BILL Kenwright’s search for a billionaire to takeover Everton is being hampered by time-wasting charlatans, the chairman has revealed.
The theatre impresario said he has been misled four times in the last 10 months by potential owners who led the club to embark on costly negotiations before disappearing.
Kenwright, speaking at the unveiling of a new Everton timeline at Goodison, said he was astonished at the repeated cons.
He said: “There are many people out there who purport to have the millions, even the billions, who are ready to sign the cheque. But the minute you say OK show us the funds they go missing and you don’t here from them again.
“You can’t put a time frame on it. I’ve been saying this for four or five years. I’ve got what I thought was close four times in the last 10 months, but it was not even close enough. Not even near. There are people out there who would astonish you.
“They come to you and promise it’s going to be done, this is the one. They ask for it to happen quickly so they can get the funds in quickly, and David can have some funds.
“But then the minute you ask to see the money you never see them again. To get to that stage each time is a lot of heart ache, hard work, and legal fees. It goes on and on. It’s quite extraordinary.
“You wouldn’t believe half of the things that happen in football, and you wouldn’t believe 5% of the things that happen when you’re trying to raise funds.”
Kenwright added that there are limited funds available to David Moyes, but he does not expect the manager to make any signings before the transfer window closes.
He said: “We discuss it every day. Whether he wants new arrivals at the moment I’m not sure. There’s always money available, it’s not much I have to say this season.
“We’ve made a few transfers and if the manager found someone he really, really wanted that was within a price range – or if he maybe did a bit of wheeler dealing.
“But I don’t think that’s top of his list at the moment. He’s really pleased with the squad that he’s got. I don’t know a manager in the world who wouldn’t like to make the right kind of additions, but he’s pleased with what he has got and is not desperate to sign anyone.”
The Everton majority shareholder stressed his relief at tying up extended contracts for key players Mikel Arteta, Tim Cahill, Seamus Coleman and Jack Rodwell already this summer, and insisted he is hopeful Steven Pienaar will follow their example.
He said: “It was great signing up all those lads because that’s what we set out to do. We set out to keep that squad that was superb for the last six months of last season. It was quite involved.
“Mikel was the last one to sign and it took a lot of negotiation, even though it wasn’t difficult negotiation. It was a case of, for him, was it the time to commit another five years to Everton and he decided it was.
“There were other factors for Mikel too. The other boys; Tim jumped over the Sydney harbour bridge when he signed his contract. We’ve got a happy squad here, players that really want to play for Everton, and I seriously hope that next time we talk, Steven Pienaar will have signed his contract and will have an extended stay here. He loves it here, we love having him here and we’d really like him to stay.”
Kenwright said the timeline, officially opened alongside David Moyes before kick-off against Huddersfield Town yesterday, is an attempt to improve the exterior of Goodison Park after the club accepted it will remain its home for the short-term future.
He said: “When it was verified that we would be staying at Goodison for several years yet we decided to do a few things to spruce up the old girl.
“The time line of some of our greatest moments was one of our first ideas. It goes right around the ground and finishes with what, to many people is one of the greatest games ever seen at this stadium, the 3-1 win over Bayern Munich.
“I’m very pleased we’re staying at Goodison Park, but the reality is that we can’t stay here forever.
“Something has to happen; we can’t exist with this football stadium – certainly not in its present state so we are anxious to carry on searching, and talking to the authorities to get us a new home in the city boundaries.”