Don’t kill Bill - it really isn’t his fault.

Published: Monday, 24 January 2022

The first thing to say this week is that this really isn’t the blog I was going to write. I wanted to concentrate more on the phone call I got Monday morning - from an official on the current PL list - telling me my suspicions about refs being told what decision they’re going to make as they approach a monitor are bang on. They’re being told what to do by the matchday centre. More on this later…..

But first - a plea to Evertonians. Please - leave Bill Kenwright alone. The mess the club are currently in really isn’t anything to do with him. 

I understand the frustration. I get it. With all the money that’s been spent these past few years Everton shouldn’t be anywhere near a relegation scrap. It’s a scandal that they are. And make no mistake - they are.

There’s been too many changes - both in the managers’ office and elsewhere. Buying has been a scatter gun process. I remember the day they signed seven and Jamie Carragher laughed out loud on Twitter saying that not one of them would get into Liverpool’s team. That really annoyed me and I disagreed. Sadly - he was right.

It was history repeating itself. I was watching Everton most weeks when Howard Kendall arrived and bought the so-called ‘magnificent seven’. Apart from Neville Southall (who was being signed anyway) the rest were a disaster. But at least we knew who to blame - Howard. Of course he got the time to correct his mistakes - and we all know what happened.

We’ve no idea who’s been buying at Goodison is recent seasons. Or why. Well - I can hazard a guess but I’m not going to offer it up here.

The point is - Bill hasn’t been anywhere near the decision making process ever since Farhad Moshiri and Alisher Usmanov arrived. Nowhere near it. He’s simply a figure head in the Boardroom.

Bill has blue blood. He’s an Evertonian first - before anything else. He’s also a lovely man. I challenge anyone who’s done business with Bill - or worked with and for him - to find me somebody who’s got a bad word to say about him. You won’t.

Whoever paid for that plane to fly over the ground ahead of the game against Villa should hang their heads in shame. It was a disgusting stunt.

It cut me to pieces to see the videos of Bill in the street after the match trying to placate angry supporters. It was also typical of him. He doesn’t see himself as different to those fans - just lucky to have made a few quid and previously been custodian of the club for a time.

If Everronians want to get angry - and they should - concentrate your fire on Moshiri and Usmanov.

Nobody could ever question Bill’s motives. But you can the ‘millionaire two’? Why did they buy the club? What was their purpose? Again - I’ve got a very good idea but I’m not going to put it into writing. It’s not hard to work out though is it? And by the way - despite their denials when I last mentioned it - they’d sell in a heart beat if they could.

It was put to me this week by a legendary blue (not Andy Gray!) that Everton has become an agents’ paradise - with the club paying extra-ordinary fees for ordinary players. I couldn’t have put it better myself.

The most important thing in football is recruitment, recruitment, recruitment. Everton’s has been shocking.

This Everton board has spent - no, spunked - £500m - not a pound of it is on Bill’s toes.

My big regret for him is that he didn’t go public with his dismay at the appointment of Benitez. He argued strongly against it - but he’s a team player and wouldn’t say - despite encouragement to do so from me and others close to him. He should’ve done.

Please - back off him. He’s a good man. He’s as frustrated as the next Evertonian. It’s not his fault.

And so to that Monday morning call. Wow. So now we know - the refs are being told what decision to make as they approach the monitor. How? Because my source is currently on the list and he confirmed my suspicions. He works PL games every weekend. He’s fed up with the management at the PGMOL and after another shocking weekend of decision making - by VAR - he couldn’t resist. What a sad state of affairs this is.

I’ve believed for some time that the refs were on remote control. I’d love to go more deeply into this but it’s so hard to keep going over the same ground - although I’m encouraged by the call - and the request to ‘keep going’ with my criticism.

We can not have a situation where games are reffed from the bunker.

Mike Riley was never happy he was forced to accept FIFA protocols and use pitchside monitors. As I’ve always suspected - it seems he’s got round the problem. It’s got to stop. So what’s the answer?

I repeat. We MUST be allowed to listen to the conversation at the monitor. We want to know ‘why’ decisions are being made. And by who. If I’m wrong Mr Riley - prove it.

VAR operators must also be regular retired officials. Let the guys in the middle concentrate on just that job. It’s hard enough anyway - without the pressure of working the bunker. We need specialists in there.

And one other change would help more than anything else. Again - I repeat - Mike Riley has got to go.