‘At last the skies above are blue’ is a line from the familiar Etta James song titled ‘At Last’ and this is how many Everton fans must be feeling following the news that the club have a new majority shareholder on board.
One of the bigger criticisms labelled at Everton for over a decade now is their lack of serious investment in the transfer market and a willingness to allow their star players to leave.
The Toffees finished fourth in the 2004/05 Premier League season, which took them into a qualifier with Villarreal to reach the group stages of the following campaign’s Champions League.
Wayne Rooney had been sold for £27m to Man Utd, yet this money wasn’t heavily reinvested. David Moyes instead looked towards Phil Neville and Mikel Arteta as successful bargain signings.
Profits were also substantial on the likes of Marouane Fellaini and Joleon Lescott, while Jack Rodwell and Andy Johnson were allowed to leave for lofty fees.
Chairman Bill Kenwright has long had the reputation for being fairly tight and conservative with the club’s finances, which has held them back from being serious challengers to reach the Champions League again.
There have been small signs of change in recent campaigns, primarily with a £26m outlay on Romelu Lukaku which wasn’t funded by player sales. Meanwhile, the likes of Lukaku, John Stones and Ross Barkley have all remained, despite interest from other clubs.
The news that Farhad Moshiri is to become Everton’s majority shareholder, buying 49.9% of the club, brings optimism that the club can compete for additional star names. There is the possibility of Moshiri increasing his holding in the future to take full control too.
Most will look towards the club’s evolution in the transfer market as the major plus, with the new investor said to have a personal wealth close to £1.3bn.
This obviously means no need to sell players to balance books and the prospect of the Toffees finally having the chance to splurge in the transfer market to combine with the club’s blossoming youth.
However, there are big opportunities for Moshiri to improve Everton off the pitch too.
Redeveloping Goodison Park or moving to a new stadium are now more possible, while he has more potential to build the club commercially, which is increasingly important in today’s landscape.
Everton would be foolish to expect a monster outlay on playing personnel; it is the fact they have a respected chartered accountant that will bring a balanced business model, an intention to strengthen the club and the finances to remove the fences that have held the club back in the past that are best celebrated.
Supporters haven’t had a great deal to celebrate since lifting the FA Cup over two decades ago, there is suddenly the real prospect of this changing.
Another celebration is likely to occur in the next round of Premier League fixtures, with Everton 8/11 to take three points from bottom club Aston Villa.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.