Bill Kenwright, chairman of Everton, died on Tuesday after a long fight with cancer. He was 78 years old.
“Everton Football Club is in mourning over the death of chairman Bill Kenwright. He died peacefully last night at the age of 78, surrounded by his family and friends,” the club said.
Kenwright took over as chairman from Phillip Carter in 2004 after first joining the board at Goodison Park in 1989. He died in August after surgery to remove a cancerous tumor from his stomach.
Kenwright was born in Liverpool and married the British actress Jenny Seagrove. He was a famous movie and theater producer.
“The club has lost a chairman, a leader, a friend, and a source of inspiration,” Everton said.
People from rival teams and former players also paid their respects.
Wayne Rooney made his name at Goodison Park when he was 16. He wrote on X, which used to be Twitter, "Devastated to hear the sad news about Bill Kenwright. “Knew Bill since I was young, and he’s had a big effect on my career and who I am.” A great man who inspires me a lot. Bill’s family and friends are in our thoughts.
People all over the city remembered how Kenwright helped the families of the Liverpool fans who died at Hillsborough.
Jamie Carragher, a former Liverpool defender who grew up supporting Everton, wrote on social media, “A huge Everton fan who served and loved his club to bits.”
In 1999, Kenwright’s group got a majority 68 percent stake in the club.
During his time as manager, however, the team’s performance worsened, and he fought with fans over the club’s future.
Since 1995, Everton hasn’t won a big trophy. In the last two seasons, they came close to being relegated from the English Premier League for the first time since 1954.
In 2016, Kenwright sold most of his shares to Farhad Moshiri, a British-Iranian businessman.
Even though Moshiri spent hundreds of millions of dollars on players, Everton has continued to have problems. Some fans pressured Kenwright because they didn’t like how the club was run.
Last month, news was that the club would be sold to the American investment company 777 Partners.
But there are still questions about whether the takeover will happen after it was said that 777 Partners didn’t give the Financial Conduct Authority the necessary information.