Everton directors told to stay away from Goodison over fears of 'credible security threat'

Chairman Bill Kenwright among those instructed to miss Southampton clash amid fans' unrest over shocking run of form

Everton CEO Denise Barrett-Baxendale and chairman Bill Kenwright in the stands at Goodison. PA
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Everton’s board of directors were instructed not to attend Saturday's home match against Southampton because of a “real and credible threat to their safety and security,” the Premier League team have revealed.

The decision was made ahead of reports of a possible protest at Goodison Park in the wake of Everton's poor form this season.

“The board members received the instruction following malicious and unacceptably threatening correspondence received by the club and increasing incidents of anti-social behaviour - including targeted physical aggression - at recent home matches,” the club said in a statement.

Everton are third from the foot of the table and three points ahead of bottom-place Southampton going into Saturday's game.

The club said chairman Bill Kenwright, chief executive Denise Barrett-Baxendale, chief finance and strategy officer Grant Ingles and non-executive director Graeme Sharp will “reluctantly” stay away on the advice of security advisors.

Everton's statement included a quote from a security adviser: “Following a thorough risk assessment, and in response to tangible threats received by the club and intelligence we have gathered, the club’s board members have been told they must not attend today’s fixture.”

Everton have failed to win any of their last eight games in all competitions and lost 4-1 at home to Brighton in their last home match.

“This is an unprecedented decision for Everton Football Club — never before has our entire board of directors been ordered not to attend a match on safety grounds. It is a profoundly sad day for Everton and Evertonians,” the club added.

Owner Farhad Moshiri said he would stand by under-fire boss Frank Lampard in an open letter this week, despite admitting his previous five sackings since his arrival at the club were driven by adverse fan reaction.

"You have to stay with the manager to get the systems going, the players he buys. I have a lot of faith in Frank to get it right." he said.

Updated: January 14, 2023, 1:43 PM