Villa chase Gravesen
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Jul 1 2002
EVERTON midfielder Thomas Gravesen has emerged as a summer transfer target for Aston Villa - as the Blues face a battle with Newcastle United to sign Gary Breen. Gravesen was a star performer for Denmark during last month's World Cup, helping his country to eliminate France before succumbing to England in the second round. And his displays have caught the eye of Villa boss Graham Taylor, who is thought to be pondering a £5million bid for the player, to replace wantaway George Boateng. The Blues report back to preseason training today with boss David Moyes looking to complete a triple transfer swoop. Everton continue to chase the signature of Republic of Ireland international Gary Breen, with the central defender set for further talks at Goodison in the coming week. But their hopes of securing a swift deal with the 28-year-old were complicated last night with the news Newcastle have also held discussions with the player, who has been without a club since his contract with Coventry City expired at the end of last season. The Blues are also near to completing a deal for USA World Cup star Brian McBride. However, a swap deal involving Joe-Max Moore is currently hampered by an injury to the Everton player. And Moyes remains hopeful of taking goalkeeper Mart Poom from Derby County, with Leicester City's Ian Walker an alternative target.
Tom's here to stay
Jul 1 2002 By David Gravesen, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has issued a 'hands off' warning to Aston Villa as the Midlanders have once again been linked with a swoop for Thomas Gravesen. With Villa midfielder George Boateng unsettled, manager Graham Taylor is reported to be preparing a £5m bid for Everton's Danish World Cup star. Moyes, however, will discourage any interest. "I have been impressed with Tommy Gravesen ever since I came here," he said. "And I was very impressed with his performances in the World Cup.
"I have spoken to him since then and I have a very good relationship with him. "I also have a very good relationship with Graham Taylor and if he was going to make an offer or was even considering one I would have thought he would speak to me first - and I can say, hand on heart, that hasn't happened." The bulk of Everton's first team squad reported back to Bellefield this morning for an earlier then usual return to pre-season training. But Gravesen and fellow World Cup players Niclas Alexandersson, Tobias Linderoth, Lee Carsley and Joe-Max Moore will not be asked to report back for another fortnight. "I want them to have a full month off and feel that they have had a decent break," explained Moyes. The Blues' boss will try to add to his playing staff this week, with a goalkeeper still the priority. But with Derby still refusing to budge on their £5m asking price for Mart Poom he is ready to divert his attentions elsewhere. Defender Gary Breen is expected to give a decision on his furture this week but Newcastle are now reported to have joined Everton, West ham and Charlton in chasing his signature. Alex Nyarko, meanwhile, who has joined Paris St Germain onloan until January, has spoken to a Parisian newspaper about the mistake he made in joining Everton two years ago. "It was my fault," he declared. "I just did not make the right choice. I was in Lens and I left too fast. "In England I experienced the worst time of my life. People simply were against me and my family. I was just considered as the 'Black guy who was married to a white woman.' "I love human beings and I put up with it without complaining. I did not want to hurt anyone. "I kept everything inside me and one day it had to come out."
Blues soccer courses
Jul 1 2002 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON'S hugely popular summer soccer camps --every course this year sold out - is offering four more opportunities for youngsters to hone their football skills. Courses in Allerton, West Derby, Maghull and Formby are available for boys and girls between five and 15 years old. All courses costs £35 (including a goodie bag) and last three days from 10am to 2pm. Those youngsters who show extra talent could be offered places at Everton's Youth Academy. The courses are: 22-24 July, Wyncote Playing Fields, Allerton; 29-31 July, St Edward's College, West Derby; 5-7 August, Maghull Town Hall, Maghull; 28-30 August, Deansgate Lane, Formby. To book places contact Everton's Football in the Community Office on 0151-330-2307.
Weir boost for Blues
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jul 2 2002
DAVID WEIR ended months of speculation surrounding his Everton future last night when he became David Moyes' first 'signing' of the summer. The Blues defender has agreed a new and improved three-year deal with the Blues that will keep him at Goodison until 2005 and quash rival clubs' interest in the influential 32-year-old. Manchester United were one of a number of Premiership sides to spy on the Scottish international last season, when he enjoyed another outstanding campaign. But Weir's decision to remain at Everton - he will sign the contract later this week - provides manager Moyes with a major boost as his search for defensive cover continues.
The new deal for Weir, who reported back for pre-season training with the majority of Everton's senior squad yesterday, replaces the contract he signed two years ago. And Moyes said: "It is good news because his performances last season and prior to that have been very good. "When you look round centrehalves are hard to come by, especially good ones, so we are glad that David has agreed to put pento-paper on a new contract. "He is the sort of person you want around the place, he is an excellent ambassador for the club as well as being a very good player." Moyes hopes to strengthen his squad before the Blues head for their Austrian training camp next week - and could have news on his two defensive targets within days. The Blues boss has so far been frustrated in his attempts to land Mart Poom from Derby, with the two clubs still unable to agree a fee for the Estonian keeper.
Moyes hopes a compromise deal can be reached soon for Poom, and also expects a decision from Gary Breen over his future this week. The Republic of Ireland international, out of contract at Coventry City, has been linked with a move to Newcastle since holding talks with Everton officials last week. But the Blues remain confident of clinching a deal for the 28-yearold and are hopeful of a decision by Friday. Everton, meanwhile, have officially appointed David Harrison as their new club secretary. Harrison, 30, joined the club in 1995 and worked in the ticket office before becoming assistant secretary to Michael Dunford three years later. Dunford, now Everton's chief executive, said: "David has now served what could be described as his 'apprenticeship' and fully deserves this appointment. We all wish him every success in his new role."
Weir: I'd like to end my career with Blues
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jul 3 2002
DAVID WEIR last night put pen to paper on his new Everton contract - then revealed he wants to finish his career at Goodison Park. The popular defender signed a three-year contract extension that ties him to the club until the age of 35. And as he admitted the Blues support had played a big part in his decision to stay, Weir also revealed he hopes this Everton contract is not his last. "I'm very happy and I'm very pleased to extend my contract. It's brilliant," the Scottish international said.
"I'd like to end my career here, but I'd like it to be a bit later than 35! "I want to play as long as I can, and as long as I can stay fit and healthy and play well then that will be the case. "Hopefully I can get better and help the team to get better because that's what it's all about." Weir had been linked with a move to Manchester United after it was revealed Sir Alex Ferguson had monitored the defender's impressive form at Goodison. But the 32-year-old said: "That was nothing to do with me because I never wanted to leave anyway. "The crowd have been fantastic with me. "They made me feel very welcome from day one and that obviously helps and it's a big part of the decision." Meanwhile, Blues boss David Moyes is currently giving promising young Jamaican international Omar Daley a two-week trial which, if successful, could lead to a permanent move to Merseyside. The 21-year-old central midfielder plays for Hazard United in the Caribbean and would not cost Everton a sizeable fee. Everton's Premiership game at Aston Villa, originally scheduled for Saturday, September 21, has been put back 23 hours for pay-per-view television. The game at Villa Park will now take place on Sunday, September 22 with a 2pm kick-off.
Make your mind up time
Jul 3 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON have given Gary Breen a 24-hour deadline to decide his future. Blues boss David Moyes wants a decision from the Irish World Cup star by tomorrow, or he will divert his transfer attentions elsewhere. Goodison officials spoke to the free agent last week, but the player has also had talks with other clubs. Newcastle have declared they do not want to sign the 28-year-old, but West Ham and Charlton are reported to be interested. Moyes, however, wants the deal tied up as quickly as possible, so he can then concentrate his efforts on using his remaining resources to sign a goalkeeper. He is becoming frustrated by the delay and will carry out his threat to look elsewhere if there is no contact from Breen by tomorrow. The Blues have rubbished reports, meanwhile, that French midfielder Edouard Cisse will form part of the Alex Nyarko deal when his loan to Paris St Germain becomes permanent in January. "The deal with PSG does not include any other players," said Chief Executive Michael Dunford. Defender David Weir is expected to sign a new three-year contract later this week, tying him to Everton until 2005.
Weir: I'd like to end my career with Blues
Jul 3 2002 By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
DAVID WEIR last night put pen to paper on his new Everton contract - then revealed he wants to finish his career at Goodison Park. The popular defender signed a three-year contract extension that ties him to the club until the age of 35. And as he admitted the Blues support had played a big part in his decision to stay, Weir also revealed he hopes this Everton contract is not his last.
"I'm very happy and I'm very pleased to extend my contract. It's brilliant," the Scottish international said. "I'd like to end my career here, but I'd like it to be a bit later than 35! "I want to play as long as I can, and as long as I can stay fit and healthy and play well then that will be the case.
"Hopefully I can get better and help the team to get better because that's what it's all about."
Weir had been linked with a move to Manchester United after it was revealed Sir Alex Ferguson had monitored the defender's impressive form at Goodison. But the 32-year-old said: "That was nothing to do with me because I never wanted to leave anyway. "The crowd have been fantastic with me.
"They made me feel very welcome from day one and that obviously helps and it's a big part of the decision." Meanwhile, Blues boss David Moyes is currently giving promising young Jamaican international Omar Daley a two-week trial which, if successful, could lead to a permanent move to Merseyside. The 21-year-old central midfielder plays for Hazard United in the Caribbean and would not cost Everton a sizeable fee. Everton's Premiership game at Aston Villa, originally scheduled for Saturday, September 21, has been put back 23 hours for pay-per-view television. The game at Villa Park will now take place on Sunday, September 22 with a 2pm kick-off.
Blues pull plug on Breen Move
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jul 4 2002
DAVID MOYES' search for his first Everton signing goes on after the Blues last night pulled out of the chase for Gary Breen. Goodison officials made a final attempt to reach agreement with the Republic of Ireland defender yesterday, meeting his representatives for a second time in a bid to secure a Bosman transfer to Merseyside. But negotiations floundered over the player's personal demands - and Everton ultimately decided to switch their attentions elsewhere. Blues boss Moyes, frustrated by delays in his transfer dealings this summer, had demanded a final answer from the 28-year-old on his future after Newcastle, West Ham and Charlton all joined the race for the World Cup star's signature. And though Breen was keen on a move to Goodison Park after seeing out his contract at Coventry City, the Blues refused to bow to his demands. Moyes must now continue his exhaustive search to bring in new faces ahead of next week's training camp in Austria, with Derby County keeper Mart Poom still in his sights. Everton have had one bid rejected by the relegated Rams and, though they have not increased their offer as yet, hope the financial pressures at Pride Park will force Derby's hand. Released winger Jesper Blomqvist, meanwhile, has revealed the reason for his Everton exit as he struggles in his search for a new club. The former AC Milan and Manchester United midfielder has so far failed to fix up a move for next season, two months after Moyes informed him his contract would not be extended at Goodison Park. And as he declared an interest in staying in England next season, Blomqvist - who made 17 appearances for Everton last season - admitted his preferred choice would have been the Blues. The Swede said: "I was having a good time at Everton and I would really have liked to stay, so it was disappointing that I had to leave.
"I was told that there were six left-footed midfield players in the squad and that five of them had long contracts with the club and I have to accept that explanation." Blomqvist had been linked with a move to former club IFK Gothenburg but currently finds himself in limbo. He said: "I haven't received any concrete offers. I would prefer to play in England but I haven't ruled out playing for a Swedish club again. It has been a bit quiet, partly because of the World Cup."
icLiverpool & Daily Post
Jul 4 2002
WHY, oh why have Everton not signed anyone yet? Almost every day now we are being linked with new players but no-one has actually arrived. And while I'm on the subject, why hasn't anyone been sold? We have enough deadwood to re-build the Mary Rose and if funds are tight then we should sell to raise more cash. It's not rocket science now is it?
P Barber, Croxteth
IT'S great to see that Davie Weir is happy to stay with us after months of speculation about his future. While we can question the committment and effort of some of our players, the loyalty and enthusiasm shown by Weir has been second to none since he's been with us. He should be rewarded with the captain's armband as Weir leads by example.
Dave Broxton, Wirral
I HOPE to see Wayne Rooney given a chance this season. We can't afford to bring a decent striker in, but while Nick Chadwick showed promise last season, Rooney could be the answer to all our attacking ills. What have we got to lose? As our joint top scorers only amassed six goals apiece last time round I would suggest not much. Go on Moyes, give the lad a chance.
Peter Bagnall, Liverpool
The big divide
Jul 4 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
WAGE demands in excess of £20,000 a week have forced Everton to ditch their interest in World Cup defender Gary Breen. Blues' officials met the out-of-contract player last night in a final bid to secure his signature. But the parties could not agree terms and Everton have announced their interest is now dead. "We don't want to get involved in a slanging match with Gary Breen," said Chief Executive Michael Dunford. "We made what we believed to be a fair offer, but we were nowhere near what Gary wanted. "We are not prepared to break our pay structure, and after meeting them three times now we can't allow the situation to go on indefinitely. We have now pulled the plug and will look elsewhere." Breen enjoyed a successful World Cup, but was a First Division footballer last season and must now hope that either Charlton or West Ham will meet his personal demands.
Columbus Crew striker Brian McBride, meanwhile, has urged the Major League Soccer authorities, who hold players' contracts in the USA, not to block his potential move to Everton. "If a player decides he wants to go or stay, I would hope the League would want people to be happy," he said.
"That's the only way you are going to get a good player, if he is happy. Every person needs to make his own decision." McBride (left) currently earns £200,000 a year and could double his money with a move to the Premiership. Jesper Blomqvist released by Everton at the end of last season, has still to find a new employer for next season. Training on his own in Umea, he said: "I was having a good time at Everton and I would really have liked to stay, so it was disappointing that I had to leave.
"I was told that there were six left-footed midfield players in the squad and that five of them had long contracts, and I have to accept that explanation. "I haven't received any concrete offers. I would prefer to play in England but I haven't ruled out playing for a Swedish club again. It has been a bit quiet, partly because of the World Cup." The club which does sign the former Milan and Manchester United star will not have to worry about international call-ups. Axed after a solitary appearance for the national side last season, Blomqvist said: "I am not sure if I will ever play for the national side again. It was pretty difficult to take being omitted and I am not properly over it yet."
Vinny Samways, meanwhile, the man whose goal landed the Charity Shield for Everton seven years ago, has left Las Palmas to join Seville. "He is the type of player we wanted, to add experience to the midfield," said Seville sporting director Ramon Gonzalez. "He is a hard worker and we are convinced we have made a great signing." Samways said: "I have left a lot of good friends in The Canaries after spending so many years there. My reasons for leaving are purely professional."
Bakayoko in 'bungs' shock
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jul 5 2002
EVERTON last night distanced themselves from a corruption scandal that has rocked French football.
Former Marseille coach Rolland Courbis was banned from the game indefinitely yesterday over allegations he received illegal payments while in charge of the club. And Everton's name was dragged into the affair after one of the three transfers investigated was revealed as Ibrahima Bakayoko's 1999 departure from Goodison Park. Bakayoko cost the Blues £4.5million from Montpellier in 1998 but returned to France just eight months later for £3.75m following a dismal spell on Merseyside. Everton are not accused of any wrong-doing, and last night refused to comment on the investigation, but the French authorities have come down heavily on Courbis.
Courbis, now in charge of Corsican outfit Ajaccio, spent two days in a Marseille jail this week before being released on bail of £495,000. The coach, who won promotion to the top flight with Ajaccio last season, has vowed to appeal against the ban which comes at the end of a 30-month investigation. Ajaccio president Michel Moretti said: "It's a disgrace. It is not Marseille who have been punished but Ajaccio." Meanwhile, David Moyes has revealed the frustrations and financial limitations surrounding his summer transfer search. The Blues boss is yet to make a signing since replacing Walter Smith in March and this week saw the collapse of Gary Breen's proposed move to Goodison over the player's excessive personal demands. But as he admitted having to scour the bargain basement of the transfer market, Moyes revealed new arrivals are imminent. He said: "We've put in for many players at lots of clubs and asked about them, but either the price or the availability means that a deal isn't going to happen. "So, we keep looking and we keep moving on, but at present we have one or two deals in the pipeline and hopefully they'll come to fruition shortly. "We are doing everything to get the right ones, although with a limited budget you have to try and spread that cash as best you can with several Bosmans, some smaller transfers and some loan situations - which we are also trying to arrange." Moyes added: "I'm probably being offered on average 15 players a day by different agents, but I can only tell you that they're players from all over the world who nobody knows anything about. "The way I do my work is that I like to see the players; I like to know the players, know what I'm getting, so from that point of view, most of them aren't suitable." Despite the disappointment of Breen, a centre-half remains a priority for Moyes.
The Everton manager said: "Gary was one we wanted because he would have given us that addition in the centre-half position because we are a little bit short in that area. "We only really have David Weir and Alan Stubbs, as well as Peter Clarke, and we could have done with some more cover but it wasn't to be." One-time Moyes target Alex Manninger completed a £1m move to Spanish side Espanyol last night.
Days of plastic bags have gone
Jul 5 2002 By Howard Kendall
EVERTON reported back for pre-season training this week. It is almost 40 years since I first reported back for the arduous but invaluable pre-season preparations - and times have certainly changed.
Last week Everton flew to Lyon for fitness assessments ahead of the fitness work proper.
When I was a player at Preston I spent the summers playing cricket to try and keep in shape.
In the 60s players enjoyed long summer breaks, often lasting three months. I was fortunate in that cricket three times a week helped keep my weight down - especially if I managed a couple of good knocks. But some players would return severely overweight and would resort to wearing plastic bags during long runs to shed the extra pounds. Pre-season training then largely consisted of long runs - and many players did not approach them as professionally as most do today. Some players would set off carrying cash - and would catch a bus en route. Others would have pals following us in vans and when the trainer - always on a bike - disappeared round a corner, they would leap on board and shoot past us, giving the thumbs-up as they enjoyed a rest. When I moved to Everton - and Harry Catterick - it was different again. The Catt's way of welcoming the players back to training would be to take them straight down to Ainsdale or Formby beach and run them up sandhills for a week. It was horrible. Any benefits in improved stamina would soon be lost as players were lost to strains and pulls for the second week - or in Alex Young's case blisters the size of 50 pence pieces.
At Birmingham there were no nearby beaches to run along, but the coaching staff would supervise two gruelling running sessions - morning and afternoon. These approaches were almost laid back, however, compared to West Ham's feared fitness coach Frank Burrows. He used to keep a diary - and the entry for the first day of pre-season training every year was always "All players are B@$*!%ds." He liked to refer to it every now and then just to remind him who he was dealing with!
When I became a manager I tried to learn from all of these experiences. Sometimes I would bring the players back earlier than usual - as David Moyes has done this year - then allow them three or four days break to go away with their families again after a fortnight's work. It was just a way of trying to keep them fresh. David is trying to do something similar by taking the players to Austria for a week. I was always a fan of that - and if possible I would try to play all of the pre-season games on foreign soil. Very little significance should be given to the results of pre-season friendlies - but fans don't see it that way. If they see Everton losing to say lower division rivals like Tran-mere Rovers or Wrexham they immediately fear the worst for the coming season. I would much rather play games away from home so that if the results don't go so well, not as much significance can be attached to them because very little is known about the standard of opposition. David Moyes seems to be adopting the same approach - with a couple of games in Austria, three in Scotland and one in Belgium. At the end of the day, though, pre-season is all about fitness. In 1984-85 we enjoyed a good pre-season which culminated in a Charity Shield triumph over Liverpool at Wembley.
We kicked off the season by taking the lead against Tottenham -then lost 4-1 at home!
Breen taking a chance THE breakdown of Gary Breen's proposed move to Everton highlights a situation which could become more and more common in the months ahead. Football clubs are finally discovering financial realities - and refusing to pay inflated salaries as a matter of course.
Gary Breen has taken a chance in turning down Everton. He may find no other clubs prepared to match his demands and would go into the season without a club. That would be an unthinkable situation for a footballer who had been a World Cup hero only a month earlier - but it is a sign of the times. The gravy train is beginning to slow - and the Gary Breen situation is a prime example.
Moyes moves for World cup star
Jul 5 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON are seeking to pull off a summer transfer coup by beating Serie A giants Juventus to the signature of Nigerian World Cup star Joseph Yobo. The Blues have confirmed a strong interest in the 21-year-old, who is available from Marseille for a fee in the region of £3m. But Juventus are among a clutch of other clubs chasing his services. "Yobo is a very good player, probably the best player from Nigeria and I have no doubt he will be the future captain of his country," said Blues' boss David Moyes. "He played in all three games during the World Cup, one at right back, one in central midfield and one at centre-half. That last appearance was against Michael Owen. "He played centre-half for Marseille, but Juventus were looking to sign him as a replacement for Thuram.
"He is young and will improve, and I hope that over the next couple of days we can move a little closer towards signing him." Everton have not yet reached the point where they can speak to the player, but hope to do so over the weekend. A tall, two- footed player, Marseille snapped him up from Standard Liege three years ago, but he spent the final year of his spell at the Stade Velodrome on-loan to Tenerife. He fits the bill perfectly as the kind of youthful, enterprising player Moyes is keen to enlist at Everton. The first African star to play for Everton was also a Nigerian, Daniel Amokachi who signed from FC Bruges in the summer of 1994. He won an FA Cup winners' medal in 1995, famously stepping off the substitutes' bench to score twice in the semi-final.
Blues link up with Chinese
Jul 5 2002 Exclusive By David Prentice
EVERTON will be sponsored by Chinese electronics company Kejian next season. The group, which makes stadium scoreboards, is believed to have signed a £1m deal over two years with the Blues.
The Blues are expected to formally announce the deal next week - but shirts have already been printed bearing the sponsor's new logo. Based in Shenzhen, China, The Kejian Group is described as a key hi-tech enterprise group. They follow Hafnia, NEC, Danka and One2One as Everton's fifth shirt sponsors. The main industry of Kejian is information system construction in China, such as digital communication, information technology applications and electronics. They also construct scoreboards and display systems for stadia and gymnasiums. The Blues, meanwhile, are refusing to comment on the controversy surrounding former Marseille coach Rolland Courbis. Courbis was banned from football indefinitely and placed on bail, after being charged with taking illegal payments during his time in charge of the French club. The investigation, which began 30 months ago, relates to transfers including that of former Everton striker Ibrahima Bakayoko. The Ivory Coast international moved to Marseille in June 1999 from Goodison Park for about £4m after spending only eight months on Merseyside. Courbis has been forced to give up his post as boss of Corsican club Ajaccio after being placed under judicial custody. State prosecutor Yves Lebaut told a Marseille court that Courbis is "banned from professional activities that involve a football club." He has been released on bail of £495,000. Courbis is determined to fight his corner. "It's a bit like a baker banned from making bread for possibly breaking the speed limit," he said.
Blues poised for double swoop
Jul 6 2002 By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
DAVID MOYES is on the verge of his first Everton signings after the Blues launched an audacious double transfer swoop for Joseph Yobo and Mart Poom last night. Goodison officials increased their offer for Poom yesterday in a bid to break the deadlock with Derby County over Moyes' top transfer target. And the Estonian keeper could be joined at Goodison Park by Nigerian World Cup star Yobo, who is now on Merseyside to discuss a possible £5million transfer from Marseille. Moyes moved to pinch the powerful Yobo from under the noses of European giants Juventus after the 21-yearold's proposed switch to the Italian champions stalled earlier this week. Yobo, who played at right back, centre-half and central midfield in the World Cup and marshalled Michael Owen during Nigeria's goalless draw with England, has been earmarked as Lilian Thuram's replacement by Juventus.
But uncertainty over the Frenchman's future in Turin, Yobo's desire to play centre-half rather than Thuram's full-back position and Juventus' intention to initially take the player on loan have opened the way for the Blues. Moyes is desperate to land the Nigerian, a move that will cast doubt over the Everton futures of Steve Watson and Alan Stubbs, and will not baulk at Marseille's £5m asking price.
The fee represents the bulk of the Everton manager's summer transfer budget but as payments to foreign clubs can be spread over the course of a player's contract the deal would not curtail his spending. Yobo , who made 23 appearances for the French club last season, first rose to prominence in Belgian during a three year spell with Standard Liege. And the Blues boss said: "Yobo is a very good player, probably the best from Nigeria. I have no doubt he is a future captain of his country.
"He played centre-half for Marseille, but Juventus were looking to sign him as a replacement for Thuram. "He is young and will improve. I hope over the next couple of days we will move a little closer to signing him." Moyes' frustrating search for a new number one at Goodison Park could also be drawing to an end if Derby accept Everton's second offer for Poom. The Blues' initial bid of around £3m was rejected by the relegated Rams last month but an offer closer to Derby's asking price of £4m , albeit one based on appearances, could finally force County to sell to appease their financiers. Everton, meanwhile, are expected to unveil a new sponsorship deal with Chinese electronics company Kejian next season. Kejian, an information systems construction company who make scoreboards and display systems, are believed to have agreed a two-year deal with the Blues worth £1m. The agreement, Everton's fifth shirt sponsorship deal, is expected to be formally announced next week.
Report By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jul 8 2002
DAVID MOYES' plans for his first full season as Everton manager enter a critical 24-hour period today as he closes in on his two top transfer targets. The Blues boss is hoping for a decision on Joseph Yobo's future after spending the weekend in negotiations with the Nigerian World Cup star over a proposed £5million move to Goodison Park. And Moyes also expects to hear whether his patient wait for Derby keeper Mart Poom has paid off as the financially-troubled Rams consider Everton's latest move for the Estonian international. Yobo returned to France yesterday to weigh up Everton's offer after contract talks and visiting the club's facilities. Marseille's highly-rated defender is a wanted man, with Juventus' bid still on the table and other Premiership clubs, believed to include Arsenal and Newcastle, in the hunt for the 21-year-old. But after moving first for the former Standard Liege man Moyes wants a swift response from Yobo and expects a decision by tonight on whether he has landed his first Goodison signing and a major transfer coup. Derby County officials are also expected to consider the Blues' fresh approach for Poom today, with their financiers increasingly anxious they sell and soften the blow of their Premiership exit. The Everton manager, who made the signing of a new number one his top priority for the summer, is also closing in on United States' striker Brian McBride in what may prove a hectic transfer week at Goodison Park.
McBride, who scored twice for the US in their impressive World Cup campaign, wants a move to the Premiership and is ready to team up with Moyes again, under whom he played on loan at Preston, in a deal worth around £1.5m. The fee also includes the Blues' American international striker Joe-Max Moore, who is set to join Columbus Crew in part-exchange once he recovers from injury. Everton, meanwhile, yesterday unveiled next season's new first team strips - but fans will have to wait until August 30 before snapping them up. The club has launched three new Puma kits, plus two goalkeeper tops, but will not cash in until 13 days into the new season because of delays in securing a sponsorship deal, believed to be with Chinese electronics company Kejian. Ian Ross, Everton's Head of Corporate Affairs, said: "It is regrettable that we are unable to launch the new kit for the beginning of the season. "The delay has been caused by negotiations with regard to a possible new club sponsor - details of which we hope to be able to announce soon." Former Goodison goalkeeper Thomas Myhre has emerged as a free transfer target for Peter Reid at Sunderland. The Norwegian is available on a Bosman deal after his spell with Turkish side Besiktas turned sour and his contract was terminated by mutual consent in May.
Moyes close to signing Yobo
Jul 8 2002 By David Prentice
JOSEPH YOBO is poised to become David Moyes' first Everton signing today. The Blues boss also hopes to follow up with an instant second in the shape of Derby keeper Mart Poom - and he promised that will not be the end of transfer activity at Goodison this summer. Goodison officials will have further talks with Nigerian defender Yobo today, while a board meeting at Derby will discuss an increased Everton offer for their Estonian goalkeeper. But Moyes is also trying to engineer a swap deal with Major League Soccer officials in USA to bring World Cup striker Brian McBride in for Joe-Max Moore. "It promises to be a busy week," said Moyes "and I'm hoping it will not end there. There are two or three other names we are looking at, too." Yobo is close to becoming the first name secured, though, despite interest from Arsenal and Newcastle.
"He is a much sought after commodity," confirmed chief executive Michael Dunford, "but we are working hard to make sure we are successful." Everton have agreed a staggered £5m fee with Marseille, and lodged an improved offer with Derby for goalkeeper Poom over the weekend.
If that fails to tempt the Rams, however, Moyes has played down reports that Slovakian international Kamil Contofalsky has been lined up.
Blues unveil treble
Jul 8 2002 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON have unveiled their new strips for next season - but fans will have to wait until August 30 before they are available. The Blues will use three new kits next term, a traditional blue and white home kit, a white away strip with blue trim similar to one worn in the early 80's - and a black third strip which is figure hugging, even on Scott Gemmill! "Hopefully it will bring us some good luck next season" joked Scott. Ian Ross, Everton's Head of Corporate Affairs and PR, explained the delay in issuing the strips. He said: "The delay has been caused with negotiations with regard to a possible new club sponsor - details of which we hope to announce soon". The name of the new sponsors, Kejian, will be added to the strips before they go on sale.
Moyes set to land star Yobo
Report By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jul 9 2002
EVERTON hope to secure their first summer signing today after renewing their efforts to bring David Moyes' double swoop to Goodison Park. Blues officials held fresh talks with both Joseph Yobo and Marseille yesterday in a bid to beat a host of leading clubs to the 5million signature of the Nigerian-Manager Moyes had sought a decision on the 21-year-old's future by last night as he targets the highly-rated defender for his first Everton acquisition. But despite interest from an increasing number of clubs in Yobo, which has prolonged the Blues boss' wait, Everton remain confident they can pull off a major transfer coup this morning. Arsenal, Tottenham, Newcastle and Juventus have all been linked with the Marseille man but the Blues are hopeful their pursuit will pay off after leading the chase since Yobo's move to the Italian champions stalled last week. And as they await a final decision from the Nigerian, Goodison officials are still waiting to hear whether their increased bid for Mart Poom has finally tempted Derby to sell. World Cup star. County directors held a board meeting yesterday afternoon to discuss Everton's second offer for the Estonian international of around £4m. The Pride Park club are anxious to keep Poom but intense pressure to offload their prize assets should force Derby to give an answer on the Blues' latest bid within 24 hours.
Steve Simonsen, meanwhile, has vowed to fight for his first team place despite manager Moyes' determination to start his first full season in charge with a new number one. The former England under-21 international lost and regained his place from Paul Gerrard last season under the new Goodison chief. And despite doubts about his first team future Simonsen insisted: "If the gaffer wants to bring in a new goalkeeper then that is up to him. "It is up to me and Paul Gerrard to show him that he has two good goalkeepers here and we will keep on fighting to show him and the staff here that we still can do the job. "It is everybody's aim to show the manager throughout preseason that they should be in the team and I will be working my hardest to show that I should be in the team." American international Brian McBride remains in the frame for a £1.5m Goodison switch and Moyes has indicated his transfer hunt will not end even if the bids for Yobo and Poom prove successful. "It promises to be a busy week," said Moyes "and I'm hoping it will not end there. There are two or three other names we are looking at, too."
New-look kit unveiled by Blues
Report By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jul 9 2002
EVERTON have defended the decision to launch their new home kit for one season only as they prepare for a second successive milestone - their 125th anniversary. The Blues have unveiled three new Puma strips for the forthcoming campaign - Everton's 100th in the top flight - but yesterday it was confirmed that one, the Royal Blue home kit, will be replaced next summer. Then, a special edition strip will be launched for the 2003/ 4 season when the Blues celebrate 125 years in existence. Everton's new kit has already hit problems over its launch date due to the delay in securing a sponsorship deal and now its 12-month shelf-life has prompted further criticism from supporters. But last night the club's head of marketing, Andy Oldknow, explained: "I understand the concerns but we are not 125 years every year and we were scheduled to release a new strip for this season. "The 125th anniversary is a significant milestone for the club and supporters want kits to commemorate the event. "We are working on creating some designs which get us as close as possible to the 1966 kits, which our research shows was one of the most popular in the club's history." Oldknow added: "If you compare Everton with other Premiership clubs in terms of pricing and customer relations we fare very favourably." Although the home kit cannot be purchased until the end of August, supporters can pre-order via the club's website, www.evertonfc.tv or mail order on 0151 330 2344.
Moyes' African symbol
Jul 9 2002 By Kevin Ratcliffe
A MANAGER'S first signing always carries more symbolism than significance - but I think David Moyes' first swoop has managed to combine both. Joseph Yobo is a much coveted World Cup star with sufficient talent to be talked about by Juventus as a replacement for Lilian Thuram - and the kind of pace and versatility to make a real difference to Everton's defence. It also suggests that somebody will be making way from last season's rearguard. Under Walter Smith Everton's defending was usually tight and disciplined. But David Moyes clearly wanted to adopt a more adventurous style of play which placed more pressure on his defenders. The answer to whether they reacted well to that pressure can be seen by examining the statistics after David took over - nine games played, a healthy 18 goals scored, but a worrying 22 conceded. Those stats may explain why David has made a defender, and apparently a goalkeeper too, his first priorities in the transfer market this summer. Yobo can play across the back-line, either as a rightback, in his favoured role of central defence, or even as a defensive midfield player. He also fits the profile of the kind of player David Moyes is trying to attract to Everton, young, energetic and with his best years ahead of him.
It sends out the right kind of signals to other players who may be contemplating a move to Goodison - and it's an excellent start to David Moyes' summer spending. I'm sure it won't be the last!
Moyes gets his man
Jul 9 2002 By David Prentice
DAVID MOYES landed his first Everton signing today - but Blues' fans must wait before they can see him in action. The Blues agreed a £5m fee with Marseille late last night and agreed personal terms with Nigerian international Joseph Yobo. The player will formally put pen to paper after undergoing a medical today, but Everton must wait for the results of a work permit application before he can pull on a Royal Blue jersey. This can take up to a fortnight for the Department of Employment to process, meaning Yobo would not be eligible to play on the Blues' mini tour of Austria or the matches in Scotland. Yobo does not quite meet the D of E's criteria of having played in 75 per cent of Nigeria's most recent internationals. But he did play in all three of his country's World Cup matches and is clearly a rising star of African football. Blues' officials hope this will be enough to secure a permit. While Moyes celebrated the capture of Yobo, however, the Blues received another knockback from Derby on Mart Poom, despite increasing their offer beyond £4m. A board meeting at Pride Park yesterday threw out Everton's latest offer, but the Blues have refused to call time on their chase for the Estonian. "Further negotiations will continue today," said a frustrated Moyes.
Everton have also run into difficulties trying to prise Brian McBride away from the USA.
Major League Soccer officials are reluctant to release one of the stars of their successful World Cup campaign and the player will now put pressure on his country's governing body to let him leave.
Gunner Wright is new Moyes target
Jul 10 2002 By David Prentice, Everton Correspondent
EVERTON have targeted Arsenal goalkeeper Richard Wright to fill the Goodison goalkeeping slot after finally losing patience with Derby County over Mart Poom. In a frantic week of transfer activity, David Moyes is also looking to follow up the capture of Joseph Yobo with two international swoops - Brazilian star Juliano Rodrigo and Chinese midfielder Li Tie. Moyes confirmed today: "I have made an enquiry for Richard Wright, but further than that I don't want to say any more."
Wright has not convinced Arsene Wenger he can become the long term successor to David Seaman.
The Blues have signed Nigerian defender Yobo on an initial 12-month deal, with an option for a further four years. The down payment is only £1m, allowing Moyes the financial flexibility to push to £4m for Poom - money which could now be used to fund a Wright bid. Everton owner Bill Kenwright also has a close rapport with Gunners' supremo David Dein which could help negotiations.
Also in the pipeline are moves for two colourful international stars. Li Tie will arrive from Liaoning Bird as part of the imminent sponsorship deal with Chinese Electronics firm Kejian. But the move for Brazilian forward Rodrigo is the most interesting deal. The 26-year-old arrived on Merseyside from Botafogo on Monday night and Everton will take a close look at him over the next two weeks.
He scored 12 goals in 20 appearances for the Brazilian strugglers last season. And Botafogo president Mauro Ney Palmeiro said: "We have to sell players to pay our debts." Yobo completed his 12-month move yesterday and Moyes said: "I am delighted Joseph is here and I am also happy with the terms of the move. "If I had spent £5m straight away on just one player I would certainly not have been able to do anything else in the transfer market. "This way we have greater flexibility. We will see how he settles in with us and he can take a close look at us."
Yobo praise for Moyes
Jul 10 2002 Liverpool Echo
THE persuasive powers of David Moyes were instrumental in the signing of international defender Joseph Yobo. The Nigerian World Cup star formally agreed to tie his immediate future to Everton following protracted negotiations with the Blues boss yesterday, and the defender is delighted to be Moyes' first signing, subject of course to a work permit. "I am very happy to be here at Everton," he said. "For a long time I've wanted to come to England to play in the Premiership, it's a great opportunity and I'm delighted. "I think it's the best league and every good player wants to be in the Premiership and have a taste of what it's like." The capture of one of the most sought after young players in the world game is a coup for Everton, and it is a clear indication of the persuasive powers of Moyes. "He's been great," admitted Joseph. "We've had a lot of talks and he's a great manager."
So, after finally agreeing to join Everton in the face of stiff competition from, amongst others, Italian giants Juventus, the 21-year old will now return home for some much needed recuperation following an extremely hectic period. "It's been a busy summer!" he laughed. "I am going to go back home to Nigeria to see my family and have a little rest before I come back here to join the team.
"It's been a difficult period for me since the World Cup, and even before it, but I always wanted to come to Everton and the Premiership. "I've been told that it's a great club," he added. "I think we can achieve something this season, especially with the team and the manager that is here."
Everton spokesman Ian Ross added: "We have made an application for a work permit. We expect to hear back in seven to 10 days and we are optimistic that we will be successful. "Joseph is David Moyes' first signing since coming to the club and we see his signing as a major coup because since the World Cup there had been interest in Joseph from all over Europe. "This is the news all Everton fans had been waiting to hear."
Everton youngsters back in training
Academy Football By Chris Wright, Daily Post
Jul 10 2002
EVERTON'S Academy youngsters return to training today to prepare for the start of the new FA Premier Academy League season. Many of the players who took Everton to the FA Youth Cup final last season will report today for conditioning tests and will then begin full training tomorrow.
It will be a big year for many of that side, with a number hoping to taste reserve team action on a more regular basis, such as defender Steven Schumacher, goalkeeper Andrew Pettinger, striker Michael Symes and midfielders Alan Moogan, David Carney and Scott Brown. And for talented young striker Wayne Rooney, who is officially only in his first full year as an Academy player, a first-team debut is in the offing. The League fixtures will be published at the end of the month, but some will get their first taste of competitive action after the summer break when an Everton XI travel to Burscough for what is now an annual preseason friendly on Tuesday, July 23. There is then an under-19s fixture with Rochdale on Friday, July 26 and an under-18s game against Tranmere at a venue to be arranged. After another Everton XI visit Chester on Wednesday, July 31, the U19s take on Wrexham on Friday, August 2. A German touring side will provide the opposition on Friday, August 9 for the U18s and two sides (U18s/U19s) will take on Burscough on Tuesday, August 13.
ACADEMY PLAYERS (Season 2002/03): Third year - Steven Beck, Franklyn Colbeck, Martin Crowder, Alan Moogan, Andrew Pettinger, Steven Schumacher, Robert Southern, Michael Symes. Second year - Scott Brown, Alex Cole, Craig Garside, Brian Moogan. First year - Anthony Barry, Robert Booth, Jack Flood, Daniel Fox, Anthony Gerrard, Joseph Jones, Morgan Jones, Gavin Lynch, Damon Martland, James Potter, Wayne Rooney, Colin Thorbinson.
More to come after Yobo swoop
Report By Jonathan Mcevoy, Daily Post
Jul 10 2002
DAVID MOYES is targeting three more stars to bolster Everton's multi-national squad after making Joseph Yobo his first Goodison signing yesterday. The Blues boss beat off competition from Juventus and Arsenal to land the Nigeria World Cup defender and has hailed the £5million transfer, completed after a medical late yesterday afternoon, a major coup. Now Moyes is closing in on China's highlyrated midfielder Li Tie - for a fee which could rise to £2.5m - and Brazilian striker Rodrigo, but could be about to end his interest in long-term target Mart Poom. Moyes is growing increasingly frustrated at Derby's refusal to sanction the Estonian's move to Everton and sources in London last night claimed the Blues boss may make a surprise move for Arsenal's second choice keeper Richard Wright. Defensive midfielder Tie, meanwhile, an international regular since 1998, impressed the watching-Moyes during the World Cup and his likely arrival is tied in to Everton's recent sponsorship deal with Chinese electronics firm Kejian. Everton have been building links in China for the past few months and are keen to land the 24-year-old from Liaoning Bodao, who won't stand in his way. Rodrigo scored 12 goals for strugglers Botafogo in the Brazilian Championship last season - but the cash-strapped South Americans are anxious to sell the 25-year-old to keep the club afloat. The player claims his wages have not been paid for nine months, and club president Mauro Ney Palmeiro paved the way for his departure by saying: "We have to sell players to pay our debts."
Everton, though, could face a three-way tugofwar for his services, with Paris St Germain and Palmeiras also known to be interested in him. Yobo, meanwhile, arrives on Merseyside on a 12-month contract with an option for a further four years. Yobo said: "I am very happy to be here at Everton. For a long time I've wanted to come to England to play in the Premiership. It's a great opportunity and I'm delighted. "I think it's the best league and every good player wants to be in the Premiership and have a taste of what it's like. "David Moyes has been great. We've had a lot of talks and he's a great manager." Yobo added: "It's been a busy summer. I am going to go back home to Nigeria to see my family and have a little rest before I come back here to join the team.
"It's been a difficult period for me since the World Cup, and even before it, but I always always wanted to come to Everton and the Premiership. "I've been told it's a great club. I think we can achieve something this season, especially with the team and the manager we've got." Yobo will not team up with the squad on their pre-season tour of Austria which begins tomorrow pending the outcome of a work permit application. Even though he does not quite meet the Department of Employment's criteria, Everton are hopeful he will be granted a work permit because of his age and the fact that he played in all three of Nigeria's World Cup games in Japan. Everton spokesman Ian Ross said: "Joseph Yobo has agreed to join us on a 12-month contract. "We have made an application for a work permit. We expect to hear back in seven to 10 days and we are optimistic that we will be successful. "Joseph is David Moyes' first signing since coming to the club and we see his signing as a major coup for the club because, since the World Cup, there had been interest in Joseph from all over Europe. "This is the news all Everton fans had been waiting to hear." Now Moyes has landed Yobo, he will step up his efforts to enlist Derby goalkeeper Poom. Everton have so far failed with two bids to prise the Estonia international away from Pride Park. But Moyes is determined to get his man and it is understood an offer of around £4million could be enough to persuade Derby to let Poom go.
Naysmith's Blues fillip
Report By Jonathan Mcevoy, Daily Post
Jul 10 2002
GARY NAYSMITH has handed Everton a pre-season boost by returning to training ahead of schedule.
It had been feared the Scottish international could miss the start of the season after injuring his ankle in the FA Cup win over Crewe Alexandra in February. But the defender is now eyeing a swift return to competitive action after stepping up his preparations at Bellefield. Naysmith said: "It's a bonus for me that I've managed to do all the pre-season training so far with the rest of the boys.
"Four or five weeks ago, I didn't think that was going to be possible. "I'm taking things steadily, one step at a time and I'm not going to push it too much, but I'm happy with the way things are shaping up.”
Ward is new Leigh boss
July 10, 2002
Manchester Evening News
FORMER Everton and Oldham player Mark Ward is the new assistant manager of Conference side Leigh RMI. Ward, who was in charge at Altrincham last season and will also be registered as a player, will work alongside RMI boss Steve Waywell. Waywell said: "Mark is still very fit and eager to play - he will no doubt figure at some stage of the season.'' Ward succeeds Dave Miller and Andy Farrell as No 2 to Waywell, who added: "I'm optimistic for the coming season. I'm looking forward to the campaign and have confidence in my players. We could surprise a few people. "I'm delighted to have Mark as my assistant because he brings with him a wealth of experience."
Moyes: Poom still a target
Jul 11 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON have launched one last bid to prise Mart Poom away from Derby County.
It follows comments attributed to Richard Wright's agent that there was no chance the Arsenal keeper would be joining Everton. Blues' boss David Moyes confirmed he had made an enquiry about the Gunners star yesterday, but the player's agent, Jonathan Barnett, has reportedly thrown out any possibility of his man moving north. Moyes denied any knowledge of such a statement today, but did say his interest in Poom was far from dead. "We are still talking and we are still negotiating," he said. "We hope some progress can be made in that direction." Everton have had a succession of offers rejected for the highly rated Estonian, the latest in the region of £4m. But Moyes is determined to capture a new goalkeeper before the season starts. While first signing Joseph Yobo returned to Nigeria to see his family, Moyes still had two new faces flying out today with them for a pre-season training camp in Austria. Brazilian striker Rodrigo and Jamaican triallist Omar Daley joined the travelling party, and will play some part in two games which have been scheduled against local opposition. The Blues will play on Monday and Tuesday evenings in the Graz region in southern Austria.
Moyes facing Wright poser to clinch deal
Report By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jul 11 2002
DAVID MOYES' powers of persuasion face a major test if he is to convince Richard Wright to quit Arsenal for Everton. The Blues manager yesterday confirmed his interest in England international Wright after losing patience with Derby County's refusal to sanction Mart Poom's departure from Pride Park. Everton had a second offer of around £4million rejected by the Derby directors on Tuesday and Moyes is ready to abandon his pursuit of the 30-yearold Poom entirely if no compromise is reached soon. The Blues boss has identified alternative targets, with Wright high on his hit-list. But with the 21-yearold determined to fight for his place at Highbury, where he has failed to dislodge first choice David Seaman and seen the 38-yearold offered a new contract by Arsene Wenger, Moyes faces some hard bargaining. "We have made an enquiry for Richard Wright," said Moyes, who will at least be encouraged by the Double winners' need to raise capital this summer.
Wright cost the Gunners £6m from Ipswich 12 months ago but the champions are prepared to make a loss on the 21-year-old as they rebuild their ageing defence. The Blues boss, who takes his first team squad to Austria today for a pre-season training camp, added: "I'd like to build a young team here at Everton but we could do with more experience in goal. Mart Poom would give us experience.
"We have made what I consider a fair offer for Poom but I will not pay over the maximum figure I have in mind for him. "We have got one of the targets we wanted now in Joseph Yobo. Hopefully we will also get a keeper plus one or two others. There is a lot going on but these deals do not happen overnight." Moyes is still monitoring Brian McBride's situation with the MLS, who are refusing to release the US international striker, despite running the rule over Brazilian forward Juliano Rodrigo.
The Blues boss is also set to land Chinese midfielder Li Tie on an initial 12-month contract, as part of the imminent sponsorship deal with Chinese electronics company Kejian. Everton, meanwhile, have complained to Anderlecht after the Belgian side announced no tickets would be sold to visiting supporters when the two sides meet on August 6. The Blues were expecting 1,000 tickets for the pre-season friendly, with many fans having already made their travel arrangements. But now Anderlecht insist a ' police order' means no tickets can be sold via Everton due to reconstruction work at the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium. Everton are now attempting to resolve the problem, and new club secretary Dave Harrison said: "We have registered the strongest possible complaint to Anderlecht."
Moyes uses imagination
Exclusive By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jul 11 2002
DAVID MOYES insists it was good housekeeping and not fresh financial restraints at Goodison Park that under- pinned Joseph Yobo's complicated Everton transfer. Despite beating double winners Arsenal and Italian champions Juventus in the hunt for the Nigerian World Cup star, credit for the swoop - described as a "major coup" by the Blues boss - has been tainted with cynicism over the terms of the Yobo deal. Instead of cementing a £5million transfer for the man Marcello Lippi wanted to replace Lilian Thuram at the Stadio Delle Alpi, the Blues have made a down payment of £1m to Marseille to land the 21-year-old for one season. Another four years and an extra £4m will be written into the transfer if Yobo's Everton inauguration next term proves a success.
As Moyes admits, the deal is one of the "imaginative" transfers he must conjure up in order to spread his limited budget around and land an experienced goalkeeper ahead of the August 17 kick off. And at a club where £4.5m flop Alex Nyarko officially remains on the books and massive payoffs to the likes of Slaven Bilic have left a lasting legacy, Yobo's arrival represents a major transfer minus the risks. "The deal couldn't be done any other way," Moyes explained last night. "We've got a limited budget and I've got to be fantastic with my housekeeping if we are going to improve the squad we've got. "I have to be imaginative with transfers. I don't want to use the entire budget on one player, so we have struck a deal where we get Yobo for a year. "If it works out for the player this season we can keep him for another four years. If it doesn't work out then we haven't wasted four or five million and my transfer budget in one go. "This deal eliminates the risk and hopefully people will see it that way."
Moyes closes in on top keeper targets
Report By Andy Hunter In Kapfenberg, Austria
Jul 12 2002
DAVID MOYES hopes to make a breakthrough in his quest for a keeper within 48 hours as Everton train their sights on both Mart Poom and Richard Wright. The Goodison boss arrived at Everton's pre-season training camp in Austria last night still no nearer to completing a deal for a new number one but confident progress will be made this weekend. And as Moyes held out the olive branch to Derby and Poom that Everton's interest in the Estonian has not died yet, the Blues boss confirmed he will continue to track Arsenal keeper Wright despite claims the Gunner was not interested in a move to Goodison. "We have made a fair offer for Mart Poom and it was rejected earlier in the week by Derby," said the Blues boss. "But I wouldn't say the deal was now off. "As for Richard Wright we have made an enquiry but we have not gone so far as to make a bid yet." Both deals, however, hinge on Moyes and Everton overcoming major obstacles. While the problem in landing Poom lies at club level, with cash-strapped County both reluctant to lose the 30-year-old and wanting more than £4million from Everton, any move for Wright rests on the player's willingness to quit the Double winners. Everton have been encouraged by indications Arsene Wenger would be prepared to offload the England international just a year after splashing out £6m for the former Ipswich Town man. Wright would cost a similar fee to Poom but the early signs from the 21-year-old's camp suggest he would reject a transfer-to Everton. Moyes, meanwhile, will use the Austrian camp to run the rule over two more potential targets. Both Brazilian striker Juliano Rodrigo and Jamaican midfielder Omar Daley have joined the Blues at their training base and will use the six-day trip to push their claims for a permanent switch. Rodrigo in particular appears to have a good chance, as he looks to secure a Premiership move from troubled Botofogo, where he has not been paid for nearly 10 months! Moyes said: "Rodrigo has looked bright and sharp but we haven't had a really good look at either of them yet because we have done very little ball work since reporting back."
The Blues are set to play two friendly matches next Monday and Tuesday against local opposition.
Yobo deal a good one for Everton
Jul 12 2002 By Howard Kendall
I WAS delighted to hear that David Moyes had made Joseph Yobo his first Everton signing.
But equally satisfying for me, I think, was the terms of the deal. The fact that Yobo has only committed for 12 months has been perceived in some quarters as some sort of slight to Everton.
I disagree. I think it makes financial and professional sense. Only paying a downpayment of £1m gives David Moyes the flexibility to spread his limited transfer pot to other areas. But it also allows both parties to see how they feel about each other. After the calamitous way in which the Alex Nyarko deal ended - or indeed still haunts Everton - the last thing we wanted was another talented African star who found he couldn't settle in England. This way both parties benefit from the deal.
I have to say I had my reservations, though, when I heard the negotiations were dragging on and that Yobo still had to fulfil the second half of his medical. In the end he was given a clean bill of health and the deal was completed, but it brought to mind a nhumber of my own experiences regarding medicals. When I made Mickey Thomas one of my first Everton signings back in 1981, medical experts warned me against the transfer because of Mickey was suffering from what was described as an enlarged heart. It's not often a manager is concerned by a player having too big a heart! We took the chance on Mickey and although his Goodison career being a shortened one, the career he went on to enjoy at clubs like Manchester United proved that the medical fears were unfounded. The same thing happened with Barry Venison and Andy Gray. When Barry was at Liverpool and Graeme Souness was manager I tried to sign him. Graeme was willing to sell and Barry was willing to come, but the medical threw up a problem which wasn't all that serious. But only months previously we had seen Norman Whiteside retire prematurely through injury and the hierarchy at Goodison were apprehensive about signing players with potential problems.
We didn't go through with the deal, but in order to protect the lad I put out a story that we had failed to agree personal terms. He subsequently went to Newcastle, was made first team captain and earned international recongition for his country, England! That was one who got away. Andy Gray, however, was one we got just right. It was well known in the game when we tried to sign him from Wolves that he had knee problems. In fact our medical advisers told us it would be too risky to sign him. But they suggested that if he worked hard at building his quad muscles up, he could still get through 20-odd games a season, although 40 matches a season would have been unrealistic.
The rest, of course, is history. Sadly I wasn't that fortunate with all of my signings. I took John Ebbrell to Sheffield United and he played half a game before he was forced to retire through injury.
Danny Williamson was another whose signing proved a complete disaster both for the club and the player. In recent years Everton have been fortunate to release players like Francis Jeffers and Michael Ball just before they suffered serious problems. Unfortunately a footballer's medical history i s almost as important these days as his talent. But sometimes you just have to trust to luck.
Whenever I went to watch Trevor Steven at Burnley I was always impressed both with his talent and his stamina. Bob Paisley, my rival boss across the park, also liked the look of him, but he later told me that every time he saw him play he failed to complete the 90 minutes. He didn't think he would be strong enough to play top flight football. That was one I got right . . . happily. Let's hope Joseph Yobo turns out to be equally as influential a signing for David Moyes.
Blues' fan ban anger
Jul 12 2002 By David Prentive, Everton Correspondent
ANGRY Everton officials fly to Belgium on Monday to plead for their fans to be allowed into the pre-season friendly against Anderlecht on August 6. The Belgian club has banned all travelling fans from attending the game, but more than 1,000 Evertonians have already booked flights and planned holidays around the fixture. New club secretary David Harrison and club safety officer Norman Whibley will meet Anderlecht officials next week to seek a solution to the problem. Everton had anticipated an allocation of 1,000 tickets and, at the request of Belgian police, all sales were to be recorded after proof of identity had been provided. But Anderlecht now claim they have been ordered by police to refuse admission to Everton supporters to the game. Everton officials have already pointed out that fans will travel regardless. Anderlecht's Constant Van Den Stock Stadium is currently under-going renovation. Everton kick off their pre-season programme with a light workout against a local team in Austria next Monday, but the chances of a new goalkeeper being on board by then appear to be receding. It appears that an enquiry for Richard Wright was made to try and force the issue over David Moyes' number one priority, Derby goal-keeper Mart Poom. But The Rams are refusing to budge. Derby Chief Executive Keith Loring said: "Everton are keen on Poom and we are keen to keep him. They have gone away to consider the situation and we will see what happens."
Potential signings, the Brazilian Rodrigo and Jamaican international Omar Daley, are both with the Blues in Austria, as is young striker Wayne Rooney, who is enjoying his first prolonged taste of activity with the first team. Youngsters Sean O'Hanlon, Leon Osman and Keith Southern are also with the squad. "We will train hard while we're out here," said Moyes. "There will be morning and afternoon training sessions, then we will go swimming. "The setting helps, too. They will be breathing good, clean air in a pleasant change of scenery, and will all be designed towards working to games which will start next week." The Blues are using a training camp in Kapfenberg.
Evertonian - new issue out now
Jul 12 2002
WELL it's not long now. The World Cup is out of the way and we are already emerged in the optimism of pre-season. But before you pack your overnight bag and head north of the border to Hampden or to Anderlecht to see how the mighty Blues are shaping up, check out this month's edition of The Evertonian. You can now buy your subscription online - click here for details.
You'll know by now that this is the club's 100th season in the top flight and to continue to mark that achievement - this month, we have eight pages dedicated to that. There are exclusive pictures of pre-season training and not-seen-before pictures of all three new kits. And your guide to the new season, who, where and when. AS David Moyes' first signing jets in, we get the lowdown on Nigerian international Joseph Yobo from the man himself, and the man who has put his faith in him.
MOST of us just sat and watched it from afar but five Toffeemen spent the World Cup doing a whole lot more than that. We look at back at their contribution to the strangest competition to date.
DAVID Unsworth will take to the field next month for his testimonial after ten year's service with the club. Will it be the proudest moment of his career to date? We'll find out. A CENTURY of life at the top and still not out. Is there greater cause for us to celebrate than this? Our reflections continue this month as the fans and the club have their say. IT'S been a busy old summer for the gaffer. David Moyes has taken in a bit of the World Cup over in Korea, he's hammered the enquiry hotline in search of new faces and now he's orchestrating his first pre-season at Goodison Park. And that's just scraping the surface. The Blues' boss takes some time out to enlighten us more. LIFE'S still far from rosy for "the other Everton", CD Everton, over in Chile. But we've got some new photos and give you your chance to see their first team kit as we update you on the goings on in South America. FOOTBALL. It's just not cricket. As the willow bat and corky season continues, we go back through the archives to reveal two ex-Blues who liked nothing better than decking themselves out in all white and spending a lazy afternoon in the sun. Plus we speak to new Club Secretary, Dave Harrison, update you on the club's Extra Time study centre and delve into a bit of Eastern Promise .... That should be enough for you for just £1.20!
Stubbs ready to battle it out with Yobo
Jul 13 2002 Liverpool Echo
ALAN STUBBS has thrown down the gauntlet to Everton's new big money capture from Marseille, Joseph Yobo. Stubbs, 30, is the fans' favourite who finally secured his dream move to the club he supported last summer - and enjoyed a successful first season in Royal Blue. But with David Moyes landing a player he has described as "the best player in Nigeria and future captain of his country," together with the continued excellence of player of the season for the past two years, David Weir, Stubbs' position is now under threat. But he remains adamant he will not be the man to make way.
"Obviously someone is going to have to go," he said. " The manager hasn't bought the new man for nothing and you would think he was going to play. "But it happened last year when Abel was here. Abel was a Portuguese international and I managed to get into the team and stay there.
"It's going to be interesting, but I am not the one who makes the decision and I am just going to keep going and trying to prove it should not be me." Stubbs, who was a regular and solid figure in central defence throughout last season, also believes he can be even better this term. He spent the best part of two years on the sidelines with testicular cancer before his move to Goodison, and explained: "I feel as though I will improve because of what went on with me over the two seasons before that. It was always going to take time to get back into the stride of things and hopefully I am on course for that now." But he stressed that his future remained firmly in central defence. Despite experience in midfield for both Bolton and Celtic he said: "I don't think I have midfield as an option any more.
" Whenever I have played in recent years it has been in a flat back four or as part of a back five.
"I have only really played in midfield when the team has been struggling and I've done it for one or two games. "There's too much running anyway!"
Blues go for goals with five strikers
Exclusive Interview By Andy Hunter In Kapfenberg, Austria
Jul 15 2002
IT HAS been attributed to the 'David Moyes effect', the outbreak of cautious optimism that has sent Everton season ticket sales soaring this summer. But one other factor has played a contributory role in the rush, the prospect of that rare Goodison currency of goals. For the first time in living memory an Everton manager can start a season with a wealth of attacking options at his disposal.
Whereas recent campaigns have seen full-backs, free transfer veterans and half-fit forwards asked to paper over the gaping holes in the Everton armoury, Moyes embarks on his first full season in charge with five fit frontmen providing a range of options. Experience, youthful exuberance, power, pace, predatory instincts and raw natural talent abound. There is even the likelihood of a sixth striker arriving before the August 17 kick off. And yet, as the appalling statistics in front of goal last season illustrate and Tomasz Radzinski readily admits, the pressure is now really on to deliver.
While Nick Chadwick and Wayne Rooney provide a young, tantalising support cast, much still depends on the established trio of the Canadian international, Duncan Ferguson and Kevin Campbell if Everton are to make strides in their 100th top flight season. The triumvirate delivered just 16 league goals last term as they all battled with injury and Everton battled for survival as a result.
For Radzinski it represented one of the most frustrating times of his career. The expectation of his £4.5m arrival from Anderlecht and the flashes of quality against Southampton, Liverpool and Arsenal were lost amidst a plethora of fitness problems. And as he aims to make amends this time out, the diminutive dynamo's hopes for the new campaign are both simple and understandable. "My biggest hope for the new season is that it is not anywhere near as bad as the last one," he states.
Continued Radzinski: "I only scored six goals which is bad for a striker and not even close to what I was expecting to get. "With the injury at the start of the season, and then another one in December that kept me out for two months, it certainly wasn't the perfect start I was hoping for. "What I'm wishing for this season is to be injury free. I know if I'm fit and can play from week to week I can build up my performances and then it definitely won't be just six goals from me by the end. "That, hopefully, will help us stop struggling as well. I don't want another season like last year.
"I don't want to be worrying about us dropping into the first division with just five games to go."
Radzinski's optimism may stem from the maxim 'things can only get better' but the new training regime at Everton has also strengthened his belief. "Last season was very frustrating for me," he admitted. "For two years before I came to Everton I was injury-free except for one or two minor muscle problems, but the only thing that ever kept me out of games was suspension.
"I thought all my musc l e problems were behind me when I arrived here but that wasn't the case.
"I don't know why it happened, but the preparation we are doing now is very good, it's improving my fitness and muscles and I don't think the same thing can happen again." And he adds: "When you've been injured you lose a bit of form, get a little out of shape, and by the time you do get closer to full fitness the coach might have had enough of your performances and decided to put somebody else in. "That's normal, we have five strikers now and only two places to play for. "That's what it was like at times for me last season and I don't want a repeat of that." The emergence of the prodigious Rooney and Chadwick, and the arrival of a new coach with his own ideas, has upped the stakes for Radzinski and co. But he said: "In the Premier League you expect to have fierce competition for your place. "I had the same at Anderlecht, but you have to show you are better and deserve to stay in the team once you get your place. "As strikers we are all colleagues, so we don't put each other down, but you've got to show it in training and out on the pitch so the coach chooses you and then try to stay in there every week. "I also think the high-pressure game we play under David can suit me better as well. "We haven't played that many games under the coach so it's hard to tell but in those nine games last season we played with a lot of enthusiasm and I think as an explosive striker I will benefit from a run of games." And like the thousands who have pledged their support for next season, Radzinski shares in the hope that this Everton strikeforce will eliminate opponents and the fear of the drop. "You never know how a season will turn but a good start like we had last season will be great for everyone's confidence and hopefully this time we can build on it throughout the season," he adds. "Hopefully it will be much better for the strikers as well.
"I think we have the talent there to do much better. "We have two very quick strikers in me and Chaddy, one big man in Dunc and Kevin who is a combination of everything, good speed, body, strength and technique. "Then we have Rooney. I still haven't had the pleasure to watch him in action but from what I've seen at this training camp, he can do things with a ball that many people won't learn in a lifetime."
Play it again Duncan
Report By Andy Hunter In Kapfenberg, Austria
Jul 15 2002
DAVID MOYES admits Duncan Ferguson's latest injury worry is a concern as he looks set to hand the big striker another lead role at Everton. The Blues boss is expected to make Ferguson his full-time captain next season after the responsibility rejuvenated his form late last term. But as he challenged his fellow Scot to repeat the flourish that brought four goals in six games under Moyes last season, the Blues boss admitted it was crucial Ferguson first overcomes his latest fitness problem.
The striker is still feeling a slight strain in his lower back that struck last season, despite missing the final three games of the campaign through suspension. And Moyes said: "It is a concern. It's a slight injury he's had since the end of last season and which we hoped would have gone away by now but it is still causing him problems. "He doesn't require any surgery though. It's an injury that will be manageable." Ferguson resumed training at Everton's Austrian training camp this weekend, and should play some part in the Blues' first pre-season friendly tonight against local side SC Bruck.
Moyes added: "Duncan did extremely well for us when I arrived last season. He contributed a great deal to our results at the end, and hopefully that is what we will see again from him this season.
"He had the one setback when he got himself sent off against Bolton but he showed in the other five games what a big influence he can have. In every game there was a gradual improvement in both his fitness and contribution and that is why I'm anxious he gets as fit as possible in pre-season.
"He has missed the odd day so far which is disappointing but hopefully he can complete a full pre-season programme and be ready for the start. "I want him to do as much training as he can and play as much football as he can for us next season. He is important for us." Moyes will give all his available players a run-out tonight, but his hopes of watching Brazilian Rodrigo in action for the first time hang in the balance after the striker sat out training yesterday with an inflamed toe.
"If he doesn't make this game then he should play against Wiez on Tuesday," said the Blues boss, who also has slight doubts over Gary Naysmith, Steve Watson, Scot Gemmill and Alessandro Pistone.
Everton's interest in Mart Poom, meanwhile, appears over after Derby manager John Gregory's weekend declaration that it would take more than £6m to prise the Estonian away from Pride Park.
Moyes has not officially ended the chase for his top two targets, but with Richard Wright unwilling to quit Arsenal for Goodison Park, the Blues boss is set to broaden his goalkeeper search.
* TRANMERE ROVERS midfielder Jason Koumas has again been linked with a move to Goodison but Everton last night denied the speculation.
Moyes may lose striker - his boots don't fit
Jul 15 2002 By David Prentice With The Blues In Austria
EVERTON may be forced to postpone a decision on Brazilian Rodrigo - because of tight football boots! Blues boss David Moyes had hoped to see the Botafogo striker in action during two games arranged at the end of their Austrian training camp. Everton face amateur side SC Bruck this evening, but the Brazilian may not be included in the run-out. "Rodrigo has an infection in his toe from having new boots which are a little tight," explained Moyes. "We'd like to see him play but there's no point if he's not right. "If he can't play over here I would hope that maybe we can keep him until Saturday and see him at Shrewsbury, but that's something I would need to talk to him and his advisors about." The Brazilian, who was on loan at Atletico Mineiro in his home country towards the end of last season, only just missed out on selection for his country's World Cup winning squad.
He has impressed during training, but Moyes wants to see him in competitive action before he is prepared to take his interest any further. Rodrigo is not the only player who will not take part in tonight's training match. "Steve Watson and Gary Naysmith have got tight hamstrings, nothing serious but we probably won't use them," added Moyes. "Scot Gemmill has a slight stomach strain, too. "I'm hoping Duncan Ferguson will be able to take part. He's done the last couple of days training after suffering a slight problem in his lower back earlier in the week, so he should be okay.
"But I am trying to use both games out here as training exercises. We will not be breaking our training routine to accommodate them." While the majority of Everton's squad is back in football action in Austria, the players involved in the World Cup reported back to Bellefield this morning.
Thomas Gravesen, Niclas Alexandersson, Tobias Linderoth, Lee Carsley and Joe-Max Moore have all been given an extended break and started their pre-season preparations today under the guidance of Andy Holden.
Chadwick's goals pledge
Jul 15 2002 Exclusive By David Prentice On Tour With The Blues In Austria
DAVID MOYES has already stressed he expects youthful energy and vibrancy to become the core of the new Everton he is trying to construct. Swoops in the transfer market will help effect that transformation, but in one department the Blues' boss is already blessed. Nick Chadwick and Wayne Rooney are two of the most promising young forwards in the Premiership - and while much of the media profile has already focussed on the immense potential offered by the exciting Rooney, Chadwick has quietly and confidently already staked his claim. He started just one Premiership match last season, which lasted barely 20 minutes before an ankle injury saw him limp off. But already he can point to three League goals pilfered after coming off the substitutes' bench.
"There is no doubt in my mind I can score goals in the Premier League . . . definitely," he declared during a break from Everton's Austrian training camp this week. "I have scored three so far, and the first one came very early for me which was important. If you keep getting a chance to break into the team and you don't score you may not get many chances again. "People keep asking me what it was like to get that first goal against Bolton and the main thing I would say is relief, kowing I'd got that first one out of the way. "I have always scored goals, and different types of goals. My next one was a header against Leicester, although the third was a bit spawny!" That admission about his goal against Blackburn Rovers says as much about Chadwick's modesty as it does his goalscoring talent.
The close range finish, dragged inches over the line with the sole of his boot, may not have troubled the arbiters for ITV's Goal of the Month competition, but the speed of thought and cuteness of execution to cleverly backheel the goal into the corner of the net brought to mind one of the greatest exponents of the art of goalscoring the game has ever seen, Denis Law. His physical strength and red hair have seen John Hartson used as a more frequent comparison, but the end product in each case is exactly the same. Chadwick is very good at putting the ball into the net.
"Some of the lads laugh at me," he said, "because whenever I get the ball the first thing they say I think about it is 'how can I get this ball into the net?' before I'll even think of anything else.
"But I'm chuffed with all my goals." Such single-mindedness is a quality which should be lauded at Everton given the scarcity of prolific goalscorers at Goodison in recent years. No striker has even approached 20 league goals since the days of Andrei Kanchelskis - no-one has actually hit that mark since Gary Lineker. But in Chadwick, and possibly Rooney, the potential is certainly there.
"Even if the gaffer does sign a new striker, competition for forward places is important," Chadwick added. "Kevin and Duncan aren't getting any younger so if I can learn from them and Tomasz hopefully the likes of me and Wayne Rooney can take advantage when they aren't available."
Wayne Rooney. The mere mention of his name has eternally optimistic Evertonians dreaming of a young strike-force which can take Everton on into the millenium. Chadwick, however, admits he knows next to nothing about the 16-year-old prodigy. "People ask me what Wayne is like and I honestly haven't been able to tell them because the first I saw of him was in the FA Youth Cup last season. "He's a few years younger than me and I have never played with him, although I'm sure I will do sooner or later at some level, whether that's the reserves or whatever. "I hope we can gain some sort of understanding and go on and do well." That's for the, hopefully, not too distant future though. Chadwick's ambitions now are more immediate. "I just hope to have a good preseason," he said, "score a few goals and push my claims - not just for a place on the bench but for a place in the starting eleven. "I mean that's what you're in football for. If you are not pushing for a place in the starting eleven you shouldn't even be part of the squad. "I will just do the best I can and what will be, will be."
Blues deny Koumas bid
Jul 16 2002
EVERTON have denied making an official bid for Jason Koumas as rumours abound that the young Tranmere midfielder is on the brink of a move to Goodison, writes Andy Hunter. Blues boss David Moyes has made no secret of his interest in the Prenton Park star but is unwilling to meet Tranmere's £2.5million asking price. With just £5m to spend this summer and a new goalkeeper still a priority, Moyes would swoop if a compromise deal could be reached. But last night he stated: "I've always thought Jason Koumas is a player with massive potential who could be developed further in the Premiership, but we have not made any offer for him." Moyes, whose main target Mart Poom might rescue his Everton transfer by pushing Derby for a move himself this week, has also been linked with Senegal midfielder Khalilou Fadiga. "People have got to realise we have a limit to our transfer budget," added Moyes. "I would certainly be interested in Fadiga because he is an excellent player, but people need to realise what we have to spend and start doing their sums."
Moyes hails striker Rooney
By Andy Hunter In Kapfenberg, Austria
Jul 16 2002
DAVID MOYES predicted a glistening Goodison future for Wayne Rooney last night after the teenage prodigy opened his Everton goals account on his senior debut. The 16-year-old struck what Moyes hopes is the first of many goals in an Everton shirt as his side opened their pre-season programme with victory over Austrian lower league side SC Bruck. Young defender Sean O'Hanlon and Tomasz Radzinski were also on the scoresheet for the Blues, who continue their mini-tour of Austria against FC Wiez tonight. But it was the prodigious Rooney who was centre of attention following his impressive senior bow. Moyes said: "It was nice to see Wayne get his goal. I'm sure the Evertonians here are delighted to have been here for it and, but for a great save from their keeper, he could have had another. "It is his first goal as a professional for Everton, and hope-fully it will be the first of many from him." The Blues boss has vowed to shield Rooney from the glare of publicity as he embarks on his fledgling professional career. He said: "We need to make sure that we protect him in the right way and don't overuse him as he is definitely one for the future. "The situation we have with Wayne means we are not going to build him up and put any more pressure on him than there is already. "We are going to take it step-by-step and use him as carefully as we can." Moyes rested a host of senior stars as a precaution, with Brazilian trialist Rodrigo missing a chance to impress due to an inflamed toe, while Alessandro Pistone was withdrawn with a slight hamstring strain. The Blues boss added: "I thought we did OK in the first half and it could have been six or seven, but we won and we got what we wanted out of the game. "All of the available squad got roughly 45 minutes each, which is what they wanted at this stage." New signing Joseph Yobo, meanwhile, was last night cleared to play for the Blues when he was granted a work permit by the Department of Education and Employment. The 21-year-old Nigerian World Cup star signed a one-year contract last week, which could rise by another four years if the transfer proves successful, and could be in line for a debut at Shrewsbury this Saturday. Everton's head of PR and corporate affairs Ian Ross confirmed: "We are delighted that Joseph Yobo has been granted a work permit to play for Everton until 2007.
"He will return to England later this week to meet up with the Everton squad upon their return to Austria." Everton are expected to unveil their new sponsorship deal with electronics firm Kejian tomorrow morning in a joint news conference at Goodison Park and in China..
SC Bruck 1, Everton 3 (D,Post)
Andy Hunter At The Murinsel Stadion, Daily Post
Jul 16 2002
DAVID MOYES has thrown his protective arms around the prodigious talent that is Wayne Rooney, but as he discovered in the remote backdrops of Austria last night, good news travels too far too fast these days. Everton and their hardy band of supporters were treated to the first glimpse of the remarkable 16-year-old at senior level as Moyes' men opened their pre-season programme against SC Bruck. And, even if it was just against Austrian minnows, he didn't waste the chance to claim star billing. Within 10 seconds of coming on as a second-half substitute, one twist and turn through the home rearguard nearly ended with a fairy-tale start as Rooney's low shot arrowed narrowly wide.
Merely 14 minutes later, the boyhood Blue had notched his first senior strike, with a show of power that belied his youth, a finish that screamed composure and class, and a reaction from others that illustrates why everyone at Everton and on Merseyside should protect him at all costs. As the young striker trotted back to the half-way line, the excitable Austrian tannoy announcer initially stuck to his job description. "Goal number three for Everton, by Wayne Rooney!" he cried. So far so good. But then: "I hear he is the next Alan Shearer!" Cue murmurs of delight from the home crowd, head in the hands from the Blues' management. Not that they don't recognise the gift at their disposal, of course, granting Rooney the number 18 shirt vacated by Paul Gascoigne - but with the promise of a far greater return. But they know, and Evertonians have already discovered to their cost over the last decade, that young emerging talent at Goodison Park does not need the burden of expectation blocking its route to the top. Encouragingly, the hopes that follow Rooney, mobbed as he left the pitch last night, are based on his genuine, audacious talent and mature, focused personality - rather than just the Blues' desperate need for a hero. Fingers crossed, touch wood, grab some lucky heather, whatever; Rooney can give them what they want - in time, with patience and with guidance. The only worry of a comfortable night for Everton came when a drunken, deranged local with a gargantuan grudge accosted the club's Press officer, seeking retribution for "Rapid Wien, 1985!" Amusing as it was for the rest of us, Austria's bitterness at least put matters into perspective: Wayne Rooney wasn't even born when Howard Kendall's men beat Vienna's finest in the European Cup Winners' Cup final. Very scary indeed. His 59 th-minute strike, latching on to fellow youngster Keith Southern's long ball, brushing aside a stocky centre-half, then turning him inside out before dispatching a cool finish past the Bruck keeper, capped Everton's first Austrian run-out. More an opportunity for the Blues to try out their new boots than test their Premiership resolve, this was never the sternest assignment for Moyes' squad, but a win is a win after all. Which one Evertonian in particular will be thrilled about. The Blues' 50-strong support was swelled by two fans from Germany, one of whom travels to four games a season and has not witnessed an Everton victory since 1996! That's what you call devotion, or a total jinx. With Brazilian striker Rodrigo lengthening the odds of securing a permanent move to Goodison by missing out with an inflamed toe - apparently, the result of tight football boots - Omar Daley was left to press his claims as Everton's sole trialist. Ten days into his trial period with the Blues, the Jamaican international seems unlikely to be added to Moyes' first-team pool next season. But within a minute of kick-off, he sprung too life with a deft back-heeled turn, a neat one-two with Kevin Campbell and a low shot that cannoned off the foot of the post. Campbell and strike partner Tomasz Radzinski jointly wasted an excellent opening when they failed to connect with Idan Tal's low cross along the six-yard box, but on the quarter-hour Sean O'Hanlon regis-tered the Blues' first goal of the summer. Leon Osman's corner was inviting, and the young defender from Formby glanced a header into the bottom corner.
Five minutes later Radzinski made amends for hitting Bruck keeper Abl rather than the back of the net in a one-on-one when he deflected home Campbell's header from a Daley cross with his knee.
Half-time brought the customary procession of changes and the long-awaited introduction of Rooney who, as well as his goal, flashed one 20-yard shot inches wide and was denied by a superb stop after excelerating clear. Bruck's Andy Huber slotted home a 66th-minute consolation as Everton were caught on the break, which is precisely what David Moyes will be asking tannoy announcers to give Wayne Rooney in future.
EVERTON: Simonsen (Gerrard 45); Hibbert (Clarke 45), O'Hanlon, Weir (Stubbs 45), Pistone (McLeod 24); Daley (Osman 71), Osman (Southern 45), Pembridge (Unsworth 45), Tal (Pilkington 45); Campbell (Chadwick 45), Radzinski (Rooney 45).
SC Bruck 1, Everton 3 (Echo)
By David Prentice, With Everton In Austria
Jul 16 2002
EVEN the irritatingly informative tannoy announcer understood the significance of the moment.
"The third Everton goal is scored by Wayne Rooney, who many believe will be England's next Alan Shearer!" he yodelled in the way only Austrians can. A 3-1 stroll in the Styrian sunshine against a fifth division side made up of shop-keepers, bricklayers, electricians and office workers was little more than another training exercise for David Moyes' men. But the first goal registered by the 16-year-old striker in a senior jersey gave the evening an unexpected edge. Earlier strikes from Sean O'Hanlon and Tomasz Radzinski had passed off with barely a murmur from Everton's redoubtable band of travelling Blues. But Rooney's goal raised a cheer. A small one, admittedly, as they put down plastic cups full of Gosser beer to applaud, but a cheer nonetheless. It was a goal worthy of celebration - and not dissimilar to the kind of swashbuckling strike Shearer has made his trademark.
Keith Southern's forward pass was penetrating, but an Austrian defender just about had half-ayard's advantage. Rooney's explosive pace cancelled out that advantage. His belligerent strength steered the ball away from a physical challenge, then he neatly turned back on himself to create the space to tuck away a tidy finish. Typically, it was far from his only goalmouth involvement during the 45 minute run-out he was given in the second half. The result and his performance provided a satisfying end to another tough training day for David Moyes' squad. The Blues' boss had put them through their usual 7.30am gentle wake-up jog, then at 10am staged a two-hour session of sprints and shooting practice. The target practice paid off for some, but not all. Tomasz Radzinski's goal was an instinctive header from Kevin Campbell's nod into the box, but earlier he had spurned a glorious one-on-one opportunity, lobbed another more difficult opening over the bar then both he and Campbell slid in together and failed to convert a far post Idan Tal cross. That wastefulness could be put down to pre-season rustiness, but not if you watch a re-run of last season's Goodison highlights.
Everton may even have taken the lead inside 45 seconds. Omar Daley raced into the box to collect Campbell's touch back and clipped a right-footed shot against the base of the post. Daley was left on for 77 minutes --only Sean O'Hanlon lasted longer --and showed some creative touches and a willing work-rate. But David Moyes will surely want to see him against sterner opposition than the Austrians before committing himself to a permanent deal for the Jamaican international.
Everton, wearing their new white and blue change strip - minus a sponsors' name and all the better for it - took the lead after 15 minutes. Pistone won a corner, Osman took it and Sean O'Hanlon leaped to glide a perfectly placed header into the bottom corner. Everton spurned numerous chances between their goals, and it was a major surprise when Bruck substitute Andy Huber pulled a goal back in the 65th minute. It was enthusiastically received by the appreciative Austrian audience, but the Evertonians present will believe they witnessed the more significant strike six minutes earlier.
EVERTON: Simonsen (Gerrard 45), Hibbert (Clarke 45), O'Hanlon, Weir (Stubbs 45), Pistone (McLeod 24), Daley (Osman 77), Osman (Unsworth 45), Pembridge (Southern 45), Tal (Pilkington 45), Radzinski (Rooney 45), Campbell (Chadwick 45).
Yobo wins work permit
Jul 16 2002 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON'S £5million defender Joseph Yobo has officially joined the Goodison Park club after being granted a work permit. The 21-year-old Nigeria international has been cleared to play in the Premiership until 2007 after signing for Everton last week from Marseille. Everton spokesman Ian Ross said: "We were delighted to learn that Joseph Yobo has been granted a work permit to play for Everton until 2007. "He will return to England later this week to meet up with the Everton squad upon their return from Austria."
Jul 16 2002 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON could make a move for Tranmere's talented midfielder Jason Koumas this summer - but only if the price is right. There have been widespread reports that the Blues are poised to bring the youngster to Goodison, but officials from both clubs are adamant there has been no official contact, while the player's agent even denied the story this morning. David Moyes is undeniably interested in Koumas, but landing a goalkeeper is his overwhelming priority and only a loan deal with a view to a permanent transfer could tempt him to swoop. The Blues, meanwhile, will play their second pre-season friendly in 24 hours tonight. After last night's 3-1 stroll against fifth division amateurs SC Bruck, they will take on a team two divisions higher called Weiz. Duncan Ferguson and Brazilian trialist Rodrigo will again be unavailable, Idan Tal, Alessandro Pistone and Nick Chadwick will not be risked after picking up minor strains last night, while Steve Watson and Scot Gemmill are also carrying minor knocks. That will give another opportunity for Jamaican trialist Omar Daley to impress, while Wayne Rooney should also figure again at some stage.
I'll make Rooney greatest in club's history
Jul 16 2002 Exclusive By David Prentice, With The Blues In Austria
DAVID MOYES watched young striking sensation Wayne Rooney score his first goal in a senior jersey for Everton last night - then declared he hopes to turn him into a legend. Everton's failure to qualify for the InterToto Cup this summer means that Rooney cannot now overhaul Joe Royle's
record of being the Blues most youthful debutant. But Moyes said: "I'm not that worried if he becomes the youngest player in the club's history. I'm more concerned that he becomes the best player in the club's history. "That's my aim and that's what I'm looking at more than anything else."
Rooney opened his senior account with a smart strike in last night's 3-1 stroll against Austrian fifth division amateurs SC Bruck, and the Blues' boss confirmed that Rooney would be involved when the real business begins on August 17. "He will definitely be involved from the start of the season," said Moyes. "There is no doubt that with his ability it will be difficult not to involve him, because at present he is doing really well. "He is incredibly quick in training, he is very strong for his age, he has great awareness and a footballing brain which normally doesn't come until later on in years. He has got that at present, so from that point of view it is going to be difficult not to play him. "But people have to realise that with 16-year-old boys, mentally they are not fully developed and they will need to be taken out of the team at regular intervals and sometimes maybe even put back into the youth team, because really this should only be his first year at the club as a YTS. "Supporters have to remember that. There will be lulls in his game at times, big lulls, and we will have to know when the time is right to pull him out for his own benefit." Moyes also reassured fans fearing that if Rooney's progress is as dramatic as everyone hopes, he would be sold to clear the club's financial worries.
"I've heard some fans say that," he added "but there's not a chance of that happening.
"When I came to take the job at Everton I was told about Wayne Rooney then when I came to watch the games one of the things I said was if I come here I don't want to have to sell my best players. "If players have to go it will be because I don't want them or because I think I can get a better player, so that certainly won't be the case with Wayne Rooney. "He's also an Everton supporter, but he's got a lot to do yet. We don't want to get too carried away. "He's got games to play and we don't want him to get above his station. He's only just left school two months ago so we have to be very careful.
"We will need to look after him and it is something we have spoken about already around the club.
"He is a special case and we need to deal with him that way and look after him as best we can.
"I think everyone remembers the early days when Ryan Giggs was coming through at Manchester United and how well Alex Ferguson looked after him and you only need to look at him now to see what a model professional he is and what a good player as well. "Obviously we wil try if we can to protect him as much as we can by keeping the media spotlight off him. At times that might be annoying to the press but it is something I am quite determined to do. "There will be times during the year when he will get opportunities to deal with the press but he is such a great prospect we are going to try and do everything we can to keep him right. "He's 16 years old so we don't know if he's going to be that good yet, but what we can see and what we're working with just now there's no question he's got as much ability as anybody I've ever seen at that age."
Fans get Belgium go-ahead
Jul 16 2002 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON will have almost a thousand spectators in Brussels for their friendly against Anderlecht on August 6 after Blues' officials persuaded the Belgian club to reverse their decision to ban away fans.
Club secretary David Harrison and safety officer Norman Whibley flew to Belgium to hold talks yesterday. Mr Harrison said: "The talks were amicable. We will announce selling arrangements shortly."
Blues in good hands
Jul 16 2002 By Kevin Ratcliffe
ROLE reversal will be the name of the game at Shrewsbury on Saturday. I can't wait to entertain my old club Everton at Gay Meadow and bump into one of my old team-mates Alan Irvine, while David Moyes can list Shrewsbury as one of his old teams. I'm sure Everton will be treating the afternoon as little more than a training exercise, but I hope my own players can use it as an education.
We've played one game already, drawing 1-1 at Colwyn Bay last Saturday, and we face another local team tonight, but it's the visit of clubs like Everton which really excites the players here.
In the past I always sensed there was a little bitterness amongst lower league players when they faced top flight opposition. They often thought that there wasn't much difference between themselves and the players running out in the top division and it was only good fortune which had given the top flight footballers that opportunity. That is no longer the case. The number of live matches shown on television now presents compelling evidence to the second and third divisions of the huge gulf which exists between them and the top players. Premiership players don't just possess better quality, they are stronger, they are quicker, they kick the ball harder and they are swifter of thought. In recent years we've had the good fortune to entertain Wolves, Aston Villa and Manchester United here. The United game in particular provided a salutary lesson. One of my midfield players went out to play against Nicky Butt telling me he didn't think all that highly of him as a player. He came back 90 minutes later not having had a kick and United won 8-1! That experience was a sobering one, but also a valuable one and I hope on Saturday my current crop of players can learn just as much - without hopefully suffering the same kind of result. Only a few staff members remain at Everton now from my time at Goodison, but it will be good to see Alan Irvine again.
He has developed a growing reputation in the game as an outstanding coach in recent years and it is well deserved. He is also still incredibly fit. The only thing that has changed about him since he was dribbling down the wing at Everton is his grey hair - and the only certainty about life as Everton's assistant manager is that it is going to get greyer! He's a lovely man, and a respected coach. Everton are in good hands with him and David Moyes at the helm.
Exclusive By Andy Hunter In Weiz, Austria
Jul 17 2002
TURKISH World Cup star Recber Rustu has emerged as the sensational new answer to Everton's goalkeeper problem. David Moyes last night confirmed he has broadened his search for a new Goodison number one - with Rustu , one of the stars of this summer's competition in the Far East, his latest and most audacious pursuit. The Blues boss has not officially ended his interest in top target Mart Poom, who last night slammed Derby for blocking his move back to the Premiership.
But he has now admitted chasing fresh faces after a frustrating fortnight's wait for the Derby stopper and Arsenal reserve Richard Wright, and has raised his sights to landing one of the transfer coups of the summer. Rustu has long been regarded as among the finest keepers in Europe, but only received widespread recognition after helping Turkey take third place in this year's World Cup.
He would cost Everton more than the £4million they have offered Derby for Poom, but the Blues are willing to arrange a deal with current club Fenerbahce to clinch the signature of such a highprofile star. Rustu recently pledged his immediate future to Fenerbahce following reports of a possible £6m move to either Manchester United or Arsenal. But reports in Turkey suggest the 29-year-old is still available for less than £5m. Rustu fits the bill as the kind of experienced, top-class keeper Moyes is desperate to bring to Goodison Park, only t o have meet endless problems. With 70 caps for his country, the flamboyant stopper would represent an incredible coup for Moyes who is closing in on his second Everton signing. "We are working on a few more keepers now," he confirmed, after Derby refused to budge on Poom despite his former club Flora Tallin dropping their sell- on demands. "Bill Kenwright got in touch with the Estonian club and they are prepared to accept less now but Derby still won't accept our bid. Now we are acting on one or two different targets."
I'm being priced out of move, raps Poom
Jul 17 2002
ESTONIAN goalkeeper Mart Poom has hit out at his club Derby who are delaying a possible move back to the Premiership by asking too high a price of Everton. The Blues have so far refused to meet Derby manager John Gregory's £6million asking price. "I am very flattered by Everton's interest and like every other player I want to play in the Premiership," said Poom "Derby's valuation is too much in the current market situation. "Everton have made a very good offer and Derby are no longer a Premiership club, though of course they have the right to ask for that much money. "Derby have already turned two or three bids down from Everton. "The parties are quite a way apart and the moment it doesn't look like I'm going to be leaving Derby, though you can never say never.
"John Gregory has told me that I am very much part of his plans and that he wants me to stay, even though every player has his price." But the Estonian keeper insisted that if the two clubs were unable to agree a fee he would be happy to remain at Pride Park. He said: "If I stay I will give everything I can to help Derby."
SC Weiz 2, Everton 10 (D. Post)
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jul 17 2002
APOLOGIES if you've heard this before but you are going to have to get used to it: Wayne Rooney is a joy to behold. Having sung his praises yesterday following a goalscoring senior debut against SC Bruck, Everton's second Austrian outing marked a chance to report on something other than the mounting expectations around the teenage sensation. Or at least that was the plan. With even SC Weiz's Stassenstadion resounding to the echoes of "Rooney, Rooney" within half an hour of his second appearance for the first team, the 16-year-old illustrated why he cannot be ignored. And why David Moyes will not ignore him next season. Caution and protection will follow this incredible talent, but keeping hype in check is an impossible task when, as he did last night, Rooney scores three and makes three in a 10-goal rout. Against a side three divisions above Everton's first Austrian opponents, a measure of just how special the Croxteth creation is was that his most memorable moment did not arrive in one of the six goals he was involved with. That arrived on 30 minutes. Trapping a 50-yard crossfield ball on his instep, Rooney pulled away from a wild lunge in the same motion, stopped to glare contemptuously at the exhausted defender lying before him then turned a second marker with an arrogant back-heel. Though he has the physique of a little bull, this was the move of a matador. It is not just these skills that make Rooney, fresh out of school, Everton's finest attacking force however. His hat-trick, and further apologies to Kevin McLeod here for glossing over the winger's superb treble, displayed a repertoire that suggests the Premiership holds no fears.
The first on 25 minutes, after Everton had fallen behind to a deflected free-kick in the fifth minute, was a calm chip over the keeper with two defenders breathing down his neck. Number two was a poacher's conversion from McLeod's dangerous cross with the third a 20-yard drive aided by a slight deflection. In between he sent McLeod on the way to his hat-trick with a low, first time cross along the face of goal, and a shot that was parried into the midfielder's path after Rooney had beaten three defenders. After the uninspired run-out against SC Bruck on Monday, last night's opponents offered a better test all round. In the first half at least. But after pulling a second goal back courtesy of a Paul Gerrard slip just before the break, they were blown away by Everton's second half showing. The Blues were vibrant, and it is surely no coincidence it was delivered by a team packed with youth.
With senior pros resting slight niggles or enjoying a post-World Cup rest, Everton's youngsters have seized their chance to impress. And not only Rooney. McLeod, with his pace and drive, has shown he can deliver when focused, and capped his night with a wonderful volley from Omar Daley's deep cross in the 49th minute. Rooney then added two before Leon Osman drove through the Weiz defence to drill home an excellent finish, Tomasz Radzinski tapped in a Rooney cross before completing the rout with a similar strike from another Daley delivery. In between the Jamaican international produced Everton's ninth, twisting away from three players before sending a great strike flying high past the broken keeper from 20 yards out. But while this was a case of ten goals, it was a tale of one player.
EVERTON: Gerrard (Simonsen, 45 mins); Hibbert, Weir (Clarke, 45 mins), Stubbs (O'Hanlon, 45 mins), Pilkington; Southern, Pembridge (Osman, 45 mins), Unsworth ( Daley, 45 mins), McLeod; Rooney, Campbell (Radzinski, 45 mins).
Moyes set to step up interest in Brazilian
By Andy Hunter In Weiz, Austria
Jul 17 2002
BRAZILIAN star Rodrigo could still clinch a move to Goodison Park despite missing a second chance to impress David Moyes last night. The Botafogo forward was again sidelined by an inflamed toe as Everton completed their mini-tour of Austria with a 10-2 demolition of lower league side SC Weiz.
Yet despite the frustration at putting the 25-year-old's debut on hold, Blues boss Moyes is prepared to step up his interest in the highly-rated forward and plans talks with the player's representatives tomorrow. Rodrigo's contract is owned by his father, who bought out his son's deal at Botafogo following nine months without pay, and a bid of around £1m may be enough. Last night Moyes said: "It was disappointing Rodrigo couldn't play but he has looked good in training, and from what I've seen and heard from Brazil he is a good player. "I've liked what I've seen so far, he can make things happen for a team, he can score goals and he can create goals. "I don't know exactly what we will do yet. We need to have a chat with the player and his agent first and we plan to meet them when we get back from Austria." Rodrigo may get a third chance to stake his claim for a permanent Everton move at Shrewsbury on Saturday, although he won't be joined by new signing Joseph Yobo who does not resume training following the World Cup until tomorrow. Moyes, meanwhile, was delighted with his young side's display in Austria last night. Wayne Rooney scored three and made three, as Kevin McLeod also hit a treble, Tomasz Radzinski grabbed two and Leon Osman and Omar Daley also got on the scoresheet in the Blues' final game in Austria. Moyes said: "I thought the young lads did brilliantly tonight and we played some excellent football in the second half.
"We came here without a lot of experience, which gave the younger lads a chance to mix with the first team and they have shown a fantastic appetite, as has the entire squad out here.
"As well as the football in the second half, I was delighted with the goals we scored. It was great for Wayne and Kevin to get hat-tricks. Kevin scored a great volley and Omar Daley weighed in with a terrific goal as well." Everton's squad should be swelled today by Chinese midfielder Li Tie, who was expected to complete his move to Goodison this morning as part of the new sponsorship deal with Chinese electronics firm Kejian. The Blues, meanwhile, have now secured 1000 tickets from Anderlecht for their friendly in Belgium on August 6. The Brussels club had refused to give tickets to away fans because of construction work at the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium. But following a meeting with Goodison officials and Merseyside Police in Brussels yesterday, Anderlecht have granted Everton their full ticket allocation. Club secretary David Harrison said: "We outlined that our supporters had already booked travel and accommodation in good faith, when previously we had been told that we we were going to receive an allocation of tickets. "We gave assurances to Anderlecht that we could put in place security arrangements regarding the sale of tickets and they acceded to our request. They've given us an allocation of close to 1,000 comprised of seating and standing tickets."
SC Weiz 2, Everton 10 (Echo)
By David Prentice In Weiz, Austria
Jul 17 2002
FORGIVE me if you've heard this before . . . only 24 hours before actually. But you're likely to hear it again, and again - and again. And if you're an Evertonian you'll never tire of hearing it. In Wayne Rooney, Everton have an exceptional young talent who looks ready to explode into the national consciousness this season. It's a long time since Evertonians have had to force themselves to contain anything like excitement. But that's what is happening right now. With every senior outing he is handed, Rooney is tossing eternally exasperated Evertonians a lifeline for the future.
He still has to step out on a Premiership stage. He is still only 16-years-old - and last night's sparkling exhibition came against only modestly better opposition than the night before. But even the hopelessly shortsighted can see the burgeoning potential and, as he has showed on England duty, in youth team football and now in first team friendly action action, he is capable of raising his game to match - and overwhelm almost any opposition. It was only a third division Austrian side last night, but it was still largely his influence which saw Everton saunter to a 10-2 success, despite being pulled back at 2- 2 only minutes before half-time. He scored a hat-trick himself. He claimed a hat-trick of assists - two of them helping pal Kevin McLeod celebrate a hat-trick of his own - and he was taken off with 15 minutes remaining and not replaced! "Wayne had done more than enough and we didn't want to risk him picking up a silly strain through tiredness," said manager David Moyes.
Statistically Rooney may have been impressive, but aesthetically he was even more so.
His opening goal, after Gerrard had been wrongfooted by a deflection from Grabner's free-kick, was the finish of a striker of far greater maturity than someone who only left school two months ago.
Mark Pembridge slipped the ball through to him on the left side of the penalty area. Two defenders were snapping at his heels, but he held them off through pace and strength before clipping a cute shot over the advancing keeper. It was in stark contrast to the laboured shot Kevin Campbell had stabbed straight at the goalkeeper when played clean through with noone in attendance 11 minutes earlier. In fact it was the youngsters who all impressed on an entertaining evening in the Sparkassestadion in Weiz. Rooney actually missed a good far post opening in the 25th minute, before racing to the byline a minute later and crossing for McLeod to steer in a far post shot.
Rooney played Keith Southern in with an even more intelligent pass after that, which the goalkeeper blocked, then three minutes before half-time weaved and side-stepped his way around three defenders' challenges before crashing in a shot which Reiter could only parry into McLeod's path.
That made the score 3-2, because while the progress of strikers like Rooney and Chadwick is easing the pressure on David Moyes at one end, at the other his goalkeepers are rapidly turning his red hair grey. Werner Ostermann's corner collected a slight deflection inside the six yard box, but Gerrard's unseemly scramble as the ball squirted under him is not an isolated error. There were six half-time changes, and the injection of even more youthful urgency from the likes of Osman, Clarke and O'Hanlon and a triallist desperate to impress in Omar Daley gave Everton an irresistible edge.
Daley's piercing right wing cross was volleyed magnificently into the far corner by McLeod to claim the night's first hat-trick. McLeod then crossed for Rooney to cleverly steer in his second of the night, and his own hat-trick came on the hour with a low 20-yard drive which took a deflection past Reiter. As the Austrians tired Everton's players tried to outdo each other with ever more spectacular finishes. Leon Osman was a contender with a flashing left-footed drive from the edge of the box, Tomasz Radzinski's close range rap-in from another Rooney cross was more conventional, but Daley's extravagant left-footed rapier - again from 18 yards - was probably the pick. He certainly celebrated like he enjoyed the strike. Everton haven't hit double figures in a match for decades, but they secured the tenth five minutes from time, Radzinski again poaching from close range.
By this time Rooney was back in the dugout with his feet up. The dugout at least is where he should start the season on August 17. But on this evidence, messrs Campbell, Ferguson and Radzinkski can start looking anxiously over their shoulders.
Everton: Gerrard (Simonsen 45mins), Hibbert, Weir (Clarke 45), Stubbs (O'Hanlon 45), Pilkington, Southern, Pembridge (Osman 45), Unsworth (Daley 45), McLeod, Rooney, Campbell (Radzinski 45). Attendance: 998.
Goals: Grabner 1-0 (5 mins), 1-1 Rooney (24), McLeod 1-2 (26), Grabner 2-2 (38), McLeod 2-3 (42), McLeod 2-4 (48), Rooney 2-5 (54), Rooney 2-6 (60), Osman 2-7 (64), Radzinski 2-8 (70), Daley 2-9 (84), Radzinski 2-10 (85).
Young guns are star turns
Jul 17 2002 By David Prentice In Austria
DAVID MOYES wrapped up a successful six day training trip to Austria last night by paying tribute to the young Blues who travelled with the party. Teenagers like Wayne Rooney, Keith Southern, Sean O'Hanlon, Leon Osman and George Pilkington all enjoyed their first taste of senior football on the tour, while only marginally more experienced players like Peter Clarke and Kevin McLeod also made significant contributions. Both Rooney and McLeod celebrated hattricks in last night's 10-2 demolition of SC Weiz and boss Moyes said: "It was a very good work-out. But apart from that we passed the ball, we created loads of chances and we took a fair proportion of them. "Kevin McLeod did very well, Ossy scored a terrific goal and all the youngsters impressed. They have all had a little bit of an impact and what they have to do now is knuckle down and try and force their way into little bits of games and take advantage of opportunities. "Before we came out here I said 'You're in with the big boys now' and it was up to them to show they could handle it. I think they can be very pleased with themselves." Predictably Rooney again - was the star of the show and Moyes went on: "He is just a terrific young player. Let's just say he's certainly the man in form!"
Moyes targets World Cup star
Jul 17 2002 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON manager David Moyes has turned his sights on World Cup star Recber Rustu as he seeks to solve his goalkeeping headache. The Blues boss has made signing a new keeper his top priority but has been forced to widen his search after repeatedly being knocked back by Derby over Mart Poom.
The Estonian international remains Everton's top target but Moyes is now exploring other options, with Rustu the shock new addition to the club's hit-list. Rustu has just 12 months remaining on his contract with Fenerbache and, although he was a big hit in the Far East and has been linked with a host of continental clubs, Everton are hopeful they could tempt the 29-yearold to Goodison Park for a fee within the club's £5m budget. Slovakian international shot-stopper Kamil Contofalsky is another name in the frame. A similar player to Poom, Contofalsky could be available for just £ 1.2m and has emerged as an option for the Blues. Moyes admitted: "We are working on a few more keepers now. Bill Kenwright got in touch with the Estonian club and they are prepared to accept less now (as part of a sell on clause) but Derby still won't accept our bid. Now we are acting on one or two different targets." Poom, meanwhile, has launched an attack on Derby over the on-going transfer saga with Everton. The Estonian is eager to sort his future and return to the Premiership but believes Derby are pricing him out of a move. "I am very flattered by Everton's interest and like every other player I want to play in the Premiership," he admitted. "Derby's valuation is too much in the current market situation. "Everton have made a very good offer and Derby are no longer a Premiership club, though of course they have the right to ask for that much money.
"Derby have already turned two or three bids down from Everton. The parties are quite a way apart and the moment it doesn't look like I'm going to be leaving Derby, though you can never say never.
"John Gregory has told me that I am very much part of his plans and that he wants me to stay, even though every player has his price."
Blues' taste of the Orient
Jul 17 2002 By Rob Brady, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON Football Club today announced details of its sponsorship deal with Chinese communications giant Kejian. The Goodison Club has signed a two year deal with the company, believed to be worth £2m. The club has become the first in Europe to enter into a deal with a Chinese company. Everton Chairman Sir Philip Carter was today in Beijing formalising the agreement. The deal also includes the 12 month loan signing of Chinese World Cup star Li Weifeng.
The 25-year-old defender has played 65 times for his country. He is expected to arrive on Merseyside in the next ten days, subject to a work permit being issued. Everton will also allow two Chinese players into its youth academy. The club's coaching staff will travel to China to help nurture young players. The club hopes the deal will allow it to tap into the potentially massive Chinese domestic football scene, both commercially and identifying new talent. Sir Philip Carter said: "We are delighted to be entering into this sponsorship deal with Kejian. We are all hoping for a long and mutually satisfying relationship." Kejian is China's biggest mobile phone manufacturer.
Everton Chief Executive Michael Dunford said: "The Everton brand is very well known in the Far East and we hope to expand that. The Chinese market is a huge market and relatively untapped by English clubs. "The deal gives us the opportunity to look at players in the Chinese market that may be attractive to David Moyes." In Beijing Everton officials were given a rapturous reception as they signed the deal. Speaking from the Far East, club director Paul Gregg said: "We have had an amazing reception. It is a major step for Everton to expand its name and fanbase in China." Everton's new loan signing defender Weifeng was unveiled to the crowds wearing the new Everton strip. The club is also launching a Mandarin language website.
Blues unveil new £2m sponsorship
Report By Andy Kelly, Daily Post
Jul 18 2002
ANEW player, a new sponsor and almost unimaginable new opportunities lay ahead for Everton yesterday as they clinched a major new partnership deal. The Goodison Park outfit became the first European club in history to seal a sponsorship deal with a Chinese company. A two-year contract with mobile phone maker Kejian (pronounced K-jan) is nominally worth around £1millionayear but will potentially introduce the club to millions of new fans. After the success of the World Cup in Japan and South Korea, some experts believe the Chinese football scene is about to explode.
Establishing an early foothold in what could become one of the most lucrative markets on earth was seen as just too good an opportunity to turn down. Club chairman Sir Philip Carter travelled to Beijing to officially confirm the deal, with a simultaneous announcement at Goodison Park.
"The fact that we have become the first European football club to enter into such an arrangement with a leading Chinese company serves to reemphasise that Everton is a club which continues to embrace ground-breaking initiatives," said Sir Philip. The deal will also see Chinese international centre-half Li Weifeng come to Everton on a year's loan. Currently playing for Shenzeng Pingan in the Chinese league, the 25-yearold has 65 caps and was watched by manager David Moyes during the World Cup in Japan and South Korea. The club admits he will have to "work very hard" to establish himself in the Blues first team. Two Chinese youngsters will also win annual places at Everton's Academy and club coaches will travel to China to help nurture talent there.
David Moyes said: "In many respects China represents an un-tapped market in terms of football but, hopefully, this deal will prove to be of enormous benefit to both Everton and Kejian. Not for the first time, Everton is leading the way in terms of breaking down barriers and opening up football to new audiences." Everton also revealed how close they had come to " doing a Real Madrid" by celebrating their 100th year in top flight football - without a shirt sponsor. Club spokesman Ian Ross said: "We listen to our fans and that idea was mooted by them. " It was discussed at boardroom level and it could have happened if we had not considered this deal so worthwhile. "It came down to harsh commercial realities." The lure of the Chinese market also swung Everton away from a possible deal with Liverpool superclub Cream. Ross said: "We looked at a variety of options although Cream got all the publicity. "We know linking with Cream would have helped us sell a lot of shirts. An Everton shirt could have become a fashion accessory. "But in the end this deal was better on footballing and commercial grounds." And he dismissed suggestions the deal is fairly small compared to previous sponsorships. "This compares favourably with our previous deals. There are 14 major clubs in Europe without a sponsor for next season because of the mini-recession football is experiencing.
"We are trying to build a better team and obviously complete the Kings Dock move, so the money is certainly important. "But it's fair to say that it is the new possibilities that are more exciting than the bare finance. "If there is to be a mini-invasion of China we want to be in the first wave of that."
Set up in 1984, Kejian are rated as China's top mobile phone maker and had sales last year of $176m.
Although the unfamiliar name was a disappointment to some Everton fans, the same could be said of Hafnia, the Danish meat company who were Everton's first shirt sponsor in 1979. They were succeeded by NEC, Danka and then One 2 One, whose five years with Everton was one of the longest standing deals in football. Keijan President Hao Jianxue said: "This is a very exciting day for us at Keijan. This is the first time a Chinese company has sponsored a football club from one of the top European leagues." As a city, Liverpool is already twinned with Shanghai and more links are now likely to follow. Dr Kegang Wu, director of Chinalink at Liverpool Chamber of Commerce, said: "English football is probably the most popular foreign league in China. "There is a deal where one live match is shown a week in some regions. "Man Utd and Liverpool are currently the most popular teams but this will certainly help Everton attract new Chinese fans and sponsors. "They will also get a great deal of benefit from being the first Premiership team to sign a player direct from China. This is seen as a real break-through for Chinese players. "There will be a lot of spin-offs."
Chadwick signs deal
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jul 18 2002
NICK CHADWICK has become the latest young Everton striker to boost the Blues after pledging his future to the club until 2005. The 19-year-old forward has put pen to paper on the improved Goodison contract he was offered after rising to prominence at the tail-end of last season.
Chadwick struck three goals in three successive home games to play a key role in Everton's successful survival bid, earning himself a contract offer despite having two years of an existing deal remaining. That contract has now been increased by 12 months, with an improved salary including rewards linked to first team progress over the next three years. Chadwick made 10 appearances for the first team last season and blossomed under David Moyes' tutelage. Injury kept him out of the Wayne Rooney-inspired rout of Austrians SC Weiz on Tuesday but the Blues boss has seen enough of the Everton Academy graduate to believe he can develop even further in the Premiership.
But while Moyes is delighted to have Chadwick committed to his future plans the Goodison chief is believed to be far from impressed with Everton's acquisition of Chinese defender Li Weifeng.
The Blues officially unveiled their new sponsorship deal with China's electronic giant Kejian yesterday, part of which was to have included international midfielder Li Tie. Moyes travelled to China's World Cup games in South Korea last month where he identified Tie as the most promising player in that nation's squad. But shortly before the link-up was unveiled at a joint press conference in Liverpool and Beijing it was revealed Shenzeng Pingan defender Weifeng would be joining the Blues instead, with Moyes left totally unaware of the switch. The 25-year-old, with 65 caps for his country, will join Everton on a 12-month loan deal and last night it emerged Moyes is not the only figure stunned by the transfer. "It came as a complete shock to me," said Weifeng. "I only found out about the move while I was training with my team-mates in Shanghai and I have to say I am quite nervous but excited. "My first thought is to try my best to win a place in the Premiership." Moyes is still waiting to hear whether Everton can pursue their interest in Turkey goalkeeper Recber Rustu following their approach to Fenerbahce. The Blues boss, who has again been linked with Bohemians Prague keeper Kamil Contofalsky, this week made an audacious swoop for the World Cup star.
He was encouraged by reports Rustu could cost no more than the £4m offered to Derby for Mart Poom but still has to wait on Fenerbahce's response and the player's personal demands before a deal can progress. But with Poom now calling on Derby to lower their asking price and allow him to move back to the Premiership, Moyes' threat to call off his interest in the Estonian appears unlikely.
Derby, though, are still refusing to budge. A club spokesman said: "This football club has got a valuation on all its players. "It's no secret that we're going to have to sell one of our players, but we do have valuations of those players. They will not go anywhere unless those valuations are met."
Everton, meanwhile, yesterday parted company with Andy Oldknow, head of the club's underfire marketing department. A club spokesman confirmed: "With effect from 12 noon, Mr Oldknow ceased to be employed by Everton Football Club."
Jul 18 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON boss David Moyes is running out of goalkeeping options, after another door was slammed in his face today. Turkish goalkeeper Rustu Recber will not leave Fenerbahce this summer, according to his agent, despite an enquiry from the Goodison club. "He has decided to stay where he is," said Ergan Sancakli, who represents the Turkish World Cup star. "The President of Fenerbahce has told him that he really wants him to stay and his wife has also told him to stay put.
"He has only one year left on his contract and he is going to see that out at Fenerbahce."
With Richard Wright's agent issuing a similar statement recently and Derby refusing to budge on Mart Poom's price tag, Moyes' options are reducing. Slovakian goalkeeper Kamil Contofalsky has re-emerged as a possibility, but the Blues boss is adamant he wants a new goalkeeper in place before pre-season preparations really start to intensify. One player he was unaware he was signing, Chinese defender Li Weifeng, will join Everton on a 12-month loan deal and admitted that Moyes was not the only person shocked by his arrival. "It came as a complete shock to me," he said.
"I only found out about the move while I was training with my team-mates in Shanghai and I have to say I am quite nervous but excited." Weifeng has arrived as part of the sponsorship deal with electronics company Kejian, but the Blues will still try to revive a deal for Li Tie - the midfielder they originally believed was arriving as part of the package. Young striker Nick Chadwick, meanwhile, has signed a new contract which ties him to the club until 2005. Marketing manager Andy Oldknow, however, has parted company with the Blues.
Anderlecht ticket plans
Jul 19 2002
Everton have announced arrangements for the sale of tickets for the friendly against RSC Anderlecht in Brussels on Tuesday August 6 as follows: The club has received a strictly limited allocation of 569 standing tickets and 384 seats and following consultations with Merseyside and Brussels police, and with RSC Anderlecht, each supporter applying for a ticket must supply the following:
* Passport-sized photograph
* Details of travel to Belgium and accommodation
* Passport number
* £1 fee for membership of the Away Travel Club
* Completed application form for the Away Travel Club
Supporters should note that applications received without any of the above will be considered incomplete and will be returned. Submission of the requested documentation does not guarantee a ticket. In the event of over-subscription, a postal ballot will be held to allocate tickets. In the event of a ballot taking place Season Ticket holders (Season 2002/2003) will be given priority.
Tickets are £7.50 for standing and £12.50 for seating and will be available via postal applications only to the Away Travel Club, Everton Football Club, Goodison Park, Liverpool L4 4EL. Applications must be received by the Away Travel Club by noon on July 26. The application form can be downloaded via the link below: alternatively, supporters can email the club at email@example.com < mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org> and an application form will be e-mailed back. Each travelling supporter must complete a separate application form. Anyone who would like an application form sent out to them can call 0151 330 2277 for a form during normal office hours.
Supporters are strongly urged not to travel without valid match tickets. There will be no tickets on sale on the day of the game, and there will be no entry into the stadium without a valid match ticket.
Once tickets have been allocated, supporters will be contacted. All tickets must be collected from Goodison Park. In the event that tickets cannot be collected, tickets will be only be posted out via Special Delivery.
Blues to bring over second Chinese star
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jul 19 2002
DAVID MOYES will get the Chinese he ordered after all as Everton tied up a one-year loan deal to bring Li Tie to Goodison Park last night. The Blues boss had accepted international midfielder Tie as part of the club's new sponsorship deal with Kejian, with both expected to be unveiled on Wednesday. But Everton were caught in an embarrassing mix-up when they were forced to take international defender Li Weifeng instead, leaving Moyes in the dark and subsequently furious.
The confusion is believed to have stemmed from Tie's club, Liaoning Bird, refusing to release the player to Kejian - an industry rival of their own sponsors. But the Blues have now rectified the situation by reviving the initial deal to bring the 24-year-old to the Premiership and both players are now expected on Merseyside within a fortnight. Tie has won 78 caps for his country but last night Moyes warned: "Li Tie is, in my opinion, one of the best that the Chinese team has to offer.
"But we really mustn't get carried away. He is a good player but he will have a great deal of work to do, and much progress to make, if he is to break into our first team." Moyes is giving 23-year-old Greek defender Konstantinos Loumboutis a trial this week, but is still desperate to land a top class keeper after Recber Rustu's agent ruled out a transfer to Goodison Park. The 29-year-old was linked with both Manchester United and Arsenal after the World Cup, but Blues boss Moyes had made the Turkish star a definite target after his impressive performances in the Far East. Rustu, however, has been persuaded to stay on in Turkey by both Fenerbahce and his wife, who wants him to stay in Istanbul for the final year of his contract. Rustu's agent Ergan Sancakli said: "He has decided to stay where he is. "The president of Fenerbahce has told him that he really wants him to stay and his wife has also told him to stay put. "He has one year left on his contract and he is going to see that out at Fenerbahce. "He did have offers and we have heard of the interest, but nothing will be happening until next year." Rustu's decision leaves Moyes agonising over whether to allow the Mart Poom saga to drag on any longer or switch his search elsewhere. Nick Chadwick, meanwhile, has revealed his delight at signing a new contract with the Blues. The young striker said: "I had two years left on my previous contract but I made a bit of progress last season and that has been rewarded with another year on my contract. "To be offered a new deal under a new manager, who everyone is trying to impress, means I go into the new season full of confidence."
Ex-Blues star with US injury specialist
Jul 19 2002
RANGERS boss Alex McLeish is hoping for positive news on defender Michael Ball's fitness as the former Everton man visits a top specialist in the United States. Ball joined the Light Blues in a £6.5million deal last season but his hopes of gaining a first-team place were wrecked by a knee injury. He is now visiting sports injury specialist Dr Richard Steadman in Colorado - the man who successfully treated Newcastle striker Alan Shearer - and McLeish is desperate for some good news on the defender's fitness. McLeish, with the squad on a pre-season tour in America, revealed: "One of the reasons we brought Michael over here was because it would give us the opportunity of sending him down to Dr Steadman for a check-up. "I decided to bring him with the squad so that he could work closely with our medical people, but also because of the chance of fixing an appointment with the specialist. "It is all part of Michael's recovery plan and we are hopeful that Dr Steadman will have something positive to say."
Moyes looks to Egypt
Jul 19 2002 Liverpool Echo
BRAZILIAN star Rodrigo has been granted an extension to his Goodison trial and could figure at Shrewsbury tomorrow, while Blues' boss David Moyes is also seeking to add another colourful international to his squad. Sources in Cairo today claimed Everton had lodged a $2m bid for Egyptian defender Ibrahim Said. Those reports are premature, but the Blues will try to bring the Al Ahly player to Bellefield for a trial. "He has been recommended to us and we plan to have a look at him," explained Moyes. The Blues' boss, however, has already been impressed by the Brazilian Juliano Rodrigo in training and is now hoping a toe infection clears up so he can play some competitive football in an Everton jersey. "His advisors have allowed us to keep him a while longer," explained Moyes. "He has looked good so far and clearly has great quality. We just want to have a longer look at him to see how he would fit into our team here." Rodrigo operated as an attacking midfielder at Botafogo, and then later on- loan at Atletico Mineiro, cutting in from the left to hit double figures last season. The Blues would need to secure international clearance to allow him to figure at Gay Meadow but club officials are working furiously to do that. Said is a highly rated defender with a colourful history. Nicknamed 'Hima' by his adoring fans, he dyes his hair a different colour for every match, but a quick temper has led to difficulties in the past. Unable to adhere to camp rules during the African Nations Cup tournament in Mali, he was sent home without playing a game and fined £100,000, the largest financial sanction ever imposed on an Egyptian player.
The Blues, meanwhile, have now added Chinese midfielder Li Tie to their squad on a 12 month-loan after the shock acquisition of defender Li Weifeng on Wednesday, a move which surprised manager David Moyes almost as much as it did the club's fans. Both men should arrive inside the next 10 days. Joseph Yobo, meanwhile, was back at Belle-field this morning after returning to Nigeria to visit his family. He will travel with the squad to Shrewsbury tomorrow but will not figure.
Blues look to Brazil blend
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jul 20 2002
DAVID MOYES hopes to get his first glimpse of Rodrigo in competitive action today as he bids to bring the Brazilian to Goodison Park in a permanent deal. Moyes, as he revealed in Wednesday's Daily Post, is keen on adding the Botofogo star to his Blues squad despite the 25-year-old missing both pre-season games in Austria with an inflamed toe. The Goodison chief, who is taking Egyptian defender Ibrahim Said on trial, asked Rodrigo's advisors to extend his Everton stay so he can face Kevin Ratcliffe's Shrewsbury Town this afternoon. Now the Blues boss hopes red tape will not delay the Brazilian's debut any longer. Everton officials were last night still trying to secure international clearance for Rodrigo to face the Shrews, but are confident he will be cleared to play in time. Rodrigo is a striker but played more as an attacking midfielder for Botofogo and then on-loan at Atletico Mineiro last season, scoring 10 goals. Moyes sees the Brazilian as providing much-needed creativity next season, but will need to thrash out a deal through the player's representatives to clinch his signature. Former club Botofogo insist they are entitled to a fee even though Rodrigo's father bought out his contract after they failed to pay him for nine months. Moyes' target is unlikely to be the only Blues' forward making his pre-season bow at Gay Meadow after Duncan Ferguson was declared fit to play. Ferguson missed this week's wins over SC Bruck and SC Weiz in Austria due to the slight strain in his lower back that has troubled him since last season. Nick Chadwick, Gary Naysmith, Steve Watson and Scot Gemmill will all be absent with slight injuries.
Loyal Weir craves success
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jul 20 2002
KEVIN RATCLIFFE stands alone as Everton's most successful captain; but he won't be the only polished centre-half celebrated by the Blue ranks at Shrewsbury today. Though separated by a huge gulf in style, eras and, unfortunately, success, Ratcliffe and his distant successor in the Blues rearguard David Weir share a loyalty to Everton that has not gone unrecognised. Both also enjoy a healthy rapport with fans who value their significance, albeit belatedly in Ratcliffe's case after his willingness to play through the pain barrier in his final Everton seasons resulted in shameful stick rather than gratitude. Weir has established the connection thanks to incredible consistency in troubled times. But despite providing one of the few swift and untroubled signings in recent Everton history this summer when he signed a new three-year contract, what Weir really craves is praise for being part of a triumphant team. The Scottish international may have walked away with two successive Player of the Year awards at Goodison Park, with Sir Alex Ferguson monitoring his situation as a result last season, but despite his unassumingmanner the 32-year-old wants much more. "I've been lucky enough to have the fans behind me and supporting me but you really want the club to be winning things rather than receiving personal accolades," said Weir. "I want to be part of a successful team and I honestly feel that's what we are aiming for at Everton. "But I've got to say the rapport I've had with the fans here has been greatly appreciated and I believe it did play a factor in my decision to stay." But it was not the only reason. Despite David Moyes' stated mission to build a young side for the future Weir, one of the side's veterans, is also one of the few virtually assured a starting place even with Joseph Yobo's impending arrival putting the defence on high alert.
Yet it is the signs he sees for the team over the next few years that influenced the three-year contract. "I'm an optimist anyway," added Weir, "but I can definitely see good signs here at the club. Things have changed with the new manager and hopefully we are now building for the future.
"That's not to say that wasn't the case under Walter Smith, because I signed a new contract under him as well and I was optimistic about that as well. "But I am positive about the future and I think that can only breed good results. "The manager has brought a lot more energy to the team. He wants us to press all the time and higher up the pitch to put the other team under more pressure," he added. do that you've got to be fitter and prepared to do it. The manager is promoting that, we cannot afford to carry any passengers and we won't." As for the contract, Evertonians were not the only ones relieved it was wrapped up with ease while possible Premiership vultures hovered.
Manchester United's interest may not have amounted to a serious bid, and often it doesn't have to for Ferguson to begin to get his man - as Leeds are now discovering. But to see Weir aim to have his ambitions realised at Goodison Park instead of elsewhere is a major fillip. And he admits: "I'm delighted it's sorted because I never wanted to leave. Ever since I arrived at Everton I've been happy, my family are happy and settled here and my two boys were born here. So I have a lot of ties to the place now. "I wasn't interested in going anywhere else. It's different if you're looking to leave then maybe you start finding out who is interested but I'm happy here and unless the club wants to sell me I can't see that changing. "When I arrived it felt like the right club at the right time. I was confident it was going to be a good move and thankfully that's the way it's turned out.
"I'll be at Everton for as long as they want me. I still think I can improve and the aim now is to stay in the team and hopefully get a bit of success at Everton."
Shrewsbury 0, Everton 3 (D,Post)
Andy Hunter Reports From Gay Meadow, Daily Post
Jul 22 2002
THE EMPHASIS has been placed firmly on youth in Everton's pre- season build-up. But at Shrewsbury on Saturday it was the old guard who rose to challenge the new David Moyes' order. Most of the attention centred around Rodrigo at Gay Meadow, where the bright Brazilian, Jamaica's Omar Daley and Greek defender Konstantinos Loumboutis were granted the stage to show why their nations should be united at Goodison Park next season. But while the significance of a preseason friendly against third division opposition should not be overstated, it is fair to say foreign imports are not the only people playing for Everton futures this summer. With a new manager in town many established Everton figures still have to convince Moyes they can improve his vision of a younger Premiership force. Two such candidates, Mark Pembridge and Kevin Campbell, did their claims no harm at all in the Blues' third comfortable pre-season stroll. Following a visit to famed German specialist Hans-Muller Wolfhart last season in a final attempt to cure his endless calf problems, Pembridge now sticks to a draconian diet aimed at reducing the acid levels in his blood. What else was running through the Welsh international's veins on Saturday as he cut swathes in the Shrewsbury midfield and delivered deadly passes at the end of almost every run is unclear. But with central midfield places up for grabs next season, Pembridge offered a clear illustration of what Everton lacked last year. In Campbell's case, two clinical finishes and bright link-up play throughout illuminated precisely what he lacked last term. If the precocious Wayne Rooney is to open the new season in Moyes' starting line-up, and on current form there is little debate, he'll need a partner willing to take on the leg-work and take off the pressure to settle in. Campbell, if he can build on this outing, could be the best bet for such a role, even though Duncan Ferguson's impending captaincy indicates he has a major battle on his hands. As do manager Moyes post-match comments. "I'm pleased we came through it without any injuries," said the Blues boss. "We were able to give a few of the players a full 90 minutes which they needed, Duncan got his first 45 minutes in as well, and the side ended up being quite youthful which is what we are aiming for." That last point surely the most significant. With Rooney (left) this time only handed a late run-out, and of course impressing again, it was left to fellow young starlets to show why Moyes' limited transfer budget may just have some positive repercussions after all. Kevin McLeod, hopefully, is one who could represent Everton's latest 'new' signing. The winger has mainly suffered on the sidelines since playing a key role in Everton's 1998 Youth Cup final triumph. Now 21, this season represents possibly the final chance to make the breakthrough with his boyhood club. And in an electric second-half display on Saturday, fresh on the heels of a hattrick in Austria, McLeod showed he has it within him to seize it.
"Kevin has done extremely well in preseason," agreed Moyes. "He has been in and around the squad for a while and he has been given a chance to force his way into the reckoning and he's doing it." Rodrigo can clearly "do it". His run-out was brief, he tired rapidly before halftime in his first appearance, but the Brazilian showed enough neat touches and menace on the left wing to point to proven quality. Rodrigo set the ball rolling for Everton's opener five minutes before the break, but it was Pembridge who made the most telling contribution, beating two men and inviting Tony Hibbert to land an inch-perfect cross on to Tomasz Radzinski's head. The Welshman was at it again seven minutes after the restart with a delightful chip through to Campbell, who applied an even better finish to lob the advancing Ian Dunbavin. A repeat combination added the third in the 65th minute as the Blues offered a display of crisp passing and pressing that left manager Moyes and co with few complaints.
SHREWSBURY TOWN (4-4-2): Dunbavin; Moss (Drysdale 53), Redmile, Wilding (Corbett 80), Thompson; Aiston (Stevens 60), Atkins, Tolley, Woan; Jemson (Lowe 60), Rodgers. Subs: Kendall, Murphy
EVERTON (4-4-2): Gerrard; Hibbert (Loumboutis 46), Weir, Stubbs, Pistone; Tal (McLeod 46), Unsworth (Southern 46), Pembridge, Rodrigo (Daley 55); Ferguson (Campbell 46), Radzinski (Rooney 67). Subs: Simonsen, Naysmith, Pilkington, O'Hanlon, Clarke.
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jul 22 2002
DAVID MOYES' summer search for a new Everton keeper is almost over after the Blues boss closed in on a £5million deal for Richard Wright last night. The Blues boss and Goodison officials held talks with the Arsenal stopper (right) yesterday evening in a bid to finally break the deadlock in their goalkeeper quest. And Moyes' patience appears to have paid off, with Everton confident Wright will make a Goodison switch within the next 48 hours subject to a medical. Blues owner Bill Kenwright said: "I can confirm we are at an advanced stage towards making Richard Wright an Everton player."
England international Wright and Derby County's Mart Poom had topped the Everton manager's wanted list for the past fortnight, only for Derby's demands and Wright's initial reluctance to leave Highbury to stall progress. But with Arsenal accepting Everton's offer last night, and handing David Seaman a new oneyear contract extension recently, Wright is now ready to relaunch his career with a five-year contract at Goodison rather than spend another season on the sidelines. At just 24, Wright represents a sound acquisition for the Blues, and in the former Ipswich favourite they have landed a player anxious to prove himself after a difficult debut season at Highbury. Signed for £6m one year ago, a deal that included £1m on appearances, Wright made just 18 starts for the Gunners last season after a glistening career at Portman Road. The breakthrough represents a major boost for Moyes' Premiership plans, following a frustrating fight for Poom and links with Turkey's World Cup star Recber Rustu, Ian Walker and Alex Manninger. Moyes also hopes to finalise Brazilian Rodrigo's move to Goodison Park this week after he impressed in the Blues' 3-0 defeat of Shrewsbury on Saturday. "Rodrigo did quite well," he said. "It was hard for him in the sense it was his first game for us but he was involved a lot while he was on. He tired a bit as well, which was understandable, so we decided just to give him another ten minutes in the second half.
"Usually he would play behind the strikers or in a three-man attack, but we asked him to play out on the left to see what he can do in that role. "It's a position we are looking to fill and he provides imagination and flair." Both Leeds and Middlesbrough sent their chief scouts to assess the Botafogo forward at Gay Meadow but Everton are confident of tying up the deal after meeting the player's father last week. The Blues will have to pay a nominal fee to Botafogo, even though Rodrigo's father bought out most of his contract at the end of last season. The Brazilian club still have a 30 per cent stake in the player.
Shrewsbury 0, Everton 3 (Echo)
By David Prentice At Gay Meadow, Liverpool Echo
Jul 22 2002
THE omnipresent Evertonians flocked to Gay Meadow for a glimpse of a chunky little midfield creator with twinkle-toes and an eye for an opening. They saw one; but rather than a boy from Botafogo, it was a man from Merthyr who caught the eye. At 31, Mark Pembridge may not slot easily into the photofit of the youthful, exuberant Everton side David Moyes is striving to create.
But he did show last season on the rare occasions injury allowed him to appear that he can still exercise an influence on a match. His influence on a pre-season stroll at Shrewsbury on Saturday was significant. One swift shift of feet and pass created the opening for Tony Hibbert to play in Tomasz Radzinski for a chance even he couldn't miss. Another arcing pass split The Shrews' defence for Kevin Campbell to lob in the second, then yet another imaginative pass played in Campbell again to deliver an equally ingenious finish. It was the sort of performance David Moyes had hoped to see from Juliano Rodrigo. Bill Kenwright has already constructed a deal to bring the Brazilian to Goodison. Unfortunately traffic congestion around the small market town meant the Blues' deputy-chairman didn't arrive at the stadium until 40 minutes into the match. In that time he missed one laser guided crossfield pass, the kind of nonchalant control and dribbling which seems to come as second nature to Brazilians and a shot which flew a foot wide. He undoubtedly played within himself. His advisors say he was a whisker away from selection for Felipe Scolari's World Cup winning squad and did not relish the prospect of having to prove himself in something so demeaning as a trial against Third Division opposition. But he looked willing enough, even though his last touch before being substituted through tiredness was a chance he might have done better than balloon over the crossbar from Kevin McLeod's cross. McLeod played the second 45 minutes, and did so with an energy and penetration which suggests this pre-season could be a pivotal one in his Everton career. For a club as cash conscious as Everton to reject a £1m offer from West Bromwich Albion 12 months ago, they clearly spotted potential. But too often McLeod has allowed inconsistency to trouble him as a first team opportunity opened up. Jesper Blomqvist's release, however, and the ordeal of an afternoon Idan Tal suffered on the opposite flank on Saturday suggests he will never have a better chance to force the issue. Other trialists, the enthusiastic Jamaican Omar Daley and the steady Greek Konstantin Loumboutis showed well in patches, but other than that it was the hardy perennials who showed up well. Kevin Campbell did not enjoy a good 2001-02 campaign, but there is no doubt that if Wayne Rooney is to start the season in Everton's starting XI - and the evidence so far is compelling --Campbell is the best equipped striker to help him ease in.
Duncan Ferguson jogged through his first 45 minutes of the summer programme, while Radzinski scored one close range header but wasted another oneonone opening when he raced clear and darted wide of the keeper before fluffing. That chance came from Campbell's header, and he alone seems to boast the intelligence and selflessness to accomodate a striking partner. With the World Cup quartet - Joe-Max Moore is still injured - ready to enter the reckoning, the chase for places begins in earnest. Moyes has stressed he wants youth and vibrancy, but there is life left in the golden oldies yet.
SHREWSBURY TOWN: Dunbavin, Moss ( Drysdale 54), Thompson, Wilding (Corbett 81), Redmile, Tolley (Lowe 62), Aiston (Stevens 62), Atkins, Rodgers, Jemson, Woan.
EVERTON: Gerrard, Hibbert (Loumboutis 45), Weir, Stubbs, Pistone, Tal (McLeod 45), Pembridge, Unsworth (Southern 45), Rodrigo (Daley 55), Ferguson (Campbell 45), Radzinski (Rooney 67). Referee: Ray Olivier. GOALS: Radzinski (41 mins) 0-1, Campbell (52 mins) 0-2, Campbell (65 mins) 0-3.
Jul 22 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON travel to Hampden Park tonight, for a football version of family at war. The Blues take on Queens Park in the splendid setting of Scotland's national stadium, with Colin Harvey's son-in-law in the opposition ranks! Johnny Whelan is a midfielder from Crosby who has played in Scotland for the past three years. An ardent Liverpool fan, an ankle injury will almost certainly rule him out of tomorrow night's friendly, but he promises his team-mates will give the Blues a run for their money.
"We're a fit young team and we'll definitely give them a test," he declared. "I'm just gutted I won't be able to play. "I did my ankle last week against Dumbarton. I'd just scored an own goal as well, so you could say it was a nightmare. "I hate watching games, as well, but I'll make an exception for this one." Part of the appeal of switching to Queens Park - last season's bottom club in Scotland - from Berwick Rangers, was the chance to play at Hampden Park every other week. "My mates do think it's a bit mad," he said. "We finished bottom of the Third Division last season, yet we play in the national stadium. "It really is in magnificent shape at the moment. Everton will love it. "It's a big, wide pitch which was relaid for the Champions League Final, but we're used to playing on it.
"Everton will enjoy it, but I can tell you now it won't be a walkover." Whelan has also passed on a spying report to his team-mates. "With Melanie's dad being Colin Harvey I hear plenty about Everton. I've heard all about Wayne Rooney so maybe it's just as well I am injured!"
Wright in as Blues sign Brazilian
Jul 22 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON are on the brink of a sensational double transfer coup - to land a future England goalkeeper, a goalscoring Brazilian --and still leave David Moyes with money to chase further signings. The imaginative deals were fashioned in London last night and manager David Moyes said: "I am still hoping to fill another couple of positions in the squad before we are finished."
Arsenal goalkeeper Richard Wright is due on Merseyside today after talks with Moyes last night convinced the talented young keeper to swap Highbury for Goodison. And in a frantic day's activity, the Blues' boss also secured the Brazilian Rodrigo on a year's loan. But it is the terms of both deals which gives Everton further flexibility in the transfer market. The Richard Wright deal will eventually reach £4.5m, but the Blues will pay only £3.5m down, with the remainder based on appearances and league placings. Personal terms will be discussed today, but it is believed Wright has already agreed to a pay-cut in order to secure regular first team football. Moyes is convinced that the former Ipswich keeper will become England's next number one. In a deal similar to the Joseph Yobo transfer, Rodrigo will cost £1.25m, with a view to a permanent switch after that. All Moyes would say on the Wright transfer was: "Negotiations are at an advanced stage." But the young keeper arrives on Merseyside today and could complete a deal by tomorrow. Juliano Rodrigo is already here and Moyes said: "He has an ability to score a goal, which we probably didn't see on Saturday, but he didn't give the ball away and he will give us a different type of player to those we already have - in the same vein as, say, a David Ginola or a Paul Gascoigne . . . but younger. "It's a bit of a gamble with him changing continents and adjusting to a different style of football, but that is why the deal i s initially over 12 months. "It is another good deal for us."
Rodrigo has a wealth of talent
Jul 22 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
JULIANO RODRIGO does not fit the image of your typical Brazilian footballer. Sure, the easy ball control and dazzling dribbling skills are there, but the Botafogo midfielder is also from a wealthy family. In a country where the romantic image of football is akin to boxing in this country, an escape route from the streets for the working classes, Rodrigo is seen to come from a privileged background. That background, however, has helped smooth through his move to Goodison.
Angered at nonpayment of wages by his last registered club, Botafogo, Rodrigo's father bought out 70 per cent o f h i s son's contract. That gave Everton the chance to construct a deal where a £1.25m outlay allowed them to capture one of the nation's hottest properties. Born in Santos and aged 26, he scored eight goals in 20 league appearances last season. But the role he occupied, cutting in from the left of midfield, is what ensured he missed out on Felipe Scolari's World Cup squad. Seen as a 'floater' between the midfield and forwards, Rivaldo and Juninho already claimed those roles in Big Phil's party. It remains to be seen how David Moyes will accomodate that talent, but there is little doubt he has captured an exciting player who possesses the potential to fire the imagination of Evertonians.
Blues date tickets call
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jul 23 2002
PRESTIGE tickets for David Unsworth's testimonial against Athletic Bilbao next month are now on sale in support of the Everton Former Players Foundation, writes Andy Hunter. The game will mark the culmination of Everton's pre-season tour plans and the first chance to see new signings Joseph Yobo, Rodrigo and, fingers crossed, Richard Wright in action. Prior to the match, on Saturday, August 10, there will be a Celebrity Charity showdown between Everton Old Boys and Liverpool Old Boys. And the EFPF now has special tickets on sale for the testimonial, which will help raise funds for the charity - the only one of its kind in Britain - that provides medical care for former Goodison stars.
Tickets are now on sale for the Alex Young Lounge (priced £22), the Vice-Presidents Lounge (£25) while executive boxes for 10 people are also available for £500. To purchase these tickets, call the David Unsworth Testimonial Hotline on (0151) 520 2362 (9am-9pm, seven days per week).
If the line is busy, leave your name and number and your call will be returned during these hours.
General tickets (£15 adults, £5 concessions) are now on general sale from the box office, while the club are offering a three course meal for £18. Call (0151) 330 2499 for this offer after purchasing match tickets.
Brazil legend hails Rodrigo
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jul 23 2002
BRAZILIAN World Cup legend Jairzinho has backed Rodrigo (right) to take the Premiership by storm next season as Everton captured the first samba star in their history last night. David Moyes moved swiftly to sign the Botafogo forward on an initial 12-month, £1.25million deal yesterday after his presence in England and impressive run-out at Shrewsbury on Saturday alerted Premiership rivals to the 26-yearold's talents. Both Leeds and Middlesbrough sent their chief scouts to Gay Meadow but the Blues had first option on Rodrigo after agreeing personal terms with the player and his father last week. Everton will pay a further £3m for his services next summer if the move proves a success, after striking a deal similar to the one that brought Nigerian international Joseph Yobo to Goodison a fortnight ago. And last night Jairzinho, who played at Goodison in the 1966 World Cup and became the only man to score in every round of the competition as Brazil's greatest triumphed in Mexico four years later, gave the Blues' latest acquisition his blessing. "Rodrigo is very good, a very impressive player," enthused the former Brazilian star. "He has got a good left foot and he is very talented. Rodrigo possesses a good shot, he is a fine dribbler and is very fast. Whoever gets Rodrigo will be very lucky." Manager Moyes has likened the Brazilian's talents to David Ginola or a Paul Gascoigne, not the Everton versions of course, and believes the Brazilian who just missed out on Felipe Scolari's World Cup winning squad will provide much-needed guile at Goodison.
The biggest problem is where Rodrigo, once a floating striker but now used more as an attacking midfielder, will fit into Moyes' formation. The former Botafogo man, who completed his medical last night, is set to sign his initial 12-month contract this morning before heading off to Scotland for the Blues' three-match tour north of the border. His Portuguese passport means he does not require a work permit to appear in the Premiership. And Moyes said: "We have liked a lot of things we have seen from Rodrigo in pre-season. "Obviously there is a little bit of a gamble bringing someone in from a different continent, who plays a different style of football but that is why the deal is initially over 12 months. "It's another good deal for us. We will bring him here on loan, like we have with other deals, and if these players show up then hopefully we will take them at the end of that time."
Moyes two other trialists, Omar Daley and Konstantinos Loumboutis, will get another chance to press their claims tonight at Hampden Park when the Blues take on Queens Park in their fourth pre-season friendly.
Wright: I will take pay cut
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jul 23 2002
RICHARD WRIGHT arrived on Merseyside last night ready to take a £250,000 pay cut to revive his Premiership fortunes with Everton. The Arsenal keeper was finally convinced to quit the Double winners for Goodison Park on Sunday after lengthy talks with Blues boss David Moyes, who also landed Brazilian forward Rodrigo yesterday. And, as Wright's agent insisted his client was Moyes' top target all along, it emerged the 24-year-old is willing to accept a reduced salary and lose Champions League bonuses from Arsenal in order for the £4.75million deal to go through.
The England international is due to discuss personal terms and undergo a medical today before putting pen to paper on a five-year Goodison contract. Under the terms of the fee agreed with Arsenal, Everton will make a £3.5m down-payment with the rest based on appearances and league placings. Wright's representative Jonathan Barnett insists the deal was held up while the keeper wrestled with the decision over whether he had a future at Highbury, and not because of Everton's interest in Mart Poom. But last Wednesday's news that David Seaman had signed a one-year contract extension is believed to have finally convinced Wright to give up on the Gunners.
Barnett said: "A fee's been agreed and it'll go through as soon as Richard can agree personal terms.
"We're hopeful they'll be agreed. If it takes 24 hours, fine, and if it takes a week, that's fine as well.
"We know from our interest that Richard has been Everton's number one choice.
"I was aware of their interest a little while ago, because these things take a long time and Richard had to make up his mind he wanted to leave Arsenal. Now we want to keep progressing as quickly as possible and get the deal done." After a summer-long search for a new goalkeeper Moyes is reluctant to raise his hopes until the deal is finalised. But the Blues boss, who believes first-team football at Everton will revive Wright's career and England prospects, said: "I would rather wait and not speculate until we have an outcome in the situation. But he would be a good signing because he is just exactly what we are after." With Arsenal jetting out on a pre-season tour of Austria tomorrow both Wright and Everton, who head for Scotland this afternoon, want the transfer concluded swiftly.
Even if negotiations run smoothly and Wright signs today he is unlikely to face Queens Park tonight, but could make his Blues debut against either Dunfermline or Hibernian later in the tour.
New signings Joseph Yobo and Rodrigo will head north of the border with the Blues and may be handed a run-out at Hampden Park.
Egyptian gets his chance to impress
Jul 23 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON'S World Cup stars will be paraded for the first time this pre-season tonight - on a stage fit for the world's best. And David Moyes hopes to add to the growing international flavour of his squad when he looks at Egyptian Ibrahim Said in Scotland. The Blues face Queens Park (7.30pm) at Hampden Park, the venue for the Champions League Final two months ago. With two Chinese, a Nigerian and a Brazilian already added to his squad, Moyes will now run the rule over an Egyptian defender who figured in the voting for the most recent African Player of the Year, won by El-Hadji Diouf. Said will travel north and will play at least 45 minutes against Queens Park. Joseph Yobo will also be given his first outing in an Everton shirt. They will join World Cup stars Thomas Gravesen (Denmark), Niclas Alexandersson and Tobias Linderoth (Sweden), Lee Carsley (Ireland) and Joe-Max Moore (USA) who will all travel to Scotland with the Blues' squad. Brazilian Juliano Rodrigo, however, will not join the squad. He has been allowed to return home for a few days following the completion of his 12-month loan yesterday - a transfer endorsed by Brazilian legend Jairzinho!
"All the World Cup boys will get 45 minutes," said Moyes. "We'll also have another look at Konstantin Loumboutis, too, and the match should be another good workout for us." Moyes is relishing the prospect of a match in Scotland's national stadium. "I might bring myself on for 10 minutes," he joked. Another Scot who has a more realistic chance of figuring is defender David Weir. "I'm really looking forward to it," he added. "I can definitely see good signs here. Things are changing with the new manager and hopefully we are building for the future. "He has brought a lot more energy to the team. He wants to press the opposition all the time and to do it further up the pitch. To do that you have to be fitter and prepared to do it. "We can't afford to carry passengers and we won't." Richard Wright's medical, meanwhile, is expected to be completed today, allowing the goalkeeper to make his debut in Saturday ' s friendly at Dunfermline. The 24- year- old has accepted a £5,000 a week pay- cut to move to Goodison. With David Seaman and Nigel Martyn nearing the end of illustrious careers, the opportunity is there for a young goalkeeper to step into Sven Goran Eriksson's long term plans. Wright hopes the switch to Everton can offer him the opportunity to do just that.
Blues' unsung hero
Jul 23 2002 By Kevin Ratcliffe
DAVID MOYES is keen to make youth his keyword at Everton during the coming season.
But while Manchester United once proved that you can definitely win things with kids, you still need one or two old heads around to help ease them through. In David Weir and Mark Pembridge, Everton have two of the best. Plenty has been said and written about Weir already, but Pembs always seems to be the unsung hero. He may not claim a regular first team place at Everton next season, but there is no doubt in my mind he is certainly worthy of a regular role in the senior squad.
He is an honest, willing lad who rarely gives the ball away and I know Wales miss him like mad when he is not playing. He performs that holding role in front of the back-four to perfection, and is also capable of weighing in with the odd goal or two. As he showed against Shrewsbury on Saturday, he has the guile and ability to play goal-creating passes and you can take his prodigious workrate for granted. Possibly because Pembs doesn't look like the most graceful of footballers, he doesn't get the credit he deserves. But I have little doubt he is a valuable asset for any squad - especially one made up of young players. Wayne worthy of excitement IT'S not often you hear fans getting excited about a footballer before he's even kicked a ball in the Premiership. But the roar which went up on Saturday as soon as Wayne Rooney started warming up along the touchline said everything about the expectancy levels which he is already generating. He was only on for 20 minutes but even in that time he had one shot well saved, a header saved and tried another effort from about 35 yards which he miss-hit. Obviously he is very young, but he has a great physique for a 16-year-old - just like the last 16-yearold to play in the Blues' first team, Joe Royle. Rodrigo's a risk worth taking
IT'S a gamble bringing in a Brazilian to try and make an impact in the Premiership --and Juliano Rodrigo will face sterner challenges than he did against us at the weekend. With the warm sunshine beating down, the game played at a slow pace and our players standing off him, he looked a talented enough player. The proof will come when he is asked to do it in the blood and thunder of the Premiership. Everton have constructed a clever deal where they will not suffer unduly if he fails to settle. Time will tell, but at present it appears to be a deal the Blues can't be faulted on.
Queens Park 0, Everton 6 (D,Post)
Andy Hunter Reports From Hampden Park, Daily Post
Jul 24 2002
WAYNE ROONEY may have missed out on the youngest ever Everton player record, but at this rate he will be the first Blues star to have pre-season cut short for his own good. At Hampden Park last night, the 'home of football' according to recent and current Goodison managers, the foundations on which Everton's reemergence under David Moyes are planned offered the latest proof that all the hype, all the expectations and all the hope do not do this 16-year-old justice. Pre-season friendlies are usually the preserve of fitness programmes, first team claims and the odd scrap with a mad local out to impress his mates in the stand by crocking a Premiership star. In Rooney's case, none of the above apply. Like the desperate hopes Everton fans have for the latest striking protege to roll off their Academy lines, this player is thankfully different from the rest. In four appearances this summer, totalling less than 230 minutes of football, the precocious talent has struck seven quality goals. But, far more than that, he has confounded all the fevered anticipation whispered quietly around Everton for the past few years to surely cement his place in Moyes' starting line-up come August 17. There are five more friendlies for Everton to face this summer before Spurs arrive to open the Premiership season - and absolutely nothing else for Rooney to prove regarding his first team worth. Even so, manager Moyes stressed: "I think I'll just say he's a boy with potential for now.
"It is not fulfilled yet, he still has a massive amount of work to do but you can say that about any 16-year-old." His second hat-trick in Everton's second rout inside a week (a coincidence?) was just the latest illustration of his prowess. A powerful header set the ball rolling for Everton's fourth consecutive friendly triumph after 16 minutes, following a neat back-heel from Greek trialist Konstantinos Loumboutis and excellent cross from Lee Carsley. Much better was to follow, from Everton and Rooney, but not before Joseph Yobo's Blues debut ended in agony after he took a heavy knock that saw him head to hospital. Fellow new face Loumboutis gave a far more impressive display, as did Egyptian Ibrahim Said (right), but whether the Greek can force his way past the plethora of left-backs on Everton's books remains to be seen. It will be a devastating blow for Moyes and Everton if Yobo's injury proves serious, but last night all eyes were again on the youngster.
Having set Duncan Ferguson up for a simple second after ghosting past two defenders, the striker curled his next home off the underside of the bar from 22 yards with the outside of his boot.
Allowed the luxury of another 45-minute run-out after the interval, though in truth the luxury was for the spectators, the young striker completed his treble with another exocet in the 55th minute, a nonchalant piece of control preceeding a blistering low drive into the bottom corner.
The impressive Kevin McLeod also added to his pre-season repertoire with a polished chip over the Queens Park keeper in the 49th minute, before Idan Tal completed the rout with a 77th minute penalty. The Israeli then contrived to deliver the first contender for miss of the season after rounding the keeper but not beating the last man on the line. But that was a side issue. The Rooney roadshow continues.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Simonsen; Said, Clarke, Yobo (Naysmith 24), Loumboutis; Alexandersson (McLeod 46), Carsley (Linderoth 46), Unsworth, Tal; Ferguson (Gravesen 46), Rooney.
QUEENS PARK: Mitchell; Sinclair, Gallagher, Agostini, Moffat, Lappin, Jack, Marshall, Gemmell, Gallagher, Fisher.
By Len Capeling, Daily Post
Jul 24 2002
AT the height of his phenomenally successful association with Morecambe and Wise, scriptwriter Eddie Braben constructed a brilliant sketch for the duo that hinged on a case of mistaken identity.
The skit went something like this. Ernie Wise took a telephone call which led him to believe that Bob Hope neeeded some gags from him for his upcoming British tour. As ever, Eric Morecambe did everything short of strangulation to deflate his puffed-up partner as he dreamed dreams of lazy Hollywood days with the kiss of the Pacific surf not far away. Eventually, as Ernie modelled his California leisurewear and Eric speared him with another insult, the doorbell rang and the short, fat hairy one found himself welcoming not Bob Hope, but a tired old club comic called Bob Pope.
Cut to last week at Goodison, when, presumably without the help of Liverpool-born Braben, Everton managed to write their own comedy half-hour based on a remarkably similar case of mistaken identity involving two Oriental ball jugglers sharing the name Li. Those cruel people who delight in sniggering at Goodison had difficulty in keeping their feet. Naturally, David Moyes didn't see the funny side, and who can blame him as Barry Norman might have said. Moyes spoke warmly of his great Eastern hope Li Tie, a player he'd first spotted during China's disastrous World Cup campaign.
The TV lights were lit. The vol-au-vents glowed. Solemn speeches about historymaking opportunities perfumed the air with hope. Then it happened . Disaster. . . The bang of anticipation as the classy international Li Tie waited to take his bow was turned to whimpers of embarrassment as a complete stranger swam into view from behind the Great Wall of telecommunications. He was eventually identified as someone Moyes hadn't wanted, someone called Li Weifeng, not to be confused with Li Carsley. It was well into the next day when it was announced that Everton had gulped down two Chinese dishes for the price of one. Manchester United have since denied that they signed someone who turned out not to be Rio Ferdinand. THANK goodness Everton have a goalkeeper at last. I was beginning to run out of names myself, domestic and foreign. Strangely, Chris Kirkland was never mentioned even though he's only a skip and a jump away across Stanley Park. Everton's problem is they once boasted the nation's top goalkeeper and all who followed were going to be harshly judged. Neither Thomas Myhre, Paul Gerrard nor Steve Simonsen has looked remotely capable of making us forget Neville Southall, just as no-one has ever come close to emulating Gary 'One Season' Lineker. Richard Wright has not shone at Arsenal where, somewhat alarmingly, he's been unable to dislodge a goalkeeper of pensionable age. Clearly, Arsene Wenger didn't seem him as a future Highbury hero and Everton have chosen to gamble. We shall see. Blues fans will be fair to him but, as Paul Gerrard discovered, staying on your line is not the best way to win the ball or win over a crowd whose booing abilities are championship class. RICHARD WRIGHT'S agent must think the Everton faithful have the attention span of a damsel fly. Last week he ridiculed David Moyes' frantic pusuit of a goalkeeper and dismissed his chances of prising Wright away from Doublewinners Arsenal. "Why would he want to leave them for Everton," said Jonathan Barnett, adding: "Who will David Moyes be after next, Rivaldo?" A week on, and with Wright already at Goodison, Barnett is singing a different song, insisting that the move was always on and that his client was happy to join the Blues.
Wright on the brink
Report By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jul 24 2002
RICHARD WRIGHT is set to finalise his £4.75million transfer to Everton today after rejecting a last-minute plea from Arsene Wenger to stay at Arsenal. The England international is expected to put pen to paper on a five-year Goodison contract after holding further talks with David Moyes and visiting the club's facilities yesterday. And as Gunners boss Wenger issued an appeal for the 24-year-old to stay and fight David Seaman for his place at Highbury, Blues owner Bill Kenwright insisted the lure of first team football would convince Wright to swap the Double winners for Goodison Park.
Kenwright said: "Since we heard two weeks ago that there might be a chance of Richard leaving Arsenal we have been absolutely focused on getting him. "David is fiercely committed to signing a player who he believes is the next England goalkeeper and David Seaman signing a new contract last week helped push things along. "Friday, Saturday and Sunday was spent on a mad negotiation spree between ourselves, Arsenal, the player and his agent and we hope we have convinced Richard that Everton are the right club for him." Kenwright is confident Everton's long wait for a new number one will come to an end today, after Wright underwent a medical and checked out accommodation in the area. And as the keeper's agent confirmed his client is ready to take a pay-cut to revive his Premiership career at Goodison Park, it emerged he also ignored a belated appeal from the French double Double winner to remain a Gunner. Despite accepting Everton's £4.75m offer for a player he signed for £6m from Ipswich 12 months ago, Wenger said: "I want Richard to stay at Arsenal and fight for his place but he has decided to look elsewhere. "That is his choice. His future is in his own hands. I don't want him to leave and I have told him that." Wright's agent Jonathan Barnett insists the Blues target will be taking the rare step of putting his career before his pay packet if he accepts the Goodison offer, which now hinges on his family's willingness to move north. "We've just got to finalise one or two little things and it should be sorted in the next day or two," said Barnett. "He loves the place and he just has a few personal things to sort out. "The most important thing that people should realise is that transfers are not all about money for every footballer.
"Richard is making a decision for the sake of his career and his England place. We have discussed the situation and he wants first team football. "He doesn't want to sit in the reserves and pick up his wages each week and he is setting an example which people should follow." Moyes, who also completed the signing of Brazilian Rodrigo yesterday for an initial £1.25m, is hopeful Wright will seize the chance to revive his career as the Blues boss attempts the same with Everton.
"I am hopeful but I want people to come to Everton because they think it is the right place to play their football and there will certainly be no pressure from me," said Moyes. "I have done my talking with him and I think, and hope, that he will see this as the move, which he needs to make to become the next England goalkeeper. "Now the player just wants a day to think things over to make sure the decision is right for his family." Wright could make his first Everton appearance against Dunfermline on Saturday if the deal is done today, after the Blues opened their mini-tour of Scotland with a 6-0 win over Queens Park last night.
Meanwhile, an Everton XI won 3-0 at Burscough last night with goals from Steven Beck, Jamaican trialist Omar Daley and Alan Moogan.
Yobo hit by injury scare
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jul 24 2002
EVERTON are sweating on a medical report on new £5million capture Joseph Yobo this morning after the Nigerian's debut ended in a trip to hospital. The defender was taken off after just 24minutes of the Blues' 6-0 defeat of Scottish part-timers Queens Park after an innocuous collision. But it was later revealed the World Cup starhad suffered a much more serious injury. Manager David Moyes said: "Joseph has gone to hospital for an X-ray. "At first we thought he had just injured his ankle but he was in agony at half-time with a swollen fibula. "We will find out the extent of the injury tomorrow morning."
Wright a Blue at last
Jul 24 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
RICHARD WRIGHT today gave Everton the news they had been waiting for: 'I will sign'.
The England goalkeeper contacted Everton officials this morning to confirm he wanted to complete his move to Merseyside, despite a late appeal from Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger. "We are delighted Richard has agreed to join us," said Chief Executive Michael Dunford. "He will complete the formalities of the transfer tomorrow morning and travel up to join the rest of the squad later in the day." Wright is expected to make his Everton debut i n Monday night's friendly match at Hibernian.
David Moyes' first signing, however, is unlikely to be available. Joseph Yobo was given the all-clear by hospital specialists today after limping out of his Everton debut last night after just 26 minutes.
Moyes feared his first signing may have sustained a broken leg at Queens Park. He was immediately taken for an X-ray, but the Blues' boss said this morning: "We have had the all-clear and it's a big relief. The area around Joseph's fibula was very swollen at the time, but the X-ray has revealed nothing more than severe bruising. "We don't know how long it will take to settle down, but we are just relieved it is nothing more serious." The Nigerian did not arrive at Everton's Scottish training camp hotel until 10 to one in the morning - and will almost certainly not be ready in time for matches against Dunfermline on Saturday and Hibs. A report in Scotland today, meanwhile, claimed that Rangers have frozen £3.5m worth of payments to Everton until troubled defender Michael Ball proves his fitness. The England international moved north last summer in a deal said to be worth £6.5m. But it is understood Everton have received less than half, with the remainder dependent on Ball playing a specified number of first team games. A spokesman said: "Everton have received £3m for Michael Ball and the rest is tied up on appearance payments - some of them even rely on Rangers being in the Champions League or him playing in a World Cup."
Teen ace can become even better
Jul 24 2002 Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES fended off his usual round of Wayne Rooney reaction last night, after the 16-year-old struck his second hattrick of Everton's pre-season programme. But the Blues boss said he was equally pleased with the progress being made by skipper Duncan Ferguson, after he had scored his first. "Duncan started to make improvement tonight," said Moyes. "This was only his second 45 minutes and he has missed bits of pre-season training. "He is just finding his feet, but we are hoping to get him back to the level he was at when I just took over and he was scoring lots of goals.
"As for Wayne, I think I'm going back to 'he's a lad with potential!' "It would be wrong to say just what we really think, but he is a lad with potential which is not fulfilled yet. "What I would say is he has a massive amount of work to do on lots of things which would make him better, but you would say that about any 16-year-old." Kevin McLeod was another youngster to shine, scoring a goal and earning a penalty during a second half run-out, and Moyes believes the impact made by Rooney so far may have helped. "When we played him up front in the second half he looked lean and sharp," he explained. "We praised him for his attitude closing the ball down and his all- round demeanour has been much better. "Maybe seeing the introduction of some of the younger lads in the team has given some of the other boys a feel that their own opportunities aren't too far away." Moyes also revealed that Egyptian trialist Ibrahim Said would remain with the Blues for their two weekend friendly games at Dunfermline and Hibernian. "I thought Ibrahim looked a good player," he said. "He is very quick, but obviously I'd like to see him with more defensive work to do, but he's with us for the rest of the week and we'll see how it goes. " Queens Park started brightly and we were a bit lucky in the opening five minutes not to have lost a goal. "But I think once we settled and we got moving it was good. "Sometimes you think it's easy but when you have the ball you have to run to make a lot of angles and support the play so I'm hoping the lads got a good bit of fitness work."
Boss tips Wright for England role
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jul 25 2002
DAVID MOYES has backed Richard Wright to achieve at international level what he failed to do at Highbury by replacing David Seaman as England's first-choice goalkeeper. The Everton boss concluded a three-month search for a new number one yesterday when Wright agreed to quit the double winners for Goodison Park in a £4.75million transfer. Wright will sign a five-year deal and join up with his new team-mates at their Scottish training base today before making his Blues bow in next Monday's friendly against Hibernian. And last night a delighted Moyes insisted the 24-year-old's decision to take a £250,000 a-year pay-cut to revive his Premiership career will be rewarded with a glistening career for both Everton and England. "It is fantastic news and a great signing," said Moyes. "I believe Richard will become a future England goalkeeper. He has already been involved in the setup and I think playing regularly for Everton will push his claims. "He is a young goalkeeper and he'll have a lot to do and a lot to learn but I have real high hopes and I will be disappointed if he doesn't become an England goalkeeper in the very near future. "It has been a long struggle getting in a goalkeeper but I really do feel in Richard Wright, and at the price we have got him, that it is beneficial for us. I hope the supporters feel that we are moving in the right direction." Everton will pay Arsenal £3.5m up front for their new keeper, with the rest of the fee based on appearances and league placings. But it is Wright's willingness to reclaim the Premiership spotlight with Everton rather than play reserve to Seaman for another season that has most impressed the Blues boss. Moyes added: "Having to decide, 'No, I don't want to be a number two, I want to be a number one,' I think has been a big decision. "He has also had to take a big wage dock to come here, so that tells you about his ambition, at a time in football when you hear so much about players picking up the money. But I can tell you Richard is coming here to be a goalkeeper. "In the conversations and meetings I have had with him he has shown me great desire to do that and I am looking forward to starting work with him." Wright endured a difficult season at Highbury following his £6m move from Ipswich. But Moyes has no doubts about his Premiership pedigree. "When you look back he was one of the best in the Premiership when Ipswich were in the top division," said the Blues boss.
"Then he went to Arsenal and he did very well. He had a couple of slip-ups in a Champions League game but that happens with young goalkeepers at times and I expect him to get better and better.
"It is a big move for him because you have to remember that at the present time Arsenal are in a far healthier position than Everton Football Club are." There was more good news for Moyes when new signing Joseph Yobo was found to have suffered just severe bruising on his Blues debut against Queens Park on Tuesday.
By David Anderson, Daily Post
Jul 25 2002
RICHARD WRIGHT hopes his £4.75million switch to Everton from Arsenal can help relaunch his England career. Wright, who has two England caps, missed out on the World Cup and he knows he has little chance of featuring under Sven-Goran Eriksson until he is playing regularly in the Premiership. That was the lure of Everton and the goalkeeper was not prepared to spend another season at Highbury as David Seaman's understudy. Wright, 24, is so determined to restart his international and club careers that he has agreed to take a pay cut to move to Goodison Park.
His agent, Jonathan Barnett, stressed he had no regrets about his time at Arsenal and just felt Everton was too good an opportunity to turn down "He loved being at Arsenal and it was a great experience for him," he said. "Hopefully, he will be a better goalkeeper for it and it certainly wasn't a wasted year. "He feels it is time to move on now and Richard has made a decision for the sake of his career and his England place." The fee for Wright could rise to £4.75m, depending on appearances, and he has left Arsenal just one year after arriving in a £6m deal from his home-town club, Ipswich. Wright was at Everton's Bellefield training ground yesterday having a medical and discussing personal terms and had asked for 24 hours to think over the move. He gave the Blues the thumbs up today and he is expected to sign officially for the club first thing this morning.
Wright will then fly up to Glasgow to link up with his new team-mates on their pre-season tour of Scotland and he could make his debut against Dunfermline on Saturday. Wright will be joined at Everton by Brazilian striker Juliano Rodrigo, who is set to become manager David Moyes' next signing. Everton were just waiting for the necessary documentation from South America to arrive before tying up the deal. Meanwhile, Moyes was relieved to hear that his first signing Joseph Yobo was not seriously injured in the friendly win over Queens Park, as was first feared. The Nigerian World Cup star, a £5m signing from Marseille, limped off during the first half at Hampden Park.
It was feared he might have cracked his fibula, but an X-ray has revealed he has only suffered soft tissue damage around his ankle. "We have had the all-clear and it's a big relief. We don't know how long it will take to settle down, but we are just relieved it is nothing more serious." Meanwhile, Michael Ball admits he is facing a make-orbreak season as a Rangers player. The potential of the former Everton defender has never been in doubt but, almost a year on from his £6m arrival from Goodison, the Ibrox faithful are still waiting to see exactly what he is capable of. Ball was known to have had problems with a knee injury towards the end of his time with the Blues but Ibrox manager Dick Advocaat sanctioned the transfer anyway, convinced the young England international had a bright future in Glasgow. But the knee injury saw Ball sidelined for eight weeks before even kicking a ball and, when he eventually did make his Rangers debut, he went on to make just 10 more appearances throughout the campaign. He was flown to the United States for surgery.
With his patella tendon close to rupturing, medics at the Steadman Hawkins Clinic in Colorado told the defender he was one game away from spending the next two years on the sidelines.
New boss Alex McLeish said: "It's frustrating for Michael - it must be difficult for him to keep his head up. "But it's also frustrating for Rangers and the supporters."
Jul 25 2002 Daily Post & Icliverpool
WHAT IS going on at Goodison?
All this fevered transfer activity and the prospect of some young 'stars' coming through has got everyone's pulses racing. The new season could be our best for years or it could all blow up in our faces as in recent seasons. Let's hope it is the former. At least life's never dull being a Blue.
I hope at the end of this season fingernails are being bitten over European qualification, not relegation.
Michael Phillips (via e-mail)
Don't ignore good news I FEEL compelled to respond to his latest swipe at Everton by Len Capeling, in his article Chinese Puzzle. With all the positive messages coming from Goodison, you would have thought that he might find it in his heart to report some good news. Instead he focusses on the most negative story he can find. Not content with an open attack, he then moves on to express his relief that we have finally signed a keeper, but he still can't resist pointing out that Wright can't even get a place at Arsenal against an ageing Seaman. Would that be the same Seaman who played in the World Cup, Mr Capeling, and kept every other English keeper out of the team? He then moves on to resurrect Wright's agent's comments, not because they provide any insight, but simply because it allows Capeling to vicariously insult my beloved team.
Marcus Swift, Liverpool
So far so good. One of the main reasons David Moyes was picked is because he could manage a team on a shoestring budget. To date he has brought in at least five new faces. On top of this no-one of any significance has left. This is a far cry from recent seasons when basically the midfield/defence was obliterated. I did not mention Jeffers because he has proved his value for Arsenal (NOT).
So all in all Evertonians must be excited about the new season. The fact that Graveson did not leave is surely a blessing. The problem now is for Moyes to put the new talent and commitment together.
Steve James (via e-mail)
England's future keeper
IF ANYONE can disagree about signing Richard Wright they must be mad. He will be England's No.1 in less than two years - and he also thinks that Everon are going places and is willing to sacrifice a lot of money to plays for us.
Andy Garner, Warrington
AFTER READING Len Capeling's column "Moyes in search of hidden treasure" and then measuring Moyes's transfer market success to date, it perhaps may be that Moyes should be elected to Chancellor of the Exchequer and Capeling relegated to the back benches.
Eric Owen (via e-mail)
On Wright lines
DAVID MOYES is signing the calibre of goalkeeper needed to strengthen this great club.
Wright will quickly become the England No.1 while Yobo will blossom to Juventus's despair.
Darren Maurice, Merseyside
Right to change
I SECOND many of the remarks regarding Len Capeling. But we should remember that this was the man who desperately wanted Walter Smith to stay at Everton.
Maybe everyone now realises that while Len thinks Smith is the next Alex Ferguson, he's actually the next Lou Macari.
Peter Fearon, Merseyside
Jul 25 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
RODRIGO hopes to use Everton as a springboard to replace a former world player of the year Rivaldo in the Brazilian side! Everton's new signing rejoined his team-mates yesterday after a quickfire visit back home. Then he targeted an international breakthrough and a top five finish for his new club next season. "I was hoping to go to the World Cup but it was not possible," he explained. "I scored 13 goals in 25 games last season in Brazil, but playing in my position is Rivaldo, who is a very big name! "But I will be working hard to play in the next World Cup." Rodrigo has yet to win a full cap, but believes exposure in the Premier League could further his international ambitions. "I can't wait to play in the Premier League," he added. "It's exciting. I have watched the Premier League on TV and it will be a pleasure to play with a lot of fantastic players. "I am very happy. It's a new moment in my life. I am starting a new career here in England. "It's not easy. I have left a lot of things behind in Brazil to come here. " It's a big cultural shock, a change of country and clubs. I have left my family behind but I really want to play for Everton. I feel comfortable here. "The guys have watched me a lot and the manager was very friendly. The time I have spent here has been good. I have the chance to know what Everton is about and I can see how big Everton is. "The manager was very important in me coming to Everton. He has given me the chance to speak to him and express myself. I like how he works and he makes me feel comfortable. That's important to any player if he is to play well.
"My target is to help Everton get into the top five this season. "I think we have a very good team here and I am very excited to play with them. "It's very important for me to be scoring goals and making Everton a winning team." Latest Blues' signing, goalkeeper Richard Wright, is expected to join his new team-mates at their Scottish training camp later today. He completed the formalities of his £3.5m ( rising to £4.5m) transfer this morning before heading north. The Everton Former Players' Foundation, meanwhile, has announced details of premium ticket prices for David Unsworth's Testimonial match against Atletico Bilbao on August 10. Alex Young Lounge tickets are available for £22 each, Vice President's Lounge tickets at £25 each and Executive Boxes are £500 each for 10 persons. Prices include matchday programmes and half-time tea. Tickets can be reserved on 0151-520-2362 between 9am and 9pm seven days a week. If the line is busy leave your name and landline number and your call will be returned during these hours. Should you wish to take advantage of dining facilities the club is offering a three course meal priced £18. Please contact 0151-330-2499 to make your booking after you have purchased your match tickets. The Foundation points out that by supporting this event, you are making a difference to the life of a former Everton player.
Gazza eager to impress American coaches
Jul 25 2002 Liverpool Echo
FORMER Everton star Paul Gascoigne insists he is looking forward to "having a nice weekend, working hard and having a look around" during his weeklong stay with Major League Soccer club DC United. The 35-year-old former England midfielder flew into America last night for a trial with the Washington outfit, hoping to secure a permanent deal. He said: "I've always said I would like to play in America at one time. I'm looking forward to it. I'm just coming to have a look at the team and we'll see how it goes from there. "I know they've won the championship a couple of times, I know they're a great team and I know their manager. "Ray Hudson used to live where I used to live, funnily enough he lived next door to 'Jimmy Five Bellies'. "But I'm looking forward to it. I've had 10 days training in Cyprus, where I worked hard, and now I'm just looking forward to coming here and having a nice weekend, working hard and having a look around. "They'll look at me and I'll look at them and then we'll see what goes from there." Gascoigne also gave a clear hint that he would relish escaping the constant media attention he faces in Britain. When one reporter asked whether he thought he would join other great players such as Franz Beckenbauer and George Best in finishing his career in America, Gascoigne replied: "You just said I was a great player but not long ago you said I was one of those guys who was down-and-out." And when another journalist commented: "It's always a bit worrying when someone who is near the end of their career comes to a club in America," he received a stinging riposte. "There's always one negative person in life," blasted Gascoigne. "Think positive in life and that's where you might go a bit further. Are you a positive person? You don't sound it."
England's No 1
Jul 25 2002 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON deputy chairman Bill Kenwright believes the Toffees have signed 'the next England goalkeeper' after taking Richard Wright to Goodison Park. Wright hopes his £3.5million switch to Everton from Arsenal can help relaunch his international career. The 24-year-old, who has two England caps, missed out on the World Cup and knows he has little chance of featuring under Sven-Goran Eriksson until he is playing regularly in the Premiership. And Wright is so determined to restart his international and club careers that he has agreed to take a pay cut to join David Moyes' team. Kenwright said: "David Moyes said to me ' Listen, there are goalkeepers out there, but what I want is the next England goalkeeper to be wearing an Everton shirt. "I want that for Evertonians, I want it for me. I want the England goalkeeper to be coached by me and my staff.' "When we sat down with Richard Wright, he said 'I want to work at my goalkeeping craft."' Wright's agent Jonathan Barnett stressed he felt Everton was too good an opportunity to miss. "He loved being at Arsenal and it was a great experience for him," he said. "He feels it is time to move on now and Richard has made a decision for the sake of his career and his England place."
Why I had to sign for Everton
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jul 26 2002
NEW Everton goalkeeper Richard Wright insists there were two driving forces which brought him to Goodison Park - success and manager David Moyes. The Blues stopper was unable to wrestle the number one jersey from David Seaman at both domestic level with Arsenal and international level with England. But the 24-year-old is now fixed on a more positive outcome under Goodison boss Moyes. Wright, who trained with his new team-mates in Scotland yesterday after signing a five-year deal, said: "As I have said all along, I just want to play football. "Everton are on the up with a young manager who everybody is calling one of the best upandcoming bosses in the game. "I want to be part of his plans and as soon as I knew he was interested, I thought I had to speak to him.
"I talked to Mr Kenwright and the manager, and what they had to say was very good.
"They also gave the opportunity to look around with my family. "Everything had to be right for me on a personal level and Everton are a club I want to be involved in. "They are family-orientated and the club has so much going for it." But Wright believes he will not be the last big name to join the Blues under Moyes. Wright said: "Hopefully we can do well as a team and push up in the league.
"I have come here to do the best I can. If a club is successful, then top players will come along."
Wright insists he has no regrets about joining Arsenal from Ipswich, despite not being able to break into the side. He added: "There are no regrets because I had to take the opportunity to go to Arsenal. "It didn't work out and that was the downside, but I would have loved to have been successful there. "They are one of the best clubs in the country, but I've now signed for a new one and I am looking forward positively to the new challenge." Meanwhile, Blues boss Moyes has credited the Goodison board for helping him to bring Wright to the club. "The opportunity to buy Richard was a chance we had to take," he said. "I've got to give a lot of credit to the board and the people at the club who backed me all the way in this. "It is a financially tight climate at the moment, but they have helped me all the way. Richard is someone everybody admires."
Wright ushers in Blue dawn
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jul 26 2002
TWO ENGLAND internationals went out in search of the chance to revive their careers this week. Unwittingly, they brought back the clearest sign of the times at Goodison Park to date.
As Paul Gascoigne left a troubled past and his best years behind to seek a final fling in America, Richard Wright dumped a Double winning team and better pay conditions to give his formative goalkeeping years to Everton. Though two radically different talents and characters, the pair united in one clear demonstration of where David Moyes wants to take his new club. The 35-year-old Gascoigne was out of the Goodison door before Moyes took his bow to a tumultuous reception against Fulham in March. Various reasons may have been offered for the rapid departure to Burnley, but the fact is Gascoigne would have figured as much under the new Blues boss as David Ginola.
The arrival of the Premiership's youngest manager at Everton ushered in, all hoped, a new era. With the capture of possibly England's next number one at the age of just 24, and all for an initial £ 3.5million, Moyes has erected the era's first foundation. This signing is a benchmark for what we are trying to achieve," said Bill Kenwright after adding Wright's name to the signatures of Joseph Yobo and Juliano Rodrigo last night. "In a way Richard Wright is a signing David wants to be judged by. These three players are not just new signings. They are important signings and a sign of what we want to achieve. " The manager's mantra is youth, although above all else his mantra is win. The word win comes a lot with this manager as we knew from his first press conference when he said it seven times in his first three sentences. "What he wants to instil in the club is a desire to win.
" He said to Richard Wright on Sunday, 'I want to get that Saturday feeling into the club.' That is, when you can take your family out for a meal on a Saturday night on a high because you've had a great victory, or you are absolutely shattered because you've done everything you can but you ' ve failed. "There can be no middle-ground. What he doesn't want is a lukewarm Saturday night, where there is nothing. "But he said he wants to bring youth into the club, as every manager does, and he identified what he wanted and where he wanted it. I don't think any Evertonian over the last two years wouldn't have said a goalkeeper. That was vital." Age and potential are not the only positive factors in Everton's summer dealings. At a club where 'financial restraints' has become a more quoted motto than 'Nil Satis Nisi Optimum' the ability to sign £4.75m-rated Wright, £5m-rated Yobo and £4.5m-rated Rodrigo for less than £6m has added to the optimism. Kenwright said: "David has known since the first time he met me what his budget was, as did Walter (Smith). If you are honest with the manager he can identify what he wants and we can go out and make it work.
"In my first conversation with David I said we have got to work as one, that you can't tell me X is worth £2m and then say we should have gone to £4m afterwards. That is not a negotiation stance.
"Money is all-powerful in football and you have got to give your all in every deal as a footballer would do for 90 minutes on the pitch. "I know I gave my all to the Poom situation and then in the middle of it all, Wright came along out of the blue. "As soon as I phoned the manager to tell him Richard Wright was available, he said, 'Forget everyone else, he's the one.' "I think we are proving a good combination. We have made £6m stretch to a possible £16m by being very tight on the negotiations with Arsenal and others. Arsenal and Richard Wright were both very supportive and these loan deals have given us the chance to look at players for a year before committing ourselves further." Wright's arrival marks the end of an arduous summer search by Everton for a new keeper. It could, Kenwright admits, have been concluded earlier but the men Moyes' has in mind for his new era are much harder to find, despite the impetuousness of youth. "When it came to signing Richard we went through a list of eight goalkeepers," said the Blues deputy chairman. David said he could get them for a third of the price, he knew he could, but he also wanted to give Evertonians and the club a chance of having the next England goalkeeper. "He knew it would be a great capture to have the next England keeper at Everton so we were relentless in our pursuit." Kenwright added: " It wasn't easy to persuade Richard to come because he was thinking David Seaman only has to break a finger and I'm back in at Arsenal. "We can't offer him the Champions League bonuses he was getting at Arsenal - at the moment! - so it took a week to get the agent on side and Arsenal on side.
"There were various early morning meetings, which is why I was late for the Shrewsbury game, resulting in a phonecall on Sunday morning which let us know everything was nearly in place.
"David wanted it done that day so he caught a plane to London, got in my car and we drove to the outskirts of Ipswich for what we thought was a secret meeting only to walk into a hotel where a football team was staying! The best laid plans! "When Richard left the meeting at around 9.45 that night, David and I both knew we had the next Everton goalkeeper."
Wrong time, Wright man
Jul 26 2002 By Howard Kendall, Liverpool Echo
It was a policy which paid dividends for manager George Burley, who made much more on both players by selling them individually to Newcastle and Arsenal. Now David Moyes has snapped him up after making signing a goalkeeper his top priority this summer. That approach made sense. Every successful club through the years has had a top quality keeper and it is important when restructuring a team to start from the back. EVERTONIANS are finally going to see Richard Wright in action for the Blues, five years after I tried to bring him to Goodison. I spotted Wright's huge potential in 1997, during my third spell in charge at Everton. I did not have a vast amount of money at my disposal but we still managed to put together a £5m combined bid for both Wright and his fellow Ipswich team-mate at the time, Kieron Dyer. Wright was just 19 and Dyer 18 but they were both regulars in the Ipswich first team and were clearly destined to be top flight players, even though the Tractor Boys were in Division One at the time. Our offer was a big one for two teenagers, but I was not surprised Ipswich turned the bid down. They were intent on getting back to the top flight but were also aware of how valuable the pair would become as they gained experience of first team football.
It has been a long search to find a keeper of the required quality, made all the more troublesome by the limited resources at Moyes' disposal. But the addition of Wright proves it has been a worthwhile exercise. Wright is already an England international and has the potential to become Sven Goran Eriksson's regular number one. To snap up such a talented player for just £3.5m is a real coup. What does surprise me is the apparent willingness of the Gunners to allow Wright to go in a cutprice deal. They splashed out £6m on the keeper last summer with a view to him becoming David Seaman's successor. But his 12 league appearances last season for the Gunners don't appear to have satisfied Wright. Having been the first choice at Ipswich since 1996, he clearly finds it hard sitting on the sidelines. That hunger for first team football has already benefited Everton. Young goalkeepers rarely gain the kind of experience Wright already has. He has played 252 league games and he is still only 24. In short, Everton have snapped up a gem I never thought they would get. When his name was mentioned I dismissed it, believing he was the least likely of the club's targets to ever make it to Goodison. Arsenal's willingness to let him go has made it one of the transfer coups of the summer.
If only Ipswich had been as willing to talk business back in 1997.
Blues learn lesson
EVERTON have learned from the Alex Nyarko affair. David Moyes has made some very promising signings this summer, most of whom are foreign players. When you bring a player in from a foreign culture, particularly one from another continent, it is always a gamble. Nyarko proved how big a gamble. The Ghanaian was hailed as a great player when he arrived but he didn't settle and Everton was left with a player who had no future at the club but who was signed to a long and lucrative contract. Moyes has taken on board those lessons and chosen to take a suck-it-and-see approach to this summer's foreign acquisitions. Joseph Yobo, Rodrigo and Li Weifeng have been snapped up on one year loans with a view to permanent transfers. This approach suits Everton perfectly. They have the players without the expense and if the moves don't work out they can return to their clubs in 12 months time and the Blues can look elsewhere.
Jul 26 2002 Liverpool Echo
BILL KENWRIGHT admits he is as excited as every Evertonian about the potential of striker Wayne Rooney. The 16-year-old has blasted seven goals in three pre-season fixtures already for the Blues.
And Kenwright admits: "I did a radio interview the other day and I tried to play down Rooney, but it is hard. "How can you play down the greatest thing around in football? But we have got to protect him from the hype as well as our passion and our hopes for him. "Thankfully he has got a great manager to look after him. Everything about the man is fantastic - his philosophy, his work-ethic, his ideas on football, his ideas on training. " I am sure Rooney will make an impact this season, but it is the manager who picks the team. He knows what is best for the player and he will not make a mistake with him."
No more money in the Goodison kitty
Jul 26 2002 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON deputy chairman Bill Kenwright has told manager David Moyes there is no more money left in this summer's transfer kitty. The Toffees have been one of the Premiership's bigger spenders this summer - Moyes having paid just under £10million to bring in Nigeria defender Joseph Yobo, England goalkeeper Richard Wright, Brazilian striker Juliano Rodrigo and Chinese pair Li Tie and Li Weifeng. Kenwright is delighted with Moyes' transfer dealings but claims he will have to sell if he wants to bring in anyone else. "There's nothing left in the budget," he said. "There are two budgets you look at in football because wages are so important. "You have your wages budget and your spending budget, and they're both spent. "However, there's that word called negotiation and there are those words called balancing the books. "Have we drawn the line? Yes, but that doesn't mean to say that I don't discuss with David every day a different player - because that is what football is all about."
Kenwright's money man
Jul 26 2002 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
BILL KENWRIGHT has heaped praise on David Moyes' for the inventive book keeping which has allowed Everton to snap up five internationals over the summer despite a transfer budget of just £6m. Yesterday's completion of the £3.5m deal to bring Arsenal goalkeeper Richard Wright to Everton appears to have brought an end to the Blues' summer spending. But with Brazilian playmaker Rodrigo, Nigerian defender Joseph Yobo and Chinese duo Li Weifeng and Li Tie already on board Kenwright (pictured) is satisfied it has been a summer well spent. He is also convinced it would not have been as successful had he not forged a unique relationship with the manager he believes will bring the glory days back to Goodison. "The aim of the summer has been to try and make the £5m or £6m budget seem like four times that," admitted Kenwright. "From the very first moment I met David (Moyes) he was aware of the figures he had to work with here. "He knew we had to make that money stretch to get the right players at the right prices. To do that the relationship between the manager and myself had to be perfect. "In the transfer market you get no second chances at making a first impression. "What David Moyes is very, very good at is stretching the budget. He has been very inventive, as some of our deals have proved. "He would say to me, 'Bill, I can get you a loan deal here so we can have a look at this player over the year'. "Setting up deals like that is not easy. It is much, much harder than just agreeing a fee and buying the player.
"But if you look back over the last 10 years I could go through and name a number of players we have bought who have cost this club probably £25m or £30m." Rodrigo and Yobo have both been signed on one year loan deals, with Rodrigo costing £1.25m and Yobo £1m. Those fees will increase if the Blues take up the option of giving them permanent contracts. But if either player doesn't settle, Moyes will not be left with unhappy players on long term deals. However, Kenwright believes the quality of the players the club has signed means there will be no failures amongst this summer's new faces. Each player has been in demand from other clubs but Moyes' power of persuasion have proved too strong to resist. Kenwright explains: "The manager is brilliant at selling the club to the players and expressing his hopes for the future. "The moment he sits down with a player he hits them with 'Don't join me if you don't want to play for the best club in the world'.
"He spotted Yobo playing for Nigeria against Ireland before the World Cup and from that moment on he was focused on that goal. "And so when we got into a position where we were able to talk to the player he was not going to let him slip through his fingers. "It was the same with Richard Wright, David was not going to let him out of the office until he had agreed to sign for us. "Because you don't have £20m to spend it makes those negotiations even more intense and all the more important. Every last penny has been well spent." One player Moyes won't be trying to convince to come to Goodison, however, is Rivaldo. Like Leeds Chairman Peter Ridsdale, Kenwright has fielded a call regarding the out-of-contract Brazilian. He concluded: "I think every manager in the Premiership has had a phone call about Rivaldo. Football is very strange at the moment and the Rivaldo situation proves that."
I owe my move to Franny
Jul 26 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON old boy Franny Jeffers played a key role in the capture of the Blues' latest acquisition, goalkeeper Richard Wright. Jeffers swapped Everton for Arsenal over a year ago because he wanted the chance to win trophies, but he had no hesitation in recommending that Wright make the return journey. The goalkeeper said last night: "The funny thing was, when the transfer first came about and the banter started flying around between the players, he was the guy who said 'Look you have got to get up there. You have got to sample the life. It's a great club to play for'. "But when I got up here I realised it is not only a great club to play for, it's family oriented as well and that is something which is very, very important to me. "I have been brought up in a close family and I am looking forward to bringing them up here to Merseyside." David Moyes will keep Wright waiting for his Everton debut, after the new £3.5m goalkeeper enjoyed his first training session with his new team- mates yesterday. Everton take on Dunfermline tomorrow, in the second leg of their mini-tour of Scotland, then end with a match against Hibernian on Monday night. But Moyes said: "We may give Richard a little time to settle in and get to know everyone before we start playing him," he said.
"I'll see how he feels tomorrow." The Blues' boss was delighted, however, that the deal had finally been clinched. "One of the main factors that persuaded me was that Richard wanted to play football," he explained. "Too often nowadays there are players content to sit in the reserves and take the money while not playing. Richard is not like that. He wants to play first team football."
The Blues' boss was also pleased to welcome his first signing, Joseph Yobo, back to a light training session after his injury scare during Monday night's match at Queens Park.
Ex-Blue delivers note of caution
By David Anderson, Daily Post
Jul 27 2002
FORMER Everton youngster Gary Dempsey last night warned the Blues to expect 'no mercy' in today's friendly against his new club Dunfermline. The East End Park outfit are determined to treat the clash with David Moyes' remoulded Everton squad as a full-scale rehearsal for the opening fixture against Scottish champions Celtic next Saturday. The game represents a 'homecoming' for Blues boss Moyes, who played for Dunfermline in the early 1990s. But Dempsey said: "Our preparation has been fantastic. We're not treating the games as friendlies because everything is geared up for the first game of the season which will be tough. "The feeling among the players is that we can do well this season. We've got to prove last season wasn't a fluke. "We are pushing for the top six again - there's no point getting into the top six then falling by the wayside."
Dempsey came to Goodison Park as a 15-year-old before being released by the club in 2000 and returned to his native Ireland before Dunfermline signed him. Moyes played at East End Park between 1990 and 1993 after signing from Shrewsbury Town.
Dunfermline 0, Everton 3 (D.Post)
Andy Hunter Reports From East End Park, Daily Post
Jul 29 2002
PRE-SEASON has a dangerous habit of ushering in an unwelcome breeze, as the Evertonian celebrating his stag party in just a kilt no doubt discovered on Saturday. Meaningless friendlies they may be, but results dictate if a new season is approached with an overblown sense of optimism or foreboding. It didn't require full-time confirmation of Everton's fifth straight summer victory to illustrate how the wind of change is flowing through Blue ranks right now. That came at half-time at East End Park, when the groom-to-be had five penalties to fulfil a lifetime's ambition of scoring in front of his fellow Evertonians and five forfeits for failure. Faced with the dilemma of buying an expensive round if he missed his final kick or having 'You'll Never Walk Alone' played at next month's wedding if he scored, the condemned man showed August's big day holds no fear for Everton. He dispatched his spot-kick into the top corner. Many will question the wisdom of that decision, and, with a tribute to Marc Hottiger inscribed on his back, the betrothed may be a questionable gauge, but there is clearly a new broom at work under David Moyes. Five victories over modest opposition - which Dunfermline were, despite a creditable sixth-placed finish in last season's SPL - have helped spread cautious optimism. But it is the efficient, composed manner of each triumph and the intelligent use of meagre transfer funds that is most to blame for the fresh mentality.
The winning habit is infectious, as Moyes said afterwards: "I don't care what people say about pre-season, it is always better to be winning games than losing them. That's what we've done so far but we know we will not be judged until August 17th." The defeat of Dunfermline also delivered signs that with a blend of new faces, fit-again first teamers and blossoming youngsters, the new Goodison chief should have a solid Premiership squad by the time Spurs come to town. There is much work still to be done, as a troubled 25-minute spell at the start of the second half illustrated. But as the manager edges closer to his preferred eleven, and the men who finished on Saturday may provide a decent clue to those plans, he finds most of his senior squad making that selection increasingly difficult. The emergence of Wayne Rooney, Kevin McLeod, Keith Southern and, in a sense, Tony Hibbert, has been mentioned before, but now Gary Naysmith (right), Steve Watson and the returning World Cup stars are available to increase competition. Add to that the possibility of a trialist such as Ibrahima Said joining the camp, and it is clear why the doubts and suspicions of recent summers are being shed by the game. It was Naysmith who stood out on Saturday under the watchful eye of Scotland boss Berti Vogts. Putting an injury-plagued spell behind him the Scot crowned a tireless display with the game's opener on 17 minutes when he shrugged off Lee Bullen's close attentions to drill Tomasz Radzinski's throughball into the far corner. Radzinski wasted two decent chances in a dominant first-half performance by the Blues, who then somehow survived a disjointed start to the second half to regain control, once the impressive Thomas Gravesen and Rooney entered the fray. After Bullen's header had struck the Everton bar, Gravesen cleared Stevie Crawford's shot off the line before finishing the best move of the match to double the visitors' lead in the 73rd minute. Linderoth split the Pars' defence with an excellent first-time ball for the Danish midfielder to race through and beat Marco Ruitenbeek with a powerful finish, repeated in the final minute, only for the post to save Dunfermline. Kevin Campbell (left) added the third in the 80th minute after latching on to a quick Gravesen throw-in, while Rooney headed against the bar with his first touch and created mayhem with every other one. Moyes added: "I thought we played well. Don't forget; this was a step up in opposition. Dunfermline made it a good test but I didn't expect anything less."
Everton's Premiership prenuptials are falling into place.
DUNFERMLINE (4-4-2): Ruitenbeek; Bullen, Dair, Mason, Skerla, Thomson, Hampshire (McLeish 73), Nicholson, Crawford, Brewster (McGarty 87), Dempsey (Kilgannon, 60). Subs: Stillie, Walker.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Gerrard; Hibbert (Said 70), Weir, Stubbs, Loumboutis (Pistone 70); Watson (Alexandersson 56), Carsley (Linderoth 60), Pembridge (Gravesen 60), Naysmith (Unsworth 56); Radzinski (Rooney 70), Campbell. Subs: Simonsen, Tal.
Naysmith: I need to prove my worth again
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jul 29 2002
GARY NAYSMITH admits he must prove himself all over again at Everton after coming through the toughest time of his professional career. The Blues defender celebrated his first start in more than four months on Saturday with the opener in Everton's 3-0 defeat of Scottish Premier Division side Dunfermline. But despite relief at returning to the fray following surgery on a serious ankle injury, the 23-yearold accepts he faces a fight to reclaim his place for both club and country. Naysmith suffered ankle ligament damage in February's FA Cup win at Crewe and watched from the sidelines as both Everton and Scotland subsequently made managerial changes. International boss Berti Vogts was on hand to witness the former Hearts man's successful return at East End Park, but Naysmith insists his priority is to impress new Goodison chief David Moyes. "With a new manager coming in I have still got to try and get into his team," said Naysmith, who is set to face old rivals Hibernian tonight in Everton's final Scottish friendly. "It might be different if Walter Smith was still in charge because I had got into his team and established myself. "But now I am starting all over again at Everton and it is the same with Scotland when I do eventually get to that stage.
"It is still touch and go as to whether I'll be fit for the first game of the season - I really felt the pace against Dunfermline - but it's just a relief to be back playing again for now." Naysmith, however, revealed how Blues boss Moyes helped him through his lay-off by assuring the defender he figured in his Goodison plans. The Scot added: "My injury was the hardest time of all for me. Everybody was buzzing off the manager's new ideas and his energy when he came in and I was stuck in the treatment room. "But he kept me involved and I had a few conversations with him which was great. He told me that I was part of his plans when I got fit and that helped me along. "My goal was a bonus, the important thing for me is to get some fitness and establish myself in the new manager's team. "It has been four-and-a-half months since I played my last game for Everton. I have got a long way to go and it is important I can keep trying to get 60 or 70 minutes in most of the matches." Moyes, who saw Thomas Gravesen and Kevin Campbell complete the victory, confirmed Naysmith does have a role to play. He said: "Gary just started to run out of steam but he has been out for a few months. He has had only bits of games and it is not easy after being out for that long.
"But the great thing about Gary is he has got great determination. He wants to play and he wants to train. He is desperate to be involved and, when you have got that, anything is possible."
Moyes also revealed new signing Richard Wright should make his Everton debut against Hibs tonight following his £4.75million arrival from Arsenal. But the Blues boss admits the injury to fellow new face Joseph Yobo is proving a major concern as he builds up towards the Premiership kick off on August 17. "Joseph is still sore at the moment," added Moyes. "He tried jogging and is still sore. I want him back quickly. This is frustrating for us and a real blow for us."
Dunfermline 0, Everton 3 (Echo)
By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
Jul 29 2002
IT was the daddy of all dilemmas. A life-altering decision which would stay with him for the rest of his days. The lifelong Blue from Dunfermline had been handed a stag night treat from his family - a half-time penalty shoot-out in front of the travelling Everton fans. Every miss carried punishments, but after clinically avoiding a Nick Barmby tattoo by comfortably dispatching his first effort, the Tartan toffee missed his next two. That meant either a pint for every Everton strike and a double Scotch for every home goal - hardly a daunting prospect with the score only 1-0 and Tomasz Radzinski still on the pitch - or You'll Never Walk Alone played as a hymn at his wedding.
The head-spinning dilemma became evident when the fan slotted his fourth. Convert his last effort for a respectable three out of five? Or deliberately blaze into the crowd and avoid the Evertonian equivalent of a death march blaring out on his wedding day? His ego won. He scored and must now live with the consequences. David Moyes, an amused spectator, will not face anything like the same dilemma when he names his starting line-up for the opening day of the season. With Wayne Rooney and Nick Chadwick now effectively jostling for selection with Kevin Campbell, Duncan Ferguson and Tomasz Radzinski up front, the Blues' boss might at least have expected a few pre-season headaches. So far, not so. Duncan Ferguson didn't show . . . again. He may have been saved, of course, for the forthcoming clash with Hibernian. Tonight will tell. Tomasz Radzinski was on for 70 minutes, time enough to show he has the pace to trouble most defences, but not the finishing touch to demoralise them. Then there is Kevin Campbell. Laboured and blunt in most of his attacking efforts, but then finishing off with a smartly taken goal 10 minutes from time. He may still offer Moyes the best option of an effective foil for Rooney, for in another 20 minute runout the youngster managed another three efforts at goal to show he is easily the brightest striker at the club.
At East End Park, Radzinski showed again he is comfortably the most wasteful. Only 13 seconds had elapsed this time when he raced clean through onto Hibbert's pass but poked a shot weakly wide.
He was offered another, marginally more difficult opportunity 15 minutes later. This time he skirted around the goalkeeper to create a tight angle, but that still couldn't excuse the almost apologetic shot he feebly rolled at the target. Gary Naysmith (right) showed how to finish two minutes later. Being tugged back blatantly by Lee Bullen he almost gave up chasing Radzinski's through pass in anticipation of a freekick. Willingness and determination are among the Scot's many assets, however, and he charged on before clipping a diagonal shot across the keeper and into the far corner. The home fans thought the Mersey-based Scot had been doing the tugging, yielding the bizarre chant from the Scottish fans of "Same old Scousers, always cheating!" There was also an appreciative roar for Sweden's World Cup marksman Niclas Alexandersson, when he came on . . . from the home supporters! But the noisy crowd helped give the friendly a livelier edge.
Dunfermline - sixth placed finishers in last season's SPL --kick-off their new campaign on Saturday against Celtic. But while their fitness levels were higher than Everton's, only a 20-minute spell of pressure after half-time looked like seriously threatening Paul Gerrard's goal. Before then Campbell had glanced a header narrowly wide, Pembridge had shot over and former Blues youth team striker Gary Dempsey had put a back-pass on a plate for Kevin Campbell, but he shot too close to goalkeeper Ruitenbeek. Watson also went close with a header while Gerrard was forced to save smartly from a firm Craig Brewster header. After the interval Everton creaked until several substitutions raised the energy levels. Rooney headed against the bar from a corner, Unsworth miscued in front of goal then Linderoth slickly played Gravesen through for the Dane to romp excitingly forward to crash a decisive second under the diving goalkeeper. The Dane also showed quick thinking to launch a throw-in swiftly at Campbell's feet in the 80th minute and he converted confidently to make it 3-0, then Gravesen broke through again to rap a shot against the post.
There seems little doubt that he will claim a starting day place at the heart of David Moyes' midfield in three weeks' time, but elsewhere in the squad the fight is on.
Someone should just tell the senior strikers . . .
DUNFERMLINE ATHLETIC: Ruitenbeek, Bullen, Dair, Mason, Skerla, Thomson, Hampshire (McLeish 74), Nicholson, Crawford, Brewster (McGarty 87), Dempsey (Kilgannon 60).
EVERTON: Gerrard, Hibbert (Said 70), Weir, Stubbs, Loumboutis (Pistone 70), Watson ( Alexandersson 56), Carsley (Linderoth 60), Pembridge (Gravesen 60), Naysmith (Unsworth 56), Campbell, Radzinski (Rooney 70).
Referee: Douglas McDonald. Attendance: 4,338. GOALS: Naysmith (17 mins) 0-1, Gravesen (73 mins) 0-2, Campbell (80 mins) 0-3.
Struggle to hold on to Blues' gem
Jul 29 2002 By Tommy Smith, Liverpool Echo
WAYNE ROONEY looks like becoming the new star in Everton's line-up for the coming season.
David Moyes has suggested he will be a Goodison legend and vice-chairman Bill Kenwright looks upon the 16-year-old as a thrilling prospect. Judging from the way he has performed in the pre-season warm-ups, Rooney has certainly caught the eye, and Blues fans can hopefully look forward to a season when they hail a new hero. Any player able to bang in goals on a regular basis is a valuable asset to any club - and that is where the problem may eventually arise. In a couple of years' time, if Rooney does make great progress and is a major threat in the Premiership with his ability to score goals, he is going to be a target for the top clubs. This is not scaremongering, a s I believe every club should try to keep their best players, but it is just a fact of football reality these days.
It's in Everton's interests to keep Rooney if he develops the way the club's management believe. You don't sell your assets. But unfortunately, Everton have not got the financial structure that other top clubs, like Manchester United and Liverpool have. I don't care what boss Moyes says about Rooney and how he can join the club's greats. If a club came in with a £10m or more offer in a few years, can they afford to turn it down? The club has produced its good young players in the past - Francis Jeffers and Michael Ball spring to mind. Both players were ambitious and wanted to move on, although the transfers to Arsenal and Rangers, respectively, have not proved unqualified successes.
But the point is that the Blues have benefited from their sales and the cash has helped alleviate a little of their financial burden. So, can Everton afford to keep Rooney if he becomes the top striker he promises to be? Yes, if they can sort out their financial problems in the next few years.
If they can't, they may be few alternatives but to sell, and they will remain a "feeder club" for those with the resources to produce offers they cannot refuse. However, the Richard Wright deal looks a step in the correct direction. The keeper looked a terrific prospect at Ipswich and was destined to replace David Seaman when he went to Highbury. But, despite many first team games and Seaman's lengthy injury lay-off, failed to make a first team place his own. Now he has the chance to regain his status - and England place - as a top keeper at Goodison. It's just a case of getting his confidence back.
Naysmith happy to be making a fresh start
Jul 29 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
GARY NAYSMITH was celebrating the restart of his Everton career on Saturday night - four months after the arrival of new boss David Moyes. A frustrating ankle injury had kept the Scottish international out of action since February, a period which encompassed Moyes' arrival at Everton.
But he started his first match under Moyes at Dunfermline on Saturday, and scored the opening goal of the Blues' 3-0 win. Afterwards he explained: "The hardest thing for me was a new manager coming in while I was injured. "Everybody was buzzing off his new ideas and his energy, but I was just stuck in the treatment room. "He kept me involved and I had a few conversations with him when he told me that I would be part of his plans when I got back. That helped me a lot, but it was still hard. "I have to try and get into his team. It might be different if Walter was still here because I had already got into his team and established myself. "I now have to try and get into the Everton starting XI under David Moyes. It is exactly like starting all over again. "It is the same with Scotland. When I eventually do get to that stage I will have to get into a new manager's team." Scottish coach Berti Vogts made a special visit to East End Park to catch his first glimpse of Naysmith, but the player admitted: "I had an idea Berti Vogts was coming, but I truthfully never even thought about him being there while I was playing. "It wasn't until my agent told me afterwards that I remembered he was even coming. "I would love to be at full fitness in time for the opening day of the season, but it will be touch and go, because even playing today I could still feel myself well short. "The goal was a bonus for me really, I was just trying to get some fitness. "From my last game for Everton to this one has been four-and-a-half months. I have a long way to go but it is just important for me to get 60 and 70 minutes in as many of our matches as I can. "Before I scored I actually thought the ref had blown for a foul and I was so close to just walking away. But I thought I would just shoot anyway and when I saw he had given it I was delighted. "I played 60 minutes against Bamber Bridge and 60 minutes against Queens Park so this was a step up again for me with it being a quicker game. I really felt the pace. "The manager has been quite careful with me so far so I will have to see about the Hibs game, but obviously being an old Hearts man it would be a special night for me. "I think the Hibs fans want me to play!"
My £1m gift to Blues
Jul 29 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON owner Bill Kenwright has dug deep into his own pocket to stop the Blues slipping dangerously into the red once again. The theatre impresario has pledged £1m of his own cash to the club after a summer spending spree threatened to undermine the refinancing package which put the club's precarious finances back on a solid footing again. The refinancing deal which saw the Blues' borrow £30m against future season ticket sales wiped out a £19m overdraft, but since then the Blues have spent a further £15m. Lee Carsley, Tobias Linderoth and the ill-fated David Ginola experiment cost the club £6m. The decision to part company with Walter Smith and Archie Knox, coupled with the compensation for David Moyes' arrival as manager added a further £3m to the bill - and since then a further £6m has been pledged to bring in Richard Wright, Joseph Yobo, Rodrigo and the Chinese duo Li Tie and Li Weifeng. I understand that Kenwright was given a rough ride at a Goodison board meeting last week for sanctioning more incoming deals than the board considered prudent. The Blues' deputy Chairman refused to confirm the board room row or the personal payment today, but did say: "I will not allow the club to get into the financial problems it has been forced to cope with in the past. "But we do want to see more new faces in David Moyes' squad before the season starts. For that to happen, though, we will have to be creative in our dealings.
"There will have to be more transfers like the short-term Joseph Yobo and Rodrigo deals, and we must try to sell the players David Moyes does not see as part of his long term strategy."
Moyes has not made a decision yet on trialists Konstantin Loumboutis, Ibrahim Said or Omar Daley.
He hopes to unveil the club's most expensive ever goalkeeper at Easter Road tonight when Everton end their Scottish tour against Hibernian, but admits he is frustrated that Joseph Yobo will miss out again. The Nigerian defender (left) has played just 26 minutes of Everton's preseason tour of Scotland and Moyes said: "He tried to train again this morning but said he was sore. " It is frustrating because we want Joseph to get to know everyone and settle into the way we play."
Richard Wright, however, is expected to start against Hibernian. The Blues will be seeking to build on another impressive performance on Saturday when SPL side Dunfermline were beaten 3-0.
"It was a step up in opposition and I thought we played well," said Moyes. " We controlled the game in the first half and had some chances - one after only 10 seconds. "Thomas Gravesen and Tobias Linderoth got into the game quickly. They looked bright considering it is early in preseason for them, but allround I was happy with the way all the World Cup boys performed. "Gary Naysmith ran out of steam a little bit and Scotland's World Cup game in August may just come a little early for him.
"But Gary has great determination. He wants to play, wants to train and is desperate to be involved."
Hibernian 2, Everton 2 (D.Post)
Andy Hunter Reports From Easter Road, Daily Post
Jul 30 2002
WAYNE ROONEY ensured he was the centre of attention once more last night when one of the few unheralded attributes of his game finally exploded to the fore against Hibernian - his fire.
David Unsworth preserved Everton's unbeaten pre-season record with an 86th-minute penalty and David Moyes finally unveiled a new goalkeeper in Richard Wright at Easter Road and yet, in what was his quietest game of the summer so far, it was Rooney who again hogged the limelight.
The 16-year-old continued his record of scoring in every starting appearance so far this summer but it was the explosive streak - or nasty streak as far as Hibernian were concerned - that made everyone sit up and take note this time out. Goodison's young gem was hauled off within seconds of instigating the mass melee that was always in the pipeline in a feisty, sometimes furious game that made a mockery of the term 'friendly'. Which is probably how both managers would have wanted it, especially Hibs boss Bobby Williamson with the new SPL season now only five days away.
A nasty edge is a prerequiste for every quality striker, and in his angry reaction to a foul and the general headache he delivered to all of the home rearguard all night, Rooney showed he will not be found wanting in that department either. "He said he was stood on and he reacted," said Moyes.
"We don't want any form of dissent out on the pitch so we took him off straight away, as we also did with Thomas Gravesen." Ironically Rooney had started quietly by his increasing standards. But when he can still make the breakthrough in a tight contest such as this, there will be few complaints.
A step up in opposition is exactly what Everton require as they approach the Premiership season and Hibs, despite finishing below Saturday's opponents Dunfermline last season when they just avoided relegation, provided precisely that. With a volatile edge to the game simmering from the opening minute throughout both sides also produced plenty of slick passing moves to keep the tempo high in an even first half. For the first time this summer Moyes started with the diminuitive yet more dynamic strike partnership of Rooney and Tomasz Radzinski, who enjoyed his best 45 minutes of pre-season in an intelligent display. Prompted by the excellent Gravesen, later replaced after kicking out at his marker, the Blues were lively and assured in possession until the home side wrestled back control after half-an-hour. It was notable that Everton's brighter moments arrived when both full-backs, Ibrahima Said and Alessandro Pistone, raided forward in support of every attack until the Italian's 21st minute injury. Inadvertently, this highlights another problem for Moyes. With Bill Kenwright financing the last few transfer raids from his own pocket and the Blues management spreading £5million as far as anyone could have imagined, new arrivals are unlikely but still needed - especially down the barren right flank. Said is prone to the odd kamikaze backpass and whether the Egyptian, with a physique and athleticism similar to Pistone, is the answer remains to be seen. The fact Moyes played him ahead of Tony Hibbert suggests he could be. But until Everton get players off their wage bill, and they have not had one firm enquiry this summer, the Goodison doors will not be opening for new business. Possibly the last Everton cash purchase for some time, £4.75m Wright, was handed his first outing of the summer and made an early impact to keep emerging Scotland striker Garry O'Connor at bay in the 17th minute. The former Arsenal man could not be faulted for either Hibs' goals, but he would have wished for much better protection from his new defence who twice left him dreadfully exposed on his debut. First Alan Stubbs was caught out by a long ball which allowed O'Connor to steal in and lift a deft finish over the advancing Wright into the bottom corner on 37 minutes. Just six minutes into the second half the Blues' central defence was prised open again, this time by Frederic Arpinon's immaculate through ball. Substitute Tom McManus raced clear and drilled a low shot past the Goodison new boy before marking his triumphant return from a long injury lay-off with a celebration matched only by those in Rio after Brazil won the World Cup.
All this arrived after Rooney had sent Everton apparantly on their way to a sixth successive pre-season win with his eighth goal of the summer. Both Blues strikers were foiled by home keeper Nick Colgan at the end of a flowing Everton move that resulted in just a corner on the half hour. From Niclas Alexandersson's set-piece Rooney made his least impressive connection of the night, but still saw his awkward header deceive Colgan on its way into the bottom corner. Earlier Radzinski had a snapshot saved at point-blank range, while in a second half that saw Everton dominate the play without finding the penetration to match, both Kevin Campbell and Kevin McLeod put chances wide.
Moyes' men appeared on course for their first defeat of the summer when a daft handball from Mathias Doumbe gifted them a penalty, despatched by Unsworth amid the cacophony of jeers. The big kickoff is clearly approaching.
HIBERNIAN (4-4-2): Colgan; Orman, Smith, Dempsie, Murray; O'Neil, Brebner, Townsley, Arpinon; Luna, O'Connor. Subs: Caig, McManus, Byle, Nicol, Hilland, Doumbe, Whittaker.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Wright; Said, Weir, Stubbs (Naysmith 59 ), Pistone (Loumboutis 21); Alexandersson, Linderoth (Carsley 59), Gravesen (Pembridge 71), Unsworth; Rooney (McLeod 64), Radzinski (Campbell 59). Subs: Simonsen, Hibbert.
BOOKINGS: Everton's Rooney and Gravesen; Hibernian's McManus.
Duncan ordered to visit surgeon
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jul 30 2002
DUNCAN FERGUSON is in danger of losing the Everton captaincy before the season has even started after David Moyes confirmed the Blues striker must visit a specialist over his latest injury problem.
The Blues star again sat on the sidelines last night as Moyes' men completed their mini-tour of Scotland with a 2-2 draw against Hibernian. And with only three more senior friendlies to come before the Premiership season kicks off against Tottenham on August 17, manager Moyes could be forced to rethink his skipper selection unless the Scot proves his fitness. The Blues boss said: "We are going to send Duncan to see a specialist about getting his injury sorted. He has been training but we want him to get more, although there is still a few weeks to go before the season starts.
"He has missed quite a bit of pre-season now and it is a concern. He was close to playing tonight but didn't feel quite right." Moyes' decision to hand Ferguson the captain's armband last season provoked an inspired response from the big Scot, who rescued a poor season with four goals in his final six appearances to help Everton avoid the drop. The Blues boss was ready to ask Ferguson to resume the role in the newcampaign only for concern at the striker's summer inactivity to force him to consider other options, such as vice-captain David Weir, although he is likely to keep any decision private. Ferguson, 30, is still suffering from a slight strain in his lower back that has plagued him since the turn of the year. He has only completed two 45 minute run-outs so far this pre-season, against Shrewsbury and Queens Park, and has also missed a number of training sessions since Everton reported back four weeks ago. Moyes, who also rested Steve Watson at Easter Road due to a hamstring strain, gave new £4.75million keeper Richard Wright his Everton debut in Edinburgh and saw David Unsworth preserve the Blues' unbeaten summer run with a late penalty.
Wayne Rooney opened the scoring but was later withdrawn after being booked in a fiery match. And Moyes said: "I thought it was a smashing game. It was more like the Scotland v England friendlies that I remember.
"It was another step up for us, even more than Saturday, and a good runout."
Youngsters earn milk reward
Academy Football By Chris Wright, Daily Post
Jul 30 2002
EVERTON'S Academy claimed the first piece of silverware of the season after the under-15s brought back the Milk Cup from Northern Ireland. The young side, coached by former Blues defender Gary Ablett and the Academy's assistant director, Neil Dewsnip, beat Brazilians Botafogo - first team new boy Rodrigo's former club - 1-0 in the final thanks to a Gary Williams goal in front of 12,000 supporters in the prestigious tournament. Everton last landed the the trophy in the mid-90s when the likes of Francis Jeffers, Kevin McLeod, Tony Hibbert and George Pilkington starred in the victorious squad. Academy director Ray Hall said: "It's a tremendous achievement because this is one of the most prestigious tournaments for young players, with high quality teams from all over the world taking part. "In a way I would like to show my appreciation for the staff and players because often with the younger age groups, you don't see the hard work that is put in. "This is the grass roots level so to speak and it's where all the hard work starts and to achieve what they have done with such a young side is fantastic." Everton's route to the final began with a 2-2 draw with Co Armagh in the first game before they crushed Dublin-based outfit Ardmoor Rovers 5-1.
In the quarter-finals they drew 1-1 with Co Antrim before winning 4-1 on penalties.
And two goals from Williams against Israeli side Tel Aviv Maccabi in the semi-final put the Blues through to face Botafogo in the final.
* A PETER CLARKE penalty in injury time gave Everton Reserves a 2-2 draw with UniBond League side Chorley on Saturday. Defender Clarke, who was playing as an emergency centre-forward late in the game, scored from the spot to give the Blues a share of the spoils. Chorley took the lead just after half-time through Peter Weston. But after Stephen Schumacher had a penalty of his own saved, last season's youth team captain latched on to a pass from trialist Omar Daley to equalise. Chorley regained the lead three minutes from time through Daniel Flanagan, but Clarke was on hand to level matters in stoppage time.
EVERTON RESERVES: Pettinger; Schumacher, Clarke, Pilkington, Crowder; Moogan (Beck 67), O'Hanlon, Brown (Colbeck), Carney; Symes (Southern 78) Daley. Sub: Cole.
* EVERTON Reserves begin the 2002-2003 season away from home against Sheffield Wednesday on August 20. The opening home fixture at the Halton Stadium is against Manchester United on September 4. The first Merseyside mini derby is away at Chester's Deva Stadium on Thursday, January 9 with the return match on Monday, April 28 - the final home fixture of the season.
Everton's final match of the season is on Tuesday, May 6 at Bradford City.
Hibernian 2, Everton 2, (Echo)
By David Prentice At Easter Road, Liverpool Echo
Jul 30 2002
DUNCAN FERGUSON is the Everton forward who likes to portray himself as Braveheart.
But while the Tartan totem spent another evening tending to a lower back complaint, Wayne Rooney showed he is far from a faintheart either. Where Rooney is concerned, the matches have been as much a learning exercise for the manager as the player. His talent is clear for everyone to see, but last night David Moyes learned a little more about the 16 - year- old's character.
The youngster had to endure what must surely have been his first taste of crowd abuse at a lively Easter Road - and then a dose of physical intimidation for good measure - and his bullish reaction to both augured well for the future. David Weir was jeered by the home fans as being a fatherless son of Hearts; understandable as he did spend his early career at Tynecastle. But the first half hammering of Wayne Rooney as "Sumo!" was more difficult to comprehend. He responded with a goal. In the second half the home team tried a slice of physical posturing. Rooney has a ruthless edge to his powerful front-running, and both Tom McManus and Mark Dempsie took exception to an aggressive challenge. The youngster hails from good boxing stock, though, and he squared up to both. A yellow card for two of the would-be combatants was about all the melee warranted but Moyes instantly withdrew the teenager. An aggressive streak in a young striker is no bad thing, but Moyes will be keen to ensure now that it is channelled in the right direction. Rooney wasn't the only offender as Everton's mini tour of Scotland ended in a 2-2 draw. Thomas Gravesen was also booked and instantly substituted as Hibs warmed up for Saturday's first match of the Scottish League season against Aberdeen in spirited fashion. The Hibees had only returned from a three-legged flight from Finland the night before, where they had crammed four preseason friendlies in nine days.
There were few signs of tiredness, though. Hibernian looked the sharpest side Moyes' men have yet faced. Wayne Rooney created his usual clutch of four first half chances - one converted - while Radzinski missed a slightly greater proportion of oneonone opportunities than is normal, although it was excellent goalkeeping which denied him. But the home side also troubled Richard Wright's goal regularly, if not with sufficient accuracy to give the Blues' debutant a busy opening night.
He comfortably fielded an angled drive by Garry O'Connor in the 14th minute, but was helpless when Alan Stubbs dallied on the edge of his penalty area and O'Connor darted in to flick a shot past the keeper with the outside of his foot. That came in the 37th minute - and levelled up Wayne Rooney's half-hour header. We'll do it the justice of describing it such, even though the connection from David Unsworth's corner seemed to be with the shoulder. After the interval it took Hibs just five minutes to establish a lead. Frederic Arpinon played Tom McManus in past a square Blues defence and for the second time on the night Wright was given no chance with the finish.
It was ultimately left to Unsworth's trusty left foot to ensure the Blues did not suffer their first pre-season defeat four minutes from time. Mathias Doumbe's handball was inexplicable, Unsworth's finish wholly predictable - firing confidently high to keeper Colgan's right. David Weir must have wondered what he has done wrong this pre-season. After a full 90 minutes on Saturday at Dunfermline, he was asked to put himself through another 90 minutes at Easter Road. And him, an ex-Hearts man! His reward was a handful of stitches following a collision of heads late in the game.
He may receive a more significant reward in the shape of the captain's armband if Duncan Ferguson's tribulations continue.
HIBERNIAN: Colgan, Orman (Doumbe 31), Smith (Hilland 73), Dempsie, Murray, Townsley (Byle 77), O'Neil, Brebner (McManus 45), Arpinon (Whittaker 69), Luna (Nicol 66), O'Connor.
EVERTON: Wright, Said, Weir, Stubbs, Pistone (Loumboutis 21), Alexandersson, Gravesen (Pembridge 70), Linderoth (Carsley 59), Unsworth (Naysmith 59), Radzinski (Campbell 59), Rooney (McLeod 63). Referee: John Underhill.
Bookings: Rooney and McManus (62) adopting an aggressive posture; Gravesen (69) foul. GOALS: Rooney (30 mins) 0-1, O'Connor (37 mins) 1-1, McManus (50 mins) 2-1, Unsworth penalty (86 mins) 2-2.
Attendance: 8,325 (away fans 913).
You can sing the Blues!
Jul 30 2002 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON plan to celebrate their historic one hundredth top flight season in song - and the Blues want 100 Evertonians to help them commemorate the moment. Bill Kenwright has commissioned a new club anthem, which will be cut on Sunday in studios in Liverpool and members of the board, playing staff and management will sing on the two-track CD. The first 100 fans who correctly reply to the following three questions will be invited to participate in the latest song - and will receive a limited edition CD of their own.
1. Who scored 30 league goals for Everton in 1977-78?
2. Who scored the winning goal in Everton's last successful FA Cup Final appearance?
3. Who holds Everton's alltime goalscoring record?
Replies should be sent to Everton Anthem Competition, Liverpool Echo Sports Desk, Old Hall Street, Liverpool, L69 3EB, supplying a telephone number.
Winners, to be drawn on Friday, will make their way to studios in Liverpool on Sunday.
Wright time for Blues to benefit
Jul 30 2002 By Kevin Ratcliffe, Liverpool Echo
IF Everton had signed Richard Wright from Ipswich a year ago, there would have been widespread praise for such an inspired swoop. After a year where he has struggled at Arsenal, though, I have heard a few doubts expressed about the young goalkeeper's potential. I think those fears are unfounded. Richard Wright was magnificent for Ipswich Town - one of the most talented young keepers in the game and easily worthy of the England international call-up he received.
That talent hasn't suddenly evaporated in 12 months at Highbury. Indeed I think Everton will be the beneficiaries of the year Richard has spent at Arsenal. He may not have developed as quickly as The Gunners would have liked as a goalkeeper, but he will have evolved as an individual.
The experience he has endured at Arsenal will help him settle in at Everton, because even now I suspect he does not realise how big a club Everton actually is. The Blues have captured a top quality keeper still at a very young age, and hopefully his arrival will also spark a positive reaction among the two keepers already at Goodison. For me, Paul Gerrard always looks a better 'keeper when he has competition for places. When he and Thomas Myhre were battling it out for the first team spot, Gerrard always seemed more focused and, in 1999-2000, took his chance brilliantly with an excellent season. It was only when Myhre was allowed to leave and Steve Simonsen wasn't considered ready for first team football that his performance levels dipped. It remains to be seen which of the two keepers remain at Everton, because clearly one will now have to be sacrificed. But whoever goes, hopefully the other will push Richard Wright to new levels of excellence.
Yobo needs matches
WHILE it has been refreshing to see Wayne Rooney given so many senior opportunities during Everton's preseason programme, at the other end of the pitch David Moyes will be concerned by the lack of football enjoyed by another newcomer, defender Joseph Yobo. It is vital that a new defender settles in quickly with his team-mates, especially with a new goalkeeper behind them, and the only way to do that is in competitive action. Different players read the game differently, they react differently in certain situations and defend differently. Yobo's team-mates will need to be aware of those differences by the time Tottenham visit Goodison on August 17. Everton have three pre-season friendlies remaining between now and then. It is important that Yobo plays as big a part as possible in all three.
The only benchmark
EVERTON'S pre- season preparations have, so far, been impressive. As every manager will you tell, though, pre-season results mean nothing. I've been in teams that have endured utterly awful pre-season programmes, then gone on to lift trophies, or stumble through a series of matches in July and early August, before starting the season like a house on fire. All pre-season is about is building fitness. Everton are doing that effectively, while the results will help build confidence, too. But the only time we will know if Everton's pre-season preparations have been worthwhile is on August 17.
That's the benchmark. Then, and only then, will they know.
Wenger slams keeper
Jul 30 2002 Liverpool Echo
ARSENAL boss Arsene Wenger claims Richard Wright will regret joining Everton. The 24-year-old keeper left the Gunners because he was not getting enough first team football. His decision to move to Goodison for £3.5m came after Arsenal's first choice David Seaman signed a new one-year deal. Wenger spoke of his disappointment that Wright was not prepared to stay at Highbury and take over the number one jersey when Seaman retires. The Frenchman believes Wright will regret not being in the hunt for medals this coming season. He said: "It was a big blow when Richard left. He wanted to play first team football, which we understand, but I did not want to let him go.
"In my opinion David Seaman is still the number one, but he is at the age where he must stop playing soon." After Wright's exit , Wenger was forced to sign promising Uruguayan keeper Fabian Carini on a year's loan from Juventus as immediate cover for Seaman. He may also have to rely on youngster Stuart Taylor if injuries strike the other keepers.
Moyes snaps up latest weapon
Jul 30 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
LEE CARSLEY last night revealed the latest weapon Everton have added to their armoury to try and give David Moyes' side an edge over their rivals - a club psychologist! The Blues ended their three-match tour of Scotland with a 2-2 draw at Hibernian. But afterwards the Blues' Irish World Cup star spoke of a new addition to the backroom staff. "The gaffer introduced us to a psychologist who has been working with us over the weekend," he explained. "We've had a couple of sessions with him. He has split us into different units - attackers, midfielders and defenders - to do some work with each of us. "We have all given it a go and hopefully we will get some benefit from it."
Psychologically, Everton ended the tour on a high with David Unsworth's late penalty kick securing a draw. But earlier manager Moyes had substituted both Wayne Rooney and Thomas Gravesen after the pair had been yellow carded in a lively friendly. "Smashing game wasn't it?" said the Blues' boss afterwards. "A bit more like the old Scotland-England pre-season games I used to play in!"
The Blues' boss also confirmed that injury-plagued striker Duncan Ferguson would be sent to a specialist to resolve the lower back problems which have troubled him since the end of last season.
Ferguson missed out again last night and so far has only made two 45-minute appearances in Everton's six preseason friendlies to date. "Duncan has been doing a lot of training," said Moyes. "We would like to give him a bit more but he doesn't feel he is quite at the stage where he wants to be at the moment. It is a concern." Alessandro Pistone also limped off early with a tight hamstring, while David Weir received stitches in a head wound.
Yobo in new fears over injury
Report By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jul 31 2002
DAVID MOYES' preseason injury problems could escalate today amid fears that Everton's new £5m signing Joseph Yobo may have broken his leg after all. The Nigerian defender is still in severe pain and unable to train one week after being forced out of his Blues' debut against Queens Park with a serious leg injury. The 21-year-old World Cup star spent the night in a Glasgow hospital but initial concerns he had fractured his fibula at Hampden Park were eased by X-ray results. Everton, however, now want a second opinion and will today send Yobo to visit a specialist to finally diagnose the problem. Yobo's blow is the latest major setback for a frustrated Moyes, who desperately wants his new defender settled in before the new season and who also confirmed Duncan Ferguson needs to see a specialist this week. The Blues boss still hopes the Nigerian's injury will clear with rest, but with less than three weeks to go before the Premiership kicks off Everton are anxious for confirmation on Yobo's plight. Ferguson, meanwhile, is expected to receive a verdict on his continuing back trouble by the end of this week.
Shirt blow for injured Ferguson
Jul 31 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DUNCAN FERGUSON'S hopes of reclaiming the cherished number nine jersey at Everton have been crushed by his ongoing injury problems. The Blues star - whose captaincy of the club is also under threat while a niggling lower-back problem persists - is due to see a specialist this week.
But manager David Moyes has already made his mind up about this season's squad numbers.
"We'll be leaving things pretty much as they are," he said. " Richard Wright will be given the number one shirt, but other than that I don't intend swapping anybody around. If a player wore a particular number last season he'll stick with it this time." That means Kevin Campbell will retain the famous number nine jersey, while Ferguson looks likely to stick with number 10. New signing Joseph Yobo has yet to be allocated a number, as fears grow over his long term fitness. The Nigerian is due to see a specialist later today, after the ankle problem which forced his substitution against Queens Park last Tuesday has still not cleared up. "I don't want to speculate yet until Joseph has seen the specialist," said Moyes. "He still feels soreness when he attempts to train, but if it is anything worse than bruising it would be a severe blow." Everton take a team to Chester tonight, with senior stars Gary Naysmith, Steve Watson, Steve Simonsen and Kevin McLeod likely to be involved. None of the three trialists will be used. The Everton Former Players' Foundation, meanwhile, still has some premium tickets available for David Unsworth's Testimonial match against Athletico Bilbao on August 10. Alex Young Lounge tickets are available for £22 each, Vice President's Lounge tickets at £25 each and Executive Boxes are £500 each for 10 persons. Prices include matchday programmes and half time tea. Tickets can be reserved on 0151-520-2362 between 9.00am and 9.00pm seven days a week. There are also a handful of places available in the pre-match 'derby' between veteran Everton and Liverpool line-ups. If the line is busy leave your name and landline number and your call will be returned during these hours. Should you wish to take advantage of dining facilities, the club is offering a three-course meal priced £18. Please contact 0151-330-2499 to make your booking after you have purchased your match tickets. The Foundation points out that your support will make a difference to the life of a former player.