Doubts persist on whether Everton’s board of directors will attend Sean Dyche’s first game as manager at home to Arsenal on Saturday.
The ECHO understands that at the time of publication, no decision has been made yet - but club insiders would be surprised if the board were present at the fixture.
None of Everton’s board, consisting of chairman Bill Kenwright, chief executive Denise Barrett-Baxendale, finance director Grant Ingles and former player Graeme Sharp, a non-executive director, were at the previous home game against Southampton on January 14 after a statement issued by the club claimed they had been advised it was not safe for them to attend.
READ MORE: 'I'm going to bust these myths' - Sean Dyche bans two items from Everton training ground
READ MORE: 'Anchored in L4' - Everton won't abandon biggest presence around Goodison Park with new stadium
Part of the statement read: “The board members received the instruction following malicious and unacceptably threatening correspondence received by the club and increasing incidents of anti-social behaviour – including targeted physical aggression – at recent home matches.”
After the game, which Everton lost 2-1, thousands of fans stayed behind for a peaceful sit-in protest against the club’s hierarchy but the board then returned en masse for the following match at West Ham United’s London Stadium on January 21 where they were joined by director of football Kevin Thelwell – who had been at the Southampton fixture – and majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri.
It was the first and last game under manager Frank Lampard that the Monaco-based businessman had been to as he ended a 15-month absence of not watching the team that he owns in the flesh since the 5-2 home defeat to Watford on October 23, 2021.
Groups of Everton fans are now planning another sit-in protest after the Arsenal game plus a demonstration march to Goodison Park before kick-off. Despite record-breaking levels of spending under Moshiri, Everton’s on the field fortunes have regressed significantly under his ownership since 2016 and Dyche becomes the eighth manager of his tenure.
The team are only being kept off the bottom of the table on goal difference after picking up just 15 points in 20 games – their lowest ever tally at this stage of a Premier League season. Everton were also the only club battling against relegation not to have signed any new players during the January transfer window even though Anthony Gordon was sold to Newcastle United for £45million.
Farhad Moshiri and Everton sent brutal 'trust' message as Sean Dyche faces 'impossible job'
Sean Dyche has asked 'honest' question of Everton players as Frank Lampard talks claim made
Mikel Arteta facing 'significant' Everton decision amid Sean Dyche prediction
What Sean Dyche did in Finch Farm media room showed Everton fans a new approach to relegation fight
'We need to get to the truth' - Sean Dyche gave Everton players 'complete anonymity' in search for answers at club