Football: Johnson set to sell his pounds 60m stake in Everton

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The Independent Online
Peter Johnson is set to sell his stake in struggling Everton, making a pounds 40m profit in the process, it was reported yesterday. The Blues chairman is said to have become disillusioned with life at Goodison Park and is ready to put his 68 per cent holding on the market. With his 24,000 shares worth pounds 2,500 each, Johnson's initial outlay of pounds 20m to buy the club and underwrite a rights issue, is worth pounds 60m.

Johnson has come under increasing pressure from supporters frustrated at his apparent unwillingness to give manager Howard Kendall money to bring in new players. Kendall has paid out less than pounds 5m since taking over for his third spell at the club but has only pounds 3m to spend on new players.

The former Tranmere chairman's attempts to move the club away from Goodison - their home since 1892 - and out to the Wirral have also been attacked by many fans. At the recent Merseyside derby, more than 20,000 leaflets were handed out, declaring in time-honoured fashion: "Johnson must go" as well as "we won't stop until this man is out".

Johnson, who made his money selling food hampers, bought Everton in 1994 and had grand plans to turn the club into a major force again but the side has underachieved since the FA Cup final victory over Manchester United in his first season in charge.

Since then, Johnson has sacked one manager, Mike Walker, and seen another, Joe Royle, resign, while his pursuit of Bobby Robson last summer and attempts to attract Andy Gray this summer came to nothing.

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