The saga of Everton’s financial situation reared its head again this week when David Moyes revealed his belief that Everton do not need new owners, just new investment. Moyes acknowledged that it usually takes the former to provide the latter, but argued that on the field his team are not in need of huge investment, but rather it is off the field that the club needs the most attention.
Goodison Park certainly does not equate with the stylish, dynamic and, above all, modern team that graces its pitch every other week. It is cramped, basic, old-fashioned, yet, at its best, capable of a thunderous atmosphere. It does not, however, generate income. The football finance blog Andersred analysed the club’s accounts and revealed Goodison generates only £19 per seat of income, compared to £30 for Liverpool. The club from across Stanley Park were part of another point made by Moyes – that a new owner does not guarantee success. In the time Everton have been searching for investment Liverpool have been taken over twice, as have Manchester City, Manchester United, Aston Villa, West Ham United, Birmingham City, Newcastle United and Blackburn Rovers, and Everton are on course to finish above all but the Manchester clubs and Liverpool, and may yet catch Kenny Dalglish’s side in the race for sixth place.
On the field Everton are developing nicely. Moyes has assembled a squad bursting with defensive and midfield talent with only the forward line a little anaemic, although the improvement of Jermaine Beckford over the course of the season and the emergence of Magaye Gueye and perhaps also Aposlostos Vellios has added depth where it was needed most. Whatever funds have been available to Moyes lately have mostly gone on preserving the strong squad at his disposal, with new contracts for Seamus Coleman, Leighton Baines, Phil Jagielka, Jack Rodwell, Tim Cahill and Mikel Arteta since last year and a new deal for Marouane Fellaini top of the agenda for the summer. If Everton cannot spend the kind of money it would take to add more players the calibre of Baines, Fellaini and co every summer, the least they can do is make sure they retain the ones they already have and, with the exception of Joleon Lescott and Steven Pienaar, have done so admirably.
In the absence of big-money signings – which Moyes says his team do not need – Everton have turned ever more to youth. Coleman and Rodwell are the latest youngsters to nail down places in the Everton squad with Gueye and Vellios now regular names on the substitutes’ bench, although in the latter case that is through injuries more than anything, but hopes are also high for midfielder Ross Barkley and defenders Shane Duffy and Shkrodan Mustafi. Gueye has impressed in his recent outings with his raw power and cannonball shot, while Vellios’ sheer size makes him a handful even at a young age. Injuries to Duffy and Barkley have held them back somewhat but even in the absence of fresh investment off the pitch, on it, Everton’s future is still bright.