Everton have 'amazing' way out of trouble even if 777 takeover collapses, 'it's going to be special' - Matt Slater
The “amazing” new stadium is the way for Everton to get out of the trouble they currently find themselves in, according to Matt Slater.
The Athletic journalist said on the Daily Football Briefing podcast for the outlet on 20 November that the dock-side development is “going to be special” and represents the “best bit” of the entire club from an investment perspective, despite spending on it seen as part of the problem after the 10-point deduction.
On The Athletic website he called it “the lifejacket keeping them afloat” and that even if the proposed takeover by 777 Partners doesn’t succeed the presence of the stadium will continue to make Everton a “business worth backing”, even if new owners might ultimately benefit more than the club.
Slater said (3m 40s): “I think the way out is the stadium. Lots of people have sort of seen the stadium as this problem, ‘Ah God, that’s the thing that sent Everton over the edge’.
“Maybe it was part of it, but I think it’s the way out because I think it’s going to be a great stadium. It’s two thirds done. It’s also two thirds paid for. I think it’s going to be special.
“People see that as almost the best bit. If you look at the sales prospectus, the brochure, you have a loss-making football club at the wrong end of the table that really does need a bit of an overhaul, but you have an amazing stadium, there is a future, so I think that’s the way out.”
In his report for The Athletic he added, more pessimistically: “Whether 777’s takeover is approved or not, there will be other parties who look at Everton’s debts, ongoing losses and the amount required to make them European contenders once more, and balance that against the potential returns from owning the UK’s best sports venue outside London, and come to the same conclusion as 777 and MSP: there is a business worth backing there.
“The tragedy for Everton, however, is they become tenants of the building which was meant to transform their fortunes, not those of a bank, billionaire or investment fund.”
In the wake of the punishment imposed on the club by the independent commission over a profit and sustainability breach there isn’t much in the way of a silver lining currently.
When the change in classification for interest payments on loans to pay for the stadium to be built being at the core of the overspend it might be tempting to view the club’s future home as a folly that should never have been embarked on.
But given the wild spending under Farhad Moshiri has rendered far less success elsewhere it does appear that the new ground will be the main expense that he was right to incur.
With millions already leant by MSP Sports Capital towards the construction and the financial picture around the club so bleak that 777 are putting in new loans every month there appears to be a real threat that Everton won’t end up owning the stadium longer-term.
Ownership of it should remain a key priority if at all possible to keep as much of the benefit of it in-house, but as long as it is complete and functioning it will lift the attractiveness of the Toffees overall.
While Moshiri is deserving of some credit for making the new stadium a reality, it will be hugely undercut if his and his board’s running of the club in previous years takes it out of Everton’s hands.
For now it belongs to the Toffees but with money owed to creditors in multiple directions the stakes are clearly high.