Goodison Park switch suits Alan Smith
Jul 2 2007
by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
ALAN SMITH has joined David Nugent in wanting to move to David Moyes’ upwardly-mobile Everton side for the start of the new Premiership season. The Manchester United striker has been told he can leave Old Trafford this summer and has attracted interest from Newcastle, Middlesbrough - who have made a £6m bid for his services - and Portsmouth. However, it is understood Smith is prepared to bide his time before making any decisions on his future in the hope that Moyes will resurrect a long-standing interest and finally bring him to Goodison Park. When the England international left Leeds United in May 2004, Moyes matched the £7m Alex Ferguson offered for him and spoke in glowing terms about his ability. Moyes has continued to remain an admirer. But before the manager considers strengthening his forward line, he has other priorities and is hoping to finally complete a £4m deal for Phil Jagielka - an independent arbitration panel will make its decision tomorrow over whether to uphold Sheffield United’s relegation. Meanwhile, the vast majority of Everton’s squad returned to training at Bellefield today and Moyes was given an immediate boost as Andrew Johnson was declared fit to join in the first session with the rest of his team-mates. Everton’s record signing saw his first season on Merseyside prematurely ended by injury and was forced to undergo an operation in May to remove a bone growth from his ankle; he has spent much of his break at Bellefield receiving treatment. Yet all that hard work has been rewarded and Moyes believes Johnson - who finished as Everton’s leading scorer last year with 12 goals in all competitions - will be seen to even greater effect when the first ball is kicked in August. “His goals were so important and they came at important times, at the start of the season and on the run in as well,” said the manager. “The one against Arsenal really gave us a lift and proved to be really important. “Things were possibly a little harder on him because of the decisions that went against him. “It affected him but he still had a really good season and he will get better again.” Everton’s head physio Mick Rathbone added: “I have been working with AJ, he’s six weeks post-op and is running, twisting and turning flat out.”
Manchester United pair could be on their way to Goodison Park
Jul 3 2007
by Chris Beesley, Liverpool Daily Post
EVERTON are planning a double raid on Manchester United as they look to bring in England internationals Alan Smith and Kieran Richardson for a combined £8million fee. Moyes has been a long-time admirer of former Leeds United man Smith and matched the Red Devils’ bid for him three years ago when he left Elland Road. During his time at Old Trafford, Sir Alex Ferguson attempted to convert him from a striker to a midfielder as he searched for a long-term successor for Roy Keane But having suffered a broken leg in an FA Cup defeat at Anfield in February 2006, Smith struggled to regain a regular place in United’s starting line-up following his return to fitness, and like Richardson, 22, he finds the competition for places even more intense due to the big money summer arrivals of Anderson, Nani and Owen Hargreaves. Smith, 26, who cost Ferguson £7m in 2004 has been told he can leave Old Trafford but despite attracting the attention of Newcastle, Portsmouth and Middlesbrough – who have bid £6m – he is prepared to wait for Moyes to sure up his interest. Another playing waiting for his ‘dream move’ to Everton, David Nugent, potentially moved a step closer to Goodison Park yesterday when Sunderland withdrew their offer - believed to be in the region of £6million - for the Preston North End striker. Roy Keane is now concentrating on other targets and the cooling of the Wearsiders’ interest for the player, currently on holiday following England under-21 duty, may force the Deepdale outfit to accept a lower bid from Everton later this summer as Nugent is out of contract in a year’s time. However, Moyes is set to prioritise other areas before he attempts to bolster his forward line and will hope to tie up a move for another player whose preferred destination is Goodison Park - Phil Jagielka. The England B utility man, who can operate both in defence and midfield should finally be given the green light to complete a move back to Everton - where he played as a youngster - for a £4million fee if Sheffield United fail to win their appeal against relegation today. The Blades complained about the eligibility of West Ham’s Carlos Tevez following their demotion from the Premier League and an independent arbitration panel are set to decide on the club’s future but are not expected to reinstate Sheffield United in the top flight. Meanwhile, midfielder Mikel Arteta hopes his decision to sign a new five-year contract at Everton will encourage more big names to join the club as he joins Tim Cahill, Andrew Johnson, Joseph Yobo and Tim Howard on a long-term contract. He said: "There was a lot of speculation (about signing a new contract) but I said from the start I wanted to stay here. "Those players are all a good age but have experience as well. "Hopefully we can get more good players here as well because it is going to be a very busy season this year. "I think the club wants to move forward and bring in more players."
Everton sign Riquelme ... oh no they don’t
Jul 3 2007
THERE were red faces at Goodison Park today, after Everton mistakenly announced the club had bought Juan Roman Riquelme. Visitors to the Blues’ website were shocked to read the Argentine midfielder, who plays for Spanish-side Athletico Madrid, had signed a three-year-deal to join David Moyes’s side. Thousands of Everton supporters flooded internet messageboards and the club’s switchboard welcoming the signing, “announced” at 11.30am yesterday. But less than an hour later, the news was withdrawn. The shock signing turned out to be nothing more than wishful thinking by the webpage designer. Supporter Drew Bellis, 27, from Woolton, said: “I almost had a heart attack when I saw it. “You could see the way the page was designed that all wasn’t quite right. “But God, I wish it was true.” A short time later, the club issued a statement apologising for the blunder. The statement said the article was completely untrue and appeared as a result of a technical error during maintenance work on the site. A club spokesman said: “During uploading the new home page designs for the website, some test data was displayed for a very short period and immediately removed after it had been identified. “Example data had been used during the testing process and this was unfortunately missed by our appointed web development company during the final upload. “We have spoken to our suppliers to convey our complete dissatisfaction at the way this misinformation appeared and they have apologised to the club and Everton supporters who may have may have read the article.” Riquelme previously played for Villareal and Barcelona. He scored twice to help his team win the Libertadores Cup - South America’s equivalent of the Champions League. He retired from international football a year ago but has now returned to the Argentina squad for the Copa America taking place in Venezuela.
David Moyes: Arteta and Cahill will play key roles
July 3 2007 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES today backed his first summer ‘signings’ to play influential roles in helping Everton take the next step forward. Though the Blues boss has yet to enter the transfer market, he completed arguably the two most important deals the club will do this year when Mikel Arteta and Tim Cahill agreed five-year contract extensions.
Since they arrived at Goodison, Arteta and Cahill have more than fulfilled their potential but Moyes feels the best is yet to come. Arteta was instrumental in Everton’s successful push for the UEFA Cup but Cahill was sidelined for much of the recent campaign with medial ligament damage and a broken metatarsal and Moyes expects him to come back with all guns blazing. “I didn’t feel there was ever a big problem,” said Moyes. “It just shows that the board have worked really hard to get these players secured for the future and they are two lads who we can look forward to seeing playing for Everton. “They are important for the present and they are important for the future. We wanted to reward them for how well they have done and they have deserved it. We are delighted. You will see when Tim Cahill returns how much of an influence he has. “Mikel Arteta has been terrific for us for these last two years and now he has the chance to show what he can really do. We will be looking to him to take more of a responsibility for us. But we are really pleased that we have got them here for the next five years.” Having returned to training at Bellefield in high spirits yesterday, Moyes is taking his squad away to a fitness camp for the rest of this week.
“It’s always great to come back to work,” said Moyes. “The weather was a bit different to what we normally have at this time of year but the players have come back in great form and they are looking forward to the new season. “A few of the lads are still away and they will be coming back in dribs and drabs over the next couple of weeks. We hope to be adding to the squad before the start of the season but there is nothing to mention yet.” An independent arbitration panel on Sheffield United’s appeal against relegation was due to conclude this afternoon, which could pave the way for Phil Jagielka to become an Everton player within 48 hours. Meantime, Brazilian midfielder Anderson de Silva has been given a 12-month contract extension.
Son's soccer training tribute to legend Ball
Jul 3 2007 Liverpool Echo
ALAN BALL’S son is launching a football school in tribute to his father.
The Alan Ball Soccer School was the Everton legend’s own idea, but sadly he did not live to see his plans come to fruition. Ball, the youngest member of England’s 1966 World Cup winning team, died in April after suffering a heart attack as he tackled a garden fire at his Hampshire home. The first week-long school takes place at Edge Hill University, Ormskirk, from August 6. His son, head coach Jimmy Ball, said: “We were planning to do this anyway, before he passed away, so rather than give up, we decided to continue – it’s what he would have wanted us to do.” The school will be open to boys and girls from seven to 16.
Phil Jagielka now able to join Everton
Jul 4 2007
by Nick Smith, Liverpool Daily Post
EVERTON’S squad headed for a Scottish training camp last night ready to pave the way for their first addition of the summer. Phil Jagielka is now free to leave Sheffield United for £4million after their legal challenge to avoid relegation from the Premier League ended in defeat yesterday. Everton, whose playing and coaching staff will spend the next three days in St Andrews, have agreed to trigger the release clause and the midfielder’s willingness to play Premiership football for the club who released him as a youngster means the transfer is on the verge of completion. An arbitration panel dismissed the Blades’ claim that West Ham should have had points deducted over the Premier League rules that were broken over the Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano signings. West Ham breached Premier League regulations by including third-party agreements when they signed Tevez and Mascherano last summer, and as a punishment they were fined £5.5million in April by an independent commission. Sheffield United, who were relegated from the Premiership on the last day of the season, claimed the Hammers should have been deducted points instead but their failure effectively ends their battle to avoid relegation to the Coca-Cola Championship. They are still considering pursuing further legal avenues but are resigned to the probability that Jagielka will leave within the next week.
Everton’s summer business so far centres on extending contracts, with Mikel and Arteta and Tim Cahill agreeing to five more years at Goodison and Anderson De Silva yesterday signing for another year. The Brazilian’s initial spell, following his drawn-out transfer from Racing Santander, yielded just one appearance, as an 88th minute substitute in the 2-1 win over Charlton in April. Further strengthening could be held up by rivals bidding for manager David Moyes’s other targets, with Sunderland emerging as another interested party in Manchester United winger Kieran Richardson. And Old Trafford team-mate Alan Smith, who Everton are looking to involve in an £8m double bid with Richardson, has intimated that he wants to stay at United and fight for his place. David Nugent, meanwhile, appears to be closer to accepting that his dream move to Everton won’t be achieved this summer. The Preston forward, valued at £6million, was in talks with Portsmouth last night after negotiations with Sunderland finally broke down.
Everton complete Phil Jagielka deal
July 4 2007 EXCLUSIVE by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
PHIL JAGIELKA was today due to become Everton’s first signing of the summer.
The Blues have agreed a deal close to £4m with Sheffield United for the England B international and he was expected at Goodison Park later this afternoon after agreeing personal terms. Given he played every minute of every Premiership game last season for the Blades, no problems were envisaged and Blues boss David Moyes will be delighted to have landed a man he has chased all summer. Middlesbrough, Wigan and Bolton Wanderers were all interested in signing Jagielka, but the player made it clear from the start that Everton were his one and only choice and he should be able to join up with new team-mates at their training camp in St Andrews tomorrow.
Jagielka was on Everton’s books as a schoolboy but was released a decade ago and had been with Sheffield United ever since. In total, he made 287 appearances for the Bramall Lane club, scoring 22 goals. Though Jagielka made his international debut as a right-back – he replaced Everton skipper Phil Neville in the friendly against Albania in May – he can also operate in the centre of defence, as well as in midfield and such versatility will be welcomed by Moyes. Once Jagielka is finally registered as an Everton player, attentions will turn to bolstering the midfield with West Bromwich Albion’s Jason Koumas heading the list of potential targets.
Lee Carsley ready to turn up volume - Moyes
July 4 2007 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES believes the quiet man of Goodison Park will again have a major say in shaping Everton’s fortunes after turning down the chance to leave this summer.
Lee Carsley was the only member of Moyes’ squad to play in every league and cup game last season. He missed just 44 minutes of action as the Blues booked a return to Europe with a top six finish. The Republic of Ireland midfielder was widely acknowledged as one of Everton’s key performers but almost joined Wigan Athletic in May after new Latics’ manager Chris Hutchings made a play for his services.
However, Carsley - whose 149 appearances for the Blues have yielded 11 goals since he arrived from Coventry City in February 2002 - eventually put pen-to-paper on a 12-month contract extension and Moyes knows his worth to his current squad.
“I don’t think Cars ever really wanted to go, I think it was more of a case that he just wanted to get the best deal he possibly could for him and his family,” said Moyes today. “We certainly didn’t want him to go anywhere. He was an important player for us last season and we like him around the place. He and Stubbsy are a great help.
“He’s got a great attitude and is very much a part of things here. He will have an important role to play next season and we want to keep hold of all our best players.
“We have not got big numbers here, but what we do have is a number of lads who can play well in different roles and they have a terrific spirit about them.
“We have worked hard to create that spirit here, and you can see by looking at the group that they are looking forward to playing a part in a future that we hope is going to be successful.” With Sheffield United’s fate finally decided by an independent arbitration panel, Everton can finally enter into negotiations over Phil Jagielka’s transfer to Goodison Park. Given that Jagielka has made it clear that he wants to play for the Blues, no problems are envisaged and he should become Moyes’ first signing by the end of the week. Meanwhile, Tim Cahill has promised that he won’t run the risk of missing the start of the new Premier League campaign by doing too much too soon with Australia. The midfielder is expected to play his first game since March 3 when the Socceroos face Oman in the Asia Cup on Sunday and is desperate to get back in action. “I need to make sure I stay right because I’ve got to go into the Premier League season straight after the Asian Cup,” he said. “Obviously, the last 12 months haven’t gone completely to plan, but I still played 16-18 games for Everton, and scored seven goals. “I played in the World Cup and finished in the top 50 of the Ballon d'Or. That’s my season, so things aren't so bad after all.”
New dawn as Richard Wright signs West Ham
Jul 5 2007
by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
RICHARD WRIGHT’S Everton career has officially come to an end after he agreed to join West Ham United on a free transfer. The former England international was released by Blues boss David Moyes in May along with Alessandro Pistone and both Glasgow Rangers and Ipswich Town were keen to sign him. Ipswich - the club where he started his career - appeared favourites to sign him but could not put together the right financial package and that left the way clear for West Ham to swoop. Having arrived at Goodison Park in the summer of 2002 with a tall reputation, things never went according to plan for Wright and he made just 71 appearances in five years. Wright, though, was held in the highest esteem by Everton’s coaching staff and his team-mates for the way he applied himself and he had a great affinity with the club. “I’ve had five good years at Everton and it has been a honour and privilege to play for this club,” he said after learning of his release in May. “Things might not have worked out quite how I wanted them to, what with picking an injury up and one thing or another. “But it was still a terrific experience. I have some fond memories
With Roy Carroll seemingly on his way out of Upton Park, the 29-year-old Wright has been signed to provide competition for current first-choice goalkeeper Robert Green.
David Moyes: I’ve finally hit theJagpot
Jul 5 2007
by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES was celebrating today after his two-year pursuit of Phil Jagielka ended in success. The Everton manager revealed he first tried to sign the England B international in 2005 but was unable to do a deal with Sheffield United at the time. Moyes persisted and it paid off as Jagielka became the Blues’ first summer signing late last night after the clubs agreed a £4m deal. Jagielka breezed through his medical and was whisked off to Everton’s training base in St Andrews in Scotland. Moyes does not expect him to have any trouble settling in. Moyes believes Jagielka’s versatility will greatly benefit his side in the new campaign and expects the 24-year-old to prove himself a bargain in the long-term. “I’m delighted that we have signed Phil,” Moyes said today. “He is a player that I have admired for a quite some time and we tried to buy him a couple of years ago but it didn’t quite happen. “But thankfully it has happened this time. He has been captain of Sheffield United, he is only 24 but the biggest thing for me is that he can play in a number of different positions. “His versatility will be a great asset with the amount of games we will hopefully play this season. “It’s another young one to add to the group. We know that we can’t compete at the very top end of the market but I think signing Phil Jagielka for £4m is a very good price.” While Moyes was delighted to have landed his man, Jagielka - a former Everton schoolboy - was equally thrilled that his long wait to return to Goodison was finally over. “Obviously with what happened with the Tevez affair, I knew I had to be patient and bide my time,” said Jagielka, who has signed a five-year contract. “But thankfully once things got sorted out we got things done quite quickly. I was nervous coming down to do the medical. I’ve never done one before. “I didn’t think I wouldn't pass but you never know until you get the thumbs up. The manager was keen to sign me and that is always a nice sign. “He has done fantastically well here and it is a fantastic club. I am delighted. I want to get it over and done with and start training with the boys. Gary Naysmith, meanwhile, travelled to Sheffield today to complete his move in the opposite direction but the two deals are completely separate. Once that transaction is finalised, Everton’s board will step up their efforts to make a couple more signings with West Bromwich Albion’s Jason Koumas the top priority.
Moyes delight as Jagielka signs
July 5 2007 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES was celebrating today after his two-year pursuit of Phil Jagielka ended in success. The Everton manager revealed he first tried to sign the England B international in 2005 but was unable to do a deal with Sheffield United at the time.
Moyes persisted and it paid off as Jagielka became the Blues’ first summer signing late last night after the clubs agreed a £4m deal. Jagielka breezed through his medical and was whisked off to Everton’s training base in St Andrews in Scotland. Moyes does not expect him to have any trouble settling in. Moyes believes Jagielka’s versatility will greatly benefit his side in the new campaign and expects the 24-year-old to prove himself a bargain in the long-term. “I’m delighted that we have signed Phil,” Moyes said today. “He is a player that I have admired for a quite some time and we tried to buy him a couple of years ago but it didn’t quite happen. “But thankfully it has happened this time. He has been captain of Sheffield United, he is only 24 but the biggest thing for me is that he can play in a number of different positions.
“His versatility will be a great asset with the amount of games we will hopefully play this season. “It’s another young one to add to the group. We know that we can’t compete at the very top end of the market but I think signing Phil Jagielka for £4m is a very good price.” While Moyes was delighted to have landed his man, Jagielka - a former Everton schoolboy - was equally thrilled that his long wait to return to Goodison was finally over. “Obviously with what happened with the Tevez affair, I knew I had to be patient and bide my time,” said Jagielka, who has signed a five-year contract. “But thankfully once things got sorted out we got things done quite quickly. I was nervous coming down to do the medical. I’ve never done one before.
“I didn’t think I wouldn't pass but you never know until you get the thumbs up. The manager was keen to sign me and that is always a nice sign. “He has done fantastically well here and it is a fantastic club. I am delighted. I want to get it over and done with and start training with the boys. Gary Naysmith, meanwhile, travelled to Sheffield today to complete his move in the opposite direction but the two deals are completely separate. Once that transaction is finalised, Everton’s board will step up their efforts to make a couple more signings with West Bromwich Albion’s Jason Koumas the top priority.
James Vaughan: Strikers will benefit from Arteta and Cahill deals
July 5 2007 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
JAMES VAUGHAN believes Everton strikers are going to be in for a fruitful season after Mikel Arteta and Tim Cahill committed their futures to the club. While supporters are thrilled that the Blues’ most influential players put pen-to-paper on five-year deals, Vaughan is also rubbing his hands with glee. That, though, should not surprise. Given that Arteta was responsible for creating almost 25 per cent of Everton’s goals last season and chipped in with another nine of his own, his importance to the side is there for all to see. But Vaughan, like so many others at Goodison Park, feels Arteta’s best is yet to come and he reckons the Spaniard could have an even greater impact in the new campaign. Hailing Arteta’s ability to find the right pass at the right moment, Vaughan cannot mask his enthusiasm when he talks about the service Everton’s number six can provide. That is why the England Under-21 international feels that all the Blues’ forwards can expect to improve their goal return when the action gets under way. “It is good for the team but I need service from players like Mikel and Tim to set me up with goals,” said Vaughan, who was part of England’s squad for the Under-21 European Championships.. “Mikel and Tim are two of our most influential players. It is a boost for us all and it underlines the togetherness in the squad.” Arteta, meanwhile, is glad that all speculation about his future has been banished once and for all and he feels Everton stand on the threshold of an exciting era. And with Phil Jagielka having completed his £4m move from Sheffield United, Arteta hopes the Toffees can make another couple of signings to really boost their chances of being competitive. “There was a lot of speculation but I said from the start I wanted to stay here,” said Arteta. “Those players (on long-term contracts) are all a good age but have experience as well. “Hopefully we can get more good players here as well because it is going to be a very busy season this year. “I think the club wants to move forward and bring in more players.”
Richard Wright signs for West Ham
July 5 2007 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
RICHARD WRIGHT’S Everton career has officially come to an end after he agreed to join West Ham United on a free transfer. The former England international was released by Blues boss David Moyes in May along with Alessandro Pistone and both Glasgow Rangers and Ipswich Town were keen to sign him. Ipswich - the club where he started his career - appeared favourites to sign him but could not put together the right financial package and that left the way clear for West Ham to swoop.
Having arrived at Goodison Park in the summer of 2002 with a tall reputation, things never went according to plan for Wright and he made just 71 appearances in five years. Wright, though, was held in the highest esteem by Everton’s coaching staff and his team-mates for the way he applied himself and he had a great affinity with the club. “I’ve had five good years at Everton and it has been a honour and privilege to play for this club,” he said after learning of his release in May. “Things might not have worked out quite how I wanted them to, what with picking an injury up and one thing or another. “But it was still a terrific experience. I have some fond memories
With Roy Carroll seemingly on his way out of Upton Park, the 29-year-old Wright has been signed to provide competition for current first-choice goalkeeper Robert Green.
David Prentice: Reliable Lescott is Blues’ perfect 5
July 6 2007 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
JOLEON LESCOTT will wear Everton’s number five jersey next season.
It’s a testament to the consistency of the previous holders of that number that he is only the third Everton number five since squad numbering was introduced. Names like Dave Watson and David Weir indicate reliability, steadiness, composure and character – which makes Lescott the perfect player to succeed them. Lescott was one of the many success stories at Goodison last season. The number nine shirt will always be the most celebrated in Everton folklore, but names like Labone, Lyons and TG Jones mean the number five is not far behind.
Pride and prejudice is alive and kicking
THERE are some taboos in sport which are made to be broken. Black heavyweight champion Jack Johnson had to chase Tommy Burns all the way to Sydney to land a shot at the, then exclusively white, heavyweight championship of the world. But he got there – and won. A Catholic hadn’t played for Glasgow Rangers since World War I. Then Graeme Souness became boss. And equal prize-money for men and women was a step the Wimbledon authorities strenuously refused to take. Until this summer.
But there’s one sporting boundary which seems destined to remain uncrossed.
Liverpool and Manchester United won’t do transfer business with each other.
And you know what? I’m quietly pleased. When Liverpool expressed an interest in Gabriel Heinze last week, the reaction of Alex Ferguson was akin to a bulldog licking its own urine off a thistle. The Reds were quietly, but firmly, warned off. Strange that. Because only three months ago United were letting it be known that Heinze wasn’t the same player since his injury, that he wanted an implausibly lucrative new deal and he would probably be allowed to leave. Just a whisper of interest from Anfield, however, and he’s suddenly become as crucial to Ferguson’s thinking as Cristiano Ronaldo.
As a result, a little known midfielder called Phil Chisnall remains the last player to move directly between the two clubs . . . 43 years ago. In these days of all-seater stadia, corporate fans sipping pre-match aperitifs and players moving to whomever will pay them the most, it’s heartening to hear that some part of football still remains the refuge of the insanely partisan. That attitude was summed up beautifully by an insanely partisan United fan this week. “The intensity of the rivalry is a benchmark of sincerity and the antidote to cynicism and fraud. “It is this quality that makes English football such a great spectacle,” he wrote. Hear, hear. United’s refusal to even entertain a Liverpool bid for one of their players suggests that there are still people in the game who care as much as supporters do.
And that’s quietly reassuring.
Reds will miss Garcia’s bubbly moments
LUIS GARCIA, as the song suggested, did not drink sangria.
But he was a champagne footballer. And there is no doubt that Liverpool have lost just a little sparkle with his transfer to Atletico Madrid. Sure, Garcia’s over-ambitious flicks resulted in more groans around Anfield than John O’Shea appearing in the six-yard box, but he also sparked more riotous celebrations than any other marksman of the past two years. I’ve still got a mental image of John Aldridge losing all sense of professional perspective in the Anfield press box the night Liverpool faced Juventus in 2005. Garcia had just bent in an improbable spectacular strike and Aldo turned, eyes ablaze, to bellow: “What a cracking goal!” (Or something like that). That wasn’t even Garcia’s most significant strike, the Champions League semi-final winner and a FA Cup semi-final strike probably claiming that award, not to mention two Merseyside derby matchwinners. In order to capture a talent as stellar as Fernando Torres, Garcia’s departure was a sacrifice worth making. But there’s no doubt his creativity, fizz and outright unpredictability will be sadly missed. All squads need a football maverick – and Luis Javier Garcia Sanz is one of the most gifted.
Gary Naysmith: Neville recommendation convinced me to move
July 6 2007 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
A GLOWING recommendation from Phil Neville was the only advice Gary Naysmith needed to end his Everton career. The Scotland international joined Sheffield United yesterday in a £1m deal after being told by Goodison Park officials they would not stand in his way if he wanted to move. Naysmith insisted he has no problemsaboutplaying in the Championship particularly as he will be working under Bryan Robson and Bryan Kidd. Blues skipper Neville spent the early years of his l career at Manchester United being guided by Robson and Kidd and he assured Naysmith the move would suit. “Coming to play under Bryan Robson makes me really excited. I am keen and happy to be here,” said Naysmith. “I was always there or thereabouts at Everton but they had several established players and if you were out injured it was difficult to force your way back in. “I spoke to Phil about working with Brian Kidd and he had nothing but praise for his training methods. “He was sure I would enjoy it immensely. Both Robson and Kidd are born winners.” Naysmith joined Everton from Hearts in October 2000 and made 155 appearances, scoring seven goals.
Now, though, he is looking forward to a new challenge. “This is a big club that has done very well in recent years and was unlucky last season,” added Naysmith, capped 36 times by Scotland. “I have no problems with dropping a division, as I feel we will only be here for one year. “We have a great squad with plenty of experience so we should be aiming to get promoted at the first attempt.” Meanwhile, a former Everton and Sheffield United stalwart has tipped the Blues’ latest acquisition to be an instant hit . David Unsworth played alongside Phil Jagielka at Sheffield and assured supporters the 24-year-old will flourish after securing his dream move. “I don’t know where he’ll play but wherever it is, Jags won’t let anybody down,” said Unsworth,still on the lookout for a new club after being released by Wigan. “He’s quick, good in the air and being at Everton around better players will only improve him. . “He’s a terrific lad, too. A really top man and he’s a big Evertonian. “When we were team-mates he would always be asking me about Everton. At £4m we can consider him to be a bargain.”
Phil Neville: Everton fans can trust Moyes to deliver
July 6 2007 EXCLUSIVE by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
PHIL NEVILLE is urging Evertonians to place their trust in David Moyes as the Blues prepare to make their next move in the transfer market. Having completed Phil Jagielka’s £4m switch from Sheffield United, Everton will now step up their search for a midfielder with West Brom’s Jason Koumas and Kieran Richardson of Manchester United among those under consideration. But, given they do not have the financial muscle of some other Premier League clubs, Moyes has made it clear that he is ready to be patient before swooping again. Neville - who returned to training yesterday - believes Jagielka’s signing is a step in the right direction and expects more to follow. “I think this will calm everything down a bit,” Neville said. “In times like this, even as players you tend to wonder what is going on. “You see other clubs making signings and at the back of your mind, you are thinking ‘when are we going to make our move?’ “But I’m sure that patience is the key. Transfer fees nowadays mean that deals aren’t going to be done overnight. “Clubs are going to want the best price for their players and with everything going on between Sheffield United and West Ham, this was always going to be a test of patience. “Now this has been done, there will be other faces coming here, I’m sure. “The fans should trust the gaffer and the board that they have plans in place for the start of the new season. “I’m sure that everything is going to be fine.” Neville spoke glowingly about life at Goodison Park to Jagielka when the pair were on international duty in May and the skipper believes his new team-mate will have an important part to play as Everton compete at home and abroad. “I’ve known about him for a long time, as I’ve watched Sheffield United play quite a bit,” Neville said. “Without doubt, he’s been Sheffield United’s best player over the last three years and he was comfortably their best player in the Premiership. “He stood out when he played at Goodison last season. “He looked a very good defender and with his versatility, he will be a valuable asset for the team.
“He is young and is not a short term signing. He is here for the long term. “We are signing one player who can play in three different positions, four if you count goalkeeper. “With the size of the squad that we have got, that is going to be invaluable. “Last season, versatility meant that a lot of players played in a lot of different positions. It will be the same this season.
Don’t expect a ‘get rich quick’ journey
July 7 2007 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
A EUROPEAN place may be viewed by some as a licence to print money, but Everton’s involvement in next season’s UEFA Cup will not make a dramatic impact on the Goodison coffers. While there is no disputing a return to Continental competition raises the Blues’ profile and allows supporters the chance to dream about trips to far-flung destinations, it won’t be a get rich quick scheme by any stretch of the imagination. That should not dilute enthusiasm in the competition but, if proof were needed, it is clear to see the gap between Champions League regulars and those who are hammering on the door to join them is getting bigger every year. Let’s first make a comparison between the exploits last season of Tottenham and Bulgarian journeymen Levski Sofia. Martin Jol’s side came close to making it to the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup during a 10-game European campaign. They played a number of teams with a rich European pedigree, saw most of their games screened on digital television channels and had a number of raucous nights at White Hart Lane, yet their efforts were ‘only’ worth £2,917,724. Levski, meanwhile, were in the Champions League just for the group stages, were flattened in all six of the games they played – but were handsomely rewarded. Having been seen sent packing by Chelsea, Werder Bremen and Barcelona, they received £3,755,587. Fair? Tottenham, however, were one of the ‘luckier’ teams in the UEFA Cup. Newcastle’s slice for of the pie for reaching the last 16? £303,758. Buttons compared to Sevilla, who pocketed £4,219,587 for winning the competition. Yet, compared to the Champions League, that figure was dwarfed by AC Milan. Their reward for getting through to the final in Athens and beating Liverpool? More than £26m. Clearly, there is only one competition for clubs to be in if they want to secure their financial futures. But ignore the money aspect of the UEFA Cup for a minute and concentrate solely on some of the teams Everton could be facing in the next couple of months. Lurking among the names are two clubs who have figured prominently in the club’s recent history. Mention Bayern Munich and immediately images of that never to be forgotten European Cup Winners Cup semi-final spring to mind. Alternatively, Villarreal’s presence in the draw ensures haunting memories of two summers ago come flooding painfully back. Similar sentiments apply to Panathinaikos, who destroyed Everton dreams of winning the European Cup in the spring of 1971. Will fate present the current squad a chance to avenge that galling away goals defeat of their predecessors 36 years ago? Only time will tell. First, a tricky qualifying match must be negotiated in the autumn and it is impossible to think Moyes, his coaching staff and players will not have learned from the mistakes of a wretched night in Bucharest when the last European adventure was effectively ended.
It would be nice, then, to look forward to a run through the group stages and beyond.
But, while the capacity to make money is not there, the experience will be invaluable to a squad that Moyes is putting together piece by piece. If they make the anticipated progress, who is to say what will happen? There is a suspicion that the race for fourth place in the Premier League will be more open next year than it has ever been and Everton certainly have the credentials to make a bold bid. And if that pursuit happens to be successful, then Everton can really start to think about making riches like AC Milan, Barcelona, Real Madrid and, of course, Levski Sofia.
Neville believes sun can shine on a bright new future for Blues
July 7 2007 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
PHIL NEVILLE was sitting on a Caribbean beach, enjoying the final few days of his summer break, when a text message beeped through to finally set his mind at rest.
Even though he was thousands of miles from home, Neville was determined to keep up to date with the latest news at Goodison Park and would take every possible chance to surf the internet to see if there had been any additions to Everton’s squad.
But while the skipper was intrigued to see which players David Moyes would target, at the back of his mind was a concern that one of Everton’s rivals would swoop to try and prise away the jewels in the current crown. No wonder, then, he was delighted to hear that both Mikel Arteta and Tim Cahill had signed new five-year deals and with Phil Jagielka following hot on their heels, the past week has certainly been a satisfying one for Evertonians. Of course, thoughts will now centre around who the next person through the door will be and Neville believes those three signings, coupled with the prospect of European football, make Everton an extremely attractive proposition to footballers seeking a new challenge. “We are a club going places,” Neville insisted. “My biggest worry - my only worry - at the end of last season was that the players who had done so well, whether it was Cahill, Arteta, Lescott or Andy Johnson, would attract a big money offer from somewhere. “They are all quality players and would hold down a place in the side of any team in this division. But it was terrific news to hear about Mikel and Tim. Mikel’s performances last year spoke volumes. He was our talisman. “With Tim, though, I think it’s easy to forget how much of an impact he makes on this team. He played 18 times last season but still managed to score seven goals and that’s a fantastic record for a midfielder. “He will have a big part to play for us next year, there’s no doubt about it. “Keeping our best players sends the right message out. We are aiming to have a successful season and to anyone looking at us from the outside, they will see we are ready to compete and keep our place in the top six, if not push on a bit higher.” In other words, Neville feels Everton can become serious contenders for a Champions League place next season. Other clubs may have more money and players but few can match the spirit David Moyes has fostered and that quality will be priceless through the campaign. There is much more to the Toffees, however, than simple “up and at ‘em” tactics and the England international expects the progress made in the past 12 months to continue, provided they apply themselves in a similar manner. “I think it’s an achievable target but it isn’t going to be easy,” said Neville, a £3.5m signing from Manchester United two years ago. “Arsenal are a quality side and have spent a lot of money on a striker to replace Thierry Henry. Tottenham have also spent big to sign Darren Bent. “Then there is the likes of Newcastle and Aston Villa, more clubs who are spending money to improve their squads, so it will be tight going for that place but it is definitely our ambition. And I honestly don’t think we are too far away. “Just look at where we were last year. If we had drawn against Tottenham rather than conceding a last minute goal, we would have been fifth. If we hadn’t drawn silly games against Manchester City and Wigan, we’d have nearly been in fourth place. It’s within our capabilities. “We did well last season but that is in the past now and we have got to raise our game again. We’ve got to find an extra 10 per cent again. “In the recent past, this club has had a good season and followed it up with an average one. Now the challenge for us is to make sure that we cement our position and push on that bit further. We won’t be sitting still.” Neville hopes Moyes’ current squad can buck the trend as he knows danger lurks if there is any signs they are resting on their laurels. “The spirit that we have here is this club’s biggest asset,” said Neville. “It’s absolutely fantastic and it’s not just amongst the players. It’s everybody at the club. “Every member of staff at Bellefield adds to it. Apart from spirit, we have now also got a winning mentality.
“We are not just scraping wins. We play football as often as we can but we need to be doing it more than ever if we want to progress. If we stand still, you can rest assured there will be another team elsewhere that overtakes us.”
Howard will be key figure for Blues – Moyes
July 7 2007 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES today paid a glowing tribute to Tim Howard and backed him to become one of Everton’s most important players next season. The Blues goalkeeper is currently on an extended summer break and is not expected to rejoin his team-mates until they head out for their tour of the United States a week on Thursday. But Moyes doesn’t anticipate Howard’s late start being a problem. After keeping 14 clean sheets in his first year at Goodison Park then helping the USA retain the CONCACAF Gold Cup, the 27-year-old appears to be approaching his peak. And with Moyes hopeful that his side will be able to compete on a number of fronts come August, he believes Howard – who cost Everton £3m when he arriving from Manchester United – is ready to come up trumps. “We’ll probably see Tim back with us in a week or so but we’ll see how he gets on as he has had a busy time,” said Moyes, whose squad returned from a training break in Scotland last night. “I met up with him in America earlier this summer and watched him in a game and he played well, just like he did for us last season. He is an excellent goalkeeper. “Tim has done really well since he arrived here and he is someone who is going to be a big player for us over the next couple of years. We are going to really need him at times.” Joseph Yobo is also still away on holiday but he should return before Howard and has played down concerns that the Nigerian picked up a serious back injury while on international duty. “Joseph is another having a break at the minute,” Moyes confirmed. “He had some back trouble during the summer but there is no problem. We expect him to return shortly.”
Another Aussie landmark for Cahill
July 9 2007 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
TIM CAHILL is celebrating after carving another niche for himself in Australia’s record books. The Everton midfielder scored his country’s first World Cup goal last summer against Japan with a dramatic late equaliser, and he repeated the feat last night as Australia came from behind to snatch a draw with Oman in the Asia Cup.
Blues boss David Moyes will have been delighted to see Cahill show no signs of rustiness on his return from a four-month injury lay-off after he came on as a substitute in the 62nd minute. Stifling humidity made conditions difficult, but the 27-year-old believes the run out will do him the world of good and he hopes to be able to play an even bigger role in Australia’s remaining group games, against Thailand and Iraq. “I have got a lot of respect for this first goal in this competition because the Asian nation is magic, there are millions of people here and it is a massively watched tournament,” Cahill said. “I am pretty lucky. I said to myself if I got the chance I would take it. It came against Oman and it is another big moment in my career.
“I am happy being a part of this squad, I said that from day one and as long as you can play in any shape or form on the pitch and make something happen I am happy.
“What happened for me against Oman is priceless, you can’t take that away, and you can’t take away the first World Cup goal. “It will most probably be like this throughout the whole tournament, hopefully we can go grow stronger but when you play in conditions like this, it is so hard. “You can’t warm up in the humidity, it didn't affect them at all, they kept going to the end and Mark Schwarzer had to pull off saves and it could have been a different story.” Meanwhile, Everton - who jetted out to Italy today for another training camp - have announced a number of fixtures changes in addition to the four games that have been rearranged by television companies.
The home date with Manchester United will now kick off at noon on Saturday 15 September and the meeting with Derby County, scheduled for April 5, has been put back 24 hours to avoid clashing with the Grand National. Aside from that, Manchester City have requested that a number of fixtures be swopped around as they are hosting the UEFA Cup Final next May and want to prepare their ground. The knock-on effect means that Everton now face Newcastle United away on October 7, Middlesbrough away on New Year’s Day and finish the campaign with a home game against Sam Allardyce’s side.
Sky Sports announce Premiership fixtures on TV
July 9 2007 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
LIVERPOOL will be forced to play catch-up from day one of the new Premier League season. The Reds have seen four of their first five fixtures of the new season switched for satellite TV coverage – including the opening day trip to Aston Villa which will now kick off at 5.15pm. Liverpool’s opening home match of the season, against Chelsea, has also been put back to a 4pm kick-off on Sunday, August 19.
Everton’s first away match at Tottenham on Tuesday, August 14, will be screened live by Sky, while the visit of Blackburn to Goodison at the end of August will be Everton’s first appearance on Setanta, with a tea-time kick-off on the Saturday night.
Everton feature three times on Sky before the end of November and once on Setanta, while six Liverpool fixtures have been picked out by Sky and another three by Setanta. Setanta Sports will begin their coverage of the Barclays Premier League with Liverpool’s trip to Aston Villa. The Irish broadcaster, showing top-flight games for the first time, will largely specialise in matches on Saturday and Monday evenings.
Newcastle’s clash with Aston Villa will follow on Saturday, August 18, while Roy Keane’s return to Manchester United as manager of Sunderland will be shown on September 1. Newly-promoted Derby’s encounter with Newcastle will be Setanta’s first Monday night fixture on September 17. Setanta have announced their first 19 fixtures covering the first four months of the season and will be screening 46 live matches in total with the remainder to be announced later.
EVERTON and LIVERPOOL satellite fixtures.
Tuesday, August 14: Tottenham v Everton 8pm.
Sunday, August 19: Liverpool v Chelsea 4pm.
Saturday, August 25: Sunderland v Liverpool 12.45pm.
Saturday, September 15: Portsmouth v Liverpool 12.45pm.
Sunday, September 30: Everton v Middlesbrough 4pm.
Saturday, October 20: Everton v Liverpool 12.45pm.
Sunday, October 28: Liverpool v Arsenal 4pm.
Saturday, November 24: Newcastle v Liverpool 12.45pm.
Saturday, August 11: Aston Villa v Liverpool 5.15pm.
Saturday, August 25: Everton v Blackburn 5.15pm.
Saturday, November 3: Blackburn v Liverpool 5.15pm.
Saturday, November 10: Liverpool v Fulham 5.15pm.
TV and Europe see Everton fixtures changes
Jul 10 2007
by Ian Doyle, Liverpool Daily Post
EVERTON yesterday announced a raft of fixtures changes to their Premier League calendar for the new campaign. The shake-up has occurred due to a variety of reasons, including Manchester City’s hosting of the UEFA Cup final – a fixture in which David Moyes’s side are hoping to take part. Three Everton games will be shown live on Sky – the trip to Tottenham Hotspur and the visits of Liverpool and Middlesbrough – while the home clash with Blackburn Rovers on Saturday, August 25 will be broadcast on Setanta at 5.15pm. Everton’s UEFA Cup commitments mean the trip to Aston Villa has been put back to Sunday, September 23 (2pm), and should progress be made to the group stages of the UEFA Cup, it would lead to other Premier League fixtures being put back 24 hours to a Sunday. The home game with Manchester United on Saturday, September 15 will now kick-off at noon on police advice, while the Grand National has led to the visit of Derby County being put back to Sunday, April 6 (3pm). Manchester City’s request that a number of fixtures been altered to aid their preparation of hosting the UEFA Cup final next May has also had a knock-on effect. It means Everton now journey to Newcastle United on Sunday, October 7 (3pm), visit Middlesbrough on New Year’s Day (3pm) and finish the season on Sunday, May 11 with a home game against Newcastle (3pm). Meanwhile, a number of Liverpool games have been rearranged after Sky and Setanta announced their first batch of live games for the coming season. Four of their first five Premier League fixtures will be televised, starting with the opening game of the season at Aston Villa on Saturday, August 11 at 5.15pm – the first live top-flight game for Irish broadcaster Setanta. Liverpool’s first home game against Chelsea has been put back to Sunday, August 19 at 4pm, while the Merseyside derby at Goodison on Saturday, October 20 has been brought forward to 12.45pm. In total, six Liverpool games have been chosen by Sky while a further three have been selected for broadcast on Setanta. Kick-off changes mean Liverpool’s home game with Manchester United will now start at noon on Saturday, December 15, as will the return match between the teams at Old Trafford on Saturday, March 22. With the television schedule having only been determined until the end of November, supporters of both Merseyside clubs can expect further alterations to fixtures over the Christmas period. EVERTON FIXTURE ALTERATIONS/LIVE GAMES: Tue Aug 14: Tottenham (A) 8pm (on Sky), Sat Aug 25: Blackburn (H) 5.15pm (on Setanta), Sat Sep 15: Man Utd (H) 12pm, Sun Sep 23: Aston Villa (A) 2pm, Sun Sep 30: Middlesbrough (H) 4pm (on Sky), Sun Oct 7: Newcastle (A) 3pm, Sat Oct 20: Liverpool (H) 12.45pm (on Sky), Tue Jan 1: Middlesbrough (A) 3pm, Sun Apr 6: Derby (H) 3pm, Sun May 11: Newcastle (H) 3pm.
Everton’s Koumas interest over as Wigan move in
Jul 10 2007
by Ian Doyle, Liverpool Daily Post
EVERTON’S interest in Jason Koumas appears to be over after West Bromwich Albion yesterday accepted a £5.3million offer for the Wales midfielder from Wigan Athletic. The Latics had a £4m bid for Koumas rejected last week, but Wigan manager Chris Hutchings returned with an improved offer that was yesterday accepted by West Brom. David Moyes is a long-time admirer of Koumas and had been contemplating a summer transfer for the 27-year-old, something the player has previously stated would represent a “dream move”. However, Wigan’s mammoth offer has seemingly ended Everton’s pursuit of the player, with the Good-ison club believing Koumas to be worth significantly less than the asking price. Blackburn Rovers and Aston Villa had also shown an interest in Koumas while West Brom turned down previous offers from Birmingham and Ful-ham, although the latter took Diomansy Kamara from the Hawthorns for £6m yesterday. West Brom chairman Jeremy Peace said: “We have said all along we will only consider selling players like Jason if we receive head-turning offers. The deal must also be in the club’s best interests and we feel this offer mirrors those criteria.” Koumas, who joined West Brom from Tranmere Rovers for £2.25m in 2002, has yet to confirm whether to proceed with the transfer, leaving Everton an opening should they wish to pursue their interest in the player. The Everton squad arrived in Italy yester-day evening for the start of a five-day training camp in Florence. With Phil Neville, who sat out last week’s visit to Scotland, having travelled, the only absentees from the excursion are Tim Cahill, Tim Howard and Joseph Yobo. Neville, meanwhile, has paid tribute to Gary Naysmith, who joined Sheffield United last week for £1million after spending nearly seven years at Goodison. “Gary was very well liked in the dressing room and will be very much missed,” said Neville. “He was the longest serving player at the club and it was funny because I spoke to Simon Davies a few days ago and he was my first room-mate at Everton and when he left I shared with Gary. I don’t think many will be queuing up to be my room-mate next.”
Stars team up to salute Alan Ball
July 10 2007 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
AT LEAST eight former England internationals, three world champions and a European Footballer of the Year will celebrate the life of Everton and England legend Alan Ball at the MK Dons Stadium on Sunday, July 29. The Alan Ball Memorial Cup, to be televised on Sky One, will see England take on a World XI in tribute to the legendary midfielder. Event organisers have confirmed the signatures of former England captain Bryan Robson, Paul Merson, Matthew Le Tissier, Les Ferdinand, Dennis Wise, John Barnes, Chris Waddle and Lee Sharp. The England squad will also include Radio One’s JK and Joel, TV personality Angus Deayton, Rugby World Cup winners Matt Dawson and Ben Cohen and former world super-middleweight champion Nigel Benn. The world squad will include Gianfranco Zola, Paulo Di Canio, Matthias Sammer, Stefan Freund, Bruce Grobbelaar, Tomas Brolin, Ian Rush and John Aldridge. Other A-listers from the world of football, TV, film and music are still to be announced. Ball was just 61 when he suffered a heart attack at his Hampshire home in April this year. His death was mourned worldwide and his funeral service at Winchester Cathedral attracted thousands of sports fans wishing to pay their respects. Fans attending the game will also enjoy a 'Battle of the Soaps' match which pits the football teams of soap rivals including Coronation Street, Emmerdale and Hollyoaks. The 30-minute each half match will form a warm-up to the main event and complete a unique summer festival of football. Organisers will make a donation to the Bobby Moore Fund for Cancer Research UK and the Warwickshire and Northamptonshire Air Ambulance Service. Spokesman for the organisers, Lester Holcombe, said: “The Alan Ball Memorial Cup is a unique event which brings together a clutch of household names from football, TV, film and music to compete in honour of one of English football’s best-loved sons. “It will, Tickets for The Alan Ball Memorial Cup are priced at £30 for a Family Ticket (two adults and two children), £12 for adults and £6 for children. Tickets are available from Ticketmaster at www.ticketmaster.co.uk or on 0870 145 1179 (24 hr). VIP tickets are available at £35.
Stars team up to salute Alan Ball
July 10 2007 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
AT LEAST eight former England internationals, three world champions and a European Footballer of the Year will celebrate the life of Everton and England legend Alan Ball at the MK Dons Stadium on Sunday, July 29. The Alan Ball Memorial Cup, to be televised on Sky One, will see England take on a World XI in tribute to the legendary midfielder. Event organisers have confirmed the signatures of former England captain Bryan Robson, Paul Merson, Matthew Le Tissier, Les Ferdinand, Dennis Wise, John Barnes, Chris Waddle and Lee Sharp. The England squad will also include Radio One’s JK and Joel, TV personality Angus Deayton, Rugby World Cup winners Matt Dawson and Ben Cohen and former world super-middleweight champion Nigel Benn. The world squad will include Gianfranco Zola, Paulo Di Canio, Matthias Sammer, Stefan Freund, Bruce Grobbelaar, Tomas Brolin, Ian Rush and John Aldridge. Other A-listers from the world of football, TV, film and music are still to be announced. Ball was just 61 when he suffered a heart attack at his Hampshire home in April this year. His death was mourned worldwide and his funeral service at Winchester Cathedral attracted thousands of sports fans wishing to pay their respects. Fans attending the game will also enjoy a 'Battle of the Soaps' match which pits the football teams of soap rivals including Coronation Street, Emmerdale and Hollyoaks. The 30-minute each half match will form a warm-up to the main event and complete a unique summer festival of football. Organisers will make a donation to the Bobby Moore Fund for Cancer Research UK and the Warwickshire and orthamptonshire Air Ambulance Service. Spokesman for the organisers, Lester Holcombe, said: “The Alan Ball Memorial Cup is a unique event which brings together a clutch of household names from football, TV, film and music to compete in honour of one of English football’s best-loved sons. “It will, quite simply, be the most exciting football event of the summer.” Tickets for The Alan Ball Memorial Cup are priced at £30 for a Family Ticket (two adults and two children), £12 for adults and £6 for children. Tickets are available from Ticketmaster at www.ticketmaster.co.uk or on 0870 145 1179 (24 hr). VIP tickets are available at £35
Blues stars enjoy life in the Fastlane
July 10 2007 by Neil Hodgson, Liverpool Echo
PASSENGERS proved they are prepared to pay to get through security more quickly at Liverpool’s John Lennon airport. Controversial fast track barriers which require a £2 ticket to allow travellers to beat lengthy queues for security clearance went into operation yesterday. Among the passengers using the Fastlane scheme were the Everton team who were jetting out of Liverpool yesterday to their Italian pre-season training camp in Florence. Blues’ boss David Moyes and Spanish star Mikel Arteta invested in their £2 ticket before heading for the Fastlane security barriers.
And airport chiefs said many people were happy to pay the price. Spokesman Robin Tudor said: “We had a few teething problems with some of the machines but there has been a lot of interest and we are absolutely delighted. “We had our usual big queue going through security and a lot of people were looking towards the ticket machines.
“At one point we actually had a queue to buy tickets and then those people literally walked past the standard lane and were in the departure lounge before they knew it.”
He said both families and business travellers paid the £2 Fastlane fee, but added: “There’s also people who are quite happy to wait 20-30 minutes so it is satisfying both needs at the moment.” Last December the airport suggested a compulsory £2 charge towards the cost of extra security in the face of increasing terror attacks, but budget airlines objected, arguing that passengers already pay towards security in their flight tickets. Fastlane is a compromise and Mr Tudor said: “Ryanair are relaxed about it and easyJest realises it is not a compulsory scheme which was suggested last year. They understand it is a scheme that is optional.” He said they will monitor the situation daily but aim to continue the exercise on an ongoing basis.
Tony Hibbert ready to fight for his place
Jul 11 2007
by Ian Doyle, Liverpool Daily Post
TONY HIBBERT is relishing the battle to retain his right-back berth following the summer signing of Phil Jagielka. Jagielka’s protracted £4million transfer from Sheffield United was finally completed last week to bolster the ranks of David Moyes’s side ahead of the forthcoming campaign. Although a utility player who can be employed at the heart of the defence and midfield, 24-year-old Jagielka is expected to place pressure on Hibbert who has established himself as a regular on the right of the Everton defence under Moyes. And the 26-year-old has welcomed the increased competition for his place from the new arrival as the Goodison outfit take on the extra challenge of UEFA Cup football. “When you play for a Premiership team you expect competition for places,” said Hibbert. “The best teams have got several players for every position on the park so it doesn’t matter where you play, you know you face a battle to be in the team. “Phil has proved himself at Sheffield United where he stood out in a team that, with all due respect, was struggling. He’s a quality player and I know that one of the positions he is comfortable in is right-back. “But I was pleased with my form last season and I am looking forward to this season now. It’s an exciting time for the club with the UEFA Cup on the horizon and everyone in the squad knows that we’ll all have a part to play at some point.” Both Hibbert and Jagielka are part of the Everton squad in Italy undergoing a five-day training camp in Florence. Hibbert will hope for a better summer than last year. Having ended the previous campaign prematurely due to a hernia operation, the player then picked up a tropical illness when on holiday which ruled him out of the start of a campaign. It set the tone for a frustrating season in which the defender then suffered a serious groin injury and only managed to regain full fitness in April, his absence exposing Everton’s need for more options at right-back. “It’s tough going at the moment but then it always is during pre-season,” added Hibbert. “The gaffer likes to bring us away and there is a terrific spirit among the lads – we all get on well together. “I’ve had a touch of hayfever during the summer but apart from that I am raring to go. “It doesn’t really matter whether we’re in Italy, Scotland or at Bellefield. We know that the pre-season is planned for our benefit and we know that we have a few weeks of intense work ahead of us.” Everton will now pursue other midfield options after Jason Koumas joined Wigan.
Everton step up chase for Kieran Richardson
Jul 11 2007
by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON are ready to step up their pursuit of Kieran Richardson after being told by Manchester United he is surplus to requirements. Blues boss David Moyes is eager to bolster his midfield and had considered a move for Jason Koumas before West Bromwich Albion priced him out of the market. Richardson’s name, though, has always been towards the top of Moyes’ wanted list and the arrival of wonderkids Nani and Anderson at Old Trafford will accelerate his departure.
Capped eight times by England since marking his first start against the United States with both goals in a 2-1 win in May 2005 - a game that also featured the debut of Andrew Johnson - Richardson can also operate at left-back, and such versatility will appeal to Moyes. In total, the 22-year-old has made 81 appearances for United, scoring 11 times, and a likely asking price of £4m is within Everton’s price bracket. Moyes, meanwhile, is busy in Florence stepping up preparations for Everton’s opening pre-season friendlies this weekend against Bury and Northern Ireland and expects to name strong line-ups in both games. One man who won’t be involved is Tim Cahill but Moyes was delighted to see the Australian international mark his return from a four-month injury lay-off with a goal in his country’s 1-1 Asia Cup draw with Oman on Sunday. Graham Arnold, Australia’s head coach, has made it clear he will continue to take a softly-softly approach with Cahill and Moyes feels that will be to Everton’s advantage later in the season, but he does have slight concerns about the 27-year-old missing much of pre-season. “It’s great to see Tim up and running again,” Moyes said today. “That’s what we want to see. He had an injury that took a lot of time to get over and Baz (Mick Rathbone) has been in Australia and Singapore over the summer working with him. “We have got a good relationship with them and it looks like they will be easing him back into action gently. He is a very important player for us and we know that Australia will look after him but you can see why they want him to play. “Hopefully we will see the benefits in the long run because he has missed a lot of football and it will do him good to play in some competitive games at this stage of the year. But there is still a bit of a problem for us. “He won’t play in a lot of our pre-season friendlies and that means we can’t play our best system until he returns back here.” Cahill only made 18 appearances last year but still managed to score seven times and the manager was thrilled to see that a lengthy lay-off had not dulled his attacking instincts. “That is what Tim is so good at,” Moyes added. “He is an attacking midfielder and he has got a great record of goals to games. He is someone who can be relied upon to score at important times and he does it so well.”
Everton Academy manager Ray Hall on bright future in Halewood
July 11 2007 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
AN influx of fresh-faced youngsters stepped through the doors of Everton’s Academy last week, all harbouring the same hopes and dreams. It is a scene that Ray Hall has witnessed many times before during the past decade but rarely has the man who has seen countless prodigious talents pass before him had such reason for excitement.
While the 11 young men who started life as full-time footballers are bursting with potential, several other factors contribute to Academy manager Hall’s enthusiasm for the season ahead; just as is the case with the first team, there is plenty to look forward to. Though it will be a wrench to leave the base in Netherton they have called home since the mid-1990s, the pain is softened considerably at the prospect of moving to a state of the art complex on the outskirts of Halewood named Finch Farm.
Apart from having some of the best facilities that money can buy at their disposal, Everton’s youngsters will be training within a good goal kick of David Moyes and his squad, all the while receiving reminders of what benefits can be reaped from hard work. James Vaughan, Victor Anichebe, Tony Hibbert and Leon Osman have all made the journey from the training pitches at Netherton to Everton’s starting line-up and Hall hopes a few more names – possibly England under-17 starlet Jack Rodwell – will join them in the not too distant future. “The last home game of last season, we had four players on the pitch at the final whistle who had graduated from the Academy – James, Victor, Leon and Tony,” said Hall. “So in a group of 16 players, 25 per cent is way in advance of the number produced by other clubs.
“I’m selfish, in that I would like to see a few more but I’m also sure the manager wants to see a few more youngsters coming through too. We have a system here that we have worked hard at developing. There are a lot of good people here who want the kids to succeed. “The competition we have to attract kids here is enormous. On our doorstep we have one of the biggest football clubs in the world in Manchester United, so we have to work very hard in that once a young boy comes to Everton, we have to keep them. “Though you can’t speak for everyone, we have more than 150 kids here aged between eight and 18 and there aren’t too many that want to leave.”
That might be the case but the difference between doing well at Academy level and giving Moyes food for thought is vast. In recent years, the numbers of graduates had dried up until Vaughan and Anichebe corrected things. In an age when transfer fees are spiralling out of control, the onus to produce home grown players has never been more important. “The benefit will be in terms of communication and accessibility,” said Hall. “Most businessmen tell me that the best decisions are made over a cup of coffee or standing by a water cooler and I have never had that opportunity with David. We’ve been eight miles away from each other. “I can see this really benefiting the young players. They will have the chance to observe how top professionals go about their daily business. We all learn by looking at good examples. We will try to make the integration and transition as seamless as possible. “From being on two different sites to being within 100 yards of each other is a tremendous opportunity. Everyone is tremendously excited by it. “We want to help develop more players for the manager at his disposal. The ambition of this football club is to get back into the top four and we – the Academy – have to give the manager as much help as possible. We are part of that process. “As the first team move on to different levels, it becomes difficult to produce because the standard becomes so high. We appreciate that and it is a challenge we look forward to. In the last few years, our Everton Way has developed one world class player and three or four excellent ones. “That should not change if we have got the process right, so we are confident that we can meet the challenge head on and move things forward accordingly. Obviously the dream is to have 11 Scousers on the pitch and wouldn’t that be great?” Romantic as that idea might be, the chances of it happening in the current cosmopolitan climate are almost impossible. It is important, though, to have a local presence in the team and there is no disputing how much of a lift seeing a Vaughan or Anichebe progress provides. “The manager helped out at our end-of-season awards by presenting the prizes and he said that when young kids come into the first team squad, they bring a real freshness with them,” Hall noted. You can see that with James and Victor. “Like a couple of others, when they were seven and eight, James and Victor might not have been obvious types to become professional footballers. When you see someone like Wayne (Rooney), a natural, you can tell straight away that they are going to make it. “But James and Victor have worked so hard and in many ways they are a true reflection of the development work that goes on here. There will be others to come through. Everyone has an opinion but at the end of it, the only one that counts is that of the manager.”
No talk about the Academy would be complete without mention of Everton’s recent record in the FA Youth Cup; since losing the 2002 final to Aston Villa, results have been chequered. You have to go back until 1998 for the last time the Blues’ lifted the trophy and there is no disguising that Hall would like to wrestle it out of Liverpool’s grasp next year. That said, he would gain just as much satisfaction from seeing another of his novices make the grade. “We want to win every competition that we go in for,” Hall stressed. “But it is just as satisfying to provide a player that is good enough to play in our first team or, for that matter, somebody else’s. You have to be realistic. Not everyone who comes through the Academy will play for Everton.
“What tends to happen is the teams that win the competition have one or two outstanding individuals and you need that type of player if you want to get there.
“The last time we won it, Michael Ball couldn’t play because he was on first team duty. But we did have Franny Jeffers, Danny Cadamarteri, Tony Hibbert and Leon Osman. We are proud of our record but, producing players is our number one priority.” ‘We have more than 150 kids here aged between eight and 18 and there aren’t too many that want to leave’
Phil Jagielka: Everton return was my dream move
Jul 12 2007
by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
ANOTHER training session is drawing to a halt in the shadow of the Tuscan hills and Everton’s players are in high spirits. On a picture perfect evening where the sun beats down, the sound of cheers and laughter fill the air as Blues assistant coach Jimmy Lumsden scampers around a five-a-side pitch trying to retrieve possession during a frantic game of piggy in the middle. It would appear that his younger tormentors have the upper hand until the wily old Scot bites back; whipping the ball off Phil Jagielka’s toes, Lumsdem follows up with a nutmeg to leave him in a crumpled heap.
Predictably, his deft touch ensures that the decibels are ratcheted up a few more notches and the new boy cannot fail to see the funny side. He may be the centre of a wind-up but that can mean only one thing – Everton’s first summer signing has quickly settled in. To say the past seven days have been frantic for Jagielka would be an understatement – from training with Sheffield United, he has flown to Scotland and Italy with only a quick stop at home in between – yet this affable young man has taken it in his stride. With his future sorted out and the worries of a protracted transfer now a distant memory, Jagielka is only looking forward and has no doubt that his decision to return to Goodison Park was the right one. Bolton Wanderers, Middlesbrough and Wigan tried to offer him a route back into the Premiership but once David Moyes registered his interest the race was over – and Jagielka could not be happier. “Everything was done and dusted quite quickly after the arbitration panel had made their decision and when I got here, a couple of the lads that I knew told me this was a sound squad,” said Jagielka, who arrived on Merseyside with a £4m price tag. “They were totally right. I haven’t had a problem settling in. Though there was a small period when it looked as if the deal might not get done, suddenly it was a snap of the fingers and I was here. It was a relief. “I wanted to play Premiership football and if Sheffield United had stayed up then I probably would have been there now but once their fate was decided, that was that. It was nice that everything was done so quickly. “I knew of interest from elsewhere but Everton were my number one choice all along. Just look at the size of the club. My mind was made up straight away. I am absolutely delighted to be here and hope that I can give something to the squad.” What position he ends up filling is a question that will be answered in the future but for the moment, top of his list of priorities is making sure he actually gets into Moyes’ starting line-up on the opening day of the new campaign. From being captain and arguably Sheffield United’s most influential performer, suddenly Jagielka is battling with established internationals to be noticed. Despite catching the eye at Everton’s Coverciano base last night, he feels he has it all to prove. “You look at the quality of the players here and then think about some of the other lads who still haven’t turned up yet,” Jagielka noted. “The squad might not be big on numbers but one thing that it has is an abundance of talent. “Hopefully I can sneak my way in there at some point. Joleon (Lescott) got signed for a big fee last summer but it took him a couple of games to get into the side. He is a good player and once he got in, it was hard to shift him. “I’m sure it will be similar for me. I will try my best to impress during pre-season and I’m sure the Gaffer knows what I can do. But if it doesn’t start off that way, I will just put my head down and make sure I change his mind. “Maybe the best place for me to start is on the bench because I can play anywhere! My preferred position would be central midfield but I think I performed better last year in defence. As long as I can get games under my belt, that’s the main thing. “If I have got to play right-back, left-back, centre-back, in midfield or even in goal, I’ll do it. I don’t mind at all. I just want to play for Everton and be part of a successful future. I’ve never played in Europe and that is something I’m really looking forward to. “Hopefully we will have a good run in the UEFA Cup. “If we can do well in the other cup competitions, that will mean we are likely to be playing two games a week for most of the season. Everyone is going to have a job to do.” It would be remiss, of course, to talk with Jagielka and not mention the moment Everton broke his heart a decade ago when releasing him as a schoolboy. Some would still feel bitter about the experience yet he feels that decision actually helped. Had he stayed on at the Academy, there is nothing to say he would be at Goodison Park now and if moving to Bramall Lane enables him to play a part in taking the Blues that next step forward, so much the better. “I wasn’t offered a contract back then and in a way, I thank them for that,” he said. “If I’d stayed here, I doubt I would have played close to 300 games. In that respect, I am grateful and it means a lot that they paid money to bring me back. It’s all worked out so well.”
David Moyes on striker watch for weekend friendlies
Jul 12 2007
by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES will keep a close eye on three of his strikers before finalising his plans for Everton’s first pre-season friendlies this weekend. The Blues boss intends splitting his squad in two for games against Bury and a Northern Ireland XI but will not make any final decisions about who goes where until he has overseen two more training sessions here in Florence. James Beattie was given a breather last night after complaining of tightness in his calf but it was just a precautionary measure and the former club record signing should be given the green light to figure. Andrew Johnson and James McFadden, meanwhile, continue to make good progress after spending the summer worrying about injuries and, of the two, it is the England international who is particularly thriving. Johnson missed the last three games of last season with ankle trouble and had an operation to remove a bone growth in May but he is now moving without trouble and Moyes is delighted to report that his £8.6m frontman is giving all the right signals. McFadden also is moving on the right lines, though the Blues medical staff are eager to take a softly softly approach with him after he broke the fifth metatarsal in his left foot in January. “AJ’s had quite a lengthy period of running throughout the summer, getting his ankle right and we are hoping that he will be a big hit like he was last year,” said Moyes. “He is training at full pace now with the rest of the squad and we are pleased with him.” Moyes has been giving his players double sessions for the past fortnight and will up their workload again when they arrive in the United States next week but he believes the hard graft will give them the best possible chance of hitting the ground running on August 11. “All the training and all the hard work is designed to help us get off to a winning start to the season,” added Moyes, who has only seen his side collect three points on the opening day of the season once in his five-and-a-half year reign. ”We’ve got several games before that but everything we do is geared towards the Wigan game. It is important to get off to a good start at home because we’ve got a couple of difficult fixtures after that.”
David Moyes: We won't blow transfer cash
Jul 13 2007
by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES today pleaded with Evertonians to be patient as he continues his painstaking search for new signings. With Phil Jagielka the only player to arrive at Goodison Park so far this summer, Moyes is well aware that some supporters are becoming increasingly worried his spending for this transfer window is over. Though the Blues boss has considered bids for, among others, Jason Koumas, Alan Smith and Kieran Richardson, the fact he does not have the kind of kitty at his disposal that some other Premier League managers complicates things. Moyes is reluctant to blow what money he does have on players who will not improve Everton’s squad just for the sake ofspending nor does he want to shop around in a “ridiculously” inflated market. So until the right man comes available, the manager will be keeping his cards close to his chest but has assured supporters he is doing everything that he can. “There are not an awful lot of players available in the positions that we are looking at this year and if one does become available, you will find they are trading at vastly inflated prices,” said Moyes, who has also been linked with Wigan’s Leighton Baines. “Clubs are having to spend really big. There has been some irresponsible buying and spending by some. “Personally, I think we have made one of the best deals of the summer so far to sign a player of Phil Jagielka’s calibre for the money we paid for him. He is going to be a really valuable asset to this squad. “I do not have a big enough pool of money at my disposal just to go and throw it about here and there. “I have got the ability to make one good signing and there is also the facility in place to bring in a couple of loan deals. “But when I make this signing, I have got to be really sure he will be an improvement on what we have got here. I want to get that main business out of the way before I starting looking at loan deals.” Jagielka, meanwhile, will make his first appearance in a Blue shirt against Northern Ireland tomorrow.
Joining the England B international in Coleraine, among others, will be Andrew Johnson, James Beattie and Lee Carsley, while Mikel Arteta, Phil Neville, James Vaughan and Victor Anichebe are some of the big names on duty at Bury.
One man who won’t be involved anywhere, though, is James McFadden. The Scotland international will have an x-ray on his foot on Monday to discover whether a hairline crack in the fifth metatarsal of his left foot has repaired itself.
“Faddy has been doing a bit better but the fact his foot hadn’t completely healed means he hasn’t be able to go as far as doing ball work with the rest of the squad,” said Moyes. “Until we see the results of his x-ray we won’t know much more. It might be another couple of weeks before he is ready for a game but we will just have to see how he does before we step things up.”
I know our fans are starting to worry - Alan Stubbs
July 13 2007 EXCLUSIVE by Dominic King with the Blues in France, Liverpool Echo WHILE Everton’s Premier League rivals have spent the summer forking out vast quantities of cash to strengthen their squads, prudence has been the watch word at Goodison Park. Some clubs appear to have a revolving door policy that has seen players going out as quickly as they have been coming in but, so far, Phil Jagielka has been David Moyes’ sole acquisition and there is no sign of that purchase being supplemented in the near future. Given that Gary Naysmith, Richard Wright and Alessandro Pistone have all left, it is hardly a surprise that some supporters – desperate to see last season’s success built upon – have started worrying Everton will get overtaken. They are feelings which Alan Stubbs understands completely.
Having watched events these past couple of months from a fan’s perspective as much as a player, Everton’s articulate vice-captain appreciates why a few are ready to press the panic button. It is, of course, far too early for such drastic measures yet there is no escaping that new faces will be needed before August 31 if Everton are going to be able to successfully juggle a UEFA Cup campaign along with the demands of a domestic season. According to Stubbs, performances over the past 12 months have shown that his beloved club are ready to make the next meaningful step forward, but he knows improvements to the squad must be made to stop those pursuers from snapping at their heels. “I suppose a lot of our fans are looking at other clubs and feeling slightly envious,” Stubbs offered. “They will see our situation and think ‘are we quiet at the moment because things are suddenly going to happen?’
“They will be wondering if there is going to be money spent or, for that matter, is there money to spend? I think they are the three things that hit everything on the head. We (the players) just don’t know. “I’ve had loads of supporters come up to me during the summer saying ‘come on, you must know who we are buying’ but my answer has always been the same. We are usually the last people to find out.
“We read in the papers like everyone else and see the names we are linked with. The only time, though, that we know we have signed someone is when a new player is introduced to us on the training ground. “I’m sure, deep down, the manager is quite happy with the squad at the minute. But in an ideal world, I think he would like to bring three or four more new players in. Whether he is going to be allowed to do that, I just don’t know. “That would be the ideal scenario for us, especially as we are going to be playing in Europe. It is there for us to try and push on. But if you look around us at the teams we are going to be competing against, they’re all getting stronger.
“Tottenham have invested a lot this summer again. Liverpool have got a few players in. You may think Bolton are in a transitional period because they have let a lot of people go but they have still brought a few in and they will be strong again.
“Newcastle have spent and will be up there challenging with us; West Ham are throwing money about as if it is going out of fashion. If it all comes off for them, they will all be pushing us for a European place next May.” For all the spending that is going on, though, Stubbs is quick to point out that taking an open cheque book approach does not by any means guarantee success; money, don’t forget, causes almost as many problems as it solves. Aside from that, Moyes does not need to radically overhaul his squad if he wants to be competitive come August 11. If anything, 35-year-old Stubbs feels this is one of the best groups of players Everton have had in the past decade. But a nip here and tuck there would really increase confidence in the ranks and if the manager is given licence to spend again, Stubbs would be bullish about Everton’s prospects. That said, if things stay as they are, there won’t be too many complaints “Sometimes clubs spend money but they struggle,” said a man who has made 180 appearances during two spells at Goodison. “Fortunately, you never know which way football is going to go. Throwing money at things isn’t always the answer. “When you are on the edge of being successful, it is important to do by adding in twos or threes. It’s difficult to add five or six players at a time and expect it to come off. Look at the way Manchester United have done things.
“Sir Alex Ferguson has pinpointed three players and brought them. That’s more or less it, unless they can get Carlos Tevez. That’s possibly the stage where we are getting to now because we have got the nucleus of a very good team.
“You look at things and wonder where we could strengthen to actually improve. Do you just buy to add numbers or do you bring someone in who will provide genuine competition and make the group stronger? “The manager will be looking at things that way and he is right not to bring just anyone in. We are all taking a step back and wondering who is going to come in next - and we do need a couple more players.
“Jags is the first and hopefully the finance will be there to let a couple more follow him. But if that doesn’t happen, so be it. We’ll just get on with it. We finished sixth last year and there is no reason why we can’t do it again.”
Goodison's doom-mongers aren't speaking for majority
July 13 2007 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
HAVE I missed something somewhere?
Last time I looked Everton ended the Premier League season in sixth place, successfully qualified for Europe, welcomed one of the brightest young striking talents in the country back into their first team squad – and unearthed a future England centre-half. So far this summer they’ve signed an influential and versatile player who was almost ever present for his club last season, and successfully off-loaded three squad members who managed a sum total of 16 league appearances between them in 2006/07. Yet still worried Blues ring this office to ask: “What the hell’s going on? Why haven’t we signed anyone? Now we’ve missed out on Richardson/Koumas/Nugent.” Delete as applicable. Are these fans representative of the broader mass of Evertonians? Are Everton, as one suggested, “a club in crisis”? (Yes, really). Or is it just a case of those with the most extreme views making their voices heard the loudest? David Moyes said last night: “ I have got the ability to make one good signing and the facility to bring in a couple of loan deals.” Quite when those deals materialise is surely his prerogative. Whether Moyes should have the backing to make more than “one good signing” is another argument altogether. With a new TV deal offering an extra £10m to every club this season, cash should be available. But Moyes doesn’t seem unduly distressed, other than correctly pointing out absurdly inflated fees for players like Koumas, Reo-Coker and Nugent, so let’s let him get on with it.
Everyone’s a trainee football manager today. But does the judgement of the average corner-of-the-bar boss really stand up to the same scrutiny as Moyes’ track record?
To those who still remain unconvinced, just cast your mind back five years.
The day before Moyes arrived as Everton manager, the Guardian newspaper carried the following stark story. “Nil Satis Nisi Optimum. Loosely translated the Everton club motto means that nothing but the best is good enough. It is now a joke.
“The history of the club was once one of passion, a superabundance of skilled players and a continual challenge for the leading trophies. But for the past 15 or so years it has been a sad tale of steady and seemingly unstoppable decline. Preston's David Moyes, reckoned to be the brightest young manager outside of the Premiership, would be well advised to give Everton the widest of berths. “Little money, few prospects. Even the shirt-sponsorship deal with One 2 One has not been renewed. With players such as Paul Gascoigne, David Weir, Kevin Campbell, Alan Stubbs and David Ginola in the squad, the most appropriate new sponsor would be Age Concern.”
Everton are now light years away from that miserable, yet accurate summary.
For Gascoigne, Weir, Campbell and Ginola, now read Arteta, Lescott, Vaughan and van der Meyde (well three out of four ain’t bad). Everton are not awash with cash, but the club transfer record has been broken twice in recent years. And that ‘unstoppable’ decline has been halted and turned around. Sure, there are still areas Everton can improve on. And the addition of UEFA Cup football means Moyes will need more bodies at his disposal next season. But I’d rather rely on him to decide when those bodies should arrive and who they should be. Not phone cynics.
A bottler? Now don’t Talks****!
LIKE Steve McClaren, you may believe Jamie Carragher is England’s fifth best centre-back. But only if you’re an idiot or Adrian Durham can you possibly believe he is a “bottler”. Carragher’s angry reaction underlined the ridiculousness of the charge – one made more in the spirit of an agent provocateur than that of intelligent analyst.
But it highlighted the inescapable fact that there is a widespread under-estimation of Carragher’s talents outside Anfield. While Kopites pencil his name second on their teamsheet every week behind Steven Gerrard, the England boss has preferred John Terry, Rio Ferdinand, Jonathan Woodgate, Ledley King, even Wes Brown in the past year. I believe much of the problem comes with the perception of Carragher. Put quite simply, he doesn’t stand 6’ 4”and weigh 14 stone. So he doesn’t look like a centre-half. It’s a misapprehension Gerard Houllier once held, a notion he was spectacularly disabused of at Goodison Park of all places. Evertonian optimism that day was based on Liverpool’s central defensive pairing of Igor Biscan and Djimi Traore. When Biscan limped off early on, it was replaced by a conviction Wayne Rooney and co would run riot. Salif Diao came on, endured an uncomfortable minute or two at centre-back, then switched places with right-back Carragher. He was outstanding, an immovable barrier, and has stayed a centre-back pretty much since. A lack of size has proved as much a disadvantage for him as it has for five feet 11 inch Alessandro Costacurta, or the classiest centre-back I ever witnessed, Colin Todd. Carragher is a better defender than Ferdinand, Brown and King, his fitness infinitely more reliable than Woodgate, yet he still can’t get a game at centre- back for his country.
Someone out there has bottled a decision. And it isn’t Jamie Carragher.
Gregg considers Wednesday buy-out
July 14 2007 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
FORMER Everton director Paul Gregg is considering a takeover of fallen giants Sheffield Wednesday. The leisure millionaire sold his stake in Everton last year, after a high profile fall-out with Bill Kenwright. Wednesday chairman Dave Allen explained: “We have been talking to Paul Gregg since January.” Gregg has gone through the due diligence process, in which a would-be buyer of a company is allowed to study its financial books. Allen added: “He is well satisfied with the accounts and knows that the business is in good order. But I can’t make him do the deal.”
Wednesday’s shares are widely spread and fragmented, making it difficult for any one individual to gain control. The Owls chairman added: “It is my firm belief that until 51 per cent of the shares can be got together – which guarantees control – then it’s going to be very difficult to make sensible progress.” With little interest in football – he attended only one match, a pre-season friendly, during his directorship of Everton – motives for Gregg’s interest in the former Premier League side are unclear.
The Apollo Leisure founder invested £7m in Bill Kenwright’s True Blue Holdings company to allow the buy-out of Peter Johnson’s shares in 1999. Gregg was a main driver behind the plan to relocate to the King’s Dock, but when that scheme collapsed he agreed to remain on the board, subject to “having no interest in football, and wishing to make a return on my investment within two years.” In August 2004 he made a high profile bid to wrest control of the club from Kenwright, citing support from former director Lord Grantchester – a claim the Lord later refuted.
True Blue Holdings was dissolved in December 2004 – and in October last year Gregg sold his £7m shareholding, reportedly for around £15m, to Planet Hollywood mogul Robert Earl.
Turner raring to get back between the posts again
July 14 2007 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
AS SO many sportsmen live by the maxim ‘you’re only as good as your last performance’ it’s no wonder Iain Turner is desperate to get back between the posts today. Eleven weeks have passed since Everton’s Scottish goalkeeper took part in a competitive game and Turner would be forgiven if he felt the timescale was double that. After all, he needs no reminding of what happened on Saturday, April 28.
That, of course, should have been the best day of his fledgling career so far; David Moyes had placed his faith in him and given him a start against Manchester United and all was going to plan until one crucial lapse of concentration. There is no need to dissect what happened after Turner dropped a catch in front of John O’Shea but it speaks volumes for this level-headed 23-year-old that he has not allowed that to compromise his progress. Nor does he shy away from talking about the incident.
Held in the highest esteem at Goodison Park, it should not be forgotten that Turner had previously alerted everyone to his potential with a terrific spell on loan at Sheffield Wednesday and was also given a new four-year deal as hopes for him are so high. Having caught the eye this week during the Blues’ training camp in Florence, Turner will be Everton’s keeper for the friendly against a Northern Ireland XI and is looking forward to starting afresh. “I’m absolutely dying for a game as Manchester United was the last time I played,” said Turner, a former Scotland Under-21 international. “We’ve been working so hard over the past couple of weeks that we’re just itching to play football.” And is he eager to stake a first claim for Everton’s number one spot. Moyes kept a keen eye on Turner’s progress at Hillsborough and will be running the rule over him from the dugout in Coleraine, watching with interest. “I loved my time there,” he continued. “They are a big club and I was playing regular football, which I was enjoying. I was playing in games that meant something because Wednesday were going for the play-offs and there was a proper team spirit.
“Manchester United could have gone better but the big thing was that the gaffer had faith in me to put me in. Hopefully I’ll repay him this season. The mistake should never have happened. Goalkeeper is a different position to anywhere else on the pitch.
“If I want to get the number one spot, I simply can’t make those mistakes. That was a basic mistake and you just can’t afford to do something like that if you want to be Everton’s goalkeeper. This is a huge club with a very talented squad. “The boys and the staff have been great since. It was something I shouldn’t have done and I had to get my head around that. All I can do from now is train hard and hopefully I’ll get another chance.” He could not wish to have a better opportunity than the one in front of him now. With Tim Howard still on holiday, Turner will also play against Preston and Real Salt Lake and only has to look at one of his peers to see the benefits of a good pre-season. It was at this time last year that Victor Anichebe staked a compelling claim for a first team place and though he appreciates how big a challenge it will be to dislodge Howard, he is more than ready for the fight. “Victor scored in nearly every game, didn’t he?” asked Turner, who cut short his break to ensure he was properly prepared for the new campaign. “There are plenty of friendlies in pre-season, so now is the time to get yourself on show and make a big push. “Pre-season is always a hard time of year for a footballer and not too many people like it, but it is essential to get a good one under your belt. We are all going to get a chance to play a few games.
“We’ve had a couple of good trips away so far, training has been good and the boys have settled back in quickly. Hopefully it will set us up for the year. I came back a couple of days early to do a wee bit extra and I just wanted to sharpen up. “I hope it’s going to be a big year for me. We’ll be playing in Europe and Tim is going to start as number one but I’m going to do everything I can to make it hard for him. All I can do is keep working away and keep my head down. “Tim is an outstanding goalkeeper and he proved last season that regular football was the only thing he needed. Look at what he achieved. And the good thing is that he continued it over the summer for America.
“We train together every day, we get on well and we work hard. There’s obviously banter for the shirt but there’s no animosity. We all help each other on and there is a great atmosphere, which brings the best out of us. Let’s see what happens.”
Beattie handed chance to re-launch Everton career
July 14 2007 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
JAMES BEATTIE will be given the chance to re-launch his Blues career today with David Moyes urging: Seize the moment. Everton’s former record signing will partner Andrew Johnson in a friendly against a Northern Ireland XI in Coleraine. Having shrugged off the troublesome calf problem that forced him to sit out a couple of sessions during this week‘s training camp in Florence, Beattie will be desperate to prove a point this afternoon. He never fully recovered from a sluggish pre-season campaign last year and eventually fell behind James Vaughan and Victor Anichebe in the pecking order after only managing to score two goals – both penalties – as Everton qualified for Europe. There has been persistent speculation that Blackburn Rovers are prepared to take him back to Ewood Park but Everton have not received any approaches and Moyes believes that the 29-year-old will have a role to play, provided he can recapture his sparkle. “Beats knows that it is vitally important that he starts the season as well as he possibly can as the young boys have put a lot of pressure on him,” said Moyes of the player, who cost £6m when he arrived from Southampton in January 2005. “He has been a wee bit down at times this week because of the niggling calf problem that he has had. He only wants to do his best and when he has trained, he has looked in really good shape. His attitude has been good. “But he knows the importance of the next couple of weeks. Joseph Yobo had a great season last year and was that because of how well he did during pre-season? That was the first time he had played in all our summer friendlies and you could see the benefit. “We have been pleased with how all the players have worked and the training camps have been really beneficial. Now we are looking forward to playing a couple of games.” Another man who will be in action in Coleraine with question marks hanging over him is Andy van der Meyde, who time on Merseyside has been disrupted fitness, form and personal problems. Everton would not stand in his way if they received a bid for him, but none have been forthcoming and it is looking likely that the former Holland international will be at Goodison Park for the start of the new campaign. To van der Meyde’s credit, though, he has knuckled down to work during the training camps in Scotland and Florence and caught the eye with a series of spectacular strikes during a shooting session at Coverciano on Thursday. Moyes, however, wants to see him produce the goods on a regular basis before offering a judgement. “Andy is training hard and showing the right attitude,” noted the manager. “He will be looked at the same as everyone else in training and if we feel he can contribute, we will think about it.”
Bury 0, Everton XI 1 (Echo)
Jul 16 2007
by Dominic King
THOUGH Victor Anichebe has started pre-season by losing his shirt and boots, he can rest assured that his increasing reputation remains firmly intact. As was the case 12 months ago, a moronic element of Everton’s travelling support decided it would be a good idea to storm the pitch at the final whistle and swarm all over the players who were on duty at Gigg Lane. Last year Andrew Johnson needed rescuing after having his kit ripped from him and the same thing happened to Anichebe, who needed to show a sprinter’s change of pace to escape the hordes and find sanctuary in the visitors’ dressing room. Thankfully, Anichebe’s performance in the preceding 90 minutes was the main talking point on a sunny afternoon in Manchester. While his pal James Vaughan celebrated his birthday with a goal in Northern Ireland, he should have got off the mark too Only a fine save from Jim Provett and the width of a cross bar prevented Anichebe repeating his two-goal salvo against the same opposition last year but his efforts left Everton assistant boss Alan Irvine purring. “Pre-season is a vitally important time, whether you are Victor’s age or whether you are at the other end of your career,” said Irvine, whose side won 1-0 courtesy of a Lukas Jutkiewicz goal. “A good pre-season makes you feel mentally and physically better. “But I felt Victor showed he is really growing up. He is maturing into a very good striker. “There are things he needs to get better at and he is not the finished article by any means. But he is getting there. “He and Vaughany have become very important players. “When people phone us and ask if we are looking for a young striker, we always say no because we have got two of the best young strikers in the country. “And we have also seen Lukas make a great start to his career here too.” Signed from Swindon Town in a deal that could eventually cost Everton £500,000 if he proves to be a success, the wiry Jutkiewicz looked a smart prospect and there was plenty to like about the way he took his goal. An intelligent change of pace created a yard in the penalty area and he made no mistake with his header from a Stephen Morrison corner; what was all the more impressive was the fact that Jutkiewicz bounced back from missing a glorious chance before the break. “Phil Neville said to him afterwards ‘Lukas that’s your first goal for Everton and we hope that it’s the first of many’ and we obviously all hope that,” Irvine said. “He did well. It was a good run to get free of his marker and he did well to put the header away. “He had a good chance in the first half after a fantastic bit of work by Victor. Sadly he didn’t take it but he knows that he will always get another chance.” With just the one first team fixture on Wednesday before the squad jet out to Salt Lake City, Jutkiewicz is unlikely to figure at Preston as players such as Phil Jagielka, James Beattie and Mikel Arteta should get a run out. That trio were all desperate to get their seasons up and running at the weekend but - given that infinitely more important tasks await in the future - Everton will not be taking any unnecessary fitness gambles before the big kick-off. “The whole point of playing the two games on the one day is that it’s maybe the only chance we get to give our senior players 90 minutes,” said Irvine. “In pre-season, you have to get as many minutes on the pitch as you can. “We have done this for the last couple of seasons now and we feel it is a good option. “We had a couple of injuries but we managed to get two teams out. We just hope those who weren’t able to play on Saturday will be ready for Wednesday night. “None of them have serious injuries but they have got those injuries that might become serious if we didn’t err on the side of caution.
“They were keen to play but they worked really hard for the past two weeks. It would be foolish to risk them now.”
BURY: Provett; Futcher, Morgan (Smith 68), Challinor; Parrish, Baker, Scott, Woodthorpe (Buchanan 64); Hurst, Broughton, Adams. EVERTON: Ruddy; Hibbert, Stubbs, Dennehy, Boyle; Kissock, Neville, Morrison, Vidarsson; Anichebe, Jutkiewicz.
Bury 0, Everton XI 1 (D,Post)
Jul 16 2007
by Ian Doyle at Gigg Lane
AFTER the final whistle blew on the pre-season visit to Bury last year, Everton’s new striker belatedly left the pitch minus his shirt and boots having been mobbed by the travelling Goodison support. On Saturday, the lack of similar hero worship meant latest forward arrival Lukas Jutkiewicz headed for the Gigg Lane dressing room still fully attired. But the 18-year-old was also in possession of something even Andrew Johnson couldn’t manage 12 months previously – a debut goal. Jutkiewicz was making his first appearance in an Everton shirt following his arrival from Swindon Town during the close season. It’s a deal that could eventually cost £1million should the teenager – who despite being born in Southampton, is eligible to play for Poland, Lithuania and the Republic of Ireland – continue to prove as successful at finding the mark as he was at the weekend. Jutkiewicz’s 56th-minute strike, a trademark poacher’s header from a corner by reserve player Steven Morrison, was enough to ensure victory for a mix-and-match Everton line-up on an afternoon when building fitness was the sole objective. And Jutkiewicz, handed a place up front alongside Victor Anichebe by assistant manager Alan Irvine, said: “It is always good to get a goal in your first game but there are a lot of things I could have done better. It was a bit of a scrappy goal but they all count. “I enjoyed playing with Victor – he is obviously a really good player, he has played in the Premiership and he is powerful and quick.” Indeed, Jutkiewicz should have netted during the first half, but sidefooted wastefully wide from Anichebe’s cutback after the Nigerian had powered his way through the Bury backline and around goalkeeper Jim Provett. Last year, of course, it was Anichebe who was the up-and-coming striker on show, netting twice to steal the goalscoring honours from Johnson. Having subsequently established his Premier League credentials, he was the stellar performer at the weekend before accepting his turn to be derobed by the Everton fans that spilled on to the pitch after the game. It wasn’t through a lack of effort that Anichebe failed to register, drawing a decent save from Provett in the second minute and striking the crossbar late on with a header. Bury’s eagerness to impress against Premier League opposition meant the game wasn’t a complete stroll for Everton, although a shot from striker Drewe Broughton blocked smartly by John Ruddy and a fizzing 25-yard effort flashed across goal by substitute Andy Mangnan was the nearest the League Two side came. With Phil Jagielka, Mikel Arteta, Leon Osman and James Beattie understandably not risked after suffering slight strains during the training camp in Italy during the week, it gave an opportunity to a number of Everton’s youngsters. Of these, John Paul Kissock, a Lionel Messi lookalike in terms of stature and haircut, was always busy and midfielder Morrison showed a few nice touches. The most encouraging performance, though, came from Paddy Boyle, who was playing his first 90 minutes in almost a year after having been sidelined by a serious back injury sustained while on loan at Norwich last September. “I was delighted for Paddy,” said Irvine. “If anyone was going to break down or tie up it was going to be Paddy. I made special mention of him in the dressing room because of that. He has been out for a long time. “I feel as if he is not quite as sharp as the Paddy before he got injured but that will come with some extra sprint work. “I am pleased he battled through because with 15 minutes to go he was starting to cramp up. I asked him if he was okay and he gave me the thumbs up so he deserves credit. BURY (3-5-2): Provett; Challinor, Morgan (Smith 69), Futcher; Parrish, Scott, Baker, Adams (Mangnan 59), Woodthorpe (Buchanan 64); Hurst (Rouse 74), Broughton. Subs: Stephens, Stepien, Grunday.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Ruddy; Hibbert, Stubbs, Dennehy, Boyle; Morrison, Neville, Vidarsson, Kissock; Anichebe, Jutkiewicz. Subs: Densmore, Spencer, Hall, Jones, Downes, Barnett. REFEREE: Jon Moss. ATT: 3,612. MAN OF THE MATCH: Victor Anichebe. Lively performance in attack.
Northern Ireland XI 0, Everton 2 (Echo)
Jul 16 2007
by David Prentice
PRE-SEASON football is no arena for serious analysis of a team’s prospects, personnel or even probable starting formation. But you can form some conclusions. And after just 45 minutes at a miserably dank Coleraine Showground on Saturday, the sizeable army of drenched Evertonians had already reached one inescapable conclusion. Andrew Johnson and James Vaughan will be Everton's first choice striking partnership next season. James Beattie, Victor Anichebe and James McFadden may have other ideas, of course, but the combination of pace, persistence and aggression which Johnson and Vaughan offer is compelling. And even in the first pre-season loosener of the summer their goal threat was evident. One quality which can be comfortably assessed during the glorified training routines which are pre-season matches, is a player’s fitness. And both Johnson and Vaughan, who ended last season on the treatment table, looked completely recovered. Johnson was as threatening as ever, while Vaughan scored the goal, on his 19th birthday, his selfless display deserved. Vaughan's return to the first team fold last term following his year-long injury lay-off was an unexpected lift for everybody at the club. The only concern his manager must have is in trying to channel that enthusiasm into areas where it hurts teams most. Vaughan will undoubtedly be suspended next season. Even in this low-key warm up he attracted the referee's attention more than once. And his willingness to throw his limbs in where it hurts is wonderfully reminiscent of a latter day Andy Gray.But it should also be remembered that Gray spent more time on the treatment table than he did on the pitch – and Vaughan caused a slight scare when he limped off holding his back with 20 minutes remaining. By then, the Blues were a goal to the good, after starting with predictable ring-rust. But happily the slow start did not apply to Joleon Lescott, back in his familiar central defensive berth. He produced a superb block to deny Portadown striker Keith Braniff, then Grant McCann lifted a close range shot narrowly over the bar after Turner had flapped a corner into his path. Everton quickly settled, however, and established a measure of control which should have seen the game won by half-time. Johnson and Vaughan combined like they had been playing together all their careers. Johnson dummied Valente's pass for his strike-partner, and his unselfishness paid off when the ball was played back to him. He drove a first-time shot past Taylor but saw the ball bounce back into play off the inside of the post. Nine minutes later, he fired in another effort, this time left-footed, which Maik Taylor smothered. Then he charged down the dawdling Webb, stole the ball from him and raced clear on Taylor who produced an excellent stop to divert the ball over the bar. It was a temporary respite. Andy van der Meyde clipped in the corner, Taylor dropped the cross under pressure from Vaughan, who recovered quickest to crash the ball into the net. Northern Ireland, fielding a young team augmented by a handful of experienced veterans like Steve Lomas and Taylor, improved considerably after the break. But the closest the home team came to a goal was when Toner retrieved a ball which looked like it was running into touch, cut the ball back to Shiels and his close range shot was athletically cleared off the line by Jack Rodwell. While the Irish enjoyed the bulk of the possession, the visitors still looked more dangerous on the counter. Vaughan miscued one header wide from Valente's cross, before he trudged off gingerly holding his back. He was replaced by 18-year-old Stephen Connor, who created the match-clinching second goal 12 minutes from time. Connor raced clear down a wide open right flank and picked out fellow substitute Kieran Agard, who confidently clipped home a left-footed finish over the advancing McGovern. The celebration was Beagrie-esque. While that moment was a triumph for youth, there was also a boost for the older brigade with van der Meyde completing a rare 90 minutes, and looking stronger as the much wore on in a more central role. We’ve been here before with the Dutchman, though, like last summer at Port Vale. More likely to play a pivotal role for the Blues next season are Johnson and Vaughan – and their influence is likely to be significant.NORTHERN IRELAND XI: Taylor (McGovern 62), Holden, O'Hara, Webb, McAuley, Lomas, Toner (McVey 84), Ward (Callaghan 68), McCann (Clarke 45), Braniff (Shiels 45), Hamilton (Morrow 45). EVERTON: Turner, Irving, Rodwell, Lescott, Valente, van der Meyde, Carsley, da Silva, Molineux (Harpur 83), Johnson (Agard 65), Vaughan (Connor 71). REFEREE: Mark Courtney of Dungannon. GOALS: Vaughan 27 minutes (0-1), Agard 78 minutes (0-2)
Northern Ireland XI 0, Everton 2 (D,Post)
Jul 16 2007
by Chris Beesley
BIRTHDAY boy James Vaughan believes that he can forge an effective partnership with any of Everton’s strikers as he put down an early marker for his own place in the side with the club’s first goal of the pre-season. Vaughan struck in the 27th minute against a Northern Ireland XI at Coleraine’s Showgrounds before fellow youngster Kieran Agard sealed the win 11 minutes from the end. The Birmingham-born frontman was paired in attack with record £8.6million signing Andrew Johnson on the day he turned 19 and carried out where he left off from last season, having netted on the final day of the campaign at Chelsea. Manager David Moyes has already refused to get involved in any bidding wars this summer having not being prepared to shell out £6m on Preston’s David Nugent with the man seemingly desperate for a move to Goodison having settle for a switch to Portsmouth instead. Such a price for a striker with no top-flight experience and a one-in-three strike rate in English football’s second tier was not deemed acceptable for Moyes and with Vaughan in such form, making up for lost time following an injury that kept him out for over a year between 2005-06, the Goodison manager may be proved right in being reluctant with his chequebook. Vaughan, who is vying for a starting berth along with Johnson, James Beattie and his close friend Victor Anichebe, is confident he can be successful whoever he is paired with. He said: “I like playing with AJ. But I like playing with all the strikers here and you just go out there and see what you can do. “I don’t know how I was voted man of the match but it was a good game and I enjoyed it. “It was the best way to celebrate (my birthday) really, with a goal and a good performance from the team. It was really enjoyable.” Vaughan was also relieved just to get back on the pitch after a week of hard graft at Everton’s early summer training camps in Scotland and Italy. He said: “All the running and things like that – no one really enjoys it but when it comes to the game everyone loves playing and that’s what we are here to do.” Manager Moyes, who gave Vaughan his first-team debut against a Crystal Palace side containing current strike partner Johnson in April 2005, revealed how he is delighted with the youngster’s progress. He said: “I think we all know what James Vaughan is all about. It is great when you say he is only 19 isn’t it? “It makes you realise how much he has done for someone so young and we just hope his improvement continues.” The game was played to mark the 25th Anniversary of the Milk Cup – the prestigious youth tournament held annually in Northern Ireland – which Everton have won twice in 1995 and 2002. Vaughan actually played for Everton in the competition four years ago and was given his chance to shine on this occasion as Moyes split his first team squad in two with a friendly being played against Bury at Gigg Lane on the same day. The game also gave new Northern Ireland manager Nigel Worthington the chance to run the rule over some his fringe players ahead of the resumption of their qualifying campaign for next summer’s European Championship finals.
From the off, the speedy Everton strike combination of Johnson and Vaughan posed great menace for the Irish defence but the host’s defence kept to their task gamely. The boys in green produced some good passages of play early on and Braniff saw a shot blocked by Joleon Lescott while McCann sent a chip shot just over the bar after Gareth McAuley laid off Toner’s corner. But Everton warmed to the challenge with Portuguese full-back Nuno Valente sending over a cross enabling Vaughan to brilliantly turn the defence and Johnson stepped up to crash a shot past keeper Maik Taylor only to be frustrated by the base of a post. Taylor dealt with shots from Anderson de Silva and Johnson in quick succession before having to come to the rescue again after Sean Webb’s error enabled danger man Johnson to unlock a shot.
Vaughan finally put Everton into a 27th-minute lead, rifling in a shot following hesitancy in the Irish defence as a succession of players failed to clear a van der Meyde corner. Northern Ireland used all their substitutes in the second period and Vaughan sent a header over and Shiels was only denied the equaliser when Carsley scooped a shot off the line. Everton settled their win with a goal from promising reserve team star Agard who beat McGovern from close range to push Stephen Connor’s inviting cross from the right over the body of the advancing keeper 12 minutes from the end.
NORTHERN IRELAND: Taylor, (McGovern 62), Holden, O’Hara, Webb, McAuley, Lomas, Toner (McVey 85), Ward (Callaghan 69), Braniff (Shiels 46), Hamilton (Morrow 46), McCann (Clarke 46).
EVERTON: Turner, Irving, Valente, Rodwell, Lescott, van der Meyde, de Silva, Carsley, Molyneux (Harpur 85), Vaughan (Connor 72), Johnson (Agard 66). Subs: Stubhaug, Akpan, Stewart. REFEREE: Mark Courtney (Dungannon).
ATT: 4,000.NEXT MATCH: Preston North End v Everton, Friendly, Wednesday 7.30pm.
33,000 Everton fans to vote on stadium
Jul 16 2007
by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON FC today announced details of a major ballot to gauge reaction to the proposed Kirkby move. Around 33,000 current and recent season ticket holders, shareholders and members of the club’s official fan club Evertonia can vote. The Blues enlisted the help of the Electoral Reform Society for the ballot in the first week of August, with the results due later that month. Chief executive Keith Wyness today said the aim of the ballot was “to ascertain the level of support” for the Kirkby plan. A partnership with Tesco and Knowsley council would see Everton leave Goodison Park, its home since 1892. Mr Wyness said: “As we promised at our AGM last December we will hold a ballot among our supporter-base to ascertain the level of support for a possible relocation to a new stadium in Kirkby. “There was never any question of us reneging on that promise. “The plan all along was to include as many of our loyal supporters as we could, and we believe we have achieved this. “We are confident that a very, very high percentage of those who have historically supported the club will now have the right to have their voices heard. “Anyone who has held a season ticket in the previous three seasons, along with anyone who has purchased one for the coming campaign, will be eligible, as will any shareholder who has not held a season-ticket since the end of the 2003-2004 season. “In addition all adult members of Evertonia during 2006/07 will also be eligible to participate. “Holders of complimentary season tickets are not eligible, and anyone who holds more than one season ticket in his or her name will be permitted just one vote, an industry-standard requirement and one supported by the Electoral Reform Society. “We have worked hard to ensure that as many genuine supporters as is possible will be able to participate and we believe that the final number of supporters who will be eligible will be in excess of 33,000, a figure which roughly, corresponds with the number of Evertonians at our Premiership fixtures at Goodison Park. “We anticipate that ballot papers will go out in early August which, with a three-week voting period, should provide us with a result towards the end of that month.” Everton will publish plans of the proposed new stadium and reveal the financial implications for the club in the weeks leading up to the ballot. The board of directors will make a final decision on the club’s future – guided by the results of the vote – soon after the Electoral Reform Society makes its findings known.
We will thrive on competition says Everton striker Anichebe
July 16n 2007Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
VICTOR ANICHEBE believes the fierce competition for a place in Everton’s starting line-up can spur the Blues’ strikers on to heady heights this season. Though the Nigerian international failed to get on the scoresheet during Everton’s 1-0 win at Bury on Saturday, he looked in tip-top shape and gave the impression that he has made significant improvements to his game. But Anichebe knows he cannot afford to rest on his laurels if he wants to be involved on the opening day of the new season, particularly as there are so many forwards vying for a place and pointed to the impact of new boy Lukas Jutkiewicz. The 18-year-old arrived from Swindon in March and capped his debut with the only goal of the game at Gigg Lane and Anichebe knows he has a fight on his hands. “I felt sharp in the first half but I burnt out later on,” said Anichebe. “I think that was to be expected though as the gaffer has done a lot of running with us over the past couple of weeks. But everybody has started well.
“But it’s important to do well in pre-season. I got a couple of goals against Bury last year and it was unfortunate that I couldn’t do the same again but the goals will come as the games go on. The thing I am concentrating on is getting as fit as I possibly can.
“Hopefully I’ll get a bit of a run out against Preston and then we’ll go to the States and get some really good training in. But there is a lot of competition to be involved on the first day of the season; there’s AJ, Beats, Vaughany, myself, Faddy and even Lukas now. “We’re all in it together and spurring each other on, it can only benefit the team. It shows that we are moving forward and, realistically, everyone is going to get a chance this year. Hopefully we are going to play a lot of games and it’s just a question of being ready.” With manager David Moyes splitting his squad in half - he took a team to Northern Ireland - the match at Bury allowed a number of youngsters to stake a claim and Anichebe was particularly pleased to see Paddy Boyle - sidelined for much of last year with a back problem - shine. “It was a good work out for all the lads,” said Anichebe. “It was a tiring game because it was a hot day but it was good to see some of the younger lads from the Academy come in and do so well, the likes of J-P (Kissock), Stephen Morrison and Lukas. “Lukas did extremely considering it was his first game and I was made up that he scored the goal. It was also great to see Paddy do so well on his comeback. I’m close to him and he has had a tough time while he’s been out but it’s a credit that he has played so well on his return.”
Everton: Why a Kirkby stadium is our only option
July 17 2007 by Nick Coligan, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON FC today revealed how their link with Tesco will effectively secure the club a new stadium for free. Chief executive Keith Wyness confirmed long-standing rumours that a controversial move to Kirkby would leave the club with hardly any debt, due to the complex terms of the proposed deal. The basic details are:
* A site off Cherryfield Drive with planning permission for a new stadium and shopping district would be worth £50m. * Tesco would pay this sum to Knowsley council and it would then be reinvested into the Kirkby town centre project – which includes the stadium. * Tesco’s contractor, which has football stadium exper-ience, would be drafted in and a 50,000-seater stadium worth £75m built for the discounted price of £50m because of its links with the supermarket giant. * Everton would have to fund the fitting-out of its new home, possibly costing £10m.
* But this cost would be recouped from the sale of Goodison Park, worth about £15m, and perhaps the sale of naming rights to the new ground. If the deal works out as planned, the Blues would be left more or less debt-free, compared with the huge deficit clubs like Arsenal were saddled with post-relocation. Mr Wyness, who also claimed a move would give manager David Moyes up to £10m a year extra to spend on players, described it as the “deal of the century”. He said: “Emotions will be running very high on this issue and I understand that. “As much as it would pain them to do it, fans will realise it is the only way forward. “Evertonians are very reasonable.
“It is an amazing deal, the deal of the century. If the heart rules the head we will never get an opportunity like this again. “There is no other site we have found that will involve the same level of contribution. “We will be left with very little debt at the end of it. The deal compares favourably with other clubs building new stadia.
“We will be getting a very nice stadium for a small amount of money.”
Yesterday the ECHO revealed how 33,000 Everton fans will be balloted on the possible move. The result is expected by the end of August – although it will not be totally binding on the club and the board will have the final say.
What will it bring?
AS well as new Everton stadium the project would completely transform Kirkby town centre, which would double in size. A new shopping district would be built on open land to the south of the existing town centre, including a Tesco Extra store, other high street shops, car parking and a new public square. The ground itself would appear just off Valley Road and current designs feature four distinct stands.
Why not Liverpool?
OPPONENTS of the proposed move to Kirkby believe there is no reason why Everton cannot stay within the city boundaries. Council leader Warren Bradley has offered two alternatives - in north and south Liverpool. But the club has pressed ahead with an exclusivity deal with Tesco and Knowsley council. It prevents the Blues discussing any other sites for the time being.
Cahill delays Everton return
July 17 2007 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
TIM CAHILL delayed his return to Everton last night, with a match-turning display as a second half substitute in Bangkok. Pre-tournament favourites Australia had been on the brink of an embarrassing early exit from the Asia Cup, following defeat by Iraq and a streaky draw with Oman. But Cahill came off the bench with Australia hanging on to a 1-0 lead in their must-win match against Thailand and set up three late goals – the last for Liverpool’s Harry Kewell who had also been left on the bench from the start. Australia will now face Japan in the quarter-finals in Vietnam on Saturday – effectively ruling Cahill out of Everton’s pre-season training plans until after the Blues return from the USA. The game will be a rerun of Cahill’s moment of World Cup glory for the Socceroos last summer, when he scored Australia’s historic first World Cup goal against Japan. Coach Graham Arnold rang the changes before last night’s game with Kewell, who had started the previous two games against Oman and Iraq, the most notable absentee from the starting 11. Former Everton Academy starlet David Carney was one of the players who came in. Australia eventually progressed on goal difference at Thailand’s expense. Cahill was introduced in the 73rd minute, and with Thailand pressing for an equaliser he raced on to a long ball down the left before picking out Mark Viduka to score. Cahill then crossed for Viduka again three minutes later and in the last minute passed for Kewell to slide the ball into the net.
Everton’s pre-season preparations continue with a friendly match at Championship side Preston North End tomorrow (kick-off 7.30pm). New signing Phil Jagielka, Mikel Arteta and James Beattie will all hope for a run-out after missing the weekend games in Northern Ireland and Bury with minor knocks.
Everton in for Swiss star Johann Vogel
July 17 2007 EXCLUSIVE by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON are on the brink of landing experienced Swiss captain Johann Vogel.
The 89-times capped midfielder is due on Merseyside in the next 24 hours for talks.
The 30-year-old joined Spanish club Real Betis from AC Milan last summer, but will be allowed to leave on a free transfer. Vogel started his career at Swiss amateur club FC Meyrin before establishing a reputation as a promising centre-back/right-back at FC Grasshoppers. He joined PSV Eindhoven in 1999 where he was converted into a defensive central midfielder, forging a hugely successful partnership with Mark van Bommel and Philip Cocu which took the Dutch side all the way to the Champions League semi-finals. In 2005 he was snapped up by AC Milan and spent a season in Italy, before joining Real Betis last summer. A versatile and experienced player, Vogel played in the Euro 1996 and Euro 2004 finals, and the World Cup finals last summer. Renowned for his ability to pass accurately and retain possession of the ball, Vogel will add much needed depth to David Moyes squad as well as bringing invaluable experience to the Blues UEFA Cup campaign.
‘Veteran’ Stubbs is just raring to get cracking again
July 17 2007 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
THREE games in seven days with a 16-hour flight in between can hardly be described as a gentle introduction to pre-season but, typically, Alan Stubbs wouldn’t have it any other way. Though he is now bracketed in the ‘veteran’ category, the prospect of playing for Everton in Europe for the first time means Stubbs is impatiently counting down the days to the new campaign; quite simply, he can’t wait to get going.
No wonder. Given that an ill-fated move to Sunderland in 2005 cost him the chance of representing the club he has supported all his life in the Champions League, it should not surprise that hanging up his boots is the furthest thing from his mind at present.
As he turns 36 in October, it is inevitable Stubbs will be asked during the course of the year how long he can keep playing top-flight football and he appreciates that decision will need to be made sooner rather than later. Yet it can wait for the moment. Having touched down in Salt Lake City on Thursday night, Stubbs will spend the next week intensifying his preparations for Premier League combat and is sure benefits will be reaped from a training break in Los Angeles. First, however, there is a friendly to be played against Real Salt Lake, a side who are currently making David Beckham’s new employers LA Galaxy look competent; bottom of the MLS Western Division, they have only won once in 15 games this year. Contests such as these are vital when looking at the bigger picture and Stubbs will be more than happy to get a run under his belt at the Rice-Eccles Stadium as he knows infinitely bigger challenges await.
“I’m really looking forward to it but more so for the fans,” said Everton’s vice-captain. “It has been a while since we have had Europe to look forward to, bar the brief Champions League adventure, and we have all learned. “Europe is a different type of football. But if we can get a bit of luck early on with a nice draw to settle us down, who knows what might happen. There are a few big teams in the competition this year and it is going to be a great challenge.” With Everton’s squad not exactly overburdened with numbers, Stubbs knows that David Moyes will need to chop and change things in order to keep his players as fresh as possible yet he bristles at suggestions that he will be allowed to take things easier. If anything, the former Celtic and Bolton defender will be anxious to show he is comfortable with the workload of training and playing in four competitions and if Everton do well, it will make the task even easier. “When you are a player, if you are winning and things are going well, it doesn’t matter how many games you play,” Stubbs said. “Even at my age, if we win on a Saturday, I’ll be ready to go again, no problem about that. “I want to be playing and I want us to keep winning. It’s far easier to play in a winning team than a losing one but I think it’s going to be different this season. “If I am playing every game but struggling to get over them, then the answer might be different. At the minute I feel good and am training like everyone else. I’m not getting any special treatment because of my age. “I’d rather it be that way. If I’m not up to it, I know there will be players waiting to take my place. I knew that from day one. As long as I am enjoying it, I will always want to play. Once you give up, you are a long time finished. “With the amount of games we will hopefully have, it’s going to be very hard for one individual to play in every game throughout the season. It’s hard enough to do that just in the Premier League, never mind taking Europe into account. “It’s going to be demanding but with the players we have here, the bigger the challenge the more we rise to it. That’s a great asset to have. It will stand us in good stead for any battles we get into.”
Listening to Stubbs talk about football, it is easy to see why so many believe he will be ideally suited to a role in coaching or management once the time does come for him to call it quits and spent a week last month studying for his UEFA ‘B’ Licence.
But with the ink still fresh on the one-year contract extension he signed in May, Stubbs is still very much a player and if he continues to excel at the heart of Everton’s defence that could well be the case 12 months from now. “I’ve started taking my coaching badges but if the season was to go as well as last year, then I’d say I will carry on,” said Stubbs. “I’ve looked at things but it’s a question I’ll only be able to answer next May. “I don’t want to just finish and have to concentrate on my coaching badges. I don’t really want to coach, I want to be a manager. But that is for the future. I’m finding things interesting at the minute and only time will tell what happens.”
City tempts Blues with three sites
July 17 2007 by Nick Coligan, Liverpool Echo
LIVERPOOL’S council leader today revealed the three sites he can offer Everton FC for a new stadium. Cllr Warren Bradley broke his silence over the identity of the locations he believes are good enough to keep the Blues inside the city boundaries.
* Liver industrial estate, off Long Lane, Fazakerley
* The “loop” off Scotland Road
* The Axis site, off Speke Road, Speke
Everton do not believe any are a realistic option at the moment because none have a commercial package in place to rival the Tesco deal in Kirkby. But opponents to the Kirkby move insist the Scotland Road site is viable, due to serious interest from cash and carry firm Bestway, which has asked a stadium developer to draw up a proposal.
Cllr Bradley also believes Everton could still redevelop Goodison Park, despite the club’s insistence earlier this week that it is neither financially nor practically possible.
The £150m, 50,000-seater Kirkby stadium would be built on open land off Valley Road, if Everton decide to go ahead with a plan with Knowsley council and Tesco.
But Cllr Bradley, an Everton season-ticket holder, revealed he has had 17 meetings since November last year with the club, Tesco, the Keep Everton In Our City (KEIOC) campaign group and other interested parties. He said: “I have identified sites which I firmly believe could be used to facilitate the new Everton. These sites are big enough for a commercial partner and we have spoken to major firms which are interested in them. “We have done a lot of work, and now it is up to Everton. We know we can deliver on them, particularly the loop site, which could be done very quickly. We were asked to find sites and we have gone a step further than we ever thought we would by identifying commercial partners as well.” The loop is currently home to Bestway’s cash-and-carry outlet. The firm today confirmed its interest in joining a deal with the Blues. Malcolm Carter, head of property, said: “We were recently presented with an opportunity to combine, allowing Everton to remain within Liverpool and come home to Everton, while acting as a significant catalyst for the area’s regeneration. “This would involve developing a new stadium and associated commercial enterprises, both within our existing location and on neighbouring sites.
“Bestway already has a design team in place and is in discussions with a stadium contractor about working up proposals which, from an initial assessment, are very feasible. “We know a football stadium will fit into our site and could work in this location. It would be the blue heart of the city.” Everton chief executive Keith Wyness today said he was well aware of the Liverpool sites – but insisted “deliverability is the key”. He said: “All along, that was the test that any site in the city has failed to meet.
“The commercial package we need from a development has never been produced.
“We have been in discussions about those sites with the council for some time, and there has never been the ability to put together a definitive package that we could rely on.” But opposition leader Joe Anderson said: “We have to discuss with the club and others how we can put together a package to persuade Everton that staying in the city is good for them.”
Everton launch raid for South African star Steven Pienaar
July 18 2007 EXCLUSIVE by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON were today hoping to make their second signing in the space of 24 hours by wrapping up a loan deal for Steven Pienaar. The South African international was due to hold talks with David Moyes and it is hoped business will be completed in time for him to join the Blues on their pre-season tour of the United States. Having started his career at Ajax, Pienaar is currently at Borussia Dortmund but has failed to settle in Germany and wants the opportunity to test himself in the Premiership like his good friend at Blackburn Rovers, Benni McCarthy. Though his favoured position is playing wide left, the industrious Piennar can fill a number of positions across the midfield and will be a valuable addition to Everton’s squad. Capped 20 times by South Africa, Pienaar sprang to prominence when he finished runner-up to Arjen Robben in the Dutch Young Player of the Year award in 2003. Providing all goes to plan, Everton will have the opportunity to turn the 25-year-old’s loan into a more permanent arrangement at the end of the new season. With Swiss midfielder Johann Vogel also set to complete his transfer from Real Betis - he arrived on Merseyside last night to put pen-to-paper on a two-year deal - Moyes will now be looking to make further signings before the start of the season; a new defender and striker are top priorities.
Meanwhile, Everton continue their preparations for August 11 with a friendly against Preston this evening but the manager is still to decide which players will be involved at Deepdale. Given that a number of his squad are carrying a few knocks and niggles, Moyes won’t be taking any unnecessary risks at this stage of affairs yet would like to give Mikel Arteta and Phil Jagielka a run out at some point, as both were forced to miss games at the weekend. One man who should play, however, is Andy van der Meyde and he is determined to get as much fitness work under his belt to give Moyes something to think about. “I’m feeling a bit tired but that is normal for pre-season,” he said. “The game in Northern Ireland was good for the conditioning but you don't need to look at the game itself. “A full pre-season is very important for me because you are working with the group and the conditioning gets better every day and that is important for not getting injured. “It doesn’t really matter who you play in pre-season because it is part of the fitness work. If you win or lose it is the hard work that counts.”
Wyness: Why our out of date Goodison will only get worse
July 18 2007 by Nick Coligan, Liverpool Echo
‘We think within the next 10 years there are going to be some very serious issues with regard to whether Goodison could even qualify for a safety certificate.’Everton Chief Executive Keith Wyness EVERTON FC today said they must leave Goodison Park if they are to remain a competitive Premiership force. Blues officials believe the club are falling behind their rivals commercially due to their historic home’s restricted capacity and lack of corporate hospitality. And they claimed the cost of redeveloping Goodison into a 21st-century stadium would be immense, making that option impractical.
Everton chief executive Keith Wyness admitted it would be a wrench to depart the scene of so many past glories if the controversial move to a new stadium in Kirkby happens. But he painted a stark picture of the club’s future if the difficult decision to leave Goodison is not made. Mr Wyness revealed the club had spent £500,000 this summer patching up Goodison, money which otherwise would have gone into manager David Moyes’ transfer fund. He said: “We think within the next 10 years there are going to be some very serious issues with regard to whether Goodison could even qualify for a safety certificate. “Parts of the ground would require huge investment just to remain open. “This summer, we are spending £500,000 – which would normally have gone into players – just to keep steelwork up to the required standard. “In an old stadium, that bill only gets bigger every year. We really are throwing good money after bad.” Mr Wyness also claimed Everton, with only 11 corporate boxes at Goodison, is falling behind their closest rivals when it comes to generating additional income from its home. He said: “Even at their best, we only have antiquated facilities, in terms of toilets and concessions for fans.
“Watching the match from the Lower Bullens is like looking through a letter box. There are 4,000 obstructed-view seats and our kitchen facilities were planned for a different era. “We are competing against new grounds. Manchester United have 169 boxes and we are falling behind clubs like Spurs, Newcastle and Aston Villa in those revenue areas. “We do rent out the stadium when it is not being used for a match, but we are competing against custom-built facilities.” Some opponents of the proposed move to Kirkby look across Stanley Park, see Liverpool FC’s planned rebuild next door to Anfield, and ask why Everton cannot redevelop their current site.
Mr Wyness said there were commercial and practical reasons why not.
He said: “We have looked at numerous schemes, but there is no plan we have seen developed by some of the best minds in the industry to make it feasible.
“Increasing the footprint of the site would involve serious acquisition of housing around the ground and possibly compulsory purchase orders (CPOs), which may not happen and take a long time. “The money to build new facilities would have to be raised without a substantial enabling development, like retail. “There is also the cost of disruption during the seasons when redevelopment is going on in an increasingly competitive Premiership. “I cannot see a way to finance a redevelopment of Goodison. We would have no asset to sell to raise money. “Stadium naming rights would be hard, because it would always be Goodison Park. “We would also end up with something that is not Goodison Park. Everything would change.” Within the next few weeks, more than 33,000 Everton fans will be asked for their views about moving to Kirkby in a mass ballot. Mr Wyness said he could not overstate how important the final decision would be. He said: “A new stadium can deliver decent transportation to and from games, decent toilets and catering, good views and a safe environment.
“It can deliver all those and retain a great atmosphere and have a personality of its own. “We have paid a lot of attention to the stadium in Cologne, which has one of the best atmospheres in the new generation of German stadia. “That is to do with acoustics and feeling close to the action. It is also a four-sided ground, rather than a bowl. “Most new stadia are bowl-shaped – but we would buck the trend and make it uniquely Evertonian.”
The top 10 Goodison games
1. Arsenal, May 5, 1928. Dixie Dean scores his momentous 60th goal of the season in a 3-3 draw.
2. Bayern Munich, Euro Cup Winners' Cup semi-final 2nd leg, April 24, 1985. Everton won 3-1 and went on to win the final.
3. Wimbledon, May 9, 1994. Everton avoid relegation with a dramatic 3-2 win.
4. Sunderland, January 30, 1935. Everton’s 6-4 win is described by experts as the FA Cup’s finest ever tie.
5. Borussia Moenchengladbach, European Cup 2nd round, November 4, 1970. The competition’s first penalty shoot-out saw an Andy Rankin save put the Blues through.
6. Man Utd, October 27, 1984. Joe Mercer describes the team as the best Everton side he has ever seen after they win 5-0.
7. Liverpool, FA Cup, February 21, 1991. Everton came from behind four times to grab a 4-4 draw.
8. Chelsea, April 29, 1978. Bob Latchford wins £10,000 from the Daily Express by scoring his 30th goal of the season in a 6-0 win.
9. Southampton, November 20, 1971. Alan Ball scores his last goal for the club in an 8-0 win. Joe Royle notches four and David Johnson scores a hat-trick.
10. Liverpool, September 9, 2006. Blues triumph 3-0 - the first time they have scored three against their rivals for 40 years.
Preston 1, Everton 1 (Echo)
Jul 19 2007
by Dominic King at Deepdale
SEVERED arteries, horrifying knee problems and now a dislocated shoulder – what on earth must James Vaughan do to get a change of fortune? Since bursting onto the scene in April 2005 with a goal against Crystal Palace that made him the youngest goalscorer in both Premiership and club history, Vaughan’s progress has been closely followed by supporters looking for a home-grown striker to idolise. Yet, just when it appears he is ready to take off and start realising his vast potential, fate deals him a wretched hand. Why? No player deserves to suffer such abysmal luck, particularly one so young. Not for the first time in his fledgling career, Vaughan left the field on a stretcher, but one hopes this proves to be the last. On an uncomfortable evening against his former employers, Preston North End, it was one sight David Moyes did not wish to see. As soon as he crumpled to the floor following a robust challenge from Youl Mawene, it was evident that Vaughan had suffered a serious injury and so, maddeningly, it proved. Almost certainly, it will be autumn before he is available for Premier League action. Keep your fingers crossed it isn’t any longer. Given the way he illuminated the final few weeks of Everton’s successful push for Europe, there is no question Vaughan would have been involved in the opening skirmishes. How, then, does Moyes fill the void? It is a question to which only the manager will know the answer, but with doubts over both James Beattie’s form and whether he will actually be at the club for the big kick-off against Wigan Athletic on August 11, it may mean Moyes is forced to go shopping.
Then again, the form in which Victor Anichebe has returned from his summer break will certainly provide Moyes with some solace; showing maturity and bursting with muscular aggression, the Nigerian international is ticking all the right boxes. With his side trailing in a game played out in a surreal atmosphere, both sets of supporters treated it like a feisty derby as opposed to a humdrum friendly – and Anichebe took the bull by the horns to grab a draw for Everton.
Lively and industrious throughout, there was much to like about the way Anichebe latched on to Mikel Arteta’s pass with 10 minutes to go and tucked a left-footed shot past Wayne Henderson. With better fortune, he might even have taken the match ball home. Given how close Anichebe is to Vaughan, though, the 19-year-old will have taken little satisfaction from his efforts against Preston; the only thing on his mind – as will be the case with so many Evertonians – is likely to be how long it will take his pal to recover. “He was looking fit and sharp and the reports that I had had back from Northern Ireland about Vaughany had been very good,” said Moyes’ assistant Alan Irvine. “He was really looking ready go. “Obviously, being away with England’s Under-21s has kept him a bit sharper than others and he was very much looking forward to the start of the season. We had actually offered him some time off rather than go to America but he was desperate to come. “He won’t be coming now. I couldn’t believe he had such a bad injury from the way he fell. There was nothing in the challenge. It’s very unfortunate given that he has also had a bad knee injury. It’s a setback, but that happens in football.” Vaughan’s injury aside, there was rarely a dull moment during the game but few would dispute that Preston looked the side likelier to win as they tore into Everton’s players straight from the off. Friendly? This was anything but. Former Liverpool striker Neil Mellor recklessly lunged in on Tony Hibbert with the game just nine minutes old and both players were booked after they became embroiled in a scuffle. That set the tone for Preston. They took the lead on 12 minutes when Simon Whaley crashed a drive past Tim Howard from the edge of the box and might have doubled their lead before half-time but the American international tipped over Mellor’s lob after he wriggled past Nuno Valente. Everton were lucky that the game wasn’t taken away from them early in the second half when Brett Ormerod hit the bar, but that seemed to spark David Moyes’ side into life. With Phil Jagielka coming on to make his debut, the Blues always threatened from set-pieces and the former Sheffield United man might have done better with a couple of headers. Happily, however, Anichebe popped up at the right time. “Our priority, with this being our second game, was all about fitness,” said Irvine. “It was very pleasing that a lot of our players got another 90 minutes. We are a bit stretched at the minute and we have worked them hard, but they showed their character.”
PRESTON (first half): Lonergan; Alexander, Pugh, Mawene, Davidson; St Ledger, Whaley, Nicholls, Nowland; Agyemang, Mellor. PRESTON (second half): Henderson; Jarret, Sedgewick, Hawley, Chilvers; Collins, Ormerod, Hill, Jones; Neal, Anyinsah. EVERTON (4-4-2): Howard; Hibbert, Stubbs (Jagielka 46), Lescott, Valente; Arteta, Carsley (Neville 46), de Silva, van der Meyde; Vaughan (Beattie 18), Anichebe.
Preston 1, Everton 1 (D,Post)
Jul 19 2007
by Chris Beesley at Deepdale
TEENAGER James Vaughan’s season is in danger of being finished before it has even started after the striker was carried off with a dislocated shoulder just 15 minutes into last night’s 1-1 draw at Preston. The injury, which came following a seemingly-routine challenge with home centre-back Youl Mawene, is expected to keep Vaughan out for months and overshadowed the debut of Phil Jagielka, Everton’s only major summer recruit to date, who made his first appearance in a royal blue jersey at senior level when coming on for Alan Stubbs at half-time. Vaughan’s close friend Anichebe, who has progressed through the ranks with him at Goodison, cancelled out Simon Whaley’s early effort but there are fears that Vaughan will be out for a significant portion of the 2007/08 campaign. The Premier League’s youngest ever goalscorer, who has already overcome a serious knee injury which punctuated his fledgling career for over a year, was paired up front with fellow teenager Victor Anichebe after the youngsters produced man-of-the-match performances on Saturday when Moyes split his first team squad in two for simultaneous games away against Bury and a Northern Ireland XI on Saturday. The progression of Vaughan, who produced several eye-catching performances last season, earning admiration for his wholehearted style, is likely to have been one of the main factors why manager David Moyes was unwilling to gamble a significant portion of his summer transfer budget on lifelong Evertonian David Nugent, who earned a place in the England team earlier this year on the back of his form with last night’s opponents. But with Vaughan now facing a considerable spell on the sidelines, the manager may be forced to rethink his spending strategy and could opt to step up his efforts to bring in a new striker such as longtime target Alan Smith who has been told that he can leave Manchester United. Last night’s game at his old club gave Moyes his first chance of the summer to name a ‘full’ senior side. Fresh from penning a new five-year contract at Goodison Park, Spanish midfielder Mikel Arteta, rested as a precaution on Saturday, returned to action while goalkeeper Tim Howard, who has also pledged himself to the club on a long-term basis, started for the first time since a belated return to summer training after helping the USA to lift the Concacaf Gold Cup. Last summer’s record £8.6million signing Andrew Johnson, who partnered Vaughan on Saturday, was rested from the squad due to a slight groin strain caused through fatigue. Everton fashioned the first chance of the game when Preston struggled to clear a Tony Hibbert cross from the right, after a short corner by Arteta. Joleon Lescott headed across goal for Vaughan to pounce but the youngster mis-hit from point blank range. Shortly after, Preston went close when Lescott struggled to read the bounce of a long punt upfield by goalkeeper Andrew Longergan and ex-Liverpool striker Neil Mellor headed just wide of Howard’s left hand post.
The burly frontman, who is rebuilding his career after failing to make the grade at Anfield and then falling victim to a series of injuries, was already being subject to his fair share of banter from the sizeable away contingent behind their custodian’s goal. Their numbers were such that they would probably be glad to know that they completely covered the image of former Liverpool manager Bill Shankly who was a long-serving player with North End before later finding fame reviving fortunes at Anfield. This ‘friendly’ match sparked into life just seven minutes in when Hibbert and Mellor fell out by the right-hand corner flag by Howard’s goal and became embroiled in some pushing and shoving. Alan Stubbs and Preston’s Adam Nowland joined in but were unpunished by Lancashire referee Neil Swarbick who booked the original two offenders. Seemingly fired up by the incident, the hosts took the lead 12 minutes in with a well-worked goal as Patrick Agyemang picked up the ball in the inside-left position and squared to Simon Whaley who curled a crisp shot past Howard from just outside the area. But while results in pre-season fitness builders are not the be all and end all, Everton suffered a crushing blow just five minutes later when Vaughan, who had looked so promising in Coleraine just four days earlier, fell awkwardly after a challenge with Mawene and was carried off with a dislocated shoulder to be replaced by James Beattie. oward had to be at his best to prevent Mellor from doubling the home side’s advantage when he tipped a powerful shot from the left-hand side of his area over the crossbar for a corner kick. However, after promising to become a match as hot as the Lancashire sunshine which was making a rare appearance, the second half of the opening period petered out with a high and not-so-handsome effort by Andy van der Meyde the only other incident of any note before the interval. Moyes’s only summer capture to date, Jagielka from Sheffield United, entered proceedings at the start of the second half at centre-half for Stubbs while Phil Neville replaced Carsley in midfield.
With only 16 players in his line-up, the same as for a regular Premier League fixture, the impending arrivals of Johann Vogel and Steven Pienaar seemingly can’t come soon enough and Everton’s lack of numbers were in stark contrast to their hosts, who despite plying their trade a division lower than Everton, were able to field an entirely different XI for the second half. One of their replacements with top flight experience, Brett Ormerod, produced a scare when he rattled Howard’s crossbar with Lewis Neal heading over from the rebound but at the other end, Moyes’s men started to carve out a couple of chances of their own. Beattie, who at least looks to have returned for this pre-season close to his ideal fighting weight, spun around Neal with his back to goal but his shot was straight into Wayne Henderson’s arms as was a well-connected header by debutant Jagielka from a right-wing Arteta corner kick. Building up play in a patient fashion, Everton went close again when Anderson de Silva threaded through to Anichebe but the Nigerian-born youngster saw both his initial shot and rebounded effort blocked by Henderson. Anichebe was not to be denied though and 10 minutes from the end he outmuscled the Preston defence, shrugging off several markers before slipping a low effort under Henderson in front of the delighted Everton supporters. Despite most of them having played the entire 90 minutes, it was Everton’s players who had the most running in the latter stages and they looked the more likely side to go on and win the game. Brazilian Anderson de Silva came the closest to clinching victory ahead of today’s trip to the USA when he nodded another Arteta corner kick from the right towards Henderson’s goal but his effort was well-held.
PRESTON (First half): Lonergan, Alexander, Davidson, Mawene, St Ledger, Whaley, Nowland, Nicholls, Pugh, Agyemang, Mellor. (Second half): Henderson, Jarrett, Sedgwick, Hawley, Chilvers, Collins, Ormerod, Hill, Jones, Neal, Anyinsah. EVERTON: Howard, Hibbert, Valente, Lescott, Stubbs (Jagielka 46), Arteta, Carsley (Neville 46), de Silva, van der Meyde, Vaughan (Beattie 15), Anichebe. REFEREE: Neil Swarbick (Lancashire) NEXT MATCH: Saturday, Real Salt Lake (a), KO TBA.
Phil Neville: Vaughan Injury such a cruel blow
July 19 2007 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
PHIL NEVILLE is keeping his fingers crossed that Everton’s “secret weapon” makes a speedy return from the injury that threatens to wreck his season. As the Blues’ squad jetted out for a 10-day tour of the United States this morning, James Vaughan was facing up to the realisation that he must spend another significant amount of time on the sidelines. The England under-21 international dislocated his shoulder in last night’s 1-1 draw with Preston North End. If the injury requires surgery, as expected, Vaughan will be missing for between three and six months. There is an outside chance that an operation will not be necessary, which would speed up Vaughan’s recovery time to six weeks, but the Blues are bracing themselves for the worst.
“We’re devastated for the lad,” said manager David Moyes. “It’s terrible news both for him and for us.” Neville spoke for the dressing room when he said:
“This is an unbelievable setback for Vaughany and we are all absolutely devastated for him. It couldn’t have come at a worse time for us or him. “He was looking so fit and sharp and the way he was shaping up, I thought he was going to be our secret weapon for the new season. “He has so much talent. He has the ability to surprise defenders with his pace and his finishing. “This was the first time in two or three years that he had started to get a full pre-season under his belt and I expected him to come out of the blocks flying. With a bit of luck, he will bounce back from this quickly as he is a fighter and has great strength of character.” Given that the squad had a threadbare look about it at Deepdale, the Blues will now have a couple of easy days before facing Real Salt Lake on Saturday. Leon Osman (thigh) and Andrew Johnson (groin) stayed at home yesterday but travelled with the rest of the squad, as does Joseph Yobo, who has just returned from holiday. James McFadden (foot) should start full training on Monday. Everton hope to sign Johan Vogel and Steven Pienaar in time for them both to be involved in the States but assistant boss Alan Irvine admitted: “I don’t know where we are at the minute with them,” he said. “We have been looking very hard to improve the squad.”
Johann Vogel waiting to make dream Everton move
July 19 2007 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON target Johann Vogel needs to thrash out an agreement with Real Betis before he can complete his dream move to the Premier League. The Blues had hoped to have a deal for the former Switzerland captain tied up by now but a wrangle over the amount of cash he is owed by Betis is stalling progress. Vogel, though, has made it clear that he does not have any alternative offers and has his heart set on becoming David Moyes’ second summer signing. “Everton would be a fantastic opportunity and it's a chance to play in the UEFA Cup,” said a man capped 89 times by his country.
“If I can reach an agreement with Betis, then I hope Everton will take me to England. I think the Premier League is a sensational league. “I think it’s probably stronger than the Spanish League. I am better equipped to deal with the demands of the English game. Having played for PSV Eindhoven and AC Milan during his career, Vogel undoubtedly has a touch of class about him and he hopes the prospect of regular football in the Premier League will open up another opportunity in the future.
“My dream is to play in Euro 2008 and if I leave for Everton and play regularly, then I've got a good chance of being involved,” said Vogel. "If I stay at Betis, it will be impossible. I am not in the club’s plans and the best outcome for both parties is if I leave.”
A golden vision for Everton
July 19 2007 by Nick Coligan, Liverpool Echo
THE developer of Celtic FC’s ground is being lined up to build Everton’s possible new home in Kirkby. Scottish construction firm Barr has been earmarked by Tesco as its No 1 option for the multi-million pound scheme, although a final decision has not been made. Everton and Tesco are currently working on plans for a new 50,000-seater ground next to Kirkby town centre, alongside a huge shopping district featuring a large new supermarket. Barr has been involved in building or renovating 15 football grounds, most notably Celtic Park and Southampton’s much-praised St Mary’s stadium. It also has an extremely close relationship with Tesco, completing more than 60 projects for the supermarket giant, from renovations to new-build superstores.
Closer to home, the company was responsible for building Warrington Wolves rugby club’s Halliwell Jones arena. A Tesco spokesman said: “Barr have worked for us before as a contractor, although we have never worked on a stadium and retail scheme together. “We are aware they have stadium-building experience and they have helped out with the design and format of the stadium.” The ECHO first revealed last year that club officials at Everton had spoken to Barr about the Kirkby proposal.
A spokesman for Barr declined to comment about its involvement. Everton are now preparing for a ballot of about 33,000 fans to canvass opinion about leaving Goodison Park for Kirkby after 115 years. They are due to unveil stadium designs shortly.
One of the country’s leading sports stadium architects today said the thinking that goes into creating new homes for football clubs has changed drastically since the likes of Middlesbrough’s Riverside stadium opened in the 1990s. John Barrow, senior principal at HOK, which designed Arsenal’s Emirates stadium, said: “In terms of ambience, it is more art than science. “Getting the right size is the first step, because the bigger the stadium, the more difficult it is to create atmosphere. “Every new stadium now has to have a huge amount of enabling development, so finding a site big enough is key. “A stadium is no longer just a stadium. Community facilities are vitally important, as are catering, dining rooms and bars. “What used to be a football venue is now a machine for making money.”
What the fans have to say
The Moog: I wasn't born in Liverpool but moved to the city just over 6 yrs ago. I've been a Blue all my life, had a season ticket for the last 12 yrs so I spent 6yrs doing a 200mile round-trip to watch a home game. I can't sign on to the Kirkby is not in Liverpool argument – I just cannot connect to it unlike so many others. It kind of makes me a hypocrite to say I would stop going for the sake of driving a few extra miles each week when I was prepared to drive more than 200 miles for a game. So why do I think Kirkby is still the wrong move for Everton? We've got a council offering land, a retailer offering to pay for a stadium, and we're not expected to give anything up?! I'm sorry but I think this is the start of the slippery descent towards Kirkby Blues FC, playing at the Tesco-Dome.
Monty Don21: They say a stadium could be ready by 2010, that's three years which again suggests that plans are at an advanced stage. Why bother with a vote Mr Kenwright when you have made your decision. No pan B? That's a good business strategy isn't it? Oh sorry, there was no Plan B after the Kings Dock fiasco or the NTL fiasco or the Fortress Fund Fiasco.
Brian Huyton: The Kirkby location and scheme are good, it is all the rest I hate, such as Fulham signing 6 to our 1, 7 if you include Simon Davies who we never replaced. Fulham (Capacity 19,250, average about 15,000) have a squad of 34 versus our of 25.
Java 2001e: Why bother with a vote Mr Kenwright when you have made your decision. The vote is to gauge fans’ reactions, not to make a decision.
Everblue: I have been attending Goodison Park since I was 7 years of age. If we move I will always have my Goodison memories, they will go with me to the end. Until someone at the club lets us know the so called other options they have looked into I say NO to moving out of the city. We are and will always be the FIRST AND GREATEST club in Liverpool and anywhere else for that matter.
Everton show fans a plan for the future
Jul 20 2007
Liverpool Daily Post
THE long-awaited images of what the new Everton FC stadium will look like will finally be published today. It is expected the club will release the images this morning, hopeful that their impact will help convince Evertonians that the proposed move away from Goodison Park is the right one. The reception given to the designs will be a crucial step in the club’s future. A positive response will help win more support for the proposed move to Kirkby, in a joint project with Knowsley Borough Council and Tesco. A fans’ ballot will take place in August when around 33,000 supporters will get the chance to vote on whether they agree with the ground move. In an exclusive interview with the Daily Post earlier this week, club chief executive Keith Wyness described the possible move to Knowsley as the “deal of the century”. It involves a £50m contribution from a retail development helping to pay the vast majority of the construction costs of the stadium. If fans back the plan and planning matters are sorted swiftly, the club could even be starting the 2010 season in its new home.
Revealed: Everton's £150m Kirkby dream
Jul 20 2007
The four stands are definitely a nod to tradition. I feel it is important that fans have a sense of place - Keith Wyness
By Nick Coligan, Liverpool Echo
THE ECHO can today reveal the first images of Everton FC’s planned new stadium in Kirkby. Club officials have finally unveiled what the Blues’ possible future home could look like, if the decision is made to leave Goodison Park after 115 years. They wanted to publish the pictures before about 33,000 Evertonians take part in a massive ballot to gauge their views about relocating outside Liverpool. The pictures confirm details originally revealed in the ECHO, such as the new 50,000-seater ground having four distinct stands, rather than being bowl-shaped. The stadium is also clearly branded “The People’s Club”, the phrase coined by manager David Moyes when he joined Everton in 2002. Club chief executive Keith Wyness revealed a host of extra details, including: The ground is modelled on the Cologne Stadium, one of the purpose-built venues created for last year’s World Cup. The corners could be filled in at a later date to increase the capacity to 60,000. It will cost £150m, rather than the £75m price tag reported this week. There will be space for 3,000 corporate guests, including 40 executive boxes. If the decision to made to move and no hitches arise, the stadium would open in August 2010. Mr Wyness said: “When we started this process, we strongly felt we did not want to go down the road of a bowl-shaped stadium, like many clubs had done before. “The four stands are definitely a nod to tradition. I feel it is important that fans have a sense of place. “We looked at the Cologne stadium in Germany and felt it had one of the best atmospheres of the World Cup stadia. “That was to do with the proximity of the seats to the pitch and the four stands, giving it a very clear and exciting atmosphere with great acoustics. “It also allows us the opportunity to expand by filling the corners and going up to 60,000 seats.” Mr Wyness also denied reports earlier this week that the Goodison replacement would cost £75m. Some fans had questioned the type of ground the Blues would get for that sum. He said: “The stadium will be in the region of £150m, which compares with the better-quality stadia built recently. “We compare reasonably favourably in terms of expenditure with the stadium component of Arsenal’s Emirates development, for example.” Although the body of the ground would be built by Scottish-based construction firm Barr, Everton have worked with architects KSS on its look and “fitting out”. KSS are best known for their work to transform the Commonwealth Games arena from a 41,000-capacity athletics venue into the 50,000-seater City of Manchester stadium. Mr Wyness said: “We have tried to create a well-thought-through stadium, finished to a very high quality. “KSS have a lot of experience. They have taken the structure from Barr and will finish it, make it an Everton product. “There are more toilets and catering facilities, as you would expect from a modern facility.“We will have more than 3,000 corporate places. We will put in around 40 new boxes and really excellent facilities for sponsors and fans at every level of support, including families.” The Cologne Stadium features four distinct “light towers”, which do not form part of Everton’s vision. Mr Wyness said: “We are still working on the iconography of the stadium. There is scope for us to improve on it and we are considering several options. “We have not gone for light towers, but have not ruled out something iconic.” Finer details of the stadium, such as its name and the name of its four stands, are still a long way from confirmation. But Mr Wyness confirmed the club would follow in neighbours Liverpool’s footsteps by selling the naming rights for its new home. He said: “We are working with a major naming rights company and it will be a big part of funding for the stadium. “It is a key revenue stream, and there has been a lot of interest in it already.” The Blues are hoping to have the stadium open at the same time as Liverpool’s. Mr Wyness said: “If everything goes to plan, we would hope to take possession some time early in the summer of 2010 to allow us to test events, allowing us to start then for the 2010 season. “But, even if we decide to go, that is subject to planning and we know that can be a tricky road.” Everton have teamed up with Tesco and Knowsley council to put together a £400m proposal for a huge piece of land off Cherryfield Drive, in Kirkby. Council chief executive Sheena Ramsey said: “The design presents fans with a stadium that could rank alongside the most prestigious sporting arenas.” As well as a stadium, off Valley Road, Tesco would double the size of Kirkby town centre by creating a new shopping district, based around one of the country’s biggest Tesco Extra stores on the site of All Saints High school. About 50 high street shops would be built around a 3,500-space car park, with 1,000 spaces for fans on matchdays. A new public square would be created on Cherryfield Drive, lined with a modernised bus station, new council offices, shops, restaurants and cafes. A central pedestrianised boulevard would also be laid from the existing town centre into the new shopping development, three times wider than current walkways. EVERTON FC have set up a special website where fans can find out more about the Kirkby stadium proposal. The club says the site will be regularly updated with the latest developments and comments from Blues officials. James Patrick: Evertonians are not going to desert the club in droves if it moves but this move WILL impact on the ability of the club to draw support from the next generation and generations after. The club will narrow its fan base rather than widen it. Football may now be all about the £ but if the issue of emotion and loyalty to place (i.e. the city of Liverpool) are disregarded by the powers that be then they have no concept of the game they are involved in. java2001e: The city of Liverpool boundaries are quite small. We get many of our fans from outside the boundaries now. These 'boundaries' don't mean anything. Man Utd play outside the city boundaries, has it been a disadvantage for them? Poster: What happens if the people of Kirkby do not want the ground? Does that mean the proposal is dead in the water? Did Tesco apply for land before EFC were contacted? Because if they had then it shows that Tesco are more dependent on EFC than they are making out because the application must have been rejected.
Alan Stubbs: US trip will boost Euro bid
July 20 2007 by Dominic King in Utah, Liverpool Echo
ALAN STUBBS is hoping Everton’s latest transatlantic trip will be the catalyst for the squad to launch another successful push for Europe. The Blues have been to America for pre-season training camps twice under David Moyes and each time they have returned home to thrive in the Premier League. UEFA Cup qualification was secured after the trip to Columbus and Dallas 12 months ago, while Everton went on clinch a place in the Champions League qualifiers following a stint in Houston in 2004.
Having been to Florence and St Andrews already since returning from their summer break, Everton’s players have lived a nomadic existence recently but Stubbs believes the benefits of such trips are enormous in the long run. “The staff and the players see a good pre-season tour as the catalyst for us to go on and do well,” said Stubbs after touching down in Utah earlier today. “I wouldn’t say it makes or breaks it but it is important to have a good pre-season. If you miss four or five days at this time of year, it’s like missing two or three weeks later on. It’s difficult to claw it back then.
“But we have worked really hard so far and things have been going well. Everyone seems to be getting through the sessions and fingers crossed it can carry on that way for the next few weeks.” The vast majority of Moyes’ squad have travelled here with the exceptions being James Vaughan, who was badly injured during Wednesday night’s 1-1 draw at Preston North End and Andy van der Meyde, who has stayed behind for personal reasons. With a game against Real Salt Lake tomorrow , light training sessions were scheduled for today but Alan Irvine says the workload will be increased once they arrive in LA. “We train very hard over here and the benefits of going away are that we can do extra training sessions in top quality facilities,” said Irvine. “We have also found that the lads have been able to bond very well when we are in America. They don’t think it’s too far to go. “We have some very good meetings as a group, where we try to set targets for the forthcoming season. We have found coming here has been a positive for us.” The Blues, meanwhile, were hoping to tie up twin deals for Johann Vogel and Steven Pienaar today. A medical has been booked for South African international Pienaar, but Real Betis are trying to squeeze money out of Everton before allowing their Swiss international to leave.
A free transfer was originally agreed, but Betis president Manuel Ruiz de Lopera is now insisting that Vogel can only depart on their terms. “He is transferable and there are options for him to go to another club,” de Lopera confirmed. “We have requests for him, everyone would like to loan him - but we want to sell. “Betis cannot be held to ransom, his representatives say he does not want to move to a club he does not like - but he cannot choose because he has a written contract and will go where Betis says.” Vogel, however, seems to have his heart set on a move to Goodison Park.
“Everton would be a fantastic opportunity and it's a chance to play in the Uefa Cup,” he said. “My dream is to play in Euro 2008 and if I play regularly for Everton then I’ve got a good chance of being involved.”
Revealed: Everton's £150m Kirkby dream
July 20 2007 EXCLUSIVE by Nick Coligan, Liverpool Echo
The four stands are definitely a nod to tradition. I feel it is important that fans have a sense of place - Keith Wyness
THE ECHO can today reveal the first images of Everton FC’s planned new stadium in Kirkby. Club officials have finally unveiled what the Blues’ possible future home could look like, if the decision is made to leave Goodison Park after 115 years.
They wanted to publish the pictures before about 33,000 Evertonians take part in a massive ballot to gauge their views about relocating outside Liverpool. The pictures confirm details originally revealed in the ECHO, such as the new 50,000-seater ground having four distinct stands, rather than being bowl-shaped. The stadium is also clearly branded “The People’s Club”, the phrase coined by manager David Moyes when he joined Everton in 2002. Club chief executive Keith Wyness revealed a host of extra details, including: The ground is modelled on the Cologne Stadium, one of the purpose-built venues created for last year’s World Cup. The corners could be filled in at a later date to increase the capacity to 60,000. It will cost £150m, rather than the £75m price tag reported this week. There will be space for 3,000 corporate guests, including 40 executive boxes. If the decision to made to move and no hitches arise, the stadium would open in August 2010. Mr Wyness said: “When we started this process, we strongly felt we did not want to go down the road of a bowl-shaped stadium, like many clubs had done before. “The four stands are definitely a nod to tradition. I feel it is important that fans have a sense of place. “We looked at the Cologne stadium in Germany and felt it had one of the best atmospheres of the World Cup stadia. “That was to do with the proximity of the seats to the pitch and the four stands, giving it a very clear and exciting atmosphere with great acoustics.
“It also allows us the opportunity to expand by filling the corners and going up to 60,000 seats.” Mr Wyness also denied reports earlier this week that the Goodison replacement would cost £75m. Some fans had questioned the type of ground the Blues would get for that sum. He said: “The stadium will be in the region of £150m, which compares with the better-quality stadia built recently. “We compare reasonably favourably in terms of expenditure with the stadium component of Arsenal’s Emirates development, for example.
The four stands are definitely a nod to tradition. I feel it is important that fans have a sense of place - Keith Wyness
Although the body of the ground would be built by Scottish-based construction firm Barr, Everton have worked with architects KSS on its look and “fitting out”.
KSS are best known for their work to transform the Commonwealth Games arena from a 41,000-capacity athletics venue into the 50,000-seater City of Manchester stadium. Mr Wyness said: “We have tried to create a well-thought-through stadium, finished to a very high quality. “KSS have a lot of experience. They have taken the structure from Barr and will finish it, make it an Everton product. “There are more toilets and catering facilities, as you would expect from a modern facility.
“We will have more than 3,000 corporate places. We will put in around 40 new boxes and really excellent facilities for sponsors and fans at every level of support, including families.” The Cologne Stadium features four distinct “light towers”, which do not form part of Everton’s vision. Mr Wyness said: “We are still working on the iconography of the stadium. There is scope for us to improve on it and we are considering several options. “We have not gone for light towers, but have not ruled out something iconic.” Finer details of the stadium, such as its name and the name of its four stands, are still a long way from confirmation. But Mr Wyness confirmed the club would follow in neighbours Liverpool’s footsteps by selling the naming rights for its new home. He said: “We are working with a major naming rights company and it will be a big part of funding for the stadium. “It is a key revenue stream, and there has been a lot of interest in it already.” The Blues are hoping to have the stadium open at the same time as Liverpool’s. Mr Wyness said: “If everything goes to plan, we would hope to take possession some time early in the summer of 2010 to allow us to test events, allowing us to start then for the 2010 season. “But, even if we decide to go, that is subject to planning and we know that can be a tricky road.” Everton have teamed up with Tesco and Knowsley council to put together a £400m proposal for a huge piece of land off Cherryfield Drive, in Kirkby. Council chief executive Sheena Ramsey said: “The design presents fans with a stadium that could rank alongside the most prestigious sporting arenas.” As well as a stadium, off Valley Road, Tesco would double the size of Kirkby town centre by creating a new shopping district, based around one of the country’s biggest Tesco Extra stores on the site of All Saints High school. About 50 high street shops would be built around a 3,500-space car park, with 1,000 spaces for fans on matchdays. A new public square would be created on Cherryfield Drive, lined with a modernised bus station, new council offices, shops, restaurants and cafes. A central pedestrianised boulevard would also be laid from the existing town centre into the new shopping development, three times wider than current walkways.
EVERTON FC have set up a special website where fans can find out more about the Kirkby stadium proposal. The club says the site will be regularly updated with the latest developments and comments from Blues officials.
What the fans say
James Patrick: Evertonians are not going to desert the club in droves if it moves but this move WILL impact on the ability of the club to draw support from the next generation and generations after. The club will narrow its fan base rather than widen it. Football may now be all about the £ but if the issue of emotion and loyalty to place (i.e. the city of Liverpool) are disregarded by the powers that be then they have no concept of the game they are involved in.
java2001e: The city of Liverpool boundaries are quite small. We get many of our fans from outside the boundaries now. These 'boundaries' don't mean anything. Man Utd play outside the city boundaries, has it been a disadvantage for them?
Poster: What happens if the people of Kirkby do not want the ground? Does that mean the proposal is dead in the water? Did Tesco apply for land before EFC were contacted? Because if they had then it shows that Tesco are more dependent on EFC than they are making out because the application must have been rejected.
magicjuan: As a Kirkby resident who has been around with petitions and questionnaires regarding a 24/7 Tesco/football stadium being plonked in the middle of a town centre and a greenbelt/residential area, I can categorically say that the vast majority of people I have come into conact with, DO NOT want it.
David Prentice: Blues ballot smacks of Hobson’s choice
July 20 2007 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
ACCORDING to a well thumbed copy of the Compact Oxford Dictionary which lies on the Echo sports desk, the word ‘vote’ means ‘an indication by some approved method, of one’s opinion or choice on a matter.’ Which is why I feel so uneasy about the forthcoming vote Everton are asking their fans to deliver. Because, as far as I see it, those same fans may well have an opinion on the matter, but they don’t really have a choice. Keith Wyness pulled no punches when he delivered his analysis of why Everton should relocate to Kirkby this week. And his summing up was the footballing equivalent of live or die. Move on or stagnate. “If we have to carry on at Goodison there will be serious issues. Attendance numbers will go down and then revenue will go down and when that happens you can’t compete.” “We think within the next 10 years there are going to be some very serious issues with regard to whether Goodison could even qualify for a safety certificate. “Parts of the ground would require huge investment just to remain open. It is the only way forward. The deal of the century. There is no Plan B.” Stark stuff. Live or die. Take it or leave it. It doesn’t sound like much of a choice – except that there is a Plan B. It’s just that plan B remains prohibitively expensive unless, and here’s the crux, Everton can attract new investment from somewhere – something they have singularly failed to do since NTL went bust seven years ago. Quite why Everton have struggled to attract investors since then is open to argument. Bill Kenwright has made it perfectly clear he is willing, ready and able to listen to offers. But the only solitary party to come forward since then has been the fabled Fortress Sports Fund, a vehicle clearly set up with the sole purpose of heading off Paul Gregg (happily successful). Those conspiracy theorists who claim Kenwright has actively swatted away would-be investors, like Rafael Nadal on speed, have missed one salient point. Not one person has ever made public their interest in investing in Everton. Perhaps the presence of one of the highest profile clubs in Europe half a mile away is frightening them off. Maybe it’s the prospect of having to plough so much money into a new stadium which is proving a bar. Whatever the reason, no-one wants to buy into Everton – not even our municipal administrators, led by a true blue Evertonian. I have a huge amount of time for Council leader Warren Bradley. He’s an engaging individual and a man I respect.
But when he asked this week: “I don’t see why Everton and Liverpool City Council cannot come forward with a stadium in this city,” he answered his own question with his very next breath. “What I’m not prepared to do is put a huge piece of land up and cost Liverpool council taxpayers £50m.” That’s fair enough. But if the council can’t afford to help Everton, and the club can’t afford to help itself, it looks like Tesco is the only alternative option. I have sympathy with the club’s plight and the fans’. But it doesn’t make it any easier to accept. Strangely, I don’t have any strong emotional attachment to Goodison. It’s 32 years since I first went there. But Goodison is a very different place now to the arena it was the Easter Monday afternoon Martin Dobson crashed a 25 yarder past Neil Ramsbottom into a goal at a two-tiered, half-mooned Stanley Park End. If Goodison is rebuilt and redeveloped it would cease to be the Goodison it is now. The ‘outside our city’ argument doesn’t ring true, either. Kirkby is a part of Liverpool in the same way that Alan Stubbs and John Conteh are Scousers.
I’m more concerned by Keith Wyness’s comments: “We will be getting a very nice stadium for a small amount of money.” When something sounds too good to be true, it’s because it usually is. The stadium images released today are undoubtedly impressive. But where will the £150m cost of the enterprise come from?
We’ve been told that Tesco will pump in £50m via Knowsley Council, and naming rights are likely to generate a further £10m, but that places an exorbitant real estate value on the Goodison Park site. I accept that Everton have to leave Goodison.
I accept that Kirkby offers an outstanding financial deal for the club.
But I don’t accept fans being railroaded into accepting it as the only possible alternative. That’s not a ballot. It’s a decree. And it’s one I feel uneasy about.
EARLIER this week I likened James Vaughan to a young Andy Gray.
Fearless, boundlessly enthusiastic, infectious and talented. David Moyes shares those views. “He’s the bravest player I’ve ever worked with,” he told me. I dearly hope Vaughan doesn’t start to resemble Gray in another capacity – the amount of time he spent on the treatment table throughout his career. Get well soon, James.
Ex-Everton director Paul Gregg set for Sheffield Wednesday takeover
Jul 20 2007 Liverpool Echo
FORMER Everton director Paul Gregg was expected to be named as Sheffield Wednesday’s new owner today. The Championship club, which has debts of around £26million, were due to hold a news conference at Hillsborough regarding the proposed takeover. Wealthy Irishman Sean Quinn has also been linked with the Owls, while Chinese businessman Carson Yeung shelved his interest to buy a significant stake in Birmingham instead. But Apollo Leisure group millionaire Gregg, who sold his shares in Everton last year after a high-profile fall-out with chairman Bill Kenwright, has been in talks with Wednesday for several months with a view to acquiring a controlling stake in the club. Owls chairman Dave Allen recently confirmed Gregg had completed due diligence, but was reluctant to proceed with a possible takeover because the Hillsborough board held just 32% of the club’s shares.
Allen said: “Gregg is well satisfied with the accounts and knows that the business is in good order.”
Everton ready to turn to Alan Smith
Jul 20 2007
by Ian Doyle, Liverpool Daily Post
UNLUCKY James Vaughan latest injury misery could re-ignite Everton’s interest in Manchester United striker Alan Smith. Vaughan underwent a scan and visited a specialist yesterday to discover whether he requires surgery on the dislocated shoulder suffered during the friendly at Preston North End on Wednesday. The results are expected later today, with Everton bracing themselves for the news the desperately unfortunate striker will be sidelined for at least three months. Should that be confirmed, it would most likely force David Moyes to dip into the transfer market to strengthen his striking resources given Everton’s extra workload in the UEFA Cup this season. And that may mean refocusing their energies on Smith, who was effectively given permission yesterday by United manager Sir Alex Ferguson to leave Old Trafford. Any move could cost up to £5million, with Smith having rejected a move to Middlesbrough for a similar fee earlier this summer. Smith will find himself surplus to requirements at United when they eventually complete their controversial move for West Ham United forward Carlos Tevez. And Ferguson said: “There is no doubt Alan did fantastically well for us when he came back last season. “He gave the team a spiritual lift and because he is such a fighter, he was an inspiration to us. But he is 26 now and he wants regular football. “I have to look at Manchester United in terms of how do we improve to get better. And when someone like Tevez comes along, it makes it difficult for people like Alan in particular. “The most important thing is that they are our players and we can make decisions when we like.” Everton touched down in Salt Lake City late last night to start their 10-day stay in the United States with talks over the prospective deals for Johann Vogel and Steven Pienaar still ongoing. Vogel will only be allowed to make his desired move to Goodison once he has reached a settlement with Real Betis, while the La Liga outfit having again hinted they want to be compensated for the player’s exit. Everton are under the impression the 30-year-old Switzerland midfielder is available on a free transfer, but Betis president Manuel Ruiz de Lopera now claims the Spaniards will have the final say on Vogel’s destination. “He is transferable and there are options for him to go to another club,” said de Lopera. “We have requests for him, everyone would like to loan him – but we want to sell. “Betis cannot be held to ransom, his representatives say he does not want to move to a club he does not like – but he cannot choose because he has a written contract and will go where Betis says.” South African attacking midfielder Pienaar, meanwhile, would arrive on a season-long loan from Borussia Dortmund with a view to a permanent move. And Goodison assistant manager Alan Irvine believes that being on the other side of the world will not prevent Everton from continuing their transfer business. “We’ve been looking very hard, but apart from Phil Jagielka it’s not happened yet,” said Irvine. “We’re trying very hard to bring in the right players and there’s no reason why we can’t do deals while we’re in America. “There’s a real chance of that, you can communicate from anywhere these days. You can also get anywhere quickly. “It’s quite a long way away but we’re not so far away that we can’t do some work by phone or even come back if necessary.”
Blueprint for new Goodison
July 21 2007 by Nick Coligan, Liverpool Echo
MEMBERS of Keep Everton In Our City (KEIOC) said they have always believed the club still has alternatives within the city boundaries. Spokesman Dave Kelly said: “We are not Luddites – we are not saying it is Goodison or bust. “We know it would be the economics of the madhouse to think Everton could go it alone without a retail partner or a major investor. “We have had a number of meetings with Cllr Bradley and identified other sites that we believe would tick all the boxes for Everton and give them scope to involve a retail partner. A new investor is another option. We keep hearing about rich Americans buying into clubs, but the exception seems to be Everton. “We have members out in Salt Lake City this week, raising awareness of KEIOC.” The group is now working with a structural engineer and a stadium architect on a proposal to redevelop Goodison Park. Mr Kelly said: “People claim Goodison Park cannot be redeveloped, and if supporters hear that often enough, they end up believing it. “That is why we have gone to the time, trouble and expense of getting a blueprint drawn up, to prove it can. “This is not something that has been scribbled on the back of a cigarette packet. It can be backed up with hard and fast blueprints.
“I was quite excited when ex-chairman Peter Johnson unveiled his plans for Kings Dock. The images of the ground were absolutely spot on and from a romantic point of view, it was on the banks of the bright blue Mersey. “My first impressions of this scheme is we have gone from an absolutely first-class stadium to a pre-fab in Kirkby.”
How new Goodison will be paid for
July 2007 by Nick Coligan, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON chief executive Keith Wyness today lifted the lid on the financial package which could see the club move to Kirkby. He said the Blues’ proposed new stadium would be worth £150m when it opens in August 2010 – but would cost significantly less. Ever since details of the complex deal with Tesco first emerged, Everton fans have questioned how the club intends to pay for their proposed future home.
The Kirkby town centre development – including the stadium, supermarket and other shops – is worth £400m. The ground would be worth £150m. But according to Mr Wyness, the stadium would actually cost closer to £100m. The ECHO understands:
Tesco would invest £50m into the stadium but this would buy £75m of work due to the supermarket giant’s close links with developer Barr. Everton’s contribution would then be around £30m-35m – recouped from the sale of Goodison Park and a multi-million pound naming rights deal for the new ground. The club would also create a contingency fund of about £15m to cover any unexpected costs – this might involve taking on a small amount of debt if needed. Mr Wyness said: “The contribution in cash terms from the project partner would be about £50m. “But we believe we would get about £75m of work for that £50m thanks to the relationships Tesco bring to the table. “If we were to put that work out to tender it would cost £75m. “On top of that, the club would have to pay the balance. Our contribution would probably be about £30m-35m funded through the sale of Goodison Park and stadium naming rights.
“Should there be additional improvements needed the club would have to take on a small debt. It means for less than £100m we are getting a stadium worth £150m.”
Everton unveiled their stadium images in the ECHO yesterday ahead of a ballot of 33,000 fans. The 50,000-seat ground would have four stands and be branded “The People’s Club”.
Mascot prize for Ball game
July 21 2007 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
SUPERSTARS of world football will pay tribute to Everton and England legend Alan Ball on Sunday, July 29. And you can be there on a VIP package – including travel to and from the MK Dons stadium – while your son or daughter is official mascot for the day, courtesy of the tournament organisers and the Echo. Tournament organisers have teamed up with www.alanballsoccer.com to donate three VIP tickets (two adults, one child) for the showpiece event between a team of former England stars and a World XI. The prize includes return transport from your home in Merseyside, Lancashire or Cheshire to the new MK Dons stadium, plus the chance to meet no less than eight former England internationals, three World Champions and a European Footballer of the Year. The international match will be preceded by an All-Star Showbiz match featuring a host of soap stars and personalities. The chidren’s winner of the competition will walk onto the pitch as official mascot. Anyone who signs up for The Official Alan Ball Soccer School five day course at Edge Hill University in Ormskirk, week commencing Monday, August 6, will automatically be entered into a draw.
To sign up for the Alan Ball Soccer Camp and enter the VIP competition, you can pick up applications by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, download directly from websites www.alanballsoccer.com plus www.alanballsoccer.co.uk or call into Maghull Community Association (MCA), 604 Green Lane, Maghull, L31 2JH today or tomorrow or Platinum Menswear in Maghull today. You can register and pay by either cash or cheque at the MCA by 9pm tomorrow. The official draw will take place ath the MCA on Monday at 8.45pm. The parent or guardian of the child attending the school will be given a welcome pack and inside will be a raffle ticket. The winner will receive the prize. The doors for receiving welcome pack will be open at 7.30 pm. Bar facilities will be availa
Everton seal 12-month loan deal for Steven Pienaar
Jul 21 2007
by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
STEVEN PIENAAR could complete a whirlwind few days by joining his new team-mates in Los Angeles next week after agreeing to become Everton’s second summer signing. The South African international agreed personal terms yesterday after passing a medical at Bellefield and once his application for a work permit is reviewed - no problems are anticipated - his 12-month loan from Borussia Dortmund will be rubber-stamped. Everton will have the option to buy the 25-year-old for a fee in the region of £2.5m if Pienaar impresses at Goodison Park but his immediate priority will be to stake his claims for a place in David Moyes’ starting line-up. If a work permit comes through in time, Pienaar - who has jetted back to Amsterdam to tie up a few loose ends - may be asked to board a plane again and fly out to LA, where Everton will be on a week-long training camp. A move to bring Real Betis midfielder Johann Vogel to Goodison, however, has hit complications and further negotiations will need to take place if Switzerland’s former captain is to join Pienaar on Merseyside. But for the good news that came with Pienaar’s impending arrival last night was immediately tempered with confirmation James Vaughan will be out for at least four months. Having dislocated his shoulder in Wednesday’s 1-1 draw at Preston, tests have shown that Vaughan requires an operation to rectify the problem and it will be Christmas at the earliest before he is fit again. It is a bitter pill for Moyes to swallow as the England Under-21 international had looked sharp in the opening weeks of pre-season and would certainly have played a part in the coming weeks and months. “It is a big blow to us and a big blow for the boy,” said Moyes, whose side face Real Salt Lake this evening in their latest friendly. “We hadn’t given him a summer break and the idea was for him to play the opening stages of the season and then give him a rest. “It is unfortunate and it means we will have to have a rethink. We are really disappointed for James, in fact I would go as far to say we are heartbroken. “It was such an innocuous challenge. But his style is to give his all. “Maybe he is a bit like Andy Gray and he is going to pick up injuries from being so brave. “But we do not want him to change his style and we hope he will come back as strong as he has done before.
“The good thing about the injury is that he will be able to run relatively quickly after the operation has settled down and will keep himself ticking over. “But we are all so desperately disappointed.”
James Vaughan can be our new Andy Gray - Moyes
Jul 21 2007
by Nick Smith, Liverpool Daily Post
AFTER provisionally adding Steven Pienaar to his squad, Everton manager David Moyes has urged James Vaughan to keep trying to emulate Andy Gray’s physical style despite his latest injury setback. Pienaar, 25, has agreed a 12-month loan deal with Everton, subject to being given a work permit. According to reports in Germany, Everton, who hope to hear whether Pienaar has been cleared to play in England early next week, have agreed to pay the Bundesliga club 500,000 euros (approximately £300,000) for the South African’s services next season with an agreement for a permanent transfer for an undisclosed fee if his spell in the Premier League is successful. Pienaar would provide a welcome addition to Moyes’s squad after Vaughan dislocated his shoulder on Wednesday and now faces an operation which could keep him out for four months. And the Everton manager has expressed his sympathy for the 19-year-old, whose short career has already been blighted by a series of injury setbacks. “It’s absolutely heartbreaking, but for him more than anybody, said Moyes following Everton’s first training session in Salt Lake City last night. “It’s a big blow to us but a bigger blow to the boy. The challenge that injured him was innocuous but we talk about him being like Andy Gray in a lot of ways. “If he changes his style he wouldn’t be the same player so we don’t want him to change his style. “We want him to stay very committed so from that point of view that’s what is in him and sometimes with that type of player injuries do come along. “But we are disappointed because he is a young boy who has made big strides.”
Vaughan scored three times in his last five appearances in the league towards the end of the campaign, which he finished as part of England’s European Under-21 Championship squad. His form continued when he scored Everton’s first goal of the pre-season friendly programme against a Northern Ireland XI on Saturday and Moyes was hoping to keep the momentum going in America before his freak injury at Preston the day before the squad flew out. “He looked as if he had really started well in his pre-season games so we decided not to give him any break because he had missed 12 to 14 months,” said Moyes. “So we brought him back, we got him in good shape and we wanted him to start the season well. “We may have needed to rest him a little bit into the season, that was the plan, but unfortunately we’re now going to miss him for the opening three or four months. “I can’t dwell too much on injuries because I have to be focused on the ones who can play but we can’t hide how disappointed we are for James. “He’s a boy who will miss this part of pre-season, not being away with the team – but this won’t be so long. Once he gets the operation set he will be able to keep running but I’m disappointed as we could have had him here.” Everton’s only game of the American tour is against Real Salt Lake at the Rice-Eccles Stadium tonight (kick-off 3am BST) after which they will fly out to their Los Angeles training camp for the remainder of the tour.
Moyes nets ace Pienaar
July 21 2007 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
STEVEN PIENAAR could complete a whirlwind few days by joining his new team-mates in Los Angeles next week after agreeing to become Everton’s second summer signing. The South African international agreed personal terms yesterday after passing a medical at Bellefield and once his application for a work permit is reviewed - no problems are anticipated - his 12-month loan from Borussia Dortmund will be rubber-stamped. Everton will have the option to buy the 25-year-old for a fee in the region of £2.5m if Pienaar impresses at Goodison Park but his immediate priority will be to stake his claims for a place in David Moyes’ starting line-up. If a work permit comes through in time, Pienaar - who has jetted back to Amsterdam to tie up a few loose ends - may be asked to board a plane again and fly out to LA, where Everton will be on a week-long training camp. A move to bring Real Betis midfielder Johann Vogel to Goodison, however, has hit complications and further negotiations will need to take place if Switzerland’s former captain is to join Pienaar on Merseyside.
But for the good news that came with Pienaar’s impending arrival last night was immediately tempered with confirmation James Vaughan will be out for at least four months. Having dislocated his shoulder in Wednesday’s 1-1 draw at Preston, tests have shown that Vaughan requires an operation to rectify the problem and it will be Christmas at the earliest before he is fit again. It is a bitter pill for Moyes to swallow as the England Under-21 international had looked sharp in the opening weeks of pre-season and would certainly have played a part in the coming weeks and months.
“It is a big blow to us and a big blow for the boy,” said Moyes, whose side face Real Salt Lake this evening in their latest friendly. “We hadn’t given him a summer break and the idea was for him to play the opening stages of the season and then give him a rest. “It is unfortunate and it means we will have to have a rethink. We are really disappointed for James, in fact I would go as far to say we are heartbroken.
“It was such an innocuous challenge. But his style is to give his all. “Maybe he is a bit like Andy Gray and he is going to pick up injuries from being so brave. “But we do not want him to change his style and we hope he will come back as strong as he has done before. “The good thing about the injury is that he will be able to run relatively quickly after the operation has settled down and will keep himself ticking over.
“But we are all so desperately disappointed.”
Real Salt Lake 2, Everton 0 (Echo)
Jul 23 2007
by Dominic King
FEW do razzamatazz like the Americans, so it should not have come as a surprise that fireworks, national anthems and a guard of honour signalled the start of the Xango Cup. For all the pyrotechnics, the enthusiasm of the organisers and the hospitality of the hosts, it begged a question: how can you have a tournament if two of the three teams competing don’t play each other? Of course, they like nothing better in this part of the world than hyping up any sporting event but the bounds of credibility were shattered beyond repair here by trying to attach a piece of silverware to what was simply an exhibition match. The ‘decider’ takes place at the Rice-Eccles Stadium tomorrow evening when Real Salt Lake face Boca Juniors, at which time Everton will be in Los Angeles working their way towards peak condition, not giving another thought to the competition. And for good reason. While the benefits of training at altitude will be reaped once they return to a more familiar climate, jet-lag, humidity but, above all, basic errors meant the Blues never really had a chance of winning their first ‘silverware’ of the year. Sloppy in possession and run-ragged at times, this perhaps was the effects of three hectic weeks catching up with Everton’s squad; from St Andrews to Salt Lake via Florence, the pace has been relentless since the players returned. For that reason all criticism must be tempered; yet, that said, there was no denying this was a very ’un-Everton’ performance, which both management and players acknowledged. Lethargic and lax, not once did they looked as if the ability was there to go up a gear nor was a chance of note created; David Moyes can also be thankful that Tim Howard - one slight blip apart - was in terrific form.
Real maybe bottom of MLS standings but they showed no signs of being overawed and, from the first minute, attacked with purpose and pace; he made severalexcellent stops to keep the score respectable. Contrast that to the Blues. When players board the team bus with long faces and barely muttering a word, it is because they know they were way off the pace and the trip back from Salt Lake to their base in the mountain resort of Park City was especially quiet. Howard may have had a much shorter vacation than his team-mates but the United States international was determined to put on a performance in front of his compatriots and he kept Everton in the game for longer than they deserved to be. “Tim made three or four very, very good saves,” noted Moyes. “Alright, he made a mistake for the first goal but was in great shape otherwise. The one thing that disappointed me was that we never made their goalkeeper do the same. “It’s not our style to sit back and think that we will have it easy. Yes, we had a hectic three days before the game but, saying that, the performance wasn’t what we expected at all. It wasn’t good enough. I expected us to be much, much better than that. “Maybe it is a wake-up call to make us realise we are all about hard work and commitment. There wasn’t enough of that. When we get to the final third at the moment we look as if we are struggling in terms of what direction we are going to go in.” With Andrew Johnson struggling with a groin problem, James Vaughan sidelined by a dislocated shoulder and James McFadden still not back in full training - he should get the green light to resume today or tomorrow - Everton‘s cutting edge was surprisingly blunt. Though Mikel Arteta tried to prod and probe for an opening, nothing happened in the first 45 minutes and it was a similar tale after the break; the closest they came to getting a goal back was when James Beattie shot straight at Nick Rimando from six yards. Poor Beattie. No matter what he tries to do, his barren run in front of goal won’t end. It’s all very puzzling - after all, the way he tormented Sol Campbell during a win over Arsenal in January 2006 is still fresh in the memory. Yet the last time he scored a goal in open play was in a friendly at Aberdeen last August and maybe he needs one to inadvertently go in off his backside or shoulder or somewhere else for the belief to return. Given his lack of numbers, Moyes needs him to come good. Fortunately for the manager, he has no such worries over his goalkeeper. While he misjudged the corner from which Real Salt Lake opened the scoring after 28 minutes, his performances was right out of the top draw; an early stop from Chris Wingert set the tone. Howard followed that up by tipping over a crashing shot from Andy Williams after he had turned Nuno Valente but from the resulting corner, he lost the flight of Alecko Eskandarian’s centre and Carey Talley powered in a header. He was powerless to stop the second which followed 60 seconds later, a mix up in midfield allowed Williams to wriggle free and play in Robbie Findley, who made no mistake as Howard raced out . That took Everton off their feet and effectively ended the game as a contest. For all their possession, a comeback was never on the cards and it was a relief the defence wasn’t breached afterwards. It wasn’t a night that will be recalled in a hurry and there is plenty for Moyes and his players to work on in LA in the next few days; hopefully the improvements will be there to see when Werder Bremen visit Goodison on Tuesday week.
REAL SALT LAKE: Rimando; Kipre, Pope, Torres, Wingert; Beckerman, Talley (Watson 61), Sturgis (Jimenez 61); Findley (Brown 45), Harris (Lancos 46), Samarian (Kirby 67).
EVERTON: Howard; Jagielka, Stubbs (Lescott 58), Yobo, Valente (Hibbert 58); Osman, Neville, Carsley (de Silva 58), Arteta (Anichebe 58); Johnson (Arteta 78), Beattie.
BOOKED: Neville (54)
Real Salt Lake 2, Everton 0 (D,Post)
Jul 23 2007
by Nick Smith at Rice-Eccles Stadium
THE big news in Utah at the weekend was the state’s emergency services struggling to combat a series of wildfires.
But news of Real Salt Lake’s achievements will be spreading just as quickly following their extinguishing of Everton’s pre-season preparations in the Rice-Eccles Stadium on Saturday night. It has to be said that the tourists – worn down by travelling, temperature and a shoddy patchwork of a pitch – seemed about as interested in football as the Salt Lake public, who even with the help of a suffering travelling support barely filled a quarter of the ground. “Those guys in blue – are they soccer?” Just one example of the queries that hotel guests and staff alike have been unashamedly quick to pose whenever one of said “guys” has been seen wandering around the lobby of their base in Park City. Another potential fan was keen for him and his son to watch Everton in training. On being told he’d missed their morning session but that he could still catch them in action the next day against his local side, the horror of having to pay to watch an actual game quickly re-arranged his face. By Saturday night the indifference had avalanched down the Salt Lake hillsides and into the Utah University facility – usually a venue for college American football – and the attendance would have been even less if the Everton contingent could have seen what was coming. All of which is a shame for those eternal optimists who believe that David Beckham’s arrival on the scene on the same night might suddenly cause an outbreak of soccer mania – it’s clear that Beckham mania is the only thing that will give the game the mass appeal the American authorities crave. But that’s their problem. As for Everton, they had their own to worry about, like adapting to not only the heat – still energy-sapping long after the sun had retreated behind the hills – but trying to combat a distinct lack of atmosphere. A steep cascade of empty benches is not the kind of surrounding that you get at Goodison and not the sort of thing that inspires a Premier League side to a top six finish. Yet against a side only good enough to muster one win from 15 games in the MLS Western Division they currently prop up, they just couldn’t lift themselves and were taken aback by a surprisingly capable and competitive outfit. They didn’t even live up to their ‘guys in blue’ status, the kits as ashen white as their faces by the time their opponents had got to work on their unbeaten pre-season record. Like Beckham, they limped their way through their Stateside friendly appearance but yesterday headed for Los Angeles in a considerably more low-key style than the LA Galaxy sideshow that is the former England captain. Two reasons for this. Firstly, the second leg of the tour is no Hollywood blockbuster, more a retreat to knit the players together and build a similar squad closeness that was so vital to the American adventure of a year ago. Secondly, nobody will be rolling out red carpets and blaring out the fanfares after Saturday’s 2-0 defeat to a club who you would have thought were rather ambitious to name themselves after Real Madrid until Everton, at times, made them look just that. They were second best in every department and even their one outstanding performance came from an American. As the star attraction from the home supporters’ point of view it was perhaps fitting that Everton gave Tim Howard the platform to demonstrate why the national side’s future is in safe hands. The 10 in front of him decided to swiftly exit stage left while he stole the show. It says a lot that he was his team’s best player throughout, but even he was culpable when the game turned in a two-minute period that was every bit as crazy as the half-time KFC giveaway sideshow. Howard, who had already made two good early saves, started the spell with a stunning near-post save from Andy Williams, who then planted the resultant corner on to the head of home skipper Carey Talley, who buried it into the empty net while Howard flapped. Everton were still waiting for any meaningful effort on goal at this stage and as the forward line and the midfield struggled for control and creativity. But that was nothing compared to the problems they were encountering at the back and they worsened when Real doubled their lead a minute after Talley’s opener. Phil Neviile was hurried into giving the ball away to Williams, who sent Robbie Findley racing clear of a static defence to round Howard and slide in the second. It was Williams’ lively display that was Salt Lake’s driving force in the opening 45 minutes and he almost made it three when Howard tipped his long-ranger round the post. For Everton, Lee Carsley was closer to a field goal in the American version of football with his effort but it was still his side’s best attempt of the half. In the second, things – as they surely will when the important action kicks off in less than a fortnight – did improve before the humidity again took its toll and threatened to allow Salt Lake to create a more embarrassing scoreline. Before then, Carsley was again close to pulling one back when he curled just wide, shortly before the always-lively Andrew Johnson forced Kyle Reynish into one save more in four minutes than the man he replaced, Nick Rimando, had to make in the previous 45. He then got down well to prevent James Beattie diverting Leon Osman’s low drive into the net but that was pretty much the end of his evening’s work. Howard had to be at his best again to prevent Alecko Eskandarian from making it three when he was one-on-one with his countryman and another great reflex save late on saved the embarrassment from deepening. But it was perhaps the way that Everton’s attempts to make a game of it were snuffed out late on that might provide more long-term worries than the earlier lapses to let in the goals. This was the time when the workload that David Moyes’s small squad have to cope with came to the fore as they faded against the freshness of a home side finishing the game with no names from the original team sheet. By contrast Moyes only had four reserves to call on and was grateful for the American approval rolling substitutions that allowed him to bring Mikel Arteta back on 17 minutes after he initially made way for Victor Anichebe. By then the game was long gone as a contest, ensuring a spectacular show of late fireworks was reserved for the Utah night sky rather than the playing surface below.
REAL SALT LAKE: Rimando (Reynish h-t); Kipre (Lancos h-t), Besagno (Stewart h-t), Torres (Kotschau h-t), Wingert (Forko h-t); Beckerman (Watson 61), Talley (Cutler 61), Williams (Harris 61), Sturgis (Jimenez 61); Findley (Brown 45), Eskandarian (Watson 61).
BOOKED: Kipre, Lancos.
EVERTON: Howard; Jagielka, Stubbs (Lescott 58), Yobo, Valente (Hibbert 58); Arteta (Anichebe 58),Carsley (Da Silva 58), Nevillle, Osman; Johnson (Arteta 75), Beattie.
REFEREE: Hidojet Tica
NEXT FRIENDLY: Everton v Werder Bremen, Tuesday, July 31, 7.45pm.
David Moyes wants positive reaction after Real Salt Lake defeat
Jul 23 2007
by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES was determined to turn a negative into a positive as Everton moved on to the second phase of their American tour today. The Blues’ boss had plenty to think about on the flight to Los Angeles after his side performed way below expectations against Real Salt Lake on Saturday evening. With the home side running out comfortable 2-0 winners, Moyes had no complaints about the final score and there were few crumbs of comfort from the game. Moyes, though, feels the workout will stand Everton in good stead for future tests and expects a positive response against Werder Bremen on Tuesday week. “We have got to give Salt Lake credit,” said Moyes. “But there were very few plusses for us other than we have had a really hard game. “The build up to the game had been a bit hectic but, in saying that, it’s not something we want to make an excuse about. . “It was a good competitive game, a tough game and it challenged us. We made a mistake for the first goal and it was an uphill battle from there. “We enjoyed it in Salt Lake. It’s a lovely part of the world and we have got some good training in. But we were beaten quite well and there are lessons to be learned.” Given they boasted one of the Premier League’s meanest defences last season, it It was a shock to see Real Salt Lake cause Everton’s rearguard so many problems. Joleon Lescott, however, point out that conditions were much different to what they are used to and is sure normal service will resume soon.. “It’s always disappointing to concede goals.We’d only been in Salt Lake for 48 hours and it takes time to adjust,” said Lescott. “The boys were finding it hard to breathe and as soon as you took a drink your throat was dry again but that’s something you have to deal with. “We can take the fitness aspect from the game, which is what pre-season is all about. You’re looking to get through without injuries.”
Tim Howard: There are no excuses for Real Salt Lake defeat
July 23 2007 by Dominic King in Los Angeles
TIM HOWARD today refused to make any excuses for Everton’s miserable performance against Real Salt Lake when he admitted: “It just wasn’t good enough.”
The United States international was the one member of David Moyes’ squad who showed anything like his true form during Saturday night’s 2-0 defeat and his efforts ensured the final score did not end up embarrassing. That, though, was no consolation to Howard and the only positive he took from the game was the fact nothing was riding on the outcome - he is well aware that the Blues will have to buck their ideas up quickly. With their next friendly not scheduled until Werder Bremen visit Goodison Park on Tuesday week, Moyes has plenty of time to iron out the glitches during a training camp in Los Angeles and Howard believes they can turn the Salt Lake result to their advantage. “You know, it just wasn’t good enough and we were poor,” said Howard, who made four outstanding stops at the Rice-Eccles Stadium.
“The only thing we can really take out of it was that it was a training exercise. It wasn’t a very good match. “If we could do it all over again, we would make sure it was a different outcome. It was poor. Thank goodness it was pre-season. We have no excuses. Yes we have travelled and we have been training hard but we are better than that. “We were heavy-legged, maybe we weren’t all in to it and there was a bit of fatigue. Sometimes these things come into factor, but we are not paid to make excuses and we all know that.” Howard has only returned to training last Monday after helping the US retain the Gold Cup last month but he is not feeling the effects of a truncated break and hopes his performance bodes well for the new campaign. “I was disappointed with the first goal,” said Howard. “We have been training at altitude and the ball drifted on me when I came for the corner. It has been doing that all week in training and I was worried about it. “They played really well and we certainly have a lot of respect for them as a team. Hopefully when results really count, we will be bang on form.” New loan signing Steven Pienaar cannot join up with his new team-mates in Los Angeles until his work permit application has been approved but Howard feels the South African international will prove to be a quality addition - and hopes more can follow. “I think the manager and the board are working towards that,” said Howard. “We have got Timmy Cahill to come back, Steven is coming and Jags (Phil Jagielka) is here too. They are exciting things and now we have to start putting it right on the pitch.”
Moyes wants positive reaction after defeat
July 23 2007 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES was determined to turn a negative into a positive as Everton moved on to the second phase of their American tour today. The Blues’ boss had plenty to think about on the flight to Los Angeles after his side performed way below expectations against Real Salt Lake on Saturday evening. With the home side running out comfortable 2-0 winners, Moyes had no complaints about the final score and there were few crumbs of comfort from the game. Moyes, though, feels the workout will stand Everton in good stead for future tests and expects a positive response against Werder Bremen on Tuesday week. “We have got to give Salt Lake credit,” said Moyes. “But there were very few plusses for us other than we have had a really hard game. “The build up to the game had been a bit hectic but, in saying that, it’s not something we want to make an excuse about. . “It was a good competitive game, a tough game and it challenged us. We made a mistake for the first goal and it was an uphill battle from there. “We enjoyed it in Salt Lake. It’s a lovely part of the world and we have got some good training in. But we were beaten quite well and there are lessons to be learned.” Given they boasted one of the Premier League’s meanest defences last season, it It was a shock to see Real Salt Lake cause Everton’s rearguard so many problems. Joleon Lescott, however, point out that conditions were much different to what they are used to and is sure normal service will resume soon..
“It’s always disappointing to concede goals.We’d only been in Salt Lake for 48 hours and it takes time to adjust,” said Lescott. “The boys were finding it hard to breathe and as soon as you took a drink your throat was dry again but that’s something you have to deal with. “We can take the fitness aspect from the game, which is what pre-season is all about. You’re looking to get through without injuries.”
Leon Osman ready to welcome arrivals
Jul 24 2007
Blue & Read
Liverpool Daily Post
LIKE many Evertonians, Leon Osman feels a few new faces won’t go amiss at Goodison Park during the transfer window. But the midfielder insists Everton’s squad still has the quality to continue the impr-ovement of recent seasons that has twice seen them qualify for Europe. Osman, now one of the longest serving members of the squad following Gary Naysmith’s switch to Sheffield United, says: “We have got a small squad, but it is a squad full of quality. “We all think we need more players to come in if we are going to be playing more games – but these are the players that have got us into Europe and I am sure we will do all right.” Osman is happy with the way the pre-season build-up has been progressing. He said: “We have come back to this pre-season pretty much where we left off last season so we are starting from a good place and hopefully we will progress.” Campbell is going nowhere HARRY REDKNAPP has insisted defender Sol Campbell is staying put. The former England international had been linked with Everton - possibly as cover for Joseph Yobo during the African Nations Cup + but at a press conference in Hong Kong Redknapp declared: "What could Everton or Newcastle offer him that we cannot - nothing!"
Fans: It’s our club & it’s our city
July 23 2007 by Mary Murtagh, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON’S proposed move to Kirkby has sparked a fierce debate among Blues fans. On Saturday the ECHO revealed details of the three city sites offered to the club in a bid to keep them in Liverpool. This revelation set fans talking on our website forums with fans split over whether to leave Liverpool or start a new chapter in the club’s history by moving to Kirkby. Here are some of the messages:
Gally said: Moving out the city will only give the Kopites the opportunity to say there’s only one big club in Liverpool. And I for one can not bear to hear that. Why should they stay and we have to move? This club was born in the this city and shouldn't be pushed out, not for anything or anyone. Granted we have to move with the times to compete and the proposed stadium pictures look brilliant. However, let’s look at sites in Liverpool. This is my city and I want to watch my club here. Let’s not kid ourselves, Kirkby is not in the city of Liverpool, end of story. Wyness, stop making excuses and look at the council’s proposed sites.
Toffee lady: Yeah I like it. Still, I’m sure there is land inside Liverpool we could use.
Matteusjack: If that’s Keith Wyness's deal of the century stadium, that’s a no vote from me then.
Bigduncsmissus: One thing is for sure, they seem pretty intent on making this work and unless Liverpool City Council come up with something fast... But hey this is Everton and things never run smoothly! Unlike our neighbours, nice easy take-over (when the Yanks finally came in for them), lots of money and new stadium on the way. Oh and in Stanley Park no less. The same Stanley Park we were told we couldn’t build on which almost makes me want to shove two fingers to Liverpool City Council and go to Kirkby.
CanPayWontPay: Well I don't care how good or bad it looks I'm not going. End of story. efc67: We are not moving outside the city. You cannot class Kirkby as outside. What would have happened if they had found a site on Southport Road? Would every one still be up in arms? That’s in Sefton. It’s good that the council has found three sites in Liverpool but will Tesco want to build on any of those sites? Everton can’t afford it on their own. Just imagine a new stadium and debt free. That’s the way I’m looking at it.
flimzee: You can say it as many times as you want, but I live in Kirkby and it is outside the city. As far as having a new stadium and being debt free: you must have a wonderful imagination.
BigRichy: I have been an Evertonian for over 47 years living only yards from Goodison Park. I watched them redevelop the ground for the World Cup, Stanley Park stand and various other schemes over the years. However, Everton FC does not have the finances of their own to redevelop the existing ground and if they leave it will be a death knell for some but not all businesses. Money will play a huge part in the outcome and the council should do its utmost to keep the blue football team having given a plot of land belonging to the people of Liverpool to the Reds without any shouting.
Born a blue and always will be. NIL SATIS NISI OPTIMUM.
bradley02: I have to say that this place looks great! It will be the place for us to reclaim our glory days! I agree that going to the footie is about socialising with your mates before the game and having a beer after it. But I'm sure they have thought about that. If not then we can just pop in to the Tesco. They have quite a good selection you know.
Phil Jagielka: We’ll be all right for season’s start
Jul 24 2007
by Nick Smith in Los Angeles, Liverpool Daily Post
PHIL JAGIELKA is confident that Everton will step up their game when the season kicks off following their lacklustre defeat to Real Salt Lake on Saturday. The versatile midfielder – no longer the only new acquisition on the American tour after Steven Pienaar jetted in to Los Angeles on Sunday – reckons the altitude training in Utah will pay dividends for the squad in the long term. Although the humidity took its toll drastically when Everton were stunned by the MLS Western Division’s bottom team in their only friendly of their US visit, Jagielka predicts the squad will be in ideal shape for the Premier League kick-off against Wigan Athletic on August 11. And in the cooler climes of a so-far overcast California, this week’s daily double training sessions are designed to help Everton reach that physical peak. “A lot of athletes, like boxers, come to high altitude to train to get themselves fit so hopefully we’ll feel the benefit when we go home,” said Jagielka. “In Salt Lake, when you started running round your throat was hurting but I think that’s why we went there. “It’s frightening how close the season is now. I’ve been here a couple of weeks but it feels like a couple of days it’s gone so quick. “When we get back it’s only about 12 days until the start of the season so we’ve got a few more games to go and once we get them sorted we should be peaking at the right time.” Jagielka started at right-back in the Rice-Eccles Stadium and completed 90 minutes as Everton slumped to a 2-0 defeat. But the circumstances surrounding he game has also given the £4million signing from Sheffield United confidence that supporters shouldn’t read too much into the performance. Jagielka said: “I spoke to my old youth team coach from Sheffield who is out in America, and he told me we played on what’s normally an astroturf pitch for American football. “So they had to lay the grass on top of it and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that’s not the best way to lay a football pitch. “We’ve not been out here very long, the pitch wasn’t the best but we should be professional enough to put in a better performance. “I suppose we can make up all the excuses in the world – at the end of the day we didn’t play very well. “It would have nice to win 2-0 or 3-0 but a few of us got 90 minutes under our belt.” Off the pitch, however, where Jagielka is thriving as he settles in to life at the club that released him as a junior. And the way he had integrated has only added to the conviction that he made the right choice when he decided to stay in the Premier League following Sheffield United’s relegation. “I don’t particularly feel like the new boy because everybody has been absolutely brilliant with me,” he added. “It was a bit strange at first being the only new signing but the boys have been fantastic. “Last season, the England B call-up was the reality check that I hadn’t done too badly in the Premier League and the gaffer, pretty much as soon as we went down, was interested in me. So as soon as that was sorted the deal was more or less done and dusted. “We had to wait for the arbitration but I was with the lads about 24 hours the verdict had been made.”
Pienaar started training with Everton at LA Galaxy’s Home Depot Centre training ground yesterday, but his one-year loan from Borussia Dortmund is still subject to his work permit – the application for which was submitted on Friday – being granted. Everton will tonight switch to the main LA Galaxy stadium for their late training session.
Johnson: I never thought of leaving
July 24 2007 EXCLUSIVE by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo in Los Angeles
WEST HAM have spent money this summer as if it has been going out fashion but there are still things Eggert Magnusson’s riches can’t buy. Though the Icelandic entrepreneur had designs on signing Andrew Johnson, his pursuit of the costliest player in Everton’s history was doomed to failure from the start.The reason was refreshingly simple. Despite putting together a package that would have trebled his current salary, Johnson was not in the slightest bit interested. Settled on Merseyside and idolised by supporters, this England international believes he has found his spiritual home. Leave? There is more chance of accurately predicting this weekend’s lottery numbers than Johnson walking away from his current lot and he is adamant things at Goodison Park are about to get even better for him and his team-mates.
Magnusson might have been able to put a couple of more zeroes on the end of his bank account but that would have been all. In terms of history, heritage and potential, there is no comparison between Everton and West Ham and Johnson knows he is at a unique club. That is why has worked so hard during his summer break to ensure he hits the ground running when Wigan - another of his former suitors - become Goodison’s first visitors on August 11. The ankle problem which curtailed his first season with the Blueshas been rectified thanks to surgery and his appetite for goals is bigger than ever; now Johnson is desperate to play a part in helping his side open an exciting new chapter. “I came here because of the fans, first and foremost, because you play in front of 40,000 week in, week out,” said Johnson. “The games that stick out last year are Tottenham away and Liverpool at home and playing in Europe for them will be fantastic. “This is one of the biggest clubs in British football and when you see the likes of Mikel Arteta and Tim Cahill sign new deals, it shows that we mean business. “The club aren’t going to mess about. We are going forward and I am so happy here. “There is no way I’m leaving. No way at all. It never, ever, crossed my mind when I saw the stories. It was just speculation and you can’t stop that.
“I suppose the speculation is good because it means you are doing your job properly.
“I must have been doing something right last year. But the speculation was there for Tim and Mikel, too. It was silly. Stupid figures and stupid money. But it hasn’t unsettled any of us. “Tim and Mickey are sorted and I’ve got four years left. I’m not going anywhere.” Given he has now fully immersed himself in the Everton way, it would be reasonable to expect Johnson to surpass last season’s return of 12 goals and he, too, will be disappointed not to better that figure. Though he found the net on seven occasions in the first couple of months, injuries and a crisis of confidence in the run up to Christmas stopped the £8.6m man in his tracks, so it is significant to hear him say now that he could not be in better shape. “Pre-season is so important because if you miss out then, you’re playing catch up all year,” said Johnson.
“I’d had the ankle problem for two years, so it was always the intention to get it looked at this summer. “If I caught it wrong in training, it would be sore for a while afterwards. So there were a couple of games last year when I didn’t really feel as if I was 100 per cent. I had niggles all year. I missed games because of my ankle, my knee and hamstring. “Hopefully, if I can block them out this season, I’ll get a bit more consistency to my game and I obviously want to score plenty more goals.
“The boys are fantastic here and I feel really at home here. It’s the same for Joleon Lescott. “We’ve been here for a year and bedded in. We had decent seasons last year but we are both looking to get better again. “There is more to come from us and if I can keep injury free, you will see a lot more from me, all being well.”
Having looked sharp in his early paces - the only thing missing from Saturday’s display against Real Salt Lake was a goal - keeping Johnson fit for the season will be absolutely essential for David Moyes, whose side have four competitions on the agenda. That, inevitably, means Johnson will have even more pressure on his slender shoulders from the moment the first ball is kicked but he is comfortable with that; if anything it should help spur him on. Listening to Johnson speak, it is quite clear he will not be resting on his laurels nor does he expect qualifying for the UEFA Cup to be the zenith of Everton’s ambitions. Individually and collectively, now is the time to be pushing on. “I scored 12 last year which was okay, considering the injuries,” he said. “But the fans will expect more this time. “I know expectations will be higher but I expect more from myself, too. I’m going to raise the bar and I want to get off to the start I had last year. “If that happens, the goals will hopefully follow. We have set a standard now. We finished sixth and got into Europe, which was a fantastic achievement. “But we won’t be expecting anything else this time. We’ve added to the squad and we want to do well.” And if Johnson discovers his Midas touch, there is every chance that will happen.
Steven Pienaar will boost options, says Moyes
Jul 25 2007
by Nick Smith, Liverpool Daily Post
DAVID MOYES has expressed his delight at landing Steven Pienaar and is confident he can boost competition for places across the midfield. The South African international finally completed his one-year loan move to Everton yesterday after his work permit was granted. And manager Moyes reckons Pienaar has the versatility and creativity to make an impact Goodison. “He was one of the best midfielders in Europe a year,” said Moyes after yesterday’s early training session in Los Angeles. “But things didn’t go as well at Borussia Dortmund so we kept an eye on it. He gives us a option similar to Mikel Arteta and Leon Osman, he is that type of player and he has the kind of all-round game that I want to get into our midfield areas. “He can play in the centre, on the left, or on the right, so we will see how it works out for us during his loan.” Pienaar, who signed a three-year deal with Dortmund on a free transfer from Ajax, would be available permanently for a fee in the region of £2million. But Moyes said: “We are not talking about permanent deals yet. We are talking about one year to see what he can do for us, as with all loan signings. But we are happy to have added to our midfield because we do have a shortage of numbers in there.” Following yesterday morning’s session at LA Galaxy’s Home Depot Center training ground Everton returned in the afternoon for a light practice match against a team of local footballers. After missing two days’ training with a dead leg, James McFadden recovered to take part.
Steven Pienaar: I want to stay at Goodison
July 25 2007 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
STEVEN PIENAAR today set his sights on winning an extended stay on Merseyside after Everton helped fulfil a long-standing ambition. The South African international officially became a member of Everton’s first team squad yesterday after his work permit application was approved and wasted little time in drawing attention to his talents. Having seen his loan move from Borussia Dortmund rubber- stamped in the morning, Pienaar got on the scoresheet as Everton beat Ventura County Fusion 4-0 in a behind- closed-doors friendly in at Home Depot Center. Though it was only a glorified training session, Pienaar showed enough to suggest he will add something to Everton’s squad next season and the former Ajax flyer hopes to convince Moyes in the next 12 months to make the arrangement permanent. “I’m looking forward to it because the Premier League is a much bigger competition than in Germany or Holland,” said Pienaar. “I will have to give my best for the team and fight for my place. “At this moment, that is my goal. I want to get into the starting eleven.
“Coming into a club that had such a good time last season is going to be very difficult for me in terms of getting a starting place. “But every player must fight to get into the team and I am certainly up for the challenge. “Then, hopefully, if I can do well there is a chance for the transfer to be made permanent. “That would be perfect if that happens but first I must fight and show that I am capable of playing in the Premier League.
“I had a couple of other options. Manchester City were keen, even before I went to Dortmund, but I thought personally that it was bit too soon to move over here.
“I’d had a difficult year with a lot of injuries. Now I feel I am ready.”
What the elfin Pienaar lacks in stature, he more than makes up for in determination and ability and has built up an excellent reputation – he was runner-up to Arjen Robben in the 2003 Dutch Young Player of the Year award – thanks to the consistency of his displays. Last season, however, was difficult for him in Die Bundesliga as Dortmund struggled and he believes a change of scenery will help him recapture his sparkle. And now he wants to repay the faith Moyes has bestowed in him. “Spending a season in Germany was good preparation, as the league was tougher than it had been in Holland,” said Pienaar. “I got regular football from the start and played the first eight games for Dortmund. Then things were difficult.
“But this is a fresh start for me. You don’t just want to come here to be a number.
“I’ll be fighting for my place and giving my best for the team and for the supporters. They are the people who really matter. “They pay their money for tickets and they want to enjoy it.” Leon Osman, Joleon Lescott and James Beattie were the other men on the scoresheet as Everton – who are in the hunt to sign Wigan Athletic’s Leighton Baines – barely had to get out of second gear to win in a canter. Osman, in particular, caught the eye.
Nuno Valente will blossom next season - Moyes
July 25 2007 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES today backed Nuno Valente to reap the benefits of Everton’s strenuous tour of America and show his true colours next season.
While few would dispute that Valente has great quality - Champions League and UEFA Cup winners medals back that up - things have not gone according to plan for him since he has been at Goodison Park. Injuries have restricted him to just 43 appearances, and the last time he was sighted in a Blue shirt during the most recent campaign was against Blackburn Rovers before he was sidelined with knee, calf and thigh problems. Valente, however, has caught the eye during training sessions in Salt Lake City and here in Los Angeles and Moyes, who paid £1.4m to sign the 32-year-old from FC Porto two years ago, believes hard work holds the key to reviving his fortunes. “Nuno has come back in really good condition,” said Moyes. “Missing pre-season has a really big impact on the remainder of the year for a player and perhaps we didn’t appreciate just how much the World Cup took out of him. “He looks as if he is determined and he will come on a lot for being involved just now. “He really needs five or six weeks training to get back up to the speed of Premier League football, but he is already half way there. “Once he gets up and running, he will be fine. You have to remember he is Portugal’s left-back and is a very good footballer. Portugal are one of the best sides in Europe and he is a regular for them, so that shows his quality. “We know that he has had his injury problems in the past but we hope they are behind him and that he can go and play a part for us this season. He is a popular lad in the squad and let’s hope we see the best of him.” Tim Cahill, meanwhile, is expected back at Bellefield tomorrow following Australia’s exit from the Asia Cup and, provided he comes through training without problem, could be involved in next week’s friendlies with Werder Bremen and Crystal Palace. The 27-year-old was used mainly as a substitute in the Far East and the Blues don’t envisage him having any problems catching up with the work the rest of the squad have done in the States.
Leighton Baines linked with Everton approach
Jul 26 2007
By Nic Smith in Los Angeles, Liverpool Daily Post
REPORTS in the North East suggest that Everton have finally entered the chase for Leighton Baines – and hope to get him for less than the £6million Sunderland offered after the player rejected a move to Roy Keane’s newly-promoted side. It is now believed that Everton have offered £4.5m and may hope that the player’s desire for a new challenge on his native Merseyside will force the Latics to accept an inferior bid. Everton manager David Moyes has bided his time before making the shrewd move just as left-back Baines, whose partner is expecting their second child, was considering whether to uproot his young family to come to Wearside. Baines was included in Wigan’s squad for last night’s pre-season friendly at Blackpool after recovering from a virus
Everton fight for signature of Alan Smith
Jul 26 2007
by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON are ready to go head-to-head with Aston Villa to prise Alan Smith away from Old Trafford. Manchester United have given the England international permission to find another club after growing frustrated at a lack of first team opportunities and he will meet his advisors on his return home from the tour of the Far East tomorrow. Middlesbrough have been linked with him all summer but are at the back of the queue and Smith has let it be known that he favours a move to Merseyside over Birmingham, both from a professional and personal point of view. With James Vaughan facing between four and six months on the sidelines after dislocating his shoulder, Everton need to bolster their striking options and Smith has long been held in high regard at Goodison Park. Blues boss David Moyes tried to sign the 26-year-old when he left Leeds in 2004 and would be confident of landing his man this time, if Everton can come up with the right financial package. It is understood they are firmly in the hunt for both Smith and Leighton Baines, who turned down Sunderland yesterday. Meanwhile, one of Moyes’ current strikers is making good progress following a spell on the sidelines. James McFadden got his first football action of the summer on Tuesday – he played 30 minutes of the 4-0 win over Ventura County Fusion after the club’s medical staff were satisfied he had recovered from a foot problem. The Scotland international missed three months of last season after breaking the fifth metatarsal in his left foot and is again playing catch up with his team-mates but Moyes said: “James is the one who is behind and he has a few weeks to make up at the moment. “He’s done a lot of the running work but not the contact and the ball work, and what James will need to get is some reserve games under his belt. “Most of the players have now had a couple of 90 minutes, lots of training with the ball and lots of work but James has had very little of that because he's not been allowed any contact until Monday really.”
James Beattie confident of playing key role for Everton
July 26 2007 by Dominic King with the Blues in Los Angeles, Liverpool Echo
POSH Spice was nowhere to be seen, Eva Longoria and Katie Holmes were otherwise engaged, and Arnold Schwarzenegger was back behind his desk running California.
Hollywood’s A-list may have been out in force for David Beckham’s much-heralded LA Galaxy last Saturday night against Chelsea but, 72 hours later at the Home Depot Center in Carson City, the scene was completely transformed. Bar a handful of spectators, a couple of security guards and the odd groundsman, there was little interest in the match that was taking place on a training pitch not far from the main arena. Yet that did not matter a jot to James Beattie. Although Everton were effectively only having a training game against Ventura County Fusion, David Moyes’ reaction to a sluggish start made it quite clear that this was an important exercise.
Going through the motions was simply not an option. Once they eventually warmed to the task, Everton had little trouble dispatching their opponents. But while infinitely bigger tests await, this contest could just be the kick-start that Beattie needs.
Having waited what seems an eternity to get a goal, there was plenty to like about the way the former England international raced clear to crisply dispatch a through ball from Mikel Arteta and the celebration which followed suggested a weight had been lifted. “I enjoyed that,” he said afterwards, a smile replacing his furrowed brow.
No wonder. The last time Beattie scored in open play came against Aberdeen in a friendly almost 12 months ago. You have to go back to March 11, 2006, for the last time he achieved such a feat in Premier League combat. A dismal return of two goals – both penalties – last season has led to speculation that Beattie’s time on Merseyside may be drawing to a close and his former club Blackburn Rovers would like to take him back to Ewood Park. ButBeattie – who cost a then club record £6m when he arrived from Southampton in January 2005 – has given no indication that he wants to up sticks and is still confident that he can play a part in Everton’s future.
If that is to happen, though, he knows there must be an immediate improvement in his goal return. Last year was the worst of his career by some distance, but who knows? Maybe that effort against Ventura is just the spark he needs. “You say it was a glorified kick around and the gaffer said as much beforehand,” said Beattie, sitting on the veranda of the team hotel. “But we started sloppy and he wasn’t happy. He had a go at us and rightly so. You take personal pride in whatever you do. “Whether you play a group of college lads or Real Madrid, you have got to show the opposition respect, not just as a team but as people. The lads we were playing were trying their hardest and if you don’t apply yourself, you could get injured or be embarrassed.”
Given that he is the owner of the most famous Everton shirt of all – number nine – Beattie knows much is expected of him and he shares the frustration of supporters that his form has been so up and down. To his credit, he is not apportioning the blame elsewhere. “It was hard to build up momentum last year, but there were no excuses,” he said. “It was a bad season for me. I won’t skirt away from that fact. It’s the first season ever that I have not got into double figures. “It was very disappointing. But who is going to look backwards? You have got to look forward and remain positive. I have never doubted my own ability and I have never lost faith in myself. That’s up to other people to do that. “There are people who still believe in me. I know the lads do. That is what is important. I can’t lose my own self- belief because that would just be an absolute disaster. But that hasn’t happened and it won’t happen. “I read lots of stuff in the papers that I am fat, I can’t score in open play and my time at Everton is finished. I read it every week. They never ask me and they think that they know best.
“If they asked me, I’d tell them. But it doesn’t bother me. It’s more upsetting for the people who love me, like my family, when they see and hear things like that. But it’s just one of those things, isn’t it? You get on with it.” Such a positive outlook will give him an infinitely better chance of proving his detractors wrong and he has worked hard since arriving in the United States last week. Time will tell if he moves on but, for now, he is ready for the challenge. “I love it at Everton,” he declared. “I love the club, I love the fans and I love the lads. It’s a great place to be. I have now got to look forward to what will hopefully be a great season and one where we have got UEFA Cup football on our agenda. “The season starts afresh. If you ended up dwelling on something like that, you’d end up hanging yourself. That’s not what I’m about. That not what this game is about. The best thing about football is that if you do something wrong, you can put it right the next week. “There is always that chance. If you do amazingly well or if you do really poorly, you don’t dwell on what you have done. You want to do better all the time. The objective remains the same. “You want to progress and it’s a great sport for that; the best there is. I’ve got to believe I have got a great chance to go onwards and upwards and hopefully that will be the case.”
Kirkby says yes to Everton
Jul 27 2007
by Greg O'Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
MORE than half of Kirkby residents want Everton to move to their town, a major poll reveals today. The new independent survey of more than 500 people shows a shift in support for the controversial plans. The findings were released just hours after a stormy meeting held by the anti-stadium Kirkby residents action group. The ICM poll commissioned by Knowsley North MP George Howarth focused on the key wards of Shevington, Park, Whitefield, Northwood, Cherryfield and Kirkby Central. The favourable results mean plans for the 50,000-seat stad-ium are likely to get the green light at vital upcoming planning meetings. They should confirm club chief executive Keith Wyness's view that it is the “deal of the century”. The proposed deal between Everton FC, Knowsley council and Tesco has been hit by controversy from both traditional supporters who want the club to stay within Liverpool boundaries and from Kirkby residents who did not want to be swamped by incoming fans. But the poll showed: 53% of Kirkby residents believe the plan will improve their quality of life and 81% believe it will deliver economic benefits. 51% believe the new stad-ium is the right step forward, 39% “strongly” support the project and 33% remain against. Support for the Tesco retail development associated with the new stadium is now running at 75%. Mr Howarth said: “From the time these proposals first emerged, my main concern has been to ensure that the people of Kirkby are heard and that their concerns are seriously addressed by the developers and their associates. “Because the view of the community was not entirely clear, I commissioned a reputable, independent polling organis-ation. “It was a fair, honest and statistically robust reflection of local opinion.” He said it was an “amber light and possibly a green light” for the project, provided developers ensure there will be real benefits for the people of Kirkby. But Mr Howarth said he will continue to press Everton, the council and Tesco to guarantee that nearby residential estates are safeguarded from the problems associated with mass numbers of incoming fans. He added: “We are all passionate about our footballing allegiances. “But this development is about the future of the town, not trivial football loyalties.” Yesterday up to 500 Kirkby people attended a public meeting at St Chad’s church held by the anti-stadium Kirkby Residents Action. Rev Tim Stratford, who arranged the meeting because he felt the council’s formal consultation events were biased, said: “We conducted our own poll of people leaving the council’s consultations and they were 75% against the ground. “Last night the feeling among the vast majority was very strongly that they do not want this stadium. “We will lose a school because of it. It will cause social instability in a town which has improved massively. “It will reduce our green space and it will mean a cut in athletics facilities, not to mention the traffic congestion.” Rev Stratford said he consulted experts who claimed 300 real jobs would be created for Kirkby people and not the 2,000 quoted by the council.
Stirling Albion 1, Everton Reserves 1
Jul 27 2007
Liverpool Daily Post
KIERAN AGARD scored a last-gasp equaliser to help Everton Reserves claim 1-1 with Stirling Albion in a pre-season friendly last night. The London-born striker Agard scored in the 90th minute to cancel out a first-half free-kick from Chris Aitken, which had given the Scottish side the lead. Former Holland international winger Andy van der Meyde also completed 90 minutes for the third time in pre-season. A young Everton side started well and has plenty of possession. But Stirling took the lead on 17 minutes as Aitken curled home a direct free-kick. Despite having plenty of possession Everton couldn’t carve out too many clear-chances. And midfielder Bjarni Vidarsson stumbled in the box after van der Meyde’s pull back just before half-time. Three minutes after the break Everton almost levelled after Densmore's cross was clawed away and Connor saw his follow-up effort rebound off the bar. Stirling’s Cramb headed wide from four yards following a corner and also fired two more decent chances wide of the target at Stirling pressed for a second goal. Everton thought they had equaliser when former Arsenal schoolboy forward Agard scored with 15 minutes left but his effort was ruled out for a close off-side decision. Agard looked the most likely to force an qualiser, but soon after failed to control as keeper Scott Christie denied him. Vidarsson and Connor both had headed chances and just when the match appeared to heading for a 1-0 Stirling win, Agard pounced on a Darren Dennehy knockdown to score in the last minute. STIRLING ALBION: Christie, Nugent (Taggart 66), Forsyth, Ellis, Graham, Bell (Cramb 61), Tomana, Aitken, Lilley (Gribben 50) McKenna (Hogarth 50), Wardell. Sub: Hogart. EVERTON RESERVES: Jones, Densmore, Barnett, Irving, Dennehy, Harpur, Vidarsson, Morrison (Kissock 50), Connor, Agard, van der Meyde, Hay. Subs: McEntagart, Spencer, Stewart, McCarten, Downes, Hall.
David Moyes eager to see Tim Cahill return
Jul 27 2007
by Nick Smith in Los Angeles, Liverpool Daily Post
DAVID MOYES is hoping Tim Cahill will once again rediscover his goalscoring prowess with immediate effect when he returns to the Everton fold for the start of the season. As the tour of the USA winds down – Everton fly home tomorrow following visits to Salt Lake and Los Angeles – manager Moyes is keeping tabs on Cahill’s training sessions back in Bellefield, which he started on Tuesday. The Australian midfielder had been playing for his country in the Asian Cup in Singapore before their elimination last weekend, a tournament that signalled Cahill’s first action since breaking his foot against Sheffield United in early March. But after making a successful return from injury to star in the World Cup for Australia last year, Cahill kicked off the new season with seven goals in his first 12 games. And Moyes, who now hopes to give the midfielder some action in Tuesday’s friendly with Werder Bremen at Goodis-on Park, wants more of the same. “Tim started the season very well last year and got some goals so I’m hoping he will come back the same,” said Moyes at his team’s LA training base. “We’re looking forward to having him back, we’ve not had him in the squad since the Sheffield United game when he broke his foot. “He’s back training at Bellefield so we’re looking forward to getting him to join the squad on Monday and no doubt he’ll play a part in the game against Werder Bremen on Tuesday.” Moyes is also encouraged by the fact that Cahill didn’t start any of the games Australia played in their Asian Cup campaign, which ended in a quarter-final defeat to Japan. But he scored an injury-time equaliser in the final group game with Oman to indicate that he has regained his sharpness as well as his fitness. Moyes added: “He got through okay and he didn’t start any of the games so maybe he has had a bit of a rest and not done too much. “But he’s fit enough now to come back in and won’t need too much time, I’m hoping, pre-season training wise.” Meanwhile, James Beattie has insisted he has lost none of his self-belief after a season without a goal in open play. The 29-year-old only had two penalties to his name throughout the 2006-07 campaign but feels he can still make an impact in the Everton forward line this season. Beattie, who found the net in a 4-0 practice game against a Ventura County Fusion side on Tuesday, said: “It was hard to build up momentum last year but there were no excuses. “It was a bad season for me, I won’t skirt away from that fact. It’s the first season ever that I have not got into double figures. But you have got to look forwards and remain positive.”
James Beattie heads for Everton exit
Jul 27 2007
by Dominic King with the Blues in Los Angeles, Liverpool Echo
BLACKBURN ROVERS are ready to step up their efforts to sign James Beattie and hope to wrap up a deal within the next week. Sheffield United are also eager to land Everton’s one-time club record signing and are prepared to go as high as £4m to win the race for his signature. However, Blackburn - who have been monitoring his situation since before Christmas - are clear favourites and boss Mark Hughes is now ready to make his move. The former England international started his career at Ewood Park but only made eight appearances before joining Southampton for £1m in 1998. Beattie has endured a difficult 12 months on Merseyside and, in an exclusive interview with the Echo yesterday, admitted that his form last season - he only scored two penalties - had not been up to scratch. But while Beattie - once the most expensive player to move to Goodison Park - has insisted he is ready to fight for his place, should Everton accept Blackburn’s offer then the chances are that the 29-year-old will return to Lancashire. If Beattie does move, Everton boss David Moyes will intensify his efforts to sign Alan Smith from Manchester United and would still have money left to make other improvements to his squad. One man who will certainly do that is Australian international Tim Cahill, who has been training at Bellefield for the past three days and has not shown any ill-effects from playing in the Asia Cup. Moyes has been kept informed of his progress and, provided nothing untoward occurs over the weekend, he expects Cahill to make a first appearance in Everton colours since March 3 against Werder Bremen on Tuesday evening. A broken metatarsal plus medial ligament damage restricted Cahill to just 21 league and cup appearances last season but he still managed to score seven times and Moyes hopes he will make a similar kind of impact this time around. “Tim started the season very well last year and got some goals so I’m hoping he will come back the same,” said Moyes of a player who signed a new five-year deal last month. “We’re looking forward to having him back. “We’ve not had him in the squad since the Sheffield United game when he broke his foot. “He started back at Bellefield on Tuesday so we’re looking forward to getting him to join the squad on Monday and no doubt he’ll play a part in the game against Werder Bremen. “He got through the Asia Cup okay and he didn’t start any of the games, so maybe he has had a bit of a rest and not done too much.” “But Tim is fit enough now to come back in and I’m hoping that he won’t need to spend too much time on early pre-season fitness work.”
Mikel Arteta's wild ovation in LA should be the first of many more
July 27 2007 by Dominic King with the Blues in Los Angeles, Liverpool Echo
LAST year The Proclaimers, this year The Three Amigos; Mikel Arteta’s stint during Everton’s annual karaoke evening is fast becoming one of the highlights of the season.
In Dallas 12 months ago, Arteta had his team-mates in hysterics with a rendition of I’m Gonna Be (500 miles) and it was the same again here on Wednesday evening when, with the help of Anderson de Silva and Nuno Valente, he performed a traditional Iberian song. It might not have been a number that had the rest of the squad singing along but the gusto with which Arteta, de Silva and Valente went about their routine ensured the reception they received was just as memorable. But, then again, Arteta should be used to standing ovations. Everton’s outstanding talent in the past two years, his ability to turn games with moments of brilliance mean his position as the Gwladys Street’s darling is unrivalled. With that in mind, the thought of him playing in another team’s colours would be enough to have most - if not all - Blues breaking out in a cold sweat yet negotiations earlier this summer mean there is little chance of that happening in the future. Both he and Tim Cahill agreed new, improved five-year deals and their decisions to commit should ensure Everton get the very best from them; certainly they will be key to success at home and abroad come August 11.
Not surprisingly, Arteta was festooned with offers when the most recent campaign drew to a close yet discussions with David Moyes and Bill Kenwright convinced him that would not be wise to move elsewhere. “I liked everything they said to me,” revealed Arteta. “They told me that they are going to build a really strong team and bring in new players. We are moving to a nice new training ground, we will have a nice new stadium and we want to be big. “I want to be part of that. Obviously there were times when we were talking that things were slow. I was in one position, they were in another but that was the only time I wondered. I always wanted to stay here. I was clear with that. “They were the same. I never wanted to leave. Obviously there was a chance for me to go and many teams wanted me. Getting the deal took longer than I wanted but everything was fine and everyone is now really happy. I’m so happy to be here.” Now he has put pen-to-paper, he hopes others will follow suit. Moyes is not exactly overwhelmed with numbers and a couple of additions before Wigan Athletic arrive at Goodison Park two weeks tomorrow would not go amiss.
Manchester United’s Alan Smith and Wigan left-back Leighton Baines are high on Everton’s wanted list and would certainly add an extra dimension to the squad if they joined, also taking the pressure off other players. A European campaign means fatigue is an impostor with which Arteta and company must deal and he would be devastated if the Blues let slip all last year’s hard work by failing to qualify for the UEFA Cup’s group stages at the very least. “We can’t lose that chance,” he said. “We can’t miss out. This club needs that and all the players need to feel that we are on the top level. I think Europe is going to be massive for us this year. We need to try to have a really good run. “A run in Europe can sometimes impact on your league form but we have to be prepared for that. It wouldn’t be the first time that happened and we know that from when we played in Europe two years ago. Hopefully we have learned from that.
“We won’t be able to keep playing the same players all the time. 50 or 60 games a season is crazy and if you look at the teams who do well in two or three competitions, they are always changing their players around. We are so short of numbers.
“We are a little bit worried, as we know what will happen if two or three players get injured. We will have a massive responsibility to each other to keep fit and playing at our best levels. “We are a team that should attract top players but I don’t know if we can compete financially. Obviously we would like to see more signings - strikers, midfielders, everything. Maybe the squad we have now won’t be enough for four competitions.” Yet if the signings fail to arrive, there will be no fit of pique from Arteta. He, like the rest of his colleagues, will just shrug his shoulders and get on with things and concentrate on securing a confidence-boosting victory on the opening day..
“That is so important,” he agreed. “We have got to start strong like we did last year as we know how crucial that can be. That’s the thing. We have got to get off to a good start at home against Wigan. “But we are a strong team, a strong unit and we are great with each other. That is something not so many teams have. If we can strengthen the team, so much the better. If we can’t, we will just get on with it. “Obviously we want to get better and better and better. We want to be able to compete with top six or seven, at the very least. We don’t want to be left behind and I think we have got a massive chance to move forward.” Particularly if the best little Spaniard Evertonians know keeps hitting the right notes.
Fans will have final say on Blues' move
Jul 27 2007 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON FC have said their fans will have the final say on the club’s proposed move to Kirkby. A ballot question is being sent out to around 38,000 supporters in the next week and will simply ask “Are you in favour of relocating Everton Football Club to Kirkby?” Everton chairman Keith Wyness confirmed a 51% vote in either direction would be considered decisive. He said it was now up to fans to make the decision.
If the answer is “yes”, negotiations would continue with Knowsley council and Tesco.
If the answer is “no”, there would be no further negotiations. Mr Wyness said: “The board has offered a very clear question. It will now be up to Evertonians. “Over the coming weeks we will try to respond to all questions.” The ballot is being conducted by the Electoral Reform Society. Ballot papers are due to go out in the next week and will be sent to all 2007/08 season ticket holders plus anyone who has held a season ticket for any of the past three seasons. Non-season ticket holding club shareholders will also be given a say, as will adult Evertonian members. The outcome is expected to be known before the end of August.
Everton accept offer for Beattie
Jul 28 2007
by Nick Smith, Liverpool Daily Post
EVERTON last night accepted a £4million bid from Sheffield United for James Beattie. But the striker will wait to see if Blackburn Rovers can match that offer before deciding on a drop down to the Championship. Blades manager Bryan Robson wants the former Southampton man to spearhead his team’s attempts to gain promotion back to the Premiership at the first attempt. And while Beattie has remained in Los Angeles at Everton’s training camp this week, manager David Moyes is hoping to raise the cash to pursue other striking options. The sale of Beattie will considerably boost Everton’s chances of replacing him in the forward line with Alan Smith and they will compete with Aston Villa for the signature of the Manchester United forward. Blackburn manager Mark Hughes currently favours Paraguayan Roque Santa Cruz but is set to turn to Beattie if they can’t meet Bayern Munich’s asking price. Meanwhile, Everton’s current number one striker Andrew Johnson is confident that the squad’s togetherness will again give them the edge over other teams in the new season. After 10 days of team bonding in Salt Lake City and Los Angeles, David Moyes’s team jet back home today ready to complete their preparations for the Premier League kick-off at home to Wigan in two weeks’ time. And while last year’s Stateside excursion was widely regarded as key to last year’s top-six finish, the spirit among the group has only been cemented by another American adventure. “The team spirit here really is something special,” said Johnson. “A lot of other clubs might have other great things but they won’t have that. “I’ve been at clubs where you get people who are part of certain groups and you get four or five going off. Then another four or five go off and it’s not healthy, it’s not good. “You need to stick together in everything on and off the field and that’s shown at this club and on these tours.” With just the one friendly at Real Salt Lake last week, Everton’s preparations have centred mainly on intensive training sessions in warm weather, one practice game and off-field bonding. The football side will be cranked up another notch with Tuesday’s home friendly against Werder Bremen at Goodison Park, when new signing Phil Jagielka and on loan Steven Pienaar will play in front of their new home supporters for the first time. Despite just the two additions to the squad so far this summer, Johnson insists that the existing team ethic and calibre of players already at Moyes’s disposal are equipped to better last season’s achievements. Which is why Johnson sees the one-year contracts handed to Alan Stubbs and Lee Carsley as every bit as important as the five-year deals Mikel Arteta and Tim Cahill penned this summer. “You just can’t take away the fact that we have some top, top players here,” added Johnson. “You talk about Mikel and Tim signing new contracts but to see Cars and Stubbsy still here, just in the changing room, is worth its weight in gold. “And not forgetting the performances they put in last year. Stubbsy was brilliant, he was probably my player of the year in the second half of the season, and Cars was brilliant in that holding role.”
Beattie takes rap for his dip in form
July 28 2007 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
USUALLY when things go wrong for a footballer in this day and age, there is always somebody else to blame. Nigel Reo-Coker pointed to the fact he was “hung out to dry” by West Ham as the reason for his form suffering, as opposed to the fact he was trying to manufacture a move elsewhere. Meanwhile, a player who recently sported Everton’s colours felt his lack of first team starts was down to the management having a downer on him. It had nothing to do, of course, that OPTA stats proved he wasn’t running as much in matches as he used to. So it was refreshing to hear James Beattie speak earlier this week and admit that he had bitterly disappointed last season. He did not need telling twice that two goals was not the accepted return of an Everton number nine. Things, clearly, have not worked out as he, David Moyes or supporters have wanted and it is looking increasingly likely that Beattie will start the new campaign at another club - Blackburn Rovers and Sheffield United are waiting in the wings. But if he does go, do not expect him to launch into a tirade and point accusing fingers elsewhere. He considers it an honour to play for Everton and would not consider casting the club in a bad light. If he does leave, he can do so with his dignity intact.
Everton accept £4m bid for James Beattie
July 28 2007 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON have accepted a £4m bid from Sheffield United for James Beattie, according to sources in Yorkshire. But the Blades will have to work hard to convince the Blues’ former record signing to drop out of the Premier League. Boss Bryan Robson made a firm move yesterday as Blackburn, who were also tracking Beattie, appeared to switch their attentions elsewhere. Blackburn may well yet emerge as the team which matches or betters Sheffield’s offer and lands Beattie, even though Rovers hope to conclude a deal for Bayern Munich striker Roque Santa Cruz in the next 24 hours. Manager Mark Hughes said: “We are very hopeful something may happen in that respect. “Maybe in the next 24 hours a deal could be concluded if the price is right.” With Benni McCarthy, Jason Roberts and Matt Derbyshire already at Ewood Park alongside new recruit Maceo Ritgers, the addition of Cruz would leave them top heavy with strikers. Hughes added: “What we don’t have is a real threat in the air and that is something we are looking to address. “Santa Cruz is a young player and an international with a good reputation who is playing at a top European club.”
That would appear to leave the way clear for Sheffield United, but Beattie has already spoken this week of his reluctance to leave Goodison. David Moyes, however, is keen to add Manchester United striker Alan Smith to his squad and cash from the sale of Beattie would allow him to fund that switch and still have cash for further additions.
Major shareholder Robert Earl, meanwhile, has been added to the club’s Board of Directors. The Planet Hollywood founder bought out Paul Gregg’s shares last October, but now becomes the fourth board member alongside chairman Bill Kenwright, deputy Jon Woods and chief executive Keith Wyness. A club statement said: “At the Board meeting of June 18 it was resolved to appoint Robert Earl to the Board. “All registration with Companies House and the Premier League is now complete and Mr Earl has now joined the Board.”
Steven Pienaar: Benni said Everton and its history was the place for me
July 28 2007 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
FATE thwarted Benni McCarthy’s chances of becoming an Everton player two years ago but the Blues have him to thank after completing their second signing of the summer. When David Moyes was looking to bolster his attack in 2005, McCarthy was high on his wanted list and a move to Merseyside from Porto was on the cards until work permit problems scuppered the deal. The South African international, of course, has since gone on to enjoy a successful spell with Blackburn Rovers yet it would seem he has continued to keep more than a passing interest in what is happening at Goodison. So when Steven Pienaar gave his compatriot a call earlier this month to tell him that Everton were interested in signing him, the endorsement from the other end of the line could not have been more glowing. Pienaar says: “When I was at Ajax, Benni was always telling me that I should move and try things in the Premiership.
“When I had a few problems at Dortmind, in January he said I must come over to England. “He said I would enjoy the competition and the people. I know from watching on television that it is exciting and when I told him I was moving to Everton, he was really excited. “The first thing he said to me was ‘you’re moving to a very good club’. He told me about the supporters and how fantastic they are, he said the players play good football. That is what Everton are known for. Back in the days, they were one of the top teams.” Rescaling those heights is firmly on Pienaar’s agenda this season having finally caught his breath - he visited four countries in 72 hours and sang karaoke in front of his new team-mates this week. Having been taken aback by the welcome he received from Moyes’ squad here in Los Angeles - already he has struck up a rapport with, among others, Joseph Yobo and Joleon Lescott - the 25-year-old’s first impression is that Everton are set for a good season. Apart from the ability he has seen on the training pitches, it is the bond off the field that has struck a particular chord with Pienaar and has left him in no doubt that he has done the right thing by leaving Borussia Dortmund. Initially only on loan, Pienaar hopes the move can be turned permanent this time next year and now sees why another of his compatriots, Delron Buckley, was so disappointed when the Blues released him after a two-week trial last summer. “I’m very glad that I came over to LA to join up with the team,” said Pienaar, who was born in Johannesburg. “We’re out of the spotlight, we’re in a quiet place with nice surroundings and we’re all in the hotel together - we’re together 24 hours a day. It’s nice. “I’m surprised that I have been welcomed in so quickly. When I went to Germany, it was difficult to get into the team group. They are not so open and friendly as they are here. It’s a very nice surprise and it has really helped me. “I know Andy van der Meyde and I knew a few of the other players’ names because I followed the Premier League every week when I was in Holland and Germany. I didn’t get a chance to speak to Andy because everything happened so quickly. “But I spoke to Delron when we were on a training camp before I came here and he told me that if the chance ever came up for me to go to Everton, I should take it. He loved the way they play football and told me about the squad. He was really positive about the club. “When the call came through from my manager, I had to leave Germany quickly to get over to England and only stopped briefly in Amsterdam to pick up a few things. I was so excited that I left in such a hurry that I didn’t even have any clothes!” It’s not hard, though, to see why he wanted to get away from the Westfalenstadion. Given the onerous task of filling Tomas Rosicky’s boots, Dortmund made a sluggish start and it was easy to make him a scapegoat.
That said, he believes the experience has done him good and a man who has a wealth of Champions League experience plus 20 South Africa caps hopes he can put it to good use when the new campaign begins two weeks today. “Spending a season in Germany was good preparation, as the league was tougher than it had been in Holland,” he said. “I got regular football from the start and played the first eight games for Dortmund. Then things were difficult. “The team did not play well and the management needed someone to blame in the media. They picked out a couple of players and they said I was a culprit. From then, I was dropped for five games but I fought my way back and played all the time after that. “I felt I played my best football in the second half of the season and even the people who had said things about me saw that. Now I have moved to England and some are not happy because they don’t understand why they let me leave the club.” And if he can shine in the Premier League, Dortmund’s loss will most certainly be Everton’s gain.
Star-struck Blues taste celebrity in Hollywood
July 28 2007 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
IN a city that seems to have wannabe actors, pop stars and models around every corner, Los Angeles is the celebrity capital of the world. Take a stroll down Hollywood Boulevard and it is impossible not have someone promoting themselves to you, desperate to become the next big thing and see their names alongside legends on the Walk of Fame. On that Boulevard at present, though, that is an advert so big that it seems to rival the iconic Hollywood sign that sits proudly in the not too distant hills. There, facing the Chinese Theatre and the Kodak Theatre, is an enormous picture of David Beckham. If proof were needed that he is now a genuine superstar, here it was in glorious Technicolor. Whatever your feelings are about him, there is no disputing his is a remarkable story. Some will obviously think that now he has arrived in LA on a wage that beggars belief, he will have an ego to match and stylists, agents, publicists and bodyguards would follow his every move. Of course, security is necessary - wouldn’t you want some form of protection if you had 37 paparazzi cars tailing you once you left home every morning? - but strip the other nonsense out of the way and the man you are left with could not be more impressive. Ask any of the Everton players who met him this week. Having finished a training session outside, David Moyes’ squad were taken to the gym and treatment room inside LA Galaxy’s Home Depot Center to complete a warm down. Word had spread that Beckham might make an appearance but few gave another thought to it - until the former England captain strolled in wearing his training gear all set to receive treatment on his injured left ankle. Not surprisingly, former Man Utd colleague Phil Neville was the first person he made his way to and after they had spent time catching up, Beckham ensured that he spoke with every member of Everton’s staff, asking how they were finding things in LA and talking about the new season. Once that hullabaloo had died down, what followed was fascinating to watch. While he may be one of the most photographed men in the world and have the kind of riches many can only dream about, he still has his feet on the ground. You only needed to see his face when a number of Everton’s players asked to have a picture taken with him; shocked and humbled, it was not the kind of behaviour you would associate of footballers when they get together.
Perhaps the funniest incident of all, however, was when Moyes emerged and greeted Beckham, with whom he had played alongside at Preston in 1995, with the opening gambit: “How are you doing, wee man?” “He’s an excellent player and a role model for many people,” said Moyes. “I think he could just about play for any team in the Premier League. “The Americans seem to have taken to him, and I don’t think they are getting someone who is over the hill. “I think they’re probably getting a player who’s still got a lot to offer. I think he’ll make an impact.” Rest assured that will happen but, if the scenes in the gym at the Home Depot Center are anything to go by, he will do it in a humble way – unlike LA Galaxy’s president Alexi Lalas, whose presence at an earlier session went almost unnoticed.
Everton face fight to land Alan Smith
Jul 30 2007
by David Jones, Liverpool Echo
NEWCASTLE UNITED are ready to hijack Everton’s attempts to sign Alan Smith.
The St James’ Park club have had a bid accepted by Manchester United for the England international over the weekend and boss Sam Allardyce will be hoping to hold talks with Smith in the next few days. Though Goodison Park remains Smith’s preferred destination as he prepares to move away from Old Trafford, it is looking increasingly likely that selling James Beattie holds the key for Everton to trump Newcastle and Aston Villa. Having returned home yesterday from the Blues’ pre-season tour to the United States, Beattie will meet his advisors to discuss his future after being told by manager David Moyes that Everton have accepted a £4m bid from Sheffield United for his services.That is the only concrete offer Everton have received for their former club record signing and Beattie’s hopes of returning to his old club, Blackburn Rovers, were dashed over the weekend when they had a change of heart after moving for Roque Santa Cruz. Sheffield United boss Bryan Robson is an admirer of Beattie and hopes to convince the 29-year-old, who has not asked for a move, to drop down a division and join his friend, Gary Naysmith, at Bramall Lane. But he is likely to face competition from his old sparring partner Steve Bruce, who is looking to add a target man to his Birmingham City squad after failing in his attempts to sign Tottenham Hotspur’s Mido. If Everton, who are considering a player-plus-cash bid for Wigan Athletic’s Leighton Baines, can sell Beattie, their hopes of landing Smith will dramatically increase, but they are facing an anxious wait. Moyes, who so far has brought in Phil Jagielka and Steven Pienaar, is desperate to add another couple of faces to his squad and remains confident that he will be able to do so before the start of the new campaign a week on Saturday. “Last year we had three (new signings) in early but hopefully these two have settled in and will make a good start. But I have to say we are hoping to bring in another couple of new faces,” said Moyes. “The disappointing thing is that I always like the boys to be in early for pre-season because I think it is important, especially the way we try to have this club and the spirit we have amongst the players. “But the two that are here already have fitted in very well.”
Lee Carsley: I can’t wait to get going
July 30 2007 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
LEE CARSLEY is one of life’s chirpier souls but two summers ago the wry humour and wisecracks that are plentiful in his company had dried up. It was not hard to understand why. Having played in a key role in helping Everton secure a place in the Champions League qualifiers, it was as if his world had fallen in around him when he badly damaged his knee in a friendly against Fenerbahce. While his team-mates prepared for a two-legged tussle with Villarreal to secure a spot in the Champions League, Carsley was forced to assume the role of helpless spectator, and he also was absent for the UEFA Cup debacle against Dinamo Bucharest. Given the woeful start Everton made to the 2005/2006 campaign, it would have been understandable had Carsley felt his hopes of representing the Blues in Europe had passed him by. Crazy to think, then, he almost let slip the chance to rectify matters. Everton’s only ever-present last season, Carsley had in principle agreed a 12-month contract extension before the final match but, dramatically, within hours of that contest it looked as if Stamford Bridge would be the venue for his Everton swansong. Wigan Athletic were confident of unveiling him as Chris Hutchings’ first signing after making an eye-popping offer and it seemed inevitable he would move to the JJB Stadium.
But after a series of heart-to-hearts and phone calls, Carsley decided to stay put and – having caught the eye during recent training camps in Los Angeles and Florence – now looks primed to play a big role as Everton look to take another step forward.
It could have been so very different. Carsley was within an whisker of leaving the place he has called home since February 2002 yet, for all the money he could have earned elsewhere, it was the thought of what he would leave behind that struck most.
“How close was I to leaving? I spoke to quite a lot of clubs, five or six including Wigan,” Carsley revealed. “All of them were in the Premier League. I knew I had played well last season but leaving Everton is not something that you do lightly.
“I realised that this season coming up is one of those once in a lifetime opportunities. It’s a big chance for us all. The chance to play for Everton and be involved in all those big competitions is massive. But there is so much more to it here that that.
“The passion of the fans, the set up, everything about Everton is first class. Me and the Gaffer said all along last year that we would speak at the end of the season but it was just that week after that things went mad. “You have to think about all those things. I have played for a few clubs now but Everton is really the only club I want to be at. This is a massive season for us and I realise that I probably don’t have too many left at the top level now. “It’s a case of giving everything from the moment we start against Wigan. It’s all to play for. We have tended to follow good seasons with average ones in the past few years and now we have got to buck that trend. “How we start the season is crucial. We want to make sure that we are coming out of the blocks sharp. It’s not just getting three points. It’s what it does for you in terms of confidence and belief. I can’t wait.” By process of elimination, it is clear to see that for all the money Carsley’s suitors were offering, none could offer the platform of European competition. “That was one of the main reasons why I decided to stay,” he said. “We worked so hard to get into the UEFA Cup and I missed the Champions League and the UEFA Cup two years ago. I want to put that right.” With Moyes not overly blessed in terms of numbers, some are wondering whether Everton’s squad will be big enough to cope with the demands of domestic and European football but Carsley’s views are refreshingly positive. While their rivals might be frittering money away as if there were no tomorrow, Carsley feels the prudent approach Moyes has adopted is much more sensible and he expects the manager to once again get the best from his players.
“You can say Arsenal and Spurs have spent a lot of money but it means absolutely nothing,” Carsley offered. “If we had £100m, it wouldn’t make any difference.
“You have got to buy the right players and they have got to be able to fit into the way the clubs works and fit into the team straight away. Ideally they have got to speak the language and know about the Premier League. “We haven’t got time for someone who is going to need six or seven months to fit in. They need to do it straight away. Where do you find players like that? The Gaffer could easy go and get five or six average players but what’s the point?” “We might have done that (bought for the sake of buying) in the past but not any longer. We are not at that stage anymore.
“We want to be pushing a bit higher if we can. We want to finish in the top four.”
And if Everton are to achieve that goal once more, expect the man who is happy to fill an understated role on and off the pitch to play a huge part.
Stars turn out for Alan Ball
Jul 30 2007 by Our Correspondent, Liverpool Echo
ENGLAND beat the World in a match to remember Everton legend Alan Ball.
Showbiz personalities played alongside footballers like Jamie Redknapp, Paul Ince and Peter Shilton at Milton Keynes’ Stadium:mk. The England team won 4-2 after a match enlivened by comedy antics from boxer Frank Bruno, while Matt Le Tissier, Graeme Le Saux, Paul Merson and Les Ferdinand played alongside actor Danny Dyer, Life on Mars’ John Simm, broadcaster Angus Deayton, rugby world cup winners Ben Cohen and Matt Dawson and Olympic gold medallist Darren Campbell, among others. The World line-up included Toto Schillaci, Matthias Sammer, Richard Gough, John Aldridge and Neville Southall. Alan Ball’s son Jimmy Ball said: “It’s something my Dad would have loved to have played in and it’s a great that all these players are turning out to pay tribute to him. “
Sven seeking move for Leighton Baines
Jul 31 2007
Liverpool Daily Post
SVEN-GORAN ERIKSSON could challenge Everton for Wigan left-back Leighton Baines if he loses out on Juventus defender Georgios Chiellini. Reports in Manchester suggest the former England manager is ready to chase Baines and even look across to Old Trafford to take Mikael Silvestre from Manchester United to Eastlands if he can't come up with £8million for the Italian international. Baines is said to want a move to Everton after rejecting Sunderland's overtures but the England Under-21 defender may see City as a better long-term bet for his international ambitions. The fact that Micah Richards and Nedum Onuoha are already at the club and in the England set up could sway a £6million deal. EVERTON supporters will miss out on seeing one of Germany's World Cup stars tonight. Werder Bremen midfielder Torsten Frings will miss tonight's friendly at Goodison, and the start of the season, with a knee injury but fears he had torn a cruciate ligament have been allayed.
New Everton stadium could revive the Merseytram
Jul 31 2007
by Neil Hodgson, Liverpool Echo
THE Merseytram dream could be back on track if Everton’s proposed move to Kirkby goes ahead. Today’s new hope came as Everton launched a major offensive to persuade fans to vote for a move to Kirkby. Blues supporters and residents remain split over the development, with opposition gathering strength. Everton’s proposed Valley Road stadium would be close to the planned tram route. The scheme that should have linked Kirkby with Liverpool city centre was dropped in 2005. The then transport secretary Alastair Darling pulled the plug claiming costs had spiralled out of control. But transport authority Merseytravel believe a new stadium on the tram route – and the city centre’s Liverpool ECHO arena and Grosvenor’s neighbouring Paradise Street scheme - help the business case to revive the tram project. Merseytravel already has the legal powers to build a tram line, and it retained plans for a link in its local transport plan which runs until 2010. Recently the government also confirmed money from local business rates could be used for key transport projects such as trams. Merseytravel spent almost £1m on steel for tram tracks before the scheme was axed. The ECHO can reveal it is still in storage at Immingham, near Grimsby. Director general and chief executive of Merseytravel Neil Scales said: “We had considered selling the tracks to Edinburgh for their new tram scheme. But if Everton go to Kirkby their stadium will be just a few yards away from our tram route. “Also the Arena and Grosvenor project mean The Strand is going to choke up and the only way to get across would be a fixed link, like a tram.” He said the tram system would form part of a transport plan to serve a new Everton stadium, including a new bus interchange and a new Merseyrail station at Headbolt Lane, about a mile from the proposed stadium.
“We are only offering the same assistance that we are going to offer Liverpool for their new ground,” he added. Mr Scales said even if he failed to revive Merseytram the steel bought for rails could be sold at a profit. “It is worth more now because we bought it before the Chinese entered the steel market, sending prices up.”
Tim Cahill just raring to go
July 31 2007 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
TIM CAHILL will get the opportunity to start making up for lost time this evening when he pulls on an Everton shirt for the first time in almost five months.
The Australian international only made 21 appearances for the Blues last season, the last of which came at Bramall Lane on March 3 when he broke the fifth metatarsal in his left foot during a 1-1 draw with Sheffield United. But having made four substitute appearances for his country at the recent Asia Cup and made a successful return to training at Bellefield last week, Cahill is in line to play some part in tonight’s Goodison Park friendly with Werder Bremen. Last year’s UEFA Cup semi-finalists are sure to provide David Moyes’ men – who only returned from Los Angeles on Sunday – with a stern test but Cahill is itching to get started again and is not bothered whether his involvement lasts nine or 90 minutes. “I am buzzing to be back and I am just looking forward to playing any sort of game and train with the lads again,” said Cahill, whose goal threat from midfield adds an extra dimension to Everton’s attacking play. “Everyone was very sensible in Australia. The Everton staff flew over to see me and it was well structured. The biggest thing for me was to come back fit for Everton. “Hopefully. that’s where we are at now. I am feeling really good and just looking forward to the game against Bremen and hopefully I can get some time on the pitch.” Though Bremen lost top scorer Miroslav Klose to Bayern Munich earlier this summer, they still have a squad packed with talent and Germany internationals Torsten Frings, Tim Borowski and Per Mertesacker are likely to figure at Goodison.
Bremen will be playing in the Champions League next season and boast a rich European pedigree. Cahill’s midfield colleague, Lee Carsley, expects the game to be invaluable as Everton prepare for their own UEFA Cup challenge. “They are a quality side, one of the top teams in Germany,” said Carsley. “It will be a very good test and give us a good sighter into what we can expect this season. It’s a game we are all looking forward to.” Everton’s big summer signing, Phil Jagielka, is in line to make his first start at Goodison but boss David Moyes will make late checks to a couple of players who are carrying knocks. Meanwhile, Wigan Athletic boss Chris Hutchings has confirmed that he has turned down Everton’s opening bid for full-back Leighton Baines, who is also a target for Manchester City. The 22-year-old is an Evertonian and favours a move to Merseyside. “We turned down a £4m-plus player bid from Everton – that’s as far as it has gone,” said Hutchings, who had accepted a straight £6m offer from Sunderland last week. “I’d like Leighton to stay but I can’t stop speculation and offers being made. It's bad business if we don't accept a bid similar to what Sunderland offered.”
We have no option but move to Kirkby
July 31 2007 by Nick Coligan, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON FC today unveiled details of a pamphlet being sent to 33,000 fans over its planned move to Kirkby. The document will be posted with ballot papers for fans to decide whether the club will quit Liverpool. It contains, for the first time, unequivocal backing from club chairman Bill Kenwright and manager David Moyes along with player endorsements. Everton hope the pamphlet, which paints a stark picture of the future if the move to a new 50,000-seater stadium in Kirkby is rejected, will swing the vote in their favour. In it Mr Kenwright says: “No-one loves Goodison Park more than I do. “But we have reached a critical moment in our history. “I have always made it clear that remaining in our current home is my preferred option, but that has simply not proved possible. “So we must look to a future in a new home, one that will provide both the benefits of modern design and the heart of Goodison.” Mr Moyes says: “I think I do speak for all the players when I say that, ideally, we would love to remain. “However, I feel I do also speak for all the players when I say that we now appreciate that we cannot. We must move to keep up with our competitors and grow.
“Whether we like it or not, English football is now big business, and over the past few years it has become patently clear that only those clubs which can boast an impressive financial clout can truly compete for the major prizes. “What we don’t want is to be left behind; we don’t ever want to accept second-best.” The pamphlet also contains quotes of support from Everton players Mikel Arteta, Tim Cahill, Andrew Johnson, Alan Stubbs and Lee Carsley. Defender Stubbs, who comes from Kirkby, says: “When I am asked ‘would a move to Kirkby be good for Everton?’, my response is ‘do you want to see Everton competing with the top clubs, qualifying for European competitions and getting into the Champions League?’ “We need to be able to compete with the best, and in order to do that we need to be in a modern stadium that will provide greater revenue for the club and greater facilities for the fans.”
Kirkby’s backlash over stadium poll
Jul 31 2007 by Ian Hernon, Liverpool Echo
FURIOUS Kirkby residents today blasted an opinion poll which suggested support for an Everton stadium in the town. They claimed the survey of just over 500 people, conducted by ICM, failed to reflect widespread fears the 50,000-seat ground, coupled with a Tesco superstore, would swamp Kirkby with football fans and shoppers.
Opponents today demanded a referendum over the stadium and they accused Everton, Knowsley council and Tesco of trying to steamroller through the controversial scheme. The poll, commissioned by Knowsley North Labour MP George Howarth, found 51% were in favour of the scheme, 53% believed it would improve quality of life in the town, and 75% backed the retail development. It suggested a shift in opinion within the town. Mr Howarth insists the poll was "fair, honest and statistically robust" and promised to continue listening to the views of his constituents.
But Reverend Tim Stratford, of St Chad’s church, Kirkby, questioned the poll findings and said the town’s residents were entitled to a referendum on the ground development. The vicar, who has helped co-ordinate the anti-stadium Kirkby Residents Action Group (KRAG), added: “The ICM survey was not a poll of Kirkby residents. ICM themselves describe the telephone poll only as ‘conducted in and around the town of Kirkby’. “I believe that it is still right to make a strong case for Kirkby residents to be given an independently verified vote about this huge change to the town centre.” Kirkby resident John Maddocks said: "I have attended many meetings and the vast majority of people are against Tesco and Everton moving to Kirkby. "Between 24 and 48 lorries will be using the Tesco delivery gate a day. We then have to add the congestion and disruption of the football fans, together with all the problems of parking and litter that goes with them. "I believe the development has been finalised. I only hope that when the next election comes the people of Kirkby remember those who have steamrollered this project through." David Thompson said: "The ICM sample of 500 people has a margin of error of 3-4%, so those in favour could be in the minority." Judi Drummond added: "It seems that 51% out of a sample of 500 in a town with over 80 times that number is not exactly a smashing majority and is far from conclusive." Everton chief executive Keith Wyness has described the proposed move from Goodison as “the deal of the century”. The club is about to ballot its fans over the planned relocation. Knowsley council claims the development would be a massive factor in regenerating Kirkby.