Summary and Conclusion

BLUE UNION STATEMENT

Summary & Conclusions on TBU Meeting with Bill Kenwright

The Blue Union approached their recent meeting with the Everton chairman with an open mind, a list of questions and hope in their hearts; we left with an even greater sense of trepidation, disillusionment and bewilderment over what we had discovered.

Bill Kenwright loves Everton; a third of our meeting was taken up by the type of discussions you would hear at any game or in any pub, Bill would be everybody’s first choice as an Everton ambassador, a great raconteur he lives and breathes the club, his love of all things Everton is both unquestionable and unwavering; so what’s the problem?

A great ambassador, a great fan, doesn’t necessarily make a great chairman. Following our meeting the consensus we formed is that the problem isn’t just Bill Kenwright; it’s the whole board and their approach to running the club. Bill’s diary is indeed full with day after day of Everton related appointments but what exactly are the other members of the board doing? Bill’s efforts are commendable but effort does not necessarily equate to productivity. We’re all still wondering how the club benefits from Robert Earl and Jon Woods being on the board, are they working as hard as the chairman or are they just along for the ride?

Fans concerned that the financial situation is far worse than is being publicly admitted will derive little pleasure from Bill Kenwright’s admission that this is in fact the case. Having to hand over to the banks the proceeds of all the assets disposed of since the last accounting period, in addition to having to supply a document which prevents them from stopping the club from trading doesn’t sound like too many of our peers are envious of our position and would like to be an Everton.

The club hierarchy clearly holds the firmly fixed opinion that fans are incapable of understanding the business or the accounts. Isn’t it therefore amazing that the same fans accurately predicted the problems that were the downfall of Destination Kirkby and the current financial crisis?

Many Evertonians readily understand balance sheets and a profit & loss statements, it’s contemptuous to believe otherwise; many are only too aware that Everton’s negative balance sheet continues to deteriorate and will show -£35m in the next accounts. Fans readily understand that EBITDA has also steadily decreased in recent years and will be less than £500k in the next accounts. What fans don’t understand is why the current board and the hierarchy can’t admit to a complete failure to address the problems that besmirch our club and put in place a strategic plan for change. With a modest £3m increase in turnover predicted, the austerity measures applied to the squad last year, few additions to speak of, departures and mass loan outs have failed to once again to address the rising wage costs which have now escalated to 71%. Is it surprising that fans don’t understand the £24m operating costs when the chairman can’t give an explanation?

We wish to be pragmatic; we know we can’t change the disasters from the past that have come to haunt us, we’re even aware we can’t even change the present, no matter how hard they try you simply can’t get a quart from a pint pot, the ground and everything else is conspiring against us now and the situation is desperate.

What we can attempt to influence is the future; we need a change, not for the sake of change but a change that will bring about a real upturn in the club’s fortunes both on and off the field of play. Despite assurances from the chairman that he’s not worried for the future many Evertonians are worried; they’re worried that the board will sell to the wrong buyer; their track record on delivering what is best for the long-term prosperity of the club speaks for itself.   

One immediate change must be to address the policy for selling the club. The reliance on individuals such as Keith Harris, of whom Simon Jordan once said, “delivers the square root of nothing” must be questionable to say the least.

The fact that he introduced a prospective buyer to the chairman who claimed to be the head of ICI should have been sufficient grounds to ensure his future exclusion from the clubs sale process, yet it appears that he is still welcome. Whilst the chairman’s actions over identifying the true circumstances behind this potential takeover were commendable, we find it remarkable that they managed to agree a price, proceed to due diligence and be on the verge of signing an agreement to sell the club. We’re not claiming to be experts, we’re just ordinary football fans, but with all the alleged experts involved wouldn’t at least one person have known from the onset that ICI ceased to be a business in 2008?

Despite what is said, effective communication within Everton and to its supporters is at an all time low. The chairman is explaining he doesn’t claim the interest payable on an £11m loan yet the CEO has said not one of the directors has invested a single penny; the director of communication, the CEO and the chairman give three different reasons why Everton Place is on hold, who are we meant to believe? 

For any Evertonian reading the report on the recent meeting any support for the current regime and their policies must now be as rare as an Everton signing in a transfer window.

Our proposal is simple; we’re proposing change in the belief that new and more effective policies are introduced beginning with the club’s sale process. Failure this time is not an option. What we feel is needed is that a clear and visible commitment should be made to appoint an autonomous and dedicated group of professionals with a proven track record in business that can handle the sale of the club to a person or organisation with the best interests of the club and its future.

We hope the chairman accepts the situation is unacceptable, that change must take place and begins to honestly communicate with the fans through the media.

 

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9 thoughts on “Summary and Conclusion

  1. Agree with the article, but would addthe following. It doesn’t help when you have a negative frightened manager who seems determined to make strikers an extinct species.

  2. Insufficient detail on the contents of the prospectus. If it offers all the shares for sale, at what price? Surely the problem is not that there is no money around, it is that Bill wants too much for his shares. If this is the case the likely scenario is that he will sell at a discount when the bank decide to appoint an administrator

  3. 2010 financial report (relating to the 2009-10 season) – approx £19m revenue for gate-receipts and programme sales, with an average gate of over 34k, and just under 900,000 attendance for the entire season (26 home games). Compare that to Spurs – similar average attendance – approx £38m match-day revenue. Double that of Everton’s.

    Wages in the last financial report (2010) show a rise to 69% of overall turnover. £50m earned in tv broadcasting representing the biggest income that the club received, still less than what the club paid out on salaries.

    Consider these figures (which are the tip of the iceberg), and it’s clear that the club can not compete financially with other clubs. So how does the club address this? Double ticket prices? Would that sit well with you and fellow Evertonians? (Even if you do double ticket prices, then you may be on a par with Spurs when it comes to match-day revenue, but you’ll still be far far behind the likes of Chelsea (£70m), and Arsenal and United (£100m plus).

    And what about investment? How does that sit in regards to the FFP regulation proposals that are coming into play?

    And this saviour of a new owner – where is he? It sounds as though Kenwright isn’t exactly slacking in trying to find investment and/or a new owner for the club, but any new owner will be aware of the financial concerns at the club and it’s limited ability to generate more money. The stadium doesn’t help, nor the location of the club. Sure, Blackburn got taken over, but their new owners don’t have to worry about funding a new stadium (but would you want Blackburn’s owners anyway?). City? Again, the stadium played a huge part in making them an attractive proposition. But that kind of investment will no longer be an option because of the FFP regulations anyway. QPR? The problems there have been many, but at least they have the benefit of residing in London (which will always be an attractive location to investors). Newcastle? Well, relegation quickly followed their takeover. Manchester United? Bought by securing the buy-out by placing a debt on the club, the likes of which really would see a club like Everton go to the wall. Villa? A man with limited money who did invest but couldn’t take the club any higher than what Everton have achieved under Kenwright in recent years. Liverpool? First Hicks and Gillette was a complete nightmare for them, and even though Henry looks a lot more promising, they are a club that will be a more attractive proposition than Everton simply because of their ability to generate a lot more money (for example, in the 2009-10 season, while Everton pulled in £19m for match-day revenue, Liverpool pulled in more than 2 and a half times that amount).

    So this owner that you seek? That Kenwright is clearly seeking? What then for Everton? The debts get paid off? Well that’s a start for sure. But money made available to the playing staff? Well, FFP won’t allow that. Meaning that with a £50m plus wage bill alone, eating into an £80m total revenue, there isn’t much room for new signings anyway. A new stadium would undoubtedly raise revenue, but even a 70,000 seater stadium will only put you on a par with the income that Spurs currently receive for their 36,000 seater ground (one that they themselves are seeking to move away from). More corporate hospitality would be one way to go, but even still, that won’t put Everton in a position to compete financially with the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, and United in terms of generating revenue.

    These are the problems facing Everton. Put simply, Everton are not an attractive proposition for investors, considering the amount that such investors would have to, well, invest. Now do you appreciate the problems that Kenwright is facing?

  4. If you think you can find investors then go out and do that. They are clearly not there Kenwright is trying. Find them yourself if you dare. If you want change then go out and produce change. Personally I feel Kenwright is doing a great job and groups like this only force the club backwards and not forwards.

  5. Very well put. But what about our merchandise sales/ Kitbag money? sale of Bellefield? 9m we had for the Park End? Sale of Pienaar and Vaughan and Yobos and Yaks wages off the bill. There are other financial gatherings from tours to Asia and the USA which they get a few bob for. The main fact is that someone somewhere is filling their back pockets. Oh and by the way,what is Lord Granchesters take on our money situ? Isnt he a billionaire and on our board?!

  6. I think it’s funny bitter club bitter fans I couldn’t be happier 4-5-1 against QPR at home then take world class beckford off for world class fellani in negative moyes we trust chin up eh :p

  7. Stumbled upon your site, interesting reading as to what next, recommend the blue union take a long hard look at NFL’s Green Bay Packers,
    the club is owned by a zillion small share holders, made up of farmers, mill workers, homemakers, trades-folk etc., just as precious as buying your own home, owning however small a piece of the ‘packers’ is cherished by and every supporter.

    The ‘packers’ are admired as much for their legions of local supporters/shareholders as much as they are on the field ~ bottom line is you don’t need a billionaire but you do need to have a good board of directors and
    a zillion small shareholders to make it all work.