Tomorrow Everton travel to the Midlands for a Premier League clash with Leicester City knowing defeat would surely bring relegation to the Championship a step closer. Could that though be a blessing in disguise?
The Toffees’ haven’t won a game since beating Brentford 1-0 at Goodison Park back in early March.
And, Everton haven’t triumphed on their travels all this calendar year with their last victory on the road being at Southampton, in October.
Given that and the team’s recent poor form with two heavy home defeats to Fulham and Newcastle United, the prospect of beating Leicester tomorrow looks unlikely.
If the Blues’ do go down it will, on the face of it, be a total disaster for the club, if for no other reason than because of the enormous financial consequences alone.
Relegation will mean a loss of around £100 million in income and that combined with the Toffees’ huge debts would put the club on an even more parlous footing than it is now. In fact, administration may even be on the cards.
Then, there is the ongoing investigation into Everton’s finances that the Premier League has instigated by referring the club to an independent commission.
If that commission decides, whenever it reports, that the Blues’ have broken the rules then it could levy a fine, a transfer ban, points deductions or perhaps a combination of these.
All this could mean the club start life in the Championship after a transfer ban with a massively reduced income, fines and a points deduction.
That would mean they might have to claw back an extra ten or fifteen points, maybe more, before a ball is kicked.
Everton will also have lost players, including key performers such as Jordan Pickford, who will certainly not be playing in the Championship next season.
Income from those player sales will be also be considerably reduced than if those individuals had still been Premier League players.
While most fans won’t be too sad to see under-performing and overpaid players depart, it will leave a big hole in the playing squad and they will have to be replaced.
On top of all that, there is a brand new stadium which still has to be finished. Farhad Moshiri is trying to find outside finances to help complete that project.
But, those potential investors might be frightened off by relegation and if so, Moshiri will presumably have to find the money himself.
The unique irony of the Blues’ finally getting their state-of-the-art new ground after having just been relegated from the Premier League, hasn’t escaped any Toffees’ supporters.
In fact in our blacker moments I think most of us reckoned this is exactly what would happen!
Taking all that together then, you would be forgiven for thinking there is absolutely no way to find anything positive about this outcome.
And, maybe that’s correct.
But, it could be that going down will eventually force the necessary change that this football club so desperately needs if it is to be re-built.
Relegation could force Moshiri to sell up for what he can get, especially if the anger of the supporters at this dreadful decline in their club’s fortunes is as strong and sustained as I expect.
That is asuming of course there are investors still willing to consider buying the club. While adminstration would i imagine mean it was an even cheaper buy.
As are most Evertonians I’m sick and tired of the failure and frustration of the last two or three years and I want the people responsible to be gone. Perhaps finally this calamity could force their hand at last.
The Toffees,’ if the club is to have any future, need a complete re-boot and clear-out meaning a new owner, board, football director, manager (in my view) and players.
And they need people in charge who have a clear, coherent and well-communicated plan to kick-start a revivial in fortunes both on and off the pitch.
And, while the new stadium is a potential financial albatross for the current owner, it could also be a selling point and a longer-term positive too.
If, new people took over the club and invested in completing the ground and rebuilding the team with a proper business plan and football strategy in place, they could have a potentially significant asset on their hands.
Promotion quickly – as long as it was achieved within one or two seasons at most- would also mean the financial hit would be more manageable due to parachute payments.
Those owners would then have a brand new 55,000 seat stadium and hugely increased income from the potential commercial opportunties that ground brings.
Other clubs have done something similar based on that sort of model; Brighton and Hove Albion for example being one.
The Seagulls were for years mired in mediocrity, but the building of the Amex Stadium and putting a coherent and sustainable football strategy in place brought promotion, enabled them to survive and achieve stability in the Premier League and now build from there.
I think that sort of approach and plan is the one Everton must replicate. That won’t happen under this current owner and board though.
In truth though, given this club’s recent history the worst possible outcome usually seems to be what happens.
But, such a scenario as the one I’ve outlined above, if it were to take place, is the only silver lining I can see in this awful situation and likely relegation.