The Big Announcement
The 127th Annual General Meeting of Everton Football Club [Full Transcript]
Early in the proceedings, Kenwright was re-elected to the Board of Directors but with some opposition from shareholders.
Keith Wyness revealed to the gathered array of Everton shareholders what they already knew about the new stadium plans.
This is what CEO Keith Wyness had to say: "I accept that it is both inevitable and understandable that the question of our possible relocation to a site in Kirkby will be raised at some point this evening. I hope you will respect the fact that we are strictly limited in what we can say with regard to this possible project.
However, what I can tell you is that a formal announcement will be made tomorrow which will confirm that, in conjunction with Knowsley Borough Council and Tesco, we are investigating the possibility of a major regeneration initiative in Kirkby, one which might provide us with a new home.
"I must stress that this does not, in any way, constitute a final decision on the location of any new stadium for the Club. I felt it was important that you — the Club's shareholders — were the first people to hear this news. [That is, after we leaked it 'Exclusively' to Our Man at the Liverpool Echo...]"
Because of the various confidentiality clauses which are in place, we will be unable to make further comment on this subject during the remainder of this meeting — I hope you will both understand and respect that."
Confidentiality clauses! How utterly pathetic. Who writes these bloody things, and why on earth are they needed? Other than to keep the sheep in their pens, utterly shameful nonsense.
Bill Kenwright: "I don't want to be the guy to take Everton away from Goodison Park just as I didn't want to be guy who sold Wayne Rooney, I would love to say here forever. and yes, it is a big, emotive subject. But we have signed an exclusive agreement to look at this proposal. All we've done, though, is signed an exclusivity agreement with various stopping points. I have checked everything to do with it for my own sake and this is not a done deal, it is an option. I'd stay here forever, personally, but it's not an option financially for the future of this football club. I have also been told by the council it is absolutely impossible to extend the footprint of the club."
"This exclusivity period is a period of time. At this moment it is just a possibility. As a Board we have to make decisions. We have always said that when we have what we feel is the best plan going forward we will go to the fans. Keith Wyness intends to keep his word on that. We will keep everybody informed because it is your club."
Everton Football Club, Tesco and Knowsley Council have today confirmed that they are fully committed to investigating a major regeneration initiative in Kirkby, which could include a new Everton football stadium, a Tesco superstore and other community and retail facilities.
All three parties will now look exclusively into the potential opportunities and the viability of such a development.
Everton Football Club have given their full commitment to investigating the feasibility of Kirkby becoming the home of their new stadium and will not explore any other possible sites at this time.
The three parties will produce a joint business plan that considers all potential elements of the proposed development. This plan will then be reviewed to ensure that it represent the best way forward for all concerned including the local community.
Everton, Tesco and Knowsley Council are fully committed to involving the community and local businesses in discussions over a potential development in the coming months.
“Have the club looked at the impact this will have on supporters if we leave Liverpool?” one shareholder told the meeting of around 300 people. “We will be making a long-term error if we leave the city. It will be a mistake to move to Kirkby.”
Another told the meeting that it would be “a disaster” to build a new stadium outside the Liverpool city boundaries. “We know we have to move on,” he said, “But it would represent the start of the erosion of our fan base. It would be the equivalent of us hoisting the white flag to Liverpool FC that they can ‘have the city’.”
Richard Lewis stood up at the AGM on behalf of the Everton Shareholders 2005 Association and asked that the Board consider a "non executive member" being put on the Board
Prof Tom Cannon said he wanted to disassociate himself from all the negative speakers tonight because anyone who couldn't see what a great job Bill and Dave were doing must be from another planet"
Kenwright told shareholders: “The reason why David Moyes is a great manager like Arsene Wenger is that he sleeps, eats and breathes the club. We may have had a bad few weeks but Everton is in terrific hands.
“When David first arrived, he told me his ambition was to bring in a new young player every year. He wanted to bring the age of the squad down and he has been true to his word. David will not waste your money and I trust him.”
Kenwright is, however, concerned that 64% of Everton’s turnover in the 2005-06 financial year went on players’ wages. The bill increased by 20% from £30M to £37M. He said: “The situation is not great and we would like to keep the mark at 50% of turnover. We felt it was necessary to push the boat out. Wages are a curse and this is an ongoing problem.”
"Robert Earl bought Paul Gregg's shares," Kenwright declared. "He is an entrepreneur, a man of vision, but how much is he going to be involved in the football club? "We had a meeting, Keith (Wyness), myself and Jon (Woods) three weeks ago when he jetted over from America. At the moment he is up to his eyes in various things.
"But his main involvement will be raising money, raising profile and raising sponsorship. I don't know if you know anything about him but he started off with a plan for English Heritage/Beefeaters restaurants in America. He built that up, went into Hard Rock, went into Planet Hollywood and had several ups and downs.
"But he's one of the great movers and shakers in marketing. I think that's what attracted him to join us."
For a full report and transcript of what was actually said, click here