Sufficient cause for panic at Goodison Park?

Everton have endured a long and quiet summer. There has been virtually no movement on the transfer front and little talk of future investment either. What may have been seen as a crumb of comfort ahead of the new Premier League season; that the club has kept all of it’s star players, has now given way to a much more deep-seated realisation. The banks will now no longer lend the club money to carry out any future endeavours. A desperate future lies ahead for the club.

The Blue Union, a major Everton supporter’s group website, yesterday held a meeting with Everton Chairman Bill Kenwright. The results were less than satisfying and show a club right on the financial precipice.

Several shocking facts came to light, none more so than a botched buyout of the club by a company called ICI when it ceased to be even exist as a functioning and practising company back in 2008. A quite simply astounding level of incompetence on a large scale.

They also highlighted that despite austerity measures put in place to tackle the growing wage bill, the current’s squads wage bill still took up 71% of turnover.

Bill Kenwright today issued a statement which included the worrying snippets of information: “we’ve come to a stage with our bank where we just can’t borrow any more. At the AGMs, EGM and shareholders’ meeting I’ve said year after year, what we do is beg and borrow from the bank. That’s what we’ve been doing.”

He went onto add that “we knew we were going to get to a point where things were going to get very, very tight. We knew we had to trade. There has not been a lot of trading in football itself this summer. We’ve not been able to trade yet and that’s the reason we’ve not been able to trade yet.” So it would appear based on the evidence from the supporter’s meeting and Kenwright’s words today that Everton are currently in possession of an unsustainable financial model.

Borrowing money against your future revenues is a fools way to run a business, but what other option is Kenwright left with? He has little personal wealth and despite being an immensely likeable club ambassador, he simply doesn’t cut the mustard when it comes to competing with the rest of the Premier League.

Kenwright himself knows as much. He’s stated previously countless times that the only way for Everton to truly challenge the league’s elite in the future is for the club to find a new owner with billions at his disposal.

The issue over the club’s new stadium remains their biggest obstacle to investment. Without a new stadium, they remain, despite their history, the decent side they currently possess and fantastic manager they have in place, a distinctly costly purchase. Whoever takes over the club will have to fit the bill for a new stadium. If they already had a new stadium, chances are that although their initial price would go up, they’d be an instantly more attractive proposition.

Mikel Arteta conceded in a recent interview with BBC that “we know the situation at the moment: we cannot spend money like other clubs. That is sensible even if it is not very popular. But at least we have been able to keep our best players. If we cannot sign new players we must at least keep the ones we have.” Wise words, however they appear to completely fly in the face of what Kenwright today preached.

The situation is now simple. Everton have and will remain for the foreseeable future at least, a selling club. If the Chairman’s words are anything to go by, the cupboard is completely bare for Moyes this summer unless he ships a few players out. But from a player’s perspective, how long would you hang around a club with little chance of going progressing and challenging for trophies?

Everton have already turned down a £3m offer from Leicester for Jermaine Beckford and two bids for Phil Jagielka from Arsenal. The club are known for driving a hard bargain for their talent. They are not easily pushed around. But their bargaining position is severely weakened by this latest revelation.

After Samir Nasri’s £25m to Man City is completed in the next day or so, Arsenal will have recouped nearly £60m inside a week. Expect a fresh approach for Jagielka before the transfer window slams shut. If the bid is anywhere near acceptable, then Everton are not in a position to turn it down, it’s as simple as that.

When once stagnation appeared the main obstacle to future progression and success at Goodison Park, the latest financial information from the supporter’s meeting sheds more light on a far larger, and more pertinently, growing problem.

Everton cannot operate under circumstances like these for much longer. Either the club is hit heavily with departures or they will go bust. Talk of a new owner and a new stadium are fanciful mirages on the horizon, far, far away.

The immediate future of Everton football club is a lot more strained than even it’s biggest sceptics had envisaged. With an inactive and incompetent board and links with community reportedly worsening, David Moyes will have to perform wonders to keep the club both afloat and competitive in season’s to come. The task is an unenviable one as the stadium issue rears it’s ugly head once more. The club is caught in a vicious cycle of which there appears no escape at present.

To read the Blue Union’s original summary and conclusion click here –

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