Football: Everton rival bidders unite

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THE air of uncertainty that has swirled round Everton since the death of Sir John Moores appeared to be clearing last night when the theatre impressario, Bill Kenwright, and Peter Johnson, the Tranmere Rovers chairman, agreed to join forces in a pounds 10m takeover of the club.

In doing so they ended a battle to gain control at Goodison Park that has been waged with varying degress of bitterness since September. The intention is to combine to obtain 2,500 new issue shares at pounds 4,000 per share.

'We are delighted they are joining together in what has been described as a dream ticket,' Everton's chief executive, Jim Greenwood, said. 'No board meeting would be necessary. We are just waiting for a response from the Football League before we set the wheels in motion.'

The League's response will be that the deal cannot go ahead until Johnson sells his shares in Tranmere. Regulations state that any person wishing to take a shareholding in one club must relinquish interest in any other.

The news will be welcomed by supporters who had misgivings about Johnson, a Liverpool follower for 25 years. The club urgently require his money, however, and by joining Kenwright, a board member whose Evertonian credentials are beyond reproach, objections will be muted.

The recently appointed manager at Goodison, Mike Walker, has lacked the cash to rebuild an ailing team and any future planning has been hampered by boardroom uncertainty.

Everton are considering whether to appeal against a pounds 75,000 FA fine for an 'indirect inducement' to Walker when he was manager of Norwich.

John Jensen, the Arsenal midfielder, will miss the Cup- Winners' Cup final against Parma in Copenhagen on 4 May, it has been confirmed. He tore a medial ligament in Denmark's 3-1 friendly win against Hungary on Wednesday and should be out for eight weeks.

England are to play a B-team friendly against Northern Ireland at Hillsborough on Tuesday 10 May.

More football, pages 38, 39