Everton FC Shareholders’ Association Statement Regarding the Ownership of Arsenal Football Club

The 7th of August 2018 may go down in the folklore of Arsenal Football Club as much as Everton’s move from Anfield in 1892; both events driven by an individual’s intent on taking their football club in a direction not supported by the majority.

Today Stan Kroenke, through his company KSE, has reached an agreement with Alisher Usmanov to take total ownership of Arsenal Football Club through the acquisition of his shareholding. Usmanov, despite a 30% holding in the club, has been unable to have any direct influence on any strategic or operational affairs at the club. In these circumstances one can understand why Usmanov might wish to sell his shares.

However, as a direct result of the acquisition of Usmanov’s shares Kroenke is also able to compulsory purchase the shares still in the hands of small shareholders, often held not for financial gain but to ensure that the club is accountable for its dealings both on and off the pitch.

The Arsenal Supporters Trust, of which some shareholders are members, see this as a “Dreadful day for Arsenal”.

In an age when fan ownership, or at the very least fan representation at board level, is very topical this is seen as a retrograde step.

The EFCSA acknowledges the disappointment of the small shareholders of Arsenal Football Club and hopes that going forward they may bring influence to bear in other ways.

The EFCSA will continue to strive to be the custodians of Everton Football Club to ensure it continues to act in a proper manner.

We are reassured that our major shareholder, Farhad Moshiri, has repeatedly said that he has no plans to dilute or undermine our position.

Meeting with Farhad Moshiri & Bill Kenwright

After the passing of almost two years since I first met with Farhad Moshiri I was delighted to be invited to meet with him again in his London Office. The meeting was arranged at quite short notice, took place on July 3rd and lasted for just under two hours. Bill Kenwright also attended although it’s fair to say that, like last time, Bill didn’t say too much but rather facilitated the conversation and helped make sure it was a very good meeting. 

 

The meeting took place in an informal atmosphere with both Farhad and Bill being open and candid about the challenges and opportunities facing our great Football Club. Farhad apologised for the length of time that had elapsed since we first met and reaffirmed his commitment to maintaining open dialogue with the minority shareholders and the Association in particular.

 

Additionally, he was open to meeting, probably in Liverpool, with the whole of the Association’s Executive Committee. As part of my follow-up with Farhad and Bill I will aim to get this meeting in their diaries as soon as possible and remain mindful of how difficult it can be to coordinate these matters.

 

As I’ve said before Farhad clearly has a wide and deep knowledge of football and is most definitely an enthusiast who enjoys discussing the game and sharing opinions.

 

He reaffirmed our Club’s commitment to the Director of Football model, that Marcel Brands was always our first choice as Director of Football and that Farhad was disappointed when he couldn’t join us a few years ago. Marcel is already working very closely and effectively with our new manager Marco Silva and their relationship is key to how we develop our squad going forward.

 

It’s also clear that not only does Bill have an excellent relationship with Farhad but he is still at the centre of things with Marcel, Marco and the Club seeking to exploit the huge network of contacts and relationships he has as we seek to improve the quality of our squad.

 

As far as the playing side is concerned we have a plan, players will come, and players will go, and our intention is to promote youth and reduce the overall age of the squad. Additionally, and it was very clear to me, that whilst we need to reduce our wage bill this essential work will not overtly limit our desire and ability to strengthen the squad.

 

With regards to the proposed new stadium at Bramley-Moore there is huge activity going on behind the scenes with Keith Harris, who is now a full-time Club employee, being responsible for delivering the stadium on time and to budget.
The budget for the new stadium is almost £500m and the finance, that is hoped to be in place during the 3rd quarter of this year, will be secured with the best interests of the Club in mind.

 

The planning preparations are going on in parallel and we can still expect the stadium to be ready for season 2022-23.

 

Based upon this meeting there is no doubt in my mind that the Club, and Farhad, remain committed to seeing the project through and alongside a good manager recognise that a bigger stadium is a prerequisite for on-field success.

 

On the hot topic of capacity Farhad implied during the meeting that the capacity of the new stadium would be in the range 52,000 – 55,000 which, as I’m sure you would agree, is far too low for the majority of Evertonians. That said the capacity has not yet been finalised and the Club continue to review a range of capacity options in the Dan Meis designs.

 

The final decision about the stadium, including the all-important capacity, will be informed by the fan consultation alongside the views of the Board and the Club’s professional advisers. The scale of our ambition should mean the new stadium capacity needs to be more than 60,000 with the ‘magic capacity’ of 61,878 being favoured not just by myself but by many Evertonians.

 

I hope that the Board and Farhad listen to the fans about capacity if only because our voice has been ever present for 140 years and one rather hopes it carries the most weight and is heard the loudest when the capacity decision is finally made.

 

John Blain, Chairman, Everton FC Shareholders’ Association

EFCSA Forum – Safe Standing

Safe-standing in the Premier League and Championship will be debated in Parliament on 25 June.

This is as a direct result of a successful petition to the UK government, which was signed by over 110,000 fans.

Previously the government had said that there were no plans to change the all-seater policy that outlawed standing in English football’s top two divisions via the Football Spectators’ Act of 1989.

We are delighted to announce that our next EFCSA Forum will inform the debate as we will be hosting The Safe Standing Road Show at The Winslow Hotel on May 16th with doors opening at 6pm, presentations and a Q&A with our guest speakers will start from 7pm.

The Forum will include a physical demonstration of Rail Seating so that all attendees will be able to experience what it will be like if and when they are approved by the government for use in the Premier League and the Championship.

 

EFCSA Annual Dinner – Peter Reid

Alex Young Suite, Goodison Park on Saturday April 7th 2018 from 7:30pm.

Our special guest this year is former player Peter Reid.

Despite being born in Huyton and being seduced by the dark side in his youth Peter had spent 8-years at Bolton Wanderers before signing for Everton in 1982 for the original sixty-grand (£60,000) after his transfer value was greatly reduced due to a succession of injuries. 

He joined the Blues at the perfect time and was an integral part of our most successful team in the mid to late 1980’s winning the Championship twice, the FA Cup and the European Cup Winners Cup.    He also won individual honours, in 1985 he was the PFA Footballer of the Year and also 4th in the World Soccer Player of the Year behind such greats as Platini and Maradona. He was elected to the Greatest Ever Everton XI in 2003, and became an Everton Giant in 2006.

 

After leaving Everton, nothing is ever the same; he played for five other teams before ending his playing career in the 90’s and moving in to management.  As a manager he followed the great Howard Kendall in to Manchester City before leaving at the request of the club and joining Sunderland were he stayed for seven years and twice winning the First Division and promotion to the Premier League.   Later he managed a variety of clubs, including the England U21’s, in England, Thailand and India.

In recent years Peter has forged a successful career as a pundit, advisor and after dinner speaker.  He is top quality, very good value and has many a story to tell about his illustrious career.   Peter was of course the man Maradona ran way from to score THAT goal and was the victim of a reckless challenge that resulted in the first player ever being sent-off in an FA Cup Final.  But these are mere appetisers, if you have the chance to hear Peter speak you really should and what a better time and place could there be but at Goodison Park hours after a Merseyside Derby.

Tickets are available from the hon.secretary@efcsa.org or via @EFCSA on Twitter

 

Forum – Prof Denise Barrett-Baxendale, MBE

Denise

 

Our next Forum will take place in the People’s Club Lounge at Goodison Park on May 4th from 7pm.

 

We are delighted that our guests on the evening will be Prof Denise Barrett-Baxendale, MBE.

 

Since joining the club in 2010 to lead the transformation of Everton in the Community Denise has also served as Chief Operations Officer of the Football Club and was appointed Deputy Chief Executive Officer in 2013.

 

Denise is currently Executive Chair of the club’s charity, Everton in the Community, Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Board Member of Everton Football Club and serves as a Board Member of Sport England.

Denise has played an integral part in improving the match-day experience for supporters, in turn helping to increase attendances and enhance Everton’s reputation both nationally and abroad. 

 

 

 

The Hillsborough Disaster and The Sun Newspaper

 

The Everton Football Club Shareholders’ Association noted with interest the recent decision of Liverpool Football Club to deny journalists of The Sun newspaper access to their premises, players, and management staff due to its notorious coverage of the Hillsborough Disaster.

 

Everton Football Club and Evertonians in general, have for the last 28 years stood firm in support of our friends and family from across the park.

 

The Association’s support remains steadfast and we completely support the decision that Liverpool Football Club have made; after all it is the right thing to do.

 

We also call on Everton Football Club to continue to stand side by side with Liverpool Football Club, as they have done so since the tragedy, and apply the same sanctions by withdrawing all privileges to journalists from The Sun.

 

With the anniversary of that terrible day occurring this weekend the Association will be laying a wreath on Saturday at the Hillsborough Monument Memorial in the city centre and we urge all Evertonians to continue to support our friends and family from across the park.

 

We notified Everton Football Club yesterday of the content of this statement and our intention to publish today.

Forum – Alan Myers & Chris Matheson MP

Our next Forum will take place in the People’s Club Lounge at Goodison Park on Feb 23rd from 7pm.

We are delighted that our guests on the evening will be Alan Myers and Chris Matheson MP

Alan Myers

 

 

Alan was formerly Everton’s Director of Communications and as a professional journalist Alan had worked for Everton during his early career too before becoming the North West Bureau Chief for Sky TV. He returned to Everton in his dream job, introducing the now famous tea party, before leaving after too brief a time, later moving on to Blackburn Rovers as their Director of Communications.

Alan recently left Blackburn Rovers and is now working again with Sky

A True Blue, Alan is sure to entertain us with his stories of his life in football and will also answer questions raised by the audience.

 

 

Chris Matheson MP

 

An Everton Season Ticket Holder Chris is a member of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee and was one of the MP’s who questioned FA Chairman Greg Clarke when he was brought before the committee to discuss football governance.   Subsequently he was also one of the MP’s who recently voted that the UK Parliament has ‘no confidence’ in the Football Association.

During the Forum Chris will share his views on Football Governance and will be happy to take questions on this and his Culture, Media and Sport interests both within and outside Parliament.

 

 

Doors open at 7pm with the session planned to start at 7:30pm – tea and biscuits will be available. The event is free to members of the Shareholders’ Association with a nominal charge of £2 for all other attendees with non-shareholders being very welcome.

Attendees are asked, if possible, to bring along a contribution for the Foodbank.

If you’re planning to attend, and to help us manage numbers, please let us know if you can either by emailing our Secretary at hon.secretary@efcsa.org or by tagging us on twitter with @EFCSA

EFCSA Forum – Chris Matheson MP

Our next Forum will take place in the People’s Club Lounge at Goodison Park on Feb 23rd from 7pm.

We are delighted that Chris Matheson, the Labour MP for the City of Chester, will be one of our guests.

Chris Matheson MP

 

An Everton Season Ticket Holder Chris is a member of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee and was one of the MP’s who questioned FA Chairman Greg Clarke when he was brought before the committee to discuss football governance.   Subsequently he was also one of the MP’s who recently voted that the UK Parliament has ‘no confidence’ in the Football Association.

During the Forum Chris will share his views on Football Governance and will be happy to take questions on this and his Culture, Media and Sport interests both within and outside Parliament.

 

 

Doors open at 7pm with the session planned to start at 7:30pm – tea and biscuits will be available. The event is free to members of the Shareholders’ Association with a nominal charge of £2 for all other attendees with non-shareholders being very welcome.

Attendees are asked, if possible, to bring along a contribution for the Foodbank.

If you’re planning to attend, and to help us manage numbers, please let us know if you can either by emailing our Secretary at hon.secretary@efcsa.org or by tagging us on twitter with @EFCSA

 

 

EFCSA Forum – Alan Myers after the Tea Party

Our next Forum will take place in the Winslow Hotel on Feb 23rd from 7pm.

We are delighted to announce that our guest for the evening will be Alan Myers.

Alan Myers

 

Alan was formerly Everton’s Director of Communications and as a professional journalist Alan had worked for Everton during his early career too before becoming the North West Bureau Chief for Sky TV. He returned to Everton in his dream job, introducing the now famous tea party, before leaving after too brief a time, later moving on to Blackburn Rovers as their Director of Communications.

Alan recently left Blackburn Rovers and is now working again with Sky.

 

A True Blue, Alan is sure to entertain us with his stories of his life in football and will also answer questions raised by the audience. 

 

Doors open at 7pm with the session planned to start at 7:30pm.

All are welcome.

Attendees are asked, if possible, to bring along a contribution for the Foodbank.

If you’re planning to attend, and to help us manage numbers, please let us know if you can either by emailing our Secretary at hon.secretary@efcsa.org or by tagging us on twitter with @EFCSA

 

One Bradley Lowery

Everton Shareholders’ Association encourage Evertonians who were touched by Bradley Lowery’s story to take part in the Cards For Bradley initiative launched by Fans Supporting Foodbanks.

bradley_lowery_cards

Cards can be dropped off at the foodbank collection points in the Park End Car Park, The Wilmslow pub and upstairs at St Lukes Church before the Merseyside Derby on Monday 19th December.

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