I was there for a couple of years. I went in as commercial manager and came as head of Commercial and Marketing Operations. I controlled the commercial side of the football club with Keith Wyness. I was responsible for restructuring the whole of the commercial operation. At that time, the retail business was losing money and when you sell 100k replica shirts every year, that shouldn't happen and becomes a bit of a worry.
The club had one football shop in the stadium, it was a small shop and it was destination only. I couldn't understand with the supporter base of 500k people that Everton had, why we didn't have shops on the Wirral, where I live, why not in the city centre. My predecessor was a fan of the football club and I think fans of football clubs don't work that well when they're running football clubs. I think you've got to be aside of that. You can a passion for the team but the minute you stop worrying about the tickets and hospitality and start worrying about how about it will affect you and your peers, you lose sight of what you're there for.
I opened up all the shops and eventually I said that retail was taking too much of my time, I've got too many staff, it's about time we let the experts do it and I outsourced it to JJB. Huge deal, massive deal. It turned it from a loss making position to a very rosy retail outlet. I also understood that there were pockets of Everton fans in London and other places and because the e-commerce position at Everton was poor, these people couldn't get shirts, shorts, anything. They had to travel to the club to get them.
By using JJB, who had 450 stores over the country of which 84 were going to be prime Everton stores, I had 84 stores which were overstocked with Everton stuff so the pockets of supporters in London, where ever, could get medium shorts if they wanted off of the shelf. It enabled to get the brand of Everton out there.
We did a brand audit when I first started there and we found loads of different versions of the logo over the town and country, in magazines and papers. We put a brand police out there, making sure that everything was correct. I was also responsible for the Chiang deal, I did that, and I secured it. Ted Sutton executed out in Thailand with the football coaching. I put an international strategic plan in place, I was responsible for the commercial team at Everton. I was responsible for a lot at Everton. And I left to go into the online gaming industry. At the time, online gaming was massive in this country and the VAT and customs weren't allowing online gaming to come into the country. So all the people who wanted to put their money in football had to put their strategies on hold. I engaged with these people in order to take their strategic plan out to all the football clubs and I went to work for them.