Everton chief ‘put in headlock’ and ‘spat at’ in new claims amid fears for board’s safety | Football | Sport


Everton chief Denise Barrett-Baxendale was reportedly put in a headlock as she tried to leave the club’s directors box before she was spat at as her car was surrounded as she tried to leave the ground. The Toffee’s board will not be present at today’s match against Southampton over “real and credible threats to their safety and security.” 

Tensions between fans and the board at Goodison Park are currently tense with the club embroiled in a relegation battle. There are plans to hold a peaceful protest at today’s fixture with Southampton with almost 90 supporters groups signed up with fans encouraged to stage a ‘sit-in’ after the final whistle.

However, a minority of supporters have gone too far in recent weeks leading to fears over the safety of the board at the match today with members instructed to stay away. 

Now, the Liverpool Echo has given more context to the development. The advice was issued after board member Barrett-Baxendale ran into trouble as she tried to leave Goodison Park directors box. 

Club sources have indicated the CEO was put in a ‘headlock’ as she left the box. Another incident is said to have seen her car surrounded and spat at. Furthermore, chairman Bill Kenwright is believed to have received death threats.

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There was widespread shock when Everton announced that their board had been told to stay away from the ground earlier today. A statement released by the club read: “Everton’s Board of Directors have been instructed not to attend today’s Premier League fixture against Southampton because of a ‘real and credible threat to their safety and security’.

Chairman Bill Kenwright, CEO Denise Barrett-Baxendale, Chief Finance & Strategy Officer Grant Ingles and Non-Executive Director Graeme Sharp have reluctantly accepted the outcome of the safety assessment carried out by security advisors.

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.

A Security & Safety Advisor said: ‘Following a thorough risk assessment, and in response to tangible threats received by the Club and intelligence we have gathered, the Club’s Board members have been told they must not attend today’s fixture.’

A Club spokesperson added: ‘This is an unprecedented decision for Everton Football Club – never before has our entire Board of Directors been ordered not to attend a match on safety grounds. It is a profoundly sad day for Everton and Evertonians.'”

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The protest at the game today has been organised by the NSNO_W campaign and the group have repeatedly stressed that it would be peaceful, free of abuse and anti-social behaviour. 

In response to the news that the board would not be attending the group tweeted: “Everyone involved in our campaign and indeed every reasonable Evertonian utterly and completely condemn any threats to any Everton employee and/or officials and directors of the club.”

Everton currently sit 18th in the Premier League with today’s opponents Southampton one of the two clubs behind them. 



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