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The grand old team

The grand old team

Everton’s majority owner, Farhad Moshiri, puts the club’s poor performance down to injuries. But what does hiring eight managers in six years really tell us?


Transcript

Hi, I’m Chloe and this is the Playmaker.

One story every day to make sense of the world of football. 

Today… Moshiri’s mess?

***

“It’s a grand old team to play for… it’s a grand old team to support,” plays the song at Goodison Park before every home match. 

And you can see why: Everton, formed in 1878, is a founding member of the football league. 

The “Z Cars” theme the players run out to – adopted in the 1960s and re-introduced in 1994 – and the accompanying roar from the crowd has become part of the club’s identity. 

There’s not a Fatboy Slim track to be heard.

Yet in 2021, Premier League clubs need investment to compete. And lots of it. 

And so when the British-Iranian businessman, Farhad Moshiri, bought the club in 2016, Everton fans thought that finally their club would see the kind of investment they’d been crying out for.  After all, he’s worth around two billion pounds, according to the Sunday Times Rich List.

Moshiri has committed 100 million pounds towards the funding of a new stadium that will cost 500 million pounds in total. The rest will come from the private sector.

So far so good… but when it comes to running the club, Moshiri has faced heavy criticism.

“And that’s the big problem. The decisions being made by Moshiri are really poor. He hasn’t got a clue what he’s doing. Hence eight managers, on his third director of football. Players getting signed left, right and centre, and that comes down to Moshiri. Yes, he’s got the money, but he’s got no football expertise at all.” 

Sky Sports

Going into Monday night’s clash with Arsenal, the team were on a run of six defeats in seven games. 

Everton broke that losing spell with a 92nd minute winner. 

But the problems remain. 

Current boss Rafa Benitez is not universally liked by Everton fans due to his strong connection with cross-city rivals, Liverpool. 

And the Reds rubbed salt in the wound by sarcastically chanting Rafa’s name during their 4-1 demolition of Everton last week.

Benitez is not the first man that Moshiri has tried to bring in to give the fans the success they crave. 

He’s hired eight different managers in six years since taking control of Everton. They’ve spent £565million on 58 different players during that time. 

And they’ve just sacked Marcel Brands, the director of football. Phil Kirkbride of the Liverpool Echo wrote in his column that Brands has paid the price for his and other people’s mistakes.

“I suspect that the only thing that’s changed since April when he was given a new three year contract Brands… is Benitez. Because nobody, but nobody could suggest Everton were going in the right direction towards the end of Ancelotti’s reign. Nobody can suggest that any buying policy over the last three years has been particularly great, because they didn’t buy anyone in the summer, so it can’t be about the buying policy during the summer. So you’ve signed a guy, in April, on a new three-year deal, that you’ve now binned seven months later who hasn’t bought any new players besides Demarai Gray who you might turn round and say would be perceived to be a success…” 

talkSPORT

In 2019/20, Everton posted a loss of 140 million pounds. That’s the third biggest in Premier League history. 

Moshiri might say that the club is bound to post a loss… they are still in the early stages of investment.

But despite the money spent and the players bought, the 27 year wait for a trophy continues.

That’s why some people, like season ticket holder Matty Dillon, walked out of Monday’s match after 27 minutes.

“The reason why we walked out is to try and get some communication, especially from Farhad Moshiri, who seems happy going through his friend Jim White and not actually communicating through official club channels so that’s a big thing so hopefully obviously they’re gonna listen and act on it. We obviously see Marcel Brands has gone, but again it doesn’t really change anything because I don’t think he was given the opportunity to do his job.”

Matty Dillon

Moshiri, who is based in Monaco, did send a text message to Sky Sports presenter Jim White after Everton’s recent loss to Norwich, in which he said that “football is in crisis one day and glory the next.” 

He puts Everton’s poor performances down to injuries. Managers, he said, needed time. 

But is hiring eight managers in six years in line with that statement?

Now that Everton fans have seen the investment that they desperately wanted for all those years, they have discovered that there’s more to success in football than just money.

There needs to be an overarching strategy in place too. 

But has Farhad Moshiri fully grasped that? 

Today’s episode was written by Chloe Beresford, and produced by Gary Marshall.