The chairman of the Everton Fan Advisory Board (FAB) has detailed his meeting with a member of the top brass from prospective new owners 777 Partners.
Farhad Moshiri has agreed to sell his 94.1% majority stake in the Toffees to the Miami-based firm. Co-founders Josh Wander and Steven Pasko were both at Goodison Park for last Saturday’s 2-1 loss to Luton Town. 777 Partners chief executive Don Dransfield was also present in the directors’ box.
Dransfield is the former chief strategy officer of City Football Group, who own Manchester City, and recently met Dave Kelly, who heads the FAB. Kelly insisted that 777 could not disclose too much information but believes it could be a ‘game-changer’ if interaction with supporters is consistent should the takeover go through.
Kelly said: “The pleasing thing at this early stage is they’ve reached out and spoken to various groups over the past couple of days. Although it was extremely difficult and caveats they could only meet informally, if they carry on with fan engagement and the level they intend to, I think it will be a game-changer for the vast majority of Evertonians. When you look at the seven years Farhad Moshiri has been here, he never held meetings of that stature or nature.
“We were talking about football in general, their model and their other clubs. I was impressed with him. I’ve been in the CEO office at Finch Farm on numerous occasions over the years and it was refreshing to go in there and speak to someone with a football background.
“We had an empathy with each other – me as a long-suffering Evertonian and him a long-suffering Barnsley supporter. He’s incredibly intelligent and articulate. His background, given he was the former chief executive of the Man City Football Group and prior to that, he held a similar position at Red Bull Football Group. He’s got an impressive CV.”
777 already own Italian side Genoa, Belgium club Standard Liege, German team Hertha Berlin, France’s Red Star and Brazil’s Vasco de Gama. Sections of supporters have been sceptical about 777 given Liege, Hertha, Red Star and Vasco fans have all protested against them.
On that matter, Kelly said: “We did speak generally about various football teams and footballers, it was good to get his insight on that. We also spoke about what they feel are misinterpretations and misquotes in the press. We spoke openly and honestly about Genoa being 17th when they took them over and getting relegated but being promoted and started this season relatively well. We spoke about all the other clubs.”
Kelly cited that 777 hope that the takeover is completed either by late November or in December. He added: “I actually said to him personally and behalf of the FAB as a group, I needed it to make it clear we were not pro-777 or anti-777 and will make a judgement based on actions rather than words. I don’t want to see glossy videos in HD, smart words in press releases. We’ll judge them on their actions and I suggest the best thing they can do from the outset if engage with fans and the wider fan-base.”