Everton Chair Bill Kenwright Deserves Credit for Leighton Baines, Transfer Deals
Not so long ago, a small minority of Everton supporters took up cudgels against chairman Bill Kenwright and marched on Goodison Park to voice their feelings toward the club supremo and his board.
They viewed the stagnation of the club under Kenwright's stewardship as an affront and took to the streets before a Premier League game against Aston Villa in September 2011 to vent their dissatisfaction.
The Blue Union, as they were called, were unhappy with Kenwright's failure to procure investment for the club or find a buyer for the Merseysiders, as the Daily Mirror reported.
But even the most ardent anti-Kenwright faction cannot disguise the delight the chairman has engendered among Everton fans this week.
Everton manager Roberto Martinez had already brought in forward Arouna Kone and defender Antolin Alcaraz from Wigan Athletic, while ex-DW Stadium goalkeeper Joel Robles was drafted in from Atletico Madrid through the summer.
Clearly, though, it was a lesson learned and when Marouane Fellaini made a similar request to leave the club for Old Trafford on Monday, Everton moved swiftly to use the money to bring in James McCarthy from the Latics, Gareth Barry on loan from Manchester City and, most surprising of all, Romelu Lukaku on loan from Chelsea.
These were stunning strikes from a club that had seemingly been content to rely on David Moyes' man-management to get the best out of the players with a limited budget for the previous 11 years.
The best Everton move of the day did not come with an arrival; it emerged in the shape of Leighton Baines still being on the payroll beyond 11 p.m. on Monday.
The England left-back had been pursued by Moyes and Manchester United alongside Fellaini throughput the summer. Everton dismissed an initial £28 million offer for both players as an insult, but few were expecting to see Baines still in an Everton shirt beyond the transfer deadline.
Headlines emerged in the newspapers that Baines had requested a move to United in his first meeting with Martinez, as Sam Wallace of The Independent reported.
The Everton boss countered that claim by insisting that the player had not asked to leave, as Richard Jolly of The Guardian reported.
The signs were ominous for Everton, though. And when Fellaini edged closer to United, it seemed only a matter of time before Baines would follow suit.
But it just didn't happen.
Everton fans had been expecting the Belgium international to bid farewell after five years with the club, but the loss of the full-back too would have been a blow too far on deadline day. Instead, the Goodison Park faithful were left celebrating the joyous double news of significant squad additions and Baines staying.
Credit goes to Martinez for his choice of players to bring in, but Everton fans should also applaud Kenwright and his board for their work on deadline day.
Handing Baines an improved deal for remaining at the club is now the way forward for Kenwright, with Martinez insisting that the 28-year-old deserves to know the support he has at Goodison, as David Anderson of the Daily Mirror reported.
The new contract should also help to see off any renewed interest from Moyes and United in January. The Old Trafford club missed out on Real Madrid left-back Fabio Coentrao on deadline day, which indicates the position is one which needs addressing by Moyes when the window reopens.
While Everton were celebrating, Kenwright will have had good cause to view the deadline-day events at Old Trafford with some satisfaction.
Moyes claimed during the summer that he would not have stood in the way of Baines and Fellaini leaving Everton for United, as Simon Hart of The Independent reported.
To the eyes of Evertonians, this was a despicable act on Moyes' part after the former Everton manager had criticised Manchester City for a similar unsettling approach for Joleon Lescott in 2009, as Andy Hunter of The Guardian noted at the time.
United and Moyes ended up with just Fellaini from their summer pursuits before the transfer window closed, and Old Trafford chief executive Ed Woodward has received little credit for their recruitment activity.
When Everton next take to the field against Chelsea on Sept. 14, the biggest cheers will be reserved for Baines. But some of that love and applause should also be sent in the direction of Kenwright.
It is doubtful such a reception will be awaiting Moyes on his return to Goodison next April.
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