Farhad Moshiri’s decision to choose to sell his entire stake in Everton, which he has held since 2018, may have surprised some, but the Monaco businessman clearly concluded it was in the best interests of the club. and its future.
However, this was not his original intention, as he initially looked to invest in the Premier League club.
As the failed deal with MSP Sports Capital suggested, the initial model was to make this investment while retaining a good portion of the club.
The deal with 777 Partners, a Miami-based investment broker, will see Moshiri sever ties with the club after a tumultuous seven years that first offered a long-suffering fan base hope of a new dawn , similar to that seen at Manchester City and more. recently at Newcastle United.
What followed was anything but, despite Moshiri investing several hundred million pounds.
A perfect storm of mismanagement, erratic decisions and scattered recruitment plunged Everton into a financial black hole, leading to a downward spiral that translated onto the pitch in the form of two very close relegations.
The war in Ukraine and the subsequent freezing of income from sponsorship deals with Moshiri’s long-time business partner and friend Alisher Usmanov are undoubtedly a major factor in worsening the situation.
The most notable of these was a £300m stadium naming rights deal, securing the construction of the club’s future new home at Bramley Moore Dock, which Moshiri himself has financed to date. Indeed, the 68-year-old invested almost £700 million during his tenure.
The construction of this stadium is crucial to the club’s future and will generate an increase in annual revenue worth an estimated £60 million. Moshiri made this possible when many previous efforts had failed under the ownership of Bill Kenwright and True Blue.
The significant investment currently going into the stadium will no doubt pay off, as the future cost of building such a structure would present great challenges for other clubs who might hope to follow suit.
There is no doubt that if Putin’s invasion of Ukraine had not happened, I would not be writing this article. The loss of income due to the war significantly changed the landscape and led to the proposed change of ownership.
But what about the future owners – 777 Partners? Who are they? How different will their ownership of the club be, if they meet all regulatory requirements in the coming months?
The group’s perception has been marked by skepticism from many Everton fans and some in the wider football community. Indeed, the scrutiny of ownership is now as big a talking point in football as a hat-trick in a cup final! Fans are heavily invested in the ownership of their club and the intentions of those who own it.
That scrutiny will be no less intense at Everton. 777 arrived under the banner of a “multi-club investment model” – they own stakes in a number of well-known clubs around the world, such as Sevilla in Spain, Genoa in Italy, Vasco da Gama in Brazil , the German club Hertha Berlin, Paris FC in France and a few others from Belgium in Melbourne.
There has been some success with these clubs in the form of promotions for Genoa and Vasco da Gama, and Paris FC sit top of their division in France. But Standard Liège supporters expressed their dissatisfaction with the group, holding up protest banners during a recent match.
The potential new owners currently have investments worth more than £10 billion, and they’re not just investing in football. They also have a stake in British Basketball League club the London Lions, as well as sports rights companies in South America.
777 will have to convince the club’s fans, the wider world of football and the governing bodies of their ability to take over an institution as important as Everton Football Club. The club has enormous tradition and history, but it has also lost its way, gradually declining from the pinnacle of English football over the past 28 years, where Everton was previously a leader and stalwart.
It’s a club that needs unity and new ideas.
From what I understand, 777 Partners’ main strategy is to transform the companies they invest in into strong, robust and self-sustaining financial organizations, something that one could argue Everton could certainly benefit from.
They seek to maximize commerciality and sponsorship, introducing diversity into the business model. This all sounds intriguing and welcome, but as someone once said, “everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.”
Everton and their fans have taken some good beatings over a long period of time, almost to the point where the fans at least look drunk.
In football, results on the field matter and it is a difficult task for all owners – let alone new ones – to succeed simultaneously on and off the field.
It is far too early to evaluate 777 partners and their suitability. They must lay out their plans and must be heard before being judged with any degree of fairness and ultimate analysis.
They will have to demonstrate their financial and moral strength. They will also be judged on the initial decisions they make regarding the existing board, including Chairman Kenwright and what involvement he will or will not have going forward.
What is important is how they intend to run the club, the culture they want to embrace and how they communicate it to a passionate fan base. This has been lacking at the club for some time and is something fans have been asking for more and more in recent years.