Chester City 0, Everton 1
By Neil Turner, Daily Post
Aug 1 2002
A GOAL by Everton's Peter Clarke after 14 minutes settled a competitive and enjoyable pre-season friendly at the Deva Stadium last night. A strong Blues side included Steve Simonsen, Gary Naysmith, Clarke, Steve Watson and Kevin McLeod in their line-up, but they were run extremely close by a Chester team that included six new signing in their starting XI. Clarke's goal was clinically executed after the City defence had failed to clear a deep corner from the left and the Everton youngster pounced to hit an unstoppable shot into the corner of the City net. City came back strongly and Simonsen made two top-drawer saves to deny Michael Twiss and Mark Beesley in quick succession.
Everton's best chance of the first period came a minute before the interval, when Brown did well to push away an angled effort from Naysmith, after a good move involving Steve Watson.
In the second half, City came forward impressively and Twiss was unlucky when he latched on to a delightful ball from Broady. The former Manchester United player took the ball around Simonsen, only to see his low effort hit the base of the Everton post and roll across the face of the goal, before Naysmith cleared. Naysmith was in the action at the other end to bring out a good save from Brown after good work by the impressive Kevin McLeod. After the match Chester City manager Mark Wright said: "I was happy with the overall performance and we are beginning to settle down into the good habits I am looking for. "There could be a new defensive signing in the next day or so, which will give us a few more options. "Steve Harkness made his debut in a Chester shirt and while he is still is a little bit a way from full fitness he showed the sort of quality that we brought him here for."
CHESTER CITY: W Brown, Lancaster (Woodyat 66), Ruffer, Hatswell, McIntyre, Davies (Harkness 66), Kelly, Blackburn (Carey 66), Broady (M Brown 80), Beesley (Cameron 72), Twiss (Sugden 80).
EVERTON: Simonsen, O'Hanlon, Naysmith, Clarke, Pilkington, K Southern, Brown, Symes (Beck 78), Waston, McLeod. Subs: Cole, Moogan, Schumacher, R Southern.
REFEREE: Mr J Tatten.
Wide boys return to Goodison
Aug 1 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON will welcome the wide boys back to Goodison Park next season. David Moyes (above with assistant Alan Irvine) has ordered that the Goodison pitch be widened, after three seasons as the narrowest playing surface in the Premiership. "We want more room to play football in our home games," he explained. After measuring 110 yards by 70 yards since 1999-2000, the Goodison touchlines will be taken out two yards on each flank to measure 110 yards by 74 yards this season.
Former manager Walter Smith originally brought the touchlines in from 78 yards in the summer of 1999 to the minimum permitted. That change was made because of the lack of natural wide players in his squad, and in the knowledge that renowned wing raiders and treble winners Manchester United were due at Goodison on the opening day of the season. The switch proved effective in the short term. Manchester United were held and Everton went on to enjoy one of their brighter seasons of recent years. But the decision to minimise the space available for playing football in always rankled with fans, particularly those who recalled the club's School of Science heritage.
The Blues, meanwhile, have received an all clear from Joseph Yobo's latest specialist report.
"It's a relief for us," said manager Moyes. "We are hoping we can push him in training now and get him involved in games again as quickly as possible. "There is no hairline fracture and no other damage, which we are very pleased about." Duncan Ferguson, meanwhile, was being assessed by the club doctor today before a decision is taken on which specialist he visits. "I hope something can be done quickly," said Moyes. As predicted in yesterday's Echo, Ferguson has been handed the number 10 jersey for this season. The only significant change in the squad numbers announced today is Richard Wright being installed as number one and Paul Gerrard dropping to 35.
Squad numbers: 1 Richard Wright, 2 Steve Watson, 3 Alessandro Pistone, 4 Alan Stubbs, 5 David Weir, 6 David Unsworth, 7 Niclas Alexandersson, 8 Tomasz Radzinski, 9 Kevin Campbell, 10 Duncan Ferguson, 11 Mark Pembridge, 12 Li Tie, 13 Steve Simonsen, 14 Idan Tal, 15 Gary Naysmith, 16 Thomas Gravesen, 17 Scot Gemmill, 18 Wayne Rooney, 19 Joe-Max Moore, 20 Joseph Yobo, 21 Li Weifeng, 22 Tobias Linderoth, 23 Rodrigo, 26 Lee Carsley, 27 Peter Clarke, 28 Tony Hibbert, 29 Kevin McLeod, 30 Nick Chadwick, 31 Leon Osman, 32 Keith Southern, 33 George Pilkington, 34 Sean O ' Hanlon, 35 Paul Gerrard.
Blues beat Brazil
Aug 1 2002 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON have landed their first silverware of the season - by beating a team of Brazilians in front of 12,000 spectators! The Blues' under-15 team, coached by former defender Gary Ablett and the Academy's assistant director Neil Dewsnip, captured the Milk Cup in Northern Ireland.
Botafogo, first team new boy Juliano Rodrigo's former club, were beaten 1-0 in the final thanks to a Gary Williams goal. Academy Director Ray Hall said: "It's a tremendous achievement because this is one of the most prestigious tournaments for young players." Everton's route to the final kicked off with a 2-2 draw with County Armagh, then a comfortable 5-1 romp against Dublin-based club Ardmoor Rovers. A penalty shoot-out was needed in the quarter-finals following a 1-1 draw with County Antrim, but the young Blues were clinical from the spot, triumphing 4-1. Two goals from Gary Williams saw off Israeli side Tel Aviv Maccabi in the semi-finals, before Botafogo were brought on.
Chadwick setback as Yobo all clear
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Aug 2 2002
DAVID MOYES has not given up on Joseph Yobo kicking off the new Premiership season after fears the Nigerian had fractured his leg proved unfounded yesterday. But it was not all good news for the Everton manager as it was revealed Nick Chadwick will become the third Blues player to visit a specialist this week over persistent injury problems. The young striker, who recently signed a new threeyear Goodison contract, has been restricted to just one brief appearance in Austria this pre-season due to a groin strain. Chadwick has since rested for a fortnight but has made little improvement and will now join Duncan Ferguson in the search for a specialist's verdict. Ferguson was assessed by a club doctor yesterday and is expecting to have the verdict of a specialist's report into his persistent back problem this weekend. But while his strikers struggle, Moyes hopes defender Yobo can train with his new team-mates soon after a second scan confirmed there was no serious damage to his injured right leg. The 21-year-old was forced out of his Everton debut at Queens Park last week after just 22 minutes, sparking concerns he had suffered a hairline fracture.
But Moyes confirmed last night: "The second scan shows that Joseph is fine, the scan results show there is no break." The Blues boss now plans to give his first Everton signing, a £5million-rated capture from French side Marseille, a crash fitness course to get him fit for the Premiership opener.
Moyes added: "Now we know Joseph has no break, we can get on with his training and getting him into action." Moyes continued: "I'm not sure yet whether he will make our first game - he needs matches desperately and to become integrated with the rest of the squad."
Scot Gemmill is now making some progress from the stomach strain that has forced him out of all Everton's pre-season games so far. Moyes, meanwhile, has ordered the Goodison pitch to be widened next season after three campaigns spent hosting the Premiership's narrowest playing surface. Former boss Walter Smith brought the pitch in from 78 yards wide to 70 yards, the minimum permitted by FA regulations, but now the new regime have now broadened it to 74 yards.
The Blues boss also confirmed Everton's first team squad will retain the same squad numbers next season except Paul Gerrard, who has lost the number one jersey to Richard Wright and will now wear 35. Of the other new signings Yobo will wear 20, Rodrigo 23, Li Tie 12 and Li Weifeng 21.
Report By Mark Currie, Daily Post
Aug 2 2002
WREXHAM manager Denis Smith hopes to have a near full-strength squad available for tomorrow's prestigious friendly against Premiership side Everton at the Racecourse. Strikers Lee Jones and Andy Morrell and wide-man Paul Edwards, who all picked up slight knocks in the Isle of Man last week, trained yesterday and are likely to be given a run-out against the Toffees. And utility player Dan Bennett, who has been nursing a sore knee, is also close to fitness. "Lee and Andy are okay, Paulo has a good chance and Dan an outside chance of playing on Saturday," the Dragons' boss said yesterday. "Dan is the most doubtful but I am pretty confident that if he misses out against Everton, he will be in the frame for Monday evening's game against Steaua Bucharest. "We have fewer injuries than we might have expected, so that's very pleasing and I'm hoping that the situation doesn't change over the next few days." With little more than a week before the start of the new season at Scunthorpe United, Smith gave his players a day off yesterday, pointing out that they have a busy weekend in prospect. "They have had a hard few weeks and they have all done well," he added. "There has been a fair number of games packed into the last few days and I think they need a bit of a rest, because there is no respite this weekend. "Not only do we have the two Racecourse matches within 48 hours, the club is staging its Open Day for fans on Sunday, so all the players will be in for a light training session on the pitch, so that supporters can watch them and have an opportunity to get a few autographs. "They will be in for about 11.30am and will be working for an hour." A Wrexham side, composed mainly of youngsters, lost 2-0 at League of Wales TNS on Wednesday but Smith said he was pleased with the overall performance and pointed out that senior duo Darren Ferguson and Andy Dibble would have benefited from another 90 minutes of action.
"The result did not really matter," he said. "I was pleased with some of the performance from the kids and they did much better than I had expected them to do. And it was another good workout for Darren and Andy." Sunday's Open Day, which gets underway from 11am, provides opportunities for a behind-the-scenes look at the Racecourse facilities and there will be also be entertainment and other activities provided by supporters' group and the Football in the Community programme.
Softly softly approach for ace Wayne
Aug 2 2002 Bhy Howard Kendall
AS somebody who was proud and privileged to play in an FA Cup Final at just 17 years of age, I have to subscribe to the 'if you're good enough, you're old enough' theory. But certain reservations have to accompany that mode of thinking. The argument is being aired again as the start of the season looms ever closer, and 16-year-old Wayne Rooney continues to score a prolific amount of goals in pre-seson friendlies. I would have no qualms about playing Rooney in the starting line-up.
I know from my own experiences at Preston that the other players will offer you more encouragement when you are a teenager. But back then I was playing in the old Second Division at a time when the media spotlight on footballers was nothing like as intense as it is now. I was also a midfielder where it is possibly easier to cope. Wayne Rooney is a forward where the spotlight is far less forgiving. And that is where my reservations would begin. If Wayne Rooney does start the season for Everton, he will have to be scrutinised closely. Naturally he will attract headlines merely because of his age, and there will be times when he will find everything difficult to cope with.
That is when Everton will have to take him out of the firing line to recharge his batteries, before unleashing him again. I was faced with a similar situation when I brought Trevor Steven to Everton from Burnley. He was only 19 years old, but I had spent £300,000 on him which was a considerable sum of money. He struggled a little with the physical side of the top division to begin with, but because I fancied him so strongly as a player I was loathe to leave him out. You don't want to send signals to the boardroom that one of your signings is struggling, but I had a great relationship with my chairman and I had absolute faith in Trevor's ability. We left him out for three or four months, let him settle down and adjust, then when he came in again he became an ever present who was only ever omitted from a team sheet when he was injured. David Moyes will not have the same kind of temptation I had, because Wayne Rooney is not a player he has signed. But Wayne's progress may be such that he is tempted to leave him in longer than he would normally do. That will be something Everton will have to monitor also, but it is wonderful that fans have such a thrilling young prospect to get excited about.
Squad numbers more trouble than they're worth
DAVID MOYES has left the squad numbers at Everton largely unchanged for this season - which is a sensible measure when it comes to avoiding unnecessary debate and speculation. I've always thought squad numbers were more trouble than they are actually worth. Purely a commercial gimmick they seem to have stuck. As a manager it was always easier to deal with one to 11, although the players who wore numbers seven and 11 might disagree because they always seemed to be the ones hauled off early! But when squad numbers were introduced every change was seen as more significant than it really was. Richard Wright has been installed as number one at Everton, while Paul Gerrard has dropped all the way to 35. That will automatically spark speculation that David Moyes fancies Steve Simonsen ahead of him, which may not necessarily be the case.
If Joseph Yobo had been given a number from one to 11, whichever of the central defenders he replaced would have received a psychological blow. By leaving well alone David Moyes has left the carrot of first team football still dangling for the majority of his first team squad.
Gazza move to States is off
Aug 2 2002 Liverpool Echo
PAUL GASCOIGNE has received a glowing reference from DC United coach Ray Hudson, despite seeing his proposed move to the Washington club fall through. The 35-year-old former England star has spent the last week training with the Major League Soccer side but both parties have decided not to make the move permanent. "Despite the unfortunate and diminishing time schedule, this has been an enjoyable and worthwhile endeavour, but all parties involved are in agreement that the decision not to proceed at this time is the right decision," said Hudson, a fellow Geordie.
"DC United is sincere in its very best wishes to Paul and his future." Gascoigne, capped 57 times for his country, closed last season playing for Burnley following an injury-hit stint at Everton.
The 1990 World Cup semifinalist began his career with Newcastle before joining Tottenham for £2million in 1988. A £5.5million switch to Lazio followed in 1992 as he made his name as one of the world's most gifted playmakers. However, a successful spell in Scotland with Rangers which followed that move to the Continent was ended when he joined Middlesbrough for £3.45million in 1998. Gascoigne has since been troubled by injuries.
Chinese stars set for debut
Aug 2 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON'S two Chinese imports arrived at Goodison today - and Evertonians will get an instant opportunity to see them in action at Wrexham. Midfielder Li Tie arrived on Merseyside last night, with defender Lei Weifeng due to follow later today. Both will play some part in the friendly match at The Racecourse. The duo were signed as part of Everton's sponsorship tie-up with Chinese electronics firm Kejian, but both are experienced members of China's international set-up.
Li Tie said last night: "It's a big start for me. I have just arrived here and I am looking forward to playing here. If it's possible I want to play here as long as I can. "When I was a child I was hopeful I would play football in England. It was my dream and today dreams come true. "I just want to take the chance here and it's important for me, especially because I am very young. "I only know a little bit about Goodison Park and Everton, but I am looking forward to playing here and I will try my best." The Blues will take a League of Nations squad to North Wales, with 11 different nationalities likely to turn out. But one nation not represented will be Nigeria. Joseph Yobo was given the all-clear by a specialist yesterday, but his injury has still not settled down enough to play. Duncan Ferguson sees a specialist this weekend, while young striker Nick Chadwick must visit two to check on respective foot and groin injuries which have been troubling him pre-season. A team of Everton old-boys, meanwhile, will face Formby on Sunday (1pm) at The Squirrels' new ground on the Formby by-pass.
We won't overplay Wayne
Aug 3 2002 By Paul Walker, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has promised to protect wonderkid Wayne Rooney - the 16-year-old the Everton chief believes is already good enough for the Premiership. England youth star Rooney was bidding to continue his impressive preseason build-up in a friendly at Wrexham this afternoon when Everton's two Chinese loan recruits Li Tie and Lei Weifeng joined the squad for the first time. The World Cup players both arrived at Goodison Park 48 hours ago, and Moyes said: "The new Chinese lads have joined the squad. "They are pretty fit because their league has only just ended back home, but they need to become integrated in the squad quickly." Missing for the time being is Nigerian Joseph Yobo, who is recovering from a leg injury, while Duncan Ferguson will visit a specialist on Monday for an injection to ease his back trouble. So all eyes are again on Rooney, who will become Everton's second youngest league player ever - behind Joe Royle - if he makes his first team debut in the next few weeks. But the pressures are already mounting on the 16-year-old, just like they did on the likes of Michael Owen, Ryan Giggs and Joe Cole when they started out in the seniors at a very young age.
Moyes said: "There is a bit too much pressure on him at the moment, and we will look after him because he is still a baby in terms of professional football. "We will take care of him at the right times, he will go back into the reserves and even the youth team. "But he has grown up very quickly and he has been fabulous in the preseason games." Moyes, who will take his squad to Anderlecht on Tuesday before before next Saturday's home match with Athletic Bilbao, added: "We are aware that at different times he will need to be pulled out of things and given a rest and left alone for a while. "But we are aware of the hype and what people keep saying about him, I will do everything I can to protect him from all of that. "We want to go along quietly with him, but he's not making it easy by making a name for himself already. "He's very strong, one of the strongest I have seen at his age and he is capable of playing in the Premiership now with the physical stature he already has."
While Moyes and his coaching staff are convinced over Rooney's ability to play in the Premier League, there is a sense of uncertainty about the two Chinese lads who are at the club as part of the sponsorship deal with Chinese electronics firm Kejian. They will have their work cut out forcing their way into Moyes' first team plans. But for Li Tie, who Moyes watched in Korea against Costa Rica, it represents a dream chance. He said: "This is a big start for me. I have just arrived here and I am looking forward to playing - and if it is possible I want to play here as long as I can. "When I was a child I was hopeful I would play football in England. It was my dream and today dreams come true."
"I just want to get the chance here and it is important for me especially because I am very young. I want to study here, study the football. "It is a different style of football here and I only know a little about Goodison Park and Everton but I am looking forward to playing and I will try my best."
Wrexham 0, Everton 2 (D,Post)
Aug 5 2002 Mark Currie Reports From The Racecourse, Daily Post
EVERTON paraded a veritable United Nations of football at Wrexham's Racecourse on Saturday, with no fewer than seven different nationalities represented on the pitch at one time or another.
But it remains to be seen whether manager David Moyes can blend an undoubted crop of talented individuals into a team capable of holding their own in a Premiership which is increasingly becoming a two-tier hierarchy. Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool and Newcastle United are some of the clubs that comprise the elite group expected to challenge for honours while others, the Goodison Park outfit included, will jostle for mid-table security and a continuing guaranteed share of the millions of pounds still being poured into the highest echelon of English football. Although relatively untested at the highest level, Moyes nevertheless has demonstrated his intention to break the chains of mediocrity which burdened the shoulders of his predecessor Walter Smith, and has cast his net wide during the summer break to bring new faces to Merseyside. Gone are the fading stars like Paul Gascoigne and David Ginola to be replaced by promising foreigners of the ilk of Brazilian Juliano Rodrigo and Nigeria's Joseph Yobo, to say nothing of the two China internationals acquired as part of surely one of the most innovative sponsorship deals ever struck by a British football club. Three of the four were on show at Wrexham - only the injured Yobo was absent - and Moyes declared himself reasonably satisfied by what he saw, yet he was anxious not to draw instant conclusions on their prospects. The same rationale no doubt applied to another summer arrival, goalkeeper Richard Wright, but the Goodison Park boss cannot fail to have noticed that his £4.5million acquisition was by far the most nervous player on the pitch as the home side made the brighter start. Wright wasn't the only under-performer on view, however. On at least one occasion in the first half, Moyes leapt from the dugout to vent his displeasure, ordering his players to get stuck in and step up the tempo as Wrexham threatened to embarrass their opponents with the amount of possession they were able to win. Wrexham, starting with the nucleus of the line-up that looks set to kick off the new season at Scunthorpe United this weekend, survived an early scare when Rodrigo found the space for a shot, which was held by goalkeeper Kristian Rogers, despite the ball taking a deflection off the foot of Northern Ireland under-21 defender Shaun Holmes. Wright, who in fairness has had little opportunity thus far to get to know his defensive colleagues, then made a hash of a clearance as he was closed down quickly by Lee Trundle and the keeper was grateful to see Andy Morrell's instinctive first-time stab steer the ball wide of the goal. Not that he immediately learned the lesson. After nine minutes he was slow in reacting to another backpass, giving former Liverpool and Tranmere forward Lee Jones the opportunity to charge down the ball and strike an accurate shot from an acute angle that Peter Clarke did well to hook away from the unguarded net.
It was not the most impressive of starts from the Premiership side but once the influential Lee Carsley and Kevin McLeod got into their stride, Wrexham were made to work hard in the oppressive heat. Full-backs Niclas Alexandersson and Gary Naysmith got up and down the flanks but the Dragons defended well and, in Paul Edwards on the left, had a lively outlet for their own attacking ambitions. Carsley went close to making the breakthrough on 13 minutes, driving a shot across the face of goal, and Alexandersson thumped a header against the crossbar after 34 minutes, following a superb cross from McLeod. And Wrexham were even more fortunate not to go behind six minutes before the interval when Rodrigo's skill on the ball took him through the narrowest of gaps before he clipped the ball just wide. The visitors, though, could not afford to relax and Steve Watson was happy enough to concede a corner after the hard-working Andy Morrell almost set up the waiting Jones. There were more warning bells for Everton as Wright completely missed Steve Thomas' set piece delivery, which was hooked behind by Naysmith, and when the ball came in again, the keeper was forced to make a good save from Morrell's header. But Wrexham's inability to capitalise on the few openings that had come their way was punished after 42 minutes when Carsley's quickly-taken free-kick unhinged their defence and Tomasz Radzinski beat the offside trap to drill a shot past Rogers from 10 yards. There was still time for the home side to respond and when Wayne Phillips hooked an Edwards freekick back across the face of the Everton goal, Morrell squandered the chance of an equaliser with a wayward header. Fresh legs after the break in the shape of seven substitutes, four of them for Everton, paid almost instant dividends for the Premiership outfit. Chinese midfielder Li Tie displayed superb vision to chip the ball forward for Idan Tal, whose rush on goal was brought to an untidy conclusion when he was sent crashing by substitute goalkeeper Paul Whitfield at the expense of a clear penalty, which was confidently tucked away by Rodrigo.
There was no way back for Wrexham after that and, with Danish enforcer Thomas Gravesen on for Carsley and Chinese defender Li Wei Feng also showing plenty of steel in his tackles, Everton took control. Both managers afterwards agreed it had been a useful work-out and said they could build on what they had seen. Wrexham, who were by no means disgraced, won't come up against such quality opposition again this year unless they have a favourable cup campaign.
For Moyes and Everton, who have a fortnight to go before the real business gets under way, there is plenty of hard work yet to be done. Had Wrexham been sharp enough to take one of the chances that came their way, a thus-far unbeaten pre-season run might have been in danger - a sobering thought with Anderlecht and Athletic Bilbao to come in the days ahead.
WREXHAM: Rogers (Whitfield 45); Whitley (Holmes 62), Roberts, Carey (Pejic 82), Jones, Trundle (Sam 62), Morrell, P Edwards (C Edwards 62), Bennett ( Lawrence 45), Phillips, Thomas (Barrett 45).
EVERTON: Wright; Watson (Southern 85), Alexandersson (Li Wei Feng 45), Radzinski, Naysmith, Linderoth (Gravesen 45), Rodrigo (Rooney 74), Carsley (Li Tie 45), Clarke, McLeod (Hibbert 45), O'Hanlon (Tal 45).
REFEREE: David Pugh (Wirral)
New boy Rodrigo's promise for future
Report By Mark Currie, Daily Post
Aug 5 2002
EVERTON'S Brazilian acquisition Juliano Rodrigo gave a tantalising hint of riches to come during a comfortable 2-0 win against third division Wrexham on Saturday - then promised there was plenty more to come. The 26-year-old midfielder vied with Lee Carsley for the man-of-the-match performance before making way for Wayne Rooney in the 74th minute. Since his arrival from Botafogo, Rodrigo's match practice has been limited after sustaining a toe injury in last month's tour of Austria. But on Saturday he took up from where he left off against Shrewsbury Town last week and said: "These games are very important for me because I haven't played since May when I left Atletico Mineiro and to keep myself in the best condition I need to be playing. But I'm confident that I'll soon be at my best. "I feel about 50 per cent fit at the moment and I will do my best to make sure I'm ready for the start of the Premiership in a fortnight. "While the coach wants to see me playing in a number of positions, I feel more comfortable playing behind the front two, linking the defence and the attack. "But I'll play wherever the coach feels I can be of most benefit to the team." Rodrigo sealed the Premiership club's ultimately comfortable win with a penalty early in the second half, assuming responsibility for the spot-kick ahead of Israeli midfielder Idan Tal. "I've always taken penalties, whether at Atletico or Botafogo, and I don't normally have any problems with them," he added. "I said to Idan I felt comfortable with it and he was okay about it."
Wrexham 0, Everton 2 (Echo)
Aug 5 2002David Prentice Reports From The Racecourse
That is unless you are a Brazilian trying to make your name in the Premiership, or a couple of Chinese with a voracious media entourage in tow. Juliano Rodrigo and the Asian duo Li Tie and Lei Weifeng set about Everton's sunshine stroll at Wrexham on Saturday with an intensity out of keeping with the rest of a sedate afternoon. Rodrigo vigorously wrestled the ball off Idan Tal to confidently crash in a matchclinching penalty kick, while Weifeng launched into an 89th minute tackle - 60-40 in his opponent's favour - with a commitment which exemplified the enthusiasm the Chinese will bring to the Blues' squad. With Everton's final two pre-season games looming in five days this week, David Moyes rested a chunk of his senior squad at The Racecourse. Kevin Campbell, David Unsworth, David Weir, Alan Stubbs and Mark Pembridge were all given the afternoon off, while Duncan Ferguson, Alessandro Pistone, Nick Chadwick and Scot Gemmill were on enforced leave. But that gave Moyes the opportunity to field the most cosmopolitan team in the club's history. Seven separate nationalities kicked off the second half, with the decisive second goal fashioned in China and Israel and finished off by a Brazilian. The exercise showed that while Everton's squad may still be far from flourishing, Moyes' astute summer signings have dragged the numbers up from meagre to at least mediocre. Eighteen players were eventually involved in a 2-0 victory, but not all the new faces enjoyed an easy afternoon. The presence of Dai Davies in The Racecourse press box couldn't really be used to explain the "dodgy keeper" chants which bellowed gleefully around the stadium. Dear old Dai the Drop is 50-something after all. Richard Wright was the recipient of the derisory jeers after the kind of flaps which led to his arrival at the club. He miscontrolled an eighth minute back pass and had to rely on Peter Clarke to spare his blushes with an heroic goal-line clearance after Lee Jones had dashed in and slid the ball goalwards. Then he missed his punch at a 39th minute corner. They were isolated incidents, though, and hardly likely to give Moyes cause for concern yet. The other new faces fared better. Rodrigo showed flashes of class and creativity which were lapped up by the Everton end of the ground. Playing behind lone striker Tomasz Radzinski, he admitted afterwards his fitness levels are no better than 40 or 50 per cent at present. But his brain is clearly razor sharp and his willingness to shoot from around the edge of the box was refreshing in an Everton side which has lacked midfield goals since Gary Speed quit Goodison. He created Everton's opening goal in the 41st minute with a tricky, side-stepping run and a damaging pass which Radzinski finished clinically. Everton should have been well clear by half time. Immediately before Radzinski's goal Alexandersson wastefully headed Kevin McLeod's cross against the bar, then Rodrigo swopped slick passes with the Swede before lifting an effort with the outside of his foot narrowly wide. The Chinese imports were introduced at half time, and immediately lifted the match. Li Tie, the baby-faced midfielder with the status of a pop star back home, clipped an incisive pass into Idan Tal's penalty box run in the 48th minute. The Israeli chested the ball past goalkeeper Rogers but was dragged to the turf. Tal was intent on taking his second spot-kick of the pre-season programme, but Rodrigo, Atletico Mineiro's regular penalty taker, decided otherwise and firmly dispossessed him. The penalty kick was just as decisive, crashed low to the keeper's left. The rest of the second half was almost incident free, although Lei Wefeng caught the eye with a series of solid challenges and steady distribution. Hector Sam deflected Wrexham's only noteworthy effort narrowly wide, while Radzinski, with a goal to his name already, reverted to type seven minutes from time. Steve Watson's pass played him clean through and, while it was a composed miss, it was a miss nonetheless as the ball squirted harmlessly across the target.
That didn't tell Moyes anything he didn't already know - like much of an ordinary afternoon.
With only three hours' football remaining between now and the start of the Premiership season, though, the Blues' boss will be starting to polarise his thoughts. Tomorrow in Brussels, the battle for starting places will hot up earnestly.
WREXHAM: Rogers, Whitley (Holmes 61), Roberts, Carey (Pejic 83), Jones, Trundle (Sam 61), Morrell, Edwards, Bennett (Lawrence 45), Phillips, Thomas (Barrett 45).
EVERTON: Wright, Watson (Southern 85), Clarke, O'Hanlon (Weifeng 45), Naysmith, Alexandersson (Hibbert 45), Carsley (Gravesen 45), Linderoth (Tie 45), Rodrigo (Rooney 73), Radzinski, McLeod (Tal 45).
REFEREE: David Pugh
GOALS: Radzinski (41 mins) 0-1, Rodrigo penalty (48 mins) 0-2.
Dunc jinx strikes again
Aug 5 2002 By David Prentice, Everton Correspondent
DAVID MOYES has effectively ruled Duncan Ferguson out of his plans for the start of the new season - and the Blues' boss is also sweating on the fitness of Nigerian defender Joseph Yobo. Ferguson will have a painkilling injection today after a specialist's report failed to unearth the cause of the lower back problems the Scot has been struggling with pre-season. But he will not travel to Belgium for tomorrow night's friendly at Anderlecht and Moyes is close to conceding defeat. "I have not ruled him out for the start of the season just yet," he said. "But I would have to say this makes him very doubtful. "As far as I know there is nothing seriously wrong, but Dunc will have a jab and it will take a little while for that to settle down before he can try again." Ferguson has figured fleetingly in only two of Everton's seven pre-season outings so far. Yobo will also miss the trip to Brussels - and with only one friendly remaining after that his chances of figuring against Spurs on August 17 are touch and go. "Joseph will stay behind and do a little more training," explained Moyes. "In the games at Anderlecht and against Bilbao I will be looking to work more closely with the team I hope to use on the opening day - but it's not as simple as that. "We need to get Rodrigo match fit and try to integrate the two Chinese lads who made a good impression on Saturday as well." Neither Li Tie nor Lei Weifeng will travel to Brussels. The players do not have a visa for a trip to Belgium, and Moyes said: "It would have been nice for them to be a part of things, travelling with the other lads, but they've had a hectic couple of days so it may not be such a bad thing." Blues' physio Rob Ryles, meanwhile, parted company with the club on Friday. Moyes is expected to return to his former club Preston to tempt the well respected and impressively qualified Mick Rathbone to Goodison.
Rodrigo: My best is yet to come
Aug 5 2002 By David Prentice
JULIANO RODRIGO scored his first goal in an Everton jersey on Saturday - but told Evertonians he is still only half way to producing what they can regularly expect from him. The Brazilian wrestled the ball away from teammate Idan Tal to convert a 48th minute penalty-kick at Wrexham and said afterwards: "It was a very important moment for me. "I always took the penalties for Botafogo and Atletico Mineiro and my record is quite good. Idan wanted to take it, but I just asked him and told him I felt comfortable. He said 'Okay!' "But I need much more matches. I feel 40 or 50 per cent fit now, but maybe in 30 days I will be much better. My last football was in May and to be in good enough condition to play and do myself justice I need to play with the team as often as possible.
"I'm sure that in a short time I will be much fitter and much sharper." After 55 minutes on the left of midfield at Shrewsbury, Rodrigo managed 73 minutes playing behind a lone striker at The Racecourse. "I think David Moyes wants to see me play in a number of positions," he explained, "but for me I am best behind two strikers. I feel best making a connection between midfield and the attack, but I can play on the wings, too." Moyes seemed satisfied by what he had seen from the Brazilian. " He improved on his last outing," he said. "We gave him the opportunity to play behind the one forward and he did quite well. "He looked as if he could make a goal and score a goal at different times, but his fitness has a bit to go. We need to find where he is right for the team. But he contributed well today. "It was a team which didn't really have one real language they could all speak in, but football's one language and hopefully given time they can all blend together and become good players. "I thought the Chinese lads did well. They came in and showed an enthusiasm. They covered the pitch quite well, were competitive and Tie made a great pass for the penalty. "I'm told his name, translated to English, means wind, but I don't think we'll be using that. I don't want to see any stories about bad wind! "I'm still struggling with his name, but he did some things which were good and some which were a little naive, but they are part of a sponsorship deal and we shouldn't get carried away that they are players we think should be coming in to make a big impact in the Premiership."
Eager Yobo steps into the unknown
Report By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Aug 6 2002
JOSEPH YOBO admits Everton were something of an unknown quantity when David Moyes came calling - but believes he and his new team-mates are on the cusp of a bright new Goodison future.
The £5million capture from Marseille is one of several players the Blues boss has brought in over the summer as he begins to remould the side. And the Nigerian defender admits it was Moyes who ultimately set the seal on his deciding to become a Blue. "I didn't know much about the players here, but I am trying to get to know them and be more used to playing alongside them," said Yobo.
"I expect it to be difficult at first but I will just have to give my very best for the club and hope my best will be good enough. "It was a big decision for me. I had other offers, but I wanted to play in the Premiership, and after speaking with the manager I was happy with the discussions and decided to sign for Everton. "It has always been an ambition to come to the Premiership. I love the way the game is played, it is very pacy, and it is better for me that I am here." Yobo nearly had the most disastrous of starts when he was carried off in the pre-season friendly against Queens Park a fortnight ago with a suspected broken ankle. However, scans later revealed there was no fracture and now the defender faces a race to be fit in time for the new season. "It was good news for me and I am happy about that," said Yobo on the results of the scans. "I have not had enough rest after the World Cup, but at the moment I am feeling okay and trying to get as fit as possible."
He added: "The boss has made a big decision with signing younger players. He knows what he wants and how to make the team better. "I think with the players that have come in and the players that are already here, we are going to do better this season."
Injured duo set to miss kick-off
Report By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Aug 6 2002
EVERTON'S Premiership plans will be fine-tuned in Belgium tonight with two of their biggest stars set to start the season on the sidelines. Duncan Ferguson and new £5million signing Joseph Yobo were left behind as the Blues headed for Brussels yesterday ahead of the friendly clash with Anderlecht.
And manager David Moyes is now resigned to being without the influential duo when Everton kick-off the new campaign against Spurs. Striker Ferguson had a pain-killing injection in his lower back yesterday in an attempt to ease the injury that has dogged him for over three months. But that may not end the Scot's misery after last week's visit to a specialist failed to pinpoint his latest problem. Defender Yobo is recovering from his injury scare but not in time to face the Belgians or, as seems likely, Glenn Hoddle's men on August 17. Manager Moyes, who hopes to have both available by the end of the month, said: "I have not ruled Duncan out for the start of the season just yet. "But I would have to say this makes him very doubtful. "As far as I know there is nothing seriously wrong, but Dunc will have a jab and it will take a little while for that to settle down before he can try again."
Moyes added: "Joseph will stay behind and do a little more training. "In the games at Anderlecht and against Bilbao I will be looking to work more closely with the team I hope to use on the opening day - but it's not as simple as that." The Blues boss finally welcomes Scot Gemmill into the preseason fold tonight after the midfielder shrugged off the stomach strain that has forced him to miss every friendly so far. And in a possible indication of his goalkeeping plans, Moyes travelled to Belgium with just Richard Wright and Steve Simonsen with Paul Gerrard staying on Merseyside.
Also left out were Chinese duo Li Tie and Li Weifeng, who could not travel due to visa restrictions.
"It would have been nice for them to be a part of things, travelling with the other lads, but they've had a hectic couple of days so it may not be such a bad thing," said Moyes.
Rodrigo: I will be the new Rivaldo
Report By Paul Walker, Daily Post
Aug 6 2002
EVERTON'S new signing Juliano Rodrigo cannot pitch his ambitions any higher - he wants Rivaldo's place in Brazil's World Cup winning team. He has escaped the chaos in the Brazilian domestic game with few regrets, aiming to make his name in the Premiership. Rodrigo, the Goodison Park club's £1.25million striker from Botafogo, has already made an instant impression during the unbeaten pre-season build-up. He will be looking to further integrate himself into David Moyes' side today in a friendly away to Anderlecht. And the 26-year-old believes he can one day oust AC Milan's new signing from the Brazilian team. If it is confidence that boss Moyes wants from his new forward - signed on an initial oneyear deal which can be extended next summer - then Rodrigo is his man.
The versatile left-footer was on the fringe of making the squad which clinched Brazil's fifth World Cup triumph in Yokohama, and he believes the only way to claim a spot in the national team is to prove himself in Europe. He scored his first goal for the club in Saturday's 2-0 win at Wrexham, and said: "I don't have any pleasure playing in Brazil, it is very disorganised football. "For me it is very important now to play in England. My target was, and still is, the World Cup because everybody in Brazil gives a lot of value to players who play internationals." And Rodrigo is not bothered by the world-class opposition he will have to dislodge from the Brazil side to achieve his ambition.
He added: "I respect Rivaldo, he's always been a very good player - but I'm 26 and he's 32, my time will come. "Many supporters in Brazil do not like him because he used to play a lot of good games for Barcelona, but he didn't go so well in the national team. "But in this World Cup he shut the mouths of a lot of people because he was the biggest and most important player for us in the tournament." He added: "In my position we have Ronaldo and Rivaldo, and all the best players are working abroad and not in Brazil. "Now this is the moment for me to have the chance to become an international, and this will now be what is important for me because the biggest target of my life is to get into the national team." Goodison Park fans will get their first chance to see Rodrigo up close on Saturday when Everton entertain Athletic Bilbao. The Brazilian, who has swapped his surfboard for the cooler banks of the Mersey, revealed: "It has been a big cultural shock coming to England, it has not been that easy. "But every day is a new experience for me and I am taking it on as a challenge in my life, I will be okay here." He also told of how he has been made welcome in the city - and how he already wants to extend his stay at Goodison beyond the next year. "I'm very happy to be here and I would like to stay at Everton for much longer," added Rodrigo. "I like the players and the city and everybody. "I now feel I am part of the family at Everton. I will do everything I can to stay here as long as I can." He continued: "The Premiership is one of the best leagues in the world and all the best players want to be here. "But it is not easy to drop everything in your life and travel away to start a new challenge. "There are a lot of differences to what I am used to on the field, the challenge for me is to take the best of all the styles and mix them - then I will be successful."
Inevitably, the final word has to be about that most famous of British trademarks - the weather.
"It is a new experience for me," added Rodrigo. "The summers here are like winters in Brazil.
"But in time I will get used to them!"
Everton aim for charts
Aug 6 2002 By Thomas Martin, Liverpool Echo
THEY never felt more like singing the Blues . . .
Everton's search for silverware has drawn a blank in recent years - but now the Blues have a gold disc in their sights. Everton's owner Bill Kenwright, manager David Moyes, several players and 100 competition winning fans flocked to Parr Street recording studios on Sunday to cut a CD single.
Theatre impresario Kenwright has called in favours from showbiz pals to help celebrate the club's achievement in becoming the first to reach 100 seasons in the top division. Geoff Morrow, the man behind classic ballads like Barry Manilow's number one Can't Smile, has written and produced two new anthems for The Toffees. One is an operatic arrangement to the popular hymn Come All Ye Faithful, while the other is a reworking of Home On The Range. The Blues hope the songs will launch Everton up the charts - and be adopted by fans at Goodison. "We are planning to launch the disc to coincide with the start of the new season," said Kenwright. "It will go on sale on Friday the 16th, Saturday the 17th and Sunday the 18th of August - and if we can sell more than 5,000 copies on those three days we will achieve a higher chart place than Arsenal did with their Hot Stuff single!"
Manager David Moyes added: "I asked Bill to help build on the atmosphere at Goodison Park and this is what he has come up with. "They are great songs, although I'm sure the fans will find their own words for them. "If I had the choice, though, some silverware would have to take the place of a gold disc every time!" Everton released their first ever single 30 years ago - the memorable Forever Everton. FA Cup final appearances since then have also seen Here we Go reaching number 14 in 1984 and Altogether Now also making the lower reaches of the charts in 1995.
Blues go for gold with new CD
Aug 6 2002 By Thomas Martin, Liverpool Echo
THEY never felt more like singing the Blues . . .
Everton's search for silverware has drawn a blank in recent years - but now the Blues have a gold disc in their sights. Everton's owner Bill Kenwright, manager David Moyes, several players and 100 competition winning fans flocked to Parr Street recording studios on Sunday to cut a CD single.
Theatre impresario Kenwright has called in favours from showbiz pals to help celebrate the club's achievement in becoming the first to reach 100 seasons in the top division. Geoff Morrow, the man behind classic ballads like Barry Manilow's number one Can't Smile, has written and produced two new anthems for The Toffees. One is an operatic arrangement to the popular hymn Come All Ye Faithful, while the other is a reworking of Home On The Range. The Blues hope the songs will launch Everton up the charts - and be adopted by fans at Goodison. "We are planning to launch the disc to coincide with the start of the new season," said Kenwright. "It will go on sale on Friday the 16th, Saturday the 17th and Sunday the 18th of August - and if we can sell more than 5,000 copies on those three days we will achieve a higher chart place than Arsenal did with their Hot Stuff single!"
Manager David Moyes added: "I asked Bill to help build on the atmosphere at Goodison Park and this is what he has come up with. "They are great songs, although I'm sure the fans will find their own words for them. "If I had the choice, though, some silverware would have to take the place of a gold disc every time!" Everton released their first ever single 30 years ago - the memorable Forever Everton. FA Cup final appearances since then have also seen Here we Go reaching number 14 in 1984 and Altogether Now also making the lower reaches of the charts in 1995.
Rare breed - that's Unsy
Aug 6 2002 By Kevin Ratcliffe
DAVID UNSWORTH'S ' Rhino' nickname is particularly apt - because the defender is a type who is swiftly becoming an endangered species. Unsy celebrates 10 years at Goodison this Saturday -ironically against the same club I enjoyed my testimonial match against, Athletic Bilbao.
The days of one-club players, particularly in the Premiership, are fast diminishing and there's every chance this could be the last long-service testimonial Goodison will ever stage. For a player who has been at a club for a decade David is a rare breed - I still honestly don't know what his best position is.
I first remember him as a left- back/ left winger, then he was converted into a promising enough centrehalf to win an England cap in that position. He's also played central midfield and has probably suffered throughout his career because of his versatility. I think you only appreciate a player's contribution when he is not around, and I think that will be the case with David. He's not always been fully appreciated by the Everton fans - but there are plenty of us around who you can say that about! - but there is no doubt he has made an immense contribution to Everton Football Club throughout his career. He deserves a good day on Saturday and I hope plenty of you get along to Goodison Park to support the event.
Blues striker aims to fight off Rooney
Aug 6 2002 By David Prentice, Everton Correspondent
TOMASZ RADZINSKI returns to the ground where he built his reputation tonight, aiming to fight off the challenge of a new striking star. The Everton forward earned a £4.5m move from Anderlecht last summer, after starring in the Belgian club's Champions League campaign of the previous season.
He goes back to the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium, however, with his starting place in Everton's forward line this season far from secure. Radzinski has grabbed five goals in the Blues' pre-season programme. But 16-yearold Wayne Rooney has hit nine in even fewer outings - and is a genuine contender for a first team place on August 17. With Duncan Ferguson and Nick Chadwick troubled by injury, manager David Moyes must choose between Kevin Campbell, Radzinski and Rooney for two striking roles. "Tomasz scored a good goal on Saturday and maybe should have done better with another chance in the second half which would have sealed it, but he has looked good in preseason," said Moyes. "He has been in on goal and he has looked sharp. He just needs to keep that contribution very high, because we want players who do everything here, not just any one thing." Radzinski enjoyed the best spell of his career in Brussels, scoring an outstanding 51 goals in 75 games - including Champions League strikes against Manchester United. His first, injury hit season at Goodison, however, was a huge disappointment, yielding just six goals. Radzinski is relishing tonight's return to his old stamping ground. "With so many Everton fans coming over it should be a great atmosphere for a pre-season friendly," he said. Everton were allocated almost a thousand tickets after initially being told away fans would be banned - and sold out quickly.
Joseph Yobo and Duncan Ferguson have not made the trip, but Scot Gemmill is involved for the first time this summer after struggling with a groin strain throughout most of the pre-season.
Joe-Max Moore is also back in light training at Bellefield after recovering from the knee injury which brought his World Cup adventure with the USA to a premature end.
Anderlecht 2, Everton 0 (D,Post)
Aug 7 2002 Jonathan Mcevoy At The Constant Vanden Stock Stadium, Daily Post
EVERTON'S unbeaten pre-season record came to end in Brussels last night as Anderlecht spoiled Tomasz Radzinski's 'homecoming'. The Canadian striker was back at the club for the first time since since making his switch to Goodison but it was the hosts who enjoyed a morale- boosting victory.
David Moyes' men held their own for periods against a sharp home team - just four days away from the start of the Belgian league programme - but were undone by goals in either half from Gilles De Bilde and Clayton Zane. But the real issue at stake, though, was players trying to force their way into Moyes' plans for the season ahead - and Radzinski, for one, knows that is his challenge. Compare these figures. Radzinski scored 23 goals in 31 games, 13 in 22 and 15 in 22 a season during his profitable spell with Anderlecht. What Everton would give for a repeat of that ratio - 51 goals from 75 - when the real action starts. Last term, after arriving on Merseyside as the Blues' showpiece summer signing 12 months ago, he scored just six goals, albeit in a campaign interrupted by injury.
The facts, perhaps, tell you all you need to know about the gulf in standard between the Belgian league and the Premiership - though you won't know that from last night's evidence. But of more immediate concern to Radzinski is the need to press his claims for a starting place in an attack strengthened over the summer by the addition of Brazilian Juliano Rodrigo and the blossoming of Wayne Rooney. Yes, Moyes's hands have been tied in the transfer market to an extent, forcing him to wheel and deal, but competition in the squad is still stronger than in recent seasons. Some of the old names have been flushed out - Paul Gascoigne and David Ginola - as Moyes looks to put flesh on the bones of a brittle player base. But it was one of his summer acquisitions, Richard Wright, who caused alarm bells to ring as the uncertainty that gnawed away at his chances of replacing David Seaman as Arsenal's number one prior to his switch north again came to the fore. At £4.5million, Wright represented Moyes's number one priority buy during his summer revamp but his confidence and assurance seems short of 100 per cent. It was his error that led to Anderlecht taking the lead 17 minutes into the game. Hyeon Ki Seol was second favouite to reach the ball as he raced into the area but the on-rushing Wright failed to defuse the danger, allowing the ball to slide out of his grasp and the big striker unleashed a shot at goal. Gary Naysmith bravely diverted the ball from its goalward path on the line and the referee immediately pointed to the spot for handball. The Blues defender claimed he chested the ball but his protests were harshly waved away. Gilles De Bilde, sporting blond hair which made him unrecognisable from his Sheffield Wednesday period, stepped up to coolly despatch the penalty past Wright to give the home side a deserved lead. But Radzinski looked sharper than in the recent past in front of his old supporters, who gave him a rapturous reception, as Everton intermittently kept Filip De Wilde on his toes in the Anderlecht goal. Radzinski jinked his way into the area to tee up Thomas Gravesen. The Dane shot but De Wilde was equal to it and Radzinski couldn't quite direct his follow-up header under the bar. Alan Stubbs hammered a trademark free-kick from the edge of the box on the half-hour mark as the Blues sought to claw back the defecit. Anderlecht were always a threat going forward, especially with the lively Ivica Mornar on the right. He crossed but Wright turned saviour with a point-blank save from Seol.
More than 1,000 Everton fans made the trip across the channel and, although the game was in doubt as persistent rain drenched the Belgain capital, they got what they wanted after 56 minutes with Rooney's introduction. At 16, there is a great deal of pressure and expectation on the little striker but surely he will make his senior bow against Spurs in the Premiership opener on Saturday week. He has scored nine goals in a preseason that has seen his stock rise with every clever touch and clinical goal. And yesterday one dangerous run gave a glimsp of his exceptional talent.
Duncan Ferguson - again - on the treatment table will have his work cut out to force his way back into the reckoning. And Moyes is left with a selection headache to resolve with just Saturday's clash at home to Athletico Bilbao left before the big kick-off. Rodrigo, signed from Botafogo, certainly isn't lacking in confidence. He wore the name Rodrigol on his shirt, having asked for the extra 'l'.
He gave a sharp performance behind Radzinski and must be forcing his way to the forefront of Moyes' thoughts before making way for Rooney. Everton forced the first save of the second-half, De Wilde scrambling low to his left to deny David Unsworth's free-kick after an hour. Wright was given a scare as Naysmith rattled his own post and sub Zane should have made it 2-0 but his shot lacked power and direction. But it made no matter as Zane bundled the ball home to settle the outcome, turning the ball in off a post following Aruna Dindane's cross. A touch harsh on Everton, maybe, but the real battles lie ahead.
ANDERLECHT: De Wilde, Vanderhaeghe, De Boeck, Zewlakow (Deschacht 56), Baseggio, Kolar, Hendrikx, Seol (Dindane 65), Mornar, De Bilde (Zane 70), Tihinen.
EVERTON: Wright, Stubbs (Carsley 75), Weir, Unsworth (Watson 70), Alexandersson (McLeod 84), Radzinski (Tal 84), Naysmith, Gravesen, Linderoth, Rodgrigo (Rooney 56), Hibbert (Watson 70). BOOKINGS: Everton's Hibbert.
REFEREE: J Ver Eecke
Anderlecht 2, Everton 0 (Echo)
Aug 7 2002 By David Prentice, At The Constant Vanden Stock Stadium
TOMASZ Radzinski clearly didn't take the cutting comment to heart. As he jogged out at his old Constant Vanden Stock stamping ground to warm up for last night's pre-season friendly, an appreciative and enthusiastic ovation went up from the home end. It was followed instantly by a lone, but loud riposte from the Everton end. "Do yer want 'im back?" The criticism was slightly harsh. The little Canadian was far from the only culprit as shot-shy Everton went down 2-0 to an Anderlecht side who kick off their new season on Friday. Radzinski struggled for goals last season even with a striking partner - but with Campbell and Ferguson both missing last night through injury, the partnership with fitness-finding Brazilian Rodrigo looked lightweight. Rodrigo chose an unfortunate night to go down the Gabriel Batistuta road and change the name on the back of his shirt to 'Rodrigol'. The Argentinian ace, of course, was affectionately nicknamed Batigol at Fiorentina - but then he did plunder hundreds of goals in his time there. Everton's Brazilian new boy decided to add an 'L' following a successful penalty conversion at Wrexham, but despite a promising performance in flashes, he is still sporting L plates as he eases himself in at Goodison. Radzinski's record in the Jupiler League for Anderlecht seemed to come from a different man. Fifteen goals in 21 games in one season, 13 goals in 22, then a Premiership move clinching 23 strikes in 31 games in 2000-01. Last season's six in 27 for Everton was paltry in comparison. Either the Jupiler League is a pale shadow of the Premiership - or there is more to Radzinski than the pacy, mobile but appallingly wasteful finisher we have witnessed to date. Last night his build-up play was adequate, but he wasn't offered so much of a sniff of a chance as Everton lost their first pre-season match, to comfortably their liveliest opponents. The Belgians kick off their new campaign on Friday, after an impressive third place finish in last season's table. But despite four defeats in a row on pre-season treks to France and Holland, they looked sharp and bright in their first appearance this summer at an atmospheric Constant Vanden Stock Stadium. Gilles De Bilde crashed in a controversial 16th minute penalty, and substitute Zane poked one in off the post five minutes from time. But if Moyes' assertion that last night's game marked an opportunity to move closer to the kind of side he wants to start the season with in 10 days time, he has a few sleepless nights ahead of him. It wasn't just in front of goal that Everton struggled. Richard Wright held his hand up for his part in conceding the penalty kick which undermined Everton, then with the only clearcut opening Everton eked out of the entire night Thomas Gravesen shot straight at goalkeeper De Wilde. The Dane endured the sloppiest night of his pre-season to date, with no-one in the travelling squad really sparkling. Anderlecht looked penetrative throughout. Gary Naysmith had to tackle back heroically to thwart Gilles de Bilde in only the eighth minute, but the former Sheffield Wednesday striker did convert eight minutes later, with Naysmith labelled the villain. The full- back was adjudged to have handled Seol's goalbound shot after Richard Wright had sprinted from his line to tip the ball away from De Bilde but into the Asian's path. It looked a harsh award. Naysmith argued vehemently, but De Bilde ruthlessly rapped his spot kick past Wright, despite an heroic attempt by the keeper swooping low to his left.
The moment Wright had waited all pre-season for came in the 36th minute. Ivica Mornar, a Nosferatu look-alike on the Anderlecht right flank who gave Everton nightmares all night, crossed for Seol to dive-head spectacularly at goal. Wright sprang to his right to make a thrilling one-handed block. The "England's number one!" chants will have made a refreshing change from the "dodgy keeper " cries which assaulted his ears at Wrexham. Everton chiselled out a couple of half chances after that. Radzinski jockeyed for position superbly to tee up Gravesen - but he crashed an unchallenged shot too close to De Wilde, then the goalkeeper had to work even harder to keep out an Alan Stubbs free-kick. But as far as attacking efforts were concerned, that was about it.
Wayne Rooney was given a last halfhour run-out, which only served to confirm that neither Radzinski or - for seven minutes - Kevin McLeod are ideal striking foils for him. With Alan Stubbs taken off as a precautionary measure with tight hamstrings 15 minutes from time, and Unsworth having just made way for Pembridge, Everton were left with only one recognised central defender for the closing minutes. They left holes and substitute Zane finally took advantage five minutes from the end with a chance he tried to miss, but knocked in off a post. It had been a disappointing night, but the decision to play a pub-singer's version of 'You'll Never Walk Alone' over the tannoy on the final whistle was rubbing salt into the wound.
ANDERLECHT: De Wilde, Hendrikx, Tihinen, De Boeck, Kolar, Zewlakow (Deschacht 56), Baseggio, Vanderhaeghe, Mornar (Dindane 64), De Bilde (Zane 69), Seol.
EVERTON: Wright, Hibbert (Watson 69), Weir, Stubbs (Carsley 75), Naysmith, Alexandersson (Tal 83), Linderoth, Gravesen, Unsworth (Pembridge 69), Rodrigo (Rooney 56), Radzinski (McLeod 83).
Referee: Johnny Ver Eecke.
Booking: Hibbert (66 mins) foul.
GOALS: De Bilde penalty (16 mins) 1-0, Zane (85 mins) 2-0.
Everton fans in CS gas terror
Aug 7 2002 By Alan Weston Daily Post Staff
BELGIAN police used CS gas and water cannon in an attempt to break up ugly scenes both before and after Everton's pre-season friendly match with Anderlecht last night. About 100 supporters from each club clashed before the start of the match, and afterwards Everton fans were involved in another confrontation with police as they tried to leave the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium on the outskirts of Brussels. Police and Everton fans each blamed the other for the disturbances, in which a Belgian police officer was hurt and an Everton fan slightly injured. In one incident, a supporter claimed police sprayed CS gas only a few yards away from his two children-Bar manager David Mitter, 35, had taken his son Adam and his 13-year-old daughter, Jemma, for their first match abroad, when they got caught up in a roadblock before the start of the game. Speaking from Brussels last night, he said: "We were just 100 yards away from the ground, when the police ran at us with batons and shields. Before we knew it, there was CS gas all over the place. "My nine-year-old son was hysterical. His eyes were streaming and he was coughing. "The police's attitude towards us was an absolute disgrace. The fans were just walking towards the ground and there was nothing untoward going on." Supt Dave Lewis, the Merseyside police football match commander, said the trouble started after a number of Everton fans got off at the wrong Metro station before the game and ran into a group of home fans. He said: "There was a confrontation involving about 100 supporters from each side, which was quickly broken up by the police using CS gas. "The police then escorted the Everton fans to the stadium. There were no problems during the game, but when the police tried to escort the fans back to the Metro, it didn't work out as the police planned and that sparked the confrontation. A number of bricks were thrown and one Belgian police officer was injured. "The majority of the fans behaved very well, but a small minority have caused problems which doesn't reflect well on them or the football club." After the game, which Everton lost 2-0, a water cannon was used as trouble flared again when police tried to escort fans out of the ground.
The Merseyside supporters claimed they had done nothing to prompt police actions. Everton FC chief executive Michael Dunford said last night: "I'm aware there was an incident, particularly after the game, but it would be inappropriate to comment further until we have had a chance to discuss what happened."
Unsworth set to take a step back
Aug 7 2002 By David Prentice, Everton Correspondent
DAVID UNSWORTH is ready to go back for Everton's short-term future.
With Joseph Yobo still struggling for full fitness, Alan Stubbs coming off with a tight hamstring in last night's 2-0 defeat at Anderlecht and Peter Clarke allowed to join Blackpool on loan for three months, the Blues are running short of central defensive cover for the new season. Unsworth started his career in that position and, despite almost exclusively playing a left midfield role all pre-season, he said: "I think everyone knows I'll play anywhere for Everton if I'm asked to. "Centre-half is a position I'm very familiar with and if the boss wants me to play there I'd have no worries about it."
Ironically he could get the opportunity in his own testimonial match against Atletico Bilbao this Saturday. Clarke was allowed to join Steve McMahon's Blackpool last night along with young team-mate Keith Southern. The young England defender made a handful of senior appearances last season, although rarely in his recognised position of centre-half, but has become a victim of David Moyes' need to trim his wage bill and the arrival of Chinese defender Lei Weifeng. After last night's defeat in a raindrenched Constant Vanden Stock Stadium, Moyes said: "Stubbsy got injured and we were going to take him off and put David Unsworth back to centre-half, but then Alan said he was okay and by the time he did have to come off we'd already given David a rest. "Alan's hamstrings are tight so we'll have to see how he goes. "Joseph Yobo's done a bit more training in the last few days and has a chance for Saturday, but time's running out for him because I want my players integrated and not thinking they can walk out to play the games if they haven't done the work."
Goalkeeper Richard Wright claimed responsibility for his part in the controversial penalty kick which put Everton on the road to defeat last night. "Richard came in and held his hands up for the first goal," said Moyes "but if I'd been giving him the benefit of the doubt it would be that the ball just skipped off the wet grass quickly to him. But he came in and said he should have done better for it, but it was still dubious whether it was a penalty or not anyway. "He was a local referee and he didn't give us anything all night. " I don't think we deserved to lose 2-0. I think we played really well at times. "Obviously it was a mistake by the goalkeeper for the first goal, but then he made a wonderful save after that. "But we had a couple of good chances that we didn't take and there was some good play up to and around the edge of the box. "The second half I thought we played really well for 15-20 minutes without asking their goalkeeper to do too much. "There was a good atmosphere in the ground and that helped produce a good game." Kevin Campbell was another absentee from the Blues' squad, but Moyes said: "Kevin hurt his adductor muscle in training a couple of days ago and it isn't quite right. It should only take a couple of days." Executive Lounge season ticket holders, meanwhile, are advised that their tickets are not available for Saturday's preseason friendly against Bilbao. Tickets can be purchased for £25 and £22 on 0151-520-2362 up until Saturday morning.
Why Unsworth will always be a Blue at heart
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Aug 8 2002
IT HAS been a long, sometimes tortuous path for David Unsworth to get 10 momentous seasons in the bank with Everton. As John Gregory will no doubt testify. But as he prepares for a testimonial against Athletic Bilbao at Goodison Park on Saturday, the Blues star insists any flak he's faced during a career that has scaled FA Cup wins and England caps down to nerve-wracking relegation escapes will be worth it for what he regards as "his greatest honour". Still only 28, Unsworth would willingly have given a decade of service to Everton much earlier but for an enforced season at West Ham and the infamous stopover at Aston Villa. The powerful defender's passion for the club he joined as a 13-year-old Chorley schoolboy led to him being ridiculed by former Villa boss Gregory when he seized the chance to return to Goodison Park under Walter Smith in 1998. His second spell has largely been spent battling against relegation and, at times, the Everton boo-boys during a difficult period for the Blues. This pre-season, ironically, the "Rhino" chant has been one of the first to arise from Everton's travelling support in recognition of those rare commodities - loyalty and honesty - he has provided since his goalscoring debut at Tottenham in 1992. Now as he becomes one of the few players in this day and age to earn a testimonial in the Premiership, Unsworth confirms the bond with the Blues is mutual. "I never planned this far ahead when I started my career, so I never envisaged having a testimonial," he admits. "But when Howard sold me to West Ham I always felt there was a bit of unfinished business and that maybe one day I'd get the chance to come back and carry on playing for the Blues. "Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I'd be back 12 months later, though! That was amazing. What happened to get back here was all worth it and I'd gladly do it all again to play for Everton." Unsworth may have been a Manchester United fan as a boy but the man is a bona fide Blue, a switch easily explained. He added: "I wasn't an Evertonian as a kid but I'd been at the club since I was 13 so before I even made it full-time I'd been here three years. I think the people had a good effect on me at the right time. "Graham Smith (former Everton youth coach) was fantastic towards me as a 13-year-old lad, then going through to 17. He was someone who I've got the utmost respect for as a coach, but even more so as a person. "It helped me not coming from the city because I think we were looked after a bit better and he really did look after us. "But I think the main thing is when you have a bit of success at the club, live in and around the city - I married a Liverpool girl - and socialise in the city, you know how much it means to people in the street.
"You can be putting petrol in your car and there will be an Evertonian on your shoulder; there always is. It can be good or bad but you know how passionate they are and that passion has rubbed off on me as a player and when I go out there on a Saturday afternoon I know how much it means to them for us to do well. " That's why I have always tried to give everything I've got." Even in a friendly game Unsworth is guaranteed to give his all, as Howard Kendall's old club Bilbao will discover on Saturday. But this is more than just a friendly, of course. "Pre-season has all been geared towards the opening day of the season but to me it's all been geared towards my testimonial," said Unsworth. "It's a real personal honour and I've got to say the proudest moment of my Everton career without a shadow of a doubt. "Knowing the people who are going to go to the game are going for yourself is fantastic; there is no greater honour."
Yobo fitness boost for Blues
Aug 8 2002
NEW signing Joseph Yobo last night handed Everton a preseason boost - as boss David Moyes continues to shield teenage sensation Wayne Rooney ahead of his Premiership bow, writes Jonathan McEvoy. Yobo has eased the Blues' injury worries with the news he could be fit to play in David Unsworth's testimonial against Athletic Bilbao on Saturday. Moyes wants Yobo, a 5million signing-from Marseille, to play in Everton's final warm-up game after an injury-hit pre-season introduction. The 21-year-old has played only 22 minutes since his switch to Goodison. "He has done a bit more training in the last few days," revealed Moyes. "And I would hope that he would have a chance for Saturday. "We are running out of time for him because I want my players integrated and I won't put them in if they haven't done the work." Moyes will monitor the Nigerian's progress over the next 48 hours before settling on his squad to face the Primera Liga side. Rooney, though, is expected to figure in the Goodison clash despite Moyes' decision to protect-the 16-year-old by leaving him out of the starting lineups for the last two friendlies against Wrexham and Anderlecht. With Tomasz Radzinski struggling to find the net and Brazilian new boy Rodrigo still fighting for match fitness, Rooney is line for a Premiership start against Tottenham on August 17. Kevin Campbell missed Tuesday night's defeat to Anderlecht with an abductor problem while Duncan Ferguson is on the treatment table with an injured back, thus paving the way for Rooney.
* TICKETS for Everton's clash against Atletic Bilbao can be bought for £25 and £22 on 0151 520 2362 up to Saturday morning.
Unsworth wants to be Blues boss
Aug 8 2002 By Rob Brady, Echo Reporter
DAVID Unsworth has revealed his ambition to be Everton manager.
The Blues defender is looking to go into management when his playing days end, and Unsworth believes the Goodison hot-seat would be the perfect place to start. However, he is not after David Moyes's job just yet. The 28-year-old was revealing his future plans ahead of his testimonial against Athletic Bilbao on Saturday. He said: "It would be a nice chapter in my career to be Everton manager one day. It is an avenue I would like to pursue. It would be nice if I could manage Everton.
"Hopefully that is something that might materialise in the very, very distant future. But at 28 that is a long way off. Hopefully there is another seven, eight or even nine years ahead of me playing at Everton." Meanwhile, new Blues signing Joseph Yobo could be fit to play in Unsworth's testimonial.
A leg injury has restricted the £5m Nigerian to just 22 minutes of pre-season football since he moved to the Blues from Marseille. If he fails to make Saturday's match, he is unlikely to start ton's opening Premier League fixture the lowing week. Manager David Moyes said: "He has done a bit of training in the last few days and I would hope he would have a chance for Saturday."
* Tickets for Unsworth's testimonial at Goodison on Saturday are available at £15 and £5 from the Everton box office.
Blues' buzz is restored
Aug 8 2002 By David Prentice, Everton Correspondent
DAVID UNSWORTH is relishing the new high-energy work ethic David Moyes is striving to introduce at Everton this season. And he believes the tactic bears striking similarities to the regime built by the last Everton manager to bring silverware to Goodison - a man who Unsworth believes the Blues should never have sacked. The defender makes his revelations in a brochure produced for his testimonial match against Atletico Bilbao this Saturday. Joe Royle helped Unsworth earn his only England cap in 1995, just weeks after he had been a part of Everton's last FA Cup winning side.
He believes there are similarities between Joe Royle's regime and the new-look Everton.
"Some of the things the gaffer is trying to introduce are similar to what Joe and Willie did - and because of that I really do believe we have a chance of doing something in the cup competitions next season. "In the league you go out to win every game, but with the best will in the world we're not going to win the Premiership. But with the style of play the gaffer is trying to introduce I honestly think we could do well in the cups. "Ever since the first training session he took, the gaffer has tried to stress the importance of hard work all the way through the team. "There were times towards the end of last season when we couldn't sustain that, but because of the work we are doing now hopefully our level of fitness will have improved and that will change. "You can't do it week in, week out because the likes of Manchester United and Arsenal will pick you off, but against the other teams pressing the ball quickly can be a highly effective tactic." It was a tactic Joe Royle used to devastating effect at Goodison, transforming a team which had made the worst start to a season in the club's entire history into FA Cup winners, then securing the club's highest ever Premiership placing of sixth. "I always think of Joe and Willie Donachie as a double act, because they complemented each other so well," said Unsworth. Joe was just fantastic to me. Apart from the success we had, winning the FA Cup, qualifiying for Europe, remaining unbeaten against Liverpool and finishing sixth in the League, training-wise Willie was first class. We trained as we played and he got everyone together. "That obviously showed on the pitch. Joe and Willie were brilliant and I have so much respect for the pair of them. "I think it was a travesty when Joe left to be honest.
"The circumstances in which he left were shocking really and I think that has to be said. "He had two-and-a-half years of progress, we were sixth in the league at Christmas then he had three bad months because of injuries and I think it was an absolute disgrace that he was pushed into a corner where he had to go, because I don't think he wanted to leave. "I think the chairman at the time made the wrong decision without a shadow of a doubt. "It was a shame he had to leave because he had so much respect from the other players. "Certainly we felt as a group that that was a very bad decision, because Joe and Willie were first class." But that was five years ago now, and Moyes has already made a big impression on the Goodison squad. "I think maybe because of his relative youth and fresh, bright ideas he has totally changed the place around," he said. "There was a buzz when he came in and there's a buzz now. I think his enthusiasm is why that buzz is here. I think his manmanagement is excellent. He makes everybody feel good about themselves and in this day and age it's all about man management. "We do a lot of work tactically on team formation and shape and it's certainly looking good."
Moyes set to parade host of new stars
Report By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Aug 9 2002
DAVID MOYES hopes to unleash a parade of new faces at Goodison Park tomorrow as he finalises his plans for the Premiership opener. The Blues boss hopes to give Joseph Yobo only his second run-out for Everton in David Unsworth's testimonial against Athletic Bilbao, while Richard Wright, Rodrigo, Wayne Rooney and Chinese pair Li Tie and Li Weifeng are all in line for their senior Goodison bows.
Nigerian international Yobo is currently undergoing an intensive training course after sitting out most of pre-season through injury. And while the £5million defender is unlikely to be fit enough to face Spurs next week manager Moyes is anxious he plays alongside his new team-mates again before the season starts. Wright is set to make his first appearance at Goodison since his £4.5m transfer from Arsenal and admits he is relishing the prospect. Said Wright: "I've played at Goodison twice in the last two seasons. I was on the winning side both times but I remember how the Evertonians got right behind the team. "I can't wait to play in front of them now."
Unsworth rues Royle sacking
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Aug 9 2002
DAVID Unsworth still finds it hard to comprehend the speed with which Everton delivered his professional peak to his biggest regret. But he has one straightforward answer to why it happened - the sacking of Joe Royle. The removal of Royle from the Everton throne in March 1997 as the reason behind the club's subsequent demise is not a widely held theory around Goodison Park.
A calamitous run towards relegation that season, less than two years after winning the FA Cup - Everton's last major honour, and only 10 months after leading them to sixth in the table - Everton's only top half finish in the Premiership, had evaporated the optimism and belief the Blues legend had instilled on his arrival. To many Evertonians stunned by the dramatic fall, Peter Johnson's decision to wield the axe was inevitable. To Unsworth it was simply "scandalous". "I've always thought it was a mistake to get rid of Joe Royle," said Unsworth. "Not everyone agrees with that but for a player he and Willie Donnachie were a great double-act. "To get rid of a great partnership like that, when we were looking to move on after winning something, was just wrong. I think it was scandalous that it was allowed to happen when it did. "The club really paid the biggest price. It lost Willie and Joe and the majority of that team, who they were fantastic towards. They were top drawer and it has taken a long time to get a partnership back that can compete at the level they were at at the time."
Royle's departure was one of many tough moments Unsworth has faced during his Goodison career. Yet he insists they have all been outweighed by every Everton highlight. He explained: "There have been great, great highs when we've won competitions, great performances when we've bea10 United and Liverpool, and there have also been downsides when the team has been struggling and we've lost to sides we should have beat. "The club has been through an amazing transition since the 1990s so you are always going to experience the highs and lows. "But I have to say while I'd change all the lows I wouldn't change my career here at Everton because I've been treated fantastically by everybody connected with the club." It is not hard to pinpoint the pinnacle of Unsworth's 10 seasons at Everton, although the actual match itself may not seem the more obvious choice.
"The highest point has to be the cup winning year," he confirms. "But people always say the final should be the high point and for me it was the semi- final that was just amazing. "Nobody, apart from an Evertonian, fancied us that day, nobody at all. And we absolutely battered Spurs. "Every player got a 10 out of 10 that day because we were amazing. The level of ability we showed that day was superb. "The final was special, as was the season after that. Then there are the derby wins which are fantastic to play in, even with the odd punch-up!" It is not being sent off in a Merseyside derby for scrapping with Robbie Fowler that leaves any bitterness in Unsworth, however.
"Our failure to build on the '95 cup win and the following season's progress in the Premiership is the biggest regret," he admits. "It's hard to know exactly what went wrong but I think the main thing was not adding to that team and not fighting to keep hold of the players we let go at that time.
"There was a fantastic bond about that team, not just in terms of ability but there was an amazing bond that we haven't had since. "The finances meant we couldn't add that little bit of quality when we needed it most. We'd won something, then stabilised by finishing sixth in the league.
"Then players petered out, a few were sold and that was that." Royle's teams took Unsworth to the Everton extremes but as he prepares to take centre stage at Goodison tomorrow, it is also worth noting the individuals who have made the biggest impression on the Blues' servant.
"When I first started, Peter Beardsley was sensational. For skill and ability on the ball, I'd never look beyond Anders Limpar," said Unsworth. "For impact on a team, Kanchelskis in his first season was outstanding. For the man in the trenches, Dave Watson helped me enormously and was a great player." He added: "Having played at centre-half and then midfield it's hard to pick the most difficult opponent. But purely as a defender I'd say Dennis Bergkamp. He's got great ability and is very difficult to mark. "Also Les Ferdinand. He always seemed to have a good game and score against Everton unfortunately. Me and Waggy could never seem to contain him."
* Testimonial tickets at £15 for adults and £5 for juniors are available on 0151 520 2362.
Unsworth is my inspiration, says Kenwright
Aug 9 2002 Exclusive Interview By David Prentice, Everton Correspondent
DAVID UNSWORTH will approach tomorrow's testimonial match against Athletic Bilbao with an unusual claim to fame. Owner Bill Kenwright has cited the Blues' defender as his inspiration behind the bid to restore the club to the highest echelon of English football once again. Unsworth will be rewarded for a decade's service at Goodison by the visit of Athletic Bilbao tomorrow (3pm).
And Kenwright said on the eve of the game: " David Unsworth has been an inspiration to me.
"Whenever I have had bad times at Everton, I have looked at the way he has coped with low points in his own career and used them as inspiration for myself. "I am sure he would admit he did go through some bad times - I am thinking about the Sheffield Wednesday game three Easters ago - and with him being such a big Evertonian he must have been dying inside. "I've also seen him captain Everton pre-season then be dropped the next game, and to the shame of those Evertonians involved I've seen him booed - which is not something I think any Evertonian should ever do.
"To boo one of your own is stupid and will not help anyone perform better. "But David has kept his head up, come through those times and been a better player for them. "When I've had bad moments I've often thought of him. "He is the living embodiment of the footballer who cares for his club. "I know when he briefly left Everton --and I had nothing to do with that deal - he desperately didn't want to go. "I saw him in the foyer at Goodison that day and he was bewildered, but I told him Evertonians are like rubber balls - they have a habit of bouncing straight back. "He looked at me quizzically and I know he didn't really believe me, but there's something about Evertonians. They can't keep away. "He has always been the easiest of players to negotiate contracts with because he is a Blue." Unsworth will be joined on his big day by a clutch of new faces. Young striking sensation Wayne Rooney will get his first senior outing at Goodison Park, goalkeeper Richard Wright makes his home debut, while Nigerian defender Joseph Yobo should also finally return to action after recovering from an ankle injury. Brazilian Rodrigo will also figure, while there could also be appearances by Chinese duo Li Tie and Lei Weifeng. Admission for the match is £15 adults and £5 concessions. Anyone wishing to buy advance tickets for the Park End and Upper Bullens Road for tomorrow's match must do so by 4.30pm today from the Park End Box Office. Otherwise it is cash admission on the day.
* Tomorrow's testimonial will be preceded by a veteran's derby match.
Amongst the stars turning out will be Neville Southall, Ian Snodin, Graeme Sharp, John Bailey, Paul Lodge and Mark Ward in an Everton XI managed by Derek Mountfield.
The Liverpool team will feature John Barnes, Rob Jones, Alan Kennedy, David Fairclough and Phil Neal. The match kicks-off at 1.40pm.
Aug 9 2002 By David Prentice, Everton Correspondent
FOR a sport whose unpredictability is part of its greatest appeal, there is one cast-iron, nailed-on certainty tomorrow afternoon at Goodison Park. If Everton are awarded a penalty kick against La Liga side Athletic Bilbao, David Unsworth will take it. Chances are he will score, too. Since the December night in 1994 when a 20-year-old Unsworth cooly slotted his first senior penalty past Leeds, he has amassed a spot-kick record which can bear comparison with the very best.
For Everton and West Ham he has converted 20 out of 23 penalty kicks in competitive games. That figure could even be manufactured to read 21 if you included the rebound he tucked away against Wimbledon in August 1999. Twice he has scored two in the same match - at White Hart Lane, Tottenham and again against Birmingham City in the FA Cup.. But while he admits it is probably an inexplicable masochistic streak which continutes to put him on the spot, he has no idea how he first came to assume the penaltytaking responsibility. "I can't remember the exact circumstances of how I came to take that first penalty against Leeds United," he said. "I know I'd always taken them, all the way through junior football, and Joe Royle had just taken over and everyone was high on confidence from the very first game. "I must have been having a good game, we were 2-0 up and maybe I was closest to the ball at the time and just said 'I'll have it!' "That was it. From then on you just go on a streak until you miss one, and fortunately it was quite a while before that happened for me." His technique varies from occasion to occasion. He began by sliding a precise shot to either side of the target, then in later years chose to go for power ahead of precision. But he is adamant that when he places the ball on the spot, he never changes his mind from what he has elected to do.
"That's when I always know where I am going to put it," he said. "I always know if I am going to place it either side or smash it right down the middle and I have never ever changed my mind. I always try and compose myself, too, and never, ever rush a penalty. Because when you rush them you miss them. "I never look at the goalkeeper, I never look at the ref. I just look at the ball, pick my spot and don't change my mind." So which of his 20 successful strikes have given him the most pleasure?
"One against Newcastle was very pleasing," he explained. "I'd scored an own goal to put us 1-0 down and it was right at the end. That was a good one. "Then a few weeks later there was the one at West Ham, my old club and an important goal for us. But the penalty in the Goodison derby match against Liverpool when we were trailing 2-1 was a fantastic feeling. "They were walking across the ball trying to put me off, but that all goes back to your composure. There was only one place that was going, though. It was going to get smashed! "I went from the highest of the highs to the lowest of the lows in the space of 10 minutes then because Gary McAllister scored a winner in the 93rd minute. "I was captain when I scored two penalties in the same match at White Hart Lane which I enjoyed, but White Hart Lane has always been a good ground for me. "As long as they go in I enjoy all my penalties. It's record I am very proud of and hopefully there are going to be more."
David Unsworth's testimonial match against Athletic Bilbao kicks off at 3pm. Admission is £15 adults, £5 juniors and OAPs.
Blues top the ton up league
Aug 9 2002 Liverpool Echo
THE sky's the limit for Everton as the club today kicked off a year of celebrations as the first side to play 100 years in football's top league. A plane will fly over Goodison Park before the Blues' August 17 opener against Spurs trailing a 300ftlong banner declaring "100 years in the top flight."
It's just one of the many events to mark Everton's huge achievement that were being unveiled by proud club owner Bill Kenwright today. He launched the party of the century by revealing a special anniversary logo featuring the Blues' striking hero Dixie Dean. Everton's special status has even been recognised by Premier League chiefs, who gave permission for the club to wear the badge of honour on their shirts this year next to the Premier League's logo. Deputy chairman Mr Kenwright said: "This, without doubt, is a fantastic achievement for Everton Football Club and a notable 'first' in English football." And celebrity fan Liz McClarnon from chart-topping Atomic Kitten said she was bursting with pride, adding: "As a lifelong Evertonian it makes me really proud to know that they are the first team ever to reach 100 years of top flight football." Remarkably, the Blues have spent just four years outside the top league. Celebrations for the Spurs match include a "parade of champions" featuring former Everton greats. Half time entertainment is a recreation of Everton's first league game in 1888 against Accrington Stanley between 11-year-olds in historic old kit and plastered-down hair. And special Blue Everton " heritage plaques" will also be fixed on historic club sites around the city during the year. Season-ticket holders and shareholders will play their part in the club's history when a time capsule with all their names and club souvenirs will be buried.
The celebrations will culminate with a glittering dinner at St George's Hall next spring. Snooker player and lifelong Blue John Parrott said: "Other teams will obviously reach the magical 100 years figure, but we Evertonians can always claim that we were first.
Historic role for Blues heroes
Aug 10 2002 By David Prentice, Everton Correspondent, Liverpool Echo
A HUNDRED of Everton's former stars will be on parade at Goodison Park next Saturday - to celebrate the club's historic century of top flight seasons. The Blues have contacted players who have represented the club throughout eight different decades for a half-time march-past on the opening day of the 2002-03 season. The club has asked its Former Players Foundation to trace some significant individuals from the club's glorious past and they will all be present on day one of the century making season. The special centurions' parade is just one of numerous special celebrations planned to commemorate the historic achievement. Owner and deputy-Chairman Bill Kenwright together with manager David Moyes unveiled a unique anniversary logo at Goodison Park yesterday featuring the club's most celebrated star, goalscoring record-breaker Dixie Dean. The club has even received special permission from the FA to feature the logo on the club's strip next season.
A special CD has been produced which will be released next weekend and a plane will fly over Goodison before next Saturday's match against Spurs trailing a banner proclaiming the legend: "100 years in the top flight." There will even be a recreation of the club's first ever Football League match against Accrington Stanley on the same day, between 11- year- olds wearing replica kits from the Victorian era and slicked down, centreparted hair! The celebrations culminate in a glittering celebration dinner at St George's Hall next Spring.
Everton 0, Athletic Bilbao 1 (D, Post)
Aug 12 2002 By Jonathan McEvoy At Goodison Park, Daily Post
To nurture his prodigious talent away from the glare and scrutiny of the public eye. To discourage media hype and play down expectations. To protect the teenage striker with an iron-reinforced fence. But try telling thousands of Evertonians, desperate to see their team lift themselves above the familiar battle for Premiership survival, not to pin their hopes firmly on the 16-year-old prodigy.
They have endured too much heartache, bitten their way through too many fingernails in relegation scrapes over recent years to think it will be much better this time around unless Rooney can act as catalyst for change in the season ahead. And Saturday's display - albeit in a testimonial to honour the club's longest-serving player, David Unsworth - will have done little to brighten those Blues' horizons. Having been out-manoeuvred by Anderlecht in midweek, Everton were out-played by Athletic Bilbao in this disappointing defeat. Yes, they rallied in the second half, but the all-round performance - Rooney apart - lacked menace and threat as the technically-proficient Spaniards controlled the game. Urzaiz' goal on the stroke of halftime condemned Moyes' men to their second defeat of the pre-season, with Tottenham due in town only next Saturday when the real stuff starts.
Rooney, warmly cheered by the Goodison faithful, provided the best hope of picking a way through the defence with some surging runs and clever feet, but there were few others who fully did themselves justice. It is always a big transition into the senior team. Rooney, though, stepped up, if not spectacularly, then comfortably. And remember he was up against no less a player than Karanka, signed from European champions Real Madrid over the summer. Rooney is carrying a burden no kid his age should. For goodness' sake, he could still be at school. He isn't old enough to hold a driving licence and, as for legally ordering a pint, he's still got a long wait. That's why Moyes is putting a protective arm around the youngster. But it won't stop Evertonians investing their dreams in him. So, what can realistically be expected from the season ahead? No doubt, mid-table safety would suit Blues fans down to the ground. Moyes, with his hands partially tied by the financial constraints placed on him by a club still clawing back its debts, has moved prudently and imaginatively in the transfer market to strengthen his squad. Out have gone the dinosaurs. David Ginola has exited while Paul Gascoigne is now hawking what remains of his genius around both sides of the Atlantic like some tired, old Vaudeville act in search of one final turn. Comparative youth in the form of keeper Richard Wright from Arsenal, Marseille defender Joseph Yobo, Brazilian striker Juliano Rodrigo and Chinese duo Li Tie and Li Weifeng have replaced them. They have added freshness to the Blues ranks - as indeed has Moyes' own arrival. He has it all to prove at the top level after a successful spell at Preston, where he marked himself out as one of most promising young managers in the game. There is a buzz around Goodison now and you sense Moyes is a man in a hurry to succeed. Wright, signed from Highbury in a £4.5million switch, was Moyes's top priority buy. He has received a mixed report during pre-season but he's still only 24 and his pedigree as an
England international indicates he will prove a sound acquisition when his confidence is rebuilt after the indignity of finding himself bombed out of the Arsenal team following some high-profile blunders. Much, of course, will depend on David Weir and Alan Stubbs. They were outstanding last season and a heavy responsibility is sure to fall on their shoulders again. Less is known about former Botafogo star Rodrigo and Nigerian international Yobo, who has initially signed for one year.
As for the Chinese duo, brought to Merseyside as part of the club's sponsorship deal with the electronic firm Kejian, they could yet play a bigger role in the new season than anyone expected once they settle into the English game. Moyes is warming to midfielder Tie - China's answer to Beckham - in particular. Defender Weifeng, however, is likely to face a longer wait for inclusion.
On the debit side, Duncan Ferguson starts the season as he has spent much of his career - injured.
The squad is fleshing out with the emergence of Rooney, the development of Tony Hibbert and the summer arrivals - but you still wonder how Everton will fare if injuries bite; how much there is in reserve if you scratch below the surface; how creative the midfield will prove. A mid-table finish, coupled with a good cup run, would represent a season of consolidation and progress.
The final dress rehearsal against Bilbao paired Kevin Campbell in attack with Rooney - the combination likely to start against Spurs. It took two keepers to thwart Rooney. First, Lafuente slid in at the teenager's feet in the firsthalf only to break his nose and suffer concussion before being replaced by Aranzubia. And after 55 minutes Rooney jinked away from Karanka only for Aranzubia to block low down as the goal-bound effort threatened to restore parity. Unsworth , in typically combative mood collecting a booking from Uriah Rennie along with the plaudits on his big day, turned the ball into the side-netting from an acute angle mid-way through the first period.
But Athletic Bilbao made the decisive incision when the influential Guerrero centred Gonzalez's pass for Urzaiz. He carefully picked his spot from 12 yards as the flat-footed home defence looked on, giving Wright, who had earlier saved well from Etxeberria, no chance. Unsworth missed having a win to cap his testimonial but he and his team-mates will settle for that if can kick-off the Premiership season with a victory on Saturday.
Here's to a new season.
EVERTON: Wright, Stubbs, Weir, Unsworth, Alexandersson (Rodrigo 76), Campbell, Naysmith (Pembridge 76), Gravesen, Rooney (Radzinski 78), Linderoth (Tie 69), Hibbert. Subs: Weifeng, Carsley, Gerrard.
ATHLETIC BILBAO: Lafuente (Aranzubia 26), Cesar, Del Horno (Larrazabal 69), Vales (Murillo 66), Karanka, Orbaiz, Etxeberria (Aduriz 80), Guerrero (Arriaga 80), Urzaiz, Gurpegi (Urrutia 75), Ezquerro (Gonzalez 14).
REFEREE: Uriah Rennie.
Headmaster of Blues stylish school of science
By Len Capeling, Daily Post
Aug 12 2002
RIGHT at the close of a century which had seen him surrender the title of Everton's most successful manager, prime-time television played a dirty trick on Harry Catterick.
Casting around for an actor to play the Everton legend in a docudrama about the downfall of Tony Kay, the film's producers lost their marbles and gave the part to the portly, prattling actor-dramatist Colin Welland. It was an insult, a travesty, M'Lud. There was the elegant Harry, who prided himself on his measured words, his tidy figure, his well-groomed head, and his expensively-tailored mohair suits being grotesquely caricatured as some ranting, rotund Yorkshireman who sounded like a Barnsley barrow-boy and had the dress sense to shame even Kenneth Clarke. Imagine what the Cat must have thought, peering down on this fearful scene from his lofty vantage point in the Blue Heaven promised to Goodison heroes. He would have put a boot through his harp, hurled some colourful celestial cuss words - along with a passing thunderbolt - at one of the worst theatrical take-offs since Dick Van Dyke essayed his gorblimey Cockney in Mary Poppins. Apparently no-one had told Colin Welland that any accent Harry may have possessed in his Darlington childhood had long been sanded away by an Alf Ramseystyle voice job before he landed back at Goodison Park in 1961. Where Welland played Catterick as a flatulent chancer with a glutinous, Yorkshire pudding delivery, the Goodison boss in fact spoke in the measured tones of a frost-rimmed civil servant anxious to impress, particularly on the social scene. Where Welland was gross and unbuttoned, Catterick was the very model of the reserved soccer scholar in an age when there were more rough edges on managers than spikes on a porcupine. For that reason, Catterick was probably one of the least understood of 60s managers. Stern as a Presbyterian preacher, a stickler for discipline and for players knowing their place - all their interviews came via Harry - he looked as if he had difficulty in smiling with his eyes. My take on him was of a remote and solitary figure, lacking real warmth, though part of that perception may have stemmed from the great contrast in character between the two Merseyside managers of that era. Set against the mega-mouthed, Messianic Bill Shankly, from whom the lava of life seemed to flow, the dissimilarity couldn't have been more marked.
Did the Everton fans care? Not a bit. Not then, and not now. For when it came to the important business of winning trophies in the Beatles era, Catterick was in no way outshone by the glamorous Scot from across the Park. In fact, the achievements of the two men in the years up to 1970 are surprisingly similar - both won two first division championships, and an FA Cup, and both held on to prominent positions in the league throughout the decade. Some of the praise for Catterick has been grudging, possibly because he never sought favour with the Press. Never set out to be a man of the people. On the contrary, he had a reputation for tetchiness that the equally peppery Shanks managed to keep hidden from public view. But that dourness did mean that when it came to the oxygen of publicity, Shankly, superbly quotable, knew how to fuel it, while Harry played a publicity game later trademarked by Kenny Dalglish. That probably led to Catterick's formidable record being undervalued, even to this day. But from the moment ambitious chairman John Moores summoned him back from Hillsborough to the club he'd previously served as a rough-and-ready centreforward, Harry Catterick wrote himself into the record books as an outstanding manager. Typical of Moores, the call for Catterick came after the Littlewoods multi-millionaire - always a winner - had written a taxi ride with Everton's previous boss, Johnny Carey, into the folklore of soccer sackings.
What Moores demanded - nothing less than the championship - Catterick delivered. A mere 12 months after his appointment the Blues were on their way to their sixth title triumph, won by one of the purest footballing sides in Everton's distinguished history. It came after the brutal winter of '63 when the league - pre-undersoil heating - hunkered down for six weeks, a pause used by the crafty Catterick to strengthen his hand with the signings of Tony Kay and Alex Scott - two vital elements in a terrific team that also included Roy Vernon, Alex Young, Jimmy Gabriel, Brian Labone, Alex Parker, Gordon West and Johnny Morrissey. Three years later, with the influential Kay gone (to jail for his part match-fixing while with Sheffield Wednesday) and a new team still under construction, Everton won the FA Cup against the same Yorkshire side after one of the most memorable encounters in the competition's history (3-2 the final score - cue the galloping Derek Temple, cue an audacious managerial gamble on unknown striker Mike Trebilcock). Already Catterick had in place one-third of Everton's greatest-ever midfield trinity. The youthful Colin Harvey would be joined later that World Cup-winning year by the phenomenal Alan Ball, and, in March 1967, by Howard Kendall.
They helped drive Everton on, via a losing Cup final in 1968, to another championship triumph in 1970, and, with the new centreforward sensation Joe Royle knocking in the goals, Goodison smiled broadly. Only to awaken shortly afterwards to the frightening sound of a season that plunged the new champs to 14th place in Division One. Alan Ball departed in mysterious circumstances, injury finished the illustrious career of Mr Reliable, Brian Labone, and Harry Catterick lost his magic and his health with it. Driving back from Sheffield in January 1972, he suffered a serious heart attack and a year later found himself shunted sideways and replaced by another ex-Everton player, the personable Billy Bingham. In March 1985 - still Everton's most successful manager - Harry Catterick had another coronary, this time at Goodison Park during the game against Ipswich Town
Despite frantic attempts to revive him by paramedics and the Everton club doctor, Harry Catterick died at the ground where he'd helped restore lost pride and the will to win in style.
Ironically, his death came in the blossoming early days of the Howard Kendall era, an era which would see Harry eventually being overtaken as Everton's most successful manager by one of his most successful signings. But Catterick is not devalued by that second spot in the hall of fame, far from it says Brian Labone who was Harry's skipper from 1964 onwards, and an England regular at centre-half. Labone also takes issue with some of the judgments on Catterick as being a bleak, unemotional, uncommunicative man. "He could keep you at arm's length," Brian admitted, "but at the same time he was a good communicator with his players. He could let his hair down, too. He was a lover of fine wines and fine cigars. "He was tough. He didn't hesitate to let you know if he thought you weren't playing well enough. But by the same token he would reward you by inviting you for a game of golf. "He was a very good manager, a tremendous tactician, a great thinker about the game and like all ex-centre-forwards he wanted the foundations of his team to be down the middle - goalkeeper, centre-half, centre-forward. Look at his record in the 60s. I think Everton were only out of the top six once and that was the year we won the FA Cup in 1966. He was one of the first to have the charts in the dressing-room, with the magnetic counters. "Obviously I liked him because he picked me all the time, but I always found him very straight in all my dealings with him as captain. I very rarely saw him blow his top in the dressing room. He'd perhaps pull an individual to one side, but he'd never belittle you in front of others. And that counts for a lot with players. "He made Everton a very attractive side, full of goals, full of good players. I think that's his legacy as much as anything else. I think the flamboyance of Shankly made him appear less exciting. "But on the other hand I think he enjoyed the image of himself as the thinking man's manager, "We used to joke that he was the only manager with creases in his tracksuit trousers, but it was said in fun and we respected him for his ability, and Everton's centenary in the top division reminds us how much we all owe him." No more needs to be said, except to invite Harry, wherever he is, to take a bow, to acknowledge the cheers of those of us lucky enough to have been around when the school of science held classes. I wish I could assure him that an apology from Colin Welland is winging its way to Cloud Nine. I can't. But I do still wonder who should have played Harry's game in his absence.
Labour told: Return Kenwright's £200,000
By Mark Hookham, Daily Post
Aug 12 2002
THE Labour Party was last night urged to hand back a £200,000 donation from Everton deputy chairman Bill Kenwright. Den Dover, Conservative MEP for the North West, said Bill Kenwright's political donation should be returned before the club had further talks with the Government or EU over the development of the King's Dock stadium. Mr Dover, who sits on the EU's budget committee, said: "The Labour Party should give this money back to him and say that in view of the delicate state of the negotiations the money would represent too much of a conflict of interest.
"For a donation to be made and accepted at the moment is not acceptable to the general public."
The lifelong Labour supporter's gift of £200,000 represented a third of the total amount donated to the cash-strapped party in spring this year. Everton's planned £55,000 seat stadium will rely on £35m from the EU and £7.5m each from two Government quangos - English Part-nerships and the North West Development Agency. Mr Kenwright said any suggestion the payment was intended to secure special access was "nonsensical." He said: "To suggest or infer that there is in some way a link between the donation and the bid for European funds for the King's Dock development is palpable nonsense. "Apart from my family there are three things in my life I cherish -my country, my home town and my football club and I support them as much as I possibly can. "Any suggestion this is to secure public funding is beneath contempt. "If this comes to fruition it will provide not only a new home for Everton but a much-needed world class arena for Merseyside. It is much much more than simply a football ground." Mr Kenwright was a Coronation Street star before making his fortune from musicals such as Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. He led a consortium which took over Everton two years ago in a £30m deal. Last month, Labour MPs filed an early day motion in the House of Commons to ask why the club has been allowed to bid for so much public money. Walton MP Peter Kilfoyle, Bootle MP Joe Benton, Knowsley South MP Eddie O'Hara, Birkenhead MP Frank Field and Knowsley North MP George Howarth said the money should be used to tackle deprivation and unemployment. Joe Benton said last night: "I do not regard this as Merseyside's biggest priority and I say this as an Everton fan. "We have unemployment and pockets of bad housing and the money should be directed to sort out those problems." Mr Kenwright's donation boosted Labour's coffers between April and June this year to £591,052 but the party is still an estimated £6m in the red. A spokesman for the Labour Party was last night unavailable for comment.
Wayne can take strain
By Jonathan McEvoy, Daily Post
Aug 12 2002
RICHARD WRIGHT is confident Everton teenager Wayne Rooney can cope with the weight of expectation surrounding him. Keeper Wright, the Blues' £4.5million summer signing from Arsenal, experienced similar pressure when he emerged on to the first-team scene as a 17-year-old at Ipswich Town. And he believes Rooney, who impressed on his senior home debut in David Unsworth's testimonial against Athletic Bilbao on Saturday, will continue to blossom under the protective wing of manager-David Moyes and his Everton players. The 16-year-old striker played 78 minutes against the Spanish side as the Blues lost 1-0 in their final pre-season match. Wright, now 24, said: "Wayne's a level-headed lad and he will deal with the pressure. And obviously the manager will keep him out of the spotlight in certain ways so that will help him. "There are a lot of experienced players in that dressing room. There's not only me who has been there, but I'm sure all the players have gone through that phase when they are up-and-coming players. And I'm sure they can all help him. "Sometimes people in the dressing room have to look after me and any other players. You all get together and look after people but you need that especially when you are young.
"You've got to look at the positives with him. He's young but he's out there week in week out. He's working hard in training and he wants to learn and that can only be good for him. Wright added: "He is a good player. He has a good strike. Not all 16-year-olds can strike the ball very well. He can do that really well which is a big plus. "He did well today. Your first game is not easy, especially against technically-gifted players and clever players who've played against the best in the Spanish league," he said. "He's on a learning curve and he knows that. And he'll keep working on it. Part of Wayne's game is his aggression and he'll learn as he gets older how to use it. He's a good prospect. I think he's got the right people around him in the manager and I have no fears for him. "You know that if there's speculation surrounding you, you are doing all right." Wright, making his home debut after moving from Highbury, was helpless to prevent Urzaiz grabbing the Primera Liga team's winner on the stroke of half-time. Wright said: "The fans gave me an excellent reception when I warmed up and hopefully if I can perform well for them we'll get a good relationship going. "Today was about preparation and getting through the game without any injuries. There are perhaps certain things we need to look at for the games to come. But we are still in the preparation period and we've got a hard week ahead before the game on Saturday. "My settling in period has been made very easy. You've just got to look around the changing room, the players there are good lads and the way the manager gets you motivated and involved in training is very good. "I've not been playing as well I'd have liked but that's what preseason is for. Usually when I've played pre-season I've been up and down because that's why it's there. You've got to get your timing right and judge the ball. I've had four games now and I'm ready to go on Saturday. "There were disappointments at Arsenal. There always are but you have to look at the positives. If you are going to look at the negatives all the while then you will never go forward in life. I'm looking forward to next week."
Everton 0, Athletic Bilbao 1 (Echo)
Aug 12 2002 By David Prentice
Statistically and psychologically, David Unsworth's Testimonial match was a disappointing day for the Blues. A single goal defeat by Athletic Bilbao and a testimonial match crowd decimated by drenching rain provided the sad statistics. The grim psychology came from a second successive defeat to solid European opposition after the goal gluts against minnows from home and abroad.
But there was still Wayne Rooney. Much of the 13,678 crowd came to gauge the growing hype surrounding the 16-yearold as well as to pay tribute to Unsworth - and in that respect alone they were not disappointed. By his own stunning pre-season standards Rooney has performed better, but he was still Everton's brightest attacker. In 79 minutes he managed six efforts either on or around the Spaniards' goal - and he was only denied his 10th pre-season strike by a combination of brave and smart goalkeeping. And he provided those moments despite a worrying lack of ammunition from a pedestrian midfield. Ironically Everton do have players capable of adding creativity to that department, but Chinese newcomer Li Tie is still coming to terms with the vast cultural divide between Merseyside and China, while the Brazilian Rodrigol, by his own admission, is only half-fit. That duo provided a final 15 minute flourish from Everton, trailing to Urzaiz's stroke of half-time goal. Rodrigol crashed one thrilling 20-yard volley which was superbly blocked by substitute keeper Aranzubia, then showed a deft side to his game too with an acute pass which almost sent Kevin Campbell clean through. Li Tie charged around aggressively and also showed an impressive range of passing, but neither player is likely to be considered fit enough or integrated enough to start against Spurs next Saturday. Who will is still anyone's guess. David Moyes' starting day line-up is still far from fixed, but the Blues' boss has tossed out a couple of clues.
Tony Hibbert and Gary Naysmith made their second successive appearances in the full-back positions, giving Steve Watson and Alessandro Pistone cause for nervous conjecture. The midfield quartet was also unchanged from Tuesday night in Brussels, a Scandinavian heart of Gravesen and Linderoth flanked by Alexandersson and Unsworth. While up front the selection process has been reduced to two from three in any case by injuries to Nick Chadwick, Joe-Max Moore and, yawn, Duncan Ferguson. The diddy-men front line of Radzinski and Rooney failed to ignite in Anderlecht, so Kevin Campbell seems a certain starter. Which leaves Rooney or Radzinski - and Saturday's selection smacked of an experiment by Moyes to see how the youngster handled a first team occasion at Goodison Park. The answer was with the swagger and certainty of a teenager who knows he has the talent to not only share a stage with Premiership players, but to dominate it.
Rooney has played in front of a bigger Goodison gallery. There were 15,000 inside the stadium when he scored in the first leg of last season's Youth Cup Final. But the crowd celebration that night was of a higher pitched tone. Saturday's audience was of a more mature, seen it all before nature.
There was a murmur of disappointment when Rooney slipped on the wet turf trying to make an easy cross, but it wasn't long before he settled into his ridiculously mature stride. He set the ball rolling for a 24th minute chance by taking a quick free-kick to Campbell after he had been fouled. Campbell fed Alexandersson, he crossed into the six-yard box and Rooney was there to collide with the brave goalkeeper Lafuente who denied him a goal. Richard Wright made an equally impressive block from Gurpegi on the half-hour after the Spanish had carved a worrying hole right through the middle of the Blues' Yobo-less defence. There was still space in abundance on the 44th minute when veteran striker Urzaiz lifted a left-footed finish high into the net to leave Wright helpless. Everton might have salvaged a draw. Rooney looked second favourite to turn Campbell's flick into a goalscoring opportunity 10 minutes after half-time, but the youngster has both strength, pace - plus an impressive gear change which can see him accelerate away from unsuspecting markers.
He used all three qualities to get in a shot which Aranzubia blocked. Kevin Campbell also outmuscled his marker to lift a shot narrowly over the Gwladys Street bar then Rooney won a race for possession with the goalkeeper in the 63rd minute but the ball wouldn't drop quickly enough for him to trouble the target. The closest he came was a header from a Gravesen corner, gliding in late and unmarked to flash an effort inches wide, but by then Bilbao had shut up shop. The Spanish side are no mugs. They did win in the Nou Camp during the last La Liga season and defeated Real Madrid in the first leg of a Spanish Cup semi-final. But their insistence of selecting Basque-only players will always place constraints on their coaches. At the moment Everton seem to be selecting anybody but Scousers - but one of the two local lads who did play on Saturday is causing all the pres e a s o n buzz.
T h i s weekend it ' s the real thing.
EVERTON: Wright , Hibbert, Weir, Stubbs, Naysmith (Pembridge 75), Alexandersson (Rodrigol 75), Gravesen, Linderoth (Tie 70), Unsworth, Rooney (Radzinski 79), Campbell.
ATHLETIC BILBAO: Lafuente (Aranzubia 25), Cesar, Del Horno (Larrazabal 70), Vales (Murillo 65), Karanka, Orbaiz, Exteberria (Aduriz 81), Guerrero (Arriaga 81), Urzaiz, Gurpegi (Urrutia 74), Ezquerro (Gonzalez 14).
Referee: Uriah Rennie. Bookings: Unsworth (35 mins) foul, Urrutia (89 mins) persistent misconduct.
Goal: Urzaiz (44 mins) 0-1.
Unsworth's big moment
Aug 12 2002 By David Prentice
David Unsworth applauds the fans with his two daughters
DAVID UNSWORTH has played in an FA Cup Final against Manchester United, turned out for England at Wembley and stepped up to take a late penalty-kick in a frenzied Merseyside derby.
But he admits walking out in front of 13,000 people at Goodison Park on Saturday was the most nerve wracking - and proudest - moment of his career. Unsworth emerged with daughters Courtney and Finley to a guard of honour from his Everton team-mates and opponents Athletic Bilbao.
He said afterwards: " That moment will live with me forever, just waiting in the tunnel with my children. It was really, really special and was, without doubt, the proudest moment of my career.
"I was petrified. It was the most nervous I have ever, ever been. I can hand on heart say it was more nerve-wracking than Cup finals, playing for England or taking penalties in derby matches. I just tried not to let it show. "There seemed to be a lot more than 13,000 inside the ground and I'd just like to thank everyone who came out to watch on what was a terribly wet day." Apart from the 1-0 defeat, Unsworth enjoyed almost all of his special day. "I thought it was a bit harsh getting booked in my own testimonial match!" he added. "I just went in and tried to protect myself more than anything else. "But Mr Rennie was his usual self. He had to get his little share of the glory on the day but we're used to him doing things like that. "At least it showed it was a competitive friendly. I thought Bilbao were excellent. They passed the ball really well, especially in midfield. "It was disappointing not to score and to lose the game but we have had a good pre-season and hopefully we're ready for the real thing now." Unsworth's role when the real thing begins next Saturday is still in doubt, but towards the end of last season and throughout preseason he has largely operated in a left midfield role. It's a position he would be delighted to make his own. "I don't know what's in the manager's mind," he added, "but there's certainly competition for places all the way down the left with myself, Gary Naysmith, Sandro Pistone, Idan Tal, Kevin McLeod, Mark Pembridge and now Rodrigo, who can play there too. "There's a lot of competition, but I've played a few games there pre-season and I just hope I am selected to play wherever it is. "I enjoy getting forward and while it sounds stupid, it is actually easier to play in midfield in a Premiership game than it is in a pre-season friendly - especially against continental opposition who keep the ball so well. "When the real thing starts next week it will be a hundred miles an hour with everyone flying into each other which I enjoy. "Hopefully I will be a part of that."
Rodrigo dons the 'L' plates
Aug 12 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
BRAZILIAN new boy Rodrigo has put L plates on himself - despite a bright substitutes' performance which might have played his way into David Moyes' plans for the opening day of the season.
Christened Juliano Lopez Rodrigo, the midfielder prefers to be known simply as Rodrigo.
But on his shirt he has added the initial 'L' to his name. "It says Rodrigo'l," he explained, " because the L is for my middle name. It is not like Gabriel Batistuta being called Batigol. That was a nickname the fans gave him because he scored so many goals." Rodrigo came close to a Goodison goal against Athletic Bilbao on Saturday, and may have played his way into Everton's team to face Spurs.
He is still not fully match fit, but the formation Tottenham boss Glenn Hoddle employs could convince David Moyes to use Rodrigo from the start this Saturday. The Blues' boss was at White Hart Lane yesterday to see Spurs draw 2-2 with Lazio. Teddy Sheringham was outstanding as a link between the forwards and the midfield --exactly the role Rodrigo favours. "There are still places up for grabs," said Moyes. "We might have to use certain players to suit the way Tottenham play, but we have a week of hard work ahead of us first. " Rodrigo made a good impression when he came on, but so, too, did Li Tie. "We'll see how things go this week before we go any further."
Joseph Yobo is improving every day and Moyes has still not ruled him out of his plans for the opening day, but strike trio Duncan Ferguson, Nick Chadwick and Joe-Max Moore have already been ruled out. Steve Watson, Alessandro Pistone and Scot Gemmill's involvement is also in doubt. All three have missed the last few pre-season friendlies with various minor strains. They have now recovered, but Moyes is concerned by their lack of match practice.
Parkinson turns back the clock
Aug 12 2002
JOE PARKINSON turned back the clock at Goodison Park on Saturday.
Six years after his last stunning strike at the Gwladys Street End, the former Blues' midfielder was on target there again . . . this time with his left foot! Parkinson scored the winner in a veterans' mini-derby match which was a curtain raiser to David Unsworth's Testimonial match. A Blues' team managed by Derek Mountfield and which also contained Neville Southall, John Bailey, Mark Ward, Paul Lodge and Mark Wright triumphed 2-1 against a Liverpool XI which featured John Barnes, Alan Kennedy, Rob Jones and Phil Neal.
Crocked Ferguson facing a month on sidelines
Report By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Aug 13 2002
DAVID MOYES has confirmed he's ready to make David Weir his new Everton skipper as Duncan Ferguson faces up to another month on the sidelines. The Blues boss is confident an injection given to the injuryplagued striker last week will get to the root of the back problem that has dogged the big Scot all year. But Moyes is still set to lose Ferguson for the first month of the new Premiership season as he insists only 100 per cent fit players will be considered for selection. Kevin Campbell and Tomasz Radzinski are vying for a place alongside Wayne Rooney in this weekend's kick-off against Tottenham, as fellow forward Nick Chadwick struggles to overcome a groin injury.
Ferguson does not resume training until next week after his latest appointment with a specialist.
And Moyes admits the 30-year-old, who has missed most of the Blues' pre-season programme, will then require numerous run-outs before making a Premiership comeback. The Blues boss revealed: "Duncan has had an injection now. He has to rest for a week to ten days but we feel as though we've hit the right spot and we'll find out the symptoms that have been causing him trouble. "But Duncan will need to be involved in training games and reserve team games before he comes back.
"He was involved in a lot of pre-season work before the problem flared up so we are hoping he's got that fitness in the bank. "But no-one will go straight into the team here unless they are in the right condition. I want them all to be fit." Despite his latest spell on the sidelines Ferguson will not officially lose his captaincy, although Moyes confirmed defender Weir will now assume the role in his continued absence. Moyes said: "Duncan was captain when I came in but I don't see why it will change. Davie Weir will take over if he misses the start of the season."
* EVERTON fans without a ticket for Saturday's game at home to Tottenham are being urged to purchase theirs as soon as possible. For ticket details, contact the Box Office on 0151 330 2300 or for credit card bookings phone 08707 3837866.
Days of Dunc and Darracott seen in a new light
By Nick Hilton, Daily Post
Aug 13 2002
THE 1970s was an era of unfulfilled promise at Goodison Park. The decade opened with Everton winning the championship with a predominantly young team playing football of riveting quality around the matchless midfield axis of Alan Ball, Howard Kendall and Colin Harvey. But the Golden Vision faded sooner than anyone could have anticipated and the rest of the 70s became a journey of thwarted hopes, curious diversions and cruel twists of fate for the blue half of Merseyside football followers. It wasn't all gloom though. Everton enjoyed periods when they re-emerged as a major force in the first division and came tantalisingly close to putting their hands on some silverware.
Most of the near misses occurred in the years when Everton were under the stewardship of Gordon Lee (January 1977-May 1981). Lee is one of those rare club managers whose stock has risen in the eyes of many supporters with the passing of time. It is easy to understand after so much barren football during the 1990s why there should be some re-evaluation taking place among those old enough to recall the team Lee fashioned during his first two full seasons at Goodison.
The images that immediately come to my mind are of winger Dave Thomas galloping past his full-back on the outside to sweep in deadly accurate crosses for the diving headers and cunning deflections of bustling centre forward Bob Latchford. There was much more to the team than that of course: such as England internationals at left-back (Mike Pejic) and the heart of midfield (Martin Dobson). A sharp goalscoring midfield player called Andy King. And the impudent skills of Duncan McKenzie supporting the attack with party tricks that played to the gallery but did not always win the approval of Lee. The manager believed that even the most gifted of players should have a discipline to harness their skills to the common effort. Supporters picked up on the open antagonism between Lee and the maverick McKenzie. It was fashionable among the young and romantic to stand in McKenzie's corner. Lee would sometimes throw the following question at the morning newspaper reporters who gathered in his office at Bellefield. "If a team of Duncan McKenzies played a team of Terry Darracotts ( Darracott was a no-frills, hard-working fullback) who would win the game?" Before we could begin to speculate Lee would answer the question himself saying: "The Terry Darracotts would win 5-0 every time because no one on the Duncan McKenzies' team would be willing to go and win the ball." Even so, Lee selected McKenzie more often than he picked Darracott. Yet the story serves to demonstrate how Lee came to be regarded at the time as dour and unadventurous even when the evidence on the field was often to the contrary. It did not help that nature had bestowed upon Gordon Lee a long gaunt face which appeared to be set in permanent grimace when he watched football. It was just Lee's expression of concentration but press photographers everywhere knew they could capture dark brooding images of the manager in the dug-out, even on the days when Everton were routing the opposition. And in those early Lee years Everton were frequently in the business of routing the opposition. Everton claimed third place behind champions Nottingham Forest in 1977/78 and fourth the following season when they went unbeaten into mid December. In 77/78 Everton outscored the rest of the First Division knocking in 76 goals in 42 League games. They were often a joy to watch. On the final day of the campaign Latchford's two strikes in a 6-0 victory over Chelsea took the popular marksman to the mark of 30 League goals for the season and earned him a £10,000 prize from a national newspaper. That is less than a day's wages for the likes of David Beckham now but back then it seemed like a fortune. The 39,504 crowd at Goodison celebrated Latchford's feat as if Everton had won the title. Lee recalls an incident that occurred seconds after the final whistle. He says: "I was sitting on the bench when an old fellow, who seemed to me at the time to be 80 years old, climbed over the railing from the terraces, ran on to the field and hugged Bob. When he came back past me he was crying like a baby with tears of happiness." Gordon Lee told the story as we gazed down the fairway of the first hole at Fairhaven Golf Club near his long time home in Lytham from the vantage point of the upstairs clubhouse bar. Golf courses and bars were among the last places you would have found Lee while he was working in football. He took a serious interest in golf only after walking away from his last job in football at Leicester City in 1991 with the principal intention of spending more time at home with his wife. A minor heart attack in May 2001 has not prevented Lee from playing three times a week, often in the company of other former footballers and managers in charity tournaments around the North West. The former Liverpool boss Roy Evans has been a regular on the circuit as well as several of Lee's players from the Everton days, including Graeme Sharp, Steve McMahon and McKenzie, who Gordon refers to affectionately as "Dunky". Lee is 68 and admits: "I'm really not much good at the game. At my age it's very difficult to improve your golf as you grow older but I enjoy the challenge of trying." As for bars they were never Lee's cup of tea. On one occasion when he won a gallon of Scotch after being chosen as manager of the month at Everton, Lee asked the sponsor Bell's if he could have his prize in miniature bottles and had them distributed among the crowd. It wasn't a public relations stunt. Lee explained at the time: "I don't drink, apart from a sherry in August so the whisky would have been wasted on me." He has remained indifferent to alcohol since although his offer to conduct this interview in a pub if I wished suggested he has not dispensed with the assumption that us football reporter types are for ever gagging for a drink. Not that Lee needed half a bitter shandy to lock his mind back 25 years to the days when he arrived at Goodison with a mission to lead Everton out of a slump, take them into Europe and lift a trophy or two. He recalls: "I made a decision, a big decision about the way I was going to try and do it. "There were two courses open to me. The first way was to sign some young players with potential and blend them with some local boys who were coming through the youth side. "That was the diamond way of doing it. But you need patience and luck in developing young players. It's an up and down affair and while you are waiting for them to mature you are taking a chance. "There was pressure to achieve success quickly because the team from across the park was winning trophies every season so I had to follow the alternative course. " That was to sign mature players who I knew would be able to handle the top flight and take Everton into Europe. "I bought players like Dave Thomas, Mike Pejic and we already had players of a similar age and stature in Martin Dobson, Roger Kenyon and Bob Latchford.
"Later on I signed Colin Todd, Brian Kidd and Asa Hartford. Most of those players were around 28 or 29 when I signed them and I knew I could get two years out of them performing at the level we required. "If those players had been 23 or 24 they would have been far more expensive and we could not have afforded them all. "I knew that two years down the line those players would be that much older and that much less efficient. They would become more prone to injury, play fewer games and their performance levels would drop. It would then be time to start again."
Sure enough, Everton's performances began to decline during Lee's third season when they finished 19th. He recalls: "We had gone as far as we could with the group of mature players I started with.
"At the start of my last season I said to the chairman that I wanted to spend the transfer budget on buying just one top quality player with plenty of years in him. The man I wanted was Peter Withe of Newcastle. "For some reason, which I'm sure was financial he signed for Aston Villa instead and won the European Cup with them a few years later. So it was back to deciding between the 28/29 year old player routine again or taking a chance with kids. "We had a good crop of young players at the time including Kevin Ratcliffe, Gary Stevens, Steve McMahon and a young striker I signed from Scotland called Graeme Sharp. " I knew that if we put four or five of them in the first team we would be inconsistent and our League position at the end of the season would not be good. "Even so I went with them. In my opinion it was the right thing for Everton FC although I'm not sure it was the right thing for Gordon Lee." Everton finished 15th and Lee lost his job at the end of the season. A few years later Lee's successor Howard Kendall would make Ratcliffe, Sharp and Stevens the mainstays of the team that lifted four major trophies during the mid 1980s.
Decision changed history
Aug 13 2002
EVERTON were close to tasting Cup success on three occasions under Gordon Lee. Soon after his arrival at Goodison in January 1977 Lee led Everton into a League Cup final against Aston Villa although most of the team's progress to Wembley had been made under previous manager Billy Bingham. Everton battled through a marathon final to a second replay at Old Trafford, where they were beaten 3-2. There was replay heartbreak in 1980 when they lost to the eventual FA Cup winners West Ham in the semi-final. But Everton's FA Cup semifinal-with Liverpool in 1977 is the game Lee is asked about most often. It remains an open wound with Evertonians who believe to this day they were robbed of a perfectly legitimate winning goal by the whim of referee Clive Thomas.
It was scored by Bryan Hamilton a few minutes from the end of a pulsating 2-2 draw at Maine Road and had it stood, Lee reckons the rest of his career might have been very different. He says: "I will always be convinced that if we had beaten Liverpool and got to Wembley that year we would have won the Cup. It was all mapped out. "And who knows what we could have done from there. I might have ended up a millionaire. "During those days we were beginning to see a lot more action replays and analysis of football on TV and the more Bryan Hamilton's goal was replayed and analysed the more obvious it became there was nothing wrong with it. "No matter what Clive Thomas had to say about it there were three reasons why I instinctively knew it was a good goal: first the Liverpool players did not complain or appeal when the ball went in. "Secondly, the linesman took up his position for a goal being given and thirdly there was the look on Bob Paisley's face. "Bob was an honest man. He had accepted it was a goal." Liverpool made the most of their reprieve and won the replay 3-0. Lee never resented Liverpool's success during his years on Merseyside partly because of his friendship and respect for Paisley. But it made his own job that much more difficult.
Everton supporter banned for attack
Aug 13 2002
AN EVERTON fan who assaulted a steward during a home game with Arsenal was yesterday banned from all Football Association matches for four years. Donald Cropper was also ordered to carry out a 75-hour community punishment order and a two-year community rehabilitation order.
Sentencing him Judge John Phipps said that he accepted that the banning order would be a particular deprivation to him but pointed out that only his guilty plea had saved him from a jail sentence. Cropper, 27, of Rock Grove, Old Swan, pleaded guilty to assault causing actual bodily harm. John Dixon, prosecuting, told Liverpool Crown Court that on Sunday afternoon February 10 Christopher Gillon was on duty as a steward at Goodison Park. About two minutes before the match ended Cropper was standing on a staircase blocking the view of other supporters and Mr Gillon politely asked him to move out of the way. Cropper was persuaded by others to sit down.
A short time later an incident on the pitch led to supporters standing and 19-yearold Mr Gillon felt a number of punches to the back of his head. He turned and saw Cropper scrambling away and when he tried to take hold of him, Cropper began punching him in the face. Mr Gillon continued taking him down the staircase despite being punched to the head and at the bottom other supporters helped by pulling Cropper off him, said Mr Dixon. The victim suffered bruising to his head and face as well as a cut and a bump on the right side of his head.
The Evertonian: Out now
Aug 13 2002
THE 2002/03 campaign is finally upon us. Pre-season is over and done with and from now until May we can sit back and enjoy our 100th season of top-flight football. As closed season's go, it's been a hive of activity at Goodison Park. Having successfully emerged from his baptism of fire, the new manager has settled in and begun to stamp his authority on the club. After weeks of hard work, David Moyes has recruited five new boys as he plots for the season ahead and in this month's issue of The Evertonian we'll speak to each and every one of them. And this month we also begin a 10-part series of our 100 greatest Everton photos. Everton's costliest summer signing Richard Wright is the man many are tipping to succeed David Seaman as England's number one. He has delighted Evertonians by turning his back on Highbury in favour of Goodison Park and tells us what the move means to him. Five months into the job David Moyes is set to embark upon his debut season a Everton boss after what's been a long and productive summer. He looks forward and back as the big kick-off approaches. We catch up with new boys Lei Wei Feng and Li Tie as they begin to settle into Merseyside life following their move from China. Joseph Yobo came across Lady Luck's evil twin sister early on in his Everton career, with an injury cutting his debut short after just 22 minutes. He hopes that's all behind him now and speaks to us as he prepares to make an impact in the Premiership. Jairzinho's a fan and you can guarantee many of the ladies will be as well: Rodrigo has arrived on Merseyside looking to dazzle the terraces with a bit of Brazilian magic. He tells us what he hopes to gain from his first season in English football. Do Altogether Now, Here We Go and Home and Dry ring any bells? Well, Bill Kenwright and co have got together to add another classic footballing tune to the list. We go behind the scenes at Liverpool's Parr Street studios as the new club anthem goes onto disc. Plus: The local media give preview the forthcoming season; Academy investigation; our new sponsorship deal with Kejian; Football in the Community; your chance to win one of six full strips on offer in our "Design a T-shirt" competition.
Aug 13 2002 By David Prentice, Everton Correspondent
INJURED skipper Duncan Ferguson will become the invisible man at Goodison Park after being ruled out for up to a month. Manager David Moyes said today: "You won't hear me talking about injuries this season. "I don't want to hear about anyone who is injured. If a player is unavailable there's nothing we can do about it so it's pointless me talking about them. "We'll just get on with what we have." It is a similar philosophy to that embraced by another Scot, Anfield legend Bill Shankly, who refused to even acknowledge players while they were on the injured list. Ferguson has received an injection to ease inflammation in his problem area and will not restart training again until tomorrow. He has missed much of the pre- season programme and made just two 45 minute appearances in friendly matches. Moyes will also be without youngster Nick Chadwick at the weekend, while Steve Watson's involvement is rated no higher than "touch and go." With the transfer window for Premiership transfers closing for four months on August 31, the Blues' boss has conceded there will be no more new arrivals at Everton until players can be off-loaded. He has added five fresh faces to the squad, but there has been no interest in anybody in his own squad. He may seek to offer some players on-loan to Nationwide League clubs to ease the club's wage bill in the short-term.
Peter Clarke and Keith Southern are already at Blackpool, but it is some of the club's higher earners he is keen to move on. Alex Nyarko is onloan at Paris St Germain until January --and the Blues hope the deal will then become permanent. Saturday ' s first match of the season against Spurs, meanwhile, is heading for a sell-out - and club officials are urging fans to be inside the stadium early.
There will be a number of special events to celebrate the start of the historic hundredth season in the top flight - including a parade of former players which will commence at 2.15pm.
Back to when it began...
Aug 13 2002 Liverpool Echo
I WAS fortunate enough to captain Everton Football Club throughout the most accomplished campaign in the club's history. A League Championship, the club's first European trophy and only denied a treble by an extra-time goal in the FA Cup final. But while 1984-85 provided undeniably some of the best moments of my entire career, it was not my favourite season. That accolade has to go to a season when, for me, it all began . . . 1983-84. We reached Wembley for the first-ever all Merseyside Cup final, we ended a 14-year trophy drought when we won the FA Cup a couple of months later - and we laid the foundations for the incredible achievements which were to follow.
The season was so special for me because of the dramatic way our fortunes turned around.
Before Christmas we were playing games in front eight and nine thousand fans, most of whom were screaming for Howard Kendall to be sacked. But within months we had suddenly been transformed into championship material. Obviously we knew the intense pressure Howard was under at the time and we were desperately trying to do it for him. We knew his ideas were good and the coaching he was giving us was improving us as individuals. But while everyone talks about the famous Oxford game being the turning point, for me it came much earlier than that. If we had become another giant-killing victim of Oxford I don't think Howard would have been sacked, because we
were still in the FA Cup and improving all the time in the League. But way back in November, when the pressure on Howard was really reaching a peak, we were 1-0 down at home to Coventry in the third round of the Milk Cup. I shudder to think what might have happened if that had been the final score. As it was Adrian Heath scored a very late equaliser, then in the last minute Graeme Sharp limped to the far post to knock an Inchy cross in with the back of his head. For me that was a far more significant moment in the club's history than the equaliser at Oxford. An incoming arrival a few days later proved equally as important. As most people now know, Andy Gray is not a shy lad. I used to have a saying about him; he couldn't whisper over three fields. Whenever he walked into a room you knew he was there, and that enthusiasm and confidence in his own ability rubbed off on so many other players. We were still a very young squad that season. I was only 22, Derek Mountfield was a couple of years younger, so were Trevor Steven and Gary Stevens - and believe it or not Neville Southall was a shy, introverted figure! Andy's attitude and brashness rubbed off on many of the other lads. It certainly made a difference to Peter Reid who was a similar age but still supremely ambitious. Andy made a difference right from the word go. He didn't score on his debut, but he did set up the winner for Adrian Heath against Nottingham Forest - typically at the Gwladys Street End. He was also the man for the big occasion. No Evertonian will ever forget his Cup final goal against Watford - or the ridiculous header in the quarter-final at Notts County! They are all wonderful memories - and while I was lucky enough to enjoy plenty during my career at Goodison - that '83-84 season was my particular favourite.
Blues earn their Spurs
Report By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Aug 14 2002
NEW DUO Joseph Yobo and Li Tie could be handed surprise Everton debuts this weekend after making a late push into David Moyes' Premiership plans. Nigerian international Yobo put three weeks of injury misery behind him yesterday when he made a 90-minute appearance in a practice game with Burnley. And despite making his comeback just four days before the new season kicks off, Yobo's appearance in the 2-2 draw may be rewarded with a place in Moyes' squad to meet Spurs. The defender missed Saturday's defeat by Athletic Bilbao to avoid aggravating the ankle injury he suffered on his debut at Queens Park. But with Moyes concerned at the lack of pace in his rearguard, the former Marseille man is in contention for an instant call-up. The Blues boss is also considering a role for Li Tie on Saturday after the Chinese midfielder adapted quicker than expected to the English game. Tie has looked bright in two preseason run-outs so far and last night Blues defender David Weir backed the midfielder and compatriot Li Weifeng's claims for a chance to prove themselves in the Premiership. The two China internationals played in the World Cup finals and arrived as part of a new sponsorship deal with Chinese electronics company Kejian. But Weir believes both players could surprise observers who have already written them off. Weir said: "I know people are saying the Chinese are not good enough for the English Premier League.
"But that's an opinion I feel has been made by people before they have actually seen them.
"I don't think that's fair to have prejudices about these guys before we've seen what they have to offer. And what I have seen is good." Weir, part of the Scottish team which lost 4-1 to eventual World Cup semi-finalists South Korea before the tournament started, has a healthy respect for the Oriental scene. He added: "What I have seen from the two Chinese lads has been good. They've only been here a week or so, but what I have seen in training has been impressive. "They have all the attributes that I feel can help us. "You can tell a lot of things about people in training and they have got great attitudes and a lot of ability as well. "I think people may be a little surprised by them. They are in a different environment but they have got people helping them settle, and I hope they do that and make a name for themselves here." Weir is also pleased new boss David Moyes has not made wholesale changes to the Everton squad. He added: "It's no secret the manager hasn't had much money to spend and only time will tell whether the new players are good acquisitions. "I hope by the end of the season that proves to be the case. "Almost all of the lads from last season are still here, which is good for continuity. "There's always talk that a new manager is coming in to clear the decks, but football isn't like that. Players can't be moved on like pieces of meat. "The manager must feel that what he has here are decent players, and that will give everyone confidence."
How I know Rooney's a star
Aug 14 2002
HOWARD KENDALL knows Wayne Rooney matches up to the hype that has surrounded him this season - and he hasn't even seen the 16-year-old play. The former Blues manager still has the inside track on Goodison affairs and, via his former team-mate and side-kick Colin Harvey, as fine an authority on a player as you could get. Kendall accepts a greater degree of optimism surrounds Everton this summerthanks to David Moyes' arrival, which can be satisfied by the rising star of Goodison Park. "He's a new manager who has brought in a few new players and then there is the young kid everyone is talking about and anxious to see, so I think there is slightly more optimism this time around," said Kendall. "I've only seen Wayne Rooney in the Youth Cup final but I know how highly Colin rates him. Colin's standards are very high and if he says something good about the lad, you know you need to sit up and listen." Kendall added: "I think he'll be looking at halfway this season and for a good start so they are not stuck needing to put a big run in towards the end.
"Also, for both the manager and the Evertonians, I think a good cup run is overdue. "That can generate the interest and confidence once again."
Proud Howard: I've no regrets
Interview By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Aug 14 2002
HIS marriage to Everton ultimately made Richard Burton's impetuous union with Elizabeth Taylor look like a blueprint for wedded bliss, but regrets play no part in Howard Kendall's ties to Goodison Park. Frustration then bitter disappointment replaced magnificence as the hallmarks of his managerial reigns, but have not diluted the esteem Kendall holds for Everton, and Everton holds for him. With the tag of the club's most successful manager firmly secured, Kendall has taken up a lofty perch in Goodison folklore but even responsibility for the club's last great era does not fully explain the reverence he can still inspire. Perhaps it does lie in the truth behind the famous quote: "It was a love affair with Manchester City, but it's a marriage to Everton," with which he explained his shock return from Maine Road in 1990. Or it could be that, for most generations ushering in 100 seasons of top flight football at Goodison Park this Saturday, Kendall - along with Colin Harvey - is the common thread in all their exalted Everton memories from his arrival as a player in 1967 to departure as manager in 1998. And every one of them knows that despite the manner of his last, drawn-out exit from the manager's chair - one of the most shameful episodes in the club's history - Kendall would gladly go through it all again for Everton's sake. "My last spell in charge was a very difficult time," he understates. "People say you should never go back but I don't regret it for a minute. "I'm not the sort of person who looks back with any regrets. As far as I'm concerned you make a decision and you get on with it and try and make the best of it. People said I shouldn't have gone back from Manchester City for the second time, or from Sheffield United for the third time, but if I was in that situation tomorrow I would do exactly the same again. "What I said when I came back in 1990 was just the right way to describe how I felt. I was happy at Manchester City but the pull to come back to Everton was just far too great." Quite what would have become of Everton's fortunes had Harry Catterick not pinched Kendall from under the nose of Bill Shankly for £80,000 in 1967 does not bear thinking about as far as Blues fans are concerned. And for the man himself, the good times that followed his arrival as a 21-year-old from Preston have more than justified that move and explain his lasting allegiance. Kendall explains: "When you look back at the time I've spent as a player and manager at Everton it is 17 years. "That's a long time and a big part of those 100 seasons and again I'm proud of spending that much time there and enjoying most of it. "There have been some narrow escapes in those 100 years but the record is now there for everyone to see. It proves Everton have always been determined to be up there with the best. "As a player the 60s side was a great side. Just before I arrived they'd won the championship and the FA Cup under Harry Catterick and fortunately I was involved in his side that won the title again in 1970. "Once you're at a big club and you achieve success and know you're the best, it is a special feeling. Then to reproduce that as a manager is something to be proud of." He adds: "The times that still stand out for me are the championship winning year in 1970 and, as a manager, the FA Cup win in 1984 was special because it was my first trophy as a manager. " Once you achieve something like that they can't take it away from you. Then to go on and win the league the following season was superb because then you have proved you're the best. "The FA Cup was satisfying, but to win the title shows you're the best and the most consistent. And of course there was the European Cup Winners' Cup, which was another first for the club. There is nothing like the first time. "In 1987 we ground out the title I'd say. We used so many players that year it was incredible. "We had dominated the league in 1985 and walked away with it but we had to grind out that second one. It was not as attractive to watch, but still satisfying all the same." Having restored Everton's pride in the mid-80s Kendall clearly pains at the dearth of success that has followed, having twice tried to recreate those halcyon days himself in 1990 and 1997. But even in a Premiership where money determines sustained success he refuses to rule out a Blue revival, and believes there are parallels between David Moyes' situation in 2002 and his own early days as Everton manager. "You've got to say the others have stolen a march on Everton now and that's hard," admits Kendall. "It takes time to catch up, if ever, but I still think it's possible for a club like Everton. Manchester United were relegated in recent times but with time and patience, which are not the words fans want to hear, you can turn things around. But I'd say it is more difficult these days than it has ever been. "Now it is more difficult to find good players, have the money to spend on them and attract them to your club. Not that it wasn't difficult back then, of course. "I had to find players who could improve the team and then players I could win things with. You've got to have a bit of luck in the transfer market as well. "Reidy had just come back from a serious knee injury when I signed him, and he suffered another one when he arrived, Neville wasn't ready but I had every confidence in him and players like Trevor Steven found it hard to adjust from Burnley at first so I left him out. Fortunately they, and a few others, turned out to be gems."
Kendall adds: "The expectation level at Everton is still high and rightly so because of the club's rich history. Look at a club like Newcastle, they haven't won as much, and so against most other clubs in the country Everton have something to be proud of. "But it is disappointing how they seem to have fallen back so far compared to Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool. Especially Liverpool.
"At the moment it reminds me of when I first took over in 1981. Liverpool were dominating and Everton had very little to shout about after a few years near the bottom of the table. But by 1985 we had not only caught them but overtaken them." After 99 seasons of top flight football Evertonians may have much to be grateful to Howard Kendall for. But so, he reveals, does Kendall. "When I get described as the most successful manager in Everton's history I've got to admit it does still send a tingle through me. It makes me proud, and I know that word keeps popping up but that's because I am, especially when you think of some of the great managers that have been there," says the greatest of them all.
Wayne is Shear quality
Aug 14 2002 By Scott Mcleod, Echo Reporter
EVERTON'S Steve Watson believes comparisons between Alan Shearer and the club's teenage sensation Wayne Rooney are justified. The 28-year-old defender has been astonished by the ability of Rooney, who is in line for a place in the starting line-up for the opening game of the season against Spurs at Goodison on Saturday. Having played alongside Shearer for three years at Newcastle, Watson admits there are a number of similarities between the Everton youngster and the former England skipper. "All Wayne wants to do is get on the pitch and put the ball in the back of the net. Everything else doesn't matter to him - which is just like Alan (Shearer)," revealed Watson. "When I trained with Alan he just loved putting the ball in the net and Wayne is just the same. You can tell he is going to grow to a similar build to Alan. "He is hard to knock off the ball and is physical, just like Shearer. But I think Alan would agree that he has got the beating of him when it comes to pace." Nine goals during pre-season with Everton have underlined the striker's goalscoring credentials and forced the manager's hand. He has left David Moyes with no choice but to involve him in the first team this season, effectively making Rooney the club's sixth summer acquisition following the arrival of Jospeh Yobo, Juliano Rodrigo, Richard Wright and the Chinese duo of Li Tie and Li Wei Feng. Watson admits: "He is like a new signing, and he is a hell of a signing to have. He looks absolutely awesome. "I was aware of the buzz around the place about him last season but I didn't get many chances to see him. I watched him in the Youth Cup a few times and he trained with us a couple of times but I didn't realise how good he was until he trained with us every day.
"To be honest, it is only natural that Everton fans are getting excited about him because it is the same around the club. Most people within the club are huge Everton fans and so it is difficult to try and curb that excitement. "He is only 16 and we shouldn't put the weight of the world on his shoulders but I honestly believe he has the temperament to deal with it all. He is not the kind of player to let things like that bother him. He is pretty easy going and all he is bothered about is playing football and scoring goals. "He will be well looked after by the gaffer and Alan Irvine. They are the ideal people to bring him through because they will know the pitfalls and will know when to give him a rest."
Hickson can't forget promotion campaign
Aug 14 2002 Liverpool Echo
STRICTLY speaking, Dave Hickson's favourite season is not one of the historic hundred Everton have amassed in the top division. But it did get them back there, after the longest spell spent outside the top flight in the club's history - three harrowing seasons between 1951 and 1954. The 1953-54 campaign was the last time Everton have dipped outside the highest echelon of English football.
Hickson enjoyed eight outstanding seasons as a player at Everton, five of them in the top division - but it was that single season spent getting there which he recalls most fondly. "I always said we'd got back to where we belonged," he said this week - aptly enough inside Goodison Park where he was hosting a monthly tea-dance with wife Pat for local pensioners. "I said at the time we would never go down again. So far I've been proved right, but only just on a couple of occasions!"
Everton had been relegated miserably on the last day of the 1950-51 season - slumping 6-0 at Sheffield Wednesday. "I was in the army when Everton were relegated and joined them as a Division Two team," he explained. "Peter Farrell was the captain and there was never a bigger Evertonian than him. I think he felt partly responsible for the relegation and he was so happy when we were promoted again. "We had a great home record that season. I think we only lost a couple of games and there were some big wins - an incredible match against Plymouth which we won 8-4, just three days after we'd beaten Brentford 6-1! "But it was the last match at Oldham which was the most memorable. "We had to win 6-0 to win the Championship, or win by any score to secure promotion. "We won 4-0, but I remember I had a goal disallowed, Tommy Eglington hit the post and we did everything but score the extra couple of goals we would have needed for the title.
"But we didn't care. We'd have settled for 1-0 on the night. I think there was champagne in the dressing room, but the manager at the time was Cliff Britton who was teetotal and I didn't drink or smoke so there wasn't much taken. "But it was still a wonderful night. "We had a great team spirit and the season before we got to the semi-final of the FA Cup as a Second Division team.
"We lost 4-3 to Bolton and missed a penalty. If we'd got to Wembley we'd have beaten Blackpool and there never would have been a Matthews final!" The Everton squad in the early 50s may not have contained star names from the Goodison firmament - but it was dotted with many dedicated Evertonians who gave whole careers to The Toffees. Peter Farrell made more than 450 appearances, Hickson almost 250 and is still one of only eight individuals to have completed a century of goals. Tommy Eglington made 428 appearances, Wally Fielding 410, T.E. Jones 411 and Cyril Lello, Eddie Wainwright and John Willie Parker all around the 200 mark. It was an astonishingly tight knit squad. "John Willie Parker was my strike-partner and we had a great partnership together," added Hickson. "But Nobby Fielding was a real unsung hero at inside right and Tommy Eglington was the winger who put the quality balls in. "When you look at wingers today I think Tommy Eglington would have fitted in superbly. "He could take players on and get crosses in but he worked really hard as well. "He is still remembered as the last player to score a winning goal for Everton in a League match at Elland Road - which was also my debut for the club! "We won 2-1 and we haven't won there in the League since . . . which is unbelievable. "But I think we're on the right lines again now with David Moyes." The Blues' new boss is still learning about Everton's proud traditions and heritage. Hickson, at 73-years-old, has spent a lifetime helping create them.
"I'm 73 now and still play the odd game," he declared. "I was going to play on Saturday before David Unsworth's Testimonial but it would have got in the way of the other duties I do on matchdays - and I had a bit of a bad arm as well. "But don't worry, I'll be back!"
Boss Harvey was on 'the brink of greatness'
Nick Hilton Continues Our Look At Everton'S 100 Years In The Top Flight, Daily Post
Aug 15 2002
THE history section in Everton's official website writes off the 1990s as a "forgettable" period at Goodison Park. It is an easy judgement to make when you consider the FA Cup win of 1995 and the preservation of Everton's top flight status - by barely a whisker on a couple of occasions - were the only tangible successes in 10 seasons. However Pat Nevin believes that if Everton's board of directors had kept their nerve at the beginning of the 90s the decade might well have served up some memories the fans could never forget. Nevin, the former Scottish international winger and an Everton player between 1988 and 92, is convinced Colin Harvey was on the brink of developing a team of trophy-winning quality when he lost the job as manager 12 games into the 1990/91 campaign. Harvey's reign in the hotseat lasted just over three seasons and Nevin says: "I think Colin was exceptionally unlucky because I'm sure he was one or two players away from creating an outstanding Everton team. "I was a member of that side and at the time Colin was released from his duties we were just about to turn the corner. We were right on the edge." Nevin has always rated Harvey among the best of the managers he worked with during a career as a player at Clydebank, Chelsea, Everton, Tranmere, Kilmarnock, Motherwell and Scotland. "Colin was very special," says Nevin. "There isn't a manager I played under that I had more respect for. "He was very astute with players. He knew what they were good at and how to get the best out of them." Harvey's play in Everton's folklore was first established during his playing career when he figured in the midfield axis of Ball- Kendall-Harvey around which the 1970 championship-winning team was fashioned.
Howard Kendall and Harvey were partnered again as manager and coach respectively of the great Everton side of the mid-1980s that lifted two league titles, the FA Cup and the European Cup Winners Cup in four memorable seasons. When Kendall abdicated and headed off to Bilbao in Spain following the 1987 championship success, Everton's board followed the course that was fashionable at the time and promoted from within, just as Liverpool had done with Bob Paisley and Joe Fagan. The merits of Harvey's record as manager of Everton are shaped by perspective. Everton finished fourth, eighth and sixth in the top flight during the three complete seasons Harvey was in charge. They also reached the semi-finals of the League Cup in 88 and the final of the FA Cup in 89, losing to Liverpool in a Wembley occasion dominated by the aftermath of the Hillsborough disaster.
Such a level of performance and consistency has not been matched by an Everton side in the years since. Under today's conditions Everton could have expected to qualify for European competition on at least two occasions under Harvey. Sadly at the time English clubs were banned from competing in Europe as a consequence of the Heysel disaster. Nevin says: "Looking back now Colin's record stands up very well to what has followed. But expectations at the time were very different.
"There was always pressure to do well from across the park because Liverpool were still winning trophies on a regular basis in those days. "But most of the pressure was created by what had happened at Everton in the years before, by the success of Howard Kendall's mid-80s team.
"I don't think people appreciated at the time that Everton had just been through an absolute golden period, quite possibly the greatest in their history. "It was a phenomenal spell for a club like Everton yet there was a feeling that it should go on indefinitely. "At the time Liverpool were the only club in England capable of enjoying a run of sustained success and even their period of dominance was about to come to an end. "The vast majority of clubs were capable of doing well for three or four years then would drop down for a spell while they put together a new team. Colin took over at a time when the process of re-building that Everton side had to start. And it was something that could not be done quickly. It takes several years. "The team was ageing. There's a lot of painful politics involved when a team breaks up and old pals who had been established for a long time lose their places. There was a lot of friction. "Colin was a strong enough person to handle that and he was too honourable a guy to moan about it. He had a plan and from the inside I could see what it was."
Nevin, a £925,000 acquisition from Chelsea in the summer of 1988, was part of the rebuilding process. A year later Harvey signed the Aston Villa defender Martin Keown for £750,000.
Nevin recalls; "I think that was the buy that says everything about Colin. "He was criticised in some quarters for it. They said Keown could not play. "As I watched Martin train and play every day I knew those critics hadn't got a clue. "Colin had made a phenomenally good buy as Martin's success with Arsenal and England was to show." Nevin remembers media pressure was particularly fierce on Harvey, who had never been a man to push himself into the limelight. After Everton won only two of their first 12 games of the 1990/91 campaign the board of directors could resist the clamour no longer. Harvey was dismissed. And Nevin recalls: "We were seriously unlucky to have lost a number of games that year. We murdered a few teams and got nothing for it. That side was the best I had played in at Everton. Colin had almost finished the rebuilding, that was the sad part about it."
Everton turned to a caretaker/ manager for four games before they found a permanent successor, persuading Kendall to return to Goodison from Manchester City. It was the end of Nevin's happiest games at Everton. The following season he was released the join Tran-mere on loan and made the move permanent that summer. Kendall's first decision upon returning to Goodison was to install Harvey as his number two. When Kendall's second spell ended in resignation two-and-a-half years later, Harvey returned to the youth team coaching role he had first enjoyed at the end of his playing career. Nevin says: "I will always believe Everton made a mis-take in dismissing Colin as manager. But one of the best decisions they made was to keep him involved at the club. "What makes Colin special is that he is able to do jobs for Everton at several levels all of which are important to the club; manager, assistant manager, coach and youth coach. "It takes a very special kind of person to do that: someone who puts the club before his personal ambitions. I have admiration for people who can do that." Pat Nevin is currently working in the media after resigning as chief executive of Motherwell last season on a point of principle.
Williams' goal feast
Academy Football By Chris Wright, Daily Post
Aug 15 2002
GARY WILLIAMS continued his sparkling goalscoring form with the winner for Everton under-16s in the final of the Academy Festival at Wyncote sports ground. Williams scored the winning goal as the Blues beat Swindon Town in the final. His latest winner follows on from his goal that gave Everton victory in the Northern Ireland Milk Cup final last month. The 15-year-old striker was also top scorer in this event last year when the Blues were victorious in the under-15s age group. Everton's Academy sides reached six out of eight finals in this year's Festival, which took place between August 7-12. The Blues become runners-up in the under-nine, U11, U14 and U15 competitions, to add to their triumph in the U16 event. In the younger age group, eight-year-old Danny Warren ended up top scorer at under-nine level, despite his side finishing runnersup behind Newcastle United.
Neil Dewsnip, who co-ordinated the festival, was delighted at the performance of the young Everton teams. He said: "To reach six out of eight finals is a magnificent achievement by the lads in what was a great tournament."
Happy Tie shrugs off critics
Report By Jonathan Mcevoy, Daily Post
Aug 15 2002
CHINA star Li Tie last night dropped an eve-of-season hint to Everton David Moyes by insisting he will prove a success in the Premiership. The midfielder, who played for his national team at the World Cup in the Far East over the summer, is in the frame for a role in Saturday's Goodison Park opener against Tottenham. Tie has impressed Moyes in pre-season after arriving as part of the club's multi-million pound sponsorship deal with Chinese electronics firm Kejian. Doubts still surround the 24-year-old's ability to make a breakthrough in the English top-flight, but Tie insists: "When I came to Everton, the Chinese media questioned whether I was good enough to play in the English Premier-ship, but I don't care what they say. "When I played in Brazil and was called up to the Chinese national team they also said I wouldn't make the grade - but I've played regularly for China for five years and proved them wrong. "I will just do the right things and grasp the chance when it comes my way. "It is great to be at Everton. Not many players from China have an opportunity to play here in the best league in the world. "I'm fortunate and want to make it count." Tie and compatriot Li Weifeng, who is likely to face a longer wait for Premiership involvement, are among five new faces to arrive at Everton over the summer. Keeper Richard Wright is poised to make his league debut for Everton at the weekend while defender Joseph Yobo and striker Juliano Rodrigo are pressing their claims for inclusion. Rodrigo has figured in the pre-season programme while Yobo, signed from Marseille put three weeks of injury torment behind him by playing a practice match against Burnley on Tuesday. He played the full 90 minutes in the game after overcoming an ankle injury.
Top ten hit for Moyes
Aug 15 2002 By David Prentice, Everton Correspondent
DAVID MOYES is the kind of manager who seems to inspire comparisons. In his brief five month career as Everton boss he has already been likened to a young Alex Ferguson, while his 'People's Club' proclamation evoked memories of Bill Shankly's unique managerial style. But Blues' defender Steve Watson has his own ideas. The versatile Geordie recalled an inspirational boss from his own past when he talked about the impact Moyes has had at Goodison Park. "The new manager has brought in some good ideas and has been working really hard . . . I would compare him to Kevin Keegan in terms of his enthusiasm and his approach," he explained. "But you will never catch me comparing him to the previous manager and trying to pick faults with Walter Smith, because I thought the world of him. "Every manager is different and sometimes a change is as good as anything." Watson has targetted a top 10 finish - again - as a result of that managerial change, and while the new boss is not prepared to talk about the impact of injuries on his squad, Watson is more forthcoming. "I think it is realistic to look for a finish in the top half. But I said this last year," he explained. "There are a number of reasons why that did not happen last year and injuries were a major factor. "Everybody says it is an excuse but it was not, it was a fact. I remember at one stage being in for treatment on the morning of a game and there were about 11 of us in the treatment room. Not even a squad as big as Manchester United's can carry that kind of injury list. Walter never made excuses, he just explained the situation. "But if we can keep the squad fit and healthy I am convinced that will make a huge difference. "Top half of the table would be great. Everton fans understand football and all they want to see is a definite improvement and a sign that we are going in the right direction. "Getting into the top 10 and pushing for Europe would be a great step for us and I don't think it is beyond our grasp." Five new faces have freshened up the Blues' squad this summer and Watson added: "The gaffer has done really well to get the players in that he has.
"No doubt the attraction of a club like Everton was a big factor, particularly with players like Joseph Yobo and Juliano Rodrigo who had more than one choice of where to go. "But it says a lot about the place that they have chosen Everton. We look like we've got a good squad and a decent sized squad for the start of the season. "The two Chinese lads have really impressed me. It was a great piece of initiative to get the two lads over here but nobody really knew what to expect from them.
"The first time anybody really saw them was against Wrexham a couple of weeks ago. I turned around after the game to Gary Naysmith and said how handy the pair of them looked. "They look fit and raring to go. They are keeping their heads down at the moment and are just trying to blend in.
"Pre-season has been really hard but we have kept the majority of the squad fit and that is going to be the key." Ironically Watson is an injury doubt for the opening game of the season, after suffering from a tight hamstring in the last couple of pre-season friendlies. But the problem is not serious - and he hopes his versatility will guarantee him a regular berth this season. "I have had competition to deal with all my career and, within reason, it is great to be looking around and seeing how many players we have got."
Reds wanted him, but Wayne's a true Blue
Aug 15 2002 Liverpool Echo
WAYNE Rooney turned his back on Liverpool Football Club . . . at the age of nine. The born and bred Blue trained with the Reds - in his Everton kit - but was soon signing a registration form to enable him to play for Everton Academy's under nines side. Bob Pendleton, the scout who recommended him to the Goodison Park club told the ECHO: "He only ever wanted to do one thing and that was play for Everton." The ECHO understands-Liverpool made a big play for the youngster, but his Blueblooded resolve held firm. Bob of West Derby, adds: "It doesn't matter what they would have said to him, he wouldn't have gone there. His dad, Wayne senior, also said he wasn't going anywhere else. And he was also adamant he wasn't going to Liverpool." The 63-year-old retired train driver, who has been scouting for the Blues for 12 years, first spotted Wayne playing for Copplehouse under 10s in the Walton and Kirkdale Junior Football League around the time of his ninth birthday in the autumn of 1994. He recalls: "It was on a Sunday morning at the Merseyside Youth Association's Jeffreys Humble playing fields in Long Lane. "Copplehouse's manager, a guy called 'Big Nev,' told me about Wayne. I watched him play - and, when you see someone special, which he was, you just know. "But Liverpool had already seen him playing in a Saturday league in the Bootle area. He had one or two training sessions at Melwood, but within days I took him down with his dad to meet Ray Hall, Everton's academy director. "Ray saw him training and backed me 100%, signing him there and then. And now he's looking forward to playing in the Premiership for the team he's always supported, at the age of 16 - it's a real Roy Of The Rovers story."
Once a Blue, always a Blue
Aug 15 2002 Liverpool Echo
THREE Everton pennants and an Everton car registration plate are on show in the front bedroom window. And, inside the Croxteth council house, live three Everton-mad boys aged 16, 14 and 11 - together with their Everton-mad parents. It could be one of any number of Blueblooded families on Merseyside. But this is a very special house. This is the house where Goodison Park wonder kid Wayne Rooney lives. "Young Wayne" shares it with his proud-as-punch parents, Wayne senior, 39, and Jeanette, 35, together with younger brothers Graham,14 and John, 11. If you adopted Loyd Grossman's voice and asked a Blue "Who would live in a house like this?" . . . they'd tell you in about three seconds. All they'd have to do is look at the framed pictures on the wall and the trophies on top of the TV. And this is before mum and dad dig out more photographs from the bulging Rooney scrapbook. One framed picture stands out. An 11-year-old Wayne is standing in the Anfield centre circle alongside then Everton captain Dave Watson and former Reds skipper John Barnes - the youngster was the Blues' mascot for the derby which took place on November 20, 1996.
The game ended 1-1 (Robbie Fowler scored for Liverpool and Gary Speed for Everton). Another photo from that night, of a smiling Stan Collymore and unsmiling Wayne Rooney, is kept on the floor behind a chair. Meanwhile, Duncan Ferguson, a second-half substitute in that derby, is pictured with his arms around Wayne and his brothers at the Blues' Bellefield training ground the following season - it's probably fair to say Big Dunc wouldn't have predicted that he'd be playing alongside young Wayne just a few years later. As we arrived at the Rooney home, Dad was reading the ECHO - while the ECHO's well-thumbed pre-season special was on the coffee table. It was the second time ECHO photographer Martin Birchall had met Wayne senior - Martin having taken the first Press picture of young Wayne and his two brothers in March 1998, when all three were at the Everton Academy.
Knowing that Everton, quite rightly, wish to protect Wayne as much as possible, the ECHO first approached manager David Moyes to ask if we could speak to him - "Yes . . . when he's 37," came the reply. Fair enough. But there is also a story to tell about the people who have helped him get to where he is today - the brink of the big time at sweet 16. "A wonderful story," as Everton owner and deputy chairman Bill Kenwright told me on the phone on the day we called at the Rooney home (he wanted to berate me for my "snotty" column about the new club song - and then play it to me over the 'phone. My ears are still stinging - from both Kenwright and the song). Wayne's unassuming mum and dad were kindness itself, as they dismantled various photograph frames for us and recalled facts and figures about their three talented lads. Graham, a pupil at De La Salle, is now concentrating on his boxing. John, who is about to start at the secondary school, is still at the Everton Academy - a promising midfielder in its under 12s team. Recalling the ECHO's 1998 photograph, when Wayne was 12, Graham, 10 and John, seven, and his hopes that one or more of them may one day play for the Blues, dad says: "You don't really think it's going to happen at the time." And about Wayne, he says: "He began to kick a ball as soon as he could walk. And, like me, he has always been an Evertonian." His first game at Goodison? "I can't remember, but he was probably about six months old!" Now Wayne senior and the rest of family (Main Stand season ticketholders) are looking forward to watching young Wayne PLAY at Goodison Park - in the Premiership. Jeanette says: "We're really excited about seeing all the games Wayne plays in - home and away." Sadly, all requests to see - and print in the ECHO - pictures of Wayne as a toddler kicking a ball were politely declined: "He'd go berserk!" says his mum, who, herself, was too shy to be photographed: "Tell the ECHO readers I was out," she jokes. But she was more forthcoming when recalling Wayne's exploits on the football field: "They didn't play football at his primary school, Our Lady And St Swithin's, and he played his first proper game when he was seven. "It was for an under 11s or under 12s team from the Western Approaches pub in Storrington Avenue. Despite only being seven, he came on as a sub and scored!" And the goals just kept on coming . . . Jeanette adds: "He also played for the Copplehouse pub team in Fazakerley when he was nine and other teams, including East Villa and Pye FC. He won the Golden Boot for them, after scoring the most goals in the BT Challenge Cup competition. "He also scored loads of goals in his first year at De La Salle - he won a league and cup double with them - but then stopped to concentrate on playing for the Everton Academy. "He actually scored 99 goals in one season for the Academy's under 10s. And he broke the goalscoring record for Liverpool Schools' FA under 11s, which he still holds." (Jeanette thinks he scored 80 odd goals, although Wayne's then manager, Tim O'Keeffe, thinks it was 72 from a total of 158. Whatever, he's a record-breaker!) Wayne's brother, Graham, 14, is equally proud, saying: "I knew Wayne would do it. And I think John could follow in his footsteps, as well." As for himself, he explains: " Although I'm doing boxing now and don't play for the Everton Academy anymore, I still have a team - Crosby Stuart in the Maghull and District League." If the Wayne Rooney bandwagon continues to roll, his family could soon be under siege. But the idea of seeking sanctuary in a more anonymous part of Merseyside doesn't seem to have crossed his down-to-earth parents' minds: "I think we'll try and stay here," says Wayne senior. At home with the Rooneys, things seem pretty ordinary at the moment - but you sense that once Wayne starts scoring goals in the Premiership, things will never be the same again.
Harvey can't forget title glory of 1970
Aug 15 2002 Liverpool Echo
MANCHESTER UNITED set a Premiership record when they clinched the 1994 championship with 92 points. If three points for a win had been in operation in 1969-70, Everton would have hit 95.
Rarely had Everton's motto "Only the best is good enough" been adhered to so strictly.
Harry Catterick's team swept to their seventh League Championship, but they did so with a swashbuckling style and panache which thrilled supporters reared on tales of the School of Soccer Science. Colin Harvey was integral to that team - and despite a career which has embraced numerous roles at Goodison, that 1969- 70 season remains his fondest and most resonant memory.
"It has to be that season," he said this week. "The years when I was coach and we were winning titles and trophies in the mid-80s were wonderful, but you can't beat playing. "I always want to be remembered as a footballer. They were my greatest memories and that '69-70 season was the best.
"Going into training every day was a joy, because we trained like we played. Howard, Bally and myself tended to get all the headlines, but I was always the first to say we were part of a wonderful team. "There were internationals in almost every position and the one who wasn't, Johnny Morrissey, was arguably one of the best footballers in the team - the winger all full-backs feared facing. "We also had players like Alan Whittle and Roger Kenyon who came in and played terrific roles, but all in all it was a tremendous season to be involved at the club." Everton were so fast out of the traps they were a rapidly receding image at the summit of the table by Bonfire Night.
Fifteen of the first 18 games were won - including an opening quartet of games against Arsenal, Crystal Palace and Manchester United home and away. "I remember we got a great start at Arsenal when John Hurst scored," said Harvey. "Bally was suspended for that game, but he was back for the Manchester United game at Old Trafford, when he scored, and he scored again when we beat them 3-0 at Goodison a week later. That was the United of Best, Law, Charlton, Stiles and Crerand, but we knew we had a good team, too. "We'd had a few good seasons leading up to 1969-70 - especially '68-69 when we possibly played even better football than we did during the championship season, but we lacked the consistency. In 1969-70 we had that quality. "But winning the championship was the ultimate, especially to clinch it in front of 58,000 of your own fans and be fortunate enough to score the goal which started the celebrations." Harvey's recollections, as ever, are unfailingly accurate and unflinchingly modest. That goal which sparked pandemonium on the Gwladys Street came at the end of a mazy dribble across the goalmouth and a stunning, ferocious strike from 20 yards. "Yes, it was probably one of my most spectacular ones," conceded Colin "maybe my only spectacular one!" The perfect end to a perfect season . . .
Everton get Li-way to become tops in China
Aug 15 2002 By Rob Brady
EVERTON have overtaken Liverpool and Manchester United as the favourite team of the world's most populated nation. The arrival at Goodison of China's World Cup players Li Tie and Li Weifeng has created massive interest among fans in their home country. Chinese journalists have descended on the city to follow the fortunes of the Blues this season. English football has a huge following in China, where the games are broadcast live on TV, attracting audiences of up to 100 million.
Visiting journalist Ma De Xing believes Everton have stolen a march on their Premier League rivals by being among the first to tap into the Chinese hunger for English football. Midfielder Tie and defender Weifeng are on loan to Everton as part of the club's sponsorship deal with Chinese communications giant Kejian. Manchester City, with Jihai Sun on their books, could also benefit.
Xing is the deputy editor-in-chief of the Beijing-based newspaper Titan Sports. The paper sells a million copies three times a week. He said: "Football is the number one sport in China. On TV we can watch live English, Italian, German and Spanish leagues games, plus the Champions League.
"More than 100 million people watch the broadcasts, which are free. Liverpool, and Manchester United have been the most popular clubs, but now Everton and Manchester City are more popular because of their Chinese players. "Every day the Chinese fans want to know what is happening with the players and their clubs. They have little interest in Liverpool and United now." China has three divisions of professional clubs. Division one matches attract gates of up to 30,000.
Blues parade old and new
Aug 15 2002 By David Prentice, Everton Correspondent
A SELL-OUT Goodison Park will witness a parade of faces old and new on Saturday.
Everton have organised for more than 50 former players to be present before the match against Spurs as part of the historic 100th season in the top flight celebrations. But Blues boss David Moyes generated the greatest excitement today when he confirmed: "There will be more than one new face in the starting line-up." With goalkeeper Richard Wright a confirmed starter, but defender Joseph Yobo unlikely to be risked despite coming through a 90-minute practice match on Tuesday, that means Wayne Rooney, Rodrigo or Li Tie will make their Premiership debut against Spurs - or maybe even all three. "I don't want to give too many clues about the team," said Moyes today as he prepared to train his squad on the recently relaid Goodison Park pitch, "but there will be more than one new face on show." That is unlikely to be Yobo. "Joseph came through the game okay earlier this week," explained Moyes "but he still lacks match fitness and match practice and doesn't look entirely comnfortable with the area he sustained the injury." There will be close to a capacity crowd at Goodison Park - and Chinese international Li Tie is desperate to be a part of the occasion.
"When I came to Everton, the Chinese media questioned whether I was good enough to play in the English Premiership," he said, "but I don't care what they say. "When I played in Brazil and was called up to the Chinese national team they also said I wouldn't make the grade - but I've played regularly for China for five years and proved them wrong. "It is great to be at Everton. Not many players from China have an opportunity to play here in the best league in the world. "I'm fortunate and want to make that count."
Megson back for Koumas
By Scott Mcleod, Tranmere Reporter
Aug 15 2002
JASON KOUMAS is back on West Brom's shopping list with just two days to go before the start of the new Premiership season. Albion boss Gary Megson has a £5m transfer kitty burning a hole in his pocket nad has made Koumas and Millwall striker Richard Sadlier his top targets ahead of the August 31 transfer deadline. Koumas turned down a £2.5m move to the Hawthorns in March but could now be willing to consider the move. His best friend Joe Murphy moved to Albion on a Bosman transfer in the summer and the club is now in the Premiership. Everton had been expected to follow up their interest in the midfielder over the summer but David Moyes ' restricted transfer budget meant no deal materialised. The performances of the 22-year-old Welsh international in the opening two games of the season have alerted the Baggies once again and this time around they are confident of getting their man. Although they have not yet made any contact with Tranmere or Koumas' agent, a bid similar to the one tabled in March is expected next week. Meanwhile, defender Pat McGibbon has been told by caretaker Tranmere boss Ray Mathias he has a month to convince the club he is worth a permanent deal. The former Manchester United and Wigan defender, who played under Mathias at the JJB Stadium, produced a solid performance in his Rovers debut against Colchester on Tuesday. Mathias said: "Pat is here for a month and it is up to him to do the business. He has had one or two offers from elsewhere, including one from a club in Ireland. "But his particular aim is to stay in England. Although he had one or two approaches from elsewhere, he wanted to come to us.
"Pat is an accomplished defender who is quick and good in the air."
Moyes: Give Rodrigo a chance
Report By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Aug 16 2002
DAVID MOYES believes new boy Rodrigo can fill the flair gap left by Paul Gascoigne and David Ginola - if he is given time to settle at Everton. Moyes is wary the Blues' first Brazilian player will have to live up to the hype that surrounds the samba stars following their fifth World Cup triumph this summer. But he has backed the £1.25million signing to make an impact at Goodison Park once he regains full fitness and adjusts to the English game. Rodrigo is not yet match fit after a summer spent searching for a new club following the financial meltdown at former club Botafogo.
But he could still force his way into Moyes' squad for tomorrow's Premiership opener against Tottenham. Moyes said: "The Brazilian tag will obviously come into it but it's all down to what he does on a Saturday that counts. "There is always a lot of excitement about new players but, for me, it's only when the season starts that you can tell. "We've got players in who have proven themselves for other clubs but it's how they perform for Everton that counts." Rodrigo was signed under the same terms that brought Joseph Yobo to Goodison Park on a oneyear contract with the option of an extension if the move is successful for both parties. And Moyes added: "We have got a year to assess him. He's a little bit behind in terms of fitness but he's good on the ball, can pick passes out and has got a good eye for goal. "We are still looking to find the best position for him in the side but we are also cautious because it is all new to him and he is new to us. "We lost David Ginola and Paul Gascoigne last season so we are looking at him to give us a bit of flair at different times."
Yobo's hopes of facing Spurs less than a month after he feared a broken leg are now fading, however, despite the Nigerian's 90-minute display against Burnley on Tuesday. Everton are anxious not to take any risks with the defender as he recovers from an ankle injury and are likely to give the former Marseille man every chance to bit fit for the trip to Sunderland on August 24.
My Blueprint for the future
Interview By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Aug 16 2002
THE LAUNCH of the new centenary celebrations at Goodison Park has left David Moyes scissor-happy. Not content with unveiling the '100 years of top flight football' banners now draped around the stadium last week, the Everton manager is now itching to cut loose some of the ties that currently bind the Blues. Moyes embarks on his first full season in the Premiership tomorrow as reluctant to forecast how far Everton can take the pre-season optimism in league terms as he is to add to the huge expectations on Wayne Rooney's shoulders. But while he avoids setting a clear target for his inaugural season at Goodison, the league's youngest boss is absolute in his objectives.
Developing a young side to revive Everton's fortunes over the coming years is the primary aim, and while spreading a transfer budget of £5million has been achieved across four continents this summer, Moyes admits another key task remains. "I don't set any goals," says the Blues boss, "but I want to rid Goodison of the feeling that it is a success to avoid relegation. I want to get us away from that." Shedding that complex could be easier said than done given Everton's abysmal record of finishing in the top half of the Premiership only once since it began in 1992. But Moyes insists: "Avoiding relegation is not the aim of a club that is celebrating 100 years in the top flight. Definitely not. "That won't be the way we think. I am looking to win every game I can and we'll see where it takes us. "Hopefully that will take us as high as we can achieve. Avoiding relegation is not now in the vocabulary. I am going to set our standards much higher than that. Maybe come the end of the season I'll have to accept that but I'm certainly not setting out my goals at the start to include that notion. "I have been used to winning as a manager and I am not going to allow that to change.
"I enjoy taking my wife out for a meal on a Saturday night too much to have a team not winning on a Saturday afternoon and spoiling that. "I'm going to drag them kicking and screaming over the finishing line to get results on a Saturday and the players will be made fully aware that that is the least me and the staff expect of them." Tomorrow marks the start of a monumental season for both Everton and Moyes, the club's 100th in the upper echelons of English football and the manager's first. Putting an end to relegation talk is not the Goodison chief's only target, however, as Moyes views the anniversary year as a marker to the future rather than a pointer to the past. "This is the most exciting time of my managerial life," he admits. "When we went to Anderlecht it was like being in a European Cup tie and I got a great buzz from it. "It showed me something I've been missing and I want that again. It's an exciting time for me personally because it is my first season and maybe a time for reflection to consider what an achievement it's been for Everton to be the first club to be in the top flight for 100 seasons. "It's a privilege for me to manage them through this 100th year.
"You can always measure success by trophies but you've also got to say it has been an achievement to have been in the top flight that long and always competing with the best, having the best games and giving every generation of supporter the best football at Goodison. That is something to be proud of. "It is great and you don't want to wipe away the achievement or forget our history, but now I think we should be looking at what we can achieve in the next 100 years. "Let's hope that in the next three or four years there is going to be a fantastic new stadium in which future generations can watch their team. I hope they will always be watching Everton in the top flight but as I said we are also judged by trophies and I hope they incorporate a big trophy cabinet in the new stadium as well." The divide between the Premiership's chosen few and the wannabes has been underlined without a ball being kicked this summer via the spending that has, and has not, taken place.
And if Everton are to catch the coat-tails of the leading pack and sustain the renewed confidence,
Moyes agrees it could be a case of now or never. "I believe it is a critical time for this club," he said.
"There have been problems in the past, obviously financial problems and to keep up with the Jones' has been difficult at times. But now we have to take a different route at the start of this new period. "We have to try and get good solid foundations down and maybe work in a market where there isn't a great deal of money. But I think we've put that message out to supporters and I think most people recognise that fact and understand it. "But at the same time people want success from a manager. Expectations have risen, and to be fair at a club of this size they should be part and parcel of the job.
"I don't expect them to give me any more time than any other manager but I hope they see I am going to be the one who tries to work without a great deal of money. I hope they can see a young manager who has come here to do all he can to correct the lack of success of recent years.
"If I fail it won't be for the lack of effort. We need to lift the club back up again but it won't be a quick-fix. Itook the job on the understanding of what money I had available. Many people have asked me if it has been frustrating. It is not frustrating because I knew what the situation was before I came into the job. "I've had to be imaginative in the transfer market and try and come up with deals where I can get good players to the club without paying too much money for them. "That's what I'm trying to do but I hope we will improve the football as we go along with the work we give them on the training field." Moyes had nine games to ensure Everton's Premiership survival last season but thanks to a memorable quote had the fans on his side from day one. But it is the support behind the club, and the desperation for a new horizon that will see a near sell-out crowd at Goodison tomorrow, that Moyes will strive to reward. He explained: "That's what I meant when I first joined the club - everybody is behind Everton. I hope the people have seen someone who has struck a chord, who has said things that maybe should have been said a long time ago.
"I'll try and be straight and honest with everyone, and sometimes people won't like what I say. But I think people admire it when you tell them what's happening. "I've got to say the board have been fantastic. They've told me what's happening, I've got on really well with them and to say it's got anything to do with them is not the case. I don't know the history and everything that has gone on in the past. I just know we've got an unbelievable support out there. "If life was fair they would have success. But life isn't always fair and we have to work for our success. "I think the Evertonians are willing to hear that and hopefully, given a bit of time, to see us develop it."
Wayne can add stardust
Fanscene By Mark O'Brien, Daily Post
Aug 16 2002
THE papers are fat with pull-out guides, someone's already been ignominiously dumped out of the Intertoto by FC Obscure and Duncan Ferguson is injured. That can mean only one thing - the Premiership is about to kick-off again. At the moment there's an air of cautious expectation around Goodison. David Moyes worked instant wonders with the side when he arrived at the tail-end of last season, so with a whole summer under his belt hopes among the fans understandably started to rise. A lot of us expected to at least see a team of super-fit footballing machines paraded pre-season. After comfortably dispatching the weaker teams things were tempered somewhat by the performances against Anderlecht and Bilbao. So perhaps a bit of realism has returned as we prepare for a traditionally stiff test against Tottenham. When it comes to stretching a transfer budget Moyes doesn't seem too shabby in the slightest. While it's too early for the fans to judge his signings, most observers seem to think that the acquisition of Joseph Yobo and Richard Wright constitute coups on our behalf. If Yobo adapts quickly to the English game - and he had no problems against Sven's men in the World Cup - he could make a big difference to the whole side, not just the defence. We've generally lacked pace throughout the team for years, but at the back it has been particularly chronic. If he solves that problem then we should see the whole team pressurising the opposition further up the pitch. Rodrigo has looked a confident, intelligent player in pre-season, though it will be interesting to see how Moyes plans to accommodate him within his strict 4-4-2.
Young as he is, Wayne Rooney might just have what it takes to add some star quality. And if he scores the first tomorrow you can guarantee the bookies are going to take an absolute hammering.
Hoddle warned of Rooney threat
Aug 16 2002 By David Prentice
GLENN HODDLE has been warned of the threat posed by teenage striker Wayne Rooney, by his own youth team coach. Pat Holland watched the 16-year-old help dump Spurs' youth team out of of last season's Youth Cup semi-final --and he recalled: "I still have a fantastic impression of the player from when we played the Youth Cup semi-final at White Hart Lane last season. "When he scored the second goal it was a free-kick and he tried to shoot from 30 yards - he got the rebound and put it in from 25! It was a wonderful strike. "He came to the line and he's got the build of a man, so straight away he's got that as an asset. He's got great determination, allied with skill. "That determination, the look in his eyes, is something you try to give to players, but I'm not sure we can give that kind of desire. "He's got that, the boy, and it's whether he can cope with the men. But he'll definitely go for it, that's for sure. I'd like to see him play. It would be very interesting. "I'm a great believer that if you're good enough it doesn't matter how old you are. I know you've got to be careful, but this boy is physically mature and has got the build of a man already. "If the manager thinks he's good enough then good luck to him, because it is great to see kids coming through the ranks, be it at Everton, Liverpool or Spurs. If they are good enough, put them in."
Aug 16 2002 By David Prentice, Everton Correspondent
EVERTON will post up the 'sold out' notices tomorrow, but boss David Moyes will keep a full Goodison gallery guessing about his first day starting selection. Speculation that 16-yearold Wayne Rooney will be handed his Premiership debut has intensifed all summer. But on the eve of the big kick-off against Spurs, the Blues' boss remained tight-lipped. "I am not telling anybody," he said. "Wayne will be there, along with everybody else. I know my side and I know what I want to do, but you will have to wait until tomorrow to find out." Rooney is likely to start alongside Kevin Campbell, while Chinese midfielder Li Tie could also figure in midfield. Only a handful of tickets remained at the Goodison ticket office this morning and Moyes added: "I am excited about the start of the season. I am told it will be a full house and hopefully it will be the start of many - the hope being that Goodison won't be big enough to get everybody in. "But obviously we can only do that with our performances on the field and that will be our aim." The feel-good factor generated by Moyes' arrival at Goodison Park has continued throughout the summer, with the high-scoring games which characterised the final nine matches of last season continuing throughout the pre- season programme. "I want my teams to win first and foremost," said Moyes. "Obviously I would prefer to play football in the right way and score goals, but I want my teams to be solid and not concede either. "The priority, though, is to win no matter how we play." A number of possibilities are open to the Blues' boss, with Brazilian midfielder Rodrigo also in the squad. But definitely out of tomorrow's curtain raiser are defenders Steve Watson and Alessandro Pistone with hamstring strains, and the trio of strikers Duncan Ferguson, Nick Chadwick and Joe-Max Moore. Everton officials are urging fans to get into Goodison Park as early as possible. There will be a number of special events to commemorate the start of the historic hundredth season in the top flight - including a parade of former players starting at 2.15pm. An aeroplane will fly past trailing the "100 Seasons" banner while the Blues have also released a special CD.
Glory at the double
Aug 16 2002 Liverpool Echo
IT IS a lucky man who is able to say he has more than one favourite season in football.
Howard Kendall is in that enviable position. He remains the Blues' most successful manager, shaping a team that challenged the very best at home and abroad. As a player, he was part of a silky midfield that thrilled supporters in the late 1960s. Kendall said: "Luckily for me I have two favourite seasons, winning the championship as a player in 1969/70 and then as a manager in 1984/85. To be manager of the best team in the country after winning the championship, that gives me the most satisfaction." After joining Everton as a 21-year-old in 1967, Kendall went on to form one of the finest midfield partnerships in English football, his skills combining perfectly with those of Colin Harvey and Alan Ball. He recalled: "Colin was tremendously skilful and Bally was an infectious player who scored goals. I was more of a defensive ball- winner. We complemented each other.
"But winning the championship was a real team effort. It was wrong to single out just the midfield for praise. "The disappointment of losing the '68 cup final was wiped away by going on to win the championship. I'll always remember that." Kendall's management regime took off with the Blues' victorious 1984 FA Cup run the season before he brought league success back to the club.
He said: "As a manager you always remember the first trophy you won. They can never take that memory from you. The FA Cup win was very important." While playing at Everton under Harry Catterick, Kendall observed a style of management which was later to influence his own.
He said: "Harry Catterick bought to add balance to the side. He did not just go for an individual player, he bought someone to fill a position. "When I won the championship as a manager I had a great team under me. More importantly, they were a team off the pitch. "I had inherited some real characters and brought in some more. Peter Reid and Andy Gray really helped the younger lads."
Despite his team's domination of the domestic league that year, it was the European Cup Winners Cup semifinal against Bayern Munich that Kendall cites. The Blues returned to Goodison from the first leg 1-0 down, and in a pulsating second-half Kendall's men came from a goal down to score three times.
Ace Rodrigo is delighted to be Blue Brazilian
Aug 16 2002 By David Prentice, Everton Correspondent
NOWADAYS, Netto is more popularly known as a cut-price supermarket. But way back in 1994, it was a far from cut-price catchphrase which encapsulated the collapse of a groundbreaking transfer deal. Brazilian striker Muller came within a couple of thousand pounds a week of becoming Everton's first Samba soccer star. The Sao Paulo forward had made a 15-hour flight from Brazil to Merseyside to talk terms with Mike Walker's Everton. A transfer fee had been agreed, a medical successfully passed. All that remained was an agreeable salary to be set. Then 'Netto' reared its ugly head. Muller had agreed in principle Everton's offer of a wage - until he learned what he would be taxed on that salary. "What? The wages are not netto?" enquired his eager advisors - and Muller flounced out of Goodison with a swirl of his scarlet blazer. He may not have heard of the finer details, but the man who has finally become the Blues' first Brazilian had certainly heard of Muller.
Juliano Lopez Rodrigo said this week: "It is better for me that Muller did not sign, because now I am the first Brazilian to play for Everton. "This makes me feel very excited." It makes Evertonians excited, too. There is an allure about Brazilian footballers which is not just lifted from the realms of cliche. Brazilians really do believe in the concept of the beautiful game, and Rodrigo explained: "In Brazil it is usual to play exciting, entertaining football. "It is true that everybody plays football every time they can - on the beach, in the streets, anywhere . . . "In Rio De Janeiro every Monday friends meet everywhere to play a game of football. "I have been brought up in that atmosphere, and while I will try to help the team if I play, there is a lot of difference between English soccer and Brazilian soccer. "But I think the game in this country has changed a lot, even in the last four or five years.
"Now I think there is more possession, not as many high balls and that is because there are a lot of foreign players here now. "There are a lot of things I can learn from British soccer players, but English players can also learn from Brazil players. "There can be an interchange of ideas.
"In Brazil we keep the ball more. It may look like slower soccer but that is a false impression because you work hard to keep the ball and you make the opposition work harder to chase it. "I need to be fitter to play that kind of football, but I am getting close now." After his first goal in an Everton jersey, a clinically converted penalty kick in a pre-season friendly at Wrexham, Rodrigo suggested he was still only 50 per cent fit. It did not stop the travelling Evertonians warming to him - and they urged him rather than the fouled Idan Tal to take the spot-kick. "The fans have already made me feel very good," he said. "They have only seen me two or three times but they have treated me very well and that helps me settle quickly and helps me enjoy my time here. "I will get totally involved with Everton life because I think it is important for me to have a good career here. "I knew a little bit about Liverpool the city before I came here. I looked at the internet and I saw some on TV that Liverpool was bidding to become the European Capital of Culture. "The Beatles, of course, are very famous and so are Everton and Liverpool Football Clubs, but I will have more time to look around the city in the future. "One of my friends asked me what was the biggest difference between Brazil and Merseyside and what did I like about the place. I can truthfully say that while there is a lot of difference, I would not say one place was better than the other. "The weather, obviously, is very different, but I wouldn't say Brazil or Merseyside is better. "It's a little bit cold for summer and I know it will get worse, but it's good that I have arrived in summer which gives me plenty of extra time to adapt! "I also need to improve my English." Rodrigo clearly hadn't heard some of his own team-mates in interview when he expressed his linguistic concerns. Clearly bright and articulate, he added: "If I speak slowly and people speak slowly to me I can understand them, but if there is a group of people talking I don't know what they are saying. "I think I need to learn a few more phrases to be able to give interviews properly, but I can ask for things at the moment which makes my life easier at present." His willingness to ask for a salary without the phrase 'netto' speeded up his switch from Botafogo to the Blues. Now he hopes to ease into Everton life just as swiftly.
Blues fans Wright to be optimistic
By Mark Lawrenson, Daily Post
Aug 17 2002
DAVID MOYES begins his first full season in charge at Everton this afternoon - and Blues fans can have reason for cautious optimism after a miserable few seasons. Despite the now infamous financial constraints he has been forced to work under, a little ingenuity in the transfer market has given the whole club a muchneeded boost over the summer. The signing of Richard Wright was a real coup for Everton. He is a good player with a long career ahead of him, and while it will take time to settle, he is going to develop into an England squad regular. Joseph Yobo looked a decent player at the World Cup, and if he can to terms with Premiership football, then he too will prove a success.
I don't know as much about the Brazilian Rodrigo. He has been touted as the new Rivaldo, but, like I guess most Evertonians wary of another Ibrahima Bakayoko or Daniel Amokachi, I will reserve judgement until I have seen him. Where Rodrigo will actually play is something Moyes must address. He could play on the wing, but the player himself appears to prefer the role behind the front two - "the position of no responsibility," as I like to call it. I don't think Everton yet have a side capable of allowing a player to perform in that position, and how successful Rodrigo proves will depend on how he can fit into Moyes' ideal formation. He will undoubtedly have superb technical ability, but whether he can reproduce that consistently in the hurly burly of the Premiership remains to be seen. The same goes for the two Chinese internationals who have arrived at Goodison. Li Tie looks the better bet of the two and Moyes clearly rates him - he might even play today against Tottenham - but supporters cannot expect too much of them at this early stage. But none of the new signings have created the same excitement and anticipation among the fans as homegrown striker Wayne Rooney. Everton are going to have to be very careful with him. The pressure is starting to build on him, but he is still just a kid and hasn't even played a competitive first-team game yet.
The last thing Rooney will want to hear is him being touted as "the new Alan Shearer". No matter how good he is, it will take time for him to settle and supporters cannot expect miracles... not just yet, anyway! Moyes asked for the Goodison Park pitch to be widened this summer, suggesting he is aiming to make Everton a more expansive and attack-minded side this season. Moyes will still be reliant on the qualities of a hard-working midfield and a non-shirking team attitude, but much depends on if he can find a forward pairing that clicks as a partnership and can score goals.
The best Moyes can hope for is mid-table. He may have worked wonders in the transfer market, but even the likes of West Brom and Birmingham have been splashing the cash and strengthening over pre-season. Everton will still find themselves among a group of six to eight teams who will be looking over their shoulders at the prospect of relegation, but they have a better chance than in recent years of avoiding the drop. Of course, the Blues will also be celebrating their 100th year of top flight football, which by anyone's standards is some achievement. It should mean a party atmosphere at Goodison this afternoon, and I think that feelgood factor will be extended with victory of Spurs. Whenever Glenn Hoddle's side travel north, they seem to struggle and while I actually expect Spurs to have a good season, they will be beaten today.
No fat cats
By Paul Walker And Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Aug 17 2002
DAVID MOYES leads Everton into their 100th season in the top flight insisting he won't tolerate underachieving "fat cats". The youngest manager in the Premier League confronts Spurs at the opening of his first full season among the elite, demanding " hungry players looking to improve themselves". Moyes is more than aware he is in control of an under-achieving club who have languished for too long, but who will celebrate being the first English club to play 100 seasons in the top level. Cynics will say it is the only thing the Goodison Park club can celebrate after years of relegation battling, with Moyes determined to stamp his own authority and personality on the club from the off. He is likely to have new signings Richard Wright and Chinese World Cup star Li Tie - along with 16-year-old Wayne Rooney - in his starting line-up against the Londoners, with other new signing Juliano Rodrigo on the bench. Rooney, 17 on October 24, is set to become Everton's second youngest league player - only Joe Royle played younger. Royle was 16 years and 288 days old, while Rooney will be 16 years and 298 days when he runs out against Spurs. Almost all last season's squad are still at the club - despite speculation there would be a summer clear-out. Long contracts and few takers in a cash-strapped industry mean Moyes is having to blend old with the new, and in Rooney's case, the very raw. But he makes it clear: "I want players to come in here and show me that it means something to them. "If they don't, then we will get other ones in who do. We all want young, hungry players looking to improve themselves. "Isn't that what we all want? We don't want fat cats who don't want to succeed and are quite happy." After a tough summer with little money to utilise, Moyes added: "The people who say this is a hard job are right, it is. "A lot of really good managers have been here before me and found it difficult. "I know it won't be easy. We've got the same group of players and are hoping for a change of fortune. But we are realistic and we know it's going to be tough to turn things around. "We have to improve and progress and if we do that then people will know we are heading in the right direction. "Money is still tight at Everton but it's tight everywhere in football now and unless you are in the top group you cannot afford the best players, you have to work with what you've got." Yet despite the problems the Blues go into the new campaign with hope - a feeling that hasn't surrounded Goodison Park in years. And Moyes admits: "The expectation has risen among Everton fans recently, but shouldn't they have great expectations here?
"With the size of the club and the support we carry, we have to go with it and be big enough to take that expectation head-on. "But there is a touch of realism here from the fans. They understand we have to do build good foundations in a period of time. We cannot go for a quick fix, and risk things falling apart again. "So we have spent our money as wisely as we can, but it will only be proved wise if the players prove what they can do when they cross the white line. It's been hard work getting players in. If we had had our way we'd have brought in some British players but the market here is very sensitive. "Our one main signing has been Richard Wright, who I hope will go on to be England's next goalkeeper. "The players I have brought in have mainly been on loan and that gives me and the supporters time make up their mind by watching them. "It will take time for it to gel together. Yobo, who is an excellent player, will have to at some time get settled in here after his injury problems. "Players need to be integrated when they come from a different continent. It's the same with Rodrigo." He added: "But generally we have the same squad that we had last season and those players will have to perform. "Hopefully they will do that better than last season - with the new additions helping to achieve that."
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Aug 17 2002
WAYNE ROONEY will get the chance to live up to all the preseason hype today when the 16-year-old makes his Premiership debut against Spurs. The Everton striker has been compared to the likes of Alan Shearer and Ryan Giggs this summer without kicking a ball in competitive action for his boyhood club. But now his rapid emergence and prodigious talents are set to be unleashed in front of a sell-out Goodison crowd. Rooney is expected to be named in the Blues starting line-up by David Moyes, who admits even he is struggling to contain his expectations of the teenage star. "Wayne will be in the squad," said the protective Moyes. "I will try to look after him and protect him but I must admit I am finding it hard not to talk about him." And Blues owner Bill Kenwright has added his voice to the growing clamour surrounding the Croxtethborn striker. Everton's deputy chairman said: "We are all aware of the obvious need to not talk about Wayne and keep the pressure off him because of his age but that's very difficult when he's one of the best players I've ever seen.
"He is a remarkable talent. We know we've got a player who could go on and become one of the greatest in the game and it's very exciting for this club. "I can remember two or three years ago when Walter Smith came to me and he was really excited about this young kid we had. That was something really unusual because for Walter to get excited like that is very rare indeed.
"I knew then that we had something special. It was just a question of getting it out of him but we've no worries because we believe he's got everything. "He's one of the best I've ever seen at this club and I've been watching Everton for over 40 years." Kevin Campbell is expected to start alongside Rooney in attack, while new Chinese acquisition Li Tie could also figure with Richard Wright making his league debut for Everton in goal. Moyes said: "Tottenham will be difficult, as are all sides in the Premiership. They've got some fabulous players and always play football in the right fashion. It's going to be a hard game. "A good start is important for every side but it's not the end of the world if you don't get one as there are plenty of games to put it right." The Blues boss has seen early pre-season optimism tempered by recent defeats against Anderlecht and Athletic Bilbao but he is geared up for his first full Premiership campaign. "When I first came in I wondered whether it was perhaps the worst time to take over, leaving a club that was going for promotion for a club close to relegation," he said. "But it gave me a chance to see the players and understand them. Even so it's all still new to me and this is a new start." Steve Watson and Alessandro Pistone are both sidelined with hamstring strains, meaning Tony Hibbert and Gary Naysmith should occupy the full-back roles, while new signing Joseph Yobo also misses out. "He's now done most of the training in the last few days," explained Moyes. "But I won't take a risk on him just now."
The Wayne Rooney Story
Aug 17 2002 By Paddy Shennan, Liverpool Echo
TEACHER John Hennigan was Wayne Rooney's head of year last season . . . this season he's cheering him on from his seat in Goodison's Park End, starting today against Tottenham. "It'll be a little bit special watching someone I know - an ex-pupil - playing for the team I support," says the Everton season-ticket holder (pictured presenting the young star with his record of achievement in May, when he left De La Salle School in Croxteth). "Let's hope it's a good season for Wayne and a good season for Everton. We don't want to go overboard, but he has certainly got a lot of potential."
John adds: "Wayne's not an academic lad; he does his talking with his boots. I have never coached him, but he's undoubtedly a great athlete - the sort of lad who, apart from being a great footballer, could win the high jump and the 100 metres." His former teacher says Wayne's world is about to change beyond all recognition, explaining: "Like any other 16-year-old, he has been used to mixing with his peers. But now he'll be spending a lot of time with people who are quite a bit older than him. "He's going to need a lot of luck along the way and it was comforting to hear Everton manager David Moyes say he is going to look after him. If you've got a special young talent you've got to look after it." John Hennigan also believes Wayne will need to be protected on the pitch, now that word is out that the Premiership is about to welcome a new teenage star. "If you earn yourself a name, there will be people determined to take it off you and a lot of established professionals, some of them internationals, won't want to be embarrassed by a 16-year-old striker." John's colleague, Graham North, was Wayne's head of year in his second, third and fourth years at De La Salle.
Graham says: "Wayne has been good for the school and the school has been good for Wayne, supporting him whenever it could. "He was never any problem. He came in and got on with his work. He was a rather quiet lad who took things in his stride - nothing seemed to bother him too much. "I've been teaching here for 25 years and I've seen so many talented footballers, but very few make it. " Former Everton striker Francis Jeffers, now at Arsenal, also attended De La Salle, as did ex-Everton captain Mike Lyons, former Tranmere Rovers and now Ipswich defender John McGreal and current Port Vale captain Matty Carragher. Although Graham explains: "Wayne didn't play much football for the school, because of the football he was playing for the Everton Academy."
So will Graham be joining John Hennigan at Goodison to cheer on Wayne in the Royal Blue of Everton . . . "Er, no . . . I'm a Red!" WAYNE'S world will never be the same again, according to ex-Everton midfielder Barry Horne, a senior executive with the Players' Football Association. The former PFA chairman says: "You have to accept that once you are a centre forward playing for a massive football club like Everton, you are no longer an ordinary person. "And like it or not, Wayne will be treated differently. There is now a general perception that high profile footballers are public property. "He will need his friends, family and club behind him." Wayne's parents, Wayne senior and Jeanette, have said they would like the family to continue living in its Croxteth home, but Barry says: "Time might change that. "It's a bit different for mums and dads, brothers and so on staying where they are, but there might come a time when it's best for Wayne to find his own place not too far away." The teenager will sign a threeyear contract in October, when he turns 17. Barry Horne refused to discuss Wayne's possible salary, but says: "He is a special case and much-coveted. He would be near the top end of salaries for 17-year-olds, which would involve a considerable basic wage. "I would guess his first contract would be heavily based on incentives, linked to first team appearances, international appearances and so on. The contract will be reviewed annually and this one may not bear no relation to next year's." Wayne, who has an agent, is also said to have signed sponsorship deals with Umbro and eWorldSports - with the latter currently in the process of launching his own website.
Moyes: I want him to be best
Aug 17 2002 Liverpool Echo
DAVID Moyes wasn't too bothered that circumstances conspired against Wayne Rooney to prevent him becoming the youngest player in the club's history. He said: "I'm more concerned that he becomes the best player in the club's history." Moyes added: "He is incredibly quick in training, he is very strong for his age, he has great awareness and a footballing brain which normally doesn't come until later on in years . . . "But people have to realise that with 16-year-old boys, mentally they are not fully developed and they will need to be taken out of the team at regular intervals and sometimes maybe even put back into the youth team, because really this should only be his first year at the club as a YTS. "Supporters have to remember that. There will be lulls in his game at times, big lulls, and we will have to know when the time is right to pull him out for his own benefit."
And Moyes is quick to respond to those who fear that Rooney, should he blossom in the first-team, will then be sold to the highest bidder . . . "I've heard some fans say that, but there's not a chance of that happening. When I came to take the job at Everton I was told about Wayne Rooney, then when I came to watch the games one of the things I said was if I came here I don't want to have to sell my best players. "If players have to go it will be because I don't want them or because I think I can get a better player, so that certainly won't be the case with Wayne Rooney." Moyes added: "He's got games to play and we don't want him to get above his station. He is a special case and we need to deal with him that way and look after him as best we can." Everton Academy director Ray Hall says: "Wayne had been to Liverpool, but didn't feel as if he fitted in - as most true Evertonians wouldn't.
"I remember taking an under 10s team to play at Manchester United's training ground. It was only eight-a-side, with small goals and a small pitch but hundreds were watching. Someone played a ball over and a overhead kick from Wayne flew into the top corner. "There was total silence. Then I heard one parent starting to clap and, within a few seconds, everyone was clapping him.
"Wayne's progress to the first-team squad has been the result of a lot of hard work from himself and an awful lot of other people, including the 17 fulltime staff at the Academy and its multitude of part-time workers. "He has outgrown last year's youth squad and needs to play in a more mature team now. I don't think he will let anyone down. "The first test he will have is when someone kicks him up in the air, which is all part of the learning curve. But he's a welladjusted lad and has the support of a terrific family behind him." Everton youth team coach Colin Harvey says: "There has been an awful lot of hype about him. It is now up to the coaches and the people who deal with him to see that the talent comes to fruition. "He's a level-headed lad and to play in the team he knows he has to play as a team member, which he does. "It's up to him how far he goes. He's got a special talent, but he's got a long, long way to go."
Everton 2, Tottenham 2 (D,Post)
Ian Doyle Reports From Goodison Park, Daily Post
Aug 19 2002
IT was always going to take something spectacular to upstage Wayne Rooney's first competitive appearance in an Everton shirt. But it's a fair assumption to say Richard Wright would not have been keen to wrest the spotlight from the Blues striker in the dubious circumstances in which the debutant goalkeeper managed on Saturday. The morning after the day after the 99 seasons before, David Moyes will have joined supporters in having had plenty to contemplate following a very Everton kind of celebration. On an historic occasion both on and off the pitch at Goodison Park, it took a late Tomasz Radzinski strike to ensure Moyes' first full campaign in charge did not begin with a harsh defeat to a disappointing Tottenham Hotspur side. What should have been a party atmosphere to mark the Blues' 100th season of top-flight football very nearly ended in a wake. But that's Everton for you. The tempering realism of the afternoon's proceedings will have come as no surprise to long-suffering Blues fans. So the sight of their new £3.5million goalkeeper making the most inauspicious of starts to his Goodison stay will have been greeted with a certain degree of inevitability from the more pessimistic of supporters. Wright arrived on Merseyside hoping to kickstart a promising club and international career which prospered at Ipswich Town but floundered following a transfer to Arsenal. And while his signing is an undoubted coup - and a much-needed one given the Blues' debilitating problems between the sticks in recent seasons - it appears it will take more than a mere change of club for the keeper to rebuild the confidence which took such a battering during his Highbury hiatus. Shaky on his debut at Wrexham earlier this month and at fault for one of the goals in the defeat at Anderlecht a few days later, Wright had begun Saturday's game in an assured manner. Alas, it was not to last, and after having been flummoxed by Matthew Etherington's thunderous equaliser, the new Blue dropped a clanger of Seamanesque proportions to gift that perennial Goodison partypooper, Les Ferdinand, Tottenham's second goal. Wright must hate the sight of Spurs. I t was against Glenn Hoddle's side in a North London derby last season that he made a mistake which signalled the beginning of the end of his Arsenal career. Moyes rightly pointed the finger at his goalkeeper following the game with sufficient enough force to suggest many more similar abberations will not be tolerated. Wright, like his teammates, will surely have got their manager's message: mistakes happen - just don't do them again. To celebrate Everton's centenary, the crowd were treated before kick-off to a parade of Goodison greats from yesteryear. But while Alex Young, Bob Latchford, Brian Labone and company may have been acclaimed and adored during their playing days, none can have courted the same hype and level of expectancy as the latest potential Everton superstar Rooney. Thankfully, there was enough evidence on Saturday to be cautiously optimistic the striker has the ability to live up to the hype. Small yet strong, bulky but quick, Rooney has the physique to be a success. And against Tottenham, it took just the 66 minutes before he was substituted to demonstrate he can cut it in the Premiership.
Playing on the right of an adventurous forward trio, Rooney was a constant threat with his direct style, creating Mark Pembridge's 37th-minute opener with a neat turn and precise slide-rule pass and warming the hands of Spurs keeper Kasey Keller with a venomous 25-yard shot after the break.
Moyes knows he must be careful with his prodigy, but with more games Rooney can only become better. The temptation to play him is there; and the more Rooney performs like he did against Spurs, the greater it will become. While awaiting their next big thing to make his first entrance, the home fans were given the chance pre-match to honour heroes past as celebration of their centurions. However, the sight of some of the finest players ever to don the royal Blue being serenaded by a bloke stood on a table in the centre of the pitch singing O Come All Ye Faithful in the middle of August was one which left most supporters bemused rather than bursting with pride.
Never mind the free bags of toffees that were handed out to fans before the game. Earplugs would have been more appropriate. Well meaning? Most certainly. Well realised? Well, let's just say at least the new commemorative club logo looks quite nice. That said, Everton have intimated this was just the start of a season-long series of celebrations, so the Blues hierarchy have enough time to think up more suitable and less cringeworthy ways of marking what is a fantastic achievement.
While Wright wobbled, Moyes will have been delighted by the display of another of his debutants, Li Tie. Although he faded after the break, the midfielder showed enough poise and intelligence to suggest that far from being a makeweight in a sponsorship deal, he will be a genuine contender for a first-team berth this season. It was the Chinese international who initiated Everton's first goal of the new campaign eight minutes before the break, which was deserved reward for a solid first-half performance from the home side. Thomas Gravesen released Radzinski down the right, with the Canadian running at the backpedalling Spurs defence before moving inside and passing to Rooney. The youngster span swiftly before rolling the ball left into the path of the oncoming Pembridge, who lashed home at an angle from 15 yards out. At that point, Spurs had offered little in attack - small wonder they are in the market for a new striker - but on 62 minutes the visitors fashioned an almost carbon-copy equaliser. Everton's defence failed to sufficiently clear a Tottenham attack, and after the ball had found its way to Jamie Redknapp on the edge of the area, the ex-Liverpool man played it wide for the outstanding Etherington to fire home straight through Wright. The Blues were now on the backfoot, and 11 minutes later the party went even more flat when Blues nemesis Ferdinand, on barely two minutes as a substitute, unleashed a speculative shot from 20 yards which Wright, diving to his left, somehow let slither through his grasp and into the net. However, Everton gained the draw their play warranted when Kevin Campbell swivelled to put the impressive Radzinski in down the right once more. The striker again cut into the penalty area before leaving Spurs defender Anthony Gardner on his backside and wrong-footing Keller with a close-range shot into the bottom corner. By then, man-of-the-moment Rooney had departed. But like Wright, there is plenty more time for him to impress.
It may be 100 years for Everton in the top flight, but for Moyes this is just the beginning of his Goodison era. If Saturday is anything to go by, it promises to be quite a season... both on and off the pitch.
EVERTON (4-3-3): Wright; Hibbert, Stubbs, Weir, Naysmith; Li Tie (Rodrigo 76), Gravesen, Pembridge; Rooney (Alexandersson 66), Campbell, Radzinski (Unsworth 83). Subs: Simonsen, Linderoth.
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR (4-4-2): Keller; Carr (Thatcher 45), Gardner, Richards, Taricco; Davies, Redknapp, Bunjevcevic, Etherington; Sheringham (Ferdinand 71), Iversen (Acinovic 83). Subs: Sullivan, Perry.
BOOKINGS: Everton's Pembridge and Tottenham's Davies.
REFEREE: Mr N Barry.
Moyes: Wright needs time
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Aug 19 2002
EVERTON boss David Moyes has admitted it will take time for new goalkeeper Richard Wright to rebuild the confidence dented by his spell at Arsenal. The £3.5million summer signing from the Double winners was at fault for both goals on his debut on Saturday as Everton came from behind to claim a 2-2 draw at home to Tottenham Hotspur. Mark Pembridge gave the Blues a half-time lead before Wright first failed to stop a Matthew Etherington strike and then let a speculative Les Ferdinand shot slip through his grasp. Tomasz Radzinski spared his goalkeeper's blushes with an 81st-minute equaliser on the day teenage superkid Wayne Rooney made his competitive debut for Everton. But Moyes conceded Wright's self-esteem is at present still some way short of how it was while at Ipswich and an England international. "In Richard's case it will take a bit of time," admitted the Scotsman. "He should have saved both of the goals. It is harsh but that is the way we do things here. "We deal with things like that and there is no hidden agenda. "Obviously, that kind of thing cannot continue but he was the first to admit he was in the wrong. "He was great at Ipswich and had an up and down year at Arsenal." Moyes added: "But let's be fair, he played for a team that won the Double and worked with another great keeper, so it must have helped him. "Taking the drop from Arsenal to Everton would have dented his confidence but he is still very young for a keeper. He is only 24 and David Seaman is 38, but we are sure he will progress. I have told him that.
"His self-esteem is down a bit having to drop down but he made a brave decision to come here." Moyes praised Wright's decision to swap a place on the Arsenal bench for the chance to play regular first-team Premiership football with the Blues. "Many players are prepared now to just sit there and earn more money but he wanted to play first-team football on a Saturday and take the ups and downs that come with that," added the Blues boss, who also gave debuts to Chinese international Li Tie and substitute Rodrigo on Saturday. "I thought he wanted to come here from the first time I met him. "If we are being honest, he probably still wants to be the Arsenal keeper but you have got to admire he wants to prove himself and play. "Richard shows that maybe a touch of reality is coming home now that whereas some players will sit there for the money, everybody wants players who want to play every week." Tottenham goalscorer Ferdinand- who netted yet another goal against Everton mere minutes after arriving on the field as substitute - also backed Wright to come good at Goodison. Said the striker: "For the goal, I caught it early and maybe it caught him by surprise. It bobbled a bit and people may say it was a goalkeeping error but I'd prefer to look at it as a Les Ferdinand blockbuster! "We all make mistakes but he is a goalkeeper and the spotlight is on him. It is one of the hazards of the job and things are more harsh on a goalkeeper than an outfield player.
"I know he has come here to rebuild his career. Richard is a quality keeper and he will come through this without any real problems."
Hoddle praises young star
Report By Paul Walker, Daily Post
Aug 19 2002
YOUNGSTER Wayne Rooney has got the seal of approval from Glenn Hoddle - the Spurs boss he stunned in last season's FA Youth Cup. Hoddle admitted to being amazed by 16-year-old Rooney when he saw the Everton starlet dispose of Spurs' kids last season in the Youth Cup semi-finals.
And after Hoddle ran into Rooney again on the youngster's Premiership debut, he was just as impressed. Rooney became Everton's second youngest first-team player ever in the 2-2 draw with Spurs at Goodison Park, when he helped create the home side's opener for Mark Pembridge before turning in a confident, skilful display on the opening day of the season. But Hoddle already had experience from last term. He said: "I sat and watched him play for Everton against our lads and he was outstanding, he scored two exceptional goals." One, from outside the box, observers recall, had Hoddle shaking his head in disbelief. He added: "He's got a smashing attitude, good, quick feet and plays with his head up. "When you have a player who can lift their head and see the picture then they have a chance at the top level. "Rooney can progress from now and I'm sure David Moyes and Everton will manage him correctly and he has a bright, bright future if he keeps his head together."
Rooney got a standing ovation when he was finally substituted with 24 minutes left.
Boss Moyes, who is desperately trying to keep the lid on the Rooney hype - despite owner Bill Kenwright frequently hailing the new star in print - said: "Rooney did very well, we were certainly pleased with him. "He is just a very good football player and he has many qualities. "I will play him when I think it is right and I will rest him when it is right." Of the game, Moyes added: "I thought we played well in the first half. "When you go 2-1 down at home you are delighted to get out of it with a point."
Everton 2, Tottenham 2 (Echo)
Aug 19 2002 By David Prentice At Goodison Park
Once the wrinkled but familiar faces of yesteryear had taken their bow, it was time for the fresh face of the future to take centre-stage. Wayne Rooney did his bit. But even if he becomes the most prolific marksman in modern Everton history, he will still struggle to compete with the Goodison record of a striker two decades his senior. When Les Ferdinand faces Everton, he scores. It's a grim fact of Evertonian life. Like no money, championship winning teams being broken up by world wars, European trophy winners being banned - and Spurs drawing at Goodison Park. Saturday's 2-2 stalemate was their fourth in a row . . . since, well since Ferdinand scored a Gwladys Street winner in 1998. But while an opening day draw is rarely cause for celebration, Saturday's curtainraiser at least provided some optimism for the future. If mid-table mediocrity is to be the summit of Everton's ambition this season - and after recent campaigns that would represent a significant stride forward - their manager seems to have decided there will be nothing mediocre about the way they get there.
On Saturday, Everton carried on where they left off last season, scoring goals for fun and conceding them almost as comically at the other end. After nine matches which featured a remarkable 40 goals under David Moyes last term, the Blues kicked off with another four-goal entertainer.
It was almost as if Everton officials had decreed that the club would kick off its historic hundredth season in the top flight in flashback fashion. An adventurous 4-3-3 formation hadn't been seen at Goodison since men likeTrevor Ross, George Telfer and David Smallman had skipped across the Goodison turf, rather Saturday's prematch parade when they proudly dragged their slightly slower limbs out there once again. It was an experiment which might have backfired, but it was a gamble worth taking - and the biggest beneficiary was Tomasz Radzinski. The profligate Canadian had been tipped to be the man to make way for the prolific Rooney. But he kept his place - and produced a stunningly composed finish just when it mattered most. He used his abundant pace to turn a half-chance into a real one 10 minutes from time, then finished it with supreme ruthlessness. Let's pray it wasn't the exception which will prove a rule. Evertonians will be hoping the same applies to goalkeeper Richard Wright. His summer signing was supposed to be the end to the goalkeeping errors which cost the club so many Premiership points last season. He flopped limply over Ferdinand's hopeful 73rd minute strike, however, to gift Spurs - temporarily - the prospect of an unlikely away win. Previous incumbents of the Goodison goalkeeping jersey would allow an error to develop into a full blown crisis of confidence. Now Wright must show he is different.
Plenty of other things were different around Goodison on Saturday - including a press box full of excited Chinese journalists. The object of their attention was midfield international Li Tie.
Originally acquired only as part of the club's sponsorship deal with Kejian, Moyes has been impressed by the player's attitude and pleasantly surprised by his quality. At times the pace of the game caught him out, but for 76 minutes he was composed and controlled, and alongside Gravesen and Pembridge, made for a well balanced midfield unit. For 45 minutes Gravesen produced his Danish World Cup form. Some of his tight, skilful approach play was among the best football he has produced in an Everton jersey. He has impressed in flashes before, of course, but in David Moyes he has a firm admirer and the mutual appreciation society is paying off at present. The Dane tiptoed superbly through Spurs' covering midfielders to chisel out a chance in the 12th minute which Gary Naysmith's left foot was better placed to convert. Unfortunately Kevin Campbell's eagerness got his left foot to the ball first and Keller saved easily. Another left-footer gave Everton the lead in the 36th minute, at the end of a move of flowing purpose. Gravesen swept a pass down the right flank, Radzinski sprinted clear and crossed for Rooney and the youngster suppressed his natural instinct to shoot and swivelled sharply to tee up Pembridge. His finish was fierce, but far from the the only thing he did all afternoon. Pembridge is the kind of honest, committed star who used to be the norm in English football. It's an attitude which is being replaced by the more technically accomplished but peripheral foreigner, and not necessarily for the best. Until Radzinski's late intervention, all Saturday's goals had surprisingly come from domestic sources. Matthew Etherington crased in a 62nd minute equaliser, as Everton's pressing game began to wilt in the heat. Ironically Everton had been trying to introduce an extra midfielder at the time, but the ball refused to go out of play. When Niclas Alexandersson did come on, his first contribution was a cross-shot which flashed narrowly wide. Les Ferdinand came on five minutes later for the surprised Teddy Sheringham. No-one was surprised, though, when he scored with his first touch. Moyes went for broke, replacing a defensive midfielder, Tie, with an attacking one, Rodrigo - and a left foot shot which was blocked in the six-yard box almost repaid his boldness. But when Kevin Campbell steered a pass into Radzinski's path 10 minutes from time, the Blues did grab the point their adventure deserved. The significance of the 2002-03 season at Goodison may well be merely historic, but early signs are that it's going to be an entertaining one at least.
EVERTON (4-3-3): Wright, Hibbert, Weir, Stubbs, Naysmith, Tie (Rodrigo 76mins), Gravesen, Pembridge, Radzinski (Unsworth 83 mins), Campbell, Rooney (Alexandersson 66 mins). Unused substitutes: Linderoth, Simonsen.
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR (4-4-2): Keller, Carr (Thatcher 44 mins), Gardner, Richards, Bunjevcevic, Taricco, Davies, Redknapp, Etherington, Sheringham (Ferdinand 71 mins), Iversen (Acimovic 83 mins). Unused substitutes: Perry,Sullivan.
Referee: Neale Barry.
Bookings: Davies (78 mins) foul, Pembridge (85 mins) foul.
Goals: Pembridge (36 mins) 1-0, Etherington (62 mins) 1-1, Ferdinand (73mins) 1-2, Radzinski (80 mins) 2-2.
Rooney bonus for the Blues
Aug 19 2002 By Tommy Smith, Liverpool Echo
BOTH Everton and Liverpool got what they deserved from their opening league games of the season.
I was at the game at Goodison and felt 2-2 was a fair result. I was highly impressed with Wayne Rooney. For a 16-year-old he did not look out of place at all. He is a natural with the ball.
He had a good shot tipped over and, of course, he helped create the first goal by laying on the pass for Mark Pembridge to score. His performance was probably the best thing to come out of the game. When Everton failed to find the second goal, I felt they went to sleep and let Tottenham back in. Les Ferdinand always seems to score against Everton. When he came on, I thought "here we go again." You can point the finger at Richard Wright for Ferdinand's goal. He should have saved it and he was possibly to blame for Spurs' first. It was a typical opening game of the season - fairly free-flowing, but lacking a certain edge. There weren't that many chances, but you can't complain with four goals. I think David Moyes will be happy with the way his team played and how they came back from 2-1 down. Rooney was the other big plus. He traps the ball well and can run with it. It's all done very neatly. He controls the ball in a very natural way. Kevin Campbell struggled to get into his stride, but the Chinese lad Li Tie didn't look too bad. Everton have to make sure they take care of Rooney because he is still only a kid. I played for Liverpool reserves when I was 15 and I know how it is for him, coming from playing with lads your own age and being the best on the pitch to playing against men.
Moyes blames Wright for both goals
Aug 19 2002 By Paul Walker, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON boss David Moyes told Richard Wright he should have prevented both Tottenham goals in the 2-2 draw at Goodison Park - and not just the glaring error which allowed Les Ferdinand to score.
Wright (left) fumbled Ferdinand's low drive into the net to gift Spurs a 2-1 lead but Tomasz Radzinski's late goal salvaged a point for the Merseysiders. Wright was clearly at fault with Ferdinand's goal, but Moyes claimed he had also blamed the £3.5million keeper for Matthew Etherington's equaliser, driven in at the near post after Mark Pembridge had given Everton a firsthalf lead. Moyes said: "I've told Richard I felt he should have saved both goals, the first and the second.
" He came into the dressing room and knew he should have done better. But overall his game was very good. He kicked well, commanded his box and he was sharp behind his defenders. "But when you are a goalkeeper and you make mistakes, goals go in. That's what happened here.
"To be fair, when you accept mistakes and own up then you always have a chance to improve.
"He had a difficult time last season at Arsenal, I've said that before, but he is here in the long term. He's only 24 and you have to judge what he's going to be like at 27 and 28. "We are not a club that is going to be buying players just for six months. We are getting players in who are here for years.
"You obviously have to justify yourself and your position, but Richard has age on his side."
Spurs' joy at their point was dampened by a bad injury to Stephen Carr. Boss Glenn Hoddle said: " We have lost Stephen now for several weeks with a hamstring injury. It's a great shame for the lad because he has waited a year to get back into action after his knee injury. "Now the hamstring looks bad, it's not going to be a short job." He added: "A draw was a fair result. We had mixed emotions after going 2-1 up, even if our second goal was very sloppy from their point of view. "But we dug deep in first half when they were on top, and created chances in the second period."
I let down the club, admits Wright
Aug 19 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
RICHARD WRIGHT has apologised for casting a cloud over an historic day at Goodison.
And the keeper has vowed to wipe out the 'elementary' errors which ruined his Everton debut on Saturday. Wright conceded a soft second goal as Everton could only draw with Tottenham to kick-off their hundredth season of top flight football. But afterwards he accepted responsibility for both goals. "I'm not going to hide away from anything. I made a mistake and I let the lads down, let the fans down and let the manager down," he said. "Maybe I should have done a bit better with the first goal, too. "He hit the ball very well but sometimes you think you might get to them. It moved and dipped and went in off the bar. I'm being over critical, perhaps, but obviously the second goal was my error. "I should have done better, but it shows what a good bunch of lads we have here that they showed the character to come back after that and get an equaliser. "I'm very disappointed that I let people down. That's not up to my high standards. That's not good enough and I aim to make sure that doesn't happen again. I'll keep working hard this week with Chris Woods and look forward to the game on Saturday at Sunderland." Ironically Saturday's opponents recruited former Everton keeper Thomas Myhre this summer. "Every goalkeeper makes mistakes," added Wright "but I am very, very disappointed that I have let people down. "It was an elementary mistake to be honest, but I will work on it throughout the week and make sure it doesn't happen again." Blues' boss David Moyes, meanwhile, must prepare for his side's second match of the season without nine of his senior squad. A clutch of international friendlies scheduled for this week has torn the heart out of the Blues' squad. David Weir, Gary Naysmith and Scot Gemmill have all travelled north for Scotland's friendly with Denmark, with Thomas Gravesen set to line up in opposition. Niclas Alexandersson and Tobias Linderoth are with Sweden, Lee Carsley with the Republic of Ireland, Mark Pembridge travelling to Croatia with Wales and Idan Tal away with Israel. "It's a nightmare to be honest," said Moyes. "We knew it was coming, but we can't really do too much preparation for the Sunderland match until Friday morning." But Moyes was relatively satisfied with his side's opening day display against Spurs. "I thought we did quite well and were maybe a bit unfortunate not to go in 2-0 up at half-time which would have changed things," he said. "For 15 minutes at the start of the second half we did well, but we began to lose the battles in midfield then and while we saw it coming, we couldn't quite get reinforcements on there quickly enough. "But the boys showed a great effort to get back into it after we'd gone 2-1 down."
Ferdinand: I almost joined Everton
Aug 19 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
LES FERDINAND revealed he may have tortured Everton for the last time, after he took just two minutes to score an incredible 15th goal in 16 appearances against The Toffees on Saturday.
The Spurs striker stepped off the substitutes' bench to score his customary goal at Goodison Park, then joked afterwards: "I've said to people I should have played for this club. I'd have beaten Dixie Dean's record! I've scored loads of goals here and it's just one of those grounds where I always seem to score. "No matter how bad a season I'm having I usually score here. It's been a very lucky ground for me and I'm not complaining. I have said to people this could be my final year, so it may be last goal at Goodison, but we'll wait and see." Ferdinand has scored goals against Everton for Queens Park Rangers, Newcastle and Spurs, but it was racial abuse he received during his Rangers' days at Everton which he admitted first fired his astonishing record. "A lot of people have read my autobiography and know I had a lot of hassle here in the past," he explained. "So maybe that's what spurred me on to score the goals I scored in the past. "You can't say that's the case now, otherwise you'd do it everywhere. Really it's just luck. God only knows why. "When you come on with 15 minutes to go, and you've seen the conditions, know you have fresh legs and that other people will be getting tired, you know the onus is on you to cause a bit of havoc. "The ball came down and I just thought I would hit it early and try and take Richard Wright by surprise which is what happened.
"From where I was I think he saw it late but he will be disappointed he never saved it. I'm glad he didn't!" Ferdinand also revealed he might well have scored even more goals at Goodison Park --as an Everton player. "The closest I came to playing for Everton was when Joe Royle was manager here and I was at Newcastle," he said. "He made an enquiry, but it was only after Kevin Keegan left that he told me about it. "Everton had been prepared to pay £6m for me, but Newcastle turned it down."
Blue legends steal the show
Aug 19 2002 By David Prentice
A PARADE of Goodison giants helped launch Everton's historic hundredth season of top flight football on Saturday. More than 50 legendary Blues helped build up the atmosphere to the opening match of the 2002-03 season at Goodison Park. The man billed as the most successful chairman, Sir Philip Carter, was joined by the most successful manager, Howard Kendall - to greet a procession of former stars onto the pitch. There were League champions, FA Cup winners and European trophy winners from seven different decades on show - but it was the stars from the triumphant mid-80s squad which received the biggest roars. Kevin Sheedy and Graeme Sharp sparked the loudest ovations - although it was a close call with Sixties idol Alex Young and a stalwart of a more recent vintage, Dave Watson. On a nostalgic afternoon Everton also played out a replica of the first ever League match The Toffees staged against Accrington Stanley in 1888. Two teams of schoolboys repeated the historic match - won 2-1 by Everton - during the half-time interval.
Li eager to Tie himself to extended contract
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Aug 20 2002
EVERTON'S new Chinese star Li Tie has his sights set on a long-term contract in England - after just one game in the Premiership. The Blues midfielder made an impressive debut against Tottenham on Saturday after forcing his way into David Moyes' firstteam plans in pre-season. Tie originally arrived at the club as part of Everton's sponsorship deal with Chinese electronics firm Kejian.
But following his confident step into the Premiership, the international star admitted he is playing for a permanent move. "I can fit into the English Premier League," he said. "After the match my performance gave me more confidence to stay a long time, not just for one year. I can stay here a long, long time." Manager Moyes was initially reluctant to throw his two Chinese arrivals straight into the English game, and left defender Li Weifeng out of his squad completely on Saturday. But Tie's pre-season form encouraged Moyes to take the risk, and it paid off against Spurs. The Blues boss said: "I thought Li Tie did very well. It took him about 20 minutes to get settled and get used to the pace of it. But then he did very well up until 10 minutes into the second half when I felt he wilted a little bit." Tie explained: "My first game in England was exciting, although I never felt nervous. I was happy with the way I played but it was not my best. "I found the game totally different to China. The extra speed of the game I can handle, but you realise that everyone is much tougher.
"I have watched many English games on TV back home, but nothing can really prepare you for what it's like out on the pitch." He added: "The game is faster and tough, but I like such football. At the moment I need time to learn to communicate with my team-mates because I only have a few words of English. "I hope Everton fans will give me time to settle and learn." Li Tie was China's most impressive player in what was a disappointing World Cup - his country lost all three games and did not score a goal. He said: "Two months ago I was in the World Cup and learning against better players. That has made it easier for me to cope with the Premier League." Both Tie and Weifeng - who is expected to play for the reserves against Sheffield Wednesday tonight along with Joseph Yobo - will remain on Merseyside this week instead of returning to the Far East for China's friendly against Japan. Moyes has nine members of his senior squad away on international duty this week while reports he wants former Juventus striker Nicola Amoruso from Perugia are inaccurate.
Youngsters in reserves
Academy Football By Chris Wright, Daily Post
Aug 20 2002
SEVERAL of Everton's under-19s side will get their final match action in the reserves tonight ahead of the opening fixture of the FA Premier Academy League season on Saturday. Midfielder David Carney, defender Martin Crowder and striker Michael Symes should all start for Andy Holden's reserves, who begin their FA Premier Reserve League programme at Sheffield Wednesday tonight. There could also be places on the substitute's bench for more of Colin Harvey's Academy team.
With so many of Harvey's team playing for the reserves the preseason has not seen the full U19s side playing together on a regular basis. Harvey said: "We've had a couple of games called off. We had a game against Wrexham called off and there was a German side supposed to be coming over and apparantly they changed their plans at the last moment. So it has been a bitty in terms of games, but it is progressing." The last match Everton played was against Burscough last Tuesday which they won 2-1 with goals from the Moogan brothers - Alan and Brian - Brian's from the penalty spot. The Blues played a training match at the weekend, but they will all be raring to go on Saturday when both under-19s and under-17s face Coventry at home. Providing there are no problems with the youngsters in tonight's reserve match, both teams should be at full-strength for the kick-off on Saturday.
Yobo ready to test fitness
Aug 20 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
JOSEPH YOBO will run out for Everton Reserves tonight - hoping to play his way into manager David Moyes' first team plans for Saturday's trip to the Stadium of Light. Yobo missed the season's curtain raiser last Saturday after injuring his fibula in his first preseason friendly for the Blues at Queens Park. He played 90 minutes of a behind closed doors friendly last week, but reported some discomfort to his leg, and will try again tonight at Sheffield Wednesday. He will be partnered in central defence at Hillsborough by recent Chinese import Lei Wei Feng. With Peter Clarke currently on- loan at Blackpool and Steve Watson and Alessandro Pistone, injured, the foreign duo provide the immediate cover for current first choice David Weir and Alan Stubbs. The Brazilian Rodrigo will also be involved in Yorkshire, together with David Unsworth. "Some of the lads need to get a match under their belts," said boss Moyes, "while we are hoping Joseph will put his injury problems behind him and we can think about getting him back in the first team squad." Midfielder Scot Gemmill, meanwhile, has pulled out of Scotland's squad for tomorrow night's friendly against Denmark after tweaking medial knee ligaments in training on Friday. Steve Watson and Duncan Ferguson, however, started light training today. The Blues have once again been linked with a number of potential transfer targets, but there will be no new arrivals before the August 31 transfer deadline unless players can be sold before then. Celtic have reluctantly made Republic of Ireland midfielder Colin Healey available for a knockdown £1m. Everton and Spurs have both been linked, but while Moyes is an admirer of the youngster's energy and talent the Blues do not have any cash available.
Perugia striker Nicola Amoruso has also declared his willingness to move to Goodison on a year's loan, but Moyes shelved plans to watch the forward in action last weekend until he can afford to speculate in the transfer market again.
Don't take blame so quickly, Rich
Aug 20 2002 By Kevin Ratcliffe, Liverpool Echo
RICHARD WRIGHT took full responsibility for his howler in Saturday's opening day thriller against Spurs. But I don't think Richard should be too quick and too harsh to condemn his performance.
Just 24 hours later Nico Vaesen dropped an even bigger clanger for Birmingham at Highbury - and I think there's a common thread developing already. It hasn't received much publicity yet, but new balls have been introduced this season which are harder, lighter and liable to late movement.
It's early days yet, but I don't think Richard Wright nor Nico Vaesen will be the last goalkeepers deceived by the movement of the ball this season. It's another innovation which seems to have been adopted to help forwards even more. If there is such a thing as reincarnation, I'm going to ask to come back as a striker! Whenever new innovations are introduced they are usually designed to aid forwards score more goals. That's understandable, if a little frustrating to those of us who appreciate the merits of good defending. First of all the backpass rule came in to prevent defenders taking the heat out of an attacking situation, then there was the tinkering with the offside rule with 'active' and 'non-active' players, and now the benefit of the doubt is supposedly always given to the forward. The new balls will also aid strikers who like to take a chance and get their shots off early, so goalkeepers had better get used to being exposed even more this season. Richard Wright has been caught out already, but if I was him I wouldn't start scolding himself just yet. Fast start can help rob Reid of points IT seems ridiculous to talk about pressure on a manager after just one match - but that's just the state football is in these days. If Dave Watson can be sacked after a pre-season friendly, Peter Reid is under pressure already at Sunderland and he is still unbeaten!
Football can be ruthless, and that's a situation Everton must take advantage of at the Stadium of Light. Sunderland don't lose many matches up there, because the volume of noise created by that 48,000 crowd can be intimidating for opposition and officials alike. But that can prove a double edged sword. If Everton can start well and turn the crowd against the home team, that can be transmitted very quickly to the players. It's up to the Blues to start the game as strongly and as quickly as possible and use that situation to their own advantage. Colin Harvey always used to say start quickly, because you can always ease down if the pace is too quick, but it's much harder to go up a gear. If Everton can get off to a flier, like they did against Spurs on Saturday, it could help the Blues ease to that vital first victory of the season.
It's not over for Duncan - Moyes
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Aug 21 2002
DAVID MOYES has eased fears Duncan Ferguson's latest injury could spell the end of the big Scot's career. Ferguson returned to light training yesterday 10 days after receiving a pain-killing injection to ease the lower back problems that have plagued him all year. The Everton striker is not due to return to Premiership action, however, until mid-September as Moyes will only consider players who are 100 per cent fit. But reports the injury has put Ferguson's career in jeopardy were last night dismissed by the Blues manager. "I don't see the problem as threatening his career at all," said Moyes, who saw Joseph Yobo step up his fitness in the reserves' 1-0 win at Sheffield Wednesday last night. "The injection he had is working but we've got to wait until he gets back training and playing for real before we can say for sure. "The problem was a worry but it was nothing more than an injury we are looking to cure." Moyes added: "Duncan has now started a bit of light training but he still needs to strengthen the top of his hamstrings. It's still early days but he's felt no reaction to the work he's put in. "Hopefully it won't take him too long to get back and the training he did before the injection should help him in that respect. "He looks in great shape. His body weight and body fat level are tremendous." Fellow Blues striker Nick Chadwick is also edging towards fitness now after having his pre-season preparations curtailed by groin and ankle injuries. Moyes explained: "It's important we get Nick back as well and he's started doing his pre-season work again now.
"I'm anxious to have him fit with Duncan and Joe-Max Moore still out. Thankfully we are not too badly off for strikers at the moment but we want them all available."
Nurturing the stars of future
Report By Chris Wright, Daily Post
Aug 21 2002
GARY ABLETT appears to be something of a lucky charm at Everton. The former Everton defender was part of the last Everton team to win a trophy - the 1995 FA Cup. The Merseysider returned to his home city after two years playing and coaching in the USA in January and took up the job of under-15s coach at Bellefield just last month. After a summer taking the relevant FA coaching courses his first role with the U15s was overseeing - along with assistant Academy director Neil Dewsnip - another piece of silverware wing its way back to Goodison as his side won the prestigious Northern Ireland Milk Cup at the end of July. Ironically the first time the club had won the Milk Cup trophy since 1995, the year when Ablett was part of the Everton side who beat Manchester United to lift the FA Cup. The 36-year-old former defender was delighted with his team's efforts in Belfast, where they beat Brazilians Botafogo in the final thanks to a Gary Williams' goal. Ablett said: "We came back having won the Milk Cup, which was a great boost for everyone at the Academy, being such a prestigious tournament and because we haven't won it since 1995. "But really the results don't matter at the moment. It is just making sure the boys continue to develop in the right way and learn the right things. "When we took them to Ireland they were expected to behave how a professional would. They had to eat the right things, be in bed by certain times, train in the right way, play the games in the proper way. The week revolved around doing things professionally, which to their credit they did really well." The youngsters in his charge - who also won the U16s trophy in the Everton Academy tournament at Liverpool University last week as well - are not the only ones learning a new trade. After injury curtailed his career in England, Ablett moved to the USA where he has spent the last two years playing and coaching. But the lure of home and the chance to start a new career in coaching was great. He said: "I spent nearly two years in the States and came back at the end of January. "I came to a couple of Youth Cup games and Neil (Dewsnip) and Ray (Hall) called me in for a meeting and asked me what my plans were and would I be interested in taking over the under-15s because a vacancy had come up. So I said 'yes, that would be great' and here I am.
"I played and coached at professional level (in USA). But their qualifications don't apply here the same as ours, as they are run by two different governing bodies - FIFA and UEFA. "So when I came back I needed the qualifications, so I've been away in the summer on the fast-track course for the senior professionals. "I played for Long Island (in New York). We played in the League under the MLS (Major Soccer League), but there was no promotion or relegation so you can never go on and better yourself. "You had to supplement your income by doing other coaching, so I coached in the camps in the summer with the kids. That was all well and good but it's nice to come home and work with the cream of what we have here, which makes it more satisfying when we do well."
Back home Ablett is one of few players to have played at both Merseyside clubs. Having started his career at Liverpool in the 1980s he can see the changes that have been implemented in youth football since he began. He added: "Basically the whole thing now is geared to bringing the kids through. When I signed schoolboy forms at Liverpool at 14, we trained on a Tuesday and Thursday night and played on a Saturday. Now my U15s train Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday night and Saturday morning and play Sunday. "And everything is laid on now, the kit and so on. Even when I was an apprentice at Liverpool you were just given shorts. You had one set of kit and that had to last all week. It was washed once a week, but here now they are given all kinds of bits and pieces and it is washed every day." Having worked under a number of managers and coaches he has the background to make a success of his new post. Ablett said: "Obviously I have worked under some of the best managers there have been, Kenny (Dalglish), Howard Kendall to name but two. So you go along and pick up things. "The man-management of how they deal with certain situations and players. They do crop up with the kids, although probably not to such an extent as with the senior professionals." And he is also hoping to continue his own footballing education. He said: "Hopefully I would like to think I could go higher but at the moment working under Ray and Neil has given me a really good grounding. Getting to know the ins and outs of the job rather than going in at the deep end and trying to keep your head above water. I am learning the basics of the trade. "And if I can continue to do my job, develop the kids in the right way and push more through into the first team it will be great." And he feels he has picked the right time to end his playing career with so many players struggling to find clubs after the collapse of the ITV Digital deal. He commented: "If there is a right time to come into coaching maybe this is it. You just have to look at the situation the professional game is in at the moment with the money worries. I know that many lads who I have been involved with down the years are now struggling to find clubs because of the lack of money.
"So obviously at the age I am, it would have been difficult for me. So I am happy to be where I am at the moment."
Sheff Wed Res 0, Everton Res 1
Aug 21 2002
EVERTON RESERVES began their season with a narrow 1-0 victory at Sheffield Wednesday thanks to a goal from Kevin McLeod. Andy Holden's side included a number of experienced players with Joseph Yobo, Brazilian Rodrigo and David Unsworth all getting a run out. McLeod struck five minutes before the break capitalising on a mistake in the Wednesday defence before squeezing the ball home from close range. Youngster David Carney went close for the Blues and Rodrigo's effort in the second half was easily saved by the home keeper. Steve Simonsen denied Wednesday a share of the spoils saving from Rob Hamshaw late in the game. Boss David Moyes will now assess Yobo before deciding whether to play the Nigerian defender against Sunderland on Saturday
EVERTON: Simonsen, Pilkington, Weifeng, Yobo (Moogan 88), Crowder, Osman, Carney, Unsworth, Rodrigo, Symes (Brown 82), McLeod. Subs: Cole, Southern, Beck.
SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY: Evans, Hendon (Wood 73), Maddix, McLaren, Westwood, Haslam, Hamshaw, Crane, Knight, Di Piedi (Stevenson 64), Morrison. Subs: Stringer, Shaw, Taylor.
REFEREE: M E Murphy.
Moyes plays down Dunc injury fears
Aug 21 2002 By Rob Brady, Liverpool Echo
DUNCAN Ferguson has resumed training, despite reports his latest injury had threatened his career.
The Blues striker could make a return to first team action by mid-September after being given a pain-killing injection. Ferguson has suffered back problems throughout the year and concerns were raised over the weekend that the big Scot may have to call it a day. But manager David Moyes stressed there was no danger of him being forced out of the game. Moyes said: "I don't see the problem as threatening his career at all. "The injection is working and he has now started a bit of light training. "He still needs to strengthen the tops of his hamstrings. We have to wait until he gets back playing for real before we can say for sure. "The problem was a worry, but it was nothing more than an injury we are looking to cure. "It is still early days, but he has felt no reaction to the work he has put in. Hopefully it won't take him too long to get back. The training he did before the injection should help him in that respect. "He looks in great shape. His body weight and body fat are tremendous." Fellow striker Nick Chadwick is also on his way back to fitness after suffering groin and ankle injuries in pre-season.
Boss who's glad to wave Wayne goodbye
Report By Chris Wright, Daily Post
Aug 22 2002
LOSING your star striker is every coach's nightmare. But for Colin Harvey it is a dream come true.
Wayne Rooney's rapid rise through the Goodison ranks means a strong Everton under-19s side will be severely weakened for the forthcoming FA Premier Academy League season which begins with a home fixture against Coventry City at Bellefield on Saturday, but Blues coach Colin Harvey (pictured) couldn't be happier. He said: "You don't want to see them again, in the nicest sense, because that would mean they have pushed on to something else. The sooner most of them move on the better.
"Basically if I never see Wayne again in footballing terms I will be happy, apart from when I am sitting in the stands watching him in the senior teams. "That has got to be the aim for all of them this season - to push on and take the next step in their careers." For many of the current U19s squad this is the make-or-break year. The highs of last year's run to the FA Youth Cup final are money in the bank in terms of experience but they must now put that behind them. Players like Michael Symes, David Carney, Steven Schumacher, Alan Moogan and Scott Brown, who have tasted reserveteam football either towards the end of last season or in the preseason friendlies prior to this one, know they need to continue that development and earn a contract beyond their scholarship.
And while success in terms of results in the Academy League are hoped for, they are not the beall and end-all. Development as ever in youth football is the key element and Harvey said: "For the lads that is the most important thing. They have got to try and get reserve games. "Our aims are more for the individuals than for the team because, particularly for those who played in the U19s last year and are still in the U19 age group, they've got to kick-on and hopefully take the next step. "It was a bit of a bonus, last year's Youth Cup run. It was nice to do what they did, but it is behind them now."
And at Everton promoting youngsters from within has become a thriving business. Rooney (left) followed hard on the heels of Tony Hibbert, Kevin McLeod, Peter Clarke and Nick Chadwick, who themselves are just the latest in a long line of Academy graduates. Harvey hopes that it provides the impetus for the production line to David Moyes' first-team to continue to run smoothly.
He added: "Hopefully seeing Wayne and the rest doing well will give the other lads here a boost. But what they haven't got to do is make him out as a bit of a green-eyed monster because he has pushed through into the first team. "They have to get themselves in gear, look after themselves and look at him and say there is my benchmark. If he's gone in I want to follow him, but not just him. I want to get on as far as I can in my new career." Further down, the Blues have taken on 12 new scholars and they will get chances in Harvey's U19s, but initially in Alan Harper's U17s side, where many of them gained invaluable experience last campaign as schoolboys. And Harvey is hopeful of continued progress for the likes of winger Damon Martland, who played in the U19s last season and is starting his first year as a scholar. Harvey added: "We've had 12 new kids come in and they are finding out what it is like to train day-in, day-out and they are starting to settle into it now. " They have come straight from school and from training three nights a week to training twice a day and it is bit of adjustment, but they have applied themselves well and they are working hard. "They have just got to adjust to a professional life. Not being late, turning up without your equipment or anything like that. "It sounds a little bit silly, but a lot of them haven't been used to that and they need to learn the discipline that goes with being a professional footballer. "They all played in the U17s while they were still at school so they had earned the right to have another go and hopefully they will kick on from there."
Moyes won't rush Yobo return
By Jonathan McEvoy, Daily Post
Aug 22 2002
DAVID MOYES has pledged not to rush summer signing Joseph Yobo into Premiership action following the defender's successful return from injury. Yobo played 88 minutes in the reserves' 1-0 win at Sheffield Wednesday on Tuesday night after overcoming an ankle injury that plagued his pre-season preparation. The 21-year-old defender is vying for a place in Moyes' squad for Saturday's trip to Peter Reid's Sunderland. But Moyes is cautious about Yobo's chances of immediate inclusion, saying-"He still has to settle in and adapt to the way we play here. That's another step for him.
"He's regaining fitness now. He'll have a few more days training and we'll be building him up until he's ready to step into the Premiership." Yobo's comeback is a boost for Moyes, who originally feared the £5million acquisition from Marseille had broken his leg. But scans revealed the Nigeria international had only damaged his ankle in the pre-season fixture against Queens Park. Yobo played just 22 minutes against the Scottish team before being forced off on his debut. Moyes has experienced defenders in Alan Stubbs and David Weir and will not rush Yobo into his starting plans.
Meanwhile, strikers Duncan Ferguson and Nick Chadwick are continuing their rehabilitation from injuries while new boy Juliano Rodrigo was handed a chance to press his claims in Tuesday's victory.
Defender Yobo waits on debut
Aug 22 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
JOSEPH YOBO will not be handed an instant Everton debut - despite proving his fitness in a reserve team run-out at Sheffield Wednesday on Tuesday. The Nigerian defender has now played in two reserve games since recovering from the injury which cut short his pre-season preparations.
But boss David Moyes said: "Joe got another game under his belt, but we want to give him a little longer to integrate and settle down at the club. "I only want one hundred per cent fit players in the starting line-up and while Joe's fitness has improved significantly, he is not quite there yet."
Yobo will be in the squad to travel to Sunderland this Saturday, but the Blues' boss is waiting on the safe return of his nine internationals before completing his travelling party. Moyes went to Hampden Park last night to watch Scotland lose 1-0 to Denmark. Midfielder Thomas Gravesen played 45 minutes, while David Weir and Gary Naysmith were both substituted before the end.
Lee Carsley played the full 90 minutes of Ireland's 3-0 win in Finland, while Mark Pembridge enjoyed a 90-minute run-out for Wales in Croatia. Idan Tal scored the fourth goal in Israel's 4-2 win in Lithuania while Niclas Alexandersson and Tobias Linderoth were both involved in Sweden's 1-1 draw in Russia. "It's a little frustrating waiting to see if everyone reports back fit," said Moyes "but it was good for Lee to get 90 minutes under his belt."
* TICKETS for Everton's trip to Maine Road next Saturday have gone on general sale at Goodison Park.
Linderoth: Play me or I'm going
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Aug 23 2002
TOBIAS LINDEROTH has issued an astonishing threat to quit Everton if he cannot command a first-team place - just one game into the new season. The Swedish international admits he was shocked to be left on the bench for Saturday's Premiership opener with Spurs, despite only starting one game for Everton since David Moyes took charge in March. And the midfielder's chances of winning over the new Blues boss appeared to nose-dive last night when he publicly voiced his discontent.
Linderoth has made only four Premiership starts since Walter Smith signed him from Stabaek for £2.5million in January, but was ever-present in the Sweden side that topped Group F in the World Cup. But with his international place at risk, the 23-year-old insists he may move on if he cannot claim a regular role at Everton soon. "It came as a small shock to be benched," said Linderoth, who saw Li Tie, Mark Pembridge and Thomas Gravesen chosen ahead of him against Tottenham.
"If it continues like this, my national team place is in danger. "I will give it a go but if I am sitting on the bench for a longer period, I will have to look at other alternatives. "I need to play regularly for my club side otherwise my national team place is in danger. There's a limit to how long I can sit on the bench. When I feel that I am not developing anymore, I will have to say so. "If the manager does not want to invest in me, I will have to have a discussion about my future at the club." Ironically, Everton could be receptive to Linderoth's threat as Moyes looks to offload before he can buy again. However, the Blues have yet to receive one firm enquiry for any of their first-team pool this summer. New defender Joseph Yobo, meanwhile, is targeting next week's Goodison clash with Birmingham City as his long-awaited Everton debut. The Nigerian World Cup defender will travel to Sunderland tomorrow after playing 88 minutes for the reserves in midweek. Yobo has been sidelined by the ankle injury he picked up on his pre-season debut at Queens Park and complained of stiffness after Tuesday's game at Sheffield Wednesday. But the 21-year-old insists he should be ready to face the Midlanders next Wednesday. "I don't think I am ready for the Sunderland game just yet," said Yobo last night. "We will have to see how it goes in training again tomorrow. "I trained today and felt better, so in a couple of days I am hopeful it will be fine. It is healing slowly and I hope that by next week I will be fit again and ready to play. "I am obviously looking forward to eventually starting and if it doesn't happen for Sunderland then I will be ready for the next home game." Yobo added: "I have to be patient and wait until I the injury has totally cleared before I play again. "It has been a frustrating few weeks but I am happy that it is not a serious injury and I am nearly there.
"Initially I wanted to get back as quick as possible but when you are injured, you are injured, and it is something you cannot hide."
Mixed bag of Toffees
Fanscene By Mark O'Brien, Daily Post
Aug 23 2002
THE colour, the passion, the sheer drama of it all. And that was just the pre-match sing-a-long.
Something tells us the Sugababes aren't going to lose too much sleep about the release of Everton's stirring new anthems. The football itself was something of a mixed bag and didn't really give too many pointers as to how we're going to do this season. All eyes were on Wayne Rooney, starting his first Premiership game, and he didn't let himself down by any means. He coped with the physical side of the game and did well to hold the ball up and play Mark Pembridge in for our first goal of the season. His strike partners also did well and Kevin Campbell worked hard leading the line and looks like he's lost a bit of weight. The crowd really need to cut him some slack at times; he has never given anything less than his best for Everton, regardless of how much money he earns.
Tomasz Radzinski had an excellent game, capped by a coolly taken equaliser cleverly set up by Kevin Campbell. The little Canadian may have struggled in front of goal at times but he is an excellent player who could prove invaluable this season. The decision to play all three strikers was a bold one but we left ourselves short in midfield in the second half when Spurs started knocking the ball about and we visibly flagged in the heat. It would be a surprise if we persist with that formation at Sunderland. Tottenham's first goal began to look likely as soon as we surrendered the middle of the park; their second looked inevitable as soon as Les Ferdinand came on. Richard Wright's attempts at saving either of them left something to be desired. It's probably fair to say that the ex-England keeper hasn't had the best start to his Everton career. You can make excuses about the new balls or lack of confidence or whatever - in fairness it isn't Wright himself who has done that - but it's now down to him to put the mistakes behind him and prove that he's got what it takes.
That starts tomorrow at Sunderland where he could possibly be at the opposite end of the pitch from Thomas Myhre, another good keeper who found to his cost what happens when you make an error too many between the Goodison sticks. The Black Cats were rank at the end of last season and have hardly bought big since then, but it is a place where we rarely do well. Narrow defeats in dour games are usually the order of the day when we go up there. If we have made any real progress over the summer then perhaps the Stadium of Light is the sort of place where we need to go full of confidence and expecting to take all three points.
Plenty to chew on for young Toffees
Academy League By Chris Wright, Daily Post
Aug 23 2002
EVERTON look to build on last year's impressive run to the FA Youth Cup final when the FA Premier Academy League season begins tomorrow. Colin Harvey's under-19s entertain Coventry at Bellefield (12noon), while Alan Harper's under-17s also host the Sky Blues at Netherton (12.30pm).
Having seen their team-mate Wayne Rooney make his first-team debut, most of the players will want to do their best to follow him. David Carney, Alan Moogan, Martin Crowder, Michael Symes and Scott Brown were all involved in the reserves win on Tuesday at Sheffield Wednesday and will want to make an impression at U19 level tomorrow. Academy director Ray Hall said: "It is an important season for them. We are looking for them to possibly establish themselves either as first team players here, but certainly to play at a high level. "But I'm no different from any supporter. You look at it in terms of expectations. And the expectations are that we keep improving. We keep developing better players. "We keep developing players who have got the potential to play at the highest level. "So the Youth Cup-winning side need to push on now. There are great expectations of us winning the U19s Academy League and that may or may not happen. But if it does happen because all of the team are the same as last year, that will be a little disappointing because you hope that a number of those would have pushed on just as Rooney has. "We would like to win that section but with a number of younger players involved." With many of the youngsters playing in different teams during the pre-season, tomorrow will be the first time Colin Harvey has his full U19s line-up together. Harvey said: "All the lads have come through the pre-season very well. We haven't got any injuries which is the most important thing. "Of course everyone is looking forward to Saturday and they can't wait to get started." Both Harvey and Harper should have full squads available tomorrow.
Mark's great spur
Aug 23 2002 By David Prentice
THE eve of your 32nd birthday is a little late in a footballer's career-span for new beginnings.
But if Mark Pembridge isn't planning a phoenix-like emergence from the ashes of an injury plagued two years at Everton, he's at least hoping to turn the clock back a couple of years. The Welsh international once registered 11 league goals in a single Premiership season for Derby County. He was also a regular goals contributor for Luton Town and Sheffield Wednesday - but since switching to Everton in the autumn of 1999 his contributions have been strictly solitary. He took just 36 minutes to open his account for this season and now he's keen to ensure he doesn't stick or bust.
Injury has usually brought a premature end to Pembridge's goalscoring exploits in a royal blue jersey, but after a thorough pre-season examination of his troublesome calf, he is hoping for his most prolonged injury-free run for three years. "Hopefully it's a new start for me now," he said.
"Touch wood, I've had no problems with my calf since I last pulled it back in March, so I'm hoping that's behind me now. "It was nice to score against Spurs, but in the past I've often contributed goals from midfield. At Sheffield Wednesday, I always used to chip in with five to seven goals a season and in three seasons at Derby I was in double figures every year. "The manager likes players to get forward so if I can contribute from midfield all the better. "It was great to score on the opening day, but I would have changed it for three points." After Pembridge crashed in Wayne Rooney's first senior assist, the stage was set for an opening day home win. But the adventurous three-man midfield tired in the August heat and the Blues eventually had to settle for a draw.
"I think five minutes before they scored they had started to dominate a little," said Pembridge,
"But we did well to come back from 2-1 down which shows the spirit in the camp. "Hopefully, we can use that as platform to build on. "I don't think playing the three in midfield was all that ambitious. It's always hard work in that department whatever system you play. But playing the three at least meant that you had one against one, so everyone knew their job. "We ran out of steam a little bit, but it showed the character of the lads to come back from being a goal down."
And what of the youngster who laid on his first goal of 2002-03? "Wayne did really well for the goal," he enthused. "He will learn a lot from the whole experience of making his first team debut . . . the game, the atmosphere, the warm weather and everything which goes with it. "He enjoyed it and hopefully he will have many more of them. "He didn't seem out of place and the manager probably made the decision to bring him off when he did for tactical reasons." Regardless of tactics or formation, when fit Pembridge has usually been selected in the Everton starting line-up. This season he hopes to justify that selection with a few more additions to his goals scored column.
Linderoth to remain on bench
Aug 23 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
TOBIAS LINDEROTH is unlikely to find himself in Everton's starting line-up at Sunderland tomorrow despite threatening to quit if he isn't handed a first team place soon. Manager David Moyes refused to comment on the outburst by the Swede in Scandinavian newspaper Expressen yesterday - ironically the same paper which aired Thomas Gravesen's Goodison grievances last Christmas.
But he will not yield to the unhappy player's demands. Linderoth said: "It came as a small shock to be benched last Saturday. "If it continues like this, my national team place is in danger. I will give it a go, but if I am sitting on the bench for a longer period I will have to look at other alternatives.
"I need to play regularly for my club side otherwise my national team place is in danger. There's a limit to how long I can sit on the bench. When I feel that I am not developing any more I will have to say so. "If the manager does not want to invest in me I will have to have a discussion about my future at the club." Under Moyes, Linderoth has started just one game - the meaningless last match of last season at Arsenal, but he played all three Group F games for Sweden |during |the World Cup.
"We won the group of death and I got to show what I can do against the best opposition in the world," added Linderoth. "I thought my manager would appreciate my World Cup displays but he gave other people a chance instead in the League opener." The Blues' squad is top-heavy with midfielders and any bid for the player snapped up for £2.5m from Stabaek last March would be considered. But so far Moyes has had no enquiries about any of his players. Moyes, meanwhile, takes his away day entertainers to Sunderland tomorrow, with a new instruction to follow.
In his five away games in charge Everton have scored 10 goals, despite trips to forbidding arenas like Newcastle and Arsenal. But now Moyes wants to see his team keep only their second clean sheet under him. "We will go to Sunderland and try to win," he said "but I also want us to be more resilient. "In some of our away games last year we were scoring three and four goals, but conceding at the other end, too. It's up to me to strike the right balance. "The position we were in last year we had to go for it a little bit. I still want us to go for it, but keep clean sheets as well." Alessandro Pistone and Steve Watson are still missing, but Nigerian defender Joseph Yobo will travel.
Sunderland expect to unveil new signing Matthew Piper, possibly as a partner for front-man Kevin Phillips. Signed for £3.5m from Leicester originally to offer width and pace down the right, Peter Reid's failure to land Rangers' Tore Andre Flo this week could see Piper playing up front.
Wary over Wayne
Aug 23 2002 icLiverpool & Daily Post
I'M SICK to death of hearing about this Wayne Rooney and his 'True Blue' icon status.
In the last few years such 'True Blue' players have shown their real allegiances to Everton by making moves away from their boyhood teams for financial gain - namely Messrs Michael Ball and Francis Jeffers (and let's not forget the latter's shirt-waving antics when scoring against the Blues).
This lad is yet to do anything, and I feel he is being built up either for a fall or a transfer.
Everton are now a selling club, and it won't be long before the lad who has scored as many competitive senior goals as Jerzy Dudek will be waving his 'True Blue' status goodbye.
Mike Houghton (via e-mail)
A FEW things stood out in Everton's game against Tottenham, more so than the new signings.
We were in control in the first half and were pressuring the opposition until the end. When we came back out we were a different team. If David Moyes says he wants us to emulate Newcastle we need to be the opposite and be stronger in the second half rather than the first. Is it fitness, too many old players or a wrong mindset? I suggest it could be the new afternoon training sessions. The players might be doing more relaxed routines which might rub-off on how they play the course of their matches.
B Tarbuck, Liverpool
I DON'T think the Everton team on Saturday was David Moyes' first choice. I think he will choose Duncan Ferguson ahead of Kevin Campbell when fit. Joseph Yobo (right) may come in to replace Alan Stubbs or Gary Naysmith. I reckon he'll rotate Rodrigo with Wayne Rooney this season and we've also got Alessandro Pistone, who I rate as a good defender, David Unsworth and Scott Gemmill, who have both had some solid games for Moyes. I also think we'll play wider against certain-teams with Idan Tal picked. I just hope we don't play three midfielders against Man United!
P Bradley, Liverpool
GOOD LUCK Everton.
I used to spend many a happy afternoon at Goodison in the 1970s. Sometimes when a club has a special year, it can bring its own rewards. My own team Chelsea won their one and only championship in their 50th season. So keep wishing lads, you never know! Graeme Benson, London
No China crisis
I BELIEVE both Li Tie and Li Weifeng are excellent. What they need are just time and a chance with Everton. Of course, on account of their lack of experience, persistent efforts are sure to do them good.
Liu Yang, China
Aug 24 2002 By Mark Lawrenson, Daily Post
EVERTON'S first away game of the season to Sunderland throws a tactical dilemma David Moyes' way - one I will be interested to see how he solves. The way they started against Tottenham was bold and full of purpose, with three strikers and plenty of effort and energy. That was fine for a home game, but against Sunderland in the gladiatorial Stadium of Light, to play three strikers is not ideal and I would be surprised to see the plan repeated. Instead, the way I would go and I think Moyes will too is to switch back to a more prosaic 4-4-2 formation, to try and ensure greater solidity, albeit with Rodrigo possibly playing on the right. But of the three strikers - all of whom did well last week - who to leave out? In my opinion, Wayne Rooney should be the one to stand down.
He looked the part last week and will obviously be a superstar in the future, but like any diamond, he needs polishing from time to time. Playing in front of an appreciative home crowd where your team is pushing forward is a world away from coping with a baying mob and living off scraps and half-chances for any striker, especially one who is just 16 years old. To be honest it is a case of softly, softly for Rooney. You can't ask too much of him and he has to be used sparingly. Because of their greater experience, Campbell and Radzinski should start, with the teenager on the bench having had a taste of the top flight last week. Away from the strikers, Richard Wright will also be under the spotlight today. He had a poor game against Tottenham last week, but he was the first to hold his hands up and I like that in a goalkeeper. There were no excuses like his hands were cold, the ball was slippy or his gloves didn't fit - mentioning no names - just an admission of mistakes and a pledge to do better. I have no doubt he will be a good goalkeeper and I would look to see him settle down into the position the more he plays. Today he will have to be solid as a rock, because if Everton lose a goal in the first 20 minutes, it will seem like they are three down. Sunderland may have struggled last season, but they battled to a 0-0 draw last week at Blackburn and will want to build on that today. Peter Reid has been targetted by a number of fans, but he has signed two good players in the past two weeks and is obviously still keen to take the club forward. They will not struggle as some people predict, and with the Stadium of Light behind them, they can beat anyone. Everton will be tested today to see if the strength of purpose they have showed since Moyes arrived travels well. The key element for a successful trip is to take the heat out of the occasion and quieten the crowd.
I f they can cause the Black Cats a few problems, I wouldn't be surprised to see the dissenting voices making t h e m s e l v e s heard and the home team suffer as a result. I'd take a draw now for Everton, and I think that i s what t h e y ' l l get.
Aug 24 2002 By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
UNLEASHING huge potential was exactly why Everton brought two Chinese imports to the club this summer. But not even Li Tie's unexpected impact against Tottenham last weekend can begin to describe the wealth of opportunity now at Goodison's fingertips. If Tie fulfils the rich promise of his debut, the 24-year-old midfielder could prove the bargain of the season; already the Kejian sponsorship deal appears more lucrative. But the midfielder's worth to Everton is not only restricted to the playing fields of the Premiership. The Blues of Merseyside and Manchester are now eclipsing their red city rivals as the main footballing interest in China thanks to Li Tie and Li Weifeng's move to Goodison and Sun Ji Hai's emergence at Maine Road. Newcastle this week joined the rush to the untapped resources of the People's Republic by announcing plans to launch their own team there next year, and with a population of 1.2billion that is some resource. In Li Tie, however, Everton possess arguably the biggest attraction of all. The hordes of Chinese journalists around Bellefield and Goodison these days gives some indication of the pulling power of Tie who, for all the sceptism that surrounded his arrival in England, is the David Beckham of China. An autobiography brought out before the World Cup has now sold more than 100,000 copies, hordes gather wherever he socialises and for the one hundred million people who watch the weekly Premiership game shown live in China, Everton's new midfielder is the biggest draw. It is staggering support (although not as startling as the fact Everton haven't got a shirt to sell on Merseyside yet let alone overseas) and a backing Tie is anxious to reward by making it on the Premiership stage. "In China footballers get a lot of attention but especially the ones who have now come to the Premiership," he explains. "Because I am the first Chinese player to play for Everton I get a lot of focus on me - football is now so big back home. When China qualified for the World Cup there were more than one million people celebrating in Tiananmen Square. They are mad about football. "I am a quiet person and don't go out a lot, but one of the reasons why I don't go out in China is because there is always a big crowd around and that causes problems. "But I am enjoying my life in Liverpool. I can go out for a meal with no problems. It's all very new to me and I need more time to get to know the city and study English but after training I get in my car and go sightseeing, or phone my friends and parents back in China. "All the best footballers play in England. It's the best league in the world. But while it is very different from China it offers me a lot to learn. "When I first arrived here I knew there would be a lot of difficulties to overcome but in China there was nowhere left for me to go if I wanted to improve as a player. I had to leave." Arriving as part of Everton's connection with Kejian stuck Tie between two levels of expectation: too little in England and too much back home. The pressure, in either form, will not deter him. "I haven't had time to think about the pressure," said Tie. "All I am doing now is trying to get used to my team-mates and English football so I train hard and just focus on that and the games. I don't want to think about any added pressure. "David Moyes watched China at the World Cup and thinks I am China's best player so that is what is important to me. Now I've got one year to prove him right. "I want to thank David Moyes for the faith he's shown in me. It was great to play last weekend. It has been a life-long dream to play football in England. I think it is even more difficult here than in the World Cup but I think I did well against Tottenham." Born in Guang Zhou, Tie's arrival at Goodison came via a teenage spell with Brazilian side Atletico Paranaense and a brief trial with Southampton before the World Cup. But the journey would have got nowhere but for his bad behaviour at school. Tie reveals: "In 1985 a leading Chinese coach selected me to go to a special sports school. It was lucky really, because I was naughty at my normal school and always missing classes and he gave me the chance to make it in football. "In China everybody wants to get a good education and then maybe work for the government. In my case the sports school I went to taught me a lot about world football instead, and I grew up a fan of Beckenbaur and Franco Baresi! It was what I loved doing. "If I wasn't playing football I would be a massive football fan anyway so I knew about Everton even before I came here. And I know all about the rivalry with Liverpool. I know it is the biggest derby game! Tie added: "My parents didn't want me to pursue a career in football at the start. They thought I should get the best education and go to university but all I wanted to do was play football. "I couldn't live without football so eventually I put pressure on them and went to Brazil for three years. I was only 16 at the time so they put me in the reserves and I didn't get a chance to play against the best Brazilian teams but I still learned a lot because I played against their best young players. I couldn't get that level in China. "In China we've got a huge population but not that many play football because the economic situation doesn't develop grassroots football and there are not many places to play." Having settled in well enough to make David Moyes' first team of the season it is the cultural differences that now pose the biggest problems for Tie. Speaking via the interpretor Everton have employed for their Chinese players, he admits: "I can't speak English very well right now so during training David Moyes always uses easy words to explain things to me and also sign language. "Football is a common language anyway so it's no big problem but I have already started to learn some English now. "Then when I settle down and get somewhere to live my family will come and see me. But they won't stay long because I need to focus on my football."
Moyes: Richard will come Wright
Aug 24 2002 By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
DAVID MOYES has given Richard Wright a vote of confidence as he looks to the £3.5million keeper to overcome his "first night nerves" at Everton. The Blues' summer capture from Arsenal was at fault for both Tottenham goals in last week's Premiership opener as he endured a miserable Goodison debut. But as he heads for Sunderland today the Blues boss is adamant the England international will overcome his troubled start to provide the long-term solution to Everton's goalkeeping problem.
Moyes said: "I hope it was first night nerves with Richard Wright, but whatever you say, a goalkeeper knows there's no-one else to blame when you make a mistake. "He accepted it, and he's done okay in training this week. But he's a good goalkeeper, and apart from those errors he had a fine game. I have watched the video several times now and he played very well. "He was confident, but the goals were the incidents that were picked out. But that's the way it is." Moyes added: "The measure of the player is how he responds. He's a young keeper and young keepers do need time and will make mistakes. But he's here for the long term not the short. "He's good enough to take the stick, mistakes happen. We have said our piece and now everyone is getting on with life."
Steve Watson, Scot Gemmill and Alessandro Pistone are all edging back towards fitness but none is available for the trip to the Stadium of Light, where Brazilian Rodrigo could make his first Everton start. Tobias Linderoth is also in the squad despite his midweek outburst which he now claims was misinterpreted. But while the Swede is unlikely to get the starting role he craves, manager Moyes last night played down the situation. He explained: "Tobias has been to see me and explained himself. "He says his words were taken out of context. There is no problem from me."
* EVERTON are to screen next Saturday's game with Manchester City live at Goodison Park. Tickets, costing £10 adults, £5 for under-16s and over-65s, are available in advance from the Box Office until Friday August 30 and at cash turnstiles on the day. All seating is unreserved in the Park End Stand.
Sunderland 0, Everton 1 (D,Post)
Aug 26 2002 Andy Hunter At The Stadium Of Light, Daily Post
WITH friends like Everton Peter Reid doesn't need the enemies who gratefully took a tighter grip on the managerial axe on Saturday. But by stark contrast it is thanks to a new-found friendship with the Blues that Richard Wright can keep his personal demons at bay. The former England international keeper (former? At 24!) appropriately chose the Stadium of Light to lift the darkness that enveloped his fragile confidence once his Highbury promotion turned sour, and which had threatened to fester in the despair of his Goodison debut. Two errors against Tottenham were not the early signs the Blues demanded from a goalkeeper desperate to restore his reputation as they hoped the long wait for a convincing, commanding number one had finally ended with David Moyes' summer swoop on Arsenal. Yet by literally holding on to Everton's first win of the new campaign with his fingertips at Sunderland, the £3.5million signing showed he has the undoubted talent to become that man.
Combined with the fans' support and the manager's faith, the player's obvious ability can flourish in the longterm future Moyes has earmarked for him at Goodison Park. But let's not kid ourselves, and the admirable Wright certainly didn't afterwards - it is still rich potential rather than the finished product now standing between the Everton sticks. If referee Rob Styles hadn't spotted a dubious offside when Claudio Reyna's free-kick slipped sickeningly through the keeper's fingers and into the back of the net today's headlines would scream 'calamity', not 'class'. The repercussions of that trauma would have cut deep but on such decisions do games and even futures turn, as Wright and the unfortunate Reid could soon discover. Three minutes later a stupendous double-save from Kevin Phillips' penalty announced Wright's arrival on the Everton stage. Given its world-class quality, it could prove a defining moment in the Goodison goalkeeper's quest for confidence and recognition. Good stoppers are worth at least ten points a season - which in the slim margins of recent Premiership seasons is the difference between a relegation scrap and a UEFA Cup place for Everton - and on Saturday Wright earned his new club two. At least. After an impeccable minute's silence for Holly Wells, Jessica Chapman and Jake Craddock - the four-month-old son of Sunderland's Jody - the home side made an inspired start which could have put them two or three goals in front but for the alertness of the former Ipswich favourite. The last thing Goodison legend turned Sunderland public enemy number one Reid required, however, was an inspired goalkeeping display to confront his goal-shy side and their brittle belief began to wane when Wright kept out Phillips' point-blank effort after just seven minutes. "When Kevin missed that one I thought it was going to be one of those days," said Reid, whose star striker hit the bar with the rebound. "And sadly it was."
With Leeds and Manchester United to play this week and Sunderland's attendance down 10,000 on the first home game of last season Reid, already absent from this season's team photo, appears to be fighting a losing battle on Wearside. Everton took full advantage of the home hostility to ride their luck and turn in a solid performance that meant this was far from the smash and grab raid many weekend reports suggested. Yet while delighted with the campaign's first win and only the second clean sheet of his Goodison reign, Moyes will be concerned at Everton's continued need to be led by his hand through games this season. A 20-minute wobble almost cost them dear against Spurs and it took two important interventions from the sidelines to cajole Everton into action in the north east. This week's lapse arrived from the first whistle as Wright had to deny both Phillips and former Blue Gavin McCann as Niall Quinn-clone Kevin Kyle caused mayhem among the Blues rearguard for 15 minutes. It took a break in play for treatment to Jason McAteer for Moyes to stem the initial danger as he ordered his midfield to drag Kyle away from the danger zone, and immediately Everton took charge. Late in the second half, as the visitors began to wilt under the aerial assault of Quinn, the Blues boss reverted to his three-man attack to stop the Sunderland supply at source one minute after the Irishman headed against a post and Everton coasted to the points. Both tactical switches saw the Blues assume an authority over their predictable opponents, with Kevin Campbell and Tomasz Radzinski a menacing outlet throughout, but when they invited danger it took a stubborn defensive display to preserve victory. The breakthrough and winner arrived in the midst of the visitors best spell and from a move that highlighted Everton's greater invention when they had the ball. Li Tie swept play out wide to Thomas Gravesen, and the Danes' delightful cross was intelligently headed back across the goalmouth for Campbell - fitter and already more productive than last season - to bundle over the line. Tie twice volleyed just over and saw a decent chance to extend Everton's lead blocked just before the break, and Mark Pembridge drove off target while McCann flashed a shot narrowly wide at the opposite end in first-half stoppage time.
Sunderland stepped up a gear after the interval and it was ironic, though possibly blasphemy to say so in Black Cats' company, that Reid faces the blame for a striking crisis fans' favourite Phillips heightened on Saturday. Foiled by Wright at the start of the first half, Sunderland's version of ' Super Kev' headed a glorious chance wide from McAteer's cross in the 56th minute before missing his third penalty in four attempts, though none will have been stopped by such an incredible save as Wright's. Having spared the keeper's blushes in the 67th minute - "I did see the linesman's flag go up as the free-kick came over I've got to say" admitted Reid - referee Styles placated the outraged home support when he penalised Wright for a shove on the backpeddling Quinn in Sunderland's next attack. Phillips' spot-kick was powerful and true, but somehow the Blues keeper tipped the ball into the air and grabbed it with the same left hand as it dropped on the line. It was a breathtaking moment that could inject new life into one man's career - but leave another fighting to preserve his.
SUNDERLAND (4-4-2): Sorensen; Wright, Bjorklund, Babb, Gray; McAteer (Quinn 67), McCann, Reyna, Butler; Kyle (Piper 63), Phillips. Subs: McCartney, Macho, Arca.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Wright; Hibbert, Weir, Stubbs, Naysmith; Alexandersson (Rooney 74), Tie (Linderoth 74), Gravesen, Pembridge; Campbell, Radzinski. Subs: Unsworth, Simonsen, Rodrigo.
REFEREE: Mr R Styles.
BOOKING: Sunderland's Wright (foul).
Report By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Aug 26 2002
RICHARD WRIGHT revealed he was transformed from Everton villain to hero thanks to the awesome support that pulled him through his debut despair. The new Blues keeper followed up his Tottenham troubles with a rollercoaster ride against Sunderland on Saturday as Kevin Campbell secured Everton's first win of the new season. Wright survived a calamitous error and conceded a 70th-minute penalty before redeeming himself with a sublime double save from Kevin Phillips' spot-kick in the Blues' 1-0 victory. And afterwards Wright put his inspiration down the incredible backing he received following his disappointing debut seven days earlier. The 24-year-old explained: "The reception I got from the Evertonians before the Sunderland game was great but it was what happened after last Saturday's match that really made the biggest impression on me. "Obviously I hadn't played well and I was really down but when I was driving home after the game loads of people were hanging out of their car windows giving me so much support and encouragement. That put it all into perspective and helped me. "The fans are absolutely awesome at Everton. They were getting out of their cars and holding up the traffic to wish me luck. I t was unbelievable."
The former Arsenal shotstopper appeared to gift Sunderland an equaliser when he let Claudio Reyna's free-kick slip through his grasp. Referee Rob Styles spared Wright's blushes with a controversial offside decision but penalised the keeper three minutes later when he awarded a spot-kick for a push on Niall Quinn. And Wright fumed: "I was very pleased with that save because I didn't think it was a penalty in the first place. "Niall Quinn was backing into me and when a big man like that pushes into you there's no option but to put your hands up and defend yourself. You've got to hold your position. "For a big man he went down theatrically but that's football, he's clever and experienced and he will go for things like that. "Phillips struck it well but I got a good hand to it and if I hadn't kept it out I'd have been very disappointed. "I learned from my earlier mistake and watched the ball all the way into my hands and made sure I kept it in." Wright hopes the spotkick save can help launch his Everton career but admitted the earlier error highlights the improvements he still has to make to recapture his international form. "I saw the linesman's flag go up in the corner of my eye!" he said. "But that's the way things are going at the moment. "Things are not right, little things are still going wrong, but I'm working very hard in training to make sure I sort it out. "It was case of not watching the ball into my hands again and a lack of concentration. That will come. "When I was playing week in week out those mistakes weren't happening. "But they were when I didn't play regularly. I'm not using that as an excuse, I know I've got to work on things, but I'll always be honest with people. "The penalty save will help me though. It was what I needed.
"Now I've got to use the positives like that save and the clean sheet and build on it. If I play well week in week out for Everton then the rest will fall into place." Sunderland boss Peter Reid said of the penalty save: "Kevin hit it well and the keeper's made a great save. "It's different if you miss the target, but it's unfortunate for us. Richard Wright made a great save."
Moyes the Merrier after win
Aug 26 2002
EVERTON boss David Moyes was delighted with his side's performance after they weathered a bright start from the home side before clinching a 1-0 victory at Sunderland on Saturday. "We came to try to win the game and that's what we've done," he said. "We've come away from home and tried to make a game of it and I think sometimes, you get fortunate when you do that. "A couple of times, we had to be fortunate, but overall, I thought we played well and crafted out some really good openings and maybe just didn't hit the final pass to maybe get a second goal." Moyes was particularly pleased for Wright, whose debut against Tottenham Hotspur last week was not the triumph for which he might have hoped. "Fortune favours the brave sometimes with Richard," he said. "Last week he was really down and disappointed with his performance, but the way he worked in training to try to put it right, and when you've got somebody like that who wants to get better, he's always got a chance. "I think he earned his luck, I think everybody would say that, and it was a fabulous save as well." Sunderland boss Peter Reid was remaining defiant. "It's a disappointed dressing room, but the players did really well," he said. "We started brightly but we just could not get that goal. "It's difficult then because they broke, got a good goal and we just came under a bit of pressure. But second half, we got chances and just couldn't stick it in the back of the net.
"We didn't get enough goals last season and the big thing as a manager is you look at the chances you're creating and you always feel comfortable. "But certainly, two games in without a goal is very, very worrying, and with the chances we made, I thought we'd get one. But we didn't and it's a problem."
Sunderland 0, Everton 1, (Echo)
Aug 26 2002 By David Prentice
IN the days when Peter Reid's hair was still jet black and Richard Wright was barely capable of clasping a dummy, Everton had a much-loved goalkeeper called George Wood. Capable of stunning saves of breathtaking brilliance one moment, he could just as easily toss one into his own net the next. He was erratic, but honest, and adored by the Gwladys Street as a result. And the spectacular stops he did make were usually the ones which earned his side extra points. Ironically he left Everton for Arsenal, but the current keeper who came the other way produced a performance on Saturday which was pure Georgie Wood. Richard Wright gave away a penalty, tossed a ball into his own net, but still strode off the Stadium of Light pitch a hero following a string of sensational saves - none better than a one-handed penalty stop - which earned his side their first win of the season.
He is young and talented, and the manner in which his performance was received by the travelling fans suggests they are prepared to forgive him any flaws he shows while he is learning - and will simply enjoy his moments of brilliance. They bellowed " England's number one!" as he left the pitch, possibly sowing the seeds of a relationship with the supporters similar to that enjoyed by Everton's last Scottish number one. All players make mistakes, but only a few are capable of matchswinging moments of brilliance --and Wright produced several of those on Saturday. The young 'keeper's eventful afternoon started just two minutes after kick-off. He plunged bravely at Gavin McCann's feet then, clearly hurt, expertly fielded a firm follow-up effort from Michael Gray before bowling the ball out to receive treatment. Five minutes later he used his body to block a close range shot from Phillips and watched in relief as the Sunderland striker rapped his follow-up against the crossbar.
Stubbs headed that rebound behind for a corner, and from the deadball Wright had to arch his back to flap the ball out from his under crossbar. The young keeper didn't touch McCann's eighth minute shot, but the speed with which he raced from his line to hurry the former Everton midfielder was undoubtedly a contributory factor in McCann's miss. For 15 minutes Sunderland were dominant - and all the openings came down Everton's right flank. David Moyes might have cast a rueful glance at Peter Reid's summer acquisition from Liverpool --Evertonian right-back Steven Wright.
But his own right-back was beginning to get forward and as Everton pressed Sunderland higher up the pitch the home threat diminished. Everton had looked more and more comfortable until the 27th minute, when Hibbert changed the angle of attack from right to left. Gravesen collected the ball out wide, curved in a cross of precise quality, and Radzinski headed the ball back across goal for Campbell to sweep in. All three have been the target of criticism from some quarters --Campbell from the terraces, Gravesen and Radzinski from this newspaper. All three are quite rightly exempt after Saturday's showing. After his goal on Saturday it was "Super Kevin Campbell!" again, just seven short days after the phone-in shows had labelled him lazy, weighed down by the weight of his huge pay packet. Campbell is now 32, and the jetheeled target-man of '99 and 2000 vintage has presumably gone forever. But he still has something to offer and - while Rooney is on the bench in any case - is also Everton's likeliest goal threat. He started last season with a flurry of four goals in eight games --not to mention winning a handful of penalty awards - before injury wrecked his season. He was never fully fit when he came back and struggled for sharpness. But with a full pre-season now behind him he led the line with a sense of purpose and presence, helped by the energetic efforts of his strike partner Radzinski. The little Canadian was everywhere, and while he was swatted out of possession a little too easily at times, he made up for it by diligently chasing back - particularly in the final 15 minutes when Moyes ambitiously handed Sunderland a 4-3-3 formation to deal with and asked Radzinski to replace Alexandersson wide on the right. Gravesen was in and out - as he often can be away from home - but when he did contribute it was usually with quality.
If the Dane ever discovers consistency to add to his undoubted talent he could become one of Europe ' s most respected midfielders. As half-time approached the Blues peppered Sunderland's goal with a succession of shots. After the break it was brown-trouser, white knuckle time for the visitors. Phillips curled one shot onto the top of the crossbar, then planted an unmarked header wide of the same goalpost which Niall Quinn hit with a header of his own. Butler put Kyle clean through, but referee Styles declared that Naysmith's challenge was not worthy of a penalty - then Wright enjoyed an astonishing let-off when he dropped a Reyna free-kick into his net, but was saved by a linesman's flag for an obscure offside. If Wright received his good fortune then, he earned it two minutes later. The goalkeeper was penalised for pushing Quinn in the back. Phillips had missed three penalties in a row last season, but fancied the job this time. He struck the ball well, but possibly with a little too much height. Whatever, it was still a stunning piece of athleticism and strength for Wright to stick out his left arm, parry the kick, then gratefully collect it as it arched lazily through the air. That seemed to convince Sunderland it wasn't going to be their day, and the home side's attacking efforts extinguished as the 37,000 crowd - 10,000 down on capacity --slunk away early. The visiting fans gleefully told them that "Peter Reid is an Evertonian!" Reidy could have done without their support.
MATCHFAX SUNDERLAND (4-4-2): Sorensen, Wright, Bjorklund, Babb, Gray, McAteer (Quinn 67), McCann, Reyna, Butler, Phillips, Kyle (Piper 62). Unused substitutes: Macho, McCartney, Arca.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Wright, Hibbert, Weir, Stubbs, Naysmith, Alexandersson (Linderoth 74), Gravesen, Tie (Rooney 74), Pembridge, Campbell, Radzinski. Unused substitutes: Simonsen, Unsworth, Rodrigo.
Referee: Rob Styles.
Bookings: Wright (64 mins) foul, Naysmith (90 mins) dissent.
Wright thanks his loyal fans
Aug 26 2002 By David Prentice Everton Correspondent
RICHARD WRIGHT apologised to Evertonians last weekend. This Saturday he saluted them.
The Everton goalkeeper was the hero of his side's 1-0 win at Sunderland, after a stunning penalty save from Kevin Phillips. But afterwards he paid tribute to the Blues' fans for backing him following his disastrous debut seven days earlier. "The fans were really supportive before the game today, but it wasn't just about their reaction before the game," he said. "I played last Saturday and obviously things didn't go well, but when I was driving home people were hanging out of the car windows giving me so much support and I thought that proved how awesome the fans are here. "People were getting out of their cars to speak to me and holding up the traffic to encourage me and that just proved to me how good the Everton fans are." Wright enjoyed an eventful afternoon, including a magnificent penalty save from Kevin Phillips after he had been penalised for a foul. "You have to take the positives," he explained "and I was very pleased to save the penalty. I didn't think it was a penalty in the first place. Niall Quinn backed into me and I just put my hands up. Obviously when a big man like him is pushing into you you have to hold yourself rigid, but that's football. He's experienced and clever. "Kevin Phillips struck it well but I got a good hand on it and I would have been disappointed if I hadn't saved it. "It was a long time in the air before it came down, but I learned from my mistake earlier on about watching the ball all the way into my hands." That error came just two minutes earlier, when Wright allowed a Claudio Reyna freekick to drop straight through his hands - but was saved by an offside decision. "I saw the flag go up out of the corner of my eye for offside, so I dropped it in!" he joked. "But, honestly, it was an error. I'm working hard with Chris Woods in training but there are little things I need to brush up on to make sure errors don't creep in. It was a case of watching the ball into my hands again. I have to make sure I keep doing that and concentrate. "Before I went to Arsenal, when I was playing regularly week in, week out, those little mistakes don't happen. "When you are not playing regularly your sharpness goes a little. I'm not using that as an excuse, but I like to think I am honest with people. "I have to take the clean sheet, and try to build on that." And Wright also paid tribute to the backing he has received from the players he has displaced at Goodison. "It's a great atmosphere working with Steve Simonsen and Paul Gerrard," he explained. "Obviously Paul has lots of experience and both of them are one hundred and 10 per cent behind me every week, so I can't really complain about that.
"Even when things didn't go well last week I had their backing afterwards."
Wright earned his luck admits Moyes
Aug 26 2002 By David Prentice
DAVID MOYES paid tribute to his goalkeeping hero on Saturday, just a week after he had been highly critical of Richard Wright's contribution on his Everton debut. The Blues keeper saved a penalty at the Stadium of Light and Moyes said: "Fortune favours the brave sometimes. Last week Richard was really down and disappointed with his performance, but the way he worked in training to try and put things right was excellent. "He wants to get better, and when you've got an attitude like that I think you've got a chance. "I think he earned his luck, and it was a fabulous save, anybody would say that.
"The clean sheet was important, too. I want my teams to go forward and I want them to create chances, and you can sometimes be vulnerable when you do that. But I thought the boys at the back did well. We had to defend well at times and we did that." Moyes also had words of praise for his front two, matchwinner Kevin Campbell and the man who set up the goal for him, Tomasz Radzinski.
"I thought the two strikers played very well today," he explained. "I thought they were always a threat with their pace and their strength and I thought they did very well. "We came to try and win the game and that's what we did. We tried to make a game of it, and sometimes you get fortunate when you do that. "A couple of times we had that fortune, but overall I thought we played quite well and crafted out some good openings without ever quite managing the final pass to get a second goal. "Let's be fair, Sunderland should have been goals up in the first 15 minutes, and I consider myself fortunate not to have been a goal down in that period - but I thought we played well after that. "From our point of view I thought we deserved our luck. It was Sunderland's first home game and we knew they would come out strongly at us. "We defended a little too deep at first, which allowed them to knock balls onto Kyle's head, but once we got higher up the pitch that condensed our team a little bit which helped."
Blues' trial for Italian
Aug 26 2002 By David Prentice Everton Correspondent
FORMER Juventus defender Moreno Torricelli was due on Merseyside today to begin a week's trial with Everton. But any chance of the Italian international joining the Blues permanently looks remote, unless somebody leaves Goodison before the August 31 transfer deadline. Torricelli, a free agent, had talks with Portsmouth last week but could not agree personal terms with Harry Redknapp. A similar outcome looks likely at Everton, even if the 32-year-old impresses during his short spell. Everton cannot afford to take even an extra salary on board unless they lose a player before next weekend, and there have been no enquiries for anyone on the Goodison payroll.
Torricelli is a rightback who has won eight caps for his country. Between 1992 and 1998 he spent six seasons at Juventus when he made more than 150 Serie A starts. He moved to Fiorentina in 1998, making a further 99 league appearances, scoring two more goals, but the financial difficulties endured by the Florence club have led to his release. The Blues confirmed that Torricelli was expected to arrive today for one week, but dismissed another report linking them with Roma midfielder Ivan Tomic.
Errors cost young Blues
Academy League By Chris Wright, Daily Post
Aug 27 2002
DEFENSIVE errors proved costly as Everton under-19s opened their FA Premier Academy League season with a defeat against Coventry City at Bellefield on Saturday. Colin Harvey's side went behind but battled back to level thanks to a goal from England youth international midfielder Steven Beck. It seemed the game would stay that way but the visitors came back to claim all three points, as the Blues went down 2-1. Despite dominating much of the match Everton went behind after a cross wasn't cut out and a Coventry player headed home on the hour. Beck levelled with a sweet finish five minutes later, after Scott Brown's good work on the right. Everton pressed for the winner but a goalkeeping error by Alex Cole allowed the Sky Blues to go back in the lead in the final minutes and condemn Harvey's side to an opening day defeat. Harvey said: "We dominated the match and their keeper has been the best player on the park. I felt sorry for the lads because they worked very hard and were probabaly the better team. It was a welltaken goal after some good work by Scotty (Scott Brown) and a good finish by Steven Beck. Overall you couldn't fault them. They deserved something from the game, but it was just one of those days." Alan Harper's under-17 side played out a goalless draw with Coventry at Netherton.
Wright in fitness battle
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Aug 27 2002
RICHARD WRIGHT could miss tomorrow's Premiership clash with Birmingham as his rollercoaster Everton ride continues. The new Blues keeper faces a late fitness test after he was sent to hospital for X-rays on an arm injury just 24 hours after his heroics secured victory at Sunderland.
Ironically, the injury is to the same arm Wright used to deny Kevin Phillips with his incredible double penalty save at the Stadium of Light. And manager David Moyes confirmed his £3.5million capture suffered the blow in a second-minute collision with ex-Goodison favourite Gavin McCann - but refused to come off as he inspired Everton to their first win of the season. X-rays have revealed severe bruising rather than a break but the 24-year-old looks set to be denied the chance to build on his weekend performance against the Premiership new boys. "Richard is touch-and-go," said Moyes last night, who has put Steve Simonsen on standby for his first start of the season.
"He was injured after a challenge by Gavin McCann in the opening minutes of Saturday's game and we had to send him for an X-ray on Sunday. "It showed his arm is currently very badly bruised and swollen. It will be a late shout to see how he is for Wednesday although I'm still hoping the bruising and swelling will subside. "He didn't train today but he's a brave lad and was determined to play on for the rest of the game on Saturday." The Blues boss will this week welcome Italian defender Moreno Torricelli on a week's trial at Everton. But any move for the 32-year-old former Juventus ace depends on players leaving Goodison Park before Saturday's transfer deadline. Everton, meanwhile, have denied reports linking them with Roma's out-of-favour midfielder Ivan Tomic.
* GOODISON PARK will screen a live beam back of Everton's game at Manchester City this Saturday.
Tickets, priced £10 adults, £5 for under 16s and over 65s, are available in advance from the Box Office until this Friday or you can pay by cash at turnstiles on the day.
All seating in the Park End Stand is unreserved and fans are advised to arrive early for the screening.
Keeper Wright gets X-ray all-clear
Aug 27 2002 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
RICHARD Wright is winning his battle to be fit for Everton's Goodison Park encounter with Birmingham tomorrow night. The 24-year-old goalkeeper has been suffering with an injury to his right arm since Saturday's victory at Sunderland. But manager David Moyes is optimistic of having his number one available after X- rays revealed the former Arsenal man had not suffered a break.
Moyes said: "I am hopeful he will be alright for the game. He has not suffered a break but it will be touch and go, so Steve Simonsen is on standby. "He picked up the knock after a bad challenge early in the game on Saturday. He is a brave lad and was determined to play on with it. He produced the kind of performance we expect from him but the injury did cause him problems after the match.
"His wrist and arm has been badly swollen and it will be a late shout for tomorrow." Meanwhile, Italian Moreno Torricelli arrived at Bellefield this morning to begin a week-long trial with Everton.
The 32-year-old former Juventus full-back has been with cashstrapped Fiorentina for the last four years. The Florence club have been relegated to Serie C because of financial irregularities and, like most of his team-mates, Torricelli has been released from his contract. However, there is no chance of the player making the switch to Goodison permanent unless Moyes can offload players before Saturday's transfer deadline. The free agent had talks with first division Portsmouth last week but he could not agree personal terms with Harry Redknapp's side.
* The big screens at Goodison Park will show a live feed of Everton's match at Manchester City this weekend. Tickets, priced £10 for adults and £5 for under 16s or over 65s, are available in advance from the Box Office until Friday. Alternatively, fans can pay cash on the turnstiles.
Blues on the verge of a great start
Aug 27 2002 By Kevin Ratcliffe
EVERTON have made a solid start to the new season. Tomorrow night they have the opportunity to turn it into an excellent one against Birmingham. Four points from two games is a decent enough return from the Blues' two opening fixtures - although most fans would have probably expected them to win the home game and pick up a point from the away match. But despite the top three or four becoming increasingly untouchable, the Premiership is still far from predictable, which is why Everton must treat Birmingham with complete respect at Goodison Park tomorrow. The Blues have made a good start so far, but I am sure David Moyes will look at the results and say it is no more, no less than he would have hoped for. That will remain the case even if Everton win tomorrow night.
You don't need too long a memory to remember the last time an Everton side sat at the top of the Premiership table. It was this time last season, when Everton had won two of their opening three games - ironically one a tricky away match, and another a home draw to Spurs. Such is the gulf in class now between the top three or four and the rest of the Premiership that it is imperative for sides like Everton, in the next group down in the Premiership, to win their home games against sides in the same category as them. The side Everton beat on Saturday, Sunderland, haven't done that - and the pressure is already beginning to bear down on them. The fixture list at the start of the season has been kind to Everton, but it is vital the Blues take advantage. Reiding the runes
IT sounds crazy to be talking about a manager's future just two games into the new season - but that's just what was happening in the North East on Saturday after Everton beat Sunderland.
It's a legacy of the disappointing end to last season endured by Peter Reid - and the problems he has had trying to sign someobody to end the goal drought his side has suffered. I'm told Reidy was getting a but of stick from the home fans - and plenty of support from the Evertonians!
He won't mind that, it's when the chairman starts getting stick that it will be time for Peter to worry.
He's a tough character, but it's a sad sign of the times that managers can be under pressure so soon into a season.
Boss Moyes won't risk Wright
Report By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Aug 28 2002
DAVID MOYES hopes Richard Wright reaps the psychological rewards of his Sunderland super save against Birmingham tonight - but will not take any risks with the £3.5million keeper.
The Blues boss wants the former Arsenal shot-stopper to build on the confidence generated by his penalty stop from Kevin Phillips as Everton aim to maintain their unbeaten start against the Premiership newcomers. But Wright will have a late fitness test before Moyes can name his starting line-up. Goodison's new number one is winning the race to retain his place despite needing X-rays to determine the extent of the injury suffered in a secondminute collision at the Stadium of Light.
"He's a little better now but I would say it's still touch and go as to whether he plays," admitted Moyes. "Psychologically it's important for him to play, he needs the games, but I cannot afford to take risks with anybody. "He deserves credit for playing on after getting the injury early at Sunderland and he's still got a badly swollen hand and forearm, but I'm still hopeful he'll play."
Wright has faced an eventful start to his Everton career and Moyes added: "What needs to happen now is less talk surrounding Richard and for his goalkeepingto speak for itself. "He's still young and is going to be here for a long period so he just needs to get on with his game now." One player definitely out of the Goodison clash is Joseph Yobo. The Nigerian had targeted tonight's game as his long-awaited Everton debut but, after aggravating his ankle injury in training this week, he is set to stay on the sidelines. Moyes could throw Lee Carsley into action for the first time this season as Robbie Savage makes his debut for Birmingham after suspension, while Wayne Rooney may remain on the bench. The Blues boss has allowed youngsters Peter Clarke and Keith Southern to extend their loan spells at Blackpool for another three months.
Wright battles on for Blues
Aug 28 2002 By David Prentice. Everton Correspondent
RICHARD WRIGHT will play through the pain barrier tonight in a bid to turn Everton's solid start to the season into an excellent one. The Blues entertain point-less Birmingham City at Goodison Park (kick-off 8pm), with goalkeeper Wright expected to start despite suffering bad bruising during Saturday's win at Sunderland. But there will still be no show from one of David Moyes' other summer signings, Nigerian defender Joseph Yobo. He had targeted tonight's match for his debut, but aggravated his ankle injury in training and will remain on the sidelines. Wright, however, will play on, after admitting after Saturday's match-winning display at Sunderland that a lack of regular match practice affected his form at Arsenal. "Psychologically it's important for Richard to play," admitted manager Moyes. "He needs the games, but I can't afford to take risks with anybody. He deserves credit for playing on after getting the injury early at Sunderland and he's still got a badly bruised hand and forearm, but I'm still hopeful he will play." Moyes has enjoyed several crunch clashes with Birmingham in the past, including a play-off semi-final while he was manager of Preston. "I've had a few tussles with Birmingham before and I'm sure this will be no different," he said. "Birmingham's a tough game. I know what it will mean to them to try and get a result. They'll be looking to get up and running." The Midlanders lost at Arsenal on their Premiership return, then went down 1-0 to Blackburn on Saturday.
* WORLD CUP winner Ray Wilson will tonight be officially inducted as an 'Everton Giant'.
"Following the success of our Millennium Giants initiative, we are naming a new 'Everton Giant' every year," Goodison press officer Darren Griffiths explained. "It was Alan Ball last year and we felt that as this is a historic season for the club, and a World Cup year, then Ray Wilson was an entirely appropriate choice for 2002. "The National Football Museum in Preston have loaned us the actual match ball from the 1966 World Cup final so that Ray can carry it out on to the pitch at half-time."
New boy Tie's made a good impression
Report By Paul Walker, Daily Post
Aug 28 2002
DAVID MOYES admitted he has been surprised at the speed Chinese star Li Tie has adapted to the Premiership. The World Cup midfielder could continue his learning curve against Birmingham's aggressive Robbie Savage - on his debut for the Midlanders - when the sides clash at Goodison Park tonight. Savage, linked during the summer with Everton, is now free from suspension and will want to make his mark with his new club. But Everton boss Moyes reckoned Li Tie was coping well with his new environment and is likely to name the same side that won at Sunderland on Saturday if goalkeeper Richard Wright recovers from an arm injury. As for Li Tie, with Tobias Linderoth available, Scot Gemmill back in training after a hamstring injury and Republic of Ireland international Lee Carsley battling for a place in the side, he will have to maintain his impressive start to the campaign to hold his place. But Moyes said: "Li Tie has played very well, he can see a pass and is controlled in possession. "It has taken him a while to get up to the speed of the games and towards the end he has faded away a little, but that's because of the pace and speed of the game in the Premiership. "At the moment his communication is not good because of the language problem, but he's doing well with the ball when he gets it." Moyes added: "We were apprehensive about someone coming from another continent and how long it will be before he settles.
"And we have a lot of central midfield players who have a good claim on the jersey, so those were the problems. "But he was the one in the Chinese side who I felt could make an impact. I didn't know how quickly it would happen or even if it would happen. But he has come in, settled, and done very well." Added Moyes: "He's done better than I expected and he's competing in an area where I have a lot of options.
"But his season in China was already well underway and he'd been at the World Cup. Maybe he was better off as far as match practice was concerned when he arrived. "Whether he will show the effects of that later in the season because of playing continuous football, we will have to wait and see. "But the two Chinese boys are loving it, they are always smiling and enjoying the experience."
And Moyes holds out hope for central defender Li Weifeng - the other part of the Chinese double act - to get his chance soon. Moyes added: "As for Li Weifeng, there's a lot of competition in defence, but he's doing well in training as well and not letting himself down. His opportunity will come."
Everton are currently giving a week's trial to former Fiorentina defender Moreno Torricelli, although Blackburn Rovers are also interested in the former Juventus star. The 32-year-old arrived at the club yesterday, but the chances of Everton signing him depend on whether they can move on any of the current squad. And the Blues boss said: "I'll have a look at him over the next week or two but I need to think about the situation this week. "If we do pursue things it is not something that will be an instant hit. He has not had any pre-season and a month away from bring match fit."
The Savage truth for Li
Aug 28 2002 By David Prentice, Everton Correspondent
EVERTON'S Chinese midfielder Li Tie admitted at the weekend that he couldn't go out in Beijing without being mobbed. At Goodison tonight Robbie Savage aims to show him a home from home.
Birmingham's combative signing will make his delayed debut for the Midlanders, after serving a suspension during the first two games of the season. Renowned for his ability to upset opponents, Savage will line up in direct opposition to Li Tie. But Blues' boss David Moyes remains confident his own midfield acquisition can handle everything the Premiership can throw at him. "Li Tie has played very well," he declared. "He can see a pass and is controlled in possession. "It has taken him a while to get up to the speed of the games and towards the end he has faded out a little, but that's because of the pace and the speed of the game in the Premiership. "At the moment his communication is not good because of the language problem, but he's doing well with the ball when he gets it."
Tie arrived at Goodison as part of Everton's sponsorship deal with electronics company Kejian. Suggestions that the transfer was simply an awkward but integral clause in that deal were swiftly disabused when Li Tie kicked off the season in Everton's starting line-up. "We were apprehensive about someone coming from another continent and how long it would be before he settles," added Moyes. "And we have a lot of central midfielders who have a good claim on the jersey, so those were the problems. "But he was the one in the Chinese side who I felt could make an impact. I didn't know how quickly it would happen or even if it would happen, but he has come in, settled and done very well. "He's done better than I expected and he's competing in area where I have a lot of options. "But his season in China was already well underway and he'd been at the World Cup. Maybe he was better off as far as match practice was concerned when he arrived. "Whether he will show the affects of that later in the season because of playing continuous football, we will have to wait and see. But the two Chinese boys are loving it, they are always smiling and enjoying the experience." Less happy is midfield rival at Goodison, Tobias Linderoth, but the Swede is angry at recent reports where he claimed he would quit Everton if he was not selected. Linderoth's words appeared in the Expressen newspaper --ironically the same publication which carried stories causing a rift between Thomas Gravesen and Walter Smith last Christmas. "I have spoken with the manager and explained the situation," said Linderoth. "I spoke with a journalist whilst I was back in Sweden and I have been misinterpreted and misquoted. "I didn't say those things and I am disappointed that they appeared in some newspapers. " Obviously I am disappointed at not being involved, but it is down to myself to work hard and wait for my chance. "When I came here I knew it would be difficult to break into the side and I have to continue trying to impress the manager to show him I am worthy of a chance." Moyes confirmed: "Tobias has been to see me and explained that his comments have been taken out of context and I know exactly what he means. There is no problem here." It is the Chinese midfielder, however, who is expected to get the nod again tonight . . .
Ray makes giant Goodison step
Aug 28 2002 By David Prentice
RAY WILSON returns to Goodison Park tonight, to be unveiled as the Everton giant for 2002.
And the Blues' only World Cup winner will carry the famous 1966 matchball with him.
Wilson will join Alan Ball, a teammate in Sir Alf Ramsey's revered side, as the latest inductee into the prestigious gallery of giants. "Following the huge success of our Millennium Giants intiative, we are naming a new 'Everton Giant' every year," explained Everton Media Officer Darren Griffiths.
"It was Alan Ball last year and we felt that as this is an historic season for the club, and a World Cup year, then Ray Wilson was an entirely appropriate choice for 2002. "We were delighted when Ray accepted the tribute and I'm sure the fans will give him the rousing reception he deserves.
"I have been in contact with the National Football Museum in Preston and they are bringing along the actual match ball from the 1966 World Cup Final." Wilson, who joined Everton from Huddersfield Town in July 1964, made 116 league appearances in four seasons at Goodison.
He was a member of the 1966 FA Cup winning team, just a month after he also helped claim the FA Cup at Wembley, and was widely recognised as being one of the classiest, most composed full-backs in Everton history. "I was delighted to be asked to receive the Everton Giant tribute," he said. "I still look out for Everton's results, because my five years at Goodison were the best of my career and I just wish I could have carried on playing at the top level for a couple more seasons, because Ball, Harvey and Kendall were together and it had the makings of another great side."
Moyes homes in on target
Aug 28 2002 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON boss David Moyes is demanding his unbeaten side do not throw away the benefits of a fine opening week to his first campaign as a Premiership boss. A home draw with Tottenham and then a defiant, impressive victory at Sunderland has boosted levels of expectation among Everton fans. And a win over Birmingham at Goodison Park tonight could even put Everton top of the Premiership if other results go for them. But Moyes just wants Goodison's first home win of the season. He said: " We need to get off the mark at home. We need to get points in the bag and see whether we can build and improve. But Moyes believes the fact newly- promoted Birmingham have no points and no goals after their first two games could work against his side. "It probably puts added pressure on us ," said the Everton manager. "It will certainly give Birmingham more of an incentive. "It will mean a lot to them to get their season up and running, particularly after their promotion." Everton's only injury worry is new goalkeeper Richard Wright, who is suffering from severe bruising and swelling to an arm.
Everton 1, Birmingham City 1 (D,Post)
Aug 29 2002 Andy Hunter Reports From Goodison Park, Daily Post
FORTUNE filled Goodison Park last night. Not in the time or circumstances of Everton's late leveller, but in the rewards that favour the brave. And Everton and David Moyes deserved everything they took from shell-shocked Birmingham. An injury-time own goal preserved the Blues unbeaten start to the Premiership, saving them a point and speaking volumes about the spirit Moyes is stirring up inside his squad. Behind in both goals and men for over 40 minutes at Goodison Park after the dismissal of Alan Stubbs for a professional foul, Everton could easily have folded in the face of the new boys' rugged onslaught. But Moyes stuck with his three-man attack, ordered his side to go for the jugular despite the handicap, and ended up annoyed at the fact the Blues could only draw.
Such a sense of adventure is clearly rubbing off on his first team squad as they bid to turn the tide of recent seasons their way. Depleted but not down, Stubbs' departure signalled a transformation from the sluggish side of the first half to the vibrant and valiant outfit rallying against a perceived injustice. And when David Unsworth's last-gasp volley struck the post and went in off the back of Kenny Cunningham's legs, this was one slice of luck that few would argue Everton didn't deserve. Not even Steve Bruce, even after seeing his first Premiership win slip away in agonising fashion.
Everton had dominated from the moment Stern John succeeded where Kevin Phillips' failed and beat a Blues' keeper from the penalty spot. Though for once this season Richard Wright was unable to grab the headlines as the injury picked up at the Stadium of Light ruled him out. With just three days until the transfer window shuts for four months and no cash to spend in any case, Moyes was in no position to take any chances, and gave Steve Simonsen an opportunity to press his claims.
It didn't take long for the former Tranmere man to shake off the rust as Birmingham made the best of a scrappy, frantic opening to let Everton know from the first minute they had a fierce scrap on their hands. The Premiership newcomers have opted to adjust to the top flight through brawn and raw enthusiasm rather than the more cultured approach, and there was no doubting the effectiveness as they rattled Moyes' men and the return of his 4-3-3 formation. Everton's midfield trio, missing the ill and influential Mark Pembridge, struggled to make the impact they did against Tottenham but on the few occasions they did get the ball down and play it was clearly their best route to a breakthrough. That said, it still took the Blues 31 minutes to engineer their first decent chance of the night. Kevin Campbell is prospering so far this season as the fulcrum of Everton's attack, and thanks to a bout of full fitness too, and set up Wayne Rooney for a halfchance from an acute angle that the 16-year-old still managed to get on target only for Nico Vaesen to parry.
Everton's best move of the half created their clearest chance five minutes later as the secret to beating Birmingham on the floor rather than through long punts forward began to hit home.
A raking pass from Thomas Gravesen found the excellent Tony Hibbert and his low cross sent the ball through to Campbell. For the second match in succession Everton's number nine looked to have broken the deadlock, but while his low shot beat Vaesen it cannonned off the far post too.
Those two well-worked openings apart, Everton rarely convinced and indeed they could have been behind long before John's spot-kick. The City striker saw a goalbound header tipped over by Simonsen after just eight minutes while Martin Grainger hit the Blues bar with a thunderous 25-yard free-kick. Moyes frustration at his side's failure to play their way into the ascendancy was clearly shared at half time and sunk in as Campbell neatly released Radzinski only for Vaesen to make a fine block from both the Canadian and Gravesen. But the Blues' game-plan unravelled disastrously before it had even taken shape as just four minutes into the second half Everton became architects of a potential downfall. Gravesen's lazy back pass caught his defenders cold and sent John racing through on goal. Stubbs, the last man, tried everything to halt his progress, but sadly all of it illegal to give blundering referee Eddie Wolstenholme no choice in the matter. John still managed to shoot at Simonsen but the only debate, admittedly much easier to make from the stands than in a split-second out on the pitch, is whether Stubbs should have risked giving his marker a free shot.
Instead, Everton were a man and a goal down as John picked himself up to rifle home the penalty.
There was no question of Moyes the adventurer changing his tactics now, as David Unsworth dropped back but the Blues persevered with their three-pronged attack to dominate the rest of the game. Their reaction was good enough to have earned all three points rather than just the one.
Rooney ran the visiting defence ragged on a solo mission to right the perceived wrongs of Stubbs' red card, but for all their perspiration and eventual inspiration it seemed a harsh first defeat of the season was on its way. The teenager was denied a deserved equaliser in the final minute by Cunningham's inspired penalty-box tackle, but seconds later there was only misery for the former Wimbledon man. Birmingham failed to clear Gravesen's corner not once but twice and after a spell of pinball Unsworth let fly from the edge of the box and, thanks to Cunningham's intervention, a superb rescue mission was complete. Not surprisingly Gravesen was first to embrace Unsworth on the final whistle while Goodison embraced a new-found sense of adventure.
EVERTON (4-3-3): Simonsen; Hibbert, Weir, Stubbs, Naysmith (Rodrigo, 85 mins); Gravesen, Li Tie, Unsworth; Radzinski, Campbell, Rooney. Subs: Alexandersson, Linderoth, Carsley, Gerrard.
BIRMINGHAM CITY (4-4-2): Vaesen; Tebily (Kenna, 35 mins), Cunningham, Purse, Grainger; Johnson, Savage, Cisse, Hughes (Carter, 70 mins); John, Horsfield (Morrison, 81 mins). Subs: Bennett, Mooney.
REFEREE: Eddie Wolstenholme (St Helens)
BOOKINGS: Birmingham's Johnson, Savage, Hughes (foul), Everton's Unsworth (foul)
SENDINGS-OFF: Everton's Stubbs ( professional foul)
Blues break even
Report By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Aug 29 2002
DAVID MOYES hailed 10-man Everton last night as they salvaged a draw thanks to an injury-time own goal against Birmingham - but still insisted it was a case of two points dropped!
Alan Stubbs was sent off after just 48 minutes for a professional foul on Stern John, who picked himself up to score from the penalty spot. The Premiership new boys looked on course for their first win of the season only for the battling Blues to pull off an incredible point when David Unsworth's shot deflected in off Kenny Cunningham in the third minute of injury time. But despite his delight at Everton's fightback Moyes admitted he was disappointed his side hadn't won. Moyes said: "It was thoroughly deserved, and I would have said that even if we hadn't pulled a goal back at the end. Even so I still feel it was two points dropped. With 10 men for so long and with a goal that late you've got to be thankful, but I think when I've calmed down and reflected on the game I'll be disappointed we never won. "Steve Simonsen had one save to make all night. He tipped a header over early on, but even after we went down to 10 men he didn't have anything else to do. It was a fabulous response by 10 men, but I think we should have taken three points." Stubbs' dismissal by referee Eddie Wolstenholme looked to have turned the game Birmingham's way but Moyes said: "It was a sending off and a penalty. No complaints." And he admitted his ploy of keeping his three-pronged attack in place after the red card had paid off. Moyes added: "The three lads up front were a handful for Birmingham. I could have changed things but I kept it because they were always a threat and I thought if we just got one chance they'd take it. Tomasz Radzinski was exceptionally sharp again. He's looked comfortable and energetic in training and he's taking it out onto the pitch. But the one chance fell to David Unsworth and it was a fabulous response by the lads." Birmingham boss Steve Bruce said: "We are desperately disappointed, but it's a cruel lesson we have had to learn. From the moment we scored we were on the back foot; we'd had two defeats and it is only human nature to drop back like that. But we paid dearly for that, it was a harsh price to pay.
"I felt sorry for Kenny, he had been excellent but we end up with the ball bouncing off the post and his legs before going in. He didn't deserve that and neither did we."
Everton 1, Birmingham City 1 (Echo)
Aug 29 2002 By David Prentice At Goodison Park
THE Main Stand moaner who bellowed "Get Unsworth off!" just half-an-hour into his first appearance of the season, will presumably have been pleased his constructive comment was not acted upon. Likewise, the equally helpful fan who added: "Agreed!" Unsworth's passing was no worse than anyone else's on an immensely frustrating night for the Blues. But his spirit is representative of the neversaydie qualities David Moyes is rapidly instilling into his Everton squad.
For the second successive home game they deservedly equalised desperately late in the match.
But this time they did it after operating with 10-men for nearly 45 minutes. After Spurs were thwarted on the opening day, this time newly promoted Birmingham were denied, 91-andahalf minutes into a game some departing fans had already given up. The three minutes added on by referee Eddie Wolstenholme were already more than halfway through when Unsworth successfully swung a right foot at a dropping ball, to snatch a thoroughly deserved point-saver. It said much for David Moyes' attitude - and the efforts of his team - that the belligerent young manager then declared he was disappointed not to have won. The Blues' boss can never be accused of conservatism, and when Alan Stubbs was sent-off for hauling back Stern John he left three attackers on the pitch. It was bold, but effective. Steve Simonsen was untroubled in the Everton goal after that, while Birmingham's defenders' sustained severe pressure before finally cracking at the death.
It was a night when fortune favoured the brave . . . evetually. Everton entered the contest with an adventurous 4-3-3 formation - again. But the quality of passing to the three forwards was never good enough to take advantage. Radzinski was an immensely willing outlet, Rooney was eager and busy, but the passes from midfield never consistently possessed the accuracy to use their pace to best affect. The first half was a frustrating hotch-potch of misplaced passes and poor decision making. But after two early efforts from Grainger and John, Birmingham never looked like showing enough quality to make Everton pay. Grainger's free-kick clipped the woodwork and John's header was athletically tipped over by Steve Simonsen - a steady and sure stand-in for the injured Richard Wright. Birmingham counterpart Ian Bennett had just one Rooney shot to deal with in the opening half, but he thanked his right-hand goalpost in the 36th minute when Campbell's shot beat him but cannoned back into play. Everton looked set to mount a second half cavalry charge when Radzinski, Gravesen and finally Li Tie all had shots blocked by Bennett in the same frantic goalmouth scramble seconds after the restart, but a red card three minutes later put a different perspective on the game.
Thomas Gravesen's back-pass was wretched. It gave John a clear run at goal and left Stubbs trailing desperately in his slipstream. The defender grabbed at the striker's shirt and while John didn't quite go to ground, there was little doubt Eddie Wolstenholme got it right when he awarded a penalty and brandished a red card. John converted clinically, but Everton had been in a similar position under Moyes before - and it was his same lucky charm who came to his rescue. Unsworth struck little more than half-a-minute into Moyes' first game as Blues' boss, when Thomas Gravesen was red-carded against Fulham. This time he was instrumental halfa-minute from the end of his latest game.
Pressure from the 10-men had been mounting, but Bennett had still not been troubled until the 91st minute. Hibbert's punt into the box was halfcleared by Kenna and when he tried to charge down Unsworth's volley he got a significant deflection. That took the ball onto the post, it bounced against Cunningham's legs and finally nestled in the Gwladys Street net, sparking mass pandemonium on the terraces. It maintained an unbeaten start for Everton, and crushed the newly promoted visitors. Denying Birmingham all three points, might ultimately have as much significance on the Premiership as the single point Everton preserved.
EVERTON (4-3-3): Simonsen, Hibbert, Weir, Stubbs, Naysmith (Rodrigol 85 mins), Gravesen, Tie, Unsworth, Rooney, Campbell, Radzinski. Unused substitutes: Gerrard, Alexandersson, Linderoth, Carsley.
BIRMINGHAM CITY (4-4-2): Vaesen, Tebily (Kenna 35 mins), Cunningham, Purse, Grainger, Johnson, Cisse, Savage, Hughes (Carter 70 mins), Horsfield (Morrisson 81 mins), John. Unused substitutes: Bennett, Mooney.
REFEREE: Eddie Wolstenholme.
BOOKINGS: Johnson (13 mins) foul, Savage (38 mins) foul, Unsworth (56 mins) foul, Hughes (61 mins) foul. Sending-off: Stubbs (48 mins) denying a goalscoring opportunity.
GOALS: John (penalty 48 mins) 0-1, Cunningham (own goal 91 mins) 1-1.
Stubbs gave ref no option - Moyes
Aug 29 2002 Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES accepted that the decision to send off Alan Stubbs and award the penalty for the foul on Stern John was correct during last night's Premiership clash with Birmingham. The Blues boss backed referee Eddie Wolstenholme's decision, but also conceded that he believed his side had done enough to earn more than the point shared. Moyes said: "We thoroughly deserved the point. Considering we had 10 men for so long, we restricted them to just a couple of shots and should have won in my view. "Obviously I was disappointed with only a draw, but I can't complain about the effort and desire, and all three of our strikers were a handful. "We could have taken one off when we went down to 10 men, but decided to stick with the three and the gamble paid off."
Watch out for my grandson Wayne
Aug 29 2002 By Peter Guy
A FORMER Linnets' star of the 1950s has revealed a link with England's hottest footballing talent.
Billy Murray played for Burscough football club during the 1950s and in a letter written in 1997 to club secretary Stan Strickland he predicts a bright future for his grandson. He is none other than Everton goal-scoring hot shot Wayne Rooney! In his letter Billy, from Norris Green, Liverpool, proves to be a top tipster telling Strickland to "look out for him in the future." Strickland said: "Billy sent the letter following receipt of a copy of our club history, 'Green Village Heroes'. "I dug the letter out recently when filling in our first programme of the new season. Who would have thought Rooney would have such a meteoric rise in the game?" Rooney, a product of the Everton Youth Academy, made Premier League history recently by becoming the league's youngestever player - just missing out on Joe Royle's historic record of being the youngest-ever player in Everton's history.
Billy's letter was printed in Burscough's first home game of the new season against Lancaster City, which reads: "Dear Stan, Enclosing cheque for £10, thank you for your hospitality. I have just received the book and I will read through it properly tonight. I have a photograph when we played in the Lancashire Combination that is different from the one in the book. "My son Billy, who played for Marine, emigrated to play in Melbourne in 1979. He is coaching there now and I have visited him four times. "One of my grandsons is with Everton's School of Excellence and plays for Liverpool Schoolboys' under-12 team. He has just broken the schoolboy record for scoring goals with 73 goals.
"He is an excellent player. Look out for him in the future. His name is Wayne Rooney."
Blues live life on edge
Fanscene By Mark O'Brien, Daily Post
Aug 30 2002
ANYONE hoping for a season of composed and quietly efficient performances from Everton must already be reaching for the valium. In the space of a week we've conceded two penalties, saved one of them, scored an injury-time equaliser, had a man sent off, seen the woodwork rattled countless times and picked up three points at one of our many bogey grounds. David Moyes must despair at times as his team continue to work extremely hard and then shoot themselves in the foot.
Richard Wright made a stunning save from Kevin Phillips' spot kick at the Stadium of Light but that didn't hide the fact that he conceded the penalty and was perhaps a little fortunate to have his fumbled own goal disallowed. It will be interesting to see if the assured looking Steve Simonsen keeps his place once Wright recovers from his arm injury. Wright's not the only one who is performingerratically though; Thomas Gravesen at times looks a cut above with his clever movement and control but then he puts in an awful performance like the one against Birmingham where his sloppy back pass cost us the penalty. We need to cut out the lapses in concentration and also try and keep hold of the ball a bit more like we did at the end of last season. At the moment, especially at home when we have three forwards on, we seem to be too keen to by-pass midfield and get the ball forward quickly. A little bit of patience wouldn't go amiss at times. On a positive note, despite dropping some easy points at home, we've still got five on the board already thanks to the team's heroics at Sunderland. Li Tie has also improved with every game; his energetic display on Wednesday night was the main reason that Birmingham weren't able to take advantage of their extra man in the second half. If we're to contain Manchester City tomorrow we're going to need all the players to show as much enthusiasm and endeavour as the Chinese international. In the opening fortnight Kevin Keegan's side have struggled away from home, but against Newcastle at home they attacked magnificently. If Ali Bernabia and Eyal Berkovic are given room to pick their passes then their pace up front is liable to cause us major problems. This promises to be our stiffest test yet - hopefully the players are set to put their schoolboy errors behind them and reward us and our shredded nerves with a bit of composure and a good, professional showing.
Blues on rebound after City loss
Academy League By Chris Wright, Daily Post
Aug 30 2002
EVERTON under-19s look to draw inspiration from last season tomorrow as they seek to bounce back from their opening day defeat. Last season's thrilling run to the final of the FA Youth Cup, started on a dark December night in London, when two goals from Michael Symes in extra-time sealed a superb victory over West Ham United. Tomorrow's return visit to the capital will see Colin Harvey's side pitted against the Hammers in the FA Premier Academy League (kick-off 11am).
And after last Saturday's undeserved opening day defeat to Coventry City, the Blues will be looking to bounce back. But they must be wary of a Hammers side, who may be waiting to redress the balance after last season's Cup loss. Academy director Ray Hall said: "The lads will be keen to go out and get a result. But West Ham will be the same. "The majority of their boys we will have put out of the Youth Cup last year and they will be smarting a little bit about that. "But it is all part of the learning experience especially for some of our under-17s." Blues coach Harvey will also be looking for a reaction to Saturday's defeat, which did not reflect a positive performance from the Blues.
He said: "Saturday was a bit disappointing and if they hadn't played well I would have said so. But they deserved something from the match. "But there is no problems in terms of work-rate and attitude and we will be looking to bounce back." Alan Harper's under-17s will be hoping to build on their goalless draw against Coventry. They too will be on their travels to face West Ham in London.
Stubbs ban opens door to Yobo
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Aug 30 2002
ALAN STUBBS' misfortune should prove Joseph Yobo's gain as the Nigerian looks set to capitalise on his team-mate's red card misery. New signing Yobo has still to make his competitive debut for Everton, seven weeks after his £5million-rated move from Marseille, due to an ankle injury.
But Stubbs' sending off against Birmingham City on Wednesday has opened the door for the 21-year-old to claim his favoured centre-half spot when he regains full fitness. The former Bolton and Celtic man will serve a one-match suspension after his professional foul on Stern John, ruling him out of the Blues' trip to Southampton on September 11. And that should coincide with Yobo's long-awaited return to the first team frame. The World Cup star is unlikely to be risked at Manchester City this weekend after aggravating his ankle knock in training - and he is expected to be pulled out of international duty as a result - but should be available at St Mary's following the fixture break.
Yobo is highly unlikely to be joined by any more new faces at Goodison before tomorrow's transfer deadline, which manager David Moyes believes the Premiership can well do without. Moyes is one of a growing number of top flight managers concerned at the impact the four-month cessation on transfers will have on the English game as it struggles to cope in the aftermath of ITV Digital's collapse. The Blues boss explained: "With the state football is in at the moment I personally think the transfer window will only add to the confusion and problems. "It would have been a good idea to introduce it two years ago when clubs were spending big and the big clubs were going out and getting any players they needed. "But now football needs an open door policy until it can sort its finances out. With the number of players out of work now and the number of clubs struggling it is something that needs to be looked at again."
Everton FC's £30m stadium challenge
By Bill Gleeson Business Editor, Daily Post
Aug 30 2002
EVERTON Football Club's proposed new home at Kings Dock has hit major hurdles that will result in the project being put on hold and possibly even completely abandoned. Two problems affecting the funding of the waterfront stadium mean much of the work needed to submit a planning application has been halted. The revelations come in a report presented to the board of Liverpool Vision, the regeneration company in charge of revitalising Kings Dock. Liverpool Vision now believes it is unlikely a planning application for the stadium will be submitted until next year at the earliest. Originally the application was to be submitted last April. The first problem has arisen because Everton cannot raise the money needed to meet its share of the construction costs. Another report compiled last year by accountancy firm KPMG for Liverpool Vision concluded that Everton does not have £30m to invest in the new arena. Since Everton has been unable to raise its £30m stake, Liverpool Vision has asked Paul Gregg, the wealthy entrepreneur who coowns the club, to use his personal fortune to guarantee the £30m. However Mr Gregg, who is worth around £120m, said yesterday he was unhappy with the proposal as it presently stands. He said: "There is an ongoing discussion about that. Every effort will be made to support the club and its ambition to build the stadium. "But nobody in their right mind is going to turn around and say I'm going to write a cheque out for £30m. "The funding for the scheme will be found. How that will happen is not finally resolved, but we will make sure Everton will cover its contribution to the scheme. "I am personally not going to write out a guarantee for £30m on the terms and conditions proposed by Liverpool Vision and nobody other than somebody in the lunatic asylum would do that. "The answer is we are working on resolving this dispute with Liverpool Vision." A second funding snag has arisen because it had been envisaged that the £155m construction cost of the arena would be subsidised from part of the profits made from building 1,000 homes on the bit of the Kings Dock site not being used by Everton. This cross-subsidy was meant to be guaranteed by the project's construction firm, Bovis Lend Lease. However Bovis has now said it is not prepared to give such a guarantee. Following Bovis's refusal to guarantee the subsidy, Liverpool-based Neptune Developments has been asked to step in. But Neptune has yet to sign an agreement binding it to delivering the subsidy amounting to £32m. Neptune's managing director, Peter Hynd, said yesterday that this was dependent on his finding house-builders who are prepared to help fund the total development cost of the residential side of Kings Dock. He is in talks with Wimpey City Homes, Countryside Properties and a private London property developer. Mr Hynd discounted worries that his company does not have the financial capacity to raise the money needed. He said: "We may not have an asset value of £32m, but we can certainly raise the money. That's why we have chosen to approach large companies with strong balance sheets. "In principle we hope to have done a deal with the other developers within a fortnight. It is all going very well at the moment." Neptune developed Liverpool's Queen Square in the mid-90s and more recently developed Speke's award-winning Marriott hotel. Jim Gill, chief executive of Liverpool Vision, said: "There are a number of conditions that must be met before the project can progress. "Those talks are ongoing, but in the meantime the feasibility work has been put on hold at the moment. It will be early in the new year before we make a planning application in my current assessment." Mr Gill said the ball was in Mr Gregg's court regarding the guarantees about Everton's funding. He said: "If he is unhappy with our proposals, then it is up to him to get back with his own."
WILL IT EVER HAPPEN?
IT has been admitted for the first time that Everton's ambitious plans to build a riverside stadium near the heart of Liverpool may never become a reality. Regeneration leaders now believe it is time to prepare a "fall back" position, a Plan B for such an eventuality. A report to the Liverpool Vision board said: "We need to consider fall back arrangements in the event that the outstanding issues are not resolved satisfactorily. "One lesson to emerge from the process is that there is strong support from all parts of the community for an arena/conference centre in the city which without football would meet less obvious opposition."
Kings Dock: New threats
Exclusive By Bill Gleeson Business Editor, Daily Post
Aug 30 2002
EVERTON'S hopes of building a new home at Kings Dock have suffered a serious setback as the club and other investors struggle to find the funds needed. The club's public sector partners, which include Liverpool City Council, are refusing to pay any further costs of the project until they get guarantees that Everton and the scheme's other private sector investors can fund their share of the costs. And Liverpool Vision, the regeneration company responsible for overseeing the development of Kings Dock, has for the first time begun considering alternative uses for the prime waterfront site.
According to a report presented to the board of Liverpool Vision and obtained by the Daily Post, Everton have been told they will not get the go-ahead to develop Kings Dock until they can guarantee they have all the necessary funds in place to pay for the construction of the 55,000 seat arena. The club needs to raise £30m to pay for its 50pc stake in the completed arena. Liverpool Vision has now asked Paul Gregg, the theatre entrepreneur who co-owns Everton, to use his own personal wealth to offer a legally binding guarantee for Everton's contribution. Mr Gregg said: "Every effort will be made to support the club and its ambition to build the stadium. But nobody in their right mind is going to turn around and say I'm going to write a cheque out for £30m." He said negotiations were continuing. The report also reveals that construction group Bovis Lend Lease has backtracked on a plan for it to underwrite £32m of the building costs. That refusal has meant another firm, Liverpool-based Neptune Developments, is in talks to take over part of the Kings Dock scheme from Bovis. This includes building 1,020 homes on half of Kings Dock. However Neptune's involvement depends on it persuading other housebuilding groups to sign up for the project.
The latest hitches will mean further delays in obtaining planning permissions and knock on consequences for the completion of the project. Failure to secure any part of the funding will mean abandoning the stadium project altogether, according to the same report.
Wright set to return for Blues
Aug 30 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
RICHARD WRIGHT is ready to step straight back into the Everton starting line-up tomorrow, as Everton try to halt Kevin Keegan's free-scoring Manchester City. The goalkeeper trained this morning after missing Wednesday night's draw against Birmingham with a bruised arm.
Barring any reaction he will return immediately at the expense of the unlucky Steve Simonsen, and is guaranteed a lively reception at Maine Road. But despite City's renowned attacking style, Everton are unlikely to fight fire with fire at Maine Road. Everton under Moyes have also scored freely - and conceded - on their travels, but the Blues' boss may adopt a more cautious approach tomorrow.
"There are some games where we must decide the best system to play," he explained "and going to a place like City, we want to be hard to beat. "But in doing that we also want to cause them problems at the same time, so we will have to look at the best way of doing that." That could mean a first start of the season for Lee Carsley. "Manchester City have a fantastic attacking formation," added Moyes. "They have players capable of scoring from every area of the field."
Li Tie also trained today, after picking up a knock, and is looking to cross swords with City's Chinese import, Sun Jihai. Still missing are Alessandro Pistone, Joseph Yobo and Duncan Ferguson. Steve Watson and Scot Gemmill are fit again, but still short of match practice. Yobo will be pulled out of Nigeria's international squad for next week's friendly match against Algeria, but
Niclas Alexandersson and Tobias Linderoth have both been named in Sweden's latest squad.
* Everton will beam tomorrow's game back to Goodison Park on a giant screen at the Park End. Admission is £10 adults and £5 under-16s and over-65s.
Team poser for boss Keegan
Aug 30 2002
KEVIN Keegan will hope his Manchester City side respond to home comforts against Everton tomorrow. City suffered their second successive away-day misery at Aston Villa on Wednesday, leaving Keegan with a selection poser. While the likes of Ali Benarbia, Eyal Berkovic and Nicolas Anelka have failed to produce the goods on their travels, last weekend's ravaging of Newcastle is still fresh in the mind. City deserved far more than their single goal success against Sir Bobby Robson's side, who were unable to break out of their own half for the first 30 minutes. With Everton unlikely to arrive at Maine Road with a willingness to engage in an endtoend attacking duel, Keegan must decide whether to adopt a more pragmatic approach himself. Northern Ireland international Kevin Horlock, an unused substitute against Villa, is sure to come into contention, as will Danny Tiatto, who replaced Berkovic midway through the second half. Berkovic though insists City will bounce back tomorrow. "We will put a smile back on the manager's face," he said. " The work rate wasn't good enough but there is no panic."
Moyes puts his faith in Radzinski
Aug 30 2002 Liverpool Echo
CANADIAN international Tomasz Radzinski has won the backing of Everton boss David Moyes after making a dramatic start to the Premiership campaign. Speculation was that the former Anderlecht star could have been on his way from Goodison Park in the summer if cash strapped Everton had received a decent offer. But the diminutive hitman is still very much around, and impressing the new Everton chief with his early season form. With teenager Wayne Rooney going to be given his head this term, and veteran Kevin Campbell fit again, the chances for Radzinski looked remote.
But Moyes has started the season with a three- man attacking formation, certainly in home games, and that has included Radzinski. Away from home it has been Rooney who has sat on the bench.
Moyes said after the 1-1 midweek draw with Birmingham, when he stuck bravely with three strikers despite having Alan Stubbs sent off: " Radzinski was outstanding, and I thought the three strikers together were a real handful. "We could have changed things when we went down to 10 men. We could have taken off one of the strikers in those circumstances, but we decided to stick with it because all three of them were causing trouble. "We kept it going because I felt they were doing well and opportunities would come. " Radzinski looked very sharp. He has been exceptionally good in all three of our games. "He has looking good in training and has really impressed me. "He looks like he has really settled down here now. His training is good and he's showing it on the field."
I took my chance - Unsworth
Aug 30 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
IN keeping with a club whose fortunes have fluctuated dramatically throughout his career there, David Unsworth has endured a roller-coaster start to the season. Three long weeks ago he stepped out at Goodison Park for the "proudest moment of his career" - a testimonial match against Athletic Bilbao. Then he was shattered to be left out of Everton's opening two games of the season.
He was recalled on Wednesday night against Birmingham - and left the pitch a point-saving hero, after a significant swing of his under-used right foot. Typically, even that satisfaction was short-lived, with video replays suggesting Kenny Cunningham got the final touch. "If the panel takes it off me fair enough, but until they do I will claim it, " shrugged Unsworth, more concerned about being back in an Everton starting line-up again. "The thing now is that the gaffer has the majority of the lads fit and everyone is raring to go," he explained. "It's the kind of competition for places we haven't really had at this club for a long time, so you just have to bide your time and when your chance comes around - like mine did on Wednesday - grab it with both hands and keep your shirt."
Unsworth was devastated to be left out on the opening day against Spurs - the club he made his Everton debut against and the opposition when he was first named captain - but he paid tribute to coach Andy Holden for behind the scenes psychology which kept him focused. " My season started on Wednesday," he said. "I was obviously very, very disappointed not to be involved in the last two games but that's football. "Andy Holden took me to one side before the game and told me to keep my chin up. He'd been having little words with me all week, telling me things like 'your time will come,' and 'keep your chin up' and he was so right on Wednesday night. "He told me I had nothing to prove when I went out there and that my season started then. "I only knew I was playing an hour and a half before kick-off. Mark Pembridge went down sick - which must have been those tablets I slipped him - and Gary Naysmith was feeling his groin and was 50-50. But Pembs missed out and I slotted into midfield." Unsworth was actually operating as a central defender when he popped up with the late leveller, following Alan Stubbs' dismissal. "I'd gone up for a corner right at the end and I just anticipated the ball dropping there," he explained. "I was going to go back post, but for some reason I changed my mind and just hung out. They headed it out, the trusty swinger came to the fore and it was in the back of the net. "The spirit is good amongst the lads. The gaffer has drummed that mentality into us about not getting beaten. That was clear on Wednesday when we were down to 10-men, but we still battered them. "I thought we absolutely annihilated them. They only had the one chance - the penalty - and that was it. The boys kept going and we deserved a point."
Unsworth also hopes he has made his own personal point.
Preview: Man City v Everton
August 30, 2002
Manchester Evening News
THERE could be more than a touch of Eastern promise about Maine Road tomorrow (Saturday) with millions of Chinese eyes expected to focus on the old ground. Centre of attention will be Manchester City's defender Jihai Sun and his 25-year-old international teammate Li Tie, who could figure in Everton's midfield. They are the first players from China to play in the Premiership and have created an enormous stir back in their own country. Sun is one of just four City players who escaped Kevin Keegan's wrath following the midweek defeat at Aston Villa, but the Blues boss is unlikely to throw his master plan out of the window just yet. Consistency call It would be no surprise if Keegan gave the same eleven the opportunity to go out and prove that performance in the 1-0 loss in the Midlands was simply a bad day at the office. He has no fresh injury worries though if he does choose to change things then Danny Tiatto, former Evertonian Richard Dunne and Kevin Horlock would be the obvious beneficiaries. Skipper Ali Benarbia has joined the chorus for more consistency after a blistering home performance was sandwiched by away defeats. "We must strive to maintain a certain level," he declared. "Playing really well once is not enough. "Our home form will be the key and we must be hard to beat at Maine Road but we must take that level away with us too."
Test for Wright
Everton boss David Moyes is no stranger to City having sent out a Preston side against them last season. He, too, was disappointed in midweek as his side only scraped a home draw thanks to a last minute David Unsworth equaliser against Birmingham City. Big money summer capture from Arsenal Richard Wright must undergo a late test on an arm injury that ruled him out on Wednesday and defender Joseph Yobo is struggling with an ankle knock. Duncan Ferguson is still not fully recovered from a back problem and that could pave the way for 16-year-old sensation Wayne Rooney to keep his place. The youngster shot to prominence last season with eight goals in eight games in the Everton Academy team's march to the FA Youth Cup final.
Last season: Different divisions
Key opponent: Kevin Campbell - the striker is much underrated.
Prediction: Manchester City 3 Everton 1
Blues' Maine test
By Mark Lawrenson, Daily Post
Aug 31 2002
AT FIVE O'CLOCK this evening, we will have a better idea of how Everton's season is going to pan out.
By then the Blues will have played Manchester City, a side who, although they have just been promoted, will give David Moyes' unbeaten side its first real test of their defensive - and attacking - capabilities. City are a typical Kevin Keegan side - freeflowing, attack-minded and willing to take chances at the back. They are proving a Jekyll and Hyde team at the moment but at home they will be difficult to beat. City were outstanding last week against Newcastle United, although they rode their luck a little with Newcastle missing some good chances. It would be unwise for Moyes to fight fire with fire and continue with the three strikers formation he is using for home games at present.
Instead, like at Sunderland last week, I expect him to adopt a forward duo of Kevin Campbell and Tomasz Radzinski and drop Wayne Rooney to the bench. That said, with City bound to leave so many gaps at the back, Moyes will be aware that his side must have enough attacking threat to exploit any space left by the home side. Otherwise it could just be one-way traffic. Of course, if Everton do not get things right defensively then there is a chance they could get hammered. The game will ask questions of the Blues midfield, with Li Tie in particular coming under the spotlight - not least because of the millions back in his homeland watching his duel with fellow Chinese international Sun Jihai. Li Tie has done surprisingly well since his arrival, and Moyes would not have put him into the starting line-up if he didn't think the midfielder was ready for the rough and tumble of the Premiership. Li Tie will face his toughest test of the season so far this afternoon against Eyal Berkovic and Ali Benarbia, but it will take 10 games before he settles enough to make a judgement on his potential. The last time City and Everton met at Maine Road, the Blues went down 5-0. And while I don't expect a repeat of that scoreline, I think it will be extremely difficult for Everton to gain even a point from this game. After a good win against Sunderland on Saturday - although they rode their luck somewhat - Everton's players were right to be disappointed with the draw with Birmingham on Wednesday. Although at first glance, after going down to 10 men and being a goal down with seconds to spare, it seems a good result, a team with aspirations of a top 10 finish should be turning over sides like Birmingham at home. However, the fact they fought back against the odds demonstrated the character and spirit Moyes has been keen to engender at the club. Richard Wright was missing from that game after proving the match-winner at the Stadium of Light last weekend. Despite his uneasy start as an Everton player against Tottenham, everyone knows Wright is going to be a good goalkeeper. He suffered an understandable loss of confidence during his spell at Arsenal and it will take time for him to recover that. He is still very inexperienced for a keeper but I fully expect him to prove a good signing for Moyes.
Mark Lawrenson was talking to IAN DOYLE
By Paul Walker, Daily Post
Aug 31 2002
THE eyes of millions on the other side of the world will be on Maine Road this afternoon when two Chinese legends clash in the Barclaycard Premiership for the first time. To the home market it's a tasty showdown between two old northern rivals Manchester City and Everton. To a third of the Chinese population who will be watching the match - especially beamed to them on TV - it is another great milestone in their country's soccer history. For Manchester City there is defender Sun Jihai. For Everton, it's midfielder Li Tie. Both played in the World Cup finals, and now both become the first Chinese players to face each other in the English top flight. The Chinese experience is just a sideshow for City and Everton, with the unbeaten Goodison Park side coming up against a team whose return to the top flight has seen two defeats in three games. For Everton assistant manager Alan Irvine, it represents the chance to witness a piece of unique soccer history while he tries to engineer another solid away performance by the revitalised Merseysiders. He said: "It is fantastic for the Chinese national team to have two players doing so well in the Premier League. We saw these two were fine in the World Cup, and the few players who have come to Europe from China have shown they are capable of playing at this level. "It is great for Chinese football and you would hope that it would help them produce even better players. There will be a fair few watching in China, I'm sure." Li Tie has just arrived in the UK and made a big impact at Goodison. Jihai first played for Crystal Palace in 1998. Irvine said of the pair: "It is difficult to come here and adapt, especially when you are playing at the back like Sun Jihai. "That's why Li Tie has done well and got his chance a little earlier than Li Weifeng, our other Chinese signing. You can get away with a few things in midfield that you cannot get get away with at the back, because mistakes are more costly there." He added: "We have more work to do to help Li Weifeng to adapt." Everton go into the game on the back of a good 1-0 win at Sunderland last Saturday, and a 1-1 draw against the odds at home to Birmingham on Wednesday when they battled back following the dismissal of Alan Stubbs.
"If you'd said before the game that we would draw 1-1 we would be disappointed , but we were happy at the end after scoring the late goal," said Irvine. "Funnily enough, if we'd have equalised with 10 minutes to go then we'd have been disappointed again if we hadn't gone on to score the winner. "The players were disappointed with the result against Birmingham. "You look ahead at games that you think you could win and that was one of them."
Team spirit is spot on
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Aug 31 2002
ALAN IRVINE last night hailed Everton's renewed strength of character as they bid to maintain their unbeaten start to the season. The battling Blues travel to Manchester City this afternoon after fighting from a goal and a man down to earn a last-gasp point at home to Birmingham City on Wednesday. It followed another late comeback to secure a draw on the opening day against Tottenham Hotspur and a backs-to-the-wall performance in gaining victory at Sunderland.
Such spirit has ensured boss David Moyes - who should welcome back Richard Wright in goal at Maine Road - a solid start to his first full campaign as boss. And it was confirmation of the immense character that has impressed assistant manager Irvine since his arrival at Goodison Park over the summer. "There is a very good spirit among the players," said the Scotsman. "Before I'd arrived here, I'd heard that there wasn't a very good spirit and heads would go down easily, but I haven't seen any evidence of that. "I've seen a lot of lads who are very eager to work hard, who are prepared to help each other out and it's a pleasure to work with them. "The atmosphere at the club is that everyone is prepared to do that little bit extra to try and get the result we need. That was typified on Wednesday, when we went down to 10 men and actually performed better than we did with 11 men." Goalkeeper Wright is ready to return to the starting lineup for today's game after missing the Birmingham clash with an injured arm. The £ 3.5million man trained yesterday and will have a fitness test this morning, although Steve Simonsen remains on stand-by to again deputise between the sticks. Mark Pembridge also trained yesterday but won't be risked as he struggles to overcome a bout of flu. The Welsh international has lost seven pounds in weight because of the virus and is being monitored by the Everton medical team. Moyes is likely to resist the temptation to go like-for-like against Kevin Keegan's adventurous tactics. "We have to be conscious of what Manchester City can do," admitted Irvine. "They have got some very good players in good positions where they can cause teams problems. "We've got be aware of how to get the ball back, and we have done some work on that. "But because they play such an open game, they are going to leave chances for us and we have to make sure we cause them more problems when we have the ball than they do to us when they are in possession. "We will have to exploit the spaces they leave. Against Newcastle United last week, City were excellent going forward but Newcastle still had some very good chances. "I think there will be plenty of chances for both sides." It means Tomasz Radzinski and Kevin Campbell will almost certainly renew their forward partnership, with Wayne Rooney moving back to the substitutes' bench. Added Irvine: "We certainly don't think that we can't play Wayne away from home. He came on at Sunderland and was excellent, and we would have no hesitation in starting with him at City. "We've just got to be conscious of the fact that he is still 16 years old. To play two games a week at this level is demanding for a 26-year-old, never mind a 16-yearold. "He looks like a man, but he is still a boy. "We are trying to keep an eye on him for lots of things. My experience in dealing with younger players is that they do hit troughs at different times.
"Initially they will come in flying and the adrenaline will be going, but then they will hit a dip.
"We've got to try and avoid that dip happening because he is a very important player to us."
Lee Carsley could come into midfield for his first start of the season, although Niclas Alexandersson - who, along with Tobias Linderoth, has been named in the latest Sweden squad - and Brazilian Rodrigo will also vie for a starting role. Joseph Yobo, Alessandro Pistone and Duncan Ferguson are again ruled out, while Scot Gemmill and Steve Watson won't be considered due to a lack of match practice.
KK praise for Anelka
August 31, 2002
Manchester Evening News
KEVIN Keegan was full of praise for hat-trick hero Nicolas Anelka after the club's record signing had gunned down Everton. The French international put in a brilliant display as City maintained their 100 per cent home record. And a delighted Keegan said: "The greatest thing was his workrate and he has tremendous energy and there was a lot of sweat on his shirt at the end. "At one point he was chasing back 60 or 70 yards and you have to applaud his team play. "This guy has a big heart and he will get goals for us, no question of that."
Man City 3 Everton 1
August 31, 2002
Manchester Evening News
NICOLAS Anelka answered his critics in resounding fashion with a hat-trick against Everton.
City's record signing scored twice in three first half minutes and though the Blues were pegged back by a David Unsworth penalty following the dismissal of Shaun Wright-Phillips, the French international sealed the points with five minutes remaining. Keeping faith with the team who disappointed mid-week against Aston Villa, Kevin Keegan's side started brightly and took the lead in the 14th minute. Anelka, whose failure to score in his first three games had drawn criticism from some quarters, took a short freekick from Ali Benarbia and rifled a 30-yard drive past the unsighted Steve Simonsen.
And just two minutes later he doubled the lead for the rampant Blues by sweeping home after Steve Howey had headed back a Darren Huckerby cross. With Huckerby going close himself and Anelka continually getting in behind the Everton backline a third seemed inevitable. But the game swung in one moment as Wright-Phillips was dismissed in the 27th minute. The wing-back misjudged a tackle on Gary Naysmith and, though there were plenty of men back, he was given his marching orders by referee Barry Knight before Unsworth smashed home the resultant penalty. Suddenly finding themselves under pressure, City were indebted to 'keeper Peter Schmeichel as Everton went in search of the equalizer. The great Dane made important blocks from Kevin Campbell and Unsworth, before disdainfully punching away a stinging drive from Niclas Alexandersson.
As the game became increasingly stretched, Campbell wasted a brace of chances, while Huckerby burst through at the other end only to show a lack of composure with his finish. For Anelka, though, there were no such problems and in the 85th minute he took advantage of a mistake by Naysmith to help City record their second successive home victory.
Keegan to appeal
August 31, 2002
Manchester Evening News
KEVIN Keegan is set to appeal against Shaun Wright-Phillips sending off against Everton.
The City wing back was shown a straight red for a foul on Gary Naysmith and while Keegan conceded that the tackle deserved a penalty and possibly a booking, he felt that his player should have been allowed to stay on. "I don't think it was ever a sending-off offence and I have asked the referee to look at it," he said. "I have been in and talked to him about it. What he has said, was that it was not his decision. "We have to appeal to the FA and he has to look at it. "I don't think any other referee would have sent him off. "A booking and a penalty was a sensible outcome. Hopefully it will be turned over on appeal."