Everton’s miserable start to the 2023-24 Premier League season will likely get compounded by the visit of title challengers Arsenal on Sunday, but as club football resumes after the international break all the chatter around the Toffees is about the impending takeover of the club.
While there have been plenty of rumours going around in recent days that multi-club football ownership group 777 Partners were involved in talks with majority shareowner Farhad Moshiri to buy out his stake in the club, the quiet announcement this morning took quite a few people in and around the club by surprise.
The Everton Football Club Company Ltd. Shareholders’ Association (EFCSA) released a strongly worded statement expressing the disappointment at how they barely received any notice of the decision and also on the timing of the announcement.
However, they are not the only ones, with first team manager Sean Dyche saying he was caught by surprise as well. Speaking during his pre-match press conference today, he indicated that he had little idea that this was happening.
“There’s no impact on me at the moment or the players other than the news obviously. Of course as the manager I was aware that there was something maybe happening but I know as much as you from this morning and the strength of the words put out.
“There are also ongoing checks from the Premier League and the like so that will take some time.”
When asked if he had had the chance to speak directly with the new ownership group, Dyche added -
“No, not at this stage. Like I say, strong news this morning was breaking to me as well – I knew some noise about it but not actual details – and I’m sure in due course I will speak to whoever I need to but at this stage it’s too early for all that.”
The manager has been through this process before, with Burnley also bought out in his last season at Turf Moor, but in his own words things are different this time.
“I don’t know the group who are coming in obviously with any depth at all really.
“The people involved, the people you’re working with or could be working with depending (on what happens), you fathom that out as you go. So I don’t know their different thoughts until I speak to them about what their vision of the future is.
“It’s more about the modelling of the club. The Burnley situation was different, they changed the modelling of the club and have a view over how they wanted it to go.
“So that wasn’t really the case, I made it clear afterwards, we didn’t win enough games, as simple as that. I don’t think that was anything to do with the people involved, that was just the fact of the matter of being in management.
“Obviously we need to win more games at the current stage of this season, although we’ve been playing well. All those things are to be looked at, the currency involved should this deal go all the way through, and then we’ll find out more on relationships, how you build relationships and their view of how the club can move forward – both on the pitch and off the pitch.”
Despite the squad’s desperate needs in a number of key positions across the pitch, Everton remained quiet to close out the summer transfer window. Did Dyche think he would get the support he would need from the new ownership group?
“I’ve only had a short window. I think it will be interesting to see because the club has found its way through all the different ways of working.
“More laterally it’s been me and Kev [Kevin Thelwell, Director of Football] really who have been hands on all the time, mainly in the market – not the bigger picture and the stadium and all stuff like that – but I don’t know, it will be interesting how they see it moving forwards, like I say, both on and off the pitch, the business side of the club and the stadium and then on the pitch. They’re things to be looked at when – let’s imagine – everything is signed and sealed and tied up.”
With how business has been conducted during the tenure of club chairman Bill Kenwright, today’s sudden announcement and the manner in which key stakeholders were neither consulted nor informed comes as no surprise to anyone really.