This article first appeared on Grandoldteam on 6th June 2016.
This week marks 100 days since Moshiri’s acquisition of 49.9% of Everton Football Club.
The first 100 days is a term coined by a radio address by the US President Franklin D. Roosevelt in July 1933. He realised that the first months of a Presidency were the most important in terms of gaining control, and setting the tone and agenda for his Presidency.
He was a President determined to move the US out of the effects of the Great Depression, caused by his predecessor Herbert Hoover. From day one he sought to address 4 main priorities to achieve that aim.
There’s a parallel between this story and the first 100 days of Moshiri’s role as the major shareholder at Everton.
Cast your mind back to the uncertain days of late February this year. Uncertainty about the proposed American takeover, uncertainty about the manager and performances on the pitch, the stadium was a million miles away, and no evidence of ambition and commercial acumen at board level. The club was at a very low point with no immediate prospects of matters changing in the near term.
Move forward a 100 days since the announcement that Farhad Moshiri had acquired 49.9% of Everton and we see a very different picture.
There was however initially, a great deal of scepticism – was this guy another of Kenwright’s mates? How much control did Kenwright still have? Why was Elstone given a directorship? Why did he only buy 49.9%?
Thankfully those questions have started being answered.
Today there is no doubt about who is in charge of the club and who is driving our future direction. Although the board looks relatively unchanged with only Alexander Ryazanstev a newcomer (but having clearly made his mark particularly in recent days), there are exciting prospects ahead with Brian Gilvary (current CFO at oil giant BP) and David Dein, (instrumental in the back story to Moshiri being involved in Everton and much further back with Arsenal) both strongly rumoured to be joining the board in the summer months.
Kenwright increasingly is taking a back seat and should for example, Dein become part of the board then that process can only quicken – Life Presidency may be an option – it’s an inevitable consequence of differing styles, ambitions and abilities.
The ownership position is clearer too – the emergence of an option agreement for Moshiri to acquire Kenwright’s, Wood’s and Abercormby’s remaining shares will take Moshiri to over 75% – the timing and terms are not currently in the public domain.
On the pitch, we’re seeing the effects of Moshiri’s influence, and in a huge way.
The worst performance at Goodison in 20 years against Arsenal in mid-March signified the final nail in Martinez’s tenure as Everton manager, even though the rear-guard fought hard initially, it was Moshiri’s desire to bring in someone capable of meeting the challenges of his ambitions for the club that led to his departure before the season end on May 12th.
The pursuit of his successor has been conducted in a manner almost forgotten by Evertonians – driven by the desire to get the person most suited for the job. Koeman has always been Moshiri’s first choice despite us looking at Jose, Emery and others.
The determination to capture him, persuade him, and pay the necessary costs of attaining him should not be dismissed – we have overcome significant obstacles to get the man Moshiri wanted – that bodes extremely well for our future.
Furthermore, the structural change with the introduction of a Director of Football should not be overlooked, particularly if we land our #1 target Monchi from Seville.
Although less in the public eye, the stadium issues are quietly being resolved with expectations rising that we will in the near future agree to move from Goodison Park to a waterfront, iconic stadium. The contrast between what is now possible and what was not possible under the previous ownership cannot be over-stated.
There’s little evidence yet of an improvement in our commercial and sponsorship arrangements but given the likely additions to the board, and the vigour and professionalism of other changes in the club, and it’s not difficult to expect big changes in the future. I suspect the Chang relationship will finish at the end of 2016/17 and more than likely the Kitbag relationship also.
The profile of the club is going to change markedly – it will not escape people’s attention in the football industry the change in how we go about our business even if media perceptions will take longer to alter. If the Southampton’s fans reaction is anything to go by then other fans will take note also.
Those changes in perception, coupled with changes in behaviour and results could not be better timed.
There is a feel of change around the Premiership. Leicester’s achievements have rocked the status quo, and it’s not unreasonable to draw possible comparisons with what they have achieved, how they achieved it, and how we are now positioned – funded, ambitious, high quality manager, and one would hope a return to a fully united playing squad.
There’s a huge amount to be done, and success may not appear overnight, but compared to 100 days ago we are a long way down the road to at least putting in place all the requirements for that success.
Rather like the Hoover administration during the Great Depression, we have been living under a false narrative – plucky little Everton, over-achieving, fighting above our weight – yet deep down all Evertonians knew that this was not true. We were in the position we were in because we were starved of resources, not because of a diminshed stature.
The return of resources, of professionalism, of ambition and talent will allow us to fulfil ambitions in line with our stature once more. Our stature never changed, regardless of what came out of L4 or the press – it was our ability to fund and execute in line with that stature.
That’s no longer in doubt. After the first 100 days, we can achieve in line with our place in the game once more, with ambitions to achieve greater things than we have done to date.
It’s going to be a great time to be a blue.
Nil Satis Nisi Optimum.