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Everton announce surprise changes behind the scenes

Two more long-standing Directors leave the Board

Everton FC v Burnley FC - Premier League Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

It’s been a week of changes hasn’t it?

In the last few days we’ve not only seen grand visions of Everton’s new home, but now a couple of old stalwarts on the Everton Board of Directors have also left as a new wave of change continues to sweep through the Blue half of Merseyside.

In a quietly-released statement pushed out on the club website earlier today, we learned that Jon Woods and Deputy Chairman Keith Harris will no longer be on the Board.

Woods has been at Everton since 2000, and was the third-largest shareowner for the longest time before having his stake bought out by majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri who as of June 2019 is now the 77.2% owner of club shares.

The former video-game producer made his fortunes in the IT world but never commented publicly about the Club or what was going on on the pitch or behind the scenes. He usually attended games with Club Chairman Bill Kenwright and was seen in the background often.

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Everton v Birmingham City - Goodison Park
Everton chairman Bill Kenwright (right) and deputy chairman Jon Woods (left)
Photo by John Walton - EMPICS/PA Images via Getty Images

Dr Harris was a newer member of the Board, joining it only in October 2016 after previously holding the posts of chairman of the Football League and director of Wembley National Stadium Ltd., the holding company that owns Wembley Stadium.

A London-based investment banker and financier, he played a big role in facilitating Moshiri’s purchase of shares to make him the majority shareowner at the Blues in the last couple of years.

Everton General Meeting
Keith Harris speaks during the Everton General Meeting on January 8, 2019
Photo by Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images

The club statement went on to add that current Chief Executive Denise Barrett-Baxendale would now be in charge of the delivery of the new stadium project, a role previously held by Dr Harris. Director of Finance Sasha Ryazantsev continues in his role of ensuring the Toffees have the funding for the upcoming stadium project at Bramley-Moore docks and returning Goodison Park to community use.

The timing of the announcement of the two changes is certainly odd, coming the day after such a momentous event as the new stadium design reveal. Further investigation only serves to make things stranger, as the termination of Dr Harris from the stadium project was dated as of yesterday. Was Dr Harris’ brief only until the delivery of the stadium designs before he stepped out of the way?

The Everton Board now stands at a very streamlined four members, with the previously mentioned Kenwright, Barrett-Baxendale and Ryazantsev, along with Director of Football Marcel Brands.