“Be careful what you wish for” became synonymous with Arsenal towards the end of the last decade.
Often used by those who backed Arsene Wenger and feared change.
Without opening up old wounds at a time when our fanbase is the most united for decades, I began thinking of the statement on yesterdays commute home.
It happened whilst I was reading about the demise of Everton.
In February 2016, Farhad Moshri announced that Moshiri had sold his stake in Arsenal Football Club to Red & White Holdings partner Alisher Usmanov in a bid to raise capital required to launch a takeover at Everton.
That sale included him relinquishing his joint ownership of Arsenal shares alongside Usmanov.
Two weeks after the Premier League confirmed that Moshri had purchased a 49.9% of Everton.
It was felt that he was the front of a deal that would eventually involve Usmanov, and the Uzbek billionaire would also end up involved on Merseyside; spending the money he always talked about spending at Arsenal.
Some Arsenal were up in arms. They wanted Usmanov and his billions involved at Arsenal, backing him over he Kroenke’s. Where Moshri led Usmanov was surely to follow.
In his first summer as major shareholder, Moshri went big overseeing £73.5million of signings as Everton finished 7th.
2017 would see USM, a holding company owned by Usmanov, agree an initial” five-year naming rights deal which saw club’s Halewood training ground renamed USM Finch Farm.
The deal was worth £20million and indicated that Usmanov would become more heavily involved in the financing of Everton.
2017/18 would see another £160m spent across two windows. “Oh what could have been” some Arsenal fans crowed “to have an owner that was not afraid of bankrolling the club to success”.
In 2018 Kroenke bought out Usmanov. At around the same time it was announced that USM had secured the naming rights of Everton’s unbuilt new stadium for £30million.
Usmanov did not own a single share and had already pumped £50million into the club.
Arsenal fans were beginning to get worried. A team in decline on the pitch, it was only a matter of time until big spending Everton, with our former shareholders at the helm, took our place as a top 6 club.
Everton’s big transfer spending did not stop.
In 2018/19 it was again over £100milllion; bringing in some great young talent including Richarlison, Yerry Mina and Moise Keane.
The £100million mark would be breached again in 2019/20. But whilst that took Everton’s spending under Moshri to well over £500million, the club finished 12th. And Usmanov seemed to have disappeared.
The summer or 2020 would see Everton’s transfer spending almost half under new Carlo Ancelotti. But in came the big names like of Allan, James Rodriguez and Abdoulye Dacoure on huge wages.
Something was clearly not right at Everton and Ancelotti returned to Rea Madrid at the end of the season, with Everton finishing 10th.
Despite protests, Everton then gave the managerial job to Rafa Benitez. As we all know he was a former Liverpool manager.
It was a bad appointment, and to compound what was happening the money seemed to have dried up.
In the summer of 2021 Everton’s only outlay was £1million on Demarai Gray. He was joined by journeymen free transfers Android Townsend, Salomon Robson and Askir Begovic.
Moshri has overseen £660million worth of signings. But it didn’t matter how much you spent when you continually overspent on the wrong players.
In the last decade, Everton have gone from being one of the best run clubs in English football with David Moyes at the helm to one of the worst.
In 6 years of ownership, he has got through 6 managers. Each has performed progressively worse than the last.
Whoever relaxes Benitez will be his 7th manager.
What sums up the situation at Everton is the club have spent £37million full backs in January, only to sack the manager.
Those Arsenal fans that spent nearly a decade crying out for their Moshri / Usmanov dream team to take control of the club have gone very quiet.
The situation at Everton has soured very quickly. Despite millions spent the club is sailing in the wrong direction.
Meanwhile it feels like Arsenal, under the stewardship of Edu and Mikel Arteta, are finally on the right path.
The Kroenke’s might not put their hand in their pocket, might stay too quiet for some; but there is a warning in the way Everton have been run under Moshri.
And that warning is be careful what you wish for.