By George Overhill

18th Nov, 2023 | 8:10pm

Bizarre Denise Barrett-Baxendale and Grant Ingles update emerges from Everton hearing as points deduction hits with pair absent

Neither Denise Barrett-Baxendale or Grant Ingles are believed to have given any evidence on behalf of Everton during the independent commission hearing, according to The Times.

The paper reported via their website on 17 November that neither the former Toffees CEO or the club’s ex-chief finance and strategy officer were involved in the process despite the period in question being while they both held crucial positions at Goodison Park.

The pair resigned after months of fan protests at the running of the club on 12 June, along with former non-executive Graeme Sharp.

According to The Times current officials at the club have been left “stunned” by the weight of the 10-point deduction punishment, with the club having worked with the Premier League since August 2021 “to ensure they abided by the rules”.

In that time they had run prospective transfer deals by the league, who say they gave the club “repeated warnings” that they could fall foul of profit and sustainability regulations.

The “crux” of the overspend is said to be on interest payable from loans to build the new stadium.

Times journalist Paul Joyce himself wrote: “Everton are today also a club paying for flawed decision-making and the ­collapse in its governance on former CEO Denise Barrett-Baxendale’s watch.”

High and dry

Quite how the chief executive of a football club, and the man at the head of the finance department, during a tumultuous period could be absent from a hearing specifically looking at how the club was operating at that time is difficult to imagine.

Even if it were a deliberate plan to maintain a degree of separation from key decision makers during a time which has dropped the club in to difficulty it seems short-sighted, and clearly hasn’t worked.

Since it appears that so much of this case has boiled down to differing interpretations of the rules and how they would be applied it would surely have been beneficial for those ultimately responsible for making those crucial calls gave their side of the story.

The club are now stunned by the size of the punishment, and despite an appeal potentially watering it down the door is also open for matters to get worse in terms of compensation to rival claimants.

Most of the reaction has unsurprisingly been directed towards the Premier League’s actions in this matter, and the hearing panel’s subsequent view of matters.

But surely questions also need to be asked about the club’s case in the hearing as well, and what may have been lacking from it, as it appears to have been so ineffective.

In other Everton news, a BBC pundit has argued that not only did the club gain “no sporting advantage” but they were already operating at a sporting disadvantage thanks to the Premier League.