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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Evertonians Get Pointers From City Accounts

Well let’s face it, we’re used to taking points off City; over the past few seasons, home or away, despite the gazillions of petropounds pumped into their club, it’s become something of a disappointment not to take six points off City in what many see as something of a David & Goliath type ritual.

Joking apart, we’re not talking about points relating to the table we’re talking about pointers in City’s recently released accounts as to where the smart clubs are concentrating their efforts; where they’re focusing their abilities in a bid to maximise their return on their “brand” which provides income for the manager to use on the pitch in the form of players and wages.

The headlines for City will of course scream of their £200m plus wage bill or their £98m pre-tax loss, on total income of £255m, including an £11m profit on player trading, which, under their present ownership, cumulatively amounts to over half a billion pounds of losses……. take a minute for that figure to sink in as even in the surreal world of the premiership that figure is astronomic, some might even say obscene.

Whilst the headline figures will grab people’s attention, City will of course attempt to counter this by concentrating their spin on the £100m reduction in reported losses from £198m last year. A reduction in reported losses achieved through a tangible increase in their commercial income; a highly contentious issue for some supporters of other clubs who readily point out that without their Abu Dhabi owners, lucrative contracts would not have been secured. Perhaps the old adage of it’s who you know and not what you know serves other premiership clubs equally well and, as Everton are the only club we’re interested in,  it matters not one jot as Everton’s  figures in their forthcoming accounts are expected to show very little improvement in our financial position whatsoever.

Despite champions league participation and winning the Premiership, City report surprisingly low matchday gate receipts of just £21m, a figure Everton plateaued at in 2009 after which, as with other clubs, gate receipt income has proved somewhat challenging; leaving many clubs to abandon the traditional battle over ticket prices and attendance levels in favour of securing more lucrative commercial deals, such as kit supply deals, which form part of an every top club’s level of acceptable commercial income of approximately £100m. Whilst City easily achieve this target, Everton are expected to report less than 15% of that figure and, even allowing for outsourcing, this clearly demonstrates just how far Everton are behind the teams, commercially, who we attempt to compete with on the pitch.

How difficult is it to run a football club like Everton? Very. Oh on paper all you need to do it increase turnover whilst reducing costs and eventually you’ll reach breakeven and begin to make a profit; but football isn’t played on paper, it’s played on grass. A fact that should be remembered when attempting to tell fans that the figures in the accounts replace what their eyes are telling them. When you sell a player it has an immediate impact, likewise when you buy one the same is true and ultimately success and failure in a football club is measured in trophies won and nothing less; whereas success off the field is measured on how much money a club can provide to its manager for squad strengthening. Those that can, will. Those that can’t will offer long rambling explanations which ambitious clubs with ambitious owners are unlikely to accept.

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