Ray of light for cash-strapped Everton as stadium loan lands

South stand view of the proposed stadium

Everton FC’s dire financial position has been eased slightly with the receipt of more than £100m towards construction of its new Bramley-Moore Dock stadium.

The 52,888-capacity development has soared in cost from £500m to £760m.

It is not due to be completed until December 2024, with funding still required to ensure its delivery. The club’s monthly outgoings are dangerously close to its c.£15m monthly revenues.

A potential US investor, MSP Sports Capital, was linked with a £130m equity investment into the club, but last month walked away.

However, MSP pledged to proceed with a £100m loan towards the ground’s construction, and sources say that has now taken place, with MSP providing more than £100m in loans to Everton Stadium Development Holding Company.

The funds were transferred over several tranches between May and August this year, said financial specialist Paul Quinn.

This is expected to provide much needed breathing room for the club, ensuring an allocated budget for the stadium construction and freeing resources for general funding.

It is expected that the new loan facility will also enable the club to repay a £40m loan to AJ Bell founder, Andy Bell, who provided the funding in the form of Blythe Capital.

Mr Quinn said: “This is extremely good news for Everton and (its) fans.

“It removes any threat of administration, secures a significant amount of the additional funding for the stadium and paves the way for further investment or the completion of a senior debt package to complete and secure the long term funding for Bramley-Moore.

“The additional funds originally intended as working capital for the use of Everton Football Club have not been invested and as reported extensively elsewhere, MSP Sports Capital are not equity investors in Everton Football Club, but have provided over £100m of loans to the stadium development company.

“This should be greeted with a huge sigh of relief and the hope now is that appropriately-skilled and funded equity investors are found for the football club.”

Everton is currently the centre of frenzied media speculation over a majority takeover by another US suitor, 777 Partners, which has historically targeted football clubs in financial distress.

Farhad Moshiri, the majority Everton shareholder who owns 94% of the business, has previously claimed the club is not for sale and he is only considering offers of investment.

But 777 Partners co-founder, Josh Wander, has been linked with claims of an imminent full takeover of the Merseyside club, involving a “big cheque”.

However, the Miami outfit has been branded an “asset stripper” by fans of clubs it has either acquired or invested in.

Among the clubs currently in the 777 stable are Sevilla, Genoa, Hertha Berlin and Standard Liege.

Hertha Berlin was relegated last year from the German Bundesliga, Genoa was relegated in 2022 after 15 years in Italy’s Serie A, and Standard Liege fans staged protests at their last game over 777’s involvement in their club.

Wander has a colourful history, with three arrests between 2003 and 2018, although only the first of these resulted in charges, and a history of court hearings into unpaid debts.

Moshiri is understood to be seeking £500m for his shareholding, while the club has debts of around £225m, and millions more pounds will be needed to complete the new stadium.

Industry sources are sceptical that 777 Partners has the finances needed to take full control of Everton.

Any proposed takeover would also need to pass the Premier League’s ‘fit and proper owners’ test.