By Phil McNulty
Chief football writer
Everton's shareholders have launched a public attack on the club's hierarchy after Wayne Rooney's transfer request.
The Goodison Park board faces an emergency general meeting in September.
A shareholders' group statement read: "It is unbelievable that a board would even consider the step of selling by far the largest asset of any company."
"Especially just a matter of days before they are required by law to answer legitimate questions over their competence," the shareholders added.
Chairman Bill Kenwright is currently involved in a battle for control at Goodison Park with fellow director Paul Gregg, and as yet no long-term rescue package has been sealed.
In the statement, Steve Allinson, chairman of the Everton shareholders' association, said: "When you consider that that board of directors are engaged in open conflict with each other the situation borders on the ludicrous.
"We are taking legal advice on the remedies available to us as owners."
Allinson added: "It's heartbreaking that a council developed to provide the communication links necessary to assist the club may now be addressing the actions available to supporters in protest."
The shareholders have been in touch with former director Lord Grantchester, a member of the wealthy Moores pools dynasty who was recently mentioned as a potential investor.
Allinson said: "I have spoken to Lord Grantchester over the actions of the board in respect of Wayne Rooney and he shares our deep concern over what amounts to a distress sale before the fundamental issue of finance for Everton has been resolved.
"If Wayne Rooney is sold before the EGM (Everton's directors) Bill Kenwright, Paul Gregg and John Woods will be held fully responsible."