A New Everton

Ambition is our guide, not a distraction.

With everything that has gone at Everton in recent years, you could be forgiven in thinking that what goes on on the pitch is not necessarily many people’s or indeed the organisation’s utmost priority.

At the cusp of change, and despite a few wobbles along the way, we are at that point, there’s no doubt in my mind, we have to leave the current Everton, the old Everton behind.

There is a huge need for reform and transformation on a scale that’s never been seen at Everton and I suspect few other clubs. Football clubs, despite representing the pinnacle of their professional sport, tend to be deeply conservative organisations with small “c” conservative fanbases, and with only a few exceptions highly resistant to change. 

Change is going to define us. The scope, scale and speed of change is what will move us from a barely functioning organisation struggling to survive to a modern, self-assured, assertive and competitive football club. A club that knows itself, knows where it is heading competitively and is confident in engaging with all stakeholders, specifically and with priority, including fans, not from a sense of duty, but with purpose and ambition.

Rightly, heritage, culture and the identity of a football club and its fans, particularly one with a history so rich and a connection to its city, with its contribution to the development of the game nationally and globally, is important and carries great value. It creates a unique identity and an invaluable IP all of its own. Something in the hands of skilled commercial operators to be exploited appropriately, thoughtfully but productively. A new Everton should embrace all of this and implement its values and principles effectively and meaningfully to the benefit of the club, city and all stakeholders.

Let’s be clear, leaving the old Everton behind is not a betrayal of its principles. The betrayal of its principles is leaving a system of failure in place.

The system of failure is something that has been allowed to evolve over time. Like a poorly maintained car, or a building left to rack and ruin, Everton’s ability to compete, our ability to make the correct decisions and then execute them well has deteriorated. Unfortunately in the last few years this deterioration has accelerated at a time when greater competition (the emergence of state funding in football) and macro conditions (Covid and specifically for Everton, the illegal invasion of Ukraine) have created strong head winds blowing against an increasingly weakening (in absolute and relative terms) entity.

So what do we want from a new Everton?

In simple language, we require an organisation that maximises the amount of resources available to create a successful football team, whilst simultaneously building infrastructure, systems and people that use those resources as efficiently as possible and with greater intellect and purpose than our competitors. 

When evaluating the potential for any company to compete in any market place we have to look at the existing resources and product on offer, we have to look at the amount of new resources which can be made available to improve and develop, and look at the quality of the people who are going to plan and execute the strategies which make us competitive and perform in line with our ambitions and beyond in the future.

Existing resources

Clearly when we look at the existing resources and footballing product available, the cupboard is exceedingly bare. Years of poor performance, lack of leadership, bad decision making, appalling recruitment, and an overly expensive capital project have taken their toll both financially but also in respect of the personnel. On a relative basis it is difficult for a poorly performing company with no obvious answer to its problems to recruit and retain the best people in the sector.

In Sean Dyche we have a manager who in the short term at least, will maximise the output of the people, players and resources available to him. This coming season will yet again be defined by our ability to remain in the Premier League. Alongside him Kevin Thelwell must be given the opportunity to demonstrate his skills in organising the football infrastructure but also recruitment. Clearly, despite all the resource issues the club has, new recruitment, strengthening the squad is essential in the short term. Longer term a very different, more modern, data driven, possibly even AI driven approach is needed.

Given the background of the MSP people, a portfolio management approach to squad composition has to be the long term objective. A club that has a pathway through the academy that may produce players for ourselves, and if not for us, valuable assets to be sold to other clubs. A trading policy that annually refreshes the squad with ins and outs, hopefully generating player trading profits to reinvest and strengthen. An age, skill and experience profile that makes us competitive on the pitch and in line with our ambitions. A wage and transfer fee structure that not only offers good and fair value but sits comfortably within the resource framework available.  Having said that, we have to be practical about what can be done between now and August 12th, the start of the season, these are all longer term objectives.

I talked about the scope, scale and speed of change. In recruitment plus in football management and administration this is critical. The old practices of the past, the owner’s involvement, the chairman, the decision making processes, the crazy contract agreements we have entered into, the reliance on agents and advisors has to be swept aside. Even though there are obviously long term strategic plans and decisions to be made, a more practical, immediate tactical decision has to be made in entrusting recruitment, the squad and preparation for the new season to our existing footballing professionals.


Resource is a huge issue, both in terms of finance but also personnel (more later). Financially the club was on the edge of the precipice. The combination of maxing out on credit lines, a significant increase in interest costs, Moshiri’s inability/unwillingness (despite the assurances to the auditors) to go beyond the £70 million he injected earlier in the financial year, the operational performance of the business and the incessant capital demands of Bramley-Moore was pushing us to the limit. The emergency (I don’t use that word lightly) funding from Andy Bell and also a smaller contribution from MSP has reduced the immediate pressure. Stadium payments are in line with agreements and the work continues.

However, the short term funding solution doesn’t meet the future needs of the business. Classically, a clear sign of a business in trouble is when it relies upon short term funding for long term capital projects. Referring to the expression used before, scope, scale and speed of change – nowhere is this more vital than in restructuring Everton’s balance sheet through the provision of long term capital, reasonably priced at the expense of existing shareholders not the profit and loss account and from investors with the appetite to provide what is likely to be several further tranches of funds in the next few years. A move away from a heavy reliance on debt to equity investment is required.  Not only does it reduce interest costs, in my opinion  it keeps investors keen, invested and engaged. All things being equal their investment return is linked to performance.

If MSP is to be that organisation, then a schedule of future investment (plotted against the future needs and expectations of the business) has to be published. Alongside details of future funding, how is it going to be spent? And by whom? Who are going to be the custodians of the new Everton? What is their vision for a new Everton?

People and systems

As has been proven throughout the Moshiri years, money alone is not the solution to the problem – it has to be invested into an organisation with the right people, the right strategy, the right systems and above all else the right leadership. A leadership that can make the correct decisions but then implement them in a timely and productive manner.

 In politics, Governments are said to get tired after a long spell in power, well this is a tired organisation, full of tired practices and most importantly people. Incoming investors, executives and board members must recognise this and be prepared to act very quickly to change the people at the top of the organisation and to change the culture. Strong assertive leadership is necessary from day one. This is not a situation whereby a gradual transfer of power and influence can be implemented over time. It requires the removal of the existing  Chair, and a very clear understanding of the future role that Moshiri plays in the business. Clearly a man who has invested £750 million and for now at least maintains a majority stake will have influence, but he represents the old Everton and we need a new Everton.

We need the incoming investors to recognise the scope, scale and speed of change that is necessary. Not just change for change’s sake, replacing tired directors and executives with slightly up-graded versions of what has gone before. We need reformers, we need visionaries, we need credible, experienced, worldly business people who not only can recover this business but set it on a new path, a path to success, a path consistent with the true principles of a successful football club, a path we have not trodden (being blunt) since the days of John Moores. 

The key to a new Everton, an Everton that meets the expectations of generations of supporters, and who will thrill and delight future Evertonians, is change. Change in every respect. It is change that will define our future. Change that is not a betrayal of our past principles, but the implementation of everything that we know is good about, and expected from Everton football club, its legal owners and those charged with delivering an Everton fit for its status in the game and its legions of supporters locally, nationally and around the globe.

We have perhaps one last chance to deliver. New investors, new board members, new executives, existing players and coaches, the responsibility to change is yours. Remove the systems of failure, reinvigorate this global bastion of club football and build a New Everton.


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15 replies »

  1. Thought provoking.
    Three major pillars of change are required.IMO.
    1. The balance sheet needs to be rebuilt so that it is funded by equity, not debt. The first step in this is for Moshiri to take a major,possibly complete,write down in his equity. Only then can new equity be attracted.
    2. The P& L account. The business is loss making ,and unsustainably so, with further increased costs to service the stadium debt on the way. The club simply must up its game massively in a commercial sense, so that turnover beyond tv money , stands up to that of our peer group. The club simply must stem it losses and move into profit.
    3. 1.& 2. can only happen in the hands of new controlling owners and a dynamic new leadership team.
    Never has the term ‘last chance saloon’ been more appropriate.

  2. Hard to disagree with the analysis, even harder to spot any signs that the majority shareholder or anyone else involved in the club’s leadership (apart from Dyche and his team) – has the skills, competences, self or organisational awareness and leadership to response.
    I appreciate your point about Moshiri’s investment but I deeply suspect the definition of investment and the true scale given the secrecy that has surrounded Everton’s finances over the last few years and the abandonment of AGMs or information to other shareholders. Why, when Moshiri has 94% of shares and hence votes?
    Not sure I’d count as an “investment in Everton” the £200+ million (estimate as no figures published) of buying out the larger shareholders. Figures about monies actually paid to exiting managers or agents could easily exceed another £100+ million, even assuming these were as straightforward as we’d hope. All before we wonder about “investments” by a certain Oligarch – how much smoke and mirrors may perhaps never be known.
    MSP seem clear that their focus is on the Stadium while no-one seems to have the interest, will or desire to rebuild trust with the supporters who after all still provide most of the revenues.
    Nice try but who is listening?

    • Interesting points Tom, thank you. It is a statement of fact that Moshiri has injected via loans, equity issues and loan conversions £750m. It’s also pretty well established he spent £135m acquiring former shareholders’ shares. Every other point I entirely agree with especially the who is listening!

  3. Let’s hope they (MSP & associates), are listening Paul. I’m sure they are. I have some confidence in their approach so far, to what is and remains a desperate situation.

    You only have to look at the months of transition and planning by the now resigned members of the board, thanked by Chairman Bill for their enormous efforts to see that something went seriously wrong in their plans….or did they? Perhaps this last moment of reflection and reconsideration was a tool used by some to grab what was there and get the hell out of Dodge! It seems to have backfired.

    But let’s be clear. We are not stupid. We are not children hanging off every word of the story tellers Bill & Farhad. We have a vast resource of qualified and experienced fans (yes, you and others) that can inform us and bring some light to a shady business and we all bring a wealth of life, work and personal experience to the game. We have seen this from close and afar and we will not stand it for it any longer.

    The existing managers have no more excuses, no more rhetoric and no more time left to spin their grand tails and schemes. They have simply failed the club and us. It no longer matters where their heart or intentions lay, their failed repeated promises and deadlines, it doesn’t matter what went wrong and what didn’t quite work out. They have overseen a massive investment in EFC and stood by and watched it burn leaving us in a far worse state than when Chariman Bill took it over.

    The future must be bright because for us, it has already been dark for far too long. The fact that MSP still see a business worthy of investment, still recognise that whilst we are on our knees as a club they can turn it around, can make us competitive and can turn a long term profit is both crazy, remarkable and worthy of our patience and support.

    My own disappointment, sympathy, sadness and dismay at everything that has been since Moshiri took over has now sharpened my desire to see a new Everton accurately described by yourself above. The Peoples Club will always have its people but our leadership must change for the good of everybody concerned.



  4. Hard to disagree with any of the points made however the article raises more questions than answers.
    In a nutshell who can disagree with the need for:
    – better investment
    – better acumen in managing the club
    The unanswered questions relate to:
    – MSP and what their commitment actually is in terms of funds actually going into the business. To what extent they are ready to inject new equity? There is no clarity here..
    – Whether MSP has the intestinal fortitude to buy out Moshiri and become the majority owner… unless there is a change in ownership it is difficult to be optimistic about the future…
    – Who is going to be appointed to run the club – no clarity here either
    – What the vision for the next five years actually is……….

    Thanks for the thoughts and insights Paul (an enjoyable read as always) but if we are to move to a ‘New Everton’ we are going to need more than wishful thinking….

    We need a new owner with the financial backbone to transform the club and a highly experienced management team. Time is of the essence. Next season will be upon us in a heartbeat and we are woefully ill equipped to compete….


  5. When it comes to Off-field Football bloggers you are in a league of your own, Paul. The Everton fans are lucky to have you.

    What is MSP’s plan? Sometime this year or next the club will need more money (regardless of on-field performance or the FFP outcome) due to continuing BD expenditure. Maybe they intend to inject further funds conditional on all but fully diluting other shareholders, giving them complete control at a total cost of c.£400M but with c.£200M of higher-ranking debt? It’s difficult to see another party injecting funds given the club’s present position.

    I think MSP monies will be by way of debt (to give some protection) but with conversion rights and possibly with no cash interest paid, so it would effectively be quasi/equity.

    Maybe Moshiri is OK with staged financial injections as this delays his dilution.

  6. Talking of a ‘new everton’ I’m beginning to think Everton should sign up Roy Orbison. He would be a useful asset in the boardroom singing such hits as “In Dreams”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVRunwyoTMA – ‘always in dreams, in beautiful dreams’ …. and “It’s Over” –
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Jm3Tq_q4yU ‘golden days before they end’ .
    Paul Simon would be useful too, “The Sound of Silence” –
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DCtouot15cA ‘hello darkness my old friend’ … you just can’t get away from the self-inflicted misery of the club.

    With the new money (yet to happen) going to pay for the stadium there’s none for the team and its development. What all the whooha is about anything else I’m not sure but this is where Dionne Warwick’s “Promises, Promises”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DpKAnp5Klzw comes in …
    “It’s All in the Game”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ubsb25Ckkbg seems to nicely round it off … before the club closes down and Moshiri has a decent bit of real estate ……. job done

  7. I already commented on this article elsewhere. This hits all the concerns and spots.
    We need change; have needed change for a long time. We have all know that.
    I’m torn on the owner. He has been naive, shown poor judgement and trusted people that he should not have empowered with his money.
    The stadium will be a legacy, but Everton needs to change. The new Everton as the title suggests. We shouldn’t fear it. We can hold onto our heritage and be proud of it. Take it with us and be proud of it. But don’t live in the past.
    Everton has a proud history of making history. We need to look to the future and make new history for those dedicated and passionate supporters. Especially the younger generation who have had nothing, yet still turn up, home and away.

  8. Re Danny – ” We need to look to the future” – which is why Coleman has been given an extended contract – what a f…ing shambles – you need to reign in the emotionalism – the stadium will be Moshiri’s not Everton FC – nobody here can face the end and all are in denial

    • Johnathan,

      Seamus has looked after himself and remains fit. He is an influence in the dressing room and can be a good mentor to our two young full backs, who are the future in the near term.

      For a club in the situation right now, I think this is a good move.

      I think we can expect some comings and goings in the centre back area and we desperately need a striker. Maybe a wide player should we sell Gray. I’d rather keep him, but the reported prices being quoted, if true, would be too good to turn down for a player that cost us £1.7M. as long as we reinvest it in the playing squad.

      Then look to some of the younger players. I’d like to see Warrington and Mills involved in the first team squad.

  9. I think Coleman will be a good influence on Patterson and Mykolenko personally. I don’t have an issue with it. They are the future, Coleman can be a good mentor.

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