New faces join Blues for pre-season
July 3 2006 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON boss David Moyes welcomed his players back for pre-season training today - without the club's World Cup stars. The Blues returned to Bellefield this morning, then will head to the West Country for a week-long training camp.
But Tim Cahill, Tim Howard and Nuno Valente will all be given extended breaks.
Valente, of course, is involved in a World Cup semi-final on Wednesday, while Tim Cahill helped take Australia into the last 16 of the competition and Howard was part of the American squad which was knocked out in the group stages.
"They will all come back at staggered dates, depending on their progress out in Germany," explained Moyes. "We're all pleased to see Nuno doing so well and we'll be thrilled for him if we don't see him back here for a little while longer.
"The rest of the lads were all back in today then we're heading down south for a few days to a place we've used before." The Blues boss welcomed new signings Andy Johnson and Joleon Lescott to training, but dismissed reports that Blackburn midfielder Brett Emerton would be joining them. "That's completely untrue," said Moyes. Another player linked with the Blues in the past month, former striker Francis Jeffers, has joined Blackburn.
Everton FA Cup 100
Jul 3 2006 icLiverpool
EVERTON have a proud FA Cup history that was drawn into sharp focus recently when famous former skipper Brian Labone died while co-operating with a new book that provides the definitive history of the Blues in this most famous of competitions.
"Everton's FA Cup 100" marks the centenary anniversary of Everton's first FA Cup triumph and features a comprehensive statistical guide to every Blues' game in the competition. In 1906, before Wembley became the national stadium, Everton travelled to London's impressive Crystal Palace arena to vanquish favourites Newcastle United.
It was the first major step on an eventful journey with the trophy captured on a further four occasions - in 1933, 1966 (Brian's moment of glory), 1984 and 1995. Utilising the Liverpool Echo archives and featuring pictures never published before, this book relives those finals and recalls the dramas in between. "Everton's FA Cup 100" brought together Everton's three surviving Cup Final Captains to tell their personal stories - Brian Labone, Kevin Ratcliffe and Dave Watson. The significance of that meeting would soon hit home when Labone, loved and respected by the fans, tragically died after taking part in an Everton presentation night as the book was about to go to press. The publication now stands as a tribute to Brian who was proud of his Everton achievements and who deserves to be called "the greatest Evertonian."
"Everton's FA Cup 100" will become an essential read for any Evertonian wanting to revel in the remarkable spirit of heroes past and present. The masterclass of Dixie Dean, the heroics of 'Cannonball Kid' Dave Hickson, the boys' own tale of Mike Trebilcock, the day the Blues made Elton John cry and the star who made his own substitution to become a semi-final hero.
"Everton's FA Cup 100" is published by Trinity Mirror Sport Media, price £20.
SPECIAL OFFER :- Receive the book for £15.00 and P+P of £5.00, total package price to your door for £20.00 (UK only)
To take advantage of this fantastic offer simply call 0845 143 0001 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm)
or you can send a cheque for £20.00 made payable to “Sport Media”, Everton FA Cup 100 Book Offer, Sport Media, PO Box 48, Old Hall Street, Liverpool, L69 3EB.
Battling Blues feel the heat in friendly win
Jul 3 2006 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON LADIES have won the third game of their pre-season tour of Canada.
They overcame Woodbridge Azzurri 2-0 thanks to goals from Fara Williams and Kelly McDougall. Despite dominating the game, they were unable to create as many chances as in the 6-0 demolition of Oakville Storm earlier in the week.
The Toffees started brightly in the 30 degree heat and there were early efforts from Nicky Harding and Faye McCoy from distance. McCoy had to leave the field with a knee injury and was replaced by Williams, who soon netted a 25th minute penalty after Amy McCann was brought down in the box. On the hour it was 2-0 as McDougall gave the keeper no chance with a smart finish. Everton introduced some young faces as the game progressed, and they didn't look out of place.
Claire Owens had a long range attempt, and Williams threatened again, but they couldn't add to their account. Captain Leanne Duffy said: "It was our toughest test so far - not because they were the toughest team but it was just a new experience playing in that heat. "The main point is not to waste possession and to try to keep the ball and that is what we are trying to drum into everyone in the team."
Yobo eyes a Blues European return
July 4 2006 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
JOSEPH YOBO has set his sights on helping Everton return to European competition after confirming he is ready to commit his future to the club. The Nigerian international was offered a new four-year deal last summer but speculation mounted about his future the longer the contract remained unsigned. However, Yobo has maintained all along that he wanted to stay at Goodison Park and will complete the formalities in the near future. Now that everything has been resolved, Yobo is looking forward to the new campaign and hopes Everton can fulfil their potential by pushing for a UEFA Cup place. "I can confirm that I am going to sign a new contract," said Yobo, who today joined the rest of Everton's squad on a week - long training camp in the West Country. "I just did not want to rush into making any public statements.
"I wanted to focus on my football and do well for Everton. But I had already made up my mind to stay long before the season ended. "It really wasn't about money. I just wanted certain commitments from the club. Everton are a big club and we should be challenging for a place in Europe every season. "I see now that the club shares those ambitions and some quality players are coming in, that's important." As his current deal only had a season to run, Everton could have been forced to cash in and Yobo was linked with both Chelsea and Arsenal. Leaving Goodison was something he contemplated but Yobo says the backing he has received from all sides made the decision to stay an easy one. "Everybody here has been great, from the chairman, the manager to the fans. It was hard for me to think about leaving, even though the thought crossed my mind," said Yobo. "But I am happy here and if all goes well, I intend to see out my career here. By the time this contract ends, I will be 30 and at the peak of my game. "Hopefully, I can prove to the fans and the manager how much I love this football club."
Weir wants Blues back on form
July 4 2006 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON skipper David Weir wants to see Everton return to the form that secured a fourth-placed finish in May 2005 when the new campaign begins. Weir said: "We had a bad start to last year and gradually got it back on track after a good season the year before. "It would have been nice to have had a couple of really good seasons in a row and it is up to us now to address this season, push on and upwards."
Blues hero Valente walks disciplinary tightrope
July 5 2006 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
NUNO VALENTE will be urged on by his Everton team-mates tonight as he gets ready for the biggest game of his career. The Blues left-back, who has played in Champions League, UEFA Cup and European Championship finals, is expected to be in Portugal's starting XI for their World Cup semi-final clash with France in Munich, as he has been throughout the tournament. Valente's excitement, though, will be tinged with a slight feeling of anxiety as he is walking a disciplinary tightrope.
Should he be booked against France and Portugal win, Valente will be suspended for Sunday's final in Berlin. His first caution came against Holland in the bad tempered last 16 clash. However, Valente, who has been inundated with messages of support from Goodison Park, has insisted he will not alter his normal style to avert the possibility of a caution and is focused on nullifying the threat of Franck Ribery.
"Obviously it was disappointing for the English boys when they were knocked out on penalties but at least we've got someone to look out for in the semi-finals," said midfielder Simon Davies. "Nuno and his colleagues will be thinking that they have every chance of going all the way now and actually winning the World Cup. It's developed into a very open finish. "Not many people would have assessed the schedule of the competition and anticipated that Portugal and France would be one of the semi-finals but both countries have done well and nobody can deny their right to be there. "It's significant that all four semi-finalists are from Europe because a lot of the talk beforehand was of the South American big guns like Brazil and Argentina.
"It's great for Nuno that Portugal have gone so far in the competition. He did well for us last season. "I know how difficult it can be at times when you join a new club and it is doubly so when you are coming to a whole new country. "The culture of the game is so different over here and I think our football is a bit faster but once Nuno got used to the pace, he was a very consistent performer for us." Signed from FC Porto last August for £1.4m, Valente will become only the third Everton player ever to feature in a World Cup semi-final and could go on to emulate Ray Wilson's achievement and bring a winner's medal back to the Blue half of Merseyside.
Neville can be the perfect defensive cover
Jul 5 2006 icLiverpool & Liverpool Echo
I THINK a few people keep forgetting about Phil Neville. When it comes to cover defensively, he usually fits in quite well. We don't need to spend any more on centre backs now that Yobo is set to sign. Maybe another right back if a decent one is available. We are certainly OK at left back. We could probably do with someone on the left wing, but I would be happy if Van der Meyde got himself sorted and we had Kilbane as cover. I am quite happy with the situation up front, because we have Beattie and Johnson with McFadden as sub. When and if the injuries and suspensions come along, it would be nice to give the two youngsters a go. To be honest, the only position that worries me is the goalkeeper. Howard clearly isn't a long term signing.
Ruddy and Turner look good for the future, while Wright has more bad games than good. Carl Fortune, Wallasey
WE have two new players, but we got rid of lots of youngsters and we have very little cover for the players we have. We do not have cover for Hibbert, and we also desperately need to get cover at centre back and midfield, especially on the left side.
We should be trying to get some of the World cup players from smaller countries if we can't afford ready made stars. And we desperately need to shed our old and injury prone players . . . before it is too late! Trev Lynes, Wrexham
I CAN'T believe that Evertonians are happy David Weir has signed a contract.
If you look at the EFC video of last season you will see on several occasions the veteran chasing and trying to grab and foul strikers who are through on goal and score, resulting in Everton losing. Weir was a good player. But he no longer is. This is just Scottish sentiment and a waste of money. He is now a liability, who will cost us dearly next season in more ways than one. Eugene White, Isle of Man
From the Ukraine to Youth Academy
Jul 5 2006 Liverpool Echo
A GROUP of young Ukrainian cancer sufferers were treated to a fun session by Everton Youth Academy coaches in Netherton. The children, aged between seven and nine, are all affected by the illness as a consequence of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster of 1986, which increased incidents of thyroid cancer alone in young children in the region from four incidents per million to around 45. After their morning training the children enjoyed lunch, and were presented with gifts by former Everton player Graeme Sharp.
Golden oldies vital to Lescott future
July 6 2006 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES today tipped golden oldies Alan Stubbs and David Weir to play a crucial role in helping Joleon Lescott take the step up into the Premiership in his stride. Former England under-21 international Lescott became Everton's third major signing of the summer when he arrived from Wolves last month fora fee that could eventually climb to £4m during the course of his four-year contract. Given that Joseph Yobo is ready to put pen to paper on a lucrative new deal that will keep him at Goodison Park until 2010, many expect Moyes to name Yobo and Lescott as his first choice central defensive partnership when the new campaign begins. Moyes, however, is satisfied that if Lescott takes time to adapt to his new surrounds, the presence of Stubbs and Weir will help considerably. When Stubbs signed his contract extension last month, the manager hinted a role behind the scenes could beckon for him in the future. With Lescott a month short of his 24th birthday and Yobo turning 26 in September, they are relatively young central defenders and Moyes feels the presence of Stubbs and Weir - who between them have played 1048 professional games - will be crucial. "I need good experience and I've got that," said Moyes. "Unfortunately we have lost Nigel Martyn, which is a big blow to us because of his experience.
"But having the likes of Stubbsy and Davie, we have got players with valuable experience."When we brought Stubbsy back in January, he showed what he can give us. Alan knew exactly when he was signing his new contract that I intended to bring another central defender in. He was comfortable with that. "He knew it was needed. If you just look back at last season alone, we used five different players in the centre of defence. "They (the defenders) will all be used at different times and you never know, it might take time for Joleon to settle in here. "If that happens, we've got Alan and David to add to that. We start playing matches again in just over a week and I'm looking forward to it. "There are some exciting times ahead of us. We've got a group of young, hungry men and they are going to push each other all the way." Everton's squad - minus those on World Cup duty - continue to be put through their paces at a training retreat in the West Country but, with the first Premiership match not until August 19, Moyes will not be doing too much, too soon. "We are tempering things properly," Moyes added. "We've brought them back a little earlier after the longer break due to the World Cup so we don't need to go hell for leather, we can break them in gently."
Why I crossed Stanley Park - Ablett
July 6 2006 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
GARY ABLETT already holds a unique niche in the Merseyside history books - as the only footballer to have won an FA Cup winner's medal on both sides of Stanley Park. Now he has added another unusual distinction. Having moved from Liverpool to Everton as a player in the 1990s, he has just made the return journey as a coach.
Ablett will kick off the 2006-07 campaign as Anfield's reserve team manager, and he hopes the switch is not accompanied by the same storm whichgreeted his decision to cross the park in January 1992. "It was a difficult time," he smiled. "There were Liverpool fans saying I shouldn't ever go to Everton, and Everton fans saying they didn't want a Liverpool player. "Some people find it hard to believe that youhave an affinity for both clubs, but I do. I honestly do. "I had an unbelievable upbringing and education at Liverpool where I played with some of the greatest players this country has ever seen, then I went to Everton, had a fantastic four and a half years and managed to win stuff there. "I have tremendous satisfaction and pride from the fact that I'm still the only person to win FA Cup winners medals with both clubs and I find that an unbelievable honour. "I then became a coach at Everton for three or four years and now it has turned full circle. "When I got the job at Everton I always told Ray Hall and Neil Dewsnip I wanted to use it as a stepping stone to see how far I could go, because I was really ambitious. "I wanted to test myself and see if I could work at the highest level ...little did I know I would use Everton as a stepping stone to get back to Liverpool! "But I have met some fantastic people at both clubs and I take a lot of satisfaction at calling those people friends. I know that will continue."Scouser Ablett is a very highly regarded coach. He already possesses the distinguished UEFA 'A' licence, and was held back from taking the Pro Licence only by FA bure aucracy.
"I tried to get on the pro licence in the summer but couldn't, because the powers that be at the FA said I wasn't working with senior players - which I found pathetic to be honest," he added. "I am now working with boys one or two years older than I was with last year, yet I can take it now because they are classed as seniors.
"Whether the manager sees the pro licence as a vital part of my education is something we will have to discuss in the future." A coach at Everton's youth academy, it was the opportunity to work with senior players which prompted Ablett to cross the park. "I don't know if there was ever ajob for me at Everton on the senior side . . . we never got as far as that," he added. "I'm ambitious and I see this as another step on the coaching ladder - and you can't fail to come to a place like this and learn from the staff here. "I haven't got a bad word to say about Everton. They gave me the chance to get where I am now - I had four fantastic years working with fantastic people - and I'm sure I'll be working with fantastic people here. "My job is to manage the reserve team, to liaise with the manager and Pako Ayesteran and to plan the season technically, tactically and physically. "I have been given the chance to work in a fantastic job, with great people and with outstanding young footballers - and my job is to develop them to hopefully be-come first team players here. "At Everton, I had under-14s like James Vaughan and Victor Anichebe who we could mould, whereas now they are already coming to me from the Academy so it will be more challenging and something I am looking forward to." And Ablett already has his eyes focused on a fixture very early in the reserve team calendar. "Would you believe the mini derby is the second match of the season?" he said. "I can't wait. Bring it on."
Keeper's heroics in vain
Jul 6 2006 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON LADIES' tour of Canada ended in defeat as they went down 1-0 to Ottawa Fury. The solitary goal came in the second half but there were plenty of positives for Everton. Ottawa dominated the early exchanges, but Blues keeper Danielle Hill produced a number of fine saves to keep the Fury at bay. In contrast, Everton's first notable strike was a Fara Williams effort from 30 yards which flew over the bar five minutes before the break. In the second half the Blues enjoyed more pos-session but were still limited to long range efforts. The Fury were dangerous on the break and took the lead just before the hour mark. A cross from the right wing was tapped in by Stacey Stocco to make it 1-0. As Everton pressed for-ward the home side's counter attacking looked more and more threatening but central defenders Fern Whelan and Jayne Eadie were up to the task. With two minutes left keeper Hill produced another outstanding save. Everton created a decent chance late on as Williams' flick fell to Amy McCann but her volley was straight at the keeper. Everton's Rachel Unitt said: "It was the last of our four matches and I think a lot of us were pretty tired.
"We played good football but we couldn't get the goal. To get four games in over six days is great for fitness and team morale."
Carsley out to make Blues impact
July 7 2006 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
LEE CARSLEY is ready to make up for lost time during pre-season by launching a bid to reclaim his place in Everton's starting line-up. The Blues midfielder was a virtual ever present when Everton finished fourth in 2004-05 but a knee ligament injury sustained against Bolton on the final day of that campaign effectively ruined his hopes of figuring last year. A series of complications during his rehabilitation limited Carsley to six league and cup appearances and his frustration was exacerbated towards the end of the season when he picked up a three-match suspension for a red card against Chelsea. "It was 10 months on the sidelines so it has been a long road but it is just one of those things," said Carsley. "I have been lucky in that I have never had an injury like that before, so if that is the longest I have been out during my career, then I have done well. "The injury is fine now. I was just getting back into the swing of things and obviously it was cut short. "It would have been nice to finish the season off with a game but I was suspended and that was that unfortunately." Though Carsley's immediate priorities lie with Everton, he hopes to win an international recall at some point in the coming months. After a chat with new Republic of Ireland manager Steve Staunton, Carsley has let it be known he will play for his country if selected.
"I'm sure he will play a different system away from home, so perhaps I will become more useful if they change the system away from home," said Carsley, who moved to Goodison Park from Coventry City in February 2002. "Stan's [Staunton] football background is second to none. He understands the game and he has the respect of the players. He also has some familiar faces back in the set-up. "I will be looking forward to seeing them. I made the decision to make myself available again because I felt I missed it."
Woodward calls for Premiership shoot-outs
Jul 7 2006 Liverpool Echo
SIR CLIVE WOODWARD insists penalty shoot-outs should be staged after every Premiership match to avoid more spot-kick heartbreak for England in major competitions. Woodward, who coached England's rugby union team to world glory in 2003, believes not enough has been done to improve on the national team's abysmal record in penalty shoot-outs, which have been their undoing in five major tournaments since 1990, including their exit from the World Cup. Woodward, now director of football at Southampton, believes regular shoot-outs would get players used to the pressure and help England's management to identify those who are most adept from the penalty spot. He said: "Like many England supporters I was shattered by what I saw - the players' body language. At times, there was no evidence of confidence.
"Those in charge of football should act. They should ask 'why does this keep happening'? "The big games are so often decided by small margins. And like it or not, shoot-outs are part and parcel of the game." Woodward added: "We are in a professional sport that requires professional attention to detail. The disgrace of all this is that a key element, the sudden-death finale, has wrecked English dreams so often - yet remains a massive weakness."
Cahill in new season threat
July 10 2006 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON boss David Moyes could be heading for another club versus country confrontation next season, over the services of influential midfielder Tim Cahill.
Cahill's Australia have five Asian Cup dates scheduled before Christmas.
Only two fall during an official FIFA international break - and even one of those falls just three days before the Goodison derby. It will mean yet more negotiations between Moyes and the Australian FA, just weeks after heated discussions over the injury which threatened to rule Cahill out of the World Cup. The Socceroos are set to play in the Asian Cup on the following dates: August 16 in Australia - just three days before the startof the Premiership season; September 1 in Australia (during a break in the domestic fixture list); September 6 in Kuwait (three days before the Goodison derby); October 11 in Australia (three days before a trip to Middlesbrough) and November 15 in Lebanon (three days before a home match against Bolton). Blackburn central defender Lucas Neill told the Australian media that the players had discussed the issue of their availability for the Asian Cup qualifiers before leaving Germany. "We've all talked about playing three out of the five games and splitting the main structure of the main base of the team across the board of those four or five games," Neill explained.
"The unfortunate thing about some of them is that they don't fall on FIFA dates, so it's going to be very difficult with the club versus country row. "There's no greater honour than playing for your country, but unfortunately we're always piggy in the middle and we're trying to satisfy both parties."Neill said the timing of the first game against Kuwait on August 16 in Sydney would be especially tough for England-based players such as Cahill and himself. "It's going to be a decision that our clubs will have to make, because for me and Tim personally, the game will be played three days before the first game of the season," Neill said. "Any player wants to play in the first game of the season for his club because if the team gets off to a good start and you're not in the first team, a guy might take your position and you might find yourself not playing any more." Everton kick-off the season against Watford on August 16 before, ironically, a trip four days later to face Blackburn. The Australians are currently managerless, following Guus Hiddink's departure to take over the reins in Russia, but former Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier has been strongly tipped to take over.
Ex-Blue Materazzi proves the unlikely hero
July 10 2006 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DURING 12 often turbulent months on Merseyside, Marco Materazzi convinced no-one of his pedigree as an international defender. He did, however, establish a reputation as a man who made things happen . . . usually in his immediate vicinity.
Red cards, three of them, an unrivalled collection of 12 yellow cards, plus two sublime goals - the Italian was never dull. Few expected him to improve to such a degree that he featured in a World Cup Final. He did. Quite dramatically. And, happily for the neutral observer, he hasn't lost his knack of making things happen.
To give away a penalty kick, score an equaliser and come within a hairs-breadth of a bizarre own goal would have been enough for most players. Not the animated Italian.
He was then directly involved in the dismissal of a football icon - and clinically converted a penalty kick when the match came down to the method Italians fear even more than the English, a penalty shoot-out. And while Materazzi undoubtedly learned lessons from his tempestuous time in English football, there were lessons England could learn from Italy's experience. The players at Marcello Lippi's disposal are not as talented as those Sven Goran Eriksson enjoyed. Luca Toni or Wayne Rooney? John Terry or Materazzi? Steven Gerrard or Perotta? It's not even a contest - but few would argue that the Italians were not worthy World Cup winners. Without an outstanding team - there probably wasn't one at this whole World Cup - they fashioned a World Cup winning line-up. But while that line-up might not have been outstanding, the Italian skipper was. Fabio Cannavaro, the spring-heeled captain and centre-back was, as he has been throughout this tournament, utterly awesome. The same, sadly, could not be said for his French counter part. The man who has delighted fans the world over for the last decade made sure the last match of his career, in Berlin's magnificent Olympic Stadium, will never be forgotten.
Zidane's breathtaking skill and talent for the unexpected were in evidence for as long as he was on the pitch, 110 minutes to be exact. But there has always been a bit of the Marseille streetfighter in Zidane.
Quite what Materazzi said to him as they walked back to the centre circle is unclear, but it cannot have been anything Zidane hasn't heard before ona football field. His reaction, however, was unprecedented for a World Cup Final.
As the giant defender loomed over him, Zidane delivered a headbutt into his chest, and Materazzi went down like a felled tree. Reputations matter not to referee Horacio Elizondo - David Beckham and Wayne Rooney are evidence of that - and the best player of his era made the shameful walk to the dressing room. It was the second time he has made such a trip during a World Cup Finals.But in 1998 France had time to recover. Not so, last night. It meant France were denied Zidane's services for the penalty shoot-out, having already converted from 12 yards quite exquisitely.
Florent Malouda won a penalty in the seventh minute after Thierry Henry headed on a long kick from Fabien Barthez. Malouda darted towards goal, Materazzi stuck out a clumsy leg and Elizondo pointed to the spot. It's your last match in professional football, in the World Cup final no less, so what do you do? Chip the best goalkeeper in the world from the spot. Just to make it more exciting you hit the crossbar and the ball bounces down over the line and then out ag ain. Italy's salvation arrived from an unexpected quarter. France have the height to deal with set pieces but a trio of Andrea Pirlo corners created such havoc that the French were fortunate to just concede the one goal. It was Materazzi, making up for his previous misdemeanour, beating Vieira in the air to head firmly past Barthez, and one heavilytattooed arm was raised aloft.
Materazzi had another header cleared off the line and, from the same source, Luca Toni hit the bar. If Italyhad muchthe better of the first half, the French emerged from the dressing rooms fired with a new desire. Henry, in particular, perhaps realising that looking for a quick ball from Zidane is akin to waiting for Godot - it's just not his style - started running at the Italians on his own and caused major discomfort in the Azzurri ranks. One fantastic run, in classic Henry fashion, took him past four challenges but he could only direct a weak shot into Buffon's hands. Then the Arsenal player side-stepped Cannavaro, and not many players can say they have done that his World Cup, but his snapshot was well saved by Buffon. Sensing problems, Marcello Lippi toughened up his midfield with Daniele de Rossi, fresh from his four-match suspension for elbowing Brian McBride, and that stemmed the flow. Franck Ribery's one-two with Malouda almost paid off, but the bright young hope of French football missed the upright by a whisker. Zidane had one last golden chance for the golden generation with a bullet header, but Buffon performed heroics, tipping the ball over.
Then came Zidane's demise, a wretched if spectacular end, and when you saw Materazzi walking up to take Italy's second penalty the writing was already on the wall for France. David Trezeguet, architect of Italy's downfall in the final of Euro 2000, missed and Fabio Grosso, hero of the semi-final against Germany, struck the winning kick before embarking on a wild sprint the length of the pitch. Zidane, at least, did not have to watch. Materazzi, however, led the Italian celebrations.
Who'd have thought it? From Goodison sinner to World Cup winner. There's a lesson somewhere in there for England.
Everton stuck in Materazzi cash row
July 11 2006 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON are still owed £500,000 for World Cup winner Marco Materazzi.
But the Blues hope that the Italian's match-winning display on Sunday night will bring the issue back into focus once and for all. Everton have been pursuing Perugia through the courts for the final instalment of a £3m transfer fee since 1999. The Blues bought Materazzi from the Italian club for £2.5m in July 1998, before allowing him to return there for £3m 12 months later. Perugia sold on Materazzi to Inter Milan in 2001 for 10m euros. FIFA failed to heed Everton's demand - made in 2003 - that Perugia be closed down. Now it is understood that the Blues have taken fresh legal advice on the matter. "We have been down a number of legal channels," confirmed Everton chief executive Keith Wyness "We are very disappointed in Perugia and we can only hope that the Italian authorities will uphold what is a legally binding contract. "This issue is putting the entire transfer system between England and Italy in jeopardy. If this transfer is not resolved satisfactorily the conclusion must be that all transfers between Serie A clubs and the Premiership will have to be closely looked at in the future.
"Seeing Marco celebrate winning the World Cup on Sunday just increases our frustration." Blues manager David Moyes, meanwhile, was handed his first injury scare of pre-season when midfielder Mikel Arteta was sent home from the Blues training camp last week with chickenpox. "We kept him away from the other players, but we think he's past the infectious stage now," said Moyes. The Blues boss will still have to use a number of junior players, however, to make up two starting line-ups for the week-end's double-header at Bury and Port Vale. Tony Hibbert is still rehabilitating from a groin injury while Alessandro Pistone had a small piece of cartilage re moved from his knee during the summer and is also not ready for a run-out yet. "The idea is to split the squad right down the middle," said Moyes. "We're a little short on numbers so we'll have to use a few younger players."
Valente joy for Moyes
July 12 2006 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES today paid tribute to Nuno Valente for enhancing his reputation during the World Cup finals when so many of his international team-mates did the opposite. The Portuguese left-back made six appearances in Germany and played with the same spirit he has consistently shown since joining Everton last August.
While the unsporting behaviour shown by some of Portugal's squad left a bitter taste, Moyes claimed Valente could leave the tournament with his head held high.
"We were all really pleased with how Nuno played and I think he showed everyone exactly what we think he is and that is a very good player," said Moyes, who saw Valente in action for Portugal against Angola in Cologne. "He's a very good passer of the ball and playednearly every minute for Portugal. Overall, he proved himself to be a very well-rounded professional. "He was one of the boys who made an impression among his fellow professionals. He never ducked anything, he never hid at anytime and put himself forward. "He played with a few injuries last season and that is the sign of someone who will give himself up for the team. "I thought he did well last year. It might have taken him just a few games to settle in but that can happen to any person who goes to a new country to play. "But I just hope that we have no effects from the length of period that he has had to play this summer. That would be my only concern with him." Moyes hopes the sportsmanship Valente showed in Germany becomes commonplace in the Premiership and he wants to see an end to diving in England.
"There is no doubt about it, diving is becoming more of a problem in our game," said Moyes. "During the World Cup, we saw far too many instances. "Diving is a global problem in football and it would be nice if the English Premiership led the battle to drive it out." Everton, meanwhile, have confirmed that James Beattie is the man who will inherit Duncan Ferguson's number nine shirt after announcing their squad numbers for next season. Record signing Andrew Johnson has been allotted the eight jersey - the same number he wore at Crystal Palace - while Andy van der Meyde moves from 27 to seven. The numbers in full are: 1 Richard Wright 2 Tony Hibbert 3 Gary Naysmith 4 Joseph Yobo 5 David Weir 6 Mikel Arteta 7 Andy van der Meyde 8 Andrew Johnson 9 James Beattie 10 Simon Davies 11 James McFadden 13 Iain Turner 14 Kevin Kilbane 15 Alan Stubbs 16 Jo-leon Lescott 17 Tim Cahill 18 Phil Neville 19 Nuno Valente 21 Leon Osman 22 James Vaughan 23 Alessandro Pistone 24 Tim Howard 26 Lee Carsley 28 Victor Anichebe 30 John Ruddy 31 Mark Hughes 36 Patrick Boyle.
Blues' Joe and Jo show a must for the new campaign
Jul 12 2006 Letters, icLiverpool & Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES would be daft not to start with Joseph Yobo and Joleon Lescott at the back next season. David Weir and Alan Stubbs offer good experience to come off the bench or provide cover. The veterans are both key members in the dressing room, so I am happy they are staying to keep their positive influence going. I also believe that Moyes has spent time in Germany during the World Cup. Hopefully mixing with the best European coaches will have given him inspiration to pick up a few bargains in time for next season. Paul George, Ormskirk
JOLEON LESCOTT and Joseph Yobo are the future for Everton's defence and they should be given the chance to start the season together for us. Both players are young and talented, and given a prolonged spell at the back together to form a partnership and an understanding, we might only have to call on Alan Stubbs or David Weir sparingly as they wind down their distinguished careers. Alan Carter, Crosby
WHY are people suggesting that David Moyes will start with both Joleon Lescott and Joseph Yobo at the back together at the start of next season? We all know Moyes likes to have at least one OAP in the side! However, Ithink we will begin the season with Lescott and Yobo, but I also believe that not too far down the line Stubbs and Lescott will play, as it is obvious that Yobo can either be the best defender ever at times but also the worst. Stubbs (despite stick about his age) is an amazing Everton centre back and one of Walter Smith's greatest signings. Weir is finished, but Stubbs was influential last season in stabilising a side destined for relegation. Stubbs has been written off for a few seasons now, just like 39 year old Nigel Martyn (legend) and although Stubbs is not that old, he will play a big part for us next season and retire as one of Everton's Premiership le gends. Martin Spry, Widnes
I'M SURE Joleon Lescott and Joseph Yobo can form one of the best central defensive partnerships in the Premiership. But do David Moyes' comments about how Lescott can learn from Stubbs and Weir give anyone else a sinking feeling like me) that he is going to start with these two at the back, with Yobo and Lescott on the bench? George Farr, Chelmsford
WITH Wigan paying £5.5m for Emile Heskey, getting Andrew Johnson and Joleon Lescott early on is good business for once by David Moyes. If only he had done so this time last year. Here's to Johnson and James Beattie forming a fruitful part-nership if Moyes plays them to gether. Hopefully, too, this season will see James Vaughan and Victor Anichebe make the grade and realise their early potential.
Gary Hunt, Walton
DAVID MOYES is one of the only Premiership managers to make good signings this summer. He seems to have learned from his mistakes of previous summers where he has dithered too long and been forced to panic-buy as the transfer deadline has approached. Gary O'Flynn, Wexford
DAVID MOYES recently said he'd been travelling to Germany to keep watch on some players and I was particularly impressed by the German super sub David Odonkor. He has blinding pace and changed the outcome of the match whenever he came on. Moyes should try and sign him because he's a decent player who shouldn't cost too much. Joanne Edwards, Speke
IF Southampton want Richard Wright, as has been reported, we should ask for Paul Smith, their reserve goalkeeper, in return. He was outstanding when replacing the injured Antti Neimi. Greg Jones, Anfield
THERE has been a lot of negative reaction to the sending off of Zinedine Zidane in the World Cup final, but this one moment should not be allowed to cloud the memory of the best player of the last 20 years. He only lashed out because of an alleged insult against his ill mother, and for people to say his actions were a disgrace seems to be very unfair. His reaction was a human one and shows that even the most calm and controlled sportsmen can lash out when the provocation is extreme enough.
As for Marco Materazzi, if he is found guilty of making the alleged remarks, he must be severely punished. Terry Gray, Anfield
WHAT a disgraceful way to end one of the most entertaining careers in world football when Zinedine Zidane got sent off for head-butting Marco Materazzi.
He definitely deserved his red card but let's remember him as one of the most outstanding players ever to play world football and not for a rash action that will haunt him for the rest of his days. Steve Dolan, St Helens
WITH regard to Zidane's sending off, it is a shame that what's sanctioned in football is the reaction and not the provocation. But top level football requires the control of one's nerves and that is where Zidane let himself down. Pete Woods, Kirkby
LET'S not get too carried away with Zidane's sending off. He has shown the world over the years that he is a true master, a legend who can change the course of a game on his own. He has hung up his boots now and will be missed by lovers of the beautiful game. Jo Stevens, Liverpool
Cahill can be strike star - Moyes
July 13 2006 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES today hinted that Tim Cahill could make a surprise appearance as a striker next season after his exploits at the World Cup finals. Though the Everton midfielder initially started Australia's campaign in Germany on the bench, he made sure his first appearance against Japan was a spectacular one, as he scored twice in five minutes during a 3-1 win. While he failed to add to his tally, his performances in sub-sequent games caught the eyeand Moyes suggested Cahill - now fully fit after damaging knee ligaments in April - has added another dimension to his game from which Everton will profit. There is no suggestion Cahill will start the campaign in anything other than his normal role of central midfield but Moyes may take the chance to experiment in some of Everton's pre-season games once the 27-year-old returns to training later this month. "Tim certainly enhanced his reputation," agreed Moyes, who is mystified by rumours that have linked Cahill with Manchester United. "Although he didn't start the first game against Japan, he eventually came on and got himself some goals. "He did exactly what we'd expect from Tim Cahill. He was always close to the action, close to getting himself a goal and that's what he does very well as a midfield player. "To have a goalscoring midfield player is something terrific and not something you can get very often. But he played in some advanced roles for Australia and that gives us food for thought for next season, too." For the time being, Moyes is finalising plans for this weekend's fixtures against Port Vale and Bury and he intends to split his teams straight down the middle - neither starting line-up will be stronger than the other. The manager is, however, looking forward to seeing his big summer signings Andrew Johnson and Joleon Lescott make their first appearances in a Blue shirt and Moyes has been delighted with how quickly they have settled in. "The two lads have done well," said Moyes. "They are training well and are very much part of the squad. They are British lads so they are settling in very quickly. "They know the workings of things and I'm very happy with them. What they just need now is to get playing with the lads and they'll get that opportunity in the next month."
Blues star tees off
Jul 13 2006 Liverpool Echo
FORMER Everton star Alan Stubbs was the guest at the Alliance & Leicester Commercial Bank Charity Golf Day held at Formby Hall Golf and Country Club.
The event was organised to raise money for its local charity of the year, Marie Curie Cancer Care. More than 60 golfers from the bank took part in the event, which raised more than £1,700 and included 18 holes of golf, a gala dinner and auction.
Lots included two VIP tickets to the British Open Golf Championship.
Sheedy jumps at chance to coach Blues
July 14 2006 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
KEVIN SHEEDY has been appointed Everton's new youth team coach - and the Goodison legend said: "I didn't even need to think about it." Sheedy, who holds the FIFA pro licence, has replaced Gary Ablett and will be working with the club's YTS players. "It's great to be back," he said. "I have so many happy memories here and I am really looking forward to working with the young players again. "I got a call about three weeks ago to ask if I would be interested - and I didn't take long thinking about it. "I worked with Alan Irvine for 18 months at Blackburn, when James Beattie was one of the Sheedy given Blues chance young players we were looking after, and obviously I know Neil Dewsnip, Ray Hall and Andy Holden, so that will help.
"I've been out of the game for two years now. I've recharged my batteries and I'm raring to go." After hanging his boots up, Sheedy worked at Blackpool, Tranmere, Hartlepool and Blackburn Rovers. He was an integral member of the most successful Everton team of all time, with arguably the most cultured left-foot ever to grace Goodison. He was the first player to cross Stanley Park in nearly 20 years when he joined Everton for £100,000 in the summer of 1982. More than 350 appearances and 97 goals later, he went down in Goodison folklore.
Beattie on cloud nine in historic role
July 14 2006 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
FOR lesser characters, the demands David Moyes listed when he was handing over possession of Everton's prized number nine shirt might have caused a sense of unease.
James Beattie, though, is not the type of person to shirk a challenge, so when Moyes impressed his expectations on him - i.e. 20 goals a season - his response was that of man whohas nothing other than atremendous faith in his ability to deliver: 'not a problem'. Having badgered Moyes for the best part of a year to be handed the jersey that legends such as Dean and Lawton, Hickson, Royle and Young have worn with such distinction and pride in the past, Beattie knows all eyes will be on him when the new season begins. It is significant, however, that Everton's manager believes Beattie will handle the responsibility. Indeed, after finishing the most recent campaign with 11 goals - all bar one came in Premiership combat - Moyes suggests an even greater scoring return beckons. Perhaps it took Beattie a while to live up to expectations when he first arrived on Merseyside, but his gutsy performances, particularly when Everton were on song between January and March, helped win over the doubters.
With record signing Andrew Johnson and James McFadden to sharethe load, the task now for Beattie is to build on the foundations laid last year and fire Everton's challenge for Europe. Moyes is adamant that the one-time England striker is up to the task. "Beats started to show with his performances last season thathe is much more capable," said Moyes, who signed a £6m cheque to bring Beattie to Merseyside from Southampton. "I think he knew that you need to be a special player to be a number nine at Everton. "He knows there is a list as long as your arm of great number nines and he's aware that it is a jersey that carries a huge amount of kudos. "When I told him he was getting it, I told him about the responsibility that comes with it. You have got respect when you get the jersey but I also told him that he's got to score me 20 goals!
"So, he just turned around to me and said he was fine with all that! But on a serious note, he is delighted. It's a big thing to be a number nine at a club like Everton.
"I just hope that he carries that mantle on. James is someone who does thrive on confidence and when his self-belief is high, then I think he performs well.
"We have given him a boost by giving him this jersey but hopefully between James, Andrew and James McFadden our goal threat will be muchgreater than it was last year. "James and Andy have looked good in training but I wouldn't talk just about those two without mentioning James McFadden. Over the next three or four weeks we'll pull things together." Beattie, who has caught the eye during Everton's early training sessions, gets his first chance to pull on the famous shirt tomorrow at Port Vale, where he will be partnered by McFadden and watched by Moyes. His confidence lifted by the manager's decision to be the person to take over Duncan Ferguson's mantle, Beattie knows he has a long way to go before supporters hold him in the same esteem as the buccaneering Scot. Yet a couple of early goals would do wonders for his popularity, "It is a tremendous honour," said Beattie, intent on improving a scoring ratio for Everton that stands at one every four matches.
"With Dunc staying last year, Imade it clear I wanted to be number nine to the gaffer.
"He said 'we will leave it for 12 months and let Dunc carry on with it'. But he said he wants me to be number nine next season and for many years to come. "There are players that have worn the shirt who are absolute legends and hopefully I can follow in their footsteps. "It was hard at first but the fans stuck by me and gave me all the support I needed. Now it is time for me to start repaying them."
The Goodison number nines
Jul 14 2006 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON'S first number nine was quite simply the greatest goalscorer of all time. In 14 seasons at Goodison Park, Dean made 431 appearances for the Blues and scored a staggering 377 times including 37 hat-tricks. Terrorising defenders with his never-say-die attitude and his astonishing ability in the air, the pinnacle of his Everton career came in 1927-28 when he scored an unsurpassable 60 league goals in 39 matches.
THOUGH his stay at Goodison Park only lasted three seasons, some people thought he was a better all-round player than Dean but not the tram conductor who spotted him on the day he signed for the club in 1936. "You're young Lawton, aren't you?" he was asked shortly before disembarking on Goodison Road. "That's right!" came the reply. "Well you'll never be as good as Dixie!" In all, he scored 70 times in 95 appearances.
QUIET and reserved off the field, craving his own privacy, as soon as he pulled on a blue shirt he became the scourge of defenders and quite often fell foul of referees thanks to his robust, aggressive performances. Arrived at Goodison Park as an 18-year-old from Ellesmere Port in 1948 and made his debut three years later, two spells at the club sandwiched brief stays at Huddersfield and Aston Villa. Found the net 111 times in 243 appearances.
ONE of the most talked about players of his generation, led the line of the all-conquering Everton side from the 1960s and his prowess in front of goal ensured he became hero-worshipped. Affectionately known as 'The Golden Vision' within two years of his arrival from Hearts he had helped Everton win the League Championship with a series of magnificent displays. A total of 271 appearances yielded 87 goals.
IT was at Bloomfield Road, Blackpool, in 1966 that Harry Catterick launched the career of arguably Everton's greatest post-war number nine, raising eyebrows when he handed a First Division debut to a raw 16-year-old. Tremendous aerial prowess and clinical in the penalty area, Royle was a key member of the 1970 title-winning side, scoring 23 times in 42 matches that season. Left in 1975 after 119 goals in 275 appearances.
THE last number nine to score 30 league goals in a season, Latch-ford gave Evertonians some pride during a dark period in the club's fortunes and became the most prolific striker of his generation. Arrived from Birmingham in 1974 and initial doubts about his ability were quickly dispelled as he had an uncanny knack of turning half-chances into goals. Still held in the highest esteem on Merseyside, was sold to Swansea in 1981 after 138 goals in 289 games.
WHILE he is now the television pundit of his generation, during his playing career he captured the imagination with the way he often put himself into uncompromising positions for the sake of a goal. One of Howard Kendall's shrewdest signings, some described Gray as the catalyst for the halcyon era during the 1980s. Made 68 appearances in two seasons at Goodison Park, scoring 22 times, including goals in the FA Cup and European Cup Winners Cup finals.
VIRTUALLY unknown when he arrived from Dumbarton in 1980, Sharp took time to settle down but once he did, carved a place for himself into Goodison folklore with a record in front of goal bettered only by Dixie Dean. His career on Merseyside yielded 159 goals but perhaps doesn't get the credit he deserves. Formed terrific partnerships alongside numerous strikers, his medal haul reflects the contribution he made to the club.
THERE was barely a dry eye on the Gwladys Street when Ferguson made his final appearance in the number nine jersey against West Brom last May with a goal in the last minute to secure a 2-2 draw. When in the mood, Ferguson was practically impossible to play against and particularly enjoyed terrorising the defenders of Liverpool and Manchester United. Injuries and suspensions prevented him fulfilling his potential, scoring 72 goals in 273 appearances.
The Gray way to cloud nine
July 14 2006 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON boss David Moyes should have handed James Beattie a highly readable piece of sports literature this week, along with Everton's coveted number nine shirt.
'Shades of Gray' is the autobiography of a man who once filled that same jersey with distinction. And Andy Gray wrote: "I once signed for Wolves for £1.5m and didn't feel one ounce of pressure. I went to Goodison for £200,000 and immediately knew I was following in the footsteps of greats like Dean, Lawton, Young, Royle, Latchford and the rest. The club's centre-forward tradition is legendary. That is why I had no intention of failing in a blue shirt." He didn't. As he bade a wistful farewell to Goodison following 20 magnificent months, he declared: "As I took one last look back at Everton I thought of two things. I was proud to be a part of a team that will go down in history. And I'd proved I could walk in the footsteps of the Goodison greats. Dean . . . Lawton . . . Young . . . and now Gray. I felt I'd won my personal battle."
If Beattie can have half the impact Gray made in the number nine shirt at Goodison, he will have proved a stirring success. Gray also wrote: "I didn't set the world alight with my goalscoring, but I know in my performances I always gave everything I had."
And there lies the secret of his success. Over to you, James . . .
No smoke call for football stadiums
Jul 14 2006 Liverpool Echo
A CAMPAIGN to make Goodison Park and Anfield smoke free has been launched.
SmokeFree Liverpool's youth group D-MYST will campaign to ask both stadia to ban smoking even in the outdoor sections. They say a survey showed 70% of Liverpudlians would prefer smoke-free football stadiums and have started a petition.
Gina McDaid from D-MYST said the campaign would also include a roadshow on the subject. She said: "It makes sense that a sporting stadium, in which health and physical fitness are of extreme importance, should be made 100% smoke free.
"It will ensure a healthy environment for employees, spectators and sportsmen. It will make no sense for the rest of the stadium to be smoke free - and then for people to have to sit next to smokers in the stands. "We hope that our campaign will show there is a public demand for stubbing out smoking."
Goal ace Anichebe can be star - Irvine
July 17 2006 By Dominic King
ALAN IRVINE today claimed Victor Anichebe's double blast at Bury on Saturday shows he is ready to become an established member of Everton's first team squad.
While all eyes were initially on club record signing Andrew Johnson, Anichebe ensured he set tongues wagging afterwards with goals either side of half-time in the Blues' 3-1 win. Having signed his first professional contract in May shortlyafter scoring his first Premiership goal against West Brom, the 18-year-old has delighted Everton's backroom staff with the attitude he has shown since returning early to pre-season training. Confirming he has come on with leaps and bounds with a lively display at Gigg Lane,Irvine feels Anichebe has plenty to offer next season and is adamant he can become aserious option for David Moyes to consider next season.
"Victor has been encouraging us since the turn of the year. By the end of last season, he had forced himself into the first team and managed to get a goal," said Irvine.
"We were really keen to see how he was when he came back. I'm delighted to say that he came back in very good condition. He has been working really hard and he's grownup an awful lot since this time last year. "Wetold him that he had to come back abit earlier than most of the squad, so he has had a bit of a head start but he obviously prepared himself well and full marks to him. He's got a lot of confidence. "In training he has shown that he is just about ready to become a regular member of our first team squad. I'm absolutely delighted with him and the progress he has made. They were two good finishes, particularly his second goal." Over at Port Vale, another Everton XI also began their preparations with a 2-0 win and Andy van der Meyde caught the eye as he completed 90 minutes for the first time in a Blue shirt. "There were some good bits," said Moyes, whose side triumphed thanks to goals from James McFadden and Kevin Kilbane. "I'm looking for his level of fitness to improve from now but we know that he has quality. "We want abig season from him butwe want a big season from everyone. They all need to do that if they want a grab a shirt and be in the team."
Meanwhile, Everton are giving a trial to Borussia Dortmund's Delron Buckley with a view to signing him on a season-long loan. The 30-year-old has been capped 60 times by South Africa and can operate in midfield or up front.
Bury 1, Everton 3 (Echo)
July 17 2006 By Dominic King
IF this is the reception he gets for missing a couple of chances in a pre-season friendly, imagine the response a winning goal in the derby will receive.
From the moment Andrew Johnson became Everton's record signing earlier this summer, supporters have been counting down the days for their first chance to see him in action and on Saturday at Gigg Lane, the wait was finally over. More than 2,000 Blues made the short trip down the M62 to see what £8.6m has bought them and, judging by the way he was mobbed after the final whistle, first impressions were certainly favourable. Chanting his name, slapping him heartily on the back, it would have been understandable had Johnson felt overawed, possibly intimidated, by the actions of an over-enthusiastic few, particularly when he was stripped of his shirt and boots. But once he emerged from the pack with a beaming smile and clapping his hands, it was clear to see that the former Crystal Palace striker had enjoyedevery minute of his first appearance in Everton colours. True, there was an element of frustration. He was visibly unhappy when he wasted two opportunities in the first half when shooting straight at Alan Fettis, and therewas an exasperated look to the heavens after Bury's keeper thwarted him late in the game. Yet Everton assistant manager Alan Irvine - like so many others - was encouraged by Johnson's efforts. With a few more games under his belt, he is sure to give the Blues an extra potent dimension.
"He's settled in very well and I'm sure in time he'll score a lot of goals for the club," said Irvine. "He's been fantastic around the place since he came in. He was quick to hold his hands up after the game and say to the lads that he should have scored.
"That's just a mark of the type of person that he is. In my opinion, he is certainly a very good addition to the squad. "He will bring goals to the team. I am convinced about that. Typical of the lad, he apologised for coming into the dressing room late.
"If he hadn't realised before, he will know now how big a club this is and how much it means to the fans. Andy never said that he felt in a dangerous position or anything likethat. He was okay about everything and didn't think there was a big issue.
"Strikers have to miss chances to score goals. Ithought his movement was terrific and I can certainly see he'll give us something different. There were a few passes that nearly got him in. On a slick pitch, you'll see the very best of him." While Johnson was the man many had flocked to see, Victor Anichebe ensured his name figured prominently during post-match conversations after he scored twice and pestered Bury's defence all after noon. Having made terrific strides in the past 12 months, Anichebe opened the scoring on nine minutes when he bundled home Leon Osman's cross. He ended the match as a contest just past the hour with a superb finish from Mikel Arteta's through ball. Sandwiched in between those goals was an excellent free-kick from Arteta and a thumping 25-yard drive from Matthew Tipton that proved to be nothing other than a consolation for Bury. That apart, it was highly satisfying return to action for the Blues.
BURY (4-4-2): Fettis; Scott, Fitzgerald, Challinor, Kennedy; Mattis, Barry-Murphy, Bishop, Pugh (Buchanan 71); Tipton, Goodfellow.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Turner (Ruddy 60); Neville, Hughes, Yobo, Boyle; Osman, Arteta, Phelan, Vidarsson (Kearney 80); Johnson, Anichebe.
Goals: Bury - Tipton (41); Everton - Anichebe (9, 62) Arteta (21)
Port Vale 0, Everton 2 (Echo)
July 17 2006 By David Prentice
ANDY VAN DER MEYDE has already told Everton fans what he isn't this summer.
Now he needs to show just what he is, which is an extravagantly gifted wide-man with the ability to change a match with one dazzling piece of skill or example of supreme vision. The Dutch winger's debut season in England was a write-off - just 11 appearances, one goal-creating cross against Middlesbrough and a red card at Anfield.
It led to a public statement from the Dutchman that rumours of a party-animal lifestyle were wide of the mark and that he was desperate to forge a successful career at Everton. He set about proving the point at Port Vale. It was the perfect afternoon forVan der Meyde to dazzle.Perfect pitch, respectful opposition and expectation levels minimal. But he didn't disappoint either. After a number of clever shimmies and dribbles,heproduced astunning defence - splitting pass in the 18th minute to give Kevin Kilbane only two possible options - shoot at goal himself, or clip to the far post for the waiting Beattie to convert. He chose the former, and blazed high over the bar.
But that pass took second billing to a breathtaking 39th minute effort, curved with the outside of his right foot to send Simon Davies sprinting into the penalty box.
He crossed accurately to Beattie but this time the new number nine bundled a header against a defender and behind for a corner. In between there was one dazzling run whichforced acorner and another which was crudely halted by a body check to win a free-kick. James McFadden took it, and curled a shot against the crossbar - cancelling out a similar effort by Leon Constantine which rattled the Blues crossbar in the 21st minute. After the interval, Van der Medye's influence wilted in the sizzling heat, highlighting the area wherehe must improve if his obvious talents are to be utilised by David Moyes next season - his fitness. But generally, Moyes could have no complaints about the fitness levels from the rest of his side as the same XI played from start to finish in boiling temperatures.Moyes seemed the only individual unconcerned by the sun, as he watched in tracksuit bottoms and training t-shirt inside the dug-out. Everton started steadily, upped the tempo at the start of the second half and were rewarded with two goals. Everton's opener was the kind of goal you only see in pre-season friendlies . . . fortunately. Stubbs' close range shot from a corner was blocked and the ball ballooned high in the air. Asit looped into the clear blue skies, defenders and goalkeeper stood and admired. As it fell, they still stood and watched. Then when it bounced in the six yard box they still stood. So James McFadden did the decent thing and put them out of their misery, flicking the ball with his back to goal and into the corner of the net. The second, 10 minutes later, was more of a regular strike. Kevin Kilbane burst into the left hand side of the Vale penalty area and clipped a shot in off the post. The match won, the only priority was working on fitness and avoiding injury. Lee Carsley gave a brief scare, when he went down after appearing to catch his studs in the turf. But he continued after treatment, then Gary Naysmith suffered a clash of heads with Briscoe, but he too continued with no ill effects.
Everton might have won at a canter when Davies crossed from the right in the 83rd minute, but Beattie missed his kick completely and the chance went begging.
Put it down to pre-season rustiness. Shortly before the end there was loud and appreciative applause following the tannoy announcement thanking David Moyes for bringing his Premiership team to Vale Park. Then there was applause for the Everton fans whohad turned up - the 763 who had elected to choose Burslem ahead of Bury - followed by applause wishing Everton well in their Premiership campaign.
It was that kind of afternoon. There might just be a little more of an edge at Parkhead next weekend . . .
PORT VALE: Goodlad (Anyon 45), McGregor, Talbot (Walsh 45), Walker (Abbey 45), Pilkington (Smith 62), Sonner (Soboljew 45), Harsley (Prosser 62), Smith (Whitaker 45), Cardle, Constantine (Briscoe 62), Sodje.
EVERTON: Wright, Irving, Stubbs, Weir, Naysmith, Van der Meyde, Davies, Carsley, Kilbane, McFadden, Beattie. Unused substitutes: Molyneux, Jones, Kissock, Harper, Morrison.
REFEREE: Phil Dowd.
ATTENDANCE: 2,898 (763 visitors).
GOALS: McFadden (55) 0-1, Kilbane (65) 0-2.
Blues left to sweat on Kroldrup cash
July 18 2006 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON may be forced to wait for cash payments for Per Kroldrup from shamed Italian club Fiorentina. The Blues sold the centre-back misfit to the Serie A side last season after he failed to live up to expectations at Goodison. But Fiorentina have been relegated for their part in the match fixing scandal - and that could have implications for Everton concerning the money they are still owed from the Danish international. Goodison chief executive Keith Wyness today confirmed the club is closely monitoring the situation.
Everton eyeing Kroldrup cash
July 18 2006 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON will closely scrutinise Fiorentina's current plight as they look to recoup the entire transfer fee they received for Per Kroldrup. The Denmark international joined the Blues 12 months ago from Udinese for £5.1m but failed to settle on Merseyside and joined Fiorentina in a £3.5m deal last January after making just two appearances. But, along with Juventus, AC Milan and Lazio, Fiorentina were relegated to Serie B last week and will start next season with a 12 point deficit fortheir partin the match fixing scandal that has decimated Italian football. Though the basics of the deal are financially secure, Everton had a number of bonus payments written into Kroldrup's deal when he left Goodison Park and Fiorentina's absence from Serie A could jeopardise how much they eventually recoup. Everton chief executive Keith Wyness said: "We will be watching the situation in Italy very closely." Kroldrup signed in June last year but the Blues quickly decided he was not suited to the Premiership. He made just one start - a harrowing debut in a 4-0 mauling at Aston Villa - and one substitute appearance in an FA Cup tie against Millwall, before Everton decided to cut their losses.
Everton unlikely to get da Silva
July 18 2006 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON have no plans to welcome Anderson da Silva to their squad in the immediate future after confirming that 'immigration issues' were delaying his chances of moving to Merseyside. Da Silva spent a short period on trial at Bellefield before the start of last season. The midfielder's former club - National Montevideo from Uruguay - agreed to loan him to Malaga in La Liga after a deal was struck for his registration.
Everton continued to monitor his progress but the 25-year-old is still waiting to be granted an EU passport in his bid to secure a work permit. That process has not been helped by the fact da Silva is not a member of the Brazilian national team.
Despite these complications, Everton remain confident the deal will be completed sooner rather than later for da Silva, who has also played for Racing Santander and Chilean side Santiago Wanderers. With da Silva'sarrival not expected for a while, manager David Moyes was at least able to welcome Tim Howard into Bellefield for the first time yesterday. Moyes has been delighted with the attitude shown by his squad since they returned to training but he warned: "If players are not hungry then there are plenty of others wanting the jerseys," said Moyes. "We have plenty of competition."
Davies form lifts Moyes
July 19 2006 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES today tipped Simon Davies to emerge as an important member of Everton's first team squad as he hailed the midfielder's flying start to pre-season.
The Wales international arrived at Goodison Park from Spurs in May 2005 with a big reputation but a succession of niggling injuries prevented him making the kind of impact many supporters expected. Davies was bitterly disappointed with how things had panned out and spoke with Moyes at the end of the season to express his frustrations. Davies made it clear he is capable of giving much more to the squad.
Since returning from his summer break, he has been true to his word and his manager has been delighted with the attitude he has shown in training. He is now looking for him to build on that when Everton face Preston at Deepdale this evening.
"Simon's pre-season up to now has been very good," said Moyes. "He has looked in good nick and very determined. He was disappointed with how he did last year and he told me that. When they realise that, it's positive. "I can only say that his work since he came back has been very good. He had a problem with his ankle at different times but he looks to be over that now and with him being fit, we'll have good competition. Simon is someone who will be very much involved."After weekend games against Bury and Port Vale, Moyes knows the Blues will be given a strenuous workout by his former club, especially as they have a new manager to impress. "It will be a good test," he said. "The last couple of seasons Preston have only been just outside getting into the Premiership and have been doing well. "I know a lot of the players well and know they started back a couple of weeks earlier than us but that's part of it. I spoke to Paul Simpson shortly after he got the job and it's a good job for him. "They are still a club I've got very much a soft spot for and it will be nice to go back for Paul McKenna's testimonial. He was a player I brought into the team as a boy and he's done well. He was an apprentice with Kevin Kilbane." Delron Buckley, on trial from Borussia Dortmund, could playsome part, while Moyes is debating whether to hand Tim Howard - who only joined Everton's squad on Monday - an immediate first appearance. Andy van der Meyde, however, will miss out with a groin strain.
"We will split them up and most of them will play 45 minutes the way thatI have got it planned out," said Moyes. "The idea at the weekend was that everyone played 90 minutes and just about all the seniors did that."
Splashing cash is no guarantee of success
Jul 19 2006 Icliverpool And Liverpool Echo
GIVING youngsters like Victor Anichebe their chance makes perfect sense, and not forgetting we also have young James Vaughan returning also pressing for a place.
Buying has-beens and journeymen is what Walter Smith did best and look what did for us! As some Evertonians rightly point out ,there is more to compiling a squad than just flashing the cash, especially when it's in short supply. Peter Murphy, Crosby
DELRON BUCKLEY sounds like a tidy player, especially if he can do the 100m in 11 secs at the age of 29. I agree we need a few more players, but if you look at the squad names when David Moyes took over compared to now, he is adding quality, but slowly. We have a better squad again compared to last season, and somehow even better morale in the camp.Competition for places is the key. Alan Howarth,
RUMOUR has it that David Moyes values Joleon Lescott very highly and will find it hard to keep hold of him for more than two years. He supposedly believes Chelsea, Arsenal and Man Utd will be in for him by then. He must be good! Stan Lewis,
THIS Delron Buckley looks like a good player, although I'm not sure if David Moyes would use him as a striker or winger. I know Liverpool and Man Utd were looking at him before Borussia Dortmund bought him and Martin Jol had him checked out in January. I hope he does well in his trial, but I still think we need a creative midfielder.
With us going to Parkhead this weekend, I hope Petrov impresses Moyes, he is a class player and whoever gets him will be very luckly. Jamie Ross, Liverpool
THE Kirkby stadium deal sounds great, good rail and road connections, only four miles from Goodison. I would still have loved to have seen a joint Blue/Red 70,000 seat super stadium, but that isn't going to happen is it? Bob Butchard, Brisbane
DELRON BUCKLEY appears the have the credentials to make it in the Premiership. It appears he is a striker who gets played on the left of midfield. He has played 228 games in the Bundesliega and scored 34 goals. He is very technical and tracks back, but perhaps best of all is that apparently he can do the 100m in 11 seconds!
Stuart Barnes, Liverpool
WEST BROM'S Kusczak would have been a good buy for us last season - now he's headed for Man United. Never mind - delighted with the signings of Lescott and Johnson. We'll worry about a keeper next pre-season. Simon Fielding, Bootle.
Preston 0, Everton 0 (Echo)
July 20 2006 By Dominic King
LISTEN very carefully and you will be able to pick up the unmistakable sound of someone, somewhere, setting the alarm bells ringing. Having seen David Moyes splash out a club record £8.6m to sign Andrew Johnson, a small few are taking great delight that the former Crystal Palace striker has not broken his scoring duck for Everton yet. At a time when genuine news stories are thin on the ground, a few cynics are trying to generate tales about Johnson's confidence being shattered and how Everton's manager is rattling like a string of worry beads over his investment.
If you hear anyone make such a suggestion, don't listen. True, his first appearance at Bury and last night's run out against Preston North End have not yet yielded a goal but, at this stage, that should not be a cause forEvertonian concern. Short of peak condition and working on a partnership, Johnson's 'drought' stands at 135 minutes, not 135 matches. He may have only got a fleeting chance at Deepdale to show his qualities, but Johnson will prove in due course to be money well spent.
Though his one sight of Carlo Nash's goal was limited to a speculative first time lob after latching on to James Beattie's cushioned header, his explosive pace will trouble plenty of defences. Provided, of course, he is supplied with the correct artillery.
For although Moyes and his assistant Alan Irvine will be pleased their squad moved a step closer to fitness, that they didn't fashion too many opportunities during Paul McKenna's testimonial will cause some concern. With Everton's creator-in-chief Mikel Arteta seeing little of the ball in the areas in which he can wreak havoc, Preston were comfortable in a game that never threatened to reach a rat-a-tat-tat pace.
In truth, it never really raised above pedestrian. A side that needs to be operating at full throttle and high intensity to showtheir true colours, Everton backed again by a staggering travelling support that this time numbered almost 4,000 - did not have conditions to suit in this corner of Lancashire. Still, Johnson apart, that did not stop a select few from catching the eye. Leon Osman, for instance, was excellent when he emerged as asecond half substitute, using possession as wisely as he would spend his last pound. After a slow start to last season, Osman exploded into life after Christmas and reports from Bellefield imply that he has started the new campaign in an even better frame of mind. He will have akey role to performfor Moyes from August 19 onwards. The same, too, applies to Alan Stubbs and David Weir. Only Moyes knows how many matches they will play now that he has Joseph Yobo and Joleon Lescott but, rest assured, if called upon, the Blues boss should find them ready, willing and able. Stubbs nevermissed a trickwhen replacing Yobo at the break, while Weir kept one time Everton target David Nugent under wraps despite the Liverpool-born striker pestering him for an age. Lee Carsley, desperate to make up forthe injury disappointments of last season, came closest to scoring for Everton, when a free-kick clipped the bar on 47 minutes. He also brought a flying save out of substitute keeper Andy Lonergan late in the day. The latter chance was created by Victor Anichebe, who cast himself in a good light with a sprightlycameo, as did the South African trialist Delron Buckley with a series of neat flicks and darting runs. A shame, then, that the only thing missing was goals, but the visiting hordes did at least create their own entertainment by tossing inflatable balls onto the pitch and trying to get them in the goal on a gust of wind.
Like their club's attackers, they failed to find the net but practice makes perfect and pretty soon the former group -namely Andrew Johnson - will reap his rewards.
PRESTON (4-4-2): Nash; Alexander, Marwene, Sedgewick, Davidson; Chilvers, McKenna, O'Neil, Neal; Nugent, Stock.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Wright (Turner 46); Hibbert, Yobo (Stubbs 46), Weir, Naysmith (Boyle 68); Davies (Anichebe 68), Carsley, Arteta (Neville 46), Kilbane (Buckley 68); Johnson (Osman 46) Beattie.
No rush for Blues winger
July 20 2006 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON will not jeopardise Andy van der Meyde's chances of being fit for the new season by rushing him back from his latest injury problem. The Holland winger missed last night's goalless draw at Preston after complaining about feeling pain in his groin, sparking initial fears he had suffered a recurrence of the thigh injury that kept him out for four months last year. Although there are no suggestions he is facing another lengthy spell on the sidelines, assistant boss Alan Irvine today revealed a decision to 'ease off' van der Meyde in training has been taken to see how he progresses. He is still on course to travel with the rest of the squad on Everton's 10-day tour of the United States next Monday, but the 26-year-old is unlikely to be involved in Sunday's friendly against Celtic. "Unfortunately he's had a problem in the same area that kept him out last season for quite a long time," said Irvine. "It's not his groin, it's just he feels something when he strikes the ball. "Andy strikes the ball very hard and with a great deal of power, so we're all a little bit concerned. He's feeling something enough for us just to ease off and not take any chances." Similar sentiments apply to Simon Davies, who hobbled away from Deepdale after turning the same ankle that caused him so many problems during his first season on Merseyside, and Joleon Lescott, who has been sidelined with a virus. "Hopefully there's nothing serious with Simon," said Irvine. "Unfortunately, he has rocked his ankle again and it's the same one that kept giving him problems last year. It tends to be something that is sore for a short while and then eases off. "He expects to be back training on Friday when we are next in, so hopefully it won't be too bad. Joleon trained on Tuesday but was dying. We hope he's feeling a lot better on Friday and can train properly."
Fitness issues aside, Irvine was satisfied with the performance against Preston but knows they will have to make even more improvement if they are going to get back to winning ways at the home of the Scottish Champions. "That was a considerable step up from the games that we played at the weekend," he said. "Preston played well and tested us in lots of ways. That was very good. "We've got a number of senior players through 90 minutes. It's quite difficult to do that during pre-season with all the changes that you make, so we are very pleased with how everything went. Celtic will be a step up again. "The substitutions that we were made at half-time were always going to be made. They were planned beforehand. What we are trying to do is plan for all the games and pick ahead of ourselves, rather than picking a team for each game as it comes. "We are trying to ensure that everyone gets a reasonable chance to play the same amount of minutes through the early games. "In America we will tighten things up a little bit more and start looking to a team that might start the season."
Arteta a key man for us - Irvine
July 21 2006 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
ALAN IRVINE has highlighted Mikel Arteta as the man who could have the biggest influence on shaping the course of Everton's season. Though he was laid low with chicken pox and missed a chunk of fitness work last week, that did not stop the Basque cap-ping a superb display in last Saturday's 3-1 victory at Bury with a magnificent free-kick. He again looked sharp in Wednesday's 0-0 draw against Preston but only played 45 minutes as Everton do not want to over exert a man who was comfortably the club's most consistent player last year. "Mikel had missed about a week's worth of training and obviously that is a long period at this stage when we are working on fitness," said Irvine. "But for the first 30 to 35 minutes he was absolutely terrific. He hit the wall then and for about 10 minutes before half-time in that game he was poor and it coincided with our worst period. "After half-time, he was refreshed and did very well. We gave him 45 minutes against Preston but that was always the plan. We wanted to give him a bit of a breather and we are thinking ahead - not just about the matches we are playing. "He is just a top, top player. Undoubtedly he's going to be very important to us this year. He is one of the most talented players we have got at the club and it is important that Mikel has a good season for us."
As Arteta - formerly of Rangers - only had 45 minutes at Deepdale, it is likely he will be given more time on the pitch when Everton travel to Glasgow for their next warm-up fixture against Celtic on Sunday. The SPL Champions have just returned from a tour of the United States and Japan but Irvine rejects suggestions that travel fatigue will make them easier opponents than might normally be expected. He is looking for the Blues to improve. "Celtic will be another step forward," said Irvine. "It will be a very tough game for us. They are ahead of us as far as their preparations are concerned, so we know that it is going to be a big test for us."
Celtic 1, Everton 0 (Echo)
July 24 2006 By Dominic King
NO goals to shout about, the wrong result to mull over but anyone expecting David Moyes to sport a face like thunder after Everton had lost at Parkhead yesterday would have been in for a surprise. Breezing into his post-match Press conference with a broad smile, and happy to exchange in banter, Moyes was so satisfied with Everton's display against Celtic that the only thing causing him concern was finding out how far clear Tiger Woods was at Royal Liverpool. Of course - as he is a man who usually takes defeats as a personal affront - Moyes would have felt disgruntled that Aidan McGeady's late strike ensured his return to the club where it all began for him ended on a bum note. Yetthe managerhad every reason to be pleased as the Blues took another step closer to full fitness with a performance that was a significant stepup on efforts at Bury, Port Vale and Preston. Forget the result; scorelines only matter from August 19 onwards. Some, undoubtedly, will point to the fact thatEverton haven't found the net in the last 180 minutes of action then add it to last season's problems in front of goal and say their findings mean there is trouble ahead. It would be a shame if that is the majority view. Put simply, with each training session and warm-up fixture that passes, Everton are showing they are in significantly better shape than 12 months ago when limbering up for a crack at the Champions League. Transfer targets have been brought in early tobolster the side's spine,each player is taking to the field desperate to impress in training and there is a genuine feeling in the dressing room that real strides can be made from the moment Watford come to visit. Huge sums have been spent on Andrew Johnson and Joleon Lescott, while picking up Tim Howard on a season-long loan was a shrewd move but someone already established at the club is currently fanning the flames of expectation. Given his ability to split adefence with one swish of his right boot, it's no surprise Mikel Arteta has been identified by many judges as the man who will have most influence on Everton's fortunes this season and supply aglut of scoring opportunities. A player with his class can cruise through friendly fixtures and he revelled in the space he was afforded, flitting from right to left always looking to pick out the scampering runs of Johnson or the muscular presence of James Beattie. One glorious ball after 18 minutes sent Everton's record signing powering clear and seemingly on the way to the first of what supporters hope will be many goals in Blue but, frustratingly, he shot straight at Artur Boruc in Celtic's goal. Another effort was also parried by Boruc butJohnson should have no reason to worry. His pace and movement is a welcome addition to this squad, the talent is there and it is only a matter of time before he gets off the mark. What's the panic? Celtic may be starting the defence of their SPL crown against Kilmarnock on Saturday, but they didn't look streets ahead of Everton in terms of fitness. If anything, the visitors looked that bit sharper and more likely to get themselves a goal.
Before the interval, Arteta - not the first being booed in Glasgow for wearing Blue - almost silenced his detractors with a dipping free-kick that whistled over the bar. He also made Boruc work after shooting from aless than favourableangle wide on the right. They did not have things all their own way, though, and it needed acombination of Tim Howard and Gary Naysmith to keep the scores level on 44 minutes to thwart Derek Riordan and the hapless - or should that be hopeless? - Kenny Miller.
Though a groin problem meant Johnson failed to reappear after the break, it did not stop Everton enjoying the better of the exchanges. Beattie should have done better with a header on 51 minutes and almost burst the net with an outrageous drive.
Simon Davies - who again caught the eye in central midfield - brought a flying save out of substitute keeper David Marshall after a corner routine straight from Bellefield and substitute Victor Anichebe looked to feed off any scraps he could.
But Gordon Strachan's side gradually got back into it and after debutante Lescott denied Petrov with a thundering challengeand the impressive Howardimprovised to stop Maciej Zurawski, they snatched the verdict when McGeady drilled home from 25 yards. That may have been enough to knock the wind out of Everton's sails on the day but it is unlikely to stop them in the long run. Next stop is a tour of the United States and we all know what happened the last time they crossed the Atlantic in the summer, don't we?
CELTIC (4-4-2): Boric (Marshall 46); Telfer (Lawson 80), Wilson, McManus, McManus; Nakamura, Jarosik (Sno 66), Petrov (Thompson 85), Zurawski; Miller (Quinn 81), Riordan (McGeady 57).
EVERTON (4-4-2): Howard; Neville, Stubbs, Weir (Lescott 46), Naysmith (Boyle 75); Davies, Arteta (Buckley 76), Carsley, Osman (Cahill 69); Beattie (Kilbane 69), Johnson (Anichebe 46).
Moyes delight at Yobo's new deal
July 24 2006 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES today hailed Joseph Yobo's decision to finally put an end to his contract saga as Everton jetted out for a 10-day tour of the United States.
Though the Blues lost their latest pre-season friendly 1-0 against Celtic, Moyes got the result he wanted when Yobo put pen to paper on a deal that will keep him at Goodison Park for four more years. Having made the initial offer 12 months ago, Everton's manager was anxious not to lose Yobo, whose performances in the centre of defence have seen him emerge as one of the club's most important players. Missing from duty at Parkhead, Yobo is likely to return to action on Wednesday when Everton face Columbus Crew and Moyes is in no doubt that Nigeria's captain will mature into a top class player. "We're really pleased Joseph has finally signed," said Moyes, who also totally dismissed suggestions north of the border that he is ready to sell Gary Naysmith to Celtic. "He's a good player and we know that he is someone who will get better. "He has great pace and athleticism. He had an outstanding season last season. He made one or two mistakes but we know he is a player who is going to improve with age. Joseph is undoubtedly one of our better players. We know what he has got about him." Linked strongly with a move to Arsenal, Yobo sought assurances from Moyes at the end of the most recent campaign that Everton could provide him with a platform to achieve his ambitions. The answers he received were all thathe wanted and more. "I have waited a long time forthis to be sorted out," said Yobo. "There was no doubt of me being happy, I wanted to stay. "But I wanted a commitment from the club. At the end of the season, I spoke with the manager and he told me the ambitions of the club. That was the first step. Then I accepted I wanted to stay." While Yobo will step up his preparations with the rest of the squad across the Atlantic, Andy van der Meyde will stay behind on Merseyside as he bids to recover from the groin problem that forced to miss yesterday's match and last week's game at Preston.
James McFadden and Andrew Johnson are also nursing injuries butnothing serious enough to stop them travelling and Moyes is confident his strike force will get back on the goal trail in Columbus and Dallas after pleasing him against Celtic.
Sky Blue Heaven
July 24 2006 By Nick Coligan, Liverpool Echo
How Evertonian Barry built Coventry FC's new stadium - and why the Mersey Blues need to follow suit THE EVERTON fan who built a new stadium today told the Blues: "follow my path to success." Roby-born Barry Butterworth created 2,500 jobs and brought in £250m of investment when he built Coventry City's futuristic Ricoh Arena on a patch of wasteland. And he believes Everton should follow the route taken by the midland team, whose new stadium opened last summer.
Top of the Toffees shopping list is a move to Kirkby town centre, partly funded by supermarket giant Tesco. Theclub has held talks with Knowsley council about a plan which would see a new stadium and a huge new superstore built on land donated by Knowsley counci. That was almost exactly the same way cash-strapped Coventry managed to move from crumbling Highfield Road to the eye-catching Ricoh Arena.
And according to Mr Butterworth, its impact on a run-down area of the East Midlands city was dramatic. He said: "It is not just a foot-ball stadium - we havea 32,000-seater ground for football, but other events as well. You cannot justify using it only 30 times a year. "We have had 40,000 people in there for concerts by Bon Jovi and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, for example. "It is a 70-acre site split by a railwayline. On one side is the Ricoh Arena, and on the other is the biggest Tesco in the country, with 12 smaller units for shops like Marks & Spencer, Next and Boots. "From wasteland, we created 2,500 jobs and brought in £250m of investment."
How Evertonian Barry built Coventry FC's new stadium - and why the Mersey Blues need to follow suit Football stadiums cost a lot of money - and like most clubs, Everton do not have a spare £150m hanging around. Coventry's perilous finances meant they were on the verge of shelving their planned move, until the council and Tesco became involved. Their involvement suddenly made the arena scheme possible, much like council and private contributions are vital if Everton are to build a new ground. Mr Butterworth said: "From a derelict 75-acre site,the council sold 32 acres to Tesco and put the proceeds in the melting pot. That was topped up with council, government and European money. "The entire building contains not only the stadium, but also a health and fitness centre, community offices, a 70-bedroom hotel, a casino and tourist information office, a banqueting suite, and conference facilities for up to 3,000. "We have 6,000sqm of exhibition halls and other offices for the likes of Ricoh and Yorkshire Bank. "Rather than just being used 30 times a year for seven hours, our executive boxes convert into hotel bedrooms. Thebed is hidden behind panelling while matches are being played." Coventry City are tenants in the arena, whereas Everton have always said they would want to own their home. The Sky Blues have permission to use the pitch30 times a year, which increases if they have a decent cup run. Such an agreement would not go down well with Everton supporters, many of whom are cool on the idea of moving to Kirkby anyway. Some Coventry fans were not happy with the idea of leaving their historic home, but according to Mr Butterworth, most quickly changed their minds. He said: "Supporters never really want to move from their old ground - it is their holy place. "As the crow flies, Coventry moved three miles, butit is inside the city boundaries, next to junction 3 of the M6. "Moving from Highfield Road to the Ricoh Arena was difficult for the fans, but as soon as they went in there, they looked at these wonderful new facilities and took to it."
KIRKBY TOWN CENTRE
PROS: Comfortably the most viable option at the moment. Knowsley council has found a site just south of the existing town centre, and megabucks Tesco, with Evertonian Sir Terry Leahy at the helm, is involved - so the club would not need to worry too much about the cost. Just four miles from Goodison Park as the crow flies. Close to the M57 and walking distance from Kirkby station.
CONS: It's Kirkby. Many supporters cannot bear the thought of moving outside the city boundaries, even by half a mile or so.
REBUILDING GOODISON PARK
PROS: The club's spiritual home. The Old Lady has been home to Everton's biggest triumphs and greatest escapes, and no other ground has a history quite like it. Good bus and train links, plenty of parking in surrounding streets, and lots of fans walk to the ground. Shops in County Road and Rice Lane depend on match-day revenue. Rebuilding on the same site would be a good compromise, maintaining the club's roots while bringing in modern facilities.
CONS: No space. Goodison is surrounded by a road, rows of terraces and a primary school. Rebuilding would be a major logistical problem - the ground might even have to be rotated. Would there be room for a big supermarket and shops next door to bring in private money?
CENTRAL DOCKS / STANLEY ABATTOIR / OLD SPEKE AIRPORT
PROS: The three Liverpool sites most frequently mentioned. All large brownfield areas which the council wants to see developed, with plenty of room for shops, hotels etc. Would keep Everton inside the city boundaries, so Liverpool would not lose tens of millions of pounds a year to a neighbouring borough.
CONS: All surrounded by uncertainty. The council might want Everton to stay in the city, but without the backing of a firm like Tesco, schemes will struggleto get off the ground.
PROS: Lots of room right next to the M57 for shops and parking, as well as a big stadium. Peel Holdings, owned by Matalan supremo John Hargreaves, is behind the plan - so money would not be a problem.
CONS: Where do you start? The site is green belt land, so a lengthy public inquiry is a near certainty, potentially causing years of delays. Residents in nearby Melling do not want it. And nor does Sefton council, which last week decided to tell Peel Holdings that the development would not be welcome.
Rooney in Moyes rant
July 25 2006 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
WAYNE ROONEY has launched an astonishing attack on former manager David Moyes and accused him of forcing him out of Everton. The 20-year-old Manchester United and England striker has used his new book to lambast his ex boss.
He insists he "would have gone almost anywhere to get away from Moyes" and considered a move to Newcastle before joining United in a deal worth £28 million two years ago. "If no-one else had come in I would have gone to Newcastle," says Rooney in his autobiography My Story So Far, which has been written by Hunter Davies. Rooney added: "To me he appeared overbearing, just wanting to control people. "I suppose being young and confident and playing for England at 17, I wasn't bothered about upsetting him or answering back." And, while there was interest from St James' Park,Rooney claims he only wanted to join United when it became apparent Alex Ferguson was interested in him. "I knew that was the club I wanted to join," he said. It is claimed in the book the final straw for Rooney came when stories appeared on Merseyside which Rooney believed Moyes must have 'leaked'. Says Rooney: "I suppose he expected to get most of the attention himself following a good season when Everton had ended seventh. "But when he realised I was getting so much of the limelight I felt he resented it." The book claims when Rooney had decided to quit Everton, he confided in Moyes about stories 'in local papers' about visits to prostitutes had been getting him down. In fact, the revelations about Rooney's visits to sex parlours had first appeared in national newspapers. But Rooney goes on: "Next day it was in the Liverpool ECHO. "I was absolutely furious as I'd been talking to Moyes in private. "In front of all the players I had a real go at him. "'How did that story get out, except from you?' I raged. "You're a f****ing joke. I don't want to play for you ever again." Rooney says Everton also upset him by allegedly saying they would not allow his transfer to United to go through unless he waived his signing on fee.
He says: "I cost them nothing, they got the best part of £30m for me after two years and they wanted my signing fee." Rooney, sent off during the World Cup in Germany last month for stamping on a Portugal player, also claimed he had another run in with Moyes when the manager accused him of breaking his car CD. He says Moyes also forced him to train on his own after accusing him of "eating too many f****ing McDonalds." According to the United striker, he also criticised Rooney for taking the captain's armband and putting it on after Duncan Ferguson had been sent off.
No-one at Everton has so far commented on Rooney's outburst. Meanwhile, Moyes and his first team squad last night arrived in Columbus, Ohio, for the first leg of the Blues 2006 American pre-season tour.
Johnson will shine for Blues
July 25 2006 By Dominic King in America, Liverpool Echo
ALAN STUBBS today launched an impassioned defence of Andrew Johnson and backed Everton's record signing to deliver goals when it matters most. Johnson's every touch has come under close scrutiny in his first three appearances since joining for £8.6m from Crystal Palace and some have been quick to note that he has yet to score.
But Stubbs is mystified that certain people are looking to form an assessment on how the England international will fare on Merseyside after little more than three weeks in training and 180 minutes worth of action. Though he has drawn blanks against Bury, Preston and Celtic, Johnson has impressed his new team-mates with his ability to quicken away from defence to get into threatening positions and Stubbs is convinced he will flourish sooner rather than later. "If people are looking to judge us already, I'd say it is pathetic," said Stubbs. "Pre-season? So far, we've probably done three weeks of running and played two games. "Andy has had a game and then two halves. That's probably just got him to a decent level of fitness. You can do all the running in the world but fitness only comes from playing games. "You areprobably looking at aplayer who needs four or five games at least before he gets to where he wants to be.
"These games now are all about fitness. If Andy Johnson went and scored 15 goals in five games what would everyone say if he didn't score in the first game? if he didn't score now but got a hat-trick on the first day of the season, what then?
"He looks really good. I've played against him a few times. He's fit, he's sharp and is a very busy player. "He doesn't let defenders settle and I think the fans are going to love him."While Johnson will have to recover from a groin strain to figure in tomorrow's game against Columbus Crew in Ohio, Joleon Lescott should definitiely start after recovering from a virus.
Everton's other major summer signing made his first appearance for the Blues at Parkhead and Stubbs says he could feel satisfied with his efforts after a difficult couple of weeks.
"Joleon did fine," Stubbs added. "It's been a little bit stop-start for him because of his virus but it's great that he finally got 45 minutes under his belt." Though Everton have failed to win since manager David Moyes sent two sides to Bury and Port Vale on July 15, Stubbs believes the most recent performance against Celtic is a more accurate gauge of how the players are ticking along. "I thought we did very well against Celtic," said Stubbs. "No disrespect to Port Vale and Bury but we were expected to win and we knew we had to step up to trouble Celtic. It'sjust a shame we didn't get a goal."
I'll fight to be number one - Howard
July 26 2006 By Dominic King with the Blues in USA, Liverpool Echo
TIM HOWARD today stressed he is taking nothing for granted as he prepares to do battle with Richard Wright for possession of Everton's goalkeeping jersey.
Signed on a season-long loan from Manchester United, Howard impressed on his first start for the Blues against Celtic and is expected to continue between the posts tonight against Columbus Crew. But Wright - a target for Southampton - has shown he won't be easily pushed to one side and keeping clean sheets in the two pre-season friendlies he has played against Port Vale and Preston is the best way to answer his critics.
So even though many expect Howard to be the first name on David Moyes' team sheet when Watford visit on August 19, Howard doesn't see things that way and is under no illusions that the onus is on him to perform when the opportunity arises.
"You see the signings that the manager has brought in and the passion of the fans, so we can all hope for good things," said Howard. "Pre-season has been going pretty well, so everyone is excited about the new season. "I've only been in training for about a week-and-a-half but it's been good. I didn't come here under any illusions. You have got to earn your keep. There's no question. when you have got a squad of 20-something players and on any given day, only 11 can play. "I have come here very open minded. The squad is a good group of guys. From a football stand point, there are some really good players. Bellefield was a breath of fresh air for me because it is a traditional training ground. Carrington is a bit of a community. "It's not better or worse. It's just different. It's kind of new and I like that. My impressions have met my expectations." If things go well for Howard during his time on Merseyside, Everton have the opportunity to turn his loan deal into a more permanent arrangement but he is not allowing himself to look that far forward. Given that he has only played 45 minutes of Premiership football since in the past year - against Portsmouth at Fratton Park in February - the 27-year-old's main concern is getting some much-needed time on the pitch again. A chat with Sir Alex Ferguson confirmed opportunities at Old Trafford would be limited but when it came to deciding his next destination, there was only one place he had in mind once Moyes had played his cards. "I really can't allow myself to look past these next 12 months. For me, I would be really selling Everton short if I did that," he said. "The main objective is to look at the Premiership table and climb it as high as we can. We will set goals. But I would not be able to say what is going to happen next season. I'm sure Sir Alex will be watching closely.
"But you look at Everton and see they have a really good fan base, fantastic stadium and everything about the club sells itself. I spoke to the gaffer, I looked at the club and thought that it could be a good thing. After a couple of discussions, away we went."
Friendly is no laughing matter for boss Moyes
July 26 2006 By Dominic King with the Blues in the USA, Liverpool Echo
IT was difficult to gauge who looked the more bemused when a small delegation from Goodison Park strolled into the Buffalo Wild Wing Grill and Bar on the outskirts of Columbus yesterday afternoon. A case could have been made for the diners whose lunchtime feasts were being disrupted or the chefs peering quizzically from the kitchen to see what was causing all the hubbub, as it could for Everton boss David Moyes, who was barely able to keep a straight face. When it comes to injecting razzmatazz to promote the most routine event, nobody does it better than the Americans and they proved it once again at the Press conference for tonight's friendly between the Blues and Columbus Crew. Safe to say he won't conduct a media briefing in the next 12 months within in earshot of a party sharing ultimate nachos and hot and tender strips and guzzling down huge beakers of soft drinks, the reason for Moyes' mirth was totally understandable. But once the Blues manager - who refused to dignify Wayne Rooney's tabloid accusations regarding his departure from Goodison with a comment - had adjusted to the surreal surrounds, it became quite evident that Moyes is taking this evening'sfixtureas seriouslyaslast weekend's tussle with Glasgow Celtic. Preparations for the new Premiership campaign are no laughing matter.
Since flying out to Columbus from Manchester via a pit-stop in Philadelphia, hard work has been the order of the day for a squad that is high on confidence and knitting tightly together before Watford's visit on August 19. Acutely aware that Everton's most successful campaign in 17 years was achieved after a similar trip to Houston in 2004, Moyes is hoping time spent away from home will make his players all the more desperate to succeed when the real action begins again. "We arrived then did a bit of training, obviously with a bit of jet leg, but the boys looked good," said Moyes, who has a number of fitness worries to address. "We are not really going to alter the training that much and we are going to train quite hard. "We trained yesterday morning and again last night and we are going to use the games as an extension of training. "The players are in good form and there is a good spirit among them. They seem to love coming here to America. "The facilities are good here. It givesusa chance to give them a workout. We can spread training out a bit and give the players a chance for some free time which is also impor tant. "But we are careful and it's not all about hard work. "They need to rest and it's good that they get to look around different places. "I felt that being in America had given us the boost to go on and have the best season we had in a long, long time. "I do not think we will be abletorecreate what happened in Houston, where there were absolutely jaw-dropping facilities.
"But we are hoping this trip gives us a focus for a good start to the season and hopefully have similar results in the long term." Looking to formulate his best starting line-up, Moyes wants to give James Beattie and Andrew Johnson more time together on the pitch. But a groin strain to the latter means he won't be making any rushed decisions about who plays tonight. There are also doubts over James McFadden (thigh) and Joseph Yobo (ankle), but one man who could be givena chance to impress is Delron Buckley, who was a surprise inclusion in the tourists' squad. After brief cameos against Preston and Celtic, the South African international should play either most of tonight's game or when Everton face Club America in Dallas on Saturday.
Available on a season-long loan from Borussia Dortmund, Moyes has been pleased with Buckley's attitude in training and he could prove to be a shrewd signing should the manager pursue it. "It wasn't until late on Sunday night because I did not know if we could make it work.It was only when we weretravelling back that we made the decision that we will keep him," said Moyes, who is not surewhether Lee Carsley will join up with Everton's squad in Dallas. "We have seen a bit of him but we couldn't use him that muchin the last two games because it is unfair on the other lads that are already here. "But we plan on maybe giving him longer in one or two of the games here. "We want to see if he is someone who can add something to the squad.
"He had a difficult season in Dortmund, but he has a great goalscoring record and he's got a lot of international experience."
Divided loyalties as Bob the Pole plots Blues' downfall
July 26 2006 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
FOR the first time in longer than he cares to remember, Robert Warzycha will watch Everton play tonight and hope they end up losing. Affectionately dubbed 'Bob the Pole' by Evertonians following his 500,000 arrival from Gornik Zabrze in 1991, Warzycha spent three happy years at Goodison Park with his ability to delight and infuriate mirroring the team in which he played. He may have left in 1994 after making 86 appearances and scoring eight goals, but a gap of 12 years has not diluted his love for all things Everton. Ask him if he still keeps abreast of events on Merseyside and his animated response says everything. But now he is assistant coach of Columbus Crew, Warzycha is trying to plot his old side's downfall and, with Crew in need of a confidence boost, wants the Blues to head off to Dallas having been vanquished. Yet that doesn't sit easy with the man from Poland. "I came over here 10 years ago and there weren't too many Premiership games on television," Warzycha said. "But now we get to see many, so I have watched Everton plenty of times, especially last year and the season before. "When you have played for a team like I did, who do you think I am going to support? Come on! "Manchester United? Chelsea? Arsenal? No way. Everton are the only ones for me. I hope that one day we'll be able to beat these guys. "I was lucky to play alongside some great players. Peter Beardsley, Neville Southall, Dave Watson, Mike Newell. Sadly Stuart McCall and Kevin Sheedy had to leave. We had good players but unfortunately were a mid-table team. "We were capable of beating anyone but losing to anyone also. They were still great memories. "It was a privilege to work with Howard Kendall. He was a special manager and a good guy. I really enjoyed playing for him." One of the most respected names in Major League Soccer, Warzycha has seen Columbus topple Leeds United and Fulham at Crew Stadium during his decade here - as well as drawing with Newcastle United - but he fears that their impressive record is under threat.
"Everton are in pre-season and their legs may be a little bit heavy but I'm sure they have more experience than we do," Warzycha added. "Then again, our record against international opposition is very good and I'm sure it will be a good game.
"Finally we get to play against a proper team. Newcastle have been here in the past, so too have Fulham and Leeds but now Everton. At last! "I couldn't understand what the wait was. I just hope our guys can learn from this match." Since crossing the Atlantic, Warzycha has not had the chance to return to Goodison Park but the way he was talking with David Moyes yesterday suggests he will be visiting soon.
Maybe, if the chance allows, with Columbus Crew in tow. "That would be a dream," said Warzycha. "Teams from the USA need to go to England and see the big stadiums and see how football is supposed to be played. "It would be a treat for me to go back. Maybe one day."
Negative criticism is totally unfair to Blues
Jul 26 2006 icLiverpool & Liverpool Echo
THINGS are certainly looking promising in Everton World, I must admit. There's been a lot of negativity since the Celtic game, but I don't understand why.
Celtic are way ahead of us in terms of fitness and at times they couldn't get the ball off us. Why are so many people on Davies' back? Give the lad a chance and he might just do the job. It isn't his fault that Moyes spent £3.5m on him and it isn't his fault he picked up a few injuries last season. He looked good at Parkhead, as did Lescott, butAnichebe was the star of the show for me. Really good first touch and cracking vision for such a young lad. Paddy Boyle looked miles better than Naysmith and Pistone. Simon Lane, Liverpool
I THOUGHT Simon Davies did really well against Celtic and was much improved from the horror shows of last season. I don't think he'll play much, but he has been bright this pre-season.One of a few, I must say! Anichebe and Boyle must be in Moyes' plans for next season! Boyle is looking great. He has a decent left foot, gets to the byline and whips a great ball in! I'd sell Naysmith because this lad could easily replace him. Gary King, Knotty Ash
I REALLY believe the team will click this season with good performances coming from unlikely sources, namely Davies and Anichebe. It is great news about the family enclosure going smoke-free. Shame it's not the whole stadium. Gordon McGovern, Devon
I THOUGHT Davies did alright against Celtic and looked sharp, as did Osman, Arteta and Johnson.
We looked alright considering we have only been back at training for a week or so. We've got to be more ruthless though.
Forwards have totake the responsibility to score. They get the credit when they do, so they have to take the flak if the team don't score. If we'd have stepped it up, we'd have hammered Celtic.
Whatworries me is whether or not we can.
Harry B, Liverpool
ANYONE who thought we were awful against Celtic should realise that they started their pre-season during the World Cup - we started ours a week or so ago.
We didn't have our starting XI out, we were playing a Champions League qualified team, and it's all about match fitness. I was really happy to see Johnson burn some pace past their defence. Beattie looked fairly sharpe, Arteta looks like he's enjoying the best football of his career,and Cahill is back training. And the two youngsters look like they could compete for places. Jim Bright, Greasby
THE Celtic game made it glaringly obvious to me that we need another playmaker.
Davies was hardly impressive at Parkhead, and there was better balance to the attack with Beattie and Johnson - Anichebe looked impressive too - but the link-up with midfield was a worry. Lescott and Howard did well, but Weir and Naysmith were not so great. The question about mid-field is who we could bring in. Gravesen? David Thompson? Petrov? Malbranque? Barry Knowles, Wirral
DAVIES was awful against Celtic. I couldn't believe Moyes was trying to convince everybody he was man of the match. I forgot he was playing as he was never in the game. Bring back Tommy G. Gareth Crane, Fazakerley
I THINK a few people keep forgetting about Phil Neville.
When it comes to cover defensively, he fits in quite well, and we don't need to spend any more on centre backs with Yobo having signed. Maybe we could do with another right back . We are certainly okay at left-back. We could do with someone on the left wing, but up front we look okay, with Beattie and Johnson and McFadden as a sub.
The only position which worries me is the goalkeeper's. Howard clearly isn't a long-term signing, Ruddy and Turner look good for the future, while Wright has more bad games than good. Carl Michael Pratt, Wallasey
Columbus Crew 1, Everton 1 (Echo)
July 27 2006 By Dominic King
ALTHOUGH Evertonians have spent most of this long, hot summer getting excited by the prospect of James Beattie and Andrew Johnson forming a lethal, goalscoring alliance, one young man is doing his best to steal a piece of the limelight.
With the ink barely dry on the first professional contract he signed not so long ago, Victor Anichebe has made the kind of start to pre-season that has vindicated the decision of manager David Moyes to keep him at the club. Shy and introverted off the pitch, crossing the white line sees his personality change completely and once again last night as Everton kicked-off their tour of the USA with a 1-1 draw against Columbus Crew heshowed he has the talent to be taken seriously. Nursing a back problem, some less hardy souls would have taken the easy route out at Crew Stadium and satout what was nothing other than a routine fixture, but the 18-year-old's attitude is to be admired and he was rewarded with a goal. Linking well with the neat and tidy trialist Delron Buckley, Anichebe has now scored three times in four appearances since the Blues returned to training, and going on the latest evidence provided in Ohio, there will be plenty more to come. Likewise, Everton will need to take a step up on what they have shown, but although they failed to become the first English side to beat Crew in their quaint little home, once again there was plenty of positives for Moyesto take from the game, not least Anichebe. "I was pleased with what we did," said Moyes. "Our football was good, but what we lacked was goals. "I thought it was a good game and a good workout right to the end. You could see from the last 15 minutes that wearen't quite there yet with our fitness."Crew have played three matches against Premiership sides in recent years and are rightly proud of their record.
Leeds, in the late '90s, and Fulham 12 months ago were both beaten here, while Newcastle managed to escape with a 2-2 draw in between. With a fitness advantage from the fact they are almost two-thirds through the MLS season, the home side set about seeing if they could add Everton's name to their list of English conquests and started at a terrific pace. Jacob Thomas caused a moment's panic in the Blues' defence when he skipped inside Patrick Boyle and homed in on Richard Wright's goal, but he could not keep his shot down as Wright narrowed the angle. Slow to get into their stride and possibly struggling with the early evening humidity, Everton were sluggish, so it was no surprise when Sebastian Rozental jinked past Phil Neville and unleashed a powerful effort into the corner of Wright's goal on 13 minutes. It was not a goal, however, that cast Wright in a positive light. While there is no question that Rozental's shot had pace and it took a slight deflection, the former England goalkeeper got both hands to it and really should not have been beaten. What to do with Wright?
He turns 29 on Bonfire Night and should be approaching the peak years of his career,but if anything, his Everton career - he has a year left on his contract - looks as if it will fizzle out. Surely the talent is there to muster a response? Tim Howard's arrival at the club should have been the signal for him to raise his game, but on this evidence, the USA international will stroll into Moyes' starting line up on the opening day of the season. An outstanding professional, Wright can't let that happen.
That goal, plus a few icy stares from a glowering Moyes, was enough to jolt Everton back into life. Slowly but surely, thanks to the efforts from the industrious Kevin Kilbane and Tim Cahill, they managed to get a foothold back in the game.
Thankfully, Everton did not have to wait long for parity to be restored and Anichebe was the man who gleefully delivered. Once Kilbane had instinctively broken up a Crew attack on 33 minutes, he set Buckley free who in turn fed Anichebe.
Barely having to break his stride, Anichebe crashed a right-footed drive past Bill Gaudette before wheeling away in delight. Anichebe could have doubled his and Everton's tally moments later when Osman sent him scampering into an identical position, but this time his drive shaved the wrong side of Gaudette's post. He cannot possibly do anymore to sway Moyes' mind. Similar remarks apply to Kilbane. Diligence personified down the left, he looked as lively as he has been in a long time and pleased Moyeswith the way he kept looking to bamboozle Crew right back Ezra Hendrickson. The only thing missing from his performance was a goal, and it should have arrived shortly after half-time when surging into meet Cahill's cross from the right. If he can improve his goalscoring return, he will re-emphasise his value to the squad. After that, the game petered out somewhat with wholesale substitutions and fussy officiating from Hilario Grajeda ruining the flow. With Everton's fitness levels waning in the last quarter, it became an exercise of containment. Crew may have had plenty of the ball in the closing stages but Howard's goal never came under threat and he was able to watch erratic, long range efforts from Eric Vasquez and Marc Burch sail past. So another draw but - more importantly - another step nearer peak condition.
That's exactly what Moyes was looking to gain from this trip and, for the time being at least, things are going according to plan.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Wright (Howard 46); Hibbert (Naysmith 86), Lescott, Stubbs (Weir 46), Boyle (Pistone 46); Osman (Arteta 46), Neville, Cahill (Davies 71), Kilbane; Buckley, Anichebe (Beattie 46).
Goals: Crew - Rozental (13) Everton - Anichebe (33).
Moyes demanding goals from in-form Kilbane
July 27 2006 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES today challenged Kevin Kilbane to cement his place in Everton's starting line-up for the new season by increasing his goalscoring return.
Similar to the rejuvenated Simon Davies, Kilbane has been in terrific form since returning from his summer break and was the Blues' top performer in last night's 1-1 draw with Columbus Crew, much to his manager's delight. As well as he is playing, though, Moyes claims that Kil-bane has more to offer and was slightly disappointed the Republic of Ireland international did not clinch victory for Everton when he volleyed a decent opening over the bar late in the second half. The 29-year-old may have scored in the opening pre-season win at Port Vale but the last time he found the net in a competitive fixture for Everton came against Norwich City on October 23, 2004 and Moyes wants that statistic changed as soon as possible. "Kevin Kilbane's first-half performance was the best he has played in a while," Moyes said. "He tired a bit in the second half but, overall, he did well. He was involved in a lot of things, he got a bit wider and put in some good crosses. "He certainly should be pleased with his display. He was very bright. We can use Kevin in many different ways, he'll play wherever he is asked and is the type of player you want to have in your squad.
"But he missed a chance with the volley in the second half and I'm hoping he does a bit better with his goalscoring this season. When you are the size he is, with his power and strength, you have to score more goals and he knows that."One Evertonian who is not having problems finding the net at present is Victor Anichebe and he took his tally in the friendlies so far to three in four matches with the equaliser against Crew. His attitude has impressed Moyes. "Victor is making a name for himself at the moment, and is showing he is a real handful," he added. "He probably should have scored three, but he did take his goal very well. And at the moment, there aren't many defenders who would fancy facing him." Having been in Columbus since Monday, Everton were this afternoon heading to Dallas for the second leg of their USA tour, but it is still unclear whether Lee Carsley will fly out to join up with squad or remain behind to sort his future out. Wanted by Wolves and Stoke City, Carsley's Everton career could be heading for closure and a sympathetic Moyes would not stand in the midfielder's way if he received the right offer to move to a club closer to his family home in the Midlands. Though there are doubts over Carsley, Moyes expects Joseph Yobo, James McFadden and Andrew Johnson - all of whom missed the game against Crew with injuries - to put themselves in contention for the weekend tussle with Club America.
Best of Faddy is yet to come
July 28 2006 By Dominic King with The Blues in USA, Liverpool Echo
JAMES McFADDEN is poised to make a welcome return to action tomorrow with David Moyes predicting the best is yet to come from the striker. Having started his preparations for the new campaign in the best possible manner with agoal at Port Vale, McFadden has been forced to spend the last two weeks on the sidelines in frustration after damaging his thigh. The Blues' Scotland international has missed games at Preston, Celtic and Columbus Crew but was put through his paces at Pizza Hut Park last night ahead of tomorrow's friendly against Club America with fellow injury victims Joseph Yobo and Andrew Johnson. While McFadden has suffered on the sidelines, Moyes has been similarly frustrated as he is expecting the 23-year-old - who should finally tie up the loose ends on a new contract when returning from the United States - to play apivotal role forthe Blues next season. "We are not going to take any chances," said Moyes. "But we hope that Faddy will be okay, as he is desperate to get back into things. We hope he'll be available against Club America.
"Every year there has been improvement from him and last season he finished quite well from Christmas onwards. If that improvement continues this season, that will be great forus and for Faddy as well." Signed from Motherwell in September 2003, McFadden was dubbed the 'Scottish Rooney' on the back of two dazzling displays against Stockport County and Leeds United but things did not always go according to plan afterwards. However, last season saw McFadden given the longest run of starts during his time at Goodison Park and he responded by producing his most consistent form in a blue shirt; 41 appearances yielded seven goals but Moyes is adamant that ratio will improve. "He is unpredictable and that's important," said the manager. "It can un-settle and unhinge defences. He was a young boy when he first came down here, only 20 years of age, and I told him he couldn't expect things to happen straight away in the Premiership. "It takes time to settle at a new club no matter who you are. I told him that then and I'm still telling him now. But he played a lot of games last season and did well. He is showing us that he is getting better all the time." Provided he suffers no reaction today when he is put through another session, McFadden will line-up against Club America - the CONCACAF's represent-atives in this year's FIFA Club World Championship - as should Yobo and Johnson. Whether Lee Carsley is involved, though, remains to be seen. He touched down in Dallas last night but rumours linking him with a move to Wolves - who have just released midfield anchor-man Paul Ince - persist. "Lee is a player that I admire," said Wolves boss Mick McCarthy, who made Carsley a regular forthe Republic of Ireland during his time as their national manager. "I haven't spoken to David Moyes about him yet butI'm looking for someone of his ilk."
Everton set sights on pizza the action
July 28 2006 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
THEY don't know how to do anything in Texas other than big and this notion was emphasised last night to a select group of Everton's touring party as they clapped eyes on the magnificently monikered Pizza Hut Park. While the stadium in which Everton will play Club America tomorrow evening would not be described as huge in Premier-ship terms, the vast amounts of space surrounding the venue put things into perspective. Consider this: Thereare 16full size football pitches backing onto the ground, an elaborate water feature which catches the eye, a shopping complex and a racetrack within a decent goal kick of the main stand. Stanley Park this isn't. Looking to test injuries that have sidelined them in recent weeks, James McFadden, Joseph Yobo and Andrew Johnson spent the best part of an hour in asmall corner of acomplex that has been plonked in the middle of the desert and left gasping for breath.
They were not the only ones. A brisk wind may have taken the edge off temperatures that soared into the 90s but the baking sun and arid atmosphere ensured that the shortest sprint demands maximum effort. Yobo even claimed it is tougher than playing in Nigeria. Thoughts of running laps around Bellefield would have appealed to the rest of Everton's squad as they were subjected to similar conditions today but the benefits in the long term will make the hard work now worthwhile. Without getting too scientific or technical, the thin air in Dallas forces the players' bodies to work extra hard to feed oxygen into the system. In more comfort-able climates, they will feel as if they are running with an extra lung. An example? Last time the Blues visited this part of the world, they laboured through their final match against Club America and lost 3-1 but within 48 hours of returning home, they flattened Sheffield Wednesday 6-3 without needing to leave second gear. Will history repeat itself ? Only time will tell. But if Mexico'sperformances in the World Cup are an accurate barometer, Club America are sure to provide a stern test for David Moyes' side in the final match of their trip to the States. Without a win in three matches against Preston North End, Celtic and Columbus Crew, Moyes would love nothing more than to see the Blues settle a score with the Mexicans by virtue of a confidence boosting victory.
The whole idea of this trip, though, is to ensure everyone is cherry ripe for the opening day fixturewith Watford. Like arace-horse trainer plotting to plunder a peak prize, Moyes knows his charges area few gallops shortof peak condition. "Columbus Crew gave us adecent workout but Club America are a different proposition. They are one of Mexico's top teams and they showed against us in Houston two years ago what they are capable of," said Moyes. "The last time we played them, the end result looked worse than it actually was. We had just made it 2-1 in the last minutes but they went up field and scored again with their very next attack. This will be a different game.
"But it has been a good week for us and I hope that we can go back with a good result. The lads are enjoying themselves and we feel they arecoming along nicely just now."
Apart from McFadden [thigh], Yobo [ankle] and Johnson [groin], Moyes has concerns over whether his trialist from Borussia Dortmund, Delron Buckley, will be available after turning an ankle against Columbus. Wednesday night's goalscorer Victor Anichebe is also a worry after hurting his back, but the likelihood is that Moyes will make wholesale changes once again at half-time to give everyone a workout. Given the six-hour time difference, for Evertonians in England the match kicks-off at 2.30am on Sunday but - if the Columbus game is anything to go by - plenty will be tuning to watch Moyes' squad in action. Everton TV will stream the match on to the internet and Mark Rowan is expecting an even bigger audience to tune in on the web. "Wednesday was a great success," said Everton's communications manager. "We were over whelmed with the huge response."
History rewrites do Rooney few favours
July 28 2006 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
THE only revelations worth knowing from "My Life So Far" is that Wayne Rooney didn't like David Moyes, he likes to sleep with the hoover on, and he doesn't mind being called Shrek or Potato Face. Okay Potato Face, I'm sure you're very proud of your autobiography. But can I just point out a few inaccuracies? According to this week's serialisation (of course I won't be buying it): "When Rooney decided it was time to leave Everton he confided in Moyes that stories in local papers about visits to prostitutes had been getting him down." Now The Sun and Sunday Mirror do sell on Merseyside, admittedly in small numbers, but to describe them as "local papers" is perhaps a little misleading. But Rooney carries on. "Next day it was in the Echo. I was absolutely furious as I'd been talking to Moyes in private. In front of all the other players I had a real go at him. 'How did that story get out except from you,' I raged. 'You're a f****** joke. I don't want to play for you ever again.' " David Moyes has only erupted at me once. So I remember the incident clearly. I was at home when his secretary Irene rang and said: "I've got the gaffer for you, Dave. He's not happy."
He wasn't. Wayne had just gone ballistic at him and the story I'd written for that night's Echo was the cause. We can only presume it's the same story which caused the irretrievable breakdown of the relationship between manager and star player.
So brace yourself. It's almost as startling a revelation as, errm, learning that Wayne Rooney has six fillings in his teeth. On Tuesday, August 24 - seven days before Rooney joined Manchester United - I wrote: "The player and his boss met at Bellefield yesterday and after lengthy talks, Moyes has finally resigned himself that the youngster sees his future away from Merseyside. "The latest lurid revelations about Rooney's private life have exposed partner Coleen to intense public scrutiny, and the Rooney camp believe that a move away from Merseyside would ease that pressure.
"The player is believed to prefer a move to Manchester United, but Newcastle are the only club so far to make a bid." Was that three paragraph 'revelation' really responsible for Wayne Rooney wanting to turn his back on the club he supported and join Manchester United? And did Rooney really believe that David Moyes was the man responsible for the subject matter? Or is he simply trying to re-write history?
I'm sure you can work out the answer yourself. Oh, and the Echo's take on the brothel visits? A small panel on the bottom of page four, headlined: "Rooney: 'I was stupid to have sex with vice girls.' " So why should Rooney decide to make public his dislike of David Moyes now? He clearly doesn't need controversy to sell his book. He's been guaranteed £5m regardless of how it sells. The only logical conclusion is that he is hoping to deflect the vitriol and the abuse which accompanies his returns to Merseyside. If so, he's misjudged the mood of the Mersey public spectacularly.
His latest outburst has fanned flames which were just starting to die down. And it won't be the "overbearing" David Moyes who cops it, but rather his over-imaginative former player. It smacks once again of the all-too frequent modern football disease of players blaming anybody but themselves -but usually the press - for problems in their lives or careers. In future, perhaps David Moyes would like to leak something really juicy to us. Like exactly why he accused Rooney of breaking the CD player in his car.
Did the striker think it was a coke can holder and place a drink in it? Did he balance his Filet of Fish on it? Or did Moyes try to play something by Echo and the Bunnymen, provoking an angry reaction? These are the questions we'd really like answering. Not revisionist history from an inaccurate autobiography. Boyle on brink of first team VICTOR ANICHEBE'S pre-season scoring exploits have got Evertonians excited. But the clever money is on another youngster making even more of an impact next season. Patrick Boyle has impressed consistently this summer - and such has been his progress that Gary Naysmith and Alessandro Pistone may find their place as primary cover for Nuno Valente superseded very soon.
Ameobi hitting the right notes
Jul 28 2006 You Bet! with Adam Oldfield, Liverpool Echo
THE Premiership top goalscorer market is traditionally a one-horse race, regardless of whether Ruud van Nistelrooy defects to foreign climes. The Dutch striker was six lengths behind perennial golden boot winner Thierry Henry last season, a trend he's unlikely to buck this term. In fact, the new challenger to Henry's seemingly impregnable goals tally comes from an unlikely and admittedly outrageous source - Newcastle. With Glenn Roeder's supervised shopping spree expected to extend beyond the signing of Damien Duff, the Magpies are threatening to attract some acclaim this season, despite the retirement of influential skipper Alan Shearer.
With the Toon talisman now free to creosote his fence on a Saturday and Michael Owen available to watch it dry, Roeder's strike options are presently limited.
But one player who has proved an able deputy on many occasion is poised to lead the line for the new campaign. Step up Shola Ameobi. Often mistaken for an R'n'B Soul singer, Ameobi has been hitting all the right notes in Newcastle's pre-season quest for InterTwo-Bob glory. A natural finisher, plenty of pace, and, perhaps most telling of all, Roeder's solitary striker, Ameobi is destined for more first team football this term.
It is a happy coincidence then that the Toon hitman can be found at 100-1 (totesport) to top the Premiership goalscoring charts this coming season. It takes a lot to dispose Henry as the goal king of English football, but a ton-up price represents excellent value when an each-way wager allows for a 1-4th place finish. Another expected to be in the upper reaches of the goalscoring table is Liverpool's new strike acquisition Craig Bellamy. The pacy Welshman plundered 17 goals in 26 appearances last term, despite the handicap of playing for Blackburn. He's an industry-best 25-1 with Hills to take Henry's crown this season and a sure-fire 6-4 (Skybet) to relieve Steven Gerrard of the Reds' goalscoring burden and see out the campaign as the club's top hitman.
Likewise, Andrew Johnson's arrival at Merseyside neighbours Everton should signal the end of the Blues' goalscoring affliction. The Premiership golden boot may just be beyond the ex-Crystal Palace striker, but snap up the 11-10 (Skybet) on him pipping James Beattie (evens) to the club's top goalscorer prize. Top Premiership goalscorer (Bet Direct): 5-2 Henry; 9-2 Shevchenko; 10-1 Rooney; 12 Van Nistelrooy; 18 Bellamy; 20 Drogba; 22 Lampard; 28 A Johnson, Crespo, Bent, Saha; 33-1 bar.
Tiger's bite is so painful for bookies
THE Open's brainless green saboteur may have tried to steal the show with his purple boob last weekend, but Tiger Woods restored normality with his own Claret Jug.
Last week's four-day golfing feast at Hoylake cost bookmakers a seven-figure sum, Ladbrokes feeling the pinch more than most after offering Woods at an industry-best, pre-tournament 6-1. The Magic Sign now go just 5-2 he adds next month's USPGA Championship to his major haul. Totesport, meanwhile, have made Tiger 3-1 to retain his Open title at Carnoustie next year and 2-1 to claim the Masters. The Wigan-based firm also offer 6-1 the world number one eclipses Jack Nicklaus's major record of 18 titles by the end of 2010.
Show you're best, Moyes tells Howard
Jul 29 2006 By Ian Doyle In Dallas, Daily Post
DAVID MOYES has challenged Tim Howard to prove he is still one of the Premiership's best goalkeepers. The Everton manager has been impressed by the United States international following his arrival this summer from Manchester United on a season-long loan. Moyes has urged the 27-year-old to rediscover the fine form of his debut season at Old Trafford, the broadest hint yet that Howard will start the season as Everton's first-choice goalkeeper ahead of Richard Wright. "We are delighted to have Tim on board this season," said the Everton manager. "He hasn't had a lot to do so far, but he has done well in what he has had to do. He gives us competition in the goalkeeping position and he'll be given his chance. "A couple of years ago he was one of the best goalkeepers in the Premiership, and this will be a big year for him to show he can do it again," he added. Moyes, though, has also moved to praise Wright for his application during pre-season and their present United States tour in particular. "I have seen signs from Richard in training that have been very good and he realises there is competition and he has to prove that he can do it again," he said. "He is training really well and if Tim Howard is not fully adjusted we know he is there. "He is a super professional, and is an excellent trainer. You could never fault him on that score. We will wait to see how he responds." Young goalkeepers Iain Turner and John Ruddy, who both appeared for the first team last season, are also waiting in the wings. And Moyes added: "I think the goalkeeping situation is pretty good, and we need to try and keep pushing the young ones as well. We shouldn't forget about them. We don't want to stop their progression. "Maybe at a different time we will look at loaning one of them out to a good quality side."
Yobo is determined to bring good times back
Jul 29 2006 Ian Doyle, Daily Post
A RETURN to Europe was one avenue open to Joseph Yobo as he contemplated his Goodison future earlier this summer. Now, the defender is hoping to follow that path while still wearing the royal Blue. Perhaps the greatest indicator of Everton's heightened ambition this summer came from the signing of someone who was already at the club. While the multi-million pound captures of Andrew Johnson and Joleon Lescott were impressive statements of intent from the Goodison side, it was the subsequent ability to persuade Yobo to pen a new contract that best underlined the shift in attitude. The Nigerian had been reticent to extend his Everton career after a season of underachievement and disappointment for David Moyes's men. With Arsenal and former club Marseille among the potential suitors, most would have understood had Yobo opted to decline the offer of a new contract and seek pastures new. However, earlier this month the centre-back quashed the speculation by signing a four-year deal. The reason? Yobo is confident better times are ahead for Everton, a belief already justified by the camaraderie so clearly apparent on their current tour of the United States, evoking memories of the famous Houston trip two years ago that proved the catalyst for their subsequent fourth-placed finish. That gave Everton a crack at Champions League qualification, and Yobo is convinced a return to Europe is an attainable target for the forthcoming campaign. "There is a great spirit here, and the squad is more solid now than last season," he says. "We have got a better chance than last season, which is what you always want. "Looking at the squad now, we have got to be looking at the top six. The top four is probably out of our reach, although we did it two years ago and we've shown that everything is possible in football. But the top six this time should be our aim, but the main target is to do better than last season.
"Getting into Europe is a great feeling as a player, and for me it was like a dream come true. I can't wait to get back there again and all the lads are the same, they are hungry for that. To be part of that history is why I am here and why all the players are here, to work together and take Everton back challenging at the top level."
Those words will be of great reassurance to Everton's supporters who ended last season fearing the worst but have been given cause for quiet optimism by matters in the transfer market and the boardroom. Of his decision to remain at Goodison, Yobo explains: "I'm happy to have signed. It's always good to get the contract sorted out so I can focus on the football. It has been a long time waiting to reach an agreement, but it wasn't just about me. "I wanted the club to show a commitment, and they did that during the summer. I spoke to the manager at the end of the season and everything is okay. "Everton are a very good club and they showed they want to be a strong team by bringing in the likes of Andrew Johnson and Joleon Lescott, and that was a big reason in my decision to stay. I'm happy now." Of course, the arrival of Lescott will intensify the competition for places in Yobo's position of centre-back. Both Alan Stubbs and David Weir also renewed their contracts in the summer and ended last season as the first-choice partnership at the heart of defence. Yobo, though, is relishing the challenge to earn his place in the side and believes the strength in depth in that area will be of benefit both to the team and the quartet themselves. "Competition brings out the best in people, and I'm very happy with the competition at centre-back now," he says. "Joleon is a very good player, and so are Alan Stubbs and David Weir, and with all of us fighting to play it will bring out the best in me and in all of us. "It will help the team a lot, it is a very good position to have that level of competition."
Also aiding the squad is the rigorous training regime they are following in the stifling heat of Texas. It's very warm," says Yobo. "In Columbus the weather was easier but here it is a lot hotter and it's a lot more hard work. But that's why we are here, to work hard, get back to improve our fitness levels and get ready for the new season."
Yobo sat out the 1-1 draw with Columbus Crew on Wednesday after jarring an ankle but expects to play a part against Mexican side Club America in Dallas tonight.
"The injury is settling down quite well," adds the defender. "I hope to play on Saturday but we'll see how it goes. I'm happy with it at the moment." Talk of Everton and American tours inevitably leads to the Houston question. So just why was that 2004 trip - which sparked the club's best league season in 17 years - so beneficial, and is the same thing happening again? "Coming to America is always a different type of preparation," explains Yobo. "Two years ago we realised it had helped us a lot, we relaxed and worked together well and because the weather is so harsh, it helped us pick up levels of fitness quickly. "The team are always together. We are working hard here and have time to relax between training sessions. The spirit is excellent and we're always playing practical jokes on each other. Touring America helped us a lot two years ago and we want that again. We would love a repeat of what followed."
Should that happen, Yobo, like everyone associated with Everton, would be living the dream once again.
Keeping the faith in baking summer
Jul 29 2006 By Ian Doyle In Dallas, Daily Post
ONLY in Texas could a Premiership football team share a hotel meeting room with the local Christian Faith Convention. Such is the surreal existence of life on the road with Everton, who arrived in Dallas having left Columbus during an unseasonal spell of rain. No chance of that in the baking heat of their new surrounds, where the temperature at night is not forecast to dip much below 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Small wonder the trio of Andrew Johnson, James McFadden and Joseph Yobo were struggling for air after they underwent fitness tests on niggling injuries mere hours after landing in the city. "It feels even warmer than Nigeria," gasped Yobo, giving some indication of the conditions Everton can expect this evening when they take on Club America at the intriguingly-titled Pizza Hut Park, a custom-built stadium sunk into the ground surrounded by shops, a racetrack and more practice pitches than is probably necessary. But that's the Texan way, an unhealthy appetite for excess. Even the mosquitoes have been supersized. You wouldn't want fries with them, though.
Of course, Everton know all about this part of the United States following their visit to Houston two years ago. And they are well aware of the threat posed by tonight's opponents, having lost to them 3-1 on that tour. Club America still number volatile former Mexico international Cuauhtémoc Blanco among their ranks, and lifted their domestic championship last year. They'll certainly prove a tougher proposition than Columbus Crew, not least because of the weather conditions. Still, Everton's players can find some solace from the climate at their extravagant base, where a golf course backs directly on to the back of the hotel. Many of the squad have already indulged in a spot of retail therapy yesterday by taking a coach trip to one of Dallas's many huge shopping malls. Anything to get into an air-conditioned room!
Club America 1, Everton 1 (Echo)
July 31 2006 Dominic King At Pizza Hut Park
APPEARANCES are often deceptive in football and there could not be anything more misleading at present than the picture Everton's last four results paint. Four games without a win, two goals - one of which came straight from a set piece - in six hours of play, and the club's record signing still seeking to get off the mark in a Blue shirt may suggest Everton would be best postponing the start of the new season.
The opposite, however, is true. If David Moyes is feeling frustrated when his squad flies home from their US tour on Wednesday it will simply be down to the fact that Aberdeen, not Watford, are next on the agenda. August 19 can't come soon enough.
Stepping up considerably on anything they have produced since returning from their summer break, Everton's display against crack Mexican side Club America on Saturday hinted the new Premiership campaign will be a fruitful one. It would, of course, be folly to start making wild predictions about what will happen when the real business begins after a handful of fixtures that are designed specifically to improve fitness and conditioning. But the difference between the way Everton passed and moved in sweltering conditions at Pizza Hut Park to the rather laboured efforts three days prior against Columbus Crew was staggering. Slick, quick and only an erratic referee prevented a deserved victory. Had points or progress through to the next round of a cup competition been at stake on this fixture, Moyes would have been forced to bite his tongue to avoid FA censure so incompetent was MLS official Jair Marufo.
Yet in a strange way his ineptitude, added to the raucous Hispanic backing Club America received, added an extra edge to the tussle and brought out the best in Everton, who took the lead in the fifth minute courtesy of another wonderful Mikel Arteta free-kick. That advantage was held until the dying seconds when Marufo amazingly added three minutes of added time, failed to give Everton a free-kick and allowed Nelson Cuevas the chance to burst forward and drill past Richard Wright from 25 yards. A draw represented scant reward for their efforts but the Blues were even denied that when Marufo signalled that the game would be decided by penalties. Though James Beattie, Arteta, Alessandro Pistone and Kevin Kilbane all scored from 12 yards, Alan Stubbs' effort clipped the bar. With a 100 per cent record from their first four kicks, Club America edged the verdict when Salvador Cabanas sent Wright the wrong way. Nomatter. As his broad smile and cheerful demean-our confirmed afterwards, Moyes - and the smattering of Evertonians dotted around the ground - had seen plenty from which to take encouragement. One missed penalty would not change that. Standing tall at the back to snuff out the threat of Cabanas and former Manchester City misfit Matias Vuoso, Joseph Yobo was commanding, while Joleon Lescott left his uncertain display in Columbus well behind with an improved effort.
With Stubbs and David Weir also enjoying fruitful pre-seasons, Moyes has competition and quality at the heart of his defence, a prerequisite for any side wishing to challenge at the right end of the table. The bonus for Moyes is that nobody is making it easy for him to leave them out. Sentiments that can be applied to those players scrapping for a starting spot in the engine room. Arteta is in such form that he has all but guaranteed his inclusion but it will be intriguing to see whom Moyes chooses alongside him.If he adopts the system he did during the first half on Saturday, with the excellent Lee Carsley sitting deep to chaperone the defence, it allows Arteta, Simon Davies and Tim Cahill to press forward. Davies, in particular, has been one of the most encouraging stories of pre-season. It took him time to settle and harsh is a not word that does justice to some of the shocking treatment he received from the terraces last season. On this evidence, those who booed him off against West Brom in May will be forced to hastily revaluate their opinions. Technically gifted and looking in great shape, Davies is ready to bloom. But as well as that quartet have played, what about Kilbane and Leon Osman? They, too, have staked impressive claims and don't deserve to miss out. As the big day draws near, no quarter will be given in the final warm-ups against Aberdeen and Atletico Bilbao. Similarly, the forwards are straining to be let off the leash. James Mc-Fadden and Andrew Johnson were really impressive for the 45 minutes they were paired together, the former looking full of mischief and menace. Johnson, meanwhile, is ready and waiting to take off. If he keeps getting into the positions he is doing at the minute and working in the same vein, the goals will flow. After the break, trialist Delron Buckley was again neat and tidy - is he too similar to some of the players Everton have already? - but James Beattie's performance must have given cause for concern. He needs to make a dramatic improvement. Happily, though, that is not something you can say about Everton. Recent results imply the manager has his work cut out to get things ready for the opening day but the reality is much different. Bar a tweak here and there, Moyes has the Blues in good shape.
CLUB AMERICA (4-4-2): Navarrette; Rodriguez, Oscar Rojas (Mosqueda 70), Castro, Argüello (Cuevas 46); Torres (Pena 62), Ricardo Rojas (Davino 62), Salinas, Lopez; Vuoso, Cabanas.
EVERTON (4-1-3-2): Howard (Wright 46); Neville, Lescott, Yobo, Naysmith (Pistone 46); Cahill (Kilbane 46), Davies (Stubbs 85), Carsley (Weir 85), Arteta; Johnson (Beattie 46), McFadden (Buckley 46).
We will find our shooting boots
July 31 2006 By Dominic King With The Blues In Usa, Liverpool Echo
PHIL NEVILLE today shrugged off worries about a recent lack of goals as he promised Everton won't fall short when the new Premiership season begins.
The Blues' two-match tour of the United States ended on Saturday evening when they were edged out 5-4 in a penalty shoot-out with Mexican side Club America in Dallas after being held to a 1-1 draw during normal time. It was a game, though, that Everton - playing their best football of pre-season to date - should have won as they created a number of clear opportunities. With only two goals in the past four matches, some have expressed concerns that Everton have not addressed the scoring problems that blighted last season but Neville insists that is not the case. "People may automatically say that Beattie and Johnson is the partnership," said Neville. "But we have got James McFadden and young Victor Anichebe.
Moyes upbeat about team's early progress
Jul 31 2006 Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES is hoping Everton's players give him the kind of headaches in the next couple of weeks that all managers crave. Though the Blues lost on penalties to Club America on Saturday evening after being held to a 1-1 draw in normal time, Moyes had every reason to be delighted with the amount of improvement his squad had found from their previous friendly against Columbus Crew. Experimenting with a line-up that saw Lee Carsley sit in front of the back four and allowed goalscorer Mikel Arteta, Simon Davies and Tim Cahill to excel, Moyes knows he will have plenty to think about between now and August 19 if they hold their form. "We've tried to play a lot like that," said Moyes. "That's the sort of role for either Cars or Phil. But then you can talk about the competition that we have got there. It's very strong. Ossie had a slight groin strain so he sat it out against Club America. "Then you have got Kevin, who has played well. At the moment a few of them are making a strong play. They are playing well. I think from all the games we have played, Simon has been getting mentioned because he is doing well. That's great." Davies' form has been particularly pleasing for Moyes, who paid £3.5m to bring him north from Tottenham Hotspur in May 2005 and he hinted that his versatility will see the Wales international play a key role in the coming months. "He's giving me exactly the type of competition we need in the midfield areas," Moyes added. "He is technically gifted. He can play two or three roles for me. But they are all capable of doing that. "It's giving us lots of food for thought. So many of them are beginning to play well. Andy Johnson has looked terrific. I thought James Mc-Fadden has done well, too. What we wanted to do was make sure everyone got some playing time. That's happened." Since arriving in Dallas from Columbus last Thursday, Everton have been doing double training sessions and the Blues' boss agreed that the benefits of training in demanding conditions - temperatures have soared past 100 degrees - are showing. "I thought there were some really good individual performances and overall it was a very good team performance," said Moyes. "There was a lot to be pleased about. The players look as if they are shaping up well. "There are some positive signs. I wanted us to keep possession in the warm conditions and we did that, especially in the first half.
"We had three players booked, which was disappointing. But I am not downbeat because it was only a friendly and I am happy with the way we played overall."
e here, as well as James Vaughan to come back into it. "Every team needs quality strikers. "Last year we were really short on numbers and with the way we play, there are going to be games this season when our strikers need a rest. "That never happened last season. "This season we can have a situation where we can rest one of our strikers to preserve them for bigger and better occasions but not compromise on the quality that comes in, which is what everyone wants." Andrew Johnson may still be waiting to get off the mark in a Blue shirt but his all-round play has impressed. "He's a great lad," said Neville. "When I first met him at the training camp before the World Cup, he was so excited about signing. Although Wigan and Bolton wanted him, Everton was the only club he wanted to come to. "When supporters are asking for you to sign good players and pay big money, they don't come much better than Andy Johnson. In terms of goalscoring in the last three years, there has been nobody better in the Championship or in the Premiership."