15/08/2016 by EFCSA
Meeting with Farhad Moshiri
When our Chairman last met with Bill Kenwright, in his London office in March 2016, it was a very positive meeting. John Blain spent almost 90 minutes with Bill covering a range of subjects including the last AGM and Bill’s hopes for the future. Of course we had all recently heard of a significant change in the shareholding of the football club and both John and Bill agreed that now was a time for looking forward not backwards. Bill was keen to foster good relationships with the minority shareholders and, with Mr Moshiri being of the same mind, Bill promised to arrange a meeting with our new largest shareholder. Mr Moshiri is, as one might expect, a very busy man and so arranging the logistics of a meeting took some time. Nonetheless, Bill came through on his promise and John travelled down to London on July 19th to meet with Mr Moshiri, and Bill in Mr Moshiri’s Mayfair office. The meeting started late afternoon and soon after Mayor Anderson had concluded his well publicised meeting. As the Mayor said Farhad Moshiri is a very impressive character, of course he’s also a very successful businessman and as John discovered a true lover of football. Throughout the 90 minute meeting this humble man was both candid and very honest about our football club. The detail about much of what was said is rightly confidential and certainly not for publication. However, it is quite clear that Farhad has serious plans for our football club and that he intends to deliver key objectives in a structured and sustainable way. The recruitment of Ronald Koeman, who was 1st choice as our new manager, was the first piece of the jigsaw with the financial cost of exiting the previous management team and bringing in Ronald and his team being significant. Once the manager (and his team) was in place, and consistent with the intent to adopt a traditionally continental structure, the next step was to appoint a Director of Football. Steve Walsh was a great catch with Farhad’s vision for the future and Bill’s passion for our heritage being the key to attracting him to our club. Leaving Farhad’s office knowing this would definitely happen was one of the many positive messages John received during the meeting. It is quite clear that Farhad and Bill are working closely together behind the scenes to lay a very solid foundation for the future. Improving the balance sheet has started and will surely continue as both on-field and off-field performances improve. Fundamental to our future is obviously the need to improve our commercial performance and key to this is an essential need for improvement in stadium facilities. We lag far behind our current and aspirational peers in this respect making the construction of a new stadium almost inevitable and Farhad seems determined to make sure that the new stadium is “special”. Throughout the meeting both Bill and Farhad were periodically interrupted by phone calls and text messages. The need to improve the playing squad through retention of existing players and the bringing in of others is clearly an intense activity. With the huge increases in TV revenues and the “Moshiri Effect” it’s clear that clubs, players, and their agents have very high financial expectations. Everton shareholders and fans in general should be comforted by the knowledge that a very successful business-man is at the helm, that he has a vision of where we are going, and is executing to a plan to get us there. All too quickly the meeting had to draw to a close but John was pleased to hear that Farhad and Bill are both keen to retain very good relationships with the minority shareholders. Since the meeting John and Bill have exchanged emails and have agreed to diarise regular meetings throughout the year.