Phil Jagielka celebrates 'perfect' season
June 2 2008 EXCLUSIVE by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
PHIL JAGIELKA was celebrating after he put the gloss on a "perfect" season with a first England cap. The Everton defender replaced Rio Ferdinand at the start of the second half in last night’s 3-0 win over Trinidad & Tobago. Having missed out on a cap last Wednesday at Wembley against the United States, Jagielka was left on tenterhooks but eventually got his rewards from Fabio Capello.
But now he has had a taste of the big time, Jagielka is desperate to repeat the experience again. “The last 10 days have just been a fantastic experience,” said Jagielka, who has also been capped at ‘B’ and Under-21 level. “After getting into the ‘B’ team last year, England was always at the back of my mind when I came here.
“I suppose you get noticed more when you play for a top five team. It’s been a great way to end the season and it was nice to get a few minutes. It’s been brilliant. All I wanted was a cap for a perfect end to the season.” Jagielka, however, is aware that a new set of pressure will come when the new campaign begins in August but he is confident that, with a couple of shrewd additions, the Blues can achieve something significant. “Hopefully next year we can come back and we’ll have another fourth chasing season,” said Jagielka. “Last time around, after it looked so promising, it turned into a battle to hang on to fifth. “We know that expectations are going to grow and rightly so when you look at some of the players that we have. Hopefully we can go about fulfilling the fans expectations by doing as least as good as we did this year.
“Having had an experience of the stadium, it would be fantastic to get to Wembley for a cup final. I’m sure the Evertonians would go down in a shot and the Gaffer mentioned about doing well in the cups again at the end of the season.
“We’d like to have another lengthy run and do a bit better again. Hopefully a couple of signings will come in. You never know what is happening during the transfer window, things might die down while the European Championships are on.
“But once they are over, I’m sure the club is going to be linked with a lot of decent players and, with a bit of luck, we’ll be able to sign a few, too.” Everton’s Nigerian contingent came out on top in the club’s ‘battle of Africa’ as a Super Eagles side containing Joseph Yobo, Victor Anichebe and Ayegbeni Yakubu beat Steven Pienaar’s South Africa 2-0 in Abuja.
Shops rethink brings EFC stadium one step closer
June 2 2008
Exclusive by David Bartlett, Liverpool Daily Post
EVERTON FC’s plan to move to Kirkby took a step nearer last night as it emerged Liverpool council is no longer likely to formally object to the scheme. The city’s planning committee, which meets on Wednesday, has been recommended to raise a number of concerns about the £400m scheme that also involves building a Tesco superstore. But councillors are not being asked to oppose the scheme now the retail element is effectively cut by 30%, after the authority previously said it would object. The council wants a further reduction in floorspace and “robust conditions and/or legal agreements” dictating how much expansion can take place in future. Last night, Ian Ross, Everton’s director of communications, said: “If Liverpool City Council is not formally objecting, that can only be good news for the project.” In April, the supermarket was forced, in the face of mounting opposition, to downgrade the amount of retail in the scheme which includes 50 shops from around 72,000 sq m, to 50,000 sq m. Sefton council’s planning committee, which was also previously minded to object before the reduction, will also meet on Wednesday. Officials in Sefton have not yet advised councillors whether to formally object, but have raised a number of concerns with the scheme. If neither council objects, it would reduce the likelihood of the Government calling an inquiry into the scheme which could delay it by a year, or derail it. Both local authorities are worried about future expansion of the retail element. Tesco achieved the reduction by removing mezzanine floors, but these could be reintroduced without needed additional planning permission if smaller than 200 sq m. Both councils are concerned at the prospect of an incremental re-introduction of the floorspace. A report to Sefton councillors quotes a letter from Tesco which states the stripping out of mezzanine floors “has implications for the viability of the scheme”. It goes on: “While some retailers may well require additional floorspace in the form of a mezzanine soon after opening if trading potentially justifies such a move, most will only require the additional floorspace once the outlet has traded for over a year, some two years.” Officials in Sefton remain concerned that, even on the reduced scale, the retail element is “inappropriate”. Liverpool council officials said they “strongly support” Knowsley council’s ambition to regenerate Kirkby town centre. However, they state that despite the reduction, the shopping space is still “extremely large”. They remain unconvinced about the “need” for the scale of development being proposed, and have “unanswered questions”. They recommend that “a more thorough assessment is required and a further reduction in retail floorspace should be negotiated”. “Should members of Knowsley council be minded to approve this application then officers advise that the level of future floorspace should be controlled by robust conditions and legal agreements.” A spokesman for Knowsley council said: “All comments submitted as part of the three consultation exercises will be taken into account when the planning committee meets.”
Leighton Baines on mission to be fit for new season
June 3 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
LEIGHTON BAINES is hoping a summer of hard work will help him get the new campaign off to a flying start. Everton’s left-back underwent surgery on his ankle four weeks ago in a bid to rectify a long standing problem that had troubled him since last October. Though the operation to remove a piece of bone was more problematic than the club’s medical team expected, Baines’ rehabilitation programme has so far gone without a hitch. Along with James Vaughan, he has been spending a lot of time at the Blues’ Finch Farm training base recently to give himself every chance of being ready for the start of pre-season. And if that is the case, Baines feels he will have a chance to show his true worth after being restricted to just 29 appearances following his £6m move from Wigan Athletic. “There’s been a few lads that have been getting a bit of work done over the summer,” said Baines. “Hopefully we can use the time now when the season’s finished to get back in there and get fit in time for pre-season training and make ourselves available. “It’s important for me to get back playing more regularly than I did last season. Last season it was quite difficult because I’m used to playing regularly. Picking up injuries was a new thing for me as well so I think it’s important for me next season to get a good number of games under my belt.” Though things have not always gone according to plan, Baines has no regrets about swopping the JJB for Goodison Park and says he could not be happier. “It took almost no time to settle in here,” he said. “The lads are great, all the staff are great and it’s very much a family club on the inside. You get to know that straight away, everyone’s involved and it’s fantastic.” Joseph Yobo, meanwhile, has hissights set firmly on the 2010 World Cup after helping Nigeria to a 2-0 win over South Africa last Sunday. The Super Eagles have something to prove after disappointing in the African Cup of Nations but their performance in Abuja suggested they are back on track. And even though Yobo is hankering for a summer break, he hopes one last big effort against Sierra Leone this weekend will enable him to end the campaign on a high. “It was important for us to get back on track with a win,” he said. “I think we showed a lot of character. We have had some disappointing results in the past and we wanted to put things right.
“By rights we should be relaxing after a long season but every player’s big ambition is to play at the next World Cup finals.”
Plans D-Day for Everton FC Kirkby stadium
June 3 2008
By Neil Hodgson, Liverpool Echo
A MAJOR vote on Tesco and Everton’s plans to redevelop Kirkby town centre will be made by Knowsley councillors on Monday. A 412-page report by planning officers recommends approval of the controversial £400m stadium and shopping centre. The council’s planning commitee will vote on the scheme but it will still be submitted to the Government Office for the Northwest, because of its size. Every household in Kirkby has received a letter informing people of the meeting, and the council has made special arrangement for supporters and those opposed to the scheme to have their say. At normal planning hearings each side has three minutes to put its case, but on Monday it has been extended to 30 minutes. Tesco today welcomed the recommendation. Corporate affairs manager Michael Kissman said: “This recommendation for approval is fantastic news and a clear and strong message that our plans are right for the town and will benefit the long-term prosperity of the area. “Our consultation has been thorough and robust. We have shown that we are prepared to listen, and the clear majority of people we have spoken to support our plans. “Our plans, which will create over 2,000 new jobs in Kirkby, have moved a significant step closer, and we look forward to hearing the final decision from councillors shortly.” Everton spokesman Ian Ross added: “It is very pleasing news. We are delighted to learn the council is broadly in support of the plans.” Knowsley council’s report says planning officers “accept the submissions and arguments that if Everton is to continue to be successful in the top flight of football, remaining at Goodison Park is not a realistic option.” They also accept the development will create significant employment opportunities and add: “Overall, it is concluded that the development will deliver a number of benefits that will help to address the socio and economic disparities and improve quality of life for the people of Kirkby.” Tesco and Everton submitted their plans in January. After concerns were raised by residents, retailers and neighbouring councils they changed their plans to reduce the retail element by a third. The meeting at the Huyton Suite begins at 10am. Anyone wishing to speak has until 5pm on June 5 to register their request in writing to: Democratic Services, Directorate of Corporate Resources, Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council, PO Box 21, Archway Road, Huyton, Knowsley, L36 9YU.
Steve Clarke in the frame to be Everton No.2
June 4 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
STEVE CLARKE has emerged as the new front-runner in the race to become Everton’s new assistant manager. Chelsea’s search to replace Avram Grant has left Clarke’s position as assistant coach shrouded in uncertainty and there is a strong possibility that he will seek a new challenge this summer. Although Everton boss David Moyes will not be making an appointment until he has put pen to paper on his own new contract, Clarke could become the man who fills the position Alan Irvine vacated last November. A no-nonsense Scot in the mould of Moyes, Clarke has a fine reputation within the game and played an integral role in the success Chelsea have enjoyed in recent years. His credentials stand up to the closest scrutiny - he was credited with holding things together at Stamford Bridge after Jose Mourinho quit last September - and would be a shrewd acquisition on Moyes’ behalf. Clarke made 421 appearances for Chelsea during his 11 years as a player before he became Ruud Gullit’s assistant at Newcastle United in 1998. After the Dutchman’s sacking in 1999 he returned to Chelsea to work at their Academy before being promoted by Mourinho.
Newcastle’s Steve Round was the early favourite following Irvine’s move to Preston North End and Moyes has been keeping tabs on a man who worked alongside Steve McClaren with Middlesbrough and England. He is still very much under consideration. Round, respected within the game for his innovative ideas, was taken to St James’ Park by Sam Allardyce 12 months ago but the 37-year-old has seen his role marginalised since Kevin Keegan took over and would welcome a move.
Chelsea would be loathe to lose Clarke, who is a popular figure with both players and supporters. They have promised to find a position for him somewhere, once they have identified Grant’s successor. But whether that would satisfy Clarke is open to debate and there is every chance that the opportunity to link up with Moyes and help Everton take the next step forward could convince him to bring his long association with Chelsea to an end.
Blues and Reds in race for Ramsey
June 4 2008
By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON and Liverpool have joined the race to sign Cardiff City’s highly-rated teenager Aaron Ramsey. Though Manchester United and Arsenal agreed a fee in excess of £5m with the FA Cup finalists yesterday, the Merseyside rivals are ready to match that figure in the hope of luring him away from Ninian Park. Blues boss David Moyes is a firm admirer of midfielder Ramsey, a Wales Under-21 international, and personally checked on him when he scored in Cardiff’s 3-3 draw with Burnley at Turf Moor on April 26. Liverpool have also been monitoring his progress for several months and are now ready to enter the battle to sign him though both sides know they face an uphill battle to prise him out of United’s clutches. A Cardiff statement read: “We can confirm the club has received formal bids from three top Premier League teams and Aaron has been given permission to speak to two of those teams. “One of these is Manchester United, though no deal has been done.” Ramsey, who hails from Caerphilly, was a keen rugby player before he decided to concentrate on football. Under manager Dave Jones, he has made rapid progress at Cardiff since making his debut as a 16-year-old against Hull City in April 2007 and played 22 games last season including the FA Cup final, when he played 29 minutes as a substitute. Although the Coca-Cola Championship side lost to Portsmouth at Wembley, United manager Alex Ferguson remained impressed with Ramsey. With other clubs taking interest, he decided to move in an attempt to make the youngster his first signing of the summer. Ramsey was included in Wales’ senior squad for the friendlies against Iceland and Holland but did not feature. He is due to discuss terms and take a medical at Old Trafford, with Ferguson hoping to clinch the deal by offering Cardiff the chance to loan him back next season – along with another United player. A club statement read: “Manchester United is delighted to announce it has agreed terms with Cardiff City for the transfer of Aaron Ramsey subject to contract terms being agreed and the player passing a medical.”
Councils at war over Everton Kirkby stadium plan
June 5 2008
By David Bartlett, Liverpool Daily Post
A BITTER battle broke out between two Merseyside councils last night over Everton FC’s plan to relocate to Kirkby. Liverpool formally objected yesterday to the £400m scheme on grounds it breaks planning policies, but last night Knowsley hit out saying it was investigating whether “due process” had been followed in formulating the protest. Sefton council last night also voted to oppose the plan which includes a Tesco superstore and 50 shops linked with the 50,000-seater stadium, and called for the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Hazel Blears, to “call in” the plans for a public inquiry . West Lancashire had already objected, while St Helens was in the process of drafting its protest. Last night, Wirral’s council leader Steve Foulkes warned the row did not “bode well” for the future of the region’s new “super cabinet”, which was revealed by the Daily Post earlier this week and aims to promote a more collaborative approach to politics in the region. Knowsley Council’s planning committee will meet on Monday and officials have recommended the application be approved, stating the regeneration benefits outweigh the conflicts with planning policies. But opposition to the scheme by four authorities, and the fact it runs contrary to town centre and retail policies, increases the likelihood of the Government calling a public inquiry. The row between Knowsley and Liverpool City Council came after officials in Knowsley questioned whether council leader Warren Bradley and opposition leader Joe Anderson, both season ticket holders at Goodison Park, should have been allowed to address the committee and request it object to the plans. Liverpool council said all rules had been followed, as the pair declared their interest and after addressing the committee left the meeting while the decision was made. Wirral council was not formally consulted on the plans, due to its distance from Knowsley. Its leader Cllr Foulkes, also an Everton season ticket holder, said he did not want to be drawn on the rights or wrongs of the scheme. But added: “This is exactly the type of issue we should be talking about at early stages.” He said the region should be united in trying to attract investment away from places like Manchester, instead of “competing against ourselves”. “Issues like this will continue until we can show the world we can act in a unified fashion instead of having these spats.” Last night, Ian Ross, director of com- munications at Everton, said: “Liverpool City Council is perfectly entitled to do this [formally object], but we do find it disappointing. However, we remain optimistic the project is still very much on course.” A spokesman for Tesco said: “We think we have got a good application. “Our priority is Monday’s committee [in Knowsley], where we are looking forward to the local councillors making a decision. “We are of the opinion that anyone who looks at the totality of the scheme will see the benefits not just for Kirkby but the entire region.” Kirkby councillor and Knowsley leisure leader Eddie Connor said it was hoped the scheme would attract 1.2m visitors annually, providing a boost to the Merseyside economy. “It is immensely disappointing to witness our colleagues in Liverpool protecting their own interests and lack of vision on this development,” he said. “If the plans are approved on Monday, this will be the biggest redevelopment ever undertaken in Knowsley, and it offers significant regeneration and economic benefits for Kirkby, the borough of Knowsley and the wider Merseyside area. It is unbelievable that Liverpool should object to something that could generate income for the city, particular as our leader, Cllr Ron Round, has been working tremendously hard with all the Mersey authorities to bring about the regeneration of the whole city region.” Liverpool’s planning committee had been advised by officials to raise concerns about the Kirkby scheme, but had not been told to officially object. Councillors were told retail experts Cushman and Wakefield had analysed the plans and highlighted a number of issues. Cushman and Wakefield stated the size of the development – about 500,000sq ft – conflicts with planning policies and would reposition Kirkby from 11th in the retail hierarchy of the region to possibly 4th. The firm also said the application ran contrary to town and retail planning policies, and Tesco had not proved the “need” for 50,000 sq m of retail. Liverpool Council had been poised to oppose the plans last month, but a last- ditch effort by Tesco to try to establish a consensus saw the supermarket giant cut the amount of floorspace in the shopping centre by 30%. Yesterday, councillors were also told that Tesco had reduced the size of the retail element by removing the mezzanine floors. But, as the footprint and the height of the buildings had not been reduced, the mezzanine floor space could be reintroduced in future – without the need for further planning permission, if smaller than 200 sq m. Liverpool planning committee chairman Dave Irving said he was concerned about the detrimental effect the size of the retail element would have on shopping centres across Merseyside. He said: “They have tweaked the application to take out the floorspace, which I think is a bit of a con, so they can come back in future and have what they want.” At the meeting, Cllr Anderson hit out at Liverpool council officials for not having recommended the council formally object. “I find it absolutely amazing that we commissioned a report and then basically watered it down – officers in this council actually watered it down.” He said if the scheme in Kirkby went ahead it would have a “detrimental effect” on parts of the city like Fazakerley, Clubmoor, and Norris Green. Cllr Bradley said it was clear that Tesco and Everton FC were not adhering to planning policy. “I strongly request that you add a further paragraph [to the committee’s resolution of the matter] that clearly states we formally object to this application.” He said he thought Tesco had either “misunderstood or maybe misinterpreted” planning policies. Dave Kelly, of Keep Everton in our City (KEIOC), said it would be a “dereliction” of Liverpool council’s duty if it allowed Everton to relocate to Kirkby. The council’s development control manager, Mark Loughran, said: “Knowsley will have to refer it to the government to see if they want to call it in for a public inquiry. Our recommendation will also be sent, and those of other areas like Sefton and St Helens. “It has been known that the Secretary of State has, even in those circumstances, not called a public inquiry, but it hangs on the opposition and how it is conveyed. “I suspect the decision will not be made locally, but will be sent to a government minister in London.” Davidbartlett Keep up to date with the news. Sig
Alcohol name off Everton shirts for children
June 5 2008
By Nick Smith, Liverpool Daily Post
EVERTON will become the first English club to completely strike alcohol sponsorship from their shirts today. The club officially launches its new kit for the 2008-09 season with the logo of Thai beer company Chang removed from all junior replica shirts and items from the training range. “Everton is leading the way by becoming the first English club to remove alcohol branding from all children’s replica sports shirts,” said David Poley, chief executive of the Portman Group, who recommended the action. “No drinks company would deliberately set out to target children, it’s an unwanted side-effect of sports sponsorship. “Hopefully, fans will appreciate why the industry does not want children to be viewed as walking billboards for their drinks.” The Portman Group’s Code of Practice on the Naming, Packaging and Promotion of Alcoholic Drinks was introduced in 1996. The code, which is supported throughout the industry, seeks to ensure that drinks are marketed in a socially responsible way and to an adult audience only. Everton chief executive Keith Wyness said: “As a Premier League football club we are all too aware of our social responsibility, especially towards our younger supporters, and we are only too pleased to adopt this policy for the new season.” Liverpool currently offer buyers of their junior kits a choice of shirts with or without the Carlsberg logo.
Phil Jagielka told he can keep first England cap
June 5 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
PHIL JAGIELKA was today told he won't be stripped of his England cap after fearing his debut game could be struck from the record books. The Everton star spoke of his relief after FIFA confirmed they have agreed the game - put in doubt over the use of seven substitutes by England - can stand, saying : "I would have been gutted."
The Blues defender capped a terrific 12 monthswhen he came on as a second half substitutein Sunday's 3-0 friendly win against Trinidad & Tobago in Port of Spain.
However, it was claimed FIFA were set to declare the game null and void as England head coach Fabio Capello made seven substitutions whereas FIFA rules only allow six. Capello claimed he had been given the green light before the game to make more than six substitutions but a FIFA spokesman initially said: "We did not give special dispensation to make up to seven substitutions atthe Trinidad & Tobago versus England match." Jagielka was one of four changes at half-time along with Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart, Liverpool's Peter Crouch and David Bentley of Blackburn Rovers. They were then followed on by Aston Villa's Ashley Young Arsenal striker Theo Walcott and Blackburn defender Stephen Warnock. After missing out on an appearance against the United States last Wednesday, Jagielka looked assured throughout his 45-minute cameo and told ECHO Sport that it had been a "fantastic experience" and "a greatway to end the season". Today following FIFA's U-turn, Jagielka said: "It has been a bit of a rollercoaster in the last couple of weeks.
"I was buzzing about getting my first cap and playing half the game but it was strange this morning when I woke up and heard on the radio that FIFA weren't happy.
"I would have been gutted if the game had been wiped out of the record books and I had been denied my first international cap." He added: ""It was great to be involved and I want more of it. I would love to go on and get a full international cap.
"I haven't actually received my cap yet - but I have one from last year when I played in the 'B' international and a couple of Under-21 caps aswell, so I am really excited about adding a senior cap to the collection. The trip was a great experience and although itwas a long time away at the end of a long season it was well worth it.
"I was a bit nervous to begin with, but there were quite a few players in the same boat which made it easier." An FA spokesman said: "The opportunity to use seven substitutes was cleared in advance by FIFA, Trinidad & Tobago representative Jack Warner, the FIFA delegate for the game and the referee. There is no way we would have gone aheadwithout the approval." The Blues, meanwhile, are quietly confident that the offer of regular first team football will see them pip Manchester United in the race to sign Cardiff City youngster Ramsey. Like the Premier League champions, Everton have had a £5m bid accepted for Ramsey and he will meet David Moyes in the next 48 hours after he has been to Old Trafford. The 17-year-old is then expected to make his decision over the weekend.
Everton take alcohol advertising off junior kit
June 5 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON today officially unveiled their new kits for next season - and became the first English club to strike alcohol sponsorship from their shirts. Sticking with tradition, the home shirt will be classic Royal Blue with the motto ‘a grand old team’ embroidered into the sleeves but the logo of Thai beer company Chang will be removed from all junior replica shirts and training items. The decision was taken following a recommendation from the Portman Group, which is supported by the UK’s leading drinks producers and is concerned solely with the social responsibility regarding alcohol. David Poley, Portman Group chief executive, said: “Everton is leading the way by becoming the first English club to remove alcohol branding from all children's replica sports shirts.Š “No drinks company would deliberately set out to target children, it’s an unwanted side-effect ofŠ sports sponsorship.ŠHopefully, fans will appreciate why the industry does not want children toŠbe viewed as walking billboards for their drinks.” Everton chief executive Keith Wyness explained the club’s stance and said: “As a Premier League football club we are all too aware of our social responsibility, especially towards our younger supporters, and we are only too pleased to adopt this policy for the new season.” Thapana Sirivadhanabhakdi, president of Thai Beverage Public Company Limited, brewer of Chang Beer, said: “We recognise that underage drinking is an issue in the UK and as a company we are firmly committed to taking an active and responsible role in society.”
While there are only subtle changes to the kit Everton wore at home last season, the new away strip is quite different with a white shirt lifted by thick green and black hoops and they have both been given the thumbs up by the men who will be wearing it. “We all like to look the part on the pitch in terms of the kit and the boots we wear,” said captain Phil Neville. “This kit is really nice and I am sure the fans will enjoy wearing it. Our fans are great in terms of the numbers of them who wear the shirt.
“It looks great on a matchday. It would be nice to have a lot of success in this kit. Our aim is to do well and it would be great to enjoy wearing this kit up and down the country and in Europe for this great club next season.” Pre-orders can be taken for the new home kit from 9am on Friday, June 6 online on evertonfc.com and in person at the Everton Megastore at Goodison Park. The kit will be available to purchase from July 10 – but all pre-orders will be delivered for July 9.
Your essential guide to Euro 2008 in Austria and Switzerland
June 6 2008 By James Pearce, Liverpool Echo
THE 13th European Championships proved unlucky for England.
Home hopes of qualification were washed away during that embarrassing night at Wembley last November as hapless boss Steve McClaren watched on from under his infamous brolly. But while England's under-achievers top up their tans this summer, there is plenty to keep fans entertained over the next three weeks as Europe's finest battle it out in 31 matches. Germany are the bookies' favourites and they should cruise through a group including Austria, Croatia and Poland. Liverpool's Spanish legion will be hoping to end the nation's tale of woe in major tournaments and secure a first piece of silverware since 1964. France, Italy and Holland all meet in mouthwatering contests early on in the 'Group of Death', while Portugal will look to Cristiano Ronaldo to inspire them to glory. The action gets underway tomorrow when Switzerland take on Czech Republic and Portugal face Turkey.
And for those patriots clutching at straws, Turkey's Colin Kazim-Richards was born in London and Italy's Simone Perrotta is from Ashton-under-Lyne. English referee Howard Webb will also be flying the flag.
All matches are live on either BBC or ITV, kicking off at 5pm or 7.45pm.
THE Euro 96 finalists qualified in style, securing top spot in their group courtesy of a 3-0 win over the Germans in Munich. But their preparations have been hit by the withdrawal of skipper Tomas Rosicky who will miss the tournament with a knee injury. With Chelsea's Petr Cech as the last line of defence the Czechs will be tough to beat but much will defend on the form of strikers Jan Koller and Milan Baros.
Manager Karel Bruckner, who has been in charge since 2001, has announced he will stand down after the tournament. They should progress from their group but there is unlikely to be a dream farewell for 68-year-old Bruckner.
ONE TO WATCH: Marek Jankulovski. The Milan left-back loves to get forward and was recently named Czech player of the year.
UNDER manager Luiz Felipe Scolari, they reached the semi-finals of the 2006 World Cup and were beaten in the final of Euro 2004 on home territory by Greece.
However, there are major question marks over whether they can go a step further and win a major tournament for the first time. The Portuguese were erratic during qualifying and only sealed their passage with a nervy 0-0 draw at home to Finland in their last game. They have hit by the retirement of Luis Figo, Costinha and Pauleta but Ricardo Carvalho will ensure they are solid at the back and with Nani, Ricardo Quaresma and Simao bombing forward they promise to be a handful for any defence.
ONE TO WATCH: Cristiano Ronaldo. Enjoyed an extraordinary season for Manchester United and now has the hopes of a nation resting on his shoulders. Potential star of the tournament.
THE co-hosts can bank on the support of vociferous home crowds but it's hard to see them making a big impression. Four years ago they only picked up one point from their three games and are still searching for a first finals win. Injuries have disrupted manager Jakob Kuhn's preparations and his defence-minded side are short of goals.
Arsenal defender Philippe Senderos has suffered an alarming dip of form and Kuhn will be desperately hoping that striker Alexander Frei can put his injury problems behind him. The Borussia Dortmund forward was the top goalscorer in France in the 2004/05 season while at Rennes.
ONE TO WATCH: Alexander Frei. The skipper is Switzerland's all-time leading scorer with 35 goals in 59 appearances.
BOSS Fatih Terim caused a shock when he left Turkey legend Hakan Sukur out of his squad. As a result much of the goal scoring responsibility will fall on Villarreal's Nihat Kahveci. Midfielder Emre, who is expected to move from Newcastle to Fenerbache this summer, will carry the burden of captaincy. They lack the experience of the Turkish sides which reached the quarter-finals in 2000 and finished third at the 2002 World Cup and could struggle to get out of their group. ONE TO WATCH: Hamit Altintop. The 25-year-old midfielder is blessed with blistering pace and an eye for goal. He enjoyed a fine debut season for Bayern Munich before a broken metatarsal ended his campaign in March.
ALL is not well in the co-hosts' camp. Coach Josef Hickersberger launched an attack on his players this week, insisting they have shown poor discipline and a lack of focus in the build-up to the tournament. The Austrians are ranked 92nd in the world and have never qualified for the European Championships. They better enjoy the experience because the chances are their involvement will be brief.
In 11 friendlies last season they managed just two wins - against the Ivory Coast and Malta. They even managed to lose to England and performances were so bad 11,000 fans signed a petition urging them to withdraw from Euro 2008 to avoid humiliation.
There is no room in the squad for Wigan's Paul Scharner, who labelled the Austria FA "a shambles", but Middlesbrough's Emanuel Pogatetz will be a key man at the back.
ONE TO WATCH: Andreas Ivanschitz. The Panathinaikos midfielder is known as the 'Austrian Beckham'.
WITH former Everton defender Slaven Bilic at the helm, Croatia can bank on plenty of support from the neutrals. They embarrassed England home and away in qualifying and topped the group, finishing five points ahead of second-placed Russia.
The side is built around captain and 36-year-old midfield lynchpin Nico Kovac. They boast real quality across the pitch but the euphoria in Croatia was dampened by the severely broken leg suffered by Arsenal striker Eduardo in February.
Eduardo scored 10 of their 28 goals in qualifying and has left a big gap to fill. Bilic will be hoping Borussia Dortmund's Mladen Petric can shoulder the goals burden.
ONE TO WATCH: Luka Modric. Spurs have just paid £15.8m for the services of the talented 22-year-old. He terrorised England in qualifying and will get a free role to express himself in midfield.
THE Germans are the bookies' favourites to win the European crown for the fourth time. Coach Joachim Low was assistant to Jurgen Klinsmann at the 2006 World Cup and he has blossomed in the top job. They qualified with three games to spare and Low has maintained the attacking strategy which saw the Germans entertain on their way to finishing third at the World Cup. The team will be led by skipper Michael Ballack who came into form for Chelsea towards the end of the Premier League campaign. Alongside him will be tough-tackling midfielder Torsten Frings, while there is also top quality in the form of Christoph Metzelder and Bernd Schneider.
ONE TO WATCH: Miroslav Klose. The Bayern Munich striker won the Golden Boot at the 2006 World Cup and is the man for the big occasion. Has scored 39 goals from 74 caps.
HAVING won a qualifying group which included Portugal, Serbia, Finland and Belgium, the Poles should not be taken lightly in their first European Championships appearance. Wily Dutch coach Leo Beenhakker, who was boss of Trinidad & Tobago at the last World Cup finals, boasts over 35 years of management experience.
There are no star names, but in Celtic's Artur Boruc they have a decent goalkeeper and former Hoops striker Maciej Zurawski will play just behind main frontman Ebi Smolarek. Left sided midfielder Jacek Krzynowek, who plays for Wolfsburg, will pose a big threat from set-pieces.
ONE TO WATCH: Ebi Smolarek. The Racing Santander striker is a national hero, having scored nine goals in qualifying, and the Poles are relying on him to shine again at the finals.
HAVING been beaten home and away by Scotland in qualifying, the French can consider themselves fortunate to have even made the finals.
There will need to be a drastic improvement if Raymond Domenech's men are to challenge for a third European title.
However, they still boast an array of world class talent with David Trezequet, Gael Clichy and Djibril Cisse unable to even command a place in the squad.
Captain Patrick Vieira is ruled out of the opener against Romania with a thigh problem, but Claude Makelele will provide a solid shield in front of the back four. Barcelona striker Thierry Henry will lead the line, with Lyon's Karim Benzema or Nicolas Anelka set to partner him.
ONE TO WATCH: Franck Ribery. Bayern Munich paid £21million for his services last summer. The midfielder boasts electric pace and the ability to go past defenders.
WITH opening games against Italy and France, the Dutch will have to hit the ground running if they are to challenge for glory.
Coach Marco van Basten has been criticised for his defensive tactics and they were unconvincing during qualifying. They finished three points behind Romania and although they conceded just five goals in 12 matches, they only netted 15 times, including a 1-0 win over Luxembourg.
The usual bout of in-fighting has left them without Clarence Seedorf and Mark van Bommell, while Liverpool's Ryan Babel is injured.
However, the Reds' Dirk Kuyt will feature and they boast a number of potential match-winners with the likes of Rafael van der Vaart, Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben.
ONE TO WATCH: Ruud van Nistelrooy. The Real Madrid striker has come out of international retirement after making up with Van Basten and is still a big threat.
THE Italians suffered a World Cup hangover, taking just one point from their opening two qualifiers, but bounced back to win nine of their remaining 10 games and top their group.
Former midfielder Roberto Donadoni was a surprise choice to replace Marcello Lippi as coach in 2006 but the gamble appears to have paid off.
Alessandro Nesta and Francesco Totti have retired but confidence is high and Donadoni has his side playing neat, attractive football.
Much will depend on how the Italians handle the recent loss of inspirational skipper Fabio Cannavaro, who damaged ankle ligaments. Keeper Gianluigi Buffon is likely to take over the armband, and with the likes of Gennaro Gattuso and Andrea Pirlo in front of him he will fancy his chances of glory.
ONE TO WATCH: Luca Toni. The frontman has flourished since moving to Germany and netted 39 goals in 46 matches for Bayern Munich last season.
THEY are the minnows in the 'Group of Death' and look likely to be outclassed.
The Romanians topped their qualifying group ahead of Holland and qualified with two games to spare, but performing at a major championships is a different matter.
Their only win in the Euro finals came in 2000 when Phil Neville gave away a late penalty to send them into the quarter-finals at England's expense. Coach Victor Piturca used 39 players during qualifying and seems unsure what his best team is. However, in skipper Christian Chivu, they boast one of the world's finest defenders, while there is a blossoming strike partnership between Adrian Mutu and Stuttgart's Ciprian Marica.
ONE TO WATCH: Adrian Mutu. Sacked by Chelsea in 2004 after testing positive for cocaine, the reformed striker has impressed at Fiorentina. Creates as well as scores goals.
GREECE were 100/1 outsiders four years ago and the reigning champions are determined to prove that their triumph in Lisbon was no fluke. They certainly qualified in style, winning their group with 31 points - more than any other team.
Manager Otto Rehhagel, affectionately known as 'King Otto', has been in charge since 2001 and is the longest serving Greece coach in history. Rehhagel is able to get the best out of limited players and he believes he has a stronger squad to 2004 at his disposal. Captain Angelos Basinas was a key part of the winning line-up four years ago and the Real Mallorca midfielder has matured with the responsibility of the armband.
ONE TO WATCH: Theofanis Gekas. Endured a frustrating season at Bayer Leverkusen but still managed 11 Bundesliga goals.
WITH Liverpool quartet Pepe Reina, Alvaro Arbeloa, Fernando Torres and Xabi Alonso in their ranks, Spain will get plenty of support on Merseyside.
Coach Luis Aragones arguably boasts the most talented group of players at the tournament but the Spaniards must shake off their tag of perennial under-achievers.
They lost to Northern Ireland in qualifying but roared back to win their group by two points. Goalkeeper Iker Casillas will skipper the side and there is a wealth of quality with the likes of Sergio Ramos, Carles Puyol, Cesc Fabregas, Andres Iniesta, Xavi and David Villa.
ONE TO WATCH: Fernando Torres. The Reds hero enjoyed a stunning first season at Anfield. His predatory finishing could turn the Spaniards from nearly men into winners.
GUUS HIDDINK'S side only qualified courtesy of England's incompetence. They lost in Israel when a win would have wrapped it up, but Croatia's victory at Wembley saved the Russians' blushes. Results may have been erratic but the veteran Dutch coach has been praised for reviving Russian football. Hiddink certainly has the experience, having led Holland and South Korea to the World Cup semi-finals in 1998 and 2002. Much will depend on how they handle the absence of skipper Andrei Arshavin. The midfield magician is suspended for the first two games after being sent off against Andorra.
ONE TO WATCH: Andrei Arshavin. The Everton target inspired Zenit St Petersburg to UEFA Cup glory against Rangers. Comfortable on the ball and given a licence to thrill.
THE return of Henrik Larsson from international retirement has provided a welcome boost to morale but it's difficult to see the Swedes challenging. They struggled to qualify and manager Lars Lagerback saw his side booed off the pitch in Stockholm last weekend after losing their last warm-up game 1-0 to Ukraine. Captain Freddie Ljungberg endured a poor season with West Ham and first choice goalkeeper Andreas Isaksson is undercooked having played just four league games for Manchester City. Former Everton midfielder Tobias Linderoth could find himself busy trying to shield the back four.
ONE TO WATCH: Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The Inter Milan striker is an enigma. Failed to score in qualifying and needs a big tournament to silence the critics.
Spain can fill the gap left by England's summer absence
By Adam Oldfield
WITNESSING England's abject failure in a major tournament is the biennial birthright of any true patriot. To be denied a summer of false hope, shattered dreams and broken metatarsals not only undermines our football heritage, but leaves a vast emotional void. It's with a sense of sadness and apathy then that the Euro 2008 Championships kick off in Switzerland tomorrow afternoon without the painted faces of our boozy, bare-chested English entourage. And that's just the WAGs.
Instead we must adopt a nation which encapsulates the true essence of the English game - one with great expectations but frequently fail to live up to it. Step forward Spain. With Merseyside the inspiration for much of Luis Aragones' squad, the Scouse support lies firmly with La Selección. Highly fancied as 11/2 second favourites and boasting the formidable goalscoring talents of Fernando Torres, it's easy to see why Spain hold so much appeal. Their history in this competition, however, offers a cautionary tale. Not since finishing runners-up to France in 1984, have Spain managed to advance further than the last eight. And that's where you can expect their adventure to end again this time around. Although they have a comparatively easy group (Russia, Sweden and Greece), their qualification to the quarter-finals shall see them take on the winners or runners-up from the Group of Death - a quartet made up of Italy, France, Holland and Romania. And that's the group which will provide the tournament champions (9/4 Ladbrokes). Of those, it is Italy who hold the greatest claim. The reigning world champions and the highest ranked nation going into the tournament may not boast as many star names as they once used to, but you can be sure they will play with the typical stubbornness which has served them so well.
Available at a widespread 7/1, the Azzurri are once again unfancied with the punters, most opting for Spain or tournament favourites Germany (4/1). The latter can certainly advance to the final (7/4 Hills), but it is there where Italy will prosper.
The route to the latter stages should be relatively uncomplicated. In Group A expect Portugal to come out on top ahead of the Czech Republic (4/1 straight forecast), while in Group B, Germany should finish ahead of Croatia (7/4 Betfred).
It gets slighter tougher for the remaining two groups, but take Italy to top C ahead of France (9/2 Boylesports) and Spain to emerge from D ahead of Sweden (5/1 Bet Direct). The permutations should make for a good quarter-final line-up, with Portugal (13/10), Germany (4/7), Italy (6/5) and France (11/8) the picks to form the final four.
And from those, take Germany and Italy to advance to the final (11/1 Bet Direct) with the latter triumphant. While Italy may take the tournament honours, the individual plaudits may not necessarily be reserved for one of their own. In the top goalscorer market, Fernando Torres is the leading fancy at 10/1 (Betfred) alongside Cristiano Ronaldo (Ladbrokes). But look to Germany's strike pairing of Miroslav Klose (11/1 Coral) and Lukas Podolski (25/1 Paddy Power) for the premier picks as they help Joachim Low's side record the most tournament goals (9/4 Coral).
A few names worthy of following for the player of the tournament prize include France's Franck Ribery (22/1), Portugal's Ricardo Quaresma (40/1), Spain's Xavi (33/1) and Germany's Bastian Schweinsteiger (33/1), but head that list with Italy dangerman Andrea Pirlo (33/1).
You Bet Euro 2008 predictions: Winners - Italy; Runners-up - Germany. Top scorer - Miroslav Klose. Player of the Tournament - Andrea Pirlo. Highest scoring team - Germany. Highest scoring Prem League club - Liverpool (15/8 Blue Square).
Everton close in on Tottenham's Tom Huddlestone
June 6 2008
Exclusive by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON are weighing up a move for Tottenham midfielder Tom Huddlestone as David Moyes continues to stick to his principles of buying British. With anchorman Lee Carsley having moved to Birmingham City, Moyes’ top priority this summer is to find someone with the ability to retain possession as well as having presence to fill that void and 6ft 3ins Huddlestone fits the bill. The 21-year-old, who was part of England’s squad for the games against the United States and Trinidad & Tobago, started his career with Derby County and has been at White Hart Lane for three years, making 82 appearances. Born in Nottingham, Huddlestone’s current contract with Tottenham runs until the summer of 2011 but, with Juande Ramos making significant changes, he could be ready to move on and it is understood he would welcome a move north. Huddlestone, who can also fill in as a central defender, caught the eye when Spurs drew 0-0 with the Blues at Goodison in January and his ability to pass the ball well with both feet makes him an attractive target. Middlesbrough are also monitoring Huddlestone’s situation but, being able to offer European football, if Everton do decide to press on and make their initial interest concrete they would be confident of landing him. He would cost in the region of £6m. A move to Goodison would also reunite Huddlestone with Joleon Lescott, after he spent three months on loan at Wolves in the 2005/06 season. Given he is also pursuing Cardiff City’s Aaron Ramsey, it is clear Moyes – who promised at the end of the season to “ do his utmost” to improve the quality of his squad – is determined to bring in as much young, British talent as he can. In recent years he has snapped up Lescott, Andrew Johnson, Phil Jagielka and Leighton Baines to name but a few. Moyes’ first priority this weekend, however, is trying to persuade Ramsey to ignore an offer from Manchester United and instead join his Goodison Park revolution. Though United remain favourites to land the 17-year-old, Everton still have a strong chance and the prospect of offering him immediate first team football could be decisive.
David Moyes hoping to add European flavour to Everton after Euro 2008
June 7 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES will head out to the European Championships this week to see if he can add another star piece to Everton’s jigsaw. The Blues boss has held talks with Cardiff City midfielder Aaron Ramsey over a £5m move to Goodison Park and is also tracking Tottenham Hotspur’s Tom Huddlestone. But while he is committed to buying British talent, Moyes hopes that something may crop up during this month’s tournament that will add quality to Everton’s squad. That is why he is going to take a Busman’s holiday in Switzerland and Austria during the next couple of weeks and has his eyes on a couple of targets. “You do bump into one or two managers,” said Moyes. “A lot of them will be on holiday and that’s where they should be! I will be on holiday but I will probably try to take in one or two games and check out two or three players.” Without any representation from the British Isles, some may feel the gloss has been taken off Euro 2008 and Moyes is inclined to agree with that view.
However, he still feels it will be a tremendous spectacle and feels Portugal will go close making amends for their near miss as hosts four years ago when they were beaten 1-0 in the final by Greece. “I think it would have been more interesting if Scotland or even England had been in it, but nevertheless I am looking forward to it. You always look forward to the big tournaments,” he said. “I think the big boys, the likes of France, Italy and Germany, will all be very close. I have got a wee sneak that Portugal may do well. Last time Greece were the side who surprised everybody, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see Romania or Russia do quite well.”
Everton target Aaron Ramsey has a special talent says Kevin Ratcliffe
June 7 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
CHASETOWN’S humble Scholars Ground home is not a place you would expect to see a gem emerge but, as Kevin Ratcliffe knows only too well, in football it pays to expect the unexpected. When Everton’s former captain settled down to watch Cardiff City’s FA Cup third round clash with a side from the Southern League Division One, he wanted to check on a young man by the name of Aaron Ramsey. While Ratcliffe was aware that Ramsey’s progress had sparked ripples of excitement in South Wales, he was determined to see whether the initial impression he had formed of him was true and, within minutes, it soon became crystal clear it was. Playing with a maturity that belied his tender years, Ramsey was the game’s top performer and capped a terrific display with the second goal as Cardiff took a step towards Wembley with a 3-1 win. No one will be surprised to learn, then, that Everton’s £5m pursuit of Ramsey has been greeted with huge acclaim in the Ratcliffe household and he, like David Moyes, is hoping for some good news this weekend. “I started hearing about him 18 months ago,” Ratcliffe recalled. “Everyone was raving about a young lad called Joe Allen at Swansea but then I was told to go and watch Aaron. “I was told he was even better and the first time that I saw him it was clear to see he was something a bit special. He just came alight straight away. He is one of those players that you just want to go and watch. “He has definitely got something about him. I remember Cardiff playing Chasetown in the FA Cup. OK, you may say ‘well it’s only Chasetown’ but he’s 16 years-old and ran the game. He stood out by a mile.
“He’d pick up possession and his first touch would take him away from danger and in to the clear. He was a joy to watch, really, and it goes without saying that I’d love to see him play for Everton.” Only time will tell if that is going to be the case – Manchester United and Arsenal, after all, are the other sides competing for his signature - but there is a quiet confidence that Everton can win the race. Given he has only made 22 appearances for Cardiff, Ramsey maybe something of an unknown in this area but Ratcliffe has seen enough of him to know that whoever adds him to their squad is getting a player of untapped potential. “He is going to be a central midfielder in time,” Ratcliffe, who also played at Ninian Park during his career, said. “But Cardiff City have played him wide right, on the left and he’s even been used as a right-back, too. “Hand on heart, if I had to describe him, I’d say he was an Arsenal player. By that I mean he is just so comfortable on the ball, he’s cool under pressure and when he gets closed down, he always knows what he wants to do next. He’s got terrific potential. “A lot can happen. He’s only 17 now and by the time he gets to 22, who is to say what level he will be playing at? The signs, though, are very encouraging. Paying £5m might seem a gamble but, in my mind, he is going to be a player.” It says everything that John Toshack promoted him from Wales’ under-21 ranks to the full squad for last week’s friendlies against Holland and Iceland but, while he promises much, Ratcliffe stresses that this rough diamond still has edges waiting to be polished. “To be honest, I’m surprised he didn’t play,” said Ratcliffe, who was capped by Wales on 59 occasions. “It would have been an ideal time to try him. Some people can rise to that, others can’t. “I don’t see any reason why he won’t develop but there is always that chance. The best example I can use is Simon Davies. He was absolutely fantastic when he was 19 and 20 but stayed at the same level and was overtaken. “Aaron has got great talent but that doesn’t mean it won’t be tough for him if he comes to Goodison. The fans here have got great expectations and put pressure on players but that is only because they are very knowledgeable.
“Some people don’t appreciate the size of the club they are coming to. Look at James Beattie. The pressure is one thing that every new player that Everton buy has to deal with. It would be a good test for the young man.” If Moyes does win the race, it would be Everton’s first signing since they booked their return to Europe but Ratcliffe is hoping that it will be followed by many more – including one stand out talent.
“Last season nearly finished a bit disappointingly and everyone was on a massive downer after Fiorentina but thankfully we got the place in Europe we deserved,” said Ratcliffe. “The big thing I want to see now is David Moyes get backing. He has built something here and we need to add to it. I’d love to see him being given money to get a really special player. There’s only so many times he can keep weaving magic on £2m buys.”
KEVIN RATCLIFFE FACTFILE
Everton appearances: 494
Everton goals: 2
Signed: From apprentice in 1977. Left in 1991.
Honours: 2 League Championships, 1 FA Cup, 1 European Cup Winners Cup
Wales caps: 59
Other clubs played for: Cardiff City, Dundee, Nottingham Forest, Derby County, Chester City.
After football: Managed Chester City and Shrewsbury Town. Now works as a pundit.
Other notable achievements: The most successful skipper in Everton’s history, took the armband when he was just 23.
David Moyes' most vital recruit for Everton is a new deputy
June 7 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
SOME will say a midfielder, others might hanker for a flying winger but the key signing that David Moyes makes this summer won’t grace Goodison Park’s hallowed turf. Having been without an assistant since last November, the wheels are now firmly in motion for Moyes to recruit his next right hand man and there is little doubt that it will be a significant appointment. While there is no disputing that Andy Holden, Chris Woods and Jimmy Lumsden have done a magnificent job in assisting Moyes following Alan Irvine’s move to Preston North End, another couple of bodies are needed to bump up the coaching staff. Faces may be scrunched up in bemusement in certain quarters as to why such a big deal is being made about the subject but, when you consider the sheer volume of work that a Premier League manager undertakes, the importance cannot be stressed enough. Irvine’s departure not only increased the burden on Moyes’ shoulders, he also lost the man to whom he would turn in darker moments and use as a sounding board, the man who could go out and face the media whenever other tasks needed to be done. Moyes might be heading into his seventh full season as Everton manager but, in some aspects, he is still learning and maturing and that is why he is looking to find an individual to whom he can delegate certain responsibilities. “I’m better than I used to be but I still beat myself up after disappointing results,” Moyes said towards the end of last season. “I was like that after we were knocked out of the Carling Cup by Chelsea, even though I can see now we just lost to a stronger team. “I have to accept that. I was disappointing to see Alan go. He was a good man as well as a good assistant manager. I will make an appointment in the summer and maybe it will be more than one.” Heading the list of candidates to take over from Irvine are two Steves, namely Chelsea’s Clarke and Round of Newcastle United and there is little doubt that both men’s credentials stand up to the closest scrutiny. Clarke is very much in Moyes’ mould, a no-nonsense Scot who thrives on hard work and is only concerned about getting the best results for his team. He is adored by Chelsea’s players and it would be a coup to lure him away from Stamford Bridge. That, though, is easier said than done. Despite their own backroom upheaval, Chelsea’s hierarchy are keen to find a position for Clarke at Stamford Bridge when the new manager comes in to reward both his efforts and loyalty.
Having moved to Chelsea first as a player in 1987, bar a 12 month spell when he went to Newcastle United as Ruud Gullit’s assistant, Clarke has been there ever since but remains very much in Moyes’ thoughts. So, too, is Round. A player well known to some of Everton’s first squad – he worked with Ayegbeni Yakubu at Middlesbrough and Phil Neville and Joleon Lescott with England – he has a reputation within in the game for being an innovative thinker. He has been at Newcastle for the past 12 months but has found his role diluted since Kevin Keegan returned and Round was restricted to handing out water bottles when they came to Goodison on the final day of the season. If that is to continue, he will not stick around at St James’ Park for much longer and a move to Merseyside could be just what the doctor ordered. He is very much in Moyes’ thoughts and it would be no surprise to see them standing side by side for the first game. That said, it must be stressed Moyes will not be making an appointment until he has dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s on the new contract which has been waiting for him to sign for months, though no problems are envisaged.
Once that is done, Moyes will then push through the appointment of his new assistant and if there is going to be a second post filled, do not rule out an old favourite returning to Goodison. David Weir, anyone?
Everton could be on the way to Chile to play.. Everton
June 7 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
A PRE-SEASON tour of the United States beckons but could Everton be heading for a mid-winter trip to Chile to play… Everton? Newly-crowned Chilean league champions Everton want to invite the Blues over to play a match to celebrate their 100th anniversary. President Antonio Bloise confirmed the club will start negotiations and said: “We want them to come this summer. We’ll try to set as many negotiations as possible.”
Boss set to steer clear of race for Euro stars
WITH the European Championships starting today, eyes will be peeled on every game to see if any potential Everton players emerge. The problem with buying players after major tournaments, however, is that they often trade at over-inflated prices and there is no guarantee that top class foreign players will become instant Premier League hits.
There have been countless examples down the years of superstars who have looked world beaters on home soil only to flounder in the game that is played on these shores, so is it any wonder that David Moyes wants to but British? His pursuit of Aaron Ramsey and Tom Huddlestone provides further evidence of Moyes’ transfer ideology – young, British players whose best years are ahead of them and who will only appreciate in value. Moyes has done it countless times before - Andrew Johnson, Joleon Lescott, Phil Jagielka and Leighton Baines are examples in the last two years - and there is absolutely nothing wrong in sticking to what you know. Sure, there is a certain amount of mystique attached to players who arrive with big transfer tags and exotic names yet only a handful thrive when the chips are down and it is raining on a miserable February night away from home. Ramsey and Huddlestone would be outstanding acquisitions to Everton’s squad and if there are any more British- based players who Moyes likes, expect him to eschew the bun fight that will develop after the jamboree in Austria and Switzerland. “The players that we brought in to keep us out of the bottom six have gone on to prove that they can all be part of the top six,” Moyes explained. “I am very keen to keep bringing in British boys.”
Marathon man Tim Howard shuts out Argentina in United States draw
June 9 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
TIM HOWARD is hoping to end his marathon season on a high by helping the United States take a step nearer to the 2010 World Cup finals. Everton’s keeper was in top form for his country last night as the US drew 0-0 with Argentina in New York, making a string of top class saves. But even though the domestic campaign ended five weeks ago, Howard still has another two matches to play before he can start to think about having a rest. The US play Barbados in a World Cup qualifier in Los Angeles next Sunday before the return game takes place on June 28 - five days before Everton return to pre-season training. Howard, though, insists fatigue is not a problem and he just wants to build on his efforts against Argentina before signing off. “You know with Argentina that they’re going to have their chances, no matter how well you play defensively,” said Howard. “Those chances seemed to come tonight as one-on-ones and, for me, that’s one of my stronger points. “Once I made the first save I felt comfortable and they kept coming but our team got better as the game went on.
“I thought the performance was very good. If you look over the last three games, we’ve got better and better. We played to a high level. If we can do that against Barbados, I’m quite confident we’ll get the job done. “We made ourselves accountable, we didn’t back down and we stuck our foot in every challenge.”
Howard has barely put a glove out of place since he arrived at Goodison Park two years ago and his form has left Everton’s greatest keeper nodding his head in approval. “I think Tim has done exceptionally well. He can be even better than he is now,” said Neville Southall. “I think he can calm down just a touch and not play at 100mph. Also, he could vary his distribution just a touch. “If he can improve that, he will be even better than he is. I think he has done exceptionally well for Everton and I can’t see them conceding many goals when he is in the team.” Tim Cahill, meanwhile, expects to be ready for pre-season after reporting that his rehabilitation from a broken metatarsal is going smoothly. “I don’t think I’ll be running until July,” said Cahill. “I’m just working on my cardiovascular in the gym every day and having physio every day. “I’ll be back fit and I'll be buzzing next season and I know I'll come back stronger. Everything is on top, my weight is fine, everything is going well
Council gives green light to Everton's Kirkby ground move
Jun 9 2008 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON FC’S controversial move to Kirkby was today approved by councillors.
Knowsley Council’s planning committee voted 20-1 in favour of the £400m scheme which include a Tesco superstore and other high street shops. They heard a range of objections from residents and businesses including fears of increased traffic, anti-social behaviour and job losses. But they were convinced by Tesco’s claims that the scheme would transform Kirkby’s image and bring thousands of new jobs to the town.
The council’s decision will now be sent to the government which must decide whether to hold a public inquiry.
Planners to meet on Everton FC Kirkby stadium dream
Jun 9 2008 Liverpool Echo
THE £400m plans to build a new Everton stadium and shopping complex in Kirkby were being considered by councillors today. Everton Football Club and supermarket giant Tesco’s proposed scheme includes a 50,000-seat stadium, a Tesco store and 50 other shops. Knowsley planning officers are urging decision makers to consider the plans outside of the normal development plan process. They say it is the first time in a generation there has been a credible developer for the town, and it is an opportunity for to achieve a “step change” for the area. They have recommended councillors vote in favour of the plans. However, the plans have proven controversial, and a group of enraged local residents formed a single-issue party in May’s local elections on the promise they would try to block the plans. Some Blues fans have campaigned to keep it in Everton, while small businesses in Kirkby have also objected.
The planning committee was meeting at the Huyton Suite, Poplar Bank, Huyton.
Everton miss out in race for teen star Aaron Ramsey
June 10 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON received the news they had been dreading when Aaron Ramsey revealed he will be moving to Arsenal. The Blues, like Arsenal and Manchester United, had a £5m bid for the 17-year-old accepted by Cardiff City and David Moyes cancelled a holiday to hold talks with Ramsey late last week. However, Arsene Wenger flew Ramsey and his family out to Switzerland by private jet to wine and dine them on Saturday and his sweet talking has won the day. It is a blow for Moyes, who had quietly been confident the offer of first team football at Goodison Park would have convinced Ramsey to swop South Wales for Merseyside. Moyes is currently at Euro 2008 on a scouting mission and he is expected to check on Portugal’s pint-sized midfielder Joao Moutinho tomorrow. The Sporting Lisbon star caught the eye in his country’s 2-0 win over Turkey at the weekend and will once again have a key role to play against the Czech Republic in Geneva. Moutinho, who is only 21 but already captain of Sporting, has been capped 13 times by Portugal and is understood to favour a move to the Premier League. Everton, meanwhile, face a fight to offload Andy van der Meyde even though he has been the subject of interest from Red Bull Salzburg.
The Austrian side are coached by van der Meyde’s former mentor at Ajax, Co Adriaanse, but even that is unlikely to convince the former Holland winger to leave Goodison. Adriaanse wanted to take van der Meyde to FC Porto when he was coach there a couple of years ago but the 28-year-old refused to budge. Everton have tried on a numerous occasions to part company with the man they signed from Inter Milan in August 2005 but failed every time. He has endured a catalogue of misfortune in these parts – both on a personal and profession level – and has only made 21 appearances for Everton – the last was a seven minute run out against Manchester United on April 28, 2007. With a year left on his contract, it is highly likely that van der Meyde will again sit tight as he does not want to uproot his baby daughter, Dolce. She was born with a serious bowel condition and requires constant hospital attention and van der Meyde is loathe to jeopardise her wellbeing. l Everton’s final pre-season match will see Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven arrive at Goodison Park on August 9. It will be the only time Moyes’ side play at home before the new campaign.
Everton FC Kirkby stadium plan approved
June 10 2008
By Liza Williams, Liverpool Daily Post
EVERTON FC’s plan to move to Kirkby was given planning permission yesterday, after a hearing that councillors said would be “the most significant of their political careers”. The £400m scheme, which includes a Tesco superstore and 50 shops set over 50,000 sq m of floors, was approved by Knowsley council’s planning committee, which heard from 10 objectors and six supporters of the scheme. “Destination Kirkby” includes a new 50,000-seater stadium for Everton, a hotel, offices, and more than 3,500 car parking spaces. The proposal will now be sent to the Government Office North West, where a decision will be made whether to recommend Secretary of State for Communities Hazel Blears to call a public inquiry into the matter. That is expected within three weeks. Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens and West Lancashire councils have opposed the plan because it breaches town centre and retail planning policies, decisions heavily criticised by Knowsley councillors at yesterday’s meeting.
The proposal was passed by a 20-to-1 vote, with only Lib-Dem Cllr Fred Fricker, who could not accept the scheme, because of the points raised by objectors.
Everton's Kirkby stadium: All eyes now on public inquiry calls
June 10 2008
By Nick Coligan, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON FC today urged the government to let the club complete its controversial move to Kirkby. The Blues cleared their penultimate hurdle yesterday when Knowsley council’s planning committee backed the £400m plan, which includes a Tesco superstore and other high street shops. Despite objectors’ arguments against the scheme, councillors said its regeneration benefits were too strong to ignore ,and voted 20-1 in favour. (The one against was Lib Dem Cllr Fred Fricker.) The planning committee’s verdict will be sent to the Government Office of the North West (GONW), which will decide, probably within 21 days, if a public inquiry should be held. Councillors were told the entire scheme could collapse if that happens because it would add millions of pounds to the cost, which Everton FC cannot afford.
Knowsley council leader Ron Round also called on the government to “trust” the right decision was made yesterday. But the scheme’s opponents said they were looking forward to a public inquiry, claiming there was overwhelming evidence it was required. After the meeting in Huyton, Everton chief executive Keith Wyness said: “The council’s decision was one major step in the process, but there is still one hurdle to go. “The financial future of this project and this club depend on it. “The project is balanced very finely at the tipping point. A long delay would lead to cost inflation and stop it from proceeding. “I have been working in Westminster. All we can carry on doing is explain the situation clearly, so they have the best information possible.
“We are involved in the world of politics, so anything can happen.”
'Mentor' eyes Andy van der Meyde for Red Bull Salzburg
June 10 2008
By Nick Smith, Liverpool Daily Post
ANDY VAN DER MEYDE'S footballing mentor could be the man who finally lures him away from Everton this summer. Co Adriaanse, coach of Austrian side Red Bull Salzburg, is ready to persuade the Dutchman to revive his career with another spell under his tutelage. Adriaanse was in charge of the Ajax youth set-up that van der Meyde graduated from and he also made him a first-team regular when he became manager of the Amsterdam club in 2000. The coach has taken over from new Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni this summer, and is considering incorporating the winger’s rehabilitation into his squad rebuilding. Van der Meyde’s career had faltered badly since he joined Everton from Inter Milan in 2005 for £2million, so much so that the Goodison Park club are willing to let him go without recouping any of that fee.
He has made only 21 appearances in three years and didn’t play at all last season as he struggled badly for fitness and a suffered a series of unfortunate off-field events.
The fact that his young daughter Dolce requires constant hospital attention for a serious bowel condition has led to him snubbing offers to move away from Merseyside. But van der Meyde will be tempted to make a fresh start with Adriaanse, who was so influential in moulding the early potential that led to his move to Inter. The player is still only 28 and has one year left to run on his Everton contract.
Blow for Everton FC as Bellefield housing plans rejected
June 11 2008
By Ben Scholfield, Liverpool Daily Post
EVERTON Football Club’s plan to redevelop a former training ground was thrown out by Liverpool councillors yesterday. The scheme would have seen 74 large family homes built on the club’s former base at Bellefield, West Derby. The profits from the scheme were due to go towards the £400m plans to build a new stadium in Kirkby town centre. Those plans were given the go-ahead on Monday by Knowsley’s planners but it is not thought they are now in jeopardy. Liverpool’s councillors were warned their decision could mean the application is taken to a planning inquiry that would cost the authority thousands of pounds. The club are expected to lodge a formal appeal against the decision. The planning committee said it objected to the plans because they would lead to increased traffic movement and the development would be contrary to the council’s housing policies.
Everton fury at city council veto on Bellefield development
June 11 2008
By Ben Turner, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON FC today claimed Liverpool council’s rejection of plans for their former training ground was “politically motivated”. The Blues were hoping to cover 10% of the cost of their proposed new stadium in Kirkby by building 74 luxury homes on the old Bellefield base, in West Derby. But Liverpool council rejected the scheme yesterday, despite being told by experts there was “no evidence” to back up residents’ fears about increased traffic. It came a day after Knowsley council backed plans for the club to move to Kirkby, which politicians in Liverpool are keen to stop.
Everton today attacked the decision and are now expected to appeal, raising the prospect of a lengthy and costly public inquiry. Ian Ross, Everton’s head of PR and external affairs, said: “We are bitterly disappointed at this outcome, which came despite the fact experts told the council to give it the green light. “We believe this was politically motivated and it was an outrageous decision.”
Manchester City star Michael Johnson tempts Everton
June 11 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON are ready to widen their search for a new central midfielder by keeping tabs on Manchester City's Michael Johnson. With anchorman Lee Carsley having left to join Birmingham, David Moyes’ top priority this summer is finding someone to fill the void. England international Tom Huddlestone is high on the manager’s wish list but, with Tottenham notoriously difficult to deal with, Moyes will not place all his eggs in one basket. That is why he is monitoring Johnson’s situation and he will be aware that new City boss Mark Hughes needs to sell before he can start rebuilding.
Johnson, who would cost in the region of £8m, is a player who Moyes knows already, given that the 20-year-old spent time at Everton’s Academy as a junior.
He played in the same youth teams as Victor Anichebe and James Vaughan before joining City, for whom he has made 33 appearances since making his Premier League debut at Wigan in October 2006. City would be reluctant to lose Johnson, particularly as their midfield options are stretched, but a parting of the ways could soon be on the cards, even though he only signed a new four-year contract last August.
Johnson, an England under-21 international, is understood to be disgruntled that he is not on financial parity with some of City’s other young stars and his advisors believe he will be better rewarded elsewhere. The Blues’ boss is currently at Euro 2008 on a scouting mission and is expected to check on Portugal’s Joao Moutinho when they face the Czech Republic in Geneva this evening. Yet he is not in any rush to start spending just yet and it is likely that it will be the end of the month, after he has weighed up all his options, before serious plans are put into action. Moyes, of course, still has to put pen-to-paper on the new deal that is waiting for him to sign, as well as recruiting an assistant. Joseph Yobo, meanwhile, has shrugged off his weekend goalscoring heroics and set his sights on wrapping up his campaign with a win against Equatorial Guinea that will put Nigeria within touching distance of the 2010 World Cup. Everton’s vice-captain scored the Super Eagles winner against Sierra Leone with just a minute remaining to leave them in control of African Qualifying Group 4 but said: “No, I don’t really think it’s a big deal being the scorer. “Football is a team game and when we win, the whole team shares the joy. The same thing happens when it’s the other way round. That’s the game.”
Yossi Benayoun to Everton rumours rubbished
June 12 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON today described reports that they are preparing a £3.5m bid for Yossi Benayoun as “fantasy”. Speculation in some quarters suggested that David Moyes had identified the Liverpool midfielder to fill a slot in his engine room. However, Everton officials were incredulous when Benayoun’s name was mentioned this morning and stressed that nothing could be further from the truth. Tottenham’s Tom Huddlestone and Michael Johnson of Manchester City remain Moyes’ top targets, as he seeks to find a replacement for Lee Carsley. Sporting Lis-bon’s Joao Moutinho is also high on Moyes’ wish list and, according to reports in Portugal, the pocket dynamo could end up at Goodison Park on a one-year loan deal. But, for the moment, it is highly unlikely that Everton will be doing any significant transfer business before the end of this month, as Moyes continues to weigh up his options. Given the current financial climate, clubs are thinking twice about borrowing vast sums of money and that has led to the window being slower than normal. The Blues, though, are mulling over a bid for Bristol City’s young defender Christian Ribeiro. Ribeiro has represented Wales at under-17, under-19 and under-21 level, and signed his first professional contract with Bristol City in December 2006 after coming through the youth system at the club.
City manager Gary Johnson would be reluctant to lose the 18-year-old, who impressed for the Robins when they faced Everton in the FA Youth Cup. He is yet to make a first team appearance at Ashton Gate. Johnson insists that Everton have not yet been in touch about Ribeiro but that could soon change. “I have heard the rumours but there has been no official approach from Everton as yet and until I receive a call from David Moyes I will treat these stories as nothing more than talk,” said Johnson. “He’s 100 per cent here, he’s worked very hard, is very close to the first team, and has every chance of being in it next season. He’s waited patiently and now he'll look to have a good pre-season. “Everything is speculation.”
Everton set for Swiss pre-season training camp
June 13 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON will start their preparations for the new Premier League season with a training camp in Switzerland. The Blues return to training on July 3 and, after spending a couple of days at Finch Farm, they will then jet out to the mountainous Bernese Oberland area to work on their fitness. Before returning home, they are likely to play a friendly against FC Sion at the Stade de L’Espérance but club officials were keen to stress today that that fixture has yet to be confirmed. Given that they also have a tour of the United States at the end of July, the early schedule for David Moyes’ squad will be hectic but it is not something alien to them. Last year they had short breaks in both Scotland and Italy before going to Salt Lake City and Los Angeles, while in 2006 they went to Exeter prior to a tour of Columbus and Dallas.
In total, Everton will play seven matches before the big kick-off on August 16, culminating with a clash against Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven at Goodison Park.
Meanwhile, the latest round of speculation over Moyes’ potential transfer targets continues apace and, once again, he has been linked with a clutch of midfielders.
Mariuusz Lewandowski, who played for Poland in last night’s 1-1 draw against Austria at Euro 2008, and Glasgow Rangers’ Kevin Thomson are the latest to be mooted as Lee Carsley’s replacement. West Brom have been tracking Thomson, who is a powerful left-footed enforcer and played a key role in his side’s push for a quadruple last season. The 24-year-old has been at Ibrox Park since moving from Hibernian in January 2007. He has made 56 appearances and would cost in the region of £4m but Walter Smith would be in no hurry to cash in. Lewandowski currently plays for Ukrainian side Shaktar Donetsk but the response from Goodison officials when his name was mentioned was muted
Everton's midfielder search: Vieira out with the old
June 13 2008 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES is chasing a central midfielder who can combine physical presence with the ability to chisel out a perceptive pass. And Inter Milan’s Patrick Vieira has suddenly become available at a knockdown £4m. But mention his name to Moyes and you’re likely to get a reaction akin to shoving three-day old dog droppings under his nose, on a copy of Per Kroldrup’s contract. Why? Perhaps Moyes was at Anfield the night Vieira came on and looked more of a spent force than the Labour party.
The Blues boss wants a young and vibrant Everton future of Aaron Ramseys and Tom Huddlestones, not Paul Gascoignes and David Ginolas.
And that’s enormously refreshing.
When Mersey footballers' weddings were a simpler affair
Jun 13 2008 by Greg O'Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
As the hangovers settle on Wayne Rooney and Coleen McLoughlins’ luxury wedding, Greg O’Keeffe hears how footballers’ nuptials were not always so glamorous
THEY’RE both Liverpool born and bred, sports stars whose footballing ability paved the way for glory on the pitch and mass adoration of fans around the world.
But while Wayne Rooney’s magic feet have brought him staggering wealth, highlighted by his £5m Italian wedding yesterday, Tommy Smith married his sweetheart Sue in far more modest circumstances. The 63-year-old ‘Anfield Iron’ chuckles at the mention of Rooney’s lavish ceremony in the small Italian fishing village of Portofino. Husband and wife, Wayne and Coleen, reportedly bought rings valued at £100,000 from a New York jeweller and hired a luxury villa for their group of friends including boxer Ricky Hatton and Manchester United players Rio Ferdinand, Michael Carrick and John O’Shea. They joined their guests for the reception in La Cervara, a breathtaking 700-year-old former abbey standing atop a cliff in the Italian Riviera. And guests enjoyed a four-course meal washed down with the finest champagne before being treated to a £50,000 firework display.
All that is without mentioning the private jets, triple hen parties – and the cool £2.5m which a celebrity magazine paid for the exclusive wedding album. Things couldn’t have been much different back in 1964 when Tommy married wife Sue at St Margaret’s CofE church in Anfield. He was just 19 and she was 20.
“I’d been away on a tour of the USA with Liverpool and Shanks (Bill Shankly) allowed me to go home to get married,” he says. “I flew back on the Thursday and we got married on the Saturday which was Independence Day back over in the States, July 4. “After the service we went to the hotel in town, St George’s, which is opposite Lime Street for a small reception and a bite to eat. It wasn’t the Holiday Inn then.
“The people who went were just friends and relations not a big group of players or celebrities. It was very normal compared to today’s standards.” Tommy, who was paid £30 a week by Liverpool then compared to Rooney’s £100,000 a week wages, paid for a cut-price tailor to make his suit from some cloth he selected, and although Sue’s dress was also handmade, he says it cost around £30. The couple didn’t even get to have a honeymoon. “We were more concerned with putting furniture in the house which we were renting from Liverpool in Maghull,” he recalls. “For gifts our guests gave us bits of furniture and household things. “That was a joy seeing the house become a proper home. People didn’t go to Spain as much then, although Shanks used to take the players to Majorca. “A friend of mine’s dad ran a wedding car business and he did us a favour and provided a couple of cars to take Sue to the church and then to take us to the reception. “In the night-time we went to a club in West Derby which we hired and had a few drinks there. I don’t think we could’ve gone on honeymoon even if we’d been able to afford it because of my playing commitments.” The couple, whose first son Darren was born the following year, were eventually able to afford to buy a bungalow in Maghull outright as Tommy’s Anfied career went from strength to strength. Meanwhile former Everton manager and acclaimed player Colin Harvey married wife Maureen in Maureen's home town of Prestatyn - on a Wednesday in January, 1970. Manager Harry Catterick gave the player the day off, but expected him to be in training the next day! “Of all the players, only Colin's best mate, Tommy Wright, was allowed to come to the wedding,” recalls Maureen, who today lives with Colin in Aughton, near Ormskirk. “It’s funny thinking back when you see all the papers talking about Wayne and Coleen’s wedding. “I don't envy today's wives at all,” she says. “I couldn't have dealt with all that publicity, and having to dress up every time I went out. “We were content with what we had in those days and felt quite lucky, because we did have comfortable lives compared to a lot of people.”
Regarding the couple's honeymoon-that-never-was, she says: “We stayed in Rhyl for a week and Colin commuted to training each day.” And Colin adds: “I was late on the Thursday because I had no money for the Mersey tunnel and I was late on the Friday because of an accident. The manager called me in and I said: 'Don't worry, I'm staying at my mum's tonight’!”
End is in sight for Everton international trio
June 14 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON’S marathon men face another frantic seven days before they finally get the chance to call time on their season. Tim Howard, Ayegbeni Yakubu and Joseph Yobo all face crucial World Cup qualifying matches this weekend on opposite sides of the globe. Goalkeeper Howard will line up for the United States against Barbados in Los Angeles tomorrow evening before the return leg six days later and should end his campaign on a high. Yobo and Yakubu, meanwhile, will be in Equatorial Guinea as Nigeria look to cement their place at the top of African qualifying group four and take a step nearer to South Africa. But, like Howard, they will not be able to put their feet up until after Equatorial Guinea travel to the Nigerian capital Abuja to play the return leg. All three men have been on the go since last July and Blues boss David Moyes lamented the fact they have had to play so much football in the summer earlier this week. It has been a particularly frantic time for the Nigerians, who were involved in the African Cup of Nations in Ghana, as well as making big contributions towards Everton’s fifth place finish. However, Yobo is ready to play through the pain barrier as, having played at the World Cup in Japan and South Korea six years ago, he is desperate to experience that tournament once more. “All the players are ready to do what it takes to qualify, even if it means that we have no rest. It’s the sacrifice we have to make because we need to be at the World Cup,” said Yobo.
“We are not the only ones affected, and it is in the interest of our country.”
Everton return to pre-season training on July 3 but Howard, Yakubu and Yobo will all be given extra time off and it could be that they do not report back until the week before the US tour. Howard had discussions with Moyes before he jetted off to join up with his country for friendlies against England, Spain and Argentina and says plans are fluid. “The manager and I have spoken,” he said. “The African boys are in a similar situation and I’m sure he will give us all the time we need to recover before we return to training again.”
Everton must be the centre of attention in town too
June 14 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
THOSE who have walked around the city centre’s new shopping area cannot have been anything other than impressed but, for Blues, there is a problem with Liverpool One – that it is Everton nil. Sandwiched in between the myriad clothing boutiques and department stores is, to the chagrin of Evertonians, a Liverpool FC superstore which – given its location – will inevitably turn out to be a gold mine. As money is the thing which makes the modern football world go round, like it or loathe it, it is imperative for clubs to explore every avenue and exploit every opportunity, to bring in as much revenue as they possibly can. Puzzling, then, that as the city centre’s renaissance continues at pace, Everton – who have a history of which many other clubs can only dream – do not have any presence, other than in the corner of a JJB store inside St John’s precinct. Since the old club shop by Central Station closed down a couple of years ago, the only places locally that are dedicated solely to selling official merchandise are opposite Goodison Park and in Birkenhead town centre. That has to change. Thanks to the efforts of David Moyes and his players, Everton’s image has changed significantly for the better and now is the time to take advantage of that by making a play to attract a new generation of supporters. But what chance have the Blues got of securing out of town support – which is just as important as the local element – if there is nothing to hook them when they visit Liverpool? The choice will be made easy for anyone who comes here without an affiliation but wants one.
What makes things worse is the amount of advertising around town and the surrounding areas promoting Liverpool’s new kit yet, even though pictures of Mikel Arteta wearing Everton’s latest ensemble are conspicuous by their absence from billboards. No matter the time, no matter the occasion, seeing one of the chosen few wearing a Royal Blue shirt sparks a terrific sense of pride and after their exploits over the past 12 months, they deserve to be celebrated. That is something JJB and the club need to rectify. The potential income a shop in the city centre could generate is massive and it is understood that plans are afoot to rectify the matter; hopefully, sooner rather than later, Everton will have a store of their own again in town.
Not so long ago, Everton were viewed as one of the most forward thinking clubs in the business. The Toffee Shop on Goodison Road in the 1970s was unique at the time, while the design of the megastore in 1994 was an equally smart idea.
Things, however, move on and surely the brouhaha that has erupted over the lack of presence in Liverpool One will kick things into gear. All being well, there will come a time when it will be Liverpool one Everton one.
Phil Neville: Something is missing from stunning feast of Euro 2008
June 14 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
PHIL NEVILLE is never normally short of an opinion but when it comes to Euro 2008, Everton’s captain finds himself lost for words. Having had the chance to digest the first week’s action from Austria and Switzerland, Neville believes the quality of the tournament has exceeded expectations but that has only muddied the waters with regards to which nation he thinks will eventually be crowned champions.
Portugal’s pace and panache, Germany’s guile and Spain’s slick and speedy passing have all made an impression but, as was the case four years ago, it could be that a side who were not amongst the early favourites ends up lifting the Henri Delaunay trophy.
If that is to be the case, Neville’s tip would be Croatia, who staked an impressive claim when beating the Germans 2-1 in Klagenfurt on Thursday evening but, as has been the case these last seven days, there is every chance he will change his mind again. “It’s been a really good tournament so far, with some great games and I think there will be even better to come before the end of it,” said Neville, who admits he is counting down the days to the start of pre-season training. “The team that has made the biggest impact on me is Holland. I thought they were terrific against Italy but I just don’t know whether they will be able to sustain it. “Portugal have looked good but Spain could be the ones who win it. “Then again, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Croatia went very close. For me, they have got the player of the tournament in Luka Modric. He’s just been a bit better than Wesley Sneijder, Ronaldo and Joao Moutinho.
“The quality of football has been very impressive and I thought the Croatia-Germany game was outstanding. Germany might be down at the minute but I wouldn’t say they were out. They tend to be slow starters but are always there at the end.
“It looks like the atmosphere has been great, too, and I think that’s down to the grounds. Most venues seem to be between 30,000 and 40,000 capacity, which makes things more intimate. It looks like it’s been one big festival.” A festival, though, that other than referee Howard Webb is taking place without any English involvement, so for all the enjoyment he has had from watching two games a day, there has been a nagging sense of regret. He, after all, was a member of the England squad that fluffed its lines so badly during a disastrous qualification campaign and the 31-year-old has no intentions of making excuses as to why the wheels came off during Steve McClaren’s reign. That said, Neville is convinced that if England had scraped through - and don’t forget they were only 13 minutes away from doing so when they played Croatia last November - they would have had an outstanding chance of triumphing in Vienna two weeks from now. “The thing that has hammered home this last week is how bad it is for England not to be there,” said Neville. “If we had got through, I really believe that we would have gone close to winning it. There’s not one team I would have been afraid of us facing. “I looked at the Russians against Spain on Tuesday and they weren’t the side that beat us in Moscow. There’s no point complaining now as results prove that we didn’t deserve to get there but that doesn’t mean you can’t think what might have been. “It’s such a shame. There is a different atmosphere surrounding the European Championships. Maybe that’s because you are not really that far from home and your family and friends are never too far away.”
Though he never got to play at a World Cup finals, Neville’s 59-cap England career saw him play at the three European tournaments prior to the current one and that, inevitably, led to a number of highs and some gut-wrenching lows.
The nadir, undoubtedly, was conceding a last minute penalty against Romania at Euro 2000 that led to Kevin Keegan’s men being knocked out, but either side of that nightmare were two glorious opportunities for England to win their first major tournament since 1966. “1996 was our big chance,” he recalled. “It was absolutely incredible to be a part of. The nation was behind us, we played some brilliant football, it was just that penalty shoot-out. I think we could have gone very close four years ago, too. “I don’t know why but something unexpected always seems to happen. It was the penalties against Germany then in Portugal we lost Wayne Rooney to a broken metatarsal when he was the player of the tournament and ended up losing on penalties again. “We could have won both times. Sandwiched in between that, yes there was a particularly miserable experience. I actually played my best football for England during Euro 2000 but ruined everything with one stupid tackle. That was just absolutely awful. I should never have made it. “But, looking at it another way, it was still an honour to represent my country at three European Championships. Of course, I would have loved the opportunity to play at another one but it wasn’t to be. Hopefully we won’t be in this position again.”
Everton play down talk of permanent deal for Manuel Fernandes
June 16 2008
By Christopher Beesley, Liverpool Daily Post
EVERTON have played down reports that Manuel Fernandes is set to join the club on a permanent basis by the end of the week. Reports yesterday suggested that the Portuguese midfielder would be allowed to join David Moyes’s side from Valencia at a cut-down £6million price if the Goodison Park outfit could seal a deal by June 20.
However, Goodison officials insist that Fernandes is just one of a number of potential targets on the manager’s radar and his name has not been mentioned around the club for several weeks. Moyes declared on several occasions last season that he was disappointed with the 22-year-old’s form as Fernandes struggled to make the same impact as he had done on a loan period at Goodison Park 12 months earlier.
The player himself admitted that he had not played to his full potential during his second spell on Merseyside, partly due to some niggling injuries, but a couple of encouraging displays towards the end of the campaign ensured that a more likely outcome for Fernandes would be a third loan move to Everton next season, if Valencia consent, rather than a permanent switch. Fernandes originally arrived in the Premier League early in the 2006/07 campaign on loan at Portsmouth from Benfica but failed to hold down a regular place at Fratton Park, with manager Harry Redknapp later revealing that if the player was named in three consecutive games, a permanent transfer would be triggered. After briefly returning to Lisbon, Fernandes joined Everton in a protracted move at the end of the January transfer window.
Everton face early trips to Premier League new boys
June 16 2008 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON will tread new ground in their first three trips of the 2008/09 season - with visits to all three newly promoted clubs. After opening with a home game against currently managerless Blackburn Rovers – the fifth season in succession the Blues have kicked off at Goodison – Everton travel to Championship champions West Bromwich Albion, before FA Cup winners Portsmouth come to Merseyside.
Back to back trips to Stoke City and Hull City are then followed by the first derby match of the season, at Goodison Park on September 27. The Blues haven’t played Hull for 44 years – an FA Cup tie at Goodison Park in 1964. The Anfield derby match is on January 17, and with FA Cup third round day falling on January 3 this year, there will be no New Year’s Day fixtures. Everton end the season in the capital with a trip to Craven Cottage, a ground they haven’t won at for 42 years, after back-to-back Goodison games against Tottenham and West Ham. Ronnie Moore’s Tranmere kick off their League One campaign with the long trip to Swindon on August 9, before making their Prenton Park bow the following weekend against Hartlepool.
Chester also travel on day one, to Dagenham and Redbridge before entertaining Wycombe the following weekend. Champions Manchester United will begin their Barclays Premier League title defence at home to Newcastle on August 16.
United face Liverpool and Chelsea away on successive weekends, September 13 and 20 respectively, before also visiting Arsenal on November 8. New Chelsea coach Luiz Felipe Scolari starts with a home game as the Premier League runners-up entertain FA Cup winners Portsmouth. Of the top four Arsenal look to have the easier opening and closing day fixtures, as they play at home to West Brom on August 16 and at home to fellow promoted side Stoke on May 24. Championship winners West Brom face a tough start at Arsenal and are away to Blackburn on the final day of the season.
Stoke begin their season with an away fixture against Bolton. Hull fans can look forward to a home match with Fulham on August 16 and a final day meeting with Manchester United.
Everton to begin Premier League campaign against Blackburn
June 16 2008 By Dan Kay
EVERTON begin their Premier League season at home for the fifth season running with a visit from Blackburn Rovers. The first port of call for the Blues’ travelling army is the Hawthorns, West Brom a week later before FA Cup winners and fellow UEFA Cup contenders Portsmouth are at Goodison a week later. September sees two consecutive trips to face newly-promoted sides at Stoke (13th) and Hull City (20th) before the month concludes with the Merseyside derby against Liverpool at Goodison on the 27th. October sees a testing run of fixtures against Newcastle (4th) and Manchester United (25th) at Goodison with trips to Arsenal (18th) and Bolton (28th).
Fulham start November at Goodison on the first of the month, before trips to West Ham (8th), Wigan (22nd) and Tottenham (29th) sandwiching a home fixture against Middlesbrough on the 15th.
December begins with a home fixture against Aston Villa on the 6th before a trip to Manchester City on the 13th – Chelsea (20th) and Sunderland (28th) are the festive programme visitors to Goodison with the Blues’ away troops faced with a Boxing Day visit to the Riverside to take on Middlesbrough. Hull City, and the potential return of Nick Barmby, are the first visitors to Goodison on January 10 before the Anfield derby return a week later. January ends with Arsenal’s midweek trip to Goodison on the 28th and Manchester United at Old Trafford on the 31st. February sees a trip to Newcastle on the 21st sandwiched between home games with Bolton (7th) and West Brom (28th) while March’s sole home league fixture is against Stoke City (14th) coupled with trips to Blackburn (4th) and Portsmouth (21st). Wigan begin April at Goodison on the 4th before trips to Aston Villa (11th) and Chelsea (18th) and ex-Evertonian Mark Hughes’ return to Goodison with Manchester City on the 25th. The Blues run-in sees home games with Spurs (May 9th) and West Ham (16th) along with a trip to Sunderland (May 2nd), ) before the final league fixture of the season, on the unseasonably late date of May 24th, against Fulham at Craven Cottage.
Season nearly over for Everton's African trio
June 17 2008 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
A TRIO of Everton players will finally bring their season to a close on Saturday - just two weeks before the Blues are due back for pre-season training. Nigeria complete a hectic round of African Nations World Cup qualifiers when they entertain Equatorial Guinea in Abuja. And that means Joseph Yobo, Ayegbeni Yakubu and Victor Anichebe can finally enjoy a holiday. Boss David Moyes has confirmed that the players still involved in internationals would be granted an extended break.
The Nigerians have played three World Cup qualifiers – games which also doubled up as qualifiers for the next African Cup of Nations finals – with the Everton contingent heavily involved. Yobo scored winning goals against Sierra Leone in Freetown and in Equatorial Guinea last Sunday – the latter from a corner taken by Yakubu – while Anichebe was a 62nd minute substitute in Guinea, recreating his Everton strike partnership at international level. Steven Pienaar has also been involved in end of season internationals with South Africa, while Blues goalkeeper Tim Howard suffered a lower back strain while training with the USA squad on Friday. Howard’s injury ruled him out of the USA’s World Cup qualifier with Barbados – a clash the States won 8-0 with reported Blues target Michael Bradley hitting the second goal.
Two Everton fixtures, meanwhile, have already been switched even before the television companies get their hands on the list. The Blues involvement in the UEFA Cup means they will be playing their first round opponents on Thursday, September 18, and Thursday, October 2. As a result, the away trip to newly-promoted Hull City must be put back 24 hours to Sunday, September 21, and the home game with Newcastle United will take place on Sunday, October 5. Sky TV choose their first batch of live games later this month, while Setanta will pick their matches at the start of July.
Everton eye up friendly in Swiss training camp
June 18 2008 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON are hoping to announce a pre-season friendly in Switzerland as part of their Alpine training camp. The Blues have provisionally pencilled in a clash against Swiss side FC Sion on Saturday, July 12, but club officials stressed today that the friendly is not yet confirmed and fans should not make travel plans yet.
FC Sion have already announced the fixture on their website, but there are still some issues to be resolved before Everton can formally add the match to their pre-season schedule. The Blues are currently due to visit Cambridge on July 19, Preston the following Tuesday, Nottingham Forest on July 25 then a two-match tour of the USA before entertaining Dutch champions PSV Eindhoven at Goodison Park on August 9.
Skipper Phil Neville is already looking forward to returning to training and has reassured Evertonians that they will start to see new faces once the European Championships have ended. “You will see in the next couple of weeks that once teams start going out of the championships you’ll see the transfer market hotting up,” he explained. “I think a lot of teams have got money out there and a lot of teams want to do better this season than they did last. “It’s up to us to keep improving and sign a few players to make sure we’re still ahead of everybody else below us.”
One departure, however, could be forgotten Dutchman Andy van der Meyde.
The former Serie A star failed to make a single first team appearance last season and is wanted by his old Ajax mentor Co Adriaanse at Austrian side Red Bull Salzburg.
Adriaanse was in charge of the Ajax youth set-up that van der Meyde graduated from and he also made him a first-team regular when he became manager of the Amsterdam club in 2000. He took over from new Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni this summer, and has asked van der Meyde to join him in Salzburg. As ever, the medical requirements for young daughter Dolce, who requires constant hospital attention for a serious bowel condition, will dictate his decision.
Leighton Baines craves new faces at Everton
June 19 2008 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
LEIGHTON BAINES is relishing the arrival of new blood at Everton this summer, despite injury and competition for places limiting him to just 13 league starts in his debut season at Goodison. The £6m signing from Wigan has been a frequent visitor to the Blues’ Finch Farm training ground this summer, recovering from ankle surgery at the end of last season. And he admitted that the prospect of new faces arriving at Everton does not daunt him. “If there’s better players out there who can be brought in then it’s in the club’s interests to do that,” he declared. “It’s not necessarily disrespectful saying we need new players. Everyone knows that the lads who are here have done fantastically in the last couple of years, but the club always has to look to progress. “It’s made steady progress over the past few years. Hopefully if there are players out there, we can get them in and do even better.” The Blues finished fifth last season and Baines believes that a top four finish is not beyond David Moyes’ men.
“We did well against some of those teams last year,” he added. “We only lost by the odd goal to Arsenal and in the derby games, and against United we only lost to a late penalty so we don’t feel that we’re a million miles away. “If we can beat the teams around us and collect a few more points from the bigger clubs we would have a better chance of getting in there. “But it’s important for me to get playing more regularly than I did last season. Last season was difficult. It was a situation I wasn’t really used to, so I think it’s important for me to get up and running next season and get a good number of games under my belt.” Baines made a total of 29 appearances last season, but only 18 from the start and explained: “Last season was frustrating. I probably played more games than people might think and I was available for a lot more than people might think. The general belief is that I was injured for a lot of the time when I wasn’t. “Although I wasn’t fully fit I was always available, so it will be nice to get back and be fully fit and hopefully be considered for the games more often.
“It’s a couple of weeks down the line since the surgery so I’m starting my rehab now and getting the movement back in the ankle. “It’s something that’s been hampering me for a while, even though I was available for a lot of games last season. It was still causing me a bit of trouble so it was nice to get it done.
Cavalcade against Everton's Kirkby stadium
June 20 2008
By Nick Ciligan, Liverpool Echo
OPPONENTS of Everton FC’s planned move to Kirkby will hold a motor cavalcade tomorrow. The event has been organised by the 1st 4 Kirkby group, which put up candidates in last month’s local elections. The cavalcade starts at Kirkby sports centre at 2pm and will travel around the town centre.
Everton need another top goalkeeper - Tim Howard
June 20 2008 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
TIM HOWARD has urged Everton boss David Moyes to make a move for another top-rated keeper during the summer. Moyes released German number two Stefan Wessels at the end of last season after just seven first team appearances.
And with back-up keepers Iain Turner and John Ruddy still building their senior experience in loan deals outside the Premier League, Howard has called for the Blues to bring in another experienced understudy. “Of course I would welcome that,” said the USA international. “David Moyes is ambitious as a manager and he wants depth and quality. “We have let Stefan Wessels leave so we need another keeper. I think my standards are very high and whoever comes in, I am always going to push my standards very high. It is a welcome challenge and motivates me even further.”
Howard has proved an inspired signing since arriving from Manchester United, initially on a 12-month loan in the summer of 2006 before completing a £3m switch.
The Blues played 53 matches last season – and with UEFA Cup football again on the agenda they will need cover for their American keeper. Iain Turner struggled with injury last season after spells on loan at Crystal Palace and Sheffield Wednesday, while Ruddy ended the season at Stockport County. Nigerian striker Yakubu, meanwhile, is hoping to bring the curtain down on an extended season by signing off with a goal tomorrow against Equatorial Guinea. The Blues striker has failed to score in any of Nigeria’s three World Cup qualifiers this month against South Africa, Equatorial Guinea and Sierra Leone. But with the return against Guinea this weekend he said: “I know my fans are worried about the goal drought from my boots, but I want to assure them that it happens like that occasionally and that I would soon get over it and start scoring again. “It is not as if I am not playing at my best, it is just that the goals have refused to come. “I am working hard to hit goalscoring form again. Who knows? I might open my goals account under coach Shaibu Amodu this weekend against Equatorial Guinea.”
Tony Tighe steps down from Everton role
June 20 2008 by Luke Traynor, Liverpool Echo
THE man who helped bring the world's largest collection of football memorabilia back home has officially stepped down as trustee of The Everton Collection Charitable Trust (ECCT). Tony Tighe has spent the last three years generating funds while at the same time securing £954,000 worth of Heritage Lottery funding to keep a collection of programmes, medals, caps, shirts, ledgers and historical artefacts on Merseyside. The collection has now been merged with Everton’s own archive and will be made available to the public once archivists at Liverpool records office complete the mammoth task of cataloguing it. Three new trustees have been appointed to oversee the acquisition of new items and the management of the Everton Collection, described by Christie’s as “the most comprehensive collection of memorabilia we’ve had the good fortune to catalogue”. Mr Tighe said: “In some ways I’m disappointed at stepping down but I’ve started the plates spinning and now it is time for others to keep them in the air. “Now lottery funding has been secured and the Everton Collection has a clear direction it is time for me to take a back seat. “I know with the quality of the new trustees the Collection is in safe hands.”
Everton's pre-season return: Not even enough for five-a-side!
June 20 2008 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON return to pre-season training in a fortnight's time. But don't expect the usual ECHO picture of a gaggle of giggling players jogging through Croxteth Park sporting ill-advised tints and Caribbean tans. Four Blues stars are still away on World Cup/African Nations Cup duty, while Tim Howard is still in action with the USA – which means extended holidays for five. Then there’s Tim Cahill, Mikel Arteta, Leighton Baines, Tony Hibbert and James Vaughan still recovering from surgery.
Lee Carsley and Thomas Gravesen have gone, Manuel Fernandes is still in limbo – and Phil Jagielka was playing for England only three weeks ago. Which leaves, by my reckoning, five outfield players for the first day of pre-season. Hope they know the rules for three-and-in!
Tim Cahill in race to make Everton's Premier League kick off
June 21 2008 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
TIM CAHILL hasn’t ruled out a return in time for the start of the new season, despite undergoing “radical surgery” on his broken foot. Everton’s influential attacking midfielder returned to Finch Farm this week a fortnight ahead of schedule.
And he is keen to give himself every chance of being fit in time for the big kick-off on August 16. “I seem to get injured towards the end of the season so maybe it’s a blessing in disguise, because I can do all my rehab in the summer and be ready, hopefully, for maybe the start of the season,” he said. “But I can’t afford to set targets at the moment. I’ve broken it a few times and now I’ve had quite radical surgery.”
Cahill injured his foot for the third time in little more than 12 months against West Ham on March 22. That came barely a year after he broke the fifth metatarsal in his left foot at Sheffield United, then suffered a recurrence in a pre-season friendly against Werder Bremen four months later. He was sidelined for a further three months, but on his return underlined his importance to the Blues with nine goals in 15 appearances.
This time the Australian international doesn’t want to take any chances.
“The good thing is I’m experienced in this and I’ve kept myself really fit,” he added.
“Even if I can’t run I can still work out on the bikes and the machines and work on other aspects of my game. “The operation was a success, but I’m playing everything by ear. “I’m working hard four times a week, sometimes even more getting more treatment, but I think the biggest thing for myself is just taking my time and not trying to rush it.” After an intense programme of virtually 12-month-a-year football since he joined the Blues – thanks to international commitments at Olympic Games, World Cup and other international tournaments – Cahill was finally able to enjoy a break Down Under this summer. He said: “I spent a bit of time in Australia and also went back to Samoa and did a lot of work with the kids there. I pretty much just grounded myself again. “It was about recuperating and spending a lot of time with my family and kids. It’s been enjoyable and it was great to see some sun, but it’s back to reality now.”
How Everton's special campaign has left its mark
June 21 2008 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
YOU know it’s been a memorable season – when the official end of season DVD lasts two hours 23 minutes, when you can sit through it without hitting the fast forward button once, but the rewind plenty . . . and when you even get an extra disc full of highly watchable extras. And best of all there’s no cheesy title. Everton’s official end of season review DVD was released this week – and it’s the best since the crackling Clive Tyldesley voiced over video which celebrated the Blues’ last league title win.
It follows a traditional format: month by month highlights, replays of Everton goals, and best of all, clips of contemporary interviews from the figures involved.
Some of the post-match sound bites are classics. “He’s always around. He’s just like an annoying little gnat,” drawled Tim Howard in tribute to Tim Cahill. “When the ball came to me I was scared, man. It’s the most scared I’ve been because I had a chance like that in training yesterday – and I missed it,” said an engagingly honest Victor Anichebe after scuffing a shot from six yards into the roof of the Wigan net.
Then there was a penitent African striker explaining his late return from international duty. “It just happened. There was no reason, but I have apologised and it won’t happen again,” said Yakubu. As always, though, it’s the action which makes an end of season review – and this time there’s plenty to savour. Like Tim Cahill’s overhead kick at Stamford Bridge, Lee Carsley’s last minute piledriver against Birmingham, Andrew Johnson’s UEFA Cup long-range howitzer, the six goals against Bergen and the seven past Sunderland – and undoubtedly best of all, the wonderful, free-flowing, left-flank flourish capped by Pienaar’s back-heel and Leon Osman’s laser guided finish to see off Larissa. Cleverly scripted by Darren Griffiths, the man responsible for the well-received updated history, and produced by ILC, there are plenty of moments you might have missed first time around. Like Andrew Johnson’s outstanding reflexes to get his head out of the way of Yakubu’s explosive volley at Stamford Bridge; proof that Anthony Gardner does exist . . . although only in a Tottenham shirt – scoring against Everton; Evertonians singing outside the team hotel in Nuremburg; over officious stewards at Upton Park making sure Andy Johnson can’t celebrate his last minute goal with the travelling fans; and Yakubu’s delightful dummy which sent two Norwegian defenders haring off in the direction of Stanley Park. The DVD can also clear up the arguments about the identity of some of last season’s goalscorers.
“I thought I had scored but it must have been a punch in the back of the head, not the ball,” said Tim Cahill at home to Bolton. It was, as Phil Neville added to his portfolio of unusual goals. Then there was Joleon Lescott celebrating after it looked like he had scored in Alkmaar, except he hadn’t – and Phil Jagielka followed up with a rebound for his Everton goal. But even the DVD can’t comprehensively clear up who opened the scoring against Arsenal at Goodison. From one angle it’s Yakubu’s head, from another it’s Tim Cahill’s studs.
Buy a copy from evertonfc.com for £15.99 and decide yourself.
Win a record of the season
WE have FOUR signed copies of Everton’s official end of season review DVD to give away free. Autographed by Blues boss David Moyes, one of the DVDs can be yours just by answering the following simple question. “Who scored Everton’s first goal of the 2007/08 season?” Answers on a postcard or sealed down envelope please to Everton DVD Competition, Sportsdesk, Old Hall Street, Liverpool L69 3EB.
Usual competition rules apply. The editor’s decision is final.
Heat’s on as Victor Anichebe vows to step up fitness
June 21 2008 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
VICTOR ANICHEBE has been hoping to build up his fitness on international duty with Nigeria this summer. The Blues striker has been involved in the Super Eagles World Cup/African Nations Cup qualifiers against South Africa, Sierra Leone and Equatorial Guinea, but admitted: "I am not really too fit at the moment.
"The weather here is always a factor to me. I am still new to this national team and it will take me a while to adjust to the weather and the demands of playing, but I did okay, to be fair. "I would like to improve my fitness. It has been a long season, but hopefully if I improve my fitness you will see a lot more of me. "I feel proud to be part of a team like this. We have a good set of boys and a good team. “We just need to improve and keep improving. The games are not easy; they are tough games playing away from home so we can only build on the results we have got." Nigeria have beaten South Africa 2-0, then celebrated back-to-back 1-0 away wins over Sierra Leone and Equatorial Guinea, with Joseph Yobo scoring the winning goal each time.
Everton campaigners bring Kirkby to a standstill
June 23 2008
By Laura Sharpe, Liverpool Daily Post
A CAVALCADE of a hundred vehicles brought Kirkby town centre to a standstill on Saturday, as campaigners continued their protest against plans for Everton’s £400m stadium. The go-slow was organised by 1st 4 Kirkby, in conjunction with Kirkby Residents Action Group (KRAG), Kirkby Traders Association (KTA), Keep Everton In Our City (KEIOC) and the newly-formed Women for Kirkby's Future (WKF). The protest attracted residents and traders opposed to the plans. Earlier this month, Knowsley councillors gave planning permission for the scheme, which includes a Tesco superstore, a 50,000-seat stadium for Everton, 50 shops, hotel, offices and 3,500 car parking places. Councillors said the scheme’s regeneration benefits were too strong to ignore. But Tony Barton, chair of 1st 4 Kirkby, said their action highlighted the huge numbers of people opposed to the stadium plan, and promised the event would be the first of many over the coming months. He said: “We were really pleased with the turnout, particularly because it wasn’t well advertised but still attracted so many residents, traders and objectors from neighbouring boroughs. “We want to raise the issues surrounding the new stadium. The council, in their ‘wisdom’, decided to give planning permission – and the people of Kirkby aren’t happy. “Of course we want regeneration, and we welcome Tesco, but we want them to locate to the current town centre.”
Mayhem as Everton stadium demo brings Kirkby to halt
June 23 2008 by Caroline Innes, Liverpool Echo
OPPONENTS of Everton’s move to Kirkby brought the town to a standstill with a motor cavalcade. Organisers of the protest had planned to do several loops of Kirkby to highlight their objections to plans to build a 50,000-seat stadium in the town centre and demolish 70 homes. But they were asked by police to stop after one lap.
They were told that the 100 cars that had joined the convoy on Saturday afternoon were causing too much disruption and officers simply did not have the resources to deal with the event. Today event organiser Dave Kelly of the Keep Everton In Our City Group, said this showed that the town’s infrastructure could not cope with a new stadium. He said: “If only 100 or so cars can cause total gridlock how on earth can the town cope with 40-50,000 people on match days. “This small convoy caused chaos in the town and surrounding area and showed perfectly the point we have been trying to make, that Kirkby is not a suitable site for the new stadium. “We want Tesco to build a new store here as we do want the investment and regeneration but the stadium must be stopped.” Everton Football Club and supermarket giant Tesco’s proposed scheme also includes a Tesco store and 50 other shops. Knowsley planning officers say it is the first time in a generation there has been a credible developer for the town, and it is an opportunity for to achieve a “step change” for the area. Tony Barton, chairman of the 1st 4 Kirkby group, said: “The cavalcade was to show support of appropriate regeneration of our town in the current centre and not the reinvention to the south of Cherryfield Drive. “If they couldn’t cope today with this convoy then they will never cope with all those people coming down Cherryfield Drive if plans go ahead.
“You only need to use a bit of common sense and imagination to see that these plans will never work. “This was a one-off. How much chaos would be caused if this was week-in-week-out with 5,000 cars instead of just 100?”
Everton deny Darren Bent move
June 23 2008 David Prentice
EVERTON have ruled out a move for Spurs striker Darren Bent.
Sources at Goodison dismissed today’s reports as "rubbish", as fevered and widespread speculation surrounded the Blues. Some weekend reports claimed boss David Moyes would sign a five-year deal this week and be handed a £25m transfer pot, while others suggested he would be handed no fresh funds until a decision on the new stadium is made. The truth lies somewhere inbetween, but the new stadium plans are certainly integral to Everton’s immediate future financial planning. The Blues are unlikely to commit themselves to any major spending until their new stadium plans are given the green light by the government. A decision is expected by July 3, but if the plans are called in by the government for public scrutiny the entire ground-move scheme would be threatened and Everton’s immediate spending plans affected.
David Moyes is currently away on holiday so will not be signing his new Everton
contract this week. And names like Bent, Andrei Arshavin and Twente’s Dutch international midfielder Orlando Engelaar arriving at Goodison appear unlikely until the club’s stadium future is clearer. Engelaar’s agent, Eduard Burleson, confirmed that Everton had shown interest in his client – but admitted talks with German club Schalke 04 and Twente were at an advanced stage. "We have spoken with Schalke and terms have been agreed," he said. "But the two clubs have not agreed yet, and so that is where we stand on that. "I know Everton are interested and that Newcastle could soon make a move. "But Orlando chose to speak to Schalke, firstly because there was not any interest from England at the time and also because of the coach Fred Rutten (former Twente coach, now at Schalke) – who was so good for him at Twente.
"But if does not work, it is now clear there could be English options. "Orlando has taken his form from Twente straight into the national side and continued at the same level. "I think for this reason a number of clubs have suddenly realised what many of us already knew, that he is a very good player." Everton’s African contingent, meanwhile, finally brought their season to an end at the weekend – with mixed fortunes. Yakubu scored his first goal for new Nigerian coach Shaibu Amodu in a 2-0 defeat of Equatorial Guinea, with Victor Anichebe limping out of his full senior debut after 40 minutes with a chest injury. Steven Pienaar, however, saw his hopes of playing in the 2010 African Nations Cup finals recede after South Africa were held to a disappointing draw with Sierra Leone, leaving them with just four points from their opening four games.
Leon Osman targets the Champions League
June 24 2008 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
LEON OSMAN has pinpointed Champions League football as Everton's high priority target next season - as it was revealed that the Blues UEFA Cup run last season netted just £400,000. The enormous disparity in revenues between Europe’s two cup competitions was highlighted by UEFA figures announced yesterday.
European champions Manchester United netted £33.9m, semi-finalists Liverpool earned £22.1m, but even the lowest earners among the 32 teams who reached the Champions League group stage – Ukraine’s Shakhtar Donestsk – earned £5.6m from their six matches. And those figures did not include gate receipts or matchday revenue. Everton’s 10-match run to the last 16 of the UEFA Cup netted just £400,000, Tottenham and Bolton each earned £352,000, while even finalists Rangers only collected £4.1m. Osman admitted that Champions League football was a priority – and one the Blues players believe is within their reach. “If we didn’t think we could push into the top four there wouldn’t be any point in us playing,” he said.
“Everyone wants to get better and improve themselves and we’re no different.
“We finished fifth last season, and the only way to aim is higher . . . and fourth place is higher.” Osman has been an interested viewer of the European Championships, with semi-finalists Russia including a number of players who featured against Everton in their UEFA Cup adventures against Metalist Kharkiv and Zenit St Petersburg.
“There were quite a few Russian players in the teams we played, which just shows the quality we were up against,” Osman added. “It also shows just how good a team we’ve become that we came through all those games.”
Everton Ladies' magnificent seven called up for England friendly in Germany
Jun 24 2008 by Paul Garrity, Liverpool Echo
ENGLAND manager Hope Powell has selected seven Everton players in her latest squad that will take on world and European Champions Germany in a friendly next month. The match is the last before the squad take on the Czech Republic and Spain in their final Euro 2009 qualifiers in September and October. Keeper Rachel Brown is joined by defenders Lindsay Johnson and Rachel Unitt, midfielders Jill Scott, Fara Williams and Emily Westwood. Forward Jody Handley makes up the Blues contingent in the 20-player squad that will fly to Unterhaching. Regardless of the result, England sit comfortably at the top of their Euro 2009 qualifying group and ended last season with a 6-1 thrashing of Belarus. Elsewhere, Everton keeper Danielle Hill and striker Natasha Dowie have been called up to the England under-23 squad that will take part in the Nordic Cup in Sweden next month. The under-23s are in a tough group that includes the USA, Norway and Switzerland.
Joleon Lescott's vow to Everton
June 25 2008 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
JOLEON LESCOTT enjoyed the best season of his football career in 2007/08 - but the Blues' Player of the Year insists he can get even better next term. Lescott became a full England international, got into double figures on the scoresheet and cleaned up at the club’s end of season awards ceremony. But after returning to Finch Farm early to work on his fitness after a minor end of season operation, he declared: “I will try and continue with how things went last year. “I know I have got to work hard for the team and I’m always looking to improve, so hopefully I can do that next season.
“You always like to believe you can play in the Premier League and do well and I feel I have done that so far. “But I still feel that there is a long way to go for me and there’s still a lot more that I want to achieve.” Like his team-mates, Lescott believes that the Blues can build on last season’s fifth place finish and challenge for the money-spinning Champions League places in the Premier League. “Looking at the top four, they spent millions and we spent a bit but nowhere near as much as them, and so to finish so close to the top four is a great achievement,” he added. “Before I came the club used to go up and down, but the gaffer seems to have put a bit of stability in the side now and obviously we’ve got a bigger squad and every player can do a job.
“Before we had a great team but not the squad that was needed.” The immediate priority in this summer’s squad rebuilding will be to replace defensive midfield general Lee Carsley. Lescott conceded: “I think the gaffer’s main objective for next season is to find a replacement for Lee. “I know it will be hard, because it’s not just on the field, it’s his off field attributes as well. It will be tough for us, but if we want to progress we have to go out and get some bigger players.”
Happy marriage the key for Yakubu
June 26 2008 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON top scorer Yakubu believes he has uncovered the secret to enjoying an even more prolific season at Goodison Park . . . a happy marriage. The Blues striker tied the knot this week with Yvonne Ikhana, daughter of the celebrated Nigerian coach Kadiri Ikhana, in a ceremony which started with the traditional rites in Abeokuta yesterday before concluding with a white wedding due to take place on Saturday in Lagos. After scoring 21 goals in his debut season at Goodison, Yakubu believes domestic bliss will make him even more dangerous in front of goal next term.
“When I wake up in the morning and see her face it makes me happy,” he declared. “I go for training and play a match with happiness in my heart. “That is the motivation that makes me play well. “She just says ‘go there and play well and score for me.’
“It gives me more confidence, more belief in myself. “It’s one of the best things in life and I believe with her by my side I will score even more goals. “I am just looking forward to bringing her home and having her by my side. It’s unbelievable, the feeling. “I always believe in myself and I don’t feel any pressure even when people talk because I know I can score goals, and now I have a wife who also believes in me as much as I believe in myself so that is extra motivation for me.” Yakubu’s season has only just ended, with a goal for his country in a World Cup qualifier against Equatorial Guinea. He will be given an extended break from club commitments, with some of his team-mates reporting back to Finch Farm next Thursday to begin their pre-season preparations. Andrew Johnson will be one of the players reporting back next week, with Everton officials adamant that the subject of him leaving the club has never been on the agenda. Sunderland were reported to have made a £10m bid today, while Wigan are also believed to be interested in the England striker.
But Blues boss David Moyes has no plans to cash in on the 27-year-old.
Everton declare: Hands off Andy Johnson
June 27 2008 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
Andrew Johnson (100)
EVERTON declared today that striker Andy Johnson is 'not for sale.'
The Blues England forward has been the subject of fierce speculation this week.
Sunderland were reported to have bid £10m for his services, with six other Premier League clubs said to be monitoring his position today. But chairman Bill Kenwright declared that the Blues have no plans to cash in on a player who only signed a new contract last season. “David (Moyes) and I obviously talk three or four times a day regarding his transfer targets. “He has asked me today to confirm what I already knew: that Andrew Johnson is not for sale.” The player himself was believed to be concerned at the number of stories speculating about his departure and will be reassured by the Blues’ public stance. After top scoring for the club in his first season at Goodison, Johnson struggled with injuries last term, but still got into double figures for the campaign. Everton, meanwhile, say there are no plans to snap up Leicester’s 18-year-old left back Joe Mattock, contrary to reports in today’s media.
Steve Round in talks to be Everton's number two
June 27 2008 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
STEVE ROUND has been given permission to talk to Everton, after the Blues made an approach for Newcastle's first team coach. And David Moyes hopes to have his new number two in place in time for pre-season training next Thursday.
The Blues boss has operated without an assistant manager since Alan Irvine left to take charge of Preston last November, with reserve boss Andy Holden fulfilling both duties. But he has now decided that Steve McClaren’s former assistant with England and Middlesbrough is the man he wants. Round, 37, was brought to St James's Park by Sam Allardyce last summer – but is only contracted to Newcastle until the end of the month. Kevin Keegan was keen for him to extend his association in the north-east, but talks are likely to start this weekend when Moyes returns from holiday.
Round has a growing reputation in the game as a progressive coach and his status has also been monitored by Chelsea, who are looking to make appointments to Luiz Felipe Scolari’s backroom staff. But while the Londoners showed interest, it is Everton who have made the first move – paving the way for the departure of a man who was hired on Allardyce’s recommendation. Round was a full-back with Derby County before being forced to retire early through injury after only nine league appearances. He joined the club's coaching staff, working with McClaren, and then followed him to Middlesbrough in 2001 and onto the England backroom staff in 2006. Round continued with Middlesbrough until December 2006, and became Allardyce’s first coaching appointment last summer.
ECHO Arena all set for a Master class!
Jun 27 2008 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
NOSTALGIA sells. And the evidence will be paraded at a sold-out Echo Arena tomorrow night. It’s been over a decade since local heroes like Ian Rush, Alan Kennedy, Peter Beagrie and Stevie Mungall last lashed a football in anger.
But the 10,600 capacity Liverpool Echo Arena has been sold out for months for the Sky TV Mersey Masters, with even some of the players taking part unable to get their hands on tickets for the event. Everton, Liverpool, Tranmere and Wigan will all play each other in a four team round robin. And Ian Rush, who will join Jan Molby, Bob Bolder, Nigel Spackman, John Wark, Phil Babb, Mike Marsh, Paul Walsh and John Durnin in the Reds squad, has warned spectators that while the pace may be pedestrian, the commitment would still be fierce. “I still train all the time. I think it's important, especially coming into these tournaments,” he said. “Also, for us former Liverpool players we've had a couple of 11-a-side games here and there which helps.
“I go training every day and have spent some days training with Wrexham. But that's different from running throughout a match and match fitness. “But I know that most of the lads will get out there and get themselves in reasonable shape when there is a game coming up.” Liverpool won the Masters national crown in 2001 and 2002, but since then have seen Manchester City, Chelsea, Rangers and Leicester (twice) all lift the six-a-side trophy. Rush added: “It’s the first one at Liverpool’s Echo Arena which will be great. “As it’s ourselves Everton, Tranmere and Wigan involved there should be a good crowd there. “That's what it’s all about. Playing for the fans. “We’ve always done well in the regional stages. It's just when you get to the finals that we've struggled a little bit in recent years. "It's getting a little bit tougher for us older guys coming up against players who are still fully fit. “A lot of the teams are getting younger and younger now. Some teams like Leicester and Rangers have included lads in recent years who are still playing for clubs. That says a lot. “We should have a decent enough side though.” The Everton squad contains names like Bobby Mimms, Peter Beagrie, Brett Angell, Barry Horne, Craig Short, Neil Pointon and Kevin Langley. Tranmere’s includes recent favourites like John Achterberg and Stuart Barlow, joined by blasts from the past like Georgie Santos, Ged Brannan, Steve Mungall, Tony Draper, Ian Nolan, John McGreal and Kenny Irons, while the Wigan squad includes a name more familiar elsewhere. Liverpool’s two-time European Cup winner Alan Kennedy, always a favourite with the fans, will be in the Latics’ squad.
The Arena is sold out for the event tomorrow, but Sky TV will screen the action live starting at 8pm.
Valencia open door for third Manuel Fernandes loan spell
June 28 2008 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
FORMER Everton loan star Manuel Fernandes has been given the green light to leave Valencia – and that could herald another stint at Goodison, the third in his short but eventful career. The Portuguese midfielder arrived at Everton on loan in January 2007 and made a significant impact, not least with a spectacular goal against champions-elect Manchester United. Everton thought they had an agreement with the player and his club Benfica for a permanent transfer, but the midfielder elected to join Valencia – until that move turned sour and he returned to Everton on loan once again last January. This time his influence was more fitful, but manager David Moyes was still keen to land Fernandes on a more permanent deal. Valencia technical secretary Juan Sanchez said: "We invested a lot on a player and we are going to find a solution to help him play regularly next season. "It won’t be guaranteed to him here so we’re going to find him a new team. "In principle, he is not part of our plans, but we never know what can happen." That solution could be another extended loan deal with a view to a permanent transfer. Blues defender Joleon Lescott, meanwhile, knows he has a tough job to repeat last season’s remarkable goalscoring exploits.
Lescott scored 10 times last season, taking his Everton tally in two seasons to 12.
The England star admitted that even he was surprised by that return, especially as he managed just 13 goals in seven seasons at Wolves. "I’ve never scored anywhere near that many goals," he said. "I scored 13 goals in my whole time at Wolves and I’ve scored 12 at Everton already so it’s a great achievement."
Football is a game of better halves
June 28 2008 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
YAKUBU’S rather touching views this week on the value of being married to a good woman harked back to a different Everton era. “I am just looking forward to bringing her home and having her by my side. It’s unbelievable, the feeling,” cooed the Blues’ Nigerian striker after getting hitched. But there was a time when an Everton player refused to pose for the obligatory signing snaps without the missus by his side.
Here’s a quick trip down memory lane of the women who really ruled the roost.
Success is bitter sweet for debut boy Victor
VICTOR ANICHEBE’S first competitive start for Nigeria last weekend ended in a 2-0 win over Equatorial Guinea, but personal disappointment as a bad fall forced him off before half time. The 20-year-old was handed his full debut in the Super Eagles' World Cup/African Nations Cup qualifier, partnering Everton team-mate Yakubu in attack. However, the Lagos-born striker, who is set to join up with Nigeria's Olympic squad later this summer, lasted only 40 minutes after tumbling awkwardly during a challenge. "I went up for a header and I fell down flat on my chest and I could barely move," said Anichebe, before admitting his struggle to adjust to Abuja's sweltering heat was a contributing factor to his discomfort. "The weather was really bothering me," he confessed. "I think I need some time to get used to it, but I am sure with time I will be more used to the conditions [in Nigeria]." In Anichebe's absence the Super Eagles secured a 2-0 win, courtesy of goals from Yakubu and Ike Uche. The result means Nigeria are the first side to make sure of a place in the final phase of the African qualifiers for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. And despite his frustration, Anichebe was overjoyed with the efforts of his team-mates. He said: "We won the game and that is important for our confidence.”
Everton want me, claims Czech defender Marek Suchý
June 30 2008
By Christopher Beesley, Liverpool Daily post
SLAVIA PRAGUE defender Marek Suchý claims that Everton manager David Moyes is locked in a battle with his Goodison Park predecessor Walter Smith for his signature. The highly-rated centre-back revealed last week that Rangers were keen on him and has now been informed by his agent that Everton have joined the chase.
Reports in the Czech Republic say that Everton sent scouts to Prague last season to see Suchý in action and it now appears they could try to secure a deal.
Suchý, 20, is regarded as one of the brightest young talents in the Gambrinus liga, having made more than 60 first team appearances while still a teenager, helping Slavia to their first title success for 12 years last month. He said: “Yes, it is true that these two clubs are interested in me. My agent Pavel Vandas told me.” Suchý claims that talks have already begun but he has yet to make a decision on whether he would prefer to move to Goodison Park or Ibrox.
Hibbo waits over knee op
AFTER an entire summer’s rehab and recuperation, Tony Hibbert is still waiting to discover whether his knee problem needs surgery. The right-back ruptured his medial ligaments in the penultimate game of last season at Arsenal, but he is now due to see a specialist. “I’m hoping for the specialist to say that I won’t need an operation, and I really want to just kick on from where I am now,” he said. "It’s not like we’ve held back but we need to know the full extent of the injury before I can start training properly. “When I did it it felt okay. It didn’t seem bad until the result of the scan, which made it ten times worse when I actually saw what I had done.
"I ruptured my medial ligaments, so they’ve come completely off the bone at the top where the nerve endings are.”
* COACH Pim Verbeek says he expects to have Tim Cahill back for Australia’s final Asian World Cup qualifying round. That’s a relief to Everton seeing as it takes place next June! "Timmy Cahill is available the moment he is fit and ready and that's the big question we have to wait for," he said. "The final game is next June. He will come back."
Making a case for bigger share of UEFA rich pickings
June 28 2008 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON have asked UEFA to analyse their allocation of prize monies, after last week’s figures revealed the dramatic imbalance in Champions League and UEFA Cup allocations. There was a payout of just £400,000 to Everton for reaching the last 16 of the UEFA Cup last season, although they were in profit from gate receipts and TV revenue. Champions League winners Manchester United received £33.9 million – almost 85 times as much – runners-up Chelsea £28.7 million, semi-finalists Liverpool £21.1 million and quarter-finalists Arsenal £18.3 million. Everton chief executive Keith Wyness said: "The figures released this week are a clear demonstration of why there needs to be a more balanced distribution of the European prize money available each season. "If the current situation continues then clubs simply will not be able to compete and the gaps in domestic leagues across Europe will become larger and larger and that outcome would not only be dangerous but also be a disservice to supporters who follow their clubs home and abroad. "At Everton, our aim is to bridge the gap in the Premier League. “We certainly believe we are moving in the right direction following the progress the team has made over the last few seasons and are now calling on the football authorities in Europe to aid us in our bid." UEFA have recently claimed that prize money is to be more evenly distributed to avoid strengthening the position of the elite teams, but the existing structure will remain in place until 2012.
William Gaillard, UEFA director of communications, said: "We are confident that over the next three years the gap between the Champions League and the UEFA Cup will narrow. “We are well aware there are some imbalances in the revenue distribution which have a negative effect in national leagues by widening the gap between the rich and not so rich. "We will talk to the clubs and see how they feel, and try to convince them that in the longer run it is not in their interest if, because of the way money is distributed, national leagues become too imbalanced."
Everton and Liverpool to honour city's football founder
June 28 2008 by Luke Traynor, Liverpool Echo
LIVERPOOL and Everton top brass are attending a ceremony to honour the founding father of football in the city. An amateur historian discovered the dilapidated grave of the Rev Ben Swift Chambers, which had lain undiscovered for years in the quiet village of Shepley, near Huddersfield. Now, a concerted campaign by a Merseyside football researcher has prompted Anfield and Goodison officials to rededicate the grave. Bill Kenwright and Rick Parry are backing the scheme to give recognition to the former St Domingo chapel minister. The stonework and engraved words on the headstone will be cleaned up and undergrowth cleared around the plot.
This Wednesday a service will take place at the church. Former Blues chairman Sir Philip Carter will speak on behalf of the club, and Rick Parry will attend as Liverpool’s representative. Club reverends Bill Bygroves and Henry Corbett, along with some academy players, will also attend. The Rev Chambers’s neglected grave was discovered thanks to the tireless efforts of writer Peter Lupson. The head of English at Kingsmead school in Hoylake has researched the Christian influence on the game since the 2006 publication of his book, Thank God for Football! Mr Lupson told the ECHO: “The grave was a total wreck when I found it, but it’s only right it’s being restored to its original state. “I feel the grave should retain the simplicity that it already has because clearly he was a humble man. “At long last, thanks to Everton and Liverpool, he will receive a lasting tribute to his memory.” An Everton spokesman said: “This is an integral part of the club’s history and a right and proper tribute to Rev Chambers. “An Everton contingent led by Sir Philip Carter will be present, one of the elder statesmen of our hierarchy. “I’m sure many Evertonians will find their way over to Shepley to pay tribute to the man who set Everton on their way.” A Liverpool spokesman said: “We are pleased to help to honour the memory of Rev Chambers and everyone at Liverpool was keen to get involved.”
Genesis of clubs
IN 1877, the Rev Chambers joined St Domingo Chapel and persuaded members of the bible class to start a cricket club. To keep fit during the winter months, the same contingent formed a football team who played on Stanley Park. They changed their name to Everton FC and opened a new stadium at Anfield in 1884, turning professional the following season and winning the Championship in 1891.
Money rows led to a split which saw Liverpool FC born, and Everton move to Goodison Park.
Everton face delay on Kirkby stadium proposal
June 30 2008 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON have been left sweating on the fate of their new stadium project - after the government asked for more time to consider the club's planning application.
The Blues had hoped to learn by Thursday whether the plan would be referred to the Secretary of State for a public inquiry – a delay which might deliver a potentially fatal blow to the scheme. But the Government Office for the North West (GONW) have now requested an extension to consider whether to make that move or not.
“We have applied for more time to consider the application because of its size,” said a spokesman for GONW. “That information has been sent to Knowsley council and to the developers. “The statutory provision prevents the local authority going ahead and acting on planning permission. Inside 21 days, it is difficult to consider all the possible ramifications of an application of this scale.” Chief executive Keith Wyness, who learned of the extension on Friday, said: “This is just part of the decision making process. We will have to be patient and hope we eventually get the news we want to hear.” The Blues, meanwhile, have confirmed a pre-season fixture with Swiss side FC Sion on July 12. The match will be played at The Stade D’Octodure in Martigni and will come at the end of an intensive training camp in Switzerland.
The game will kick-off at 4pm. It is the sixth pre-season fixture to be confirmed for David Moyes’s senior side, but will be the first competitive game played by them.
Tranmere Rovers secure Mersey Masters glory
June 30 2008 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EDDIE BISHOP turned back the clock on Saturday night.
A veteran of Tranmere’s Cup giant-killing days – when top flight sides came to Prenton Park and were regularly demolished – he was the hero again as Rovers upset Liverpool in the final of the Mersey Masters. Bishop struck twice at a packed Echo Arena – for a final flourish to a night of rich entertainment. There were 38 goals in seven matches, including stunners from Craig Short, Paul Walsh and Neil Redfearn, goalmouth scrambles, stunning saves – and even an injury to Reds playmaker Jan Molby . . . during the tournament warm-up! The scene was set in an opening match seven-goal thriller which saw Liverpool come from behind to beat a Wigan side, which included two-time European Cup winner Alan Kennedy. Tranmere’s opening game saw them catch Everton stone cold, Rovers rattling five goals past a Blues line-up which included Craig Short, Barry Horne, Brett Angell and Joe McBride.
Peter Beagrie blasted in Everton’s consolation, but it was the mighty Whites who coasted to victory with Ged Brannan and Kenny Irons pulling the strings in midfield just like they did 20 years ago, and John McGreal showing a hitherto hidden eye for goal. The most unexpected goal of the night, however, came from former Blues centre-back Short as he blasted in a Van Basten-esque volley from an oblique angle in the eagerly awaited Merseyside derby. “This is the first time the Mersey Masters derby has been in Liverpool. And it’s Sky’s first sell-out!,” roared Neil Pointon into a pitchside microphone, before limping off injured. Warren Aspinall later added to Everton’s lead before the Reds came roaring back to win 5-2. Liverpool made a habit of late comebacks. They shocked Tranmere with a spectacular last gasp volley from Paul Walsh, which meant Rovers only had to avoid a heavy defeat by Wigan in their last group game to reach the final. They did better than that, snatching a late equaliser to draw 1-1, with big George Santos a defensive rock. And they carried that form on into the grand final. Stuart Barlow capitalised on a defensive mistake to fire the underdogs in front but Phil Babb and Paul Walsh put the Reds back in the driving seat. However, a youthful Tranmere side were always dangerous on the break and fought back to lead 3-2 at the interval with efforts from John McGreal and Eddie Bishop. Ian Rush's men stepped up their game in the second period but Bishop's second killed off any chance of a revival and Rovers held on for victory.