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Speculation

Robert Elstone, 8th February 2011 - 09:34

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Robert Elstone

Robert Elstone

Posts: 39

Robert is Everton's Chief Executive.

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A Club in Meltdown?

The past fortnight has seen much speculation on the financial state of our Club. Our Accounts are later than usual, and although not late in any legal sense, I hate to say it, being later than prior years suits the agenda of a small minority of fans who seem intent on painting only the bleakest picture. According to the minority, it seems that late accounts can only mean one thing; Everton must be in ‘financial meltdown?' The Blues are set to go bust? Of course, it's simply not true. A couple of conversations I've had recently have highlighted some of the things being said.

A week last Saturday, before the Cup tie, I spoke to a couple of passionate and committed fans who asked me if I'd heard there was a demonstration planned. They offered to show me the texts going round to rally the fans.  When I asked why there was a protest, the response was that fans think our Directors have sold all our assets and have pocketed the money. They then said the Chairman was guilty of repeatedly turning billionaires way.  I sensed a degree of embarrassment in their voices.  Both points are clearly crazy. Truly, the billionaire is yet to knock on the front door at Goodison. Truly, our longed-for Russian, sheik or our media mogul has NOT been put off by a ridiculous selling price. Further, as for ‘asset stripping', there are many club directors out there who pay themselves generous salaries and enjoy plenty of perks. Ours don't, not a penny in any salaries or expenses; not even the Chairman's record-breaking mobile phone bill!

After the Blackpool game on Saturday, I spoke to fans in the Joe Mercer lounge who questioned the lack of investment in players.  Four players have left - Yakubu, Yobo, Vaughan and Piennar and, as I kept being reminded, no one has arrived.  Of course, the first three have been loaned out with the blessing of the Manager and will either be back in the summer, or will generate us substantial transfer income. And I can assure you, we worked incredibly hard, for almost two years, to keep Pienaar, offering a lucrative new contract that in the end was rejected.  My response was to pull out the team sheet; to look at the Manager's starting line-up, to look at the depth and quality on the bench. No one could deny it was an enviable team sheet. We had and we still have a great squad of players. A squad tied down for the long term.  A squad enhanced by the acquisition and development of some great youngsters. Following long and considered discussion last summer with the Manager, a squad that the Board was prepared to commit to, and invest in.  A squad, as we've all seen, that's capable of competing with the best. 

Where the Money Goes

Whether we like it or not, it really is all about money.  So where does our money go? The £50 million we get from Sky, or the £20 million we earn through gate receipts, or the new Kitbag deal? The simple facts are approaching 85p in every £1 we bring in, ends up one way or another at our training ground.  From young prospects, to scouts, to medical support, to coaches and, of course to our first team squad, almost £70 million, out of our £80 million of income ends up at the Finch Farm complex.  And quite right too.  We wouldn't want it any other way.

Of course, we've plenty to show for our money.  We have a great Academy and, according to almost every Evertonian, as I said above, the best Blues' squad in years; a squad we all believe will see us in Europe next season. That investment, and most specifically a player wage bill that's increased significantly over the past three seasons demonstrates one thing above all else and that's ambition. It shows Everton has a Board of Directors that wants, and pushes hard for success on the pitch.  Surviving on what's left? Well that's quite a challenge. The remaining 15p has to go a very long way, supporting the ground, the pitch, our matchday operation, our ticket office etc., etc., etc.

Ambitious or Foolhardy?

Of course, fans want and deserve ambition.  But, fans who are quick to criticise and look for failings are also quick to conveniently interpret ambition as financial mismanagement. If we don't invest, we lack ambition. When we do invest, we're putting the Club at risk! Not one we are going to win. It is fair to say however, that our pursuit of success has stretched our finances, something our Chairman hasn't shied away from saying on a regular basis. Spending every last penny strengthening the team has meant that we spend every day of every week looking to drive revenues and raise funds. It means financially, no one could ever describe us as cosy. But then again, very few clubs are particularly comfortable. In football, if you're not pushing finances hard, why aren't you?  And, when you push hard in today's financial climate, auditors want more assurances and lenders want more comfort.  Over the past two or three weeks, that's exactly where we've been. But that's also where many Clubs are, indeed that's where many businesses are; in a financial world with a very different outlook and with a new set of rules.

What the Accounts Say

I'm pleased to say our accounts are now signed off , with a clean audit report. They have been published this week and show total income, in tough times, that has remained at £80m.  However, away from income driven by on field performances -by league position and cup progress, other revenues increased.  Matchday revenue per game held-up well with increased season ticket numbers and higher average attendances, albeit in 2009/10 we missed out on a Cup run which saw a small decrease in total receipts, and our sponsorship money improved with the new Kitbag deal.  Costs also increased, and rose more rapidly than income. With further investment in player wages, - specifically, Heitinga, Distin and Bilyaletdinov replacing Lescott, our wage to turnover ratio increased.  It's still under 70% and if we included our shop turnover and our catering revenues (neither is included in our accounts as they are both operated by third parties), the wage/turnover ratio remains under 65%.  And did we make a profit? taking total costs from total revenues, we made a small operating loss - the measure of how we're performing before player trading. 

Football balance sheets are unusual and unlike most other businesses.  In our case, as a result of accounting convention, Jack Rodwell, Tim Cahill, Mikel Arteta, Seamus Coleman and many more players are recorded at or near to nil value and certainly way below market value.  As far as our published balance sheet goes, our assets are hugely undervalued.  Our debts, however, are recorded in full.  I think we'd all agree the most important number on the balance sheet is total debt and at May 2010, our accounting period end, total debt was £48m (£41m in 2009), an increase explained by the continued investment in players and a rising player wage bill.

Debt needs to be managed and ultimately repaid and it should be recognised and acknowledged that Everton has a strong finance team and the long term support of our bankers and lenders.  Specifically, the Club has built and benefited from an eight year relationship with our bank, a partnership which is founded on the strength of the management team at Goodison, the stability in our Boardroom and two decades of top flight experience ‘racked up' by a Chairman and Manager envied across the Game.

Changes to Auto Cup

To finish, some evidence of how we do listen to our fans and make changes that are right for the Club and its supporters.  After trying again to satisfy too many fans with too few tickets for our Third Round tie at Scunthorpe United, you asked us to review our Auto Cup scheme. Whilst there are merits to the scheme, and it was very easy to join, it is clear to us that the scheme allowed fans to jump the loyalty queue. As I said at the time, our aim on every occasion when tickets are scarce is that tickets go to fans who, ‘rain or shine', don't miss games.  Fans who'd been to Brentford were missing out to fans who'd simply ticked a box.  As a result, next season Auto Cup will be dropped for away Cup games.

As I hope you all know, our doors are always open to suggestions which will improve the Club and allow us to ‘do the right thing'.  Our Fans Forum is now bigger, has wider representation, and meets on a regular basis.  Our recent Supporters' Clubs visits have included Wrexham and Southport, with Netherton, Milton Keynes and Dublin around the corner.  I have a meeting with the Shareholders' Association in a fortnight's time and I'm meeting a couple of fans on an individual basis who want to discuss away game issues.  Fans, quite rightly, shape our decisions. The door is always open. 

And Forward as One Team

I am a firm believer that anyone who buys a ticket has the right to voice his or her opinions and should be listened to.  Everton respects the views of its fans and has demonstrated time and time again that we listen, we ‘front up' and we tell it straight.  We don't want sterile debate, we don't wish to muffle our critics and we do want to be kept on our toes.  But, I hope you'd agree with me, criticism should be positive, it should be fair and above all, should be for the long term good of Everton Football Club.

 

Latest Blogs by Robert Elstone

Steve HenshallI cannot see the point or reason for abandoning the AutoCup scheme for away cup matches. Are the fans who are complaining season ticket holders? If so, they only need to tick a box, which is what a large number of season ticket holders already do. My concern about ticketing for away games is the points system used by Everton. Everytime a ticket is bought, points are accrued, but these points are not counted towards away tickets, away tickets are bought on the number of away tickets previously purchased. So what is the point of the "points" system?

Monday 21st February 13:21 Report Comment

brennan finneganCarl agree 100% with what you say and glad to see the flaggers on here are allowing fans who are in the great majority a voice to express there views.

Friday 11th February 16:52 Report Comment

carl jonesI have read all these comments asking how much we are up for SALE, but not once have I ever heard BK say anything of the sort he always says he's looking for INVESTMENT and if it is just investment he's looking for then that is not going to happen because who in their rite mind would put millions of pounds into a club and not be the owner BK needs ta say he's SELLING NOT JUST LOOK FOR PEOPLE TO INVEST this prob won't get posted but hay

Friday 11th February 15:38 Report Comment

brennan finneganI see a lot of support for the chairman and while i agree he stablised the club in the early years the continuing rise in debt, which has also meant no new signings in transfer windows with the exception of the signings with £esscott money, is worrying. With most other clubs successfully finding investment, I believe its time to take a risk with an investor rather than loose top players who may become disallusioned, with outgoings only. Please post this to show that you are allowing all fans to show their opinions, whether positive or not. Thank you.

Thursday 10th February 18:18 Report Comment

John ScottLets stop with the conspiracy theory's. Loved the comment "Those who believe and trust in the chairman, and those who don't. None of us have any facts about investors, or the price being asked for the club, so we have to make our own judgements." Judgements are formed on knowledge yours is not it is a guess ( at best ). I would rather BK turn away the wrong investors for the club than to settle for someone who cares for nothing but making money alone. I have supported the blues for 50 years and god willing I will for 50 more. The one thing I wont do is criticise without having facts in front of me. COYB IM&KWT

Thursday 10th February 17:42 Report Comment

Paul Keevansis it just the ground that stops us being an attractive club for a arab takeover?

Thursday 10th February 15:23 Report Comment

Maurice JonesAll well and good, and I'm sure the Club is in safe hands. My question, however, is WHY has there NOT been a billionaire knocking at the door? Is it because we don't try aggressively enough to find that person? After all, lesser clubs than ours seem to have managed to do it and, with football as it is today, we are never going to be able to compete on even terms with the richer clubs unless we too have money to spend.

Thursday 10th February 09:54 Report Comment

Colin FletcherResponse to Phil Cain - Beauty mate. Couldn't stop laughing

Thursday 10th February 09:42 Report Comment

CRAIG WEILDINGIn brief. We have a Chairman who we can trust 100 per-cent. and the BEST manager. But on the downside we need investment to keep up.

Thursday 10th February 09:40 Report Comment

Colin FletcherI think we all agree that having huge sums to invest in players would be fantastic. However, I also think we have to be realistic and accept that until Mr Money-No-Object comes along we have to live within the means of what we have. I would rather we focus on retaing players such as Felli, who is now proving a class act, Mikel, Tim Cahill etc because it would be impossible to replace these players with the better ones with the cash we have available to spend. When everyone is fit and available, I believe we do have a good squad, and I would prefert o keep it together tather than dismantle by selling players to bring others in. Surely another million pounds per year paying Felli is worth it as opposed to paying a bit less on some mediocre player that takes us backwards. With Rodwell, Gueye and Coleman improving each week, we have a bright future, and a future that will be sustainable if we live within our means. A certain Peter Ridsdale and David O'Dreary spring to mind. COYB - IM&KWT

Thursday 10th February 09:29 Report Comment

alexis leungI think BK is a fantastic football club owner. Running a football club is one of the most difficult business in the world, I suppose.

Thursday 10th February 08:59 Report Comment

Mark LynchWhat i would like to know is why we are now being limited to features that we can comment on?? i dont know if anyone has noticed the lack of facility to comment lately(yes it has improved very very slightly in the last couple of days) after all this is supposed to be the peoples club, why are you not letting the people speak??

Wednesday 9th February 22:27 Report Comment

Mikel Arreguispot on Rex! Also hope the site continues allowing posts with differing views and we don't have comments without insults or derogatory comments held back again. That's what Elstone promises in his last paragraph after all.

Wednesday 9th February 21:33 Report Comment

Mikel ArreguiAnd I forgot to add to my latest comment Moyes may also get tired of this situation.

Wednesday 9th February 21:30 Report Comment

Phil CainHave we considered Ocean Finance? We could consolidate all our debts into one simple monthly payment...

Wednesday 9th February 21:29 Report Comment

Mikel ArreguiWell, glad to see comments are finally being showed. Mike, why do you assume I could speak on behalf of players getting new contracts? Certainly no one stays at Everton because of the money, they could eran more ein other places, so I'm glad they're loyal. Kenwright said he had investors interested but Elstone says nobody has turned up. If the club has two different versions, how are we going to believe them? The most worrying thing though is with debts increasing we'll have to sell our best young players and won't be able to replace them. Hope I'm wrong but I don't see any fact to support that.

Wednesday 9th February 21:26 Report Comment

brennan finneganYes Neil we all have to continue supporting our beloved club, as not to do so because of the financial situation would be crazy. Its not the players the manager or the clubs fault wer in such debt. Keep waving the BLUE flag. COYBs

Wednesday 9th February 20:34 Report Comment

brennan finneganRex well said im surprised you got that post through as mine on the subject never get through and they constructive, but not supportive of the current situation.

Wednesday 9th February 20:29 Report Comment

ian wilkinsondg and sp both bad business.if you post this i'll streak down mathew st.

Wednesday 9th February 19:59 Report Comment

Bill MartinRex H, good point very well made , i agree there has been ample time to find a buyer & do find it puzzling that a fine established club like ours has not got much intrest ,seemingly there were investors intrested but when it came to paying the money wasnt there,(why it too so long to discover our investors had not enough cash is puzzling to me) if your last sentence iscorrect then mayb the RIGHT buyer will never appear ..im not for a minute saying your wrong but i hope you are mate

Wednesday 9th February 17:42 Report Comment

Paul JonesA fair reflexton of the clubs position. The biggest problem for any new investor(s) is the ground situation. Until that issue is resolved, it is difficult to see us moving forward. Our squad is the best for many a year, however, unless we keep adding quality to the squad, our standards will slip. David Moyes has done a super job with the resources available, he also needs our support, or perhaps the call of another club will be too strong.for him to ignore.

Wednesday 9th February 17:03 Report Comment

Rex H LawrenceThis probably won't get past the censor, but here goes.! Neil,i fully agree with you.Dan, with respect Bill has had five years to bring in the investment needed as signalled by the Rooney exit.The points about the RIGHT investment and the credit crunch are simply convenient red (ouch) herrings in my humble opinion.However the devisive saboetaginging of Kirkby by Keioc cetainly hasn't helped.Some details from the Club about why the aborted bids have failed would reassure me, the is no need to identify the bidders.It is a mystery that the sleuth-like press haven't repoted anything i must say.I hate to say this but could it be that the sticking point has not been an unrealistic asking price but rather the knowledge in the "trade that true-blue Bill can't bear to relinquish the reins.

Wednesday 9th February 16:17 Report Comment

Hugh DanielsI'd like to hear what the club's plan is to reduce the 45 mil debt we are carrying. Any money generated will only go to servicing this debt, and will not benefit the competitiveness of the club long term. Options are continue to cut wage bill, sell some players, team to perform better with consistency, look for a broader consortium of investors, sell Goodison naming rights, shake up Liverpool Council for a feasible building site.

Wednesday 9th February 15:48 Report Comment

Hugh DanielsThanks Robert. I'm still very uncomfortable with the overall wall of silence over the past months from the club - no sharing of appropriate info (and I dont mean throwing out the number that the club is valued at), nothing but censorship on the web site....doesn't give your faithful the faith to continue, does it? I really cant figure out why our currrent Directors cant show their faith by putting in some investment themselves.... a week's takings from Tesco would help too! The inability to deliver of a good squad on paper means rebuild with a significant number of the young lads, mixed with some of our veterans who have pride in wearing the Blue. COYB! - shape up Board and playing staff, and Moysey, watch Ollie!

Wednesday 9th February 14:31 Report Comment

Mike BakerA superb summary, Robert. I think all fans will appreciate it that you are being so open and candid and I completely support the club's financial and on-field strategy as you have outlined, particularly our superb manager, who I believe is the best we have ever had at the club all things considered. The only mystery and frustration is why what I would agree is the best squad we've had in ages has not really got off the ground this season; maybe getting a fat payrise and with it more security takes off your edge? Mikel, perhaps you could answer that on behalf of the group? The inescapable fact is that the team have not been able to motivate themselves to succeed against less able opposition, though, and I would ask the players to have a good look at themselves and fix this. Blackpool was a good start, but we have to do it all over again against Sunderland and make sure we beat them too.

Wednesday 9th February 14:19 Report Comment

Neil SteeleFair play to the club for posting all these comments and letting us discuss it without the sugar coating anyway. In my last post I said how do we know the price is prohibitive, of course I meant ISN'T..typo there. Overall though it seems there is a clear divide here; Those who believe and trust in the chairman, and those who don't. None of us have any facts about investors, or the price being asked for the club, so we have to make our own judgements. My only basis for suspicion at this point is common sense. It just doesn't add up to me that EVERY other club of our stature (and smaller ones) have been taken over..but there is supposedly no interest in Everton. I just sense that something is amiss, but each to their own. I continue paying my money in so I am guilty of supporting a regime I no longer trust, so more fool me.

Wednesday 9th February 13:33 Report Comment

Bill MartinDan Nulty.. excellent post, very well said the most important thing is to get the right investors not just the 1st investor . We need some one who will care about the club aswel as making money , that investor wont be easily found . i think the main grievence of most fans on here is frustration at the lack of comunication from the club , we see other clubs spending money & been bought & we feel we are been left behind.. long term future is better for the club, what does bug me tho apart from money is.. we have as we mostly agree a good squad (some say our best in years) & we are not geting the results we should be geting. that cant be anything to do with investment then if we ALREADY have a good squad.. can it? if we had gotten 1 or 2 better results that i feel we should have had then we would be up pushing for europe. & we need europe to attract investment.. its down to the management & players to get these results now & attract intrest in investment now & i think they can & will do it..

Wednesday 9th February 12:57 Report Comment

CRAIG WEILDINGWe all know we need investment urgently.

Wednesday 9th February 12:25 Report Comment

stephen greenWe have to deal with what we have got, Yes we want investment but i believe that Bill and he board are trying. They must want the club to be succesful. Our players wages clearly are stopping us having any money to spend we must see that since Lescott we have bought in Jonny, Distan, Billy, Mucha, Beckford and Gauye to the first team squad. We have also given rises to rodwell and coleman who have become first team players i am sure this equates to alot of millions a year. Surely this summer is one where we do a bit of trimming in order to bring in the new first team players we crave.

Wednesday 9th February 12:17 Report Comment

stephen greenIt all seem obvious to me we pay out what we bring in, which is excellent. We all want to see new players and inestment in the team. So we have a few options increase revenue - think the board have done well with Chang / kitbag the new visitors centre etc, so do we increase ticket prices Chelsea style? or we pay less in wages - We have a wage cap say 50k and then the debt won't increase further. We streamline the squad and fill the bench with players we bring through the ranks. By cutting our wage bill by 100k a week we would save 5.2m a year which as Rob said in the statement they should in vest in a new plyer.

Wednesday 9th February 12:06 Report Comment

Mikel ArreguiAnd as I know my previous post won't get published, just wanted to say I feel very worried about the club and don't think the approach of this blog towards the fans is correct.

Wednesday 9th February 11:24 Report Comment

Mikel ArreguiI know this post won't get published as it's not positive but can only agree with Neil Steele. Mr Elstone, you used to speak with sense and respect. But slating fans is very disrespectful. Of course you tell us your version but all I can grasp is the debt is higher and the squad smaller. Sorry, not good for me. And being defensive with the fans shows there may be some truth in what it's been said.

Wednesday 9th February 11:22 Report Comment

Bill Martin@trevor hambridge where i and most others apreciate your OPINON on this matter i think your post is OTT, you could have put your point across without the insults & demeaning "football finance illitriate fools that you are "comment.. everyone on here loves & supports EFC thats why we are on the OFFICIAL web site , each day we share our opinions to which some agree & some disagree but we respect each others opinions & refrain from insults , @the moderator i am puzzled with comments in the past that have been moderated or removed that you let this one through ..look forward to sharing opinion & thoughts on OUR club in the future with all reglar posters . lets just leave out the insults ok ,, probably wont get posted but hey !!!!

Wednesday 9th February 11:08 Report Comment

So disappointedNeil - although I agree with some of your comments and the complexities of valuing the club - don't forget that in valuing the club you'd have to value it's assets and that includes the players. WHat value would you put on our squad? That is what may be the issue. But I belive Bill can't win with fans such as yourself: If he takes his time and sells to the right person - in the meantime you'll slate him for not selling fast enough or make up other reasons. If he sells quickly without doing a proper background check to the first person who offers him money, they turn out to be a Portsmouth or Notts County fly by night - you'll slate him for selling the club to make a buck. I'd rather he took his time, ran the business as he is doing and allowing DM to keep us in the PL.

Wednesday 9th February 10:43 Report Comment

Neil SteeleTrevor, whilst attempting to sound clever, you are actually coming across exactly the opposite. Surely you can see the flaw in the point you have just made? Yes, of course we can make our own judgements on what the club is worth - although you do show an incredible naivety in suggesting that this is a straightforward calculation, with football being so unlike any other 'business - but the real point is this; what we believe the club is worth is irrelevant. The valuation the fans have of the club isn't putting potential investors off...something else is. Until Mr Kenwright or Mr Elstone can at least put a ballpark on things, all we have is their word that the price being asked is prohibitive, and unfortunately common sense says that something isn't right. EVERY other club of our stature has been taken over...but not Everton. Yet we are supposedly well run. Work that one out Sherlock, the word gullible springs to mind!

Tuesday 8th February 23:27 Report Comment

Wai Kin Lowi am very pleased that elstone came and explained the whole situation for us but it only mean only a arrival of a rich investor can bring the club forward. i think kenwright has been trying very hard to find the best investor to the club and already bring the club forward the best he could. he had been a very loyal evertonian and i hope everyone can stop criticize him.

Tuesday 8th February 23:15 Report Comment

Jason MarriottI couldn't agree more we spend what we make, we always have good youngster coming through. This obsession with spending and getting someone who will spend big to me is insane. Look at the big picture, I'm going to love this new fair play rule. The club is also a business and EFC is pretty much breaking even, and lets face it best squad we have had in decades. But guess the truth is you can never keep some people happy.

Tuesday 8th February 20:35 Report Comment

David RobertsAMBITION???????????????????????????????????????????

Tuesday 8th February 18:52 Report Comment

Michael DownesMr Yearsley i have supported Everton since the early fifties.Suffered highs and lows over those years not unlike last Saturdays game against Blackpool.Thats what being a evertonian is all about.In the end i am proud to feel positive about the future of the club. I am convinced it is in good hands.The average age of the players at the club bodes well.David Moyes has great people around him.He's happy to work for Everton.What more could you ask for? WILL he leave Goodison for greener pastures? I think not. Ask how many chairmen are better to work for than B.K? Keep the faith boys someone out there will buy us. then let the good tjmes roll.

Tuesday 8th February 18:39 Report Comment

Trevor HambidgeTo all those DEMANDING to know the value of the club....you have all the financial information you require to work out what the clubs value should be. These accounts would be exactly what any prospective buyer would look at and would be sufficient enough for them to make an offer. So why don't you look at the accounts and work out what you think the club should be worth.....? Oh yeah, it's because you know absolutely nothing about what you are all bleating on about. Constantly whining on this subject makes you look the football finance illiterate fools you so clearly are. Everton FC is a club to be even more proud of today as we see sound fiscal management in very tough financial times. Any fan who wishes to refrain from spending their own money as some form of protest about the way this club is being run needs to buy themselves a clue, a red coloured shirt or go to see if the Wizard of Oz can acquire you a brain. This hugely misguided action attacks the club in the exact place we need to push on in - namely increasing revenues.

Tuesday 8th February 17:27 Report Comment

paul yearsleyi understand what robert is saying but i have supported everton all my life and to be honest i am just getting fed up. We all just need something to give us hope.......

Tuesday 8th February 17:02 Report Comment

Andrew LoydenAnd Forward as One Team. Sounds very hollow when the shareholders are denied AGM's! The club doesn't have to change it's rules just call one and the board can 'front up' and have a real debate. The shareholders meeting are 75% powerpoint presentations!

Tuesday 8th February 16:21 Report Comment

Dan CarterThank you Robert for telling us whats going on, and what plans the club has. As for some of the 'evertonians' below- yes we want to be able to spend more but stability is better and we are better off keeping the current squad. As for people who say they wont pay until investment comes in, grow up and realise that might not happen for a while so instead of moaning get behind the team and cheer them on, or face the facts you dont have blue blood and will never be an Evertonian. COYB

Tuesday 8th February 16:11 Report Comment

DAVE HUNTERJust a quick answer to how the club have invested, I think the quite a lot of investment has been securing players on long term contracts and putting up their wages to stop them leaving.

Tuesday 8th February 16:00 Report Comment

DAVE HUNTERIf a buyer does come in and I hear there are 2 or 3 in the pipe line the first thing we should do is get a new ground, now the yank has stated he wants to fix up analfield, why don't we go for the stanley park project, already had planning permission from the council.

Tuesday 8th February 15:58 Report Comment

Craig MillsI think this is a really good response from Everton, yes, we have made a small opperating loss - 0.5m, but a concern for me is how do we balance reducing the club's 48m debt which has increased from 41m last year whilst investing in the squad which is essential for sucess. Our current squad is small, especially when you take out the players on loan and we have still made a loss, we certainly don't pay silly wages, nor are we excessive in the transfer market and that sums up our problem, our revenue simply cannot stretch any further without increasing the debt, so its over to our board and chairman to dig deep into those pockets and invest in the club we all love, without it, the only way is to sell our best assets, Felliani, Rodwell, Coleman, Baines - this will see the manager obviously leave and we will end up in the championship............

Tuesday 8th February 15:13 Report Comment

Ian GroobyWe need to approach potential buyers with a plan to move out of Goodison because otherwise they won't be able to recoup their money on matchdays. Surely worth looking at Stanley Park now that Liverpool are redeveloping that shed of theirs. Think a ground with better facilities and views would increase attandances, as well as the big financial benefits from much improved corporate hospitality.

Tuesday 8th February 14:39 Report Comment

Andy WrightMy only question is why no billionaire has knocked on our door - we have the best fans a great history and a top premier league squad??? Why buy the likes of Blackburn over us?? Is it we dont have the right contacts to be able to get in and speak with these moneybags??

Tuesday 8th February 14:26 Report Comment

Michael DownesThank you Robert for your very constructive view on Everton's finances. My request to the fans, most of which are sensible beyond doubt, becareful what you wish for. We have seen so many times around the league. What happens to clubs who go into administration? One worries about not improving the team but look at the players we have in out youth teams, who sooner or later will bear fruitation. The future is not as bleak as some people would predict. I for one look forward to it.

Tuesday 8th February 14:17 Report Comment

stephen hendersonpretty good news i feel maybee with the sales of yakubu yobo next season a further reduction in wage bill and perhaps maybee another couple of sales mucha .....and other squad players on high wages we can sign another quality player as long as we can keep the top players jags baines felli rodwell cahill arteta we can still compete and aim for europe good work lads football is a joke and we never want to go down the road of paying players 100k a week wages

Tuesday 8th February 13:33 Report Comment

Alec WalkerJust think, our whole debt could have been paid off with the 50 million that bought just one player. Football really has gone mad.

Tuesday 8th February 13:27 Report Comment

jo turner"The operating expenses were up from £73.4m in 2009 due to increased and continued investment in the Club's playing squad" Please can you explain how the club have invested in the current squad.We sold lescott and bought more players in which is fair enough but in 9 years moyes net spend is about 2mill.How much money as kenwright put in to the club,name a price for the club and then maybe we can find a buyer,employ someone to sell the club worked for other clubs why can't it work for us.I for one will not put a single penny in to the club until i see the club is backing moyes,even crawley town are outspending us and we play in the richest league in the world. Also the accounts aren't that bad but there only up to may 2010 i dread to think what there like now,sold pienaar sent players out on loan.It's only a matter of before moyes can't work wonders anymore or even gets fed up with the club and we find moyes gone or we play the likes of preston.

Tuesday 8th February 13:19 Report Comment

ste owenswe dont need to know much else than what was stated in the article, and we dont need to know how much the club is up for unless somone here commenting wants to throw a bid in! i think some fans here have forgotten the financial black hole this board has dragged us out of while it would be nice to have some billionaire flashing doe around, look what happened to leeds, they spent millions trying for instant success and what did they have to show for it? a CL semi final followed by 2 relegations and almost a decade in the wilderness. id rather have an evertonian in charge than a owner who might jump ship if instant success doesnt materialise, leaving us up the proverbial creek, without a paddle but its imperitive we keep moyesey, if felli or whoever.. wants/has to leave, as is being suggested by some, then thats what has to happen, we can replace players. the club comes first, always ETID

Tuesday 8th February 13:11 Report Comment

ROBERT DONOGHUEOur biggest problem is Goodison Park, we need to make more money on match days, I think this should be prioritised, any money we have we should spend on increasing and improving our corporate hospitality. Sacrifice away supporters and convert that end of the bullens road into more boxes etc, also convert the top balcony of the main stand, no one likes sitting up there anyway!!!

Tuesday 8th February 13:10 Report Comment

Neil SteeleGenerally a good Blog Robert, and your attitude is appreciated by most fans I am sure. As Callum has said below though, unfortunately the key question remains unanswered; How much? Until the Chairman is clear about this - and if the club is genuinely for sale, I see no possible adverse impact naming the price could have - then it is going to be hard to convince me and many other fans that the club genuinely is for sale. When you look around the league at the other clubs that have been taken over - every single one of our stature, with and without new stadiums - something just doesn't stack up. If the club is for sale, name the price, it is simple. Then, and only then, will the fans have something tangible to buy into. As of now, it all sounds very good, but the facts say something isn't right.

Tuesday 8th February 12:58 Report Comment

Stephen Graceyou have to speculate to accumulate though

Tuesday 8th February 12:54 Report Comment

David BadcockRobert, this is a really good response to the doubters and as a supporting statement to the accounts. It clarifies a lot. Keep up the good work!

Tuesday 8th February 12:42 Report Comment

Bill Martindisapointed & pleased , disapointed it seems we are going to be in financial restraint for a while or until our investors come calling , as much as id love investors they also scare me a bit because they wont have the same love or understanding of our great club & we might become JUST a business . we are better than that we are the peoples club.. pleased that Mr Elstone came out & told us whats going on on the official site & didnt hear it first on sky,I apreciate we will be in good position when new rules come in so how are the suposadly "big" clubs going to survive when this happens ?? how come newer prem clubs SEEMINGLY have more cash to spend than us ,stil puzzles me?? ,

Tuesday 8th February 12:37 Report Comment

Darren TeevanI appreciate that the billionaire is hard to find in this current economic climate however all we as fans ask for is transparency. Obviously the administration rumours were worrying although now wide of the mark, why weren't these put to bed 3 weeks ago when they started circulating. We should not have had to wait. And as stated on numerous fan sites and below, how much is the sellng price of the club? We as fans deserve to know this. We are the lifeblood of this club.

Tuesday 8th February 12:36 Report Comment

Callum ShawCan we have a black and white answer as to how much the club is up for sale for? Another thing as well is we need to show ambition in the summer otherwise as Moyes says we will lose our top players (Fellaini) and maybe our number one asset Moyes. Do we need to renew our season tickets on the early bird offer before our players go in the summer? I really really hope this isnt the case because i love this club but i am worried and i do understand that billionaires aren't on street corners. COYB.

Tuesday 8th February 12:18 Report Comment

:Paul VarleyI dont think anyone is n doubt that finances are extremely tight at Goodison and this proves it. There is also no doubt that everyone at the club are doing the best job they can with the resources they have etc. What a lot of the fans are unhappy with etc is the complete lack of communication. Yes we would all like to see a billionaire come along with the best interests of the club at heart. If we are ever to truly compete again we may well need it. The fact we cant find one and te reasons why just need to be communicated more to the fans. If we cant afford players or even decent loans then thats fine but dont come out at the beginning of the window suggesting 2 or 3 arrivals. Be honest and say we cant afford anyone unless some miracle happens. Also can we have a break down on the wages etc. As by my reckoning at 70 million being spent on wages if we had a total staff of around 100, that means they would be earning on average 13500 a week. Can I have job please.

Tuesday 8th February 12:12 Report Comment

thomas ainsworthBobby,your a legend.Great for all Blues to see you come out & give us facts.The problem I have however,is this.Why can I not see in the accounts where Blue Bill,Lord Grantchester and the rest of the comfortably well off board,have put their own personal cash into the club.It all seems to be club generated finances only.If I had a vested interest in something(as I do,my club and season ticket money)then surely I would expect to speculate financially(laymens terms-put cash into the kitty).Being a guarantor to the bank is just not good enough.

Tuesday 8th February 12:11 Report Comment

david kennedyNo summer transfer warchest without selling players. Another frustrating and disappointing season ahead next term then. Get investment in so we can compete.

Tuesday 8th February 11:57 Report Comment

Kevin JamesHmm. I'm not the most intelligent person but Mr Elstones blog is pretty much in black and white that even I can understand!! Although it looks like we will need a miracle to bring any players in in the summer as it looks like any sales in the summer may have to be put towards the rising debt! I did listen to the keith harris interview on terrace talk (thank you snods for bieng so blunt with him) I am optimistic we will have a new owner pretty soon!! Think he said Chinese, Indian and American consortiums are looking at our club! Which one would we prefer? People I speak to say 'no yanks please' but I personally wouldn't mind American investment as long as it isn't two texans!! maybe californian ones recommended by a Mr Donovan!! Just no chicken owners from India please!!

Tuesday 8th February 11:42 Report Comment

Gwyn RowlandsThank you for Robert Elstone for clarifying our position I was 1 of the fans like many others wondering what is going on, I do however feel you should be keeping the fans updated more regulaly this would prevent rumours such as we are going into Administration which albeit a rumour can make some fans really worried.

Tuesday 8th February 11:37 Report Comment

stephen greenThe figures look positive in tearms of the new fifa rules. As expected the increase in players wages is meaning we have nothing to left in the kitty to spend on players unless the board open there own personal wallets. Its a balance we can sell players and bring new ones in or we keep them and pay them more and more. Keepin the spine of the team is essential but maybe we should be moving out some of the costly fringe players and bringing in cheaper per week players with a point to prove, as started out with Pineaar, Arteta ect. This has done wonders for our club!

Tuesday 8th February 11:17 Report Comment

Stevan AmbageVery interesting to hear from Robert. It does give Evertonians a degree of confidence when the CEO speaks so openly and honestly. I am concerned though about the £7m rising debt explained by Investment in the squad and wage rises. It is very clear that £20m income for Lescott was spent on Johnny, Billy, Distin. So the full £7m increase is all wages which is recurring. Meaning we will have to find £7m revenue this year or make another loss.

Tuesday 8th February 11:16 Report Comment

So disappointedFair comments Robert, I too have been disappointed by the transfer activity but when you see the accounts I can understand why. I would rather this club conitnues in the premier league than spends money it doesn't have and ends up in administration and athe championship. Can I ask what the long term plan is though?

Tuesday 8th February 11:03 Report Comment
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