Five things Everton should address following Farhad Moshiri investment
Significant investment always felt like a distant dream for Everton. In a league that has seen other clubs switch owners or receive outside backing, Everton sailed onward, unmoved and unchanged.
Rumours of prospective investment first surfaced earlier in the season, but it was difficult not to approach reports with a degree of scepticism. After all, this search for a cash injection is synonymous with the infamous story of the would-be Thai investor who actually lived in a one-bedroom flat in Manchester.
This chequered and fruitless quest for investment is a central reason why former Arsenal shareholder Farhad Moshiri purchasing 49.9 percent of Everton has supporters dreaming about an exciting future.
With the deal still subject to Premier League ratification, it is worth looking at five things the club should consider addressing amid this potentially brightened financial picture.
Goodison Park is a storied stadium, a piece of English football history, but the inescapable reality is that this old ground is outdated, showing its age through various obstructed views and an inability to generate substantial revenue.
The stadium issue has hovered over the club since the King's Dock dream failed to materialise in 2003. Then there was the Kirkby fiasco in 2009, with the proposed development rejected by the government, while a groundshare with neighbours Liverpool has never been a realistic avenue to pursue.
Walton Hall Park was the latest project offered up by the club, but with the hierarchy and the local council blaming each other for a lack of progress, a new ground looked no nearer to becoming a reality, with the longstanding funding issue still unresolved. Supporters will now hope the promise of further investment from Moshiri extends to progress on the stadium front, be it a new site or redevelopment of Goodison Park.
2. Squad investment
Recent history often portrays Everton as the plucky underdog railing against the big spenders at the top of the Premier League tree, but it was not always this way. This is a club once known as the "Mersey Millionaires," with Everton the envy of many during the 1960s tenure of Sir John Moores.
"Where is the Arteta money?" has become the oldest joke on Merseyside, with the Spaniard's departure and the club's subsequent failure to reinvest the funds leading to growing discontent among the supporters at the time. Selling players before being able to bolster the squad was a staple of David Moyes' time in charge, with only the rise of television revenue in recent years allowing purse strings to loosen.
This should ensure an end to the seemingly widespread view that merely dangling cash is enough to poach the best Everton talents, and this additional backing might finally alter the football perception of Everton as a selling club.
3. Commercial improvement
Television money accounts for a significant slice of turnover, covering shortfalls in other areas. Everton trail their competition on commercial aspects, namely shirt sponsorship and merchandise deals. Upon release of the latest accounts, chief executive Robert Elstone noted, "It is a fact that we lag well behind -- and disproportionately behind -- clubs playing regularly in Europe."
While the latest accounts showed a record £125.6 million turnover, broadcast revenue accounted for a 65 percent share of the total. Heavy reliance on television money has often distracted from the unsatisfactory performance of alternative revenue streams at the club's disposal.
The relationship between the club hierarchy and supporters has turned increasingly fractious in recent times, from the club refusing to answer questions posed by the Everton Shareholders' Association to the abandonment of annual general meetings for a five-year period. With this new investment set to alter the landscape at boardroom level, there is a need for transparency toward supporters, whether it is basic communication or outlining detailed plans relating to the long-term future of the club.
5. Reduce ticket prices
Everton are among the better priced in the division, with cheap tickets, offers for season-ticket holders and a clear intent to encourage the next generation of supporters with junior season tickets available for as little as £95. Yet how refreshing it would be -- with the lucrative television deal on the way and the new majority shareholder possessing the financial influence previously lacking -- to see a gesture of goodwill from the club toward their supporters.
Price freezes are the default stance for Premier League clubs at this time, but while revenues skyrocket, with next season's television money alone predicted to rise close to current total turnover, paying back to loyal supporters would be a pleasing first step for this new chapter in Everton history.