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An open letter to Bill Kenwright

By John Jennings :  04/02/2011 :  Comments (25) :

Dear Bill,

The Future of Everton Football Club. Nil Satis Nisi Optimum.

Banner by Patrick Hart

I am writing this as a lifelong (50+ years) supporter of Everton who is more concerned about the future of this great club right now, than at any time I can recall.

I wanted to state up front that I think the time has come for you to step down as Chairman in the best long-term interests of our club. The grass roots support has, I believe, lost all confidence in you, and the Everton Board.

I trust, as a man who is well-documented as being, first and foremost, an Everton fanatic, you will understand the basis of my concern. However, I thought it would be useful to list my concerns. I also have to say, Bill, that I really do believe that these concerns are shared by the vast majority of Evertonians. There is no science behind this claim, other than talking to fellow blues at Goodison Park, in the pub, at work and widely reading online forums.

Currently, we stand 15th in the Premier League with one of the poorest win records in the top flight. The reality is, we are in a relegation battle. During David Moyes's tenure, we have been here before, of course, but in the context of expectation, and where we thought we could go this season, this is a desperately worrying under-performance. By common consent, we have our strongest squad since David took over, and the players themselves must take their share of the blame.

What is most worrying though, is the club?s reaction to this during the January transfer window. Two senior players leave without even a hint of any quality replacements, let alone actual strengthening of the squad. What is our strategy? Year after year, the manager trots out the same line ? we will not be active in the transfer market.

This brings me to a huge concern. Your role in securing long-term investment, or a buyer, for the club. You have stated on more than one occasion that the search has been going on ?24/7?. If that is actually the case, you have categorically failed in your self-stated most important task. Taken alongside another massive worry ? the long deafening silences from you and the board on so many important issues ? the only view that can be formed is that we are effectively rudderless in stormy seas. No clear strategy. No Plan B. We are adrift.

This feeling is only exacerbated by the quality of your leadership on another crucial issue: The long-term home for the club. King?s Dock, Destination Kirkby, Scottie Road, ground share, redeveloping Goodison? The Kings Dock and DK episodes can only be described as total and utter failures. Millions spent on men with wigs and consultants, the fan base split ? and nothing, absolutely nothing, achieved. Again, with DK, there appeared to be no Plan B. What is the plan Bill? We need to hear from you.

There is another important issue we need to hear from you on. The state of the club?s finances. For the first time I can recall, the rumour mill says we are heading towards a bad place financially. A very bad place. I hope against hope that this is a long way from the truth, but the rumour is only fuelled by that same silence. And club accounts that are many months delayed in their usual publication. What is the truth, Bill? Why the silence? Indeed, where is the dialogue and the communication? I say again, we need to hear from you, and I don?t mean orchestrated soundbytes.

I hope you have read the BBC online article by Phil McNulty on ?What next for Moyes and Everton?. Probably the best article I have seen written by a respected football journalist on our club for a very long time. If you have read it, Bill, read it again. If you haven?t, why not? What is your response? We have a manager who has been widely recognised by the wider football community as doing a very good job when taken in the context of limited resources. He has only been really able to buy if he sells. Where are we headed and what is your plan to back David Moyes and live up to that famous and proud club motto?

I believe that actually, there is no clear plan. There is no clear strategy. You have gambled and lost. You are, as stated above, a fan and this is your train set. But Bill, we don?t need a fan at the top (and it?s our train set too). We really don?t care about having a fan in charge. Look across the Park. A hard-headed football-orientated businessman with the resources to invest and to make the tough decisions, and to communicate with a passionate fan base, is what we need and you have had time, way more than enough time, to find someone to fulfil this role.

So, Bill, it is time for you to hand over the reins. The club is going backwards, and it is happening on your watch. At the very, very least you owe us some very detailed answers to the questions I have posed. And after that, you must step aside. If you love the club as much as you say you do ? and I for one do not doubt that ? you have to know when it is time to go. That time is now.

Yours sincerely

John Jennings

Reader Comments

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Mike Prendergast
1   Posted 05/02/2011 at 03:28:40

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Hear Hear.
I agree totally.
Time to Sell.
Brian Lloyd
2   Posted 05/02/2011 at 08:49:06

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I and many thousands of Evertonians have the same concerns as expressed in this letter. Unfortunately, I fear Bill will either not read it or if he does, chose to ignore it. Sad times indeed. Taxi for Kenwright AND Green who seems to get no flack at all.
Steve Cotton
3   Posted 05/02/2011 at 09:29:51

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Bill is bored with this sort of question... 'Yawn!'

Move on...
Gavin Ramejkis
4   Posted 05/02/2011 at 10:14:56

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John, the sentiment is spot on but BK strangled the voice of shareholders, he is pig ignorant of anyone's views other than his own. What a legacy; the worst chairman in 133 years.
Rob Hill
5   Posted 05/02/2011 at 10:22:05

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Fully agree with everything you say here.

What scares me is if, by some miracle, Bill comes out & answers all these questions ? answers that I fear will include the statement "No-one wants to buy Everton Football Club" ? then what?
Colin Potter
6   Posted 05/02/2011 at 10:32:44

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A very fine letter John, but falling on the head of a numbskull, I fear.
Gavin Ramejkis
7   Posted 05/02/2011 at 10:31:41

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Rob, we will never know unless he actually puts the club up for sale.
Nick Entwistle
8   Posted 05/02/2011 at 11:00:16

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Will the unrest spreading through the Islamic dictatorships inspire the Evertonians to markedly protest today? It only takes one to stand up and shout, shout, shout to get it started.
Thomas James
9   Posted 05/02/2011 at 11:06:54

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Goodison should be like Cairo, in full protest. Let the example of Egyptian people be example to us all ... thank goodness BK does have a military police force!
John Jennings
10   Posted 05/02/2011 at 11:20:41

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Brian ? a copy is going to Goodison, Bill's London address and I am going to personally hand him a copy at Stamford Bridge on 19 Feb.

Steve ? so you know Bill personally? What would you advise Evertonians to do?

Sorry I bored you.
Gavin Ramejkis
11   Posted 05/02/2011 at 12:08:24

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Thomas, he does, the Stewards have been told to tell anyone with banners to put them down. I have been a recipient of that little number myself, how they could stop 30 odd thousand doing it would be a different matter. You should admire anyone that stands up for what they feel is right and shun those that belittle it or try to enforce change to stop it.
Phil Rodgers
12   Posted 05/02/2011 at 13:11:57

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It's outrageous that these questions have not been answered. I agree completely with every word in this article. Essentially we are customers and we are being treated appallingly. We have a right to know what is going on.
Steve Sweeney
13   Posted 05/02/2011 at 13:24:55

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John
A really great letter, the tide at Goodison against BK is rising, I don't think he is that bad a man but he is a very bad Chairman.
I am going to post the link onto Everton for Change facebook page. Why not post it on the EFC facebook page?, if you cannot do this let me know and I will.
John Jennings
14   Posted 05/02/2011 at 13:33:39

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Steve S ?- thanks for the supportive comments. Feel free to post on the facebook forum, I am trying to get it to up on the BBC 606 board.
Danny Hinchcliffe
15   Posted 05/02/2011 at 17:19:27

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Shut up, man, nobody wants to buy a team with shitty fans, anyone who's about to spend a few mill on a football club is going to research it first... and probably log on here to find you 'genuinely concerned' when in reality you should have been worried back in the nineties and we were breaking records to sign the likes of Amokachi. I wonder if we've paid that one off yet... It's a boat steadying operation and I fail to see how the chairman of a club that everybody (apart from Pienaar & Lescott) is very happy to work for is failing at his job.

That pride that us Evertonians can wear even when we're a few places off the bottom is due to Bill Kenwright, I thank him for that. We know we will get out of it, because it could be real, we may actually be the greatest TEAM the world has ever seen. It's a team game and the word is from inside the camp that he's a member.

In the meantime, we're in the Premier League and playing entertaining football, which is more than you can say about Blackburn, another team with history and recent success. They've got new owners and are above us in the league but who gives a shit about them?? No-one because they've not got anyone at the helm like Bill to make anyone want to care.

Sorry but all these 'open letters' are just weak... if the guy says he's trying his best for the club then that's good by me. I look at the situation then and I look at the situation now... it's better, enough said.

Richard Wilkinson
16   Posted 05/02/2011 at 18:22:49

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To the tune of Jingle Bells:

Kenwright out
Kenwright out
Kenwright out today
Oh what fun it's not to watch a skint football team play.......

Chris Matheson
17   Posted 05/02/2011 at 21:00:14

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John, congrats on a good article and one which is much more restrained than if I had written it.

In case nobody else clarifies, I think that Steve at No. 3 is alluding to BK's disgraceful response to straightforward questions from shareholders at the last AGM when asked about selling the club.

Incidentally I understand there was talk on the radio today (although I did not hear it) that Keith Harris is saying there are three parties interested in buying (investing in??) the club. If it is correct that he has said this, what are the chances that actually this is the usual spin, smoke and mirrors mixed with a bit of guff and misdirection to head off discontent and the forthcoming AGM? Did anyone hear Keith Harris's comments?
Billy Johnston
18   Posted 05/02/2011 at 22:01:26

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Great article John, what a shame there are still people that believe Kenwright can do no wrong.

In Moyes We Trust
With Kenwright We're Bust.

David Israel
19   Posted 05/02/2011 at 20:49:20

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Danny 15, if we took everybody's word when they say they're trying their best we wouldn't need to have a general election every four or five years. John Major and Gordon Brown would certainly have said they were trying their best "for the club". Why kick them out?
Martin Paice
20   Posted 06/02/2011 at 00:22:20

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John - I think the first Steve was referring to a kenwright comment at the london supporters club meeting about if the club was for sale and for how much (im sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong).

Don't think it was a dig at your article.

On a positive note, great result today and a good turnout as well after 28k for Chelsea last week. COYB.
Jim Lloyd
21   Posted 06/02/2011 at 00:36:03

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Danny Hinchcliife, are you drunk?? I know I am but I've not read such unmittigated waffle in many a long year. I'm hoping, for your sake, that you're just trying a wind-up. Otherwise, see a doctor.
Liu Weixian
22   Posted 06/02/2011 at 03:30:12

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Kenwright will be forced to respond if the papers publish it. Anyone here have connections to the media?
John Burquest
23   Posted 06/02/2011 at 11:33:40

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As far as I'm concerned, yesterday's game was a metaphor for the current Everton situation:

A decent team and a half-decent bench.
A negative formation and a first half influenced strongly by outside forces (the ref).
Jittery and unconfident when pegged back and almost self-destructive.
Ultimately triumphing in front of passionate supporters.
A Decent team brought together by a decent manager.
An unconfident demeanour brought about by lack of investment.
Dreadful outside influnce in Mr. Green.
Almost self-destructive unless the present Chairman gets his act together.
Ultimately triumphing, as we Evertonians always have done!
Ged Alexander
24   Posted 06/02/2011 at 14:17:23

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please follow and contribute to @kenwrightoutnow on twitter
Ian Burns
25   Posted 07/02/2011 at 17:29:26

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This is probably a little late as I have only been catching up on the correspondence on this subject during the day today (Monday). Not only is it late but it is probably going to be unpopular with the majority of people who have voiced their opinion.

Has anybody given any thought to how it must feel to be castigated by the very fans you are desperately trying to satisfy? What would you all be saying now if he had sold to a Mike Ashton or the Glazer Family, what coloured scarves would you be wearing today?

Don't you think a stadium in Liverpool City would be a dream come true for Bill Kenwright, as it would for every other Everton fan? How frustrating Kirkby must have been; how many offers from the "wrong potential owners" he must have turned down wanting to bash his head against the proverbial wall?

Everybody is complaining about the transfer window when Bill Kenwright is probably cash dry without an owner who would also be a True Blue anywhere in sight. Do you think Bill Kenwright enjoys this situation for one moment? Put yourself in his shoes ? everybody calling you for not selling but by selling to the wrong person he could end up with Gillett and Hicks and simply be another David Moores, who cast Liverpool aside without a great deal of due diligence, or so it seems.

Yes, Bill Kenwright should answer some questions but maybe he is working 24/7 to find the answers to questions he knows are coming?

We sometimes have to take stock and think about what we wish for ? the greener grass and all of that?

I've even read of people wanting a replacement for David Moyes who must be feeling the frustration more than anybody else!

Over 30,000 would-be managers turn up every home game ? yet given the resources he has had to hand, he is number one not number 30,001.

Yes, investors should be found but I for one would rather belong to a family/people's club with the right owners than a fly-by-night Mike Ashton et al.

However, amongst all of the comments there was one which made a great deal of sense to me ? if Liverpool don't want Stanley Park, there is no reason whatsoever why EFC shouldn't take up the option thereby turning a negative selling situation into one which would be extremely positive!

Come on guys, let's give Bill Kenwright a bit more space, I'm sure he is doing what every Everton fan wants ? trying to find the right owner for this most wonderful of football clubs.

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