A Belgian offers some hope at the worst managed club in the Premier League

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Communications departments of Premier League clubs usually think carefully about when they officially share news with the outside world. For a positive message or the announcement of a new player, they usually choose a time when they hope to reach the most people worldwide via the Internet. Less good news is often dropped when the focus is elsewhere. Could it be a coincidence that Everton suddenly published its annual accounts on Easter Sunday, sometime during the second half of the top match between Manchester City and Arsenal?

In the 2022-’23 season, Everton recorded a loss of 104 million euros and saw the club double its net debts from 164 million to 386 million. Gloomy figures. The accompanying statement from an auditor made things even more worrying. “There is a material uncertainty that casts significant doubt on the club and company’s ability to continue as a going concern.”

The management added that it is confident it will find sufficient funds to keep the tradition club above water, or to refinance a number of matters.

Everton is struggling to make ends meet. When its owner, British-Iranian billionaire Farhad Moshiri, bought in in 2016, he had ambitious plans for The Toffees. However, under his profligate rule, the club never developed into the European challenger he had in mind. Over the past five seasons, Everton have finished eighth, twelfth, tenth, sixteenth and seventeenth in the Premier League.

777 Partners

Despite a guaranteed annual turnover of approximately 200 million euros and the sale of 350 million to players, the accountant recorded a cumulative loss of almost 600 million in those five years, about 120 million per season. This makes the mid-range club the most loss-making club in the English top flight.

Everton blames those blood-red figures on the construction of its new stadium on the banks of the Mersey River, the pandemic and Russia’s war against Ukraine. Moshiri was forced to cut ties with his former business partner and club sponsor, Russian oligarch Alisher Usmanov. There is silence in all languages ​​about the mismanagement.

Moshiri has had a conclusive agreement with a buyer for a while with 777 Partners, the controversial American owners of Standard de Liège, among others. However, that process has been dragging on since September. In a revealing open letter to supporters, CEO Colin Chong reported last Friday that the takeover is in the final stages, but the Premier League wants to be sure that 777 can meet all its obligations.

Everton is building a new stadium in Liverpool.Image AFP

The Premier League is inclined to approve the sale, but has asked 777 for watertight guarantees worth 475 million euros. She saves herself from an empty box. In recent months, 777 has made more than 175 million available to the club with several loans.

The Americans must prove that they can pay off an outstanding loan to an investment group, that they can pay the acquisition price of around 200 million euros, that they will finish the stadium and that they have enough money to cover the running costs of this season . Meanwhile, a regulator in the United States is closely monitoring 777 activities. Doubts about profitability are being raised everywhere, but the investment firm is confident it can complete the purchase of Everton.

Points deduction

Everton was given a ten-point penalty at the end of last year for breaching the financial fair play rules in the Premier League in the 2021-’22 financial year. On appeal, that penalty was reduced to six points, but the club still faces a second sanction based on its most recent annual figures. A hearing took place last week.

The club can miss a points deduction like a toothache. With 25 points from 29 matches, Everton is currently three points above the danger zone. However, of all the teams at the bottom, the second club from Liverpool is doing the worst of all. Since the win against Burnley in mid-December, Everton has gone twelve matches without a win. Even Vincent Kompany’s Burnley scored twice as many points in that period. Relegation would be a disaster for Everton, given the high expenses and debt burden. Coach Sean Dyche urgently needs to inspire his team.

Coach Sean Dyche.Image AP

A Red Devil must help save Everton in the coming months. First on the field, then on the balance sheet. More than ever, Amadou Onana plays football in a shop window. Together with the English defender Jarrad Branthwaite, he is one of the few players on the payroll who can soon be sold for a lot of money.

Everton paid almost 40 million euros for the Belgian in the summer of 2022. In recent months he has been offered by Bayern Munich, Arsenal, FC Barcelona, ​​Chelsea and Newcastle United, among others. All major clubs are following him, but we are still waiting for a concrete offer. The 60 to 70 million that Everton is hoping for is more than welcome.

The article is in Dutch

Tags: Belgian offers hope worst managed club Premier League

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