Everton Club Focus – Disgruntled supports become more vocal as Kenwright comes under pressure

Everton in crisis” articles have been appearing in the national Press with alarming regularity recently, as an increasingly vocal section of the Toffees’ support continues to agitate for greater transparency from the board regarding the club’s ownership, finances and details of any potential buyers. One such article, in the Daily Mail, even suggested a tripartite war is ready to break out between the fans who want a revolution at the top of the club and the fans who are content with the status quo, with the club stuck in the middle.

There has long been a group of supporters pushing for more openness from Chairman Bill Kenwright and the other members of the club’s hierarchy, and this summer’s painful lack of transfer activity has merely amplified matters. Their disquiet is unlikely to be soothed soon, but it is important to remember the unrest is not just financial. One of the major sticking points between the unsettled supporters and the club is the feeling that the club is at worst actively trying to hide their true intentions, and at best showing contempt for the fans and the issues they are trying to raise. These supporters understand the club has little money to spend – what they want to know is why that should be the case. There may well be clear, simple answers for their questions, but the club has largely failed to engage the supporters who are asking them.

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But the situation is not near the all-out civil war seen across Stanley Park at Liverpool, or down the East Lancs road at Manchester United. A quick look around the Premier League tells Everton they are at least fortunate to have a Chairman who does hold the best intentions for the club to his heart. As Dominic King pointed out in his Daily Mail article: “…imagine if Venky’s Group bought into [Everton] rather than [Blackburn Rovers]…around that time, Everton had a string of poor results – who is to say Moyes would not have [been sacked]?” The manager and the players are the only things that can currently unite the board and most sections of the crowd. Few serious, credible supporters would argue Everton could realistically find a better manager than David Moyes. The frustration arises because the manager is operating with one hand tied behind his back, and the club’s comments that around 85p of every £1 generated in income is reinvested in the club is not enough information.

Everton has become a club of contradictions. David Moyes has broken Everton’s transfer record four times since January 2005, but not once since the summer of 2008. The squad contains players the envy of the Premier League, but selling them is the only way to raise money to strengthen the team. Lucrative new contracts have been given to key players, including Mikel Arteta, Phil Jagielka and Leighton Baines, but the club cannot afford to add to them. Everton now exist in a frustrating netherworld, neither one thing nor the other: too proud to accept mid-table mediocrity, but too poor to achieve anything higher.

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