down theory? (That always works, doesn't it?)

As for other points, yes, these days, I write from as far away from home as you can get, here in New Zealand. But I am not sure what difference that makes. I was a season ticket holder for nigh-on 40 years, my first experience of Goodison was when I was 4. I left my wedding reception to stand on the Gwladys Street terrace in my dress and denim jacket as we beat Man Utd 2-0. Raised in and around Scotland Road, my families go back some five generations in that square mile.

So what? We all love our club, there are thousands of us scattered around the globe who share history and love with our club, everyone with a story.

Mine, God willing, isn't over yet, the new stadium sits squarely in my family's one square mile. Plans are already underway for my return home, so future posts will hopefully be given post game from my seat in our new home at Bramley-Moore Dock. My home.

Brian Harrison
73 Posted 13/03/2024 at 19:28:27
I see Josimar, who have been all over 777 Partners for quite a while are now, saying that 777 Partners have done business with a Russian Oligarch and one of its founder members has links to another. Both Oligarchs have long been accused of having close ties with Putin. I've been trying to think of who that Oligarch could be.

I said a couple of weeks back that I thought it was odd for David Dein, the ex-Arsenal CEO, to come out and suggest that the Premier League should allow 777 Partners to take over Everton. Why would Dein be concerned about who took over at Everton?

Not in any way connected with this story… but didn't Mr Dein sell his Arsenal shares to Mr Usmanov???

Christine Foster
74 Posted 13/03/2024 at 20:20:31
Brian an interesting read, no link to Usmanov implied, but nonetheless it shows how precarious 777 Partners' finances are and yet again, why they are having such a hard time gaining Premier League approval.

Indeed, given the facts to date, it's hard to understand why they are still being considered as a viable purchaser. Their financial dealings have been littered with failed payments, lack of transparency, and litigation. Exactly where the money will come from now and exactly how they will secure funds for the next 3 years is why any approval is still pending.

There are loose threads that need pulling in all this, follow the money... it all leads to Bermuda, lol!

David West
75 Posted 13/03/2024 at 20:25:46
Christine @72,

If there was anything "fair" about FFP, it would be put together to enable clubs to compete on a "fair" level. That's not even asking or a level playing field, that will never happen now.

The sponsorships, endorsements and non-competition income of the super-rich clubs is mind-blowing compared with even mid-level clubs. Man Utd get £900M for their kit deal, £90M per yer…10 times more than Everton's current deal.

Competitive sport can't be run like other businesses, eventually you will have 1 or 2 big players, like in any sector of business, who will fight for market share. This is what's happening to football.

If you have capitalist businesses operating in a survival of the fittest environment, that eventually leads to the weaker falling away (clubs out of business or uncompetitive). Add to this the skewed FFP and P&S rules, and you have the perfect environment to stifle competition.

Imagine in other businesses, large firms being subject to the same FFP or P&S rules. It doesn't make sense, it actually goes against competitiveness.

How a body like the CMA (Competition Markets Authority) hasn't looked at these rules is beyond me.

The leagues may make huge money in the short term, pushing their favourite big clubs around the world, but eventually, without competition, meaningful competition, where a club can rise from the Championship to win the Champions League or Premier League, they will only be selling the equivalent of Major League Baseball… Who watches that outside of Americans???

It won't be football, not football as we knew it. Not football where the appointment of a brilliant manager could take you on a journey to win the Premier League and on to Europe.

That's where financial "fair" play should be applied. Man Utd, Madrid, Barca, Bayern shouldn't be left to just run over the rest because Addidas, Audi, Allianz or any other corporate entity wants to give them money.

Tony Abrahams
76 Posted 13/03/2024 at 20:39:59
You must leave now, take what you need you think will last, but whatever you wish to keep, you better grab it fast.

The highway is for gamblers, better use your sense, take what you've gathered from coincidence.

Leave your stepping stones behind there, something calls you, and forget the debt you've left it will not follow you.

Well, strike another match, yeah, go start new, go start new, cos it's all over, Baby Blue. [Or Alisher U!!!]

Heard a few conflicting stories today, on something like day 180 since we were informed 777 Partners were going to be purchasing Everton, and still it continues to drag on.

Raymond Fox
77 Posted 13/03/2024 at 22:10:02
Thanks for the replies, guys. I don't suppose it mattered as much then as it does now in the mass media circus.

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