EGM is an overdue step in the right direction

Posted by Luke O'Farrell

Premier LeaguePA PhotosEverton chairman Bill Kenwright will be at the top table at the EGM

After five years in the wilderness, there could be quite a storm arising the Everton Shareholders' Association at the general meeting in Liverpool on Wednesday evening. The club cancelled Annual General Meetings in 2008 amid claims that they "had become negative and been hijacked".

Earlier this season, in an attempt to encourage greater transparency and openness, the Shareholders' Association (SA) secured the necessary votes to force the club into calling an Extraordinary General Meeting; a shareholders' petition paved the way after Everton refused to stage the meeting voluntarily.

Following further discussions with Everton, namely the choice of venue as the SA felt the 2008 venue was unable to accommodate everyone, the SA received confirmation of the venue and the date - Liverpool Philharmonic Hall on Wednesday 26th June.

Once the meeting became official, the SA released details of the agenda for the meeting, with three topics forming the crux of the discussion. The three points are as follows (summarised to fit):

  • Everton are to explain why the club chose to cancel the Annual General Meetings and their reasons for no AGMs since 2008.
  • Everton are to provide a review of their financial performance since the last AGM, along with plans for the future. The top table will also field relevant questions from the Shareholders.
  • Given the answers to the above, a show of hands to gauge the Shareholders' views on the reinstatement of AGMs. However, the final decision lies with the majority shareholders (those on the board), who can call a poll should they wish – this would take place on the night.

  • The top table will comprise of chairman Bill Kenwright, deputy chairman Jon Woods, life president Sir Philip Carter and chief executive Robert Elstone; the chief executive will provide the financial presentation. Everton will also offer apologies for absent director Robert Earl; if it were not for the power of the internet, supporters would probably question his existence.

    The convening of this meeting represents a considerable step in the right direction for all those concerned with the future and the direction of Everton Football Club. Often accused of a lack of transparency and poor communications toward their supporters, this meeting should alleviate some of those concerns.

    In addition, it is worth remembering that general meetings at Everton dated back over 100 years until the 2008 cancellation; a change in the Companies Act meant general meetings were no longer a legal requirement and the club swiftly exercised their right to remove them.

    Unaccountable over the past five years, during which several debatable occurrences have transpired, the club will finally have to address at least several of the many concerns held by the fan base. After all, much has happened since the last AGM - the Kirkby debacle, Liverpool City Council acquiring the Finch Farm training complex, increased debt and the contempt for supporters shown via the new badge; to name but a few.

    Nevertheless, to ensure Wednesday evening's meeting is a success, the reinstatement of Annual General Meetings is absolutely necessary. Needing to build bridges, as fans are becoming increasingly disgruntled by the actions of the Everton hierarchy, the reintroduction of this communication platform would allow the club and the supporters to work towards improving future prospects.

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