FanPost

Possible Everton fan, with some questions...

Hey everyone. I am looking for a little information about Everton. However, before I get to what I’m looking for, I figured a little background would be appreciated. I am an avid fan of all sports, but especially baseball and boxing. I grew up about 15 miles northwest of Detroit, so naturally, I am a huge Tigers fan. When I was younger I also really enjoyed hockey (the Wings), but the 2004 NHL lockout occurred when I was 22 and really bothered me. To make a long story short, I returned to hockey in 2009, only to suffer through the 2013 lockout. I have a 5 year old son now, who loves hockey, but couldn’t figure out why hockey was "cancelled", quite possibly because of this, I just can’t get back into the Wings or hockey (I also hate salary caps, but that story is for another day). Sports have always been a very important part of my life and I love to follow my teams. When my wife and I moved from Detroit for a job opportunity, I ordered center ice and extra innings, simply so I could see the Tigers and Wings and follow them.

Now to the important part…

I have always enjoyed the European version of football much more than the American version, but could never get into it, because I couldn’t properly follow a team. This has changed now as Fox Soccer (soon to be FS1) has been offered by Comcast in my area, and with me having Comcast’s triple play (I am in the Philadelphia market, where Comcast headquarters are), I will be able to check out all of Premier League matches in the coming season. This put me in an interesting situation, as I was not "born" into a team, and could pick one. I have done my due diligence and understand the sport well enough. I researched how Europa League and Champions League qualification works, how the FA Cup, Carling/Capital One/League Cup works, certain strategies, etc. I also checked out the history of all the clubs who are currently in the Premier League as well as one’s who are currently in the Championship League, but frequent the Premier League. I had to have a club I could really follow, so I cut many teams immediately (teams that could go down often and go yo-yo on me), I’m not a bandwagon guy, so I cut the Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Spurs clubs from the list. I narrowed my list, and am now down to 2… both Liverpool clubs. I really like Everton, but have a couple of questions I hope you guys can answer…

1) Quality ownership has always been important to the Tigers. Even in 2003 when they finished 43-119, they had a good owner (Mr. I) who has since built the club into a consistent winner. One of my concerns about following Everton is their financial state. Bill Kenwright seems like an interesting character. I have read about the clubs debt issues, as well as the problem with Goodison. My question is… How bad is it? And… Could this turn into a Leeds like situation? This would be a disaster for me as I have said, I like the sport and want a club I can watch every week, not one that will end up in Championship.

2) Less important, but still relevant, How is Everton’s youth program today? I know it has been great in the past, but I am wondering how the U-21s, U-17s, etc. perform today. Does the club put significant funds into their youth programs? Developing talent has always been integral to the Tigers success, from Justin Verlander to Alex Avila to Rick Porcello, etc. Obviously, these players need to be supplemented with help from outside the club, but is emphasis still placed upon Everton’s youth program?

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