Mention the phrase ‘Mersey Millionaires’ to any Everton of a certain age, and you’ll spark wistful expressions across their faces.
The Goodison faithful of the 1960s would immediately be transported back to a time when the Toffees’ financial muscle made them serious title contenders, and such colossal reserves of money would often draw jealous glances from all corners of England.
Former chairman Sir John Moores bankrolling any number of spending sprees for then-manager Harry Catterick to bring the best talent to Goodison Park was a staple of the footballing landscape, and those days appeared long gone – especially in the cash-rich Premier League era – as Everton turned from princes to paupers after being left behind by other well-drilled businesses like archrivals Liverpool and Manchester United.
The arrival of billionaire Farhad Moshiri in February 2016 changed all that and, while Everton’s fanbase wouldn’t expect the Iranian-British tycoon to pump vast fortunes into the club’s coffers, some did think a return to those heady days of the 60s would return.
Last summer saw Blues boss Ronald Koeman fork out plenty of cash for the likes of Ashley Williams and Yannick Bolasie, while the January transfer window saw a further £30m doled out on Morgan Schneiderlin and wonderkid Ademola Lookman.
It wasn’t until Thursday 15th June 2017, however, that Everton fans were truly left blown away by just how determined Koeman, Moshiri et al. are to make the Toffees a force to be reckoned with in the game once more.
| “Thursday 15 June was a good day to be an Evertonian.”
“A message of intent.”
— Everton (@Everton) June 16, 2017
If splashing out £25m – rising to £30m – for Sunderland goalkeeper Jordan Pickford was reason enough to celebrate, the late night announcement that Ajax captain Davy Klaassen had followed suit for £23.6m saw social media light up in ways Evertonians hadn’t seen before.
Where once Everton haggled over pay as little as £500k in signing-on fees, funds exceeding 100 times that amount were now being shelled out on two top players who will only go on to strengthen the Blues’ first-team for seasons to come.
Add in a reported £18m deal for ex-Everton target and Milan forward M’Baye Niang, as well as the imminent £5m arrival of Malaga striker Sandro, and the Toffees’ spending could eclipse £70m before the transfer window even opens on 1st July.
— Tony Bellew (@TonyBellew) June 15, 2017
Such outlays are a far cry from the days when, even just a decade ago, former boss David Moyes had to sell to buy, and give reason for many Everton supporters to believe that something special is finally happening in L4 after many seasons in the doldrums.
Moores, the founder of the Littlewoods Pools from which he made his millions, would be impressed with the manner in which Moshiri has backed Koeman in the market with plenty of funds, and his infamous quote after becoming the club’s owner back in 1960 rings as true today as it did almost 60 years on.
“Everton is a very good club with a very good crowd, but they expect success and if they don’t get success something should be done about it and something will be done about it”, he said upon taking up the business reins.
This is Everton, not a new Everton, just Everton. The old Everton was an imposter
— the esk (@theesk) June 15, 2017
Something is certainly being done. If Koeman is able to gel all of his new recruits – confirmed and potential other arrivals – into his senior setup, Everton could upset the apple cart much like they did during the 2004/05 season.
Successful acquisition of a trophy or two would make Koeman and his players legends among the Goodison faithful, and Moshiri would most definitely have ushered in a new era for the ‘Mersey Millionaires.’
It’s a tag deserving of a club of Everton’s stature, and one that fans hope will turn those wistful gazes into broad smiles for as long as possible.
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