April 15, 2010

Why Hasn't Someone Bought Everton: ?

posted by yerfatma to soccer at 04:05 PM - 10 comments

Whoever buys the club would need very deep pockets. First, they would have to buy out the directors' shares (Kenwright 25%, Earl 23%, John Woods 19%), but they would also have to repay the loans, fund a new stadium, pay for new players and inject working capital.

Guess that says it all, or most anyways?

posted by tselson at 10:51 PM on April 15

Invest in an EPL club? Buy some Icelandic kroner?

Certainly. Would you like my ATM card and pin number as well?

posted by owlhouse at 12:28 AM on April 16

It's a good post that deserves reading in full.

Everton's in a curious position. Their fans have presumably enjoyed a few digs at the expense of their red neighbours over the Hicks/Gillette farce, and glee over the Glazers' reign at Old Trafford, but they've also seen silly money from Abu Dhabi elevate Man City to a Champions League spot.

Moyes is a good manager, plain and simple, and Everton has sufficient history and credibility behind it to attract talent: the loan deal with Landon Donovan, for instance, wouldn't have happened with a lesser club. So there's the inherent understanding that the old-school benevolent dictatorship of Kenwright and company isn't going to turn the club into a capricious billionaire's plaything or collateral for a dodgy debt refinance, but that that may not be enough to earn a Europa League place.

And that's the paradox of the top flight.

posted by etagloh at 12:35 AM on April 16

I agree that as a football club, Everton would be a relatively good investment.

I just don't think a football club is a good investment.

posted by owlhouse at 12:50 AM on April 16

Yeah, that's putting it well. There's something funny about investment in EPL teams (and, apparently, teams in other "important" European leagues). At the risk of sounding patronising (see, I'm at least trying to meet you halfway), the teams are paying out like US sports leagues but they haven't caught up to the financing. Yes they have stadium sponsors and jersey sponsors and all that, but it's still treated as though a club is a small business (with the exception of teams recently purchased by foreigners). Either it's just a matter of the fans accepting the level of wealth needed to sustain a major sports franchise is so large that it's unlikely you have a hometown lad with the dosh or the teams outside the Champions League places are all going to go the way of Portsmouth if they do more than hold up a pretense of trying to compete.

The EPL, La Liga and Serie A are all ghettoized as it is, where the top teams stay the top teams because they can afford an extra handful of players due to Champions League money and the fact they are top teams. I've never been a huge believer in revenue sharing in US leagues, but if these football leagues don't blunt the effect of being top of the table (and the self-fulfilling prophesy of being a "top team")*, the romance of the sport will die. As an outsider observer, it seems like it's been dead for a bit: save last year, no dark horse makes a run in the FA Cup anymore, etc.

* I was stunned by the chart of revenue streams in the link. I'd never really imagined Everton would win the league, but I had hopes they could sneak into a top 4 finish some year and then parlay that into a run of good finishes. Ha. The only thing they could parlay the Champions League money into is paying off some debt service.

posted by yerfatma at 08:50 AM on April 16

Why Hasn't Someone Bought Everton?

Why go out for a burger when they're selling steak? Admittedly, the steak comes saddled with 237 million pounds of debt, but think of that as a bit of bearnaise on the side and you're as good as there.

Joking aside, I'm with the wise owl on this one - the question isn't why hasn't someone bought Everton, it's why would anyone buy a football team who had anything better to do?

posted by JJ at 09:56 AM on April 16

I just don't think a football club is a good investment.

I'm not sure it ever has been; but until, say, the mid-90s, there was the assumption that a club could be a local millionaire's plaything, and not require an oligarch or some multinational balance sheet jiggery-pokery to compete. Kenwright belongs to the era of Jack Walker and John Hall, not that of Abramovich and Glazer and Sheikh Mansour.

posted by etagloh at 10:12 AM on April 16

Maybe they could do a deal with Disney: ToonTown as a new stadium name.

posted by billsaysthis at 12:50 PM on April 16

In the mid 70s, and riding high in the old Third Division (their highest place in history), the board of Chester City invited my uncle to become Chairman. At that stage, my uncle ran a successful local heating engineering business.

A fan of the club all his life, my uncle said no purely for business reasons, as he didn't think football clubs were well managed at that level. He then found it uncomfortable being at matches, so became a season ticket holder at Liverpool instead.

It ended up being a sensible decision. However I hope this is not a harbinger of what might subsequently happen on Merseyside.

posted by owlhouse at 07:01 PM on April 16

Why don't all of us SportsFilter-ites pull our money together and buy them? I got over 50K cash and could surely get more through loans. Anyone else interested?

posted by StarFucker at 06:13 PM on April 17

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