Mike Parry: 'Fans who batter Bill astound me'

By Administrator on Sep 30, 08 11:23 AM in Journalists

FOLLOWING Saturday's derby defeat, and on hearing of abuse and protests hurled by some fans in the direction of Everton chairman Bill Kenwright, lifelong Blues fan and Talksport Radio presenter Mike Parry contacted the ECHO sports desk of his own volition to ask if he might speak up on behalf of the Goodison owner. Here are his views.

THERE are many things in life I do not understand.

Quantum physics; Japanese newspapers and why Michael "wooden" Caine is hailed as a great actor, are just a few.

And if I suddenly needed to find out about things on a subject of which I had no knowledge I could go and get hold of a copy of Encyclopedia Brittanica or, more likely these days, search the world-wide web.

But there's one subject that, to me, defies explanation. And that is the vitriol and the bile which is directed towards Bill Kenwright from a certain section of the fans.

What more is the Everton chairman expected to do to keep our club going - and going successfully?

OK, we're having a nightmare start to this season. But we're in a far, far better place than Nottingham Forest, Leeds United and Derby.

Why those three clubs? Well, because in my lifetime they have been giants of the game, each winning at least one top title and appearing in the final or semi-final of the European Cup and in Forest's case, winning it twice.

But they all eventually succumbed to bad board-room management which trickled down to the dressing room and onto the pitch to give them an era in the lower divisions.

And they're all still recovering.

A chairman appoints a manager. It is the most vital duty he has to do for his club and in the case of the other three, chaotic behaviour in the boardrooms led to managerial appointments that didn't have the full support of all the directors and the rest is history.

All clubs go into their fallow years. They are the most dangerous times of a club's existence.

A rot sets in and if you don't have a strong, committed leader you could be gone forever - like Huddersfield, Brighton and Sheffield Wednesday.

Everton's fallow years came in the early 90's. If we had gone down on that infamous Wimbledon day where would we be now?

We could have gone down four years later but since Mr Kenwright has been chairman we have never been in real danger. (I haven't forgotten 2004, but we weren't in real danger).

The temptation in this day and age is to load your club with debt to seek glory.

It proved disastrous for Leeds and would have been for Chelsea had Comrade Abramovich not arrived.

There is also a temptation to change your manager every time you lose consecutive games. That's why Newcastle now resembles a circus.

Bill Kenwright has made Everton one of the most stable clubs in the country by resisting these fashions.

But far from a section of the crowd recognising this; they hurl abuse at him.

How many times has he got to tell us: "If a billionaire walked through the door I would happily step down."

I believe him because he's an honourable man.

What joy do you think he gets in sleepless nights worrying about keeping the club on track?

One of the last times I saw him, I went to his offices in London. He wasn't there. He'd gone for a walk around the park to clear his head in the middle of the summer transfer scramble.

When he came back he looked terribly tired.

For over a month he had put the running of his theatre business - one of the biggest in the world - on hold to concentrate on the transfer market.

With David Moyes he was chasing players and agents all around the world, night and day, ahead of the new season.

His phone never stopped ringing. And by the way there's an awful lot more a club chairman has to do - like trying to build a new ground - in addition to transfers.

When I come to Merseyside - sadly not often enough - some people tell me that Kenwright has not tried hard enough to find our billionaire.

Well, I'm a shareholder and at the last three AGMs he has made it absolutely clear that we NEED an investor and we WANT an investor.

And the physical toll of running Everton is, in my view, becoming so onerous I firmly believe that nobody wants that investor more than the chairman.

I have been asked "Why do mega-rich people buy Manchester City and seem to be circling Newcastle but show no interest in Everton?"

Well, I think this is to do with another bugbear that has haunted Kenwright since he took over.

The ground.

Look at all the clubs who have overseas investors. United, Arsenal, Villa and Newcastle.

They all have great stadiums - either a new one, or one that has been rebuilt spectacularly in the last decade.

Investors are loathe to get involved with a club that needs a new stadium. That is why there has been a form of musical chairs taking place at Portsmouth and we only have to look at the Liverpool situation to see how ongoing stadium plans can completely flummox new owners.

That is one reason why Kenwright believed he had to try to drive through the plans for Everton's new ground. He knows that without it, the investors will stay away.

There is no bigger Evertonian than Bill Kenwright. He has saved our club from oblivion in these dangerous footballing times where, with a stroke of a pen, a chairman can bankrupt his own club.

Bill will be crestfallen right now because of the Liverpool result. I've known him not to be able to speak for up to a week after similar defeats.

He is easily big enough to fight his own battles. But he is my friend and a hero for carrying our mighty club. And not enough people are speaking up for him.

I hate to see fans having a go at him - because it is completely unjustified. Rather we should be on our knees thanking the Lord for sending him to us.

What he, and Everton, certainly don't need are the disaffected - who in my view are just not thinking straight - climbing on his back, while he is almost single-handedly supporting our magnificent club and its spectacular traditions.

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