Fan article: Why Kenwright and Co are doing a good job for EFC

Where to start with this article! I think firstly it is important to clarify that I firmly believe in the clubs motto of “Nothing but the best is good enough” and that the club should be doing everything possible to regain its place back amongst the leading teams in England. 20 years without a trophy is simply not good enough for a team of Everton’s stature.


From this opening paragraph, most would think that I sit firmly in the anti-board camp, however if anything I am the polar opposite. I have faith in the workings of my football club, not everything is perfect (is it ever or anywhere?), but the club have made significant improvements off the pitch, which I believe the current board of this football club should take immense credit. I know this is not a view many are prepared to state publically, but I will back this opinion with fact.

Firstly, and as stated by Roberto Martinez in a recent press conference, Everton are a team that has balanced the books. The club are no longer in a position where we are living hand to mouth and selling our best players at a fraction of their market value in an effort to  stave off the banks. “Where is the Arteta money Bill” is a sentence which often reverberates round in any debate about the success or failure of the board. Well in truth that money was used to pay off a portion of the clubs crippling debts, a burden which the current board inherited when they rescued the club from the cavalier and reckless management of the Peter Johnson era. Everton do not have to sell Ross Barkley, John Stones, James McCarthy etc… for the simple reason that the board have remained strong under growing criticism and have used the booming Premier League economy to balance the clubs finances and place the football club on strong foundations for a sustained period of growth.

One area that many supporters become frustrated with is the hierarchy’s apparent lack of urgency to complete transfers. Evertonians become embarrassed by the boards’ hard negotiating stance as they look to secure a deal that best suits the clubs finances. Talk of Bill Kenwright attempting to spread payments over a long period of time should be seen as a strength and not a weakness. If Everton are able to sign four players in a window rather than two because the board have successfully deferred expense until a later date, then that has to be a good thing for Everton Football Club and its supporters?

Rewind to 2006 and the Everton players were training at the much loved but outdated facility at Bellefield. The Blues were desperate for a resource that was better or at least comparable to the leading Premier League teams. The Board acted and used their creativity to fund a move to a new venue fit for Everton and the modern era. The result was the excellent Finch Farm which has brought the club and its academy closer together than ever before and also provides the elite players with state of the art pitches and equipment and acts as an attraction for top players when the club enters the transfer market. The way the board funded the move to Finch Farm has attracted criticism, but if you cut through the bluster you are left with a top range training ground that is financially viable for the long term. Ideally Everton would have total ownership of its training facility, however the club have the security of knowing that Liverpool City Council will happily pass on the asset at a time when it becomes financially viable for the club to purchase.

One strong attribute of the current board, that is often overlooked, is the patience it shows towards its managers. There are no knee jerk reactions at Goodison Park to a series of disappointing results. Instead managers are able to operate in an environment that enables them to build the club from top to bottom. This has resulted in a period of stability and growth, when many other clubs have aimed for the heavens and ended up with regular battles against relegation. Who would swap with Aston Villa (5 managers in the last 6 years) right now, who for a time were striving to break the top four alongside Everton and are now fighting an annual battle against relegation?

I have left possibly the hottest topic until last, the merchandise deal with Kitbag. While it cannot be ignored that the deal comes with many failings, it is remiss to ignore the fact, that prior to engaging Kitbag, Everton were consistently losing money from its commercial operations. That is a fact and although you can point to the success of other clubs who are able to eke out additional funds through their merchandise activities, Everton have traditionally struggled in this market. Part of the reason is that as a collective, Evertonians do not invest heavily in club branded products and without a worldwide fan base desperate to pick up anything with the clubs logo splashed across it, this will remain a difficult area for the board to break.

As a board, Bill Kenwright, Jon Woods, Robert Earl, the late Sir Philip Carter and Robert Elstone are far from perfect, but they do have the best interests of Everton at heart and despite the mounting criticism they are doing a good job for our precious institution.  The challenge moving forward is to provide a football ground worthy of the Everton name, while continuing to ensure the team develops on the pitch.

If you disagree with this post, please contact us and let us know your view. We are keen to post all sides of the debate.


7 thoughts on “Fan article: Why Kenwright and Co are doing a good job for EFC

  1. Oh my word – like it was written by Elstone or another club spin doctor…

    An awful piece which just insults the intelligence of any fan with more than one brain cell.

    We have diluted our debts due to 2 people – David Moyes and Richard Scudamore. One person operated well in the transfer market and bought low and sold big and the other was the only reason we have any increase in income due to the TV rights.

    We operate on a sell to buy model with a very poor commercial performance relevant to clubs of a similar size.

    We are being commercially managed in an extremely lazy, slapdash manner and it is showing in the accounts.

    We sold an asset in bellefield and RENT finch farm which we had also sold prior to us moving in there.

    I won’t bother going into Kings dock and Kirby fiascos plus badge redesigns along with seat stickers for season ticket holders. Second rate operation – nuff said.

  2. I do not agree with you in any way. Firstly you talk about the Finch Farm complex, may I remind you we don’t own a single blade of grass, its only rented. With todays vast money floating about ie ( tv money ) I don’t think there are many clubs in deep debt. I agree a couple of years ago you may have had a case but not today. We need to spend a lot more money just to survive. Bill Kenwright did ok in the early years but because of new tv money he now needs to spend a lot more just to stand still and even keep up even with the lesser clubs. I have supported the club for 65 years and feel I know what I am talking about.

  3. Let me start by tipping my hat to the author of the original post. To put your head above the parapet and state your reasons for backing the board is commendable, it’s refreshing to hear some justification for your stance rather than ‘be careful what you wish for’ or ‘it’s not Bill’s fault he isn’t a millionaire’.

    The point you make in regard to the loyalty shown by the board towards its managers is valid in some part, although it is imperative to point out that this loyalty has been more than earned by each of the three managers appointed by the board. Under the existing board each Everton manager has returned a profit on player trading, season after season we have sold players at a higher value than those that have been brought in. In order to deliver funds, both for transfers, wages and the day to day running of the club, Walter Smith, David Moyes and Roberto Martinez have needed to trade players at a profit. In doing this they have managed to keep Everton in the Premier League, meaning that as TV revenue has increased the club has become a more stable business.]

    Due to the manner in which Premier League TV revenue is divided, each club starts the season with the same base rate of income to run their club. Added to this are several revenue streams; ticket sales, commercial income, further TV revenue dependent upon number of games screened and finally league position dependant prize money.

    It is fair to say that the variable revenue of the latter 2 income routes is generally dependent upon the performance of the team, therefore in the absence of a Billionaire Sheikh or Oligarch the impact of ticket sales and commercial income is vital when determining how the club improves on the pitch. This is where any argument regarding the boards performance falls down.

    Ticket sales – A full to capacity stadium on a regular basis is good but not great. When you professed to being able to fill a 60k seater stadium in 1996, still playing in a 40k seater stadium in 2015 is quite simply a failure. I challenge anybody who thinks that Goodison is still fit for purpose to visit the toilets in the Lower Bullens or even try to watch a game from the rear 5 rows of that area of the ground. I would love to see the reaction of Robert Elstone if he was to visit that area of the stadium. It is quite simply, disgusting.

    Commercial revenue – At a time when the Premier League has decided it is such a strong brand in itself that it no longer needs a sponsor, growth of the product is booming. Liverpool FC’s commercial team have been working in the far east and Australia for almost 12 months, purely in anticipation of their current pre-season tour. The objective is simple, how do they grow the brand and sell as much product as possible during the tour. At present Everton are in Shanghai where they were greeted by hundreds of fans from that part of the world, however you won’t find our shirts on sale on a Japanese High-St alongside Manchester United, Chelsea, Spurs, Villa or even Celtic shirts, because our deal with Kitbag doesn’t allow that. You won’t find Everton shirts available in Sports Direct, the biggest seller of replica kit in the UK, because our deal with Kitbag doesn’t allow that either.

    The ‘great deal for the club’ that Robert Elstone negotiated with Kitbag is for a flat fee. Not only does the flat fee result in us not benefitting financially from any increase in the sale of kits, it is proven to generate less revenue than Aston Villa, Swansea, Norwich and Hull have brought in through merchandise sales since the Kitbag contract has been in place.

    For the above also read Sodhexo. The flat fee paid for match day catering means that if they can tempt you to have a soggy sausage roll with your warm chang, not a penny of the extra £3 will be going to club funds.

    So based upon the enormous TV revenues which have arrived with us by way of managing to stay in the Premier League albeit trophyless for 20 years, why have we not invested the increased turnover in a new ground to get the ball rolling. Quite simply, through the short termism, poor decision making and lack of intellectual business investment detailed above, the money goes elsewhere.

    The commercial revenues were not, and still are not, working hard enough to sustain the club, this is why Everton seek to finance through both Phillp Green and Robert Earl’s off shore finance vehicle, Vibrac. The club has itself in a hole that it will never get out of, in the simplest terms it is in the equivalent of a pay-day loan spiral of despair. Those who hope for a sugar daddy can forget it, one simple look at the books (the true books that will show exactly how the ‘other operating costs’ leave the club) will tell them that Everton Football Club is an absolute non-starter investment.

    So as and when we sell McCarthy/Stones/Barkley/Lukaku, remember to thank the board for sticking by the manager won’t you.

    1. Some great comments. Can I perhaps simplify things and try and avoid sitting on any fence! Firstly, is there any suggestion that income is being filtered out of the club by shareholders taking huge dividends. I think the answer is firmly no. That leaves only one possible gripe against our chairman; is the club mismanaged? This has 2 arguments. 1) has the chairman actively rejected offers to buy the club AGAINST THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE FOOTBALL CLUB? Frankly, anyone would be extremely disingenuous and bordering on slanderous to state forcibly that the chairman puts his own ego before the best interests if the club. 2) is there financial mismanagement of the club? I doubt it. Rather, we have had to be pragmatic at times and done deals that provide stability rather than potential risk. Good management? Maybe. A few years ago I was yearning for the club to make the following statement to the fans, “we will not be spending money for the next 2 years because we will be doing everything we can to get the bank off our back. Because of what we owe we are at their mercy and power and maybe forced to sell players, dictated to on financial dealings and not have the flexibility to get more favourable borrowing rates. We do not want our football club answerable to faceless, mercinary and ruthless capitalists. Bear with us.” I think Evertonians would have signed up to that….and probably had a whip round! We’ve now “balanced the books”. I trust the chairman that he will not sell a player, regardless of fee, without the managers say so. So let’s move on and perhaps put our energies on working up a model like in Germany. Let the fans raise funds to buy 51% of the club with monies raised getting non entities off our Board and cash into the transfer kitty. A truly Peoples Club going forward. The model works ok for Bayern, Barca et Al.

  4. I’m far from one of the Toffeeweb fundamentalist extremeists who will, surely, detail at length all of the individual crimes foisted upon the hapless and clueless fanbase of our great club by the current board under the chairmanship of the self-styled ‘blue Bill’. In truth though you dont have to be so partisan to arrive at the simple fact that this board aren’t fit for purpose.

    The article stops fractionally short of the key point here. This is how the board propose we grow and develop the club and move forward from the station-keeping we’ve been doing, with varying degrees of success, pretty much throughout the life of the Premier League.

    There is nothing. No plan. No vision of how we evolve the business side of things. We just had an opportunity to step away from the Kitbag deal. We didnt take it and signed on for 4 more years. If we want to grow revenues we have to have management of those revenue generation elements. With Kitbag we’re saying ‘nah we cant do any better…you run with it and give us our modest payday’. That is an utterly abhorrent attitude from the top echelon of the club. It is standard-model for them though look at the failed Park End redevelopment. They kicked it off and hadn’t even bothered to check the legal position of the scheme before it got under way. Its all half-arsed and tin-pot.

    We need a team at the top who have the diligence and desire to build a new vision for the club’s development and have the ability to actually deliver. However much the current board may have done to keep us afloat to this point, and recognition is due them for that, the lack of a plan to take us forward is indefensible and reason enough for them to move on.

  5. Nice post.
    Well said.
    Nearly quarter to one over here and I’m too tired to rebuke the naysayers (stop getting your knickers in a twist lads).
    We (blues) / they (the Board) are doing okay and will do even better with the whole-hearted support of the fan base.
    Good night all.

  6. Kenwright has actively blocked the sale of the club – Lerner wanted to discuss buying us and was met with a “NO” – he went and bought Villa.

    Now – before we get on to the whole “look at Villa”, its not look at Villa but look at what he pumped into Villa and more notably O’Neills transfer budget.

    I was never a massive Moyes fan in terms of tactics etc etc but I am pretty certain that if armed with the millions that MON flittered away we would have seen the likes of Essien, Cech, Moutinho, Negredo and we would have broke top 4 and played CL football regular.

    One day the truth will come out as to what exactly has gone on in our club. It won’t make nice reading.

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