Takeover takes Everton from 'frying pan' with nothing suggesting 777 can change fortunes - Rory Smith
777 Partners’ takeover could make the situation at Everton worse as there is very little to suggest the investment group can change fortunes at Goodison Park, according to Rory Smith.
Speaking on BBC’s Monday Night Club (18 September), the New York Times journalist questioned how much money the group has, why assuring listeners that 777 would not be buying the £400million-valued club themselves.
Everton confirmed an agreement between Farhad Moshiri and 777 on Friday (15 September), but questions remain regarding their ability to improve the club.
Smith said: “I don’t know how much money [777 Partners] have. They will not be buying Everton for £400million with their own money – not a chance.
“With Genoa, they got relegated and came back up, but that’s ultimately getting out of Serie B with one of the biggest clubs in that league, that’s not necessarily that much of a challenge. Herta Berlin [were] relegated. Standard Liege – Belgium is a wild west for football club ownership and people need to take a look at it. But they haven’t transformed them into a major force, that’s obviously one of the biggest clubs in Belgium.
“They have a minority stake in Sevilla, and Sevilla wants them not to have a minority stake in Sevilla. There is nothing in 777’s portfolio that makes you think they’re going to turn Everton around. It is very much a frying pan and a fire.”
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Many red flags remain regarding 777’s proposed purchase of Moshiri’s 94.1% stake in Everton, but before they get their hands on the club completely they must pass the appropriate checks and tests.
With the Daily Mail reporting (30 August) that UK government officials were concerned his managing director Josh Wander would pass the Premier League fit and proper tests and frequent discontent with 777’s other clubs, particularly Standard Liege, few are fully convinced.
Alan Myers offered a more optimistic outlook on the takeover, suggesting Everton could become a “robust and self-sustainable financial organisation”, as he wrote for Sky Sports (17 September).
Smith was damning of 777’s ability to operate the Toffees successfully. While fans could be proved wrong, Smith is correct to point to their lack of track record. Nothing in their portfolio has been an outright success, and you’d struggle to find a club that’s improved under 777’s guidance.
Smith also touched upon Sevilla’s reluctance to have them as investors in the club, further evidence that 777 may not be a saviour.
There is plenty of time before any takeover will be completed, and in the meantime, Evertonians will just hope 777 finds the club in the Premier League.
In other Everton news, a billionaire-backed club is once again tracking a Goodison Park mainstay.