MEETING WITH BILL KENWRIGHT
Last Friday, contrary to earlier reports in the media, three representatives of the Blue Union met with Everton Chairman Bill Kenwright.
Obtaining a meeting with Bill is an achievement in itself at the moment; he’s refused or cancelled all opportunities to speak to the media, via which he could have responded to the genuine concerns being expressed by an increasing number of Evertonians.
The meeting was arranged through Derek Hatton. Derek, a lifelong Evertonian and friend of Bill Kenwright, who has recently expressed similar concerns over the future of the club, believed dialogue at the highest level would be the only way to facilitate a degree of understanding on both sides.
The three Blue Union representatives, Barry Jones, Simon Magner and Mark Jones, took unpaid leave to travel to London at their own expense and attend the 3hr 30min meeting which took place at Bill’s office.
To avoid the possibility of supporters learning of the meeting from any other source and in a bid to prevent any misunderstanding or misinterpretation arising over what was actually discussed; a brief statement stating that the meeting had taken place was issued the following day.
The Chairman was aware that information from the meeting would be supplied to supporters. The only confidentiality exercised surrounds matters concerning the chairman’s private and family life, which he is clearly entitled to expect and we are equally happy to respect. The normal conversation expected between any football supporters has also been omitted. All three representatives concur that the following is a true and accurate report of what was discussed.
The first report is a factual account of what was discussed; the subsequent report explains our interpretation, understanding, reservations and describes the conclusions we have drawn.
The meeting began with a brief description of the campaign to date; that is wasn’t a mindless Kenwright out campaign, that it was a search for answers and a desire to find a solution to the perceived stagnation of the club.
Bill responded by explaining that nobody is a bigger Evertonian than he; that there was nothing he wouldn’t do to support the club and as an example explained that he’s the only blue to mortgage his house and has borrowed £10m. Having said all that he reinforced that he doesn’t want to be here, he wants to sell; but, he stated, “How can I get out and leave my Football Club?”
Simon replied that Bill’s credentials as an Evertonian weren’t being questioned here, but indicated that many Evertonians make financial sacrifices to support Everton without any desire or hope whatsoever of obtaining a return; Bill “Okay, okay, let’s start”
Mark moved on to what is actually being done to sell the club; he explained “What is Bill Kenwright trying to do now to move the club forward, to sell the club, we hear all the time that you want to sell but what are you actually doing, nothing ever seems to materialise; why hasn’t the club been sold?”
Bill responded “You’re asking why the club hasn’t been sold? I have no idea why Keith Harris, Amanda Staveley, Philip Green, Robert……Elstone, Bill Kenwright…..” Mark, “why haven’t they succeeded?” Bill, “I don’t know….I have no idea why they can’t sell it. Simon, “Is Keith Harris involved Bill? Robert Elstone is on record as saying he isn’t….” Bill, “I don’t know what record that is son but it’s not HMV…Robert said that? When did Robert say that? Simon, “At the public inquiry…….” Bill, “Keith Harris is involved on a daily basis, okay, let’s agree Robert said that; did you read the Keith Harris article in the Echo, The Times, The Guardian…the work he was putting in to sell Everton? Barry, “He was trying to sell Newcastle at the same time, didn’t do…..”Bill, “You’re talking exclusivity? Look, it’s a punt; I’ve been to Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, Citi Bank, we don’t think it’s a good idea to give exclusivity, we would cut off too many avenues; no one can sell the club better than me…”
Mark asks, “Who have you approached?” Bill, “There’s a guy at the moment in Italy, another in Abu Dhabi…Keith has phoned with another; we’ve put a prospectus together…..look you’ll never get a better salesman than Bill Kenwright for Everton Football Club” Mark, ”The question is Bill why hasn’t it been sold?” Bill, “Why? I wish I knew….I have no idea; look, the thing I’m getting is there’s not enough money in the world; the thing is…..when was the last major sale of a football club?”
Barry, “Liverpool”, Simon, “Blackburn”
Bill, “You would want Blackburn Football Club? Barry, “Liverpool” Bill, No, No, No, No, I said major sale; Liverpool weren’t sold, they took over the debt.” Barry, “I’m sorry Bill, they have a new owner who never had a club; they were sold and now they’re showing ambition” Bill, “Okay okay, I’m not arguing with you if you call that buying a football club; Blackburn…..well…….I wouldn’t want a Blackburn.”
Simon, “Well the proof is in the pudding; in five years time they may have Championships and we may be sitting here saying we want a Blackburn scenario. Bill, “No they won’t…look, I don’t know the answer, I get two clubs in the city, Liverpool the foremost club in football…. Barry, “Is it the ground Bill?” Bill, “I don’t get that no….there isn’t a ground situation now…there just isn’t the kind of money out there.
Simon, “Can I just get back to Keith Harris? You’ve said that Keith Harris has been involved in attempts to sell the club but Robert Elstone, at the public inquiry, stated that Keith Harris wasn’t involved in the selling the club, which is it? Bill, “Of course Keith Harris is involved….Keith Harris is involved on a daily basis.
Bill went on to tell a story concerning Keith Harris; he’d put forward two guys who, in his opinion, were suitable potential owners of Everton Football Club. Harris claimed the two guys controlled a hedge fund; one was the head of ICI in the Far East and a second an inventor. They conducted due diligence and Everton were ready to sign an agreement when Bill smelt a rat; investigators discovered that ICI had never heard of the person concerned, he actually lived in one bedroom flat, and the second guy, the inventor, was based in Manchester.
Mark asked, “Bill, are we waiting for people to come to us or are we going to them?” Bill replied that they’ve recently produced a booklet to sell the club, that he has the best contacts in the business and that he speaks to the top agents involved in selling football clubs, Bill stated, “Look, we’re desperate, I’m desperate.”
Barry asked, seeing that Liverpool is now owned by the Boston Red Sox, if any enquiries had been made of the Steinbrenner family who own the New York Yankees? Bill replied “Yes, every avenue has been explored. You either believe me or don’t believe me. What more can I do?” Mark explained “This is the point Bill; people don’t know about this, why aren’t you making these statements public?” Bill replied, “I’ve said all this before; listen son, what more can I say?”
Simon, “Can I just return to Robert Elstone, again, he said at the inquiry that none of the major shareholder shares were for sale, that you were looking for investment and were not selling the Club” Bill answered, “Guys, I do not run the football club…the chairman doesn’t run the football club; do you accept that football fans hear what they want to hear?..Tell me, what has riled you since Chelsea?” Mark answered, “The week after Chelsea we heard that seventh was as good as it gets for Everton, that we don’t need a billionaire…that we want to do our business early and that Louis Saha slept in an oxygen tent…Bill, “Maybe he does….”
Mark, “We’ve heard nothing since Bill…James Vaughan left, that’s it, no other news, no transfers.” Bill responded, “We’ve got no money”
Simon, “Bill, we’ve had almost £30m over the last 12months; £9m from Bellefield, we’ve sold Pienaar, we’ve sold Vaughan, we’ve had loan fees…..Bill, “Yes, I got £1m for Yakubu”
Mark & Barry, “Where has it gone Bill?” Bill, “85p in the pound goes back into Finch Farm……football isn’t rocket science, matchday, player sales and television goes into one budget; what do you think is happening with the money?”
Simon, “I’m fairly confident it’s gone to pay debts Bill”
Bill, “And where has the debt come from?” Simon, “Good question…you tell us…” Bill “I’m not going to get angry, I know you’ve come a long way and I appreciate that, let me try to explain. This football club takes in a massive amount of money; on £81 million we sort of breakeven… you know about EBITDA? Mark “Yeah….” Bill, “EBITDA is earning before……interest……taxation……depreciation and amortisation, it’s our income. On top of our income we have to pay interest of around £4m. Okay, you know about the bank loan we had under Walter, the securitisation for £30m, it’s now £24.6m, it’s like a mortgage; it goes down slowly. The bank overdraft is £25m, we had Bellefield; we have £25m plus Bellefield. I’m not talking down to you, I’m just asking questions that I didn’t know till I had to learn about accounts. September/August we get the first lot of Sky money, we’re cash rich. When you have sky money and season ticket money there comes a time when, like every club, we’re at the borrowing limit…end of March…so what do I do every year, I sit with my bank…why? Because at the end of the year we’re back down within our facility, okay, this time we’re not…what do you think our squad is valued at for insurance purposes? It’s about £180m but the banks won’t take that as security …you have to battle with your bank, daily for me. When David started I said to him, we had the £30m debt…remember we were going to get £27m from NTL under Walter…we had an overdraft of £5m. I told him “I’ll make you a promise, I’ve got no money but we’ll move heaven and earth to give you £5m a year.” On average we give him £5.6 every year. 9 years that’s £45m that we haven’t got. Add that to the overdraft….you can see what trouble we’re in.”
Barry “Okay Bill, how do we get out of this trouble?” Bill replied that didn’t he just say how do we get out of this? Bill, “Look, we have just done a document to the bank which says you can’t stop the football club from trading…do you not think the bank doesn’t ask me every week how we’re doing with the sale? They’re fucking desperate. So what I’ve told them is ‘don’t kill us this season’…no I will not sell Jagielka, just as last year I was hung drawn and quartered for not selling Arteta. You know the four players we don’t dare sell. Baines, Jagielka, Fellaini and Tim Howard; In simple arithmetic, if you want me show you, £5m a year for 9 years is £45m…The Pienaar money has gone to the bank.” Mark, “Okay Bill, there you go, that’s an answer we haven’t had from you before.”
Bill “Alright, now be my mate, where else could it have gone? Or, be my adversary….where could it have gone, it could have gone in my pocket?” Mark “Okay, well there you go! Now I’m trying to open your eyes; this is what people are saying…” Barry “Bill, we don’t believe it, but this is what people are saying”
Bill “Look, there’s Premier League quarterly meeting for the chairman and chief executive, there are the Premiership accountants, it’s all recorded; it’s like the UN. So I come home to Jenny, and I say ‘So why is it that I stand up and say we can’t let the agents get away with it.’ You can see the problem in football, United, Arsenal, Chelsea they get double our TV money, placement money plus Champions League…How many chairmen aren’t on a salary? One….me. Just work this out; legitimately I am the only Premiership chairman that doesn’t take a salary. Legitimately what could I have made over the past 12 years? On expenses, on the interest on the £11m loan; I have guarantees at the bank…..I had to borrow £3m from the bank 18months ago……It’s got to be £10m, it’s got to be”
Mark “Bill I ask you; you have to do an interview, you need to explain to the fans; why don’t you do that?”
Bill’s replied, “And say what? We haven’t reduced the overdraft, we lose money every year, we can’t make money. That’s the bad news. Don’t they know that?” Mark, “No, they don’t, why don’t you tell them?
Bill describes an article he sent to David Moyes, a two page article that Moyes told him he didn’t need to release, that he was Bill Kenwright. Mark, “Who said you shouldn’t do that” Bill “On my mother’s life, David Moyes”
Simon, “Bill, can I just ask, hand on heart, Moyes has two years left on his contract, I think he’s our most important asset, what’s keeping him at Everton?” Bill, “Simon, I’ve survived three periods of death threats not to sack him, I’ve had the shit in the post, I’ve had the wreath, I’ve had we know where your mother lives…” Simon, “Bill, can I just say, that’s wrong, we would all….” Bill, “I know, I know, look, he’s my mate, we talk about everything.” Mark, “Okay, to answer Simon’s question, do you think he is going to extend his contract?” Bill, “Do you want him to?” Barry, “I do.” Mark, “Can’t you answer that question?” Bill, “Ask me if I’ve asked him to stay.” Mark, “Okay, have you asked him to stay?” Bill, “Yes, of course I’ve asked him.”
Mark then asked, “What’s Robert Earl’s interest in Everton?” Bill, “He bought the shares from Paul Gregg; he’s a brilliant marketer.” Mark, “But it hasn’t worked Bill….all we’ve seen is Rocky.” Barry, “Is it not in the interest of Robert Earl to come out and say I want to sell my shares?” Bill, “Well I’m speaking on behalf of Robert, Jon, Arthur and Philip; we’ve got the club, we own 75% of the Club”
Mark, “If we have no money now, we won’t have money next summer…” Bill, “I’m with you; I’ll be your president……sell the club…did you write it down for me? Simon, “I’ve written it down for you Bill, Keith Harris is going to sell the club ” Bill, “well write this down as well, Citi Bank, Deutsche Bank, Leon Angel, Keith Harris, Amanda Staveley. You’re saying to me, I’ve listened to you, I think you’re totally wrong in giving an exclusive to a guy, many are better than one guy; there has to be a reason nobody is buying Everton; there is a reason, there’s no money in the world, there’s no point in me being replaced, we need someone with money.”
Mark, “If we’re realistic then, you’re saying that there is no one out there…” Bill, “No I’m not, no I’m not; what I’m saying is that there is someone who I’m supposed to be meeting at 8pm tonight….. but he hasn’t rung me… but I’m always optimistic, because I’m an optimist…my doctor won’t let me be in charge in 5 years, you should be so lucky. I’ll be seventy and I don’t want to be there.”
Simon, “Well, that’s interesting Bill because there’s a large number of supporters who have suggested that maybe the way forward is to setup an interim board with the sole purpose of finding a buyer; would that be something that…?” Bill, “No, because I don’t agree that anyone can do a better job…it’s me, it’s me…get me Keith Harris on the phone love” (secretary). Mark, “You need to do an interview and tell that to people…”
Barry, “To be honest Bill I’ve never felt so out of touch with Everton.” Bill, “We’ve had worse times, you can’t remember the bad times” Mark, “I’ll be honest with you Bill; it’s not a big Bill Kenwright out movement…..” Bill, “I’d be amazed if it was…haven’t you learnt something about accounts today? That knowledge is the best thing you can have…” Mark, “Well, apparently as we don’t understand, we’ve asked Robert Elstone for an idiots guide to the accounts.”
Simon, “When you say that you don’t know why no one has bought the club, I think it’s my belief and a few others, that Goodison is holding us back; on that front, what’s been done recently….the only thing that’s happened positive since the public inquiry is Everton Place and that doesn’t appear to be going anywhere at the moment.” Bill, “Do you know why that’s not going forward?” Simon, “I’ve heard many rumours.” Mark, “This is one of the problems Bill; we’ve heard three different things, we’ve heard that it’s a problem moving the IT equipment….” Bill Laughter, Barry, “Bill this is the stuff we’re being told” Bill, “Who told you?” Barry, “Ian Ross” Mark, “We’ve been told that it’s a problem over insurance, that we don’t own the land; we just don’t know” Bill, “The second one….it’s to do with insurances”
Simon, “I’ve had a little input into the Football Quarter in Liverpool; do you know anything about it” Bill, “Yeah, a little.” Simon, “That’s at kind of an advanced stage at the moment; the guys from KEIOC are sitting down with a major construction company and the council over the next couple of weeks to draw up a prospectus…” Bill, “Fantastic” Simon, “Are there any plans for anything to happen?” Bill, “There are six sites we’re looking at; three of which we’re really keen on, Edge Lane, Speke and another one” Simon, “Stonebridge Cross?” Bill, “Yeah, the one on the East Lancs, yes that one…I would really love Edge Lane.…when I first came on the board about twenty years ago, some guys came to us with plans to regenerate Goodison, really forward thinking guys, they’d thought of everything, it was fantastic…we got told no, the fans won’t be into that stuff…the happiest hour was when I got a phone call just outside Hull and I was told Kirkby was going to get passed; just after I had another and I was told, officially, that Kirkby had failed…”
Simon, “I’ve been told that for the football quarter the council could throw in substantial amounts of land in and around Stanley Park” Bill, “In fairness to the council, even the guy before …I’d phone him every other day and I’d say please please give me something in Liverpool; he phones me up two years ago, I’ve got the answer…I’ve read it up, I’ve sorted it out, every Evertonian pays £10k for their seat for the next 10 years. What can you say when someone says that to you…”
Mark, “How on earth can we fund a new stadium?” Bill, “But you can, you can, if you’ve got the infrastructure, you can fund it; it’s much much easier to fund a new stadium than what we’ve got” Simon, “We couldn’t fund Kings Dock though Bill” Bill, “That was different, I’ll tell you what happened at the Kings Dock. All along, the council, the Merseyside Development Corporation, all along, they were saying we could do it this week; we could do it this week. Finally we came to the last meeting and they said we can’t do it, you need to find another £40m, and we went away and the only way to raise the money was to sell the whole caboodle. Kings Dock was really seriously world class. I’m not quite sure whether Merseyside Development were serious”
Bill, “This thing, this Football Quarter…is it two stadiums or one?” Simon, “Two, its two stadiums…the idea is that both Everton and Liverpool stay in…”Bill, “And where is it exactly?” Simon, “The boundaries haven’t been set, but they’re around the square of the park if you think about it, it’s inclusive of the Walton and Anfield area and there was talk of it including Walton Hall Park; that’s the home of Liverpool FA.” Bill acknowledges Walton Hall Park as being spoken about as a possible new stadium. Bill “Have they done a lot of work on the financing side of it, or is it still a dream?” Simon, “It’s a lot further along than a dream, but the financing part is the next stage, interesting investors” Bill, “Could you do a shared stadium” Mark, “If it meant Everton was successful?” Bill, “I’m led to believe John Henry is willing to discuss it, I don’t know; the last lot weren’t interested…to be fair neither where we”
Bill, “Go on; ask me more….are you aware of some of the good things Everton do?” Mark, “I wanted to ask about Finch Farm; we lease it for £1.1m a year, how long do we lease that for?” Simon, “Fifty years.” Bill, “We don’t know that.” Mark, “It appears to me that, in the short term, the lease might be better, but long term it’s going to cost the club a hell of a lot more money; would you agree with that?” Bill,” Of course, but look, you have no money, you need to get the cash in, and so, does it matter?” Mark, “Long term I think it does, yeah.” Bill, “So what do you do, you go without a training facility?” Barry, “Is there an option to buy it Bill?” Bill, “There’s always an option to buy any long term facility, but you have to pay a penalty haven’t you? There’s an option to pay your mortgage back; everything you do is like a mortgage, unless you’re Liverpool and you have fifty million in readies for Torres…..unless you’re Liverpool you don’t get it up front, you get it over three years”
Simon, “Just going back to the finances, this conversation has gone all over the place…..you were saying before that you can account for where the money has gone…” Bill, “I didn’t say that, what I said was the accounts are there” Simon, “Yeah, I know and to be honest I don’t think that anyone is taking a salary out or anything, but one of the things that people are scratching their heads about is this rise in other operating costs, it’s gone from…” Mark, “It’s gone to £24m so there’s twenty odd million there that Evertonians don’t know about… what’s that’s going on; that’s why we’ve come here, we’ve asked Robert to fill us in…” Bill, “When you say other operating costs what do you mean?” Simon, “That’s what it says in the accounts, other operating costs” Mark, “That’s why there’s so much confusion, they’ve steadily risen….” Bill, “I’m sure… whatever accounts you get they go through the most stringent structure imaginable; It’s just a heading, what’s the heading again?” Mark & Simon, “Other operating Costs” Bill, “And how much is it?” Mark, “£24m” Simon, “And that has steadily risen over the…” Bill, “Hold on hold on; then you haven’t got the £53m for the players? Hold on, fifty three plus twenty four, well that leaves you four or five for the other………are these other operating costs David? I don’t know, I have no idea”
Mark “Well, surely as Chairman you should be aware what these other operating costs are?” Bill, “No, absolutely not, and why should I? I can’t break down the accounts for you…” Mark, “This is why some Evertonians are saying money is going missing” Bill, “Guys, listen, there’s the door if you think that…seriously, seriously…hold on, hold on just listen, you have accounts that have to go through every fucking government structure under the sun, so let’s not talk about money missing.” Simon, “In all fairness, Mark didn’t say money is going missing; he’s just saying some Evertonians…” Bill, “No, I’m not having a go at Mark, I’m just saying, listen guys, this is crazy”
Bill, “Are you shareholders? Why aren’t you shareholders? Don’t you want to know about the accounts?” Simon, “The accounts are fed back to the fans anyway” Bill, “Okay, but don’t you want to know about the accounts or do you just want to question the accounts?” Simon, “I want to know what that is, yes”
Barry, “I just want to know what’s the future for Everton Football Club, that’s my fear…as Mark said before, I want to know what we’re going to do…” Bill, “Well, are you pleased with what we’ve done so far? Barry, “Yeah, David Moyes has come in and had a five year plan, he’s just finished his second five year plan, some of the players are 28, 29, 30; what’s his next five year plan? What’s Everton’s five year plan? We can’t spend money now as we haven’t got any, we understand that, but how are we going to spend money in the future?”
Bill “So what was your five year plan guys? What was your five year plan in 1999, 2000? What was the plan then?” Mark, “We need to reduce the age Bill.” Bill, “No it was to avoid relegation. Then reduce the age. I still think that’s a good one. So what’s the next step? Sell. Sell! Sell! Get someone in there, if you know anyone, you’ve got my number……sell. In the meantime, you’ve got a Chairman who keeps the spirit of our Football Club like no other who’s sitting and talking to you like no other who’s…….”
Simon, “What about our mate?” Bill, “Who?” Simon, “Philip Green; would he not be interested in it?” Bill, “No.” Mark, “What’s his involvement Bill?” Bill, “Philip Green? He’s just the best advisor you can have in the history of the world” Mark, “You’re saying there’s no money involved then Bill?” Bill, “He’s not interested. He would say to me, [mockney accent] “Bill, Bill, Bill, if I put facking money into Everton Football Club you think Liverpool fans would buy from Topshop?” He’s not interested; he’s a total genius when it comes to money, he’s like Mozart is to music…he’s great with the bank, he’s just…well… he’s just an advisor; but he’s great at that. Now if I said, “Philip I don’t want your advice” he’d be thrilled…he’s kept me going through terrible times, he’s like that with his mates….anyway, go on…”
Simon, “I was just going to say, just to clarify, how involved is he because going by what Mr Wyness said, he’s the one that fired Mr Wyness; he’s the one that sent him packing.” Bill, “Guys, so you’re now advocating you believe Keith Wyness? Are you saying you believe Keith Wyness?” Simon, “Well…what’s your side of the story?” Bill, “No no, I’m asking the question, first.” Simon, “Well, his silence paid for” Bill, “The easy answer son, are you saying you’re going to believe…”Simon, “Yeah ok then yes, I do…I do believe Philip Green has got more involvement with Everton” Bill, “Okay so let me tell you what happened with Keith Wyness. On a Tuesday, Keith and me and all the guys meet down there for lunch, and we’re planning the cup campaign or whatever it was…Saturday morning he phones me and says “Chairman…I’m gonna go”, I say go where, and he says “I’m gonna go because something’s happened”….it’s a bit like you phoning me, I’m laughing, and I said listen, phone me later, so he phones me later, he’s in the Liverpool party, he says he going to buy Real Mallorca… I said you’ve got a great job, don’t do it. I can’t tell you what he said, but it’s to do with his love for what he thought, anyway, he left to go to Real Mallorca. Keith had had enough because he got the things on the walls ‘Death Keith Wyness’…. he was a very strong man but broken by what happened, and I’m not going to go into any more. Was he bought? Well, he was given severance pay” Simon, “But he’s not allowed to talk about it?” Bill, “What gets me is you listen to people who walk out of your football club… why would you do it Simon? Why would you bring it up? It’s potty, the next one you’ll be talking about is, who’s the lad we had for five minutes?” Barry, “Trevor Birch.”
Bill then tells a story of Trevor Birch’s first day, about him looking at Anfield; Bill explained that he could always see Anfield as it was in his heart as he was a red. The cameras were there at Goodison, he said we can’t do anything until we get a new ground, Bill told him he couldn’t say that on day one and that he later started talking about selling Rooney and that after Trevor left he sent him a note saying it was the biggest mistake of his life.
Simon, “Can I just say though Bill, it all comes down to communication, it gets to a stage when people hear rumours and rumours and rumours and it all adds up…” Bill, “But Simon, haven’t you always had that? How many of these rumours, what percentage, would you say are true? I’d say none.”
Barry, “With regard to the communication and the fans Bill, is there anything you’re thinking of doing?” Bill, ”Well you’ve told me to do an article, I think I was, wasn’t I?” Barry, “Okay, another thing; last night Everton had a Fans Forum, no one knows who goes or how to get on there…”Simon, “Did you read the leaflet that I gave you Bill, at the end of season awards?” Bill, “Are you all the same group?” Barry, “We’ve come under one banner, The Blue Union, but we all represent different groups.” Simon, “At the end of season award, I saw you outside the Echo Arena; I gave you a leaflet that we were handing out. It was for a Fans Parliament which was to open a dialogue with the Club. Fans would sit down and the idea was that the fans would be democratically elected, the agenda would be set by the fans and it would be chaired by an independent person to the supporters” Bill, “I must have read it”…” Simon, “It’s done by other Football Clubs.” Bill, “It sounds very grand….have you talked to Robert about that?” Simon, laughing, “We’ve sent Robert a few letters” Bill, “Honest to God, I haven’t got time for fans forums; when you say communication, are you talking about Ian Ross because he’s just been appointed Director of Communication in the last six or seven weeks?” Barry, “Let’s leave Ian Ross out of it; we have no problem with Robert Elstone.
Bill “Barry, who are you?” Barry, “We’re from The People’s Group, Simon’s from Evertonians 4 Change,” Bill, “You’re the one I said I’d be your president?” Simon, laughing, “Yeah, okay, look, I think today has been very useful, why don’t we go away, analyse this a little bit, have another meeting with Robert, come up with some proposal in terms of communication, and see if we can go ahead…” Bill “Well you know what you have got to accept guys; your failings, you’ve got to accept your, not failings, your lack of knowledge; and even if you’re like me, you’ll get the knowledge, but it will take 6 or 7 times to get it; when I joined the board what did I know about spreadsheets, it took me ten years…..now, do I know about incomes and outcomes of transfers? But it takes a long time. But you know, all I can see is the huge advance…. colossal. And all I can see is every other Football Club in the country wanting to be like Everton Football Club; every one of them, every single one of them.” Simon, “Every one of them has spent money this window, though…” Bill, “That’s a negative, so what? I’m telling you every other Football Club wants to be like Everton. If you’re going to judge everything on spending money in the transfer window, that’s fine, that’s up to you, it’s not for me. We haven’t spent money because we haven’t got it, we haven’t traded….So I look at the huge leaps forward this Football Club has had. And the next question, still I can’t sell it. That’s where I have failed; I have not got a buyer. But everyone involved at Everton has failed too. There was a time that the shareholders said we’d have an EGM every week now”…and I was with some buyers that said we wouldn’t take that….I’m not saying that stopped them because it didn’t…just remember, when I am not there you won’t half fucking notice. You’ll get someone who charges his petrol and his phone, someone who doesn’t have to borrow….”
Mark “We’re trying to assist you; we don’t want to work against you….” Bill, “I would never knock Evertonians…I went on that Mike Parry show, he said you’ve had death threats, I said they must be driven to it, he reckoned I was too kind…Barry, “Every clubs got them though, they’re horrible Bill, we’re just ordinary Evertonians worried about the future of our club….”
Bill, “I’m not worried about the future. I look at the past and see how far we’ve come. I’m worried about me, about getting out…. If I was you I’d want me there” Barry, “We haven’t said we don’t but…” Bill, “No, I’ve not said you don’t, but you’re worried about the future because he’s just said ‘ah yeah but we haven’t spent in the transfer window’, if that’s what we’ve got to worry about guys, considering what’s going on in the world, Norway, East Africa” Barry, “We’re talking about football here.
Bill then talked about his Everton diary which includes all his dealings in the transfer window. He reads out various appointments including Deutsche Bank who he alleges are prepared to invest £10m in him, secured against his next five years ticket revenues, from which he’ll put £5m into Everton.
Barry, “What do you feel about the kitbag deal?” Bill “The Kitbag deal is a great deal; for the past couple of years we always lost money” Barry, “Well can I just ask you about one aspect, you can only buy merchandise through the club shops or the internet, you can’t buy anything locally if you live in Warrington, Widnes, Runcorn….Bill, “And do Kitbag stipulate that?” Mark, “Yes” Bill, “Have you asked Robert? Mark, “Yes, he tells us it’s confirmed for the next seven years….Bill, “It is a great deal, if you look at the accounts from six or seven years ago we always lost money on merchandise which is amazing, now we make money, it’s a great deal, I think we make £3m, they’re very good partners,”
Mark “Bill, I think today has been useful; we think you need to get out there and communicate with the fans, tell them what you’re doing, tell them who is trying to sell the club” Bill, “Everyone, I’ve got everyone, every lawyer…It’s easy for me to get all the shit off my back, to give it to Deutsche Bank, everyone has got to go through Deutsche Bank. Would I rather have every agent in the country, every lawyer out there looking for me, yeah I would; first thing I say to them, don’t worry about me, don’t worry about money, I’ll go tomorrow”
Bill, “Look, thanks guys…I actually didn’t think you’d come, thanks.