Not since the mid 1980s have Everton supporters tasted real success and by real I mean a team on the pitch that you know are going to win the game before they even kick off, it’s rare that those teams come along but they do from time to time.
The 80s however was a time before big money ownership and the Premier League, which changed the landscape of football and the criteria to achieve Dominance. Having vast amounts of money does not always bring success, we’ve seen many instances of that and on the odd occasion the opposite but generally it’s pretty much accepted now that big finance is mandatory in order to obtain sustained success.
Make no mistake Everton remaining a Premier League club and on many occasions challenging the top six has been an achievement by many different people over the past 20 years or so given its financial situation, its a tough world in the Premier League, so in my mind credit has to be given. The club has remained a well respected and well run institution despite being at a disadvantage in financial strength compared to many others.
Whether it’s the worldwide commercial power of Manchester United or the injection of wealth into the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City, there is no doubt it has been a really tough market place to exist in but exist we have, enjoying some good times along the way albeit Joe Royle’s FA Cup win apart, a trophy-less journey. This however is not the Everton most of us older Blues know and worship.
Now, and I cross my fingers and toes when I say this, we seem to be on the verge of a new era, one which will bring us up alongside the fast moving cash rich clubs of football’s hierarchy but at the same time I have a cautionary note that the Everton decision makers focus must be to bring back that 1980s successful side on the pitch as a priority. A new stadium and all that goes with it is, I believe, crucial to Everton’s growth and I also know that the club owners believe that, however it can only be secondary to a successful football team.
Both projects of course can run side-by-side but it is imperative that the focus on the team is constant and intense, with Farhad Moshiri, and let’s be honest his money, on board, i’m confident that this will happen. We have a manager who has the football upbringing and desire to be a success and I’m sure will be able to take full advantage of that and a supporter base which, has not and would never, let the club down.
Everton has to become competitive again not only on the pitch but off it as well, and some of the announcements made on Wednesday suggest that’s what it is starting to do. For me the “peoples club” tag has to go but the sentiment remain, we have to become globally strong and think big in everything we do but at the same time not forget our Strong principles and community spirit which made us what we are.
The most telling line from Mr Moshiri at Wednesday’s AGM for me was this “We need to win. The gold standard is the Premier League not the FA cup” that to me shows a man who is looking beyond what most of us Evertonians want and indeed have programmed ourselves to believe (to just win a trophy) and it’s that vision and ambition that impresses me about the man. Of course he now has to put his money where his mouth is and deliver, it’s the minimum for any owner of a football club but we’ve seen early signs of that, I believe he will and I also believe we have a great period ahead of us! Should Moshiri become the Owner I believe he will, then credit to all for getting the right person to takeover.
My message to Evertonians at this time is to get on board, enjoy the ride and who knows what station we may arrive at in a few years!