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By ESPN Staff

Everton: Wyness resignation not linked to Kirkby

Everton insist the departure of chief executive Keith Wyness is not linked to the future of their controversial new stadium plans.

The Merseysiders today issued a statement re-iterating their commitment to the move to Kirkby, where they have planning permission for a 50,000-seat new ground in a joint move with Tesco.

An Everton spokesman said: 'The club wish to re-iterate our commitment to the Destination Kirkby project.

'The departure of Keith Wyness is in no way connected to that project.'

Wyness, after discussions with board members at the weekend, tendered his resignation by e-mail.

Initially it was believed that Wyness' departure was linked to the prospect of the Kirkby plans possibly being 'called in' by the Government for further consideration.

That would delay the plans for at least a year, and Wyness had gone on record as saying that the scheme could be killed off if the Government took such action.

But the belief from Everton sources is that Wyness could be considering another position in football.

His close friend is Paul Davidson, the former Macclesfield plumber who has just taken over the ownership of Real Mallorca. There is now speculation that Wyness could be about to take up a role with the Spanish club.

Everton sources have been aware of this speculation for several days.

The club are still waiting for a final decision from the Government on the Kirkby plans, which was expected last week. It is believed that they will discover whether the plans will be 'called in' on Friday or Monday.

However, the departure of Wyness could not have come at a worse time. The new Barclays Premier League season is less than three weeks away, and boss David Moyes wants to secure several major transfers by then.

Wyness has been the driving force behind the move to Kirkby, and has taken much personal criticism from fans and shareholders over the scheme.

Although the club are bracing themselves for a negative reaction from the Government, they insist they will soldier on with their plans.

Everton are also about to announce the date for an EGM called by shareholders, to discuss the Kirkby proposals again and by definition, Wyness' role in it.

The debate over whether Everton should move outside the Liverpool city boundaries has raged for months, and Wyness has been subjected to considerable personal abuse on the subject.

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