HomeFootballEverton Fans vs Board: Civil War Ripping Club Apart

Everton Fans vs Board: Civil War Ripping Club Apart


Everton have had a miserable 2023 season, with five matches remaining and the threat of relegation from the Premier League looming large. This campaign has been a struggle both on and off the pitch, with the club posting losses of more than £430m over the last five years and their new stadium on Bramley Moore Dock being built but in need of financing. They are also awaiting news of any potential sanctions after being referred to an independent commission by the Premier League over an alleged breach of financial fair play rules. To add to the toxicity and uncertainty around the Merseyside club, a civil war has erupted between the Everton board and disgruntled supporters, who feel chairman Bill Kenwright is not up to the job and owner Farhad Moshiri has squandered much of the £750m he has invested. The turn of the year saw the relationship between Everton and their faithful nosedive to a point where it looked irreparable. Following the 4-1 home loss to Brighton on 3 January, club sources said chief executive Denise Barrett-Baxendale was manhandled by a male fan as she left the Goodison Park directors’ box. After the 2-1 loss against Southampton 11 days later, clips shared on social media showed home-grown forward Anthony Gordon’s car blocked by a number of supporters while defender Yerry Mina was confronted. The turbulence on the touchline has continued too – Frank Lampard was sacked on 23 January, with the side second from bottom, and replaced by Sean Dyche, Everton’s sixth permanent manager in five years. Despite selling Gordon to Newcastle for £45m on 29 January – leaving them short of options up front – the club ended up failing to sign a player in the winter transfer window. Though they won two of their first three games under former Burnley boss Dyche, a run of one victory in their past 10 matches sees them remain entrenched in trouble inside the relegation zone. Until recently, a group of supporters held peaceful protest marches before every home game since Dyche’s appointment, expressing their frustration at the running of the club by Moshiri and the board of directors. Merseyside Police was called in to liaise with the club following alleged threats, which included reports of death threats sent to Kenwright and intimidating calls and emails to Barrett-Baxendale. The club are making attempts to repair the relationship with their fans and are hoping for a galvanised approach to the season end, with both parties aiming for a finish that would see them achieve the mutual goal of remaining in the top flight. A blog post published on Everton’s website on Wednesday read: “Last season showed that when we are together, we are a force to contend with. For our final games, let’s recreate that and more. Together, anything is possible.” However, a 4-1 defeat against Newcastle on Thursday sapped away any early optimism. Chris Hannon, spokesman for the All Together Now movement, told BBC Sport: “There is no way the current board members will be accepted by the fanbase again. We’re in a relegation battle at the moment so luckily for the board, we are trying to push the team more. If we go down then things will ramp up massively.” Nine-time First Division champions Everton and 2015-16 Premier League winners Leicester face off on Monday with the realistic prospect of at least one or both clubs going down at the end of the month. This is Everton’s 119th top-flight campaign, but their proud record of staying in the highest division since 1954 is under real threat. Last year, Leicester finished eighth and earned a total of £128m in Premier League broadcast and central commercial revenue, while Everton earned £117m. The difference between the guaranteed broadcasting revenue for a club in the Premier League against a year one parachute payment following relegation is around £60m, which would be a significant reduction in revenue for both clubs to contend with. Everton also have the added difficulty of paying for their new 52,888-capacity stadium, with owner Moshiri reportedly searching for outside investment. A critical 28-day period with five matches remaining will determine whether Everton remain in the top flight or not.

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