Frustrated Everton fans will stage a walkout protest against the club’s board during their game against Arsenal at Goodison Park on Monday night.
Anger and disappointment has been building steadily among supporters during a winless run which has seen the Toffees slip from the European places to just five points above the relegation zone.
The final straw came on Wednesday night when Rafa Benitez’s side were embarrassed by bitter rivals Liverpool on home soil, losing 4-1 on a chaotic evening which saw director of football Marcel Brands embroiled in a heated argument with one furious fan.
Frustrated Everton fans will stage a walkout protest against the club’s board on Monday night
Everton’s director of football Marcel Brands was involved in a heated argument with one fan on Wednesday night when the Blues were beaten 4-1 by bitter rivals Liverpool on home soil
There were also chants of ‘sack the board’ towards the end of the game and at full-time, while another supporter got on the pitch after the final whistle to remonstrate directly with players Anthony Gordon, Seamus Coleman and Abdoulaye Doucoure.
A number of Everton fan groups have now come together to collectively announce their intention to protest during the club’s next fixture, with a mass walkout planned for the 27th minute.
Everton will have gone 27 years without a trophy come May next year, assuming they fail to lift this season’s FA Cup.
One fan invaded the pitch at full-time as he remonstrated with Anthony Gordon (left), Seamus Coleman (hidden) and Abdoulaye Doucoure (right)
Many fans had long left the Merseyside derby before the full-time whistle on Wednesday
A statement shared across social media read: ‘27 years without a trophy is unacceptable.
‘Show your feet on 27 minutes during the game against Arsenal on Monday evening and leave your seat.
‘Let’s show that the incompetence from the top at Everton Football Club cannot continue.
A statement has been shared across social media calling for Everton to walk out of their game against Arsenal in the 27th minute to represent the number of years without a trophy
It’s understood that fans will be encouraged to stay away from their seats until at least the second half of the game against the Gunners, although some may choose to leave Goodison Park altogether.
Although the appointment of former Liverpool boss Benitez and the team’s struggles since late September have sparked the plans for a protest, the grievances of supporters go way beyond the club’s recent poor form on the pitch.
Fans are frustrated with a lack of identity and direction from owner Farhad Moshiri and his board, which still includes chairman Bill Kenwright – despite him selling the majority of the club to the Iranian billionaire back in 2016.
Fans are frustrated over the lack of identity and direction from owner Farhad Moshiri (R) and his board, including Bill Kenwright (L)
There is bewilderment over the club’s muddled recruitment policy – they have spent around £500million under Moshiri in five-and-half years – confusion over the role and influence of Brands, and questions surrounding the appointment of five permanent managers in just five years.
Fans are also annoyed at a lack of clear and open communication from the club, despite the team having failed to come close to achieving Moshiri’s lofty ambition of regular Champions League football.
Although supporters will vent their frustration at the club’s current hierarchy, many of the issues stretch back decades. Everton last won a trophy in 1995 when they lifted the FA Cup, while their previous league title came way back in 1987.
Everton’s last piece of silverware came in 1995 when the Merseyside blues won the FA Cup
There are fears things on the pitch could well get worse for Benitez’s men, with games against Crystal Palace, Chelsea and Leicester after Monday’s game with Mikel Arteta’s side.
On Friday night, The Mirror claimed that Kenwright, who remains an influential figure, had arranged an emergency board meeting with Benitez’s future high on the agenda, despite Moshiri insisting the Spaniard’s position was safe in a text message to talkSPORT’s Jim White on Thursday.
After the humiliating derby defeat, the under-fire Blues boss urged his squad to stick together amid their eight-match winless run and insisted their dip in form was not due to a lack of commitment.
Everton’s squad must stick together amid an eight-match winless run, Rafa Benitez insists
The Toffees were thrashed 4-1 by Merseyside rivals Liverpool at Goodison Park on Wednesday
‘Now is a time we have to stick together, go into January in the best position we can,’ Benitez told reporters.
‘You can complain about our mistakes, quality, things like that – but not commitment. We must work really hard.
‘Why am I still positive? Because we did it at the beginning. You can’t be a bad or good manager in one week.
Benitez has called on his under-performing squad to continue working hard and get results
‘When something is going wrong, it is really important to show character and stay calm.
‘That is what I am trying to do with my staff. We cannot complain about the effort of the players.
‘We are really disappointed with the way things are going but you cannot become a bad team in six weeks.
‘We were doing the right things at the beginning of the season, win games and what has happened?
‘We have had injuries. I am certain we will improve in the second part of the season.’