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Former Players Lead Call for Change at Everton

Two close relegation battles in successive years do not befit a club of the Toffees’ stature

Everton FC v AFC Bournemouth - Premier League Photo by Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images

There were a number of former Everton players in the Director’s Box yesterday watching on as their beloved Blues scraped to survival with a narrow win over Bournemouth. Even more watched from the comfort of their own homes and on television, no doubt aghast at what levels the club has fallen to from being consistent title challengers to ‘best of the rest’ outside the top six to lower-midtable mediocrity to basement dwellers.

Make no mistake, when you consistently flirt with danger, it does find a way to make you pay and the Blues run that risk if they do not make any changes to how the club is run over the summer. Everton are having serious financial issues with little or no new sponsorships forthcoming, majority shareowner Farhad Moshiri has sunk hundreds of millions into wasted transfers and construction of a new stadium and a likely Financial Fair Play crackdown coming as a result of those spendthrift ways.

The fans for the most part are sick and tired of the mismanagement they are seeing on the part of the Board, who remain stubbornly stuck to their old ways even as they have parted ways with directors of football and managers who have tried to come in and effect change. The #AllTogetherNow movement that gathered steam this season has continued to highlight the areas where this club is being dragged down by the dinosaurs in charge, and while many football pundits — Jamie Carragher is one of the most vocal — have made it a point to call out the club’s administration, now more former players are chiming in as well.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, former captain and youth team coach Alan Stubbs did not mince his words when asked what he went through yesterday.

“There are two [feelings] - relief and anger. It was a horrible 90 minutes as an Everton fan, watching that and the emotions you were going through.

“The players did really well to play under that pressure - it’s not easy and the manager [Sean Dyche] deserves a lot of credit as well.

“But now Everton need to make some major changes from boardroom level down.”

Stubbs might actually be more optimistic than most Blues when he said he expected some resignations from the Board in the coming days. The Board have not attended the last few homes games after unsubstantiated allegations made to the Merseyside Police that club CEO Denise Barrett-Baxendale was put in a headlock during a home game this season by a fan.

“I have to applaud [Moshiri] in terms of what he’s invested in the club but he’s been really poorly advised by people on the board and probably people he’s trusted in as well.

“He has to take a step aside because he’s not a football person, so he shouldn’t be getting involved in any football decisions.

“Bill Kenwright, Denise Barrett-Baxendale, thanks very much but it’s time to go because you’ve failed this football club, on and off the pitch. The animosity among the fanbase, they’ve had enough.

“I’d be surprised if there’s nothing coming from Everton today in terms of resignations. Everton is broken.

“It can be fixed but there has to be major changes for that to happen.”

Legendary goalie Neville Southall has been a very vocal critic of the Board, something that has seen him sidelined from club-related activities even though he remains a steadfast fan of the Toffees.

Peter Reid was at Goodison yesterday, and later had a one-word comment on the current situation too.

Former Everton and Arsenal striker Kevin Campbell remains very popular with the fans and was also at Goodison yesterday.

Don Hutchison was on television duty yesterday, but he too reiterated the call for a reset.

The supporters were incredible throughout the season, buying up every single ticket made available to them, home and away. The performances on the pitch more often than not did not match that level of commitment, but this summer is a real chance for the club to make things right and start taking the steps required to get Everton back on track to match their storied history.