Sunderland 0, Everton 1 (D, Post)
Jan 2 2006 Christopher Beesley At The Stadium Of Light, Daily Post
WE all have some troubles in our lives but whenever we're feeling blue - and Evertonians certainly have been so far throughout this supposedly festive period - we're told to count our blessings as there's always someone worse off than yourself. Fortunately for Everton, for all Sunderland's pluck and determination, the Wearsiders are, statistically at least, the poorest side ever to have graced the Premier-ship. The prospect of defeat against such feeble opposition, which would have extended Everton's of consecutive loses to five in December, was almost unbearable. But for many agonising minutes of the second half, such a Doomsday scenario looked like becoming an inevitable reality. Fortunately, in Sunderland, Everton found a team even more down on their luck than themselves, and despite creating a hatful of chances that could have won several games, the hosts were unable to make a breakthrough. You can't smile too widely when you look back on a game which saw you pinned around your own penalty area for sustained periods by a team which lacks so much in both quality and confidence. However, the fact is that Everton have now stopped the rot and secured what will probably be another crucial 1-0 win. Dean Whitehead's inability to pick up Tim Cahill for a stoppage-time header could go down in Everton folklore alongside Kevin Brock's dodgy backpass saving Howard Kendall at Oxford United in 1984. Sunderland are a stark warning to Everton of what they could become if they ever lose one of their relegation battles. Like Everton, their club once boasted a consecutive period of top-flight football stretching back over half a century. As the first additional side to the Football League's original dozen in 1890, Sunderland remained in the elite division for 68 years - accumulating six championships on the way - a figure at the time which put them ahead of both Everton and Liverpool. But since they finally relinquished their status in 1958, they have been forced to endure almost half a century of underachievement in the league - with a yo-yo existence between the top two divisions. It must be particularly galling for Mackem fans, as week-in week-out they are forced to feed on scraps while the likes of fellow promoted sides West Ham United - who have never had a sniff of a league title - and Wigan Athletic - non--leaguers a generation ago - settle down nicely into life in the Premiership.
Everton were without the suspended midfield duo of Phil Neville and Mikel Arteta after their derby sendings off so Leon Osman and James McFadden returned to the starting line-up which also included pre-match fitness doubts Nuno Valente and Simon Davies.
While Everton always seemed to posses that extra polish and poise in the game, which comes with the Premiership experience so lacking in many of Sunder-land's players, it was clear that confidence was a fragile commodity quite lacking in both sides. Clear-cut chances were few and far between in the opening period but Everton were given an early scare when Valente, just in front of his own goalline, was forced to head clear a dangerous Liam Lawrence cross from the left, directed towards Andy Gray. At the other end, Tony Hibbert, still without a senior goal for Everton, tested Kelvin Davis with a long-range cross-shot which forced a corner kick while both McFadden, and Kevin Kil-bane - booed by many home fans but applauded by others - both saw tame efforts easily held. Everton looked most dangerous on the break when they were afforded acres of space by their hosts and it was from one such attack that home skipper Gary Breen was booked after cynically hauling down Kilbane. Four minutes before half-time, Mick McCarthy replaced the ineffectual Andy Gray with on-loan Liverpool man Anthony Le Tall-ec, a decision met with loud cheers from the home support, doing their best to keep up their tradition of supporting struggling players. Most of the jitters in the Everton defence were self-inflicted and the first half ended with David Weir almost slicing a right-wing cross from Lawrence into his own net but Nigel Martyn gathered the loose ball. Marcus Bent replaced James McFadden at the interval but the first 20 minutes of the second half were to prove a particularly uncomfortable period for Evertonians as their side looked to be clinging on by a thread at times. Valente was again the hero as he made a last-ditch tackle to take the ball off Le Tallec's toes following a dangerous left-wing delivery from Julio Arca. Minutes later the Frenchman was to be denied for a second time in even more spectacular fashion as he delivered a seemingly-goalbound effort low towards the bottom left-hand corner of Everton's net. However, Nigel Martyn, who at first looked to be going the other way, belied his 39 years to get down and meet the ball with lightning reflexes, turning it away for a corner kick. It was during this period of frantic defending that Everton manager David Moyes had to be held back by the fourth official as he left his technical area and on to the edge of the pitch to bark out instructions to his players - but there was more to come.
Jon Stead, who will be chill-ingly remembered for his winning goal at Goodison last season when in the colours of Blackburn Rovers, twice went close but he saw one effort deflected wide while another flashed across the face of goal. The home crowd stirred to a fever pitch, probably unheard for several months as their side stormed forward in constant waves of attack but, unable to take any of their chances, Sunderland eventually ran out of steam and the game looked to be heading for stalemate. Everton's efforts had mostly been restricted to half-chances for Leon Osman, who shot wide after being outmuscled by Justin Hoyte, Marcus Bent, who saw a half-volley blocked by Davis, and James Beattie, who struck an ambitious 35-yard free-kick wide of Sunderland's right-hand post. But as the game entered the 92nd of its 93 minutes, the visitors were awarded a corner kick in front of their own supporters on the right-hand side. In what must have been a nightmare combination for Sunderland, former Black Cats boo-boy victim Kilbane provided the cross to meet the head of Tim Cahill - who famously nodded in the goal that beat Sunderland in an FA Cup semi-final two seasons ago. Cahill rose majestically in typical fashion and delivered a bullet straight into Sunderland hearts and the back of the home net, with no home defender present to block his effort at the near post. It was without doubt a painfully cruel blow for an already seeming-doomed Sunderland but a decisive change in fortune for an Everton side which had seen goals disallowed in all three of their previous games which had ended in defeat.
MAN OF THE MATCH Nigel Martyn
Kept Everton in the game during a sustained period of pressure
SUNDERLAND: Davis, Hoyte, Collins, Breen, Caldwell, Lawrence, Whitehead, Miller, Gray (Le Tallec 41), Arca, Stead (Murphy 87). Subs: Alnwick, Woods, Stubbs. BOOKING: Breen.
EVERTON: Martyn, Hibbert, Valente, Yobo, Weir, Davies (Ferguson 67), Osman, Cahill, Kilbane, McFadden (Bent 46), Beattie. Subs: Wright, Naysmith, Ferrari. BOOKING: Cahill.
REFEREE: Rob Styles.
We got away with our win, admits Irvine
Jan 2 2006 By Christopher Beesley Daily Post Staff
EVERTON assistant manager Alan Irvine admitted that his side perhaps "got away with it" after sneaking a 1-0 win at the Premiership's bottom club Sunderland on Saturday. Everton weathered some heavy pressure for long periods of the second half before eventually securing a stoppage-time victory. And Irvine said: "Sunderland will no doubt be disappointed as they had a few chances. "If I'd have been on the Sunderland bench then I'd be disappointed not to have got something out of the game. "We told the play-ers that due to the amount of goals that we'd conceded recently that it was important to try and keep a clean sheet, to dig in and to show character." Although Everton did not look unduly troubled in the first half, they were worryingly left on the back foot for a 20-minute period after the interval against a side whose record suggests they are the Premiership's worst ever. Irvine said: "We looked comfortable in the first half but in the second half, Sunderland started putting us under pressure. "One of the things we'd asked the play-ers to do was to stand up and put themselves on the line - both mentally and physically. "We earned ourselves a bit of luck and perhaps it was our turn, but it was unfortunate on Sunderland." it was a good day for a couple of Everton's veteran players with Nigel Martyn rolling back the years with an athletic stop and substitute Duncan Ferguson - with a possible January retirement still looming over him - making a positive contribution. Irvine said: "Nigel made a crucial save, as it looked like it was going to be a goal from where I was standing. "The introduction of Duncan changed the shape of the team and helped relieve some pressure. "We found that it allowed us to play the game more in our attacking half." Another positive note came from what was only Tim Cahill's second goal of the season. Cahill was Everton's top scorer in the previous campaign with 11 and Irvine hopes the goal will now set the Australian midfielder off on a run. He said: "It was nice for Tim to get a goal and we hope this will now set him off on a run as Tim's goals were a huge bonus for us last season." Sunderland manager Mick McCarthy said: "For the most part of the afternoon it was enjoyable and energetic and we were creating chances. "It's difficult when you've lost but it doesn't mean that everything that came before was bad because it's not. "Things would have been different if we'd have shown a bit more quality in front of goal."
Odd year needs to even itself out
By Conor Francis, Daily Post
Jan 2 2006
SO what are we to make of 2005? It's easy to reflect on the high of our fourth-place finish and think our present maladies are a passing phase. But the reality is that the achievement of securing a place in the Champions League was secured on the back of our results in 2004. Since the turn of the year we have struggled. . . and those struggles have only been amplified by the weight of expectation on the squad going into the new season. Things might have worked better if we had quietly worked our way up the table and sneaked into the UEFA Cup. The important thing for everyone connected with the club now is to make 2006 much more like the end of 2004. Saturday was a start. . . if not totally convincing. But at least the spirit and determination were there and in the end the tables turned our way with a timely intervention from Tim Cahill. The Australian's goals were so important to us last season, and the fact that we have had to wait so long for him to make his mark this season has contributed to his struggles. But the move away from a 4-5-1 system has meant a different role for Cahill and it has been much harder for him to make the kind of incisive breaks into the penalty area that yielded so many goals for him last time round and made it difficult for opposition defenders to pick him up. Long-term there are still plenty of worries - a replacement for Nigel Martyn, who still has too much work to do, a tightening of a defence that looks too vulnerable and an attacking threat with goals included! Short-term, the task facing Everton today is clear - nothing less than a victory over Charlton will suggest we are back on the right track.
Beattie earns his stripes
Jan 2 2006 David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
THERE was a time when the Goodison gallery seemed uncertain what to make of James Beattie.
Like Roman Emperors, their thumbs hovered horizontally, as Everton's record signing would follow an important goal with either a shocking miss or an injury. But in three gruelling 90-minute appearances in just six days, Beattie has received the thumbs-up right across the board.
Not because he scored against Liverpool - his carefully placed header that night proved little more than a consolation - but because he has run and chased and closed down and charged, and then run some more again, in every minute of every match. Evertonians love to see skill and style and class, but more than that they demand one hundred per cent effort. James Beattie has given that, and more, over Christmas.
Sunderland 0, Everton 1 (Echo)
AS DAVID MOYES reflects on Everton's final game of a fitful 2005, the irony will not be lost on him that his side's fortunes changed when a team of Black Cats walked in front of them. While Everton's wretched recent run of results has been down to poor form and failure to do the things they did so well last season, there can be no question that the one element every team needs at some time - luck - has been notable by its absence.. At the Stadium of Light on New Year ' s Eve, however, fortune favoured the brave. Battered almost to the point of submission, Moyes must have been thrilled to see his players dig deep to pinch three massively important points. Make no mistake about it. Defeat at Sunderland would have ensured a drama became a crisis. With Portsmouth beating Fulham on the same afternoon, Everton would have started 2006 in the bottom three and serious questions would have been asked. Not now. For the time being, Moyes can breathe a little easier and perhaps Tim Cahill's timely intervention will provide the spark to turn around a hitherto bitterly disappointing campaign. Of course, should Charlton Athletic win at Goodison Park today, the alarm bells will start to ring once again but they won't clang with anywhere near the same din as they would have if Sunderland had turned their superiority into goals. Despite starting brightly and creating a couple of openings, Everton were overwhelmed for 20 minutes either side of the break and supporters contemplated the grim prospect of becoming the first Premiership team to lose on Wearside for three years. That they didn't owed much to the outstanding display of Nigel Martyn between the posts, Cahill reproducing a glimpse of the form that made him such a success during his debut season and, above all, a relentless determination not to be beaten. For a spell in the second half, it appeared a question of when, not if the home side would score. Playing football that appeared to make a mockery of their position, wave after wave of Sunderland attack poured forward. Liam Lawrence cracked a shot wide of Martyn's far post. Julio Arca missed the target after bamboozling Tony Hibbert. Twice Jon Stead shaved the frame of the goal. Like a boxer building up a head of steam, Sunderland had Everton pinned to the ropes. Anthony Le Tallec thought he had provided the knockout blow just after the hour with a terrific header that was destined for the bottom corner. Martyn, somehow, defied gravity to spring to his left and palm the ball round the post. He may well be only a few months shy of his 40th birthday but there is no question that Martyn is still one of the top three English goalkeepers. No wonder Moyes is hoping the former Leeds man will stick around for another season. It was the wake-up call a squad stretched practically to breaking point by injuries and suspension needed to haul themselves up off the canvas and back into the game. Credit to Moyes, as well, for switching things tactically. At one stage, it appeared as if Gary Naysmith would be sent on to give Everton an extra body at the back yet instead, Moyes sent Duncan Ferguson into battle. There may be no mobility but his physical presence unsettled Sunderland ' s defence. The main turning point, nevertheless, came with 11 minutes remaining. After Everton had failed to clear a loose ball, Lawrence looked certain to score from three yards until Cahill slid in from nowhere, averting the danger with an outstretched leg. Sensing their chance had gone, Sunderland looked ready to settle for a point - an outcome every Evertonian who had made the long, laborious trip north would have gladly accepted. Not the players. They have been rightly criticised for capitulating so tamely in recent weeks against West Brom, Bolton and Aston Villa, so on this occasion they deserve commending for their bravery. No, Everton did not play well and a number of players admitted so afterwards. They didn't pass the ball with any fluency and created little for their strikers to test the uncertain Kelvin Davies in Sunderland's goal. Yet in terms of showing resilience, character and strength of mind, Everton were magnificent. Here, there and everywhere, Kevin Kilbane ran himself into the ground against his former club - 'Zinedine' is getting back to his best. Similarly, James Beattie was another example of tenacity personified. Gritting his teeth, arms and legs pumping up and down as he surged forward, there was never a ball he refused to chase. As for Cahill, he was a busy influence in the second half and his goal - a bullet header from Kilbane's corner, sparking scenes of unbridled joy in the visiting section - could not have come at a better time. It was practically the last kick of the game. So, a run of four consecutive defeats has been halted and the rot has been stopped for the time being. A glance at the Premiership table shows it is still too close for comfort at the bottom and if Everton slip back to the erratic form they have shown all too often, they will be sucked into the mire. But provided they show the battling qualities and continue to receive the odd slice of luck that came their way at the Stadium of Light, there will be no worries. Here's hoping 2006 sees Everton become consistent, rather than consistently inconsistent. Man of the match Kevin Kilbane
Everton's top performer for the second game in succession capped with a wonderful corner to pick out Tim Cahill in injury time
Everton 3, Charlton 1 (D,Post)
Jan 3 2006 Ian Doyle At Goodison Park, Daily Post
NEW YEAR, new optimism. If Everton are starting as they mean to go on, then 2006 promises to be a much better 12 months for all concerned at Goodison. Victory over Charlton Athletic, allied to the triumph at Sunder-land two days earlier, was the ideal belated festive present to the supporters who'd suffered Christmas stuffings at the hands of Aston Villa and Liverpool. Two wins do not, of course, represent a fully-fledged recovery, but after the misery of mid-December in which defeat followed demoralising defeat, those six points have afforded Everton some breathing space among the Premiership's basement stragglers. But where the last-gasp win at Sunderland had been, let's face it, daylight robbery, there was nothing undeserved about this comprehensive success, easily Everton's finest display of the season. Inspired by the midfield pairing of Tim Cahill and Mikel Arteta and with an enterprise, incisiveness and entertainment value that has been sorely lacking for much of the campaign, David Moyes's men overpowered a visiting side who have now lost nine of their last 11 games. It has been needed. Unbelievably, yesterday was only the second time Everton had scored two goals in a game this season and they hadn't netted three since the 4-0 hammering of Crystal Palace on April 10 last year. Okay, so all the goals came from set-pieces. But that should not detract from a scoreline that would have been even more emphatic if it weren't for some characteristically chronic officiating from Uriah Rennie that denied Cahill the first hat-trick of his career. Throughout the team there were individual reputations reinforced and enhanced on an afternoon that, while giving Moyes reason quiet optimism for the remainder of the season, will have been proven just as frustrating for the manager. Why has it taken Everton so long to produce this kind of form? The same could be asked of Cahill. Much has been made of the midfielder's failure to reproduce his goalscoring feats of his debut season, but that was as part of a five-man midfield which made the most of his ability to arrive late in the penalty area to devastating effect.
World Cup distractions and second-season syndrome have similarly hampered his efforts, but the signs are the Australian is now rediscovering his eye for goal. Certainly, his two headers yesterday - both from precise Arteta set-piece deliveries - were trademark Cahill finishes, and although Rennie's decision to chalk off a third will have been hard to digest, his blockbusting stoppage-time volley that crashed against the woodwork hinted at a burgeoning confidence. Just in time for the FA Cup visit to old club Millwall, too. James Beattie's sixth goal of the season after nine minutes had given Everton the perfect platform to build from, and although Matt Holland smashed in an equaliser soon after, Moyes will have been pleased with the character shown by his side to over-come that disappointment and re-impose themselves on the game. And then there was Duncan Ferguson. The big man, his body unable to withstand the rigours of the Premier-ship on a regular basis, is reaching the end of his career but his cameo at the Stadium of Light persuaded Moyes to hand him a first start since November 6. Handed the captain's armband with David Weir benched, Ferguson responded with a canny dis-play of brawn and economy that fully warranted the standing ovation he received on his substitution nine minutes from time. Not that anyone is getting carried away yet, mind. Matteo Ferrari, making his first appearance since late October, was encouragingly impressive at centre-back but otherwise the defence was again worryingly unconvincing. Charlton, though toothless in midfield and poor overall, still managed to create a number of decent chances that, if taken, could have given the scoreline an altogether different complexion. But they didn't, and there's the rub. The dice have rolled in Everton's favour this weekend and they made sure they benefited. The challenge now is to reproduce this level of performance against much sterner opposition. Their next league match at Portsmouth on Saturday week would be a good place to start bringing mid-table security that little bit closer. With confidence boosted from that late win at Sunderland, Everton made the perfect start when they went ahead in the ninth minute from the spot. Leon Osman slid a pass in for Kevin Kilbane to chase through on goal only for the Irishman to be impeded by the back-tracking Dennis Rommedahl. Referee Rennie was probably right to issue only a yellow card to the Denmark international - it was a clumsy challenge rather than anything cynical - and Beat-tie breathed a huge sigh of relief when, after his initial penalty had been easily saved by former Everton goalkeeper Thomas Myhre, the rebound fell kindly for the striker and he struck home at the second attempt. It was the kind of fortune Moyes believes Everton have been lacking in recent times and, tails up, Cahill headed over Arteta's corner. But rather than build on their promising start, old failings returned to contribute to Charlton's equaliser nine minutes later.
There was no doubting the quality of the strike when Holland fired home on the volley from the edge of the area - similar to his matchwinner here last January - but Moyes will have been disappointed at his side's attempts to properly clear the initial Rommedahl free-kick, the subsequent Luke Young cross and then close down Holland before he had chance to shoot. Ferguson demonstrated he still retains sufficient mobility to attempt an acrobatic overhead kick that Myhre saved comfortably before the teams traded decent goalscoring opportunities just past the half hour.
First, a routine long ball into the Everton area was flicked on by Shaun Bartlett for the incoming Bryan Hughes, who chested the ball and shot over from an angle from eight yards out. Then at the other end, Osman's cross from the right was headed against the outside of Myhre's left-hand post by Kilbane. Ferguson's sheer awkwardness then justified itself as Everton forged ahead again four minutes before the break with a brilliantly-crafted goal. The striker was adjudged to have been fouled by Jonathan Fortune midway inside the Charlton half, and with Arteta's quick-witted and precise delivery catching the visitors off guard, Cahill ghosted in behind Young at the far post to head in off the underside of the crossbar. Arteta and Cahill combined again to make the points safe just before the hour mark, the Australian hanging in the air to bullet home a header from the Span-iard's free-kick on the right. Bartlett missed a great chance soon after to reduce the arrears but, after controlling Nigel Martyn's wayward clearance and with the goalkeeper well out of his area, the Charlton striker placed his effort way over. Cahill was then denied a hat-trick following a mystifying decision from referee Rennie to disallow his close-range tap in, allegedly for some pulling by Ferguson. Meanwhile, Martyn was grateful to see Fortune's header hit the inside of the post and land back in his arms before substitute Darren Ambrose nodded an even easier chance over and the Everton goalkeeper was forced to save well from the same player. The home side, however, finished the stronger and Cahill volleyed a magnificent 20-yard effort against the post in injury time, but by then Charlton had accepted their fate. For Cahill, Moyes and Everton, this was indeed a happy new year.
MAN OF THE MATCH Tim Cahill
Scored twice and could have had two others in an energetic, all-action display from midfield
EVERTON (4-4-2): Martyn, Hibbert, Yobo, Ferrari, Nuno Valente, Osman, Arteta, Cahill, Kilbane, Beattie, Ferguson (Bent 88). Subs: Wright, Nay-smith, Weir, McFadden.
CHARLTON (4-4-2) : Myhre, Young, Fortune, Hreidarsson, Powell, Rommedahl (Lisbie 76), Holland, Hughes (Ambrose 67), Murphy (Kishishev 67), Bent, Bartlett. Subs: Andersen, Spector. BOOKINGS: Rommedahl, Bent (both fouls).
REFEREE: U Rennie (S Yorkshire).
NEXT GAME: Millwall v Everton, FA Cup third round, Saturday 3pm
Cahill shrugs off referee's goal mistake
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Jan 3 2006
TIM CAHILL believes he should be celebrating his first career hat-trick after helping Everton to a second successive victory yesterday. The Australian scored twice as the Goodison outfit secured an impressive 3-1 triumph over Charlton Athletic to record their biggest win of the season. James Beattie had given David Moyes's side the lead in the ninth minute, converting the rebound after his spot-kick had been saved by former Everton goalkeeper Thomas Myhre. Matt Holland equalised for Charlton in the 18th minute but Cahill's double strike - both headers from Mikel Arteta free-kicks - ensured Everton moved up to 15th in the Premiership table and six points clear of the relegation zone. And Cahill insists he was harshly denied a third goal when referee Uriah Rennie mystified Goodison by disallowing a tap-in from the Australian during the second half. "It was disappointing about not getting a hattrick," said the midfielder. "It would have been the first of my career. "I asked the referee why he had disallowed the goal and he said it had been for a pull by Duncan (Ferguson). I have looked at it and it is a bit dubious, but everyone makes mistakes. "The main thing is that the team won and we can start feeling better about ourselves again. We are getting a bit of confidence back and things are looking up again." Moyes agreed that Cahill should have been awarded a third goal. "I thought there was a fourth goal, a third goal for Tim Cahill, and it looked a goal from what I have seen," said the Everton manager. "I haven't asked the referee why he disallowed it. So it could have been better, but I am happy with the three goals. Tim's two goals were really, really good goals, but you cannot mention him without mentioning Mikel Arteta's quality delivery from the set-pieces. You would have to give him credit, too, for that." Cahill's goals followed his match-winner against Sunderland on Saturday. The strike at the Stadium of Light was his first league goal of the campaign, having netted 11 in the Premiership last season. And Moyes admitted: "I don't think Tim ever had a problem with World Cup exertions, but his form has not been what it was like last season. His goals were vital last season, and if he can go on a run of goals now then that will help us. He scored two today, looked a threat and hit the post in the last minute.
"The second year is tough for everyone, but maybe the goal against Sunderland has given him more confidence. He has started to do better in the games. I sent him away for a week to have a rest (when he was banned). I am looking for him to be an influence when he plays and if he can get on the end of things then he is a terrific finisher." Meanwhile FC Pasching striker Thomas Pichl-mann claims Everton have had discussions about a possible move to Goodison Park. The 24-year-old Austrian international said last night: "My agent and my club have spoken to them and I am aware of their interest in me. "A transfer to Goodison Park would be unbelievable and certainly a dream come true. I hope things can be sorted out, I am very keen on making the switch." Defender Per Kroldrup has revealed he is facing an X-ray on his latest injury problem. The Dane only made his Everton debut on Boxing Day due to a groin problem but picked up an ankle injury in the 4-0 defeat to Aston Villa,. "I can't use the foot to run and certainly not play matches," Kroldrup said.. "It's truly irritating since I had just got back and started to work my way into the side. "I will have an X-ray and then we will see what is wrong, but I don't believe it is serious."
I nearly did a Mexican wave, beams Moyes
By Ian Doyle Daily Post Staff
Jan 3 2006
DAVID MOYES revealed he felt like "doing a Mexican wave" after Everton started the New Year in the perfect manner yesterday. The Goodison outfit recorded their second successive win with a comprehensive 3-1 beating of Charlton Athletic. It was their first win over the Addicks in six attempts, and Moyes said: "I was delighted. "I thought we played well and it was a bit more like us and we scored a few goals too. It was a great win for us. "I felt we had a more balanced look to us, and for some reason the team looked a bit more settled." Moyes added: "I take a lot of satisfaction from that performance. Credit goes to the players, they have done very well getting the goal late against Sunderland and today getting the goals and playing much better. "We got the goal early today, and we did make a good start. "We played well and were controlling the majority of the play at that time. I was pleased with the start we made. "I do feel that we could have had more goals, I nearly did a Mexican wave when the third went in, but the fact is that we should have had more. "The fourth one should have counted. "I can't see why it was ruled out, but nevertheless I am satisfied with the three and pleased that we got the three points. "I don't know how many people have asked me about turning the corner this season. I don't know how many corners I have turned or how many bends I have been on. "It is a big rollercoaster at the moment. "We have to play better than we have been doing, but today's performance was a good one." Matteo Ferrari made his first appearance since being injured against Middlesbrough in the Carling Cup on October 26, while Duncan Ferguson was named skipper on his first start in almost two months. "Matteo played well and got better," said Moyes. "He must have felt under a lot of pressure as we have not been playing well at the back. "I thought Duncan played great today. "Maybe with Duncan, he feels he cannot play regularly and if he gets the odd start he feels it suits his body better." Meanwhile a number of Everton's games in spring have been rearranged for television purposes. The trip to Newcastle United on Saturday, February 25 will now kick-off at 5.15pm. The home clash against Aston Villa on Saturday, March 18 has moved to a 12.45pm kick-off, as has the Merseyside derby at Liverpool the following Saturday, March 25.
Phil kitted out as school concerts turn sporty
Jan 3 2006 By Homa Khaleeli, Daily Post
FOOTBALL chants are not the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra's usual style, but for a week they will form part of a programme of children's concerts in Hope Street. Organisers of the orchestra's Schools Concerts have created a sporting theme for the week-long programme of performances enjoyed by more than 13,000 pupils across the North West. The musicians will be dressed in football kits and scarves and will play, among other pieces, the theme from Match of the Day. Chants and rattles may be the music associated with matches, but the Phil will also perform passages from a Rus-sian ballet, inspired by football, while the climax of the recitals will be a musical football game for the audience and orchestra. Deviser and presenter of the concerts Alasdair Malloy said: "Football is definitely an easy subject to get kids enthusiastic about. "For the piece 'Game' by David Lyon each school is told before the concert which side they will be supporting - Philharmonic Rovers or Symphonic United. Every time there is a goal, a chant will follow so the children know who scored. "For each performance the outcome will be different and the children will have to listen to find out who wins." But although the teams will have their own colours, they definitely won't be red or blue, said Mr Malloy. He said: "Anything but that. We are trying to keep it all safe and neutral."
Alongside the football-inspired pieces will be music associated with cycling and even horse racing.
Next year is the 250th anniversary of Mozart's death, and to celebrate the composer, who reportedly wrote music at the billiards table, the orchestra will play his piece that became the theme for the Horse of the Year Show. This is the sixth year the Philharmonic has run their schools' concerts,, which comes alongside an educational pack to help children learn to enjoy live music as well as improving their listening and concentration skills. Judith Winters, a teacher from Alt Bridge Secondary Support Centre, in Huyton, said her pupils loved the concerts: "We have been for several years on the run and the concerts are excellent. They allow the boys and girls to learn about the composers before they go to the concerts so when they get there they are really excited and appreciate it much more. "And they get to experience one of the best orchestras in the world live.
"Being in Liverpool the boys and girls are totally devoted to one of the football teams so I'm sure this theme will be an extra source of enthusiasm." The theme has been chosen to fit into the Capital of Culture theme for 2006, Liverpool performs. The concerts will run from March 28 to April 4, 2006, and the organisers say there are still spaces for a few more schools to apply to join.
Chance to start dreaming again
By Conor Francis, Daily Post
Jan 3 2006
THE most heartening aspect of yesterday's win - and Tim Cahill's confirmation of the importance of his goals to the Everton cause - was that our best win of the season was achieved with two up front.
Cahill's free-scoring exploits of last year seemed to be borne out of his ability to break forward from a five-man midfield. Not so against Charlton. Yesterday's success came out of those spring-heeled leaps between defenders that were a hallmark of last season - and the ability of Mikel Arteta to deliver the ball onto his head with pinpoint accuracy. Cahill, denied a hat-trick by the over-fussy Uriah Rennie, seems to have rediscovered the bubbling effervescence of last year and that can only be good for the rest of the season. Arteta's role will also be pivotal. He is our most creative player, but does not always impose himself on games as many supporters would like to see. But when he is on song, he offers the ability to find the kind of telling pass or deadball delivery that can make all the difference. The defence still looks prone to the kind of moments that can leave you watching through your hands. The personnel may be rotated but the jitters remain. However the positive thing about yesterday was the number of chances we created. On that basis the goals will follow and perhaps we can get over the fear that if we concede, then we do not possess the firepower to overturn matters and win from behind. Back-to-back wins to enter 2006 on a high. Just seven points behind eighth position - and a possible European place. Who says we can't start dreaming again...?
Everton 3, Charlton 1 (Echo)
Jan 3 2006 Dominic King At Goodison Park
PUFFING out his cheeks and giving a weary shake of the head, David Moyes found the perfect way to describe his emotions after Everton's festive season drew to a breathless conclusion. "It's just like being on a rollercoaster," said the manager before offering the words that every Evertonian wants to come true during 2006. "Let's hope now that we're on the way up." There can be no question that the Blues were fortunate in the extreme to smash-and-grab their first three points at the Stadium of Light on New Year's Eve but that was certainly not the case against Charlton Athletic yesterday.
Fluent, feisty and fizzing with attacking intent, Everton played the kind of intoxicating football that has been sorely missing at Goodison Park during this topsy-turvy season. What could have been a difficult afternoon proved to be anything but. Head and shoulders above opponents who are plummeting fast, as nine defeats in 11 games proves, Moyes took great delight in watching his side take another step on the road to recovery. True, there is still much work to be done and, as after the win at Sunderland, this victory needs to be digested with a dollop of realism. Everton are still in a precarious position and the next month will be crucial. But with James Beattie and Tim Cahill providing the goals to register Everton's biggest victory since April 10 last year, when they swatted Crystal Palace aside, no wonder optimism abounds. On a day when Duncan Ferguson captained the side on his first start since November 6 - the armband certainly brought the best of the Scottish braveheart - Everton started brightly and poked their noses in front on eight minutes. Though Beattie saw his spot-kick saved by Thomas Myrhe - returning to the club where he spent the best part of four years - after Dennis Rommedahl had bundled Kevin Kil-bane bundled over, he kept calm to roll the ball in from six yards. Some have questioned whether Beattie will ever recapture the goalscoring prowess that he showed for Southampton two years ago but he now has six to his name and considering he missed a chunk of the season with injury, it's not a poor return. Provided he stays out of the treat-ment room between now and May, it's not totally inconceivable for him to reach 15 goals this campaign - a total no Everton forward has matched since Andrei Kanchelskis a decade ago.
Few can question Beattie's commitment or his workrate. Always on the go, never one to shirk a challenge, the 27-year-old is rapidly winning over his doubters. Polish the rough edges of his game and Moyes will have a striker out of the top drawer Unfortunately, the Blues could not build on that and while Cahill went close with a header from Mikel Arteta's corner shortly after, Matt Holland - scorer of his side's only goal in the same fixture last season - crashed a volley past Nigel Martyn.
Moyes stood in the technical area shaking his head and it was no surprise because Everton were masters of their own downfall. The marking was lax when Luke Young crossed and Holland was not under any pressure when he came to shoot. With the atmosphere uncomfortably flat, Everton were unable to raise themselves. Tackles lacked bite, passes went astray and Charlton established a foot-hold in the game. Nuno Valente threw himself in front of a goal-bound Darren Bent shot. That attack sparked Everton back into life and skipper Ferguson acrobatically tested Myrhe with an overhead kick from Kilbane's cross, while the Republic of Ireland international saw a header thud against the woodwork from Leon Osman's centre. Despite the verve they showed going forward, Everton - with a new central defensive partnership of Joseph Yobo and Matteo Ferrari - were still susceptible on the break. Bryan Hughes caused anxious moments, first with a rising drive then a header. To their credit, Everton conjured up the perfect riposte. Arteta - with a point to prove following his ridiculous sending off against Liverpool - flicked a quick free-kick and Cahill darted behind Young to plant a header past Myrhe off the crossbar. If that last minute winner he scored at Sunderland has opened the floodgates, all the better. Cahill arriving late on the scene and scoring goals is arguably Moyes' most lethal weapon. He proved it again on the hour. Another Arteta free-kick, flung in deep from the right, was met with another bullet header which raced past the helpless Myrhe and in to the roof of the Gwaldys Street net. Game, set and match. While the contributions of Cahill and Beattie were the most significant aspect of the game, Arteta's influence was equally crucial. Finding his range early on, the passing and movement missing at Sunder-land returned with his twinkling feet.
Everton's superiority over a side that has been even more out of form than them in recent weeks should have yielded a fourth goal - and a first hat-trick for Cahill - only for limelight-loving referee Uriah Rennie to intervene. Only he will know why he chalked off Cahill's goal, crashed in from eight yards. Television replays showed no off-side, nor a foul by Ferguson. Agonisingly for Cahill, the woodwork also intervened in injury time after a wonderfully struck volley. No matter. For the first time in a while, everyone went home happy. The result was right, as was the performance. Mistakes were few and far between, while damaged confidence appears to be restored. We know from bitter experience that it can be folly to suggest that Everton have turned the corner, so it is best to keep feet firmly rooted to the ground. That said, keep playing like this and they won't go far wrong.
Happy New Year? Let's hope so. Man of the match Tim Cahill:
Roaring right back to his best, was the perpetual motion personified. Scored two super headers and ran for miles. Should have headed home with the match ball.
Super Tim chasing points not glory
Jan 3 2006 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
TIM CAHILL shrugged off the disappointment of missing out on a first professional hat-trick by declaring that Everton's continued improvement is more important than personal glory.
The Australian international was the Blues' star man during yesterday's 3-1 win over Charlton Athletic, scoring twice, rattling the woodwork with a wonderful drive and running miles for the team. However, he should have headed for home with the match ball but for referee Uriah Rennie mysteriously chalking off a 'goal' late in the game when television replays showed there was nothing obviously wrong. When asked in the tunnel afterwards, Rennie refused to expand on his decision because he "doesn't talk to the press but thanks for asking" though he did reveal his reasons to a bemused Cahill. But while the midfielder feels understandably frustrated at missing out on a treble, he took solace from Everton building on their last gasp win against Sunderland on New Year's Eve and is hopeful they can continue to climb the table. "I'm delighted but the biggest thing now is to try and get some results," said Cahill, who also netted the winner at the Stadium of Light. "Whoever scores, it doesn't really matter. "I work hard in every game I play in and to get goals is an added bonus. "There was a lot of style to our performance whereas at Sunderland, we didn't go to play football. We had to battle. "We had a chance to play football against Charlton and that's what we did. It's a bit of mixed emotions at the moment about how we got the results, but it doesn't really matter. "The gaffer asked us to stand up and be counted and we've done that. "The biggest thing for us was not conceding many and confidence is starting to come back. "When you concede so many goals as we had in recent games, that's when the wheels can fall off. It's all about working together." On missing out on the hat-trick, Cahill - who faces his old club Mill-wall in Saturday's FA Cup third round - explained: "Uriah said Fergie (Duncan Ferguson) pulled someone's shirt or something. "I've seen it on the television since and it (his decision) looks a bit dubious. He had had a good game for a change but everyone makes mistakes."
Classy Arteta rolling back Goodison years
Jan 3 2006 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
IT'S been so long since Everton were known as the School of Science that the subject has been replaced on the Goodison curriculum by another topic... ancient history. But in Mikel Arteta the Blues have a bright young student who can show younger fans what an Everton player used to be like. Tim Cahill provided the end product of a crucial Everton success yesterday, but the architect was Arteta, his quick brain and precisely crafted passes opening up Charlton twice when it mattered most. The little Spaniard was missing at the inappropriately named Stadium of Light on Saturday, and it showed in an Everton display bereft of any form of attacking imagination. But having enjoyed the day off, he returned fresh and full of running to provide a creative catalyst to a much improved Blues' performance.. The turning point of the afternoon came four minutes before the break.
Having taken the lead through the admirably industrious James Beattie, yet more shockingly sloppy defending - this time Luke Young allowed to stroll unopposed down the right to collect a free-kick and cross - saw Charlton level. But before the nerve ends could jangle, before notes of panic could be detected in home crowd voices, Duncan Ferguson was fouled 35 yards from goal.
While Charlton reorganised, reshuffled and discussed how they were going to defend, Arteta asked whether he could take a quick free-kick, then clipped the ball effortlessly onto Cahill's head to restore the lead. It was the kind of delivery only he - or possibly the still injured Van Der Meyde - could produce, and it proved the difference. While Beattie, Cahill and Kilbane offered the perspiration, Arteta provided the inspiration - another wonder-fully executed free-kick in the 58th minute inviting Cahill to supply another punishing header. But while Arteta provided the entertainment value for an appreciative Goodison gallery, how much longer must Premiership fans be forced to endure risible referees who begrudge footballers claiming the spotlight they believe is rightfully theirs? Tim Cahill was cruelly denied a first Premiership hat-trick because Uriah Rennie believed the hype which follows Duncan Ferguson and ruled he must have fouled Fortune. He hadn't. The significance of the decision wasn't merely a personal blow for Cahill. Sixty seconds later Fortune headed past Nigel Martyn but against the inside of a post. A goal then and a referee, not for the first time in recent Everton matches, would have changed the whole complexion of a game. But that was a minor gripe. Back-to-back victories have been rarer than classy midfield generals at Goodison Park in recent years. Everton fans were able to celebrate both yesterday, and that offers promise that 2006 might be an entirely happier new year.
Moyes eager to protect his star veteran
Jan 3 2006 By David Prentice At Goodison, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES is ready to use Duncan Ferguson sparingly in the second half of the season, in a bid to prolong the striker's career. Ferguson was a surprise selection to lead the Blues out in yesterday's Goodison clash with Charlton, but he completed 87 minutes and helped inspire a crucial 3-1 win.
And afterwards boss Moyes expressed his delight at a real "captain's performance" from the 34-year-old. "Duncan will tell me how he is, but I thought he played great today," said Moyes. "He was a terrific skipper as well. "He feels he can't play regular games and can't start regularly, and if he gets the odd start he feels that that probably suits his body better. You'll come and ask me next week 'Why's Duncan not playing?' but it's something we're both aware of. "He's experienced enough and he'll tell me when he thinks it's not for him." With Ferguson alongside James Beattie up front, Tim Cahill found more space to arrive late in the penalty area, scored twice, had another incorrectly ruled out and struck the post with a last minute piledriver. "I was delighted with that performance. It was a bit more like us and obviously scoring some goals was great for us," added Moyes. "I just felt like we had a bit more balance about us. It looked a bit more settled and there should even have been a fourth goal for Tim - his third. But I'm happy with three goals. "Tim's two goals were really good goals. But you couldn't mention Tim without mentioning Mikel Arteta and the quality of his delivery on both." Moyes added that Cahill might have benefited from the enforced spell on the sidelines he endured recently as a result of a retrospective suspension for a tussle during the Newcastle match. "I sent him away for a week and he had a rest. I felt he shouldn't have been suspended in the first place, but I hope the break does help," added Moyes. "There's been a couple of games when he's just started to show a little bit more. I'm looking for him because he's an influence when he plays and if he can get on the end of things he's a terrific finisher. "I think he was always over his World Cup exertions but his form this season hasn't been what it should have been.
"Hopefully if he can go on a run of goals that would certainly help us, as did his goals today. "I never asked the ref why he disallowed Tim's goal, but it looks like the boy has stumbled in the box and it doesn't look like there's a foul. "But I'd rather see them make a decision and get it wrong than not see a blatant handball, which we got against Aston Villa. For me that is completely inexcusable."
Moyes also had a word of praise for defender Matteo Ferrari, who claimed his first Premier-ship win bonus at the fifth attempt. "Ferrari played well today and got better," said Moyes. "He must have felt under a little bit of pressure because we've not been doing well at the back. He's had to come in and play in there and he has helped."
Don't call it a day, Ferguson is urged
Jan 4 2006 By Ian Doyle Daily Post Staff
JAMES BEATTIE has urged Duncan Ferguson to reconsider plans to retire at the end of the season.
The talismanic Scot is widely anticipated to bring his career to an end when his contract expires at Everton during the summer. David Moyes revealed last month the 34-year-old has aired his concerns at being able to play regularly following a long battle against persistent injury. Fears were again raised when Ferguson wasn't even named on the bench for the Merseyside derby last Wednesday despite being free from injury. But following a 23-minute substitute appearance at Sunderland, Ferguson was named captain and played 81 minutes in the 3-1 win over Charlton Athletic on Monday. And Beattie, who he partnered up front, has underlined the importance of the former Scotland international and pleaded with Ferguson to carry on playing. "Duncan's his own man, and will make his own decision," said Beattie. "But he was captain against Charlton and produced a great performance on the pitch. "And at half-time he was giving the team-talk before the gaffer came in. He was shouting and telling people what to do. That's the respect he has at this club - all the fans love him and he has got the utmost respect in the dressing room. "He can definitely still play a part in the second half of the season. Duncan's had a tremendous career and he's a legend here - he's been that at every club he's played for. "We would not want to see him call it a day. We will be trying to persuade him in every way we can, and I'd like to see him stay on." The partnership of Beattie and Ferguson caused the Charlton defence plenty of problems, and the former believes the presence of Ferguson in the forward line gives him a greater freedom to perform. "Duncan is tremendous in the air and causes a lot of problems for defences," added Beattie.. "It's a different game to what I usually play, because normally it's me going up for the aerial battles. "It allows me to play a different game, when I'm the one getting on to the flicks and trying to get into positions where I can be put through to score." Meanwhile, Everton manager Moyes has dismissed reports linking a clutch of his players with a move away from Goodison during this month's transfer window.
Per Kroldrup, Marcus Bent and James McFadden are all said to be interesting other clubs, with Charlton considering a £1.5million move for striker Bent. But Moyes said: "People leaving is not a possibility at the moment. "If you look at the bench on Monday we have got Marcus Bent who had a hamstring problem, James McFadden who had the flu, Per Kroldrup who has the flu and Gary Naysmith who hasn't played for months, so it would be very hard for us if we were to lose someone." Reports in Switzerland have claimed FC Thun defender Jose Goncalves has delayed a toe operation so he can be fit for a possible move to Goodison.
Carsley provides fitness fillip
Jan 4 2006
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
LEE CARSLEY has handed David Moyes a welcome fitness fillip by resuming training this week. The 31-year-old has not made a first-team appearance for Everton since suffering medial ligament damage in his right knee during the final game of last season at Bolton. Carsley underwent a lengthy rehabilitation in the summer only to aggravate the injury while his comeback game in the friendly in Istanbul against Fenerbahce in July. That setback was initally expected to sideline the former Republic of Ireland international for only a matter of weeks, but scans subsequently revealed Carsley required an operation to repair the problem. Now the combative midfielder has at last began training again with the first team. Carsley is considered weeks away from a first-team return but has pencilled in an outing for the reserves later this month. Carsley played an integral part for Everton last season as they finished fourth in the Premiership to earn a Champions League qualifying spot.
One tumultuous year on, Beattie's finding his feet
Jan 4 2006 By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
WHEN James Beattie arrived at Goodison last January, David Moyes claimed it was the player's character as much as his commitment that marked him out as an ideal Everton acquisition.
Little did the striker know that his temperament and resolve would be put to such a test during a tumultuous 12 months for club and player. It is exactly a year to the day that Moyes ended a chase that had begun the previous summer by spending a club record £6million to sign Beattie from Southampton. Beattie was supposed to be man who fired Everton towards Champions League qualification and beyond. But while a top-four place was eventually achieved, the 27-year-old's impact was minimal as an unnecessary suspension and loss of form left him with just two goals in 13 appearances. Yet even worse was to come this season, as a toe injury sustained on the opening day of the Barclays Premiership season against Manchester United meant Beattie could only watch helpless on the sidelines as Everton crashed out of the Champions League and UEFA Cup and slumped to the bottom of the table. Now the striker believes he is emerging from those dark days. His goal against Charlton Athletic on Monday was his second of the festive period, helped Everton move further clear of the relegation zone and has taken him to six for the campaign. "It's coming together now," says Beattie. "It was frustrating at the start and obviously there have been good times, but hope-fully I'm over that now, and can look forward to more performances like the last two, and more goals." Of his strike on Monday, he adds: "It wasn't the best penalty ever, but it was a good save by Thomas Myhre and it took a long time to come back to me. But we've been waiting for a bit of luck - we got it at Sunderland with Tim's header and again this time." There were times, particularly during the closing months of last season, when Beattie's purchase came under fierce debate, particularly from Evertonians who recognise a decent centre-forward when they see one. And while the striker concedes the formative stages of his Goodison career left much to be desired, he is confident he will repay Moyes's faith in the most valuable currency - goals..
"I know I can make it as an Everton centre forward," says Beattie. "There are a lot of people who believe in me and some people who are not too sure of that at the moment, but I am certain in my mind I can prove them wrong. "I want more, the gaffer wants more and I am sure the fans want more. I can score goals anywhere - I have proven that and it is just a case of getting on the scoresheet on a more regular basis myself and getting more points on the board to the club, that's the most important thing. "I have enjoyed every minute of being here, even though there have been hard times. "It is a fantastic club and I am very proud to say I play for Everton. It was one of the best days of my life when I signed." Suffice to say things didn't quite go to plan after that. Beattie arrived at Goodison while still recovering from a foot injury sustained at Southampton, and as he strived to convince supporters of his worth, the striker was foolishly sent off for a headbutt on William Gallas against Chelsea last February, leading to a three-match suspension that took five weeks to serve. "Since I moved it has been very frustrating," he admits. "When I came I started playing after a spell injured and I was just regaining my fitness when I got sent off. "It has been a testing time but I feel as if I have come through it. "I feel fit, as fit as I have ever been, and it is a question of getting on the scoresheet. I have been quite pleased with the way I have been playing. But obviously strikers are judged on goals and I have not got enough this year. "The only person I can blame is myself. I am quite critical of myself and I wouldn't be one to shirk responsibility if I am not doing my job. "I feel I am doing 95% of my job but that other 5% is scoring on a regular basis as a striker should do, and I have not been doing that. Hopefully I can go on one of the runs that I know I can do." Two goals in his last three games would suggest Beattie is in the mood to embark on such a spell of form, with Everton buoyant after taking maximum points over the New Year period. "Confidence comes with results - goals breed that,, and so do points," says Beattie. "Everyone's wanting the ball and if we can cut out errors at the back we'll score a lot and we will be fine. We don't want to be where we are at the moment, languishing in the bottom half of the table. After last season everyone wants to be up there again. "We know we've got off to a bad start in the first half of the season, and we're looking to put that right. We're looking to have a good cup run, but the league is the most important thing." Monday's defeat of Charlton was only Everton's third home win of the season and Beattie has called for a return to Fortress Goodison to propel Moyes's men further up the Premiership table. "We want to get back to being horrible and hard to beat here, which is what a lot of our success was based on last year... not conceding goals, nicking them ourselves and everyone working hard for each other," says Beattie. "We want teams to look at the fixture list and say 'bloody hell, we have got to go to Goodison'. "I think last year everyone thought that. "They wouldn't have fancied coming here and we have shown it in first and starts this time. "What we want is more consistency so they dread coming here, because they know what they're in for."
Blackburn's Nelsen charged by FA over comments
Jan 4 2006
BLACKBURN defender Ryan Nelsen has been charged with improper conduct by the FA after accusing referee Mark Halsey of having "a nice track record" of dismissing Rovers players.
His comments were made following Blackburn's 2-0 defeat to Everton in the Barclays Premiership on December 3, a match in which Rovers had skipper Andy Todd sent off for a handball offence.
Rovers were incensed with the decision, as Todd made minimal contact.
Moyes plotting Millwall assault
Jan 4 2006 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has given his squad the opportunity to catch their breath as he starts to plot Everton's assault on the FA Cup. Having played four games in eight days over the festive period, the Blues' players were given yesterday and today off in a bid to recharge their batteries ahead of this weekend's trip to Millwall. Moyes would, if the chance allowed, afford them even more time to recuperate and is slightly concerned that the third round clash at the New Den comes too soon after the defeat of Charlton. But, given the way Everton tore into Alan Curbishley's men 48 hours after winning at Sunderland, the manager has been delighted with the attitude and commitment they have shown to stop the rot. "We had two games in three days, which is a daunting task for anyone, especially at the level the games are played in the Premier League," said Moyes. "Overall, we were pleased. I thought there was a better balance around the team against Charlton and we played better. "There were bits we weren't happy with but that is going to happen because we are trying to regain our confidence and our self-belief and that win after the one at Sunderland will help us.
"We felt we could have played even better at times but we had a good style and our football wasn't as hurried as it has been in the past. But the players are having a couple of days off. "The next game comes too quick, really. That's what happens. It's an FA Cup tie and we want to get through."
Chris Sutton, meanwhile, looks set to choose between Portsmouth and Birmingham as he moves a step nearer to leaving Celtic. Everton boss Moyes has been keeping a watchful eye on the former Blackburn striker but suggestions that he is due on Merseyside for talks are wide of the mark.
Blues officials also reacted with bewilderment to reports that Sampdoria are lining up a £3m bid for Marcus Bent, whose situation Charlton and Manchester City continue to monitor.
Given Everton's injury predicament, Moyes is not considering selling anyone at the moment.
Beattie's goal pledge to fans
Jan 4 2006 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
JAMES BEATTIE is determined to win over his remaining doubters by embarking on a goal spree in the remainder of the season. The one-time England international is approaching the first anniversary of his record-breaking £6m move to Goodison Park and is starting to show the form that persuaded David Moyes to sign him. Free from injury and benefiting from having played every minute of the last 14 games, Beattie has scored in two of his last three appearances to take his tally for the campaign to six. Beattie, however, is far from happy. Well aware that some still view him sceptically, the 27-year-old feels he has a point to prove - and that is why he is desperate to repay the faith bestowed on him. "I know I can make it as an Everton centre forward," said Beattie, whose start to the season was disrupted by calf and toe injuries. "There are a lot of people who believe in me and some people who are not too sure about me at the moment. But I'm certain in my mind that I can prove them wrong. "I want more, the gaffer wants more and I'm sure the fans want more. I can score goals anywhere. "I have proven that and it is just a case of getting on the scoresheet on a more regular basis myself and getting more points on the board for the club, that's the most important thing. "I have enjoyed every minute of being here, even though there have been hard times. It's a fantastic club and I'm very proud to say I play for Everton. "It was one of the best days of my life when I signed. But since I have come here, it has been very frustrating. It's been a testing time but I feel as if I've come through it." Not for the first time, Beattie was seen to particular good effect alongside Duncan Ferguson against Charlton and, coincidence or not, Everton's best performances this year have come when Moyes has paired those two together. No surprise, then, that Beattie has urged Ferguson not to call time on his career at the end of the season after the veteran Scot showed he is still capable of making a significant contribution. "Duncan is his own man and will make his own decision," said Beat-tie. "But he was captain against Charlton and produced a great performance on the pitch. "And at half-time, he was giving a team talk before the gaffer came in. He was shouting and telling people what to do. That's the respect he has at this club. "All the fans love him and he has got the utmost respect in the dressing room. He can definitely still play a part in the second half of the season. "Duncan's had a tremendous career and he's a legend here. We do not want to see him call it a day."
Dunc has been the difference
Jan 4 2006 Echo Letters, icLiverpool & Liverpool Echo
THE difference in Everton in the last two games has been Duncan Ferguson. He has played a major part in both wins. I was at the Sunderland game and couldn't help but notice that Big Dunc's presence changed the game. There were three men marking him for the majority of the time.
Against Charlton he was captain and played most of the game. I just hope against hope that his retirement is not imminent. We need him to see the season out. He typifies Everton - gutsy, not scared of a challenge and he gets the job done. Margaret Barker, Southport AS a season ticket holder for the last few years, I have long been a supporter of David Moyes and believed he was the best man for the job but sadly over the last few weeks it is becoming increasingly clear that he is not.
The Charlton game was much improved on recent performances but how long will this "mini-revival" last? We seem to have had more revivals than the dreadful Police Academy movies.
We could all see that the main priority in the summer was for a striker with pace. However, as per usual, we announce who we want to sign and while Kenwright goes around telling the newspapers, another club swoops in, has talks and offers the player more money.
James Cannon, Runcorn
WELL done to Everton after the win over Charlton. It was a very entertaining game at Goodison for a change. It's great to see Tim Cahill back among the goals and James Beattie is becoming a real player for us now. His goals ratio is actually good compared to the appearances he has made. If he carries on like this it's a £6 million snip.
Jim Knight, Liverpool
HERE we go again. We get a lucky result in injury time and beat the Premiership whipping boys and all in the garden is rosy again. I don't think so! Nothing has really changed and unless we get in several class players in January, I can't see us climbing too far away from the dogfight.
Bob Burns, Walton
WHILE I'm fed up seeing dire performances from Everton week after week, I don't feel sacking David Moyes is the answer. Charlton stuck by Alan Curbishley through thick and thin for 15 years and in that time he has made a name for himself as a good manager. We need to stop thinking we are one of the big boys these days and get back to reality. We need Moyes. He has brought us our best season in years. We shouldn't lay all the blame at his feet. We have a team of players who are in need of a big kick and to start proving their worth.
Steve Daley, West Derby
WHAT do the last two victories tell us about Everton? Absolutely nothing. We'll lurch from crisis to crisis in the coming months because there is a tactical naivety about the way we play. Motivation and playing for the shirt will only get you so far. What about skill, tactics, organisation and defensive discipline? I hope and pray that we stay up this year.
Tim Charles, Widnes
LOTS of Everton fans seem to be saying Phil Neville is our best player. To these fans I say just watch him properly and don't be kidded like David Moyes by the fact he is an ex-Manchester United player.
He gives the ball away constantly and it's no coincidence that we have won the last two games without him.
He is the most overrated player to ever play for England.
Terry Parkes, Billinge
THE three points at Sunderland were a gift but Everton earned the win big time against Charlton.
It's all well and good pointing fingers at the manager but the players must stand up and be counted. And on Monday, they did just that. Let's hope that David Moyes will have some decent money to boost our strike force with this month.
Alan Sprake, Liverpool
Beattie picking up
WHILE Tim Cahill has rightly grabbed the headlines for excellent goals against Sunderland and Charlton, James Beattie has efficiently been adding to his tally. He may not be everybody's cup of tea but he is the closest thing we've got to a proven goalscorer. Now all we need is the perfect partner for him up front, so come on Moyesy, get splashing the cash.
Rob Hughes, Crosby
Unitt plots cup revenge for improving Blues
Jan 4 2006 Women's football by Paul Garrity, Liverpool Echo
FA Cup fever hits Merseyside this weekend and it's not just for our men's teams. The women's FA Cup also takes centre stage on Sunday, with the competition entering the fourth round stage.
Everton play host to Northern Division side Nottingham Forest and Liverpool are at home to Colchester United. The Blues go into this year's competition hoping to go one better than they did last season, when they were runners-up to Charlton. England defender Rachel Unitt was a member of the Everton team in last year's final, but she has won the competition twice during her time as a professional at Fulham. She wants to put the bad memory of that final defeat out of her mind this year by winning the cup this time round. "It was disappointing to lose to Charlton last season," said Unitt. "They deserved it on the day as they were the better team, but life goes on. "We still have the FA Cup to play for this year so we will be looking to maybe get one over on Charlton this time. Hopefully we can meet them in the final again. "I think we are improving all the time and we are not too far behind the likes of Arsenal. We have caught up with them over the last two seasons."
This season things have been going well for the Blues and they still have a shot of winning the league and the FA Cup. But Unitt has admitted to not being quite herself this season, though believes she is just coming into form in time for the New Year. "I came back from playing in America in the summer and I was a bit tired at the start of Everton's season. But in the last few months, I think am back to myself. I can always improve and I will definitely be looking to do that in 2006." Everton's game with Nottingham Forest on Sunday is at Rossett Park, Marne FC (kick-off 1pm).
Meanwhile, Liverpool's match with Colchester United is at Gayton Park, Heswall FC (kick-off 1pm).
Whitbread in chance to stop Everton
By Richard Williamson, Daily Post
Jan 5 2006
LIVERPOOL defender Zak Whitbread has been handed the chance to upset the FA Cup ambitions of derby neighbours Everton. The American-born defender is to extend his loan spell at Millwall - who entertain David Moyes's Premiership side in the third round on Saturday - until the end of the season. And Liverpool have given permission for Whitbread to appear in this weekend's cup tie.
Whitbread has already spent a month on loan at the New Den and has made seven appearances for the Championship side and will be relishing the chance to spring one of the surprises of the competition. Millwall are second bottom of the Championship, having won just five of their 28 league games, although their last outing brought a welcome 2-1 win over Derby. Everton go into the game on the back of successive Premiership victories that have helped lift the Goodison gloom following the derby defeat to Liverpool and the Boxing Day 4-0 hammering at Aston Villa. Manager Moyes has given his players a brief respite ahead of the cup tie as they seek to recharge their batteries after the demanding holiday schedule of four games in eight days. "We had two games in three days, which is a daunting task for anyone, especially at the level the games are played in the Premier League," said Moyes, who saw his side pip Sunderland and over-haul Charlton in the space of three days. "The players are having a couple of days off. The next game comes too quick, really. That's what happens. It's an FA Cup tie and we want to get through." Moyes was pleased with the response of his team to the two Christmas defeats, but acknowledges there is still room for improvement. "I thought there was better balance around the team against Charlton and we played better," he added. "There were bits we weren't happy with but that is going to happen because we are trying to regain our confidence and our self-belief and that win after the one at Sunderland will help us. "We felt we could have played even better at times, but we had a good style and our football wasn't as hurried as it has been in the past."
Nigeria dish out Yobo cup warning
Jan 5 2006 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
JOSEPH YOBO has been told by the Nigerian FA to join up with his international colleagues on Monday or forget about playing in this year's African Nations' Cup. The Everton defender was originally due to depart for a Super Eagles training camp tomorrow ahead of the tournament in Egypt. But, after talks with Yobo, Bolton's Jay-Jay Okocha and Kanu (West Brom), the date was put back. Yobo, though, revealed last week he wanted to leave joining up as late as possible, as he was so concerned with his club's plight after four consecutive defeats. Following back-to-back wins against Sunderland and Charlton Athletic, however, the situation is healthier and Yobo heads to Africa after Saturday's FA Cup third round clash with Millwall. Everton manager David Moyes today admitted that if Yobo goes for the next month, it would be a big blow to lose one of the Blues' most consistent performers this year. "We don't want to lose Joe as he has been a real plus, " said Moyes. "To be fair to him - and to Nuno Valente - sometimes they have been playing with little injuries and could have quite easily dropped out. "But they didn't. It's the type of attitude that we are looking for from the players. "Joe has made one or two mistakes recently which he has to eradicate from his game, but we know we are going to lose him for the African Nations Cup. "That will then give other people their opportunities and it is up to them to take it." Moyes, meanwhile, rubbished reports that he is preparing to bring in Southampton goalkeeper Antti Niemi, with Richard Wright and £1m going in the opposite direction. The Blues returned to training today following a two-day break after their hectic Christmas schedule. One man not involved, despite suggestions to the contrary, was Lee Carsley. Though the Republic of Ireland international is making good progress from the knee injury that has kept him out since August, Moyes does not know when he will be ready to take part in a full session again. Gary Naysmith has stepped up his work and there is a remote chance he could be involved against Millwall, but a more likely starting point is next Tuesday's reserve game with Bolton Wanderers at Haig Avenue.
Jan 5 2006 Liverpool Echo
Should Duncan Ferguson be handed the club captaincy on a full-time basis? THE current remit of an Everton captain is to be able to raise the spirits of his team-mates during a disastrous season that finds us lying too close to the bottom. Any captain should have huge desire and hunger for the team to do well and above all else he should be vocal, have a big presence and bags of experience.
Duncan Ferguson has these qualities but can you have a captain who rarely plays 90 minutes.
He undeniably worries the opposition but can we place our leadership on the shoulders of a man who is the first to admit his body can't take it anymore? With Duncan talking of his own retirement we should be looking to other members of the Everton squad for leadership. Candidates to take over the armband are few and far between, Weir is too quiet and won't be here much longer, Cahill lacks experience leaving Phil Neville as the only candidate to take us forward.
STE DALEY, Speke
GIVING Duncan Ferguson the captaincy on Monday seemed to help inspire Everton to a better performance but to give it to him on a full-time basis will depend on how many games he can play in the second half of the season. From what the players have said, it appears he takes the responsibility very seriously and therefore Moyes should consider giving him a club captaincy role and then on the field giving it to either Neville or Carsley as a team captain. This may help inspire the team more and create leaders all over the park which is what Everton need at the moment.
One problem that has stood out is the lack of leadership on the field, Weir is too quiet.
I noticed at the derby how vocal Carragher is for Liverpool, even though Gerrard is captain.
STEPHEN SHONE, Wallasey
THE team's performance on Monday proved that the presence of Big Dunc in the team does not necessarily mean a resort to the long ball. Against Charlton, the big man was able to tie up a couple of defenders with almost every attack and in doing so allowed Osman, Arteta and particularly Cahill the space to take full advantage. But then, the advantages of a fully fit Ferguson aren't really the issue here - we all know what they are by now. The issue is whether the tartan terrier can survive the rigours of the Premiership, week in week out, until the end of the season. Sadly, we all know the answer to that as well - a resounding no. Moyes knows this and must now react by bringing in a more regular partner for the vastly improved Beattie. However, that must not mean the premature retirement of Dunc who has still got much to offer, particularly at Goodison.
JON SELLICK, Crosby
ON the evidence of the last two games, rumours of Duncan Ferguson's demise have been greatly exaggerated. Although he is clearly not capable of playing for 90 minutes week in and week out, he remains a player that opponents clearly fear, and it is surely no coincidence that the likes of Tim Cahill have profited by defenders concentrating solely on stopping Duncan's obvious threat. With a lack of natural leaders in the squad he is also the obvious choice to captain the side when selected.
In the long-term though neither Ferguson nor Weir will be at the club, and it may make sense to give the armband to someone around whom the team is being built. Although the popular choice would probably be Phil Neville, I would prefer to see the responsibility given to Mikel Arteta. Not only our major creative force, he has also shown a great willingness to physically compete and drive the side forward.
DAVID SPOWART, Wavertree
Magnificent seven to help England's World Cup bid
Jan 5 2006 Evertonia, Liverpool Echo
SEVEN Everton Ladies players have been named in Hope Powell's latest England squad for a training camp in Spain. It is a big year for the Three Lions as they look to secure a place in next year's World Cup. There is a first senior selection for winger Michelle Evans, who will be joined by England regulars Rachel Unitt, Fara Williams, Rachel Brown, Lindsay Johnson, Kelly McDougall and Jody Handley. The squad will fly out to Malaga on January 16 for a week of training as the side prepares for the 2007 World Cup qualifier against France on March 5.
* EVERTON have had to re-schedule the club's reserve match with Manchester United at Haig Avenue. The match was due to be played on Valentine's Day, February 14. The game has been postponed as it clashes with a cup match for Southport and no date has yet been set for the fixture.
However, a date has now been confirmed for the mini-derby with Liverpool, postponed from last month. The rearranged Premier League North reserve match will now be played at Haig Avenue on February 16. The game kicks off at 7pm and entry is free to members of Evertonia.
* THERE are a multitude of benefits for those who become members of Junior Evertonia.
For £9.99, children under 16 receive a membership card, two-week ticket priority for Premiership home games, free entry to reserve and ladies games and the chance to be selected as a matchday mascot. And just a few weeks ago more than 100 junior Evertonia members were invited to join their Goodison heroes at the club's special junior Christmas party. Pictured is Matthew Leach with goalkeeping duo Richard Wright and Nigel Martyn. For more details of how to become a member of Junior Evertonia call 0870 442 0202 or visit evertonfc.com/
Yobo hope as Everton ponder Goncalves
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Jan 6 2006
EVERTON have not given up hope of having Joseph Yobo available for their crucial Premiership clash at Portsmouth on Saturday week. The centre-back has been told by the Nigerian FA that he must join up with their squad on Monday for the forthcoming African Nations Cup. But the Goodison outfit remain confident they persuade the authorities to allow Yobo to stay in England for one more week, with Everton visiting Fratton Park on Saturday, January 14. The competition runs from January 20 to February 10 but agreement had already been reached to allow Yobo, West Bromwich Albion's Kanu and Jay-Jay Okocha of Bolton Wanderers to play in the FA Cup this weekend.
The Nigerians had initially wanted their players in their training camp by the weekend but Yobo wanted to leave joining up as late as possible. Everton manager David Moyes accepts that it will be a big blow to lose Yobo for up to a month in any case. "We don't want to lose him as he has been a real plus for us this season. But to be fair to him - and to Nuno Valente - sometimes they have been playing with injuries and could have quite easily dropped out," Moyes said. "But they didn't. It's the type of attitude that we are looking for from the players. "But we have always known we would lose him at some point. That will then give other people their opportunities and it is up to them to take it." Everton are set to hand a trial to FC Thun left-back Jose Goncalves. The 20-year-old impressed during the Swiss club's run in the Champions League, and is expected to be handed a chance to earn a loan move. However, Everton target Chris Sutton yesterday joined Birmingham City on a free transfer from Celtic. Moyes could have Simon Davies available for tomorrow's trip to Millwall, the Welsh international having missed Monday's win over Charlton with an ankle injury. Head of Physio Mick Rathbone said: "Simon went over on his ankle against Liverpool and then did really well to get back for the next game at Sunderland. "I was out with him at 7am on the snow at Sunderland for a fitness test and he did okay. "He was willing to get out there for the cause but unfortunately he got a tackle from behind in that game that hit his ankle again and ruled him out against Charlton. "But I am hoping he will be all right for the Millwall game after some training."
Keep the faith
Post Soapbox, icLiverpool & Daily Post
Jan 6 2006
I AM all for freedom of speech, but for all those 'supporters' taking cheap shots at the club, I would like to remind them we are all Evertonians and we all have one thing that is close to our hearts, that being our club. Whether we like the manager or dislike him, or the chairman for that matter, there is nothing wrong with getting our worries off our chest, but stay positive and true to the club.
John Johnson (via e-mail)
No great loss
HOW does Chris Sutton going to Birmingham equate to the board not backing David Moyes, as some fans are suggesting? Moyes merely expressed an interest in the player. People call the manager a ditherer, others say he squanders our money; well he can't be both!
B Enwright (via e-mail)
Fit to sign
THIS isn't sour grapes but I never felt Chris Sutton was what we should be looking for. He has an injury record and is being signed by Birmingham to beat the drop. Forssell hasn't done much, or Emre or Parker - all injured. We need younger, fitter, hungrier players. Carlton Cole on loan would not be a bad move.
Sean Childs, Thornton
I THINK we can forget about Robbie Keane. Why wouldn't he be happy at Spurs? He scores every other game, they're fourth in the League and last game he was captain!
W Ashburn (via e-mail)
I AM glad Everton did not get Sutton; he is well past his sell-by date. I am not a big fan of Robert Earnshaw and don't know too much about David Nugent, but one thing is for sure, whoever gets the honour to wear the royal blue shirt of Everton will be guaranteed my full support. That is what being a true Evertonian is all about.
Sammy Burns (via e-mail)
A super sub
WHAT alternative does David Moyes have to Duncan Ferguson in the last 10 minutes. I think you would find a lot of clubs would like to have such a substitute to call on. Moyes is a good manager so we should stop all this talk about his future.
John Dunne (via e-mail)
EVERTON are in terminal decline. No investment and not even any signs of interest (unlike Aston Villa and Portsmouth). Did the Fortress Fund ever exist? What's being done now to address our under-investment? The Rooney legacy has been squandered. How come Bolton can attract quality Bosmans while we buy expensive flops?
Sam Walters (via e-mail)
Cahill puts a spring back into season
By Mark O'Brien Everton supporter, Daily Post
Jan 6 2006
PERHAPS it's the prospect of facing his old club tomorrow or maybe he's just long overdue - whatever the reason, Tim Cahill, Goodison's own shadow-boxing Socceroo, couldn't have picked a better time to start finding the back of the net again. The two performances from Everton over the New Year period where vastly different - they looked lost against the doomed Sunderland but then played some of their best football of the season against Charlton - but both games were Characterised by Cahill getting back to what he does best - bursting into the box and scoring goals.
The late, late winner at the Stadium of Light will be pinpointed as a turning point if Everton do manage to survive in the Premier-ship this season, but just as important was their reaction on Monday when Matt Holland's equaliser flew in. On more occasions than you'd care to remember this team has caved in against the most limited opposition when faced with a setback, but this time they didn't let their heads drop and successfully managed to reassert themselves. And while Cahill's goals were vital, along with Mikel Arteta's midfield artistry and Duncan Ferguson's mere presence, special mention must go to James Beattie, whose performances of late have been heartening to say the least. The effort the ex-Saints striker is putting in is exceptional, but his all-round play and his touch have also come on leaps and bounds, too. It's not clear whether it was a lack of fitness or confidence, or a bit of both, that affected much of his Everton career to date, but it wasn't so long ago that he struggled to resemble a Premiership player, never mind one with aspirations of playing for England. Therefore his transformation in the last month or so has been truly remarkable.
Fair play to him, he has something of a reputation for being more interested in getting in the pages of Heat or Hello than on the back of the papers, and that didn't help when his form was so poor, but no-one can question his application and his professionalism at the moment. It just remains to be seen who his long-term strike partner will be now. Chris Sutton would have made a pretty decent replacement for Ferguson if he hadn't been offered what sounds like crazy money at Birmingham, but more than anything this Everton side is still crying out for an injection of pace.
Moyes: Kilbane sparked us back to life
Jan 6 2006 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has hailed Kevin Kilbane's return to top form - then backed him to play an influential role as Everton begin their FA Cup campaign at Millwall. After an awkward start to the season when he found himself in and out of the side, the Republic of Ireland international came right back to his best over the Christmas period with influential performances against Sunderland and Charlton.
The manager, however, is now looking for Kilbane to raise his game another level and wants a bold show from him at The New Den, especially now that his confidence has been given a boost.
"I felt against Sunderland that was the start for him," said Moyes. "He knew going back up to his old club he had to lift himself and I thought his performance there was much improved.
"Then, against Charlton, he continued that. He is important for us. He is a vital part of the team. He must not forget what he is good at, which is picking the ball up and running at people. "He has got strength and he has got power. Moyes will have selection posers when it comes to naming his team to tackle Millwall, mainly surrounding his defence. David Weir will be considered after a rest, while Phil Neville returns from suspension. But, regardless of which players he chooses, Moyes wants to see Everton extended their winning run. into a third match and help him achieve a personal ambition - he is desperate to take the club to the FA Cup's last eight at least. "To get a result at Sunderland was a real confidence booster for us, especially the manner in which we did it," said Moyes. "But I'm desperate to try and have a good run in the FA Cup. I would like to get into the final stages if I could. It's easy me saying it, but talk is cheap. We've got to go and do it on the field."
Moyes has dismissed reports that Per Kroldrup is set for a return to Italy.
New den can't cage old Lion
Jan 6 2006 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
HAVING helped himself to three goals in Everton's last two appearances, Tim Cahill could hardly be in better form as he prepares to make his first return to Millwall. A midfielder blessed with the happy knack of popping up and scoring at the most crucial times, the Australian international heads to the New Den with an added spring to his step. For his former employers, however, that spells trouble. While Cahill will always be grateful to the Lions for taking a chance on him, tomorrow sentiment will be thrown to one side. As much as he wants to see Mill-wall - managed now by his old team-mate David Tuttle - prosper, Cahill's sole concern is helping Everton take their first steps on the road to Wembley. Given that most of the campaign has been spent yo-yoing between positive and wretched form, the 27-year-old feels a FA Cup run is the least Everton's players can do to repay the supporters. So while the memories are sure to come flooding back for him in South London, Cahill does not intend to let anything stand in the way of Everton and a place in the fourth round draw. "Millwall is where I learned my trade," said Cahill of the club for whom he made 249 appearances, scoring 57 goals, in a seven-year spell. "I played a lot of football there and had a lot of great moments but the FA Cup run we had was definitely the highlight. I have got a lot to thank the club for. Hopefully I will get a good reception. "We will just have to see what happens. But even if it is not, to get a good cup run with Everton is something the fans deserve and it is the least we can do after the season we have had." Cahill, of course, was a member of the Millwall side that kept defying the odds two years ago to take their place alongside Manchester United in the FA Cup final at the Millennium Stadium. It was during that run Cahill really burst into the limelight, scoring the winner in the semi-final against Sunderland at Old Trafford to find himself plastered all over the back pages. Not surprisingly, a number of Premiership managers took notice. But it was David Moyes who decided to take a chance and the £1.5m he paid to sign Cahill has proven smart business.
There is still a part of Cahill that wishes the Millwall fairytale had chance to reach a conclusion before he left but missing out in the playoffs ended that dream. "I have played in an FA Cup final with Millwall and it is a great club," said Cahill, who will tread a disciplinary tightrope against Millwall - he is one booking away from a suspension. "They gave me my opportunity to become a footballer and played a big part in my development. I can't pay any more respect to the club. "It's a bit unfortunate that Mill-wall could not get into the Premier-ship but I felt that I did well for the club and they did well for me. "There are so many good memories. I met George Best at Wembley when I was only a youngster. We got promoted and there was obviously the FA Cup final. "I played with a lot of great players under a lot of great managers. I wouldn't change anything about my past. "In fairness to the club, they have had to cash in on a couple of the players. Lucas Neill, Steven Reid, myself, Neil Harris. There's so many that roll off the tongue. "But they have had to get money to save the club and it's been difficult for them to buy players. They have made do with what they have got and hopefully they will turn the corner. "I have been back down since I signed for Everton. I went to watch them in the UEFA Cup game they had qualified for after the FA Cup. I felt it was right to go down and watch and support them. "It was hard to leave the club but it was at a time when a few of the boys were leaving and I felt I needed to better myself. I wanted to try and get into the Premiership and be a better footballer. "I played a lot of games and scored a lot of goals for Millwall. Getting to an FA Cup final says a lot about how far a club like that can go. "It was just a pity that while I was there we didn't sign the striker we needed to try and get the club into the Premiership. But things move on and so does football." Not on FA Cup third round weekend. There is always a giant-killing, always a story to be told. Cahill knows his old club will be doing everything they can to claim a notable scalp. "Now I am on the other side of the coin. It is much more difficult being a Premiership side playing against a side like Millwall," he added. "I remember what it was like when we had the chance to play a side from the top division. Every time I had a chance to play against a Premier League team I seemed to step up a level." But provided Everton match their performance against Charlton last Monday, there shouldn't be too many difficulties, especially now Cahill has found his shooting boots. Yet personal glory is not on his agenda. Being part of a successful Everton team is far more important and perhaps his goals have given everyone a lift.
"I suppose it can be a lift," he offered. "But the biggest thing for me is making sure I am in the starting eleven and playing to the best of my ability. "It has been very difficult scoring goals this season and it has been difficult in general. So at the moment as long we don't concede that is the main thing."
Neville faces battle
Jan 6 2006 Liverpool Echo
PHIL NEVILLE is ready to battle to regain his first team place after completing a two match suspension. The midfielder's sending-off against Liverpool led to a two game ban that ruled him out of the New Year matches against Sunderland and Charlton. He is available for selection for tomorrow's FA Cup third round trip to Millwall but having watched his team-mates secure two vital league victories in his absence, Neville admits he cannot take anything for granted. He said: "It was a massive disappointment being sent-off in the derby, probably my biggest disappointment of the season. The realisation that I was not going to be involved in two massive games for the club against Sunderland and Charlton did hurt. "But the lads did brilliantly in those matches and I was really pleased with the results. Now I know I have got to fight to get my place back in the team. But I am looking forward to that challenge and to getting back playing again."
Fans face Goodison smoke ban
Jan 6 2006 By Catherine Jones, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON fans could be banned from lighting up on the Goodison Park terraces. The club confirmed it was talking to supporters about a ban on smoking in some areas of the stadium. A spokesman said further talks would follow with fans about all parts of the ground. Areas such as enclosed lounges are already smoke-free zones, but if the consultation is positive the club could eventually outlaw smoking from all areas of Goodison. A spokesman said: "We can confirm we're in a consultation process with a section of the stadium, with a view to further consultation with other parts of the ground. "We've also had meetings with the SmokeFree Liverpool group about this."
If Goodison did ban smoking, it would follow the example of Halton Stadium, which is smoke-free indoors and outdoors except for a private members' bar. At Anfield smoking is outlawed in all enclosed lounges, but is allowed in the stadium itself. John Munro, who runs the Everton Southport Supporters Association, believes Blues fans would accept a smoke-free ruling. He said: "I know it's something Everton has been talking about for quite some time. When we've talked about it I've had a very positive response from a lot of my members. "There are already some grounds we go to, like Sunderland and Middlesbrough, where you can't smoke in your seat." Andrea Crossfield, programme director for SmokeFree Liverpool, said the campaign group was "delighted" that Everton was looking at the issue. She said: "We'll give them any support we can. What's positive is that we know the vast majority of people in Liverpool are in favour of a smoke-free environment." [25cf] A smoke-free Everton bistro which opened a month ago says business is booming. Kerry Dwyer, owner of Aneillio's in Netherfield Road North and a former heavy smoker, said: "We are a new business and wanted to start out with a positive message. "We've had no negativity towards our decision and I believe if your product is strong enough people will sacrifice smoking."
Fans give me some stick over Ever-Pool
Jan 6 2006 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
MANY thanks to the fans (99 per cent red) who responded to my Ever-pool team printed in last week's column. Here is a selection: "Don't even think of combining the two clubs. One has boys playing for them and are about to get relegated, and the other are European Champions!" - Naveed A Chaudhuri, Bangalore, India. "I think that is a very good team, although I would still have Riise at left back and possibly Garcia at left midfield." - Jake Bonner "The only Everton players that can challenge for a place in Liverpool's squad are Cahill and Arteta. Stubbs over Hyppia: You're havin' a laugh!" - Anon. "I was sitting down having a quiet beer but when I saw you opted for Stubbs before Hyypia I nearly swallowed the whole bottle. Best wishes for the New Year and next time try not to drink before you write your article." - Ian Smith, Neston. "Nigel Martyn is a great keeper but not on the same level as Pepe Reina. I say this not as a blind Liverpool fan, but based on current form." - Neil Roach. To be fair to Neil, he did e-mail before the Bolton match. Thanks to everyone else who wrote. For those who missed it, my Ever-pool team, based on performances in 2005, was: Martyn; Finnan, Carragher (capt), Stubbs, Warnock; Arteta, Gerrard, Alonso, Cahill, Riise; Crouch.
Hellbent on blunders
LIGHTNING never strikes twice . . . except, of course, in Italy. Back in 1985, Milan bought Luther Blissett from Watford. Then it transpired that John Barnes was the player they really wanted.
No Italian club would ever make the same mistake again, would they? Well, this week, Sampdoria were reported to be planning a £3m bid for Everton's Marcus Bent (left). But, quicker than you could say "rip your hand off," the Italian press reported that Sampdoria were in the market for an English striker . . . Darren Bent.
Barmy Beeb's Concoction
SPOTTED on the BBC website this week . . .
"Take a look at the Spanish league table and you could be forgiven for thinking you had just walked into a comedy sketch. "It's not apparent at first, but study the top six teams in La Liga for long enough and it suddenly jumps out at you. "Barcelona, Osasuna, Valencia, Villareal, Real Madrid, Deportivo. "So that's where Catherine Tate got her inspiration from. "One thing's for sure, if it stays like that until the end of the season, Real Madrid will be in big bovver." Should we be, ahem, bovvered by such innocuous space-fillers? When licence payers' money is funding such infantile research, I'd say yes. But there was more. "On the same theme, if you take a look at last season's final Premiership table you will notice the first letter from the top five sides - Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United, Everton and Liverpool -spells out the name of a well-known desert animal."
Licence payers should be taking the hump.
No fresh arrivals are expected at Goodison
By Ian Doyle Daily Post Staff
Jan 7 2006
DAVID MOYES has admitted he does not expect any new arrivals at Everton during this month's transfer window. The Goodison manager had been hopeful of bringing in a striker to bolster an attack that has scored only 14 goals in 21 Premiership games. Moyes has been linked with a number of players this season, but has seen his efforts hampered by financial constraints having been handed a transfer kitty believed to total only £2million. Everton's interest in Preston forward David Nugent cooled when the Championship side refused to sufficiently lower their summer asking price of £5m, while Chris Sutton, of whom Moyes made an enquiry, has joined Birmingham City.
But despite having until the end of the month to finalise any deals and the option of the loan market, Moyes yesterday conceded he was unlikely to bring in any new players until the summer.
"I don't think there'll be any movement at all," said the Goodison manager. "The people I would prefer to bring in are not available. I don't think there'll be anyone coming in."
Millwall 1, Everton 1 (D,Post)
Jan 9 2006 By Christopher Beesley at The New Den, Daily Post
GOING down to the Lions' den is perhaps not the most appealing of prospects for either visiting players or supporters. As Millwall's infamous club song goes, nobody likes them but they don't care.
So a trip into Bermondsey to face a pumped-up Millwall, revitalised in recent weeks under caretaker manager David Tuttle, would have been among the last places cup strugglers Everton would have picked for their third round draw. Defeats to Villarreal, Dinamo Bucharest and Middlesbrough had seen David Moyes's side eliminated from the Champions League qualifiers, UEFA Cup and Carling Cup at the first time of asking this season, so defeat to the South Londoners would have completed an unwanted quadruple. Given the two clubs' respective records in the FA Cup in recent seasons - with Everton slipping up to a then-Conference-bound Shrewsbury and Millwall reaching the final in 2004, it was obvious Everton would have to have their wits about them. Although it must be noted that the Lions never actually had to face top-flight opposition en route to Cardiff 18 months ago, simply becoming the first lower division side to make it to the final during the Premiership era was a creditable achievement. Millwall are now four managers down the line since they faced Manchester United at the Millennium Stadium and many of that side have now since departed SE16. Those who have moved on include the hero of Millwall's march to the 2004 final, Tim Cahill, who headed in the winning goal in their semi-final triumph over Sunderland but is of course now a darling of the Goodison faithful. Saturday marked the Australian's homecoming to his old stomping ground and while some polite applause rang out before the game in acknowledgement to his achievements while at Mill-wall, Cahill was given as rough a ride of any of Everton's players from the home crowd during a pulsating 90 minutes of FA Cup football. While Millwall had prepared for their big day with a four-day stay at Bovey Castle in Devon, where they combined rest and recuperation with some gruelling exercises with the British Military Fitness group, Everton's ranks were depleted by a combination of injuries and selection changes. The spine of the Everton side was missing with goalkeeper Nigel Martyn and centre-back Joseph Yobo - who had been poised to play his final match before departing for the African Cup of Nations - both injured.. The pair were replaced by Richard Wright and Matteo Ferrari respectively while Moyes opted to start with £6million James Beattie on the bench, choosing to pair James McFadden with Marcus Bent up front. Although neither of that strike partnership have been prolific during their Everton careers, the visitors started brightly and were in possession for long periods. Fate decreed that it would have to be Cahill who had the first chance but he struck over the bar with a scissor kick from a Tony Hibbert right-wing cross after the full-back had been involved in some neat build-up play with Bent. Bent, who went close himself with a header from a Hibbert cross, continued to look lively, at times dazzling the home defence with some clever touches, but his current lack of confidence in front of goal remains apparent.
Pushing forward at regular intervals, Hibbert's well-aimed centres provided Millwall with plenty of problems throughout the afternoon and it provided a refreshing extra element to the Everton attacking armoury from a player who, while always giving his all, has often struggled with crossing in the past. There were warning signs for Everton though and Hibbert had to go back to what he does best, defending, as he cleared a Ben May header off the line. But the visitors criminally failed to take the lead on 32 minutes when home centre-back Paul Robinson produced a howler well worthy of a place in one of famous Millwall fan Danny Baker's videos of footballing gaffes. The unfortunate Robinson, attempting to make a long clearance, took a wild swipe and the ball went under his foot, leaving McFadden with a golden opportunity. The Scot's shot was blocked by Marshall, in the first of several wonder saves made by the custodian, and Cahill blazed over the rebound. Buoyed by the let-off, Millwall went ahead on 38 minutes when May flicked the ball on for 18-year-old Marvin Williams to chase and the youngster - who had penned his first professional contract just hours earlier - shrugged off Ferrari to dink the ball past Wright. Although it was a massive body blow to Everton, who again found themselves staring into the abyss of a cup upset, they kept on plugging away after the break. The tide started to turn after the double introduction of Beat-tie and Duncan Ferguson just before the hour-mark. It would be simple to observe that this change added an extra physical presence to the Everton attack, but in truth the benefits the visitors started to reap came mostly from Beattie's determined running and Ferguson's passing range. Beattie should have shown more composure when he rifled well over the bar after Kevin Kil-bane and Phil Neville had patiently crafted an opening down the left. At the other end, Wright, who had been largely untroubled, had to keep his concentration to save well from a May free-kick scorcher after Weir had been booked for hauling down Williams just outside the area. But by now Everton were piling on the pressure, almost constantly, and only the brilliance of Marshall prevented Millwall from cracking. Twice the keeper denied Ferguson at full stretch from crosses coming in from Beattie and Hibbert respectively, but Everton deservedly found their equaliser 11 minutes from time through their other substitute, Leon Osman. Osman had been introduced just five minutes earlier, replacing Neville to give the Everton midfield a more creative edge, but it his was sheer determination that finally unlocked the door to the Millwall defence. His initial shot from Kilbane's left-wing cross was saved by Marshall but Osman flung himself at the rebound with a diving header in front of the travelling contingent of more than 3,000 ecstatic Evertonians. After trailing for so long, the visitors would have been relieved just to have earned a replay but they should have gone on and won this tie during the closing stages. Two more Ferguson headers were parried away by the still-inspired Marshall, Beattie fired wide after a one-two with Osman and Kilbane blasted an inviting chance well over the bar right at the death to ensure the sides will have it all to do again in nine days' time at Goodison.
MILLWALL: Marshall, Lawrence, Craig, Whitbread, Robinson, Cogan, Elliott, Livermore, Braniff (Fangueiro 83), May, Williams. Subs: Phillips, Weston, Pooley, Hendry.
EVERTON: Wright, Hibbert, Valente, Ferrari, Weir, Arteta, Neville (Osman 74), Cahill, Kilbane, McFadden (Ferguson 59), Bent (Beattie 59). Subs: Turner, Naysmith.
BOOKINGS: Arteta, Weir.
REFEREE: Rob Styles
NEXT GAME: Portsmouth v Everton, Premiership, Saturday 3pm
Everton heading for Yobo squabble
Jan 9 2006 By Christopher Beesley Daily Post Staff
DAVID MOYES could be heading for a collision course with the Nigerian FA over the release of Joseph Yobo for the African Nations Cup. The Everton defender missed Saturday's FA Cup third round draw at Millwall after succumbing to a shoulder injury that was both-ering him over the festive period.
There is now no chance of Yobo meeting the Nigerian FA's deadline today for linking up with the squad as he faces further treat-ment on the damage. And that could place Moyes in an awkward position as the Africans had already extended the deadline to allow the likes of Yobo and Bolton Wanderers' Jay-Jay Okocha to play in the weekend's FA Cup. "He (Yobo) had treatment on Saturday and is due more treat-ment," said Moyes.. "I can't see him being with the Nigerians by the beginning of the week, although you can never be sure what they will decide." The Nigerians could demand Yobo be immediately released for their training camp ahead of the month-long tournament, with their first game being played on January 23. However, Moyes would prefer the player to remain on Merseyside while he recovers from the injury and has consistently said that he does not have a date by which Yobo will depart for the competition. Everton want the centre-back to play in next weekend's game at Portsmouth, and the player has said he wants to stay at Goodison for as long as possible. But the encouraging return from injury of Matteo Ferrari may eventually persuade Everton to release Yobo when fully fit. Meanwhile, Moyes insists that trying to win the FA Cup remains a big priority this season but admits that Chelsea's runaway lead in the Premiership will mean that it will be the same for many clubs. Everton have endured a miserable record in cup competitions so far this season, being knocked out of the Champions League, UEFA Cup and Carling Cup all at the first hurdle. But Leon Osman's late equaliser at the New Den on Saturday earned Everton a 1-1 draw and a chance to progress in a Goodison Park replay on Wednesday, January 18.
Moyes said: "The FA Cup is very important for us, we've got to try and get a good cup run. But it's going to be the same for a lot of teams in the Premiership because for many of them, the league title is hard to win. "We've not had the best of Premiership seasons so far but we'd really love to be playing at the new Wembley - if it's ready. "Staying in the Premiership is such a big thing for all the clubs so that is always going to be more important but we want to win every competitive game we play in." After a hectic schedule of four fixtures in eight days, Moyes left record £6million signing James Beattie on the bench at the start but insisted that he never lacked any respect for the opposition. He said: "I wasn't taking Millwall lightly, all the players in our squad are good enough to play. They've all played their part this season and we know what they're capable of. "I thought it was right to start with Marcus Bent and James McFadden up front as they were fresher. We've not got a big squad but we've got to make the most of it." Moyes also paid tribute to his Australian midfielder Tim Cahill who had made an emotional return to the New Den. Cahill spent eight years with the Lions, scoring 57 goals - including the one that got Millwall to the 2004 FA Cup final - in 250 appearances. Moyes said: "Tim's been a terrific signing for us and I'm sure everyone at Millwall knows he's a great lad to work with. Even when I was at Preston I was always interested in him.
"Tim tried to take the fight to Millwall and had four attempts at goal."
Cahill keen to prevent knockout quadruple
Jan 9 2006 By Alan Easel, Daily Post
TIM CAHILL is determined to help Everton avoid an unwanted cup record this season. The Goodison Park outfit has already seen its hopes of a lucrative run in three knockout competitions evaporate at the first time of asking. Spanish club Villarreal ended the biggest dream of all by denying David Moyes's side a route into the group stages of the Champions League while Dinamo Bucharest cut short any further European adventures in the UEFA Cup. Everton also lost their first match in the Carling Cup, at home to Middlesbrough. The FA Cup represents the club's final chance of silverware this season but their hopes of making the fourth round were nearly denied by Cahill's former club Millwall. Everton dominated much of the third round tie at the New Den on Saturday against the Champion-ship strugglers, but missed a string of chances to leave the door open for a shock result.
As it was, Everton had to show real character to come from a goal behind after Marvin Williams had put the home side ahead. Leon Osman's equaliser means a replay next week and at least a place in the fourth round draw at lunchtime today. Cahill enjoyed the return to his former stomping ground and thought the fans from both clubs added to atmosphere. "I thought Millwall were excel-lent," he said.. "They applied themselves well, they did what they had to do and they cleared their lines.
"We had to try to break them down. I had about eight chances and I couldn't hit a barn door on the day but that happens and hopefully I will get the goal in the next game." On his return Cahill, who joined Everton in the summer of 2004, added: "I thought it was brilliant coming back. We were under no illusions that they were a good team and they were going to put up a great battle.
"Going behind as we did was a bit disheartening but it is all about character and we showed good character, played good football, got our goal and now we will see them back at our place. "When you play teams like Mill-wall it is difficult. When I was here and we played Premiership teams we lifted our standards because it was such a big thing to win games like this. "Our fans and their fans were brilliant. At one point David Weir was screaming at me and I couldn't hear a thing. It brought back some great memories and I really enjoyed it." Cahill insists Everton need to reward their supporters with a good cup run. He added: "I think we deserve something. It has been an up and down season and when you see the situations we have been in this season we need to really do as well as we can, pay back the fans and do it for ourselves. "It has been hard but this is a great competition and we certainly didn't take Saturday lightly."
* THE third round replay against Millwall will take place at Goodison on Wednesday, January 18 (kick-off 8pm).
We should be in next round, insists Moyes
Jan 9 2006 By Christopher Beesley, Daily Post
EVERTON manager David Moyes admitted he was worried his side were facing another early cup exit on Saturday but felt that they had done enough to win the tie. He said: "Yes I was worried but if you look at the game overall then we should have won. "Their keeper Andy Marshall made some very good saves, especially late on. "James McFadden had a really good chance in the first half and if we'd have put that one away then it would have probably changed the way the game went.
"But the lads stuck at it and Millwall is always a hard place to come to, especially in the FA Cup.
"We tried to give people in our squad an opportunity today and use the squad. We were also without Nigel Martyn and Joseph Yobo who were injured. We know how hard it can be going away in the FA Cup and our experience at Shrewsbury." Backed by a typically vociferous crowd, Millwall ensured that the tie was a real battle for Everton but Moyes expected nothing different.
He said: "We knew we'd got a really hard game and we made sure we gave Millwall some proper respect. "They've got a spirit that has always ran through Millwall and I think the public demand that. You've also got to realise that two years ago they were FA Cup finalists." As the hosts tired, it was Moyes's second-half substitutes, first James Beattie and Duncan Ferguson and then, tellingly, Leon Osman, that helped tip the game back in the Everton's favour. Moyes said: "I felt we were deserving of more but we were lacking bits of quality. The pitch was quite lively and we needed to make an opening. "I was delighted with Leon Osman, he's been doing well of late but has been a little bit in and out this season. "But he took his goal well and could have had another. "He popped up like that about half-a-dozen times for us last season." Millwall caretaker manager David Tuttle hailed his side's young players after their draw but acknowledged that his side earned a replay through the individual brilliance of their keeper. He said: "We had about 10 ex-Millwall Academy players out there, including Tim Cahill for Everton. "To be fair, what a cup tie. Andy Marshall has been out for about six or seven weeks but we know he can produce performances like that. "It was a great start for Marvin Williams with him getting his goal. "He'd only just signed his first professional contract this morning and is an exciting prospect with a lot of pace. "A draw is a great result for us as we have a lot of respect for Everton, they're a great side with a great manager. Playing at Goodison Park will be a great experience for our players in the replay."
I'll never forget game against Ferguson
By Paul Walker Daily Post Correspondent
Jan 9 2006
ZAK WHITBREAD is determined to get one over on his mates, impress Rafael Benitez and put Everton out of the FA Cup. Whitbread, the Liverpool youngster on loan at Millwall for the rest of the season, found himself face to face with substitute Duncan Ferguson as Everton had to throw on the big guns to force a third round replay on January 18 at Goodison Park with Leon Osman's late equaliser.
Defender Whitbread admits he is still clinging to the hope of a career at Anfield, despite knowing that Liverpool manager Benitez is trying to buy top-line centre-backs. However, nothing would please Whitbread more than to return 'home' to Merseyside and end Everton's hopes of further progress with his Everton-supporting pals in the stand watching. The 22-year-old has helped Mill-wall's caretaker manager Dave Tuttle's side go on a five-game unbeaten run since the new management regime took over the struggling South Londoners. And he said: "It was quite an experiencing facing Duncan Ferguson. I've never played against him before, I'd have remembered something like that!" He added: "I have enjoyed things at Millwall. We got a couple of wins over the holidays which helped the position the club is in. I am not looking at the long term or what might happen at Liverpool. "I'm interested in getting experience and helping Millwall out of the position they are in. You always hope there is still a chance at Liverpool, I have one year of my contract and I am aiming to go back at the end of the season and see where I stand then. I know Rafa is trying to buy centre halves. All I want is experience at a consistently higher level to improve my game and allow me to challenge for a place at Anfield in the future. "I need to play against the best, and certainly Duncan Ferguson is that. He's big, he's been around and he's a real handful. I felt I did okay against him and James Beattie, it was an experience to play against big name players like that.
"We were a little unfortunate not to have hung on to the lead. Now we will be confident to go to Goodison and nick a victory there. "It's something I am looking forward to. To be a Liverpool player and fan and to be in a position to help knock Everton out of the Cup is something I would really like to do. "I had some friends down from Merseyside to watch and they are all Everton fans. They were asking me to throw in an own goal! But I felt we did more that okay and I would love to win the replay. "It's an extra special game for me, living in the north west and understanding and being part of the Liverpool-Everton rivalry."
Chances created to give us hope
View from the stands by Mark Mckenna Everton supporter, Daily Post
Jan 9 2006
SO WE'RE still just about on the march with Moyesie's Army... until at least a week on Wednesday anyway. Think we still need a bit more convincing, though, that this 'Everton are the greatest football team'. From what was looking like being 'one of them days' up until 11 minutes to go, we've got to be happy that we're still in the fourth round draw. Going out of a cup competition for the fourth time this season at the first possible stage, would have increased the pressure on Moyes to follow Charles Kennedy's lead in being the second ginger Scot in a week to step down. In all fairness, a defeat in this game would have been extremely harsh on Everton. It's a sign of the times that it's actually an indication of progression that we missed a wealth of opportunities in this match.
A couple of games ago, Dixie Dean wouldn't have even got a sniff given the lack of chances we were creating. Roared on by the travelling hordes of Evertonians, it did look like we were going to grab the winner in the last 10 minutes to save needing a replay. However, we now need to make sure we don't rest on our laurels and think the tie is already over. If anything, the Milwall players and fans are going to be even more psyched up for their big day out at Goodison. It now looks like this will be the squad to do us until the end of the season. Although I can understand Moyes's frustration at having a limited transfer budget, I do think we need to show a bit more imagination in the transfer market. We always seem to be standing still while the Boltons, Tottenhams of the Premiership wheel and deal with free transfers and loan signings.
Millwall 1, Everton 1 (Echo)
Jan 9 2006 By Dominic King
GIVEN that FA Cup third round day is all about fairytales, there was something symbolic about the place where Everton began this season's campaign. Set in an area which Tolkien could have based Mordor in Lord of the Rings upon, the New Den is arguably the most inhospitable destination in English football. Those brave enough to venture there expect nothing other than a rough ride.
Surrounded by sinister railway arches and alleyways, it would be no surprise to find orcs and other such evil creatures lurking out of the mist when night falls, intent only on wreaking mischief and havoc. On a slate grey afternoon, many would have looked through the fixture list and spotted Everton's trip to Millwall as being one of the games most likely to see a giant killing. The ingredients, after all, were there for everyone to see. Despite two wins over the New Year period, David Moyes' side have been woefully out of form for long periods this campaign and fallen at the first hurdle in every cup competition they have entered. As for Millwall, finding their feet with a new chairman and new manager, they had a young striker in Marvin Williams making his full debut on the day he signed his first professional contract. The headlines were ready to be written. Thankfully, shocks happened elsewhere. Though Williams threatened to get his name plastered all over the back pages with a goal in the first half, it would have been a travesty had Everton's FA Cup interest ended in south London. While Moyes made five changes to the side which had flattened Charlton Athletic last Monday, Everton still possessed too much class for Millwall who - despite playing some nice football - showed why they are second from bottom of the Championship. That the Blues find themselves relying on a replay to clinch a place in the fourth round is down simply to two elements - the heroics of Andy Marshall in the Millwall goal combined with some poor, poor finishing. Still finding their feet after that wretched run of four consecutive defeats either side of Christmas, Everton may not have been at their best but they were still vastly superior to their opponents and created enough chances to win two games. In the first half hour alone, Marcus Bent, James McFadden and Tim Cahill (twice) had opportunities to turn a tricky task into a comfortable stroll. It was particularly frustrating that Bent and McFadden did not make the most of their opportunities. There is no question McFadden has the ability to make an impact in the Premiership - his international goals to games ratio is excellent - but when he misses chances like the one he had from 10 yards against Mill-wall, no wonder people tear their hair out. But he is still young and learning the game. Bent, on the other hand, is suffering from a crisis of confidence. Had an early header gone in, chances are he would have flourished. His reaction when Marshall saved, however, told its own story. It has, of course, been a recurring theme this season that Everton's progress has been compromised by a chronic lack of goals and when Williams sped away from Matteo Ferrari to put Millwall ahead, it looked like being their Achilles heel yet again. When Mikel Arteta needlessly gave the ball away inside his own half, a hopeful punt forward from Ben May suddenly spelt danger as Williams exploded into life. He belied his inexperience to slip an assured effort under Richard Wright. No wonder the manager is so desperate to do some business during the transfer window. Though eyebrows will have been raised by his suggestions at the weekend that no deals are imminent, do not be surprised if a new striker arrives at Goodison Park. As it is, Moyes still has an attacker on his books who is capable of swinging games back in Everton's favour if the chips are down. Father time maybe catching up with Duncan Ferguson but for the third time in a week his arrival swung the pendulum. Pre-match, the suggestions were that Ferguson would have the afternoon off after his cameo role at Sunderland and a fine captain's performance against Charlton but Moyes sprung a surprise by putting him on the bench. Making his entry with James Beattie after 58 minutes, all of a sudden Everton had a focal point to their attack and as a result, the Blues grew in belief that they would equalise, especially after Wright made a brilliant save from a May free-kick.
Ferguson saw Marshall deny one diving header, while another unorthodox effort was scrambled clear. Cahill went close. Arteta shaved the woodwork with a free-kick. Nuno Valente should have been awarded a penalty. Just when it appeared to that their chance might be slipping away, Moyes played his trump card, introducing Leon Osman for Phil Neville. Millwall simply could not cope as Everton went for all out attack. Osman - extremely unfortunate to drop to the bench after his display against Charlton - was a breath of fresh air during his brief stint. Darting into channels, never afraid to put a foot in nor gamble when the chance came. Picked out by superbly by Kevin Kilbane, Osman equalised with an instinctive header after Marshall had blocked his first shot. Not for the first time in his Everton career, he popped up at just the right time. He almost grabbed the winner, too, with a chip from 25 yards. Kilbane, on the other hand, should have been the hero in the dying minutes but blazed over after Beattie had surged into the box. It was one of those days. No matter. Granted better finishing in the replay, Everton should progress through to the fourth round, allowing dreams of a trip to Wembley - or Cardiff if the builders aren't finished - to continue. And here's one for all you romantics to consider. In recent years, Everton have begun their FA Cup campaign three times on January 7 - in 1984, 1989 and 1995. We all know what happened then . . . who says fairytales don't come true?
MILLWALL: Marshall, Lawrence, Craig, Whitbread, Robinson, Cogan, Elliott, Livermore, Braniff (Fangueiro 83), May, Williams. Subs: Phillips, Weston, Pooley, Hendry.
EVERTON: Wright, Hibbert, Valente, Ferrari, Weir, Arteta, Neville (Osman 74), Cahill, Kilbane, McFadden (Ferguson 59), Bent (Beattie 59). Subs: Turner, Naysmith.
BOOKINGS: Arteta, Weir.
REFEREE: Rob Style.
Blues land Chelsea tie
Jan 9 2006 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON will face Premiership champions Chelsea at Goodison Park in the FA Cup fourth round if they can safely negotiate next week's replay with Millwall. The Blues managed to kick start their season when they faced Jose Mourinho's men in the league last October, James Beattie's penalty securing a 1-1 draw with Chelsea. Provided they get past Millwall, David Moyes will then be looking for a similar level of performance in a tie that will either be played on Saturday, January 28 or the following day. The last time Everton and Chelsea were pitted together in the FA Cup was 1992, when Howard Kendall's men lost 1-0 at Stamford Bridge after Tony Cottee missed a penalty. Meanwhile, Liverpool have been handed the chance to avenge their fifth round FA Cup exit to Portsmouth of 2004. Harry Redknapp's side defeated the Reds in the last 16 two years ago, when Richard Hughes struck the winner in a replay at Fratton Park. Rafa Benitez's side will be expected to produce a more impressive showing this time around. Should Chester City manage to get through their replay with Cheltenham they could land a lucrative home tie with Newcastle.
FA Cup draw
Stoke or Tamworth v Barnsley or Walsall
Cheltenham or CHESTER v Newcastle
Coventry v Nuneaton or Middlesbrough
West Brom or Reading v Torquay or Birmingham
Portsmouth v LIVERPOOL
Leicester v Southampton
Bolton v Arsenal
Aston Villa v Port Vale
Brentford v Sunderland
Man City v Wigan or Leeds
Millwall or EVERTON v Chelsea
Preston v Crystal Palace
West Ham v Blackburn
Colchester v Derby
Charlton v Leyton Orient
Wolves v Burton or Man Utd
Osman keen on Pompey start
Jan 9 2006 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
LEON OSMAN hopes his FA Cup heroics will convince David Moyes to throw him back into the starting line up against Portsmouth next weekend. After playing an important role in the victories against Sunderland and Charlton, Osman was unfortu-nate to be dropped as Everton kicked off their FA Cup campaign at Millwall. The 24-year-old, however, conjured up the perfect response as he came off the bench when Everton trailed 1-0 to grab a priceless equaliser, setting up a replay next Wednesday. But while he was bitterly upset to be initially out of the equation at the New Den, Osman hopes his lively cameo will give his manager a selection headache. "I was hugely disappointed but I think I have answered in the right way," said Osman. "If I'd have come on and anyone would have scored, we would have been happy to still be in the draw. "I hope I've done enough for next week but we'll have to wait and see. I was disappointed but I don't think I could have done much more. "The goals mean as much to us as they do to the fans. It's a great feeling. We are not a team renowned from scoring lots of goals in a game but we've got a few recently and that's pleasing. "It's also pleasing to watch the draw today and know that we are in it. If we had lost, it would have been another setback. "The two wins in three days over New Year was great for confidence and we went to Millwall wanting to continue that run. "We have got to take them back to Goodison Park now. It's an extra game now and hopefully we can keep the run going."
Had it not been for some careless finishing, Everton would have comfortably seen off Millwall but the only thing they had to show for their possession was Osman's late header. Yet given they were within 11 minutes of going out of the Cup, he reckons the Blues deserve credit for refusing to give up. "We created a lot of chances and on another day they would have gone in," Osman added. "The keeper has made some great saves and it has finished in a draw and we are okay with that. "We knew it was going to be tough, very difficult. Going a goal down did not help but we have showed character and commitment and created a lot of chances and if the keeper hadn't had such a good day, we would have comfortably won." Meanwhile, Joseph Yobo was expected at Bellefield today to continue receiving treatment on a troublesome shoulder injury he has been carrying for the past month. The Nigerian sat out the game at Millwall but should be fit to face Portsmouth before joining up with his country for the African Nations' Cup.
Moyes: I feared for our Wembley dream
Jan 9 2006 By Dominic King at The New Den, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES today admitted he feared that a glut of missed opportunities would leave Everton's FA Cup dreams shattered. Having fallen at the first hurdle in the Champions League, UEFA Cup and Carling Cup already this season, Moyes is desperate to take his side on a lengthy FA Cup run and after Saturday's 1-1 draw with Millwall he can still dare to dream. Had it not been for substitute Leon Osman's late intervention, however, Everton would have been left with nothing other than pride to play for in the remainder of the campaign and become the highest profile side to exit at the third round. If that had happened, though, Moyes has made it quite clear that Everton could have only blamed themselves after fluffing a number of glorious chances to ensure progress was a formality. "I thought we deserved to get through on the day," said the manager. "I give Millwall lots of credit because they made it hard for us. "We had good chances in the early part of the first half but we didn't take them. "We gave Millwall encouragement and then we lost a really poor goal. That gave them something to hang on to. "I told the players at half-time that I wasn't happy with the way things had gone. "But the players did dig deep and in the end we got our rewards. We hoped we could give one or two people a wee bit of a rest and that wasn't taking Mill-wall lightly in anyway but in the end we couldn't break them down. "We needed a little bit of quality in the final third, whether it be a cross or finish. "Just a little bit of quality to get us that goal. The longer the game went on, I was doubtful we were going to get it. "Their goalkeeper made three or four very good saves and it wasn't for the want of trying. Kevin Kilbane had a real miss in the last minute and that would have won the game for us." Moyes was also pleased with Duncan Ferguson's influence when coming off the bench but revealed he had planned to give him, and James Beattie, the afternoon off after the hectic festive period. "Duncan came on to help us," he added. "We have used him a lot that way in the past and we will continue to do so. "It is well documented with Duncan and how he feels. We didn't want to use him when we did but we had to make sure we were in the cup."
Moyes, who rested Nigel Martyn and Joseph Yobo as both men were carrying knocks, is looking forward to seeing who Everton are paired with in the fourth round but has warned his side they will underestimate Millwall in the replay at their peril. "It's really important to me and the players because we have not had the best of seasons in the Premiership," he said. "That will always take top priority to finish as high as we can but I've got to say I'd love to get to Wembley. "But talk is cheap and you have to do it on the field. We did enough to get a second game with Millwall but we didn't do enough to get through, so we now have to beat Millwall before we can talk any more about it."
Gamble almost came unstuck
Jan 9 2006 Analysis By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
SO did David Moyes take a gamble by naming a "weakened" line-up for Everton's trip to the New Den, or was he simply using the freshest available players at his disposal? Joseph Yobo was left out for David Weir. But the Nigerian has been playing on with a succession of knocks in recent weeks, and departs for Egypt today in any case. Richard Wright was recalled for goalkeeper Nigel Martyn, but again Martyn has been struggling with his groin in recent weeks, while Wright did nothing wrong in his latest short spell in the limelight. And James Beattie and Duncan Ferguson were "rested" in favour of Marcus Bent and James McFadden. This is where the argument begins to run out of steam. Ferguson may well have decided this was one of those days when his body wasn't up to the challenge, but he still made an inspiring contribution as a late substitute, while Beattie has run his socks off in recent weeks - and is enjoying the best spell of his Blues career so far. Bent and McFadden simply weren't up to the job of replacing them. Leon Osman, however, most certainly was. His sparky contribution didn't just spare Everton's blushes courtesy of a 78th minute equaliser, he maintained the momentum which the Blues had started with crucially significant Premiership victories either side of the New Year. They must maintain that forward movement now at Portsmouth on Saturday then in the following week's replay. And what Saturday showed is they can't really afford to rest anybody.
Everton ponder move for Anelka
By Ian Doyle Daily Post Staff
Jan 10 2006
DAVID MOYES is planning an audacious move to sign former Liverpool striker Nicolas Anelka.
The Everton manager has targeted the 26-year-old Frenchman, who has become increasingly unhappy at current club Fenerbahce. Anelka joined the Turkish outfit from Manchester City for £7million last January but has recently stated his desire to return to the Premiership. And Moyes is considering an attempt to realise the player's wish as he aims to bolster his strikeforce during the transfer window. Anelka spent six months on loan at Liverpool in 2002, before then Anfield manager Gerard Houllier opted against making the move permanent. The forward instead moved to City for £13m, having earlier transferred from Arsenal to Real Madrid for £23m and enjoyed two spells at hometown club Paris St Germain. Signing Anelka would represent a major coup for Moyes, who had previously stated he was pessimistic of bringing anyone into the club this month.
Meanwhile, Andy van der Meyde is facing another month on the sidelines as his Everton frustrations continue. The Holland international has endured an injury-hit Goodison career since arriving from Inter Milan in a £1.8million deal in August. A groin injury meant van der Meyde's debut was delayed until late October, and the winger went on to make only six appearances before suffering thigh damage during training in early December. The early diagnosis ruled the 26-year-old out for a month, although the player had ambitiously targeted a comeback in the Merseyside derby over the festive period. However, both dates have now passed and Everton's worst fears have been realised with van der Meyde now expected to be out until mid-February. Head of Physio Mick Rathbone confirmed yesterday: "Andy van der Meyde had a bad thigh strain. He is making good progress but he is a way off yet." It represents another setback for Moyes as he aims to move Everton further clear of the relegation zone, with the Goodison outfit having won four of the five games van der Meyde has started. Moyes, however, is expected to welcome back both Nigel Martyn and Joseph Yobo for the crucial Premiership clash at Portsmouth on Saturday. Both players sat out the FA Cup draw with Millwall at the weekend, with goalkeeper Martyn troubled by an ankle injury and the groin problem that forced him to miss three games last month. "Nige has had some problems with his kicking, with both ankles actually, and has got a bit of a tight groin as well," said Rathbone.
"He has laid off training for a couple of days. He's a lot better now so we will have to see how he is with a view to the weekend." Yobo, meanwhile, is likely to be available for the Fratton Park encounter. The centre-back missed yesterday's deadline set by the Nigerian FA to join up with his national team ahead of this month's African Nations Cup, as he received treat-ment on his injury.
However, Yobo will now join up with Nigeria immediately after Saturday's game. Leon Osman netted Everton's equaliser at the New Den at the weekend, and hopes his goalscoring intervention can elevate him from the bench having been dropped following starting roles in the wins over Sunderland and Charlton Athletic. "I was hugely disappointed but I think I have answered in the right way," he said.. "I hope I've done enough for next week but we'll have to wait and see. "The goals mean as much to us as they do the fans. It's a great feeling. We are not a team renowned for scoring lots of goals in a game but we've got a few recently and that's pleasing."
* EVERTON youngster Paul Hopkins has joined Darlington on a month's loan. The 19-year-old striker made his first senior appearance of his career as he played 90 minutes for the Quakers in their League Two loss to Notts County at the weekend.
Testing Cup ties for Merseyside rivals
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Jan 10 2006
BOTH Everton and Liverpool have been handed tricky FA Cup ties after yesterday's fourth round draw. But Chester City have been awarded a glamour date at home to Newcastle United, should they overcome Cheltenham Town in next week's replay. Everton will face a home game against Premiership champions Chelsea if they manage to beat Millwall in their third round replay at Goodison tomorrow week. Liverpool, having beaten Luton Town in a thrilling encounter at the weekend, will have another long trip to play Premiership rivals Portsmouth at Fratton Park, with all games being played on the weekend of January 27-29. Harry Redknapp's men beat Liverpool 1-0 at home in a fifth round replay two years ago after the first game ended in a 1-1 draw. However, Liverpool beat Portsmouth on penalties in a semi-final replay in 1992 in the clubs' only other pairing in the competition. Meanwhile, Everton skipper David Weir believes the chance to take on Chelsea will act as extra motivation for David Moyes's side when they entertain Championship outfit Millwall next week. "Both ourselves and Millwall know we will be playing the best team in the country if we get through so it is a big incentive for both of us," said Weir. "It is a good draw. "If we can manage to get through it is a massive game for us and we know all eyes will be on us so it is a great incentive."
Everton will take encouragement from the 1-1 Goodison draw against Jose Mourinho's men earlier in the campaign. But first they must eliminate David Tuttle's Millwall, who they drew 1-1 with at the New Den on Saturday. Leon Osman ensured a replay with a 79th-minute equaliser, and Weir added: "There have been a lot of shocks over the weekend and a lot of games have gone not as people would have expected them so you can't take anything for granted. "There have been a lot of upsets and a lot of games to still be decided. That is the nature of the FA Cup and it is the same every year.
"There will always be upsets and teams left red-faced. We have got to make sure we are not one of those teams." Everton have met Chelsea six times in the FA Cup, winning in 1938 and 1956.
Post Soapbox, icLiverpool & Daily Post
Jan 10 2006
THE Wayne Rooney transfer money has been blown on James Beattie, who has taken took a year to get fit, Simon Davies, Per Kroldrup and a few more inconspicuous players. No surprise we have no cash. I'm going to have to dig deep into my piggy-bank to renew my season ticket... again
Sean Muirhead (aged 12), Paddock Blue
I'D rather get Chelsea now than in the FA Cup semi-finals. Come on folks, at some point we're going to have to play a better team. It's a cup match and it's at Goodison. It certainly is not over. But I agree we are not a lucky team.
Steve Blewitt (via e-mail)
I'D BE astonished if David Moyes wasn't bluffing about not bringing any players in this month.
The consequences of a few injuries and suspensions to our small squad don't bear thinking about.
Barry Barnes (via e-mail)
OKAY, we got Chelsea but someone has got to beat them and they will not be looking forward to coming up here again. We have nothing to lose. I would rather go out to them than be the laughing stock by losing to a lower league team again.
Peter Bardsley (via e-mail)
WHY all the doom and gloom because we've drawn Chelsea in the Cup? It's at Goodison, and I don't see why we can't beat them. We're inconsistent, yes, but not a bad team on our day.
Jeff Jones (via e-mail)
THIS season just gets better and better. I am beginning to think we are a jinxed team.
S Trentham (via e-mail)
Everton silent over Anelka
Jan 10 2006 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON'S bid to sign a new striker is no closer to fruition despite reports linking them with Nicolas Anelka. The former Liverpool, Arsenal and Real Madrid striker is unsettled at Fenerbahce and is looking for a return to the Premiership, just 12 months after leaving Manchester City in a £7m deal.
While there is no question that Everton boss David Moyes would be interested in a player of Anelka's quality, he has refused to comment on the matter and is eager to distance himself from claims a move for the French international is imminent. A number of possibilities have been discussed at boardroom level but Moyes - who last week suggested that he might not make any additions to his squad - will continue to play his cards close to his chest. Top of the manager's list of priorities at present is seeing how Gary Naysmith and Lee Carsley fare on their return from lengthy absences, as both men will play some part of the reserves' game with Bolton this evening at Haig Avenue. Naysmith had three operations during the summer on his ankle, the last of which was after he developed an infection following the middle round of surgery in September. Carsley, meanwhile, will also get the chance to banish his frustrations following seven months on the sidelines with knee ligament damage picked up in a pre-season friendly against Fenerbahce. It has been a long road back to fitness for both men but they have made speedy progress in recent weeks. Naysmith even took his place on the bench for games against Sunderland and Millwall. Though he knows they will be still short of peak condition, Moyes has been thrilled with the attitude of Nay-smith - who last pulled on a Blue shirt in the 4-0 thumping of Crystal Palace in April - and Carsley and is looking forward to seeing them in action. "Gary has been on the bench in the last few games and we were looking to get him on and get him started," said Moyes. "But they will need a couple of reserve team games under their belts first. "Lee coming back is a big boost. He has been training with us for about five or six days now and he will play some part. Hopefully that will get them in and around the squad in the coming months. "We have lacked a bit of competition in key positions. But in general, the midfield players have done very well. It has probably been our strongest area. "If we can get Gary and Lee back, that will give us a little more." Joseph Yobo and Nigel Martyn continue to have treatment on the respective shoulder and ankle injuries that kept them out of the FA Cup tie with Millwall. Moyes is hoping Yobo will play some part against Portsmouth before heading to the African Nations Cup.
Wright time to be Blues' first choice keeper
Jan 10 2006 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
RARELY do players look back on trips to The Den with any kind of fondness - but Richard Wright was an exception as he headed home on Saturday. With Nigel Martyn sitting out Everton's FA Cup third round tie with Millwall because of a niggling ankle problem, the one-time England goalkeeper was handed a rare chance to impress. Though he didn't have much to do during a 90 minutes that the Blues dominated, Wright carried out his duties with efficiency and confidence when called upon.
Indeed, that Everton escaped with a 1-1 draw and are still in with a chance of facing Chelsea for a place in the last 16 is down in no small part to Wright. During a difficult spell in the second half, the former Arsenal and Ipswich man flung himself to beat out a Ben May free kick that was arrowing to the top corner and grasped the rebound. It proved to be a turning point and provided Everton with the belief that they would eventually find an equaliser. Typically, the self-effacing Wright was keen to play down his role. Where he struggled to contain his animation, however, was talking about being involved in Moyes' starting line-up once again after sitting out the festive period. Wright, desperate for a sustained run, is anxiously waiting to see if he has done enough to convince Moyes to keep the faith in him when Premiership hostilities resume again. "It was nice to get an opportunity," said Wright, after making his fourth start of the campaign. "I felt good. All I want to do is play football and the chance to play against Millwall was fantastic. "It wasn't so nice conceding a goal, but to make a save and have something to do on what was a quiet day was very pleasing.
"I feel good. I'm very strong in my beliefs and I am focused on the mental side of the game. I always stay prepared. I do everything right as you never know what will happen. "I want to play. It's as simple as that. To make a contribution against Millwall was very satisfying. Hopefully, I can do it more often. "Not playing makes you hungry. The hardest thing is not having that Saturday night feeling. You have played, gone out there and done your best and it feels as if you have achieved something." With Leon Osman popping up with the goal to set up a replay on Wednesday week, Everton are now unbeaten in three games after four consecutive defeats over a miserable Christmas. There was extra significance attached to Osman's goal, too - it was the first time Everton had managed to rescue a game they had been trailing in since February 6 last year. The challenge now is to use the strength of character that has been shown in recent games and ensure it helps Everton take the next step forward. Wright feels they are capable of doing so. "Going to Millwall is never easy because their fans make sure it is a very hostile situation," said Wright. "We came out with a draw, but really we had a few chances to win the game. "I suppose it's a bit frustrating that we didn't get a second goal but we have got to take heart from the fact that we created so many great opportunities. "We played very well in the second half and were a little bit unlucky. We can now look forward to another cup tie at Goodison. "There has never been a doubt with the character of the players at this club. We went a goal down and that was disappointing, but we played some good football and we'll take the positives home."
Blues brush aside Forest to set up date with Leeds
Jan 10 2006 By Paul Garrity, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON LADIES will travel to Leeds United in the fifth round of the FA Cup after overcoming Nottingham Forest 2-0 in the fourth round thanks to goals from Jody Handley and Michelle Evans.
The clash at Marine was the Blues' first match since their League Cup semi-final defeat to Arsenal on December 11. But despite Forest's hopes of causing an upset, the Blues showed no signs of ring-rustiness and took just over half an hour to put the game beyond the Northern Division side.
Handley scored the opener, unleashing a shot from the edge of the box which flew under the diving Jo Ballard in the Forest goal. The Toffees went 2-0 ahead after 32 minutes, Evans starting a sweeping move on the edge of her own box and finishing it off to double the hosts' lead.
The visitors did test the Everton goal just before half time, when Rachel Brown clawed a 25-yard Catherine Lawson free kick out of the top corner of the goal. The hosts came close to extending their lead in the second half, only for Ballard to tip Handley's shot past the post. "It was a sticky one, as we haven't played for a long time," said Blues boss Mo Marley. "We scored two goals and we're happy to be in the next round. I think we can play better - there is no question about that. But we did enough to win the game and that is all you can ask for really." Liverpool are also on their travels in the fifth round, visiting Barnet after beating Colchester United 1-0 at Gayton Park. Gill Hart scored the vital goal from a Cheryl Foster corner just 17 minutes in. This Sunday both teams are in county cup action, Everton facing Garswood Saints at Wyncote's Liverpool University ground (2pm) and Liverpool taking on Southport. Draw for the Women's FA Cup fifth round: Barnet v Liverpool; Leeds United v Everton. Matches to be played on Sunday, January 29.
Blues ticket details
Jan 10 2006 Liverpool Echo
Portsmouth v Everton in the Premiership on Saturday, January 14 (3pm) A limited number of stand tickets priced £30 (adults), £22 (over 65s) and £19 (under 16s) are currently available to season ticket holders upon sole production of voucher no 44 from the Park End box office during normal office hours. Joe Mercer and People's Club members should present voucher 44 from their season ticket books. All other Executive members need to present cup priority voucher 13 from their season ticket books. Identification will be required upon entry into the stadium for people with concessionary tickets. Everton v Arsenal in the Premiership on Saturday, January 21 (12.45pm)
General sale continues from the Park End box office during normal office hours. Supporters should note that a Dial-A-Seat service on 08707 383786 will also be in operation for this fixture. Supporters should note this is a premium game and £2 extra is applicable on all adult tickets. Wigan Athletic v Everton in the Premiership on Tuesday, January 31 (7.45pm) Stand tickets priced £25 (adults), £20 (over 65s and under 16s) will be available to season ticket holders upon production of voucher no 45 together with not less than two away match ticket stubs (different games) from this season and properly affixed to their official away match saving sheet from the Park End box office during normal office hours. Joe Mercer and People's Club members should present voucher 45 from their season ticket books. All other Executive members need to present cup priority voucher 14 from their season ticket books. Identification will be required upon entry into the stadium for people with concessionary tickets. Supporters should note that applications will not be accepted unless stubs are attached to the official away match saving sheet. Everton v Man City in the Premiership on Saturday, February 4 (3pm) Evertonia members only sales commenced yesterday from the Park End box office at 9.30am. All members will need to produce a valid member-ship card in order to purchase a ticket within this priority period. Members should note that Evertonia membership entitles the holder to one ticket per membership. General sale will commence Monday, January 23, from the Park End box office at 9.30am. Supporters should note that a Dial-A-Seat service on 08707 3837866 will also be in operation for this fixture.
Gravesen eye on Real exit
Jan 10 2006 Liverpool Echo
FORMER Everton midfielder Thomas Gravesen is ready to leave Real Madrid in search of first team football. The 29-year-old Dane, reported to be a target for Manchester United, has made only five La Liga starts this season. "My clear ambition is to play every game so naturally I am not satisfied," Gravesen said. "For me this can't go on, so my agent and I will have to take a look at the situation while the transfer window is still open."
Carsley and Naysmith reserve outing fillip for Moyes
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Jan 11 2006
LEE CARSLEY took a major step towards a first-team return by appearing for Everton reserves last night. The 31-year-old midfielder played 90 minutes of the second string's 1-1 against Bolton Wanderers at Haig Avenue. It was the Irishman's first appearance of any kind since aggravating a knee ligament injury during the pre-season friendly at Fenerbahce in July. Fellow long-term absentee Gary Naysmith also provided Goodison manager David Moyes a further injury fillip by playing the full match last night having been sidelined since April with an ankle injury. And the duo combined for Everton's goal with Naysmith scoring from Carsley's cross. Moyes's resources have been so stretched that, despite a complete lack of warm-up games, Naysmith has been on the substitutes' bench for the first team in recent weeks. However, the signs are that Everton's injury concerns are lessening slightly with Per Kroldrup expected to rejoin training this week following an ankle problem.
The Denmark international picked up the injury during his debut at Aston Villa on Boxing Day, but a scan has revealed no further damage. Kroldrup's return is timely as Moyes faces the prospect of losing Joseph Yobo to African Nations Cup duty following Saturday's visit to Portsmouth. Meanwhile, it has been claimed that Everton are one of three Premiership clubs wanting to hand a trial to Austrian international Sanel Kuljic. The 27-year-old, who plays for SV Ried in his homeland, is said to have caught the attention of Moyes, along with Aston Villa and Fulham. The player's agent, Frank Schreier, said: "There are a few clubs interested in Sanel. Aston Villa have expressed an interest and so have Fulham, but I am waiting for them to come back to me. "I have spoken to David Moyes and he said he is looking for such a player as Sanel. Sanel is 27-years-old and he wants to leave and play for a bigger club in a bigger league. "All three clubs want to see Sanel on trial and I am waiting on invitations. If nothing happens in January I am sure he will move in the summer."
Everton already have FC Thun left-back Jose Goncalves on trial.
FA Cup replay ticket details
Jan 11 2006
EVERTON'S FA Cup third round replay against Millwall next Wednesday is all ticket. No tickets will be available after 6pm on the night of the game. Ticket prices have been reduced to £20 adults, £10 juniors (under-16 only) and over-65s, which will be available in all general stand areas of the ground for this fixture. Please note that under FA regulations and as condition of our safety certificate Millwall have claimed 4822 tickets in the Bullens Road Stand. Therefore the following Season Ticket holders in the Bullens Road Stand will be offered a best available alternative seat on application:
Paddock Stand: Supporters seated in seat numbers 123 and below (All Rows). Lower Bullens: Supporters seated in seat numbers 151 and below (All Rows). Upper Bullens: Supporters seated in seat numbers 154 and below (All Rows). Tickets will be on sale to Season Ticket holders at the Park End Box Office from Wednesday, January 11 from 9.30am as follows: Season Ticket holders may claim their own seat (subject to availability) on production of Cup Priority voucher no.22 (this must be fully completed with their seat details) at the Park End Box Office until close of business (6pm) on Friday, January 13. Postal applications may be made enclosing the correct remittance, relevant fully completed voucher and a stamped addressed envelope to the Box Office, Goodison Park, Liverpool L4 4EL. Supporters should be aware when posting applications of the short time span. For this game only, season ticket holders may claim their own seat by phone on 08707 3837866 up until close of business on Friday, January 13. There will be a charge of £1.60 per ticket and a transaction fee of £1.60 for this service. Tickets will be available on GENERAL SALE from Monday, January 16 at 9.30am from the Park End Box Office, online at evertonfc.com and also to postal applicants. Supporters however, should be aware when posting applications of the short time span before the game. Dial-A-Seat (General Sale): Holders of Access and Visa cards may book seats subject to availability on GENERAL SALE using our 24 hour Dial-A-Seat service 08707 3837866 from Monday, January 16. There is a £1.60 charge per ticket plus a £1.60 booking charge for this service. Lounge Members will need to present Cup Priority voucher no 22 or FA Cup third round voucher from their Season Ticket books to gain entry to their usual seats. Supporters registered on the Home Cup Scheme will automatically receive their tickets for this fixture through the post, those supporters whose seats will be affected by the visitors will be allocated a best available alternative seat in their own stand and their tickets posted out to them.
Everton Res 1, Bolton Res 1
Jan 11 2006 Daily Post
LEE CARSLEY and Gary Naysmith both played the full game of Everton Reserves' 1-1 draw with Bolton in the Barclays Premiership Reserve League North at Haig Avenue and both came through with no ill effect. Carsley has been out all season while Scottish international Naysmith was on the bench in Everton's FA Cup third round draw at Millwall at the weekend and both players were involved from the start. Carsley came close to opening the scoring early on as his curling effort just went wide. Everton went even closer minutes earlier when Victor Anichebe headed against the Bolton upright from Stephen Wynne's dangerous cross. The early pressure paid off for the home side as the two returning players combined to open the scoring on 24 minutes. Carsley did well to get in a cross which was headed home by the diving Naysmith. Bolton responded well and nearly levelled when Smith raced clear of the Everton defence, however despite looking favourite to score Iain Turner made a brave save to deny the youngster. Bedi Buval tried a long-range effort which Turner dealt with comfortably and Carsley nearly put Everton two up just before the break with a delightful free-kick. Everton remained comfortable after the break until the hour mark when Mark Ellis stooped at the far post to head past Turner and put the visitors level. Bolton should have won late on as substitute Leslie Thompson found himself a yard out from goal only to mis-kick and waste a glorious opportunity. The point lifts Everton above Liverpool in the table into seventh while Bolton remain rock bottom.
EVERTON: Turner, Wynne, Wilson, Hughes, Boyle, Harris (Vidarsson 81), Seargeant, Carsley (Phelan 90), Anichebe, Li Tie, Naysmith Subs: S Wright, Molyneux, Jones
BOLTON: Howarth, Hill, Jamieson, Whitehead, Fojut, Ellis, Sinclair, Sissons, Buval, Smith, Mountford (Thompson 56). Subs: Kazimierczak, Cassidy, Charlesworth, Stott
Naysmith closing in on Blues return
Jan 11 2006 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
GARY NAYSMITH believes he has finally cleared the one remaining obstacle that had been blocking his path towards full fitness. Though the Everton defender has been in training for the last month after recovering from three bouts of ankle surgery, he had been forced to bide his time to make a first competitive appearance since last April. But along with another long term absentee in Lee Carsley, Naysmith got the chance to banish his frustrations in a run out for the reserves and for good measure capped a solid workout with a goal. However, it was the moment he thundered into a couple of early challenges and walked away without any problem that convinced the 27-year-old that all was well and now he is counting the days until he gets the chance to play again.
"If you had seen my first two tackles, I mistimed them slightly and I had to apologise to the boy I was marking but that's what I needed," he said. "I needed a good tackle because although it's only one game, I've no problem with my ankle. "I'm sore in my thighs and my groin - what you would expect after being out for so long - I never got a problem anywhere else and that was the biggest bonus of all. I feel like I've cleared a hurdle. "I've been back training with the first team three or four weeks but you never really have a proper tackle. "I needed that game to answer a couple of questions I had in my own mind. It was good to play alongside a good bunch of young boys and they helped me as much as I helped them. I'm just delighted to have played again." The Scotland international has been subjected to a fair amount of ribbing from Carsley since the game, as the midfielder is trying to take credit for the goal after delivering the cross which presented the opportunity. Not surprisingly, Naysmith would not entertain his team-mate, quickly adding it to his career tally. "It was definitely my goal!" he protested with a wry smile. "To be fair, Cars told me to stand on the keeper and he put it right on my head. The goal was just a bonus really. The biggest thing for me was to get through 90 minutes. "I'm really sore now and I felt the cramp coming at times, but it's my first game in nine and a half months, my first football of any kind. I've been on the bench two or three times but I've not had any minutes on the park. "Although it's a reserve game, I'm delighted. The game was always the one I had in mind to be my starting point. I was probably only on the bench because of injuries and suspensions to provide cover really."
It's just great to be back!
Jan 11 2006 By Dominic King at Haig Avenue, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON boss David Moyes was able to breath a sigh of relief today after Lee Carsley and Gary Naysmith came through their return from injury unscathed. Given that they have spent the season on the sidelines, last night's reserve fixture against Bolton was a significant step forward on the road to recovery. Carsley, who has been out since August because of knee ligament trouble, played all but 60 seconds of the game at wind-swept Haig Avenue. He impressed in mid-field before being replaced because of a tight groin. Naysmith, meanwhile, marked his first competitive appearance in nine months - his last being against Crystal Palace in August - with the opening goal when he found himself perfectly placed to divert Carsley's 23rd minute corner. Though Everton were eventually pegged back in the second half when poor marking at a corner allowed Mark Ellis the simplest of opportunities to equalise, the main objective was to see Carsley and Naysmith get a run-out.
"The game served its purpose," said Blues' reserves boss Andy Holden. "We have not played for a few weeks because of the Christmas break and one or two of the lads were a bit rusty.
"But it was nice to see Gary pop up with a goal on his comeback and he has come through it well. The same applies to Lee. They are both good lads and I am just delighted to see them back in action." Chances were few and far between in a game that was compromised by a spongy pitch and blustery conditions, but it was Everton, with Carsley prodding and probing for openings, who looked the most likely to score early on. Victor Anichebe hit the post with a header from Stephen Wynne's cross, Carsley saw a free kick whistle over the bar and Anichebe went close with another effort before Naysmith popped up. After the break Li Tie, who was watched by China's manager, had a chance to make the game safe but shot straight at Bolton keeper Chris Howarth, and Everton were made to pay when Ellis headed home on 65 minutes. "I'm not too disappointed because the conditions made things difficult, but I was delighted with Paddy Boyle," added Holden. "I was happy with the goal we scored but not so with the one we conceded." EVERTON: Turner; Wynne, Wilson, Boyle, Hughes; Seargent, Harris (Vidarsson 80), Carsley (Phelan 90), Li Tie, Naysmith; Anichebe.
Sulky Anelka just right for us
Jan 11 2006 Echo Letters, icLiverpool & Liverpool Echo
IF Nicolas Anelka hadn't played for that lot across the park and wasn't the incredible sulk, he'd fit all the requirements in a topstriker. He's fast, strong, has a great shot and a good eye for goal. I just fear he isn't a team player. Still, if he sticks the ball in the net 10-15 times between now and the end of the season, who cares?
Mark Chiltern, Burnley
I CAN'T see the Blues signing Nicolas Anelka. We couldn't afford his wages and certainly wouldn't be able to attract someone of his ability with our current league position . . . unless it was a loan deal.
I would like to see him sign, because even though he has a reputation as a moaner, he still scores goals for fun.
Scott Lloyd, Liverpool
YES, Nicolas Anelka is a good striker but we need somebody with the right attitude too and what good would he be in a backs to the wall situation? It seems unlikely he will agree to sign for us when other clubs will surely come in offering more money than we can.
Brian Last, Huyton
NICOLAS ANELKA is a great player but he would get fed up before the end of the season anyway so why bother? I can understand Moyes being reluctant to pay over the odds for any player.
Graham Foster, Dublin
Blues can't lose in FA Cup
IT is really good news that we have been drawn to face Chelsea in the next round of the FA Cup.
If we lose, it is expected and no one will be blamed. If we win, it will be a tremendous achievement and everyone in the team will be treated like God.
Rob Gordon, Wavertree
IT is too early to get excited about an FA Cup clash with Chelsea as we've still got to get past Millwall.
We were the better team against them on Saturday but they played well, were hard to break down and are no mugs.
Dan Draper, Bootle
WE are the only club that can beat Chelsea as we proved when we came close to doing them at Goodison. The whole nation will be thankful to us if we can do it.
Richie Edwards, Merseyside
IF we get past Millwall and have our top team available, then we can give Chelsea a good run for their money in the FA Cup. If we get in a full house, anything is possible.
Tony Oliver, West Derby
IT'S our year! We can win the FA Cup if we can get past Millwall, then Chelsea, Man United and Arsenal. Then we can beat Liverpool in the final after being 6-0 down at half-time, with the winner being scored by our new invisible striker. Some people still believe in Father Christmas you know!
Justin Keane, Aintree.
Ferrari determined to take centre stage at Goodison
By Richard Williamson Daily Post Sports Editor
Jan 12 2006
MATTEO FERRARI is determined to take centre stage for Everton.
The Italian international has been handed the chance to stake his claim for a first-team role in the second half of the season after impressing in the Premiership win over Charlton and the FA Cup third round draw at Millwall in his favoured role at the heart of the defence. Ferrari's opportunities have been restricted after an ankle injury kept him on the sidelines, while he has also been pressed into service as a fullback in his five starts since arriving in the summer. However with a niggling shoulder injury again making Joseph Yobo doubtful for this weekend's trip to Portsmouth ahead of his departure for international duty with Nigeria in the African Nations Cup next week, Ferrari knows the next month will be an important one for him. And the 26-year-old is hoping he gets the chance to shine in the position he believes brings the best out of him. "The last two weeks have been very important because I have been able to play in the position I prefer, which is in the centre of defence," he said. "I have appreciated the chance to play in my natural position. Because Joe is going to the African Nations Cup we have three players for two places so there is still competition but that is good. You need competition to play in your preferred role. "David Weir and Per Kroldrup are both good play-ers. It is up to the players to show they deserve their place in the formation. Who is fitter and in best form will play and that is right, that is fair." Ferrari has partnered both Yobo, against Charlton, and Weir, at Millwall, so far and the recovery of Kroldrup from his own ankle problems will give manager David Moyes a further option. The Italian admits life in English football has taken him by surprise. "Obviously I had seen games on television but when you get out on to the pitch you have a better idea of the difference because you can only have one or two touches of the ball before you are pressed by the opponents," he said. "It is really quick - more than I expected." Meanwhile Everton's hopes of attracting Nicolas Anelka to Goodison Park would seem to rest on whether Fenerbache lower their demands for the player as much as the Frenchman's high earnings. The club are keen to recoup as much of the £7million they paid out for the French striker, with reports in Turkey saying that the club are insisting they will not lose any money on Anelka's departure. But with Everton manager David Moyes admitting he does not have a lot of transfer funds at his disposal it remains to be seen whether a deal can be struck. Everton would clearly favour a transaction that means a low initial outlay, with further payments spread out over a long-term deal for Anelka. Despite the obstacles to a transfer being secured, Moyes retains an interest in the striker, but is also believed to be pondering other options. Everton have been linked with a move for Matt Jansen, who is being released by Blackburn Rovers, along with Manchester City, Wigan and Bolton. Jansen, 28, has started only 13 Premiership matches since his recovery from a serious 2002 motorcycle accident which would leave a question mark over any move for the player.
Work to do before Naysmith's fully fit
By Richard Williamson Daily Post Sports Editor
Jan 12 2006
GARY NAYSMITH has admitted plenty of hard work still lies ahead as he continues his recovery from injury. The Everton full back played a full 90 minutes for the Reserves on Tuesday - having been out since April with an ankle injury. And while the Scottish defender emerged from the match with the twin boost of scoring the opening goal in a 1-1 draw with Bolton Reserves and without any ill-effects from his injury, he insists he needs more games under his belt to continue his return to fitness.
The 27-year-old reflected on his first match in nine months and declared: "I'll probably need five or six full reserve games before I am anywhere near full match fitness. "You can train as much as you like but there's nothing like 90 minutes on the park. "This game was great for me but it also showed that I am a good way off being fully ready to play in the Premiership." Naysmith admitted he felt rusty, adding: "I mis-timed my first two tackles and had to apologise to their boy. I've been back training with the first team for three or four weeks, but you never really have a proper tackle. I needed that game to answer a couple of questions I had in mind." Naysmith, who has undergone three rounds of surgery in an attempt to clear up the injury problem, added: "The biggest thing for me was having absolutely no problems with my ankle." The game also marked a return to competitive action for Lee Carsley.
Blues deny £7.5m striker bid
Jan 12 2006 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON today laughed off reports they have failed with a £7.5m bid to sign Lens striker Olivier Thomert. The 25-year-old, who has scored five goals in 17 Le Championnat appearances this season, is being touted around Europe by his agent in the hope of getting a move to the Premiership. Though it is no secret David Moyes is looking to strengthen his attack if he can during the summer, Thomert's name is not on his list of targets - and certainly not at a club record fee.
Another man who is unlikely to end up on Merseyside is Matt Jansen, released yesterday by Blackburn Rovers. The 28-year-old has made just 13 Premiership appearances since 2002 following a motorcycle accident and has gone to Manchester City on trial in a bid to win a deal. Whether Moyes decides to give him a chance in the near future remains to be seen but early indications are Jansen may have to look elsewhere to continue his career. Meanwhile, Moyes has hinted that Leon Osman could make an immediate return to the starting lineup at Portsmouth on Saturday following his FA Cup heroics against Millwall. Though he was unfortunate to drop to the bench at The New Den, Osman came to the Blues' rescue with a priceless late equaliser to earn Everton a replay. Aside from his goal, he made a significant overall contribution to the late rally and caught the manager's eye in the process. While he may have had a difficult start to the season, Osman has looked much brighter since starring in the 2-0 win against Blackburn in December. And with that in mind, Moyes could be ready to reward the midfielder with his 11th start of the campaign at Fratton Park. "Ossie has been doing well recently and we know what he is capable of," said Moyes. "He has been showing signs of the good form that we thought he was in last year. "He was a bit unfortunate not to play from the start against Millwall but he had played two games in three days over the New Year period. "We just felt it was the right time to give him a breather but he did well when he came on and scored an important goal. He's been doing very well in training. "But he knows that he is going to have to keep playing that way if he wants to stay in the team. "We have got good competition in the midfield areas - it's been our best area." * Matteo Ferrari's agent Giovanni Corci has claimed that the Everton defender will return to AS Roma when his loan spell on Merseyside comes to an end. The 26-year-old has impressed in his last two appearances against Charlton Athletic and Millwall but had spent a lot of time out injured prior to that. In total, Ferrari has played just eight times for Everton and Corci said: "Matteo is a Roma player and will return in June. He should never have left."
From Russia with a love of anything football
Jan 12 2006 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON hosted the Reds but, unlike the recent Merseyside derby, it was the Blues who emerged with full honours. Goodison's deputy chief executive Robert Elstone hosted a visit by 32 Russian business scholars all studying the football industry. Mr Elstone, who recently unveiled the best financial figures in the club's history, explained how Everton plan to boost their fortunes and increase commercial revenues. Their football-mad visitors were then treated to a VIP tour of the famous old stadium. The party from Moscow university is based in Liverpool during a week-long visit studying the UK football industry organised by Liverpool university and local consultancy Target Sports, run by former Everton marketing manager Trevor Gornall. The Russian party has taken in visits to Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City and Wigan.
Legends swing in to help charity for disabled children
Jan 12 2006 Liverpool Echo
FOOTBALL stars are teeing up to help a children's charity. Legends from Everton and Liverpool have agreed to take part in a golf day to raise money for Stick 'n' Step, a charity which uses specialist teachers flown in from Hungary to help disabled children to walk, read and write. Yesterday ex-Liverpool player Ian St John and former Everton star Derek Mountfield visted the charity to see for themselves the fine work it does. Seven-year-old Luke Percy from Eastham could not stand up when he arrived at the cerebral palsy charity. Now, two years later, he can stand, walk and run. His mother, Paula Percy, 35, said the change in him was amazing. She said: "Everything you hope and pray for for your child is becoming more of a reality for him."
Magic! No, it's the heart and soul of football
Jan 12 2006 Sports View with Echo Sports Editor John Thompson
THEY all seem to call it the magic of the FA Cup. And it's certainly a long time since third round day weaved its spell quite so enchantingly as last weekend. You could not help but be captivated as Burton Albion clung on to draw with Manchester United, as Everton refused to buckle at Championship strugglers Milwall and grabbed an equaliser, as Liverpool somehow rekindled the miracle of Istanbul to avoid humiliation at Luton - and as Nuneaton scored a last gasp equaliser at Premiership Middlesbrough. No wonder on days like these we regularly and routinely refer to the conjuring power of the world's most famous club trophy. But the truth is the competition has suffered real blows down the last decade and has been fighting for its life as we know it. When Manchester United pulled out entirely to play in the World Club Championship, football fans were genuinely shocked. Liverpool suporters were equally as angry last year when Rafael Benitez put out a second string side so infamously humiliated and dumped out at Burnley. It was seen not just as an embarrassing defeat, but as sacrilege to select so many reserves and therefore 'snub' the competition. Yet many top Premiership bosses do risk all with squad rotations when they play sides from lower leagues in the early rounds. It's clear they expect their reserves to be good enough and are prepared to take that chance when Premier League success and European Cup glory are frankly seen as far more important targets. It's as if the FA Cup has become quaint, a much loved elderly relative that's respected but has in truth seen better days and lost some of her appeal.
Former Liverpool players Gary Gillespie, Alan Kennedy and Phil Neal, ex-Evertonian Duncan McKenzie and ex-Manchester United player Frank Stapleton will play in the charity golf day at Bromborough golf club on April 30. It is that whispered reality which lends us to refer - often patronisingly - to the 'Magic of the FA Cup'. But, for me it's not the magic of the cup which is a phrase best-suited to weekends like the one we've just witnessed. Instead it's the very spirit of the game which was actually on show. When football becomes so serious, so self-important that it cannot recognise the true essence of its basic appeal - and stage at least a few days like these - it will have frankly lost the plot. And it can then expect to pay the price in the long term. All the game's grace and drama, its character and commitment, its hopes and fears are bundled up and mixed into a sweet, class-free cocktail which, on third round day reminds us why we all pay so much money, devote so much time and energy, and fire so much draining emotion towards the game of football.
So it's not the cup itself which is important, or the magic of the competition. Because the FA Cup is simply the symbol and the stage. What shines through it and sits upon on it is the very heart and soul of football. And that is why, despite the massively changing face of football, we threaten its importance at our peril.
Li Tie aiming for Blues' comeback
Jan 12 2006 Evertonia, Liverpool Echo
LI TIE has been reassured by the Chinese national coach that his international place remains secure.
The midfielder has found first team opportunities limited this term after returning from an 18 month injury lay-off. The 28-year-old has returned to the international fold this season, though, playing five times for his country after recovering from the broken shin sustained while training with his country in January 2004. International boss Zhu Guang Hu has been over here this week and was at Southport's Haig Avenue on Tuesday to watch Li Tie playing for Everton's second string in a 1-1 draw with Bolton. Li Tie told Evertonia: "I am quite happy to have played for my country because I need more matches. Zhu had a conversation with me before the match because he wanted to know about my situation. I do appreciate his trust in me and he has given me such tremendous opportunities to improve myself. "My goal for 2006 is to find my way back into the team. Meanwhile, I hope my name is still in the list of Chinese national team players because this is the biggest honour for all footballers." Li Tie insists he did not feel nervous at the prospect of playing in front of manager David Moyes and his international boss. "I knew David Moyes would be there, as he usually is, although I did feel a little different because my Chinese national team boss was there.
"That is the first time he has seen me play in the reserves and to have three managers there to watch does not happen very often. "As a professional footballer you have to have ability to concentrate on the match, so I just put everything out of my mind and then give 100%. "I think that may have been the best performance I have produced in the last couple of months. I am sharper than before with my tackle and I am passing the ball okay." Li Tie has claimed responsibility for the goal that provided Bolton with the draw. He added: "I was trying to clear the ball with my head but I failed. That really made me upset."
* EVERTONIA is an exclusive members club for Everton fans, offering a host of benefits.
For £19.99, adults have the opportunity to be invited to fans forums and open training days, as well as free entry to reserve and ladies games.
For £9.99, Juniors (under 16s) can also be invited to open training days and the Christmas Party, as well as free entry to reserve and ladies games.
Members receive ticket priority for Goodison Premiership matches, giving them the chance to buy tickets two weeks before they go on general sale. Ring 0870 442 1878.
Scourge of bungs still rife today - Newell
Jan 12 2006 By Tony Barrett, Liverpool Echo
FORMER Everton star Mike Newell today claimed bung culture is rife in English football. The Luton Town manager also revealed he has been offered backhanders and accused the authorities of turning a blind eye to the problem. The revelations look set to cause a storm in English football and Liverpool-born Newell is hoping his comments will force a clean-up of the national game. He said: "Have I been offered the chance to take money? Yes, of course I have. "I wouldn't even entertain the idea. Not at all. Never. "I wouldn't say it is a rarity either. "If I was open to it or interested in it then it would be a regular occurrence, because all I would have to do is say 'what's in it for me?'
"Would I know which agents to ring? Well, they ring you." Newell, whose Luton side was beaten 5-3 by Liverpool in the third round of the FA Cup on Sunday, is in no doubt that football's governing bodies must come out of denial if they are ever to get to grips with the problem. And he insisted that bungs have continued to take place since in the years since George Graham was sacked as Arsenal manager after his involvement in a transfer backhander scandal. "There are clear problems in football, but nothing ever gets done," he said. "Why has it taken so long for people to realise what's going on? Why aren't they doing anything? "What it needs is for someone high profile to stand up and shout about it. "But what you find is that a lot of people involved with the agents and doing the deals are taking backhanders. That is without question. "You're not telling me that the only person guilty of taking a bung in the last decade is George Graham. I don't believe it."
Getting stick can spur us on, says Beattie
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Jan 13 2006
JAMES BEATTIE believes Everton will have to overcome the Portsmouth supporters as well as the players at Fratton Park tomorrow. David Moyes's side travel to the south coast for a pivotal Premier-ship clash aiming for a third successive league win for the first time since September 2004.
Victory would move Everton nine points clear of Harry Redknapp's men, who currently occupy the third relegation place. And Beattie believes last weekend's FA Cup visit to Millwall was the perfect preparation to face Portsmouth's raucous home faithful. "The Den and Fratton Park will be equally as abusive, I'm sure, but it helps if the fans are giving you stick, because you know they are worried about you," said the striker. "It is one of those places where you are definitely going to come in for stick. "You have got to shut them up and the best way to do that is by scoring goals and getting a win with a good performance. "It is a hard place to go and they have got a new manager, Harry Redknapp, and he has made a few signings, and got them believing in themselves again, and they have got a couple of good results." As a former Southampton player, Beattie expects a particularly warm welcome. And the striker believes it would be ideal venue to break his goalscoring duck on his travels this season, with all six of his goals having been netted at Goodison. "Fratton Park is never an easy place to go, I'm sure from a personal point of view I will get a very warm reception from the fans," he added. "We will be looking to go down there and get a result, without a doubt.
"I would like to score for the away fans that follow us, they are tremendous when we go away from home, they were again on Saturday at Millwall. "You never want to be just scoring your goals at home, you want to be getting them home and away, so there is no better place to start then Fratton Park." Leon Osman is in line for a recall to the starting line-up after coming off the bench to net the equaliser at Millwall in last Saturday's FA Cup third round tie.
* MATTEO FERRARI'S agent has claimed the Italian will return to Roma once his loan spell at Goodison expires at the end of the season.
"Matteo is a Roma player and will return in June," said Giovanni Corci. "He should never have left."
Post Soapbox, icLiverpool & Daily Post
Jan 13 2006
MY worry is that other teams around Everton in the league are buying during the transfer window.
They are going to be a lot stronger after January, but we are going to get left behind unless David Moyes and the board pull their collective finger out.
Trevor Ladyman (via e-mail)
SO Portsmouth are looking to complete a triple signing from Spurs for £7.5million while we continue to "look" for players. I'm embarrassed by Everton sometimes. Why can't we get any big money backers in like the mighty Portsmouth?
Steve Jones, Crosby
SO Tommy Gravesen could be off to Manchester United. If they sign him for four years, perhaps they will get half a good season out of him. That's all Everton got (some people on here have short memories). The person who should have got the plaudits was Lee Carsley. Have you seen the multi-talented, top class players that Pompey are after? So much for the Russian Sugar Daddy. The supporters down here thought they where shopping at Harrods and instead have got Quality Seconds. And before anyone says that they are at least buying, would we want any of them?
John Gosling (via e-mail)
WE ALL know that Everton won't sign anyone - least of all Nicolas Anelka - because we have no money. I fear relegation this season, I really do.
John McArdle (via e-mail)
RE-SIGNING Alessandro Pistone, our weakest link and who hasn't played much since, and wasting the Wayne Rooney money shows how poor the judge-ment is of the people leading Everton.
A lot of people question bringing Duncan Ferguson on near to the end to change things round. Why not play him until he tires; we could be leading by then.
Brian Smith, Huyton
I, FOR ONE, do not want the sulky Anelka wearing the blue shirt. Great player he may be, but only if he puts his mind to it. I'd rather have a trier who wears the shirt with pride. Thankfully it looks like we'll be outpriced. We need some genuine creativity in the centre and if we're not getting anyone, please play Arteta there along with Neville, Osman and Van der Meyde on either side and Cahill just behind either Beattie or Ferguson. We don't have the players to play 4-4-2, but the midfield I've suggested at least can score some goals.
Tim Barnett (via e-mail)
Earn your spurs
WHY not go for Robbie Earnshaw. He's fast and does score goals. Or Andy Reid from Spurs?
We're not going to get big name players, so why not look for players with something to prove. Remember the likes of Andy Gray and Peter Reid or even Paul Power? They were great servants to the club, not money-grabbers. I know Earnshaw has not exactly set the world on fire but his pace can stretch defences.
Ronnie Smythe (via e-mail)
Striking the right balance in market
By Mark O'Brien Everton supporter, Daily Post
Jan 13 2006
OLIVIER THOMERT and Halil Altintop. Is someone just making these names up? They are two of the exotic-sounding strikers linked with Everton this week, with a 'source', presumably his agent, saying that Lens had turned down a £7.5million bid for the former. The story linking Marcus Bent with a £3m move to Sampdoria was more believable than that! Nicolas Anelka is the other forward being mentioned. David Moyes seems keen to play down any transfer speculation, probably mindful of what happened in the summer when the fans' hopes were built up concerning the likes of Scott Parker and Mikael Forsell, only for virtually all our top targets to either physically breakdown or, even worse for them, move to Newcastle. At times Anelka has made Michael Barrymore and Pete Burns look like well-adjusted and grounded individuals, but although there are always questions over his temperament there are very few about his playing ability. He's exactly what Everton are crying out for, a striker with genuine pace who prevents opposition defences from pushing up right on us as they have done ever since Tomasz Radzinski left the club. Unlike the Canadian though, Anelka is also pretty unerring in front of goal - another quality that would be invaluable. He would certainly be the perfect loan signing until the end of the season. If he was to come to Goodison, and it is all speculation at the moment, he would have the added advantage of not being cup-tied. That's only relevant if Everton win their replay against Millwall, but if they do then they will certainly need all the eligible players they can lay their hands on if they're to face Chelsea. At these early stages you obviously hope for a straightforward home game or a trip to somewhere you've never been before - preferably a club who give you a big allocation - so potentially drawing the West London juggernaut comes as a bit of a blow. However, we weren't meant to get anything against them in the league and we earned a draw, so there's no reason why we couldn't go one better in the cup.
Jose Mourinho's men would be big favourites, naturally, but you only have to look at some of the results in the last round to see that you can still take very little very for granted in the 'greatest cup competition in the world'.
Germans ready to bid for Kroldrup
Jan 13 2006 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
SCHALKE 04 could be ready to offer unsettled Per Kroldrup an escape route from his Goodison Park nightmare. Sources in Denmark have revealed that Kroldrup, who has made just one Premiership appearance since joining the Blues last June for £5.1m, is struggling to adapt to life in England and would prefer a move back to the continent. That has alerted former club Udinese, while Serie A rivals Livorno are also keen on taking him back to Italy. Schalke 04, though, are also keeping an eye on developments. It is understood they would be interested in taking him to the Bundesliga but, as yet, Everton have not had any firm offers. Should that change, Blues boss David Moyes would have a major decision to make, particularly as Joseph Yobo is about to head off on African Nations' Cup duty. Kroldrup has endured nothing but frustration during his time at Goodison Park. Hernia surgery ensured he missed the start of the season, while the form of David Weir and Yobo then prevented him making his debut until Boxing Day at Aston Villa. Yet even that failed to go according to plan, as Everton were thrashed 4-0. To make matters worse, the 26-year-old damaged ankle ligaments and has missed the last four games. "I can use my foot to run but certainly not to play matches," the Denmark international said recently. "It is terribly irritating since I had just got back and started to work my way into the side. "I had been ready and waiting for my chance for the last couple of months but I know Joseph and David have been playing very well." Meanwhile, Moyes, whose side face Portsmouth tomorrow, has been linked with taking Austrian international Sanel Kuljic on trial.
The 27-year-old currently plays for Austrian club SV Ried but his agent Frank Schreier claims he has contacted the Everton boss about the possibility of spending a few days at Bellefield.
"There have been a few clubs interested in Sanel," said Schreier. "Aston Villa have expressed an interest and so have Fulham, but I'm waiting for them to come back to me. "I have spoken to David Moyes and he said he is looking for a player such as Sanel. I am waiting for invitations from those interested." Everton travelled down to the south coast early this afternoon and Moyes is expected to ring the changes from the side that started last weekend against Millwall. James Beattie will return to spearhead the Blues' attack, while Simon Davies is back in contention after missing the games against Charlton Athletic and Millwall.
Yobo torn over cup dilemma
Jan 13 2006 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
WHILE the toothy smile has remained ever present and he has appeared to be his usual chirpy self, Joseph Yobo has privately spent the last month wrestling with a dilemma that will be finally solved tomorrow. After Everton's clash with Portsmouth at Fratton Park, Yobo will board a plane and fly out to Egypt to join the rest of Nigeria's squad to prepare for the African Nations' Cup.
Given there is a chance he could captain the Super Eagles in the tournament that continues to grow in prestige, this athletic defender has every right to look forward to pitting his wits against Africa's finest strikers. Deep down, though, part of him will wish he had stayed in England. Fiercely committed to his club, Yobo has been agonising about leaving Everton in the lurch and pleaded with the Nigerian FA to let him stay with the Blues as long as possible. A nagging shoulder injury ensured he spent the week at Bellefield receiving treatment and, provided there are no hiccups, the 25-year-old will return to David Moyes' starting line-up as Everton seek to extend their unbeaten run to a fourth game. Only six points separate Everton and Portsmouth and Yobo will be straining every sinew to ensure he departs on the best possible terms. "This time I had to compromise and people need to know that I love playing for my country as much as I love playing for my club, and I want to give my best for my club," said Yobo. "It is going to be hard for me to leave because I have played in all the games, and I will be away for a few games. I would have preferred to stay, but at the same time I love playing for my country. "I would have loved to play all the games for my club and then play in the African Nations but because of its timing, it is difficult. "But my being away will create an opportunity for someone else. We have got good players here, Per, Matteo, David. They are really good players and I am hoping and praying Everton do well while I am away." Prior to last weekend's FA Cup draw at Millwall, Yobo had played every minute of every Everton game but the manager finally chose to take him out of the firing line in the hope of getting one last hurrah from him on the south coast. Even that break was taken with reluctance. Four games in eight days may have been a little too much for some to cope with but Yobo soldiered on through the pain barrier. It was, he argues, the kind of match practice needed for facing players of the calibre of Didier Drogba and Samuel Eto'o in a tournament that Nigeria - surprise absentees from this summer's World Cup - are favourites to win. "I think it has been very busy for me, but it has been a good opportunity for me to play in all the games," he continued. "Unfortunately I had to miss the FA Cup game through injury but I am looking forward to the African Nations Cup as it is an honour to play for my country. There is a lot of expectation on us because the last two times we have been there we have come third.
"I think we deserve to be in the final. Everyone will be saying it is about time we got to the final, and hopefully we will win it, but we have a very tough group. "Our first aim is to get out of the group, and we should be able to do that because of the players we have. Many of the big nations didn't qualify for the World Cup and our fans have been complaining that as a team we didn't give it our all.
"They said we should have qualified, so the African Nations Cup is like compensation for the World Cup. All the big nations will be trying to win it. There are five or six teams that could win it, but I think we can win." Should that happen, Yobo may be the man to hoist the trophy aloft in Cairo on February 10. It would, without question, be the highlight of his career to date, but he is adamant that there are still better things in prospect for club and country. "I have been around the national team for a long time and learned the system," he added. "For me to be given the responsibility to captain my country when Jay-Jay Okocha or Kanu is not playing is good for me because I have been there for many years. "I enjoy leading the team out because it brings out the best in me as well. It also shows the people believe in me and respect me which is good, so when I play for Nigeria I always want to give my best, because I know everyone is behind me."
Blues and city in talks bid on stadium move
Jan 13 2006 By Nick Coligan, Liverpool Echo
CITY council leader Warren Bradley wants to meet Everton club officials to find out more about their stadium plans. Tackling uncertainty over new homes for both city football teams was one of his key pledges when he was elected last month. Cllr Bradley wants to hold talks with chief executive Keith Wyness with the future of Goodison Park top of his agenda. The ECHO revealed last month that the Blues have had fresh discussions about leaving their historic home. Now Cllr Bradley, a Goodison season ticket holder, wants to find out the club's plans and how the council can help. While Liverpool still hope to build a 60,000-seater ground on Stanley Park, Everton have failed to come up with a concrete proposal since the Kings Dock scheme collapsed two and a half years ago.
Cllr Bradley said: "I want to know how serious Everton are about building a new ground and whether they have the finance to do so. "The last thing I want is for people's hopes to be built up again in pursuit of a pipe dream." Everton have been in talks with possible financial back-ers and identified a site two miles from Goodison, although he would not say where. However, the club has not ruled out rebuilding its current home or trying to put together a shared stadium plan with its Anfield neighbours. Cllr Bradley is a keen advocate of a ground-share, even though Liverpool have ruled it out on several occasions. He said: "There are a lot of rumours about whether Liverpool can afford a stadium on their own. "People have asked me why I support a shared stadium. It does not matter where you watch a match - it matters what is on the pitch. "If Liverpool or Everton only had to pay half the cost of a £110m stadium, potentially they could spend a lot more on players. "I am also concerned about the effect on communities like Anfield, Breckfield and Walton if one or both clubs left the area. "There are a lot of small businesses like pubs and chippies that depend on revenue from football fans." Cllr Bradley, now trying to fix up talks with Liverpool chief executive Rick Parry, also wants a firm commitment from both clubs to get involved in Capital of Culture.
Putting money where your mouth is
Jan 13 2006 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES was furious when news of his "interest" in Nicolas Anelka found its way onto the back pages this week. Just as furious, it seems, as many Evertonians' reactions when Moyes had declared just a couple of days earlier: "I don't think there'll be any movement at all. The people I would prefer to bring in are not available." That statement produced predictable radio rants, wearying website waffling and outraged phone calls to the ECHO offices (why do people do that?) Not one, however, had taken the time to consider that the Blues boss might have been either: a) Constructing a smokescreen or b) Trying to keep fans' expectations in check. Having seen potential signings Momo Sissoko and Chris Sutton both end up elsewhere because other clubs had been alerted by newspapers of Everton's interest, Moyes' anger was understandable. But the Blues' boss should also consider another point. If he wants to attract blue-chip signings like Anelka, he is going to have to offer blue-chip wages. Because even if Anelka leaving Fenerbahce commanded zero column inches, he would still attract attention from a pack of Premier-ship football clubs. Just like Scott Parker.
Blues become ton-up boys
Jan 13 2006 You Bet!, with Adam Oldfield, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON have lengthened to 100-1 (totesport) for this season's FA Cup after Monday's fourth round draw presented them with a potential tie with Chelsea. The Londoners remain tournament favourites at 5-2, while holders Arsenal (6-1), who travel to Bolton, offer the likeliest challenge alongside Manchester United (4-1). Liverpool, however, are underestimated at odds of 5-1. Saturday's superb second half comeback at Kenilworth Road confirmed their supremacy in knockout competitions and a trip to strengthening Portsmouth in the next round should pose few problems.
If they overcome Cheltenham in their replay, Chester will have the chance of a giant-slaying with the visit of Newcastle. The Deva men are given little hope of making it all the way to Wembley however, with prices no smaller than 2,000-1.
LATEST BETTING (totesport): 5-2 Chelsea; 4-1 Man Utd; 5 Liverpool; 6 Arsenal; 14 Newcastle; 20 Aston Villa, Man City; 25 Blackburn, Middlesbrough; 33 Bolton; 40 Charlton; 50 West Ham; 66 Birmingham; 80 Portsmouth; 100 Everton, Leeds, Reading, Sunderland; 125-1 bar.
AS transfer speculation begins to mount, totesport are asking which team will recruit the most players during the January window?
Having sold 50 per cent of the club to Russian multi-millionaire Alexandre Gaydamak, Portsmouth can expect a welcome windfall to revitalise Harry Redknapp's survival plans.
And, as the first of several foreign imports trickle into Fratton Park, Redknapp is a surefire 4-6 to make his overhaul the Premiership's most expansive this month. Birmingham, who have already acquired the services of Chris Sutton, are 6-1 to make the most additions, followed by West Ham at 7-1.
TEAM WITH MOST NEW RECRUITS (totesport): 4-6 Portsmouth; 6 Birmingham; 7 West Ham; 14 West Brom; 16 Bolton, Fulham; 20 Liverpool; 25 Aston Villa, Everton, Newcastle, Sunderland; 33 Wigan; 40 Middlesbrough; 50 Charlton, Man City; 66 Blackburn, Man Utd, Spurs; 100 Arsenal, Chelsea.
Blues become ton-up boys
Jan 13 2006
You Bet!, with Adam Oldfield, Liverpool Echo
Lions' roar may be silenced
WITH an FA Cup replay with Everton to contend with, Millwall could be forgiven for not having their minds on the trip to improving Preston this weekend. The Lions (4-1) proved they are no pushovers in the cup, but expect their Championship frustrations to continue at Deep-dale as North End (8-13) get our accumulator off to a winning start. Having accounted for Fulham in one of last weekend's surprise cup results, Leyton Orient (6-5) should be buoyant enough to produce a home win over fellow League Two title hopefuls Northampton (15-8). In the Premiership, three teams should be assured of home wins. Arsenal's Highbury clash with inconsistent Middlesbrough merits only one outcome, likewise Charlton's visit of Birmingham. To complete the 18-1 five-timer with Blue Square, make Aston Villa the anchor at evens to sink West Ham.
Everton may cut losses on Kroldrup
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Jan 14 2006
EVERTON could be ready to accept a loss on Per Kroldrup after it emerged a trio of clubs are interested in signing the Denmark international. The 26-year-old has endured a miserable time at Goodison since his £5million transfer from Udinese in the summer. And his former club are one of three clubs willing to move for Kroldrup this month, with Italian rivals Livorno and German Bundesliga side Schalke also tracking the centre-back. No firm offers have yet been made, but sources in Denmark have confirmed that Kroldrup is struggling to adapt to life in England and would welcome a move back to the continent. Kroldrup needed a hernia operation soon after his arrival in July and picked up an ankle injury during his sole first-team appearance in the 4-0 defeat at Aston Villa on Boxing Day. He resumed training this week after missing the last four games. But with Joseph Yobo departing for the African Nations Cup after today's game at Portsmouth, manager David Moyes is aware that allowing Kroldrup to exit would leave Everton short of cover in central defence.
A year on and Arteta is happy to be Mr versatile
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Jan 14 2006
AS Everton supporters recoil at the thought of David Moyes possibly being forced to scrabble around the loan market for new faces this month, it's worth remembering the impact of the last such mid-season arrival at Goodison. It has been almost a year since Mikel Arteta joined on a short-term deal from Real Sociedad to fill the Thomas Gravesen-shaped hole in Everton's midfield following the Dane's departure to Real Madrid. Yet far from being a stop-gap measure, the Spaniard has gone on to become a vital cog in the Goodison engine, his passing, dead-ball prowess and surprising tenacity making him a versatile permanent addition to Moyes's midfield portfolio and a favourite with supporters. Arteta's arrival provided Everton a sustained impetus from the centre of the field, where he quickly forged a partnership with Tim Cahill that helped push Moyes's men over the finishing line to fourth place and a crack at Champions League qualification. Then came the seismic shift of this campaign, where elimination followed elimination followed disappointment. Matters, dare it be said, now seem to be improving for the Goodison side. And as he reflects on his forthcoming first anniversary at the club - Arteta signed on January 31 last year - the Spaniard insists the outlook is far from gloomy. "I am really happy here and am really proud to play for this club," he says. "I really enjoy it. I've had a few different experiences in my career, and I'm really enjoying the Premiership. Everyone in Europe knows it is an important competition, and it's nice to go to stadiums that are full every week and the way the people appreciate football. "Of course, the first half of the year was fantastic but the second half was not so good. But if you look at it overall, on balance for me personally there have been far more positives than negatives." Of this season's travails, Arteta admits to having to negotiate a steep learning curve. What happened at the start of this season was a bit of a shock," says the midfielder. "No-one at the club was expecting that to happen, but that's football. "Maybe if we'd have got through into the Champions League it would have been different, but now we have to work hard, do the right things and get ourselves up the table because it won't be easy. "I haven't been involved in a situation like this before, to be honest. In my last season at Sociedad we struggled at the start but we quickly moved away from the bottom." A combination of Everton's injury problems and a shift in tactical emphasis from 4-5-1 to 4-5-1 means Arteta has found himself shunted around the midfield this season, more often than not impressing while on the right flank. And the 23-year-old believes he is gaining from his nomadic existence in the Everton engine room. "I've played some good games on the right and in the centre this season, but we've had so many injuries that the gaffer has had to move players around a bit," says Arteta. "But I think that has been good for me. If you play in different positions, that means you can learn different things about the game. I'm happy play anywhere, and I am learning more because of that. "I have always played in the middle at previous clubs, so that is more natural for me. But I'm happy to play wherever for the gaffer if it is going to benefit the team." The lowest point of Arteta's time at Everton thus far undoubtedly came in late September, when a cowardly late challenge from Dinamo Bucharest's Mihaiti Plesan left the Spaniard out cold on the Goodison turf. Arteta thankfully recovered, and maintains he is unfazed by the experience. "I don't remember anything about it at the time because I was unconscious," he says. "But I still get some fans coming up to me and saying their children were crying when they saw me like that. "It wasn't good, and my family were really worried at the time. But I can forget about it now, the player didn't mean to do it and I don't let it bother me. I was lucky that I was okay in the end." Another moment to forget was his red card in the derby defeat to Liverpool over Christmas. "I wasn't proud about the sendingoff," he says. "I get angry if I lose against my sister, so when we were playing Liverpool I was desperate for us to win. But we were losing, and I was frustrated and trying to change the game. It was the first sending off of my career and I will learn from it." Despite representing one of the most creative elements of an admittedly goal-shy Everton team, Arteta concedes he must strive to find the target more regularly himself this season to ease the burden on the strikers. Midfield partner Cahill, after his goal-laden first season, has now scored three in as many games compared to Arteta's three during his entire spell at the club. "Hopefully Tim is coming back to form," says the Spaniard of his team-mate. "It isn't like he hasn't had chances to score this season, he has just been really unlucky with goalkeepers making saves and hitting the post and so on. If Tim had scored six goals by now, no-one would go on about him not scoring. "Maybe people are putting too much pressure on him because it is not normal for a midfielder to be scoring 12 goals every season. "I think I could score more goals, too. We have had trouble scoring many goals this season, and while people might say we should be the ones creating them for the strikers, everybody should be taking responsibility."
Arteta is fighting to over-come an ankle injury for today's visit to fellow strugglers Portsmouth, a game which could go a long way toward shaping the remainder of Everton's season.
Arteta, however, is under no illusions what to expect. "I'm wary of saying we have turned any corners," he says. "Whenever we have thought we have been doing better, we suddenly lose some games, so I don't want to start saying things now. "We know how important this game is. We know we have to do the right things to make sure we win. "Every week has become a big week for us now, though. The difference between many of the teams at the bottom is quite small so things can change very quickly. "If we win, there's a chance of moving further up the table. But if we lose, then we will be under a lot of pressure again, and we know that is what it is going to be like until the end of the season."
Portsmouth 0, Everton 1 (D,Post)
Jan 16 2006 By Ian Doyle at Fratton Park, Daily Post
IT wasn't too long ago that if Everton's players had thrown their shirts into their travelling crowd, they'd have had them thrown back in their faces. How quickly times change. On Saturday, those away tops were gleefully grabbed by delighted Evertonians after the triumphant visitors followed Matteo Ferrari's lead by hurling their muddied tops into the Fratton Park away end. A small memento, then, for the afternoon in which David Moyes's men must surely have instilled themselves with the sufficient self-belief to carry them through towards the end of the season without reawakening the spectre of relegation. A third successive win at this venue and a third successive Premiership win for the first time since the heady days of September 2004 has opened up a nine-point lead to 18th-placed Portsmouth. But it was the continued realisation that Everton have the measure of many of the teams they have been forced to scrap among for a worrying length of time this season that is the great-est positive to be gleaned from a surprisingly comfortable afternoon on the south coast. Leon Osman's 31st-minute decider may have been a scrappy affair, but there was nothing patchy about Everton's performance. This was a thoroughly deserved victory, an almost routine away display that evoked memories of last season's consistent single-goal triumphs.
Yes, they weren't as expansive as against Charlton Athletic or Millwall, but they didn't have to be. Once they had edged their noses in front, there was never any chance of a solid, composed Everton surrendering the initiative to an admittedly poor Portsmouth, who could find no way past a visiting back four in which Ferrari and, in particular, Joseph Yobo excelled. Everton have won all seven of the Premiership games in which they have kept a clean sheet this season. It doesn't take a genius to realise where the basis for an improved second half of the campaign may lie. Typical, then, that Yobo has now joined up with Nigeria for the African Nations Cup. He will be missed. A handful of aberrations apart, the centre-back has been one of the club's players of a difficult season, although the reemergence of Ferrari after long-term injury will help offset the Nigerians' potentially month-long departure. Club captain David Weir will now return to find his teammates demonstrating signs of renewed confidence having responded in perfect fashion to a December derby defeat that ensured a fourth straight loss. Certainly, Tim Cahill's last-minute winner at Sunderland on New Year's Eve seems more pivotal with every passing week. There were positives throughout the team. Nuno Valente and Tony Hibbert were sturdy at fullback, Phil Neville a steadying influence in midfield, Kevin Kil-bane emphasised his improving form while Cahill buzzed and busied himself playing off James Beattie. As a unit, Everton were far superior. And for Moyes, Saturday's out-come served to justify his contention his players should not be among the Premiership's base-ment stragglers in the first place. "It was a big game," he said. "Lots of people were talking in terms of a relegation clash. I always felt we were better than that and we would prove that, not only by the end of this game but by the end of the season as well. "I want to look at the top half for the season now. I think we have a group of players who are good enough to be there." The challenge for Everton now is not to waste this foundation on which they can build a more prosperous 2006. Admittedly, that will partly depend on matters off the field, although Moyes remains pessimistic of any new arrivals at Goodison this month. Astriker is the undoubted priority, if only to relieve some of the pressure and workload from Beattie's shoulders. The former Southampton man - jeered throughout on Saturday because of those St Mary's connections - put in a commendable shift as the lone forward on a pitch so rutted that it forced Moyes to change tack from an initial 4-5-1. "We ended up with Tim Cahill playing virtually as a centreforward," said Moyes. "We certainly didn't start that way, but the pitch wasn't conducive to the way we wanted to play." The state of the pitch could not excuse Portsmouth's performance, however. Moyes had warned beforehand that the clutch of new faces at Fratton Park would put a different complexion on the game and he was right, although not as he had feared.
Rather than act as a spur, the raft of signings - four were handed instant debuts with a fifth, Emmanuel Olisadebe, making a second-half appearance from the bench - only helped further confuse an already disorganised Portsmouth team, with Everton happy to take advantage of the home side's malaise. Harry Redknapp must hope his January arrivals - a spending spree which, bankrolled by Russian millionaire Alexandre Gaydamak, is something Moyes can only dream about - gel quickly otherwise they will surely join Sunderland as certainties for relegation.
Moyes made four changes to the side that drew at Millwall last week with the fit-again Nigel Martyn again preferred to Richard Wright in goal. After scoring the equaliser at the New Den, Osman was rewarded with a starting role on Saturday and should have put Everton ahead inside the first minute when he wastefully headed over Cahill's left-wing cross when completely unmarked at the far post.
Porstmouth new boy Benjani Mwaruwari hinted at a burgeoning partnership with Lomana LuaLua after drawing a decent save from Martyn following neat link-up play with his new teammate, but that was about as close as the home side came to scoring all afternoon. Instead, it was Everton who edged into a deserved lead just past the half-hour. A free-kick from Yobo was punted into the danger area, and after Kilbane had flicked on and with Beattie preoccupying Portsmouth centrebacks Noe Pamarot and Andy O'Brien, Osman bustled in to nudge goalward a shot that deflected in off a combination of O'Brien and Richard Hughes. "I'm definitely claiming it!" said Osman. "The ball has bounced towards me and I've got my shot away, albeit with a bit of help. But it was on target anyway, so it's my goal." Cahill then nodded wide an Osman cross that was intended for Beattie and headed an Arteta corner into the ground to leave Portsmouth goalkeeper Jamie Ashdown scrambling to palm the ball over the crossbar. After the break, Hughes almost shinned another Arteta corner into his own net while Osman's 20-yard drive was tipped wide by a diving Ashdown, despite the resultant award of a goal-kick. Portsmouth mounted a late rally with Pamarot heading a Matthew Taylor corner harmlessly over, but the home supporters who had started leaving 15 minutes before time - "I can get towards the front of the queue for Liverpool cup tickets!" explained one - knew Everton had no intention of relinquishing their grip on a fifth Premiership away win of the season and the chance to replicate the impromptu strip at Birmingham City earlier in the campaign. More of the same should see off Millwall on Wednesday, before Arsenal, fresh from handing out their latest 7-0 thrashing, visit Goodison on Saturday. The perfect test, then, for Everton's 2006 revival. Moyes must hope he has to request a job lot of new home shirts next week, too.
PORTSMOUTH (4-4-2): Ashdown; Griffin, Pamarot, O'Brien, Taylor; O'Neil, Mendes (Diao 73), Davis (Karadas 87), Hughes (Olisadebe 61); LuaLua, Mwaruwari. Subs: Westerveld, Priske.
BOOKINGS: Mendes, Davis (both fouls).
EVERTON (4-5-1): Martyn; Hibbert, Yobo, Ferrari, Valente; Arteta (Bent 90), Cahill, Neville, Osman, Kilbane; Beattie (Weir 88). Subs: Wright, Davies, McFadden.
BOOKINGS: Ferrari (foul), Kilbane (unsporting behaviour).
REFEREE: A Mariner (West Midlands)
NEXT GAME: Everton v Millwall, FA Cup third round replay, Wednesday 8pm.
Everton's fury after Ferguson approach
By Ian Doyle Daily Post Staff
Jan 16 2006
EVERTON have been left fuming at an attempt by Portsmouth to sign Duncan Ferguson, with the striker increasingly unlikely to play for the Goodison club again. And David Moyes's immediate forward options will be further diminished today as Marcus Bent is expected to complete a £2.5million transfer to Charlton Athletic. Everton are thought to be upset at the move from Portsmouth last midweek for Ferguson, who was made aware of their interest on Wednesday.
In doing so, the Fratton Park side ignored the accepted practice in English football that clubs should not approach a player from a team they are about to face, for the obvious reason it may unsettle him and undermine the opposition's chances. Nevertheless, Everton won 1-0 at Portsmouth on Saturday without Ferguson in the squad. The 34-year-old was absent through ill-ness and missed training towards the end of last week. Despite Ferguson's ongoing injury problems that led Moyes to state last month that the player was close to retirement, Portsmouth were willing to offer the striker a lucrative 18-month contract. Everton would have let Ferguson leave on a free transfer, but recent events mean they are now likely to ask for £500,000 should Portsmouth make a formal offer.
Everton chairman Bill Kenwright, chief executive Keith Wyness and Moyes himself are believed to have expressed their displeasure to Portsmouth counterparts on Saturday over the matter, the upshot of which is that Ferguson may not play for the club again. Bent, meanwhile, is expected to complete a long-touted move to Charlton within the next 24 hours. Addicks manager Alan Curbishley was contemplating a move for the 27-year-old last summer, and Everton have accepted an offer from Charlton that will eventually be worth £2.5m. Bent has not started a Premiership game since the 4-0 thrashing at West Bromwich Albion in November, and his 89th-minute substitute appearance at the weekend is his last display in an Everton shirt. Having signed Bent for £450,000 from Ipswich Town in June 2004, Everton will make a tidy profit. However, it means James Beattie is now the only senior striker at the club and will prompt Moyes to increase his efforts to sign another forward this month. Nicolas Anelka remains an option, but was quoted yesterday as saying he preferred a move to Newcastle United. Moyes is therefore ready to retrain his sights on to Paul Dickov at Blackburn Rovers as a short-term solution, with the forward growing frustrated at having fallen behind Craig Bellamy and Shefki Kuqi in the Ewood Park pecking order. Moyes was at the JJB Stadium to watch West Bromwich Albion lose 1-0 at home to Wigan with Robert Earnshaw another on Moyes's striking hitlist. The Everton manager may also consider reigniting his interest in Crystal Palace's Andy Johnson.
Beattie is relishing front-line action plan
By Ian Doyle Daily Post Deputy Sports Editor
Jan 16 2006
JAMES BEATTIE insists he is happy leading from the front by himself for Everton. The 27-year-old was asked to play as a lone striker at Portsmouth on Saturday as David Moyes reverted to a 4-5-1 formation for the trip to Fratton Park. And the change paid off, with Beattie's hard-working performance a highlight of Everton's valuable 1-0 victory. Leon Osman netted the goal on 31 minutes to give the Goodison outfit a third successive Premier-ship win and move them nine points clear of the relegation zone. With Marcus Bent poised to leave Everton today and Duncan Ferguson having been pushed further on to the fringes of the squad by news of interest from Portsmouth, Beattie is likely shoulder the burden of responsibility up front unless a new forward arrives this month. And while the striker admits it is a tough task, it is one that he relishes. "It is hard playing up front on your own," said Beattie.. "You've got to do extra running to close the keeper down and so on, but if it helps us gain possession then it's worthwhile. The lads see it and are aware of it, and I like doing it, it's a big part of my game. "I have tremendous fitness now and it's a weapon I like using. I know if there is 15 minutes to go and I'm feeling a little tired then the centre-back I'm up against is going to be knackered. "I'm playing some good football. I'm retaining the ball miles better and getting some goals. More consistency with my goalscoring would be fantastic but I'm sure that will come. "Playing the one up front, you are also going to score goals by flooding forward which is what we did in the first half. "When you play that formation you get your goals from the likes of Tim (Cahill) playing behind and the likes of Kev (Kevin Kilbane) and Ossie (Leon Osman) breaking from deep. I'd play wherever but I know what my job is and I like it." Of Saturday's win, he added: "It was a great result. It was a real six-pointer. The pitch didn't help either team and it was a battle. In the first half we won it - in the second half came a rally from them, which was inevitable, and we weathered that. "The two centre-backs were brilliant. Matteo (Ferrari) has only played a few games since his injury and he played really well. He was strong with his headers and the centre-backs are shaping up well at the back. "We were saying before the game that maybe it wasn't the best time to play them. Every game is hard but with four new players coming in it lifts the crowd and team, so to win here was a great result." In a repeat of the away win at Birmingham City this season, Everton's players rushed to the travelling support at the final whistle and threw their shirts into the crowd.
And Beattie explained: "It's a long way for the fans to come. They sell out their allocation everywhere we go. We saw a few of them on the way to the ground and they are absolutely crazy. The lads love it and we really appreciate what they do and that's why we sometimes throw our shirts to them. "It was a big result for us. We were looking for three points and that's what we got. They did their part and they are always there and singing and it's great for us." Beattie came in for plenty of abuse from the Portsmouth crowd on his first return to Fratton Park since leaving hated rivals Southampton last year. But the striker believes the jeers served only to improve his game.
"I knew the fans would give me stick but I thrive on that and it makes you feel as though you want to play better," he said. "I love it. It's to be expected, although now that I've moved from Southampton I thought they might have treated me a bit better but it didn't work that way." Beattie ended the game sporting a cut below his left eye and bruising to the area after challenging for a first-half header. "I went up for a header and someone has clobbered me with their knuckles," he said. "If Tim (Cahill) would have ducked, I would have scored and I wouldn't have got this cut!"
Moyes salutes departing Yobo
By Ian Doyle Daily Post Correspondent
Jan 16 2006
DAVID MOYES has hailed Joseph Yobo after he helped Everton to their third successive Premiership victory before departing for the African Nations Cup. The Nigerian was man of the match as Everton secured a well-deserved 1-0 win at Portsmouth on Saturday. Yobo has joined up with Nigeria in preparation for the tournament, which starts this week in Egypt. And of the centreback's display at the weekend, Moyes said: "The defenders were outstanding. I thought Joseph Yobo was really, really top man - I thought his performance was excellent. "It is worth singling out Joseph because his performance was so good. He was the best player on the pitch by a distance. "Obviously a player with his athleticism and pace you would miss, but we have other centre-backs we can use."
Yobo was partnered by Matteo Ferrari in defence, and Moyes added: "I thought Ferrari looked a little bit nervous in the opening stages but the longer the game went on, the better he got. He played really well. "We can see players coming back to form. Cahill, Osman, Kilbane and Beattie are doing better, and Beattie is much more himself. "I thought it was a game where everyone was a seven out of 10. Three Premiership wins in a row is not easy, especially as we had four defeats before that. The players deserve a lot of credit. Since the derby defeat we have bounced back well.
"I thought we controlled the game, especially in the second half, made one or two chances and we should really have got that second goal. It was hard because the pitch was not very good but nevertheless coming to Pompey and winning is a big result for us." Meanwhile Harry Redknapp insists the £11million already invested by the new Portsmouth regime is money well spent.
"I've stuck my neck on the line to sign them and they are not a problem," he said.
Osman makes the difference
View from the stands by Paul Cooper Everton supporter, Daily Post
Jan 16 2006
SATURDAY'S win was much needed and deserved. We were the better team for long periods of the game as Portsmouth struggled to get any continuity going. New signings provided a boost for the Fratton Park supporters, but it will take a little while before they start to impact on their results.
To Everton's credit they started the game positively, which took the wind out of the atmosphere.
It was also nice to see us get a scrappy goal for a change. We got bodies in and around the box, caused indecision in their defence and Leon Osman profited. I am happy that Leon is getting a run in the team, he does offer some bright ideas to our attacking play. His only problem is that he is a little bit small to be a really top player. But if you can have others supplying the muscle around him, he can make a difference. He is never afraid to have a run at defenders, try a clever pass or have a shot.
Anything can happen when you take a chance and have a go from around the box, goalkeepers can make errors and deflections can happen. David Moyes gave special praise to Joseph Yobo. It was unusual for him to single out a player in that way, but I think he deserved his praise. Joey has got outstanding natural ability. I think he's got the makings of a world-class player. He is playing really well and he and Ferrari are starting to look good. It is cruel that they are going to be split up.
The best thing about the win is that it gives us more confidence and a bit more breathing space. A bit of consistency (especially at home) could see us creep into the top half, something that we could only dream of after the Christmas 'performances'.
Blues cash in on Bent
Jan 16 2006 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON today embarked on a search for two new strikers as doubts over Duncan Ferguson's future continued and Marcus Bent headed for the exit. Bent was due to complete his £2.5m move to Charlton Athletic today but what happens with Ferguson - the subject of an approach from Portsmouth - remains unclear. Everton are furious that reports of Portsmouth's bid to sign the 34-year-old were leaked to the Press on Saturday morning when the two sides were due to meet later that day at Fratton Park. Ferguson missed the game through illness and it could be that he has played his last game for the Blues. If he is to end up at Portsmouth, however, it is understood that Everton will dig their heels in and demand a fee for the former Rangers man. David Moyes today refused to comment on the situation - his thoughts focused on Wednesday night's FA Cup replay with Millwall - but is sure to be one the lookout for new arrivals, as James Beattie and James McFadden are his only fit forwards. With the coffers swelled by the money received from Bent's transfer, Everton's board will back Moyes and it would be no surprise to see two substantial deals done before the window shuts at the end of the month. The Blues are still in with a chance of signing Nicolas Anelka, while other strikers on the radar include Crystal Palace's Andy Johnson and Robert Earnshaw - out of favour at West Brom. It is also looking increasingly likely that Per Kroldrup will be sold, too. As revealed in the ECHO on Friday, Schalke 04, Udinese and Livorno are all keen on signing the Danish international. Kroldrup has not settled on Merseyside and would welcome a move back to Serie A but Schalke - a club with money to spend - could hold the aces as they desperately need to sign a defender and already have three Danes on their books.
Moyes salutes 'top man' Yobo
Jan 16 2006 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES rarely singles out individuals for special praise after Everton victories but today the manager felt the need to break from habit. Joseph Yobo headed off to join up with Nigeria's squad for the African Cup of Nations tournament following Everton's 1-0 win at Portsmouth on Saturday, after what was arguably his best performance of the season. Having missed the Millwall FA Cup tie because of a troublesome shoulder injury, Yobo rarely put a foot wrong on his return and, along with Matteo Ferrari, ensured the Blues notched up their third win on the spin. Yobo, one of Everton's most consistent performers this year, is likely to be missing for the next five weeks. Moyes admitted it will be a blow but believes his players can cope with the absence. Now Everton are up to 14th in the table - their highest position since August 21 - Moyes is happy the club is moving in the right direction, especially as so many key play-ers have recaptured their old sparkle. "It was well deserved win," said Moyes. "I thought for the majority of the game we controlled things and the goal settled us down. We had nothing too desperate to deal with afterwards. "Three wins in a row in the Premiership is not an easy thing to achieve but we had four defeats before that. "I can see players coming back to form now - players like Cahill, Osman and even Beattie. "But Joseph Yobo was the best player on the pitch by a distance. We will miss him. I thought he was a real, real top man today. He is a player with great athleticism and ability. "It was a day when everyone was at least worth seven out of 10 but it is worth singling Joseph out. "His performance was so good. I thought Matteo Ferrari was a bit nervous in the opening stages but the longer the game went on, the better he got. He played really well again for us." The balance of the game swung in Everton's favour when Moyes pushed Tim Cahill up alongside James Beattie. But the Blues' chief was not surprised by how well the Australian international performed in the role. "We ended up with Tim playing virtually as a centre forward," Moyes continued. "We certainly did not start that way but the pitch was not conducive to the way we wanted to play. "We wanted to get the ball forward from the back and that's difficult when you have only got one striker, so we pushed Tim upfield. He has got great energy and you do not realise how much those leaps take out of him." Everton now have a comfortable gap between themselves and the bottom three following this latest revival. And, according to James Beattie, that has only become possible because the squad's attitude has been exemplary in recent weeks. "It was a great result, a real six pointer," he said. "The pitch didn't suit either team and it was a battle. "We were saying before the game that maybe it wasn't the best time to play them because, although every game is hard, four new players would have given them a lift. "It was a big result for us. We were looking for three points and that's what we got." Meanwhile, Leon Osman has moved to end all debate about the goal that settled the match by insisting it was his strike. "I'm definitely claiming it," said Osman. "The ball bounced towards me and I got my shot away, albeit with a bit of help. But it was on target so it was my goal!" Osman added: Wins breed confidence and when we get one, we are a team that is capable of going on a little run. The aim is to look at the teams above us in the table and pull ourselves up alongside them."
Neville's proud to be leader
Jan 16 2006 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
PHIL NEVILLE today admitted that captaining a winning Everton side ranks as one of the proudest moments of his career. With David Weir dropping to the bench for Saturday's 1-0 win at Portsmouth, Neville took responsibility of the armband and produced one of his most accomplished displays of the season in the centre of midfield. Since joining Everton from Manchester United, the England international had skippered the club on two previous occasions, in the 1-0 UEFA Cup win against Dinamo Bucharest and, less auspiciously, during the 4-0 defeat to Aston Villa on Boxing Day.
This time, though, Neville - who has won most of the game's top honours - was able to savour the experience as the Blues extended their winning streak to a third game and hauled themselves away from the danger zone. "Being given the captaincy at Everton so soon - I got it for the Bucharest game - was one of the proudest moments of my career," said Neville. "I have never captained a team for a sustained period of time. "It was a great honour. I'm not foolish enough to expect it all the time. David Weir is the club captain and when he plays he gets the arm-band straight away. He got it as soon as he came on against Portsmouth. "But it is a tremendous honour and hopefully I can pass on my experience when I am captain. Although, whoever is captain, it is still my job to pass on my experience. It was a vital win." Everton are now closer in terms of points to the European places than the relegation zone following the victory at Fratton Park. Neville, though, believes it would folly to make any bold predictions. "The feeling within the camp was that Portsmouth was a hugely important game," said Neville. "We said before the Bolton and West Ham games last month that if we did well it would determine whether we pushed on up the table or be in a relegation battle.
"At the time, we lost both games and we thought we were in a real relegation fight. But at the moment, with these last three results, there is a bit of light at the end of the tunnel. Hopefully we can look up rather than down."
Portsmouth 0, Everton 1 (Echo)
Jan 16 2006 By Dominic King
WHAT is it about those horrible shirts? If, in the near future, David Moyes finds himself facing another 'must win' match, he can forget agonising about tactics and team talks. Instead, all he will have to do is look in to the kit locker and hand out his club's garish away ensemble. When the chips are down and many observers are forecasting another grey day, all of a sudden we find every cloud has a silver lining. Forget four leaf clovers and rabbit paws - Everton's lucky charm is without question their second colours. It's always been the case. The club's most successful season in 1984 was not down to superb players and a brilliant manager. No. Having started with defeats against Spurs and West Brom, the campaign was transformed ... after wearing grey at Chelsea. Mind you, Moyes may need to phone Umbro shortly asking for more, given the rate his players are throwing them into the crowd. To St Andrews and Ewood Park, add Fratton Park on the list of grounds that have seen impromptu Everton strip shows this season. "It was a long way for the fans to come," reflected James Beattie, whose souvenir from the victory was a nasty gash below his left eye after carrying the fight to Portsmouth. "They sell out their allocation everywhere we go. "We saw a few of them on the way to the ground and they are absolutely crazy. The lads love it and we really appreciate what they do. That's why we sometimes throw our shirts to them. They are always there, always singing." How things change. Had those same players made the same offer after woeful
displays at the Hawthorns, Villa Park or in Bucharest, there is every chance the visiting hordes would have flung them back. With interest. As it stands at present, though, all is well with the world again. Three consecutive Premiership wins - this latest one fully deserved - have hoisted Everton away from danger and allowed scope for a little breathing space. While the situation looked bleak following the four defeats either side of Christmas that suggested a relegation battle was the only thing in store for 2006, Everton could not have started the New Year in better form. What is particularly pleasing about this latest winning streak, however, is that Everton have feathered their own nest at the expense of those teams around them. First Sunderland, then Charlton Athletic, now Portsmouth.
Such is the erratic nature of the Premiership, for all their trials and tribulations since the start of the season, Everton are now - in points terms - nearer to challenging for a UEFA Cup place than they are to relegation. Ridiculous, isn't it? Of course, nobody is suggesting that the Blues will find themselves vying with clubs such as Bolton Wanderers, Manchester City and Blackburn Rovers for a European spot because, as we have seen, things can change around dramatically. But there was no getting away from the favourable impression Everton made at the weekend. True, the style and flair so evident in the thumping of Charlton was missing and those being ultra critical would have questioned the passing at times. On a cabbage patch pitch, however, and against a team that had been boosted by five new signings and the arrival of a multi-millionaire owner, Moyes' men were ruthlessly efficient, not to mention full value for the points at this ramshackle venue. Bar a couple of shots from Benjani Mwaruwari, who, at £4.1m, is Portsmouth's record signing and looked overpriced by at least £4m, Nigel Martyn had a relatively quiet afternoon between the posts. That he did was down to the exemplary efforts of the men directly in front of him. Joseph Yobo and Matteo Ferrari were outstanding and once Leon Osman had poked Everton in front, they were never in danger.
Playing his last game before departing for the African Cup of Nations, Yobo sprang off the ground to win headers, launched himself into tackles and covered for team-mates as though his life depended on it. Torn between his club and country, the Nigerian international vowed after Liverpool had won at Goodison Park last month that he would do everything he could to make sure Everton were in a better shape when he had to leave. He more than stuck to his word. Ferrari, meanwhile, gets better with each game. "He looked quality from the day he got here and I think's he's proven that," offered Phil Neville. It's hard to disagree. After a couple of uncomfortable moments early on, the Italian never put a foot wrong. Nor, for that matter, did anyone else. Tony Hibbert and Nuno Valente were diligent protecting the flanks. The midfield quartet of Leon Osman, Mikel Arteta, Kevin Kilbane and Neville ran themselves into the ground, as did Beattie and Tim Cahill up front. Moyes has come in for his fair share of criticism this season, some deserved, some way over the top, but it is hard to find fault in his recent decisions. Switching to a four-man midfield at Fratton Park was unquestionably the right thing to do. Cahill proved an effective foil for Beattie and on another day would have had a goal for his efforts. Kilbane will rightly think he should have done better with a second half header, while Osman saw a thunderous drive whistle past the post. By then, Osman had scored his second goal in successive games, wriggling in between Andy O'Brien and Richard Hughes to find himself in the right place at the right time, just as he had done at Millwall the week before. As Moyes noted after the game, it is encouraging to see Osman, as well as so many other players, come back to form which augurs well for the future. The task now - aside from ordering more shirts - is to ensure the recovery does not stop here.
PORTSMOUTH (4-4-2): Ashdown; Griffin, Pamarot, O'Brien, Taylor; O'Neil, Mendes (Diao 73), Davis (Karadas 87), Hughes (Olisadebe 61); LuaLua, Mwaruwari. Subs: Westerveld, Priske.
BOOKINGS: Mendes, Davis (both fouls).
EVERTON (4-5-1): Martyn; Hibbert, Yobo, Ferrari, Valente; Arteta (Bent 90), Cahill, Neville, Osman, Kilbane; Beattie (Weir 88). Subs: Wright, Davies, McFadden.
BOOKINGS: Ferrari (foul), Kilbane (unsporting behaviour).
REFEREE: A Mariner (West Midlands)
Ferguson wants to end career at Goodison
By Ian Doyle Daily Post Staff
Jan 17 2006
DUNCAN FERGUSON wants to see out the remainder of his career at Everton. The striker met with manager David Moyes yesterday to clarify his future after it emerged over the weekend that Portsmouth were interested in signing the 34-year-old. Ferguson, however, faces an ongoing struggle for fitness with retirement still a possibility even before his present Goodison deal expires at the end of the season. Everton were upset at the manner of the South Coast club's approach for Ferguson, particularly as it occured during the build-up to Saturday's clash between the two teams at Fratton Park. Portsmouth were prepared to offer a lucrative 18-month contract to Ferguson, who missed Everton's 1-0 win through illness, prompting speculation he may have played his last game for the Goodison outfit. But after reporting for training at Bellefield yesterday morning, Ferguson insisted he had no intention of leaving. "I was aware of the interest from Portsmouth," said Ferguson.. "But the fact of the matter is that I do not want to leave. "I am happy at Everton, as I have been for the 10 years I have been at the club, and my intention is to see out the rest of my contract here." Moyes said: "I have had a meeting with Duncan Ferguson and he has reiterated his desire to stay at Everton Football Club, despite speculation linking him with a move away. "Duncan reaffirmed that is happy at Everton and that he did not want to consider a move to any other club. At present he is still thinking about his own situation here with regards to his fitness levels and the contribution he feels he can make." With Ferguson set for a bit-part role at best this season, Moyes is facing a striker shortage with Marcus Bent on the verge of a £2.5million move to Charlton Athletic.
The 27-year-old, who scored eight goals in 66 appearances while at Everton, was last night in London to complete the formality of a medical and agree personal terms. Everton will receive £2m up front from the Addicks, which could then rise by a further £500,000. It will provide Moyes with extra spending power in the remaining fortnight of the January transfer window, but the Goodison manager fears exorbitant valuations will leave him unable to sign necessary striking reinforcements.
The likelihood of a possible loan move for Nicolas Anelka has decreased after the player's weekend insistence he wants to join Newcastle United, while Preston North End have placed a prohibitive price tag on David Nugent. Andy Johnson of Crystal Palace is another likely to be out of Everton's reach with the Championship side having turned down a £7m bid from Birmingham City already this month. Paul Dickov of Blackburn Rovers and West Bromwich Albion's Robert Earnshaw are other potential targets as Moyes casts his net wide in search of new arrivals. It leaves James Beattie as Everton's only fully fit senior striker, with even record-breaking reserve forward James Vaughan still sidelined through injury. German outfit Schalke, meanwhile, are thought ready to follow up their interest in unsettled Everton centre-back Per Kroldrup.
Go for Fowler
Post Soapbox, icLiverpool & Daily Post
Jan 17 2006
DARE I say it? Robbie Fowler on loan at Everton until end of season. He's a natural goal-scorer.
Scott Blewitt (via e-mail)
IF an ugly win puts another three points on the board towards the safety level of 40, then I am all for it. Surely Everton can manage 14 points from the 16 games left. Marcus Bent going for £2.5million is good business. However this exposes the even greater urgency to get a striker in now and for Bill Kenwright to make the funds available. With Per Kroldrop set to go from the backline (hope-fully with combinations of Ferrari, Weir, Yobo and Carsley provding sufficient cover for now) we should have approx £7m to spend - so please make it an Ashton, Johnson or a Keane rather than a Trundle.
Peter Barnes (via e-mail)
Bridge the gap
IF EVERTON sell Kroldrop, Bent and Ferguson, I'd like to see us sign Huth and Jeremi from Chelsea (they're not happy now). How about Darren Huck-erby from Norwich and Nelson Valdez from Werder Bremen (pace and sharp).
Tracy Griffiths (via e-mail)
WHY didn't we try and do a swap deal with Charlton: Murphy for Bent?
We are going to have to start some big re-building plans now though. By next season we will have only two strikers.
Sam Jones, Liverpool
I'D LIKE to wish Marcus Bent good luck at Charlton if his move does go through. He worked tire-lessly for the team during last season and scored some valuable goals. Granted, this season he has been less motivated with the arrival of James Beattie, but still deserves some credit and thanks for his efforts in his short Everton career. Regarding his replacement, many possible names have been mooted but we all know that because of the club's pay structure the better strikers (Anelka) don't really want to know. The other options are ageing players and lower league strikers with good scoring records like Lee Trundle. We aren't exactly getting bombarded by players wanting to come and join us, so a gamble on the likes of Trundle would be nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Tom Kennedy (via e-mail)
Moyes steps up search
Jan 17 2006 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES today paid tribute to Marcus Bent as he stepped up his search to find the man who will replace the departed striker. The 27-year-old joined Charlton last night after completing the formalities of a medical and personal terms once Everton had agreed a £2m fee with their Premiership rivals. Bent, signed for £450,000 from Leicester in June 2004, scored eight goals in 66 appearances and played a significant role in helping Everton clinch fourth place in the Premiership last season. But opportunities have been limited this time. Moyes admitted it wasn't the easiest of decisions to let Bent leave, particularly as the manager now has James Beattie, James McFadden and Duncan Ferguson as his only recognised strikers. He is, however, scouring the market to fill the void. While the chances of signing Nicolas Anelka have diminished, Moyes is thought to have other options, including Robert Earnshaw, Andy Johnson and Peter Lovenkrands. Everton's board are understood to have promised to give Moyes their whole-hearted backing financially and there is every chance two new faces could arrive before the transfer window closes in a fortnight's time.
"We are always looking for new players," said Moyes. "But we are sorry to lose Marcus. He has done well for us but he felt it was time to move on and he was keen to get back to London if possible.
"I think he felt that he hadn't played as often as he'd liked, so for both parties I think it has worked out well. We can only thank him for what he has done for us. He did magnificently well last season.
"He played a big part in one of our most successful seasons. But I thought the price we got for him was right and it was time for him to move on." Moyes' immediate attentions are focused on tomorrow's FA Cup third round replay with Millwall and has hinted that he will is unlikely to make too many changes to the side that notched it's third consecutive Premier-ship win at Portsmouth on Saturday. Well aware of the perils that come with facing a team from the lower divisions, Moyes has no intentions of taking anything for granted, meaning Millwall can expect to face Everton's big guns.
"We know how the FA Cup has gone and we have got to do our job but I am looking for a big performance from the players," he added. "I feel as if they are ready to put in a big performance and if they do that, we will be hard to beat at Goodison."
Big Dunc wants Blue swansong
Jan 17 2006 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DUNCAN FERGUSON has moved to end speculation over his future by declaring he wants to end his career at Everton. The veteran striker met with manager David Moyes yesterday for clear-the-air talks after it had emerged that Portsmouth were interested in signing him on a lucrative 18-month deal. That came as a shock as Ferguson faces a battle for fitness - he has only started one Premiership match since November - and there is the possibility he could retire before the end of the campaign. Everton were furious at the manner in which news of Portsmouth's interest in Ferguson leaked out, especially as it occurred during the build-up to Saturday's game between the sides. But after reporting for training yesterday morning, Ferguson made it clear that he has no intention of leaving the club he first played for in 1994. "I was aware of the interest from Portsmouth but the fact of the matter is that I do not want to leave," said Ferguson, who missed the 1-0 win at Fratton Park through illness. "I am happy at Everton, as I have been for the 10 years I have been at the club and my intention is to see out the rest of my contract here."
Moyes was equally keen to set the record straight and was satisfied after discussions at Bellefield that Ferguson remains committed to Everton. "I have had a meeting with Duncan Ferguson and he has reiterated his desire to stay at Everton Football Club, despite speculation linking him with a move away. "Duncan reaffirmed that he is happy at Everton and that he did not want to consider a move to any other club. "At present he is still thinking about his own situation here with regards to his fitness levels and the contribution he feels he can make." Ferguson, who first arrived at Goodison Park on loan from Glasgow Rangers, has scored 71 goals in 263 appearances during two spells on Merseyside. But he has found the going increasingly difficult in the past few months and expressed his frustrations to Moyes before Christmas regarding his fitness. He is likely to only play a bit part role up until the end of the campaign. And that means Moyes is now facing a striker shortage following Marcus Bent's £2m sale to Charlton Athletic.
Jan 17 2006 Liverpool Echo
MILLWALL welcome back Alan Dunne, Jody Morris and Paul Robinson for their FA Cup third-round replay at Everton. The trio missed the 2-0 Coca-Cola Championship defeat at Preston last Saturday but all are expected to return to the starting line-up at Goodison Park tomorrow.
Michelle relishing England call-up
Jan 17 2006 By Paul Garrity, Liverpool Echo
ENGLAND Ladies travel to Spain this week for a five-day training camp ahead of the their vital World Cup qualifiers. There are seven Everton players in the party departing for Malaga and it is a very special time for young Blues winger Michelle Evans. Michelle, 18, has been a regular in the Toffees line-up this season and it's her first call-up to the full national squad and she is relishing the week ahead. "I'm very excited," said Michelle. "Quality wise it is a big step up because they are going to be faster and stronger. So I will just have to try and match them. "It will defiantly be a big step up for me. It will just be a great chance of being with and playing alongside the seniors. "Getting the chance to be in the full squad is a big achievement. It is the biggest achievement so far in my career."
England Ladies currently sit top of Group 5 and play their next match against France on Sunday, March 26. Meanwhile, due to Everton's County Cup match with Garswood Saints being abandoned last Sunday, a number of the Everton first team players turned out for the reserves' 4-0 win over Tranmere. One of the seniors, Amy McCann, scored a brace for Keith Marley's side and was joined on the scoresheet by Clare Owen, who also hit twice. Tranmere's first team where also in action as they beat Macclesfield Town 13-0 in the Cheshire Cup first round with both Vicky Abbott and Sue Kenwright scoring hat-tricks. This weekend our local teams are back in league action. Everton are at home to Bristol Academy (kick-off 2pm); Liverpool play Southport in the Liverpool County Cup on Sunday (kick-off 2pm); and Tranmere host Middlesbrough (Poulton Victoria FC, 2pm).
Cahill to provide striking option
By Ian Doyle Daily Post Staff
Jan 18 2006
DAVID MOYES will ask Tim Cahill to answer Everton's striking problem after conceding he was running out of possible reinforcements this month. The Goodison manager's forward options were diminished yesterday when Marcus Bent completed his £2.5million transfer to Charlton Athletic.
That money will be made available for Moyes to spend during the current transfer window, which closes in less than a fortnight. But despite enquiring about a host of targets, the Everton manager remains pessimistic of bringing anyone in with hopes of a move for Nicolas Anelka now dashed.
And Moyes admits he may have to push Cahill into a more attacking role as the Australian comes up against his former club Mill-wall in tonight's FA Cup third round replay at Goodison. Cahill was Everton's top scorer last season - netting 12 times from midfield - and has scored three in his last four games. And Moyes said: "I would have no qualms with playing Tim Cahill up front. "He has an eye for goal, is happy to do the work and is not bad in the air. "He is certainly an option if I want to do that. For most of the game against Portsmouth, we played him as a centre-forward. "We pushed him up there after the first 10 minutes of the game." While Bent has departed, Duncan Ferguson turned down the chance of a move to Portsmouth on Monday after insisting he wants to play out the remainder of his career at Goodison Park. But with the 34-year-old hampered by ongoing fitness concerns and youngster James Vaughan out for the next two months following a second knee operation, James Beattie is the only fully-fit senior striker at the club. "We need a new striker and we needed one even when Marcus was here," said Moyes. "All the names that people have thrown up lately we have already enquired about. "But there hasn't been any encouragement in the last few days. Anelka is a no. "There isn't the quality and availability we'd be hoping to find."
Among those names are Preston North End's David Nugent, Dean Ashton of Norwich City, Andy Johnson of Crystal Palace, Blackburn Rovers's Paul Dickov, Peter Lovenkrands of Rangers and West Bromwich Albion's Robert Earn-shaw. Speculation in Wales last night claimed Lee Trundle was another target for Moyes, with Swansea reportedly ready to part with the 29-year-old for £1.4million. Moyes said: "James Vaughan had another operation earlier this month and he is still two months away. "He is a big miss as he would have given us and extra striker and had chances to play, and has missed so much now because of two knee operations." Moyes added: "It's not a major operation but he's only a young boy and we'd sooner not be operating on him (knee cartilage). I hope we see him again this season." Of the £2.5m received from Charlton for Bent, Moyes said: "The board here are very good and I'm sure that if I want to use that money it won't be a problem."
Ferguson will again be sidelined for tonight's game after suffering food poisoning and with Joseph Yobo now on African Nations Cup duty, David Weir is expected to partner Matteo Ferrari in the centre of defence.
Moyes: We're ready for some big performances
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Jan 18 2006
AVOIDING an unwanted cup quadruple is at the fore-front of David Moyes's mind this evening.
Everton entertain Millwall in their FA Cup third round replay all too aware of the fact they have been eliminated at the first hurdle of three knockout competitions already this season. Heartbreak against Villarreal in the Champions League was followed by elimination in the UEFA Cup to Dinamo Bucharest and a home defeat to Middlesbrough in the Carling Cup - all before the clocks had gone back. Leon Osman's 79th-minute equaliser at the New Den 10 days ago ensured Millwall did not join that list of cup calamity. And with the carrot of a home tie against Chelsea on Saturday week dangling before his play-ers, Moyes believes Everton are in the form to banish this season's cup hoodoo. "I think it's a big incentive," says the Goodison manager of a possible clash with the Premier-ship champions. "I'm looking forward to that if we get through against Millwall, but I'm sure Millwall are thinking the same thing. "We will need to do well to get through, but the way we have been playing lately I think we have a chance of doing that. "I'm hoping to get a run in the Cup. I really would like that, and we know there is a big task awaiting whoever wins this tie. We didn't manage to beat Mill-wall in the first game so we have to make sure we finish the job this time.
"Possibly the draws in the cup competitions haven't been that kind to us, but we have to accept that and get on with it. But we feel as though we are ready for some big performances and hopefully they aren't too far away." Everton go into the game high on confidence and on the back of their best run of results this season. The victory at Portsmouth was their third successive Premiership win and they are unbeaten since the derby defeat to Liverpool last month. And Moyes believes that form should be enough for Everton to sidestep an upset against Coca-Cola Championship strugglers Millwall.
"I feel confident in the way the players are performing at the moment," says the manager.. "The players are hopefully getting back to the form they are capable of and I want them to take that on.
"We've seen this season that every game is really hard in the FA Cup and we have to make sure that we do the right things to get a result against Millwall. "If we can continue the form we showed against Charlton last time at Goodison then we'd be more than happy. It's not easy winning three in a row in the Premiership and we want to try and make that four, and we want to make it five unbeaten on Wednesday night." Moyes points to Tim Cahill's injury-time winner at Sunder-land on New Year's Eve as the catalyst for an improvement in both individual and team performances.
"Sometimes you need things to turn for you," he says.. "Tim scores in the last minute against Sunderland, it gives him a boost of confidence then he scores in the next game. "Kevin Kilbane has improved in form, he wanted to do well at Sunderland and that has helped him, Leon Osman is coming on now and has scored a few goals, so three or four players are striking some form, which is what we needed." Although his team was ultimately saved by Osman's late leveller after Marvin Williams had put Millwall into a surprise lead in the first game, Moyes insists Everton should have already ensured a fourth-round clash with Jose Mourinho's men. "If we had taken the chances we had at Millwall, this replay wouldn't be necessary," he says. "But Millwall did well in the first game. They will probably say that they would prefer to survive in the Championship rather than have a cup run, league form always takes priority over the cup and it always will do with us as well."
Marcus Bent started the game at the New Den, but has now made London his permanent home after completing a move to Charlton Athletic that could eventually be worth £2.5million.
"We can only thank him for what he has done for us," says Moyes. "He did magnificently well last season. We are sorry to lose Marcus. "He has done well for us but he felt it was time to move on and he was keen to get back to London if possible. "I think he felt that he hadn't played as often as he'd liked, so for both parties I think it has worked out well. "He played a big part in one of our most successful seasons. But I thought the price we got for him was right and it was time for him to move on." Moyes, however, acknowledges that Bent's departure has left his squad worryingly short of pace in attack. "We were short of it even before Marcus left," he concedes. "We knew that we had to try and get that, but it might not come in January. We might have to go with what we've got and give the players an opportunity to show what they can do, and sometimes that can be the best way.
"If we can't get the players, then what can we do? I think we are short in one or two key areas. However, I think in terms of numbers we are generally okay and once we get the likes of Cars (Lee Carsley) and Gary (Naysmith) back things will improve."
Marvin not daunted by physical battle
By Tom Collomosse, Daily Post
Jan 18 2006
EMERGING Millwall star Marvin Williams has no fear of being singled out for rough treatment by the Everton defenders. Williams is expected to line up in attack for the Lions in tonight's FA Cup third-round replay at Goodison Park, a second chance Millwall earned through Williams' goal in the 1-1 draw at The New Den on January 7. Although Williams has made only seven first-team appearances for the south Londoners, Coca-Cola Championship defenders are becoming increasingly aware of his bravery and remarkable pace - but the 18-year-old forward believes he can have the last laugh at Everton. "I'm not worried about being clattered," Williams said. "If one of their defenders keeps clattering me, he will get booked and then sent off, which will be to the detriment of his team.
"But I'm expecting a bit of rough stuff. All I can do is get up, get on with it and carry on playing. This will be the biggest game I have played in, and I'm both nervous and excited." Williams revealed his performance in the first match won the admiration of former Millwall midfielder Tim Cahill and his Everton team-mates. He added: "Tim Cahill told me I had done well after the game, and Tony Hibbert also praised me. "I had a bit of a chat with Tony Hibbert afterwards. "He said I played well and that it was a good finish for my goal."
Bent desperate for Bridge debut
Jan 18 2006
MARCUS BENT arrived at The Valley yesterday hungry for first-team football - and pleaded with manager Alan Curbishley to throw him into the clash against Barclays Premiership champions Chelsea this weekend. The striker, 27, has agreed a three-and-a-half-year deal with the south-east London club, for an initial fee of £2million, which could rise by £500,000. Curbishley may indeed be tempted to drop him straight in at the deep end for Sunday's match at Stamford Bridge.
Patience the key
Jan 18 2006 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES will urge his players to remain patient tonight as Everton bid to secure a glamour FA Cup fourth round date with Chelsea. Desperate for a lengthy run in the competition and a chance to have another crack at the Premiership champions, Moyes will ensure Everton are at full strength for the replay with Millwall. But no matter what side he starts with at Goodison Park, Moyes needs no reminding that the Championship strugglers will do everything they possibly can to stop the Blues' recent revival in its tracks. Well aware that one mistake could effectively end their dreams, Moyes won't allow his players to go gung-ho in the early stages and says he would be happy for them to keep prodding and probing until they get the breakthrough. "We know how the cup has gone and we have got to do our job," said Moyes. "Chelsea is something that we want. I want to have that game. I think we are in the mood at the moment to try and challenge and play against the better teams. "I'm looking forward to the Millwall game, but we have got to get over it. They will be real tough opponents. It might need patience before we try and get the result. It certainly isn't an easy game. We have got to make sure that we keep things tight and we don't have to chase the game at any point. You have seen the way the FA Cup games have gone that sometimes teams have turned up and thought they were going to be in for a walk in the park. This is far from it. We will try and do that but we know that we are in for a real tough, long 90 minutes. We will have to play well if we are going to get through. But the way I see the players, I'm confident of a big performance. They are looking as if they are getting back to the form that a lot of them are capable of. We want to take it on but we will have to play well and do the right things against Millwall." With Marcus Bent sold to Charlton, Moyes - no nearer to finding a replacement after Nicolas Anelka turned down the chance to move to Merseyside - could play Tim Cahill alongside James Beattie up front. The Australian international occupied the role against Portsmouth and Moyes says he "would have no qualms" about thrusting Cahill upfield if he cannot bring anyone in before the transfer window closes. Moyes, meanwhile, has confirmed that James Vaughan will miss another eight weeks after undergoing an operation to drain fluid on his knee. The young striker has been out of action since August. "James has been a big miss," Moyes added. "He would have been the extra striker and would have had a few opportunities. "He has missed so much now because he has had two knee operations. I hope we see him before the end of the season."
Neville's ready for rough ride
Jan 18 2006 EXCLUSIVE by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
WHILE it comes as no surprise to learn the majority of Phil Neville's FA Cup memories are sweet ones, he is no stranger to the sharp pain that accompanies a giant-killing. The proud owner of two winner's medals from his days with Manchester United, the Everton midfielder does not hide his enthusiasm for a competition which is gradually regaining all its old sparkle. For all the ups, though, there have been downs and one in particular stands out. During the days when they carried all before them in the Premiership, Neville played in a United side that in 1998 suffered a Cup humbling against Barnsley. It is not a feeling he wishes to experience again. So when Neville steps out at Goodison Park tonight for Everton's third round replay against Millwall, he makes it clear they will be in for a rough ride. Buoyed by three consecutive Premiership wins, David Moyes' side are playing with a belief and confidence that has been sorely missing at times during this stuttering season. So while Millwall will do everything they can to cause an upset and set up a fourth round date with Chelsea, Neville suggests that the visitors will need to scale unchartered heights to claim Everton's scalp. But even that might not be enough. Well aware that Everton have flattered to deceive too often at home, Neville is acutely aware of the need to repay the backing of long suffering fans with a performance of style and authority. "We were all jubilant in the dressing room after the Portsmouth game but at the back of everyone's mind was the fact that we don't want to let anything slip," said Neville, who was right back to his best at Fratton Park. "We want to go out against Millwall and put on a really good show for our fans. So many times this season they have come to Goodison Park and expected us to win but we have ended up letting them down. They have put up with a lot. "We need it to be a rip-roaring Cup tie, get right in their faces and make sure we play at our tempo and the kind of pace we want to. We were a bit disappointed in the dressing room after the first game.
"We weren't happy at first with the 1-1 draw. But we sat down and heard some of the other results, ours wasn't so bad in comparison. Look at Nuneaton, Burton Albion, Torquay. Other Premiership sides had some very tough games. "Millwall will now come to Goodison and we will give them every respect. They are playing a lot better than their position suggests and with a lot of confidence. They will come up here with no pressure on them. "They will give it a right go. They will have a lot of travelling fans coming up and we need to play to the levels that we have done recently to get ourselves through to the next round." Apply themselves as they did at Portsmouth, and there will be every reason to believe that it will be Everton who take on Chelsea. Organised and efficient, the Blues were rarely troubled. The most striking aspect of the performance, however, was the way Everton squeezed the life out of the game, hinting that it might not be too long before they recapture last season's swagger. "We didn't play it up or down, we just treated it as an important game," Neville said. "The important thing was to get three points and move up a few places. Hopefully now we can kick on. "We have got to be cautious because we are still not playing to our best. But that is positive, because there is still a lot more to come from us all. We have had a lot of turning points this season. "Hopefully now we can be more consistent. At the start of the season we didn't get the luck we deserved but you can harp on about that. "If we get anywhere near the standards we set last season, we are going to be a top half of the table team. Maybe we could even push for sixth or seventh place. If we play as we did in the first half, we will be in a dog fight."
I'm not scared, says Lions hero Williams
Jan 18 2006 Liverpool Echo
EMERGING Millwall star Marvin Williams has no fear of being singled out for rough treatment tonight. Williams opened the scoring for the Lions at The New Den on January 7, only for Leon Osman to set up the replay with a 79th minute equaliser. And the 18-year-old believes his side can have the last laugh at Goodison tonight. He said: "I'm not worried about being clattered. If one of their defenders keeps clattering me, he will get booked and then sent off, which will be to the detriment of his team. "But I'm expecting a bit of rough stuff. All I can do is get up, get on with it and carry on playing. This will be the biggest game I have played in, and I'm both nervous and excited." Williams revealed his performance in the first match won the admiration of exMillwall star Tim Cahil. He added: "Tim Cahill told me I had done well after the game, and Tony Hibbert also praised me. "I had a bit of a chat with Tony Hibbert afterwards. He said I played well and that it was a good finish for my goal. "To have Premiership players give me that kind of praise is a massive confidence boost." Tonight's winners face a home tie against Chelsea in round four, and Williams added: "The prospect of playing Chelsea provides great motivation for everyone in the team. "It would be a fantastic tie for the whole club, and one that everyone would want to be involved in."
Forward planning needed after Bent exit
Jan 18 2006 Echo Letters, icLiverpool & Liverpool Echo
GREAT to have three wins on the bounce and £2m in the bank for Bent. If we can keep picking up points then I still think Europe is possible. No other manager would have got us to the verge of the Champions League last year and I'm pleased we have him and no-one else. Another great thing that winning does is shut up the moaners and the whingers.
Barry Woolrich, Toxteth
I CAN'T see us signing anyone now to be honest - each day seems to pass with no news and I'm not convinced by Lee Trundle or David Nugent. I know Trundle scores goals but, you have to ask, at what standard? And Nugent has not really been prolific in the Championship with Preston, but, that said, I would welcome anyone at the moment because we need to get the squad numbers back up.
Dave Broad, Liverpool I DON'T see how Trundle or Nugent would be better than Bent. It is a tough league, not Division 1 or the Championship. We need quality strikers, not more journeymen.
Barry Green, Garston
I WISH people would stop going on about us getting Nicolas Anelka. He has already stated he doesn't want to come so that is the end of the matter. Also it would probably take at least £9m to get Andy Johnson and we don't have that kind of money. The most likely candidates are Earnshaw, Trundle and either Hasselbaink or Nugent. I wouldn't go for just Nugent or Trundle on their own.
Andy Honeyball, Liverpool
IF MOYES needed any more inspiration to buy a striker he should just look at the league table. Sunderland, rooted to the bottom, have scored one more goal than us this season - in fact we and Birmingham are joint bottom of the scoring table with a miserable 15 goals each.
Cheque book out please!
Adam Holland, Aigburth
I'M DISGUSTED that we have sold Bent, and I'm not surprised that he wanted to go. When everyone bleats on about Gravesen's departure, they overlook the fact that Marcus Bent was just as important to our good form at the start of last season. He was excellent. So what does Moyes do? Buys a player to replace him and he goes from being the first name on the team sheet to being a bit part substitute. For a club that bemoans "dis-loyal" players, we don't do a lot to encourage loyalty. Good luck Marcus Bent.
Peter Howey, Knotty Ash
Is Mike's the lone voice of honesty in soccer?
Jan 18 2006 Liverpool Echo
With the ethics of the football world under scrutiny, Tony Barrett speaks to footballers and agents who say it's time for the corruption to stop AS Mike Newell is currently finding out to his cost, whistle-blowing can be a lonely occupation. The moment the Luton Town boss decided to lift the lid on the murky world of football agents he induced a collective vow of silence from his fellow managers which left the likeable Liverpudlian facing the prospect of pursuing a one-man crusade. Summoned by the suits at the FA today to tell them all he knows about bungs and dodgy deals, Newell is a man alone. Making a courageous stand is one thing, being able to follow through with it without any help or support when those you are trying to expose close ranks is quite another. In what amounts to a thinly disguised plea for backing, Newell has already admitted he will be very disappointed if he is "hung out to dry on this" and appealed for "someone very strong" to support him. His assertion that "lots of people involved with agents and doing the deals are taking backhanders" has caused a storm of controversy, the like of which has not been seen since George Graham lost his job as Arsenal boss following a bung scandal in the early 1990s. But the question is, does Newell have right on his side? There is certainly enough anecdotal evidence to suggest that he does. Football is awash with stories and rumours of bungs and backhanders and, off the record at least, countless players and former players are prepared to recount their own dealings with unscrupulous agents. One former Tranmere Rovers player has first hand evidence of some of the shady dealings that go on in the modern game. The player, who wishes to keep his identity secret for legal reasons, ran into problems with an agent after he left the Birkenhead club. He says: "What Mike has done is extremely courageous and I'd certainly be prepared to support him. "In my case, I was moving from one club to another and I had an agent who I thought would get the best possible deal for me. "The deal was completed and to the best of my knowledge he had done his job and I was happy with my contract and the move. "It was only later that, by sheer chance, I came across a document which proved that not only had my agent been working for me, he'd also been working for the club I joined. "It was a clear conflict of interest. How could he possibly get the best deal for me if he was also receiving a substantial sum from the very people he was negotiating my contract with?" According to ex-Everton star Barry Horne it is "taken as a given" that this kind of thing goes on. He adds: "The only question is how do we stop it?" Respected agent Jon Holmes, who at various times has counted the likes of Alan Hansen, Michael Owen and Steven Gerrard among his lengthy list of blue-chip clients, believes the FA should have acted long before now to solve this particular problem. He says: "You have agents who act for clubs and players simultaneously. I don't see how that has any legitimacy at all." On a basic level, clubs do not need agents. If, for example, Liverpool want to sign Theo Walcott there is nothing to stop them agreeing a fee with his current club Southampton and then negotiating a salary with the player himself as Paul Scholes does with Manchester United. But with so much financial opportunity available in the modern game, most players have been convinced of the need for an agent to fulfil their monetary potential. The problem this produces is when such large amounts of cash are moved about so freely and with such little inspection it only lends weight to the theory that avarice will eventually lead to corruption. If, as Newell has intimated, bungs are the most common form of corruption and they are indeed rife in English football, then his evidence could act as a catalyst for a clean up of the game.
The evidence is thought to be out there but there are those who believe the FA are reluctant to go digging for fear of what they may find. Indeed, FA compliance officer Graham Bean is on record as saying: "There is a desire to clean up the game in some areas. But there are those who will say 'Well, if something comes up we'll deal with it, but we shouldn't go chasing it'." If they were to go "chasing it" then they probably wouldn't have to look too far.
Former Everton captain Kevin Ratcliffe admits he was offered a bung while manager of Shrewsbury Town but turned it down. "I never received anything but I was offered something if a transfer would happen," he says. "I think it goes on throughout the leagues." Another former Blues star who thinks shady dealing does go on is Ipswich Town manager Joe Royle. He says: "It has obviously happened elsewhere. The evidence is in the book Broken Dreams (Tom Bower's investigation into football corruption) - no one has sued. "But I'd hate to think that people thought every football manager is corrupt because they are not." Newell is now preparing to present his own anecdotal evidence to the FA's compliance unit. Ironically, whatever testimony he delivers will ultimately be considered by another Liverpudlian, FA chief executive Brian Barwick. There are those in football who believe Newell's one man stand should be rewarded with a full-scale inquiry. And yet no-one in the game is holding their breath. A can of worms has been well and truly opened. The only question that remains is will enough of them escape to force the game's governing bodies to act? Or will the lid be screwed back on as quickly as possible, leaving Newell out on a limb in the process?
Everton 1, Millwall 0 (D,Post)
Jan 19 2006 By Ian Doyle at Goodison Park, Daily Post
LIFE as an emergency striker began in encouraging fashion for Tim Cahill last night. David Moyes, however, will be praying the move is only temporary. The Australian bit the hand that once fed him to help Everton sidestep an unwanted landmark and break the stubborn resistance of a plucky Millwall side who had looked set to take last night's FA Cup third round replay into extra time.
Cahill's 72nd-minute strike ensured Everton avoided a fourth successive elimination at the first hurdle from cup competitions this season, having failed in the Champions League, UEFA Cup and Carling Cup earlier in the campaign. And in recording their first-ever victory in knockout competition over the Londoners, Everton extended their unbeaten run to five games and set up a mouth-watering fourth round clash with runaway Premiership leaders Chelsea on Saturday week.
That improvement has coincided with the return to goalscoring form of Cahill, who has scored four goals during that period having netted just once in the first half of the campaign. How long the midfielder is employed in an advanced role depends on whether Moyes can attract a much-needed striking reinforcement before the transfer window slams shut at the end of January.
Marcus Bent's departure to Charlton Athletic on Tuesday and the ongoing fitness concerns of Duncan Ferguson meant James Beattie was again asked to lead the Everton line by himself.
And despite Cahill's effectiveness in playing off Beattie, Everton do need an extra cutting edge. Millwall are not in the same league as previous cup conquerors Villarreal, Dinamo Bucharest and Middlesbrough, but their determined defence and the home side's profligacy combined to guarantee a frustrating evening for the Goodison faithful until the Australian's intervention against his former club. Nevertheless, the commendable spirit shown by David Tuttle's side couldn't disguise a lack of quality that illustrated why Millwall are struggling at the Championship basement, a gulf in class Everton eventually managed to exploit thanks to an improved second-half showing.
Moyes admitted his side had wasted enough chances in the first game at the New Den to render this midweek appointment unnecessary, and again last night Everton frittered away a host of decent opportunities during a surprisingly low-key, onesided encounter. Kevin Kilbane was the main offender, missing one sitter then unfortunate to see a header strike the post, while Phil Neville also hit the woodwork. At least the chances were created to be missed, as assistant manager Alan Irvine pointed out afterwards, and with Leon Osman always a threat as he continued his winter renaissance, Everton were deserving winners. There was even a chance for Per Kroldrup to introduce himself to the Goodison faithful as he made his home debut as substitute for David Weir, who sustained a nasty cut on his nose from the stray boot of team-mate Nuno Valente. How often Evertonians will see the Danish centre-back again remains open to much debate, however, Fiorentina the latest club interested in ending the defender's unhappy spell at the club.
With Joseph Yobo now away on African Nations Cup duty, club captain Weir returned to the centre of defence to partner Matteo Ferrari in the only change from Saturday's win at Portsmouth.
Millwall caretaker manager Tuttle made two alterations to the line-up from the first game between the sides 10 days ago, bringing in Alan Dunne and former Chelsea midfielder Jody Morris.
Confidence boosted by their unbeaten run, Everton were the busiest in the opening stages with Osman heading over a Mikel Arteta free-kick on the right touchline and then firing off target after finding space 25 yards out. Everton peppered the visiting defence with crosses from both flanks but, to the growing frustration of the home support, the final connection and killer instinct was lacking.
At the other end, Millwall's Ben May hammered a free-kick into the wall from the edge of the area after Ferrari was adjudged to have baulked Morris, but it was a rare sortie forward by the visitors who were content to sit back and invite home pressure. An Arteta cross from the left was glanced wide by Cahill in the 20th minute but Millwall's blanket defence - including on-loan Liverpool centre-back Zak Whit-bread - successfully weathered the early storm. Beattie came close eight minutes later with a driven free-kick in excess of 25 yards out that flashed wide of Andy Marshall's left-hand post after Millwall centre-back Matt Lawrence was penalised for a foul. Weir had been largely untroubled on his return but was left with a nasty gash on his nose after being caught by a wayward boot from team-mate Valente on the half-hour. And as Weir received treatment on the touchline, Morris fired a fierce drive over Nigel Martyn's crossbar. Weir's damage was too serious for him to continue, allowing Kroldrup to make his long-awaited home debut from the bench. Ironic that as rumours abound of his struggle to adapt to the physicality of the English game, the Dane should make his Goodison bow amid the hurly-burly of an FA Cup tie against such no-nonsense opposition.
Osman, whose 79th-minute leveller at the New Den ensured last night's replay, then sent in a teasing low cross from the right that narrowly evaded the incoming Beattie before being beaten out by a diving Marshall. But in truth, Everton had all too quickly been dragged down to the level of a willing but severely limited young Millwall side. The near things continued after the break with Beattie's header blocked from an Osman cross, before Marshall was forced into his first real save of the match when Osman twisted and turned and clipped a cross in from the right and the Millwall keeper palmed over Cahill's powerful header. An ambitious chip from Neville then drifted over the bar as the second half followed the same pattern as the first, with Everton dominating the opening exchanges. The deadlock should have been broken on 61 minutes when, on a swift counter-attack from a Millwall corner, Osman's shot from range was spilled by Marshall into the path of the onrushing Kilbane, who embarrassingly lifted the ball over the prone goalkeeper and the crossbar from eight yards. Kilbane then set about making amends for his blooper, firing just across the face of goal from Osman's pass and then, after referee Rob Styles had incorrectly signalled for a corner, seeing his header from Arteta's delivery strike the woodwork and Whitbread's back before bouncing out. The goal finally arrived 18 minutes from time, although the identity of the scorer may ultimately lie with the omnipresent dubious goals panel. Accepting Arteta's ball, Beattie found space on the right of the area and passed inside for Cahill to slide home via a deflection off the backtracking Dunne. Respectful of his former employers, Cahill's celebrations were notably muted.
Neville almost made the game safe moments later when his header struck the outside of the post, while Millwall midfielder Dave Livermore gave the happily underemployed Martyn something to do with a tame long-range effort. It was the visitors' first shot on target all evening.
EVERTON (4-4-1-1): Martyn; Hibbert, Ferrari, Weir (Kroldrup 33), Valente; Osman, Arteta, Neville, Kilbane (McFadden 86); Cahill; Beattie. Subs: Wright, Naysmith, Anichebe.
MILLWALL (3-5-2): Marshall; Robinson, Lawrence, Whitbread; Dunne, Elliott, Morris (Cogan 77), Livermore, Craig (Braniff 89); Williams, May. Subs: Healy, Pooley, Hendry.
BOOKINGS: Robinson, Livermore (both fouls).
REFEREE: Rob Styles (Hampshire)
NEXT GAME: Everton v Arsenal, Premiership, Saturday 12.45pm
We need clinical edge, admits relieved Irvine
Jan 19 2006 By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
ALAN IRVINE last night admitted Everton were relieved to have set up a "fantastic" FA Cup fourth round tie with Chelsea. Tim Cahill's 72nd-minute winner against former club Millwall was enough to see off the stubborn challenge of the Championship side in their third round replay at Goodison. It maintained Everton's unbeaten start to 2006, with David Moyes's side having now won four of their last five games. But Everton were made to work hard for their victory after spurning a host of chances before Cahill's fifth goal of the season secured the win. And with the Goodison outfit's struggles to sign a new striker in the transfer window well documented, assistant manager Irvine has urged Everton to be more clinical. "It was a big relief to get the win," he said. "We deserved it. We should have won in the first game down there and it was the same story tonight, we missed good chances. "It is great that we are creating the chances but we have to be more clinical. "It should have been finished down at Millwall, and it should have been finished long before it was tonight. It only takes a mistake at the back and you are out of the Cup having played fairly well. "That clinical edge will only come from fresh blood if we're able to find the right ones. It is well known that we do not have a lot of money so we are not likely to find someone who can score 30 goals a season."
The victory meant Everton avoided the unwanted landmark of having fallen at the first hurdle of four separate cup competitions in the same season, following their previous failures in the Champions League, UEFA Cup and Carling Cup. Everton will now entertain runaway Premiership leaders Chelsea in the fourth round on Saturday week, and Irvine added: "It is a fantastic tie. It is what you come into football for. If people do not want to play in that game then there is something wrong with them." Cahill's strike was his fourth in his last five games, although there was some debate whether Mill-wall's Alan Dunne applied the final touch. "I have had a look at it again and it is inconclusive," said Irvine. "I thought it was Tim's goal at the time and having seen it again, I still think that it is his goal. He thinks it is his goal too." Cahill said: "I have come in for some criticism lately but I don't think I have anything to prove to anybody. This win keeps our run going. We had a really bad start to the season but we can only get better and we feel we have a decent chance against Chelsea." David Weir required stitches to his nose after being accidentally kicked in the face by team-mate Nuno Valente. Irvine said: "We made the decision to take him off because it was cut in three different directions and it would take 10 minutes to patch him up. Hopefully, we will find some way of patching him up for Saturday." Everton's injury jinx struck before the game, with Simon Davies injuring his ankle in the warm up with young striker Victor Anchiebe taking his place on the subs' bench.
Fiorentina interested in Kroldrup move
Jan 19 2006
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
FIORENTINA have become the latest team linked with a move for unsettled Everton defender Per Kroldrup. The Serie A oufit last night joined Bundesliga side Schalke at the front of the queue for the Denmark international, who sources in his homeland claim has failed to adapt to life in England.
Kroldrup has endured a miserable time since his £5million transfer from Udinese in the summer, with his former club and Italian rivals Livorno also interested in signing the 26-year-old.
Should Fiorentina lodge an official bid, Everton manager David Moyes would face a difficult decision on whether to allow the defender to depart, with centre-back Joseph Yobo now on African Nations Cup duty for up to a month. Ironically, Kroldrup made his Goodison debut and only his second senior appearance as an Everton player last night against Millwall when he appeared as a first-half substitute for the injured David Weir. "I thought Per did really well," said assistant manager Alan Irvine. "He has hardly trained since the Aston Villa game when he was injured."
Kroldrup on brink of Italian return
Jan 19 2006 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
PER KROLDRUP has flown to Italy today to discuss a move to Serie A side Fiorentina. The Denmark international made only his second appearance in last night's FA Cup replay win over Millwall since his £5.1m move from Udinese, when he came on as a substitute for the injured David Weir. While Kroldrup looked much more comfortable than he did during his debut at Aston Villa, it looks increasingly likely that Kroldrup's Everton career is as good as over. And Fiorentina - on the look out for a new defender - are prepared to offer Everton a fee similar to the one they paid for Kroldrup to take him back to Italy. Udinese and Livorno are also monitoring the situation, as are German club Schalke 04, but Fiorentina have stolen a march on their rivals and Kroldrup is poised to make a swift return to Serie A.
Osman can be Mr Flexible
Jan 19 2006 By Dominik King, Liverpool Echo
LEON OSMAN - impressive as a makeshift striker against Millwall - today insisted he is ready to become Everton's Mr Flexible in order to keep his place in the starting line-up. Osman has been in excellent form recently, popping up with vital goals at Millwall and Portsmouth to advertise his claims. He knows, though, the pressure is on to keep scoring while Moyes searches for a striker. "I found myself out of the team for a while before Christmas but I have dug deep and managed to get myself in and I'm determined to stay there," said Osman. "We have now gone five games unbeaten and won four of them. It's a great thing to be able to say. It's Arsenal next, then Chelsea after that. It's going to be very tough but with the confidence we have got, it should be interesting. "We have all got to chip in with goals from all over the park. We have got a shortage of strikers and that probably makes it even more important for us to help out. But that's something we do as a team anyway. "I've only played as a striker once or twice but I will play wherever I'm told to play. It's a privilege to be out there playing for the club and I will give it my all every time. "I didn't reach my potential in the first half of the season but hopefully with a run in the team, I can stay in and I will show what I am capable of. Anywhere the manager wants me to play on the park, I'm happy to do so. "The manager will decide where he wants everyone to play and if that means me or Tim playing up front, then so be it. We'll just take each game at a time but a run in the cup would breed confidence." Everton can now look forward to a fourth round date with Chelsea and Osman says that last night's 1-0 win was nothing more than the Blues deserved as they plugged away in difficult circumstances. "Millwall came here and set their stall out," he added. "They were always going to be difficult to break down. But we knew if we kept plugging away, we would eventually do that. That proved to be the case."
Cops injured in fan clash
Jan 19 2006 By Greg O'Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
SEVEN police officers were injured as they tried to keep rival fans apart after Everton's FA Cup replay with Millwall last night. Violence flared in the streets around Goodison Park as the away supporters were being escorted from the ground to their coaches. Scores of officers were drafted to strengthen the police line as bottles were hurled and fans tried to get to each other. The seven officers injured needed ambulance treatment, and two police horses were hurt by broken glass. nspector Bob Wilson of Mersey-side police said: "A number of fans attended the fixture clearly intent on causing disorder. However, they were effectively dispersed." There were no serious injuries and six people were arrested for disorder during and after the game, which Everton won 1-0. Gary Harris, 26, from Walton, who was at the game, said: "It was obvious during the match something was going to go off after. The Park End and the Millwall fans were at each other from kick-off. "When they finally let the Millwall fans out the atmosphere went really nasty. Bottles and all sorts were lashed at them and they were giving it back just as well. There were police vans everywhere and ambulances flying past. It's lucky someone didn't get badly hurt but the police kept them apart."
Never doubt the power of Blues' spirit
Jan 19 2006 Evertonia, Liverpool Echo
In his latest column for Evertonia, Alan Ball, the honorary president of the members club, reflects on Saturday's win at Portsmouth and the prospect of David Moyes' men facing Arsenal, another of his former clubs, this weekend. ANYBODY who underestimates the spirit at Everton does so at their own risk. Goodison proved such a good fit for me because of the fighting spirit throughout the club. It has always been present and the right work ethic is a characteristic that has become a prerequisite for players given the opportunity to don the royal blue jersey. So it should have been no great shock to see the Blues responding from a horrible run of results in December to put three wins together back-to-back. But, nevertheless, I have to admit that following the defeats to Bolton, Aston Villa and Liverpool I was beginning to get a little worried. It has been a tough season for the Blues and the number of injuries and suspensions have had a significant impact on what is a small squad by Premiership standards. But they have dug in in typical fashion. The fans have backed them and they have worked their way into a position where they can now get into the top half of the table. The players deserve credit for the way they have done that. But it is also another reminder of the special spirit that runs through the club and its fans. It was on show at another of my former clubs last weekend as the Toffees defeated Portsmouth 1-0. And they will need it in spades again this weekend for the visit of Arsenal. The Gunners are a team in transition but showed last weekend how lethal they can be when they are on form. Everton have not had the best results against Arsene Wenger's men in recent years. But, as they have shown since Christmas, you should never, ever count them out. If they show that typical steel and guile against a Gunners side that has not travelled as well this term, then the Blues could extend their unbeaten start to 2006.
Xavier to take drug ban fight to court
Jan 19 2006 Liverpool Echo
FORMER Liverpool and Everton defender Abel Xavier has vowed to fight his 18-month drugs ban in court after testing positive for an anabolic steroid. The Portuguese fullback, 33, is expected to go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to contest UEFA's guilty verdict. Xavier, who remains under contract at Middlesbrough, became the first Premiership player to be found guilty of taking performance-enhancing drugs when a routine test last September showed the presence of methandienone, also known as dianabol, a steroid mainly used by bodybuilders. He insists it was the result of medication he was taken for a virus which affected his immune system. According to Mozambique-born Xavier the virus was caused "maybe because of the weather in England, maybe because I'm African". An initial appeal to UEFA failed in December, leaving Xavier facing a bleak future and potentially the sack from Middlesbrough. Boro are giving Xavier the opportunity to clear his name, and he said: "I will appeal. At this moment I have the right to go to a civil court because I just want a fair and common sense decision. "I will fight. I will go to the end, like I've done before, because at this moment I cannot work and I think it was very, very severe, an 18-month ban."
Everton 1, Millwall 0 (Echo)
Jan 19 2006 By Dominic King
THEY chanted 'what a waste of money' and booed his every touch, but Millwall supporters should have known better - Tim Cahill has a special bond with the FA Cup. While David Moyes continues to frantically scour the transfer market to end his long search for a new striker, the return to goalscoring form of Cahill could not have been better timed. But would you expect anything else? This, after all, is a man whose reputation is built on the priceless ability to pop up in the right place at the right time. After something of a barren spell, it is a relief to see the floodgates open again. He may once have scored an FA Cup semi-final winner for Millwall but the boot was on the other foot at Goodison Park as Cahill put his old mates to the sword and showed why Moyes need not despair if he fails to bring a fresh face in. Having scored four times in his last five games, the Australian international has reaffirmed that he is Everton's lethal weapon - playing in an advanced role behind the willing James Beattie only increases his goal threat. Since signing for a cut price £1.5m 18 months ago, Cahill has been Everton's saviour on numerous occasions, but how he was needed last night, arriving on cue to transform the Blues' fortunes and keep them on an upward curve. Though the lively Leon Osman went close in the opening exchanges with a flashing header and a drive from outside the box, the only way to describe Everton's start to affairs was laboured. Millwall had arrived on Merseyside with the sole intention of frustrating Everton in the hope of pinching a goal on the break. In the opening half hour, it proved an effective tactic. Indeed, the only notable incident -bar a James Beattie drive from out-side the area - came when Nuno Valente clattered into David Weir and left the Everton captain nursing a nasty cut on the bridge of his nose. The outcome? Enter Per Kroldrup. Speculation continues to surround the Denmark international and maybe Kroldrup will find himself playing for another club before the transfer window shuts. At least he showed he doesn't have two left feet. Moyes had suggested in his pre-match briefings that patience would be a prerequisite during the game and had warned his players about the danger associated with committing rash acts in pursuit of a goal. How right he was. While Millwall never fashioned anything to trouble Nigel Martyn directly, the feeling lurked that they could pop up with something from a set-piece. The warnings were there for all to see when Alan Dunne scuffed a Jody Morris corner wide. It was, nevertheless, bitterly disappointing that Everton could not impose themselves on a side currently 29 rungs below them on English football's ladder. All graft but no class, Millwall should have been swatted aside much earlier. Equally disappointing was the muted atmosphere among home supporters. No noise from either the Gwladys Street or the Park meant we were subjected to the continuous babble - mostly obnoxious - from the uncouth rabble in the away section. Thankfully, matters improved after the break. Cahill had a point blank header pawed over the bar by Andy Marshall following excellent work by Osman. Phil Neville chipped on to the roof of the net after bursting forward. The tempo now set, Kevin Kilbane should have put Millwall out of their misery after Marshall had spilled an Osman shot. Somehow he scooped his effort wide of a yawning goalmouth from six yards. Minutes later, Kilbane's header bounced off the woodwork. There was one man central to everything positive Everton created. Osman was in majestic form last night, an intoxicating combination of determination and delightful skill. Danger lurked for Millwall when the ball was at his dancing feet. His return to form is pleasing to see. There were times earlier in the season when he looked lost. Shimmies and shuffles would invariably fail to come off and opposing defenders would out-muscle him all too easily. Things seemed to change for the better on the back of an enterprising display at Ewood Park last month and since then he has not looked back, conjuring up performances that demand Moyes take notice. On this evidence, he is in the side for the long haul. Building up a head of steam, it was no surprise when Everton took the lead. Surging down the inside right channel, Beattie waited before picking out Cahill with the perfect cutback. Sliding in, the Australian's finish raced into the top corner. The lead should have been doubled within minutes. Again, Beattie terrorised Zak Whitbread as he exploded onto a through ball. Again his cross was excellent, only this time, Neville's header cannoned back off the post. No matter. Though the advantage was slender, Everton never looked like relinquishing their lead. For all Millwall's huff and puff, Martyn remained untroubled in the dying stages as the late rally failed to materialise. On, then, we move to Chelsea in the next round. Few outside Goodison Park will give Everton a chance of making the last 16, but who cares? How often do we see things go according to plan where the famous old pot is concerned? Moyes and his players had everything to lose against Millwall, now the opposite is true. Playing themselves into form at just the right time, Everton's FA Cup adventure could be ready to take another thrilling twist - especially if Cahill is in the mood.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Martyn; Hibbert, Weir (Kroldrup 33), Ferrari, Valente; Osman, Arteta, Neville, Kilbane (McFadden 86); Cahill, Beattie.
MILLWALL (4-4-2: Marshall; Lawrence, Whitbread, Elliott, Craig (Braniff 89); Dunne, Morris (Cogan 77), Robinson, Livermore; May, Williams
BOOKINGS: Millwall - Robinson (foul, 62), Livermore (foul, 87)
REFEREE: Rob Styles
Cahill takes confidence from Everton's improved form
By Paul Walker, Daily Post
Jan 20 2006
TIM CAHILL has set up the toughest examination possible of Everton's new-found form with his FA Cup heroics. His fourth goal in five games steered Everton into the fourth round of the cup as the Goodison swide begin to sweep away the misery of a thoroughly disappointing season so far.
Thanks to Cahill's goals, David Moyes's men occupy their highest Premiership placing since August but the next two games will put that recovery firmly under scrutiny with Arsenal due at Goodison Park tomorrow in the league and champions Chelsea next up a week later in the cup. But the Australian midfielder cannot wait for the challenge. After his second-half goal put out former club Millwall in Wednesday's third-round replay he said: "Chelsea are running away with the title and they have got an elite squad, but it is what happens on the day when it comes to the FA Cup. You could see what happened when I was at Millwall. We got all the way to the FA Cup final. "Everton now deserve a good cup run and to pick up something from this final half of the season and get as much out of it as we can. "We believe we can compete with anyone on our day. We had a really poor start to the campaign and we can only get better." He added: "It's a great week ahead for us. We have Arsenal in the league and then Chelsea in the cup and we are confident we can achieve something. "I've been under a bit of criticism, as has the team, but I don't need to prove anything to anyone, I just need to work hard for my team and the staff. "This was our fifth game without defeat and that breeds confidence. We worked really hard and showed something of what we did last season and I am really pleased we are starting to get back on a roll again. "We believe we can compete with anyone on our day. We had a really poor start to the campaign and we can only get better. "But we don't need to prove anything to anyone. We are a good squad with good players and good staff. "But it is a small squad, very limited, and we have to play with what we have. It is all about hard work. "Now we have Arsenal next in the league and it's going to be a tough week with Chelsea after that, but we are playing well now and we do not need to worry about anyone, just play like we can do and see what happens."
Stubbs set for shock return to Goodison
By David Prior Daily Post Staff
Jan 20 2006
ALAN STUBBS is today expected to make a shock return to Everton as David Moyes drafts in emergency defensive cover in the wake of Per Kroldrup's departure. The former captain is set to rejoin the Goodison club on a free transfer until the end of the season, just months after a bitter row with his ex-employers over his departure to Sunderland last summer. After being offered only a 12-month extension to his contract, Stubbs left at the end of last season and then alleged in August that he had moved from Everton because of their insistence on a 'cancer clause' in his deal. Stubbs, who has twice beaten testicular cancer, was upset at the inclusion of a clause in the contract that gave Everton the option to terminate the deal should he have had a relapse. Everton denied Stubbs's version of events and insisted they would have removed the clause had he undergone an independent examination, but the row undoubtedly soured relations and makes today's expected reconciliation even more unlikely. Manager David Moyes was not directly involved in that fall-out himself, however, and will be more concerned to have secured, as is likely, some much-needed cover at the back. His defensive resources thinned further yesterday with Kroldrup flying out to Italy to agree terms on a £3.5million switch to Fiorentina. The Serie A side had surprised Everton yesterday morning by announcing they had signed the Danish defender, who has made just two appearances for the Good-ison side since a £5m summer switch from Udinese. The 26-year-old then appeared to back up the claim by reportedly confirming to a Danish website that his short-lived Everton career was over. "When the opportunity came up, it was just to take it," Kroldrup said on www.onside.dk. "I would like to return to Italy and now there is no way back. I don't really feel I have had the chance to prove my worth." Although Moyes is loath to sell any play-ers at the moment, he is understood to have accepted that Kroldrup's style is illsuited to the Premiership and that it is better for the club to cut their losses. Fiorentina sporting director Pantaleo Corvino said: "We've always said that the club would continue to look closely at the opportunity to sign quality players in the transfer market. Hence, we have signed on a definite transfer defender Kroldrup - not only for our current needs but for the future." Everton insisted last night that "discussions are continuing", but the move is likely to go through today. Stubbs's arrival would give Moyes a further option for tomorrow's Premiership clash at home to Arsenal, with Joseph Yobo away on African Nations Cup duty and David Weir a doubt having picked up a head wound in Wednesday's FA Cup win over Millwall. Moyes, meanwhile, has confirmed they will not pursue their interest in Nicolas Anelka.
Club pressed to control fans after cup tie brawls
By Sam Lister Daily Post Correspondent
Jan 20 2006
EVERTON FC was last night warned to control its fans after seven officers were injured when fighting broke out after Wednesday night's FA Cup tie. Trouble flared after the match against Millwall as 300 supporters tried to congregate outside Goodison Park and fighting broke out. Police in riot gear broke up the crowd but seven officers and two police horses suffered minor injuries in the fracas.
Last night Police Federation representative Ian Leyland called the fans' behaviour despicable.
It emerged the cost of policing Wednesday's game was £104,440 including £28,440 inside the ground, and £76,000 outside the ground. Police said the figure included wages of officers who though policing the match, were on their normal duty hours. But there were additional officers and resources drafted in and these are also accounted for in the figures. Mr Leyland described the moment violence broke out. He said: "Hundreds of fans were trying to converge outside the ground to start trouble and some of the Millwall fans would have welcomed that. "Their behaviour was despicable and it was only thanks to the work of the police officers that the trouble did not become much more serious. "Everton should be doing more to prevent their fans causing trouble. The cost of the operation outside the ground will be picked up by the public, not the club."
Earlier this year Liverpool FC agreed to pay a contribution towards the cost of policing matches, but Merseyside Police is still in negotiations with Everton and Tranmere football clubs to recoup expenses. More than 2,000 Millwall fans travelled to the match, which saw Everton win 1-0 and claim a place in the next round of the FA Cup. Fights broke out around the ground as rival fans tried to get at each other but they were generally kept apart by officers. Police said a number of fans had attended the match "clearly intent on causing disorder" but were dispersed. Six arrests were made.
Everton FC last night defended their record of crowd control. A spokesman said: "We have got a very good reputation and record in terms of crowd behaviour at Goodison Park. "We are at the forefront of the fight against racism and hooliganism. "We have a fantastic relationship with Merseyside Police and a fantastic safety officer. "The club applies the strictest discipline to all crowd control "All the trouble happened outside the stadium."
Post Soapbox, icLiverpool & Daily Post
Jan 20 2006
WHY shouldn't Everton beat Chelski in the next round of the FA Cup? They play dull, boring, unattractive football.
Chris Barnes (via e-mail)
TIM CAHILL'S muted celebrations after scoring against Milwall - and subsequent comments are a breath of fresh air. Tim acknowledges that Milwall "gave him his chance" in football and that his controlled celebration was about "respect". A certain young man from Croxteth should take note, don't you think...
Tony Jones, Liverpool
Fit to strike
I HONESTLY believe David Moyes is trying to bring in strikers but he won't want to get ripped off over the price. Let's just hope we get at least one who has a history of staying fit!
Frank Larraby (via e-mail)
DAVID Weir was great for the majority of last season and is a good servant of the club (not a moaner). But this season he has been found out for his lack of pace. Oliver Brown (via e-mail)
EVERTON should take the plunge on Crystal Palace's Andrew Johnson. I think £8million, plus a couple of incentives, would do the trick. We must have the money, if we were going to go in for Michael Owen.
Mark Burns (via e-mail)
A GOOD result against Millwall, but we can't hide the fact that we desperately need a striker. We're creating chances but no-one's putting them away.
Barry Scott (via e-mail)
EVERTON have lost nothing by not signing Nicolas Anelka. I, for one, never wanted him here; we have a team spirit that Le Sulk has never seen. It would be destroyed. Go for Andy Johnson but in the summer; he will want to leave as Palace (no disrepect) won't get promoted.
Graham Jennings (via e-mail)
IF WE do not buy a "good striker" by the end of the month, the sale of Marcus Bent would look rather silly. Bent will succeed when the style of play is suitable for him. Everton failed to play to his strengths and we could be embarrassed. If we have not got funds in the kitty, then we have to raise money to buy the most effective striker available. If we don't we will continue to suffer. If teams are not scared of you then they will pressure our defence and that remains a problem. Roger Williams (via e-mail)
WHEN are Everton going to make a move for Robbie Fowler? Manchester City have had no offers yet, so why don't we get in there quick. He is only 30. I wouldn't mind Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink either.
Dean Claymore (via e-mail)
I WOULD like to see Fowler join Everton, but on a pay as you play deal. He is still quite prolific when ranked against our strikers. We need a Thomas Gravesen or maybe Eric Bakke. Why not buy Mark Delaney from Aston Villa; we need a right back as well to push Tony Hibbert. We also need a centre half. Dare I say it, bring back Alan Stubbs on short term.
Richie Davies, Wirral
Ruthless edge can keep Everton on up
By Mark O'Brien Everton supporter, Daily Post
Jan 20 2006
IT'S A big week approaching at Goodison, with the visits of Arsenal in the Premiership tomorrow and then Chelsea in the FA Cup. The Gunners are declining in the time-honoured fashion, replacing great players with others who are merely good and struggling to cope with the fact that some of their key figures are reaching the twilight of their careers. However, their 7-0 dismantling of Middlesbrough, so reminiscent of the one they inflicted on an Everton team rather 'distracted' by their European qualification at the end of last season, showed that on their day they are still one of the best pure footballing sides in Europe. Their record away from Highbury isn't particularly impressive though and they've been known to look a bit intimidated at Goodison before now - it's just a shame that the game is so early, as that always seems to have a detrimental effect on the atmosphere. Against either of the two big London teams, Everton will need to be far more ruthless in front of goal than they were against Millwall. Tim Cahill did admirable work supporting James Beattie up front, but that's only ever going to be a temporary measure. The need for a new striker then is even more important than ever, especially given Marcus Bent's move to Charlton. In fact we probably need two forwards, but David Moyes appears to be struggling to bring in even one, with Nicolas Anelka, for instance, making his thoughts crystal clear concerning a move to Goodison. The present employers of Lee Trundle, David Nugent and Robert Earn-shaw, meanwhile, are apparently asking for unreasonable fees. The temptation is to just implore the manager to pay whatever it takes, but he has to look at the wider picture and take into account the fact that any cash spent on an expensive stop-gap now will have a direct bearing on his ability to bring in the sort of player he really wants in the summer. That's the sort of dilemma faced by managers with limited budgets. Of the three mentioned, none of them are perfect, but Earnshaw is probably closest to what we're looking for. Obviously there have to be some doubts about a player who can't get in West Brom's team, but if nothing else he has the sort of genuine pace that we are desperately lacking and probably a desire to prove that he is the genuine article. While we wait and see just what unfolds in the next week or so, let's all just keep our fingers crossed that nothing happens to Beattie.
Stubbs back in for Blues
Jan 20 2006 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
ALAN STUBBS will make an immediate return to Everton's first team squad tomorrow, once he completes the formalities of medical today. The Blues last night agreed a deal with Sunderland to take over the 34-year-old's contract, as manager David Moyes brought in an immediate replacement for Per Kroldrup, who has joined Fiorentina for £3m. With David Weir nursing a nasty cut on the bridge of his nose and Joseph Yobo away on international duty, Everton are short of defensive numbers and Moyes moved swiftly to bring Stubbs back to Goodison Park just six months after leaving. Stubbs claimed he had rejected the offer of a new deal because Everton wanted a 'cancer clause' inserted in his contract, relating to the illness he bravely overcame during his time with Celtic. The club quickly refuted those claims. However, any ill-feeling there may have been has been smoothed over and Moyes - still on the lookout for a new striker - has no qualms about using Stubbs, one of the first players to arrive at Bellefield this morning, against Arsenal. "With Joseph being away, we are just a little bit short so I felt I needed someone with a bit of experience, someone who could come in and wouldn't take long to settle," Moyes said. "Alan knows how we work, he knows the things we do. He shouldn't need any time to break himself in. He is here as cover to help us out with what we have got and he accepts that. I think he is glad to be back here. "Everyone knows we offered him a year's contract. We felt it was right for the age he was at. Probably in hindsight Alan sees that he made a mistake and he should have accepted the contract. But that's done. We're all happy. There has never been any fall out between me and Alan. We got on with it, I have spoken with him and I have seen a glint in his eye again. "This is his club, it's the one his family supports. We didn't want him to go in the first place." Kroldrup, meanwhile, headed back to Serie A accusing Moyes of never giving him a chance on Merseyside and could not wait to leave after making just two appearances following his £5m arrival from Udinese. Moyes, though, would not get caught in a war of words and instead offered sympathy to Kroldrup. "We watched Per a lot when He played for Udinese and for Denmark but we have just found that he is missing one or two things that would make him suitable," he added. "That's the way I work. I have a look and if I don't think it's right I will change it as quickly as I can. We have made a bit of a loss on him but we have made a bit of a take on Marcus Bent. It's been that sort of week. "Per is a great lad. There was no problem with the boy. He was terrific. I just felt that his football is more suited to Italy than it is to here. "I'm disappointed I could only give him one opportunity but in the main, with the form of Joseph, David and recently Matteo Ferrari, I felt if there was a chance for him to leave, it was right that we give him it."
Ferrari aiming for an extended stay at Goodison
Jan 20 2006 Exclusive By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
MATTEO FERRARI could be forgiven for feeling slightly confused at present. Since returning to Everton's first team in the resounding 3-1 win over Charlton, the Italian defender has played alongside three different partners and that number could turn to four if Alan Stubbs is given an instant debut against Arsenal tomorrow. The headache of trying to build up a relationship on field, however, is nothing compared to the frustration of having a 'friend' speak out on his behalf and claim that Ferrari could not wait to board the next plane back to Rome. Settled on Merseyside, relishing the challenge of the Premier-ship and finally showing the form that has taken him into Italy's squad, nothing could be further from the truth. Unhappy? Only with his outspoken acquaintance. Careless whispers suggested that Ferrari longed for a return to Serie A, but in fact he would be happy if his loan move from Roma were turned into a more permanent arrangement.
"I would like to underline the fact that it is not true what has been said on the radio and inter-net a couple of weeks ago about my not being happy here," he stressed. "Someone claimed to be my agent and said that. "It's good here, very good. I spoke with the manager and I told him that I would be happy to stay here. I would like to prove myself in the Premiership. "But it is not up to me what will happen. I will continue to give 100 per cent for Everton and help us finish as high as possible. At the end of the season, we will have a meeting. "It won't be just down to me. It will be the manager, the chairman and then everyone at Roma. They are the ones who will decide." After an injury interrupted start to life in England, Ferrari is back to full fitness and has shown in patches of the last four games why defending is an art form in Italy. Quick, slick and stylish, Ferrari rarely misses a header and has grasped enough of the English language to bark orders to his team-mates. The more he plays, the better he looks. "When you win, you have a lot of confidence," said the 26-year-old. "The pace of the English game is very quick and you need to concentrate because it is very easy to make a mistake. When you come back from an injury, it is difficult to find the right pace. "But you need to find it as soon as possible. You have got to get to 100 per cent all the time - you have to be ready for everything in every game. "I think I am the kind of person who can adapt myself to a different place and a different culture. I don't find things like this so difficult. I like adapting to different things." Whoever Ferrari plays alongside against Arsenal - David Weir is nursing a nasty cut on the bridge of his nose sustained in Wednesday night's FA Cup win over Millwall - there will be no margin for error. Arriving at Goodison Park on the back of a 7-0 thrashing of Middlesbrough, when in the mood Arsenal are irresistible - as Ferrari knows. He made his Everton debut at Highbury last September. He is not, though, duly concerned. "I respect Arsenal but this Everton is a very different Everton to the one that played against them in September," said Ferrari. "We are tough, we compete. We have had a changes and we are in better shape. I think we can cause problems for them. "I have looked at the table and it is very tightly packed. If we can step things up a level, we know that we can climb significantly. We have just got to do our best because we have seen what happens if things don't go well. "We are going into the game on the back of three successive victories. There is a platform there for us to build. If Arsenal play to 100 per cent of their capabilities, it will be difficult for us but we have to believe. If we can get at them and they concede, we have to be ready to press home that advantage." In Thierry Henry, however, Arsenal possess a striker capable of winning a game on his own in the blink of an eye, and it will be interesting to see how a Ferrari measures up to Va Va Voom. "I played against Henry once before for Italy against France," he recalled. "It was a different Henry compared to this one. Now he is the complete player, one of the best in the world. "If he plays at his best, he will make things very difficult. "But it is a challenge that I enjoy. When you come up against a player like him, you get the chance to prove yourself. Hopefully I can do that."
Kilbane's return to form is just reward for his exemplary attitude
Jan 20 2006 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
IN the early stages of his Everton career, Kevin Kilbane revelled in the somewhat unlikely nickname of 'Zinedine.' The tag (Zinedine Kilbane, geddit?) was given to him by Evertonians taken just a little by surprise at the quality of his performances. But while that quality might have dipped in recent months, his attitude has never once dropped below anything less than exemplary. And there are signs that Kilbane is now being rewarded with a return to the kind of form which so endeared him to Evertonians. Try to forget Wednesday's sitter and cast your mind back over the last few Blues results, counting the significant contributions from the Irish midfielder. It was his corner at the Stadium of Light which teed up Tim Cahill for a priceless winner; it was Kilbane who muscled his way in front of the last defender to win a penalty against Charlton; he speared over the cross which Leon Osman converted at Millwall, and he leaped highest to head the ball down for the same player to smuggle in another vital matchwinner at Portsmouth. When Kilbane first arrived at Goodison Park in a cut-price deal from Sunderland, David Moyes braced himself for a wave of apathy. "No-one's got much time for a six foot tall left winger," he shrugged. But Kilbane simply got on with it and enjoyed a hugely productive season personally. He was excellent again during the first half of the fourth-place campaign, before he suffered along with the rest of the squad. There were times earlier this season when he couldn't put a foot right. But not once did he moan, not once did he shirk a challenge and not once did he hide from the ball. Now he is finally beginning to reap the rewards. Just d
Short term strike plan
EVERTON'S history is littered with the names of strikers who enjoyed a brief, but meaningful impact at the club. Players like Terry Curran, Wayne Clarke and Paul Wilkinson were never good enough to become permanent fixtures for the Blues. But their contributions were invaluable.
David Moyes should take note.
With long term options like Nicolas Anelka, Dirk Kuyt or Valeri Bojinov out of reach, he must attract short term cover. Names like Robbie Earnshaw, Paul Dickov or Kenny Miller may be looked upon with distaste by the fans, but the Blues simply can't afford just to have James Beattie as their only recognised front man.
Everton ticket details
Jan 20 2006 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON v ARSENAL in the Premiership on Saturday, January 21 (Kick-off 12.45pm) GENERAL sale continues from the Park End Box Office during normal office hours. Supporters should note that a Dial-A-Seat service on 08707 3837866 will also be in operation for this fixture. Supporters should note this is a premium game and £2 extra is applicable on all adult tickets. EVERTON v CHELSEA in the FA Cup fourth round on Saturday, January 28 (Kick-off 3pm) THIS is an all ticket fixture with reserved seating in all areas. No tickets will be available for purchase after 1pm on the day of the game. Prices for a premium Premiership game will apply and are as follows: Main Stand £34, Top Balcony £31, Family Enclosure £31, Lower Gwladys £28, Upper Gwladys £31, Park Stand £32, Upper Bullens £33, Paddock £31, Lower Bullens £29, Disa-bled Enclosures £32/£31/£28. A junior (under 16 only) price of £17 and an over 65s price of £19 will be available in all general stand areas of the ground for this fixture only. Please note that under FA regulations and as condition of our safety certificate, Chelsea have claimed 4,822 tickets in the Bullens Road Stand. Therefore the following season ticket holders in the Bullens Road Stand will be offered a best available alternative seat on application: Paddock Stand - supporters seated in seat numbers 123 and below (all rows); Lower Bullens - Supporters seated in seat numbers 151 and below (all rows); Upper Bul-lens - Supporters seated in seat numbers 154 and below (all rows). Tickets will be on sale to season ticket holders at the Park End box office from Friday, January 20 at 9.30am as follows: Season ticket holders may claim their own seat (subject to availability) on production of cup priority voucher no.23 (this must be fully completed with their seat details) at the Park End box office until close of business (7pm) on Tuesday, January 24. Postal applications may be made enclosing the correct remittance, relevant fully completed voucher and a stamped addressed envelope to the Box Office, Goodison Park, Liverpool L4 4EL. Supporters should be aware when posting applications of the short time span. For this game only season ticket holders may claim their own seat by phone on 08707 3837866 up until 4.30pm on Tuesday, January 24. There will be a charge of £1.60 per ticket and a transaction fee of £1.60 for this service. Tickets will be available on general sale from Wednesday, January 25 at 9.30am from the Park End box office, online at evertonfc.com and also to postal applicants. Supporters, however, should be aware when posting applications of the short time span before the game and any tickets purchased after 4.30pm on Wednesday, January 25 will not be posted and all must be collected at the ground on the day of the game. Holders of Access and Visa cards may book seats subject to availability on general sale using our 24 hour Dial-A-Seat service 08707 3837866 from Wednesday, January 25. There is a £1.60 charge per ticket plus a £1.60 booking charge for this service. Lounge members will need to present cup priority voucher no 23 or FA Cup fourth round voucher from their season ticket books to gain entry to their usual seats. Supporters registered on the home cup scheme will automatically receive their tickets for this fixture through the post. Those supporters whose seats will be affected by the visitors will be allocated a best available alternative seat in their own stand and their tickets posted out to them.
WIGAN ATHLETIC v EVERTON in the Premiership on Tuesday, January 31 (Kick-off 7.45pm) Stand tickets priced £25 (adults), £20 (Over 65s/ Under 16s) are currently available on general sale from the Park End box office during normal office hours. Identification will be required to be presented upon entry in to the stadium for those with concessionary tickets. EVERTON v MAN CITY in the Premiership on Saturday, February 4 (Kick-off 3pm) Evertonia members-only sales continue from the Park End box office during normal office hours. All members will need to produce a valid membership card in order to purchase a ticket within this priority period. Members should note that Evertonia member-ship entitles the holder to one ticket per member-ship. General sale will commence from Monday, January 23 from the Park End box office at 9.30am. Supporters should note that a Dial-A-Seat service on 08707 3837866 will also be in operation for this fixture. EVERTON v BLACKBURN in the Premiership on Saturday, February 11 (Kick-off 3pm) Evertonia members-only sales continue from the Park End box office during normal office hours. All members will need to produce a valid membership card in order to purchase a ticket within this priority period. Members should note that Evertonia membership entitles the holder to one ticket per membership. General sale will commence on Monday, January 30 from the Park End box office at 9.30am. Supporters should note that a Dial-A-Seat service on 08707 3837866 will also be in operation for this fixture.
Clare spreads Blue fever
Jan 20 2006 Liverpool Echo
CLARE GAULLER'S passion for the Blues is infectious. The 32-year-old from Bromborough is a lifelong fan and the season ticket holder's enthusiasm for the Toffees has rubbed off on those around her.
Her husband Steve was not even a football fan when they met a decade ago but he has since developed a love for the Blues which has also spread to his retired parents. When the pair were married on New Year's Eve 2003 they eschewed a traditional honeymoon in favour of treating themselves to a meal at the Blue Brasserie ahead of the game against Norwich a few days later.
Clare opted for a change of career three years ago, making the move from being an electrician to a lawyer. Her devotion to the Blues has since led to her boss rekindling his love affair with the club and buying season tickets for him and his son. Clare's number plate proudly displays EFC and when it comes to decorating blue is the colour. Her home also boasts a display of signed balls and shirts.
She said: "I've been a Blues fan for about 31 years. "As a kid I had a guinea pig called Adrian, a hamster called Inchie and a budgie called Toff. I was also taken to Wembley in 1984 to see us play Liverpool in the Charity Shield. It all went on from there and it's been great to get others involved with the club. If I had my way the whole house would be blue." Jeff Sherlock has also been nominated for the Blues' prize. Jeff hasn't missed a game home or away in years and arranges his holidays around matches. The loyal fan even has a loft dedicated to the club, which was opened by Toffees legend Dave Watson.
Stubbs is keen to prolong his stay
By David Prior Daily Post Staff
Jan 21 2006
ALAN STUBBS is determined to extend his shock Everton return beyond the end of the season. The Goodison defender will go straight into the squad for today's lunchtime Premiership clash with Arsenal after completing his move from Sunderland yesterday. The 34-year-old has signed a deal that will expire at the conclusion of the current campaign, but he is keen to perform well enough to earn himself an extension. "I've got to think that if I do well now until the end of the season it'll be hard for them not to give me a contract," Stubbs said. "I do not expect to go straight in, I must prove I am worthy of it and a further contract. That's my aim." Stubbs preceded his move by releasing a statement on the club's website apologising for claims he made back in August, alleging he had rejected a one-year deal to stay on last summer because Everton had insisted on a so-called 'cancer clause' in his contract. He said: "Shortly after I left Everton last summer I made certain accusations which I do now regret due to a basic misunderstanding. I suggested that the club was unwilling to remove from the 12-month contract extension I had been offered a clause that may have had a bearing on that deal if there was to have been a recur-rence of my cancer. "I now accept that - as the club said at the time - they were fully prepared to remove the clause in question upon my being given the all-clear by a specialist. "I appreciate that, at the time, my comments may have caused offence to some people; I can only apologise. It was a difficult time for me and with the benefit of hindsight I accept that I misinterpreted certain information, which had been given to me by the club." Kirkby-born Stubbs, who skippered the club to Champions League qualification last season, hopes to provide some of the lead-ership qualities that many believe have been lacking this season.
He said: "If I can bring a bit of that then great. As a bunch of lads for me they're probably the best bunch of lads I have played with, on and off the pitch. "When I've played with them before there hasn't been a lack of leadership on the pitch. Because of the results maybe it has looked like there hasn't been a lot of lead-ership on the pitch. But they're a great, honest bunch of lads who will give you everything they've got." Everton should have Simon Davies and Duncan Ferguson back from injury for the clash against Arsene Wenger's side, who scored seven past Middlesbrough last weekend. Stubbs is relieved to be part of it all again, saying: "It looks like Everton are turning for the better after five games without a defeat. They look good and are coming into form. "That's where we want to be looking now, there are not many points between us and the top 10. If we can keep this run going we will be back up in the top half, starting with a result against Arsenal." Manager David Moyes tied up the deal to bring back Stubbs in rapid fashion on Thursday after deciding to sell £5million defender Per Kroldrup - despite the Dane having played less than two full games for the club. Kroldrup has moved to Fiorentina in a £3.5m deal, and Moyes yesterday revealed why he had decided to let the centre-back go. He said: "We watched him four times when he played for Udinese and twice for Denmark, as well as on tape, and we thought he was the right one. "We looked really hard for a centre-half over the summer. But since he came in I've just seen things that maybe aren't conducive to playing in the Premiership. I looked at it and felt that the right thing to do was to turn it around quickly. "That's the way I work. I have a look and if I don't think it's right I will change it as quickly as I can. We have made a bit of a loss on him but we have made a bit of a take on Marcus Bent. It's been that sort of week. "Per is a great lad. There was no problem with the boy. He was terrific. I just felt that his football is more suited to Italy than it is to here. "I'm disappointed I could only give him one opportunity but in the main, with the form of Joseph, David and recently Matteo Ferrari, I felt if there was a chance for him to leave, it was right that we give him it. "When Per went I thought we were a little bit short, especially with Joe (Yobo) away just now. Alan doesn't need any time to break himself in and I knew he was available as well, which meant I could do it quite easily.
"Stubbsy wanted to come back. This is his team, his family's team and he lives in the area. And you've got to remember that we didn't want him to go in the first place. Maybe in hindsight he would feel as if it would have been better to have stayed here."
Veteran defender's delight at return to football home
By David Prior, Daily Post
Jan 21 2006
CONTRACT clauses were of little interest to Sam and Heather Stubbs when dad returned home with some unexpected news on Thursday night. For even if their reactions were by turns cool and ecstatic, his two children's faces convinced Everton's 'newest' signing he had made the right decision. "I said to my son that I would probably be signing for Everton tomorrow, and the first thing that he said to me was 'oh'," recalled the father in question, Alan Stubbs. "His next words were 'does that mean you're going to be staying with us all the time now?', and I said 'yeah', and he said 'ah great'. "My little girl, she was the total opposite. I told her and she just started jumping up in the air. I thought it would be the other way around! "But that's the most important thing for me - that I could tell my kids last night that I was going back home to Everton. And at the end of the day it is home." Sam and Heather will not be alone in being glad to have dad home. Given that Everton's defensive situation had been reduced to its bare bones by the sudden offloading of Per Kroldrup, the sight of a returning son with Stubbs' experience and leadership abilities should send a calming wave through most fans, too. For while he's hardly the bright young face some were probably hoping for, the Kroldrup saga has at least served to emphasize just how particular the demands of Premiership combat can be. And Stubbs, on form alone given his sterling contribution to last season's fourth-place charge, should never really have been required to come back at all. That he had to, of course, was probably down more to his own stubbornness, the former skipper holding out for the two-year contract extension that never materialised at the end of last season. His frustration at then ending up at Sunderland with the same one-year deal he had spurned at Goodison probably contributed to the unseemly episode regarding a 'cancer clause' that subsequently soured relations between club and player in August. Stubbs was at pains to apologise yesterday for his claims at the time that he had turned down Everton's contract offer because they had insisted on a clause allowing them to terminate the deal should he suffer a relapse of the cancer he has overcome twice in his footballing career. "What happened last summer is now water under the bridge," he said. "In the end, what had seemed up until this week to be an improbable reunion was engineered, seemingly, with little difficulty. "I'd heard little bits over the last month or two but it all happened really quickly from Thursday morning," said Stubbs. "I spoke to the manager in the morning, met him in the afternoon and it was done by Thursday night." Referring tentatively to the "cancer clause issue" that was decreed to be off-topic at yesterday's press conference, Stubbs added: "It was one of those that we both stood our ground and that was it. "That's obviously in the past now and it says a lot that I'm back here and the manager has brought me back here. "It says a lot sometimes when maybe you can come back into a situation when maybe it wouldn't have happened before. I regretted leaving and I'm sure the manager regretted me leaving as well, otherwise I wouldn't be back here at all.
"So it was man enough from me and man enough for the manager to get me back here. When we met it was very amicable - he wanted me to come back and I wanted to come back.
We obviously knew that people would ask about what went on in the summer but that's been put in a statement and I'm looking ahead rather than back. Hindsight's a wonderful thing. But I'm back here now to push us as far as we can get this season." A series of niggling injuries and Sunderland's woeful form on their Premiership return ensured Stubbs was barely able to get his feet under the table at the Stadium of Light. In fact, he tasted victory just once during his six-month spell - against Northwich Victoria in the FA Cup earlier this month. His heart, evidently, was still firmly on Merseyside. "I missed it as soon as I left," he said. "I still spoke to all the lads, probably more when I left than when I was here. It feels as if I've just had an injury for six months. I know everyone here and I'm glad to be back amongst them. "It was obviously very frustrating to go from qualifying for the Champions League last summer. I knew it was going to be tough, don't get me wrong, and it turned out to be that way. "Obviously people are saying the writing's on the wall for them now, but I wish them all the best. They've got a great bunch of lads and a manager who's as honest as the day is long, and I'm not going to turn round and say I'm glad to be leaving. That would be wrong."
Stubbs' brief sojourn in the North East unfortunately coincided with Everton's albeit brief dalliance with the European competition he was so instrumental in achieving last season. That hasn't lessened his determination to drag something more than mere pride from this campaign, however.
A top-eight finish was his stated ambition yesterday. Should he help Everton reach that goal, it won't be just Sam and Heather hoping he doesn't go anywhere else this summer.
Kroldrup was not given a chance
By Steve McQueen Everton supporter, Daily Post
Jan 21 2006
PARDON me if I don't get too excited at the return of Alan Stubbs. Don't get me wrong, I love Stubbsy and I was disappointed to see him go in the summer. He's a true Blue, loved playing for the club and gave his all. But seeing him back at Goodison, for no matter how brief a spell, is a sad indictment of the way things are going at Everton. We have essentially had to get in a stop-gap measure because our major signing of the summer - and one of the most expensive players in our history - was deemed surplus to requirements after 147 minutes of action. Why wasn't Per Kroldrup given a chance? Granted, he didn't pull up any trees during his two appearances but I can't remember any major bloopers from the Dane. Rumours have abound for some time about his lack of physical presence, but you'd have thought David Moyes might have noticed that before he paid £5million for the player, particularly as we were led to believe Moyes had been tracking him for two years! Moyes says he had no problem with Kroldrup personally, so we can only wince and imagine just how rubbish he must have been during training. Mind you, £3.5m would be as much as we might have expected to get for him. And fair play to Moyes on persuading Charlton Athletic to part with £2.5m for Marcus Bent. No matter what else Moyes does in his career, he should be saluted for that piece of business. So to the game this afternoon. Everton made hard work of the win over Millwall in midweek, but that's four in five and at least we're scoring a few goals now. Arsenal aren't the best away from home at present, and I expect Moyes to stick with the same team if David Weir can overcome his nose injury. If only Nuno Valente was as pinpoint with his passes. Should Everton get among the Gunners mid-field, I envisage at least a point. Otherwise, let's pray Thierry Henry gets injured.
Everton 1, Arsenal 0 (D,Post)
Jan 23 2006 By David Prior at Goodison Park, Daily Post
A WEEK that saw Alan Stubbs and a four-ton whale surface at respectively unlikely locations could be said to be a week that had seen enough unpredicted drama. Obviously not. For while the former captain's return made a funny kind of sense in the end, and London's transport system is confusing at the best of times, there appeared to be not a single glimmer of hope for anything other than the usual Arsenal cakewalk at Goodison on Saturday. Not because Everton didn't have the ability, of course. The pessimism was simply based on the suffocating stranglehold that Arsene Wenger's men had established over David Moyes and Co. in recent memory. The last four meetings between the sides had resulted in a 16-2 score-line - and that seemed almost kind on Everton. But then, after all those beatings, perhaps this was the result the fixture was due. Judging by the way they went about it, Everton certainly thought so. For this was inspirational stuff, the highlight of this and many a season. As against Chelsea and Manchester United, Moyes's men revelled in their underdog status. It should have been three or four. Arsenal could not have arrived with a more inflated sense of confidence after their 7-0 drubbing of Middlesbrough last week, but the coach that began its return leg down the M62 on Saturday must have been almost unrecognisably forlorn. Inside were players who'd been stared out, chewed up and spat out. A single glance at the faces that left the pitch on the final whistle - or indeed any player in yellow from around half-time onwards - said it all.
Stubbs, who could not have dreamed of a better return, must have felt like he'd never been away. Last summer he left a side whose collective spirit and irrepressible will had seen them officially declared the fourth-best team in the country; his return on Saturday coincided with a performance that did nothing to suggest that their level has dipped in the ensuing months. And yet only now can the Premiership's top half feel Everton's hot air on the back of their necks. Stubbs, in common with every fan, must wonder about what on earth has gone on since. It truly is baffling. Had Everton negotiated the first half of this season with even half the quality they overwhelmed Arsenal with, they would be perhaps 10 points better off now and seriously contemplating a return to the European stage. As it is, even if this winning run extends far beyond the four games it currently stands at, an ascent to the heights of last season seems improbable. Tottenham stand 12 points clear in fourth place; even Bolton, with two games in hand, hold a seven-point advantage in the final UEFA Cup place. But such concerns can wait for now. For the moment, it is enough to wallow in a resurgence that for once seems to possess foundations that are concrete rather than cardboard. This, surely, is no false dawn. Central to that assertion is the players themselves. For while the ultimate margin of victory was narrow on Saturday, the gulf between the performance of the players now and in, say, September, is immeasurable. The list is long. James Beattie continues to tread a hasty path from £6million has-been to England recall. Now he's fit, his qualities display themselves ever more obviously by the week. A few months ago, it would have been inconceivable for him to have dealt with Tim Cahill's 13th-minute loft in the way he did on Saturday, shaking off the combined might of Sol Campbell and Philippe Senderos to slot calmly past Jens Lehmann.
If only he can now eradicate the more stereotypical sides to his game - the profligate way in which he spurned Cesc Fabregas's invitation to virtually settle the game after 25 minutes being the prime example. But his tendency to be need-lessly extravagant will surely diminish over time, certainly for so long as his manager continues to supply the occasional dressing-down at Bellefield. Concerns over his temperament fall away by the game, however, and the way he held court in the dressing room after Saturday's game before re-awarding Sky's man-of-the-match bubbly to Leon Osman was tellingly classy. Aside from his careless swipe at Fabregas's attempted back-pass, he could have had at least two more. Aharsh offside flag curtailed celebrations after he bulged the net shortly before half-time, and only Camp-bell's excellent block prevented him getting on the end of Osman's 65th-minute cross. He also had legitimate claims for a penalty when upended by Kerrea Gilbert seven minutes before the break. Elsewhere, the heroes of the last campaign continue to spring back to life. Osman's belated recognition was well deserved - he scarcely wasted a ball all day and his control in possession was impressive against such opponents. He, along with Tim Cahill and Mikel Arteta, is giving Everton an added buoyancy in attack that they have lacked for much of this season. If one offensive source breaks down, Everton now seem to possess a plan B, even a plan C. Tony Hibbert was linked with an international call-up a year ago and, after a dismal first half to the season, is once again at his snapping, snarling best. In throwing himself at a header after Freddie Ljungberg's shot had been palmed brilliantly on to a post by Nigel Martyn, the full-back not only typified his approach all afternoon, he helped to keep the scores level moments before Beattie's goal. Nobody better exemplified the substance Moyes had called for to derail Arsenal's style. But Hibbert was only the marginal pick of a thoroughly excellent defensive display. Stubbs' return to Goodison had raised eyebrows on Friday, but it suddenly looked like a master-stroke when an injury to Matteo Ferrari saw the former skipper summoned from the bench as early as the 32nd minute. A quick handshake with David Weir, and the partnership that provided the bedrock of last season's charge was once again a wall of defiance. Thierry Henry, fresh from a hat-trick against Boro, can seldom have had a quieter day - although perhaps that was just down to the sight of Phil Neville. Arsene Wenger held his head in his hands long before Fabregas sealed a miserable day for the visitors by lunging inexplicably at Cahill's throat, thus earning the 62nd red card of the Frenchman's reign. It was merely a footnote to the day, however. Nothing could detract from the big story - resurgent, dominant, victorious Everton.
EVERTON (4-4-1-1): Martyn; Hibbert, Ferrari (Stubbs 32), Weir, Nuno Valente; Osman, Neville, Arteta (Ferguson 86), Kilbane; Cahill; Beattie. Subs: Wright, Naysmith, McFadden.
BOOKINGS: Beattie, Nuno Valente, Hibbert, Cahill (all fouls).
ARSENAL (4-4-2): Lehmann; Gilbert (Hleb 73), Campbell, Senderos, Lauren; Ljungberg, Silva, Fabregas, Pires (Diaby 81); Henry, Reyes. Subs: Almunia, Flamini, Djourou.
BOOKINGS: Silva, Reyes (fouls).
SENDING-OFF: Fabregas (90).
REFEREE: Mr A Wiley
NEXT GAME: Everton v Chelsea, FA Cup fourth round, Saturday, 3pm
'Rocket' power is driving Beattie form
Jan 23 2006 By David Prior Daily Post Staff
DAVID MOYES has revealed the secret behind James Beattie's improved fortunes at Goodison - a regular "rocket" on the training ground. The striker's first-half goal gave Everton a deserved win over Arsenal on Saturday and lifted them into 12th place in the Premiership. It was the former Southampton man's sixth goal of the season and provided further evidence that, a year on from his £6million move from the south coast, he is starting to fulfill his potential on Merseyside. But manager Moyes admitted the England international needs a sharp word from him every now and then to maintain the fitness so key to his form. "I think on the field recently his performances have been really good," said Moyes,, whose side chalked up their fourth straight win in the league.
"I've got to say, he needs a rocket every now and then to keep his training high and his standards high. "He's an all-round good player, but he knows he needs a rocket from time to time. I think in the main he takes it in the right way - he realises it's for the right reasons and it's to keep improving him. "But he's beginning to carry the mantle here. It's a big thing to be a centre forward at Everton, and on today's form you can see why two years ago he was selected for England." Beattie took his goal impressively, holding off the combined strength of Philippe Senderos and Sol Campbell to slot past goalkeeper Jens Leh-mann. He missed a golden opportunity to add a second before the break, rushing a shot having been left with only Lehmann to beat after Cesc Fabregas's sloppy backpass.
In the end, however, the miss didn't matter, but Moyes still hopes he can continue to develop into the role. "He had a big tag to carry and I don't think it got off to a great start for him, but I keep going back to what Gordon Strachan said - if you can get him super-fit, you will have some player on your hands. And I think you can see that in the way he's continued running today. "Sometimes what it needs is a run of games. We could have taken him on the training ground straight after the game and he would have blown all the players away. He's done that ever since he came, but I think he needed the games as well. "Sometimes it takes time for people to appreciate what his strengths are.
"His strengths are application and commitment and he's got a goal in him. He's a willing runner and worker, and when we signed him that's what we thought we had. I think we're now beginning to see it." He added: "The chance he had today (from Fabregas's backpass), I was hoping he would go round the goalkeeper. He's missed one or two as well, but I think that's what strikers do. If he can keep going then hopefully he'll be well into double figures by the end of the season." Moyes rejected suggestions from Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger that his side had been over-physical in pursuing their victory. He said: "I didn't think today we were that over-physical. "I would love to have a pure football game against them, but as we know we don't have that level and we've got to try and bridge the gap between their ability and ours. "Our work ethic, our competitiveness and our spirit helped to bridge that gap, and in the end I think we deserved the victory." Arsenal's day was made even worse when Cesc Fabregas was sent off in injury time for pushing Tim Cahill in a late melee. Manager Wenger said: "I felt that Fabregas pushed, and he got a red card and that's the rule. But he was very lenient for Cahill because he pushed as well first and tried to catch Henry and got away with that.
"It was all a bit disappointing." In a statement, Fabregas later said: "I was provoked by Tim Cahill and accept that by the rules my reaction was a red-card offence. I want to apologise to my team-mates and all I can say is that I will learn from this experience." Meanwhile, Matteo Ferrari will today discover if he has a chance of being fit for the FA Cup fourth round tie with Chelsea at Goodison on Saturday. The Italian international, who was replaced by Alan Stubbs followed an awkward first-half tumble, will have a scan. Definitely out of the game is Stubbs, who is cup-tied, and midfielder Tim Cahill, who is suspended after picking up a fifth booking of the season against Arsenal.
'Getting stuck in' platform for victory
By David Prior Daily Post Staff
Jan 23 2006
0ShareALAN STUBBS revealed how "getting stuck into" Arsenal had ensured his second spell at Everton started with a superb win. The former Goodison skipper was only just eligible to play in the game at all having sealed his free transfer from Sunder-land just before Friday's noon deadline.
And his unexpected return to Merseyside soon appeared to be a masterstroke from manager David Moyes as Stubbs, who started on the bench, was called into action by an injury to Matteo Ferrari after just half an hour. The 34-year-old slotted comfortably back amongst his old team-mates and helped in the nononsense performance that Arsene Wenger's side could not cope with. And he said: "One of the most important things when you play them is to get stuck into them - stand off them and there's every chance the result would have been different. "Everyone knows they're probably the best footballing side in this division - you saw that when they beat Boro 7-0 last week.
"Sometimes maybe we have been guilty of standing off them in the past. "We've had a few bad results against them in the past so we knew we had to get in their faces. "Pound for pound we can't compete against a club like that, but you have to get the result by scrapping for every ball. "We knew we weren't going to pass them off the pitch, so we had to get about them and ruffle a few feathers. "Psychologically this means an awful lot - we've ground out a result that we fully deserved - it wasn't just a case of us hanging on." Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas's late dismissal for a lunge on Tim Cahill typified the frustration that became more apparent among the Londoners as the game went on. And Stubbs added: "You know as players when things aren't going right for them. We see it, the managers do and so do the fans, and it gives us all a lift. "They have some of the best players in the world, but if you get stuck into them, no-one likes it, whatever the position. "No-one likes getting kicked or rushed or harried out of it. "It's a great boost when you see what you set out to do is working. "We weren't sure that (Sol) Campbell would be playing, so we knew we'd have a makeshift back four. We had to try and get in behind them because we'd seen what Wigan did to them. "If you put teams under pressure, whether it's Arsenal, Chelsea or Manchester United, you know they'll make mistakes."
More stomach for fight brings healthy return
Jan 23 2006 By Mark O'Brien, Daily Post
JAMES BEATTIE gave his man-of-the-match award to Leon Osman on Saturday, after revealing that the midfielder was suffering with illness and spent half-time on the toilet. That certainly never affected his performance on the pitch though, rather it was Arsene Wenger's illustrious Arsenal players who were ultimately caught short, so to speak. Since the Frenchman has been at the helm at Highbury, the Gunners have well and truly shaken off their old 'boring' tag and played some of the most aesthetically pleasing football ever witnessed in this or any other country. They are widely regarded as a team past their best though, and it was easy to see why at Goodison. On their day, and usually on their own patch, they can still destroy opponents with their pace, their quick passing and their clever movement. It's one thing to strut your stuff in front of your own adoring fans against a dreadful Middlesbrough though; quite another to come to Walton and try to do it when the crowd are going bananas, the ball is getting lashed in your face when you go to retrieve it from the Paddock, and David Moyes's men are back to their snarling best. Wenger, somewhat predictably, griped about the type of football that Everton played, but not every manager in the league has the money to attract the sort of footballers that he has in his squad. The rest, the ones who could only dream of paying £12million for a striker too young to drive, have to be a bit cannier and employ every trick in the book to get the best out of their more limited resources. If that means pushing right up on the Arsenal defence, packing the midfield and even sending on the one-man riot, Duncan Ferguson, for the last five minutes with explicit instructions to upset the visitors and disrupt their rhythm, then so be it. The performance of Philippe Senderos summed up the difference between the two sides. He's usually described as 'classy' or 'cultured', labels that should always make alarm bells ring when applied to central defenders. Given time to bring the ball out from the back he probably does look elegant; when asked to get stuck in and defend though he was found wanting. Even Osman had the beating of him in the air, and when James Beattie brushed past him en-route to scoring the game's only goal, the Swiss was left floundering more than the poor old bottle-nosed whale that swam up the Thames. At the other end of the pitch though, a rather more traditional English centre-half, Alan Stubbs, came back into the fold and excelled. Evertonians, many of whom were disappointed to say the least when news broke of the ex-club captain's return, were a mite concerned when the pacy Matteo Ferrari left the field, prompting a more immediate introduction for Stubbs than anyone had really expected. He has qualities, most notable his aerial ability and his leadership, but even at his prime he was never particularly quick. Therefore he himself probably wouldn't have chosen to make his first start back against the rather rapid Thierry Henry.
No-one need have feared though as Stubbs, who has very few first-team games under his belt this season, hardly put a foot wrong while Henry, one of the best players in the world, never even got a sniff of the goal that would have broken Cliff Bastin's Arsenal scoring record. In fact Nigel Martyn was only troubled twice, early in the first half, such was the performance from the whole Everton defence and the mid-field that worked so hard to prevent them being exposed. Tim Cahill was as instrumental in frustrating the Gunners as anyone, with his tackling, his covering and, if we're all honest, his ability to cause trouble in an empty house. When it comes to the dark arts of what his cricket-playing countrymen refer to as 'sledging', he could probably give the likes of Merv Hughes and Steve Waugh a run for their money. He must be one of the most irritating players to come up against, and if he wasn't wearing the blue shirt of Everton we would probably hold him in the same regard as Robbie Savage or Dennis Wise. Seeing as he is one of ours though, we'd probably prefer to his windingup of opponents as merely indicators of his commitment and intense will-to-win at all costs. He'll certainly be missed next week against Chelsea, a team who, unlike Arsenal, have definitely got the bottle and the brawn to back up their ability.
A performance to be proud of
Jan 23 2006
View From The Stands by Steve McQueen Everton supporter, Daily Post
WHO'D have thought it? After last week's 7-0 drubbing of Boro and Thierry Henry just one shy of breaking Cliff Bastin's goalscoring record, like every pundit across the land, I was anticipating the predictable humbling at the hands of the Gunners. However, not only did we grab a richly deserved victory, we reduced Henry to a series of fluffed flicks and ineffective forward forays as the French wizard caused more of headache to the referee than to Nigel Martyn's goal. Few could argue with the result. The entire team took a strangehold on proceedings from the off, with every move from the visitors suppressed into submission. Such was the dominance and commitment of our out-field players that Martyn - barring a fine save from Freddie Ljundberg - was more troubled by the midday sunshine than Arsenal's attacking potency. All the players were superb, but Hibbert, Osman and Beattie were extra special. Hibbert for his full-blooded no nonsense approach, Leon for giving us an extra sparkle in attack and Beattie for his bulldozering solo strike (we'll forgive him for his howler).
It was also more than satisfying to see Stubbsy slotting in like he'd never been away after Matteo Ferrari's wince-inducing slip forced the Italian off early into the game. The only black cloud was of course Tim Cahill's late booking which rules him out of Saturday's FA Cup tie against Chelsea. I firmly believe had it not been for Henry's whining and Cesc Fabregas' petulant swipe Tim would have escaped punishment. As it is we are now missing one of our key men. But who knows, after this weekend's display, we now know anything is possible.
Everton 1, Arsenal 0 (Echo)
Jan 23 2006 By Dominic King
SAT in a pub a good goal kick away from Goodison Park, one excited Evertonian stared intently at a fixture list, predicting results for the remainder of the season. "We'll win there, definitely beat them and beat them as well," he chunnered, in between sips of a celebratory pint. "We'll then go there, beat them, have no problems in that game, batter them and probably get a point there."
His enthusiasm was infectious. Soon, members of his circle were making similarly bold predictions. Three points here, another three points there. Within moments these elated fans had accrued enough points for Everton to become title challengers. The atmosphere cranked up a notch when the full-time results filtered through on the television above where they were sat. "It's a grand old team to play for," they bellowed. "It's a grand old team to support! And if you know you're history . . !" It was that kind of day. Yes, James Beattie's first half strike only provided Everton with the same number of points as they got at Sunderland on New Year's Eve, having been pulverised, and the same amount for disposing of Charlton Athletic and Portsmouth. But, for once this season, everyone leaving that famous old ground shared the same feeling. Elation. Not frustration, disappointment or anger. Just good, old fashioned jubilation. Chairman Bill Kenwright burst through the doors of one of the suites in the Main Stand looking like he wanted to get out onto the pitch. Smiles spread contagiously. Why? The answer was simple. This was Everton back to their best - chasing for lost causes, battling for scraps, refusing to accept second best - and Arsenal were over-whelmed by a side determined to notch a fourth straight Premiership win and completely change the focus of this incredible season. Cast your mind back three short weeks. David Moyes took his squad to Sunderland on the back of four consecutive defeats, having conceded 13 goals in the process. The merchants of doom were predicting nothing but misery. Some even mentioned relegation.
Now? Whisper it quietly, but a few long-suffering members of the Blue faith are rummaging around for their passports and looking what holiday time they will be owed in September and October. Why? Europe is back on the agenda. Predictions of a hopeless optimist? No. Glance at the table and the way Everton's players are performing shows that it is not beyond the realms of possibility they can haul themselves into the top six. On Saturday's evidence, there can only be one answer. Tougher in the tackle, smarter in possession and having bundles more heart and desire, Everton made a mockery of the 10 places that separated them and Arsenal. Is it any wonder Goodison Park bounced infinitely more than it has done all season when referee Alan Wiley brought a rumbustious clash to a halt with a deserved win. After so much frustration, let's enjoy this intoxicating high.
Sensibly, Moyes and Everton's playing staff will err on the side of caution. Given barely a month has passed since many were sweating about their place in the division, it would be foolish to shout from the rooftops about potential targets. If, however, Everton can carry on in such heart, the momentum is there to lift them comfortably into the top half. What's more, they have a chance to make ground in the next six weeks at the expense of those around them. Following next weekend's FA Cup clash with Chelsea, games with Wigan Athletic, Manchester City, Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United are on the agenda. Maintain the unbeaten run past St James' Park then there really will be everything to play for. What has been so encouraging about the best run of form since October 2002 - the last time Everton won four consecutive Premiership matches - is the way the players have hauled themselves back off the canvas. It would have been quite easy for them to crumble after the derby match. Devoid of confidence, out of sorts, unable to fashion chances, the suspicion was that Everton had become easy to play against. Opponents would score first, then coast to victory. Fast forward to this point in time and the transformation is remarkable. With a settled side and players bang in form, the next challenge can't come quick enough. Look at
Once Beattie had been dumped to the floor by Philippe Senderos with barely a minute on the clock, the tone had been set. It was clear from that point Senderos was going to be in for an uncomfortable afternoon. Feeding off his determination to bully Senderos and Sol Campbell out of their stride, the Gwladys Street urged Beattie - wonderfully supported by the little zephyr that was Leon Osman - forward at every opportunity. Beattie got his reward on 13 minutes when he muscled onto Tim Cahill's ball before beating Jens Leh-mann with a cool finish. Had he shown similar composure when seizing on Cesc Fabregas' loose pass, the scoreline would have had a more accurate look. His seventh goal of the campaign was sandwiched by the only two moments Arsenal threatened during the game. Nigel Martyn saved quite superbly from Freddie Ljungberg. Then was in the right place at the right time to deny Fabregas. From that point, it was all about Everton. While Arsenal tried to play the fast flowing football they are famed for, they found a gremlin in the shape of Phil Neville breaking up every attack. When they went for the aerial route, invariably the ball was drawn like a magnet to the heads of David Weir, Matteo Ferrari and then Alan Stubbs, who came on after 30 minutes and played as though he had never been away. On the flanks, the outstanding Tony Hibbert and Nuno Valente refused to give an inch. Cahill, Kevin Kilbane and Mikel Arteta ran themselves into the ground, while Duncan Ferguson completed the job as he frightened the life out of Campbell.
Being the gracious losers they are, Arsenal ensured that the game finished with an unsightly melee. Fabregas was sent off for shoving Cahill over, while the Australian picked up a yellow card which rules him out of the Chelsea game. That may have left a bitter taste but it certainly didn't spoil the day. Nothing could. Now they are top of page two on teletext, it surely won't be long before they're back in the top ten. And, if they get the results that the optimistic Evertonian predicted, who knows? Maybe thoughts of Europe won't be so fanciful after all.
EVERTON (4-4-1-1): Martyn; Hibbert, Ferrari (Stubbs 32), Weir, Nuno Valente; Osman, Neville, Arteta (Ferguson 86), Kilbane; Cahill; Beattie. Subs: Wright, Naysmith, McFadden.
BOOKINGS: Beattie, Nuno Valente, Hibbert, Cahill (all fouls).
ARSENAL (4-4-2): Lehmann; Gilbert (Hleb 73), Campbell, Senderos, Lauren; Ljungberg, Silva, Fabregas, Pires (Diaby 81); Henry, Reyes. Subs: Almunia, Flamini, Djourou.
BOOKINGS: Silva, Reyes (fouls).
SENDING-OFF: Fabregas (90).
REFEREE: Mr A Wiley
Jan 23 2006 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
MATCH-WINNER James Beattie has refused to set any bold targets despite scoring the goal that has hoisted Everton to within shooting distance of the top six. After a torrid start to the season, the Blues' form has picked up dramatically since the turn of the year and Saturday's 1-0 win over Arsenal means they have picked up maximum points in their last four games. Having spent most of their time casting anxious glances over their shoulders, Everton's players are now plotting to finish the season with a flourish and the prospect of snatching a European place is an outside possibility. Beattie, though, believes it is best to err on the side of caution for the time being as it only takes one bad result for things to go wrong. That is why he will continue to keep his feet on the ground. "It's another three points for us and we are very happy," said Beattie, whose goal against Arsenal was his seventh of the season. "That's it. We are on a good run and we will try and keep that run going as long as we can. "We are looking in the right direction and that's the main thing. If you had asked us six or seven weeks ago what we wanted to do, we would have said that we wanted to get on a good run. Everything is good. "We know what has gone on in the first half of the season. We are not going to get carried away and start ranting and raving about all sorts of stuff. It's just another win and it pushes us up the table. "Fitness is a weapon that I use and it's great to have it. We ground them down. We didn't give them a minute's peace from back to front and I thought everyone was tremendous. Ossie was fantastic. "He was sat on the toilet all through half-time and was as white as a sheet. He looked terrible. But I told him to keep smiling because he was having a great game and he came through it brilliantly." The one-time England international admitted, nevertheless, that he should have put a gloss on the scoreline but fluffed a golden opportunity shortly after putting Everton in front. "I was probably too confident for the second one. I should have gone around the keeper. It's sometimes easier to score when you haven't got time to think about it," Beattie suggested. "But to beat Arsenal at any time is fantastic. It's a tremendous win. We are on a good run, we are playing some great stuff. It's hard to pick out someone for man of the match after a performance like that." Manager David Moyes has given his squad a couple of days rest ahead of next weekend's FA Cup tie with Chelsea but continues to look for a new striker. Middlesbrough's Mark Viduka arriving on loan is a strong possibility.
Moyes thrilled with form of goal hero
Jan 23 2006 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES refused to get carried away and endorse James Beattie's claims for an England recall, following Saturday's match-winning display against Sol Campbell. But he admitted: "On today's form you could see why two years ago he was selected for England. "For me, I'm just happy for him and Everton to be doing much better. I think we shouldn't look any further or say anything stupid, but I'll be keeping his feet on the ground." Beattie scored a 13th minute match-winner and produced an all-round performance full of selfless running and chasing. And Blues' boss Moyes admitted he was thrilled with his current form. "I think when he came in he had a big tag to carry," said Moyes. "I thought we did well to get him because he was in big demand. Tottenham, Aston Villa . . . there was also talk of Newcastle, so we did great to get him here. "It didn't get off to a great start for him, but I always remember what Gordon Strachan said. He told me 'If you can get him super fit you will have some player on your hands at the end of it' and I think some of the things he did today - his continued running - I think you could see that. "Sometimes what it needs is a run of games. Match fitness is so important. "We could take him on the training ground now and he'll blow all the players away. He did that even on the first day he came. "But he probably needed the games and it takes time for people to appreciate what his strengths are - his application, his commitment and he has got a goal in him. He is a willing runner and worker and when we signed him that's what we thought we had. I think we are beginning to see it." Moyes admitted that he still has to give the striker an occasional gee-up, but added that the player always took the words in good heart. "I have to say he needs a rocket now and again," he added. "I have to keep his training high and his standards high, but on the field recently his performances have been really good. "I think he takes it in the right way. He realises it's for the right reasons and it's to keep improving him and he is beginning to carry the mantle here. "It's a big thing to be a centre-forward at Everton. A big reputation goes with that and you have to be able to carry that. Hopefully in the future he will be able to do that. "Yes, he would be better at times with people around him, but the intention today was for Ossy to be around him and I think he was. We felt it just meant him being the furthest forward of the two of them." Beattie missed an easier chance to score his second goal of the game, but the Blues boss was not unduly concerned afterwards. "The chance he had today I was hoping he would go around the goalkeeper, and he has missed one or two as well. But that's what strikers do," he explained. "Hopefully, he will be well into double figures by the end of the season. "I think he knows himself what his strengths are. He knows he's not suddenly going to become a terrific touch player, linking us up all the time - but he gets hold of the ball and he gets down the sides of people and he can be terrific in the air, as you've probably seen. "He has all those attributes and he just has to show them more often."
We weren't too physical - boss
Jan 23 2006 Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES defended his team against charges that they had bullied Arsenal into submission at Goodison.
Gunners' boss Arsene Wenger said afterwards: "I felt that it was difficult to play football. We couldn't get into our game. Credit Everton because they battled very hard and made a physical contest of it." But Moyes countered: "I didn't think we were that over-physical today, but we did get around Arsenal. "I would love to be able to say 'yes, we'll have a good pure football game, get the ball down and see who outdoes each other'. But, as we know,
we don't have that level and we have to try and bridge the gap between their ability and ours. "And our work, our spirit and competitiveness helped bridge that gap, and today I thought we deserved our victory." Moyes did agree with Wenger over how crucial the toss was as the Blues asked Arsenal to defend with a bright, low sun shining in their faces. "I have to say the sun played a really big part today. The toss was important," explained Moyes. "When we warmed up you couldn't see at all and we knew that if we got the ball over we could unsettle them because you just don't know where people are in the glare of the sun and sometimes you don't know where the ball is. "The sun played a part, in the first half, especially."
Signs bright Beattie can make mark
Jan 23 2006 Analysis by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
IT'S a big thing to be a centre forward at Everton," conceded David Moyes. For a man still to wear the famous number nine jersey, James Beattie is finally making a solid job of living up to his legendary lineage. After terrorising former England lynchpin Sol Campbell all afternoon - and claiming the goal which defeated Arsenal - Beattie then strode into the home dressing room and handed his man of the match champagne over to Leon Osman, a player he felt deserved the accolade more. Beattie's performance showed a huge improvement on earlier displays in his Everton career. His magnanimous gesture, however, showed a refreshing change of mind-set. And one which could help him step out of the shadows of the club's past. When the £6m striker first stepped into Goodison Park a year ago, he beamed: "Mr Kenwright said he would make me the next Dixie Dean!" An embarrassed Blues' chairman quickly back-tracked. "I think James was being a bit tongue-in-cheek when he said that," he retracted. And for several months Kenwright was glad he had. There were times when Beattie's performances were more reminiscent of the over-sized foam mascot called Dixie, who used to amble around Goodison, than the club's legendary marksman. His Blues' career was a roller coaster series of exhilarating ups, followed by sickening downs. No sooner had he opened his goalscoring account for the club, than he collected the first red card of his career. He kicked off the new season with a Champions League goal, then was promptly injured - and even when he celebrated his return with a match-winner against Middlesbrough, he cupped his hand to his ear and seemed to question the home supporters. There are still plenty of supporters on those stands old enough to know a good centre-forward when they see one. And on Saturday they witnessed a willing, ultimately match-winning display. Beattie's goal was a lesson in selfless running. Second best to both Campbell and Senderos in chasing Cahill's hopeful ball forward, his endeavour prompted a moment's indecision and turned a 40-60 ball into a genuine goalscoring opportunity - and he finished effectively. But, being Beattie, the good had to be followed by bad.
Cesc Fabregas' awful back pass 10 minutes later handed Beattie an even easier opportunity down at the Gwladys Street End. But, as he has done on at least three other occasions this season in front of the home supporters, he tried to score with an extravagant flourish, rather than taking a touch, skirting round the goalkeeper and knocking in a scruffy second. The ball arced agonisingly wide.
Men like Dean, Lawton, Hickson, Young, Royle, Latchford, Sharp and Gray all knew the value of a goal, regardless of what it looked like. But perhaps we shouldn't be too harsh. Every one of those goalscoring legends enjoyed infinitely better service than Beattie. But he continued to toil selflessly throughout an unexpectedly successful afternoon for the Blues. Winning the toss, it transpired, was almost as important as in a cricket match. The early kick-off meant a low, dazzling sun shining directly into the Gwladys Street - and David Weir ensured that the Gunners' back four spent the opening 45 minutes staring directly up into it. As ungracious in defeat as always, Arsene Wenger pointed that fact out afterwards, then tried to claim Everton had bullied his team out of the match.
The statistics hardly bore that out. Everton conceded 19 fouls to Arsenal's 17 - and only collected more yellow cards because of referee Alan Wiley's appalling inconsistency. If Beattie deserved a yellow card for his first foul of the match on the stroke of half time, it was impossible to see how Lauren had escaped similar censure for a dreadful lunge on Valente. But the official's performance was only a minor blemish on an excellent afternoon for the Blues. They totted up four successive Premiership victories, beat Arsenal for the first time in nearly four years, and found a centre forward who believes he can follow in the footsteps of the club's illustrious predecessors. For now, however, Blues fans would settle for a more modest target. Strikers capable of reaching double figures for league goals have been in shamefully short supply at Goodison in the past six years. Beattie's match-winner on Saturday was his sixth of the season. If he can double that haul between now and the end of the season it will be a sign that both Beattie and Everton are on the road to a brighter future.
Osman's delight at improved fortunes
Jan 24 2006 By David Prior, Daily Post
LEON OSMAN is delighted to have fought his way back into the Everton starting line-up - even if he is having to perform an unusual role. The 24-year-old midfielder's return to the side has coincided with the Goodison side's recent revival, which now amounts to four straight Premiership wins.
He was one of the outstanding performers in Saturday's victory over Arsenal, and was unofficially declared man of the match by Sky's original recipient James Beattie. It all represents a considerable upturn in fortunes for the former academy starlet, who featured heavily in last season's Champions League qualification charge but saw his opportunities limited for the first half of this campaign.
Now, however, Osman is hoping he can continue to convince David Moyes he deserves a place in the team. He said: "I found myself out of the team for a while before Christmas and had to dig deep with my effort in training and I have now managed to get myself back into the side with every intention of staying there. "My confidence, as well as the team's, is now growing after the run we have had. I have scored a couple of goals and we have now gone six without a defeat. "That's our best of the season and it sends us into a game as big as against Chelsea next weekend in the FA Cup with plenty of confidence, particularly after the performance against Arsenal. "It's a great thing when you can say you are unbeaten for a stretch of games, particularly after the season we have had. Osman has seen himself asked to play in an unfamiliar, more attacking role - but he is happy to accept it. He said: "We are short of strikers at the moment and that means myself and Tim Cahill are expected to get forward a lot more. It's something we have to handle as a team at the moment.
"We all have to chip in with goals from all over the pitch because of the shortage of strikers we have. It makes it even more important for me and Tim to get forward, but that's something we like to do anyway. "I am happy to continue to do that. I will play wherever I am told to prove I am good enough to be in this side, I have to keep doing that all the time. But I must admit I have only previously played as a striker a couple of times in my life, once or twice!" He added: "The manager has been saying that I have not reached my full potential yet and I accept that. "I certainly didn't get to that level in the first half of the season but hopefully now with a run in the team I can show what I am capable of. "Central midfield is my favourite position, but I am happy to give it a go anywhere on the pitch." Moyes is delighted his side seem to have turned the corner and put relegation talk firmly in the background. He said: "There are several players now coming into their real form and beginning to show what they showed last season. Nobody can put a value on confidence and self belief and they are beginning to show a lot more of that now. "Leon underlines that. James (Beattie) came back into the dressing room having got man of the match and handed it straight to Ossie, he said that in front of the lads and that shows something about the person and what we have here behind the scenes at Everton. "It was a great gesture."
Yobo captains Nigeria to opening win
Jan 24 2006
NIGERIA profited from a momentary lapse in concentration from Ghana as they edged to a 1-0 victory in their opener. A goalless draw looked the likely out-come until Marseille defender Taye Taiwo struck in the 84th minute with a low long-range drive following a quickly-taken free-kick which caught the Ghanaian defence napping. Nigeria were captained by Everton defender Joseph Yobo. But both sides were without arguably their most influential players, with Bolton's Nigerian Jay-Jay Okocha and Chelsea's Ghanaian Michael Essien not involved due to injury. Meanwhile later in the evening Wigan striker Henri Camara struck in the second half as subdued Senegal began their African Nations Cup campaign with victory over Zimbabwe. The former Wolves frontman netted the first in a 2-0 Group D win over a Zimbabwe side who had a great chance to level at 1-0, only for new Portsmouth signing Mwaruwari Benjani to blunder from close range. Substitute Issa Ba converted from close range, after good work from £3million man Camara, to make the game safe for a team strongly fancied to do well in the tournament. The first half saw Senegal control possession, with Camara and El-Hadji Diouf asking questions of the Zimbabwe defence, but their finishing was haphazard. Camara had a goal ruled out for a hand-ball offence before the break, but they needed to improve in the second half and did so. The opener came after 59 minutes as Camara took Barry's pass in his stride, rounding goalkeeper Muzadzi and slotting into an unguarded net. With 10 minutes left, good work by Camara set up Ba's clincher.
Tactics spot on
Jan 24 2006 Post Soapbox, icLiverpool & Daily Post
Tactics spot on
I THOUGHT the whole Everton team was superb against Arsenal. Nothing beats defeating a brilliant side with pure determination, spirit and fight. Special credit should go to David Moyes. He has taken some flak, some merited and some not so, but he got the team and tactics spot on and we deserved the three points.
Gavin Griffiths (via e-mail)
JAMES Beattie looks really fit at the moment and is doing well. I thought the whole team mucked in for each other and played for the shirt. Leon Osman was outstanding again and I thought Nuno Valente looks as if he is settling in, too. Everton are starting to look like the team they were last year and, who knows, Europe could still be within our reach.
Richard Instone (via e-mail)
WELL, I watched it but still don't believe it. Much as the points are welcome, nothing has really changed. We are still in dire need of a massive cash injection.
Brian Bowyer (via e-mail)
SUPERB tactics by Moyes, a great performance from the team and suddenly things are looking up again. A special mention must go to Osman, who has a magnetic foot where controlling the ball is concerned. Blackburn is a massive game in two weeks and if we can win that, who knows where we can finish. Also, isn't it great to silence the once vocal minority of moaners. We are all pulling in the right direction again.
Barry Woolrich, Liverpool
I HAD my doubts about Alan Stubbs coming back, but he slotted in brilliantly against Arsenal. If Matteo Ferrari isn't fit for Saturday, I wonder who will play centre back with Stubbs being cup-tied.
Sean Thornton, Wirral
LET'S not get carried away. I'm delighted we beat Arsenal as much as everyone else, but Moyes really needs to bring a striker and a central midfielder in this week. Our defence is sorted; the back four look more confident, especially Tony Hibbert.
Danny Nation, Wirral
Bridging the gulf
UNLESS Everton are taken over by a rich benefactor we will not bridge the gulf between the top three and the rest.
John Jenkins (via e-mail)
Ferrari doubtful for Chelsea Cup clash
Jan 24 2006
By David Prior, Daily Post
MATTEO FERRARI is a major doubt for Everton's FA Cup fourth-round tie at home to Chelsea on Saturday - but the defender's ham-string is "not seriously damaged". The on-loan Roma player limped out of Saturday's 1-0 win over Arsenal to be replaced by returning hero Alan Stubbs.
A scan has confirmed that the Italian's hamstring is not seriously damaged after the player picked up the injury getting his studs caught in the turf. Head physio Mick Rathbone said: "Matteo had a scan on his ham-string and it confirmed our initial assessment of the injury, that there is no significant muscle damage but he has obviously over-stretched and jarred the area. "It is an unusual type of injury and we will have to see how it settles down in the next few days." If 26-year-old Ferrari does not recover in time to face Chelsea, Everton will have a worrying availability crisis. Against the Gunners Tim Cahill picked up his fifth booking of the season and is now suspended for the Chelsea game, while Stubbs is cup-tied. With Joseph Yobo playing for Nigeria in the African Nations Cup, Everton could be left with just David Weir as their only fully fit central defender.
Newcastle Res 2, Everton Res 2
Jan 24 2006 Daily Post
GARY NAYSMITH continued his road to full fitness as Everton Reserves drew 2-2 with Newcastle United in the Barclays Premiership Reserve League North at Kingston Park last night. However it wasn't a very enjoyable night for Li Tie as he left the play after just a quarter of an hour with an injury. The Chinese international limped off following a challenge by United's Chris Farman minutes earlier but the change failed to put Everton off their stride. Everton were already on top at that stage with efforts from Victor Anichebe and Laurence Wilson going close. Anichebe was not to be denied the second time. Found by Naysmith, the striker poked home his shot from the angle to give the visitors the lead on 21 minutes. Anichebe was causing the Newcastle defenders all sorts of problems and went close again six minutes later, this time he dragged his shot wide. The rampant Anichebe got his and Everton's second on 38 minutes. The youngster, who appeared on the first-team bench for the first time against Millwall, was put through by substitute John-Paul Kissock and finished in a flash. Everton's joy was short-lived, within a minute the home side had pulled a goal back when Matty Pattison fired a tremendous shot past Iain Turner to make it 2-1. Anichebe should have won a penalty just before the break when brought down by Edgar but the referee waved the appeals away. Everton began the second half just as they did the first, taking the initiative, and should have scored a third on 68 minutes when Seargeant's corner was headed goalwards by Bjarni Vidarsson only for Craig Baxter to clear off the line. Anichebe and Wilson both had chances as the game drew to a close but Everton were to be hit by the sucker punch with just a minute on the clock.
Daryl Smylie's shot wasn't held convincingly by Turner and Carl Finnigan forced over the loose ball to earn an unlikely draw for Newcastle United.
NEWCASTLE UNITED RESERVES: Harper, Baxter, Farman, Shanks, Edgar, Gate, Atkin (Troisi 64), Smylie, Finnigan, Pattison, Terrell (Deverdics 45). Subs: Forster, Cavener, Cave
EVERTON RESERVES: Turner, Wynne, Naysmith, Boyle, Hughes, Harris, Seargeant, Li Tie (Kissock 14), Anichebe, Vidarsson, Wilson. Subs: S Wright, Ruddy, Holt, Phelan.
Everton sweat on Ferrari cup recovery
Jan 24 2006 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES is keeping his fingers crossed that Matteo Ferrari can win his FA Cup fitness battle after his successful emergence from the shadows. The Everton defender hobbled out of Saturday's 1-0 win over Arsenal with a hamstring problem but scans yesterday showed the damage was not serious. But given that he has over-stretched the muscle and jarred the surrounding area, it is touch and go whether the Italian international will get the green light to face Chelsea this weekend. With Joseph Yobo away on international duty and Alan Stubbs cup-tied, Moyes would be left with David Weir as his only fit central defender if Ferrari remains hamstrung. It is a headache the Everton manager could do without, particularly as Ferrari has shown on his return from an ankle injury that he has adjusted well to the demands of English football. "Sometimes it has taken him five or ten minutes to get up to the speed of a game and I have noticed that but once he does that, he's fine," said Moyes. "Every game for him is a new experience. The few games he has played for us recently, he has got better with every one. But he needs to keep those standards up and hopefully, if his injury isn't too bad, he will get a run of games and we'll see how he does. "We've got the option to buy him if we want to do so. I think he's enjoying it here. It's difficult for all players to settle and do it right away. "You have to remember that we got Matteo in after Per, so he hadn't done any pre-season with us. It's only fair that he gets the opportunity to show what he can do." Ferrari's resurgence has coincided with the return to form of several other key players and Moyes now wants to see Everton continue in a similar vein during the second half of the season. Yobo, meanwhile, captained the Nigeria team that began its African Nations campaign with a 1-0 win over Ghana last night.
It felt so good to be back playing for the Toffees
Jan 24 2006 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
IF ALAN STUBBS had any worries about how his return to Goodison Park would be viewed, the lusty reception that greeted his arrival on the pitch quickly put his mind at rest. While there are still some supporters who harbour misgivings about David Moyes' decision to sign the defender, Stubbs could not have done any more against Arsenal to win over the doubters. There are few more demanding examinations in football than trying to shackle Thierry Henry, but along with his old sidekick David Weir, Stubbs barely put a foot wrong. Time on the pitch may have been at a premium during his short stint with Sunderland, however the 34-year-old showed no signs of rustiness, winning every header and fighting like a lion in the tackle. Carry on in a similar vein and there is no question that Stubbs will have a significant contribution to make before the end of the campaign. He, understandably, is taking things slowly. After all, barely 24 hours passed between the moment Stubbs signed his deal and when he was summoned off the bench to replace Matteo Ferrari.
But having had the chance to pull on a Royal Blue shirt again and play in front of a crowd he idolises, Stubbs admits he is breathing easier after leaving under a cloud last summer. "It was far from what I was expecting," reflected Stubbs. "When I saw Matteo go down and the manner in which he did, I thought there might be a chance of getting on. "It proved to be that way. But it couldn't have gone any better. It went exactly the way I would have liked it to go if I'd been playing from the start. "My affection for the fans is the same as theirs is for me. I've said it all along. This is the team I supported as a boy and it's just fantastic. "It was unfortunate I left in the summer but, as they say, hindsight is a wonderful thing. The most important thing now is I'm back here and playing again at a club where I always wanted to play." Stubbs will be cup tied when Everton take on Chelsea this weekend and he is understandably frustrated that he will not have the chance to have a crack at the champions.
No wonder. Riding high after four consecutive Premiership wins and playing with belief, it is clear to see that Everton's players can't wait for their next assignment. It would, of course, be wrong to get carried away, as things can quickly unravel. But, as Stubbs argues, beating Arsenal sends out a bold statement. Now it is a case of onwards and upwards. "It was a great result," he said. "Judging by the way everyone was in the dressing room, it has really provided a boost. Everyone is cock-a-hoop about the result. There is a great belief among us. "We knew that we had to get about Arsenal, ruffle a few feathers and disturb them. We never gave them a minute's peace. "Beats worked his socks off and Leon Osman was fantastic. I've singled out a couple of players there but really everyone did their job. We limited Arsenal to very few opportunities. "We were up against the best football team in the country but we grounded out the result. It was fully deserved. You could see what it meant to everyone. The fans were fantastic. "It's a result that pushes us in the direction we want to be going. "Confidence is sky high and we are looking forward to every game. A month or two ago, we were looking over our shoulders but now it's a case of bring on the next one."
Li Tie limps off as late strike denies Everton
Jan 24 2006 Liverpool Echo
A LAST minute equaliser from Newcastle's Carl Finnigan denied Everton Reserves victory at Kingston Park last night. It was a disappointing night for the Blues' Chinese international Li Tie, who limped off after just 15 minutes following a challenge by United's Chris Farman. The Blues, who also had defender Gary Naysmith in action, were on top early on with Victor Anichebe and Laurence Wilson going close. The deadlock was broken on 21 minutes when Nay-smith found Anichebe who poked the ball home. Anichebe was causing the home defenders all sorts of problems and he doubled his account on 38 minutes. The youngster was put through by sub John Paul Kissock and finished with aplomb. Everton's joy was short lived, however, as within a minute the home side had pulled a goal back when Matty Pattison fired past Iain Turner. Everton began the second half brightly and should have scored a third on 68 minutes. Bjarni Vidarsson nodded goalwards only for Craig Baxter to clear off the line. Anichebe and Wilson both went close before Everton were hit by a sucker-punch with just a minute to go. Daryl Smylie's shot wasn't held by Turner and Finnigan netted.
EVERTON RES: Turner, Wynne, Naysmith, Boyle, Hughes, Harris, Seargeant, Li Tie (Kissock 14), Anichebe, Vidarsson, Wilson. Not used: S Wright, Ruddy, Holt, Phelan.
Williams and Handley see off Bristol
Jan 24 2006 Women's Football by Paul Garrity, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON LADIES continued their winning start to 2006 as they beat Bristol Academy 2-0, thanks to goals from Fara Williams and Jody Handley. The game panned out as expected with the Academy pressing hard and attempting to stifle the Blues' passing game. The away side held out until five minutes before half-time, when Williams got the opener. Channy Parry lofted the ball into the box and Williams beat Bristol keeper Siobhan Chamberlain to the ball and headed home. Midway through the second period Everton were then given a scare as Bristol went close with shots from Katie Holtham, Kate Ward and Grainne Kierins. Handley's hard work paid off later in the game though as she doubled Everton's lead, after she blasted the ball past Chamberlain following a great through-ball by Kelly McDougall. The Toffees are currently third in the National Division, three points behind leaders Arsenal and still have to play the Gunners later in the season. Tranmere were also in league action and rose to third in the Northern Division following their 5-0 defeat of Middlesbrough at Poulton Victoria FC. Young striker Vicky Abbott impressed again, as she scored another hat-trick. Debbie Cartmel and Lindsey Smith were also on target for Shirley Waring's side, before Abbott struck two late goals to complete her treble. Meanwhile, Liverpool had a convincing 22-0 win over Southport in the Liverpool County Cup. Star of the win was Jade Thomas, as she terrorised the Southport defence, smashing eight into the net. Striker Louise Hastie grabbed five and midfielder Gill Hart put three away. Lisa Sandys, Jo Edwards and Kelly Davies bagged two each.
The FA Cup takes centre stage this weekend with Everton Ladies facing an away trip to play Leeds United (Garforth Town FC). Liverpool also have an away cup tie as they play Barnet while Tranmere travel to Lincoln City in the league.
Let's maintain the Arsenal form - Weir
Jan 25 2006 By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
DAVID WEIR believes Everton's defeat of Arsenal has set the benchmark for the remainder of their season. The weekend triumph over the Gunners was the fourth successive Premiership victory for the Goodison side, who are now 10 points clear of the relegation zone. And with runaway leaders Chelsea next to visit on Saturday in an FA Cup fourth round tie, club captain Weir has urged his team-mates to continue the excellent form that has seen them unbeaten in six games since the Merseyside derby. "That is the kind of performance we need every week," said Weir of the 1-0 win over Arsenal. "If we can play like that every week then we will be challenging at the right end of the table. "Any win is a good win but when you play against a team like Arsenal you know it is a special day. "We were up and at 'em, we put them under the cosh and Beats (James Beattie) got a great goal to show his strength and power. "We were ahead then early in the game and wanted to hold what we had but we still created a few more chances and overall we played really well. "It is a massive result. Time will tell how big a result it is but all you can is beat the team you are playing and we beat a very good team last weekend so we should be proud of it." However, Weir may be the only senior centre-back available to Everton manager David Moyes for Saturday's clash with Chelsea.
Matteo Ferrari is still struggling with the hamstring strain that curtailed his involvement against Arsenal at the weekend while new signing Alan Stubbs is cup tied, Joseph Yobo is away on African Nations Cup duty and Per Kroldrup has now departed. Meanwhile, Li Tie's injury misery has continued with the Chinese international suffering an ankle injury after just 14 minutes of Monday night's reserve draw against Newcastle United. Head physio Mick Rathbone said: "He has jarred his ankle quite badly and we are currently assessing him." * EVERTON'S Liverpool Senior Cup second round tie with Tranmere Rovers, which was due to be played next Monday, has been postponed. No new date has yet been set for the tie, which will be played at the Halton Stadium in Widnes.
Neville keen on Goodison fortress
Jan 25 2006 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
PHIL NEVILLE believes Everton will haul themselves into the scramble for a European place if they maintain their excellent recent home form. Despite a wretched first half of the season, Everton are only eight points behind fifth-placed Arsenal following four consecutive Premiership wins and more than half of the games they have to play before May 7 are at home. Provided Everton can continue in a similar fashion, Neville sees no reason why they can't make real strides between now and the end of the season, particularly as the Blues have become so difficult to beat. "There is a lot to do and we are still cautious but hopefully we can be a lot more consistent," said Neville. "We are looking at the programme now and looking at the fixtures we have got at home. "If we play anything like the standards that we set last season, then we are going to be a top half of the table team, maybe pushing for sixth or seventh place. "If we don't and we play like we did in the first half of the season, we'll be in a dog fight. "The key now is to make Goodison a real fortress. It started with Millwall and continued against Arsenal. "We need to keep this run going and carry on this consistent form. "We are beginning not to concede goals at the moment. Sometimes you think to yourself 'don't say anything' because it can sometimes tempt fate. But we are a lot more solid and we are creating chances as well. "I think maybe 60 per cent of our games are at home now until the end of the season and looking at it on paper, there are games that we should be winning. "If we reach the standards we know we can, we won't have a problem." Meanwhile, Moyes welcomed his squad back to training today following a two-day break and started preparing for Saturday's FA Cup fourth round clash with Chelsea, but he is unlikely to have a new striker in by then. Another headache for Moyes concerns Matteo Ferrari, who will be given every chance to recover from the hamstring injury that forced him off against Arsenal. The manager is making contingency plans if Ferrari doesn't pull through.
New recruits needed to achieve European target
Jan 25 2006 Echo Letters, icLiverpool & Liverpool Echo
SATURDAY was great and to be fair to David Moyes we have had a few classic days since he has been here. Man United in April, the Carsley derby, the Rooney Arsenal game in 2002 and the fourth-place clincher against Newcastle last May. I just hope now that we push on, sign a couple of play-ers and really go for sixth place. Although after the start we had, I would take a top half finish and a few more famous wins.
George Jones, Merseyside
I'M OVER the moon about Saturday's result but the problems haven't gone away. I agree that we shouldn't panic buy but we still urgently need another striker. Are our youngsters like Anichebe or Viddarson ready to be given a go?
John Franklin, Walton
I SEE that Rangers have put a £1m tag on Lovenkrands. Surely that is not too much for us to pay. After all he's only 25 and is a Dutch international.
Simon Martin, Everton
WE ARE doing really well at the moment and hopefully we make the UEFA Cup. But to achieve that and do well in it we have to buy a quality striker to play alongside Beattie. We also need a defender who can join the backline alongside Yobo, Ferrari and Valente. To do that the board might have to spend £10m but it will be worth it.
Andy Higgins, Merseyside
LAST season James Beattie was first choice regardless of his performance because he cost so much.
The difference now is that he is working hard for his team-mates and I think they appreciate him for it.
Jon Hodges, Toxteth
THE Blues set out their stall and stuck to it against Arsenal. Every player gave their all but just because we are praising the boys it doesn't mean we believe that everything is rosy again. We still need a striker and a defender before the end of the month. As for those who think we should have got rid of Big Dunc, did you see the crowd when he came on? We love him and wouldn't swop him for anything. After all the guy is on minimal wages and we wouldn't get any money if we sold him. He still has a lot to offer this season.
Peter Downey, Runcorn
Davies in return as Ferrari struggles
Jan 26 2006
By Ian Doyle Daily Post Staff
SIMON DAVIES has handed David Moyes an FA Cup boost by recovering from an ankle injury - but the Everton manager continues to sweat over Matteo Ferrari's fitness. The Wales international will be available for the fourth round clash at home to Chelsea on Saturday having missed the last two games. Davies aggravated an ankle injury during the warm-up for the FA Cup third round replay against Millwall earlier this month. And with Tim Cahill suspended, the 26-year-old could go straight back into an Everton side that has been buoyed by five wins in their last six games. Head physio Mick Rathbone confirmed: "I am expecting Simon to be back for the weekend." Davies originally suffered the damage during the Merseyside derby in December following an accidental collision with teammate Phil Neville. And Neville may yet be pressed into an emergency centre-back role on Saturday against Chelsea as Ferrari is rated as only 50-50 to be available. The Italian defender injured his hamstring during the win over Arsenal at the weekend, with Everton manager Moyes prepared to give the on-loan defender every chance to recover. However, with David Weir the only other senior centre-back available for the FA Cup encounter, Moyes will be forced to improvise with his resources should Ferrari be sidelined.
* SPANISH La Liga outfit Malaga yesterday confirmed they will keep Everton's Brazilian midfielder Anderson da Silva on loan until the end of the season.
Bent offers cup pointer to old team-mates
Jan 26 2006 Daily Post
MARCUS BENT has told his former Everton team-mates they "have to get into Chelsea's faces" to knock them out of the FA Cup. Few outside Merseyside give Everton much of a chance against the champions in Saturday's fourth round showdown at Goodison Park. Bent, who left Everton to join Charlton for £2.5million earlier this month and then scored the equaliser at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea on his debut, will be hoping Everton can also produce a shock result. That dream goal gave Charlton a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge and ruined Chelsea's 100% home record. Now Bent, who was delighted his former club stunned Arsenal with an all-action aggressive display last weekend, said: "Maybe our result will inspire Everton. David Moyes has got them on a great run. They get in the opposition's faces, it's at Goodison, they'll have the fans behind them and the boys will be up for it. "And you have to be in Chelsea's faces to get a result. "The more you do that, the more mistakes they are going to make."
Martyn is here to stay - Moyes
Jan 26 2006 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
NIGEL MARTYN'S super form is likely to maintain his position as Everton's top keeper - into next season and beyond. Boss David Moyes today hailed the influence Martyn has had behind his side's recent resurgence - and hinted he could celebrate his 40th birthday as No. 1 at Goodison Park next season. Moyes is in no rush to start discussing terms on a new deal with the former England keeper, but he has been impressed with Martyn's form since he returned from a groin injury at Christmas.
Keeper Martyn still the tops
Jan 26 2006 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID Moyes today hailed the influence Nigel Martyn has had behind Everton's recent resurgence - then hinted he could celebrate his 40th birthday at Goodison Park next season. While Moyes is in no rush to start discussing terms on a new deal with the former England keeper, he has been impressed with Martyn's form since he returned from a groin injury at Christmas. Though Richard Wright has done little wrong during the games he has been called in to deputise, the Everton manager has always made it clear that Martyn, 39, is his first choice. Martyn should make his 99th appearance for the Blues against Chelsea on Saturday, and if he continues to hit the heights, his spell on Merseyside may well enter a fourth season. "I think the thing about Nigel since he has been here has been his consistency and reliability," said Moyes, of the man he signed from Leeds United in September 2003.
"In the main, you can count the amount of mistakes he has made on one hand. "That's what we need. But not only that, you see him pull off the type of save he made against Arsenal. "He had very little to do but at that point in the game it was a crucial save from Freddie Ljungberg. That's why we value him so highly. "I'm sure he wants to stay on but it is a bit too early for us to make any decisions yet. With respect to the older players, we need them to nearly see a full season out before we do that."
Moyes gears up for Chelsea cup tie
Jan 26 2006 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has cranked up the preparations for the glamour fourth round FA Cup tie against Chelsea and is delighted with the way his players have responded. The Blues are unbeaten in six games and Moyes has taken heart from the fact that a number of his squad have come back to their best in recent weeks, eagerly looking for the next challenge. Chelsea will, of course, offer the toughest test that Everton have faced since their run began at Sunderland on New Year's Eve, but the manager feels the Blues are ready for action. "I'm pleased the players have done well," Moyes added. "They look as though they are enjoying themselves. "They have started to do much better all over the park. "For me, the big thing is that so many of them are starting to flourish. They are coming into the kind of form we know they are capable of. We've been looking for that all season. "As the manager, it is great to see. They are beginning to grow again and take the mantle on.
"We know that we are far from the finished article but there is something to be positive about. "Hopefully, we can continue that."
* Tickets are still available for Saturday's game. Junior prices start from £17 and adult prices from £28. The fixture is an all ticket game. Tickets are only available until 1.00pm on Saturday at the Box Office. You can also visit evertonfc.com for further ticket details and for the opening times.
Neville: We can qualify for Europe
Jan 26 2006 By Ian Doyle Daily Post Staff
PHIL NEVILLE believes Everton can still qualify for Europe if they make the most of home advantage, with eight of their remaining 15 Premiership games this season to be played at Goodison. Their fine recent forms means Everton are now only eight points behind fifth-placed Arsenal and a UEFA Cup spot, and Neville insists Moyes's men can reap the rewards if they maintain their newfound consistency. "There is a lot to do and we are still cautious but hopefully we can be a lot more consistent," said Neville.. "We are looking at the programme now and looking at the fixtures we have got at home. "If we play anything like the standards that we set last season, then we are going to be a top half of the table team, maybe pushing for sixth or seventh place. "If we don't and we play like we did in the first half of the season, we'll be in a dogfight. "The key now is to make Goodison a real fortress. We need to carry on this consistent form. "I think maybe 60% of our games are at home now until the end of the season and looking at it on paper, there are games that we should be winning." Andy van der Meyde remains some weeks away from a return as he continue his rehabilitation from a serious thigh strain.
Clubs help spread the warning of Holocaust
Jan 26 2006 By Ian Hernon, Liverpool Echo
LIVERPOOL'S football clubs are teaching a new generation about the horrors of the Nazi death camps. The tribute on National Holocaust Day came from Riverside MP Louise Ellman, a trustee of the organisation which persuaded Tony Blair to commemerate the millions murdered before and during World War II. She said: "The clubs in Liverpool and across Merseyside have been superb in their support. They understand that young fans must know what happened so that those horrors can never be repeated." A message to that effect from Mrs Ellman was printed in the programme for last weekend's Everton match. A similar article will be given to thousands of fans at next week's Liverpool-Birmingham game. She said: "One of the most wonderful aspects of the beautiful game is is that wherever you are in the world, you will see children of all races, nationalities and religions playing and watching football together. "That is reflected in the premier league where football heroes have come from so many diverse nationalities. "Considerable efforts have been made here in Liverpool and elsewhere to stamp out racism, but more still needs to be done. "FA surveys consistently show that a huge majority of black and Asian football supporters fear racial abuse."
Representatives from all faiths will attend a service at St John's Gardens to mark the national Holocaust Remembrance Day tomorrow. They will be joined by mayors from all the Merseyside authorities and schoolchildren from across the region. Musicians from King David High School will play at the half-hour service, which will conclude with wreath laying and candles being lit. Cllr Alan Dean, Liverpool's Lord Mayor, said: "It will be a very poignant and moving ceremony which will give us the opportunity to promote understanding and awaremess about the holocaust." After the service, guests will move to St Georges Hall where Cllr Dean will recite the Seven Statements of Commitment, guaranteeing the Holocaust will always be remembered. The St John's Gardens service will begin at noon, meaning all the events will be concluded in time for the start of the Jewish Sabbath at 3pm.
Beattie's warning ahead of cup date
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Jan 27 2006
CHELSEA have been warned they will be facing the real James Beattie at Goodison tomorrow.
Everton entertain the Premiership lead-ers in the FA Cup fourth round clash on the back of a run that has seen them win five of their last six games. Central to that improvement has been the form of striker Beattie, who netted the winner in last week-end's 1-0 home win over Arsenal. Tomorrow's encounter will be the third time Chelsea have visited Goodison in the past 12 months, with Beattie experiencing mixed fortunes in the fixture. He was sent off last February after head-butting William Gallas and, despite netting a penalty in the 1-1 draw in October, was still struggling for fitness after suffering toe and calf problems. However, now completely free of injury and having scored in four of his last six home games, Beattie believes he can contribute even more to his game and has called on his team-mates to repeat the high-pressure performance that saw off Arsenal. "My fitness is now a weapon I use and it is great to have it," said the striker. "It is a big part of my game. "The crowd here are tremendous and if they see you giving 100% they will settle for that. "Everyone gives 100% but then there are special players within the team that are very talented. The mixture of the two is a great formula to have and that has been helping us to perform in the Premiership." He added: "I will be expecting to play Chelsea. They are the champions and I know they are an absolutely fantastic side. We will be up against it again. It's another easy one after Arsenal. "But we will be stood there in front of them, 11 versus 11, and that will be it. We ground Arsenal down, we didn't give them a minutes' peace and everyone was brilliant." Beattie had irked Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho after the Goodison draw earlier this season with his comments on how best to compete against the Stamford Bridge outfit. "He (Mourinho) did bite on it," said Beattie. "But I just said what our gameplan was. I don't expect a hard time. I don't think they will try and single me out." Moyes remains hopeful Matteo Ferrari can overcome a hamstring strain to retain his place at centre-back alongside David Weir tomorrow. The Everton manager, meanwhile, has hinted Nigel Martyn may still be the club's first-choice goalkeeper beyond his 40th birthday. Martyn, signed from Leeds United in September 2003, has been in excellent form again this season. And although no contract talks are as yet planned, Moyes has been impressed by the form that has seen the 39-year-old keep four clean sheets in his last five games. "I think the thing about Nigel since he has been here has been his consistency and reliability," said Moyes. "In the main, you can count the amount of mistakes he has made on one hand. That's what we need. "I'm sure he wants to stay on but it is a bit too early for us to make any decisions yet. With respect to the older players, we need them to nearly see a full season out before we do that."
* EVERTON'S home reserve match against Manchester United at Haig Avenue will now be played on Tuesday, February 21 (kick-off 7pm).
Well done James
Post Soapbox, icLiverpool & Daily Post
Jan 27 2006
Well done James
I JUST want to congratulate James Beattie on being a transformed forward this season. He has scored seven goals and is working his socks off every game now. Moyes seems to be getting the best from him. I would be happy if he got 10 or 12 goals, when considering he missed all of September with injury. Just a pity there isn't a striker next to him who could get 12 goals as well.
Larry Steel (via e-mail)
Give Victor a go
IT LOOKS doubtful Everton will get a striker in before next week. I'm disappointed the management didn't already identify the players we needed long before the window opened. Maybe we will see the breakthrough of Victor Anichebe and a few other reserves. Anichebe looks powerfully built and may cope well with the demands of the Premier-ship. We are going to need as many options and alternatives as possible for the remainder of the season.
Ben Stevens, Merseyside
I THOUGHT Moyes would have learned from past mistakes and brought in some new faces. This is a major gamble because if Beattie gets injured we will be in trouble.
K Sharp (via e-mail)
I THINK Moyes is finally getting it. Osman is making a huge difference these last few games, even when he was sick last week. The players know how much he contributed to the game with Beattie handing the man of the match award to him. With money tight and the right striker not available, let's give these younger players a least some bench time on Saturday and maybe a run out every now and then.
John Leese, Skelmersdale
WHAT is there to be positive about? We can all see what some of the problems at Everton are, eg lack of a fast attacker and some too slow defenders. I am pessimistic because nothing appears to be done to recify what are glaringly obvious defects. How long is this situation going to go on? I haven't seen enough of players (Trundle, Nugent) to know if they are good enough but people who have say Trundle is too slow but would die for EFC, while Nugent could make it. I do not believe that there is not someone faster than what we have got in the lower divisions. Someone needs to be decisive.
Craig Johns, Formby
IS the team all too old? What about Arteta, Yobo, Cahill, Osman and Hibbert? They're all under 25! Then there's Davies, Kilbane, Valente, van der Meyde - all under 30. There's only Weir, Stubbs and Martyn who are old, admittedly in important areas.
S Smith, Liverpool
Lack of cover makes new striker essential
Jan 27 2006
By Mark O'Brien Everton supporter, Daily Post
IF THE queues for tickets in the perishing cold are anything to go by, Cup fever has taken hold at Goodison Park. There is certainly an air of anticipation before tomorrow's game against Chelsea, fuelled by a combination of the prospect of the champions coming to town, the realisation that the FA Cup remains Everton's only realistic avenue to glory this season, and the general goodwill created by the recent run of form. That upturn in fortunes culminated in the win against Arsenal on Saturday, Everton's fourth straight league victory. Given the number of poor results and outright hidings Everton have endured this season, every win is welcomed, but one against Arsene Wenger's men, who have humiliated us far too many times in recent years for anyone's liking, was just that bit more special. Everything about the game, the effort, the aggression and the hostile atmosphere was reminiscent of the best moments of last season. The return of Alan Stubbs to the line-up only served to reinforce that feeling of déjà vu, and it was good to see the Goodison crowd giving him a warm reception, despite the unpleasant aftermath of his leaving for Sunder-land in the summer. He returned the compliment by putting in an immaculate display, one Arsenal's central defenders could have learned a thing or two from anyway. And while it might be pushing things to suggest that Thierry Henry should take a few pointers from James Beattie about the art of centre-forward play, there was no denying who looked the more impressive striker on the day. The only worry now is if anything should happen to him, injury-wise, as we have so little cover. With Marcus Bent now at Charlton it seems unfeasible, despite David Moyes's protestations to the contrary, that the club won't be bringing in another forward before the transfer window closes. If they don't sign anyone from the long list of names mooted, with Mark Viduka and Giorgios Samaras the latest linked, then they will be left with only Duncan Ferguson and young Victor Anichebe as back up. Hardly the most reassuring thought. Looking at the situation more positively though, there's still almost a week remaining in which to do business and as the deadline looms ever closer, the clubs with unsettled play-ers on their hands will be under as much pressure to do business as those looking to recruit.
Cup final mission drives Moyes
Jan 27 2006 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES admitted he is desperate to lead Everton to a major cup final - and urged his Everton players to follow the example of Wigan Athletic as he plots to overcome Chelsea tomorrow. Having watched enviously on Tuesday night as Paul Jewell's side defied the odds and beat Arsenal to a place in the Carling Cup final, Moyes' ambition to bring silverware to the club burns fiercer than ever before. The Premiership champions - beaten in only three competitive games this year - arrive at Goodison Park, anxious to take another step towards a possible treble. Moyes, though, is relishing the opportunity to lock horns with Jose Mourinho again and with Everton unbeaten in their last six games, the manager has his eye on success. "It's a fantastic opportunity but it is different kettle of fish taking on Chelsea than it is Arsenal," said Moyes. "It was a tremendous achievement by Wigan and Paul Jewell. They deserve it. But it's something that I desperately want to do with Everton. "One of my ambitions was to take Everton into the Champions League and we did that last year. Now I want to take Everton to a cup final and win it. "My job is to make supporters interested in Everton Football Club and for too big a part of this season we have not been able to do that. "Performances have not been good enough, but hopefully we are getting on to a run of form and we want to try and maintain it, starting against Chelsea. We are looking forward to the game."
Everton's main fitness concern ahead of the all-ticket clash concerns Matteo Ferrari. He hasn't trained all week after jarring his hamstring against Arsenal but will be given every chance to prove his fitness. Simon Davies, meanwhile, is likely to be the man who profits from Tim Cahill's one-match ban. The Wales international has not played since hobbling off in the 1-0 win at Sunderland last month. But no matter what starting line-up he chooses, Moyes is well aware that if Everton are going to upset the odds, he will need every player on top form. "Chelsea are good at controlling the tempo of the game and playing it the way they want to. That is one of their biggest things, their ball retention and if they do that, there is little you can do about it," said Moyes. "It is going to be a tough match. We will just treat it just like we would treat any normal game."
Nuno aims to get better of compatriots
Jan 27 2006 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
NUNO VALENTE has spent much of the past couple of weeks with a mobile phone glued to his ear, dealing with a barrage of calls. Be it after training or at home, the voices on the other end have invariably been familiar. Since Everton were paired with Chelsea in the FA Cup fourth round, Paolo Ferreira, Maniche and Ricardo Carvalho have had Valente's number on speed dial. Affable sort that he is, Valente has always made time to talk to his old colleagues from Porto, chatting about how they are finding life in England. Maniche, new to these shores following a Christmas move from Dynamo Moscow, has been a frequent caller. The pleasantries, however, will stop tomorrow afternoon when proceedings get underway at Goodison Park. While it may seem as if it is a case of Friends Reunited, especially with Jose Mourinho on the touchline, nothing could be further from the truth. Desperate to stretch Everton's unbeaten run to a seventh game, Valente - the scent of cup glory in his nostrils - intends to give Ferreira and Maniche as rough a ride as possible, while hoping the suspended Carvalho sits squirming in the stands. "I've spoken on the phone to Paolo, Ricardo and Maniche," Valente confirmed. "Maniche was saying he was very happy to be playing in the Premiership and he is happy at the moment. It was friendly conversation but it won't be on Saturday!" Mention of Mourinho understandably brings a smile to his face. After all, he won the Champions League and UEFA Cup under him at Porto, while the Chelsea manager urged David Moyes to buy Valente when he was short of a left-back. Before Chelsea faced Everton in the league back in October, Valente revealed a bet had been struck with his old boss that the loser would have to buy dinner for the victor and his family. A 1-1 draw sees the wager carried over. "I am looking forward to seeing him again but I hope that he goes home unhappy too!" continued the Portuguese international. "He is a special person to me but the most important thing is that Everton get through to the next round. "I have spoken to him recently. It wasn't about the game, it was just a general chat. We spoke about football in general, our families, other different things. The type of things you would do. "He was a big influence on my career. I was lucky to get him as my manager when I played in Leira, then I was given a second chance by him at Porto. It was special to play for such a big team. "I know the answers to what he wants from players on the pitch. When you do your best for him, he lets you know. He is a manager who players respond to." Given Mourinho considered Valente as one of his most trusted foot soldiers in Porto, added to his international pedigree, it was clear to see Moyes has bought a competent player when he signed the 31-year-old last August for £1.4m. A difficult start, mixed with a troublesome hamstring injury, prevented Valente showing his true colours but since returning at Old Trafford, he has been one of Everton's most consistent performers. No surprise, then, he is ready to tackle Chelsea. "I'm feeling much better," he agrees. "I've been here nearly five months now and feel I've adapted to the pace of the game. "It has been difficult because it has been different. The pace of football is so much quicker than in Europe.
"But I am happy now that I am back in the side and want to continue helping Everton on towards better things. I feel I have finally adapted and want to play better and better every time I am selected." As do his team-mates. Having conjured up their finest display and result of the season against Arsenal last weekend, it will arguably take an even better performance to topple the champions and book a place in next Monday's fifth round draw. Everton, though, do not go into the tie cowering at the prospect. Match the way they played when Chelsea last visited Goodison Park, and Valente's dream of playing at Wembley - he watched every cup final as young boy - will come a step closer. "It's a very important game but we are looking forward to it because we are coming into good form," he said. "We have done well in the last couple of games. We've looked sharp and played some good football. I think two good teams will face each other. "We can be a very dangerous team. I'm sure every team is a little bit afraid of coming to Goodison Park because of the stadium and the atmosphere with the fans. It is always difficult for any team to play against Everton.
"I think Chelsea will come with a lot of respect because of the game we played against them earlier in the season. We shocked them. We weren't winning any matches and they were winning all the time. I'm sure they will be careful. "We know how Chelsea will play and know every player. It will be different to the league game because there are never two games the same but I'm sure it will be a very good match."
Cudicini keen to offer helping hand
Jan 27 2006 Liverpool Echo
CARLO CUDICINI is ready to give his all for the team should he get the chance to keep Chelsea's FA Cup dream alive at Goodison tomorrow. The Italian recently extended his contract to keep him at Stamford Bridge until 2009, and is viewed by manager Jose Mourinho as an integral member of the squad. The 32-year-old played in the 2-1 victory over Huddersfield in the last round, and is keeping himself focused should he be called upon again. "It was very important for me because it means that the club still trusted me," said Cudicini. "Of course I would like to play more, but at the same time Chelsea are probably the only club in the whole world who are doing this with two goalkeepers.
"That means the manager and all the staff have got trust in me, and this has given me the power to keep training every day with a lot of concentration and will to be ready when I have to play."
Mourinho must do without suspended defender Ricardo Carvalho following his sending off in last weekend's 1-1 draw with Charlton. Winger Arjen Robben is available again after picking up a second caution at Sunderland earlier this month.
Everton 1, Chelsea 1 (D,Post)
Jan 30 2006
By David Prior at Goodison Park, Daily Post
THE TREBLE remains a possibility for Chelsea, but the double battering they have received at Goodison Park this season should throw considerable doubt on their hopes of achieving it.
For 180 minutes this season, the country's best side have been forced to suspend their usual style and summon instead the kind of resolve that hardly any other fixture has required of them.
And while October's league game will have provided Jose Mourinho's men with some clue as to what they could expect on Saturday, nothing could have prepared them for the sheer bloody-minded willpower they came up against. For let's get some facts straight. Here are two sides who currently inhabit two utterly different stratospheres. When ill-ness strikes Chelsea, as it did minutes before the kick-off to force Eidur Gudjohnsen's withdrawal, Mourinho can bring in an England regular like Joe Cole. His replacement on the bench? Merely £17million Damien Duff. When injury befalls Everton - not to mention suspension and African Nations Cup commitments - David Moyes has to turn to the sort of players who even season ticket-holders are left asking, who? The outfield players on Saturday's bench - Gary Naysmith,, Mark Hughes, Victor Anichebe and Patrick Boyle - boasted the grand total of no minutes' first-team action this season. And in the case of the latter three, no minutes full stop. Circumstances - late withdrawals from James Beat-tie and Matteo Ferrari, Tim Cahill's suspension, Alan Stubbs' ineligibility, not to mention the spate of other injuries - had no doubt conspired against Everton to the extent that Moyes admitted to having just 11 fit players to choose from, but it served to demonstrate just what a mismatch Saturday was. It should also accentuate just what a performance it was, too. Particularly in the first half, when Everton dominated the runaway league leaders, there were players all over the pitch who were seemingly intent on bearing the hosts' cause on their own shoulders. Phil Neville, shunted into yet another unfamiliar position at centre-half, showed again why he is such a valuable addition to the Goodison line-up. He and David Weir proved a combination that only the world's second best player could breach. Nuno Valente continued his rebirth at Everton, and after his delightful cross for James McFadden's goal, Moyes must have felt like planting a grateful handshake on Mourinho, the man who coached him at Porto and recommended him to the Scot last summer. Simon Davies and Kevin Kil-bane enjoyed possibly their finest games of the season, galloping forward in a style that left you wondering why you hadn't seen more of the same against far inferior opponents. A mention too for Duncan Ferguson, straining every sinew in what must have been an afternoon that made his Sunday morning an intensely miserable experience. James McFadden, too, can hardly have bounded out of bed - a broken nose and eight stitches in a shin wound providing graphic testament to his own unrelenting effort. The key, again, lay in Everton's start to the game. Instantly picking up the tempo and attitude that saw them to league victory over Arsenal the previous week, they quickly made a nonsense of the bookmakers' pessimism,, with a home win having been listed as a 6-1 shot with some. The bookies should know by now that while the Everton of this season may be many things, they are not predictable. Another exercise in confounding the odds was evidently underway.
Chelsea were knocked out of their stride to such an extent that for the 45 minutes they really could have been any other visitors, rather than the undisputed champions and champions-elect they are.
They were unable to cope with those qualities that have once again become common-place at Everton in recent weeks. They were harried, rushed and out-fought. They were beaten to the loose ball and consistently unable to retain when in possession. But this was not a mere question of the footballing brains meeting the brawn. The aristocrats against the relative paupers. To paraphrase Arsene Wenger, Everton were playing real football. With Davies and Kilbane taking a frontline role, Everton swept forward with almost nonchalant ease. Increasingly the Londoners backed off, and each time the hosts seemed to gain a further injection of confidence. In one 10-minute spell around the half-hour mark, Chelsea barely got out of their own half, one aimless long ball from the woeful Asier Del Horno serving to sum up their resulting frustration succintly. Everton's unexpected domination deserved reward, and nine minutes before half-time it duly came. Ferguson spread a wide ball to the excellent Valente, who swung in a splendid cross from the left that fell perfectly for McFadden to head beyond Chelsea goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini. If there'd been a sense that the hosts' start would soon,, inevitably, give way to normality, they at least now had something to defend.
And, for over half an hour, defend they did - even with 10 men. William Gallas's challenge on McFadden saw Everton a man down for nine minutes prior to half-time while the Scot was stitched up in the dressing room, and still the subdued Frank Lampard and Co found little space.
McFadden was back in the wars eight minutes after the break, nursing a broken nose suffered in a hefty collision with Cudicini. There was to no carrying on this time however, and Moyes's decision to replace the winger with the more defensive Gary Naysmith - although the manager didn't exactly have too many other options - appeared to signal the start of the backs-to-the-wall phase. And so it proved, with Chelsea already having emerged a renewed force after what must have been a lively half-time in the away dressing room. With Arjen Robben an increasingly visible threat, the Londoners surged forward incessantly. The Dutchman's ball was headed down by Joe Cole for Hernan Crespo to slice over wastefully on 63 minutes, and two minutes later Crespo did considerably better in almost curling a chance inside Nigel Martyn's far post. For a time Everton's resolve seemed set to see them to a famous victory, but then they took their eyes off Lampard.
Moments after Martyn had saved brilliantly from Robben's deflected shot, Chelsea burst back upfield and Gallas's ball picked out the England midfielder, who took the ball wide before unleashing a low left-foot shot under Martyn. By now, Chelsea's domination suggested they could go on to snatch the tie, but that would have been unjust given Everton's first-half display.
Ferguson could even have settled matters in the home side's favour had he not dragged wide a last-minute chance for glory. And so the tie becomes the altogether more difficult prospect of a trip to Stamford Bridge. Given Everton's current habit of beating the odds, however, who's to say it cannot be done?
EVERTON (4-4-2): Martyn; Hibbert, Weir, Neville, Valente; Osman, Arteta, Davies (Anichebe 89), Kilbane; Ferguson, McFadden (Naysmith 54). Subs: Wright, Hughes, Boyle.
CHELSEA (4-4-2): Cudicini; Johnson, Gallas, Terry, Del Horno (C Cole 59); Robben, Makalele, Lampard, Maniche (Duff 59); Crespo, J Cole (Huth 74). Subs: Cech, Diarra.
BOOKINGS: Gallas, Huth (fouls).
REFEREE: Graham Poll
NEXT GAME: Wigan Athletic v Everton, Barclays Premiership, tomorrow, 7.45pm
Neville hails return of team ethic in a happy new year
Jan 30 2006 By David Prior Daily Post Staff
PHIL NEVILLE believes Everton's form since the turn of the year has proved they are finally a proper team again. The Goodison side turned in another superb display to hold runaway Premiership leaders Chelsea to a 1-1 in their FA Cup fourth round tie on Saturday. Jose Mourinho's men had to rely on Frank Lampard's late leveller to earn a replay at Stamford Bridge after James McFadden had given the hosts a first-half lead. Everton are still unbeaten, having already played six games in 2006, and a week after beating Arsenal at Goodison, gave Chelsea a similarly tough battle. And Neville, who was forced to play at centre-half with manager David Moyes admitting he only had 11 fit players to select from, claimed the club's resurgence was down to the new players settling in and restoring the team ethic at the club. He said: "I was only thinking the other day about the start that we had. We signed four players on the deadline, I signed without doing a pre-season, Simon Davies signed with a bit of an injury at the start of the season. "In terms of integrating everybody into the team, it does take four or five months. And we've proved that. Since Christmas, Nuno Valente's been outstanding, Matteo Ferrari's been outstanding. You can tell now that there's more of teamwork going on." James Beattie was a surprise omission from Saturday's line-up having strained a calf during training last Thursday, while Matteo Ferrari did not recover in time after his hamstring injury.
With Tim Cahill suspended, Alan Stubbs cup-tied and several others injured, Moyes was forced to give places on the bench to reserves Victor Anichebe, Mark Hughes and Patrick Boyle.
And in such circumstances, Neville hailed the side's efforts in ensuring another difficult Goodison afternoon for Chelsea. He said: "We showed again, not just this season but every season, that we're the type of team that give it a right good go. "Against the big teams when there's no pressure on us, that's when we're at our best. Today we gave it a right good go, we didn't get the victory but we're well pleased with our efforts. "I thought overall Chelsea deserved the draw on the chances created. But we were well pleased with our efforts and the way that we played, particularly against such a great team as Chelsea. "The only thing is against a team like Chelsea you have to score a second goal, and unfortunately we couldn't get that. "But we're still in the cup tie and now we can start the battle again." Neville also paid tribute to goal-keeper Nigel Martyn, who put in another excellent performance to keep out the Londoners until Lampard's 73rd-minute strike. "He keeps churning out top-class performances - he's up there with the best English keepers," added Neville. "Against Arsenal last week he made two outstanding saves in the first half, and he kept us in that game. Again today he made some outstanding saves, but he's been doing that for us all season. "He's a great professional and I'm just glad he's on our side." Everton are today likely to discover if James McFadden and Duncan Ferguson will be fit to lead the line again, should Beattie fail to recover in time. McFadden suffered a broken nose and eight stitches in a shin wound during a bruising afternoon, while Ferguson played the full 90 minutes and may struggle to recover in time for tomorrow's Premiership clash at Wigan. Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho accepted the draw as a fair result, saying: "We controlled the first half. Frank Lampard and Maniche had a lot of the ball, and when they scored it was out of context. "But it was a great goal. The cross was fantastic and the header very good. "But after the goal we started to give the ball away too much and some of the play was painful. "We were poor at that stage but after the break it was very different. You just wanted the game to go into extra time, but sadly it's not the Carling Cup. "We were confronted by an Everton side who fought for everything, like they always do on their own ground, so we are happy to accept the result as it is."
Moyes in hunt for the right players
Jan 30 2006
By David Prior Daily Post Staff
DAVID MOYES claims he is scouring "every continent" for players ahead of tomorrow's transfer deadline. But the Everton manager insists he will not be signing any player who is not absolutely right for the club, despite the lack of resources being exposed on Saturday. Injury, eligibility, suspension and international commitments combined to leave the Scot with just "11 fit players" against Chelsea, with Phil Neville having to fill in at centre-back and three reserve players called on to the subs' bench.. But Moyes said: "We're still looking, but I'm not going to sign someone who makes everybody feel good for three days and then when we see him play we're disappointed. I won't do that. "We could do with adding a couple of play-ers to the squad if we can do, but it's not for the want of trying - every continent, every country, and we'll continue trying right up until Tuesday. But I won't be spending money on someone I'm not happy with." Moyes was disappointed his side had not seen out the victory, but could not fault his players' effort. "I thought we were just on the verge of weathering the storm. I think we had done well against Chelsea in general, but they pushed on in a different style and it made it difficult for us. "I was really pleased with the performance of the players. They have done really well, they have done everything asked of them."
Of his out-of-position midfielder, he added: "I thought Phil Neville did terrific for us, he did his job, his positional sense was good, he picked bits and pieces up. He did great for us. "Phil's played so many positions for us that he knows them all quite well and he's a reliable player who tends to make the right decisions." Moyes did not blame Chelsea goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini for the challenge that left James McFadden with a broken nose. "I think the ball bounced between the two of them," he said.
Have-nots close to pulling off Goodison gamble
Jan 30 2006 By Mark O'Brien, Daily Post
LURKING in the Stanley Racing on Goodison Road at lunchtime on Saturday was none other than Angus Loughran. He's an experienced journalist and pretty much the voice of Eurosport but, judging from the comments from the other punters, he is more widely recognised as 'Statto' from the thank-fully now-defunct 'Fantasy Football'. He is also known as an extremely shrewd gambler - he apparently makes more from this than he does from his broadcasting work - so he may well have been tempted by the favourable odds the bookmakers were offering on Everton avoiding defeat at the hands of Jose Mourinho's seemingly unstoppable Chelsea juggernaut later that afternoon.
As kick-off approached though, Loughran, or anyone else with a couple of bob on an upset, must have began to question their judgement as rumours filtered out from Goodison about the state of the Everton squad. Fans, buoyed by the rip-roaring performance against Arsenal, grew ashen-faced as they heard that an already decimated squad had lost its form man, James Beattie, and that Mikel Arteta was facing a late fitness test. Thankfully the Spaniard passed muster eventually and took his place in a line-up that would have looked flimsy against most sides, but whose lack of depth was underlined even further by the embarrassment of options available to their opposition. It was a classic case of the haves and the have-nots. Thanks to injury and ineligibility, Moyes had to put three untried kids on the bench. Mourinho, on the other hand, had the option of throwing Damien Duff and Carlton Cole on in the second half, a move that swung the game back in the visitors' favour after a tremendous first period in which Everton deservedly took the lead. The fact that Everton even drew - the second time they've held the rampant champions this season - is a great credit to Moyes and the attitude of the rag-tag collection of players he sent out. Looking at the bigger picture though, how long can the manager be expected to keep working minor miracles, especially as he continues to rely on a knot of experienced players, the likes of the remarkable Duncan Ferguson and Nigel Martyn, at the very tail-ends of their careers? If anything, Moyes needs to bring in players to increase the size of the squad, to complement what he has, before he can start to think about replacing these veterans, yet the present hunt for a striker seems to demonstrate that the Goodison purse strings are as tight as they've ever been. Which, as everyone knows, is pretty tight.
On an almost daily basis there are justifiable calls by the fans for Everton to move in the transfer market and sign a new forward, initially to play alongside Beattie, but now to provide cover for him as we wait to discover the extent of his injury. The manager himself must be more aware of the gravity of the situation than anyone yet he continually balks at the prices quoted for even the most unproven of lower league hitmen. Some supporters suggest this is because of an over-cautious nature; others think that perhaps Moyes is only too conscious that his budget is so tight that he has no margin for error whatsoever. Mourinho, for instance, or even the highly-rated Martin Jol at Spurs, have both spent big money on players who have hardly had a look-in at their clubs and who they have then sought to offload. These managers can dismiss such errors of judgement with a shrug though, such is the financial backing they have. Moyes though, it seems, is destined to hear the name Per Kroldrup whispered in corners for the rest of his Everton career. Assuming that the club actually have access to £3million, he could spend it all on, say, Robert Earnshaw, tomorrow. Such a move would probably improve the squad in the short term as well, but he would undoubtedly require decent wages and a pretty lengthy contract. A manager like Moyes, aware that what money he has now will also need to be used to rebuild in the summer, is going to be understandably reluctant to make such a move for a player who he isn't 100% sure about. And if there were an abundance of better alternatives out there, players he could be sure about, then surely Charlton wouldn't have spent £2m on Marcus Bent, West Ham an incredible £7m on Dean Ashton, and Liverpool wouldn't have taken back a striker past his peak and dogged by serious injuries? For the time being then, until Everton unearth their own benevolent oil tycoon, they will need to keep relying on their remarkable resilience to hold their own in the top flight. And after all, it's served them well of late, just ask Statto. He'll point out that it's taken them on a seven-match unbeaten run and put them in a position whereby a win tomorrow will leave them a mere five points behind their opponents, Wigan Athletic, this season's runaway success story. Lest we forget, they are actually still in the FA Cup as well.
Team spirit may yet save Everton
Jan 30 2006
View from the stands by Paul Cooper Everton supporter, Daily Post
WELL it was a case of almost, but not quite. The performance was superb. They worked hard for each other for the full 90 minutes, defended well and for a 20-minute spell towards the end of the first half were the dominant force. You can't help thinking that with a stronger squad to pick from, we could well have nicked it. Praise for Phil Neville for filling in at centre-half and giving a professional and organised performance. Also, Kevin Kilbane seems to have started eating three Shreaded Wheat again because he is unrecognisable from the player we witnessed in 2005. He was strong and forceful when running with the ball and caused Glen Johnson a lot of problems. His link play with Nuno Valente was working well and was the main threat for us. Valente's cross for the goal was a dream and just asking to be buried, which to his credit McFadden duly did. A good finish for the goal and hopefully that will bring him on again confidence wise. After McFadden was substituted (bad challenge by Cudicini, by the way) I think as a team we took a backward step, we didn't retain the ball as well and invited Chelsea onto us. They got the equaliser and it was just a matter of whether they would get the winner. Leon did well again, he always gives 100% and links the midfield and attack well, but the improvement for me is his ability to play with his back to goal.
Obviously odds will be against us in the replay, although the spirit and togetherness being shown as well the ability to create a few chances, means that we will not go there without a chance, especially if we can get one or two back.
Everton 1, Chelsea 1 (Echo)
Jan 30 2006 By Dominic King
THEY breezed out of Goodison Park shortly after the final whistle, grinning smugly and exchanging pleasantries in a manner which bordered on the condescending. While chief executive Peter Kenyon, chairman Bruce Buck said nothing much other than "well done" and "well played" - benefactor Roman Abramovich remained typically tight lipped - the look on the faces of Chelsea's high-powered delegation spoke volumes. It was left to Jose Mourinho to fully convey their thoughts. "Replay? No problem. We'll take Everton on between Liverpool and Barcelona. Why should we worry?" suggested the Portuguese manager, with an arrogance that is becoming tiresome. If only they'd stayed around long enough to soak up the words of Everton's players. Chelsea may think that in drawing 1-1 on Merseyside they have done enough to book a place in the FA Cup's fifth round, they would do well to think again. Down to their bare bones on Saturday - manager David Moyes had only 12 fit senior professionals at his disposal - it is little wonder that bookmakers had Chelsea as long odds-on favourites to progress to the last 16. Given their current frame of mind, though, anyone under-estimating Everton does so at their peril. Brimming with desire, fighting for possession as though lives depended on it, the Blues certainly deserve another crack at the Premiership champions. True, many will think Everton's chance of causing an upset has gone, that Chelsea will simply go through the gears at Stamford Bridge and swat them aside. But when does football, particularly the FA Cup, ever go according to plan? "We are still pleased that we are in the tie and that we only limited Chelsea to one goal," said Phil Neville, following an exemplary stint as a makeshift centre-back. "A draw was a fair result but we'll go down there and give it a right good go."
There is certainly no need to travel with pessimism. While they proclaim to be the one of the greatest sides ever to play the game, having won one title and one Carling Cup, Chelsea are certainly not unbeatable. Chances are that if Moyes had a full complement of players at his disposal at the weekend, as well as the bit of good fortune every side needs at some point during a game, there would have been no replay. Though it took Everton - shorn of the spine of the side that had beaten Arsenal seven days previously - a little while to get warmed up, once they got into gear, Chelsea were forced to endure some uncomfortable moments. Of course, it was a hefty blow to lose the hamstrung Matteo Ferrari, Tim Cahill to suspension and James Beattie with a calf strain, but the players Moyes selected in their place more than made up for their absence. Neville operated like an oldfashioned sweeper at the heart of the defence, Simon Davies returned to the side after a five-game absence with an eye-catching display, while Duncan Ferguson made John Terry's life a misery.
Credit to Chelsea's captain for refusing to back off an inch because the only thing missing from a Ferguson performance bursting with aggression was a goal. Retirement may beckon but the veteran striker still has the ability to unsettle defenders. Take the goal Everton scored. Terry and William Gallas were concerned about Ferguson coming out to meet a pass from Mikel Arteta and allowed James McFadden to slip through behind them. Danger loomed for the visitors. Nuno Valente's cross from the left was perfect, as was McFadden's header and it gave Everton a deserved lead. Yet take nothing away from Ferguson, who Mourinho correctly observed had created the chance by dragging his defenders out of place. His muscles will scream with agony today and Moyes is likely to use Ferguson from the bench against Wigan Athletic tomorrow evening. Despite all this, there is no question that he still has a role to play before the end of the campaign. Talking of agony, spare a thought for McFadden. Making his first start since January 7, the 22-year-old found it hard going early on but had found his feet by the time he popped up with his 36th minute header.
Gallas then successfully managed to kick the Scotland international out of the game. Clattering into him with a wild lunge, Gallas was booked. The damage, however, had been done. McFadden needed eight stitches in a gaping shin wound. Wanting to give McFadden every chance of being fit, Moyes decided to hang fire before making a change but Everton were then forced to play up to the interval a man down, just when they were looking to press home their advantage. Worse was to follow. Shortly after the break, Gallas and Carlo Cudicini collided, sandwiching McFadden between them. As they tumbled to the floor, McFadden was squashed on the bottom and broke his nose. Penalties have been given for much less. From then on, it was always going to be difficult as Chelsea searched frantically for an equaliser. After Hernan Crespo, Arjen Robben, Joe Cole and Terry all went close, Frank Lampard made his only contribution with a well-taken goal. That Chelsea didn't muster a late winner was thanks largely to Nigel Martyn, who marked his 100th Everton appearance with a performance as good as any of the 99 that have gone before. Though he is creeping closer to his 40th birthday, in no way are this affable son of Cornwall's powers on the wane. If anything, he is still flinging himself around the penalty area with the enthusiasm of a man half his age. Speaking of which, young striker Victor Anichebe got his first taste of top-flight football as a late substitute, while Kevin Kilbane, Tony Hibbert, Leon Osman and David Weir all maintained their impressive recent form. They will need to continue it, nevertheless, if Everton want to maintain their FA Cup interest past next Wednesday. But by then, Moyes will hopefully have a few more numbers back and maybe a new striker will have landed. Should that be the case, then perhaps, just perhaps, Messers Kenyon, Abramovich and Mourinho won't be smiling so smugly after all.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Martyn; Hibbert, Weir, Neville, Valente; Osman, Arteta, Davies (Anichebe 89), Kilbane; Ferguson, McFadden (Naysmith 54). Subs: Wright, Hughes, Boyle.
CHELSEA (4-4-2): Cudicini; Johnson, Gallas, Terry, Del Horno (C Cole 59); Robben, Makalele, Lampard, Maniche (Duff 59); Crespo, J Cole (Huth 74). Subs: Cech, Diarra. BOOKINGS: Gallas, Huth (fouls).
REFEREE: Graham Poll
Dutch star ready to answer Blues' SOS
Jan 30 2006 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has indicated he will use Andy van der Meyde as an emergency forward if his quest to sign a new striker ends in frustration. The Everton manager spent the weekend chasing up a number of leads for a number of players but has yet to find a suitable target to boost his numbers. With James Beattie having missed Saturday's FA Cup draw against Chelsea after picking up a calf strain and James McFadden forced off with a broken nose, Moyes is down to the bare bones. He has not ruled out the possibility of someone new coming in before the window closes tomorrow evening but has started making contingency plans should his efforts be to no avail. That includes using Van der Meyde - who returns to full training next week following a two-month absence - at the head of affairs and Moyes believes it is a role that would suit the Dutchman. "Andy is doing better and hopefully he will be back in the not too distant future," said Moyes. "He had a rupture of the top of his thigh and we have got to make sure we get it right. "We have had Tim Cahill, Mikel Arteta, Ossie, Kevin Kilbane and Phil Neville doing well and we have had a little bit of a blend at the minute from them all. "We can change their positions about and play a couple of people further forward and we have a lot of versatility but we want Andy back because he is a good player. "When he comes back, he might even be able to play up-front for us. He could be a striker. He's got pace, awareness and he's got a terrific shot on him." Moyes can understand the frustration of supporters regarding the lack of new signings but has made it quite clear he will open his purse strings for a player who will inject quality to the squad. "We have been looking and we're still looking, but I won't do anything which will only help us short term," added Moyes, whose side resume Premiership business against Wigan tomorrow. "I'm not going to sign somebody which makes us feel good for three days then when we see him play everybody's disappointed. "I won't do that. We are definitely in need of a couple of players, but I can tell you it's not for the want of trying and not for the lack of trying every continent, every country. "We've done the lot and we'll carry on trying right up until Tuesday. But I won't be going and spending money on someone who after three days I'm not happy with." Meanwhile, Phil Neville believes Everton will face an even sterner test against Wigan than they did against Chelsea as they seek to extend their unbeaten run to an eighth game. Such was the paucity of Moyes' options, Neville was forced to play as a makeshift central defender at the weekend but passed the test with flying colours. "In terms of experienced first team players, there were only 12 of us," said Neville. "We are down to the bare bones but we knew we could go out and give it a right good go and enjoy ourselves. "Wigan will be a real test of our character and it's there where we will really need to dig in. There were a lot of tired legs in the dressing room but we need to pick ourselves up and get on with it."
Colchester lie in wait
Jan 30 2006 By Dan Kay, icLiverpool
THE winner of Everton v Chelsea will be rewarded with a fifth round tie at home to Colchester United. The League One side defeated Championship Derby County 3-1 in Saturday's fourth round and will be delighted to have guaranteed themselves a plum draw against a Premiership side.
The Blues have met the men from Layer Road before in FA Cup action, meeting in a quarter-final tie at Goodison Park in 1971. Colchester had slayed Leeds United in the previous round in one of the great Cup shocks and travelled to the home of the defending champions in great heart but were sent packing by a fine Everton side who easily progressed to a meeting with Merseyside neighbours, Liverpool, winning 5-0. The Reds have been drawn at home to Manchester United in one of the ties of the round.
FA CUP 5TH ROUND DRAW
Preston/Crystal Palace v Coventry/ Middlesbrough;
Newcastle Utd v Southampton;
Aston Villa v Manchester City;
EVERTON or Chelsea v Colchester;
Charlton v Brentford;
LIVERPOOL v Man United;
Bolton v West Ham;
Stoke v Reading or Birmingham.
'Our dejection shows we're on right track'
Jan 30 2006 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
LEON OSMAN is taking heart from the frustration he felt on Saturday evening as a sign that Everton are heading in the right direction. Holding Chelsea to a 1-1 draw would normally be seen as a notable achievement, especially so in Everton's case as they were without 10 first team squad members. But Osman revealed the main emotion of the players afterwards was disappointment, as they had come within 17 minutes of knocking the favourites of the FA Cup. "It's a reflection of the way things have been going lately that we are disappointed to have only drawn 1-1 with the champions," said Osman. "That's a good sign for the club. We were low on numbers but the young lads who came in to the squad are all very good players and it's good to have them around. "As for Faddy, he had a lot of stitches in his leg and has ended up coming off with a broken nose but I'm sure he would have taken that in exchange for a goal. "That shows the level of commitment he has and it is the same for everyone of us. We need to keep moving forward in the right direction. "We are being positive in order to get results. If that means getting at teams right from the off, that's what we have to do." Predictably, Jose Mourinho was keen to take the spotlight off Everton's performance and suggested Chelsea were the only side trying to win. "Do you think the second half showed Everton getting at us? No, they can say what they want," said the theatrical boss. "For example, Beattie was speaking about his great condition to play against Chelsea and he was injured and could not play. "I think other teams do what they can against us but we're not concerned. They do their best and play at their highest possible ambition." Lampard, meanwhile, was slightly more gracious and applauded Everton's endeavour for forcing Chelsea to pull out all the stops. "The way we played second half, we deserved to win the game, but it was a good draw," said the England midfielder. "Everton away is a very difficult draw and we didn't want to get knocked out here. We gave ourselves another chance."
Ferguson is a rare breed, says Moyes
Jan 30 2006 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
THEY don't make strikers like Duncan Ferguson any more. David Moyes knows, because he has played against the Scottish battering ram himself. Chelsea skipper John Terry was the defender on the receiving end this time on Saturday, but Blues' boss Moyes believes the England centre-half will have enjoyed the experience. "It's the sort of experience that all young centre-halfs used to have a long time ago," explained Moyes. "I've played against Duncan many times as a player so I know what it's like. I'll tell you about it some day! "I'm sure John Terry will have enjoyed it because he is that type of centre-half, a warrior, and a really good player. "They don't make them that way any more. I don't want to reel out the names here but I think we could all think of the ones in the past who might come into that category. "You know when you play against Duncan you're going to have a tough game." At 33, Ferguson is believed to be in the final season of his football career, and Moyes doesn't see any young strikers like him coming through any more. But he believes Ferguson still has enough left to carry the fight for the next four months. "He sometimes finds it a struggle and we won't know how he is for Tuesday yet," explained Moyes, "but we needed him today and you could see he is doing fine with some parts of his game, while other bits of the game he looks tired, but that's the way he is. "James Beattie picked up his calf strain in training on Thursday. We had 11-fit outfield players today, but Stubbsy was cup-tied, Tim Cahill suspended and Joseph Yobo away at the African Nations Cup - so it wasn't just injury. "But it was as low as we've been for numbers."
Matteo Ferrari's injury meant that Phil Neville was pressed into duty as an emergency centre-back, and the utility player excelled in the role. "I thought Phil Neville was terrific today," admitted Moyes. "He did a job, his positional sense was good, he covered ground and picked bits and pieces up. He did great for us. "Phil has played so many positions now and he knows them all quite well. He is a reliable player who tends to make the right decisions." Even Neville couldn't keep Chelsea at bay, however, but Moyes admitted he thought his side might have just done enough before Frank Lampard's 73rd minute equaliser. "I thought we'd put an awful lot into it and we were on the verge of weathering the storm," he added. "I thought we had just started to come out of it a little bit, but that was it. "We did well in general, but they changed their style. Robben pushed on further on the left and stretched us a bit more. "I thought I might have had to take Faddy (James McFadden) off even before he broke his nose, because of his shin injury. "It was far too early to bring any of the youngsters on. They all have a chance, but it's too early for them just now . . . especially against Chelsea. We needed people who knew the game and have been in those situations before."
Blues in desperate need of more men
Jan 30 2006 Analysis By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
JAMES McFADDEN has been called many things during his up and down Goodison career. But never a turning point. There was little doubt, however, that the disappearance of the battered, bruised and bloodied Scot on Saturday swung an absorbing Cup tie away from an Everton team clinging onto a lead his goal had given them. And it also highlighted the precarious nature of Everton's first team squad. Transfer talk has become almost a mantra among Evertonians as the window of opportunity steadily closes. It has been impossible to walk down Old Hall Street this past week without at least four enquiries of "Who are we signing, mate?" all delivered pleadingly and beseech-ingly rather than inquisitively. Everton need bodies badly. The fans can see it, so presumably the boss and board can also. But by five o'clock on Saturday night there was still no sign of any cavalry charging over Walton Brow. And the Blues ran out of steam just when they needed it most on Saturday. While Jose Mourinho couldn't find room for £24m winger Shaun Wright-Phillips on his substitutes' bench, David Moyes was forced to name three teenagers who have never been near a first team before and a barely fit full-back who is miles off match fitness. The performance of the only 11-fit outfield players currently at David Moyes' disposal - and two of those emergency substitutes - were exemplary. But the list of absentees wasn't what you'd call catastrophic. With Lee Carsley and Andy van der Meyde hardly considered all season anyway and Joseph Yobo's departure to the African Nations Cup not exactly unexpected, the Blues added just one more name from each department - defender Matteo Ferrari was injured, midfielder Tim Cahill suspended and striker James Beattie forced to rest a strained calf. But that was enough to throw the Blues into disarray. Phil Neville was asked to play central defence - heroically as it turned out - Simon Davies was an impressive replacement for Cahill, while Duncan Ferguson was asked to drag his battle weary limbs through one more cup-tie. But that was it. The Blues really were down to the bare bones. The last time they were down to 11 fit outfield play-ers was during Walter Smith's reign - when they strolled a must-win match at Coventry which handed Peter Clarke and Phil Jevons league debuts and saw Jamie Milligan and Kevin McLeod waiting eagerly in the wings. Victor Anichebe, Mark Hughes and Patrick Boyle were cast in the emergency stand-in roles on Saturday, with Anichebe making it onto the pitch for the last minute plus injury time. By then Everton were hanging on to a deserved draw and may almost have snatched a truly famous victory. Robert Huth clearly didn't comprehend the consequences of his actions when he scythed through Duncan Ferguson in the 92nd minute. Ferguson admirably reined in his temper, but managed to channel enough indignant energy into ensuring he got to the resulting free-kick first and hook a right-footed shot narrowly wide. If the ball had fallen to his left foot it might have been different, as it might have been had Everton been able to call on more experienced players. Regardless of Jose Mourinho's denials afterwards, Chelsea looked complacent for 45 minutes. The team selection stated otherwise - with Lampard, Terry, Makelele, Crespo and co. all named - but the performance suggested Chelsea were not really at it. It was only after McFadden's bullet header, and presumably a few choice half-time words from Jose, that Chelsea began to pressurise. They had to wait until the 73rd minute to equalise, but the goal had been coming for a long time. Ultimately a draw was about deserved, with the champions failing to beat the Blues for the second time this season. It was enough to put a spring in David Moyes' step. Everton's performance in any given match can usually be gleaned by the mood of their heart-on-his sleeve wearing manager afterwards. He can be snappy and bristling. On Saturday he was happy to talk about the times he played against Duncan Ferguson. Any more injuries, mind, and he may have to play alongside him. Everton's forward line at Wigan tomorrow could be an eye-opener. The Blues can't really afford to wait until their preferred targets are available. Support, even if its only short term, is needed right now.
Moyes waits on Beattie fitness
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Jan 31 2006
DAVID MOYES is hoping James Beattie can make a quickfire recovery to help Everton extend their unbeaten start to 2006. The Goodison outfit aim for their fifth successive Premiership victory when they make the short journey to the JJB Stadium to face Wigan Athletic this evening. It will be their first ever competitive game at their North West neighbours, with Wigan having won the first league meeting between the sides 1-0 at Goodison earlier this season. Moyes will welcome back Tim Cahill and Alan Stubbs after the duo were ineligible for the weekend 1-1 FA Cup draw with Chelsea, but has concerns over Matteo Ferrari and James McFadden. And with Duncan Ferguson facing a second start in four days, the Everton manager is confident Beattie can overcome the calf injury that ruled the £6million man out on Saturday. The striker trained yesterday, and Moyes said: "We have to take Duncan Ferguson's fitness into consideration, so we are hoping James Beattie can come through and will be okay to play." Ferrari, who also missed the Chelsea tie, continues to recover from a hamstring injury while McFadden was substituted against Jose Mourinho's side having suffered a broken nose after earlier sustaining shin damage that required 10 stitches following a tackle by William Gallas. "James came in on Sunday and seemed okay in himself but we will have to see how his shin is after the stitches," added Moyes. "His nose is not that big a problem. Matteo, though, we will have a look at before the game to see if he is ready." Victory tonight would move Everton into the top half of the Premiership table and just five points adrift of Wigan, who clinched a place in the Carling Cup final last week after eliminating Arsenal. Moyes has urged his players to extend their seven-match unbeaten run and said: "If we can keep the run going that we are on at the moment then hopefully we can still have a terrific season, and we can look at the strength of the players to come through after the start that we had to the season." Moyes, who was rebuffed in his own attempts to sign Robbie Fowler earlier this month after being told by Manchester City manager Stuart Pearce the player was not available for sale, has not given up hope of signing a striker before the transfer window slams shut at midnight. "We have tried lots of options and we are working on things," said Moyes. "Maybe we can pull something off, but if we do it will be at the last minute."
* EVERTON'S FA Cup fourth round replay at Chelsea is on Wednesday, February 8 (kick-off 8.05pm). The game will be shown live on BBC1.
Dig the new breed of manager
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Jan 31 2006
THE thought of finding their team eight points behind Wigan Athletic in late January would have sent a shudder through any Evertonian last summer. But it is a mark of the impact of Paul Jewell's promoted side and the recent upturn in Goodison fortunes that such a fact is greeted with reasons for optimism on both sides this evening. The North West rivals meet at the JJB Stadium with Wigan still buoyant after securing a place in the Carling Cup final next month and David Moyes's side looking to extend a seven-match unbeaten run that has seen them move away from the relegation zone and retrain their sights on the top half of the table. Neither might have been expected following the Goodison clash between the sides in September, when a solitary Damien Francis goal was enough to continue Wigan's bright start and send Everton crashing to the bottom of the Premiership for the first time in eight years. The anticipated implosion at Wigan has failed to materialise while, although a long time in coming, Everton seem set to avert yet another end-of-season scrap against relegation. However, the recent success of both teams has been no revelation to Moyes, who has long been an admirer of counterpart Jewell while maintaining faith in his own players despite their autumn travails. "Nothing I have seen Paul Jewell achieve at Wigan surprises me," says Moyes.. "The way his team plays, their work ethic and everything that goes with that is very much my standards at Everton. I have known Paul for a while from the management circuit. And his is a case for standing up for the wee guy, although I don't mean size wise! "He has shown you do not need to have been a top, top player in your time to manage at the top level and you do not need all the best players and the most money, but if you do your job well and are enthusiastic and conscientious then you can make some good team." Moyes believes that the success of Wigan and West Ham United has demonstrated to those teams battling to escape the Champion-ship that immediate relegation is no longer a foregone conclusion. "Not many of Wigan's players had Premiership experience, and that will give hope to the teams that do come up from the Championship," he says. Paul Jewell and Alan Pardew at West Ham are showing the teams in the Championship that if you come up and keep that winning run going then you have a good chance of staying in the Premier League. It is probably good for the game as well." Moyes adds: "Wigan were used to winning games regularly in the Championship. Paul Jewell has set standards at the club and they've kept that up this season, and won't let them drop. It is a terrific thing. "He has proved himself for sure, not just at Wigan but at the other jobs he has done, like at Bradford. "Alan Pardew has also had a good season and Mark Hughes has done a good job at Blackburn. Some teams are having great seasons, such as Bolton and Tottenham, but the ones you least expect are the ones that are doing very well, Stuart Pearce for example at Manchester City." Moyes will hope his side can build on their recent good form, with victory over Arsenal at Good-ison 10 days ago followed by Saturday's battling 1-1 FA Cup fourth round draw at home to Chelsea. Everton were without a number of key personnel on Saturday, making their achievement all the more impressive to their manager. "The performance rates very highly in our season," says Moyes.. "Particularly because of the circumstances we found ourselves in. We were missing a lot of players and had very little experience on the bench, we had to make do. "We hope we can take some positives out of our FA Cup draw with Chelsea into what is going to be a very hard game at Wigan. We have put a few decent performances together of late and I want that to continue." Moyes is of the opinion Everton's improved displays have coincided with a return to form of more established stars, rather than the passing of the settling-in period for the clutch of new arrivals this campaign. "I remember a couple of years ago when we brought a lot of play-ers in at the last minute, we just could not get things right for some time," says the Goodison manager.. "We made a lot of changes this summer and we were straight into Champions League qualifiers before the season even started, and we played well in that time but we could not get the wins. "Having said that, the ones who were here already like Tim Cahill, Tony Hibbert, Leon Osman and James Beattie were the ones who could not get going. The new play-ers were the ones who largely did well and it might have been that the group of players from last year found it harder to get themselves back up and running."
Mikel Arteta, meanwhile, believes Everton's next five games will determine whether they are capable of making a late charge for European qualification. "We know the next five games are going to be so important in terms of saying where we will be at the end of the season," says the Spanish midfielder. "We should forget about the good results we have had. We just need to focus on the next game because the next five games will dictate whether we can finish in a European place.
"After those five games, if you are still doing well you can think about the higher positions. But if you don't do so well then the distance is going to be too great to close in the games we have remaining."
Thompson thrilled to feel part of the team
By Ian Parkes, Daily Post
Jan 31 2006
WIGAN midfielder David Thompson is enjoying the feeling of being a wanted man again. Thompson returns to the side for tonight's JJB Stadium clash with boyhood heroes Everton after missing last week's Carling and FA Cup games due to ineligibility following his move from Blackburn 11 days ago.
Just 48 hours after signing a short-term contract to the end of the season with the Latics, Birkenhead-born Thompson covered himself in glory by scoring on his debut in a 3-2 win at Middlesbrough. It was the 28-year-old's first league goal since August 2003, mainly due to an injury-ravaged time with Rovers, initially with a knee ligament problem and then breaking two bones in a foot. Although playing a vital role in keeping Blackburn up last season, complications arose with both injuries that led to more time on the sidelines. After finally playing his first game of the season in mid-November, Thompson found himself a bit-part player, and eventually surplus to requirements when Wigan enquired after his services. The ex-Liverpool player insists all his woes are firmly behind him, and he is 100% fit, and that all he wants to do is play football again. "I enjoyed myself at Middlesbrough, and I could have done without the recent break while the lads have played," said Thompson. "But I think I showed at Middlesbrough just how much I enjoyed it, being part of the team and feeling wanted. It does your confidence the world of good. "At Blackburn I was training, but not getting enough football at the weekends. Here I'm training all week and I'm getting games. "I just want to get out and play, start scoring goals and enjoy my football. "It's not about wanting to prove anything, even though I've had my injury problems. But everything is fit and my body works."
If Thompson's body continues to work then there is every chance he will be rewarded with a longer deal, particularly if he continues to reproduce the kind of performance witnessed at The Riverside.
Manager Paul Jewell should have captain Arjan de Zeeuw back after a three-match absence with an ankle problem.
Postsoapbox, icLiverpool & Daily Post
Jan 31 2006
I WAS shocked by the attendance on Saturday (29,742). I suspect some people can't afford the high ticket price, and I also some expected Everton to lose. It doesn't take a genius to work out the future of clubs like Chelsea, Arsenal and Man United. What damage has and will be done to our game, I am not sure. I personally think it can only be change by supporters of all clubs collectively demonstrating against these greedy clubs.
Rob Camden (via e-mail)
WE'VE got more options up front than people think. Leon Osman has played well as a link-man. Andy van der Meyde has played many games there and James McFadden showed he can do a job as well.
Of course, we've got Beattie and Dunc with James Vaughan still to come back. Another striker would be great but it won't be a dis-aster if we don't get one.
Paul Henry (via e-mail)
We need players
WHAT is Moyes on about: "I'm not going to bring anyone in just for the sake of it"? We have six players unavailable to us and we can hardly put out a team - wake up, we need numbers now.
Phil Mahon, Liverpool
Give us Hassel
I'VE heard Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink is joining Fulham. We should move for him. What do we want? We need a striker and have to continue looking right up until midnight tonight.
C Lyons (via e-mail)
DAVID MOYES is not a good manager. This was supposed to be our best ever year since the Howard Kendall days, and just look how it has turned out so far. Crowd trouble Because Moyes did not sign a striker of any sort we are out of Europe. He has just sold two of our squad. And now he is dithering again and has said he would rather play Andy van der Meyde as a striker if he cant get anybody to fit the mould.
Paul Goodwin, Liverpool
ROLL on the FA Cup replay. I think we have a good chance of beating Chelsea. Crowd trouble We gave them a good go with our reserves and if we are at full strength we can do them and then it's Colchester. I hope we meet Liverpool in the final and stuff them - it would be bliss. Crowd trouble It's a long way to go before then but let's keep dreaming.
Graham Jones (via e-mail)
AM I the only person irritated by the BBC's choice of Cup games? Liverpool in each round? Did the nation really want to watch them play Portsmouth or Newcastle play Cheltenham? Who can we complain to? After all, we have to pay for a TV licence.
C Paxton, Waterloo
Season starts here
Jan 31 2006 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES believes his Everton players are now ready to turn a stuttering season into a successful one. And he is ready to take that step without the addition of any new faces to his squad.
The Blues boss rejected reports today that he was on the brink of signing Preston's David Nugent for £3m. "That's not true," he said, "but we are trying very, very hard to bring in a face or two.
"It's not looking likely at the moment. As I said at the weekend I'm not going to bring in someone who will make us feel good for three days, but ultimately leave us disappointed. But we're trying."
A striker remains Moyes' priority, but the transfer window closes at midnight tonight - after the Blues trip to Wigan where another win would take Everton to within five points of the sixth-placed Carling Cup finalists. Moyes has been thrilled with the way key members of his squad have found form after a slow start and while he does not wish to tempt fate, Moyes senses they are not prepared to let all their recent hard work go to waste. "If we keep the run going that we've been on, hopefully we can have a terrific season and say look at the strength of the players for coming through after the start they've had," said Moyes. "We have got to look at it that way. But we'd hate to talk about it because we know if we lost a few games, we'd be down there fighting at the bottom.
"If we keep the run going, however, we'll certainly be looking at the top half of the table.
"I do believe with new players coming to a club, it takes time for them to settle and we made a few changes. It might have been the group from last year found it difficult to get themselves up and running." Though Alan Stubbs and Tim Cahill will return to the squad tonight after missing Saturday's FA Cup tie with Chelsea, Moyes is sweating on the fitness of James Beattie (calf), James McFadden (shin and broken nose) and the hamstrung Matteo Ferrari. There have been suggestions that Beattie could be set for a month on the sidelines with his injury but Moyes was quick to ease fears, insisting the in-form striker has every chance of being selected tonight. "I'm hoping he is going to be fit," said Moyes. "We'll see how he is. As for James McFadden, he came in on Sunday and seemed okay in himself. It's just a case of seeing how his shin will be after the stitches. "I don't think his nose is that big a problem. It's more his shin. We'll give them both a chance, as we will with Matteo." Having been on the wrong end of a 1-0 scoreline when the sides met at Goodison Park in September, Moyes knows Everton will not have an easy task but has not been surprised by the way Wigan have kept themselves among the Premiership's front runners. "They were used to winning in the Championship, they've kept things going and set standards," said Moyes. "Paul will not let them drop, even now they are in the Premier League. "Paul has proved himself. Not just at Wigan. He proved himself at Bradford, where he did a terrific job."
Consistency is key for modest marvel Martyn
Jan 31 2006 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
ASK Nigel Martyn for a summary of his current form and you will find this normally chatty individual at a loss for words. More at ease plucking crosses from the sky or flinging himself in front of goal bound shots, Everton's goalkeeper shuffles away from any in-depth self analysis. "It's steady and unspectacular, really, but that's the way it's been throughout my career, I think?" offers a man who has notched up 847 career appearances. Hardly. Martyn may be in the twilight of a career that started at Bristol Rovers and has taken him to Goodison Park via Crystal Palace and Leeds but in no way are his powers on the wane. Take his recent performances against Arsenal and Chelsea and the acrobatic saves he made from Freddie Ljungberg, Arjen Robben and Hernan Crespo. While Martyn keeps his own counsel, consider this appraisal, from Phil Neville. "He just keeps churning out top class performances," Neville observed. "In terms of his consistency and performances, he is up there with the very best. "Against Arsenal he made two outstanding saves in the first half. Beats got a lot of the credit and rightly so but Nigel kept us in the game early on. "He did it against Chelsea but he has been doing it all season. He is a great professional and we are glad he's on our side. Nigel is one of those characters. You wouldn't think he's the age he is because he's so bubbly and great to have around the place. "He's great for team spirit and the lads love him. There certainly hasn't been any talk around the club that this is going to be Nigel's last season." Martyn, whose current deal expires in the summer, reached a century of games for Everton last Saturday in the pulsating FA Cup tie against Chelsea and will set out on the road to 200 at Wigan Athletic this evening. Whether he reaches that milestone remains to be seen and it is not something the one time England international will contemplate as at present, the only thing on his mind is taking three points at the JJB Stadium. Unbeaten in seven games, Everton have made an eyecatching start to 2006 and are finally heading in the right direction. Short on squad numbers but high on belief, the Blues are gaining confidence with each game. That said, Paul Jewell's side - fresh from booking a place in next month's Carling Cup final - will provide another stern test and Martyn needs no reminding of the score when Everton faced Wigan last September. "We'll see how many more games I can rack up," said Martyn, who has more than repaid the nominal fee it cost David Moyes to take him from Leeds United in September 2003. "Wigan is the next one for us. They came and did a bit of a job on us here when we played them [and lost 1-0] but we were probably at our lowest ebb then, really. "They won't have the same sort of team playing against them this time. We will be up for it and want to continue pushing up the league. "The confidence is there because we are on a run of results. We haven't got a big squad and we are down to our bare bones. "But it happens to everyone. Confidence is building and you could see that some of our passing was very good. To do it against Chelsea is a good sign." There was, nevertheless, a sense of disappointment in the dressing room afterwards that Everton were pegged back and while many will feel Chelsea are certainties to book a fifth round date against Colchester United, Martyn does not agree. "We weathered it but you can't keep quality players down that long and they managed to get a goal," he reflected. "We knew they would make changes and come at us. "But our performance was very similar to the one against Arsenal. We put a lot of crosses in the box and Faddy popped up with a great header. "We are disappointed to have conceded the goal so late but of course we are still in the tie. We won't be going there to lie down. We know it's going to be hard. "We'll go there and give it our best shot. There's no point trying to be safe and trying not to lose by too many. It's a cup competition and we'll give it a go. "We've drawn twice against Chelsea and I don't particularly think they enjoy playing against us. That bodes well. We'll make it and and they know we'll come at them."
Blues may face giant killers
Jan 31 2006 By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
EVERTON will entertain League One giantkillers Colchester United should they overcome Chelsea in next Wednesday's replay after their 1-1 draw at Goodison on Saturday. The Blues have only ever met Colchester once before, winning 5-0 in an FA Cup fifth round tie in 1971. Colchester's FA Cup hero Neil Danns feels yesterday's fifth-round draw has put him in a no-lose situation. Phil Parkinson's League One high-flyers beat Derby at the weekend 3-1, with scouser Danns scoring two of his side's priceless cup goals. Boyhood Liverpool fan Danns had his fingers crossed for a trip to Anfield, but he is relishing the opportunity to run out in front of the blue half of Merseyside or against Jose Mourinho's all-stars at Stamford Bridge. "I can't lose with this draw," said 23-year-old Danns, who is among the competition's top scorers with five goals. "If Everton get through then I get to go back to Merseyside to take on the other half of the city - and some of my mates are Everton fans too. "But I would also love to be able to pit my wits against the likes of Frank Lampard in a match like this. "You want to be able to test yourself against the best in the game and, if Chelsea get through, then that would be a great opportunity." Former Blackburn trainee Danns is rivalling England star Lampard in the goalscoring stakes this season, having hit 13 compared to the England star's 15. And he admits the club's cup run is the icing on the cake of an incredible season that has seen the Us win 18 of their last 20 matches to sit pretty in second place in League One. "There is no stopping us at the moment and this season just keeps getting better and better and has thrown up some great moments. This is just another one of those," he added.. "The media attention has been great and if the gaffer wants to add some fresh faces in the loan market, players won't see us as little old Colchester anymore and would love to join a club that is doing as well as we are." THE draw for the fifth round of the FA Cup: Preston or Crystal Palace v Coventry or Middlesbrough, Newcastle Utd v Southampton, Aston Villa v Manchester City, Everton or Chelsea v Colchester, Charlton v Brentford, Liverpool v Man Utd, Bolton v West Ham, Stoke v Reading or Birmingham. Ties to be played weekend of February 18/19.
Liverpool into last eight as Blues crash out to Leeds
Jan 31 2006 Women'S Football By Paul Garrity, Liverpool Echo
THERE were mixed fortunes for local sides in the Women's FA Cup. Everton crashed out of the competition after a hat-trick from veteran Leeds striker Karen Walker. The Blues had their chances to take the lead on a tricky surface. The best of which fell to defender Fern Whelan, but her header flew past the post. Walker opening the scoring after 22 minutes when she was left unmarked to head the ball home at the far post. Early in the second half Michelle Evans, Kelly McDougall and Jody Handley all missed chances to equalise as the Blues exerted some pressure. But against the run of play Walker slid home her second of the game as she poked the ball past Rachel Brown.
Everton captain Leanne Duffy saw her 20-yard shot deflect narrowly wide before Walker grabbed her third, heading the ball home under pressure at the far post. Amy McCann's late goal was only a consolation and the dream of a second final in two seasons is now over for Mo Marley's side. Meanwhile, Liverpool progressed to the quarter-finals and will face Newcastle United after their 3-2 win over Barnet. Keith Cliffe's side didn't enjoy the best of starts as Stacey Sowdon put the hosts ahead after 10 minutes but Louise Hastie's header equalised before the break. Sowdon netted her second after the break but Reds midfielder Gill Hart made it 2-2 with a fine left-footed strike. Fellow midfielder Jo Edwards then secured the Reds' win when she slotted the ball past the keeper from eight yards. Meanwhile, Tranmere were in league action and they continued their excellent form by defeating Lincoln City 3-1. Debbie Cartmel opened the scoring for Rovers but their lead lasted just ten minutes as Lincoln equalised. Vicky Abbot then restored Rovers' advantage with yet another goal to add to her collection. Sue Kenwright made the game safe 12 minutes from time. Shirley Waring's Tranmere side are now third in the Northern Division. Everton travel to Chelsea this Sunday, while Liverpool host Wolves (Gayton Park, 2pm). Tranmere are at home to Blackburn Rovers (Poulton Victoria FC, 2pm).
Award is a legacy to Dixie's virtues
Jan 31 2006 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
THE Dixie Dean Memorial Award was created in 1980, just months after the death of the greatest goalscorer in British football history. But more than merely celebrate his sporting achievement, the award was initiated as a lasting legacy to his sportsmanship and discipline. And next week at the ECHO's Merseyside Sports Personality of the Year Awards night, it will be presented to someone who embodies all of Dixie's amazing virtues. Throughout his 431 match Everton career, Dean was never cautioned, sent-off or even spoken to by a referee . . . apart from the occasion when Dean asked Lol Harper what he had in his mouth, and when the official answered "a peppermint," he asked if he had one for him! That impeccable record ensured that when the original judges gathered to select the first Dixie Dean Award winner, "Services for football in the finest tradition" were declared the qualities most relevant to their decision. As a result that great gentleman of Anfield, Ian Callaghan, was the recipient. The 24 winners who followed Callagahan reflect a who's who of some of the most respected names in football. Colin Harvey, Joe Fagan, Alan Hansen, Kevin Ratcliffe, Dave Hickson, Ian Rush, Brian Labone, Alan Ball, Dave Watson, Graeme Sharp, Phil Thompson, Alex Young and Howard Kendall have all had their names etched onto its base. And it isn't just Everton and Liverpool who have been represented. Dean, of course, kicked off his career at Prenton Park, and Tranmere Rovers' winners include Ray Mathias, Johnny King, Eric Nixon and Stevie Mungall. Last year's recipient was Neville Southall and he was both moved and thrilled to accept the award. "I was lucky that I got a club, manager and coaches who were right for me," he said after collecting the trophy from Howard Kendall at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. "If I had gone to another club I don't think I would have been anywhere near what I was. I was meant for the club. "It was something I wouldn't have found at another club. When I went to Stoke I couldn't feel anything for the club. It was like living in the backyard and not being allowed in the house. "Everton was my home and I was lucky. There are Everton players and there are nonEverton players. It was the club which made me the player I was."
The great Dixie Dean would have understood such passion for the club.
* SPORTECH is very proud to once again sponsor the Dixie Dean Memorial Award. After his retirement, Dixie actually worked for our Littlewoods Pools business where fellow workers remembered him as a quiet, unassuming man. However, Dixie undoubtedly loved his football and so do we. From the glamour of being the first ever sponsor of the FA Cup to the huge financial support for the grassroots game, Sportech, through the football pools, has been one of football's biggest fans. Over £400m has been given to football, including £100m to clubs to help make grounds safer for fans, while good causes and sport generally has also benefited from our direct funding. Sportech's gaming business, located in Liverpool, has broadened significantly, but football remains central to our strategy. Over half a million people enjoy playing our football pools every week and in this World Cup year we intend to re-present this famous and very popular game to the British public and overseas football fans.