Everton, a Rolls-Royce club battling to stay on road to a brighter future

Goodison saw income from a new ground as crucial to its future, so what now their plans have been dashed?

The Everton edition of Monopoly was selling well in the festively decorated club shop yesterday, with David Moyes, the "Mayfair" of the board, valued at £400m, Marouane Fellaini curiously ranked as the "Park Lane" player and the four main stands of Goodison Park rated £200m apiece. Sadly for chairman Bill Kenwright, life – and certainly football – is not a board game.

The mainstay of Kenwright's great hope of economic revival for his beloved club was swept away yesterday and the £200m Everton will need to find for a stadium is not going to turn up in a Community Chest, given Liverpool city council's reluctance to let the club build a ground on a free site within its boundaries on the coat-tails of supermarket chain Tesco, which was ready to subsidise the Kirkby project so heavily.

If there is any consolation for Everton ahead of a Goodison Park derby on Sunday, it is that Liverpool are in no better state than they. Rarely, if ever, in the Premier League era has the Merseyside clash been played out between two such wretched clubs: Everton with one win in 10 after Wednesday's defeat at Hull; Liverpool with two in 11. In the space of 48 hours this week, the two managers batted away questions about their futures. A donkey derby, indeed, on a weekend when Real Madrid meet Barcelona and Chelsea play Arsenal.

Among those who have suggested what appears to be the obvious solution to two clubs, each in need of cash, new owners and a new stadium, is corporate financier Keith Harris, who knows a bit about the challenges of finding buyers for football clubs. "Why not?" he said, to the notion of a ground-share earlier this year. "Technology today can turn a stadium from blue to red in the flick of a switch."

In spirit, Everton would agree. They need any solution they can find to the fact that billionaire investors have shown minimal interest in middle range clubs over the past 12 months and that the gravity-defying feat which has been a source of wonder to Premier League chief executives everywhere – the Goodison club's ability to hit the top five with a mid-table wage bill – suddenly seems to belong in the past.

But consider Liverpool's position for a moment. The raison d'être of new managing director Christian Purslow is to raise £100m by selling a 25 per cent share in the club to one or several investors, and his prime strategy for doing so is to tell interested parties that a new 73,000 capacity stadium will deliver the club even larger match-day revenues than Manchester United. It is called the "facility model" in the football world and it was the kind of pitch which, above all else, persuaded Americans Tom Hicks and George Gillett to buy the club in the first place, two and half years ago. Buy the club, build a stadium and sell for a profit, their logic ran. Liverpool believe they might boost their profits to as much as £95m with their "equity raise" and subsequent stadium.

Other reasons to doubt the viability of a ground-share include Everton's ability to stump up their share of the money for it. Even the £78m they would have needed to find to build the heavily subsidised stadium at Kirkby would have been a push. "That's not for me to answer," Liverpool's deputy executive director Peter Shaw said, when asked whether the idea of a ground-share with Everton could be a possibility. It is hard to imagine either Hicks or Gillett, individuals whose personal investment in the club increased to £135m at their bankers' insistence this summer, being quite so diplomatic, though Shaw went as far as he could. "Liverpool are progressing forward with our own stadium. That is the position we are still in," he added. "It is quite far progressed and once the financial markets reopen for business the stadium will progress further."

That leaves Kenwright in a dark place. He has made no secret of his wish to sell to a buyer with pockets to take Everton on – "the billionaire model" as they call it at Goodison. But instead he is left to sit down with Liverpool city council, whose declaration yesterday that "the door is open" for discussions on sites which the city might put at their disposal belied the fact that Kenwright cannot afford to build if there is not a retail partner such as Tesco to lead the way.

Amid the uncertainty, Everton can only rely on David Moyes to continue working his alchemy and hope that a buyer of some description might eventually be found. It would have helped to have had images of a glittering new stadium to parade across the Gulf states where much of the new football money is to be found. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan's arrival at Manchester City proved the attractions of a ready-built stadium.

All is not lost. An important part of Everton's pitch to prospective investors is their presence as founder members of the Football League; a Rolls-Royce club who fill the stadium they have. But all told, the timing of Sunday's game has dark ironic significance given the events of the past 48 hours – and the fact that it was a rent rise proposed in 1892 by John Houlding, who became Liverpool's first director, which forced the first players of Everton to leave Anfield and form their own club in the first place.

'We could get into a relegation fight'

The Everton manager David Moyes revealed the full depth of his despair in the aftermath of Wednesday night's defeat at Hull, which leaves his side four points above the relegation zone, by conceding that he is unsure whether they are too strong to go down.

"I don't know," Moyes said after a defeat which Dutch defender Johnny Heitinga yesterday described as "shameful". Everton were 3-0 down at half-time and their second half fightback stood for nothing, despite the fine individual display by the returning Steven Pienaar. "We could be dragged into a relegation fight, particularly because of the injuries we have and individual performances," Moyes said.

Some managers might conclude that Sunday's encounter with Liverpool, not in the best of health themselves, is the perfect way to make amends. Moyes was unable to do so. "I don't know about Liverpool," he said. "I only look at Everton's form, I'm not really concentrating on how other teams do. We have to play better. The first thing you do as a player is run around... I need to get them to do that a bit more than they're doing at the moment. It's my job."

Neither would Moyes lay the blame for the display on injuries: Jack Rodwell limped off during the second half at the KC Stadium to join an injury list that includes Mikel Arteta, Phil Neville, Phil Jagielka and Victor Anichebe. Moyes said: "It is partly to do with it, partly to do with individual performances. Obviously they have been a factor but it wasn't the reason we lost three goals in the first half. It was nothing to do with the boys who weren't playing, it was to do with the boys who were playing." Everton are waiting to learn the extent of Rodwell's groin injury.

Heitinga hoped his team-mates could make amends. "I have played in the Madrid derby match for Atletico and I know the only way we can make up for this is by beating Liverpool," he said. "They are not going into the game in the best of form either."

The Hull manager Phil Brown suggested Everton will still reach a Europa League place at the end of the season. "He must have 11 injuries, plus suspensions, and that will test any Premier League squad, but I know Davey, he's a solid character, strong-willed, and he will get his just rewards this season." Moyes seems to have profound doubts on that score.

Ian Herbert

Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Arts and Entertainment
books
Sport
Diego Costa
footballEverton 3 Chelsea 6: Diego Costa double has manager purring
Life and Style
3D printed bump keys can access almost any lock
gadgets + techSoftware needs photo of lock and not much more
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind the scenes to watch the latest series
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
News
i100Steve Carell selling chicken, Tina Fey selling saving accounts and Steve Colbert selling, um...
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
News
i100
News
The slice of Prince Charles and Princess Diana's wedding cake and the original box from 29 July 1981
newsPiece of Charles and Diana's wedding cake sold at auction in US
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference