Everton Chief Executive Robert Elstone has confirmed genuine conversations are taking place about future ownership of Everton Football Club.
Speaking in his Blog, Elstone writes: Speculation and football go hand in hand and over the past few weeks there´s been plenty of talk about Everton takeovers and investment. As we´ve said repeatedly, there´s been a constant stream of interest and dialogue over a considerable period of time and right at this moment that remains true. There are a number of individuals, groups and companies interested in Everton and genuine conversations are taking place about future ownership and future investment.
The Club is always receptive, responsive and professional, which means we respect the confidentiality agreements which prevent either side from disclosing the interest. Of course, we fully understand what you want to know is will these discussions be successful? That I can´t say. Discussions are still at an early stage. What I know to be absolutely the case is the first question asked by us in these discussions is never â€˜how much?´ but always â€˜what are your thoughts, intentions or plans for Everton´s future?´
The responsibility to find the right buyer is paramount and not an excuse for â€˜not really for sale´ or â€˜wanting too much for it´ or â€˜wanting to stay involved´. Such a negative outlook only hinders a painstaking and challenging process made all the more difficult in a recession-hit world. I´m tired of saying it but the Club is absolutely for sale and has not, and will not fail to be sold because it´s too expensive or comes with onerous conditions. We sincerely hope the right buyer, with the right motives, with a commitment to take Everton forward is part of this current dialogue.
Where our money goes
Speculation is also once again fuelling debate in certain quarters about where our money goes.
To get this straight again, almost 85p in every £1 we earn is spent at the training ground and academy paying the players, the coaches, the scouts, the conditioners, the medics, the support teams, team travel and accommodation along with rent and other overheads. And we´re proud of the facility – we´re currently hosting several major European leagues and clubs at a conference at Finch Farm, selected as a benchmark training facility by the Premier League, and we´re confident that the investment pays off – it was a key factor in why young players like George Green continue to choose Everton. It´s an investment that also positions us to take advantage of the new Premier League plans for Academies, putting us â€˜ahead of the game´. And, of course, from everyone at the Club, not least the Academy team, congratulations to Jack Rodwell on his England call-up.
What´s left in the coffers, the other 15p in the £1, funds everything else. Quite simply, it doesn´t allow us to waste a penny. It means we´re a â€˜lean ship´ and one of the leanest in the Premier League. It means in some areas, resources are stretched, more stretched than I´d like them to be if I´m honest. It certainly means we all have to pull our weight.
The new development
We have always told fans as much as we can, as soon as we can and the proposed new development is no exception. There are, however, confidential, commercial discussions which we haven´t been able to disclose. Twelve months ago, the new development was fully funded and ready to go subject to clearance on one outstanding point, the release of security held by one of our lenders, on the small footprint the building was due to occupy.
For reasons unforeseen by us, this hasn´t been achieved and we ended up with lawyers and advisers trying to find ways around this. Of course, in addition, economic conditions have also changed and along with discussions with our lenders, we are talking to our commercial partners about their support for the project. Both partners remain keen to see us enhance the facilities they operate and exploit. We will continue to try and work our way through these challenges and remain committed to finding a fully funded solution to a project which will deliver immediate, commercial improvements to Goodison Park.