EVERTON FC has moved a step closer to its first general meeting in five years after a petition of club shareholders gained sufficient support.
The club’s directors have been reluctant to hold AGMs since 2008, preferring to talk with a selected fans’ forum instead, or via shareholders association committee sit-downs with chief executive Robert Elstone.
But the shareholder association have pushed for a return to formal AGMS – when all shareholders can question chairman Bill Kenwright and his fellow board members – without success.
Now, after balloting its members, the association have announced that they have gained the necessary votes of five per cent of the club’s overall shareholding to make a summer extraordinary meeting (EGM) a likelihood.
It is understood the meeting will take place in the summer once club officials have been shown proof of the successful vote, and will discuss the club’s financial performance over the last five years.
A statement on the Everton shareholders association website said: “As our members will know, the Everton FC Shareholders’ Association have been seeking the re-introduction of the Company Annual General Meetings at the club for some time.
“Our members, all of them both supporters and shareholders, have instructed the Executive Committee to pursue this matter on their behalf at each of the last two Association AGMs.
“Following the democratically expressed wishes of our members, we have pursued this matter with the Board of Directors and Chief Executive of Everton.
“During the last two years we have taken a twin track approach as it has always been our preferred option that the Directors recognise the strong feeling of their shareholders on this matter and take the initiative to re-instate the AGM.
“Consequently we have repeatedly put forth the argument that doing so would increase transparency at the club, offer the Board of Directors the opportunity to demonstrate their effective management of the company, and provide an opportunity for constructive engagement and exchange of ideas between the Directors and management on one side and the clubs shareholders and fans on the other.
“However, in the event that the Directors remained unwilling to engage in this minimal show of transparency and good corporate governance, our only other option was to ask for the backing of enough shareholders to force the Directors to call an Extraordinary General Meeting against their will.
“So in concert with our appeals to the Board, and without ever giving up hope they would bow to the wishes of their shareholders, we took the steps to prepare such a petition and seek the support of our fellow shareholders.
“We are therefore very disappointed to announce that we have failed to convince the Board of Directors to voluntarily convene a General Meeting and will soon notify the Company Secretary of the Everton Football Club Company Limited that we have secured the necessary mandate from the shareholders and require that the Club proceed forthwith to convene a General Meeting.”
A spokesman for Everton said: “The club is aware of the situation.”