It has been a difficult season to date - with results not meeting the expectations of anyone associated with the Club. As a result, the decision was taken last weekend to part ways with Rafa Benitez as our manager.
After a very disappointing run of results, it was the right decision for the Club – although it is never one that is taken lightly.
As we prepare for our forthcoming games, we have a fiercely passionate Evertonian in Duncan Ferguson taking charge of the team on an interim basis. He is a remarkable man and I know he will give his all in leading the team, as he did so impressively during his spell as caretaker boss in December 2019.
I understand the frustration felt by everybody who loves Everton because of our inconsistent form in recent seasons, despite significant investment in the playing squad.
The money that has been spent since 2016, not just on the playing squad but also on key projects including our new stadium, demonstrates my commitment to Everton.
I write to you to assure you that my commitment remains strong and focused. The Club has announced today the conversion of a £100m loan to the Club into equity which is a clear demonstration of my commitment and greatly strengthens the balance sheet.
I am a private man and I do not speak publicly very often. But I promise you that my determination to deliver for Everton will not waver.
The strategic football review that is currently ongoing will ensure we have the best model in place moving forward. I am working closely with the Chairman and the Board as part of that strategic review - and I can assure you the recruitment process for a new manager is aligned to that. It is vital we appoint a manager who fits the structure we are putting in place and so, whilst we are keen to make an appointment as quickly as possible, we will work together to ensure it is the right candidate to deliver the success we all crave.
I have the utmost faith and respect in the Board and I work incredibly well with them. The experience and knowledge of our Chairman blends perfectly with the vision and leadership of Denise, our CEO. He is respected across football, not only as an expert in player trading negotiations - skills that have been put to good use already this month with three new signings - but for the unwavering commitment and guidance he has given to Everton over so many years. There is no one working harder to bring success and happiness back to the Club.
The Boardroom also boasts the financial acumen of one of the most respected Finance Directors in football in Grant Ingles, and the recent addition of the footballing expertise provided by a true Everton legend in Graeme Sharp completes a robust and well-balanced team that leads by example in all areas of our operation. As always in business, we will not stand still - and will continue driving forward for the benefit of the Club.
The expertise of our senior leaders has been undeniably demonstrated in the past 18 months by the huge strides taken in delivering our new stadium on the banks of the Mersey despite the great-many challenges posed by the pandemic.
In the coming weeks and months, our new stadium will begin to rise from Bramley-Moore Dock as we maintain our progress as part of the three-year build schedule.
The Board and the Club’s Executive Leadership Team will deliver a new home befitting our Club’s incredibly passionate fanbase.
Indeed, the passion that is always demonstrated very clearly by fans is something I value and understand. Fans are the lifeblood of the Club and only by working together can we deliver the success we all long for. With that in mind, I am fully supportive of the work the Board and our CEO are doing in conjunction with key fan groups to put in place a Fan Advisory Board with representation at Board level. The Club is moving forward with its discussions with fan groups to ensure the voice of ALL Evertonians can be heard through a robust structure for the future. We will also introduce a series of regular events that will be accessible to all fans, enabling open and clear dialogue with the Club’s senior leaders.
Further updates on these important matters will be provided by our CEO in the weeks and months ahead. In the meantime, I thank you for your ongoing support – it is truly appreciated.