Middlesbrough 1, Everton 1 (D, Post)
Mar 3 2003 By David Prior at the Riverside, Daily Post
THE boy from Brazil stole all the headlines, but it was so nearly the infant from Croxteth who spoilt the Samba at the death.If there was an inevitability to the way Juninho - Middlesbrough's returning hero - converted a scarcely-deserved equaliser, there was a similar sense of destiny the moment Wayne Rooney collected Gary Naysmith's 94th-minute pass in Saturday's drab draw at the Riverside.With referee Uriah Rennie allowing substantially more than the allotted two minutes' injury time, Naysmith's inch-perfect ball over the Boro defence was cushioned by the 17-year-old prodigy's right foot and for the second successive week Everton looked like stealing victory right at the end.The travelling throng of supporters behind the goal froze in anticpation of a fresh chapter to bolster the legendary status Rooney has already built for himself in the mere months he has been occupying the number 18 blue and white shirt.But unlike against Arsenal and Leeds, there was to be no last-gasp glory here.Seemingly with only keeper Mark Schwarzer to beat, the striker looked odds-on to score before a brilliant challenge from Gareth Southgate diverted his shot away from goal.The miss left boss David Moyes on his knees and Rooney with his shorts round his ankles - but the manager was keen to attach no blame to the youngster, who had only recently arrived as a 78th-minute substitute.He said: "I fancied him to score, but it was a great piece of defending from Southgate. He showed great pace and technique to save the effort."Even when the ball bobbled as Wayne shot I thought it was a goal."Now, looking back, I'm disappointed we didn't even get a corner."Of even greater upset to the Scot was the fact his side boarded the coach back from Teesside with just a point, after Steve Watson's first-half opener, when all three were so readily available.It is a measure of the distance Everton have travelled this season that they can return from Middlesbrough - who only sacrificed their unbeaten home league record a month ago - and consider a draw to be two points squandered.But any lingering feelings of under-achievement as the players fly to Spain this week for a late-season break should be tempered by the fact that, thanks to Newcastle's victory over Chelsea, Everton's Champions League destiny is now in their own hands.Not that - as you would expect - Moyes is allowing his side the slightest murmur of self-congratulation as they look down from the lofty heights of fourth place in the Premiership."Ask me about the Champions League at the end of the season," he said."That's because our initial target this season was not to get relegated."Now we've achieved that and if we win a couple more games we will finish in the top half of the table."Then after that we have to look to stay in the top six. So we will take nothing for granted and just continue working hard and see where we get."Moyes' cautious stance is probably due in part to the recognition that a team with pretensions of joining Europe's elite should have disposed of Boro long before their diminutive Brazilian had even removed his tracksuit.The first half of what was the 100th league meeting between the sides was a distinctly forgettable affair.Everton were chasing their fifth win in six games and looked the far more comfortable and confident outfit for the first period.Had Thomas Gravesen's defencesplitting through ball had slightly less pace on it, Kevin Campbell could well have put the visitors ahead as early as the fourth minute.Both players were involved again four minutes later in a quick exchange of passes that also included Tomasz Radzinski, with the Canadian dragging his resulting shot well wide.Everton's defence again provided an immensely solid unit at the back, while Radzinski - equalling an Everton record jointly held by Dave Watson and Tony Cottee by starting his 41st consecutive Premiership game - was an effervescent presence down the left throughout.And it was the same player whose skill brought about Everton's opener in the 23rd minute.All the talk on Teesside before the game was naturally focused on the return of Juninho from a cruciate knee injury suffered last August before he had even played a competitive game in his third spell at the club.But Boro manager Steve McClaren also singled out newly-signed former Derby duo Malcolm Christie and Chris Riggott as being crucial factors in a Boro revival that had seen them garner four points from away trips to Liverpool and Sunderland.But it was the latter's flat-footedness that gifted Radzinski space to craft his cross from the left. It initially seemed to have evaded both Campbell and Watson, but Campbell was able to collect the ball and knock it back for Watson (left), whose shot bobbled beyond Schwarzer into the far corner for his third goal in four games and sixth of the season.At the other end Richard Wright dealt well with an awkward, bobbling 30-yarder from Colin Cooper eight minutes from the break.But if Everton were dominant in the first half, it was in no minor part due to the home side's ineptitude.So it was no surprise at half-time that McClaren threw his game plan out of the window and gave his team a thorough shake-up.Off went Riggott, Christie and Cooper; on came the impressive trio of Ugo Ehiogu, Massimo Maccarone and, to general delight all around, Juninho.Their arrival gave the game a considerable surge of urgency, but initially Everton appeared to have coped with the more attack-minded intentions of their hosts.A 55th-minute shot from former Bolton man Michael Ricketts ended with another comfortable save for Wright, and Maccarone and Juninho seemed at first to have succeeded in lifting the crowd's spirits, if not their team's overall effectiveness.Watson almost set up Everton's second after 66 minutes, delivering an excellent centre that David Weir just could not manage to head goalwards.Three minutes later an overlapping Alessandro Pistone found far more space than he seemed to realise, and his cross was a disappointment after what looked to be a promising situation.Boro had undoubtedly upped their game in the second half however, but given the Merseysiders' hitherto solid performance, Juninho's 74th-minute leveller still came as a surprise.George Boateng's powerful run opened up gaps in the Blues' backline and after laying the ball off to Ricketts, who in turn fed Maccarone, a gleeful Juninho was picked out at the far post with a low cross.But with Boro on the up, Moyes refused to accept the single point and the introduction of Rooney five minutes later signalled his intentions.And, with that uncanny knack he seems to have been born with for being in exactly the right place at the right time, the youngster so nearly stole the Brazilian's thunder.Another good away point for the Blues however, and Champions League football at Goodison next season edges a step closer.
MIDDLESBROUGH: Schwarzer, Queudrue, Riggott (Ehiogu 45), Southgate, Cooper (Juninho Paulista 45), Parnaby, Greening, Boateng, Geremi, Christie (Maccarone 45), Rick-etts. Subs: Nemeth, Crossley.
EVERTON: Wright, Pistone, Stubbs, Weir, Unsworth, Naysmith, Watson, Gravesen (Rooney 78), Gemmill, Radzinski, Campbell (McBride 65). Subs: Li Tie, Yobo, Gerrard.
REFEREE: U Rennie (S Yorkshire)
Watson: Road to Europe is tough
Mar 3 2003 David Prior, Daily Post
STEVE WATSON has warned that "the hard work starts here" after his goal earned a point at Middlesbrough and took Everton a step closer to Champions League football next season.The midfielder's first-half strike at the Riverside Stadium was cancelled out by returning Brazilian Juninho in a game boss David Moyes felt the Blues should have won.With Chelsea losing at Newcastle, Everton moved into fourth spot in the Premiership - meaning a place in European football's jackpot competition is now in their own hands.But Watson, who played in the Champions League during his time at Newcastle, issued a timely reminder that the Merseysiders still have a lot to do.He said: "We don't talk about it too much - we're all aware of the situation and I've been lucky enough to play in the Champions League, it's the place to be and everybody's dream to play in."But the hard work's still to come. We can't afford to look at the teams around us, and the manager will drum it into us that we've got to concentrate on what we're doing."You can't underestimate what we've done so far, but we've achieved nothing yet."Everton face a tricky run-in, with trips to Arsenal, West Brom, Chelsea and Fulham and home games against West Ham, Newcastle, Liverpool and Aston Villa before they host Manchester United on the season's final day.Watson added: "It's fantastic for us to be fourth, but we've got everybody to play. We've got some really hard away games and some of the top teams coming to our place."He added: "The gaffer will make sure we prepare correctly for everything and we've just got to get our heads down and keep believing that we can stay where we are."Everton dominated much of Saturday's contest and had enough possession to kill the game before Juninho's strike - in his first competitive game in his third spell at the club since returning from a cruciate knee injury - meant they had to settle for a draw.Wayne Rooney, on as a late substitute, almost stole all three points in the final minute before a superb saving tackle from Gareth Southgate, and Watson felt his team-mates had done enough to win the game."I'm happy with my own form at the moment but team-wise we've come away from a very good side like Middlesbrough probably disappointed with a draw, which has got be good news," he said."I thought in the first half we looked really good, and we maybe should have been more than one goal ahead with all the possession we had."They were inevitably going to come on strong in the second half - they brought Juninho on and played a much more attack-minded formation, but I thought we dealt with everything that was thrown at us and just got caught on the counter-attack."Maybe it would have been justice when Wayne came on because we thought he was going to do it at the end, but it was a great tackle from Gareth."But it's got to be good news if you're coming away from the Riverside with a draw and you're very disappointed."I'll maybe look back on this result and think a draw away to Boro is not bad, but at the moment it feels like we've lost because I thought we had the game in our hands."Disappointed manager Moyes said: "It would have been nice to get a couple more points just to keep our noses in front."So I'm bitterly disappointed we did not get the full three points from this game. From our point of view it was a lost opportunity."Loing the goal in the manner we did was a real moment of madness."
Middlesbrough 1, Everton 1 (Echo)
Mar 3 2003
David Prentice At The Riverside Stadium, Liverpool Echo
THE RIVERSIDE STADIUM, Middlesbrough,was the graveyard of Walter Smith's managerial ambitions at Everton.For his successor it proved just another milestone in the rebirth of the club he has given back its pride.David Moyes (left) has now been in charge of Everton for 38 matches, the equivalent of an entire season. He has collected 62 points in that time enough to secure a top six finish in two of the last three Premiership campaigns, and seventh last term - and the 62nd point came with an outfield line-up comprised entirely of his predecessor's signings.A measure of Everton's progress since that shaming FA Cup exit 12 months ago next Monday, came in the reaction of the Blues' players as they trooped out of Teeside's concrete bowl. Boro have lost just one home game all season, but there was little evidence of satisfaction.Faces were set in stone. "Feels like a defeat," muttered David Unsworth, while goalscorer Steve Watson carried himself like a man who had scored a meaningless consolation rather than a strike which had claimed a thoroughly deserved point.Everton's entire attitude has altered since they rolled over and expired at the same venue last March - and several players have restored reputations which were in danger of being eroded permanently.Perhaps the most significant of those is Tomasz Radzinski.The little Canadian, by his own admission, picked and chose the games he wanted to force his influence upon last season. On Saturday, he was surprised to learn he had become the recipient of a new Premiership record for Everton.He played in his 41st consecutive Premiership match for The Toffees beating a record held jointly by Dave Watson and Tony Cottee, but perhaps more significantly, for the eighth successive match he was still on the pitch at the final whistle.Radzinski's influence on Everton's fortunes has become so significant particularly in the closing stages of matches - that David Moyes dare not replace him any more, even when Wayne Rooney is itching to come on and shine.Kevin Campbell's return meant that Radzinski has now had three different strike partners from the start this year, but even the return of a fully fit Duncan Ferguson - an oxymoron surely - will not see Radzinski displaced.His part in Everton's goal on Saturday underlined his importance, especially away from home.The searing pace he possesses had already troubled a miserable Middlesbrough side, when David Unsworth clipped a hopeful pass down Everton's left flank. Chris Riggott was favourite for possession, but Radzinski set off nonetheless in persistent pursuit. He got there fractionally first, rode Riggott's desperate challenge and carried the ball to the byline before crossing. A defender's deflection meant that Campbell couldn't apply the finishing touch, but he rolled the ball back for Steve Watson to continue his steady flow of goals from midfield, scooping the ball in from six yards.It was the very least Everton deserved. They dominated possession to an embarassing degree and defended with sufficient constriction to restric the home side to just one on-target shot of the half, a Colin Cooper strike from outside the penalty box which Wright fielded with only slight discomfort.The only slight criticism which can be levelled at Everton this season is that when they win, which they have done frequently, it is almost always by a single goal. Often that is because chances have been squandered. That wasn't the case on Saturday, a lack of creativity in midfield being the problem this time, but their dominance was such that 'Boro boss Steve McClaren introduced all three of his substitutes at half-time.One of them was 'Boro's Brazilian talisman, Juninho, and it was Sod's Law that almost his only meaningful touch of the half would be the final one to Maccarone's cross-shot which brought a 74th minute equaliser.But even then Everton should have won.The Blues introduced their own supersub and twice in time added on they came close to restoring their lead.First, Brian McBride had a free header from a right wing corner. A defender might have been forgiven for planting an effort wide, but an in-form forward should really have forced Mark Schwarzer into a save at the very least.Then with the last kick off the match Wayne Rooney hustled himself into another opportunity to add to his growing legend. Gary Naysmith broke up a 'Boro attack and clipped a decent pass forward for the youngster tchase.His strength and pace took him goalside of 'Boro's horrified defenders, but he couldn't completely shake off the attentions of Gareth Southgate. As the 17-year-old accelerated into the Boro box he paused fractionally to pull back his right boot. That was all the invitation Southgate needed to lunge in with a desperate tackle and poke the ball behind .Uriah Rennie, like almost everyone else in the stadium, believed Rooney had missed and gave a goal-kick, but it hardly mattered.Schwarzer's clearance was the final touch of the match - and the final whistle was greeted by the sight of Everton players holding their heads in frustration.It had been the very same scene 12 months ago, but for very different reasons.David Moyes has supervised a year of astonishing progress at Everton - and the performance and the reaction to the result on Teeside was the perfect gauge of just how far they have come.
MIDDLESBROUGH (3-5-2): Schwarzer, Riggott (Ehiogu 45), Southgate, Cooper (Juninho 45), Parnaby, Geremi, Boateng, Greening, Queudrue, Ricketts, Christie (Maccarone 45). Unused substitutes: Nemeth, Crossley.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Wright, Pistone, Weir, Stubbs, Unsworth, Watson, Gravesen (Rooney 78), Gemmill, Naysmith, Campbell (McBride 64), Radzinski. Unused substitutes: Tie, Yobo, Gerrard.
REFEREE: Uriah Rennie.
GOALS: Watson (21 mins) 0-1, Juninho (74 mins) 1-1.
Nyarko back in tears - again !
Mar 3 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
ALEX NYARKO has left Goodison Park in tears . . . again. The Ghanaian international made a flying visit to Everton last week - two years after he bade an emotional farewell to the Blues. But he left in tears again, with his long-term future uncertain. The controversial star quit Paris St Germain last week, after the French club refused to confirm their intention to offer him a permanent contract this summer. Nyarko is still officially an Everton player, with two years of his contract left to run, and he met Chief Executive Michael Dunford at Goodison Park. If the player cannot find a new club soon he may be forced to return to Everton. "Alex is aware that situation could arise," said Mr Dunford.
"He has left PSG because they have not confirmed whether they intend to offer him a permanent deal at the end of his loan spell. "It is disappointing. Alex is not doing his own reputation or our ability to sell him any favours by walking out on his current club." After he walked out on PSG, Nyarko said: "It is over. I took the decision because I didn't trust that club any more. "I don't feel very well at the moment and it is tiring for me to hear the officials say they will do something for my future, then to understand they won't do anything. "I am fed up with changing my club every year. I have been in Europe for nine years and, today, I am tired. "I want to see my family close to me and my children have a normal schooling. "Until June I will not be paid, either by PSG or Everton. It will be difficult because I have money troubles. I am living a difficult period, like in every life." David Moyes, who did not meet Nyarko, flew off with his first team squad to Spain this morning for a training camp. The Blues have headed for a base in Jerez. "We are going over to train for the week and prepare for the final furlong," said Moyes. "I have been there before and the training pitches are fantastic. Hopefully the change of scenery will freshen the boys up a little, too." Ironically, Liverpool's Worthington Cup triumph yesterday made Everton's bid for European qualification next season more difficult - unless the Reds can dramatically improve their Premiership form and finish in a Champions League place. The UEFA Cup place they claimed for yesterday's victory would have been allocated to a team finishing in the top section of the Premiership if the Reds had lost. There is also a possibility that an extra UEFA Cup place could be allocated to the Premiership through the European Fair Play League - which England currently top.
Rooney's face is set to become his fortune
By Suzanne Elsworth, Daily Post
Mar 4 2003
EVERTON'S golden boy Wayne Rooney has a fantastic future on the football pitch ahead of him - and his name and face could soon bring him riches beyond his wildest dreams. The image rights clause in his £15,000-a-week contract with the Premiership club means he makes money on any sponsorship, merchandising and endorsement which uses his likeness in words or pictures.
It is understood that he is currently discussing a clothing range which would carry his name, as well as a possible boot deal with sportswear giant Adidas. Add this to the T-shirts, mugs, mouse mats, key rings, car stickers, videos and books which will eventually bear his face, name and examples of his considerable talent - as well as any private sponsorship deals he sets up - and his endorsement earnings will far exceed those he gets for playing football. It has been rumoured the 17-year-old striker is already on his way to his first million thanks to the popularity of replica kits with his name and number across the back. Reports say he earns £3 from every shirt sold and that more than 250,000 have already been bought by his fans, but this has not been confirmed by either his agent or his club. A spokesman for Everton said they understand the shirts are Everton's, not a Rooney product. Image rights deals are still fairly rare, even in a climate where the top footballers are as likely to make the news for their actions off the pitch as their ability on it. Chief executive of Wilmslow-based Proactive Sports Management, Paul Stretford, who negotiated Rooney's contract, would not comment on specific details of the young Everton superstar's deal, but said: "I can confirm that Wayne Rooney is one of the elite band of players whose image rights are of such importance that they are able to negotiate a special contract. "Wayne Rooney as a proposition is unique. That is why he is not only a footballer, but also newsworthy." This is the first time an Everton player has had such a contract. The club has paid Rooney a fixed sum, believed to be tens of thousands of pounds, for permission to use his image on their merchandise. Now it needs to get that money back. Andy Hosie, marketing director, said: "We are planning an area in our Megastore devoted to Wayne for a range of dedicated products. "We have to make money out of this for Everton because we have paid him a sum of money for his rights. However, we don't want to do too much and over-expose him." Image rights are still relatively new in the UK and so far celebrities have tended to only trademark their names or certain characteristics. Previous trademarking has included Eric Cantona, who laid claim to the phrase "Ooh ahh Cantona", Paul Gascoigne and his nickname Gazza, and Damon Hill with the image of his eyes behind his Formula One helmet's visor. Dr Geoff Pearson, who lectures in football and law at the University of Liverpool, said: "English law is lagging behind the likes of the US and Far East which have publicity rights. The courts here are reluctant to introduce them. "Players that are involved in commercial deals will start to trademark their images and will have rights to prevent others passing them off. "Those players who don't make money from their images will not be making any loss by others using them." James Dow, of financial experts Dow Schofield Watts, added: "Rooney will appeal to a male audience. He's a very quiet lad who doesn't really do anything apart from play football. "He's very much a blokes' bloke from the wrong end of town. "It's a Cinderella-type story which will appeal to those people who will also come from the wrong end of town."
Six of the best not good enough
Chris Wright, Daily Post
Mar 4 2003
EVERTON under-17s hit six goals at Newcastle but somehow only came away with a point in an amazing 6-6 draw in the FA Premier Academy League on Saturday. It was a goal feast all round in the north east as Colin Harvey's side followed up last week's 5-2 victory over Leeds United with an equally impressive 4-1 win over Newcastle. Alan Harper's U17s shared 12 goals with the home side in a memorable 6-6 draw. Mark Hughes, Gavin Lynch, Colin Thorbinson, Jack Flood, Anthony Barry and Paul Hopkins were on target for the Blues, but the home side denied them victory with an equaliser in the dying moments of the match. Coach Harper said: "I'm still shellshocked. It's difficult to explain the game. We scored after two minutes and they went down the other end and scored straight away. Then we scored, then they scored and it went on from there. It could have been 12-12 by the end. "Both defences made some terrible mistakes. But when you score six goals away form home you expect to win. It was disappointing because we were probably the better side overall, but they equalised right at the end." Harper's U17s are back in action again today at Blackburn Rovers (1.30pm kick-off). And they will be hoping to carry on scoring, but get back to basics with their defending. Brian Moogan's stunning hat-trick was the highlight of the U19s' well-earned 4-1 victory. After Michael Symes' hat-trick against Leeds last week, Moogan was the third young Blue this season to hit a treble. All Moogan's efforts were long-range shots, while Australian winger, David Carney, followed up after his initial shot to score his fourth of the season, as the Blues ran out comfortable winners. Harvey said: "It was a decent performance. They worked hard and played well at times.
"Brian Moogan scored an outstanding hat-trick, all brilliantly struck goals. But it was a great all-round team performance and most departments functioned well. We conceded a couple of chances but Alex Cole in goal made some good saves, so everyone contributed. The lads went about it right and got their just desserts for the effort they put in." Everton had several players at the Premier League exit trials at Lilleshall last week. All the U19s players were there but coach Harvey said the Blues have not decided which of the youngsters will stay at Goodison beyond their Academy scholarship this summer.
Home and Away
Icliverpool And Daily Post
Mar 4 2003
SO much for not changing a winning team. The two Everton players brought in - Gravesen and Campbell - against Boro were disappointing. Li Tie was Everton's best player last weekend.
Their goal was a joke; how can a player run the full length of the pitch with not an Everton player within 20 yards? I'd like to see Li Tie back in for Gravesen and get Rooney on from the start.
Peter Fearon, Liverpool
A lost dream
THE Kings Dock project gave Evertonians a new dream - to be up there with the best. In bringing in manager David Moyes, Bill Kenwright had given us the best. Now they need to sort out the ground.
Ted McIlvenna, Liverpool
ALL this talk about the Champions League is premature, as Everton are not yet good enough. The Boro result proves it, as it was another two points lost. Moyes has done a great job and being fourth is unbelievable. We could possibly qualify for the UEFA Cup, and that would be an excellent achievement for the club.
Jeff Dolphin (via e-mail)
ALL things considered that was a good away point at Boro. Credit Southgate with a vital touch to stop Wayne from scoring at the end. The table says we're the fourth best team in the Premiership. Happy times.
Ian Harkes (via e-mail)
World Cup star denies city slur
Mar 4 2003 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON player Tobias Linderoth has hit back over allegations that he hates Liverpool. The soccer star was reported as describing Liverpool as "a dreadful town" in an interview with a Swedish newspaper. It was also suggested that he avoided certain parts of the city. But today the 22-year-old Swedish World Cup star, who lives in Cheshire with his girlfriend Mia, said he had been misquoted. He said: "I would like to take this opportunity to put the record straight. I have been delighted with the warmth and generosity that has been shown to both my girlfriend and myself since we arrived on Merseyside, and we are both extremely upset and embarrassed by these false allegations. We have both been made very welcome by everyone and I would never dream of offending the supporters of any club that I play for. "The Evertonians have been terrific to me and I am aware of how proud they are of their city. "I am perfectly happy at the club and with the area. I did not say these things and I would not say them. The whole issue is very distressing for me at a time when I just want to concentrate on my football and win a place back in the first team."
Watson: Spanish trip will be hard
Mar 4 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON have started their preparation for a testing Premiership run-in with a continental training camp - but Steve Watson insists it will be no sojourn in the Spanish sun. The Blues flew to Andalucia yesterday for a week's warm weather training, but Saturday's goalscorer said: "We are going to Spain now for a few days, but I don't know about recharging our batteries! I don't think that's a phrase the gaffer is aware of! "We may relax with a game of golf or something, but we certainly won't be having days off on end because we need to keep ticking over. We need to keep everybody sharp." The Blues face five of their Euro-chasing rivals in their remaining nine fixtures, and will need a fully fit and focussed squad if they are to maintain their dramatic improvement this season.
Duncan Ferguson and Tobias Linderoth will sharpen their fitness at Morecambe tonight against Blackburn Reserves. The duo are in a young Everton reserve side along with Egyptian defender Ibrahim Said, who could not be granted an entry visa in time to allow him to travel to Spain.
Highly rated young goal-keeper Iain Turner will play in goal, after former club Stirling Albion finally accepted a fee of £50,000 for his transfer. youngster signed for Everton in January and the fee was was expected to be decided by a tribunal, but Stirling have now accepted the Blues' offer. Joseph Yobo is the only other senior star who has not travelled to Spain. The Nigerian will play for an African XI against a 'Rest of the World' side at Bolton's Reebok Stadium tonight in aid of the Kanu Heart Foundation. Yobo is a close pal of the Arsenal star, who founded the charity. David Carney, meanwhile, a member of Everton's FA Youth Cup final side last season, has been selected for Australia's Under-20 squad to play in the World Youth Championships in the United Arab Emirates. He is one of seven players from outside Oz to make the squad. Brazil are in Australia's group.
Right move for Chadwick
Mar 4 2003 By Kevin Ratcliffe, Liverpool Echo
NICK CHADWICK is the latest Everton youngster to test the water in the Nationwide League with a loan spell at Derby County. I'm convinced that there are a few more who would benefit from such a move. Paul Gerrard, Peter Clarke, George Pilkington and Leon Osman have all taken this step, Keith Southern made his loan at Blackpool permanent, but there are still players like Sean O'Hanlon and Kevin McLeod who could profit from a spell on another club's books. I actually made an enquiry about Chadwick earlier in the season, but Derby is a good move for him right now. It's important for young players who have not had much first team experience to gain as much of an insight as possible. The difference between the reserve team and first team football - even at Third Division level - is vast. The worry for young players is that they could reach the age of 22 or 23, without having a dozen senior er undthe belt. If Everton then decide that those players do not have a long term future at Goodison, their prospects of attracting a Nationwide League club would be hit by their lack of experience. It's still too early to put Nick Chadwick into that boat. He looked very promising during the brief spell he had in the first team at the end of last season. But if he can impress at Pride Park, and maybe bag a few goals in the process, it could do his prospects the power of good both inside and outside Goodison Park.
Blues' Spanish boost
DAVID MOYES can't put a foot wrong as Everton manager - even when the Blues have no game.
The decision to take his senior squad to Spain for a mid-season training camp is an idea I am familiar with from my own time at Goodison, and it was always well received. If a club can afford it, it's an excellent idea. Players who have been reporting to Bellefield every morning, those who haven't had international trips, get the extra zest to their training a change of scenery can provide. Five times the Blues have pulled back a one-goal deficit to win this season - and that is not coincidence. It points to an excellent team spirit and trips like this can only reinforce that.
Boro draw is still progress
YET again Everton failed to build on a one-goal lead in a match this weekend, but I think only the hardest hearted Evertonian would complain. If we are going to for a lack of ruthlessness, we really are getting picky! At the start of the season a point at a venue like Middlesbrough would have been seen as a good result. Maybe we should have won, maybe we should have scored another goal or two - but after the experiences endured by Evertonians at the Riverside Stadium last season, a 1-1 draw was still definable progress.
Carney gets his call
Mar 4 2003 By David Randles, icLiverpool
EVERTON'S Australian midfielder David Carney had double cause for celebration this week after being called up for for the FIFA World Youth Championships. Carney's call to the national U-20 squad comes on the back of a run which has seen him hit the target twice for the Blues in his last two games. The midfielder followed up his goal in the U-19s 5-2 victory over Leeds last week with the final goal in a 4-1 win over Newcastle on Saturday to take his tally to four for the season.
Carney is one of a string of Colin Harvey's talented U-19 side who have figured for the Toffees' reserves this season and was also an ever-present alongside England's latest striking sensation Wayne Rooney in the Blues side that was eventually beaten by Aston Villa in last year's FA Youth Cup Final. The teenager is one of seven overseas players named in the 20-man squad and joins Coventry's Sean Cooney and Jay Lucas of Southampton as one of three English based players expected to make their debuts at the World Championships being held in United Arab Emirates later this month. The 24-team tournament will be held from March 25 - April 16 with Australia's Group C, which includes the Czech Republic, Canada and Brazil, to be played at the Rashid Stadium in the Northern city of Dubai. Carney follows in the footsteps of senior Socceroos stars such as Mark Viduka, Brett Emerton, Craig Moore and Paul Okon who all played at the tournament in the early part of their international careers. Australia are set to compete for the 11th time at the 2003 FIFA World Youth Championship having missed only three tournaments in the 26-year history of the competition. Australia were semi-finalists in 1991 and 1993 and were quarter-finalists in 1981, 1995, 1997 and 2001.
Blues recharge batteries
Mar 4 2003 By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
EVERTON HAVE begun final preparations for their Champions League push with a Spanish sojourn to "recharge their batteries" ahead of a testing Premiership finale. The fourth-placed Blues flew to an Andalucian training camp yesterday to freshen tired limbs before nine games that could see David Moyes' complete this season's remarkable transformation in style. Moyes' side moved into the Champions League places on Saturday despite disappointment at only collecting one point from The Riverside. And after training at Bellefield was seriously disrupted by recent bad weather, the Blues manager believes the four-day break arrives at an ideal time. Everton had planned to play Benfica next Monday after another blank weekend only for the Portuguese giants to pull out of the prestigious fixture. Moyes said: "We've had a plan for the lads to go away for a while and I think they've deserved the opportunity to go away. We're going to train hard on two fabulous pitches over there, we'll make time for a bit of relaxation and then we'll begin to focus on the West Ham game.
"I've been there before and it is a fantastic set-up. I feel we just need to recharge our batteries for the final furlong." Only three senior stars haven't travelled with the squad - Duncan Ferguson, Tobias Linderoth and Joseph Yobo. Nigerian international Yobo has been granted special permission by Moyes to play in a special charity match tonight at Bolton's Reebok Stadium. The defender will play for an all-African XI against a Rest of the World side in aid of the Kanu Heart Foundation, a charity founded by the Arsenal star. Ferguson and Linderoth have remained behind in order to gain more match practice in tonight's reserve team game against Blackburn at Morecambe FC. Moyes, meanwhile, has called on the Blues to forget about local rivalry as they bid to stay above Liverpool and claim a European place. Everton opened up a six-point gap on their Merseyside rivals at the weekend but the Blues boss insists holding onto a place above Gerard Houllier's team is not the priority. He said: "Liverpool aren't even a consideration. Everton are the consideration - where we are, what we're doing, how we stay there is important to me just now. "At present, we're going in the right direction, which is what I wanted us to do and this is the start I knew we would require.
"Mentioning Liverpool is an easy thing to do - but Leeds United and Tottenham Hotspur are good sides too. I think if we finish above those clubs, then that will be a great success - not just if we finish above Liverpool."
Blackburn Res 0, Everton Res 2
Mar 5 2003
DUNCAN FERGUSON continued his comeback from injury with 45 minutes of action and a goal as Everton's reserves beat Blackburn Rovers at Christie Park last night. The Blues had to wait just four minutes before taking the lead as Leon Osman - a regular scorer for the reserves this season - was on hand to lob goalkeeper Ryan Robinson from 25 yards out. The Blues also included young goalkeeper Iain Turner for his first competitive match, while both Ibrahim Said and Tobias Linderoth started, after opting not to travel on the first-team trip to Spain in order to play for Andy Holden's side. Turner was impressive in the Blues goal, denying both Gordon Greer and Jerome Watt in the first 25 minutes. It wasn't long, however, before the visitors were two goals ahead. Osman was again causing trouble in the Rovers area before he was brought down by Jonathon Douglas. From the resulting spot-kick, Ferguson kept his nerve to mark his comeback with a goal by slotting home past Robinson. Michael Symes replaced the Blues striker at half-time, a move which was tactical and not due to any ill effects. Ferguson was busy throughout the first period and was involved in a lot of the visitors' play. Everton began the second period brightly and nearly added to their tally when Osman went close again while Swede Linderoth tried his luck from long range. Stephen Schumacher was inches away from getting on the scoresheet with a shot from just outside the box but Rovers had their chances too, Sebastian Pelzer and Neil Danns both testing youngster Turner in the Blues goal. Egyptian Said gave an impressive display in midfield, but the big performance of the night came from Osman, who was outstanding for the visitors. Manager Andy Holden was delighted with Iain Turner's debut. "He did well, he wasn't called upon too much but when he was he did all that was asked," said Holden. "He showed a good level of concentration."
BLACKBURN: Robinson, Douglas, Pelzer, Danns, Greer, Bruce, Watt, Donnelly, Gallagher, Johnson, Morgan. Subs: Cole, Renton, Black, Fitzgerald, Harkins.
EVERTON: Turner, B Moogan, A Moogan, O'Hanlon, Southern, Linderoth, Said, Schumacher, Ferguson (Symes 45), Osman, Carney. Subs: Cole, Colbeck, Crowder, Beck.
* YOBO featured in an African XI managed by John Barnes that scored a 7-4 victory over a Rest of the World side at the Reebok Stadium last night. Arsenal striker Kanu organised the match to raise funds for his Kanu Heart Foundation charity and capped the occasion with two goals. Blackburn striker Hakan Sukur had a 45-minute run-out to show he is getting back to full fitness in front of a crowd of almost 15,000. Along with team-mates Tugay and Martin Taylor, he sacrificed the club's trip to Marbella to take part in a charity match. Sukur, who made his first appearance for Blackburn on Saturday after breaking his leg, was on target for the Rest of the World, who were managed by Bolton boss Sam Allardyce and Arsenal counterpart Arsene Wenger. However he needed brief treatment six minutes before half-time when he was left limping after a collision with goalkeeper Murphy Akanji. Sukur recovered and played out the half before being one of a host of substitutions, which included a brief appearance by former Liverpool star Dean Saunders.
Blues face McBride fight
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Mar 5 2003
EVERTON'S bid to keep Brian McBride is in doubt after Major League Soccer officials insisted the striker must return to the States. David Moyes last week confirmed he wants to extend the American international's loan spell when it expires on April 1 but would not be held to ransom by the MLS over the transfer fee. Everton have been told they would have to pay around £1.75million for the 30-year-old, £1m more than they are prepared to pay. But despite Everton making initial enquiries following McBride's immediate impact in the Premiership, the American authorities insist no progress has been made and his loan status remains the same. McBride renewed his annual contract with the MLS before joining the Blues in January. Even if Everton make a firm offer, he must still report back for the start of the new season on April 5 - when his Columbus Crew side face champions Los Angeles - but could return in the summer if a bid was accepted. However, MLS senior communications director Trey Fitzgerald said last night: "We have not received any sort of offer from Everton, nor have we specified a transfer fee. "Everton has consistently told us that they have no interest in making the loan permanent because of their financial priorities. "We are therefore anticipating that Brian will be returning at the end of the loan period." Alex Nyarko, meanwhile, continues to cause Goodison officials problems after quitting Paris Saint Germain over their refusal to provide an answer over his long-term future. Qatar-based club Al-Etehad have been linked with a loan move for the Ghanaian midfielder. But as PSG hold Nyarko's contract until June 30, they can give the final decision on the deal, despite Everton's reluctance to sanction a third temporary move for the player. The Blues are desperate to find a permanent move for the £4.5m player with his transfer fee dwindling with every outburst. Moyes was yesterday reported to have sent scouts to watch Atalanta striker Fausto Rossini score twice in his side's 3-3 draw with Milan at the weekend, while one-time target Kleberson confirmed the Blues had made an approach for him during the transfer window. The Daily Post exclusively revealed in January that the Brazilian World Cup winner was on Moyes' wanted list. And yesterday Kleberson confirmed: "Everton were interested in me but they cut short negotiations because of the price. I was pleased they were keen because they are getting better and better at the moment." Kleberson is still in Brazil with Atletico Paranaense, although their £4.5m price-tag is likely to remain beyond Everton's reach this summer with Newcastle favourites to clinch a deal. Duncan Ferguson and Tobias Linderoth stepped up their fitness bids last night in the reserves, with Ferguson scoring from the penalty spot in the 2-0 win at Blackburn Rovers. They were joined by Iain Turner, who was making his reserve team debut after Stirling Albion finally accepted Everton's £50,000 offer for the 18-year-old goalkeeper. An Everton spokesman said: "Initially the two clubs couldn't agree on a transfer fee but following further talks we are pleased to say that matter has been concluded successfully."
Spanish test for Moyes' Blues
Mar 5 2003David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON will break up their Spanish training camp with a behind closed doors friendly today.
The Blues will play second division Jerez at their training base in Andalucia "We've organised a game just to give the boys a break from training," said boss David Moyes. "The lads who haven't been involved much recently, players like Lee Carsley and Mark Pembridge, need the game and it breaks things up a bit. "It's been a good week so far. The weather's been fantastic, the training pitches are perfect and I think the lads are benefitting from the change of scenery." The Blues will return to Bellefield at the weekend, to give them a full week to prepare for the visit of West Ham on March 15. Duncan Ferguson is unlikely to be involved in that clash, despite scoring in Everton Reserves' 2-0 win at Blackburn last night. The Scot played 45 minutes before coming off feeling stiff. Everton's Easter Monday clash at Chelsea, meanwhile, has been selected for payper-view screening. The 3pm kick-off time will not alter. Any hopes Everton may have harboured of making Brian McBride's loan spell permanent appear to have been dashed by the MLS who hold his contract. The governing body for US football values McBride at £1.75m - at least £1m more than Everton's valuation of the 30-year-old striker.
Nick aiming to make his mark
Mar 5 2003David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
NICK CHADWICK is aiming to make up for lost time at Pride Park tonight, after a career which seemed on the brink of taking off at Everton suddenly stalled. Chadwick was the bright young thing on the lips of all Evertonians last season when three goals in five end-of-season run-outs marked him down as a striker of exciting promise. But a pre-season injury prevented him building on that potential - and then another wonderkid from Everton's flourishing youth ranks overtook him.
Chadwick has just joined First Division Derby County on a month's loan, hoping to kick-start his season. He played for 33 minutes of Sunday's dramatic East Midlands derby against Leicester and even claimed a part in creating Derby's late equaliser. "Some of the coaches back at Everton won't believe I actually won a header!" he joked. "I just managed to get up and flick it down and luckily someone was there to get onto it." That "someone" was Fabrizio Ravanelli, who touched the ball on for Craig Burley to equalise. "When the manager said I would be on the bench I was happy because you can't expect to walk into a club like Derby and start straight away," stated Chadwick. "But to get the chance to play in an atmosphere like that was unbelievable. "I was a bit tired because I'd only played 90 minutes for Everton reserves on the Thursday and that had been my first game for three months after the hernia op. "It has been a nightmare season for me because of my hernia injury, but that's all in the past now and I am determined to make a go of things here. I know this is a fantastic opportunity." Chadwick hopes to build on Sunday's appearance when Derby face Crystal Palace tonight, and then visit Preston North End on Saturday. "I am only going to get sharper by playing more games," he explained. "The fact is, I need to find my game and get my match fitness and sharpness back. It's a good time to come as the games are coming up quickly."
Dunc nets but Osman steals show
Mar 5 2003 Liverpool Echo
DUNCAN FERGUSON marked his second game back from injury with a goal as the Blues beat Blackburn at Christie Park. Everton were ahead as early as the fourth minute when the impressive Leon Osman lobbed goalkeeper Ryan Robinson from 25 yards out to give the visitors the lead.
The Blues included young keeper Iain Turner for his first competitive match, plus Ibrahim Said and Tobias Linderoth, who had stayed behind from the first team trip to Spain in order to play for Andy Holden's side. Turner was more than confident in the Blues' goal, denying both Gordon Greer and Jerome Watt in the first 25 minutes. It wasn't long, however, before the visitors were two up. Osman was again involved, being fed by Ferguson in the area, but was brought down by Jonathon Douglas. From the resulting spot kick, Ferguson gave keeper Robinson no chance. Michael Symes replaced the Blues striker at half time - a tactical move by Andy Holden. The former Scottish international striker had done well throughout the first half and was involved in many of Everton's moves. The visitors began the second period brightly and Osman went close again, while Swede Linderoth tried his luck from long range. Stephen Schumacher was inches away from getting on the scoresheet with a shot from just outside the box, but Rovers had their chances, too. Sebastian Pelzer and Neil Danns both tested youngster Turner. Egyptian Said gave an impressive display in midfield, although the big performance of the night came from Osman, who was outstanding.
EVERTON: Turner Moogan, B Moogan, A O'Hanlon, Southern, Linderoth, Said,Schumacher, Ferguson (Symes 45), Osman, Carney. Not used: Cole, Colbeck, Crowder, Beck.
BLACKBURN ROVERS: Robinson, Douglas, Pelzer, Danns, Greer, Bruce, Watt, Donnelly, Gallagher, Johnson, Morgan. Not used: Cole, Renton, Black, Fitzgerald, Harkins.
Supporters praying to reign supreme
David Prior, Daily Post
Mar 6 2003
LENT is a time of year not adverse to the odd prayer or two, but the number offered up this year on Merseyside could well leave the big man with his hands full. In 44 nights' time, on Easter Saturday, Liverpool and Everton meet for what will be the 168th Merseyside derby. But when the fixture lists were released last summer and fans mentally logged April 19 as almost certainly the most important day of 2003, few could have envisaged just what significance it would hold beyond bragging rights.
A top versus bottom clash maybe? Perhaps the game Everton ensured their Premiership survival after another season flirting with the drop? Or the day Liverpool dealt their neighbours a damaging late-season blow and took a step closer to their first championship in 13 years? The permutations were endless, but not many listed 'Champions League place decider'. But 15 years after the last truly meaningful league battle between the Blues and Reds, that is exactly what this Goodison showdown could end up as. So kneel down, clasp your hands and offer up a quick one after scouring the Daily Post's game-by-game countdown to the derby.
March 15 - West Ham (h)
The Blues have picked the wrong time to play West Ham. Two months ago, David Moyes' boys would probably have coasted this fixture. Now, with the Hammers fresh from back-to-back wins and rejuvenated at the once-unlikely prospect of survival, Everton must re-bolster the defence that has effectively put them where they are in the league, and hope they can nick an important win.
March 23 - Arsenal (a)
Oh dear. Not only do the Blues visit Highbury at a time of the year when a second successive Premiership trophy will be almost within touching distance, they do so when Arsene Wenger will send his players out with revenge on their minds. The Goodison fixture between the sides earlier this season was of course the day the world awoke to Wayne Rooney (right), with his net-busting last-minute winner. Last season saw Arsenal take the honours 4-3, but ignore this as it came on the last day of the season with the Gunners already champions. This time the threat posed by Thierry Henry and co will be a good deal more serious. Expect goals again, but how many of them Everton score is open to question.
April 6 - Newcastle (h)
second game in a telling and crucial double-header against two of the sides above them in the league. Fortress-like St James' Park has dealt most visiting sides a poor hand this season, but away from home Sir Bobby Robson's men retain a definite frailty - only the bottom three sides have conceded more goals on their travels this campaign. An unlikely candidate for a goalless draw, but a result in Everton's favour would represent a massive leap towards Champions League qualification.
April 12 - West Brom (a)
The Baggies may already have secured Nationwide League status by the time they host Everton. That may not favour the Blues though - a team is often more dangerous when playing only for pride with the strain of a relegation battle a distant memory. A battered Leicester may have finished 12 points adrift of Premiership survival last season, but that did not stop them beating Tottenham on the final day. Of course, the Albion's renowned vociferous home support may pack the Hawthorns still with relegation avoidance still sustaining them. Either way, then, a game fraught with danger for Everton and worthy of all their concentration, derby or no derby round the corner.
Materazzi row nears end as FIFA step in
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Mar 6 2003
EVERTON hope to resolve the case of the missing Marco Materazzi money by the end of this season after FIFA stepped into their on-going row with Perugia. The Serie A side still owe the Blues £500,000 as part of the sell-on clause instigated when the former Everton defender (left) moved to Inter Milan for £7million in 2001. Goodison officials travelled to Italy in a last-ditch attempt to settle the issue amicably last month. But with Perugia yet to pay up, legal proceedings are now underway with world football's governing body FIFA monitoring the situation and ready to step in. "It is now in the hands of the Italian solicitors and FIFA," said Everton Chief Executive Michael Dunford yesterday. "We hope it will be resolved to our satisfaction by the end of the season." Materazzi returned to Perugia in 1999 after just one eventful season at Goodison Park. His subsequent form on his return to Serie A earned him a lucrative move to the Milan giants and a place in the Italian World Cup squad last summer. Despite his transfer, Perugia are in severe financial difficulty and, in the worst-case scenario, could even be closed down by FIFA or prevented from trading players if they fail to honour the agreement. Everton are not the only Premiership club struggling to collect debts from Italy, with Manchester United owed millions by Lazio from the sale of Jaap Stam. The Blues' next Premiership home game is heading for a sellout despite being 10 days away. Struggling West Ham arrive at Goodison Park on Saturday, March 15 - the first anniversary of Moyes' arrival as manager - and over 36,000 tickets have already been sold. Everton officials, therefore, are urging fans without tickets to collect theirs as soon as possible. The Blues game at Chelsea on Easter Monday will now be shown live on pay-per-view television. The 3pm kick-off has not been changed.
Weir and Yobo star away from home
Mar 6 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON'S defenders claimed centre-stage this week. David Weir was on target for the Blues in a behind closed doors friendly defeat to Jerez yesterday. And Joseph Yobo starred for an African XI in a charity match triumph over a Rest of the World XI. The Blues lost 3-1 to Spanish Second Division side Jerez in a behind closed doors friendly in Spain. Mark Pembridge, who hasn't started a senior match since New Year's Day, Lee Carsley and Wayne Rooney whose last starts came three days later at Shrewsbury, all played. The Blues conceded two soft goals in the first five minutes, pulled one back through Weir - then conceded another in time added-on. "It was a worthwhile exercise," said boss David Moyes. "It was a bit more than just a kick-about and it gave the lads something to focus on other than training. "The break was an enjoyable one." Nigerian defender Joseph Yobo was left behind so that he could play in close friend Kanu's charity match at Bolton on Tuesday. Kanu organised a clash between an African XI and a Rest of the World XI to benefit his Heart Foundation - and 14, 296 fans turned up. Yobo came on at half-time and played well in a 7-4 win for the Africans - but didn't score twice, as had been widely reported. Another Evertonian in action last night was Nick Chadwick, on-loan at Derby County. He hit the crossbar with a close range header in the second minute at Pride Park then wasted two excellent opportunities, shooting straight at the goalkeeper when clean through and firing wide from Ravanelli's pass, as The Rams lost 1-0 to Crystal Palace.
The ultimate accolade for wonderboy Wayne
By Chris Brown Daily Post Staff
Mar 7 2003
HE MAY not be old enough to pop in for a drink but Everton wonderkid Wayne Rooney has had a pub named in his honour. Rooney's Bar is just yards from Goodison Park but the 17-year-old will have to wait seven months before he can legally call in for a pint. The Westminster Road pub has been decked out in colours celebrating the England striker, ahead of its grand opening today.
Licensee Ken Speed is a lifelong Blue and explained it was an honour to name the bar after the Croxteth-born star. He said: "He's the most famous 17-year-old in Merseyside so I don't think he is able to get served anywhere let alone here. "We hope that he will be able to get in for his first drink when he finally reaches his 18th birthday. "We don't think we'll be inviting him for the opening though." "We are having a big party to celebrate our opening so we are all geared up for the launch. "At present, we have a normal opening hours licence but we hope to change that in the future. "If anything else, there are the night games which don't finish until 10 so we don't want to throw out a load of football fans as soon as they arrive." With royal blue walls, an Everton clock and pictures of Rooney adorning the wall the pub already looks the part fit to have his name above the door. It is planned that past Everton victories will be shown on a big screen on match days and when there is no game the bar boasts a DJ booth and dance floor. The pub represents a £100,000 investment in the area by Surrey-based firm Manor Inns. The company has seven pubs in the area and specialises in bars for football fans. As well as Rooney's Bar, the company is also behind the reopening of the famous King Henry close to Liverpool FC's Anfield Stadium. Mr Speed, from Bootle, said: "We also own the Rubber Duck hotel which is a favourite for Irish football fans for both Everton and Liverpool who come over for the game. "It seemed like a natural progression for people who use our pubs in town to go on to the bars we have near the ground." "This is a tribute to Wayne Rooney. He is very young still but an amazing talent. When you look around there are tributes to Dixie Dean but no one more recent. "We wanted to give something that would show our love for Everton. "Around here there are loads of Everton fans so we think that this is an ideal location. "We have made a place that people will want to come here sit around, have a drink and talk about football. That is what we have set out to achieve." John Grondona, managing director of Manor Inns, said: "He might not be a legend yet but Rooney is certainly a player that has captured the imagination of Everton fans. "As for him having a celebratory drink, he's still under-age so he won't be getting any. "But I'm not sure his manager would be too keen on him going for a pint anyway. "He may look a little like Paul Gascoigne and play a bit like him but the last thing we want to see is him following too much in his footsteps. "We came into running pubs for football crowds by accident but it is now our core area. "The company has invested heavi ly in the city although you must keep in mind that we are a small company. "We are opening the King Henry near Anfield as well so you can never say that we are biased about where we place our pubs." Despite his age Rooney is already a marketing force. The image rights clause on his £15,000-a-week contract with Everton means that he makes money on any sponsorship, merchandising and endorsement which uses his likeness in words or pictures. It is rumoured that he is already on his way to his first million thanks to the popularity of replica kits with his name and number on which earns him £3 for each one sold. Rooney is one of only a few in the UK who have such image rights. Normally, celebrities copyright either their name or a characteristic, such as Paul Gascoigne's Gazza or Damon Hill's eyes behind his visor.
Icliverpool And Daily Post
Mar 7 2003
Trust in Moyes
COME on all you Blues fans, it's easy enough telling Mr Moyes where he is going wrong - play Li Tie for Gravesen, Campbell shouldn't be playing. I say put your money where your mouth is. If we all want Europe next season let's get behind the boys and not put them down. They're on a high, self-esteem and belief couldn't be better - are you trying to bring them down with criticism? I expect another glorious atmosphere at Goodison come the West Ham game. C'mon Blues! In Moyes we trust.
Dom Charles, Croxteth
Let super Said play
I WAS in Newcastle last week and thought I would go and watch the reserves game. I was shocked and pleased by the performance of Ibrahim Said. Shocked, because I did not believe that someone as talented as he was not playing for us week-in week-out, and pleased to see that our manager had the vision to spot such a skilled individual. I just hope he gets his chance to play. So let him play David!
James Woodward, Liverpool
ANYONE who moans about Saturday's result has clearly lost the plot! It is so predictable. Instead of moaning because we're close to relegation, we now have people moaning because we're not nearer to Arsenal. A lot of fans seem to be getting carried away, forgetting just how far we have come since the arrival of Moyes. It's a simple fact that you cannot win all of your games and luck has a fair part to play in most games, so we should expect to lose some we don't expect and vice versa. I would have been happy with a top-10 finish this year as it would have shown real progress. A top-four or top-six finish is simply brilliant - here's hoping we make it!
Si Jones, Walton
Time for duo to go
WHAT a fantastic effort this season! Congrats to Moysie for instilling some enthusiasm. Which brings me to Big Dunc and Kevin Campbell - get rid of them and give players with that never-say-die attitude a go! These two don't go the extra yard.
Rooney is good enough so he's old enough.
Rob Preston, Australia
We need Swede
SATURDAY'S result was disappointing, but only in the context that we were in total control for 75 minutes and failed to secure the three points. Radzinski was again outstanding, Weir and Watson also had good games. We desperately need the return of Linderoth for some steel and discipline in front of the back four. I hope that whatever happens from here on in, people don't get critical if we fail in the Euro dream. Moyes has worked wonders, and if anyone had told me last August that we would be fourth with nine games to go, I would have questioned their sanity. Let's get behind them. None of them could have given us more in effort.
Rich Hawkes, Merseyside
One Nil to Blues
TO everyone who questions Moysie's team selections, look at the table. Enough said? Nil Satis Nisi Optimum
Joe Thomas, via e-mail
Merseyside fans help as crowds get boost
Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Mar 7 2003
EVERTON and Liverpool are helping attendances in the English top flight reach a 50-year high, it was revealed yesterday. Figures from the Premier League show that after last weekend's round of fixtures, more than 10 mil-lion fans have paid to watch Premiership games this season. It means the average crowd this season is 35,151, better than any other season since the inception of the Premier League in 1992-93 and the first time that the 35,000 mark has been topped in England since the 1950-51 season. Manchester United lead the way with an average attendance of 67,615, the highest against Southampton in November. Both Everton and Liverpool have contributed to the rise in attendances, regularly playing to packed houses on Merseyside. Gerard Houllier's side have attracted on average 43,484 to Anfield - a small increase on last season's figure - while attendances at Goodison Park have risen dramatically due to the success under David Moyes. Last season the average attendance at Everton was a mere 34,004; the current campaign has seen that figure rise to 38,006 with five games still left to play. "These latest figures show the absolute dedication of our fans," said Everton chief executive Michael Dunford. "Anybody who thinks that the reaction of the supporters isn't the driving force behind any club is very much mistaken. "Since David Moyes arrived he has stressed that the supporters have a key role to play and the level of attendances at Goodison this season have played a pivotal part in the success achieved." Premier League attendances have risen year on year since its formation in 1992-93, increasing by more than 60 per cent. Last season, more than 13 million people watched Premier League football, an average crowd of 34,324. The German Bundesliga attracts an average of 33,000, Spain's La Liga average is 29,000 while Italy's Serie A is 26,000.
Lapse could haunt Swede
Fanscene By Mark O'Brien, Daily Post
Mar 7 2003
Take Tobias Linderoth, the heir to Jaap Stam's 'most serious-looking footballer' crown. No doubt when a Swedish journalist came to Blighty to interview him he thought the emphasis would be on football. What he surely didn't realise was that a few throw-away, uncomplimentary remarks about the city of Liverpool would be making all the headlines. Ultimately he is entitled to his opinion. Liverpool's a culture shock for people from Lancashire, so it must seem like a different planet for a Swede, and it would be amazing if he was the only player ever to arrive on Merseyside and not fall head over heels with the place immediately. However, when will these footballers learn? Firstly, if you say something in a foreign newspaper it will be picked up back over here, especially if it slags off your present manager or hints, however obliquely, at a desire to go elsewhere. Secondly, very little said to a journalist remains off record for long. Given that Linderoth has apologised and made the usual noises about being misquoted it seems safe to assume he did not expect remarks about car crime and dress sense to appear in print. Unfortunately for the Swede though he has had to learn these lessons the hard way and may have left himself with something of an uphill task to win the fans back. IT'S the small things that make all the difference. If he gets back into the side and plays well - and his is certainly a position that is up for grabs - then no doubt all will be forgotten in no time. The problem is though that at the first sign of a below-par performance the less-than-forgiving Goodison crowd could make their thoughts known about someone who prefers to do their shopping in Manchester. Another small thing that made a world of difference was Gareth Southgate's toe at the Riverside. A point up there is a good result for anybody yet it ultimately felt like a defeat as the defensive digit denied the Blues their second injury-time winner in the space of a week. Luckily though, results elsewhere have gone our way, leaving us firmly in the Champions League running. We still have to play extremely tough games against the other top five teams in the division but surely none of them will be relishing the thought of facing us.
Blues hoping to retain form
Academy Football With Chris Wright, Daily Post
Mar 7 2003
EVERTON under-19s aim to keep up their superb recent scoring record when they take on Birmingham City in the FA Premier Academy League at Bellefield tomorrow. Colin Harvey's side have scored nine goals in their last two matches and will be keen to keep up their good form.
Harvey said: "We have been short in goalscoring terms all season and it was about time we picked up on it and we have done over the last two weeks. "The result last week (5-2 against Leeds) gave them a bit of confidence and they have worked hard over the last few weeks and the last three games we have won, and deservedly so, and they have gained confidence from that. "It is up to the players to carry that on. "The way they are playing is more important than the results. But if they can produce performances like they have over the last few weeks the results will take care of themselves." Craig Garside played his first game this year after injury, coming on as a substitute and will again be involved tomorrow. Harvey added: "He came on for the last 15 minutes and he is okay, but obviously he needs games under his belt which he will get over the next few weeks." Midfielder Anthony Gerrard suffered a cut above his eye on Saturday and has had stitches, but the Blues expect him to be fit. Injured duo Damon Martland and Morgan Jones are the only players unavailable.
Alan Harper's under-17s lost 2-0 against Blackburn Rovers on Tuesday and will look to bounce back when they welcome Leicester City to Netherton tomorrow. The Blues followed last Saturday's 6-6 draw at Newcastle with a disappointing defeat in Lancashire. But with just two matches of the normal Academy League programme left the Blues will be aiming to go into the end-of-season play-offs on a high. Harper's side are currently fifth in Group A. They cannot catch fourth-placed Wolves, but a win tomorrow or a point against Crewe next Saturday would see them remain fifth. A team's final position in their Academy League determines how many games they play at home in the first stage of the play-offs, when there are nine groups of three teams. Meanwhile Everton U19s midfielder David Carney's hopes of playing for Australia under-20s in the World Youth Championship in the United Arab Emirates have been dashed. The 18-year-old was part of Ange Postecoglou's squad but the tournament, which was due to start on March 25, was cancelled yesterday because of fears of war in Iraq.
Blues free to bid for Scots pair
Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Mar 7 2003
EVERTON were put on transfer alert last night after Falkirk revealed they were ready to cash in on strike partners Lee Miller and Collin Samuel. The pair spent a week on trial with the Blues just days after their sensational performances in a 4-0 Scottish Cup thrashing of Hearts in January, in which Trinidadian international Samuel notched a first-half hat-trick. And now Falkirk could spark a bidding war after admitting they would sell the pair - along with another youngster, Mark Kerr - if the right offer came along. Everton would face competition from Arsenal for Miller, with the champions thought to be tracking the 19-year-old who has netted 20 times in 51 games for the Bairns, including 12 this season. Both Miller and Samuel are believed to be available for around £500,000 which, even given the financial restraints Moyes must work under, would be within Everton's capability. Falkirk general manager Crawford Baptie said: "If we could sell them on then it would be to the highest bidder. The players know that if someone does come in with the right money then we would not stand in their way. "I could tell you 20 English Premiership clubs have watched Lee Miller. "I look at all the faxes that come in and I have seen Arsenal's. The amount of Premiership clubs who come here is incredible. "It is like a Who's Who in the stand. We have to put 20 to 30 seats aside for them. Last season it would be only five or six. "There have been scouts from English first division clubs as well, plus Scottish Premier League. "But we have only received one offer and that was for Collin Samuel. It was from a Scottish Premier League club during the transfer window and it was rejected." Moyes had used his friendship with ex-Dunfermline team-mate Ian McCall to set up the trial for Samuel and Miller and Falkirk were to have been able to borrow a couple of promising Goodison youngsters in return, but McCall's controversial decamping to Dundee United put an end to that.
Meanwhile, Everton went down 3-1 in a closed doors friendly against Jerez at their continental training camp in Cadiz on Wednesday. David Weir scored the Blues' goal against the Spanish second division side with Mark Pembridge - who last started a game on New Year's Day - among those who played. "We organised the game just to give the boys a break from training," said Moyes, whose side return to England today.
Striking a balance
Mar 7 2003 By David Prentice, Everton Correspondent
TONY COTTEE is an obsessive student of statistics - especially those which chronicle his own 292 goal career - but even he was unaware of one record he has just lost. Between January and December 1993, Cottee made 40 consecutive Premiership appearances for Everton. Last week Tomasz Radzinski stepped out for his 41st. Informed of the news this week, the former Blues forward admitted he was far from devastated. "On the contrary," he declared. "I am pleased for Tomasz. I know only too well from my own experiences how difficult the first season at a club like Everton can be, but he has come through that and effectively established himself as Everton's first choice striker.
"What I do hate, though, is the way people compare him with me! We're very different types of strikers. Maybe it's the fact we're both small!" Cottee eventually scored 99 goals for Everton during his six year spell as the club's record signing, but he had to overcome the same frustrating spells Radzinski endured during his opening season in the Premiership. An analyst for Sky TV, Cottee regularly gets the opportunity to watch his old club in action, and he says: "Where Tomasz really deserves credit is for coming through the spell he had this season when he was constantly having to make way for Wayne Rooney. "I'm a huge Rooney fan and I think the time can't be far off when he is playing every week, but if it is always you who is getting hauled off, even when you're playing well, that can be incredibly disheartening. "But I admire Tomasz for coming through that. Maybe there will be a time when David Moyes will consider playing the two of them together." Cottee, like most of the football world, had heard tantalising titbits about Everton's up and coming young striker even before he first saw him in the flesh. But the reality proved even more exciting than the build-up.
"I commentated on the FA Youth Cup Final last season with Martin Tyler," he explained. "Before I came up I'd heard rumours about this young striker at Everton. "It wasn't the best game, in fact Everton lost 4-1, but every time Rooney got the ball he either had an effort at goal or made something happen. "Afterwards David Moyes was asked 'Have you seen anybody tonight who might be in your first team plans for next season?' and he replied 'Yes, I've seen one player.' "He was true to his word." Cottee hopes to catch another glimpse of Rooney next weekend, when West Ham visit Goodison Park - but when he travels North he knows which of his former clubs he expects to triumph. "Everyone knows I am West Ham born and bred," he said. "We have some very good players individually at the moment but we just aren't doing it as a team." Cottee still has divided loyalties, despite almost a decade having passed since Mike Walker injudiciously swopped Cottee for David Burrows - and gave The Hammers a cash top-up as part of the deal. "I still watch Everton whenever I can," he said "although I think only David Unsworth remains from when I was there. It's easy to forget that I left in September 1994, nearly 10 years ago. "In fact it's the 15th anniversary this year of that famous game when I made my debut! "I've enjoyed watching them, but I get the best of both worlds at the moment. I work on the matchday hospitality at West Ham so I see all their home games, then when The Hammers are away I work for Sky and as I'm the only ex-Everton player working there I usually get their games to watch. "It's been a joy to watch them again."
I could have been Jerez manager
Mar 7 2003 By Howard Kendall
I NOTED with some interest that Everton played a friendly match against Spanish side Jerez on Wednesday. If things had gone only slightly differently, I might have been plotting against Everton that afternoon! I was approached to become the manager of Jerez a couple of years ago - and actually flew out to have talks. It is a well organised club, situated in a stunningly beautiful part of Spain and I was prepared to take over for a six-month spell until the end of that season. It was only after we had agreed terms that it was announced the Spanish FA had a rule bar-ring foreign managers from working in the lower leagues - and I never became Jerez coach! I have kept an eye on their progress since, and am not surprised that they upset Everton. They should have won promotion last season but blew it in the run-in, and they are going well again this time around.
Shocked by Dion's red rage
IT will come as no surprise to anybody that I have closely tracked the course of Dion Dublin's career.
But ever since the day a video of the then young Cambridge striker arrived on my desk, I have never seen him react the way he did on Monday night during a volatile Birmingham derby. Of course, the incident with Robbie Savage will have particular resonance on Merseyside - given the way Duncan Ferguson was treated in Scotland for an almost identical offence - but I think Dion deserves huge credit for apologising so promptly and so humbly. Some critics have suggested that the sending-off helped fuel the fans' unacceptable behaviour afterwards. I can't help feeling, however, that the fans were already well fuelled - by drink, the hype surrounding a local derby and the circumstances of Birmingham's win last time around. It was interesting that Robbie Savage, once again, was at the heart of the incident. Some player s have the unhappy knack of being able to wind up their opponents more than most and Savage seems to be one of those players. I am reminded of the way Alan Ball used to treat the many poor souls detailed to man-mark him during his Everton days.
Before kick-off, Bally would find out who was supposed to be marking him, then he would whistle at the player like a dog. Every time he moved he would click his tongue and shout "Come on, boy!" It drove some players to distraction! Sledging, as it is sometimes known, is an accepted part of most sports - but I would hate to think that a manager has ever sent a player out with the express intention of winding up a fellow pro in a bid to have him sent off. I have sometimes warned my players at half-time not to get involved, after an opposition player had been sent off in the first half and there was a danger of the referee looking to even things up. But I have never asked any player to wind up any individual, and I don't think many managers would.
Blues set for gates record
Mar 7 2003 By David Prentice, Everton Correspondent
EVERTON are on course to break a 25-year attendance record. The Blues' average crowd so far this season is 38,006 - the highest since 1977-78 when an average of 39,513 watched the club qual i fy for Europe. Next weekend's visit of West Ham is already close to a 40,000 sell-out - and with guaranteed sell-out fixtures against Liverpool, Manchester United and Newcastle remaining - plus the final Founder Member game of the season against Aston Villa, the Blues look certain to achieve a 25-year high. Last season's average was 34,004 - and the difference is almost certainly the arrival of the most popular Everton manager of recent years. "These latest figures show the absolute dedication of our fans," said Chief Executive Michael Dunford. "Anybody who thinks that the reaction of the supporters isn't the driving force behind any club is very much mistaken. "Since David Moyes arrived he has stressed that the supporters have a key role to play and the level of attendances at Goodison Park this season have played a pivotal part in the success achieved.
"The board and the club are committed to moving forward and hope these latest figures are the start of the road to recovery." Premier League attendances as a whole are at their highest level for 50 years. The average gate for the league is set to top 35,000 for the first time since 1950-51.
Attendances have risen year on year since the inception of the Premier League in 1992-93, increasing by more than 60%. Last season the average attendance mark was 34,324. No other league in Europe has achieved such continued or increased popularity. Richard Scudamore, Chief Executive of the FA Premier League, said: "The fact that Premier League attendances are set to reach a fifth year high for top flight football is excellent news and a testament to the quality and excitement of the competition year in, year out. "This is the eleventh consecutive season where Premier League attendances have grown, so we must be doing something right. "The world's leading players want to play in front of our fans. Their passion and support creates an atmosphere and spectacle that is unrivalled by any other league. "Any team can beat any other on their day and that makes for entertaining matches and a competition that holds the public's interest right until the last day of the season." The highest average gate in Everton history was the 1962-63 Championship season when 51,459 regularly packed into Goodison. It might not be coincidence that that is also the only season Everton have remained unbeate n at home throughout an entire campaign.
Mar 10 2003
MORE THAN 1,500 people turned out to watch a derby match with a difference at Marine FC's Rossett Park yesterday with an Everton team, managed by Howard Kendall beating Roy Evans' Liverpool X1 2-0. No matter that it took two former Marine stalwarts Chris Camden and Brendan Grant to score the goals, the crowd enjoyed the skills of Dave Watson, Alan Harper, Alan Kennedy, David Fairclough, Ronnie Whelan and several others. But the real winners were Marine with around £6,000 being raised towards the £20,000 target for ground improvements essential to maintain their UniBond Premier League status next season. Marine manager Roly Howard said: "It was one of those special Marine days. "We need to thank all the players for taking part and in particular Alan Kennedy and former Mariner Eddie Murray for all their hard work in organising the game."
Mar 10 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
TONY HIBBERT faces a make or break stage of his season this week - as the young defender tries to salvage a campaign which had once been so promising. The right-back was hoping to restart training today - after missing three months with a gashed thigh and then a hernia problem. But there are signs that the injury has still not completely settled. "It's been a very frustrating time for Tony," said boss David Moyes. "He had a setback after the surgery and he's still feeling some stiffness. We're told that often happens with hernia problems and we're waiting to see if he can join in training today." If Hibbert suffers another setback, it could effectively spell the end of his season. When he first sustained the injury he was a virtual ever present in the Blues' starting lineup and had just been called up to the England under-21 squad for the first time in his career. Since then he has had to watch frustratedly on the sidelines while Alessandro Pistone has made an impressive return at right-back. Injury Everton Reserves are in action tomorrow night at the Halton Stadium against West Bromwich Albion, with Duncan Ferguson excpected to continue his rehabilitation from the injury which has wrecked his own season. The Blues were back at Bellefield this morning after last week's Spanish training camp. David Moyes was delighted with the way the week went. "It was a worthwhile exercise," he said. "We trained hard, let the lads relax with a game of golf and played a match to try and retain some sharpness."
More woe for Alex as move collapses
Mar 10 2003 By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
ALEX NYARKO'S season has hit another snag after his proposed move to Qatar-based club Al-Etehad collapsed this weekend. The troubled midfielder had hoped to see out the remainder of this campaign in the Middle East following his decision to walk out on a second club, Paris Saint Germain, a fortnight ago. But now the move has been called off - leaving the Ghanaian international and Everton in limbo once again. PSG have the right to allow him to move on loan as they hold his contract until June 30. But the Blues, whom he quit two years ago after his run-in with a disgruntled fan at Highbury, are desperate to offload him for good. Those hopes receeded even further when he stormed out of PSG over their refusal to award him a permanent contract, leaving Everton in the unwanted position of either accepting the player back or even letting him go for nothing this summer. French side Strasbourg have been linked with Nyarko but with two years left on his Goodison deal, Blues officials would want a fee if they pursue their interest now. Duncan Ferguson and Tobias Linderoth, meanwhile, are expected to continue on the comeback trail tomorrow night when the reserves take on West Brom at the Halton Stadium in Widnes.
Moyes the man
By Paul Walker, Daily Post
Mar 11 2003
EVERTON manager David Moyes celebrates a year in charge at Goodison Park this week with a ringing endorsement from a Goodison legend. When the Blues return to Premiership action against struggling West Ham on Saturday, it will be a year to the day since Moyes took over. Twelve months ago they were 15th in the Premiership and battling for their top-flight lives. But since the appointment of the former Preston boss, Everton have been transformed into genuine European challengers. Now Derek Mountfield, one of their heroes of the great Howard Kendall era, has hailed the job that Moyes has done on Merseyside. Everton are fourth with dreams of European football looking set to become reality. Mountfield said: "It's been a tremendous season so far. If you had said at the start we would be where we are now looking at a possible European place, people would have laughed at you. "It's been great so far - the important thing now is to kick on for the last quarter or so of the season and get as many points as we can." Mountfield, who was a member of the successful European Cup Winners' Cup side of 1985, is full of praise for Moyes for instigating the rebirth of the Blues. He said: "We have a manager who is positive and I believe that is rubbing off on the players and we are now seeing a winning mentality back in the team. "We haven't played well in every game, and we have lost games, but most players now give 100 per cent which I think wasn't the attitude with certain players last season." He added: "David Moyes won't stand for that. He wants winners. "He wants his team to be the best and that can only bode well for the future of Everton. Why can't the immediate future be Europe next season." Everton will return to Premiership action against the Hammers knowing that neighbours Liverpool have crept to within three points of them in fourth place.
Home and Away
IcLiverpool & Daily Post
Mar 11 2003
In our own hands
WHEN you look at the rest of Everton's season it is all in our hands now. There is no point moaning about buying players as there is no window. We now have no injury problems, no suspensions, no-one being transferred so we hold our fate in our own hands. Players are battling to get into the side and if we want to be challenging for Europe and the title in years to come, we have to beat the big boys. That includes the likes of Man United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Newcastle.
M Macca, Liverpool
NINE games remain and Everton sit proudly in fourth place in the Premiership, ahead of some teams that have ransomed their souls for success. A UEFA berth will be a fitting reward, to go along with David Moyes' Manager of the Year award!
Frank Gates, Liverpool
Share a stadium
WHY can't both LFC and EFC share a stadium?
Wouldn't it be beneficial for the Merseyside area? Both clubs are trying to get back to the top and need revenue to buy quality players. If they combine their expertise couldn't they come up with a stadium that could fit 70,000 fans? AC and Inter Milan do it, for example. I know there is a strong dislike between the clubs but we all come from the same place.
Kevin Holt, (via e-mail)
Happy to stay put
I'M glad the Kings Dock scheme has failed. I was never one for moving anyway and think rebuilding our own ground is the best bet. Somehow I don't think it would be the same playing somewhere else.
O Woods, Dingle, Liverpool
HOW typical of a quango set up to inspire the city to excel, that it should buckle at the knees. Did Barcelona have such a group of spineless people when difficulties were faced?
Ian Wright, Heswall
Foxes fall victim to Flood header
Academy Football With Chris Wright, Daily Post
Mar 11 2003
JACK FLOOD'S goal 20 minutes from time gave Everton under-17s their first win in six matches as they came back from 1-0 down to win 2-1 against Leicester City at Netherton. The Blues are now guaranteed to finish fifth in Group A of the FA Premier Academy League with just one match at Crewe Alexandra next Saturday before the end-of-season play-offs start a week later. The Foxes took an early lead and it looked like the Alan Harper's side would fall to their second defeat in a week, after the midweek reverse at Blackburn. But the Blues came out after the break and took the game to the visitors and deservedly claimed all three points. Lawrence Wilson equalised with a superb 25-yard shot into the top corner after Joseph Jones' corner was only half-cleared. And with 20 minutes to go Flood was on hand to head home from close range after a Anthony Barry corner.
Harper said: "The second half was a lot better than the first. At half-time the lads knew they hadn't done well. "It was just the simple things which let them down, they weren't closing down the opposition - and their passing was wayward. "But they got their act together and played some great stuff in the second 45 minutes. The conditions were not too great, it was very windy, but they did well in the second half and fully deserved the win." But it was bad news for Colin Harvey's under-19s as they lost for only the second time since Christmas, 1-0 to Birmingham City at Bellefield.
It was bitter blow for the Blues who had rattled nine goals in their last two matches. But on Saturday they drew a blank and paid the price as the visitors claimed the points. Harvey said: "It was a poor game, both sides played poorly. Neither side really deserved to win it. They took one of the couple of chances they had and we didn't take any of the one or two half-chances we had. "I was disappointed with the display of my team, because we really didn't play well. Neither keeper really had a save to make."
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Mar 11 2003
DAVID MOYES hopes to set Tony Hibbert on the comeback trail tonight as the rising Everton star looks to allay fears his season could be finished by injury. The Blues defender returned to training yesterday after a three-month absence following a gashed thigh and surgery on a hernia problem.
Hibbert's return was put on hold for an extra month when he suffered a reaction to the operation and another setback would effectively curtail his campaign at a crucial stage. But today, if he reports no reaction to the training session, the 22-year-old could make his long-awaited comeback for the reserves against West Brom at the Halton Stadium. Blues manager Moyes said last night: "Tony had a setback and had to see a specialist because he was a bit stiff but he's trained today and, everything being well, he'll play for the reserves against West Brom. "We'll have a look at him there. He hasn't recovered as quickly as Nick Chadwick has from a similar operation but we don't think he'll need any more surgery. The specialist has assured us this stiffness often happens. "He's a game boy who wants to come back quickly. We'll just have to make sure that he's right to come back." Duncan Ferguson and Tobias Linderoth are also expected to play in Widnes tonight while Brazilian midfielder Rodrigo is still four weeks away from a serious runout following his cruciate ligament injury. Everton, meanwhile, have confirmed plans for their post-season tour of China.
Moyes' men will play two games in Shenzhen on May 23 and 25 of the club's sponsorship link-up with Chinese electronics firm Kejian. Details of the opposition and official travel packages will be announced in the Far East at the start of next month as the Blues look to capitalise on the interest generated by Li Tie's successful season at Goodison Park. Ian Ross, Everton's head of Corporate Affairs, said: "The club's profile in China is now exceedingly high and it really will be interesting to see what the response is when we arrive in the Far East. "We are constantly being told that Everton is now - without question - the most popular European club in China, well, we will find out whether rumour is fact in mid-May." He added: "It was part of an agreement with Kejian that we would take the first team squad to China at the earliest opportunity. Even more now than ever, football is a global sport, a global business. "The Chinese market is thus far relatively untapped but there are many, many possibilities out there and if China is, indeed, now ready to fully embrace European football, we at Everton want to ensure that we stand right at the front of the queue."
Moyes plots Euro drive
Mar 11 2003David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON manager David Moyes will send out his gold reserves at Widnes tonight - with a message to turn up the pressure on his Euro chasing first team. Rooney will join Duncan Ferguson, Tobias Linderoth and Tony Hibbert in the reserve team to face West Bromwich Albion at the Autoquest Stadium (7pm) - and the Blues' boss promised all will be involved in the chase for European qualification during the nine game run-in. "I have made my mind up that I am going to freshen things up in the run-in," Moyes declared today. "I did it last week when I brought Kevin Campbell and Thomas Gravesen back at Middlesbrough and I will look to freshen things up again. "All the players are definitely going to be used at different times because of the type of games we have left. It could be a case of using horses for courses as we try to dig out enough results to keep us in the top six." Moyes added: "All the players in the first team squad have been used at one time or another this season. No-one should feel they have not played a part in the club getting where it is at present.
"We have needed them all as well, to be fair. Some have played bigger parts than others but in my mind they are all equal and I try to treat them similarly." The match-up with Rooney and Ferguson will be only the second time Blues' fans have seen the so-called dream team strikeforce in action together. Ferguson came on as a late substitute in the Worthington Cup at Wrexham, when Rooney scored his historic first goals for the club - and the pair also dovetailed in a pre-season friendly at Queens Park when the youngster scored a hat-trick and put another on a plate for the senior striker.
Egyptian international Ibrahim Said will not be involved because of a family illness.
More reasons to be cheerful
Mar 11 2003 By Kevin Ratcliffe, Liverpool Echo
YET another reason for Evertonians to feel good about this season came last week, when the latest crowd figures were announced. Everton are heading for their highest average gate since 1977-78. The current average gate is more than 38,000, with five 40,000 sell-outs seemingly guaranteed between now and the end of the season. Twenty-five years ago the season's average was 39,513.
But what makes the crowd stats even more remarkable is that Goodison Park is currently not capable of holding any more than 40,000. In 1977-78, when the Toffees finished third and qualified for Europe, the Goodison derby alone attracted 52,000. The average gate was also bumped up by the visits of Manchester United (48,000) and Arsenal (47,000). What that says is that Everton have a large hard-core following who will watch the side every week regardless of the opposition. If the Blues possessed a bigger stadium, who knows what their average gate could be? That home support could prove vital as the season reaches its run-in. Home fixtures like Liverpool, Newcastle and Manchester United are about as hard as you could possibly get - but the Blues have already shown what they are capable of at Goodison by ending Arsenal's long unbeaten run. A side's home form can be the bedrock of a successful season, and the form of the Everton supporters can also play a large part in how a season pans out. At the moment, both are playing a blinder and I hope that continues on Saturday against West Ham. It could prove one of Everton's toughest tests of their nine remaining games - but one the fans can help them win!
Beware lucky Les
SOME players seem to have an indian sign over some clubs - and there's no doubt who Les Ferdinand has it in for. Whether it be for Queens Park Rangers, Newcastle or Spurs, Les has scored prolifically against Everton. And just when we thought we'd seen the back of him with his career in its closing stages and Everton having played Spurs twice already, he goes and signs for West Ham!
I don't think Ferdinand's presence will alter Everton's preparation for the game in any way. They will just have to be ultra aware of the threat he poses.
Blues handed cup bonus
CHELSEA'S late equaliser at Arsenal on Saturday night was good news for Everton. It means that the Gunners now have a Champions League clash in Spain four days before they face Everton at Highbury - and a high profile FA Cup replay 48 hours after! The only downside is that Everton are so improved this season there will be little likelihood of Arsene Wenger resting any players for their visit.
Blues can hammer out Euro passport
Mar 12 2003 By Len Capeling, Daily Post
THERE may be a few faint-hearts who fear a Hammer blow on Saturday. But so few teams have left Goodison with maximum points this season that even a mighty effort from Glenn Roeder's men should avail them of nothing more than post-match good wishes for their desperate battle to beat relegation. The Hammers have shown signs of slight recovery in recent weeks, but remain a fragile bloom liable to be cut down when exposed to the fury that has been an Everton hallmark since David Moyes took control. Moyes knows the dangers. West Ham can play threatening football if they're allowed to. And in Joe Cole, Jermain Defoe and Michael Carrick, they have three of the very brightest young England talents. But their presence hasn't been potent enough to prevent the East Enders sliding deep into the danger zone. Attacking flair is only a factor if your defence is big enough and brave enough to do its job and if your goalkeeper doesn't mix brilliance with massive blunders. Cue David James. The Everton camp will see the three points as gettable ahead of a testing trip to Highbury. Only two words seem likely to disturb that boundless Blue confidence. They are: Les and Ferdinand. Any chance of a training injury before Saturday? NO-ONE has ever questioned the generosity of Evertonians when it comes to looking after their heroes. Tens of thousands of pounds from Blues fans helped provide a thank-you tesimonial for Golden Vision Alex Young and urgent medical treatment for an army of ex-Everton idols, including Gordon West, Dennis Stevens, Fred Pickering, Sandy Brown, Wally Fielding and Gordon Watson. Through Blueblood, the Everton Former Players Foundation and the PFA financial help also found its way to former Goodison stars whose lives after football have not been the happiest. Of £110,000 raised last year, £104,000 has so far been paid out to help those you have loved. On Saturday, thanks to Everton FC, the sell-out match against West Ham United has been designated a Foundation game. The second of its kind.
Fifty pence from each programme sold goes to Blueblood. Blueblood badges will also be available to buy while a series of raffles will take place in the various Goodison lounges. I don't think I need to ask you to give generously, because I know you will do just that. For further information on how you can give regular cash help to the Foundation - the only registered charity of its kind in the country - simply call 0151 520 2362 or write to Everton Former Players Foundation, PO Box 354, Liverpool L69 4QS. THANKFULLY, this column was wise before the event. Howard Wilkinson was always going to be a downer for Sunderland with his his long face and his uninspiring tactics. His successor looks likely to be Mick McCarthy who talks a good game - witness his snappy punditry on Radio Five Live - and has passion to spare. Even so, oblivion surely beckons for these squashed Black Cats.
Watson in way as Ferdy aims to beat record
Mar 12 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
STEVE WATSON is painfully aware he could have his work cut out on Saturday. The Goodison star is desperate to face West Ham in the latest part of Everton's chase for European football. But if he is selected, he knows he could line-up against a former teammate with a post-war record in his sights. The name Les Ferdinand is guaranteed to send an icy chill around all Evertonian hearts. Fifteen times he has scored against the Blues - in a career wh ich has encompassed Queens Park Rangers, Newcastle and Spurs - and just when the Blues thought it was safe to venture out again at Goodison, he went and signed for West Ham. After scoring on his debut against Spurs, and carrying on with a suspected fractured cheekbone, he said afterwards: "The good news is that the crack I got on my eye socket isn't as bad as first thought." Hammers boss Glenn Roeder added: "This is great news for us."
Evertonian reaction was unprintable, but Steve Watson said: "I am aware of Les's record against Everton, because of the reaction when he got off the bench on the opening day of the season against Spurs. "People like Jimmy Comer (the club masseur) were groaning saying 'He always scores against us' and sure enough he got a soft one just a few minutes later. "I remember him scoring against Everton when we played for Newcastle together and while he's had a lot of injuries throughout his career he is still a wonderful athlete. "He's an incredible specimen and I have had the misfortune to play against him as a centre-half when I was at Newcastle and he was at QPR.
"I don't recall getting too many touches that day." Ferdinand scored the first Premier League hat-trick at Goodison Park, when QPR triumphed 5-3 in 1993 - and went on to torment the Toffees whoever he turned out for. Only pre-War Gunners' legend Charlie Buchan has ever scored more against Everton, but in post-War football Ferdinand's League record even outstrips those of Liverpool and Arsenal legends Ian Rush and Ian Wright. "We know how good Les can be," added Watson, "but we have a couple of centre-halves who are on form at the moment and haven't given many forwards a sniff this season. "We hope that continues on Saturday."
It's the Wayne and Dunc show
Mar 12 2003 Liverpool Echo
WAYNE ROONEY and Duncan Ferguson were back together as an Everton strike partnership five months after they helped the Blues to victory in the Worthington Cup at Wrexham. A crowd of more than 2,000 turned out to see the duo, who had six goals between them in less than 90 minutes of football together before this latest pairing, in the Reserves 1-1 draw with West Brom last night.
It was Leon Osman, however, who put Everton ahead after just eight minutes, the youngster took control of the loose ball after Ferguson had made space in the box and fired home past Brian Jensen.
The visitors came close to levelling when Scottish international Scott Dobie saw a volley go just wide of Paul Gerrard's left hand upright while Jordao's free-kick was inches away. Tony Hibbert made his comeback from injury in the Blues' defence which also included Steven Gerrard's cousin Anthony.
Hibbert looked in good form and lasted 73 minutes before being replaced by Brian Moogan in his first game back since a hernia operation. David Moyes has said he intends using all of his squad between now and the end of the season. However, he may have to wait a while for Tobias Linderoth who limped out of the action with a hamstring injury on 73 minutes. Lee Carsley and Niclas Alexandersson also played as did keeper Paul Gerrard who performed well when called upon. In a dull game, it was no surprise that a determined Albion side drew level. Midway through the second half, substitute Simon Brown sent in a cross and Taylor powered home a header past Paul Gerrard.
Rooney, Ferguson and Osman all combined well to come close to restoring the Blues' lead but Osman's shot went just over the bar.
EVERTON: P Gerrard, Hibbert (B Moogan 73), A Gerrard, Pilkington, O'Hanlon, Alexandersson, Carsley, Linderoth (Schumacher 73), Osman, Rooney (Symes 81), Ferguson. Subs not used: Turner, A Moogan.
Fresh injury rocks Linderoth return
Mar 12 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
TOBIAS LINDEROTH'S hopes of reviving his stalled season have been rocked again. Everton's Swedish midfielder out of last night's reserve match in Widnes with another hamstring injury. problem is not the same one which cruelly ended his first team comeback after only three games in November, but the injury still looks likely to sideline him for several weeks. Linderoth pulled up sharply in the 73rd minute against West Bromwich Albion and trudged away shaking his head in disappointment. The Swedish World Cup star has found his opportunities at Everton constantly hindered since a £2.5m move from Stabaek last January - and has still made no more than three successive appearances for the first team. After an impressive appearance against Arsenal in October, Linderoth kept his place against West Ham and Leeds. But then a hamstring strain sustained at Newcastle ruled him out until a return trip to the North-East for the reserves a fortnight ago. There was brighter news on Tony Hibbert, who successfully completed 73 minutes.
Chadwick fears for his future
Mar 12 2003 By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
NICK CHADWICK has hinted he is ready to leave Everton - as David Moyes saw a clutch of injury-hit stars step nearer a first-team comeback. Chadwick, on loan at Derby County, has failed to make a single senior appearance for the Blues in a season hampered by a niggling groin injury. The 20-year-old has seen himself slip down the Goodison striking pecking order due to the emergence of Wayne Rooney and the return to form of Kevin Campbell and Tomasz Radzinski. American loan star Brian McBride has also proved a success, while Moyes continues to be linked with a move for Falkirk forward duo Collin Samuel and Lee Miller. Moyes allowed Chadwick to move to Derby earlier in the month in a bid to gain some much-needed match fitness and he has started the last two games for John Gregory's side. The Everton striker has admitted that he is desperate for regular first-team football - even if that means ending an association with the Blues which goes back to when he joined the club as a 12-year-old schoolboy. "I don't know what David Moyes' or John Gregory's plans are, but my plan is to play first-team football," said Chadwick. "I had a feeling I was going to go somewhere on loan because the lads at Everton are doing really well at the moment. "I've been at Everton since I was 12 and sometimes a change can do you good, whether it's for a few weeks or longer, and it's important for me to get playing first-team football again. "I'd like my future to be at Everton but if not, Derby County are a very good club and I couldn't have wished for a better start to my time here." Meanwhile, injury-hit Tony Hibbert began his comeback with a run-out in the reserves' 1-1 draw against West Bromwich Albion last night at Widnes. Hibbert only returned to training on Monday after a three-month absence following a gashed thigh and surgery on a hernia problem. The 22-year-old was joined in the line-up by Duncan Ferguson, who took the latest step on his road to recovery by partnering Wayne Rooney up front. Lee Carsley also turned out for the reserves, strengthening their claims for a first-team call-up ahead of Saturday's home encounter with relegation-threatened West Ham United, but Tobias Linderoth's recall hopes were hit after he went off injured late on. Boss Moyes has told his squad they all have a part to play in the Blues' run-in for a Champions League place. "I have made my mind up that I am going to freshen things up in the run-in," said the Scotsman. "I did it last week when I brought Kevin Campbell and Thomas Gravesen back at Middlesbrough and I will look to freshen things up again. "All the players are definitely going to be used at different times because of the type of games we have left.
"It could be a case of using horses for courses as we try to dig out enough results to keep us in the top six."
Walter was man to sway me - Moyes
Andy Hunter Exclusive, Daily Post
Mar 13 2003
THIS TIME last year there was only one man capable of taking Evertonians into Europe. His name was Thomas Cook. Managerless, just embarrassed in front of a live national audience in the FA Cup at Middlesbrough and seemingly headed for Division One, the Blues were not exactly down and out but the downward spiral that would take them there was certainly in full force. Fast forward 12 months and the club, the mood and almost the same team are completely unrecognisable. The only significant difference is David Moyes. It was the Thursday before Fulham when the new Goodison boss (above right) was unveiled, following a swift and brave move by the Everton board to appoint a rising managerial force, albeit one unproven at Premiership level. There was no doubt who Bill Kenwright wanted as he drove up to Lancashire at midnight to prise Moyes away from Pres ton himself. For his part Moyes knew the time had come to accept one of many Premiership overtures but it was only after speaking to a Goodison leader that he was convinced it was the right move. It wasn't Bill Kenwright, however, but Walter Smith who sealed it. One year on Moyes reveals: " There were doubts at the time. I had a lot of respect for Walter, he'd been really successful as a manager. "I'd done okay at Preston but to make this jump I had to see how everything was.
"But this felt right. I had turned down several jobs, a couple in the Premiership, but I just felt Everton was the one to go for and that it was the right time for me as well. "The way I looked at it I'd earned my stripes and the opportunity to have a crack at the big time. But again, because of the trouble the club had been in - financially and struggling to avoid relegation every year - it's not something everyone would want to come to. "Everyone wants to be connected with success even if it is in the lower leagues. No matter what the division, it's always better at the top than the bottom. "I wanted to enjoy my Saturday nights and it did concern me that too many Saturday nights might be spent on a downer. "To be fair though, the lads have ensured I've been able to enjoy most of my Saturday nights having a meal with my wife and having a laugh with the kids on a Sunday." Just before he accepted the task of trying to save Everton's Premiership life Moyes got in his own car and travelled to see Smith (left), just days after the first sacking of his long career. "I didn't go to Walter so that he'd banish any lingering doubts about the job," added the Blues manager. I just wanted him to approve of me taking his job because he was someone I looked up to and thought an awful lot of.
"Walter was very good and told me to take the job. He gave me the seal of approval and, as far as I know, he spoke highly of me to Bill Kenwright," he added. "He didn't have a bad word to say about Everton but he did say he thought the team was much better than they were. "He said the team had potential, but there had been a problem with injuries, and he felt if they could all stay fit the team would do okay. That proved to be the case."
Linderoth struck by hamstring injury woe
By David Prior, Daily Post
Mar 13 2003
DAVID MOYES' hopes of beefing up his Everton squad for the crucial run-in have been dealt a damaging blow after Tobias Linderoth suffered a fresh injury in his comeback match. The Swedish international will be out for at least another month after pulling his left hamstring during Tuesday night's reserve game with West Brom at Halton Stadium. Midfielder Linderoth has not played a first-team game since early November, when he injured his other hamstring in the 3-3 draw at Newcastle. The 23-year-old's latest setback will be a blow for Moyes, who had hoped he would play a significant role in the coming weeks as the Blues chase fourth place in the Premiership and a lucrative pass into next season's Champions League. Linderoth may now target the Merseyside derby on Easter Saturday for a potential return. Everton physiotherapist Mick Rathbone said: "Unfortunately, Toby has pulled his left hamstring and he will be out of action for a minimum of a month. "It's not the hamstring he damaged at Newcastle back in November, which was his right leg, but it's obviously very disappointing for the player." There was, however, some good news for Moyes, with Tony Hibbert completing a 73-minute run-out unscathed and Duncan Ferguson getting another 90 minutes under his belt. Defender Hibbert has been out of action for three months with a gashed thigh and surgery on a hernia problem. Rathbone confirmed that the 22-year-old is now firmly back on the comeback trail. He said: "Tony did okay and it was always the plan to give him something like three-quarters of a game, particularly as the pitch was heavy."
Welcome to Moyeseyside
Mar 13 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
HE'S been labelled The Moyesiah, the Man of the People's Club, and the manager who has worked a minor miracle at one of the fallen giants of English football. But don't ask him how he's done it. David Moyes burst into Goodison a year ago this week, bristling with purpose, ideas and energy.
But he insists there has been no secret behind his dramatic transformation of The Toffees. In 38 matches at the helm he has collected 62 points. The man he succeeded took 40 from his final 38 games. "I don't know why it's happened, I really don't," Moyes declared this week. "I do my job like anyone else does their job. "I go and do the job and I couldn't tell you it's because I do this which makes the players do that. I really don't know what it is. I just think that the players have made the job easy because they have tried to understand things we have said. "We have asked them to give their best every week. "We maybe don't have the top players in the country, but at the moment no players as a group are working harder, no players are covering as much distance on the field as our players, so they are the best at that at the moment. And we are trying to make them better football players and make them better tactically so they become a better passing team." Moyes may only have been at Goodison for a calendar year, but he is already aware of the traditions which exist surrounding the Toffees' style of play. "In the past Everton have been seen as a team which is a bit direct and I am trying to change that round a little to make us more fluent," he added. "Maybe I've got it wrong, but my vision of Everton has been as always having a big, powerful centre-forward. "Whether that means playing off that or whether that means lots of crosses into the box for someone to score headers from I don't know, but that's the vision I had of Everton when I came to the club. "We have needed Kevin (Campbell) or Brian (McBride) or Duncan (Ferguson) because it's part of the theme of the football club, but the idea is hopefully to get us back to being a good footballing team wh ich is entertaining. "You want to see your players trying to score and getting forward. Maybe at times that has been to our detriment and we have conceded goals when we could have been tighter . . . but we want to see adventure." Ironically, the starting XI which kicked off Everton's last match at Middlesbrough consisted entirely of outfield players Moyes inherited.
His excursions into the transfer market have been brief, but he intends to add to his squad strategically. "We have only started building," he explained. "The foundations are quite shaky. They are not rock solid at the moment. "We have only started to put a few blocks in and we need to get more in so this is not built on sand and can fall away at any time. "We need to ensure this is something which is going to be here for two, three or four years. "When I first came to the club I didn't ask the supporters for patience because I think it's something they don't want to hear.
"I still don't say that today, but I hope people would now say 'Okay the first year's been not bad' and I would say we now need to get more building blocks in place. "We need to try and get more younger players in the group so they will go on together for the next four or five years if possible.
"In a lot of ways we have already done that with Richard Wright, Joseph Yobo and Wayne Rooney coming through, while Li Tie's still relatively young. "There have been some young players coming in and we have to do that next season with another two or three and hopefully eventually start to mould a team which can maybe sustain the position we are in at the moment for a long period."
Those words will hearten more sceptical Evertonians. Moyes' instant success in the Premiership has already seen him become the target of speculation for posts elsewhere. Fifteen years ago, the Everton manager's post was one of THE top jobs in the country. In recent years it has become more of a poisoned chalice. But when the possibility of future employment is even mentioned, Moyes bristles. "I get really focussed on things and I don't see anything else," he says. "I couldn't tell you what's happening anywhere else. I just think of one club and I keep thinking I have not won anything yet. "I have not won a cup, not reached Europe and I am still young. I am 39 years old and will reach 40 at the end of this month, so I hope there's a long time to go. "You have to be successful if you want to stay in management, but I just feel I have only just started here and I hope that "I am given the opportunity to make that happen and they don't want rid of me. I hope they will allow me to try and form this sort of structure which will hopefully rebuild this club, because there have been too many younger players who have left this club in recent years. "Somehow now we need to re-establish ourselves. Everton are gradually becoming more attractive again. "Obviously people notice one or two young players; they see that the team is doing well and maybe notice a new management team. They also see that the club is trying to get things more settled and more stable off the field. "It's not going to be a case of doing something to please the supporters for the short term, but if people will allow me to try and please them in the long term. "Hopefully they are enjoying it at the moment, but the overall strategy has to be to try and produce a team which is going to be good in the next few years. "My hope is that come next year you won't be able to get in at Goodison. "I hope that you're going to have to get your season tickets early, because you are going to come and know that your team might not win every week, but that you are going to get a decent level of commitment. "I hope that you'll know you are going to see your team try to do their best and hopefully it will be a team which is involved in big games and getting a bit better." So after a year in charge of Everton Football Club, does David Moyes actually feel like an Evertonian now?
"Yes, I do," he declared. "I feel right in there, embedded and ingrained in it. I don't know the history, I keep telling people that, and I can't tell you what's gone on before, but I am quite a loyal person and all the people have been good to me. "The supporters have been smashing and have made my job easy. I think in a strange way they have made the job for the players easier as well because they don't have a whipping boy. "They don't want to get on anybody's back at the moment so it means that the players can go out and express themselves. So as long as that continuues the team will continue to move on. "We have needed that support. I said right away it is not us, it is not them, it is 'we' now - and that's the way it remains."
The rise of the 'miracle' man
Name: David William Moyes.
Born: Blythswood, April 25, 1963.
Playing honours: Scottish Premier League winner 1982 (Celtic); Associated Members Cup winner 1986 (Bristol City); Division Three winner (Preston North End).
Managerial honours: Second Division Championship and twice took Preston to the brink of the Premiership - losing in the play-offs.
* Took his first coaching badge at 22 and used his own money to fund a fact-finding trip to the World Cup in 1998.
* Became Everton manager in March 2002. Since then, Everton have won at Leeds for first time in 51 years, ended Arsenal's 30 game unbeaten run, won six successive Premiership matches for first time since title winning years.
* Was named Premiership Manager of the Month in November.
Special day for Blues
Mar 13 2003 Liverpool Echo
SATURDAY'S sell-out at Goodison Park could spell good news for a host of Everton heroes. The Blues have announced that the visit of West Ham will be their annual Former Players' Foundation Day.
A special edition programme has been printed containing four extra pages, which will cost an extra 50p (£3). The additional charge, minus printing costs, will be donated to the through dation, boosting the registered charity's coffers by around £5,000. The Foundation, also known as any blood, has gone from strength to strength since its formation in 1998. Independent of Everton Football Club but with official backing from the club, Blueblood's Patron is Bill Kenwright (above right). Beneficiaries have been numerous - and include Gordon West, proud owner of a new knee joint which has helped transform his life, and his championship-winning team-mate Sandy Brown, who has received respite care paid for by the Foundation.
* Donations can be sent to PO Box 354, Liverpool L69 4QS, cheques made payable to Everton Former-Players Association. The foundation is registered charity (1080101) accountable to the Charities Commission.
Salute to Blues legend
Mar 13 2003 Liverpool Echo
RECORDS are there to be beaten - but 75 years ago, one local hero established a sporting record which is likely to stand for all time. On May 5, 1928, William Ralph Dean - known to all as 'Dixie' - scored 60 league goals in a single season. It is one of the most amazing and enduring records in football history - and to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the achievement, The Echo will be producing a 28-page special edition. We want you, our readers, to share in the occasion and we are inviting reminiscences and stories of the great man. Did you meet 'Dixie,' maybe while he worked at Littlewoods after hanging up his boots or maybe even while he was host of the Dublin Packet pub in Chester? Or maybe you are old enough to have even seen him play? Please send your memories to David Prentice, Liverpool Echo, Old Hall Street, Liverpool, L69 3EB. The special edition will be published next month.
Blues try to keep McBride
Mar 13 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON are trying to extend Brian McBride's Everton career by a further two years. The American striker - a big hit on-loan at Goodison - has just two more games remaining of his loan spell from Columbus Crew. But the Blues have already had preliminary discussions with the MLS, who hold McBride's contract, at extending his loan to include the remainder of this season and the whole of next season. David Moyes has been hugely impressed by McBride's attitude and form since he arrived in England, but he is keen to create a younger squad of players at Everton and is reluctant to offer a long term deal to a striker who has turned 30. The Blues have made an offer to the MLS and hope to have their reaction by the weekend. "Brian has done very well for us," explained Moyes "and we believe he would be a good acquisition to our squad. He has scored four goals in six Premiership starts and when we didn't have Kevin Campbell available earlier in the season we lacked someone who could come in and do that sort of role. "I remember when I came here a year ago, one of the things I questioned was commitment and attitude, but those are qualities Brian has in abundance. "Because of Brian's age - and I have spoken to Brian about this - I don't want to spend too much money on bringing him here, but I am also very aware he has played a big part in what we have done over the past couple of months." McBride will be in the squad for Saturday's sell-out visit of West Ham, but unlucky midfielder Tobias Linderoth is resigned to spending another month on the sidelines with a hamstring strain. "It's a real blow for the lad," added Moyes. "It's been a stop start season for him and when he did come in for a few games earlier in the season he did well and showed us what he is capable of. "We have to get him fit quickly because I don't want players with long term injuries. We want everyone available for the run-in."
A walkover for Wayne
Mar 13 2003 By Claire Stoker, Education Reporter
AFTER the demands of Premiership football, this was a walk in the park for Wayne Rooney.
The Everton and England star joined staff and pupils of Palmerston special school, Woolton, on a sponsored walk through Calderstones Park, Liverpool. School administrator June King said: "We're trying to raise money to equip a sensory room for the children and they were delighted to hear Wayne was coming along to help us out - the school governors were gobsmacked." The children even got an escort from Wayne on the walk from their Beaconsfield Road school to the park.
Palmerston has 63 pupils aged from 11 to 19, all with severe learning difficulties. Some are in wheelchairs and need full-time care. Mrs King said: "Some of our children can't move very well and are in wheelchairs so the sensory room is very important."
Icliverpool And Daily Post
Mar 14 2003
Rodrigo is not yet ready to start, but I believe he will be on the bench within the next few games. Moysie has stated that over the last nine games, everyone will be involved. I believe a few of the reserves are to be given a few sub appearances late on in the games. Also, the fans are just as important! So a BIG thank you for the great support all the Everton fans have shown. Good luck in our quest for a European place!
Andrew Tilley, (via e-mail)
Blues to Widnes
RE: THE Kings Dock Project: The simple facts are Everton FC are not wanted in the city as borne out with recent developments - only one club gets promoted in this city and it's not us. I would suggest a move out of the city to the Widnes area, which would also be a big catchment area for new supporters. In case fans are worrying that it's too far out, the club could lay on transport to and from Goodison - in reality it would probably be quicker to get to and from there than Kings Dock.
Tommy Williams, Florida
LINDEROTH'S latest injury setback is a blow, it doesn't look like he'll play again this season.
Perhaps we'll see Leon Osman get a run this weekend. He's been in good scoring form for the reserves. Great to see Hibbo back playing as well.
John G, Liverpool
Blues for title
IF we win every game from now to the end of the season, could we snatch the league from Arsenal or am I dreaming? We are certs to win it next year if the Champions League fixtures don't get in the way. I would play Rooney, Ferguson, Campbell and the incoming Inzaghi (hope he's that dark-haired fella, not the other one) in a four-pronged attack, two in midfield and anyone left stays back by the goal.
Thomas, Upper Bullens
Leave Steve alone
THE only way Steve McManaman would be joining in my opinion is on a free transfer. David Moyes stated upon joining that the kind of players he would be looking for would be young and, as he described, the unfinished article. I think there is more chance he will be spending his transfer kitty on young players, who he can mould into good Premiership players. I believe Colin Healey will join in the summer along with around another four-five young players, all with bags of potential, eg Pennant, Lescott, Koumas etc.
Tom Byrne, Liverpool
No poison chalice as Moyes is inspiration
Fanscene By Mark O'Brien, Daily Post
Mar 14 2003
DAVID MOYES seems to be the centre of attention this week for a couple of reasons. First and foremost it is a year since he took over and started revolutionising the playing side of the club.
Obviously Evertonians have the date marked on their calendars and send each other gifts and cards, so thankful are they to have the best manager they could possibly wish for. It's not just Blues who acknowledge the 'Moyes effect' though, it is now a phenomena recognised far and wide, with many commentators saying that Sunderland are hoping that Mick McCarthy can have a similar inspirational effect on Sunderland. Frankly, this does a disservice to the Everton boss. All too often in football people talk about passion and commitment, as if they're the sole keys to success. The truth is though you can shake your fists, smash tea cups or dive into rash tackles all you like, and you may fool people for a while, but in the long run if that's all you've got you will be found out and never achieve a thing. In short, inspiration's fine, but preparation is better. Moyes (pictured) has turned us around thanks to his skills as a manager. For instance, the players do work hard and get stuck in for 90 minutes, but that's because they can due to their much increased fitness, not simply because their manager trots out impassioned sound bites about 'dying for the shirt'. Who knows, maybe appointing youngish managers will become the new craze for Premiership clubs, like appointing foreign ones was a while back. On the surface Moyes has made the Everton job, the 'poison chalice', look relatively easy. Surely that's just a further indication A young manager who is making his job look anything but easy is Glenn Roeder. His West Ham side have looked worse than hopeless at times this season, especially at the back. They still have some very good individuals in their side though so Everton take them lightly at their peril. All the talk is about Les Ferdinand and his freakish scoring feats against us but the likes of Don Hutchison, Joe Cole, Trevor Sinclair and Jermaine Defoe are all matchwinners themselves. We need to start quicker than we have in recent home games and not let the Hammers settle and gain confidence. If we do that then this could well be the hiding that we've been threatening to dish out to someone. On the other hand failure to pick up three points would be simply unthinkable given the big games that are about to start coming thick and fast.
I know what I've got to do - Moyes
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Mar 14 2003
A SCREECH of metal brakes fills Bellefield the moment David Moyes is asked to stop and look back on his year in charge of Everton. Given the upsurge in Goodison fortunes he has inspired since stepping into the club exactly 12 months ago today, it's hardly surprising calling even a temporary halt to the building work in progress does not feature on his agenda. And no wonder. Revival not reflection has been the buzz word around the Blues from the moment the Scot mentioned 'The People's Club' last year so pausing now, for a manager with the driven mentality of Moyes, almost seems a rude interuption. "I don't know what the most satisfying moment has been since I came here," says Moyes, after some thought. "I mean, I continually move on, I don't look back. Everything we've done now is water under the bridge. It's the next thing I've got to do that's the most important. It's the fear of not doing it, of not winning the next game, that continually keeps me going." For the first time in years Evertonians are also looking forward without fear instead of taking shelter in the past thanks to the most sudden, and unexpected, of transformations under Moyes. He continues: "If I had to look back and pick one it would be the first game in charge against Fulham. I didn't know how to dress for my first day, whether to take the warm-up as I had done in my previous job because we didn't have the staff, to trying to get the result and scoring in the first 30 seconds and the reception I got when I walked out. "That lingers with me but everything else since is just water under the bridge. "I know it doesn't seem like a year at all. I'm not a great one for birthdays or anniversaries and I never have been. Others mention them more than me. "But I have to say I can't believe it's been a year already, it's gone by so quick. You don't have time to think about it because the games come so thick and fast and last year there was the immediate pressure to avoid relegation. "This year there was pressure to avoid relegation first of all, I had to make sure I didn't take Everton down in the season they were celebrating being the first club to reach 100 years in the top flight. Now the pressure is on to try and stay in the top six where we have been for the majority of the season." Pressure is part of any manager's every day life, whether taking one historic club from the second division to the brink of the big time or saving the demoralised Premiership life of another. Deepdale to the deep end at Goodison was still an extraordinary leap for the former Preston chief to make when the call came from Bill Kenwright one year ago, however.
And despite the events of the past year, from making an instant impression with his own shot at the big time to nurturing the career of one of Britain's hottest properties in Wayne Rooney, Moyes insists little has changed. "I would say I'm more confident now because I've had the year in the Premiership," he reveals. "I've been to a lot of grounds in the past year I'd never been to as a player or a manager so I'm more confident in that I've been there and done it now. "I've got an idea of what's expected and what's needed and of course you gain confidence by winning games. The players have confidence in you if you get a team together and get results out of them. From that point of view there has been a boost but I always felt I could do it and it was what I was good at.
"Even at Preston I thought I could make something happen if I was given the opportunity to work with a team and I think it's going down similar lines at Everton. "But I don't think my life has changed in the past year. I hope I still treat people the same way as I've always treated people. I hope I never change no matter what happens in life. "Sometimes people at this level are too precious. I just enjoy my work. I'm really privileged that I've been given this opportunity, I don't take it for granted, and I come in every day trying to be as good as I possibly can be. "One thing that has changed is I'm probably recognised a bit more now. A lot of nice things have been said but I'm not daft, I know that could easily change with six or seven defeats in a row. "If things go wrong people will still probably say I'm too inexperienced for the Premier League and I still think I've got to overcome that hurdle. But I'm getting closer to that now." The fact, even with Everton today sitting fourth in the Premiership, Moyes believes there is much left to prove reveals the hunger to succeed that has helped take the Blues so far so quick. He has brought pride back to Everton with indecent haste but, with the restlessness so common in all top managers, Moyes knows it is too soon to wallow in success while the Blues have nothing tangible to show for it. Therefore, just three points will do to celebrate the occasion tomorrow. "It is still early days in comparison to where I would like us to be and where I want to take the club," insists Moyes. "We've not got all the foundations in place that are needed to sustain this level and we have to try and do that. "We've started with some but it's going to take another couple of years to get them all in place. "At the moment we are still built on sand a bit, a few building blocks have gone in but there's more to do to sustain and build on the level we're at now. "We've probably done better than most people expected for the first year but I've been a manager outright for five years now and every year my team has been near the top of the league. "If you'd asked me at the start of the season whether that would be the case this time out I'd have said no. But it's a fact that for the last five years I've had teams up near the top and long may that continue. "Saying that I've also have periods where my team has gone six games without a win so I've seen the other side too. "This has been another good one but now we face three months that are really important." There are many recent examples of clubs enjoying a Premiership breakthrough only to slip away faster than they arrived. So while European qualification remains this season's goal, Moyes' greatest task will be to cement Everton's place back amongst the English elite. The Blues boss says: "What we have at Everton, which maybe other clubs who've enjoyed great seasons in the Premiership and then fell away did not, is the Everton Football Club itself, which has got the tradition, has had the success - and not on an irregular basis but is part of the club's history. "Now we need to put more building blocks in place, we need to keep building from underneath. "We may not have a team back in this position again for a few more years, I don't know, but that's why we need to make sure we continue progressing every season." He added: "We have made great strides this season and every year we need to do the same. It may be a harder progression next year to stay in the top six. "I don't mind the expectations being high, but to jump from 14th to fourth is a massive step. "I want progress to come every year but that progress has to come from underneath with young players coming in to form a good team for the future rather than just this one season. "Introducing younger players is part of that. Richard Wright, Joseph Yobo and obviously Wayne have all had an impact but there are others like Tobias Linderoth, who's still only young but hasn't figured much, and Tony Hibbert around. "We are trying to build a group. We won't just do it with young players but hopefully they can form a team to take us on and attract others. It can't be just a short-term thing."
Harvey hoping to right wrongs
Academy Football With Chris Wright, Daily Post
Mar 14 2003
EVERTON under-19s look to bounce back after last Saturday's disappointing defeat against Birmingham City when they face Sheffield United at Bellefield tomorrow (kick-off 11am).
After two excellent victories in the FA Premier Academy League Group A, when Colin Harvey's side hit nine goals, the Blues three-game unbeaten run came to a dismal end. But at Sheffield tomorrow Harvey's side will aim to put that behind them and also redress the balance a little with their Yorkshire hosts. The Blades won 3-2 just before Christmas, but the Blues felt aggrieved after playing so well. A disputed penalty was also awarded to United and Everton will hope to have better luck this time. Blues coach Harvey said: "We conceded a penalty which was a bit dubious to say the least. "It is not a case of revenge it is more a case of putting right what was wrong last week. We need to put in a better performance." Damon Martland and Frank-lyn Colbeck are still out injured, while Daniel Fox is also likely to be missing after taking a knock on his head in an under-17s match.
Alan Harper's under-17s play their final Academy League match at Crewe Alexandra before the end-of-season play-offs start next weekend. The Blues beat Crewe 6-0 earlier in the season and will hope to end the normal league programme on a high. With several fixtures still to be played this weekend Everton's opponents in the three-team group stage of the play-offs are still to be finalised. But it seems the opening fixture will be at Group D winners Aston Villa next Saturday. Harper has a full squad to choose from tomorrow
Moyes in wait for McBride capture
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Mar 14 2003
DAVID MOYES hopes to discover within the next 48 hours whether he can mark his Everton anniversary with the long-term capture of Brian McBride. The Blues were in negotiations with Major League Soccer officials last night over extending the American international's Goodison stay for a further 18 months. McBride is due to return to Columbus Crew on April 1, leaving him just two more games to add to his impressive Premier-ship impact. The striker scored four goals in six starts to help ease the loss of both the injured Kevin Campbell and the suspended Wayne Rooney and keep Everton in the European frame. Moyes now wants to tie up a long-term deal that will keep McBride on Merseyside until the end of the 2003-04 season. But with the Blues reluctant to go over £750,000 for a 30-year-old and the MLS wanting £1.5million to release his contract permanently, Moyes was last night waiting to see if a compromise deal could be reached. The Blues boss said: "Brian has done very well for us, with four goals in six Premiership starts. We believe he would be a good acquisition to our squad. "Because of Brian's age, I don't want to spend too much money on bringing him here, but I am also very aware he has played a big part in what we have done over the past couple of months. "When I arrived among the things I questioned were commitment and attitude, but those are things Brian has in abundance."
* Everton have confirmed Colin Harvey has been granted a testimonial match at Goodison Park.
The game is likely to be the culmination of the 2003 pre-season plans. The Everton Former Players' Foundation have decided that Colin should be the beneficiary following 40 years of service.
Macca still has point to prove
Mar 14 2003 By Howard Kendall, Liverpool Echo
THERE has been a lot of talk about Steve McManaman returning to English football and coming to Everton. He was a tremendous threat to the opposition when he was at Liverpool, but he has not been a regular with Real Madrid. The question is whether he has the hunger to reproduce the form he showed for Liverpool. There is no doubt that if he still possesses that, he will be a great asset to any club. It reminds me of John Aldridge's situation when he was about to return home from Real Sociedad. At Everton, I got many letters saying I should sign him. The question had to be asked whether he still had the hunger after great spells at Liverpool and Sociedad. May be that's why a few clubs stayed away from him, but what a magnificent spell he had at Tranmere as a player.
He proved he still had a love for the game and he ended up being invited to become manager at Prenton Park.
* WEST HAM come to Goodison tomorrow, but Evertonians should not be looking at the outcome as a fore-gone conclusion. The Hammers' home results have been very poor this season and they have never been great travellers, but they have started to improve and there is no doubt there is quality in the side.
Mick needs a lift
WHEN David Moyes joined Everton he had to get results to avoid relegation. He made an immediate impact and that is what Sunderland will be hoping for with the appointment of Mick McCarthy. They are not down yet, but Mick has a more difficult task than Moyes. However, a couple of early results could lift the team. It's ironic that McCarthy would have been the Sunderland boss before Howard Wilkinson if it had not been for the club's compensation wrangle with the Irish FA. Now they have had to compensate Wilkinson and coach Steve Cotterill, plus the money paid to ex-boss Peter Reid. It is likely to have cost the club far more than if they had simply settled with the Irish to get McCarthy in the first place.
'I wanted to enjoy Saturday nights'
Mar 14 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
IT HARDLY needs saying that David Moyes' first year in charge at Goodison Park has exceeded even the most optimistic Evertonian expectations. And optimism was a quality in increasingly short supply as the club which has enjoyed more top flight seasons of football than any other, flirted more and more frequently with relegation. For five of the past six seasons, under three different managers, Everton saved themselves with barely days - and on one infamous occasion minutes - to spare. But when Moyes arrived he kept his targets deliberately short-term. It's quite simple really," he said. "I want to be able to go home on a Saturday night and enjoy myself, whether it's going out with my wife or whether it's sitting in the house with a Chinese or whatever - and I want to enjoy my Sundays as well. "I know the only way I can do that is if I win on a Saturday and that was probably the only thing which worried me, whether that was going to happen. "At (previous club) Preston I had been manager for three or four years and for most of the time I had been at the top of the league, winning more than you were losing and always close to achieving something. What worried me about coming to Everton is how I would be able to cope with that not happening. I would like to be able to say that I lose well . . . but I don't. "Fortunately we've been in a position where we've been winning. But my expectations when I arrived were really just to hope that we didn't lose so many games that it got me down. "Whatever you say, the best managers have the best players. That is a fact. "Managers make things happen as well, but the best managers do have the best players because they are the ones who perform. I was told before I came here that I didn't have the best players, but I have to say that the players have proved other than what I had been told." The side which started Everton's last match at Middlesbrough was made up entirely of outfield players Moyes had inherited. Clearly his own motivational qualities have been the catalyst for the dramatic improvement at Goodison - and have seen him idolised amongst grateful Evertonians, on a different level entirely to the hero-worship he enjoyed at Preston. "I don't know how to take it," he admitted. "I just come out and do my work and sometimes you wonder why people are saying so many nice things about you. "As a football man I understand why, but I'll never take anything for granted. Hopefully I have not changed from the first day I went into management.
"I have to try every single day I come into training to be good and the players have to try to be good. If we do that every working day hopefully we will be good come Saturday." It was a year ago tonight that Moyes uttered his legendary "Peo-ple's Club" phrase - and little more than a day-and-a-half later the ride on Battlestar Galactica had begun. That first game against Fulham remains the highlight of his time at Everton . . . so far. "Of course I look back, but I'm always looking for something better. I'm always hoping I can do better or achieve more," he explained, "but I think if I had one day it would probably be my first match because of the reception, the result and probably how much stress I was under. "I don't know what stress actually means, but I'm guessing that was stress I was under that day because of the build-up to it, the worry about coming into a new job, the worry about how the public would react to me, and the fact that if we lost we would have been on the verge of relegation. "I wondered what way I should try and act on the opening day. I asked myself should I try and take charge or try and stay away from it? In the end it was just like doing your job. You come into it and just get on with it the way you know. "On the Friday Taff (Andy Holden) had picked the team, but then I worked the team because I knew Fulham quite well having played against them and had a good record against them. "I thought 'this is what we did at Preston and this is how Fulham will play' and I said 'this is what we will do.' I actually think that is what the players wanted and that they reacted right away to being given a job to do and an understanding of what each other as a team-mate should do. "Obviously Unsy getting a goal in the opening 30 seconds, Duncan getting the second goal and then a player getting sent off, us defending for dear life . . . it was an incredible day - and a relief in the end. It was a case after that of going home and falling asleep in the same T-shirt. I was just shattered. "If I had one memory of my first year at Everton it would be that one. I think that was the one which probably allowed me to get my feet under the table a little bit and maybe be accepted a little bit." Other Everton managers - notably Joe Royle - have suffered from unrealistic expectations being heaped on them as a result of achieving too much too soon.. So is there a danger of Everton suffering the same fate as Ipswich Town two seasons ago - European qualifi-cation, a Manager of the Year, and then an almighty slump? Moyes' trademark blue -eyed stare intensified. "Everton isn't Ipswich Town," he said. "Everton has had success for many, many years. I'm not saying Ipswich haven't, but Everton are a big club, with a big support and big tradition. "We have not been a million miles away from success throughout our history, so what I'm saying is we are not going to get carried away because we are doing okay this season. We just need to make sure that we continue. "Progression is probably the word I have used more than anything. If we can progress that will be pleasing for me and the hardest thing will be to progress again next season, but I don't see any reason why not. "I have only been working with the players now just a year so hopefully we can keep rolling along together for a few more years." Moyes admits he has made one mistake during his first year at the Goodison helm, one with cataclysmic consequences. "The Shrewsbury game would be the one big down," he admitted. "What could we have done differently? I should have probably trained the players on the public park across the way on the Friday before we went. "The pitch was rubbish and maybe I probably needed to get my shin-pads on and get my boots on and kick a few in training to let them know this was what it was going to be like. "I would rather be in the FA Cup semi-final this weekend but I am not so I need to try and take a positive from it. And if we finish in the top six, the positive I will be able to take from it is that being out of the FA Cup may have helped us achieve that. "But it will be with us forever. It's not going to go away. It's one of my old clubs in a little town I quite enjoy and I have to say I would be ashamed to go back there and show my face. I would find it very difficult because I am embarrassed how that day went. "So that would be my one big down of the year. But I am down every time we lose, or when we have not beaten teams at home that we should have. "But the one thing I can say is that the players have been very consist-ent all season. Overall their performances have been at the same level near enough throughout." Moyes points to that consistency as the reason why Everton can end the season on a high. Their run-in is exceptionally tough, but he points out: "Why after 29 games should things suddenly change? "Why should we not think in the next spell we will get the same level of performances? "Yes, the games we have left are really hard and it is going to take a big effort to reach a points total which will be good enough to qualify for the UEFA Cup. "But if we do that I think we will have achieved something. I think it will be a great achievement. "We will probably go into five of those games as underdogs, but if we can win two of those games that will be a big percentage towards where we are trying to get to."
Moyes laughs off Cole
Mar 14 2003 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has laughed off the suggestion he is preparing an £8m bid for West Ham's Joe Cole on the eve of the Hammers' visit to Goodison Park. Reports this morning linked Everton with a summer swoop for the 21-year-old England star if Glenn Roeder's side are relegated to Division One. But the Blues boss insisted today there is no chance of the midfielder, who will be lining up against Everton tomorrow, becoming a Goodison regular next season. "I knew nothing about it until this morning," Moyes told the ECHO. "And I don't know who thought I would have £8m to spend. Everybody is aware of our financial situation. There is nothing in it at all." The Everton boss is expected to be in the market for a creative midfielder when the transfer window re-opens at the end of the season.
Former Everton man Gavin McCann has already been pencilled in as a target, while Jason Koumas could also be within the manager's limited transfer budget. But while Moyes is dismissive of a summer swoop for Cole, he is fully aware of the rich vein of form the youngster and his West Ham teammates have been in recently. "West Ham have found some form at the right time of the year," said the Blues boss. "West Ham are one of four sides at present struggling to stay up. When I arrived at Everton we were fighting to avoid being sucked into that kind of struggle, which we managed to do. "People will be saying that these are the sort of games we should be winning, but at the moment matches against the bottom four are the tough-est you can have because of the position they are in. "I will not be treating this game any differently to the matches against Arsenal and Newcastle in the coming weeks. "We know it is going to be difficult but we have got a lot of confidence and our form has not been too bad in recent weeks." Tomorrow's game against Glenn Roeder's side is Everton's first Premiership outing for a fortnight. But the break has not allowed Tony Hibbert or Duncan Ferguson to force their way into the manager's plans. Hibbert came through 7 0 minutes for the reserves this week after being sidelined since the derby match at Anfield. The player has not reported any reaction to his hernia problem but the manager is keen to give him longer to regain match fitness. Meanwhile, the Blues boss is not optimistic the club's attempt to reach a compromise over a long term deal for Brian McBride will be successful. The MLS, who hold the striker's registration, have been in talks with Everton in the last few days but are unlikely to sanction an 18-month loan deal for the player. Moyes is keen to keep hold of the 30-year-old US international until the end of next season but is unwilling to meet the MLS' £1.5m valuation of the player. Everton will not pay more than £750,000 but were hoping a long-term loan would bring about a compromise deal. Discussions will continue over the weekend but it now seems likely the player will return to Columbus Crew when his current loan deal expires later this month.
Everton 0, West Ham 0 (D, Post)
Mar 17 2003 By Andy Hunter at Goodison Park
ONE YEAR ON: Victory eludes David Moyes on his first anniversary at Goodison IF THIS really was the last game before the war, reports of the boys being ill-equipped for battle have not been exaggerated. The troops were fired up for the mission after days massed on foreign soil, but whether they have sufficient armoury for a swift and successful resolution remains open to question. So it was that Everton's push for Champions League oil was put into a stark perspective at Goodison Park on Saturday. Ahead of the arrival of the Premiership big guns, this was the game the Blues needed maximum points from to keep their remarkable quest alive ahead of a tough finale.
With Arsenal, Newcastle, Liverpool and Chelsea all appearing on the immediate horizon the pressure to put victories in storage was paramount. So it was little surprise players talked of feeling defeated on Saturday night when, for the second game in succession, two vital points ebbed away. Disappointment was everywhere. The first anniversary of David Moyes' reign was reduced to a damp squib as the drive and conviction that has underpinned his year in charge was sadly lacking, the party atmosphere punctured by one of the worst displays of the season against a solid West Ham side clearly on the rise. "I wouldn't have enjoyed coming to watch that," remarked the Blues boss afterwards. Yet the sound of boos coming down from the Goodison Park stands on the final whistle was still nothing short of a disgrace. The ones that greeted half-time were at least understandable after a dreadful opening 45 minutes. One reporter's piece of A4 paper, usually crammed with notes by that stage, read only '44mins. Gravesen booked' and even that sounds more exciting than what actually took place. But for Everton to still be met with disdain from some sections of the crowd after a much-improved second-half display, galvanised by a 54th minute triple substitution - the first of Moyes' managerial career he noted - shows some people need a swift reality check. All week the talk had been of the miracle Moyes has performed in his 12 months at the helm, but perhaps it is worth recalling the frightening situation the club was in when he arrived.
Just a draw against Fulham would have been welcomed before his first game in charge, such was Everton's desperate plight. Goalless draws were the norm, not the exception as they are now with this only the second of his Goodison reign. Expectations have risen as they should at a club of Everton's size and capabilities, but a dose of realism would not go amiss at times as the Blues embark on the long climb back to the top. With eight games left to secure a European place the season is very much alive and very much in Everton's own hands even if, as happens to every team, they must suffer 'one of those days' along the way. They certainly did on Saturday. The spirit and work-rate was again faultless after being reinforced by a four-day break in Spain last week, but absolutely nothing clicked against the Hammers, from basics such as passing the ball to the anticipation of a sublime Wayne Rooney cameo. As Steve Watson said: "We lacked quality and creativity on the ball .... it was one of those games where every second ball went the opposite way to where you gambled it would go." With possession constantly given away, either to a white shirt or simply out of play, it was an ugly affair and one that Everton must dramatically improve on against the more gifted clubs to come. On this evidence, however, the impending Premiership finale and the more open games that entails might not be such a bad thing after all. West Ham, as any team defending their Premiership skins would, came with a solid, unadventurous game plan and the Blues never looked like breaking it down. Two banks of four sat across the Hammers' penalty area all afternoon, with the exception of a few dazzling runs from Joe Cole, and their hosts didn't have the craft or guile to find a way through. A scurrilous report this week linked Moyes with an £8m bid for Cole in the summer.
Everton 0, West Ham 0 (Echo)
Mar 17 2003 By David Prentice at Goodison Park, Liverpool Echo
GOODISON PARK turned back the clock twice on Saturday, as the grand old lady was witness to two unfamiliar sounds. First, there was the ubiquitous "Any spares?" as fans frantically tried to cram in to watch a fixture which isn't usually on the must-see, can't-miss list - a testament to the Moyes effect of 12 inspired months in charge. Then, there were the frustrated groans and muffled boos from the Main Stand after a 90-minute dirge of a match almost entirely bereft of any meaningful goalmouth action. The first half might as well have been sponsored by Horlicks, with a couple of Mogadon chasers as, Tomasz Radzinski's second minute header apart, nothing actually happened.
And while the second half wasn't quite as bad, it was hardly a Red Bull-injected revival, either.
Such has been the impact of Moyes' personality on Everton that more than 40,000 crammed into Good-ison to watch this clash. They know that if their side isn't up to winning, they will at least have a gung-ho go. In that respect, the Blues' boss lived up to his half of the bargain, introducing all three substitutes with 36 minutes still remaining and going 4-3-3. But, ultimately, it was just one of those days when not even the presence of Les Ferdinand on a Goodison pitch could conjure up a goal. So where did it all go wrong? West Ham played their part. They defended resolutely and wasted time at every opportunity - Joe Cole producing the longest, slowest walk to leave the pitch this season, following his substitution. Maybe the fractured nature of the second half of Everton's season, following their premature FA Cup exit, has upset the high tempo attitude the manager has tried to instil as his playing style. Perhaps the lack of width and creativity which has troubled Everton before this season was most noticeable, faced with two unyielding banks of four. Then, there was the inability to accommodate Wayne Rooney. It's an old chestnut which has been tossed about before. Whenever the youngster comes on he makes an impact, but equally he can't play alongside Radzinski - and the Canadian cannot be left out on his form this season. Maybe the answer is the one Moyes came up with for the final half hour, introducing Rooney as a front-running left midfielder. He did more than anyone to threaten to break the deadlock, but this match was condemned to be forgotten almost as soon as it had started. Radzinski's second minute header, which flew straight at James, was the only notable moment until Thomas Gravesen tried to give the match a kick up the backside by doing just that to Johnson, and was booked. The second half almost started in brighter fashion, when Stubbs stuck out a leg to cover Johnson's cross, and deflected the ball into his own side-netting. Sinclair had a low drive smothered by Wright, then Moyes made his triple substitution. Campbell (right) immediately made a polished contribution, slickly guiding a header into Radzinski's path. He cut in on his left foot, shot powerfully for James to parry and then Rooney's follow-up was blocked. Watson cut in from the right in identical fashion in the 63rd minute, but mis-kicked horribly and sliced the ball well wide. Then Hibbert's wonderful cross was guided narrowly wide by a flying Stubbs header. Hibbert's return could give Alessandro Pistone cause to regret his inconsistent fitness record. The Italian dropped out, leaving the youngster to be plunged straight back in with just 73 minutes' reserve team football in three months behind him. It was a major statement of faith in his fitness when all three substitutes were introduced early in the second half, and he just about saw it through. Rooney's influence grew as the match wore on. In the 76th minute, he homed onto an excellent Gravesen pass down the inside right channel and screwed a shot across the face of goal, courtesy of a deflection, and in the 91st minute embarked on one of those trademark dazzling dribbles which ended with a shot blocked and a Gravesen follow-up well fielded by James. Otherwise, it was forgettable fare. After an astonishing season's progress under Moyes, particularly at home, it was surely the exception which proves the home rule.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Wright, Hibbert, Weir, Stubbs, Unsworth, Watson, Gravesen, Gem-mill (Tie 54), Naysmith (Rooney 54), McBride (Campbell 54), Radzinski. Unused subs: Yobo, Gerrard.
WEST HAM UNITED (4-4-2): James, J-son, Repka, Pearce, Brevett, Sinclair, Lomas, Carrick, Cole (Cisse 86), Ferdinand (Dailly 82), Defoe. Unused subs: Breen, Moncur, Van der Gouw.
REFEREE: Mark Halsey.
BOOKINGS: Gravesen (44 mins) foul, Hibbert (60 mins) foul.
So much rests on next derby
Mar 17 2003 By Tommy Smith, Liverpool Echo
DERBY matches are always something to look forward to but I can't wait for the Goodison clash between the Blues and Reds on April 19. There is so much at stake: The pride of being top dogs on Merseyside, valuable league points and the hope by the respective clubs that they can send their fans home happy. But the Everton-Liverpool showdown this time may carry an even greater prize for the winners - a Champions League place. With the situation after this weekend's games so tight in the battle for fourth place, whoever comes out top in the Battle of Merseyside could be heading for Europe's premier competition. It would appear that the top three places in the Premiership are already spoken for, with Arsenal, Manchester United and Newcastle - short of a disastrous run - already qualifying for the Champions places. That leaves just one and that has become a battle between the Mersey giants and Chelsea. The Londoners took advantage of Everton's lapse in the 0-0 draw with West Ham to leapfrog them back into the fourth with a 2-0 victory at West Brom. That puts them on 51, while David Moyes' side have 50. Gerard Houllier's men, however, maintained their recent good run to close the gap on their neighbours to a point with a fine 3-2 success over Spurs. The Reds may have already qualified for Europe with their Worthington Cup triumph over United, but they have their sights set firmly on regaining a place in the Champions League, so the climax to the season could prove an exciting affair. I know the Everton boss has been very astute with his use of wonder boy Wayne Rooney, and I can understand the need to be cautious with the young striker. But Saturday's game was crying out for someone with that little extra bit of flair long before the teenager was thrown into the fray in the second half. I would have thought Rooney would have been given the chance to break down the Londoners from the start. West Ham set their stall out for a point and, with the Blues lacking that cutting edge, the first period was boredom itself.
It needed someone to lift the capacity crowd and, while the fans were soon in good voice once Rooney and Campbell appeared, you got the impression it was just not going to be Everton's day.
Liverpool, meanwhile, while still not firing on all cylinders, seem to be growing in confidence by the game. They had a tough UEFA Cup game against Celtic but knew that only a victory would main-tain their challenge. Michael Owen was on target again, and with Emile Heskey in scoring mood and Steven Gerrard playing well, it looks like the Reds are coming good again just at the right time. Significantly, both the Blues and Reds still have to play Chelsea, too, but that crunch derby game has greater importance than ever.
Hibbert in early return
Mar 17 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
BLUES boss David Moyes revealed that Tony Hibbert answered an SOS call at Goodison on Saturday after Alessandro Pistone became the latest player to be hit by a hernia problem. Nick Chadwick and Hibbert himself have all spent lengthy spells on the sidelines after hernia ops - and young defender Hibbert returned after almost three months on the sidelines to replace Pistone, who needs similar surgery. Hibbert got through the entire 90 minutes, and Moyes said: "Tony wouldn't have played normally. It was only because Alessandro Pistone needs a hernia operation as well. "Tony played 70 minutes in the reserves and came off because he felt a bit stiff, but he wanted to play today and did well. "He's probably playing a week or so ahead of when he should have been, but he was needed."
Hibbert helped keep a clean sheet for the Blues, who were unable to break down West Ham's defence at the other end. "It was a disappointing game," Moyes admitted. "I don't think I would have enjoyed coming to watch that too much, but it happens at this time of year. "West Ham did very well. They were desperate for points and defended very well and made it hard for us, so a lot of credit must go to them. "It's probably the first time I've used all three substitutes at the same time so early in a match. I've never really had the urge or the need before, but I think it was needed.
"We gave the players a chance to start the second half and see if we could be a little brighter. We probably did, But I felt it was right to try and go and get all the points. In some ways, it worked a little bit because we were more adventurous and created one or two more opportunities. "The team has done very well and today just wasn't our day. We didn't do as well as we can do and we didn't pass the ball well. We probably didn't deserve all three points. "It looked like a blustery, hard pitch, but we're not making excuses for our passing because it should have been better. "The two central defenders were solid and the goalkeeper was very sharp - not that he had much to do. But his concentration was good and he came and took his catches very cleanly. "They gave us the chance to make sure we got a point, but we just needed some more of the flair players and the forward players to get us a goal."
'Blues paying for cup exit'
Mar 17 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON defender David Unsworth believes the Blues could be paying a belated price for their early FA Cup exit. Since Shrewsbury shocked Everton in January, the Blues have endured a number of blank weekends - and had another fortnight's inactivity before Saturday's goalless draw with West Ham. Unsworth believes that the interruptions don't help Everton's up-tempo style. "Maybe the break has affected us," he said afterwards. "We always train and play at a high tempo from Monday to Friday, and try to play as we train. "The stop-start routine we've had recently maybe doesn't suit our style of play, but no excuses, we were just flat throughout the game. "It was a flat dressing room afterwards and a flat performance throughout. There was no real spark throughout the game.
"We couldn't really get into it. We were pointed only to get a point, but that's testimony to how far we've come. "We are disappointed with only a point, though, and that's the right attitude to have."
Watson: We fight to the finish
Mar 17 2003 By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
STEVE WATSON insisted Everton would fight all the way to preserve their Champions League dream despite dropping two more crucial points against West Ham. David Moyes' one-year anniversary at Goodison Park ended in disappointment on Saturday as the battling Hammers held Everton to their second successive Premiership draw. Chelsea's win at West Brom saw the Blues drop out of the top four, while Liverpool closed the gap between the Merseyside rivals to just one point with their win at White Hart Lane. But even with matches against five of the top six to come, Watson believes Everton can determine their own Champions League fate with just eight games to go. The Blues midfielder said: "We've found ourselves in fourth place and yet haven't built on it. We dropped two points at Middlesbrough and now two against West Ham. "At the Riverside the draw felt like a defeat and it was a similar feeling in the dressing room after this one. We are all very disappointed. We know we can do better and we have to. "I can't put my finger on what went wrong but the effort in the squad cannot be faulted and we will fight all the way to get into Europe this season. It is still up to us." Watson added: "It was a disappointing result and a disappointing display. We were poor. We worked hard enough as we always do but we lacked any real quality or creativity on the ball. "West Ham came with a game plan to stop us playing and you've got to give them credit for that, but we are capable of doing much better than that. "This season we have not lacked effort, and I'm sure our work-rate was as high as normal, but it was just one of those games that seems to happen now and again. "West Ham have been on a good run lately and would have loved the draw before the game while we were only looking for the win." Watson continued: "That's not to say we thought the three points were ours for the taking, but we expected to do much better than we did.
"It was not as if we could say we did enough to win, we never rained down shots on goal and their keeper didn't have to keep them in it. "It was one of those games where even the second ball went the opposite way of where you'd gamble it would go. Every time it seemed to run away from you."
Manager Moyes made a triple substitution as early as the 54th minute in an attempt to liven up a stale Everton display. And Watson admitted: "I wasn't surprised when the manager brought the three substitutes on. When things aren't going well you expect a change, even one like that. "We had two fantastic strikers on the bench so the gaffer threw them on and it did work to some extent as we created more and we did improve. "Taking the positives out of it, at least we kept a clean sheet which is good. I thought the centre-halves were superb and Tony Hibbert was solid for his first game back although I'm sure he was gutted when his number didn't come up for the substitutions because he was knackered!" A disappointed Moyes said: "It wasn't our day. We didn't do as well as we can do. We didn't pass the ball at all well all game. "But we got a point and at this stage of the season you've got to get something from every game, although we didn't deserve more than a point on Saturday." Everton's Goodison Park fans probably saw the last of US striker Brian McBride on Saturday. Everton had hoped that they would be able to persuade the Major League Soccer to allow McBride to stay with the Merseysiders for a further season on loan, which would have cost around £500,000 in fees and wages. But the Americans are insisting on a permanent transfer and want £1.7million. Everton are having another round of talks with the MSL before making a decision at the beginning of this week over McBride's future. McBride is due back with his US club Columbus Crew on April 1, so it appears he has played his last game on Merseyside. Moyes said: "I have sat down with Brian to explain the situation, he understands we would not want to spend such a lot of money on him at his age. He has done very well for us and played a big part in what we have done over the last few months."
Rooney needs to play
By Ian Doyle And Alistair Grant, Daily Post
Mar 18 2003
SVEN-GORAN ERIKSSON last night admitted he would like to see Wayne Rooney play more games for Everton - and insisted England would qualify for Euro 2004. The national team coach has been under growing pressure in recent months for his private life and his team selections, which came to a head after the 3-1 friendly defeat at home to Australia last month. Eriksson maintained that his position would not be affected by criticism as he strives to guide England through to next summer's European Championships in Portugal. And it is likely that Everton youngster Rooney - who became England's youngest ever international in the Upton Park embarrassment - will play a part. Despite his wish that the 17-year-old (above right) had made more starts for the Blues this season, Eriksson praised David Moyes for the way he has handled the striker's rise to stardom. "It's a pity for me he plays very little - but every time he comes on, he makes headlines," said the Swede. "I'd like to see Rooney play more - but his manager is doing very well not letting him play. He's only 17 so maybe that's good." England face a crucial qualifying double-header later this month against Liechtenstein and Turkey. And Eriksson admitted that while he can understand the criticism after his side's recent rocky run of form, his players will pull through. "If you draw with Macedonia then lose to Australia, I don't expect to be told I'm beautiful and perfect," he said. "I accept every criticism but I promise you I don't normally read the critics. "I always want people to think better of me. But I don't really care what they say. At the end of the day, you have to look at your results as a football manager - that's all that matters. I know what I can and what I can't do. "We will qualify for Euro 2004 - I hope automatically. The draw against Macedonia was worse than Australia because you should win against them, so now we must take points in another game. Let's hope it will take more than two years before we're booed again." Eriksson also revealed he would have considered handing Alan Shearer an immediate return to the England squad to face Liechtenstein. The prolific Newcastle striker suggested he could come out of international retirement - only to confirm his Three Lions career was over. Shearer, 32, who quit after Euro 2000, said: "I do not wish to be considered for future selection." Eriksson said: "With the way he plays his football, he could maybe be in the squad. But I can't pick a player who doesn't want to play."
Home and Away
Icliverpool And Daily Post
Mar 18 2003
WITH an abundance of strikers, all of whom can head the ball well, I urge David Moyes to sign out-of-favour Ray Parlour, who is a natural wide player and would supply our strikers with the required ammunition. Steve Watson is a good player, but is never going to go past people. The time is also right to give Rooney his chance and let him take over from Brian McBride.
Phil Harris, Northwich, Cheshire
Halting the decline
I WOULD just like to say 'thank you' to David Moyes and the lads for making this one of the happiest years of my life and giving us Blues the great team we deserve back after so many years of decline.
Chris Sillett, Liverpool
IT was a disappointing performance, let alone point, against West Ham. I just hope the two-week break hasn't taken the edge off the Blues, especially with Arsenal and Newcastle up next. These two games should decide whether we'll be in the Champions League next season.
Dave Biggs, Waterloo, Liverpool
Wake up call
WE have had a season beyond expectation but, to be honest, on recent form, we may just finish in the top six. For the majority of the season we have only ever really played one half, with the other usually being mundane. Then we wake up for the last few minutes - the game of football is hard to win over 90, let alone 20 minutes or so! Now we need 90 minutes effort every game and some consistency.
Paul Wills, Merseyside
DESPITE the bore draw against West Ham we are still above Liverpool in the league.
It is essential, however, that we get something from Arsenal and Newcastle in our next games. The Gunners away is tricky for anyone, but I believe we can take the Magpies at Goodison. I'll settle for four points from the two games. Les Jackson, Prescot, Liverpool
IF we finish in the top eight it will be a good season, anything else will be a bonus. Not bad for his first year, but David Moyes' main achievement is that he has put the optimism and pride back into Everton hearts - players and fans alike!
Thomas Gregory (via e-mail)
BIG thanks to David Moyes: you came in and swept us off our feet with the people's club talk and now you continue to sweep us away with some pleasing football. The doors to the School of Science have reopened.
Glynn Boswell (via e-mail)
My greatest Blue
READING about Colin Harvey's testimonial got me thinking. Have we ever had a poll asking fans who is the greatest Blue ever? I'm sure Dixie Dean's name would come out top but I would vote for Colin.
Since I started supporting Everton as a kid in 1966 he has always been there, first as one of the classiest midfielders seen in a blue shirt, then as coach in our most successful years, unlucky as manager and ideal in his current role as youth boss. A couple of years ago Celtic had a formal vote for the greatest Celt ever, could we not do the same - and does anyone agree with my choice or have another contender?
Joe Rafferty, Ireland (via e-mail)
Gemmill eyes Euro adventure
Mar 18 2003 By Ken Gaunt, Daily Post
EVERTON midfielder Scot Gemmill is anxious to savour the European experience again. Gemmill was part of the Nottingham Forest team that reached the quarter finals of the UEFA Cup in the 1995/96 season. Now he has re-established himself at Everton, a club that is on course for either Champions League or UEFA Cup football next season. That would be a dream for Gemmill, who said: "It was a brilliant experience playing in the UEFA Cup for Forest. "I can't think off hand of many lads at Everton, who have enjoyed something similar. "Getting into Europe is what we are striving for in the last few games of the season." Forest bowed out to eventual winners Bayern Munich after disposing of Malmo, Auxerre and Lyon. Everton have it all to play for in the last eight games of the season and are currently lying fourth after a 0-0 draw against West Ham. Under manager David Moyes they have re-established themselves at the forefront of English football. Gemmill said: "You want to play in a successful team and everyone is enjoying coming to work. "There has been a massive change in the past year. If you go into Manchester you see a lot of Everton shirts now.
"A lot of people have come out of the woodwork although having said that, the support last year was still huge." Gemmill is delighted to be getting a run of games in the side. "I have had to wait a long time to play in the first team but it's been worth it," he said. "Mind you, the manager has said he will continue to freshen things up, so it keeps everyone on their toes. "The manager has a lot of enthusiasm and there is a high tempo in training. "It is a good time to be involved with the club and long may it continue."
Beck makes his a treble
Mar 18 2003 Academy Football With Chris Wright, Daily Post
THREE seems to be the magic number for Steven Beck and Everton under-19s this season. The Blues youngster hit his second hat-trick of the season to help Colin Harvey's side secure a superb 5-1 victory against Sheffield United at Bellefield. It was the fourth treble by an U19s player in their last seven matches and it took Beck's tally to 12 in the FA Premier Academy League Group A. Further strikes from striker Michael Symes and midfielder Steven Schumacher saw the Blues bounce back after last week's 1-0 defeat against Birmingham. Harvey's team have hit 15 goals in their last five matches. Schumacher grabbed his third goal of the season, while Symes, who scored a hat-trick against Leeds at the end of last month, headed his fourth strike since his return from injury last month. Harvey said of Beck, who has been playing further forward this campaign which has resulted in his excellent strike rate: "Steven took his hat-trick well, they were all different types of goals and he deserved it because he had a good game. He played just behind Symesy. It is good that we are scoring goals from different areas, which always helps." Alan Harper's under-17s ended their normal Academy League programme with a goal-less draw at Crewe. The Blues had chances to finish with a win before the end-of-season play-offs start on Saturday, but couldn't make the breakthrough. With defences generally on top, most of the opportunities came from set pieces with defenders Sean Wright and Mark Hughes coming close.The Blues had hit six past the Railwaymen at Netherton earlier in the season and the home side made sure there would be no repeat. Harper said: "I can't fault the lads for their enthusiasm or attitude." Everton ended the League campaign fifth in Group A, with unbeaten Manchester City the runaway leaders. The Blues must now travel to Aston Villa - on Saturday - and West Ham and take on Middlesbrough at Netherton in the play-offs. The eight winners of the play-off groups will go through to a knockout stage with the eventual winners crowned national champions.
Yobo back from exile
Mar 18 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
JOSEPH YOBO is standing by to end his Everton exile - as the unlucky Tony Hibbert suffered a fresh injury blow. Hibbert was sent for a scan on an ankle injury yesterday, just days after returning from almost three months on the sidelines. The x-ray revealed no serious injury, but the player is already rated a doubt for Sunday's trip to Arsenal. "We were a little concerned by Tony's ankle because it looked very swollen and he was in some pain," said manager David Moyes. "We are a little happier after the scans did not reveal anything major. We believe it might be a ligament strain. He twisted the ankle awkwardly after he landed from a leap and he will be touch and go for Sunday." The Blues have a ready-made replacement in Nigerian defender Joesph Yobo. More naturally a centre-half, he played right-back at Birmingham on Boxing Day and also played there during the World Cup. He has not started a senior match since the 4-3 defeat at Tottenham on January 11, but is itching to return.
The second half of Hibbert's season has been dogged by injury. He was an impressive ever-present during the first half of the campaign, culminating in an England under-21 call-up. A hernia problem stopped him winning his first cap - but a similar problem sustained by Alessandro Pistone saw him rushed back into action last weekend. The Blues are still waiting for news on Pistone. The Italian was due to see a specialist this morning for news on a suspected hernia. If the problem is as feared, surgery would effectively rule him out for the remainder of the season.
It's all to play for
Mar 18 2003 By Rob Brady, Liverpool Echo
ECHO reporter ROB BRADY looks at the various permutations for a route into Europe for Everton and weighs up the Reds' hopes of a Champions League place EVERTONIANS may not have been cheering at the time, but Liverpool's Worthington Cup success in Cardiff helped the Blues take a step closer to European football. The chance of a consolation place in the UEFA Cup place should Everton's Champions League push falter was boosted thanks to the Reds' Worthington Cup victory.
Both Merseyside clubs want to be competing in Europe's premier competition next season, but even finishing fourth on the home front may not guarantee that. UEFA rules stipulate that only four English teams can take part in the Champions League. So if Arsenal, Manchester United or even Newcastle were to lift the European Cup at Old Trafford in May - but finish fifth or worse in the league - only the sides finishing in the top three of the Premiership would join them in next season's competition. The fourth-placed club, quite possibly Everton or Liverpool, would have to console themselves with the UEFA Cup. Of course, the Reds have already booked their place in that competition courtesy of the Worthington Cup, while Everton have a long way to fall before they miss out on European football completely. Liverpool's victory over United at the Millennium Stadium, with Arsenal a strong bet for the FA Cup, opens up a bigger window for UEFA Cup qualification. Gerard Houllier's men will be joined in the competition by the FA Cup holders and the team that finishes fifth in the league. But if Liverpool end the season in fifth spot, the qualifying place will go to the club that finishes immediately below them. The various permutations could see a team finishing as low as seventh playing in Europe next season. For example, if Arsenal were to beat Southampton in the FA Cup final the Saints could enter the UEFA Cup as runners-up to the Gunners, who seem certs to be in next season's Champions League. But if Liverpool finish fifth and Gordon Strachan's men claim sixth place in the league, seventh spot would be good enough to qualify for a UEFA appearance. Or should Gerard Houllier's men claim a Champions League spot, their UEFA place earned through the Worthington Cup would normally go to the runners-up. But as Manchester United appear destined for the Champions League, the place would go to the club finishing sixth or even seventh depending on Southampton's final position. And finally, there are three wildcard routes into the UEFA Cup via the Intertoto Cup and the UEFA Fairplay rankings.
Everton and Liverpool have already dismissed the Inter Toto Cup as an option, but the Premiership currently leads the way in UEFA's Fairplay rankings - which could offer one more place in the next season's UEFA Cup. Whatever the permutations, both the Blues and the Reds still have Europe firmly in their sights.
Help remember - the legend of Dixie
Mar 18 2003 Liverpool Echo
RECORDS are there to be beaten - but 75 years ago one local hero established a sporting record which is likely to stand for all time. On May 5, 1928, William Ralph Dean - known to all as 'Dixie' - scored 60 league goals in a single season. It is one of the most amazing and enduring records in football history - and to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the achievement ECHO Sport will be producing a 28-page special edition. We want you, our readers, to share in the occasion and we are inviting reminscences and stories of the great man. Did you meet 'Dixie,' maybe while he worked at Littlewoods after hanging up his boots or maybe even while he was mein host of the Dublin Packet pub in Chester? Or maybe you are old enough to have even seen him play?
Don't blame me for Blues form!
Mar 18 2003 By Kevin Ratcliffe, Liverpool Echo
I HOPE I'm not being held personally responsible, but there's certainly something to be said for the argument that Everton are suffering for the number of free weekends they've endured since going out of the FA Cup in January. To begin with, the players were probably glad of a break after the Christmas schedule. But when that gap becomes a regular occurence it becomes difficult to keep the lads at a peak. At this time of year you shouldn't need to work on players' stamina. That should already be in place and match sharpness is the quality you are seeking to hone. But when you have fortnight breaks between games it's a difficult balancing act to get the two at an optimum level, especially when your style is a high-tempo, up and at 'em type and training sessions are geared towards hitting that peak on Saturday afternoon. On the plus side, Everton now have a game just a week after Saturday's draw with West Ham. On the down side it is an away game at Arsenal!
Despite their injury problems and talk of a blip in form, the Gunners are still the class act in the Premiership. But they certainly won't be playing any better than when Everton last met them - and won. Ironically Blackburn took advantage of Everton's win against Arsenal in October by travelling down to Highbury and snatching an unlikely win the week after. Arsenal will possibly find it easier to play a side who are going all out to beat them, rather than a team like West Ham who understandably defended deep. They will be huge underdogs, but that might suit David Moyes' boys best.
Rooney's new role
FEW would doubt that Wayne Rooney is best suited to an out and out striker's role. But if David Moyes is struggling to accommodate him in his forward line at present, the answer could be the way he was employed on Saturday. The lad has the quality to play in a number of positions, and he didn't look out of place on the left flank at the weekend. It can't be long before Rooney is selected from the start, week in, week out, but that left flank slot could be a short term answer.
THERE was some booing after the final whistle blew at Goodison Park on Saturday . . . which just underlines the standards Everton have now set for themselves. The players have established a benchmark this season, and if they drop below that level some fans will let them know. It may seem harsh, but it just highlights the standards a club like Everton should be aiming at.
Blues fearing worst over Pistone
Mar 19 2003 By David Prior, Daily Post
EVERTON are today expected to confirm that Alessandro Pistone is out for the rest of the season - opening the door to a return for Joseph Yobo. A meeting with a specialist in Milan last night was likely to realise fears the Italian (left) needs an operation on a hernia, effectively ruling him out for the remainder of Everton's push for a Champions League place. Pistone's fellow right-back Tony Hibbert is already a doubt for Sunday's game at Highbury after picking up an ankle injury in the 0-0 draw against West Ham last weekend - the unlucky 22-year-old's first game back after three months out following hernia surgery. That leaves Moyes with a right-back headache ahead of the Blues' trip to Arsenal on Sunday, with Newcastle, Liverpool and Chelsea to follow in the coming month. Nigerian defender Yobo has not started a senior match since the 4-3 defeat at Tottenham on January 11, but could provide the solution. Although normally a centre-back, Yobo played at right-back at Birmingham on Boxing Day and also played there during the World Cup. Hibbert had played only one reserve game since his comeback when he was pressed into action because of the late withdrawal of Pistone on Saturday, but it is now feared he has ligament problems which could rule him out for a few weeks. Boss Moyes said: "Tony picked up a knock during Saturday's game with West Ham and at this stage he is doubtful for the weekend. "A scan has revealed no lasting damage, which is good news, and it is now just a case of waiting to see if the problem settles down in the next few days." Meanwhile, Nick Chadwick has pledged to fight for his future at Goodison Park. The 20-year-old striker is currently enjoying a successful loan spell at Derby County but has reaffirmed his desire to prolong his association with the Blues, whom he joined as a 12-year-old.
He said: "I'm happy at Everton, as I always have been. I'm hopeful that my long-term future is at Goodison. But that's not to say that I'm not enjoying my time at Derby. "It's been great here so far, although results haven't gone the way myself, the team or the club would have liked, but that's been the case all season." Chadwick continued: "The move is certainly serving its purpose in that I'm playing plenty of games and enjoying first-team football. "Hopefully, I'll be able to come back and see the season out at Everton, but we'll just have to wait and see what happens." Chadwick has not made a single senior appearance for the club in a season hampered by a groin injury, as well as the emergence of Wayne Rooney and the return to form of Tomasz Radzinski and Kevin Campbell.
Moyes allowed Chadwick to move to Derby earlier in the month to gain some match fitness and he has started the last three games for John Gregory's side. And Chadwick added: "I just want to concentrate on what I do best and that's playing football. If I can enjoy my football as well as I am doing now, then I'm happy."
Premier run-in is key to transfer funds
Mar 19 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has a twin target in his sights during Everton's eight match run-in to the end of the season.
* A place back in Europe for the first time since 1995.
* And a high league placing to boost the funds to improve his squad during the summer.
The Blues were linked with yet another transfer target this morning - £6m rated Celtic midfielder Stilian Petrov. Moyes dismissed that suggestion - but added that any future swoops would depend on the club's final league position. I have no interest whatsoever in Petrov - and until the board tells me different, we will have no money to spend until the summer," he said. "Even that will depend on where we finish in the Premiership. "We watch players every week and we have scouts out at matches every night, but I know what the financial situation is. At the moment there is no more money to spend." The Blues have been linked with swoops for Ipswich pair Darren Bent and Darren Ambrose in recent weeks - Ipswich's financial predicament means that interested clubs can sign their players outside of UEFA's transfer window. While there has also been reported interest in Tottenham's Matthew Etherington, Dickson Etuhu at Preston and Celtic's Colin Healy - but no moves will be considered until the amount of Premiership prize money Everton receive from the FA is decided. The pot is considerable - with £503,000 per place on offer. If Everton hang on to their current fifth spot they would receive a windfall of just over £8m - plus a £9.4m share of TV revenue and £600,000 for every Sky TV appearance. Champions League qualifiers receive an advance down-payment of prize money, while UEFA Cup qualifiers are guaranteed further TV exposure. But that £8m prize pot could shrink if Everton slip down the table. The Blues board, through prudent financial management, has carefully managed to drag the club back from the brink of a cash crisis - and future spending will not be allowed to reach the reckless proporti o ns o f previ ou s administrations. nEverton Reserves face Bolton Wanderers tonight at Gigg Lane in Bury.
The Evertonian - OUT NOW
Mar 19 2003
THIS month the Evertonian looks at David Moyes' first year in charge. From steering the Blues away from relegation to winning achievement awards, the Blues boss has already had a huge impact at Goodison - and that's just for starters. From one Everton legend to another. Alan Ball discusses the potential of Everton and England's latest prized asset Wayne Rooney. From white boots to gold boots, Ball explains why Rooney must let his feet do the talking. And what is it about Everton and Wales? Names like Neville Southall, Kevin Ratcliffe and Barry Horne have preceded the Blues latest dragon Mark Pembridge. Is there True Blue water flowing in the valleys? The Evertonian investigates. Scott Gemmill is the man in the middle, Alessandro Pistone gives a rare exclusive, and see if you agree with Howard Kendall's Top 10 Toffee goals. You'll find all this and much much more in this month's Evertonian - what are you waiting for?
McBride on brink of Blues farewell
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Mar 20 2003
BRIAN McBRIDE will bid farewell to Everton this weekend after Major League Soccer officials refused to compromise over the striker's contract. David Moyes last night confirmed Sunday's match at Arsenal will be McBride's last appearance for Everton after attempts to extend his initial three-month loan deal failed. Following his impressive impact on the Premiership Moyes had hoped to secure the American international's services until the end of next season for a facility fee.
But the MLS would only release McBride's contract on a permanent £1.5million deal - a price and a long-term contract Everton were not prepared to consider for a 30-year-old. "We are sorry to lose him and he will be missed," said Moyes. "He has done extremely well, exactly what we had hoped for - if not better - when we signed him. "He has scored four goals in eight games, which is a good record for any player in the Premier League. "He has played a big part in our season at Everton and we wish him all the very best for the future." Moyes, who yesterday confirmed his summer transfer budget will be determined by where Everton finish in the Premiership, has suffered another damaging loss to his squad with the news Alessandro Pistone does require a hernia operation.
The Italian is facing six weeks on the sidelines as a result - putting serious doubts over whether he will play again this season. The Blues boss said: "We were informed on Tuesday night that Sandro will require surgery. The operation will take place in the next day or two."
* WAYNE ROONEY partnered Duncan Ferguson in attack last night as Everton reserves 1-1 draw Bolton at Gigg Lane, Bury.
Bolton Reserves 1, Everton Reserves 1
Mar 20 2003
STEVEN SCHUMACHER looked to have earned Everton Reserves a deserved victory at Gigg Lane only to be denied by a late goal from Spaniard Salva Ballesta. Duncan Ferguson again partnered Wayne Rooney in attack as both players look to keep up their match fitness. Ferguson is getting closer to full fitness and may be in line for a place on the bench at Arsenal on Sunday after a hard-working performance. Bolton keeper Jeremy Bon kept his side on level terms on more than one occasion as the Blues threatened his goal with shots by Mark Pembridge and Rooney. The young striker did beat the home keeper only for his effort to be ruled offside. Bolton then came close themselves when Ballesta fired in a shot but this time it was Steve Simonsen's turn to perform heroics in the visitors' goal. In fairness though it was Everton who dominated the first half, Rooney coming close right on half time with a shot that went just inches wide. Rooney was substituted after the hour by Schumacher and it proved to be an inspired change as the young England midfielder put Everton ahead 12 minutes later. Mark Pembridge sent over a corner and the loose ball fell to Schumacher, who volleyed his shot off the crossbar and into the net. Schumacher should have sealed it for the visitors minutes later but Bon was again brave in the Bolton goal. The game looked to be petering out with a victory for Everton but with just two minutes remaining Ballesta pounced to level for the home side. Substitute Chris Armstrong crossed and the Spanish international headed powerfully past the helpless Simonsen.
EVERTON: Simonsen, Said, McLeod, Pilkington, Gerrard, Carsley, Alexandersson (Symes 82), Osman, Ferguson, Rooney (Schumacher 63) Pembridge (Moogan 63). Subs: Turner, Crowder
BOLTON WANDERERS: Bon, Eckersley, Smith, Livesey, Warhurst, Niven, Nolan (Armstrong 24),Tofting, Ballesta, Johnson, Andre. Subs: Forschelet, Howarth, Talbot, Bird
REFEREE: M Matadar.
How Tomasz stepped out of shadows
Mar 20 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
IT is destined to go down in Everton history as "the other goal." Wayne Rooney's wonder strike the last time Everton faced Arsenal announced the arrival of one of the Premiership's brightest stars.
But the goal which gave the Blues a platform for victory that afternoon is often overlooked. Tomasz Radzinski (pictured) cracked the 21st minute equaliser past David Seaman - and has since built on that goal to put himself out in front as the Blues' top scorer. That form has even managed to keep the incandescent talent of Wayne Rooney in the shade. Rooney has cast a shadow over Radzinski all season. Seen as a brooding threat to the Canadian's first team place, he may also have been the catalyst which has produced the finest form of Radzinski's Everton career. "Wayne is a great talent and it's obvious that he's going to play many games, score a lot of goals and be a wonderful Ever ton p layer," sai d Radzinski. "But somewhere in the back of my mind I keep thinking that if I play well and keep my form up, then it will be difficult for the manager to decide. "I'm delighted with my own performances this season. It was so frustrating last season when I was suffering from injuries.
"I've been pleased with my contribution this season, not just by scoring 11 goals, but also in my overall play. Of course I want to improve and score a few more this season to help us qualify for Europe. That would make it a really great season! "I don't have any targets whatsoever, although at the start of the season I obviously wanted to play more games and score more goals than I did last season. As for finishing top scorer, it would be nice, but it doesn't really interest me. "What interests me is that we qualify for Europe - I don't mind who scores the goals." Ironically it was a goal at Highbury in last season's corresponding fixture which first alerted new Blues' boss David Moyes to the qualities Radzinski possessed. Substituted in five of Moyes' first six games in charge, then dropped to the bench for the next two, his only goal had been a scrappy effort at home to Bolton - minutes after missing a chance straight out of th e Gi g gs- Rose nthal back-catalogue.
The forward had already missed another opportunity at Highbury, when he wheeled like a dervish on the halfway line, accelerated half the length of the field and planted a rasping finish past future team-mate Richard Wright. This season he hasn't looked back - and is still the only player to have figured in every Moyes team selection. "I'm pleased when the papers say things like I'm 'Everton's first choice striker' because I've been working really hard this season and it's nice to be appreciated," he added. "It's been a great season so far. I think back in November when we were in a similar position to where we are now, people were doubting if we could continue our good performances and victories. But we have proved to all the doubters that we are good enough to remain at the top and challenge for a European place. "With eight games to go, we are going to do everything to stay where we are. "Everton is a big club with a big reputation and a tremendous history for success. he enthusiasm of the fans and the players is wonderful at the moment and I think success is achieved when you have that level of enthusiasm. "We have a really difficult run-in - we play five teams in the top six in our last eight games, and we're the sixth! So it will be difficult to collect points, but the whole season has been difficult. "If we have the right attitude I think we can achieve a UEFA Cup place at least."
Blues to wave bye-bye to Brian
Mar 20 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON have conceded defeat in their bid to bring Brian McBride to Goodison Park permanently.
The American striker (left) could play his last match for the Blues at Arsenal on Sunday, with David Moyes resigned to letting him rejoin Columbus Crew following his successful loan. The Blues did initiate talks to try to negotiate an 18-month extension of McBride's loan but MLS authorities, who own his contract, wanted a £1.75m transfer. "He will go back after Sunday's game," said Moyes. "The loan spell doesn't actually end for another week, but he is going back for an international match before rejoining Columbus Crew. "He has done very well for us here. His goals per game ratio has been excellent and we desperately needed those goals at the time. "I will be sorry to see him go. He gets on very well with the group and I have said before he would be an lent addition to our squad. But I am concerned about a long term deal for a player of his age." McBride scored on his debut at Tottenham and managed four goals in seven starts. The American is not the only Everton player whose season has almost certainly ended. Alessandro Pistone has received the grim news that his hernia problem requires surgery which takes place in the next 48 hours. The op will sideline him for four to six weeks. Port Vale boss Brian Horton, meanwhile, is keen to extend Peter successful loan spell in The Potteries. The defender was man of the match in Tuesday's crucial defeat of Brentford and Horton said: "He has come from a Premier League side and has played for England under-20s, but he has no edge. "He is a tremendous lad. You find people who want to go to the top and enjoy defending and he does." Striker Nick Chadwick, also on-loan - at Derby - has contrast-ingly declared that he wants to return to Goodison.
Refusing to give up
Mar 21 2003 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
TOBIAS LINDEROTH may speak softly but he is using powerful words this week as he vows to return to first team contention at Everton before the end of the season. The Swedish international has been dogged by injuries this season, his latest setback coming in the reserve match against West Brom last week. Another hamstring strain left the 23-year-old facing the prospect of not being fit for the run-in. But the player is refusing to write his campaign off just yet. "To come back only to get another injury is very frustrating," he revealed. "It was my first chance in the team and I was really enjoying my football, but I got injured and I'm determined to get back again. "I just have to concentrate and work hard to get fit again and hopefully I'll be able to get a few games under my belt before the end of the season. I don't know really how long it will be," he added. "I actually thought the last injury I sustained wasn't too bad, although it took a couple of weeks for me to return to fitness. So, I have to take one day at a time and wait and see. "I had almost three reserve games under my belt and I felt that I was coping with 90 minutes of football." Linderoth originally pulled his right ham-string during Everton's Worthington Cup tie at Newcastle in November and he hasn't figured in the first team since then. But, having recovered from that setback, he returned earlier this month for the reserves, playing three times before breaking down against West Brom.
Meanwhile, Niclas Alexandersson has admitted his international career could be over after he was left out of the Sweden squad to face Hungary next month. The 31-year-old, who scored the equaliser in the 1-1 draw with England at the 2002 World Cup finals, has not played for his club since early January and has been overlooked by Sweden's coaching duo Lars Lagerback and Tommy Soderberg. "I respect the Sweden coaches when they pick younger players, which means I could have played my last game for Sweden," said the Everton midfielder. "I have played for Sweden for 10 years and must accept the time will come when I am not in the squad any longer. Maybe we are there now." Meanwhile, Everton youngster Kevin McLeod has signed on loan for Queens Park Rangers. The 22-year-old left-winger joined the second division promotion chasers today after being given temporary leave from Goodison Park in a bid to secure regular first-team football. He played in Wednesday's 1-1 draw with Bolton and has been a regular in Andy Holden's side but he has made just one first team appearance this season. He has been signed by Rangers as cover for injured midfielder Tom Williams as Ian , loway's side strive to keep Tranmere at arm's length in the race for the play-offs. He will go straight into the squad for tomorrow's clash with leaders Wigan.
Right time to play Arsenal
Mar 21 2003 By Howard Kendall, Liverpool Echo
MANY Evertonians will believe this is the right time to be facing Arsenal. The Gunners will be gutted about going out of the Champions League and defensively they appear to have problems with injuries to key players such as Martin Keown, Sol Campbell, David Seaman and Ashley Cole.
On paper the likely line-up for Sunday is not the awesome eleven people associate with Arsenal.
Highbury is still a very difficult place to go and get a result, however. If Everton manage a point, it will be tremendous. Maybe the way to go about it is the same way West Ham played at Goodison last weekend. They got behind the ball, defended well and closed down the Everton players. One noticeable thing that came out of that match was the performance of both goalkeepers. There were not many efforts on goal, which can make it harder for keepers to retain their concentration. But when they were asked to make saves, both Richard Wright and David James delivered. The mental side of a keeper's game is vital. They are probably in the only position where they work harder in training during the week than they actually do on match days. I have criticised James for too many elementary errors in the past, but last Saturday he performed well. This Sunday will be a massive game for Wright. He goes to High-bury on the back of a clean sheet and I'm certain he will be totally switched on. He will want to prove to everyone down there what a good keeper he is.
Shooting boots needed
AFTER their elimination from Europe, Arsenal still have the FA Cup to focus on as well as the Premiership. Newcastle, on the other hand, now solely have league games on their mind.
Watching Craig Bellamy against Barcelona, he created several opportunities for himself but failed to score. For me, he does not convert the percentage of chances that a top striker should be doing. Robbie Keane is another. It's almost as if they need 10 chances in a game to get a goal. I felt Adrian Heath was a bit like that at Everton. His game had everything, but when he got himself into scoring positions his goals return was not high. Possibly that was why he was unable to become a regular international.
Ferguson back as McBride bows out
Mar 21 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DUNCAN FERGUSON is back in an Everton first team squad - as Brian McBride returned to the USA 48 hours earlier than expected. Ferguson was named in the Blues' travelling party for Sunday's trip to Arsenal, five months after he last featured as a second half substitute in the Worthington Cup at Wrexham. "Duncan will travel," confirmed Blues' boss David Moyes "although I am not sure if he is ready enough to play a senior game yet. "He will join in with Brian McBride having left now."
Moyes allowed the onloan striker to return to the States to prepare for an international friendly against Japan on March 29. Arsenal would have been the 30-year-old forward's final match, but he has now ended a spell which yielded four goals in seven Premiership starts. "I'll miss the place, no doubt about it," said McBride. "The fans have been awesome - just awesone. "From the day I got here until the day I left I have enjoyed every second of it. "I really appreciate what the coaching staff have done for me and the way the players and the staff made me so welcome was terrific.
"I'll still be watching Fox Sports to see how the guys are doing. "They have been fantastic and I've thoroughly enjoyed my time here. I wish everyone all the best." Ferguson has played in three-and-a-half reserve games since coming back from surgery to a painful back problem and will now be pressing for a place on the substitutes' bench at Highbury. Tony Hibbert is a doubt with an ankle injury, while Li Tie is recovering from a virus. Young winger Kevin McLeod, meanwhile, has joined Second Division promotion chasers Queens Park Rangers on a month's loan. McLeod will go straight into QPR's squad for tomorrow's clash with leaders Wigan.
Blues coach looks down under
Mar 21 2003 Tribalfootball.com
EVERTON coach, Andy Kershaw has set his sights on an Australian homecoming this year. After four years on Everton's coaching staff, former Sydney City star Alan Kershaw is considering a move down under and has already spoken with NSL clubs about next season. "Yes, I have contacted clubs in the NSL and I have read that my name has been linked with a few jobs," Kershaw told tribalfootball.com.
"I also have an offer on the table from a South African club side." Kershaw, who works with Everton's schools and academy set-up in Netherton, has also thrown his name into the hat to succeed former Australia assistant coach Les Schienflug with the Fijian national team. But the Scot is keen to work in Australia and added, "Australian football is improving all the time. They have produced some great players over the years. "I would like to be a part of that future and to help produce more great players. I also loved the lifestyle in Australia - the sun, sea and football!" At Everton, Kershaw has developed string links with Scandinavian football, which has been built on from his time with IFK Malmo. "I played with Malmo for three years after I left Sydney City in 1979. It was a great experience to play in Sweden. "Since working at Everton I have been invited to attend coaching seminars in Sweden and Norway. They were a great experience; you get to meet and watch coaches from other countries. "I also visited Brazil last year for 15 days to take the Brazilian coaching license." Now the globetrotting Scot, still highly regarded by long-time NSW football identities, is hoping to put down roots back in Oz. With so much coaching upheaval at NSL level this season, a man of Kershaw's experience - with his work in developing young players - would fit nicely in the current climate sweeping Australian football.
IcLiverpool & Daily Post
Mar 21 2003
Magic times ahead
TOO MANY people are assuming we are going to just fold the tent up and go home because of all the tough games we have coming up. Nothing about our manager suggests to me he will be satisfied with anything other than a UEFA Cup place. I seem to remember a difficult run of six games earlier in the season when we got 18 straight points when most people were expecting only six or seven.
In a year of massive improvement why should we not be hopeful of another couple of magical occasions. Over to you messrs Rooney and Radzinski.
Brian MacDougal (via e-mail)
No need to panic
LET'S NOT push the panic button yet. European qualification would be a massive boost and give us some badly-needed cash, but I remember longing for a mid-table finish not too long ago.
If we're looking to the future - which is probaby the best thing to do - let's throw caution to the wind and let Rooney and Osman cut their teeth. Protection is one thing, but we need to let Rooney have a taste of playing in big games regularly. As for Osman, what more does he need to do? Give them a run in the team, it'll be massive experience for them and it'll be in a positive situation - no relegation pressure. Who knows, maybe we'll get a couple of those tricky results and get into Europe. No harm done if we don't
Myles Reed (via e-mail)
Pace holds the key
THE ONLY weakness in the Arsenal team is a defence that's suspect when faced with pace. Please play Radzinski and Rooney from the start.
Tom Roberts, Liverpool
Show no fear
YES, West Ham was a massive setback but I see no reason why we can't keep pushing for Europe. Arsenal away is a big test, but if they wobble against Valencia, who knows? The game last season at Highbury shows Moyes' intent - 4-3. We still have to think of going into every game to win it; if we show one ounce of despair or disappointment now we'll sink like a stone. However Moyes needs to get back to the team that started the season - Yobo in the centre of defence, Li Tie for Gemmill, and Rooney for Radzinski
D Tarbuck, (via e-mail)
SINCE the 0-0 draw with West Ham there has been a lot said about Moyes' tactics and team selection. Obviously some ave short memories; this time last year we were suffering another doomed season. Now fifth, if we finish eighth who could possibly be disappointed? Keep things in perspective.
Rob Jones, Halewood, Liverpool
Scot looked great
I CAN'T believe the stick that Scot Gemmill is getting. I was at the game on Saturday and felt that he was by far and away head and shoulders above any of the Blues on show. Was I at a different game?
A difficult game this weekend, but at least on paper we have a far stronger midfield than theirs and this is where the game should be won.
Ian Cowley, Liverpool
Start with Rooney
DAVID MOYES should play Wayne Rooney from the start because he can shake up teams and score goals. I think he deserves the chance. He will be on fire against Arsenal.
Steven Costello, Liverpool
Difficult start for Blue boys
Academy Football With Chris Wright, Daily Post
Mar 21 2003
EVERTON under-17s have the chance to start the season afresh tomorrow when they begin the end-of-season play-offs at Aston Villa (kick-off 11am). Everton are in a three-team first stage group with Villa, West Ham and Middlesbrough and will be keen to finish top and secure a quarter-final spot.
But the Blues know that they will face a tough claret and blue away double against Villa tomorrow and West Ham next Saturday. And having been beaten by Aston Villa in last season's FA Youth Cup final, the Blues know any game against the Midlanders will be tough. Coach Alan Harper said: "Villa have done well in their league so it should be quite a good game. They generally have a good side, while we beat West Ham 2-0 at the start of the season, but things change." Now the Blues are in a knock-out situation, results as just a vital as performances. Harper has no injury worries for tomorrow. Colin Harvey's under-19s will aim to continue their fine goalscoring run when they travel to Wolverhampton Wanderers tomorrow (kick-off 11am). The Blues have grabbed 15 goals in their last five matches, the latest the 5-1 rout of Sheffield United last Saturday. And with just six games left to the end of the campaign many of the Blues youngsters will be looking to impress to gain a full-time contract at the club. One player who has been taking the eye is attacking midfielder Steven Beck. His hat-trick last week was his second of the campaign and his goals make him the side's top scorer at Academy
But while Harvey is delighted with his side's offensive displays recently he knows there is always room for improvement. He said: "It is nice the goals are being spread around, but we conceded again on Saturday. We haven't had a clean sheet since the Barnsley game (on February 8) and before that it was a long time." Scott Brown, who picked up a knock on international duty with England last week in Switzerland, missed Saturday's game, as did Brian Moogan, who had a calf strain. But Everton hope both can return this week. Long-term casualty Damon Martland is still out, while Daniel Fox will again be missing with concussion.
McLeod set to be loan Ranger
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Mar 21 2003
EVERTON WINGER Kevin McLeod has joined Queens Park Rangers on a month's loan. The 22-year-old is expected to team up with the second division promotion chasers today after being given temporary leave from Goodison Park in a bid to secure regular first team football. McLeod, a member of Everton's 1998 FA Youth Cup winning side, has been a regular for the reserves for the past few seasons and played in Wednesday's 1-1 draw with Bolton. But he has made just the one first team appearance this season - as a late substitute in the FA Cup exit at Shrewsbury. Blues manager David Moyes is anxious his young fringe players experience first team football and has already loaned out Peter Clarke (Blackpool and Port Vale), Leon Osman (Carlisle), George Pilkington (Exeter) and Nick Chadwick (Derby) this season. McLeod should gain valuable experience at QPR where manager Ian Holloway has just lost left-winger Tommy Williams through injury and Lee Cook, who has returned to Watford after a loan spell at Loftus Road. Moyes, meanwhile, will assess the fitness of Duncan Ferguson before selecting his squad to face league leaders Arsenal on Sunday.
The Blues striker played the full 90 minutes in his latest reserve outing on Wednesday and with Brian McBride returning to America yesterday Ferguson could be in line for a return at Highbury. McBride's American club Columbus Crew wanted the striker back for the start of the MLS season on Sunday. And the 30-year-old will go straight into their squad for the opening match.
Ex-Blue Peter is Leeds boss
Mar 21 2003
PETER REID has been appointed caretaker manager of Leeds United. The shock announcement was made this morning only hours after Terry Venables' turbulent eight-month Elland Road reign ended.
It was widely expected that former assistant boss Eddie Gray would take over until the end of the season, when a high-profile former player - such as Micky Adams, Paul Hart or Gordon Strachan - would be handed the job full-time. The former Everton midfielder has been out of work since being sacked as Sunderland manager in October after a disastrous start to the season. The former Gwladys Street favourite will oversee the last eight games of the season - ironically starting with a trip to Anfield on Sunday. Leeds Supporters' Club chairman Ray Fell was "bewildered" but not surprised by news of Venables' departure. Speculation has been rife during the last week that moves were afoot for another shake-up just nine months after the club sacked former boss David O'Leary. But Fell was baffled by the timing of the decision - two days before a trip to Liverpool and with only eight matches of the season remaining and Leeds just three places and seven points above the relegation zone. "The fans won't be surprised - it has been one of the those seasons," Fell said.
"We don't know if it is by mutual consent, whether Terry has resigned or whether he has been pushed but I don't think the change is a surprise. "We are a bit a bewildered with the way it has been handled." Fell said little blame could be laid at Venables' door after watching six of the team's best international play-ers sold from underneath him despite assurances to the contrary. Central defender Rio Ferdinand was followed out of the door by Olivier Dacourt (on loan), Robbie Keane, Lee Bowyer, Robbie Fowler and Jonathan Woodgate. "I think first and foremost Terry took on a position that had a promise that was not fulfilled," said Fell. "He has not had the resources he thought he would have taking the job and I don't think the fans will blame Venables for what has happened."
Former Leeds left-back Tony Dorigo was also surprised at the timing of Venables' departure.
"I think it was expected in the summer because what sort of manager can survive after losing a handful of established internationals?," he said. "Unfortunately he has achieved absolutely nothing. I think it has been very tough on Terry to come into a situation where the only thing happening has been players going out of the door. "I thought Woodgate was going to be the breaking point, either that or he would stay until the summer. "I'm sure his position was pretty much untenable before and now it is finished. "The club are left in the lurch and have to get at least four points, probably six to be safe." Dorigo expressed concern that the immediate future looked bleak for both the club and chairman Peter Ridsdale, who ultimately sanctioned the sales of star players. "It is going to be tough for Ridsdale," Dorigo added. "Everyone was looking for stability (after the transfer window closed) but I think the first bit of stability they need will be financial. "But the players will now be thinking 'What is going on in this place?'. The sooner they get stability from top to bottom the better. "If the club sells internationals players you can't really say it is the manager's fault." Venables lost six of his last eight games in charge. Leeds were knocked out of both domestic cups at the hands of Sheffield United.
Arsenal 2, Everton 1 (D, Post)
Mar 24 2003 By Andy Hunter At Highbury, Daily Post
ARSENAL answered all the questions posed about their desire and ability to hang onto the remaining prizes this season has to offer them yesterday. Bizarrely, even in defeat, so did Everton.
As feared, backlashes from midweek European defeats saw the Blues caught up in a series of leapfrogs as the champions overtook Manchester United at the top at the first time of asking and Liverpool ended a regional reign of superiority that had lasted four months. Defeat in the first of five tough tests that will determine Everton's own European fate, therefore, marked the end for their local bragging rights. Whether it marks the beginning of the end of their season's ambition remains to be seen. On this evidence, the inescapable conclusion is no. Days out at Highbury tend to follow a pattern for the men from Goodison; greeted by glorious sunshine, suffer a good hiding and then watch the home team collect their championship medals. Not any more. The blazing sun turned up as usual and the Blues went home beaten once again but that is where similarities with Highbury humiliations of the recent past start and finish. Everton more than held their own against an Arsenal side bruised, sore and fired-up after their Champions League exit in Valencia. Victory would have flattered the visitors, even after Wayne Rooney executed his latest wonder goal in front of Sven-Goran Eriksson to seal his place in the England squad just when the Swede was casting doubt. But the bottom line is, for all of the Gunners' class, experience and first-half superiority, they only triumphed thanks to a goal that should never have stood. Whether it was for a foul on David Unsworth by Dennis Bergkamp as they both chased a loose ball inside the Everton area, or an offside decision against Freddie Ljungberg when it ultimately broke to Patrick Vieira, there was enough cause for referee Alan Wiley to disallow Arsenal's controversial 64th-minute winner. He ignored both claims, Vieira lashed the ball past Richard Wright, and David Moyes' men were left with nothing. Even so, such was the improvement made after the interval by his side that the seven remaining matches can only be approached with belief not dread. Few teams leave Highbury harbouring hard luck stories but the Blues are one. What they lack in individual class they make up for with collective spirit and this second-half display showed they can, in Moyes' words, "live with the big boys". They also need the breaks to beat them and remain there, however. Once Rooney had levelled with his latest blockbuster Everton should have capitalised on Arsenal's recent woes only for the absence of a more clinical touch and a failure to stop the build-up to Vieira's winner in the first place to prove their undoing. Smarting though Arsenal were from their Champions League exit they could at least console themselves by fielding a formidable line-up against the Blues, Vieira and Sol Campbell passing late fitness tests to join a near full-strength side and prove major obstacles to Everton hopes all afternoon. Ultimately Moyes was the man who rang the changes, five in fact from the team that started against West Ham eight days previous. It wasn't just the watching Eriksson who needed Rooney - after Tomasz Radzinski picked up a knock in training late on Friday Everton did too. The youngster's appearance was his first in a starting line-up since Shrewsbury on January 4 while Duncan Ferguson was back on the bench after a five-month absence before joining the fray late on. Mark Pembridge and Li Tie were recalled to bolster the midfield that toiled against the Hammers with Scot Gemmill and Gary Naysmith paying the price and Joseph Yobo replaced the injured Tony Hibbert at right-back. So many new faces offers the best explanation for the visitors' start which was disjointed and laboured in the extreme until they awoke to take the game to the champions in the closing stages of the first half. By then though, they had already paid a price for their initial awkwardness by standing and watching as Arsenal took the lead with little fuss inside eight minutes. The dangerous spell of pressure leading up to the breakthrough was typical Arsenal, all pace, movement and intricate exchanges around the Everton area that culminated in the first corner of the game. The goal itself, however, was mere routine as Kevin Campbell lost the run of Pascal Cygan and the under-fire defender powered home Thierry Henry's set-piece unchecked.
The Gunners require no invitation to dissect opposition defences but such was the Everton midfield's carelessness they were getting the freedom of Highbury to run at Wright's goal. On his return to his former stomping ground the Blues keeper bravely stopped Henry doubling Arsenal's advantage when, having blocked Bergkamp's shot with his chest following a sublime twist around Alan Stubbs by the Dutchman - who also lashed out at the same player for his first escape - he threw himself at the rebound to deny the French maestro. Henry then went close twice in two minutes, Wright again foiling the striker when he saved low to his left after Robert Pires had sent his French colleague clean through. The one positive for Everton during the opening half-hour was the defence holding firm.
That at least left them a platform to recover and as the new blood gradually began to flow the Blues, seeing plenty of the ball, were able to start doing something constructive with it and brought Highbury's bubbling anxiety to the surface. Inevitably Rooney was at the forefront of the sea-change in the 39th minute, dancing his way past two defenders on the right and delivering a great cross that Pembridge should have done better with at the back post. Two Pembridge set-pieces scared Stuart Taylor in the Gunners' goal just before the break, setting the tone for a dramatic improvement which almost transformed the contest Everton's way before the end. Just 10 minutes into the half the teenage sensation wrote another glorious chapter for himself and brought the Blues level. Receiving Campbell's pass deep in the Arsenal half he toyed with the backtracking Cygan mercilessly before, just like his historic winner at Leeds, he fired through the defender's legs from the corner of the box and found, as all the great strikers do, the bottle of Lucozade tucked inside the far post. After raucous celebrations he almost gave Everton an incredible lead when he hooked David Weir's through ball just wide four minutes later but Arsenal, showing the mettle of champions, held out and held their nerve to secure maximum points. Vieira and Henry were both allowed to send headers towards the Blues goal, sparking the scramble that ended in agony for the Blues as a captain's goal sent them crashing to defeat. Despite a late chance for Ferguson to crown his comeback in glory it proved the end of Everton's hopes in north London. Even so, they can still fix their sights further afield. The race for Europe is not over by any means.
ARSENAL (4-4-2): Taylor; Lauren, Campbell, Cygan, Van Bronckhorst; Ljungberg, Gilberto, Vieira, Pires (Parlour, 67 mins); Henry, Bergkamp (Toure, 85 mins). Subs: Jeffers, Wiltord, Warmuz.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Wright; Yobo, Weir, Stubbs, Unsworth; Watson (Ferguson, 78 mins), Gravesen, Li Tie (Gemmill, 73 mins), Pembridge; Campbell, Rooney. Subs: Simonsen, Naysmith, Carsley.
REFEREE: Alan Wiley
BOOKINGS: Arsenal's Lauren (foul), Henry (dissent); Everton's Li Tie (foul)
Rooney on England fast track
Mar 24 2003 By Mark Bradley, Daily Post
TEENAGE striker Wayne Rooney has forced his way into England's squad for the Euro 2004 qualifiers against Liechtenstein and Turkey. The 17-year-old Everton forward was widely expected to be included in the under-21 squad rather than keep his place in the senior party for the back-to-back qualifiers. However, while John Terry also earned a first call-up, Sven-Goran Eriksson named the talented Rooney in the 25-man squad after watching him start and score in Everton's 2-1 defeat at Highbury. Little over 24 hours earlier, Eriksson had clearly indicated that Rooney, who made his England debut against Australia last month, was not starting enough Premiership games to be considered for senior duty again so soon. Fast forward, however, to the immediate aftermath of Rooney's sparkling 90-minute display against Arsenal and Eriksson had clearly changed his tune.
His call-up came at the expense of Alan Smith, who is suspended for the first qualifier in Liechtenstein, and James Beattie, who has reached the mark of 20 Premiership goals this season.
Rooney is joined in the squad by another young talent, 20-year-old Jermaine Jenas, while Francis Jeffers has also kept his place among the forwards. Liverpool's Emile Heskey returns after injury while team-mate Danny Murphy will be looking to press his international claims after his World Cup disappointment. Terry's first senior call-up follows his ban from international selection last year while he faced a court case following a nightclub incident. The 22-year-old Chelsea centre-back, who was cleared of all charges, missed out on not only the World Cup but also the Under-21s European Championships. Having taken time to regain his regular place at the heart of Chelsea's defence, he did not make the experimental squad for last month's friendly against Australia, but was this time picked ahead of Wes Brown, who suffered a hamstring injury against Fulham at the weekend. UEFA have given the Liechtenstein Football Association a deadline of 11am today to provide safety and security guarantees for the Euro 2004 qualifier. The principality's national association first expressed concerns on Friday about the possibility of anti-war demonstrations surrounding the match at the Rheinparkstadion in Vaduz. THE CHOSEN FEW
* The 25-man England squad to face Liechtenstein and Turkey in Euro 2004 qualifiers is:
James (West Ham), Robinson (Leeds), Wright (Everton) ; G Neville (Man Utd), Mills (Leeds), Bridge (Southampton), Ferdinand (Man Utd), Campbell (Arsenal), Southgate (Middlesbrough), Woodgate (Newcastle), Terry (Chelsea); Beckham (Man Utd), Scholes (Man Utd), Butt (Man Utd), Gerrard (Liverpool), Murphy (Liverpool), Dyer (Newcastle), Jenas (Newcastle), Hargreaves (Bayern Munich), Lampard (Chelsea); Owen (Liverpool), Heskey (Liverpool), Vassell (Aston Villa), Jeffers (Arsenal), Rooney (Everton).
* England Under-21 squad for European Championship qualifiers against Portugal on March 28 and Turkey on April 1.
Ameobi (Newcastle), Barry (Aston Villa, capt), Bramble (Newcastle), Bywater (West Ham), Carrick (West Ham), Clarke (Everton), C Cole (Chelsea), J Cole (West Ham), Crouch (Aston Villa), Dawson (Nottingham Forest), Defoe (West Ham), Etherington (Tottenham), Grant (Derby), Johnson (West Ham), Konchesky (Charlton), Lescott (Wolves), McEveley (Blackburn), Murray (Wolves), Nolan (Bolton), Pennant (Arsenal), Prutton (Southampton), Samuel (Aston Villa), Stewart (Leicester), Wright-Phillips (Manchester City).
Too much too soon
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Mar 24 2003
WAYNE ROONEY was last night celebrating a call-up for England's crucial Euro 2004 double-header - despite David Moyes' fears over exposing the teenage sensation to a full international career.
Rooney added to his awesome reputation with another fabulous strike against Arsenal in the Blues' 2-1 defeat at Highbury. His goal came in front of Sven Goran Eriksson, who had indicated he wouldn't select the 17-year-old due to a lack of Premiership football but still turned to him to help England's faltering qualifying campaign against Liechtenstein and Turkey. Moyes believes Rooney is too young to be shouldering the hopes of the nation. And, speaking in the aftermath of the Highbury clash before the England squad was formally announced, he appealed for the striker to be allowed to develop naturally. The Everton boss said: "Too many young players have dropped away after we have all raved about them and said they were the next best thing so we need to be careful. Wayne's been in the Premier League a year and people think he's ready now. They should remember that a year ago he was sat at a school desk. "He is still growing. We had him measured and his growth rate hasn't stopped yet. So even physically he's still to develop. He showed his potential again today, but in the first half he also showed his age. We are trying to nurture him and not give him too much, too soon. "His ability is not in question but he's not ready to do it week in, week out. Today he played 90 minutes against a side who, but for Wednesday night, would have been regarded as one of the favourites to win the European Cup. He needs to be developed, not exposed all the time." Moyes added: "I would never stop anyone playing for their country, it's a great honour, but I've spoken to Sven about how we are handling him and I hope he understands. I have to do what's right for Everton. He's our player and we will continue to treat him carefully.
"He's got some fabulous pieces to his game but he's got other parts that still need working on. It's frightening to think of what he could be like when he's 25, 26 and the same age as Henry is now."
But Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger believes Rooney is showing he can handle the pressure of being in the limelight. "He's more of a man now," said Wenger: "He has grown up quick. He is much more mature than when we played against them in October and he's certainly good enough for an international career."
Blues anger over winner
Mar 24 2003
DAVID MOYES claimed Everton were denied a crucial point at Highbury yesterday after Patrick Vieira's controversial winner sent Arsenal back to the Premiership summit. Wayne Rooney's latest wonder-goal looked to have set the Blues up for a deserved draw with the double winners after they delivered a dramatic second half transformation. But just nine minutes later Gunners' skipper Vieira smashed in a goalmouth scramble to leave Everton fuming at referee Alan Wiley. Blues players, led by Kevin Campbell, surrounded the match official claiming David Unsworth had been fouled by Dennis Bergkamp in the build-up. And Moyes insisted: "I think we gifted them their second goal but it should have been disallowed anyway. Freddie Ljungberg was clearly lying in an offside position right in front of our keeper when Vieira scored. Richard Wright had to dive over him to try and block the shot, so he must have been interfering with play. "Bergkamp was holding David Unsworth back too, although we should have done better in dealing with the danger in the first place. "But when the ball broke loose Ljungberg followed in, fell over and was lying in front of Richard Wright who then had to dive over him. Surely that constitutes interfering with play?"
The Blues boss, who started with Rooney after Tomasz Radzinski was injured in training and brought Duncan Ferguson on as a late substitute for his first Premiership appearance of the season, believed Everton's second half display merited a morale-boosting draw. But after seeing his side slip to sixth in the table behind Merseyside rivals Liverpool he said: "I thought we deserved something. Not for our first-half performance, but for the second. "I was glad to get them in at just one-nil at half-time. I was relieved we didn't end up two down by that stage, but I got them in and told the lads they had to raise their game if they wanted to live in the big league. "After we equalised we had one or two chances and we restricted Arsenal." Pascal Cygan headed Arsenal into an eighth-minute lead before Rooney shot through the same defender's legs to score a superb equaliser in the 56th minute.
Moyes added: "We played better at Arsenal than Everton have done at Highbury for a few years.
"We restricted them to very few clear chances and while people might say Arsenal didn't play at their best, I'd prefer to look at it as Everton are doing better."
Arsenal 2, Everton 1 (Echo)
Mar 24 2003 By David Prentice At Highbury
THE result might have been a reversal of that famous October afternoon, but the reverberations were largely the same. The sight of an Arsenal jersey was enough for Wayne Rooney (left) to add another memorable chapter to his growing Goodison legend. In his first Premiership start since New Year's Day, the youngster scored a goal to rival his first League strike for the Toffees. But while elation was in the air then, yesterday at Highbury it was frustration, disappointment and despair.
And that, more than anything, says how far Everton have come in the five months since Rooney exploded into Premiership consciousness. The sight of Arsenal frantically trying to run the ball into the corners, while the Highbury air was filled with piercing whistles, showed that David Moyes has fashioned a unit which can travel to the champions and league leaders and not merely attempt an exercise in damage limitation. They do not possess the quality or the class to rub shoulders with Arsene Wenger's side over the long haul, but they are a hell of a lot closer than they have been at any time since the Frenchman began his Highbury revolution. For four months now Everton have dared to hang on to the shirt-tails of Champions League aspirants like Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea. After yesterday's 2-1 defeat they now have a more realistic target - to stay ahead of UEFA Cup challengers Charlton, Blackburn and Spurs. Twice now in successive seasons Everton have travelled to Highbury late in the season chasing European football. But while last season's unappealing carrot was the Inter Toto Cup, this time it's the tastier UEFA Cup - and they have a young man capable of firing the goals to take them there. An injury to Tomasz Radzinski may see Wayne Rooney enjoy his first prolonged run of senior starts this season -and the experience will surely sharpen him up even more. For half-an-hour he struggled to influence events as Arsenal slotted swiftly into their familiar, slick rhythm - rattling staccato passes around the periphery of the Everton penalty box with pace and precision. The early breakthrough came from a more direct source. Everton had Pascal Cygan identified as one of the weak links in Arsenal's formidable armour.
Instead he proved a potent weapon, hurtling forward onto Henry's corner to bury a flying header.
Only seven minutes had elapsed when that goal flew in, and but for a brave plunge by Richard Wright at Henry's feet a few minutes later the damage might have been doubled. But six minutes before the break Rooney showed he was beginning to find the pace of the game. He collected the ball on the right flank, swaggered towards Van Bronckhorst with the ball, dropped his shoulders one way and then darted the other before whipping in a wonderful cross which Pembridge poked wide.
Two more dead balls from Pembridge showed Everton's ambition was still alive, fizzing a corner across the face of goal and then bending a free-kick fractionally wide. David Moyes had clearly issued a rallying half-time team talk and his side tore at The Gunners with renewed vigour. Alan Stubbs produced the kind of long range pass he has craved all season to send Rooney haring to the touchline. He retrieved the ball, pulled it back to Kevin Campbell and he clipped a rising shot into the side-netting. Three minutes later Everton were level. Campbell's short pass gave Rooney possession a long way from his ultimate target. But he headed instantly for goal, his directness forcing Cygan to backpedal hesitantly. It was a similar scenario to his classic Leeds' strike, but while that day the ball bobbled through Radebe's legs, this time it arrowed with laser guided accuracy through Cygan's hapless stance and preciesly nestled just inside the goalpost. Two minutes later he hooked another effort a yard wide as Arsenal looked rattled. It needed a slice of fortune to get them ahead again - and they got one in the 63rd minute. As the ball bounced invitingly around the Everton penalty area, Dennis Bergkamp clamped the covering David Unsworth's arm in a vice-like grip. It was enough to prevent the defender getting to the ball, and as Ljungberg lay in front of Wright in an offside position, Patrick Vieira romped forward to crash in the winner. Everton didn't exactly mount a cavalry charge, but they still exerted enough pressure to rattle the league leaders. Duncan Ferguson loped on for his first Premiership appearance of the season and in the 89th minute was instrumental in causing mayhem in the Gunners' box. He flicked on Yobo's long-ball with his head. Campbell held it up and layed it back towards the Scot, but his left foot volley was frantically charged down.
After the one-sided saunters of recent seasons, Everton could leave London with their heads held high. And it's been a long time since they could say that.
ARSENAL (4-4-2): Taylor, Lauren, Cygan, Campbell, Van Bronckhorst, Pires (Parlour 67 mins), Vieira, Gilberto, Ljungberg, Henry, Bergkamp (Toure 85 mins). Unused substitutes: Jeffers, Wiltord, Warmuz.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Wright, Yobo, Weir, Stubbs, Unsworth, Watson (Ferguson 78 mins), Tie (Gemmill 73 mins), Gravesen, Pembridge, Rooney, Campbell. Unused substitutes: Simonsen, Naysmith, Carsley.
Referee: Alan Wiley. Bookings: Lauren (51 mins) foul, Tie (61 mins) foul, Henry (86 mins) dissent.
GOALS: Cygan (7 mins) 1-0, Rooney (55 mins) 1-1, Vieira (63 mins) 2-1.
Radz ruled out
Mar 24 2003David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON have been rocked by another injury blow.
Tomasz Radzinski, arguably the club's player of the season so far, has torn a muscle in his groin and could miss a large chunk of Everton's end of season run-in. Early diagnosis suggests the striker will be sidelined for a month, making him a doubt for the Goodison derby in April. But the news could give surprise England call-up Wayne Rooney the chance of his first prolonged spell of Premiership starts. England coach Sven Goran Eriksson hinted last week that Rooney would not make his squad for the Euro 2004 double-header against Liechtenstein and Turkey, because he hadn't played enough competitive football recently. But after watching Rooney's stunning strike at Highbury yesterday he had a change of heart. Rooney has never started more than three successive matches for Everton. But Radzinski's injury - ironically sustained just hours after Brian McBride had been allowed to return to the USA and end his loan spell early - will give him the opportunity of a consistent run. With Nick Chadwick on loan at Derby, Duncan Ferguson currently provides the only backup to Kevin Campbell and Rooney. He made his first Premiership appearance of the season yesterday as a late substitute. But it was Rooney's performance which caught the eye of Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger. "He is a special talent," he said. "We said that after he scored the winner against us at Everton earlier this season and he has made a step forward since then. "He's more of a man now. He looks much more mature than when he came on against us in October. "Is he good enough to be in front of other players in the England squad? That's down to Sven, but he will certainly one day be a regular international." Rooney, who made his England debut against Australia last month, kept his place in the squad along with teammate Richard Wright.
I'll help mate star for Sven
Mar 24 2003David Prentice, Daily Post
FRANCIS JEFFERS will try to guide his good pal, Wayne Rooney, through the international pitfalls which may face him this week. The former Everton forward and the current Goodison idol were both named in Sven Goran Eriksson's England squad for next week's Euro 2004 double-header.
Jeffers is still a baby in international terms, but has five years' top-flight experience ahead of his good mate - and intends to use that know-how. "I speak to Wayne all the time," said Jeffers. "Whenever I get the chance I ring him. I try to help him because I can see what he is going through.
"I had some of it, but there is more hype about him because even before he was playing there was a lot talked about him. "There was only hype when I got in and scored a couple of goals. People were saying 'Where did he come from?' about me and 'Why wasn't he in the team earlier?' "It is now the same for Wayne. He is definitely under some pressure. Not that you would know it. "He is so relaxed. He thinks the football pitch is where he belongs - and that he belongs in an England shirt.
"He just has an aura about him, even at such a young age. "You can see the reaction in people when he picks the ball up. As soon as he got the ball yesterday for his goal I knew what he was going to try to do. "But knowing that and stopping him are two different things." The pair will travel to Liechtenstein on Wednesday, just a month after they made their international debuts together against Australia. "What did I say to him?" added Jeffers. "Not much. He is a good mate of mine and I have always said I would love to lead the line with him for England. "Don't get me wrong - I would love to lead the line with anyone for England, but it made it even more special to play alongside him. I just said 'Go and play' - which is what he did. "He is normal, just a typical Scouser. He is just like I was at 17, like all my mates were at 17. "Are there dangers there for him? Of course there are. The dangers are everywhere and there would be even more if he was living away from his family. "There are going to be people asking you out on Wednesday and Thursday nights when you have a big game on a Saturday. After all, at 17, that is what kids do. "A few years ago the night to go out was Saturday, but now there is something happening every night wherever you go. There are big attractions and his mates will be there. "But his family need to tell him that if he does all that, it will affect his football. As a professional you have got to make sacrifices. And I don't think they are very big ones. "They seem to be at the time. You think 'Why can't I go out with my mates?' They go out and they phone you the next day and tell you how good a night it was. "But my mates understood why I couldn't go out with them and I think Wayne's will do the same. "I know a few of them and they want him to do well. They want to see him playing for England. "His family are very good - the same as mine. They will tell you you are being stupid and being out of order. Hopefully Wayne will listen to them. I know I really listened to mine. "People are going to try to get you out and if I had had the time, I would have gone out but I knew I couldn't. "In London it is easier for me to go for a quiet meal. People often don't even recognise you and and you get left alone to unwind. "In Liverpool it is different. It is a goldfish bowl. But Wayne has the right people around him. When he is the same age as I am now he will have been playing top-flight football for five years and he is going to be a regular for England. "He is going to have had a lot of pressure, so it may be difficult for him in Liverpool. But those close to him will have helped him and I am sure 100 per cent that is true because I know those people. "Wayne Rooney has a great future. He is just an ordinary lad with an extraordinary talent."
Blues have no fears
Mar 24 2003 Tommy Smith, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON gave Arsenal a fright yesterday. They are frightened of no-one and David Moyes has instilled that attitude in them. They overcame the early setback of conceding a goal to hit back with a fine Wayne Rooney effort, and provided Arsene Wenger's men with plenty of problems. The Gunners seemed to be unnerved after losses against Blackburn and Valencia. They looked uneasy, too, when the Blues introduced Duncan Ferguson late on, and with a better bounce of the ball Moyes' men could have gone home with a draw. It brings into question Arsenal's title credentials.
They still have the edge, but they are not playing anywhere near their best - and you never write off Sir Alex Ferguson's men.
Icliverpool And Daily Post
Mar 25 2003
ARSENAL were poor, but we were poorer! There were only a few tricks from Rooney worth watching. The future is looking very gloomy now and we are below Liverpool! If we keep playing this way, I don't see there is any chance Rooney will want to stay with us. He will be a superstar if he joins Manchester United, Arsenal or Newcastle. They will feed him with through balls that he will score and score from.
T Irons, Liverpool
IF WE play with the same fighting spirit and endevour that we showed in the second half at Highbury, I like our chances of attaining the UEFA Cup place very much. The only tragedy for me against Arsenal was to concede the first goal on a corner - poor defending. Arsenal had to battle for their victory, but they had no less than four World Cup winners in their squad. Until such times as we can afford a Patrick Vieira calibre of midfielder, there are going to be some more hard luck stories for us to deal with. He was head and shoulders above everyone else on the pitch. Plenty of positives for me though, and further confirmation that midfiled is the priority area for the improvement to continue.
Frank Jones, Formby
If you're good enough...
I can't believe some people are moaning that Wayne Rooney has been called up for England again. Surely his inclusion should be seen as a great honour and will also put Everton on the map. I don't think he'll play much part in either game but just the fact that he's there should be a valuable part of his education. I agree with Moyes that Rooney still has alot to learn but what better way to do that than mix it with the best players in the world?
By Simon Halsall, Liverpool
A foul performance
THIS MUST be at least the seventh or eighth time this season that I have had to comment on awful refereeing perfomances. Trust me, I am all for having a go at players if I feel they are not giving their all but I'm afraid this result is purely down to the man in the middle. I can accept 50/50 decisions going in favour of the home side but to allow a goal that had THREE infringements in its build up is not good enough. A player was offside - 'not seen'. Bergkamp pulls back Unsworth - 'not seen'. But what was really infuriating was seeing the referee actually stare at Weir as he was shoved to the ground by Bergkamp and then allow Arsenal to attack! He has cost us a precious point for our European challenge. As per our previous complaints, however, will anything be done? No chance. The word 'disgrace' is overly used in football but not on this occasion. On the plus side, Rooney was pure class.
Shez Khan, (via e-mail)
IT'S GREAT to see Wayne Rooney called up by England again. I doubt very much Rooney will play much part in either of the two games, so surely the experience he will gain just from training with these players will benefit him and Everton.
Les Bagley, Merseyside
He is a big talent, a very good player - Sven
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Mar 25 2003
SVEN-GORAN ERIKSSON last night hit back in the row over Wayne Rooney's international development by insisting England will be good for the young Everton hero. Blues boss David Moyes has made no secret over his concerns a call-up for England's crucial Euro 2004 qualifying double-header is too much, too soon for the 17-year-old striker. But Eriksson, who admitted Rooney's impressive 90-minute display at Highbury swung his decision to call the youngster into the squad, believes the teenager will benefit from the rapid promotion. The Swede attempted to defuse the expectations already bearing down on the Goodison star by confirming he would almost certainly not start Saturday's game against Liechtenstein. However, he did still leave open the possibility of bringing on Rooney as a substitute in the qualifier, which was given the go-ahead yesterday afternoon after security fears were allayed. "If Wayne Rooney can play at Highbury and create a lot of problems to Arsenal, then I think he's a very good player," he said. "I think it's good for him to be involved in international football, it can't harm him. He might be ready to start but I don't think he will do so. "He's one of five forwards and I don't think you should expect him to start the game and score three goals. He might come on as a substitute, or he might not, but just to be there will be a huge experience for him. He has very little experience of international football, after all." Moyes repeated his worries that Rooney's career is being rushed along too quickly after Sunday's game, even though he has not tried to stand in the way of his second England call-up. Eriksson insisted: "I talked to David Moyes an hour after the game at Highbury to tell him that Richard Wright and Wayne Rooney were in the squad, and he was very happy about that. "He had absolutely no opinion other than that. If he wanted to say something else, he should have done that then."
Asked if he was worried about Rooney (right) struggling to live up to over-blown expectations or being deflated at being dropped in the future, Eriksson responded: "I hope not, of course. He is a big talent, a very good player and that's the reason why he's picked. For him, it must just be a great experience to be there with the others." While Rooney has won his second call-up, James Beattie has been unceremoniously dropped after just one start against Australia and could be excused for feeling slightly confused as he has continued to score goals for Southampton since then. "I can understand that but I try to pick the best players and that's it. If players want to know the reasons why, they could always phone me, although none of them have done," said Eriksson. Alan Smith (left) has also missed out, partly because he is suspended for the game in Liechtenstein, but Francis Jeffers, who scored against Australia, has kept his place despite regularly being an Arsenal substitute. While Darius Vassell is still in the squad, it is Liverpool's Emile Heskey who is the firm favourite to start up front alongside Michael Owen in Vaduz this weekend. The Reds striker has just four England goals from 31 caps and Eriksson believes his understanding with Owen offers the best partnership for England. "I don't think it's just that I'm loyal to him, I think he's a good player and he played well against Leeds. His physical presence is important for the team, he has never let us down," stressed Eriksson. "On the face of it, he should be Michael Owen's preferred choice of strike partner as they know each other well and complement each other as players as one has strength and the other has pace." Eriksson revealed that David Seaman would return to full training later this week and would only be considered for next week's game against Turkey in case of injury to the three goalkeepers already in his squad. As for Sol Campbell, who faces a fitness test ahead of Arsenal's FA Cup quarter-final against Chelsea tonight, the England coach will adopt a wait-and-see policy. "I will see what happens when he joins up - whether he can play in Liechtenstein or stays in London and then plays against Turkey. That's to be decided later this week," he added.
Blues hit back to oust Wolves
Academy Football With Chris Wright, Daily Post
Mar 25 2003
EVERTON under-19s continued their fine form with a 3-2 victory at Wolverhampton Waderers on Saturday. Goals from Steven Schumacher, David Carney and Michael Symes were enough to seal the points for Colin Harvey's side, who have now hit 17 goals and won four in their last five matches in the FA Premier Academy League. After a bright start the Blues fell behind and were still a goal down at the break, despite coming back strong. But sustained pressure at the start of the second half saw the Blues go 3-1 ahead. Schumacher hit his fourth goal of the season from inside the box. Then Australian midfielder Carney put Everton ahead with another opportunist strike - his fifth.
And when striker Symes latched onto a ball over the top to grab his fifth goal in his last five games it looked like the Blues would run riot. Schumacher almost made it four but the Wolves keeper denied him with a good save. Then the home side hit back and a goal 15 minutes from the end set up a nervous finish. Harvey said: "It was good game and we played quite well. We were a goal down but we scored three in quick succession in the second half and at that stage we looked like we'd get four or five. "When they scored we were under the cosh a little bit when we shouldn't have been. But give them their due, they made it difficult for us once they got a goal back, but we ran out deserved winners in the end. "We are scoring a lot at present, but we are conceding a bit more than I would like. But if you are scoring and winning games you can't ask for much more than that." The Blues are back in action today in a rearranged fixture with Derby County at Netherton (kickoff 12noon). Striker Symes came off on Saturday with a slight hamstring and will be missing, but he should be back either for Friday's reserve match or Saturday's derby clash with Liverpool U19s. Everton under-17s were dealt a huge blow in their hopes of qualifying from their play-off group as they went down 3-0 at Aston Villa. Coach Alan Harper said: "The lads learnt a lot from the game. They did ever so well and battled hard but unfortunately Villa just had so much quality."
Wiley's not so wily
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Mar 25 2003
EVERTON are to take action against referee Alan Wiley after the Premiership official allegedly targeted Duncan Ferguson for special attention at Highbury. The Blues, who yesterday discovered star striker Tomasz Radzinski could be out for a month with a groin injury, have been inundated with complaints from angry fans since Sunday's controversial defeat by Arsenal. Wiley was caught by Sky TV cameras telling one of his assistants to "keep an eye" on Ferguson when the big striker (pictured) entered the fray as a 79th-minute substitute. Sky pundit Andy Gray highlighted the incident to a mass audience and Goodison officials are set to lodge a formal complaint with Premier League referees chief Philip Don. "We have been inundated with phone calls and e-mails from supporters urging us to make representation to the Premier League about this matter," said Ian Ross, Everton's head of corporate affairs. "We shall be studying a video recording of Sunday's match before deciding what, if any, action to take." It is believed the Blues will send a protest letter to Mr Don, with manager David Moyes increasingly concerned at the number of costly incidents to go against his team this season. Both David Elleray and Eddie Wolstenholme refused to reconsider controversial decisions to dismiss Wayne Rooney and David Unsworth respectively this season, while Jeff Winter also enraged the Blues boss when he allowed Charlton's offside opener to stand at The Valley. Everton hope Wiley will be made to explain his actions at one of the fortnightly meetings held by the professional referees' association. But last night a spokesman for the Premier League said: "Referees and their assistants are in constant contact regarding all aspects of the game so it may not have been referring specifically to Duncan Ferguson. But we cannot comment further until we receive the complaint." Moyes' mood, meanwhile, was not lifted by the news leading goal-scorer Radzinski faces four weeks on the sidelines with a groin strain. The Canadian was forced to pull out of Sunday's Premiership game at Arsenal, and his country's international with Estonia next week, after suffering the injury in training on Friday. Now it has been confirmed he faces missing the bulk of the Blues' testing Premiership run-in, though the 11-goal striker could be back for the Merseyside derby on April 19 if he makes a rapid recovery. "It's very disappointing to lose Tomasz," said Moyes. "He'll be out for between two to four weeks but hopefully he'll be back sooner rather than later." Radzinski's loss increases the pressure on Rooney to follow up his England duties with the first prolonged spell of his Premiership career, with only Ferguson now offering cover for the teenager and Kevin Campbell.
Wayne can be my supersub
Mar 25 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
WAYNE ROONEY is set to become an international supersub - just as he faces his first real run of starting appearances at Everton. England coach Sven Goran Eriksson said he would have no qualms about using the 17-year-old during the Euro 2004 qualifier in Liechtenstein on Saturday, but only as a sub. "I wouldn't hesitate putting him on," he said. "Maybe not from the beginning, but maybe during the game. "He's one of five forwards in the squad and I don't think you should expect him to start the game and score three goals. "He might come on as a substitute, or he might not, but just to be there will be a huge experience for him." Everton manager David Moyes had expressed concern that the nation was expecting too much from the teenager. But Eriksson said: "I talked to David Moyes for an hour after the game at Highbury to tell him that Richard Wright and Wayne Rooney were in the squad and he was very happy about that. He had absolutely no opinion other than that. "If he wanted to say something else, he should have done that then." Eriksson was at Arsenal on Sunday to see Rooney play his first 90 minutes of Premiership football since New Year's Day. A stunning solo goal convinced the Swede that the teenager was ready to play competitive internationals. Eriksson added: "If Wayne Rooney can play at Highbury and create a lot of problems to Arsenal, then I think he's a very good player. "It's good for him to be involved in international football. It can't harm him. He might be ready to start, but I don't think he will do so."
It's all good for Rooney
Mar 25 2003 By Kevin Ratcliffe, Liverpool Echo
I CAN understand David Moyes' reservations about Wayne Rooney's premature career - but I believe his inclusion in this week's England squad is a good thing. There seems little doubt that Rooney will be part of the England set-up for many years - and in that respect any experience he can gain of the international set-up will be invaluable. There are many, many lessons to learn - on and off the pitch.
Living and training with an squad can be very different to life at club level. Rather than spending just the Friday night in a team hotel preparing for the next day's match, you're in an hotel for a week or more. During that time you have to learn how to control your diet, sleep properly and train properly. If you go away and don't play, you may lack something when it comes to your next match.
You will have been trained with an international match in mind, but if you're then left on the bench for 90 minutes it can take an edge off your game. On the other hand, if you are involved you then have to learn how to quickly recharge your batteries so you are not left feeling flat for your next club game. Then there is the football itself. Even against minnows like Liechtenstein, played international football is vastly different to club football. Wayne may find that the whole week flies by in a bit of a whirl, but he will learn lessons from it.
Move is overdue
KEVIN McLEOD became the latest Evertonian to try his hand on-loan at a League club this week - and in his case it's been well overdue. Kevin is clearly highly regarded at Goodison. When West Brom were sniffing around last goals mer they were quoted a fee in the region of £1m. goals He obviously has talent, but at 22-years-old what he desperately needs is league games under his belt. A month at QPR is a step in the right direction for him and I am sure he will do well there. But more importantly he will gain some invaluable experience.
Reason to be cheerful
EVERTON were right to be gutted at the circumstances of Sunday's defeat at Highbury. There seemed to be about three crimes by Arsenal in the Everton penalty area when they scored their winner - but the officials missed them all. But rather than dwell on perceived injustices, the Blues should take heart from another encouraging performance against a leading side. In recent seasons Everton have only travelled to Highbury to make up the numbers. But this time, just like at Old Trafford, Anfield and St James' Park, they had a real go. It didn't quite come off for them, but there was still plenty to be positive about.
'We're being victimised'
Mar 25 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES today demanded an explanation from referees' assessor Philip Don - after former Everton hero Andy Gray added further weight to the fear that the Blues are being victimised by Premiership officials. The Sky TV analyst spotted referee Alan Wiley advising his assistant to "Keep an eye on him!" when Duncan Ferguson was introduced as a late substitute at Highbury on Sunday.
Moyes believes the incident confirms his fear, first expressed on Boxing Day, that the Blues are being singled out unfairly by officials. The Echo offices and Everton themselves received scores of complaints yesterday from indignant Evertonians about Sunday's incident. Moyes said: "All season I have had some trepidation about some of the things that have gone on against us." "There was the offside goal at Charlton and certainly the goal on Sunday which could have been disallowed for a foul on David Weir, a foul on David Unsworth and was definitely offside. "We have asked them in the past to look at Wayne Rooney's sing off at Birmingham and David Unsworth's sending off against Chelsea. “We have not asked for many things to be looked at again, but they have never once come down in our favour. "I have spoken to Philip Don about Sunday and his explanation was that the referee told his linesman to 'watch out for more aerial challenges now.' "That was his quote and to me I think that is victimisation. "That gives me the back-up that people are looking to pre-judge Everton players. "Why should they do that with Duncan Ferguson and not some of the other big players out there? Is that purely down to Duncan's size, or something else? "Duncan is six feet five and he plays six feet five. He can't help his size. "The decisions which have gone against us have cost us dear. I am sure every club has things that don't go their way, but we have had several this year and I find it very difficult to accept so many should go against us. "I think Philip Don has to look into it and we will obviously be lodging a formal complaint." After Ferguson had come on for his first Premiership appearance of the season he was pulled up a number of times by Alan Wiley for pushing during aerial challenges. Moyes added: "I spoke to Alan after the game but I was unaware of the incident at the time." Ferguson, himself, was away from Bellefield after his wife had given birth.
Rooney's up for an 'Oscar'
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Mar 26 2003
WAYNE ROONEY was toasting yet another international honour last night when he was nominated for one of the sporting world's 'Oscars'. The Everton sensation is just one of two British sportstars selected for the 2003 Laureus World Sports Awards, the prestigious ceremony held annually in Monaco. Rooney has only made seven starts for the Blues but such has been his remarkable impact in his first year as a professional that his fame now extends beyond Everton and England. That was perfectly illustrated yesterday when World Sports Academy members Edwin Moses and Michael Johnson announced this year's nominations and the 17-year-old found himself in such distinguished company as Ronaldo, Tiger Woods, Michael Schumacher and Pete Sampras. Rooney is up for the World Newcomer of the Year prize, while world marathon record holder Paula Radcliffe is Britain's only other representative in the World Sportswoman of the Year category. Nominations for the seven prizes are based on the votes of 400 sports journalists from over 70 countries with the 41 Academy members, all former winners, selecting the eventual victors. Last night, Rooney said: "I would like to thank all the journalists who put me forward as a nominee for this prestigious award.
"It is an honour to be mentioned alongside the other nominees who have already achieved so much in their chosen sports. I wish them all continued success in their careers." Rooney, now training for England's Euro 2004 with Liechtenstein in Vaduz on Saturday, will discover his fate at a glittering ceremony on May 20. Everton boss David Moyes said: "Wayne has made a great start to his career, which we all feel will be a long and successful one." Moyes continued: "It is a measure of his progress that he has been shortlisted for this hugely prestigious title." The Blues star is up against tennis players Daniela Hantuchova and David Nalbandian, Chinese basketball player Yao Ming and double Olympic champion speedskater Jochem Uytdehaage of the Netherlands in the newcomer category. Academy member Sir Bobby Charlton added: "He's a very good player now and a very great talent. He's fearless, tough and strong. "Given the right sort of luck he can be anything he wants to be. He seems to have a big time temperament which is remarkable for someone so young.
"Everton manager David Moyes is working hard to protect him and England are very fortunate to have a player of such potential."
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Mar 26 2003
DAVID MOYES admits Alan Wiley's treatment of Duncan Ferguson at Highbury has added weight to his belief Everton are being victimised by Premiership referees. The Blues yesterday made an official complaint to the Premier League concerning comments allegedly made by referee Wiley when the big Scot appeared as a substitute at Arsenal. Wiley is said to have told the fourth official to "keep an eye" on the striker - leaving Everton demanding a full explanation from referees' chief Philip Don and Moyes asking whether there is a conspiracy against the Blues. The Blues manager spoke to Don about the incident immediately after Sunday's 2-1 defeat, when Wiley allowed Patrick Vieira's controversial winner to stand, but was less than impressed with the explanation received.
Now Moyes wants to know why his play-ers are being singled out. "I didn't see it at the time, but to hear about the discrimination made against one of our players is unacceptable," he said. "I spoke to Philip Don and his words to me were that: 'the referee warned the linesman that there would be more aerial challenges from Everton.' "I find that an incredible thing to say. It's completely wrong. To me that is victimisation and gives me the back-up that people are looking to pre-judge Everton players. "I asked whether they did that with all the other centre forwards who challenge consistently, or was Duncan Ferguson just being picked on? He's six feet five and plays six feet five. He can't help his size. "I'm disappointed in Alan Wiley really because I think he had an okay game. I had some words with him after the game regarding the goal, which I felt shouldn't have stood. "There was possibly a foul on David Weir, possibly a foul on David Unsworth and there was certainly an offside in front of Richard Wright, but we didn't get the decision." Moyes accepts all clubs have their complaints against match officials but it is the number of high-profile and now unusual decisions to go against the Blues that has brought his dismay to the surface. He added: "I can't think of many decisions that we have been fortunate to get, such as a penalty kick. "But many things have gone against us: the goal at Charlton which was offside, David Unsworth's sending off against Chelsea, Wayne Rooney's sending off at Birmingham are all examples. We have not asked them to look at many things but never once have they ruled in our favour. "I'm sure other clubs think it too - but this is the way I'm feeling at the moment. "I try not to say things unless I actually believe it. At the moment, I don't want to believe that these decisions were made with intent and I don't believe that referees set out to make these decisions. I find it difficult to accept so many costly decisions that have gone against us this year. Maybe it's thoughts like that which is why decisions have gone against us over the course of the year." Everton's head of corporate affairs Ian Ross confirmed: "After studying a video recording of Sunday's game, we have decided to send a strongly-worded letter of complaint about the incident when Duncan Ferguson was coming on as substitute."
Dai turns his hands to healing
By Nick Hilton, Daily Post
Mar 26 2003
THE big strong hands that once plunged into flying boots to save the cause of Everton and Wrexham are today the instruments of natural healing Dai Davies offers to the world. The former Wales international goal-keeper left a career in professional football behind in the mid-1980s and his new adventure as a natural health therapist consumes him with a passion. "This is most unexpected," Davies says with the contented smile of someone who has stumbled upon the personal path to fulfilment. He adds: "If someone had told me during my 20s and early 30s that I would become a practitioner in alternative medicine I would have told them they were off their heads. "I am fortunate there was a second skill in these hands and fortunate to have done two jobs that gave me so much." Those hands had just worked a massage known as the Bowen Technique into the muscles of my shoulders and back, the muscles that take much of the strain of writing copy to deadlines every day. A week later as I write this piece I am still conscious of my back and shoulders feeling more relaxed than they used to, my arms looser and freer. The Bowen Technique (it was pioneered by an Australian and not a Welshman as the name suggests) helps the body promote healing, pain relief and recovery of energy. It is among a long, ever-expanding list of treatments Davies offers at the Natural Health Clinic in Princess Street, Llangollen, which sits in an appropriately restful setting on the banks of the River Dee. Davies owns the business and runs the clinic which also specialises in herbal remedies and other alternatives to conventional drugs. And it is home sweet home for the 53-year-old who made 82 league appearances for Everton between 1970 and 77, 199 appearances in two spells with Wrexham and won 28 Welsh international caps. He says: "I am in my 15th year as a therapist and I'm still re-training, looking for things to help and assist people and myself. "Remedial massage, Feldenkrais, Reiki, Shiatsu, Crystal Healing... you name it and I have been on a weekend course to find out how it works. I have an enquiring mind." The dozens of certificates that cover the walls of Davies' treatment room bear testimony to the breadth of knowledge he has acquired. Significantly they all bear his full Christian name, David rather than the diminutive Welsh form Dai he first acquired at Amman Valley Grammar School near his home town of Glanamman in Carmarthenshire, where friends called him Dai Dai. Davies explains: "I didn't want people to make the association with Dai Davies, the ex-goalkeeper. I wanted to leave football behind. "When I finished playing I felt the need to be anonymous. Professional football left me mentally and physically exhausted. "When I finished my playing days at Tranmere I was the top earner there, on £190 a week at a time when the club could not afford £50 to buy a bag of footballs.
"I wasn't enjoying my football by that stage, not even the training. I tried to keep up with the youngsters but I couldn't. I wasn't up to it any longer and I got tired. So I left Tranmere with a year of my contract to run and came out of football altogether." Davies and his wife (they are now separated) formed a partnership with another couple and opened a Welsh language bookshop in Mold called Siop y Siswin. He says: "As a business it was strong enough to support one couple, but not two, so after four years I sold up. "In the meantime I did some work as a supply teacher but I still felt I needed something else to do." That something sprang from a desire to assist his wife who was suffering from panic attacks. "I started giving her massages which seemed to work and I enjoyed doing them," Davies recalls. "I wanted to learn more about them because here was a way of helping people. "I took a course with the National Institute of Masseuses in Blackpool and qualified in 1989. "I carried on teaching for about four or five years while I became increasingly interested in alternative medicine so eventually I took the plunge to do this work full-time. "Alternative medicine is a labyrinth. There are so many alternative therapies available, taking many different directions. I literally had to sample all the therapies I could to understand their philosophies." Davies' business is expanding at a time when alternative medicine is more popular than ever before in the UK. He says: "There is a shift in the way people are thinking about their health. "Increasing numbers of people are refusing to take tablets and drugs when all they do is mask the real reason for their condition. People are becoming more prepared to deal with their bodies. "Drugs will always have a place in society but there is a need for something else. "I equate disease to lack of health. Life is acted out at a pretty fast pace and I equate the clinic as a kind of pitstop." When I asked Davies if his experiences over one-and-a-half decades in professional football provided any help in the development of his new career he replied after a brief pause: "None that I am aware of." He admits: "I played my football with a hard exterior." It was a means of protection against the abuse that comes hand in hand with the cheers and applause. Goal-keepers have always been prime targets for the wags. Liverpool fans in the 1970s dubbed Davies "Dracula - because he doesn't like crosses". Davies says: "I have no problem with those football days now. I got rid of that shell when I gave up the game and discovered the real me." There is a reassuring warmth about the real Dai Davies which probably plays well with the clients at the clinic. Treatment comes with explanations about how your body is being stimulated to help itself and is delivered in a manner that gently reminds you the therapist was once a teacher. "My interest is in three areas - body, mind and spirit," Davies explains. "When I first set up the practice I quickly found there were personality types that would bring a certain kind of ailment. So I needed to know about counselling because it is difficult to separate the body from the mind." He is also keen to explore the spiritual side of healing and keeps an open mind about psychic phenomenon. Davies says: "This area is a big no-no for a lot of people in a Christian society like ours but from what I've read the people in the world who do not believe in re-incarnation are in a minority." The symptom Davies encounters most regularly in his practice is a modern phenomenon: stress. We are, he argues, a society of people who bring too much anxiety on ourselves. He says: "I studied the ways of the American Indians. They have a philosophy in which they always assume they have only three minutes left to live and they choose whether to be happy or sad in those three minutes. It's an easy choice to make. "Most people in the West have a tendency to worry about what the future is going to bring. I read one report that suggests 90 per cent of the things we worry about do not come to pass. "I was an example myself. I used to worry when I was a footballer about the game we were going to play next. "If Everton were playing Manchester United on a Saturday I would start worrying about the game on the Thursday. Then when the game was over with and I had done OK I would have wasted two-and-a-half days worrying. "I have realised now that you can look at things differently."
Chadwick returns to rescue Blues
Mar 26 2003David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
NICK CHADWICK has returned from Derby County to boost Everton's depleted striking resources.
The youngster was due to complete a month's loan at the First Division club this weekend, but the postponement of Derby's game against Millwall because of international commitments has seen him return early. Chadwick's comeback is timely, with the injury to Tomasz Radzinski and Brian McBride's return to the USA leaving the Blues short of striking options. Chadwick made six appearances for The Rams, without being able to build on his impressive scoring burst for Everton last season. Peter Clarke, meanwhile, has extended his loan spell at Port Vale by a further month - while former Everton assistant manager Archie Knox is considering a Singapore fling. Knox has been headhunted by the Singapore FA to take over as their national team coach in succession to Dane Jan Poulsen. He said: "I have been out of the game for some time so it would be nice to get back soon, and I am looking for a new experience." Singapore are currently ranked 103 by FIFA, 40 places behind Scotland - but ahead of Northern Ireland. Goodison legend Neville Southall, meanwhile, will be at WH Smith's in Church Street, Liverpool tomorrow from 1pm to sign copies of the new Everton book "Virgin Blues." The book celebrates the club's 100 seasons of top flight football by chronicling the club's very first League campaign . . . at Anfield. Southall made more League appearances for the Blues than any other player - but none in 1888-89.
The anger which keeps Dai healthy
Mar 27 2003 By Nick Hilton, Daily Post
DAI DAVIES has built a double life around his passions for football and alternative medicine.
When the former Everton, Wrexham and Wales goalkeeper ended his professional playing days in the mid-1980s he admits he was "mentally and physically exhausted" by the game. The development of the new career brought fulfilment and serenity to his working life and for a time football became nothing more than a memory of adventures past. Davies' natural health clinic in Llangollen overlooks a picturesque bend in the River Dee where the water gurgles over rocks and stones on its unhurried journey from Snowdonia to the Irish Sea. The scene of tranquillity outside the treatment room window offers a soothing vision for patients and practitioner alike. But once or twice a week Davies leaves the practice behind to sample what he calls a few hours of "aggression, anger and even hatred": he's back in the football business. Davies insists it is his love of the Welsh language that reunited him with the game. He works as a match summariser on the Welsh language TV and radio broadcasts of BBC Wales and BBC Cymru, an assignment that allows him to follow the fortunes of Wrexham, Cardiff City, the Wales national team and on occasion Everton. Davies says: "I came back into football with a different perspective. I want Welsh to be seen and heard as a living language and to be used in all walks of life. "There aren't too may Welsh speakers around who are able to provide a professional insight into the game so I'm very fortunate. "I've seen most of Wales international games in recent years and watched the team's revival. Then there are the club games for Wrexham and Cardiff and north-west teams from the Premiership such as Everton, Liverpool and Manchester United who attract a following in north Wales. "It's quite a commitment: 37 Saturdays a year plus the midweek games. I'm prepared to do it because it increases the variety in my life. The contrast with my work in natural healing is very stark. "My life with the practice is peaceful. At football you are working with aggression, anger and even hatred." Not that there's anything wrong with anger in football, Davies argues. "Anger keeps you alive," Davies says. "It's an instinct. You defend yourself through your anger. "You are born with it but people are brought up not to show their anger. They suppress it. It is better to shout and scream at the goalkeeper who has just made a mistake that go home and do it to the wife." Davies entered the world of professional football at the age of 21, having initially embarked on a career as a PE teacher in his native south Wales. He joined Swansea City in 1969 and within a year moved to Everton. He says: "I arrived as a very inexperienced goalkeeper." Davies honed his skills over four season in the reserves at Goodison and in the 1974-75 campaign emerged as Everton's number one keeper, playing in 35 out of 42 first division games. He went on to make 82 league appearances for Everton. They were years when tangible success dangled just out of reach. Davies recalls: "There was a season under Billy Bingham when we looked like we might win the league at one stage but finished fourth. "In 1977 I went to bed one night thinking I was going to play in the FA Cup semi-final against Liverpool the next day and woke up to find Gordon Lee had picked Dave Lawson instead." Davies' Everton days ended soon afterwards, when Lee signed the Scottish international goalkeeper George Wood. "But looking back he says in a way Lee did me a favour," adds Davies. "As one door closed another one opened."
Wrexham manager Arfon Griffiths paid £8,000 to bring Davies to the Racecourse in September 1977. The goalkeeper quickly became the friend and room-mate of another new signing Dixie McNeil.
Davies' goalkeepiing and McNeil's prolific goalscoring helped Wrexham to shrug off a sluggish start to the season and they went on to win promotion to Division Two as champions. Davies remains among the most celebrated Wrexham goalkeepers and played a total of 199 games for the club in two spells. He is grateful his journalistic work takes him back to both the Racecourse and Goodison where fortunes are on the up. He strikes a note of caution, however, when the subject of Everton's ambitions for the current season is raised. Qualification for the Champions League maybe asking a little too much of David Moyes' side in spite of the impressive progress they have made this season.
Davies says: "It's going to be difficult for Everton because of the quality of the teams around them.
"The likes of Liverpool and Chelsea have greater strength in depth and the experience of being in this position before. "But the improvement in Everton is huge and I'm delighted to see it. David Moyes has been able to get the best out of the players and you have to complement a manager who can do that. "He does not have an overly talented set of players to work with although there are exciting individuals. A great deal has been talked about young Wayne Rooney but Tomasz Radzinski could be the player of the season for me."
Rooney can be England great - Dyer
Mar 27 2003 By Mark Bradley, Daily Post
TEENAGER Wayne Rooney is set to be England's "wild card" for years to come and can even eclipse the achievements of former national captain Alan Shearer, midfielder Kieron Dyer has insisted. Dyer has been startled by the 17-year-old's "God-given talent" and believes Everton forward Rooney and young Newcastle team-mate Jermaine Jenas can become the future mainstays of the national side.
Dyer himself has much to prove, given that he looks likely to be asked to fill the left-sided void against Liechtenstein in Saturday's Euro 2004 qualifier. With Sven-Goran Eriksson already having apparently revealed his hand with Dyer in training yesterday, his remaining selection decision therefore rests over Sol Campbell's fitness. Rooney, meanwhile, will at best be on the substitutes' bench but Dyer believes the prodigious young talent could still make a mark on international football. He said: "I think Rooney is going to be England's wild card for years to come. I watched him in training and he has no fear. "There is talk about whether he's good enough but I think he's an exceptional player. He's just got all the attributes you want. "He's strong and quick, he has no fear, he's powerful, he can shoot with either foot, he knows when to play one touch and when to turn with the ball. "For someone so young, it's the same as with JJ (Jenas), you just tell them something once and they'll perfect it on the training ground the next day. "It's just a God-given talent and hopefully for England, we've got two players in Wayne and JJ who are going to be outstanding players. "I remember in the Worthington Cup when we played Everton and went out on penalties. Wayne started and Alan Shearer, Gary Speed and Craig Bellamy came down after the game and just said 'oh, my God'. "That was after just seeing a little cameo of him. He was just awesome. When you've got experienced players saying something like that, then you know he's special. "Hugo Viana can take your breath away like that but I've never come across another player like Rooney. He's got all the attributes to be a world-class player." Dyer was asked to compare Rooney to Newcastle centre-forward Shearer, who scored 30 times in his 63 international appearances, making him England's fourth equal highest goalscorer. "Alan's not as quick! Wayne has got some of the stuff of Alan's game, although Alan's got a great deal of experience, he knows how to get free-kicks and back into defenders," he said. "As time goes on though, Wayne can learn all of that and I think he can go on to become even greater than Alan Shearer. And that's a very high compliment." Dyer believes that Rooney has that element of 'arrogance' which can set great players apart. He added: "Look at Craig Bellamy. There's no cockier player than him on the pitch and he's a great player. It's good to have a bit of arrogance and he's got that in abundance." The danger for Rooney is that the overwhelming pressures that Everton boss David Moyes is trying to protect him from could yet interrupt his career. Dyer, who has a troubled off-pitch past himself, nevertheless believes that Rooney can cope with that side of life. "I've always been told that you have to take the downs with the ups in football and every player is going to have downs," he observed. "You just have to keep a balance. "There is already obviously a lot of trouble that can come off the pitch and I've experienced that first-hand, but with David Moyes looking after him, hopefully that won't be a problem for Wayne."
Kenwright happy to pay price of success
Mar 27 2003 By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
BILL KENWRIGHT insists he's happy to pay the price of success as Everton employees get set to share a £1million-plus windfall. Goodison's coffers will receive a major injection this summer if the Blues hold on to a European place and pick up a vastly increased payment for their final league position - with £440,000 at stake on every rung of the Premiership. But it is not just David Moyes' players and the club who will prosper, after Everton agreed to include all members of staff in a bonus scheme if the Blues secured a top ten finish. The Blues will count the cost of their improving profile in the next week if Wayne Rooney plays for England against Liechtenstein or Turkey. Under the terms of his contract, the 17-year-old gets a graduated pay rise once he makes a competitive appearance at international level. But despite the added outgoings for the hard-up club, deputy chairman Kenwright is just delighted Everton have tasted enough success to trigger such rewards. Combined bonuses could cost Everton over £1m depending upon where they finish in May. And last night Kenwright said: "We felt that when we achieved a level of success it would be great if everyone benefited throughout the club. That goes from the stewards to the people in the box office, everyone who was worked hard and stayed loyal to us throughout the lean years." Goodison conspiracy theorists, meanwhile, will be delighted to discover Alan Wiley received staunch support yesterday for targeting Duncan Ferguson at Highbury - from Clive Thomas! The former World Cup referee was no stranger to controversy during his career, not least when he infamously disallowed Bryan Hamilton's 'goal' against Liverpool in the 1977 FA Cup semi-final at Maine Road. And following Everton's formal complaint to the Premiership after Wiley told the fourth official at Arsenal to "keep an eye" on the Scot, Thomas admitted he used to pre-judge players too. Thomas said: "I used to speak to my linesmen regularly about a number of players - to keep an eye on them for various reasons." Thomas continued: "It was all part of good man-management skills, with the aim of trying to keep players on the field. "The FA said I was pre-judging players and asked me to stop doing it. But I told them I wouldn't stop doing it and they never took the matter any further. "I am 101 per cent behind Alan Wiley. I see nothing wrong with it - all referees should be doing exactly the same." Blues boss Moyes yesterday welcomed Nick Chadwick back to Bellefield following the end of his month's loan at Derby. Chadwick's return is timely given the injury to leading scorer Tomasz Radzinski and Brian McBride's departure at a crucial stage of the season. But last night Moyes received a glimmer of hope with the news Radzinski's groin strain could keep him out for just two weeks. "He's got a slight chance of making the Newcastle game," said Moyes: "But it could still take a week or two longer."
Rooney has everything
Mar 27 2003 Liverpool Echo
WAYNE ROONEY could become England's new comic book hero - "the man without fear."
Everton's 17-year-old striker only made his international debut last month - and will be on the substitutes' bench at best in Liechtenstein on Saturday night. But Newcastle midfielder Kieron Dyer believes Rooney is already on the brink of international stardom. "I think Rooney is going to be England's wild card for years to come," he said. "I watched him in training and this boy has no fear.
"There is talk about whether he's good enough but I think he's an exceptional player. He's just got all the attributes you want. "He's strong and quick, he has no fear, he's powerful, he can shoot with either foot, he knows when to play one touch and when to turn with the ball. "For someone so young, it's the same as with JJ (Jenas), you just tell them something once and they'll perfect it on the training ground the next day. "It's just a God-given talent and hopefully for England, we've got two players in Wayne and JJ who are going to be outstanding players. "I remember in the Worthington Cup when we played Everton and went out on penalties. Wayne started and Alan Shearer, Gary Speed and Craig Bellamy came down after the game and just said 'Oh, my God!' "That was after just seeing a little cameo of him. He was just awesome. When you've got experienced players saying something like that, then you know he's special. "Hugo Viana can take your breath away like that but I've never come across another player like Rooney. He's got all the attributes to be a world-class player." Dyer was asked to compare Rooney to Newcastle centre-forward Shearer, who scored 30 times in his 63 international appearances, making him England's fourth equal highest goalscorer.
"Alan's not as quick! Wayne has got some of the stuff of Alan's game, although Alan's got a great deal of experience, he knows how to get free-kicks and back into defenders," he responded.
"As time goes on though, Wayne can learn all of that and I think he can go on to become even greater than Alan Shearer. And that's a very high compliment." Dyer believes that Rooney has that element of 'arrogance' which can set great players apart from good ones. "Look at Craig Bellamy. There's no cockier player than him on the pitch and he's a great player. It's good to have a bit of arrogance and he's got that in abundance," he said. The danger for Rooney, of course, is that the overwhelming pressures that Everton boss David Moyes is attempting to protect him from could yet interrupt his career. Dyer, who has a troubled off-pitch past himself but is now acting as something of a father figure to Jenas and his Newcastle team-mates, nevertheless believes that Rooney can cope with that side of life. "I've always been told that you have to take the downs with the ups in football and every player is going to have downs," he observed. "You just have to keep a balance. So when the low times come, you get over them quicker. Hopefully that will happen as obviously there are going to be lows in the career of him and the likes of JJ. "There is already obviously a lot of trouble that can come off the pitch and I've experienced that first-hand, but with David Moyes looking after him, hopefully that won't be a problem for Wayne." Meanwhile Liechtenstein coach Ralf Loose had to do without his captain and his first-choice goalkeeper as he held two training sessions at the team's camp in Schaan ahead of the Saturday's Euro 2004 qualifier against England.
Loose declared himself happy with the sessions, but lamented the absence of skipper Daniel Hasler and keeper Peter Jehle, who were both fulfilling commitments with their Swiss clubs. "It's a pity that Jehle and Hasler missed the training, therefore there was no tactical training possible," Loose said. Loose hinted at some tactical and personnel surprises when he sends his players out against England. "Perhaps there will be one or two surprises," he said. "I can't tell you now the line-up."
Rodrigo set to complete recovery
Mar 27 2003 By David Prentice Everton Correspondent
BRAZILIAN midfielder Rodrigo has been given the green light to resume full contact training at Everton - six months to the day since he ruptured cruciate knee ligaments. Now the race is on for him to convince The Toffees he deserves a permanent contract. Rodrigo was injured in training after just a handful of substitute appearances following his year-long loan move from Botafogo, but his rehabi l itation has been impressive. "Six months is the minimum recovery period for an injury of that nature," said physio Mick Rathbone today. "Rodrigo has achieved that, to the day. He will join in full contact training on Monday and will hopefully be ready for a reserve run-out a week or so after that." The time-scale gives the Brazilian precious few opportunities to show David Moyes he should shell out the further £3m which would secure a long-term transfer. Ironically the goalscoring midfielder could well have solved a problem area for the Blues' boss. Despite a successful season so far, the Blues have consistently lacked goals from midfield. The central midfielders have failed to muster a single goal between them, while only Steve Watson has scored regularly from the flanks.
Rodrigo's goalscoring record back in Brazil was outstanding for a midfield player, but given Everton's financial constraints he would have to produce some outstanding form in the closing weeks of the season to convince the Blues' board to pledge such a significant sum. Tony Hibbert, meanwhile, is making reasonable progress from his ankle injury and could be available for the Newcastle game on Sunday week. But Tobias Linderoth is still some weeks away from a comeback while Tomasz Radzinski's groin strain will keep him out for two to four weeks.
Hall of Fame will be missing truest Blue
Mar 27 2003 By David Prentice Everton Correspondent
THAT annual expression of Evertonian pride and passion, the Gwladys Street Hall of Fame dinner, enjoys its fifth high-octane airing at the Adelphi Hotel tonight. But on a night when Everton faces past and present meet up for an evening of reminiscence and rousing revelry, one true Blue will be absent. And for David France it will be a taste of things to come. A world-renowned international business consultant and advisor to invest-ment banks, he is retiring to Vancouver this summer.
But he will leave behind a quite stunning legacy of Evertonian achievement:
* David has painstakingly put together a collection of Everton memorabilia described by Sotheby's as "the best one-club collection we have seen. It is of museum quality." The programmes alone have been estimated for insurance purposes as worth £450,000.
* He is the founder of the club's hugely successful players' charity, The Former Players' Foundation.
* He created the Gwladys Street Hall of Fame concept five years ago - and intends to close the doors to the prestigious gallery this year.
* He is the author of nine enthusiastically received Everton books.
* And he has helped raise significant sums of money for Alder Hey Hospital, children with leukaemia and teenagers with drug problems. But it is the stunning collection of Everton artefacts which is his most tangible triumph. A meticulous completist, David has sought out every Everton home programme for the past 80 years, every away programme for the past 70 and more than 200 from the 19th Century - including 100 from the pre-Football League era.
So what is his most cherished item? "Probably a season ticket for the club's very first season at Stanley Park," he declares. "I also have a season ticket for the first season at Priory Road and the first at Anfield." The collection was amassed from other collectors, dealers, auctions and internet sites - but it was the ledgers which caused the most heartache. "I came across a single ledger in the early 1990s," he explained "and set about trying to discover the others. "It took me 10 years to track them down but I eventually had every one from 1886 to 1970 - bar one. "The missing one wasn't particularly significant - it was from the early 50s I think - but it was the one I needed to complete the set - and the man who had it knew that. "I had to part with a Dixie Dean Lancashire Senior Cup medal to get it!" When David makes his transatlantic departure this year, the ledgers and the programmes will stay behind. But he hopes Everton FC will offer them a fitting home. "I plan to give Everton first option on some special items which are part of the club's heritage," he explained, "then auction what remains. "The programmes will be sold at auction, but I will keep the medals and anything else I have acquired from anyone still living." It is surviving players who were also on Dr France's mind when he formed the first registered charity to look after a football club's former heroes in 1998. "We were the first club to do it," he said proudly. "The idea came when I saw the plight of an old Everton hero of mine in 1998. He was in Bootle Strand with no laces in his shoes and when I talked to him it transpired he was in trouble with a loan shark. "I offered to sort that problem out for him, and when I got back into my car and turned on the radio the first news item I heard was about Alex Ferguson's testimonial. It made me think why we couldn't look after our own - and decided to investigate the possibility of setting up a Former Players' Foundation. "It has proved even more successful than I could ever have imagined." He stood down in November 2001, staggered by the success of the organisation. "I only ever expected that we would raise 30 grand a year to cover medical emergencies, but we were far more successful," he said. "When you are managing large sums of money you need more experience and I decided to stand down. "I set up the idea of a biannual Foundation Day and also negotiated with the PFA to co-fund medical expenses and it raised £200,000 while I was at the helm. "I think someone with the experience of, say Sir Philip Carter, could be of great benefit to the Foundation." Less productive, but no less appreciated, was the Hall of Fame Gala evenings which initially raised money for the Former Players, but in recent years has benefited Alder Hey and this year will support Well-care and SHADO. "The original intention was simply to organise a great night out at a reasonable price for true Evertonians," he explained. "It also served as a get-together for older players but, more importantly, was a celebration of Everton FC. "Once again we were the first club to initiate a Hall of Fame. "And one thing we always did was pay the players' travel expenses, accommodation and bar bill! We flew Jimmy Gabriel in from Seattle, Howard Kendall in from Greece and this year Anders Limpar is coming in from Sweden. "The event had 2,000 applications for tickets in the first day of sale last year, which is largely why I have now passed over responsibility for the running of the dinner to a professional company, BlueNose Promotions. "I expect this year's event to be the final dinner in its present form. "There are 92 people in the Hall of Fame and I don't want to dilute it any further. "But The Hall of Fame has been a great success. It has put smiles on the faces of Evertonians during the dark days of previous regimes and brought ex-players together for the first time in years - and it also raised money for charity. "None of these things could have been done without the support of Bill Kenwright, but for now my focus is Texas and Vancouver. "I have enjoyed coming back across during the past six or seven years and meeting many Evertonians. I have made numerous transatlantic dashes to watch matches in weird and wonderful locations - and usually end up sitting next to supporters who have made equally difficult journeys. "It has been great to meet my boyhood heroes and realise they are nice people, too. "There is no finer gentleman than Alex Young, no greater Evertonian than Brian Labone and no kinder person than Howard Kendall.
"Colin Harvey was the most talented footballer I have seen and Alan Ball the most influential. He was simply irreplaceable. "I watched my first match in 1956, when we drew 3-3 with Manchester United. I touched Derek Temple on the shoulder when he took a throw in. "I lived in Widnes then and started work as a gas fitter. "I eventually studied for four degrees and became a business consultant, which regularly took me to America. I received my American citizenship several years ago. "I have run 97 marathons, survived two life-threatening illnesses - but the most important thing is that I am still an Evertonian. "I have managed to turn many companies around - and if I got my hands on Everton today the first thing I would say is that no Liverpool supporter should be employed at the club - unless they were the absolute best person for the job!" So before he quits Merseyside, does he have any regrets? Just one. "On my many visits to Canada and British Columbia I befriended a football coach who had a 16-year-old boy in his club who he rated very highly," he declared. "Crystal Palace wanted to take him on trial, but the coach asked me if I could organise a trial at Everton for him. "I spoke to Everton's youth academy but they told me their YTS scheme was full and couldn't accommodate him - even on trial. "The boy was all set to go to Palace when Bayern Munich suddenly showed interest - and Everton missed out on . . . Owen Hargreaves."
Blues revive stadium bid
Mar 27 2003 By Jane Woodhead Echo Reporter
The final announcement is expected on Monday which is likely to confirm that the club has the money. Ian Ross, Everton's head of corporate affairs, said: "There is intense activity at the moment as the deadline draws closer. "Meetings are still taking place but we are completely optimistic that by the end of the month we will have the necessary finance. This has been our position all along."
Everton are expected to come up with £30m, with a private partner or partners coming up with the remaining £35m. This latest announcement comes after Liverpool Vision's decision last month to pursue its own proposal for a conference, exhibition and entertainment venue. Vision chief executive Jim Gill said at the time: "Everton Football Club and their partners put forward a bold and ambitious vision for Kings Dock. "They have pursued this proposal with vigour, professionalism and integrity. "However, it has become increasingly evident over the past few months that the critical total funding issue has not and probably cannot be resolved. "Liverpool Vision and its partners now believe that the chances of Everton securing the necessary total funds have receded further and the time has come for a decisive He added that Liverpool Vision was keen to see a project delivered at Kings Dock. The original proposals included a 55,000 seat arena which would double as a major conference and events showcase and a new ground for the Blues. It is now feared, however, that as more time passes the construction costs for the stadium could rise to as much as £170m, which is likely to make it increasingly difficult for the necessary funding to be found. A spokesman for Liverpool Vision insisted today that its position "has not changed". The spokesman said: "We are moving ahead with proposals to deliver a major conference and entertainment venue on Liverpool's waterfront. "No proposals have been received from Everton Football Club. If they are, they will be looked at. "Everton was advised on December 31 that any further work which was undertaken with respect to its plans for Kings waterfront would be entirely at its own risk." move forward."
Blues' hopes revived
By Jane Woodhead Daily Post Correspondent
Mar 28 2003
FUNDS to back Everton Football Club's Kings Dock stadium scheme will be found in time for Monday's deadline, the club insisted yesterday. The Blues have been in talks with bankers in a bid to raise its £65m share for the £155m arena. The final announcement is expected on Monday which, the club say, is likely to confirm that it has the money. Ian Ross, Everton's head of corporate affairs, said: "There is intense activity at the moment as the deadline draws closer. "Meetings are still taking place but we are completely optimistic that by the end of the month we will have the necessary finance. This has been our position all along." Everton are expected to come up with £30m, with a private partner or partners coming up with the remaining £35m. The latest announcement comes after Liverpool Vision's decision last month to pursue its own proposal for a conference, exhibition and entertainment venue. Vision chief executive Jim Gill said at the time: "Everton Football Club and their partners put forward a bold and ambitious vision for Kings Dock.
"They have pursued this proposal with vigour, professionalism and integrity. "However, it has become increasingly evident over the past few months that the critical total funding issue has not and probably cannot be resolved. "Liverpool Vision and its partners now believe that the chances of Everton securing the necessary total funds have receded further and the time has come for a decisive move forward." He added that Liverpool Vision was keen to see a project delivered at Kings Dock. The original proposals included a 55,000 seat arena which would double as a major conference and events showcase and a new ground for the Blues. It is now feared, however, that as more time passes the construction costs for the stadium could rise to as much as £170m, which is likely to make it increasingly difficult for the necessary funding to be found. Yesterday a spokesman for Liverpool Vision said that its position "has not changed". "We are moving ahead with proposals to deliver a major conference and entertainment venue on Liverpool's waterfront. "No proposals have been received from Everton Football Club. If they are, they will be looked at. "Everton was advised on December 31 that any further work which was undertaken with respect to its plans for Kings waterfront would be entirely at its own risk," said the spokesman.
Icliverpool And Daily Post
Mar 28 2003
EVERTON are playing well, but left midfield is a problem. I like Gary Naysmith, but am not sure if he is good enough while I have doubts over Mark Pembridge as well.
Marc Smith, Birkenhead
Blow the whistle
I BELIEVE David Moyes should get on with the good job he is doing and stop being paranoid about referees or decisions in games. Every single team that has ever played a game of football can point to some injustice or bad decision along the way! I hope he is not turning into Alex Ferguson for the wrong reasons!
Mark Ashton, Liverpool
A good point
IN ANTICIPATION of the dark side slagging our manager for his suggestions of refereeing bias, can I point to the non-penalty in the Worthless Cup against Birmingham, the disallowed Don Hutchinson goal at Goodison a few years back, the non-penalty against Stephane Henchoz in the first derby this season and more recently the "corner" at home to Arsenal which allowed Liverpool to get a draw.
Moyes is making a valid point and hopefully it will be noted.
Colm O'Reilly, Dublin (via e-mail)
I WONDER if referee Alan Wiley told his assisitants to "watch out for Arsenal, they dive a lot" or "keep an eye on Bergkamp, he may stick his studs in someone's leg." Refereeing in the Premership is generally very poor.
Brian MacAuley, (via e-mail)
Cornered by ref
THE referee was atrocious on Sunday; it seemed every decision went against Everton after we'd fought back so well. All the talk was about the various unnoticed infingements for their winning goal, but it looked to me like instead of attacking us they should have been defending a corner. Watson pressurised the defender into putting the ball into touch and the referee instead gave a goal kick that led to the goal. A minor and probably petty point, but this situation is getting ridiculous.
James Cort, Merseyside
WAYNE Rooney should be played in all remaining games and for the full 90 minutes. He should also play for the full England team. Remember Pele playing for Brazil at 17? If Wayne is good enough, he should play. I, for one, am sure he will survive and become a great success
Tommy Gillan, Merseyside
SOME of the old failings, a la Smith, are still apparent. That's because, in the main, Moysie still has some of the old jorneyman. Despite these shortcomings, the spirit that DM has instilled is beyond belief. We do need a creative spark in midfield, but give DM a chance.
Brian King, Liverpool
Blues must show the desire to hit back
Fanscene By Neil Mckeown, Daily Post
Mar 28 2003
THE league table never lies. Everton are currently the sixth best team in the land - having yielded the much-coveted fifth place to the arch corner-turner and his merry men. Irrespective of the legitimacy of Arsenal's second goal on Sunday, Everton showed enough in their second-half performance to suggest better times await. Yes, Liverpool have nipped ahead but - you know what - it doesn't really matter. They're now a good cup team - Ron Atkinson's Manchester United only without the flair. Not to dismiss cup sides. Obviously Everton would have loved to have won the Thingy Cup or, better still, the FA Cup but that's football, Brian. They didn't. It's the same with the Highbury defeat - no conspiracies (despite Moyes' rather unseemly bleating), no big problem - sometimes they just lose, that's all. Now it's about how they react. Getting up to fourth is no use if you're going to blow it. All that year-on-year progress is nonsense. You can't split progress into convenient season-long chunks - it needs to be constant. This idea that a team can finish fourth, third, second and then win the league is just daft - it doesn't happen like that, as those loveable red roustabouts are now showing. It's about taking charge and forcing the issue. Everton's record over the last 10 years is irrelevant. What matters is now. Everton have a great chance of finishing fourth.
It's down to whether they believe it. And why shouldn't they - who, in this league, has proved too much for David Moyes' Everton? Exactly. As the late David Rappaport said in Time Bandits: "We risk all, we win everything." Everton's rise has coincided, sort of, with Chievo's (sixth in Italy) and Real Sociedad's (second in Spain). Now football's closed shop has been exposed for the sham that it is.
To coin a phrase, it's up for grabs now. If you're one of those Evertonians who feels that an eighth-place finish would be satisfactory then good luck to you: low standards can be a blessing - you'll never be disappointed. But some Blues fancy it. David Moyes certainly seems to. And who would argue with him? Stick your chest out and give 'em hell.
Blues hope for revenge
Academy Football With Chris Wright, Daily Post
Mar 28 2003
WITH no matches for the first team due to the internationals Everton under-19s take centre stage in today's FA Premier Academy League Group A derby match with Liverpool at Bellefield (kick-off 11am). Colin Harvey's side go into the game on a run of fine form. Six wins in their last seven games plus 19 goals are proof Harvey's side are ending the season on a high, with the latest victory Tuesday's 2-0 triumph against Derby at Bellefield. With a reserve game tonight Everton fielded a younger side than normal and under-17s striker Gavin Lynch scored to put the Blues ahead at the break. A Dave Carney penalty, after Anthony Gerrard had been fouled, sealed the points. Harvey said: "If we had been about three or four up at half-time it would have been about right. Although it wasn't the greatest of games we had most of the attacking play. "We had a fairly young side out so to get a clean sheet and a couple of goals was good. They acquitted themselves well and it was a decent performance." The win sets the Blues up nicely for tomorrow's derby clash, and after a 4-2 defeat at Liverpool's Kirkby Academy earlier in the season they will looking to redress the balance and finally end Liverpool's faint hopes of the Academy League title. Harvey added: "We will have a youngish side out because of the reserve match on Friday. Whatever level you play at a derby game is special. "The games have been good over the last few years and I don't see any reason why this shouldn't be." Alan Harper's under-17s face a must-win trip to London, when they take on West Ham in the second game in their three-team play-off group. Last week's 3-0 defeat to Aston Villa means there is no room for error if Everton are to make the next stage of the play-offs. The Blues now need to take a least a point if not all three from a difficult trip to West Ham tomorrow and also beat Middlesbrough at home if they have any chance of qualifying.
Rodrigo in fitness race for new deal
By David Prior, Daily Post
Mar 28 2003
BRAZILIAN ace Rodrigo has returned to training after six months on the sidelines - and faces a fitness race to prove he deserves a permanent contract at Goodison Park. The midfielde has been given the go-ahead to resume full contact training six months after rupturing cruciate knee ligaments. After joining the Blues on a year-long loan from Botafogo, Rodrigo was injured after just four substitute appearances during a training session at Bellefield in September. The 26-year-old is now likely to make his comeback in a reserve fixture in mid-April, giving him little time to show boss David Moyes he should pay the further £3million which would secure a long-term move. Physio Mick Rathbone said: "Six months is the minimum recovery period for an injury of that nature.
"Rodrigo has achieved that, to the day. He will join in full contact training on Monday and will hopefully be ready for a reserve run-out a week or so after that," he added. Whether Rodrigo has enough time to convince Moyes now is questionable, but his record suggests he could certainly have proved an asset for the Blues this season. Even in a successful season so far, Everton have lacked goals from the midfield; indeed the central midfielders have failed to muster a single goal between them all campaign. Rodrigo's scoring record back in South America was superb for a midfielder, but only a late-season burst now will give Moyes confidence to dip into the coffers.
Southall sure of Wright
Mar 28 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
GOALKEEPING legend Neville Southall today told Evertonians they must wait to witness the best of Richard Wright. After some early season wobbles, the Blues' goalkeeper has produced a run of form good enough to earn him an England recall. But while Wright is unlikely to even make the substitutes' bench in Liechtenstein tomorrow, Southall thinks he could make the national spot his own in years to come. "The time to judge Richard Wright is halfway through next season. He just needs games. I've heard people say this and that about him, but next Christmas will be the time to look at him and see how he has done. "He played a lot of games in the First Division, but then moved to the Premier League where he wasn't playing every week. "There is a huge difference betwen the Premier League and the First Division, particularly in terms of quality into the box.
"The first goal Everton conceded at Arsenal on Sunday was a perfect example of that. Even if he had been six feet six tall he would have struggled to get to that ball, such was the quality of the delivery from Thierry Henry. "There are less bad balls in the Premier League so your decisions have to be better. "Even though he has been at Arsenal it will take time to adjust to playing at a club like Everton, too. "He's still quite young and he's following people like myself, George Wood and Gordon West - and that will be difficult for him." David Moyes, who brought Wright to Goodison, has been delighted with his goalkeeper's progress so far. "He has done very well for us this season and has performed with real consistency since the opening week or so of the season," he explained.
"We always thought he would take a little time to settle down after the move but he has done so quicker than I expected. "He has kept a lot of clean sheets this year and with the games coming up he is going to play a big part in our hopes of achieving a European place next season. "Being with England, though, has certainly helped his self-belief and confidence." With a large chunk of Everton's first team squad away on international duty this weekend, Moyes took his remaining players down to Formby beach this morning to train.
Blues enter hall of fame
Mar 28 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
TRUE BLUE: David Unsworth is Senior BlueNose of the Year
THE Gwladys Street Hall of Fame closed its doors - for now - last night. But the uproariously successful gala dinners which carry its name will continue, following last night's fifth annual event.
Fred Pickering, 70 goals in 95 Everton appearances, League and FA Cup winner Kevin Richardson and 1970 title winner Alan Whittle were the 2003 inductees. But the organisers have now decided to halt further inductions so as not to dilute the quality of the Hall of Fame. Original Hall of Famers were in evidence everywhere at a packed Adelphi Hotel. Two World Cup winners - Alan Ball and Ray Wilson - were present, FA Cup winning captain Dave Watson, The Golden Vision Alex Young, four goal-keepers - Neville Southall, Gordon West, Jimmy O'Neill and Dai Davies - stars from the seventies, Martin Dobson, Mike Pejic, George Telfer and Jim Pearson, sixties legends Colin Harvey, Brian Labone and Brian Harris, the most successful manager in the club's history Howard Kendall, and two of his success-ful squad Alan Irvine and John Bailey. It wasn't all unashamed nostalgia, though, as Deputy Chairman Bill Ken-wright and manager David Moyes watched their present players pick up awards. Young Blue Nose of the Year was, predictably, Wayne Rooney - an award picked up by his mother Jeanette to a rousing chorus of "Rooney's Mum, Rooney's Mum, Rooney's Mum!" Senior Blue Nose of the Year was David Unsworth, while the Blue Nose of the Year went deservedly to Tomasz Radzinski.
Wilkinson: Wayne is ahead of his time
Alistair Grant, Daily Post
Mar 31 2003
FORMER England caretaker-managers Howard Wilkinson and Peter Taylor yesterday acclaimed Wayne Rooney's cameo in Liechtenstein - but predicted the reaction to England's disjointed victory will upset Sven-Goran Eriksson. Everton's teenage sensation added a much-needed spark when he came off the bench for the last 10 minutes of the unconvincing 2-0 success in Vaduz. But David Beckham and Co, who drew 2-2 with Macedonia in October and embarrassingly lost 3-1 to Australia last month, received more criticism yesterday. Wilkinson, now unemployed after being sacked as Sunderland boss earlier this month, helped Rooney's development in his old position as the Football Association's technical director. "I know Wayne very, very well as we watched him develop as he came through the England youth ranks," he said. "And when he walks onto a football field, he goes from an adolescent to a man. "He's 10 or 15 years ahead of his time as far as his football development is concerned. "Physically and mentally, that boy has a man's head on a boy's body."
Wilkinson also praised the professional attitude of Eriksson's men. He added: "England wanted to come away with a clean sheet and a victory. They got that and what matters now is preparation for what will be a very hard game against Turkey. "There'll be a press reaction about the performance but the players will be well-focused on Turkey by Wednesday morning." However, Taylor, now manager of third division Hull, believes the media criticism of Eriksson's team will sting the Swede.
"I'd say Sven's probably not enjoying the job as much and he's probably surprised by the amount of criticism he's getting," he said. "But he's a cool man, understands the job and I'm sure he'll get on with it." Taylor added: "If I was manager, I'd have been saying get a result and make sure you're right for Turkey. "With that game coming up, when the players knew they would win - which I think was when Michael Owen scored the first goal - they were making sure they didn't get injured."
With a little help from my friends
David Prior, Daily Post
Mar 31 2003
BRAZILIAN ace Rodrigo has revealed he is settling into life in Liverpool and is desperate for first-team action after his long injury lay-off. The Everton midfielder last week returned to training after six months on the sidelines with a ruptured cruciate knee ligament, and knows he faces a race against time to prove to boss David Moyes he is worth keeping. After joining the Blues on a year-long loan from Botafogo last summer, Rodrigo was injured after just four substitute appearances during a training session at Bellefield in September. But after a swift recovery the 26-year-old could now make his comeback in a reserves game in mid-April, giving him limited opportunities to convince Moyes he is worth the extra £3million it would take to secure a long-term move. But in a positive declaration of his intentions Rodrigo, who admitted he had found the move "very hard" at first, has clearly demonstrated he is up for the challenge. He said: "I am so happy to be back at Everton after six months of recovery. It is never easy for a player when he is injured, so it is such a great feeling to be training again with the lads. "I hadn't had that long to get to know the team when I joined the club last year but everybody gave me a big welcome when I returned, especially Kevin Campbell and Joseph Yobo, who I get on really well with. "Things are very different for me in England this time around from when I was last here. I have my own flat now and some friends in the city. "It was very hard when I first arrived. I didn't like living in a hotel and Liverpool seemed so far away from my friends and family in Brazil. "Now I am feeling really settled and enjoying my life both at work and in my spare time - I've even learnt to speak some Scouse!" Rodrigo added he felt he could still play an important part in Everton's push for a Champions League place. He said: "Feeling settled can only help my game. I am so much more relaxed now and can't wait to show the Everton fans some of my Brazilian skills. "I have worked very, very hard for the past few months to get myself back in action and now I am raring to get some first-team games. Hopefully I will get my chance soon so that I can get a real taste of what life is like in the Premiership. "It has been a great season for Everton so far and we are in a good position to make it into Europe. This would be fantastic for the club and I hope that I can play my part in that success."
Meanwhile at a star-studded night at St Georges' Hall in Liverpool on Saturday night the Blues toasted 100 years in the top flight. Former managers Howard Kendall, Walter Smith and Colin Harvey, now Under-19s coach at the club, were joined by players past and present including Brian Labone and World Cup winner Alan Ball. Present manager David Moyes was also there as Evertonians celebrated their unique achievement. Memories of one of the club's great-est nights were revived by the sight of the European Cup Winner's Cup. * Everton return to Premiership action this weekend against Newcastle with club officials urging fans to get their tickets early as they get ready to put up the 'full house' signs for the sixth time this season. Already 37,000 tickets have been sold, even though the game is being televised, and officials are warning they do not expect to sell tickets on the day.
Everton U19s 1, Liverpool U19s 0
Chris Wright, Daily Post
Mar 31 2003
THERE was no European place at stake but Everton's under-19s will celebrate this latest derby win as much as the Blues first team will if they prevail at Goodison at Easter. Derby honours went to Colin Harvey's side as Anthony Barry's first-half goal was enough to separate the sides in an entertaining contest at Bellefield. Everton continued their fine form with their sixth win in seven outings as they avenged the 4-2 reverse at the Kirkby Academy in October. For John Owens' Liverpool side a season that held so much promise is ending disappointingly. After last week's defeat to Manchester City ended any chance of back-to-back FA Premier Academy League Group A titles, Saturday's derby defeat just added to their woes. Again, despite having the lion's share of possession and creating a number of opportunities they failed to take advantage of their chances. Even so the Blues showed why they have become so hard to beat lately. Despite a much-changed line up with many of Harvey's regulars playing the previous evening for the reserves, the Blues had excellent performers all over the park. A solid backline, a combative midfield and a clinical finish from Barry gave them the platform for victory. Liverpool's Stephen Vaughan, pushed further forward in a right midfield role, almost caught out Everton's Scottish under-20s goalkeper Iain Turner in the first minute. His right-wing cross landed just on top of the net as the Blues keeper backtracked. Liverpool's top scorer Steven Gillespie then volleyed over from 20 yards. The visitor's goalkeeper Tim Dittmer was a relieved man after 13 minutes. After collecting Adam Flynn's backpass a slight delay allowed Hopkins to close in on him. And the Republic of Ireland shotstopper looked back in anguish as he saw the ball deflect back towards goal off Hopkins back, but fortunately it went behind for a goal-kick.
Everton opened scoring five minutes before the break. James Potter was allowed to run 40 yards at the Liverpool defence and when the ball broke to Hopkins on the right, his low cross was converted by Barry from 12 yards. Liverpool began the second half brightly with Andy Nicholas in particular providing the thrust from full-back. But all too often their crosses found the twin peaks of Craig Garside and Anthony Gerrard in the Blues defence. Everton almost doubled their advantage after 50 minutes. Hopkins twisted and turned and arrowed a fierce shot that rebounded back off the angle before being cleared. Liverpool substitute Jason Massie fell under a challenge by Gerrard. As the Liverpool players screamed for a penalty Everton's swift counter-attack almost brought them a second goal. A sweeping move out of defence ended with Joseph Jones bearing down on the exposed Dittmer. But the Irish international stood up well and made a superb block. McNulty was booked for vociferously carrying on his complaints over the penalty a bit too long. But Everton, with three away fixtures to come, held out to complete their home campaign on a high.
EVERTON U19s: Turner; Potter, Garside (captain), Gerrard, Wilson; Booth (M Jones 70), J Jones, B Moogan, Barry, Lynch, Hopkins. Subs: Thorbinson, S Wright, Gallagher,Hughes.
LIVERPOOL U19s: Dittmer, J Smith (Butler 76), McNulty (captain), Flynn, Nicholas; Vaughan, Dawes, A Wright, Peers; Smyth, Gillespie (Massie 76). Subs: Harrison, O'Donnell, Wilkie.
REFEREE: Mr D Whitby.
BOOKING: Liverpool's McNulty (dissent).
Wait your turn
Mark Bradley, Daily Post
Mar 31 2003
SVEN-GORAN Eriksson last night insisted that he would resist the growing clamour for Wayne Rooney to be handed his first start for England against Turkey this week - even if Emile Heskey is ruled out by injury. Heskey injured his knee during Saturday's unconvincing 2-0 victory away to Liechtenstein and was replaced by Rooney with 11 minutes left. Rooney arrived to a rousing ovation from the England fans in Vaduz, with former England boss Sir Bobby Robson later joining the calls for him to start in the Stadium of Light on Wednesday night. However, Eriksson is still hopeful that the Liverpool forward will recover in time to face Turkey in England's next Euro 2004 qualifier.
And even if Heskey is ruled out, the England coach is still reluctant to press Rooney into the starting line-up despite his belief that the 17-year-old striker is ready for the challenge. Eriksson, who will also resist calling up Alan Smith, would instead turn to Darius Vassell or Francis Jeffers, or ask Paul Scholes to push further forward. He explained: "I think Wayne Rooney is ready but only part-time. I don't think we should expect him to come in and resolve a game against Turkey. It could happen - who knows - if he comes on, as he's physically strong, good on the ball, quick and he scores goals.
"He might be good enough to start but we'll see. Let me think about it but maybe starting him isn't fair on him. "Sometimes I am accused for picking him in the squad and suddenly people want him to play from the start. "I don't know if I'm too cautious. He deserves to be in the squad and let's see what happens on Wednesday. "From what I see of him in training and when he came on against Australia and Liechtenstein, he's doing okay. He doesn't seem to be worried or nervous." Despite repeated criticism of his lack of goals, Heskey, whose team-mates stress the importance of his all-round play, set up Michael Owen for the opener in Vaduz and won the free-kick from which David Beckham struck. "Emile didn't seem too bad at half-time, he said it was no problem to go on. But he started limping after a while in the second-half and so we took him off," said Eriksson. "We will see if it's only a knock or not. I think Heskey will be okay for Wednesday, I hope so." Eriksson has sent Owen Hargreaves back to Munich for treatment on a back injury, while David Seaman will not be joining up with the squad in Sunderland. However, the England coach is still hopeful that Sol Campbell will have recovered from his Achilles injury to take part in today's full training session. "I'm very doubtful about David Seaman joining us as I don't even think he's started practising yet. Sol meets up with us in Sunderland and hopefully he can train with us," he said. Campbell would be expected to replace Gareth Southgate in central defence in what, if Heskey is fit, should be the only change to the England line-up. Kieron Dyer gave a promising performance on the left flank which, although lacking a final product, certainly impressed the England coach. "He created a lot of problems for them. We could have scored once or twice from out there and he made their full-back's life very difficult. He used his pace very well," he observed. "Since I've been here, that was the best I've seen him in the national team. I think he did well."
Robson backs Rooney
Mar 31 2003David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
SIR BOBBY ROBSON has called for Wayne Rooney to start Wednesday night's must-win England international at the Stadium of Light - just four days before he brings his Newcastle team to Goodison Park. The former England coach delivered an astonishing endorsement of the youngster's international credentials in his Sunday newspaper column, raising eyebrows at Bellefield by its timing. "England need Rooney on the pitch from the very start on Wednesday," said Robson."His is a phenomenal talent that must not be denied. "Rooney is just 17, but age is merely a number whether it's 17 or, as in my case, 70. I have watched the boy play on several occasions. He takes my breath away. He is sensational. "The geat Pele was a mere 17 when he was unveiled to the world by Brazil, and that was in a World Cup. Paul Gascoigne was 20 in 1990 when I, as England manager had no hesitation in determining I had a very special talent at my disposal. That was also at a World Cup.
"Turkey on home soil in a European Championship qualifier represents a big game for England but hardly the pressure and profile which comes with the territory of a Word Cup. "Sven urgently needs to inject a spark to discover fresh impetus, to lift the mood and raise the optimism. "He needs a great player and Rooney, even if he is only 17 is already a great player."
Deadline for Blues' dream
Mar 31 2003 Jane Woodhead, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON Football Club today launched a last-ditch attempt to save its King's Dock stadiumdream.
Today was the deadline for the club to come forward with its £65m share for the £155m arena.
A document was expected to be handed to regeneration agency Liverpool Vision by lunchtime detailing the club's plans and financial details. Everton was expected to say in the document that it can come up with £30m, with a private partner or partners coming up with the remaining £35m.
This is despite Liverpool Vision deciding last month to pursue its own alternative proposals for a conference, exhibition and entertainment venue. Vision says that Everton ceased to be the preferred developer at the end of last year and any further work which was undertaken with respect to its plans would be "entirely at its own risk." Everton has maintained its plans are still on course, but some commentators have suggested the club is simply going through the motions. A spokesman for Liverpool Vision said today: "Anything which is received will be given reasonable consideration. "Liverpool Vision has, however, made considerable progress pursuing alternative proposals for the site and work on those is on-going." Detailed proposals from Vision for its development plans for the Kings Dock are expected to be put before planning chiefs in the next few weeks. A spokesman for Liverpool council said earlier: "Detailed plans are now being drawn up by Liverpool Vision for a world class arena and conference centre on the King's Dock. "We hope details will be announced shortly." Everton's original proposals had included a 55,000 seat arena which would double as a major conference and events showcase and a new ground for the Blues. Everton FC bosses were refusing to make any comment, but a statement from the club was expected later today.
100 reasons to celebrate
Mar 31 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON'S 100 seasons of top flight football celebrations reached a glittering finale on Saturday night, when the club staged its official 100 Years Gala Dinner at St George's Hall - attended by a galaxy of Goodison stars past and present. But on a night of unashamed notalgia and reminiscence, it was a relatively recent Everton idol who encapsulated the mood of the evening. Andy Gray demanded the microphone from MC Elton Welsby and declared: "This club is special. That is why so many players who have played for so many different clubs still think of Everton as their club.
"It is why Peter Reid, who is manager of Leeds, is here tonight as a Blue, why Joe Royle has flown up from Gillingham to be here and why Alan Ball is here as an Evertonian." Four former Everton managers were present - Walter Smith, Joe Royle, Colin Harvey and the most successful of the lot, Howard Kendall. And the present boss, David Moyes, spoke about the standards he had to aspire to. "I stand here and look across at one half of the hall, and I see real legends who have won trophies for Everton Football Club. That is what we, on the other half, must try to emulate - because while we might have had a decent season so far, we haven't won anything yet." Players from all eras were present - from 83-year-old winger Wally Fielding to current stars David Weir, Steve Watson, Li Tie and David Unsworth. Most of the incomparable 1984-85 squad were present - including the trophies they claimed for the club during its most intensely successful period, and heroes from the sixties like Alan Ball, Alex Young and Brian Labone were also present.