Bill Kenwright has done a great job as chairman of Everton Football Club since he became the second largest shareholder in 1999 and took over as chairman in 2004.
His club have had a very long and fruitful time in the top flight and are frequently to be found in the top six or seven of the table at the end of every Premier League season. The reign of David Moyes was a successful one which saw him bring through some top players from their youth set up, some of which moved on to pastures new, but others who have firmly established themselves in the Everton first team and are doing well.
Moyes managed to really establish the team in the top tier and bring them on from a team that was aiming for survival every season, to a team that are always pushing to qualify for Europe, a team that play with style, hunger, desire and passion every week. They have a true desire to keep improving every season, and that is a philosophy that has carried on since their present manager Roberto Martinez took over from Moyes at the start of last season when the Scot left to take the Manchester United role.
Their transfers always seem to be the right ones to keep them where they want to be – they have had another good summer of spending, securing the services of former loanee Romelu Lukaku and signing veteran striker Samuel Eto’o after he was released from Chelsea at the end of last season.
Martinez also used the loan market to his advantage last season which saw the manager put together a very strong and competitive squad. Everton are by all means a team that is to be respected in the Premier League and always up in the mix for a top six finish.
The only issue, however, is that this is as far as they seem to be able to go. It doesn’t seem to be that they are capable of going any further than what they already have done. The only time they are able to splash out in the transfer market is when they sell one of their stars and cash in enough money to bring in a couple new faces – not that it is a bad way of doing business – sell one and recruit a couple. However, there never seems to be that big cash injection on top of what is already in the pot that will secure them the services of that one or two extra marquee signings needed to push them further than where they are.
There is a very solid foundation in terms of squad depth and strength currently at Everton, also a good mixture of talented youth with older, experienced players – this is the sort of foundation that needs to be built on further by keeping hold of their key players rather than selling them only to replace them with similar quality players. If they can find a way of improving on what they already have at the club and building on it rather than turning it into a revolving door of quality in and out then they can push on from where they are.
Not to take anything away from what they have achieved or how far Kenwright has taken them, however, he does not have the cash injection or funds to pump into growing his club any more than what he has done so far. The very philosophy of continual growth and improvement which he has instilled so brilliantly into his club is under threat by his lack of ability to take them any further. You feel that Everton are set to stay in the top six or seven of the table for years to come unless Kenwright can find the right type of buyer who can move them on from where they are.
Then again, that can be a double edged sword, you don’t want to find a buyer that will pump billions into the club for short term success and then cut ties with the club leaving them in debt and free-fall like we have seen too often in the past, a lot is to be learned from the fall of Leeds United, for example. The buyer or buyers have to be the right ones to properly take over where Kenwright will leave off and push the club forward, where they deserve to be (and actually keep them there).
Time will tell how or when he does this, but if he stays in the long run, this great club will stay where they are now and not grow any bigger than what they have done so far.