JThe dust has settled on Everton’s dramatic escape from relegation, if not the relief that came with victory over Crystal Palace, but inconvenient realities persist for the club’s hierarchy and Frank Lampard as they seek to avoid a repeat next season. This was pointed out even before the transfer window opened.
Almost three weeks after Everton extended their top-flight residency for a 69th year, owner Farhad Moshiri has sent an open letter to the supporters who have been instrumental and passionate in the survival. He apologized for mistakes that produced a campaign of ‘frustration and fear’, but there was no mention of his unfortunate decision to appoint Rafael Benítez as manager at the start of it all, no promise to quit to meddle in the work of football professionals or to stop listening to the agents who have cost him a fortune over the past six years.
On the positive side, Moshiri acknowledged ‘how we haven’t always spent large sums wisely’, admitted ‘we need to do better’ and reaffirmed his commitment to providing ‘a fully funded stadium’ at Bramley Moore Dock. . And that was communicated through the club he owns, not through Jim White.
The club also drew the ire of the government and anti-gambling campaigners this week after announcing a shirt sponsorship deal worth more than £10million a year with Stake.com, the casino and the platform sports betting. The government had wanted the Premier League, which held its AGM on the day Everton announced the deal, to introduce a voluntary ban on such partnerships and warned it could go further with its gambling reforms at the light of the club’s decision. The deal comes two years after Everton ended sponsorship of another betting company, SportPesa, amid opposition from fans.
“In an ideal world, we would look to have a different type of sponsor on the front of our shirts as all football clubs would do,” chief executive Denise Barrett-Baxendale told the club’s general meeting in January 2020. “But it’s a commercial decision we make as a football club. In the real world, Everton have suspended multi-million pound commercial and sponsorship deals with companies linked to oligarch Alisher Usmanov after Russia invaded Ukraine and they have recorded staggering losses of £372.6 million over the last three financial years.The club’s registration deal with Stake.com is a business response.
On the playing side, Richarlison has cast inevitable doubt over his future as he is on international duty with Brazil and Newcastle are among suitors for Dominic Calvert-Lewin. The potential sale of one or both of Everton’s main strikers will have a major bearing on Lampard’s summer as he begins the process of building a team in his image. The expected arrival of James Tarkowski on a free transfer would be a sensible start for a side that lacked a reliable and authoritative presence in central defense last season. It also reflects the financial realities of a club struggling to meet Premier League rules of profitability and sustainability.
In Lampard, Everton have a manager who established an immediate rapport with a once divided fanbase and showed his tactical flexibility as he shifted from a possession-based favorite game to the deep, defensive unit that ultimately averted disaster. financial relegation. He accepts that new questions will be asked about his managerial abilities and about the club before his first full season in charge.
Lampard said: “It’s football and every year it restarts and then you say, ‘OK, well, what are you going to do now?’ There will be different questions next year and I will be ready for them but I think that goes for all of us Questions will remain about the players and the club because when you work in this business with a huge club and a big history and great support, the questions cause you to look inside yourself and ask yourself, ‘Well, how can I be better? Can I move this club forward? What decisions can I make? and that we as a club can take?” There’s nothing wrong with that.”
Lampard says he has established a close working relationship with new Everton director of football Kevin Thelwell, who implemented changes to the academy structure and had identified transfer targets with the manager before the club’s Premier League status is achieved. Lampard insists the hierarchy is aligned, which wasn’t always the case in the Moshiri years.
“My personal relationship with the owner, with Denise and the president [Bill Kenwright] have absolutely stayed the same – they have been rock solid,” Lampard said. “Through times like before Man United when people were wondering if I would stay at the club. The conversations behind the scenes were absolutely supportive, of ‘What do we need to get to where we want to be?’ and it’s still the same now.
“A huge benefit for me has been working with Kevin. Kevin’s arrival has helped me and helps the club because he is really at the center of things to see how we can be better across the club. We are very close, we are very open, we are two new people arriving and we are thirsty for the best and we work very well. It has been a great help to me. “
The departure of several big earners this summer will be a further help for Lampard, who received training at Everton, the team, their limitations and their possibilities in their 21 games last season. The willingness of Moshiri and the club executive to learn from their mistakes would be another.