Is 777 the only number in town for Everton? – Game of the people

Established 2012 – Editor: Neil Fredrik Jensen – 12:09:2023
EVERTON are in dire need of fresh investment and they may turn to US-based 777 Partners to achieve their objectives. You might say this is the equivalent of heading for the last chance saloon, that they are willing to become part of a multi-club model that has its critics. 
The 777 portfolio is not quite like Manchester City’s CFG or even the Red Bull franchise; it is a collection of clubs that have been acquired for their potential in the new age of football capitalism. The 777 team believes that football is on the brink of an exciting era of “hyper commercialisation” and they may be right. It might not be an period that is particularly good for the overall health of the industry as it may exacerbate the imbalances that already exist, but if you’re got your assets lined up and ready to go, the investors could reap the rewards of the next “big bang” in the game.
The 777 clubs are not faring very well on the pitch. Melbourne Victory, who were bought in October 2022, finished 11th in the 12-team A-League in 2022. Hertha Berlin, who suffered the ignominy of relegation in 2022-23, are currently next to bottom in Bundesliga 2, Europa League holders Sevilla are staring up from the foot of La Liga, Standard Liege are without a win in their six games, Vasco da Gama are struggling against relegation in Brazil and Genoa are below mid-table in Italy. Only Red Star Paris, who play in the third tier of French football, are faring well so far this season. It is early days, but there are some unhappy fans out there who are struggling to believe in the process.
Whatever your view on multi-club models (and get used to them because there’s more coming), a club of Everton’s heritage should not be part of a basket of assets like impaired mortgages. If anything, Everton should be leading the charge, regardless of any moral concerns anyone might have about these structures. But it could be their only choice. They need the backing, but they are not being helped by their performances on the pitch.
One of the key figures at 777, Josh Wander, has been voted onto the board of the European Club Association, which does imply that they are in it for the long haul. But there have been rumblings from Standard Liege fans who have warned Everton not to become involved with 777, but one can only assume the advice would have been somewhat different if Standard were at the other end of the Belgian Pro League. Football is that simple – just look at how the narrative has switched at Arsenal.
Although ownership by a financial group with influence from Wall Street rather than Gwladys Street (on which Goodison Park sits), might feel like a loss of control, the fact is whoever owns a club has the real control, whether the fans see them as remote or not. Everton’s need at present is to improve their financial position but longer-term, the arrival of their new stadium may provide many of the solutions to their problems. 
Everton made pre-tax losses totalling just under £ 500 million in the period 2017-18 to 2021-22 and their revenues in 2022 were actually lower than in 2018. At the same time, their wage bill has consumed a significantly greater percentage of income, 90% in 2022 versus 77% in 2018. Net debt has also more than doubled to over £ 500 million. 
And yet this is a club with a marvellous history and tremendous support. It is arguable that a city like Liverpool might not be able to sustain two gigantic clubs in the modern game, but if Manchester can do it, so too can Merseyside. Everton need to get out of Liverpool’s shadow and they need regular European football to help them look their old rivals in the eye. They also need patience in the boardroom and they must avoid the type of knee-jerk decisions that might bring short-term relief but ultimately need fixing a few months later. They have to avoid relegation in 2023-24, if only to prevent a financial catastrophe at the wrong time in their history.
As for 777, they have been scrutinised by sceptics ever since their first investment in Sevilla in 2018. Their portfolio is varied, across four of Europe’s “big five” football countries, as well as Belgium, one of Europe’s talent grounds, Brazil – the great exporter – and the emerging Australian market. English football is conspicuous by its absence, but Everton could change that.
What if it doesn’t happen? What if Everton are still searching for the investment they need come the end of 2023-24? Understandably, people are nervous about Farhad Moshiri selling to 777 or any other financial institution, but are there any options out there?
Game of the People was founded in 2012 and is ranked among the 100 best football websites by various sources. The site consistently wins awards for its work, across a broad range of subjects. View all posts by Neil Fredrik Jensen
Out of the frying pan and into the fire. Our present owner has messed up, but the 777 group seem like something we should avoid like the plague.
Our present owner is not out to line his pockets, which is not something that might be said of the 777 group.
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