Why Kenwright has got it so wrong at Everton
Evertonians are proud to tell you they don’t do protest marches.
And they’d rather wear Stevie G masks than wave black-and-scarlet scarfs, in recognition of the club’s Victorian colours, as an economic threat to their owners.
Listen to national radio phone-ins and, for a club of its size, you’ll hear few hysterical Evertonians whining about their lot.
In case the Match Of The Day running order has convinced you otherwise, let me remind you of that size: they’ve played more top-flight English games than any other side, only three clubs boast a better trophy haul and despite winning only one cup in 24 years have average gates of 36,000.
But the majority of those loyal fans are despairing at yet another transfer window in which, unless a star is sold, the best they can hope for is the odd free transfer or loan deal. And some are doing something about it.
The People’s Group have only been going 10 days but already claim almost 2,000 members. And like another recently-formed protest group, Evertonians For Change, their demands won’t exactly force the riot police on to the streets of Liverpool 4.
All they want is an honest, open dialogue with the people who run their club.
They’re not demanding to know why they haven’t got sheikhs in charge or why David Moyes doesn’t have the same spending power as Kenny Dalglish. But they do want to know why he can’t go for the kind of players Stoke or even Championship side Leicester are signing.
No football chairman loves his club more than Bill Kenwright, which is why his refusal to engage with fellow Blues angers them even more. Because they know if he wasn’t chairman, he’d be with them.
It’s as though, due to successful campaigns from groups such as Keep Everton In Our City, fans who refuse to accept the status quo are perceived as the enemy within.
They’re not. They simply feel Everton have yet to enter the modern football era and they want to know why.
They see a team getting outspent in the transfer market and out-thought in the boardroom, with only Moyes’ genius ensuring they have a fingertip grasp on the coat-tails of the elite. But how long will he put up with having no room for improvement?
Many Evertonians are happy to keep treading water with Kenwright, their logic being that he may not have a pot to pee in but at least his pee is blue.
But the growing band of rebels are baffled as to why, after an 11-year leadership littered with fiascos such as the failed Kings Dock and Kirkby moves, and the recent collapse of the Park End retail development, Kenwright doesn’t have a solution.
Worse still, he and his board refuse to meet with fans and honestly address their questions.
Questions such as: Who is on the board and what are they doing to improve the club? What is, roughly, the sale price? Who is, or was, interested in buying? How big is the debt? Why is there no money for transfers?
As private company shareholders, they will argue they don’t have to answer any of those questions.
But as custodians of a club they themselves branded The People’s Club, stonewalling those people is dangerous hypocrisy.
Everton have always prided themselves in giving their fans nothing but the best.
Right now, those who run it are giving them nothing.
The least they deserve is to be told why.
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