The chairman of Everton for the past 19 years, Bill Kenwright, has passed away at the age of 78.
In 2015, Kenwright was diagnosed with cancer and more recently, he was placed in intensive care due to complications during a surgery to extract a tumor from his liver. Everton reported that he had been discharged and is anticipated to have a long but full recovery. The club declared on Tuesday that Kenwright had passed away.
The passing of chairman Bill Kenwright CBE has left Everton Football Club in a state of mourning. He peacefully passed away at the age of 78 last night, with his family and loved ones by his side. The club expressed their sorrow over the loss of not only a chairman, but also a leader, friend, and source of inspiration.
Kenwright, a performer and musician hailing from Liverpool, rose to become one of the top theatre producers in the UK, responsible for hit musicals like Blood Brothers and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat.
As a lifelong supporter of Everton, he became a member of the board in 1989 and headed the group that purchased the team from previous owner Peter Johnson a decade later. In 2004, Kenwright took on the role of chairman at Everton, but his tenure was marked by disappointment as the club went through its longest period without winning a trophy and faced multiple failed attempts at building a new stadium.
In 2016, Kenwright sold most of his shares to Farhad Moshiri after an extensive search for new investments. Despite this, he was still allowed to continue serving as chairman. Moshiri successfully resolved Everton’s stadium problem by constructing a remarkable arena on Liverpool’s waterfront. However, his time as owner has been marked by a turbulent period both on and off the field.
Kenwright had not been to a match at Goodison Park since January 3rd due to demonstrations regarding Everton’s downfall under Moshiri and his team.
According to Everton, Kenwright has been their chairman for over a hundred years and has successfully guided the club through a time of significant transformation in English football.
The statement released by Liverpool city council expressed deep sadness, acknowledging the passing of Bill Kenwright, a strong and dedicated supporter of the city. His contributions in both the arts and sports will be remembered as a great legacy. The council sends their thoughts to Everton FC and Kenwright’s family during this difficult time.
The architect for the new Everton stadium, Dan Meis, expressed his sadness over the news. Regardless of one’s opinions about him, it is evident that he had a strong love for the club and without him, the Bramley Moore project would not have come to fruition. He was instrumental in securing the site, developing the design, and hiring an American architect. Meis hopes that his contributions will eventually be recognized and appreciated.