Everton directors to miss Southampton game over safety threat

Everton fans hold up banners during the FA Cup third-round defeat at Manchester United
Everton fans held up banners at the FA Cup third-round defeat by Manchester United at Old Trafford this month

Everton’s board of directors will not attend Saturday’s Premier League game against Southampton because of a “real and credible threat to their safety”.

The club said the directors were advised not to attend Goodison Park following “malicious and unacceptably threatening correspondence”.

Everton fan groups plan to protest at the 15:00 GMT match after last week’s 4-1 home defeat by Brighton.

“This is an unprecedented decision,” a club spokesperson said.

“Never before has our entire board of directors been ordered not to attend a match on safety grounds.”

Everton said there have been “increasing incidents of anti-social behaviour, including targeted physical aggression” at recent home games.

They said the board “reluctantly accepted the outcome of the safety assessment carried out by security advisors”.

Everton are 18th in the table, have not won in eight matches in all competitions and have been knocked out of both domestic cup competitions.

The Toffees narrowly escaped relegation last season and dropped into the bottom three after the loss to Brighton.

This month the Everton Fans’ Forum wrote an open letter to owner Farhad Moshiri asking for “sweeping changes at chair, board and executive levels”.

In response to the letter, Moshiri said he had faith in manager Frank Lampard and the directors.

Everton chairman Bill Kenwright
Everton chairman Bill Kenwright, chief executive Denise Barrett-Baxendale, chief finance and strategy officer Grant Ingles and non-executive director Graeme Sharp will not attend Goodison Park following safety advice

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