Alex Iwobi mourns death of respected former Chairman

Alex Iwobi mourns death of respected former Chairman
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Alex Iwobi and his former club are in mourning following the announcement of the demise of their chairman, Bill Kenwright, who passed on in the late hours of Monday.

Kenwright died aged 78.

Kenwright was diagnosed with liver cancer in early August and left hospital around a fortnight ago after undergoing emergency surgery to remove a cancerous tumour.

Bill Kenwright obtained 68% shares of Everton in 1999 to make him the majority shareholder.

The Theatre and film producer, Actor and singer became the club chairman in 2004.

Kenwright was on the Everton board since October 23rd 1989, until his death.

Bill Kenwright and his Nigerian connection including Alex Iwobi

alex iwobi mourns bill kenwright
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As director on the board of Everton FC and later chairman, many Nigerians have featured for the Toffees, with the latest being Fulham midfielder Alex Iwobi.

Iwobi shared a close relationship with Kenwright during his time at the club and was regularly encouraged by the chairman.

The first Nigerian to walk through Goodison Park was Daniel ‘The Bull' Amokachi.

The Nigerian forward joined from Club Brugge in 1994 for a fee of £3 million ($4.7 million).

Amokachi helped Everton win the 1994–95 FA Cup and the FA Charity Shield in 1995.

Kenwright oversaw the signing of other Nigerian players.

Other players who played for Everton

Joseph Yobo (2002-2010)

Joseph Yobo served longer than Alex Iwobi at everton
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Joseph is the longest-serving Nigerian at Everton. The former Olympique Marseille defender spent eight years with the Toffees.

Yobo was well-known at the club despite not winning any laurels. David Moyes completed a £5 million deal to keep Yobo at Goodison Park.

Victor Anichebe (2007-2013)

Anichebe is the second-longest-serving Nigerian player at senior-level Everton.

Anichebe started with the youth side of Everton at 15, before his promotion to the first team in 200. He spent seven years with Everton before leaving for West Bromwich Albion in 2013.

Yakubu Aiyegbeni (2007-2011)

Like Alex Iwobi aiyegbeni also played for Everton
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Yakubull, as he was fondly called, arrived at Goodison Park from Middlesbrough in 2007 for a fee of £11.25 million on a five-year contract.

Aiyegbeni scored 25 goals in all competitions for Everton before leaving on loan to Leicester City in 2011.

Ademola Lookman (2017-2019)

The British-born Nigerian forward who switched allegiance to Nigeria a few years ago spent less than two years at Everton.

After a brilliant spell at Charlton Athletic, where he scored ten goals, Lookman joined the Toffees for a reported initial fee of £7.5m, potentially rising to £11m with add-ons.

It was a misadventure for Lookman at Everton, as he scored just one goal in 36 games. He was eventually loaned to RB Leipzig before they made the deal permanent in 2009.

Henry Onyekuru (2017)

The Nigerian forward had the shortest stay at Everton. He failed to perform in the only season he was at the club.

Immediately after signing for Everton for a fee of £7 million, Onyekuru went on loan to Anderlecht, where he scored ten goals before injuries took their toll on him.

Alex Iwobi (2019-2023)

Alex Iwobi strutting out for Everton
Liverpool, England, 12th August 2023. Alex Iwobi of Everton with the ball during the Premier League match at Goodison Park, Liverpool. Picture credit should read: Gary Oakley / Sportimage – Photo by Icon sport

Alex Iwobi is the last Nigerian to work with Bill Kenwright. Perhaps he is the one who enjoyed the closest relationship with the deceased.

They regularly exchanged communication, as Kenwright believed Iwobi could help them achieve their dreams.

Iwobi joined from Arsenal for £28 million, rising to £34 million with potential add-ons.

He is the most expensive Nigerian to play for Everton.

These Nigerians, especially Alex Iwobi, will fondly remember Kenwright for his passion and how he supported them during their stay at the club.

Kenwright was an Everton fan from birth. It was the club supported by his family, and he followed them till his death.

Football and beyond continues to eulogise a man who brought his artistic flair to the club he was passionate about.

This article was most recently revised and updated 8 months ago

Chooka Izuegbuna is a Sports Journalist with 20 years of experience in print, TV and Radio. He has worked with some of the top media houses in Nigeria, including NTA Network, Channels TV, TVC, Silverbird TV and MITV. Chooka broke his sports reporting teeth with The Game Football Weekly in 2003 as a cartoonist and reporter. Chooka has a passion for football and has been a fan of Enugu Rangers (over 30 years) and Real Madrid (Since 1996).