Money for Nothing

Money for Nothing

“Now look at them yo-yo’s that’s the way you do it
You play the football on the Sky TV
That ain’t workin’ that’s the way you do it
Money for nothin’ and your kicks for free…

Above lyrics adapted from Money for Nothing by Dire Straits, 1985, a year when Everton won the 1st Division Title. The song poked fun at bands with limited talent who exploited the recently launched MTV to promote themselves on video rather than using live performances exhibiting their musical virtuosity.

At the Everton General Meeting (EGM) CEO, Robert Elstone, proudly announced that we had the fourth cheapest Season Tickets in the Premier League. Those of us who have sat through the absolute drivel served up at Goodison this season (bar a Rooney wonderstrike) might argue that they are actually overpriced.

30mins in on Saturday, 0-1 down to WBA and “captain” Ashley Williams lumped a free kick into the box towards a waving Sigurdsson. Heaven help us! Surely our £45m dead ball specialist should have been taking it & the CB should have been waving at him?!?

No matter, I am not paid millions of pounds to play football, coach footballers, buy footballers or select a team of footballers.

I know my place. In absolute disgust I headed to the bar in the Top Balcony where amazingly there were at least another hundred Blues, choosing not to watch their team. Many of you will say they (and I) should have been “sticking with the team” and encouraging them. Fair play to you, but that first half v WBA was the absolute worst football I have seen in over 40 years of watching the Blues. Before Half Time the bar was heaving with fans exhibiting a mixture of anger, shock & disbelief at what they were paying to watch. I wondered if the same mood pervaded in the Directors lounge?

Money for nothing (and no kicks for free).

We have had many worse players than today’s millionaire “superstars” but at least they tried (and failed, more often than not), at least there was a plan (of sorts), at least they cared. That team on Saturday had no plan, other than long balls, no passion, no intelligence. They were a disgrace to themselves, their Manager (and his entourage), the Director of Football and the Board. We are a football club, and the product is not fit for purpose, normally you would ask for your money back, you might even cite the Trades Description Act.

It’s Season Ticket renewal time and, of course, I’ll renew. I’m an addict/masochist, you decide. Looking at the marketing collateral I was struck at how little it refers to football, or at least the current team.

IMG_3778

You might have thought it would say “Roll up, roll up to watch Sigurdsson, Rooney, Pickford, Gana, Tosun, Walcott…..”. Not a word. It’s all about the past, lovely fan stories & memories. Maybe that is all we are left with; maybe that is all we have. But we don’t want to be a museum? Square that circle, if you can.

There is no doubt that Farhad Moshiri has invested a large amount of his own money into our Club. Before doing that he bought just under half the equity (49.9% so NOT a majority) for £87.5m, arguably overpaying at an effective price of £5,000 per share. Since then he has contributed another £150m to the club in the form of loans, with no repayment date to cleanse the balance sheet, and equity. Top man and all credit to him; he’s no “fraud” as some would have you believe.

He has also overseen and sanctioned the biggest spending spree the Club has ever seen, invested in key infrastructure and sacked two Managers at not inconsiderable cost. Let’s look at the numbers:-

  • 16/17 & 17/18 (to date), source transfermkt.co.uk
    • £260m Gross spend on players (£94m Net Spend)
  • More significantly, in the same period, source Club accounts
    • increase in annual wage bill from £84m to £105m
    • increase in annual player amortisation from £24m to £40m
    • 2017/18 further growth estimated to £120m & £71m respectively. A huge investment.
  • And, as widely reported in the media
    • Paying off Martinez:- £11m
    • Securing Koeman :- £5m
    • Terminating Koeman:- £8m

The Report & Accounts also showed an increase in Other Operating Costs of 30% to £39m and a doubling of Directors’ remuneration to £1.6m. Both went unquestioned and, therefore, unexplained at the EGM.

Much has been made of Mr Moshiri’s relatively passive role within the business, not taking a seat on the Board, leaving the “old guard” on the bridge and trusting the judgement of others. According to the Chairman he is a benefactor who never says “No” to requests for money. Without real progress on the pitch, it is hard to see how that can continue, if Moshiri is really here for the long term. A ruthless businessman surely cannot tolerate mistake after mistake.

He suggested he hired Sam because he had “an uncluttered football brain”. On the evidence of the past six games there is very little evidence of anything whatsoever relating to successful football cluttering Sam’s brain. Boring? More like soul-destroying, the antithesis of what Everton is about. Forget KPIs, Sam, just try a bit of forward thinking 4-4-2. Try to win not just avoid defeat. Money for nothing right now.

One continues to wonder what on earth Steve Walsh does. How can a Director of Football fail to secure any kind of replacement for Lukaku? No, Steve, we don’t believe we would have still finished 7th without him. How can he not secure a second string Left Back? He needs to look beyond the stats because we need a team (one which is greater than the sum of the individual parts). We need to hire the right kind of players, with the right mentality, hungry to succeed, not just greedy for a bigger pay cheque. Is it any wonder the fans might boo a little?

It pains me to say there are players at our Club who are almost stealing a living, and some of them are making the starting XI game after game. They must love it at Everton, no pressure, no expectations. Money for nothing.

What about the support staff? Lee, Shakespeare, Ferguson. What on earth do they do? What are they paid to deliver? What value do they add? Who are they accountable to? Money for nothing.

What does the Board do? Three of the six members didn’t say a word at the EGM. The CEO wanted credit for “record deals” that pale into insignificance when compared to the Top 6 “peer group” last seen riding off into the sunset. 80% of the Club’s revenue comes from TV money, how hard is that to collect?

Media relations continue to bumble from HT announcements of signings to “no comment” on Holgate’s very serious accusations. No control over the narrative. Mayor Anderson almost hung out to dry when the Club should have been stood proudly alongside him shouting about all the merits of the civic partnership in the funding of Bramley Moore?

Only EiTC and the Deputy CEO offer any passion, any vision at all. Just as we don’t want to be a museum, surely we want to be known for more than our magnificent charitable work in the community?

Surely the man who owns 49.9% of Everton cannot allow this to carry on. Our Manager still says relegation is a possibility. Relegation: the “R word”, after investing all that money. Unthinkable, surely, isn’t it? Not on current evidence, hard to think of three worse teams.

Time for Moshiri to lead, to act and to effect wholesale change across the entire staff of the Club. The fans may put up with money for nothing in the short term because it’s in our blood; but don’t abuse that love, that trust.

Money can’t buy me love. Everybody tells you so. One day that love might fade, we’ll all be in Dire Straits and the owner will have nothing for all his money. Mr Moshiri won’t want it to come to that.

Follow: @rodgerarmstrong

Read more: www.rodgerarmstrong.com

8 thoughts on “Money for Nothing

  1. Excellent Rodger !!

    I’m finding it equally bemusing and bewildering that a multi-million pound business with thousands and thousands of committed, devoted, loyal and passionate supporters is run and operated as though it’s a Fischer-Price toy town.

    When is someone going to make some overdue and very, very necessary hard decisions and take the overdue and very, very necessary action?

    Now, where’s me ST renewal form gone… hope the wife hasn’t binned it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Spot on
    No evidence of a plan
    Any business worth it said should have at least a 3 to 5 year rolling plan which we could monitor against…other than this season we want to finish 7th….
    The latest stuff and Rooney and Sigurdson not being able to play together is alarming.
    We all knew that so why did we sign them and then accommodate them in the team until now when Allardyce states the obvious
    Where was and what was the plan?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Doesn’t get much worse than that on Saturday can’t believe we are going from bad to even worse. It’s going to be a struggle for anyone to beat that load of shite we saw on Saturday but please don’t try as we need to remain sane although our sanity is being tested to the limit at the moment. It needs to be sorted from the top down starting with a board that means and does something for the club, for the fans and then someone who can communicate effectively with.

    A successful management team starts from the very top so lets see some real effective management decisions before it’s too late. Farhad Moshiri has in-put funds we could only dream of two years ago, but somehow somewhere along the line it has and is being squandered big time.

    Mr Farhad Moshiri if he is committed to what he has gratefully started in most fans eyes must now take the bull by the horns and fight off those directors who sit in the ivory tower doing absolutely nothing and I include Robert Elstone in that to a degree but at the moment it must unfortunately start at pitch level, either bring in a playing management structure fitting for the club of our stature and expectations and ambitions or fail to take the club forward or remain stagnant or even decline further than we are now.

    It is time for actions that speak louder than words. Remember our motto and never forget it. NSNO

    Liked by 2 people

  4. “Mayor Anderson almost hung out to dry when the Club should have been stood proudly alongside him shouting about all the merits of the civic partnership in the funding of Bramley Moore?” – I’m so pleased you highlighted this, Rodger. The man’s single-handedly & courageously (in my eyes) carried the can since the loan arrangement was made public.

    It just highlights the lack of real leadership within the club and especially over the proposed Bramley Moore move. It would appear this once in a lifetime opportunity, this catalyst for our club, isn’t being given the vigilance and protection it needs to propel EFC to a new level.

    A lot of great observation in this blog, a truly brilliant read.

    Cheers,

    Liked by 1 person

  5. We are being left behind by them across the park,their turnover is 364 million to ours at a 173 million,next season turnover results will see them add another 40-50 million from the CL tv money,while ours is 80% tv money and hardly any commercial revenues except for a shirt and sleeve sponsor and Alisher Usmanov sponsoring Finch Farm as a favour to his old accountant buddy.The stadium issue has be sorted asap,by the time we have a stadium them across the park will have a stadium exceeding 60k plus with a extended annie road and kop.

    Like

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