For years now, Everton fans have been dumbfounded as to why no investor has come forward to purchase the club. This is not simply a case of blind favour or bias, but a view which incorporates the club’s history, huge fanbase, international appeal, current staff and ability to progress. Last night’s Dispatches documentary on Channel 4 may now finally shed light on the issue.
The documentary showed England legend Bryan Robson wheeling and dealing with, at best delusional, at worst corrupt and powerful Joe Sim, describing in harrowing detail the ease with which a football club can be bought and sold for profit.
The clubs mentioned as potential investment opportunities – Leicester City, Sheffield Wednesday, Sheffield United for example – all represent teams that have slumped through relegation to a lower league not representative of the clubs’ stature. In business terms, if these clubs can be returned to their former states ie the Premiership, they have a large potential for profit.
The question Evertonians ought to ask themselves in light of this is can the same be said of Everton?
To explain what I mean, it is best to contextualise Everton’s status relative to other Premiership clubs. If the top six (Man Utd, Chelsea, Man City, Arsenal, Tottenham, Liverpool) are taken out of the equation for a second and 14 Premiership clubs are left in a hypothetical mini-league, Everton would represent the best performing side in this league over the last 5/6 years.
Past Europa League campaigns have indubitably taught Everton fans that in order for Everton to progress in both football and financial terms, Everton need to be qualifying for the Champions League at least, and ultimately challenging for the Premiership title.
Put simply, this is completely implausible such is the inability of a team like Everton to compete with the financial muscle of teams like Chelsea, Manchester United and recently Liverpool and Manchester City.
Everton cannot be bought cheaply in the way that a Sheffield Wednesday can, and even if investment were to come, Everton could not offer anything like the same potential for profit that a team like Wednesday can.
Since money was heavily injected into football to revolutionize the game, Everton have been at their highest peak during the Moyes era, their top market value you could say.
The cruel irony of this all is that if Everton and David Moyes weren’t doing as well as they are, they would be a more attractive proposition for a potential buyer. As they slipped down the league table, their value would fall and their potential for profit would rise.
this means that the club are truly stagnant: bereft of the investment needed to progress, and requiring failure in order to become investable.