JThree weeks into Everton’s last relegation escape and the focus is on how long Bill Kenwright will remain chairman of a board of a population. Him. Sean Dyche would be forgiven for asking if anyone at the club was listening when he delivered this direct, honest and overdue assessment of Everton’s predicament in the aftermath of Premier League survival.
“There’s a huge amount of work to do, not just from me but from everyone at the club,” the Everton manager said after securing the club’s top flight status for a 70th successive season with a victory over Bournemouth. Other management messages from this difficult day included: “There is a lot to change here;” and: “It’s a big club but we don’t play like a big club. We have to find a way to change that. It’s been two seasons now.
The response so far has only reinforced the dysfunctional state Everton find themselves in under Farhad Moshiri and Kenwright, and offered Dyche little encouragement.
There have been changes. The departures of Denise Barrett-Baxendale as chief executive, Grant Ingles as chief financial officer and club legend Graeme Sharp as non-executive director were finally confirmed on Monday, 15 days after the Premier’s survival League was assured. There will be more changes.
Kenwright will quit and interim board appointments will be made in due course, but not within the 48-hour deadline that Everton unnecessarily set on Monday and unsurprisingly failed to meet on Wednesday. MSP Sports Capital, the New York-based investment firm, remains on track to buy its first stake in the club and appoint its own directors. Andy Bell and George Downing, successful local businessmen and Everton locals, are in line for board positions.
But the MSP deal is unlikely to be completed before Kenwright’s future is resolved and, as the statement from the #AllTogetherNow supporters collective made clear, the protests against the club’s hierarchy will continue. as long as the divisive and damaging president remains. Moshiri can remove Kenwright as chairman whenever he wants, regardless of the 77-year-old owning 1,750 shares in the club, but has so far failed to do so. Dyche called for action; Everton are in stasis.
The boardroom maneuvers and their aftermath cannot mask the amount of work required of Dyche and Director of Football Kevin Thelwell to avoid a third straight season of relegation angst. The Everton manager wants two new strikers to be added to his squad this summer. Betting again on Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s fitness and not signing a recognized goalscorer, as in recent transfer windows, is not on Dyche’s agenda.