Kenwright turns to the man who was not wanted by M&S

Bill Kenwright has turned to his close friend, the billionaire Philip Green, to help him keep control of Everton.

Bill Kenwright has turned to his close friend, the billionaire Philip Green, to help him keep control of Everton.

Green, who transformed British Home Stores and recently lost his battle to win control of Marks & Spencer, would make a powerful ally in Kenwright's increasingly fraught struggle with his partner, Paul Gregg, for control of Goodison Park - a battle which on Friday triggered the resignation of the chief executive, Trevor Birch.

Gregg and Kenwright, who own 70 per cent of the shares in True Blue Holdings, the consortium which took control of the club in 2000, have seen their relationship sour in recent weeks.

Gregg, who failed to attend a single home game at Goodison last season, has become frustrated by the lack of investment that Birch was able to generate to alleviate Everton's £40m debt.

Last week he suggested that True Blue should change its constitution to allow wealthy benefactors on Merseyside to invest in the club and in return they should be allowed seats on the board.

This would weaken Kenwright's power base at Goodison and he is now seen as a man in urgent need of allies.

Birch was believed to be in favour of selling Wayne Rooney to guarantee Everton's future, although this was an idea that the theatre impresario found difficult to stomach.

Having fiercely criticised the previous regime for selling local talents such as Francis Jeffers, Kenwright would be loath to go down as the man who sold Rooney, however much the striker would fetch in Manchester or Madrid.

Because of his wealth - he claimed that 15 per cent of the £9bn he bid for Marks & Spencer was his own money - Green has long been courted by football but has shown little interest before.

However, as a family friend in a time of need, Kenwright may have a better chance than anyone, although Green usually expects a financial return on his investment.

One Everton insider claimed the club are "still shellshocked" by Birch's departure after six weeks in the job, and since his walk-out Goodison has effectively been run by Gregg and another director, Jon Woods.

Although they were once close, Gregg is now seen as a direct rival to Kenwright and, through the Merseyside media, he has launched increasingly pointed attacks on Kenwright, who, though a fan, lacks the enormous personal wealth required to turn Everton round.

"We need new opportunities to bring in investment," said Gregg. "If we don't, we will die on our feet. When I put my money in, I thought Bill and I were going to change the world. Instead, we have endured a catalogue of errors and the truth of the matter is that last week there could be no decision other than to change. As far as I am concerned, we cannot go on without new investment.

"I recognise Bill's passion and I do understand Everton, but our management has not been good enough for us to do it and that must change."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss