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Soccer-Fans get their wish as Everton “sack the board”

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By Mitch Phillips

LONDON (Reuters) – Everton drew a line under another dismal season by announcing on Monday that directors Denise Barrett-Baxendale, Grant Ingles and Graeme Sharp, a goalscoring crowd hero in the 1980s, had left the club.

The relationship between the board and the Goodison Park crowd soured so badly in the latter part of the season that they and chairman Bill Kenwright were advised by police to stay away from home matches because of fears for their safety.

A decision about the future of Kenwright, who has been chairman for 19 years, will be made in the next 48 hours, the club said.

Everton avoided what would have been their first relegation since 1951 with a final-day victory over Bournemouth – the second successive late escape for a club that have spent more years in the top flight than any other.

Minutes after fulltime in the Bournemouth game sections of the crowd began chanting “sack the board”, voicing their anger and frustration that the hundreds of millions of pounds invested by Farhad Moshiri has brought no success.

A club statement on Monday said: “The outgoing directors have worked tirelessly over recent months to assist with the preparation for a transition to a new Board. The Club is very appreciative of this generous accommodation, which is both characteristic of them, and entirely in the spirit of the best values of our club.”

Kenwright said: “This has been a great Board who have all worked tirelessly for the club, no matter what the circumstances. My relationship with (CEO) Denise has been known as one of the closest in football. I thank her for her many achievements, particularly her magnificent work in respect of our new stadium.”

A statement from the departing directors said: “We have all been fully committed during our time here and are disappointed to have made the decision to leave Everton.

“We have worked tirelessly alongside our Chairman in what has been a challenging period to deliver some of the most significant projects in Everton’s history – projects that will safeguard and sustain the commercial future of the Club for generations to come.

“We are proud of the commercial growth projects progressed during our time on the Board, including the construction of the Club’s new waterfront stadium. This construction project – the largest currently on site in the UK – is progressing at pace.

“In addition to these commercial achievements, we take great pride in the continued growth of the club’s social programmes and the plans that the Board has put in place for the community-led regeneration scheme at Goodison Park.

(Reporting by Mitch Phillips, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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