WithtThe release of the transcript of the Blue Union's meeting with Bill Kenwright coupled with Everton's poor showing against QPR and a luck victory over Blackburn at the weekend, it is safe to say that the skittish nature of Evertonian's has come out in full force already. The problem is that Everton has two different problems, and solving one will not immediately solve the other problem. The first of these problems is the performance of the team on the pitch, and the second problem is the issue of Everton's finances. Ideally both problems could be solved at different times, but it is much more likely that one problem will be solved before the other will, although it is anyone's guess which will come first.
The performance of the players over the past two years is on the manager and the players. Sure Evertonians have been spoiled by recent success, but if the squad can finish 5th for two years in a row there is no reason for such an inconsistent performance over the past few years, especially given the lack of squad turnover. Yes a top striker and some depth for the outside midfielders would be nice, but that requires at least 20 million quid to get the correct player, and we still have Yakubu who netted 20 goals in 2007.
The only thing that needs to be changed at Everton is the attitude, for all the determined words that come from the players' mouths, their actions do not back it up. It is one thing to play well, try hard, but come up short; however, it is a completely different thing to not even put in the effort, and that is what happens all too often for the Toffees.
Of course the second problem facing Everton is the financial situation. The Blue Union's interview should not be shocking to any Evertonian. Ever since Wayne Rooney was sold the club has only had the ability to buy players after taking out loans, or selling our own stars. Only success has staved off the type of mass hysteria sweeping around Merseyside. This means outside investment would be the easiest path to secure the club's future, but there are some things that Kenwright could do to improve the look of the club.
In the interview Kenwright mentions that the Kitbag deal has allowed the club to make about 3 million pounds in merchandise, up from the loss the club use to suffer. Putting aside the craziness of the club losing money on merchandise sales, Kitbag still limits Everton's potential earnings. Here in the U.S. the only way purchase a kit is from Everton's website, or a few authorized dealers. Stores with all manner of jersey's will almost never have an Everton shirt, and if they do it is likely to be several years old. Unfortunately the club is stuck with the Kitbag deal for the next 6-7 years.
A second option for the club is to work towards selling out Goodison Park for every match. Last year the average attendance was a little over 36,000 per match with a maximum capacity of about 40,000. Even if the only additional funds from Everton come here, it is enough to begin paying back the debt at a slow but steady rate.
The final and worst option for the club is to begin selling players to pay back the debt. Unless a magic investor appears in the next year or so this is the most likely outcome, and until then we can only wait and hope. With such well known financial problems, the club will need to stand firm on any transfer offers from other clubs. At best we would lose 2-3 players in order to completely pay off the debt, and at worst it could go to 5-6 players. If this does happen my hope would be for Moyes to try to sell one or two of the more talented players, but then try and clearout some of the highest wage earners who are getting up there in years such as Cahill, Arteta, Yakubu, etc. Maybe then Everton would be able to prevent a complete free-fall to a relegation battle during the season.