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Everton owner Farhad Moshiri has apologised to fans for the ‘fear and frustration’ of their relegation-threatened season and admitting to wasting money at the club.
A come-from-behind 3-2 victory over Crystal Palace three days before the end of the campaign extended the Toffees’ top-flight spell to 69 years, sparking joyous scenes with thousands of fans spilling onto the pitch.
But on the whole it was a miserable year for their supporters, one which started with the controversial appointment of former Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez who was sacked after just 200 days in charge having won just five league matches.
Everton have spent more than £500million since Farhad Moshiri bought a majority stake
Everton endured a dreadful season and survived relegation by the skin of their teeth
Thousands of Everton fans invaded the pitch after Premier League safety was confirmed
While Moshiri did not refer to the Spaniard, whom the owner pushed to appoint despite dissenting voices from the board, by name he acknowledged there had been errors.
That also extended to the transfer market, where Everton have spent more than half-a-billion pounds since Moshiri took over in 2016, and also the clumsy appointment of Benitez’s successor Frank Lampard.
‘Mistakes have been made and for that I want to apologise to all of you,’ said the owner in an open letter to supporters.
‘It has not been good enough and we need to do better. You have given us incredible support that helped us over the line when we most needed it, and we must repay that support and show that lessons have been learnt.
Rafa Benitez was an unpopular appointment and failed to win over the Everton fans
Davy Klaassen (left) and Moise Kean (right) are two examples of failed Everton signings
Everton have been largely unsuccessful in the transfer market in recent years, splurging £26million on Yannick Bolasie, splashing out big wages on James Rodriguez, £24m on Davy Klaassen, £20m on Cenk Tosun and £24m on Moise Kean among many others who have since moved on.
In an unusual step for an owner, Moshiri admitted that the club’s recruitment has been wide of the mark.
He continued: ‘We are committed to not making the same mistakes again, including how we have not always spent significant amounts of money wisely.’
‘There is no denying that it was an amazing night when we turned around a 2-0 half-time deficit to secure a sensational victory and guarantee a 69th successive season in the top tier of English football last season.
Yannick Bolasie cost £25m from Crystal Palace back in 2016 and was loaned out three times
Fans will welcome the apology from Moshiri, who vowed to do better and learn lessons
‘But it should not be allowed to disguise the fact that we have underperformed in what proved to be a very challenging campaign.
‘You did not deserve the frustration and fear that the season brought.’
He continued: ‘I am committed to securing the future success of the Club by delivering a fully-funded stadium that will underpin our status as a leading club.
‘Our new stadium project at Bramley-Moore Dock has reached an exciting and landmark stage as it emerges from the ground, with the four main cores now in place.
‘Of course, the stadium alone will not help us achieve our objectives and we are committed to not making the same mistakes again including how we have not always spent significant amounts of money wisely.
Frank Lampard, appointed manager at the end of January, guided Everton to safety
Moshiri was happy to take credit for the recruitment of Lampard, who he described as ‘the outstanding candidate’ despite Roberto Martinez being reported as the front-runner at the time.
He continued: ‘During the 2021/22 season, the Board led a strategic review of our operations which included looking at working practices, our recruitment process and the whole structure of our footballing operation in order to clearly identify the causes of our under-delivery on the pitch. Many of the learnings have already been implemented.
‘The recruitment of Frank Lampard as our manager is one example. He was the outstanding candidate at the end of a robust and clearly defined process, demonstrating an ability to marry his technical skills with passion, intelligence, humility and in alignment with the values of our Club.
‘Other appointments such as Kevin Thelwell, our new Director of Football, Everton Women manager Brian Sørensen, Coach Educator Kevin Nicholson, the development of a technical board and the search for both a new Academy Director and an Under-23s Head Coach also reflect the implementation of findings from the strategic review.’
James Tarkowski is expected to complete a free transfer to Everton in the next few days
The emergence of Anthony Gordon (right) was one of the positives of last season
He concluded: ‘Your incredible support is never taken for granted and together we move forward.’
There were small positives for fans, particularly the emergence of Anthony Gordon and the renewed bond between players and fans during the nerve-jolting end to the season.
But Everton will be hoping for a far more comfortable campaign now that Lampard has a pre-season to prepare his side and a transfer window to bolster resources.
They look set to add James Tarkowski on a free transfer after he departed relegated Burnley and Conor Gallagher is also thought to be a target.
Fans have been left convinced that the primary reason for the club’s struggles in recent seasons is the lack of coherence and strategy from the ownership.