Everton directors told to stay away from Southampton match due to ‘credible threat to their safety’

Everton host Southampton on Saturday  (Getty Images)
Everton host Southampton on Saturday (Getty Images)

Everton’s directors have been told to stay away from Saturday’s match against Southampton because of “a real and credible threat to their safety and security” in what the club called an “unprecedented” decision.

The Premier League club said “malicious and unacceptably threatening correspondence” was received and the board had been targeted for “physical aggression” at recent matches.

Chairman Bill Kenwright, chief executive Denise Barrett-Baxendale, chief finance & strategy officer Grant Ingles and non-executive director Graeme Sharp, who is their record post-war goalscorer, will not be at Goodison Park for the Southampton match.

A security & safety advisor told Everton’s website: “Following a thorough risk assessment, and in response to tangible threats received by the club and intelligence we have gathered, the club’s board members have been told they must not attend today’s fixture.”

An Everton spokesperson said: “This is an unprecedented decision for Everton – never before has our entire board of directors been ordered not to attend a match on safety grounds. It is a profoundly sad day for Everton and Evertonians.”

Everton supporters have planned a sit-in protest at the end of the match to complain about the way the club is being run and have chanted “sack the board” at recent games.