Sly Stallone to make Everton appearance, says Earl

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The Independent Online

No grandiose promises have accompanied Robert Earl's investment in Everton but it is a sign of changing times when Sylvester Stallone pencils in an appearance at Goodison Park.

Earl, American-based but Hendon-born, purchased a 23 per cent stake in the club on Friday with a fraction of the fortune - believed to be around £8m - he has amassed through his casino and leisure enterprises, including the Planet Hollywood and Hard Rock Café chains he founded with support from Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis.

Though Earl bought the second largest shareholding in Everton from Paul Gregg and his wife Anita, long-time boardroom adversaries of the chairman Bill Kenwright who have now left the club, the 55-year-old has not taken a directorship and has insisted his involvement is merely to support the theatre impresario in his future plans.

However, Earl's arrival and Gregg's departure clears the way for Kenwright and the Everton board to press ahead with plans for a new stadium in Kirkby, and it is understood the boyhood Tottenham fan has an agreement for the naming rights with the possibility of developing his casino or leisure interests at the site.

"My involvement with Everton is to support," he said. "It's an endorsement of Bill Kenwright, an endorsement of David Moyes - it is not a takeover. The more financial stability we can give the club, the better. If there is to be a new stadium, and if that stadium merits having great restaurants and a casino, let's go for it. But I will not be making those decisions. It will be up to the chairman how much he uses me."

The leisure tycoon added: "I definitely will be bringing some of the biggest movie stars to Everton. Sylvester Stallone loves soccer and I spoke to him about the deal last night. He said he wants to come."

Liverpool are continuing their efforts to attract investment that would allow for their proposed £180m move, with the chief executive Rick Parry travelling to Dubai for the third time in a fortnight yesterday, where he has previously met representatives of Dubai Holdings, the investment vehicle of the Dubai government.

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