Tottenham 5, Everton 2 (D,Post)
Jan 3 2005 By Andy Hunter at White Hart Lane, Daily Post
EVERTON received a rousing send-off from a proud travelling support at White Hart Lane on Saturday, proof, if any was required, of how a New Year's Day hangover clouds perception and reaction. Yet January 1 and the feelings that invariably accompany it also puts matters into perspective, hence David Moyes's refusal to lambast his players for their worst performance of the season and why supporters forgave this aberration in record time. Twelve victories in the latter half of 2004, including five away from home, allowed Everton to treat Saturday's mauling at Tottenham in isolation. A one-off is all it must be, however, if European qualification is to avoid becoming a fraught scrap until the finish and the confidence and conviction of this campaign is not to unravel following its first back-to-back defeats. Tomorrow night's visit of Portsmouth has suddenly assumed monumental importance. Reviews of the past 12 months are commonplace at this time of year with fond or forgotten memories rekindled for all to witness. Just when Everton thought they had erased the embarrassment of early 2004 from the system, this arrives to remind us vulnerability remains a fatal flaw. Their heaviest defeat since the end-of-season slump at the City of Manchester Stadium was not fashioned by the lack of desire, spirit and endeavour that accompanied that appalling afternoon last May, but too many nightmares were revived at Tottenham that were impossible to ignore. Weak defending, meek resistance and the feeling of helpless-ness that accompanied supporters on almost every away trip last season conspired to make this a most unpleasant start to 2005 for Everton. The only blessing is that they have an immediate home game to ensure the tone has not already been set. Moyes could afford to be philosophical afterwards. The manager, whilst naturally alarmed by what he had witnessed, remained bullish and reminded everyone that: "There is a lot worse going on in the world at the moment". With James Beattie due to become the club's record signing today Moyes had more reason to remain confident than he was initially letting on.
Even so, he knows there can be no more repeats if he is to crown this season's unheralded improvement with a European reward. Of primary concern will be a defence that has suddenly lost its lauded qualities of resilience, awareness and communication. Injury to the calming Nigel Martyn was sure to have a destabilising effect on those in front of the veteran goalkeeper, but few anticipated it would arrive so quickly and with such heavy consequences. With every Everton goal a precious commodity this season Moyes knew from the outset that his side could not concede goals as cheaply as they did throughout the last campaign. They are now. Martyn conceded only six goals in nine Premiership games before tearing his calf at Charlton. In the one and a half contests since, replacement Richard Wright has shipped in seven. That is not to place the blame for Everton's sudden slide in the hands of the England hopeful - every visiting defender at White Hart Lane was poor. But there is no doubt the absence of Martyn, plus Alan Stubbs on Saturday, has disturbed the composure and confidence of the Goodison back line. Tottenham, inspired by home debutant Dean Marney, were excellent and though quality shone in each of their five goals Everton were found wanting on them all. After an undistinguished opening Marney found the freedom of the opposition area to open the scoring in the 15th minute when Robbie Keane flicked Pedro Mendes's cross over a static defence. Neither David Weir or Joseph Yobo, who all afternoon played as though they had only just met, picked up Keane or the run of Marney, played onside by Alessandro Pistone, and with Wright slow to react the 20-year-old midfielder lifted a comfortable finish into an empty net. The pattern had already been established. Eleven minutes later a long throw-in had the Medusa-like qualities of turning the Everton defence to stone. Frederic Kanoute glanced the ball onto Reto Ziegler who, despite the presence of three blue shirts, found time in a crowded six-yard box to control and volley into the far corner. Both goals had arrived from well-timed runs from the Tottenham midfield, a quality Everton have displayed in abundance this season but was strangely lacking on Saturday. Tim Cahill's first venture into the Spurs' area,, however, resulted in his second goal in three games as he volleyed Marcus Bent's header beyond Paul Robinson to give Everton renewed hope. A fine start to the second half added to the belief Moyes's men could complete an outstanding comeback at a ground where they have not tasted league success since Gary Lineker's winner in August 1985. But the only break came to Thomas Gravesen's finger, put back in place by physio Mick Rathbone on the touchline, as porous defending gave Tottenham a chance with every attack and ensured the second half felt like 19 years to the Everton faithful. Kanoute collected Noe Pamarot's cross unopposed inside the area and found Mendes lurking 20 yards from goal. The former Porto player stepped aside Weir's challenge and then gave Wright no chance with a superb finish into the top corner. In the 67th minute Keane tapped in a fourth after Marney had nutmegged Pistone before, 10 minutes from time, the star of the show sealed a memorable afternoon's work by curling a 25-yard shot past Wright with the Everton defence retreating and offering no resistance.
It could have been much, much worse for Everton. Keane, who struck the crossbar with one first half lob, was inches away from adding a sixth when he repeated the trick in the 85th minute, while Kanoute and Ledley King also went close. Thank heavens Jermain Defoe was out injured. James McFadden at least had the consolation of claiming his first Everton goal with an accurate low finish in the 86th minute, although it sums up his Goodison frustration that his long-awaited breakthrough arrived at the tail-end of a 5-2 mauling. "Were you pleased with McFadden's performance and goal?" Moyes was asked afterwards. "I was pleased with his goal." Festive goodwill ensured there would be no more recriminations from either manager or supporters as they digested the fifth and most painful defeat by a club from the capital this season. But with Charlton due at Goodison Park on January 22 they cannot afford to concede any more ground to the chasing pack in the meantime.
TOTTENHAM (4-4-2): Robinson; Pamarot, Naybet, King, Edman; Marney, Carrick (Redknapp 86), Mendes, Ziegler (Ricketts 86); Keane, Kanoute. Subs: Fulop, Davenport, Gardner.
EVERTON (4-5-1): Wright; Hibbert, Yobo, Weir, Pistone (Naysmith 69); McFadden, Gravesen, Carsley, Cahill, Kilbane (Campbell 69); Bent (Osman 69). Subs: Turner, Chadwick.
REFEREE: Steve Dunn
NEXT GAME: Everton v Portsmouth, Premiership, tomorrow, 8pm
Gravesen linked to Madrid transfer
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jan 3 2005
EVERTON'S player of the season, Thomas Gravesen, could be set for a shock departure to Real Madrid. Reports in Spain last night claimed the player's agent, John Sivebaek, was in the Spanish capital to negotiate a stunning move to the Bernabeu, although Everton officials have received no contact from the European giants. However if Madrid are prepared to offer three million euros for the 28 years-old, who is out of contract in the summer and would be able to leave on a free at the end of the season, Everton would be prepared to accept a deal. But there is also a danger that Sivebaek could negotiate a pre-contract agreement, which would allow Gravesen to move without a fee in the close season. Manager David Moyes is keen to keep hold of the influential Gravesen as his side attempts to gain the European place he hopes would persuade the Dane to stay at Goodison Park. But Everton accept that Gravesen is unlikely to reject an offer from Real Madrid at this stage of his career and if reports of a three million euro bid are true, then they are unlikely to stand in the way of the playing going during the transfer window. Gravesen's departure would leave Everton short of creative talent in midfield but Moyes, who was close to signing Robbie Savage from Birmingham in the summer and has also been linked with Nottingham Forest's Andy Reid, would seek to bring in another significant signing to go with James Beattie.
Everton agree record deal to land Beattie
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jan 3 2005
JAMES BEATTIE has elected to join Everton instead of Aston Villa - and will undergo a medical on Merseyside this morning with a view to becoming the club's £6million record signing. The Southampton striker is expected to sign a four and a half year deal with the Goodison club worth £30,000 a-week after rejecting a more lucrative offer from Villa yesterday. Goodison officials were confident Beattie would choose to spearhead Everton's push for Europe after agreeing personal terms with the 26-year-old last week. Their only concern was that the Midlands club, who also had a £6m bid accepted by Southampton chairman Rupert Lowe, would tempt the striker with an improved contract over the weekend. Beattie, however, has resisted their approach and should become an Everton player today if he passes a medical. A statement from the club last night confirmed: "James Beattie is poised to become Everton's record signing after agreeing personal terms on a move to Goodison Park. "The 26-year-old has decided that his future lies on Merseyside and he looks set to put pen-to-paper within the next couple of days." Beattie joined Saints from Blackburn in 1998, scoring 76 goals in 233 appearances and earning England recognition. The deal represents a major coup for Everton and David Moyes, who made the centre-forward his primary transfer target the moment Wayne Rooney signed for Manchester United last summer but refused to meet Southampton's initial £8m valuation. The fee the Blues are paying beats the previous club record of £5.75m, paid to Middlesbrough for Nick Barmby in 1996. The new striker is unlikely to sign in time for tomorrow's Premiership home match against Portsmouth, but would be eligible for the weekend's FA Cup trip to Plymouth. Southampton manager Harry Redknapp is anxious the deal is concluded quickly as he looks to rebuild his relegation-threatened squad, with former Everton players Alex Nyarko and Abel Xavier due to start trials with the South Coast club today. Moyes, meanwhile, refused to castigate his players for their humiliating defeat by Tottenham on New Year's Day. The Everton manager admitted none of his players delivered, as a poor defensive display conspired to produce their heaviest defeat of the season and a second successive loss in the capital.
But last night he insisted: "I am concerned by the performance but I cannot take this game in isolation and not take everything else that has happened this season into consideration. I won't do that. "We didn't have any players at the races against Tottenham, it is hard for me to pick out someone who did reach the standards they who did reach the standards they should do.
Moyes added: "But even when we have been winning games and going second in the table we have not got carried away and we won't do now. "There has been a great buzz about the place when we've been winning, but we haven't been shouting about what we can do because we are also aware of how quickly things can change in football. "We have an important home game coming up tomorrow night and if we can beat Portsmouth then two wins and two defeats from the festive programme will not represent the worst return in the world." Moyes added: "I am not going to shout after one bad performance. I know the players are as hurt as I am. "It was too easy for Tottenham but for a period at 2-1 it looked as though we would definitely be the ones who would score next. "Once it went 3-1 to Tottenham it started to look much easier for them but until that point it wasn't." Moyes was without Alan Stubbs at White Hart Lane after the Everton skipper suffered a back injury in training on Friday. And the absence of Stubbs, who remains a doubt for the Portsmouth game, plus Nigel Martyn was sorely felt as Everton struggled to contain Frederic Kanoute and Robbie Keane in the Tottenham attack. Moyes said: "I would hate to say it affected us that much because the players we replaced them with, Joseph Yobo and Richard Wright, are good players. But it wasn't only Nigel Martyn and Alan Stubbs we missed at Tottenham, we were missing a few who have had an impact on our season."
Beattie can prove a hit in revival, says Sharp
Jan 3 2005 By Andy Hampson, Daily Post
EVERTON'S most successful centre forward of the modern era, Graeme Sharp, has welcomed the arrival of James Beattie at Goodison Park. Sharp, an integral part of Everton's championship winning sides of the mid-1980s, believes David Moyes has brought a player with a proven Premiership record to the club. The Scot, who scored 150 goals in all competitions to stand second in the all-time Everton scoring lists behind the legendary Dixie Dean, believes Beattie's quality was too good to ignore. And the fact that Everton have broken their transfer record to land the Southampton player in a £6million deal is also a welcome sign that the club is back on the right track. "Everyone knows about the financial situation of the club in recent years so the fact that we have been able to compete for the signature of a player like Beattie is a good sign," he said last night.. "David is getting the funds to build his own side." Sharp admitted fans will now be waiting to see how Beattie fits into the formation adopted by Moyes for the new season, which has proved such a success in transforming the team from relegation candidates into one pushing for a place in Europe. "David Moyes has used 4-5-1 to good effect this season and it will be interesting to see how Beattie fits into this or whether changes are made," admitted Sharp. "But when a player of the class of Beattie is available you have got to be interested. What you are getting is a proven goal-scorer. I think he will be a good signing for the club." However Beattie's arrival could hasten the departures of Kevin Campbell and Duncan Ferguson, who are both out of contract at the end of the season, with Sharp adding: "David Moyes has got big decisions to make." Everton's surprise success this season has offered Beattie an excellent opportunity to re-establish himself as one of the Premiership's foremost strikers - and re-awaken his international chances. Moyes was confident that Everton's emergence from the relegation doldrums of last year would make them a more attractive proposition to leading players, and that has proved the case for Beattie, who has turned down the overtures of Aston Villa, who matched Everton's offer to Southampton. The move will offer a fresh start for Beattie, whose season has not really got going. The 26-year-old broke his toe earlier in the campaign and recently spent more time on the sidelines with a calf injury. He has managed just two goals in his 11 Premiership appearances this season and will hope the change of club will help him rekindle the form that pushed him into the England frame two years ago. Beattie joined Saints from Blackburn in 1998 but it was not until the 2002-03 season that he really caught fire, netting 23 times to finish as the Premiership's third-highest scorer behind Ruud van Nistelrooy and Thierry Henry. England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson took notice and gave him his first international cap in the infamous 3-1 defeat by Australia at Upton Park in February 2003. Beattie should also win from the deal. He is a confidence player and the team spirit Moyes has developed has created an atmosphere he can thrive in.
Scot is quick to set a new target
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jan 3 2005
JAMES McFADDEN ended the wait for his first Premiership goal in an Everton shirt, but it brought little satisfaction for the Scot as it came on the tail-end of a 5-2 defeat. However the Scottish international, who has been a regular marksman for his country, now hopes his opening goal for David Moyes's side will be the prelude to more. "It was always mentioned that I hadn't scored a goal but hope-fully I'll get a few more now," he said.. "But I just want the team to get back to winning ways." McFadden started a Premiership game for the first time since the opening day of the season, but came off the pitch disappointed with his overall contribution. He would now love the opportunity to redress the balance in tomorrow's home clash with Portsmouth. "I've been waiting to get another start but I wasn't too happy with my own performance," he admitted. "Hopeful-ly, I'll get another chance to prove that I am worth a place in the team." It was the first time Everton have suffered successsive league defeats this season, and while it did not cost them their hold on the fourth and final Champions League qualifying position McFadden says the players are only too aware that they need to sart picking up points again - and quickly. "We've got to look at it as a blip," he said. "It's vital to get back to the mentality we had when we were winning games. We need to make ourselves hard to beat and we need to score more goals. "All credit to Tottenham because they played well and scored some great goals but it's fair to say that we weren't at the races. We were a shadow of our normal selves." McFadden also said the players would welcome any reinforcements to the squad during the transfer window. "The squad isn't the biggest and there have been rumours that the manager wants to add to it and I hope he does does because it will put us in a better position," he said.
Time to start the New Year again
By Paul Jenkins Everton supporter, Daily Post
Jan 3 2005
WELL, 2005 can only get better. Like someone whose new year resolution was to begin that diet, but instead found themselves tucking into the chocolate brazils, Evertonians will be hoping to start all over again at Goodison Park tomorrow night. You can include manager David Moyes in that number. After praising the travelling supporters for their backing despite the thumping at White Hart Pain, he urged his players to put on a home show worthy of that support. As all blue-eyed fans feared, a couple of key absences and the bandwagon started to wobble, first at Charlton with the running repairs at Tottenham offering no immediate relief. The fact that Everton's watertight defence has suddenly sprung a worrying leak with both Nigel Martyn and now Alan Stubbs confined to the treatment table is surely no coincidence. It takes time to forge an understanding, something the triumphant triumverate of Martyn, Stubbs and David Weir had accomplished with some aplomb, and it has quickly become a damage limitation exercise. They need to get the solidity back quickly if all the good work so far season is not to evaporate like morning mist. The team showed signs of the spirit that has swept them into the Champions League places when Tim Cahill, one of the buys of the season, pulled one back. But a screamer from Mendes past helpless Richard Wright punctured all hopes of an Everton fight-back and the rest of the game was the most painful experience of the season. Successive defeats for the first time this season. Once is a blip, twice is a nasty coincidence and a third tomorrow would be a cause for concern.
Tottenham 5, Everton 2 (Echo)
Jan 3 2005 By Scott McLeod at White Hart Lane
THE New Year may have been welcome - but this all new Everton certainly wasn't. This was not the same side which has been effervescent and resolute in equal measure on the road this season. The defeat at Charlton was tough to stomach. But the pain of that result was based on the frustration of knowing the performance merited more. Nobody could claim the Blues were lacklustre at The Valley. But for this, the second trip to the capital in the space of four days, that is precisely what they were. It was an unwelcome echo of last season and a timely reminder of how easily a side can lose its way in the Premiership if the cogs in the machine are not turning in unison. David Moyes had carefully constructed an outfit in the opening 20 games which ran like the finest of Swiss timepieces, away from home in particular. But at White Hart Lane nothing moved like clockwork - other than the scoreboard, which is why this display was as surprising as it was disappointing. A side that had conceded just 15 goals in the opening half of the season has now given away seven in its last 100 minutes of football. At Tottenham, they were undone by some fabulous attacking football. But the match also served to illustrate how damaging, at least in the short term, it can be to be forced into changing a winning team. Joseph Yobo and Richard Wright are hugely talented players. But the loss of Alan Stubbs and Nigel Martyn clearly unsettled a defence which has appeared telepathic in recent months. Not so on Saturday. The formerly Scrooge-like back four endured a visitation from Marney - Tottenham youngster Dean Marney making his first Premiership start of the season. He scored twice, set up a third and was the star of an impressive performance from Spurs. After gathering 40 points in 19 games, it was inevitable that at some stage the Blues would hit a rocky patch. The key now is to ensure they bounce back against Portsmouth tomorrow. It was clear after the opening 30 minutes that there was very little chance of the White Hart Lane hoodoo being lifted. The cohesion which we have come to take for granted was sadly lacking. And a Spurs side which boasts a wealth of attacking verve - and headed by the outstanding Robbie Keane - wasted no time exploiting that.
The first goal was arguably the softest Everton have conceded away from home this season. It was bad enough that Keane was allowed to flick on Pedro Mendez' innocuous through ball unchallenged 30 yards from goal. But then Alessandro Pistone's vain attempt to track the run from right midfield of Marney meant the Spurs' wide man was onside when he beat Richard Wright to the ball and lifted his volley into the net. And Spurs' other goals exposed a fatal lack of understanding. This is a side which has succeeded as a unit. And so when things don't go according to plan it is only fair that they are judged as a unit. That's why it would be wrong to aim the criticism at the players who were back in the starting line-up. They will take time to adjust. Everton must make sure that time is minimised.
You could pick fault with each goal. Freddie Kanoute was allowed to flick-on Erik Edman's long throw
for the second despite the presence of Tim Cahill and Yobo. Then Reto Ziegler - a talented young Swiss midfielder - had time to take the ball down and volley home inside the six-yard box.
For the third Mendez was unmarked on the edge of the box when the ball came to him for his sweetly-hit third. Marney's skill on the flank undid Pistone for the fourth but it was still too easy for Keane to tap in his cross from close range. And number five, while being a sensational curling 25-yard effort from Marney, was the culmination of the youngster's 20-yard unchallenged run from the centre-circle as Everton sat back. After falling behind so early in the game, it was always going to be tough for the Blues to get back into the game. Moyes' 4-5-1 system has been picked up and mimicked by a host of his Premiership peers this season because of its effectiveness, particularly away from home. It has frustrated many a home side this year. But it doesn't allow for a wealth of goalscoring opportunities. And that was the concern after Marney's opener. And yet, despite lacking the usual fluency and grip on the game, they still managed to go in at half-time just one goal down.
Tim Cahill provided the cause for optimism six minutes from the break, halving the deficit with a sweet volley from 10 yards after Marcus Bent had showed great strength to twice win headers in the area. That should have been the life-line. And the Blues started the second period pushing for an equaliser. But Spurs are a great side on the offensive. And it was a swift attacking move which provided Mendez with the third and which exposed the lack of organisation at the back for Everton. Four and five followed soon after. And there could have been more, with Keane in particular twice going agonisingly close. There was a late consolation from James McFadden - his first competitive goal for the club. It was a great strike which should now signal an up-turn in form for the Scot. But such a significant positive has been justifiably overshadowed by the nature of this defeat. The Blues have lost back-to-back games for the first time in the league this season. And there were chants of 'Champions League, you're having a laugh' from the Spurs fans. There is a collective expectancy in the Premiership that Everton will fall away now. This display would back up that assessment. But it was a million miles from the usual fare. Everton have enjoyed proving people wrong in the last six months. Now they must do it again.
TOTTENHAM (4-4-2): Robinson; Pamarot, Naybet, King, Edman; Marney, Carrick (Redknapp 86), Mendes, Ziegler (Ricketts 86); Keane, Kanoute. Subs: Fulop, Davenport, Gardner.
EVERTON (4-5-1): Wright; Hibbert, Yobo, Weir, Pistone (Naysmith 69); McFadden, Gravesen, Carsley, Cahill, Kilbane (Campbell 69); Bent (Osman 69). Subs: Turner, Chadwick.
REFEREE: Steve Dunn
NEXT GAME: Everton v Portsmouth, Premiership, tomorrow, 8pm
Strikers were too hot for us - Moyes
Jan 3 2005 By Chris Stone, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON boss David Moyes was thoroughly disappointed with his side's performance in Saturday's 5-2 defeat at Tottenham - and believes strikers Fredi Kanoute and Robbie Keane gave Spurs the edge. Moyes said: "We were always under pressure from Tottenham, their forwards were hard work for us. "I thought their forwards were the biggest difference in the game," added Moyes, who was without injured keeper Nigel Martyn and centre-back Alan Stubbs. "We brought in good players. Joseph Yobo is a terrific player as is Richard Wright, so it shouldn't have been as big a problem as it was. "I don't know how well Tottenham are playing but I know that wasn't as good as we can play, that's for sure. "We're sore and we know we haven't done as well as we should have done, but we're still lying healthy and we'll plough on and try to get some more points." Everton retained fourth spot despite the defeat, and could now bolster their squad in the January transfer window. The club have bid for James Beattie but remain uncertain if the Southampton striker will be signed. "I don't like talking about players at other clubs, it's not right to do so," added Moyes. Tottenham's match-winner Dean Marney only found out he was playing after a phone call late the previous night. Marney hit two goals and set up another but boss Martin Jol feared the youngster was partying to celebrate the new year when he called just before midnight. Jol said: "I phoned him just before 12 O'clock. I wasn't sure because with young players you never know with the celebrations and fireworks. "So I phoned him and he had his voicemail on, so I had a sneaky feeling he was at a party. But he called me back and said no he wasn't. He was at home." Marney scored the opener when he raced through and lobbed Richard Wright and Reto Ziegler added a second before Tim Cahill pulled one back. Goals from Robbie Keane, Pedro Mendes and a final spectacular strike from Marney sealed the win before James McFadden grabbed a consolation. It was Spurs' finest win of the season, according to Jol, who said: "You have to put everything in perspective, Southampton was terrific for us because we had not scored five goals at home before. "This is the second one and overall, after 90 minutes, we played our best football. "We were worried because Jermain Defoe couldn't play and Michael Brown couldn't play. But I know Dean Marney and he's a terrific talent, he's a complete player. Scoring two goals and making another one is amazing, it's a real achievement for a young boy."
Veteran stars are running on empty
Jan 3 2005 Analysis By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON'S bubble has not burst, despite back-to-back defeats in the capital and a legion of self-satisfied pundits nodding smugly to each other on Saturday night. The Blues were always going to struggle over Christmas and New Year - and the reasons are transparent. They have a squad of 16 players, and the more influential members are all past their 30th birthdays. Alan Stubbs and David Weir have been outstanding all season, but three fast and furious games in six days is simply too much for them to withstand. Stubbs' body gave in to the demands of the programme, while Weir made it onto the pitch at Tottenham, but left much of his legs behind him. Bluntly - they were knackered. But they will come again - and so will Everton. The same thing happened two years ago, culminating in the Cup upset at Shrewsbury before the Blues regrouped and recovered. Let's hope there's enough left in the tank for this year's trip to Plymouth, before the fixture list assumes its more usual shape and Everton produce their more expected energy levels.
Beattie right for Everton - Moyes
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jan 4 2005
DAVID MOYES last night revealed he received glowing character references about James Beattie before bringing the £6million striker to Everton. The 26-year-old (right) underwent a medical on Merseyside yesterday and could be unveiled before tonight's home game with Portsmouth if test results, and his registration with the FA, are received before kick off. Everton manager Moyes has repeatedly insisted he would not disrupt his squad's intense spirit and work ethic by bringing a prima donna into the club. And after talking to former Southampton managers Gordon Strachan and Steve Wigley, plus Goodison assistant Alan Irvine - who was Beattie's youth team coach at Blackburn - Moyes believes his record capture will be a perfect compliment to Everton's indefatigable character. The Goodison manager, who hopes to have the medical completed and the striker signed this morning, said: "I want to bring people into this club who have a good character. We have a lot of good characters here at the moment and we want the players we sign to mould into a good, honest team ethic. That is a vital ingredient for me with the way we are trying to build things here and I believe James fits into that category. "I have spoken to several people about James, including Gordon Strachan and Steve Wigley amongst others, and they have all given me a very high recommendation." Moyes insists Beattie's arrival does not mark the end of business in this transfer window. "If we get James that will be one important signing and I am hoping to bring a couple more in if possible," he revealed.. And the Everton manager believes the £6m fee represents a fair price for a 26-year-old England international who was coveted by several Premiership clubs. He added: "I don't think the fee is too high. Two clubs agreed to pay that amount for James so obviously we were not the only ones who thought it a fair valuation. "We tried to sign him on deadline day last summer after we lost Wayne and the fee then was much higher than what we have agreed to pay now. "We got £27m for Wayne Rooney and £2m for Tomasz Radzinski but we lost both those strikers right at the end of the summer and didn't have much opportunity to replace them. Now we will hopefully bring a replacement in, and though it will cost £6m we have brought in a lot of money with those
Moyes, meanwhile, is perturbed by reports in Spain that Thomas Gravesen's agent, John Sivebaek, has opened talks with Real Madrid over a possible move to the Bernabeu. Everton insist they have had no contact from Madrid but with the Danish midfielder out of contract in the summer - and now free to sign a pre-contract agreement with a foreign club - Gravesen is in complete control of his future. Moyes said: "I spoke with Thomas this morning. Both of us are fully aware of his situation but neither of us knows anything about these rumours. "If they are only rumours then I wouldn't believe it, and we haven't heard anything from Madrid, but there does seem to be a big rumour factory around him at the moment."
Moyes is able to flex his financial muscle at last
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jan 4 2005
AMES BEATTIE has not even kicked a ball in royal blue, yet already he symbolises a significant breakthrough in the transfer market for Everton and David Moyes. There were no conspiracy theories behind Everton's failure to complete their record signing yesterday, only the fact the FA are not open on a Bank Holiday to register transfers and the striker's medical results are not due back until this morning. When, rather than if, Beattie signs for Everton, however, he will represent the clearest signal yet that a new era has truly begun at Goodison Park. For Moyes, the arrival of Beat-tie ends the frustration of having to stand by while Premiership rivals flex their financial superiority.
The Everton manager has spent less than the £6million it has taken to tempt Southampton to sell their prized asset over the past two summers. Now he is on the verge of completing the club's record acquisition. Poverty has been replaced by pressure. On a wider scale, the signing of Beattie encapsulates the transformation that has taken place these past six months at Everton too. Even on the rare occasions the Goodison club have entered the market for proven international talent they have invariably been ignored amid the lure of Europe and a heightened sense of ambition at other clubs. In resisting a lucrative offer from Aston Villa at Doug Ellis's house on Saturday night Beattie, an England international do not forget, issued a show of faith in Everton that has rarely been seen in recent years. Crucially, he also delivered an example that others are now likely to follow. Moyes has not finished window shopping yet. Beattie is not eligible for tonight's Premiership visit of former south coast rivals Portsmouth, but could take a bow before a delighted Goodison Park if the deal is finalised before kick off. The striker scored 76 goals in 233 games for Southampton following his move from Blackburn, who are entitled to a £1m sell-on fee, and Moyes admits that pedigree was a key factor in his move to Merseyside. The Everton manager revealed: "I think we've needed added firepower to our game. We have done really well this season and I want to give us an opportunity to score more goals. "Marcus Bent has carried a lot of the workload on his own and, if possible, I would like to add another centre-forward to what we've got. The chances are we might get James Beattie in the next day or two." Beattie's arrival will finally present Moyes with a viable option to play alongside Bent, or even in place of the tireless striker if he persists with the 4-5-1 system that has served Everton so well this season. Moyes, who saw Bent work effectively on the right of midfield for Leicester last season, added: "We have been attracted by what James can add to a side. "If he comes it will mean we don't have to be tied to one system. He will give me the option to play in different ways. "James has a good goalscoring record that stands comparison with most over the last few seasons, he is British, which appeals to me, and he is also available. They are the reasons why we are interested in signing him. "He is an established Premiership player and that is important to me. He has got a good record in the Premiership. He can play up front on his own, and he can work with a partner. But above all we have been attracted by the goals he has scored over the last few seasons. "We are pushing to stay near the top of the table and more goals would help us to do that. And also we would like to give the players here who have given so much already this season, a few new faces around the place. "We are short of numbers and some of the lads could do with a bit of a rest. So I hope this is not just the only new arrival." It is defence rather than attack, however, that will occupy Moyes's thoughts ahead of tonight's game with Portsmouth following the alarming rearguard action, or lack of it, at Tottenham on New Year's Day. Everton could still be without Alan Stubbs, who missed the 5-2 hammering with a back injury, but has now returned to light training.
That result meant back-to-back defeats for Everton over New Year, and Moyes knows they cannot slip up again with the race for Europe so tight. He said: "It is a rarity for us to go into a game off the back of two defeats this season. We have had two hard games, travelling to London twice to play Charlton and then Spurs and experiencing all the fatigue that goes with that, the programme could not have been much harder. "But it does not take away from the fact that at Spurs we did not defend as well as we have been doing. That made it look a lot worse than it was. "We've had words about the goals we conceded. They were the softest we have let in all season and I am not expecting it to happen again. That hasn't happened much this season and you do get results like that now and again, but hopefully not to us again this season." He added: "We know how important it is to win your home games. "We have had a decent away record so far but we need to build on our home record, which is okay but needs to be very good in the second half of the season." Moyes will give Stubbs until this afternoon to prove his fitness, while Leon Osman could return to the starting line-up after making a substitute's return at Spurs. Steve Watson is out with a stomach problem.
Jordan shrugs off transfer worries
Jan 4 2005
JOE JORDAN admits Portsmouth have already received inquiries about their top play-ers as the January transfer window opens. But as the South Coast club battle to hang on to the likes of Aiyegbeni Yakubu, Amdy Faye - both of whom have been linked with Everton - Patrik Berger and Eyal Berkovic, Jordan wants to keep focused on tonight's clash at Goodison Park. The weekend's 1-1 draw against 10-man Norwich was a setback to Pompey's ambition of establishing a place in the top half of the Premiership, but Jordan and new manager Velimir Zajec can provide evidence their team often performs better against tougher opposition. They are unbeaten away from home in the league against Bolton, Newcastle and Liverpool since the new regime took over. "Everton have done well this season," said Jordan.. "They beat us at home and have kept pace with the big boys, but the last couple of results have been worrying for them and hope-fully we can take a little bit of advantage. "We have a few more options than on Saturday with Dejan Stefanovic and David Unsworth fit again. "One of them will play but David won't expect us to take sentiment into account. He wants to be in on merit, not just because it is against his old club Everton." Stability is the watchword at Fratton Park after the upheaval of Harry Redknapp's departure, but Pompey are worried their former manager might make a raid for Czech Republic midfielder Berger. Redknapp, now manager of relegation-haunted neighbours Southampton, signed Berger on a free transfer from Liverpool when many rivals doubted the player's fitness after a history of knee problems. But he has continued to show his class despite occasional injury setbacks and Redknapp has made it clear he would love to make him one of his first signings
Beattie set for Blues bow
Jan 4 2005 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
JAMES BEATTIE will be unveiled as the latest addition to the Everton squad ahead of tonight's Premiership clash with Portsmouth as manager David Moyes sets his sights on further new faces.
The club record £6m capture of the striker from Southampton was set to be confirmed late this afternoon, with the club awaiting the formality of blood test results this morning before registering Beattie as an Everton player with the FA. Moyes will parade his new player before the kick-off tonight. But with a further £ 4m available to spend in January, the manager admits he wants to make further signings. He said: "I am hoping to bring a couple more in if possible. We are short of numbers and some of the lads could do with a bit of a rest, so I hope this is not the only new arrival."
The Blues have kept a close eye on Brighton left-back Dan Harding, while mid-field is also an area the Goodison chief is eager to bolster. However, Robbie Savage is not a target, despite the Welsh international filing a transfer request at Birmingham yesterday. Everton tried to sign the 30-year-old in July but his interest has cooled because Savage has suffered a dip in form this season. Meanwhile, the Blues are ready to resist any attempts to lure Thomas Gravesen away from Goodison during the January transfer window. Real Madrid are the latest club to be linked with the Danish international, with sources in Spain claiming Gravesen is one of three names on a list of January targets drawn up by new director of football Arigo Saachi. Madrid are reportedly ready to offer £2.2m for the Dane, with the player's availability for the Champions League a key attraction for any suitors. However, contrary to reports, Gravesen's agent John Sivebaek was not in Madrid holding talks at the Bernabeu yesterday. Gravesen has admitted he is flattered to be linked with Real, saying: "The interest from Real Madrid in me comes as a great surprise. "I know absolutely nothing about it and I cannot comment further because there are so many rumours." Gravesen can now sign a pre-contract deal with clubs outside the Premiership ahead of a free transfer in the summer. However, the Blues have plans to hold further contract talks with Gravesen's representatives in the next few weeks. Moyes met with the player yesterday following the latest speculation and said: "I have spoken with Thomas. Both of us are fully aware of his situation."
* Everton will be raising funds tonight for victims of the Asian tsunami disaster.
Blues fans hail arrival of £6m hitman Beattie
Jan 4 2005 By Nick Murton, Liverpool Echo
IT'S an overdue sight for Evertonians across the land - England striker James Beattie, 26, on Merseyside to finalise his Goodison transfer. The £6m hitman was expected to sign for Everton at lunchtime today. He had a medical at Broadgreen hospital after he was pictured meeting his new teammates at the Blues' Bellefield training ground yesterday. Evertonians are expecting their record signing to help the club's push for Champions League football after he was due to be unveiled at a press conference. But it could have been so different for the man whose scoring exploits have helped him hit the back of the net and the back-page headlines with regularity. The Lancaster- born striker nearly turned his back on the game which has made him millions as a fresh-faced youngster.
At the age of 12, Beattie was picked out by British swimming coaches as a potential national champion. He swam for Blackburn Centurions and Wigan Wasps, but a severe shoulder injury forced him to abandon his dreams of swimming glory and return to playing football for his school side.
He was soon spotted by Blackburn FC coaches and invited for a trial at the club, where he was later given a YTS contract. His skills secured a mega-money move to Southampton, where he worked as the club's Prince's Trust patron helping deprived children and young criminals.
Why Price was right for Beattie
Jan 4 2005 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has revealed that it was James Beattie's character as much as his talent which convinced the Blues to splash out £6m for him. The 26-year-old (right) underwent a medical on Merseyside yesterday and his move from Southampton was expected to be concluded later today.
Beattie will not be available to make his debut in tonight's Premiership clash with Portsmouth at Goodison but he is expected to be in the squad for Saturday's FA Cup third round tie at Plymouth.
But Moyes is not worried about the new arrival disrupting the camaraderie which has developed within the squad. "I want to bring people into this club who have a good character, " explained the Blues' boss. "We have a lot of good characters here and we want the players we sign to mould into a good, honest team ethic. "That is a vital ingredient for me with the way we are trying to build things and I believe James fits into that category. "I have spoken to several people about James, including Gordon Strachan and Steve Wigley, and they have all given me a high recommendation."
Moyes had tried to wrestle Beattie from the St Mary's Stadium on transfer deadline day in August following the £27m departure of Wayne Rooney to Manchester United, without success. But he doesn't believe his determination to land the former Blackburn hitman led to the Blues paying over the odds for the England international. "I don't think the fee is too high," he said. "Two clubs agreed to pay that amount so obviously we were not the only ones who thought it a fair valuation. When we tried to sign him in August the fee then was much higher. "We got £27m for Wayne Rooney and £2m for Tomasz Radzinski but we lost both those strikers right at the end of the summer and didn't have much opportunity to replace them. "The replacement will cost £6m but we have brought in a lot of money with those two departures." Indeed, the £6m outlay surpasses the club's previous record transfer of £5.75m for Nick Barmby. Beating that record is long overdue for a club of Everton's stature, because it represents a bright new era for the club. The Blues have been leading that pack's assault on the upper-echelons this term. And Moyes believes Beattie will add further momentum. He added: "I think we have needed added firepower to our game. We have done really well this season and I want to give us an opportunity to score more goals. "Marcus Bent has carried a lot of the workload on his own. " We have been attracted by what James can add to a side. It will mean we don't have to be tied to one system. He will give me the option to play in different ways.
"James has a good goalscoring record that stands comparison with most over the last few seasons. He is British, which also appeals to me. "He can play up front on his own and he can work with a partner. But above all we have been attracted by the goals he has scored. "Also we would like to give the play-ers here a few new faces around the place. We are short of numbers and some of the lads could do with a rest. So I hope this is not just the only new arrival." Beattie netted 76 goals in 233 games in his six years at Southampton. He was signed from Blackburn in 1998 and the Lancashire club will now receive £1m of the transfer fee.
We must cure back problem
Jan 4 2005 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
THE £6m signing of James Beattie has focused the attention of Evertonians on the club's new attacking options. But since the 5-2 drubbing at Tottenham on New Year's Day the spotlight on the training ground has been on the defence. The debacle at White Hart Lane exposed flaws in the back four which have not been present for much of this season. David Weir insists the only way to ensure it is a performance which remains a one-off is by addressing those flaws and putting them right ahead of tonight's clash with Portsmouth at Goodison. "Everything that could go wrong did go wrong, "admits the 34-year-old. "It was a comedy of errors, which was really frustrating. We have to take it on the chin but the one thing we can't do is sweep it under the carpet and say 'we have been doing well up to then'. "We have got to realise what went wrong, address the problems and put them right for Portsmouth." Prior to Saturday, Weir had been at the heart of the most stubborn central defensive pairing outside the Premiership's top two. Alongside Alan Stubbs and with Nigel Martyn behind the duo as the Blues' last line of defence, Everton conceded 11 goals in their 17 consecutive appearances together. With an alternative central defensive pairing, the tally is 11 goals conceded in four matches. White Hart Lane was one of those four games, with Joseph Yobo returning to the centre of defence in place of the injured Stubbs. With Martyn also sidelined, Richard Wright was making his first Premiership start of the season. But while Weir admits the changes in personnel did have an impact at Tottenham, he refuses to use the changes as excuses.
"You do get used to playing with certain players and as a side we had been doing well together," he continues. "It can take time to get used to playing with different players but in this league you don't get a chance to settle into a new line-up. "It is an unforgiving league and we should have dealt with the changes better because you can't expect to go through the whole season with the same players alongside you. We should have adapted better. We got what we deserved and that is the way we had to look at it, because we didn't play well enough to get anything else. Right through the team we didn't perform and we have had to take that on the chin and look to the Portsmouth game. "After a result like Saturday you are eager to address what went wrong and try to make up for it in your next game. Time will tell if having the Portsmouth game so soon after Saturday will help us on that score.
"If you were choosing a match to go into after a result like that you would prefer a home match. But no matter where you are or who you are playing against, the most important thing is always how you perform. "If we play against Portsmouth the way we played on Saturday then we will get beat again. But if we get back to playing the way we have been playing then we have got a good chance."
A victory against Pompey tonight would give the Blues a haul of six points from the four festive fixtures in the space of nine days. With such a small squad to choose from, that would be a reasonable total. And it would give Everton a five-point cushion over fifth place. It has been a demanding schedule over the holiday period. "It was our third game in the week and if you wanted to look for excuses you can always find them," continues Weir.. "But that is not the right attitude to have. "Excuses don't change the result. All that matters is the next game and heeding the lessons you have learned. "On Saturday the mood among the players was one of despondency because we didn't perform well enough. We haven't been doing that, we don't like doing that and I think we all felt as if we had let each other down. "You are only as good as your last game and that is the way we have to look at it." It is an approach which suggest Portsmouth will be in for a tough night at Goodison.
Everton 2, Portsmouth 1 (D,Post)
By Andy Hunter at Goodison Park, Daily Post
Jan 5 2005
0Share ONE night as an Everton player and James Beattie is already au fait with the drama and quality that has underpinned his new club's resurgence. Beattie will be officially unveiled as Everton's record signing at midday today but, thanks to the relentless endeavour that produced Leon Osman's stoppage-time winner against Portsmouth last night, no-one needs to tell Goodison's new number eight about the character and determination ingrained in those around him.
The £6million capture punched the air in celebration as Osman swept Everton's season back on course just as it seemed a stirring finale would yield only a draw and further reports of their European demise. Four points from a festive 12 is a poor return by any standards, and especially one with designs on the continent and the spending power to match. But while Everton lack the quality of the Champions League regulars they do possess the attitude of winners. The never-say-die commitment ensured their winner was thor-oughly deserved, no matter how far beyond the allocated time added on it was, and kept their ambitions as lofty as ever. Plus there is the promise, in the shape of Beattie and other new faces, of even more to come. There was something resembling Manchester United's treble-winning season of 1999 in the way Everton secured their first victory of 2005. Opposition players thumped the turf as Osman milked the jubilant scenes in the 93rd minute having produced a result that had a certain inevitability about it. For long periods it seemed the formidable barrier of Linvoy Primus and Arjen De Zeeuw would stifle Everton's recovery from two successive capital defeats. But despite bringing back tired limbs from those trips David Moyes's side grew stronger as the contest wore on and produced a finish that will whet Beattie's appetite. The need for fresh legs was evident after the collapse at Spurs and Moyes, despite few resources, was not slow to oblige. The Everton manager made four changes from the side that started at White Hart Lane as David Weir and Alessandro Pistone paid the price for the alarming defensive performance while Kevin Kilbane and Marcus Bent also dropped to the bench.
Beattie's arrival has put Bent's position in the side under scrutiny, though no-one expected this season's leading scorer to make way on the day the club's record signing put pen to paper at Goodison Park. It was the first time since the opening day defeat by Arsenal that Bent had started a Premiership game this season on the bench and gave replacement Kevin Campbell his first opening since last August. One player who did survive the cull was James McFadden. If Moyes retained the Scottish international in the hope his long-awaited debut goal for the club at Tottenham would inject fresh belief into the former Motherwell star then he was initially vindicated. McFadden was the game's most inventive performer early on and prospered down either flank. Seconds after dissecting the Portsmouth right with a mazy run the Scot cut inside Primus and teed up Campbell for a blocked low drive. Then, having swapped wings with the recalled Leon Osman, he instigated another chance for the centre-forward via Thomas Gravesen, only for poor control by Campbell to waste the moment. With only the final touch spoiling the duo's understanding, Campbell turned provider in the 21st minute, and allowed McFadden to steal in behind Dejan Stefanovic on the right of the box.
With a second goal in two games begging the midfielder unleashed a powerful left-foot shot that appeared to strike De Zeeuw on the arm. 2005 is not the year of the handball offence, however, and Portsmouth momentarily escaped. The resilience and control that were so painfully lacking in London returned for Everton last night, but this was still a sloppy first-half display giving Portsmouth too much room to test Richard Wright. Yet few would dispute they deserved the lead that Alan Stubbs gave them in the 29th minute with the first Goodison goal of his Everton career. Campbell was clearly uncomfortable in the lone striker role in which Bent's pace and athleticism have flourished but he still had a role to play in the breakthrough when Steve Stone needlessly gave away a corner. Gravesen sent the subsequent gift of a set-piece deep into the Portsmouth area and Stubbs, whose only other goal at his boyhood ground had come in the white of Bolton, rose to turn a straight-forward header into the bottom corner. That should have been the signal for Everton to strengthen their hold on the game as Portsmouth until that moment had been restricted to testing Wright from distance. But Stubbs's glory lasted all of 92 seconds as Aiyegbeni Yakubu broke free and showed why Moyes would also want his predatory qualities at the club. There appeared little danger as a visiting throw floated down the Everton left, but Yakubu used his Mike Tyson frame to brush off Joseph Yobo with ease and, in spite of a narrow angle, found the far top corner with an immaculate left-foot strike. Patrik Berger had twice gone close from 25 yards before the break and ten minutes after the restart his hat-trick almost produced a second for Portsmouth and Yakubu as Wright spilled the effort, and not for the first time, before recovering to foil the goalscorer at his feet. Tim Cahill almost restored Everton's lead with a diving header from Osman's cross but otherwise it was the visitors who dominated at the start of the second half with Everton's care-lessness aiding the Portsmouth cause. It was McFadden, however, who should have struck next when Lee Carsley picked him out in the penalty area with a piercing pass on 65 minutes, only to volley horribly into the Gwladys Street stand. With Everton, driven on by Cahill, beginning to reassert their authority in the closing stages Moyes sent on Bent and Kilbane in the search for three crucial points. The double substitution helped the home side enjoy their finest spell of the game in the final 15 minutes and Gravesen almost snatched a winner when his 20-yard shot forced Hislop into a desperate save at full-stretch and Cahill failed to profit from the rebound. In the 87th minute Portsmouth survived a second strong penalty appeal for handball when Matthew Taylor appeared to dispossess Bent with his arm. Taylor had replaced Yakubu to shore up the Portsmouth defence as the threat of an Everton winner intensifed. But he inadvertently broke the visitors resistance and put Everton's European quest back on course instead. With referee Peter Walton looking at his watch Stubbs floated one final cross into the visiting area and Kilbane headed down into the danger zone. Taylor attempted to clear but only succeeded in heading against Primus and, with arguably his first clean touch of the match, Osman swept the ball beyond the despairing Hislop. Everton, despite recent evidence to the contrary, will not be leaving quietly.
EVERTON (4-5-1): Wright, Hibbert, Stubbs, Yobo, Naysmith, Carsley, Osman, Gravesen, Cahill, McFadden (Kilbane 74), Campbell (Bent 73). Subs: Pistone, Weir, Turner.
PORTSMOUTH (4-4-2): Hislop, Primus, De Zeeuw, Stefanovic, O'Neil, Faye (Cisse 73), Stone, Quashie, Berger, Yakubu (Taylor 85), Kamara. Subs: Unsworth, Ashdown, Mezague.
REFEREE: P Walton (Northamptonshire)
NEXT GAME: Plymouth Argyle v Everton, FA Cup third round, Saturday 5.30pm
Perfect welcome to the Goodison spirit
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jan 5 2005
DAVID MOYES believes Everton delivered a perfect demonstration of their character to James Beattie with last night's dramatic stoppage-time victory over Portsmouth. Everton's record £6million signing was unveiled at Goodison Park (left) and left in raptures as Leon Osman's 93rd-minute winner brought a first win in three games for Moyes's side. Despite the effects of two draining defeats in the capital Everton produced a stirring finale after Aiyegbeni Yakubu cancelled out Alan Stubbs's first ever Goodison goal for his boyhood club. And Moyes admitted the performance embodied the qualities that enticed Beattie to Goodison Park. The Everton manager said: "We certainly showed James Beattie what we were all about. "There is such collective spirit here, and they were all so determined to keep going and get the winner. The boys were on their knees after the Christmas programme and the travelling we have had to do, but they kept going until the end.
"I have to say that was the best performance from two centrehalves I have seen at Goodison this season in De Zeeuw and Primus. They won every ball, were first to every cross and I thought they would stop us winning the game. "But what a finish from Leon. Ossie has always got a goal in him and he did well to keep the ball down and put in the shot, and great credit to everyone for refusing the give up." Moyes, who has been linked with Celtic midfielder Stilian Petrov, added: "I didn't think we would have time to get the winner, I must admit. The board had gone up and the time was running out but we kept getting in there. "I think we deserved it in the end because we kept going and apart from their goal and a few long-distance efforts Portsmouth didn't really threaten our goal.
"We've had to travel twice to London this Christmas and they've had to come up here. I made changes with fatigue in mind and the lads who came in played well which will be good for their confidence and the confidence of the whole squad. "With the addition of James we can go on into the New Year with a much stronger squad." Victory helped secure Everton's top-four place and, insisted Moyes, delivered a timely reminder of his side's recovery after defeats at Charlton and Tottenham. He said: "If there are questions being asked of us then I would ask by what standards are we being judged, by Arsenal and Manchester United's or Everton's? Moyes added: "People have got to be realistic about what level they are judging us by. "If they judge us by Everton standards then we are doing terrific but we never said we could match the standards set by Arsenal and United this season and people should remember that." Portsmouth coach Joe Jordan questioned referee Peter Walton's decision to play four minutes of extra time at Goodison after the fourth official had signalled a minimum of two. Jordan said: "I don't know where he got all that extra-time from after the board said two minutes. "There had been nobody on the pitch to treat injuries, and in fact both benches were surprised by how long he played. "I would like an explanation and I will be seeing the referee about it. It has been very costly for us. "We have gone through a tough period of matches and we felt we had done enough to have deserved a point. "He added such a long time on extra, and we all feel a bit hard done-by." But Moyes responded: "When the board goes up it shows the minimum amount of time the referee will add. "In fact he played four minutes, and we scored 30 seconds after the two minutes were up - so I suppose we managed our goal well within the limits.
"I do feel sorry for Joe but it is up to the referee how much he actually plays extra."
Decision to sign was 'very easy' - Beattie
By Paul Walker, Daily Post
Jan 5 2005
EVERTON have completed the signing of James Beattie and will be able play their new £6million record buy in the FA Cup on Saturday. The Merseysiders will be one of the first major benefactors from a new FA rule brought in for this transfer window, which has abolished the seven days' signing regulation for FA Cup ties. Now clubs can use players as long as they were registered by noon on the day before the tie, similar to the rules for the Premiership. Beattie's medical results were cleared just hours before Everton faced Portsmouth at Goodison Park last night, and he now has the all-clear to for the Cup tie at Plymouth on Saturday. An FA spokesman said: "The registration for the FA Cup used to be seven days before the tie, but that has been changed to help clubs during the transfer window. "Last season the third round of the Cup was right at the beginning of the month, which made it impossible for clubs to sign and field players in the third round." Beattie agreed terms on Sunday and was at their Bellefield training ground and a local private hospital, the following day to undergo his medical. The results could not be completed until yesterday afternoon, which delayed Everton's official confirmation. Beattie had also returned to the south coast to tie up personal matters before returning to Goodison Park just before the victory over Pompey to finally complete the move. Beattie revealed the decision to join Everton was "very easy," adding: "I'm absolutely delighted with the move. The chairman and the manager said how much they wanted me and wanted me to be a part of an Everton team that is doing really well. "I was impressed by what they had to say. "The direction of the club and where David Moyes wants to go with the chairman's backing, and obviously the position that we are in at the minute, has made the decision very easy." Moyes was thrilled to have signed a player he believes is one of the top strikers in the Premiership.
He said: "We are really pleased we have got him. We have kept up to date with his developments and we feel pleased he felt Everton is the right choice for him. "His record stands up with all the strikers in the Premiership. "He will be a good centre forward for us here and his goals will hopefully be important."
No Real deal for Gravesen insists agent
Jan 5 2005
THOMAS GRAVESEN'S agent has strenuously denied reports he is in talks with Real Madrid but has claimed "around half a dozen" top European clubs have expressed an interest in the Everton midfielder. Newspapers in Spain have strongly linked the Denmark international (right) with a £3million move to the Bernabeu and some reports claimed representative John Sivebaek was in the Spanish capital to finalise a deal. However Sivebaek denied he has received any official approach from the Primera Liga giants. "I've heard that Real Madrid are interested but there has been nothing official from them. "All I can say is that I've had contact with many big clubs in Europe "It's difficult to say something because there is a long way between interest and something happening. "Some newspapers even said I was in Madrid having talks with Real, but that's ridiculous because I am in Denmark." Sivebaek suggested even if Gravesen was to move it was likely to be at the end of the season and not in the current transfer window. "At the moment Thomas is concentrating on his football with Everton and he will speak to clubs later, perhaps in a month or two," he said, adding that it was "not impossible" Gravesen could stay at Goodison Park beyond the expiry of his contract in the summer.
Everton 2, Portsmouth 1 (Echo)
Jan 5 2005 By Scott McLeod at Goodison Park
IN THE space of 90 minutes last night James Beattie was provided with first hand evidence of why he was so right to choose the Blues over his other suitors - and why David Moyes was so keen to add his penalty box prowess to the Goodison ranks. Leon Osman's emphatic strike three minutes into injury time sent the Everton faithful into raptures and provided a thrilling climax to the first home game of 2005. It was a further example of the never-say-die spirit which has given the Toffees the edge over so many of their rivals this term. It also exploded the suggestion the side would not be the same after losing two games in a week. But the 92 minutes which preceded the 23-year-old's strike provided a reminder the side has needed an added injection of killer instinct in the final third of the pitch. Much of the game was hugely frustrating, thanks to the failure to convert a host of chances into a fitting lead - and that is why Beattie's added firepower is important. After the defeats in the capital the Blues needed to get back to what they have been doing so well this season - gathering points. In Portsmouth, they found suitable victims. But despite the Toffees' clear dominance in all areas of the pitch - albeit without the panache they displayed before the Christmas period - they couldn't muster the goal to earn the lead they merited until very, very late. By the time Osman swivelled in the box to smash the ball high into Shaka Hislop's net two minutes and 50 seconds into injury time, there were huge clumps of blue seating visible. Those fans who left should have known better. Osman and Everton are making a habit of these late winners. It speaks volumes for the character of the side. They keep fighting until the last kick. It is a quality so many other sides are striving for. But the ambition now is that with Beattie, and possible other signings added to the group of players who have performed so well this term, Everton will start to gather points by winning games emphatically long before the end. It will have made very interesting viewing from the sidelines for Beat-tie, who was paraded in front of the fans prior to kick-off. Twenty-four goals scored by Everton in the 21 Premier League games before last night tells its own story. It would be easy to explain that away with the argument that David Moyes has employed a 4-1-4-1 formation for much of this season. But that formation has not prevented the side creating a reasonable number of goalscoring opportunities in every game they have played. It is the strike-rate which needs to be improved. Even last night, with Kevin Campbell asked to familiarise himself with the lone striking role in his first league start since August and with a host of other changes to the line-up which could have disrupted the side's rhythm, Everton had enough chances to put the game well and truly beyond their visitors from the south coast. In the space of 10 minutes early in the second half Tim Cahill saw a downward header bounce up and over the bar, Osman dragged a shot agonisingly wide from 12 yards and James McFadden fired high over the bar after a great through ball from Lee Carsley had teed him up nicely in the penalty box. The best of the lot was reserved for a low, fizzing Gravesen drive seven minutes from time which produced a great stop from Hislop. But there were other chances. Both Campbell and Osman were able to reflect on a couple each at the end of the opening 45 minutes. Add to that list a couple of half-decent penalty shouts and you get the picture.
The great irony was that the one effort which did provide a goal came from a man who had not scored at Goodison for Everton before - and who had endured 89 games without a goal of any sort.
It came on 30 minutes. Thomas Gravesen whipped in a corner from the left and Alan Stubbs leapt highest to guide a header inside the far post. It has been a long wait for the skipper's first Goodison goal as an Everton player. So you had to feel a huge amount of sympathy that he was only able to enjoy that moment for 92 seconds before Aiyegbeni Yakubu levelled the scores with a near- post thunderbolt. It has been that kind of week for Everton. They struggle to get a break and then when they do, they shoot themselves in the foot. At Charlton the side had done enough to leave with a draw before capitulating in the final 10 minutes. At Tottenham they somehow escaped a first-half trouncing just one goal behind but then gifted victory to Spurs despite starting the second period much brighter. It is something that had to be rectified. Beattie's arrival is a crucial piece of the jigsaw. But of equal import was the evidence that back-to-back defeats had not knocked the spirit out of a side founded on that camaraderie. It was Osman who provided it here. The display in the opening half last night was infinitely better than that put on at White Hart Lane, yet Pompey still found themselves on level terms at the break. And in the second period the fans in the Park End required binoculars to get a decent view of the action as the home side laid siege to the Gwladys Street and Shaka Hislop's goal. At the back, the Blues had very little to trouble them, although Richard Wright ensured there were a few nervous moments by spilling shots from distance three times before recovering to shepherd away the danger. The 4-1-4-1 system has served Moyes well, particularly when the side has been firing on all cylinders. But every manager needs to have options to turn to when things are not going so well. With Beattie having to watch from the stands, Duncan Ferguson suspended and Marcus Bent on the bench after the over-exertions of Christmas week it was Campbell who had the thankless task of leading the line alone. And when it was clear an alternative approach was required the Blues had little to play with, other than switching Bent for Campbell and Kevin Kilbane for McFadden in the final 15 minutes. Bent fulfils the role excellently, thanks to his pace and his stamina. But even he, one of the stars of this exciting campaign, struggled to make an impact. Yet nobody let their heads drop. That is why the game was won, and that is why Beattie was grinning like a Cheshire cat as he left Goodison.
EVERTON (4-5-1): Wright; Hibbert, Yobo, Stubbs, Naysmith; Osman, Cahill, Carsley, Gravesen, McFadden (Kilbane 74); Campbell (Bent 74). Not used: Pistone, Weir, Turner.
PORTSMOUTH (4-4-2): Hislop; Primus, Stefanovic, De Zeeuw, O'Neil; Stone, Quashie, Faye (Cisse 74), Berger; Kamara, Yakubu (Taylor 85). Not used: Unsworth, Ashdown, Mezague.
REF: Mr P Walton
Champions League goal for Beattie
Jan 5 2005 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
JAMES BEATTIE watched his new team-mates beat Portsmouth 2-1 at Goodison last night and then vowed: "We can reach for the Champions League." The club record £6m signing, who was paraded before fans ahead of last night's game wearing his new number eight shirt, believes he has joined a team capable of maintaining its grip on a place in the top four. "Everton is a massive club and I feel we can stay where we are and I'll help and do everything I can to maintain that Champions League spot," insists the 26-year-old, who has signed a four-and-a-half year contract. "I think we're capable of doing that. With the team spirit and the quality of players we've got here as well hopefully we can stay up there and maintain it. "I watched the game a couple of weeks ago when there were mad scrambles and people patting each other on the back. I knew that Everton were interested in me then and I thought: 'I'll have a piece of that.' "That's what a big part of my game is about - teamwork, mucking in and then obviously the goals as well." Leon Osman's last-minute winner against Pompey last night provided further evidence to back up Beattie's assessment. It also extended Everton's lead over fifth placed Liverpool to six points as they continue to keep a tight grip on a Champions League berth. Middlesbrough, who are Everton's next league opponents on Saturday week, trail the Blues by eight points after their defeat at Chelsea. That game at the Riverside is set to be Beattie's Premier League debut for the club. His first competitive bow for the club will be against Plymouth in Saturday's FA Cup third round tie. Beattie was at the Bellefield training ground today doing extra work in order to ensure he is match fit for the game after being dropped from the Southampton line-up over the Christmas period ahead of his transfer.
Moyes' vision made difference - Beattie
Jan 5 2005 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
JAMES BEATTIE has already seen evidence of why David Moyes is rated as one of the finest young managers in British football. Everton's new £6m signing needed just a few minutes with the Goodison chief before deciding to complete his move to Merseyside. And it was Moyes' vision of the club which convinced Beattie to turn his back on Aston Villa - a club that had been chasing him for almost 12 months - in order to join Moyes' Good-ison revolution. The 26-year-old revealed: "I'm absolutely delighted with the move. The chairman and the manager said how much they wanted me and wanted me to be a part of an Everton team that's doing really well. "But I went to see what Aston Villa had to say. It was a very good meeting but the decision in the end was made easy. "I was impressed with what Everton had to say. The direction of the club and where David Moyes wants to go with the chairman's backing and obviously the position that we're in at the minute has made the decision very easy. "I've also been impressed with what Everton have done this season and the gaffer has described the club as 'a monster', so hopefully I'll find out in the next four-and-a-half years that it is and hopefully we can take it on even further." Moyes tried to land Beattie on transfer deadline day in August following Wayne Rooney's switch to Old Traf-ford but the Saints were unwilling to offload their prized asset then. The Goodison chief was undeterred. And believes the wait will prove worth it. "We are really pleased we have got him," he admitted with a hint of relief.
"We have kept up to date with the developments and we feel pleased he felt Everton is the right choice for him. "His record stands up with all the strikers in the Premier League. He will be a good centre-forward for us here and his goals will hopefully be important." Having netted 17 goals for Southampton last season, Beattie forced his way into the England squad and attracted the attention of other bosses. But while his eye for goal was the main reason Moyes took such a significant dip into the transfer market, the player himself is intent on providing more to the side. "I'd like to think there's a lot more I can offer Everton than just goals although goalscoring is obviously the main aspect of it," he contines. "Hopefully I can bring a physical presence, good link up play and hope-fully create nearly as many goals as I score. "Obviously I had the goalscoring burden at Southampton for five years and hopefully this won't be any different, I'll just go out and play my football. I'll try to play with a smile on my face and if we're winning then I'll have an even bigger smile on my face."
After a turbulent six months at St Mary's, that will be a refreshing change for the former Blackburn hitman. He realised last week his days on the south coast were coming to an end. He explains: "Harry said about a week ago that he needed funds to strengthen the team in various areas and the only person that he could raise funds from was me. "I basically knew from that point that he was going to try and find a club. I knew that Everton and other clubs were interested and the chairman accepted the offer and here I am." Beattie will go straight into the Blues' squad for Saturday's FA Cup third round tie at Plymouth. His Premiership debut will be seven days later at Middlesbrough.
Toffees' thirst for battle tastes ever so sweet
Jan 5 2005 By Paul Walker, Liverpool Echo
IF anyone was expecting Everton to crumble and drop out of the Champions League hunt after successive defeats, they should think again after the effort and commitment that secured a last-gasp 2-1 win over Portsmouth. Twelve times now this season they have won by the odd goal, and five times they have claimed winning goals in the final 10 minutes of matches. That says everything about Everton's desire and fitness. Boss David Moyes said after another victory in the closing stages: "Nobody can doubt the effort and desire these lads are showing. "We had lost twice in succession for the first time this season but still bounced back to take the points. "And considering it was in the final minutes of a very tough holiday programme of four matches so close together, it says everything about this side." Moyes, who had new signing James Beattie watching the game after the completion of his £6million move from Southampton, claimed he was forced to rest players and use other members of his small squad after the fatigue of recent days. He admitted: "It was a gamble, but I looked around the squad and felt people needed to be rested. "But what it has done is given me more options and the squad will be that much stronger now going into the second half of the season." Moyes admitted he felt the chance of a winner had gone as the game crept into injury time, saying: "I felt time was running out. "We had thrown everything at them and we had witnessed as good a performance by two centre backs in Portsmouth's Linvoy Primus and Arjan De Zeeuw as have been seen anywhere this season. "They handled everything in the air to be fair to them. But we still kept plugging away and the goal Leon Osman scored to win it was a real cracker."
The pros and cons of signing Beattie
Jan 5 2005 Echo Letters
The pros and cons of signing Beattie
JAMES BEATTIE is a good signing. He's a decent player, holds up play well, is fairly skilful, and has the potential to be another classic Everton centre forward in the Joe Royle/ Graeme Sharp mould. I have had arguments about what type of forward we should be going for, and a big lad has worked for us for years up front. The poacher we all go on about hasn't appeared since Lineker left the park so I say we should get behind him. I'm sure he can easily contribute 10-15 goals before the end of the season.
Nick Flack, Warrington
BEATTIE'S not too bad, but look what Spurs got for £7m - Jermain Defoe. Now if we had shopped about a bit couldn't we have found a classier player? Dean Ashton would be so much better - young and at half the price - you can't go wrong.
GET Thomas Gravesen signed up! Moyes is using the same language he used before Rooney left and we all know what happened then. The signing of Beattie is a signal of the club's new intent and Moyes should be using this and other key signings to persuade Tommy to stay.
Steve O, Huyton
I THINK Beattie will be a great signing for us. Some people are not too sure and would prefer Yakubu. I'd rather see Beattie in an Everton shirt than him. Yakubu had a great season last year, but he hasn't shown that sort of form this year. He had an injury and is looking a few yards off the pace.
For me, I think we have got the best player available at this time. Anyway, Moyes knows what he's doing!
IT'S been a long time since we were able to compete in the transfer market and even longer since a player chose Everton over another big club. That alone is a victory. So now let's go and get Wayne Routlege from Palace.
Mark Lee, Wavertree
Fans dig deep for tsunami fund
Jan 5 2005 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON fans dug deep to raise cash for the tsunami disaster at last night's game against Portsmouth. Forty volunteers circulated with collecting buckets to add to the sum already raised through Everton's own appeal fund. Fans also held a minute's silence before the start of the game.
The club has close links with Thailand through its sponsor Chang beer. Ian Ross, head of PR and Corporate Affairs, said he was not surprised by the generosity shown. He said: "A great deal of money has come in - the response has been fantastic from all Evertonians and our appeal fund has received cheques from Liverpool supporters too." Players will be making their own contribution.
Meanwhile, Liverpool and Norwich fans raised more than £13,000 for the appeal at a collection ahead of Monday night's match at Carrow Road.
Ambitious Beattie 'can be the new Dixie Dean'
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jan 6 2005
JAMES BEATTIE last night admitted he was seduced by Bill Kenwright's powers of persuasion as he revealed the Everton chairman had told him: "We will make you the next Dixie Dean!" The England international resisted an approach from Aston Villa to become Everton's £6million record signing on Tuesday. And the striker admitted the decision was made simple by the ambition of the Goodison chairman and manager David Moyes as they displayed an enthusiasm for his services Villa could not match. Beattie said: "Before I signed Mr Kenwright was on the phone to me every 10 minutes telling me how much I would love it here and how far I could go. The fact he and the gaffer showed they wanted me to be an Everton player so much was a major factor in my decision to come here. "Mr Kenwright said he would make me the next Dixie Dean! I was reading a book about him yesterday and all I can say is if I get 60 goals in a season, I'll be very happy. I'll settle for 50 instead!" Moyes believes Beattie can continue the tradition of great centreforwards at Everton, although he sees similarities with more latter day legends than Dean. The Everton manager said: "His stature is something I wanted. This club has had a string of great centre-forwards and James for me is a mix of Graeme Sharp and Andy Gray all in one. "If he can be that - and everybody knows how good they were for this club - then we will have a great player. I believe he can be that sort of player. He can operate on his own up front and he can play in a partnership. He is hard working and good in the air. The goals he has scored in recent years shows he is among the very best. "We hope he can be a new talisman here. We have signed him for the right reasons. He is a big step for us in trying to catch the really big clubs we find ourselves rubbing shoulders with at the moment." After two seasons scouring for transfer bargains Moyes has broken a transfer record that has stood for eight years with Beattie's £6m capture. And he will not hesitation raising that barrier again as Everton look to close ground on their Premier-ship rivals. "This is an important signing for Everton and something we hope to do more of," Moyes insisted. "In today's market £6m is not a massive amount for a top centre forward. It is a good price for James Beattie. "The real question is not that Everton have spent £6m on a striker but how many clubs in the Premier League haven't spent £6m or more on a striker in recent years? Not many. "We got £28m in the summer when Wayne and Tomasz left and have spent £6m. That's not bad. "If the right players become available in the future I will have no problem going beyond £6m and the board are as ambitious too. We all want to keep progressing and moving things on." Beattie could repay his transfer fee if he provides the goals that ensure Everton's remarkable season secures a place in Europe. But Moyes insists his purchase is part of a long-term plan for the club rather than a short-term jolt for this campaign. He explained: "I have not necessarily made this signing with Europe in mind this season. "A small squad has worked well for us this season but it was not planned this way and whatever happened, I am building a team not just for this season but for next season and the season after. I am trying to get a good blend of players together who can take the club forward over the next three or four years. "Nobody expected us to be doing this well and if we hadn't then maybe we wouldn't have been able to sign James Beattie.
"But with this signing people can now see we are trying to make things happen and we are trying to compete with the top boys more often. "Bill (Kenwright) has been important in this deal too. He has a passion for the place that he passes on to everyone he speaks to." Thomas Gravesen's agent John Sivebaek, meanwhile, has confessed Real Madrid are interested in the Everton midfielder - 24 hours after denying any knowledge of an approach from the Spanish giants. Sivebaek, who is fuelling the "rumour factory" around Gravesen, admitted last night: "I have had contact with someone from Real Madrid. They told me they were interested in Thomas and would come back later."
'Monster' club the right place for me
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jan 6 2005
THREE factors helped James Beattie arrive at the most critical decision of his professional career last weekend - the past, the present and the future of Everton Football Club. By the time Beattie drove up to Doug Ellis's house on Saturday night he was already set on Goodison Park, and speaking to the Aston Villa purely as a matter of courtesy. He had been swayed by the complete package of Everton or, as he admitted yesterday when publicly unveiled as the club's new £6million record signing: "It all seems right for me here." The appeal of the past for Beattie lies in the tradition of powerful, productive centreforwards at Goodison Park. Responsibility, increased by tradition and the price tag, is something he will thrive upon. The lure of the present was illustrated to him on Tuesday night as an Everton team with designs on Europe fought, pressed and played for 94 minutes to earn a thrilling victory over Portsmouth. No-one knows what the future holds, especially at Everton, but the former Southampton hero believes he has arrived at the start of a bright new era fashioned by David Moyes and the club's emerging ambition. Back to the beginning, however, and Lancaster-born Beattie admits the history and standing of Everton was the first decisive factor in the move. "I always knew it was a big club with a massive tradition," he said. "The fans are very passionate and they know their football. A lady turned up at the training ground when I was having my medical with 'Beattie' on her shirt and everybody has made me feel so welcome, the gaffer and all the directors especially. "Before I signed, Mr Kenwright was on the phone to me every 10 minutes telling me how much I would love it here and how far I could go. That fact he showed he wanted me to be an Everton player so much was a major factor in my decision to come here. "He said he would make me the next Dixie Dean! I was reading a book about him yesterday and all I can say is if I get 60 goals in a season I'll be very happy. I'll settle for 50 instead! "I know the responsibility that is on me now and I think it is something I'll thrive on. It will be a challenge for me and I like that. I had the burden of goals at Southampton and while that put added pressure on me it didn't affect me and it was something I enjoyed. It spurred me on when I went out on to the pitch." Beattie shares a more recent history with Everton than Dean, however, in a connection with David Moyes that extends to the manager's days at Preston. Everton's new centre-forward was a teenage hopeful with Blackburn Rovers when Moyes, then assistant manager to Gary Peters at Deepdale, first made an impression. Beattie revealed: "As soon as I knew Everton were in for me it was easy. I've known the gaffer from when I was at Blackburn and I went on trial at Preston. The gaffer was there as a player-manager and was good to me then. "I was on trial at Preston because Blackburn just wanted me to get some experience. I was supposed to be there for a month but something happened at Blackburn and I had to go back so I was only at Preston for a few days in the end. "The gaffer was still playing for Preston and was played in the same team against Crewe reserves. I played against him a few times for Blackburn reserves too, he was quite good!" Moyes recalls: "We tried to get him on loan, all sorts, as he was a big raw lad who was good in the air, on the floor and had a reputation for scoring terrific goals from distance. "But we couldn't get him in the end. I played with him in a game against Crewe reserves and against him a few times too. He was always in my pocket!" Moyes, however, has been far more influential on Beattie's career by creating a present day Everton side that now harbours realistic aspirations of Europe this season, and of ending years of decline beyond. "When I knew the gaffer wanted to speak to me I didn't hesitate," said Beattie. "He told me that the club is a monster and with the current league position and the ambition he showed me, along with Mr Kenwright, it was an easy decision to make. Iwent to see Villa on Saturday but the difference between the two was how much the manager and Mr Ken-wright wanted me at Everton. It was a massive deciding factor. "They definitely made me feel more wanted and their enthusiasm was such that I just couldn't say no to Everton. "I've been around the club only two or three days and it just feels right. Everybody is so friendly, so many fans have wished me good luck and all the players have made me feel very welcome. I went in the players lounge after the game on Tuesday and that can be a bit strange at first with all the families around, but even in there everyone was speaking to each other and getting on well. It all seems right for me." The work ethic that proved so crucial in Tuesday's defeat of Portsmouth also convinced Beattie he can fit perfectly into the system Moyes has created at Goodison. He said: "I couldn't believe how hard the lads worked and the amount of chances they created through not giving up and working so hard. I spoke to a few lads this morning, Tim Cahill and Tommy Gravesen, and they said they were knack-ered after a hard period over the last two weeks.
"They worked so hard against Portsmouth and that is a massive part of my game. I'm looking forward to getting stuck into it. When Leon scored I was out of my seat like a fan, it was brilliant."
And what of the future for Everton, one that could give Beattie another taste of Europe if his goals and presence help to maintain the side's present trajectory? Beattie, who made two appearances in the UEFA Cup for Southampton, insists: "This seems to be a club that is going places. The way the lads worked for each other against Portsmouth is a massive thing and, added to the talent they obviously have, then it's a great formula for the future. It feels like the start of something good here. The gaffer has told me he wants to bring in some more players as well. He hasn't told me who they are but said he wants players of a similar class to take the club forward, not saying I'm good of course! "The team has been unbelievable this season. When Wayne (Rooney) left people were probably expecting the worst but the spirit and the talent here has taken the club on. The club is going in the right direction." Everton and Europe are the primary concerns for Beattie now. But his determination to make the most of both, and thereby revive an international career that was brought to an abrupt halt before Euro 2004, is obvious. Beattie admits: "It disappointed me slipping out of the England reckoning but the thing that disappointed me the most was not getting an explanation as to why I was left out of the squad for the European Championships. "Being dropped is something that happens but not to even get a phone call to explain why I was being excluded really disappointed me. "If you're not in the squad you're not in the squad, but I would have expected a reason why and a discussion about how I can get back in and what I need to work on.
"I am still not sure why. I was always asked if it was because I was at Southampton but myself and Wayne Bridge showed we could do it so I don't believe it was that. "If I can get into the Everton side and play well then I can get back into Mr Eriksson's thoughts. It is definitely an ambition of mine. I felt comfortable at that level, with world class players around me, and I think I was unlucky not to score. On another day I could have scored two or three."
The record-breakers who came in at No 8
James Beattie isn't the first record signing to wear the No 8 shirt. In the past Nick Barmby in 1996, Gary Lineker in 1985, Adrian Heath in 1982 and Alan Ball in 1966 have done the same.
Fans set for another Cup pilgrimage
Post Past by Philip J Redmond Everton supporter, Daily Post
Jan 6 2005
THIS week brings one of the true highlights of the season, the FA Cup third round, which despite the efforts of Sky and the new soccer brigade remains a massive draw. This week, Everton face a tricky looking away game against Championship side Plymouth Argyle, a match that revives memories of two previous fourth-round ties in 1975 and 1989. In '75, Everton travelled down as league leaders. One thing that sticks in my memory is that on the same day Liverpool (the holders) also faced a long trip down to Ipswich for their tie. The Daily Post on the Monday revealed that while 4,000 Reds had travelled down to East Anglia, 7,500 Blues had made the longer trip. This was apparently the biggest game in West Country football for years and the game was a 38,000 sell-out, while millions more enjoyed the game on Match of The Day that night. Plymouth featured a very young Paul Mariner and despite Everton's lofty league position, many pundits predicted a possible shock. On the day, Everton were far to good for their third division rivals and early goals from Mike Lyons and Jim Pearson put Everton well in the ascendancy. Plymouth got one back after the break before Lyons struck again to send the Blues into the last 16. Fourteen years later the two sides met again at the same stage and by this time Plymouth were in the second division and gave the Blues a far tougher examination in front of another sell-out crowd. Everton, after spending big on the likes of Tony Cottee, Pat Nevin and Stuart McCall were stuttering in the League while ex-Liverpool junior Tommy Tynan was billed as Plymouth's dangerman. Plymouth actually took the lead through Sean McCarthy and it took a late debatable Kevin Sheedy penalty to ensure a midweek Goodison replay. Everton comfortably triumphed 4-0 on the following Tuesday, with a Graeme Sharp double and goals for Nevin and another one for the majestic Sheedy.
Law-makers are open to new technology ideas
By Simon Stone, Daily Post
Jan 6 2005
FOOTBALL'S lawmakers last night invited ball manufacturers to impress them with technological advances which can prove the legitimacy of goals following Pedro Mendes' bitter Old Trafford frustration. The International Football Association Board, on which world governing body FIFA have four votes and the Home Nations one each, will meet in Cardiff on February 26, where adidas will showcase the ball they believe can benefit the game. The IFAB state on the agenda for next month's meeting that "adidas believe that the new ball is a revolution in optimising the referee decision and not comparable with any other existing system". The introduction of some sort of electronic aid to help match officials determine such instances has long been the subject of much debate. And Tuesday night's incident, where Manchester United goal-keeper Roy Carroll got away with dropping Tottenham midfielder Mendes's 55-yard shot over his line, has led to another clamour for instant replays to become part of the modern game. Neither referee Mark Clattenburg, nor his assistant Robert Lewis, spotted Carroll letting the ball fall three feet behind the line in the dying stages of the goalless Barclays Premiership clash at Old Trafford. Along with their Scottish and Northern Ireland counterparts, the Football Association feel there is a case for trialling new technology. However they all remain opposed to the use of television replays to determine incidents such as penalties, offsides and dismissals. Adidas are expected to point out the benefits of their latest invention, a ball with a microchip which bleeps once it has fully crossed the goal-line. Six out of a possible eight IFAB votes would be enough to set up an experiment, and while the FA wish to reserve judgement until after the Cardiff summit, the indications are they would agree to such a move, providing guarantees were given that the game would not be held up. However, where such a test period would be implemented in this country should it get the go-ahead remains to be seen as the English Premier League, Football League and Conference all currently have ball sponsorship deals with different companies. In a statement released last night, FIFA said: "In the context of goal-line technology, the International Football Association Board will receive a presentation on a new technical proposal. A demonstration of the system is also planned at a time and place yet to be decided." The Premier League also offered a view, giving their qualified backing to an experiment. Their statement said: "If a system, which can definitively prove whether the ball crossed the goal line, is developed that is tried, tested and approved by FIFA and the FA and shown to be consistently more accurate than the present arrangements, without disrupting the flow of the game, we would then look at introducing such a system into our competition."
Beattie keen to forge partnership with old pal Bent
Jan 6 2005 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
JAMES BEATTIE believes he could forge a strong partnership at Everton alongside Marcus Bent.
The £6m signing (left) is set to make his debut for the Blues in Saturday's FA Cup third round tie at Plymouth. And manager David Moyes has hinted that the arrival of the England international could now give him the option of reverting back to a 4-4-2 system - ensuring Bent, signed from Ipswich last summer, keeps hold of his place in the side. Bent has spent much of this season playing as a lone striker but has earned the hearts of the fans by fulfilling the role excellently with his selfless running.
Beattie, who is already a friend of Bent's, believes the duo could work well together. "I am looking forward to playing first of all, but I have known Marcus for quite a while now and hopefully we can forge a friendship and partnership on a day-to-day basis on and off the pitch," he said. "It would be good to get a partnership going because that helps you as a striker. "But I will do whatever the manager wants me to do, provided I am playing!" Moyes admits that Beattie's arrival gives him greater options. He said: "James can operate on his own up front and he can play in a partnership. He is hard working and good in the air. "The goals he has scored in recent years shows he is among the best. "We hope he can be a new talisman here. We have signed him for the right reasons.
"He is a big step for us in trying to catch the really big clubs we find ourselves rubbing shoulders with at the moment. "This is an important signing and something we want to do more of. I have not necessarily made this signing with Europe in mind this season. "A small squad has worked well for us this season but it was not planned this way and whatever happens, I am building a team not just for this season but for next season and the season after." Whether Thomas Gravesen is a part of that long-term vision remains to be seen. The Dane is out of contract at the end of the season and his agent John Sivebaek admitted last night that he has been contacted by representatives of Real Madrid. The Spanish giants have drawn up a list of three players they are keen to sign during the current transfer window, believed to be made up of Gravesen, former Goodison target Mark van Bommel and French starlet Rio Mavuba. Sivebaek said: "I have had contact with someone from Real Madrid. They told me they were interested in Thomas and would come back later." Madrid are believed to be willing to pay £2m for Gravesen but have still not made any contact with Everton.
How Beattie appearance has bridged the years
Jan 6 2005 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
THE seed of James Beattie's move to Goodison was sown almost a decade ago. He is now 26 and one of the highest-rated strikers in the Premiership. But the Lancastrian was just a fresh-faced teenager eager to make his mark on the game when he played in a trial at Preston North End during David Moyes' spell as assistant manager to Gary Peters. He was up against the imposing frame of the man who masterminded this week's £6m transfer. Clearly they left an impression on each other. During yesterday's press conference to unveil Everton's club record signing, both Moyes and Beattie used the words "honest" when talking about the other. There is clearly a like-minded approach to the game from the duo which is as clear now as it was when they faced each other as players. "I have always liked what he has had to say as a manager," explains Beattie.. "And he clearly likes his sides to play the same way he did, which is the way I like to play. "I went to Preston on trial when I was at Blackburn as a young lad and the gaffer was playing in that match. He was the centre-half and I was the striker so I got a good idea of what he was like then. "He was an honest player and he is the same as a manager. But I think that is obvious from his interviews - even to those people who don't know him." The manager's mindset has been translated to the pitch by his players this season.
Beattie has been taking note. "I love the kind of honesty the lads showed the other night against Portsmouth," he continues. "They work so hard together and I am like that. "My dad had met a few people before I signed and he said the feel of the place was right. And now I am here I know he was spot-on. "The lads are great and have really made me feel welcome. "That is so important for a club. You can have good players, but if they all get on together then you will have a much better team because when you are close you are more prepared to work for each other and fight and scrap for everything. "The Portsmouth game showed that. I loved it. When Leon scored I was off my feet, I was buzzing. "They are enjoying themselves so much, but there is also a lot of hard work and talent in there as well." Having endured a torrid 12 months at Southampton, where he has seen three managerial changes and been a part of the club's slump in form, he was ready to re-ignite his career on Merseyside. He helped make that a reality by providing Moyes with a timely reminder of his capabilities during last season's 3-3 draw at St Mary's. It was Beattie's arrival as a half-time substitute which transformed the complexion of the game and denied Everton victory. In the aftermath, the Goodison chief could not contain his admiration of the Lancaster-born forward.
It was the kind of display Beattie produced regularly during the 2002/03 season. He wants to get back to that form again. "That season I did pretty well, scoring 24 goals. I was giving my all in games and then coming off feeling like I could play another match straight away. "I felt that good and that fit and I want to get back to feeling like that again. "We had a great season that year, finishing seventh in the table and getting to the FA Cup final. "That season gave me a taste of what I want to achieve regularly in the game. They were good times and I think we can match that or even better it here. "The prospect of silverware is very real here and hopefully I can contribute to making it a reality. "I know this club has a history of big, imposing centre-forwards. I would like to become part of that. "I like getting stuck in and throwing my weight around upsetting centre-halves. That is a big part of my game." And it is a big reason why Moyes has kept close tabs on the player over the last decade before finally boasting the financial clout to get his man.
'England still very much in my thoughts'
Jan 6 2005 Liverpool Echo
JAMES BEATTIE is determined to prove Sven-Goran Eriksson wrong following his £6million transfer to Everton. The 26-year-old (right) broke into the international set-up last season, only to be unceremoniously dumped from the squad ahead of the Euro 2004 finals. "England is still very much in my thoughts," said Beattie. "It is a definite ambition and if I start scoring goals here then I will be looking to get back into the England squad. "It has been a disappointment that I seemed to have drifted away from that scene, but what disappointed me the most was that there was no explanation for being left out of the Euro 2004 squad. "That really set me back and disappointed me a lot. It would only have taken a couple of minutes to give me a ring and be told why. To be told what I had done and what it needed for me to get back into the squad, being out of the squad was bad enough but that was really bad for me. "But I am sure that if I get into the team here and score goals then I will be back in Mr Eriksson's thoughts again." David Moyes also believes Beattie can salvage his England career while at Goodison Park. The Scot said: "He is approaching his peak as a centre-forward and if he's banging in goals for Everton and we're near the top of the table, then people will be clamouring for him to be back in the England squad."
Jan 6 2005 Liverpool Echo
'Ossie popped up with the winner and the place went ballistic' - James Tyrell EVERYTHING that sections of the press had said about us, was proving accurate. They said the busy Christmas period would test our thin squad and that one or two enforced changes would see our run ended.
But, as much as Everton had been written off, no-one had written them off more than myself when the 90 minutes were up on Tuesday night. Then Leon served up another wonderful highlight.
Last season was remarkable for its lack of highlights, but this campaign the 'best-of' DVD will need some thoughtful editing. The manner of the victory was very satisfying. For the first time in a somewhat worrying while, we thoroughly deserved to win. And as for James Beattie? Well, I'm open minded, but by choosing us, he's in the good books straight away.
GEOFF HARRISON, West Derby
THE victory against Portsmouth was a real bonus. I was preparing to leave Goodison, bemoaning more dropped points when Ossie popped up with the winner and the place went ballistic. Even though it wasn't the best performance of the season it was great to see the players fighting to the end again and going after the winner. The Christmas period doesn't look too bad now, having won two and lost two. I'm sure James Beattie in the stand will have thought the team showed fight and created lots of chances. He will be a good signing and £6million isn't a bad price, considering we paid £4.5m for Nyarko and Bakayoko. Hopefully he can start with a few goals against Plymouth and we can attract some more players soon.
JAMES TYRELL, Woolton
IT was great to get back that winning feeling and to do it with the last kick of the match makes it sweeter. To see Moyes bounce around the pitch when Everton scored shows how much it meant to the team and supporters. The Christmas break has had the obvious effects on our small squad and at times highlighted the limitations of some players, particularly in the heavy defeat at Tottenham.
However, with the acquisition of James Beattie and hopefully one or two more signings we can maintain our stay in the top section of the table. We're fourth in the league, have 43 points on the board and are six points clear of Liverpool. All this and we've still to play our new £6 million striker.
I'm sure the remainder of the season will be just as enjoyable as the first half.
STEVE SHONE, Wallasey
WHETHER it's one of the best or one of the worst games you'll see, a last minute winner is always sweet. We didn't play particularly well against Pompey, but results are the most important thing.
The more we win, the longer we stay in the top four. That's the dream and the reason why James Beattie has signed. Is he what we need? He's not the quickest but in the last two seasons he's scored over 15 goals both times and scored 23 league goals in 02-03. The last real goalscorer we had was probably Tony Cottee. He scored the scrappy goals that won games. Six million pounds is a lot of money. He's now our record signing and we can't afford for him to be a failure.
We need him to repay the faith Moyes has put in him but I have no doubt he will.
KEN STEWART, Thatto Heath
Search hots up for Mersey soccer fans of the year
Jan 6 2005 Liverpool Echo
THERE is still time for you to help us unearth Merseyside's Super Fans. We want to honour the supporters who go that extra mile to back their clubs. Whether they are staunch Blues, blood red Liverpudlians or die hard Tranmere fans, we want to honour their loyalty. And what a prize awaits them. A Fan of the Year chosen for each club will be invited to the ECHO's glittering Sports Personality of the Year ceremony next month at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. There they will rub shoulders with some of the biggest names in sport. So get your nominations in now. It could be a friend who has not missed a match in years or a work colleague who selflessly helps other supporters. Or it could be someone with a touching story to tell. We want to hear all about them.
A panel of judges will select the most deserving fan from each of Merseyside's three clubs and they will be invited to our sports dinner. Don't forget to include daytime numbers for yourself and the person you are nominating so we can get in touch. Send your nominations to Fan of the Year, ECHO Sport, PO Box 48, Old Hall St, Liverpool L69 3EB. Or you can e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stubbs: Players need break from festive fixtures
Jan 7 2005
By Ian Doyle Daily Post Staff
ALAN STUBBS has called for a Christmas break after Everton's threadbare squad was stretched to the limit over the festive period. David Moyes's exhausted side roused themselves on Tuesday evening with a last-gasp success against Portsmouth at Goodison. Everton had previously been beaten on long trips to Charlton Athletic and Tottenham Hotspur as the demands of playing four games in nine days took its toll. And with Stubbs and his team-mates preparing for another lengthy trek tomorrow to Plymouth Argyle in the FA Cup third round, the centre-back has suggested the Football Association should contemplate implementing a Christmas break. "It's been a test over Christmas for the lads, it's been very tiring," he said.. "The FA have put a huge ask on the clubs this Christmas, not just us. Every club's been in the same boat and I think people need to sit down and have a good think about it because it's not good for the players and not good for the clubs to be playing so many games in such a short space of time." He added: "I'm all for a Christmas break. I think Christmas is a time for families. "We get criticised for a lot of the things that we do but on the other hand we never get a Christmas or New Year at home. "It's obviously not a big price to pay but at that time of the year I think it's an ideal opportunity to recharge the batteries, spend Christmas at home with your family like everyone else and come some time in January start the season again." Stubbs will be part of the squad travelling south today in preparation for tomorrow's clash with Championship side Plymouth. Despite the busy fixture list, manager Moyes has no fresh injury worries and is expected to again change the line-up from that which defeated Portsmouth earlier this week, with new £6million record signing James Beattie poised for his Everton debut. Meanwhile, it has emerged Thomas Gravesen is on a shortlist of three as Real Madrid seek midfield reinforcements. Madrid value the Danish international, who is out of contract at the end of the season, at £2m.
Now sell Dunc
Jan 7 2005 Post Soapbox, Icliverpool & Daily Post
Now sell Dunc
DUNCAN Ferguson remains a liability for Everton and should be sold for the highest amount we can get. As for James Beattie, David Moyes would not buy him if it was a bad move for the club and one goal every three games is not a poor return.
Bobby Andrews (via e-mail)
JAMES Beattie is a powerhouse. Guts, determination and the engine of Sir Bobby. Goals are coming, make no mistake.
Pete Torrance (via e-mail)
IT'S GREAT news that Everton have signed Beattie. It's the first time we've signed a 15-20 goals a season centre-forward since Gary Lineker. I just hope the move can inspire him back to form again. If it does, we've got a couple of good forwards competing for the lone striker position (Marcus Bent can always play on the right and move Leon Osman inside if need be). I'd still like to see us sign another quality midfielder with the £4m David Moyes has left to keep Tim Cahill and Thomas Gravesen on their toes (and perhaps rest them every now and then). I just can't think of anyone who'd fit the team's work ethic and who is actually available (forget Savage).
Mark Seed (via e-mail)
I HOPE that JB will fit in, for he will need good service. His fitness must be a concern but he is a proven goal scorer. The present system works only if all players are highly mobile and extremely quick. Luck is also needed, and we have had our share this season.
Roger Williams (via e-mail)
REGARDING all the fuss about too much extra time at the Portsmouth game, the two minutes was never enough in the first place.
Yakubu lumbered off when substituted and the referee pointed to his watch to add extra time. There were also four subs and, anyway, the two minutes is a minimum. Well done Everton and thanks James for choosing us, you won't regret it.
Sean Thornton (via e-mail)
EVERTON deserved to beat Portsmouth. Lots of possession and they created good chances. I would dump Gravesen also at this point if he doesn't commit to Everton, but not before replacing him with someone. I would spend the rest of the kitty on a creative midfielder.
Frank Flynn (via e-mail)
Spirited Everton are quick to mend burst
Jan 7 2005
By Mark O'Brien Everton supporter, Daily Post
IS THERE an opposite of bursting? If there is, then that seemed to be what was happening to Everton's bubble on Tuesday night. A heavy defeat at Tottenham - a result put into some perspective by Spurs' controversial, solitary point at Old Trafford - had the doom-mongers and the envious supporters of other clubs positively rubbing their hands with glee at the start of the week, but a record signing and yet another dramatic winner had them muttering into their beer once again. It's probably fair to say that there are a few reservations about James Beattie amongst the Everton support, but if David Moyes thinks he can do a good job for the Blues then that's good enough for most people. And it was nice to hear a player who was genuinely coveted elsewhere say how impressed he was with the manager and the chairman's vision of where they wish to take the club, as we shouldn't forget that this represents a massive move for him at this stage of his career.
If he has genuine ambitions to get back into the England squad then he has to do the business, week in, week out. It will be interesting to see what part he plays in tomorrow's game at Plymouth, although there are rumours, of course, that he won't be the last addition to the squad before the transfer window closes. That said, the existing personnel did us proud again on Tuesday, even if they did leave it extremely late. The way they hammered a very resilient Portsmouth for the final 20 minutes was testament to their fitness and their determination, especially on the back of two difficult and disappointing games over Christmas. A lot of teams might have started to feel sorry for themselves, but not this lot, and their late reward - the sort of goal that good sides always seem to have a habit of snatching - was thoroughly deserved. Although it would surprise nobody if the manager indulges in more squad rotation tomorrow, especially after seeing the miles that the likes of Thomas Gravesen and Tim Cahill have run, he only has to think back to Gay Meadow the season before last to remind himself of the dangers of complacency. A similar shock would be incredibly disappointing, especially given that with Chelsea running away with the league, the FA Cup represents our only realistic chance of silverware. And it's hard to think of many sides who would relish drawing us.
Moyes backs key man McFadden
Jan 7 2005 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has tipped James McFadden to become a crucial figure for Everton as the club begins its double assault on the FA Cup and qualification for Europe. The young Scot (pictured) started just seven league games in 2004 because of a dip in form and confidence. But the Goodison chief has returned him to the side for the last two games. And he believes the 21-year-old demonstrated with his goal against Spurs - his first competitive strike for the club - and his display against Portsmouth that he is getting back to his eyecatching best. He is expected to be asked to repeat that form against Plymouth in tomorrow's televised FA Cup third round tie at Home Park. "I think the last couple of games have given Faddy a lift and we need him because he is the kind of player who can make things happen and who can eliminate people," admitted Moyes. "To be that type of player you have to play well all the time and it is a different job to most other positions. "But he is a young player who is improving. And scoring at Tottenham and then doing well against Portsmouth will do him the world of good. We have a lot of confidence in him." It is a confidence shared by McFadden's team-mates, who have been pleased to see him back on form. Marcus Bent added: "In training, Faddy has been working really hard. He has been down but he has still been working his socks off and waiting for his chance. Hopefully, now he has taken it." The Blues travel to Plymouth without any serious injuries and with new £6m signing James Beattie ready to make his bow. The 26-year-old has been doing extra fitness work this week to prove his readiness. He is in line to start up front alongside Bent. Duncan Ferguson will stay on Merseyside as he serves the final game of his three-match ban.
Osman: We never stop believing
Jan 7 2005 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
LEON OSMAN has warned Plymouth that the physical demands of the festive period will not make Everton any easier to overcome in tomorrow's FA Cup third round tie. The Blues travel to the south coast having endured the toughest period of the season in the last fortnight. The side travelled more than 1,000 miles and played more than 360 minutes of football in the space of nine days, culminating with Tuesday night's home clash with Portsmouth. But while Osman (right) admits the players had been feeling the strain of the tough schedule, he points to the thrilling end to the game against Pompey as proof that, once the players take to the field, they are focused on just one outcome. "To play four games in nine days is unbelievably tough and it does take its toll," explains Osman.. "But we would never let it tell on the pitch. "We would keep going to the 97th minute or beyond if we needed to. And against Portsmouth on Tuesday we proved that despite having played so many games, we were still there in injury time pushing for the winning goal because we wanted it so much. "Some of the lads played in all four games over Christmas and after the Portsmouth match they were in the changing rooms dying on their feet. But you wouldn't have guessed by the way we ended the game. "The one thing about this side is that we never stop believing. That is something that runs all through the squad, no matter what the situation. "On Tuesday we got our reward.
"The celebrations were a bit crazy because we'd had such a tough couple of weeks. Having lost the two away games, we knew it was really important to get back to winning ways." Osman is making a habit of scoring late winners. Having saved the day against Southampton in October, he was there again to blast home on Tuesday night almost three minutes into injury time. And it was his shot which was deflected into the net by Jaidi when Bolton visited Goodison last month. They are goals which have provided Everton with an extra six points - the difference between the Blues and fifth placed Liverpool. The 23-year-old, who was back in the side in midweek after a spell out at Christmas with a knee problem, is happy to continue being 'Johnny on the spot'. "I honestly don't know what the secret is," he continues. "I just seem to find myself in the right place at the right time at the end of matches and I hope that can continue. "When I have come into sides I have had this habit of scoring goals. "I know my career isn't that long yet, but I have scored goals. "But I hadn't netted for a while before this week and I had been putting pressure on myself because I felt I was due one. Thankfully, I got one." It led to wild celebrations, with even manager David Moyes doing his best Bob Stokoe impression as he sprinted onto the pitch to join in. The manager chose to drop a number of regulars to the bench for the Portsmouth game in order for them to recharge their batteries after showing clear signs of fatigue at White Hart Lane. But it was Osman's goal which will have given the squad the biggest shot in the arm. And he insists the same hunger for success which clinched the three points this week will be on display at Home Park. He adds: "It doesn't matter what game is coming up or who the opposition are going to be. We treat each game the same. "We have done that all season and it is an approach which has been serving us well. "We had been disappointed with the two away defeats last week because away from home was where we had been looking our most solid. "The formation suits us away from home and so the defeats did hurt.
"But we are now back on the right track and we don ' t want to stutter again." Plymouth have been warned.
Blues supremo beats off talk of 'new Dixie' tag
Jan 7 2005 Liverpool Echo
BILL KENWRIGHT has laughed off suggestions he told James Beattie he could make him the next Dixie Dean. "I think James was being a bit tongue in cheek when he said that," explained Kenwright today. "I simply told James that he was joining the best club in the world, with the best manager, the best fans and the best squad in terms of their total commitment to each other! "I told James the current squad superbly shows Evertonians love committed footballers - and nowhere in the world would he have an opportunity to follow such greats as Dixie Dean, Dave Hickson, Alex Young, Bob Latchford, Andy Gray and Graeme Sharp. "It's wonderful for me to see the face of someone who has had their first real Goodison experience, like James did on Tuesday night." Kenwright added: "Any fan - and I count myself in that category - would love to be in a room when David Moyes talks to a footballer about his desires for our club. "I think it is true to say that if you put myself and David in a room together we are a pretty potent partnership when it comes to getting what we want for Everton. "The other day he came out with a comment I probably hadn't thought about for years: 'Goodison Park, under lights, is an awesome place.' "It reminded me of the first time I walked into Goodison for a Liverpool Floodlit Cup final when the lights were switched on. I'll never forget it.
"I won't forget Tuesday for a long time . . . the fans' rapturous acclaim for our new signing, a team aching with tiredness but giving 110 per cent, Leon (Osman)'s superb last-gasp strike and our manager doing a 'Bob Stokoe' on the touchline, seconds after he'd screamed at his team to go forward when probably everyone else in the ground had accepted a 1-1 draw! "A special night and a special manager. But most of all, a special club."
Forget legends - just score on regular basis
Jan 7 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON'S eternally enthusiastic chairman was so concerned at having apparently described James Beattie as the next Dixie Dean, he rang this office to say he'd been misquoted. Bill shouldn't have worried. At least he was lowering his sights a little! After all, wasn't Wayne Rooney the best thing since sliced bread? Personally, I'd settle for Everton's record signing becoming a new Peter Eastoe, or at a push, Tony Cottee. Not names high among Goodison's goalscoring glitterati admittedly, but then you've got to be good to make an impression in a list which includes Dixie, Tommy Lawton, Dave Hickson, Alex Young, Joe Royle, Bob Latchford, Andy Gray, Graeme Sharp and, for one goal-saturated season, Gary Lineker. No, where Eastoe and Cottee succeeded was in scoring a respectable number of goals, and regularly. And that is something Everton haven't possessed for more than a decade. The 20-goal a season man is something of a misnomer, because Everton have rarely boasted a man capable of such goalscoring consistency. Roy Vernon managed it three seasons in a row, but that was so long ago even I never saw him play . . . and they played 42 league games a season back then. Joe Royle also passed the figure in successive seasons, but since then only Latchford, Sharp and Lineker have scored more than 20 league goals in a single campaign . . . all in isolated seasons. But in recent campaigns Everton have struggled to find a player capable of even managing double figures. As a child, I was always irked by Everton's goalscoring charts of the early '70s. For a club with such a rich heritage of goalscorers, the record book inserts for 1971-72 - Johnson,, Royle 9; 1972-73 - Connolly, Harper, Royle 7 and 1973-74 - Lyons 9, seemed incongruous.
Wasn't Everton the club which boasted the greatest goalscorer of all time? Didn't Dean once score 60 league goals in a season - often with his eyes shut after knocking back a couple of brown ales in the Winslow pre-match? Maybe that's why Latchford became such a hero to me. Here was a player capable of restoring that rich goalscoring heritage. A footballer who lived for goals, a player who would push his grandmother over in a six-yard box if there was the possibility of a tap-in the other side of her. In recent seasons Everton's league goals total has resembled that early 70s drought.
Just twice in the past six seasons has an Everton striker even managed double figures - and even then,, only just. While, in the miserable 2001-02 season, Duncan Ferguson and Tomasz Radzinski topped the pile with a measly six league goals each. That's simply unacceptable for a club where the number nine shirt means as much as the number seven does across the park; as much as the number six jersey does to inhabitants of Upton Park and the number 10 shirt does to Brazilians.
And it makes no difference if Beattie will initially sport the number eight on his back. So, in spells, did Gray and Sharp, but if numerically they were inside-lefts or left-halfs or whatever position the number eight used to stand for, symbolically they were centre-forwards. And so is Beattie. You may not ever have a statue built in your honour, James, but just bag a respectable goals total - the kind of 15 and 16 goal hauls Cottee and Eastoe managed - and you'll have gone some way to restoring Everton's rich goalscorers' heritage..
Everton aim to do double
Jan 7 2005 By Neil Hodgson, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON chief executive Keith Wyness aims to double the income from the club's commercial operations within three years. The former Aberdeen FC chief executive, who joined the Blues three months ago, has done a wide-ranging review on how the club's off-field performance can match its high-flying achievements on the field. Revenues from commercial operations, such as replica shirt sales, souvenirs and sponsorship deals, are now just under £5m. Mr Wyness said: "I want to double figures over the next three years." His plan involves fine-tuning sponsorship deals and being more proactive in Everton's over-thecounter offering, which could involve mobile shops to target hotspots of support. The club opened two shops in the Birkenhead Pyramid centre and Ellesmere Port Arcades in November, but only on a short lease to exploit seasonal sales. Mr Wyness said: "The new shops are an example of us being faster on our feet. "Depending on the results, we could have mobile units to service areas throughout the year." He also wants to reduce the number of club sponsors. "I want a much more effective sponsorship programme," he said.. He wants fewer sponsors, but giving them "more effective coverage and value for their money". The emphasis on affinity deals, where the club lends its name to services such as phone, gas and electricity providers, will be reduced. The club's fans' database will also be key to driving internet e-sales.
"The database was in a poor shape when I arrived at the club. We must get to know our customers, but there is a danger of overkill. So when we communicate with them, we have to have something to say."
Plymouth 1, Everton 3 (D,Post)
By Ian Doyle at Home Park, Daily Post
Jan 10 2005
THE only thing to genuinely unsettle Everton at Plymouth on Saturday was the journey which took them there in the first place. The flight south 24 hours earlier had been so wind-affected that the players were given the option to travel back on the team coach rather than risk another buffetting from the elements. They might have expected more of the same against Bobby Williamson's Championship side with terrestrial television cameras poised eagerly like vultures to beam nationwide an FA Cup surprise. That viewers were instead left with further evidence that David Moyes's methods can ultimately prove fruitful for the Goodison side this campaign was further confirmation of the team spirit, talent and professionalism which has epitomised Everton's success in the Premiership. The seeds for this neat sidestep of another addition to the Goodison Cup role of dishonour were planted as long as two years ago. Saturday, January 4 2003, to be precise. That was the date of Moyes's "worst day as a football manager" as Conference-bound Shrewsbury Town secured a third-round victory at Gay Meadow. Humbled and humiliated, an Everton team which had been rubbing shoulders with Champions League aspirants subsequently saw their season fall away and culminate in the final-day misery of missing out on a place in Europe altogether. So there was more than a whiff of familiarity as Everton made the long journey south, keen to avoid similar embarrassment. However, this Moyes vintage are made of much sterner stuff than that of 2003, the manager a further two years into a rebuilding programme which is helping alter conceptions of the club formed by a decade of relegation scraps. And despite the energy-sapping exertions of a hectic festive period again forcing Moyes's hand, Everton were rarely troubled in an entertaining cup tie.
With New Year comes new optimism. And with the team still ensconced in the top four, a new record signing having arrived and the boardroom apparently close to further investment, the foundation is there for Everton to make a concerted push for Champions League qualification.
A decent FA Cup run wouldn't go amiss, either. It's been some time since Evertonians had realistic hopes of silverware, but with their stubborn side proving so difficult to beat this season, few eyebrows would be raised if Everton did progress all the way to Cardiff. There's a long way to go, of course, but central to any such achievement will be James Beattie. The £6million man from Southampton, while not quite capable of becoming the new Dixie Dean, will add another striking option with his aerial presence and goal-scoring prowess. It'll be a few weeks yet, though, before Beattie can deliver his maximum potential. As Moyes admitted both before and after the game, the striker - who had played just 11 games this season before Saturday - is clearly short of full match fitness. He rarely looked sharp on the evening - spurning an easy chance before half-time - and was huffing and puffing long before being withdrawn with 19 minutes remaining. Beattie also had to endure the jeers of the home crowd who were upset with the manner in which the striker allegedly helped in the removal of Home Park hero Paul Sturrock from the manager's job at St Mary's last year, and a booking after a late tackle on Everton-supporting Plymouth defender Paul Connolly.
But there was still enough on show to begin justifying Moyes's record outlay on the 26-year-old, not least when his fine one-two with Leon Osman allowed the midfielder in to chip neatly over Plymouth goalkeeper Romain Larrieu and set Everton on their way to a comfortable triumph. For Osman it was just reward for an excellent display. The youngster proved the matchwinner against Portsmouth earlier in the week and, playing more centrally in a five-man midfield, his creativity and strong engine ably deputised for the absent Tim Cahill and Thomas Gravesen, both rested to the bench.
It further underlined the versatility so vital to the squad and why it would be a gross misjudgement for Osman to somehow be allowed to leave at the end of the season. A new contract is surely a must. While the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United were content to make wholesale changes to their line-ups at the weekend, such is the threadbare nature of Moyes's squad he was restricted to merely shuffling his deck once again with Tony Hibbert's virus lessening his options. Another opportunity was handed to James McFadden, which the young Scot gratefully accepted. This season has not been kind to the former Mother-well forward, but his goal on Saturday - following his first Everton strike at Tottenham last week - will give a much-needed confidence boost at a time when he will be increasingly called upon. Indeed, the contribution of the fringe players - Nick Chadwick netted the tie-clinching third goal - will have perhaps given Moyes most encouragement from Saturday. With the manager anticipating a long, hard run-in, every player will be utilitised and expected to respond to the call. The endeavours of Plymouth's Devonian cousins Exeter City at Old Trafford earlier in the day acted as further reminder of the perils of knockout competition.
But with Bobby Williamson's side boasting only five wins from their last 25 games, the odds were weighted heavily in the Premier-ship club's favour. So it proved, with two goals in as many minutes effectively determining the outcome of this tie. The first on 16 minutes was a fine team move.
Play built up on the Everton left with Gary Naysmith firing a pass inside to Osman, who controlled, played a tidy give-and-go with Beattie before shrugging off the attentions of Paul Wotton and clipping the ball over the goalkeeper. The second was a combination of persistence and poor defending. Alessandro Pistone's long throw into the box from the right was flicked on by Kevin Kilbane to the feet of McFadden, who then wriggled through powder-puff challenges by Plymouth duo Matthias Doumbe and David Friio before scoring through Larrieu's legs. Plymouth found an unlikely way back into the game with a goal of bizarre origin on 34 minutes. Joseph Yobo - who was given a tough time throughout by wily Plymouth striker Micky Evans - had just returned to the field after having treatment on a finger injury and was still finding his bearings when beaten to a Larrieu clearance by Evans, whose flick-on was controlled and clinically struck home by Bjarni Gudjonsson from just inside the area. Everton had been in control at that point, and although Plymouth increased the pressure in the second half, the visiting defence - with Alan Stubbs impressing - rarely allowed Richard Wright to be troubled. The only concern came in the final 15 minutes when Cahill escaped strong claims for a penalty after seemingly handling the ball while on the floor and Osman had to race back to nick the ball off Evans's boot as the Plymouth striker steadied to shoot. Everton's win was sealed six minutes from time, though, when a couple of fortunate deflections saw Cahill's pass put substitute Chadwick in the clear from the halfway line and finish past Larrieu. But there was nothing lucky about this victory, nor Everton's continuing campaign of success. Moyes's high-fliers don't intend on being grounded just yet.
PLYMOUTH ARGYLE (4-5-1): Larrieu; Connolly, Doumbe, Coughlan, Gilbert; Gudjonsson, Hodges (Keith 84), Wotton, Friio, Capaldi; Evans. Subs: McCormick, Norris, Lasley, Adams.
BOOKING: Connolly (dissent).
EVERTON (4-5-1): Wright; Pistone, Stubbs, Yobo, Naysmith; Bent (Chadwick 79), Osman, Carsley, Kilbane, McFadden (Gravesen 79); Beattie (Cahill 71). Subs: Turner, Weir.
BOOKING: Beattie (foul).
REFEREE: Matt Messias
NEXT GAME: Middlesbrough v Everton, Premiership, Sunday 2pm
Campbell makes Robson his choice after pay-off
By Ian Doyle Daily Post Staff
Jan 10 2005
KEVIN CAMPBELL will leave Everton for West Bromwich Albion this week - as Thomas Gravesen's career options became clearer. Negotiations with the striker over a pay-off for the final six months of his lucrative Goodison contract were concluded over the weekend. And it means Campbell (pictured) is now free to link up with Bryan Robson at The Hawthorns after rejecting the advances of Glenn Hoddle's Wolves. The forward was signed from Trabzonspor in 1999 and scored nine goals in eight games to save Everton from relegation and went on to captain the side. However Campbell has figured in only seven games this season, the last coming in a starting role in the victory over Portsmouth last week. Moyes was initially reticent to allow Campbell to leave given the threadbare nature of his squad. But the arrival of record signing James Beattie has convinced the manager to give Campbell the go-ahead to depart. Meanwhile, midfielder Gravesen's future could be determined by the out-come of a power struggle at Real Madrid. Madrid will bolster their midfield options this transfer window, but Sporting director Emilio Butragueno and new general manager Arrigo Saachi are at odds over the identity of the new arrival. Saachi has earmarked £10m-rated Bordeaux sensation Rio Mavuba while Butragueno prefers a move for Gravesen, who with only six months remaining on his contract, would cost only a fifth of that. Everton have been steeling themselves for an offer from the Spanish giants and a decision on the transfer policy of the Bern-abeu could be made within the next few days. While Moyes is hopeful Gravesen will extend his stay at Everton, Manchester United will tempt the Dane with an offer in the summer should he become a free agent. Gravesen was on the bench as Everton comfortably progressed to today's FA Cup fourth round draw with a 3-1 victory at Plymouth Argyle on Saturday. Two goals in as many first-half minutes from Leon Osman - his fifth of the season - and James McFadden sent the visitors on their way, and although Bjarni Gudjonsson pulled one back before the break, substitute Nick Chadwick's late goal sealed victory. It meant Everton avoided a repeat of the shock defeat to Shrewsbury Town at the same stage two years ago, and manager Moyes praised the resilience of his team. "There were a lot of people who thought this could be one of the shocks of the round, but the players are tough here now and they didn't allow that to happen," said the Scot, who made four changes to the team which beat Portsmouth last midweek. "Before we came here we knew it was going to be tough, so we were pleased to get the result. "We knew it was going to be tough. "We took a chance to leave two or three players out. "We did it against Portsmouth too, because we are trying to recharge their batteries for what we know is going to be a long, hard run-in. The ones who came in did a good job for us. Of Plymouth's attempted comeback, he added: "When a team goes 2-0 down, there's only one way you can respond and that is by getting a goal back. "They had a strong wind behind them in the first half which allowed them to get the ball into our box and they put us under a bit of pressure. "At 2-1, we knew the next goal would be crucial. "Sometimes when you win a game in the FA Cup, you start talking about Cup runs and Cup finals and all stupid things like that. "We've won one game, though. I just hope we get a kinder draw in the next round." Moyes handed a debut start to Beattie at Home Park, who created one goal and was booked in a 71-minute appearance.
And the £6million striker impressed Plymouth defender Graham Coughlan, who came through the ranks alongside the striker when the pair were at Blackburn. "We had three-and-a-half years together," he said. "He's a strong runner, powerful and he can head the ball. "James is a good lad, he's done very well for himself and works very hard on his game. I am delighted for him."
Stubbs relief after 'scary' trip to Argyle
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Jan 10 2005
ALAN STUBBS has revealed how not even a mid-air scare could detract Everton from their FA Cup business at the weekend. David Moyes's side won 3-1 at Plymouth Argyle in their third-round clash to progress to today's draw. But it was the journey down to the West Coast which caused Everton their great-est worry as high winds made for a treacherous flight. Such were the concerns, Everton sent their team coach down to the ground on Saturday for those players who preferred not to travel on the return flight. It was the second successive away trip by air which had been affected by adverse weather, following problems on the landing when coming back from the New Year's Day game at Tottenham Hot-spur. And Stubbs revealed: "I don't think anyone wanted to fly when it was that windy on Friday "The captain of the plane did a great job getting us down. It probably wasn't as scary for him as it was for us. It was no big issue but the winds were quite severe. "The problem we had after the Tottenham game was that as we were coming back, there was a storm over Liverpool, so we had to circle around a bit before we could land. "Hopefully we don't get somewhere like Exeter in the next round. It's not one of our desired places to fly down to." Stubbs was an impressive performer as Everton held firm in the face of a second-half Plymouth comeback.
"The most important thing is that we are through to the next round," he said.. "We knew it wasn't going to be easy. It is a hostile place to come to and that's why the cameras were here, expecting an upset. "All credit to our players. We had to work hard to win through. Plymouth put us under a lot of pressure at times and they could argue about a couple of decisions from the referee, but there were probably some which didn't go our way either. "We knew we had to start the game well. If we started sloppy, it would give them a bit of impetus and some encouragement to start coming on to us. "We deflated the crowd by going 2-0 up but we shot ourselves in the foot a little bit by conceding a sloppy goal. It gave them a bit of momentum but we rode the storm and the third goal was the killer. "There is a long way to go in this competition but we'd love a trip to Cardiff. "But our most important thing is the league. We have to make sure we stay where we are in the Premiership, but the FA Cup is special and a good Cup run could do us good."
Beattie back on fitness trail
By Paul Walker, Daily Post
Jan 10 2005
DAVID MOYES admits it could take until next season to get James Beattie up to the standard of fitness he needs to be an effective Everton player. Beattie made his debut after his £6million move from Southampton in the FA Cup third round victory over Plymouth Argyle before being withdrawn with 20 minutes to go. He had made one goal, been booked and then roundly abused by the Devon fans, who have been unhappy with the way their former manager Paul Sturrock was treated by Southampton players in his traumatic short spell in charge at St Mary's. Beattie has barely played since November and has had the facts of life about fitness explained to him by Moyes, whose regime is widely regarded as one of the most demanding in the Premiership. Moyes said: "He is still short of the level we want him to be at. He's not totally unfit but I want him to be in a position where he can go hard for 90 minutes. Everybody who watches Everton will probably have an idea of the way I want him. "Hopefully we will get that before the end of the season, if not he will certainly get it during our next pre-season work in time for next term. "He needs to be sharper and fitter and you could tell that. He is not yet what we want him to be for what he will have to do for us and he fully understands that." Beattie helped create the first goal for Leon Osman and his physical involvement paved the way for James McFadden's excellent second. And Moyes was certainly encouraged by what he saw. "I thought James did well," he added. "I told him before the game that I hoped to get an hour out of him. He's not played many games this season and you could tell that from his performance. "Overall, he had one good chance and linked well for the goal, so it was a good start for him. "Beattie got himself booked for a late challenge on Plymouth's Liverpool-born defender Paul Connolly, a former Goodison Park season ticket-holder. But Plymouth boss Bobby Williamson refused to condemn the former England striker. He said: "You want to see your strikers putting themselves about and letting people know they are there. It is up to the referee to decide whether it's legal or not - and frankly I would expect nothing less from a striker." Moyes denied Gravesen's substitute's role had anything to do with transfer speculation surrounding him and has already made it clear Gravesen will not be leaving in this transfer window.
Beattie will offer different options
View from the stands by Mark Mckenna Everton supporter, Daily Post
Jan 10 2005
WELL the scoreline was slightly flattering for us in the end, but this was still possibly the most professional performance Everton have put in against lower league opposition since last winning the FA Cup in 1995. While the BBC were gutted The Pilgrims didn't get the giant-killing they wanted, this was more like my type of classic FA Cup action . . . whereby the minnows come out with lots of credit and some nice TV money, but Everton still go through! The major concern was looking at how many of our key performers still aren't tied down to contracts beyond the summer. While the focus is on incoming players and getting Gravesen to sign up, we're just assuming that Osman, Pistone, Kilbane, Naysmith, Stubbs etc will automatically sign the contracts offered to them. If we're not careful, we could end up with wholesale changes in the summer which would ruin any spirit and success built up this season. There's now the danger that other clubs will approach the agents of these players and offer them more attractive offers. Just because these players have been honest in their performances, they still need to do what's best for their career and family. It was a surprise to see Beattie start the game, but I thought he coped well for the first hour. Naturally he tired, but his link play was impressive. The key quality we've signed him for is obviously to score goals, but he'll also offer plenty more to the team in working hard and creating chances, like he did for Osman.
Plymouth 1, Everton 3 (Echo)
Jan 10 2005 By Scott McLeod at Home Park
IT WAS apt that, having been handed the task of replacing Strictly Come Dancing in the BBC Saturday night schedule, Everton waltzed into the fourth round of the FA Cup. But, while it was some nifty footwork from Leon Osman (right) and James McFadden which caught the eye and set the Blues on their way, it was honest sweat and graft which ultimately saw off a spirited Plymouth side. In that respect, the performance was much more Martin Offiah than Natasha Kaplinsky. But it was no less enthralling because of that. Indeed, with the added razzle-dazzle of a promising debut from James Beattie, it made for a hugely satisfying Saturday for Evertonians on a day when so many other Premiership sides fox-trotted their way out of the competition against lower league opposition.
The £6m man may not have marked his first game with a goal - and that despite a golden chance from five yards in the opening half - but he did show he will have no problem fitting into David Moyes' tight-knit squad. The sight of him sprinting 20 yards back into the centre circle to throw himself into a challenge on Bjarni Gudjonsson midway through the opening half confirmed that.
He may be a proven Premiership goalscorer but he is also an honest, hard working player who is willing to muck in shoulder to shoulder with his team-mates. Those are the qualities which have been serving the side well all season. And they were needed as much as ever on Saturday against an Argyle side willing to test the leniency of referee Matt Messias with a combative approach. All credit to Bobby Williamson's men. They made it as tough as they could for Everton. Had the visitors not been on their game, as with Shrewsbury two seasons ago, there really could have been blue murder on the dance floor. But Beattie and Co were not in the mood for satisfying the TV men who would have loved a giant-killing. Alan Stubbs, in particular, was majestic at the back. And he needed to be.
A slow start could have proved the side's undoing in the midst of a fiery cup atmosphere. But instead, the Toffees were quick out of the blocks, producing their best football of the contest in the opening 25 minutes. Beattie was at the heart of much of it. His neat one-two with Osman teed up the first goal after just 12 minutes. The second strike was all McFadden, though. A long throw from the right by Alessandro Pistone was flicked on by Kevin Kilbane to the young Scot, who twisted skilfully away from David Friio and Mat Doumbe before showing great composure to slot the ball under Roman Larrieu. It has been a frustrating campaign for McFadden, having spent much of it on the sidelines. The long wait for his first competitive Everton goal didn't help his confidence. But since finally finding the net against Spurs a weight has been lifted from his shoulders. With each passing game his effectiveness as an attacking force is increasing. The same can be said for the team. There is very little that hasn't gone right this season. But if you are going to be picky it would be that they could and should have scored more goals. Faddy is the kind of player who, when on form, can provide an exciting, unpredictable extra dimension. Throw the arrival of Beattie into the equation and the manager has greater options with which to mastermind an improved strike-rate.
Plymouth were the first club to experience that sharper cutting edge. The 4-3-3 formation set the tone, with Faddy and Marcus Bent flanking Beattie. The Scot should have been joined by both of his fellow forwards on the scoresheet, only for Beattie to somehow scoop the ball over the bar from a few yards, and Bent to fire at the keeper after beating the offside trap. It was left to Nick Chadwick to add the third. With Kevin Campbell's departure and Duncan Ferguson out of favour following his recent sending off, Chadwick certainly has something to offer. His mobility, tenacity and eye for goal make him a far better bet as a late sub than the more experienced hit men he has finally leap-frogged in the pecking order. He demonstrated why when he burst clear from the halfway line to nutmeg Larrieu for number three. It was a goal to kill off the tie and end the home side's lingering hopes of snatching a draw with just minutes remaining. Bjarni Gudjonsson was the reason Everton had to wait so long to confirm the result. It was his goal which halved the deficit 10 minutes before half-time and which ensured there were a few heart-in-mouth moments in the following 45 minutes.
But the Icelander wasn't the main threat posed by Argyle. That honour went to Mickey Evans.
The burly striker's waistline may appear to have benefited from the club's sponsorship deal with Ginsters pies. But he knows how to make life hard for defenders. Joseph Yobo had a torrid evening dealing with the veteran, who used his substantial frame to good effect for their goal. Evans battled with the Nigerian international to connect with a long clearance from goalkeeper Larrieu and did enough to ensure the ball was flicked perfectly into the path of Gudjonsson. It was a goal remarkably similar to Dean Marney's opener at Tottenham on New Year's Day. But the home side, for all their bluster, never looked capable of spoiling the day for Everton or Beat-tie by adding more.
By the time he was substituted midway through the second period he was beginning to tire, having not played a competitive game for almost six weeks. But he had provided a glimpse of what he could offer. Moyes admitted afterwards that it will take time for the striker to find his top form. That is an exciting prospect for a side already producing all the right steps.
PLYMOUTH ARGYLE (4-5-1): Larrieu; Connolly, Doumbe, Coughlan, Gilbert; Gudjonsson, Hodges (Keith 84), Wotton, Friio, Capaldi; Evans. Subs: McCormick, Norris, Lasley, Adams.
BOOKING: Connolly (dissent).
EVERTON (4-5-1): Wright; Pistone, Stubbs, Yobo, Naysmith; Bent (Chadwick 79), Osman, Carsley, Kilbane, McFadden (Gravesen 79); Beattie (Cahill 71). Subs: Turner, Weir.
BOOKING: Beattie (foul).
REFEREE: Matt Messias
NEXT GAME: Middlesbrough v Everton, Premiership, Sunday 2pm
Blues to set cash deadline
Jan 10 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON are ready to put a deadline on Fortress Sports Fund's proposed investment in the club - as Chris Samuelson was in Singapore hoping to tie up the last remaining obstacles to the £12.8m injection. The Geneva based financier still insists that the money is in place and that only minor red tape issues are preventing the completion. But after being promised a definitive answer before Christmas, Everton are growing restless at the continued delays. "Obviously the delay is concerning," said chief executive Keith Wyness today. "At present we are relying on the assurances given to us by Chris Samuelson, but we must start to explore other options. "We have already been talking to other people." The Blues have a board meeting at the end of this month. If the FSF investment has not materialised by then, the Blues could draw a line under the proposed deal.
Samuelson, however, remained upbeat today. He said: "We hope to have things completed by the middle of this week. "It's just some regulatory issues which are stalling the procedure. "I am tying loose ends up today, then we meet with the deputy finance minister and some other government people in Brunei tomorrow. "The problem is that this is the first fund of its kind to be launched in this part of the world and there is not a huge amount of previous experience." Fortress Sports Fund have already lost their right to exclusive dealings with Everton, but other investors willing to inject money into football are scarce. Before the season kicked off, Blues' director Paul Gregg had plans for a major investment of his own, but that failed to go through.
Home draws for big two
Jan 10 2005 Liverpool Echo
TODAY'S FA Cup fourth round draw threw up home ties for both Everton and Liverpool, with the Blues hosting Sunderland and Bournemouth possibly on their way to Anfield. Rafa Benitez's side will first have to come through their third round tie against Burnley, which was postponed on Friday and is now rear-ranged for Tuesday, January 18. Should they come through, it will set up an intriguing tie with the Cherries, who over the years have pushed the Reds to two replays in the FA Cup.
In both 1926 and 1967 Bournemouth held the Reds to away draws, before losing out at Anfield 4-1 in both replays. Sean O'Driscoll's side are currently sixth in Coca Cola League One, and knocked Ian Rush's Chester out of the Cup at the weekend. Goodison Park will stage the Sunderland tie on the weekend of January 29-30 thanks to Blues legend Neville Southall and Denis Irwin who drew the balls. The last time the two sides met in the FA Cup at Goodison was in the third round in 1966.
Everton won the game 3-0 and went on to beat Sheffield Wednesday 3-2 in the final.
FA CUP FOURTH ROUND: Derby v Watford/Fulham; Man Utd/Exeter v Middlesbrough; Cardiff/Blackburn v Colchester; Chelsea v Birmingham; West Ham v Sheff Utd; Oldham v Bolton; Arsenal v Wolves; EVERTON v Sunderland; Nottm For v Peterborough; Brentford v Hartlepool/ Boston; Reading/ Swansea v Leicester/Blackpool; Burnley/LIVERPOOL v Bournemouth; Southampton v Portsmouth; West Brom v Tottenham; Newcastle v Coventry; Charlton v Yeovil.
Moyes confident over Gravesen
Jan 10 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES remains confident Thomas Gravesen will stick around to boost Everton's Champions League chase, but paid tribute to another star who is set to end a five year association with the Blues today. Kevin Campbell has negotiated a pay-off for the final six months of his contract and will join West Bromwich Albion today, subject to a medical. Manager Moyes said: "Kevin has been terrific since I have been here and has always been a very good man to have around. "He has always been the first congratulate the boys this season, even when he hasn't been involved and we all wish him well. "When I first arrived here he formed a terrific partnership with Tomasz Radzinski which was very profitable to us until he got injured. "Overall he has been a great servant to Everton Football Club. He has kept himself in shape and I can see him carrying on for a few years more. "He's a good professional, never misses a day's training and is always one of the first into the training ground.
"He will leave here with the best wishes of everybody." But Moyes is adamant that Gravesen (pictured above) will not follow Campbell through the exit door. Real Madrid are tracking the Danish midfielder, with Bordeaux midfielder Rio Mavuba and PSV's Marc van Bommel also on their hit-list.
But nobody from Madrid has been in contact with the Blues yet and there are fears inside Goodison that the player's agent, John Sivebaek, is forcing the issue. Manchester United have also been linked with the Dane, but again have made no contact and are unlikely to do so until the player's contract expires this summer, if at all. "I speak to Tommy regularly and we each know where we are at," said Moyes today. "We have had no contact from either Real or Manchester United and obviously I hope it stays that way."
Leon lights way
Jan 10 2005 Analysis By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
NICK CHADWICK and Leon Osman left the Home Park pitch joined at the hip on Saturday. The sight of them so close together in an Everton first team has been a rare one. But perhaps the Blues can learn with Chadwick from the experience they have undergone with Leon Osman. It was not very long ago the little midfielder was believed too small, too slight to make an impact in the physically unforgiving Premiership. Farmed out on-loan to first Carlisle and then Derby County, his permanent exit from Goodison looked imminent. But then he returned, scored on his debut at Wolves last season and has proved pretty near indispensible since. Chadwick has followed a similar path - even to spending a spell on-loan at Derby County - except he still has not enjoyed the luxury of a run in the first team. The shrug Chadwick gave the travelling fans as he celebrated his late match-clincher at Plymouth almost seemed to suggest "No, I don't know what else I've got to do, either." Chadwick may not possess the class or touch of his diminutive team-mate - and the forward line is not a department of the team to take gambles with in the Premiership - but his record in senior football presents a compelling argument for him to have been given more opportunities than he has hitherto enjoyed. At the very least, more time on the substitutes' bench.. He has made the bench just four times this season - half as many as the once admirable but now leaden-legged Kevin Campbell, and a fraction of the opportunities offered to the temperamentally unreliable Duncan Ferguson. He did make the bench in midweek against Portsmouth. But the reluctance to call on him was difficult to understand. Whatever doubts may persist about his all-round game, Chadwick possesses the uncoachable ability to score goals. He came off the bench to score at Bristol City earlier this season and still boasts the remarkable record of having started three Premiership matches - and scored three Premiership goals. His cup record shows one start, but now three goals! With Campbell's imminent departure and Ferguson on countdown to his Goodison goodbye, perhaps Chadwick will now finally get the chance to follow Osman's lead and make a name for himself in the Premiership.
Chadwick's late goal on Saturday put the seal on another impressive evening for David Moyes.
The Blues boss's starting line-up caused more than a murmur of surprise amongst Evertonians, but in winning so well - without Thomas Gravesen or Tim Cahill - he proved his side is far more than a one-trick pony. Leon Osman was influential in the central role he revelled in as a youngster, James Beattie was clearly short of match-fitness, but still capable of producing a classy touch or two, while James McFadden was either fantastic or frustrating - but during one of his fantastic moments produced a decisive goal. The only negative was the uncertain display by Joseph Yobo. It wasn't so long ago it seemed the Nigerian had changed his name by deed poll to 'imperious,' given that every mention of him was preceded by that word. But after being roughed up by Yakubu in midweek, it was big, honest Mickey Evans - a man who looked like he'd stumbled out of the testing plant at Sayers - who had him scrambling around on Saturday. Perhaps he is still playing himself into form and fitness. It was only December 28, after all, that he finally found himself restored to the Everton starting line-up. But with Hasselbaink, Job and co next up, he will need to find his feet - quickly.
That was a minor concern, however, with Everton coasting into the fourth round with the usual maximum effort, but minimum of fuss. The fixture pile-up has been passed - even Easter holds no fears this season with that weekend given over to international football - and Everton can concentrate on one match at a time, with usually the luxury of a week in which to prepare for them.
Whisper it quietly, but there's no sound of that bubble bursting yet.
Jan 10 2005 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
JAMES McFADDEN has revealed how David Moyes used the painful memory of Shrewsbury two years ago to avoid a cup upset against Plymouth. The Scottish striker netted the second of Everton's three goals as they overcame the Coca-Cola Championship side at Home Park. He may not have been at Goodison when the Blues suffered a third round embarrassment at Gay Meadow in 2003, but the manager ensured he and his team-mates were left in little doubt there was no way they could suffer the same fate again. "The manager had been going on about Shrewsbury leading up to the match and we knew we didn't want to slip up like that again," revealed the 21-year-old.
"Had we lost, it wouldn't have been on the same scale as Shrews-bury, but it still would have been a bad result and we knew we couldn't let ourselves down. "We want a nice run in the cup. We know we are a scalp for most clubs now because of where we are in the league, but that is a nice pressure to have. We are enjoying that. "Saturday was vital to our season. We are just happy to be through. It wasn't pretty at times but we did the job which was required of us. They played well and are a good side. I was impressed with them." McFadden has now scored two goals in three appearances since returning to the starting line-up at Tottenham, after spending much of the opening half of the season on the bench and struggling for form. He has been back to his efferves-cent self since scoring his first competitive Everton goal at White Hart Lane, and admitted: "I am just grateful to be in the team at the minute. "I am absolutely delighted with how things have gone in the last three games.
"It did feel like a weight off my shoulders scoring at Tottenham. It didn't mean much to the team because the game was lost, but it was good for me. "It was my first start in a while and I was just focused on trying not to do anything wrong. I didn't have my best game, but I stayed in the team. It was a confidence boost that the manager was prepared to keep me in. "He did the same on Saturday so I just hope I have done enough to stay there for the trip to Middlesbrough on Sunday.
"Maybe the last few months have benefited me as a player. I have not been playing but have been involved because we have a small squad and everybody feels involved in how well things have been going. "We are on a great run, winning games and playing well. Everybody can take confidence from that, me included. "It would have been tough if I hadn't been on the bench as much as I have been. I have just been waiting for my chance and keeping my head down in training. "I was a little lucky with the goal on Saturday but they all count. I knew I had to stay calm and not blast it." McFadden has also been impressed with new boy James Beattie. He added: "James has done well, but it is easy to settle at Everton. I found that when I moved down here. "James seems a nice guy and he did well on Saturday. He worked hard and was unlucky not to get a goal."
New boy Beattie put in the picture over demands to reach peak fitness
Jan 10 2005 Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES believes it could take until next season to get James Beattie up to the standard of fitness he needs to be an effective Everton player. Beattie made his debut after his £6m move from Southampton in the third round victory before being withdrawn with 20 minutes to go. Beattie has barely played since November and Moyes acknowledges his lack of match fitness. The Blues boss said: "He is still short of the level we want him to be at. He's not totally unfit, but I want him to be in a position where he can go hard for 90 minutes. "Everybody who watches Everton will probably have an idea of the way I want him. "Hopefully, we will get that before the end of the season. If not, he will certainly be in for pre-season work in time for next term. "He needs to be sharper and fitter and you could tell that. He is not yet what we want him to be for what he will have to do for us and he fully under-stands that." Beattie helped create the first goal for Leon Osman and his physical involvement paved the way for James McFadden's excellent second. Moyes said: "When you see some other results, we are just delighted to have got through this round. We had to defend and Plymouth gave it everything, but we knew that is what it would be like. "We warned the players about what could happen, but I think our lads are in a different frame of mind these days. "They are tougher and mentally stronger. "We have rested a few and still got a win so that shows we are doing the right things in terms of the big Premiership games. "It is a gamble but football management is a gamble and you have to make decisions and hope they work. This time they did.
"We have tried to include as many of the other lads as we can in recent games. People just can't play on and on, which is why Tim Cahill and Thomas Gravesen were on the bench." Moyes denied Gravesen's substitute's role had anything to do with transfer speculation surrounding him and the Everton chief has made it clear the midfield star will not be leaving in this transfer window.
He said: "We are trying to get the squad players as right as we can for the run-in. I know it seems a long way away at the moment, but we felt it was right to give a few of the senior boys a breather and try out some of the youngsters." Everton withstood the battering and skipper Alan Stubbs said: "We knew it was not going to be easy. It was a hostile place and that is why the TV cameras were there. "They were expecting an upset, but didn't get one." Plymouth manager Bobby Williamson looked for positives but accepted that more consistent Premier League players won the day.
He said: "I was very proud of my side. They worked so hard and almost forced a replay."
Campbell finalises move to Baggies
By John Curtis, Daily Post
Jan 11 2005
KEVIN CAMPBELL last night ended his six-year association with Everton when he sealed a move to strugglers West Brom. The striker (right) agreed an 18-month deal after being given a free transfer out of Goodison Park. Campbell has played only seven matches for David Moyes's men this season and has yet to find the net - but that has not deterred Robson. "I'm delighted to have Kevin on board," he said. "He's got vast experience and Premiership know-how - I think he'll be a real success for Albion." Campbell will hope to feature in the Baggies' Premiership clash at Fulham on Sunday and, despite his lack of matches this season, Robson has no doubts over his worth to West Brom's survival scrap. "He's a big, powerful centre-forward and has a record of scoring one in every three games throughout his career," said the manager. "He adds power and strength to our squad and has committed himself to the club for a year and a half. "He's up for trying to keep us in the Premier-ship and if we get relegated he is willing to stay and try to help us get promoted. "Kevin is one of the better strikers in the Premiership and knows what it is all about in terms of fighting against relegation and for promotion. "He knows exactly what he's coming into and that is the type of player I want at the club." Campbell scored 51 goals in 163 appearances at Everton. Originally joining the club on-loan from Turkish side Trabzonspor in March 1999, the former Arsenal frontman almost single-handedly ensured the Goodison club avoided relegation that May by scoring nine goals in eight games. A permanent transfer was secured during the summer of 1999 and Campbell went on to become the first black player to captain the club.
Campbell got us vital goals
Post Soapbox, icLiverpool & Daily Post
Jan 11 2005
KEVIN Campbell has been a great servant to our great club and all Evertonians know the fantastic goals he scored when he joined helped us stay in the Premiership. But we have moved on now and times change. Let's hope James Beattie has the same impact at the start of his Everton career as Super Kev did five or six years ago. Good luck in the future, Kevin.
Martin Billington, Formby
KEVIN Campbell's goals kept Everton up when he first arrived and he should be remembered for that. It is not his fault he got sky-high wages, that is down to Blue Bill. Campbell's departure will now allow room in the salary budget to bring in a few younger players. I would like to see another top-class striker and Jermaine Pennant come in, along with a centre-back and two full-backs.
And maybe even a keeper like Cudicini.
Brian Mills (via e-mail)
Time for change
IT'S TIME to sell the old faithful, Duncan Ferguson. You don't keep a dog if he won't round the sheep in. We have just had a hard Christmas, it's time to dig in before Liverpool catch us and we need people that can score, so sorry Dunc, you're out.
Robby Bennett, Liverpool
Lay off Duncan
I DON'T know why people are knocking Duncan Ferguson for getting sent off against Charlton, Wayne Rooney's suspension was far worse. Ferguson has given good service. He gets a lot of players fouling him and no fouls are given by the referees in his favour.
Peter Knight (via e-mail)
Fit to burst
FIRSTLY, well done to Everton for their FA Cup win. It highlighted our unsung heroes - our fitness coaches. James Beattie is not fit after being involved in just 11 games, while Nick Chadwick hadn't really played and looked fitter. I'm sure James will be fit once he gets the proper training.
Sean Hughes, Wirral
No passing fad
NICE to see James McFadden hitting a bit of form. All he needed was to get in the side, a few games under his belt and now he's added a couple of goals.
Graham Goodman, Wirral
AN EXCELLENT, professional performance by Everton to beat Plymouth, especially from McFadden and Leon Osman with a class finish apiece.
Peter Mellor, Liverpool
Moyes turns attention to Old Firm duo
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jan 11 2005
DAVID MOYES has turned his sights on the Old Firm as he considers his next move in the January transfer window. The Everton manager was an interested spectator at Celtic Park on Sunday as Martin O'Neill's team beat Rangers in the third round of the Scottish Cup. Celtic's attacking midfielder Stilian Petrov has been linked with a move to Goodison Park and Moyes is an admirer of the Bulgarian international. But with a £2million price-tag and Thomas Gravesen staying at Goodison unless a £2m offer arrives this month Petrov does not top Moyes's list of priorities at present. Rangers' defensive midfielder Fernando Ricksen, (pictured), however, is a cheaper option and could come into the Everton manager's plans. The Dutch international, who scored in the 2-1 defeat on Sunday, is out of contract at the end of this season and Rangers could be tempted to sell for a nominal fee. Everton, meanwhile, have revealed their concern over the lengthy delay in acquiring the £12.8m investment promised by the Fortress Sports Fund. The cash - the first part of a potential £30m windfall - was promised before Christmas and when it did not arrive, Everton were told it would be forthcoming when the world's banks re-opened after the holiday period. But the money is still not in Everton's accounts and if it is not in place by the time of the board meeting at the end of this month the club will look elsewhere for new investment. Chief executive Keith Wyness said: "Obviously the delay is concerning. At present we are relying on the assurances given by Chris Samuelson, but we must start to explore other options. We have already been talking to other people." Chris Samuelson is the Swiss-based broker for the deal and he has been dealing with as many as a dozen smaller investors to make up the FSF. He is currently in Singapore trying to tie up the final details of the deal having vowed that he has the money in place. He said: "We hope to have things in place by the middle of the week. It is just regulatory issues which are stalling the procedure." The fund needs approval from the Brunei government and Samuelson insists that he still needs to meet top officials there. He added: "I am tying up loose ends then I need to meet the deputy finance minister and other government people. The problem is that this is the first fund of this kind to be launched in this part of the world and there is not a huge amount of previous experience."
Both clubs say a final no to joint stadium
Exclusive by Andy Kelly Chief Reporter, Daily Post
Jan 11 2005
ANY lingering hopes that Liverpool and Everton football clubs will share a stadium on Merseyside are now over. The Daily Post can reveal that both have sent official notification that they have rejected the idea to the Government, Liverpool council and the North West Development Agency. Walton MP Peter Kilfoyle, who brokered talks between the clubs and Sports Minister Richard Caborn in December, confirmed last night a shared stadium would not happen. He said: "It is dead. The bottom line has always been that Everton did not have the money to buy into a joint stadium. "There was no mechanism to enable them to do it using public money and it has always been a case of Everton trying to find £60-£65m. "I don't think either of the two clubs at board level were ultimately supportive of it either. "One or two individuals on either side were in favour but it was not enough because most were hostile." It is understood that the boards of both clubs considered the matter at the end of last week. A spokesman for Liverpool City Council said last night: "It is disappointing that both sides have been unable to reach agreement on a joint stadium. "However, the existing plan for a new Anfield is part of a major regeneration of the Anfield and Breckfield area and we fully intend to help deliver that because of the economic benefits it will bring to an area which badly needs them. "Of course we will also do everything we can to help Everton find a 21st century stadium for the club and its fans." Sources confirmed that rejections from both clubs had been sent to the public sector agencies who had been trying to negotiate a shared ground on Stanley Park. A senior public source said: "There was a meeting just before Christmas where the pros and cons were discussed by all parties. The boards of both clubs met at the end of last week, Liverpool certainly with a proper full board meeting at Anfield. "Both clubs have now decided not to proceed and rejections have been sent to all the agencies. The dream is dead, long live the dream."
Liverpool will now hope to proceed with the 60,000-seat stadium on Stanley Park alone, although potential costs of up to £130m remain prohibitive. Everton too appeared to be looking to the future last night. Chief executive Keith Wyness said: "If there is not to be a joint stadium, it is good to think that in the future the city of Liverpool would continue to represent a major centre of footballing excellence, one that would boast two world-class facilities. "We've said all along we had three options, a shared stadium, the redevelopment of Goodison and a stand alone stadium of our own."
News of the final nail going into the joint stadium coffin will come as some relief to fans of both clubs, who have generally been against such a move. Les Lawson, secretary of the Official LFC Supporters' Club,, said: "This was never going to be feasible. "Both clubs are quite happy with their separate identities and prefer to stay that way. "There were too many imponderables." It was a similar reaction on the Blue half of Merseyside. Mike Crofton, head of the Birkenhead branch of the Everton Supporters' Club,, said: "This news will be welcomed without a doubt. "I think nearly all the people in our branch were against it, just as I think most Liverpool fans were. We understand why the idea was raised but the fans want their own identity."
Kilbane to face old comrades in FA Cup clash
By Ian Parkes, Daily Post
Jan 11 2005
EVERTON winger Kevin Kilbane will face his old club Sunderland in the fourth round of the FA Cup after yesterday's draw gave David Moyes' side a home date with the Black Cats. The Republic Of Ireland midfielder (left) joined Everton from the Championship side at the start of last season and will relish the chance to face his old club. FA Cup favourites Chelsea, along with Arsenal and Newcastle are at home to Birmingham, Wolves and Coventry, while holders Manchester United - providing they first dispose of Exeter in a third-round replay next week - host Middlesbrough.
The most intriguing clash sees Southampton manager Harry Redknapp steeling himself for a potential backlash from Portsmouth fans as he faces a quicker-than-expected return battle against his former club. Redknapp quit Pompey just seven weeks ago following a fall-out with chairman Milan Mandaric, and just two weeks later took over at bitter south-coast rivals Southampton.
The game is almost certain to be televised. THE draw for the Fourth Round of the FA Cup is as follows: Derby v Watford or Fulham, Man Utd v Exeter v Middlesbrough, Cardiff or Blackburn v Colchester, Chelsea v Birmingham, West Ham v Sheff Utd, Oldham v Bolton, Arsenal v Wolverhampton, Everton v Sunderland, Nottm Forest v Peterborough, Brentford v Hartlepool or Boston, Reading or Swansea v Leicester or Blackpool, Burnley or Liverpool v Bournemouth, Southampton v Portsmouth, West Brom v Tottenham, Newcastle v Coventry, Charlton v Yeovil.
Ties to be played weekend of January 28/29/30.
Moyes: I'll not be held to ransom
Jan 11 2005 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has warned other clubs that Everton will not be held to ransom as they strive to add more new faces to the Goodison Park squad. Moyes hopes to make further additions during the current transfer window despite splashing out a club record fee of £6m for striker James Beattie last week. But he told the ECHO today: "We would like to bring in more players and we have our targets but we don't know whether they are at the right price for us now. "We will only pay what we think is the right price and will not go over the odds. "People may think we have money available after the sales pay more than a player is worth." Moyes has £4m available after being handed a £10m January transfer kitty. He was at the Old Firm game on Sunday and while the club is not interested in Rangers' Fernando Ricksen despite the Dutchman being just six months away from the end of his current contract, Celtic's Stilian Petrov (pictured above) is believed to be a possible target. The Bulgarian attacking midfielder plays in a similar role to Everton's Thomas Gravesen. Gravesen has not yet signed a new deal at Goodison and reports continue to circulate that both Real Madrid and Manchester United have targeted the Dane. However, Everton have still not had official contact from any club regarding Gravesen and are planning to enter fresh contract talks before the end of the month. Meanwhile, Fortress Sports Fund supremo Chris Samuelson is continuing to give Everton assurances the £12.8m proposed investment will become reality and has spent the last 48 hours jetting between Singapore and Brunei to conclude the deal after Everton chief executive Keith Wyness set the Geneva-based businessman a deadline. Tony Hibbert returned to training today after overcoming a bout of the flu. Reserve defender Anthony Gerrard has been struck down by the mumps.
Painful memories of two years ago driving on Cars
Jan 11 2005 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
IN years to come young Evertonians will flick through the record books, come across the final league table for the 2002/3 season and conclude David Moyes' first full season in charge had been a resounding success. Having only achieved a top-half finish in the Premiership once before that campaign, it would seem a fair assessment. But at the time seventh was a bitter disappointment.
The Blues had spent almost the entire campaign in a European qualifying place, only to slip out of contention following a final-day defeat to Manchester United. Two years on and the players are heeding the lessons of that season. Overcoming a tricky third round FA Cup tie provided a prime example. "We had Shrewsbury in the back of our minds against Plymouth," explains midfielder Lee Carsley, a veteran of that campaign. "We were having a good season two years ago and perhaps after the Shrewsbury result it knocked the stuffing out of us a bit in the league. "We weren't going to let that happen at Plymouth." And if the players are focused on achieving the goals which passed them by in 2003, that also means maintaining a position in the Premiership's top five. This weekend's fixtures could be crucial. Everton travel to Middlesbrough on Sunday knowing victory would extend their lead over Steve McClaren's seventh-placed side to 11 points. But with Liverpool facing a home clash with Manchester United at Anfield, even a draw at the Riverside could enhance Everton's grip on the European places. Carsley continues: "Doing well in the FA Cup is important for us, but we want to be playing in Europe as well. And so obviously the Middlesbrough game is very important. "A lot of the teams up and around us have got to play each other but we have come through that little period and are still in a good position. "After losing two on the bounce there were people wondering if we were going to fall away, but we have got our eye in again now. "Portsmouth was a big game for us. We could have settled for a draw but we kicked on, got the result and it has made a big difference. "It is tough playing so many games in a short period of time over Christmas. A few of the lads have had a few aches and pains to deal with but we have got plenty of time to prepare between games now. "And the week will not drag because we got a win at the weekend.
"If we had been done in the Cup it would have all been over the papers and would have taken some of the shine off the season we have been having. We didn't want that to happen. "One area where we have struggled this season is through the size of our squad. But nobody could question the quality running right through it. "You can see that because of the way the lads who have come in over the last few weeks have done. "The manager has switched things around a bit in games since Christmas but the players who have come in have kept the momentum going. "You only have to look at the Portsmouth game. The manager was able to rest three or four players who had been important to us in the first half of the season and we still got the result." In the last two matches Moyes has employed a more offensive formation - far more 4-3-3 than 4-5-1. Against Plymouth, it was Marcus Bent and James McFadden filling the wide roles with James Beattie prowling down the centre. "I enjoy playing that way, with the three forwards," Carsley said. "It gives you so many options when you get the ball and players like Leon Osman and Benty always make themselves available for the ball. "James Beattie came in on Saturday and did really well. Ideally, you wouldn't want to make your debut in a tough away game in the FA Cup where an upset could have been a possibility. But he handled himself very well and was unlucky not to score. "He is a good lad and he will fit right in. It is important the gaffer doesn't sign anyone with an attitude problem because that would not go down well with our group. "James is a really down-to-earth, decent lad and he is fitting in. "And Faddy is doing well at the moment, too. He was low on confidence earlier this season but he always gives 100 per cent and it was always going to turn around for him at some point.
"That has happened in the last couple of weeks and hopefully that will continue. He is always great in training so we knew he would be alright. "He is not the biggest lad, but he is so hard to knock off the ball."
Robson's faith in Campbell
Jan 11 2005 Liverpool Echo
BRYAN ROBSON is looking for new signing Kevin Campbell to provide the goals which will keep West Brom in the Barclays Premiership after signing the veteran striker from Everton. Rob Earnshaw has been the only Baggies front man to hit the net on a consistent basis during the first half of the campaign, while Kanu and Geoff Horsfield have struggled. Robson would willingly accept a repeat of Campbell's career record of roughly a goal every three matches for the remainder of 2004-05.
The 34-year-old has signed an 18-month deal and is expected to go straight into the squad for Sunday's televised clash at Fulham when the Baggies will be seeking their first league win under Robson. The Albion chief said: "Kevin has got vast experience and Premiership knowhow and I think he will be a real success for Albion. "He adds power and strength to our squad and is up to the challenge of trying to keep us in the Premiership. "But, if we get relegated, Kevin is also willing to stay next season and try and help us get promoted."
Middlesbrough Res 0, Everton Res 1
Jan 12 2005 Daily Post
EVERTON RESERVES secured an excellent away win at Middlesbrough thanks to James Vaughan's first-half goal. On a blustery night at Bill-ingham Sythonia, the home side - which included first-team players Stuart Parnaby and Malcolm Christie - were the first to threaten in the early stages when Mark Wilson fired his shot straight at Iain Turner. Then on 18 minutes, James Morrison tried his luck from 25 yards and wasn't too far away. The visitors soon came into the game, however, and three minutes later should have taken the lead after Vaughan had dispossessed goalkeeper Carlo Nash with a terrific challenge. But with the goal at his mercy the Everton striker was too casual with his finish and Parnaby was allowed to make a fine goal-line clearance. Vaughan made amends though on 36 minutes when he put Everton ahead. Laurence Wilson and Bjarni Vidarsson combined effectively on the left flank and Vaughan did well to turn inside the six-yard box and fire into the corner of the net. Five minutes into the second period David Graham shot wide at the end of a nice passing move by the home side. In truth goalscoring chances were few and far between on a difficult night for football. Vaughan and Nash were both yellow carded after the keeper reacted angrily to a challenge from the goalscorer, while Stephen Wynne was off target from the edge of the box midway through the half. Everton defended valiantly in the latter stages as Middlesbrough pressed forward and Andy Holden's men needed a fine save from Turner two minutes from time to keep out a fierce drive from Craddock.
MIDDLESBROUGH: Nash, McMahon, Taylor, Wilson, Bates, Parnaby (Craddock 46), Morrison, Peacock, Christie (Burgess 46), Graham, Johnson. Subs: Knight, Reed, Clough.
EVERTON: Turner, Wynne, Fox, Boyle, Hughes, Harris, Hopkins, Martland (Seargeant 76), Vaughan, Vidarsson, Wilson. Subs: Anichebe, Gallagher, Wright, Fowler.
French youngster in trial at Everton
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jan 12 2005
EVERTON have handed a week's trial to young Lens midfielder Guillaume Plessis. The 19-year-old (left) arrived on Merseyside yesterday hoping to convince David Moyes he is worthy of a permanent move to Goodison Park. But any deal is unlikely to take place during this transfer window and would be a capture for the future rather than Moyes's immediate first team plans. Plessis is regarded as a promising and powerful midfielder in his native France on the back of his performances at international youth level. But he has not established himself in the Lens senior side this season and has travelled to Bellefield with the French club's permission. Moyes has turned his transfer thoughts to midfield after the £6million purchase of James Beattie. While Plessis could earn a deal if he impresses, Moyes is looking for established talent in the transfer window. Celtic's Stilian Petrov and Rangers's Fernando Rickson are on a list of potential targets drawn up by Moyes who, contrary to reports yesterday, has not offered a move to Monaco striker Emmanuel Adebayor. Adebayor is surplus to requirements at Stade Louis II and Everton have been alerted to his availability. "It is true I have a lot of contacts from France and abroad," he said yesterday. "I can confirm I had contacts with Paris, Toulouse and Everton. Other clubs who want to remain secret also contacted me. "Toulouse, Everton and Paris are all very keen to get me. For the moment I don't want to leave Monaco. I will meet coach Didier Deschamps soon. Considering what he will say I will take a decision." Adebayor's confidence in a move to Everton, however, is not shared inside Goodison Park.
Survival will beat title win - Campbell
Jan 12 2005
KEVIN CAMPBELL has admitted keeping West Brom in the Premiership will give him greater satisfaction than winning a league championship medal with Arsenal. Campbell played an important part in the Gunners capturing the title for the second time in three years in 1991 with nine goals in 22 matches. But now in the twilight of his career the 34-year-old would view saving the bottom-placed Baggies from relegation as an even bigger achievement. Campbell has signed an 18-month contract with Albion after ending a six-year association with Everton and moving to The Hawthorns on a free transfer. The former England B striker said: "Keeping West Brom up this season would probably give me more satisfaction than winning the title with Arsenal all those years ago.
"I say that because when you are at a big club like Arsenal you are expected to win every game - but no-one expects West Brom to stay up because, as they say, the team bottom at Christmas is relegated."
Blues in dark over Gravesen
Jan 12 2005 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON were defiant today as Real Madrid intensified their pursuit of Thomas Gravesen by beginning negotiations with his agent. The Spanish giants have made the Danish international their top target after agreeing to off-load Fernando Morientes to Liverpool. Gravesen's agent John Sivebaek was meeting senior representatives from the Bernabeu to discuss the prospect of the 28-year-old moving to Spain in a three-year-deal. Real are ready to offer £2.2m to secure the capture of Gravesen before the closure of the current transfer window. But Madrid have still not approached Everton about the player and the Blues remain determined to do everything they can to keep hold of Gravesen. Everton chief executive Keith Wyness told the ECHO today: "We have had no contact whatsoever from any club regarding Thomas and we will play the situation as it arises, if indeed something does arise. "We know Tommy is happy at Everton and hopefully he will be here for some time to come." Gravesen is believed to top a short-list of targets which includes French starlet Rio Mavuba. However, if Madrid do make their move for Gravesen in the next 24 hours they will find Everton determined to do all they can to keep the player. And that could mean Madrid having to up their price to 4m Euros if they want to get their man in the current transfer window. Siveabaek admits the final decision will be Everton's, saying: "I am here to listen to what Real Madrid have to say. Nothing has been agreed but this is a big opportunity for the player. "They'd like to have him now, but it's not in my hands, it is up to Everton. "I have the impression that they want him now, rather than at the end of the season." Meanwhile, Everton have taken French teenager Guillaume Plessis on a week-long trial. The 19-year-old Lens midfielder will train with the first team at the club's Bellefield training ground.
Tommy will be Real-ly missed
Jan 12 2005 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
IT is a bitter irony that, having finally transformed his love/hate relationship with the Goodison faithful into one purely focused on adulation, Thomas Gravesen appears to be heading for the Everton exit. The Dane's development on Merseyside can be measured by his popularity in the stands since his £2.5m arrival from Hamburg in July 2000. This season has finally seen the back of the frustrated groans and moans from certain quarters of the crowd over the midfielder's inconsistency. He has become the talisman the side so desperately needed following the departure of Wayne Rooney. Consistently influential with his precision passing and unerring ability to beat players, Gravesen has been a key player in the side's rise up the table. It has taken David Moyes three years, but he has finally transformed him into the player all Evertonians knew he could be. The frustration is that, having resisted putting pen to paper on a new contract, Gravesen's best days for Everton are set to be painfully shortlived. Whether he goes in the next few days to Madrid, or in the summer when his contract expires, it is now clear his future lies elsewhere. But while the draw of a club like Real is hard to deny, would he have the same impact at the Bernabeu? In Moyes, Gravesen has a manager who appreciates his honesty and who can handle his opinionated, larger-than-life personality - a personality which is the real basis for his nickname 'Mad Dog'. Just as important, though, is Moyes' understanding of what makes Gravesen tick as a player. He understands how to use the player and, like the supporters, he understands what a fine talent he is. Ironically, that awareness from the fans explains why Gravesen struggled to win them over in his first couple of years at the club. Evertonians quickly realised they were not always getting the best from the playmaker. But in the last 12 months he has found that consistency and has been rewarded by becoming the number one idol in a side flying high in the table. He clearly adores that adulation, often shaking his fist and clapping his hands towards the crowd in the middle of games when they start chanting his name. But it was a different story as recently as 18 months ago. Then you would have thought the Dane had changed his name to 'Mercurial'. The player frustrated Moyes, who was well aware that when he played for his country he was a far more effective, consistent performer.
Indeed, in his native Denmark the 28-year-old has long been revered, attracting the same kind of media attention as Paul Gascoigne did in this country during his peak. Beyond Merseyside, Gravesen still seems to have this reputation for being a tough- tackling defensive midfielder. If that is the player Madrid think they are bidding for, then they are very much mistaken. But if they do get their man, they will have a midfielder with great class, composure and an ability to produce the unexpected. That is why he has won the hearts of Evertonians. And that is why they will be broken if he departs Goodison.
Canaries are going cheap
Jan 12 2005 Jblue, Liverpool Echo
WITH Europe their goal, the Blues will need to emulate their stunning pre-Christmas form to stay in contention for a top-four finish. But it means winning three points against opponents such as Norwich, who make the trip to Goodison on Wednesday, February 2, when Jblue members can get a £5 dis-count for the game. You can also guarantee your seat at the match by making use of the ticket priority benefit for all Jblue members. Meanwhile, replica kits, tracksuits, t-shirts, sweatshirts and plenty of other products have been included in the club's January sales at all their stores.
And in their training range, readers can pick up either a Footie Girl or boys training t-shirt for free by taking part in this week's competition. To be in with a chance of winning one of each, simply answer the following question: What is Norwich City's nickname? Send your answer to: Jblue Training Range Competition, Liverpool ECHO Sports Dept, PO Box 48, Old Hall Street, Liverpool L69 3EB.
As well as your answer, please include your name, age, address, and daytime phone number with your clothes size. Winners will be the first correct entries picked at random. Closing date is Friday, January 21. Normal competition rules apply. * WHY not join the Official Away Travel Club for only £5? Tickets are on sale now for Middlesbrough and Southampton at the box office. For more information, call 0151 330 2277. Under-16s must be accompanied by an adult. ALL official Everton club stores are offering a free printing service on replica shirts bearing James Beattie's name and the number eight.
Kev was a true blue gentleman
Jan 12 2005 Echo Letters
Kev was a true blue gentleman I WOULD like to say a big thank you to Kevin Campbell for his effort and respectful behaviour while at Everton. He scored some really important goals for us and he is a gentleman. Good luck with your new club Kev - except for when you play us of course!
Kevin, New Zealand
GOOD luck to super Kev.
Only people with short memories or those who weren't really there during the relegation battle would seek to deny his major contribution. That said, I do think a parting of the ways is overdue, as it is for Dunc whose contribution has at best been patchy. As for new boy James Beattie, he was just about average against Plymouth. It wasn't a startling debut, but he suggested enough for Moyes and the team to work on. It certainly puts into context just how good Bent's contributions have been.
I JUST want to say thanks and good luck to Kevin Campbell. I will always remember the goals he scored to keep us in the Premiership a few seasons back and I will always cheer him if he plays again at Goodison.
Frank Black, Liverpool
Campbell exit was overdue
KEVIN Campbell did a marvellous job for Everton when Walter Smith bought him from Turkish club Trabzonspor. There's no doubt his goals kept the club in the Premiership. But the time for Kevin to move on is long overdue; in fact he should have gone a couple of seasons ago. It highlights the folly of clubs offering ageing players long contracts - just the situation the Blues have been tied to with Duncan Ferguson.
Mike Alexander, Crosby
Key to the future
THE next few weeks and months are going to be the most important in the future of Everton Football Club. The team on the pitch are doing unbelivably well while the team that sit around the boardroom are playing a game of cat and mouse over the future of the club. David Moyes needs a commitment from the board about investment. He has been different class, but the men in the boardroom need to start looking for some genuine investment and kick the Fortress bunch into touch.
I HAVE been voicing my concern over this Fortress bunch since well before Christmas and have been assured by others to be patient. But now I see Everton are finally worried about Samuelson and his alleged millions.
Do they exist? Is it all Monopoly money?
Even with a second class stamp on, the cheque should have arrived by now.
Eddie, via e-mail
I HAVE been a football fan since the 1920s and saw all the great players, like Dean, Elisha Scott, Lawton, Lid-dell and many others. But I have now lost much interest because of the lack of competition. Money rules the game and the best players are in three or four teams - these being the ones who will win the major honours. In the pre-war First Division, every club had an international and all had a chance of success.
N Roberts, West Derby
Buy more players
THOUSANDS of Everton supporters must have been looking forward to more transfers in the January window. The Beattie signing: Is that it? Surely not. I would have thought the Rooney cash would have gone a little further, with another striker of note and a defender of international quality.
The Champions League beckons; the money is there - enough to bring Everton back to former glories.
P Foley, Coventry
Vaughan is Blues' goal hero
Jan 12 2005 Liverpool Echo
JAMES VAUGHAN'S first half goal gave Everton's second string side an excellent away win at Middlesbrough. On a blustery night at Billingham Sythonia, the home side - which included first-team players Stuart Parnaby and Malcolm Christie - were the first to threaten in the early stages when Mark Wilson fired his shot straight at Iain Turner. Then on 18 minutes, James Morrison tried his luck from 25 yards and wasn't too far away. The visitors soon came into the game, however, and three minutes later should have taken the lead after Vaughan had dispossessed goalkeeper Carlo Nash with a terrific challenge. But with the goal at his mercy the Everton striker was too casual with his finish and Parnaby was allowed to make a fine goal- line clearance. Vaughan made amends though on 36 minutes when he put Everton ahead. Laurence Wilson and Bjarni Vidarsson combined effectively on the left flank and Vaughan did well to turn inside the six-yard box and fire into the corner of the Boro net. Five minutes into the second period David Graham shot wide at the end of a nice passing move by the home side. In truth goalscoring chances were few and far between on a difficult night for football. Vaughan and Nash were both yellow carded after the keeper reacted angrily to a challenge from the goalscorer, while Stephen Wynne was off target from the edge of the box midway through the half. Everton defended valiantly in the later stages as Middlesbrough pressed forward and Andy Holden's men needed a fine save from Turner two minutes from time to keep out a fierce drive from Craddock.
MIDDLESBROUGH: Nash, McMahon, Taylor, Wilson, Bates, Parnaby (Craddock 46), Morrison, Peacock, Christie (Burgess 46), Graham, Johnson. Subs: Knight, Reed, Clough.
EVERTON: Turner, Wynne, Fox, Boyle, Hughes, Harris, Hopkins, Martland (Seargeant 76), Vaughan, Vidarsson, Wilson. Subs: Anichebe, Gallagher, Wright, Fowler.
Blues will make Real pay price
Jan 13 2005 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON are ready to make Real Madrid sweat for top target Thomas Gravesen. John Sivebaek, the Danish midfielder's agent, agreed personal terms for a four-and-a-half year deal with the Spanish giants yesterday. But Madrid may have to wait until the summer to get their man if they don't offer Everton a suitable fee to tempt the Blues into letting Gravesen go now. Chief executive Keith Wyness was still waiting for any contact from Madrid this morning and David Moyes has made it clear that the club's financial position means they are in no rush to lose the player. Madrid are believed to be poised with an initial offer of 2.5m euros for the Dane. But if a bid is forthcoming the Blues are ready to hold out for 4m euros in the knowledge that Gravesen's mercurial talents could still be the key to a lucrative £10m injection from Champions League qualification next season. Wyness underlined the club's eagerness to keep hold of the 28-year-old by revealing today: "One of the first things I did when I arrived here in September was to meet with Thomas pesonally to make sure he was 100 per cent clear that when he wanted to talk terms over a new deal we would be available. "He has been in no doubt of how keen we are to keep him at Everton." Despite developments in Madrid yesterday, Moyes was still waiting for an offer this morning. He said: "There has still been no contact and we are not interested in receiving any contact. "The situation is not getting to the staff or the players in any way. We are just getting on with things." Madrid were expected to begin their push for Gravesen today. The Dane has been in Denmark for the last 48 hours but was back at the Bellefield training ground this morning as the squad prepares for Sunday's crunch Premiership clash with Middlesbrough. The player's agent has admitted that if Everton want to block Gravesen's move to Madrid during the current transfer window there is little the player can do. "The ball is in Everton's court," he said. "We are just waiting now to see what happens." Meanwhile, American youngster Stuart Holden arrived on Merseyside today to begin a short trial with the Blues after impressing during the pre-season trip to Houston. The USA Under-20 international holds dual citizenship.
* Everton's FA Cup fourth round tie against Sunderland will be played at Goodison Park on Saturday, January 29.
£2m bid will see Gravesen depart
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jan 13 2005
EVERTON will allow Thomas Gravesen to join Real Madrid if the Spanish giants offer at least £2million for their player of the season. Goodison officials have not received any enquiries for Gravesen (right) despite the midfielder's agent, John Sivebaek, holding talks with several leading clubs in the past month. The former Manchester United defender was in the Spanish capital yesterday with a view to clinching an immediate transfer to the Bernabeu rather than a pre-contract agreement for the end of the season. And though David Moyes is reluctant to lose his influential midfielder at this stage, a serious offer from Madrid would bring an end to the Danish international's five-year Goodison career. Everton, who paid £2.5m for the 28-year-old in 2000, are prepared to lose Gravesen for nothing when his contract expires this summer rather than accept a nominal fee for his services. But they accept it could be counterproductive to block a move to the nine-time European champions and will accept Madrid's advances if their interest material-ises into a genuine bid. Reports in Spain last night claimed a £2m offer will be made by Real Madrid today after the Bernabeu club agreed to Gravesen's contract demands following negotiations with his agent. That would leave Everton short of creative talent in midfield although Moyes, who has been monitoring Stilian Petrov at Celtic among others, would get the transfer fee to spend on a replacement. Gravesen's agent Sivebaek confirmed: "I'm in Madrid just to hear what they have to say. "They'd like to have him now, but it's not in my hands, it is up to Everton. "In this game something can happen in an hour or in a week. It is difficult to say. "Obviously Real Madrid would be a big opportunity, but if he stays at Everton until the end of the season, I think he would also be happy with that." Everton chief executive Keith Wyness insisted that the club has not given up hope that Gravesen would remain at Goodison Park - despite the Dae leaving a new contract offer unsigned all season.
Wyness said: "We've had no contact whatsoever from any club regarding Thomas. "We will play the situation as it arises, if indeed something does arise. "We know Tommy is happy at Everton and hopefully he will be here for some time to come."
* EVERTON'S fourth round FA Cup tie against Sunderland at Goodison Park will take place on Saturday, January 29, kickoff 3pm.
Bright young things shine at the Riverside
Jan 13 2005
Post Past by Philip J Redmond Everton supporter, Daily Post
WHEN Everton made their first visit to the Riverside Stadium in March 1996, they were starting to build a credible European challenge that ultimately fell just short. Middlesbrough, meanwhile were struggling, as the initial euphoria of promotion, a new stadium and a string of exotic signings started to fade. On that day they unveiled Brazillian full-back Branco who unfortunately for them was five years and five stone past his best. Everton themselves had a few problems, with Joe Royle responding to the disastrous Cup defeat to Port Vale by wielding the axe and introducing a number of bright young things. Royle described the fourth round Cup exit as "a watershed", with the main casualty being Cup-winning full-back Matt Jackson who never played for Everton's first team again.
Into the team, came teenage full-back Jon O'Connor, midfield protege Tony Grant and the damagingly overhyped Michael Branch. On a grey damp North Eastern afternoon, the team had a point to prove and controlled proceedings from the off. O'Connor had a hand in the first goal with a cross that Graham Stuart headed against the bar, Grant volleyed home the rebound. It was Grant who sent Andrei Kanchelskis clear before being tripped for a penalty. Andy Hinchcliffe made no mistake from the spot. From then on it was plain sailing for the Blues. Everton came within five minutes of qualifying for Europe when Dennis Berg-kamp scored a late winner against relegated Bolton. This season Everton look an altogether, stronger, better balanced team and while Boro themselves are light years ahead of Bryan Robsons mid-90s outfit, let's hope another win at the Riverside this weekend can help spearhead a more sustained and ultimately succesfull European challenge.
Parker on hold as Moyes weighs up market options
Jan 13 2005 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
Everton Correspondent Scott McLeod surveys the field and takes a personal punt on the possible odds of landing a replacement for Thomas Gravesen at Goodison. AS soon as Thomas Gravesen stalled on his new Goodison deal in the summer alarm bells started to ring among Evertonians.
And now the prospect of a premature departure to Real Madrid proves those fears were justified.
Once the season kicked off with a contract un-signed David Moyes (right) was aware there was a strong possibility the player would depart Goodison. That realisation will have given him the chance to draw up a plan of action for this eventuality. There is little doubt that new additions will be needed before the January transfer window slams shut if the Blues receive an offer they can't refuse for Gravesen. The plus from Everton's perspective is that, unlike six months ago when the Dane's departure would have left the manager in a pickle, he now has a little financial clout with which to fill the gap. With £4m still unspent of his January funds and a further £2.2m expected from Real Madrid, the manager does not have to wait to take a dip in the market. The top contender to fill the void left by Thomas Gravesen is Chelsea's Scott Parker. He is the ideal replacement for the Dane and, at 24, is the right age for the young squad Moyes is nurturing. Having only started eight Premiership matches for Chelsea since his transfer deadline switch from Charlton for a whopping £10m 12 months ago, he is surely surplus to requirements in west London. But the England international's broken foot, coupled with the refusal of Jose Mourinho to let him go midway through the season, means there is little chance of Moyes acquiring his services before the summer. Had Gravesen left then on a free transfer, it would not have been such a heavy blow.Come the end of the season you can expect the Blues to be pushing hard for the former Charlton man. But, for the time being, Parker is off the agenda. So does the Goodison chief look to add another midfield man now or does he wait patiently to hunt down Parker and focus his attentions on other areas of the squad for the time being? A keen interest in Sheffield United's Michael Tonge suggests the manager is focused on midfield reinforcements, as does last weekend's trip to watch the Old Firm clash and - possibly - the attacking surges from midfield of Bulgarian international Stilian Petrov. Moyes is keeping his cards close to his chest when it comes to who will be Goodison's next arrival - and what position he will occupy. But there is no shortage of midfield candidates already being touted on the market.
Tonge is a player of great potential. His former midfield partner, Michael Brown, has proved a hit since moving to Tottenham - and he was widely regarded as the less influential of the pair. Neil Warnock will be desperate to keep hold of the playmaker and is believed to want £2m. But he is the kind of player who could be an ideal long term addition and who could also fill a short-term void.
But if it is Premiership experience the Blues are looking for, there is plenty available - at a price.
Chris Coleman has made it clear he could be ready to let Steed Malbranque go. The Frenchman is versatile enough to offer the Blues something on the flank or down the middle. And he has always done well against Everton - a factor which was influential for Moyes in the signing of James Beattie and in Moyes' pursuit of both Sean Davis and Alan Smith. A stumbling block could be Fulham's £6m price tag. The Blues will not pay over the odds and will avoid being dragged into an auction for the 25-year-old, who is being monitored by Newcastle, Aston Villa and Tottenham. The Everton boss has demonstrated during his time at the Goodison helm that, once he has set his sights on a target, he tends to maintain his interest - with one obvious exception. Robbie Savage was close to a £2.5m switch to Goodison last summer before getting cold feet because of Birmingham's reluctance to off-load him and signing a new contract. Since then, the Welsh international has struggled for form. When Blackburn entered the chase for his signature earlier this month Moyes steered clear.
It is a situation which could now be echoed with Barry Ferguson. The Scotland skipper opted for Blackburn ahead of the Blues in the summer of 2003 when he moved south from Rangers for £7.5m.
He has struggled with his fitness and a loss of form since moving to Ewood Park and there is increasing speculation Ferguson is destined for a return to Ibrox, despite an initial £5m bid being turned down. If the Gers make another move don't hold your breath to see Everton stepping into the chase - unless Rovers are willing to let the tough-tackling Scot go for a fraction of the fee they paid. Of the list of other names being mentione and one of the most interesting is Amdy Faye.
His full-blooded style would not be out of place at Goodison and he would not be over-priced.
But whoever Moyes goes for - if he goes for a midfield man - there is little doubt the outlay will be greater than the money recouped for Gravesen. That is why it is a situation the Goodison chief will definitely be looking to avoid in the future.
SCOTT PARKER 3-1
THE Chelsea star would be the ideal replacement for Gravesen. Moyes has been a long admirer of the playmaker and was keen on snapping him up in the summer of 2003 before having to divert his sights to Sean Davis due to Charlton's refusal to let him go. Was signed by Chelsea for £10m but would surely be on offer for a much smaller fee in the summer. A mere £6m for a 24-year-old who could become a key player for England in the years to come would constitute good business.
STILIAN PETROV 6-1
DAVID MOYES was at the Old Firm game on Sunday, but was he watching the Bulgarian international? Martin O'Neill could be tempted into releasing the attacking midfielder for a fee in the region of £2m. And that is a price which would fit well within Everton's budget, as Moyes seeks to make his kitty stretch as far as possible. The 25-year-old has netted 45 goals in 225 starts for Celtic in his five years up north, which is a far greater strike-rate than Gravesen.
MICHAEL TONGE 7-1
FITS the photo-fit of a David Moyes player perfectly.
He is a young, ambitious British player with a reputation for a tenacious approach to the game. And he would not cost the earth. Having uncovered a gem in Tim Cahill, another dip into the Coca-Cola League isn't so daunting. Meeting Sheffield United's £2m asking price would leave Moyes with a significant sum of money left in the kitty to shop for defensive cover too. The 21-year-old is a strong contender.
STEED MALBRANQUE 10-1
HAS been a long-term target for Liverpool but is now believed to be off their hit-list following Rafael Benitez's arrival. Chris Coleman suggests a price tag of £6m and he has attracted interest from Tottenham, Newcastle and Aston Villa. Scored two goals against Everton last season, including the extra-time winner in the FA Cup fourth round replay. Has the skill and flair to fill the void left by Gravesen, but does he have the same level of work-rate?
BARRY FERGUSON 25-1
DAVID MOYES battled hard for the Scottish skipper's signature 18 months ago, but the midfielder chose Blackburn, where he has struggled for form and fitness. He has struggled to justify his whopping £7.5m price-tag. And now Rangers have been linked with a move to take him back to Ibrox for a price in the region of £6m. He has the character to fit into David Moyes' squad, but at that price and with his recent track record, he's an unlikely target.
AMDY FAYE 25-1
THE 27-year-old from Senegal was signed by Harry Redknapp for £1.5m in the summer but is now seen as a saleable asset by new boss Velimir Zajec. Faye is a strong, imposing midfield man who does not possess anywhere near the same array of attacking tools as the departing Thomas Gravesen. However he is a fearsome competitor and a tough midfield anchor-man. Most importantly, he would also be within Everton's reachfinancially.
Ball: Cash battle worse than injury
Jan 13 2005 Liverpool Echo
FORMER Everton defender Michael Ball admits long-term injury was easier to take than being kept out of the Rangers team through finances. A clause in his contract which would trigger a £500,000 payment to the Blues when he played his 60th match for Rangers meant Ball was left kicking his heels on the sidelines as he neared the mark. But Rangers, Everton and the player managed to thrash out an agreement shortly before Christmas and, although the details are under wraps, Ball is now able to play for the Ibrox side again. He said: "The hardest part for me was coming into training every day and trying to keep my fitness up even though I wasn't playing any games. "When I was out long-term with my injury I think in many ways that was easier to deal with. "Even though I spent a long time out, at least I could see a gradual improvement as I moved towards full fitness.
"When you're not playing it is sometimes hard to keep motivating yourself week in, week out but you have to just get on with it. I just had to be professional and hope it would get sorted out."
Jan 13 2005 Liverpool Echo
'One thing we need to resolve is Leon Osman's contract, which is up at the end of the season.' - Gareth Scott HOW ironic that on the night the supposed 20-goal a season man made his debut, it was a man with a goal-a-game ratio who secured our victory. The Nick Chadwick situation is something of a conundrum. Many fans present his goalscoring record as evidence that he deserves a more regular chance in the starting line-up. However, I sympathise with David Moyes who will note that while Chadwick certainly has something of a knack, once again his goal came against a lower division team. One player who remains effective wherever he is deployed is Leon Osman (pictured). His goal on Saturday brought back memories of a Pat Nevin chip against Manchester United in the early '90s. Boro away is always tough. But a point will be enough to keep things ticking over quite nicely thanks very much.
JON SELLICK, Crosby
IT was a very positive result at Plymouth with our three younger players all getting on the scoresheet. Apart from the BBC, everyone else knew that we wouldn't have a problem. An Everton Team a few years ago may have lost, but this team has so much togetherness, an upset was never on the cards. With a bit of luck in this year's FA Cup, we could go a long way. Although Beattie did quite well, he doesn't look match fit - but I'm sure Moyes will sort that out. One thing we definitely need to resolve is Leon Osman's contract which is up at the end of the season. He is a player that wants to stay and must stay. If Gravesen does decide to go to Real Madrid, at least he has given everything for Everton and our push for Europe over the last five years. Whatever he decides, I am sure most fans will wish him well.
GARETH SCOTT, West Derby
I WOULD like to pay tribute to Kevin Campbell. Despite the unfair stick he has received from some supporters in recent times, he saved us from relegation in his first season and made an outstanding contribution to the side for as long as he was fit. It's obviously best for everyone for him to leave now, but Evertonians should not forget everything he has done for us. Saturday was a great result and the resulting home draw is just what we need at this stage of the FA Cup. It was nice to see Nick Chadwick score. Whenever he plays he always manages to get a chance or two. Sunday's game is also very important. If we win we will go 11 points clear of Middlesbrough and with those equally lovable Reds playing each other on Saturday, either or both have to drop points.
HANNAH BARGERY, Widnes
GIVEN that we have often represented easy meat for lower league opposition in cup ties in recent years, it made a pleasant change to see a reshuffled side secure a fourth round home tie against Sunderland in relative comfort. It was also good to see Leon Osman offer another timely reminder as to why securing him under contract is imperative. Midfielders who are two-footed, intelligent and capable of scoring goals are thin on the ground. His first full season has been an impressive one, suggesting he will only get better. The weekend offers the Blues an ideal opportunity to resurrect their excellent away form after the two aberrations in London. While Middlesbrough are to be respected, there is no reason why we should not maintain our healthy advantage on fifth place.
DAVID SPOWART, Wavertree
Gravesen set to join Madrid in £2.3m deal
By Ian Doyle Daily Post Staff
Jan 14 2005
EVERTON are today expected to sell Thomas Gravesen to Real Madrid for £2.3million. Representatives from the Bernabeu contacted their Goodison counterparts last night to initiate talks on a proposed transfer for the Danish international. Madrid discussed an opening offer of 2m euros (£1.47m), which fell some way short of the £2m fee Everton were seeking for a player who is out of contract at the end of the season. Negotiations will continue today with Madrid ready to make a formal offer of £2.3m for the 28-year-old. And with Gravesen having indicated his desire to join Real Madrid, Everton will accept the offer. Reports in Madrid last night said Gravesen is expected in the Spanish capital today where he will undergo a medical before completing the move. And barring unforeseen problems he would then sign a three-and-a-half year deal. Everton had been expecting a formal offer for the Dane after the player's agent, John Sivebaek, agreed terms on a three-and-a-half-year deal with Madrid on Wednesday evening. Sivebaek said yesterday: "It is not a question of him wanting to leave Everton. He is happy there. But this is Real Madrid we are talking about. This kind of opportunity may not come up again." With Gravesen about to end to his five-year association with Everton, Moyes has already started to train his sights on mid-field reinforcements.
Celtic midfielder Stilian Petrov has emerged as a leading target after Moyes watched the Bulgarian international in action during Sunday's Old Firm clash with Rangers. Everton are unlikely to be deterred by comments made yesterday by the player's agent, with an offer of £2m likely to persuade the Glasgow club into parting with the 25-year-old. "I have no information from Celtic or any contact from Everton regarding Stilian," said the player's agent Latchezar Tanev. "He is happy at Celtic and he is playing at a high level. If he was to change club it would take a good offer as he has a good contract until June 2007. "There has always been interest in Stilian as he is playing well for Celtic and Bulgaria. "I don't think there is anything at the moment, but that could change in the summer." Moyes is also a keen admirer of Fulham schemer Steed Malbranque, although any move for the £6m-rated Frenchman would require the money from a Gravesen transfer plus the remainder of his January transfer kitty. Sheffield United midfielder Michael Tonge is another possible target but Everton yesterday dismissed reports they had already tabled a £750,000 bid for the England under-21 international. Meanwhile, USA U20 international Stuart Holden arrived on Merseyside yesterday for a short trial with Everton. The 19-year-old trained with Everton in Houston last July and at Bellefield in August. "I'm really excited. It is something I have dreamed of," said Holden, who also has British citizenship.
So where's the expected influx of new Blue blood?
By Mark O'Brien Everton Supporter, Daily Post
Jan 14 2005
WHAT'S going on? The jemmying open of the transfer window was supposed to herald an influx of new blood to the smallest squad in the Premiership, but thus far we've had one in, one out, and the threat of another one his way. You don't have to be Alan Turing to work out that that would actually leave us one man down. An important man as well, and a massive loss to Everton if John Sivaebek has his way and Thomas Gravesen does become a Galactico this month. Obviously Everton have to do what is best, and the player holds all the cards given that the end of his contract is looming, but David Moyes must be hoping that he can hold on to the player until the summer. Obviously he could just tell him that he's staying, like it or lump it, but that's hardly going to leave him with the most motivated individual on his hands. It's not often that Madrid come knocking and it must represent an absolute dream move for a player like our deranged Dane who has spent most of the last four and a half years battling at the ugly end of the English Premiership. Given the way that various boyhood Blues have scarpered from the club after their initial 15 minutes of fame, it would be churlish to wish our longest ever serving foreign player anything but good luck if he does move on. He will be a tough act to follow though. Kevin Campbell's situation is obviously somewhat different; while Gravesen's in the form of his life, the ex-Arsenal striker clearly has his best years well behind him. Much has been made of his massive salary in recent seasons, but the mere fact that he was offered such a ludicrous contract in the first place is an indication of just how vital he was to Everton during the Walter Smith era. Hopefully our newest striker, James Beattie, can be just as important for the Blues in years to come. It's obviously going to be quite a while until he's anywhere near as fit as his teammates, as he seemed to struggle during his debut at Home Park last Saturday. He still managed to set up the opening goal though, in what was ultimately a pretty professional performance bearing in mind the amount of players featured who were short of match practice.
Sunday's game at Middlesbrough will be a different kettle of fish altogether, and a point would represent a great result, especially with many of the other teams in the top six facing each other over the weekend.
Don't get bitter
Post Soapbox, icLiverpool & Daily Post
Jan 14 2005
Don't get bitter
IT looks like Tommy will be leaving sooner rather than later, as we all hoped he wouldn't, but we cannot stand in his way. Moyes will replace him as soon as he can. I would like to wish him all the best, along with Kevin Campbell. Let's not get all bitter and twisted over Tommy wanting to move on. We all did the same with Wayne Rooney and all his departure did was spur on the other play-ers to better themselves . . . and they have. It's all about who is at Everton now and not who isn't. We have a massive game on Sunday. If Tommy has left then young Leon Osman is playing well enough at the moment to fill his boots.
Peter Bloomberry (via e-mail)
WE'VE heard it all before. "We've had no contact" .. . . " he's going nowhere". We've seen it all before . . . silence from the player while his agent is doing his utmost to get him a move.
Brian Norbury (via e-mail)
More for Olivier
IF TOMMY goes then Olivier Dacourt would be a good replacement. He'd certainly be better than panic-buying the likes of Robbie Savage. With all due respects to Ossie, he is not strong or powerful enough to boss the mid-field, yet.
Brian Crosby (via e-mail)
SO TOMMY looks set to leave us. Correct me if I'm wrong but didn't he say, when he knocked back a contract in the summer, that he wants to see the club move forward before he commits himself because he wants to play European football. So have we not moved forward this season? Are we not on the brink of qualifying for Europe? Tommy, you've taken Everton for a ride.
Adam Smith (via e-mail)
Hot for Cole
DON'T let Gravesen go unless he says he wants to; then we have no choice. I agree with everyone else, it is better to lose £2million and qualify for Europe. He might even sign a new contract then. If he goes and Moyes gets the money he should still have a decent chunk left to go for the likes of Kevin Nolan? Then again, with five in midfield I'd love to see him try his luck for Joe Cole (£5-£6M?). He'd be fantastic as a playmaker.
Mark Burns (via e-mail)
Blues agree £2.6m fee for Gravesen
Jan 14 2005 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
THOMAS GRAVESEN has left Merseyside for Real Madrid after Everton agreed a fee for the midfielder. Everton resumed negotiations with the Primera Liga side this morning after rejecting an initial approach last night, believed to be for £1.8m. The Blues held out for 4m euros (£2.6m) and reached agreement this afternoon. Everton had been reluctant to lose the 28-year-old (right) but were aware of the player's desire to make the switch to the Spanish giants. Their bargaining position was made stronger by Gravesen's refusal to plead with the club into letting him go. Gravesen has already agreed personal terms on a three year contract and was on his way to Spain today to undergo a medical. He said his farewells at the Bellefield training ground before lunch. David Moyes will be handed the Gravesen money to bolster his £4m transfer kitty as he seeks to add further new faces to his ranks before the transfer window closes in a fortnight. Former target Robbie Savage has re-emerged as an option, although the Welshman is close to moving to Blackburn. Meanwhile, James McFadden has stated his desire to remain on Merseyside, scoffing at talk of a return to Scotland. Both Rangers and Celtic have been linked with the Scottish international. "It's nice to be linked and to know people are still interested in you but I've not got a desire to move," said McFadden. "I came down here to play in the Premiership and make a name for myself and I hope I can still do that here." The Blues travel to Middlesbrough on Sunday without the injured Steve Watson and Nigel Martyn but with Duncan Ferguson available again after a three-match suspension.
Blues are ready for new era
Jan 14 2005 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
IF Everton are to begin life without Thomas Gravesen this weekend, then they have had the ideal preparation in the last 10 days. The Danish international has been the side's link between mid-field and attack for much of this campaign, having been freed of much of his defensive duties by Tim Cahill and the fine form of Lee Carsley. But against Boro the Blues are set to be without the Madrid-bound playmaker. It would be a bitter blow to the club. And yet the performance against Plymouth last weekend, minus the Dane, provided promise - and suggested manager David Moyes has been weighing up his options. Moyes (pictured) is eager to improve a strike ratio which is the worst of the sides in the top seven with ambitions of European qualification. The Blues have netted 27 times in the league, averaging 1.2 goals a game. The arrival of £6m man James Beattie, who is set to make his Premiership debut for the Blues at the Riverside on Sunday, has underlined the manager's desire to grab more goals. But just as telling was his bold 4-3-3 formation at Plymouth last weekend in a side which didn't include Gravesen. It has given him a tantalising option ahead of Sunday.
And that for a game which could be pivotal to the club's season. Victory would ensure the Blues extend their lead over Steve McClaren's men to a whopping 11 points. It would also be enough to re-claim third spot and extend the gap over fifth-placed Liverpool to eight points if Manchester United draw at Anfield tomorrow. Alternatively, Everton could find their lead over Boro and the Reds whittled down significantly if things don't go according to plan. With that in mind, it is far from the ideal time for the club to be distracted by the on-going Gravesen saga. But the manager has remained focused on the job in hand. And he is intent on maintaining the club's impressive position in the Champions League places by encouraging a greater goal return. Moyes admits: "We have been wanting to get forward a bit more than we had been doing in the games over Christmas.
"We have tried to do a couple of different things in the last few games and we are helped by the fact we now have more options to play different ways (with the arrival of Beattie). "At Plymouth I was going to play 4-4-2 but decided quite late not to do that and went with a set-up closer to 4-3-3.
"We are able to do that because the players have a good understanding of the jobs that are required of them within different roles. We have players like Marcus Bent, Leon Osman and Kevin Kilbane who have given us an adaptability and the potential to explore things as we go along. "All the players are willing to take on different jobs if it is required. Joseph Yobo has played in midfield for us this season and James McFadden has played a variety of roles across the front. "Marcus has spent a lot of the season up front on his own but he is more than capable of playing wide. "He has done that before, even for us at times this season. It suited what I wanted to do last weekend, both in terms of how we wanted to play the game and what I wanted to do with the squad. "We are not restricted to playing just one way, despite having a small squad. That flexibility means we don't need a lot of players." In Gravesen's absence, Kil-bane is likely to be given a more important role in the centre of the field. And that should mean a continued run in the side for McFadden. Moyes continues: "Faddy is only 21 and came from Scotland just over a year ago. "Like any other player, he has needed time to develop and he has gone through a rough period. But now he is beginning to regain his confidence and we will need him a lot in the months to come because he has that ability to eliminate defenders and beat people. "He now has a better understanding about making the right decisions and when to release the ball at the right time. But he is continuing to learn and I am on at him all the time to keep improving. "The great thing about Faddy is that you know he will develop because he is willing to listen and learn. If you are that type of player, you are going to do well."
It has been clear since the 5-2 drubbing at Tottenham on New Year's Day that Moyes has been focused on rejuvenating a squad which has been asked to do a great deal this season. It has largely been the same group of players producing the goods week in, week out. But at White Hart Lane there were, for the first time, clear signs that the workload was taking its toll. But by the time the side take to the field at Boro in less than 48 hours many of those key play-ers will have played little more than 90 minutes of football in 15 days. Moyes has clearly had one eye on this game. "I wanted to give a rest to all three central midfield players (at Plymouth)," he admits. "I was able to do that for Thomas Gravesen and Tim Cahill and I would have rested Lee Carsley as well if our squad wasn't so small. "That was after giving Alessandro Pistone, David Weir, Marcus Bent and Kevin Kilbane a break from the starting line-up for the Portsmouth match. "With Tony Hibbert missing last week with the flu and Nigel Martyn still injured, every player who had become part of that settled side before Christmas has now had some sort of a break from the first team." Unfortunately, when that side is reunited by the manager there is set to be one high-profile absentee.
Bald truth is, Madrid have got wrong man
Jan 14 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
NOT since AC Milan identified John Barnes as the answer to their quest for a forward with pace, grace and subtlety - then signed Luther Blissett - has a football club been so misguided in its transfer policy. But then Real Madrid is a football club like no other. Ever since Los Madristas reck-lessly disposed of Claude Makelele, Real have craved a holding central midfielder - a disciplined enforcer who can protect his back four, break up opposition raids then prompt lightning counters of his own.
So they have targeted Thomas Gravesen. I'm a big Gravesen fan. His ball control is breathtaking, his vision outstanding and his ability to dictate the pace of a game enormously impressive. But a ball-winner he is not. Indeed the real ball-winner who has helped Gravesen flourish all season is the other follicly challenged midfielder who has operated alongside him. Surely Florentino Perez, the Real president, hasn't fallen into the old Milan trap? Probably not. Because there are plenty of other people out there who also think Gravesen is a ball-winner. After watching a typical display of eye-bulging eccentricity from Gravesen in a Denmark-Iceland international, he was picked out for praise by none other than the self-styled baddest man on the planet, Mike Tyson, while a legion of media-type "experts" regularly extol Gravesen's virtues of aggression and tough-tackling. It seems that arriving in England with an inappropriate nickname (apparently 'Mad Dog,' although no-one at Everton has ever called him anything other than Tommy) an ability to chase about erratically, a penchant for inciting a crowd and a habit for picking up the occasional red card for nothing more sinister than a lack of discipline (Anfield 2000, Fulham 2002) is enough to earn the reputation as something of a hatchet-man. Real Madrid appear to have been taken in, but their misapprehensions are of no concern to Everton. In Lee Carsley, Everton have just the kind of holding player Real want.
But if Gravesen goes, it will rip the creative heart from their side. No-one currently on the Goodison books possesses the Dane's vision and style. And there are no obvious replacements available in the Premiership at present - unless Scott Parker makes a Lazarus-style recovery from a broken foot or Jose Mourinho falls out of love with Joe Cole. Gravesen's arrival at the Bernabeu will not transform Real Madrid, but his departure from Goodison could seriously hinder Everton - and that is a cause for real concern.
Not just his goals that made Kev super
Jan 14 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
"WE need goals to keep us up. That's why we've signed Kevin Campbell." West Brom boss Bryan Robson uttered those curious words this week, conveniently ignoring the fact that in the past 19 months Campbell has scored one goal - and that a consolation in a 5-1 hiding. But Campbell has staged the sort of rescue act Robson craves before - and that is why Evertonians spoke of his departure for The Hawthorns fondly. Nine goals in eight explosive matches in the spring of 1999, however, are not the only reasons Campbell will always receive an affectionate ovation back at Goodison. He was just as reliable in front of goal the following season and the season after, until injuries began to take their toll on his body. He was an unselfish nurse-maid for a succession of strike partners, played uncomplainingly up-front on his own after injury in 2001, never publicly advised Wayne Rooney to leave (hello Tomasz and Fran-ny), was never sent-off nor suspended.
He always continued to work as hard as his body would allow and was usually a positive ambassador for Everton Football Club. True, he signed a ludicrously lucrative contract for a man of his age in the summer of 2002 - but which man in full possession of his mental faculties wouldn't have? And he has also kissed goodbye to some of that money to continue his playing career elsewhere. Campbell has made a more telling contribution to Everton's recent fortunes than many other strikers think they have. And he will always be welcome back at Goodison.
Jol 'enchanted' by van Bommel
Jan 14 2005 Liverpool Echo
TOTTENHAM boss Martin Jol has expressed an interest in signing Everton target Mark van Bommel.
PSV Eindhoven midfielder van Bommel is a free agent at the end of the season and can now sign a pre-contract agreement with a new club. Jol is a fan of the 27-year-old said: "We are enchanted about van Bommel. He is a midfielder and would fit in my team because we play 4-4-2 with two central midfielders. "He is a complete midfielder with overview, dynamics and a good pass."
Jol is also following the progress of fellow Dutchmen Rafael van der Vaart, who Liverpool have watched in the past, and Wesley Sneijder. Both are currently at Ajax. Van der Vaart is out of contract next year, while Sneijder's deal runs until 2007. "Sneijder is a real player with two good feet and an excellent pass. In a 4-5-1 van der Vaart can play as a second striker."
'Parasites' planning to clean up their act
Jan 14 2005 Liverpool Echo
THE country's top football agents want to shake off their "parasites" image. Led by Jon Smith, of First Artist plc, they met with Premier League chairman Dave Richards to discuss a self-regulatory group.
And they will present their case to the European Professional League in March with the aim of agreeing a code of conduct for agents by the start of next season. Smith said: "We will have this meeting - with FIFA, UEFA and governing bodies - to form a unit directly answerable and transparent. "Being publicly accountable will, for once and for all, back respected senior agents.
"The term 'agent' is used in a derogatory way. We are seen as the parasites of football. "But we have raised over £12million in sponsorship for the game and money in football also goes to directors' salaries. "We are dealing in human flesh and that is an emotive subject, and also clubs want to keep transfer stories quiet - this silence is misinterpreted as subversive. "We are all getting a little bit tired of getting walloped every time people want to have a pop at agents. Agents are not the only parties involved in transfers - many are instigated and concluded by clubs. "I have shareholders that are affected because of the inferences of comments about agents, we (First Artist) are a public company but people do not always recognise that." Yesterday Football League chairman Sir Brian Mawhinney called for greater regulations on the use of agentsafter a new report showed a sharp increase in third-party transfer payments made by clubs. The League's second sixmonthly Agents' Fees report revealed its member clubs spent £5,024,789 since June - an increase of over £3.6million from the equivalent period last year. Mawhinney said the figures showed too much money is leaving the game via agents.
Middlesbrough 1, Everton 1 (D,Post)
By Ian Doyle at The Riverside, Daily Post
Jan 17 2005
IF David Moyes is trying his best to keep a lid on the simmering pot of expectation among Evertonians, his players certainly aren't helping. Selling a key player to Real Madrid is not usually the done thing when challenging for Champions League qualification, but this has been a campaign which continues to defy popular conception. It was the same again at The Riverside yesterday, with the supporters who headed back to Merseyside cursing not the departure of Thomas Gravesen but the misfortune at only the width of the upright denying their team deserved victory against Middlesbrough. But after emerging from a potentially pivotal weekend with their grip on fourth place strengthened, the increasing like-lihood is that Everton will cross paths with their former midfielder next season when they take their place at the top table of European football. With the trademark self-belief, spirit and application which has epitomised this critic-confounding campaign again in evidence, Everton did enough to take all three points from Tees-side. But as both Lee Carsley and James Beattie were thwarted by the woodwork it took the late introduction of Duncan Ferguson to ensure Everton received at least something for their impressive endeavours, the Scot heading down for Tim Cahill to convert his fifth goal of the season. After he who shall not be named did his old team a favour at Anfield the previous day, the gap to Liverpool has increased to seven points with Boro remaining a further point adrift. And although Moyes insists Europe remains off-limits at Bellefield and is at pains to play down any talk of the Champions League, as opposite number Steve McClaren conceded afterwards, if Everton continue in this vein of form there will be nothing to stop them. Games between the main contenders will ultimately prove crucial in the race for that fourth place, and with yesterday's draw to add to earlier wins this season over both Boro and Liverpool, it's little wonder Everton find themselves now posted as favourites for that final Champions League spot. But while Moyes dismissed such a notion, he was quick to hail the performance on his players. Little wonder. No-one at The Riverside will have been left in any doubt that Everton are a better team than Middlesbrough and despite falling behind, the Goodison side demonstrated the character and talent to play their way back into the game and earn a draw. Losing Gravesen has evidently caused no immediate ripples. The Dane will undoubtedly be replaced but for now the midfielders Moyes has at his disposal continue to excel, Carsley again at his combative best while Kevin Kilbane was the game's star performer as he tormented the Boro defence on his return to the north east. His crosses were the ammunition Moyes has bought Beattie to convert, but for now the £6million man remains some way short of full match fitness. Too many times he was slow arriving in the box and his lack of sharpness was made clear by his second yellow card in successive matches. Yet it was a minor gripe on an otherwise encouraging afternoon for Everton. With a knee injury ruling out Leon Osman, Moyes made three changes from the side which saw off Plymouth Argyle last week, Cahill and Tony Hibbert returning as Joseph Yobo moved up into a defensive mid-field role to allow David Weir to resume his successful centre-back partnership alongside Alan Stubbs. Everton settled the quicker and looked the more confident in possession. Mark Schwarzer held Beattie's header after a good ball in from Kilbane, but there was nothing the Boro goalkeeper could do on 20 minutes when the Irishman played another prominent role in Everton's next opportunity. The selfless Marcus Bent held the ball up well and fed Kilbane on the left, who whipped a first-time ball over the Boro defence to the arriving Carsley. Although looking suspiciously offside, no flag was raised and the midfielder met the cross with a sweet-volley which Schwarzer could only watch rattle against the crossbar and fly over. Boro's cause had been hampered by the loss of Ugo Ehiogu with a knee injury after being landed on by his goalkeeper and it served only to further unsettle a backline which Everton's promptings had already exposed as being less than watertight, with merely the simplest of long balls causing panic in the home defence.
Given their position of relative comfort, it was therefore both frustrating and against the run of play that Everton found themselves behind on 26 minutes. Mind you, they'd been given a warning. Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink controlled Szilard Nemeth's pass on the edge of the area and turned Weir beautifully only for Hibbert to race across and produce a magnificent saving tackle as the Dutchman cocked the trigger. The full-back, however, will be less proud of his contribution moments later when he misjudged Hasselbaink's slide-rule pass and allowed it to play Bolo Zenden clear down the inside left channel. Richard Wright then made the Boro man's mind up for him by erroneously racing from his goal-line, Zenden clipping expertly over the goalkeeper from the angle with the ball crossing the line despite the attempts by Stubbs to clear. The goal buoyed Boro and they began to make in-roads into the Everton defence, Alessandro Pistone doing well to block Zenden's goalbound effort and Hasselbaink rattling the rebound narrowly over from 20 yards. But so porous was the home defence that opportunities were regularly presenting themselves to the visitors, Bent coming close two minutes before the break when Cahill and Kilbane caused a nuisance in the Boro area and the ball dropped to the Everton man at the far post who struck first time only for Schwarzer to parry.
Keen to atone for the undeserved deficit, Moyes sent his players out early for the start of the second half and it had an immediate galvanizing effect with Stubbs unable to find enough purchase on his header goalwards after finding himself unmarked in the penalty area from Carsley's clipped free-kick. Boro responded with a Zenden shot which was deflected narrowly wide and a Hasselbaink strike from distance which was held by Wright. Similarly to the first half, however, Everton worked their way back into the ascendancy. And as in the first half, only the woodwork denied them a goal after another lucky escape for the home side on 65 minutes. The excellent Kilbane again provided the delivery from the left with a teasing cross which Schwarzer spilled under pressure from Cahill. It dropped to the feet of Beattie, but his toe-poke agonisingly bounced back off the post of the unguarded goal before being hacked clear by Franck Queudrue. Enter Ferguson. The striker had only been on the pitch minutes when he helped Everton back on level terms and then sparked a 20-man free-for-all. The equaliser on 76 minutes was as well-worked as it was deserved. Taking a Beattie lay-off, Bent marauded down the right before passing to Hibbert whose deep cross was headed back across goal by Ferguson at the far post for the advancing Cahill to force home. Zenden then shot wide before a challenge by Ferguson on Schwarzer resulted in an unseemly melee in the back of the Boro goal which referee Dermot Gallagher rightly saw as much ado about nothing. Everton could easily have snatched victory in the closing moments with Ferguson seeing a shot deflect off Queudrue and fly narrowly wide while Bent's touch failed him at the critical moment when a long ball found him free inside the area. No matter. A week which in the past could have been so damaging has instead ended with Everton increasing their lead in fourth place. Just don't mention it to David Moyes.
MIDDLESBROUGH (4-4-2): Schwarzer; Reiziger, Southgate, Ehiogu (Cooper 18), Queudrue; Nemeth (Morrison 59), Doriva, Zenden, Downing; Job, Hasselbaink. Subs: Nash, McMahon, Graham.
BOOKING: Zenden (foul).
EVERTON (4-1-4-1): Wright; Hibbert, Stubbs, Weir, Pistone; Yobo (Ferguson 74); Bent, Cahill (Naysmith 86), Carsley, Kilbane; Beattie (McFadden 89). Subs: Turner, Chadwick.
BOOKING: Hibbert, Beattie (fouls).
REFEREE: Dermot Gallagher
NEXT GAME: Everton v Charlton, Premiership, Saturday, 3pm
Managers both put striker in the clear
Jan 17 2005 By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
DUNCAN Ferguson has been exonerated of any blame by both Everton manager David Moyes and Middlesbrough counterpart Steve McClaren after being involved in a 16-man melee at the Riverside.
Everton striker Ferguson, returning after a three-match suspension, made a dramatic impact after his arrival in the 74th minute of his side's 1-1 Barclays Premiership draw with Boro. Within two minutes the uncompromising Scot set up Tim Cahill for the equaliser, after Boudewijn Zenden had opened the scoring in the 25th minute, before sparking a mass brawl which soon followed.
Ferguson went in on Middlesbrough goal-keeper Mark Schwarzer after the Australian international had dropped a Lee Carsley corner, and a number of Boro players took exception to the challenge.
Players from both sides were embroiled in pushing, shoving and shirt tugging before referee Dermot Gallagher finally restored order, followed by a stern talking to captains Gareth Southgate and Alan Stubbs. The Football Association may decide to take another look at the incident, but Moyes believes no action will be taken. The Everton manager said: "If there was an FA inquiry I would wonder why. "The ball was dropped by the goalkeeper and if I was a player I would definitely have gone for it. "I would have expected any of my players to go for it. I think the only reason there was a melee was because it was after a corner and it was in such a close, confined space. There were so many players in there defending and attacking the corner." McClaren felt what unfolded was merely an indication of the desire of both teams to win the match. The Boro manager said: "I just thought it showed two sides who are both in the top six and you can see why they are there because of their spirit, attitude and togetherness. "I said to the players that I thought it was a great show of togetherness and sticking up for one another when your teammates are in trouble. You saw two sides like that. "I have seen the replay and there was nothing in it. It was just one of those where they are backing each other up. "It was a melee and these things happen in the game. "Both teams reacted as you would expect them to react in that situation, by looking after their team-mates and sticking together." Meanwhile Moyes reserved praise for man-of-the-match Kevin Kilbane and Ferguson, who created Cahill's equaliser. "Kevin Kilbane was outstanding today and has been since he joined us," he said. "He did for us what everyone is saying Stewart Downing can do for Boro.
"And Duncan Ferguson has a lot more to give us between now and the end of the season."
It was Everton's first game since the departure of Thomas Gravesen to Real Madrid on Friday, and Moyes reiterated his desire to bring in at least one more new face during this month's transfer window. "At every football club, life goes on without players," he said. "When Thomas Gravesen has not played, the stats show that we have won most of the games. But we would rather have him here than not have him, but he has gone now. "We are trying to strengthen our squad still but the problem is that not many clubs are looking to sell at this stage."
We're not under any pressure - Moyes
Jan 17 2005
By Ian Doyle Daily Post Staff
DAVID MOYES yesterday insisted his Everton side are under no pressure to qualify for the Champions League as they strengthened their grip on fourth place. Tim Cahill's fifth goal of the season 14 minutes from time cancelled out Bolo Zenden's first-half opener and earned the Goodison side a 1-1 draw at rivals Middlesbrough. It maintained an eight-point gap over the Teessiders and increased the advantage over fifth-placed Liverpool to seven points. But manager Moyes believes his players are refusing to get carried away by Everton's continuing success in the Premiership this season. "We are not focusing on fourth," he said.. "We are just enjoying ourselves that we are not fighting against relegation and hoping we can get a team that can compete at the top end of the table. We have kept it going this season. "There is no pressure on us at all. We are putting no pressure on them and we are simply determined to do the best that we can. We are not talking about the Champions League or thinking about it, we are just trying to get as many points as we can.
"If you saw the players at half-time when they were behind and at full-time when they thought they should have won, they were down. That tells you what you need to know. They believe they can win every game." Everton were unfortunate not to leave The Riverside with all three points after both Lee Carsley and James Beattie were denied by the woodwork. "I thought the performance was excellent," added Moyes. "It was deserving of more points than the one we got. I do not think we were under that much pressure at all during the game. "Middlesbrough are an excellent side who have had a great season. They are having to do it in Europe as well as fighting for fourth place and that is something maybe we can look to emulate next season."
The team's riding high - but where is Everton's new cash?
Jan 17 2005 Daily Post
For months, international financier Chris Samuelson has been promising Everton fans he will deliver millions of pounds of investment into the club. Chief Reporter Andy Kelly asks him why it is yet to materialise IT IS midnight in Hong Kong and Chris Samuelson has just returned to his hotel room after another night trying to help secure the financial future of Everton Football Club. "I've been doing quite a bit of work for the club in Hong Kong and Singapore on shirt sponsorship and other support like that, lots of negotiations which I think will considerably strengthen the club and get more money coming in," the Geneva-based financier reveals. Mr Samuelson is at the head of the Fortress Sports Fund, the investment group long-touted to plough £12.8m into Everton in return for a 29.9% stake in the club. But fans have become increasingly frustrated as a series of promises and deadlines have come and gone - with no sign of the Fortress money materialising. First it was supposed to be in place by the club AGM on December 6. Then there was a two-week extension, then it was hoped it would be there by Christmas. Disparaging stories about Mr Samuelson's business dealings have already appeared in at least one national magazine. The prospect of the Fortress investment enabled club chairman Bill Kenwright to fight off calls by fellow director and arch rival Paul Gregg for him to resign over the summer. Only the fine performances by Everton players on the pitch have prevented the rumblings about the non-delivery of Fortress turn into a clamour. This weekend, the Daily Post asked Mr Samuelson the key questions we believe Everton fans want answered. This is what he said. Q. When will the proposed deal by Fortress to buy into Everton FC finally materialise? Chris Samuelson: I have been in Brunei this week and around 95% of the deal is now done. I will be in Brunei today meeting the regulator when the remaining 5% should be sorted out. It relates to the wording governing the management company of the fund. "Once that is done, the money will go into the fund within a few days and certainly by the end of the week. Everton will then need to call an Emergency General Meeting (EGM) for shareholders to agree the deal. That takes a month so we are probably looking at the third week of February before the money actually reaches the club. "But if (club banker) Barclays are assured the deal is going through then I am sure they will make the money available earlier.
For months, international financier Chris Samuelson has been promising Everton fans he will deliver millions of pounds of investment into the club. Chief Reporter Andy Kelly asks him why it is yet to materialise
Q. How certain are you that the Everton board will approve the Fortress deal?
CS: Well I am sure Bill Kenwright and John Woods will support it which is around 40% of the shareholders. I have seen various rumours on websites about what Mr Gregg is likely to do but he is only a minority shareholder. We need 50% of support from those who actually vote and, if we get it, that takes care of that.
Q: Who are the investors involved in Fortress?
CS: They are a collection of individuals - not many, less than 10 - who are keen on football and follow Everton. I am legally not allowed to reveal their identities and they prefer to keep a low profile but I am sure a few of them will make themselves known of their own accord in time. They are very supportive and of course there is the option for more money to arrive later.
Q: Why is the deal being done through Brunei?
CS: I have just set up an office in Brunei and we elected to do it here because they have very good laws in relation to cell funds which is the method we are using. Basically the vehicle is a fund of funds and one of those funds is doing the Everton transaction.
Q: Why have there been so many delays with Fortress?
CS: I understand the fans' frustration and I am just as frustrated. This is the first fund of this type which has been done in Brunei under new legislation so it takes time.
Also the official who was handling our application went back to New Zealand for family reasons but he is now back in his office. I have made it very clear to the Brunei authorities that it is very urgent and we need their full co-operation and they have been very co-operative.
There is no doubt that Chris Samuelson talks a good game but Everton fans will want to see the colour of his money before making a final judgment. The financier, though, believes the signs are good. He said: "As I was changing flights at Singapore Airport this week, I went into a bar for a drink. It had footballs as seats and on the TV they were showing a replay of the Everton v Plymouth game. I thought that was a very good omen."
Everton can still prosper without me - Gravesen
By Paul Giblin in Madrid, Daily Post
Jan 17 2005
0ShareNEW Real Madrid signing Thomas Gravesen had no problems deciding to leave Everton to join the Spanish giants. The Denmark international conducted his first press conference as a Madrid player following his £2.5million switch to the Primera Liga club. "It was a difficult situation but it was a once-in-a-lifetime chance. It's been a great season for Everton, but I think I made the right choice," said Gravesen, who added he had been in contact with Real Madrid for a fortnight. The 28-year-old revealed Everton manager David Moyes tried to keep him at Goodison - but knew he was facing a losing battle. "At Everton we spoke about my future. The boss knew the situation and he was positive and tried to help me - although, of course, he was also trying to do the best for the club," said Gravesen, who insists he has been far from the only player responsible for Everton's much-improved results this season. "I think they have a very strong team and they didn't just rely on me. I'm sure next month will be decisive," he added when asked about Everton's chances of qualifying for the Champions League. The midfielder also claimed Madrid are the only club who made a firm offer for him - and scotched rumours of late interest from Manchester United. "There were a lot of rumours, but this was a big chance," he said. "I didn't have any concrete contact with any club that was not Real Madrid, so that made it easy." Turning his attention to Madrid, Gravesen insists he cannot solve their midfield problems on his own. "I'm coming to play for a team with a lot of stars," he said. "I'm not a saviour, but a midfielder at a big club. "I don't know how my career will take off here - I hope we'll win all our games," he added, playing down personal battles with David Beckham and Guti for the two places in central midfield. "I don't know if it's Beckham or if it's Guti I will be competing against. I'm part of the team, and it's not a war. We're all part of the same squad, and there will be no battle for places. "I think this is the biggest challenge of my career," he concluded..
Real coach Wanderley Luxemburgo insists the arrival of Gravesen will not spark a battle for places in the Madrid midfield. "I have a squad of players and it is very important that the entire squad is ready," he said. "I'm going to think about tactics. It will not be a fixed set-up with one or another player missing out. "It's just a question of the side realising a team is not just 11 players. I know Gravesen and I like the way he plays. He makes a huge effort and he's shown he wants to participate, that is very important and I want him to feel comfortable." Gravesen came off the bench for his home debut last night against Real Zaragoza, with Real Madrid winning 3-1 with goals from Raul, Ronaldo and Michael Owen.
Team spirit still burning brightly
Jan 17 2005
View from the stands by William Jennings Everton supporter, Daily Post
EVERTON are making a habit of this. Another club steals off with our prized silver, and everyone writes us off. First Rooney and now Gravesen. Only the rest of the players refuse to play by the script. Team spirit still shines through, despite the absence of friends that many thought we couldn't do without. It just goes to show how much can be achieved by togetherness and the will-ingness to put in that bit extra on behalf of the rest of the team. Everton deserved more for their efforts at the Riverside. Boro took the lead against the run of play, rarely troubled Richard Wright and were thankful to the woodwork on two occasions for ensuring that they finished the day still in with a chance of securing a Champions League place. David Moyes's side still occupy that final qualifying place and on the evidence of this showing they are not going to give it up without a fight, the transfer of the Danish midfielder doing nothing to diminish their thirst for a battle. Tim Cahill scored another important goal to underline what a good signing he has been. Leon Osman's injury put paid to Moyes's probable line-up to compensate for the loss of Gravesen, but the five in midfield continues to pose problems for our opposition. James Beattie was handed the lone striker role, but is still short of the sort of match fitness the new-look Everton formation demands and we won't see the best of him until he can match the rest. Instead it was Kevin Kilbane who took the eye. After a subdued spell of a match or two, he has come back much brighter - a description that could be applied to the whole team.
Middlesbrough 1, Everton 1 (Echo)
Jan 17 2005 By Scott McLeod at The Riverside
IN the wake of Thomas Gravesen's departure to Real Madrid on Friday afternoon David Moyes ruefully suggested: "I am sure we will be bumping into each other at some stage in the future." This result increases that likelihood significantly, with the Blues surely now the red-hot favourites to beat Middlesbrough and Liverpool to the lucrative fourth and final Champions League spot. And that is not just because of the lead the Blues have extended over their rivals. It is also based on the fact Everton demonstrated once again why they have the spirit to match any side in the division. Talk of Europe, never mind the continent's top competition, has been avoided for much of this campaign within Goodison. The pain of the last day failure two seasons ago underlines why that is understandable. But now, with 15 games to go and a seven-point cushion over fifth-placed Liverpool, the Blues are in the box seat. And it is a position which nobody should be allowed to undermine. Boro certainly won't be dismissing David Moyes' men as also-rans punching above their weight after this fire and brimstone contest. Moyes has tapped into something special. Something which not even the loss of the club's two finest talents in the space of just six months seems capable of disrupting. Is there a better 'team' in the Premiership? The club is seemingly capable of withstanding the loss of any player, so focused and intense is the team ethic. The all-for-one, one-for-all ideology was typified minutes from the end of this game when every single Everton outfield player weighed in to stand shoulder to shoulder with substitute Duncan Ferguson after he was confronted by the foolhardy Bolo Zenden following a challenge on keeper Mark Schwarzer.
In many ways the fracas was unwelcome and unsightly. But it says everything about this side - this team.. Which is why we should get one thing straight now; it was Everton who brought the best out of Gravesen this season and not vice versa. The Dane's influence on games this season had a great deal to owe to his team-mates and the manager's astute tactics. Yes, the 28-year-old possesses a level of skill and ingenuity which will be greatly missed. But yesterday there was no shortage of attacking impetus, even without Gravesen and the injured Leon Osman - who is troubled once again by knee problems. What was lacking though, particularly in the early stages, was a focal point through which Everton could orchestrate their moves. The Premiership stats revealed that, before this match, Gravesen had been Everton's top provider of goals with six assists and their top provider of crosses with 71 - and that from a guy who operated in the centre of the park. Inevitably then, his departure will have some impact. But, more crucially, the side proved that without him they still have that indefinable something which sets them apart from so many of the other sides in the division. There were so many obstacles to overcome yesterday. The loss of Gravesen, the struggle to hit upon a balance of play without him and the challenge of overcoming a Boro side which had made no secret of the fact they regarded this as arguably their biggest game of the season so far. In midfield, Joseph Yobo filled the void left by Gravesen, occupying Lee Carsley's position patrolling in front of the back four, allowing the Irishman to step into a more advanced position. With steel the dominant characteristic in the centre of the park, much of the Blues' creative football came down the flanks from the full-back positions, with Marcus Bent and Kevin Kilbane tearing holes in the Boro backline. Kilbane in particular was mesmer-ising - running at Boro with gusto. It was as if he was waging a one-man campaign to prove exactly how easy it will be to overcome Gravesen's departure.
It was he who led the second half onslaught as the Blues simply refused to accept defeat after falling behind in the 25th minute. Boro couldn't cope with the pressure. But if there is one area of Everton's play which can be criticised, it is that too often they have to fall behind before hitting their fearsome top gear. Only once this season have they found themselves ahead at half-time in a Premiership encounter. And yet they have won more games than any other side outside the top three. Where would they be if they could muster more goals earlier in games? Here, they started the brighter but couldn't produce a decent supply of chances for James Beattie, who looked a little leaden legged in his first Premiership start for the club. When decent balls were fed into the area, it was often Tim Cahill bursting from midfield who was closest to connecting. It will take time for Beattie to find the fitness which will allow him to fit snugly into Moyes' hard-working side.
And yet he still came within a lick of paint of opening his Everton account, hitting the woodwork midway through the second half after out-muscling Schwarzer. Carsley also found the woodwork in the opening period, shaving the crossbar with a thunderbolt after ghosting in at the back post to latch on to an exquisite early cross from Kilbane. There were other chances squandered - and other promising attacking moves ruined by stray passes or ineffective crosses. And so by the time the game had entered the final 15 minutes there were fears that, despite the Blues' efforts, an equaliser would not be forthcoming. And that would have been a travesty. Not only were the Blues more than worthy of a draw - if not the whole the three points - they were also guilty of gifting the home side the lead with a soft goal in the 25th minute. Zenden sprinted after a Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink through ball in the 25th minute, rounding Tony Hibbert as he entered the left edge of the penalty area. With the ball angling towards the corner of the pitch, the danger was not perilous. But Richard Wright had already committed himself to winning the ball as he sprinted off his line.
He missed out, Zenden capitalised by chipping the ball beyond the keeper and despite a brave attempt by Alan Stubbs, the effort found the back of the net. Wright is a talented keeper suffering from a dip in confidence. He needs a boost. He needs to produce a display of shot-stopping which will prove once again why he is widely regarded as one of the finest young keepers in the country.
He will have been buoyed yesterday by the fact Cahill popped up 14 minutes from time to snatch the equaliser. It came two minutes after Ferguson's arrival in place of Yobo. And the Scot played his part, heading down a Hibbert cross from the right into the path of the Aussie international who smashed home from five yards. It was a direct goal, a deserved goal. And it provided further evidence that this Everton side are seemingly capable of responding to any setback. So maybe it is not inconceivable to suggest that, in five months time, the exodus to Europe started by Gravesen will be followed by a close-knit group of footballers from Goodison Park and few thousand delighted Evertonians.
MIDDLESBROUGH (4-4-2): Schwarzer; Reiziger, Southgate, Ehiogu (Cooper 18), Queudrue; Nemeth (Morrison 59), Doriva, Zenden, Downing; Job, Hasselbaink. Subs: Nash, McMahon, Graham.
BOOKING: Zenden (foul).
EVERTON (4-1-4-1): Wright; Hibbert, Stubbs, Weir, Pistone; Yobo (Ferguson 74); Bent, Cahill (Naysmith 86), Carsley, Kilbane; Beattie (McFadden 89). Subs: Turner, Chadwick.
BOOKING: Hibbert, Beattie (fouls).
REFEREE: Dermot Gallagher
Moyes: I need to reinforce squad
Jan 17 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES is urgently seeking reinforcements to his senior squad - as Tony Hibbert joined Lee Carsley, Tim Cahill and Kevin Kilbane on a disciplinary tightrope. And he's revealed the Blues have checked out the availability of around 100 players in their hunt. Full-back Hibbert was booked in yesterday's draw at Middlesbrough and is now just one more yellow card away from a suspension. Kilbane and Cahill have been on the brink of a ban since November - Cahill has safely negotiated nine matches without collecting a fifth yellow, Kilbane 11 - while Carsley collected his fourth caution of the season at Blackburn before Christmas. The cut-off point before the FA declares an amnesty on suspensions for five yellow cards is not reached until the end of February. Moyes said today: "We are aware of the disciplinary situation and we have been looking to bring in extra bodies. "I can safely say we have made enquiries for about something like 100 players, but the players we want are not available and I don't want to bring anybody in who isn't going to improve on what we already have. "And the lads who are already here are doing so well they would take some budging." Moyes was delighted with his side's display at Middlesbrough yesterday, but had a couple of injury worries to concern him as well as the disciplinary situation. Tim Cahill came off with a jarred neck sustained in a clash with Boro keeper Mark Schwarzer, while Leon Osman missed the match with a calf strain. Osman will have a precautionary scan on his injury today, while Cahill's injury will be allowed to settle down.
Kilbane was on top form - Moyes
Jan 17 2005 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON boss David Moyes hailed the impact made by man-of-the-match Kevin Kilbane just days after losing Thomas Gravesen to Real Madrid. Republic of Ireland international Kilbane (left) overshadowed Middlesbrough's own left-wing inspiration, Stewart Downing, with a performance full of drive, energy and quality crosses in yesterday's 1-1 draw at the Riverside. Said Moyes of his buy from Sunderland: "Kevin was outstanding and he has been for Everton ever since he left these parts." "I thought he was as good as the boy Downing can be for Middlesbrough. He was the same for us. "He can play in the middle and we toyed with that for this game, but we decided not to do so. Now and again we might play him in there. "He did go into the middle of the park late in the game and even then he burst through people. He just had a top game." It was the introduction of another key figure for the Blues who effectively turned the game as Boro attempted to hold onto the lead afforded them by Bolo Zenden's sixth goal of the season in the 25th minute. Duncan Ferguson, back in the squad after completing a three-match suspension, took to the Riverside pitch in the 74th minute as replacement for Joseph Yobo and made an immediate impact. Soon after setting up Cahill's equal-iser, Ferguson was the catalyst for a 16-man melee in the Boro penalty area after going in on Mark Schwarzer when the Australia international had dropped a Lee Carsley corner.
The Football Association may take another look at the incident, but the imposing Scot was merely challenging strongly for a loose ball and was exonerated by Moyes and Middlesbrough manager Steve McClaren. "If there was an FA inquiry I would wonder why," said Moyes. "The ball was dropped by the goal-keeper and if I was a player I would definitely have gone for it and I would have expected any of my players to go for it. "I think the only reason there was a melee was because it was after a corner and it was in such a close, confined space. "There were so many players in there defending and attacking the corner." McClaren felt what unfolded was merely an indication of the desire of both teams to win the match. The Boro boss said: "I just thought it showed two sides who are both in the top six and you can see why they are there because of their spirit, attitude and togetherness. "I said to the players that I thought it was a great show of togetherness and sticking up for one another when your team-mates are in trouble. You saw two sides like that. "I have seen the replay and there was nothing in it. It was just one of those where they are backing each other up. "It was a melee and these things happen in the game. Both teams reacted as you would expect them to react in that situation, by looking after their teammates and sticking together." The result was enough to move fourth-placed Everton seven points clear of Liverpool in the chase for the final Champions League berth, with Boro a further point adrift. But McClaren's problems are mounting as Ugo Ehiogu damaged knee ligaments and limped out after just 17 minutes, while Michael Reiziger broke a toe.
McClaren hands it to Blues
Jan 17 2005 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
MIDDLESBROUGH boss Steve McClaren admits Everton will be tough to catch after the Blues extended their cushion over the sides outside the Champions League places to seven points.
David Moyes' men secured a hard-fought 1-1 draw at the Riverside yesterday. With Liverpool losing to Manchester United on Saturday and Tottenham suffering a home defeat to Chelsea, it proved a good weekend for Everton. And McClaren, who still harbours ambitions of leading his Boro side into the Champions League, accepts that with 15 games remaining Everton are in a great position.
He said: "They are bound to be favourites because they are fourth now, seven points ahead of Liverpool and eight ahead of us. They are in pole position and if they keep going at their present rate they will be there - nobody will catch them. "But I said before this game that eight points is catchable and we will have our good spells again. It was important for us not to lose again after losing to Manchester United and Chelsea. "I think a draw was the fair result. I can't fault the players at all. They got the goal and in the second half you saw Everton went more direct and we did everything to hold out. "There were blocks, saves and we rode our luck a bit. I thought we had weathered the storm until Ferguson came on." And McClaren refused to condemn the two groups of players for the 20 man set-to which followed a confrontation between Bolo Zenden and Duncan Ferguson in the Boro penalty area. He added: "I thought the melee showed two sides who are both in the top six because of spirit, attitude and togetherness."
Grav: It was hard to leave the Blues
Jan 17 2005 By Paul Giblin in Madrid, Liverpool Echo
NEW Real Madrid signing Thomas Gravesen admits to was difficult deciding to leave Everton to join the Spanish giants. The Denmark international conducted his first press conference as a Madrid player following his £2.45million switch to the Primera Liga club over the weekend. "It was a difficult situation but it was a once-in-a-lifetime chance. It's been a great season for Everton, but I think I made the right choice," said Gravesen, who added he had been in contact with Real Madrid for a fortnight. The 28-year-old revealed Everton boss David Moyes tried to keep him at Goodison Park but knew he was facing a losing battle. "At Everton we spoke about my future. The boss (Moyes) knew the situation and he was positive and tried to help me - although, of course, he was also trying to do the best for the club," said Gravesen, who insists he has been far from the only player responsible for Everton's much-improved results this season. "I think they have a very strong team and they didn't just rely on me. I'm sure next month will be decisive," he added when asked about Everton's chances of qualifying for the Champions League. The midfielder also claimed Madrid are the only club who made a firm offer for him - and scotched rumours of late interest from Manchester United. "There were a lot of rumours, but this was a big chance," he said. "I didn't have any concrete contact with any club that was not Real Madrid, so that made it easy." Turning his attention to Madrid, Gravesen insists he cannot solve their midfield problems on his own. "We'll wait and see," he said. "I'm coming to play for a team with a lot of stars. I'm not a saviour, but a midfielder at a big club. "I don't know how my career will take off here - I hope we'll win all our games," he added, playing down personal battles with David Beckham and Guti for the two places in central midfield. "I don't know if it's Beckham or if it's Guti I will be competing against. I'm part of the team, and it's not a war. We're all part of the same squad, and there will be no battle for places.
"I think this is the biggest challenge of my career," he concluded.. Real coach Wanderley Luxemburgo insists the arrival of Gravesen will not spark a battle for places in the Madrid midfield.
Gravesen looks certain to be competing for one of two midfield positions with England captain David Beckham and Guti, who is currently enjoying his best season at the club. But despite this, Luxemburgo said it would not be a question of any one player missing out. "I have a squad of players and it is very important that the entire squad is ready," he said. "I know him (Gravesen) and I like the way he plays. He makes a huge effort and he's shown he wants to participate, that is very important and I want him to feel comfortable."
Team that deserves plaudits
Jan 17 2005 Analysis by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
TEAM of the season so far? Few would look beyond Chelsea, for obvious and for deserved reasons.
But "team" of the season - a group of individuals which best lives up to the words "team" and rises up to create a unit greater than the sum of its parts? Everton made yet another compelling case for their claim to that crown at Middlesbrough on Sunday. Just a few hours before Thomas Gravesen made liars of us all - winning tackles and playing with great discipline in the Bernabeu - Everton overcame the loss of their most influential performer to dominate Middlesbrough and earn a wholly deserved point. In Gravesen's absence, Lee Carsley shone and Kevin Kilbane showed the form he regularly produced throughout the whole of last season. Everton may still be short on squad numbers, but squad spirit, character and resolve is still stronger than ever - and that can count for an awful lot.
Away day Blues are no worry - Moyes
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jan 18 2005
DAVID MOYES insists he is not concerned at the impact of Everton's away form on the club's quest for Europe - despite not winning outside Goodison Park since November. The Champions League chasers won only once on their travels last season but have since transformed their away form to open up a seven-point gap on fifth-placed Liverpool. After winning five and drawing two of their opening eight league games on the road this season, Moyes's side are now without a victory in their last five. But the Everton manager (pictured) remains unperturbed by the two-month wait and believes the display at Middlesbrough on Sunday augurs well for the remainder of the campaign.
Moyes, whose last away win in the league came at Birmingham on November 13, said: "How many wins have we had this season away from home? We had one last year, while we have had five this season. We went to a Middlesbrough side who were desperate to win to catch us up, so at the end of the day a draw was a good result even if we felt we could have won. "Yes, we would like to win more, but at the end of the day doesn't everybody?" The Football Association, meanwhile, are awaiting referee Dermot Gallagher's match report before deciding whether to take any action over the goal-mouth melee at The Riverside. Gallagher chose not to take any action at the time, other than a stern lecture to captains Gareth Southgate and Alan Stubbs in an attempt to defuse the situation. An FA spokesman said: "It is a bit early to make a decision on the incident. When we get the referee's report we will look at that to see if there is any further action needed." Moyes, meanwhile, is still being frustrated in his attempts to find a replacement for Thomas Gravesen.
The Everton manager, who now has four players who are one booking away from a suspension - Tim Cahill, Kevin Kilbane, Lee Carsley and Tony Hibbert - admitted: "We are aware of the disciplinary situation and we have been looking to bring in extra bodies. "I can safely say we have made enquiries for something like 100 players, but the players we want are not available and I don't want to bring anybody in who isn't going to improve on what we already have."
We must back Beattie
Post Soapbox, icLiverpool & Daily Post
Jan 18 2005
WHY are there fans complaining about the signing of James Beattie? Give the lad a chance to get fit first and adjust to playing with new players. David Moyes knows a good footballer when he sees one.
James Lysaght, Speke
A SURPRISINGLY good performance from Everton against Boro - we were unlucky not to win. My initial reservations about Beattie hopefully will prove to be unfounded if Sunday's input is any guide.
On another issue, while Ferguson can be a liability at times, his efforts this season warrant an extension to his career at Goodison.
J Blower, Litherland
Time to spend
THOMAS GRAVESEN has gone, the club is still here and we have the best young manager in the country. However, the squad needs to be enlarged by at least three more players.
Alan Bibby (via e-mail)
KEVIN CAMPBELL has been a great servant to Everton. He played on many occasions when he was clearly unfit but never complained and led the line well. Although he has never received the adulation from the crowd that other strikers get, for a few seasons he kept us in the Premiership.
Peter Dolan (via e-mail)
WE get rid of one over-paid lumbering lump and spend £6million on another? I really hope David Moyes has got this right and proves lots of us wrong, but Beattie really needs to lose weight fast.
A Renzo, Southport
Grav's a god
NO-ONE is bigger than Everton - Tommy's gone and good luck to him. At least he was there through thick and thin, unlike some.
Steve Newton, Aigburth
LOSING Tommy is a disaster. We could have waited until the end of the season and let him go for nothing. Qualifying for the Champions League is worth more than £2.5million. Also, if we qualified for the Champions League, would he have wanted to go anyway?
Nigel Childer, Birkenhead
HAS anyone ever thought that maybe the temporary answer to Gravesen's departure is right under our noses? Osman can do a good job, but not against every team due to his size. But who else do we have with all the attributes of a decent central midfielder?
Pete Curtis, Crosby
Stubbs to sign new Blues deal
Jan 18 2005 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON are close to agreeing an extension to Alan Stubbs' Goodison contract. The Blues' skipper (right) is one of a host of senior squad members in the final year of his current deal. But, as with defensive partner David Weir, Everton are keen to keep hold of the experienced stalwart after a run of fine form this season. Weir has been offered a one-year extension but 33-year-old Stubbs is set to be the first to put pen to paper to extend his stay at Goodison into next season. He was signed on a free transfer from Celtic in 2001 and has played 131 times for the club, scoring four goals. In the 18 games Weir and Stubbs have started together this season the Blues have conceded just 12 goals.
Their form together has restricted Nigerian international Joseph Yobo to a handful of first-team starts. Meanwhile, David Moyes is continuing his search for new players, with the manager keen to make additions to his ranks before the closure of the January transfer window. However, reports that the Blues have tabled a bid for Nottingham Forest's Irish international Andy Reid are wide of the mark. The winger is one of a host of players being monitored by Everton but they have not followed up that interest with a £3.5m bid for a player who has been a long-term target for Tottenham. Spurs had a £5m offer turned down last summer but the player's eagerness to make the step up to the Premiership could lead to a deal being struck during the current transfer window.
Europe would be brilliant - Carsley
Jan 18 2005 Exclusive by Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
LEE CARSLEY believes Everton have the resilience to maintain their grip on a European place.
The Blues secured a deserved draw at Middlesbrough on Sunday to extend their lead over fifth-placed Liverpool to seven points with 15 games remaining. Carsley (right) believes the spirit the side displayed on Sunday to come back from a goal down to earn a draw with a 76th minute Tim Cahill strike underlines why Everton will be tough to oust in the race for the Champions League.
He said: "I remember the season before last when we were in a similar position to where we are now. We were going into games like this building ourselves up by saying it was important not to lose.
"But we found ourselves losing too many of those games. Now we seem to have found a resilience where we are able to get something in big games when we need to get something. "I thought we did more than enough to win the game. We had so much of the ball it felt like we were the home team. "They got a fortunate goal but then it was all us. I can't remember them having any really clear cut chances, so we were really happy with how the game went." Everton have now played six games against sides in the top six and have won two, drawn two and lost two. They have yet to face Manchester United and Chelsea at Goodison and have got to go to Arsenal and Liverpool. "We haven't got the biggest squad so having so many games over Christmas didn't suit us. But we have got that period of the season behind us now. "We have got 44 points with 15 games to play and we have got to start setting ourselves targets now. "We will keep saying things like 'if we are still up there at the end of February, or if we are still there at the end of March. "But I think we have got more than enough ability in the team and the squad to finish up there. "Things have gone that well this season that maybe people are saying 'how can Everton, with just 17 players, stay where they are'. But we seem to have this knack of being at our strongest when people are writing us off and hopefully that will continue. "I am enjoying this season more than any other but we are thinking, 'what an achievement it would be if we got into Europe'. "It would be brilliant if we could do that because it would be something achieved almost from scratch." It was Everton's first game without Thomas Gravesen following the Dane's £2.6m move to Real Madrid. Carsley is confident his departure will not impact on the side's Premiership points-gathering. He added: "Everyone said we wouldn't be the same without Wayne but I am not sure if so many people are saying it about Tommy because we have got quite a good record when we have played without Tommy. "There is no denying Tommy was very important for us. "But with him going it will give someone else a chance to come in or it will give the gaffer a few more quid to go and get someone to strengthen the squad.
"It is important we can bring somebody in who can create chances for us."
Dewsnip's side stay focused on Yeovil
By Chris Wright, Daily Post
Jan 19 2005
IT will be a journey into the unknown, but Everton hope tonight's fourth round clash of the FA Youth Cup at Yeovil Town's Huish Park brings a familiar face into view. Neil Dewsnip's side have never played the Glovers before as the Coca-Cola League Two club do not have Academy status. But they have done their homework on Yeovil and hope victory can bring a possible derby clash with Liverpool in the fifth round, should they see off Tottenham at Anfield tonight. He said: "I would be lying to say we are not aware of the possible tie in the next round. But the most important thing is that we end up playing either Liverpool or Tottenham and it is not Yeovil." Having beaten Charlton Athletic with an extra-time goal from Christian Seargeant and proved themselves one of the best sides in the FA Premier Academy League sides over the past 18 months they aim to continue their progress. Dewsnip said: "The lads are very confident at the moment, but not over-confident. You can't be because we don't really know a lot about Yeovil. We are expecting a really tough game and looking at the weather forecast it could be horrendous, which could be a potential leveller anyway."
He added: "We went out two years ago to Port Vale, so the youth programme has a history of losing to lower league side, so we don't want it to happen again."
Everton consider appeal after FA charge
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jan 19 2005
EVERTON are considering an appeal over the surprise FA charge that has left them staring at a possible £10,000 fine. Both Everton and Middlesbrough have been charged with failing to control their players during Sunday's 1-1 draw at the Riverside. FA officials acted after studying video evidence of an incident that occurred when Duncan Ferguson (right) challenged Boro keeper Mark Schwarzer and Bolo Zenden's over-reaction sparked a mass melee in the goalmouth. Referee Dermot Gallagher took no action at the time other than to warn both captains, Alan Stubbs and Gareth Southgate, about the future conduct of their players. Gallagher was praised for his sensible handling of the incident by both David Moyes and Steve McClaren, who insisted the scuffle did not warrant further punishment. But Goodison officials were shocked when they received the FA charge yesterday and now have two weeks to decide whether to accept or reject the charge. Everton can also request a personal hearing with officials at Soho Square and are likely to appeal once Moyes and chief executive Keith Wyness have met to discuss the incident. Four first division clubs - West Ham, Brighton, QPR and Stoke - have all been fined £10,000 for the breaching rule E22a which states, "a failure to ensure that its players conducted themselves in an orderly fashion and refrained from violent and/or threatening and/or provocative behaviour." But Marcus Bent, one of the players involved in the 21-man scuffle, insisted the incident merely highlighted the collective spirit that exists at Everton. The Everton striker, whose explanation was also put forward by Middlesbrough manager McClaren, said: "You should see us in the changing rooms at half-time and full-time - everyone's together. "I know it's not nice to see a brawl on the pitch but it just shows that everyone's together. "We all went in as a team, not to fight Middlesbrough, but to make sure nothing happened and nobody got hurt. It just shows how bonded we are." And Middlesbrough's Gareth Southgate also believes there was no need for the FA to get involved. "There seems to be an expectancy of players nowadays that they will walk onto the field and there will be no physical contact at all," he said. "We have not even spoken about it since. It was the kind of flashpoint that happens in a game and was over very quickly."
Blues boss' disbelief at FA charge over melee
Jan 19 2005 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has slammed the FA for charging both Everton and Middlesbrough with failure to control their players during Sunday's Riverside encounter. Both clubs are facing the prospect of £10,000 fines after the FA's video panel reviewed the 20-man scrummage in Boro's goal-mouth in the 80th minute. Referee Dermot Gallagher took no action during the game and he was praised for his dealing of the situation by both Moyes and Boro opposite number Steve McClaren. Which is why yesterday's surprise decision by the FA has led to disbelief from the Goodison chief. Moyes (pictured) told the ECHO today: "Myself and the players are extremely surprised by this decision. "My feeling is that the person who made this decision, and it is probably somebody from the compliance office, is somebody who has never worn football boots before in their life. "It must be somebody with very little knowledge of football. The incident wasn't even talked about after the game." Moyes' sentiments have been echoed by Boro. Middlesbrough skipper Gareth Southgate said: "There seems to be an expectancy of players nowadays that they will walk onto the field and there will be no physical contact at all. "We have not even spoken about it since. It was the kind of flashpoint that happens in a game and was over very quickly." Everton and Middlesbrough have until February 2 to appeal against the charge, with both clubs also having the option of seeking a personal hearing. Everton are considering an appeal and Moyes was expected to discuss the matter with chief executive Keith Wyness today. If they accept the punishment the club are likely to follow the likes of West Ham, Brighton, QPR and Stoke by receiving a £10,000 fine for breach of rule E22a.
Meanwhile, Moyes is continuing his search for new additions to the Goodison ranks but is finding it difficult because so few clubs are willing to release players at this stage of the season. He added: "I suspect the market might start moving next week as we get closer to the deadline." Moyes is believed to have a £6m kitty at his disposal.
Search for star of 2004 starts here
Jan 19 2005 By John Thompson, Liverpool Echo
IT'S time to honour the region's most outstanding sportsman or woman of 2004. And we need your help in the search. The ECHO's Merseyside Sports Personality of the Year will be honoured at a star-studded ceremony in Liverpool on February 28. You can start voting today, using the coupon printed here and which will appear several times in the ECHO over the next few weeks. Or you can email your vote to email@example.com Once again there have been stand-out stars from the world of football. Several players have been key to Everton's incredible resurgence this season, men like goalkeeper Nigel Martyn, stalwart defender and skipper Alan Stubbs, midfield lynchpin Lee Carsley or David Moyes' new found Australian gem Tim Cahill. All have played leading roles as the Blues have brought the buzz back to Goodison and redefined the phrase 'team spirit'. And that's not to mention David Moyes himself, who has guided the Blues into a position where they can confidently challenge for a Champions League spot. There are just as many challengers at Anfield, where Reds captain Steven Gerrard has stood out like a beacon. Gerrard almost single-handedly ensured Champions League qualification last season - and then sensationally rejected a money-spinning move because of his love of Liverpool. The classy Jamie Carragher has been a fans favourite too, while Sami Hyypia has been rock solid at the back. And in Milan Baros, Liverpool boast the Golden Boot boy of Euro 2004. We've had our Olympic heroes too. Swimmer Stephen Parry is now a national household name following his bronze medal display in Athens. The Allerton butterfly king smashed both British and Commonwealth records to ensure he made the final, where Japan's Takashi Yamamoto came from nowhere to pip Parry for silver. There is also Wirral's Steven Cummings, who was part of the UK's silver medal winning team pursuit success.
The member of Birkenhead North End cycling club struck glory in Athens just two years after landing a silver in the Commonwealth Games in Manchester. Gymnast Beth Tweddle may have left Athens disappointed but had already won a silver in the European Championships in Holland on the A-bars.
In 2004 she confirmed her position as Merseyside's undoubted female athlete of the year, by finishing second on the A-bars in the final of the World Cup at Birmingham last month.
And who can forget Ginger McCain's feat in training a fourth Grand National winner!
Twenty-eight years after Red Rum completed his hat-trick, Southport-born Ginger was back at Aintree to see Amberleigh House romp home. Ginger followed the late Fred Rimell as only the second trainer in history to notch up four National wins. Another typically action-packed year inside the ropes for Merseyside was highlighted by Robin Reid regaining world champion credentials and the incredible success of the region's amateur boxers. After being robbed of the WBA title out in Germany in December 2003, Reid, 34, bounced back in style in June to issue a first career defeat over Belfast's Brian Magee and make off with the IBO title. Back on Merseyside, the year ended on a high when a Scouse-packed England team defeated the USA for the second consecutive year - lead by heavyweights Anthony Bellew and skipper David Price. Last year's Young Sports Personality of the Year Stephen Smith also dazzled, but it was 'Bomber' Bellew who dominated the headlines in 2004 - winning both Senior ABA and Four Nations titles. Back to soccer and at Tranmere Rovers, Brian Little kept up the good work he began in October 2003, guiding the Superwhites up League One and now challenging for an automatic promotion place. Players like Iain Hume, Ryan Taylor and John Achterburg have all starred, while Jason McA-teer returned to Birkenhead under Little to captain Rovers. Another who returned 'home' was legendary Liverpool striker Ian Rush , brought in at Chester City where he immediately halted a worrying slide after their promotion back to the Football League. One who has never left home is Marine FC's Roly Howard, who will retire at the end of the season after notching up 33 unbroken years in the job – and securing a place in the Guinness Book of Records as the longest serving football boss in the world! Liverpool's outstanding tennis prospect Ken Skupski also enjoyed a great year in the United States Collegiate championships, reaching the semi-finals of both the singles and the men's doubles events. Stand-out stars among our local Rugby League players in Super League IX were Widnes Vikings' inspirational Shane Millard, winner of the ECHO's Rugby League Special Achievement award last year. For Saints, former skipper Chris Joynt , who announced his retirement at the end of the season, culminated 12 magnificent years at the club with yet another Challenge Cup medal to add to his impressive collection.
Earlier in the season Aussie ace Jason Hooper was one of the driving forces behind the team's success while, later, full-back Paul Wellens came to the fore with some superb performances for Great Britain in the Tri-Nations series.
Beattie could be new Lineker
Jan 19 2005 Echo Letters
JAMES BEATTIE was not match fit on Sunday and in a team like the Blues, anybody lacking in that department will stick out like a sore thumb. Every mistake Beattie made was to do with match sharpness but his awareness is spot on and he does have incredible pace for someone so big. Once he comes up to the fitness level of Carsley et al, he could be the next Lineker.
Paul William, Knotty Ash
LEON OSMAN is the niftiest thing I've seen at Everton in ages, but we must be wary of singing his praises too much for fear of turning him into the kind of 'big star' we so happily lack at Goodison.
This team doesn't thrive on superstar status.
Noleen Lloyd, Upton
I AM not a Beattie fan but there were glimpses of his capabilities against Boro. I've seen some wonderful teams in the Everton colours, and this one has the potential to rank with some of those sides.
Steve Billington, Merseyside
WE need to re-sign Osman, Kilbane, Martyn, Stubbs and extend Yobo's contract, along with maybe Pistone and Weir's. We don't want decent players walking away from us again.
Bob Greaves, Liverpool
WE must aim to improve. The signing of Beattie should not be the only one made in January if we are to do justice to our early promise, especially with Gravesen's exit. Names such as Parker and Petrov could well push us to Champions League football next term.
Carl Arnold, Kirkby
THOMAS GRAVESEN has been snapped up by arguably the biggest club in the world - great testament to his season. Thomas thanked everybody for helping him in a brilliant career move. Compare that to the selfish silence from Rooney.
Dave Buckney, Norris Green
Sports minister's no to soccer standing
Jan 19 2005 By Ian Hernon, Liverpool Echo
CALLS for standing by fans to be allowed at top league football matches were rejected today.
Ministers have been blitzed with calls to reverse the veto introduced after the 1989 Hillsborough disaster in which 96 Liverpool fans died. The pressure group Stand Up Sit Down argued there should be flexibility in the stands to encourage more people through the turnstiles. The Football Licensing Authority agreed to meet the group next month. But sports minister Richard Caborn has told MPs: "No way." The minister said the group had contacted his departments asking for a meeting, and that demand had been backed up by numerous members of the public and backbench MPs, none from Merseyside, whose constituents wanted a return to standing stadiums. Mr Caborn said: "Having carefully considered the Stand Up Sit Down solutions, it is clear that these measures would run against the government's current policy that football grounds in the top two divisions shall be all seated. "There is also a concern that the proposals would seek to introduce standing accommodation without the safeguards that are currently required on standing on terraces in the lower divisions." He said there is no question of lifting the ban. Walton MP Peter Kilfoyle, whose constituency includes both Anfield and Goodison Park, said: "The minister has my whole-hearted support. "Anyone who remembers that dreadful day would never consider bringing back standing terraces." Joan Traynor, from Prenton, whose sons, Christopher, 26, and Kevin, 16, died in the Hillsborough disaster, said: "After what happened to my boys at Hillsborough I think it should be all seating for fans. Standing at a football match should be part of history because the risks are too great."
Yeovil Youth 0, Everton Youth 6
Jan 20 2005 By Chris Wright, Daily Post
EVERTON youth team cruised into the fifth round of the FA Youth Cup with a 5-0 victory over Yeovil Town at Huish Park last night. And while Neil Dewsnip's side kept their part of the bargain to set up a possible Merseyside derby, neighbours Liverpool failed to get past Tottenham and a trip to White Hart Lane looms next month. Goals either side of the break from Paul Hopkins and Victor Anichebe put Everton in command. And two further strikes from Icelandic attacker Bjarni Vidarsson, one from James Vaughan and another from top scorer Hopkins saw Everton storm into a fifth round clash with Spurs, and not Liverpool, who lost in on penalties at Anfield last night. Everton will be hoping for three in a row against the Londoners having beat them in last season's FA Premier Academy League National play-off semifinal and also at the same stage the last time they reached the Youth Cup final in 2001. Everton opened the scoring after 38 minutes when Hopkins added the finishing touch from close range after Vidarsson's run and cross from the left. Three minutes into the second half Anichebe made it 2-0 and the tie virtually over with a low drive from 10 yards. Vaughan, who had tormented the Glovers' defence for much of the night alongside Anichebe, broke through, but despite being stopped by keeper Dan Barker, Vidarsson lobbed the loose ball over backtracking defenders to make it 3-0. Birmingham-born forward Vaughan, who also saw one shot tipped onto the bar, finally got reward for his efforts nine minutes from time. He tapped in after Hopkins had unselfishly set him up. In the final moments Everton completed their rout with two more goals. Vaughan repaid the compliment to Hopkins, who fired in the fifth goal and his second. While with almost the last kick of the match Vidarsson added his second, again from Vaughan's clever pass.
EVERTON YOUTH: Gallagher; Wynne (Wright 84), Wilson, Hughes, Boyle; Hopkins, Harris (Phelan 72), Seargeant, Vidarsson; Vaughan, Anichebe (Kissock 73). Subs: Fowler, Kearney.
Goodison pair seek longer contracts
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jan 20 2005
EVERTON have hit an impasse in contract negotiations with two of their most influential contributors this season, Alan Stubbs and Kevin Kilbane. Both players have been offered new deals with their current contracts due to expire at the end of this season, although Republic of Ireland international Kilbane has the option of an extra year. But the length of the contracts on offer has caused both players to delay extending their Goodison careers. Club skipper Stubbs (pictured) has been close to signing a one-year extension for several months. However, interest from former club Bolton and Blackburn, who are both believed to have two year deals lined up at the end of this season, has stalled the 33-yearold's decision. Midfielder Kilbane is also believed to want greater security from Everton before committing his future to Goodison Park. The 27-year-old has been offered a two-year contract with the option of a third year - the same deal he was given when he signed from Sunderland last August - but is currently holding out for a straight three-year deal. Meanwhile, Everton manager David Moyes has expressed his shock at the FA's decision to charge the club with failing to control their players. The club now have a fortnight to respond to the charge which relates to a melee involving several players from both sides during the 1-1 draw at Middlesbrough on Sunday. Referee Dermot Gallagher chose not to punish anyone at the time but the FA decided action was necessary after studying video evidence. But Moyes said: "I'm surprised. I'd like to know the actual individual who called the charge because if there is one they have no understanding of football. It was just a challenge. Someone went for the ball, the ball was dropped and that was it."
Goodison formation dilemma for Curbishley
By Jim Van Wijk, Daily Post
Jan 20 2005
ALAN CURBISHLEY must decide whether to stick with a winning formula when he takes Charlton to Everton this weekend. The Addicks could move into the top six of the Premiership with victory at Goodison Park, while reducing their deficit on David Moyes's side to single figures. Much of their recent improvement - picking up seven wins from the last nine games - has been down to a switch in formation and playing five men across the midfield. Charlton, though, lost their first two Premiership games of the new year and were heading for a draw against Birmingham until Curbishley reverted to a two-pronged strike force by bringing on former Evertonian Francis Jeffers.
Jeffers alongside Shaun Bartlett in attack saw the Addicks finally wrestle control of the match against Steve Bruce's side, running out 3-1 winners. And the Charlton manager admitted he has given himself a selection poser for the trip to Merseyside. "Whenever a team plays our shape and it is not quite working, then it has got to change," he reflected. "We went to 4-4-2 against Birmingham and it suddenly happened for us. "I will think about that during the week." With Kevin Lisbie set to resume training and Bartlett fit again and back among the goals following his hamstring problem, Curbishley will not be short of attacking options as he prepares for a tough run of fixtures. Liverpool, Newcastle, Tottenham and Middlesbrough lie in wait after the Everton clash as Curbishley attempts to guide his side into European competition next season. And it was the performance of Jeffers which is sure to give Curbishley a selection headache after the former Arsenal and Goodison forward came off the bench to help set up both second-half goals on Saturday. The Charlton manager admitted he had been impressed by the work-rate of his £2.6million summer signing. "I think he appreciates with this shape that it can be a little bit difficult playing one up front, but he also appreciates my problems," said Curbishley. "He is a great finisher and is looking ever so sharp and has just been caught up in a little bit of a mess over the last 18 months. At Everton, it didn't really happen and he couldn't get the games and prove to everybody what he could do, and he feels the same way now. "We have no doubt he will score goals. I have a lot of faith in him, and there is a third of the season left, so let's see what happens." Bartlett for one would certainly welcome the extra support a second striker would bring. "Any striker prefers playing with somebody next to him as it can get quite lonely up there," said the South African, currently in talks with the club over a new contract. "It lessens the workload as well, so I would welcome playing alongside Franny. "I am good in the air and he reads the game well, so it is a good combination. "We have a good understanding in training but have not had much time together on the pitch. "I am hoping this could be the start of things to come."
Nevin on target to pave way to success
Post Past by By Philip J Redmond Everton supporter, Daily Post
Jan 20 2005
WHEN Charlton came to Goodison in April 1989 they found the Blues preparing for an FA Cup semi-final. With the Blues having a disjointed season in midtable, they could have been forgiven for taking things easy in a game with little at stake. Indeed the fans voted with their feet and only 16,000 turned up, the lowest of the season. However, it is to both sides' credit that they served up a cracker. Charlton, who were in the bottom three, showed they needed the points more and young midfielder Paul Mortimer dribbled past two before unleashing a rocket past Neville Southall and earning himself a standing ovation from the meagre crowd. Carl Leaburn then headed against a post as the Blues defence remained all at sea. With the crowd becoming restless Graeme Sharp headed the Blues level from a pinpoint Neil Pointon cross. After the break the game really came alive with two Everton goals in a dominant 20-minute spell. First came the pick of the bunch as Pat Nevin took off on a meandering dribble that climaxed with a cheeky onetwo and a trademark dink over the Charlton keeper Bob Bolder. With Athletic rocking, Kevin Sheedy volleyed in a third after a Sharp knockdown. Charlton came back strongly and after Southall had brilliantly saved from Andy Jones, Kevin Ratcliffe unluckilly turned a low cross into his own goal. Charlton spent the last 10 minutes camped in and around the Everton box and it took some more Southall brilliance to keep out a Rob Lee thunderbolt to seal victory. Everton were momentarilly jubilant the following Saturday as the diminutive Nevin scored the goal that took the Blues to Wembley. Tragically this was also the day of the Hillsborough disaster and Everton joy was extremely short-lived. RIP the 96.
Midfield role fine for Yobo - Moyes
Jan 20 2005 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES is not afraid to give Joseph Yobo an extended spell in midfield - as Tim Cahill and Leon Osman face a battle to be fit for Saturday's clash with Charlton. The Goodison boss has a shortage of options in central midfield following the £2.6m sale of Thomas Gravesen to Real Madrid and injuries to Steve Watson, Osman and Cahill. Cahill is rated as doubtful for Saturday's game at Goodison after jarring his neck at the Riverside last weekend, while Osman has even less chance of being given the green light to play after sustaining a calf injury in training. Moyes remains hopeful of adding to his ranks before the closure of the transfer window. But in the meantime he insists central defender Yobo (pictured) is more than capable of building on his promising performance as a holding midfielder against Middlesbrough last weekend. "Joseph has played there a number of times for Nigeria and he can certainly fulfil that role (in midfield)," Moyes told the ECHO. "Last weekend we brought Joseph into that position and while it meant moving Lee Carsley, it was the best alternative for that game. That doesn't mean we are going to stick with it for every match, but it is an option I am not worried about using. "Thomas Gravesen has gone and we are looking to bring players in. But we still have a number of options in the centre of midfield. "Leon Osman and Kevin Kilbane can both play there, as can Steve Watson when he is fit. At the moment our options are limited because a couple of those players are injured. "But Joseph doesn't let us down, whether he is playing centre-half or in midfield because he is a terrific athlete. "I am sure he would rather be at centre-half. But he appreciates that the form of David Weir and Alan Stubbs this season has been exceptional. "He has only played there a few times this season because of that, includinga few games recently where he did well after a shaky start at Tottenham. "But wherever we use him, there is no doubt he will be playing a lot of games in the months ahead. And the two players in central defence know they will have to keep up that form because Joseph is waiting to come in."
Moyes was at Ewood Park last night to watch Blackburn's FA Cup third round replay victory over Cardiff. The Goodison chief maintains an interest in Rovers' Barry Ferguson, although the Scottish international is believed to have set his heart on a return to Ibrox. But former Liverpool midfielder David Thompson is a more likely target. He would welcome a return to Merseyside and has been in impressive form since returning to the Blackburn first team earlier this season following a long spell on the sidelines through injury.
Wright: I'm in the mood for Charlton
Jan 20 2005 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
RICHARD Wright has revealed he is working overtime on training to rediscover his best form after a below-par return to regular first team action. The 27-year-old (left) spent much of 2004 on the sidelines after Nigel Martyn established himself as the club's first choice shot-stopper. But the former Arsenal man has been given a chance to impress since Martyn picked up a calf strain at Charlton over the Christmas period. With Martyn still three weeks from a return to full fitness Wright has revealed he is eager to improve his form, having been disappointed by decision-making errors which have proved costly in recent games. "There are just little things that have been cropping up in my own performances which have disappointed me," he explained. "Perhaps if I had been playing regularly prior to this run, they wouldn't have happened, but I'm enjoying it. "I'm looking for reasons why this is happening, but I've worked with Chris Woods, our goalkeeping coach, in training and hopefully on Saturday against Charlton, I will put in a good performance. "Obviously the result against Spurs wasn't good, but since then, things have been going well. I suppose in one way it's good because I'm playing behind a defence anda team who have been doing exceptionally well since the start of the season. "But that brings a pressure, because we're now going for Champions League football, we want to finish as high up the league as we possibly can. "We had a few chances to win the game at Middlesbrough. I was very disappointed to concede the goal in the manner in which I did, but we were disappointed to come away with a point, even though if you'd offered that before the game we'd have probably taken it." Wright lost his grip on the number one shirt at the start of last season because of a persistent knee injury which forced him onto the sidelines for six months. He returned to full fitness in the spring of last year but before his current run in the side had been restricted to a handful of senior appearances in Carling Cup matches. Having now started four consecutive matches, Wright has an even better understanding of why the club is in such a heady league position - with the defence particularly impressing him. He continues: "They've all played exceptionally well. "They are defending very well and they are making my job easier by the way they're playing. But all the team, the midfielders, the strikers are playing their part." And Wright himself has been receiving a great deal of support and encouragement from the player who will put his place under threat when he returns to fitness. He concludes: "Nigel has been great. He's been very supportive before and during games. There's no difference whether he's playing or I'm playing. The banter is always good."
* EVERTON still have tickets for the club's inaugural New Year Dinner which takes place on Monday evening in the Blue Brasserie. Keith Wyness, David Moyes and members of the first team squad will be in attendance along with guest speaker Peter Reid. The tickets are priced at £95, which includes a four-course dinner and wine with the meal. The evening will commence at 7pm with pre-dinner drinks in the Legends Sports Bar, with dinner being served at 7.30pm in The Blue Brasserie.
Jan 20 2005 Liverpool Echo
'We could be in the fifth round by February 2' - James Tyrrell SUNDAY'S performance against big spending Boro was one of the best of the season. We should have won by a few clear goals, but as has been the tale of our season we squandered too many chances. I'm sure Beattie will be the answer, but at the moment he is not match fit. It was also nice to see Ferguson make a good contribution to the team. I do think he can help us to Europe if he stays on the pitch! We need to strengthen the squad now in all areas, especially after losing Gravesen. Two years ago we fell away because of lack of depth and tired players. We need to make sure it doesn't happen again.
We now have three home games on the bounce and if we win, we could have 50 points and be in the FA Cup fifth round by February 2.
JAMES TYRRELL, Woolton
MIDDLESBROUGH, as a place, has never cheered me up. It summons up a series of dreary memories of average performances against Boro teams full of dour names like Boam, Spraggon, Downing and Souness. So this seemed to be the ideal place to end a fairly miserable Everton week. To begin with it was sad to see Kevin Campbell leave the club, but it was the bitter-sweet sadness of an old friend leaving at the right time. Gravesen's departure was a different kind of sadness. It was depressing. I didn't feel like blaming anyone, I just had a sinking feeling. Thank God the players didn't share my melancholy. An impressive team performance at Middlesbrough has really made me reassess Gravesen's great season. Funny how one game of football can change your whole outlook.
GEOFF HARRISON, West Derby
'We could be in the fifth round by February 2' - James Tyrrell
EVERTON showed once again against Middlesbrough that despite one of our better player's leaving it has been the team that has ground out the result this year and not any one individual. While Gravesen will be missed, and at times he has been exceptional, it's worth remembering that without his team mates doing the less eyecatching work we may have ended up with his alter ego a few more times this year. With the departure this month it seems there is a greater need for strength, particularly on the creative side. However, if Moyes feels he would be wasting his money by purchasing players not worthy of playing for Everton in the long run then who am I to question his wisdom - in Moyes we trust. Finally isn't it great to still to be in the FA Cup and still unbeaten to Manchester United this year.
STEPHEN SHONE, Wallasey
OUR draw against Middlesbrough was more a point gained than two points lost. We didn't play to our strengths and we lacked the creativity needed to drive us forward in attack. Gravesen is a huge loss on the creative side, but we should be able to cope. The decision to take Carsley out of the defensive midfield position and putting Yobo in there was a shocking decision. He never looked comfortable during the match. Everton need to change the 4-5-1 formation to 4-4-2. Some teams are copying the formation and know how to break through it using the long ball. Once again Ferguson saves us and is the centre of attention. His presence still frightens defenders, but I wouldn't renew his contract after the incident at Charlton. If we keep gaining points we should be able to keep a consistent position.
BEN McGRAE, Hunts Cross
Everton to finish in fourth? Not likely
By David Prior Daily Post Staff
Jan 21 2005
CHARLTON ATHLETIC defender Hermann Hreidarsson has cast doubt on Everton's ability to stay in the hunt for a Champions League place - as Richard Wright admitted "irritation" at his form since coming into the team last month. Hreidarsson (left) was on the receiving end of an elbow from Duncan Ferguson when the two sides met at The Valley on December 28, which earned the Scottish striker a three-match ban. The two teams clash in the return fixture at Goodison Park tomorrow with David Moyes's side eager to kick-start their push for Europe this weekend after just one win from four league matches. However, Hreidarsson has pointed to Charlton's own recent experience as evidence of the difficulty in closing out a chase for a top-four place, and believes Everton have a major task ahead of them - despite being seven points clear of fifth-placed Liverpool. "I didn't expect them to be up where they are, but there is always one surprise team up and around there - last year it was us," he said. "It is going to be very hard for them to sustain it. At this time of year the bigger clubs can step up a gear with their resources and bigger squads. "I think it will be hard for them, but I am sure they will give it a right go. "Everton have done brilliantly, but we played well against them at home recently and I though we were the better team and deserved our win.
"We are looking forward to going up there and hopefully going on a bit of a run and see where it takes us." Charlton could reduce the deficit on Everton to single figures with a rare away win tomorrow, and have come into form with six wins in their last nine league games.
Everton goalkeeper Wright, meanwhile, has admitted his own form needs to improve. Wright has conceded 10 goals in just four-and-a-half games since replacing Nigel Martyn just before half-time in Everton's 2-0 defeat at The Valley three days after Christmas. It is the former Arsenal and Ipswich shotstopper's first run in the team for 15 months, and Wright believes the inevitable rustiness after so long on the sidelines has affected his performance. He said: "There are little things that have been cropping up in my performances which have irritated me. "Perhaps if I had been playing regularly prior to this run, they wouldn't have happened. Little things have been cropping up, which haven't usually been an issue, mostly on decision-making." The 27-year-old admitted he had been at fault in conceding Boudewijn Zenden's goal at the Riverside on Sunday - and that he was now putting in extra work in an attempt to iron out such errors. "I have to say that I was very unhappy to concede the goal in the manner in which I did at Middlesbrough," he said. "Because of that we were disappointed to come away with a point, even though if you'd offered that to us before the game we'd have probably taken it. "I'm looking for reasons why these things have been happening and I've been working hard with Chris Woods in training. Hopefully on Saturday against Charlton, I will put in a good performance." Meanwhile Li Tie, who has been included alongside Steven Gerrard, Ronaldo and David Beckham in next month's 'Football for Hope' match in aid of the tsunami appeal, is confident he still has a future at Goodison. "I am confident to win back my regular place," said Tie.
Goodison on course to be smoke-free stadium
Exclusive by Deborah James Daily Post Staff
Jan 21 2005
THE first steps have been taken to make Goodison Park the UK's first completely smoke-free football stadium. If the radical move is followed through, cigarettes would be banned not just from bars and restaurants at the ground but also the stands used by the fans. Already, pre-match cigarettes have been banned from three restaurant lounges at the Everton ground. Plans are now in place to stop all smoking between noon and 3pm at all 11 of the club's restaurant lounges. Last night, a spokesman for Everton said a complete ban in future was not being ruled out, in line with plans for Liverpool to become the UK's first smoke-free city. However, he stressed fans would be consulted before any final decision. He told the Daily Post: "This is not a draconian measure that we would impose on the ground. It is going to be much more of a drip, drip effect. "We would never do anything without consulting the fans." Asked if it meant the whole ground - including fans' seats - would eventually become smoke-free, he said: "We cannot rule that out." He said: "We appreciate that Liverpool is prominent in pushing through the no smoking policy. "We expect that it will be one of the major EU cities that will be smoke-free in the next three or four years. "We know that we can't ignore the issue. We want to be pre-eminent in the campaign for better living." The pilot ban was first proposed in February last year, after a survey found 94% of diners at Everton were in favour of a smoking ban. It came after the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, which is chaired by former Everton chairman and now life president Sir Philip Carter, put forward a proposal for the club to become non-smoking. Last night, Mike Unger, chief executive at the foundation, said he was pleased the club, now chaired by Bill Kenwright, was continuing the plan. He told the Daily Post: "We are absolutely delighted that they are following it through. "It's a massive boost for the campaign to create a smoke-free city. "People forget that all enclosed public places are work places, for the bar staff, restaurant staff, the footballers and the media. "It's very important that people are allowed to work in a safe environment." Everton's smoke-free plans are being led by the club's catering company, Optima, which serves 1,200 sit down-meals every match day. Yesterday, the club's hospitality and events manager Joanne McGrane said: "The issue was first raised even before Liverpool launched its plan to be a smoke-free city. "We did a survey and it came back that 94% of the diners wanted a smoke-free zone." Following a board level discussion, pre-match smoking was banned in three restaurant lounges, the Joe Mercer, the Alex Young, and the Vice Presidents.
The club's official spokesman said: "We discussed this at executive level about a year ago and decided to trial it at a couple of restaurants. "We are just testing the water to see what the feedback is like. So far it's been mostly positive, but we have got to be careful. "Ultimately this is an entertainment facility and we can't simply dump on 40,000 people that they can't smoke. "If the fans don't want it, then it won't go ahead." Anti-smoking campaigners last night welcomed the proposal.
Andy Hull, chairman of Smoke Free Liverpool, said: "It's great news for us and the campaign. Everton are riding high in the league and the campaign is riding high in the imagination of the people in the city. "Everton and the other football clubs can provide a very positive lead to other organisations throughout the city and provide a very strong emblem of the city's intention to take a lead." However, fans' reaction was mixed. Supporters' club secretary Keith Wilson said: "I applaud Everton's efforts, but I think they need to be careful. "There is nothing worse than sitting down to a meal and someone lighting up a fag, so I'm pleased they are looking at a ban in eating areas. "But it's a different thing in the stands. "The working classes traditionally like their pint, pie and a fag at half time. "I think it's fine to have smoke-free areas, or smoking areas, but I think it would affect ticket sales if it was to go further. "I reckon it would be about a 50/50 split for and against among the fans." Several clubs with new grounds, including Derby and Middlesbrough, have introduced no-smoking areas, but it is understood no club has so far banned smoking outright. Mike Crofton, secretary of the Birkenhead Everton supporters' club said: "As a non-smoker I'd personally be delighted, but you have to treat everyone equally. "It causes a lot of bad feelings when we go to places like Middlesbrough or Derby, people forget they aren't supposed to light up. "I think it will be very difficult to implement." And supporters will get the chance for some healthy half-time eating
MENUS at Everton Football Club are being given a radical overhaul as part of a scheme to cut heart disease. Recipes for half time pies and sandwiches are among the items to be revised as part of Heart of Mersey's city-wide food and health strategy. The project, to be officially launched at Goodison Park today , will encourage businesses to offer healthier options to employees and clients.
Everton was one of the first to sign up and allow HoM advisers to collaborate with their chefs. Already, discussions are under way to reduce the amount of salt and fat in the 8,000 pies that are sold at the ground every match day. Healthy option starters, main courses and desserts are also being considered for all 11 restaurants at the ground. Catering manager Ian Simpson said: "We are doing this very slowly. "The idea is to provide a healthy option while maintaining our regular service, but not losing any of the tradition or fun about the occasion. "We will still serve pies - around 20% of our crowd buy pies every match day, but we are looking at making them healthier. "In the restaurants it will be things like bringing in low fat mayonnaise, and at first we will offer one healthy option on each menu." Other Heart of Mersey partners will include large private sector businesses, local authorities and NHS organisations. They will be asked to introduce a 10 point plan to help employees and clients eat more healthily. It will include reducing people's salt, fat and sugar intake, decreasing cholesterol levels and increasing their daily intake of fresh fruit and vegetables.
A spokeswoman for Heart of Merseyside said: "Everton are being fantastic but this is by no means a done deal. "They have asked us to come in and work with them and they are very open to suggestions. But catering for somebody in five minutes is a difficult task and things are not going to change overnight."
I rejected move to Goodison - Savage
By David Prior, Daily Post
Jan 21 2005
ROBBIE SAVAGE last night claimed Everton made a late attempt to hijack his move to Blackburn.
The midfielder (right) completed his controversial £3million move to Blackburn and then revealed his boyhood club had lodged an 11th-hour bid to bring him to Goodison. However Savage, who has regularly been linked with Everton in recent months, insisted the lure of Ewood Park manager Mark Hughes had proved too great. He said: "Everton came in with a late bid, but I wanted to play for Mark and Blackburn. I have stood by my word, and I'm just delighted we have showed faith in each other. "Mark, along with my family, has been the major factor in my decision to move. "He was my boyhood hero. I had pictures of him on my wall when I was seven or eight - they're down now, and he's a bit greyer than when they first went up! "But we're both from Wrexham and he helped me during my time when we were both with Manchester United, and then again with Wales."
Zenden: Nothing spectacular happened in melee
By Damian Spellman, Daily Post
Jan 21 2005
MIDDLESBROUGH midfielder Boudewijn Zenden has admitted his surprise at the FA charge with which his side and Everton are facing following last weekend's goalmouth melee. The Dutchman was at the centre of things after Boro reacted angrily to Duncan Ferguson's challenge on goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer, sparking a brawl involving virtually every player other than Everton keeper Richard Wright. Match referee Dermot Gallagher-dealt with the situationon the pitch by summoning captains Gareth Southgate and Alan Stubbs and ordering them to tell their team-mates to cool it.
However, FA disciplinary chiefs decided action was necessary and charged both clubs with failing to control their players, to the annoyance of Everton manager David Moyes, and Zenden yesterday admitted he was surprised by the decision. "Probably, yes," he said. "There was a bit of pushing, but it was in the heat of the game and you had two teams that are fighting for that fourth spot.
"Nothing spectacular happened in there and I said after the game that the referee dealt well with it, spoke to the two captains and said keep the players a bit quiet. "Nothing happened afterwards, so I think it's all a bit blown up. To be fair, I don't see the point now to talk about it because I don't think after the game, anybody spoke negatively about it. "We as a group lived with the situation, Everton lived with the situation, the managers lived with the situation, the referee dealt with the situation.
"Everton and Middlesbrough have to come out with a statement to the FA and hopefully that will solve all the problems." News of the charge was offset to a certain extent on Teesside by Wednesday's revelation that Schwarzer is to sign his new three-year extension next week despite persistent links with Manchester United and Arsenal among others. "It's very good because we had two or three goalkeepers running out of contract," said Zenden. "It's good for the team to know Mark will stay with us. "It's a very good thing for us because he's a very good goalkeeper and I've heard there were several teams interested, so it's good for Middlesbrough that they can keep him."
European destiny is in our hands
By Mark O'Brien Everton supporter, Daily Post
Jan 21 2005
FAILURE to qualify for one of the European competitions now will be incredibly disappointing.
Everyone has been pretty coy about it for most of the season, but after last Saturday's game at The Riverside it became abundantly clear that our destiny is firmly in our own hands. There were few pundits who didn't have Middlesbrough down to beat a post-Gravesen Everton and even the majority of Blues would have settled for a point beforehand. After the final whistle though a draw seemed scant reward for the Blues' performance at a ground that is reputedly one of the toughest for visiting sides. You only had to hear the ruddy-faced Steve McLaren's post-match comments, about how well he thought his side did considering their injuries, to realise that opposition managers at least are starting to take David Moyes's Everton very seriously. It was to the credit of all the players that they made light of the absence of the dear departed Dane, with Marcus Bent a revelation on the rightwing. He thrives on opportunities to get his head down and use his pace, something he doesn't always get the chance to do when he's up front alone. James Beattie still looked some way off the pace though, despite being unlucky to strike a post, but if he wants an example of what is required from a big Everton centreforward he could do worse than learn from Duncan Ferguson's brief cameo. For a supposedbit-part player he has had a hand in a lot of crucial goals this season, and his movement and precise header down for Tim Cahill's equaliser showed the sort of ability that, if you read between the lines, seems to be persuading the manager that offering him a new contract might not be such a bad idea. That's as long as he can keep his elbows to himself against Herman Hreidarsson tomorrow, obviously. Other players looking for new deals include Alan Stubbs and Kevin Kilbane, and although it appears that they are not happy with what is on offer, there is still plenty of time for negotiation. The temptation when we're doing well must be to give the best performers whatever they are after, but we've done that in the past and had to live with the legacy. Stubbs, for instance, has been magnificent this season, a proper captain, but will he be able to perform to the same level in two years' time? That's what the manager has to assess, and it's a tough call to make.
Hopes rest on Beattie
Post Soapbox, icLiverpool & Daily Post
Jan 21 2005
Hopes rest on Beattie
EVERTON haven't had a striker that scores more then 15 goals a season since Paul Rideout. Give Beattie a chance, don't doubt him so soon.
Gaz Taylor, Garston
WHILE Tommy Gravesen had been great this season, people seem to forget he'd been here for five seasons and I don't recall many raving about him in those other seasons. For me he was very inconsistent in the past and only this season showed his potential. If only he could have done that before now.
B Namid, Wirral
Lay off James
FOR all those giving Beattie stick, lay off. After only two games some of you are already claiming him to be a flop. I suppose if he gets a hat-trick on Saturday it still won't be enough.
John Gosport (via e-mail)
DUNCAN Ferguson is targeted all the time - either by defenders who know he'll react and get booked/ sent off, or by referees who never apply any benefit of doubt, and never give him any protection. A lot of this is really his own fault - but I love seeing him in the side.
Kevin Beem (via e-mail)
Blues target Tommo
Jan 21 2005 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
BLACKBURN'S David Thompson has emerged as Everton's number one target as the Blues race to add to their midfield ranks before the closure of the transfer window. David Moyes was at Ewood Park on Wednesday night to watch Thompson (right) score twice in Blackburn's FA Cup third round victory over Cardiff. The Blues have already had one inquiry for the former Liverpool player knocked back. But while the Lancashire club are determined to keep hold of one of their star players, the recent £3m outlay for Robbie Savage coupled with the prospect of Thompson welcoming the opportunity to sign for the club he supported as a boy will boost Everton's chances of landing the versatile midfielder. Everton are expected to step up their interest in the midfield man in the next few days, with Moyes eager to add to his ranks before the closure of the transfer window. Thompson, who has only recently returned to fitness after a year on the sidelines witha knee injury, is valued at £3m. Moyes has a kitty of £6m at his disposal, despite the recent £6m signing of James Beattie. Thompson has risen to the top of the list because of his adaptability and his attitude. He would fit neatly into Moyes' close-knit squad. The boyhood Evertonian made his mark at Anfield after coming through the Liverpool youth system, playing 56 times for the club before being transferred to Coventry for £3m in 2000. After two years at Highfield Road he made the switch to Ewood Park for £1.5m. Now 27, he has become a huge favourite at Blackburn, despite being restricted to just 58 appearances in two years because of injury. Everton have distanced themselves from Robbie Savage's claim the club made an 11th hour attempt to sign the midfielder before his move to Blackburn.
* Australian defender Eddy Bosnar is set for an Everton exit six months after arriving from Sturm Graz. He has been allowed to join Norwegian side Valerenga on a week-long trial.
Fortress cash to arrive Monday
Jan 21 2005 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
THE head of the Fortress Sports Fund has revealed he will be in a position to finally provide Everton with a £12.8m cash injection on Monday. Swiss-based financier Chris Samuelson has spent much of the last fortnight jetting between Geneva, Brunei and Singapore to receive the regulatory approval required to press ahead with the investment. The series of delays has stretched Everton's patience, leading the club to impose a deadline on the Fortress scheme. But Samuelson pledged today that the wait will finally be over on Monday, promising that the backing the sports fund needs from the Brunei government is now just one working day away. He said: "I am expecting the final approval from the Brunei regulator and financial authority on Monday. "Once the certificate has been issued we will be able to move the money into the fund. Then Everton will be able to call for an EGM.
"The delay has been because the regulators work at a certain speed but the authorities in Brunei are being very helpful."
Big Nev hapy to be calling the shots
Jan 21 2005 Liverpool Echo
A day after Richard Wright admitted he's trying his hardest to improve his form, David Prentice catches up with Everton's greatest ever goalkeeper NEVILLE SOUTHALL has never compromised.
Whether it be sitting againsta goal post during a half-time interval, refusing to collect a runners-up medal in a competition he deemed unworthy, or preferring to drive straight home rather than attend an FA Cup winners' banquet, the former Everton goalkeeper has always done things his way.
It is an attitude which hasn't always worked in his favour. He fell out with the FA of Wales recently and found himself ignored for a succession of league managers jobs, but he won't change. "I don't play the political games - and football is a real closed shop, full of fear," he said. But in his latest role as manager of Ryman League Hastings United, Southall is typically prepared to live or die doing things the way he wants them done. And, so far, he is thriving. Southall was appointed boss of the Ryman League Division One side just before Christmas - and has since guided them to three successive victories, all without conceding a goal. After a New Year's Day defeat of Dorking when 391 swept through the The Pilot Field turnstiles - almost double Hastings' average gate - the Sussex club won 1-0 at Molesey, then overcame Corinthian Casuals 2-0 last weekend. That was their fifth clean sheet in a row, highly appropriate for a man who hated conceding goals, even in training.
He laughs when it is suggested that the new, lighter balls have contributed to an increase in goalkeeping errors this season. "New balls?" he scoffs. "Do they only bring it out on Saturday, then? What do they do the rest of the week? Do they have one of those old Mitre balls?
"Look, the balls are better. The only thing to worry about is the ball that is straight at you because you have to decide what to do with it. If it's bent, the bend is usually true. Straight at you and it can move. But it's easier - you can clear it miles and the flight is truer." He should maybe try telling that to Jerzy Dudek, although Southall has never shied away from telling it as it is. "I think it was Howard Kendall's fault," he declared. "Once I got into the team he would say 'I think you should have done that' and I would say 'No, that's rubbish.' "But I just thought if he can do that, then why can't everyone? The people I got on best with were the people who challenged me. Like Howard Kendall. The days he didn't say a word to me I was eight foot tall because I had shut him up. But I trusted him and he trusted us. "I'll be the same here. You don't have to keep everyone happy and they might not like you, but they can respect your ideas. If everyone is honest and you have an honest team then you will be half-decent." A day after Richard Wright admitted he's trying his hardest to improve his form, David Prentice catches up with Everton's greatest ever goalkeeper Southall is still finding his feet at the South Coast club, but he has already started introducing a number of his own ideas. "I am looking forward to the challenge," he added. "There is a massive potential in Hastings. It is just a case of getting the local fans to come along. It is probably a sleepy little area, but we have a large catchment. "I read somewhere that we have a bigger population than Wigan. Unfortunately, our chairman hasn't got the same money as the man in charge of Wigan Athletic! "The onus is on the lads. And if I don't have to change them then it is better for me. But if we have a few bad results then I am going to have to look at it again. " Maybe a little bit more organisation, more work behind the scenes and the chance of adding a touch more quality to the squad. "I have recent playing and coaching experience in non-league football at Dagenham and Redbridge, Dover, Canvey Island and Molesey, so I know what this level is all about. If you are well organised, you have good discipline in your team and you fight for each other, then you have half a chance. If you can put a little bit of talent with that, you have every chance of progressing." The non-league environment is one Southall is very familiar with. Before any of his record-breaking 751 appearances for Everton or 92 caps for Wales, he turned out for Llandudno Swifts, Conwy United, Bangor City and Winsford United.
"I love the non-league scene because I think that's where real football is," he said. "There is no real football in the Premier League because money and egos come into it. But in non-league, the players work during the day and give up their time for training and matches in the evenings. So I think they are more dedicated to their sport. "If you look at the Conference now, most of the teams can give any Football League side a good game. The standard of players coming into non-league football is getting better and better. "That is sometimes due to all the foreigners in the Premier League who have pushed the home grown players all the way down." In recent years, Southall has spent time out of football, working for Kent County Council. But he believes the lessons he has learned from that experience will help him in non-league management. "The biggest lesson I have had about coaching footballers has come from teaching," he explained. "I've been a qualified teacher for a year and that has taught me more than all my coaching. I've learned how to present ideas and how to individualise for certain people. "Yes, I have played under some great football managers and picked up things from them, but the teaching has really helped me. It has made me realise there is a little more to communicating with people than I first thought. "At Hastings we are going to take things in stages. We are aiming for the play-offs, but if we can get above that then it will be great! And, if we don't make it this season, we will look to win the division next year!"
Moyes wary of taking Euro qualification for granted
Jan 21 2005 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON spent 29 weeks in a European qualifying position two seasons ago before missing out following a bitterly disappointing final day defeat to Manchester United. For manager David Moyes (right), it still hurts. And that pain is a constant reminder to him to remain cautious when questions about Europe have been fired his way this season. Because he is determined to ensure it doesn't happen again. And he is eager to avoid any suggestion of complacency. "We were in a great position right up until Easter a couple of years ago and we didn't achieve a European place then," reflects Moyes. "That is a reminder that there is still a long way to go. "After another six games we will have a better idea of our realistic chances of qualifying in a European spot. "The spell we are entering now is crucial because we have a tough run-in. At this moment in time we are just trying to finish as high up the league as we possibly can. There will be no targets set." Moyes' caution is understandable. But the performances of his side mean it is getting increasingly difficult to contain the growing sense of excitement among supporters. And that sense of optimism, despite the small squad and the recent departure of Thomas Gravesen, is backed up by statistics. At the corresponding stage of the 2002/03 campaign the Blues were in sixth spot, having acquired 36 points. Last weekend's draw at Middlesbrough took the side's total this term to 44 points. And the team has not been out of the top four since early September. With no sign of the side losing its hunger despite the seven point gap, the Blues are far better placed to book a return to Europe for the first time since 1996. But, as Moyes points out, the weeks ahead will be crucial.
There are three consecutive home games to look forward to, beginning with tomorrow's clash with Charlton before the FA Cup fourth round clash with Sunderland and the visit of Norwich.
With a trip to Southampton the next game after that, it is not the most daunting run of fixtures the Blues have faced this term. It gives Moyes and his men an opportunity to take further steps towards the 65-point mark widely regarded as the total required to secure Champions League football.
While that subject may be taboo, the Goodison boss is under no illusions as to the importance of making the most of home advantage. Moyes said: "We have taken a lot of points this season from late goals at Goodison. And the role of the crowd in those games should not be under-estimated.
"We get tremendous support at home and we are going to need more than ever in the weeks ahead to keep us driving on. "The backing from the fans can make a big difference. They keep us going in games and they have shown they can respond to the players when they are giving everything in games." Indeed, if 65 points does prove to be enough to secure Champions League football then the 24 up for grabs at Goodison between now and the end of the season will surely be the key.
Ever presents . . . the true Blue band with cause for celebration
Jan 21 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
Everton's Independent Blues supporters club celebrated an anniversary last week which is certainly deserving of a mention. The trip to Middlesbrough marked their 10th birthday - and once again its 100 or so members were there - as they have been for every senior fixture contested by the club in the past decade. Mid-season friendlies in Drogheda, Kilmarnock and Falkirk, pre-season trips anywhere, plus end-of-season testimonials in Derby have all been attended by a charabanc from the Blue House. But, apart from unswerving loyalty to the Royal Blue cause, the Indie Blues have also raised money for numerous charities, acted as unofficial spokespersons in the media on all issues Everton-related - and, both bizarrely and unwittingly, voted Barry Horne, Gary Speed, Don Hutchison, Graham Stuart, Duncan Ferguson and Nick Barmby their Player of the Season-only for each one of them to exit Goodison the following season! After Barmby's defection the Indie Blues admitted defeat and retired the award - but not before members suggested handing it to Peter Degn. There was no need, he left anyway. Not as quickly, mind, as the courting couple who accidentally bumped into Indie Blues member Mark Crosby on the occasion of the rained-off Anfield derby match. With more time than expected to quaff merrily, schoolteacher Mark fell out of the Blue House, took a short cut home through Priory Road cemetery, and fell into a freshly dug grave.
Unable to scramble out because of the slippery sides and his even slippier thought processes, he eventually hauled himself out moaning for help- at the precise time a young couple were passing. They legged it. But then, the Independent Blues usually inspire a reaction. Happy Birthday!
Everton 0, Charlton 1 (D, Post)
By Andy Hunter At Goodison Park, Daily Post
Jan 24 2005
FOR a group of professional sportsmen for whom the body is both their bank and temple, Everton are doing little to promote the introduction of a smoking ban at Goodison Park. The Everton hierarchy are considering making their home ground a Woodbines-free zone as part of Liverpool's efforts to ban the habit in public places. But given how their team's Champions League chase appears destined for a tense, fraught finale, perhaps this worthy cause should be left on the shelf for now. Even non-smokers are sending envious glances at their wheezing brethren at Goodison these days with no more nails left to chew after a season of slender results. Twelve of Everton's 13 victories have arrived courtesy of a one-goal margin as have three of their six defeats, after Charlton's only shot on target delivered a double over David Moyes's team and continued the capital's assault on this part of Merseyside. The greatest threat to Evertonian nerves, however, is not the team's tendency to tread the fine line when a straightforward path is laid before them, as presented by Liverpool's defeat at Southampton before Saturday's kickoff, but how Moyes plans to collect the 19 points from 14 games that should secure a place among the European elite.
The irony will not be lost on the Everton manager that after a Goodison career with his face pressed against the transfer window he is now under pressure to dispense with some of the £6million said to be burning a hole in his tracksuit pocket. Only six months ago he was unable to stretch to the £2.5m it would have needed to bring the undisputed man of this match, Danny Murphy, across Stanley Park. On Saturday he was trying to cajole another late revival out of his team with shouts of "Buy a midfielder Moyes!" raining down from the Main Stand behind him, though presumably not from the directors' seats.. After a poor display yet undeserved defeat by Alan Curbishley's European darkhorses Moyes declared he would not be signing any more players this side of the transfer deadline. It has not been for the want of trying nor his squad's outstanding efforts this season that has brought Moyes to this conclusion, with club's either demanding too much for their players, as in Tottenham's £5m valuation of Simon Davies, or refusing to let other targets go, as in Blackburn and David Thompson. With Everton's financial position and past history of squandering money it is a blessing the club now has a manager as careful with his cash as he is adept on the training ground.
But with the Champions League so near and his paper-thin squad stretched so far there is an obvious need for reinforcements that Moyes has to address, even if it results in no more than an ageing player arriving on loan for five months. What is Terry Curran up to these days? Charlton midfielder Murphy may not be the most respected voice at Goodison due to his Anfield background but as an intelligent student of the game, and someone who knows what it takes to finish in the top four, he offers a credible assessment of Everton's Champions League chances. Murphy, who ran the first half with his astute passing and stemmed Everton's second half improvement with his tackling and commitment, said: "I know I will be accused of bias but I can still see Liverpool sneaking fourth place because with Baros fit again and Morientes sure to improve once he gets fitter they have the goals in them and at this stage of the season that is vital. "I am honestly not taking anything away from Everton but it will be difficult for them to maintain the level of the first half of the season because they don't have enough players to rotate or rest individuals. "No matter how well you perform it is a very tiring season and when you play the way Everton do for so long and with the same players then sides get to know you. Maybe clubs are getting wise to the way Everton play now. "But if they do make some signings it will give them the options they need and they will need them in the run-in.
"People might not believe me but I am honestly pleased to see Everton in the position they are in now. It is healthy for the Premiership to have Everton in amongst it all, they are a big club with good fans. But if they want to compete in the top four then they need more players. "When we were competing up there at Liverpool we needed a strong squad to compete at that level consistently. A big squad just adds that extra bite, it keeps people on their toes and it stops people being complacent." Moyes will certainly stop complacency setting in at Bellefield, and his half-time substitution of Marcus Bent was as much to do with the striker's occasional lethargy as the need to try and disrupt an otherwise comfortable Charlton defence with the introduction of Duncan Ferguson. But it is the balancing act of reinforcements that will continue to dominate in the next seven days. If it is a fine line Moyes walks in the transfer market then Saturday's contest was a classic example of the slender margins between victory and defeat. Everton were nowhere near their organised, effective best against a Charlton side who have suddenly crept into European contention. Too many wrong choices and too many poor passes conspired into a missed opportunity after fifth-placed Liverpool slumped at St Mary's and Middlesbrough blew a three-goal lead at Norwich. Though at least other results went for Everton on Saturday. Not much else did. Charlton produced a fine away performance, defending firmly and snatching a stoppage-time lead at the end of the first half when Matt Holland's spectacular 20-yard strike from Hermann Hreidarsson's mis-hit cross looped over Richard Wright and into the top corner. But they had Fortune on their side in more ways than Jonathan in defence. While Everton's over-all display failed to ignite they still had enough opportunities to have secured what may have been a defining result. Leon Osman, handed the Thomas Gravesen role of midfield orchestrater, shot straight at Dean Kiely after a fine run in the 12th minute, David Weir had a textbook header hooked off the line by Murphy, Alessandro Pistone had a goalbound volley blocked and Alan Stubbs skied the loose ball over. In the second half James Beattie, still way short of match fitness, struck the inside of the post with a polished strike that just missed Tim Cahill's toes and Lee Carsley was denied by a superb last-ditch tackle by the effective Paul Konchesky. Inevitably, as will be the case after every game Everton don't win between now and the end of the season, Moyes was asked how the loss of Gravesen hindered his side's creativity on Saturday. As the team's outstanding performer all season, the answer is obvious, especially on home days when the pressure is on to create. The real issue confronting the Everton manager now, however, is how to spend his millions from Madrid.
EVERTON (4-5-1): Wright; Hibbert, Weir, Stubbs, Pistone (Yobo 86); Bent (Ferguson 46), Cahill, Carsley, Osman, Kilbane (McFadden 65); Beattie. Subs: Naysmith, Turner.
CHARLTON (4-5-1): Kiely; Young, El Karkouri, Fortune, Hreidarsson; Thomas, Holland, Murphy, Hughes (Johansson 86), Konchesky; Bartlett. Subs: Stuart, Fish, Jeffers, Anderson. BOOKINGS: El Karkouri, Hughes (fouls)
REFEREE: Howard Webb
MAN OF THE MATCH Tony Hibbert
Another tenacious display by the full-back, and one of the few Everton players to distribute with any quality
Moyes stops shopping in the January sales
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jan 24 2005
DAVID MOYES has called off his transfer search despite Everton's failure to open up a 10-point gap in the race for the Champions League on Saturday. Matt Holland's 45th-minute strike gave Charlton Athletic a second win over Everton in 25 days as Moyes's side missed the opportunity to take advantage of Liverpool's slip at Southampton. But despite a below-par performance from Everton, who saw new £6million signing James Beat-tie hit the post, Moyes insists no more signings will arrive at Good-ison Park before the transfer window closes next week. The Everton manager has been thwarted in several attempts to bolster his midfield in the wake of Thomas Gravesen's departure to Real Madrid. And he is now resigned to pushing for Europe with the threadbare squad that has kept Everton in the Champions League qualifying places since September. "I won't be bringing anybody in now," confirmed Moyes.. "The players we have here have done a great job all season and I am happy with the players we've got. We did miss Thomas Gravesen more at home than we did away at Middlesbrough. We will keep playing well and we will try to bounce straight back after this defeat, as we have done on every other occasion we have got beat this season. But I think, I am sure, we can carry on." Moyes does, however, want action taken to improve a Goodison pitch which he believes could damage Everton's European prospects in the final four months of the season. He revealed: "The pitch is diabolical at the moment and it helps away teams because they can just clear their lines whereas we need to get the ball down more and pass it around. "I doubt we will be able to relay the pitch but it did hinder us and it may continue to hinder us if we don't do something about it. But I don't want to use that as an excuse for this result and it is not the reason why we got beat." Goalkeeper Richard Wright believes Everton contributed to their own downfall on Saturday by making a subdued start against Alan Curbishley's team. Wright admitted: "We have got to win these kind of games. We could have opened up a healthy gap on fifth place with the way the other results went for us but the most frustrating thing is how we played. It is purely down to us whether we get fourth place or not and we just didn't seem to get started. "It just didn't go our way and then we were hit by a real sucker-punch on the stroke of half-time. "We worked as hard as we could have done in the second half and James was unlucky to hit the post but it was just very frustrating. "They were very compact and defended well but our dressing room was very down afterwards because it was a game we should have won. "The lads are bitterly disappointed, but that shows just how determined we are this season. "We were very confident before the game but we will have to improve on this performance if we are going to push on."
Absent Gravesen so sorely missed
By Ken Stewart, Daily Post
Jan 24 2005
SO the curse of the London teams continues, but this was an opportunity wasted after Liverpool's result. While I'm still delighted with the team this season, Saturday wasn't what we've come to expect and we clearly lacked something, mainly Thomas Gravesen. The lack of creativity in midfield was there for all to see and at times our defenders where looking for someone to pass it to, but nobody was coming deep so they just ended up hitting out long to the wings or to Beattie's head.
Speaking of Beattie, he's clearly unfit but he's willing, but at the moment he can't start each match. But if Moyes continues to stick with him then he needs a partner who can do some running for him; it's too much for a player regaining fitness to be expected to lead the line. Charlton came and did what we've done to teams when we've been away - keep it tight, pass the ball around and take the chances when given. What we lacked in mid-field they had in abundance and the two central players of Murphy and Holland completely out-ran and out-passed either of our central players. It would of surely been better to bring in Kilbane to the centre and play him alongside Cahill, pushing Osman out to the right and bringing McFadden out to the left, leaving Carsley to do his holding role and Bent to lead the line, with Beattie on the bench and bringing him on for 20 minutes. With the supposed FSF money meant to be in place today, maybe we can go out on the prowl in the transfer market again.
It's clear who's needed and where and if we can't help out the lads who have done brilliantly so far this season then we can kiss goodbye our hopes of taking place in the Champions League.
Holland spies Europe dream for Londoners
Jan 24 2005
By Paul Walker, Daily Post
MATT HOLLAND scored the goal that brought Everton down to earth and then predicted a dream end to the season for Charlton and a long-awaited place in Europe. Twice in under a month Charlton have reduced the Everton machine to impotence with a crucial double over the Merseysiders.
Everton were left raging by Charlton's outstanding, organised defiance at Good-ison Park which prevented David Moyes' team from stretching their lead over Liverpool to 10 points. The victory for Southampton over Liverpool hung heavily on Everton as they tried to take full advantage.
But Charlton had other ideas and finished deserved winners, even if Everton new signing James Beattie hit a post and forced the save of the match from Dean Kiely. Holland struck seconds before the break with a shot from 25 yards and all Everton's best efforts failed to break them down in the second period. Now Holland believes Charlton can achieve their European goal. He said: "Now we believe we can win every game and things are really improving for us. It will be difficult to get to fourth spot, but it will all depend on the next few games. "Last season we started really well and then fell away. It is the other way around this season, we started badly and are flying just at the right time. "In previous seasons our form seems to have dipped in the last 10 games, but now we believe we have got it right and that we will keep getting better when it is important to pick up the points."
He added: "It will be a fantastic story if we can reach Europe. This club has come back from the brink of disaster and Alan Curbishley has changed our fortunes around. "Long may that continue. People don't think we can do it, they always seem to say the same things but we can change all that. Nobody gives us a mention. All the talk is about Liverpool or Middlesbrough achieving fourth spot, even Newcastle. "There's no reason why we can't do it. All the results of teams around us have gone our way this weekend so we have really made an impression. Teams are stuttering around us and it is Liverpool next at our place." Everton badly missed the departed Thomas Gravesen and failed to generate their expected barrage in the final minutes which usually batters teams into submission.
Holland said: "We beat them a couple of weeks ago and have done it again. It was a hell of a team effort, we had to work very hard and defend deep in our own half. They put teams under a lot of pressure and we really had to dig in. "Everton have hurt a lot of teams this season and now we have done the double over them it's a message to the rest of the division. Last season we finished seventh and that was a good effort. Hopefully this season we can go a bit better."
Everton 0, Charlton 1 (Echo)
Jan 24 2005 By Scott Mcleod At Goodison Park
FOR those Evertonians who were looking, there were no shortage of places to find consolation in the wake of this defeat. Results elsewhere, the passion displayed in the game and the fact the side does not have to face London opposition again for a month will do for starters. Those facts didn't hold much sway with the players though. You expect every team to take losing badly. But on Saturday the Everton side responded as if the 1-0 reverse to Charlton - the first home defeat since the start of October - had consigned them to relegation.. Each player was monosyllabic as he exited the dressing room. When you are hoping to conduct interviews that isn't good news. But that is a small niggle in comparison to the message the players' reaction provides. They could have easily taken cover behind the fact Middlesbrough and Liverpool both failed to capitalise on Everton's slip-up.
They could have pointed to the fact they had won each of their previous five home games - something no other side in the league has done this season. They could have taken it on the chin and shrugged their shoulders because they had clearly given everything to change the out-come of the contest. Instead, they were seething with anger because they had failed to achieve their goal of not just taking a point but of winning the game. That hunger explains why Everton are where they are. But if they are to remain there, that same passion needs to be coupled with an understanding of why this contest ended in disappointment. Charlton have now emerged as surprise contenders for a European berth in the wake of their recent run of fine form. Saturday's victory put them level on points with Middlesbrough and Liverpool, seven behind the Blues. But the league position was not reflected in their performance against David Moyes' men. Their ultra-defensive, smash-and-grab approach to the contest was hugely frustrating - but also a significant compliment to a side which is now not being underestimated. And nor should they be. Because if Charlton are amongst the best of the rest, then Everton have more than enough about them to sustain their position.
Bar Matt Holland's well-struck half-volley from 25 yards in first half injury time, Richard Wright's goal was not threatened. By contrast, James Beattie's search for his first Everton goal continued with the striker finding the woodwork for the second time in a week and then seeing a free-kick palmed away by Dean Kiely. David Weir had a header cleared off the line by Danny Murphy, Alan Stubbs sent a shot over the bar when an effort on target would have surely led to a goal and Marcus Bent failed to net his first goal in 14 games with a good header in the opening half. The endeavour was there. But the goals were not forthcoming. And that hurt. There is a pride emanating from the Everton team because of the position they have selfishly maintained in the top four since early September. That pride took a pounding because of Saturday's result. Sunderland and Norwich should beware.
But while the players were unwilling to look for any positives, there were plenty to be had.
For the umpteenth time this season, Everton's grip on fourth place was maintained by a dramatic, never-say-die attitude which secured late goals. But on this occasion the goals were netted 250 miles away at Carrow Road. That is the irony of the result. Norwich's thrilling comeback at home to Middlesbrough was more beneficial to Everton's league position and their lead over the chasing pack than if the late goals had been scored at Goodison. But while that was a fitting consolation for those punters examining the league table on Saturday night, it was akin to using a placebo to ease a migraine for those players nursing sore heads in the dressing room. For them, those facts made it all the more galling because Saturday was another opportunity missed. There had been a great chance to put even more daylight between themselves and the chasing pack. Not for the first time this season, the cutting edge was not as sharp as it should have been. It would be too simplistic to suggest Thomas Gravesen's departure has led to that problem - even before the Dane was sold to Real Madrid the side's biggest problem had been a shortage of goals. But what Gravesen did provide was an alternative dimension - an outlet of unpredictable invention. When Moyes needed to change things around in the second half on Saturday in order to put the visitors on the back foot the only option open to him was Duncan Ferguson. The Big Scot remains a useful asset when his focus remains on the football. And when he entered the fray his added presence troubled Charlton as the Blues consciously switched into a more direct style of play - the kind of approach some pundits would have you believe the side has been employing all season. It was a ploy which Charlton's resolute defence was more than capable of dealing with. In fact, Everton's best chances in the second period came when the build up play was more considered - as Leon Osman's neat through ball which led to Beattie's effort finding the base of the post illustrated. Likewise, when James McFadden entered the fray late on his quick feet threatened to unlock Charlton. The concern now is that if Plan A doesn't work the alternatives are a little two-dimensional, simply because Moyes has so few options. That is why the manager has worked so hard in the last 10 days to try and target the potential signings capable of adding to his armoury. The manager has always stood firm alongside his philosophy of not making short-term additions to the Goodison ranks. But it seems the kind of players he wants - young, promising and brimming with hunger, enthusiasm and talent - are too few and far between. Receiving that news in the wake of Saturday's defeat is salt for the wound.
But the Goodison chief is not a man to buckle from his long-term plan, even if it meant bringing in a player capable of doing a job in the short-term. That is an option open to him because he is finally in a position where he has some money to work with. But if it is not going to be utilised then Everton must explore other avenues. Moyes has the tactical awareness to circumnavigate the increasing number of sides displaying their respect for Everton by showing very little attacking adventure.
And that would put the smiles back on the faces of the Everton players.
'We have nothing to fear' - Moyes
Jan 24 2005 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES insists Everton have nothing to fear from the sides chasing them in the race for Champions League qualification. In the last month Moyes' men have faced each of the three teams leading the hunt to oust the Blues from fourth spot. The home victory over Liverpool in early December has been followed in the last 10 days by a hard-fought draw at Middlesbrough and Saturday's 1-0 home defeat to Alan Curbishley's in-form Charlton side. Despite the disappointment of the last two results, Everton have maintained a seven-point lead over their rivals with 14 games of the season remaining. And Moyes spoke for the first time today of the confidence he has in his players maintaining their heady position. He told the ECHO: "We have played a lot of the top teams competing against us recently and we know what we have to do now in order to stay out in front.
"Based on what we have seen we have as good a chance as any of those teams we have faced. We know we are there to be shot at because of the position we are in but we are determined to stay where we are. "We didn't play as well as we know we can against Charlton and we were not at the level we have been setting ourselves. But we still weren't far away from getting something out of the game. "It was a disappointing result because we know what we can achieve if we make our home games count. "We had been on a very good run at home before Saturday and it is very important we get back on track. "Everybody was very down on Saturday because of the outcome. That was the first time this season when we have felt really sore after a game. But the job now is to kick on.
"We have achieved our first goal for the season by reaching a points total which guarantees our Premiership status. "Our second goal was to get a points total worthy of giving us a finish in the top half of the table. "When we have got enough points to make certain that is secure then we will focus on our third targetl, which is qualifying for Europe." The Goodison chief is satisfied he has enough players to achieve each of those goals, having ruled out any further dips into the transfer market. Moyes has worked overtime in the last fortnight in a bid to uncover the players capable of improving his Goodison ranks. But he insists the right players are not available until the summer.
He added: "I won't bringing anybody in now. The players we have here have done a great job all season and I am happy with the players we have got. "But we did miss Thomas Gravesen more at home than we did at Boro." Meanwhile, James Beattie will miss a couple of days' training this week after sustaining an ankle injury midway on Saturday. The injury is not expected to keep him out of contention for Saturday's FA Cup fourth round clash with Sunderland at Goodison.
In Moyes we trust
Jan 24 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has enriched more Blue hearts than anybody thought possible this season.
But his decision to suddenly go all Scrooge on us was met with collective disbelief on Saturday night.
Everton lost their most influential offensive midfielder to Real Madrid, then lost a first home match for nearly four months. And the unexpected reaction was that the manager intends to get on with it. He has money to spend, but doesn't intend to. So what's going on? David Moyes has made mistakes before during his tenure as Everton manager. But you can count them on the fingers of Dave Allen's left hand. So let's analyse his decision more closely. Everton need midfield reinforcements, clearly. But if we can see that, do you not think David Moyes is even more acutely aware of the situation? His presence at outposts as diverse as Ibrox, Ewood Park and Fratton Park in the past fortnight suggests the radar is on full alert. But is there anybody out there - currently available - who would actually improve the Blues' midfield? Moyes watched David Thompson score twice for Blackburn in midweek - and no bid followed.. Doesn't that suggest he wasn't completely enamoured by a player only just back in action from long-term injury? Clubmate Barry Ferguson is adamant Glasgow Rangers is his preferred destination. Scott Parker won't be fit for another three months - and Chelsea will not off-load anybody anyway in case it jeopardises their best chance of a title for 50 years. Tottenham, equally, are in no mood to sell, ruling out Davis and Davies. The jury is out on Nottingham Forest's Andy Reid, who is more a wide-player anyway. And if he's the best The Championship has to offer it suggests the division is not exactly a fertile hunting ground for Premiership talent spotters. With options rapidly running out, let's start getting silly. Igor Biscan? Moyes saw the FA Cup tie at Burnley. Enough said. Ollie Dacourt. A mercenary as Evertonians know only too well. How about Gary Speed for four months? I've never hid my admiration for a total professional wrongly maligned for his decision to quit Goodison. But I'm very much in the minority.
Does anyone think Everton should have hijacked bids for Nigel Quashie or Robbie Savage? Exactly.
It's clearly not that easy to bring in players who won't become expensive bench-warmers, which is why Moyes is as well to dampen speculation now and allow the players he has available to get on with the outstanding job they have already done this season. Everton undoubtedly lacked a creative spark on Saturday. But they still boasted four glaring chances. Unfortunately three fell to defenders - Weir's header was blocked, Stubbs' effort blazed wide and Pistone's shot blocked - while James Beattie was desperately unlucky to hit the woodwork for the second match in succession. And the goal which cost Everton the points was a wonder-strike from a sliced, mis-directed pass. At least if Everton were going to choose a weekend to drop points, they couldn't have chosen a more opportune Saturday if they'd tried. Norwich's late leveller was even more beneficial to the Blues than a late equaliser of their own would have been, while Liverpool failed to make up any ground at Southampton and far-distant Spurs were walloped at Crystal Palace. In fact only Charlton made any headway on the Blues, and if they are going to be Everton's chief challengers for a place in Europe, there's less reason for fear than first thought. An Everton website carries the slogan "In Moyes We trust." It is a well-earned saying - and one Evertonians may have to repeat like a mantra in the months ahead. But the Blues boss hasn't done anything yet to cause Evertonians to doubt it.
* THAT couldn't have been Jamie Redknapp getting booked for a dreadful twofooted lunge on Luis Garcia on Saturday. Why? Because Jamie's "not that kind of player," remember? Yes, Tim Cahill still remembers.
Moyes is happy with his squad - but not pitch
Jan 24 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES believes Goodison Park is suffering from surface tension at a crucial stage of the season. The Goodison pitch cut up badly during Saturday's 1-0 defeat to Charlton, and the unhappy manager said afterwards: "Our pitch is terrible. Diabolical. "The surface is not conducive for getting the ball down and passing it around. So it maybe suits the away teams who perhaps don't need to play the ball as cleanly. "The pitch certainly hindered us today, but that's not the reason we lost. "But it could cost us if we don't do something about it." Moyes was adamant, though, that he does not intend to do anything in the transfer market before the window closes next weekend. "I won't be bringing anybody in," he declared. "The players have done a great job and I'm happy with them.
"We have won quite a lot of games without Thomas Gravesen and our record without him has been excellent. "We're in the next round of the FA Cup and in a good league position, so we're content with what we've done. "It was a tough call to leave Joseph Yobo out, because he did very well last weekend, but I just wanted to go with a slightly more attacking midfield. "We asked Marcus Bent to play closer to James Beattie midway through the first half and he did so. I actually thought that in the second 20 minutes of the first half we actually got better, because we didn't start well. "But we lost a goal before half-time and in the end the margins between success and failure are fine."
Charlton boss Alan Curbishley was delighted with his side's smash and grab raid. "We came here knowing what we could expect," he said. "We have come to the north-west in the past couple of seasons and done well, but so far this season our results have been appalling. "What changed today was we got the goal and David Moyes will appreciate that once you get your noses in front it gives you something to cling onto. "I don't think they could get behind us, except for when James Beattie shot across the face so they started to put balls into the box. "Once we got the ball back we didn't create enough, but the result was definitely more important than the performance. "It gives us a bit of confidence for the cup game and after that it is Liverpool. "I think the early kick-off for Liverpool put a bit of pressure on Everton. They knew that if they won they could have established a big gap between themselves and Liverpool. "If Everton had got in front from that corner cleared off the line it would have been different, but we dug in."
Not quite Wright
Jan 24 2005 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
RICHARD WRIGHT has warned Everton must not allow a repeat of Saturday's dip in form if they are to maintain their lead in the race for the Champions League. The 1-0 reverse to Charlton was only the club's sixth league defeat of the campaign - all against London clubs - and with Middlesbrough drawing at Norwich and Liverpool slipping to a 2-0 defeat at Southampton, Everton's seven-point lead was not eroded. But the failure to maintain their consistency against the Addicks was the biggest concern for Wright. "It is not about anybody else. We're in a position now that we have got to maintain so we have got to go out and perform to stay in that position," he admitted..
"We are just disappointed not to get three points in a game we should have won. "It was a very disappointing result. We just didn't come out of the stalls - we didn't play very well. "We couldn't get the ball down and play our football and unfortunately we got killed by a sucker punch. "It was very tricky towards the end. We just kept pumping the ball up and trying to play off bits from Duncan Ferguson, which was very difficult." Wright insists the players are determined to make amends when Sunderland visit Goodison on Saturday for the FA Cup fourth round. He added: "We have got to make sure we go out and put in a good performance against them and try to get through to the next round of the Cup." Meanwhile, Charlton midfielder Danny Murphy has tipped his former club Liverpool to beat Everton to fourth place. He said: "I know I will be accused of bias but I can still see Liverpool sneaking fourth place because with Milan Baros fit again and Fernando Morientes sure to improve once he gets fitter they have the goals in them and at this stage of the season that is vital.
"I am honestly not taking anything away from Everton but it will be difficult for them to maintain the level of the first half of the season because they don't have enough players to rest individuals. "No matter how well you perform it is a very tiring season and when you play the way Everton do for so long and with the same play-ers then sides get to know you. Maybe sides are getting wise to the way Everton play now. "But if they do make some signings it will give them the options they need and they will need them in the run-in. "People may not believe me but I am honestly pleased to see Everton in the position they are in now. "It is healthy for the Premiership to have Everton in the position they are in now. But if they want to compete in the top four they need more players.
"When we were competing up there at Liverpool we needed a strong squad to compete at that level consistently. "A big squad just adds that extra bite - it keeps people on their toes and it stops people being complacent."
Spanish winger claims he turned down Everton
By David Prior, Daily Post
Jan 25 2005
ATHLETIC BILBAO winger Joseba Etxeberria has claimed he will turn down the chance of a transfer to Everton. David Moyes was linked with a move for the £5million-rated 27-year-old in yesterday's Spanish Press. The Spanish international, who has won 53 caps, confirmed the Goodison club's interest on his personal website last night. But although Bilbao are believed to be willing to let Etxeberria go, the player has insisted he is going nowhere. "It is true that both Athletic and I know something about this, but it is also true that I told the club president (Fernando Lamikiz) that I am very happy at Bilbao," said Etxeberria, who joined Athletic from neighbours Real Sociedad when he was 17. "Athletic is my home and I am delighted and very proud to play here. "It's true that my club and I knew something regarding the news that emerged of the interest of Everton to acquire me.
"As a professional, I am honoured that a club like Everton, that are currently in fourth position in the Premier League, has considered me as a reinforcement. It means that the work that I am doing is being noticed. "But my desire is to continue to play with Athletic for many years and if I can retire wearing the red and white colours it will be even better." Etxeberria is under contract at the San Mames until June 2007, having moved their in 1995 after a spell at Real Sociedad. He has scored 78 goals in 323 top-flight games. One winger currently at Goodison, James McFadden, has called on Everton to stay positive despite Saturday's 1-0 reverse against Charlton denying them the chance to stretch their lead in fourth place. The Scot said: "We've got to try and remain positive, because we're still seven points ahead of the chasing pack. "We've had another defeat, but we're looking to get back on track next week against Sunderland. "We've got to pick ourselves up for the next game now. It's never easy to accept defeat. I've got no doubt that we won't dwell too much on this result. It's a blip. "I think a draw would have been a fair result. But Charlton did what we've managed to do on so many occasions this season, they got in front and kept the lead. So, they deserve credit for that. "It seems to be that when we're winning, Middlesbrough and Liverpool win too, but when we lose, they have poor results. "So, we need to get back to winning ways to get the points back on the board in the Premier League." James Beattie picked up an ankle injury during the Addicks defeat, but after a couple of days rest should be fit for the FA Cup fourth round tie against Sunderland on Saturday.
Its £12.8m D-Day for Everton deal
By Andy Kelly, Daily Post
Jan 25 2005
THE investment fund which is due to buy almost a third share in Everton Football Club is expected to receive legal approval today. The Fortress Sports Fund, led by Swiss-based financier Chris Samuelson, should be officially brought into existence in Brunei. Once open, the fund can receive the £12.8m promised by investors under a deal which will give them a 29.9% stake in Everton.
Speaking from Switzerland last night, Mr Samuelson told the Daily Post: "Tomorrow morning I am expecting to receive the formal documents approving the fund. "We have had to make last-minute adjustments to the management company of the fund but I have been promised almost instant approval by the regulator. "The fund can then receive the money from the subscribers and we can then confirm with the club the money has been received. "Then it will be up to Everton to call an EGM to approve the deal." That EGM itself will legally take a month to convene and Everton fans are unlikely to be seeing Fortress as a done deal just yet. It has turned into a long-running saga at Goodison, with various deadlines coming and going with no sign of the investment materialising.
Originally due to be in place by the club's AGM on December 6, a two-week extension was granted - but that too was missed. Mr Samuelson has on a number of occasions since then promised results "within days" but they have so far not been delivered. The financier has put the delays down to various technical hitches in Brunei, where he has an office and where he is utilising new legislation to make the fund work. Everton fans have become increasingly sceptical as time has gone on, especially after the emergence of various stories questioning Mr Samuelson's business dealings. But Mr Samuelson reassured them, saying: "The long wait is coming to a close." Club chairman Bill Kenwright, currently suffering a severe bout of flu, relied on the prospect of the Fortress investment to fight off alternative proposals from fellow club director Paul Gregg and bitter rival last summer.
Last night Everton chief executive Keith Wyness was remaining hopeful about good news on Fortress. He said: "There's no deadline from our point of view. I've had no contact with him today and so if he is saying that (fund approval today) then I will take that at face value. "He has shown a lot of endeavour and we have no reason to believe anything other than the assurances he has given us." Meanwhile the L4 consortium, headed by the US-based billion-aire Kraft family, last night insisted it was still interested in putting together a deal involving Liverpool Football Club, despite weekend reports to the contrary. The consortium has been put together by two Liverpool-born entrepreneurs and LFC fans, former Miramix executive Stuart Ford, 35, and Mike Jefferies, 40, chairman of Milkshake Films. Speaking from London last night Mr Jefferies, who grew up in Woolton, said: "For the record, we, L4 Group, have not 'abandoned' anything.. "We are still totally committed to trying to help reposition LFC, and we hope to make some significant progress progress in our quest over the next couple of weeks."
Is Moyes mad?
Post Soapbox, icLiverpool & Daily Post
Jan 25 2005
Is Moyes mad?
I HAVE no idea what has happened to David Moyes at Everton. Not so long ago he was adamant that we needed at least three more players before he sold Gravesen to Real Madrid - the biggest mistake of his managerial career. If we don't qualify for a European place, then there is only one person to blame and that is Moyes.
Simon Shuker, St Helens
TO hear David Moyes say he has given up on bringing anyone in a week before the window slams shut is a massive blow to our ambitions. We must strengthen the squad - we can't expect the threadbare squad we have got to reach the end of the season without injury, suspensions and a drop in form to key players.
Mark Power, Aintree
IF Moyes doesn't think there are any players out there that will fit into the ethos he has created at the club, then we shouldn't be signing people for the hell of it. We don't want to end up with someone like Bellamy.
Frank Roberts, Walton
IT'S better not to waste money on players Moyes does not really want, but if we start picking up suspensions and injuries we will be in trouble. Yes, we do have players who can play in different positions, but are they as efficient in other positions? Maybe loans could be a better option.
Dan Kay (via e-mail)
THIS reminds me very much of two seasons ago when Everton failed to build on a promising season.
I trust David Moyes when he says he's scoured the earth for talent but fear we won't even finish fifth without any new blood.
Barry Booth, Bootle
THE Charlton game just showed how frail our squad is. Every player gave 100% and cannot be criticised, but we couldn't alter our approach, and ended up just fruitlessly hammering away at their defence.
Dave Evans (via e-mail)
Moyes boost as Li Tie hits recovery trail
Jan 25 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON'S forgotten man will take another step on the road to recovery tonight against humble opposition in Leyland Motors FC. Chinese international Li Tie has not played for the Blues since breaking his leg on international duty a year ago. But he will make a rare start for Everton Reserves at Bolton Wanderers tonight and boss David Moyes admits he may need the midfielder as the season nears its climax. "It is still very early for Tie," explained Moyes. "He's had a calf strain to overcome in recent weeks as well as the long term injury but maybe in a month's time we can think about involving him. "If we can get him back the way he was during his first season with us there is no doubt he would be a valuable addition to the squad for the run-in. "As everyone knows, midfield is an area where we are a little light in numbers and Tie could help remedy that." Moyes, however, remains adamant he does not intend to spend before the transfer window closes next week, despite claims by Athletic Bilbao winger Joseba Etxeberria that he turned down the chance of a move to Goodison. Moyes commented: "He is one of a number of players we made an inquiry about but that's as far as it went." Meanwhile, Everton were expecting to hear formal confirmation today that the Fortress Sports Fund has been ratified by the Brunei regulators. Blues chief executive Keith Wyness was still waiting for word from financier Chris Samuelson but was confident the drawn out saga was finally reaching a conclusion. There have been a series of delays over the promise of a £12.8m cash injection via the FSF, leading to concerns at Goodison that the money may not materialise. However, hopes are now high that the cash will be made available, which would then mean the club calling an EGM to finally agree the deal.
Race is on for a Mersey star
Jan 25 2005 By John Thompson, Liverpool Echo
THE hunt is on to find the region's outstanding sportsman or woman of 2004. And the winner is down to you! The voting is now open for the ECHO's Merseyside Sports Personality of the Year Award, which will see the readers' choice honoured at a star-studded ceremony in Liverpool on February 28. This is the 33rd year we have been running this highly prestigious honour, with a galaxy of sports stars having received our giant silver trophy down the years. Past winners include Kevin Keegan, Howard Kendall, Kenny Dalglish, John Barnes, Bob Latchford, Shea Neary, Peter Reid, Steven Gerrard and Chris Boardman. All have taken their bow at our star-studded black tie dinner and ceremony, which this year takes place at the Crowne Plaza Hotel and will be hosted by ITV football commentator Clive Tyldesley before an audience of well over 400. There are a host of outstanding candidates to succeed last year's winner, Wayne Rooney, with several popular choices emerging. Liverpool Football Club's home-grown stars Gerrard and Jamie Carragher are familiar favourites with Kopites, while across the park Nigel Martyn, Alan Stubbs and David Weir have featured. But it's not just the footballers who will be getting your votes. Ginger McCain, who trained Red Rum to a legendary three Grand National triumphs, has received a number of backers after he trained a joint-record fourth winner in Amberleigh House last year. He is out to make it five with the veteran steeplechaser on April 9. Olympic bronze medal-winning swimmer Stephen Parry, from Allerton, is another popular choice after his heroics in the Athens pool. There is backing too for St Helens rugby league ace Paul Sculthorpe, who lifted the Challenge Cup, while top gymnast Beth Tweddle and Runcorn's world boxing champion Robin Reid have also caught the eye of several readers. You can vote by using the coupon printed here which will appear several times in the ECHO over the coming days. Or you can email your choice to firstname.lastname@example.org, naming your file 'sports personality'. Next month we'll publish a short-list of six before we embark on the final round of voting and reveal our winner on the night!
Everton Reserves 1, Bolton Reserves 0
Jan 26 2005 Daily Post
EVERTON'S Chinese international Li Tie was stretchered off after just 41 minutes in last night's reserve team encounter against Bolton reserves. The forgotten star (left) was making a rare start since breaking his leg while on international duty over a year ago. However, just past the 40 minute mark, Tie hobbled off the pitch to receive treatment from physiotherapist Matt Connery, and three minutes later his game was over, with Paul Hopkins replacing him. Neither side threatened early on, with the supporters having to wait until the 23rd minute for the first real chance. Despite the lack of goal-mouth attention, the game at Leyland Motors FC was an entertaining one between two evenlymatched sides. Another player making his return from serious injury, Khalilou Fagida, blazed over when well placed and then two minutes later the Senegalese midfielder curled a free-kick towards the top right hand corner of the goal, but keeper Iain Turner was equal to it, palming the ball away at full stretch. Everton still managed to create the best chance of the first half in injury time. A Daniel Fox corner found its way to James Vaughan and the striker stabbed the ball towards goal, but Jason Talbot hacked the ball clear. The Blues took the lead five minutes after the interval thanks to their England under-19 international Laurence Wilson. His powerfully struck free-kick from 30 yards was deflected past Andy Oakes in the Bolton goal. Bolton pressed strongly and Turner was called into action in the 69th minute, saving well from Bedi Buval however the Everton rearguard held firm to claim victory.
Martyn signs up to Euro dream
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jan 26 2005
NIGEL MARTYN is determined to take his Indian Summer into Europe next season after putting pen to paper on a 12-month contract extension yesterday. The 38-year-old goalkeeper (right) was one of several players out of contract this summer but is now the first to commit his future to Goodison Park following straightforward negotiations with the Everton hierarchy. Martyn has been a revelation since arriving in a bargain £450,000 deal from Leeds United in 2003. Though currently sidelined by a calf strain Martyn's fitness and outstanding form convinced the veteran, and manager David Moyes, that he merited another season at the highest level. And the former England international is determined to cap a fantastic career by taking Everton into European competition for the first time in 10 years. Martyn said: "When I came it was the season when Everton had just missed out on qualifying for Europe. "When I first came that was my hope and obviously last season didn't transpire like that. But we've bounced back well this season and from our current position we've got a great chance of getting European football." Martyn is still three weeks away from returning from the calf injury sustained at Charlton in December. And he admits the success of his belated Goodison spell made it easy to accept Everton's offer of a new one-year deal. He added: "It's very nice to get things sorted out. I've worked hard and tried to earn myself a new contract and now I've been fortunate enough to get one. I'm glad to be here. I've enjoyed it from the first minute to the present day." Contract talks are still ongoing, meanwhile, between Everton and several members of the first team squad - including Kevin Kilbane, Alan Stubbs, Leon Osman and David Weir.
Moyes: New Blue will Beat drought
Jan 26 2005 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has backed James Beattie to be a hit in the goal-scoring charts as the striker's wait for the first goal of his Everton career continues. The £6m man has come close in each of his three appearances for the Blues since his arrival from Southampton a fortnight ago. And while Moyes admits the player is short of the fitness levels he demands of his players, he has seen enough from Beattie in each of those games to convince him the forward will be a success on Merseyside. "He is unfortunate to have hit the post in the last two games," Moyes told the ECHO. "At Middlesbrough he could have won the three points for us and against Charlton he could have secured us a point.
"He has come so close in each of his games so far and on another day they would have shaved in off the post. "It is going to take a while for James to reach his peak fitness and form. If I had more players I would have been able to ease him more gently." Beattie himself admits: "I don't think I have produced anything to get excited about just yet but when I get my fitness right and start playing properly, I'm sure I will do well and start scoring goals." Meanwhile, Chinese midfielder Li Tie was set to see a specialist today after the results of the x-ray on the shin injury he picked up in last night's reserve clash with Bolton raised cause for concern. Tie was stretchered off near the end of the first half after a collision with Ricky Shakes on the shin the midfielder broke 12 months ago. Everton head physio Mick Rathbone said today: "The results of last night's x-ray were unclear so we will be taking him to see the specialist today" If the consultant confirms the shin has suffered a fresh hairline fracture the Chinese international is set to be ruled out for the rest of the season.
* Chris Samuelson, head of the Fortress Sports Fund, was unavailable for comment today after his latest self-imposed deadline for Brunei government approval for his planned £12.8m investment passed without a decision.
Moyes right to wait for top targets
Jan 26 2005 Echo Letters
TO all those who are knocking David Moyes - behave yourselves. If it wasn't for this man we would have been relegated a couple of seasons ago. If he says he can't find any decent players to sign, believe him. I am sure he has tried his best. Everton have far exceeded my expectations for this season. I would love us to get into Europe, but it will not be the end of the world if we don't. I would rather Moyes wait until the summer to sign the players he wants, than panic-buy now - even if it stops us getting into the coveted fourth spot.
Mike Thompson, Walton
GIVEN the track record of investment by the board, it may be that the funds available to David Moyes now may not be improved on come the summer, so he's wisely keeping his powder dry.
So many Everton players will soon to be out of contract in the summer and those that we want to re-sign, along with new players, will demand Champions League level wages should we take that fourth spot.
G. Cross, Hastings
IF David Moyes doesn't think there are any players out there that will fit into the ethos he has created at the club, then we shouldn't be signing people for the hell of it. We don't want to end up with someone like Craig Bellamy, who has no respect for his team, his manager or the fans!
Claire Hutchinson, Newcastle
NOBODY should ever criticise David Moyes this season, even if we end up tenth. We, more than anybody, should know it is best not to waste money in the transfer window. Let us not forget that our team is playing above itself, and on paper we are no better than the 10 teams below us in the league.
P. Jenkins, Liverpool
Loan option is the way to go IT'S better for David Moyes not to waste money on players he does not really want, but if we start picking up suspensions and injuries we will be in trouble. Yes, we do have players who can play in different positions, but are they as efficient in other positions? Maybe loans could be a better option, as there is always the flexibility of letting players go. Does Moyes really want to be in the Champions League? Or does he feel it is too early for such a big step? We don't want to end up like Leeds.
Tom Allan, Derby
Toothless up front
NO-ONE can fault the lads' effort against Charlton, but my worst fears are coming to fruition if that's the best they can do in the post-Gravesen era. The attack, which wasn't great before, was virtually non-existent, with the long ball tactic in evidence. Perhaps the only saving grace is the fact that the sides below the Blues are playing worse. With the number of games left, I'm hopeful that Everton will finally snare the Champions League spot they so deserve.
Jim Norton, Netherton
Critics just go too far
IT still amazes me after supporting Everton for nearly 50 years how some so-called supporters take an immediate dislike to a player and rip him to pieces at the slightest opportunity. As for those booing on Saturday, this time 12 months ago we'd have been happy to have had a third of the points we have now. And as for Tommy Gravesen, he is not exactly pulling up trees at Real at the moment.
John Devlin, Gosport
Balance has been upset
I HOPE the arrival of James Beattie and the change in system hasn't upset the applecart in mid-season. Maybe getting back to five in midfield with Bent up front alone and playing as we were is the answer. We should get nine points out of the next 12, in which case we'd be going into the last 10 still pretty much in the same position seven points clear.
B. Jones, Irby
Learn new skills at Blues soccer camp
Jan 26 2005 JBlue, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON'S Football in the Community soccer camps kick off again next month. From February 14-16, a team of qualified coaches will be on hand in West Derby and Wirral to put 12s and under through various training regimes and pass on some useful tips. Those who attend will take part in competitions and receive a certificate, poster and medal. Jblue members can take advantage of a 10% discount on each booking - and those who are not members can enjoy the same offer by filling out the application form below and joining free of charge. With demand high and places limited, those interested should contact 0151 330 2307. Another advantage of joining Jblue is the 10% discount on official club merchandise and stadium tours, bookings for which are now being taken on 0151 330 2305. Existing members can get £5 off their ticket to the Everton v Norwich City game on Wednesday, February 2.
* Winners of the training range t-shirt competition were Emily Matthews of Lisburn Lane, L13 and Jack Gerard of Lillian Road, Anfield.
Li Tie injury takes gloss off win
Jan 26 2005 Liverpool Echo
AN injury to Chinese International Li Tie was a disappointing note to an otherwise good night for Everton Reserves as they beat their local rivals Bolton at the Lancashire FA ground in Leyland.
Nick Chadwick and Li Tie were both in the Everton line-up, however, the Chinese International looked forlorn as he limped out of the action just before the break. Li Tie has struggled to win his place back in the first team squad after breaking his leg on International duty for China. Everton had their chances in the first half with James Vaughan coming closest to breaking the deadlock from a Daniel Fox corner, Jason Talbot was on hand to clear for Bolton. Everton's pressure in the latter half of the first period continued and it was to reap dividends as they took the lead through Laurence Wilson. The youngster hit a solid free-kick which flew past Andy Oakes with the aid of a deflection.
Bolton piled on the pressure with Bedi Buval coming closest to levelling, but Iain Turner was equal to in the Blues goal. Everton held the home side off to earn only their second win in nine games with the victory coming on the back of their win earlier this month against Middlesbrough.
EVERTON RES: Turner, Wynne, Fox, Boyle, Gerrard, Harris, Seargeant (Vaughan 19), Li Tie (Hopkins 44), Chadwick, Vidarsson, Wilson. Unused subs: Gallagher, Anichebe, Wright.
BOLTON RES: Oakes, Shakes, Talbot, Laville, Comyn-Platt (Fojut 28), Whitehead, Kaku, Fadiga, Vaz Te, Buval, Pedersen,
Contract limbo will not derail Euro hopes - Naysmith
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jan 27 2005
GARY NAYSMITH admits he is in limbo over his Everton future after failing to strike a deal with the Goodison club over a new contract. The Scottish international, (right), sparked interest from both Celtic and Rangers when he rejected Everton's offer of a new deal earlier this season. But with neither Glasgow club submitting a firm offer to Everton during this transfer window, and the Goodison outfit unwilling to improve their original offer, the defender admits his future is uncertain.
Naysmith, a £1.5million signing from Hearts in November 2000, becomes a free agent at the end of this season but could sign the offer Everton have left on the table at any time. He said: "The speculation over my future has not been difficult to deal with. There is nothing new on my future.
"Myself and the club spoke earlier in the season but couldn't get anything sorted then so we decided to leave it and that is where we are up to now. "It will get sorted when it gets sorted. The most important thing for Everton is focusing on qualifying for Europe, after that the future of Gary Naysmith will take care of itself." Naysmith has fallen behind Alessandro Pistone in the left-back pecking order this season. And despite the current uncertainty over his and several Everton player's future, he insists the situation will not derail the club's assault on Europe. "You could argue that with so many players out of contract at the end of the season everybody's playing for their futures," he added.. "But I can tell you hand on heart that it's not affecting any of the boys in the changing room in a negative way." Li Tie, meanwhile, has not suffered a recurrence of the broken shin injury that has kept him sidelined for the past 12 months. The Chinese midfielder was carried off in the reserves's 1-0 win over Bolton on Tuesday amid fears he had sustained another serious setback. But a visit to a specialist yesterday confirmed Li Tie has suffered severe bruising rather than a break and he should return to training within weeks.
Lee's men left out in the cold by Black Cats
Post Past by Philip J Redmond Everton supporter, Daily Post
Jan 27 2005
ONLY long-standing Evertonians will remember Sunderland's last visit to Goodison for an FA cup tie - way back in 1966, when the Black Cats or Rokerites as they were known in those days, were beaten 3-0 in front of 48,000 on third round day. Fred Pickering, Derek Temple and Alex Young were on the mark, but unfortunately as I was only two months old, I'm unable to glean any more about the game. Thirteen years later, the two sides met again in the third round at Roker Park. As today, Sunderland were going well in the old second division, while the Blues were neck and neck with Liverpool at the top of the first. But it's easy to forget this was the season when Everton's challenge hit the skids on a succession of frozen pitches. Most of the games between January and March were iced off, yet the Blues kept playing on a sucession of death traps resulting in injuries galore, dropped points and a disrepute charge for Gordon Lee. Back to the cup and the Sunderland game was postponed twice before being played on a bone hard pitch in a swirling arctic wind on a freezing January night. By this point the Blues season was coming apart and on the night, Sunder-land were worthy winners. They led through a questionable penalty as Colin Todd was adjudged to have handled allowing Gary Rowell to send George Wood the wrong way. The second arrived when Rowell turned Todd before crossing for an easy tap in for striker Bob Lee. Martin Dobson pulled one back but the Blues didn't deserve a replay. After the game Lee again spoke out about the poor conditions, but by now his words sounded hollow. From being title favourites, Everton fell to fourth, gates plummetted and unrest against Lee was rife. I'm sure most Blues today would bite your hands off if we were offered fourth now. A repeat of 1966 would be nice also.
Evertonian tips US stars to blitz the Premiership
By James Rogers, Daily Post
Jan 27 2005
SEATTLE may be a long way from Stanley Park, but there is one corner of America's Pacific Northwest that is true blue. The notoriously rainy US city has been the home of former Everton defender Jimmy Gabriel for much of the last three decades. The Scot, who played a key role in Everton's 1960s successes, arrived in the home of Frasier and Starbucks back in 1974, joining the Seattle Sounders as player-coach. Thirty years later, after various jobs in both the US and the UK, he remains a key figure in Seattle football, working as the Sounders' assistant coach. His team plays in the United Soccer League, which is roughly the equivalent of the English championship and contrary to popular opinion, Gabriel cites the weather as one of Seattle's big pluses. "The weather has been fantastic," he said. "We don't get a lot of snow because we're protected by the (Olympic) mountains." Although football is still fighting to break the stranglehold of more traditional US sports, Gabriel says that the game is thriving in America. Teams in the top US division, Major League Soccer, are probably on a par with teams in the bottom half of the Premiership and the Championship, he said. And, as football develops in America, we are likely to see even more US players follow Brian McBride, Brad Friedel, and Tim Howard into the Premier League. He said: "Eventually we will see more American players coming to Britain, they are a good fit with our teams." The hectic pace of the Premier League should pose no problems. He said: "They are very much like English or Scottish players, they have got a very aggressive part to their game and great work-rate - that aggression means that they like to go forward quickly, which is obviously a big part of the game in England," he said.. So far, however, it has mainly been American goalkeepers such as Howard and Friedel who have managed to make an impact. Gabriel believes that this is hardly surprising, reflecting, "As kids they are playing baseball and basketball - everything is eye-to-hand coordination." But he thinks that this will change, and American forwards will be next to make their mark, with San Jose Earthquakes star Landon Donovan, in particular, a great fit for the Premier League. Gabriel would love to see the Bayer Leverkusen-bound Donovan, who scored two goals in the last World Cup, eventually team up with David Moyes' resurgent Everton: "I would be pleased if Everton got Landon - he's the type of player that would be good for them, and their style of play would suit him," Gabriel said.
"He's a great athlete with great fitness, he's brave and he scores goals with either foot or his head - and he has done it at the highest level." If anyone is in a position to assess the relative merits of British and US football, then it is Jimmy Gabriel. When he first arrived in the US, the Sounders were plying their trade in the now-defunct North American Soccer League, and Gabriel became their head coach in 1977. That same season he coached a team that included Geoff Hurst and Bobby Moore to the NASL championship game, before going on to coach George Best at the San Jose Earthquakes.
In 1976 Gabriel even scored against Pele's New York Cosmos in front of a then record US football crowd of 58,128. But The NASL, which was the predecessor of today's MLS, disbanded in the mid-eighties, the victim of financial problems and an over-reliance on big-name foreign stars. Following the demise of the NASL, Gabriel returned to the UK, eventually returning to Goodison to oversee Everton's reserve team. He even took over the reins as caretaker manager on two occasions during the turbulent early nineties; in 1990 and 1993. But he went back to the Seattle area in 1997 to coach at the University of Washington. So, what made him return? "My wife and I came back because we had so many kids growing up in the US," he explained. With three daughters and now nine grand-children in America, Gabriel's family ties are now firmly on that side of the Atlantic. But despite his stateside successes, Gabriel still rates Everton's 1966 FA Cup final victory over Sheffield Wednesday as the highlight of his career. He added: "With Liverpool clinching the league title that season, the pressure was on. If we had lost that Cup final it would have been a disaster."
Martyn return boosts Blues
Jan 27 2005 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
WHEN Nigel Martyn put pen to paper on a contract extension earlier this week, it wasn't with the view of spending the next 18 months sitting on the sidelines. The 38-year-old (left) has ambitions of providing Everton's last line of defence in the heat of European competition and in the top half of the Premiership next season. But while the agreement over a deal which will keep him at Goodison until the summer of 2006 suggests David Moyes has a similar vision, Martyn is currently on the sidelines, eager for the chance to push Richard Wright for the goalkeeping jersey. That push will begin next Monday when he returns to full training having recovered from the torn calf muscle he picked up during the defeat to Charlton over Christmas. "The easy bit is getting fit," he points out.
"The hard part will be fighting to get my place back. I have been quite lucky throughout my career with injuries so spending time out has been frustrating. "I have been eager to get back and actually feel strong enough to play right now. But the physio has been holding me back because he wants to make sure it doesn't happen again." The new contract has provided a major fillip for Martyn during what has been a frustrating month for the keeper. "It is very pleasing to sign a new deal," he continues. "When you get to my age you don't know when it is going to end or when you are no longer going to be needed or wanted. "But I do know from a personal point of view that I can comfortably do another season and I am looking forward to it. "It is good to know the manager has the same view. "It is a relief to get the contract sorted out now because the longer you go through your final season without something being sorted out, the less likely it is going to happen. "Once you get into January you tend to think things will be done then, if at all. I was hoping it would be tied up now. "I have felt for a while that I could do another season and I probably would have hoped to get something at another club if it hadn't been sorted out here. But this is where I want to play. I am happy here. "I have been delighted with the way it has gone since I arrived. When I came I didn't know if I was going to be in the team but Richard got injured and I was able to stay in until I picked up the injury at Charlton." Wright, who has started each of the last five games in Martyn's absence, will have a challenge on his hands to keep hold of the goalkeeping berth. Moyes has hinted that Martyn remains his number one when all his keepers are fit, saying: "I don't know if I knew exactly what I was getting when I brought Nigel in to Everton but he has proved to be far better than we expected. "He's been outstanding since he joined and if anybody deserved an extra year's contract it is Nigel." By his own admission, Wright has not been on top of his game since returning to the team in the league for the first time in more than 12 months. But with each game his confidence has increased and while Martyn, with his experience and his impressive form of recent months is still considered the club's number one choice in goal, Moyes insists Wright remains a big part of his plans. He added: "He is one of the best goalkeepers in England. As for his recent performances, he knows he could have done better, but he is getting the opportunity to prove that and correct it. "We've got a lot of faith in him so hopefully a couple of clean sheets will do him the world of good."
They would also further boost Everton's European chances. In Martyn's absence, Wright has helped the Blues maintain their grip on a place in the top four. With 14 games left to play and a seven-point gap over the teams below them, the prospect of Goodison playing host to some of the continent's finest teams next term is strong indeed. It is something Martyn, one of the few play-ers in the Everton squad to have played in the Champions League before, is eager to see become reality. He continues: "When I came it was the season Everton had just missed out on qualifying for Europe.
"When I arrived that was my hope and obviously last season didn't turn out like that. But we have bounced back and from our current position we've got a great chance of European football."
And Martyn is eager to ensure he plays a vital role in achieving that goal after returning to fitness.
Caldwell out to wreck mentor Irvine's day
Jan 27 2005 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON assistant boss Alan Irvine will find one of his former proteges intent on wrecking his day at Goodison this weekend. Sunderland defender Steve Caldwell is eager to return from injury in time to face Everton in the FA Cup fourth round tie. The former Newcastle defender, who is back in training after a calf injury, has expressed his huge respect for the Toffees' assistant manager, whom he regards as his mentor from his days as a youngster coming through the ranks at St James' Park. And the presence of former Magpies Steve Watson and Duncan Ferguson at Goodison, as well as Scotland team-mates James McFadden and Gary Naysmith, adds extra spice to a tie that Caldwell is eager to be involved in after a two-week lay-off. He said: "Like everyone else, I would love to play on Saturday because it's a big game and I'm looking forward to going to Goodison Park again. "Sometimes you come up against clubs where you know a lot of people. I used to clean Steve Watson's boots at Newcastle when I was young and I know him reasonably well. "I was coached by Alan Irvine at Newcastle and now he's doing a great job with David Moyes. "He was in charge of the Newcastle academy and he helped me a lot in my career. "I learned so much from him and I'm very grateful to him for starting me on the right track and teaching me things that I still draw on now." Caldwell knows Saturday will be a big test for Sunderland, who are chasing automatic promotion in the Coca-Cola Championship. He added: "I don't think the slight dip they've had in the league will affect them. "Everton are going great this season and they will certainly feel they can win the FA Cup. They'll be looking for silverware. "If we're honest, we're looking for a good cup run but the main thing in our season is getting promotion so we can look forward to big games like this every weekend."
Blues legend Labone honoured
Jan 27 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
THE man described as a Rolls Royce of a footballer now qualifies for a bus pass. Everton legend Brian Labone, the Last of the Corinthians, celebrated his 65th birthday last weekend. After years of being respected as one of football's elder statesmen, he now officially holds the title. To commemorate the occasion, pal Ray O'Brien, a lifelong Liverpudlian, presented him with a canvas montage of some of his career highlights. And after giving away much of his memorabilia to various fund-raising events since retirement, the presentation was particularly well received by Goodison's newest ensioner. "I'm not one for putting things on the wall or the mantelpiece," he said "but I'll treasure this. As for being 65, I don't feel much different to the day I stopped playing." Labone enjoyed one of Everton's most enduring, as well as celebrated, careers. No outfield player made as many appearances - 530 from 1958 through to 1971 - nor performed with such nobility. Booked just twice, he raised the FA Cup and the League Championship trophy as skipper in 1966 and 1970, and was a vital member of the 1963 title winning team. Still working in the insurance industry and employed on matchdays at Goodison Park, Labone's influence is still felt around the ground. Howard Kendall said: "Brian was tremendous with me when I came from Preston back in 1967. He was a great captain and a great player. When he played, he led by example. "Brian was great in the dressing room and helped to create a wonderful spirit. He was a one-club man, even to the extent where he's still involved with the club today - and quite rightly so."
Fight to save playing fields
Jan 27 2005 By Mary Murtagh, Liverpool Echo
A LAST-DITCH campaign has been launched to save the Dixie Dean playing fields. The site has been earmarked for the £31m North Liverpool city academy. But despite proposals for the socalled super- school passing through the official planning stage, Walton MP Peter Kilfoyle has called on the government to step in. The fields are regularly used by football teams. Residents want to keep the green space, named in honour of Everton FC hero William "Dixie" Dean. The 1,750-pupil school will replace Anfield and Breckfield comprehensives to specialise in business and enterprise studies. Mr Kilfoyle wants the Department of Education to consider using the old Breckfield site instead. " My constituents are not against the new school, but question why it should be put there, particularly when the government says it is trying to retain playing fields." A government spokesman said Mr Kilfoyle had not yet raised his objection. Grandmother-of-10 Christine Lunt lives opposite the playing fields and has fought a long campaign against the project. She said: "We are not against the school, just against them taking the fields for it." The new school will have a space-age design and will be clad with curved sheets of aluminium, foil and glass but the cost has soared by £20m and its opening has been put back from September 2005 to September 2006. Nobody from Granada Learning, the company behind the North Liverpool academy, was available for comment. A spokesman for Liverpool council said the academy had passed the planning stage and now had full legal right to go ahead with the building project, providing the government did not step in.
Jan 27 2005 Liverpool Echo
'Of course, we would sooner Moyes wait until the players he wants become available' - Jon Sellick
EVERY time we have something to build on, money seems to be a taboo subject. Bill Kenwright (right) has a lot of things to answer for, as does Paul Gregg and now Chris Samuelson. At the end of 2002-03 we had an ideal opportunity to try to get investment into the club and sort out contract situations so Moyes could push foward on with the success he'd had in the first year. Instead we did nothing and contracts were left with 18 months left to go. Time crept on and we still didn't invest in the team, save for four last-minute signings. We're now in a similar situation except that this time, we have some sort of investor on the horizon, but the horizon keeps moving further away. We've let our best player go for £2m when it could cost up to £15m if we fail to qualify for the Champions League.
We need to get it sorted.
KEN STEWART, St Helens
A STACK of cash to spend for the first time in ages and the strong bargaining position of being fourth in the league, and yet it looks as though we will come out of the transfer window weaker than we went in. Only Everton! Of course we would sooner our manager does the sensible thing and waits until such a time as the players he wants become available. But just every so often don't you wish Moyesy would be a bit reckless and go for a good old-fashioned panic buy or two? That said, Saturday's cup game offers an ideal opportunity for our record signing to get off the mark and banish all talk of new players. Despite only being half fit, James Beattie has proved himself willing to make runs for the team and put in the necessary work - Marcus Bent take note.
JON SELLICK, Crosby
I HOPE last week's game against Charlton was a blip. It seemed very similar to the Spurs game earlier in the season, we had more play and more chances, they had one shot all afternoon and scored! We just didn't seem to get the run of the ball or create clear-cut chances. I thought Beattie worked hard and showed that he will contribute to the team when fully fit, but the team need to bounce straight back against Sunderland this week in the cup. They will come to battle like most teams who come to Goodison these days and we must play enough football to break them down and not get involved in a scrap. A good cup run could help bring a bit of confidence back to the team as well as some money. It's disappointing we aren't buying any more players in the transfer window because with a few injuries and suspensions we could really struggle.
JAMES TYRELL, Woolton
AFTER one of the worst performances this season, we were told Moyes would not be signing any players until the summer. If this is the case, it will be a disaster. We need new signings now. Our midfield was so weak on Saturday, the players looked as if they'd never played with each other before. Marcus Bent looks like he has lost his spark, he stopped chasing balls down which earlier on in the season he would have won. Moyes clearly showed his dissatisfaction by dragging him off at half time. If Bent is disappointed at being played out of position, all he has to do is look at the Bellamy situation at Newcastle and have a serious think, is it worth it? Or do I get my head down and do the job? We must go into the FA Cup this Saturday against Sunderland all out. We must produce a very good professional performance against a lower league club.
GARETH SCOTT, West Derby
Oasis drowns out R'n'B in Blues dressing room
Jan 27 2005 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON star Marcus Bent has revealed he never gets to listen to his favourite R'n'B tunes in the Goodison Park dressing rooms. Bent (right) likes nothing better than listening to the likes of Usher, Ja Rule and Eminem to get himself in the mood for a big match. But since joining the Blues, he has had to put up with guitar anthems from Oasis and REM. Speaking in an interview for MTV's RTL show to be screened next week, Bent says: "I have my own taste and it is quite a bit different from the rest of the lads at Everton. "I like the kind of R'n'B stuff that gets played quite a bit on MTV, but most of the other lads prefer stuff like Oasis and REM and so that's what usually gets played in the dressing room. "I'd like to change it, but they are in the majority so I just have to get on with it." Despite having had a great start to his Everton career, Bent is yet to celebrate his success with a night-out in Liverpool. "Honestly, I haven't been out to town for a night-out yet," he insists. "I like to get home after training or a match and just relax. "I don't really socialise with many other footballers. I see Kevin Campbell and Frank Sinclair socially, but not many others."
Naysmith puts contract fears to one side
Jan 27 2005 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
GARY NAYSMITH admits he doesn't know what the future holds for him after contract talks ended before Christmas with the Scottish international's representatives declining Everton's terms for a new deal. It has since been widely accepted that Naysmith would be leaving on a Bosman at the end of the season, with the Old Firm his likely destination. But he has not yet agreed a pre-contract agreement with anyone. He insists his situation and that of a host of other first-team players out of contract in the summer will not impact on the side's form in the next four month. He said: "The most important thing for Everton is focusing on qualifying for Europe, after that the future of Gary Naysmith will take care of itself. "You could argue that with so many players out of contract at the end of the season everybody's playing for their futures. But I can tell you hand on heart that it is not affecting any of the boys in the changing room in a negative way." Li Tie received good news yesterday when analysis by a specialist of the shin injury he picked up in the reserves against Bolton revealed he had not suffered anotherr break. The Chinese star has suffered severe bruising and will return to training within weeks.
Wright promised a rough return... from own family
Jan 28 2005 By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
STEPHEN WRIGHT knows he is in for a rough reception when he steps out at Goodison Park in the red and white of Sunderland tomorrow - his family have promised him one. The Wright welcoming committee will be out in force for the former Liverpool defender when he returns to Merseyside for the FA Cup fourth round clash with Everton. Though brought up through the Liverpool ranks from the age of nine Wright, who was sold to Sunderland for £3m in 2002, is a boyhood Evertonian who is now relishing the prospect of his first professional appearance at Goodison. As are his family. And there will be no question of divided loyalties when the 24-year-old attempts to end David Moyes's interest in the FA Cup tomorrow. Wright revealed: "When the draw was made all the lads turned around and looked at me because they know I'm from Liverpool and that I am an Evertonian. As soon as a picked up my phone I had 15 or 16 messages asking for tickets. "I am expecting a lot of verbals because of my Liverpool links and even my family are promising that they will give me plenty of stick." Wright has played an integral role in Sunderland's rise to third in the Coca-Cola Championship this season but admits he will fulfil a boyhood ambition tomorrow when he runs out to Z-Cars. "I used to wear my Everton shirt underneath my Liverpool shirt until I was about 16, like a few of the other lads," the right back admitted. "I went to watch Everton a lot when I was a kid and Graeme Sharp was my hero but Peter Reid and Gary Lineker were also my favourites too. "I had the privilege of playing at Goodison a few times as a kid and I was on the bench with Liverpool, so this Saturday's match will be the first time I'll have played there as a professional but I'll be trying to treat it like any other game." Wright is not alone in having special reason to savour a return to Merseyside this weekend. Former Everton goalkeeper Thomas Myhre is currently the number one choice for Mick McCarthy, ahead of one-time Moyes's target Mart Poom, while ex-Tranmere midfielder Sean Thornton will also be out to impress on a Premiership stage. The connections are not one way, however. Kevin Kilbane will face his former club for the first time since his £1m move in 2003 and will be in direct confrontation with his former Stadium of Light friend Wright. "Kevin's a really nice lad and I was good friends with him but that will go out of the window when we kick off," Wright added;; "If you get kicked yourself you've just got to take it on the chin and after the final whistle you're mates again." Meanwhile, Thomas Gravesen admits he is having to adjust to not being a dressing room "heavy-weight" following his move to Real Madrid. The Denmark midfielder was one of the star players at Everton before joining Madrid's 'Galacticos' and now shares changing facilities with the likes of Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane, Luis Figo and David Beckham. It is a completely different situation to that he faced at Goodison Park. "When I played in England, I was one of the heavyweights in the dressing room, I was on a pedestal. Here I listen and don't speak," said Gravesen. "For me the team is what matters. I am not at the service of the 'Galacticos', but at the service of the team, because it is not fair to play for just one player. Madrid have a lot of creative attacking players and that is the role I came here to fill. I know my role and have no problem with it."
Weir set to restart Scotland career
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jan 28 2005
DAVID WEIR'S Goodison renaissance is to be recognised with an end to his international exile today.
The Everton defender (right) has refused to play for Scotland ever since Berti Vogts made him a scapegoat for a draw with the Faroe Islands in a European Championship qualifier in September 2002. But his excellent Premiership form this season and Walter Smith's appointment as Scotland coach have encouraged a recall after 28-months in the international wilderness. Former Everton manager Smith opened the way for Weir's return as soon as he replaced Vogts in December. And following positive talks with the 34-year-old Smith is expected to announce a comeback for Weir when he unveils his first Scotland squad today. Weir's recall will initially be for an international get-together around February 9. But his inclusion is also with the World Cup qualifier against Italy in March in mind. The defender would win his 38th Scotland cap if he appears in Milan - completing a remarkable transformation for a player who thought his Everton career would be over this season.
Weir made only 12 appearances for David Moyes last term, but has been almost ever-present this season and is currently in talks with the Goodison hierarchy over a 12-month contract extension.
Meanwhile, Everton and Middlesbrough are ready to join forces to fight the FA charge of failing to control their players during the 1-1 draw at The Riverside a fortnight ago. Both clubs were astonished to be charged by the FA following a melee in the Middlesbrough goal-mouth between 20 players, but which brought no action from referee Dermot Gallagher or condemnation from either Moyes or Steve McClaren. Yet they now face the possibility of a £40,000 fine if found guilty, even though four Coca-Cola Championship teams have been penalised £10,000 this season for the same offence. The club's Premiership status is taken into account by the FA, who have given Everton and Middlesbrough until next Wednesday to accept or reject the charge or to request a personal hearing. But both clubs are ready to contest the FA's action, and are believed to be ready to issue the same defence before the FA's disciplinary committee to show unity in the face of a draconian charge. Nigel Martyn, meanwhile, will return to full training on Monday after recovering from the calf injury sustained at Charlton on December 28. The Goodison keeper, who signed a new one-year contract extension this week, insists he is ready to return immediately but is more likely to be considered for the trip to Southampton on February 6. Martyn said: "I have been eager to get back and I actually feel strong enough to play right now. But the physio has been holding me back because he wants to make sure it doesn't happen again." * Everton are urging supporters heading to tomorrow's FA Cup fourth round tie with Sunderland to buy their tickets well in advance of kick-off. Over 30,000 tickets have been sold for the game and with the visitors taking their full allocation of 6,000 there is a strong possibility the match will be a sell out. The match at Goodison Park is unreserved seating and all-ticket with no cash turnstiles available on the day of the game. Supporters can purchase tickets from 9.30am on Saturday, but Everton advise purchase to be made today if possible. Former Everton striker Joe-Max Moore, the leading scorer in MLS franchise history, announced his retirement yesterday. The 33-year-old New England Revolution forward underwent reconstructive surgery on his right medial collateral ligament last Friday. * Sunderland's former Everton midfielder John Oster last night had his contract at the Stadium of Light terminated.
Quality needed in squad
Post Soapbox, icLiverpool & Daily Post
Jan 28 2005
EVERTON need quality in midfield and I cannot see the present squad staying in their lofty position.
David Moyes should have had a player in mind before releasing Thomas Graveson for the midfield has been seriously weakened by his absence.
Roger Williams, Llanfairfechan, North Wales
I AM going to be blunt now and bring some Evertonians back down to earth! Some are complaining that if we don't buy and with the loss of Gravesen, it will be Moyes's fault if we don't make the Champions League. It would be disappointing, yes, but we are forgetting where we finished last season and where we were before Moyes came in. So would a top seven finish be such a disaster? Let's not jump ahead of ourselves; yes, it would be great to be in Europe but realistically how far would we get? Are we ready for the Champions League? Would a UEFA place be so bad?
Anything other than relegation is a giant leap for us and we should build on that with Moyes.
Brian Norbury (via e-mail)
DAVID Moyes is beyond criticism after what his side has achieved over the last 23 games, especially given the squad he has got at his disposal. They are some of the most hard-working players you could ask for. We are well aware Moyes is a cautious mover in the transfer market, but he will take us places.
Brian Dean (via e-mail)
RELUCTANTLY I believe we had no choice but to let Tommy go once Real Madrid called for him. Considering he was probably going to walk in June, we got a reasonable price. I wanted to see reinforcements, and thought Jermaine Pennant could have been be good for us. Then I read Moyes's comments on not being able to find the right people (available now) with the right temperament and I read of Pennant's recent misdemeanor (driving while disqualified) and I understood exactly why we did not bid for him. I still hope that a miracle happens and we get at least one more midfielder in by next Monday, but if not I trust Moyes.
Michael Phillips (via e-mail)
On the cheap
IT MAKES me laugh to hear Liverpool complaining about their squad depth when they have spent more than £43m since the summer. Yet we get by with our 17 players having spent only a fraction of that while recouping £27.5m from three players. The fact is we have a tactically astute man in charge, who knows who and what he wants, and although we all know it's going to be tough in the run-in, if we stay fit and maintain the level of performance we can definitely qualify for Europe and finish above Liverpool.
Paul Mullally, Everton
No use spending just for sake of it
Jan 28 2005
By Mark O'Brien Everton supporter, Daily Post
A SIGN of how far Everton have exceeded expectations came early Saturday evening when good-natured cheers went up in the pubs around Goodison as an ex-Toffee, Kevin Campbell, scored his first goal for West Bromwich Albion live on the big screens. The fact that Evertonians can be so magnanimous towards a club at the bottom is because, for a pleasant change, we're doing our battling up at the other end. That situation brings its own pressures though, and 'Super Kev's' strike only served as a brief respite from the disappointment of the home defeat to Charlton. That sense of gloom - despite the fact that Everton are still seven points clear of their nearest rivals - was further compounded by David Moyes stating that he will be bringing no new players to Goodison during this transfer window. Whether he is serious about that or merely playing his cards close to his chest will become clear in the next few days. It's apparent to everyone that we need reinforcements - in fact we've needed them all season - but the manager has made it clear that it's not for wont of trying.
He's apparently enquired about 100 players or so, but thankfully he chooses to keep hold of his money if he doesn't think he can get the right deal for Everton. There's no point bringing in players who aren't at least as good as what we've got. Blackburn have paid over the odds for Robbie Savage while Birmingham have replaced him with Salif Diao, a player who can't get in Liverpool's side ahead of the likes of Igor Biscan. And while some managers might be tempted to bring in just anyone to make up the numbers it seems Moyes is considering the bigger picture and the job he needs to do in the summer, irrespective of our final league position. He's fully aware that this season's stopgap is next season's drain on resources. There's always the option of a loan signing, but getting anyone decent is very rare. Who knows though, one move often sparks off a few others, and we will all do the usual sitting in front of Ceefax on deadline day. Finally, all this challenging for Europe must be having an effect on us, as you now hear Evertonians using phrases such as 'the last thing we want is a replay' when referring to tomorrow's FA Cup tie. What next, fielding teams of reserves?
Blues to get new pitch
Jan 28 2005 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has ordered the Goodison Park pitch to be relaid as he seeks to steer the club towards cup glory and league success. The Blues boss branded the playing surface "diabolical" after last weekend's home defeat to Charlton. He has called for the pitch to be returfed because he fears a poor playing surface will benefit visiting sides and undermine his own side's passing game. But the work on the playing surface cannot be carried until after the home game with Norwich next Wednesday, forcing Moyes' men to contend with the sub-standard surface again for tomorrow's FA Cup fourth round tie against Sunderland. Moyes told the ECHO today: "I am concerned about the state of the pitch and I want to get it relaid as quickly as possible. "We have already started by relaying the goalmouths for this weekend's game. But we are looking into the prospect of getting the whole pitch done. "It is a process which takes three days, but having the right surface is important.
"At the moment it is not condusive to getting the ball down and knocking it about, which aides the away side." Meanwhile, Everton are close to agreeing a deal which will see 19-year-old trialist Guillaume Plessis remaining at Goodison until the end of the season. The midfielder has been training with the Blues with the permission of French club Lens since the New Year and has impressed. The Blues are willing to take a longer look at him and he is set to be given that opportunity to the end of the season. He is unlikely, however, to figure in the manager's first team plans. Experienced defender David Weir was today set to be called into the Scotland squad after being tempted back by former Goodison boss Walter Smith. He will join the international party for their forthcoming get-together and it is expected to lead to a call-up to the full squad for their next fixture. It brings to an end a self-imposed exile of two years for the defender.
McCarthy: I'd love to still have Kilbane
Jan 28 2005 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
MICK McCARTHY admits he would still like to have Kevin Kilbane in his Sunderland squad. The former Republic of Ireland coach was sorry to see the midfielder (left) leave the Stadium of Light and is all too aware of the threat the Eire international will pose in tomorrow's FA Cup fourth round meeting. McCarthy said: "Kevin's had a great season for Everton. I'd still love to have him in my squad and I was sick he went. He was a class act. "It was a financial decision to sell him, but in the end it bettered him. I hope he has an off-day against us." Kilbane made 113 appearances and scored eight goals for the Black Cats before moving to Goodison Park on deadline day at the start of last season.
Moyes to set big dogs on Black Cats
Jan 28 2005 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has warned his Everton players not to underestimate Sunderland at Goodison tomorrow and has tipped Mick McCarthy's men for promotion to the Premiership this season. The Blues are the hot favourites for the FA Cup fourth round tie against the Coca-Cola Championship side after sustaining a position in the Premiership's top four since September. But the Goodison chief (right) has compiled a thick dossier on the Stadium of Light outfit and has been impressed with their recent league performances. Having suffered their first home defeat since October at the hands of Charlton last weekend, Moyes is determined to avoid a second home disappointment. He said: "This is an important game for us. And because it is a home tie we have to make that advantage count.
"Sunderland are looking to get back into the Premier League this season and they will be using this as an opportunity to gauge where they are with a view to next season. "Mick McCarthy has done a good job up there. He is a good manager who always has his sides well organised. "It has taken time to get what he wants but now he has found a settled squad and that is reflected in their results. They are a terrific football club and they look like a side which is more than capable of coming into the Premier League this season." That awareness of the Black Cats' threat means Moyes is unlikely to shuffle his pack too much for the game, despite the prospect of two crucial Premiership matches next week. After tomorrow's tie the Blues entertain Norwich before travelling to Southampton for a televised game next weekend. With Chelsea next up after that brace of fixtures against sides battling against relegation, the Goodison chief could be forgiven for turning one eye to the league and the race for Europe. But he insists that is something he cannot afford to do because of the threat posed by McCarthy's men. "My main concern right now is Sunderland, not the games after that," he insists. "We will be giving them the respect they deserve. "We will have to stay on our toes because of the strength of the opposition. We will not be taking them lightly." That threat is justifiable. Sunderland have not tasted defeat since New Year's Day against, ironically, Moyes' former club Preston. And they boast an impressive away record, having won eight games on their travels in the league this term. That is a total which not not even Ipswich and Wigan can better.
And there is clearly no fear in the Black Cats camp. Defender Danny Collins, who is anxious to keep his place in McCarthy's side despite the possible return to action of both Gary Breen and Steve Caldwell, said: "Everton have struggled in the last few weeks, so you never know. "There could be a shock, but I wouldn't say it would be a massive upset if we did win. "We're third in the Championship and I don't see that it would be much of a giant-killing. We want to give a good account of ourselves and we will." One player in the Sunderland squad more eager than most to do just that is former Liverpool defender Stephen Wright. The 24-year-old defender may have forged his career as a youngster with Liverpool - but his allegiances as a fan have always been with Everton.
And the Scouser admits that the love of the Toffees is so strong in his family that he will be public enemy number one tomorrow. "I am expecting a lot of verbals because of my Liverpool links and even my family are promising they will give me plenty of stick," he admitted. "I used to wear my Everton shirt underneath my Liverpool shirt until I was about 16, like a few of the other lads.
"I went to watch Everton a lot when I was a kid and Graeme Sharp was my hero, although Peter Reid and Gary Lineker were also my favourites too. "I had the privilege of playing at Goodison a few times as a kid and I was on the bench with Liverpool, but this match will be the first time I have played there as a professional. "I will be trying to treat it like any other game." His family, on the other hand, will not.
* SUNDERLAND have terminated the contract of former Everton midfielder John Oster following his early return from a loan spell at Leeds. The Black Cats launched their own investigation into an off-the-field incident after the Welsh international was sent back from Elland Road, and although they were not elaborating, they have confirmed that he has been released by the club. Leeds ended Oster's loan spell early after finding him guilty of misbehaviour at the club's Christmas party.
Super savers the key to success
Jan 28 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
LIVERPOOL recently invested a modest £750,000 on goalkeeper Scott Carson. Everton spent even less on Nigel Martyn. But both could exert significantly more influence on their clubs than the size of their transfer fees would ever suggest. Everton are still searching for their first clean sheet since Martyn's calming influence fell victim to a calf strain, while Liverpool have chased a reliable number one ever since the occasionally erratic, but frequently brilliant Bruce Grobbelaar called it a day. But it is an alarming statistic that neither club has ever spent a premium price on a goalkeeper. And they are not alone. English football has always under-valued its shot stoppers. It was four years ago that an Italian club splashed out £32m for a keeper - and followed up with another £18m for Francesco Toldo. English football still hasn't broken the £10m barrier for a number one. And it would appear to be a false economy. Which of the Premiership's current top four has a reliable goalkeeper? And where are they in the table? While Manchester United struggle to decide who is less accident prone between Tim Howard and Roy Carroll, and Arsenal juggle Jens Lehmann and Manuel Almunia, Petr Cech has played a key role in Chelsea's remarkable defensive record this season. If further evidence was needed, just check out the list of title winners of the past two decades. There is a common theme running through them all . . . Schmeichel, Seaman, Grobbelaar, Southall, even Tim Flowers was an under-rated England international when Blackburn gate-crashed the Premier League party in 1995. But, despite overwhemling evidence to the contrary, English clubs have always fought shy of overspending on keepers. Brian Clough was ahead of his time when he paid a then world record transfer fee for a goal-keeper of £270,000 in September 1977 for Peter Shilton. Critics scoffed, but within two years Shilton had a League title medal and two European Cup winners' medals. Everton had long been linked with Shilton. But even the Mersey Millionaires baulked at paying such a huge fee. They spent £150,000 instead on the promising, but unproven George Wood, and finished third behind Forest and a Liverpool team buttressed by the formidable Ray Clemence. The Toffees scored more goals than anybody else that season. But Liverpool leaked 11 goals fewer, Forest an astonishing 21 goals less. To put it into perspective, a few months later Everton paid £300,000 for a dreadful striker who scored just one league goal in his Goodison career. But few questioned the wisdom of shelling out that kind of cash on a forward. While Shilton became an Everton what-might-have-been, Mickey Walsh was a more expensive never-was. The problem with goalkeepers has always been in quantifying their worth. When Blackburn paid a British record £3.6m for Alan Shearer in the summer of 1992, eyebrows were not so much raised, as propelled skywards. But 112 goals in 138 games was proof Jack Walker's cash had been well spent. It is impossible to say exactly how many goals a good keeper can save his side. Evertonians still blame the injury to Neville Southall for the evaporation of their assault on the double in 1986 - even though Bobby Mimms kept six successive clean sheets after stepping in. Grobbelaar arguably turned the Cup Final at Wembley with a back-breaking tip over from Graeme Sharp with Everton already leading 1-0. Bosses have never been as shy on the continent. Juventus spent a world record £32.6m for Gianluigi Buffon in the summer of 2001. It was impossible to work out how many goals he saved the Old Lady, but they clinched the Serie A title the following season by a point, then cantered to another title the following season. Runners-up? The Inter Milan side with Toldo between the posts. They say you have to be mad to be a goalkeeper, but evidence proves you have to be just as mad to ignore them.
Everton 3, Sunderland 0 D,Post)
By Andy Hunter at Goodison Park, Daily Post
Jan 31 2005
THE transformation of Everton this season is not only confined to the Premiership order of merit if the ruthless efficiency shown on and off the park at Goodison on Saturday is an honest judge. There was a business-like authority to everything Everton handled on FA Cup fourth round weekend as any trace of a banana skin from high-flying Sunderland was avoided on the pitch while the comedy of errors that often surrounds transfer deadline day was replaced by cloak-and-dagger secrecy off it.
Seven days after announcing there would be no more arrivals at Goodison Park this January David Moyes left all media duties to his assistant Alan Irvine, as he had done on the eve of this game, to pursue fresh transfer targets away from the spotlight. The cavalry has finally been found and one, possibly two, new faces will be unveiled today after all. With Everton closer to a Champions League ticket than they could ever have imagined, and possibly better placed than they will ever be to revitalising their financial fortunes, the capture of fresh talent was a gamble Moyes could not afford to ignore. Yet even without his tireless efforts in the transfer market the Everton manager has built a momentum at Goodison Park this season that is pushing the club forward and his players are continuing to respond to every challenge he sets. The call to react to the previous week's home defeat by Charlton was answered quickly and confidently as James McFadden's ninth-minute goal deflated Mick McCarthy's promotion candidates and ensured Everton, whilst rarely scaling the heights, sailed into round five without a care. "There is an arrogance about them," said the beaten Sunderland manager afterwards. "It is a nice arrogance, a confidence, and they looked like a side who are fourth in the Premiership. There is no shame in admitting that we were well and truly beaten." Moyes's forward planning did not only apply to the transfer market as he rotated in small doses, even during the game when replacing Alan Stubbs with David Weir, and received morale-lifting responses from replacements such as Joseph Yobo and the ever-improving McFadden.
New arrivals will mean McFadden faces even more competition to establish himself at Goodison Park but his ability to turn games will remain vital while Everton chase Europe. For Moyes, massaging the confidence of those on the fringes of his first team will be just as important as the impact of any new signing. The Scottish international scored his third goal in his last four starts with a delicate volley from Kevin Kilbane's immaculate cross, the first of many telling contributions from the Republic of Ireland international as he highlighted the folly of his Sunderland tormentors.
Not only did the early opener calm any Everton nerves, it encouraged McFadden to provide the kind of creative display his team-mates have craved since Thomas Gravesen signed for Real Madrid and injected the same belief needed to take such form into Premiership combat. "It has been very important for me to get the goals recently," said the Scot. "This one came after nine minutes and it helped to settle me and gave me confidence, although it was a while before I relaxed properly and started to play with real confidence. "I have to admit that sometimes when I've played I've felt as though I have to do everything. Sometimes I've felt that if I am going to make an impression and stay in the team then I need to score 10, beat everyone and set up every goal, and that was showing in my play. I know it's been frustrating for people to watch, but it's been frustrating for me too, but I've just wanted to show that I deserve a place in the side. "The manager has shown confidence in me lately though and it has developed from there. Confidence is one of my biggest attributes and I needed to get that back. I was trying too hard at times to come on and win games. It is hard enough winning a game in 90 minutes, but when you're asked to come on and win a game with 10 minutes to go there is a lot of pressure. When you're not playing your confidence does take a battering, but I think I'm getting it back now. "I've felt part of things since day one here but I feel as if I'm contributing a lot more now. You can't share in the glory when you're on the bench because it's the lads who are out there winning who deserve all the praise, but I'm happier because I feel as if I'm doing something for the team now." McFadden's first goal at Goodison prompted his most assured performance on the ground too, with evidence growing over the past month that his decisionmaking matches his goalscoring for improvement. He insisted: "I've always been happy at Everton. It is easier when the team is winning even though you want to be part of it, but I do want to be involved more often. It has been a frustrating season. "I was out of the team after the Arsenal game and quite rightly so, and you couldn't argue a case for any player to be dropped after that because they were doing so well. But we have had a lot of games recently and the manager has had to freshen things up which has given me a chance. "I was hoping the chance would come sooner but there's no point in moaning about it now. The manager has been good for me in terms of keeping my spirits up and it has been well documented how good the spirit is here. It is not only the manager though, the rest of the lads have helped me and I'd like to think that I've taken my chance now and I want to stay in the team as long as I can. "I had a good goalscoring record before I came here, and have one with the national team too, and hopefully I can bring it with me to Everton. "I was delighted to score but first and foremost I'm just delighted we are through to the next round and that we picked ourselves up after the Charlton result. "From a personal point of view it was good to score and to be involved in a winning side. It was a bit of a frustrating afternoon though because at times my touch wasn't good and a few passes went astray but I took it on myself to correct that by working hard all game."
Everton's place in the last 16 was assured on 27 minutes when James Beattie provided the only genuine argument at Goodison with his first goal since his £6million arrival from Southampton. Or should that be own goal? In truth, yes, but the exquisite turn that foxed Dean Whitehead and allowed him to shoot low at Thomas Myhre presented a strong case for recognition before Danny Collins deflected past his own goalkeeper. The reaction of Beattie's team-mates, who all raced to congratulate the record signing, showed who they credited with the goal. "It doesn't matter if you are a £6m player or you cost nothing, you want to prove you are good enough to be in the side and as a striker you want to score," said McFadden. "If he doesn't claim the goal I'll claim it for him. He did all the hard work and it was only a deflection that took it in. It was his goal." With the tie over Everton's second-half display deteriorated, and but for poor finishing from Stephen Elliott and Michael Bridges Sunderland would have denied Richard Wright a first clean sheet since he replaced Nigel Martyn six games ago. It will not be enough to retain his place once Martyn returns to full fitness, however. Tim Cahill, who scored the semi-final winner that knocked Sunderland out of last season's semi-final, added a third in the 80th minute with a flying header from McFadden's deep cross as the scoreline illustrated the gulf between the top two divisions in England.
A few new faces and a welcome home draw, and Goodison's weekend of comfortable progress will be confirmed today.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Wright; Pistone, Yobo, Stubbs (Weir 65), Naysmith; Osman, Cahill, Carsley, Kilbane (Bent 76); Beattie (Chadwick 76), McFadden. Subs: Hibbert, Martyn.
BOOKINGS: Naysmith (ungentlemanly conduct), McFadden (dissent)
SUNDERLAND (4-4-2): Myhre; Wright (Brown 61), N Collins, D Collins, McCartney; Whitehead, Thornton, Robinson, Arca; Elliott (Bridges 76), Stewart. Subs: Caldwell, Lynch, Alnwick.
BOOKINGS: Wright, Elliott (dissent)
REFEREE: Uriah Rennie
NEXT GAME: Everton v Norwich, Premiership, Wednesday, 7.45pm
McCarthy and Irvine dispute Beattie opener
Jan 31 2005 By Paul Walker,Daily Post
EVERTON will support record signing James Beattie's claims that he has scored his first goal for the club. Beattie, a £6million signing from Southampton, saw his goal-bound effort deflected by rookie Sunderland defender Danny Collins past Thomas Myhre in Everton's convincing 3-0 FA Cup fourth-round win over the Coca-Cola Championship club. And although Sunderland manager Mick McCarthy insisted it should go down as an own goal, Everton coach Alan Irvine gave Beattie his full support. Irvine said: "We haven't even discussed Beattie's goal because we know what his answer will be. It was a fantastic turn to create space for himself and he got his shot on target. "Was the keeper going to save it? Maybe, but the defender touched it in and it was on target so I would certain give it to James." McCarthy's view differed. He said: "I think their second one was an own goal. But if he wants to claim it, good luck to him. "I think Thomas Myhre would have saved it with ease, it was going straight into his hands. "Anyway, give it to him because I know a centre-forward would want it, and it won't change the score-line." McCarthy accepted Everton were deserved winners. He said: "We were well and truly, comfortably beaten by a better side. No argument.
"Everton look like a team in form, they have a swagger about them. They have confidence and arrogance and they are a team that believes in themselves. They are a good outfit.
"We had our chances; Stephen Elliott could easily have got one back near the end and we played three defenders to have a go at them. "We did not roll over, we had 6,000 fans with us and they saw a battling performance." Irvine insisted Everton, who took the lead through James McFadden, were not relaxed until Tim Cahill headed the third goal. He said: "It was a good performance overall and a terrific result. We would have been happy with that beforehand. "We had the edge at both ends of the pitch even though Sunder-land played some decent stuff." Irvine, standing in for manager David Moyes again, claimed Everton had been wary of a Sunderland comeback right up until Cahill's third. He said: "Sunderland think we won comfortably but we were not happy until that third one went in because they were always capable of getting a goal back, and then it would have been very nervous. "Sunderland have been doing well and people may have felt this could have been an upset, but we turned in a decent performance to stop that happening."
Beattie's goal the icing on the cake
Jan 31 2005
View from the stands by Reg Gibbons, Daily Post
NOT a great advert for the Championship. What should have been a tricky FA Cup tie against a side pushing strongly for promotion ended up being Everton's easiest home game of the season.
However it did see James Beattie (right) break his Everton duck with the second goal. I had a sneaky feeling he'd get a goal, and although there was certainly a diversion involved, the confidence boost it should give the striker has come at just the right time with far tougher propositions than Sunderland on the horizon. After hitting the woodwork in each of his last two games, Beattie was due a slice of luck. He is working hard, and there will be more to come as his fitness levels match those around him. The absence of Thomas Gravesen wasn't really an issue in this game, and while Sunder-land were a disappointment, I'd like to think that was also due to an efficient, effective display by Everton. They never gave the opposition time to settle and were consistently quicker to the ball.
James McFadden's continuing good form has given Evertonians more reason for cheer - not least my mate who had a fiver on him to be first goalscorer. McFadden has always had the talent and he'll improve even further once he realises you don't have to take the same defender on five times before getting a cross in. He is obviously a confidence player and it is no coincidence he was effervescent throughout after the early lift of his goal. And while I shouldn't complain about a comfortable home cup victory, it was a tad boring, wasn't it? Perhaps more than anything, that shows how far we have come this season.
Moyes ready to make Spanish acquisition
Jan 31 2005 By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
DAVID MOYES will end his search for creative midfield talent today by clinching a deal to bring Real Sociedad playmaker Mikel Arteta to Goodison Park. The Everton manager has identified the former Glasgow Rangers star (left) as the man to advance Everton's Champions League pursuit following the departure of Thomas Gravesen to Real Madrid a fortnight ago. And he may follow the move up by making a £3million bid for Tottenham Hotspur winger Simon Davies today. Arteta will confirm the transfer at a press conference in Spain this morning after agreeing to join Everton on loan until the end of the season. And Everton have an option to sign the 22-year-old permanently for 4m euros (£2.85m) in the summer if he impresses during his four months on Merseyside. The skilful central midfielder began his career with Barcelona before moving to Rangers in a £5.8m deal in June 2002. Arteta enjoyed a successful debut campaign at Ibrox and quickly established himself as a fans' favourite only for injury and loss of form to curtail his progress last season. Real Sociedad paid £2.5m to take the player back to Spain as the replacement for Liverpool-bound Xabi Alonso last summer. But Arteta has struggled to hold down a regular place and fell further down the pecking order before Christmas when he sustained a knee injury that kept him out for a month. Moyes has spent weeks searching for a replacement for Gravesen and, despite Arteta's lack of match fitness, he believes the Spaniard could provide the creativity needed to keep Everton in fourth place and take them into the Champions League. Arteta's arrival may not signal the end of transfer activity at Goodison Park today, however, with Moyes keen to bring a second midfielder into the club.
Welsh international Davies remains a leading target, although Tottenham's reluctance to sell and £5m valuation could scupper a deadline-day double by Everton. Record signing James Beattie, meanwhile, is claiming his first goal for the club after the comfortable FA Cup fourth round victory over Sunderland on Saturday. The £6m striker helped Everton add to James McFadden's ninth-minute opener when his low shot was turned past former Goodison goalkeeper Thomas Myhre by Sunderland defender Danny Collins. Beattie had gone three games without a goal for his new club and struck the post against Middlesbrough and Charlton. But he is determined his effort, which preceded Tim Cahill's 80th-minute header, will be registered as his first Everton goal. The striker said: "I'm going to claim it, it was on target. "The goalkeeper might have saved it, but it's a nice way to get off the mark. I could've done with it screaming into the top corner, but I think it's my goal.
"It is important for me to score, but also to contribute to the team, work hard and get the result.
"If I get goals along the way, then it's brilliant. "You do always wonder about your first goal, but fortunately that has come now, and I am confident there are a lot more to come." Everton will discover their FA Cup fifth round opponents today when the draw takes place live on BBC2 at 1.30pm.
Everton 3, Sunderland 0 (Echo)
Jan 31 2005 By Scott McLeod at Goodison Park
THERE was a reassuring ease about the way in which Everton cruised into the last 16 of the FA Cup.
Sunderland were never in it. 'Battered' as Mick McCarthy candidly admitted afterwards. But what is even more satis fying is that this potentially tricky tie against one of the Championship's form sides - an outfit with serious ambitions of joining the Blues in the Premiership next season - was overcome without fuss despite David Moyes' men hitting nowhere near top gear. There were a number of notably impressive performances, especially from the players coming into the side - Joseph Yobo, Gary Naysmith and, in particular, James McFadden. Nevertheless, there wasn't the usual fluency about the passing or the characteristic control of midfield and yet they were still head-and-shoulders better than their opposition. You usually expect lower league sides to complicate these matches by showing greater fight and desire. Not so here. James Beattie is a long way short of the form which made him the top English striker in the Premiership a couple of seasons ago, but even without match sharpness he provided an impressive first line of defence. It was a pattern reflected throughout the team, with his strike partner really catching the eye. McFadden is fast becoming Everton's Cup talisman. It was his explosive debut in the Worthington Cup against Stockport last season which led to heightened expectations of what the young Scot could bring to the side. Instead, it proved to be a premature but tantalising glimpse of his talents. Moyes always said it would take time for McFadden to adjust to life in the English game. He needed work on the training ground to develop his decisionmaking and to make him more than just a skilful showman - to become a player capable of utilising his inherent flair to inflict serious damage to opposition defences. On Saturday, as at Plymouth in the last round, he did just that. He took the opening goal after just nine minutes with aplomb, darting in front of Neill Collins to prod home Kevin Kilbane's outstanding cross at the near post. And he deftly teed up the third for Tim Cahill in the second half, picking out the Aussie international for a back post header after working a neat short corner routine with Alessandro Pistone. In between, he harried and chased. And worked hard to link up with Beattie in their fledgling partnership as Moyes reverted to a more conventional 4-4-2. McFadden has now netted three times in four games for the Blues. And the only reason he has been used sparingly of late is surely because, when the Everton chief plays with his favoured five-men in midfield, McFadden's most likely route into the side - on the left flank - is blocked by the unbelievably consistent Kilbane, who showed on Saturday what fools the Sunderland faithful were to berate him so willingly.
Had the 4-4-2 been more effective against Sunderland, then McFadden's first-team chances would have been improved. But despite his impressive efforts, this game provided a timely reminder that the Blues look more cohesive with an extra man in midfield. The system which has proved so effective this term allows the likes of Cahill and Kilbane greater attacking licence, while not exposing the side to the threat of counter-attacks. Here, Sunderland enjoyed more possession of the ball in the midfield area than most of Everton's Premiership visitors this term. It speaks volumes for the workrate of the Blues that the Black Cats' time on the ball failed to lead to any real goal threat.
With Nigel Martyn back in the squad and among the substitutes, it was a good time for Richard Wright to produce a clean sheet - although one late fumble did present Michael Bridges with a golden opportunity to snatch a consolation. And in the heart of defence Yobo produced his most accomplished performance of recent weeks as he staked his claim for a regular starting berth - whether it be in the back four or as a holding midfielder. Indeed, of the three changes made by Moyes from the side which suffered defeat at Charlton, only Naysmith struggled to stake a strong claim for a start against Norwich on Wednesday - and that was because Pistone, whose place he took at left-back, produced a top class display on the right side as Tony Hibbert was given a deserved breather. There has been a lot of talk in the last 10 days about the size of Moyes' squad. But of the 15 outfield players with a realistic chance of starting on Wednesday, each has proved in the last three weeks they can come into the side without undermining the spirit which has proved the key in so many games this season. And so the manager has more options than may initially seem to be the case. The big worry is if injuries hit between now and the end of the season. But, for the time being, that is not an issue. And there is a real opportunity this week to put further daylight between themselves and the chasing pack. There were echoes of last season's FA Cup third round victory over Norwich in Saturday's win. Twelve months on and Nigel Worthington's Premiership strugglers are a more accomplished outfit, as their recent 4-4 draw with Middlesbrough demonstrated.
Last season, they came to Goodison with nothing to lose. In 48 hours they will arrive with, potentially, everything to lose. It is the first of two games against sides battling for their Premiership lives, with Southampton awaiting at St Marys on Sunday. Two victories would go a long way to ensuring Everton European football next term. Had Saturday ended in a demoral-ising Cup exit, as with Shrewsbury two seasons ago, Everton's league ambitions could have been perilously undermined. Instead, it was a welcome morale boost. And the game showed Moyes has options this week - he can shuffle his pack to avoid burn out. Whether that means a break for Beattie on Wednesday remains to be seen. The £6m man is getting stronger with every game. But three matches in a week could be a lot to ask of the 26-year-old. What he desperately needs is his first Everton goal. His neat turn which gave him the time and space to pick his spot midway through the first half on Saturday should have provided that goal emphatically. Instead, his low effort was heading straight into Thomas Myhre's arms before being tellingly deflected into the net by Danny Collins. It means Beattie faces an anxious wait to see if the dubious goals panel give him the strike. It would be a boost to him and Everton if they do.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Wright; Pistone, Yobo, Stubbs (Weir 65), Naysmith; Osman, Cahill, Carsley, Kilbane (Bent 76); Beattie (Chadwick 76), McFadden. Subs: Hibbert, Martyn.
BOOKINGS: Naysmith (ungentlemanly conduct), McFadden (dissent)
SUNDERLAND (4-4-2): Myhre; Wright (Brown 61), N Collins, D Collins, McCartney; Whitehead, Thornton, Robinson, Arca; Elliott (Bridges 76), Stewart. Subs: Caldwell, Lynch, Alnwick.
BOOKINGS: Wright, Elliott (dissent)
REFEREE: Uriah Rennie
Arteta signs in for Blues
Jan 31 2005 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has ended his search for a midfield playmaker to replace Thomas Gravesen by snapping up Mikel Arteta from Real Sociedad. Arteta's departure was set to be confirmed at a press conference in Spain. The 22-year-old former Rangers man (left) joins Everton on an initial loan deal until the end of the season, with a view to a permanent £2.85m move in the summer. But the Blues' hopes of adding to their ranks today may not have ended with the arrival of the Spaniard. Everton were continuing to chase Tottenham's Simon Davies, buoyed by confirmation that the transfer deadline has been extended to midnight. Negotiations took place over the weekend with Spurs, but Martin Jol was reluctant to lose the £3m-rated Welsh international today unless he could complete the capture of Andy Reid and Michael Dawson from Nottingham Forest. Arteta, who underwent a medical at Goodison over the weekend, is a talented playmaker who started his career on-loan in the same Paris St Germain side as Ronaldinho. A product of Barcelona's famed youth academy, Glasgow Rangers paid the Catalan club £5.8m to take him to Ibrox in July 2002. In two years in Scotland he made 50 league appearances, scoring 12 goals, plus a further 18 appearances in cup competitions for one more goal. He was signed by Real Sociedad for £2.7m last summer as a direct replacement for Xabi Alonso. Still only 22, he is a former captain of Spain's under-21 side. Chief executive Keith Wyness said: "We are delighted that Mikel has agreed to join us. This is a real coup for Everton as there were a number of clubs interested in the player. "David Moyes, Bill Kenwright and myself have been working behind the scenes on a daily basis attempting to strengthen the squad and the signing of Mikel, who is one of the best young prospects in Spain, is hopefully testament to that." Meanwhile, Chris Samuelson arrived in London as he moved a step closer to completing his £12.8m Fortress Sports Fund investment in Everton. The deal has been delayed by administrative problems in Brunei, where the Fund is being established. But Samuelson's arrival in England after a fortnight jetting between his base in Switzerland and Brunei suggests the deal is close to completion. He confirmed this morning: "I am just waiting for confirmation from the commission (in Brunei) that we have received the appropriate certificate." James Beattie is unlikely to have his first Everton goal taken away from him after netting with a deflected effort in Saturday's FA Cup fourth round victory over Sunderland. The FA are not expected to deny the striker the goal.
The £6m man said: "I'm going to claim it, it was on target. The goalkeeper might have saved it, but it is a nice way to get off the mark. "I could've done with it screaming into the top corner, but I think it is my goal."
* Everton have been drawn at home to Manchester United in the next round of the FA Cup.
Everton to face United
Jan 31 2005 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
WAYNE ROONEY'S return to Goodison Park could come sooner than expected after Everton were drawn against Manchester United in the fifth round of the FA Cup. The Blues' reward for Saturday's 3-0 victory over Sunderland is the prospect of a home tie against the holders. It is the first time the sides have met in the competition since Everton's triumph in the 1995 final. That was Everton's last win over the side from Old Trafford. The tie is set to be played on the weekend of Saturday, February 19. It will be the first time Everton have faced United since Rooney's £28m transfer to Old Trafford. Ironically, it was the 19-year-old who fired Sir Alex Ferguson's men into the fifth round, with two goals in Saturday's 3-0 win over Middlesbrough. The sides' next league meeting is at Goodison on April 20. DRAW: Bolton v Derby Co or Fulham; West Brom or Tottenham v Nottingham Forest; EVERTON v Manchester United; Charlton v Leicester; Burnley v Blackburn Rovers; Southampton v Brentford or Hartlepool Utd; Newcastle Utd v Chelsea; Arsenal v West Ham or Sheff Utd.
Goals have given me a lift - Macca
Jan 31 2005 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
JAMES McFADDEN believes the return of his goalscoring touch has finally allowed him entry to the party that has been Everton's thrilling season. The young Scot netted his third goal in four matches and produced a Man of the Match performance to help steer the Blues beyond Sunderland on Saturday. Having spent the first four months of the season outside the starting line-up and feeling like a gatecrasher at a kneesup, it has been something of a relief for McFadden. "After the first game of the season I was out of the team and from then on you couldn't see a valid case for anybody to be dropped from that side," he said. "But recently there have been a lot of games, the manager has had to freshen things up a bit and it has made me more involved. "Hopefully, I will have the chance to figure more often now. At the time of being out of the side, it was hard. Getting in and getting goals has been very important for me. "On Saturday, it came after nine minutes and it helped to settle me and gave me the confidence to relax. "Goals are vital, because before I came I had a good reputation for scoring goals and also at international level. I want to do the same with Everton.
"I feel like I play my best football when I am relaxed. I have to admit, there have been times when I have played when I felt I had to score 10 goals, beat everybody on the field and set up other goals. "I think it showed at times. It must have been frustrating to watch for people and it was frustrating for myself because I knew I wasn't doing what I wanted to do. That was because of my desire to do better than anybody else to stay in the team. "My biggest attribute when I am playing well is my confidence. It was just a matter of getting that back and believing in myself. "Sometimes I think I was trying too hard. There was a lot of pressure when I was being told to go on in games and try and win the game for us. "It is hard to do that in 10 minutes when I hadn ' t been involved. That does hit your confidence." The 21-year-old is a harsh self-critic. That drives him to bring the best out of himself.
But it can also undermine his form by eroding his confidence. Getting the balance right is something the forward is working on, although he was still willing to criticise his own performance on Saturday.
"At times it was frustrating and maybe my touch wasn't good or I picked the wrong pass, but I made sure I worked hard to correct that and to look as if I was trying, " he continues. " I just hope I can be involved a lot more often now. "I would like to think my chance has come and I have taken it.
"I am hoping to stay in now. Why not? "I feel better now because in the last few weeks I feel that I have been doing something for the team."
Selection dilemma for Moyes as keepers go head to head
Jan 31 2005 Analysis by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERYTHING was rosy in the Everton garden on Saturday night . . . well, almost. With two huge matches looming this week, the visit of Sunderland gave David Moyes everything he could have hoped for. Comfortable progress into the last 16 of the FA Cup, rests for key men like David Weir, Marcus Bent, Tony Hibbert and Duncan Ferguson, no yellow cards to men hovering on the brink of bans - and even a nerve-settling first goal for James Beattie (well, he thinks he scored, so the psychological benefit is intact). But the Blues' boss has one decision looming. And it's crucial he gets it right. Richard Wright kept his first clean sheet since stepping into Nigel Martyn's boots - at the sixth time of asking. But the man most people acknowledge to be Everton's current number one is fit again and pressing for a return. The question "When is Nigel Martyn fit again?" has been the second most asked question around Goodison this year, beaten only by "Has Chris Samuelson's cheque cleared yet?" That's not to criticise Richard Wright's undoubted promise as a goalkeeper - although fumbles of routine shots early and late in Saturday's game did little to spread confidence - but more a tribute to Martyn's worldly-wise demeanour which settles all around him. But while Martyn is the acknowledged first choice, Moyes has to choose his moment to restore him carefully.
Bringing him back too hastily could shatter the younger keeper's already fragile confidence. But after a month on the sidelines, the older shot-stopper needs games as quickly as possible. It's a decision Moyes will need to get right, although the identity of the goalkeeper had next to no bearing on a match Everton dominated from start to finish on Saturday. It's easy to spot an Everton fan these days. With David Moyes' men the acknowledged masters of the narrow, one-goal win - 12 so far and counting - they are usually the worried looking watchers, sipping nervously at hip-flasks, glancing regularly at wristwatches and possessing stumps for finger-nails. On Saturday, however, Blues were busy getting used to a brand new sensation. Everton had Saturday's FA Cup tie won in 27 minutes and, unsure of quite what to do, there was an unusual air of relaxed satisfaction around Goodison.
Imaginary cigars were smoked, while some spectators even dared to ask "When's the fifth round draw?" .. . . before half-time. James McFadden's cleverly controlled shot, from Kevin Kilbane's second glorious cross of the afternoon, and James Beattie's heavily deflected effort had the Blues pressing the cruise control buttons. If anything, the ease of Everton's victory simply confirmed the growing gulf between the top two tiers of English football. Last season Norwich City came to Goodison in the FA Cup as runaway Championship leaders, and were similarly taken apart. This time Everton were never troubled - a situation Sunderland's manager, Mick McCarthy, honestly acknowledged afterwards. "We were comfortably beaten by the better side," he said.. "They had a confidence and an arrogance - a nice arrogance - all through the game.." It was not misplaced confidence. After controlling the match almost from the kick-off, Everton even allowed the early-darters the luxury of an 80th minute dash by adding a third 10 minutes from time. The Blues had perservered with short corners all afternoon, and this time McFadden collected Pistone's support-pass to curl a deliciously inviting cross onto Tim Cahill's head. He finished superbly. It was Everton's third comfortable defeat of Championship opposition this season, Sunderland joining Plymouth and Preston on their hit-list. Next up are two teams threatening to slide into lower division mediocrity.
If Everton can handle Norwich and Southampton just as comfortably, this could prove a pivotal week in the season. Perhaps just as pivotal, however, could be David Moyes' decision on his goalkeepers.
Irvine has faith in Beattie's prowess
Jan 31 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
THE FA'S dubious goals panel may decide whether James Beattie opened his Goodison goalscoring account on Saturday. But assistant-boss Alan Irvine (right) is unconcerned whether Everton's £6m centre-forward is credited with breaking his duck in the FA Cup victory over Sunderland. "I have known him since he was a kid and he has always scored goals, so I don't expect he's going to dry up now," said Irvine, after Beattie's delightful turn and dreadful shot was deflected past Thomas Myhre by Danny Collins' attempted interception. "It was a fantastic turn to create the space for himself and then he hit the shot on target," added Irvine. "Was the goalkeeper going to save it? Possibly, but the deflection took it past him. I would certainly give him it, but we haven't discussed it with him. It may be one that the panel sits on and we will have to see. "I think James has been a bit unfortunate in the last couple of weeks. He has hit the post twice, so maybe that was his slice of luck. It would be nice if he gets it, but I don't think it will be the end of the world if he doesn't because James will always get chances. "He is getting at least one in every game because of his own movement and because of his courage in the box, and he will continue to get chances." Irvine was delighted with Everton's display against the Championship high-fliers, but didn't wholly share Sunderland boss Mick McCarthy's view that the Blues were comfortable. "I have to say we didn't feel all that comfortable," he said. "I thought that Sunderland played a lot of good football at different times, but we possibly had the edge at both ends." James McFadden gave Everton a decisive early lead and Irvine went on: "He's a versatile player who can play on the left or right for us, or off the front. I thought he played extremely well and took his goal well. It's a difficult technique and it's quite easy to miss the target when the ball is coming across you like that." Meanwhile, Irvine insisted they were still trying to bring in new faces to Goodison ahead of the closure of the transfer window tonight. "We are on with a couple of things, but whether they happen I don't know," he explained. "We are obviously running out of time and we won't bring someone in for the sake of it just to get another body, because the dressing room at the moment is fantastic and we have to be really careful that we don't upset that. "So we will only bring somebody in if we think they will improve the team and not upset the dressing room."
Norwich snap up ex-Blue
Jan 31 2005 Liverpool Echo
NORWICH have signed Graham Stuart from Charlton until the end of the season. The 34-year-old midfielder had discussions with the Barclays Premiership strugglers over the weekend, and completed his free transfer today. Stuart scored 23 goals in 164 league and cup appearances for the Addicks, but found his first team chances limited during the current campaign, and was not involved in the squad for Saturday's FA Cup win over Yeovil. The former Everton and Chelsea player is now looking forward to continuing his career in East Anglia. "It was a very easy decision to make," he said. "The attraction for me was to continue to play Premiership football. That was high on the agenda and I'm looking forward to working as hard as I can with the rest of the lads to help keep Premiership status." Canaries' boss Nigel Worthington said: "He is a quality Premier League player and gives us a wealth of experience. Hopefully, he can be part of keeping us in the Premier League."