Roo makes it family affair
Jan 1 2004
By David Prentice Liverpool Echo, Daily Post
WAYNE ROONEY'S recent Goodison goal celebrations have not been snubs to his manager.Instead, the teenage forward has been dashing to turn his strikes into a family celebration.After scoring dramatic goals against Leicester and then Birmingham, Rooney ran half the length of the pitch to celebrate in front of the home team's dug-out.It was believed in some quarters that the player was making a point to his manager about being left on the substitutes' bench.But Moyes revealed today: "I'm sure Wayne would prefer to be in the starting line-up. But he has a box behind our dug-out where his mum, dad and agent Paul Stret-ford sit, and that's where he's been running the last two games."I think he's been going to share the moment with them."Moyes dispelled the suggestion that there had been a rift between him and the youngster.And he also dismissed reports that he was pondering a U-turn on David Unsworth's contract offer.A one-year extension is still on the table - and from today Unsworth can open talks with interested clubs about a summer move.Following the defender's recent fine form it was suggested that Moyes could be pondering a new, two-year offer. But Moyes said: "That's not the case. The situation is exactly the same as it was."David is doing very well, but we don't plan to do anything until the summer. David is aware of that and is just getting on with his job."Moyes also admitted he is carefully monitoring Stephen Pearson's position at Motherwell.He said: "I have made an enquiry to try and bring him here as a player for the future."But it appears he could be going elsewhere when the transfer window opens."Celtic and Rangers are both keen on the midfielder, although sources in Scotland say the player would prefer a move to the Premiership.But Everton cannot afford to make a cash bid this month, while Celtic and even cash-strapped Rangers are in a better financial position.
Best of both worlds
Jan 1 2004
Report By Andy Hunter Daily Post
NICLAS ALEXANDERSSON hopes to hand David Moyes vital leeway in the transfer market by quitting Everton this month.The Swedish international has appealed to the Blues to let him leave Goodison Park during the transfer window rather than when his contract expires at the end of the season.Former club IFK Gothenburg and rival Swedish outfit Orgryte are both chasing the 32-year-old, who has been frozen out at Everton since the arrival of Moyes.And he believes both parties would benefit if Everton grant him a free transfer.Alexandersson, a £2.5m signing from Sheffield Wednesday in 2000, said: "The best thing would be if Everton and the other club could reach an agreement."Two clubs, IFK Gothenburg and OIS have shown their interest to my agent. There have not been any negotiations or such things. In January, I will know more."Everton are unlikely to stand in Alexandersson's way if a deal can be reached, with Moyes needing to offload players before he can add to his squad this month.The Blues manager is a big admirer of Preston's Ricardo Fuller, who Craig Brown admitted yesterday is attracting plenty of attention after 14 goals in 22 games this season.But the Jamaican star is almost certainly out of Everton's price range.North End boss Brown said: "I know that there is interest because people are coming to watch him or they are coming to watch us and he is obviously impressing them."We are prepared to wait until the last minute and then if a daft offer came along then it would be accepted."There is usually a bit of movement around the end of January because there is more pressure on managers either to sign or to sell."David Unsworth, meanwhile, admits he would extend his Everton career if the Blues are forthcoming with a new two-year contract offer.As revealed in the Daily Post yesterday Goodison chiefs are considering an improved deal for the in-form defender, who has rejected a one-year offer and is now free to sign a pre-contract agreement with rival clubs.Blackburn, Leeds and Manchester City are all monitoring Unsworth's situation.But the 30-year-old is optimistic his contract wrangle can be resolved with a longer Everton deal.Unsworth said: "The contract situation is out of my hands. One thing I've never done is lie about it. The club made an offer, which was only a year long, and I wanted two years, if not more than that."We will continue to assess it week by week, month by month and I'm sure that the powers that be will hopefully sort it out."
Hope and optimism after an upturn in fortunes
Fanscene By Mark O'Brien Daily Post
Jan 2 2004
ShareIT'S probably safe to say it's been a bit of a turbulent first half to the season, but thanks to three wins out of the last four games we can at least look forward to this new year with a little more hope and optimism.Our lack of adventure at Old Trafford was the only real disappointment of the Christmas period as it looked as if the players and management had written the game off before it began.Maybe that was the more pragmatic approach given the proximity of the Birmingham game, but that's scant consolation when you've paid your £27 to be laughed at by people with cameras and United Megas-tore carrier bags as Everton are torn apart by the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and David Bel-lion.A number of journalists pointed at Wayne Rooney's contribution to the game at Old Trafford and surmised yet again that he'd be better off moving away from Goodison. How conveniently they turn a blind eye to the three crucial goals he scored in the games either side though. With the transfer window reopening we can be certain that there will be yet more speculation regarding the England centre forward but that's just par for the course these days.However, it doesn't actually seem likely that there will be much transfer activity either in or out of Goodison given we haven't got much spare cash and the players we would listen to offers for are hardly the most coveted.The success of the second half of the season will depend not on signing any new players but on whether we can keep most of our existing ones out of the treatment room.David Moyes might be considering a touch more squad rotation for tomorrow's FA Cup tie with Norwich - with one eye on the midweek clash with Arsenal - but we obviously take Delia's boys lightly at our peril.The Canaries are doing extremely well in the first division, but it's become increasingly apparent in recent years that the gulf between the two divisions is vast.You only have to look at how the likes of Wolves and Portsmouth have fared since promotion, or how the hopeless West Brom are flying high since relegation, for examples of the difference in class.Add to all that the fact that Norwich supporters have been hailing Darren Huckerby as the new Ferenc Puskas and it becomes clear that Everton have nothing to fear other than their own complacency in what promises to be a proper Cup tie.A good win and passage to the next round would set us up nicely for Wednesday night and a crack at Arsenal and that unbeaten record of theirs.
Ex-Red Jan wants Jones feeling Blue
Report By Andy Tilley Daily Post
Jan 2 2004
ShareKIDDERMINSTER manager Jan Molby is relishing the prospect of pitting his wits against counterpart Dave Jones in the weekend's FA Cup encounter with Wolves.Harriers boss Molby, a three-time Cup winner while a playmaking midfielder with Liverpool, locks horns with former Everton defender and current Molineux supremo Jones in tomorrow's third round Midlands clash at Aggborough.But while confessing the Merseyside rivalry continues to simmer, erstwhile Danish international Molby acknowledges he and Jones have been cut from the same cloth.The Kidderminster chief said: "I've known Dave (pictured below) for a number of years now, going back to the days when he was manager at Stockport and I was in charge at Swansea. "I never played against him when he was at Everton so we never had any battles, and I've never come up against him before as a manager but he's always done a super job - first at Stockport, then at Southampton - and now he's the man who's taken Wolves back into the Premier League which is a fantastic achievement."I'd think my own chances of managing in the Premiership are pretty slim but to be honest, I don't have a massive problem with that and it's not something which keeps me up at night."I never played against Dave when he was at Everton so we never had any battles, and I've never come up against him before as a manager."So from that perspective Saturday's game will be unchartered territory for me."And despite having finished his playing career with Swansea more than four-and-a-half years ago, the 40-year-old Molby confessed his competitive spirit still burned within.He said: "Every time you take a job as a football manager people always ask you why, because it's recognised as one of the worst jobs in the world given the pressure you're under."I think it's difficult, almost impossible, to describe the attraction unless you've been in football."I can't explain what drives you to be a manager at whatever level but there is something inside you and, I suppose, football itself is the attraction. "It's most definitely not the money, it's something else, and without football there's a hole in your life isn't there?"I've been very fortunate because whenever I've been out of football because I've been used a lot in the media, doing TV work, radio, and being able to get to all the right games. "But there was still something missing."It's that feeling of putting yourself on the line, being out there and picking a team every Saturday while testing yourself against the manager in the other dugout."So to a certain extent, the level you manage at is immaterial because it's all about the competitiveness within you."
Nyarko's foot woe
Report By David Prior Daily Post
Jan 2 2004
ShareALEX NYARKO'S latest comeback to the Everton first team has been curtailed after a scan revealed he chipped a bone in his foot during Sunday's win over Birmingham.The news is a further setback in the turbulent Goodison career of the Ghanaian midfielder and means he will miss tomorrow's FA Cup tie against Norwich, as well as Premiership clashes against Arsenal and Fulham.Nyarko had impressed in the 1-0 victory over Steve Bruce's side and looked to have secured what would have been his fifth start of the season against the Division One table-toppers tomorrow.But having limped off five minutes from the end of Sunday's clash a scan has revealed the injury, stalling another attempt by the 30-year-old to kickstart his Everton return having walked out of the club following an altercation with a fan at Highbury nearly three years ago.Boss David Moyes said: "Alex has been to see the specialist, he's chipped a little bit of bone in his foot, so it looks as though he's going to be out for a couple of weeks. It's disappointing, because he put in a good performance against Birmingham and we were pleased with him. It's unfortunate to lose him, but that's what happens in football."Better news for the Scot came from David Weir with the defender returning to full training after two months on the sidelines.The 33-year-old has been out since the beginning of November with medial knee ligament damage.Steve Watson, who suffered a dead leg during the warm-up at Portsmouth which then developed into a thigh strain, has also been told that his return to the training pitch is not far off.Moyes added: "David Weir is back in full training. He just needs a little bit of match practice really. Steve Watson's improving and hopefully he will resume full training within the next few days, but it might be the start of next week before he does."Meanwhile, Moyes will risk losing David Unsworth in this month's transfer window after admitting that any extension to the defender's contract will only be considered at the end of the season.As revealed this week in the Daily Post the club have been considering an improved deal for the in-form defender, who has rejected a one-year offer and is now free to sign a pre-contract agreement with other clubs.The 30-year-old has said he wants to stay at Goodison but at this stage of his career is keen to secure a two-year deal.His hand however may now have been forced after Moyes insisted that any new deal would not materialise until the summer.He said: "David is doing very well, but we don't plan to do anything until the summer. David is aware of that and is just getting on with his job."
Let's learn the lesson - Moyes
Jan 2 2004 By David Prentice Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES is planning to use a ghost from Christmas past to avoid an FA Cup nightmare tomorrow. Everton entertain Norwich City at the same stage of the competition in which Shrewsbury Town shocked them last season. And the Blues' boss said: "Clearly Norwich are a better team than Shrewsbury and we will have to learn the lessons from last season's experience because, if we learned anything from that experience, it was that Cup upsets can and do happen." Moyes believes that his squad is in better shape this season, though, to avoid another banana skin. Everton went into last term's tie having played four games in 10 days. This season, however, there has been no New Year's Day action, giving the Blues almost a full week to prepare for the visit of the First Division leaders. "I think we have been able to rotate our players a lot more this season," he explained. "Against Birmingham we were able to introduce four fresh players who did not play in the game at Manchester United and that helped us. "We certainly won't be able to use fatigue as an excuse." Moyes is only too aware of the motivation Norwich will have at Goodison - after his own experience when he brought Preston North End to Goodison for a fifth round tie in 2000. "We came here and put on a good show," recalled Moyes. "We went out because it was the last time David Unsworth scored a 25-yard free-kick, as he keeps reminding me! "But the Norwich players will be keen to show their boss that if they do go up - and they are in pole position at present - that they are good enough to play against Premiership teams. "As a result we know it will be a fiercely contested tie." Everton will be missing Alex Nyarko (foot), Steve Watson and Alessandro Pistone, while Lee Carsley (groin) is still receiving treatment. Norwich will be without the cup-tied Leon McKenzie, but his place will be taken by Darren Huckerby, who made his loan deal a permanent move this week.
I'm Blue to the bone but Canaries were my first dream club
Jan 2 2004 By David Prentice Liverpool Echo
DAVE WATSON is synonymous with silverware at Everton and Norwich City. The last Blues' skipper to raise a trophy - the FA Cup no less - he is still the only Canaries' captain to raise one of English football's major prizes, the Milk Cup in 1985. But while he will be at Goodison on Saturday to watch his only two League clubs (a furtively-spoken-of spell at Anfield never resulted in a senior appearance) slug it out in an FA Cup tie, no-one needs ask where his favours will lie. "I'll be supporting the Blues," he said, with a firmness and the conviction which characterised his inspired leadership of Everton for more than a decade. "I played over 200 games for Norwich and obviously I still have a lot of affection for them, but I spent 15 years at Everton. "I have family in Norwich and I still go down there a couple of times a year - and I try and fit in those visits with a home match at Carrow Road - but I live up here and go to Goodison a lot more and I'm hoping Everton make progress on Saturday." After failing to displace the legendary central defensive duo of Hansen and Lawrenson at Anfield, Watson moved south to Norwich where he made such dramatic strides he won the first of a dozen England caps. He was at the heart of the England defence on the night John Barnes lit up the Maracana Stadium with his famous goal against Brazil. When Howard Kendall was searching for a replacement for the injury troubled Derek Mountfield in 1986, he had no hesitation in splashing out a then British transfer record for a defender of £900,000. Despite the enormity of the fee, Norwich boss Ken Brown wailed: "It's like losing my right arm." But the Canaries had enjoyed some marvellous moments among Watson's 212 appearances there - among them that Wembley triumph in 1985. "That was probably the biggest thrill for me," said Watson, "with it being the first trophy I'd won. "To be a captain walking up those famous steps is an incredible experience - and obviously I was fortunate enough to repeat the experience with Everton. The FA Cup was certainly the more prestigious trophy of the two - and beating Manchester United made it even better - but that Milk Cup trophy being my first made it extra special." Relegation for Norwich in that Milk Cup winning season meant the Canaries rarely crossed Everton's path, but the sides did meet at Goodison Park in an FA Cup fifth round tie in February 1995. Everton won 5-0 on the way to winning the trophy. "I recall somebody getting sent-off early on and that threw the game a bit," said Watson. "It wasn't our most difficult match on the way to winning the Cup, but that Everton team Joe Royle put together was a very difficult one to beat." Jon Newsome was the player ordered off that afternoon, but Everton were two goals to the good already and well on the way to a convincing path to the quarter-finals. The Blues have not been beyond that round since, but Watson firmly believes a good Cup run can rub off on a team's League form. "I know last season that some people suggested Everton going out so early on in the FA Cup helped them in the Premiership. They don't have the biggest squad so I can maybe see where they are coming from. "But when we got to Wembley in 1995 we were struggling to recover from the worst start to a season in the club's history and the FA Cup run helped us. "It gave us a break from the tension of the league games and it helped build a bit of confidence and a created a buzz around the training ground. "I'm sure the same thing would happen again this season and I don't think David Moyes would be too bothered by a few more fixtures to worry about." Watson still retains his links with the club he made more than 500 appearances for, and has only recently returned from an ambitious trip to China to set up soccer schools in Everton's name. "I actually have a full-time job now, driving my missus up the wall," he joked, "but I do bits and pieces and the trip to China for Everton was a real eye-opener. "I spent five days there, three of them coaching young kids, and travelled over with the marketing people from Everton. It was an interesting experience and it's still on-going. Hopefully it will develop into something more permanent." In the meantime, Watson has a more immediate concern, tomorrow's FA Cup tie at Goodison. "Norwich have been flying this season and it will be a tough test for Everton," he said. "But I saw them against Birmingham when they deserved the win and if they can get it together on the day hopefully it can be the start of another long FA Cup run." Dave Watson is certainly well qualified to know.
Everton 3, Norwich City 1 (D, Post)
Jan 5 2004 Ian Doyle Reports From Goodison Park, Daily Post
NEW YEAR, new optimism. But rather than fresh starts and resolutions, it was the reinforcement and renewal of existing reputations which was of prime concern at Goodison Park on Saturday.
The last time Everton met Norwich in the FA Cup, Duncan Ferguson was on target. That was in 1995. Much has changed since then of course, but one factor that has remained constant is the enigma surrounding the big Scot. As recent as six weeks ago, Ferguson seemed to have played his last game for the Blues after his now infamous Belle-field bust-up with David Moyes. Going head-to-head with the Everton boss would have resulted in only one winner, and it wouldn't have been the striker.
Instead, it was soon peace in our time and on Saturday his coolness from the penalty spot and ability to lead the line guided Everton to a deserved if unnecessarily difficult third-round triumph over the first division's leading side. Given his fall-out with Moyes and his injury-dogged recent past, Ferguson still has much to repay the supporters who have continued to adore him as a genuine Goodison hero - witness the standing ovation as he was substituted towards the end on Saturday.
Having turned 32 last week, time isn't exactly on the big man's side and perhaps that has helped him channel his energies into ensuring he stays fit and makes the most of his undoubted talents while he still can. "I think Duncan is looking forward to a long injury-free period," said Moyes. "That would be the best thing that could happen for Duncan Ferguson and for us. "He played well on Saturday and led the line well. He has an influence around here and we are happy to have that. He is fully match fit now." Certainly, Ferguson had too much nous for a Norwich side which served only to underline the yawning gap between the Premiership and the Nationwide League. True, the Canaries' excellent season has been built upon a near-impregnable home record rather than success on their travels, but there was little to suggest they would be making anything other than a swift return to the first division should they gain promotion in May. Ferguson wasn't the only player whose reputation was enhanced in victory. Although forced off at half-time with a knee complaint, Thomas Gravesen highlighted once more what an influential - and infuriating - component he is in this Everton side.
The Dane patrolled the central mid-field area with absolute power in the first half with his trademark tackling and snappy passing, fashioning numerous chances, coming close with some of his own and eventually providing the free-kick delivery from which Kevin Kilbane headed the Blues in front on 15 minutes. While Moyes' post-match proclamation that the Dane is "one of the best midfielders in Europe" might raise a few dissenters, what's not in doubt is that on his day Gravesen takes some stopping. The problem is that his day is not as often as Moyes or the player would ideally want.
Like Ferguson, it's now up to Gravesen to reproduce this kind of performance against the Arsenals and Manchester Uniteds of the game and not just the likes of Norwich. Easier said than done? Time will tell. That last FA Cup meeting between Everton and Norwich, which ended in a 5-0 triumph for the Blues, came en route to their memorable Wembley triumph over Manchester United. But while Moyes is hardly the type to believe in such portents, he will be happy his side have exorcised the ghosts of recent Cup history. Shrewsbury remains a dirty word around these parts, and with good reason. The Gay Meadow calamity sparked a downturn in fortunes for the Blues which saw them slip from a Champions League qualification place to miss out on even a UEFA Cup spot come the end of the season and eventually drop into the bottom three in November. That was the lowest point of Moyes' tenure at Goodison. The revival has already begun - this was Everton's fourth win in their last five games - but their manager's insistence that a good Cup run can only be of benefit both on and off the pitch has clearly been noted by players also keen to atone for last season's embarrassment. This victory could prove as positive a catalyst as Shrewsbury was negative. The turnaround is down to one thing: goals. With Wayne Rooney having finally ended his goal drought and Ferguson returning to something like full fitness, Everton have now scored 11 goals in their last five games, compared to just four in the previous 10 outings. The strike duo were paired up front on Saturday for only the second time this season, and the duo should have secured the Blues' fourth-round spot inside a totally one-sided opening 25 minutes. Ferguson should have scored in the third minute when he headed a Kilbane cross against the crossbar from six yards that twice bounced off the woodwork before Norwich keeper Robert Green palmed over. Gravesen then shot narrowly wide from just outside the area, before Rooney missed a great chance when, after accepting James McFadden's fine inside pass, the youngster slipped his marker Malky Mackay only to blast over from 12 yards. The goal finally came on 15 minutes, when after being fouled by Marc Edworthy, Kilbane exacted revenge by heading Gravesen's free-kick from the left flank past Green at the near post.
Ferguson then missed with two head-ers, putting one over and forcing a save from Green after good crosses from Rooney and Gravesen respectively, but on 26 minutes Norwich drew level against the run of play. An Edworthy free-kick to the far post was headed back into the danger area by Iwan Roberts, only for Alan Stubbs' clearance to land at the feet of Jim Brennan on the edge of the area who struck a hopeful shot which flew past Nigel Martyn via the far post. Undettered, the Blues continued to press forward and eight minutes before the break the lead was restored after Roberts clumsily fouled Stubbs in the box and Ferguson sent Green the wrong way from the spot. With Gravesen departed and no midfielders on the bench, both Stubbs and Joseph Yobo had spells in central midfield during the second half, but without their most influential player the Blues lost their way during the third quarter of the game. The impressive David Unsworth blocked a Darren Huckerby effort from close range and Martyn beat out a Brennan free-kick before a touch of deja-vu on 69 minutes helped ease the Blues' passage into round four. Stubbs was all set to head in Naysmith's corner before, unbelievably, Roberts again upended the Everton man. Ferguson sent Green the wrong way again from the spot by placing the ball in the opposite corner and the tie was effectively over. Save a header from substitute Ian Henderson which was tipped over by Martyn, the remainder of the game was comfortable for the home side, who will fancy their chances against anyone at Goodison Park when the draw for the next round is made today. For now, however, a tough January programme of league games awaits, starting with Arsene Wenger's unbeaten Arsenal on Wednesday. Last season the Blues became the first team to defeat the Gunners in the Premiership. If they - and in particular Ferguson and Gravesen - can again deliver the kind of performance that perplexed Norwich in the first half on Saturday, they must believe they have every chance of a repeat.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Martyn; Hibbert, Stubbs, Unsworth, Naysmith; McFadden (Jeffers 63), Gravesen (Yobo 46), Carsley, Kilbane; Ferguson (Campbell 83), Rooney. Subs: Simonsen, Radzinski.
NORWICH CITY (4-4-2): Green; Edworthy, Mackay, Fleming, Edworthy; McVeigh, Francis (Mulryne 80), Holt, Brennan (Henderson 72); Huckerby, Roberts (Jarvis 80). Subs: Crichton, Shackell.
BOOKINGS: Everton's Naysmith (foul), Hibbert (foul) and Yobo (foul) and Norwich's Huckerby (ungentlemany conduct).
REFEREE: Matt Messias.
Away fans accused of race chant
by Ian Doyle and Sam Lister, Liverpool EchoJan 5 2004
EVERTON fans were today (Monday, January 5) trying to decide whether visiting Norwich supporters at Saturday's FA Cup Goodison clash were racially abusive - or just plain rude. Everton's ground safety officer Norman Whibley is to report the Norwich fans for chanting racist abuse at Nigerian defender Joseph Yobo during the match. However, some Blues fans say Mr Whibley mistook the word "fat" for the word "black" in the chant - and that Wayne Rooney was the target.
Around 6,000 Norwich fans travelled to watch the game and the chairman Roger Munby said that although he did not hear any racist chanting himself, he would investigate. "It's totally unbecoming of our fans and our true supporters and I'm astounded. We'll look at any evidence that comes our way with the utmost seriousness. "Of course, if the allegations are true we unreservedly apologise on behalf of everybody who is a true fan of Norwich City." The Kick Racism Out Of Football campaign, run by the FA and the Commission for Racial Equality, has seen a drop in racially-motivated incidents in the game over recent years. Mr Whibley said: "It's bitterly disappointing. These supporters bring nothing but disgrace and discredit on themselves and their club if that's the kind of attitude they bring. We simply hope it was a one-off incident. "This is something we don't accept at Goodison Park. We've done a lot here to eradicate this. Our fans are very proactive now in making complaints. "I'll be reporting the matter back to Norwich City's safety officer." But the accusations may simply have been a case of mis-hearing, according to Mark O'Brien, of When Skies Are Grey fanzine. He said: "I didn't hear any racist chanting and neither did anyone I talked to.
"The consensus seems to be that part of the chant was 'fat' not 'black', and was aimed at Wayne Rooney."
Stubbs glad to silence Blue critics
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post Jan 5 2004
ALAN STUBBS has admitted Everton were glad to "shut a few people up" after easing into the fourth round of the FA Cup on Saturday. The Blues saw off first division leaders Norwich City 3-1 at Goodison Park. It was a potential banana skin for David Moyes side, who infamously came unstuck at the same stage of the competition last season at Shrewsbury Town. And Stubbs said: "We're happy with the result. We've shut a few people up who thought that we'd get turned over. But there's definitely a gulf between the Premiership and the first division, and you could clearly see that. "It was a good win for us in the end. We made it a bit difficult for ourselves in the second half. Going on our first-half performance, I thought at half-time that it could be a matter of winning four, five or even sixone. "When we kept missing all the chances early on, I wondered in the back of my mind whether it was going to be one of those days where we'd miss a lot of chances and they'd go up the other end and sneak one. "And when Norwich equalised, I thought the worst but I knew that if we continued doing what we were doing early on, we'd win the game. "In the end, it was pretty comfortable but we made it harder for ourselves, rather than Norwich coming into it. We brought unnecessary pressure on ourselves at times." Stubbs was an influential player on the day, twice being fouled in the penalty area by Norwich striker Iwan Roberts for spotkicks which Duncan Ferguson converted. "I'm delighted the referee gave the penalties, but I'm disappointed because I wanted to score!" admitted Stubbs. "They were two blatant penalties, and I'm not going to go down in those positions. I would rather score. The referee was on hand to give them and they came at good times in the game for us. "I think I'd have scored from both chances, particularly the header as it was a free header and he dragged me down. The first one would have been a bit more difficult as it was a bit scrappy in the box. "With the second penalty, I think Roberts had to do something because I had a free header on goal and it was a last resort challenge from him." Stubbs added: "Duncan put both of the penalties away well. He has done really well lately. He has come back from his injuries and is looking really sharp, and obviously that's why the manager is playing him.
"He's justified his selection by the way he has performed in the last few games. Duncan's like any striker, he loves to score goals, and they have been coming again this season, on top of his good performances." Stubbs is a doubt for Wednesday's game with Arsenal after ending the game on Saturday with a groin strain. "The groin is a little bit sore at the moment," he revealed. "It has been niggling away for a little bit now and I don't want it to get any worse because I could be out for a while. "It looks as though it is more of a fatigue problem than a strain, which is a good thing. We'll see how it responds to treatment."
Gravesen 'is one of the best in Europe'
By Ian Doyle, Daily Pos tJan 5 2004
DAVID MOYES has labelled Thomas Gravesen 'one of the best midfield players in Europe' - and challenged the Danish international to prove the tag against the very best. Gravesen was the star performer for Everton on Saturday as they eased past Norwich City into the fourth round of the FA Cup, despite being forced off at half-time with a knee injury. The midfielder was substituted after suffering from patella tendonitis, a complaint which has continually troubled the 27-year-old this season. Gravesen is expected to be fit for Wednesday's Premiership clash against unbeaten Arsenal at Goodison Park. And Blues boss Moyes has called upon the Dane to reproduce the form which helped dispose of the Canaries on a regular basis, starting with Arsene Wenger's championship chasers. "Tommy is one of those players who at times gets a bit of criticism here," said Moyes.
"But I think on Saturday everybody could see the reasons why we play him. We know why we think he is a top quality midfield player. "He showed it for Denmark against England a month or so back in the friendly international. He was the best midfield player on show and England had an awful lot of top quality players playing that day. "What Tommy needs is a consistent level of performance like that. "He made us tick in the first half on Saturday. "Thomas has now to be the one who has to show that he is also a top player himself when he goes in against the big boys. "I think he is one of the best midfield players in Europe." During his 45-minute appearance on Saturday, Gravesen dominated the midfield and created Kevin Kilbane's 15th-minute opener with a well-flighted free-kick. "If I showed you the stats that we see, for most weeks Thomas Gravesen is an influence in our games here," revealed Moyes, who could be without groin injury victim Alan Stubbs for Wednesday's game. "Even when Tommy's not played that well or the team hasn't played that well, probably the biggest influence we have had is Thomas Gravesen in his play. "He has his faults - we are never done telling him about them - but most good players have them. I am happy with Tommy. We enjoy having him here, he is a bit mad at times but we can put up with that if he can continue the level of performance he showed against Norwich. "We need Thomas because he's got a bit of craft, a bit of creativity. We are not overendowed with that in the middle of the park so we need Thomas to be there and it was noticeable when he went off that we didn't quite have someone who could get his foot on the ball and make us play a little bit." Gravesen's early departure - and the lack of a midfielder on the bench - led to first Stubbs and then Joseph Yobo taking a place in central mid-field, a move which upset Everton's rhythm until Duncan Ferguson slotted the second of his two penalties away in the 69th minute. "I need to take a bit of the blame for not having another midfielder on the bench," added Moyes. "I didn't want a replay, I wanted to try and win the game and I was going to make sure I had enough strikers about the place if I needed to use them. In doing so I decided not to put a midfield player on the bench. "It was a little bit costly but I knew Yobo or Stubbs could play in there if we needed to. I think in the end we missed another midfield player to calm things down a bit. "This was a big game but I'd be lying if I said my mind wasn't straying towards Arsenal before today, and not just Arsenal. We've got Fulham, Charlton, Liverpool and Manchester United coming up, so we have a big, big January. I'd say the players are playing with a lot of confidence now and that's a good sign given these games." Ferguson's two penalties made him Everton's leading goalscorer for the season with seven goals, and earned him praise from his manager. Said Moyes: "Duncan was excellent. We have been delighted with him in recent weeks."
Farewell to Goodison's 'Prince of Centre Halves'
Report By Mark Currie Daily Post Jan 5 2004
LEGENDARY Everton, Wales and Wrexham defender Thomas George Jones has died at the age of 86.
Connah's Quay-born Jones, known throughout the game as 'TG', was christened "The Prince of Centre Halves" during a glittering career, which was severly curtailed by World War II. A Welsh Schools international, he joined Wrexham at the age of 17 in 1934 and after just six appearances at the Racecourse he was snapped up by Everton for £8,000 two years later. In 1939 he won a Football League championship medal with the Goodison Park giants before the war intervened. He returned to Merseyside in 1945 and was appointed club captain in 1949. Including war-time games, Jones made more than 300 appearances for Everton and also guested for other clubs, including Wrexham and Swansea City. He was capped 17 times for Wales and also figured in a further 10 war-time internationals for his country before retiring from pro football in 1950 to run a hotel in Pwllheli.
He became player-manager of the local team, who built up a huge following, and in 1956 he moved on to become manager of Bangor City. Then in the Cheshire League, he led the Farrar Road club to Welsh Cup success in 1962 and shocked the footballing world by holding Italian giants Napoli over two legs of their European Cup-Winners Cup meeting before going out in a 1-0 play-off defeat staged at Arsenal's Highbury Stadium. After a spell as manager of Rhyl in the mid-1960s, Jones became a newsagent and Daily Post columnist until his retirement. Three years ago he was named Everton's Millennium Giant of the 1940s, shortly after receiving a lifetime achievement award from the Football Association of Wales. Jones died at Ysbytty Bangor on Saturday after a short illness. Married for many years to Joyce, who died last September, he is survived by two daughters, Jane and Elizabeth. The funeral is expected to be at Bangor Crematorium on Thursday.
Everton 3, Norwich City 1 (Echo)
Jan 5 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
THE FA Cup does something to people. Football fans who would scoff at talk of 'magic' and 'superstition' suddenly turn into Mystic Meg when the oldes t cup competition gets underway.
'Name on the trophy' is a phrase that becomes over-used. And every slice of good fortune or echo from the past is latched upon as justification for its use. But for those who were looking, Saturday's win over Norwich was laced with such signs. Norwich were swept aside during the march to Wembley in 1995 and Duncan Ferguson netted in that five-goal drubbing. He was on the scoresheet again on Saturday, calmly slotting home from the penalty spot twice to secure the 3-1 win. But it could have been a much bigger stumbling block for the Blues had the referee's assistant not incorrectly raised his flag to rule out a Iwan Roberts goal for offside midway through the first half with the game poised at 1-1. Everton got the rub of the green. Roberts had a nightmare afternoon, making things worse for himself by twice fouling Alan Stubbs to provide Ferguson with his brace from the penalty spot. All in all, things could not have gone much better for the Blues. But after the disappointments of recent FA Cup campaigns it would be premature to start thinking this year could be different. And it would be wrong to suggest fate played a part in Saturday's victory. The key to the result was the quality of the football. During the opening period David Moyes' side played as well going forward as they have this season at Goodison. Thomas Gravesen was the creative influence, Kevin Kilbane and James McFadden provided the flair on the wings and up front Ferguson produced the kind of display which we all wish he could come up with more often. Had Robert Green not been intent on denying the big Scot he would have found the back of the net from open play at least twice before he stepped up to take the first of his penalties in the 38th minute. Ferguson has long been an enigma. His career since the 1995 triumph has been as disappointing as Everton's FA Cup form.
But on Saturday he provided a reminder of what he can do when he is on form. Maybe he was focused because he feels he has a point to prove since incurring the wrath of his manager earlier this season. He marauded, he made the most of the impressive service from the flanks and he provided a decent foil for Wayne Rooney. It all made for an entertaining cup tie against a side which arrived on Merseyside with high hopes after opening up a five-point gap at the top of the first division.
Even after the game their players were chatting in the tunnel about the possibility of coming back to Goodison next season in the league. They were a tough proposition. And they made sure it wasn't all one-way traffic by exposing flaws in the Everton backline when they did venture forward.
The positioning was shoddy for the Roberts goal which was ruled out. And Jim Brennan's equaliser in the 27th minute was an opportunist strike made possible by poor marking. Stubbs did well to head clear Marc Edworthy's free-kick from the right. But it went only as far as Brennan, who was unmarked and able to hit a first time left-foot effort over a crowd of players and into the far corner of the net. It was undeserved because Norwich had been outplayed in the opening third of the contest. And it ultimately proved to be a consolation. But in the 11 minutes before Everton restored the lead the concern was that the home side's inability to turn their dominance into goals would prove their undoing. It is a problem which has dogged them all season. A host of chances were created in the opening half-hour, but only Kil-bane found the back of the net, stooping at the near post in the 15th minute to head home a cross from Gravesen's free-kick wide on the left.
Gravesen himself tested Green with two decent efforts from distance, Ferguson failed with a couple of close-range headers and Rooney smashed an effort over the bar from 12 yards after being played in by McFadden. The loss of Gravesen with a minor knee injury at half-time provided a major headache. The Dane was having one of his good days. He was not relinquishing possession cheaply, he was getting stuck in with a couple of hard challenges and his distribution was top class.
He was replaced in midfield by Stubbs and, when that didn't work out, substitute Joseph Yobo.
The second half shuffling of the pack exposed the lack of options open to Moyes within his squad.
With the linchpin of the first half out of the picture, Norwich came into the game more and more.
For 15 minutes it seemed they could even snatch a second equaliser, with another strong effort from Brennan forcing Nigel Martyn into a great stop. Moyes' solution was bold but effective. Francis Jeffers entered the fray in place of McFadden in the 64th minute and the side switched to an attacking 4-3-3 formation which put the visitors onto the back foot once again. Six minutes later and Roberts conceded another penalty, dragging back Stubbs as the skipper attempted to get his head to a Gary Naysmith corner from the right. Having slotted his first penalty low to the keeper's left, Ferguson went to the opposite side with his second and once again fooled the keeper to confirm the win. The result helped ease some of the pain caused by last season's dramatic third round exit at Shrewsbury. But progress to the fourth round should be a pre- requisuite for Everton. Any talk about fate and names being on trophies can be left for others.
Trio facing injury wait for Blues
Jan 5 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON were today counting the cost of Saturday's FA Cup third round victory over Norwich with three of the most influential players from the 3-1 win on the treatment table. Thomas Gravesen, skipper Alan Stubbs and two-goal hero Duncan Ferguson are all rated as highly doubtful for Wednesday night's clash with Arsenal. The trio will not train before the game against Arsene Wenger's unbeaten outfit and will face late fitness tests before manager David Moyes selects his side. The manager revealed: "Thomas has got a knee injury he picked up in the first half, Alan Stubbs has a groin strain and Duncan has a bruised foot. "We will have last minute checks on all of them and they won't be training before Wednesday." Gravesen's is the most serious injury. He will also be the hardest to replace, with David Weir and Joseph Yobo ready to come in for Stubbs and Kevin Campbell on standby for Ferguson. Gravesen was described as one of the best midfield players in Europe by Moyes after Saturday's game. He has now urged the Dane to produce his best form in the big games for Everton. The 27-year-old has been dogged by patella tendonitis for much of this season. Meanwhile, Polish skipper Thomas Hajto claims to have been the subject of a Blues bid.
The midfielder, who plays for Schalke in the Bundesliga, said: "I have had three offers from big clubs but the most concrete is from Everton boss David Moyes." * Everton have 3,000 tickets remaining for Wednesday night's game with Arsenal.
Thom maybe Moyes' man!
Jan 5 2004 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON'S public pursuit of first Sean Davis and then Barry Ferguson last summer, highlighted their craving for a midfielder who can combine craft, graft and ingenuity. The dramatic difference in their performances either side of half-time on Saturday, however, showed that they already have one.
The suggestion by David Moyes that Thomas Gravesen was "one of the best midfielders in Europe" was probably nothing more than a psychological tool, offered as a pick-meup up with sterner tests than First Division Norwich City lying in wait for Everton over the next fortnight. But for 45 minutes the enigmatic Dane's display was so dazzling, so dominant, you could have been forgiven for thinking his non-appearance after the break was because he had failed a drugs test - rather than the patella tendonitis wh ich actual ly f orced h is withdrawal! Gravesen passed the ball well, athletically covered ground from box to box and, wait for it, won a succession of telling and necessary tackles.
On Saturday he won four of them in a row - including one that simply had to be made, with Darren Huck-erby poised to race clear. When he withdrew from the fray Everton had no-one to replace him. Alan Stubbs was used for a traumatic 10 minutes, before he swopped places with the more youthful, but only marginally more effective, Joseph Yobo. Moyes accepted responsibility afterwards for going into the game without a midfielder on the bench. "I didn't want a replay. Which is why I made sure I had enough strikers in case we needed them." But with Alex Nyarko injured and Scot Gemmill rehabilitating - Li Tie offered the only experienced alternative in any case. Which shows the responsibility which falls on Gravesen's shoulders. With cash in as short supply at Goodison as it is everywhere else post-Christmas, he must continue to fill that creative void single-handed. The lack of options in Everton's engine room is in stark contrast to the permutations available up front. Duncan Ferguson and Wayne Rooney offered a mouth-watering partnership to start up front. Then, as if unable to contain himself, Moyes also added the pace of Radzinski, the elusive running of Jeffers and the target-man qualities of Kevin Campbell in reserve. At times there were signs that Ferguson and Rooney could forge a profitable partnership. And it was a reassuring sight for everybody but David Unsworth to witness Ferguson demanding both penalty kicks.
Ferguson has rediscovered an appetite and a hunger which had undoubtedly diminished during his eternal injury problems. The challenge both for Moyes and Ferguson now, is to sustain that hunger. The player does not exert the same vice-like grip on Evertonian affections that he once exerted. But it wouldn't take much to rekindle that love affair. Given his injury record the Blues will certainly not be offering a new contract when his current one expires in 18 months. Given his financial security Ferguson would probably not want one. Duncan Ferguson is now playing for his legacy. And in the last couple of outings he has made a good start.
Romance no substitute for view
Jan 5 2004 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
THE GWLADYS Street End is still the spiritual home of young Evertonians. But just as the FA Cup is no longer the competition it once was, it seems that Goodison's famous home end does not hold the same allure or attraction either. On Saturday - FA Cup third round day - the Stanley Park End was as good as packed, with vacant seats were in evidence everywhere in the Street End. The Street End has the history and the romance, but modern football fans prefer a decent view, unencumbered by posts and a roof.
Faddy feeling the cup fever
Jan 5 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
JAMES McFADDEN wants to experience another extended cup run this season after taking Motherwell to the brink of Scottish Cup success last season. The 20-year-old winger started on the right for Everton at the weekend as the Blues booked their place in the FA Cup fourth round with victory over Norwich. The Toffees' record since the 1995 Cup final triumph over Manchester United has not been great, only managing to reach the sixth round three times in eight seasons.
It is a torrid run which McFadden hopes will end this season as he seeks a repeat of the success he enjoyed north of the border last year. Motherwell's fine run eventually came to an end in the semi-final, losing out on the chance to face Dundee in the final after a thrilling 4-3 defeat to Rangers.
McFadden said: "It is just another game. It was a game we needed to win and it is competition we can hopefully do well in. "They beat us 4-3 but it was a game we deserved to win. "We were away from home in every round so it was a good run for us and it took our minds off the league campaign. Hopefully we can get a good run this year as well. It was nice to be on a run with everybody talking about you. "We were only a game away from the final, where you get a medal regardless. But it would have been Dundee in the final so there was a real chance for us to win something."
In a country dominated by the Old Firm, that would have been a rare achievement. The fact it wasn't to be gives McFadden an added incentive to help Everton overcome their own cup wobbles and put a strong run together this season. He adds: "Everybody wants to have the chance of winning a cup in their career and the longer we stay in the competition the better chance we have got. We will just see who we get in the next round and see where we go from there. "(On Saturday) the manager kept going on about last year and getting beat at Shrewsbury. But you don't need any more incentive. "We knew it was not going to be easy because Norwich are top of the first division. But we are on a good run at the moment. "We just wanted to play our own game, which we did in the first half. The second half was poor for us but we held on and got the result." The loss of Thomas Gravesen through injury at half-time seemed to have a negative impact on Everton's attacking play. "Thomas is a big player for us," added McFadden. "He is the creative spark who gets everybody going, so maybe it was a big loss. But we held on. They came out and had a go and were probably the better team in the second half but they didn't take their chances and we took ours.
"Duncan has proved in the last couple of games how big a player he can be for us and maybe he can get a run in the team, but obviously that is up to the manager. "Dunc is training well and it has helped us because if we are in trouble we have the option to knock it up to the big man, even though we don't play that way normally. "He brings other players into the game, which does help."
Centre stage for Gravesen
Jan 5 2004 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
FOR 45 minutes against Norwich City on Saturday Thomas Gravesen produced a display which pushed manager David Moyes to describe him as "one of the best midfield players in Europe".
But the Blues' boss has now challenged the Dane to show those qualities against "the big boys."
Gravesen was replaced at half-time with recur-ring patella tendonitis, but should be fit to start against title chasing Arsenal on Wednesday - where he could lock horns with Vieira, Gilberto, Ljungberg, Pires and Co. "When he comes up against the top players, Thomas now has to show that he is a top player himself," said Moyes. "When he goes in against the big boys he has to try and show why he is one of the best midfield players in Europe. Because I think he is one of the best midfield players in Europe. "If I showed you some of the things we go through and all the stuff we look at, most weeks Thomas Gravesen is an influence in our game. "Even when we are not playing well as a team and he is not playing well, probably the biggest influence we have had is still Tommy Gravesen.
"He has lots of faults - and we're never done telling him about them - but that's what good players have sometimes, isn't it? "He delivered against England when he was the best midfield player on show and England had an awful lot of top quality players on show that day. "We need Thomas because he has a bit of craft and a bit of creativity and we are not over-endowed with that in the middle of the park. So we need Thomas to be there and I think it was noticeable when he left that we didn't quite have someone who could get their foot on the ball and make us play a little bit."
With Gravesen urging them on, for 45 minutes, Everton were utterly in charge of the First Division leaders. "We were terrific in the first half - perhaps as well as we have played at Goodison Park this season - and it would have been unjust if we hadn't at least led 2-1 by half-time," added Moyes.
But with Gravesen forced to withdraw at the interval, the Blues struggled and just about held the Canaries at bay. "Tommy is one of those players who, at times, gets a bit of criticism here. But I think today everybody could see the reasons why we play him," said Moyes. "We know we think he is a top quality midfield player. He showed it against England a month or so back in the friendly international and today he did as well. "What Tommy needs is a consistent level of performance like that because he can be a top player. We see that daily, which is why he is a regular for Everton.
"He's a bit mad at times, but we can put up with that if he shows the performances he has today.
"He needs to show those perrformances regularly in the big matches. "Today was a big game, but I would be lying if I didn't say my mind was straying towards Arsenal on Wednesday. And not just Arsenal, we have Fulham, Charlton, Liverpool and Manchester United coming up. It's a big, big January. "But if anything I would say the players are playing with a lot of confidence right now and hopefully that's a good sign."
Moyes: We're facing a tough time
Report By Andy Hunter, Daily Post Jan 6 2004
DAVID MOYES admits the next daunting month will test Everton's new-found confidence to the limit.
Yesterday's FA Cup fourth round draw with Fulham threw another difficult fixture into a sequence of six games in 32 days - all against teams in the Premiership's top six. Moyes welcomed the meeting with Chris Coleman's high-flyers, stating: "We are pleased we have got a home draw, but it is up there with some of the hardest ties we could have picked. It will be a very tough game." But he knows it increases the heavy demands on a squad now starting to collect several untimely injuries.
Unbeaten Arsenal arrive at Goodison Park tomorrow night before the Blues travel to Loftus Road to face their forthcoming FA Cup rivals in the league. The Blues then face Charlton, Liverpool and the Cup tie with Fulham before a date with Manchester United at Goodison on February 7. Yet Moyes - sweating on the fitness of Thomas Gravesen, Duncan Ferguson and Alan Stubbs ahead of the Arsenal game - insists four wins in five games has instilled fresh belief in his squad after a troubled start to the campaign. He said: "Our confidence level is rising week by week and I hope that will be the case now right to the end of the season. "I think there is a new confidence, particularly after the way we were playing a month ago. "This season we have started the new year very well, much better than we did last season, and I believe we can continue in that vein." However, Moyes accepts: "There are very difficult games coming up in the next month, starting with Arsenal and Fulham this week. "But we have had a good month, with the way results have improved, and I want that to continue now to the end of the season." That, according to the Blues boss, includes a good FA Cup run.
He added: "The opportunity to get to a cup final is something I would love to do. I managed Preston in a play-off final in Cardiff and lost to Bolton. "But it is a wonderful place to go and somewhere I would like to take Everton. "The determination is there." Everton last met Fulham in the FA Cup in the 1974-75 sea-son, when the Cottagers' triumphed 2-1 at Goodison and went on to reach the final before losing to West Ham at Wembley. But the Blues have beaten the Londoners at Goodison already this season, where they ran out 3-1 winners in August. Gravesen, Stubbs and Ferguson, meanwhile, are major doubts for the Arsenal game after picking up knocks in Saturday's third round defeat of Norwich. Said Moyes: "Thomas has got a knee injury he picked up in the first half, Alan has a groin strain and Duncan has a bruised foot. "We will have last-minute checks on all of them and they won't be training before Wednesday." Moyes was yesterday linked with a move for Poland captain Tomasz Hajto, who claimed he is subject of a firm bid from the Blues. The Schalke 04 defender claimed: "I have had three offers from big clubs but the most concrete is from Everton boss David Moyes."
Home & Away
Icliverpool & Daily PostJan 6 2004
Back on target
KEVIN CAMPBELL returns and suddenly a target man up front results in winning ways for Everton again. David Unsworth is playing in his best position, where he had storming games in the 1995 FA Cup semi-final and final and won England recognition. He is supplying the bombardment balls for Kev and Duncan Ferguson while Kevin Kilbane seems to have found his feet at last. Wayne Rooney only seems effective from the bench. Jury still out on James McFadden, who frustrates and delights in equal measure. We need to get rid of players such as Niclas Alexanderson and Tobias Linderoth, who are worse than Mark Pembridge, who we let go. He was steady and reliable in what he did.
Let's get behind whoever plays, though. How we missed Thomas Gravesen when he went off against Norwich.
Terry Fagen, Everton
A true test
FOUR out of five is not bad, but Everton failed the test at Old Trafford losing to Manchester United's second team. However, will we pass the test on Wednesday against Arsenal? Will home advantage count? Having just watched the Gunners' demolition job at Elland Road, I'm worried. Will our midfield cope? Francis Jeffers has been back at the club five months now - no goals and not yet a first-team regular. Bad career choice leaving for Arsenal in the first place, only making a handful of appearances in two years. They say a player's career is shortbut I suppose he won some medals.
Thank goodness for Wayne the Wonderkid as he is the one flair player that Everton possess. If only we could have a young, gifted midfielder in the Paul Merson mould to share that creative workload.
J Collingwood (via e-mail)
No ifs and Butts
UNLESS Jeffers starts to turn it on big time, and soon, no way is he a cert for his loan being made permanent. But any money earmarked for the striker could/ should be saved to go towards a class midfielder sometime before the end of this season or the start of next. Rhino and Dunc seem to have solved some immediate problems at the back and up front. But we must lose Scot Gemmill, Linderoth, Nick Chadwick and some of the younger lads who aren't going to make the grade - sorry Clarkey - and it's time to find out just how good Leon Osman is at the top level. Our priority is midfield and it has become essential to jettison some good players on our books to get some midfield class - like Nicky Butt.
T Booth, Waterloo
MAY I suggest a written apology to David Unsworth for the terrible way he has been treated when it came to negotiating a new contract. He may not be a superstar but he's doing a pretty good job now.
B Knowles, Wirral
I AM a little upset by the report of racial abuse at the Everton game. I sat in the disabled area at the front, and honestly I never heard anything racial directed at any player. Norwich run a very strict policy on racism and being a member of the Suppoters Trust and founder of the Disabled Supporters Association, we are actively involved in the 'Kick Racism out of Football' programme.
Gordon Eagling, Norwich
Best of British
WHAT other team on Merseyside can boast two England keepers, a British back four and out of seven regular midfielders and four strikers only four who are not British? Am I being sentimental in thinking that both Everton and Liverpool's great teams of the past contained their fair share of Brits instead of foreign mercenaries?
Ged Brown, Everton
Consistency is the key which Blues have to unlock
By Mark Lawrenson, Daily Post
Jan 6 2004
DIETMAR HAMANN and Thomas Gravesen earned rave reviews from their managers after playing important roles in securing a place in the fourth round of the FA Cup. The German international is a model of consistency for Liverpool - and while the Dane has his moments for Everton it is that lack of consistency that continues to frustrate. You know exactly what you are going to get from Hamann. He keeps the game simple, breaks up the opposition attacks and gets Liverpool on the move - week in, week out. Gravesen is also a talented player, but his big problem remains that his form can change dramatically not just game to game, but half to half. He can be a big influence on games for Everton and I like the way he tries to keep them moving forward. I can show you stats for players with a better pass completion ratio but many of those will be moving the ball sideways. Gravesen is always looking to play someone in. If he could find Hamann's consistency it would add an extra dimension to his game. Evertonians will also be hoping they are about to see a consistent, injury-free run from Duncan Ferguson. There are no doubts about the big Scot's ability or what he brings to the team, but it would be great for Everton if six weeks down the line he was still fit to play and was wreaking havoc on opposition defenders. Everton have suffered because of their lack of consistency this season, although the goals have started to flow again. Last year the level of consistency throughout the team brought its rewards and Everton will need to recapture that if they are to get anything out of tomorrow's game against a rampant Arsenal. The Blues could have been four goals to the good against Norwich before the break and I always felt they had enough in hand to see off the first division leaders. There is a gulf between the two divisions and it is growing year on year. Last year's promoted clubs strengthened their squads but are all still struggling so the prospects do not look bright for the Canaries if they reach to top perch next season. Finding the financial muscle to be able to compete in the Premiership is also a big headache for any clubs coming up. The match against Arsenal revives memories of Wayne Rooney's wonder winner last year and Everton go into the game on the back of some good results to lift confidence. But they know the very least they will have to do is compete with Arsenal in every department to get something out of the game. The Gunners seem to have gone up a level since winning 5-0 in Milan and if anything pose more of a threat away from home, where they seem to get more time and space to play. Any team with Thierry Henry in their ranks is going to pose questions, but throughout the team Arsenal are so athletic, strong and skilful. Their attacking threat will come from a number of sources. And that's why a draw, even at home, would not be such a bad result for the Blues.
Moyes aims to end run
Jan 6 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has set his sights on ending Arsenal's unbeaten start to the season - for the second year in succession. Last season at Goodison the Blues recovered from one goal down to defeat the Gunners 2-1 with goals from Tomasz Radzinski and Wayne Rooney. The win brought to an end a 30-game unbeaten run which remains a Premiership record. Tomorrow Arsenal arrive at Goodison having not lost a match all season and with their unbeaten Premiership record stretching back 21 matches. The Everton chief knows the size of the task facing his side but he believes there is enough quality and confidence within the squad to upset the Arsenal bandwagon again. Moyes said: "We are under no illusions about exactly how hard it will be tomorrow. "But we will be in the same situation we were in last year. We were not expected to get a result but managed to win the game and we will be looking to do the same this time. "We did very well against them in the game last year, and I am not just talking about Wayne's goal. For 70 minutes prior to that we did a good job, played some good football and worked hard to get back into the game after going behind. "We know we will have to play like that again because they are a very good team. "They are playing better now than when they came here last year. But we are starting to regain a lot of confidence ourselves at the moment. "Now we want to try and get a result against one of the big teams for the f irst time this season." Meanwhile, the Blues boss has denied any interest in Schalke defender Thomas Hajto. The Pole claimed yesterday to have been the subject of a Blues bid, but Everton have dismissed the suggestion.
Stars come out for young Blues
Jan 6 2004 By Rob Brady, Liverpool Echo
FOR these lucky young Evertonians, it was a dream come true. They got to rub shoulders with their heroes in the home dressing room at Goodison Park over Christmas. The Everton squad was on hand to greet youngsters at the JBlue Christmas party, the annual treat for members of the Blues' official junior supporters club. The fans seized the opportunity to grab autographs from star players including Duncan Ferguson, Kevin Campbell, Alan Stubbs, Tomasz Radzinski and Francis Jeffers.
Everton's community scheme delivers
Jan 6 2004 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON has run a disability sports programme for the past decade as part of its Football in the Community scheme. It joined the One 2 One Ability Counts programme three years ago, and has created mixed disability teams. A visually-impaired team, started with the support of Action for Blind People, has twice-weekly training sessions at the Greenbank Sports Academy and plays in regular league or cup games. It has also had players training and playing with England national squads on sides including learning difficulties and cerebral palsy teams. It has also been pushing to develop disabled people as coaches of both disabled and able-bodied football in conjunction with the FA.
Wenger: Rooney can become a true great
Report By Mark Bradley, Daily Pos t
Jan 7 2004
ARSENAL boss Arsene Wenger believes Wayne Rooney can follow Thierry Henry's route to success as he tipped the teenager to become a "great player". Wenger admitted that he could not afford to bid for Rooney if the England international ever came onto the transfer market. And the Arsenal boss believes that Rooney's dip in form earlier this season will merely prove to be a temporary part of his learning curve - just as Henry experienced earlier in his career. After all, while the Arsenal forward played a part in France's 1998 World Cup triumph at the age of just 20, he was back in the under-21 side for the next two seasons. Henry nevertheless rebuilt his career after his move to Arsenal and was recently the runner-up in the world and European player of the year polls. Rooney, meanwhile, faces Arsenal tonight at Goodison Park with Wenger fully aware of his potential after dramatic interventions in both Premiership fixtures against the Gunners last season. At home, Rooney scored the last-minute winner which inflicted Arsenal's first defeat of the season, while he also scored a memorable goal at Highbury to prove to Sven-Goran Eriksson that he was ready for senior international duty. Wenger declared: "That game at Goodison brought him really up into prominence. After that, he made a big move. "This season, he was a bit less in the spotlight but it looks now that he's coming back to his best and to the level you expect him to be. "It's always like that. In the first season, it goes well, you play in the national team and people want you to make the difference in every game. "Then the expectation levels grow so quickly that it's difficult to respond to that always. "But he has the belief that he can do it. That's a sign of a great player and I believe he will be a great player, although the mark of someone like Thierry Henry is that he has got better from year to year. "The same is expected of Rooney, but he has the hunger and the motivation
"Then again, Thierry was not in the French national team for two years. He had a little dip because, in fairness, it is not easy to be a world champion at 20." Wenger there-fore praised the cautious way in which Everton boss David Moyes has handled Rooney's development. "He handles him well. You have to be cautious not to burn a young player out too quickly," he said. Wenger admits the Gunners would not be able to afford Rooney if he was ever made available by the Blues.
He added: "We are not in the market (for him), not in the prices that are expected anyway. I rate him highly as a player but we are not in that market." The example of Francis Jeffers has nevertheless so far shown that not all players fulfil their initial promise. Jeffers is on loan at Everton, the club where he initially made his mark before a £10million move to Highbury, and he is allowed to face the Gunners tonight. "I wanted to give Franny an opportunity to play, to go back to his old environment and to gain confidence again," revealed Wenger. "But the competition is very high at Everton. He will certainly come back here at the end of the season. I cannot say what will happen then though."
The only way to stop Henry...
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post Jan 7 2004
EVERTON made Arsenal sick to the stomach the last time they met at Goodison and David Moyes admits that might be the only way to stop the awesome Thierry Henry tonight. The fixture conjures up fine memories for Moyes and Everton, and a repeat of last season's victory with a Wayne Rooney special thrown in would mark the undoubted highpoint for this campaign. But first there is the issue of another sublime striker to address, namely flying French international Henry. The best in the business cannot handle Henry at the moment, and the Blues boss, when asked how he plans to stop him, responded: "Maybe try to give him food poisoning in the hotel and get him out of the team. That's about all." Moyes continued: "He is a joy to watch, probably the best player in the world and I certainly enjoy seeing him play. "Some of the things he does are different class and I admire him very much. "You can't budget for the likes of Henry. You have to accept him as one of the top players in the world. We've got to try and stop him the best way we can, although it's very tough.
"You just have to go out there and play and hope that Henry doesn't turn up. He's a terrific player. Tactically, we've worked on several things to try and stop the better teams. Their players are better but we have to try and bridge that gap." Regardless, Everton have bridged the Gunners' gap once before when they arrived at Goodison boasting an unbeaten run and Moyes is looking for a repeat.
He said: "This is a huge game, with us having great memories of last season when we beat them, Wayne's goal and all the right headlines. "There was a great atmosphere and it would be nice if it could happen for a second time. That put Everton on the map last year. There are some similarities between now and then. We had played really well in the game and had contained Arsenal, we were very concentrated, then came back from a goal down. It wasn't all about the goal that won it. It was the whole performance. "We went on from there to get some good victories and stay in the top half of the table all season." Moyes added: "We had played really well. Sometimes it takes a stroke of magic to win games like that, particularly against the big teams. "Arsenal are playing very well at the moment. They can lift and drop the tempo of the game themselves. They'll have periods in the match when they're not playing well, then they'll suddenly go from an average to a wonderful performance. "They can change the game them-selves within seconds. "With the form Arsenal are in at the moment it does not come much tougher. "For Arsenal to still be unbeaten in the league at this stage is a fantastic achievement. "They came here last season in the same position, and it would be nice for lightning to strike twice and for us to end their unbeaten run again. "But I saw them on TV against Southampton and they were awesome, and I went to Leeds on Sunday and some of the things they do astonish you." Everton have major injury doubts over Thomas Gravesen, Alan Stubbs and Duncan Ferguson, so Moyes knows the task could be even harder even if Tomasz Radzinski - rested in the Cup win over Norwich - should return. Moyes said: "The players are keen to show what they can do. "They did it last season and we know we are going to need a lot of good fortune and a lot of real honest, hard-working performances coupled with technique and the ability to take any chance that comes, because against Arsenal you do not get many." And confidence around Goodison is high, with the Blues putting together their best sequence of the season with four wins in the last five games. "We have been going well, winning four out of five," said Moyes. "But we do not want to shout too much about it at the moment because we want it to continue until the end of the season and get into a strong position in the table. "This month is a big test with big games. "And we are going into them in better form, we are prepared to work hard to win games, and with Arsenal, Manchester United and Liverpool coming up soon it will certainly test us."
Jeffers should act as warning to young stars
Report By Andy Hunter, Daily Post Jan 7 2004
DAVID MOYES believes Francis Jeffers left Everton too soon - and that his stalled career should warn other young stars not to follow suit. The Blues take on Arsenal tonight with the 22-year-old desperate to make an impact against the club he joined in a £10million deal in 2001. Should Jeffers face Arsene Wenger's side, it will be only his sixth Premiership start in three seasons after failing to win a regular place at Highbury. And Moyes believes that statistic alone shows why Everton provide a better grounding for rising stars than the established elite. "That maybe shows these players shouldn't leave places where they're doing well so early," said the Blues manager. "Maybe Franny should have had another season or two at Everton before moving away. Maybe that's as big a message to give to any player. "The best idea is to stay and get the games under his belt. Looking back, he might think it was too early for him to leave." Moyes' words are a clear reference to Wayne Rooney, who is a doubt to repeat last season's heroics against Arsenal due to a tight aductor. But even if Rooney did miss out Jeffers would still be behind Tomasz Radzinski in the pecking order.
Moyes stated: "I've just been looking for the right opportunity to get him in, but he's competing against Radzinski and Rooney among our smaller players to get in. That's tough opposition.
"What he really needs is a run of games but, as I told him when he arrived, I couldn't promise him anything. That's still the way it stands. But I'm delighted to have him and I've enjoyed working with him. "He's still playing for an opportunity here long-term. But we can't promise anything. We can only put out what we think is the best team." Moyes believes Jeffers is still paying the price for missing two seasons of regular football at a key stage in his career. But he added: "Recently, in training and even when he's come on in games, he's looked lively. If he gets an opportunity, I'm sure that there are goals in him. "I think he's probably a little bit disappointed with the way things have gone, but he knew the way things would be when he came here. Between now and the end of the season, Franny Jeffers will play a part. "There will be games for him to prove himself between now and then. We'll see what we've got tomorrow and I'll pick the best squad of players for the game."
The Blues manager will give his injured ranks every chance to prove their fitness before he finalises tonight's team. Duncan Ferguson, Alan Stubbs and Thomas Gravesen have not trained since the defeat of Norwich but Moyes said: "Duncan and Alan have a chance, but Thomas is a doubt, as is Wayne with a tight aductor. We'll see how it is." Meanwhile, Arsenal are facing a potential battle with Nigeria over Kanu's release date for the African Nations' Cup finals. Arsene Wenger had been hoping Kanu would be allowed to join up with his international team-mates on January 18 after his side's Barclaycard Premiership fixture at Aston Villa. After all, with Sylvain Wiltord and Dennis Bergkamp ruled out of action for at least another 10 days, they are set to miss Arsenal's next three games - against Everton, Middlesbrough and Villa. However, FIFA's rules on the release of players for international tournaments state that they must be allowed to join their countries 14 days before the start of the competition. Robert Pires and Pascal Cygan could return to the Gunners' starting line-up after being omitted from FA Cup win at Leeds.
Rooney race to face Gunners
Jan 7 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON are keeping their fingers crossed that their goalscoring hero of last season's Goodison clash with Arsenal can face them again tonight. Wayne Rooney will have to pass a late fitness test if he is to be included in the squad for the game against Arsene Wenger's unbeaten title-chasers.
The 18-year-old, who netted the late winner in last season's 2-1 victory, pulled up in training yesterday with an aductor strain in his thigh. He was immediatley taken to undergo a scan on the injury by head physio Mick Rathbone. Although it is not deemed to be serious, a decision on whether he will play will be left until the last minute. David Moyes is also waiting on fitness tests for another three of the heroes from Saturday's FA Cup third round victory over Norwich. Skipper Alan Stubbs is expected to be cleared to continue in defence despite a minor groin strain, while Duncan Ferguson's bruised foot is not expected to prevent him being included in the squad. But Thomas Gravesen is a major doubt with a knee injury. That could mean a return to the starting line-up for Tobias Linderoth or Li Tie. Arsenal have given Everton permission to play Francis Jeffers, despite the striker being on loan from Highbury. He is expected to be amongst the substitutes.
Our finest millisecond
Jan 7 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
IT WAS the result which transformed Everton's campaign and propelled David Moyes' side towards the top six and a battle for European qualification. But the over-riding memory of last season's 2-1 victory over Arsenal equates to a split-second of action - the time it took Wayne Rooney to unleash a curling right-footed drive from 25 yards into the back of David Seaman's net via the underside of the crossbar. The other 89 minutes and 59 seconds pales by comparison, not just because of the drama of that late goal but, more importantly, because it confirmed Rooney's brilliance to the wider footballing community. And even for Tomasz Radzinski, the scorer of the crucial equaliser, it is the stand-out moment in his memory when he recalls the encounter. He admits: "It was great to score because it got us back in the game but everybody remembers Wayne's goal and I don't blame them. I even remember that goal better than mine." The fightback from a goal down made the goal all the more memorable. But Radzinski has warned Everton cannot afford to hand Arsenal a head-start this time around if they want to repeat the result. "It is always nice to win against a team like Arsenal and it was an important result for us but you cannot keep living on the memories," adds Radzinski.
"They have individual talent that is amongst the best in the world. But if we have a good day then of course we have a chance. "It will be a different game if we can score the first goal. "Arsenal are one of those sides that always scores goals. "We will have to be very good defensively and try and make one or two goals before they make any. "They come to us unbeaten again but we are definitely capable of beating them and there is no doubt we will put in the same amount of effort to make that possible. "But we could do with having all our injured players back, which will hopefully be the case." The length of the injured list is not as worrying as the names on it. Thomas Gravesen is the biggest doubt because of the knee problem he aggravated against Norwich on Saturday. But there are also question marks against Alan Stubbs, Duncan Ferguson and Rooney. Neither Ferguson or Rooney trained yesterday and if the strikers are given the green light to be involved tonight it is likely to be from the substitute's bench, with Kevin Campbell and Radzinski ready to step in to shoulder the burden of getting the crucial first goal. "Even for a pacey guy like me it will be very hard because any of the four players at the back are lightning fast," admits Radzinski. "It will be difficult just to get the half a yard you need to get a shot away, never mind trying to create really good chances. "We know it will be difficult. But you can't expect anything less when you are playing Arsenal. "Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea are the same. Wherever they go to play they are expected to win and when they don't it is a surprise. "It is no different tonight because everybody expects Arsenal to win so we will have to give at least 110 per cent, be ready and be on top of our game from the first minute if we want to get something. "That is what we did last year and the win was the turning point for our season. After that game we went on a five-match winning streak by winning games 1-0.
"If you can do that and take 18 points in the space of a month it can have a huge impact on your season and your position in the league." Arsenal arrive at Goodison on the crest of a 21-match unbeaten run in the league and boasting a remarkable record in 2003. They lost just five games in all competitions during the calendar year. The key player for the Gunners is Thierry Henry. The French forward, recently voted the second best player in the world in 2003, gets Radzinski's vote as the Premiership's top striker ahead of Manchester United's Ruud van Nistelrooy. "I think Thierry Henry is a different player to Ruud van Nistelrooy. Van Nistelrooy is a clinical finisher but Henry is a fantastic football player who can not only score but create. "At the end of the season if you calculate a point for every goal he is involved in he will have something like 40 points, not including the 20-plus he gets himself. "Van Nistelrooy could score more, say 30 goals a season, but probably only gets about five assists. "Henry is a huge asset for a side that is very creative like Arsenal. He creates so many chances and so much space for everybody. "But everybody knows what he can do."
Everton, and Radzinski, would be happy to see Henry rested tonight. But with Dennis Bergkamp and Syl-vain Wiltord ruled out for the Gunners, that seems unlikely. With the Blues also waiting on the fitness of Ferguson and Rooney, all eyes will be on Radzinski to steal Henry's thunder.
Not the right time to alter expulsion rules
Jan 7 2004 By Stuart Rayner, Liverpool Echo
I WAS alarmed to see reports in a newspaper last Sunday that the Premier League was considering expelling Leeds United if the club went into administration. I can fully understand the unease many people within football have about clubs "doing a Leicester". Last season Leicester City used going into administration to cancel most of their debts, allowing them to win promotion to the Premiership without the constraints on many of their rivals. Largely as a result of this, the Football League introduced a rule docking ten points from any club which goes into administration. The Premiership decided not to and, if Sunday's reports are to be believed, are now wishing they had.
It has been suggested that if Leeds do go into administration - which could happen a week on Friday if they are unable to find anyone gullible enough to buy them - the Premier League clubs may call a meeting and throw Leeds out of the league if two thirds of the clubs agree. There has also been talk of the Football League changing its rules to remove the loophole which means clubs only lose ten points if they are in the League when they go into administration. With so many Premiership clubs still far from safe from relegation this season, it might suit many to get rid of Leeds and increase their own chances of survival. But you cannot change the rules - however sound your motives - in the middle of a season. The leagues will just have to grin, bear it, and make sure they have the right rules in place next time.
Highbury return for Franny
Jan 7 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
ARSENE WENGER expects Francis Jeffers to return to Highbury at the end of his season-long loan with Everton. The 22-year-old striker moved to Goodison in September in a loan deal that was expected to turn into a £4m transfer at the end of the season. But he has yet to score since returning to Merseyside and has struggled to force his way into the team ahead of Wayne Rooney and Tomasz Radzinski, starting just three matches. The Arsenal boss has now revealed he expects the striker to report back to Arsenal when the loan deal expires. Wenger said: "I wanted to give Franny an opportunity to play, to go back to his old environment and to gain confidence again.
"But the competition is very high at Everton. He will certainly come back here at the end of the season. I cannot say what will happen then, though." David Moyes believes Jeffers is paying the price for having left Everton in the first place. Since switching to Arsenal in an £8m deal in 2001 he has started just six Premiership games. But the manager insists there is still the chance for Jeffers to earn a long-term deal. He said: "I've just been looking for the right opportunity to get him (Jeffers) in, but he is coming up against Radzinski and Rooney. That's tough opposition. "But I am delighted to have him and I have enjoyed working with him. He is still playing for an opportunity. But we can't promise anything. "Maybe Franny should have had another season or two at Everton before moving away. Maybe that's a big message to give any player."
Henry out to avenge Goodison heartache
Jan 7 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
THIERRY HENRY has warned Everton that Arsenal will be much sharper tonight than they were at Goodison last season. The 2-1 defeat in October 2002 brought to an end a 30 match unbeaten run which remains a Premiership record. Tonight the Gunners return to Goodison as they seek to extend a 21 game Premiership unbeaten run. Henry warned: "Full credit to Everton, they played well last season. "But maybe we were not that sharp. The way we play we need to be sharp and fresh." It could be argued Arsene Wenger's men will not be fresh tonight, having already played 30 games this season, seven more than Everton. It has been an exhausting schedule which has led to suggestions star-man Henry could be rested tonight. But the runner-up for the 2003 World Player of the Year title insists he does not need a break. He adds: "It is difficult to cope with the games but at the moment it seems we have the legs to run. After that you can perform. "Let's hope we can keep our good health and keep fit. That is the most important thing." Everton boss David Moyes rates Henry as the best in the world. And when asked how can a side stop him, the Goodison chief responded: "Maybe try to give him food poisoning in the hotel and get him out of the team.
That's about all. "He is a joy to watch, probably the best player in the world and I certainly enjoy seeing him play. "Some of the things he does are different class and I admire him very much. You can't budget for the likes of Henry. You have to accept him as one of the top players in the world . We have to try and stop him in the best way we can, although it is very tough."
Everton 1, Arsenal 1 (D,Post)
Jan 8 2004 Ian Doyle Reports From Goodison Park, Daily Post
THE Blues striker Arsenal have grown to hate the sight of continued his goal-happy ways against the Gunners last night. And no, it's not Wayne Rooney. The last time Arsene Wenger's side journeyed to Goodison Park protecting an unbeaten record, they were undone by the injury-time winner which announced a then 16-year-old Rooney on to the world stage. Overlooked on that famous afternoon was the equaliser from Tomasz Radzinski, which prompted the grand finale. But the Canadian will take centre stage this morning after his fourth goal in four games against the Londoners earned Everton a richly-deserved point from an absorbing encounter. And with the kind of inevitable irony which football is famous for, it was Francis Jeffers who, stepping out of the wildnerness to bite the hand that continues to feed him, created the 74th-minute equaliser. The 22-year-old has suffered a miserable time since his £10million move to Highbury from Everton in the summer of 2001, struggling throughout two seasons at the capital and so far making little impact on his return to Goodison on a season-long loan, injury and the form of others leaving him unable to climb up the pecking order. But it was Jeffers who, with virtually his first touch following his introduction as substitute, took advantage of an Ashley Cole mistake to force Arsenal keeper Jens Lehmann into a save from which Radzinski fired home the rebound. It cancelled out Kanu's first-half opener and gave Everton just reward for a stirring performance against the championship chasers. And it vindicated David Moyes' bold team selection, in which his three-pronged attack of Radzinski, Rooney and Duncan Ferguson ultimately paid off. In truth the Blues probably deserved even more, as they enjoyed the greater possession and fashioned the better chances as once again they demonstrated how formidable they have become on their own turf and that they can compete with the very best.
Of course, Jeffers' late intervention could yet cost Arsenal the champion-ship come the final analysis in May, further emphasising the paradoxes of the new Premiership loan system upon which clubs like Everton are becoming increasingly reliant. However, Evertonians won't care too much about that after a performance which further underlined why this team is fully capable of making a push for a European place during the second half of the season. Arsenal may have left with their 20-game unbeaten run intact, but Wenger himself admitted his side had been fortunate to avoid a repeat of last season's events. "The mental shock we got from last year was still there," said the Arsenal boss. "We knew what to expect after the first 10 minutes. "They made a real fight of it and forced us to play a game we did not like. They disrupted us mentally." Everton's display was all the more creditable given the absence of the inform Thomas Gravesen. The Dane, failed to recover in time from the tendonitis in his knee which forced him off a half-time against Norwich City on Saturday.
Li Tie - who was sent off in the 2-1 defeat at Highbury in August - was handed only his fourth Premiership start of the season. A minute's silence following the death of Goodison legend TG Jones was observed as impeccably as the centrehalf was said to have played his football for the Blues.
The home side made the brighter start, with Ferguson in particular causing the Gunners' defence problems. And the Blues were almost rewarded for their enterprising opening in the 15th minute. Pressure from Rooney forced Pascal Cygan into conceding a needless corner, and when Lee Carsley's delivery was floated into the box Cygan deflected the ball goalward under pressure from Kevin Kilbane. But Cole hacked clear off the line. With three strikers up front, Moyes had bravely decided to go toe-to-toe with the championship challengers. Defence is clearly the Gunners' weak point but the space left by Everton's formation was tailor-made for the visitors' lightning counter-attacking style. The effectiveness of the formation relied heavily on the midfield. And while Carsley and in particular Kilbane were imposing themselves on proceedings, Li Tie's performance was that of a man who has made only a handful of first-team appearances this season. However, such was the Blues' intensity that the nearest their goal came to being breached in the opening quarter was a long-range Kanu shot in the third minute which Nigel Martyn comfortably held. It all changed on 28 minutes, however, when Arsenal went ahead with a well-taken goal by the Nigerian. A bout of pressure around the Blues' penalty area culminated with Freddie Ljungberg slipping a slide-rule pass through to Kanu, who danced past David Unsworth's challenge and side-footed underneath the advancing Martyn. Another close call came on 35 minutes, when Martyn palmed Lauren's dangerous in-swinger across the face of goal but Ljungberg couldn't quite fully connect with his head. There was no such problem with the next chance - and Evertonians will still be wondering now just how Rooney failed to draw their side level seven minutes before the interval. Neat interplay between Gary Nay-smith and Kilbane down the left flank gave the Irishman the chance to whip in an excellent cross which, ghosting in front of the Arsenal centre-backs, Rooney arrived to meet with his head six yards out. However, instead of the ball powering into the back of the net, the youngster somehow contrived to divert his effort wide. Li Tie was unsurprisingly replaced at the break by Tobias Linderoth, and the Swede made an instant difference, stiffening up the Blues midfield as they upped the pressure in search of an equaliser. Ljungberg was booked for encroaching on 56 minutes, and from the result-ant free-kick 20 yards out, Rooney powered a shot past the wall but straight at Lehmann, who punched clear. Two minutes later the game should have been over, but after Rooney had proven himself human in the first half, this time it was the turn of Henry. An untimely slip by Uns wor th gave th e Frenchman a free run on goal 40 yards out, but he dallied so much that instead of shooting he allowed Naysmith the time to intercept an attempted pass to Kanu. The home side continued to enjoy the greater possession but with Kilbane hampered by injury and Ferguson now closely shackled, it was hard to see a way back into the game, despite forcing Arsenal to peform below their best. But that all changed with the introduction of Jeffers. Kilbane was eventually forced to submit 20 minutes from time, with Jeffers replacing him in a move which saw Rooney switch to the right flank. And it was the on-loan striker who helped draw the Blues deservedly level. Ferguson flicked on a long ball which Cole made a hash of on the edge of the area, giving Jeffers the chance to shoot at goal. Lehmann could only parry out towards Radzinski at the far post. There was still a fair bit to do, but the Canadian international stretched to reach the ball and score low into the goal.
It was the least Everton deserved following a night of endeavour that proved yet again they are more than just the Wayne Rooney show.
EVERTON (4-3-3): Martyn; Hibbert, Stubbs, Unsworth, Naysmith; Carsley, Li Tie (Linderoth 46), Kilbane (Jeffers 70); Radzinski (Campbell 86), Ferguson, Rooney. Subs: Simonsen, Yobo.
ARSENAL (4-4-2): Lehmann; Kolo Toure (Lauren 20), Campbell, Cygan, Cole; Ljungberg (Gilberto 88), Parlour, Vieira, Pires; Kanu (Edu 81), Henry. Subs: Shaaban, Aliadiere.
BOOKINGS: Arsenal's Parlour (foul), Lauren (foul) and Ljungberg (encroachment).
REFEREE: Mr A Wiley.
Moyes: We deserved more than one point
Report By Ian Doyle, Daily Post Jan 8 2004
DAVID MOYES insisted his Everton side deserved better after outplaying championship-chasing Arsenal at Goodison Park last night. Tomasz Radzinski netted his sixth goal of the season - and his fourth in four games against the Gunners - 15 minutes from time to earn the Blues a 1-1 draw after Kanu had given the visitors a first-half lead. It extended Everton's home record to only one defeat in nine league games. And Moyes, insisted: "If we could have got three points tonight, I don't think anyone could have complained. We bridged the gap to a very good team. "In recent weeks we have been improving and the players have gained in confidence. It has taken a big effort tonight but that is what we'll have to do in all the games now. We want to get in that top half and then aim for the top places." He added: "We deserved to get the goal back. I was disappointed we were a goal down. It was a wellworked goal by them, a good pass and a typical Arsenal goal. We had a couple of typical Everton chances to equalise but we didn't take them. "I thought for long periods of the game we made Arsenal know they were in a game. "We made it as hard as we could for them. I thought the players were terrific from start to finish. When you play the better players you have to get as close to them as they can and press them." Moyes had elected to play with three strikers from the start, with Radzinski joined by Wayne Rooney and Duncan Ferguson up front. "We were very attack-minded from the start," said the Blues boss. "We decided to have a go for it and see if we could do something at home. "With Thomas Gravesen and Alex Nyarko not playing, I thought we would be better having more forwards and trying to get the ball to them more. "Nigel had one stop to make in the first half and one in the second but other than that he did not have much to do, which was a credit to him and the players in front of him." Moyes also praised the contribution of Rooney, who he revealed had been playing through the pain barrier and could now be rested for the weekend clash at Fulham. "The way we asked Wayne to play he had to work hard," he said. "When we lost Kevin Kilbane, we asked Wayne to move into midfield. Good players can play anywhere and he was able to do that. "He is carrying an injury and the most we were expecting from him was 60 minutes and so was he. "So we will have to limit him a bit in the coming weeks." Francis Jeffers came off the bench to create Radzinski's leveller with a shot that Arsenal goal-keeper Jens Lehmann could only parry into the Canadian's path. And it was an encouraging cameo from the striker, who is on a season-long loan from Highbury. Moyes admitted: "I see the irony of the situation, but I don't think that's got anything to do with me. "There are many players that have gone on loan and some teams don't want their players to play against them, but that wasn't an issue here. "Franny is desperate to get on the field and get an opportunity, but he is up against competition here and he knew that before he came. "But there have been signs in recent weeks he has been close to getting a start. He kept the ball well when he came on." Kevin Kilbane could be a doubt for Saturday's trip to Loftus Road after being forced off during the second half through injury.
Lofty ambitions raised by rout
By Phil Redmond, Daily Pos tJan 8 2004
THIS Saturday the Toffees travel to Loftus Road to meet Fulham. Since Fulham were promoted Everton have lost both away games against the Cottagers with the performance and defeat in May, which ultimately cost us our European place, being particularly disappointing. Over the years, however, Everton have had some decent results in Shepherds Bush albeit against Fulham's landlords, Queens Park Rangers. One game from my childhood that always sticks in my mind was on the opening day of the '76-77 season when the Blues caused the shock of the day against the previous season's league runners-up. The mid-70s QPR team with the likes of then England captain Gerry Francis, Don Givens, Stan Bowles and future Blues star Dave Thomas were one of the most attractive teams of the day. The '75-76 team had run Liverpool to the final quarter of an hour of the season and were fully expected to continue their run of success. Everton, meanwhile, were perceived to be a club in crisis with stars such as Gary Jones and John Connolly leaving in the summer and others queueing up to moan about Billy Bingham's style of management. Gates and season ticket sales were well down and there were no new arrivals that long, hot summer. BBC's Match Of The Day cameras were present at Loftus Road to witness what would surely be an opening day home win. Everton, in their new all yellow Umbro diamonded away kit, which looked ace on our new colour Redifusion 24 inch set, were seen as mere lambs to the slaughter. And a slaughter is what the watching millions got that night but it was Rangers who were put to the sword.
Early on, Mick Lyons got in a firm header from a corner which England keeper Phil Parkes (who incidentally resembled a famous cartoon dog) saved brilliantly. Unfortunately for him he then managed to throw it into his own net as the ball rested in his arms. By half-time the sublime had turned into the ridiculous as Bob Latchford touched in a George Telfer cross, Wolves boss Dave Jones had been sent off and the 10-man Blues had streaked further ahead with a penalty by Mick Bernard. I remember being beside myself with excitement as a shocked Barry Davies described the first half to the disbelieving millions on Grandstand's half-time round-up slot. The second half was a quieter affair with Rangers desperately trying to put some respectability back into the scoreline and the Toffees not doing anything too stupid. A fourth goal did arrive, however, with Latchford again breaking away to curl a beauty around the hapless Parkes. A huge tidal wave of excitement engulfed the Blue half of the city that weekend, which would last all of about two weeks before the faithful realised that their team were still almost as useless as the previous season. Bingham was only a few months from the bullet and the fans were destined for a lot more excitement during what would become an extremely eventful season.
Chance to win history of Blues
Daily Post Jan 8 2004
TO celebrate Everton's 125th anniversary a new book is on the shelves. Written by James Corbett and published in hardback by Macmillan, Everton: The School Of Science(£17.99) which will appeal to all Blues fans. The Daily Post has teamed up with Macmillan to offer the chance to win one of five copies of the book. With an introduction by the Golden Vision, Alex Young, this book charts Everton's history from their first league match (a 2-1 victory over Accrington) to the glorious championship team of 1938-39, from the relegation of the early '50s to the dramatic FA Cup victory of 1966, from Dixie Dean to Gary Lineker, and from John Moores to David Moyes. Everton's history has been studded with triumph and, as any fan knows only too well, disappointment. The achievements of the team built by Harry Catterick are recalled alongside the glory of the 1980s and Howard Kendall's all-conquering side. The great Tommy Lawton, the Wayne Rooney of 1938, is also recalled. Corbett's history of the side goes behind the scenes and uncovers the stories of the individuals who made the club, from the boardroom to the bootroom and is written with the enthusiasm, wit and stoicism of a committed Evertonian.
Rugby aces at Goodison
Jan 8 2004
By Catherine Jones Echo Reporter
ENGLAND rugby stars Matt Dawson and Mark Regan watched the Everton-Arsenal match at Goodison last night after signing auto-graphs for young fans. The World Cup heroes, both Everton fans, were given a huge cheer when they took to the centre circle at half-time. Scrum-half Dawson, from Birkenhead, said it was a "very special moment". The 31-year-old Northampton player revealed that, despite being brought up in a Tranmere Rovers household, he was a true Blue.
He said: "My dad is a Tranmere supporter, but I was always shouting and screaming whenever the Blues were on." Earlier, the pair spent an hour signing autographs and rugby balls for young fans at the Designer City store in Victoria Street. Dominic Drew was one of those waiting to meet the players with his mother, Susan. The 10-year-old from Allerton plays for Liverpool Collegiate and is a scrum half like his hero Dawson. He said: "I want to know what it was like passing the ball to Jonny Wilkinson to score the winning drop goal." Both Dawson and Regan received MBEs in the New Year's Honours, crowning an amazing two months. Leeds and England hooker Regan, 31, sporting stitches in a cut above his right eye and a bandaged hand, said life for the victorious squad was "get-ting better and better each week". He is also involved with Wooden Spoon, the rugby union-backed children's charity. The charity's Merseyside chairman, Phil Cooper, said: "The World Cup win and people like Mark will certainly help us with our fund-raising efforts."
Everton 1, Arsenal 1 (Echo)
Jan 8 2004 By Scott Mcleod At Goodison Park, Liverpool Echo
LIGHTNING didn't strike twice - but it should have done. Once again, Arsenal arrived at Goodison boasting a remarkable unbeaten record. Once again, most neutrals - and even a sizeable portion of the home faithful - suspected it would be a tough day for the Blues. And once again, David Moyes' men surprised everyone by outplaying their visitors with a combination of guts, guile and flair
The only thing missing was the last minute wonder strike to snatch all three points. But I suppose we can't expect teenage prodigies to explode onto the scene with a goal of the season contender in this fixture every year. In the absence of such a moment of magic, Evertonians were left with the significant consolation of a clinically taken equaliser 16 minutes from time by Tomasz Radzinski.
His equaliser last season may have become the forgotten goal but this time around his leveller is being lauded by the blue half of Merseyside. The Gunners must be sick of the sight of the Canadian, who has now netted four times against them in four matches. His goal was made that little bit sweeter because it came courtesy of a fine piece of attacking play from Francis Jeffers, the man who is technically still an Arsenal player. Jens Lehmann could only parry the 22-year-old's fierce drive but it seemed to have skipped too far wide of the goal. Radzinski had a lot left to do but twisted his body superbly as he slid in, guiding a left foot shot inside the near post. Having trailed for 46 minutes, it was a huge relief that Everton's territorial domination had finally garnered a goal. But there should have been a winner to add to it. There were certainly plenty of chances. Rooney himself missed one gilt-edged opportunity midway through the first half, heading wide from five yards after a pin-point cross from Kevin Kilbane. By contrast, Nigel Martyn left the field after the final whistle having spent much of the 90 minutes trudging around his deserted penalty area wondering why everybody makes such a fuss about Arsenal's attacking ability. Apparently, Thierry Henry is the second best player in the world. Last night, he wasn't even the second best player on the pitch. And he wasn't the only one of Arsene Wenger's key men who struggled to produce their best. Robert Pires, Patrick Vieira, Freddie Ljungberg. They all failed to make a real impression. Some might suggest it was merely an off night for the only remaining unbeaten side in the Premiership. But that would be doing a disservice to an Everton side that worked its socks off to negate the threat of the visitors while still managing to maintain an offensive threat. Indeed, there was little chance of the Blues not causing problems for the Gunners in the final third, thanks to the bold team selection of Moyes. Before the kick-off the talk was of permutations. Which two strikers from the multitude at David Moyes' disposal would be handed the task of attempting to breach the meanest defence in the top flight?
The answer was a surprising one. Not only were both Duncan Ferguson and Rooney deemed fit enough to start despite a bruised foot and a tight hamstring respectively, they were also joined in attack by Radzinski as part of a 4-3-3 formation. And after 20 minutes it was clear the 'attack is the best form of defence' approach wasn't so crazy. Aided by a low-key start from the visitors, who were surprisingly reluctant to surge forward with the effervescence we have come to expect from them, Everton took the game to the Gunners. And so when Arsenal snatched the lead with their first attack of any note in the 29th minute it was something of a surprise. Ljungberg woke from his slum-ber to turn provider, sliding a deft ball into the path of Nwankwo Kanu. The Nigerian international rode a sliding challenge from David Unsworth before slotting a low shot beyond Martyn for his first Premiership goal in 15 months. The response was typically dogged. Normally when Arsenal net the opening goal they use it as a springboard for victory. Not this time. It was impressive that the Blues managed to take the game by the scruff of the neck despite the absence of Thomas Gravesen.
The mercurial Dane was a big loss. Without him the Blues are seriously short of creative flair in the heart of midfield. But by employing a 4-3-3 system, Moyes provided Kevin Kilbane with the opportunity to play in a more central position and the former Sunderland man, who has been excellent as a winger since arriving in September, revelled in the role. And he needed to in the first half, with Li Tie enduring a rotten 45 minutes, squandering possession time and again before being replaced for the second period by the much more effective Tobias Linderoth. As for Kilbane, he is oozing confidence, as two cheeky nutmegs in either half on Patrick Vieira served to prove.
It was ironic then that it was his enforced withdrawal with a dead leg in the 70th minute that paved the way for the equaliser. His replacement was Jeffers, who came on and looked as sharp as at any point since his return to Goodison on loan. It was the perfect response to Arsene Wenger's comments yesterday that he expects the striker to return to Highbury at the end of the season.
Jeffers wants to earn a permanent deal at Goodison and more displays like last night's won't do him any harm. He was played in for the shot which led to the goal by Ferguson. The big Scot's height exposed Arsenal time and again. When they weren't fouling the striker, they were losing out on headers - and that was despite Ray Parlour often stepping back to double up with Sol Campbell on the 32-year-old. It is a match which will not live in the memory as long as last season's cracker. But it could yet prove to be as influential to this campaign as that 2-1 triumph was last year.
EVERTON (4-3-3): Martyn; Hibbert, Stubbs, Unsworth, Naysmith; Carsley, Li Tie (Linderoth 46), Kilbane (Jeffers 70); Radzinski (Campbell 87), Ferguson, Rooney. Not used: Simonsen, Yobo.
ARSENAL (4-4-2): Lehman; Toure (Lauren 20), Campbell, Cygan, Cole; Ljungberg (Gilberto 88), Vieira, Parlour, Pires; Kanu (Edu 81), Henry. Not used: Shaaban, Aliadiere.
REFEREE: Alan Wiley
BOOKINGS: Parlour, Lauren, Ljungberg.
Arsenal boss slams 'edgy' stars
Jan 8 2004 Liverpool Echo
ARSENAL boss Arsene Wenger admitted his title chasers were "edgy" after watching them settle for a 1-1 draw at Goodison. The Gunners were denied all three points and given another physical battering by the Everton, similar to the match last season when Wayne Rooney's goal beat the North Londoners. And Wenger, who also insisted he never considered asking Everton not to play his on-loan striker Francis Jeffers, claimed his side "were never themselves and hadn't forgotten the defeat from last season". Arsenal have now slipped three points behind leaders Man-chester United, although they are still unbeaten. Wenger said: "It is a long way to go to be unbeaten, and we could have lost this one. What the boys have done so far is magnificent." But Wenger admitted that his side still had the memory of last season's defeat on their minds. He said: "I feel that the mental shock we got last season here was still there, we were never ourselves and that played a part in the game for us. "It was a huge shock then, much bigger than I expected it to be, we were never really ourselves this time around. "We just tried to preserve the 1-0 without taking any chances. But we did not have our usual confidence this time to stick to our game, when they forced us to play a different game."
Injury worry for in-form Kilbane
Jan 8 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID Moyes insists the return to form of his Everton side will not be under-mined by a growing list of minor injuries to key players. His side produced an excellent performance to earn a deserved draw against Arsenal at Goodison last night. The Blues have now only lost once in their last eight games. But Kevin Kilbane one of the most consistent players during that run, has joined T-mas Gravesen and Alex Nyarko on the list of injured midfielders, adding to the manager's selection worries. Both Ki lbane and Gravesen are rated doubtful for Saturday's trip to Fulham. Moyes said: "Thomas has not trained all week because we are waiting to let his knee settle. "Kevin has a dead leg and we will have to see how he responds, while Alex is still out. "We are hoping some of them will come through but we have had a lot of games in a short period and you get knocks like these. We just have to get on with it." It would be a blow to be with-out Kilbane at Loftus Road. The Irish international has impressed in recent weeks and maintained that good form in a more central midfield role last night. The manager has been delighted with him since his arrival from Sunderland in September. He added: "It would not be wrong to say Kevin's performances have been excellent in the last month or so and he has really endeared himself to everybody. "He is hard working and he is honest but he has also shown he is a very talented footballer. "The quality of his delivery from the wing has been a real plus for us and the ball he put in for Wayne in the first half last night was a real peach. We couldn't ask for much better from him. "He has been one of a few players who has shown consistently good form in recent weeks and that has played an important role in our improved results. "He is the sort of lad who is great to have around the club." If Kilbane does not recover in time for Saturday's match the manager could be tempted to employ the 4-3-3 formation he used last night. Wayne Rooney could be rested after playing through the pain of a thigh strain last night. Alan Stubbs is also still suffering from a minor groin strain picked up last weekend.
Lions want Chaddy
Jan 8 2004 Liverpool Echo
MILLWALL remain hopeful of extending Everton striker Nick Chadwick's loan once he has undergone a hernia operation. Chadwick is expected to return to Goodison Park for surgery after Millwall's trip to Wigan this weekend. But the Lions want him back to boost their play-off hopes. Assistant manager Ray Wilkins said: "Once he has had his groin problem sorted out we are hopeful David Moyes will allow him to stay with us."
Wayne at pain barrier
Jan 8 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has revealed Wayne Rooney played through the pain barrier against Arsenal last night. The 18-year-old striker was determined to face the side against whom he netted his first Premiership goal last season, despite picking up a thigh strain in training on Tuesday. He earned praise from the Goodison boss for his efforts but Moyes has now revealed that he could be counting the cost of Rooney's 90 minute run-out over the next couple of weeks. He is expected to be rested for Saturday's trip to Fulham. Moyes said: "He is carrying an injury and the most we were expecting from him was 60 minutes and so was he." So we will have to limit him a bit in the coming weeks.
"The way we asked Wayne to play he had to work hard. And when we lost Kevin Kilbane, we asked Wayne to move into midfield. Good players can play anywhere and he was able to do that."
The manager also had words of encouragement for Francis Jeffers, who was a key figure in the Tomasz Radzinski goal which secured the draw. Five minutes after arriving as a substitute for Kilbane the striker on loan from Arsenal powered in a shot which Jens Lehmann could only parry into the path of Radzinski. Moyes said: "I see the irony of the situation, but I don't think that has got anything to do with me. "But there have been signs in recent weeks he has been close to getting a start. He kept the ball well when he came on." The manager also admitted he was disappointed his side had not secured the victory their performance merited against Arsene Wenger's title chasers.
He added: "If we could have got three points, I don't think anyone would have complained. We bridged the gap to a very good team."
Wenger eyes Jeffers return
Report By Paul Walker, Daily Post Jan 9 2004
ARSENE WENGER is hoping Everton's loan star Francis Jeffers can return to Arsenal at the end of the season with his confidence restored. Wenger saw Jeffers, come on as a late substitute at Goodison Park on Wednesday to create Everton's equaliser in a 1-1 Barclaycard Premiership draw which helped to keep the Toffees clear of relegation concerns and ensured Arsenal lost ground on leaders Manchester United. Jeffers, an Everton youth product, had an unhappy spell at Highbury after moving south in the summer of 2001 and he is currently back on Merseyside on a season-long loan.
But Wenger witnessed the damage the England player is capable of as Everton battled back to claim a deserved draw which leaves Arsenal three points behind United. The Arsenal manager would be happy for Jeffers to return to London when his loan ends. Wenger said: "I wanted to give Franny an opportunity to play, to go back to his old environment and to gain confidence again. "He has made one step forward in that he has not been injured for a long time. I am sure that if he stays without injury he can come back to his best level." Jeffers has made only two starts in the league this season, and last night's decisive cameo was his eighth substitute appearance. Even so Wenger saw enough to consider Jeffers' long-term future could be back at Highbury. He said: "The competition is very high at Everton. He will certainly come back to us at the end of the season. I cannot say what will happen then, though." Whether Everton could afford to buy back Jeffers - who left for £8million - remains in doubt. But the youngster's success in setting up Tomasz Radzinski's equaliser gave Goodison boss David Moyes plenty to cheer. Moyes must have been grateful, in fact, that Wenger did not ask that Jeffers be withdrawn from the match. He confirmed: "We would only have not played Franny if we had been asked by Arsenal not to - and we were not asked that question.
"I do see the irony of what happened, but that was nothing to do with me and something that would have been sorted out when he came back here. "Some clubs do not want their players to face them, but that wasn't an issue from Arsenal. I am sure he was happy with what happened. "He is desperate to play and he is up against competition here. But he knew that before he came back.
"There have been signs in recent weeks that he is getting closer to getting a start in a match. He kept the ball well and looked very sharp when he came on." Wenger insists he never considered asking Everton not to play Jeffers. He said: "I am completely against that rule. That rule is immoral.
"If you take the rule to its extent it means the rich can give to the poor but then they cannot be allowed to harm us. The rule is immoral and should be illegal." Wenger witnessed an all-action battering of his title-chasers from Everton and admitted afterwards his side were still worried about the 2-1 defeat they suffered at Goodison last season. Everton clearly got under Arsenal's skin that day and could sense their fear of another toeto-toe slugging match - and that is exactly what the Gunners got. "Everton never gave up," said Wenger . "They fought very hard and forced us into a game we did not like. "That kind of game disrupted us mentally as well as football-wise. They decided to lift the ball into the air and make a fight of it."
Moyes be praised
Icliverpool & Daily Post Jan 9 2004
Moyes be praised
GREAT result for the Blues against Arsenal on Wednesday night and particular praise goes to David Moyes. He's come through a very tricky time putting matters right both on and off the field and done so with flying colours. What a contrast to the situation across the Park.
Terry Booth, Waterloo
Keep it up
GOOD result Wednesday night lads. Well done. We have a tough set of fixtures coming up with Fulham, Charlton, United and the Reds. Let's keep up the effort performance of Wednesday night for the coming weeks and get through it all well! Nice one Radz, Arsenal must be sick of the sight of him, scored in each of his last four games against them!
Danny Boyd, Liverpool
TOMASZ Radzinski..... Tomasz Radzinski..... Come on Everton: Let's make sure we keep this guy, give him a new contract now!
B Knowles, Wirral
Bring on Fulham
HATS off to David Moyes for getting his troops to battle earning a point against the top team in the Premiership. Well done. If only the Blues could play like that consistently. Let's now get an away win at Fulham, as I want to see Everton in the top six. Hey, if Aston Villa can have a run, why not the Blues?
Jeff P Dolphin, Toronto
BLUE pride's intact following Wednesday night's draw with Arsenal but we should have had all three points. I know Roonster's a genius but my auntie could have got that header on target!
B Berry, Birkenhead
DAVID Moyes is doing a fine job, it's going take time to turn our club around from the mess Walter Smith created and all the money wasted (millions one season spent buying Bakayoko and Dacourt).
Moyes is more prudent with any money he is given and uses the loan system well. Keep it up, Moysie, we're all with you.
Steve Bryant, Durham
WELL, just heard Everton drew with the mighty Arsenal - Radzinski does it again! Remember last season against Southampton when he got those two goals in the last 15 minutes? Superb, let's hope now for the new year that we can still hope for Europe - we deserve it on the basis of last season when we just missed out.
Richard Laos, Ireland
Ferguson displays reveal he's back on form
By Mark O'Brien, Daily Post Jan 9 2004
FOR a man who supposedly doesn't like football Duncan Ferguson still appears to be quite good at it.
There have been quite a few star performers this week but it's the man, who has made more comebacks than Roberto Duran who caught they eye most in both the FA Cup game and Wednesday night's heavyweight clash with Arsenal. Considering his sternest critics still want him birched for letting Bakayoko take a penalty in a shoot-out against Sunderland around 70 years ago Ferguson made light work of the two spot-kicks against Norwich on Saturday. And given that he was allegedly one of the players unhappy about the intensity of the training regime at Bellefield he doesn't look bad on it at all. In fact he looks fitter than he ever has - compare his all-action approach to both games this week to the figure in years gone by who would spend the second half of most matches crimson faced and panting like that horse at the end of Gone With the Wind. More rumours and conspiracy theories surround Ferguson than Princess Diana and John F Kennedy put together, but the fact remains that when he's fit and in the kind of mood he's in at present he is a massive asset to Everton Football Club. Francis Jeffers hasn't been quite as valuable to us this season but he certainly played a big part in earning us a deserved draw against Arsenal. Arsene Wenger's not always the most gracious when things don't go his way but his comments about not believing in banning loan players from playing against the teams they've come from are to be commended. Jeffers himself has looked pretty sharp when he's come on in the last few games but he was always going to struggle to break into our side. Everton as a team have come a long way in the last year or so - we're certainly a better one than the one he left - and there aren't that many strikers in the Premiership who could dislodge Tomasz Radzinski and Wayne Rooney. It's tough at the top, but there's still a lot of football to play and things can change very quickly; Jeffers just has to be ready to take his opportunities when they arise. A winner tomorrow against Fulham wouldn't be a bad way for him to open his account. Despite our recent upturn in fortunes our away record is still what stands between us and really making headway in the Premiership. Noone needs reminding of what happened at Loftus Road last season and despite the Cottagers' recent slump and Luis Saha's outrageous behaviour this game still presents a stern test. However, we showed against the unstoppable Gunners on Wednesday that we're still a match for anyone when we put our minds to it.
FA clear Canaries
Report By John Curtis, Daily Post
Jan 9 2004
THE Football Association will not be taking any further action against Norwich City after allegations of racist chanting by their fans at Everton. A statement on the FA's website, www.thefa.com read: "In relation to media reports of alleged racist abuse by Norwich fans, The FA can confirm that they received no official reports on this matter. "Furthermore, enquiries conducted by The FA with officials involved in the ground safety operation at Everton found that there was no clear evidence of any racist comments made by the Norwich supporters. "The FA will therefore not be taking any further action on this matter." Norwich chief executive Neil Doncaster welcomed the decision but said the Canaries are still seeking an apology from Everton for the way the issue was handled.
"We are very pleased that, like Merseyside Police officers on duty on the day, the FA have found no clear evidence of any racist chanting by our supporters who were at Goodison Park on Saturday, and that they do no intend to take any further action. "Meanwhile we are still awaiting a formal response to the letter we have sent to Everton complaining about the way the matter has been handled and seeking an apology on behalf of our fans."
Blues to block Schalke move to take Gravesen
Report By Andy Hunter, Daily Post Jan 9 2004
EVERTON will resist any attempt by Schalke 04 to prise star midfielder Thomas Gravesen away from Goodison Park. Schalke are reportedly ready to tempt the Danish international, with a return to Germany during the transfer window. Both Gravesen and Tomasz Radzinski are seen as Everton's most saleable assets during January if manager David Moyes opts to raise funds for his own transfer ventures. But Moyes, who is unlikely to pursue any major deals this month, is loathe to lose his key midfielder and will ensure Everton block any bid from the Bundesliga club. Gravesen was described as "one of the best midfielders in Europe" by his manager only this weekend and has recently stated his desire to extend his stay at Goodison Park. Signed for £2.5million from Hamburg by Walter Smith in summer 2000 the 26-year-old has established himself as a central figure in Moyes' plans and the Blues will price him out of Schalke's range if they follow up their interest with a firm bid.
Gravesen missed Wednesday's impressive draw with Arsenal with a knee injury and is still a doubt for Saturday's visit to forthcoming FA Cup opponents Fulham. And he may be joined on the sidelines by the inform Kevin Kilbane, who suffered a dead leg in the Goodison clash. The Republic of Ireland international was forced off after 70 minutes against the Gunners and is a major doubt for the weekend. Losing both Kilbane and Gravesen will be a serious blow to Moyes, who also has injury concerns over Wayne Rooney and Alan Stubbs. The Blues boss revealed Rooney will have to be handled carefully in the coming weeks as he suffers with a tight abductor, despite playing 90 minutes in midweek. "It is an injury we are trying to manage," said Moyes: "We had planned to take him off after 60 minutes against Arsenal but with the way things went and with Kevin's injury we couldn't do it." Stubbs is also carrying a slight groin strain but could be replaced at Fulham by David Weir, who is now back in full training following two months out with a knee ligament problem.
Blues poised to fight for leagues
Academy Football With Chris Wright, Daily Post Jan 9 2004
EVERTON Academy sides start the New Year in perfect positions to challenge for the respective titles in the FA Premier Academy League. The Blues are back in action for the first time in 2004 tomorrow and with both sides lying in second place in the Group A table, have plenty to play for both as teams and individually. Gary Ablett's under-17s are just three points behind leaders Manchester United, but a face arguably their toughest game to start the year, as they take on Liverpool at Netherton tomorrow (kick-off 11am). The first derby at Kirkby ended goalless in November and having also drawn their final match of 2003 - 2-2 at home to Crewe Alexandra - Ablett's side will be hoping to get back to winning ways. Coach Ablett said: "We finished before the holiday with a disappointing performance. The lads have come back raring to go and looking forward to the weekend. We know there are not going to be any easy games now. But we have given ourselves a great base to push on." Midfielders James Harris and Christian Seargeant have had minor toe operations over the break, but Ablett hopes both will be fit enough to play tomorrow. Everton's under-19s return at Blackburn Rovers tomorrow (kick-off 11am). Neil Dewsnip's side are second, 11 points behind leaders Manchester City. The Blues had closed in on City with an eight-game unbeaten run. Two defeats curtailed that impressive sequence, but at least they returned to winning ways just prior to Christmas, beating Bolton 2-1. Dewsnip said: "We are all back and at it and everyone is raring to go.
"We did well before Christ-mas and we would like to build on it. We are pleased with how it went but we are not taking anything for granted. "We also hope to see more and more younger players progressing. So the challenge is different in that way but we hope to do well."
Rooney and Dunc the best partnership
Jan 9 2004 By Howard Kendall, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON should start with Wayne Rooney alongside Duncan Ferguson against Fulham tomorrow.
It was a very positive performance against Arsenal, but I'm not sure about playing Rooney on the right-hand side. He doesn't seem suited that role. It looked a case of having to accommodate him somewhere because Tomasz Radzinski partnered Ferguson. At the moment Duncan is playing so well he has to start. I'm not a fan of playing three strikers, so it becomes a question of selecting Rooney or Radzinski alongside him. For me, the young lad deser ves h is chance. It could be a productive partnership. That may seem unfair on Radzinski who has been doing well lately, but it would be even harsher if Rooney was benched. Against Arsenal, David Moyes was maybe thinking along those lines and so elected to play the youngster on the right, but he did not look comfortable there. Radzinski could be brought on in the second-half when the Fulham defenders' legs begin to tire. I have to say that Arsenal were very disappointing. Technically they were good, but looked as though they were in a training session. The best thing for Everton was that the Gunners scored first and thought it was all over. They barely broke sweat after that. Fulham are not in the same league quality-wise as Arsenal, so Moyes' men have nothing to fear going to Loftus Road. However, they can't field so many front players. Fulham have pace on the counter-attack and that is what the Blues must be wary of. Old Trafford trips help inspire Blues THINK back to Everton's trip to Old Trafford last season and the game there on Boxing Day just gone. On both occasions the Blues came away with-out a point despite playing well, but that in turn gave them a tremendous amount of self-belief.
Last season they followed up an unlucky 3-0 defeat with a run of six straight league wins. After narrowly losing 3-2 this time round, Everton are unbeaten in three league and cup games. It seems that the Blues come away from close battles at Old Trafford with renewed confidence. Those games seem to instill in the players a belief that they are better than other sides.
Bolstering midfield should be priority
WHEN he returned to Everton, Francis Jeffers needed a goal to help him settle into the team. That has not happened. I still regard him as a fine player, but if the club has money to spend in the transfer market, I'm not sure they will be looking to turn his loan stay into a permanent move.
Everton have enough fit strikers vying for places in the team. Any money would be better spent strengthening other areas, such as midfield. I'm sure the manager still thinks that way.
After all David Moyes tried to get Sean Davis last August. Davis himself will be looking to play against the Blues, but possibly more so at Goodison Park in the FA Cup fourth round. If things had gone right in the summer, he would be playing at Goodison every other week in a blue shirt.
Martyn plays down England call-up talk
Jan 9 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
IT seems the only person around Goodison not talking about an England recall for Nigel Martyn is the man himself. Manager David Moyes has championed the goalkeeper's cause, claiming recently that he has been the most consistent English keeper so far this season and that Sven Goran Eriksson is aware of that fact. The fans back up that assessment, with chants of 'England's number one' now commonplace on awaydays. But when you raise the issue of a possible call-up to the national squad and the possibility of being involved in Euro 2004 the Cornishman raises a wry smile and sidesteps the subject. It is something he insists has not crossed his mind, explaining: "I just come in and try to do as best as I can. If people are saying things like that it is nice, but I won't be going overboard about it." But if Martyn's good form for the Blues continues over the next month then his chances of being selected for the next England gathering will increase even further. Over the next few weeks Everton will be involved in the kind of high-profile matches which will inevitably catch the eye of the England boss. Tomorrow's trip to Fulham, a return clash at Goodison in an all Premiership FA Cup fourth round clash and league outings against Liverpool and Manchester United are the highlights of a tough few weeks for the Blues. But when asked if he thinks, for instance, Wednesday's performance against Arsenal could help his international chances, Martyn shrugs self-consciously before saying "Nah". "I am just pleased we got a good result because it was important for us not to lose on a night when there was a full programme of fixtures, otherwise we could have been sucked down the table again. There is a lot of false modesty in football, but with Martyn he genuinely is more concerned with the efforts of his team-mates and the progress of the club than his own reputation and international recognition. With that in mind, the 37-year-old relaxes when he stops talking about him-self and starts talking about Everton and their forthcoming fixtures. Tomorrow the Blues travel to Loftus Road. A month ago the gap between the two clubs was nine points and 14 league places. But a run of form which has seen Everton lose once in their last eight matches has helped inspire a march up the table which has closed that gap to four points and four league places.
It is a change in circumstances which Martyn believes provides a fairer reflection of the quality in the Everton squad. "There has been a building of confidence after picking up a few wins and a result like Wednesday's adds to the confidence. "Hopefully Fulham will be a little bit edgy because they lost again on Wednesday. If we can see out the first opening salvos, when they will be coming at us a little bit, then the pressure will turn on to them. "I think the league never lies. Where you finish is where you should finish but it does seem to be sorting itself out a bit now. And thankfully that means we are further up the league than we were. "The Southamptons, Charltons and Fulhams were the clubs doing really well. But they have had some bad results and we have had some good ones, so they will be feel-ing the pressure." Evertonians are still walking with a spring in their step after Wednesday night's well-deserved draw with Arsenal. But Martyn believes getting points tomorrow is more important. He explains: "The top three have pulled away from everybody and picking up points against them, as we did on Wednesday, is a bonus. It is the teams around you you have to beat." With Charlton the next visitors to Goodison Park, there is no denying that if the Blues are to reach the kind of heights achieved last season the outcome of the next two games is crucial.
And a couple of clean sheets will also bolster Martyn's England chances. Eriksson's squad selection for the World Cup in 2002 suggests age should be no barrier. Martyn was part of that squad, while David Seaman was the number one choice and he was older then than the Everton 'keeper is now.
It is a fact which the England boss should heed ahead of the summer trip to Portugal.
Gravesen is staying put - Irvine
Jan 9 2004 By Rob Brady, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON have issued a hands off warning to clubs eyeing up in-form midfielder Thomas Gravesen during the January transfer window. It comes as German club Schalke 04 are understood to be lining up a move for the Danish international. Gravesen, just this week described by manager David Moyes as one of the best midfielders in Europe, is happy with life at Goodison. The midfielder was brought to Merseyside from Hamburg by Walter Smith in 2000. Moyes today said he knew nothing of Schalke's interest in the player, while his number two Alan Irvine believes the player would not be tempted by a move back to Germany. Irvine said: "Tommy is fectly happy here. He is a terrific player. I don't know why he'd even want to leave the Premiership at the moment." Meanwhile, Everton have a string of injury worries, including Gravesen, ahead of row's Premiership trip to Fulham. Manager David Moyes has talked about resting Wayne Rooney, who is suffering with a tight aductor in the thigh area, but the teenager may be called into action at Loftus Road depending who e lse is unavailable. Moyes said today: "Wayne has a niggly injury, but he felt fine after the game this week. We will monitor it. The player will always come first." Gravesen (knee), Gary Nay-smith (foot), Kevin Kilbane (dead leg) and Alan Stubbs (groin) were each undergoing fitness tests today.
Irvine said: "We have a few knocks which are probably normal for this time of year when you have so many games in a short period. "At the moment no one has been ruled out. Hopefully most will be okay, but it could be that some will be looked at again tomorrow. The game is so close to the last one you don't have much time to recover." The ongoing saga involving Fulham striker Louis Saha's proposed move to Manchester United may work in Everton's favour, believes Irvine. He said: "It can distract a player. "Saha is a very important player to them and the feedback coming from their game the other night was that maybe he had lost a little bit of his edge with everything going on."
FA Cup fourth round ticket details
Jan 9 2004 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON v Fulham FA Cup fourth round ticket news is as follows.
Prices for a normal home league game will apply and are as follows: Main Stand £29; Top Balcony £25; Family Enclosure £25; Lower Gwladys £21.50; Upper Gwladys £25; Park End Stand £26; Upper Bullens £27; Paddock £25; Lower Bullens £25; Disabled Enclosure £26. Junior/Over-65s price of £14 is available in all stands. Please note that Fulham have claimed 3,085 tickets and will occupy the normal visitors section in the Bullens Road Stand. Tickets will be on sale to Season Ticket holders at the Park End box office from Monday, January 12 at 9.30am. Season ticket holders may claim their own seat (subject to availability) on production of Cup Priority voucher number 23 (fully completed with seat details) at the Park End box office until close of business on Friday, January 16 (4.30pm).
For this game only season ticket holders may claim their seat by phone during this period on 08707 3837866. Callers will need to provide their client reference, block, row and seat details as stated on their computer insert along with the registered seat holders name and address details. Supporters should note that a maximum of four season ticket seats can only be purchased in any one call.
Postal applications may also be made enclosing the correct remittance, relevant completed voucher and a stamped addressed envelope to the Box Office, Goodison Park, Liverpool. L4 4EL. Tickets will be available on general sale from Monday, January 19 (nonseason ticket holder seats) from the Park End Box Office, to postal applicants and by phone via our 24 hour dial-a-seat service 08707 3837866.
Lounge members will need to present Cup Priority voucher number 23 or FA Cup fourth round voucher from their season ticket books to gain entry. Please note that the sale of Cup tick-ets will cease at 1pm on Saturday, January 17 when the Blues face Charlton, however the box office will be open after the game. Those supporters registered on the Home Cup Scheme will automatically receive their tickets for this fixture through the post.
Blues' window is shut
Jan 10 2004 By Rob Brady Liverpool Echo
EVERTON boss David Moyes has ruled out a dip into the transfer market this month. The Blues came up against Sean Davis - their number one target last summer - in their league game with Fulham on Saturday. But the manager revealed there was little point in putting the midfielder under the microscope. With Everton having no money to spend on transfers this month, Moyes seems to have cooled his interest in Davis. The Goodison boss said: "Sean has let it be known that he is staying at Fulham and that is it. We are not doing any business this month." With no January arrivals at Everton, Moyes also insisted that no players will be leaving - particularly not midfielder Thomas Gravesen whose recent good form has attracted the interest of German side Schalke 04. Moyes added: "We are not letting anyone go, especially not Thomas." Everton appear to have recaptured the fighting spirit of last season and Moyes believes this can carry them into the top half of the table this time round. He said: "Last season one of the big things about Everton was that we were always in games right to the end. "There was always something to go for. If we can try for that level of consistency again, it will take us away from the bottom and much nearer the top than we are."
Reds derby tickets
Jan 10 2004 Liverpool Echo
LIVERPOOL V EVERTON
The Anfield derby on Saturday, January 31, kick-off 3pm, will be by ticket only and the following ticket prices will apply. Main Stand, Centenary Stand and Paddock Enclosure is £29, Kop Grandstand is £27, Kop Grandstand One adult/one child combined will be £40.50, while Upper Anfield Road Stand one adult/one child combined is £43.50 Season Ticket holders will be able to gain entry as usual for this fixture through their normal turnstiles on production of their season ticket book and voucher No.11 Initially, applications for match day tickets will only be available to those supporters who are in possession of the complete retained portion of a match ticket purchased for the Leeds United game on Saturday, October 25 and for the Bolton Wanderers game played on Friday, December 26. Ticket stub holders can purchase a ticket as available from today by postal application. Applications should be received no later than Wednesday, January 14 enclosing both ticket stubs, the correct remittance and a stamped addressed envelope. In the event of any tickets remaining after the postal sale they will be available at the Ticket Office to supporters holding the appropriate stubs from Monday, January 19 during normal office hours, Monday-Friday 9.15am to 4.45pm, as available and for as long as supplies last. Complimentary tickets, Anfield Road visitor tickets, tickets purchased through the Priority Ticket Scheme, the development Association, Supporters Clubs or Allocations will not be eligible for an Everton ticket. Due to an exchange of valid ticket stubs being required for the Everton fixture the telephone credit card line will not be operational for this match.
Fulham 2, Everton 1 (D,Post)
Jan 12 2004 Ian Doyle Reports From Loftus Road, Daily Post
GRAHAM POLL is apparently as welcome among Everton fans as Robert Kilroy-Silk at a summit on international diplomacy. The 'Thing from Tring', has that uncanny knack of bringing supporters of all corners of the country together in the union of not liking his decisions very much. Blues followers are no different. Evertonians can fill in their own personal Poll 'favourites' at this point, but the referee filed another in his folder for their consideration at Loftus Road on Saturday. Not content with waving away one stonewall penalty decision for the visitors, the official also refused to entertain another two decent shouts while handing Fulham the spot-kick of their own which ignited their hopes of victory. To add potentially damaging insult to an already undeserved injury, Poll later revealed he would also be making note in his referee's report of the Everton supporters who unwisely threw a programme and then a lighter towards the pitch midway through the second half.
No-one can condone those that pelt objects onto the field of play - "cowards" as Fulham boss Chris Coleman correctly called them - as the frustration at seeing wrong decisions go against their team boiled over. It all amounted to a pretty miserable day for David Moyes' side, who rather than kicking on as their manager insisted from the midweek draw with Arsenal, succeeded only in moving a step closer to the relegation zone from which they have made great strides to escape in recent weeks.
A run of four wins in five Premiership matches came to an end against a side who had won only one of their previous six league encounters, and whom Moyes himself had previously enjoyed a fine record against while boss at both Goodison and Preston. But even allowing for Poll's taxing contribution, this a game Everton should have won. In truth, they only have themselves to blame after missing a veritable feast of first-half chances to put the game out of sight before the referee could leave his trademark stamp on the game. Four times in the opening period, excellent build-up play by the Blues bedazzled the Fulham defence to create good goalscoring opportunities, only for the incisive touch to be absent through a mixture of poor finishing and fine goalkeeping from Fulham's Edwin van der Sar. How much of that was down to Moyes' team selection is open to debate. Possibly with one eye on long-term fitness concerns - certainly in the case of Wayne Rooney - the Blues boss elected to drop both the youngster and Duncan Ferguson to the bench. And while continuing with the threepronged attack which served him so well against Arsenal in midweek, Moyes chose Kevin Campbell and Francis Jeffers alongside Wednesday's hero Tomasz Radzinski. Neither has scored so far this season, and unfortunately both were betrayed by that ring-rustiness in front of goal. It wasn't for the want of trying. Jeffers in particular, making only his third Premiership start of the season, appeared lively in both his running off the ball and his distribution on it and did enough to warrant another start against Charlton next weekend. "Franny looked sharp and had a few chances and looked like he could get us a goal," Moyes concurred. "But it just didn't go for him."
He wasn't the only one. Given their luck in front of goal, Everton were looking elsewhere for some fortune to even the balance, but none was forthcoming from referee Poll. The first penalty claim came in the 42nd minute when, on a foray into the Fulham penalty area, Gary Naysmith appeared to have a cross handled by the retreating Luis Boa Morte. The non-decision aggrieved the Blues defender, but he could have no complaints three minutes later when he stupidly upended Steed Malbranque in his own penalty area to concede a blatant spot-kick. Louis Saha, in what may be his last appearance for the Cottagers if Manchester United have anything to do about it, sent Martyn the wrong way to give the Londoners an undeserved lead. But there was still time in the half for Poll to further upset the travelling support, waving away the appeals again when Martin Djetou blocked Lee Carsley's run into the area. It looked a definite penalty at the time, and television replays later enhanced that opinion. The players seemed to think it was a penalty kick, and having seen it on television I agree with them," bemoaned Moyes. More in hope than expectation, Everton had a second-half shout for a spot-kick which Poll chose not to listen to, although admittedly it would have been somewhat harsh on Djetou had he been penalised for handball while on the floor after challenging Kevin Kilbane. Of course, the two sides meet again in a fortnight at Goodison in an FA Cup fourth round tie, but it would be asking a lot for the sides to replicate the thrilling, breathless end-to-end encounter they served up on Saturday. The football played by Everton in the opening 20 minutes of the game was probably the best on their travels all season, yet it yielded precisely nil reward. Fulham had forced the first save of the game in the opening minute when Malbranque twisted past Nay-smith only for Nigel Martyn to parry, but from then on it was almost exclusively one-way traffic. Campbell shot wide, Radzinski headed at van der Sar, shot past the post and then nearly connected with Naysmith's cross, Jeffers wastefully shot over from an excellent position and Kilbane missed an even easier chance when side-footing Radzinski's cross horribly wide when unmarked at the far post. With David Weir still finding his feet after returning to the side for the first time in more than two months in place of the injured Alan Stubbs, there were a few moments of concern at the other end. Saha headed wide, Lee Clark blasted over and Sean Davis - who was booed by the Blues fans and, ironically, ended the game wearing an Everton top after swapping shirts with Rooney - forced a fine save from Martyn. Then came the flurry of penalty area activity before the break, the damage from which was further compounded for Everton by Malbranque's fine cross-shot into the bottom corner of Martyn's net a mere 60 seconds after the interval. Moyes responded with a triple substitution, and it almost paid off. With the pressure increasing, Rooney had a goalbound shot blocked by Djetou and van der Sar somehow saved Ferguson's close-range header with his foot. It seemed as though it would take something out of the ordinary for Everton to score, and Kilbane obliged nine minutes from time by unleashing a 25-yard screamer into the top corner.
The game stretched, Martyn had to make saves from Boa Morte and Malbranque to keep the Blues in with a chance, and Jeffers almost drew his side level four minutes from time when he capitalised on a Zat Knight error but van der Sar blocked at his feet. It wasn't to be, though. There was no disgrace in this defeat, only disappointment and frustration. Everton will play worse and win - but for Moyes, the signs continue to be encouraging.
FULHAM (4-1-4-1): Van der Sar; Djetou, Knight, Melville, Green; Legwinksi; Malbranque, Clark, Davis, Boa Morte (Petta 83); Saha. Subs: Crossley, Inamoto, Sava, Hayles.
EVERTON (4-3-3): Martyn; Naysmith, Weir, Unsworth, Hibbert; Carsley (Rooney 56), Linderoth, Kilbane; Radzinski (Ferguson 56), Campbell (Mc-Fadden 56), Jeffers. Subs: Simonsen, Pistone.
REFEREE: G Poll (Tring).
Lighter fuels trouble as Blues face fans inquiry
Report By Ian Doyle, Daily Post Jan 12 2004
EVERTON could find themselves in hot water with the Football Association after Saturday's defeat at Fulham. Referee Graham Poll, had to delay the taking of a corner kick midway through the second half of the Blues' 2-1 defeat after objects from the away end were thrown on to the field. A match-day programme and a lighter were allegedly hurled towards Cottagers midfielder Luis Boa Morte.
Poll confirmed: "The incident happened in the 67th minute and I will be mentioning it in my report to the FA." If the FA choose to act on the official's report, then cash-strapped Everton could be facing a fine for failure to control the behaviour of their supporters. The Blues will wait until official confirmation of the report until making any comment on the incident. Kevin Kilbane, meanwhile, had insisted he must take his share of the blame for the Blues' defeat - despite scoring one of the goals of the season on Saturday. The Republic of Ireland international hammered a 25-yard thunderbolt nine minutes from time to give David Moyes' side some hope after they had slipped 2-0 behind following a Louis Saha penalty and a fine Steed Malbranque strike either side of half-time.
But Kilbane admitted he had spurned a much easier chance when Everton had been on top during a onesided opening half-hour. "I should have scored early on and then maybe we could have capitalised on that and gone two, three goals in front - but it wasn't to be," said the 26-year-old.
"In the first 30 minutes we dominated. We were well on top, the passing and movement was fantastic and we should have been well in front at half-time." Of his fantastic strike, Kilbane added: "It just opened up for me a little bit and there was a bit of space. I just hit it and I was delighted to see it go in the corner. "It gave us a chance to try and get another one but looking at the game overall it was the fact that their goals were probably scored within the space of two minutes that has killed us off." After his side dominated the game for such long periods, Blues boss Moyes admitted he had found the defeat hard to take. "It was incredible," he said. "We created so many good chances, particularly in the first 15 minutes. We should have got something from the game.
"We knew it would be a tough game but given our performance, we deserved to win. "I said 'well done' to the players afterwards. If we make as many chances as we did in any other Premiership game this season, we will win." Moyes continued: "Apart from the two minutes either side of half-time, we were in control. "We had to press forward more in the second half and at the end it looked as though there would be no way we were not going to score another goal. "I thought we were excel-lent in the first 20 minutes. We were rampant but we just could not get the goal. You always worry when you don't score in periods like that." Moyes again opted to play three up front, with Kevin Campbell and Fran-cis Jeffers lining up along-side Tomasz Radzinski in place of the benched Wayne Rooney and Duncan Ferguson. "I decided that the best thing to do would be to play the three up front again to counter Fulham's formation, but that doesn't necessarily mean I'll be doing it again next week," revealed the Scot. Referee Poll infuriated Everton fans and players alike for his failure to award the Blues at least one penalty during a controversial 15-minute period around half-time. But Moyes had no complaints with the penalty the official awarded against his side moments before the break. "It was a poor tackle by Gary Naysmith to make, particularly just before half-time," he said. "It was the worst thing that could have happened. "The second goal was also poor to concede. We had possession at the kickoff, and they scored within a minute and I was gutted with that. "Otherwise, I thought we defended well and it was only when we were really going for the equaliser towards the end that it looked like they were going to score." Joseph Yobo, who missed Saturday's game with a cold, has left to join up with the Nigeria squad for the African Nations Cup.
Daily Post fans forum
By Jim Brenton, Daily Post Jan 12 2004
DON'T you hate it when your worst fears ring true. Struggling Fulham did, indeed, bounce back off the ropes at Everton's expense - and to rub it in it took a couple of sucker blows for them to succeed. Shades of Tottenham? Everton had by far the best of the opening exchanges but could not deliver an early knockout, even though it wasn't for the want of trying in an away peformance bristling with positive intent. A penalty just before the break wiped out all the good work that had gone before it. But why was Gary Naysmith's lunge deemed a foul but not the challenge on Lee Carsley moments later? It all became more academic when Nigel Martyn was deceived just seconds after the restart and the Blues were on their knees. The fact that the players hauled themselves back into the game offers hope that this result will not precipitate a slump back towards the relegation places.
I'm not sure what to make of Rooney and Ferguson being 'rested' to the bench after they had proved so potent in previous games. Squad rotation seems to be the name of the game these days but it must be a long time since an Everton boss has had so many strikers at his disposal. At least David Moyes did not abandon the attacking intent they had shown against the Gunners with three up front again. But despite the unexpected abundance of striking riches the Blues could not turn chances into goals and after a string of near misses it took a wonder strike from the hard-working Kevin Kilbane to finally break through. The words wonder and Kilbane in the same sentence? Give the lad credit. He had a tough time at Sunderland but has won over Evertonians with his skill and whole-hearted commitment to the cause. Sadly the goal did not lead to the equal-iser it deserved. Too little, too late and after all that had gone before it too frustrating. Now when did I break that mirror?
Fulham 2, Everton 1 (Echo)
Jan 12 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
IT'S time for Everton to go to finishing school. On the evidence of the last week a few extra curricular sessions on the training ground are desperately needed. If a decent ratio of the chances created against Fulham and Arsenal had been converted, then both London clubs would have been put to the sword. Instead, the Blues have a measly one point to show for the efforts. Had it been the six their performances merited then they would have climbed into eighth spot, level on points with Newcastle and just five points off Charlton and the much-coveted fourth place. With Alan Curbishley's outfit coming to Goodison this weekend, it would have been an exciting position to be in. And so the fact I am sat here writing about a defeat for the Toffees is thoroughly galling.
The sense of injustice at the final whistle of this match was intense. It would have been more appropriate had Facundo Sava been on the scoresheet for Fulham, instead of on the bench - at least he would have worn a mask. But the frustration of the result should not be aimed at Fulham. On Saturday, Everton's finishing was as considered and subtle as Robert Kilroy-Silk. And it wasn't just one player who was guilty. All five of Everton's hugely talented strikers were given the chance to make their mark against the Cottagers. None of them could. And that could not be blamed on a lack of service. This was easily the most impressive away performance of the season. They tormented the home side for long periods and provided good reason to believe it was a good thing that Sean Davis did not complete his £5m move to Goodison back in August. He was the man the Goodison chief coveted most during the summer and he looked lively for the home side. He even went close to scoring with one thunderous volley which was saved brilliantly by Nigel Martyn. But that moment of action encapsulated the biggest plus to be taken from the game. In failing to secure the signing of the young midfielder because of a knee injury, Moyes invested his money elsewhere. And Saturday provided further evidence that he invested it superbly. In signing Martyn, the hugely talented James McFadden and prodigal son Francis Jeffers, it could be argued Everton are in better shape without Davis. But the real plus has to be Kevin Kilbane. He was top class again on Saturday and deserved his 30-yard thunderbolt which gave Everton a late lifeline. The fact the visitors were looking for a lifeline is where the problem lies. The dire finishing at Loftus Road undermined all the good work which has been put in over the last couple of weeks. David Moyes chose to employ the same bold 4-3-3 formation which worked so well against the Gunners. It put the home side onto the back foot from the outset. Inside the opening 20 minutes alone there were 10 efforts on goal, four of which were 'how did he miss that one' chances. Kevin Campbell dragged a shot wide unmarked from the edge of the box, Tomasz Radzinski failed to connect with a low early cross from the left by Gary Naysmith, Kevin Kilbane somehow sliced a half-volley wide from six yards despite being unchallenged and Francis Jeffers smashed a left foot effort over the bar from 12 yards after rounding the last defender. It is a wonder Moyes hadn't pulled all his hair out by that stage. But it got worse. Want-away striker Louis Saha and Steed Malbranque netted a minute either side of half-time to provide Fulham with a two-goal lead they did not deserve. Both goals could have been avoided, had Naysmith been performing to his usual level. It was his ill-thought challenge on Malbranque which handed Fulham a penalty less than two minutes before the interval. And he wasn't quick enough to close down the same player inside the opening minute of the second half, allowing Malbranque to unleash a low drive from the right corner of the Everton box which flashed beyond Nigel Martyn and found the back of the net via the inside of the far post. That was the real sucker blow - the kick in the guts Everton didn't need. And it was made all the more infuriating because, in the five minutes before the end of normal time and either side of Saha's opener from the penalty spot, the Blues should have been gifted a couple of penalties of their own. Much has been said over the last few days about Saha's proposed move to Manchester United. With that in mind, maybe referee Graham Poll chose to give the French striker a glimpse of what life would be like at Old Trafford. There was no disputing the penalty for the home side. But Everton had two equally strong claims of their own turned away by the official from Tring. The first came when Naysmith, who was much more effective going forward, drilled a cross in from the left which was prevented from reaching Tomasz Radzinski deep inside the Cottagers area because of the use of an armfrom Luis Boa Morte. Nothing given. Undeterred, the Blues surged forward again after falling behind to Saha's strike but as Lee Carsley surged into the area he was clumsily knocked off the ball by Martin Djetou. Nothing given.
Everton could have sulked. Instead, they dusted themselves down and did everything they could to fight their way back into the game. The manager called for the cavalry with a little over half an hour remaining, making a triple substitution. James McFadden, Wayne Rooney and Duncan Ferguson came on. The personnel may have been different but, in the main, the finishing was the same. Djetou cleared off the line from Rooney, who also had an effort from distance deflected narrowly over the bar and Ferguson produced his ubiquitous towering header at the back post but it was prevented from finding the target by an improvised save from the foot of Edwin Van der Sar.
A barnstorming finish was guaranteed when Kevin Kilbane received the ball 30 yards from goal in the 81st minute and unleashed a ferocious left-foot drive which finally beat Van der Sar, sailing beyond the flying Dutchman and finding the top right corner of the net. But after the 80 minutes which had preceded it, was it any surprise that Everton couldn't muster another goal? There was no doubt every fan in the ground got their money's worth. This was great drama from (near) the BBC.
But providing a high level of entertainment should be the cherry on the cake - not the consolation after another away defeat.
Kilbane: I'm to blame
Jan 12 2004 Liverpool Echo
KEVIN Kilbane has insisted on taking his share of the blame for Saturday's defeat - despite scoring the 81st minute goal which gave Everton a lifeline. The Republic of Ireland international was more concerned about the gilt-edged chance he missed from close range inside the opening 20 minutes.
He said: "I should have scored early on and then maybe we could have capitalised on that and gone two or three goals in front - but it wasn't to be. "In the first 30 minutes we dominated. We were well on top, the passing and movement was fantastic and we should have been well in front at half-time." That frustration meant his late goal was scant consolation, despite it being arguably the most spectacular of Everton's season so far. He added: "It just opened up for me a little bit and there was a bit of space. I just hit it and I was delighted to see it go in the corner. "It gave us a chance to try and get another one but looking at the game overall it was the fact that their goals were scored within the space of two minutes that killed us off."
No regrets for Moyes
Jan 12 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES today stressed he has no regrets over missing out on the signing of Sean Davis, thanks to the form of the four players he bought instead. The former England Under-21 international was set to sign for Everton in a £5m deal in August only for a knee injury to scupper the deal. He has since withdrawn a transfer request at Fulham and was influential for the Cottagers in Saturday's 2-1 defeat of Everton at Loftus Road. But Moyes, who is still coming to terms with the fact his side lost on Saturday, told the ECHO today: "Everybody knows Sean Davis was my main target but that didn't happen. "Instead, we brought in Nigel Martyn, Kevin Kilbane and Faddy, who is full of potential and a big part of the future, as well as signing Francis Jeffers on a season-long loan. "We tried to work very hard to improve the squad when we didn't get Sean and I think it was noticeable those players had a big part to play in the quality of our performance on Saturday. "I think the four have all played an important part for us so far this season. The only disappointing thing is that, because of the way things happened, we got them a month later than we would have liked. "Had we got them before the season they would have been reaching the standards they are setting now earlier." Kilbane netted the Blues' consolation goal on Saturday. But the game could have turned out very differently had Moyes' men not squandered a host of golden opportunities in the opening 20 minutes. The manager added: played very well and created so many es. The performance and attitude of the players was very good. We just didn't get the goals when we needed them. performance merited at least a point, probably more and if we keep playing like that there will be no complaints from me."
Moyes has also dismissed speculation ing Portsmouth with a move for Francis Jeffers. The on-loan striker has yet to score this season since arriving on loan from Arsenal on 1. But he was given a starting berth at Loftus Road and Moyes is keen keep hold of him until least the end of his loan spell.
Meanwhile, Everton could find themselves in trouble with the FA after referee Graham Poll had to delay Saturday's match midway through the second half because of items thrown on to the pitch allegedly from the travelling fans. A match- day gramme and a lighter were hurled on to the playing surface. If the FA choose to act on the report then the Blues could be hit with a fine for failure to control the behaviour of their supporters. Nick Chadwick was back at Bellefield this morning after a two month loan spell at Millwall was cut short. The striker has had a hernia problem and is receiving treatment from the Everton cal staff.
We should have won - Moyes
Jan 12 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES will be happy if his Everton team can maintain the form they showed against Fulham between now and the end of the season, despite losing the game 2-1. A host of missed chances in the first 20 minutes proved costly for the Blues, who failed to fight back after conceding a Louis Saha penalty and a Steed Malbranque drive either side of half-time. An 81st minute Kevin Kilbane cracker was merely a consolation. But it shouldn't have been. Moyes said: "We knew this was going to be a tough month for us with Arsenal, Fulham who are riding high and a couple of difficult matches yet to come. But on that performance I thought we deserved to win and hope-fully if we continue to play that way then we will pick up points. "I thought we were excellent in the opening 20 minutes and I thought it was only a matter of time before the goals would come. "We had chances, good chances, but we didn't get the goals. You always worry when you are not taking chances like that because you expect a home side to have good spells in a game. "But I was looking forward to coming in at half-time saying 'well done and here is what we need to do to keep it going again'. But obviously the goal before half-time changed it. "And it was disheartening to go 2-0 down so early in the second half."
The failure to turn chances into goals means the Blues have taken just one point from the last six available in the league. With fourth place Charlton visiting Goodison this weekend and league matches against Manchester United and Liverpool coming up in the next few weeks it is not the kind of return the manager would have wanted. The key to Saturday's match was the penalty Gary Naysmith gave away by tripping Steed Malbranque two minutes before half-time. Moyes admitted: "It was a poor tackle for the penalty a minute or two before half-time - it was a poor decision (by Naysmith). "Apart from the two minutes either side of half- time we absolutely...well, I don't know what word you would use for it. "We kept going and we had to go really gung-ho 10 minutes into the second half and in the end I thought it was going to work. You were thinking there was no way Everton were not going to score again. "But we should have been two or three up in the early part of the game." The key to the early onslaught was the use of an attacking 4-3-3 for-mation, with strikers Francis Jeffers, Tomasz Radzinski and Kevin Campbell all in the starting line-up. The same formation was used against the Gunners, with Duncan Ferguson and Wayne Rooney alongside Radzinski in that game. But while the last two performances have been far better than the points return would suggest, the manager is far from convinced that it is something he should employ more regularly. He added: "Part of the reason was that Thomas Gravesen has been injured. "I also felt it was the way Fulham played so I thought we should match them and play a similar system. "But we are not necessarily going to continue with it. Tactically we thought it was right for the last two games but I will look at it ahead of the next match."
We'll have our revenge in cup
Jan 12 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID UNSWORTH has warned Fulham to expect a backlash when the Cottagers arrive at Goodison in the FA Cup fourth round on January 25. The Blues paid the price for a host of missed chances in the opening 20 minutes of Saturday's 2-1 defeat at Loftus Road. Having played Fulham twice now this season Unsworth insists Everton are the better team. He said: "After seeing what I saw on Saturday and after beating them earlier in the season I think we are the better team. "We certainly have nothing to fear when we play them in a couple of weeks time at Goodison. "We should have come in at half-time well up. We were disappointed to concede the penalty but we should have had a couple, and that is not sour grapes. "We threw the kitchen sink at them. They have cleared off the line, had a bit of luck and got the win. "I honestly don't know what else we could have done in that game. We went all out attack, had all our forwards out there but just had one of those days."
For the second consecutive match David Moyes chose to employ a 4-3-3 formation to make the most of the number of strikers at his disposal. Although the point earned against Arsenal is all Everton have to show for their efforts i n those two matches Unsworth believes the system helped inspire the Blues to their most effective away display of the campaign. He added: "It is up there with our best performances this season. It wasn't a day when we could get the ball down and pass it because it was a very difficult surface. "But we tried to get the ball as early as we could to utilise the three forwards we had on and it worked. We battered them. "They have got quality players and when you are away from home you are always going to be under a little bit of pressure at some stage. They had a couple of opportunities and scored two, so what can you do? "When you have midfielders in your team who can do such a good job of holding in there it is great. The system works. "But there is not much more I can say, I am just gobsmacked we didn't get anything.
"I think we carried on well after the Arsenal game. The attitude, the commitment and the desire were there and all we needed was to be a bit more clinical in front of goal. "Franny was superb when he came on against Arsenal and did well again on Saturday."
Moyes: Stop Houllier witch-hunt
Report By Paul Walker, Daily Post Jan 13 2004
UNDER-FIRE Gerard Houllier has won the support of Merseyside rival David Moyes as he battles to get the critics off his back. The Anfield chief has seen the gloom at Liverpool lifted by three wins in a week, even if he is more than aware that further criticism is only one bad performance away as he looks to clinch fourth spot and Champions League qualification. But Moyes, believes Houllier has been the subject of a witch-hunt. The Everton manager said: "I can only say how I feel. People always seem to be picking on somebody. "It could be me they are after next. But I do feel that some of the critics have been intent on chasing Gerard Houllier down and questioning him. "The end of the season and where they end up will be the time to make a judgement." The irony of Moyes' remarks are that it was Houllier who publicly voiced his support for the Goodison Park chief last month when Everton were in the relegation zone and the Scot was taking flak. has repaid the compliment, saying: "I am sitting across the road from him, and I feel that some of the things said about him recently have been incredible. "They have lost a few they would rather have won, but he has got them playing well. I know that is hard for me to say because I am the Everton manager."
And Moyes also sympathises with Houllier over the long-running saga of Michael Owen's contract.
Moyes said: "On Owen, I suppose what you try to do is get him signed up and quickly. But it is difficult for us all. "He is a top player and we have top players at our club and we will make offers to them and get them signed up for the future. But these things get leaked for different reasons. Sometimes to make stories, sometimes from the agent and sometimes th e player s themselves.
"It is a merry-go-round but I am sure Liverpool will do everything they can to sign him. Just like we will try to sign our best players." Liverpool have dragged themselves out of trouble and are two points behind fourth-placed Charlton with a game in hand. A month ago they were ninth.
Moyes has nothing to worry about
By Mark Lawrenson, Daily Post
Jan 13 2004
EVERTON failed to carry the feelgood factor from their battling draw against Arsenal into the game against Fulham. I thought they would get a result at Loftus Road, but I still don't think David Moyes' men have anything to fear regards relegation. Unless they suffer an unexpected collapse they are better than a lot of teams in the division. You can perm the top three in any order, with Liverpool and Newcastle to take the next two spots, but there is not a lot between the rest. Wolves are in danger of being cast adrift at the bottom and Leeds are fighting to avoid the same thing happening to them. Duncan Ferguson's return has given Everton a more physical presence, Moyes has a bit of variety to choose from up front and they are creating chances. Their home form, at least, should ensure their safety and a win over Charlton at the weekend would help recapture the optimism instilled by the display against the Gunners.
Icliverpool & Daily PostJan 13 2004
DUNCAN FERGUSON is still one of the best old-type centre-forwards in the Premiership, and I hope he can stay fit and put it in for Everton for the rest of the season. The pressure he takes off the other strikers like Radzinski and Rooney can only be good for Everton in the long run.
E Hemmings (via email)
EVERTON started with two forwards at Fulham who in six months have not scored a goal between them. Is that a record? What do these guys get paid for? Do they need more time to gel? Aren't forwards supposed to score? Am I missing something here? I think these guys should be on the bench or better still play their football at Haig Avenue in the reserves, enough said.
Has any Everton player made the top scorers list in the Premiership since it's conception?
J Peters (via e-mail)
WHAT'S with playing Campbell instead of Ferguson at Fulham? We're not Man U or Arsenal, who can afford to rest better players against weaker teams. The Fulham game was for the taking.
Dave Reynolds (via email)
BAD luck at Fulham for Everton, but you've got to stick the ball in the net. Keep this sort of performance up away from home and add the goals and we'll be okay.
Sheila Jones, Liverpool
David all Tied up
DAVID MOYES has done a terrific job but I can't help feeling he is falling into the same trap as Walter Smith on selection. Walter couldn't see anything wrong with Alexandersson but he didn't do a tap from the beginning of a match until the end. I cannot believe David picked Li Tie against Man Utd and Arsenal or Campbell against Fulham, leaving Ferguson on the bench. Things are looking up at long last but we would do better if Naysmith and Hibbert practiced passing to a blue shirt for a couple of hours a day after training.
Billy Bradley (via email)
Glad to have Rad
RADZINSKI should be offered a new contract by Everton, certainly. He is a good opportunist, if not great. We should be giving him 2-3 years here. By the time his pace slows down due to ageing, Rooney should be mature enough in taking the regular starting role.
R Oxford (via e-mail)
Four-star Blues go back on top
Academy Football, With Chris Wright, Daily Post
Jan 13 2004
EVERTON under-17s stormed back to the top of the FA Premier Academy League with a fantastic 4-1 victory over Liverpool at Netherton on Saturday. Gary Ablett's side began the new year in fine style after the Christmas break and with previous leaders Manchester United losing 3-1 to neighbours City the Blues top the table on goal difference. Everton made an ideal start when Paul Hopkins' 20-yard shot flew in after two minutes. On 15 minutes the Blues had doubled their advantage with another tremendous long-range strike from James Harris. Liverpool had England under-16s international defender sent off for a challenge on Christian Seargeant, but the Blues couldn't add to their tally until the second half. By that time Liverpool has pulled one back three minutes after the restart through striker Karl Noon. But Everton restored their two-goal cushion on 70 minutes with midfielder Laurence Wilson crashing home from 30 yards, his shot going in off the post. Andy Fowler scored the fourth, again from distance, three minutes later with a superb shot into the top corner.
Coach Ablett said: "Obviously Liverpool being down to ten men after ten minutes helped us, but we went on from there. At times we were poor and at times we were very good, so it was a mixed performance. But you would struggle to find four better strikes in a single game - the finishes were outstanding." It wasn't such a good start for Everton under-19s after they returned from the Christmas break. Neil Dewsnip's side went down 2-1 at Blackburn Rovers. The Blues went behind after Anthony Gerrard conceded a penalty. And although Brian Moogan scored an excellent equaliser Everton were beaten from a looping header in the second half. Dewsnip said: "It was very disappointing. We lost a game we really didn't need to. We didn't play as we would have liked, but I'm sure they would have said the same."
EVERTON UNDER-19s: Lake; Flood (J Jones 83), Boyle, Gerrard, Fox; B Moogan, Brown, Booth, Martland; Lynch, Barry (Pascucci 65).
EVERTON UNDER-17s: Gallagher; Wynne, Hughes, Kearney, Wright; Johnson (Molyneux 78), Seargeant, Harris, Boyle; Hopkins (Phelan 78), Fowler (Vaughan 78). Subs: McCall, Irving.
Blues threaten supporter ban
Report By Andy Hunter, Daily Post Jan 13 2004
EVERTON have threatened to ban for life any fan found guilty of throwing objects at Fulham's Luis Boa Morte. The Blues are facing another FA punishment for failing to control their supporters after a cigarette lighter and match programme were hurled at the Portuguese star on Saturday. Everton are set to be fined by the FA after referee Graham Poll mentioned the incident in his official report.
But last night chief executive Michael Dunford revealed the club will take action of their own and have requested security footage from Fulham as part of an internal investigation. Dunford revealed: "If we can identify the person concerned then, in keeping with policy guidelines, there is the potential for a ban from Goodison Park. "Depending upon the severi-ty, it could be a life ban.
"We as a club take a dim view of what happened but we will wait until the relevant investigations have been carried out. We have requested video footage from Fulham and will take it from there."
Kevin Campbell, meanwhile, insists the spirit within the Everton camp has not been damaged by the defeat at Loftus Road. Manager David Moyes backed his players' performance after the 2-1 defeat as the Blues' tough month got off to a disappointing start. And Campbell admits: "Just before Christmas we hadn't really got started yet. To be fair, I'm sure a lot of the fans were wondering what was going on. "But the lads have got together and started to perform. We want to win and now we want to start clocking up the wins. "We've got a big month coming up and we're really looking forward to it. We've taken on Arsenal and done well and we can't wait to play Charlton, Fulham in the Cup, Liverpool and Manchester United." Lee Carsley has now been officially credited with scoring the opening goal in last month's victory over Leicester.
Toby so glad over return
Jan 13 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
THE frustration of Everton's results over the last week have been made more bearable for Tobias Linderoth because he is back in the first team picture. Before the clash with Arsenal last Wednesday the Swedish international had only started once in seven matches - the 3-2 defeat at Old Traf-ford on Boxing Day. Despite injuries to Thomas Graves-en, Alex Nyarko and Steve Watson, the midfielder had to settle for a place on the bench against the Gunners. But Li Tie's failure to impose himself provided Linderoth with the opportunity to make a good impression during a 45-minute run out.
He said: "As long as I am playing I am happy. I have confidence in my own ability and I just wanted to get a chance. "I think I took that chance when I came on against Arsenal and hope-fully I will play in a couple of games now." There is every chance of that after Linderoth made a good impression at Loftus Road on Saturday, where he started as the defensive lynchpin in a three-man midfield.
The attack-minded 4-3-3 formation employed by manager David Moyes on Saturday meant Linderoth had to produce the goods. He adds: "I like to work hard and that is what you have to do in that position. Kevin (Kilbane) and I had to work very hard in the second half because we had almost four strikers but we were trying to get the draw." The failure to get that result, despite dominating the match for long periods and creating a host of chances, was a real blow for the Blues. In the next three weeks Everton must contend with league fixtures against Charlton and Manchester United - who are currently occupying places in the top four - as well as Liverpool. Linderoth added: "We needed three points at Fulham. We haven't been very good away from home this season and there are some difficult games coming. "We had very good chances in the first half especially. "When we were missing those really good chances it did cross my mind a little bit that it was going to be one of those days. "It was a great goal from Kevin with 10 minutes to go but we deserved at least a point. That is disappointing." But for Linderoth there is the consolation of knowing that, now he is back in the first team picture, he can help the Blues make amends for the frustrations of the last week.
Moyes calls for African Nations rethink
Jan 13 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES believes action should to be taken to avoid a repeat of the disruption caused by this season's African Nations Cup. Everton's Nigerian defender Joseph Yobo,left Merseyside yesterday to join up with his international teammates as they prepare for the forthcoming tournament in Tunisia. If Nigeria, one of the tournament favourites, reach the final the defender could be away for up to six weeks. He is one of a host of players from the Premiership set to miss a large chunk of the domestic season because of the Cup. The Blues boss told the ECHO: "The tournament has been in our diary for a long time. We knew it was coming and we knew we were going to be losing Joseph, so there is no bleating from us about it. "But in the past there were not as many African players in Europe, and that number will probably increase in the future. "Because of that, the timing of the tournament in the future should be looked at. "It would have been better if it had coincided with the European Championships, although I understand the problem with the heat in the summer."
The Goodison chief also believes it is wrong that the clubs should continue to pay the player's wages even though they are unavai lable for selection. He adds: "When England play there are no domestic matches but that is not the case for the African nations. We are paying their wages but not having the players. That should be looked at." Meanwhile, Thomas Gravesen began jogging today as he continues his comeback from the knee injury which has prevented him playing in the Blues' last two matches. He remains a major doubt for Saturday's home clash with Charlton.
Blues seek shares boost
Jan 13 2004 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON are considering a bold move to transform the club's financial fortunes - by following the successful share rights issue of Glasgow Celtic. Blues shareholder Steve Allinson has urged the club to consider an ambitious plan to raise £15m through the issue of new shares. And the Blues' board has promised to discuss the project at a board meeting later this month. But the ECHO believes that the Blues are already well down the line towards unveiling their own share scheme - on a par with the successful model which completely transformed Celtic's fortunes in Scotland. We understand that the Blues have already held a number of meetings with the financial advisor who oversaw Celtic's share issue in 1994. The first formal meeting took place more than a year ago and there have been several meetings since. Blues' deputy-Chairman Bill Kenwright refused to comment, but it's believed he is the driving force behind the scheme having actively pursued numerous ways of raising transfer revenue for David Moyes. The Glasgow giants were on the brink of bankruptcy in 1994 when businessman Fergus McCann took control of the club. He immediately organised a shares issue for supporters which raised £9.4m. There have since been another two issues of new shares in the club. Mr Allinson's private proposal will still be discussed. He is the vice-Chairman of Everton's Shareholders Association and believes his plan could deliver some much needed transfer funds to manager David Moyes. "Everton fans are a huge family, and the sooner we give all fans the opportunity to demonstrate their suppor t through ownership, the less the burden will rest solely on our magnificently faithful attend-ance," said Allinson. Under Mr Allinson's scheme, a further 15,000 shares would be created to add to the 35,000 which currently exist. Since it is thought the majority owners True Blue (Holdings) Ltd - consisting in the main of Bill Kenwright, Paul Gregg, Arthur Abercromby and John Woods - would be unlikely to take up their options, this could mean in the region of 10,000 shares available for fans. True Blue would still hold the majority stake in the club, albeit reduced from around 70 per cent to just over 50 per cent. Michael Owen, a member of the Everton Shareholders Association executive committee, said: "If the club's board of directors cannot or will not pump new money into the club, then it's only logical and reasonable to give Everton's supporters the opportunity to do so." Mr Allinson's proposal has been a personal initiative, but he is hoping to obtain the support of the Everton Shareholders Association.
Blues are going for the double
Jan 13 2004 By Matt Withers Echo Reporter
A GROUP of Everton fans are hoping to set up a game the Blues can't lose - Everton v Everton.
A club called Everton, formed after the originals visited South America in 1909, have just been promoted to Chile's top league. Now a group of fans are trying to arrange a fixture between the two clubs to mark Liverpool's year as European Capital of Culture. A group called the Ruleteros Society, who preserve links between the two Evertons, are behind the plan. Secretary John Shearan explained: "We really want to arrange a game between the two clubs in Liverpool in 2008, with a return leg in 2009 when the Chilean club celebrates its centenary. "It would be an absolutely fantastic fixture. Lots of our members are also shareholders in the English Everton, so we're now trying to get some support for it and put a bit of pressure on Bill Kenwright. "There are also Evertons in Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago, so we might even get a tournament going."
While the original Everton struggle this season, their namesakes in the seaside town of Vina del Mar, 8,000 miles from Goodison Park, are setting an example. The club have been promoted to the first division of the Chilean league as champions. The clincher saw the club, named after the Blues toured Chile in 1909, beat bottom side Lota Schwager 5-3 in front of a packed 18,000 crowd.
Mr Shearan said: "We've been going over every year to watch them, even though they're usually rubbish. "They have walked through their league this year and should survive in the first division next year. "They've certainly got a much better chance of playing in their continent's top tournament than we have." But the Barbados Everton may not be much of a match for Rooney, McFadden and colleagues. They finished 10th in their country's third division - only three points clear of relegation.
Everton Res 0, Liverpool Res 2
Jan 14 2004 Daily Post
SUPERB goals from John Welsh and Anthony Le Tallec gave Liverpool a 2-0 win over Everton in the mini derby at Haig Avenue as Jamie Carragher gave the watching Gerard Houllier a major boost by playing the full 90 minutes. Carragher, in his first game since breaking his leg at Blackburn in September, appeared at left-back while Steve Finnan, also on the comeback trail from a hamstring injury, played for just over an hour at right-back. French duo Le Tallec and Florent Sinama-Pongolle featured in a strong visiting line-up, while Jon Otsemobor played in an experimental right midfield role. For the Blues, Alessandro Pistone, completed 90 minutes for the first time since recovering from a shoulder problem, and there were also run-outs for James McFadden and Li Tie to impres s Davi d Moyes, who was sat just behind Houllier in the stand. Liverpool had the game's first real opportunity when Sinama-Pongolle took advantage of a sloppy Stephen Wynne pass but Steve Simonsen made a fine save. After 12 minutes Everton went close through some fine wing play from Scotland star McFadden. He went past Finnan down the left wing and his cross-cum-shot was well turned away by the agile Patrice Luzi. On the half hour mark Liverpool went close again, with Le Tallec and Sinama-Pongolle a lively front pair for the Reds. Le Tallec set up Sinama-Pongolle to run at the Everton defence, and from his pass Darren Pot ter had a clear chance, but the Irish youth international took too long and his cross was cleared. Liverpool were denied a strong penalty claim 10 minutes before half-time when Steve Simonsen appeared to fell Sinama-Pongolle after Le Tallec's throughball. The referee waved away appeals but a flare-up ensued, with Sinama-Pongolle clashing with Everton captain Peter Clarke. The French striker was shown a yellow card after the referee consulted with a linesman. Eight minutes later Le Tallec was booked for Liverpool after a clash, again with Clarke. In the second period, substitute Alan Moogan linked up well with McFadden on the left and only a good save from Luzi prevented an Everton goal. Li Tie then had a fiercely struck drive charged down but in the 71st minute, Everton fell behind to a superb, 30-yard cracker from Welsh. And it was Le Tallec who wrapped up the game at the death, firing a right-foot curler beyond Simonsen and into the roof of the net.
EVERTON RESERVES: Simonsen, Wynne, Pistone, Clarke, O'Hanlon, Gemmill, Alexandersson, Schumacher (A Moogan 59), Osman, Li Tie, McFadden.
LIVERPOOL RESERVES: Luzi, Finnan (Foley-Sheridan 63), Carragher, Medjani, Whitbread, Potter, Otsemobor, Welsh, Sinama-Pongolle, Le Tallec, Foy (Smyth 87). Subs: Harrison, Raven, Gillespie.
REFEREE: M Matadar.
Pompey Jeffers move to be resisted
Report By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jan 14 2004
EVERTON will resist any attempt by Portsmouth to lure on-loan Francis Jeffers away from Goodison Park. Harry Redknapp is reportedly ready to offer the Blues striker a six-month contract worth £500,000 as he looks to replace Wigan-bound Jason Roberts. But neither Everton nor Jeffers are believed to be interested in an early end to his latest Goodison stint. The 22-year-old, is tied to a 12-month deal at Everton with a view to a permanent transfer in the summer, but could move if the Blues sanctioned a return to Arsenal who could then loan him out to Portsmouth. But Jeffers has impressed Moyes in recent weeks, starring in the last two outings against his former club and Fulham, and the Blues boss wants to give the striker every chance of earning a summer deal during the remainder of this campaign. Key midfielder Thomas Gravesen, meanwhile, has resumed light training but is a major doubt for Saturday's clash with Charlton. The Danish international has been sidelined since the FA Cup win over Norwich with a knee injury and is unlikely to be rushed back ahead of tricky tests against Fulham in the fourth round, Liverpool and Manchester United.
"He has started some light jogging," said Moyes. "He is not back in full training just yet but he is starting to make progress with the injury and we will see how he goes over the next few days."
The Blues manager has also revealed his puzzlement at why Everton should pay Joseph Yobo's wages while he is away on African Nations Cup duty. Yobo will be away for six weeks if tournament favourites Nigeria reach the final in Tunisia. And Moyes believes it is wrong for clubs to pay players when they cannot pick them. He said: "I am against paying the player's wages while he is away in the African Nations Cup. "We do pay the players' wages when they travel away with England, for example, but at least those games are not when Everton have a game. "We have got games on and we are paying Joseph Yobo's wages while he is away with Nigeria, which I find difficult to accept."
Blues shares plan backed
Report By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jan 14 2004
EVERTON have been urged to create a financial windfall for David Moyes through a share rights issue - by prominent members of their own Shareholders Association. Bill Kenwright, is exploring various ways of raising transfer funds for the Blues manager, who has no money to spend during the January window. Now leading shareholders have called on the Blues' deputy chairman to sanction a shares issue that, if successful, could raise £15million. Steve Allinson, vice-chairman of the ESA, wants 15,000 new shares created at £1,000 a piece. The proposal is due to be discussed at a board meeting later this month and is similar to the one employed by Celtic under former owner Fergus McCann, who raised £9.4m and ploughed it into transforming the Scottish giant's stadium ten years ago. But whether the Blues board would agree to a proposal that dilutes their control of the club remains to be seen. True Blue (Holdings) Limited - which consists of directors Kenwright, Paul Gregg, John Woods and Arthur Abercromby - would have their majority stake reduced from more than 70 per cent to just over 50 per cent under Allinson's scheme. And Everton, who have rejected calls for share rights issues in the past, have held talks with the financial advisor used by Celtic in 1994 over an alternative share plan of their own. Allinson said: "Everton fans are a huge family and the sooner we give all fans the opportunity to demonstrate their support through ownership, the less the burden will rest solely on our magnificently faithful attendance." And Michael Owen, a member of the ESA's executive committee, added: "If the club's board of directors cannot or will not pump new money into the club then it's only logical and reasonable to give Everton's supporters the opportunity to do so."
Blues set for tour of China
Jan 14 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON are planning an end of season tour of China involving three games as part of a mini tournament in the Far East. It will be the first time the People's Club has played in the People's Republic. The excursion, which the Blues expect to confirm within the month, will fulfil a commitment originally made last season. The club had to cancel a trip to the Far East scheduled for May last year as part of the sponsorship deal with Kejian because of the SARS outbreak. Plans have been ongoing since that enforced cancellation and chief executive Michael Dunford is now confi-dent the trip will take place at the end of the current Premiership campaign. He said: "We are currently discussing the prospect of a tour at the end of the season. It is probable. "We hope to have definite news within the month." Fans are urged not to make any plans until the club confirm the full details of the tour, including the opposition and dates. Last season's trip was set to last 10 days, with one game to be played in Hong Kong and one in Shenzen. Meanwhile, David Moyes has ruled Everton out of the chase for Nicky Butt, despite admitting he would love to add the Manchester United player to his ranks. Butt had a transfer request accepted yesterday, with United reportedly only asking £5m for the experienced England international. Moyes said: He is a very good player but we will not be doing thing. We don't envisage there being any transfers either in or out of son during the transfer window." And that means smouth's continuing efforts to tempt the Blues into allowing Francis Jeffers to switch to the south coast will not be successful. As revealed in Monday's Echo, Moyes wants to keep hold of the year-old until at least the end of his season-long loan spell from Arsenal. Pompey have also been linked with a loan bid for Duncan Ferguson but he would oppose any move.
When Campbell helped Blues out of the soup
By Phil Redmond, Daily Post
Jan 15 2004
PROBABLY the most significant meeting between Everton and Charlton at Goodison in recent years took place in April 1999 when Kevin Campbell's third double in consecutive games eased the Toffees to Premiership safety. Over the past couple of years a lot of fans seem to have forgotten what Campbell did for us five years ago, and as injuries and age have taken their toll he's sadly been the target of the boo boys at times. At Easter time in 1999, Everton were in deep trouble. Money was tight after Peter Johnson had allowed Walter Smith to spend funds that weren't really available and the dour Scot's negative tactics were at least partly responsible for the resultant struggle by a squad that did contain a great deal of talent, at least on paper. On transfer deadline day Smith had swooped for the experienced, and, more importantly, cheap Scot Gemmill and Kevin Campbell and I for one wasn't particularly impressed. The season's nadir was reached on Easter Monday when the Blues somehow contrived to lose against an abject Sheffield Wednesday at Goodison. Who could forget those backpasses by Unsworth and the comedy Italian, Materazzi? Charlton won away that day and suddenly the Blues were in the bottom three at the worst possible moment. Enter Super Kev. His first brace sank Coventry the following Sunday before another double, along with a Gemmill strike, brought an unlikely three points back from St James' Park. The big one was the following week when the Addicks came to Goodison. Three points for Everton would make us safe and probably sink the South London outfit - a full house packed Goodison on a warm sunny day. By half-time the tension was easing as first Don Hutchison capitalised on some pretty dodgy goalkeeping and then Campbell rounded the keeper for the second. After the break Francis Jeffers crossed for Campbell's second before the pair combined for the youngster to slot the fourth with a classy finish. No one minded when ex-Blue Graham Stuart got a late reply for Charlton from the penalty spot.
Everton were safe and the Blue half of the city had a new hero, Kevin Campbell. Lest we forget.
Win a copy of "If You Know Your History"
Daily PostJan 15 2004
"If You Know Your History" is a remarkable pictorial record of Everton Football Club. It is an official 125th anniversary offering that has got all Blues fans talking. We have two copies of this excellent book to give away in a special Daily Post competition. This official new book is predominantly an Everton photo-graphic encyclopaedia featuring over 250 pictures, many of them researched from the unmatchable archive of the Liverpool Daily Post. These fascinating images link the decades together to form a rich tapestry, from the pioneering days of St Domingo's through to the legendary Dixie Dean and onwards to the modern age of the club's latest sensation - Wayne Rooney.
The book features forewords from manager David Moyes and True Blue owner Bill Kenwright.
Alexandersson poised to stay
Report By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jan 15 2004
NICLAS ALEXANDERSSON looks set to stay at Everton until the end of the season - despite Swedish interest in the international winger. Former club IFK Gothenburg and OIS Orgryte are both interested in the 32-year-old. But prospects of an early exit for the out-of-favour star have faded with both clubs delaying moves until his contract expires in the summer. Alexandersson, has not figured for the first team this season and had hoped to move during the January window.
David Moyes wants to get a high-earner off the wage bill but with the Swedish season not resuming until April, IFK and OIS would rather swoop in June than pay the midfielder's salary now. Harry Redknapp, meanwhile, has confirmed he is interested in Francis Jeffers but has little chance of land-ing the on-loan striker. The Portsmouth boss said: "I am looking for a striker as we are desperately short - I have only really got Teddy Sheringham at the minute. "I would like to sign Francis Jeffers, but I don't really think it is a goer. I will try and see, but I doubt it. He belongs to Arsenal and he is on loan at Everton and I doubt whether or not Arsenal would want to lose him." Neither Moyes nor Jeffers want to call time on the striker's latest Goodison stint, however, and last night a Blues spokesman said: "This move has no chance, because all parties would not agree." Young midfielder Alan Moogan could be out for the rest of the season after suffering a serious ankle injury during Tuesday's mini-derby. The 19-year-old faces surgery to repair ligament damage tomorrow and is expected to be sidelined for several months.
* EVERTON have confirmed talks are underway to arrange an end-of-season tour of the Far East.
The Blues announced last summer they would tour China as part of their sponsorship deal with Kejian after being forced to cancel their original plans because of SARS.
The ultimate sportsman
Jan 15 2004 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
"FOR Sportsmen In The Great Tradition."
That is the simple inscription etched onto the solid silver trophy which carries the name Dixie Dean Memorial Award, this year sponsored by The Legal Helpline. And sportsmanship in the great tradition is the quality for which British football's most celebrated goalscorer is often overlooked.
Tales of William Ralph Dean's goal-scoring feats, his bravery on and off the pitch and his inspirational leader-ship are familiar to all Evertonians. But what is less well known is that throughout a career when he was subjected to appalling provocation - he once lost a testicle as a result of a defender's challenge - he was never once booked or sent off. It was that quality which influenced the Echo's panel when they initiated the award in 1980 to commemorate the death of the Goodison legend.
And it was wholly appropriate that another paragon of footballing virtue should be the first winner - Liverpool's worthy winger Ian Callaghan. He collected the inaugural award just months after Dean had passed away at the end of a derby match at Goodison Park. For 16 years the award was shared between worthy recipients from each of Merseyside's three League clubs. Goodison stalwart Mick Lyons and Anfield assistant-boss Phil Thompson followed Callaghan on the winners' plinth, then Ray Mathias became the first winner from Dean's original club Tranmere Rovers. Since then winners have read like a Who's Who of football legends, men like Colin Harvey, Joe Fagan, Alan Hansen, Kevin Ratcliffe, Ian Rush, Alan Ball and Howard Kendall. Since the instigation of the Bill Shankly Memorial Award in 1996, the winners have been exclusively from Everton. Modern striking greats Bob Latch-ford and Graeme Sharp have been joined by inspirational skipper Dave Watson and the last of the Corinthians, Brian Labone, on the roster of winners. Last year's winner, Howard Kendall, said: "It was a tremendous honour to win an award bearing Dixie Dean's name - even if my name again came after Ball and Harvey on the list! "To all Evertonians, Dixie Dean is still a hero. His statue has become almost a shrine with flowers and scarfs placed there before every home match. "You should never say never in football, but I think if there is one record you can safely say will never be beaten, it's Dixie's astonishing 60 League goals in a single season. "And that is a source of special pride to Evertonians."
No stranger to spotlight
Jan 15 2004 Jblue, By Rob Brady, Liverpool Echo
CONNOR WARWICK is a familiar face to Everton stars past and present. The seven-year-old has been having his picture taken with Goodison's biggest names since he was a toddler. Snap shots of Connor with players ranging from Neville Southall and Gary Speed to Duncan Ferguson and Wayne Rooney adorn his bedroom wall. He even has a dog named 'Rooney'. Despite suffering brain damage as a baby which l e ft him vis ual ly impaired, Connor has been a regular at Goodison since he was four. He sits next to the team dug-outs with his uncle, Pete Clarke. Mum Ann Warwick said: "The whole family are Blues and they decided before Connor was born that he would be an Evertonian too. He loves going to the matches. It lights up his life. "All the players know him. They are brilliant. They stop, chat and sign autographs. His favourites are Dunc and Rooney. "Connor's ambition is to be an Everton mascot. He is a brave lad who has had many problems with his sight. Football really keeps him going. He loves to play the game too and was in a Sunday League side. Put him on the pitch and he is a very different boy."
* IF you know of a JBlue member who deserves to be crowned Fan of the Year, nominate them now. Send their details, including JBlue membership number and a daytime contact number for their parents to JBlue Fan of the Year, ECHO Sport, Old Hall St, Liverpool L69 3EB or email them to
Moyes praise for big Dunc
Jan 15 2004 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES paid tribute today to the most prolific striker in the Premiership - his own Duncan Ferguson! The Everton forward, currently boasts a goals per game ratio which is greater even than Ruud van Nistelrooy, Thierry Henry or Alan Shearer. The Scot has scored seven goals in seven starts this season - three of them since his return to the fold after a public fall-out with Moyes. And the Blues' boss said: "He has been smashing for us. He has knuckled down and got on with his work.
"He missed the last couple of seasons through injury and everyone was getting a bit frustrated, including Duncan. "Now he is beginning to get himself back into shape. "He was a bit tired after the games he played over Christmas which is why he didn't start at Fulham. He won't play every minute of every game but he understands that fully. "A few of the goals might have been penalty kicks but he has put them away and he is in there creating a few opportunities for other people, too.
"We are pleased with him." Ferguson has 18 months remaining on his Goodison contract and is keen to leave a lasting image of the firebrand forward the Everton fans took to their hearts before his controversial transfer to Newcastle. Appalling luck with injuries meant he has started just 27 games in the two-and-a-half years since his return. It is the midfield department which is causing Moyes most headaches at present. Thomas Gravesen is back in light training but a late decision will be made on his availability for Saturday's visit of Charlton, while Steve Watson is still ruled out.
Young midfielder Alan Moogan has been ruled out for the rest of the season, meanwhile, after breaking his ankle in Tuesday night's mini-derby.
Squad trimming on hold after Gerrard injury blow
Report By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jan 16 2004
EVERTON'S plans to trim their squad during the transfer window have been dealt another blow by a training ground injury to Paul Gerrard. The Blues keeper, will have surgery in the next few days after suffering a knee cartilage problem. Gerrard, along with Niclas Alexandersson, is one of several players manager David Moyes would allow to leave this month in a bid to reduce the club's wage bill.
But with Alexandersson likely to remain at Goodison until his contract expires at the end of the season and Gerrard sidelined for several weeks, the Blues' outgoings have been restricted. "Paul is in need of a cartilage operation on his knee - he's got a tear in his cartilage that he did in training," said Moyes. "He's been on loan at Sheffield United and since he came back from that just before Christmas he's been fine - he's been training. "But he hasn't had any reserve games in that period and he thinks he has damaged the knee in training." Thomas Gravesen, meanwhile, is almost certain to miss out again when Everton take on Charlton tomorrow. The Danish international has resumed light training after injuring his knee in the FA Cup win against Norwich but is unlikely to be match-fit by the weekend. But in-form defender Alan Stubbs could return after recovering from the groin injury that kept him out of the Arsenal and Fulham games. Moyes said: "Alan has done a bit of training. He doesn't seem too bad, so hopefully he should be okay for the weekend."
Blues need Nicky
Post Soapbox, Icliverpool & Daily Post
Jan 16 2004
Blues need Nicky
WELL done David Moyes, you're getting the best out of what you've got. Just one thing though. Naysmith's not a left-back because he can't even tackle! Moyes is still young and still learning but when 40,000 people can see he's making a mistake, I worry! Please find a bit of money to get Nicky Butt or Solano from Newcastle. We're still a bit thin on the ground with midfielders although I think Rooney could learn to do that job in the Gazza mould!
Andy Devey, Merseyside
Butt looks nice
NOW is the time for the Everton board to act. Go for Nicky Butt and this could be the signing that will push us towards the sixth spot. Miss out and we risk losing Moyes. £5million is a snip for a player of Butt's quality.
Mark Ashcroft, Leigh
Time to act, Blues
WE are being kidded again. Surely we should go for a proven England international like Nicky Butt given that it is agreed by all that our main weakness is midfield. Such players don't come on market regularly. Wasn't it Everton that gave approval for fees to be paid over the duration of the contract?
If we can't get Butt now it means we won't get anyone until Ferguson, Campbell and others are off the wage bill in 18 months.
Come on board, pull your fingers out!
John Grimes, Skelmersdale
Don't sign Franny
IT'S obvious that the Jeffers loan hasn't worked. We should get rid of him before Moyes is persuaded to buy him permanently.
Si Murray, Formby
Show us the money
CAN someone tell me why after a summer board meeting confirmed a £5million transfer kitty would be available for Sean Davis, Moyes has now confirmed there is no cash available. This season's transfers are McFadden, Kilbane, Martyn and Jeffers on loan. The combined transfer fees should leave a balance of at least £1.5m. Surely it's not a case of missing money at Everton Football Club once again is it? Kenwright went on record as saying he would do everything possible to provide Moyes with the players he requires. Nicky Butt is available and as usual Everton are nowhere to be seen. Back to you, Bill.
S Smith, Liverpool
THE question of David Moyes' team selection for the Fulham game being wrong is a leading question giving people the idea to jump on the 'bash Moyes' bandwagon. Moyes has made an excellent impact on the Everton playing staff and this has shown positive results on the field and off it.
Most Everton supporters can see clearly that Moyes is a class above many other managers in the Premiership. It is just that the club lacks the resources for the next step.
Eddie Hunter, Bromborough
Moronic support putting Blues in trouble
Fan Scene, By Mark O'Brien, Daily
IT'S not been a great week for Everton in the slightest. Last Saturday morning everything looked so much rosier, with Evertonians travelling down to West London feeling buoyant following our good recent run and the barnstorming clash with Arsenal. By five o'clock, though, spirits were dampened by yet another away defeat and the crass behaviour of some of our travelling fans. It's easy to get on the back foot following afternoons like that, after all how many tried to make out that Thierry Henry was to blame for the incident at Highbury, almost absolving the terrace snipers?
The unavoidable fact is that these incidents are far too common at Everton games for anyone to realistically deny that there's a problem that, if anything, seems to be getting worse, not better.
And if people are totally honest they will also acknowledge that the missile-throwing incidents are just the most public manifestations of a more general malaise: an ugly, spiteful undercurrent of boorish behaviour and racist singalongs. At times it almost seems as though sections of our support seem to take pride in living up to every negative stereotype that we've been branded with over the years. There have even been reports that the Metropolitan Police are investigating racist chanting in the ground, apparently aimed at Kevin Campbell. That's just too vile for words - it was disappointing enough at the time when people cheered his substitution. His crime? Not being Duncan Ferguson, apparently. Ferguson is playing well, but it doesn't take a qualified physician to know that his body is not the most robust - the manager knows it and that's why he implemented a bit of squad rotation, mindful of the big Scot's midweek exertions. That system of rotation will have to continue for the rest of the season as well, with Campbell having an important part to play in our season. Those people so eager to write him off either have extremely short memories or didn't go to Portsmouth where, in atrocious conditions, he gave a fabulous display during what remains our only away win of the season. It's an honour to be an Evertonian and a privilege to get to write about them no matter how they're doing on the pitch. Everything, it seems, comes with a price though, and for us it's having to put up with our club's dark side, be it the immature behaviour of some of our fans or the horrible way we treat our players at times. All that leaves us with no space to talk about Kevin Kilbane's goal. What a shame. Here's hoping for a better week next week.
Blues looking to scale table top
Academy Football, With Chris Wright, Daily Post
Jan 16 2004
AFTER last week's stunning derby victory, Everton under-17s aim to stay in pole position in the FA Premier Academy League Group A table when they take on nearest rivals Manchester United at Netherton tomorrow. Gary Ablett's side regained top spot thanks to a 4-1 derby victory as United went down 3-1 in their own local spat with neighbours City. Now the Blues have the chance to pull clear of United, who have the same points but an inferior goal difference, tomorrow. The last time the two sides met Everton were convincing 4-1 winners in one of their best performances of the season. Ablett said: "We have tried to impress on the lads since they came back, that although they have done fantastically well for six months leading up to Christmas, it counts for nothing now.
We are now in a mini league and there is a lot to play for. We have given ourselves a couple of points start on some of the teams, but now the real stuff begins." Midfielder Christian Seargeant took a nasty knock in the incident that saw Liverpool's Jordan Holmes sent off last Saturday and the Blues will monitor that. But they are hopeful he will have recovered. Neil Dewsnip's under-19s aim to get back to winning ways against Crewe Alexandra at Netherton tomorrow (kickoff 11am), after losing at Black-burn. Finishing has been a problem at times this year and although the joint top scorers Scott Brown (five) and Brian Moogan (five) have chipped in from midfield, strikers Anthony Barry (one), Gavin Lynch (one) and Patrice Pascucci (three) have not been as prolific as the Blues would like. But Dewsnip is looking for all his team to help in that department. Midfielder Scott Brown took a knock last week and did not play for the reserves on Tuesday, but should be available for tomorrow. Defender Patrick Boyle, who made his U19s debut last week, is away on international duty with Scotland U17s.
Blues must be wary of diamond Stu
Jan 16 2004 By Howard Kendall, Liverpool Echo
EVEN though they are not a big name side, Charlton should not be underestimated. Alan Curbishley has done a tremendous job there and in Graham Stuart, they have an experienced player who will be relishing stepping out at Goodison again tomorrow. He loved his time at Everton. I signed him from Chelsea and he settled in really well. He has the nickname Diamond and he deserves it because he really is a gem to work with. He will be one that Everton will have to keep a close eye on.
There are times when a manager doesn't really want to sell a player, but he feels the need to juggle his pack. I wanted to bring in Mitch Ward and Carl Tyler from Sheffield United, but the Blades were not prepared to do a deal unless Stuart was part of it and so he left for Bramall Lane. In last week's column I suggested Everton shoul d have started with Ferguson and Rooney up front at Fulham. Instead the Blues played with three strikers and the two I suggested were both on the bench.
Dunc did come on and nearly score, though. It is really pleasing to see him fit, looking hungry and enjoying his football. When those qualities are in place, I would not hesitate in starting with Duncan every time. At the back Alan Stubbs has been in outstanding form this season and deserves the captain's armband. The extra responsibility has probably improved his overall performance.
With Yobo having left for the African Nations Cup, Everton will need Stubbs to keep up his excellent form. The big bonus for Everton, however, has been David Unsworth. At the start of the season most people would have been looking at two from Stubbs, Yobo and David Weir to fill the centre-half positions. Unsworth didn't get a mention, but he certainly deserves one now. His form at the back has been tremendous.
Time may be right for Emile
THERE has been a lot been said this week about Emile Heskey's Liverpool future. The transfer window creates that kind of speculation. Just look at the Louis Saha situation. It's farcical. Fulham say there's no deal with Manchester United, yet the player says there is. Liverpool look to be bringing in Djibril Cisse and are possibly thinking about recovering some of the money by letting Heskey go. There comes a time when a club must seriously consider selling a player if an offer comes in, particularly if it looks like he will be replaced in the summer anyway. The offer may not still be there in the summer.
Tommy was a gent
I WANT to pay tribute to the late Tommy Eggleston. He was a long time servant of Everton Football Club. He was my first coach when I signed from Preston and went on to be caretaker manager when Harry Catterick was ill. He also gave tremendous service to Ipswich Town as a physio. Tommy was a magnificent gentleman and a credit to football.
Keeper poll just 'a joke'
Jan 16 2004 Liverpool Echo
GOODISON goalkeeping legend Southall has branded a poll claiming David Seaman was better than Ray Clemence 'a joke'. Seaman's retirement this week brought inevitable comparisons with other goalkeeping greats of the past. And one TV channel rated the one-time England number as second only to Peter Shilton in a scroll of honour. While Southall has respect for Seaman's abilities, he doesn't believe the former Arsenal keeper should be rated in the same class as the likes of Ray Clemence, Gordon Banks or Peter Shilton. "I don't think you can compare those keepers of the past to those today," said Southall. "I judge keepers on the saves they make to win games. With Seaman, I can think of the FA Cup semi-final last season. Then I'm struggling, to be honest. "With the likes of Shilton, Banks, Peter Schmeichel and Bruce Grobbelaar, you could list plenty of games where they made all the difference to winning or losing. "It was bit different for Ray Clemence because he was ahead of his time in that he had so many long periods of inactivity and then produced world class saves at key moments. "Seaman was playing behind what was an awesome Arsenal defence which
I think was more responsible for their great record."
Parker dropped for trip to Blues
Jan 16 2004 Liverpool Echo
CHARLTON will arrive at Goodison tomorrow without Scott Parker, their most influential midfielder.
Addicks boss Alan Curbishley has decided to drop the 23-year-old from his squad because he does not believe he is in the right state of mind to play. Parker has been the subject of interest from mega-rich Chelsea. The player, who was told to stay away from the club's New Elthan training ground for two days this week, is reportedly disappointed by Charlton's refusal to let him go.
The manager is deter-mined to keep hold of the player, who is hotly tipped to become part of Sven Goran Eriksson's Euro 2004 squad after an impressive Premiership campaign. But he wants to keep Parker out of the spotlight until the transfer speculation dies down. Curbishley said: "I told him not to come in because he is not in the right frame of mind. "He has been unsettled by the transfer talk. It is not right for him or us while we are preparing for a game, so he is not with us at the moment.
"I can't stop clubs bid-ding for my players - it means we are doing something right - but it doesn't mean we have to accept it. Chelsea have been told of our decision, and so has Scott. "I think he is disappointed by our decision. We know what other clubs can offer our play-ers and that we can't compete with that - but it doesn't mean we have got to jump. They have made a bid but it was turned down completely. "We're not naive. There are financial differences, but it doesn't mean we have got to do what Chelsea want to do. At the moment it is not progressing anywhere. Perhaps it will get messy; I don't know. "Footballers only think about themselves but I have to think about the fans and the board and that we are fourth in the table." Ironically, a proposed move for Parker fell through after Roman Abramovich took over at Stamford Bridge, with Claudio Ranieri turning his transfer focus on bigger players.
It's true love for blue belle
Jan 16 2004 Liverpool Echo
IT'S probably every female Evertonians' dream - waking up to Kevin Campbell each morning. A giant cut-out of the Blues striker takes pride of place in Haley Spencer's bedroom. It's even been signed by the man himself. Haley is a fanatical Evertonian who has not missed a game home, away or pre-season in the past six years. And in case there are still any doubts about her devotion to the Blues, she has the club crest tattooed on her back. The 23-year-old, an Upper Gwladys Street season-ticket holder, has been nominated as the ECHO's Everton Fan of the Year by her dad Jim. Haley, of Old Swan, said: "I have been following the Blues for the last 10 years. My dad is a big Evertonian and he got me into them. There have been many highlights. Kevin Camp-bell's winner at Anfield in September '99 and David Moyes taking over as manager are right up there. "Following the club last season was great. One of the best trips was going to Leeds and winning there for the first time in more than 50 years." Her dad Jim added: "Haley has had some arduous journeys over the years to places like Exeter in the FA Cup in 1999 and to Portsmouth this season, but her pride and passion for Everton is phenomenal." Littlewoods marketing manager Dave Raywood said: "With our close links to the club, we are proud to be the sponsor of the the Everton fan of the year award, and Haley Spencer sounds like a real true blue who must be in with a great chance of winning." nThere is still time to nominate your Fan of the Year. We are honouring those supporters whose devotion to Everton, Liverpool and Tranmere knows no bounds. A winner for each club will be invited to the ECHO's Sports Personality of the Year awards on February 2 where they will be presented with their trophy and an autographed football. Send your nominations, including a daytime contact number for them and your reasons why they should be Fan of the Year to Rob Brady, ECHO Sport, PO Box 48, Old Hall St, Liverpool L69 3EB
Fickle 'fans' are harming Blues
Jan 16 2004 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
FOOTBALL fans rarely need a compelling reason to boo a player. But there are a small contingent of away followers at Everton who push back the boundaries of even the most fickle football fans. And on Saturday they surpassed themselves. Not content with a track record which includes booing Muzzy Izzet for having Turkish parents, making racist chants at Fulham players (an allegation which led to an appalled Bill Kenwright offering to sit in the stands among them), or vilifying Ruud Gullit just for being a great player, Fulham's Sean Davis, was booed on Saturday for failing a medical. That's right. The talented 23-year-old was lustily booed and jeered for seeing a dream move die in the hands of an overly cautious doctor. That can be the only conclusion drawn from the brainless brickbats aimed in his direction at Loftus Road. Davis has actually found himself in an unusual position this season, having been booed by his own fans at Fulham too. At least that is easier to understand. He committed the cardinal sin of handing in a transfer request. He told the press he wanted to leave to further his ambitions. He even made it clear to Middlesbrough that Everton was his preferred destination. All of these facts were faithfully reported, so why some travelling Evertonians should take the hump is unclear. Perhaps Saturday's critics cannot read - which explains why one chose to throw his programme at Luis Boa Morte rather than read it. The behaviour of some away fans at Everton is not just an issue which offends sensitive journalists' ears. One website contributor this week vowed never to watch the Blues away from home again as a result of his experiences on Saturday. Another expressed his preference to drink pre-match in a pub not frequented by large bodies of young Evertonians. Those responsible for causing such avoidance measures clearly do not worry about who they upset. So maybe they should ingest the following messages. Should Sean Davis become available again this summer - and in the whirligig world of the British transfer market would anyone be surprised - what would his impression be of Everton Football Club now? Muzzy Izzet is out of contract this summer. He is exactly the kind of goalscoring, box-to-box midfielder Everton crave. But would he come near Goodison with a barge pole?
And I'll never forget the words Les Ferdinand uttered after scoring his umpteenth goal at Goodison Park for Spurs on the opening day of last season. "I don't know why I always score against Everton," he told me. "But I did receive racist abuse here earlier in my career and maybe subconsciously that motivates me when I face them." So well done to those dunderheads who jeer and boo players for no apparent reason. You may well have contributed to one player subconsciously waging a one-man war against Everton Football Club, and two others refusing to consider a move there.
Blues sweat over Tommy
Jan 16 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON midfielder Thomas Gravesen is facing a race against the clock to play against Charlton.
The Danish international, who has been in the best form of his Goodison career recently, is one of a trio of injured midfielders returning to fitness for Everton. Gravesen, Alex Nyarko and Steve Watson are close to a return as they recover from minor injuries. But both Nyarko and Watson will not be available tomorrow, with powerhouse Gravesen rated as highly doubtful. If Gravesen does not make it David Moyes may decide to continue with the bold attacking formation he has used in the Blues' last two matches, when he has played three strikers. Moyes said today: "Thomas has been doing some light training and he is touch and go for tomorrow. "We are hoping he can pull through.
"Steve Watson has also started light training after his thigh problem and by Monday he should be ready to get back into training, but he is not in consideration at the moment. Alex Nyakro is back training and is not too far away from full fitness." The Blues have already beaten Charlton at Goodison this season, knocking Alan Curbishley's men out of the Carling Cup with a fourth round 1-0 victory. Moyes could use a three-man attack in an attempt to repeat that win, with Wayne Rooney and Duncan Ferguson both pushing for a return to the starting line-up after being named as substitutes at Fulham. "We have been short of midfield players and so that has been the way to go for those games," explained Moyes. "We won't be using all strikers all the time but in the main it has worked quite well in the last couple of games. That is not to say, though, we will be doing that again. "We beat Charlton here earlier this season but it was a tight game and on the night we were a bit fortunate because they had some good chances. We have had a couple of tight matches with them this season. "We were not going through a great period at the time of our last match but if we want a repeat we know our form will have to be very good tomorrow because Charlton are a good team and doing well." Meanwhile, keeper Paul Gerrard must undergo a knee operation after sustaining an injury to his cartilage during training. Gerrard returned to Everton following a loan spell at Sheffield United earlier this month and is out of contract at the end of the season.
Everton 0, Charlton 1 (D,Post)
Jan 19 2004 David Prior Reports From Goodison, Daily Post
WOLVES served a reminder on Saturday that football is a funny old game. Unfortunately, Everton proved once again that it can also be a deeply frustrating one. David Moyes' men can file away another game under the heading 'matches they should have won'. Another 90 minutes of commendable effort and relentless pressure; another hour and a half of what-ifs and nearlys.
And you certainly know it won't be your day when the man whose goals once saved the club from relegation scores the winner for the opposition. Graham Stuart will no doubt testify that the Everton of 2004 are considerably improved on their 1994 model, but much more of the wastefulness that currently characterises his former alma mater's play and Goodison may be home to another desperate battle for survival in four months' time. That shouldn't happen, of course. When David Moyes delivers his training ground post-mortem this morning, there won't be too many fingers pointed or scapegoats created. Everton are actually playing quite well at the moment, the only problem being they have about as much cutting edge as a spoon. Oh, and Charlton performed the classic smash-and-grab that went some way to accounting for their lofty position this term - the kind of display Everton delivered many times on their travels themselves last season. The mystery of Everton's striking ineptitude at the moment still baffles. The more positive Moyes is, it seems, the more strikers he throws on, the more ineffective in front of goal the side seem to become. Countless times on Saturday, Everton found themselves in a promising position only for the move to break down at the crucial moment. Charlton can take a lot of credit for their stubbornness in defence, but there was precious little inspiration in a blue shirt. Moyes is trying every key in his pocket to open the door, when all along perhaps a little oil is all that's required. The game saw Thomas Gravesen back in the starting line-up after a knee injury picked up in the FA Cup win over Norwich, and his calming strength in midfield was immediately noticeable. With Francis Jeffers, Wayne Rooney and Duncan Ferguson again deployed in a three-pronged attack, Everton had the better of the early stages with Gravesen effectively instigating a series of forages forward, with Rooney on the right in particular a threat. One floated ball in by the 18-year-old, a year on from signing his first professional contract, should have been met by at least one of its intended targets.
But for their pressure there was little to speak of a goalscoring opportunity until a delightfully-worked move in the 19th minute. Ferguson used his attributes well to win the ball from Mark Fish on the edge of the penalty area, turn and then latch on to Jeffers' neat back-flick. The Scot's subsequent shot looked goalbound until it took a marked deflection that was inexplicably missed by Mike Riley and a goal kick awarded. Charlton were without Scott Parker, given the weekend off by Alan Curbishley who adjudged his mind to be not on the job amid Chelsea's attempted swoop. They were also seemingly without a mirror in the dressing room as they emerged in a lurid, all-canary yellow strip that was for large parts of the first period contradicted by a dour, unimaginative style of play that relied heavily on the counter-attack. That and one ridiculous moment when Gravesen, with several players waiting in the box for a cross, decided to turn and pass back to the last man on the halfway line. Alessandro Pistone, back from injury and in for the rested Tony Hibbert at left-back, proceeded to slip and the subsequent Addicks break eventually needed a desperate header away by Rooney of all people to deny Paolo di Canio, who was shaping up to volley Stuart's tempting cross.
But although Everton were not exactly dominant, it was still something of a shock when Charlton took the lead four m i nu tes be f ore th e break. Di Canio led the break, charging down the right wing, and after pausing to weigh up his options, the Italian delivered a ball that Carlton Cole knocked down to the unmarked Stuart to fire in at the same Gwladys Street end where 10 years ear-lier he had guaranteed the Blues' Premier League survival against Wimbledon. The first half was a familiar story - the Blues failing to translate pressure into goals and copping the sucker punch by way of punishment. Moyes has undoubtedly seen it too many times this season, and his exasperation was perhaps demonstrated by his decision to bring the players out early for the second half for an impromptu warm-up under his direction. The session certainly succeeded in warming up Lee Carsley, who clattered into Jason Euell early in the second half and received the first yellow card of the game.
But although there seemed more bluster about Everton's play, it was fairly obvious that again the front three weren't clicking and after 58 minutes Jeffers, who again looked bright but no nearer his first comeback goal, was hauled off and Tomasz Radzinski introduced. The change heralded Everton's best period of the game. Kilbane finally came into the game and after taking the ball past Radostin Kishishev on the left he sent in a cross that Ferguson met firmly and it took Fish's goalline inter-vention to prevent an equaliser. Ferguson was proving the focal point of most of the home side's attacks, but Radzinski, in a far better position a yard behind him, wished he had not been in the 66th minute when the big Scot stretched to head Kilbane's cross well over. It was by now one-way traffic and five minutes later Carsley forced a diving save from Dean Kiely after Kilbane's cross.
There was no doubting Everton's effort, but the quality was missing. Time and again balls were pumped into a crowded area, and although Charlton's defence was admirable, too often the wrong option was selected by a man in blue. Moyes sent on Kevin Campbell seven minutes from time as he threw caution to the wind, but aside from another Ferguson header that few wide after Pistone's cross, Everton couldn't convert all their pressure into an equaliser.
EVERTON (4-3-3): Martyn; Pistone, Stubbs, Unsworth, Naysmith; Kilbane, Gravesen, Carsley (Campbell 83); Jeffers (Radzinski 58), Ferguson, Rooney. Subs: Weir, Simonsen, Linderoth.
CHARLTON (4-4-2): Kiely; Kishishev, Fish, Perry, Hreidarsson, Stuart (Young, 90), Holland, Konchesky, Euell, Cole (Johansson 74), Di Canio (Fortune 87). Subs: Jensen, Royce. BOOKINGS: Everton's Carsley, Unsworth, Ferguson and Rooney and Charlton's Perry.
REFEREE: Mike Riley.
Pistone pleading for patience
Report By David Prior, Daily Post
Jan 19 2004
ALESSANDRO PISTONE has called on Blues fans to remain positive despite Everton suffering their second straight defeat at home to Charlton on Saturday. David Moyes' men again had a miserable afternoon in front of goal despite dominating pos-session at Goodison - and to make matters worse, ex-Blue Graham Stuart grabbed the Addicks' winner just before half-time. But Italian Pistone,who was unexpectedly brought back into the squad after injury at the expense of the rested Tony Hibbert, claimed his teammates were playing well enough to ensure Everton would emerge from their latest bad spell. "If we start scoring, then the results will follow," said the 28-year-old. "I'm certain of that. We're playing well, certainly well enough to have taken something from our last two games. "But that's football. Some-times you play really badly and put the ball in the net. Sometimes you have 20 chances and fail to score, like we did on Saturday. The important thing is to keep going and stay positive. "It is frustrating, especially when we had so much of the ball. When you go a goal behind at home, the visiting team tend to close the space and make it difficult for you to play."
He added: "It's always bad to lose at home. I can't tell you why we lost because, especially in the second half, we started very well - at a high tempo. We had many chances, so many good crosses into the box and the game was more or less played in their half of the pitch. We just didn't score.
"It's important to start winning again, starting with Fulham (in the FA Cup) on Sunday." Pistone said he had only been told he would be playing against Alan Curbishley's fourth-place side just before kick-off - and added that the shoulder problem which has dogged him for most of the season was now behind him. "I only found out that I was playing at 1.30pm on the day of the game. The gaffer gave us the formation and the team and I was included. I was really, really pleased - it was a surprise.
"I'm okay now. I was okay in the two games I played before Christmas, but I've had an injury to my shoulder, but I've still been able to train. It's not about finding fitness again; my level is already there. "I'm really happy at Everton and I'm really settled. The manager, my teammates and the entire club is great. We're just doing our jobs and giving 100 per cent and we'll see what hap-pens. I'd love to stay." Downcast manager Moyes had no complaints about the level of effort his men had produced and claimed on another day the result would have been different. He said: "I got all the effort and commitment needed, if your players give you that you cannot ask for any-thing more.
"We had more possession, more crosses, more chances. But we could not turn that into goals, on another day it would have run for us. "The players worked very hard, but Charlton are a very good side and they are up in fourth place on merit. "We had quite a lot of the ball and didn't use it as well as we should have. We just need some of our other strikers to come up with a goal now and again.
"I think we've got to be careful we don't take the credit away from Charlton. I thought they defended really well." He added: "I just feel we need to start taking one or two chances. It wasn't the case in this match but I'm sure it will be another day."
Daily Post fans forum
By Danny Gordon, Daily Post
Jan 19 2004
THERE was nothing new to learn from this game with Charlton. We already know that we lack the creativity to break down stubborn defences. Charlton must be given full credit. They did to us exactly what we did away from home against Blackburn last season. Ten men behind the ball in the hope that we get the opportunity to put the ball in the net. In total we had five strikers on the pitch - but none of them had a clear opportunity. That says everything we need to know. Bill Kenwright and the board need to find the money to invest in creative midfield players. If not, the situation will remain unchanged. Win some, lose some! That's not good enough for Evertonians. If Kenwright can't deliver what we want let's find somebody else who can. What is for sure is that Moyes is the man for the job and he must be given every opportunity to succeed. We can' t be too critical, look at Chelsea who have spent multi-millions of pounds on their team and yet they fail to score against mid-table Birmingham. We are not in the same league as Chelsea when it comes to buying players, but we must rely on Moyes' judgement in the transfer market. Failure to back Moyes at this stage in his career could see him move to a club with greater flexibility in the transfer market. That would be a disaster for Everton. Let's ensure that doesn't happen
Di Canio's special bond
Report By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Jan 19 2004
PAOLO DI CANIO has spoken of his 'special' feelings for Everton supporters following Saturday's game at Goodison Park. The Italian won a special place in the hearts of Evertonians on December 16, 2000 when with the Blues and his former club West Ham United locked in a 1-1 draw, he caught the ball and stopped play instead of scoring an easy lastminute winner into an unguarded goal as Everton goalkeeper Paul Gerrard lay injured. The following season, Di Canio was presented with a special memento from the club for his sportsmanship. "I got a great reception from the Everton fans," he said. "It's always a great pleasure for me to come to Goodison because I usually get booed when I play away from home! "I suppose that's normal in football, but when I come back here I feel incredibly emotional, especially when I take corners. "I really appreciate it and because of it, I will always have a special place in my heart for the Everton supporters for the rest of my life." He added: "I'm sorry for them today, but I hope they will start winning again soon. "But I think they will do it, because the team is good and I don't think they're going to have many more problems this season."
Everton 0, Charlton 1 (Echo)
Jan 19 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
IF the first is 'unfortunate' and the second 'careless,' what word should describe a third consecutive match in which a side outplays their opposition, only to come away without victory? Alarming? Shocking? Possibly even deserved? As the fans disconsolately filtered out of Goodison Park the two most repeated words seemed to begin with 'F'. Frustrating was one, the other isn't printable.
The failure to turn territory and possession into goals is rapidly undermining what has been a welcome return to form for the Blues since the start of December. You cannot dominate in the way Everton did against Charlton and come away with nothing. You cannot create the number of chances that were created at Fulhamlast week and suffer defeat. Maintain this kind of run and the league table is rapidly going to make grim reading. Continue to suffer when you are playing well and the confidence which has been seeping through the squad will soon drain away. That is a maddening state of affairs when you know the side is doing more than enough to be heading up the table instead of down. That is why the alarm bells are ringing. Thankfully, it is only Liverpool and Manchester United up next in the league! If the Toffees are not careful and the goals do not start to flow the spectre of a relegation dogfight could be looming large. When a side plays well but loses it is hard to know who or what to blame. But there is one telling statistic which is helpful. Saturday was the tenth match out of the 26 played in all competitions this season in which Everton have failed to score. That is hard to swallow when you know the side boasts five top class strikers who each offer something different. Each is more than capable of hitting double figures in a league campaign.
But, at the moment, they have only mustered 18 goals between them in this campaign, with Kevin Campbell and Francis Jeffers both yet to break their ducks. The Blues have produced a wealth of opportunities during their last 270 minutes of football and yet netted only twice. Jeffers, Campbell, Wayne Rooney, Duncan Ferguson and Tomasz Radzinski provide David Moyes with the option of no fewer than 10 possible strike partner-ships. But we have still yet to see an effective pairing in action on a regular basis. The need to keep a protective arm around Rooney, to ease Jeffers back into regular Premiership football and to treat the injury-prone Ferguson like a piece of delicate porcelain, has undermined any opportunity the manager could have had to hit upon an enduring partnership.
Add to that a series of injury problems for Campbell and it leaves Radzinski as the only consistently fit and available striking option. With Nick Chadwick added to the equation, the manager has tried 10 different partnerships this season. But the majority of the time that has been out of necessity rather than choice. Finally, that is a situation which seems to have changed. With Thomas Gravesen now back fit and Alex Nyarko and Steve Watson expected to prove their return to first team contention for the reserves this week, the manager has decent choices once again. Finally, Moyes has the chance to select a settled side - to give one particular strike partnership an opportunity to gel together, and a settled midfield the chance to provide them with regular ammunition. Charlton have stuck with largely the same side and now find themselves five points clear of Liverpool in fourth spot. For all Everton's possession and for the host of good crosses provided by Kevin Kilbane and Rooney, keeper Dean Kiely was not troubled too often. Ferguson, who is looking imperious now he is fully fit again, won virtually everything in the air, but time and again Charlton ensured the flick-ons and layoffs amounted to very little. Jeffers and the big Scot worked hard but only really combined effectively once. A flick-on by Ferguson was back-heeled intelligently back into his path by the 22-year-old and it would have led to the opening goal had Chris Perry's superb sliding challenge not deflected the left-foot shot narrowly wide of the keeper's right-hand post. That was the best of a number of chances created in the firsthalf for the home side. At the other end, Nigel Martyn had very little to do. But then the visitors struck. Scott Parker's exclusion from the Charlton starting line-up should have been a boost for the Blues. Instead, it provided Graham Stuart with the opportunity to start against his former club and net the winning goal. It certainly wasn't up there with his famous strike against Wimbledon. But, in the context of the game, it was equally influential. It came on the stroke of half time and was the Addicks' first chance. Paolo di Canio led a break down the right flank, turning inside onto his left foot to curl in a cross aimed for Jason Euell at the back post.
With Alessandro Pistone and Alan Stubbs in close attendance the threat should have been snubbed out. Instead, the trio collided, the ball fell loose and Stuart pounced from close range. As with last weekend's trip to Fulham, the Blues were guilty of failing to turn a barnstorming opening into an unassailable lead. Playing wide on the right, Rooney was excellent, working as hard at his defensive duties as he did to produce a string of excellently flighted crosses. It is baffling that Ferguson, in particular, was not able to benefit. The 32-year-old went closest to scoring in the 61st minute. His back post header from a Kilbane centre was kneed off the line by Mark Fish. It came during the Blues' most effective period of attacking play. The arrival of Radzinski from the bench provided a much-needed spark, with Lee Carsley forcing Kiely into a superb near post save with a deft glancing header, Ferguson guilty of heading over unmarked from eight yards and Kilbane dragging a left-foot drive wide of the target. Charlton, though, deserve a great deal of credit for the way they defended valiantly to hold on to three points. And Stuart deserved his sporting applause when he was subbed.
But the Blues did not deserve the boos which rang out from sections of the crowd when the final whistle went a couple of minutes later. Nor did they deserve a second consecutive defeat.
Blue day - but Fergie getting back to best
Jan 19 2004 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
AN entertaining video has just been released called "125 Everton Premier League Goals."
It runs for an hour - and for what seems like 20 minutes Duncan Ferguson, scores nearly all of them.
One of the few consolations from Saturday's frustrating fare at Goodison was that Ferguson is finally beginning to resemble once again the buccaneering Braveheart who terrorised defenders of the calibre of Pallister, Adams and Bruce. Everton's problem now, as it was then, is how best to utilise his talents. The lazy, lofted ball from a position 40 yards behind him is not the most imaginative use of one of the most dominant aerial threats in the Premiership. And such is Ferguson's ability with his feet that such preoccupation is inexcusable. It has been one of the Premiership's more curious statistics of recent weeks that the forward with the best goals per game ratio is still Duncan Ferguson. Yes, four of his seven strikes have come from the penalty spot, but at least that displays a hunger for goals, an appetite for responsibility and a desire to make an impact on the game.
On Saturday he was easily Everton's most likely goalscorer. He was also the most probable creator - and in the opening quarter that was not an illusion you witnessed over in the scoreboard corner. That was Ferguson chasing 30 yards to try to retrieve a ball running into touch. He was also booked, but that was more to do with the inadequacies of Old Mother Riley. The official not only resembles the hapless vet from League of Gentlemen, he often referees like him and Saturday was no exception. Premier League clubs are not supposed to replay controversial incidents on the giant video screens which now adorn many grounds - although Spurs have been getting away with it for years. But the Everton operator could have been forgiven for not assessing a 17th minute Duncan Ferguson near-miss in the 'controversial' category. It was only when the replay clearly proved what everybody else in the stadium with a functioning pair of eyes had argued - that it deflected off a Charlton player - that Riley was made to look silly. But I digress. Duncan Ferguson is fulfilling all of the obligations expected of him right now, but some of those around him are not. Excuse the admirable Kevin Kilbane from that criticism and the out of position Wayne Rooney, but the Blues are crying out for a play-maker of craft and vision. Someone with the ability to produce a pass out of the ordinary. Thomas Gravesen can occasionally look like that type of midfielder, but on Saturday he had one of his headless-chicken afternoons. And even if the money were available Nicky Butt is not really the answer. Charlton Athletic have just that type of footballer, but they didn't need him on Saturday. Scott Parker was left in London to recover from the unsettling effects of an approach from a rich Russian. But such was the quality of Alan Curbishley's game-plan they won anyway. Charlton defended resolutely, but they always left three men hovering around the halfway line to mount blitzkrieg breakaways - and from one, Di Canio, Euell and finally Stuart combined to deliver the match-winning blow. As if that wasn't bad enough, Everton's next two Premiership fixtures are against Liverpool and Manchester United. But weren't they the matches Duncan Ferguson relished most?
Dunc role vital - Moyes
Jan 19 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES is determined to make sure Everton do not revert to a long ball game when Duncan Ferguson is in the team. The big Scot, was the pivotal player on Saturday as the Blues fell to an undeserved defeat for the second week in succession. He had three good goalscoring opportunities and was a strong creative force as Moyes' side chased the game following GrahamStuart's goal for Charlton. The manager was pleased to see Ferguson doing well, but was keen to remind his players the presence of the 32-year-old in the side should not change the way they play. Moyes said: "When you have Duncan up front it is tempting to feed him for an aerial battle. At times it can be detrimental. "I mentioned to the players that we went that route too quickly. We didn't in the first 20 minutes of the first half. We played good football, got into wide areas and crossed it. "But in the 20 minutes leading up to half time it became the priority of some players (to hit Duncan with the ball) and that is not the way I want my team to play. But we certainly will play to our strengths and Duncan can be a strength when we use him in the right way." Moyes refused to criticise his players for defeat. They dominated possession, territory and the number of goalscoring opportunities.
He added: "It was not unsimilar to last week's game (at Fulham). The players worked really hard to try and get the goals. I was pleased with all the players. "Charlton are a good side and they are certainly up there on merit. We gave them a hard game. "I am not down. If you get the effort and the commitment we got then you can't question the players." The result leaves the Blues just four points above the relegation zone and, once again, looking over their shoulders instead of towards the top half of the table. The manager knows there is only one way to correct the situation. "We have to try and put a run together," he added. "We have to capitalise when we are dominating games." The manager revealed his decision to start with Francis Jeffers alongside Ferguson was not an example of squad rotation. "I felt Francis Jeffers did enough last week to merit the start. That was my choice." It was also the manager's choice to rest Tony Hibbert, who was not in the 16 despite being fit. His place was taken by the fit again Alessandro Pistone, now recovered from the shoulder injury sustained against Leicester in December.
Moyes: We need goals
Jan 19 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has told his strikers: "Score and I will pick you." The Everton chief, partnered Duncan Ferguson with Francis Jeffers against the Addicks on Saturday. It was the club's 11th different attacking pairing of the season as the manager searches for the right combination to provide the Blues with a regular source of goals. All five senior goalscorers have been given the chance to make an impression in each of the club's last three matches but only Tomasz Radzinski has found the net.
The failure to convert chances has led to defeats against Fulham and Charlton. Moyes said: "I will pick whoever starts to score the goals regularly. "But lately the goals haven't been coming.
"The chances we got on Saturday were not simple tap-ins but we enjoyed lots of play and produced some great crosses." Everton's five forwards have netted just 17 goals between them. But Kevin Campbell, who made his 150th appearance for the club as a late sub on Saturday, insists all they need is a lucky break. "Whoever has been in there recently has done quite a good job," he said.
"The good thing is that you never hear any strikers moaning here. "Whatever permutation the manager wants to use, the others just get behind the team. "But we need a break. The club needs a break. "We did enough to deserve the win on Saturday but Charlton got away with a smash and grab. "We were always on the offensive but they got the break and sometimes at this level that makes the difference. "We would rather have a league game next week. We want to get three points and get up the table as quickly as we can." Meanwhile, Kevin Kilbane had seven stitches in a gashed shin after Saturday's match. The in-form midfielder picked up the injury in the first-half but was able to complete the 90 minutes. Manager David Moyes said: "He did well to play on but he is a brave boy. We will have to be careful with him because you can sometimes pick up infections."
Stuart sale a major mistake
Jan 19 2004 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
GRAHAM STUART'S lung-bursting performance on Saturday, surely sponsored by Duracell, highlighted another of Everton's less impressive dalliances in the transfer market. It was almost seven years ago now that the versatile, reliable and disciplined midfielder was swopped to Sheffield United ... for Carl Tiler and Mitch Ward. Stuart still looks like he could go on for a few years yet in the Premiership. Anyone know the whereabouts of messrs Tiler and Ward?
Watson primed for instant cup recall
Report By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jan 20 2004
DAVID MOYES may hand Steve Watson an instant FA Cup recall this weekend as he searches for solutions to Everton's lack of midfield craft. The 29-year-old, is expected to make his latest comeback for the reserves against Manchester United on Thursday as he bids to end months of injury misery. Watson was forced to abort his return from a double hernia operation when he suffered a thigh strain in December's away win at Portsmouth. But, after another failure to turn possession into clear chances against Charlton on Saturday, Moyes admits Watson could play himself into the reckoning for Sunday's fourth round clash with Fulham against United's second string. The Blues manager said: "Steve was back in training this morning and hopefully he will play for the reserves later this week. "If there is no reaction to that then we will see how he is for the weekend. "I think it has been a quite a frustrating time after coming back and then picking up a thigh strain in the warm-up at Portsmouth. "He has missed quite a bit of football." Watson has made only 11 first-team appearances this season, which had produced five goals and earned a regular right midfield berth before injury struck. But while the hernia problem was the result of "seasons of wear and tear", the former Newcastle man admits he could be responsible for the second blow. Watson explains: "Some players can be their own worst enemies by pushing too quickly to come back. That's definitely what I've done with the thigh injury. "I got a dead leg in the reserves and I knew I had a chance of playing against Portsmouth so I just played it down and limped round in training for a couple of days. "That's what's given me a thigh strain so, as I say, it was my eagerness to get back but then again I suppose some would say that's not a bad thing." He added: "Touch wood it's settled down and with a bit of luck I'll play in the reserves against Man United and all being well I'll be in the squad for the cup game."
Finish is all that's missing
By Mark Lawrenson, Daily Post
Jan 20 2004
WHEN Spurs beat Liverpool, David Pleat said they cut off the supply line to Michael Owen and Emile Heskey. Everton's supply line against Charlton was unbreakable at times and yet the Blues didn't convert a hatful of chances and ended up the victims of a smash-and-grab raid. By all accounts, Everton created enough opportunities to have won the match comfortably. The fact they didn't score to continue a recent trend of struggling to finish attacks off is a worry for David Moyes.
Their failure to score enough goals is a combination of several things. When a player gets into a goalscoring position, if they or the team are scoring at will then they hit the ball without thinking.
When the opposite is happening you find the ball hitting the keeper's legs, the woodwork, a defender or the crowd - it is almost hit and hope rather than a natural, instinctive thing to score.
It is also down to bad luck to an extent, although Everton did ride their luck last year when they were winning games 1-0 instead of losing them. To turn it around, Moyes will have the players working hard in training on their finishing, but he will also be encouraging them to keep going because they are not that far away from breaking through and giving someone a hammering. Certainly I don't think relegation will be a problem because they will always win enough games at Goodison Park to ensure their safety. The problem comes when they also look to win enough games away to climb into the top third of the table, which is a different matter altogether. The difficulties the team has had in finding the net is personified in Francis Jeffers. He is like any striker in that he needs a run of games to find his confidence and sharpness. However, Moyes has plenty of forwards so he cannot afford to give Jeffers the time to get that with the likes of Radzinski and Rooney chomping at the bit.
Boo to the boos
Post Soapbox, Icliverpool & Daily Post
Jan 20 2004
Boo to the boos
I AM disgusted at the boos Francis Jeffers got when taken off against Charlton on Saturday. We all know at the moment he is struggling in front of goal but his confidence will return when he gets one.
Remember, it was David Moyes' decision to play him and not Tomasz Radzinski's. He is an Everton player and should be respected as such - how will his confidence ever return when idiots boo him?
Dave Percival, Wrexham
PRAISE is due to the sporting Everton fans who swallowed the disappointment of a below-par performance by the Blues and warmly applauded both Paolo di Canio and Graham Stuart when they were substituted in the dying minutes last Saturday. A gut-wrenching defeat but class shown by the supporters.
Frank Black, Liverpool
Bring back Nick
THE number of chances missed at Fulham is a real concern. One lad who seems to have a consistent goalscoring touch is Nick Chadwick, and he wouldn't let half these chances go begging. Pin-ups are okay for kids' bedroom walls, but what the Blues need is someone to finish the chances when they come along. In Rooney, Jeffers, and Chadwick there is a bright future for the club. Get Nick back and out on the park and give the three of them a fair go to prove them-selves.
Bob Butchard (via e-mail)
ANOTHER sad day for Everton but this time it's on the pitch. I was one of the many Evertonians who predicted a really tough season this time around but results are starting to get embarrassing now.
Granted, Moyes is doing a fantastic job but the players need to start looking at themselves because we will be in the relegation dogfight at this rate.
I can't wait for this season to finish.
Shez Khan (via e-mail)
Take a look at Butt
WELL I think £5million is a lot of money in this day and age for Nicky Butt. Having said that, having him on loan at Everton would suit everybody. It was not too long ago that he controlled the middle of the park at Old Trafford.
Otter Woods, Southport
Tobias is the man
I KNOW Everton are struggling in midfield at the moment and we need Steve Watson back on the right, but I have got to say Lee Carsley is not good enough. He very rarely gets involved in the game physically and he isn't the most technically gifted player. Linderoth should be back in for the Fulham game simply because we look more solid with him in the centre where he can sit if Gravesen wants to get up and assist the attackers.
Peter Brown, Liverpool
Fans have a right
I WOULD like to defend the Everton fans' right to boo poor performances. If I were to go to La Scala to see an opera and found the performance sub-standard no-one would object if I were to voice my dissent, if the majority agreed with me. I and the fans pay the wages of the players and have the right to voice our discontent. I will continue to boo poor performances.
Bart Daly, Liverpool
Blues' reign at summit ended
Academy Football, With Chris Wright, Daily Post
Jan 20 2004
AFTER regaining top spot in the FA Premier Academy League Group A table last week Everton under-17s are back in second place. Gary Ablett's side saw Manchester United move back above them after the Red Devils won 1-0 at Netherton on Saturday. In a tight affair the visitors took the one chance early on after a defensive error to go three points clear at the top. The Blues had chances but on a difficult pitch Michael Johnson (twice), Paul Hopkins and Christian Seargeant all failed to grab the equaliser. Ablett said: "It was a very poor performance." The Blues though will have a chance for revenge. Both sides have met twice already with the Blues winning the first meeting 4-1. But the third and final game between the leading duo next month may have a big say in the destination of the title.
Everton under-19s are still looking for their first win of 2004 after they were held to a 1-1 draw with Crewe Alexandra at Netherton on Saturday. Neil Dewsnip's side had several chances to win the match but were only leading 1-0 thanks to own goal after England youth international midfielder Scott Brown saw his excellent cross diverted into his own net by a Crewe defender. But Crewe hit back and scored with virtually their only chance of the match to take a point, despite the Blues' dominance. Dewsnip said: "We played very, very well, especially in the first half, and we controlled the game. We missed chances, but we just couldn't get a winner. I am very disappointed with the scoreline, but very impressed and pleased with the performance.
EVERTON UNDER-19s: Lake; Flood, Gerrard, Fox, B Moogan; Brown, Booth, Barry, Martland (J Jones 60); Lynch, Pascucci (Garside 75). Subs: M Jones, McCall, Anichebe.
EVERTON UNDER-17s: Gallagher; Wynne, Hughes, Kearney, Molyneux; Johnson, Seargeant (Irving 75), Harris, Wilson; Hopkins, Fowler (Vaughan 70). Subs: Morrison, Phelan, Jamie Jones.
Big day for mini derby
Jan 20 2004
By Neil Hodgson Echo Reporter
EVERTON and Liverpool will go back to the future next week to celebrate their first derby clash hours before the Anfield nail-biter kicks off. The possible stars of tomorrow will compete for the specially-created George Mahon Cup on the morning of January 31, when two teams of under-11s representing the Blues and Reds take to the field at Stanley Park. Everton played there before Liverpool accountant George Mahon found their current Goodison Park home in 1892.
The two clubs first locked horns in derby action on October 13, 1894, when Everton triumphed 3-0.
Pupils from three local schools, Gwladys Street pri-mary and nursery school in Walton Lane, Pinehurst school in Pinehurst Avenue, and Hope Valley junior school in Anfield, will play two 20-minute halves with kick-off at 10.30am as part of Everton's 125th anniversary season. Ted Sutton, Everton FC's head of football in the community, said: "We 're delighted to form an alliance with Liverpool football in the community. "We're very keen to keep local youngsters involved in anything we can deliver from Everton and the youngsters taking part will come from close proximity to Everton and Anfield, so it will be a great chance to represent their football clubs in a friendly way.
"We're grateful to the schools for allowing them to participate." Liverpool FC's commercial development officer Owen Brown added: "It's great to cement the relationship between the two clubs and we want fans to take on board the fact we have a good relationship and we want to show that there is no hosti l ity between us and that we want to work on projects. "We hope the celebration day goes well and the best team wins."
Watson targets cup tie
Jan 20 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
STEVE WATSON has set his sights on a return to first team action for Everton in this weekend's FA Cup fourth round. The 29-year-old returned to full training at Bellefield yesterday after recovering from a thigh injury. He is eager to prove his fitness ahead of Sunday's Goodison Park clash with Fulham. "Touch wood it has settled down and with a bit of luck I will play in the reserves on Thursday against Man United and all being well I will be in the squad for the cup game," revealed Watson, who has been out since the December 13 trip to Portsmouth. "It has probably been a little bit worse than the physio first thought and, as usual, I think I haven't helped myself by trying to train too early and pulling out. But with a bit of luck it has settled down now." Watson has not completed 90 minutes since the home draw with Southampton in October. A double hernia operation left him sidelined until the trip to Fratton Park, where he picked up a thigh strain in training. He admits the injury was down to his own over-enthusiasm to play again. He explains: "Some players can be their own worst enemies by pushing too quickly to come back. That is definitely what I have done with the thigh injury. "With the hernia I got back as quickly as I could and I didn't feel anything, so the biggest frustration was thinking I'd got over it and then injuring something completely different.
"I got a dead leg in the reserves and I knew I had a chance of playing against Portsmouth so I just played it down and limped round in training for a couple of days. "That's what's given me a thigh strain so, as I say, it was my eagerness to get back. But I suppose some would say that is not a bad thing really. "Nobody likes watching their teammates. Nobody likes being out injured and watching the lads play. "I don't think anyone is as bad as me when they're watching. Mentally I don't know how players like Duncan Ferguson, who's been out with terrible injuries for massive amounts of time, gets on with it because I am at the end of my tether now." Watson's return to the first-team will be aided by the fact the right midfield position has been a headache for David Moyes over the last few weeks. And so it is no surprise when the manager admits a return this weekend is a possibility. The Blues boss said: "Hopefully he will be able to get a reserve game later this week and if there is no reaction to that then we will see how he is for the weekend."
Moyes' faith in Hibbert
Jan 20 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
TONY HIBBERT has been reassured by Everton manager David Moyes that he remains a vital part of his first team plans despite being left out of the squad for Saturday's defeat to Charlton. The 22-year-old's place at right-back was unexpectedly taken by Alessandro Pistone, who is fit again after a shoulder injury. Moyes insists he chose to leave Hibbert, out of the 16-man squad in order to protect him from burnout. Before Saturday only Thomas Gravesen, Nigel Martyn and Alan Stubbs had been involved in more games this season. "Tony Hibbert has done great for us over the past couple of seasons but in recent games I have felt he needed a rest and I would have done it sooner had Alessandro not been injured," revealed Moyes. "He only really became a first team regular when I took over. This season he has been playing week in, week out and it is easy to forget he is still young. "I felt it was the right time to give him a breather but it won't be for long because he is a good player and one I like. "Since I came he has come into the side and made a lot of progress. He is now classed as a senior pro and is very much part of my plans. He just needed a little break." Twenty of Hibbert's 60 first team appearances for Everton have come this season. Meanwhile, the Goodison chief has denied any interest in Nantes defender Nicolas Gillet. Reports in the French media suggested the Blues were battling with Aston Villa to secure the signature of the 27-year-old centre-back at the end of the season when his current deal expires.
* The Blues are expecting another bumper 30,000-plus crowd for Sunday's FA Cup fourth round tie with Fulham. Sales have already surpassed the 20,000 mark for the all ticket match.
Here comes McBride for Cup reunion
Report By Andy Hunter, Daily
EVERTON'S FA Cup ambitions could be threatened this weekend by the man whose Premiership career they launched - Brian McBride. The American international,who spent three months on loan at Goodison Park last season, signed for Fulham yesterday on a permanent deal from Columbus Crew. And he is set for an immediate debut in Sunday's fourth round tie against the Blues - providing he passes a medical and obtains a work permit in time. Everton boss David Moyes tried to buy the striker after his successful loan spell yielded eight goals but refused to meet Columbus' £1.5million asking price. Now Fulham have paid an undisclosed fee for the World Cup star who will replace Manchester United-bound Louis Saha. Coleman said: "Brian is a great talent who can combine assisting attacking play as well as getting his fair share of goals. "He has superb aerial ability and has already proved that he can perform each week at the highest level. "His experience of the Premiership will also prove a valuable asset to us in the coming months." Moyes, meanwhile, has admitted Li Tie is struggling to come to terms with his second season in English football. The Chinese international enjoyed a fine debut campaign in the Premiership, making 32 appearances for the Blues after his loan move from Liaoning Bird. But his impact has been minimal this term and the Blues boss believes he may need more time to come to terms with a permanent move abroad. "It's definitely been tougher for him this year," said Moyes. "There have been signs that have shown it's been harder for him, so it might need this year for him to settle down. "Sometimes in this situation when you're in the second year you can find it a little bit more difficult than the first. "I think he is no different. "He made a big impression on everybody last year and this year it's just been a little tougher for him." Moyes added: "At the start of the season the contract wasn't really sorted for him and maybe the delay stopped his pre-season going as smoothly as he would have liked.
"It's been stop-start from him but he's got the potential to be a good player. Hopefully, we'll start to see him reproduce the form that he showed during so many games last year."
Blues are pitched into battle
Jan 21 2004 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON may have to re-lay their Goodison Park pitch this summer, for the second time in two years. Manager David Moyes has been concerned by an increasing number of incidents of players slipping on the playing surface - with Alessandro Pistone actually sustaining a shoulder injury in one such incident earlier this season. The pitch was only relaid 18 months ago, but Moyes said today: "We may have to look at doing the same again." He added: "I don't think it's a recent problem. It's been like that since the start of the season. It was most noticeable during the Stockport game in the Carling Cup. I asked for the grass to be cut short that night so we could zip the ball around, but it was the worst it has been. "We have since found that the best thing to do is to leave the grass longer, which we don't really like to do. "Saturday's game was our sixth at home in the last eight. That's a tally which is bound to take its toll. "I made the pitch wider when I first arrived, which has had a positive affect and it's vitally important to me and the way I want us to play our football that we have a good surface." Steve Watson, meanwhile, will play for the reserves tomorrow night as he bids to push himself back into the reckoning for Sunday's FA Cup tie with Fulham. But James McFadden with a thigh strain and Francis Jeffers, who has picked up an ankle injury, have missed training this week.
* Ex-Blues striker Brian McBride has joined Fulham, but the American will not face his former club on Sunday. Under FA Cup rules, a player must be registered seven days before a tie to be eligible.
Moyes: Blues have to find right man this summer
Jan 21 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has set his sights on adding a right-sided midfielder to his Goodison Park squad at the end of the season. The Everton boss, will not be making any additions to his ranks before the end of the January transfer window because of a lack of funds. But the extended absence of Steve Watson over the last three months has convinced the manager he needs to add to his options on the right of midfield when he receives fresh transfer funds in the summer. Watson, who returned to full training on Monday after recovering from a thigh injury, has played in only 11 games so far this season.
Without him, a host of players have been asked to fill the void, including Thomas Gravesen, Lee Carsley, James McFadden and even Wayne Rooney. Moyes said: "We have had problems on the right. We have been short there and it is an area where I am going to strengthen. "With Steve being injured we have only really had Faddy or Lee Carsley to choose from in that area. "Steve is back training now and hopefully won't be too far away at the weekend." But while the lack of numbers on the right will not be dealt with until the summer, Moyes is confident the Blues will cope because of the ability of the naturally left-footed McFadden to play on the right flank. With Kevin Kilbane impressing on the left side recently, the right seems the best option if McFadden is to secure a regular berth. Moyes adds: "We are okay on the left. We have some decent options there but I am also quite comfortable playing Faddy on the right. He is more natural on the left but there are plenty of right-footers who play on the left, so there is no problem with him playing there when he is available." McFadden was not in the squad for Saturday's 1-0 home defeat to Charlton because of a thigh strain. That is the same problem which has kept Watson out since the trip to Portsmouth in December. Before that the former Newcastle man had been sidelined for eight weeks after undergoing a double hernia operation. With both players battling to be given the green light for Sunday's clash with Fulham the Goodison chief will be in the unfamiliar position of not having to fit a square peg into a round hole.
Missed chances frustrate Blues
Jan 21 2004 Jblue, By Laura Taylor Echo Correspondent
EX-EVERTON player Graham Stuart scored the winner for Charlton Athletic as they overcame Everton on Saturday. Duncan Ferguson created many chances but couldn't score. He had a great chance when Gravesen chipped the ball to him and then he passed to Jeffers, then back to Ferguson, but it didn't quite go in. Duncan tried to say Chris Perry had a touch and sent the ball flying over to the corner mark, but referee Mike Riley failed to spot it and declared it was a goal-kick. Then, with a cross in from Paolo Di Canio to former Everton player Graham Stuart, Charlton were in the lead.
Everton nearly equalised when Kevin Kilbane crossed the ball to Ferguson and he had a shot, but Mark Fish had a touch on the line and sent it flying over to Graves-en. He had another shot but it hit Stuart and flew away from Charlton's goal. In the second half David Moyes made a good decision to put Radzinski on, but it wasn't a good decision to take Jeffers off as I thought he was playing well.
In the 69th minute Rooney had a shot which was saved by Dean Kiely. When Kevin Campbell came on Everton were a different team. The ball stayed in Charlton's penalty area, but still no goal.
Afterwards David Moyes said: "That was very hard on us. We created the most chances but couldn't score."
The day Everton left me in tears
Post Past, By Phil Redmond, Daily
THE LAST time Everton met Fulham in the cup was the first time the Blues made me cry. 1975 was the year and I was nine years old. Billy Bingham's dull but effective Everton team were ploughing on remorselessly to what looked like a possible league and cup double whilst Fulham, with their team of ageing old pros, were an unremarkable second division outfit. 1974-75 was a strange season as a lot of the top clubs of the '60s were in undergoing periods of transition - at the start of the campaign three of the previous decade' s great managers retired from the jobs that had built their reputations.
First of all Bill Shankly resigned at Anfield before Don Revie left Leeds to take over the England team. Finally Bill Nicholson retired from an ailing Spurs. With Manchester United in the second division it looked possibly the most open title race ever. As a result of all this upheaval Everton looked as likely as anyone to take advantage. Billy Bingham had almost guided the Toffees to a European place after a couple of years of struggle - a situation not dissimilar to what happened last season at Goodison.
However, where Bingham had the advantage over David Moyes was in the fact that in those days Everton were loaded. With the British record signings of Bob Latchford and Martin Dobson added to an already powerful looking squad, things were looking up. And so it proved as the Blues reached February leading the pack. The football wasn't always pretty but we looked solid. In the cup Everton had survived a mighty scare against non-league Altrincham in the third round before breezing past Plymouth in round four. Unfancied Fulham, meanwhile, had just come through a marathon against Forest before facing the Blues in front of a 45,000 Goodison crowd. The Cottagers featured ex-England stars Bobby Moore and Alan Mullery and while the media speculated about the victorious World cup captain returning to Wembley, no one really gave them a chance at Goodison. As it was, they came away with a famous victory against an off-colour Everton. The Fulham hero was a bearded journeyman called Viv Busby who eventually returned to Everton in a coaching capacity during Howard Kendall's last stint in charge. Early on he capitalised on a mix up between Dai 'The Drop' Davies and Roger Kenyon, and although the bearded centre-half headed the Blues level after the break, Busby struck again late on after referee Clive Thomas made his first, but by no means last, controversial Everton related decision, ruling out a Mick Lyons strike. As a tearful child in the Upper Bullens this was probably my first major Everton disappointment, as the thought of defeat had never crossed my mind. There was more to come though when the Toffees also missed the title after disastrous defeats against the relegated duo of Luton and Carlisle (twice). Fulham and Bobby Moore, meanwhile, got their Wembley dream with an all London affair against Moore's old team, West Ham. Let's hope that the Toffees can finally avenge that defeat on Sunday.
I may have to quit Goodison - Simonsen
Report By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jan 22 2004
STEVE SIMONSEN has conceded he may be forced to call time on his Goodison career after failing to hold the Everton number one spot. Nigel Martyn's arrival from Leeds has pushed the former England Under-21 international further down the Blues' pecking order this season. And with Richard Wright approaching full fitness there are likely to be even fewer chances for Simonsen, who has failed to fulfil the potential that saw him become Britain's costliest teenage stopper when he moved from Tranmere for £3.3million in 1998. The 24-year-old, is one of several senior Everton stars out of contract this summer and has not been offered a new deal thus far. And Simonsen admits: "I am looking at my options now and with two England goalkeepers in front of me then my chances are always going to be few and far between. "Obviously all options and all avenues have got to be looked at." Wright has now stepped up his training following knee surgery in America and Simonsen, who has made only one first team appearance this season, believes his return could prompt an early exit from Everton. He explained: "Richard and Paul Gerrard are still injured and I am the only experienced cover at the moment so if anything came up, like a loan or something, then I don't think the gaffer would be too happy in letting me go anywhere. "Richard is nearing fitness so I'll probably end up dropping out of the squad again but that's the way it is with the goalkeeping position here." Manager David Moyes, meanwhile, has revealed he will be in the market for a right-sided midfielder in the summer. The Blues boss has made no secret of his desire to bolster central midfield this season only to find his hands tied during the current transfer window. But he admits he intends to further strengthen that department at the end of the season after being left short by injuries during this campaign. "We have a problem on the right," said Moyes: "We have been short there this season and it is an area where I am looking to strengthen. "With Steve Watson injured we have only really had James McFadden and Lee Carsley to choose from in that area."
It's china in their hands
Jan 22 2004
By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON FC will kick off the Chinese New Year of the Monkey by launching a website for their growing fanbase in the Far East. They are the third club in the Premiership to open a site written in Mandarin, after Manchester United and Leeds. The Blues already have strong support in China thanks to the sponsorship deal agreed with Chinese mobile phone giants Kejian in 2002 and the inclusion of Li Tie in their squad. Andy Hosie, the club's head of marketing, explains: "We want to become the most popular teamin China. "Of all the sides in Europe we are probably the sixth or seventh most popular behind clubs like Manchester United, Arsenal, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich. We are on a par with Manchester City but ahead of most English clubs, including Liverpool.
"That is down to a combination of our deal with Kejian and the fact we have Li Tie, who has over one million members of his own personal fan club. "We have had a Chinese website for some time but it was only four or five pages linked to a third party site in China. This is truly an Everton website, designed specifically for China. "The majority of it will be translated in-house from our own English site with about 20% specific to our Chinese fans.Once we have got a website it can back up the rest of our marketing policy." That policy includes plans to publish a Mandarin Chinese version of The Evertonian magazine and developing advertising links. The new website can be found at: www.evertonfc.com.cn/
It's a harder tie for Fulham now
Jan 23 2004 By Howard Kendall, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON'S FA Cup tie with Fulham tomorrow is looking a lot more attractive now than when the draw was made at the beginning of the month. The Louis Saha transfer saga would have unsettled any club and he will be badly missed by the Cottagers. Everton cannot afford to relax, though.
The fans are becoming frustrated by the lack of goals. When you look at the Blues' strikers, you would think there would be plenty of goals there. But Everton are going through a spell when the ball just won't go into the net. In the league game at Fulham earlier this month, Duncan Ferguson was denied a goal by the keeper sticking out a foot and had another effort cleared off the line against Charlton last week. The Blues are just not getting the rub of the green. Fulham will still pose a big threat, even without Saha. I've been very impressed with Steed Malbranque and Sean Davis has had enough games after his injury to be nearing his best.
I feel sorry for Steve
STEVE SIMONSEN seems resigned to leaving Goodison in a quest for regular first-team football.
It is understandable. He is a young keeper who wants to be in the thick of the action and probably thinks he has waited long enough for a chance at Everton. It doesn't look like coming. The club brought Richard Wright in two summers ago, then signed Nigel Martyn at the start of this season. They also still have Paul Gerrard on the books. You can understand Simonsen feeling unhappy and thinking about a move to reignite his career. I have always felt he has performed well when he has been in the side and I'm surprised other clubs have not been in for him.
Weir Cup blow for Blues
Report By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Jan 23 2004
DAVID WEIR has handed Everton a major injury blow after being injured in last night's reserve match. The former Scottish international, was stretchered off after 35 minutes of the Blues' 2-1 reserve victory against Manchester United at Altrincham after sustaining a serious knee injury.
Weir has damaged ligaments in his knee and the full extent of his injury will be assessed this morning. The 33-year-old was playing only his third game since straining medial ligaments in his knee during Everton's 1-0 defeat at home to Chelsea in November. With Joseph Yobo currently away with Nigeria in the African Nations Cup it leaves Alan Stubbs, David Unsworth and Peter Clarke as the only first-team central defenders available for Sunday's game with Fulham, Meanwhile Kevin Kilbane is winning his race to be fit for Everton's weekend FA Cup date with Fulham. The Irish winger suffered a gashed shin during the Blues' 1-0 defeat at home to Charlton last Saturday.
The injury required seven stitches but Kilbane went on to play through the pain barrier and complete the full 90 minutes against Alan Curbishley's side. The winger has been receiving intensive treat-ment this week in an attempt to heal the wound. And Kilbane is poised to boost boss David Moyes' midfield options for Sunday by making a return to full training this morning. "Kevin Kilbane had seven stitches in his shin but we're hoping that he'll train on Friday," said Everton's head physio Mick Rathbone. "The major worry with Kevin was that the wound would become infected. "He's a brave lad and decided to play on after the stitches, but there's always a risk of infection when you continue to play on in those circumstances. We've been taking good care of him, and touch wood, it looks as though the threat of infection is minimal." Kilbane has been one of Everton's players of the season following a string of impressive performances, including a magnificent goal in the defeat against Sunday's opponents. James McFadden is also making good progress after missing the Charlton game with a thigh injury sustained in the mini-derby last week. The Scottish international has responded well to treatment, and along with Francis Jeffers, who has a slight Achilles strain, should be available for the visit of the Cottagers. The return of Steve Watson from injury last night will at least have buoyed Moyes. The 29-year-old played the full 90 minutes and scored in the reserves' win over United. It was Watson's first appearance since suffering a thigh strain in the warm-up to the 2-1 win at Portsmouth on December 13. Watson, who had already missed a chunk of the season after a double hernia operation in October, could now be given an instant recall to the Blues' first team on Sunday.
* Everton's 21-year-old defender Sean O'Hanlon has joined second division Swindon on a month's loan. O'Hanlon was due to play for the reserves last night but was withdrawn from the squad after Town boss and former Everton star Andy King stepped up his interest in the youngster.
Manchester United Res 1 Everton Res 2
January 23, 2004
Manchester Evening News
United Reserves slipped to their first home defeat since mid-September despite Kenny Cooper's goal having given them the lead at the interval. The game was a little pedestrian early on but it burst into life in the 23rd minute when the American youngster put United in front with a shot from the outside the area. Cooper and Colin Heath, playing his first reserve game since returning, along with teammate David Fox, from Royal Antwerp, both went close to increasing United's lead before Steve Watson grabbed Everton's with a looping header in the 53rd minute. The visitors completed their recovery in the 67th minute when Niclas Alexandersson finish well with a low shot past United `keeper James Jowsey. UNITED: Jowsey, Lynch, Tierney (McShane), Pugh, Tate, Fox (Williams M.), Heath, Wood, Cooper (Nardiello), Ebanks-Blake, Richardson. Subs not used: Heaton, Martin.
We need to follow Addicks' good example
Fan Scene, By Mark O'Brien, Daily Post
Jan 23 2004
FIRST of all, given recent events it was nice to hear Paolo di Canio acknowledging the Everton fans' warmer side following the match on Saturday. It's just a pity that his colleagues in the Charlton defence were not nearly as generous, repelling as they did everything that Everton could throw at them - figuratively speaking, of course. It was interesting to hear Alan Curbishley talking about his side's slow but steady progress; how in recent years they've had to take it on the chin while they've been getting hammered by teams fielding players who they couldn't really afford. However, with chickens coming home to roost all over the country the Addicks are now reaping their rewards for never chasing that quick fix - they've kept faith in a good manager, even when he took them down, and not overstretched themselves in terms of their spending. Their patience and prudence has also left them in a strong position when dealing with the clubs sniffing around their best players. Ultimately Scott Parker will probably end up at Chelsea because Curbishley won't want to cling on to an unhappy player, but they certainly don't have to sell him and can therefore demand top dollar.
Compare that to the situation at Leeds United where they look like they're going to have to flog Alan Smith on the cheap to keep others in Aston Martins and Tudor mansions. Charlton are quite clearly the club that Everton need to emulate - a fact that might grate with some who still like to think about us as the Mersey Millionaires, but those days are sadly long gone. That's why cries for us to sign, for instance, Nicky Butt, are way off. He's 29 years old, Manchester United want around £5million for him and his wages are in the Duncan Ferguson bracket. He's a Leeds signing, not a Charlton signing. One advantage Athletic have over Everton is that their fans possibly don't - or didn't, at least - expect as much as ours. We've made massive strides recently - we don't seriously entertain the thought of relegation and we're not forced to sell players - but the next step is even bigger. We have to shake ourselves from the feast or famine mindset though and always keep our eye on the longer term: we're not suddenly certs for Europe every time we pick up a league win while on the other hand every defeat shouldn't herald wailing, gnashing of teeth and demands for mass sackings and resignations. And let's just hope that there's neither any wailing or gnashing on Sunday when Fulham come to town. With Louis Saha missing and the possibility of Wayne Rooney playing in his proper position we should have every chance of progressing as long as we don't lose our heads in what promises to be a rather interesting atmosphere.
Everton host new tournament
By Neil Macdonald, Daily Post
Jan 23 2004S
NOT ONE, but two current England captains will be leading the way forward for disability football for the North West on Sunday. Everton are hosting the Barclaycard Free Kicks supported pilot tournament for a new regional pan-disability football league, expected to start within the next couple of months. Steve Johnson, England amputee team captain and Steve Daley, England partially-sighted team captain will be among several national squad players involved along with 150 other disabled footballers at Fairfield High School in Widnes, starting at 10am. There will be 15 adult teams playing seven-a-side matches to represent professional clubs such as Everton, Manchester City, Blackburn, Preston North End and Stoke in this 'friendly' event - but with professional and personal pride at stake! The aim is to showcase the opportunities for disabled football and also to establish the classification categories for the new North West Disability Football League. The North West is leading the way forward for disabled football nationally with more structured opportunities here than anywhere else in the country. Barclaycard have also funded Steve Johnson in his new role as Football in the Community coach for Everton Football Club. Steve works as part of a three-man team delivering increased football opportunities across Merseyside for people with disabilities.
Carsley for chop
Post Soapbox, Icliverpool & Daily Post
Jan 23 2004
Carsley for chop
DROP Carsley. I kept an eye on him at the Charlton match and it wasn't hard to see he is not a Premiership player and particularly in the engine room of EFC. Even Linderoth, who I'm not a fan of, would be a better option. Another thing I noticed during this match was there was rarely an outlet for Pistone down the right. Wayne isn't a right midfielder. I still believe we will hit on the team but a decent midfielder is desperately needed.
Kevin Williams, via email
We're going down
I'M SORRY to say this but I reckon we're going down. Losing at home to Charlton is just not good enough. I used to be confident on obtaining at least a point from home matches and we've had a good home record up until now but it's just not good enough. I also think Radz and Dunc should be starting up front and Rooney on the bench. He's so much more influential coming on with 30 minutes to go. Carsley should also be playing right wing until Watson's back with Gravesen and Linderoth in the middle.
Gary London, via e-mail
I AGREE with the many comments about the loutish behaviour of certain 'fans'. At Arsenal last year one guy was constantly shouting abuse at Unsworth and Gravesen and shouting at the Arsenal supporters. Having been born and brought up in North London myself I found this quite distasteful.
With regard to the missing money from the Sean Davis transfer, yes we did only spend a portion of the £5million, but we did bring in four players and we do have to pay their salaries. Don't forget that for some reason these guys earn in a week more than many do in a year.
Michael Phillips, via email
No time for Jeffers
I'M afraid Jeffers is not the answer for Everton up front. Give me time he says. That's the problem - we don't have time unless he wants the first division next year and then he will return to Arsenal.
If we are not going to buy send him back now. I don't care if he is Blue through and through - if he's not scoring he's of no use.
Doug Williams, Liverpool
Buy your Cup tickets in advance, fans urged
Report By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Jan 23 2004
EVERTON have urged sup -porters to buy their tickets in advance for Sunday's FA Cup fourth round clash with Fulham. Supporters will not be allowed to pay at the turnstiles, with the club operating a reserved seating policy. Instead, the Blues are encouraging fans to purchase their tickets from the Box Office before the day of the game. "We would encourage supporters to buy their tickets as early as possible," said a Blues spokesman. "After this game, we only have one more home match in a month, against Manchester United on February 7." The Everton Box Office is open today between 9.30am and 4.30pm, tomorrow between 9.30am and noon, and on Sunday between 9.30am and kick-off, which is 3pm. Everton are keen to avoid a repeat of the scenes before the FA Cup tie at home to Leyton Orient two years ago. With the Blues then operating an unreserved seating policy, supporters were allowed to pay at the turnstiles. As a result, there was a walk-up of 14,000 people which led to nearly 1,000 fans being locked out.
Blues out to bounce back
Academy Football, With Chris Wright, Daily Post
Jan 23 2004
EVERTON under-17s welcome Manchester City to Netherton tomorrow (kick-off 11am) keen to get back to winning ways. Gary Ablett's side relinquished top spot last week and Manchester United leapfrogged the Blues thanks to a 1-0 win at Netherton. Only three points separate the two sides and after their 5-0 win over City in December, the Blues aim for something similar to keep the pressure on the Red Devils ahead of their third encounter of the season. That match could prove crucial in deciding who finishes top of the Group A table, but for now it is City who the Blues are firmly focused on. Ablett said: "Last week was disappointing, knowing how well we can play in a game that matters against a good standard of opposition. We didn't pass the ball at all, but we hope to do better this week. "City lost 7-2 at Blackburn, so they'll come out and give us a game - not just sit in and hope not to get beat. But we won't change. We will keep playing football the right way and if it is good enough on the day brilliant." Ablett added: "We beat City 5-0, but you have always got to guard against complacency. We have a good set of lads and they have done extremely well as a team to be in the position they are - three points behind United. But we don't look on City as an easy game. It is a chance to try and get back in touch with United but it is a very difficult game. "I know their coaching staff and they will be hurting after last week, as the players will. They will come out fighting and give everything they have got and if we are not on our guard and up the challenge we will struggle." Left-sided defender Patrick Boyle returned back to the Blues after featuring for Scotland U17s in Malta and Ablett will check on his fitness before naming his side tomorrow.
Everton under-19s go to Stoke City tomorrow (kick-off 11am) aiming for their first win on 2004.
After the defeat to Blackburn Rovers and last week's frustrating draw at home to Crewe Neil Dewsnip's side will be desperate for the three points tomorrow (kick-off 11am). They beat Stoke 3-1 at home in November, but since then their finishing has cost them dear, despite dominating many of the games. Dewsnip said: "We would hope for the same performance as last week, but we just need to sharpen up in front of goal." Defender James Potter has missed the opening two matches of the year with a back injury, but the Blues are hopeful he will be fit enough to return to the squad tomorrow.
Everton 1, Fulham 1 (D,Post)
Jan 26 2004 Andy Hunter Reports From Goodison, Daily Post
EVERTON have made such a hash of turning dominance into goals it becomes a special occasion whenever they do succeed. Yesterday, they took that policy almost too literally. Just when it seemed the brave, or foolhardy, soul who proposed to his girl-friend on the Gwladys Street would be the only Evertonian to score yesterday, up popped Francis Jeffers to widen the celebrations with a thoroughly-deserved equaliser on his 23rd birthday. One day the Blues might return to banging them in as a matter of duty, and a dangerous replay at Loftus Road still seems scant reward for another display packed with determination, chances and a continuing refusal to convert any until Jeffers' scuffed the ball over the line in the 89th minute. But given the whole of Goodison was like the lovestruck Romeo in the closing seconds - on its knees and desperate for the right answer - staying in the FA Cup is enough consolation for now. For Jeffers, the timing of the first goal of his second Everton career was ideal, if not slightly overdue. David Moyes has admitted waiting so long for Sean Davis last summer was, with hindsight, a mistake, and invariably it looked on course to haunt him again when the excellent Fulham midfielder pounced to give the visitors the lead three minutes into the second half. Davis is a player Everton's midfield is still crying out for; a powerful box-tobox runner, creative and with an eye to goal. Let's hope the applause he gave to the Gwladys Street on the final whistle was a sign a deal might yet be on this summer. But with the Blues heading for a third consecutive undeserved defeat what they really craved was a poacher, someone who could finally turn constant pressure into reward, and the man whom Arsenal signed as their "Fox in the Box" delivered. Jeffers has some way to go before offering a convicincing case for a permanent deal this summer and the arrival of Russian trialist Dimitry Bulykin could further dent those hopes but his leveller, 30 seconds before the end of normal time, should provide the boost he needs for the rest of this campaign. His strike was the least Everton deserved, and proved the cue for a pulsating finale when the Blues - with only one centre half left on the pitch - had to go for broke but could have been punished on the break. Neither came, and now they have to make it third time lucky when they meet Fulham on February 4. Until Davis, stunned Goodison the contest had no FA Cup feel about it whatsoever, apart from a few tasty challenges which can be put down to the bad blood between these teams rather than an illustration of what the tie meant. After a scrappy opening, where the visitors looked to have the sharper edge up front despite the lone striker policy that has now passed from Louis Saha to Barry Hayles, it was Everton who, just like at Loftus Road and just like Charlton last week, dominated possession but failed to make the most of it.
It is becoming a familiar tale in the Blues season and whereas they never had the gilt-edged opportunites that made their defeat by Fulham a fortnight ago so hard to stomach, they still saw enough of Edwin Van Der Sar's goal to have established a comfortable lead by the break. Fulham, with their stout defending and occasional crisp breakaway, would no doubt contest that but four times in the first half the Blues had time and space in the penalty area to open the scoring and wasted every one. The otherwise impressive Kevin Kilbane missed three, shooting weakly to Van Der Sar's right after Alan Stubbs' return ball landed at his feet on the penalty spot, directing a free header from Thomas Gravesen's corner straight at defender Carlos Bocanegra - who may have used an arm - and finally dragging a 41st minute opening well wide after a neat lay-off from Wayne Rooney. Kilbane was by no means the only culprit, however, and did actually find the net with a blistering 12-yard shot that was ruled out for a handball that looked harsh, but brought no complaints from the Everton players, while Rooney himself pulled a decent chance wide of the mark from one of several inviting Duncan Ferguson lay-offs. Those were the clearest, if not outstanding, chances of the opening period but th ere were many more moves and situations that offered better for the Blues. Tomasz Radzinski was a constant threat down the left, a route Moyes' men looked to exploit regularly. Three times he gave himself a sight of goal by cutting inside yet found his efforts either blocked or just too high to trouble the Dutchman's goal. Ferguson's role was more creative as he enjoyed a fierce tussle with Fulham's own giant Zat Knight although openings fell his way too. A towering header was turned off the line by Bocanegra when Rooney looked certain to apply the final touch over instead, and twice he failed to seize on fortunate breaks inside the box. If the on-going inability to inflict punishment on the opposition was torture on Moyes and the Goodison crowd, who also saw Alessandro Pistone and the recalled Alex Nyarko go close, then at least there was some consolation in a performance that dominated and provided further credence to the belief last season's steam-roller effect is returning. Minus the victories, of course. On the few occasions Fulham did turn the tide, however, they gave Everton plenty of cause to fear the counterattack, showing more guile and, through their five-man midfield, more support for their at tack than the Blues. Hayles was a constant thorn in the side of Stubbs and David Unsworth but when they did break the deadlock it was a dreadful goal to concede from Everton's viewpoint. The goal stemmed from a home corner, which Nyarko crucially missed when it was cleared up field. Fulham, through Steed Malbranque and Lee Clark, broke in numbers but the Blues had plenty of chances to clear the danger. Nigel Martyn parried Clark's cross into the path of Bocanegra, whose shot hit Tony Hibbert and rolled to Davis who scuffed the ball into the bottom corner from six yards. It was a mess of a goal and one that could have been repeated as Everton frantically pressed for an equaliser throughout the second half. Fulham failed to deliver the final pass, however, while the Blues struggled to find the final touch. Rooney was growing increasingly anxious at his personal toil to create or hit the target, picking up a booking for dissent, but could have had a penalty when Alain Goma appeared to use his hand to stop the striker cutting inside in the 71st minute. Ferguson forced a fine save from Van Der Sar, then turned a clearer chance wide at full stretch as Everton, after throwing programmes and lighters at Fulham the last time they met, elected for the kitchen sink instead. In the final minute, it paid off. The big Scot met Thomas Gravesen's corner with a towering header that Van Der Sar clawed off the line, but only as far as Jeffers, who turned the ball home off the chest of Clark. It was the answer to Everton's prayers. The girlfriend said "Yes" too.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Martyn; Hibbert, Stubbs, Unsworth (Naysmith, 58), Pistone (Jeffers, 84); Rooney, Gravesen, Nyarko, Kilbane; Ferguson, Radzinski. Subs: Campbell, Simonsen, Carsley.
FULHAM (4-5-1): Van Der Sar; Volz, Knight, Goma, Bocanegra; Malbranque, Davis, Djetou, Clark, Boa Morte; Hayles (Sava, 81). Subs: Inamoto, Crossley, Petta, Green.
REFEREE: Dermot Gallagher
BOOKINGS: Everton's Rooney (dissent), Fulham's Hayles, Goma, Malbranque (fouls)
Jeffers rescue act gives reminder to Moyes
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jan 26 2004
DAVID MOYES last night confirmed he is in the hunt for Russian striker Dimitry Bulykin as Francis Jeffers delivered a timely FA Cup rescue act.Birthday boy Jeffers, salvaged a fourth round replay against Fulham with an 89th minute equaliser for Everton, who again struggled to convert a procession of chances at Goodison Park.The Blues were on course for a third consecutive defeat until the 23-year-old cancelled out Sean Davis' 48th-minute opener with his first goal since a summer return from Arsenal. But Jeffers' hopes of securing a permanent return to Goodison could be hit by Moyes' interest in Dynamo Moscow hitman Bulykin, (above).The 24-year-old, £2.5millionrated striker will begin a brief trial at Bellefield today with a view to an end-of season-transfer.Moyes revealed: "He is here until the middle of next week for us to have a look at him."He does not have enough caps just yet to qualify for a work permit so nothing will be done during the transfer window."But by the time the summer comes round, and the Euro 2004 finals, he will certainly have played enough. He needs to have played 70 per cent of games over a two-year spell, and he is just short of that at the moment."I watched him play for Russia in Ireland and against Wales in Cardiff, but the deal is not one for this season."Everton's need for a clinical touch was illustrated again yesterday as they dominated Fulham without reward until substitute Jeffers' intervention.The Blues boss said: "I would have been pleased for whoever scored but especially so for Franny. That goal will make him feel a lot better and do his confidence the world of good."I must admit that I did not think that the goal was going to come and we tried everything positive we could. I have been saying for a few weeks that our strikers must start scoring more, and it was the same this time."The team had done everything right except for putting the ball in the back of the net. We have to be more clinical, we made half a dozen chances and missed them all. "To be honest we are not the sort of side that creates tap-ins, but we have to take the half chances when they come our way. We had 10 half chances today and four very good ones."But one thing my team never does is to give up. I have been upset by a few things but never their attitude, which has been really magnificent."They have given their lot for the cause. Now we have got a replay, which will be very tough down there, but at least we are still in with a chance," he added.The replay will take place at Loftus Road on Wednesday, February 4. But Moyes believes it wouldn't have been necessary had referee Dermot Gallagher spotted a 71st-minute handball by Alain Goma."I thought we should have had a definite penalty when Wayne (Rooney) tried to cut inside their last defender," he said."From where I was it looked as though it hit the defender's hand."Rooney also picked up a booking for dissent and Moyes said: "It was a bit silly, just frustration, but then we were all feel-ing the same about the way things were going. But you know that if you kick the ball away, you will get booked."The Blues manager, meanwhile, will today discover whether he has a defensive crisis on his hands.David Unsworth was forced out of yesterday's tie with a back problem which, if it proves serious, would leave Everton bereft in central defence with Joseph Yobo on African Nations Cup duty and David Weir out for two months with a knee ligament injury.Moyes said: "He fell on his back and we feared he might have twisted it. It doesn't look that way now, more like a bad knock, but David isn't one to come off easily and we will have it checked tomorrow."
Fans forum Everton v Fulham
By Steven Mills, Daily Post
Jan 26 2004
EVERTON are in the fifth round draw for the FA Cup but only just. We have to negotiate a difficult replay at Loftus Road, but there was little for us to be concerned about from Fulham, as we again seemed intent on beating ourselves.The first half seemed a repeat of last week's game against Charlton - possession in and around their box but little creativity from a midfield that doesn't seem to believe we can take games by the scruff of the neck.We started to grow in confidence coming up to half-time and I expected an onslaught in the second half. We started the second half in similar fashion. But we had corner cleared to Nyarko, who criminally let the ball bounce and away went Fulham. When the ball dropped to Sean Davis from Martyn's punch, the whole ground knew it was going in. Why does that always happen to us?After that it was one-way traffic. We again huffed and puffed but created nothing until finally in the last minute Franny Jeffers grabbed his firsst goal since returning to the club - let's hope it kick starts his season.On the positive side, we kept going and were never beaten. Duncan Ferguson was again a handful, he really needs to stay in the side.Tomasz Radzinski looked more lively than he has been recently and Thomas Graveson tried to boss the midfield. Kevin Kilbane played well again and we looked reasonably solid at the back.On the negative side, we still struggle to impose ourselves on games - Nyarko is not the answer in mid-field and I fear he'll get torn to shreds if he plays in next week's derby.We still love the old long ball up to Ferguson and it is incredibly one dimensional. Tactically we still seem short. We were in the top six last season playing a solid 4-4-2. Can we get back to that please? Rooney still seems short of his best. A spell on the bench make take the pressure off the boy.
Everton 1, Fulham 1 (Echo)
Jan 26 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON have never beaten Fulham in an FA Cup tie. But thanks to birthday boy Francis Jeffers, they have the chance to set that record straight much sooner than seemed likely three minutes from the end of this cup tie. The lifelong Blue was the last roll of the dice from manager David Moyes, coming on in place of Alessandro Pistone with five minutes to go as Everton trailed their visitors by a goal to nil. Within three minutes he had scrambled the ball into the net, securing a draw which Everton thoroughly deserved but which - until that moment - never seemed likely. As with the Premiership clash at Loftus Road a fortnight ago Moyes' men ran rings around Fulham but couldn't turn that dominance into goals. It seemed increasingly likely that Sean Davis' 49th minute strike would prove the difference. But then came Jeffers. The striker, who celebrated his 23rd birthday yesterday, couldn't have picked a better time to get off the mark in his second spell at Goodison.
Since returning to Everton on a season-long loan from Arsenal he has found his route to the first team blocked by Tomasz Radzinksi and Wayne Rooney. And on the handful of occasions when he has been given the chance to play he has failed to make the most of it. As a result, there have been murmurings of doubt amongst supporters as to the value of signing the forward on a permanent basis in the summer. Those doubts will have been erased yesterday. It was the kind of straightforward poacher's goal which the side never looked capable of snatching prior to Jeffers' arrival. And that is why the forward should be given every opportunity to prove he is worth a long-term deal. He offers the Blues something different in attack. And boy did they need it yesterday. I have got a friend who, when he was single, had a simple philosophy when it came to women.
He figured that if you had enough shots you would score at least once. He didn't mind getting knocked back umpteen times because he knew there would somebody willing to take him on.
His splatter gun approach worked relatively well but, not surprisingly, he was never very happy with the girls he ended up with. The result never seemed to match the endeavour. I suspect it was because of the air of desperation he gave off. The same air was emanating from Goodison yesterday. They picked up where they had left off against Charlton and Fulham in the last fortnight. There were chances and shots galore but the goals never seemed likely to materialise.
In the opening half alone I made a note of 12 efforts on goal from the Blues. But despite the quality of the players the chances were falling to the sense of urgency in their play meant it was no great surprise when opportunities were squandered. You couldn't help thinking that if the approach play was a little more considered and the finishing less ferocious the situation would change.
But there seemed little chance of that happening after Sean Davis netted four minutes into the second half. Moyes' concerns about being hit on the counter-attack were realised in that moment.
Twice the defence failed to effectively clear crosses into the box, with the second centre bouncing around the area before falling to Davis six yards out. His weak sidefoot effort was placed well enough to find the bottom left corner of Nigel Martyn's net. It was infuriating. It was undeserved. But it would have been nothing more than a consolation had Moyes' men made the most of their chances in the opening period. And for that reason they only had themselves to blame.
The manager employed the same 4-3-3 formation which worked well at Loftus Road. And, as with that game, Chris Coleman's men struggled to cope. Rooney was excellent in the wide role he was given, doing everything to help the cause. He tracked back, he was a creative influence and he had a few chances as well. But, like so many of his teammates, the goal wouldn't come. As early as the second minute Tomasz Radzinski, who started on the left of the attacking trio, cut in from the flank and fired a right foot drive over the bar. Similar efforts during the rest of the opening half from Alex Nyarko, Kevin Kilbane and Rooney also ended up amongst the fans in the Park End. The ball did find the back of the net in the 27th minute when a marauding run into the heart of the Fulham defence ended with the Irishman lashing the ball past the Dutchman. The celebrations were cut short by the linesman's flag indicating a hand ball by Kilbane in the build up to the goal. The fact it was the correct decision robbed the home fans of the opportunity to feel suitably aggrieved. That sensation was reserved for the second half. After the hammer blow of Davis' goal the match developed the same pattern as the opening half; one-way traffic with a combination of poor finishing, disappointing final balls and brave defending defying the Blues. And the writing seemed to be on the wall when, in the closing minutes, both Rooney and Ferguson fluffed gilt-edged chances. In that moment you sensed it would be Fulham going into the fifth round. Gallow's humour began to pervade the pressbox, with one writer taking consolation from the fact that at least the Evertonian who proposed to his girl-friend on the pitch at half-time managed to score. Then came Jeffers. Gravesen curled a corner from deep into the area. Ferguson rose imperiously to guide a header goalwards. Van der Sar could only parry it and Jeffers reacted quickest from close range to save Everton's cup dreams.
With forward line places up for grabs, on-loan striker Jeffers has done his first-team chances no harmat all. But, more importantly, he was able to breath fresh life into a cup run which, at 4.40pm yesterday, was receiving its last rites.
Can we have our footballs back?
Jan 26 2004 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON are asking Wayne Rooney fans to stop keeping his footballs. The club estimates to have lost 50 balls worth £3,500 in the past six home matches alone. Fans keep the balls kicked into the crowd by their 18-year-old idol during pre-match warm ups. Kit boss Jimmy Martin said: "I would urge our supporters to return all the balls that end up in the crowd. "Apart from the financial angle, our warm-up routines are disrupted." Everton fan Martin King said: "Balls kicked by Wayne are prize possessions and hardly ever get thrown back."
Fran: I've been so low
Jan 26 2004 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
FRANCIS JEFFERS hopes that yesterday's late saver can pull him out of the greatest depression of his career. The Blues striker, was only on the pitch for five minutes, but came up with the last minute leveller which earned Everton an FA Cup replay at Fulham on February 4. And he admitted afterwards - on his 23rd birthday - that he had suffered throughout the longest goal drought of his career. "I'm not ashamed to say that my confidence was really, really down. Probably the lowest it's ever been, because it's been so long without scoring," he said. "Every striker will tell you the longer you don't score the more it starts to play on your mind. "That's just what I needed - to bobble one in at the end. I think I only got one touch and that was it. "Maybe my confidence will come on a bit now." Jeffers has started only five matches since his return to Goodison on-loan from Arsenal.
His last goal for the Gunners was against Charlton, last March. "I've only had a few games," Jeffers added. "I'm a striker and that's probably not enough to find your feet, but I've got to make do with it at the moment because there are strikers ahead of me. "I'm down the pecking order. It's as simple as that. I've just got to do what I've done since I got here and keep plugging away. "I've said it to everyone I speak to - my luck's got to change soon." The FA Cup could be the competition for Jeffers to flourish. He scored his first senior goal for Everton in an FA Cup tie against Coventry, and was Arsenal's top scorer in the competition last season before falling victim to a knee injury. "I played every game for Arsenal last year in the FA Cup and was top scorer for them in that competition," he explained. "It was just my luck again. I did my medial ligaments in my knee a couple of weeks before the final, which I think I'd have played in. "But the FA Cup's been a good competition for me. My first goal for Everton was in the FA Cup against Coventry."
Hiding is likely to be put on hold
Jan 26 2004 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
SOMEONE, somewhere, sometime is going to cop for a hiding from Everton. But with Liverpool and Manchester United up next it's unlikely to be sometime soon. And if Everton cannot learn to turn dominant, one-sided pressure and possession into goals, it won't be any time ever. Arsenal, Fulham, Charlton - and now Fulham again have all escaped with something they scarcely deserved because of Blue generosity in front of goal. And it is a failing which almost cost Everton the cruellest of crosses to bear yesterday - defeat, at home, in the FA Cup. Check out the leading scorers' table in the Premiership this season. Only rock-bottom Wolves have a top scorer with fewer goals than Everton's most prolific Premiership marksman. And that's in a season with relative freedom from injury for all of the front-line strikers. So maybe the problem lies a little deeper - literally as well as metaphorically. Despite almost total domination at Goodison Park yesterday, and complete one-sided pressure, Everton failed to craft a single glorious, miss-that-if-you-dare kind of chance until the final minute. Duncan Ferguson, Tomasz Radzinski, Wayne Rooney and Kevin Kilbane all wasted reasonable half-chance sort of opportunities - but it was only when Ferguson's flying header was frantically clawed out of the air by Edwin van der Sar that Francis Jeffers finally received a real chance. But tell you something you don't already know. Everton have craved a playmaker with craft and vision since Sean Davis' knee buckled under a phsyiotherapist's scrutiny last summer. And they still crave one. Everton can bleed, sweat and graft for all the possession in the world - but until they have someone who can craft that possession into real, put- that- in chances they will continue to win by the odd-goal and lose and draw games they don't deserve to.
I can't sign yet, admits Russian
Jan 26 2004 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
RUSSIAN striker Dmitry Bulykin admitted today he could not join Everton until the summer at the earliest - after running the rule over the Blues yesterday. The Dynamo Moscow striker has sparked a flurry of interest throughout Europe with four goals in his first five internationals for Russia. David Moyes watched him in Ireland recently, and Bulykin will train with the Blues this week. He said: "My agent just told me to go to Everton and train, take a look about and not worry about the rest.
"That's what I'm doing. I've had a chat with David Moyes - he's an interesting guy. We just talked generally, but I told him I love English football. "The trip was the idea of Dynamo's general director, Yuri Zavarzin last week. The plan is just to train and get to know the club. I can't come to England right now as I don't have enough caps - so let's say this is just a recce." In order to qualify for a work permit, Bulykin must have played in 70 per cent of his country's internationals over a twoyear period. He will not meet that criteria until the Euro 2004 finals this summer, but Dynamo director Alexander Petrashevsky came up with a way around that rule last night. "There are several English clubs who want him - they realise that his style is suited to the English game," he said. "He's not eligible to play there at the moment but there is a good chance that if talks go well with one of the English clubs, they can buy him and loan him out to a side in Europe while he earns more caps."
Moyes angered by penalty snub
Jan 26 2004 By Stuart Rayner Echo Reporter
EVERTON snatched a late equaliser to put themselves in today's FA Cup fifth round draw - but manager David Moyes was still left to rue his side's luck. With minutes to go, the Blues looked set to lose a game they had dominated for the third time running, only for Francis Jeffers to come off the bench and score the goal which earned a 1-1 draw with Fulhamat Goodison Park. But despite being pleased to see his team keep their Cup hopes alive, Moyes was left to reflect on more wasteful finishing and Dermot Gallagher's refusal to award his side a penalty. "I thought that was a definite penalty kick," Moyes said of the 71st minute incident when the ball appeared to strike the hand of Fulham centre- back Zat Knight as he challenged Wayne Rooney in the penalty area. "When Wayne dinked back inside, from the angle I was looking at it definitely looked as though it hit his hand. It looked a definite penalty kick." With or without the referee's assistance, though, Moyes felt his team should have scored more than the one goal. "I think we probably made ten half-chances - three or four good chances," he reflected, "and you've got to hope that somewhere along the line somebody connects cleanly with one. "We're not going to always be a side that rolls it on a plate for a tap-in, so we've just got to keep trying to make the chances and hope that the boys up front will finish them. "Most of them have got decent goalscoring records and I'm hoping that the goals will come for them." The one Everton player to take a chance was Jeffers, and Moyes said of the substitute's late strike: "I think it'll make him feel much better and do his confidence the world of good." But although the manager was critical of his players' finishing, he had only praise for their attitude. "They've been terrific," he remarked. "I'm upset by a few things but I'm certainly not upset by their attitude. They might have their failings in other areas but they've given their lot." Fulham manager Chris Coleman was also critical of the way his side performed in front of goal, but on reflection he was pleased with the result. "Before the game I would have taken that, bearing in mind what our away form has been like," he admitted. "But to come so close was a kick in the teeth.
"I thought maybe we deserved to win. "We got in some good positions and we didn't kill them off. We paid the price in the end." Moyes was looking forward to the replay, on February 4, and hoping his side could make it third time lucky after a defeat and a draw with Fulham in January. "I think both of us probably would have preferred not to have a replay," the Blues boss conceded, "but with five minutes to go I would have taken one. David Unsworth, meanwhile, is the Blues' only fresh injury worry ahead of Saturday's Anfield derby. "He fell on his back and we're worried in case he's got a twisted back," Moyes confirmed. "But we don't think so. "We think it's more the fall that's caused the damage, but Unsy doesn't come off easily - he's a tough boy - so we'll need to check it and see how it is."
Newcastle Res 0, Everton Res 0
Jan 27 2004 By Alan Myers, Daily Post
STEVE SIMONSEN and Peter Clarke were the only players with Premiership experience in an Everton reserves side which held a strong Newcastle team at Whitley Park. In stark contrast to the Blues' line-up, the Magpies fielded a number of big names including Craig Bellamy, returning from injury, Titus Bramble and Shola Ameobi. The home side did have the better of the early exchanges with Bellamy and Orr both being denied by good goalkeeping from Simonsen. Everton's attack found it difficult to find a way through but Michael Symes did cause problems for the home defence on the stroke of half-time, going close with a clever shot which went just wide. Michael Chopra and Darren Ambrose both did well early in the second half, but again Simonsen was on hand to keep the home side out. By now the heavily sanded pitch was becoming a mud-bath but still Everton defended stoutly with Bellamy frustrated again and further chances were cleared from Hugo Viana and Ambrose as the game went into the latter stages. In fact it was Everton who came closest to finding the breakthrough when with just minutes remaining Gavin Lynch found space in the box only for Bramble to clear the danger. It was a well-deserved point for the youngsters together with a good performance in goal from Simonsen. EVERTON: Simonsen, Wynne, Fox, Gerrard, Larke, Schumacher, Brown, Wison (B Moogan 46), Symes, Pascucci (Lynch 59), Barry. Subs: Hughes, Turner, Boyle.
NEWCASTLE UNITED: Bartlett, Griffin (Brittain 60), Elliot, Bramble, Caldwell (Taylor 81), Orr, Chopra, Viana, Ameobi (Guy 78), Bellamy, Ambrose. Subs: Gate, Collin.
Kenwright funds fans' Fulham trip
Jan 27 2004 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
BILL KENWRIGHT is trying to bankroll Everton's progress into the next round of the FA Cup - by personally paying for Everton's travelling army of fans to get to Fulham next Wednesday. The Blues' deputy chairman, has made the astonishing gesture - which could cost him as much as £25,000 - after Francis Jeffers' dramatic late goal earned Everton a fourth round replay at Loftus Road.
Kenwright has offered to pay for coach travel to London out of his own pocket. "I have marvelled year in year out at our extraordinary away support, and I know how much that means to the team and the manager - and to me," he said. "I wanted to do my bit to get us a home draw against West Ham." The Blues have taken more than 3,000 tickets for next Wednesday's fourth round replay and supporters should contact the club for details of free coach travel.
Yobo call-up was not fair
Jan 27 2004 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
NIGERIA kicked off their African Nations Cup campaign against Morocco today - with Everton still fuming that Joseph Yobo joined up a week earlier than international team-mates Nwankwo Kanu, Jay-Jay Okocha and Aiyegbeni Yakubu. It had been agreed that all four Nigerians should fly out after the Premiership fixtures on January 10. Yobo, departed after Everton's match at Fulham, but the other three fitted in one more Premiership match a week later, while Kanu and Okocha stayed even longer to take in the first leg of the Carling Cup semi-finals. Blues' chief executive Michael Dunford said: "We have registered the strongest possible protest to the Nigerian FA indicating that this is simply not fair to Everton. "If they want the cooperation of the Premiership clubs - and don't forget we are still paying Joseph's wages while he is away with Nigeria - then we expect the same level of assistance in return. "We don't want one of our players twiddling his thumbs whilst his employers are playing domestic fixtures. "We are currently awaiting a reply from the Nigerian FA as to why Joseph travelled to join the national squad whilst the other three appear to have been given special dispensation to fly out later. "This unfortunate incident may well lead to a hardening of our opinion over the general release of international players, although we will obviously always comply with FIFA regulations, because what appears to have happened in this instance is that some players have held private conversations with the Nigerian coach and he has allowed them to stay in the UK. "This plainly isn't fair and if countries are going to issue national directives then it has to apply to every single player." Yobo could be missing for a month if Nigeria, as expected, progress in the competition. His absence has come at the worst possible time for the Blues, with David Weir and David Unsworth currently on the treatment table.
Keeper Steve denies Magpies
Jan 27 2004 Liverpool Echo
A GOOD performance from Steve Simonsen and some resolute defending earned Everton reserves a deserved point at Whitley Park last night. Goalkeeper Simonsen and Peter Clarke were the only players with Premiership experience in the Everton side against a strong Newcastle team.
In stark contrast to the Blues, the Magpies fielded a number of big names including Craig Bellamy in his first game back from injury, Titus Bramble and Shola Ameobi. The home side had the bet ter of the early exchanges with Bellamy and Orr both being denied by Simonsen. Everton's attack struggled to find a way through but Michael Symes did cause problems for the home defence on the stroke of half time, going close with a clever shot which went just wide. Michael Chopra and Darren Ambrose both did well early in the second half, but again Simonsen was on hand to keep the home side out. By now the heavilysanded pitch was becoming a mudbath, but still Everton defended stoutly with Bellamy frustrated agai n and fu r ther chances were cleared from Hugo Viana and Ambrose as the game went into the latter stages. Everton came closest to finding the breakthrough when, with minutes remaining, Gavin Lynch found space in the box only for Bramble to clear the danger. EVERTON: Simonsen, Wynne, Fox , Gerrard, Clarke, Schumacher, Brown, Wilson (B Moogan 46), Symes, Pascucci (Lynch 59) Barry. Not used: Hughes, Turner, Boyle.
Hands off our Radz
Jan 27 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
GRAEME SOUNESS has been issued with a 'hands-off' warning after making an inquiry about Everton striker Tomasz Radzinski. The Blackburn boss made a personal approach to David Moyes, but was told instantly the Blues top scorer is not for sale. The 30-year-old has 18 months remaining on his Goodison contract, but in keeping with current club policy has not been approached about an extension. Canadian international Radzinski, who signed from Anderlecht for £4.5m in the summer of 2001 was named the Blues Player of the Season last year and his lightning pace is an important asset to Everton's front line. David Unsworth, meanwhile, is determined to help Moyes avoid an unexpected dip into the transfer market. Everton's 30-year-old defender hobbled off early in the second half of Sunday's 1-1 draw with Fulham after sustaining a back injury. With David Weir already sidelined for up to two months with a recurrence of his medial knee ligament injury and Joseph Yobo away with Nigeria on international duty, the Blues' defensive ranks are being stretched to the limit. If Unsworth shows no signs of recovering from his back problem in the next 48 hours Moyes is ready to bring in a defender on loan ahead of Saturday's Merseyside derby at Anfield and the closure of the January transfer window. "Hopefully he will pull through this week. If he doesn't we might have to look to the market and see if we can bring somebody in," said Moyes.
"But that is something I am not going to consider until we know the full extent of his injury."
Head physio Mick Rathbone added: "He landed very heavily on his back early in the game and is quite uncomfortable but we are hopeful it will settle down quickly. "He has not twisted it but we will continue to review the situation." Unsworth is determined to do everything he can to overcome the injury this week. He said: "It's very sore at the moment. I woke up yesterday and my was in spasm. I just have to take it day by day and hope it will settle down. "With the derby coming up the injury could not have come at a worse time but, fingers crossed, I will be okay for Saturday.
"I will give myself every chance but you can't play unless you are fit and if you are not right, then you are not right. We have other big games coming up and I have to make sure I am fit for those games as well." If Unsworth remains sidelined Moyes will only have Alan Stubbs and Peter Clarke available as recognised centre-backs. Alessandro Pistone can switch to the centre, as could Steve Watson.
Unsworth has become a key figure in the heart of the Blues' defence since November, forming an impressive ship with Alan Stubbs. His form convinced the manager he did not need to follow up his interest in Russian skipper Viktor Onopko. Meanwhile, Moyes has denied any interest in Robbie Savage. The Birmingham midfielder has once again been linked with a possible move to Goodison after Steve Bruce stepped up his bid to take England's Nicky Butt to St Andrews. Moyes inquired about Butt last week, but United's £5m valuation of the midfielder was beyond Everton 's limited budget.
City shock for Blues
Jan 27 2004 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON fell victim to a major FA Cup upset when they were beaten 2-1 at South West Combination side Cardiff City. City went ahead on 14 minutes through Jessica Fishlock, and Everton's Kelly McDougall missed a penalty. Amy Kane popped up for Everton deep into the second half to score the all-important equaliser, but their hopes of progressing to the quarter finals were dashed when Cardiff's Chantelle Miller lobbed a high, looping shot over keeper Danielle Hill. Tranmere Rovers, struggling in the league, secured their passage into the next round with a narrow 1-0 win over Northern Division Sheffield Wednesday. Rachel Rigby scored the winning goal on 34 minutes.
Souness in move for Tomasz
Report By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jan 27 2004
BLACKBURN have launched a beat-the-deadline bid to prize Tomasz Radzinski away from Everton.The Blues have been braced for a move from Rovers all month, with Graeme Souness' interest in the Canadian international, (right), well established.And last night the Ewood Park outfit made their first tentative enquiry to test Everton's resolve to keep the popular striker.Rovers are believed to be ready to offer around £2million for the 30-year-old, who has scored six times for the Blues this season.But whether that would be enough to tempt Everton to sell Radzinski, signed from Anderlecht for £4.5m in 2001, is highly unlikely.Radzinski only has 18 months remaining on his Goodison contract and talks over an extension are not planned until the summer.David Moyes is very reluctant to lose his quickest frontman with his side struggling for goals and no replacement lined up just days before the transfer window closes.Dynamo Moscow's Dmitry Bulykin is a target for the Blues manager but cannot obtain a work permit until he has collected more international caps - expected to be after Euro 2004.Everton do have the option of signing the 24-year-old now and loaning him out to another club abroad but that would leave Moyes light in attack for the final five months of the campaign.Bulykin, who is currently training with the Blues, said: "My agent just told me to go to Everton and train, take a look around and not worry about the rest."That's what I am doing. I've had a chat with David Moyes - he's an interesting guy. We just talked generally but I told him I love English football."Meanwhile, Everton could be left with major back problems in the Anfield derby if David Unsworth fails to recover from his Fulham fall.The Blues defender is still struggling badly with the back injury collected in Sunday's fourth round FA Cup draw at Goodison.Having lost Joseph Yobo and David Weir already this month manager David Moyes would be left with only two fit centre-halves to face Liverpool - Alan Stubbs and Peter Clarke - if Unsworth is ruled out.The in-form defender will undergo intensive treatment all week but admits he cannot take any risks with his fitness on Saturday.Unsworth said: "It's very sore at the moment. I woke up this morning and my back was in spasm and I just have to take it day by day and hope that it will settle down."With the derby coming up the injury could not have come at a worse time but, fingers crossed, I'll be okay for Saturday."There are a few days before the game and I'll give myself every chance but you can't play unless you are fit and if you are not right, then you're not right."We have other big games coming up and I have to make sure I am fit for those games as well."Moyes has allowed Leon Osman to gain valuable first team experience with a month's loan at Derby County.The 22-year-old has been on the fringes of the Blues squad all season, making four appearances, but has struggled to secure a regular place in Moyes' plans.
Jeffers hoping Cup salvo will herald a change
Report By Paul Walker, Daily Post
Jan 27 2004
FRANCIS JEFFERS admits that his confidence has been at an all-time low as he has battled for recognition on his loan spell back at Everton.The England forward, (pictured with Duncan Ferguson), scored his first goal of the season on his 23rd birthday on Sunday - and his first since returning to Goodison Park from Arsenal - to save Everton's FA Cup dreams in the last minute of their fourth round clash with Fulham.Jeffers, who secured a 1-1 draw and a February 4 replay at Loftus Road, hopes his luck has now changed.He said: "It has been weighing on my mind that I had not scored for so many months, it would affect any striker in that situation. The longer it goes the more your confidence goes."I am not ashamed to admit that. My confidence has been at the lowest it has ever been, as a front man I am expected to score goals. This is the longest it has ever been for me without a goal."Even while I was injured at Arsenal I was still scoring goals in the games I did get there."Jeffers wants to convince Everton to make his loan permanent before he has to return to Highbury at the end of the campaign, but he has managed only five starts and 10 substitute appearances in a frustrating season.He added: "I have not had a good run in the team since I came back to Everton, it has been months. The goal is a big relief because my confidence had gone."I was always telling myself that my luck would change, and to scramble one in like that will hopefully be the turning point for me."The goal was the stroke of luck I have needed. To bobble one in from close range, and at the Gwladys Street End where I used to stand as a lad, was a big moment."Hopefully I can take off now, and start knocking a few in. It was certainly a relief."Now Jeffers believes Everton can still reach the last 16 by winning the replay, on a ground where they lost 2-1 earlier in the month.He said: "We had enough opportunities to have won the recent league game at Fulham, but they nicked it."But I felt we were the better team then so we have no fears about the replay."For Fulham boss Chris Coleman it was a chance lost, particularly after the departure last week of Louis Saha to Manchester United.Coleman's side lost their first match without their former top scorer, going down heavily at Newcastle last Monday.But the Welshman was much happier with the Goodison draw, and with Barry Hayles as Saha's replacement. He said: "I gave my defence a bit of stick after the way they played at Newcastle, but they certainly shut me up with that display. "We seem back to being hard to beat again, and that is what I want."Barry has not had a lot of games, Saha was dominating that position. He is still a little rusty because he has not been playing a lot, but he will get better."It is no secret that I am looking for a new striker. But if I cannot get one I have Barry and now Brian McBride, so there is no panic."Despite the disappointment of conceding to Jeffers late on, Coleman insists he is happy with a replay.He added: "We were disappointed because we got so close. But our away form has been so poor I am delighted with the replay."Now I am confident. We lost at Everton on the first day of the season, but looked much better this time."We had chances to kill them off. I told them they had to be professional and take those chances when they arrive. We must take the half chances and get in the shots."And Coleman singled out USA international Carlos Bocanegra for special praise.He said: "I thought Carlos was outstanding. He has not played since November, but he has come into the team for tough away games at Newcastle and Everton and handled the situation brilliantly."He is naturally a centre-back but is being pressed into service at left-back and has done a very good job. He anticipates danger, he sees it very well."He is not the biggest but was climbing above Duncan Ferguson, and they do not come much tougher than him, so we are delighted with Carlos.For Fulham boss Chris Coleman it was a chance lost, particularly after the departure last week of Louis Saha to Manchester United.Coleman's side lost their first match without their former top scorer, going down heavily at Newcastle last Monday.But the Welshman was much happier with the Goodison draw, and with Barry Hayles as Saha's replacement.He said: "I gave my defence a bit of stick after the way they played at Newcastle, but they certainly shut me up with that display."We seem back to being hard to beat again, and that is what I want."Barry has not had a lot of games, Saha was dominating that position. He is still a little rusty because he has not been playing a lot, but he will get better."It is no secret that I am looking for a new striker. But if I cannot get one I have Barry and now Brian McBride, so there is no panic."Despite the disappointment of conceding to Jeffers late on, Coleman insists he is happy with a replay.He added: "We were disappointed because we got so close. But our away form has been so poor I am delighted with the replay."Now I am confident. We lost at Everton on the first day of the season, but looked much better this time."We had chances to kill them off. I told them they had to be professional and take those chances when they arrive. We must take the half chances and get in the shots."And Coleman singled out USA international Carlos Bocanegra for special praise.He said: "I thought Carlos was outstanding. He has not played since November, but he has come into the team for tough away games at Newcastle and Everton and handled the situation brilliantly."He is naturally a centre-back but is being pressed into service at left-back and has done a very good job. He anticipates danger, he sees it very well."He is not the biggest but was climbing above Duncan Ferguson, and they do not come much tougher than him, so we are delighted with Carlos.
Blues at crucial stage of season
By Mark Lawrenson, Daily Post
Jan 27 2004
IT WAS the same old story for Everton against Fulham - not much wrong with their general play but that lack of a final finish ensuring the results are not falling into place.It is not for the want of trying. Everton's strikers have been volunteering for extra work after training and by all accounts the ball has been flying into the net from all angles on the training ground.The extra tension of the match situation has left the Blues suffering from the kind of season that has failed to gather any real momentum.They now face a crucial seven-day spell with the derby match to be followed by their FA Cup reply at Fulham and a meeting with Manchester United.I wouldn't be surprised to see Everton win at Fulham. They certainly created enough chances in the league match at Loftus Road and you suspect someone is in line for a four or five-goal mauling from the Blues. Although that won't be this weekend.It will be interesting to see how Liverpool fare against Everton. Following a good result against Newcastle, they will come up against a team more intent on stopping them playing than the cup visitors were.It is all about staying in the Premiership this time round for Everton. Then if the financial situation has eased I am sure David Moyes will be looking in the summer to bring in the kind of players who can take them back up the table again.Sean Davis showed what Everton missed out on in the Cup tie on Sunday but I wouldn't rule out that deal being revived come the end of the season.
Newcastle Res 0, Everton Res 0
Jan 27 2004 By Alan Myers, Daily Post
STEVE SIMONSEN and Peter Clarke were the only players with Premiership experience in an Everton reserves side which held a strong Newcastle team at Whitley Park.In stark contrast to the Blues' line-up, the Magpies fielded a number of big names including Craig Bellamy, returning from injury, Titus Bramble and Shola Ameobi.The home side did have the better of the early exchanges with Bellamy and Orr both being denied by good goalkeeping from Simonsen, (pictured).Everton's attack found it difficult to find a way through but Michael Symes did cause problems for the home defence on the stroke of half-time, going close with a clever shot which went just wide.Michael Chopra and Darren Ambrose both did well early in the second half, but again Simonsen was on hand to keep the home side out.By now the heavily sanded pitch was becoming a mud-bath but still Everton defended stoutly with Bellamy frustrated again and further chances were cleared from Hugo Viana and Ambrose as the game went into the latter stages.In fact it was Everton who came closest to finding the breakthrough when with just minutes remaining Gavin Lynch found space in the box only for Bramble to clear the danger.It was a well-deserved point for the youngsters together with a good performance in goal from Simonsen.
EVERTON: Simonsen, Wynne, Fox, Gerrard, Larke, Schumacher, Brown, Wison (B Moogan 46), Symes, Pascucci (Lynch 59), Barry. Subs: Hughes, Turner, Boyle.
NEWCASTLE UNITED: Bartlett, Griffin (Brittain 60), Elliot, Bramble, Caldwell (Taylor 81), Orr, Chopra, Viana, Ameobi (Guy 78), Bellamy, Ambrose. Subs: Gate, Collin.
Unsy keeps defenders guessing
Jan 28 2004 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON'S derby day defensive plans will hinge on a training ground run-out for David Unsworth.
The Blues defender's progress from the back injury which saw his substitution on Sunday has been slow, but boss David Moyes will not rule him out until the player tries to take part in a training session later this week. Alessandro Pistone and Peter Clarke are standing by. "We won't have any idea on Unsy's availability until later in the week," said Moyes today, but he insisted he would not be wrapping his surviving ers in cotton wool. "We still have to train to the best of our ability," he added. "Failure to do that could leave us short when it matters at the weekend." The wintry weather which has swept other parts of the country, meanwhile, created problems for some of Everton's further-flung players. Goalkeeping coach Chris Woods was stuck in traffic, while Nigel Martyn, who travels across the Pennines every day from Leeds, was also late at the club's training ground this morning. As reported in later editions of yesterday's ECHO, meanwhile, Blues deputy chairman Bill Kenwright has offered to personally pay for Evertonians' coach travel costs to Fulham next Wednesday. "This is a crucial game for Everton and I would like as many supporters as possible there to get right behind the team," he explained. The offer is open to any fan who books through the official Everton Travel Club (membership not required for this game only), or any affiliated supporters club within the UK. With more than 3,000 fans expected to travel, it could cost Kenwright more than £25,000.
Blues web link to millions of fans
Report By Andy Hunter Daily Post
Jan 28 2004
EVERTON took a major step towards untapping the resources of the Far East yesterday with the launch of their new official Chinese website. The Blues have had a growing fanbase since the arrival of Li Tie at Goodison Park as part of the Kejian sponsorship deal in 2002.Now, with the first Premiership site dedicated to a Chinese audience, Everton believe they can maximise their appeal long before the proposed end-of-season tour by David Moyes' first-team squad.With Li Tie's fan club membership standing at over one million the appeal is obvious. But for those on this side of the globe or mystified by the wonders of the web, what will evertonfc.com.cn actually mean for Everton?Andy Hosie, the club's Head of Marketing, explained: "It is very difficult to communicate and get the right messages across from the club to a country that size. But by having our own website in China that is exactly what we can do."This website is essential before we can do anything else in China. It is controlled centrally by us and it is the spring-board to launch other initiatives over the coming months, such as live audio commentary of games, highlights of games and maybe live games in the future, a fan club, magazine and a phone text service."We will be able to sell merchandise directly to Chinese fans rather than having to find distributors over there which makes it very difficult at the moment. "It will also help our plan to have an English and football course for Chinese students, who will learn English in partnership with the Liverpool School of English and also play football at Everton. We have a target to bring 50 students over from China next September for that."We couldn't do any of this effectively without this website."Hosie added: "We have been working on this Chinese version since we relaunched our English website last May. It is not a straightforward task because while there is the translation of news every day there is also specific content for the Chinese market as well."We will be able to generate income and commercial sponsorship off the back of the web-site. Companies who want to sponsor Everton now will also benefit from the market we have reached in China."Both Moyes and Li Tie, who has a regular column and monthly question-and-answer session on the site, launched the site yesterday. But it is Everton's International Liaison Officer Mei Zhang who is at the heart of the operation.She said: "There are over 200 pages on the website and every page is totally different, from 100 words to 1,000 words. I translate every story into Chinese and it will be updated every day. It has all the news and information from the club plus a special section for Li Tie every day. He is the key with so many fans interested in him in China."The creation of the website has become a big talking point within the Chinese community. News of the launch has been seen by approximately 20 million people so far and that number is growing. So many people in China want to know everything about the club so this can act as a bridge for the fans, not only to Li Tie but to the whole club."Mai Zhang added: "I had media experience before I came to Everton but I never realised how big the website could become."* Over on Everton's English website, meanwhile, Blues fans have the chance to train with Moyes' boys as part of the club's 125th anniversary celebrations.The Blues are giving away competition prizes every day until the end of the season on evertonfc.comThese include a day's training with the first team squad at Bellefield, lunch in the Goodison boardroom before a Premiership game, a season ticket, mascot for the day and Wayne Rooney's boots.The club have received over 25,000 entries since the competition launch a few weeks ago and draws are made daily at noon.
Corinthian values and Roy of the Rovers deeds
John Keith on his latest work on Billy Liddell and his updated Dixie Dean book,
Daily PostJan 28 2004
TO hear him talk, you had to crane your neck, listen intently and concentrate hard because he spoke so softly, sometimes almost in a whisper. But watching him play was to be enveloped in a magnificent, majestic roar that reached every fibre of your soul and fired the blood. William Beveridge Liddell, the Black Prince or King Billy as adoring supporters accclaimed him, has no peer in the pantheon of Anfield's legendary players. If Dixie Dean is the immortal icon of Everton, then Liddell is the enduring folk hero of the Kop, the messianic figure who unselfishly and loyally carried Liverpool through the club's dark wildnerness years of the 1950s and towards the glittering light of the revolution ignited by his fellow Scot and former international team-mate Bill Shankly. Liddell, with his 30 League goals in 1954-55, was hugely responsible for preventing the unthinkable scenario of Liverpool sliding into the old Third Division after relegation from the First the previos year. His feat of finishing top scorer in eight of nine seasons proved an exception to the game's hackneyed adage that no player is bigger than the club, hence Liverpool being dubbed Liddellpool. For me the link between Dean and Liddell - neither, incidentally, ever cautioned by a referee - extends beyond their elevated status in football. I had the privilege of knowing and talking to both men about their life and amazing careers and their impact inspired me to write their biographies. The Dean book, first published in 2001, has been updated and just released in paperback to coincide with the publication of Liddell's biography, which has taken me more than two years to complete. The sheer breadth of Liddell's life on and off the pitch is breathtaking, his scale of achievements phenomenal. But what makes his deeds even more remarkable is the fact that throughout his playing career he trained only two mornings a week because of his full-time accountancy work and from 1958, his Bench duties as a serving magistrate. "Incredibly, I had no idea," gasped Liddell's contemporary luminary Sir Tom Finney, when I told him that the great Scot had been only a part-timer. "To play for so long and so consistently well for Liverpool and Scotland as a part-time pro, speaks volumes for him," added the great England and Preston star, who, like Liddell, operated both as a winger and centre forward. Liddell's talents though, were even more ubiquitous. He played in every outfield department of the team as well as all five forward positions during the era of the 2-3-5 formation.
Once, long before substitutes were allowed, Liddell also lost a toss-up to go in goal as emergency keeper, when Tommy Younger was carried off injured. Standing 5ft10in and a half, and weighing in at 12st9lbs, Liddell, son of a Fife mining family, had the broadshouldered, muscular, tapered frame of the perfect athlete. He oozed power and pace, packed a hammer of shot with either foot and was formidable in the air. His teetotal, non-smoking devoutly Christian lifestyle and dedication to fitness more than compensated for his severely restricted training sessions. Bob Paisley, that scandalously underrated genius of a manager, who made his League debut as a player in the same game as Liddell in a 7-4 win over Chelsea in September 1946, said: "Comparisons between players of different times are odious. But I will make an exception in Billy Liddell's case. He'd be worth a king's ransom in any era. In fact, money wouldn't buy him. He had it all." So too did Kenny Dalglish, a player Paisley signed to illuminate his fabulous managerial reign and who rivals his compatriot Liddell as the finest Liverpool player of all time. It was Tommy Lawrence, the goal-keeper in Shankly's first great Liverpool side, who joined the club during the Liddell years, who offered one of the most intriguing reflections on the respective excellence of these two supreme talents. "Kenny was a fabulous player but he played in a team of great players," said Lawrence. "Billy was on his own. He carried the side and on the rare occasions Billy didn't play, Liverpool didn't win. "Billy WAS Liverpool Football Club. Every player who joined Liverpool had their picture taken with him when they signed. I gave my photograph to my mother and it had pride of place." Just how great Liddell was can be gauged by the fact that just two men played in both of the only two top level Great Britain teams ever to take the field. One was Sir Stanley Matthews, the other was Liddell. The first match was in 1947, the other in 1955 when Liddell was reselected despite playing in the old Second Division after winning a League championship medal in 1947 and FA Cup runners-up medal three years later prior to the collapse of Liverpool's fortunes, a descent halted by their captain's brilliance in a career embracing 534 games and 229 goals. Perhaps it was fitting that it ended in 1961 to coincide with the lifting of the maximum wage of £20-a-week during the season and £17 in the summer, setting a course for riches that would make football unrecognisable from the game Liddell graced. Given the passionate, often bitter, rivalry between Manchester United and Liverpool, it is ironic that it was the man who was to become the great patriarch of Old Trafford, Sir Matt Busby, who set up Liddell's move to Anfield as a 16-year-old in 1938. Busby, then Liverpool captain and a classy Scotland international wing-half, was on a summer golfing holiday north of the border. "People told me about this highly-rated teenager who was playing for a junior club called Lochgelly Violet," said Busby. "I immediately telephoned the Liverpool manager George Kay and suggested he should make a move for him. He did exactly that and after assuring Billy's family that he could continue his accountancy studies, the lad travelled to Liverpool and signed. I have always been happy at the part I played in his transfer." So should Liverpool. Liddell cost them a mere £175, football's greatest bargain. He served as an RAF Pathfinder navigator during the war, rob-bing him and other professionals of six years of their careers, but when hostilities were over, he was flying again, this time to the chagrin of opposing defenders. His stirring displays enthralled thousands. He was a hero figure to people as disparate as new opposition leader Michael Howard, broadcaster John Peel and Liddell's gifted Everton contemporary, Wally Fielding, all of whom pay tribute in the book. The depth of affection Liddell engendered was movingly captured when I appeared in a phone-in on my Radio Merseyside colleague Billy Butler's show to discuss the new book. A long-time Liverpool supporter came on air and, his voice trembling with emotion, declared: "I've got a treasured photograph of Billy and I've told my wife and family that when I die that goes in the box with me." Maudlin? No way. It was one fan's expression of sheer love for a player of Corinthian values and Roy of the Rovers deeds. It is why Liddell will remain unforgettable, hie name revered by generations to come.
* John Keith joined the Daily Express sports staff just before the 1966 World Cup and spent more than 30 years on the paper. A broadcaster and writer, as well as a journalist, Keith has featured in several television programmes and hosts BBC Radio Merseyside's Saturday Football Phone-in.
Book details: Billy Liddell: The Legend Who Carried The Kop (Robson Books, £16.95). Dixie Dean: The Inside Story of a Football Icon (Robson Books, £7.99).
Free cheers from Bill
Report By Andy Hunter Daily PostJan 28 2004
BILL KENWRIGHT is to pay the most expensive bus fare of his life to help Everton reach the FA Cup fifth round. The Blues' deputy chairman, will personally bankroll the coach travel costs of over 2,500 fellow Evertonians for next week's fourth round replay at Fulham. Kenwright's generosity could cost him around £25,000. But he believes it is a price worth paying if their vocal support can help inspire David Moyes' side to victory and a fifth round home tie with West Ham. The Blues chief said: "This is a crucial game for Everton and I would like as many supporters as possible to be there to get right behind the team. "I think everyone connected with football accepts that a passionate support can make a significant difference. "I simply want to help out those supporters who are willing to give up their time and money to cheer on the team they love. "We at Everton are blessed with some of the most dedicated supporters in British football; they are always magnificent. As someone who faces a 500-mile round-trip each and every time we play at Goodison Park, I am acutely aware of just how difficult travel to an away fixture can be."
* Kenwright's offer is open to any fan who books through the official Everton Travel Club (membership not required for this game only) or any affiliated Supporters' Club within the UK.
Rookie Clarke on derby stand-by
By Paul Walker Daily Post
Jan 28 2004
ROOKIE defender Peter Clarke has declared himself ready for a Merseyside derby if Everton's injury crisis fails to improve. The England Under-21 player, is on stand-by for Saturday's 170th derby battle with Liverpool at Anfield, with Dave Unsworth the latest major doubt. Unsworth has a back problem, while Joseph Yobo is away with Nigeria in the African Nations Cup and David Weir is out with knee ligament problems. Clarke, who had an unconvincing performance in the defeat at Blackburn in November, could be Moyes' only option to partner Alan Stubbs if Unsworth does not recover. Moyes could play the likes of Alex Nyarko, Gary Naysmith or Alessandro Pistone in central defence, but that would be a huge gamble. Clarke believes he can handle the pressure. He told www.evertonfc.com: "I would like to think that playing like I did in the reserves at Newcastle this week shows David Moyes that I am ready to play in the first team. "I do not like to see any of the lads getting hurt, but if that is what happens I can take that chance given the opportunity. "If that chance is on Saturday, then brilliant. I played in the derby at Anfield a couple of seasons ago which was brilliant and we got a 1-1 draw. "From now on I am going to keep my fingers crossed and hope that I am going to be involved again."
Tomasz is not for sale
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jan 28 2004
DAVID MOYES slammed the door on Blackburn's bid for Tomasz Radzinski last night with a thinly-veiled attack on Graeme Souness' transfer conduct. The Everton manager is seething at how Rovers' interest in the Canadian international became public less than a week before the transfer window closes. Blackburn boss Souness called Moyes on Monday to sound out a £2million deal for the 30-year-old, who has only 18 months remaining on his Goodison contract. He was swiftly rebuffed, but the Blues manager was dismayed to find Blackburn's transfer plans disclosed anyway.
"Tomasz is not for sale. I am not in the business of selling my best players," said Moyes, who now must hope Radzinski is not unsettled by the revelations. "There hasn't been an offer from Blackburn but there was an approach. It came in a conversation I didn't want to have anyway and now it has been made public. "I spoke to Alex Ferguson three weeks ago about Nicky Butt but I prefer not to do my business through the press. I keep it quiet between the clubs. "I would not reveal information like that. I have spoken to several managers recently about different players but I wouldn't try to put pressure on another club by revealing those talks. "When Sir Alex revealed we were interested in Nicky Butt I was asked about it and answered that we had made an enquiry. It wouldn't have been mentioned but for Sir Alex saying it. I don't think anything will happen with that one anyway." Butt would cost Everton almost £17m in transfer fee and wages over a five-year deal. Moyes added: "Bill Kenwright and the board are trying everything they can to get funds to strengthen the team but nothing will be happening before the deadline on anyone. "We have looked at a lot of players. People may think we are not bringing anyone in but they would be wrong to think we haven't been looking or making enquiries. But, as I say, I want to keep that business quiet." Blackburn's interest in Radzinski, meanwhile, will not force Everton to bring forward plans to open talks on a new contract that are scheduled for the summer. "When we get into a situation where our Premiership status is secured then we can think about contracts," said Moyes. "But at the moment we are coming up to a really difficult period in the season and all our thoughts are concentrated on that." Despite anticipating no activity in the transfer window, however, the Blues manager refuses to rule out a move for short-term defensive cover if David Unsworth's back injury proves serious. Moyes rates the defender as only "50-50" for Saturday's Merseyside derby after he was forced out of Sunday's draw with Fulham. "We may well be short at centre-half if Unsie is ruled out through injury and have to get someone in on loan," he said. "But I am still hoping Unsie will be okay. He is touch and go for the derby."
Winter: I'd love one more Derby
By Chris Smith, Liverpool Echo
Jan 28 2004
IT'S stoppage time in an eventful Merseyside derby and, after a titanic battle, the teams are locked at 2-2. Two contentious penalties have been awarded, Liverpool's Igor Biscan has been sent off and referee Jeff Winter is about to award a free-kick which would transform a season. As Liverpool surge forward, substitute Gregory Vignal is sent tumbling. Gary McAllister eases the ball a few yards forward. It lies, innocuously, 44 yards from the Park End goal . . . "It was a great honour to referee that game in 2001. It will certainly go down as one of the most memorable that I have officiated in," says 48-year old Winter. "It had everything, including a last minute winner. I'd love to referee the game again. "With experience I have become a better referee. "It was littered with cards and I don't know if now there would have been so many, but that is one of the great problems in refereeing - you get better at your job and then the retirement age comes along. I'm running out of time to do another Mersey-side derby." The Teessider reluctantly stands down in May after seven years as the English game's most charismatic official. But his diminishing football commitments have allowed him to explore other ventures. Winter recently became a TV personality on BBC's 'Superstars', is ploughing an increasingly successful furrow in after-dinner speaking, and will take the stage at the Liverpool ECHO Merseyside Sports Personality of the Year awards next Monday. "It's a great honour to be asked to speak. I have spoken on Merseyside before and I always get a very warm welcome," he said. "I know the people of Liverpool are very sports-orientated and I'm sure it will be a great occasion. Some people have said that they would never have me back on Merseyside, but that may have been as a referee," he jokes. "Anfield and Goodison are two of my favourite grounds to visit. They have a great atmosphere and although the fans, on some occasions, do give me some stick, it's all good humoured." Winter was also privy to another great Merseyside occasion when he was the reserve official for the 1989 FA Cup final between Everton and Liverpool.
Me, sour grapes? Well, of course!
Post Past, By Phil Redmond
Jan 29 2004
DURING my time there haven't been that many Anfield derby wins to savour unfortunately. Obviously there was the Sharp volley in '84 and in more recent times both Andrei Kanchelskis and Kevin Campbell have achieved hero status with derby winners. Another game that has stood the test of time took place in February 1986 when Merseyside truly was the capital of English football and the big two went head to head for what was billed as a title decider. Britain was in the grip of a cold snap in early 1986 and as a result of being one of the few clubs to possess undersoil heating Everton had stolen a march on most of their title rivals. In their latest game the Toffees had blown Manchester City away 4-0 with man of the moment Gary Lineker banging in a hat-trick. Yes, this was the year of the clean-cut television personality and that godawful 'bib' kit. Liverpool, meanwhile, appeared to be suffering a hangover after the tragic events at Heysel the previous May and seemed to be struggling to keep in touch with the champions. Despite the fact that this was not only the match of the day but probably the match of the season, I was able to stroll up to the Anfield ticket office and purchase six Spion Kop tickets a week before the game. Again this was in contradiction of the sold-out signs plastered around the ground and in the local press. I've often wondered if some errant box office staff member was making a few quid on the side using his kid's John Bull printing kit. Joking aside though, on the day there was dangerous crushing on the Main Stand or Everton side of the Kop and I was one of many who was pulled out and ended up watching the game from the running track in front of the Paddock. The game itself was settled late in the second half and turned when maverick Reds keeper Bruce Grobbelaar allowed a mishit Kevin Ratcliffe effort slip over the line. In truth though the flamboyant Zimbabwean had earlier kept Liverpool in the game with a tring of fine saves - particularly one from a Trevor Steven shot on the turn. Soon afterwards Lineker broke clear and the outcome of that piece of action was never in doubt. These days it's perceived wisdom that Everton suffered from Lineker's presence and as a result the double was lost. I would beg to differ. It's true that Everton played a more direct game in 85-86 to understandably utilise Lineker's pace but while I'm no lover of the anodyne housewive's favourite it is undeniable that he was incredible for Everton that season - 40 goals tells its own story. Everton lost the double that year because of injuries. Nothing more, nothing less. Southall fell down a Lansdowne Road pothole while both Peter Reid and Paul Bracewell soldiered on intermittently with broken legs. Indeed Bracewell didn't pull on a blue shirt for two and a half years after the Cup final. Other players like Sheedy, Mountfield, Lineker and Steven missed large chunks of the run in. Liverpool, meanwhile, as the history books record, recovered from their derby disappointment to storm their way to a League and Cup double with a team including such luminaries as Kevin McDonald and Jim Beglin. And yes, I'll have a large helping of sour grapes!
Ferguson in fitness race
Report By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jan 29 2004
EVERTON are sweating on the fitness of derby war-horse Duncan Ferguson ahead of Saturday's 170th clash with Liverpool. The Blues centre-forward is returning to form after last year's bust-up with David Moyes and is favourite to lead the line against Gerard Houllier's men. But Ferguson is currently a doubt for the Merseyside duel after suffering several knocks in the FA Cup draw with Fulham. Everton are looking to the big Scot to recreate his former dominant displays against Liverpool after making little impact in recent seasons. Ferguson was the Blues' derby talisman before his transfer to Newcastle in 1998 but has scored only once in the fixture since his return two years later. Manager Moyes said last night: "I've been told about Duncan doing really well against Liverpool in the past and it is something we will be thinking about in the lead up to the game.
"But he is carrying a few knocks at the moment. He picked up a bad one early in the game against Fulham so we'll have to wait and see how he is by the end of the week before we know where we stand." The Blues boss must also wait on the fitness of David Unsworth before he finalises his weekend plans. X-rays have revealed the defender sustained no serious damage to his back in his fall against Fulham but, with only two days to go before the derby, he remains a major doubt.
Everton physio Mick Rathbone said: "He's making slow progress, so he is still a doubt for the weekend. "As we all know, he sustained some severe bruising to his back. He had a precautionary X-ray, which was clear, but at this stage he is still in some discomfort. "But we will have no idea on his availability for the derby until later in the week." Despite injury doubts over key players, however, the Blues could welcome back Steve Watson against the Reds. The Blues midfielder resumed full training last week following a double hernia operation and thigh injury but was not risked against Fulham on Sunday. Luis Boa Morte was last night charged with improper conduct by the FA after an altercation with Everton fans in the recent Premiership game at Loftus Road. According to the FA, the charge "relates to an incident involving the player and supporters" in the January 10 clash, which referee Graham Poll halted when a lighter and programme were thrown at the Fulham forward.
Everton are still awaiting action after Poll included the incident in his match report. The game came just 24 hours after Boa Morte was banned for one game and fined £4000 by the FA for stamping on Leicester's Frank Sinclair.
Bennett's familiar to Blues and Reds alike
Report By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jan 29 2004
LIVERPOOL and Everton will both feel a sense of history in the 170th Merseyside derby this Saturday. Unfortunately, it is with the referee. The naturally explosive nature of any intense local rivalry taxes even the most experienced and, occasionally, lenient of match officials. So the decision to hand control of the Anfield showdown to Steve Bennett will raise eyebrows on both sides on Stanley Park.
The Kent referee, has provoked runins with both Mersey giants in recent seasons and has been at the centre of several storms this term too. The spotlight fell on Bennett even before the Premiership season began when he took charge of the Community Shield curtain-raiser between Arsenal and Manchester United. Francis Jeffers saw red before he turned Blue a few weeks later when he was sent off for violent conduct, but Sol Campbell and Phil Neville both escaped censure for other serious offences. Campbell's retaliation on Eric Djemba-Djemba was still the subject of much conjecture when the two sides met again at Old Trafford a month later when, incredibly, Bennett was the man in the middle again. What followed is now part of Premier-ship infamy. The bad-blood running between the teams was increased to a torrent when Patrick Vieira was sent off for kicking thin air in front of Ruud van Nistelrooy, who was thrown to the floor in agony by the subsequent breeze. All hell broke loose after the Dutchman missed a last second chance to win the game from a controversial penalty. It ended with five Arsenal players either banned or fined, and two from United, but did Martin Keown's future career prospects as a doppelganger for "Animal" from "The Muppets" no harm at all. Bennett has also made his impact much closer to home though.
Phil Thompson was the first to suffer on the sidelines when, as Liverpool's caretaker manager in the wake of Gerard Houllier's serious illness, Dietmar Hamann was sent off against Sunderland for what the official deemed a twofooted assault on Bernt Haas. Protests the German had taken the ball fell on deaf ears but, arguably, it is Everton manager David Moyes who has more reason to scream at Bennett's appointment. The referee reported Moyes to the FA for calling him a "numpty" after awarding Southampton a match-winning and ludicrous penalty at St Mary's two season's ago.
Last April he ordered the Blues boss from the dug-out at the Hawthorns after he either a) protested too much about another dubious penalty decision against his team, or b) tried to explain what a "numpty" was. David O'Leary became the latest boss enraged by Bennett during Tuesday's Carling Cup semi-final against Bolton, although his fury at Gavin McCann's dismissal was later quelled when the former Everton midfielder was spotted slapping Emerson Thome on TV replays. Bennett emerged with credit for his handling of that incident. Let's hope cool, correct decisions in the face of raw emotion see out the week.
Winter break a 'good idea' - Moyes
Jan 29 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has given his backing to plans for a mid-season break in the Premiership. The chairmen of the top flight clubs voted in favour of the break last night and it is set to be introduced as part of a trial next season. There will be no games played over a two-week period in January and that is something the Everton chief has welcomed. He said: "I am in favour. The proposal means you effectively only miss one Saturday but it gives all clubs the chance to let their players get away for a week to recharg e th e ir batteries. "The Christmas period is very busy and demanding. That is tradition, and is something we will always have in this country, but a break in January gives players the chance to rest after that hectic schedule. "It also gives fans a break from paying out for matches. It will mainly benefit the teams involved in the Champions League but I think it will help everybody."
Moyes' new approach to find Derby formula
Jan 29 2004 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has called for something completely different in Saturday's 170th league derby.
After Liverpool's recent Houllier-driven dominance in the fixture, an Everton victory would be a start! In the three derby matches Moyes has been at the Everton helm for, The Toffees have endured progressively disappointing results. A goalless draw at Anfield was followed by a 2-1 defeat at Goodison, then August's comprehensive home beating. But the Blues boss hopes he has spotted something in those three fixtures which he can put to his side's advantage on Saturday. "I think I always knew that Liverpool were a good side, with good players - and I think that has been more apparent when we've played them," he admitted. "We've found it difficult against Liverpool, but strangely enough I think the games have been quite tight, albeit we've not got the results. So we've got to try and learn from that - and that could be by approaching the game slightly differently than the three I did before. "If I do, I'll be keeping whatever I do under my hat and I won't be saying anything about it. "It's nothing to do with formations, it's just a different way of playing against Liverpool . . . a different mindset than we have had in the past. "I will need to look at it and see if there's anything different I can do to try and create a win out of the game." And that was that. No more clues. No more hints at what that "something different" might be, although for the first time in any of those three games Moyes could be able to call on a fit Duncan Ferguson. So often Liverpool's nemesis in the past, Ferguson's fitness was so fragile back in August he was only introduced into the fray as a substitute for the final 19 minutes. Even then he managed to surprise - displaying a hitherto concealed expertise at free-kicks - clipping a clever 25-yarder onto the underside of Jerzy Dudek's crossbar. David Moyes, should have all five of his front-line forwards available at Anfield, but Ferguson is unlikely to be one of those left on the sidelines. "Duncan has played well in our games recently," said Moyes. "We want him to keep that level up and if he does we can't ask for much more. "We are creating a few chances and we are looking for him to stick a few away now - but that doesn't just go for Duncan, that goes for all the forwards. "The situation with three forwards that we have used recently has largely been dictated to us. Sometimes we play Wayne as a wide midfield player and sometimes up front, so we have that flexibility. "With us having a lack of people who are comfortable on the right it's forced my hand a little bit. "But we'll see how things are looking closer to the weekend." As a native of Glasgow and a former Celtic defender, Moyes is keenly aware of the inter-city rivalries which exist in football. But he claims that the Mersey version definitely has differences. "There is definitely a real tightness about this fixture - in that everything which surrounds it is done inside the city," he explained. "It's almost like a closed shop, with the reward to see who comes out on top and can have the bragging rights. "But it's more than that. We need the points to try and keep ourselves away from the bottom end of the table. Liverpool, at present, are trying to get among the top boys. "Over the years Liverpool have had a great deal more money to spend than Everton, which has meant that we have always been the club trying to chase them. "We must try to close the gap on Liverpool, and for long periods last season we did close that gap. "At this present time it doesn't look like we are close, but we are determined to get as close to Liverpool as we can, because if we do that we know we will be getting closer to the top of the table.
"You must always try and catch the people in front of you, and I don't just mean now, today or this season. "Liverpool are in amongst the top clubs in spending power, they are always in and around cup finals and that's what we have to do." Success in that aim would constitute a serious power-shift in Mersey-football. And Moyes knows he can take a small step along that road with a victory on Saturday.
Duncan winning fitness race
Jan 29 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON are optimistic their derby talisman Duncan Ferguson will be fit to face the Reds on Saturday. The in-form striker,has picked up a series of knocks in recent weeks, but the Blues are hopeful he will be fine for the Anfield clash. Manager David Moyes said today: "I've been told about Duncan doing really well against Liverpool in the past and it is something we will be thinking about in the lead-up to the game. "But he is carrying a few knocks at the moment. He picked up a bad one early in the game against Fulham so we will have to wait and see how he is. But we are hopeful."
Fellow derby veteran David Unsworth has received good news over his back injury. X-rays have revealed the 30-year-old defender sustained no serious damage to his back against the Cottagers but the severe bruising means he is still a major doubt for Saturday. Moyes, meanwhile, has given his backing to plans for a mid-season Premiership break. The chairmen of the top flight clubs voted in favour of the break last night and it is set to be introduced as part of a trial next season. There will be no games played over a two-week period in January and that is something the Everton chief has welcomed. He said: "I am in favour. The proposal means you effectively only miss one Saturday but it gives all clubs the chance to let their players get away for a week to recharge their batteries.
"The Christmas period is very busy and demanding. That is tradition, and is something we will always have in this country, but a break in January gives players the chance to rest after that hectic schedule. "It also gives fans a break from paying out for matches. It will mainly benefit the teams involved in the Champions League but I think it will help everybody."
The Evertonian - OUT NOW
Jan 29 2004 icLiverpool
THIS month's Evertonian features the Blues' Cornish shot-stopper Nigel Martyn and finds out how he's enjoying being back in the big time after falling out of favour at Leeds. There's even been talk of a long-overdue return to the England set-up, but while it's something he obviously wouldn't object to, Martyn is more concerned with cementing his place at Goodison and continuing to build on the long hours he's put in with goalkeeping coach Chris Woods. David Moyes has plenty to chew on in his column, with the African Nations Cup and the thorny issue of technology being introduced into referees' decision-making giving him plenty to mull over. The man who ended the Blues' dreadful seven-year derby-itch in the 70s, Andy King, tells us how he's coping with life in the Second Division with Swindon Town while Steve Watson, no stranger to scoring against Liverpool in his Newcastle days, explains how he's looking forward to putting things right at Anfield come the end of the month and gaining his first derby win since coming to Goodison. There's a special report on how ProZone is being used at the School of Science to get the best out of the players, Gary Naysmith's 100th game is marked with a look-back at some of his memorable moments, there's a Q&A with Super Kevin Campbell and Steve Simonsen talks us through his musical passions and tells us why Tony Hadley will always be pure Gold in his eyes. All this and much more in your new Evertonian, on sale now.
Week off for Academy youngsters
Academy Football By Chris Wright, Daily Post
Jan 30 2004
THERE is no FA Premier Academy League action this week due to the in-service weekend. Staff at the academies all over the country will be on training courses in physiotherapy. Everton under-17s go into the break in second place in the Group A table, just one point behind Manchester United.
And Gary Ablett's side return to action a week tomorrow with a game at Crewe Alexandra, who they drew 2-2 with in the last game of 2003. Neil Dewsnip's under-19s will return with a visit to Wolverhampton Wanderers on February 7. Liverpool U19s are second in the table behind Manchester City after five straight victories. John Owens side aim to make it six in a row when they visit the leaders and try to close the gap at the top to eight points when they return to action at the Group A leaders next week. The Reds also have a game in hand on the Sky Blues. Dave Shannon's U17s have had a stopstart beginning to the year and have played just two matches in 2004. Tomorrow's break has come at just the wrong time and they will be raring to go when they also take on Manchester City next week. Especially after two heavy defeats, 4-1 and 4-0, to Everton and Blackburn Rovers respectively.
Save the Rhino
Post Soapbox, Icliverpool & Daily Post
Jan 30 2004
Save the Rhino
I WOULD like to urge Everton fans all over the world to join the "Save the Rhino" appeal.David "Rhino" Unsworth has given Everton Football Club more than 10 years' loyal service and should be rewarded with a better contract than the one Everton have offered him.Rhino has been told he should accept a pay cut and only a year-long contract. Surely this is quite insulting to someone who has recently celebrated his testimonial year at the club?Unsworth's form may have blown hot and cold over the years but no Evertonian could deny his loyalty and commitment to the club. That in itself may not warrant an extension to his contract but David Moyes should consider the alternatives.Everton are the greatest club in the land but those in charge at Goodison should prove the recent soundbites about us all being a "big family" are not just for PR purposes.They should prove they are genuine sentiments and should look after one of their own!
HOW come whenever we play them from across the Park I'm filled with pessimism?Is it because of bad luck and bad refs? Let's see. Hansen's handball on the goal-line in the Milk Cup final. Clive Thomas and Bryan Hamilton. Graham Poll when Westerveld hit the ball at Hutchison's head and it went in.And too many others to mention...
Speed is the key
EVERTON have to play Ferguson against Liverpool and hit them from the off at 100mph. They don't like it up them.Radzinski or Jeffers should be selected alongside him with Rooney coming off the bench in the second half.He'll get some stick off their fans but he has to learn to let it go over his head and hit them where it hurts.
NICKY BUTT will stay at Man Utd and it will be a big relief to the board at Everton.They are filling us with a lot of rubbish claiming "we made an inquiry".There is no ambition inside the club anymore and that's a shame for Moyes and the players. Give Jeffers a run in the team as he is the most natural goalscorer we have on the books and Sunday's goal will be a big help to his confidence.
We must get cross
THERE have been lots of comments about Everton's lack of ability in getting crosses into the box from the by-line.This was an apparent inadequacy even last year when we were doing well, with us still putting crosses in from the halfway line.On Sunday, Kilbane got to the by-line to great effect and he must go down as the most improved player of the season so far.It looked to me like the quality of this sort of play took Dunc by surprise. It is also something Radzinski can do on the right side.So on Saturday, let's see these quality crosses for Duncan to score.
Moyes hopes change of approach brings first win
Report By David Prior, Daily Post
Jan 30 2004
TO YOUR average Glaswegian, derby day takes considerable precedence over the wife's birthday when important dates are inked in on a new calendar.Nowadays, Sir Alex Ferguson probably pencils in a few significant races in the Flat season, too.But there's no doubt that a significant feature of the United manager's reign at Old Trafford has been his almost pathological hatred of losing games against City and Liverpool.His most notable "hairdryer" rollocking of recent times came after losing the Manchester derby last year - after which United went on a run that brought them the title. It's no doubt an inbuilt recognition nurtured in his early days in Govan: the game against the locals is far more important than any other game in the season.For David Moyes, another Glaswegian who played for Celtic as opposed to Ferguson's Rangers, the significance of the fixture has clearly been installed in him and fires his desperation to end a dismal derby record thus far."It rankles with me that I haven't won a derby yet," he says. "I desperately want to win one. It will come, but I hope it's sooner rather than later."It annoys me I haven't one won. There is definitely a real tightness about this fixture - in that everything which surrounds it is done inside the city."It's almost like a closed shop, with the reward to see who comes out on top and can have the brag-ging rights."We all understand the importance of this game. It is an away game that isn't an away game if you know what I mean. We are all in the same city, the game is only across the road and the feelings around it are really intensified."Although his 23-month reign in the Goodison hotseat only encompasses three derbies so far, it is the decline in performance - 0-0 at Anfield followed by 2-1 and 3-0 defeats at Goodison - that has convinced the Scot to change tack this time."I may have to change the way we approach the game a little bit," confessed Moyes. "But if we approach it differently it will be mentally more than anything else. "It's on my mind that we have to approach it differently than we have in the past."They have been close games but we need to do better. We want to give our fans something to be proud of."The recent derby games have been quite tight but we have lost them all. "We did quite well at Anfield last season but at Goodison earlier this season it was a heavy scoreline against us."I honestly think the last two derbies at Goodison were close, we had plenty of chances in both but last season they won with a world class goal and this season they were a lot more clinical than us."They have been close games but we need to do better. We want to give our fans something to be proud of."I have not enjoyed the derbies because we have not won while I have been manager. "I would like to win at Goodison or at Anfield - wherever we play them, as long as we win.
"It is an important game because we need the points to keep us away from the bottom. Liverpool are trying to get amongst the top boys."He added: "We went to Anfield last season and drew and I thought we did quite well in that game. "I think that when we have played them, the games have been tighter than maybe the results show, but results in the derbies is what you are after."Particularly with Everton just four points from the drop zone and a difficult February awaiting.
He adds: "It's not really the performance, it is getting the points or getting the win because it is important for lots of other reasons as well."At the moment I think we are playing quite well. There isn't an awful lot wrong with the exception of the ball hitting someone's back-side and finding the net."
Moyes braced for his toughest test
Report By David Prior, Daily Post
Jan 30 2004
DAVID MOYES has admitted tomorrow's Anfield show-down heralds the start of his toughest spell since taking over at Everton.An underachieving season has left the Blues a mere four points clear of safety with just over three months of the campaign left.Tomorrow Moyes, (right), will attempt to end his Mersey-side duck by claiming his first derby win in four attempts.But regardless of the result Moyes knows his side face a season-defining sequence of games, with next Wednesday's FA Cup replay at Fulham preceding a home clash against Manchester United and then successive away games at Birmingham and Southampton."I think this period is probably the toughest spell since I have been Everton manager as far as the games are concerned," Moyes confessed."We have four of the next five away and the one game we do have at home is against Manchester United. I cannot see how it gets any tougher than that." Moyes is optimistic that inform striker Duncan Ferguson will shake off a few minor injuries to take his place against the old enemy.Moyes explained: "I've been told about Duncan doing really well against Liverpool in the past and it is something we will be thinking about in the lead-up to this game."But he is carrying a few knocks at the moment. He picked up a bad one early in the game against Fulham so we will have to wait and see how he is. But we are hopeful."When Everton faced Liverpool in the April derby clash of last term, both were in the top six and chasing the same prize of Europe.Now there is a nine-point gap between the pair and Everton are more concerned with hauling themselves away from the relegation zone. But although this term has been harder than Moyes expected, he believes his side are not far short of the form which made them European hope-fuls last term.He said: "I think we are playing well. I do not think there is anything wrong with the way we are playing."I think there have been games where we played far worse last season yet picked up more points than we have at present."Hopefully we are due a little bit of luck and I think that is needed."I do not like using that word because I think you make your own luck, but I do feel that we are in need of one coming off someone's backside and dropping in - or just the ball falling kindly for us. Maybe in recent weeks that has not happened."Aside from Ferguson, David Unsworth is still a major doubt for Anfield despite receiving good news over his back injury.X-rays showed the 30-year-old defender suffered no serious damage against Fulham but the severe bruising is likely to keep him sidelined this weekend.
Getting high will not get us high in derby
Fan Scene By Mark O'Brien, Daily Post
Jan 30 2004
IT'S January 1995 and Everton have ground out a goal in an FA Cup tie at Goodison.According to David Prentice's report in our sister paper the Liverpool Echo - this courtesy of his new book, not a Phil Redmond style memory on my part - the Blues played the game 'hoping to make the most out of set-plays and Duncan Ferguson's aerial ability'.Well, as some wise sage - possibly Huey Lewis - once said, the more things change the more they stay the same.Nine years since Andy Hinchcliffe's goal saw us past Derby County and on our way to Wembley, it appears that Plan A hasn't really changed much.A pattern of play has emerged recently whereby we overwhelm teams for the open-ing 20 minutes but if they fail to crack in that crucial period then we appear stumped.We start off with the best intentions, working the ball to the by-line to whip in the crosses, etc but as the opposition adjust, the balls towards Ferguson's napper inevitably start to come from deeper and deeper.As a result our pacy, skilful strikers are reduced to battling for awkward, bouncing second balls and that's hardly their strong point.Against Fulham we eventually got out of jail using just those tactics but if Zat Knight and Didier Domi can look comfortable for most of the game then Sami Hyypia and Stephane Henchoz must fancy their chances tomorrow, especially after shackling Alan Shearer so comprehensively last Saturday.However, even Liverpool fans must have realised by now that one win doesn't automatically mean you've turned that great big corner - the next deflating result is never too far down the line.Plenty of teams have beaten the Reds this season, although it's usually the ones who are patient and keep possession well - trying to play a direct, physical game is taking them on on their own terms.If we can vary our play a bit, utilising Ferguson's power at the right times but also the pace of the other strikers, we can definitely give Gerard Houllier's chaps big problems.And if we do win at Anfield then Bill Kenwright better get ready to dig deep in his pockets, as the number of people wanting to get on board his free charabancs to Loftus Road will undoubtedly swell.Some people will criticise Bill no matter what he does, but only the most churlish will deny that this is a nice gesture from someone who just wants to see a good crowd getting behind the team at an important match.So remember, the most important thing in the derby isn't the result but that it's a great advert for Merseyside soccer, with us all sharing a hearty laugh and a drink afterwards, blue and red together, the way it's always been. No?
Ferguson in race slur allegation
Jan 30 2004
THE FA could be called upon to launch an inquiry after claims that Everton star Duncan Ferguson made a racially abusive remark to Fulham player Luis Boa Morte.The striker, (right), is accused of making the insulting remark during the FA Cup fourth round match between the two teams at Goodison Park last Sunday. The incident is saide to have taken place 20 minutes into the second half of the 1-1 draw.But a spokesman for the Scottish-born striker has denied the charge: "Any-body who knows Duncan knows he would never say a thing like that."But Fulham are said to be standing by their player, and manager Chris Coleman has spoken to his Everton counterpart David Moyes in a bid to prevent the incident escalating in the FA Cup replay at Loftus Road on Tuesday night.Boa Morte, a Portuguese international, is said to be "furious" at what he has maintained was an unprovoked attack.The two players have a history of ill-tempered exchanges.
Ferguson must start at Anfield
Jan 30 2004 By Howard Kendall, Liverpool Echo
IF DUNCAN FERGUSON is even close to being fit for tomorrow's Merseyside derby, he has to start for the Blues. He has been in excellent form and he loves to play against Liverpool. Dunc, is hungry again and offers a tremendous aerial threat which is a worry to any side that faces him - it got Everton off the hook against Fulham in the cup last weekend. It would have to be a very serious injury that stops him from pulling on a blue shirt at Anfield tomorrow. David Unsworth is also a doubt and given the way he has been performing of late, his absence would be a major blow to Everton. With David Weir injured and Joseph Yobo away with Nigeria, central defence is a problem area. Alessandro Pistone could be drafted in as centre-half. He has the attributes to play well all along the back line, but I'm not convinced he is a defensive-minded player. As a full-back he likes to press forward, although playing him in a more central position may remind him of his defensive duties. He is technically gifted and reads the game very well, so there should be no reason why he can't be a good replacement should Unsworth not be fit. I recall a time when I had to push Pat Van Den Hauwe into a centre-back position and he went on to be our player of the season. He also played there for Wales. You just never know until you try them. Happy with a point
EVERTONIANS are approaching tomorrow's game less optimistically than for other recent derbies.
Recent results in the league, plus the fact they have not progressed past Fulham in the cup, have denied them a lift ahead of the trip to Anfield. They look at Everton's next two Premiership fixtures, against Liverpool and Manchester United, and think they will not get any points. The form book can be throw out of the window for this derby, though. Make no mistake, Everton will be fired up for this one. However, when you take into account Liverpool's results of late, most Evertonians will be happy with a point.
BLACKBURN had an enquiry for Tomasz Radzinski firmly rebuffed, but sometimes a manager faces a situation where he is tempted to sacrifice a player to strengthen in other areas. Everton badly need a quality midfielder, but are likely to have to sell someone else to raise the money. David Moyes has said he is not looking to sell Radzinski, but perhaps the club already has enough strikers on the books. Everton should only let him go if they have a midfield player already lined up and need the cash to tie up the deal.
WHAT will happen with the build up of fixtures which will result from the mid-season break?
My solution would be to do away with the League Cup. Too many top clubs are already fielding weakened sides in this competition anyway. The break is just an experiment at the moment. Let's hope it works better than the last one to be introduced - Premiership clubs loaning players to each other. That has been a nonsense this year.
We must produce our best - Moyes
Jan 30 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has warned his players only their very best will do, at Anfield tomorrow. The Blues travel across Stanley Park in search of their first derby win since September 1999. Since then Gerard Houllier's side has enjoyed a run of eight games unbeaten. Moyes, said: "We are going to need all our players to perform at a high standard or we won't get the result. "Liverpool are a good team, you cannot hide that fact. "We will have to play very well to get a result. "But everybody connected with the club is looking for a victory and we are all fully aware of what it means. "The games do not tend to be the best spectacle, but it is the result everyone looks for. "I thought we did quite well there last year and we would like to take that on a stage further. "The performances in the last month have been quite good. We know it will be a lot more difficult away from home, but we are focussed. "The management and players are together. "It is not about me getting my first derby win. It is about us all sticking together and doing our best as a team to get the victory." But if Everton are to leave Anfield with all three points, they will have to do it without David Unsworth.
The club have not yet officially ruled the 30-year-old defender out of the game, but he is losing his battle to overcome the back injury which has dogged him all week. Moyes will give Unsworth until tomorrow morning before making his decision, but the player is set to miss out in order to give him a chance to recover in time for Wednesday's FA Cup replay at Loftus Road. That should pave the way for Alessandro Pistone to partner Alan Stubbs at the heart of defence, with Gary Nay-smith expected to return at left-back. Meanwhile, both Everton and Duncan Ferguson have refused to comment on reports in this morning's press claiming the Scot tish striker racially abused Fulham's Luis Boa Morte in last weekend's Cup tie at Goodison. The Fulham forward, who was sent-off in a bust-up with David Weir at Craven Cottage two years ago, has allegedly made the claim privately but the incident has not been reported to the FA. A spokesman for Ferguson insisted: "Anyone who knows Duncan knows he would never say a thing like that." Ferguson is expected to shake off a number of knocks in time to take his place in the Blues squad tomorrow.
McFadden so keen to play in first derby
Jan 30 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
JAMES McFADDEN has never played in a derby before - anywhere. But the 20-year-old boyhood Celtic fan, knows all about the agony of consistently being overshadowed by your local neighbours.
During his formative years at school he had to endure nine consecutive seasons in which Rangers won the championship, leaving their Old Firm rivals trailing in their wake. Having not won a derby for more than four years, 'Faddy' can empathise with Everton's fans. And he is desperate to help set the record straight for them as part of the Blues squad at Anfield tomorrow. "I have never actually played in a derby match myself anywhere," he admits. "The closest I have got to a derby is as a fan at the Old Firm but I know from them they are special. "I would love to be involved this weekend to sample the atmosphere. "As a fan it is great to get one over on your local rivals. All my family are Celtic fans but a lot of my pals support Rangers, so there was always a lot of banter. "I grew up at a time when Rangers were winning nine championships in a row. I learned how to take it but because of that I don't give it out as much, even though Celtic are running away with things now.
"I have watched the derby and I know Liverpool have had the upper hand for the last few years. The fans will be looking for a result on Saturday and hopefully we can get one for them. "It would be great to be a part of that." McFadden has had little opportunity to impress in recent weeks. A thigh strain coupled with the impressive form of Kevin Kilbane has restricted his route to the first team. As a result, he has made just one brief appearance as a substitute in the last four weeks. He added: "I would just love to be involved in the game and take it from there. I am feeling strong. I am over the injury now and I am ready if the manager wants me. "There has not been too much talk about the game in the dressing room over the last few days. Nobody has mentioned it but I am sure there will be plenty in the morning, with everybody warning us we need to win."
Martyn has Anfield record to be proud of
Jan 30 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
NOT all of Everton's players have endured a period of Millennium misery at Anfield. The Blues have not won on the other side of Stanley Park since September 1999. But during that same period Nigel Martyn, has faired much better. And the 37-year-old is hoping his impressive record will continue tomorrow when he lines up for his first ever Merseyside derby. "I have won there on a few occasions," admits Martyn with a wry smile. "We had a good two or three years there with Leeds, winning a couple of times and getting a draw when we should have won. "I can remember winning there once with Crystal Palace as well. "I can still imagine how annoying it is for fans when their side hasn't won for a while. It must be hard to go into work after those games. "All we can do is try to go out and win for them this time around." Martyn was part of the Leeds side which subjected Liverpool to a 3-1 defeat in November 1999 in what was Gerard Houllier's first game in sole charge.
Since then the Cornishman has enjoyed a 2-1 success in April 2001 and a 1-1 draw the following season. He has only endured defeat at Anfield four times during his long career. The best way of avoiding the keeper adding a fifth reverse to that tally has been discussed at length this week.
He reveals: "It has been frustrating in the last few weeks. We have had a lot of play but not been able to get the goals. "That would have taken the pressure off us but as soon as we concede we are chasing the game. "We have been having a chat and it would be nice to score first in a game so the opposition can have a go at us, rather than us having to force the pace. "It would be nice to get a clean sheet. "That is what we will be starting the game with and that is how we will want to finish the game. It will be difficult because they are a good side with some great attackers. "But I am looking forward to it. It is a big game for the club and the fans but it is also an important game for us.
"We are just above the relegation zone so we need to pick up points quickly."
Forget ZZ, I'm Sheedy fan
Jan 30 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
HIS form since his arrival at Goodison Park has led to Everton's fans nicknaming Kevin Kilbane 'Zinedine'. But while the Irish international, is flattered by the moniker, there is another great left-footer the midfielder would prefer to be compared to - and his roots lie much closer to Goodison Park. Kevin Sheedy was in his pomp for the Blues when Kilbane was growing up in Preston.
The quality of his passing and free-kicks made the softly-spoken Irishman one of the club's all-time greats. "He was a tremendous talent - one of the best left foots that I think ever played on Goodison Park," admits Kilbane. "He's a tremendous player. If I could score a free-kick like the ones he used to get then I'd be delighted." One of Sheedy's finest goalscoring moments came at Anfield in 1987.
The Blues were chasing the championship, but fell to defeat against their local rivals. The bitterness of the 3-1 reverse was sweetened by Sheedy's typically eye-catching free-kick at the Kop end and the fact the Blues still lifted the Division One crown. Such moments endeared Sheedy to Kilbane.
And, thanks to his form since arriving at Goodison in September, the feeling now appears to be mutual. Sheedy reveals: "Kevin Kilbane has improved a lot since he's come here. "He had a bad time at Sunderland, his confidence was low and he was getting some stick off the supporters up there. Sometimes you need a change. "He moved to a big club like Everton and he is certainly thriving on it. He is thriving on the confidence given to him by David Moyes and the Everton fans."
That confidence has led to a series of man of the match performances and two goals in the last five matches. But despite that, the modest Kilbane is still struggling to come to terms with his nickname, although the praise from Sheedy is better received. He adds: "Growing up, Kevin Sheedy was one of my heroes. I used to love watching him play and for him to say nice things about me is very special to me. "But I'm not too sure about the fans calling me Zinedine after Zinedine Zidane! He's a very gifted player, a fantastic player so I don't agree with that one to be honest, but it's always nice.
"It's gone quite well since I've been here - I've really enjoyed it. "The results have been a little bit up and down. We'd like to get a consistent run of form where we go on a good unbeaten streak and we'd like to begin that this weekend in the derby. It's going to be a very, very tough game but we're looking forward to it. "I used to watch them as a kid on television, you hear about them all the time and I'm really, really looking forward to it." Kilbane may not be a Scouser, but he knows from the talk around Belle-field how important it is for the Blues to get one over on the Reds. A good result for Everton is overdue. He adds: "The players and staff here are all very, very strong Evertonians and they let you know how they feel about it all. "They let you know how the supporters are feeling and you want to go out and do it for them as well as the supporters, really.
"I think the characteristic derby is very, very tight, scrappy games, which teams win by the odd goal.
"If we could be that team this weekend, we'd be delighted." After his recent form, who would bet against a Sheedy-style effort from Goodison's latest Irish hero with a deft left foot?
The 170th Merseyside derby
Jan 30 2004 By Andrew Clarke, icLiverpool
NINE months ago, the season was nearing its end and the Merseyside derby was the biggest match between the fierce local rivals for over a decade. Not since the 1989 FA Cup Final was there so much riding on the fixture. Everton, were having the season of their lives; David Moyes' star was ascending in his first full season in the job, a kid named Rooney was finding his Premiership feet and, for the first time since 1987, the Toffees had a real chance of finishing ahead of Liverpool and beating them to the Champions League. On the day, a Murphy penalty handed Liverpool a 2-1 win to put them on course for the coveted top four finish, while Everton would have to make do with the consolation of the UEFA Cup. Or so it seemed at the time. So how do we find the sides a year later? For the red half of Merseyside, this season's underachievement is all too familiar. Home defeats to all of their main rivals halted their bid to mount any kind of Premiership challenge before it had even started, and defeats to the likes of Southampton, Charlton and Portsmouth means that even salvaging fourth place will be seen as a success at the moment. But Liverpool fans won't be kidding themselves. Battling for fourth place and another run in the UEFA Cup is not what Liverpool should be about.
At the turn of the year however, things didn't look so bleak. Three wins out of three, including a stunning victory at Chelsea, and it looked like this season wasn't going to be a complete write off after all. Their return to form coincided with the return to fitness of Didi Hamann and finally Houllier was able to select the quartet of his prize assets, Hamann, Gerrard, Kewell and Owen, for the very first time. Kenny Miller's late equalizer for Wolves halted their winning run, and defeat at Spurs soon followed, but Reds fans will be cheered, and somewhat surprised, at the form of Bruno Cheyrou. Suddenly Cheyrou - the 'new zidane' - is a goalscorer and Houllier's initial claim doesn't seem as unlikely as it once did. Two cracking goals form the Frenchman against Newcastle last Saturday sent Liverpool into the fifth round of the FA Cup, which still represents their best chance of silverwear. Another cup win alone is unlikely to save Gerrard Houllier's job, however, as Champions League qualification is the minimum requirement for a team of Liverpool's stature. Failure to qualify for Europe's top club competition once again could also mark the end of Michael Owen's Anfield career, whose ambition to play amongst the elite may have to be fulfilled elsewhere. The fact that Liverpool are disappointed at maintaining last season's standards is in complete contrast to David Moyes' men. Everton would be delighted to achieve the same as they did last term but last season's improvement has not been sustained. They currently lie just four points above the drop zone, and it took a last minute Franny Jeffers goal to rescue them from an FA Cup exit at the hands of Fulham last weekend. Some have claimed Everton played above themselves last season. The immediate impact of Moyes and Rooney, on top of a solid back four and a new goalkeeper, helped them to seventh place, and only a final day comeback by Manchester United denied them a place in Europe for the first time in seven years. But this time around, they have been hit by injuries. Richard Wright has spent much of the season on the sidelines, although free signing Nigel Martyn has heard calls of an england recall such has been his form in filling Wright's breach. With Steve Watson and David Weir both out, Duncan Ferguson facing a race to be fit, and with Joseph Yobo away with Nigeria, they are left with few options at the back for this Saturday's match. Rooney and the returning Jeffers have struggled to find the net, hence the speculation surrounding a certain £2million rated Russian Russian Dmitri Bulykin. And while Kevin Kilbane has eraned some rave reviews since joining from Sunderland in the summer, James McFadden has not produced the goods on a regular basis.
Saturday's encounter could have a huge impact at both ends of the table. A win for Liverpool could move them closer to Charlton to bunk into the Champions League, while an away win would give Everton a little extra breathing space at the foot of the table. It may not be as crucial as last season's corresponding fixture, but needless to say, the 170th Merseyside derby will take on the utmost significance along the banks of the Mersey come 3 O'Clock on Saturday afternoon.