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By Iain West | 18th Sep 2023
The recent history of Everton Football Club has been marred by struggles and disappointments. Last season, the Toffees narrowly avoided relegation, finishing a dismal 17th in the Premier League. This season hasn’t started any better, with Everton languishing in 18th place after five matches, having drawn one and lost four. The team’s performance has left fans disheartened and desperate for change.
Amidst this challenging period, there’s a glimmer of hope on the horizon. Farhad Moshiri, who has overseen the club through its trials and tribulations, is set to relinquish his majority ownership to US private investment firm 777 Partners. This potential takeover represents a pivotal moment for Everton, one that could steer the club towards a brighter future.
Moshiri’s Reign: A Mixed Bag
Farhad Moshiri’s arrival at Everton was initially met with optimism. His substantial financial investment in the club was seen as a game-changer. However, over time, his tenure became increasingly tumultuous. Critics argued that his millions didn’t translate into success on the pitch, and the club’s fortunes took a nosedive.
Moshiri’s decision to sell his majority stake in Everton signals an acknowledgement of the need for change. He cited the shifting landscape of football ownership, where private equity firms, specialist sports investors, and state-backed entities have become prominent figures. His primary goal was securing funds for the ambitious Bramley-Moore Dock stadium development, a project that carries an estimated cost of £760 million.
The journey to find the right investment partner was fraught with obstacles. Previous negotiations with different US consortiums ended in disappointment. Despite these setbacks, Moshiri remained steadfast in his commitment to securing Everton’s financial future.
The financial woes that have plagued Everton in recent years were exacerbated by external factors. The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the club’s revenue streams, and the fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine impacted lucrative sponsorship agreements linked to Alisher Usmanov. These challenges put immense pressure on the club’s finances and affected its ability to compete at the highest level.
Fresh Hopes with 777 Partners
The proposed takeover by 777 Partners offers fresh hope for Everton. The deal would inject new perspectives, expertise, and much-needed resources into the club. While concerns have been raised about 777 Partners’ track record with other football clubs, it’s essential to give them the opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to Everton’s success.
Before the takeover can proceed, it must undergo rigorous scrutiny from regulatory bodies, including the Premier League, FA, and FCA. The Premier League’s Owners’ and Directors’ Test will evaluate 777 Partners’ suitability to take charge of the club, with their financial stability being a crucial consideration.
A New Dawn Beckons
Despite the uncertainties surrounding the deal, the potential benefits for Everton are promising. The new owners have expressed their commitment to developing the club’s sporting and commercial infrastructure, particularly the Bramley-Moore Dock stadium project. This commitment offers a ray of hope for the Toffees and their supporters, hinting at improved results and a more competitive presence in the Premier League.
While concerns and questions linger, it’s essential to approach this takeover with an open mind and optimism. Everton’s fans have endured hardships, but this could indeed be the start of a new era, one that ushers in brighter days for the Toffees and their devoted supporters.
Iain West is an MFF sports writer
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