Everton majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri says he is determined to establish the club among English football’s elite as quickly as possible.
Moshiri also revealed how his early meetings with Bill Kenwright convinced him to join the club and his optimism for the future.
Moshiri was speaking at the Everton’s AGM, the first since he purchased a majority shareholding in the club last March.
During an eventful meeting Everton confirmed progress was being made on a new stadium, fresh investment had been secured and a season ticket price freeze.
It was Moshiri’s comments that got Evertonians most excited though, with the Iranian-born businessman showing the kind of ambition and vision the club have lacked since Sir John Moores in the 1960s and 1970s.
Speaking to the gathered shareholders at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, Moshiri said:
“The day I went to Bill’s office was a very special day. I had a look at a number of clubs. I wanted to be involved in a club. The reason I got into Arsenal is my business partner is a crazy Arsenal fan. Bill’s office had a real impression on me, This is a man totally obsessed with what he is doing. His enthusiasm for Everton is infectious. ‘Bill look at the debts!’ Bill responds ‘No, these are assets’ His heart was Everton.
“We became friends and he met my family, and after a while there was no other option for me - it was Everton. I really enjoyed Everton.
“It has far exceeded my expectations and everything about it - the train journeys and meeting the fans. They are really special fans. They keep on buying beer for me! I don't drink beer. But they are very, very special."
“It is not enough to say 'we are special'. We don’t want to be a museum. We need to be competitive and we need to win. The gold standard is the Premier League. The league is where our competitive edge will be measured.
“We have a window to establish ourselves and we will do everything we can. Bill over the last 20 years, through his sheer dedication, has kept the Club close to the elite.
“Now we need to look at sustainability to be amongst the elite. It takes time, but we are committed. That is why we are here.”
Bill Kenwright was typically gushing in his praise for Moshiri and the working relationship they have struck up over the past 18 months.
Kenwright also had a message for manager Ronald Koeman and director of football Steve Walsh - to end Everton’s 21-year wait for a trophy:
“It was a long, long search in which many, many people came forward. 18 months ago, maybe longer, Farhad came to see me. I felt, instantly. This was a man who could get us out of the problem times where we had to plead at the bank every week. His love of football, not just Everton, was astonishing. He knew more about football than anyone I’ve ever met.
“Last year, for me, hasn’t been easy but if I hadn’t had Farhad it would have been much more difficult. He wants to sign more players than you or I do. ‘We’ll get him, we’ll get him, we’ll get him”
“We’ve got to bring some silverware. I’m sure Farhad, Ronald and Steve...that’s what we’re going for. This is a very special moment, I believe. We want that FA Cup, Ronald. We really do.”