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."

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