BEING SMART IN GETTING STRONGER
Ruben Vinagre and Dwight McNeil this week became our second and third summer signings, following the arrival of James Tarkowski. I would like to welcome Dwight, Ruben and James to the Club and wish them well for their time here.
Our Director of Football Kevin Thelwell and manager Frank Lampard are working diligently with support from our Chairman to further strengthen the playing ranks of our men’s squad, operating within a clear financial structure and with appropriate pragmatism. And, in terms of pragmatism, whilst we were all sad to see Richarlison leave, we secured a good transfer fee in the context of the current market for a player who felt it was the right time to seek a new adventure.
We understand the disappointment felt by so many Evertonians, but it is also important that - as our Majority Shareholder has made clear, and as the implementation of our strategic review serves to prove - we demonstrate the learnings from previous transfer windows have been heeded and we trade smartly to maintain a sustainable squad development model.
As well as the usual transfer rumours, the summer has brought media speculation over the ownership of the Club.
Mr Moshiri made clear in his open letter to fans earlier this month that it is prudent for him to explore investment opportunities, but that does not mean his majority shareholding is available for sale.
Pragmatism, again, is a keyword. It was also a quality demonstrated throughout our strategic review of our football operations. There is now a clear alignment in our footballing strategy - and a defined structure and transfer policy in place to ensure we build on strong foundations.
Those foundations include the recruitment of a host of talented new staff at Finch Farm as part of a more collegiate and collaborative operating structure, headed by Kevin.
NEW STADIUM, NEW OPPORTUNITIES
As we approach the anniversary of the breaking of ground at Bramley-Moore Dock, it is a suitable time to acknowledge the exceptional work done in bringing us to this point. The impressive structure is beginning to take shape on our city’s skyline, thanks to the astute work in having secured a contract for the remaining period of the build that gives us financial certainty in uncertain times.
As we move into year two of the project, I am pleased to confirm that the sales process for our new home will soon be commencing.
When the evertonstadium.com website goes live in early August, it will reveal the first details of the innovative and unique premium matchday experience at our new home. Those experiences will be the first to go on sale, and include firsts never seen before in British football – providing a glimpse into the bold new outlook to matchdays our stadium has given us the opportunity to present. That insight reflects the foresight and spirit within the Club that has ensured the stadium project has continued at pace despite the financial constraints that are impacting the global economy. Cutting-edge building techniques never seen on a stadium project in this country are being employed to make reality the most stunning of grounds in the most challenging of locations.
It speaks volumes for the quality of work done by my team at the Club and Laing O’Rourke on the site that the amazing strides being reported each week to keep fans informed are now accepted as the norm.
Our commercial team is also building impressively, responding expertly to difficult circumstances this year – demonstrated by not only delivering record new deals but also the expansion of ever-more diverse revenue streams internationally.
Our agreement with Stake.com is the highest value front-of-shirt deal in our history and very much a global partnership, whilst Christopher Ward is the Club’s first Global Timing Partner. In addition to these, we have several other new deals confirmed and these will be announced in the coming weeks. Our aligned international growth strategy has seen us tour the United States, one of our primary territories for engagement, audience and revenue growth, twice in the last year as our affiliate clubs and Soccer Camps programme expands and, in November, we will be travelling to Sydney for a lucrative tour that replicates the model we have implemented in the States.
WELCOMING OUR FAN ADVISORY BOARD
Myself and Graeme Sharp were delighted to have an introductory meeting with the members of the Club’s inaugural Fan Advisory Board (FAB) at the start of July.
Since the threat of the European Super League loomed large last year, I have been committed to ensuring there was a clear structure in place that gave fans a real voice - not just here at Everton, but across football. The fact that I and my fellow Board members now have dialogue with the first independently-elected FAB in the English game is something we embrace.
It is testament to the dedication and focus of all those fans that took part in meetings, workshops, votes and elections to bring us to this point. What has been forged is a strong, diverse group created by Evertonians, for Evertonians.
In addition to the regular engagement we already have with the Fans’ Forum and various other supporter groups, the FAB will give fans a direct route to the Board. We have already encouraged further dialogue with the FAB beyond that first meeting and will soon receive a list of questions from them that we have committed to answer as thoroughly as possible. There are, of course, elements of our strategy and business model that we cannot release into the public domain. However, we will listen to those questions and respond in the most detailed way we can.
WE STAND WITH UKRAINE
On Friday evening, we will again stand with Ukraine as we have the honour of hosting the first Match for Peace on British soil.
The fixture will raise vital funds and further cement our unwavering support and commitment to those affected by the ongoing conflict. That support has included the Club, our Majority Shareholder and Chairman contributing to the relief fund, the launch of a text donation service at Goodison last season, and the men’s first team wearing the branding of the Disasters Emergency Committee’s Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal on their shirt sleeves for the final 10 fixtures of last term.
It will be our pleasure to welcome our friends from Dynamo Kyiv and almost 2,000 Ukrainian refugees from Merseyside and beyond as our special guests.
While the match will be a poignant one for many reasons, I hope it can also be a celebration of humanity; that football can once again show its power to bring people together and make a positive impact in even the darkest of times.
If you are heading to Goodison, thank you and enjoy the game.
Finally, as we look to a new season, the end to the previous one gave us the most vivid illustration of what unity and togetherness can achieve. As we strive for a brighter campaign ahead, those will again be truly valuable assets.