Celtic may be tempted to attempt to lure back Aiden McGeady
July 1 2015 Glasgow Evening Times
CELTIC have been placed on alert after it emerged Aiden McGeady's time at Everton looks like coming to an end. It was strongly suggested on Merseyside yesterday that the Republic of Ireland international was set to hand in a transfer request, his move to Goodison having turned sour in the second half of last season. We understand there are some inside Celtic Park who would love to see the 29-year-old return five years after he moved away to Spartak Moscow for a fee of £12million.
But like all players who ply their trade in the English Premier League, his wages would be a problem, something Celtic have been forced to deal with in recent years when they have been shopping.
McGeady started well at Everton, but was a fringe player by the end of last season.
These should be his best years and a player of such talent would not be satisfied with sitting on the bench at best. McGeady would be treated as a hero if a deal could be done, as he is one former player who the vast majority of supporters would welcome back.
One player who could be on his way to Celtic in the near future is Dundee United striker Nadir Ciftci.
The Parkhead side have had a £900,000 bid turned down for the 23-year-old Turk and are expected to increase their bid for a player who is facing a charge of biting Dundee midfielder Jim McAlister on the leg during the final match of last season. Asked about Ciftci, Celtic No2 John Collins said: “I believe there is an approach but that’s all I’ve heard and there’s not a lot I can tell you.
“He has obviously played against us many times last year, he’s a big striker, he’s strong, he’s powerful and he’s got technique as well. We like him." Kris Commons is a doubt to face FC Stjarnan after breaking his little toe in an accident at his home. However, Collins is confident that one of his team's key players will be ready. He said: "Kris is getting better every day. Perhaps in another couple of days he’ll get back onto the grass and get his boots on.
“It’s his small toe, so too painful to put a boot on. It was a fracture, so you have to let it heal.
“We’re hoping that he will be able to train again in the next couple of days
“He’s been working in the gym on the bike, so he’s keeping his fitness up."
One boost has been the sight of Mikael Lustig training free from injury after his summer break.
Collins said: "Mikael has been back since the first day and has trained really well.
“He’s looking sharp and is a big player for us as well as a big character in the dressing room.
Share article “He had a difficult time last year with injuries, but he’s looking fresh.
“It’s great news. Mikael proved how important he was to us last season when he did play and it’s good to have him back."
Stoke City: Battle underway with Everton for Xherdan Shaqiri
By The Stoke Sentinel July 01, 2015
By Martin Spinks
STOKE City are ready to go head-to-head with Everton in an ambitious attempt to try to sign Inter Milan star Xherdan Shaqiri.
Both clubs have been encouraged to show an interest in the 23-year-old winger following his modest first six months in Italy. They were both interested in his services in January before he opted to leave Bayern Munich and sign a four-and-half year contract with Inter.
But manager Roberto Mancini has seemingly lost patience with the Kosovan-born Switzerland international and triggered renewed interest from the Premier League.
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Shaqiri – known by his fans as The Alpine Messi – would not come cheap, but a loan deal could be a possibility. Boss Mark Hughes has long been a fan of the winger, while Stoke's hierarchy want a signing like Shaqiri to further enhance the club's profile in European circles.
Shaqiri would certainly liven up the dressing room judging by a recent video showing him dressed as an old man with a grey beard to fool some Swiss schoolchildren at a training camp.
Having curled a free-kick into the top corner and skipped forward to score a solo goal, he rips off his disguise and is mobbed by the cheering youngsters. Stoke, meanwhile, are remaining tight lipped on their pursuit of Udinese midfielder Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu.
Badu's agent Papa Agyemang has claimed to have tweeted a picture of himself at Stoke's training ground to hint at an impending deal. Badu, a 24-year-old Ghana international, will be seen by many as a natural successor to Steven Nzonzi if he leaves this summer.
Boss Mark Hughes has arranged one final face-to-face meeting with Nzonzi this week to try to persuade him to accept a contract extension. If that fails, Stoke are left with little option but to try to cash in on the 26-year-old Frenchman before his current contract expires next year.
The sale of Asmir Begovic is further down the line after Chelsea declared their interest publicly with a £6m offer, while unconfirmed reports last night claimed an £8m deal had been agreed.
It is believed Stoke want nearer £10m, but are open to offers if Chelsea throw in one of their own players as a makeweight, either permanently or on loan.
Victor Moses would have fitted the bill after spending last season on loan at Stoke, but interest from Tottenham appears to have put the brakes on that move.
Stoke could be intrigued to know Chelsea's plans for the likes of Patrick Bamford, Jon Obi Mikel and Mohamed Salah. Bamford, who wants a taste of Premier League football, is expected to be moved on again after successful loan spells in the Championship with Derby and Middlesbrough.
Obi Mikel, still only 28, has expressed his desire for more first-team football after just 11 league starts last season. Salah was loan at Fiorentina in 2015 and reports have suggested he could return there next season.
Crewe Alexandra: Steve Davis confirms interest in former Everton midfielder John Lundstram
By Rich_Sharpe July 01, 2015 Stoke Sentinel
STEVE Davis has confirmed his interest in midfielder John Lundstram but admits the club are yet to offer the former England youth international a contract.
Lundstram has long been on Crewe's radar but despite holding talks with his agent, Davis revealed the club are yet to offer the 21-year-old a deal. But Davis says the Alex are "in with a chance" of signing the classy midfield player who spent last season on loan at Blackpool and Scunthorpe.
There is other interest in Lundstram, who has also had loan spells at Leyton Orient, Yeovil and Doncaster Rovers, though Crewe are hoping to lure the scouser to Gresty Road with the offer of first-team football. Lundstram was released by Everton in the summer without making a first-team appearance for the club. But he has amassed Championship and League One experience during his six spells out on loan, playing 68 times. And Davis admits his midfield target would significantly improve his side who are currently short of numbers in the middle of the park after the departures of Anthony Grant, Liam Nolan and Jamie Ness. "We're not anywhere with it at the minute, just talking with his agent," Davis said. "We know about John, he's played in the Championship for Blackpool last season and did well, he played for England with Nick Powell up to the under-21s.
"He's still only 21, he's a talented boy, he's one of a number of players that we're interested in and he can improve no end and have great sell-on potential. "We know that we can get more out of him and he's a lad who's been playing at a higher level and been involved in promotion seasons.
"He's the calibre of player that we'd like to bring in.
"We're just talking to him at the minute, nothing concrete has been offered yet but he's not made any decisions yet.
"But we're in there with a chance."
Lundstram captained England under-18s against Poland at Gresty Road in 2012, a Three Lions squad that contained both Nick Powell and Max Clayton. He also played the full 90 minutes for Doncaster Rovers at the Alexandra Stadium in April 2013, a game the visitors won 2-1. It is understood that Crewe have built up a list of midfield targets of around nine names, with Davis revealing that all of them are still yet to get fixed up with a club. He's hoping that his patience in the market will eventually pay off, with Crewe yet to make their first signing of the summer.
"The list is still as it was, the same names that were on there several months are still on there, they've not gone anywhere," Davis added. "They are all waiting to see what their best offer is but if we can get two of the players on that list we'll be much better off in midfield than we were last year.
"We'd be happy with any of those and we're just being patient, we want to get them right and give ourselves every chance of getting our number one and number two targets.
"So we've got to be fair and do that, there's no point in panicking and signing anyone while those top targets are still available. "However long that takes it'll be worth it."
How transfer deals really work - 10 steps from scouting to signing
1 July 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Neil Jones
Breaking down the key twists and turns behind football's multi-million pound transfer deals
We've all done it.
We’ve all played Football Manager, we’ve all done our homework and decided that this player is the one. We’ve scouted him, checked out his stats, worked out our budget and slapped in a bid.
We’ve heard his club’s demands, heard the player’s demands, matched both and finalised the deal.
Real life, though, tends to be a little more complex.
How, though, are football transfers actually conducted? ECHO sports writer Neil Jones has taken a good look at the anatomy of a modern transfer deal.
1. The scouting
Probably the most mysterious element, but absolutely crucial. After all, if you want to make sure a transfer is a success, it helps to start by having the right player involved.
Football scouting is an evolving industry. The days of the old-school scout, making instinctive judgements from the stands, are not quite over, but they are fading, particularly at the top level.
Many clubs now use computer programmes, such as Scout7, to gather detailed statistical analyses of players. Videos are uploaded within minutes of a game finishing, enabling a manager, head of recruitment or director of football to run the rule over a player from the comfort of his office.
Additionally, the political element is key.
Scouts in the field now spend almost as much time gathering intelligence off the field as they do watching a player on it; speaking to agents, forging relationships with a player’s family and friends, and doing their best to stay a step ahead of their rivals. Few industries are more competitive, or, in football terms at least, more important.
2. The bid
So once a player has been identified, the next step is the transfer (or loan) offer. Pretty straightforward, you’d think, but there is more than one way to start a transfer.
The most obvious is for a buying club to submit a formal written offer for a player, seemingly by fax even in this day and age, which will then be considered by the selling club.
But it is just as common for clubs to contact trusted agents to act on their behalf, either in finding an available player from another club, or finding a buyer for their own unwanted player.
These agents act as intermediaries between the buyers and the sellers, and can set the wheels in motion for a deal that otherwise may not have been struck.
3. Tapping up?
Premier League rules state that “a player under contract shall not directly or indirectly make any approach to another club without having obtained the prior written consent of the existing club to who he is contracted.”
Basically, that all transfer deals should be started from scratch.
Reality, of course, is different. Rarely will a bid be submitted for a player, without the buying club having contacted the player’s representatives to see if he would be interested in a move, and if so what kind of wages he would be after.
Frowned upon? Certainly, but it is pretty much common practice across the game.
The bulk of a deal is often set up before a fee has been agreed between the buying and selling clubs.
4. The negotiations
For those of us in the media, transfer stories provide stock phrases, which are almost becoming cliches. “Preliminary talks,” “advanced discussions”, “talks ongoing”, “personal terms”, “showdown talks” - the list is growing.
Such phrases evoke images of a group of people – players, agents, chairmen, managers – sat around a table sliding pieces of paper with figures on them to each other, to be greeted by a shake of the head and an ‘add a nought on to that and come back, matey.’
Again, the reality is very different.
‘Negotiation’ meetings are often brief, with an agent laying out a player’s demands, and an official (usually the chief executive, the head of recruitment or the director of football) giving the club’s side of things.
Issues which arise during negotiations often relate to, of course, salary, bonuses and signing-on fees, as well as personal and social considerations.
Players often leave the negotiations to their agents, and are kept abreast of the situation from afar. They usually meet with a manager before a deal goes through to discuss how he would fit in at his potential new club - and if they don’t, then they’re taking a huge risk - but in terms of sitting round a negotiating table discussing figures? Rarely.
5. The players’ dilemma
This is the age of ‘player power’ in football, and there is little doubt that in transfer deals, it is they who hold the key.
Fair enough, some would say. After all, it is their lives who will change. Considerations for a player prior to a transfer include how much playing time they would get if they moved clubs, whether they would need to re-locate (or learn a new language), whether they would be happy to work for the buying club’s manager and, particularly as you go down the leagues, the length of contract. Players, like anyone, want security.
And, of course, there is also the financial aspect. Wages play a big part in any job decision, and in football the sums are vast, and still on the up.
“Often, it comes down to how strong the player’s position is,” says ECHO columnist and ex Liverpool striker Neil Mellor.
“If he’s settled and playing regularly, it will cost more to get him out. If he’s out of the team and desperate to move, then some of his power goes.
“In my career, I turned moves down because I didn’t want to move to certain parts of the country, or to work for certain managers. Those things all go through your head, definitely.
"It’s a short career, and making the wrong decision can cost you.”
6. The agents
Often held up as the enemy of football, agents in truth suffer from a familiar problem; the conduct of a few bad apples ruining the whole batch.
In reality, agents are an important part of the game, particularly at this time of year, and good ones are valued, by both players and clubs. As stated, agents can be used by clubs to identify players, or to find clubs for players they are looking to sell. Their network of connections is often a valuable tool for managers, from the highest level down.
They also, theoretically at least, should ensure players are able to focus on their football, without having to concern themselves with contract negotiations and discussions. A good agent should be as much a mentor and a confidante as a negotiator. They earn, mind.
For the 12 months up to September 2014, Premier League clubs paid a record £115m in agents’ fees, with Chelsea alone responsible for £16.8m of those (Liverpool paid £14.3m, Everton £5.8m).
“My number one concern is my player,” says Neil Sang, a Liverpool-based agent who represents a number of players. “I listen to what my player wants, and then try to make it happen as best I can.”
7. The media
The relationship between the media and the transfer window is very much love-hate. They love it because the stories keep them knee-deep in copy, but hate it because sifting through the garbage is an arduous and often disheartening process.
Regularly, reporters will receive tip-offs about potential transfers, often via agents but sometimes from other sources. The famous ‘taxi driver from the airport’ is usually prevalent at this time of year, while any number of elite international players can be spotted heading towards Finch Farm or Melwood.
Or the Lobster Pot, in more extreme cases.
8. The medical & the work permit
The final hurdles in a deal are the medical and, for some players, the work permit. Medicals at top-level clubs are stringent, carried out at the training ground – Liverpool also carry out tests on players at the Spire Hospital in Mossley Hill - and often well publicised through club’s official media channels.
But as time ticks away on deadline day clubs, naturally, have been known to take gambles. Liverpool, for example, signed Andy Carroll in January 2011 while the striker was sidelined with a thigh injury. Basically, if both club and player want a deal to go through, then it will.
Work-permits, meanwhile, are needed for any player over the age of 16 who does not own an EU passport. The buying club, basically, agrees to sponsor the player to be in the UK. A certificate of sponsorship is then produced by the club, which is submitted to the FA. The FA will grant the work permit if the player has played 75% of competitive games for a FIFA-ranked top 70 nation over the past two years. Failure to meet this requirement will see an application rejected, unless it can be proven a player was unavailable for selection due to injury. A club may appeal if their first application is rejected, with a panel convened to establish whether, in its view, the player’s transfer would be of benefit to the game in the relevant country. Arsenal, for example, successfully persuaded the panel to grant Gabriel Paulista, an uncapped Brazilian, a work permit for his move from Villarreal in January.
9. The drama
It is a question that always gets asked when deadline day rolls around. Having had a month to get deals done (more if it is a summer window), why do we find so many clubs scratching around at 10pm with an hour before deadline? Why do we have footballers, like Gareth Barry before he moved on loan from Manchester City to Everton, sat in their cars with a coffee and Candy Crush, waiting for the green light to go and finalise their transfer? Why have we got Harry Redknapp ringing up Niko Kranjcar like a broken-hearted lover, asking him to save him every single January?
Drama addicts? Possibly. But the biggest factor about deadline day, especially in January, is how much of a domino effect is in operation. Clubs try to plan as best they can, but one transfer leads to others – Barry’s Everton deal, for example, was dependant on Marouane Fellaini moving to Manchester United, while Liverpool signed Andy Carroll because Fernando Torres left for Chelsea.
Additionally, a sudden run of poor form (or injuries) can lead to panic, particularly if a club is battling relegation, or chasing promotion. The risk of not adding to your squad when there are four months left in the season, is deemed too big to ignore. Hence the “panic-buy” signings on the final day.
A club that is suddenly stripped of its star man late in the window, as Liverpool were with Torres, has to act fast, and that creates a knock-on, and a fair bit of drama too. Too much for Jim White to handle, at times.
10. Done deal!
And there you have it.
The fee is agreed, the personal terms are agreed, the medical is done. All that remains is to lodge the signed and sealed, finalised paperwork with the Premier League and the FA...
….Oh, and to make sure you get the obligatory smiling photo of the player with his new manager, and his new club’s shirt.
Confirmed: Luke Garbutt signs new five-year deal to stay at Everton
1 July 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Kristian Walsh
The 22-year-old defender has pledged himself to Roberto Martinez's side until 2020 after lengthy negotiations with the club
Luke Garbutt has hailed the future prospects of Everton FC after completing a dramatic turnaround and signing a new five-year deal with the Blues.
The 22-year-old defender has pledged himself to Roberto Martinez's side until 2020 after lengthy negotiations with the club. It represents a real change in circumstance after Garbutt looked set to leave Goodison Park with his contract expiring this summer. But after long and at times uncertain negotiations, the Harrogate-born defender will now stay with the Toffees.
Garbutt believes the young spine of the team - with players such as Romelu Lukaku, Ross Barkley and John Stones - can lead the Blues to "special things". "Under the manager, the future looks bright and positive and I want to be a part of that. It is a great club to be a part of and the staff and supporters have been great with me from day one," he said. "Last season was great for me in continuing my development, my personal highlight being the Europa League adventure as I gained a lot of experience in those games playing against top quality opposition. "Everything we went through last season and the experience we gained as a group will only make us stronger as a team ahead of the new season. "And with all the young players we’ve got such as Rom [Lukaku], Ross [Barkley] and [John] Stonesy - all of them key players, too, the future of the club couldn't be more promising. "If we can continue to build the team, then we can go on and achieve special things together, every one of us as players will have no doubts about that." The deal ends speculation over his future, with Everton thought to be ready to send Garbutt on loan to another Premier League outfit next season, before returning to Goodison for the 2016-17 campaign where he will challenge Leighton Baines for the left-back slot. Bournemouth were previously thought to be favourites to take the England under-21 international but they are thought to have moved on to other targets after signing Tyrone Mings from Ipswich. The south coast side, along with Swansea City, offered Garbutt a permanent deal after the full-back’s contract with Everton expired.
Everton had tabled an new contract offer in February but the former Leeds United youngster had still not agreed new terms by the end of the season, increasing speculation that he was ready to leave the club in search of first-team football. And Garbutt has paid tribute to the club and supporters, calling it an "honour" to commit his future with the Blues.
"It's an honour to commit my long-term future to Everton," Garbutt added.
"I’ve been made to feel very welcome at the club since I signed my scholarship six years ago.
"Over the years, I have grown to have an affinity with the club and I feel a sense of belonging here."
Garbutt joined Everton in 2011 and has made five league appearances in that time, making his debut towards the end of the 2013-14 season.
Everton FC transfer rumours: Blues make Dries Mertens enquiry, Toffees face Shaqiri competition from Stoke, Celtic eye McGeady return
1 July 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Joe Rimmer
A round-up of transfer rumours and speculation from around the web
Everton have made an enquiry for Napoli winger Dries Mertens, that's according to sources in Belgium.
Mertens, who players alongside Kevin Mirallas and Romelu Lukaku, is a pacey and direct wideman with an eye for goal. The 28-year-old scored 10 times in all competitions for Napoli last season, but he was not a regular starter in the side. Reports in Belgium indicate that the Blues have made an enquiry but have yet to make an official bid for the player.
14m euros in the price that is being mooted for the player, with Inter Milan also said to be interested. His agent has admitted his future is unclear. “It’s been a difficult year for Napoli,” Soren Lerby told Radio Crc. “After being knocked out of the Champions League, they got very close to winning the Europa League, but we all know what happened in the league.
“We’ll see what will happen now. There are clubs interested in Dries, but at the moment I can’t say anything.” From one exciting winger to another, but Everton face competition for Stoke in their reported chase for Swiss star Xherdan Shaqiri.
Shaqiri's future at Inter Milan is unclear, with the 23-year-old said to be out of favour under Roberto Mancini - and now the Stoke Sentinel reports that the Potters are going to launch an ambitious attempt to sign the former Bayern Munich man. Shaqiri could be available on loan after struggling at Inter Milan. He only moved to the San Siro in January after failing to break into the first XI at Bayern Munich. And finally, Celtic could lure Aiden McGeady back to Scotland, with reports suggesting the Irishman could be on the verge of handing in a transfer request at Everton.
The Glasgow Evening Times reports that those in power at Celtic Park are in favour of a move for McGeady, who left Celtic in a £12m move to Spartak Moscow back in 2010.
McGeady's wages are said to be on stumbling block on the deal, but it is suggested he could expect a hero's welcome should he choose to return to the Hoops.
Deulofeu: The Everton fans drew me back
1 July 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Liverpool Echo
Deulofeu reveals how Everton fans on Twitter encouraged him to return to club
Gerard Deulofeu has revealed how Everton fans on Twitter helped make up his mind to return to Goodison.
The Catalan today officially rejoined the Blues on a three-year contract, following last week’s announcement that a €6m deal had been agreed with Barcelona.
Deulofeu, 21, fondly remembers the affinity he had with the Toffees supporters on Merseyside, and how they never stopped reminding him that they wanted him back.
“I had a great year when I was here last,” the winger said. “I really enjoyed my time here. I felt loved by the Evertonians and I was surrounded by really good teammates. I’m very happy to be back.
“The fans here are great and I felt really supported by them. Obviously I went back to Barcelona and then Sevilla but here, the fans live for their football. “The Everton fans have been sending me messages all the time on social media, on Instagram and Twitter, asking me questions. If I have got 50 notifications on Twitter, 40 of them will be from Everton fans asking what is going on!
“Both myself and my girlfriend feel very supported by the fans and I just hope this year I can work really hard and give them back some of the happiness that they deserve.”
Deulofeu added that he had interest from several clubs – but returning to Everton was always his priority. “Of course there were other options, but I always said right from the start that I wanted to come back to Everton - you can ask my agent and he will say the same,” he added.
“This is where I feel happy, this is where I feel like I am loved by the fans. The fans support me – they always send me messages, so this was where I wanted to come back to.”
Cleverley: I can't wait to play for Roberto Martinez again
1 July 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Liverpool Echo
Ex Manchester United man is raring to go at Everton
Tom Cleverley has explained why the lure of working with Roberto Martinez again lured him to pick Everton over Arsenal.
The midfielder had offers from a number of clubs, most notably Arsene Wenger’s Champions League regulars, but opted to join the Toffees and link-up with the man who managed him while on loan at Wigan Athletic. Cleverley, 25, will join his new teammates for pre-season training next week after officially signing for the club today on a five-year deal. But the appeal of being played in the role he feels suits him best, a more advanced position, instead of holding midfield was believed to be another factor behind his decision. “I think Roberto is a great manager and I’m massively looking forward to working with him again,” said the England international. “We obviously had a year at Wigan together that I really enjoyed. He knows me and he knows how I like to play, so hopefully we can hit it off again come the start of the season. “I’m delighted to be joining because it’s a fantastic club. There is an all-round package with the history of the club, the great players that are currently here, the manager and the fans. It’s definitely the club I wanted to play for.
“[The move] happened quite quickly, but he told me about how passionate the fans are here and about the young players who play high-energy football like myself, so hopefully I can fit right in with the squad. “Getting back into Europe is definitely something I’m thinking about. European football is something clubs this size deserve to be in and I’ve had good experiences in Europe in the past, so hopefully there is more to come at Everton. “It’s difficult to think about targets so soon, but it’s a Club that can definitely be fighting towards that top six hopefully go on a good cup run, which was something I was lucky enough to experience this year.” Cleverley is also delighted the 2015/16 Premier League campaign will begin with a home game. After playing at Goodison with three different clubs - Wigan Athletic, Manchester United and Aston Villa - he says he is now looking forward to experiencing the stadium as a home player when Watford visit Merseyside on 8 August.
“Playing at Goodison Park is something that excites me,” he added. “I’ve always said it’s one of the hardest places to come as an away player because it creates one of the best atmospheres, especially when the team is on top. “I’ve always enjoyed playing there – it’s one of those really exciting grounds and I’m genuinely excited to be here.”
Everton FC transfers: What the Blues have achieved so far this summer - and what they still have to do
2 July 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Kristian Walsh
Roberto Martinez has been working hard in the transfer market for Everton FC
The start of July means one thing: the opening of the transfer window.
It is akin to the first day back at school or the beginning of a new job; for some, it may feel like coming back to work after a long, luxurious holiday.
New hopes, new dreams. A chance to overhaul defences, tinker with midfields and strengthen striking options. But in reality, the start of the summer window means little. Dawn had barely broken on Wednesday and Roberto Martinez stood at Finch Farm, shaking the hand of Tom Cleverley. Gerard Deulofeu, meanwhile, posed happily with his shirt and spoke of his delight of being a Blue once more. That is, of course, because the deals were sealed before the opening of the window. Though the paperwork can only be completed – and therefore make the deal official – on July 1, a club’s work starts long before then.
Everton’s summer activity is testament to that.
There is still work to be done, however. Here is what Martinez and the Blues have successfully managed so far – and what still remains to be done.
IN PICTURES: Tom Cleverley
WHAT HAS BEEN DONE
Deulofeu and Cleverley signings
Everton have secured a pair of signings which demonstrate quality does not always correlation with money spent. For under £5m, the Blues have secured a popular wide man who is ready to take his chance on a permanent basis, as well as a midfielder who looked most comfortable playing under Martinez at Wigan. The Catalan identified both players as priorities this summer – and Everton acted quickly to beat off competition and bring both to the side. Deulofeu gives Martinez the winger he craves, while Cleverley is a versatile, reliable, intelligent player.
There was no doubt over Phil Jagielka signing a new deal at Goodison Park, though his one-year extension was fine reward for being the club’s best player last season.
Retaining Luke Garbutt, however, is a big positive – and partly unexpected, too, given how his contract was on the verge of expiring. For the defender to commit to the Blues safeguards the left back spot for the future, as well as ensuring Leighton Baines has an able deputy – for now – although Everton could send him out on loan this season.
But by agreeing a new deal with Garbutt, the club ensure they can focus on what they need to do.
Barkley rest secured
Not strictly as the design of the Blues, granted, but Ross Barkley spending the summer as far away from the Under-21 European Championships in the Czech Republic was a welcome bonus.
Both Martinez and Roy Hodgson had spoken of their desire for Gareth Southgate to not take the midfielder to the competition, with the Blues boss wanting him refreshed after a difficult season at the club. Though England played just three games before group stage elimination, Barkley already resting ahead of the coming season was a boost.
WHAT STILL NEEDS TO BE DONE
Left-footed centre back
Roberto Martinez has two of the league’s best at the back, but he isn’t settling for just that. The Catalan has already made his summer intentions clear: he wants another centre back.
A wise move given Slyvain Distin and Antolin Alcaraz have both departed, of course. But Martinez also wants to put instant pressure on Everton’s first choice centre-half pairing with a new signing this summer, with Juventus star Angelo Ogbonna top of the list.
Martinez is eyeing a move for the Italy international to give them serious competition for their places. Crystal Palace captain Scott Dann is on the Blues’ radar but the ECHO understands Ogbonna remains Martinez’s first-choice. Genk centre-half Kara Mbodj is also on the Catalan’s list but it is the Juve defender who Martinez is prioritising. Liverpool-born Dann would command a fee of over £10m and Palace are not looking to cash in on their skipper. Martinez is an admirer of the 28-year-old but would prefer to try and lure Ogbonna to the Premier League.
Roberto Martinez has been forced to look abroad to find the perfect playmaker for Everton because of a lack of English talent.
The Blues manager wants to add a No10 to his squad this summer and has drawn up a shortlist of targets. But Martinez admits he has been scouring the European markets for a creative midfielder because there aren’t any homegrown talents that fit the bill.
The Catalan believes Everton have talented players coming through their Academy that will save the club millions of pounds in the future but as he heads into his third summer at the Goodison helm, Martinez is looking overseas for a signing he has made a priority.
Manchester City’s David Silva is seen as the Premier League’s leading player in that position and Martinez has explained the qualities he is looking for.“It is a very specific position,” he said.
“He is a player that needs sensational spatial awareness and can receive the ball from different angles, can always plays forward and can link what is a good control in possession to a threat in possession.”
Another striker... or a cast-iron identity
Martinez insists he is not in the market for a striker with Romelu Lukaku and Arouna Kone enough to satiate his goalscoring desires. But Blues fans would be forgiven for raising an eyebrow at that, especially given Kone’s injury record.
If Everton are not to pursue a striker, then they must concentrate on getting every ounce of potential from Lukaku. The Belgian hit his stride at times last season, scoring 20 goals; now, he must score consistency and aim for 25 goals – or more.
In order to do so, more is needed from both Lukaku and those around him. Martinez must ensure the team play to Lukaku’s strengths, with their chief task to create chances for the striker to finish.
Everton full-back Luke Garbutt on Aston Villa's radar
2 July 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Phil Kirkbride
Villa one of a number of clubs interested in taking Everton defender on loan next season
Aston Villa are one of a number of clubs interested in taking Luke Garbutt on loan.
The Everton defender committed his future to the club by putting pen to paper on a new five year deal this week. But Garbutt will spend next season out on loan at another Premier League side.
Newly-promoted Bournemouth, who wanted to sign Garbutt permanently, were thought to be leading the chase to take the 22-year-old for next season.
But the south coast outfit are unlikely to pursue their interest having signed Tyrone Mings from Ipswich Town. Villa, however, are one of a handful of sides interested in taking Garbutt on a short-term deal. The former Leeds United youngster agreed a new contract at Goodison this week after his deal ran out at the end of the season. Garbutt said: “Under the manager, the future looks bright and positive and I want to be a part of that.”
Everton captain Phil Jagielka: Thomas Cleverley proved a lot of people wrong last season
2 July 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Greg O’Keeffe
Cleverley will be a great addition says skipper
Tom Cleverley “proved a lot of people wrong” last season according to Phil Jagielka who is thrilled at his England team-mate’s signing.
The Everton new-boy spent last term on loan at Aston Villa where he scored against the Blues at Villa Park and reached the FA Cup final. It was viewed as a successful campaign for the 25-year-old who had previously endured difficult times establishing himself at his former Manchester United.
But Jagielka expects Cleverley to make a smooth transition into life at Goodison after describing his signing as a ‘really good addition’. He said: “He proved a lot of people wrong at Aston Villa – he obviously scored against us which I am sure he will take a little bit of stick for when he comes in.
“He’s a really good addition. He’s a great player - nice and tidy - and will fit into the manager’s thoughts very well. He can play in a number of positions as well.
“I was delighted when he agreed to sign – he joined up with England a day or so later due to the injury to Ryan Mason. “He’s really excited to come here because it is a fresh start for him. It was nice that he had the chance to go out on loan last season because things weren’t going too well for him at Manchester United. “He’s a really nice lad who will fit in here straight away, and I’m sure he will have a big part to play next season. “A lot of players come here and settle very quickly, so I’m sure Tom will be the same.” Cleverley, a Premier League winner with United in 2012/13, is closing in on 200 first-team appearances at various levels, In addition to his spell at Aston Villa, he has also spent time on loan with Leicester City, Watford and Wigan Athletic.
And it was at the DW Stadium that he played under Roberto Martinez.
“He played in the positive and negative times at Manchester United and that’s going to help him as a character and to blossom as a player,” Jagielka added. “He played in an FA Cup final not too long ago and he’s got quite a few England caps as well, so he has a lot of experience for a young man. It’s something we can use to our advantage. “He’s a good player and, just as importantly, he’s a good person.”
David Henen completes Everton FC transfer
2 July 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Phil Kirkbride
Belgium teenager pens three-year deal
Everton FC have completed the permanent signing of David Henen.
The Belgium teenager has put pen to paper on a three year deal after spending last season on loan at Goodison from Greek outfit Olympiakos.
Henen played with the Blues’ Academy and is expected to be sent out on loan in the Football League this term to aid his progression to Everton’s first-team. The 19-year-old said: “I am so happy,”
“Everton are a big club and I feel I can develop here.
“For a young player it is the best club because they try to develop youngsters. It is perfect for me.”
A statement on Everton’s website said the fee for Henen’s transfer remains undisclosed but it is understood that the Blues have paid in the region of £200,000 for the forward.
Everton to re-enter Lancashire Senior Cup
2 July 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Phil Kirkbride
Everton will send under-21 side into competition this season
Everton will re-enter the Lancashire Senior Cup this season in a bid to help boost the amount of games for their under-21s
The Blues last won the county cup in 1964 but coach David Unsworth has requested that the club get back in the competition. Unsworth has been a vocal critic of the u-21s games programme which currently offers an inconsistent and insufficient schedule of fixtures.
Everton will play 22 Premier League matches this term and have been invited to feature in the Premier League International Cup again. The Blues are to enter a side into the Liverpool Senior Cup once more and will this season add the Lancashire Senior Cup to the schedule.
“The Premier League International Cup was a great tournament for us last year and they will structure it for the start of the season,” Unsworth said. “The games with Celtic and Villarreal were great games for us. There are not enough games at under-21 level so we’ll be in the Liverpool Senior Cup again this season and also enter the Lancashire Senior Cup. “I am really keen for the lads to have as many competitive games as possible and we want an edge in all our games.”
Everton’s u-21s this week returned from a seven day training camp at high-altitude in Austria, which included a game with third division Austrian side ATSV Stadl Paura.
Unsworth’s squad face non-league Burscough on Wednesday at Victoria Park (7:30pm) in the first of five domestic friendlies.
The Blues’s second string face Wrexham (July 11), Rhyl (July 22), Southport (July 25) and Tranmere Rovers (July 29).
Everton u-21s Premier League season is set to begin on Monday, August 10.
Everton's friendly with Hearts moved to July 26
2 July 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Phil Kirkbride
Blues originally scheduled to play at Tynecastle previous day
Everton's friendly game with Hearts has been put back 24 hours.
The Blues were due to travel to Tynecastle on Saturday, July 25 but now face the Scottish Premier League side a day later. Kick-off in Edinburgh remains at 3pm.
Everton’s game with Hearts is the first of two fixtures in Scotland this month.
The Blues face Dundee on Tuesday, July 28 (7.30pm) before rounding off their summer schedule with a trip to Leeds and Duncan Ferguson’s testimonial game in August.
Everton’s game with Hearts has been forced back with Hibs playing Rangers at Easter Road, in the Petrofac Training Cup, on the same day.
Tickets for the game will go on sale at 9am on Tuesday, July 7.
Ticket prices: Adult £18, Concessions (O65/Student/U18) £10 and under 12s £5.
Everton FC transfer rumours: James McCarthy wanted by Tottenham
2 July 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Chris Beesley
Spurs ready to offer Aaron Lennon and Younes Kaboul in exchange to lure Blues midfielder to London
Tottenham Hotspur want to launch a bid for Everton midfielder James McCarthy and could use Aaron Lennon and Younes Kaboul as bait to try and land the Blues ace.
MailOnline say that McCarthy is frustrated that Goodison chiefs are yet to approach him about discussions over a new improved contract to reward his impressive form over the past two seasons.
Spurs are long-time admirers of the Republic of Ireland international and tried to sign him in the summer of 2013 when he moved from Wigan Athletic. The concern is that McCarthy has three years remaining on his contract and Everton will refuse to sell. Tottenham are willing to make a substantial offer but do not wish to become embroiled in a saga. McCarthy would be willing to talk to them if the clubs agreed a fee while players such as Aaron Lennon and Younes Kaboul could be offered in the deal. Meanwhile, the reasons why Lukas Podolksi’s rumoured move to Everton never materialised appear to have become clear after it was reported that he has agreed a bumper 4.5million Euros per year deal with Galatasaray. Roberto Martinez is an admirer of the German World Cup winner and was linked with the 30-year-old when it became clear Arsenal were willing to let him go for a knockdown 2.5million Euros fee after a disappointing loan spell in the second half of last season at Inter. However, Eurosport TR say that Podolski will be given a lucrative package with the Istanbul club that gives him parity with Wesley Sneijder and increases his wages from the 3.25million Euros per season he was on at the Emirates Stadium.
Everton fans arrested in dawn raids in connection with 'violent attack'
2 July 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Laura Tacey
Addresses in Liverpool, Wirral and Warrington raided as part of Scotland Yard probe
Everton supporters who were wanted over a violent attack outside a pub have been arrested in a series of dawn raids.
Scotland Yard said six males, including a 15-year-old boy, were arrested on suspicion of violent disorder at seven addresses across Liverpool, Wirral and Warrington this morning. These suspects are aged from 15 to 54 years of age. Scotland Yard said that a 24-year-old man was also arrested on suspicion of violent disorder in Crawley, Sussex, as part of the swoop.
The arrests follow clashes which broke out between a group of around 30 Everton supporters who attacked a smaller group of Newcastle United and Hull City supporters drinking outside the Millers pub in Caledonian Road in Islington, north London.
It happened at about 6pm on May 16 at the end of a busy day of football in London where all three teams had played in matches. Passers-by saw men - armed with glasses and throwing punches and kicking in the 12 minutes of violence that was unleashed until the police arrived. A 51-year-old man was taken to hospital for treatment to a head injury. Merseyside Police helped to identify some of the suspects who were captured on CCTV cameras and by members of the public on their mobile phones. Scotland Yard said this wealth of images helped officers from other forces identify and track down some of the suspects. Detective Chief Inspector Andy Barnes, of Operation Arrowtip which investigates football-related crime and disorder in London, said: “Violence amongst supporters has no place in football; be it before, during or after a match. “These investigations that lead to operations like today show that no matter where you are from, or who you support, UK policing will work together to identify suspects and take action against them.”
All seven of the males arrested today have now been released on bail pending further inquiries.
The three men - including a 52-year-old man who was arrested on suspicion of three counts of assault and two men arrested on suspicion of affray - who were arrested shortly after the incident have all been bailed pending further inquiries.
How Everton missed out on cut-price Petr Cech deal
3 July 2015 Liverpool Echo
By David Prentice
Prentice on Everton's missed opportunities
Every football club has its one that got away story.
Liverpool fans talk ruefully of Gerard Houllier being barred from signing an 18-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo.
“Maybe we would have won the title with Ronaldo, but we had Harry Kewell, who was outstanding at the time,” explained Houllier, none too convincingly.
A passport problem prevented Arsenal from buying Yaya Toure in 2003, Zinedine Zidane was offered by Bordeaux to Blackburn in 1995 – but they were content with Tim Sherwood – and staggeringly Sheffield United could not afford the £200,000 to add a promising 17-year-old Argentinian to their growing South American stable. Six years later Diego Maradona was the greatest player in the world. At Everton it’s always been goalkeepers which have provided their blind spot in the transfer market. In the mid-1970s Everton boasted a title challenging team but a goalkeeper cruelly nicknamed Dai the Drop – who was actually keeping out someone who cost a British record transfer for a keeper. That spoke volumes for the confidence managers had in David Lawson.
Their top class striker Bob Latchford said: “Billy Bingham nearly signed Peter Shilton and if we would have got him, I think we would have won the league.”
They didn’t – and finished fourth, third and fourth in a decade of near misses.
The imperious Nigel Martyn was branded by David Moyes as his best ever signing, seven years after Everton had him in a Park Foods reception hall on the Wirral – but allowed him to drive to Leeds.
“On our way over my agent, who was in the car in front, rang me to say Leeds had just matched the offer so it was in my interests to listen to them,” Martyn later explained. “We told the Everton director (Cliff Finch) about that and, it was weird, he seemed to get a bit flummoxed about the situation. He actually gave us directions on how to get to Leeds.
“I was all ready to sign for Everton. My wife had family in the area but the director, I think, was anxious to seem fair. He even said we’d better get moving because the traffic would be bad! Once we got to Leeds Howard Wilkinson was never going to let us go until I signed.”
Martyn wasn’t the only rising goalkeeper Joe Royle missed out on.
He had identified Middlesbrough’s as then unused Mark Schwarzer as a keeper ready for a bigger stage – his chairman disagreed.
Joe later told the tale of Peter Johnson calling him at home whilst watching Stockport take Middlesbrough all the way to the wire in a League Cup semi-final.
“He’s really rather good this goalkeeper isn’t he?” said the chairman. “Why didn’t we buy him?”
It’s not often Joe’s language is bluer than his heart.
Schwarzer went on to win 109 caps for his country, Australia, and is still playing now.
Which brings us to Petr Cech.
The giant Czech joined Arsenal this week after one of the most stellar Premier League careers in history: Four titles, four FA Cups, three League Cups and two decisive saves in the penalty shoot-out which landed the 2012 Champions League. He also holds clean sheet records galore – but was on Everton’s radar early in his career at Sparta Prague.
Regularly linked with a move to the Blues during Walter Smith’s tenure, a fee of £3.6m was more than Everton were prepared to consider for a goalkeeper (although they did buy Steve Simonsen for Tranmere for a reported £3.3m - the actual fee paid was significantly less).
Modest French club Rennes paid up for Cech and two seasons later he was on Chelsea’s radar for a fee twice as high.
They never regretted a penny of it.
An outstanding goalkeeper from the understated school which allies supreme positioning to wonderful athleticism, he deservedly challenges Peter Schmeichel as the Premier League’s best.
In the decade that Cech has been repelling goalbound efforts at Chelsea, Everton have used Richard Wright, Nigel Martyn, Sander Westerveld, John Ruddy, Iain Turner, Steffan Wessels, Jan Mucha, Carlo Nash, Joel Robles and finally Tim Howard.
Definitely one that got away.
Eto'o's eerily similar Blue farewells
Samuel Eto’o wrote a touching farewell letter to the Sampdoria fans this week, a heartfelt missive which bore striking resemblances to the one he left for Evertonians just six months earlier.
Eto'o told Samp: “Dear Blucerchiati ,
I’ve been blessed to spend these past few months with you.
To my pleasure, I have discovered here a crowd of warm, passionate, affectionate and supportive fans... It’s time for me to leave, but wherever I go, I will always remember what it is to be in a place where football is not only a passion but a way to keep a family together.
A BIG “Thank You” to the U.C. Sampdoria staff who helped me settle down and gave me the opportunity to once again experience the pleasure to play in the Serie A. Thank you to Sampdoria Lawyer Romei Antonio for his constant help…Of course a special “Thank you”, to our president, a father to me, who made it all of that possible. He believed in me from the first to the last minute, and for that I will forever be grateful to him.
It was an honour to be part of your army.
You will always be in my heart”
Here’s the one he left Everton fans. Compare and contrast.
“I’ve been blessed to spend these past few months with you.
“To my pleasure, I have discovered here a crowd of warm, passionate, affectionate and supportive fans... It’s time for me to leave, but wherever I go, I will bring with me all the memories we’ve built together.
“A special “Thank You” to the Everton staff who helped me settle down and of course to our manager Roberto, who made all of that possible.
“It was an honour to be part of your army.
“You will always be in my heart.
At least Evertonians got a “special” thank you not a “BIG” one.
Everton FC transfer rumours: Bruma receives offers, Evans swap deal, Arsenal goalkeepers considered
3 July 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Kristian Walsh
The latest Everton FC transfer gossip from around the web
Everton FC are reportedly interested in Galatasaray star Bruma, according to Turkish Football, and their pursuit may have been boosted by comments made by the winger's agent.
The website has linked the Blues with a move for the pacy wide man, and agent Marco Kirdemir says he's received a number of offers from the Premier League.
"Galatasaray want to loan Bruma out but are prepared to sell at the right price," he told Radyospor.
"We have received interest from several Premier League clubs but I am unable to give any names."
Oh, you tease. Meanwhile, the Daily Star are claiming Manchester United will use Jonny Evans as bait for Seamus Coleman. The Toffees insist Coleman is not for sale and that United are wasting their time making a bid for the Republic of Ireland international.
Evans is about to enter the final 12 months of his contract and has not been offered a new one.
And finally, Here In The City have speculated as to whether the Blues will make a move for either David Ospina or Wojciech Szczesny.
Arsenal have just signed Petr Cech, which means either goalkeeper could be available on the market this summer.
Everton youngster on "the best two weeks of his life"
3 July 2015 Liverpool Echo
By David Prentice
But now Brendan Galloway wants more first team football
BRENDAN GALLOWAY enjoyed “the best two weeks of his life” last season.
And the experience has left the young Everton defender hungrier than ever to sample the heady highs of Premier League football.
With uncertainty over Luke Garbutt’s long-term future, the Zimbabwean-born defender was handed an unexpected debut at West Ham , then kept his place for the visit of Tottenham the following weekend. “That was the best two weeks of my life and I want it to happen a lot more this season,” said Galloway. “The coaches told me I’d done well, to keep my head down and if I did that, the opportunity would come again.” News that Garbutt had eventually signed a new long-term deal at Goodison has instantly pushed Galloway back down the left-back hierarchy at Everton, but with more experience in central defence than at full-back the 19-year-old is confident he can enjoy more Premier League outings next season. "I’ve had my head down this week in Austria (with the Under-21s) and worked as hard as I can to impress. “I’m back at it now and fully focused for the season and the challenges ahead. “I had a nice break – I went away with my friends and family. It’s always good to take your mind off football but I’m happy to be back and training again.”
Galloway has had plenty of plaudits from Blues boss Roberto Martinez and his Under-21 counterpart David Unsworth and he is learning from both.
“They are two great coaches and I worked with both of them a lot last season,” he added.
“David Unsworth played in the same position as me and played many games in the Premier League for Everton. He passes his experience on to me and lets me know what it takes to be a Premier League defender. I’m really thankful for that.
“Martinez is a great manager. He knows his stuff and it’s really good to be learning from the best.”
That experience allowed him to make the transition from central defence, where he hs played most of his football to date, to left-back for his Premier League debut at Upton Park.
“I’d played at left-back for Unsy,” he added. “He’d seem me play there and he wanted me to get really comfortable with both positions, so when I got the opportunity at left-back I felt comfortable there. It wasn’t anything new to me. “I really like to play out from the back when it’s right - so does Unsy. He wants us to do play out from the back and be composed on the ball. That helps us when we play in the first team because that’s the style we play here at Everton.
“Now I’m looking forward to getting minutes and getting really fit again. Games always help and are the best way to get your fitness up.”
Will Tyias Browning & Brendan Galloway become a Michael Ball or a Jon O'Connor?
3 July 2015 Liverpool Echo
By David Prentice
Everton's defensive Academy young guns analysed
EVERTON have produced a conveyor belt of defensive talent throughout the Premier League era.
More than a dozen young defenders have made the step up from the Blues Academy to first team football - but few have stayed there.
For every Michael Ball there has been a Graham Allen, for every Tony Hibbert there has been a Peter Clarke. It’s one thing making the step up into the Premier League arena - but it’s altogether more difficult to become a regular. Both Allen and Clarke enjoyed excellent careers lower down the league ladder, others like Neil Moore, Jonathan O’Connor and Adam Farley fell by the wayside.
Last season Brendan Galloway and Tyias Browning were the latest Academy products to enjoy brief tastes of first team football. Browning was an unexpected entry into a tight Anfield derby, and played a part in Phil Jagielka’s spectacular equaliser, then enjoyed his next first team exposure at Old Trafford. Galloway made his debut in the penultimate match of the campaign at West Ham, then kept his place for the visit of Spurs the following week.
Both will be desperate to add to their first team experience this coming season.
We take a look at Everton’s Academy defenders in the Premier League era.
Now making a name for himself as a progessive and ambitious young coach, Unsworth stepped up from the Academy in 1991, scored a stunning volley at Tottenham - and never looked back! An FA Cup winner in 1995, an England international later the same year, he made more than 300 appearances for the Blues - and no player in history scored more penalties. One of Everton’s very best defensive Academy products.
‘Jenks’ was a fesity full-back who made his full debut in the final match of the 1990/91 season against QPR. Again he had to wait until the last three games of the following season for further first team exposure - inlcuding the 3-3 draw at Spurs when David Unsworth struck a debut goal - then made his only Premier League start in 1992/93 at QPR - a traumatic afternoon when Everton ended the game with just nine men on the pitch!
Jenkins enjoyed a long career at Chester City and went on to win six full caps for Northern Ireland.
After a couple of substitute appearances in a League Cup tie against Rotherham and in the final home match of the 1992/93 season against Sheffield United – when the commanding centre-half was cruelly thrown up front to try and salvage a losing cause - Moore enjoyed a high profile start to his top flight career.
He made his debut at Old Trafford the following season, then played successive home matches against Ipswich and Arsenal.
A lifelong Blue who lived so close to the ground he used to walk there on matchdays – boots slung over his shoulder, Moore’s final appearance was a chastening one – a 5-1 hiding at Sheffield Wednesday when he was substituted at half-time.
After loan spells at Blackpool, Oldham, Carlisle and Rotherham, Moore enjoyed a brief spell at Norwich, a much longer period at Burnley - making 52 league appearances and scoring three goals - before a long and distinguished career in non-league where he was still playing for Solihill Moors at the grand old age of 38.
A cultured England Under-21 defender, there were high hopes for Jonathan O’Connor. He was handed a daunting debut at Old Trafford - when Joe Royle made sweeping changes following a shock FA Cup exit at Port Vale - in direct opposition to Ryan Giggs.
Being booked after just half-an-hour made his task even more daunting, but he ultimately came through with flying colours and kept his place for the next two matches, 3-0 and 2-0 victories over Nottingham Forest and Middlesbrough.
Cruelly injuries struck the youngster down. In February 1998 he joined Sheffield United but made only made three starts and two substitute appearances in two-and-a-half years. In October 2000 he joined Blackpool on a free transfer but played only 13 times, before retiring due to persistent glandular fever problems.
A rugged centre-back, Allen featured fleetingly for the Blues, a substitute appearance at Middlesbrough on Boxing Day 1996, then two starts and three substitute appearances the following season - a traumatic one for the club. The 1997/98 campaign was not an easy one for young defenders to be blooded and after being substituted at half-time of a home defeat by Sheffield Wednesday Allen crossed the river to Tranmere where he enjoyed a fine six year spell.
Signed as a youngster from Blackpool and regarded as an exceptional athlete, Hills made a handful of appearances at the end of the 1996/97 season before returning to Blackpool.
Possessing one of the most celebrated surnames in Everton Football Club’s history was never a hindrance to an accomplished, composed and polished player – equally at home at left-back or centre-half.
He scored on his full debut - against Arsene Wenger’s Double winning Arsenal side - and went on to enjoy an excellent Everton career before he was reluctantly told he must move to Glasgow Rangers.
Now retired, he also enjoyed spells with PSV Eindhoven, Manchester City and Leicester, and is a regular at Goodison Park where he holds a season ticket.
A centre-back who helped Everton win the FA Youth Cup in 1998, Farley was one of 35 players used in Walter Smith’s debut season at Goodison - but made just one substitute appearance at Derby County. He later went on to enjoy a long career in non-league.
AN FA Youth Cup winner in 1998, Hibbert made his full debut at West Ham in 2001 at Upton Park, the start of a long and supremely consistent Goodison career.
No outfield player in the club’s history has gone longer without scoring a goal, which has led to Hibbo becoming an unlikely cult figure amongst Blues fans in recent years.
David Moyes described Hibbert as “part of the Everton brickwork” and no Academy product has had a longer career in the Premier League era.
While Tony Hibbert went on to make more than 300 appearances for the Blues, another young defender who made his debut the same season, Peter Clarke, had just 14 outings.
He made his debut at the height of an Everton injury crisis in 2000/01 - and was on the winning side in a 3-1 win at Coventry, enjoyed a run of six successive starts the following season, but after solitary appearances in the seasons which followed moved on to Blackpool where he became an inspirational and influential figure.
A centre-back, Hughes became the second player of the same name to start for the Blues. Striker Mark Hughes was past his best when he featured for the Toffees, while defender Hughes’ best days lay ahead of his move from Goodison at Northampton, Walsall and then North Queensland Fury! He made three appearances for Everton in the 2006/07 season.
Achieved fleeting fame by becoming Everton’s youngest player in European competition in a Europa League dead rubber against BATE Borisov but now plays for Brentford.
Another youngster selected against Borisov, Forshaw also made a substitute appearance against Wolves in 2011 before joining Brentford on-loan. he now plays for Middlesbrough.
Pitched in for a daunting debut on a drenched pitch in Athens after Sylvain Distin pulled up with a hamstring injury, the young Irish defender acquitted himself well.
He made five more appearances in 2011/12, including three successive starts against Aston Villa, Blackburn and Fulham - before joining Blackburn in 2014.
Five of Everton's first seven games moved for live TV
3 July 2015 Liverpool Echo
By David Prentice
But opening match against Watford remains unchanged
FIVE of Everton’s first seven games will be screened live on television.
The Blues’ second game of the new campaign at Southampton on August 15 will be shown live on BT Sport and now kick-off at 12:45pm.
Everton’s home game with Manchester City the following weekend has been pushed back 24 hours and will now take place on Sunday, August 23 at 4pm, with Sky Sports broadcasting live from Goodison Park. Roberto Martinez’s side then go to the capital on Saturday, August 29 to face Spurs with the kick-off changed to 5:30pm, with Sky Sports showing the game live.
Everton return from September’s international break with a home game against champions Chelsea which will now start at 12:45pm on Saturday, September 12 and be shown live on BT Sport.
And in the final alteration to Everton’s early season fixture schedule, the Blues’ trip to West Brom will take place on Monday, September 26 and kick-off at 8pm, with Sky Sports showing the game live. The Blues have also confirmed that the first derby of the season at Goodison has been rearranged for Sunday, October 4 due to Liverpool’s involvement in the Europa League. Kick-off time to be confirmed.
"I'm a better player than I was two seasons ago" says Everton newboy Gerard Deulofeu
3 July 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Phil Kirkbride
Spanish winger struggled for games on loan at Sevilla
Everton’s new signing spent much of his loan spell with La Liga side last season on the sidelines after joining from Barcelona.
Sevilla boss Unai Emery questioned Deulofeu’s temperament and attitude after the winger’s bright start in Andulacia soon fizzled out. Deulofeu returned to Barca at the end of the campaign but last week completed a permanent move to the Blues on a three-year-deal.
The 21-year-old had spent the 2013-14 season on loan at Everton before returning to Spain and says he returns to Goodison Park a much more mature player - despite suggestions to the contrary.
“I agree – I am a more mature player now,” Deulofeu said.
“When I first came to Everton I came from the Spanish second division. “I learnt a lot at Sevilla last season, even though I didn’t play that much.
“I am going to carry on learning throughout my career but, yes, I agree, I am a better footballer now than I was two seasons ago.” Deulofeu rejected more lucrative offers from other clubs to re-join Everton and says working with Roberto Martinez was once was a major factor in his decision.
“He [Martinez] played a very big role but it was my decision,” Deulofeu said.
“I wanted to come back to Everton – it was the club I wanted to return to.
“It was great that he wanted me to come back as much as I did.”
Liverpool and Everton supporters to make case for fans at major European football conference
3 July 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Joe Thomas
Blue Union and Spirit of Shankly members to discuss ways to improve engagement between clubs and supporters
Spirit of Shankly
Fans of Everton and Liverpool are among those attending a major conference designed to promote fan engagement with football clubs across Europe.
Representatives from the Blue Union and Spirit of Shankly will be in Northern Ireland for the summit, which will see fan groups from around 30 European countries discussing their respective campaigns.
The Football Supporters Europe meeting will see fan groups consider how they can strengthen ties between supporters and clubs and make their voices heard within the modern game.
A series of workshops, beginning today, will be held over the coming days with topics including how fans can challenge disproportionate punishments such as mass stadium bans and how supporters can continue to tackle homophobia and discrimination in football.
Roy Bentham, of Liverpool FC fan group the Spirit of Shankly, will speak out against alleged corruption in football. He said: “My message from the conference will be that it needs to stop and that we can redress this problem through collective action and political pressure with those attending this meeting both here and across the continent during this coming season.”
Mr Bentham, who has been involved in supporter campaigns in the UK including the fight for a £20 cap on tickets for away fans, added: “Furthermore, our own clubs at home in the UK need to be more accountable. Transparency and more democracy in the boardrooms and within those football authority corridors are sorely needed, allied to more affordable prices for the majority which are crucial for those who are the lifeblood of the game - the supporters.”
Mr Bentham will be joined at the conference in Belfast by Dave Kelly of Everton FC’s Blue Union fan group, another key member of the Football Supporters Federation and an active campaigner for the group in the UK.
Mr Kelly believes the event represents an important opportunity for fan groups to learn from each other and discuss how best to improve dialogue between supporters and clubs, with German football viewed as a particular success story.
He said: “I think the conference is an ideal opportunity for fans not just in the UK but the whole of Europe to celebrate fan culture and exchange experiences. I think it’s widely perceived that the German fan movement is light years ahead of where we are and you only have to look at their campaigns to see how well organised and efficient they are.”
Everton youngster Callum Connolly cuts holiday short to prepare for new season
3 July 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Phil Kirkbride
Academy defender progressing through club and international ranks
EVERTON youngster Callum Connolly allowed himself just three weeks break this summer - as he looks for a breakthrough season with the Blues.
Bootle’s Connolly has featured for the club’s under-21 side and is also progressing speedily through the international ranks.
The England under-18 international, who represented his country in Russia this summer, has just returned to Merseyside after spending a week in Austria with Everton’s second string.
Connolly was under the wing of U-21s coach David Unsworth, but also says former Everton Academy coach - and current England mentor - Neil Dewsnip has been a big influence on his young career.
“I just love playing football,” the 17-year-old said of his short break.
“I did have a holiday booked for June, but when I was named in the squad for the Russia trip then England comes first – you can’t turn that down,” he told TheFA.com.
He added: “Last season was massive for me, both internationally and at my club. I’ve gained a lot of experience, especially with England, and I’ve been in every single squad.
“I played against some of the best players in Europe, going up against the likes of Holland, Italy and Russia and I’ve enjoyed every moment – I just hope there is more to come next year.”
“I’ve been with Neil for the last nine or ten years after he coached me at Everton in the academy. He’s a great manager both on and off the pitch. You can talk to him about anything and he has a great understanding of what a player needs.
“His knowledge about the game is great too and he is a top coach – it’s been fantastic to work with him again over the last year and I’ve learnt a lot.”
“He’s encouraged me to have the confidence to do that and he has really instilled a winning mentality into me and the lads. “I wouldn’t really say I lacked self-belief before, but it hadn’t really sank in I was playing for England. Now I know when I pull that jersey on, I have to work ten times harder.” Connolly helped England u-17s reach the European Championships last summer but was unable to play because of his exams. England, with Blues’ team-mates Ryan Ledson and Jonjo Kenny in the side, won the tournament in Malta. Connolly is now looking to become a permanent fixture in the u-19 set up - especially with a European Championship and a World Cup on the horizon.
“Next year is a big one for me at international level and my club,” he said.
“With England I want to play in big tournaments and make an impression to show people what I can do. “I want to ensure that I am a part of the u-19s squad this season and hopefully help us to have success in the Euros. We know that if we do that then we will get the opportunity to show what we can do at the World Cup, which would just be unbelievable to be involved with.
“I am going to be working extra hard to try and move up the ranks at Everton too. It would be great for me to get that little bit more physical and stronger and develop my football mentality a little more – that would hopefully impress the gaffer and edge me a bit closer to the first team squad.”
He went on to say: “I like to think of myself as a versatile player, and whether it is left-back, centre-half or midfield, I’ll always put a shift in for the team and I’ve been happy to get that experience. I’ve just been enjoying my footy,” he added.
“This England age group have had some big challenges as a group but we have dealt with them well. We have won the majority of our matches and do it in convincing fashion with some real strong performances, and we want to continue that this season.”
Everton need English football to finally adopt B Team model
4 July 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Phil Kirkbride
Royal Blue on the time for change in the national game to stop talent drain
Everton's under-21s are desperate for competitive football.
Outside of the sanitised world of their Premier League programme, the Blues’ second string have precious few other games that actually mean anything.
As these talented young boys become men and look up, hopefully, at Roberto Martinez’s first-team, they need to be given every chance to make the jump.
And make no mistake, it’s a giant leap.
But at the most important stage in their development, where players must show they can add substance to their style, the system is letting these players down.
This week, David Unsworth confirmed to the ECHO that he asked for Everton to re-enter the Lancashire Senior Cup for the first time in over 40 years, such is the need for his lads to be involved in matches that have an edge. Everton will compete in the Liverpool Senior Cup again this term and have been invited back into the Premier League International Cup where they will compete against teams from around Europe. But even if Unsworth’s team reached the final of all three competitions they will still only play around 12 competitive matches a season.
Simply, it is nowhere near enough.
Nor are the 22 games they play each Premier League season in a schedule that is, at best, frustratingly inconsistent. Everton are genuinely hopeful about the first-team prospects of plenty of their players at Under-21 level and a number of the successful Under-18s set-up are being promoted to Unsworth’s squad this season. All of their potential and promise cannot be allowed to go to waste because there aren’t enough games for them to learn the final part of their trade.
Sure, Everton use the loan market well and will continue to see it as a vital part of all players’ development, but it can only go so far. The time has come for English football to accept the B Team model used on the continent.
FA chairman Greg Dyke
Football Association chairman Greg Dyke laid out plans, over a year ago, for the formation of a B League, which would slot in between League Two and the Conference but it was rejected by the Football League. It was a victory for short-term thinking and spoke volumes for the fear of change that holds football in this country back. The compromise last summer was that there would be discussions about Premier League ‘reserve’ sides entering the Johnstone Paints Trophy but it was nothing more than a token gesture from those blocking a move that is essential.
Unsworth, Roberto Martinez and the rest of Everton’s Academy coaches know the potential of the emerging group of young players at the club - but they also know how the system can make their progression to becoming first-team regulars, hard. Maybe in some cases, near enough impossible.
Everton have put themselves back into the Lancashire Senior Cup but a few county cup games are not going to solve this problem.
Over to you, Football League.
Early start for Saints trip
Quite what Everton supporters have done to incur the wrath of the TV executives is unclear.
But after the first round of rearranged fixtures for live screening were announced, the Blues fans could be forgiven for thinking the broadcasters have it in for them.
On the second weekend of the season, Everton travel to Southampton.
Not bad, many will have thought, when the fixtures were released last month.
A lengthy trip done and dusted when the nights are still long and the weather good.
We’ll have a bit of that. Oh, hang on a minute, BT Sport have decided to move the game forward to a lunchtime kick-off. So, that means Evertonians will have to folk out for overnight accommodation on top of their match ticket and other expenses or get up at the crack of dawn on August 15 and either drive the 230 plus miles or get on a train that leaves Lime Street at around 6am just to make kick-off.
But then this is nothing new for the travelling Blues.
This season’s fixture will be the third time in the last four seasons, since Southampton came back into the Premier League, that Everton fans have been given a rough deal.
In January 2013, Everton faced Saints on a Monday night before the TV executives threw in a 12:45pm kick-off at St Mary’s the following April. Last season’s game did kick-off at 3pm on a Saturday, of course - although it came just five days before Christmas.
Gerard Deulofeu: Barcelona criticised for selling to Everton FC
4 July 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Kristian Walsh
Barcelona presidential candidate Joan Laporta accuses interim board of being "improper"
Barcelona presidential candidate Joan Laporta has reportedly criticised the club for selling Gerard Deulofeu to Everton.
The Blues paid the Spanish giants £4.2m to secure Deulofeu on a permanent deal, although Barca have included a buy-back option at the end of the first two years.
But Laporta – who is now aiming to become president of the Catalan club for the second time after his initial seven-year stint ended in 2010 – is not happy with the deal, and has accused the board of acting “improper”. The board is currently under an interim leadership ahead of the club’s presidential election on July 18, with reports suggesting the current set-up are negotiating with Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba. With Laporta using Pogba as a selling point for the election, he is not happy with the deals conducted already. “I have a bad feeling about what the interim management board are up to,” Laporta reportedly said at a charity event in Barcelona. “It is an improper way for an outgoing board to act. “I hope they do not continue along this path. They have already sold Gerard Deulofeu and now they want to sign players who are worth large amounts.”
“It is abnormal that a management board not elected by the members do these things. It may upset members.” Deulofeu has returned to Goodison on a permanent deal after spending 12 years at Barcelona.
Everton FC newboy Tom Cleverley targeting England recall
4 July 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Neil Jones
Midfielder eager to add to his 13 senior caps after Goodison switch
Tom Cleverley is hoping a new start at Everton can help him force his way back into the England squad. The midfielder arrived at Goodison on a free transfer earlier this month, following his release from Manchester United. The 25-year-old spent the second half of last season on loan with Aston Villa, helping the Midlanders avoid relegation and to reach the FA Cup final.
But he is now looking forward to being reunited with Roberto Martinez at Goodison Park, having enjoyed a productive loan spell under the Catalan at Wigan Athletic in the 2010/11 season.
And in the longer-term, Cleverley has set his sights on adding to his 13 senior England caps.
He told evertonfc.com: “It’d be great to get back into the England team. If you just look at the players coming through at Everton, it’s great to see how many of them are consistently featuring in the England squads. “Hopefully I can get my name back on that list and I feel as though I’m at the right place to do that.” Cleverley will officially be introduced to his new teammates when he reports for pre-season training at Finch Farm on Monday, but is already familiar with a number of his fellow players. “James [McCarthy] is a top player,” he said. “I always knew he would be from when I played with him at Wigan. “Having said that, there’s not only James, there are plenty of the other lads here who I have played with for England and Manchester United, so hopefully that will help me settle in quickly.” He added: “I think joining early can definitely help me. I’ll be able to get my head around things and it will allow me to plan things and properly prepare for the season because I want to hit the ground running.”
Everton FC pre-season: All you need to know about the Blues' games in Singapore, Scotland and Swindon
4 July 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Liverpool Echo
Roberto Martinez's side facing trips to Singapore, Scotland and Swindon in next month, writes Oliver Bond
Everton face a busy pre-season schedule this summer which could see the Blues travel 14,000 miles although that’s still 10,000 fewer than neighbours Liverpool.
Roberto Martinez is determined to avoid the slow start which cost them last season, which saw the Toffees win just two of their opening ten games.
They will skip their usual early warm weather training camp in Austria, which had become customary, and instead spend the first week of pre-season at Finch Farm ahead of their first game.
windon Town v Everton
Date: Saturday, July 11, kick off 3pm, live on EvertonFC.com
Venue: The County Ground Swindon (14,700).
The stadium is situated just off the M4 at Junction 15. Take the Commonhead Roundabout. Turn left onto the A4259 Marlborough Road. Take the second exit at the roundabout onto Queens Drive. At the next set of roundabouts take the 3rd exit onto County Road the entrance to the ground is on the first right. Previous visits: The Blues drew 1-1 in Premier League game on 16th October 1993 in Everton’s last visit to The County Ground.
Peter Beagrie (27) netted in a team which also featured Neville Southall and Tony Cottee.
The area: The County Ground is also the only football stadium in the world with the most prestigious name in watch making acting as its timekeeper - Rolex, whose famous logo adorns the clock on the Stratton Bank stand.
Away fans are located in the Arkells Stand at one side of the pitch, where up to 1,200 fans can be housed.
Swindon town centre is a 15 minute walk away.
Food and drink: Food on offer inside the ground includes Pies; Chicken Balti (£3.40), Steak & Ale (£3.40), Cheeseburgers (£3.50), Burgers (£3.50), Hot Dogs (£3.80), Sausage Rolls (£2.50), Beef Pasties (£3), plus Cheese & Onion Pasties (£2.50).
Away fans are treated to their own bar, called Bar 71, which is located by the away turnstiles.
There is also an alternative in The Merlin on Drove Road, near to the magic roundabout. Away fans are welcome and they have Sky Sports showing on 12 television screens.
The Blues will then jet off to Singapore to take part in the 2015 Barclays Asia Trophy, facing Stoke City at the National Stadium on July 15 (Kick Off 11am BST) before playing for a second time on Saturday July 18th, for which a time is yet to be confirmed.
Stoke City vs Everton and Everton vs Arsenal or Singapore XI
Dates: Stoke - Wednesday, July 15, kick off 1am UK time (6pm local time), live on Evertonfc.com
Should Everton beat Stoke, they will face Arsenal/Singapore XI – Saturday, July 18, kick off 1.30pm UK time (8.30pm local) or should the Blues lose they will play a 3rd/4th placed play-off earlier in the day, kick off 11am UK time (6pm local)
Venue: National Stadium, Singapore Sports Hub, Kallang, Singapore (55,000).
Located on a 35-hectare site in Kallang, the Singapore Sports Hub is well-connected to the Mass Rapid Transit network, connecting pathways and major express-ways that will offer access to everything the hub has to offer.
Local verdict (Tommy Low, Chairman of the Singapore Everton Supporters Club): “As of now, with less than 14 days to the big kick-off in Singapore, if I tell you no one here in Singapore is interested, it’s a BIG lie. I’m not too sure about other fan clubs here, but at Singapore Everton Supporters Club we are all very, very excited with the prospects of seeing our heroes in the flesh!
“The Executive Committee of SESC has also been in constant contact with our parent club to discuss prospects of certain activities we would collaborate together while Everton will be in Singapore.
“There is always something special about being an Evertonian. We should be expecting a decent amount of fans from the UK to Singapore.
“From the response of the various fan clubs here in Singapore, we are really hoping the stadium will be filled, come match-days. It will be a once in a lifetime opportunity for most of us in this region, because travelling to Goodison Park may still be beyond reach. My 500+ local members are all very eager to sing and chant our club songs on match days.”
The area: Kallang is an urban planning area and a sub-division located in the south-eastern part of Singapore, and is home to Singapore’s first airport.
The Kallang River, which meanders through the area is famous for its water sports. The source of the river is the Lower Pierce Reservoir and at more than 10 kilometres, it is the longest river in Singapore.
Victoria Bar, Hotel Intercontinental, which is located in the central of Singapore. The bar usually opens from 5pm till late and come match days during the BPL season.
There are also numerous restaurants in the hub, alongside 42 public concession stands located within the premises of the National Stadium.
UK Embassy: 100 Tanglin Road, Singapore 247919 .Telephone:+65 6424 4200
Weather forecast: In 2013, torrential rain affected the tournament, but there is forecasted to be no repeat this time around. On Wednesday, July 15, the weather is expected to remain overcast, but Evertonians could see a thunderstorm or two. High of 31 degrees and lows of 25.
Similar weather is forecasted on Saturday, July 18, with highs of 28 degrees and lows of 25.
Everton will then fly back to the UK before travelling north of the border for a five day camp in Scotland. The ECHO understands that the Blues have plans for as many as three games in that period, although some could be played behind closed doors.
Dundee v Everton
Date: Tuesday July 28, kick off 7:30pm, live on EvertonFC.com.
Venue: Dens Park (11,500)
Follow the A90 through Dundee. Leave the A90 at the junction with the B960 (sign posted ‘Football Traffic’/Dundee), and turn right onto Clepington Road (B960). Continue along Clepington Road for one mile where you will reach a roundabout. Go straight across the roundabout and after a short distance you should be able to see some floodlights over beyond the houses on your right. Take the second right into Arklay Street and then right into Tannadice Steet. Dens Park is up at the end of this street on the left. There is no parking available for supporters at the ground so it is a case of finding some street parking.
Dundee train station is over two miles away from the ground and is quite a walk away from the ground (25-30mins). Best to jump in a taxi.
Previous visits: The Blues have never faced Dundee. This will be their first visit to Dens Park.
The area: Dundee is Scotland’s fourth largest city and the 51st most populous built-up area in the United Kingdom.
In December 2014, Dundee was named the first city in the United Kingdom to hold the UNESCO City of Design status by the United Nations
Away fans at Tannadice are normally housed in the Jim McLean Stand, which is on one side of the Jerry Kerr (Main) Stand on one side of the pitch. Around 1,400 supporters can be accommodated in this area.
Food and drink: There are many fast-food options within the city centre, but there are quite a few independent eateries along the preferred walking path to the stadium such as the popular Cinnamon Indian Restaurant, and a Greggs alongside some good traditional pub food.
The city centre is blessed with an abundance of places to drink before the match, with the train station ideally placed to take advantage of this fact. The Nether Inn outside the station exit is a good place to start, followed by The Old Bank Bar, and The Counting House just off of The Howff Burial Ground.
Hearts vs Everton
Date: Sunday, July 26, kick off 3pm. Originally scheduled for the previous day, the fixture has been put back so as not to clash with Hibernian’s Petrofac Cup clash with Rangers.
Venue: Tyncastle. Follow the M8 towards Edinburgh. At the end of the M8 take the A720 (Edinburgh By Pass) southwards towards Dalkeith. Leave the A720 at the junction with the A71 and follow the A71 into Edinburgh. You will eventually reach the ground on your left. Street parking.
The nearest train station is Edinburgh Haymarket, which is a around a 15 minute walk away from the ground. You can see the ground as you come into the station. On leaving the station turn right at the Ryries pub, into Dalry Road. Dalry Road runs into Gorgie Road. About one mile on and the ground is visible from the first major road junction/set of traffic lights.
Away fans are housed in the Roseburn Stand at one end of the ground, where up to 3,676 supporters can be accommodated. Clubs with a small following may find that a smaller portion of this stand is allocated. The steep slope of the stand ensures a good view of the pitch and the facilities on offer are good.
Leeds United v Everton
Date: Saturday, August 2, kick off 3pm, live on Evertonfc.com.
Venue: Elland Road (37,914),
Follow the M62 motorway and then onto Junction 1 of the M621. You will pass the ground on your left and then you need to take the next exit from the motorway and turn left onto the A6110 ring road. Take the next left onto Elland Road for the ground. Just as you go under a railway bridge there are entrances on either side to a couple of very large car parks (£5).
Previous visits: Everton’s last outing at Elland Road ended in a 2-1 defeat, in the Capital One Cup third round on September 25, 2012.
Sylvain Distin scored a late consolation as the Blues crashed out of the competition in front of a crowd of 21,164.
The area: Leeds is ranked as a gamma world city by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network and is considered the cultural, financial and commercial heart of the West Yorkshire Urban Area. Leeds is served by three universities, and has the fourth largest student population in the country and has the country’s fourth largest Urban Economy.
Away fans are housed on one side of the John Charles Stand (towards the South Stand), in the upper tier where up to 3,000 supporters can be housed.
Food and drink: Food on offer on the concourse includes; Cheeseburgers (£3.80), Burgers (£3.60), Peppered Steak Pies (£3), Chicken Balti Pies (£3) Potato and Meat Pies (£3) and Cheese, Onion and Potato Pies (£3).
There is also a McDonalds outlet situated across the road from the East Stand.
At the ground itself on the corner of the South and West Stands is Howards, a dedicated bar for away supporters. Opening two hours before kick off, you need to show your away ticket to gain entrance. There is also the Drysalters pub which is about a ten minute walk away from the ground.
Everton v Villarreal
Everton are to honour Club legend Duncan Ferguson with a testimonial at Goodison Park this August, in their last game before the big kick off on August 8th.
In total, Ferguson played 273 times for the Toffees over two spells, scoring 72 goals. He returned to the Club as a youth coach five years ago and was promoted to Roberto Martinez’s first-team staff in February 2014.
Date: Sunday July 2, kick off 3pm, live on Evertonfc.com.
Venue: Goodison Park
Previous visits: Everton and Villarreal have only faced each other twice before, competitively, in a Champions League third Round Qualifier in August 2005. Goals from James Beattie (42) at Goodison and Mikel Arteta (69) were not enough to send the Blues through. This was the last time the blue half of Merseyside witnessed the Champions League to date. The sides also met in a pre-season friendly at Goodison in 2011, with Villarreal winning 1-0.
Tickets can be purchased here:
The prices are: Adults £20.00
Alternatively tickets can be purchased by calling 0151 556 1878 (option 1). Tickets can also be purchased in person by visiting the Park End box office or by calling into our city centre ticket facilities in Everton Two, Liverpool One or TicketQuarter, located in Queen Square.
Everton FC transfer rumours: Blues battle for Dennis Praet
4 July 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Chris Beesley
Martinez eyes £10million rated Belgian ace
Everton are battling it out with Southampton and Aston Villa for Anderlecht’s £10million-rated attacking midfielder Dennis Praet.
Mailonline say the Premier League trio are chasing the 21-year-old who has netted 20 times in 132 games for the Brussels club – including eight times last season – and has been capped once by Belgium. Two of the three most expensive players in the Blues history have been Belgians - £28million Romelu Lukaku in 2014 and £15million Marouane Fellaini in 2008 while Kevin Mirallas cost £6million in 2012. Everton have reportedly failed to reach an agreement to sign Honduran striker Alberth Elis - but the player says a move to Goodison could still happen.
Teamtalk.com say Elis claims he’s held transfer talks with Everton after their bid was accepted by his club Olimpia. While the player still hopes the move can be resurrected, he insists his short-term focus is on the Under-20 World Cup.
He said: “There were approaches, but we did not reach an agreement. They can continue their efforts. However, I’m now training with the Under 20s, so I think better things are coming.
“I am preparing for this tournament and hope everything goes well for me. I think I still have a lot to give and a lot to improve. I am a young man who can give a lot more and that’s why I’m working to improve and prove it on the pitch.”
The 19-year-old has been capped twice for the Honduras senior national team.
From Singapore to Scotland: All you need to know about the Blues pre-season schedule
Meanwhile, Brazilian striker Jo who had two loan spells at Everton in 2008/09 and 2009/10 is set to finalise at transfer to United Arab Emirates club Al Shabab. UAE-based The National report that the 28-year-old has agreed a three-year deal and will sign from Atletico Mineiro next week subject to a medical. “We’re really excited about Jo signing, it’s a fantastic addition to the club,” said Obaid Hubaitha, the Shabab team manager. “He’s been a Brazil international and is experienced, having played for CSKA Moscow, Manchester City, Everton and Galatasaray. It’s given the club a huge boost and should be a good experience for him.” Jo’s first season at Goodison produced a fruitful five goals in 12 outings but after netting just twice in 23 games throughout the following campaign, he had his loan cut short for returning to Brazil without permission over the Christmas period.
Leighton Baines' bumpy ride to the top at Everton FC can inspire Luke Garbutt
5 July 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Chris Beesley
Young left-back should realise the best things come to those who wait
While Roberto Martinez has already brought in two new faces to Everton this summer in the shape of Tom Cleverley and Gerard Deulofeu, it’s the retention of an existing Blue that could be the most astute piece of business in the long term. As his existing contract at Goodison wound down and a new deal remained unsigned on the table, for a long time it looked increasingly likely that Luke Garbutt’s time at the club would be coming to a close. When first-choice left-back Leighton Baines suffered a serious ankle injury in May, the path appeared to be clear for Yorkshireman Garbutt to show what he could do – even if it was putting himself in the ‘shop window’ in Everton’s final two Premier League fixtures of the season. However, with the player’s future still unclear, Roberto Martinez surprised everyone by selecting the previously untried teenage centre-back Brendan Galloway out of position ahead of Garbutt for the games against West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur. Having the seemingly immovable object of Baines, and now a rookie operating in an auxiliary role ahead of him it seemed that Garbutt was heading for the exit door, with several interested parties linked with his signature, including – perhaps rather mischievously – neighbours Liverpool. Both Swansea City and newly-promoted Bournemouth offered the 22-year-old contracts but having eventually decided to stay put and agree a deal with the Blues until 2020, Garbutt declared: “It’s an honour to commit my long-term future to Everton.“I’ve been made to feel very welcome at the club since I signed my scholarship six years ago.“Over the years, I have grown to have an affinity with the club and I feel a sense of belonging here.”
A ready-made role model
While it would be too strong to accuse Garbutt of performing a U-turn or having a change of heart, the lengthy nature of his negotiations suggest that this was far from a straightforward decision for him so just what was it that finally convinced him to stay?
Perhaps the answer was right there under his nose all the time.
If Garbutt is looking for a prime example of how the best things come to those who wait, he’s right there in front of him every day at Finch Farm.
Baines, the very man who Garbutt is ultimately trying to usurp in the Everton team, has arguably been the most consistent left-back in the Premier League for the past five years.
England’s first choice in his position and the player who David Moyes tried – and failed – to take with him to Manchester United when he quit Goodison Park, Baines has developed into the Blues best number three since 1966 World Cup winner Ray Wilson.
Bumpy road to success
Baines has become a leading light with both club and country but he didn’t always command such a lofty perch. The native Merseysider was always highly-rated – it took the Blues a club record £6million fee for a defender to prise him from Wigan Athletic in the summer of 2007 but for someone who would now appear to be the archetypal left-back, he was far from being a shoo-in for that place in the side during his early days at Goodison.
Like Garbutt towards the end of last season, Baines found an out-of-position centre-back blocking his path in the shape of Joleon Lescott who had excelled in the role in the second half of the 2006/07 campaign after Nuno Valente’s injury.
The consistent form of Joseph Yobo and Alan Stubbs at centre-back kept Lescott out on the left and even when the veteran Stubbs, who like Baines also hails from Kirkby, was fazed out of the first team picture to be replaced by Phil Jagielka – who was initially deployed in midfield without great success by Moyes – it was the former Wigan man who often found himself the odd man out.
Baines was restricted to just 12 Premier League starts in his first season at Goodison and after he picked up a knock in a 2-0 win at Derby County he did not kick a ball throughout November while Portuguese international Valente was recalled.
Although Baines was recalled to the side in December for the victory over eventual UEFA Cup winners Zenit and obligatory home win against Fulham, he did not start again until the humiliating FA Cup third round exit to Oldham Athletic at Goodison and didn’t start another Premier League fixture until he came in on the left wing for a goalless stalemate at home to Tottenham on January 30.
He made a clutch of further appearances over the second half of the season but after figuring in a 1-1 draw at Birmingham City on April 12 he did not start another game in the final month of the campaign.
Baines’ outings continued to be sporadic throughout the first half of the 2008/09 season and it was only after he was recalled for a 1-0 win at Middlesbrough on Boxing Day that he made the left-back berth his own, playing consecutively in all 27 of the Blues remaining fixtures as Moyes’ side reached the FA Cup final only to lose 2-1 to Chelsea.
It was during this spell that Baines finally netted his first goal for the club – a now trademark free-kick – in what was his 58th appearance, while he was twice named Everton’s Player of the Month.
By the time the 2009/10 season arrived, Baines was such a fixture at left-back, in the only three games of the season he was unavailable for – a hat-trick of consecutive defeats at Benfica, Bolton and Tottenham – Moyes was forced to select Seamus Coleman, Lucas Neill and Tony Hibbert out of position in his place while the other game he missed was the 1-0 home defeat to Belarusian club BATE Borisov in a Europa League dead rubber with Jake Bidwell became the youngest Blues player to turn out in a European game in what was his solitary first team appearance. Baines’ form was such that late in the season he won his first two England caps against Egypt and Mexico and was expected to go to the World Cup finals as Ashley Cole’s understudy but after making the 30-man shortlist for South Africa, Fabio Capello surprisingly overlooked him for the final squad of 23, instead selecting former Liverpool left-back Stephen Warnock of Aston Villa who had not figured in any of the warm-up games. The Blues favourite bounced back from such adversity though and aided by being given penalty-taking duties he’d net seven goals the following season and went from strength to strength, being named in the PFA Premier League Team of the Year in both 2012 and 2013 and succeeding the 107-cap Cole as England’s first-choice left-back ahead of the 2014 World Cup finals.
Before this year is out though Baines will be 31 himself and will not go on forever.
Manager Martinez has already toyed with the idea of redeploying him as a holding midfielder as he gets older – taking him to Old Trafford to watch German World Cup-winning captain Philipp Lahm, another converted full-back, up close in a Champions League game for Bayern Munich at Manchester United in the 2013/14 season.
Heir to the throne
Harrogate-born Garbutt, who Everton have put a lot of time and effort into developing since they plucked him from Leeds United’s Academy as a 16-year-old, is still younger than Baines when he joined the Blues.
But after penning his new long-term contract at the club, the next stage of his journey is expected to be another stint out on loan after previous spells at League Two Cheltenham Town in 2011/12 and League One Colchester United in 2013/14.
His latest farming out will surely be to another Premier League side and with the likes of Aston Villa reputed to be an interested party, he could get the chance to further develop his trade another big city club with a similar stature to Everton in readiness to prepare him for a Goodison return when he can seriously challenge for the first-choice left-back slot.
Everton should give Manchester United short shrift if they bid for Seamus Coleman
5 July 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Chris Beesley
Why would Blues right-back make do with being van Gaal's third choice?
Seamus Coleman summed it up nicely when he penned his latest bumper contract extension at Everton just a year ago: “I love everything around the place. I love working with all the players, the staff, the coaching staff - everything. It was a very happy decision to make. I was delighted to get the chance to sign another contract.” Two summers ago Manchester United came calling at Everton with a bid for one of the Premier League’s leading full-backs and were given short shrift by Blues bosses.
If the Red Devils return in the coming weeks with an offer for Coleman then they should be booted back out of Goodison with their tails between their legs just like they were when Everton thrashed them 3-0 in April.
Derisory and insulting
Of course the advances back in 2013 were from former Everton manager David Moyes who tried to lure Leighton Baines with him to Old Trafford. Although the Scot finally succeeded in prising away Marouane Fellaini for a king’s ransom – paying £27.5million for a player he could have signed for £4million less just a month earlier due to an expired buyout clause that he knew all about – True Blue Baines stayed put and ended up signing a new four-year deal at Goodison the following January. Of course any interest from Manchester United is always flattering, even if there’s no love lost between them and Merseyside football followers.
As much as they’re disliked in these parts they remain the dominant force in English football over the past generation.
But just as Baines was right to ignore United’s advances, the same goes for Coleman this summer.
Moyes knew all about the Kirkby-born left-back, after all he was the man who brought him to Goodison in the first place in a £6million move from Wigan Athletic in 2007.
The deal made Baines the most expensive defender in Everton history – a record that remains to this day – so if Moyes was willing to splash the cash then on a much tighter budget with the Blues then why was his pursuit of his former player so half-hearted with megabucks United?
A £28million offer for Baines AND Fellaini was rejected out of hand by angry Goodison chiefs with the figure described as “derisory and insulting” by then director of communications Alan Myers.
It’s not like the purse strings were tight at Old Trafford. Less than a year after missing out on Baines, United splashed out £30million on Southampton left-back Luke Shaw, a world record transfer fee for a teenager. The spending spree that Louis van Gaal has embarked on since he replaced Moyes has made United’s current squad the most expensively-assembled in Premier League history at over £400million but they still didn’t win anything last season.
Evans above – throw in the statue
Everton quite rightly played hardball when United’s neighbours City pursued Joleon Lescott in 2009 and got a £22million fee for the England defender.
Coleman, 26, is a similar age to Lescott at the time and given that was six years ago and prices have gone up with all the extra television money in the game, they’d be foolhardy to accept a penny less if United did firm up their interest with a concrete bid. Given that unlike Lescott, Coleman has shown no agitation to leave and he still has another four years remaining on his current contract, the Blues should expect a considerably higher figure if they were to sell, which they have already declared they have no intention of doing. Which brings us to the question of how badly do United actually want Coleman? It seems that he’s their third choice option at very best which is rather patronising for a player who last year was in the PFA Premier League Team of the Season.
Yes Everton are in the market for cover at centre-back after releasing Sylvain Distin and Antolin Alcaraz and Jonny Evans is an experienced Premier League performer in that position but talk of the Ulsterman as some kind of part-exchange is hardly much of a sweetener to the Blues.
Evans has just one year left on his United contract and the club don’t want to give him another one so they may as well be chucking in the Sir Alex Ferguson statue from outside their North Stand.
Better to wait 12 months and get Evans on a free transfer like Tom Cleverley if Everton are actually interested.
Right-back has been a problem position for United ever since Old Trafford stalwart Gary Neville hung up his boots way back in February 2011. Rafael did not develop how United had hoped and in recent months van Gaal has been forced to use winger Antonio Valencia as an auxiliary full-back.
The Dutchman had been supposedly keen on Nathaniel Clyne but the England international decided to join the increasing former colony of Southampton players at Anfield.
Another leading target was Dani Alves but the Brazilian veteran decided to stay put and sign a new contract with Barcelona.
Plucked from Sligo Rovers, Coleman’s humble beginnings in the game ensured that he keeps both feet firmly grounded.
The County Donegal native from fishing port of Killybegs knows when he’s onto a winner and this summer he married childhood sweetheart Rachel Cunningham.
You wouldn’t want to enter into any arrangement knowing you’re only third choice and Coleman, who after penning his new deal a year ago declared: “I never thought about anything else but staying and I’m happy to sign the new contract. More than happy, really,” realises the Evertonians are the footballing love of his life. As the Gwladys Street sing: “Sixty grand, sixty grand, Seamus Coleman; sixty grand, sixty grand, I say; Sixty grand, sixty grand, Seamus Coleman – playing football the Everton way.”
Gerard Deulofeu reveals he kept a close eye on Everton FC during year away
5 July 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Chris Beesley
Sunderland eye Aiden McGeady as returning star pushes winger further down the pecking order
Gerard Deulofeu has revealed that he kept a close eye on Everton’s fortunes during his year away – as Sunderland prepare to launch a bid for Aiden McGeady.
Catalan winger Deulofeu’s return to Goodison has pushed Republic of Ireland international winger McGeady further down the pecking order at the Blues and the Black Cats are ready to test Roberto Martinez’s resolve over the player he signed for a nominal fee from Spartak Moscow 18 months ago.
Sunderland are in the market for a creative midfielder as they are poised to lose out on the signature of Georginio Wijnaldum to arch rivals Newcastle United and boss Dick Advocaat knows McGeady from his time in Russia. Deulofeu spent last season on loan at Sevilla from Barcelona but events at Goodison were never far away from his thoughts. He said: “I always followed Everton last season. If the team were playing on television then I would watch the game, if not I would check the results. I always wanted to see how they were doing.”
Other Everton stories today
Although Deulofeu has good friends in the Blues dressing room, he tried to keep details over his return as low key as possible. He said: “Of course knowing the players will help me to adapt a great deal. You don’t have to start from the beginning again, you don’t have to start from zero.
“I’ve been getting messages from some of the players like Seamus [Coleman] and I speak to Joel [Robles] as well. “That will all help me to adapt again and there is a really good atmosphere in the changing room – the guys are great.
“I haven’t spoken to anyone in the last couple of weeks because I wanted to give everyone a surprise even though the newspapers have been putting out rumours for quite a while.
“I haven’t spoken to Seamus and I told Joel that coming back was an option but I wanted to keep it as a surprise for everybody.”
Everton FC players who will be out to impress from the start in pre-season training
6 July 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Chris Beesley
Blues squad members with a point to prove
Everton’s players are back in pre-season training this week but who exactly needs to get off to a flying start ahead of the 2015/16 campaign?
The Ivorian striker admitted himself that he can’t afford any more false starts at Everton and given that he’s netted just once in two seasons with the Blues, that’s probably something over an under-statement. Kone often looked a threat at Wigan Athletic and finished with a credible return of 13 goals in all competitions in what was ultimately a relegation season at the DW Stadium.
It just hasn’t happened for him at Goodison though and he was hardly convincing in his early outings before injury cruelly struck as his touch looked loose and he actually missed an open goal in the game against Hull City in October 2013 when he suffered knee cartilage damage.
Kone became the 500th goalscorer in Everton’s history when he struck against Newcastle United at St James’ Park last December but unless there’s a dramatic improvement from the frontman who turns 32 before the year is out then that footnote will be his only real contribution to the Blues cause and that’s really not good enough for a £6million purchase.
Ross Barkley A year ago the prodigious midfielder was being lauded as a new ‘Paul Gascoigne’ or ‘Michael Ballack’. The boyhood Blue from Wavertree was tipped to perform miracles on the back of his trip to the World Cup finals with England but struggled with the weight of expectation on his shoulders as the team’s fortunes faltered last season. In fairness, Barkley’s personal statistics seemed to suggest that he wasn’t doing an awful lot less than the previous campaign but a lack of highlight reel moments such as his spectacular goals against Newcastle and Manchester City the year before gave the impression of a player suffering with ‘second season syndrome.’
Barkley’s incredible ability ensures that he has the talent to bounce back strongly in the coming months but he needs to develop his decision-making skills quickly, learning when to pass and cutting out giving up possession cheaply in dangerous areas.
Sunderland are being linked with a move for winger as Gerard Deulofeu’s return could push him further down the pecking order but if he does stick around then Evertonians are expecting much more given the box of tricks that the Republic of Ireland international possesses.
McGeady book-ended last season smartly with a wonder goal at Leicester City on the opening day and a great cross to provide Romelu Lukaku’s last-gasp winner at West Ham United on the final away match of the campaign but there was precious few other moments to crow about in between.
At 29, the former Celtic and Spartak Moscow wide man has to show he can cut it on a regular basis in the Premier League.
Howard went into last season on the back of being an American national hero following his World Cup exploits with the USA in Brazil.
However, the long-time Blues number one didn’t enjoy a vintage campaign by his own stellar standards and when he was handed an instant recall after returning from injury in February there was even some outcry from sections of the club’s support that Joel Robles had been dropped after keeping three consecutive clean sheets.
As Neville Southall said about Howard last summer, when you get to your mid-30s – even as a goalkeeper – people are questioning whether you’re on the slide and the most consistent custodian at Goodison since Big Nev’s days will be under scrutiny from the start even if he did declare: “To hell with the criticism” last term.
Tyias Browning and Brendan Galloway
After releasing both Sylvain Distin and Antolin Alcaraz, Everton have been linked to a series of centre-backs, some of which could command substantial fees.
Given that Phil Jagielka and John Stones are likely to remain the first choice partnership at the back, youngsters Browning and Galloway who both showed glimpses of their potential last season could step up to the plate if they impress over the summer and potentially save the club millions of pounds.
Despite featuring in full-back roles – Browning on the right earlier in the season at Liverpool and Manchester United and Galloway at the very end on the left against West Ham and Tottenham – the pair can both operate at centre-back and could prove to be handy squad players to provide cover in that area.
And another thing:
Leighton Baines has been an institution in the Blues left-back berth for many seasons and with Luke Garbutt expected to be loaned out next term he’s got at least one more year without a serious challenge to his place in the side.
Now the wrong side of 30, it’s inevitable that there will be some slowing down and he misses the regular link-up play down the left with old partner Steven Pienaar who has been blighted by injury.
However, as the best penalty-taker in the Premier League, Baines’ summer work might be best-served practising spot-kicks to get his mojo back from 12 yards.
Everton FC transfer rumours: Blues facing fight for Manchester United youngster, La Liga 'keeper linked, Neville checks in at Valencia
6 July 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Neil Jones
A round-up of all the latest Blues transfer gossip from around the web
It's Monday again. And while the rest of the world contemplates another working week, we are here giddily providing the latest transfer gossip. Joy.
In Everton FC's case, that concerns a familiar name once more. James Wilson.
The Manchester United striker is in demand this summer, as Louis Van Gaal looks to clear the decks at Old Trafford. Falcao's gone, Robin Van Persie's soon to be gone, and Wilson looks set to follow.
Everton have long been credited with an interest in the 19-year-old, but according to the Daily Star they'll face competition from Championship outfit Hull City if they want to land him.
Everton have already been linked with a current Hull striker, Dame N'Doye, incidentally.
Deportivo La Coruna’s Fabricio Agosto is another name being linked.
The French keeper is expected to leave the Riazor, given he has now entered the final year of his contract. Spanish reports suggest firm enquiries have been made by Toulouse while other French sides Lyon, Marseille and Bordeaux are in the hunt.
And HITC Sport suggest Everton and Aston Villa are both interested, although that would be only signing the 27-year-old on a free transfer at the end of next season.
In terms of the Blues, that would at least make a bit more sense than signing him now.
Elsewhere, it has been revealed that Gareth Barry spoke to Micah Richards before the latter's free transfer to Aston Villa. So did the Everton man try to convince Richards, a former teammate at Manchester City, to join him at Goodison? “Gareth was obviously here for a long time and he said I'd enjoy it. He and James Milner both spoke highly of it and I can't wait to get going.”
Oh. Thought there might have been a bit of transfer gossip in there. Never mind.
And finally, former Blues captain Phil Neville has started his new job, as assistant manager at Valencia. The 38-year-old replaces Ian Cathro, who has moved to Newcastle, as No.2 to manager Nuno Santos. What do you mean 'slow news day'?!
FOOTBALL: Colwyn Bay targeting promotion as keeper Hunt arrives from Everton
06 July 2015
by Dean Jones North West Pioneer
COLWYN Bay are targeting a swift return to the newly named Vanarama National League North after a summer of changes at Llanelian Road. Vice-chairman Kurtis Chapman said the club have put the huge disappointment of relegation behind them and after a lot of hard work over the last few months, and they now have solid foundation to take the club forward. He said: "The new management team of Ash Hoskins and Rob Hopley along with head of recruitment Phil Staley, have been exceptionally busy building a squad to get us back in the Conference North.
“I’ve attended a few training sessions and have been extremely impressed by the quality of players.
"The ground is also currently under going a re-vamp. "The social club has been painted inside and out, the main gates, disabled area and parts of the stands have been painted, some of our stewards and volunteers have cleaned and painted the turnstiles and tidied up the ground in general.
"I believe there is a buzz around the club again and people are talking about us in a positive manner. The board of directors are all volunteers and it does cost us money every season, so we are keen to ask supporters to get in touch with ideas of fundraisers, views on how we can improve, any contacts for sponsorship.” The Seagulls are due to play their opening pre-season friendly against Wrexham on Tuesday and are at home to Bangor City next Wednesday. The club also confirmed that 19-year-old goalkeeper Connor Hunt has joined on a month’s loan from Everton, while reserve team striker Damien Ketley has been promoted to the first team squad. As part of the Goodison Park link up, forged by recruitment manager Phil Staley, Everton have agreed to loan Colwyn Bay members of their under-21 squad should they be needed during the season.
Admission to all pre-season games is £8 for adults and £3 for children.
Everton and pre-seasons: Pizza, a plague of houseflies & sunbathing
6 July 2015 Liverpool Echo
By David Prentice
Everton's most colourful pre-season tour of modern era remembered
Everton reported back to pre-season training today – just six days before they fly out for a two-match tour of Singapore.
Every facet of the trip out east has been organised down to the finest detail – flights, transfers, hotels, training sessions, PR events - even what the players will be eating and when.
Which is in stark contrast to one of the first tours I had the good fortune to enjoy as the Echo’s Everton correspondent. It’s 21 years ago now - but the memories are still vivid.
After all, it was one of my first tours with the Toffees. And it was like no other I’d experienced – before or since. Some of the details have been reported in the Echo before, but it bears retelling.
Evertonians may recall the 1994-95 campaign for the abject start Mike Walker’s side made to the season, the worst opening sequence of results in the club’s history.
Those hardy souls who made the pre-season journeys to Sweden, Germany and Italy will perhaps understand why. I’d only enjoyed one pre-season tour prior to 1994, an engaging 13 day tour of Switzerland and Germany in the company of contrasting characters like Howard Kendall, Maurice Johnston, Mark Ward and Neville Southall. If that was eye-opening, it was nothing compared to the following summer’s preparations under a new management team of Mike Walker and Dave Williams. Tony Cottee’s engaging 1995 autobiography Claret and Blues offered a little insight.
“Mike Walker was a firm believer in the continental approach to football, but I still couldn’t understand why Everton arranged THREE pre-season tours abroad that summer,” he wrote.
“We spent nine days in Germany, seven in Sweden and three in Italy – doing the wrong things, eating the wrong things and drinking the wrong things. It seems crazy to me.”
All true. But for a wide-eyed young hack great fun.
Everton kicked off their preparations with a short flight to Copenhagen – a lively experience in itself with notoriously bad-flier Paul Rideout mercilessly taunted and ribbed by his team-mates at every hint of gentle turbulence - then enjoyed a picturesque catamaran crossing to Helsingborg.
Well, most of the party did. A couple of notable absentees became apparent when the team checked into the hotel. “Right lads,” barked manager Mike Walker.
“On the training ground in 10 minutes for a loosener. Jimmy, Les, get the kit ready. Jimmy? Les? Where the hell are Jim . . . .”
The realisation dawned that poor old Jimmy and Les had been left to unload the kit skips unaided at Helsingborg – and left behind. Red-faced Les, a physio never afraid of injuring a player’s pride – or his manager’s - stormed into reception 45 minutes later to snarl: “There’s a taxi outside. I’m not paying.” The manager paid for it, literally and metaphorically as the week wore on.
That was a foretaste of things to come.
Ian Snodin injured his ankle on the first day of training and begged to be sent home.
“No chance,” said Walker. “You’re staying here for team spirit.”
“But I’ll only get bored boss and be a nuisance,” complained Snods.
“You’re staying Snods, that’s the end of it.”
Walker surely regretted the decision when Snodin’s ideas of injecting a little life into the tour became quickly apparent. Late night drinking sessions, pizza deliveries, midnight dips in the hotel swimming pool . . . Snodin did indeed become a nuisance to stoic room-mate Brett Angell.
Manager Walker, however, was blissfully unaware. Sweden was in the grip of a heatwave, which was bad news for footballers training, but great news for their new manager who loved nothing better than soaking up the sun in high cut orange swimming trunks.
And soak up the sun he did. During morning press conferences on his hotel room balcony (I had to sit with my back to the sun so he could catch the full rays on his face), at the poolside after training and in the evening on the hotel patio. Goalkeeper Neville Southall, not a man to ever concern himself with the benefits of a tan, almost caught an unexpected bronzey in the most unusual of places.
Before a clash with a team of Swedish lower league minnows Southall, irritated that his strip wasn’t ready in time for his lengthy warm-up, threatened to walk out as he was if a kit didn’t materialise instantly.
It didn’t – and Southall was always a man of his word.
Cue a hugely decorated Welsh international goalkeeper striding out in front of startled Swedish spectators wearing nothing more than boots and shin pads, a pleading kit-man chasing behind.
Southall himself was left behind when the players convinced the management team that a trip to a local nightclub was a good idea for team morale – Big Nev didn’t do partying or alcohol.
The rest of the squad did, though, spectacularly. The team bus returned to the hotel several hours later minus a back window and 70 per cent of the party who set out.
They all returned from various Swedish outposts . . . eventually.
My stop-off point en route back to the hotel involved a house party, Ian Snodin and assistant-manager Dave Williams.
The image of him practicing imaginary drunken golf swings in a back garden as the sun rose on another glorious Swedish day will stay with me forever.
So will the memories of that tour, if not the campaign it prefaced.
But Sweden was only the start.
Soon after returning from Scandinavia the Toffees were off on their travels again - this time to Germany. The team hotel was a small, sleepy town called Wiefelstede – alongside a huge cornfield which might or might not have been responsible for the enormous amount of houseflies which infested every room. A striker by trade, Tony Cottee spent most of his downtime with a fly swatter at the ready, assassinating insects and piling up mini-mountains of dead bugs.
But flies weren’t the biggest complaint amongst the players.
A friendly match had been arranged against St Pauli in Hamburg – a four hour coach journey away – which meant no opportunity for a pre-match meal. The motorway service station which the team bus idled outside for half an hour en route didn’t have the kind of refuelling required for top flight footballers – which meant that on only my second pre-season tour I was given an unusual pre-match task. I was asked to surreptitiously ferry huge bratwurst sausages from a pitch side stall to a couple of decorated international footballers, without the manager’s knowledge, of course.
Everton won 2-1. “It’s Dog and Duck United on tour,” Neville Southall and Andy Hinchcliffe memorably quipped. But if that tour was unusual, it was nothing compared to the Italian job which followed. The Blues flew to Aosta – a frontier town in Northern Italy – for a three team tournament with a difference. Torino and Lazio were the opposition – and the difference was that the matches lasted just 45 minutes. That was fine for the sides playing back to back matches, but one unfortunate team had to sit out for the best part of an hour while the other teams slugged it out.
Predictably that was Everton.
The Blues comfortably disposed of Torino 2-0 – than had to watch while Lazio and Torino fought it out, before dragging their rapidly stiffening limbs out to face the light blues.
They lost 4-0. As if to make up for the lack of organisation of the tournament, the organisers tried to make up by organising a night out for the management ... and press.
Which is how I ended up in a car being driven around the twisting, winding roads of Northern Italy alongside Mike Walker and his assistant, Dave Williams, to an outdoor disco.
The management duo were livelier than their players had been just a couple of hours earlier.
Sadly that animation didn’t transfer onto the football pitch when the season kicked off. Everton made an appalling start to the season, Mike Walker was relieved of his duties – and Joe Royle arrived to replace him. Pre-season tours became less colourful, but more successful.
So if travelling fans today complain about pre-season tours being over-organised and perhaps just a tinsy-bit dull, don’t knock them. They could herald a flying start to a new football season!
Phil Neville on the famous old Spanish stadium which reminds him of Goodison
6 July 2015 Liverpool Echo
By David Prentice
Ex Everton skipper on his move to Spain
Former Everton captain Phil Neville is relishing an “exciting new career challenge” as a coach in Valencia – at a stadium which reminds him of Goodison Park.
After taking time-out from top level football to work in the media, Neville, 38, is now back as first team coach to 41-year-old Nuno Espirito Santo at the club which finished fourth in La Liga last season. And he has already spotted plenty of similarities with the Mersey club he made more than 300 appearances for. “I loved the Mestalla,” he said. “It’s an amazing ground with towering stands where the fans seem right on top of the players. It reminded me of a traditional English ground - it’s like the main stand at Goodison Park but all the way around.
“And there are plans to move to an incredible new stadium.”
The Mestalla was constructed in 1923, but damage sustained during the Spanish Civil War, when it was used as a concentration camp and a storage warehouse, led to major rebuilding work in the 1950s giving it its current appearance with steep, soaring stands.
But it isn’t just the stadium which reminds Neville of the Toffees.
One of Valencia’s most recognisable players is Shkodran Mustafi, who spent a couple of seasons at Goodison as a youngster and joined Valencia from Sampdoria last summer.
“I knew Shkodran Mustafi from my time at Everton. He was a teenager then. He’s become a man now,” he added. Neville also spoke to former Blues boss David Moyes, now Real Sociedad manager, before taking up his own role in Spain. “David offered more encouragement for me to move,” said Neville. “He said that La Liga is a top league with the best teams in the world and that it would be a huge challenge for me and that communication was very important.
“He also stressed the different aspects of the lifestyle and that I’d need to learn to adapt to the late kick-offs. I normally go to bed at 9pm! A lot of games in Spain haven’t even kicked off then and people go out at 11pm. He says it can take a few weeks for your body and mind to get used to it!”
Neville started taking his coaching badges while still a player at Everton.
“I did my UEFA B licence when I was 28 and I spent two years doing my A licence between 33-35,” he added. “I’ve got a year left to go on my pro-licence, that’s the one which best prepares you for management. It’s hard doing all your badges when you play, it’s a process which takes seven years, but I did my best and I’m nearly there. “I’ll have to leave my main media commitments to concentrate on the Valencia job, but it’s a huge club in a great league. I can’t wait to get started.”
Neville admits he has never lived outside Manchester, but will move his whole family out to Spain with him. "I always wanted to play abroad - this is next best thing"
“I always wanted to play abroad but it didn’t happen so this is the next best thing,” he added. “It’s something I’ve fancied for a long time. I want to experience a new culture, learn a new language, see how football works in Spain and take myself out of my comfort zone in Manchester.
“I’ve spoken to the glass half-full and half-empty people. They stress the negatives and the positives, but I’m doing what it right for my family and I and I don’t think it’s a bad thing for a young British coach to try working outside Britain.” Neville’s only other move in his 20-year professional career was in 2005, when he left Manchester United for Everton. But only 32 miles separate Manchester and Liverpool so that didn’t necessitate moving house.
A move to Valencia does and it’s something his family will embrace.
“When the opportunity came about I sat down with my family and we talked through the options,” he explained. “Every decision I’ve made in my career has been about me. This is also about my family. But we’re going to learn a new language together. Our daughter, who has a disability, will be living in a city where there’s warmth and sun most of the year.
"I was raw at the start but I loved my media work"
"That’s better for her. My kids will learn Spanish and my son (Harvey, a young player currently at Manchester City) will join an excellent academy at Valencia. We’re starting intensive Spanish lessons and we’re determined to integrate successfully into Spanish life.
“When I left Manchester United in 2014 I wanted to give myself 12 to 18 months out of day-to-day football. “I’d had no break for 20 years and needed to re-energise myself. I wanted to look at football from a different angle, to learn about the culture and not just follow standard routes which footballers take after they finished playing. “I worked in the media and really enjoyed it. I threw myself into it and was very raw at the start. It was rocky at times and people weren’t shy in letting me know my mistakes, but I grew into it, I improved and I loved the freedom of the media roles.
I would be at Hartlepool vs. Blyth Spartans one week and in Asia or at a big Champions League game the next. I saw Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona, watched the Champions League final in Berlin, the big English derbies and did work for markets in Asia, Qatar and the USA. Each audience has different reaction to what you say.”
Now it will be Spanish footballers reacting to what Phil Neville has to say - in a brand new language.
Everton still hope to land Angelo Ogbonna despite West Ham interest
6 July 2015 Liverpool Echo
By David Prentice
Juventus defender remains on Blues radar but Hammers step up pursuit
Everton have not given up hope of landing Juventus defender Angelo Ogbonna – despite the Italian international set to fly into London for talks with West Ham.
Everton were hoping to land the £8m rated centre-back as a replacement for Sylvain Distin.
But new Hammers boss Slaven Bilic wants to make the 27-year-old his third signing since taking over at Upton Park. Hammers’ interest in Ogbonna was bizarrely revealed by Hammers co-chairman David Gold last month, when welcoming Bilic’s first signing, Pedro Obiang, to the club.
Gold tweeted: “I am delighted to announce the signing of 23 year old midfield Pedro Obiang from Sampdoria. Pedro, welcome. dg.” but included a picture of Ogbonna rather than Obiang - before quickly deleting the message. Southampton are also chasing Ogbonna, who was an unused substitute as Juventus were beaten by Barcelona in the Champions League final last month.
But he could soon become a team-mate of Obiang now that West Ham are set to speak to the player. Ogbonna, who can play at centre back of left back, has made 41 Serie A appearances for Juventus since joining them in 2013. He has also previously played for Torino, and has won 10 caps for the Italian national side. Juventus want a fee of €10m plus a potential further €2m in bonus payments for Ogbonna. Everton skipper Phil Jagielka, meanwhile, says he is delighted to see one player stay at Goodison this summer. Luke Garbutt finally signed a long-term deal with the Blues after at one point appearing to be ready to leave the club. “I’m delighted he’s signed a deal,” said Jagielka. “It’s been a little bit messy for him, not particularly his fault and it’s just sometimes the way contract negotiations go. “I know he loves being here. With the way it got drawn out, I’m sure there were other offers and promises from other teams to give him first-team football.
“I’ve seen a lot of people leave Everton, thinking they’re potentially going on to bigger and better things, and come unstuck so it’s nice that Luke has stayed with us and sees his future here.
“He’s always put the effort in in training and things like that. He’s a great lad and he has so much potential. “The only down side for Luke is, over the last couple of years, not only has he had Leighton Baines to challenge but he’s had Bryan Oviedo to compete with against as well, so it’s been difficult for him to get an extended amount of game time, but I think he is definitely progressing as a left-back. When he has come in, particularly in the European games, he has done a fantastic job.
“Obviously, with losing Bainesy and Bryan towards the end of last season, Luke and Brendan Galloway were competing for that position at left-back and I’m sure there will be more time for the manager to give them in future. “I’m not sure if there is a possibility for Luke to go out on loan and getting himself a longer period of games, but I do see his future at Everton.”
Jagielka also believes that Garbutt is improving as a player all the time.
“A lot of people see how technically gifted he is and how creative he can be with his left foot,” he added “but I think his defending is getting better and better year in, year out.
“I think that’s something you forget - he’s only a young man and to become a good defender, you need to make some mistakes to learn from. “But when Luke has played, he’s looked right at home and that proves what a fantastic player he is and is going to be.”
Everton FC transfer rumours: Sunderland keep tabs on Aiden McGeady
6 July 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Chris Beesley
Blues' Belgian target in talks with Premier League rivals
Sunderland are keeping tabs on Everton winger Aiden McGeady but the Republic of Ireland international is not a high priority recruit at this stage for the Black Cats.
The Sunderland Echo say that Lee Congerton, director of football at the Stadium of Light, is monitoring the 29-year-old wide man’s situation at Goodison Park but will track other targets first.
With his contract running down at Spartak Moscow, McGeady joined the Blues for an undisclosed fee 18 months ago but he has been unable to hold down a regular start spot in the side and could move further down the pecking order following Gerard Deulofeu’s return to the club on a permanent basis. McGeady has also been linked with a return to his first club Celtic but his chances of a move to the North East could be scuppered by Sunderland's attempts to sign former Middlesbrough and Liverpool winger Stewart Downing from West Ham United although there has been no movement over their pursuit of Dynamo Kiev’s Jeremain Lens who the Blues tried to sign last summer. Despite signing Sebastian Coates from Liverpool, Sunderland also remain in talks with reputed Everton target Nicolas Lombaerts. The left-footed Belgian centre-back plays for head coach Dick Advocaat’s former club Zenit St Petersburg and for the Blues would be a like-for-like replacement for Sylvain Distin who has joined Premier League new boys Bournemouth after being released at Goodison following a six-year spell on Merseyside. Lombaerts, 30, has spent the past eight seasons with Zenit after being brought to the Russian League by Advocaat and has 35 caps.
Valuation study rates Everton FC's John Stones at a paltry £11.8million
6 July 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Chris Beesley
Poll makes a mockery over true price of top Blues prospect
Everton's John Stones has been named the 16th most valuable young player in Europe according to a new study but the Blues defender is rated at a meagre £11.8million - around a third of what Goodison chiefs would regard as his true market value.
Roberto Martinez has no intentions of cashing in on the England international but with the 21-year-old Yorkshireman having another four years remaining on his current contract, Everton believe he is worth more than the £31.8million Manchester City shelled out on Eliaquim Mangala last summer in a record British buy for a defender. Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling is rated as the most valuable young player in Europe. The 20-year-old England international, whose future at Anfield has been the topic of intense speculation this summer, has been given a weighted value of £35.05million (49.3million euros) by the Soccerex 20 U-21 report - which is less than the £40million the Reds have already rejected for his services from Manchester City.
Sterling tops a list of the 20 most highly rated players aged under 21 on the continent identified by the study, which has been produced to mark the 20th anniversary of Soccerex, a global football business event. He is some way ahead of Paris St Germain's Brazilian defender Marquinhos in second place at £27.84million (39.77million euros) with Manchester United new boy Memphis Depay in third at £23.8million (33.64million euros). Soccerex chief executive Duncan Revie said: "This report demonstrates the hugely talented pool of players under the age of 21 available to our European clubs. "Ultimately, the lifeblood of any successful club is the players they are able to develop and nurture and the report identifies the premium that clubs place on this kind of exciting young talent." The Football Value Index, compiled by sports agency Prime Time Sport, takes into account the player's age, position, current club, contract length, market value perception, international caps, minutes played, goals, injuries and technical quality.
Seventeen of the 20 players were born and bred in Europe with Marquinhos, Atletico Madrid's Uruguayan defender Jose Gimenez and Benfica's Brazilian midfielder Anderson Talisca the only exceptions. Two more English players make the list - Manchester United full-back Luke Shaw in ninth place (£17.77million, 25.39million euros) and Arsenal's Calum Chambers in 19th (£10.54million, 15.06million euros). However, no fewer than nine men will be plying their trade in the Barclays Premier League next season with Frenchman Kurt Zouma at Chelsea, German Emre Can and Belgian Divock Origi at Liverpool and Arsenal's Hector Bellerin, who appear in 11th, 15th, 18th and 20th places respectively, joining Sterling, Depay and the rest of the English contingent.
Interestingly, both Shaw and Chambers are rated at significantly lower values than the fees paid for them by United and the Gunners - the report gives Shaw's fee as £25million while Chambers cost £16million - and author Esteve Calzada suggests that could be a result of English clubs paying a premium for home-grown talent in order to comply with UEFA regulations.
Calzada said: "This report has produced a number of very interesting conclusions with regards to home-grown player regulations and Europe's dominance in producing the world's most valuable young talents."
Three names missing from Everton's Singapore squad
7 July 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Phil Kirkbride
Three players missing through injury but new signings set for Far East
EVERTON will travel to Singapore this weekend without injured trio Leighton Baines, Darron Gibson and Bryan Oviedo. But the Blues will fly to the Far East on Sunday with new signings Tom Cleverley and Gerard Deulofeu. Everton face Stoke City on Wednesday, July 15 in the first of two Barclays Asia Trophy matches. The second takes place on Saturday, July 18 and will be against either Arsenal or Singapore Select XI. Baines, who missed the final two games of the season after undergoing ankle surgery, will not make the trip. And Oviedo (broken toe) and Gibson (broken foot) will also stay at Finch Farm to continue their recovery.
Roberto Martinez is taking a 24-man squad with him to Singapore which includes youngsters Brendan Galloway, Tyias Browning and goalkeeper Jindrich Stanek.
Conor McAleny, who spent the second half of last season on loan at Cardiff, is also in the travelling party.
Joel Robles, Tim Howard, Jindrich Stanek, Tony Hibbert, Phil Jagielka, Seamus Coleman, John Stones, Tyias Browning, Luke Garbutt, Brendan Galloway, Aiden McGeady, James McCarthy, Muhamed Besic, Gareth Barry, Ross Barkley, Leon Osman, Steven Pienaar, Tom Cleverley, Arouna Kone, Romelu Lukaku, Kevin Mirallas, Steven Naismith, Conor McAleny, Gerard Deulofeu.
How Romelu Lukaku will save hundreds of lives in Cambodia
7 July 2015 Liverpool Echo
By David Prentice
Belgian group names HeroRAT after Everton striker
ROMELU LUKAKU has been trained to become a lifesaver – by sniffing out dangers which cost hundreds of lives every year.
But this isn’t Big Rom, the Everton centre-forward who sniffed out 20 goals last season.
A Belgian social enterprise group which trains rats in the art of land mine detection has named one of its prized animals after the Everton striker!
APOPO, a group which researches, develops and implements detection rats technology for use in Cambodia, Angola, Thailand and Mozambique, tweeted Lukaku today to say “Hey @RomeluLukaku9, we’ve named a future life saver after you! This guy will safely detect landmines. #soccer #efc”
The group has also given another lifesaving rat the name of Vincent Kompany.
There are 16 HeroRATs, as the animals have been christened, trained in Tanzania before being deployed in stricken states around the world.
Rats are used because they weigh just over a kilogram so do not set off the landmines, have an exceptional sense of smell and do not bond to one particular trainer.
The African Giant Pouched rat species is used because of its intelligence, calm demeanour and ability to be trained. They also have a lifespan of eight years increasing their operational effectiveness.
APOPO first started its research in 1998 and has now been successfully used in more than 60 countries. Romelu Lukaku - the murine version - will be used specifically in Cambodia, one of the most landmine-affected countries in the world.
The human Romelu Lukaku started pre-season training with Everton yesterday and will be sniffing out goals in the Toffees’ friendly matches which kick-off on Saturday at Swindon.
Leighton Baines ahead of schedule in fitness race but may not make start of campaign
7 July 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Greg O’Keeffe
Everton defender Baines won't travel to Singapore and neither will Gibson or Oviedo
Leighton Baines is recovering ahead of schedule from his ankle injury but may yet miss the start of the season for Everton. The England defender, along with Darron Gibson and Bryan Oviedo, will stay behind in the UK when the rest of Roberto Martinez’s squad jet off for Singapore on Sunday.
Baines missed the final two matches of the 2014/15 campaign after undergoing surgery to cure a long-standing ankle problem, while both Gibson and Oviedo have been sidelined since April because of fractured metatarsals. All are making good progress according to the Blues and are in line to return to action ahead of schedule. “Leighton is well ahead of where we expected him to be at this point and all three will be there or thereabouts for the start of the season,” Martinez said.
“All three players are coming on really strong in relation to their respective rehabilitation programmes. “Although they won’t be taking part in the games at the Barclays Asia Trophy, they could be back playing a part with the team even sooner than anticipated.
Everton’s Premier League season starts against Watford on Saturday August 8.
Everton youngster Matthew Pennington signs three-year deal
7 July 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Greg O’Keeffe
Highly-rated Everton defender signs until 2018
Highly-rated Everton defender Matthew Pennington has signed a new three-year deal.
The Warrington-born defender, who joined the academy aged 11, impressed on loan at Coventry City last season, making 25 appearances for the League One outfit, as well as securing the Sky Blues’ Young Player of the Year award. Pennington, who also had two separate loan spells for Tranmere Rovers in the 2013/14 season, is committed to the club until summer 2018.
The 20-year-old, who is equally comfortable at centre-back and right-back, says his temporary spells away from Goodison Park have aided his development.
“I’m excited to have the opportunity to fulfil my ambition of playing in the first team,” he said. “It’s obviously a great achievement for myself and my family and I’m really happy to be signing for another three years here. “I feel like I’ve had a couple of good seasons, with two loans and I feel that has improved me a lot. Every game has helped me because your always learning something new when you’re playing alongside experienced professionals.
“You pick things up in the games and they come thick and fast - it’s a big learning curve.
“Whether I go out on loan again or if I stay around here now, I’m looking to improve and impress.”
Pennington sustained an ankle injury in the closing stages of last season, but, after travelling with David Unsworth’s side to Austria last month, says he is now closing in on full fitness.
“I’m nearly fit now,” he added. “I should be training with the lads in another week. It is a bit frustrating at the moment, watching them train and not being involved but hopefully I’ll be getting stuck in there soon. “I’ve no doubt I’ll get some pre-season action. Once I’m back in training it might be another two weeks before I’m playing games so I’ll be fit and ready to go for the start of the season.”
Everton and Kitbag: You have your say
7 July 2015 Liverpool Echo
By David Prentice
Echo readers give their views on Everton's kitbag deal
WE recently asked the question “Everton Kitbag deal analysed – Good or bad for the Blues?” Link:
And we asked readers to get involved, too.
We wanted you to tell us your thoughts, findings and experiences - and you certainly did ... from San Francisco to Chicago, Swindon to Singapore and South Africa to Perth, Australia - and, of course, lots from Liverpool.
It was a mixed bag, but the biggest gripe by far appears to be a lack of visible presence for Blues merchandise.
Here’s what you had to say ...
Bluejay - Toxteth
It annoys me when you walk into a sports retailer in your own city and see every other kit under the sun apart from your own team. We should be pushing our brand down people’s throats- sick of being second best. Sort it out Blues. I understand money talks but grow a backbone.
Peter Reardon Liverpool Everton have the wrong people promoting the club worldwide. Our shirts and merchandise should be available worldwide, after all we are playing in the most watched league in world football, but when they are not available in our own city it is an absolute disgrace. I have supported Everton for over 65 years and it saddens me when I see the lack of our colours at Goodison on matchdays. I emailed Everton FC last year about the lack of fans wearing Everton merchandise but I was not aware of the arrangement with Kitbag. I have been in many countries around the world and seen people wearing other EPL shirts but very rarely Everton.
Lee Smith Swindon, Wiltshire
Awful. Watching teams that are in lower leagues rake more money than EFC is unacceptable. Our fan base, not only in the UK but worldwide, demand that they should be able to go to a shop in their area and buy a strip. Instead, they have to scroll through Kitbag’s website ... which doesn’t even show the “Partnership” or use Everton.com. People like to look at tops and try them on before they buy, not get it delivered and then have to send it back if the size is wrong.
Everton appear to have no marketing plan on where they want to be within 5 years, 3 years or even 1 year. The branding opportunities overlooked by the club are beyond incompetence. Tim Cahill, Tim Howard, even the most talked about youngsters like John Stones, Ross Barkley. These opportunities are not exploited nor promoted. The club needs a top commercial director who would pay for himself by developing and executing a plan to triple our commercial income within a certain timescale. Retail is notoriously difficult especially for a club like EFC with very little commercial acumen and ambition but to hand the merchandising to Kitbag with no caveats toward exploiting demand is amateurish at best.
The risk free, guaranteed profit in a competitive and turbulent market is good in these times of austerity and cutbacks.
However it does not enhance the club’s profile on the world stage.
Also the variety of merchandise is very limited compared to what the pinkies across the park have on offer at many outlets across the region, and a lot further afield too.
I recently visited the club shop by the ground with a view to getting some stuff for my holidays but was dismayed at what very little choice there was.
If Mr Kenwright is looking to sell the club (and I agree with his principles looking for a select buyer) we need to raise the profile as high as possible but if there is no merchandising worldwide then even if we win a European trophy it will matter little in terms of real potential sales.
Classic Catch 22.
David Stewart, Perth Australia
Whilst i believe the deal could be a better one I would like to clarify one thing, Everton tops are available in Australia. Two of the main sports shops here-JIM KIDD and REBEL both carry the tops for the pricely sum of $120. Now I have to say this is in Perth and can’t speak for the other capital cities. On an aside note I always look to see who’s wearing their colours out and about and believe me you really don’t see that many EPL shirts being worn and that even goes for the big two. Over here it’s more AFL and over east it’s more NRL and AFL tops being worn, so maybe they are right when they say the demand is just not there.
Chris Maher, Australia
It’s disappointing for a club in the EPL not to be able to buy shirts internationally, or even in London, other than on the internet.
Daniele Zanato, Johannesburg, South Africa
I personally hate it. I walk into retail here and I can find just about any kit, except Everton. Even in London, Lillywhites stock everyone except us again. I would spend a significant amount on kit and training gear if it was more readily available worldwide. I don’t buy from Kitbag anymore, I tried it once and it was painful. All I can do is get friends to send me kit over in the post. It’s cheaper because I don’t need to pay duties on it. If it was available worldwide, I’d be buying stuff all the time.
Phil A, Ponteract
Good for KITBAG Very Poor for Everton
Tommy McKay, Liverpool
The lack of available merchandise for a team like Everton is poor, many people arriving or leaving the city would be happy to purchase an Everton item, if it was available. Everton are missing some great opportunities, considering the amount of people visiting the city. People living here in Liverpool are restricted to two outlets, this is poor in lots of ways and lacks positive vision from a club like Everton.
Alan Wright, Liverpool
Everton need to get Kitbag to provide more money than £3m and sell Everton’s strip in more places. If Kitbag don’t do this then Everton need to end the deal and get their kits in stores all around the country like other top clubs kits available at sports retail outlets, airports and train stations etc - making it easier for true fans all around the world (not just UK) to get hold of it. COYB lets see the kit in shops.
Kieran Bell, Dublin, Ireland
Think it’s awful. Anytime I go over, there’s no Everton stuff in Airport or Albert Dock, etc.. only Liverpool merchandise. Also, the online shop is very poor - very little non-kit related merchandise. I don’t buy the kits but would buy t-shirts, shorts etc if there was a decent selection to choose from.
Robin Owen, Rhyl
Surely it makes sense to have the kit available in more outlets? Shouldn’t we be asking Kitbag why they are not? Maybe Everton are not happy but are not willing to criticise their “partners”. It is annoying to see all the other kits on show in the shops and nothing from Everton.
A joke of a company have not ordered a kit for years due to the way they operate, shambles
Cliff Robert (Season ticket holder) Buckley, North Wales
The deal obviously suits Kitbag as it has another Premier League name on its portfolio. However they do not appear to be too impressed with their own income from the deal as they appear very reluctant to invest in promoting the EFC product. Everton should ‘bite the bullet’ and employ a top marketing/merchandising ‘Guru’ to oversee he whole operation. His/her success would pay their salary and elevate the EFC brand image on the Global stage...
John Keating, Liverpool
No merchandise at the airport is a disgrace. Why no merchandise at Kitbag’s retail outlets worldwide? An amateur effort
Matthew Twine, New Zealand
New Zealand is a rugby mad country, and most Premier League teams will find it hard to sell replica shirts in New Zealand.
But the fact that you can’t buy replica shirts anywhere but through Kitbag or the Everton website, is counter productive in my eyes. As the world of football both on and off the pitch changes, so should the way Everton do business, we must and need to keep up with other teams.
We seem to be run by businessmen who are short sighted. We must take risks to improve both on and off the field, I am not suggesting we go and buy five $30 Million pound players, but surely when Everton are in Singapore this is a golden chance to sell some shirts, and get the Everton brand out there in a market which is easy to exploit.
No wonder I can’t find anything over here. What a ridiculous business plan – keep your market small.
Kenneth Kee, Singapore
I am a lifelong supporter in my 40s. Born and bred in Singapore, where the flavour of the month (and every month) are the Arsenals, Liverpools, Mancs, etc. But Man City and La Liga shirts have made inroads here in South-east Asia. It is expensive to buy these replica kits as it stands but it will be worse if they are not displayed in the shops so that fans can consider, touch and feel on the real thing before deciding on parting with their hard-earned wages, which I believe they will do so willingly if they are sure it will fit them (and their budget!). Every once in a blue moon you see an Everton kit being worn, it makes your head turn but very rarely. When Nike was sponsoring the kit in those days, I thought that it will mean that you will see the Everton kits on display more often in their Nike stores, but sadly not at all.
Chris Wilson, San Francisco, CA, USA
It was good for the time because we had the banks breathing down our necks, but times change, finances are stable, and Everton never anticipated this and never made plans for the possibility that they would outgrow all of their financial deals. Unfortunately, the club have never been one to have any sense of looking forward; never ahead of the curve, always scrambling to keep up. I wish Everton had arranged some compensation with Kitbag for running out of stock, lack of website promotion, technical glitches with apps, etc, because I don’t think they’re too bothered whether they sell Everton stock or not. Any money made on Everton gear is simply icing on the cake.
Utter tripe. Too difficult and too long winded to get hold of a top if you live outside Liverpool. My local sports store can supply me with a Galatasary or Roma or Grampus8 football top but not my own club that’s only an hour by car away.
Paul Edwards, Runcorn
Not too good. Have contacted them about abysmal selection of clothing for spring/summer of this year. I just felt fobbed off. Everton used to bring out a catalogue in April before JJB & Kitbag were involved. They only seem interested in selling last year’s kits at half price before the new one was launched. People want to buy clothing for their holidays other than replica shirts.
Anybody who signs a 10 year deal is shortsighted and shows a of lack ambition. Football is a global brand and you have to speculate to accumulate. This is a sad reflection and so many missed opportunites pass us by whilst locked into this deal. A little bit like the 80s, standing still happy with what we had achieved when we should have built a new stadium then and expanded our retail and hospitality.
John Pagan, Speke
It’s a poor deal. Everton shirts should be available in London, not just two stores in Liverpool.
Everton lack brand exposure and kitbag dont seem to care.
Carl Boardman, Liverpool
Awful deal !!!!! With such a massive mark up of say 700% to 800% on a kit, surely a club like Everton should be selling this kit in stores not only in the UK but also worldwide. If Mr Elstone & co see having no outlets, therefore no rents etc etc, as a successful way of running a business and making bigger profits then that is his opinion. My opinion is you have to speculate to accumulate and grow in business therefore making larger profits. Just remember this ....A kit which retails for £70 could be reduced to £10 or £15 and we would still be making a profit!
Frank Eales, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk
Not a lot after reading the above article. I now know why we never see our EVERTON profile on show.
Hopeless. If you’re a small boy it’s impossible to buy merchandise. It’s been like it for years and repeated complaints to Everton are rebuffed as all is rosy. It most certainly aint
Rubbish. Not an income generating source commercially. Look at big boys
Chris, Houston, TX
I think it handcuffs the club, particularly from a marketing standpoint here in the States. My boys would love to be able to go into a store and see Everton gear (any gear) but alas – all that is to be found are other clubs........
James Bromilow, L20
Definitely not a good deal for the Club, dismayed to hear they signed another 4 yrs last year!
Brian Burns, Mossley Hill, Liverpool
I find it, like most people, that when we go abroad to play, or when people visit our city, which has increased its visiting popularity ten fold. You can’t buy anything apart from our shops, one which is miles away from the Airport and The City centre. Its beggars belief that our board continue to make mind boggling decisions.
Ross, Chicago, IL, USA
The lack of presence by Everton in a city the size of Chicago and indeed throughout the USA is very disappointing. Elstone’s remarks in response to the outcry simply reads as apathy. They will not do anything to change. Nothing will improve as they are not compelled to change a thing. “We’ve gotten by on this deal!”, they’ll say. Status quo for the Everton board.
Tom Kelly, Liverpool
Accept it de-risks the club, but its a major pity that all the other NW prem clubs are on sale at Manchester airport except EFC. Was in USA the other year when the pre season tournament featuring Nlues Real Madrid etc was on... all other teams kits available in Adidas / Nike stores in New York bar one.
Mike Schaefer, San Diego, California, USA
It sucks! You can go to any sporting goods seller here in the States and see the top 4 team kits everywhere you look... No Everton! The USA is an untapped selling point for Everton. And when it comes to ordering, I’ve been to Goodison, what size do you think a majority of the Toffee fans are?? You have got to make a bigger jersey!
Simon, St Helens
A no-mark club like QPR rake in £10m a season. By contrast, we only get £3m a year. It’s pathetic and really sums up the whole unambitious Kenwright era at Goodison.
No matter how Robert Elstone spins it ... kitbag is a terrible deal for our club. Who in their right mind thinks only having TWO shops in the entire world selling EFC merchandise is a good idea??
Kitbag? More like Kitblag.
Dave Kelly, Merseyside
For any commercial deal to make sense it needs to benefit all of them involved in the process. This process is Everton, Kitbag and Evertonians.
Everton seen pleased enough with their £3 million. Kitbag seem pleased enough for them and the club to agree with an extension to the ridiculously long 10 year agreement.
So the first two of a tripartite agreement seem happy enough. Sadly, those responsible for funding this 10 year deal are the ones whose opinions and feelings on the deal matter most.
Why am I left consistently frustrated by not been able to purchase kit, on time, in the sizes I want at the outlets I want?
The usual mediocre effort from EFC. But then this is an administration that has invested £0 into EFC in nearly 16 years (you get what you put in). No wonder EFC have gone from blue-chip to blue-collar outfit in that time. To think our natural rivals were once the ‘worldwide’ brands cited in David Prentice’s article ... well, apart from yo-yo team Chelsea.
Steve Hogan, Chester
The current sales strategy simply highlights the current status of the club compared to its peer group in the Premiership.
No risk, let’s play it safe philosophy, mirrors the ambitions of the current board. To have zero retail presence at either of our two gateways to the city, JLA and Lime St is simply a dereliction of duty and akin to flying the white flag from Goodison.
We don’t want to be seen as ‘plucky little Everton’, the fan base deserve better than that.
Tony Griffiths, Liverpool
Terrible for a top eight prem club apart from last season that is.
Everton FC transfer rumours: West Ham 'agree' Ogbonna deal, United end Coleman interest, Lennon update
7 July 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Kristian Walsh
The evening Everton FC transfer gossip from around the web
Everton FC's pursuit of Juventus defender Angelo Ogbonna has ended, according to the Daily Mail, after the Italian agreed a deal to join West Ham.
The 27-year-old held talks with the Hammers on Tuesday and has agreed a four-year contract, according to the paper, in a deal worth £8m.
The report states Ogbonna preferred the idea of living in London and has opted to sign up for Slaven Bilic pending a medical. He is due to fly in later this week.
Elsewhere, there will be no move from Manchester United for Blues man Seamus Coleman after United agreed a deal to bring full back Matteo Darmian to Old Trafford.
The Irish Independent state Louis van Gaal has ended his interest in Coleman and instead turned to the Torino and Italy defender, who can play both left and right.
The Blues remained adamant throughout that the Irish international would not be sold.
And finally, Aaron Lennon could be heading back to Goodison Park, according to the Mirror.
The paper claims Lennon, who was on loan at Everton last season, is still wanted by the club and Spurs are ready to do a permanent deal on the 28-year-old.
Everton FC losing Angelo Ogbonna transfer race to West Ham
7 July 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Phil Kirkbride
Hammers said to have agreed deal with Juventus for defender
Everton FC are losing the race to sign Angelo Ogbonna with West Ham ready to tie up a deal for the defender.
The Blues made the 27-year-old Italian their No1 defensive target this summer but look like being beaten in the chase for his signature by the Hammers. Ogbonna’s decision to choose Slaven Billic’s side over Everton is said to have been influenced by a desire to live in London instead of Merseyside.
Reports say that West Ham will pay between £8m-£10m for the Italy international who is likely to sign a four-year-deal on completion of a medical. Ogbonna, a left-footed defender who can also operate at full-back, was identified as the perfect addition to the Everton squad by manager Roberto Martinez, who released Sylvain Distin and Antolin Alcaraz at the end of the season.
The Catalan is keen to bolster the Blues’ defensive options with someone who put immediate pressure on the first-choice partnership of Phil Jagielka and John Stones.
Ogbonna was his main target but Everton appear to be losing out on the Italian.
Martinez will now turn his attention to other targets that include Genk centre-half Kara Mbodj.
Everton have also been linked with Belgium’s Nicolas Lombaerts and Virgil van Dijk of Celtic during the summer.