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Page last updated at 17:10 GMT, Wednesday, 30 July 2008 18:10 UK

Everton chief executive resigns

Keith Wyness
Wyness has been the driving force behind the proposed move to Kirkby

Everton chief executive Keith Wyness has resigned, the club has announced.

Wyness had been the driving force behind the club's plans to build a new 50,000-capacity stadium in Kirkby, which is awaiting Government approval.

But Everton claim Wyness' sudden departure is not linked to the future of their proposed new stadium.

BBC sports editor Mihir Bose believes Wyness's exit was prompted by retail tycoon Philip Green's involvement behind the scenes at Goodison Park.

"Although Green, one of the richest men in the country, is not formally connected to Everton, he has been involved in much of the Toffees' recent activity," said Bose.

"I understand the manager David Moyes has had to go to Green on his plans to buy and sell players, and also finalise his contract."

Green is a long-standing friend of Everton chairman Bill Kenwright and Robert Earl, who owns nearly 24% of Everton through a British Virgin Islands company.


Green confirmed his relationship with Kenwright, and speaking to Bose, he said: "Everybody knows I'm a friend of Bill Kenwright, and I helped him get Everton.

"It is his club and his ball. He asked me for advice - If people ring me up and on a confidential basis ask me to help, what is wrong with that?

"Dozens of people call me up and they get free advice. I am always willing to help. I have no interest in investing in football, I could have invested 10 years ago but I did not."

In terms of the stadium project Wyness was overseeing, planning consent has been received for the Kirkby stadium but a government decision on whether or not to "call in" the project is expected this week.

Wyness had previously voiced fears that calling it in could jeopardise the plans.

But a club statement said: "The club wish to re-iterate our commitment to the Destination Kirkby project.

"The departure of Keith Wyness is in no way connected to that project."

Everton are concerned that an inquiry would put back the move for a year and kill off the controversial 400m scheme.

The club's debts stand at about 66m, which is understood to include an overdraft of 40m and a long-term debt of 26m.

The proposals to move to Kirkby have been opposed by some Everton fans angered by a possible move outside Liverpool's city boundaries.

Club sources meanwhile though insist it is a case of "business as usual" at Goodison despite Wyness' departure, with a spokesman adding: "The board will meet in about a fortnight to discuss the situation."

It is believed Wyness actually tendered his resignation by email after discussions with board members at the weekend, and that he will seek to negotiate a pay-off.

see also
Councils called to oppose stadium
06 May 08 |  Merseyside
Residents shown new Everton plans
30 Apr 08 |  Merseyside
Gran in Tesco boss planning war
12 Apr 08 |  Merseyside

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