Everton CEO Denise Barrett-Baxendale has confirmed that director of football Marcel Brands has joined the Toffees board as she set out the club’s ambitious path to future success.
Brands arrived at Finch Farm from PSV Eindhoven last summer, succeeding Steve Walsh who became Everton’s first director of football in 2016.
The Dutchman has already overseen a significant turnover in playing staff as the club begins to rectify the mistakes made over the previous two seasons.
Speaking at the club’s AGM at Liverpool’s Philharmonic Hall, Barrett-Baxendale discussed the club’s decision to employ a director of football two-and-a-half years ago.
“Since then, we have conducted a full review of this model, learning lessons from the last two seasons and identifying a structure that will ensure stability and success. Our approach now is to have a Director of Football with a broader remit, responsible for the whole footballing strategy at the Club, rather than just player recruitment.
The acquisitions of Richarlison, Digne, Bernard and Mina, and the loans of Zouma and Gomes, have accounted for 35% of our starting League appearances so far this season, and are proving valuable additions.”
Speaking of Brands’ appointment to the board, the Toffees CEO added:
“This appointment further cements the importance, and permanence, of the position of Director of Football within our structure.”
Prof. Barrett-Baxendale also laid out the club’s ambitious hopes for the future as they look to try and re-establish themselves amongst the Premier League’s elite.
However, she was also keen to stress the difficulties that lie ahead in trying to gatecrash the top six, particularly the vast gulf in finances.
It was revealed that the average revenue generated by the Premier League’s top six teams in the 2016/17 season was £419m. In contrast Everton’s was £171m - or 41p to every £1 earned by the top six.
It was also pointed out that only two clubs outside the so-called ‘big six’ have finished in the top four over the past 15 years - Everton in 2005 and Leicester in 2016.
“As it stands today, we now have a committed majority shareholder who has invested heavily in the Club and recently reinforced this commitment with an increased equity stake; a strong Executive Board with significant knowledge, experience and a track record for delivery; first-team stability with the appointment of Marcel and Marco into a fit-for-purpose football structure; a new leadership team, positioned to deliver our strategic objectives; well-cultivated relationships with our key stakeholders including – in respect of our new stadium – Liverpool City Council and private funders; and most importantly, a large and loyal fanbase that continues to demonstrate its unwavering support to our Club.
“As a lifelong supporter who understands implicitly what it means to be an Evertonian, I can say with genuine optimism that our Club is now exceptionally well positioned to progress and work towards delivering the aspirations of our supporters, our Board and our shareholders. Our vision needs to reflect the high standards and aspirations of our supporters - aspirations and standards that are shared by our Board.
“I would like to share with you our vision - our ambition for where we want our Club to get to over the next decade and beyond. That is challenging at the top of the Premier League and competing at the highest levels in European competitions.
”Ultimately, this means challenging for domestic titles and trophies, not only to win cups, but to win Premier League titles, too. It means competing regularly in the Champions League, and it means doing all of this in a world-class, world-renowned football stadium.
“This is an extremely challenging goal and I want to emphasise it will take time, commitment and vigilant focus. It is very much a long-term strategy for our Club but it is vital we are ambitious and that we deliver levels of performance on and off the pitch that drive our Club forward to achieve our ambitions and goals.
“The barriers to entry are indeed daunting, but we are Everton, so we must all be focussed and driven to meet that challenge.”