Everton chairman Bill Kenwright ‘hurt’ by having to stay away from Goodison Park

Everton chairman Bill Kenwright has spoken of his ‘deep hurt’ at being prevented from attending matches at Goodison Park in the face of fan opposition.

Kenwright and his fellow board members – chief executive Denise Barrett-Baxendale, finance director Grant Ingles and non-executive director Graeme Sharp – have all been absent from home games since mid-January when the club said it had received “threats to safety and security”.

But, even in their absence, which Kenwright said was “painful”, fans have continued protests against the board’s perceived mismanagement of the club.

“I may have been castigated by some fans for sharing my opinion that I have enjoyed many (good) times at Everton,” he wrote in the club’s annual report.

“Even though we have sadly been trophyless under my chairmanship, it is with no fear of further criticism when I say two league games from last season’s 38 will stay with me forever.

“Do I have to say more than that night against Crystal Palace (when they escaped relegation with one match to spare)?

“While the afternoon I stood alone in the stand at Leicester City after a monumental away win, listening to our outstanding travelling supporters sing passionately and enthusiastically – for a full 20 minutes after the game had ended – was inspiring, humbling and genuinely moving.

“Memories of occasions like these has made the recent instruction given to myself and my fellow board members not to attend Goodison Park all the more painful. That has hurt deeply.”