Everton chairman Bill Kenwright CBE has died aged 78, the club have confirmed.
Kenwright spent 19 seasons at Everton as chairman, having grown up a Toffees fan, and previously owned the club as part of the True Blue group.
A club statement on Kenwright’s passing said: “Everton Football Club is in mourning following the passing of chairman Bill Kenwright CBE, who passed away peacefully last night aged 78, surrounded by his family and loved ones.
“Bill Kenwright, Everton’s longest-serving chairman for more than a century, led the club through a period of unprecedented change in English football.
“A lifelong Everton man, he became a director on 23 October 1989, and then on Christmas Day 1999 his True Blue Holdings conglomerate acquired the club. Initially vice-chairman, he succeeded his close friend Sir Philip Carter as chairman in 2004.
Kenwright in action / David Rogers/GettyImages
“During his 19 seasons as chairman, the club secured 12 top eight finishes, including a top four finish in 2005, a run to the 2009 FA Cup final and European competition on 6 separate occasions.
The club has lost a chairman, leader, friend and inspiration. The thoughts and prayers of everyone at Everton are with his partner Jenny Seagrove, his daughter Lucy Kenwright, grandchildren and all who knew and loved him.”
Liverpool-born Kenwright made his fortune as a hugely successful theater producer, notably having a huge West End success with Blood Brothers and also a record-breaking run of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
Kenwright used his fortune to buy a majority stake in Everton for £20m in 1999, before selling his 68% stake in the club to Farhad Moshiri in 2016 – a stake which Moshiri has now sold to US investment fund 777 Partners.
Kenwright continued as chairman after selling part of his stake and oversaw the club’s proposed move to a new stadium on the Liverpool docks.
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