media have been sold an entirely different story, a fantasy some fans of the clubunfortunately believe; a theatrical fallacy which many in the media find isn’t worthchallenging due to the inevitable hassle they receive from Everton’s public relationsdepartment if they dare question the carefully crafted illusion of plucky little Evertonled by the former poor boy from the boy’s pen made good who claims to havewatched his heroes with holes in his shoes but a smile on his face. The harmlessramblings of a fantasist or an indication that the whole ownership of the club is afantasy? A fantasy which has irreparably damaged the very fabric of one of England’sgreat clubs which, for the people of the city of Liverpool, has been a community assetfor more than 135 years.Disregarding the unique circumstances found at Arsenal and Manchester United,which alleviate their owners from the need to provide personal investment forinfrastructure and commercial development, any form of investment by theincumbents at Everton is conspicuous by its absence; a fact that puts Everton out of step with the remainder of the Premier League. Everton’s owners have instead reliedupon the disposal of assets, debt finance, which is now almost exclusively obtainedoffshore, and the belief that the finances of others should be utilized in place of theirown.This thirteen year strategy has produced a balance sheet, the instrument throughwhich the health of any business is measured, that not only tells Everton supporterseverything they need to know about the state of their club, it tells UK banks,prospective buyers and the media, that all is not well. If they scratch the surface andignore the spin and painful management speak, what can be seen is that Everton is aclub starved of investment, that Everton is a business whose liabilities far outweightheir assets, whose owners have done nothing whatsoever to add value to a businessthat stumbles from one crisis to the next; it tells you that Everton have been left ashadow of its former self.Yet, as confirmed by Everton’s Paul Tyrrell on TalkSport, Everton’s former director of communications, who was, at the time, a member of the senior management team,the owners are looking at a sale price in the region of £125m; a remarkable return ontheir initial investment of £22m, remarkable on the basis they’ve done nothing toenhance the business, have cost the business millions, through their undeliverableschemes designed to avoid investment, and now they refuse to accept a few basictenets of the investment world; that the value of any personal investment can godown as well as up, is not guaranteed and may return less than the value of theoriginal investment or nothing at all.To protect those truly responsible for the financial fiasco at Everton, club officialsattempt to paint a very different picture, a picture all too readily accepted byproponents of the board who are usually opponents of the fan activists who havestriven to expose what has taken place. Poorly presented excuses, such as, “we onlyneed to sell a few players to address the balance sheet problem” are readily offered inplace of what clearly should be done, along with explanations into inadequatelyexplained events such as the 94% increase in otheroperating costs, which has been desperately explainedaway as being at similar levels to other clubs, which it is;but how many experienced a 94% increase in a singleyear? How many have been told the increases relate toexpensive equipment purchases, that appear nowherein the accounts whilst the profit and loss account tellsas disastrous a tale as the balance sheet.Everton’s fan activists are suspicious, and rightly so.Their names may have changed over time, from TheGFE to KEIOC to The Blue Union, but their pedigreeremains the same; they’re kindred spirits who have allbeen misled, misled over an iconic waterfront stadium,the aforementioned relocation to a Tesco car park anda proposed development at Goodison Park; projectsthat have collectively wasted millions of pounds thatEverton could ill afford. It’s not these fans who havewasted the money, yet they have been treated with alevel of contempt and disdain that is hard to believe,certainly hard to believe for the fans who naively call forthem to enter into dialog with their antagonists,challenging them to support the club, to support theboard; naive because, unlike the activists, they areunaware of the depths Everton will go to in order todiscredit them; using people masquerading as freelance journalists to photograph them, compiling a blacklistthat the fans have clear evidence of being in operationand having a board actively directing the club’semployees to act against them. Outrageous? Yes, butnot as outrageous as what many of these fans believehas been perpetrated at Goodison Park over the pastthirteen years.Fan activists such as the Blue Union believe that it is thevery ownership of the club that is both questionableand the root cause of all of the main problems atEverton. The fan group, which has been slowly gainingacceptance and gathering credibility since itsemergence an umbrella organisation, two years ago,has recently held a very informative public meetingwith Everton legend Neville Southall in attendance andare increasingly being brought to the attention of theirfanbase by the national press due to their activities andaffiliation with the Football Supporters Federation.
THE BLUE UNION//2
The current owners of Everton FC are lookingat a sale price in theregion of £125m;a remarkable return ontheir initial investment of £22m, on the basisthey’ve done nothing toenhance the business