Actions speak louder than words at Everton – Farhad Moshiri and Ronald Koeman are quiet workers in a club trying to make a loud statement.
“It’s all so quiet”. Never have the lyrics of a 90s Swedish pop star been able to so accurately reflect the current mood around a Premier League football club.
But while plenty of noise is being made by fans from every corner of Europe, gathered in France for this summer’s Euros, at Goodison Park you’d be forgiven for thinking there was little going on.
After all, Everton have only recently been taken over by steel and energy businessman and billionaire Farhad Moshiri who in February 2016 purchased a 49.9% stake in the club. Since the takeover was announced, the British-Iranian has made just one notable statement: no more than a page in Everton’s matchday programme for the FA Cup quarter final with Chelsea on 12th March.
The false dawn and the new dawn
In his message he gave Blues exactly what they wanted to hear from a new sugar-daddy, addressing the three key issues that have been the worry of Evertonians for decades: keeping hold of their star players, financing the recruitment of new players and the exploration of a new/improved stadium.
“I know a lot of you want to know what my plans are. There is much to be done and things for me to learn, but I can confirm that I have committed to providing additional funds for transfers and retaining our key players to ensure that we have a strong core to build on for the future.
“We will also be looking at the best options in relation to our stadium.
“Goodison Park has served the club extremely well but we need to make sure the club has a suitable stage to perform on for the future.”
That night under the lights at Goodison Park seemed to promise so much, and after a special performance from the Blues and a virtuoso, two-goal display from Romelu Lukaku, their was fresh optimism for Evertonians both on and off the field.
On the field, that optimism was short-lived. Of Roberto Martinez’s next 10 games in charge the Toffees won just once, were dumped out of the FA Cup and suffered their most humiliating defeat at Anfield in the Premier League era.
But off the field the excitement has reached fever pitch, with barely a single further syllable uttered by Moshiri. In stark contrast to the man he dismissed on 12th May, and with barely two months to his name at the reins of the club, Moshiri’s actions are speaking much louder than words.
Martinez talked a good game but ultimately the Spaniard failed to live up to his continual boasts and misguided opinions about himself and his own squad of players. They say money talks, and Everton’s new majority shareholder really has put his money where his mouth is, deciding to cut the club’s losses with Senor Martinez, regardless of the eventual cost in millions of pounds worth of compensation.
Making a statement
Not only will millions be spent to rid the club of the silver-tongued Catalan, but in his hunt for a successor Moshiri has gone on to demonstrate the seriousness and magnitude of his ambitions on Merseyside. It has cost Everton a reported £5 million in order to prize the highly regarded Ronald Koeman from the grasp of a reluctant Southampton. Add another £6 million in wages on top to keep the Dutchman happy, and you start to get a sense of just how serious this particular billionaire is taking football club ownership.
A pretty loud statement from a man who’s barely uttered breath in his new role as Everton’s owner, although it’s been impossible not to catch the odd boast from Bill Kenwright, who -while stepping down into more of a supporting role in the club’s hierarchy- nonetheless cannot resist the temptation to thrust himself into the spotlight.
Koeman too was coy when eventually confirmed as the new Everton boss and revealed to the media. Rumours of potential transfers have understandably been rife among news outlets and no one can stop the chirping of little birds on Twitter, but the Dutchman has remained tight-lipped on the recruitment front.
Transfers the Everton way, the right way
While a hushed up transfer policy has been an Everton staple for years, it says much that this is still employed at the club considering the substantial transfer budget Koeman is expected to wield. Everton’s financial future looks as secure as it has ever been, backed by Moshiri’s millions and bolstered by a manager who is held in high esteem throughout the footballing world. Yet still, little old Everton go about their business with their cards firmly close to their chest, and with patience.
The situation is the reflection of two quiet men, looking to make a big statement, not just in the Premier League but over time throughout European and world football.
Evertonians will be hoping it’s just a matter of time before that deafening statement is finally realised. Or if you’re looking for Bjork’s take on things: “And so peaceful until…”