The financial side of football has always been important but the modern game is relying more and more on the input of money into clubs, with the scores of billionaire owners waiting to take control of every available club. It surely won’t be long now until every Premiership team has a super-rich owner which, though ruining the state of the game, would at least ensure a more level playing field than we currently have with only a select few having their rich owners already in place. In this league which is no more than a billionaire’s plaything a club that succeeds with hardly any money to spend has to warrant praise as they’re defying the odds. David Moyes and Everton have done this, year after year, and proven that a team can succeed on pauper’s funds. Limited resources were always going to eventually cause a breakdown though and it looks like that time’s arrived for Everton which asks the question – is it time for a billionaire to be allowed in?
It’s not even as if Everton are an unappealing club to take over; they’re extremely famous and have a good history to them plus are involved in one of football’s famous rivalries with the historian’s favourites Liverpool, yet Bill Kenwright’s control of the club has not been questioned and the club remains one of those operating on low budgets. It’s not like Moyes has nothing to spend though, he’s sometimes given war chests and the £15 million capture of Marouane Fellaini last year showed that the club will spend if necessary – and when they do they’ll ensure it’s a good signing that they make. However Everton’s spending remains one of the lowest among the Premiership and they have made less signings recently than the likes of the promoted teams who you would expect Everton to have a financial edge over. Instead, it has to be bargain after bargain from Moyes who has had to rely on his scouts being accurate and his own eye for a player.
But Moyes is no stranger to bargains; he has revived the careers of players on the wane like Phil Neville, Louis Saha, Phil Jagielka and Tim Howard and turned them back into players who most teams would be delighted to have in their squads whilst also seeing the potential in the likes of Tim Cahill, Mikel Arteta and Steven Pienaar who were untested at Premiership level but have proven extremely impressive. Moyes’s squad, when fit, is an impressive one and his first choice players are all extremely impressive. However, he has now seemed to have the misfortune of either signing injury-prone players or simply getting unlucky with injuries and the club have been without a lot of key men – unsurprisingly this has led to the breakdown that a lack of squad depth is bound to result in.
It’s not that Everton don’t have squad depth, they have a lot of good players; but their backups just don’t match their first choices, particularly when trying to replace players like Arteta or Cahill who are crucial to the way the team plays. Moyes has done extremely well to do as well as he has to date with the club, most managers would not have done so on such funds, but they are never going to improve on Moyes’s best without money to spend and the rises of Tottenham, Aston Villa and Manchester City, all fuelled by money, is a nightmare for Everton unless they can come up with funds of their own.
Obviously being forced to sell star players doesn’t help and the loss of key defender Joleon Lescott, regardless of the huge transfer fee received for him, is a massive blow to the club – particularly as he left to a league rival. Lescott was determined to leave the club, with money though to be the incentive driving him away from the club to a side that couldn’t even offer him European football. Had Everton more money to offer then they could’ve offered an improved contract which may have made Lescott happy enough to remain with the club as he was settled there rather than moving to make his pay package even bigger.
Everton’s recent woes will not last; I’m sure that they will improve and end this season in a decent position but, sadly for the club, the decent heights of fifth place are likely to elude the club from here on in unless the club are given the money to compete with their richer rivals. It is simple business that someone with more resources to gain the tools of the trade will have more options at their disposal than those with limited supplies and, despite Moyes’s tactical nous, this is the end of the line as far as success under such resources can go for Everton. It’s simply a case of gain money now or give up the European place which has been Everton’s for years. Whether this is down to getting a new owner in or getting Kenwright to find the resources to help the club is unclear but they will take a step backwards unless the situation changes.