Former Hawks president seeks consortium to buy boyhood club Everton
Published 31/03/2011 | 05:00
A US executive who was president of NBA basketball team Atlanta Hawks is seeking a consortium to buy out Everton.
Liverpool-born businessman Bernard Mullin, a life-long Toffees fan, has met leading shareholders at Everton and has approached a number of high-profile individuals around the world.
The move by Mullin, who runs US-based sports marketing firm The Aspire Group, highlights how desperate the situation has become for Everton. Chairman Bill Kenwright, who took control at Goodison Park in 1999, has made clear in recent years that Everton need outside investment if they are to compete with Manchester United, Chelsea and the rest on a regular basis.
His search, though, has thus far proved fruitless. A number of rumoured investments, both domestic and international, have failed to materialise.
Mullin met with Kenwright in recent months to say he may be able to find a buyer for the club, although he has not been appointed to work for Everton.
Mullin has sent out a formal three-page document to potential buyers detailing Everton's valuation and the amount of investment required at the club. He believes the holdings of Everton's top three shareholders, which total 75pc, could be acquired for between £75m and £100m.
In addition, he has told prospective buyers that any renovation to Goodison Park is likely to require a minimum of £250m investment to create a state-of-the-art 50,000-seat stadium.
Plans to relocate Everton to a new stadium -- thereby increasing match-day revenue -- firstly to a desirable location on the city's King's Dock and then to a less popular arena, outside the city in Kirkby, have been abandoned.
Everton will, barring a remarkable upturn in fortunes, be absent from the Europa League for the second consecutive season next year, making the funds that manager David Moyes desperately requires appear even more distant.
Moyes' last major expense came with the signings of Russian international Diniyar Bilyaletdinov, Holland's Johnny Heitinga and Sylvain Distin in the summer of 2009, but even those funds came from the £23m sale of Joleon Lescott to Manchester City.
Since then, the Scot has grown ever more outspoken on the subject of those rivals outspending Everton; it is not simply Chelsea and United, but also Sunderland and Stoke, he believes.
Moyes has said he will not walk out on Everton unless the fans directed their ire at him. Given the limbo the club exists in without investment, it seems a decision made more with his heart than his head. (© Daily Telegraph, London)