Johnson confirmed through a statement issued by the club yesterday that he will give up the chairmanship, and that vice-chairman Sir Philip Carter will take over with director Bill Kenwright as his deputy.
The club initially issued a statement yesterday morning spelling out the fact that Smith did not know about Ferguson's pounds 7m transfer to Newcastle before the deal was agreed a week ago. That admission indicated the working relationship between Johnson and Smith had broken down.
Now Johnson, who lives in Jersey, has handed over the day-to-day running of the club to Sir Philip.
Everton's second statement, yesterday afternoon, said: "After 11 years as chairman of a football club, four years at Everton and seven at Tranmere, Peter Johnson has decided to stand down. The role has become increasingly difficult since he moved to Jersey. Sir Philip Carter and Bill Kenwright have agreed to take over as chairman and vice-chairman respectively but Mr Johnson will remain on the board as a non-executive director.
"Mr Johnson is to remain on the board as a non-executive director and over the coming months he will be considering options for his 68 per cent beneficial interest. The decision to step down will not affect the sale of his interest in Tranmere which is currently underway."
Johnson cited the fact of his residence in Jersey and ill health as the main reasons for his decision. He has been looking for a buyer for some time, having won control in 1994 after a battle with a consortium headed by former Coronation Street actor Kenwright. That cost Johnson around pounds 10m; a figure between pounds 50m and pounds 60m is being mooted as the value of Johnson's shares now.
Glenn Moore on the end of an Everton era, page 26Reuse content