The Blue Union meets Bill Kenwright Transcript

The Blue Union & Bill Kenwright

Last Friday, contrary to earlier reports in the media, three representatives of the Blue Union met with Everton Chairman Bill Kenwright.

Obtaining a meeting with Bill is an achievement in itself at the moment; he’s refused or cancelled all opportunities to speak to the media, via which he could have responded to the genuine concerns being expressed by an increasing number of Evertonians.

The meeting was arranged through Derek Hatton. Derek, a lifelong Evertonian and friend of Bill Kenwright, who has recently expressed similar concerns over the future of the club, believed dialogue at the highest level would be the only way to facilitate a degree of understanding on both sides.

The three Blue Union representatives, Barry Jones, Simon Magner and Mark Jones, took unpaid leave to travel to London at their own expense and attend the 3hr 30min meeting which took place at Bill’s office.

To avoid the possibility of supporters learning of the meeting from any other source and in a bid to prevent any misunderstanding or misinterpretation arising over what was actually discussed; a brief statement stating that the meeting had taken place was issued the following day.

The Chairman was aware that information from the meeting would be supplied to supporters. The only confidentiality exercised surrounds matters concerning the chairman’s private and family life, which he is clearly entitled to expect and we are equally happy to respect. The normal conversation expected between any football supporters has also been omitted. All three representatives concur that the following is a true and accurate report of what was discussed.

The first report is a factual account of what was discussed; the subsequent report explains our interpretation, understanding, reservations and describes the conclusions we have drawn.

The meeting began with a brief description of the campaign to date; that is wasn’t a mindless Kenwright out campaign, that it was a search for answers and a desire to find a solution to the perceived stagnation of the club.

Bill responded by explaining that nobody is a bigger Evertonian than he; that there was nothing he wouldn’t do to support the club and as an example explained that he’s the only blue to mortgage his house and has borrowed £10m. Having said all that he reinforced that he doesn’t want to be here, he wants to sell; but, he stated, “How can I get out and leave my Football Club?”

Simon replied that Bill’s credentials as an Evertonian weren’t being questioned here, but indicated that many Evertonians make financial sacrifices to support Everton without any desire or hope whatsoever of obtaining a return; Bill “Okay, okay, let’s start”

Mark moved on to what is actually being done to sell the club; he explained “What is Bill Kenwright trying to do now to move the club forward, to sell the club, we hear all the time that you want to sell but what are you actually doing, nothing ever seems to materialise; why hasn’t the club been sold?”

Bill responded “You’re asking why the club hasn’t been sold? I have no idea why Keith Harris, Amanda Staveley, Philip Green, Robert……Elstone, Bill Kenwright…..” Mark, “why haven’t they succeeded?” Bill, “I don’t know….I have no idea why they can’t sell it. Simon, “Is Keith Harris involved Bill? Robert Elstone is on record as saying he isn’t….” Bill, “I don’t know what record that is son but it’s not HMV……Robert said that?…When did Robert say that? Simon, “At the public inquiry…….” Bill, “Keith Harris is involved on a daily basis, okay, let’s agree Robert said that; did you read the Keith Harris article in the Echo, The Times, The Guardian…the work he was putting in to sell Everton? Barry, “He was trying to sell Newcastle at the same time, didn’t do…..”Bill, “You’re talking exclusivity? Look, it’s a punt; I’ve been to Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, Citi Bank, we don’t think it’s a good idea to give exclusivity, we would cut off too many avenues; no one can sell the club better than me…”

Mark asks, “Who have you approached?” Bill, “There’s a guy at the moment in Italy, another in Abu Dhabi…Keith has phoned with another; we’ve put a prospectus together…..look you’ll never get a better salesman than Bill Kenwright for Everton Football Club” Mark, ”The question is Bill why hasn’t it been sold?” Bill, “Why? I wish I knew….I have no idea; look, the thing I’m getting is there’s not enough money in the world; the thing is…..when was the last major sale of a football club?”

Barry, “Liverpool”, Simon, “Blackburn”

Bill, “You would want Blackburn Football Club? Barry, “Liverpool” Bill, No, No, No, No, I said major sale; Liverpool weren’t sold, they took over the debt.” Barry, “I’m sorry Bill, they have a new owner who never had a club; they were sold and now they’re showing ambition” Bill, “Okay okay, I’m not arguing with you if you call that buying a football club; Blackburn…..well…….I wouldn’t want a Blackburn.”

Simon, “Well the proof is in the pudding; in five years time they may have Championships and we may be sitting here saying we want a Blackburn scenario. Bill, “No they won’t…look, I don’t know the answer, I get two clubs in the city, Liverpool the foremost club in football…. Barry, “Is it the ground Bill?” Bill, “I don’t get that no….there isn’t a ground situation now…there just isn’t the kind of money out there.

Simon, “Can I just get back to Keith Harris? You’ve said that Keith Harris has been involved in attempts to sell the club but Robert Elstone, at the public inquiry, stated that Keith Harris wasn’t involved in the selling the club, which is it? Bill, “Of course Keith Harris is involved….Keith Harris is involved on a daily basis.

Bill went on to tell a story concerning Keith Harris; he’d put forward two guys who, in his opinion, were suitable potential owners of Everton Football Club. Harris claimed the two guys controlled a hedge fund; one was the head of ICI in the Far East and a second an inventor. They conducted due diligence and Everton were ready to sign an agreement when Bill smelt a rat; investigators discovered that ICI had never heard of the person concerned, he actually lived in one bedroom flat, and the second guy, the inventor, was based in Manchester.

Mark asked, “Bill, are we waiting for people to come to us or are we going to them?” Bill replied that they’ve recently produced a booklet to sell the club, that he has the best contacts in the business and that he speaks to the top agents involved in selling football clubs, Bill stated, “Look, we’re desperate, I’m desperate.”

Barry asked, seeing that Liverpool is now owned by the Boston Red Sox, if any enquiries had been made of the Steinbrenner family who own the New York Yankees? Bill replied “Yes, every avenue has been explored. You either believe me or don’t believe me. What more can I do?” Mark explained “This is the point Bill; people don’t know about this, why aren’t you making these statements public?” Bill replied, “I’ve said all this before; listen son, what more can I say?”

Simon, “Can I just return to Robert Elstone, again, he said at the inquiry that none of the major shareholder shares were for sale, that you were looking for investment and were not selling the Club” Bill answered, “Guys, I do not run the football club…the chairman doesn’t run the football club; do you accept that football fans hear what they want to hear?..Tell me, what has riled you since Chelsea?” Mark answered, “The week after Chelsea we heard that seventh was as good as it gets for Everton, that we don’t need a billionaire…that we want to do our business early and that Louis Saha slept in an oxygen tent…Bill, “Maybe he does….”

Mark, “We’ve heard nothing since Bill…James Vaughan left, that’s it, no other news, no transfers.” Bill responded, “We’ve got no money”

Simon, “Bill, we’ve had almost £30m over the last 12months; £9m from Bellefield, we’ve sold Pienaar, we’ve sold Vaughan, we’ve had loan fees…..Bill, “Yes, I got £1m for Yakubu”

Mark & Barry, “Where has it gone Bill?” Bill, “85p in the pound goes back into Finch Farm……football isn’t rocket science, matchday, player sales and television goes into one budget; what do you think is happening with the money?”

Simon, “I’m fairly confident it’s gone to pay debts Bill”

Bill, “And where has the debt come from?” Simon, “Good question…you tell us…” Bill “I’m not going to get angry, I know you’ve come a long way and I appreciate that, let me try to explain. This football club takes in a massive amount of money; on £81 million we sort of breakeven… you know about EBITDA? Mark “Yeah….” Bill, “EBITDA is earning before……interest……taxation……depreciation and amortisation, it’s our income. On top of our income we have to pay interest of around £4m. Okay, you know about the bank loan we had under Walter, the securitisation for £30m, it’s now £24.6m, it’s like a mortgage; it goes down slowly. The bank overdraft is £25m, we had Bellefield; we have £25m plus Bellefield. I’m not talking down to you, I’m just asking questions that I didn’t know till I had to learn about accounts. September/August we get the first lot of Sky money, we’re cash rich. When you have sky money and season ticket money there comes a time when, like every club, we’re at the borrowing limit…end of March…so what do I do every year, I sit with my bank…why? Because at the end of the year we’re back down within our facility, okay, this time we’re not…what do you think our squad is valued at for insurance purposes? It’s about £180m but the banks won’t take that as security …you have to battle with your bank, daily for me. When David started I said to him, we had the £30m debt…remember we were going to get £27m from NTL under Walter…we had an overdraft of £5m. I told him “I’ll make you a promise, I’ve got no money but we’ll move heaven and earth to give you £5m a year.” On average we give him £5.6 every year. 9 years that’s £45m that we haven’t got. Add that to the overdraft….you can see what trouble we’re in.”

Barry “Okay Bill, how do we get out of this trouble?” Bill replied that didn’t he just say how do we get out of this? Bill, “Look, we have just done a document to the bank which says you can’t stop the football club from trading…do you not think the bank doesn’t ask me every week how we’re doing with the sale? They’re fucking desperate. So what I’ve told them is ‘don’t kill us this season’…no I will not sell Jagielka, just as last year I was hung drawn and quartered for not selling Arteta. You know the four players we don’t dare sell. Baines, Jagielka, Fellaini and Tim Howard; In simple arithmetic, if you want me show you, £5m a year for 9 years is £45m…The Pienaar money has gone to the bank.” Mark, “Okay Bill, there you go, that’s an answer we haven’t had from you before.”

Bill “Alright, now be my mate, where else could it have gone? Or, be my adversary….where could it have gone, it could have gone in my pocket?” Mark “Okay, well there you go! Now I’m trying to open your eyes; this is what people are saying…” Barry “Bill, we don’t believe it, but this is what people are saying”

Bill “Look, there’s Premier League quarterly meeting for the chairman and chief executive, there are the Premiership accountants, it’s all recorded; it’s like the UN. So I come home to Jenny, and I say ‘So why is it that I stand up and say we can’t let the agents get away with it.’ You can see the problem in football, United, Arsenal, Chelsea they get double our TV money, placement money plus Champions League…How many chairmen aren’t on a salary? One….me. Just work this out; legitimately I am the only Premiership chairman that doesn’t take a salary. Legitimately what could I have made over the past 12 years? On expenses, on the interest on the £11m loan; I have guarantees at the bank…..I had to borrow £3m from the bank 18months ago……It’s got to be £10m, it’s got to be”

Mark “Bill I ask you; you have to do an interview, you need to explain to the fans; why don’t you do that?”

Bill’s replied, “And say what? We haven’t reduced the overdraft, we lose money every year, we can’t make money. That’s the bad news. Don’t they know that?” Mark, “No, they don’t, why don’t you tell them?

Bill describes an article he sent to David Moyes, a two page article that Moyes told him he didn’t need to release, that he was Bill Kenwright. Mark, “Who said you shouldn’t do that” Bill “On my mother’s life, David Moyes”

Simon, “Bill, can I just ask, hand on heart, Moyes has two years left on his contract, I think he’s our most important asset, what’s keeping him at Everton?” Bill, “Simon, I’ve survived three periods of death threats not to sack him, I’ve had the shit in the post, I’ve had the wreath, I’ve had we know where your mother lives…” Simon, “Bill, can I just say, that’s wrong, we would all….” Bill, “I know, I know, look, he’s my mate, we talk about everything.” Mark, “Okay, to answer Simon’s question, do you think he is going to extend his contract?” Bill, “Do you want him to?” Barry, “I do.” Mark, “Can’t you answer that question?” Bill, “Ask me if I’ve asked him to stay.” Mark, “Okay, have you asked him to stay?” Bill, “Yes, of course I’ve asked him.”

Mark then asked, “What’s Robert Earl’s interest in Everton?” Bill, “He bought the shares from Paul Gregg; he’s a brilliant marketer.” Mark, “But it hasn’t worked Bill….all we’ve seen is Rocky.” Barry, “Is it not in the interest of Robert Earl to come out and say I want to sell my shares?” Bill, “Well I’m speaking on behalf of Robert, Jon, Arthur and Philip; we’ve got the club, we own 75% of the Club”

Mark, “If we have no money now, we won’t have money next summer…” Bill, “I’m with you; I’ll be your president……sell the club…did you write it down for me? Simon, “I’ve written it down for you Bill, Keith Harris is going to sell the club ” Bill, “well write this down as well, Citi Bank, Deutsche Bank, Leon Angel, Keith Harris, Amanda Staveley. You’re saying to me, I’ve listened to you, I think you’re totally wrong in giving an exclusive to a guy, many are better than one guy; there has to be a reason nobody is buying Everton; there is a reason, there’s no money in the world, there’s no point in me being replaced, we need someone with money.”

Mark, “If we’re realistic then, you’re saying that there is no one out there…” Bill, “No I’m not, no I’m not; what I’m saying is that there is someone who I’m supposed to be meeting at 8pm tonight….. but he hasn’t rung me… but I’m always optimistic, because I’m an optimist…my doctor won’t let me be in charge in 5 years, you should be so lucky. I’ll be seventy and I don’t want to be there.”

Simon, “Well, that’s interesting Bill because there’s a large number of supporters who have suggested that maybe the way forward is to setup an interim board with the sole purpose of finding a buyer; would that be something that…?” Bill, “No, because I don’t agree that anyone can do a better job…it’s me, it’s me…get me Keith Harris on the phone love” (secretary). Mark, “You need to do an interview and tell that to people…”

Barry, “To be honest Bill I’ve never felt so out of touch with Everton.” Bill, “We’ve had worse times, you can’t remember the bad times” Mark, “I’ll be honest with you Bill; it’s not a big Bill Kenwright out movement…..” Bill, “I’d be amazed if it was…haven’t you learnt something about accounts today? That knowledge is the best thing you can have…” Mark, “Well, apparently as we don’t understand, we’ve asked Robert Elstone for an idiots guide to the accounts.”

Simon, “When you say that you don’t know why no one has bought the club, I think it’s my belief and a few others, that Goodison is holding us back; on that front, what’s been done recently….the only thing that’s happened positive since the public inquiry is Everton Place and that doesn’t appear to be going anywhere at the moment.” Bill, “Do you know why that’s not going forward?” Simon, “I’ve heard many rumours.” Mark, “This is one of the problems Bill; we’ve heard three different things, we’ve heard that it’s a problem moving the IT equipment….” Bill Laughter, Barry, “Bill this is the stuff we’re being told” Bill, “Who told you?” Barry, “Ian Ross” Mark, “We’ve been told that it’s a problem over insurance, that we don’t own the land; we just don’t know” Bill, “The second one….it’s to do with insurances”

Simon, “I’ve had a little input into the Football Quarter in Liverpool; do you know anything about it” Bill, “Yeah, a little.” Simon, “That’s at kind of an advanced stage at the moment; the guys from KEIOC are sitting down with a major construction company and the council over the next couple of weeks to draw up a prospectus…” Bill, “Fantastic” Simon, “Are there any plans for anything to happen?” Bill, “There are six sites we’re looking at; three of which we’re really keen on, Edge Lane, Speke and another one” Simon, “Stonebridge Cross?” Bill, “Yeah, the one on the East Lancs, yes that one…I would really love Edge Lane.…when I first came on the board about twenty years ago, some guys came to us with plans to regenerate Goodison, really forward thinking guys, they’d thought of everything, it was fantastic…we got told no, the fans won’t be into that stuff…the happiest hour was when I got a phone call just outside Hull and I was told Kirkby was going to get passed; just after I had another and I was told, officially, that Kirkby had failed…”

Simon, “I’ve been told that for the football quarter the council could throw in substantial amounts of land in and around Stanley Park” Bill, “In fairness to the council, even the guy before …I’d phone him every other day and I’d say please please give me something in Liverpool; he phones me up two years ago, I’ve got the answer…I’ve read it up, I’ve sorted it out, every Evertonian pays £10k for their seat for the next 10 years. What can you say when someone says that to you…”

Mark, “How on earth can we fund a new stadium?” Bill, “But you can, you can, if you’ve got the infrastructure, you can fund it; it’s much much easier to fund a new stadium than what we’ve got” Simon, “We couldn’t fund Kings Dock though Bill” Bill, “That was different, I’ll tell you what happened at the Kings Dock. All along, the council, the Merseyside Development Corporation, all along, they were saying we could do it this week; we could do it this week. Finally we came to the last meeting and they said we can’t do it, you need to find another £40m, and we went away and the only way to raise the money was to sell the whole caboodle. Kings Dock was really seriously world class. I’m not quite sure whether Merseyside Development were serious”

Bill, “This thing, this Football Quarter…is it two stadiums or one?” Simon, “Two, its two stadiums…the idea is that both Everton and Liverpool stay in…”Bill, “And where is it exactly?” Simon, “The boundaries haven’t been set, but they’re around the square of the park if you think about it, it’s inclusive of the Walton and Anfield area and there was talk of it including Walton Hall Park; that’s the home of Liverpool FA.” Bill acknowledges Walton Hall Park as being spoken about as a possible new stadium. Bill “Have they done a lot of work on the financing side of it, or is it still a dream?” Simon, “It’s a lot further along than a dream, but the financing part is the next stage, interesting investors” Bill, “Could you do a shared stadium” Mark, “If it meant Everton was successful?” Bill, “I’m led to believe John Henry is willing to discuss it, I don’t know; the last lot weren’t interested…to be fair neither where we”

Bill, “Go on; ask me more….are you aware of some of the good things Everton do?” Mark, “I wanted to ask about Finch Farm; we lease it for £1.1m a year, how long do we lease that for?” Simon, “Fifty years.” Bill, “We don’t know that.” Mark, “It appears to me that, in the short term, the lease might be better, but long term it’s going to cost the club a hell of a lot more money; would you agree with that?” Bill,” Of course, but look, you have no money, you need to get the cash in, so, does it matter?” Mark, “Long term I think it does, yeah.” Bill, “So what do you do, you go without a training facility?” Barry, “Is there an option to buy it Bill?” Bill, “There’s always an option to buy any long term facility, but you have to pay a penalty haven’t you? There’s an option to pay your mortgage back; everything you do is like a mortgage, unless you’re Liverpool and you have fifty million in readies for Torres…..unless you’re Liverpool you don’t get it up front, you get it over three years”

Simon, “Just going back to the finances, this conversation has gone all over the place…..you were saying before that you can account for where the money has gone…” Bill, “I didn’t say that, what I said was the accounts are there” Simon, “Yeah, I know and to be honest I don’t think that anyone is taking a salary out or anything, but one of the things that people are scratching their heads about is this rise in other operating costs, it’s gone from…” Mark, “It’s gone to £24m so there’s twenty odd million there that Evertonians don’t know about… what’s that’s going on; that’s why we’ve come here, we’ve asked Robert to fill us in…” Bill, “When you say other operating costs what do you mean?” Simon, “That’s what it says in the accounts, other operating costs” Mark, “That’s why there’s so much confusion, they’ve steadily risen….” Bill, “I’m sure… whatever accounts you get they go through the most stringent structure imaginable; It’s just a heading, what’s the heading again?” Mark & Simon, “Other operating Costs” Bill, “And how much is it?” Mark, “£24m” Simon, “And that has steadily risen over the…” Bill, “Hold on hold on; then you haven’t got the £53m for the players? Hold on, fifty three plus twenty four, well that leaves you four or five for the other………are these other operating costs David? I don’t know, I have no idea”

Mark “Well, surely as Chairman you should be aware what these other operating costs are?” Bill, “No, absolutely not, and why should I? I can’t break down the accounts for you…” Mark, “This is why some Evertonians are saying money is going missing” Bill, “Guys, listen, there’s the door if you think that…seriously, seriously…hold on, hold on just listen, you have accounts that have to go through every fucking government structure under the sun, so let’s not talk about money missing.” Simon, “In all fairness, Mark didn’t say money is going missing; he’s just saying some Evertonians…” Bill, “No, I’m not having a go at Mark, I’m just saying, listen guys, this is crazy”

Bill, “Are you shareholders? Why aren’t you shareholders? Don’t you want to know about the accounts?” Simon, “The accounts are fed back to the fans anyway” Bill, “Okay, but don’t you want to know about the accounts or do you just want to question the accounts?” Simon, “I want to know what that is, yes”

Barry, “I just want to know what’s the future for Everton Football Club, that’s my fear…as Mark said before, I want to know what we’re going to do…” Bill, “Well, are you pleased with what we’ve done so far? Barry, “Yeah, David Moyes has come in and had a five year plan, he’s just finished his second five year plan, some of the players are 28, 29, 30; what’s his next five year plan? What’s Everton’s five year plan? We can’t spend money now as we haven’t got any, we understand that, but how are we going to spend money in the future?”

Bill “So what was your five year plan guys? What was your five year plan in 1999, 2000? What was the plan then?” Mark, “We need to reduce the age Bill.” Bill, “No it was to avoid relegation. Then reduce the age. I still think that’s a good one. So what’s the next step? Sell. Sell! Sell! Get someone in there, if you know anyone, you’ve got my number……sell. In the meantime, you’ve got a Chairman who keeps the spirit of our Football Club like no other who’s sitting and talking to you like no other who’s…….”

Simon, “What about our mate?” Bill, “Who?” Simon, “Philip Green; would he not be interested in it?” Bill, “No.” Mark, “What’s his involvement Bill?” Bill, “Philip Green? He’s just the best advisor you can have in the history of the world” Mark, “You’re saying there’s no money involved then Bill?” Bill, “He’s not interested. He would say to me, [mockney accent] “Bill, Bill, Bill, if I put facking money into Everton Football Club you think Liverpool fans would buy from Topshop?” He’s not interested; he’s a total genius when it comes to money, he’s like Mozart is to music…he’s great with the bank, he’s just…well… he’s just an advisor; but he’s great at that. Now if I said, “Philip I don’t want your advice” he’d be thrilled…he’s kept me going through terrible times, he’s like that with his mates….anyway, go on…”

Simon, “I was just going to say, just to clarify, how involved is he because going by what Mr Wyness said, he’s the one that fired Mr Wyness; he’s the one that sent him packing.” Bill, “Guys, so you’re now advocating you believe Keith Wyness? Are you saying you believe Keith Wyness?” Simon, “Well…what’s your side of the story?” Bill, “No no, I’m asking the question, first.” Simon, “Well, his silence paid for” Bill, “The easy answer son, are you saying you’re going to believe…”Simon, “Yeah ok then yes, I do…I do believe Philip Green has got more involvement with Everton” Bill, “Okay so let me tell you what happened with Keith Wyness. On a Tuesday, Keith and me and all the guys meet down there for lunch, and we’re planning the cup campaign or whatever it was…Saturday morning he phones me and says “Chairman…I’m gonna go”, I say go where, and he says “I’m gonna go because something’s happened”….it’s a bit like you phoning me, I’m laughing, and I said listen, phone me later, so he phones me later, he’s in the Liverpool party, he says he going to buy Real Mallorca… I said you’ve got a great job, don’t do it. I can’t tell you what he said, but it’s to do with his love for what he thought, anyway, he left to go to Real Mallorca. Keith had had enough because he got the things on the walls ‘Death Keith Wyness’…. he was a very strong man but broken by what happened, and I’m not going to go into any more. Was he bought? Well, he was given severance pay” Simon, “But he’s not allowed to talk about it?” Bill, “What gets me is you listen to people who walk out of your football club… why would you do it Simon? Why would you bring it up? It’s potty, the next one you’ll be talking about is, who’s the lad we had for five minutes?” Barry, “Trevor Birch.”

Bill then tells a story of Trevor Birch’s first day, about him looking at Anfield; Bill explained that he could always see Anfield as it was in his heart as he was a red. The cameras were there at Goodison, he said we can’t do anything until we get a new ground, Bill told him he couldn’t say that on day one and that he later started talking about selling Rooney and that after Trevor left he sent him a note saying it was the biggest mistake of his life.

Simon, “Can I just say though Bill, it all comes down to communication, it gets to a stage when people hear rumours and rumours and rumours and it all adds up…” Bill, “But Simon, haven’t you always had that? How many of these rumours, what percentage, would you say are true? I’d say none.”

Barry, “With regard to the communication and the fans Bill, is there anything you’re thinking of doing?” Bill, ”Well you’ve told me to do an article, I think I was, wasn’t I?” Barry, “Okay, another thing; last night Everton had a Fans Forum, no one knows who goes or how to get on there…”Simon, “Did you read the leaflet that I gave you Bill, at the end of season awards?” Bill, “Are you all the same group?” Barry, “We’ve come under one banner, The Blue Union, but we all represent different groups.” Simon, “At the end of season award, I saw you outside the Echo Arena; I gave you a leaflet that we were handing out. It was for a Fans Parliament which was to open a dialogue with the Club. Fans would sit down and the idea was that the fans would be democratically elected, the agenda would be set by the fans and it would be chaired by an independent person to the supporters” Bill, “I must have read it”…” Simon, “It’s done by other Football Clubs.” Bill, “It sounds very grand….have you talked to Robert about that?” Simon, laughing, “We’ve sent Robert a few letters” Bill, “Honest to God, I haven’t got time for fans forums; when you say communication, are you talking about Ian Ross because he’s just been appointed Director of Communication in the last six or seven weeks?” Barry, “Let’s leave Ian Ross out of it; we have no problem with Robert Elstone.

Bill “Barry, who are you?” Barry, “We’re from The People’s Group, Simon’s from Evertonians from Change,” Bill, “You’re the one I said I’d be your president?” Simon, laughing, “Yeah, okay, look, I think today has been very useful, why don’t we go away, analyse this a little bit, have another meeting with Robert, come up with some proposal in terms of communication, and see if we can go ahead…” Bill “Well you know what you have got to accept guys; your failings, you’ve got to accept your, not failings, your lack of knowledge; and even if you’re like me, you’ll get the knowledge, but it will take 6 or 7 times to get it; when I joined the board what did I know about spreadsheets, it took me ten years…..now, do I know about incomes and outcomes of transfers? But it takes a long time. But you know, all I can see is the huge advance….colossal. And all I can see is every other Football Club in the country wanting to be like Everton Football Club; every one of them, every single one of them.” Simon, “Every one of them has spent money this window, though…” Bill, “That’s a negative, so what? I’m telling you every other Football Club wants to be like Everton. If you’re going to judge everything on spending money in the transfer window, that’s fine, that’s up to you, it’s not for me. We haven’t spent money because we haven’t got it, we haven’t traded….So I look at the huge leaps forward this Football Club has had. And the next question, still I can’t sell it.…that’s where I have failed; I have not got a buyer. But everyone involved at Everton has failed too. There was a time that the shareholders said we’d have an EGM every week now”…and I was with some buyers that said we wouldn’t take that….I’m not saying that stopped them because it didn’t…just remember, when I am not there you won’t half fucking notice. You’ll get someone who charges his petrol and his phone, someone who doesn’t have to borrow….”

Mark “We’re trying to assist you; we don’t want to work against you….” Bill, “I would never knock Evertonians…I went on that Mike Parry show, he said you’ve had death threats, I said they must be driven to it, he reckoned I was too kind…Barry, “Every clubs got them though, they’re horrible Bill, we’re just ordinary Evertonians worried about the future of our club….”

Bill, “I’m not worried about the future. I look at the past and see how far we’ve come. I’m worried about me, about getting out….If I was you I’d want me there” Barry, “We haven’t said we don’t but……” Bill, “No, I’ve not said you don’t, but you’re worried about the future because he’s just said ‘ah yeah but we haven’t spent in the transfer window’, if that’s what we’ve got to worry about guys, considering what’s going on in the world, Norway, East Africa” Barry, “We’re talking about football here.

Bill then talked about his Everton diary which includes all his dealings in the transfer window. He reads out various appointments including Deutsche Bank who he alleges are prepared to invest £10m in him, secured against his next five years ticket revenues, from which he’ll put £5m into Everton.

Barry, “What do you feel about the kitbag deal?” Bill “The Kitbag deal is a great deal; for the past couple of years we always lost money” Barry, “Well can I just ask you about one aspect, you can only buy merchandise through the club shops or the internet, you can’t buy anything locally if you live in Warrington, Widnes, Runcorn….Bill, “And do Kitbag stipulate that?” Mark, “Yes” Bill, “Have you asked Robert? Mark, “Yes, he tells us it’s confirmed for the next seven years….Bill, “It is a great deal, if you look at the accounts from six or seven years ago we always lost money on merchandise which is amazing, now we make money, it’s a great deal, I think we make £3m, they’re very good partners,”

Mark “Bill, I think today has been useful; we think you need to get out there and communicate with the fans, tell them what you’re doing, tell them who is trying to sell the club”

Bill, “Everyone, I’ve got everyone, every lawyer…It’s easy for me to get all the shit off my back, to give it to Deutsche Bank, everyone has got to go through Deutsche Bank. Would I rather have every agent in the country, every lawyer out there looking for me, yeah I would; first thing I say to them, don’t worry about me, don’t worry about money, I’ll go tomorrow”

Bill, “Look, thanks guys…I actually didn’t think you’d come, thanks.

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67 thoughts on “The Blue Union meets Bill Kenwright Transcript

  1. Thanks for the effort lads great feedback from BOTH sides. Im happy the dialogue is thorough and a lot of info here that i didn’t know. Fingers crossed we get it sold soon. But remember he is a blue and he steadied the ship.
    I for one will be happy and sad when he leaves.

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  3. A very interesting dialogue. Thanks for publishing.
    It does though sounds like Bill had his own agenda and wasn’t really listening to you. Sure he is an Evertonian and is an optimist but….. he & others on the board could surely be doing more. And your point about better communication and better connection with us fans is very valid. Cheers
    Dave

  4. Utterly depressing, but the saddest thing is that having attended several AGMs/EGMs (in the days before the current board decided to stop them as they were being asked too many difficult questions) all of this is also completely what I expected :(

    Read further opinions on The People’s Forum – http://members.boardhost.com/peoplesforum/msg/1313615576.html

  5. If Bill doesnt like exclusvity why did he give it to Tesco for five years. This was in boom times when everyone was buying football clubs and consequently we lost out.
    At the last EGM Warren Bradley ripped into him after he and the CEO continued to blame the council for not finding a site in Liverpool which was totally untrue—This is the reason he stopped EGMs

  6. And there you have it, Bill Kenwright lover of Everton Football Club with no idea how to run it as a business and no exit strategy in place.Its a common factor in business but most chairman seem to get round it eventually. Here’s hoping

  7. Bill, we would love for you to be our president, just not the Chairman when from this transcript you seem quite out of your depth. The fact that you are letting others run and ruin our (all of ours) club (Elstone / Ross) by miss communicating, hiding and failing is making us laughable.
    Please, oh, please, open your eyes to their failings and lets start some open honest dialogue (this is the start), as you have said in the past Evertonians are the most inteligent fans in the land, start telling us the truth and use the core knowledge we have. For the love of EFC start now.

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  14. wouldnt it have been an idea to keep this out of the public till the transfer window closes.

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  16. Most of BK’s responses sound like the ramblings of an idiot who’s completely out of touch. Did anyone think of asking him exactly where he was and what he knew of Sheik Mansour’s interest in buying a Premiership Club? Before anyone trots out the “they’ve got a new ground” mantra, just remember that his guy is so rich, actually building one would not have been an obstacle to him. Where were you Bill?

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  21. Good questions asked but very few answers given that make any difference/sense. Would Bill please explain why he as Chairman does not know what is going on at this club! Why have people on the board who do nothing for the club. It is all well and good having ‘advisors’ who are ‘Motzart with money’ but is it helping Everton. The bottom line is that the club has to move to a bigger stadium.For that to happen, in my opinion, a buyer needs to be brought in somehow and the current board needs to be asked to leave. If the club has no monies available, would David Moyse sell one of the big 4 (or 6) to generate funds (a la Rooney).I like many supporters am very disallusioned with the stagnation at the club but I will always support them (if not the board).

  22. As a Sheffield Wednesday fan, I feel your pain. But, one of the worst things that can happen to a supporter is a regular ‘so and so is interested in buying the club’ type dialogue, its utterly and completely destructive.

    We’ve had similar people like your inventor and his mate ‘interested’ in us in the past, even one who couldn’t even afford to pay the aerial repairman!

    I guess what I’m trying to say is don’t panic, don’t get riled, don’t think that at any moment your entire world is going to fall apart, because if the wrong one gets in then it very may well do. If your Bill has the best interests of the club at heart then that’s more than most other clubs can rely on, believe me. You’ll be reet, you just need to transition into a new phase and whether that’s youth players coming through or you do actually get investment, you’ll be fine. There are plenty worse clubs than you in terms of playing squad in the Premiership, and trust me – you don’t miss it until its completely out of reach so don’t get your backs up if you only finish 14th or something ;)

    Blackburn in a few years time could be great but are more likely to be fucked; do you really see their ‘investment’ as a long term strategy? There’s a strong likelihood that its going to end up undoing all of Jack Walker’s work and they may well join the rest of us underachievers in League 1.

    Whatever happens, chin up, keep singing, keep up the motivation to have these sorts of meetings with the people that matter and most of all, keep Liverpool from winning another title!

  23. First thing…I’m shocked at how little BK appears to understand simple business issues, how he handled himself when asked straightforward questions and, for a man in such a responsible position how inept his responses were. I’ve always been of the view that the ground issue is the millstone and the main deterrent to any potential buy-out, but having read the transcript I’m afraid to say thats not the primary cause…if BK presents himself and Everton to the financial institutions and potential investors in a similar fashion as he has done here there is absolutely no chance that any deal will result. Sadly, inept and totally out of his depth….which is very, very sad. Its an even more worrying time for Everton having read that.

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  29. Why don,t the lot of you ,go over the park they are always on the lookout for good moaners. By the way when does a private meeting become public. No wonder Kenwright does not trust LFC type so called supporter groups

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  32. You ‘guys’ have really put your foot in it; how commercially niave can you get publishing business sensitive information in the public domain. I believe you have set the EFC cause back, perhaps beyond repair. Pathetic, why couldn’t you have kept to the rules of the meeting as agreed, they were there for a good reason to encourage open dialog. Blue union; blue amatuers.

  33. I’m sorry to say, but it is clear that despite this guy’s love for the club, and utter confidence in his own abilities, he is floundering. These deals are massive undertakings and must be done professionally by a team of people investing all their time and resources on it…NOT one man who is already juggling more balls than he can handle (fancy not knowing anything about £24m operational costs!). They mentioned two ticking time bombs that are very worrying if this sale drags on: an ageing team that will eventually loose re-sale value with no prospect of being replenished in the near future, and the potential that your ‘most valuable asset’ – David Moyles – will understandibly eventually just give up and try his luck at a more solvent club. I’m a LFC supporter and thought this read would be a laugh, but this is just depressing! Honestly, good luck…

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  41. At the end of the day Bill has his agenda and you have yours.

    I think it’s a little cheeky that you’ve released details to the media about this when he’s sat down with you in good faith. Chances of getting another meeting with him are pretty slim now after the goodwill he’s shown to you to give you this meeting. Personally I think the Blue Union and Everton’s for change are everything that is bad about Everton fans. You want change but at what cost?

  42. You’re a bunch of pathetic underhand bell ends, bringing the clubs name into disrepute like this.

    You do not represent me and many other Blues I know, you’re utter;y pathetic

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  44. I have to agree with Bubba here. You guys do not represent me at all. Bill actually sounded reasonable in his responses and the 3 representatives sounded like spoiled children.

    The disrespect you guys have shown him is unacceptable. You accuse him of taking money from the club, you question the integrity of his accounts, you accuse him of not really trying to sell the club. You use rumors and hearsays to fend of his first-hand accounts of what happened. It was sickening to read this transcript.

    It is clear where the money went – the club loses money every year, and you need to fund that loss! No other major club makes money – after stripping out their debt cost, even Liverpool had an loss last year and they have a global fan base (they lost 20mm last year, of which 17mm was interest, so they still lost 3mm).

    You need a benefactor who is willing to lose money, and Bill recognizes that. He doesn’t have the money, he is desperately trying to sell the club to someone who has so that the club will have the money. You question him like it should be easy to find such a person. That’s ridiculous. You think there’s a new Russian oligarch or oil baron every day? The pool of people willing to make a major purchase AND to commit to future spending is very limited. Blackburn is a case in point, even if a buyer can afford the club, they may not want be able to afford the annual loss.

    You guys are so divorced from reality it is almost funny. I hope they do not think you represent the real Everton fans out there.

  45. You lot should be ashamed of yourselves betraying the trust of our chairman, accusing him of taking money, I mean are you for real? The clubs in the best state it’s been for years. There are a million bad things going on in the world and you spend your time on a witch hunt of the people running our club. Get behind them and stop wasting everyone’s time.

  46. If Hatton’s post on evertonfc is correct nobody comes out of this with any credit. Kenwright is clearly a part time Chairman and hardly has a grasp of what is going on but extremely disappointing and worried to see that he doesn’t have details of the big issues.

    For the Blue Union why release this before the end of the transfer period. It only makes it harder for us and will circle the vultures even more thinking they can get our talent on the cheap. Good to see Moyes has been quick to dispel that one.

    If you are going to release stuff (which appears to break there confidences and non doubt only make it harder to get any further meetings and info) why release the stuff on players, Moyes etc. Keep it to the finances.

  47. It was a revelation to have access to this transcript but I have only contempt for the manner in which it was obtained. What a betrayal of trust! At a guess a lot of what was said by the “Blue Union” delegation was pure speculation but ,on the other hand, Bill Kenwright’s responses were at times unconvincing.

    Having said that, there is a need for much more reflection and imaginative thinking if Everton’s current problems are to be resolved. All we seem to get from every quarter is one big “blame game”. Every Evertonian has an obligation to examine and re-examine the realities of where we are today. Even the dogs in the streets know by now that the banks haven’t got money to lend -ask any small businessman who’s recently gone belly up! Everton must dig deep into its youth resources and bring the youngsters on rather more quickly than would be the normal way of doing things.

    And what of the Everton faithfull? Are they prepared to help out financially? 10,000 Evertonians coming together and setting up a contingecy fund by investing only £1,000 each adds up to a £10,000,000 fund which could be put on deposit at Barclays to give Bill Kenwright and David Moyes (and you’ll never find 2 more loyal Evertonians) a bit of breathing space to work on what matters – the development and well-being of one of the greatest football clubs in the world! I’m prepared to fork out my £1,000 tomorrow, How about the other 9,999 “True Blues”? My email is:-

    A Bullens Road season ticket holder when I was living in Liverpool, I now live in Beijing, PR China.It is surely time for people to put some money where their mouths were previously!!

  48. Great article, your correct in publishing, this is what we expected. BK has done his bit and done it well! Right now he is in debt to £10m he doesnt take a salary, any petrol money, or phone bills,so why doesnt he sell for 10mil with guaranteed bonuses over 5 years if we’re succesful?? Anybody worth his salt would pay that as a great anvestment opportunity!!! has he thought about Dragons Den, maybe he would get proper advice from them rather than the buffoon that is Robert Elstone, who is obviously hiding things from his chairman. £24m to be precise. COYB time for change!!!

  49. Why did you release this before the transfer window shuts?

    I see some comments here critizising Bill but making this public is the dummest thing I have ever seen.

    You just want him out with no thought to the club. Your not Everton fans you just pathetic!!!

  50. Surprised no one asked him whether they had received any offers. From what I hear, Phillip Green turned one down as not enough!! So much for being just an advisor, that’s total rubbish, he’s a shareholder.There is money out there don’t listen to the sob stories, they are being greedy

    I agree BK is way out of his depth and the interview was all about me me me I I I I. He’s clearly not up to the job.

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  52. Guys, you might want to read what has been posted about this meeting on Everton FC. Hatton is annoyed as hell you secretly taped this conversation. http://www.evertonfc.com/news/archive/2011/08/19/blue-union-explanation

    Appartently, Blue Union will never ever get another meeting with the chairman or anybody else on the board as long as Hatton is there. Hatton will never help you guys again.

    This is low. This is crude. You were asked not to release anything and still you did. Also, how do we know you have not doctoed what BK said? How do we know you have not lied or exaggerated what was said so to prove your point? We don’t have the original tapes you illegally made.

    You used Derek Hatton, you used BK and most importantly you used Everton FC club for your own agenda.

  53. Well said bubba, I think some of the tone used by “blue union” who ever you are, were very poor and agressive, I would not blame bill if he refused to deal with you all!
    Bill should be patted on the back and thanked for keeping club going, I would not blame him if he did just turn round and gave job to bank, they would not sell to best person just first one to come up with money, ie Birmingham city!

  54. As an accountant & a football fan . Football as a business propsal has always bemused me! Come on guys don’t be so naiive. Look at Chelsea MASSIVE DEBT which keeps growing year on year. So surprise, suprise there are very few individuals with the appetite & funds to risk all in the arena of football. The question about the operational costs is unfair! Ask the FD or the management accountant they will give you a breakdown or you could have warned Kenwright beforehand & he would have an opportunity to prepare analysis rather than asking him offhand & off the cut. Please I know football is a passion I feel it to but lets be a bit more pragmatic gentlemen

  55. Great article. Well done to the 3 guys for being so concerned for the club and to make the effort to go and see BK and try and get answers. The lack of communication and BK’s inability to explain the accounts make me think he’s out of his depth in some key areas. We really need some supporter representation at board level to overcome these difficulties and we must always keep questioning the board and hold them to account. COYB

  56. He’s behind you!

    Following yesterday’s QPR 1-0 thrashing, my despondency was rife and the only promise on the horizon was our star player the 17 year old Ross Barkley who made his excellent Premier League debut. Against a backdrop of tired professionals and some who don’t seem to want to even be there?

    The Everton Union pantomime was news to me. As I don’t ever bother with that b*stard Liverpool Echo, I have one from 1987 which I can read if I need to as the Echo has never changed its politics, format or content in that time, all total sh*te. Hearing tales of secret tapings is never a good idea when trying to build trust lads? But having now read the transcript, its not as bad as I had had it described to me at the game.

    Kenright comes out like a true blue with his blue heart intact, but probably needing the critical care of a Gerard Houllier specialist. His overall projection is one of commitment, if well a little self centered, a little deluded, a little naïve, and absolutely full of that west end misguided bluff, he’s behind you!

    Its not surprising he feels frustrated there he is rubbing shoulders with the likes of Philip Green, The Rubens and other well known tight arse Jewish shopkeepers, Tesco. All worth billions and Billy hasn’t got two ha’pennies to rub together. They must be laughing at poor dear Bill, in his desperation to get a few quid and cash his blue chips in so he can sail off on a sea of gin & tonics, luvvie. If they threw him a little of their tax evasion money he might be alright? These are hounds, more, dog and if you hang around with dogs, well you get fleas.

    Everton need investment and quickly can’t we find some partner but an Israeli, how about India, now that is an emergent global market.

    Oh! That interview doesn’t look good on Derek Hatton.
    He’s behind you!

  57. We all know that the chairman wants INVESTMENT in the club..He dos,nt want to lose control..What investor in their right mind is going to put serious money into the club and not want to control it..

  58. i have been supporting the blues for nearly 60 years so i think i love everton as much as bill kenwright…….bill keeps going on on how much he loves everton but i am sorry bill move over and let someone with a business brain take over.you couldnt run a piss up in a brewery

  59. Yeah. Good work by the blue union. The muddying of the waters relating to the operational cost speaks volumes. If BK is saving for a stadium project, why doesn’t he say so! Build more executive and corporate facilities I say-and double that stand at the park end.

  60. I didn,t think kenwright actually came out that bad ,but i feel he needs to be more honest with the fans,the current board seem to be a problem.
    but i also feel most evertonians would be more supportive of kenwright if he was more open with them instead of treating us like divvy,s.

  61. its a disgrace to attend a private meeting and then to release a tape of it. you have done immense harm to efc. it will undermine the teams confidence, make it harder to keep our best players and make it easier for poachers to take advantage of our economic situation by making cut price offers for out players.

    efc is in the same boat as the majority of premier league clubs and if it wasnt for the dedication of bk and the talent of dm we would have disappeared down the plug hole seasons ago.

    you have now made that more likely.

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