Wednesday 4th January marked a momentous evening in history of Everton FC. It was the first meeting where our major shareholder Farhad Moshiri outlined his desire to propel Everton into English football’s elite.
Speaking at the Club’s Annual General Meeting which took place at The Philharmonic Hall in Liverpool Mr Moshiri spoke about his time since arriving at the club, “It has far exceeded my expectations and everything about it – the train journeys and meeting the fans. They are really special fans. They keep on buying beer for me! I don’t drink beer. But they are very, very special.”
He then went onto to outline his clear ambitions for the Blues;
“It is not enough to say ‘we are special’,” he explained. “We don’t want to be a museum. We need to be competitive and we need to win. The gold standard is the Premier League. The league is where our competitive edge will be measured.”
“We have a window to establish ourselves and we will do everything we can. Bill (Kenwright) over the last 20 years, through his sheer dedication, has kept the Club close to the elite.
“Now we need to look at sustainability to be amongst the elite. It takes time, but we are committed. That is why we are here.”
Although just words at this stage, it was refreshing to hear someone at the club speak with so much direction and honesty. There was the slight dig at the previous regime in regards to being more than a museum too. However the commitment to bring back the glory days was something all Evertonians should look towards with huge optimism. Mr Moshiri isn’t here to make up the numbers he’s a genuine businessman and wants the best.
Bill Kenwright echoed Mr Moshiri’s comments also stating, “This last year for me hasn’t been easy. But if I hadn’t had Farhad it would have been much more difficult. He wants to sign more players than you want to sign! He is there for the players, the stadium – for Everton. I’m so emotional when it comes to Everton. It is great what we do – but we’ve got to bring some silverware. That’s what I’m sure Farhad, Ronald (Koeman) and Steve (Walsh) are going for. This is a very, very special moment at a very, very special Club.”
It was great to hear from the Chairman who we all know endured a difficult year last year but the fact we have genuine business and football men who look to want to drive the club forwards will be a weight off his shoulders. For so long the club has stagnated but we finally look to be moving forwards both on and off the field.
The topic hot on Evertonians lips were the prospect of an announcement of a new stadium proposal.
CEO Robert ‘Suntan’ Elstone updated the Shareholders that while there are significant issues still to be resolved, Mr Elstone declared that the “solid progress on many fronts, most encouragingly in our partnership with Liverpool City Council and its desire to support our efforts to find the money to make the stadium viable” underpins the Club’s optimism about the stadium prospects.
According to the CEO, Design work, viability studies (including transport and planning) and an evidenced-based, long-term business plan are in place, with alternatives ready to be considered if required.
Elstone stated, “We are optimistic about the new stadium prospects. It’s an optimism tempered by some significant remaining issues that need to be resolved before we can move forward. But it’s an optimism founded on solid progress on many fronts, most encouragingly, progress in our partnership with the City Council and its willingness to explore options to support our efforts to find the money to make the stadium viable, the biggest challenge we’ve always faced.”
“Right now, that’s where almost all our efforts are directed, along with the time and resource being invested in design options, testing viability from commercial, planning and transport perspectives and considering different sites.
“But before we can move forward, we need to find the answers to the uncertainties, work through the unknowns and, ultimately, present the answers that will allow the Board to make the right decisions for the Club.
“The next few months will be critical, mostly in respect of our partnership with the City Council but we are optimistic and I would like to thank the Mayor for his support and the support of his team over the past 12 months. It’s an exciting project that could cement the Club’s future and make a significant contribution to the City.”
Without giving away the location Elstone explained that progress on the stadium was being made, but rumours of the land being bought and announcements to be made were pretty far of the mark. The fact that its taking this time and the obvious red tape attached to it suggests the site at Bramley Moore Docks is the preferred site. Let’s hope they continue to make progress and can make an announcement within the next quarter.
Elstone also went on to explain that the club had secured a massive commercial deal brining in £75 million through new deals, including a significant new title sponsor for the Finch Farm training ground and Academy. It is also expected that the value of the Club’s shirt sponsors will increase by 300 per cent. He also said the identity of the companies involved will be announced imminently, as the Blues also pursue a separate multi-million pound shirt-sleeve sponsor for their kits next season.
“The final year of our main partner deal with Chang presented us with a great opportunity to secure a significant increase in revenue and I’m pleased to report that in the past six weeks we have signed up £75m in new revenues.
“We are expecting a 300 per cent increase in the value of our shirt sponsors and we will be announcing shortly, as part of that £75million, a significant new title sponsor for the Finch Farm training ground and Academy.”
We are all hoping that the Chang sponsorship deal is coming to an end and from the figures spoken about that the new deal is in fact with a new company. My money is it being linked to one of the many companies Mr Moshiri has had an influence in down the years!
It was an evening full of optimism and for the first time in a long while you can sense that the club is actually moving in the right direction. Robert Elstone really spoke with an air of confidence and if these deals are as good as described then maybe the faith Mr Moshiri has shown in him will be justified. Speaking of our new major shareholder, it was fantastic hearing him talk with so much direction and expectation. It shows us that he really does mean business and he’s not here just to make up the numbers. The Stadium talk obviously isn’t as far along as we’d had hoped but sounds like positive progress is being made.
Rome wasn’t built in a day but you can feel the tide is finally turning on the banks of the Royal Blue Bramley Moore Docks Mersey!
Come on you blues!