Bill Kenwright promises Everton’s majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri ‘loves the club’ after he took his ownership above 50 per cent on Tuesday.
A statement published by Everton confirmed Moshiri has bought a further 18.7 per cent of the shares to now control 68.6 per cent of the Goodison Park club, with another purchase expected by next July to take the Iranian’s total shares up to 77.2 per cent.
Based in Monaco, Moshiri has owned a 49.9 per cent stake in Everton since February 2016 after selling his Arsenal shares to Alisher Usmanov, who owns 48 per cent of USM, the company of which Moshiri is chairman.
Kenwright has remained Everton chairman since Moshiri’s original purchase, and he joined talkSPORT to explain the deal, revealing Moshiri decided to increase his shares nine months earlier than the original date set for the purchase.
“I don’t think there’s a massive significance,” Kenwright told Jim White. “He had an option to buy next May and he’s decided to take it earlier.
“I don’t have to tell you the commitment he’s given to Everton, both in terms of time and finance, – he’s put hundreds of millions into the club – and I think there was a part of him now that wanted that extra shareholding with the new stadium coming up.
“I think it will help in that it’s further finance for the club, but I don’t know if he did it with massive ulterior motives.
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“When he and I first sat down to talk about him purchasing the major shareholding, I know he needed time to get to know the club. He’s been there two-and-a-half years now and he knows the club and loves the club.
“I just think he wanted to cement his position nine months earlier.”
One of Moshiri’s biggest achievements since becoming majority shareholder has been getting plans in motion for Everton’s move to a new stadium, with a deal agreed between the club, Liverpool City Council and the site’s owners for a new ground at Bramley-Moore Dock last March.
Kenwright provided an update on the stadium situation, promising things will be taken ‘step by step’ to ensure Everton do not run into the same kind of problems Tottenham have been having with their redevelopment.
He continued: “I am more than excited about the prospect of going to the dock in Liverpool and having that major position.
“But as we always say, any new stadium at this moment has to be carefully planned and thought out. I mean, you look at the problems poor Daniel Levy’s having at Tottenham… it’s step by step and step by step.
“The architect’s working hard, the council are with us, the funding is going ahead – but we are not there yet.
“But it is a very exciting prospect.”